Singer, rapper, songwriter, American Idol judge, fashion nightmare… actress?
All of these terms describe one of the strangest women in music and arguably one of the weirdest sights you will see in theaters next year: Nicki Minaj.
It was just announced by The Hollywood Reporter that Minaj is in final talks with Cameron Diaz to appear in her next film—The Other Woman—which is scheduled to begin production in New York this spring or early summer.
Internet Movie Database describes the upcoming film like this: “After realizing she is not her boyfriend’s primary lover, a woman teams up with his wife and plots mutual revenge.”
It certainly sounds like a Cameron Diaz movie, don’t you think?
Diaz will, of course, assume the lead role. Leslie Mann from HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones will play the wife whose husband “two times” her while the voluptuous Kate Upton is slated to play her husband’s other lover.
Choosing between Leslie Man and Kate Upton? Sounds like a problem that I would love to have, but where does Nicki fit into all of this?
I’ll tell you.
Minaj is going to portray Diaz’s smart-mouthed, opinionated and thrice-married assistant. It will be her first live-action role since her actual film debut came in the form of voice talent in 2012′s Ice Age: Continental Drift—she played Steffie, a Woolly Mammoth who makes fun of Peaches, a teenage Mammoth.
Do me a favor and keep the word mammoth in mind. You’ll see why in just a moment.
Although I have never been a fan of Nicki Minaj—and actually find her to be rather irritating—I am glad she is getting the opportunity to appear in film. My reason for feeling this way, however, is a bit odd and I certainly hope people don’t take this the wrong way.
To me, film is the ideal medium for Minaj since the Big Screen is likely the only surface large enough to contain her mammoth ass!
Now do you see why remembering the word mammoth was so important! Ha ha!
I guess it had to happen sooner or later, but that certainly doesn’t make it any easier.
Originally from Chicago—my home town, incidentally—Ray ended up in California during the tumultuous times of the early 1960s. He studied film at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) and could easily have enjoyed a long and lucrative career in the movie industry if not for one life-changing event.
In 1965, Ray was walking along Venice Beach and happened upon a long-haired, modern-day poet: the one and only Jim Morrison.
Jim had written some song lyrics, which Ray immediately asked to hear. Against his better judgement—and never really considering himself to be much of a singer—Jim sang the first few lines of what would later become “Moonlight Drive.”
Check out a pretty good performance of this tune live at the Hollywood Bowl in 1968 by going HERE.
And the rest, as they say, was history.
Together with guitarist Robby Krieger and percussionist John Densmore, Ray and Jim formed The Doors and provided part of the soundtrack from one of the most turbulent eras in modern American history. Songs like “The End,” “People are Strange,” “Love Her Madly” and the quintessential Doors’ hit “Light My Fire”—complete with unmistakable keyboard work from Manzarek (check it out HERE)—set the tone for the 1960s and paved the way for a multitude of singers and musicians to follow.
Bands like Stone Temple Pilots, Iggy and the Stooges, Alice in Chains, The Strokes, Fatboy Slim, Bon Jovi and countless others all cite The Doors as a major influence on their own careers and successes.
Sadly, The Doors in their original incarnation only lasted until 1971, the year of their last recorded studio album, L.A. Woman. Following the recording, Jim moved to Paris with his girlfriend Pamela Courson and started to drink and use drugs more heavily. He did manage to record a little more—taking some musicians he met on the street to an impromptu recording session—but was found dead in his bathtub on July 3rd. He was 27 years old.
Ray and the surviving members of The Doors kept their legacy alive—the group was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993—but life without their flamboyant front man just wasn’t the same. Each of them went on to different projects and garnered some degree of success in their professional careers, but their fame would never approach what they experienced at the height of their popularity.
For Ray, life after The Doors meant playing with other groups—including Nite City, Echo & the Bunnymen and the Los Angeles band X, which he also produced—writing poetry and a memoir—1998′s Light My Fire: My Life with The Doors—and even hosting a radio program on the BBC. Ray also managed to cut an album with slide guitarist Roy Rogers—2011′s Translucent Blues—which ranked at number three on the Top 100 Roots Rock Albums of 2011.
In other words, he lived a full, productive, successful and inspirational life. And even though he just lost his battle with cancer and passed away, his influence on music, art and film will be felt indefinitely.
I never knew Ray Manzarek personally—even though I wish that I did—but I definitely feel the loss because of how much I loved (and still love) The Doors and their music. Like many others, I started listening to Jim, Ray and the guys at an early age—during my so-called “formative” years—and even though they disbanded the year I was born—and the year Jim died—there has always been a deep connection between us. And there always will be.
Of course, Ray’s death also reminds me that no matter how much we fight it, time simply catches up to us all. It just sucks when the heroes and idols of your youth start dying off, you know? For me, Ray Manzarek was on that list. I’m going to miss him, but at least he’s in a better place.
And if I know Ray, he and Jim are probably jamming in the Great Beyond as we speak. I can almost hear those sweet keystrokes now…
I’ve been away at a conference all day and just heard the latest news from arguably one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood: Angelina Jolie. In an op-ed piece published in Tuesday’s edition of The New York Times—which can be found here—Jolie explained why she decided to do what many found shocking, at least at first.
The 37-year-old actress and mate of Brad Pitt had a double mastectomy.
For those of you unfamiliar with the procedure, a mastectomy involves the removal of all (or sometimes part) of the breast, primarily to remove cancerous cells or as a preventative measure to reduce the likelihood of cancer later.
Jolie opted for the latter and, in a series of procedures that included salvaging nipples, removing breast tissue, replacing tissue with fillers and reconstructing the breasts using implants, she managed to reduce her likelihood of someday developing breast cancer from 87% all the way down to 5%.
“Once I knew this was my reality, I decided to be proactive and to minimize the risk as much as I could,” Jolie said recently of her decision. And I certainly commend her on being so logical and, more importantly, so brave.
Jolie carries a mutation of the gene BRCA1—a breast cancer susceptibility gene known for suppressing tumors when it isn’t mutated—which dramatically increased her risk of developing both ovarian and breast cancer. And what’s worse, her mother Marcheline Bertrand died of ovarian cancer in 2007. She was only 56 years old.
And Jolie wasn’t taking any chances, especially with regard to her kids.
“I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer,” she explained. “And they know that I love them and will do anything to be with them as long as I can.”
Now if that isn’t a good mother, I don’t know what is. And as much as I hate for something like this to happen to someone so young—and someone so attractive—at least it proves that where Angelina is concerned, her beauty definitely is not only skin deep.
“Don’t try to compare us to another bad little fad/I’m the Mac and I’m bad give you something that you never had/I’ll make ya Jump Jump wiggle and shake your rump/Cause I’ll be kicking the flavor that makes you wanna Jump.”
Anyone familiar with Hip Hop groups from the 1990s should immediately recognize these lyrics. And despite claiming to be more than a “bad little fad,” the fact is that this is exactly what the group Kris Kross became. The lyrics come from “Jump,” their biggest—and basically only—hit song.
Of course, they still went down in Hip Hop history since the group’s members—Chris Kelly and Chris Smith—were only teenagers at the time. They also set a brief fashion trend by wearing their clothes backwards, which is one of the reasons I still remember them.
Unfortunately, Kris Kross fans just got some very bad news since Chris Kelly was pronounced dead on Wednesday. He was 34 years old.
Although an official cause of death has not yet been released, it appears that Kelly could be the victim of a drug overdose. A female friend told investigators that Kelly used both heroin and cocaine on Tuesday evening. She had taken him home to recover from his buzz, but it was too late. Police discovered him the next morning and he was unresponsive.
He was declared dead at the hospital a short time later.
Kelly’s music career began in earnest when he was 13 years old. He and his partner Smith were performing as Mac Daddy and Daddy Mac (respectively) at an Atlanta mall when they were discovered by music producer Jermaine Dupri. He immediately signed them to his So So Def label and their debut album Totally Krossed Out—which included the hit single “Jump”—eventually went multi-platinum.
Unfortunately, Kris Kross’ subsequent albums—from 1993′s Da Bomb to 1996′s Young, Rich and Dangerous—were never able to sustain the popularity of their debut album and the group more-or-less faded into obscurity. They continued to make music and even reunited last February to celebrate the 20th anniversary of So So Def records, but it just wasn’t the same.
And now that Kelly is dead, no future reunions (or comebacks) will be possible, either. It’s pretty sad.
The good news is that despite struggling in his music career, Kelly still managed to impact those around him in a positive way.
“We often heard him playing classical music and the piano,” Kelly’s neighbor Leslie Tookes recounted after hearing of his passing. “He was a low-key type of person who was very talented and courteous, friendly and wonderful to our 5-year-old twins.”
And in a statement released recently, Kelly’s family highlighted the things that made him so special: “To millions of fans worldwide, he was the trendsetting, backwards pants wearing one-half of Kris Kross who loved making music. But to us, he was just Chris—the kind, generous and fun-loving life of the party.”
And though Kelly’s party may be over, the impressions he left on those around him—including his fans—will undoubtedly live on. Rest in peace, my man.
Due to some unforeseen circumstances, I was unable to write about this earlier, but still felt very impelled to do so.
On Sunday, the music world lost one of its greatest and most prolific folk singers, Richie Havens. He died of a heart attack at his New Jersey home at age 72.
Despite influencing scores of singers and songwriters for years to come, Havens was best known for opening the infamous Woodstock Music Festival in 1969 with a song he basically improvised: “Freedom.”
Check out his memorable performance here.
Of course, any young people in the crowd likely recognize this song because Quentin Tarantino included it in the soundtrack for his 2012 film Django Unchained.
Havens was born Richard Pierce Havens in Brooklyn, New York in 1941—oddly enough only a year before my father, but that’s neither here nor there.
In his 72 years, Havens performed in doo wop groups on street corners, ran with a street gang, dropped out of high school, read poetry at Beatnik clubs, drew portraits for customers, learned to play the guitar—and developed his own method of tuning it so he could play the chords with his unusually large hands—signed a record contract, cut a number of tracks on the Verve Forecast label and ended up as the opening act at a certain three-day festival of music and love.
You know the one I mean.
The funny thing is that everything I just mentioned covers only the first half of Havens’ life, more or less. By the time it was all said and done, though, he had released 25 albums—the last one being 2008′s Nobody Left to Crown—appeared in several movies, collaborated with other artists (like Groove Armada on the song “Hands of Time”), toured endlessly and even performed for presidents, as he did for Bill Clinton at his 1993 inauguration.
In other words, he filled 72 years with as many memorable experiences and performances as possible. And what a life it was.
For me, the introduction to Richie Havens’ music and message—”Peace and love, baby”—came in high school. I was a blossoming neo-hippie exploring his roots in the “Summer of Love,” convinced I had been born too late and determined to keep the Peace Train rolling. I obviously missed Woodstock—my own birth coming a number of years later—and thankfully missed all the fun at the Altamont Music Festival for the same reason. So the first time I saw Havens perform was on a grainy old VHS video tape, the original film Woodstock. And yes, it was the song “Freedom” that first caught my attention.
If you missed the link to this performance before, take a look-see. The link is near the top of this post.
No matter how you slice it, Richie Havens was a talented musician, a skilled songwriter and one hell of a performer. And on a special day in 1969—one in which he was asked to open a packed music festival and to kill three hours while other performers struggled to make it to the site—Richie Havens made music history.
Peace and love, Richie. I hope your next journey is as exciting as the last!
BEWARE: Mature content and photographs ahead!
Speck, a native of Danzig, Germany, was working as a secretary at Bank of America when she was discovered by a magazine talent scout. A short time later, her path led to Hugh Hefner, and that’s when her career really took off.
If you were to ask Speck’s family about her experiences with Playboy, they would tell you she was “one of the most celebrated Playmates of her time.” And you know what?
They wouldn’t be lying.
In September 1961, Speck was named “Playmate of the Month,” the first step towards “Playmate of the Year,” which came in 1962. She also worked in the Playboy Club in Chicago—the crown jewel of Hef’s after-hours joints at that time—lived in the Playboy mansion, and appeared in every behind-the-scenes-at-Hef’s spread the magazine ever published. Editors and readers even selected her as one of their ten favorite Playmates of the first decade. Check down below for some great pics!
Pretty impressive resume, don’t you think? But wait… there’s more.
As you can see, Christa Speck Krofft lived a pretty full life. And she will be missed by many, including Hugh Hefner.
“I’m saddened by the death of dear friend 1962 PMOY Christa Speck,” Hef related upon hearing of her passing. But no one said it better than her husband, daughters and grandchildren, who released the following statement:
“Mom had an uncanny ability to make everyone smile and touched so many people with her unique sense of humor. It’s rare to find a human being that holds no judgment and sees the good in everyone. That was our mom. We will miss her terribly.”
Amen to that. Farewell, Christa. And thanks for the memories.
As promised, here’s a gallery of Speck’s work. Please note that all photographs are the property of Playboy magazine. I wish I could claim credit for taking them, though. Damn photographers have all the fun. Enjoy!
Los Angeles high school senior Jake Davidson may be “Jewish and 5’9″ on a good day”—his words, not mine—but one thing is for certain.
He also has balls the size of church bells.
Last week, the 17-year-old “dreamer” made a hilarious video, posted it to YouTube, sat back and watched it go viral. What was the video about, you ask?
Okay. My title gave it away.
See for yourself right here.
Probably the coolest thing about all of this came Monday night, when none other than Kate Upton herself tweeted a response. Check it out.
Few things warm my heart as much as seeing a celebrity come down to earth long enough to interact with us common folk. And since Kate is supposedly checking her schedule to see if she is available to attend Jake’s prom, all the better. One unselfish act could guarantee an unforgettable evening not only for Jake, but also for every guy who sees them together that night.
Incidentally, anyone interested in making some serious money should load up on Kleenex and hand cream—perhaps some back issues of SI featuring the gorgeous model—set up a stand near the LA high school and charge top dollar to every star struck, boner-laden, prepubescent boy who stumbles out of that chaperoned event.
I predict lots of calluses, cramps and carpal tunnel syndrome in the days following Kate’s appearance.
But there’s more.
Yesterday morning, Jake popped up on The TODAY Show and got an even better surprise: a phone call from Kate! And the 20-year-old bombshell had nothing but good things to say.
“I absolutely love the video,” she told the brave young lad. “It was so hilarious and so creative. Thank you so much for doing that. I really appreciate it.”
And true to form, Jake responded with something just as hilarious as his video, at least to me.
“I’m telling you it will be a great night, great evening,” he promised his potential date. And this is the part that really cracks me up. “I could even get the curfew extended hopefully by my parents maybe.”
Go on with your bad self, Jake.
Unfortunately, though, my man Jake still didn’t get a straight response. Kate has to check her schedule to see if she’s available. Whether or not she actually makes it, she did end her call with something I found cautiously optimistic. You be the judge.
“You seem like so much fun and if everything works out, I’d love to go with you,” she told our pimply Casanova. “I know we’d have a blast.”
Here’s hoping you get your chance, Jake. You’ve got balls, my friend. And they just might pay off in spades…
If the man in this photograph looks a little like a slightly aged President Obama doing a bad impression of Mister Spock‘s father on Star Trek, then imagine viewers’ shock when he appeared as Satan in The History Channel’s hit series The Bible last Sunday evening.
Incidentally, this is not President Obama. It’s a famous Moroccan actor named Mohamen Mehdi Ouazanni. And believe it or not, but he has portrayed the master of all evil in numerous Biblical productions.
Too bad viewers weren’t aware of this before they started lighting up Twitter and other social networking sites with complaints and other general outrage. Even conservative Glenn Beck noticed the similarity when he tweeted his followers that night.
“Anyone else think the Devil in #TheBible Sunday on History Channel looks exactly like That Guy?”
Producers of The Bible, which include Survivor creator Mark Burnett and his wife, former Touched by an Angel star Roma Downey, were quick to dispel Obama-as-Satan rumors and to label the controversy as “utter nonsense.” A short time later, the History Channel released the following statement:
“History Channel has the highest respect for President Obama. The series was produced with an international and diverse cast of respected actors. It’s unfortunate that anyone made this false connection. History’s The Bible is meant to enlighten people on its rich stories and deep history.”
If you also consider that Burnett donated to the Obama campaign in 2008 and the Democratic National Convention in 2009, then claims of Satan being cast to look like the President are even more far-fetched.
It’s simply a very strange coincidence.
Even Glenn Beck chimed in Monday to help calm the storm: “Media—relax. Actor has been in similar roles b4. Funny, nothing more. For different reasons, #TheBible is 1 of my fav shows. Keep watching.”
The resemblance is uncanny, though. Don’t you think?
Ever since the Walt Disney Company purchased Lucasfilm, the force behind the Star Wars franchise (pun intended), and announced it would produce a plethora of new films, television shows and other tantalizing products—maybe even a theme park—rumors have been flying.
The most attention has been focused on the next film set for release in 2015 and tentatively known as Star Wars 7. I’m sure someone will give it a much snappier title later.
According to the first reports, several cast members from the original trilogy had signed on to appear in the next film. Among them were Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) and the elusive, earring-wearing Harrison Ford (Han Solo). A week later, none of them were on-board. Fisher’s rep even went so far as to claim that her initial agreement was “a joke.”
Then came George Lucas, the great and powerful Oz of the Star Wars universe.
In a recent interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, Lucas claimed that the three stars had already been signed to appear in the next Star Wars film before Disney ever purchased Lucasfilm. They were at least in the final stages of negotiation.
“We were negotiating with them,” Lucas said. “I won’t say whether the negotiations were successful or not.”
The fact that George backtracked a little after “spilling the beans” makes me think he knows more than he’s telling us. I wouldn’t be surprised if there really were contracts signed by the Holy Trinity of science fiction characters… um… I mean actors.
To a Star Wars nut like me, this seems like good news even though all of these folks are pushing retirement age. For now, it seems we can expect at least a cameo appearance from each of them. Unless something else changes, that is. And we all know it probably will.
Regardless of what happens with Mark, Carrie and Harrison, I must say that I am EXTREMELY excited for the next episode in my favorite film franchise of all time. J.J. Abrams is directing. Oscar winner Michael Arndt is writing the screenplay. George Lucas is consulting. What more could you want, right?
I’ll tell you what. If you’re like me—especially when it comes to Star Wars—you want more. It’s as simple as that. And thanks to Walt Disney, there could be more on the way soon.
Recent reports suggest there could be a series of spinoff films focusing on different characters in the Star Wars universe. In fact, some of these films may already be in development. According to E! Entertainment, Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg are teaming up to work on screenplays not connected to the new trilogy.
Kasdan has Star Wars “street cred” for writing both The Empire Strikes Back—by far my favorite of all the films—and Return of the Jedi. Kinberg wrote the screenplay for Sherlock Holmes, which also carries some weight. Put them together and you have one hell of a creative force, though.
Dare I say, a force unleashed?
I wonder which character will get the first spinoff? If I had to guess, I’d say it’s Boba Fett, who was always a pretty cool dude. What people don’t know is that he didn’t really die in the Sarlaac’s belly. His Mandalorian armor protected him enough that he was able to climb out and survive.
How much of a nerd am I for knowing that?
I’m not sure what happened to Boba Fett after that harrowing experience. As long as he didn’t hit the talk show circuit, though, it would probably make for a very entertaining film.
Chewbacca would be an interesting choice if he could communicate in something more than roars, growls and grumbles. Watching a film with subtitles and Wookies just wouldn’t work, especially for younger fans.
Honestly, I don’t care which characters are “spun off” because they will still provide me with more wholesome Star Wars entertainment. And if I hear anything else worth sharing, I’ll be sure to post it here, my fellow Jedi and Sith warriors.
Until then, may the Force be with you!
Told you I was a nerd.
One of my favorite television shows of all time—and arguably one of the best ever—was the hilarious sitcom Seinfeld. For nine seasons and through endless episodes in syndication, I have planted myself in front of the television to enjoy the exploits of Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer (Jerry Seinfeld, Jason Alexander, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Michael Richards, respectively). Few shows feature such a talented ensemble cast, which made this particular situation comedy so special. Even years later, I still find myself laughing at jokes I must have heard a million times by now.
Perhaps my favorite episode of Seinfeld was “The Fusili Jerry,” which focused on one of my favorite body parts, at least on women: the derriere (or “ass” for lack of a better word). One subplot involves the crazy and quirky Kramer, likely my favorite character on the show. He visits the Department of Motor Vehicles to pick up his vanity license plate, but is mistakenly given one that says “Assman.” Rather than returning it immediately, Kramer decides to slap it on his jalopy and to reap the benefits such a title brings. And for a while there, things go pretty well. People pass him on the street and yell things like “Look out! The Assman’s in town!” He even visits the hospital and parks in a doctor’s spot without getting stopped by a suspicious security guard.
Being the Assman certainly has its advantages.
Later in the episode—and after Kramer gives Jerry a statue of himself made solely from fusilli pasta—George’s father accidentally falls and lands right on top of it. Without being too crude, let’s just say that the statue gets stuck in the one orifice exposed when he falls on his ass. I’m sure you know what I mean. If not, then consider one of Jerry’s comments from the show: “He had to use corkscrew pasta.”
The gang takes George’s father to the hospital, where he is examined by the one doctor most qualified to handle his procedure: a proctologist. As he’s delivering his prognosis to George, Kramer notices a picture of his boat on the wall. Emblazoned across the back is its name: Assman. Kramer asks the doctor if there was a mix-up with his vanity plates recently and he confirms it. “So you’re the Assman?” Kramer asks him. And with a wink, we learn the truth.
Although I’m not a proctologist and can’t really understand why anyone would choose this profession, I do consider myself to be a serious Assman. As I said, nothing is more attractive on a female than a nice rear end, at least to me. Sure, I can appreciate women for lots of different reasons—and can always find beauty in the female form—but nothing makes more of an impression on me than a nice, shapely butt. I don’t even care about the size as long as the right curves are there. And though I hate to admit it, I often find myself fixating on women who have the booty to back it up. Pun intended, of course.
For an Assman like me, trips to the beach and the swimming pool in the summer are probably the best times to appreciate those nice behinds. However, I can always count on the media to cover celebrity rumps, most of which are beautiful thanks to personal trainers, butt implants and other resources these folks can afford. So for today’s post—which I hope doesn’t come off as perverted, demeaning or insulting—I want to turn my attention back to the back, so to speak. Here are the celebrity butts that impress me the most. I won’t label them as “The Best Butts in Hollywood,” but to me, they’re still pretty special. I hope you enjoy these images as much as I do!