Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Fashionista: The Oscars

FASHION Lindsay Larkin works in City Weekly's retail sales department. She also has something to say about fashion, so we set her loose on the blog. Her debut (epic) entry is all about Sunday's Academy Awards. Enjoy, there's more to come ...

First of all, three of my favourite designers completely let me down this year: Valentino (in more dress than one), Channel haute couture (Karl Lagerfield), and Armani (oh the shame!).

Anne Hathaway, whom I cannot stand in the first place and I have no good explanation other than her having a GIGANTIC mouth, walked the carpet in an absolutely depressing dress. The white lace was as tacky as the gigantic black bow over her breasts. Given, I have never been a big fan of lace, but this dress was truly a birth of a wedding and a funeral gone awry. Big mistake. And to think, I once dreamed I’d be rich enough to get married in a Valentino gown.

While we’re on Valentino, I was sorely disappointed to see Kate Winslet’s dress. Not only do I think she’s a fantastic actress, but I also think she is stunningly beautiful. However, there has never has been, and never will be an excuse for sea-foam green. Shame on you Kate Winslet, and, more so, shame on you Valentino.

This brings me directly to Giorgio Armani, whom I thought could do no wrong. This is until I tried on my Armani suit from high school and realized that the cut, especially the shoulder pads, screamed MC Hammer. Then he does it again with the sea-foam green. Beyonce showed up in nothing less than an appalling prom dress.

Let us now return to the mistake of the hideous bow. I have never been a fan of Nicole Kidman, and I think I may stand alone in this category. I hope I do not stand alone in thinking her dress was just plain awful.

While we’re on Nicole Kidman, the obvious next step is Naomi Watts. Good lord, what was she thinking? There was absolutely no excuse for her hideous Escada dress. Fortunately for me, I’ve never been a big fan of Escada, so I wasn’t personally affronted. Leave this fashion line to old, frumpy women on the upper west side please.

Back to Valentino. What the hell Cameron Diaz? Yes I think she’s a terrible actress and a bit of a bimbo, but I have been defending her fashion sense for some time now. Sadly, this dress has been widely accepted. All I can say is, “were you hoping for an ’80s themed wedding?” Again, destroying my own dreams of a Valentino wedding.

Finally, I mourn Channel haute couture. I cannot fathom what possessed Karl Lagerfield to design the dress Kirsten Dunst wore (Coco is probably turning in her grave as you read this) and what possessed anyone to don it. There is absolutely no excuse. And the frumpy hair really didn’t help anything.

Onto the good: I know that Gwyneth Paltrow is considered a seriously pretentious bitch at this point. It only makes me love her more, as did her Zac Posen dress. I am continually impressed by Zac Posen. I think he may be to this era what Tom Ford once was to Gucci (short-lived as it was). What I really loved about this dress, other than Gwyneth wearing it and the colour, was that it had to sink in. I really liked the dress at first glance, but I was also unsure. A great piece of clothing is one that gets better with each look and this dress definitely accomplished that.

Zac Posen only proved his talent more with Portia de Rossi. The dress was so incredibly hot that I would completely switch sides to take it off of her. Watch out Ellen.

And then Armani redeemed himself with his Armani Prive collection and Cate Blanchet’s impeccable taste. She was so absurdly gorgeous, I don’t know what to say. She has been fairly consistently faithful to Armani and she has, in my opinion, always chosen well. This time she was flawless.

As mush as I hate J. Lo (let’s just accept she is so not from the ghetto and call her Jennifer Lopez) she has been looking great lately. Because I hate her, I will credit this to a new stylist (totally unconfirmed). Her Marchesa dress was classy and provocative, but by no means trashy. So, Jennifer Lopez, I forgive you for you past mistakes for the time being.

Helen Mirren is a no-brainer in her Christian Lacroix. Pretty much Christian Lacroix is a no-brainer, but I must give her credit regardless.

Onto Reese Witherspoon, who I think has been consistently well dressed--outside of her costume designers’ choices, that is. She looks good as a general rule in real life. Her Nina Ricci was, however, incredibly hot, cutting-edge, and classy all at once. Mad props.

Finally, I’ll mention Penelope Cruz. Is it possible for her to look anything but hot? Her Atelier Versace was amazing. I have a hard time accepting anything Donatella Versace does in general because it seems almost blasphemous considering Gianni’s legacy, but I have to give her credit. I will especially give her credit for ripping off Gaultier (my favourite) in her own fashion. The train of this dress was so Gaultier that I wanted to rip it off of her. Yet Donatella managed to throw her own flair into it and make it uniquely her own. I am nothing but impressed. (Lindsay Larkin)

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Perfect Hair Forever

POLITICS Looks like Mitt Romney has more obstacles than his religion (he’s a Mormon, in case you haven’t read it a dozen times in the Deseret Morning News today) if he’s to be ordained, er, elected president: According to a 77-slide PowerPoint presentation obtained by the Boston Globe, Romney’s media handlers think his hair is “too perfect” (oh, like there’s such a thing) and feel he’s perceived as a “phony,” a “political opportunist” and “not a war leader,” not to mention, a (gasp) “flip-flopper.” On the plus side, Romney’s an “optimistic, conservative leader,” a “strong leader from outside Washington” and “not Hillary Clinton.” The plan also calls for Romney to oh-so-carefully differentiate himself from not-so-popular current president Bush quite simply: “Intelligence.” Isn’t that just about every candidate’s strategy at this point? There’s also plenty of mentions of Romney’s LDS mission in icky France, and how to turn the issue against Clinton with “Hillary = France” and “First, Not France” bumperstickers … wha? (Bill Frost)

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Pipes Update

I just found out that the pan piper is missing several fingers and probably isn't trying to catch the ear of a record exec. My apologies. I am, however, adamant in my feelings toward the dancing hippies. (Jamie Gadette)

And the winner is ...

Alta High School student Danny Hy, for the most unintentionally perverted anti-porn slogan imaginable: "Porn doesn't affect just you, it affects the whole family."

Honorable mention goes to second-place winner Sherena Weishar, not for any slogan, but for providing the following quote to a Trib reporter: "The Internet, although it can be wonderful, can also be a sticky place." (Brandon Burt)

Playa Hatin'

This pan pipes situation has got me thinking: when did I develop such a strong dislike for new-age music and/or jam bands and does my aversion to the street performer's covers of Simon & Garfunkel make me a bad person? The first concert I attended sans parents was Phish at the Delta Center. I got high for the first time on second-hand smoke and accepted a vegan burrito from some dreadlocked chick in the parking lot. That giant piece of heaven stands as the best burrito I've ever had. In high school, quite a few of my secret crushes wore Birkenstocks, smelled like patchouli and listened to bootleg Dead recordings. I went to drum circles and wore a hemp necklace under my basketball jersey. Eventually, however, I learned that pot makes me paranoid, patchouli smells like ass, and Black Sabbath rocked way harder than Jerry Garcia ever could. While I'm sure the Main Street busker is a great guy, really, I can't help but think he'd be better off sending his self-produced albums to journalists, club owners, concert promoters and radio stations. A high-profile A&R rep is unlikely to discover him in front of the Coffee Garden. Perhaps more unsettling are the green-haired hippie kids dancing to his music--the same ones who ask me for spare change every day while they sit and read beat poetry. It seems they could find better things to do (um, get a job?) than flash their butt cracks at me on my way to lunch. I know this makes me seem like a hardened cynic. Maybe it was all of those years schlupping bagels, coffee and pub food from 16 on that made me cold. Maybe I'd be free and open-minded if I hadn't worked for the man. (Jamie Gadette)

Hey, Aqualung: Shut Up!

OFFICE There's some hippie downstairs on Main Street jamming on the flute. It's fucking annoying. If these windows on the 2nd floor opened, we'd be dropping something heavy on him right now. When flutes are outlawed, only outlaws will have flutes ... (Bill Frost)

Monday, February 19, 2007

They're Great, Just Ask 'Em

MEDIA How far is your head up your own ass to devote an entire Saturday column to how amazing your own coverage of last week's Trolley Square shootings was? Apparently, if you're already down there, you can fellate yourself as well--bravo, Salt Lake Tribune, bravo! Especially love this quote:

"Looking back over five days of intense activity in the newsroom, Editor Nancy Conway says, 'When covering a story this big, the newsroom most feels the awesome responsibility to provide information.'"

So ... what's the newsroom feeling the rest of the time, vis-a-vis information? Just curious. (Bill Frost)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The light at the end of the tunnel...

... is really just the Best of Utah train barreling down on City Weekly. Now that SLAMMYs are in the bag, I have 8 hours to do some yoga, eat some Thai food and fall asleep on the couch. When I wake up, I and the other editorial peeps will write some 70 picks for our annual BOU issue. While the process is daunting, it's not quite as stressful as the SLAMMYs. It's hard to cover every single genre in our ever-growing scene. We try our best to point readers in the right direction in hopes they'll find some other unmentioned groups along the way. If you're not satisfied with our winners and staff picks this year (available in print and online form in limited release tomorrow and then everywhere on Thursday), go out into the scene and track down something more suited to your tastes. Then, write in and let us know. Support local music (it's wayyyyyyyyyyyyyy better than Grammy-award winners Black Eyed Peas who took home an award for one of the worst songs of all time, "My Humps." Blech). (Jamie Gadette)

Monday, February 12, 2007

Showdown to SLAMMys '07 Review

MUSIC This year, the ultimate winner of City Weekly’s annual Showdown battle o’ the bands (for an expense-paid trip to Austin’s South by Southwest Music Conference in March) was chosen strictly by The People—no judges, just a popular audience vote at The Depot on Saturday, Feb. 10. We get complaints every year about judges’ decisions; we’ve already had a couple about the crowd’s. Just can’t win.

Neither can the first band of the evening—it’s a perennially tough slot, being the lead-off. Alternative rock quartet Medicine Circus, who’ve made the Showdown rounds in years past, were just happy to be at the finals; singer-guitarist Christopher Stearman expressed his gratitude between nearly every song, and even brought flowers for the other three acts of the night. Medicine Circus rocked through their guitar-heavy set (including a Stone Temple Pilots cover) for a still-arriving audience and the faithful who’d gotten there early, proudly displaying their MC apparel. They were vocal, but the majority was waiting for …

St. Boheme (pictured above), a Logan band of facial-hair enthusiasts who’d apparently brought most of northern Utah with them. The foursome, all acoustic instruments and ‘40s ragamuffin threads, came across as a collegiate Soggy Bottom Boys or Devotchka without the rainbow of ethnic influences. For such a new group (three months old, they say), St. Boheme know how to put on an impassioned show and work a crowd—and it didn’t hurt that each song was more tuneful and memorable than the last. They were the quietest band of the night (probably the quietest band to ever make it to the Showdown Finals), but St. B easily had the loudest fans. Audience vote seemed like an easy call, until the next guy showed up … (Bill Frost)

While widely billed as the “British Mormon Rapper,” Alex Boye is rather a funk/R&B/soul crooner with the smooth-talking skills of a motivational speaker. Research confirmed that he does in fact empower people for a living, which helps explain his ability to quickly woo a diverse crowd. Even potentially alienating shout-outs to his bishop and victims of a tragic weekend car accident didn’t slow his mighty groove. Boye isn’t doing anything particularly new, but he appeals to a broad audience and since this contest is decided by popular vote …

The Rubes, who typically work hard for the money but not for cool points, did their best to bust all the right moves. Rather than unleash a fresh batch of tunes with complex arrangements, they stuck to upbeat basics designed for sweat-drenched dance revolutions. But the fourth slot is often as damning as the first and downtown’s retro rockers (whose drummer is my boyfriend, and no, I didn’t rig this event) ran an uphill race to the finish.

It seemed no amount of pumped-up jams could offset the sheer physical force of St. Boheme’s loyal fans (seriously, major props to those who made the trip to SLC three times in one week to give their hometown heroes a small, but crucial, advantage). It’s not clear, however, if the St. B posse will pony up the bucks for airfare, hotels, festival badges and other expenses necessary to accompany the Loganites to Austin.

Yes, in case you haven’t figured it out by now, St. Boheme won, followed closely by Alex Boye, The Rubes and Medicine Circus. I’m personally looking forward to spending some quality SXSW time in Texas with the optimistic newbies. They have a lot of promise and with a few intense experiences on 6th Street, there’s no reason they won’t return with the chops necessary to reap future success—with or without strength in numbers. (Jamie Gadette)

City Weekly's Salt Lake Area Music & More issue hits the streets on Thursday, Feb. 15.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

The Second (or So) Coming

THEATER "Ted heads" went away dejected on the Tuesday opening night of Jesus Christ Superstar at Kingsbury Hall. Right after the emcee announced how great it was to interview Ted Neeley and what a genuinely nice person he was and how we would be so lucky to see him perform in his farewell tour, it was then announced that the part of Jesus of Nazareth would be played by the understudy. Incredulous groans from the audience echoed in the hall.

In his place, however, Chris Gleim did a more than credible job filling in. He definitely looked more the part of a 30-something Jesus. Once he warmed up his pipes, he could shriek Jesus' outrage at the moneylenders as well as Neeley ever did in his prime and in fact, Gleim won the house over after his powerful rendition of "Gethsemane."

Not to be outdone, Living Colour lead singer Corey Glover played a mean Judas Iscariot, with all the requisite passion, skepticism and rock & roll apostle-hood necessary to pull a little understanding and sympathy his way.

I also liked Craig Sculli's whispering-snake performance of Pontius Pilate and the campy shtick of King Herod played by Aaron Fuksa.

Mary Magdalene, played by Tiffini Dodson, sang our favorites with aplomb("Everything's Alright" and "I Don't Know How to Love Him") but as an actor, she seemed a bit wooden. Maybe it's just the way the part is written.

The stage was rather bare bones for a Broadway production but hang on for the dramatic ending that involves someone dying on a cross (I'm not giving anything away here, am I, religious scholars?) which ups the production-values ante a bit. Plus you'll be razzle-dazzled by Corey Glover's Judas if you wait it out.

Superstar brings up that age-old question of why anyone would sanely choose to be a spiritual iconoclast. From Moses to Jesus to Martin Luther to Mahatma Gandhi to even our local favorite Joseph Smith, at the end of the day, when all the preaching is ended, it seems like people mostly just want to see your head on a stick. Even His Holiness the Dalai Lama got kicked out of his own home and shown the door from his own country. It's an occupation with a high mortality rate ... and not a lot of love.

After seeing the film version of Jesus Christ Superstar several times and savoring the soundtrack (with lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber) back in my '70s high school days, this was my first live production. Totally worth it if you love the music and can handle the fact that Neeley might be a no-show. (Jerre Wroble)

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Out In the Open

NEWS How Mississippi weekly Jackson Free Press helped break a 42-year-old murder case, from CNN's Paula Zahn Now: