Music Spotlight: Gaby Moreno

Photo via @Gaby_Moreno

Gaby Moreno entered my life as an opener at The Troubadour for Australian singer/songwriter C.W. Stoneking. And I’m one of my life’s most disappointing tragedies, I recorded her on mute — only to be discovered when he set ended. Why is this such a tragedy you ask? Because her albums represent about 10% of her talent. Her magical on-stage presence, powerful vocals and sheer passion is lost on her albums, and there’s simply no way for you to join the party without seeing her live.

Moreno is a Guatemalan singer/songwriter who needs nothing but her voice and a guitar. I’ve uploaded the video so that perhaps my readers can simply imagine what the concert actually sounded like. According to Moreno, she’s a massive Stoneking fan and he was commissioned at that same day rod be the opening act. Judging by how the audience erupted, I’m sure she’ll soon be selling out her own show next.

Jessica Simpson is Still Having a Rough Go of It

I’m rooting for Jessica Simpson. I’ve always been a fan, I watched newlyweds, and when she and Nick Lachey split up it felt like the end of an era. But they were young, and they didn’t stand a chance with the monkey of Hollywood on their back.

Since the show has ended, Jessica Simpson has had great success as a businesswoman and mother of three, and Nick Lachey has started a family of his own. It therefore baffles me why Jessica Simpson would take the route of writing a memoir, especially if she is not in the mental place to do it.

Though I know absolutely nothing about her on a personal level, it took me two seconds to watch her interview on The Today Show to surmise that even though she proclaims to be sober, something is awry. I by no means want to pick on her, but I also want to make it clear that I’m not buying what she’s selling, literally and figuratively. 

Demi Lovato Delivers a Haunting Grammy Performance

It ain’t over till it’s over, and Demi Lovato is living proof of that. Following a highly-publicized overdose, Lovato took the stage at the 2020 GRAMMY Awards to deliver a haunting performance of a song she wrote just days before nearly losing her life to addiction. She clearly struggled at the beginning, but being a true pro — she collected herself for a restart, and the result was stirring. Watch below. The lyrics were clearly a cry for help.

Julianne Hough is Weird AF

Perhaps Julianne Hough’s overly-reported spiritual awakening could have been geared toward fighting NBC alongside Gabrielle Union instead of a faux exorcism that seems so inappropriate I almost upchucked. The Dancing with the Stars alum/former America’s Got Talent host engaged in a energy treatment at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and in the video below, you’ll see Dr. John Amaral get much to close to her rectum as she contorts her body.

I don’t trust this procedure, and I no longer trust celebrity endorsements given how absolutely insane celebrities are. Furthermore, though I previously stated that Julianne Hough is free to keep quiet regarding her firing from AGT, I’m changing my mind. If you’re going to tour the world with wacky behavior and claim to be on a journey to self-discovery, maybe start with fighting the powers that be alongside other females instead of giving a dough-eyed, innocent grin as you worm your way out of joining the movement.

New Year, New News

Photo via @wilmervalderrama

Nikki Bella and Artem Chigvintsev are engaged after one year of dating. Us Magazine.  

Wilmer Valderrama  and his girlfriend of seven months Amanda Pacheco are engaged. People

Cameron Diaz and Benji Madden are parents. LA Times

Actress Michelle Williams is engaged and expecting her first child with Tony Award-winning director of Hamilton Thomas Kail. Billboard

Leonardo DiCaprio has become Jack Nicholson. Mirror

Halsey and Evan Peters are heating up. NYP

Kathy Griffin tied the knot with her longtime beau. Just Jared

Dua Lipa and Anwar Hadid are making waves. Daily Mail

Tyler Cameron is dating Kylie Jenner’s BFF. TMZ

The Affair’s Sarah Treem Responds to THR Article – Not Good Enough?

Core cast of The Affair on Showtime

We’ve learned a lot about what went on behind the scenes of Showtime’s The Affair, and though there’s still many mysteries afloat, one thing we know for sure is … that show was a mess. For those who have not yet read The Hollywood Reporter’s somewhat thorough account of the insider drama, here’s some nutshell bullet points to catch you up:

  • Despite having agreed to on-set nudity, Ruth Wilson felt its use in certain scenes was gratuitous, and she made her discomfort known. She also took issue with her male co-stars’ comparative lack of nudity.
  • Ruth Wilson felt Showrunner Sarah Treem applied undue pressure for her to appear naked, using a tone-deaf approach akin to men from the 1950s telling her she “looked beautiful” in an effort for her to disrobe.
  • Monitors were left on, which showed the sex scenes to someone not involved in production. (Note: this complaint was also raised against the female Showrunner of Showtime’s Smilf, Frankie Shaw).
  • Wilson objected to the content of certain scenes, including one that felt “rapey.” That scene was ultimately performed by a body double who later sued for alleged mistreatment.
  • Last and perhaps most important, executive producer Jeffrey Reiner is alleged to have told Girls creator Lena Dunham and executive producer Jenni Konner something disturbing about Wilson, in addition to showing a graphic photo of another actress that was taken on set.

Sarah Treem’s defense of the last and perhaps most disturbing item is so anger-inducing she released a follow-up defense to Deadline, stating that “not much of [her] perspective made it into the story, nor the perspectives of many of the half dozen senior level producers, director and other key crew members who spoke up.” So did her follow-up, first-person response serve to exonerate her character? In short, no.

The Deadline article is largely about the ins-and-outs of Treem’s complicated relationship with Ruth Wilson, who by Treem’s account “had been disagreeing on the character’s choices since the second episode.” Treem furthers that she “tried to protect [Wilson] and shoot sex scenes safely and respectfully.” She altered scenes entirely, even it removed their original intent.

While it might be true that Treem had pure intentions and did the best she could to illicit comfort, she obviously failed in doing so, and it’s not my job to assign fault. All I can say is, if Ruth Wilson did not feel comfortable, then I respect that something on set was perhaps not up to snuff, instead of pointing fingers and implying she’s difficult. She’s a brilliant actress, so she’s obviously doing something right. Treem’s essay is more about defending Treem’s creative integrity than her moral integrity.

The Deadline piece doubles down on Treem’s statements to The Hollywood Reporter about her handling of the immensely disturbing Reiner incident. Treem stated that she “asked Showtime if we could shut down production for weeks” and “asked for sensitivity training.” She wanted “Reiner to address the cast and crew.” Instead, she “was told that Showtime had to be the one to handle it.”

If we take Treem’s words at face value, it’s still not good enough. Reiner’s behavior should be subject to a zero tolerance policy. Sensitivity training?! Treem should have asked for his removal. How much sensitivity training does an adult male need to know he shouldn’t show compromising pictures of another actress from a sex scene on a closed set? Her defense sounds painfully similar to the don’t-blame-me-blame-the-network defense from The Chi’s Lena Waithe (another Showtime series).

It should be noted that being a Showrunner is an EXTREMELY difficult job. Treem has admitted to its challenges in a very powerful, revealing essay for Red Online about “having it all.” When that article is cross-referenced with the issues on The Affair, it is not surprising that she was perhaps unable to get ahead of the on-set issues and react appropriately. Had she shown an inch of that vulnerability in her Deadline article, I’d be way more forgiving. She said that the Reiner incident overlapped with having had a new baby, and the Red Online article indicates that this was a trying time in her personal life, and she should have asked for more help. But there’s no “I wish I would have done things differently” in the Deadline piece. Instead, she points fingers, avoids responsibility, and implied Wilson was the issue.

Julianne Hough is not required to Stand by Gabrielle Union

The greatest trick the devil ever played was pitting women against one another to benefit men. The second greatest trick the devil ever played is demanding women unite to go against men, and punishing them when they don’t. When Julianne Hough was asked about Gabrielle Union’s controversial firing from America’s Got Talent, she said a whole lot of NOTHING, and even threw in the laughable non-word “integrily.”

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Howard Stern Takes Aim at Simon Cowell — And I’m Here for it

AMERICA’S GOT TALENT — “Judge Cuts” — Pictured: (l-r) Howie Mandel, Gabrielle Union, Jay Leno, Julianne Hough, Simon Cowell — (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC)

It’s not surprising that Howard Stern took aim at Simon Cowell — the man did come for his AGT job after all. And nothing provides greater entertainment than Stern on a tear. In response to Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough’s firing from America’s Got Talent, Stern rightfully proclaimed:

“He sets it up that the men stay. No matter how ugly they are, no matter how old they are, no matter how fat they are, no matter how talentless they are. What he manages to do on all his shows is he constantly replaces the hot chicks with hotter chicks and younger chicks. Howie’s [Mandel] doing a fine, serviceable job — why don’t they change him? And why don’t they change Simon? … This is the ultimate example of a boys’ club.” 

I’ve certainly noticed the revolving door of hot chicks on all the Simon Cowell-produced shows, especially when it’s set up against the long-term reign of his male judges. In short, it’s a gross double standard. Furthermore, if there was any level of diversity in upper management at all, the tone-deaf comments Union alleges were made about her appearance likely would not happen (and let’s not forget what happened to Nick Cannon). Louis Walsh stayed on his X Factor panel long after he groped Mel B. and according to Stern — Mel B. was later fired from AGT while Walsh kept his job.

It is also of note that Stern defended his longtime nemesis Jay Leno over a joke Leno made, which is also the subject of a bitter brawl between NBC and Gabrielle Union. Union allegedly complained to the higher-ups about Leno joking that a painting of Simon Cowell with his dogs looked like it belonged “on the menu at a Korean restaurant.”  As Stern rightfully points out,  “one million dogs are still eaten annually in South Korea, and if Gabrielle Union wants to effect positive change, maybe focus on the horrors of Korean dog farms and let the old irrelevant comic live in peace.”

Stern fans know that the Leno/Stern beef dates back to Leno “stealing” Stuttering John out from under Stern, in addition to some accusations of joke thievery, including a chicken. Stern recently proclaimed that one particular comedian would not accept his personal apology for his savage attacks, and I’m guessing the comedian in question is Leno. 

Simon Cowell’s Company Responds to Gabrielle Union’s Firing

AMERICA’S GOT TALENT — Pictured: “America’s Got Talent” Key Art — (Photo by: NBCUniversal)

In response to the allegations that Gabrielle Union’s firing from America’s Got Talent was a retaliatory strike following her complaints about inappropriate, racist jokes, ill-directed critiques about her hair, and general, behind-the-scenes culture issues, Simon Cowell’s company, Syco Entertainment said, “We remain committed to ensuring a respectful workplace for all employees and take very seriously any questions about workplace culture.” They furthered that they “are working with Ms. Union through her representatives to hear more about her concerns, following which we will take whatever next steps may be appropriate.”

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Jada Pinkett Smith Tries and Fails to Knock Sense Into T.I.

I appreciate Jada Pinkett Smith’s efforts to turn T.I.’s horrific “protection” of his daughter’s hymen into a “teachable moment,” but not even Jada can jam sense into T.I’s tiny brain. While visiting Red Table Talk to clear up his controversial comments about accompanying his daughter to the gynecologist to ensure her virginity is intact, he instead doubled down. The most shocking revelation is his insistence that when a woman loses her virginity, she immediately becomes and adult, and with that, comes adult responsibilities. This sounded more like a threat than an education, as if living in T.I.’s house as a non-virgin means more chores, and demanding job, and a clearly defined life plan. When T.I. asked the “purpose of a father,” it was more of a statement than a question, insisting his desire to be “involved” is cloaked with love, and if he doesn’t have a say in his daughter’s choices, he’s then just a man who “donates sperm and pays for things.”

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