Remembering Kurt Cobain?

kurt_cobain1(sound of someone knocking at the door)

“Hello, Mr. Cobain, are you in there? This is your electrician.

(more knocking)

Hello?!

(Sound effect of a shotgun blast)

This was the outgoing message on my answering machine 15 years ago yesterday, after Kurt Cobain’s body was discovered by an electrician. I thought it was timely and morbidly humorous.

Many of my friends did not find it funny at all. My friend Greg didn’t talk to me for a while afterward or at least he didn’t want to. For Greg, and many others, Kurt Cobain’s death was a big deal. It was an emotional time. For me, it was an annoying time as I was forced to hear Cobain lionized as the savior of music.

I grew up in a small town, and it pissed me off that the kids who had been making fun of me for years because of my “weird music” were all of a sudden listening to, and telling me about, the same bands I had been trying to tell them about for years. It’s ridiculous to me now, but at 21 this was a big deal. The ironic thing is that Cobain also struggled with this sort of thing as Nirvana audiences grew to include the kind of kids who would have beat him up a few months before “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was released.

I enjoy Nirvana much more now than I allowed myself to when Kurt Cobain was alive, and I regret that my immaturity caused me to miss seeing them in concert. I also understand the reaction to the suicide now, although I don’t think that people were upset about losing Kurt Cobain the person.

Allow me to explain…

Nine years after Cobain’s suicide, I woke up to find Elliott Smith had killed himself. I cried that morning. And I didn’t leave an outgoing voicemail about stabbing oneself either. But, a few hours after the initial shock, I realized that I wasn’t crying because I cared about Elliott Smith the person. I had never met him. Instead, I was crying because I cared about Elliott Smith the artist. Did I ever worry about him because he was an off again on again heroin addict? Did I ever care that he was a sad guy? No. As long as he churned out excellent albums like “Either/Or and “Xo” I didn’t care what hell he had to go through.

I contend that most music lovers, if given the choice, wouldn’t rid an artist of their inner demons if it meant they would no longer have the art created by those “tortured” artists. I know I wouldn’t. In some cases, I may even help the fuckers out. For example, while I think it’s great that the members of Aerosmith kicked all their nasty addictions, if getting back on heroin would make Joe Perry write another riff as kick ass as “Back in the Saddle,” I’d tie him off myself and cook up some China White.

What about you? How would you answer the following  hypothetical question?

The musician who created your favorite album of all time is addicted to heroin. It’s slowly killing him, but you can  save him from his eventual, fatal overdose. If you choose to save him, however, your favorite album of all time ceases to exist. What do you do?

Tom Jones Insures His Chest Hair

tomjones.jpgWhen I think of Tom Jones, a few things instantly come to mind; my dog (I named her Delilah after his hit song), the guy’s powerful voice and the Carlton dance. But, one thing that I never think about is Tom Jones’ chest hair. And I don’t say that in a macho, “dude, I don’t think about another guys’ chest hair!” kind of way because, if I were to be honest, I’ve certainly thought about his “package” before. Let me clarify that. I’ve had several good laughs at the legendary status that his supposedly enormous tool has earned.

Anyway, the reason I’m waxing on (get it) about Tom’s chest hair is that he has has taken out a £3.5million insurance policy not on his voice or that super long schlong, but on his chest hair.

I don’t know what Tom is worried about happening . Does he think he’s going to get drunk and start shaving it all off while screaming, “I’m more than just hair and a dick!?” I just don’t get it Tom. I just don’t get it.

Heidi Fleiss – As Ugly As She Wanna Be

heidi_fleiss_3.jpgMy first reaction to this mug shot of Heidi Fleiss was that I couldn’t believe anyone would ever want to have sex with such a stank ho. But, then I remembered that we’ve all had at least one late-night tryst that we wouldn’t want anyone to know about. I guess a better question would be, “How could someone pay to fuck that?!?!” Even during my worst, “I can’t believe I’m in bed with this person” nights, I’ve never had to look over at something so hideous.

Is It Wrong to Say Owen Wilson is Unstable?

“Hey Tony Jenkins, you are so effed up! I think you want pamela! Why would you say that about Owen Wilson? See what you have to do to earn a living? You think you’re so stable??? CREEP!!!”

owenwilson.jpgThis was a comment someone made in response to a blog entry I wrote for Vegas Pop about Pamela Anderson getting married AGAIN. Here is the part the commenter was taking an issue with:

Given Pamela’s hubby history and the history of celebrity marriages in general, there’s a good chance she and Salomon will be divorced in a few months, leaving her on the lookout for hubby number four. I’m holding out hope that when/if that happens, she’ll finally marry someone stable. Maybe someone like, say, Owen Wilson.

My girlfriend and a good friend also gave me shit about the Wilson comment, but I don’t see what’s so wrong with it. I like Owen Wilson, and I didn’t make fun of his attempted suicide. But can you really call the guy stable? Plus, I couldn’t think of anyone else to use to complete the sentence. Of course, now I’m thinking David Hasselhoff would have worked fine, since he has relapsed. Oh well.

Britney Spears Flopped at the MTV Video Music Awards But How Did She Flab?

britney-spears.jpg
I think by this point, the majority of us can agree that Britney Spears is a train wreck. If there was any doubt, she erased it with her bizarre “performance” at last night’s MTV Video Music Awards. But what is more of a trainwreck is the day-after media coverage of Britney.

I normally don’t have an issue with the parasitic, celebrity gossip magazines and blogs that chronicle every move a celebrity makes. But, sometimes they — I can’t believe I’m going to say this — go too far.

It’s one thing to say someone like Britney Spears is a train wreck (she is), or that her career is in the shitter (it is), but it’s something else to imply that the woman is overweight. I’m looking at the photos from last night and I still can’t understand how Britney is out of shape. Oh, but she is, according to just about every review you read online.

TMZ.com called Britney performance “flabbily frightful.”

Fox News called Britney’s performance a “flabby, bloated, incoherent showing.

CNN.com talked about a “paunch in place of Spears’ once-taut belly.

And that’s just a quick sampling.

I understand that it’s not the media’s job to raise young girls, but does that mean it’s OK to have a hand in destroying them by reinforcing their increasingly negative body images? I probably need to think about this more, because I’m still kind of freaked out that I typed “go too far.” But, it’s just sad for me to read these things, especially after the CDC report about jump in the suicide rate for girls ages 10-14. You can’t tell me it’s not somehow related.

Is it Racist to Laugh at R. Kelly’s Trapped in the Closet?

WARNING: If you haven’t seen R. Kelly’s masterpiece hip hopera, “Trapped in the Closet,” little of what I’m about to yap about will make any sense.

RECOMMENDATION: If you haven’t seen ‘Trapped in the Closet,’ put it in your Netflix queue and be prepared to be entertained.

losttrapped.jpg

I just finished reading this article in the New York Times about ‘Trapped in the Closet,’ and it left me scratching my head. OK, it really left me wanting to converse with its writer, Kelefa Sanneh, who wants the reader to believe that laughing while watching R. Kelly’s over-the-top opus is thinly-veiled racism.

Sanneh didn’t come right out and say that laughing at R. Kelly was racist, but here are just a few statements that sure seem to imply that it is:

1) And yet there is something slightly unnerving about the kind of attention “Trapped in the Closet” has received. Many of its biggest fans seem to think they’re laughing at Mr. Kelly, not with him, as if the whole thing were some sort of glorious, terrible mistake; as if the far-fetched plot turns (most infamously, the policeman cuckolded by the “midget” hiding beneath the sink) and cliffhanger endings (“Oh my God, a rubber!”) were the work of someone who set out to make a traditional musical and failed.

2) R&B lovermen have long been parodied as comically earnest lotharios, blissfully unaware of how ridiculous they sound.

3) Some “Trapped” fans may think they’re flattering Mr. Kelly by praising his alleged insanity or naïveté, but that’s the kind of praise that can easily sound like condescension, especially when directed (as it often is) at African-American performers.

The first and last statement kind of go together, so I’ll deal with those in a minute. As far as the second statement goes, I’m not sure who Sanneh is talking about.

white_barry.jpgThink of R&B lovermen who have been parodied. Who are some that come to mind? Actually, not many come to mine, but the first one that I do think about is Barry White. Barry is THE R&B loverman, armed with a voice that could get help get the panties off a nun. And yes, people parody Barry’s voice and his smooth delivery, but I don’t know anyone who thinks he sounds ridiculous. And even if everyone thought Barry sounded ridiculous, I sure as hell don’t think he would agree. I’m pretty sure he’s an earnest lothario who thinks he sounds cool as hell. And he’d be correct.

82_rkelly.jpgAs for the other two statements, I think Sanneh has it wrong in two respects. First of all, if you watch the first 12 chapters of ‘Trapped’ you see an R. Kelly that is taking himself very seriously. Sure, there is some intended humor, but the real comicality is Kelly’s hubristic delivery. (Unfortunately, in the recently released chapters 13-22, Kelly is VERY aware of himself and the result is less humorous, since the laughs are ALL intended.)

Secondly, it’s not just African-American performers who audiences praise for their alleged insanity or naïveté. For example, it’s great fun to watch Vanilla Ice act tough in, ‘Cool As Ice.’ And what about ‘Glitter,’ which is so bad it’s good? Mariah Carey is serious as she can be in that movie. Ditto for Elizabeth Berkley in ‘Showgirls.’

And even if it is true, and there are people laughing at ‘Trapped in the Closet’ for the “wrong” reasons, I doubt that it would bother R. Kelly much. Instead, I picture him laughing all the way to the bank, pissing on the tellers and screaming, “I’m rich biiaach!”

Sinister Act: Whoopi Goldberg Defends Michael Vick

whoop.jpgI’ve spent way too much time thinking about the Michael Vick situation, but it’s hard not to when you own a pit bull and are also a Falcons’ fan. Anyway, the latest and greatest is that Whoopi Goldberg, who had her debut on The View today, used the time to defend Michael Vick.

“You know from his background this is not an unusual thing for where he comes from,” Goldberg said, echoing the asinine statements made by Jamie Foxx.

After her co-host Joy Behar asked, “How about dog torture and dog murdering?” Goldberg replied, “You’re a dog lover. For a lot of people dogs are sport.” Goldberg even had the nerve to excuse Vick by saying “This is part of his cultural upbringing.”

Will someone please tell me why the “cultural upbringing” is becoming an accepted excuse for Michael Vick? Racism was certainly part of many people’s cultural upbringing, especially in the South, but are we supposed to give a pass to the Klan members who lynched black men and burned churches to the ground? Do we write it all off as “that’s just how they were raised?” Of course not.whoop.jpg