Monday, April 14, 2008

Snapshots of America during the days of April 10-13.

Here are some more random entries:

1. The Miss USA pageant on Friday at Las Vegas' Planet Hollywood casino (formerly the rebuilt Aladdin) was a rather mind-blowing experience mixing diverse luminaries such as Donny and Marie Osmond (doing a middle-aged version of their 70s wholesome variety host stuff that I thankfully avoided back in the day), Donald Trump, Heather Mills, Rob Schneider and a semi-striptease strut-in-bikinis interlude where the contestants peeled off their faux furs and paraded their frontal, backal and sideal assets.  No further comment is necessary--other than to mention that the whole two-hour affair had a turbo-charged pace reminiscent of AMERICAN IDOL.

2. I noticed that the Borders in Northridge, CA (close to my home) isn't really into celebration of National Poetry Month 2008; the poetry section in the store has been somewhat reduced recently.  No further comment necessary--except to note that corporate balance sheet thinking is obviously in play and it might be fun to guess which section will shrink next (bonus: grade the store's employees on their recommendations to customers to log onto the website for books too unprofitable to carry in the store).

3. Six Flags, the amusement park conglomerate that recently decided (for their current TV commercial campaign) that a young Asian man speaking what sounds like phonetic English--apparently intended as a racist laugh-getter--is just as hilarious as a bald, bespectacled old man dancing to generic techno, is currently being sued by a 14-year-old girl and her parents over cables that snapped on the Superman Tower of Power ride.  This horrific incident happened at the Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom in Louisville, KY.

For more details, click onto this AOL link:

4. Commie Girl Rebecca Schoenkopf has made her first huge splash at CITY BEAT LOS ANGELES by targeting the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.  Here's a sample paragaph for those of you who either are non-Angelenos or don't bother going home with copies of the city's declining alternapapers:

The subtitle for “Phantom Sightings” is “Art After the Chicano Movement,” and it is right. There is no movement here, because the curators couldn’t even commit themselves to “the viability of race and ethnicity as a curatorial framework” while curating an ethnic exhibit. It’s the worst kind of pussyfooting, a pathetic inability to commit, the biggest kowtowing to an invisible (ineffable!) correctness. Chicanos are not all the same, they must have been keening to themselves, and that is true! Black people do not speak for all black people, either, no matter how many times Barack Obama is grilled about Harry Belafonte’s “traitorous” statements. I can also see the point in a postfeminist show, where nobody’s marching in lockstep, and that – the “post-” – is exactly the message. Hey, it’s unruly, a hurly-burly out there! But even in a postfeminist show, you’ll still have lots of paintings of ’gina, and if your thesis is that your artists’ names all end in ‘z,’ you’d best find the Latin equivalent of the universal cooch.

And here's a link to the rest of the article:

You have to give Rebecca props: the "death to lacma" schtick is a catchy hook for people who haven't been to LACMA in years, but are eager to smirk in unison with anyone calling an artistic institution stodgy and clueless. 

But this is safe safe safe--like the fake rebellion slogans plastered on billboards and buses for the hit-singles-from-various-decades "JACK-FM" radio format.

If Rebecca Schoenkopf uttered similar epithets about, say, the Museum of Contemporary Art or even the saved-from-loss-of-location Beyond Baroque--or, God forbid, wrote a piece trashing Radiohead's KID A/AMNESIAC/HAIL TO THE THIEF avant-garde period--then she might actually be the rebel she pretends she is.

But Rebecca is likely to remain a fake contrarian and not piss off those who count (though there may be some advertisers who may fall for the "burn it down" silliness and pull their accounts). 

And one wonders if CITY BEAT's previous mix of liberal-to-neocon coverage of Los Angeles city issues will lose column-inches to Commie Girl's craptastic-for-capitalist-gain worldview.

5. 30 years on, things still stay the same: In 1978, Keith Moon died and ROLLING STONE paid tribute to him on the putting a headline in the corner, while the cover photo was a then-young Linda Ronstadt in a sensuous "come and get me, boys" pose.  In 2008, Charlton Heston [admittedly a more controversial figure than Moon] dies and ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY pays tribute to him on the putting a small headline on the left margin, while the cover photo is Tina Fey in a sensuous "come and get me, boys" pose.

Sidebar: Tina's one-time comic partner before and during SNL, Rachel Dratch, seems to have been erased from Tina's current career narrative.  Ms. Dratch has some interesting things to say about her current career status--namely being unconsidered for the recent VANITY FAIR Women In Comedy cover, which pictured, among others, a glamorous Tina Fey--in a small article in last week's issue of NEW YORK magazine:

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