By Colby Cosh - Monday, February 28, 2011 - 71 Comments
Why is everyone attacking our teenage superstar?
The headline on the March 3 Rolling Stone reads “Super Boy.” But apparently nobody told photographer Terry Richardson. The leather-jacketed teen glowering at the lens may be slight of frame, but he is indisputably well on the way to manhood. In a matter of weeks, his jaw has become noticeably more square. And Richardson has applied his notorious gift for persuading subjects—usually young female models—to set aside modesty and reveal what they would normally conceal. Justin Bieber turns out, after some work with a blow-dryer and a light application of hairspray, to possess a dark, surprisingly saturnine pair of eyebrows.
In short, for the first time, he has been made to look something like his actual age. Which, for the record, will be 17 on March 1.
Bieber’s late bloom—signalled by the cracking of his voice onstage at the American Music Awards in November—is, from a business standpoint, a moment of danger. His partner and mentor, R & B performer Usher, nearly saw his career derailed when his own voice broke. Now, in his determination not to let the same thing happen to his protege, Usher is micromanaging everything from Bieber’s vocal coaching to his diet. The good news is that biological maturity may help resolve some of the weird tensions that have made Bieber an unusually hated performer.
By Philippe Gohier - Thursday, April 1, 2010 at 9:00 AM - 0 Comments
The season’s golden girls, bad boys, and red-carpet rebels
Batman and Superman recently went toe to toe and settled the age-old debate over superhero supremacy. The battle, though, was recorded only in the chequebooks of wealthy collectors. Late last month, a copy of Action Comics No. 1, the first to feature Superman, was sold for a record US$1 million in a private sale in New York City. Three days later, the first comic featuring Batman hit the auction block in Dallas, and sold for US$1,075,500.
Lawmakers agree Aniston played a major role in getting California’s new paparazzi law approved. The law calls for fines of up to US$50,000 against media outlets that buy and publish “unlawfully obtained” photos. Aniston told legislators she’d had as many as 30 photographers charge her on the sidewalk and been followed through L.A. streets at night in SUVs. Politicians agreed: there’s something truly deranged about having that much of an interest in Jennifer Aniston.
After 55 years in show business, Canadian actor Christopher Plummer finally had a reason to show up at the Oscars this year when he was nominated for his role in The Last Station. Plummer didn’t win—the award went to Christoph Waltz for Inglourious Basterds—but one suspects he won’t mind having to find something else to do next Oscar night if he’s not nominated again. “It’s a flesh-peddling business,” he said, prior to the show. “And I don’t always like the feeling on the red carpet.”
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, February 1, 2010 at 1:01 PM - 6 Comments
The Grammys are to pop music what the Super Bowl is to sports
It is perhaps possible to take the Grammy Awards seriously. But only if you stop worrying about them.
Consider, for a moment, the National Football League.
The NFL is presently the premier professional sports league in North America: a multi-billion-dollar cultural institution that can claim, in the Super Bowl, the biggest single sporting event on the planet. Its athletes are among the world’s most exceptional and most beloved. But success in the NFL is not the ultimate standard of sporting achievement. The NFL does not define the concept of sport. In fact, no league, tournament or event—not even the Olympics—does. And it is generally understood that it is impossible to compare athletes of different leagues and disciplines—any discussion of “the world’s greatest athlete” generally defined by he or she who dominates their particular competition most spectacularly. (Tiger Woods, for instance, wasn’t ever as fast or as strong as any number of Olympians, football players or basketball players. But he was, by virtue of his unique excellence in golf, in the conversation as the best athlete in the world.)
By Paul Wells - Friday, July 10, 2009 at 2:02 PM - 6 Comments
At Michael Jackson’s memorial service, writes Paul Wells, anything less than excess wouldn’t do
If memorial services were really able to capture the best of the departed there would be no need for mourning. Michael Jackson’s celebrants at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Tuesday paid their highest tribute through a kind of inadvertent omission: try as they might they couldn’t say or sing anything that was as gorgeous and exhilarating as Jackson was when he was at his best.
Singers from Mariah Carey to Usher showed how easy it is to make a pop song sound trite, but that only made the alchemy of Jackson’s own best performances all the more impressive. A succession of stars used hyperbole after hyperbole to describe the dead entertainer, making clear the difference between being big and talking big. “Michael was the biggest star on earth,” Queen Latifah said. Magic Johnson, the legendary Lakers star, said watching Jackson perform made him a better point guard. Nelson Mandela sent a message. Maya Angelou sent a dreadful new poem. Somehow most of it managed to be moving, because all the clumsiness and gaucherie were in the service of real love. When paying tribute to Michael Jackson, anything less than excess wouldn’t do. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, July 7, 2009 at 11:39 AM - 22 Comments
Paris’s speech caps a heartbreaking tribute: “Daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine.”
Welcome to live coverage of Michael Jackson’s memorial. I’m going to spend the next few hours watching CNN, writing about it and linking to whatever I find interesting. Should be a wholly uncomfortable afternoon. (See the photo gallery from the memorial here)
11:30pm. First up, live coverage of the private memorial at Forest Lawn cemetery as seen from a helicopter circling overhead. Very, very classy. Let’s distract ourselves. Maybe go buy a copy—or 12!—of our commemorative issue. Or go read Sasha Frere-Jones at the New Yorker. Or Tom Junod’s obit. Or ?uestlove’s twitter feed. Whatever you do just don’t watch television, ok? I’ll tell you when it’s mildly safe to look.
11:42pm. CNN’s Don Lemon is reviewing the program for the memorial ceremony. It’s like storytime in kindergarten. Only way sadder. Continue…