Indie Canadian singer Leslie Feist got all dressed up for the Grammys, then got shut out 0-4 for Best New Artist, Best Female Pop Vocal, Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Short Form Music Video. Depressing enough. But then she had to get up and perform for all the ungrateful LA schlubs who voted against her, and she just wasn't in to it. Can you blame her? Entertainment Weekly wrote, "Feist seems kind of freaked out... She's going for minimal eye contact." One of her fellow Canadians wrote, "maybe she's just isn't ready for that 'major global spotlight." Decide for yourself after the jump.
If we get one more plug from India or Italy or L.A. or some other godforsaken place, plugging the latest Ayurvedic shunt or whatever, cleverly time-stamped for several decades from now, we will set ourselves on fire. We see you hanging there at the top of our date-sorted inbox and we hate you.
Lots of fun and crazy items of interest in Bryan Burrough's December Vanity Fair piece about the ongoing nastiness between Viacom and CBS billionaire Sumner Redstone and his Paramount-owned studio Dreamworks SKG. 82-year-old Redstone, not exactly known for his soothing managerial style (although at least just yesterday he sorta reconciled with his estranged daughter), acquired the "Shrek" studio four years ago. Much to his irritation, we're sure, David Geffen came with the place. The two have been thorns in each other's sides ever since. Here's our bullet-pointed breakdown!
Hollywood's screenwriters—members of the Writers Guild—have authorized a strike in the event they don't reach an agreement with producers by the time their contract expires on Halloween. This means that on November 1, it is possible that the only useful thing about Los Angeles will cease to exist. The issues on the table are all 2.0 things—they're asking for increases in compensation and residuals for new media, including DVDs, as well as set pay schedules for work distributed over the Internet and cellphone—all stuff you kind of thought they would've figured out by now! According to the Times, producers are "not prepared to address new media until their place and value in the entertainment marketplace are better understood." OK, Dad. Let's all pray for a resolution, or we'll be stuck with reruns for God knows how long—the last strike, in 1988, lasted five months.
Should you find yourself (God be with you) working at a Los Angeles talent agency, and should you then have the good sense to quit after one week, try running your "Dear Ari" letter by a sober friend before you send it in. The career you save may be your own. Do note: This advice is applicable to many other places of employment, such as law firms, hedge funds, and Conde Nast. The letter follows.
Renaissance! Promises! Passages! Harmony Place and The Canyon! Malibu, just up the road from the rotting stench that is Hollywood, is a haven of insanely-priced and stupidly-named rehabs. But they don't just not work for Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan—they also don't seem to work for normal people, and they also cost twice as much as, say, Betty Ford.
For no known reason, former L.A. gang girl Leyla Safai has arrived in New York in an ice cream truck named Heartschallenger. "'People think, like, unicorns and hearts, that that somehow translates into, like, optimistic, and I'm like the fucking most hard-core L.A. bitch you'll meet in your life,' Ms. Safai said as she lapped up a Fudgesicle." [NYO]
So, I just got back from a week in California! What a strange land. I didn't see Arnold Schwarzenegger once. But all those things they say about Pinkberry are true! There was a line out the door at the one I went to in L.A., and it was populated by teenagers wearing Penn sweatshirts and carrying Louis Vuitton bags, and talking about when their parents would be out of town. Also, very skinny women saying that the 8 oz. Pinkberry yogurt has 40 grams of sugar! Put down the spoon, lady. I also went for a walk around Brentwood, and came across a first-floor apartment with a large window facing the street. It had several of those cat play-structure things stacked on top of each other. It looked like they took over the whole room! And there was a cat staring at me from the window. WEIRD. But the best part of my trip to California was a conversation I overheard at a Carl's Jr. on Highway 5.
If you've ever wanted to write for the Huffington Post but worry that your late-night liberal ramblings aren't up to their stringent standards, there's good news: You might be able to natter on at will for a California-centric version of that website! An e-mail making the rounds from Liam Gowing, "content producer" for the L.A. Times's forthcoming Calendar Online revamp, explains the crumbling paper's new plan to attract eyeballs: Unpaid content provided by registered users! (Or, as Liam jauntily calls them, "superusers.") Sure, you won't get any money for your contribution to the website, but there are plenty of perks for those willing to post at least five times a month! They'll run your photo and bio, they'll link to your blog or social network page, and new LAT managing editor John Montorio will kill one of your least inflammatory posts each month. This plan rules. Which is to say, really might suck.
New York Times T.V. industry reporter Bill Carter, who we assume is out west, terrorizing the Beverly Hilton at the Television Critics Association gathering, gets a thrashing by Radar today. The angriest man on the T.V. beat either misrecollected or lied to Radar's John Cook when being asked about his friendliness with a major T.V. player, NBC/Uni co-chairman Ben Silverman. Caveats first! A good bit of chumminess isn't surprising on the T.V. beat—these are people who have to talk regularly, sometimes daily, and also sources often mistake or conflate professional interest with personal. (Also? Everyone in L.A. thinks you're their "friend." Gag.) But?
Mickey Kaus takes a break from his endless agitation against the immigration bill to examine the case of L.A.'s reporter-fucking mayor. While Kaus suggests that this is only the tip of the iceberg, we offer Mayor Villaraigosa this bit of encouragement: Rudy Giuliani's second wife was also a member of the media. You're only one wife away from being a viable presidential candidate! [Kausfiles]
"Ask A Mexican," the great OC Weekly column, is now being syndicated in New York by our local New Times paper The Village Voice. Now, according to the City earlier this year, there are 250,000 Mexicans in New York City. (Total undercount, no doubt, but: a blip.) No matter how awesome the column, the syndication is a huge mistake. The Voice doesn't even have a media column any more—but how expensive would it be to start up Ask A Puerto Rican? Rosie Perez and John Leguizamo would totally co-write it for 50 bucks a week. I guess we'd even settle for Ask A Dominican. The smart syndication should be site-specific mutation, yo! Miami can start Ask A Cuban. Chicago can start up Ask A Greasy Pole. Hello? "Prepare to be entertained and pissed off," says Voice editor Tony Ortega in the press release. Really? You think? Border-crossing comedy is a lot less funny this far from the border. Also: L.A. sucks.
When New York and Rolling Stone writer Vanessa Grigoriadis got a boyfriend and went west a few years back, everyone despaired. People were really downright sniffy about it, as they should be. But everyone figured, well, she always did do a lot of yoga, and without that veneer of irony. Maybe some time on the non-smoking coast would do her good! And for the most part it seems like California treated her well. She didn't have that breakdown that looms before us all in the late early 30s. Yet. But you know what happened? Her hot boyfriend got fat. And he didn't care. And then last year she married him anyway. Of course it took the homo publicist in her boyfriend's office to set things right: "'Your boyfriend is getting fat,' he hissed." But any New York homosexual would have headed the fatness off at the pass months or even years earlier. Even the gays are lazily hissy in L.A.
Nicole Richie is so totally going to be the best mom! We sure hope she's pregnant. Joel Madden's fetus would be awesome for her. But crazy Page Six quotes a friend of Nicole's, saying that "Nicole is kind of hoping her pregnancy will keep her out of jail." (She's got a DUI court date finally coming.) OMG Nicole, of course it will! After all, only 1 in 10 women in California prisons are pregnant—and only 300 babies are born a year in California prisons. Why wouldn't it be different for you? Good thing she's probably not going to max security, where they make women give birth while wearing shackles!
Eating For Two [NYP]