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The name of the father

Posted June 8th, 2009 by debritz

He's the man behind Band-Aid and Live Aid, he was knighted by the Queen, he had a string of hits with the Boomtown Rats and is a best-selling author, but even in Ireland Bob Geldof is - according at least to this caption in the Irish edition of the throwaway paper Metro - best known as "Peaches and Pixie Geldof's father ...". See larger image here.

A matter of priorities

Posted June 8th, 2009 by debritz

Update: Geoffrey Rush has won the best leading actor in a play award.
This morning, Queenslander Geoffrey Rush will almost certainly have added a Tony award to a mantlepiece that already holds an Oscar, an Emmy, two Golden Globes and many other awards. It will mean that, for his work on both stage and screen, Rush has been acknowledged by his peers as one of the great actors of his generation. This achievement will almost certainly be covered in the Australian media (indeed, here's an online preview piece), but it won't get anywhere near the total coverage of, for example, Andrew Symonds' sacking from the Australian cricket team. In too many minds, a sportsman behaving badly is more important than an artist doing very, very well.

Naive statement of the year

Posted June 7th, 2009 by debritz

"He asked if he could take some photos of me … I said yes, not even thinking they could possibly come back to haunt me one day/"

Australia's Next Top Model finalist Lola Van Vorst explaining about the nude photos, taken by a boyfriend, that will appear in Famous magazine.

Farewell, David Carradine

Posted June 5th, 2009 by debritz

Actor David Carradine has been found dead in a Bangkok hotel room, reportedly with a rope around his neck. The Kung Fu and Kill Bill star was 72, and was promoting a new film, Stretch.
Update: Reports from Thailand indicate that Carradine's death was not suicide, but may have been the result of what has become known as an "auto-erotic" accident.

The Chaser: low point?

Posted June 4th, 2009 by debritz

It's easier to criticise to create, there's no doubt about that. And creating comedy is especially difficult. People will remember a comedy that did not make them laugh more than a drama that failed to move them in some other way. To make people laugh, comics often resort to shock tactics; and there's nothing new in that (even if some of today's comedians think they invented the F word). But how far is too far? Specifically, was the skit about the "Make A Realistic Wish Foundation" on last night's The Chaser's War Against Everything really "one of the lowest moments in Australian TV"? Or was its crime simply that it wasn't funny enough to overcome its cringe factor?

Joseph May = naughty boy

Posted June 3rd, 2009 by debritz

I just received this from Channel 9:


Joseph May; I would like confirm that today I was in court as the result of an embarrassing and foolish incident. I would like to unequivocally apologise for my behaviour. I was in the company of good friends and in a light-hearted but misguided move, I exposed my bottom to them. What I considered to be a harmless joke amongst friends was unfortunately witnessed by two plain clothed police officers and led to today's court appearance.
There is no excuse only an apology. As a public figure, I am aware that a higher standard of behaviour is expected of me. For the embarrassment and potential damage I have caused to my friends and colleagues at Extra and Channel Nine, I am truly sorry."
The Nine Network does not believe that Joseph set out to cause offence, but his behaviour is completely unacceptable for a person in his position. We are very disappointed by this foolish act and are currently considering disciplinary action.

Farewell, Danny La Rue

Posted June 2nd, 2009 by debritz

Danny La Rue, the Irish born actor who became arguably the world's most famous drag queen, has died at age 81. His fans ranged from the Queen (who presented him with an OBE) and comedy legend Bob Hope who called him "the most glamorous woman in the world") to the many thousands of people who regularly flocked to his shows in the UK and Australia and the millions who watched him on television.

Still on the Boyle

Posted May 31st, 2009 by debritz

Susan Boyle didn't win Britain's Got Talent, but her 15 minutes are far from over. Try this one tomorrow: ask everyone you meet the name of the winning act.
PS: I wish them all success, because winning or even coming second in a TV talent show certainly doesn't guarantee a successful career in an unforgiving business..

Join the stage stars

Posted May 29th, 2009 by debritz

If you were not lucky enough to get freebies (mine must have been lost in the mail) and you plan to be in the vicinity of the Sydney Opera House on July 27, you might want to log on to the internet early on Monday to buy tickets for the Helpmann Awards ceremony. Details here, and ticket sales here. Otherwise, it'll be broadcast live from 6.30pm on Foxtel's Bio channel.

Farewell, Paul Sharratt

Posted May 28th, 2009 by debritz

British-born Australian entertainer and producer Paul Sharratt has died in Los Angeles. Sharratt will be fondly remembered for his variety shows on Channel 9 in the 1970s and his involvement with live musical hall and the Tropicarnival on the Gold Coast. Sadly, before he died, it was announced that his company would produce the Daytime Emmy Awards in the US.

Update: A memorial service will be held on the Gold Coast on Monday.

Sign language

Posted May 27th, 2009 by debritz

Woody Allen has pocketed US$5 million from American Apparel for the unauthorised use of his image on an LA billboard. How much will the company redeveloping the Chinatown Mall in Fortitude Valley have to pay him?

Spot the difference

Posted May 24th, 2009 by debritz

One of these men is the leading children's television host in Belarus; the other is not.
Hint: I bought the shirt in Minsk before I saw the show.

Menopause for thought

Posted May 21st, 2009 by debritz

About 130,000 Brisbane people have seen Menopause The Musical, and that tally is about to grow with news that the show is coming back. Not to the Twlefth Night Theatre, where it set a Queensland record for longest run, but to the QUT Gardens Theatre, from June 29 to July 8. This latest touring production is directed by Gary Young and stars
Vivien Davies, Maria Mercedes, Angela Ayers and Debbie Penney. Details here.

Sound proposition

Posted May 18th, 2009 by debritz

Do you make noise and want to be heard? Maybe this, slightly enigmatic media release, offers what you're looking for:

Brisbane is about to welcome a new, boutique live music venue. We can’t tell you where, other than it’s in the heart of Brisbane’s live music scene, where it all started and continues to grow.
This venue is serious about emerging bands, emerging DJs and creators of sound. They know you need a place to play, a place to jam, a place to experiment. A place where people with like minds come to listen and kick back. That’s their place.
They are looking for music across all genres: indy rock, hip hop, electronic, house, scar punk, heave metal, Australian folk, blues, alternative country and all in between. Emerging, unsigned, just signed….they want to hear your sound.
DJs ditto. We are looking for sound creators who mix vinyl, CD and cybasounds.
Send details to music@xandybar.com.au

What are you waiting for?

The return of Scrubs

Posted May 17th, 2009 by debritz

Fans thought it was all over, but it wasn't. US sitcom Scrubs has reportedly been renewed for a new season. However, star Zach Braff will appear in only six episodes, to allow the new cast of Sacred Heart Hospital interns (who were introduced in the series that just ended in the US) to bed in. Donald Faison (Turk), John C McGinley (Dr Cox), Neil Flynn (The Janitor) and maybe Sarah Chalke (Elliot) will also return.

The man from Minsk

Posted May 17th, 2009 by debritz

My friend was right. Congratulations to Eurovision winner Alexander Rybak. Apart from his obvious talent and charisma, why is the Norwegian singer-fiddler so popular behind the former Iron Curtain? He was born in Minsk, Belarus.

Alexander the great?

Posted May 16th, 2009 by debritz

My friend in Eastern Europe reckons Alexander Rybak's got what it takes for superstardom:

Farewell, Bud Tingwell

Posted May 15th, 2009 by debritz

Actor Charles "Bud" Tingwell succumbed to prostate cancer today at the age of 86. I met him a few years ago when we reunited him with his former World War II penpal for a story for The Sunday Mail, and he was perfectly gentlemanly, as his screen image suggested he would be. More here.

Idol moment

Posted May 15th, 2009 by debritz

"I think we are a vital cog in what it takes to become a singer these days and there is no question that we will be around for ever and ever."

So says Australian Idol host Andrew G. I like Andrew - in fact, I believe I was the first journalist to interview him on his rise to fame (when he was a B105 Black Thunder driver known as "Spidey") - but I think he's a bit off the mark. He's right in that Idol has become a vital cog in the music machine - except that's increasingly a bad thing. As the lacklustre careers of most of the previous finalists and winners demonstrates, the cream simply isn't rising to the top on the television show.

Wicked! season

Posted May 13th, 2009 by debritz

Wicked! will close in Melbourne on August 9 after a 60-week run. The musical brought huge crowds on package deals to the southern capital, and it will no doubt go on to have a good run in Sydney. Hey, it may even come to Brisbane one day. Of course, if we'd had a theatre that could handle a 60-week run, it could have had its Australian debut here, and the state would have had a huge economic benefit. But that's a story told here.

Cleesed off with the state of TV

Posted May 7th, 2009 by debritz

"If you go back to television in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s we did have the least bad television in the world. That's quite a claim. I don't think it's true any more."

That's John Cleese talking about the state of British TV - and he puts the blame on the lack of good writing. Well, it's no wonder, when it seems all the money in UK television (and here in Australia) is going to performers rather than writers. After the likes of Jonathan Ross take their slices, there's not much of the cake left ...
PS: It's the same here in Australia, which is why most of our TV series and almost all of our movies underperform.

Farewell, Scrubs

Posted May 6th, 2009 by debritz

The last episode of Scrubs, my favourite sitcom of recent years, screens in the US tonight (and should be shown on Channel 7 soon). If you've never watched the show, here - thanks to somebody who cut up some of the best bits and posted them on YouTube - is why you should seek out old episodes on pay-TV or DVD:

Jack's back

Posted May 6th, 2009 by debritz

Inimitable Ipswich councillor Paul Tully is writing a book about Jack the Ripper (which by my count will make about a million tomes on that subject), and he's seeking feedback here at Twitter - especially if you can come up with a new suggestion as to his identity. As well as being the longest-serving elected local government official in the state, Tully is also interested in discovering the true fate of Dan Kelly, brother of bushranger Ned.

Song remains the same

Posted May 6th, 2009 by debritz

Following recent copyright disputes involving Coldplay's song Viva La Vida and earlier tunes by Cat Stevens and Joe Satriani, I strongly suggest Australian singer John Paul Young consider suing himself over the remarkable similarity between his 1977 song Standin' in the Rain and his 1978 hit Love is in the Air. Furthermore, I think the members of Status Quo should sue themselves on the grounds that every song they ever recorded was virtually identical to the one before it.

Worthy winners

Posted May 6th, 2009 by debritz

Two Australian icons, music promoter Michael Gudinski and actor-director John Bell, have been as the recipients of the JC Williamson Award as part of the Helpmann Awards, which will be presented in July.

Blue Love: how good is it?

Posted May 5th, 2009 by debritz

I received an email today from La Boite theatre trying to encourage me to go and see Blue Love. The email reckons one patron at the Roundhouse Theatre was heard to say: "This is the best thing I've seen here in years." I understand that they want to sell tickets, but in effect they are saying that this bought-in production is better than anything the company itself has produced in recent times. Now that's what I'd call a backhander to the former artistic director and all the very talented actors, directors and other theatre folk who have been doing the hard yards for so long. Blue Love has had great international press, so I expect it is a good show, but surely it can be praised without denigrating what's gone before?

Are winners always grinners?

Posted May 4th, 2009 by debritz

Congratulation to Rebecca Gibney and the other Logies winners, but I wonder what winning the trophy really means to them. Is it really an endorsement from the public, given that so few people vote and those who do come from a narrow demographic? Does it extend their use-by date and employment prospects with the TV networks? Maybe in the short term, but there are plenty of people with rows of Logies on the mantlepiece whose phones no longer ring. We certainly can't say that the Logies ceremony itself cuts it as entertainment: the good bits from last night could be packaged into less than half an hour. Time for something new, I think.

Get a grip, please

Posted May 3rd, 2009 by debritz

I'm not going to blog the whole Logies, but I must note that Rebecca Gibney has set a great standard in accepting her best actress award as if she'd just found a cure for cancer.
Update: I will Tweet, however, at twitter.com/debritz

Logies: the tension mounts

Posted May 3rd, 2009 by debritz

Can Ian Smith do a John Wood? Will Rebecca get rewarded at last? Is Andrew too cerebral? Will Kate come first despite having left the show more than a year ago? Will Rove get another trophy even though nobody I know knows anybody who actually watches his show? And, most importantly, in an age of economic crisis, terror, war, poverty and swine flu, does it really matter? The answer to the last one is easy: the Logie Awards matter even more now than ever, as a diversion from the horrors of the real world. I'm not even going to attempt to choose the winners here, simply because - as I've said thousands of times before - the election process isn't fair, so it's a matter of trying to second guess a small group of people who actually vote. Sure, it's been made slightly more democratic this year by being opened up to non TV Week purchasers, but until a ballot is sent to every household with a television, or the whole thing is changed and Logies are awarded on merit by a panel of peers, it's all a bit of a farce. The really big question is: will the show itself be entertaining or just an overlong orgy of self-congratulation with sporadic not-so-boring bits? My money's on the latter.
PS: Maybe new host Gretel Killeen will use the occasion to even some scores. Now that would be worth watching!

And the Bogie goes to ...

Posted May 2nd, 2009 by debritz

The Fuglies may be history, but David Dale has offered us all an antidote to the Logies with The Bogies. Among the "winners", based on highly scientific methodology (i.e the 226 people who contacted Dale), are:
+ Most unnecessary personality: Lara Bingle
+ Most unnecessary program: Celebrity Singing Bee
+ Most unnecessary adaptation of an overseas show: Top Gear Australia
+ Most annoying personality: David Koch
+ Most jerked around by the networks: Scrubs (I totally agree, it's a fantastic show that's been squandered.)
+ Most wooden presenter: Ajay Rochester
+ The Black Bogie (the Eddie McGuire Chalice): Kyle Sandilands.

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