Blake Lively’s New Lifestyle Site

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I did a quick drive-by on Blake Lively’s new “lifestyle” website called Preserve.us. Welp, that was a serious waste of time. I’m all for capitalism and entrepreneurship; have no issue with people getting paid. But where I draw the line is, celebrities going live with these websites (Gwyneth Paltrow and her idiotic GOOP site comes to mind) selling merchandise that is either far too expensive for the average person. Or loaded with products that can be bought at any supermarket, department store or my personal favorite, Bed, Bath and Beyond, for much less. Blake Lively’s site is full of inane ramblings, random over-used quotes, odd pictures and quite frankly a very depressing tone emanating from the home page….bizarre.

Then when you look further and go to the product prompt, there’s BBQ sauce mixed with jewelry, clothing, pillows and other items that visually, makes no damned sense. Just because you can do something, doesn’t always mean you should. I feel Ms. Lively should probably do what she does best and that’s walk red carpets, wear fabulously expensive designer clothes, cuddle up to that hunky bundle of goodness husband of hers and just be a TV and movie star. Lets face it, she’s not Kim K who can make a dollar out of 10 cents for doing nothing. But I’m sure she’ll do well selling her wares to other celebs and the wealthy who have disposable income to burn. After-all, they’re usually the ones who keep celebrity sites afloat anyway. I mean outside of a handful of star-struck fans but that’s another topic I’ll save for later.

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Weekend Jamz….First up – Evanescence

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Just to get this party started and send you on your way to a fun-filled weekend, I’m racking up one of favorite groups, Evanescence. I was watching Underworld:Awakening with Kate Beckinsale, who is one of the best ass-kicking actresses in Hollywood. As the credits were rolling, I forgot that Evanescence was on the soundtrack.

And for those who aren’t familiar with their music, they formed in 1994 with original band members Amy Lee and Ben Moody. By the time they finally found the right combination in 2002 with guitarist John LeCompt, bassist Will Boyd and drummer Rocky Gray, they signed with Wind-up Records and released their first album Fallen. By the spring of 2003, Fallen had proven to be a full-blown success thanks to the hit single “Bring Me to Life” and followed quickly by “My Immortal” which reached Billboard’s Top 10 in the US.

Because of their success, Evanescence won two Grammys, one for Best New Artist and Best Hard Rock Performance. But as with many bands, there were out of control egos and discourse within the group and the line-up changed. It wasn’t until October of 2006 that they released their sophomore album, The Open Door which  dĂ©buted at number one on the Billboard chart. After finishing their tour for the album, there was yet another shake-up.

And it took another five full years before Evanescence released their third album in October 2011 and as with the prior two, it also débuted at the top of the charts.

So here we go with Evanescence’s My Immortal, Made of Stone and Going Under. Enjoy!

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Special Award Award From The University of Southern California.

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I was honored, along with my production partner in crime Henry Fayson, to receive this medal, The Commanders Award for Recognition of Excellence from the USC Army ROTC. Back in November of 2012, we filmed The USC Ranger’s Challenge in San Luis Obispo. And from that we were asked to film other challenges for the Army ROTC. It was a grueling shoot, we had to roll right along with the officer trainees in the cold, rain and mud. But it was also fascinating and brought a new perspective and respect on what it takes to be an officer in the US Army. Much love and thanks to USC, their exemplary staff and a special shout out to Col. John Kelly, 8th Brigade & Warrior Forge Commander. Hooah!

Baz Luhrmann, Leonardo DiCaprio and Scott Fitzgerald to inaugurate the Festival de Cannes

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It is on The Great Gatsby by Australian director Baz Luhrmann, that the curtain will rise at the inauguration of the 66th Festival de Cannes, on Wednesday 15th May, in the Grand Théâtre Lumière of the Palais des Festivals, out of Competition in the Official Selection.
Adapted from the famous novel by American author Francis Scott Fitzgerald and set against the roaring twenties on the East Coast of the United States, the film depicts the romantic and tragic figure of Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio), as narrated by his friend Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire). Carey Mulligan is Daisy Buchanan, whose husband is played by Joel Edgerton. This prestigious occasion will also be graced with the presence of Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan, as well as the American pop star, rapper Jay-Z.

“It is a great honor for all those who have worked on The Great Gatsby to open the Cannes Film Festival. We are thrilled to return to a country, place and festival that has always been so close to our hearts, not only because my first film Strictly Ballroom was screened there 21 years ago, but also because F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote some of the most poignant and beautiful passages of his extraordinary novel just a short distance away at a villa outside Saint-RaphaĂ«l.”
Produced by Warner Bros. Pictures and Village Roadshow Pictures, the film was scripted by Baz Luhrmann and his faithful co-screenwriter Craig Pearce, based on Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel.
The opening film will be screened in 3D – for the second time during the history of the Festival, following Up by Pete Docter, in 2009.
On the same day the Festival gets underway – Wednesday 15th May – The Great Gatsby will also open in cinemas nationwide. Both in France and internationally, the film will be distributed in 2D and 3D by Warner Bros. Pictures and in certain regions by Village Roadshow Pictures.
Born in 1962 in Australia, Baz Luhrmann has twice been honoured by the Festival de Cannes for Strictly Ballroom (Un Certain Regard in 1992) and for Moulin Rouge! at the 54th Festival, in 2001, at an opening which is unlikely to be forgotten any time soon.
Leonardo DiCaprio (Jay Gatsby) has rarely been seen on the Croisette. He returns to Cannes for the first time since the 2007 presentation of The 11th Hour, a documentary on ecological issues which the actor himself produced.

Throwback Music Friday!

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I love to listen to ol’skool music from back in the day, so I thought it would be fun to post some music on Friday’s that I love. First up, Ms. Jackson if you’re nasty! My girl, Janet Jackson.

When I was younger I loved her music and her videos. I can’t begin to tell you how many times my friends and I practiced the moves in Pleasure Principle and Rhythm Nation. I can still bust some of those moves now, though I could wind up sore for a week.

The song I chose this time is Twenty Foreplay off her Design of a Decade album. This song is one of her least known but is no less great. What struck me when I first saw the video is how it harkens back to old Hollywood glam. There she is in all of her retro beauty, getting off the plane in Cannes, with all the photographers and fans trying to get autographs and the money shots…. visually stunning, shot completely in black and white. The entire video follows her from Cannes, back to Hollywood on through to her on the set of a new film.

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She is seriously channeling her inner Dorothy Dandridge. But even in black and white, Janet Jackson is gorgeous and the song is so sultry and sexy. So here you are, from 1995, Janet Jackson’s Twenty Foreplay.

Has the News Become a Series of Gotcha! Moments?

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Yesterday I was surfing the Net and came across this story about Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o. It appears that he has either been the victim of an elaborate on-line hoax, perpetuated the hoax himself or as one of the theories floating out in the clouds intimated, that he’s really in the  “closet” about his sexuality.

Here’s the background…Deadspin.com was given a tip on Te’o’s girlfriend who was supposedly in a car accident, then diagnosed with leukemia. It seems that before Notre Dame’s game with Michigan State, he found out that his “girlfriend” and grandmother had passed away. So he was heralded as this strong, determined person, powering through pain and grief leading his team to an upset over Michigan State. Feel good story, with all the heart-strings pulled, violins and harps playing in the background…

Well, not so fast there chief, yes his beloved grandmother Annette Santiago did pass on, but his girlfriend is another story. Lennay Kekua doesn’t exist. There was no record of a car accident, no one enrolled at the college she supposedly attended; the background check returned absolutely nothing on a Lennay Kekua.

There’s more but the story is just too bizarre to go into all the intricate details. Nevertheless, he issued this statement:

“This is incredibly embarrassing to talk about, but over an extended period of time, I developed an emotional relationship with a woman I met online,” Te’o said in the release. “We maintained what I thought to be an authentic relationship by communicating frequently online and on the phone, and I grew to care deeply about her. To realize that I was the victim of what was apparently someone’s sick joke and constant lies was, and is, painful and humiliating.

“It further pains me that the grief I felt and the sympathies expressed to me at the time of my grandmother’s death in September were in any way deepened by what I believed to be another significant loss in my life. I am enormously grateful for the support of my family, friends and Notre Dame fans throughout this year. To think that I shared with them my happiness about my relationship and details that I thought to be true about her just makes me sick.”

Who knows what is really going on there, but the one thing I do know is our media, and I’m very much a part of it too, is so obsessed with bringing people down, it’s become sexual in nature. It’s almost as if some of the journalists and reporters are orgasmic when they can uncover some lie, indiscretion or varying degrees of bad behavior. I was watching Good Morning America and one of the Deadspin reporters who uncovered this little sordid tale, was so damn self-righteous and obnoxious, it almost made me want to start digging into his background. Yep, lets shake his trees and see what falls out. Glass houses people.

The man was giddy; the complete sick  joy he took in catching this young man in an alleged lie was written all over his face. He seriously couldn’t contain himself. Never-mind that all the facts aren’t in yet. He has accused, indicated and convicted this young man of this hoax and in his mind, that’s pretty much the end of it.

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But there’s this phenomenon called “Catfishing”. This is where people are anonymously on-line pretending to be other people, other genders, other everything and literally duping unsuspecting, lonely people into all sorts of scams and hoaxes. So it is very possible that Manti Te’o IS a victim.

I’m dismayed at what journalism has become. Gone are the days where stories are just too sordid and untoward to publish as well as fact checking first, before you present the story to the public. Everyone wants the “Big Get”. And unfortunately, some members of the media will do anything that’s necessary, even if their tactics are questionable, to get the story. We build these athletes, celebrities and many others in the public eye up so far in the stratosphere, they’re almost God-like, put them on pedestals, only to take pleasure in knocking them back down. It’s truly a vicious cycle and a disturbing game.

When you look at it in a broad sense, some journalists are just a different level of paparazzi. They do exactly the same thing, just with a better title, more money and a cooler, more accepted platform to spew their venom. Some write for fabulous magazines, sit on ĂĽber flashy sets, but the basic premise is the same. They invade people’s privacy, dig into their backgrounds (interviewing someone’s 2nd cousin’s uncle’s stepmother, who married their brother’s 1st cousin’s mother’s nephew’s wife) act pompous and self-righteous, tell the public that what they’re doing is for their benefit because they have a right to know and then go on every day and nighttime TV show that will have them, ultimately basking in their own reverence at destroying someone’s life.

Basically…GOTCHA!

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Golden Globes 2013 is Now in the Record Books…

Morning! Another Golden Globes Award Show has been marked in the record books. A few surprises such as Argo and Ben Affleck winning Best Picture and Best Director upsetting the expected winners of either Lincoln or Les Miz. Now take that Academy Awards. Ben also won as Best Director at the Critics Choice Awards a couple of days back. Homeland on Showtime, ending the reign of Breaking Bad and Mad Men as Best Television Series, Drama. As well as Claire Danes and Damien Lewis winning for Best Actor and Actress in a Television Series, Drama.  Former President Bill Clinton made a surprise appearance to a standing ovation. To this day, he is my favorite President. Olympic Gold Medalist, Gabby Douglas was looking rather stylish on the red carpet.

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But the most buzzed about part of the evening was Jodie Foster’s rambling, sometimes incoherent, yet poignant acceptance speech for The Cecile B. DeMille Award for Lifetime Achievement. Twitter, Facebook and all across every social media site known to humankind, was  commenting and dissecting its meaning. She kinda, sorta, but not really “came out” or did she? No one is really quite sure on that one. In either case, her sexual orientation is one of the most well-known, best kept secrets in Hollywood, next! She also went into a diatribe about privacy, which by that time, we were all convinced the champagne was really doing most of the talking.

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I also must give some love to Tina Fey and Amy Poehler…they were really funny and entertaining. They kept that show moving and it was quite an improvement over Ricky Gervais.

That’s it for now, next stop The Oscars!