And more from our Gossip Girl: NYC hotties on “The Ledge”… Diana’s gowns auctioned — can she match Marilyn?
“IT IS hard to think of Beyonce as an advocate for anything but an ideal of spritzy confidence. She is …. celebrating the pleasure of doing things well and not making a particularly big deal of it. This is a fairly unisex sentiment, if you are listening closely. For those who need a firmer guiding hand, Gaga can push you along.”
That is Sasha Frere-Jones writing in the new issue of The New Yorker, an article comparing pop music’s two current queens, Beyonce and Lady Gaga. Most of what I’ve read about Gaga usually compares her to Madonna, and although the Big M is referenced here (how could she not be?) writer Frere-Jones concentrates on the contrasting styles and influence of Miss Knowles and Lady G.
For as much as I understand modern pop music — not a lot — this is a fascinating read.
Interesting P.S. I was visiting the Sirius radio studio the other day in Manhattan, recording a new show for the wowOwow website with Marlo Thomas and Gloria Steinem. In one of the green rooms (which was actually gray, of course) there was an oversize Rolling Stone cover on the wall, trumpeting a singer named Adele. Two of the very smart young women from wOw, also there, Hilary Black and Emily Gallagher, assured me that Beyonce and Gaga were nothing compared to Adele!
This amused me, because the New Yorker article does mention Adele: “Her career is likely to be long, because she is selling to the demographic that decides American elections: Middle-aged moms who don’t know how to pirate music and will drive to Starbucks when they need to buy it.”
Writer Frere-Jones perhaps underestimates Adele’s appeal.
* * *
THE CINEMA Society and Grey Goose Vodka recently sponsored a screening of the new thriller “The Ledge” in New York City. The latter sponsor’s product was desperately needed after the film ended! “The Ledge” falls into the category of movies that Pauline Kael once described, while reviewing Joseph Losey’s “Secret Ceremony”—“sometimes the nuttier a movie is, the more people want to love it.”
“The Ledge” stars Charlie Hunnam, who has morphed from the beautiful boy in the British version of “Queer as Folk” into a major hunk, Patrick Wilson, also a major looker (who will soon have his own TV series, “A Gifted Man,” on CBS) and Liv Tyler, she of the impossibly imposing pucker. I can tell you almost nothing about the movie, without spoiling it. Be warned, however — have a Grey Goose at the ready as the credits roll! One stunned audience member said, “Maybe it needed a few musical numbers.” (A more coherent script might have helped.) Hunnam and Wilson give compelling performances. Miss Tyler is, as she always is — a bit vague, rather misty. Appealing, but not ready for Eugene O’Neill. It is worth seeing for the actors alone.
The after-party happened at PH-D at the brand-new Dream Downtown Hotel. It’s a gorgeous, open space with a wraparound balcony and breathtaking views of the city. The waitresses were all towering beauties serving turkey sliders, tuna tartar in little ice-cream cones and mountains of shrimp. (One of these girls was a dead ringer for actress Mischa Barton.) There were an alarming number of Paris Hilton lookalikes (don’t they know she is over?) And here’s a fashion note. The de rigueur look for hot men in the hot summer is a tight, white, deep v-necked tee-shirt. Go to the gym before trying this out.
Among the celeb throng: David Schwimmer … Kathleen Turner … Rachel Hunter … Ingrid Sischy … Stephen Baldwin (looking big and healthy) … Sebastian Stan … Billy Connolly … Jake T. Austin and others too traumatized by “The Ledge” to mention.
* * *
OVER IN England, royalists are still fretting that actress Natalie Dormer, who plays the beloved Queen Elizabeth (later the even more beloved Queen Mum) in Madonna’s coming “W.E.” movie will portray this revered figure in a “savage, unflattering manner.” Well, she doesn’t play it that way, although it’s no secret that the Queen Mother was nobody’s fool and a tough cookie. That’s how Dormer handles it.
Nor is Wallis Simpson (played in the movie by Andrea Riseborough) made to appear overly sympathetic — the Brits worry over that, too. But director Madonna does not cast the character as heroine or villain. In life, things are rarely so black and white, as M herself knows.
It all happened 75 years ago. I remember sitting on the floor at home in Texas, listening to the astonishing King Edward VIII say he would give up his throne for “the woman I love.” It did seem kind of dreamy. But England, on the verge of war, has never quite recovered or forgiven the “romantic” abdication of their monarch.
* * *
JUST AS the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (William and Kate to you and me) arrived in Canada to begin their grand progress — which will end in Hollywood — a great big auction happened. The collection of Princess Diana’s gowns, including the famous blue number she wore while dancing with John Travolta, are up for grabs. Diana sold the dresses back in 1997, for charity, wishing to free herself from her “princess image.” Many were bought by Maureen Dunkel, who has taken the dresses on tour over the years. She also set up a foundation in the late Princess of Wales’ name. Now Mrs. Dunkel has filed for bankruptcy. She must part with Diana’s old gowns — many of them fussy, over-elaborate numbers from the excessive 1980’s.
A portion of the money from the sale will go to The National Ballet School of Canada. Mrs. Dunkel feels Di would have approved, being a devotee of the dance. Nice, but some feel the auction has been too closely orchestrated to coincide with the visit of Diana’s son and his bride. Mrs. Dunkel is perhaps angling for a visitation with the man who will be king?
In any case, it will be interesting to see how Diana’s gowns rate. Will any one of them top the record-breaking $4.6 million for Marilyn Monroe’s “Seven Year Itch” dress? These two blonde goddesses have been so closely linked — they fought the system (monarchy for Di, Hollywood for MM) … they were vulnerable, sensitive and more than a bit neurotic … died at the same age in the same hot month of August, under circumstances millions still insist are “mysterious.”
And anything they touched, wore, or owned, is revered like a religious icon.