The 2019 American Music Awards: A Blissed-Out Buzz

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The American Music Awards were a pop-culture blissed-out buzz. After three hours, I hobbled into bed with a surprising appreciation for Ozzy Osbourne, a reminder of my love for Kesha, and a concerned plea for Selena Gomez to extinguish the torch she’s carrying for Justin Bieber and get some vocal training.

Come on producers, why get greedy with the Auto-Tune now? Post Malone drank all the booze, he didn’t steal all the Auto-Tune.

Hey, who cares? Madonna can't sing either.
Hey, who cares? Madonna can’t sing either.

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

Poor Selena looked lovely and sounded awful. Did Kevin Federline crawl out of obscurity to supply Selena with an extra dose of the concoction Britney was on while performing at the 2007 Video Music Awards (methadone, anti-psychotic meds and 3/4 of a bottle of chardonnay is my educated guess)? But while Britney’s legendary performance was so bad it was good, Selena’s was so bad it was sad.

Bieber and the Forgotten Baldwin

I dig the two songs Selena sang, just not the sounds that escaped her mouth. I like the idea of both songs and am fascinated that Justin Bieber can break someone’s heart so strongly. While he’s playing house in make-believe marriage land with the Baldwin family’s secondhand cousin, Hailey Baldwin-Bieber, Selena’s been nursing a broken heart with multiple rehab stints, a kidney transplant and a Lupus battle.

Come on Selena and get well. Everyone loves you, especially Jennifer Aniston and Taylor Swift and they’re all that really matter in Hollywood.

Kissing Cousins Without the Sexiness

Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes have the sexual chemistry of me and my first cousin. Actually that’s not even fair because my first cousin and I used stage our own wedding…so let’s just say that Shawn and Camila have the same kind of sexual friction of Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick. It’s an act and not a very believable one.

The couple’s never-ending award show performances of “Señorita” are a combination of “will they or won’t they kiss!?,” Camila trying to appear sexy and Shawn looking cute. I nominate each for the next round of cancel culture. Yes, cancel Camila and Shawn. Send her back to Fifth Harmony and him to Canada, I think the Bare Naked Ladies are looking for a new member.

Um, okay.

I’m so confused, did someone slip me Selena’s drink? Why is Toni Braxton performing on anything in 2019? I don’t care how she sounds, she’s Toni Braxton and she’s boring.

Taylor still feigning surprise she’s a winner.

Taylor Swift, America’s mean sweetheart, sashayed onto the stage with her talent, confidence, wit, and evil eye. She sang a medley of past hits and some off “Lover”, but she was really there to ruin Scooter Braun’s life just a little more than he already has.

Team Taylor all day, every day. And where does she get her lipstick?

And the performance of the night goes to…Ozzy?

I enjoyed the evening and was rarely bored. Billie Eilish and her ginger brother Finneas are the best sibling combination since Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen and Kesha’s rebirth is welcome and refreshing, but um, gulp, my favorite performance was Ozzy, Post Malone and Travis Scott. I don’t even know why, it just felt new and a little scary.

The Grammys: Let’s get mean.

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I know we all want to live in this nice, dull world where we’re kind to each other and nobody cares to be honest about pop culture’s dwindling purpose, but here I go with a scathing review of Grammys 2019.

What better way to bask in negativity than ridiculing celebrities?

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Something in this picture is not right.

Why is Jada Pinkett Smith at the Grammys?

Other than annoying me on a daily basis and giving birth to children who educate others on the merits of dropping out of school before the age of 15, what is Jada Pinkett Smith’s purpose in life?

Jada’s recent stint as host of Facebook’s “Red Table Talk” has resulted in a horrifying display of oversharing.  If anyone cares about Jada Pinkett Smith’s child-rearing tips, deranged marriage to Will Smith or her obvious Scientology affiliation, please get help. I propose that Jada and Dr. Phil get their on show. In hell.

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Lady Gaga, always affected.

Lady Gaga Gives the Performance of the Night (In Two Ways)

A perusal of Lady Gaga’s Wikipedia page illustrates that she’s won 85 awards in her 32 years on this planet. 85 awards! So why does each award illicit such an EMOTIONAL response? The tears, the shock, the befuddled acceptance speech wrapped up in a carefully orchestrated manner. She’s the new Taylor Swift of awards shows!

So, dear Academy, we all know that Glenn Close is going to nab the Oscar for “Best Actress” but please do consider a new category for “Best Actress at an Awards Ceremony.”

In fairness, Lady Gaga did deliver the performance of the evening, just less affectation next time, puhleeze.

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Do I lose my alternative cred for making fun of Kiedis?

Anthony Kiedis: Shirtless since 1927

Like we didn’t suffer enough with Adam Levine’s nipplegate at the recent snoozefest Superbowl, now I’m forced to watch dirty grandpa Kiedis take off his shirt, too? I mean, he’s been doing this shtick since I looked hot taking my shirt off. Anthony’s  looking good at 56 and his hair’s still there but a well-tailored shirt always helps a 56-year-old man.

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Oh no she didn’t.

Jennifer Lopez is to Motown what I am to Mensa

Jennifer Lopez’s universally-panned Motown tribute was wowza bad. What J-Lo lacks in talent, she makes up in grit, drive and flawless performances but this just wasn’t her night.

And why does Alex Rodriguez have to be everywhere now? I hate it when the sports world intertwines with the entertainment world. Stay in your own lane, people!

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Nice isn’t fun.

We have a National Crisis: Awards Show Host Shortage

Alicia Keys is lovely and talented but so dull as a host. If I wanted to listen to someone drone on about the spiritual importance of music, I would have joined a church choir. We get it: music can change your life, let’s all be kind and douse ourselves with a bucket of ridiculousness. This is an awards show, we want to listen to the host say shocking words about celebrities sitting in front of them! We want to wince with discomfort, not blanket ourselves in a leather onsie of warmth!

What’s going on in America when we can’t land a decent host for awards’ season?

Mac Miller Dies, Cardi B Entertains + a Lil’ Rhody Celebrity Hangout

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Six years ago, or five jobs ago in my strange sense of time, I worked at a middle school where I clung to my youth by grasping onto the cool kids to find out what’s really going on in pop culture. I flocked to my peeps — the ones who always know, the kiddos with fruit-colored locks, gamer eyes and hoodies.

The cool kids rarely disappoint and they led me smack into Mac Miller. “Mac Miller’s the shit,” a girl told me while I unsuccessfully tried to help her print her report. That girl’s report never did print, but my interest in Mac Miller began.

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Middle school kids turned me on to Mac Miller.

“Who is this Mac Miller?” I wondered as I spent hours of insomnia watching amateurish  videos of him rapping and slurring while looking stoned and attractive. I followed his career through slicker videos of him appearing even higher and hotter, but his music got much cooler. I watched as he and Ariana Grande embarked on a quiet relationship and dealt with the Manchester Arena suicide bombing attack with class and I dug deeper.

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Mac Miller and Ariana Grande, One Love Manchester benefit

Who knew? Mac Miller was my fantasy man, minus the neck tattoos and lean habit. He was a Jewish kid from an well-heeled  family with red hair. He’s from impressive stock with an architect dad and a famed-photographer mother.  He went to school in Pittsburgh with Wiz Khalifi and his stage name is a combination of his and his brother’s name. His brother is Miller and was Mac’s graphic designer.

He was kind of my dreamboat, minus those damn neck tattoos. Like many other troubled rockers that I took a shining to, he’s now dead from a drug overdose and I’m incredibly bummed out about his death at the ripe age of 26.

I was busy mourning his loss by watching endless streams of his videos when WHAM,  damn ol’ Cardi B. and Nicky Minaj had to get into a fight at a fancy-shmancy NYC fashion event and the whole world forgot about Mac Miller to scrape the internet for footage of these two ladies getting into it. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you’re welcome.

Hot damn, this was quickly becoming as thrilling as my recent hangout with Ebon Moss- Bachrach and his equally attractive brother at a bar in Lil’ Rhody.  Yes, Desi from HBO’s Girls and Micro from Netflix’s The Punisher was just hanging at a suburban bar with the rest of the middle-age common folk. And where did he just happen to sit to enjoy his hand-rolled tobacco? Right next to Rhode Island’s resident celebrity magnet, um, okay… stalker. Me.

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Oh, Desi, how I loved to love you. HBO’s Girls

I proceeded to do what every accomplished celebrity stalker should do: I repeatedly told him how much I dig him, asked him a bunch of nosy questions, thanked him for his on-screen nudity, bought him and his brother a round and clumsily and unsuccessfully asked him for a selfie. I never did get that selfie, but I enjoyed every awkward second.

So, what was this beautifully-chiseled, blue-eyed actor with cheekbones that could shatter sea glass doing in Rhode Island? He’s filming a new series, NOS4A2, a supernatural horror drama based on Joe Hill’s 2013 novel. And not taking selfies with strangers.

Party on, peeps.

Dolores O’Riordan: A Study Abroad Love Story

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What is it about these rock stars’ deaths that shakes me so? It seems that each one has its own personal connection to my formative years. I grieve for them as I lament my youth slipping away. Dolores O’Riordan of the Cranberries always seemed so much older than me, but really, we were peers. Contemporaries. If she were a male rock star, I’d be way too old to be her lover.

Dolores O’Riordan’s death at age 46 sends me back to my senior year in college when I studied abroad in Ireland. I went alone, opting not be part of a large group of Americans trekking over to Europe together and ended up surrounded by a bunch of cool Irish girls at St. Patrick’s College in Maynooth.

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21-years old in Ireland.

I was nursing a broken heart and an increasingly-nasty designer-drug habit, but nobody there knew that.  My family and friends certainly didn’t know that I was envisioning this pilgrimage as a kind of cleaning out process, a rehab with college credits. Surely, I wasn’t going to hang out with the same crowd in Ireland that I was in America.

I was right. I cleaned myself right up, quickly gained 20 pounds and enjoyed every drunken second of the endless, yet wholesome party. I put away the tweezers, paused the black eyeliner fascination and started eating meat. I can’t tell you why I decided to stop eating meat as a teenager, but after one day in Ireland, I was wolfing down cheeseburgers like I was used to sucking down Camels.

Really, I’d never looked better.

Some fresh Irish country air: Better than rehab.
My own private Ireland.

This was before the time when music lovers had an arsenal of tunes at their fingertips. I didn’t lug any music with me in my overstuffed luggage; how was I going to pack Nirvana cds when I had so many corduroys and Doc Martens to bring? But, this was Ireland and The Cranberries provided the new lush soundtrack to my life. “Linger” was my battle cry, an answer to my lovesickness for a boy that I hated so much I was convinced it was pure love.

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Sometimes you have to leave home to realize how screwed up it really is.

In Ireland, I learned that my adolescent obsession with Sinead O’Conner was respected, but that The Cranberries and Dolores’s piercing voice were truly the sound of Ireland. Perhaps it was because I was no longer home that I relinquished myself to this fresh sonic love. I shed my Nirvana obsession and enjoyed some moody, Irish pop music.

Rest in peace, Dolores and thanks for all that beautiful noise.

This Week in LaLa Land: ‘Stranger Things’ Warps, Beck Charms, the Tao of Winona + Taylor

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Today,  I want to dunk myself in silliness, then scrub off the Weinstein sewage of  sexual harassment stories from my enlarged pores. Let’s get back to the insipid stuff for a second, okay? Don’t worry, we can quickly return to wondering if civilized civilization is deader than Kevin Spacey’s career. But don’t worry about too much because we’ve always got our moral compass, Courtney Love, to lead us.

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Beck approves my Taylor fascination.

Taylor Swift’s “The old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now” is the new “It’s Britney, bitch.” It’s the battle cry for all the T. Swizzle lovers out there that just can’t take the critiques anymore. After going back and forth about the uncoolness of my affection for Tay and wondering if my make-believe friend Beck would unfriend me because of my Taylor obsession, I’m okay with it and in my mind, Beck loves Taylor, too.

I’ll eventually forgive Taylor for neglecting to invite me to her Rhode Island “Reputation” listening party. Perhaps she watched me prowl her property donning my homemade “Will Sell My Soul for Taylor” shirt or maybe she knows about my college side job of stalking.

Whatever the reason—I was clearly not on this list.  But really, it’s Taylor’s loss. She and I would have had such a girly time, I can see it now: I would’ve asked her if John Mayer is a true Lothario or a needy mother’s boy with abandonment issues, I’d then segue into a discussion over how her brother Austin feels to be so overshadowed by his big sister, then end with a probing question asking if she actually likes Lena Duhman. You know, small talk!

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Oh, Jim Hopper.

“Stranger Things” just might be the best thing that has happened to me since Johnny Depp celebrated his love for Winona Ryder in permanent ink with his soon-to-be Wino Forever tattoo. The show makes my heart skip a beat like the good old days of Mulder and Scully ridding the world of aliens with the help of sunflower seeds and religion.

What is it that I love about “Stranger Things?”

Let’s start with the revival of Winona Ryder’s career, one crazy eye at a time. I never did understand where Winona went. Big deal, she got a little pilled out and stole a few frocks from Saks. I mean, we’ve all been there, right? She also dated every influential 90s alternative rocker, befriended and became enemies with everyone’s favorite mean rich girl, Gwyneth Paltrow. She even dated Matt freaking Damon. The woman is the “It Girl” for strange girls and I never understood why her career fizzled after the shoplifting fiasco.

Either way, Wino’s back forever!

My fondness for “Stranger Things” does not end with Winona Ryder. I’m also in love with Chief Hopper, the gaggle of cool and geeky kids and the new feisty redhead, Max. And, may I ignite the Sean Astin  “Best Actor” Actor Emmy campaign right now?

Back to the Beck thing. If you still purchase music and are into Beck, I highly recommend that you check out “Colors”. The album is whip smart and gleeful. It just might make you dance and smile. Don’t worry, there’s still a healthy dose of Beck being Beck with his perfect combination of weirdness, poetry and his strong grasp on the current world vibe, but more than anything, it’s a crowd-pleasing rainbow of an album.

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Cheers to Twitter employee that suspended Trump’s account!

While I am handing out nominations, can someone also get the Nobel Peace Prize committee on the phone and help me nominate the Twitter employee that suspended Donald Trump’s Twitter account for 11 minutes? That person just saved the world for 660 seconds.

Till next time.

2017 VMAs: I missed Jon Snow’s bum for this?

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Katy Perry’s downward spiral into irrelevance continues.

I actually missed the season finale of Game of Thrones to watch Katy Perry play host at the 2017 VMAs  while further embarrassing herself in what has already been a pretty humiliating year for this past-her-prime star. But, hey, I’ve got priorities and Taylor Swift, Kendrick Lamar + Lorde are high up on that slim list, well above cleaning my car, properly shaving my legs or applying to graduate school.

I want to get to the good parts, like how alive Kendrick Lamar feels, that man is spitting fire + talent like Daenerys’ dragons breathe fury.  But, you know that’s not what I really care about because T. Swizzle is back with a pouting vengeance and I’m too pudgy and suburban momesque to really get the coolness of Kendrick Lamar. I want to, I really do, but I’m just not young enough to be worthy of it all.

 

And good ol’ MTV understands people like me because the channel wasted no time in getting to the “real” performance of the evening: a premiere of T. Swizzle’s ridiculously-catchy, good-girl-gone-bad tool of reinvention: “Look What You Made Me Do.”

 

Oh, Taytay, look what you just made me do: fall in love you all over again.

Who cares that I might miss Jon Snow and dragon lady get familial on GOT? In this candy cane of cinematic perfection, Taylor goes dead like a White Walker while metaphorically digging her own grave, only to later throw all the Hollywood trash into it.  This stuff, I get.

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This ring could be yours for $60 (+shipping + handling)

See, I want to be one of those people, the people that are too smart for Taylor’s obvious marketing ploys and scheming plans to devour the world without gaining a pound. I want to be horrified by her schilling $60 snake rings on her website, but really, I want to buy that damned ring and wear it without irony. I want that ring to go with my sarcasm and smirk, just like I bet it matches Taylor’s cynicism and exhaustion with her good girl image.

How can someone that didn’t even show up to the prom end up being the queen?

Well, that’s Taylor, baby. Love it or hate it.

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This is when my heart shattered.

Ugh, and while we are hating, I hate myself for admitting that Lorde was the train wreck that you just couldn’t watch, not for one second longer than was absolutely necessary. As grueling as it is to stomach some of GOT’s torture scenes, this was worse.

Lorde’s performance pained me more than Jared Leto’s continued denial of his own hotness. I want to believe that Lorde had the flu and couldn’t sing, but she should be on the phone firing her manager quicker than Katy Perry, and that is pretty freaking quickly.

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Jared Leto just killed Jordan Catalano

Oh Jared Leto, how could you do this to me? You were my Jordan Catalano, man. I am as confused over Jared’s constant need to desecrate his God-given beauty as I am by the fact that 30 Seconds to Mars is still making music! C’mon, MTV, was every member of Fall Out Boy, Blink 182 and Good Charlotte too busy to play?

 

 

 

 

Chris Cornell Dies at 52

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Chris Cornell: A beauty and a talent.

I had a grueling case of insomnia last night, even for a chronic non-sleeper like me. I awoke at 2am startled, as if something bad had happened, or was going to happen.

I couldn’t shake that feeling of dread, a foreboding that something wasn’t right in the world. I took to social media to post a few whiny words regarding my insomnia, stewed over the latest Trump fiasco and tried, unsuccessfully, to sleep.

Slumber never came, but that dread did. After dragging myself out of a daze of exhaustion, my local news informed me that Chris Cornell died. Even worse, his death was soon ruled a suicide.

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Elliott Smith, an angel in the snow. Dead at 34.

Ugh, here we go again.  I hate it when I get so worked up over this stuff, but pop culture is the world I dwell in and the untimely death of rock stars hurts. Chris Cornell was 52 years old and in my view of life and suffering, 52 is too young to die and too old to be burdened by such sadness.

I could trace my life with these bouts of depression over a famous person’s death. In 1993, I was recovering from a night of Halloween hijinks at UMass Amherst to wake up to news of River Phoenix’s death.  A few months later, Kurt Cobain’s death plunged me into a downward spiral that I lived in for months. And, let’s not forget the one that just keeps stinging: Elliott Smith’s death in 2003. What a kick in the heart. I was a recently separated mom on a date with a lawyer. My phone didn’t stop ringing for the whole night from friends and family who knew how much I loved Elliott Smith. I never saw that lawyer again, and I never stopped listening to Elliott Smith.

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Kurt Cobain, dead at 27.

I want to believe that life gets better, but when a  rock star with a family, a sold-out tour, fame and fortune takes his own life at 52, I get scared. I’m a huge Ernest Hemingway reader and I’m always shocked that he killed himself at the age of 62. I want to live in a warm cocoon where 62 is an age filled with walks, grandchildren and dinners out. But, who knows? Is life just always…hard?

What came first? My fascination with suicides or the true fact that so many of my idols have died by their own hands? I don’t know, but the loss feels significant.

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1991, when concert tickets were $20 and Soundgarden amazed.

In 1991, I saw Soundgarden open for Guns N’ Roses  during the Use Your Illusion tour. It was a snowy night in Worcester, Massachusetts and the roads were a mess, but that didn’t stop Axl Rose from starting well over an hour late. Soundgarden opened and I was besotted by Cornell’s beauty and voice. So much so, that in between sets I used my mom’s hard-earned money to buy a Soundgarden t-shirt. I proceeded to place that t-shirt on my chair while dancing to GNR and it was stolen. I was so entranced by Chris Cornell that I spent good partying money on a t-shirt, knowing that I don’t wear t-shirts. But they were that freaking good and Chris Cornell’s voice was that intoxicating. I missed the one Lollapolooza that they played because I had mono, or perhaps it was depression, I never did go for the blood test. In my insomniac mind, I like to think I was getting over the death of a famous person.

Rest in peace, Chris Cornell.