With enough creativity, everything in this world can be linkin’ed back to you. After all, we are the center of our own respective universes. Take Linkin Park for example: turns out this nu-metal cum rap-rock cum hip-hop-alternative-electronic band got their name from Lincoln Park in Santa Monica, a mere stone’s throw from Venice-based G Living; throw in the fact that emcee Mike Shinoda is also of Japanese heritage (like yours truly); and finally, that the band is hell bent on saving the environment. The co-incidences are starting to scare me.
It’s not just Hollywood’s actors who are getting involved in international politics — directors are now also calling the shots (excuse the pun). Steven Spielberg just announced he was pulling out as artistic adviser to this summer’s Beijing’s Olympic Games, citing China’s lack of commitment to resolving the humanitarian crisis in Darfur. Ouch.
In a statement, Spielberg said “I find that my conscience will not allow me to continue business as usual.” China has increasingly been under fire from Darfur advocates. Two thirds of Sudan’s oil is sold to China, the proceeds of which are used to finance the genocide.
“Sudan’s government bears the bulk of the responsibility for these ongoing crimes, but the international community, and particularly China, should be doing more to end the continuing suffering there,” Spielberg said in his statement. “China’s economic, military and diplomatic ties to the government of Sudan continue to provide it with the opportunity and obligation to press for change.”
In the 1800s, Russia had the all the big celebrities — Alexander Pushkin, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Anton Chekhov, Pyotr Tchaikovsky — but today, not so much. Let’s see, there’s Anna Kournikova, Maria Sharapova and t.A.T.u. What’s that? A couple tennis stars and a couple of…um…singers. My point is, the last 200 years has seen a significant decline in the former Soviet Union star power and the Russians are clearly feeling the pinch.
Which is the only reason I can come up with for why they’d deem it “inappropriate” for George Clooney to deliver a message on his recent trip to Darfur in western Sudan, Chad and the Democratic Republic of Congo. What was the Oscar winner’s message? That something needs to be done about the “millions [who] are homeless, not from famine or disease or acts of God, but from a well armed militia intent on ridding the land of its people.” But instead of delivering it to a meeting of nations contributing peacekeeping troops, the star of “Syriana” and “Michael Clayton” had to wait until a news conference to make his point. “It seems as if at times celebrity can bring that focus,” Clooney added. “It can’t make the policies, it can’t change people’s minds really, but you can bring a camera where you go because they’ll follow you and you can shine a light on it. That seems to be my job.”
Bond. James Bond. But what’s his middle name? Greenhouse? Planetary destroyer? It might as well be. Pete Bethune, the skipper of the world’s fastest eco-boat, has slammed the producers of the latest installment to the world’s most successful movie franchise for “glamorizing CO2-emitting gas-guzzlers”.
In the upcoming film, “Quantum of Solace”, Bond drives a variation of the Aston Martin DB9, which the UK’s Environmental Transport Association deems as one of the ten worst cars to drive. Others in the list include the Lamborghini Diablo Roadster, the Ferrari Supermerica and the Bentley Azure. So, check your garages people, you maybe harboring an environmental horror.
What sort of birthday present do you get for a woman who can buy anything she wants? If the woman is Paris Hilton, you needn’t bother; the heiress has already got it covered.
According to news reports, Paris just ordered herself a new Yukon hybrid to help ring in her 27th year on February 17th. Nothing fancy, just (as she put it) “a little birthday gift to myself.” No word on when it will arrive, but hopefully it will be soon so she can drive it to at least one of the six parties she’s supposedly throwing for herself.
DFA/LCD Soundsystem mastermind, James Murphy, hooks up with long-time friend and fellow New Yorker Pat Mahoney for what has to be the best Fabriclive in ages. Rarely have I heard a mix where track after track has me simultaneously nodding my head and reaching for the cover to check exactly who created each funky gem.
From new school dynamite like Baby Oliver’s “Primetime (Uptown Express)” and its unbelievably catchy, pitch-shifted vocals on Environ to major label standouts like Chic’s “I Feel your Love Comin’ On” (Atlantic) with its elephant-shriek horns, this pair craft a set that transcends time, pledging allegiance only to the groove. Sure there’s one or two spots where I might head to the bar if this were in a club (Punkin’ Machine’s “I Need You Tonight” was probably just as irritating in 1980 when it was brand new), but Murphy and Mahoney quickly regain their footing with inspired segues like 1978 Lenny Williams cut into 1993 Daniel Wang.
Founded in 1999 and based out of New York, the Waterkeeper Alliance is the fastest growing grassroots environment movement in the world. According to its site, the organization unites and co-ordinates all Waterkeeper organizations in the protection of “rivers, lakes, bays, sounds, and other waterbodies around the world.”
Múm has shrunk, but their sound has gotten bigger. With the departure of Kristin Valtýsdóttir (and with her, the overly-precious pixie vocals which prevented me from ever fully enjoying any of the previous three full-length albums,) the founding duo of Gunnar Örn Tynes and Örvar Þóreyjarson Smárason have crafted a group of songs that manage to be both their quirkiest and their catchiest to date.
It’s not a huge stretch, really. Ronald Reagan and the Governator did it. The segue from acting to politics actually seems pretty natural when you think about it. Both professions are influential in their own way. They both garner intense public scrutiny. And they both seem to require endless damage control.
Rumors about Brad Pitt running for mayor of his beloved New Orleans are circulating on the internet. And while I can’t offer any substantiation of these claims, I do know that Brad and his family call the city home sometimes. And the efforts of his Make It Right campaign to undo the damage done by Katrina have been widely documented, as have his negative feelings on our country’s dependence on foreign oil and his concerns about global warming and his work with Africa. He also seems like a genuinely nice guy who’s honest, generous and best of all, has his heart in the right place…
Some celebrities don’t handle their newfound role of motherhood very well. Examples of this might include: driving with a child on your lap, behaving erratically or even handing over custody of your children to a man who wears cornrows. Others seem better equipped for the job.
I’m not a fan of buying old to make new. In fact, I’ll go a step further and say that I strongly disapprove. I think it should be a crime to buy 1920s Spanish style house and remove its period charm in order to put in modern conveniences. If you want modern, buy modern. Restoration yes Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos
There’s been so much “Tom Cruise is nuts” fodder that he’s almost unfair game. This week, more news broke of the Mission Impossible star’s excitable antics. This time, the focus of his energy wasn’t Brooke Shields, Paramount, Oprah’s couch or other SPs (suppressive people). It was the EPA.
Cruise branded the Environmental Protection Agency liars for declaring the air was clean in the aftermath of 9/11. In a Scientology promotional video filmed in 2004, Tom, clad in a dramatic black turtleneck, said “The EPA came out and said the air was clean. Of course, as a Scientologist you go, that’s a lie. Outright lie. Liar. Fine”.