Monday, January 31, 2011

Colin Firth, Natalie Portman & The King's Speech Triumph at 2011 SAG Awards

Natalie Portman, Colin Firth and the cast of The King's Speech took the top prizes at the 2011 Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday.

Firth won Best Actor for his role in the British monarchy drama, which also took the prize for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.

Meanwhile, Portman claimed the Best Actress award for her performance in Darren Aronofsky's ballet drama Black Swan.

The Fighter was also a big winner, with castmates Christian Bale and Melissa Leo earning honors for Best Supporting Actor and Actress respectively.

Elsewhere, Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire), Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife), Alec Baldwin (30 Rock), Betty White (Hot In Cleveland) and the casts of Boardwalk Empire and Modern Family were the big winners in the TV categories.

A lifetime achievement award was also handed to beloved American actor Ernest Borgnine, who turned 94 on Monday.

The full list of winners at the 17th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards is as follows:

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture: The King's Speech
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role: Colin Firth - The King's Speech
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role: Natalie Portman - Black Swan
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role: Christian Bale - The Fighter
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role: Melissa Leo - The Fighter
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries: Al Pacino - You Don't Know Jack
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries: Claire Danes - Temple Grandin
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series: Steve Buscemi - Boardwalk Empire
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series: Julianna Margulies - The Good Wife
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series: Alec Baldwin - 30 Rock
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series: Betty White - Hot In Cleveland
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series: Boardwalk Empire
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series: Modern Family

Friday, January 28, 2011

Lady Gaga Releases Full Lyrics to Forthcoming Single 'Born This Way'

Lady Gaga memorably sang a couple bars from her forthcoming, and much-anticipated single “Born This Way” at last fall’s MTV Video Music Awards and released album art. Now she’s giving up everything but the actual song itself, as pop’s reigning queen released the song’s full lyrics via a Tweet.

Based on what she released—and as expected—the song is very empowerment focused, with the first verse going, “My mama told me when I was young / We were all born superstars.” Hello, yes we were! A few bars later, the chorus really drives home her point: “I’m beautiful in my way / ‘Cause God makes no mistakes / I’m on the right track baby / I was born this way.”

Basically, she’s saying: Make no apologies, be who you are, don’t be ashamed of whatever/whoever that is!

Elton John told Entertainment Weekly earlier this year: “‘Born This Way’…will completely get rid of Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I Will Survive.’ This is the new ‘I Will Survive.’ That was the gay anthem. This is the new gay anthem.

Actually, it’s not a gay anthem—it can apply to anybody.” Based on what’s here, that’s certainly true—gays and straights alike will most certainly love this.

Now we just need to hear the actual song! But we won’t hear it until February 13th, the same day as the Grammys, which will feature a performance by Gaga.

In the Tweet, Lady Gaga also revealed the song’s credits. ‘Born This Way’ was written by Lady Gaga; produced by Lady Gaga, Fernando Garibay, and DJ White Shadow; and mixed and engineered by David Russel.
Here are at Gaga’s full lyrics to Born This Way:


It doesn’t matter if you love him, or capital H-I-M
Just put your paws up
’cause you were Born This Way, Baby




















A GQ Interview: The Last Temptation of Ted

When the reverend Ted Haggard was outed four years ago, it was in a ball of biblical hellfire—crystal meth! Gay sex! Unholy massages! Banished from the church he founded, he was forced to wander the Arizona desert selling insurance. Now Pastor Ted returns with his wife by his side, a new church, and a more open theology. Is he chastened? Somewhat. Straight? Hmm. Ready for a second coming? Well, here's the complete interview by Kevin Roose from the latest issue of GQ.

It takes only a couple of minutes from the moment we enter the gas station for someone to recognize him. A biker in a leather jacket and a black knit cap spots him as he approaches the register, does a quick double take, and then comes over to ask the same question everyone asks.

"Pastor Ted! How you been?"

"Doing well! Doing well!" Ted says, shaking the stranger's hand. "I can't see who you are under there. What's your name?"

The biker lifts his hat, introduces himself as Robert. He used to listen to Ted preach at New Life years ago, he says, back before everything happened.

"Well, it's good to see you, Robert! Thank you for saying hello."

"I hope everything works out for you."

"Thank you!" Ted says, flashing his toothy, rectangular smile. "You know one of the advantages of my story? It can't get worse!"

Ted turns back to the cashier, twenty-ounce Mountain Dew in his hand.

"Are people being friendly to you today?" he asks her. Her face flushes as it all becomes clear; she nods.

"Great to hear!" Ted says, and bounds into the bright October day.

Ted likes it here in Colorado Springs, the place where he served for twenty-two years as pastor of New Life Church, a congregation with 10,000 members and a Six Flags–sized campus on the north side of town. He doesn't go there anymore, of course. But he's constantly bumping into former parishioners like Robert, and he enjoys telling them about his comeback—that four years after the scandal that destroyed his career, made him a national punch line, and got him temporarily banished from the state, he's moved back home, kept his family together, and started a new church. It feels good to be here, he says, to show the cynics a real-life resurrection.

He founded the new church, St. James, last summer, naming it after the apostle who said, "Faith without works is dead." The purpose of the church, Ted announced to a small cluster of reporters assembled in his yard, would be to help others struggling through their seasons of crisis. "I don't judge people anymore. I know life happens to everybody. Sometimes it's self-imposed, other times it's imposed from the outside," he said. "But I think we're qualified to hold people's hands when they go through that."

The question of whether Ted is in a position to help others—whether he should be helping others—isn't an easy one, even for some of his friends and advisers. "What happened four years ago was a violation," Glenn Packiam, a New Life executive pastor, said when we spoke on the phone last fall. Packiam still considers the Haggards friends, but when I asked if he thought Ted should be back in the ministry, he was careful. "Every person has to discern for themselves whether they can trust him again," he said.

In Ted's mind, though, he's never been more capable, more called, than he is now. He has walked through the fire and emerged with family and faith restored. He's "less broken now," he says, more whole, spiritually and psychologically. This may be true. But "less broken" doesn't necessarily equal "redeemed." And what he's working to repair may not be the sort of thing that can be fixed.

Last spring, Ted's eldest son, Marcus, approached me at a conference where I was speaking about a book I wrote on my semester undercover at the Reverend Jerry Falwell's Liberty University. Marcus surprised me when he suggested that I should talk to his dad: "He almost wrote your book."

Marcus explained that as a teenager, Ted had written for his school paper and hoped to become a journalist. He was accepted to a few college journalism programs, but his dad, a midlife evangelical convert, offered to buy him a brand-new Pontiac LeMans—blue coupe, tan leather seats—if he went to Oral Roberts University instead.

Ted wasn't thrilled about attending school with the Jesus crowd, but a car is a car, so he came up with a plan: He would go to Christian college and write an insider exposé. All of which means, in essence, that Ted and I have one very strange thing in common, and that he would have scooped me by thirty-five years had the Holy Spirit not called him to the ministry after a late-night prayer session in the parking lot outside his sophomore dorm.

A few months later, I called Ted to ask if he would be open to letting me meet with him. He was wary, but after consulting Gayle, his wife of thirty-two years and the closest thing he has to a publicist, he agreed to let me visit. It wasn't until I arrived in Colorado Springs that Ted called to say that plans had changed, that he was going on an overnight camping trip with Elliott and Jonathan, two of his other sons, and that instead of meeting at his home, would I maybe want to tag along?

Ted is a goofily handsome man with sandy-colored hair that he parts on the side like a 1950s school principal. Even when he's the loudest in the room, as is often the case, he's good at creating a quick intimacy, addressing you by name and readily poking fun at himself.

"Kevin, you just have to promise to write about my dashing style," he jokes as we load up the car, glancing down at his too-big New York Giants hoodie and dad jeans.

I follow the Haggards' white Escalade in my rental for two hours, past Eleven Mile Canyon to a lush hilltop clearing overlooking a wide valley.

Almost as soon as we're out of the car, Ted sets out in search of a cell signal. Even though he goes to the mountains several times a month—and even though his phone has software that allows Gayle to track his movements via GPS—he wants to check in, make sure she knows exactly where we are.

"It's my responsibility to rebuild trust," he explains, "since I'm the one who screwed up." Ted talks about the scandal freely, whether asked about it or not, which first seems like the by-product of four years of intensive therapy but may also be a canny way to control the narrative, to preempt others' suspicions and doubts.

When we get back to the campsite, Elliott has already built a fire and raided the cooler Gayle packed. Jonathan, a slight, scraggly-bearded 23-year-old with a developmental disability, piles logs on the ground as he slowly sounds out "fa-ther son camp-out."

Taking in the night, Ted lets out an almost comically long, satisfied sigh. "Our lives have returned to normal," he declares, sliding a marshmallow onto a skewer. "We're starting to do the things we did before, because we're getting a grip on life again."

Elliott, a high school junior with moppish hair and the quiet confidence of a cool-crowd kid, rolls his eyes in a Dad, come onnnnn way. "I don't think our family has a normal anymore," he says.

"Yeah," Ted says, laughing. "It's a pretty dynamic situation."

The air is colder up here than in Colorado Springs, and we huddle around the fire as Ted delivers a series of autobiographical mini-sermons about his childhood in rural Indiana and his time at Oral Roberts. He loved school, even though he now realizes "it was where I was taught that I could pray through my issues instead of getting real help." He tears up talking about this stuff, though he says everything makes him cry these days.

"I cried when the Chilean miners got rescued. I cry when I watch Undercover Boss. I cry at anything that shows people being people. I'm a wreck."

I'd hoped to ask Ted about the new church, but after the kids go to sleep in the Escalade (too cold for tents, they decide), his mood darkens, and for the next few hours, as the fire burns down to nearly nothing, he bitterly runs through everything we all have wrong about him.

He says that despite popular perception, he was never a right-wing power broker in the vein of Jerry Falwell. His reported weekly chats with George W. Bush were usually just briefings with low-level White House staff. He was never a homophobe, either, he says, and though he supported a 2006 amendment outlawing gay marriage in Colorado, he was also in favor of a ballot measure that would have extended domestic-partner benefits to same-sex couples.

When I start to ask about Mike Jones, the escort who exposed him, he cuts me off.

"We never had sex sex," he says, glancing at the car to make sure that Elliott and Jonathan are asleep. "I bought drugs and a massage from him, and he masturbated me at the end of it. That's it."

But Ted's true sore spot, the thing that drains the life from his voice, is the way he and Gayle were treated by their church in the wake of the scandal. "Here I was, feeling like I'd wasted my life," Ted says. "And they just sent me away."

When Ted resigned from New Life, a board of church-appointed overseers presented him with a separation agreement that required him to cut off all contact with members of the church, stay away from the media, perform no ministry-related work, and move his family out of Colorado. As severance, the church would provide fourteen months' salary for him and Gayle (about $200,000) and assorted other benefits. Ted obediently signed the agreement, but he now believes it was excessively harsh treatment for a family in the midst of a major crisis—especially since, well, isn't providing mercy for sinners sort of the entire point of Christianity?

"I used to think the church was the light of the world," Ted says. "But I've completely lost my faith in it."

Ted's complaints about New Life are old news to anyone who's been following his saga, but tonight, when I ask him if he really means to say completely, he stops and looks at the sky already starting to lighten.

"You've got to understand, Kevin, people are, at their cores, hateful," he says, rising to stamp out the fire's embers and go to bed. "I don't want to believe that, but the facts have prevailed over my idealism."

Ted Haggard has always been a different kind of pastor. When he started New Life in his basement in 1985, he preferred jeans and untucked oxfords to the dark suits and conservative ties of his peers. As the church grew into one of the nation's largest congregations and Ted became president of the 30-million-member National Association of Evangelicals, he broke from the religious right on many of its core axioms.

He was no progressive—he used to say that his only disagreement with George W. Bush was over his choice of pickup truck. (Ted drove a Chevy; Bush was a Ford man.) But he believed in environmentalism, didn't subscribe to young-earth creationism or Left Behind rapture theology, and thought good Christians should read books by Thomas Friedman and Malcolm Gladwell in addition to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

Still, even the skeptics were dumbfounded when, on the eve of the 2006 midterm elections, a Denver television station aired an interview with Mike Jones, revealing that Ted, under the alias "Art from Kansas City," had purchased sex from him and that he'd helped Ted buy crystal meth, over the course of a three-year affair.

Ted initially denied having met Jones, but a few days later he confessed that he was, in fact, Art from Kansas City. In his resignation letter to New Life, he wrote: "The fact is, I am guilty of sexual immorality, and I take responsibility for the entire problem. I am a deceiver and a liar."

Soon after Ted signed the separation agreement, the Haggards began their exile in Phoenix, where Ted took a job as a door-to-door insurance salesman. He attended therapy sessions in which a counselor used a technique called eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) to trace Ted's same-sex urges to having been molested by one of his father's employees at age 7. After just three weeks of EMDR, a member of Ted's advisory committee told The Denver Post that Pastor Ted was "completely heterosexual."

It was the sort of easily mocked, over-the-top statement that Ted might make, but he himself never actually put it in those terms. Ted has been vague about his sexuality since moving back to Colorado Springs in 2008. He says that he still believes the Bible is clear that "homosexuality is not God's best plan for people," but his stance on the issue has softened to the point of near incomprehensibility. After the camping trip, when I asked him about the wording he once used to describe his same-sex urges—in 2006 he wrote in a letter to New Life's congregation that he was warring with a "repulsive and dark" part of himself—he backtracked, saying he never meant it that way. "There's nothing repulsive to me about that world, but it's not a temptation anymore."

When we get back from the mountains, I drive up to Denver to visit Mike Jones. Jones, a soft-spoken inverted triangle of a man, chuckles at the idea of Ted's temptation-free heterosexual existence. "He can call it whatever he wants," he says, "but... please." In Jones's 2007 tell-all, I Had to Say Something, he describes drug-fueled porn-watching sessions, fumbling attempts at oral sex, and an occasion on which Art from Kansas City paid him to have sex with another man while he watched. Jones was once proud of exposing a conservative hypocrite, but as he shows me around his modest one-bedroom apartment, he tells me that he's had trouble keeping a steady job since the scandal and that when potential boyfriends Google him, they mostly flee in horror.

"I wouldn't do it again," he says. "It's ruined my life, too."

What bothers Jones most is that Ted is again serving as a pastor and an influencer, putting the people who trust him—especially young men—in danger. Two years ago, a New Life volunteer named Grant Haas revealed that Ted had masturbated in front of him and offered him drugs on a church trip in 2006, when he was 22, and that New Life subsequently paid him $179,000 to keep quiet. New Life later confirmed having paid Haas but insisted that it wasn't meant as hush money. (Ted denies the drug offer but admits that he masturbated in the room they shared. "I thought he was asleep," he says.)

New Life won't comment on the Haggard era, but Haas tells me over the phone that what happened with him and Mike Jones wasn't the end of it, that Ted's tenure at New Life was marked by an atmosphere of sexual impropriety. Haas has forgiven Ted, but he shares another incident, of being invited with a friend to skinny-dip in Ted's pool while Gayle was away. He also recalls Ted showing him a photo of a group of naked men from New Life's youth program standing in his office, covering themselves with books. "Everything at that church was sexualized," Haas says.

When I asked Ted about these claims at the campfire, he responded angrily, reiterating that he'd never had sexual contact with anyone except his wife and Mike Jones. "And that's exactly why I haven't done youth programs at St. James," he said, "because here I was trying to help these guys, and now I've got people calling me a pedophile." Later he tells me about the four polygraph tests proving his innocence and predicts that he'll be vindicated in the end: "Grant Haas will end up publicly repenting, Mike Jones will end up publicly repenting, and the overseers will end up publicly repenting, just like I did."

Ted may be telling the truth, but his peculiar brand of self-victimization and protestation—in which every "I messed up" is followed by a "but... "—makes it hard for people in Colorado Springs to believe that he's actually sorry for what he did. One former New Life member expressed what seems to be the general sentiment surrounding his resurgence: "I think Ted genuinely loves God, and I think he has a sincere interest in helping people, but I don't believe a word that comes out of his mouth."

On Sunday morning at eight fifteen, two days after we return from camping, Ted hitches a trailer loaded with a wooden pulpit and folding chairs to the back of the Escalade and sets off for Timberview Middle School.

Four months after its founding, St. James is growing but remains for the moment a spartan operation in Timberview's cafeteria, with a small congregation of 200-odd "saints" who mill around before services stirring powdered creamer into cups of lukewarm coffee.

At ten, a guitarist plays a few stripped-down worship songs, and Ted rises from his folding chair beside Gayle and Jonathan to deliver his sermon. He paces the floor, adjusting the stage mike wrapped around his ear.

"In the evangelical movement, we've said to people that differ from us: "We want to convert you." And what that means is, 'We want you to adopt the things that we believe. Then you can be like us, and we will have won a convert.' "

"I would suggest that St. James try a different methodology. I would suggest that we try the idea of: 'We have read our Bibles. We have prayed and been spirit-filled. So our purpose is to make life easier for other people around us no matter what their theology is; no matter what their race, color, creed, or sexual orientation.' Those things are not the primary issue as far as we're concerned, because our concern is to be Jesus for them."

Ted is a good preacher, maybe even a great one, with boundless energy and an aw-shucks affect he perfected over two decades in New Life's pulpit. He literally wrote the book on encouraging member participation in churches (1998's The Life-Giving Church), and one of his favorite techniques is to stop midsentence and ask his parishioners for help, in the manner of a kids' television show host—does that make sense? I'm not even sure I'm making sense up here!—before surprising them with a perfect, wrenching bit of clarity.

After the final amen, I strike up a conversation with Wing, Guy, and Art, three parishioners who come every week to stock up on Ted's encouragement. Wing was evicted from his house after falling behind on payments, and he's been living out of his car for the past two weeks. Guy's wife left him last week, taking their daughters with her. Art, a burly Hispanic man in a sleeveless shirt, was addicted to meth when his brother told him about a new church with an unconventional pastor.

"At first I thought, Man, I don't wanna go to no faggot's church," Art says. "But the first day I was here, Pastor Ted looked at me and said, 'You've been struggling with drugs, haven't you? Today you walk free.' I haven't touched it since."

Part of what these guys love about St. James is that it helps struggling people in real, tangible ways. During the offering, when most churches pass the plate, Ted instead has his saints give money to one another. Today the gifts included a $500 donation to fix one man's car and money for another man to pay his electricity bill.

"I'd rather have that conversation with a handful of people," Ted says to me after the service, "than have a worldwide TV audience and everyone think I'm a hotshot."

His voice trembles, "That $500? That's Jesus to me now."

I've seen Ted move himself to tears more than once, but this time it seems less melodramatic, more like he's plucking at some deeper internal tension. He's admitted that he went through a period of spiritual disillusionment after his scandal, and maybe this is how he's resolving it—with a church that's more like group therapy and with a gospel centered on a new golden rule: Do unto others as nobody did unto me.

The home on Old Ranch Road is a better-than-average house on a better-than-average street in a better-than-average section of Colorado Springs. The Haggards bought it in 2000 at the height of Ted's ministry, and as I drive through the open gate and past the barn, it occurs to me that holding on to it during their exile may have been hugely important psychologically. Its white-trimmed brick facade and big green lawn scream suburban stability. The most recent local drama was that the neighbors on the right were angry because of a dispute related to the Haggards' roosters.

I've come by on Monday—the pastor's Saturday—to spend my last day in Colorado Springs with Gayle and Ted. Gayle, a pretty 53-year-old with chin-length brown hair, wearing a dark cardigan and pressed slacks, greets me warmly at the door. "Good morning! Sorry it took us a little while," she says, tucking a stray hair behind her ear. "I just wanted to be dressed before you came."

"I didn't, and I don't care," says Ted, smiling beside her in an undershirt and red pajama pants.

Gayle pours coffee while Ted shows me the house: two-car garage, in-ground pool and hot tub, backyard trampoline, Ten Commandments light fixtures. Their bookshelves hold an encyclopedia set, some political memoirs, a few Dan Brown novels, copies of Ted's books, and several old family portraits that look like outtakes from an L.L.Bean catalog. Christy, their only daughter and, at 29, the eldest of the five children, is in the den finishing a paper for a writing class. New Life Church, nine-tenths of a mile away, is visible through the north-facing windows if you squint hard enough.

As Gayle and I sit down on the living room sofa and Ted moves his laptop off the recliner next to us, I mention that I'd visited New Life the day before, touring its $50 million campus with the church's media escort.

"See, that's typical," says Ted. "They'll do that. That's typical of the old Soviet Union."

"Wait till you see the Gulag," Gayle deadpans.

"Now, at St. James, I didn't care who you talked to," Ted says, leaning back in his chair. "If we were into image management, we wouldn't have let you talk to Guy. But my philosophy is: It is what it is. It just is what it is.

"Actually!" he exclaims. "I just finished reading my Bible before you came. A fella texted me a tremendous verse, and I read it to Gayle, and I said, 'I should start saying this at New Life.' "

"You mean St. James."

"I mean St. James."

"You do that all the time."

"Anyway, I'm reading Romans. I just finished with Matthew, which is all Jesus, so I thought I'd harden that up with some Paul. Because Jesus is way too redeeming. He likes everyone but religious people."

Gayle, who has always been more careful around reporters than Ted, heard that he was in one of his moods up in the mountains, and she's worried that I'm going to write that he's a manic-depressive loon. I assure her that I'm not.

"Oh, good," she says, sounding genuinely relieved. "I know how he can get."

They met at Oral Roberts, and they have the rapport of a couple who have been married their entire adult lives. It's difficult to imagine that just four years ago, Gayle looked on with revulsion as Ted gathered his children in this very living room and told them that he'd been living a double life.

Gayle wrote about this time in Why I Stayed: The Choices I Made in My Darkest Hour, her 2010 memoir, copies of which are stacked in cardboard boxes in the dining room. In explaining her loyalty to Ted, Gayle tried to show that she's not, in fact, a subservient pushover, that she might actually be a lot braver and more principled than most. "If I left Ted," she wrote, "my life would be illustrating that some people mess up too badly to be redeemed... . And I don't believe that. I don't believe in throwing people away because they've sinned, because all people are valuable and loved by God."

What Gayle's book didn't do was settle the question of Ted's sexuality or give insight into how it plays out in their marriage now—whether Ted still battles the same urges that got him to Mike Jones's massage table. And if so, does he tell her when it happens? Does she worry that he'll lapse again or that after everything they've been through, he'll pull a Jim McGreevey and leave her for a man?

When Gayle leaves to pick up lunch from a nearby Italian joint, I mention that I visited Mike Jones in Denver. Ted tenses and preemptively begins debunking Jones's claims again—no sex, no repeat massages, no kinky stuff. He admits that he bought drugs from Jones "five or six times" but maintains that he wasn't an addict.

"Sometimes I'd throw it away," he says. "Other times, I'd go someplace and masturbate and use it. But it was for masturbation. And that's one of the reasons why I haven't been real clear. I don't want to stand up publicly and say, 'Hey, I'm a masturbation guy!'

"You know, that's really the core issue here," he continues, lowering his voice. "I bought the drugs to enhance masturbation. Because what crystal meth does—Mike taught me this—crystal meth makes it so you don't ejaculate soon. So you can watch porn and masturbate for a long time."

"And it would be gay porn?" I ask.

"It would be both. I enjoyed both then."

"Do you watch porn anymore?"

"Now we're getting into what should happen between me, my wife, and my therapist."

For the first time since we've met, Ted isn't looking directly at me. "Here's where I really am on this issue," he half whispers. "I think that probably, if I were 21 in this society, I would identify myself as a bisexual." After a weekend of Ted trying to convince me of his unambiguous devotion to his wife and kids, I'm at first too surprised to say anything.

"So why not now?" I ask finally.

"Because, Kevin, I'm 54, with children, with a belief system, and I can have enforced boundaries in my life. Just like you're a heterosexual but you don't have sex with every woman that you're attracted to, so I can be who I am and exclusively have sex with my wife and be perfectly satisfied."

"But what does it have to do with being 54?"

"Life!" he says. "We live an ordinary life."

It's the most intimate exchange we've had, and the confession strikes me first as sad, then as nakedly honest, the kind of thing I kept wishing he would say to Oprah or Larry King or any of the other people who have demanded explanations of his muddled sexuality. In a way, hearing Ted talk about his self-imposed boundaries makes it easier to understand how he can seem so fulfilled with his new, cleaned-up life. These days what Ted craves is not total sexual satisfaction but exactly the things he used to have—a church, a loving wife, camping trips with his boys—and getting those things back will require amputating part of who he is and what he might, at some point, have wanted.

A few minutes later, Gayle walks back into the house with an armful of food.

"Lunch is served!"

"You're wonderful!" Ted says, rising from his recliner to help. From the couch, I can hear their voices peal through the house.

"Do you want me to mix the dressing in or just leave it on the side?"

"Oh, go ahead and mix it in."

At the table, we bow our heads as Gayle says grace: "Father, thank you for today. We pray for your blessings on all of this, and for your wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. In Jesus' name, amen."

I look up to see Ted gazing at Gayle, the corners of his mouth pressed into a slight smile. He hadn't bowed his head at all.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tom Ford Talks About When He & a Journalist Did an Interview Completely Nude

The new issue of Interview magazine has a very interesting interview with Tom Ford about his careers as a fashion icon and movie director.

Here is an excerpt of the interview with John Currin:

When Tom Ford walked away from womenswear more than six years ago, he wasn’t just vacating his post as creative director of Gucci Group, where he designed for both Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent—he was leaving an industry that he helped shape and reinvent. He’d brought a new understanding of glamour, beauty, sophistication, and, above all, sexual seduction to fashion, so when he announced in 2004 that he was quitting to try his hand as a film director, it sparked something of a communal identity crisis. Who would fill the void, rise to the occasion, and, more importantly, have both the creative talent and business acumen to fulfill the dreams of customers and the expectations of stockholders?

No doubt, in Ford’s absence—shorter than some imagined, as he launched his eponymous menswear label in 2007—fashion has changed significantly. But so has the man himself. In 2009 he delivered A Single Man, a poignant, wrenching, maturely expressed drama based on the Christopher Isherwood novel, which revealed him to be a cinematic force as well as a sartorial one. And then last fall, the man who famously got out of the game because he was fed up with the business came back to the land he once ruled—and did so in a sensational way.

Tom Ford’s Spring 2011 womenswear collection, presented at Ford’s Manhattan store to a select few journalists, editors, and fashion-world heavies, was the biggest show of the season that you never saw, partly because Ford decided to mark his return to dressing the female form as a way of protesting the current state of the industry: fashion as impersonal, aggressive, and aloof; fashion as playing to the critics instead of the customers; fashion as instantly accessible via the Internet to a global audience that obsesses over trends without ever experiencing the quality, the complexity, and the refinement of the clothes themselves. The presentation was Ford’s manifesto-like argument for bringing back to high-end fashion the excitement, intimacy, immediacy, and sense of fun—all qualities that have been arguably sacrificed over the last decade for the mass-takeover approach favored by many of today’s designers.

Ford invited only 100 guests to his Madison Avenue showroom on the evening of September 12, 2010. Playing emcee on the microphone, with photographer Terry Richardson and his team securing the show’s only visual documentation, Ford announced each look as it came down the runway worn by one of the many actresses, artists, models, musicians, socialites, and muses the designer had personally chosen to walk in the show—among them, Julianne Moore, BeyoncĂ© Knowles, Daphne Guinness, Lou Doillon, Lauren Hutton, Karen Elson, Marisa Berenson, Natalia Vodianova, and Stella Tennant. While Ford refused all requests for media sneak peaks and red-carpet opportunities, what was evident in the collection was that Ford’s continuing obsession with and glorification of the female form had not gotten tame—he brought out the slips and curves of the body with silk fringe, leopard print, suede, and leather.

Ford hasn’t abandoned his second career—in fact, he is in the process of finishing the screenplay for his next film project. But as his friend, the painter John Currin (husband to another of Ford’s presentation muses, the artist Rachel Feinstein), caught up with him in Los Angeles, it was clear that Ford relished being back on his home turf, making clothes for women and making women feel the way only he can.

TOM FORD: We have to be careful. Everything we are saying is going to be recorded.

JOHN CURRIN: [laughs] The small acorn that will grow into a great oak of a scandal later, right?

FORD: [sighs] Ah, yes, I know what that’s like. You say the littlest thing, it gets misinterpreted.

CURRIN: Well, I’m here to ask you some questions, and I think a good one to start off with is about your childhood. What were some of your first memories of seeing beauty?

FORD: That would have been as a little kid living in Texas. My grandmother was probably the first person who I thought was beautiful. She was incredibly stylish, she had big hair, big cars. I was probably 3 years old, but she was like a cartoon character. She’d swoop into our lives with presents and boxes, and she always smelled great and looked great. She always had the latest things. She was larger than life to me, even as an adult, but when I was a child it was really like she was from another planet. It seemed like she lived in a different world, and wherever that was, I wanted to go.

CURRIN: So it wasn’t natural beauty, then. It wasn’t sunsets or mountains or trees.

FORD: No. In fact, I didn’t learn to appreciate those things until much later in life, because I grew up mostly in New Mexico, which is famous for sunsets and mountains and trees. That’s the reason I have a place there and spend so much time there now. When I was a little kid, all I wanted to do was to escape what I thought was the country and get to a city. Probably film and television had influenced me so much, I really thought the key to happiness was living a very artificial life in a penthouse in New York with martini glasses.

CURRIN: Your movie had some of that feeling; for instance, with its collection of small moments of cultivation—the way things are folded or put in a drawer.

FORD: Well, I do that myself, and that character was very, very, very autobiographical and very different from the character in the Isherwood book. That’s really about putting on a sort of armor to go out in the world. The character played by Julianne [Moore] was quite literally based on my grandmother. It’s funny, that movie was cathartic for me. It was really my midlife crisis on the screen. [Currin laughs] It was! I was working through all of those earlier notions of what was important in life. And George has a moment where time stands still, and he really feels his connection to the universe and understands the meaning of life, in a way, and that he doesn’t need to live any longer, and he dies. I never used to say that he dies, but I think enough people have seen the film by now, so I can give away the ending. But as an adult working in the fashion industry, I struggle with materialism. And I’m one of the least materialistic people that exist, because material possessions don’t mean much to me. They’re beautiful, I enjoy them, they can enhance your life to a certain degree, but they’re ultimately not important. Your connections with other people are important, our connection to the earth. And that’s why I go to New Mexico as often as I can. And what I find to be the most beautiful thing in the world now is nature—sunsets, trees, my horses.

CURRIN: I didn’t mean it pejoratively that your aesthetic is always about cultivation.

FORD: My fashion aesthetic. I guess I’ve yet to express another aesthetic.

CURRIN: What’s interesting in the movie is that the aesthetic is so unsexualized. It was orderly and beautiful, but with this tragic panic underneath. But it was weird how it did look like you and your world to a degree, or how most people envision it.

FORD: Well, I think most people don’t actually know me. They know the projection of me that I use to sell things. And they know me from an expression of material beauty. I’m actually very introverted. I’m very shy. I’m very emotional. I think those are human experiences that everyone can relate to. So this movie wasn’t about sex. It was about love. That was on purpose, because a lot of people equate homosexuality with sex and not necessarily with love. It was important that I keep the movie not about sex. It was about the same struggle that everyone goes through, if you’re intelligent, at some point in your life. You ask yourself, What is this all about? Why am I living? What does this mean? Why am I here? Those are the questions George is asking himself.

CURRIN: If I could segue then to—

FORD: To high heels? Yes! Let’s get to high heels. That’s a great segue right into fashion.

CURRIN: Actually, yeah, because you are saying that people associate homosexuality with sex—or oversexed men and sexual relationships. But when you’re making a sculpture or image of a woman, is there a sexual aspect to it?

FORD: It is never even calculated. When I’m making an image of a woman, or dressing a woman—I have a reputation for sex and making a woman sexy, and men as well—but I don’t start out saying, “Oh, I’m gonna make this woman look sexy or sexual.” I simply stand there and put her in front of me and say, “What can I do to make her more beautiful in my eyes? Let’s pull in the dress here, let’s do this, let’s do that.” The end result is something that other people consider sexual, but for me it’s just beautiful. My expression of beauty is something I do naturally. I love the human body—the female body, the male body. I work in a way to try to enhance the body, and so you often see a lot of the body or the silhouette or outline, and that’s what people equate with sex. But I’m very comfortable with sexuality. It’s not anything that’s ever freaked me out. I’m very comfortable with naked bodies. Someone asked me recently about male nudity, and I brought up the subject that, in our culture, we use female nudity to sell everything. We’re very comfortable objectifying women. Women go out and they are basically wearing nothing. Their feet and toes are exposed, their legs are exposed, their breasts are exposed. Everything is exposed—the neck, the arms. You have to be really physically perfect, as a woman, in our culture to be considered beautiful. But full frontal male nudity challenges us. It makes men nervous. It makes women nervous. Other times in history, male nudes have been regarded in a different way. The Olympics were originally held nude. The reporter I was explaining this to said, “This would make a great story.” I explained how when I come home I actually
take off all my clothes, and I wear no clothes until I leave. I eat naked. I do everything completely naked. He said, “That would make a great interview.” I said, “Fine, we have to do it nude.”

CURRIN: How old was the interviewer?

FORD: Oh, 55 or 56. [Currin laughs] He was in very good shape. Anyway, we did the interview. The interviewer was straight, and I made it a point to desexualize the interview even though I was sitting with my legs wide open, completely naked. At the end of the interview, I put on a dressing gown and he put on his clothes, and I sat next to him on the sofa and said, “Was that sexual?” He said, “Absolutely not.” And I said, “That’s because I didn’t make it sexual. Sexuality is in the eyes, it’s an expression, it’s in a look.” Then, all of a sudden, I looked at him in a very different way, and it made him very nervous.

CURRIN: I wanted to ask if you’ve ever felt any remorse in your work, because that is something I’ve felt before in my work. You don’t seem like someone who feels a great deal of remorse about anything.

FORD: No, I don’t.

CURRIN: I sometimes get the feeling that I look at women to objectify them, and I start to feel guilty. I wonder if that ever plagues you?

FORD: I think I detach the physical from the spiritual. It’s my business to make a woman or a man beautiful, and I’m working with a model in a fitting, and I’ve objectified them to the point that they become an object. They’re something that I’m modeling or shaping or sculpting, but I’m very aware that even though I make them physically beautiful, their soul and personality and character is somewhat detached from that. It’s great when you have a combination of the two— that’s what makes a true beauty. Some people are physically beautiful but yet they’re completely uninteresting, and thus they’re not beautiful. I detach the two. And I turn the same eye on myself: When I look in the mirror, I say, “Well, this eyebrow is starting to sag,” or “I’m going gray right here, I need to fix that.” Or “I’ve eaten too much. I need to do a few more push-ups, blah blah blah.” But that’s completely separate from me as a human being. It’s purely the body that I move through the world in, and people react to it on the surface. So, no, I don’t have any remorse, because I separate them. Do you?

CURRIN: Yes. I think it’s mixed up in my lust for women, or my sexual desire for women . . .

FORD: That’s why I think gay men make better designers.

CURRIN: Are gay men free? Are you unburdened by lust? Is that an advantage of being a gay man?

FORD: I lust after beautiful women. First of all, I love women. But I lust after beautiful women in the way that I lust after a beautiful piece of sculpture—this will probably get me in trouble—or a beautiful car. I believe everyone’s on a sliding scale of sexuality. There are moments where I am sexually attracted to women. But it doesn’t overpower my first impulse; my lust for them is the same as my lust for beauty in all things. It’s not like I ever think, “Oh, my god, I’ve got to spread her legs and fuck her.”

CURRIN: Isn’t that the sticking point—

FORD: What a well-chosen word. [both laugh]

CURRIN: But the very thing that is required by art, which is to isolate and objectify and to look from a distance at something, is the thing that is considered oppressive when men do it to women. And that’s what gets you into trouble.

FORD: I think that’s wrong. I’m an equal-opportunity objectifier. I think it’s the exact same thing. I’m sorry, I don’t understand why our culture both worships and objectifies beauty, and then slams those of us who participate in it. Because I make that detachment, I’m capable of objectifying a beautiful woman, but that doesn’t demean her in any way. She’s beautiful because she’s a creature who exists physically, in the physical world, who happens to be in a moment of prime.

CURRIN: That would seem to be a theme of your fashion work: the complete freedom from guilt. Part of the fantasy of the ad campaigns—which I think Americans look at as a leisurely European playboy—is the evocation of a person not really hampered by guilt or remorse or worried about the unhealthy aspects of their lifestyle.

FORD: This may sound corny, but the only thing I feel remorse about is when I hurt someone, hurt their feelings, or make them feel bad. I’m obsessive about that. “Oh, my god, did I say the wrong thing? Did I hurt them? Did they understand what I meant?” But the creation of visual images or design, I have no remorse over. I’m not somebody who regrets anything, because I’m very happy with where I am and everything I’ve done in my life. Everything that’s happened to me, I’ve learned a lesson from—or if I didn’t, I was foolish, and I will repeat the same thing and eventually, hopefully, I will learn a lesson.

CURRIN: Do you think that is an unusual trait among Americans?

FORD: I think we’re very uptight in America. You have to remember that we’re descended from Puritans. Whether or not the country is now composed of immigrants, our culture as American really begins with the landing of the Pilgrims and a puritanical view of things. It was a group of people who escaped Europe because they felt it was depraved in a certain way, and that culture still permeates. I’ve lived in Europe for the last 20 years, so I’m kind of a hybrid. I feel very American in certain ways, and in lots of ways I feel more European.

CURRIN: How do Europeans feel about you? Do they see you as a stereotypical American who’s hardworking and controlling, or do they see you as one of them?

FORD: I think the Italians feel like I’m one of them. I think that’s because I resurrected a brand that was very close to their hearts, and I lived in Italy for a long time and speak Italian. The English, who knows? As for the French, the first thing out of every French reviewer’s mouth was something about being an American. The French are very nationalistic, which I think is very backward, honestly. I think today you have to be international and global. It’s very narrow to think in a nationalistic way. Unfortunately, Americans do the same thing, because most Americans don’t even have a passport. They don’t travel.

CURRIN: I’m so envious of Europeans for their history, their painting ability, their style and aesthetic, and I sometimes think “American painter” is an oxymoron. I wonder if it’s the same way for a designer.

FORD: Just remember that you’re descended from Europeans. You’ve just grown up in this country. You can still call yourself a European who’s living in America.

CURRIN: Northern Irish. That’s not quite European . . .

FORD: Not continental . . .

CURRIN: It’s not Monte Carlo.

FORD: That’s not one of my favorite places in Europe.

CURRIN: [laughs] I’ve never seen it. I’ve never been there. What I know of Monte Carlo is probably mostly informed by your advertisements.

FORD: That’s not what Monte Carlo is. It’s really a lot of people who are overly tanned and have too much collagen and too much money and diamonds that are too big.

CURRIN: It’s like Los Angeles.

FORD: On steroids.

John Currin is a New York–based artist. His recent exhibit, “New Paintings,” was shown at New York’s Gagosian Gallery.

To read the full Tom Ford interview pick up a copy of the February issue of Interview.

Glee Goes Gruesome for 'Thriller'

Costumed and covered in gruesome zombie makeup, the Glee cast is hardly recognizable as they gnash their teeth and perform a jerky dance across a football field for the big February 6th post-Super Bowl extravaganza.

Joined by sexy blue-haired cheerleaders, the group will take on the Michael Jackson's classic "Thriller" video as a mashup with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs's "Heads Will Roll."

The episode, at between $3 and $5 million the most expensive to date, will focus on the growing tension between the Glee club and the football team.

"You can never re-create something as incredible as 'Thriller,' " Lea Michele tells Entertainment Weekly. "We're making it our own."

Will Ferrell Replacing Steve Carell on The Office?

If there's one guy who can play a worse boss than Steve Carell, it's Will Ferrell -- and the movie star is set to do just that.

Ferrell, a long-time friend and co-star of Carell -- the two featured together in 'Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy' -- will join the workplace comedy for a four episode arc near the end of this season, reports.

Carell's Emmy-winning time on 'The Office' is winding down, and the show has been waiting to reveal his replacement at Dunder Mifflin. Ferrell will play a branch manager that comes in as Carell's Michael Scott begins leaving, and will take over for at least one episode.

"We are proud to continue The Office's tradition of discovering famous talent," 'The Office' show runner Paul Lieberstein (who plays Toby on the show) said, "and we hope that once America gets a good look at Will, they'll see what we see, tremendous raw sexuality."

Farrell and Carell's careers often intertwine: Carell tried out for 'Saturday Night Live,' claiming he lost out to Farrell, and they starred together in 2005's 'Bewitched.'

Paparazzi!: Doggy Duty

Talk about man's best friend! Hugh Jackman, sporting a full beard and mustache, totes his adorable French bulldog Peaches for a stroll through New York's West Village neighborhood on Tuesday.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Oscar Nominees are...

British monarchy drama The King's Speech is the film to beat at the 2011 Academy Awards after scooping an astounding 12 Oscar nominations.

The film has landed top nods, including Best Picture and acting honors for Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter and Geoffrey Rush, as well as a Best Director mention for Tom Hooper.

Also nominated for Best Picture are Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception, The Kids Are All Right, 127 Hours, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, True Grit and Winter's Bone.

Joining Hooper with Best Director mentions are Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan), David O. Russell (The Fighter), David Fincher (The Social Network) and Joel and Ethan Coen (True Grit).

Meanwhile, Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network), James Franco (127 Hours), Javier Barden (Biutiful) and Jeff Bridges (True Grit) will compete against The King's Speech star Firth in the Best Actor in a Leading Role category.

Nominees for Best Actress in a Leading Role include Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right), Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole), Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone), Natalie Portman (Black Swan) and Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine), while Amy Adams (The Fighter), Melissa Leo (The Fighter), Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) and Jackie Weaver (Animal Kingdom) join Bonham Carter in the Best Actress in a Supporting Role category.

Competing against Rush for the title of Best Actor in a Supporting Role are Christian Bale (The Fighter), John Hawkes (Winter's Bone), Jeremy Renner (The Town) and Mark Ruffalo (The Kids Are All Right).

The award nominations were announced at a press conference in Los Angeles on Tuesday by last year's Best Supporting Actress winner Mo'Nique and Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Tom Sherak.

The 83rd annual Academy Awards ceremony will take place on February 27th at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, and will be hosted by Anne Hathaway and Oscar-nominee James Franco. It will be televised on ABC.

The complete list of nominees is as follows:

Best Picture: Black Swan - The Fighter - Inception - The Kids Are All Right - The King's Speech - 127 Hours - The Social Network - Toy Story 3 - True Grit - Winter's Bone

Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter - John Hawkes, Winter's Bone - Jeremy Renner, The Town - Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right - Geoffrey Rush, The King's Speech

Best Supporting Actress: Amy Adams, The Fighter - Helena Bonham Carter, The King's Speech - Melissa Leo, The Fighter - Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit - Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom

Best Actor: Javier Bardem, Biutiful - Jeff Bridges, True Grit - Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network - Colin Firth, The King's Speech - James Franco, 127 Hours

Best Actress: Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right - Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole - Jennifer Lawrence, Winter's Bone - Natalie Portman, Black Swan - Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine

Best Director: Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan - David O. Russell, The Fighter - Tom Hooper, The King's Speech - David Fincher, The Social Network - Joel Coen/Ethan Coen, True Grit

Best Screenplay - Adapted: Danny Boyle/Simon Beaufoy, 127 Hours - Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network - Michael Arndt, Toy Story 3 - Joel Coen/Ethan Coen, True Grit - Debra Granik/Anne Rosellini, Winter's Bone

Best Screenplay - Original: Mike Leigh, Another Year - Scott Silver/Paul Tamasy/Eric Johnson, The Fighter - Christopher Nolan, Inception - Lisa Cholodenko/Stuart Blumberg, The Kids Are All Right - David Seidler, The King's Speech

Best Foreign Language Film: Biutiful (Mexico) - Dogtooth (Greece) - In a Better World (Denmark) -
Incendies (Canada) - Outside the Law (Algeria)

Best Animated Feature: How To Train Your Dragon - The Illusionist - Toy Story 3

Best Documentary (Feature): Exit Through the Gift Shop - Gasland - Inside Job - Restrepo - Waste Land

Best Art Direction: Alice In Wonderland - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 - Inception - The King's Speech - True Grit

Best Cinematography: Black Swan - Inception - The King's Speech - The Social Network - True Grit

Best Sound Mixing: Inception - The King's Speech - Salt - The Social Network - True Grit

Best Sound Editing: Inception - Toy Story 3 - Tron: Legacy - True Grit - Unstoppable

Best Original Score: How To Train Your Dragon, John Powell - Inception, Hans Zimmer - The King's Speech, Alexandre Desplat - 127 Hours, A.R. Rahman - The Social Network, Trent Reznor/Atticus Ross

Best Original Song: Coming Home from Country Strong, Tom Douglas/Troy Verges/Hillary Lindsey - I See The Light from Tangled, Alan Menken/Glenn Slater - If I Rise from 127 Hours, A.R. Rahman/Dido/Rollo Armstrong - We Belong Together from Toy Story 3, Randy Newman

Best Costume: Alice in Wonderland - I Am Love - The King's Speech - The Tempest - True Grit

Best Documentary (Short Subject): Killing in the Name - Poster Girl - Strangers No More - Sun Come Up - The Warriors of Qiugang

Best Film Editing: Black Swan - The Fighter - The King's Speech - 127 Hours - The Social Network

Best Make-up: Barney's Version - The Way Back - The Wolfman

Best Animated Short Film: Day and Night - The Gruffalo - Let's Pollute - The Lost Thing - Madagascar, Carnet de Voyage (Madagascar, a Journey Diary)

Best Live Action Short Film: The Confession - The Crush - God of Love - Na Wewe - Wish 143

Best Visual Effects: Alice In Wonderland - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 - Hereafter - Inception - Iron Man 2

Gay Doritos Ads Won't Air

The pair of gay-themed Doritos ads that made the rounds on the Web Monday won’t air during the Super Bowl, according to a spokesman for Frito-Lay.

Frito-Lay director of public relations Chris Kuechenmeister told the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation the ads were two out of 5,600 that were submitted to the company for its “Crash the Super Bowl” contest.

He said the ads were not among the finalists chosen by a panel of judges and have no chance of airing during the Super Bowl or otherwise.

The ads, which ran on The Advocate, sparked mixed reaction from gay viewers. One ad features two men steaming in the sauna as one man seductively eyes the other’s crotch. In a second ad a man gazes across the fence at his two gay neighbors, who are sunning themselves and eating Doritos by the pool.

Kuechenmeister said the contest’s judges sought to “identify spots that were appropriate for everyone” and “observe a level of respect for everybody.”

He said though the ads don’t appear on the contest’s official page and the company has no direct ability to remove them, he would be raising the issue with the company’s legal team.

Kate Hudson to Play Linda Lovelace

Kate Hudson is reportedly in talks to play porn icon Linda Lovelace in a new biopic.

The Hollywood actress, who is currently pregnant with her second child, is said to have been offered the title role in a film adaptation of Eric Danville's book The Complete Linda Lovelace.

James Franco is in negotiations to play pornographer Chuck Traynor opposite Hudson, according to

The movie will go up against a rival Lovelace project called Inferno: A Linda Lovelace Story, which initially saw Lindsay Lohan cast in the title role before she was replaced by Malin Akerman due to her ongoing personal problems.

Elton John Won't Be Invited to the Royal Wedding

Here's one star who isn't eagerly checking his mailbox for the big wedding invitation.

Despite the buzz about him performing at the royal wedding on April 29th (whether officially or as a street performer outside Westminster Abbey, as he joked), Elton John says he won't make the invite list.

"I think because of my relationship with Princess Diana, people automatically think I'm going to be invited," John told Reuters.

But since he doesn't know Prince William well, "I'm not invited to the wedding, I would not expect to be invited to the wedding," he says.

Still, he's happy to join the throngs of well-wishers.

Prince William and Kate Middleton "seem very happy," says the singer, who performed at the 2007 London memorial concert for Princess Diana. "He's a terrific man, William, and he's going to be a great king."

Not to mention a great groom.

"These boys are their own people, they have their own friends," says John. "I just hope that they have the best day and its sunny and it's a great occasion for them."

Regis Philbin Replacement: Who Will Fill His Seat?

Who will fill Regis Philbin’s seat on ABC’s Live! with Regis & Kelly?

Here are 10 names making the industry rounds as potential pairings for Kelly Ripa. Some of these celebrities been previously reported and others are new. At least a couple, we’re told, are non-starters. ABC, unfortunately, has no comment. Here’s what we think:

Ryan Seacrest: You can’t have a major talk show vacancy without his name coming up. He could clearly handle the job. The trick (as is the case with several names below) is working around his existing deals.

Jeff Probst: The Survivor host is a superb interviewer, he has co-hosted the show in the past, and his contract is up this year.

Mario Lopez: Another former Live! co-host. We’re told he’s potentially a popular contender, but that his deal with Extra may hold things up.

Chris Harrison: The Bachelor host is already in the ABC family. If he can handle crazed bachelorettes, surely he can work with sweet Kelly, right?

Mark Consuelos: Yup, Kelly’s husband. He’s an actor and reality show host. We’re hearing he’s an unlikely choice.

Chris Cuomo: The 20/20 host is another ABC insider.

Anderson Cooper: Woulda-coulda-shoulda. He’s busy trying to get his own daytime talk show off the ground.

Billy Bush: Like Lopez, there’s an entertainment news program deal to work around — this time, with Access Hollywood.

Neil Patrick Harris: Considered a fantastic substitute co-host on the show. But would he want the gig?

Mike Rowe: Now this is an interesting name. The Dirty Jobs host and Deadliest Catch narrator has a ton of female fans. Could this blue collar man’s man pull off the celebrity bantering and hamming it up with Kelly? Why, this could be his toughest job yet.

Bonus: Here’s some names floated by other publications: Nick Jonas, Bryant Gumbel, Glenn Beck, Tom Bergeron, and Larry King.

And, yes, all those who are supposedly being considered are men (though one publication did mention Jane Lynch).

Keep in mind that when Kathie Lee Gifford left Live, similar lists circulated the media as producers began to reach out to prospective talent. And you know who wasn’t named on any of those lists? Kelly Ripa.

Mamma Mia! The Jersey Shore Cast Heads to Italy

How do you say "gym, tan, laundry" in Italian?

The cast of Jersey Shore is heading to Italy for season 4 of MTV's hit show, the network announced Tuesday.

"While the stateside Jersey Shore locales have become iconic for our audience ... Europe is a fresh spin on a show that continues to reach new heights for us," MTV's Chris Linn said in a statement. "The cast is headed to the birthplace of the culture they love and live by. We can't wait to see what erupts as a result."

Amid their inevitable shenanigans, the gang – which in season 3 includes Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino, Paul "DJ Pauly D" Delvecchio, Jenni "JWOWW" Farley, Vinnie Guadagnino, Ronnie Magro, Sammi "Sweetheart" Giancola – will leave "the boardwalk behind for the piazzas," "trade gorillas for Italian stallions" and, according to the statement, drop in on Vinny's Italian relatives for a famous Guadagnino family dinner.

"Ohh I Love Italy This Time A Yeahhh," Pauly D Tweeted Tuesday.

Adds Snooki: "Just heard the most amazing news!"

With a whole new country before them where they can create embarrassing moments, one thing we'd love to see is how The Situation's abs stack up compared to the classic competition of Michelangelo's statue of David, on display in Florence.

The next season is set to begin production in the spring in Europe and will air later this year, MTV says.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Eclipse & Last Airbender Lead Razzie Nominees

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse is leading this year's Golden Raspberry Awards (The Razzies) after scoring nine nominations for the upcoming ceremony, which names and shames the worst movies.

The popular vampire sequel is on the shortlist for Worst Picture, while Kristen Stewart is up for the Worst Actress trophy and the film's lead male stars Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner are set to battle it out for Worst Actor.

Jackson Rathbone, who plays Jasper in the blood-sucking series, picked up two nominations for Worst Supporting Actor - one for his role in the latest Twilight project and another for his part in The Last Airbender, which also picked up a total of nine nominations.

The film, starring Dev Patel, landed on the shortlist for awards including Worst Picture, Worst Supporting Actor (Patel) and Worst Supporting Actress (Nicola Peltz).

The other Worst Picture contenders are The Bounty Hunter, Sex and the City 2 and Twilight spoof Vampires Suck.

Joining Stewart in the Worst Actress category are Jennifer Aniston (The Bounty Hunter), Miley Cyrus (The Last Song) and Megan Fox (Jonah Hex), while Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis and Cynthia Nixon received a shared nomination for their roles in the second Sex and the City sequel.

Other contenders for this year's Worst Actor title include Jack Black (Gulliver's Travels), Gerard Butler (The Bounty Hunter) and Ashton Kutcher, who is nominated twice for his parts in Valentine's Day and Killers.

The winners of the awards will be announced at a ceremony in Los Angeles on 26 February - a day before the Academy Awards take place.

Last year, Sandra Bullock attended the event to pick up the Worst Actress trophy for All About Steve - a day before she won an Oscar for her part in The Blind Side.

This year's Academy Award nominations – for outstanding achievement in movies – will be announced later this morning.

Britney Spears Returns to 'Edgy' Sound on New CD

While Britney Spears's new single, "Hold It Against Me," may have provided an upbeat preview of her new album, what will the rest of the work sound like?

"It's way more edgy than the last album," songwriter Claude Kelly, who composed several tracks for the as-yet-untitled album, said at a New York NARAS reception. He adds that Spears, 29, is returning to the grittier sounds of 2007's Blackout. "[It's] more in the vein of the album before," he says.

Though Kelly admits he's not completely sure what the "final product is going to be," he does say, "the last album [2008's Circus] was more clean pop. [Its purpose] was to reintroduce Britney to the world as the pop princess."

As the first single also indicates, Spears, who Tweeted from her "Hold It Against Me" video shoot this weekend, has new tunes are definitely club-worthy.

"She's always ready," Kelly says. "Dr. Luke and Max Martin are running the show, and it's all about the beats. It has a heavier bass line and it's much harder, more urgent, more club. She's ready again!"

Kelly Osbourne is the New Face of Madonna's Material Girl Fashion Line

Kelly Osbourne's has been named the new face of Madonna's Material Girl fashion line.

Osbourne, who once called herself an "ugly duckling," replaces 'Gossip Girl' star Taylor Momsen, according to a tweet from the company.

Material Girl is a year-old juniors design collaboration between the iconic music superstar and 14-year-old daughter Lourdes. It's sold exclusively at Macy's.

"Material Girl is thrilled to confirm that Kelly Osbourne is the new face for 2011. We will be sharing all the details on this exciting new campaign in the coming weeks," her rep confirmed in a statement.

Material Girl launched in 2010 with rebellious Momsen as its face. Late last year though, Lourdes blogged that the label was "desperately seeking" a new face.

Osbourne, who slimmed down considerably after an image-altering turn on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars," has updated her look from goth to glam.

"I've spent the last few years trying to figure out who Kelly Osbourne is, from addiction to awards and fashion faux pas," she writes on her official blog.

Things seem to be looking up for Osbourne, who earlier this month was seen with British musician Rob Damiani, after a long funk from breaking up with Luke Worrall last summer.

New Release Tuesday!

Here's a list of what's new of Blu-Ray, CD and DVD this week including the 2nd Season, Volume 1 of Glee starring Matthew Morrison, Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, Jane Lynch, Chris Colfer & Darren Criss.

A Beautiful Mind (B)
Broadcast News (B)
Client-9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer (B)
The Color Purple (B)
Enter the Void (B)
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (B)
Invictus (B)
Nowhere Boy (B)
Open Season 3 (B)
Red (B)
Red Hill (B)
Santa Sangre (B)
Saw: The Final Chapter (B)
Secretariat (B)
Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll
White Wedding (B)

Corinne Bailey Rae - The Love (EP)
KT Tunstall - Live At The Wiltern
Various Artists - 2011 Grammy Nominees
Vic Latino - Vic Latino Presents Ultra Dance 2
Wanda Jackson - The Party Is Over
Winsin & Yandel - Las Vaquerios, El Regreso

The Agatha Christie Hour - Set 2
Glee - 2nd Season, Volume 1
Matlock - 6th Season
Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated - 1st Season, Volume 1
She-Ra: Prince of Power - Complete Series
The Universe - 5th Season (B)
Webster - 1st Season
Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch - Complete Series
Zorro - Complete Series

(B) = Available on Blu-Ray

Oprah Winfrey's Secret: She Has a Half-Sister

Forty-seven years ago, when Oprah Winfrey was 9 years old and living with her father in Tennessee, her mother, Vernita Lee, became pregnant with a daughter who was given up for adoption. Winfrey had known nothing about it.

On The Oprah Winfrey Show on Monday, the talk show host revealed the family secret she had been hyping since last week, introducing her half-sister, Patricia, from Milwaukee.

"It was one of the greatest surprises of my life," said Winfrey, who found out the news last October. "It left me speechless."

Patricia was born in 1963 in Milwaukee and lived in a series of foster homes until the age of 7. She was then adopted, but said her childhood was "difficult" and she longed to be reunited with her birth mother, Winfrey says.

When Patricia was 17, she had a daughter, Aquarius, and then six years later son, Andre. She was unwed and as a single mom worked two jobs to care for her kids.

A Search for Her Birth Mother

When Patricia, whose last name was not revealed, turned 20, she first tried to find out who her birth mother was but quickly gave up the search. Then a few years ago, she resumed the search and got her adoption records.

Through the adoption agency, Patricia reached out to her birth mother, whose name she still didn't know, but her mother did not want to meet her.

The very day, she happened to catch a TV news story about a woman named Vernita Lee, who was talking about a son, Jeffrey, who died in 1989, and a daughter, Pat, who had died in 2003. The information matched details in her adoption records.

"The hair on the back of my neck stood up," Patricia said. "I said, 'No, that can't be.'"

Her son Andre researched Winfrey's background and quickly realized that dates and locations lined up. Patricia tried to reach Lee numerous times, once even having her church pastor contact Lee's pastor, but Lee was not ready for a meeting, Winfrey said.

A DNA Match

So Patricia went to a Wisconsin restaurant owned by Winfrey's niece, showed her the adoption documents and revealed her suspicion that they were related. Patricia and the niece underwent DNA testing, which proved a positive match.

After that, there were a flurry of emails back and forth between various Winfrey relatives and Winfrey, but none would reveal the secret, saying it was Lee's place. Winfrey asked her mother about giving a child up for adoption, but Lee said it wasn't true.

Then one day in October, 10 minutes before she was walking out to do a show, Winfrey asked her assistant what the truth was and she replied, "You have a sister."

Winfrey confronted her mother with the information and Lee finally admitted the truth. Lee and Patricia met on Oct. 25 for the first time since her birth.

On Thanksgiving Day, Winfrey drove to her mother's home in Milwaukee, where her half-sister sister Patricia was waiting.

"It was a Beloved moment," Winfrey says, referring to the movie in which a daughter comes back from the dead. Home video shows the two embracing for a long moment.

During an interview taped last week with Patricia and their mother, Lee said she had denied the truth for so long because she was ashamed that she had given up a child for adoption.

"I thought it was a terrible thing that I had done," Lee said, adding that she felt she wouldn't be able to take care of another child and get off welfare if she had kept her. Still, she said, "I did think about the baby. I went back looking for her and they told me she had left."

Monday, January 24, 2011

Ricky Martin Says He Wants a Daughter

Ricky Martin says his twin sons are a handful but he’d love to have a “daddy’s girl”.

The gay star had sons Matteo and Valentino by a surrogate mother in 2008.

He told Miami radio station Y100: “Fatherhood is incredible! Every day is something different.

“Matteo and Valentino, they’re constantly ganging up on me but I can take it! They’re amazing – I want more. This is only the beginning of our family.”

When asked how many children he would like, Martin said: “I don’t know. Maybe one, two more, but yeah, definitely. I need [a] daddy’s girl.”

He added that becoming a father had changed his life, not least his sleeping patterns.

“Babies wake up every two hours,” he said. “At 7 o’clock you are awake. For me, I was a night owl in the past, but now, I’m up, I’m working, I’m already dealing with the kids.”

Adam Lambert: “I’m Going to Take My Time and Really Write the Most Personal Songs, the Most Powerful Songs.”

I know all you Adam Lambert fans are eagerly awaiting the singer’s follow-up album to For Your Entertainment.

Well rest assured that the Grammy nominee is doing a lot more than just growing his hair long these days.

Adam says he hopes to have a new CD out by the fall with a single hitting the airwaves by late summer.

But he is being thoughtful about what to record.

“…I’m going to take my time and really write the most personal songs, the most powerful songs,” Adam said. “I really want it to be something that’s really honest and real. … I’m starting to talk to some writers and come up with some ideas, and I’ll be writing a lot of it myself. It’s going to be very pop, very rock, maybe even a little dark.”

Is NBC's Smash the Next Glee?

No doubt hoping to capitalize on Glee mania, NBC has ordered an hour-long musical pilot that follows a diverse cast of characters who come together to stage a Broadway show.

Titled Smash, the project boasts an impressive pedigree. Producers include Steven Spielberg, Chicago duo Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, and Hairspray songwriters Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman.

Spring Awakening‘s Michael Mayer is in talks to direct, which pretty much guarantees that there’s a role in this for Lea Michele’s former Spring leading man (and ex-Glee costar) Jonathan Groff.

Elsewhere on the pilot front, NBC has greenlit I Hate That I Love You, a “twisty” single-camera comedy from Will & Grace scribe Jhoni Marchinko about a straight couple that set up two lesbian friends on a blind date, resulting in both an instant attraction and a pregnancy.

Elton John Slams Gay Marriage Opponents

New father Elton John has attacked opponents of gay marriage and backed efforts to overturn California's ban at a Beverly Hills event to raise funds for a legal challenge.

"It seems so ridiculous I could be with my partner for 17 years and we have a son, and my partner and I can't get married," Sir Elton, 63, said during the 90-minute set in which he banged out Your Song, Sixty Years On, Levon and other hits he wrote before he came out as gay.

Sir Elton disappointed some gay activists after the California ban, known as Proposition 8, passed in 2008 when he said he had no desire to get married and was satisfied with the civil partnership he and his long-time partner, David Furnish, had.

"If gay people want to get married, or get together, they should have a civil partnership. The word 'marriage' I think, puts a lot of people off," he said at the time.

But Sir Elton was singing a different tune at the concert, which raised three million dollars for the American Foundation for Equal Rights.

He praised the effort to overturn the ban and promised to do everything he could to support it.

"As a gay man I think I have it all," he said. "I have a wonderful career, a wonderful life. I have my health, I have a partner of 17 years and I have a son.

"And you know what, I don't have everything, because I don't have the respect of people like the church, and people like politicians who tell me that I am not worthy or that I am 'less than' because I am gay."

He then punctuated his remark with an expletive, to cheers and applause from the crowd.

Furnish and Sir Elton became parents to a baby boy on Christmas Day. Their son, Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John, was born in California through a surrogate mother.

Nathan Lane Will Return to “Modern Family”

Nathan Lane was truly hilarious as Cameron and Mitchell’s party throwing pal Pepper during the earthquake episode on ABC’s Modern Family last fall.

So it is such great news that he will returning for an encore guest spot this spring, according to TV Guide’s William Keck.

This time, “Mitch [Jesse Tyler Ferguson] and Cam [Eric Stonestreet] go out for a boys night with Pepper and a bunch of their other gay friends,” Modern Family executive producer Steve Levitan told Keck at Saturday’s Producers Guild Awards, just before going on stage to accept the award for Best Comedy Series.

The plot twist: “Jay [Ed O'Neil] stumbles in to the party,” teased Levitan. “We’re having a lot of fun playing with Nathan and this will be a very funny use of him.”

Elton John & Matthew Morrison 'Gleeful' Duet

Elton John was filled with 'Glee' to do this duet.

Speaking at his Wednesday gay marriage fundraising gala, John touched on the recent work he did with 'Glee' star Matthew Morrison on his upcoming solo album.

"I just did it! It's a duet. It's great, really fantastic. He sings great on it," he told Parade Magazine. "It's a medley of 'Mona Lisas and Madhatters' going into 'Rocket Man.' I did it on Monday."

John had spoken in October of his plans to do the project with Morrison, who attended the Wednesday soiree.

"I'm supposed to be doing something with Matthew Morrison for his album," the singer told Entertainment Weekly in October. "[Matthew and I] had a little meeting together, so hopefully that's going to happen when I get to L.A."

No word yet on whether the high school glee club show will cover one of his songs, but John was enthusiastic about that possibility, too.

Morrison's solo album will be released in February.