Tuesday, August 16, 2005
On the TV show Pop Idol, when Pete Waterman told Michelle McManus, who was very, very fat, that her weight might hurt her career, a lot of people thought he was being insensitive, even rude. But it looks like he was right.
Now she's losing weight at a fantastic rate. Can you blame her? Mama Cass, Meatloaf - these, surely, are exceptions. And part of you wonders how much more successful they might have been if they'd been skinny.
See, Leith was a fat person (with a book to sell, no less) so he understands the plight of the fat. But is none too sypmathetic. Because the formerly fat are the most vitriolic in their anti-fat sentiment (after all, if they lost weight, then surely their experience must apply to everyone). Cough,cough,Oprah, cough.
Leith wraps up his deep thoughts with this gem:
When you're fat, it's obvious. But it's the last thing you want to talk about. The fat society and the fat individual both know, at the back of their minds, that they want to change their way of life. But they are looking for a change that is superficial, rather than fundamental. They are looking for a quick fix.
Just think of that, the next time you see a fat person and feel a jolt of fat-phobia. The fat person is reminding you that we live in a society that is out of control. No wonder film-makers and magazine editors want to keep fat people hidden away. They make us feel uncomfortable. They are bad for business.
So tell that to the nine fat Emmy nominated actors. And everyone else I feature in this blog. I don't doubt that Mr. Leith believes he speaks the "truth". It's just sad that his truth so easily dismisses not only the talent, but the very humanity of a huge portion of the population.
Sunday, August 14, 2005
Meet The Magic Numbers
Do you know The Magic Numbers? You should. Here’s why. The Magic Numbers are an English pop/rock/folk band comprised of two brother and sister pairs from different families. They have a great sound that is simultaneously unique and familiar. On their website they describe their influences thusly:
Drawing inspiration from many sources, singer songwriters (Cohen, Dylan), 60's harmony groups (Mamas & Papas, Lovin Spoonful), epic rock or such mavericks as David Axelrod. The band craft a sound which like Flaming Lips or Beck, is coming from everywhere but is uniquely theirs.
The thing about this band that has been getting them a lot of attention in that they look like normal people. You know, they aren’t anorecticly skinny. They have lots of hair. Some of the members might be described as fat. But talent isn’t contingent on appearances right?
Well, evidently The Magic Numbers have thrown some people for a loop. In fact, they just made news because they took a stand against being defined by their looks. They were recently scheduled to play the English TV show, Top of the Pops , which is a coup for any band seeking exposure. But when the host, Richard Bacon made a jab at the group's size, by describing them as a “big fat melting pot”, the band decided not to perform and walked off the set.
Some people have said that the band was being oversensitive, and Bacon himself says his comments were intended to describe their talent. But I say good for them for calling him out!
Guitarist Romeo Stodart explains the bands decision:
“Basically, we thought it was uncalled for, we were introduced in a bad manner, and it was just not funny. We were really excited about appearing on ’Top Of The Pops’, it was a dream for us, and we got up there, and there was no way we could have played the song after that…
“It's fine, the way I see it is it's done and dusted, we walked out, we just wanted to stand up for ourselves. With any reviews and in interviews, people always mention it, but we're like everyone else, we're able to take a joke. We're not over sensitive about it, we feel confident and cool about ourselves and think we look great as a band.
“We just thought within an introduction from a presenter, it's like, you're not going to say, 'Here's a young guy with blinding talent, here's Stevie Wonder', you wouldn't say that.”
I like these folks and want to see them go far (or at the very least come back to NYC to perform.)
Check them out and then buy their music!
Here are a couple of songs to start with:
Love Me Like You
The 911 on Kathy Bates in Ambulance Girl
Kathy Bates is both director and star of a new tv movie called Ambulance Girl set to premier on Lifetime Television on September 12 . The film is based on the autobiographical book by Jane Stern. There’s not much press at this time, but I’ve seen bus ads here in NYC. The best synopsis (if poorly worded) is from City of Halifax where the movie was shot:
This movie is about a real-life husband and wife team who are famous food critics in which Kathy Bates plays the wife who has a phobia of everything. After coming across a notice in a store window looking for people to take an emergency training course to become volunteers -and wanting to overcome her phobia - she decides to join.
Stay tuned for news on another upcoming Bates project- Relative Strangers with Danny Devito.
Thursday, August 04, 2005
The new FX series Starved is already garnering a lot of attention, even before it's debut tonight. That's because it taps into the national pathos around food and weight. The show is based on four people with eating disorders who meet in a support group, and it happens to be a comedy. But are eating disorders funny? I'm reserving judgment until I see it, but it would take some tremendously savvy writers to get the tone right on this.
Of note, fat actor Del Pentecost (of Kingdom Hospital and O Brother Where Art Thou) is playing the role of the "obese guy", Dan.
[Del} was concerned about the show poking fun at obesity. "You want to work and feed your family, but at some point do I really want to just be the fat man?" After reading the scripts he says he realized his character is complex, "as opposed to the being the guy who's funny and fat." Via USA Today
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
If her passion for Broadway counts for anything, Rosie O'Donnell should be fabulous in the role of Golde in Fiddler on the Roof. Come back to NYC, Rosie!
It looks like former talk-show host and Broadway enthusiast Rosie O'Donnell will become the latest actress to play Golde in the current revival of Fiddler on the Roof.
Although a spokesperson for the production could not confirm O'Donnell's casting at this time, reports in the New York Post and on television's "Insider" reveal that O'Donnell will join the company of Fiddler currently headed by Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein as Tevye in September.
Batali is anything but pretentious. This is, after all, a guy who once worked as a dishwasher at a New Jersey eatery called Stuff Yer Face while attending Rutgers University.
Cooking didn't always hold his interests -- banking and theater were his initial pursuits. "Twenty-five years ago, becoming a chef was the last thing you did between coming out of the Army and going to jail," he says.
Monday, August 01, 2005
Penn Jillette, executive producer of "The Aristocrats," believes his acclaimed documentary about the filthiest joke known to mankind is an achievement far beyond cartoon classics like "Bambi."
What else would you expect from Penn? The Aristocrats includes a line-up of stellar talent, including fat comedians like Don Rickles, Jason Alexander, Tim Conway, Drew Carey, Andy Richter and Pat Cooper.
This flick is not for the faint of heart... no sex or violence, but more profanity than you can shake a stick at!
Sunday, July 31, 2005
Lynne Cox does not fit the stereotypical image of a record breaking athlete. She became the best cold water, long distance swimmer the world has ever seen. Her 5 foot 6 inch, 180-pound frame of a body was at one with the water. With a body density precisely that of sea water, her 36% body fat (normal is 18% to 25%) gave her neutral buoyancy. Her energy could be used all for propulsion and not to keep afloat. Propelling though the most treacherous waters of the globe is what Lynne Cox did best. (Source Dover Solo)
Cox's new memoir, Swimming in Anarctica: Tales of a Long Distance Swimmer is getting great reviews. Put it on your summer reading list! Buy it!
In terms of incident, the book certainly delivers. But what intrigued me most was why on earth she does it. If you're looking for concrete psychological answers (a deprived childhood, lack of love, poverty etc) you would be disappointed. Lynne's psyche remains as opaque as the seas she inhabits. Yet it is precisely for this reason that Swimming to Antarctica is refreshing. Lynne is a natural stoic, a champion of understatement. With her entire body stuck fast against an iceberg, 'it hurt' is about all she can muster. And if the landscape descriptions can sometimes sound like a Christmas card from Granny, this may be forgiven. (Via The Observer)
Friday, July 29, 2005
The Oscar winner, known for humorous but bitingly satirical productions such as "Roger & Me" and "Fahrenheit 9/11," described good movies as a bridge across the political divide for people "tired of the hate, tired of the yelling, tired of ... the screamfests, the talk radio." (Via Yahoo)
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Here's a great little interview with the Queen herself, Aretha Franklin. Via Offbeat.
One of the highest points of my career was at the White House. It was wonderful singing in the Rose Garden for President Clinton and Mrs. Clinton. I have truly been blessed with high points in my career. Certainly the Grammy Legends award would be a highlight and the Kennedy Center honor and particularly being the youngest Kennedy Center honoree. It was a magnificent evening. Also my doctorates.
Monday, July 25, 2005
"How the Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer" stars Elizabeth Peña, America Ferrera, Lucy Gallardo, Jorge Cevera, Jr., Steven Bauer and Rick Najera about three women in a Mexican-American family who undergo a sexual awakening. According to a festival release, "Grandmother Doña Genoveva decides to buy a car, and has her gardener help with 'driving lessons.' Her divorced daughter disapproves of the situation, but has her own desires aroused with a man at the butcher shop. In the middle of all this, the granddaughter, Blanca, engineers an awakening of her own".
Ok, lets get this straight. Courtney Love is not fat. She has gained a good bit of weight since going through rehab. But I love the fact that Love shoots back at her detractors by explaining thin doesn't equal healthy, and fat doesn't equal unhealthy.
Reformed rocker COURTNEY LOVE has lashed out at critics of her recent weight gain, insisting her drug addiction was the reason behind her previously skinny frame.
The former HOLE frontwoman is finally sober after years of drug problems and is happy with her fuller figure, because it means she is now healthy, reports the New York Daily News.
Love says, "I was really, really thin because of what I was doing."
Love alluded to teen Hollywood stars who are currently under scrutiny by the media over their increasingly gaunt appearance.
She explains, "When all these little teenyboppers finally go into rehab, they're going to get fat, too."
Via Contact Music
Friday, July 22, 2005
Roseanne was a groundbreaking show, showcasing the talents of incredible fat actors, Roseanne (Barr? Arnold?) and John Goodman. It also dealt openly and honestly with issues of the working class. Coming to DVD in August!
Hollywood bowling alley was home for the first reunion of the "Roseanne" cast since the show left prime time TV in 1997. The entire original cast gathered Monday to promote the DVD debut of the series, due out next month, the New York Post reported Thursday.
"It's taken a long time to get it out," Roseanne said. "I'm happy that (the DVD) is going on sale 'cause maybe I can pay my bills. That would be cool."
Roseanne was joined by co-stars John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, and the three original Conner kids: Alicia Goranson, Sara Gilbert and Michael Fishman. Although they still keep in touch, Roseanne said it was great to see everyone in the same place again.
(Via Washington Times)
Thursday, July 21, 2005
Model Mia Tyler, 26, and her husband Dave Buckner, 29, a drummer for the band Papa Roach, have split, PEOPLE confirms.
"After taking steps toward trying to improve their marriage, Mia and Dave have mutually decided that their lives are heading in different directions and they each want different things for their futures," says Tyler's rep Emily Olsen.
The couple, who have been married nearly two years, wed during an Aerosmith concert in Las Vegas in 2003.
Tyler is the daughter of Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler and the half sister of Lord of the Rings actress Liv Tyler.
It was the first marriage for both Tyler and Buckner.
(Via People News)
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
James Doohan, the burly chief engineer of the Starship Enterprise in the original "Star Trek" TV series and motion pictures who responded to the apocryphal command "Beam me up, Scotty," died early Wednesday. He was 85. Via CNN
Some of the best work advice I ever got came from Scotty:
Kirk: "How much refit time til we can take her out again?"
Scott: "Eight weeks, sir. But you don't have eight weeks so I'll do it for you in two."
Kirk: "Mr. Scott, have you always multiplied your repair estimates by a factor of four?"
Scott: "Certainly, sir. How else can I keep my reputation as a miracle worker?"
Kirk: "Your reputation is secure, Scotty."
--Star Trek III
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Fat Girls looks to be a promising new picture dealing with issues of size acceptance and homophobia.
FAT GIRLS is an off-beat coming of age dark comedy that focuses on the relationship between a high school senior, theater-loving RODNEY MILLER and his best friend SABRINA who are both considered ‘outcasts’ at their small-town Texas high school, he for his sexuality and she for her weight. Both eventually find outlets for their insecurities. Sabrina makes a love connection with RUDY JACKSON, a Cuban refugee who was adopted by an African-American family. Rodney’s dreams are realized with the encouragement of his theater teacher MR. COX. The story explores the difficulties of growing up in smalltown America, with humor and humility.
The cast includes Ash Christian, Ashley Fink, and Robin De Jesus. This film is in post production, and I haven't seen a release date, but keep your eyes peeled!
Here's an article from Dallasnews.com about the film.
Monday, July 18, 2005
Kimberly Locke of American Idol fame is the latest celeb to model for Lane Bryant, following in the steps of Camryn Manheim, Mia Tyler, and Anna Nicole Smith. Locke is the national spokesperson for the Seven7 line of denim. She will be touring LB stores in the coming weeks, see the schedule here. Locke has had considerable success post AI, despite the fact she didn't win. (You know, because she was robbed!)
Locke scored a #1 Billboard hit single when her "8th World Wonder," topped the charts last year. Her current single, "I Could," is a top 20 smash at Adult Contemporary radio, according to Radio & Records. Both were lifted from her debut album, "One Love." Currently recording her second album for Curb (due early 2006), Locke has new recordings on two current Disney albums: "Wishes" and "DisneyMania 3," as well as Curb's "The Perfect Man," Soundtrack album to the Universal film.
Mo'Nique Imes, plus-size actress, author and comedian, soon will be hosting what she says is "the first full-figured reality beauty pageant." Mo'Nique's Fat Chance, part reality show, part beauty contest, will air on Oxygen at 8 p.m. on Aug. 6.
Well, I'm not quite sure what to make of this, but Mo'Nique hasn't let me down yet! You can also visit Oxygen to learn more about the show and enter the Living Large Sweepstakes.