Posts by Leslie Gornstein
Well, let's see: Thirty-three willing couples of all types and stripes: Check.
One celebrity who was recently authorized by the state of California to perform marriages for a tiny window of time: Check.
Marriage licenses signed by the above: Check.
Entertainment, including, you know, your typical wedding singers like Macklemore and Madonna: Check.
All of the marital love you saw last night — gay, straight, etc. — was 100 percent out, proud, and real.
"I look forward to the day when presiding over a historic wedding ceremony like this is just the norm," Latifah told reporters backstage at the awards show. "To me, it was special to all the couples we married today and I look forward to dashing off to go sign their marriage certificates. It's awesome.
"I had to get sworn in as a commissioner for the state of California, so I'm not an ordained minister like I said, but I'm a commissioner," she added. "So you can call me the commish — Queen Commish!"
Latifah's status as a wedding officiate expired at midnight, so if you're hoping to have her at your own ceremony: Sorry.
Rumors are rampant that the Captain and Tennille getting a divorce because of changes in health care laws. Did health insurance play a part in their split? Herein lies a greatlesson in how rumors get spun: Indeed, Toni Tennille, 73, has filed for divorce from Daryl Dragon, 71, in their home state of Arizona. Yes, within the packet of documents pertaining to their split is a notice dealing with health care. But, despite what TMZ and other gossip sites have implied, the mention of health care does not appear within the divorcing filing itself. Let me repeat that: There is no mention, at all, of health insurance or care listed as a reason for the split. “The parties’ marriage is irretrievably broken [and] there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation,” the petition says. So how did this rumor get started? Well, you can blame a health-care-related notice attached to the official record of the split. “WARNING,” the document states, “THIS IS AN IMPORTANT LEGAL NOTICE. YOUR RIGHTS TO HEALTH INSURANCE COULD BE AFFECTED AFTER YOUR DIVORCE IS FINAL.” The document then goes on to, rather loudly, outline how health insurance coverage can change after a split: “WHAT INSURANCE COVERAGE APPLIES TO YOU, AND HOW TO GET IT.” But, does that sound like something that came from Tennille or any of the Captain’s crew? Of course not.
A: Not massive: Ginormous. We're talking 14 tracks and 17 videos shot in cities ranging from Paris to New York to Sydney to Rio de Janeiro to Houston.
Let's also remember that guests include some of the biggest loudmouths in music aside from Kanye West: husband Jay Z, natch, and Drake among them.
To be fair, fans have known for months that Bey was recording new material. People who follow Yoncy closely even knew that singer-songwriter Sia Furler had penned a tune for it, and that Pharrell Williams was also involved.
"There has been talk of this for the past year,” says Todd Hensley, president of Hits magazine.
But what no one knew was the when of the thing: That "Beyoncé" would suddenly drop at, of all times, at midnight on a Friday morning. This Friday morning.
Q: Why did Britney Spears's latest album, "Britney Jean," perform so terribly? Has she lost her mojo in a Miley- and Gaga-obsessed world?
A: In fairness, Spears did score the only debut in this week's Top 10, and she's having to compete with the "Duck Dynasty" people, who have the Lord on their side. But nobody is calling "Britney Jean" a success. The album debuted on the Billboard charts at No. 4, Spears's lowest bow, like, ever, y'all. Initial sales of 107,000 copies fell below even the most modest industry predictions of 115,000 to 120,000 units. In contrast, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, and Miley Cyrus all had more robust album debuts this year.
Why all the meh surrounding "Britney Jean"?
Well, you can start with the music itself. The album's first single, "Work B---h," is fairly catchy, but the companion video fails to showcase Spears's onetime trademark, her dancing. The track failed make it into the Top 10 of Billboard’s Pop Songs airplay chart. It also had the shortest run on that list of any first single from the singer's albums.
Leslie Gornstein at Our Country 2 yrs ago
A: The Oklahoma-based musician may have given us nothing between 2001 and 2009, and he may have limited his distribution to a single store — Walmart — but demand for the singer’s twang remains almost as insane as it was during his pre-Chris Gaines days.
The new set, which includes six CDs and two DVDs for a modest $25, has debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts, trouncing Britney Spears’s disappointing "Britney Jean" as well as the latest efforts from One Direction and Kelly Clarkson.
In its first week, "Blame It All On My Roots: Five Decades" of Influences sold nearly 150,000 copies. And the insanity is just starting. ("It's a really popular item online right now, so be patient if you're trying to pick it up today," the understated Oklahoma-based entertainment blogger Brandy McDonnell wrote late last month.)
Indeed, Brooks has announced a world tour for 2014 — his first since 2000.
Burning Question: Beastie Boys vs. Cute Viral Video — Who Really Has Upper Hand in Legal Battle (and Does It Matter Any More)?
Q: Who's right in the dogfight between the Beastie Boys and toy company Goldiblox? Were the Beastie Boys ripped off when GoldieBlox releasedits viral video, or was the toy company right to preemptively sue the rap group and claim that the whole thing is protected parody speech?
A: The two surviving Beastie Boys may want their dippy ode to misogyny to remain in the sphere of protected copyright, but if this scrum ever goes to court, the rappers are likely to get knocked down faster than that Rube Goldberg contraption we saw in the Goldiblox video.
Yes, the video is clearly aimed at selling something. And yes, the Beasties have a long history of refusing to let their songs be used to sell anything. But just because you're selling something doesn't automatically make what GoldieBlox did illegal, or even immoral.
Welcome to the field of fair use law, where what you say matters almost as much as how you say it.
So this whole battle could be moot, if the Beasties agree to play nice.
Q: Miley Cyrus has announced Icona Pop as the opening act for her Bangerz tour. Will this equal fame and fortune for the Swedish duo?
But quite possibly not.
This question assumes that the baby act is even getting paid for the privilege of getting the kids all turnt up for Miley and her super-feminist, extra-nekkid twerking jamboree. Some acts don’t get paid anything. Other singers, I’ve been told by managers and similar people who would know, actually have to pay for the privilege of being an opening act. One young woman, in fact, paid $31,000 to open for a rising British pop group last year.
That said, some big touring acts do pay their openers nominal fees; in the country world, for example, an agent tells me that a lucky baby country star may bring in $3,500 a show. (In comparison, bear in mind that a major star can earn a five figures per concert, easily.) The opening act also gets to sell merch and albums at the concerts, but basic expenses, such as transportation and hotels, aren't covered.
Is Miley Cyrus's sudden image makeover a total failure, or evil genius?
It does seem odd that so many people are picking on Cyrus. Sure, Rihanna, Britney Spears and other singers have caught flak as they morphed from teenyboppers to adults. Even old-timey teen idols like David Cassidy struggled to grow up while keeping the young audiences they worked so hard to build.
But none of those folks faced the solid, relentless mockery that followed Cyrus's painfully awkward performance at the MTV Video Music Awards last month. Her whole transition, from baby-faced wig aficionado to a molly enthusiast who makes out naked with construction equipment — it all seems so sudden, so silly, so…clumsy.
"I would have preferred a more gradual transition," says manager Jo-Ann Geffen, who has shepherded the careers of the Commodores, Cassidy, and Joshua Bell. "Clearly, no one is advising her effectively, or she's just not listening."
So why has Cyrus faced so much backlash?
Neither Britney nor RiRi got instant sexiness permits from fans. But their transitions got plenty of help through loud, clear messages: megahits.
Q: Did Miley Cyrus's performance at the MTV Music Video Awards go too far, considering that it was on basic cable and many kids were likely watching?
A: At first I wanted to wave this question away. After all, Cyrus is just the latest celebrity to try her hand at Madonna-style vamping, complete with on-stage pseudo-masturbation and borrowing a faux-taboo cultural phenomenon wholesale from a minority group. Sunday's VMAs performance was more desperation than daring; at times Cyrus seemed to have to remind herself to stick out her tongue as she clomped down a set of stairs.
[RELATED: Miley's VMA Gig Shocks the World]
But child-development experts see things very differently. They argue that Cyrus betrayed and possibly even damaged younger kids who saw the singer's medley.
Q: One Direction is everywhere, from Madam Tussaud's wax museums to the gossip blogs. So does that make them the biggest boy band of all time?
A: You might very well think this is the case, given that the media sees Harry Styles alone as the second coming of Elvis, if Elvis kinda looked like Mick Jagger in his pre-Jerry days. And if you have no idea what I'm talking about, there's a reason: You're probably too young to know this, but there were some huge boy bands before 1D — New Kids on the Block, 'NSync, New Edition, the Jackson 5, the Backstreet Boys. And many have sold more albums than One Direction could even imagine at this point.
Don'tget me wrong. There is nothing wrong with One Direction. Nothing wrong with Harry or Zayn or Zeke or Klem or Curly or Ringo any of those guys. It's just that, according to experts, they're not nearly the biggest of their genre. Not yet.
"Say, Keith, is One Direction the biggest — "