THE DISHMASTER

ENTERTAINMENT NEWS WITH A SIDE OF DISH

Friday

4

March 2016

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COMMENTS

Amy Adams Confirms David O’ Russell Was a Tyrant On Set

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adamsOnly in Hollywood would a major movie studio continue to employ a reprehensible, abusive director for their own financial gain. It is widely known via reports from George Clooney and a leaked video from a heated exchange with Lily Tomlin that David O’ Russell emotionally abuses both his costars and crew. In fact, Clooney candidly admitted in a Playboy interview that he once took the director by throat on the set of ‘The Three Kings’ in an attempt to choke him, saying he was “going to kill him.” The confrontation was sparked from a previous exchange in which Clooney warned Russell not to “push or humiliate people who aren’t allowed to defend themselves.” When Russell continued his bad behavior, Clooney lost it. The movie nearly shut down as a result. Though some have attempted to suggest that Russell is reformed, leaked Sony emails reveal otherwise.

In an email exchange between journalist to his brother in law, Sony Entertainment CEO and chair Michael Lynton, Atler detailed similar behavior on the set of ‘American Hustle,” claiming “He grabbed one guy by the collar, cursed out people repeatedly in front of others and so abused Amy Adams that Christian Bale got in his face and told him to stop acting like an a—hole.” And now — Adams confirmed the story in her own interview. According to Adams, she said she was “devastated” on set nearly every day, and she could not stand to watch others “treated badly.” Though Jennifer Lawrence has defended Russell, Adams says Lawrence is “teflon” and she is not.

While I do not condone hacking into the emails of others, there is great pleasure in holding Sony accountable for their abhorrent hiring practices at the expense of their employees. Some things are more important than money, and if your director is disrespecting your cast and crew, it’s your responsibility to step in. No actor should ever work with this man again — including Jennifer Lawrence.

 

Thursday

3

March 2016

0

COMMENTS

Zoe Saldana In Blackface for Nina Simone Biopic — Is It Racist?

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SIMONEHollywood might have convinced us that cinched waists, bird legs, and tiny noses are all the rage, but what happens when we call upon our A-listers for bio-pic roles that are based on people who actually looked normal? When everyone looks the same, who can step in? The trailer was released for the new Nina Simone film starring Zoe Saldana, and Simone’s estate has bluntly voiced their displeasure, which actually began in 2012 when Simone’s daughter, Lisa Simone Kelly, told The New York Times that her “mother was raised at a time when she was told her nose was too wide [and] her skin was too dark. Appearance-wise, [Zoe Saldana] is not the best choice.” But the controversy goes a step further. Instead of simply accepting that Saldana doesn’t look like Simone, they darkened her skin and gave her a prosthetic nose, much to the dismay of both the public and the estate.

There are two issues here. First, is it wrong to use “blackface” when the actress is black, or is it only offensive when a white person does it? The history of blackface is worth noting before that question gets answered. The theatrical makeup (which included burnt cork and greasepaint) was used by white performers during the 19th century in minstrel shows where white men donned black makeup with exaggerated features and acted out offensive stereotypes of black people, most notoriously “Jim Crow” and “Zip Coon”. By 1840, black performers were also engaging in the practice, which was later condemned by other black leaders, including abolitionist leader Frederick Douglas. When Vaudeville entered the scene in the 1880’s, black performers were only allowed on stage in “blackface,” and this is how many black performers got their start. The practice now considered racist, and rightfully so (just ask Harry Connick Jr.).

It goes without saying that this is a lazy casting choice. The filmmakers would have been far better off doing the leg-work required in finding an on-point unknown that is perfect for the part, or perhaps just cast the very talented Viola Davis. But since Zoe Saldana was chosen, let’s answer the question. While it might not be AS offensive for a black person to don blackface, it’s still offensive. It’s also a poor creative choice, because it’s extremely distracting. Zoe is talented enough to take us inside this role without looking exactly like Nina Simone. Furthermore, let this be a lesson to every actress who has relinquished their larger nose in favor of traditionally white standards of beauty. This is your face. And there is no need to remove its character. Sure I’m a biased person with a large schnoz, but I can play Streisand if they need me.

Monday

29

February 2016

0

COMMENTS

Leonardo DiCaprio Talks Global Warming But Flies Private Jets?!

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dicaprioLeonardo DiCaprio has used this entire awards season to raise awareness about Global Warming, and his Oscar speech was no different. In fact, DiCaprio told the press that winning the Oscar was especially important because he could use a very wide audience to educate the public on the perils of our warming planet. But there’s a very significant contradiction looming over the A-listers speech, and it involves his questionable methods of travel. While he might encourage others to lighten their carbon load, ‘The Revenant’ star is doing no such thing. His preference for private jets was exposed in the Sony hacks, which indicated that he used the planet-warming travel choice six times in just six weeks. If you’re wondering what this means, the Essential Action and the Institute for Policy Studies indicate that “an hour of flying a private jet burns as much fuel as an entire year of driving a car.” Another study suggests that “flying turns out to be on average 50 times worse than driving in terms of a five-year warming impact.” DiCaprio’s Prius can’t possibly plug that leak. Global warming certainly a serious issue, and its great that shined a light on it. But he’s also a hypocrite, as are most people, that hypocrisy might warm our planet.
 

Sunday

28

February 2016

0

COMMENTS

Chris Rock’s Oscars 2016 Monologue: My Review

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It’s difficult to dominate the Oscar monologue, especially amidst a stuffy bunch waiting with baited breath to hear their win . . . or loss. Plus, the event has been marred by the very obvious absence of black actors from the main acting categories, and while many suggested that a boycott might be the best bet, Chris Rock delivered a funny, on-point monologue instead. According to Rock, an actress like Jada Pinkett Smith “boycotting the Oscars is like [him] boycotting Rihanna’s panties. [He] wasn’t invited!” Rock addressed things more frankly when he said that although Hollywood isn’t “cross-burning” racist, they are “sorority racist. We like you Rhonda — but you’re not a Kappa.’” He pointed out this observation when he met President Obama at a Hollywood fundraiser and said that the room is filled with “the nicest people on earth” and “they don’t hire black people.” His only misstep involved a joke about how these types of exclusions have existed for years, but back then black people had “real things to protest,” and therefore were not concerned. Twitter predictably erupted at the idea that black people have real things to protest now, such as police brutality. Rock’s point was obviously that the anger is misplaced on a stupid golden statue rather than real issues at hand, which is further evidenced by his joke that the “In Memoriam segment would feature  a montage of black people shot by cops on their way to the movies.” So pipe down type-happy trolls. Clearly the man knows what’s going on.

It’s refreshing to see someone like Chris Rock use humor to shine a light on heavy issues and offer an interesting, on-point take we might not have thought of. In fact, I have a feeling we’ll be using the term “sorority racist” for a long time in the future. We all live our lives in a members-only club, whether we know it or not. We surround ourselves with what’s familiar, and as a result, we eliminate talented people from our pool. Until we are aware and consciously correct for this, we won’t change. And if anyone can make us aware, it’s Chris Rock.

Friday

26

February 2016

0

COMMENTS

Jennifer Garner Finally Gets Real About Her Divorce

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jennifer-garner-march-2016-cover

When Jennifer Garner told Vanity Fair that she “looks forward to having a sense of humor” again after her divorce from Ben Affleck, I thought, “If this interview is any indication, then she is well on her way.” I’ve read a lot of Jennifer Garner interviews over the years, and her sweet disposition always makes my teeth ache, but it’s usually bogged down by the burdens of the back-and-forth and her presumably busy schedule managing a marriage and three kids. This interview is different. She’s clearly in pain and willing to give an honest account of how her marriage broke down — but she’s bubbly, and it floats to the surface. Much like Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Nicole Kidman, she also has a great zinger for her ex, insulting his newest tattoo, saying, “You know what we would say in my hometown about that? ‘Bless his heart.’ A phoenix rising from the ashes. Am I the ashes in this scenario?” So how does she manage losing the man she calls “the love of her life” along with “the dream of dancing with [her] husband at my daughter’s wedding?” With Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, of course. And speaking of dancing, it’s a common theme throughout the interview, which is no surprise since she danced for “six hours a day” as a child. And in another hilarious quote she says, “My cross to bear is that my children have no interest in ballet. I think they could smell how much I wanted to put their hair in a bun.” While she didn’t give a direct reason for the demise of her marriage, I think this quote about Affleck sums it up: ‘When his sun shines on you, you feel it.’ But when the sun is shining elsewhere, it’s cold. He can cast quite a shadow.” Head to Vanity Fair for more.

 

Friday

26

February 2016

0

COMMENTS

Kelly Clarkson Sings “Piece by Piece” Through Tears on ‘American Idol’

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clarkson

Kelly Clarkson proved her vocal prowess once again on the stage of American Idol where she was crowned the first champ as the surprise summer hit would eventually peak at 38 million viewers. Simon Cowell once told Howard Stern that Clarkson was by far the most self-assured, “ruthless” contestant in history, having fired the entire management team assigned by Idol almost immediately after her win. In fact, Clarkson often distanced herself from the show. But that all changed last night on the Idol stage when she sang “Piece by Piece” through tears. Though Clarkson often keeps her personal life close to the vest, the lyrics are telling, and the singer has said that as a child of divorce she “never had a man stick around and “whenever people said, ‘I’m in love,’ it didn’t really hold very much weight or gravity with [her].” Clarkson said the song is a “love letter celebrating and thanking [her] husband for being a man that knows how to love [her] and [their] children without expecting anything in return.” Clarkson is married to Brandon Blackstock who she met through Reba McEntire. Reba was married to Blackstock’s father for over two decades before calling it quits amidst the 2015 wave of celebrity divorces. Because Clarkson was pregnant with her first child while creating her album, she was unable to write most of the tracks, with the exception of “Piece by Piece” and a few others. Watch her very moving performance below. The song hit #1 shortly after her performance, further illustrating Clarkson’s ability to move a room.

Wednesday

24

February 2016

0

COMMENTS

Kanye West Takes Aim at Bob Ezrin — Finally Makes Sense

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Kanye_West_BW
Of all Kanye West’s rants, his effusive rage against veteran music producer Bob Ezrin has to be the most hilarious . . . and on point. In a piece written for Bob Lefsetz’s “Lefsetz Letter,” Ezrin took aim at West’s new album, calling it “sophomoric” and said that we won’t be be “quoting too many of Kanye’s songs 20 years from now,” as we would “Jay-Z, Tupac, Biggie or even M.C. Hammer.” He furthered that Kanye “didn’t open up new avenues of public discourse like N.W.A., or introduce the world to a new art form like Grandmaster Flash, or even meaningfully and memorably address social issues through his music like Marshall, Macklemore and Kendrick.” I think you can guess what happened from here.

Kanye West did not take kindly to the criticism, especially the idea that Ezrin compared his music to Macklemore, and in a tweet heard round the world Kanye said, “Bro you said Macklemore was more important musically than me… no offense to Macklemore, he’s a nice human being!”


Kanye also pointed out that Ezrin represents the “old guard” (a good point) and knows nothing about rap (which is likely true). Anyone who would put Macklemore in the same sentence as Kendrick Lamar, deserves a Kanye West twitter throw-down. And in case you would like to compare Macklemore and Kanye’s influence for sport, watch the two videos below and judge for yourself. Kudos to Kanye for calling Macklemore “nice,” in a bid to be less mean. He clearly tried.

Monday

22

February 2016

0

COMMENTS

Why Won’t the Courts #FreeKesha From Dr. Luke? Here’s the Explanation

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keshaWhen New York Supreme Court Justice Shirley Kornreich refused Kesha’s requested injunction to release her from Dr. Luke’s Kemosabe Records, which is owned by Sony Music Entertainment, Kesha sobbed in open court. Kesha sued Dr. Luke in 2014 for allegedly drugging, raping, and abusing her. Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald denies all charges and claims it’s a creative bid to breach her contract. Sony argued that Dr. Luke and Kesha do not have to interact while she performs the remainder of her contact. Their argument seems more like a faux peace gesture rather than a legally binding amendment to her original agreement though, because sources suggest that the contract prevents her from working with anyone but Luke.

Many celebrities have spoken up in support of Kesha, most notably Taylor Swift, who donated $250,000 to fund the singer’s legal fund curiously close to some very public criticism from Demi Lovato. The current narrative circling the netscape is something like, “Sony is forcing Kesha to work with her rapist.” As for Dr. Luke, he calls this “trial by twitter.”

While I have not been privy to the actual print in Kesha’s contract, I smell a rat. First, is Kesha worth this much money to Sony, and will she even release anything worthwhile under these conditions? So what’s the angle? Perhaps Sony is concerned about setting a precedent, or more alarmingly — perhaps Luke is worth more to Sony and HIS contract between Kemosabe Records and Sony is nearing an end. Maybe he has threatened to walk away from HIS deal without Sony’s support? Conversely, is it possible that Kesha’s team is in fact playing this card in a ploy to get out of the astounding six-records she has left with Sony? After all, they did allegedly make up a Lady Gaga rape allegation.

There’s a wave of trials in the court of public opinion, and many involve rape. First, taking a rape case to court is excruciating for actual victims, because they are forced to relive their trauma in cross-examination and have their credibility questioned. Second, the shame associated with rape often keeps victims quiet, and the statute of limitations might pass before they choose to speak up. Third, victims are often too traumatized to quickly gather physical evidence post-rape, which leads to a very thin case in court. So is this what happened to Kesha? It’s been widely noted that there is little to no evidence to back up her claims, which is why Luke was not criminally prosecuted. And if he was not in fact criminally prosecuted, can you blame Sony for standing behind him? While our legal system is not kind to victims, I cannot think of a more feasible alternative. Our legal system is founded on “Innocence until proven guilty” for a reason, and I would venture to guess that if given the option, most people would keep it that way.

When someone is accused of a heinous crime, that presumption of innocence means the accuser MUST be cross-examined. Their credibility MUST be called into question, because someone’s life and freedom is at stake. If we were simply to assume guilt and take action as a result, is anyone safe? In Kesha’s defense, Sony should have amended her original contract to create a black and white barring of Luke’s involvement. My guess is he could still make money off the star, given that he found her, and she’s technically under his label. It’s one thing for Sony to suggest his involvement is not necessary, it’s another to put it in writing. If it’s true that Kesha does in fact have to work with her rapist or she’s otherwise in breach, then I cannot fathom a bigger nightmare. But Sony has been warned, and any action on Luke’s part moving forward would be the most clear cut negligence imaginable, and Sony has deep pockets. I’d advise Kesha to consider that.

Monday

22

February 2016

0

COMMENTS

An Interview With Danny Clinch: Famed Music Photographer

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Still Moving Book Cover

What exactly does it take to capture a rock G-d on camera, and can it be taught? Moments are fleeting, but when you have someone like Danny Clinch in your corner, those moments will live on, with the energy of the room fully intact. As a photographer and music-lover, Clinch is the go-to guy on the music scene, with work that spans album covers and publications like Vanity Fair, Spin, Rolling Stone, GQ, Esquire, and more. The New Jersey native began his career as an intern for famed Vanity Fair photographer, Annie Liebowitz, and though he was exposed to many genres at the time, Clinch found himself drawn to Liebowitz’s “early photos of John Lennon, the Rolling Stones on tour, and a specific one of Duane and Gregg Allman asleep in the back seat of the car.” Clinch “wanted to do it all,” but he just “naturally gravitated toward music.” And in case his photography resume of the Beastie Boys, Tupac Shakur, Johnny Cash and many more isn’t enough, Clinch has earned four Grammy nominations as a director. Plus, he has a book to his name, which is a curated collection of can’t-miss photographs. Read the interview below for a first-hand look inside the creative process of Danny Clinch.

You seem to have an ability to create trust and intimacy with people right away.

I just try to be myself, and I try to treat people as I would like to be treated. My world is relaxed. I’ve worked with other photographers whose world is not relaxed, so there’s tension and they use that to their advantage. I want you to say – “Wow, that was kind of easy, that didn’t feel like a photo shoot, it just felt like we were just hanging out.” I think it’s also important to be a collaborator, where people are interested in contributing to the photo shoot in one way or another. I think their involvement is important, and people won’t contribute if they don’t trust you.

What happens if you come across someone who doesn’t mesh with your style?

I feel them out, and I come with a set group of ideas. I am also very reactionary. For example, if we came into this room while we were sitting here, and maybe if the window’s open and then all of a sudden a cloud blows off the sun and a big streak of light comes through, I might say, “Oh! Go over there really quick! That light is beautiful.” Actually, one time I was photographing Bruce Springsteen for “The Rising” at a recording studio while he was mastering the record, and they said, “Well, you might get him every once in a while for five or ten minutes.” This was my first big shoot, and I thought, “Oh, great.” I was nervous, and he wasn’t really recording so there was a lot of down time. My assistant and I were hanging out in a parking lot. I already had some ideas, and he comes out and he says, “I got like five minutes, let’s do something really quick. What do you got?” I saw this rain puddle in the parking lot. I said, “Go on the other side of that rain puddle, and I’ll get a reflection.” So he goes over, and I got down and focused my camera, and all of a sudden the sun came out and it created this crazy shadow. So not only was it Bruce’s reflection in the puddle, but his shadow on top of it. This is pre-digital so I didn’t know what I got. I had to wait until I got my film back from the lab. I was like, “Oh my God.” I have learned to trust my instincts.
 
How do you feel about artists that don’t want the audience taking pictures during their concerts? Do you think iPhone cameras distract from the musical experience?

I couldn’t imagine being a performer looking down at someone while you’re singing these heartfelt lyrics and [seeing the audience] on their phone. It’s interesting as a photographer, because a lot of people only allow two songs for the photographer to shoot. Maybe someone should do the same for the audience. It’s only fair. People are missing the experience.

You have said Keith Richards was the classic subject to photograph. What makes a subject so interesting?

Everyone is different. Some people are great collaborators and know how to be in front of the camera, and some people have to learn it. Others will never learn it. They might say, “This is me, I’m going to sit here. You make the photo as best you can,” and it’s up to you to direct them in a certain way or stand them somewhere interesting. Then you have people like Bruce Springsteen or Keith Richards, for example. Keith is the great example, because I had never photographed him and he was on my bucket list. When I got a chance to photograph him, I took a polaroid, and when I looked at it, I had an epiphany and thought, “These weren’t great photographs, this is a great model!” I mean, this guy is unbelievable! He’d just sit there, and just came off so rock ‘n’ roll. You can’t take a bad picture of this guy. Of course, he was pretty cool. He wasn’t super-friendly, but he was immediately into the vibe.

Is it easier with someone who is experienced?

Yeah, and somebody like Bruce Springsteen, who has been photographed so many times, knows how to project, at least to himself. He’s like, “I remember I did this in this photo, and when I got it back I really liked it.” If you’re photographed every single day, you know “this is the better side of my face; this is not.” For instance, this Gregg Allman photo right here which is staring me in the face. It’s a great captured moment, but in my mind, being a photographer who has been there a million times, did he know the photographer was there, and he threw his leg up there and thought, “I’m going to give this to you, go ahead and get it.” [Laughs]

When I think of someone like Keith Richards, he’s such a defined look. Does the look play into it too?

Oh, of course. It’s what people are wearing, their style of dress, their body language, and I’m a big fan of the moment when they’re not quite ready. If I’m having trouble with someone– if they’re a guitar player and I put a guitar in their hands, they all of a sudden forget, their shoulders relax, they start tuning the guitar, it’s a real moment. If you look at some of the photos in this room, for instance, like that Jim Morrison photo by Joel Bronson, it’s very direct, and it’s in a studio. He knows this is not a captured moment; this is a direct portrait. And there’s a lot a lot of value in that too, and I love those moments. My preference is the more captured moment. Also, something that I say in my book, “Still Moving,” is that I don’t always think that a portrait has to be where you can see someone’s face with direct eye contact. There’s a Bob Dylan photo in my book also where he’s looking out a window and I think it’s a beautiful portrait, and it speaks volumes. You don’t see his face but you look at it and you’re like, “That’s Bob Dylan.”

Ben Harper ©Danny Clinch/Morrison Hotel Gallery

Ben Harper ©Danny Clinch/Morrison Hotel Gallery

Bruce Springsteen ©Danny Clinch/Morrison Hotel Gallery

Bruce Springsteen ©Danny Clinch/Morrison Hotel Gallery

© Danny Clinch/Morrison Hotel Gallery

© Danny Clinch/Morrison Hotel Gallery

© Danny Clinch/Morrison Hotel Gallery

© Danny Clinch/Morrison Hotel Gallery

© Danny Clinch/Morrison Hotel Gallery

© Danny Clinch/Morrison Hotel Gallery

Friday

19

February 2016

0

COMMENTS

The Outrage of Beyonce’s Super Bowl Performance. Are They Right?

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BeysuperbowlWhen Beyonce performed ‘Formation’ at the Super Bowl with references to The Black Panthers, Malcolm X, and the Black Lives Matter movement, it inspired both praise AND outrage. Her dancers wore Black-Panther style berets, posed with a black power salute and held a sign that said, “Justice for Mario Woods,” a man shot dead by police in San Francisco. Her heated half-time show came on the heels of the video she released just a day before, which showed her siting on top of a police car, along with a young boy wearing a hoodie dancing in front of police officers (clearly in relation to Trayvon Martin, the 17-year old black child teenager was fatally shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer on his way back from a convenience store where he purchased candy. Martin was wearing a hoodie at the time). Beyonce’s husband, Jay-Z, also donated money to the Black Lives Matter movement, which has been widely criticized because many suggest that “All Lives Matter” would be a more appropriate title. But to quote Bill Maher, “All Lives Matter” “implies that all lives are equally at risk, and they’re not”. In short, this is a strong political statement for a standout celebrity who began her career singing about soft subjects like “Bills, Bills, Bills.”

The reaction to Beyonce’s message have been bold and swift. Most notably, Javier Ortiz, president of Miami Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge #20, which represents 1,100 officers said that “The Miami Fraternal Order of Police has voted to have all law enforcement officers boycott Beyoncé’s concert which is being held at the Miami Marlins Stadium,” and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said that he “thought it was really outrageous that she used it as a platform to attack police officers who are the people who protect her and protect us, and keep us alive.”

So who, if anyone, is right? It’s baffling that extremely intelligent, educated people cannot wrap their minds around respecting the good guys and admonishing the bad. We are capable of thinking multiple thoughts at once. We can respect the police officers who risk their lives for our safety while also criticizing the ones whose decisions are largely influenced by race, even if it’s latent. We can also call-out a system that is above repercussions, as we have so often seen. There’s not one doubt in my mind that Beyonce respects our armed forces, and our police officers, but she’s black, as SNL so hilariously pointed out, and it’s refreshing to see someone with a spotlight shining on them stand next to something that matters. Kudos to her for using such a large platform to inspire conversation about something other than a nipple piercing. There is not one right answer, but it’s time we started talking, and hopefully Beyonce got the first word, not the last.

 

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