My Week in Pictures.

Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Ball from the Monster’s Pit.

Gaga reppin’ it for her Aussie Little Monsters.

The meat dress makes a comeback.

The lucky fans who threw blow-up dolls onstage at Gaga and the thirteen-year-old girl who made her a book of illustrations and musings about why Gaga is an inspiration to her got to go backstage! Next time, I’m taking stuff to throw at her!

All Lady Gaga concert photos by April Bonnick.

I’m on the right track, baby, I went to the Born This Way Ball.

Definitely one of the highlights of my year/life, I finally saw Lady Gaga live in concert on Sunday night. It was terrible weather for it, and we stood out in the rain in skimpy outfits for about 45 minutes, which caused a cold I kicked last week to come back :(. But for Gaga: it was worth it. We bought tickets for the Monster’s Pit, which is the standing room area in front of the stage, and we were at a perfect vantage point to get some Gaga eye candy, as the above photos, taken by my friend April, will attest.

Last week, Mia Freedman wrote of her Sydney Gaga concert experience, saying she walked out mid-concert because she wasn’t impressed that Gaga hid behind her costumes and the set. I will agree with her on this count, but if Mia had’ve stayed, she would’ve enjoyed the majority of it; mid-way through, the concert became very interactive, and Gaga spoke to the fans, had “story time” (see above), and invited some fans backstage! Jealous!

Rock of Ages & Snow White & the Huntsman.

I managed to catch Rock of Ages before it descends into the failed movie-musical abyss, and I liked it. It had nothing on the stage show, which had nothing on stage shows with actual storylines, but it wasn’t wholly unenjoyable.

I also saw Snow White & the Huntsman, which I also liked, but both were nothing to write home about, really. You may see a comparison of the two Snow White efforts that came out this year, Mirror Mirror and the Kristen Stewart version, here, but I haven’t decided whether they’re both worth writing about yet.

The stack.

A special Tom-&-Katie-divorce issue of Who came out two days early yesterday. It’s a nice surprise to get my Who fix before Friday. I also picked up a bi-anual copy of Marc Bonnici’s zine, ZINm, which I and a few of my friends contributed to. While the print run is strictly limited, you can head here for some more ZINm goodness.  

Related: Mirror Mirror Review.

Elsewhere: [MamaMia] Lady Gaga & Why I Walked Out of Her Concert.

[ZINm Backstage] Homepage.

My Week in Pictures: Birthday Edition.

Yesterday was my birthday, and let me tell you, I’ve spent the whole week celebrating!

The burlesque.

To kick off the celebrations, an intimate group of friends and I went to an intimate showing of burlesque at Red Bennies on Chapel Street. The night followed a seven deadly sins theme, with Becky Lou as gluttony, Rosy Rabbit as envy, Dolores Daiquiri as lust, Vesper White as wrath, Kerry X as sloth, my friend Zoe’s friends Cleave and Daly as vanity, and Evie Red as greed. There’ll be another showing tomorrow night, so get your tickets quick smart!

The presents.

In lieu of Peter Alexander slippers (they’re sold out of my size til March!), Clare got me these über-trendy K-Mart slippers. Anthony was a crafty little minx and got me Marc Jacobs’ Daisy perfume after I complimented a co-worker on it. There were flowers, cake, heartfelt roommate letters, The Slap, and movie vouchers.

The Headless Horseman, Cher and The Joker.

I think this was about ten minutes after we arrived. I waste no time when it comes to getting my krunk on!

If I have to listen to Ke$ha one more time…

Feminists in arms legs.

Sister love.

Easy A.

Feminists in arms, Stone Cold Steve Austin edition!

The best part of the night was having April—responsible for “Postcards from Canada”—back from, erm, Canada! Fittingly, she went as a racoon.

The Halloween party.

My main birthday/Halloween celebrations took place on Saturday night at A Bar Called Barry on Smith Street. I went as feminist icon Rosie the Riveter, and there were fellow feminists Easy A and Cher, as well as Scream killers, Headless Horsemen, assorted animals and the Joker, amongst others.

It was a great night, and I’ve already started planning my birthday for next year! You’re all on notice; get your costumes ready now!

The stack.

Despite all the partying, I still managed to get the prerequisite reading in. What did I learn? The three biggest (celebrity) news items of the week are Kim Kardashian’s 72-day marriage breakdown, Jessica Simpson’s pregnancy and Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively’s budding love. Can’t wait to pick up Who tomorrow for all the latest goss!

Andrew really looks impressed at me flaunting my birthday sombrero. I think he’s just jealous…

The birthday dinner.

My final birthday event was a Mexican siesta at Taco Bill in Kensington last night. Happy birthday to me!

Related: [The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Did Rosie the Riveter Wear Hotpants?

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Easy A Review.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Postcards from Canada 28th May to 8th June 2011.

Movie Review: Super 8.

 

E.T. meets Tomorrow, When the War Began meets Signs meets The Goonies. That’s how I would describe Super 8.

Going into it on Tuesday night, I didn’t have much of a clue what the Steven Spielberg-produced, J. J. Abrams-written-and-directed effort, named for the type of film used in the late 1970s, was about. I saw a review in Who that looked promising, and I was intrigued by the almost all-kid cast.

The alien aspect, which is introduced when the kids are filming a zombie movie over the summer and they witness a purposeful train derailment, is neither here nor there to the actual story, which is a “coming of age” tale of Joe Lamb, whose mother died in a workplace accident a few months prior.

Joe’s dad, the town deputy, is struggling to deal with the death of his wife and being a more present father to Joe than before the accident. He holds a grudge against the man whose shift his wife took the day of her death, who just so happens to be Joe’s friend Alice’s drunk father. Joe and Alice are forbidden from seeing each other, but that doesn’t stop them from working together on their friend Charles’ Super 8 film about zombies, the full version of which can be seen in the credits.

After the train derailment, which is caught on film by the kids, they seek out the truck that caused the accident, driven by their biology teacher, Dr. Woodward. He tells the kids not to mention a word of the accident to anyone or risk death.

Strange things start happening in the town, like abductions, lost dogs and power lines disappearing into thin air. My friend Eddie had the theory that the “alien aspect” had something to do with the Soviet space dogs used in experiments in the 1950s and ’60s. Personally, I liked this notion very much, but it wasn’t to be.

I’m not a big fan of supernatural films, especially those with aliens, and some parts of the movie were scarier than I expected. In all honesty, the movie could have done better to not be centered around aliens.

The kids and Deputy Lamb independently piece together the mystery as the Air Force arrives in the town for the clean-up. Dr. Woodward has been killed by Colonel Nelec, the man in charge of the investigation, when he didn’t offer up the information they wanted.

The kids break into the school to access Woodward’s files, which reveal him as a researcher with the Air Force in 1958, when an extraterrestrial crashed on Earth. The government captured and tortured the creature in an effort to understand more about it. Woodward was empathetic to the alien’s plight, and wanted to set it free so it could return to its home planet. That’s what he was doing on the train tracks that night.

The E.T. parts of the film got a bit convoluted at times, and my friend Sallie commented on aspects of the storyline that didn’t add up.

But the inclusion of the endearing troupe of kids and their adventures made up for any inconsistencies. Think Stand By Me, but with aliens.

Related: Who Speculates About Domestic Violence in the Affleck/Garner Household.

Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden Review.

Images via IMDb.

Magazine Review: The Big Issue, 1–14 March, 2011.

Did you know that there are approximately 7.5 readers for every copy of The Big Issue sold? Which is great for circulating The Big Issue’s content to different kinds of readers, it sucks for the people selling copies out the front of The Body Shop (where I was first exposed to the magazine in my hometown of Bendigo in country Victoria) or at Parliament train station, where I picked up this week’s copy.

But when I read those stats on Girl with a Satchel a couple of weeks ago, I wasn’t surprised. A colleague of mine usually brings in his copy to the staff lunchroom, which makes the rounds at work. He’s gone overseas for a few weeks, so I decided to be the one to provide the communal Big Issue during that time. I do hope that more people will fork out the fortnightly five bucks it costs to be exposed to some great Australian writing (“compared with $4.70 for your weekly copy of Who) but until then, I can take solace in the fact that I did my bit.

There’s still a week left to get your paws on a copy, and I suggest you do, as there are some great articles in there, a lot of them dealing with the social revolution tool that is Twitter, which features on the cover. And for you us pop-culture junkies, there’s Liz and Shane and their Twitter antics, too:

“Celebrities, meanwhile, have embraced Twitter as an opportunity to prove their Everyman concerns without having to directly engage with, well, every man or woman. Kourtney Kardashian, for example, recently tweeted her two-million followers: ‘Does anyone else get scared that being on their phones too much or sleeping with your phone near u is so bad? Or am I paranoid?’ I wonder how many fruitlessly replied, ‘Omg, I totes have a brain tumour! We should be BFFs!’ (Note to tweenie Tweeters: she couldn’t care less.)” (p. 15).

You’re such a visionary, Kourtney!

On a more serious note, editor Alan Attwood writes of the similarly prophetic Steven Johnson from Time magazine, who wrote ‘How Twitter Will Change the Way We Live’:

“He argued that all those tiny tweets add up ‘to something truly substantive, like a suspension bridge made of pebbles’. He concluded: ‘The weather reports keep announcing that the sky is falling, but here we are—millions of us—sitting around trying to invent new ways to talk to one another.’ And that, surely, can’t be a bad thing” (p. 4).

We’ve read all the articles about Twitter being a valuable tool for social change, particularly in Egypt, and there’s no shortage of that in the feature article, from which the above Kardashian quote is garnered. Worth the $5 cover price for this article alone.

Another article I loved this fortnight was Patrick Witton’s on “Sharing the Load” of the hellish daily commute.

I wrote last week about two friends of mine who spend at least two hours in their car getting to and from work each day, which sounds like my worst nightmare. Sure, I used to travel upwards of four hours to work from my aforementioned hometown, but that was on the train, where I could get valuable reading, sleeping and daydreaming done. Driving to work allows the driver to indulge in (hopefully) only one of those activities. Then again, I don’t have a license, so I have no idea how much daydreaming gridlock allows…

Witton profiles the car-pooling phenomenon in America, where there are designated pick-up and drop-off points, between which complete strangers ride in silence, and drivers take advantage of the express car-pool lanes. Like a bus, but without the mentally disturbed drunk espousing the apocalypse.

There’s also the teenagers in Jakarta, who make a living from hitchhiking along the highways, getting paid to be picked up so solitary drivers can hightail it to work in the express lane.

Fascinating stuff.

Elsewhere: [Girl with a Satchel] The Big Issue Blitzes Readership Survey (But are Aussies Being Tight?)

On the (Rest of the) Net.

 

Mia Freedman on Elle’s “weird, weird choice of cover model” in Miley Cyrus for their August 2009 issue:

“Who’s next? Bindi Irwin for Harper’s Bazaar? Stop it, someone is probably organising that right now as I type. Anyway, so while I was still tut-tutting over the fact that she was ON the magazine, I came to the story inside and nearly lost my lunch. Not only did I find the clothes grotesquely inappropriate (nanna-alert!), I was disturbed by the poses. In one shot, she’s got her vagina thrust up to the camera with her stomach exposed.

“In a couple of others, she’s lying back as if waiting for… well, you know what she’s waiting for.”

Girl with a Satchel on Lara Bingle, Kristy Fraser-Kirk and “sexism in the Australian Media”, while Nicole Richie’s Who wedding cover story (out today) is a “fairytale story” of “redemption”.

Why “we need more vampire slayersjust not more Buffy”:

Buffy made a bold statement in the context of 1990s pop culture: What if this tiny blonde girl, who looks like the victim in every horror movie ever, is actually the monster-killer? What if she’s badder and tougher than everyone else? What if she’s secretly grappling with the weight of the world because she’s the only one who can save us all?

“Whedon often talks about the idea for the original Buffy movie coming from the image of a girl running from a monster, like in every other horror film—but then it turns out she’s actually hunting the monster, and she catches it by surprise. Because she’s not just your typical sacrificial cheerleader.

“That was a radical idea in 1992, and even in 1997. I would be very sad to think it would still be radical in 2012, or whenever this film comes out.”

Questionable scenes in Disney films.

Let’s Drink Tea and Get Laid references last week’s skinny-shaming post in her thoughts on body image, “property” and ownership.

Rachel Hills has some insightful notes on introversion versus extroversion, stemming from The Atlantic’s “Caring for Your Introvert”, which was featured on last week’s “On The (Rest of the) Net”.

Tiger Beatdown on the gender double standards on Glee:

“… Being attacked for being an effeminate man is terrible, and we’ll talk about it and come to a resolution, but being a masculine woman means you should just get used to being everyone’s punching bag.”

Jezebel uncovers “The Surprising Facts About Who’s Hot”, according to scientific studies in David Perrett’s book, In Your Face. So it’s totes, like, factual and shit.

Good-Time Girls.

 

From “Party & Punishment”, published in The New York Times Magazine, 22nd October, by Virginia Heffernan.

“Right after 9/11, Muslim regimes were depicted as tyrannical in part because they demonised Western fun-loving culture in the name of a misogynistic ideology. Slowly but surely we’ve been doing the same thing with our most visible good-time girls, making villains of women who are dangerous almost exclusively to themselves. We point cameras into their darkened cars and literally up their skirts to find cellulite or evidence of immodesty that wouldn’t exist without the cameras. When they start drinking and doing drugs, just as many celebrities before them have done, we become incensed, agitating for them to go to jail.”

Heffernan’s contention rings true when it comes to Lindsay Lohan, who has been to jail four times (two in quick succession in recent months), rehab on five (or is that six?) occasions, and demonised in the media countless more. But do we demand the same of drug-addled famous men who are a danger to others, ie Charlie Sheen? For what he’s done to the women in his life, not to mention himself, perhaps it is time for Sheen to see the inside of a prison cell. Or at the very least, be taken off the show on which he earns the highest salary on television until he gets his shit together.

Related: Poor Little Rich Girl: Lindsay Lohan in Who.

Why Are Famous Men Forgiven for Their Wrongdoings, While Women Are Vilified for Much Less?

Bad Boys, Whatcha Gonna Do? Host a Seven Family Show.

Lindsay Lohan: Marilyn, Eat Your Heart Out.

Ex-Factor: Matthew Newton.

Elsewhere: [The New York Times Magazine] Party & Punishment.

Chase You Down Until You Love Me, Paparazzi…

The following is based on a 2006 uni essay I wrote about the camera as an intruder, so sorry for any overly academic phrasing. I have attempted to bring it into the modern day with less formal language after reading an article on Jezebel, “The Day I Trailed a Paparazzi” in which—what else?—one of the blog’s writers trailed a paparazzo for a day.

Is the camera an intruder? Some would say that, in this day and age, with advanced photographic technology and increased access by photojournalists to worldwide events, it is. However, others assert that because of this advanced photographic technology and increased access, paired with the public’s growing need, and right, to know and see, that the camera it is not.

In terms of the cult of celebrity and the growing phenomenon of the paparazzi, privacy is a major issue. Peter Howe, in his book Paparazzi, provides this definition of the occupation:

“It refers to those photographers who seek out and follow celebrities… in order to photograph them in their most unguarded moments. In short, it’s taking photographs you shouldn’t take in places you shouldn’t be”.

However, some might argue that in becoming a movie star or rock star, and thereby a celebrity, you give up your right to privacy. Privacy laws in the US, specifically in Los Angeles where most paparazzi dwell, state that “if the subject of the photograph can reasonably expect privacy in a specific situation, such as inside his home, photographs of such situations cannot be published without permission”. And, as is evident in any glossy tabloid, most paparazzi shots are taken in public places, such as shopping strips and restaurants. “The consensus of opinion among the paparazzi is that the celebrities get the privacy they deserve, and that if you really don’t want to be photographed, then you don’t go to eat at Mr. Chows or the Ivy, where there are always photographers,” says Howe.

French theorist Roland Barthes states that “people change when they’re aware they’re being photographed.” So “when long lenses can ‘trespass’”, “the traditional definitions of privacy may not apply”.

The paparazzi are viewed as the most morally and ethically irresponsible photographer in the business but, “if everyone hates their work, why are they the best-paid and busiest photojournalists in the world?” asks Howe.

Our obsession with celebrity has only grown since I originally wrote this article back in 2006, a time which was already seeing the tabloid market explode, causing “the number of paparazzi to quadruple”, explains co-owner of L.A. paparazzi firm Bauer and Griffin, Randy Bauer, in an article from Cosmopolitan that same year.

Increasingly, blogs have become the stratosphere through which paparazzi pics circulate, however magazines still pay the big bucks. The first pictures of Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and their adopted son Maddox on a beach in Africa sold for $100,000; a far cry from the $6.68 million People magazine paid for the exclusive photographs of Pitt, Jolie and their first biological child, Shiloh.

In the five years since Pitt & Jolie got together and were hunted by the paparazzi (Wagner, a paparazzo who participated in a story on Jezebel, asserts that family pics of the couple are still the highest fetching shots), reality TV has reached its pinnacle, with celebs like Kim Kardashian milking their celebrity for all its worth; sad sacks like Lindsay Lohan and Heidi Montag tipping off the paparazzi in order to sell shots of themselves and keep their names in the media; and those in a league of their own, like Lady Gaga, whose song “Paparazzi” and albums “The Fame” and “The Fame Monster” take the piss out of the very machine that made them and creating a new definition of the über-celebrity/icon.

As above, though, the paparazzi are predominantly viewed in a negative light, not only by serious art photographers and the general public but, obviously, the stars they photograph. Kristen Stewart, for example, is one star who has been vocal in her dislike for the paparazzi; those in opposition to her stance might use the argument above, that to have success in the acting world is to accept the constant presence of photographers. Especially when you’re one half of the most talked about couple since the Jolie-Pitts. Elsewhere, the Jezebel article, written by Dodai Stewart, has a focus on Michael Douglas, who is receiving treatment for throat cancer, and the unremitting swarm of photographers outside his house every day. Is hounding a sick man taking our obsession with celebrity too far? American author and journalist Nathaniel Parker Willis says that, “the idea [is] that to really know someone, we must know their private life”.

From the Cosmo article: “[the paparazzi] can make celebrities feel anxious, depressed, and even mildly agoraphobic” That explains the notorious picture of Cameron Diaz, with then-boyfriend Justin Timberlake, attacking a paparazzo, then!

But, increasingly celebs are embracing the paparazzi, realising that if they work in cooperation with them, their public lives will be less tumultuous.

Stewart relays her story about Wagner trailing Liev Schreiber and his son with Naomi Watts, into the subway. After talking to the subject for several minutes, Wagner tells Schreiber that he’s “gotta get a picture of you”, and “Liev said sure, put the kid on his shoulders and let Wagner snap away… No other photographers were around, so it’s an exclusive shot.” Wagner gets paid, Schreiber comes across as a cool family man; it’s a win-win situation.

Celebs with kids can get a bit weird about them being photographed, understandably, and in the same article, when Wagner encounters Watts with the kids, she kindly asks him not to take pictures, and he obliged. See, Hollywood dwellers? There’s no need to get violent with the paps. (Granted, the pics of Schreiber and Watts were taken in New York City, where the paparazzi scene is less brutal than in Los Angeles, and there seems to be a certain air of respect between subject and object.)

Other NYC dwellers such the cunning Sarah Jessica Parker, have some up with ways of making themselves less desirable targets:

“‘[SJP] wears the same thing everyday,’” he [Wagner] says. ‘On purpose. Because you talk about this today, then she wears it tomorrow, then what do you have to say? Nothing.’”

There is almost an element of protection there, too: provided both parties behave themselves and there exists a certain professional relationship, when your every move is recorded on camera, it’s got to be mighty hard to be mugged or attacked. Although, the victims of Alexis Neiers and her young-Hollywood burglary bling ring probably don’t subscribe to this school of thought.

Still, the opinion among the stars, the paps and the consumers who view their snaps on blogs and in magazines and newspapers, is that celebrities need the paparazzi to generate publicity around them, and the paps need to earn a buck. “An interdependency develops between them,” says Howe.

Stewart sums the cycle up nicely:

“We’re interested in celebrity minutiae. Despite ourselves. It is possible to be fascinated and repulsed at the same time. You can find celebrities appealing while finding the gossip culture appalling. We buy the magazines, hate them for lying to us, critique them, laugh at them, talk about them with our friends and buy the magazines again the next week. If you’ve ever read a gossip site or flipped through a celebrity weekly, you’re part of the system: the paparazzi take pictures for the mags and blogs, the mags and blogs exist because there is an audience.”

Related: Poor Little Rich Girl: Lindsay Lohan in Who.

Poor Little Rich Girl: Who Cover Girl Heidi Montag.

Elsewhere: [Jezebel] The Day I Trailed a Paparazzo.

[Vanity Fair]: The Suspects Wore Louboutins.

Sex, Drugs & Jolie.

 

Keep in mind I’m writing this on Sunday morning, before the new weekly gossip magazines come out on Monday, so I am prepared to eat my words if they contradict what I’m about to theorise: the Angelina Jolie sex and drugs scandal won’t hurt her career in the slightest. It probably won’t hurt her personal life, either, but only time will tell.

Sure, the first two weeks after the scandal broke, Jolie was all over the magazine covers and blogs, with “inside sources” claiming it could spell the end of her partnership with Brad Pitt.

And now, over a month later, the tabloids are reporting that Jolie dazzled on the red carpet for the premiere of Salt, in which she dressed up as a man (Who’s cover story this week), and how she stuck up for Jennifer Aniston regarding her comments about single motherhood. Not a mention anywhere about Andrew Morton’s tell all book, which spawned the lesbian bondage pictures and drug use revelations.

Jolie is not a stranger to shocking tabloid headlines, like making out with her brother, wearing a vial of ex Billy Bob Thornton’s blood around her neck and breaking up the marriage of America’s golden couple, Pitt and Aniston. Who’s to know how these indignities affected her personally, but publicly, she has taken them in her stride, just as she has the most recent exposé.

Everyone knows Jolie as the wild-child-makes-good; a juxtaposition of humanitarian with home wrecker; serious actress with sex and drug addict. This is just another chink in her armour that makes up the multifaceted enigma that is Angelina Jolie.