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Celebrating our songs

Posted February 9th, 2007 by debritz

Question 1: What do the following acts have in common: Kate DeAraugo, Lee Harding, TV Rock, Youth Group, Damien Leith, Human Nature, The Living End, Hilltop Hoods, Eskimo Joe, Something For Kate, Kasey Chambers, Kylie Minogue, John Farnham and Crowded House?
A) Not a lot.
B) They are all Australian (OK, or Kiwi-Australian)
C) They all spent some time at the top of the Motorola ARIA Charts between December 2005 and December 2006.
D) All of the above, and they'll all be honoured at the ARIA #1 Chart Awards ceremony in Sydney on February 22.

Question 2: Given all the other awards ceremonies around the place, is that:
A) Too much back-slapping
B) An overdue opportunity to celebrate our best and brightest.
C) A good excuse to party in the early part of the year?

Sue who?

Posted February 7th, 2007 by debritz

Our Keith Urban is suing a visual artist by the name of Keith Urban who is using the website keithurban.com to sell his paitings. E! Entertainment's headline on this story? Keith Urban Suits Himself. Cute.

Farewell, Tige Andrews

Posted February 6th, 2007 by debritz

He may not have been the coolest dude on Mod Squad, but actor Tige Andrews did have a really cool name. It's been revealed today that the man who played Captain Adam Greer in the popular late 1960s-early 1970s TV series died late last month. Also added to my Celebrity Deaths Archive in the past few days have been actor-singer Barbara McNair, and musicians Billy Henderson, Eric von Schmidt and Joe Hunter.

Dream on

Posted February 6th, 2007 by debritz

Spencer Howson tells me he brought my comments about replacing Grandstand with an arts program to the attention of ABC sports reporter Quentin Hull. His reaction? "What does he want? Live coverage of A Midsummer Night's Dream being performed at QPAC?" Well, that would be a start ...

Urban legend

Posted February 5th, 2007 by debritz

It's funny how the media has been full of stories over the past 24 hours about Keith Urban's May tour of Australia beginning in Brisbane. I broke the story a week ago.

And now for the arts ...

Posted February 5th, 2007 by debritz

After some reflection on the weekend, I've decided I was too conciliatory in my discussion with Spencer Howson on 612ABC last Friday about how the coverage of the arts in the media does not reflect the overwhelming public interest in the subject. It occurred to me yesterday, not for the first time, that way too much radio airtime is taken up with sporting events that, as the Australian Bureau of Statistics has proven, are of interest only to a minority in this country. I'm therefore demanding that Grandstand be replaced with, or at the very least alternate with, a day-long showbiz program with running commentary on cultural events, expert opinion and arts talkback. It should be a huge hit.

Sideshow attraction

Posted February 4th, 2007 by debritz

I went to see Sideshow Alley, the new Australian musical, at QPAC last night and was pleasantly surprised (with a few reservations, of course). If you're looking for something different at the theatre, here are the details. I've also mentioned it over at ShowBritz.

What the ....

Posted February 1st, 2007 by debritz

Be afraid. Be very afraid. Work has begun on the third instlament of Meet the Parents and it has the tasteful title Meet the Little Focker.

Be proud, be loud

Posted January 30th, 2007 by debritz

As I have mentioned here and at ShowBritz, more people in Australia attend live arts performances than football games. But still the arts get less attention in the media and in ordinary life. Maybe performing arts fans should start wearing their favourite company's colours, waving banners and singing songs. Then we'll be noticed ...

Nowhere man

Posted January 30th, 2007 by debritz

In the interests of research I watched a little of 1 vs 100 last night. If, as some commentators have said, Eddie McGuire was at the top of his game, I'd hate to see him the final quarter with damp boots.

Don't panic, Cate

Posted January 30th, 2007 by debritz

I sincerely hope that, for her sanity's sake, Cate Blanchett isn't as distraught at not winning the Screen Actors Guild award as many of the media commentators seem to be on her behalf. It's simply not Blanchett's year to pick up gongs; it doesn't mean she's never going to get a movie gig again or be cast out on to the street. It's just showbiz.

We're a cultured mob

Posted January 29th, 2007 by debritz

I posted this on my other blog too, but I think it's worth repeating:
Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics have, once again, shown that Australians prefer cultural pursuits to sport. While 2.5 million went to see an AFL game in 2005-06, 2.7 million went to the theatre, 3.6 million went to an art gallery, 3.6 million went to a museum, 4 million went to a popular music concert and a whopping 10.4 million went to the cinema. Rugby league got 1.5 million people through the turnstiles, but so did classical music concerts, while dance performances attracted 1.6 million, and musicals and operas attracted 2.7 million. Of course, somebody’s bound to make the argument that sport is popular on television - and so it is. But what takes up most of the TV schedules and attracts the most viewers in total? Movies, dramas, comedies and variety shows - all of which are arts and entertainment events. The next time somebody tells you Australians

Strange bedfellows

Posted January 28th, 2007 by debritz

I admit to being fascinated by the artists Gilbert and George. If I'm in London sometime before May (and, sadly, that's unlikely), I'll check out their retrospective at the Tate Modern. The Observer has an entertaining feature article on them here.

Giving Will another Shake

Posted January 27th, 2007 by debritz

Stanley Wells has written an interesting and entertaining piece for The Guardian's blog on the never-ending efforts of highly learned people to try to prove that somebody other than William Shakespeare wrote the works attributed to William Shakespeare. As I've noted elsewhere, there's a lot of snobbery involved in all this, with the underlying assumption being that somebody as ordinary as Shakespeare could not have been a great writer. It's a bit like saying four working-class lads from Liverpool could never have become the world's greatest pop group.

The Queen rules, OK?

Posted January 24th, 2007 by debritz

With the release of the Oscar nominations comes the news that Tony Blair has not yet seen The Queen, in which he is played by Michael Sheen. Given the vanity of politicians, I don't believe it. At least Buckingham Palace has declined to say whether the Queen has seen The Queen. (I bet she has.)

The return of Jono

Posted January 22nd, 2007 by debritz

It's a little known fact that I once applied for Jonathan Colman's job. That's way back in the early 1980s when I was a fresh-faced kid and they were looking for somebody to fill his big shoes on Simon Townsend's Wonder World and he was headingoff to fame and fortune in the UK. I didn't get the gig and it would be more than a decade before my face appeared on television (the medium's loss, not mine). Anyway, that's just a ham-fisted way of saying the man who likes to be known as Jono is back in Australia and will be heard nationally in the daily Jonathan Coleman Experience show on the Classic Hits network, which includes 4KQ in Brisbane. It's being launched in Sydney next week.

Funny thing, politics

Posted January 22nd, 2007 by debritz

America has Arnold Schwarzenegger; now Japan has Sonomamma Higashi. The popular television comic has been elected governor of Miyazaki Prefecture. Of course, here in Queensland we also have a comedian running the place. Tell us the one about building infrastructure again, Pete.

Excesses of the rich and famous

Posted January 22nd, 2007 by debritz

Nice work you can get it ... in a divorce settlement, Heather Mills is reportedly set to fetch about $2500 for each hour she was married to Paul McCartney. Of course, it won't exactly leave the ex-Beatle skint, and I'm sure Mills will use the money in a thoughtful way. Excuse me while I throw up now ...

Farewell, Art Buchwald

Posted January 19th, 2007 by debritz

American newspaper columnist Art Buchwald was able to laugh about his own death before he died. He noted that dying was easier than finding a parking place in Washington DC, and advised people against dying on the same day as a Nobel Prize winner if they wanted a big obit in a newspaper. There's more at my Celebrity Deaths Archive.

Going to the Globes

Posted January 16th, 2007 by debritz

It's my huge final full day in LA today, culminating in a visit to one of the Golden Globes after-parties. I won't be blogging until some time after the show ends, and I'll be doing it first at Showbritz.com.

Signs of the place

Posted January 14th, 2007 by debritz

Here in Hollywoood they believe in telling it like it is. In Beverly Hills are shopfronts for body-art removal expert Dr Tattoff and skin-colouring clinic Darque Tan.

Breaking up is hard to do

Posted January 13th, 2007 by debritz

The break-up of Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake, made official in a statement from the couple, is the big topic of conversation around Hollywood today. The interesting thing for me was watching as the news spread from a person who knew to a person who hadn't heard it. The reaction was almost as if they'd lost a friend.

Playing the fame game

Posted January 13th, 2007 by debritz

Everybody wants to be rich and famous - and even more so here in LA. Everywhere you go, there's somebody flogging you a product, a seminar or some other thing that promises to make you wealthy, make you look better (via plastic surgery) or, at the very least, score you some marijuana (for medicinal purposes only, you understand). One thing that did amuse me in a town that strives on success is the notice of eviction posted in the window of one of the many psychic's storefronts. I know it's an old joke, but surely they must have seen it coming.

Guess who, don't sue

Posted January 13th, 2007 by debritz

I was chatting to a French journalist last night about my admiration for a well French actor. "Oh yes," she said, "but these days he is always drunk. It is such a pity..."

Playboy's place

Posted January 12th, 2007 by debritz

As I mentioned at my other blog, I visited Hugh Hefner's Playboy Mansion today. Now, whatever you think of Hef's lifestyle - specifically the bit about him living with three women young enough to be his granddaughters - he's certain a unique, urbane and intelligent individual. His three girlfriends, Holly, Bridget and Kendra, seem to be quite intelligent too. They're certainly all strong personalities who are well aware of the situation they are in and the way others view it. The mansion itself is something else. I'll be writing more about the place soon.

Famous over LA

Posted January 12th, 2007 by debritz

It's just gone 10am here in Hollywood and I'm getting ready for a big day out on the town, courtesy of E! Entertainment. I can't say too much about my plans, but I'm going to be kept on the go and - I hope - have a good time. Meanwhile, here's something that happened on the plane: I was chatting to two of the very friendly Qantas air crew as we were landing in LA (I was sitting opposite them), and one of them said he thought he recognised me. Had I flown this route before, he asked. Yes, I said, but it was a long time ago. Then he said: "Are you on television?" I am a journalist, I replied, I do some radio and I hade been on TV once or twice but I didn't have a regular gig. He then told me that Channel 9's Richard Wilkins was also on the plane, up in business class. "On well," i replied, "that's the difference between him and me."

First name basis

Posted January 9th, 2007 by debritz

Kylie. Robbie. Madonna. Brett? Just wondering: how do you achieve the status where you can be instantly recognised by your first name?

A diva speaks

Posted January 8th, 2007 by debritz

I've just come across this quote from Dame Joan Sutherland in an interview in the November edition of BBC Music to mark her 80th birthday. Asked "What does it take to be a diva?", she replies:

There's a group of pop singers called The Young Divas and I really snort. They really sing like little cats - they've got microphones stuck halfway in their mouths and one laughs, except that it's rather sad because it gives people a strange impression.

Musing about musicians' muses

Posted January 8th, 2007 by debritz

I've been reading about Abba star Bjorn Ulvaeus's tax problems and was taken by thes final sentences of the report:

With Benny Andersson, Ulvaeus was responsible for hits such as Waterloo and Dancing Queen, as well as the stage show Chess.
But Ulvaeus said last year that the group would never stage a reunion as their "creativity" together had now disappeared.

It made me think how this seems to be the case with many groups or solo artists - that they somehow lose whatever it is that makes them successful. For example, while The Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney continue to tour, it's largely on the back of their back catalogue - and, clearly, that's not what Abba wants to do. How is it that some artists - not just musicians but authors and painters and other creative people - can have a string of hits and then simply lose it. Is some cases public tastes move on and they do not, but in other cases their muse simply seems to abandon them.

Garrison on radio

Posted January 8th, 2007 by debritz

It's not secret that I love the broadcast medium. The late Robert Altman's movie about a long-running radio show, A Prairie Home Companion, is just opening in the UK, and the show's creator Garrison Keillor spoke to the BBC. Here's part of what what he had to say:

"Radio gives you your language. It's a perfect medium for it: poetry, comedy, narrative, or just everyday yammering and gnashing of teeth. You tend to remember what you hear whereas TV distracts you by flashing pictures at you and doing camera acrobatics. People sometimes tell me stories I told them on the radio years ago. Quite astonishing. TV has attention deficit disorder built into it, unfortunately."

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