Liz Smith: Irene Swept In, Movie Theaters Closed — But ‘The Help’ Kept the Box Office Lively

Beyonce: expecting!

And more from our Liz: Beyonce expects … Lady Gaga is a man, baby … Will and Jada and … Marc Anthony? Really?!

“EVERYTHING in nature is lyrical in its ideal essence, tragic in its fate and comic in its existence,” said George Santayana.

* * *

WELL, for those who rode out Hurricane Irene, there was something lyrical (and overpoweringly impressive) in the footage and photos of the roiling seas … tragedy for those two dozen or more who lost their lives and for the thousands who suffered damage to their homes … and even comedy, as people made fools of themselves, pulling down their bathing suits, water skiing as newscasters, trying to do their jobs, were buffeted by the strong winds.

Irene was not the apocalyptic event that so many feared, but it could have been. And although ordering mass evacuation and shutting down all New York City transit has been called “extreme” by some, it is truly better to be safe than sorry. Media hyperbole is what it is. They love to put a good scare into us. And the anchors relish practicing their “look of concern.” Some, like Anderson Cooper, sport a perpetually worried look, and therefore have an edge. Except when Anderson catches a case of the sillies, and giggles uncontrollably like a teenage girl. (Hey, he said it himself.) Many people who were only mildly concerned about Irene were driven to nervous distraction as the coverage of the impending big wind went into overload on all cable and local stations, beginning last Friday. Others stayed calm and read a few good (or divertingly trashy) books.

New York City looked sparkling fresh on Monday morning, and charmingly uncrowded, as many people stayed home. You could really see Manhattan!

* * *

HURRICANE Irene might have put the kibosh on travel and fun for the weekend, but what couldn’t it stop? Not even Irene pulled “The Help” from its top spot at the box office, despite the fact that many theaters on the East coast were closed.

“The Help” pulled in $14 million, clobbering all competition, including Paul Rudd’s “Our Idiot Brother.”  “The Help” is as great a force of nature as Irene — greater, even.

* * *

BEYONCE is not only talented and gorgeous and rich—she is one smart and savvy cookie.

The pop goddess revealed her pregnancy news (her first child, with hubby Jay-Z) on the red carpet at Sunday night’s MTV Video Music Awards. She even showed off an already rounded tummy. This was clever on several levels. She neatly hijacked the evening’s news, and also ensured there would be no future intrusive paparazzi frenzy, with everybody trying to get the “first baby bump shot.” Beyonce gave it away to all. No exclusives, no ugly scenes for her.

I did tune in to the VMAs to catch Lady Gaga’s opening number. By now we all know she ain’t coming out in a simple evening gown and, you know, just sing. It is always a spectacle.

But when she appeared onstage in drag, at first I thought it was Lily Tomlin, in character as male lounge singer Johnny Velour. But it was indeed Gaga, as her own male alter-ego, Joe Calderone. She sang “You and I” and sounded great, of course. (Though a younger, modern-music-savvy friend of mine pronounced Gaga’s vocal performance as “over-the-top, unfeeling theatrics.”) I prefer Lady G. as a woman, but that’s just me.

Still, Joe was more palatable, actually, than Gaga when she appeared as a walking butcher shop (the infamous “meat dress.”) I noticed when Joe C. turned up later, to present Britney Spears with an award, Miss Spears seemed less comfortable than, say, when she was kissing Madonna onstage. But Britney’s been through a lot. Maybe Joe was just too aggressive for her?

The only other thing I saw on the VMAs was Adele. She has a splendid voice, but does an awful lot of distracting business with her hands. But, so did Judy Garland —especially when she was dieting — so to each her own gesticulating.

* * *

THE ONLY “showbiz” news that caught my attention over the weekend were the stories emanating from In Touch magazine that Will Smith and his Jada were separating because Jada had fallen for Jennifer Lopez’s ex, Marc Anthony.

Within seconds, it seemed, Mr. and Mrs. Smith were out in Hollywood, having a happy-looking breakfast together, and of course denying In Touch’s tale.

The magazine covered itself with its final assessment: “Will and Jada may very well choose to work things out for the sake of their children.”

* * *

SHIA LaBeouf’s press reps were working overtime on the weekend as well. Rumors emanating from the respected rumor mills of Life & Style magazine and the UK’s Mirror tabloid insist the young actor had a “public meltdown” after an altercation with rocker Marilyn Manson at an L.A. event.

I think Mr. LaBeouf is a victim of some past wild-boy behavior, and the fact that he has grown a rather scruffy beard. (Gossip-lovers always interpret sudden facial hair as a sign of distress.) And that he left an event early, rather than staying and jawing with the showbiz types he never jaws with anyway.

I like Shia, even in his “Transformers” movies, which hardly show off his acting chops. So, yes, I want to give him the benefit of the doubt.


12 Responses so far.

  1. avatar Count Snarkula says:

    Well, Liz, here I go again. Gaga’s male character is “Jo”, not “Joe” with an E. Learned my lesson from the last Streisand time. Nobody died spelling that character with an “E”. I’ll just be quiet now.

    Glad you are giving the LeBeouf kid a pass. You are one of the few. The Count has many friends in the film business in Hollywood. The Count can say you are one of the few that give him a pass. The stories I hear. Really, awful stories. But then again Liz, isn’t that what always happens with big talent who “dares” to not conform and be “grateful and complacent” when they first come into celebrity? Speaking of Streisand…
    I have not heard one good thing about him, horrible stories, but I, like you, am so intrigued with the talent, let’s sit back and see what he will do/become.

    So glad that Irene decided to give you and NYC a veritable pass. As soon as I know that Mr. Wow and B are OK, I will let it all go.

    XOXO – The Count

    • avatar Baby Snooks says:

      Irene just the same flooded parts of Lower Manhattan and while it may not have been much water in some eyes, it was enough in other eyes to indicate that in a worse storm Lower Manhattan could quickly resemble one of the Lower Wards in New Orleans.

      Seems some New Yorkers are now complaining about being “inconvenienced” while millions of others including quite a few in their own state are still dealing with rising floodwaters. Not the best picture of New Yorkers to present. But the one being presented just the same. 

      And now Katia.  As those of us who live along the Gulf Coast learned a long time ago, hurricanes are completely unpredicatable.  Those who don’t take them seriously often end up having to. Too late I might add. As the predicted 10 foot storm surge suddenly has become a 25 foot storm surge. And tropical storms the same. As Houstonians found out with Alison which dumped over 30 inches of rain in two days. I doubt Upper Manhattan would survive that much rain let alone Lower Manhattan. And instead of complaining about being “inconvenienced” New Yorkers should be thankful that they got a pass and think more about those who didn’t and realize that next time they may not be so lucky.

      And where IS Mr. Wow? 

      • avatar LandofLove says:

        You’re absolutely correct, Baby Snooks.

        Mr. wOw, please check in with your worried fans! 

  2. avatar Belinda Joy says:

    I find it quite interesting (and eye opening for me to realize I can be a hypocrite) to see how many people were so happy to hear Will and Jada had supposedly split. “I knew they weren’t going to make it…..all that talk about how they would never divorce….ha!”  It was really ugly to hear people rooting for the demise of a relationship. I have always loved Jada and Will and respected their decision to vow to stay together no matter what….I respect that. In this day and age of couples divorcing at the drop of a dime, I really do appreciate their commitment to one another.
    And yet I don’t allow the same courtesy to Angelina and Brad Pitt. I would rejoice to hear they have split. I truly respect Brad because of all of his philanthropic activities. Yet the way he cheated on his famous ex and rode off into the sunset with Angelina…..nope, there are only a handful of cheaters I would wish the best for. Top on that list is Bill and Hillary Clinton. For some reason I believe there is not only real love there, but I think they genuinely “like” one another. I want the best for them. But Brad and Angelina…..if they break up tomorrow I will feel there is justice somewhere.  

    • avatar TheTexasMom says:

      Belinda, at least you can admit you are a hypocrite.  However you may feel about Brad and Angelina (and I do not agree) how can you cheer for the break-up of a family?  At my last count there were 6 kids involved.  Would you rather be “right” and say I told you so than have the children in an intact, loving family?

      To each his or her own.

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Dear Belinda…

      Not your best moment, honey, hoping for the breakup of a relationship that is now quite a few years down the road and involves many children. 

      For heaven’s sake–I will crib from Count S’s remarks on Shia.  I have not heard a lot of great things about Will and Jada, nor do I personally admire the pimping out of their two vastly untalented children.   That said, they are married and surely have an understanding–a “commitment.”   And affection between them.  I am certain they love their kids, despite putting them in show biz.

      Just because a relationship (Brad and Angie) began in scandal and unhappiness, doesn’t mean everybody involved hasn’t felt bad, apologized, and gotten over it.  

      Don’t wish for a “justice” that means unhappiness for many people. 

      Mr. W.

  3. avatar Aline says:

    I do not get all the hype over Beyonce. Yes, she is a very pretty woman. But listening to her “singing” is extremely nerve wracking. And listening to her speak, not enunciating her words, is bothersome.

  4. avatar Paul Smith says:

    New Yorkers don’t take to being beaten into submission. They know when they’ve been had. All the Chicken Littles that filled the news should be fired. And a few others too. Political capital had at the expense of all. A hurricane of “historic proportion” indeed.

    • avatar Count Snarkula says:

      @Paul – The hurricane in Houston that Baby Snooks referenced had another deadly side effect. In at least one underground parking garage, people were trapped and drown in the elevators as the lower levels flooded. Sorry you were inconvenienced, but image what kind of horror might have befallen people in the subway should it have flooded. Glad you are safe ! ! !

  5. avatar Liz Smith says:

    Dear Count…

    Thank you so much.

    This is serious business.  I mean, What if I left the O out of your name?  


    • avatar Count Snarkula says:

      Dear Liz:

      HA! You would not be the first. Thank you so much for the huge belly laugh. Needed since today was my first day back from vacation, and it would appear that unless I am on the premises, nobody feels the need to actually produce work. Bet their scores on “Bejeweled” went up though. But what the hell, its hard to get upset with anyone on day 75 of 100 plus degrees. Initiative is at an all time low.

      Thanks again. I treasure you.

      XOXO – The COunt.