As-Salamu Alaykum! It’s getting close as the models book it to beautiful Marrakech with centuries-old buildings, snake charmers, street monkeys and bazaar-lined streets. Molly thinks she’s pissy because she was adopted. Girl, that does not count as issues. They all feasted on Moroccan food and toured the fashion muse city. In designer Nourredine Amir’s villa showroom, they modeled for His Eminence Andre Leon Talley.
The dresses were heavy, sculpted couture (ya know, that fashion no one really wears). Hannah wore an evening jacket-meets-cloak cocoon dress. Kasia didn’t fit into most of the dresses, but impressed Talley by being the only one who brought heels. Talley called Brittani’s walk “the closest to high fashion” and gave kudos for not putting her hands on her hips.
The models sipped tea with Talley on the rooftop of swanky guesthouse Dar Doukkala, with a gorgeous view of the city, and found out it was their Moroccan pad. The exotic interior had patterned tiles for miles, Persian rugs, indoor pool, an outdoor shower, and oodles of potted plants.
Photo shoot in the desert! Photographer Michael Woolley shot the girls in Berber meets Europe clothes. Each mounted a camel and had Bedouin porters in the background. Molly faked a good attitude and took fierce photos. Brittani went all out and was the first to stand on the camel hump. Kasia was having some negative body issues and was awkward on the camel. Alex harried Woolley about reaching photo nirvana and was too controlling in her poses.
Guest judge was Franca Sozzani, editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia. Brittani’s androgynous photo impressed the panel, but Sozzani thought it looked forced. Alex looked angry in her photo, and even though Sozzani liked it, she got a lecture from Nigel and Tyra about watching how she’s perceived. Kasia frowned in most of her film and came off as uncomfortable. Hannah did alright, but Molly outshined everyone with the tension and drama in her film. She was called first, Brittani second, and Kasia and Alex were the bottom two. Predictably, Alex stayed for her stronger photos and the fiercely real model went home. Next week: bellydancing with tea trays on your head?
For those of us who don't know squat about baseball, CP contributor Matt Cantor breaks down last night's game in a way we all can understand — like it's a TV show!
Every summer, I try to catch all 162 episodes of my favorite show, now in its 142nd season. Some call the series boring, but it puts me on the edge of my seat — and yesterday’s episode, filmed in San Diego, was no exception.
This latest installment, directed by Charlie Manuel, was fairly predictable if you’d seen the previous three. It opened, as usual, with a lone figure perched in the center of a grassy field. The central character, Doc, played by Roy Halladay, appeared at first to be a fairly flat persona — but a certain intensity in his eyes suggested a tide of powerful feeling under the calm surface. Indeed, Halladay has been widely recognized for a string of excellent performances over the years. But the stakes have lately risen ever higher, as the press has fueled sky-high expectations for him and his three fellow leading men.
Our hero had a clear task before him: he had to keep an onslaught of camouflaged figures at bay while his red-capped comrades launched an attack of their own. They had just nine chances to crack their enemies’ defenses, and they made little headway during the first five. That meant continued pressure on Doc, who had to remain as impenetrable as the antagonists.
Last week began the last season of the best show that no one watches. Okay, that’s an exaggeration: those who do watch Friday Night Lights are ferociously devoted to it, and critics love it. Yet it hasn’t achieved the crowd it deserves—a crowd big enough to have kept it alive for longer. Five seasons is nothing to sniff at, but the past three have really been half-seasons, thirteen episodes each. Here’s why you should drop everything, possibly quit your job, and watch every season right this minute, in time to see the last one as it airs Friday nights on NBC.
Football holds Friday Night Lights together, but it’s not really about football itself. Instead, it’s about life in a Texas town obsessed with its high school team. That sentence may make it seem totally foreign to the average urban northeasterner; it certainly turned me off when I first heard about it. But the fact is that even to someone who lives in a very different world, the show is eminently relatable. While politics and the media constantly instruct us on the differences between “red” and “blue” states, “real” and “fake” America, Friday Night Lights aims to unite. Its ability to bridge a wide cultural gap is one of its most admirable features.
The show achieves this by showcasing individual lives in the fictional town of Dillon. At its center is coach Eric Taylor and his wife, Tami, played by Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton, both Emmy nominees for the roles. Their portrayal of a modern couple is both realistic and optimistic. They’re utterly believable as a pair, and also as a model for a healthy relationship. While they frequently disagree, there’s a core of mutual understanding—and real friendship—at the heart of their marriage. I plan to submit any marriage in my future to the Taylor Test: Are we as good a match as these two?
The girls went to the Hall of Portfolios, where Tyra taught them how to put one together. Finally, some practical advice other than smizing. A good portfolio according to Tyra has a few strong pictures showing range and ending with the best one.
The mystery country the girls are going to is brought to you by the letter “C,” and the models had to put the other letters together. Is it China? Chile? Colombia? Chechnya? It’s...Morocco! But Fierce Airlines only has room for 5, and one woman won’t make it to Marrakesh.
Go-sees! Four in four hours, deadline at 3 p.m., and the top three get an extra go-see. The girls’ drivers spoke English unlike previous cycles, but were forbidden to give directions. Molly got lost, and stopped right on the street she was looking for in confusion. The first go-see was frankie b. jeans. Molly got there last, and went off to the second meeting with House Casting rather than wait. Patience, girl. A bird in the hand, etc.
Small town Jaclyn never uses maps (not even Google?), and neither does Brittani, so both were lost most of the day. Smashbox Studios was third, and the models had to improvise gym clothes for the athletic shoot. Molly stripped down to her skivvies, and Alex ran back in a bikini and shorts. Jaclyn, Hannah, and Brittani gave up on going to all four places to make it to the office on time, and Alex made it back with 30 seconds to spare. Alex, Molly, and Kasia made top three for a meeting with designer Lana Marks. Alex made the best impression with her poses and chipper demeanor, winning an ad campaign and oodles of designer clothes and handbags. One was a $2000 clutch, a replica of one Angelina Jolie took to the Oscars in 2009.
The models headed to a landfill with nasty defecating seagulls to shoot an eco-friendly couture line. Some stood on ladders with 10-foot gowns, a look that creeps me out due to an unfortunate horror movie experience. (Can’t watch Britney Spears’ Hold It Against Me vid.) Nigel gave Brittani a pep talk, and Mr. Jay was shat on twice. Molly bitched about the birds, which Nigel frowned upon. Brittani got down on the garbage-laden ground for better shots impressing everyone.
I love Tyra’s form-fitting suits at panel. The contrast of the billowing gowns and the landfill was striking in the photos, and special effects made them look like nighttime shots. Jaclyn was chastised for missing two go-sees even though she booked the ones she went to. Molly’s pooky attitude turned everyone off at her go-sees, and she only booked two out of four. Andre Leon Talley told her she lost the Lana Marks ad because she looked “dejected” in her office.
Alex was called first wearing a No. 1 shirt. Subliminal messaging? Hannah was second for her fierce photo, and Molly and Jaclyn were bottom two. Molly stayed because the judges thought she could get over her sulkiness. Jaclyn went back to Belton, Texas for a little more maturing. Next week: footage of all the girls we didn’t see before. And there’s a schedule change, FYI.
One of our pretty contestants lost her shit this week, and it wasn’t Alex. After Monique went home, everyone wished Alex was gone instead, especially Brittani. Cue confession booth threats to beat Alex up, which no one will actually make good on. The girls then did a challenge photo shoot in the Warriors In Pink line benefiting the Susan G. Komen Foundation, sponsored by Ford Focus.
Brittani cried after Nigel, who took the photos, pointed out that ”I don’t think, I just do” doesn’t really mean anything. Everyone but Alex didn’t get the concept of the shoot or their basic characters, and gave blank model stares. So naturally, Alex won the challenge, and, lucky lucky, won a Ford Focus and a spot in a PSA for Warriors In Pink. The others were not having it, and while they sat on break, Brittani said Alex was the ugliest one there, that she makes stupid faces, neither of which is really true. She ended up shouting across the room, making a scene on set. It’s weird that Alex has been so flamboyantly off-kilter, but one by one, the other girls are freaking out for no apparent reason. Alex’s (probably) unintentional distractions are working in her favor.
Miss J took the models on a field trip to Universal Studios. He hopped out to take a picture in front of the Bates Motel when Norman walked out and knifed him. It turned out to be Mr. Jay, and the girls did a Psycho-themed photo shoot, with everyone mad for something fashion. Mikaela never really acted in her photos since the beginning, and with the simple task of being crazy for sales, just tossed the shiny boxes around and made zero facial expression. Hannah, who was crazy for handbags, talked about loving handbags instead of just acting it out, and got one good shot.
At panel Nigel brought up the tiff at the Warriors shoot. Brittani, instead of briefly apologizing, made a speech about how the girls hate Alex and that the judges should send her home just for that — while crying. Alex seemed upset, but didn’t respond, and Tyra lectured Brittani about how unprofessional all that is and showing respect. Brittani ran away, and Tyra nonchalantly said, “Brittani has left, but we’re gonna continue.” Brittani could be seen backstage crying and gulping down water.
The legend of King Arthur is captivating from the start. A boy is spirited away at birth, grows up not knowing he’s the king’s son, and ends up taking the throne himself. From there, the story’s loaded with all kinds of adventure, romance and tragedy, because it’s actually many legends — the stories of each knight of the Round Table — for the price of one. For these reasons, the tale has been reworked in literature for centuries. So why is Disney’s The Sword in the Stone still the closest thing we have to a definitive film version?
Being an avowed King Arthur nerd, I get excited whenever a new movie adaptation of the stories comes out, so I was eager to see Camelot, a series that debuted on Starz last week.
With The Tudors a hit, the time was clearly ripe for another gratuitously sex-fueled romp through British history. The trailer suggested it would be just that: The Tudors set a few hundred years earlier. My hopes were shaken.
At the start of the show, my doubts seemed justified. It was seriously melodramatic, and the writing was so clichéd — Merlin, dramatically bowing: “The king is dead. Long live the king” — that it made good actors look absurd. The anachronisms were blatant: Would a man in 600 A.D. have a shaved head and goatee? Would a young Arthur really unleash sarcastic phrases like “thanks a lot”? Also slightly bothersome was the fact that Arthur, as played by Jamie Campbell Bower, looks like the love child of Chris Martin and the middle Hanson brother. How had Joseph Fiennes and Eva Green, two respectable actors, gotten themselves into this mess?
But despite myself, as Camelot went on, I began to accept it on its own terms — putting my surface concerns aside to enjoy aspects of the show. It remained difficult to fully suspend disbelief and immerse myself in its world; not for a moment was I unconscious of the existence of actors and writers. But if you ignore the haircuts, Camelot has plenty of visual appeal, with its rich depictions of the countryside, medieval villages, and ruined castles. Beyond that, it effectively explores what may be the legend’s most important, and often forgotten, theme: national unity. Arthur comes to power at a time when British warlords are killing each other left and right, and it’s his task to bring them together. But, as T.H. White’s Merlin points out in The Once and Future King, it takes more violence to end the bloodshed. Is that violence justified? Does Arthur have a right to impose his will on the country for its own good? Camelot looks poised to reflect on such questions.
Meanwhile, I did start to like Bower’s Arthur for his mixture of wide-eyed uncertainty and a desire to do right. Maybe it’s just because I’m addicted to the legend — but I’ll give this show a chance.
Every Thursday our pop-culture critic, Bianca Brown, gives the catty, smile-with-your-eyes lowdown on cycle 16 of America's Next Top Model.
This week we learned how arbitrary labels in the fashion industry can be. Tyra gave the girls a lesson on well-known models and their niches. Gisele Bundchen is labeled “sexy,” as she has been for years. As far as I can tell, she’s busty, but is tall and thin like other fashion models. She’s recently done ads for Balenciaga where her look is much more artsy, proving the sexy label is more hair curlers and bronzer than anything else. The only thing edgy about Agyness Deyn is her haircut. And the couture example looked like any girl from Victoria’s Secret.
The girls were then given their own archetypes, mostly arbitrarily. Tyra discussed getting trashed on the internet, kooky fans and setting boundaries with them. A challenge meet-n-greet followed, where the girls talked to a bunch of losers with nothing better to do than meet the Cycle 16 ANTM contestants. A middle-aged creep complete with receding hairline showed up, offering to get Monique on a “website” and pointlessly asking Alex out. She kissed him on the cheek after much pleading, which Miss J said is a no-no, as that encourages stalkers. I’ve always wondered where those people find the time to follow someone around a city all day, go to work, and sleep and eat. Kasia won the challenge, and everyone else had to clean up after their adoring fans. Way to save some dough, Tyra.
Kasia went to a hip restaurant with Brittani, Jaclyn, and Miss J, who doled out advice on dealing with the sometimes hostile public. Molly was blue about her weave, which gave her painful rashes. (I hear Sea Breeze is good for that.) Tyra is a weave empress, and doesn’t show sympathy in these situations. But the creature was finally removed.
Monique got upset for mysterious reasons, and felt she was on the verge of a breakdown. Being on reality TV must be irritating. The girls did a mud-enhanced photo shoot with blondes vs. brunettes. After weeks of getting overlooked, Brittani was called first at panel, and Monique went home for being so-so. Next week is some serious drama.
Last night’s season three finale of Jersey Shore encompassed everything we’ve come to expect from this season. There was verbal abuse of women, drunk cooking, pot stirring and poop. Lots of it. Especially poop. We were spared the grenades, though. Phew!
We start back where we left off last week. Ronnie’s about to punch Sammi for hooking up with Arvin… before she had ever even met Sam. Mike eggs on Ronnie and tells him that Sam is lying when she says it never happened. “I feel like the joke’s on me. I feel like a fool.” This is new? Where have you been all season, Ron? Sam then breaks down, admitting that she never made out with Arvin. Only, when she says “never,” she means except for the whole year she was 21. She and Ron go out on the patio to cry together in their black hoodies and Sammi apologizes to Ron. He gives Sam a shot at redemption, which, like most girls with no self-esteem, probably comes in the form of a sexual favor.
The next day is the last day at the Shore Store. Danny hosts a barbeque for the gang in honor of all they did for him over the summer, like Snooki pooping while on the clock, Mike taking naps and food breaks, and Ronnie sobbing violently (the way he does everything) in the bathroom. Their non-existent hard work is rewarded with a fiesta that features a who’s who of the shore. The get-together is harder to get into than Deena’s denim onesie because each person can only bring three guests. JWOWW, of course brings Roger and her father, who was a cross between and older Kid Rock on a bad day (are there any good days for Kid Rock?) and Professor Dumbledore. Vinny brings his Creepy Uncle Nino and Deena brings a few of her friends from home. JWOWW almost kills a few on-lookers when she smashed the piñata, Deena Jersey Turnpikes Uncle Nino as Pauly DJ’s and everything is going smoothly. That is, until, Vinny tells Deena that she is the new Angelina when she stops him from hitting on her friend, Lisa. “Being called Angelina is, like, one of the worst things you could ever be called,” says Pauly. Low blow.
Every Thursday our pop-culture critic, Bianca Brown, gives the catty, smile-with-your-eyes lowdown on cycle 16 of America's Next Top Model.
Alex took front stage again as the girls contemplate whether there’s actually something wrong with her. Molly’s weave looked trashy with visible tracks even after a reinstall, and I’m starting to wonder if they’re jacking it up on purpose.
The girls split into teams of three to shoot Covergirl commercials: writer, director and talent. Alex quickly got crabby with Monique and Molly. She ended up crying about their criticism and they gave her a group hug to get her to stop. You have to take all of the pills, sweetie. Dalya can’t act at all, and her commercial with Jaclyn and Hannah was stilted and embarrassing. Alex pulled through her shoot thanks to Monique’s babying, but Mikaela, Brittani and Kasia won the challenge.
Back at the house, Monique peeked at Alex’s diary, and read a typical teenage “Nobody gets me” page, and Alex revealed in the confession booth that she dealt with abuse in her family.
Photo shoot at the zoo! The girls modeled guest judge Rachel Zoe’s faux fur line with a jaguar cub, and Alex was weirdly giddy about it, barking during her shoot.
At panel, Tyra schmoozed with Rachel Zoe, and Andre Leon Talley told her how great she smelled. Jaclyn’s passionate pic looked like she might have been flicking the bean, which sounds pretty high fashion to me. Tyra told Mikaela to “grab on to the handle bars of fierce,” whatever that means, and Kasia doesn’t like animals, so she looked a little awkward. Brittani got five stars for her striking photo, but got called second. Maybe they don’t want to be predictable? Nervous Dalya went home for her difficulty emoting. Next week the girls learn to deal with their impending, cataclysmic fame.
Since being fired by CBS, Charlie Sheen has been riding a roller coaster to the top of the entertainment world, and now that he's the most famous person in America (for the time being), NBC news' Jeff Rossen tweeted that "Sources close to Charlie Sheen tell NBC News, CBS has offered him his job back."
This is probably a grab in response to FOX, who has likely made offers to Sheen. The View's Joy Behar (now appearently working for CNN) tweeted: "Sheen met with Fox about a possible late night talk-show."
Has Sheen written a new manual for super-fame?:
Step 1) Get regular famous.
Step 2) Lose your marbles on an all-out media blitz.
Step 3) Tweet.
This is somewhat reminiscent of Conan O'Brien's post-fired frenzy, except the volume is turned way up. Additionally, Sheen is both the comedian AND the punchline. In being both, he's managed to dwarf anyone else on the Hollywood radar. Now I'm curious to see what actor will be the next to spaz out, because apparently that's your ticket to the top ... as long as your tiger blood is thicker than dignity.
Our best guess: Christina Aguilera
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