Friday, March 26, 2010

Nobody Puts Jennifer Grey In A Corner

Okay, okay... So the title's a bit twee, even for me - especially since I may be the only person of my generation who hasn't seen the movie Dirty Dancing. But hey, I'm running a business here, and my instincts have been pretty good so far, so there you have it.

PhotobucketA n y w a y... It goes without saying that today is Jennifer Grey's birthday and that, given my previous revelation, I'm most familiar with the work she did in Ferris Bueller's Day Off - which I saw eleven times in theatrical release, owing to a certain schoolboy crush I once had (and may still have) on one Mr Matthew Broderick.

In the mid-1990s she portrayed Mindy, the best friend of Rachel's who took up with Barry after he was left at the altar - which incident had been the plot device for the greatest American sitcom ever, Friends.

Practically the only other thing I know about Jennifer Grey is that she had a nose job which changed her appearance to such a degree that even casting directors stopped recognizing her; such a scandal was this that it was the lead story on Entertainment Tonight several days running. Ever intrepid, Grey spun the story into a short-lived sitcom, 1999's It's Like, You Know... in which she poked fun at herself and her career; she's recently appeared on the dramedy John from Cincinnati, which is all about surfers or something and may one day make my personal watchlist since a) I get into a very LA head space during the Vancouver winter, and b) surfers are hot.
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"Jaded" by Aerosmith

I would be remiss if I let today pass without marking the birthday of rock and roll legend Steven Tyler, lead singer and founding member of Boston-based rockers Aerosmith; amazingly, Tyler is still rocking out despite his eligibility for AARP membership, which bodes well for me as I scream - and I do mean scream - past the big 4-0.

Although the band had their first hit as long ago as 1975, with Sweet Emotion, as recently as 2001 Aerosmith were still on the charts with Jaded, which Tyler co-wrote with Marti Frederiksen for the band's 13th studio album Just Push Play. Jaded was rolled out with considerable hype at both that year's American Music Awards and Super Bowl XXXV.
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Gratuitous Brunette: T. R. Knight

In the interest of full disclosure I am compelled to confess that I've never seen an episode of Grey's Anatomy - not even a partial one* - although I have had several dreams featuring one of its stars, Eric Dane, which I am nonetheless unable to discuss under the terms of the Access to Too Much Information Act; what I know of birthday boy T. R. Knight, then, is what I know owing to a seeming inability to avert my eyes from celebrity media...

PhotobucketAll of which means that T. R. Knight owes his prestigious appearance here as a Gratuitous Brunette - and a fair measure of his current fame besides - to the scandal frenzy whipped up by Isaiah Washington in 2006-7 over Washington's use of some unfortunate vocabulary during a heated onset argument with their co-star, Patrick Dempsey.

Still, even though it seemed for awhile like it was going to be the scandal that wouldn't die, and while I don't approve of Washington's use of 'the other f-word' (since I have no doubt he would have shouted loudest and longest if Knight had used the n-word against him, after all) Washington - a straight man - had played a gay man in Spike Lee's 1996 film Get on the Bus long before Knight had even bothered to come out. Oddly enough, none of this emerged during the extended furore - which was less about homophobia than African-American homophobia**.

Anyway, the entire event is about to pass into the annals of pop culture lore... Knight's portrayal of George O'Malley came to an end following the 2008-9 season of the show, and only time will tell whether either of their careers will survive - with or without another beneficial injection of scandal.

*I don't seem to have the attention span to watch an hour-long drama, even though I can watch an entire box set of a sitcom in one ten-hour sitting. Maybe it's the soap opera histrionics I don't like, although that doesn't seem likely either. I guess it comes down to the sluices of fake blood inherent in a medical drama, which in me at least induce genuine nausea.
**Yes, there is a difference.
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POPnews - March 26th

[You see, kids... Once upon a time there was an American president who cared about peace in the Middle East. I know, I know, you think I'm shitting you, but it's really true! Look - here's a picture to prove it.]

1026 - Pope John XIX crowned Conrad II - first King of the Salian Dynasty - as Holy Roman Emperor.

1130 - Norway's King Sigurd I died without a legitimate male heir, precipitating a civil war that persisted until 1240; in the meantime he was succeeded by his illegitimate son Magnus IV and his half-brother Harald IV.

1212 - Portugal's King Sancho I died, at which time he was succeeded by his eldest son, who reigned as Afonso II.

1552 - Guru Amar Das became the third of eleven Sikh Gurus, following in the footsteps of Guru Angad Dev.

1636 - Holland's Utrecht University was founded.

1812 - An earthquake destroyed Caracas in the midst of the Venezuelan War of Independence.

1839 - The Henley Royal Regatta was first proposed by Captain Edmund Gardiner.

1958 - The US Army launched Explorer 3 to explore the Van Allen radiation belt.

1969 - American novelist John Kennedy Toole - best remembered today for his epic work A Confederacy of Dunces, for which he was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1981 - committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning near Biloxi, Mississippi.

1971 - East Pakistan declared its independence from Pakistan to form the People's Republic of Bangladesh, inciting the Bangladesh Liberation War.

1975 - The Biological Weapons Convention entered into force.

1976 - Britain's Queen Elizabeth II sent out the first royal email - from the Royal Signals and Radar Establishment - apparently.

1979 - Following the Camp David Accords Anwar al-Sadat, Menachem Begin and Jimmy Carter signed the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty in Washington, DC.

1982 - The groundbreaking ceremony for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was held on Washington, DC's National Mall.

1990 - American fashion designer Halston - an icon of the 1970s - died in San Francisco of AIDS-related complications following a lifetime of legendary debauchery.

1997 - Thirty-nine bodies were found in a rented mansion in Rancho Santa Fe, California, belonging to members of the Heaven's Gate cult; the followers of Marshall Applewhite and Bonnie Nettles had been brainwashed into believing that a spaceship following the Comet Hale-Bopp would take their souls with them. Whatever you believe, they were definitely taken for a ride...

1998 - During Algeria's Oued Bouaicha massacre 52 people were killed with axes and knives, 32 of them babies under the age of 2.

1999 - The so-called Melissa worm infected Microsoft word processing and e-mail systems around the world, but not those of Apple. Suckers...

2005 - The Taiwanese government called on 1 million of its citizens to demonstrate in Taipei, in opposition to the Anti-Secession Law of the People's Republic of China; between 200,000 and 300,000 actually attended the walk.
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