Saturday, January 9, 2010

BURNING QUESTIONS 2010: JANUARY EDITION

Why was that man selling scissors on the Subte this morning? And why didn't the armed policeman standing beside me have anything to say about it? Maybe tomorrow I'll hop onto the subway to pick up some cutlery -- or a hand grenade!

Do Argentines secretly know how they are? Almost every time one of them asks me if I like Argentina -- of course, or would I still be here after more than three years? -- they follow up by asking, "¿Y te gustan los Argentinos?" If you have to ask, you already know the answer.
Since yesterday some of my female Facebook friends have had one-word status updates: a color. Today I found out that they are promoting breast cancer awareness by describing the bra they are wearing. But what's the point of promoting something if no one knows that you're promoting it? How's this for a novel, effective approach: Skip the color gag and just make those status updates explicitly about breast cancer awareness?

Ally McBeal (1997-2002). Eli Stone (2008-2009). Drop Dead Diva (2009-). Does every decade get its own dramedy about quirky lawyers in love who burst into song and dance just because some actors in the cast can sing? Diva star Brooke Elliott (above, right, with costar April Bowlby and guest star Paula Abdul) is stellar, and I love the premise of the Lifetime series: Two women, one beautiful and thin, one beautiful and heavy, die, and the memories of the former and professional know-how of the latter both merge in the body of the latter, an attorney. Hilarity and drama ensue. But must every episode have to feature a court case that teaches us that fatties are people too?

Last night I watched The Young Victoria. Good movie. Good acting (though I don't quite understand Emily Blunt's suddenly building Oscar buzz -- she deserved it more for The Devil Wears Prada). Good-looking cast (Rupert Friend, be still my beating heart). But is the story of England's Queen Victoria's pre- and post-coronation years one that just had to be told? Especially considering that the most exciting sequence -- an assassination attempt -- is pure fiction?
Mariah Carey's Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel was my favorite album of 2009. There, I said it. But what's up with releasing not one but two remix albums (on February 23), one of which, Angel's Advocate: Memoirs Remix Edition, will feature guest artists on 12 Memoirs songs? Though putting R. Kelly on "Betcha Gon Know, Pt. 2" is kind of inspired (Pt. 1 is so R. Kelly) and inviting Mary J. Blige to wail along on "It's A Wrap" is a nice touch (especially since Mary had her own "It's A Wrap" on her Love & Life album), the whole thing smacks of desperation. One of the great things about Memoirs is that it bucked the current hit-seeking R&B trend of overloading albums with guest appearances by being 100% Mariah; it was a cohesive album, not just a collection of songs. If the remix project is supposed to save Mariah's hit-making reputation, why would people care about remixes of songs they didn't care about -- or even hear -- in the first place? Mariah should just accept the flop and move on, take those unreleased Jermaine Dupri and Timbaland productions that will appear on Advocate and build a new album around those tracks.

Kelly Clarkson looks lovely in the video for her great current single, "Already Gone." Is it me, or has American Idol yet to produce an artist as great as the first-season winner? When the dreaded supporting actress Oscar curse finally swallows Jennifer Hudson up whole, and Adam Lambert's shock antics cease to shock -- or entertain -- us, Kelly and Carrie Underwood probably will be the last divas standing.
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