Articles on this Page
- 02/14/13--21:04: _Azealia Banks remai...
- 02/14/13--21:18: _Coronation Street's...
- 02/14/13--21:25: _Britney spends Vale...
- 02/14/13--21:34: _2013 VALENSTANS (PT 4)
- 02/14/13--21:54: _Leonardo DiCaprio I...
- 02/14/13--22:01: _2013 VALENSTANS (PT 5)
- 02/16/13--12:32: _Hollywood's Hottest...
- 02/16/13--12:32: _First Look At Futur...
- 02/16/13--12:32: _Valentine's Day is ...
- 02/16/13--12:32: _Watch the Trailer f...
- 02/16/13--12:33: _Comic-Con badges se...
- 02/16/13--12:33: _Crawley Girls: A Do...
- 02/16/13--12:35: _2 Broke Girls 2x17 ...
- 02/16/13--12:36: _A Conversation With...
- 02/16/13--12:47: _Up All Night-- Canc...
- 02/16/13--12:52: _Gaga goes to Starbu...
- 02/16/13--12:52: _Casting news for th...
- 02/16/13--12:57: _Hugh Grant Welcomes...
- 02/16/13--14:01: _NYT reviews Beyonce...
- 02/16/13--14:01: _Zachary Quinto Talk...
- 02/14/13--21:04: Azealia Banks remains an ignorant mess
- 02/14/13--21:18: Coronation Street's Michael Le Vell charged with child rape
- 02/14/13--21:25: Britney spends Valentine's Day with her Mom
- 02/14/13--21:34: 2013 VALENSTANS (PT 4)
- 02/14/13--22:01: 2013 VALENSTANS (PT 5)
- 02/16/13--12:32: Hollywood's Hottest Bodies
- 02/16/13--12:32: First Look At Future Flop.
- 02/16/13--12:32: Valentine's Day is over Britney
- 02/16/13--12:32: Watch the Trailer for NBC's 'Hannibal'
- 02/16/13--12:33: Comic-Con badges sell out in under 2 hours
- 02/16/13--12:33: Crawley Girls: A Downton Abbey Mixtape
- 02/16/13--12:35: 2 Broke Girls 2x17 “And the Broken Hip” stills & promo
- 02/16/13--12:36: A Conversation With Rihanna's Hair Stylist Ursula Stephen
- 02/16/13--12:47: Up All Night-- Canceled?
- 02/16/13--12:52: Gaga goes to Starbucks in a wheelchair
- 02/16/13--12:52: Casting news for the pilot, "Bloodline"
- 02/16/13--12:57: Hugh Grant Welcomes Baby #2
- 02/16/13--14:01: NYT reviews Beyonce's 'Life Is but a Dream'
Read from top to bottom:
song/beats drama, homegirl is still messy
browse her twitter
UPDATE: More drama with Perez, calls him a fagg*t once more
Coronation Street actor Michael Le Vell has been charged with a string of sex offences, including raping a child.
Greater Manchester Police said he is also accused of indecently assaulting a child and sexual activity with a child.
The actor, 48, who plays Kevin Webster in the ITV1 soap, faces a total of 19 charges relating to crimes allegedly committed between 2001 and 2010.
Mr Le Vell, whose real name is Michael Turner, is due before magistrates in Manchester on 27 February.
Alison Levitt QC, principal legal adviser to the Director of Public Prosecutions, said she had reviewed a decision not to prosecute Mr Le Vell following allegations made against him in 2011.
She said: "I have very carefully reviewed the evidence in this case and I have concluded that there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to charge Michael Robert Turner with a number of sexual offences.
"I have authorised Greater Manchester Police to charge Mr Turner with 19 offences, including rape of a child.
"Mr Turner has now been charged with criminal offences and has a right to a fair trial."
The actor, from Hale in Greater Manchester, has played the role of garage mechanic Kevin Webster for 30 years, making him one of the longest-serving performers in Coronation Street.
Unless you're from England or any of the Comonwealth countries you might not know who he is but he is a pretty big character on the show
Leonardo DiCaprio recently had dinner in New York with his friend/fellow actor Kevin Connolly and 12 women (because 13 would’ve just been silly) and allegedly spent the entire time bragging about how everyone else is just dying to spend a day in his shoes.
According to an eavesdropper who was supposedly sitting next to the group, “Leo talked about the fact that he is sleeping with ‘multiple women’ right now. He was totally open about it. Kevin looked at Leo and told him, ‘I want to be you.’”
“Leo replied, ‘Everyone does,’” the snitch said. “He was acting very nice, but is very arrogant.”
After promising to take Connolly on vacation someday (just ask Jonah Hill what that’s like), Leo footed the entire bill and took everyone clubbing before heading back to a room he’d booked at the Trump hotel.
“He asked all the girls to come upstairs afterwards and they had a huge after-party,” the source concluded.
And if you have your Leo DiCaprio Model Conquest card out, we have an update for you: Word on the street is that he’s now hooking up with a beauty named Aferdita Dreshaj, who competed in the 2011 Miss Universe pageant as Miss Kosovo.
We’re guessing his bedroom is like a deli now and she just waited long enough for her number to be called.
He was filming a scene for "Wolf of Wall Street" y'all
Link because it is way long
Really big, click pls
Big britney stan valenstan
Big Rihanna Stan Valenstan
(It is a pleasure to have you as an ONTD member Mr. President)
Long Hobbit Fan Valenstan
(This looked better, but I had to resize it, here is the good HQ version
I didn't have time to make any Valenstans, but I want to say thank you to everyone on ONTD (who is not a dick, I mean, you know.) ONTD has been so much fun for me and has provided me with amazing opportunities and I really appreciate you all for being such great people. Obviously ONTD wouldn't be what it is without comments. Thank you for being a place for people who love all sorts of things to meet up and make friends. To vent, dish, learn, snark and be entertained.
Fitness guru Jillian Michaels graces the March 2013 cover of Health magazine, in which she names some of the best bodies in Hollywood, talks about her return to “The Biggest Loser” and shares her strategies for staying fit. According to Michaels, the most rocking bodies in Hollywood are:
1. J.Lo -- “She looks crazy [good].”
2. Rihanna -- “Musicians can be thick, in a great way. Thick and curvy and sexy.”
3. Beyoncé -- “That’s a sexy body. And healthy, she can dance for three hours and sing the whole time!”
4. Pink -- “I gotta say Pink, because I helped her.”
On being tough on this season’s “The Biggest Loser” contestants, the trainer explained, “If I’m taking time away from my company and kids, you had better show the f**k up and mean business. I would say I’m worse than ever!”
As for finding the motivation to stay healthy, Michaels said ask yourself “Why?” She added, “Broccoli and chicken is not fun, but skinny jeans are fun. So if you want to get slim -- and stay that way -- you need to first ask yourself: What is my why? What am I fighting for? Is it worth it?”
What is her No. 1 calorie-burning trick? “Stand whenever you can. Standing burns 1.5 times more calories than sitting. Stand when you’re at the doctor’s office, when you watch TV, even when you work at your computer -- I put mine on the kitchen counter. Just stand.”
Britney Spears suffered yet another unfortunate fashion misstep on Friday as she joined friends for lunch in Calabasas, California.
The Scream & Shout singer clashed in a neon pink and red pairing, and leggings that looked better suited for a workout than an afternoon outing.
Nom-nom-nom, Dr. Hannibal Lecter is back.
Below is the first trailer for NBC’s upcoming drama series that takes on the most popular non-supernatural serial killer in American movie history. This is a cool short tease. The clip includes one of the most darkly playful exchanges from showrunner Bryan Fuller’s pilot script — FBI profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy): “I don’t find you that interesting.” Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen): “You will.” Also, like the Hannibal title font.
This trailer makes its on-air debut tonight during Saturday Night Live (Django Unchained star Christoph Waltz is the host). The thriller will premiere Thursday, April 4 at 10 p.m. Scroll down for your first look….
It looks good, and I love Bryan Fuller's shows so I will give this a shot. Thoughts?
Saturday's online sale for admission to this year's Comic-Con left fans both jubilant and frustrated, as all four-day and single-day badges sold out in under two hours.
The online purchase process began at 9 a.m. and within minutes many would-be purchasers were informed of the grim news: the "online waiting room has reached capacity and it is unlikely that badges are still available."
Within less than an hour, all of the four-day badges for the July convention were gone.
Last year, all tickets to the pop culture extravaganza sold out in a record one hour and 20 minutes. Saturday's sellout took roughly one hour and 40 minutes. Organizers, while they would like to accommodate more fans, have said they long ago outgrew the capacity of the city's downtown convention center.
The city has approved an expansion of the center, but construction cannot start until it is approved by the California Coastal Commission. The $520 million project also faces legal hurdles. The city is awaiting the outcome of a lawsuit it filed to confirm whether the hotel room surcharge approved to finance the expansion is legal. A hearing is scheduled for later this month.
In the meantime, Comic-Con International has committed to staying in San Diego through 2016, despite being heavily wooed by other cities. A 2008 survey quantified the economic impact of the four-day event, which attracts some 130,000 attendees, although many of them locals. The survey concluded that spending on lodging, meals, transportation and other related items totaled $67.8 million, which includes $25 million rung up by conventioneers occupying nearly 31,000 hotel rooms.
While no other opportunities for obtaining a badge to Comic-Con have been scheduled, organizers offer some hope. For those who did not make it into the online waiting room Saturday morning, they were told to "check our website frequently or follow us on Facebook and Twitter for important badge resale announcements later this year."
Ugh I'm so mad I wasn't even able to get any tickets let alone getting inside the waiting room, but I still haven't lost hope yet, pretty much crossing my fingers for the resale!
The season finale of Downton Abbey is upon us (say it ain't so)! Once you get used to gasping at Ms. O'Brien's latest trickery, groaning at any scene involving boring ol' Bates, or aww-ing over anything Daisy does or says, it's time to say goodbye again. But let's put wallowing on hold for now and instead take a musical journey through the evolution of the Crawley girls! (Note: Cora not included due to her being a bore). Oh, and, if you aren't caught up with the show, I wouldn't read this 'cause there are HELLA SPOILERS.
Shania Twain: "That Don't Impress Me Much"
The first season of Downton Abbey introduces us to Mary, the beautiful eldest daughter of the Crawley clan who is to inherit everything! Um, as long as she marries her cousin. Being a team player, she agrees to the arrangement, but then the Titanic sinks and, with it, the hopes of a comfortable life in the family home forever and ever. Everyone gets depressed and we all know the best remedy for depression is match-making! Since OkCupid was still in development in the early 1900s, her family assembled a list of men for her to try out. Mary was not amused. Shania can fill you in on the rest.
Robyn: "Call Your Girlfriend"
By Season 2, Mary is in love with a different, non-dead cousin, who happens to be the new heir (convenient!). Problem is he has a new gal pal. Lavinia is everything Mary isn't: normal, level-headed, a ginger. Being the alpha female brat that she is, Mary spends the entire season pouting and pretending not to want to rip Lavinia's throat out. Despite everything going on around her at the time (World War I! Paralysis! Getting engaged to a Disney villain!), Mary stays on message: dump your lame girlfriend already. Take it away, Robyn!
Ronette's: "Chapel of Love"
As a consequence of hogging the spotlight in previous seasons, Mary doesn't have much going on this year, other than getting married at long last! Huzzah for love and putting a ring on it and being a nicer, more compassionate person! Oh, wait:
At the death bed of their sister
Edith: Oh, Mary. Do you think we might get along a little better in the future?
Mary: Doubt it.
Lykke Li: "Sadness is a Blessing"
Meet Edith Crawley, the patron saint of oppressed misunderstood Jan Bradys everywhere. Her parents pity her, her sisters think she's annoying, and boys don't think about her at all. So what anthem sums up poor Edith? Most songs by the Smiths or the Cure would do, but it's a couplet from Lykke Li's "Sadness is a Blessing" that really gets to the root of our favorite spinster-in-training: "Sadness is my boyfriend. Oh, sadness, I'm your girl."
Bonnie Raitt: "I Can't Make You Love Me"
World War I livens up poor Edith's sad existence. Downton Abbey becomes a convalescent home for wounded soldiers and she likes to hang out with them (their injuries hinder them from finding someone more interesting to talk to and Edith likes this). She also likes a disfigured burn victim who claims to be the dead Titanic cousin! She reads to him and he throws temper tantrums and breaks stuff for attention, which leads to hints of romance. But, like everything in Edith's life, things don't work out and he runs away. Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me" captures the sadness that comes with never getting what you want and being dissed by someone who doesn't even have a face.
The Carpenters: "Goodbye to Love"
After a few strike-outs, Edith finally finds happiness in an older disabled veteran and starts saying stuff like: "Something happening in this house is actually about me!" It doesn't take long for that Gypsy curse to stick it to poor Edith once again; this time, her fiance breaks up with her AT THE ALTAR! If this was Mary, she would have cut all her hair off and then thrown herself on some train tracks, but not Edith. This girl knows what defeat feels like and it feels like home. Who better to explain that feeling than the saddest singer ever, Karen Carpenter? Edith could have written "Goodbye to Love" herself, a song about giving up on love and moving onto more productive pursuits. "So I've made my mind up, I must live my life alone and, though it's not the easy way, I guess I've always known." Who needs men, when you can start writing a feminist newspaper column?
“And the Broken Hip” – Max and Caroline pay a high price for attempting to remove a street performer away from the entry to their cupcake shop, on 2 BROKE GIRLS, Monday, Feb. 18 (9:00-9:31 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Comedian Andy Dick guest stars as J. Petto, a litigious puppeteer.
"Hair brings one's self image into focus; it is vanity's proving ground. Hair is terribly personal, a tangle of mysterious prejudices." -- Shana Alexander, American journalist
Celebrity hairstylist Ursula Stephen cried as we talked about... hair. It caught me off guard as I hadn't considered the possibility of tears during an interview about celebrity cuts and color. What I discovered however, was that Ursula was a woman who was not only well-versed in the mechanics of her craft, but acutely aware its profound social, cultural and political significance. Barely speaking through her tears, we talked about her trip to South Africa where she worked with women of color whose natural hair texture was almost unrecognizable -- marred by years of improper relaxers, no conditioner and an incessant desire to manipulate their hair into straight, Anglo-inspired styles. As she ran her fingers through the hair of women who knew virtually nothing about how to care for their own hair, she understood that their dry, brittle strands were vestiges of their apartheid past. Their hair whispered stories of their history; and Ursula was moved to tears by what she heard.
Despite the fact that Elle magazine has lauded her as "hair royalty," Ursula Stephen remains remarkably humble and painstakingly human. She's yet to allow herself to become jaded or disconnected from the essence of her craft in a haze of global jet setting with one of the biggest popstars on the planet. Her two Vogue covers with Rihanna haven't rendered all else unimportant. She remains firmly grounded -- using her talent as a conduit to help women feel beautiful, empowered and recognize better versions of themselves. From those uncovering their identity soaked in layers of racial injustice, to a pop-princess asserting her power as an icon, Ursula remains equally inspired.
Below are excerpts from my conversation with Ursula Stephen, who proves that in her industry, style does not always trump substance.
Robyn:What are your thoughts on the increasing number of women of color who are choosing to wear their hair in more natural styles? Bloggers like Taryn Guy, Chescaleigh, Urban Bush Babes, Curly Nikki and Hey Fran Hey, have become Internet celebrities and gained huge followings, essentially by sharing their natural hair journey and styling tips.
Ursula: I think the movement that's happening right now is really great. Women are gaining a certain sense of self confidence. For a long time, if you wore your hair natural, people didn't associate you with being pretty, stylish or sexy. And now, with so many different styling options and different products available, it just makes it so much the better for the natural girl to really show her beautiful self.
I'm a hairstylist and I'm down for whatever -- weaves, braids, bald heads, short hair, etc. I appreciate styles for what they are. I think everything is beautiful. Every image. Every picture. Every person. But the fact is that so many women are losing themselves behind weaves and extensions. So I'm happy that women can feel and be beautiful with natural hair because they were losing that sense of themselves for a long time. That's why they were losing their edges and hair because they were becoming essentially dependent on these extensions. They forgot about their own natural hair and how beautiful and how healthy it could be.
At the end of the day, a healthy head of hair is the foundation for a great hairstyle. So they sacrifice their own hair because they want to wear these expensive weaves and braids... but then the weaves and braids start looking crazy because they don't have any hair. It was like a bad cycle that we were going through. I think this movement is helping women to get back to who they are and really appreciate themselves. Women are learning that weaves and braids are just accessories to be worn for a certain amount of time, and to be taken out for a certain amount of time.
Robyn: You cut Rihanna's hair into the infamous bob -- a haircut which many people credit with helping to catapult her career into superstardom. Tell me a bit about the thought process that went into going short. Because prior to the cut, her long hair, flowing tresses mirrored her popstar counterparts. You guys were taking a bit of a risk because the long weave seemed to be an essential part of the popstar formula.
Ursula:That was one of the reasons why we did it -- because she was tired of looking like everybody else. Plus, I was tired of doing the same old thing for her and for everybody else. And we just went for it. But we never thought that it was going to be talked about to the extent that it was. That wasn't the aim. It was really just a matter of being tired of looking like that... like everybody else. It's something that we just did. We never knew that it would be this world-renowned haircut. So I wasn't nervous when I cut her hair, because we had no idea it would be so big.
I think I realized that the cut was a big deal when I started seeing everybody, not only in New York, with the haircut. It had even gone overseas. No matter where I would go -- New York, L.A., London, Paris, Germany -- somebody was taking some piece of what she had done to her hair. It was everywhere. It was crazy.
Robyn: What has been your experience in the entertainment industry as it relates to standards of beauty... particularly black beauty?
Ursula: I think there is a little prejudice towards it, but it's unsaid. No one speaks about it. You know, you have other artists that are darker skinned and they just don't really go that far. There are a few exceptions. But the percentage is so small. No one really speaks about it.
I don't think anyone has ever come to me and said, "Oh she's too dark, so we wont show her or we wont put her in front." Nothing like that. It's just something that silently happens. There are all of the artists out front -- the light-skinned girls with long hair and all of that.But that's what I liked about the whole movement with Rihanna. She did cut her hair and she did shave her hair. She was this super pretty girl that was so rebellious with her hair that it was an oxymoron. So it messed everybody up. It let people actually see that you could be gorgeous, successful, and make it in this industry and not have long hair down to your knee caps or boobs up to your chin. It's possible. So it is possible to change these standards. And I think it is happening now. Now people are embracing it more because you have the rule breakers like Rihanna who have shown that.
It's funny because every time I have creative meetings with an A&R executive, or whoever is in charge of how they want an artist to look... it's usually men. And that's what men want. They want to see the light-skin-and-long-hair girl because that's their fantasy. Before you would go into a creative meeting and people would give you references of all these long-hair artists... you know, the Mariahs, the Beyonces, and all that type of thing. But now that Rihanna has come along, she's changed the game. Now I go into creative meetings and they give me references of my own work... of funky, short hair cuts. And now that's in the limelight. That's what's beautiful. So it's changing. It's definitely changing. It's absolutely changing.
Robyn: How does it feel to know that your work has made a cultural impact?
Ursula: That part makes me feel great. It makes me feel happy and proud. Because I am that young girl who was different than other young girls growing up. Who didn't really know exactly what I wanted to do. Even with my hair and my identity... I went through that too. So the fact that I can give that confidence to to other girls, that's the best part of the whole deal.
But I don't want people to minimize it either, and think that you can just cut your hair in a bob or shave your hair on one side and you're going to be a popstar. It's not just a cookie cutter method. And so my point in saying that is we did it because it was real. We weren't in a lab saying, "Oh, this is going to make them go crazy." We did it because it was real. It was a real feeling. It was a real movement. It was a real team behind it. The team worked together from hair to makeup to wardrobe, to everything. And that's important when you are an artist. You have to have a great team. And you have to work well together.
Robyn: When you were in South Africa with Motions, Rihanna tweeted the following: "*Meanwhile on set* Being able to do hair and being able to do black hair are 2 different things! #magazines please pay attention." What were your thoughts when you saw that statement?"...
Read the rest of this article @ the Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robyn-carolyn-price/ursula-stephen-rihanna_b_2202156.html
Please excuse my crappy bolding...I tried to pick some of the bits that struck me most, but you should really just read the whole article.
Looks like Up All Night may be over
"It looks like we may have already seen the final episode of NBC’s comedy series Up All Night. The network’s plans to revamp the modestly rated single-camera sophomore as a multi-camera were dealt a major blow late last week when star Christina Applegate departed the project. After originally planning five multi-camera episodes to close out the season, NBC early this week trimmed that scenario to one episode, without Applegate, to be helmed by uber multi-camera director James Burrows. Now I hear that episode is being scrapped too. Sources point to problems with the talent — I hear at least one of Up All Night‘s two remaining stars, Will Arnett and Maya Rudolph, told the network they were uncomfortable going forward with the series which, in addition to Applegate, recently lost its creator, Emily Spivey. The talk about a possible replacement for Applegate (Lisa Kudrow was a name that emerged early on) never materialized."
Welp... I'll miss Ava's shenanigans the most.
Spotted by fans, Lady Gaga was wheeled into a Chicago area Starbucks on Friday night. She has NOT had the surgery yet, it is expected 'within 4 or 5 days' according to the fan (@PrincessDie96) that spoke with her at the Starbucks. Apparently Gaga is staying with boyfriend Taylor Kinney at his Chicago home.
Breaking Bad‘s Jonathan Banks has joined the cast of NBC’s pulpy drama pilot Bloodline.
Banks will play Leo Killpriest, the patriarch of an ancient line of killers, in the Kill Bill-esque stylized drama.
Bloodline follows an orphaned girl named Bird Benson who’s caught between two families of murderers and mercenaries. In order to eventually have a normal life, Bird learns, she must defeat her mother via mortal combat.
Banks’ powerful character, the head of one of the families, is worried that the last remaining members of his bloodline will be wiped off the earth because they’ve lost touch with the old ways. To reunite what’s left of his family, the highly dangerous Leo is building an army.
Private Practice‘s KaDee Strickland is trading in her scalpel for a samurai sword.
The actress has nabbed a leading role in NBC’s pulp action pilot Bloodline, our sister site Deadline reports.
Bloodline follows an orphaned girl named Bird Benson (The Nine Lives of Chloe King‘s Skyler Samuels) who’s caught between two families of murderers and mercenaries. In order to eventually have a normal life, Bird learns, she must defeat her mother — Strickland’s character — via mortal combat.
Strickland’s Stella is described as the strikingly beautiful daughter of a family of killers and brigands headed by Jonathan Banks’ Leo – a role similar to that of The Bride in Kill Bill.
Tom Everett Scott has joined NBC’s Bloodline pilot as the biological dad of protagonist Bird Benson, TVLine has learned exclusively.
The Southland alum will play Dr. Christopher Benson, a beloved ER physician at a suburban hospital who’s known for his charm and dedication to his patients. But an indiscretion years ago led to him impregnating a patient; the resulting child was Bird, the series’ teen protagonist, who’s descended from an ancient line of killers and mercenaries.
As the doc gets to know his daughter, he’ll run into trouble with her adopted father — a deadly martial arts master — and test Western medicine’s limits as he treats the injured adversaries Bird leaves in her wake.
Congratulations to Hugh Grant who has welcomed a baby boy! The actor announced the news on his Twitter page on Saturday (February 16).
He wrote:“In answer to some [journalists], I am thrilled my daughter now has a brother. Adore them both to an uncool degree. They have a fab mum.”
“And to be crystal clear,” he added, “I am the daddy.”
His and Tinglan Hong welcomed their daughter Tabitha in September 2011. At the time his rep said their relationship was a “fleeting affair.”
However reports say the two have become more serious since the birth of their little girl. Hong is 19 years younger than Grant, 52.
Last April he told Ellen DeGeneres, “Everyone was right all these years, saying, ‘Hugh, why don’t you have some children? It changes your life.’ And you’re thinking, ‘Oh, shut up. Now that I have [a child], it is life changing. I recommend it. Get some!”
Another Cog in the Machinery of Divahood
By ALESSANDRA STANLEY
There are plenty of great performers who can be likened to Beyoncé, but Nina Simone isn’t one of them.
Diana Ross, Madonna and Whitney Houston all come to mind. Yet Simone, a pained chanteuse in exile with a cult following and only one Top 20 hit (“I Loves You, Porgy”), is the sole predecessor Beyoncé mentions in “Beyoncé: Life Is but a Dream,” an autobiographical documentary on HBO on Saturday night. Beyoncé is the star and also its executive producer, narrator, co-writer and co-director.
“I think when Nina Simone put out music, you loved her voice,” Beyoncé says in the program. “That’s what she wanted you to love. That’s what — that was her instrument.” She refers to a simpler time in the recording industry but glosses over Simone’s very public profile in the civil rights movement. “But you didn’t get brainwashed by her day-to-day life and what her child is wearing and who she’s dating and, you know, all the things that really — it’s not your business, you know? And it shouldn’t influence the way you listen to the voice and the art. But it does.”
And that rumination is a curiously tone-deaf moment in a film that is supposed to be an étude of self-discovery. For while it is true that Simone performed long before pop-music success was so dependent on appearance and the apparatus of fame, it is Beyoncé‘s mastery of that very apparatus, more than her voice, that rocketed her into the stratosphere.
That’s just one instance in this gauzy, stylish and utterly opaque film that comes off less as an autobiography than a song-and-dance defense brief. There are no witnesses testifying on Beyoncé‘s behalf — she is almost the only person in the film who speaks more than a few words — nor is there any obvious reason someone as popular, recognized and financially rewarded as Beyoncé would feel misunderstood, yet the intent is clear.
This superstar has summoned all her formidable strength, charm and self-discipline to prove that she is, beneath it all, a fragile artist buffeted by the winds of fate and hyperfame.
She makes the point over and over, usually into the camera of her laptop, which she uses as a diary. “Stop pretending that I have it all together, and if I’m scared, be scared, allow it, release it, move on,” she tells herself. She adds softly, “I think I need to go listen to ‘Make Love to Me,’ go make love to my husband.” (That would be Jay-Z.)
Show business, like the weather, seems victim to climate change, and Beyoncé is an extreme diva, a megastorm of talent, drive, beauty and marketing. The film comes to television just as the tsunami of her performances at the presidential inauguration and the Super Bowl are ebbing, and just before the start of a world tour to promote her fifth solo album. The sun never sets on the Beyoncé empire: This pop star, whose face is on Pepsi cans, L’Oreal billboards and the covers of GQ, Vogue and Forbes, will also be interviewed by Oprah Winfrey on OWN on Saturday night.
The documentary may seem like just another publicity way station, but it is as telling about the current temperature of pop music as “Madonna: Truth or Dare” was about the late 1980s and early ’90s. Madonna perfected the art of brazen exhibitionism and arch defiance, turning her cheeky monomania into a manifesto of female empowerment. Beyoncé‘s self-portrait is also a declaration of independence, but sung in a more pleasing, feminine key, answering the critics rather than scorning them.
She opens with an elegiac look at her happy suburban childhood in Houston, then quickly gets to her domineering father, who is no longer her manager. She generously skips over his excesses and focuses on her own sadness, which led to a song about the breach between father and daughter, which she sings soulfully at the piano, alone in a darkened room.
She talks a lot about her creative process. “When I’m recording in the studio I want to close my eyes and feel,” she says. “I don’t want to hear your opinion. I don’t want to hear you say, ‘Well, maybe you should put more song structure.’ I don’t want to hear any of that. I’m truly an artist in the studio.”
The focus is on her music career, with almost no reflection on her movies, not even “Dreamgirls,” perhaps because Jennifer Hudson was the real star — and Oscar winner — of that one. There are brief flashbacks to Beyoncé’s early days, including her time with Destiny’s Child; longer, dazzling glimpses of Beyoncé in concert; and many scenes in which she is alone, talking into her computer and looking lovely and luminous without makeup.
No moment in her life seems to have gone unrecorded. In a recent GQ cover profile, the interviewer described at length the Beyoncé archive, a vast digital-storage room that contains almost every public and private image of her ever made.
The film doesn’t get to the hard backstage work and grueling physical training in her life until later. In hindsight the rehearsal she chose may inadvertently help explain why she sang along to her prerecorded vocal track of the national anthem at the inauguration last month.
In the documentary Beyoncé and her team were preparing for her appearance at the 2011 Billboard Music Awards to introduce a new album, something went wrong, and they were locked out of their rehearsal space, a setback that her team treats like an aborted NASA launching. (In one small and quite charming shot she practices a dance step in a hotel corridor.)
“Because we lost a day of rehearsals we never got a chance to do it right,” she says. But she did, triumphantly: “Billboard was a huge artistic gamble. But the urge to get my message out was so overwhelming, I didn’t even pay attention to the risk I was taking.”
In her pre-Super Bowl news conference to explain why she did not sing live at the inauguration, Beyoncé explained that she relied on a recording of her own voice because she didn’t have time to rehearse with the Marine Corps Band properly. The event, she pointed out, was about President Obama; she saved her rehearsal time for the Super Bowl halftime, which was pretty much all about Beyoncé.
She talks a lot about her love for Jay-Z and her joy over their daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, and doesn’t go into the fuss about the child’s birth in an “executive suite” at Lenox Hill Hospital, where a father complained that the celebrities’ security guards blocked him from visiting his own newborn.
She does speak quite a bit about her sorrow over her first pregnancy, which ended in a miscarriage, and plays part of a song
that loss inspired, which she calls “the saddest song I’ve ever written in my life.”
The program provides a lot of personal information, and Beyoncé addresses that too:“I always battle with: How much do I reveal about myself? How do I keep my humility? How do I keep my spirit and the reality? And how do I continue to be generous to — to my fans and to my craft? And how do I stay current? But how do I stay soulful? And it is the battle of my life. When I walk into a stage I’m able to come out of my shell and be as fabulous and over the top and strong and powerful as I want to be.”
“Beyoncé: Life Is but a Dream” is as contrived as “Madonna: Truth or Dare,” but probably for good reason it is neither daring nor entirely truthful. It’s an infomercial, not just about Beyoncé’s talent onstage but her authenticity behind the scenes. She is a people-pleasing diva and she wants to keep it that way.
This documentary doesn’t really convey what life as a celebrity is like, but it does say a lot about how this celebrity would like to be seen.
Beyoncé: Life Is but a Dream
HBO, Saturday night at 9, Eastern and Pacific times; 8, Central time.
Produced by Parkwood Entertainment. Directed by Beyoncé Knowles and Ed Burke; Ilan Benatar, co-director; written by Ms. Knowles, Mr. Benatar and Mr. Burke; Ms. Knowles, executive producer; Bill Kirstein, producer; Mr. Burke, cinematographer; Robert Hein, sound design; original music by Ben Salisbury; Mr. Benatar, editor; Lee Anne Callahan-Longo, co-producer.
Zachary Quinto, who returns to the role of Spock in J.J. Abrams’ STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS — due in theaters this May — recently discussed portraying such an iconic character, the future of Star Trek and his thoughts on Abrams’ choice to direct the next Star Wars film in a recent interview with Huffington Post.
Quinto spoke about returning to the role of Spock in the Star Trek sequel and the pressure to deliver a performance worthy of the iconic role made famous by Leonard Nimoy in the 1960s.
I never felt any pressure from being a part of that franchise, I only felt supported and I only felt supported and I have only felt like my job is to get to work and be a part of something that people want to watch and want to see. That certainly was the case the first time around and I think it will be more the case this time, because it is such a bigger experience we shot this movie in 3D and IMAX and I think the story just lends itself to much more of an explosion onto the summer movie schedule scene. I am just really excited to get it out there and share it with people and I don’t feel any particular individual pressure to doing anything other than my job and my job is already done I shot it in the first half of 2012, so I’ve been done for awhile and now the responsibility is in everybody else’s hands to bring it all to life. J.J. [Abrams] is just a genius and everybody who works around him is incredibly talented at what they do, so I feel like people won’t be disappointed, that is certainly my hope.
He went on to discuss the STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS trailer and its darker theme than was seen in the 2009 Star Trek film.
Yeah, darker, bigger and there’s just more at stake for everybody. So, I think that’s exciting for an audience.
On what fans should anticipate from the sequel, Qunto said:
More action, more peril and there’s more at stake, as I said, for the crew of the Enterprise this time around. More danger and just a bigger, bolder experience I would say.
Taking on the role of such a well-known character, Quinto discussed his interpretation of Spock.
It’s definitely my own interpretation, Leonard and I obviously spent time working together on the first film and became very good friends and are still very close and speak of the character from time to time. He was very clear about wanting to hand it [the character of Spock] to somebody that he could trust and that would respect the character the same way that he did. We are very different people and we come at the experience from very different perspectives and invariably it is going to be unique to me even though it is a character he created. I think J.J. really supported that as well, he wanted all of us to bring our own points of view and perspectives to the characters we are recreating. I think all of us have done that and I think that now that we are into our second film the thing that was most important to all of us was maintaining our sense of personal integrity and personal relationships to the characters we set.
Having the man who made the role famous on the set of the 2009 film could definitely have affected Quinto’s portrayal of the character. Discussing Nimoy’s presence, he said:
I don’t think it affected my portrayal; it affected my appreciation for the character, my appreciation for how important it’s been to him in his life and how much it’s been formed from his perspective and his work and his creativity. I’d say getting to know Leonard was one of the biggest gifts of the experience that first time around and now having him in my life the way I do; it means the world to me that he is invested not only in me and my relationship with the character of Spock, but also me as a person and me as I relate to the world. I have learned so much from him and I value him so much, so to me [him being on set] took a lot of pressure of actually when we were making the first movie, because I felt like he was always there for me if I needed any help, advice or guidance. We had many conversations during the first movie about the character and it was enormously helpful to have him around, certainly more helpful than it was stressful.
Quinto, a self-proclaimed Star Wars fan, discussed the recent news of Star Trek director J.J. Abrams decision to direct Star Wars: Episode VII.
I support J.J. and his pursuits and the expansion of his entertainment empire. I think he is one of the most revolutionary storytellers in the business and I think that this bold, bombastic statement on his part from a creative standpoint is going to be a huge part of a legacy to revitalize one franchise only to follow that up by revitalizing another of that scale and scope. I think it’s so impressive and I think he is a perfect choice for it. I can’t wait to watch what he does with it, I think it will be a remarkable experience. He basically has the sci-fi market cornered now, so I think that is a great place to be. In one breath I was surprised and in the next breath it made perfect sense.