It's being reported that Bruno, which follows Baron Cohen's gay Austrian news reporter in his travels in America, is on par with Borat in terms of its outrageousness. Twenty minutes of footage were played in two screenings to several hundred people at Austin's SXSW festival over the weekend, according to The Hollywood Reporter:
"Sacha Baron Cohen was not there...though he did
appear on screen over the course of the footage several times, as
himself, to introduce the skits and caution these were extended bits
that would be condensed for the final film...The
first involved Bruno telling eager parents he was doing a baby photo
shoot, and would they be willing to do outlandish things, like drop
their baby several stories, in order to be in the shoot? (Of course
many were.) A second segment also involved a baby shoot, and
Bruno asking parents if their baby could lose some weight or even go
through liposuction because he's too fat. in a third, he hosts a
mixed-martial arts competition, which seems to be going well until he
begins making out with another man, earning the boos of the crowd."
Austin 360 reports: When the baby thing doesn’t turn out as Bruno had hoped, he morphs
into another person, Straight Dave, the host of a TV wrestling show
called Man-Slamming Maxout. But it seems as though Straight Dave still has a few latent urges
lingering below. Let’s just say that the Straight Dave fans are in for
a disappointment. It’s not clear whether Cohen has really continued to find clueless
audiences who will fall for his antics. But it appears that he has. The
movie is bound to stir up just as much controversy as Borat. And that’s
Sacha Baron Cohen's much-anticipated follow-up to Borat will preview this weekend at Austin's South by Southwest (SXSW) film, music and web festival. It's being billed as a sneak-peek of footage, so guests won't likely see the whole film.
Dark Horizons writes: "This will be the VERY FIRST audience anywhere to see footage from
the film. No badge is needed and its free, but go early to guarantee
admission. Those interested should show up (well before the scheduled 11 pm screening time) at the Alamo Drafthouse, 1120 S. Lamar Blvd this Sunday."
Robbie Daw presents a weekly pop music update here on Towleroad! Robbie runs his own site called Chart Rigger.
Another year, almost over. At the onset each January, the music fan in me looks ahead, anticipating new whatever intriguing new releases may be on the way. Yet for many reasons, politics took the front seat to pretty much everything in 2008.
Listening to and waxing philosophical on pop just kind of felt insignificant at many points over the past 12 months.
That said, this being my last Towleroad music column of the year, I decided to take a look back at just some random music-related points from 2008: Some that maybe didn't get mention here, some that did. Some perhaps unimportant in the grand scheme, but all of which are off the top of my head on this cold mid-December day:
Lil Wayne had the best selling album of the year with Tha Carter III, which moved 2.7 copies. The second best-selling was Coldplay's Viva La Vida, which sold 1.9 million. By comparison, the top-selling album of 1998 was the Titanic soundtrack, at 7 million copies.
I was bummed that I missed catching Aussie dance trio Cut Copy live at every turn. Their latest album In Ghost Colors is pretty groovy, and definitely worth checking out (particularly the track "Lights & Music").
I did get to see MGMT live at Austin City Limits—which, as I read in Billboard today, was the fifth top-grossing music festival of the year, with $11.7 million in ticket sales. The band was a bit disappointing live. Chalk it up to the Texas heat? Meanwhile, there are two awesome new Pet Shop Boys mixes of MGMT's current single "Kids" out there—the "PSB Abstrakt Mix" and "PSB Synthpop Mix."
I'm not sure pop really got more perfect than Chris Brown's "Forever" in 2008.
Albums that will be worth revisiting after December 31: The Ting Tings' We Started Nothing, Robyn's Robyn, Cyndi Lauper's Bring Ya To The Brink and Kylie Minogue's X.
Ones that were perhaps a bit ahead of their time, or underappreciated: Santogold's Santogold, Keane's Perfect Symmetry and The Killers' Day & Age.
One import worth snagging: Take That's The Circus. That said, rumor has it the album is getting a U.S. release in 2009.
At $282 in earnings, by year's end Madonna is set to see her Sticky & Sweet tour become the top-grossing jaunt ever for both a female and solo artist.
It was jarring to see Britney Spears on the cover of Rolling Stone in February for a story titled "Inside An American Tragedy," then nine months later with "Yes She Can: Britney Returns!" But return she did, scoring her first #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 since her 1998 debut single. She also landed her first two back-to-back Top 10 singles ("Womanizer" and "Circus") last week.
It didn't seem possible for any artist to make an equally-impactful version of "Run" as Snow Patrol's 2004 original, but Leona Lewis somehow came close. Her cover has been the #1 U.K. single for two weeks now, and was just added to U.S. iTunes today.
In the spring we all pondered whether Katy Perry was offensive with her songs "Ur So Gay" and "I Kissed A Girl." Who knew she had a decent jam like "Hot N Cold" up her sleeve, to boot?
Kevin Cogill cooperated with authorities and pleaded guilty to leaking tracks from Guns N' Roses Chinese Democracy online over the summer, ahead of the album's November release. He could face a year in prison.
Whoever can count the amount of times Andy Towle mentioned Lady GaGa gets a gold star.
Following in the tradition of Sugababes and Girls Aloud, the Saturdays are the next in the line of great British girl groups who may never get proper exposure this side of the pond.
David Archuleta sure is merry, lively and spirited!
Finally, if ever there was a starlet deserving of claiming she sufffers from the grand Hollywood malady of "exhaustion," it just might be Rihanna.
A FEW CLIPS FOR THE WEEK:
ELLEN DEGENERES AND BRITNEY SPEARS: Christmas caroling in L.A.
SARA BAREILLES AND INGRID MICHAELSON: "Winter Song," from the compilation Hotel Cafe Presents Winter Songs.
GIRLS ALOUD: New single "The Loving Kind," co-written by Pet Shop Boys and Xenomania, and officially out in the U.K. next month.
LILY ALLEN: "The Fear," new single (on iTunes now) from her upcoming second album It's Not Me, It's You.
THIS WEEK'S NEW RELEASES:
Fall Out Boy's fifth album Folie à Deux, produced by Neal Avron and Pharrell Williams.
The Killers' third annual Product Red AIDS charity single "Joseph, Better You Than Me," also featuring Elton John and the Pet Shop Boys' Neil Tennant on vocals.
Michael Stipe comes out? "It was super complicated for me in the ’80s. I was totally open with the band and my family and my friends and certainly the people I was sleeping with. I thought it was pretty obvious. Now I recognize that to have public figures be very open about their sexuality helps some kid somewhere out there."
Oscar-winning director Anthony Minghella dies at 54: "Minghella's publicist, Jonathan Rutter, said the filmmaker died at London's Charing Cross Hospital. He said Minghella was operated on last week for a growth in his neck, 'and the operation seemed to have gone well. At 5 a.m. today he had a fatal hemorrhage.'"
Pennsylvania senate proposes amendment banning gay marriage: "Constitutional amendment legislation failed in the last legislative session but is being considered anew in the current session. During a Senate committee hearing, Maggie Gallagher, President of the National Organization for Marriage, said an amendment to the state constitution would protect against a judge’s ruling that could strike down state law defining marriage as between a man and woman…'It’s not a fantasy that this could happen. It is happening – it’s happened in New Jersey, it’s happened in Connecticut' Gallagher was speaking to Republican Senator Jane Earll of Erie, skeptical of the need for a constitutional amendment: 'We are going to hold our constitution hostage to the wackiest judge in some other state. I just think that amending the constitution is a very drastic measure.'"
Richard I slept in the same bed with French King Phillip II but it wasn't a gay thing: "It was an accepted political act, nothing sexual about it; just two politicians literally getting into bed together, a bit like a modern-day photo opportunity."
Chad Allen, Janeane Garofalo, Rebecca Gayheart, Soleil Moon Frye, Patrick Muldoon and Brad Rowe team up for gay indie screwball comedy For Better or For Worse: "Frye will play the lesbian minister presiding over the ceremony at the home of one groom's mother (Ruta Lee). The guests include the jilted ex of one of the grooms and his new beau (Muldoon and Allen), a closeted neighbor (Stanley Kamel), a wallflower sister (Gayheart), a family-man brother (Rowe) and his nanny (Garofalo), who has a bombshell to drop."
Anti-gay graffiti causes stir in Northern California town of Fortuna: "A Fortuna resident noticed anti-homosexual words painted on several mailboxes on her street and filed a police report Thursday. The derogatory words, 'fag' and 'gay,' made her so irate, it took her more than an hour to stop shaking, she said. The Fortuna Police Department is treating the vandalism as a hate crime because the intent was likely to express hate, FPD Sgt. Jack Bernstein said. 'It’s concerning for us to have something like this.'"
Police officers punished in Austin, Texas after remarks: "Cmdr. Calvin Smith, who has worked for the department for 34 years and supervises the Austin police training academy, told the fellow commander that he was worried about the 'kind of message' the potential transfer of a gay female officer would send at the academy, which already had two lesbians working there, according to a disciplinary memo. Cmdr. Larry Oliver was fired for failing to report the comments, even though he later confirmed to investigators that he thought Smith was referring to 'their being lesbians,' a disciplinary memo said. He was fired after refusing Acevedo's offer of a 30-day suspension."
At last night's Democratic debate, Hillary Clinton was asked about the charges of plagiarism that have been leveled against the Obama campaign, and she attempted but failed to deliver a zinger. Clinton knew the "change you could Xerox" line didn't have the intended effect the moment she said it, and she spent the next few minutes scrambling to recover as she veered into a discussion of health care rather than plagiarism.
And Clinton 'borrowed' words from Edwards last night.
Writes DailyKos: "This plagiarism thing is officially dead. I'm sure we'll be able to move on from this silliness. Worst. Political. Attack. Ever."
Uri Horesh, a University of Texas lecturer of Arabic in the Department of Middle Eastern Studies, has begun a hunger strike to protest the school's policy of discrimination against same-sex domestic partners of employees. Although the school has a nondiscrimination policy which prohibits unlawful discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, the university cites state law which forbids state institutions from recognizing same-sex unions, and says they would be breaking the law if they extended benefits to same-sex domestic partners. According to Horesh, however, "The university has a responsibility to be more progressive than the state."
Horesh told the Austin American-Statesman: "The fact that the university is conducting itself in this manner makes me feel like I'm a persona non grata here, a person whose rights are less important than others. For some reason, some people in this state and others have a twisted view of what's moral or what's right. You can think whatever you want about same-sex partnerships, but to discriminate against someone because they're gay, that to me is as immoral as discriminating against them because they're black, deaf, blind...I'm not going to start eating until this matter is resolved or I'm taken to the hospital. Whatever happens first."