- - Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Monstrous protest

“Whereas other artists have decided to cancel their Arizona tour dates in light of the state’s immigration law, Lady Gaga brought her Monster Ball tour through Phoenix this weekend and used the show to address the controversy.

“Gaga — who had the slogan ‘Stop SB 1070’ written on her forearm — told the crowd of 14,000 that she got calls ‘from some big rappers and big rockers’ encouraging her to boycott Arizona, but that she responded ‘Do you really think that us … pop stars are going to shut down the state?’ She urged the fans to take a stand: ‘We have to be active. We have to actively protest. … I will not cancel my show. I will hold you, and we will hold each other, and we will protest this state.’”

Josh Duboff, writing on “Lady Gaga Encourages Fans To ‘Actively Protest’ During Phoenix Show,” on Aug. 1 at the New York magazine blog Vulture

Fashionable fury

“Essence, a Time Inc.-owned monthly that is seen as the ultimate fashion and lifestyle title for black women, is wrestling with a controversy sparked by a former fashion editor who criticized the magazine’s decision to hire a white woman as its new fashion director.

“Editor in Chief Angela Burt-Murray told Media Ink she’s aware of the controversy now playing out on Facebook after the magazine named Ellianna Placas, who has worked at O: The Oprah Magazine and US Weekly, as its fashion director but said she’s not changing course.

“Michaela Angela Davis, who was also founding fashion director for Vibe magazine and a one-time editor in chief of the print version of black fashion magazine Honey, started the cybercontroversy … with a Facebook posting that has attracted dozens of comments. ‘It’s with a heavy heart I’ve learned that Essence magazine has engaged a white fashion director,’ she wrote. ‘The fashion industry has historically been so hostile to black people — especially women. … It’s a dark day for me.’ The controversy has drawn over 90 comments on Facebook. Some, such as Elicia Johnson, wrote, ‘Wow. What a disappointment.’ …

“Burt-Murray told Media Ink: ‘I understand that this issue has struck an emotional chord with our audience. However … we remain committed to celebrating the unique beauty and style of African-American women in Essence magazine and online at Essence.com.”

Keith J. Kelly, writing on “Some see red as Essence hires a white editor,” on July 29 in his New York Post column Media Ink

Lackluster blockbusters

“In a millennium that has thus far produced precious few motion pictures in the same class as ‘The Godfather,’ ‘Jurassic Park,’ ‘Casablanca,’ ‘Gone with the Wind,’ ‘My Fair Lady’ and ‘The Matrix,’ there is a knee-jerk tendency to throw up one’s hands and moan that the current year is the worst in the history of motion pictures.

“But 2010 very possibly is the worst year in the history of motion pictures. Where once there was ‘Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves,’ there is now ‘Robin Hood,’ prince of duds. Where once we could look forward to ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s‘ and ‘The Last of the Mohicans,’ we can now look forward to ‘Dinner for Schmucks’ and ‘The Last Airbender.’ This time two years ago we were treated to the ingenious, subversive ‘Iron Man’; this year we have the insipid, uninspired ‘Iron Man 2.’

“What does it say about the current season that the third installation of ‘Toy Story’ is better than the first installation of anything else? Or that people are actually looking forward to a sequel to the 1982 flop ‘Tron’? Does this mean that a sequel to ‘The Rocketeer’ will soon be on the way?

Joe Queenan, writing on “The Worst Movie Year Ever?” on July 30 at the Wall Street Journal