A ZeitBite-sized PopCulture round-up: Justin Bieber’s non-disclosure contract, the book based on him (sort of) LOVE SONG OF JONNY VALENTINE, a grown teen-idol, Leonardo DiCaprio in THE GREAT GATSBY, season finales from BATES MOTEL to DANCING WITH THE STARS, and my new lover is a KINDLE-FIRE!
This week I’ve been catapulted to the low end of my dysthymic emotional scale, resulting in a temporary withdraw from social media, Facebook in particular, where I was seeing too many posts that shouldn’t have upset me the way they did – always a sign to take a break from the relentlessness of all that information. So, I’ve been catching up on pop-culture while remaining in the BatCave as much as I can, stretched out on my bed watching trash-TV or reading, or, at one of my keyboards trying to write. Here’s a re-cap.
JUSTIN BIEBER: DON’T TEXT-TREAD ON ME
Turns out that even if I wanted to party with Justin Bieber . . . I couldn’t afford it. It’s reported by TMZ and Vulture.com he’s got a 5 million dollar non-disclosure agreement he makes anyone who enters his house sign. Wow. I wish I had thought of that before I shared some intimate and private times with some people. Shit. It’s not bad enough that Justin Bieber is prettier, richer, younger and having way more sex than me, now he’s smarter than me too.
BOOKS: THE LOVE SONG OF JONNY VALENTINE
So, since it looks like the Biebz inevitable sex tape isn’t going to leak as soon as we’d hoped, I guess I’ll have to just guess what his life is like. But someone’s beat me to it: Teddy Wayne with his book, “The Love Song of Jonny Valentine” which I have chosen as the first thing I am reading on my new KindleFire. The New York Times loved it, and I looked for it in my local Barnes & Noble bookstore, but despite the fact it was a NYTimes Book Review pick and also featured on highbrow NPR and in lowbrow US and People and lord knows where else, they had no plans to stock it but said they’d be glad to order it for me. WHY? I mean – that’s like Vonnegutian ridiculous NOT to carry a book so buzzy. A friend of mine said, “Well Charlie, people in Frederick don’t buy books because the NYTimes recommends them.”
I call bullshit. Frederick is either the second or third largest city in Maryland, equidistant between D.C. and Baltimore, and while it still has a large “good-ol-boy” contingent, it is also boasts a huge arts community, tons of actors and writers (WHOSE BOOKS ALSO – DON’T GET ME STARTED – ARE NOT CARRIED BY THE LOCAL BARNES & NOBLE – ASSHATS!) and if Barnes & Noble here would respond to the actual community instead of whatever the hell matrix they’re using that indicates the population is all yokel, maybe business would pick up? Just saying.
KINDLE FIRE: I’m an E-reader convert
Rant concluded. Don’t want to make this too long – I’ve recently been accused (again) of going on and on and on with my stories. Point is, I am loving the book and much to my surprise, I am loving my KindleFire! It is amazing. I love being able to tap on a word and being taken to the dictionary. I love the X-RAY feature which allows me to figure out who a character is and find other places in the book where they are mentioned – this is REALLY great for a person like me who reads five or six books at a time and whose memory is slipping – having a character refresher at the ready as I’m going is great. I am confused, however, about why a paperback mystery I can get for 7.99 at the store would be 7.99 on the Kindle too. I mean, no one had to shell out the cost for the paper, ink, shipping, etc so what the freak? In those cases, I’d rather have the book. In fact, there are lots of cases in which I’d rather have the book – but, I’m going on too long. Other thing I love – the samples! LOVE LOVE LOVE perusing new work by this method. So, much as I swore I would never convert to an E-reader – I’m sold.
And the novel “Jonny Valentine” – so far, awfully good. I have always felt empathy (and often lust) for teen idols. I cannot imagine what sort of monster I would have become had I gained fame during my adolescence. Nor how I would have dealt with aging in the spotlight – aging in the dark, like I am, is difficult enough – not that I wouldn’t like to see what kind of monster I could become gaining fame in my middle age-ing – but that’s another story.
THE GREAT GATSBY (in 3D)
Speaking of which – teen idols aging – I saw middle age former teen idol Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Great Gatsby” last night. In 3D. I’m a fan of Baz Luhrmann. Loved “Moulin Rouge” and thought “Romeo & Juliet” was interesting, but Gatsby didn’t do much for me. I think the novel is so nearly perfect that I’m not sure it’s possible to translate it to film in a way that would make a lover of the book happy. That aside, I thought the framing device of Nick Carraway writing the story as therapy from his stay in a sanitarium was flawed. And I don’t think Luhrmann really understood the material. For me, Gatsby is about the dangerous, disastrous results of self-delusion and obsessive love. Carraway isn’t just an observer, he’s in love with Gatsby and Daisy and their love affair, he’s in love with Tom, he’s in love with the wealth and beauty of the age, and he’s an Everyman stand-in for everyone who has ever fallen for the romantic delusion of The American Dream and Soul-Mate Love and Wealth and Power; and it is seeing the destructive nature of such obsessive desire on the soul that is what the novel is about. The movie really missed that. I did think the scene where Gatsby and Daisy were first reunited in Nick’s dilapidated shack, magically transformed by Gatsby’s dollars, and played almost without dialogue, was beautiful. I wept. The rest of the movie – for me – might have been in 3D, but was missing the D it really needed – Depth of Emotion.
SEASON FINALES: ELEMENTARY, REVENGE, BATES MOTEL, SCANDAL and DANCING WITH THE STARS
I love TV. I love it even more since I can watch anything I want whenever I want. But, at the same time, when there is a show I love so much I have to watch it in real time when it is first broadcast, I tend to get crazy obsessive. At the moment, the only shows I HAVE to see as soon as possible are the not starting again until October AMERICAN HORROR STORY:COVEN (and now that I know Patti LuPone has joined the cast – the anticipation of seeing her duke it out for scenery chewing honors with Jessica Lange is almost too much to bear), the cancelled SMASH (the keening and wailing you hear Sunday night will be coming from me as the final episode airs), and the just finished DANCING WITH THE STARS. I have enjoyed this season’s new take on Sherlock Holmes, ELEMENTARY, because I think Lucy Liu and Aidan Quinn are great, subtle, intense actors and Jonny Lee Miller is one of my new top-five wish I could have him men. It hardly seems fair Angelina Jolie has gotten to have intimate relationships with him and Brad Pitt. But there it is. Anyway, the season finale of ELEMENTARY was particularly well done, the complications of discovering what had actually happened to Sherlock’s lost love, Irene Adler, beautifully plotted, twisted and executed. REVENGE has lost its mojo as far as I am concerned and they killed off my favorite character. BATES MOTEL is an interesting experiment which has failed to excite me much but I continue to watch because I find the acting of Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore riveting and Emmy-worthy. Whereas SCANDAL makes me crazy with edge-of-my-seat, what will they think of next delight. I sort of worship Kerry Washington and I LOVE LOVE LOVE the way everyone speaks on that show – the rhythm of the writing is addictive, like crack or Patron Silver, and I hope and pray they can keep it up next season. I almost always know what’s coming next in any show I watch, but SCANDAL surprised me again and again and the last few seconds of the finale were THRILLINGLY UNEXPECTED.
It was DANCING WITH THE STARS which really had me going this week, though. Honestly, it isn’t the show, it’s Derek Hough. I confess, I am obsessed. His choreography is gorgeous; outclasses every other pro on the show. And though I am not a huge fan of dancer-types, something about him just makes me radiate with wanton lust. It didn’t hurt that he was paired with country singer Kellie Pickler, whose back story includes abandonment by her mother, a father who spent much of her life in prison, and working as a roller-skating waitress until she made her way onto AMERICAN IDOL. I’d honestly never heard of her until I read she was Derek’s partner, and as I am pretty much a Derek stalker, once it was announced, I did my research.
Their final freestyle dance (above) was the most beautiful piece of choreography ever to grace that show, and I doubt it will ever be topped. The only thing that could have made their triumphant grabbing of the mirror ball better would have been had Derek come out. And declared his love for me. Who he’s never met – well, I don’t count taking out a restraining order against me as meeting – but, anyway . . .
That’s where I’ve been and what I’ve been up to . . . in the most surface way possible. What have you been doing this week?