April 23, 2014

Tag Archives: Washington

The Oscars® were no enormous shame, a few good jokes, no great shocks

I’m a big fan of Ellen DeGeneres and her understated, often brilliant humor. This was most evident when she hosted the 2001 Emmy Awards after the horrific events in New York and Washington that year. The show was postponed twice, and when it finally aired a couple of months later the big question was how it could be entertaining?
Almost from the outset Ellen delivered. To paraphrase what she said, it was something like the terrorists could not break our spirit. Then she paused and deadpanned that only network executives could do that.

It was funny, unexpected yet absolutely true. It related to the events just passed, but broke the ice and allowed the show to go on to its true purpose after the long delay.

The Oscars Rate a B-Minus.
I wish I could say Ellen’s performance last night rose to that occasion. Though it generally retained the dignity and glamour that audiences expect, something lost in last year’s show hosted by Seth MacFarlane, it was mostly bland with repetitive jokes and occasional good moments. Having said that, I cringed a bit when Ellen repeated out loud and very slowly a compliment to Nebraska supporting actress nominee June Squibb, whom Ellen had termed the oldest Oscar nominee ever, as if the actress were almost deaf and needed careful attention to hear her remarks.

Throughout the ABC show, Ellen drew from a past playbook and redid bits from the last time she hosted in 2007, often appearing in the audience, talking with this celebrity or that and taking photos. In one segment she asked if anyone was hungry, which drew very few responses and went on much too long. However, when a pizza man arrived later in the show, though only with three pizzas, it was amusing to see how many celebrities accepted a slice, including Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts and Harrison Ford. And that no one initially responded to Ellen’s request for donations to pay the man.
To read Michael Russnow’s latest book, “Hollywood on the Danube,” go to www.createspace.com/4497564

I’d thought sometime later it would have been funny if the delivery man, denied payment, started taking back the pizza slices from Meryl, Julia and the others. However, they eventually paid the bit off when Ellen passed a hat into which producer Harvey Weinstein threw two hundred dollars and several celebrities forked over twenty or more dollars each. By my count that was over three hundred [...]

Blake Lively, Ryan Reynolds apparently took a little honeymoon this weekend

HollywoodNews.com: It looks like Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds were able to squeeze in a little honeymoon this weekend before she had to return to the set of ‘Gossip Girl’ this week.
This weekend, the newlyweds reportedly headed to Virginia’s Inn at Little Washington, states People. The inn is reportedly operated by Chef Patrick O’Connell who offers guests a five to ten course dinner every night.
There are reportedly just 18 rooms at the inn along with three luxury cottages.
The two were reportedly spotted there one day at a table near the garden.
Do you like them as a couple?
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Oprah is pushing a new guru!

I don’t know how she does it: it was only six years ago that Oprah Winfrey was touting new age nut Eckhart Tolle as the all time genius of the world. He was her spiritual mentor. Winfrey actually ran podcasts and internet classes with the guy who has since quietly vanished from the spotlight. Now, maybe because she’s in her own personal crisis with her OWN network, Oprah is pushing a new guru. (She still hawks Marianne Williamson.) This guy is named Michael Singer, author of a book called “The Untethered Soul.”
But Michael Singer is indeed better known in his hometown of Alachua, Florida as Mickey Singer. And in 2005 he was indicted in a massive government fraud case against his company Medical Manager Health Systems, which was an offshoot of WebMD. http://www.gainesville.com/article/20051216/LOCAL/212160339 Singer was accused with nine others of inflating Medical Manager Health Systems profits, and of conspiring to launder money.
Two years after the indictment, Singer donated $100,000 of new computer software to the Alachua Police Department. By the time the case was over in 2010, Singer settled with the government by paying a $2.5 million settlement. The government dropped all charges. Singer acknowledged that the accounting practices of his company were illegal but–according to the agreement hammered out between his powerful Washington DC lawyers from Baker Botts and local Florida prosecutors–didn’t know it was taking place at the time. http://tinyurl.com/c9u3y4m
Later, the people actually convicted by the government had their verdicts overturned based on a lapsed statute of limitations. http://www.gainesville.com/article/20100303/articles/3031013
Now Singer will appear on Oprah’s Sunday Soul show this weekend on OWN. After his long adventure with the government, Singer–who was an early software multi-millionaire in the medical systems field–became a guru. He started something called the Temple of the Universe outside of Gainesville, Florida. He has lots of followers, but I’m not sure you could call it an actual cult. Temple of the Universe is registered with the IRS as a religion and has non profit tax status. But they’ve filed no public papers about their finances. They don’t even come up on Charity Navigator. But Singer is selling books and CDs and conducting new age classes and lectures.
Odds are Oprah will not be asking him about all this other stuff on Sunday’s show.
To read more go to WWW>SHOWBIZ411.COM
(republished from earlier this week)

The Hunger Games: The hunt for a new director is on

HollywoodNews.com: The Playlist doesn’t break news all that often, merely seeing fit to be a one-stop shop for the movie news that everyone else breaks during the day (I don’t mean that as an insult, The Playlist is the site I go to if I only have time to surf one movie news site in a given day), So it’s somewhat of a big deal that The Playlist has broken a pretty major story, confirming that director Gary Ross will not be back to helm the second and/or third films in the Hunger Games franchise. There have been rumblings all week about contract negotiations, and Ross has now politely passed. The site chalks it up to both Ross’s lack of desire to stay in the same universe for the next several years combined with a somewhat low-ball offer from Lionsgate. Whatever the case, Ross is gone and the hunt for a new director is now on. While editing my John Carter obituary a few weeks ago, I removed a large paragraph dealing with the trend of giving young white-male filmmakers with barely a feature credit to their name the keys to $100-300 million franchise films while seasoned pros and/or minorities remain noticeably absent from the ‘wish-list’ (yes, I was glad to see F. Gary Gray on the Marvel wish-list for Captain America 2). And while I wouldn’t consider The Hunger Games a ‘female film’, it would be a great opportunity to make a point that female directors can indeed handle the kind of big-scale filmmaking that studios are all-too willing to offer to mostly untested male directors as a matter of course. So, perhaps arbitrarily, perhaps to prove a point about how inaccessible the ‘wish list’ is for female directors, here are nine directors who happen to be women who also belong on ‘the wish-list’ as Lionsgate hunts for a second director. These are in alphabetical order, with the exception of the final entry, who would be my ‘top choice’.
Kathryn Bigelow
Duh. In fact, she’ll probably make the wish-list as a token nod to gender-diversity, and all she had to do was become the first female in history to win a Best Director Oscar. I don’t really have to explain this pick. She’s been directing hard action pictures for thirty years. She’s helmed the likes of Near Dark (a [...]

George Clooney comments on recent arrest

HollywoodNews.com: George Clooney was recently arrested after being involved in a protest outside the Sudanese Embassy in Washington, DC when he apparently crossed a police line.
Now, the actor is commenting on being arrested while fighting against the crimes he feels are happening against the innocent people in Sudan, states UsMagazine.com. “I grew up in a family that believed that your job was to be involved with your fellow man. You have a responsibility to participate in the human condition, one way or another,” Clooney said about being arrested for this cause.
Most importantly, Clooney wants others to be aware of what is happening there: “They kill people — one village we were in, there were 34 people killed in the last two months, and it’s a small village — so they kill people, but more than that, they’re keeping them hiding in the rocks, in the caves, so that they can’t farm, and they miss their planting season this year.”
What do you think about his actions?
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George Clooney arrested during protest in D.C.

HollywoodNews.com: George Clooney has been arrested in Washington D.C. while out protesting in regard to the Sudan crisis where innocent men, women and children have been hurt.
Clooney was arrested with a number of other people who were protesting in front of the Sudanese embassy, states TMZ. Clooney was arrested for crossing a police line which is a misdemeanor offense.
His publicist has commented on the arrest: “They were protesting the violence committed by the government of Sudan on its own innocent men, women and children. They were demanding they allow humanitarian aid into the country before it becomes the largest humanitarian crisis in the world.”
Take Action tell your Representative to support new Sudan legislation. National Day of Action for #Sudan: Today, George Clooney was arrested while protesting Sudan’s atrocities at the Sudanese Embassy in Washington D.C.
The rally’s over, but there’s still more work to be done. If you haven’t already, text SUDAN to 30644 to receive our mobile action alerts, and sign our petition to ask your representatives to support legislation for Sudan.

Above George Clooney and His Father Arrested Outside Sudanese Embassy

According to ENOUGHPROJECT.ORG “months of military attacks by the Government of Sudan on their own people have prevented crop production, causing near-famine conditions. The attacks themselves continue to kill, injure, displace and terrorize innocent civilians while the international community continues to stand by.”
On March 7, Rep. Jim McGovern introduced the Sudan Peace, Security, and Accountability Act of 2012. It’s a strong piece of legislation that needs your support to get passed.
“We’re calling on the United States and world leaders to stop the violence and prevent hundreds of thousands of people from starving.”

Photos by ENOUGHPROJECT.ORG
What do you think about his arrest?
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Reese Witherspoon on explaining domestic abuse to children

HollywoodNews.com: Reese Witherspoon was recently at the 2nd World Conference of Women’s Shelters in Washington, D.C. and opened up about the topic of domestic violence being something she thinks is important to discuss with children.
Witherspoon recently opened up about how she discusses the heavy topic with her own two children, states Hollyscoop. “Although the concept is somewhat foreign to them, they’re starting to understand that this happens to families in our country and all throughout the world,” Witherspoon commented.
She also revealed that her children also know about the Rihanna and Chris Brown domestic violence matter because she thinks conversations about this are important: “I think it’s important to talk to our daughters – and our sons – in order to educate them at an early age about what’s appropriate and what is absolutely not acceptable.”
Do you like her parenting style?
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Khloe Kardashian now dealing with Lamar Odom rumors

HollywoodNews.com: Khloe Kardashian has been dealing with some drama this week in regard to rumors about whether or not Robert Kardashian is really her father, but now she is dealing with some new rumors about her husband, Lamar Odom.
It is now being rumored that Odom hit up a strip club while recently in Washington D.C. and had quite a bit of fun, states RadarOnline.com. He was reportedly at Stadium strip club where he even allegedly got a private dance from one stripper.
And Khloe might want to watch out because people were reportedly tweeting about it while Odom was reportedly there: “Lamar Odom at stadium n dc ACTING BAD @KhloeKardashian,” one person wrote.
Do you think their marriage is doing well?
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Justin Timberlake’s Marine Corps ball date is tonight

HollywoodNews.com: Justin Timberlake better get his best suit out as he is about to head off to the Marine Corps ball.
Timberlake’s event in Washington D.C. is all set for tonight as he will be attending with Corporal Kelsey De Santis, states Starpulse. And while it’s unknown just how the night will go, the whole thing might end up in a dance-off.
“They know all about my skills… but I honestly don’t think he’ll be able to keep up with the group of people that I have,” De Santis said about a possible dance-off.
Are you jealous she gets a date with Timberlake?
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NBC, CBS, and ABC Set for MLK Memorial Special

HollywoodNews.com: The big Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial dedication is fast coming upon us. NBC, CBS, ABC but not Fox, I am told, are going to cover the historic concert on the Washington DC mall on August 28th.
Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, and Jennifer Hudson are lined up for the show, with Brian Williams and Tom Brokaw said to be involved. (I’m sure anchors from the other nets will get into the act.) George Lucas and Jamie Foxx are also part of the proceedings. The show begins at 11am and ends around 3pm.
The August 28th concert is the culmination of several days of events in Washington for this important moment. It’s the first time a memorial has been dedicated in Washington to anyone other than a president. Frankly it’s about time.
You can see the schedule at http://washington.org/visiting/experience-dc/mlk-memorial. I’m told another concert, set for Thursday, August 25th, will be just as star studded, with names like Patti Labelle and the Isley Brothers being bandied about.
Organizers are also reaching out to Sting, Bruce Springsteen, Bono and U2, Sam Moore, Gladys Knight, and possibly Tony Bennett, who was close to Dr. King. No word yet on whether Oprah Winfrey will get involved. She’s said to be currently cruising the Mediterranean on Barry Diller’s yacht with Diane von Furstenberg, pal Gayle King and Oscar de la Renta.
Photo by PRPhotos
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