August 02, 2009

The First Ever Minnesota Fringey Awards

Some might call it weird, but I like to think of it as...eclectic. Yeah, that's it! The Minnesota Fringe Festival is an annual event that celebrates the performing arts in a big way. It's in its 16th year and is going on right now.

And this year, we've got the added bonus of the First Annual Fringey Awards. Here are the finalists.

The Traveling Musicians

The Harty Boys and in the Case of the Limping Platypus

Sarah, Your Ovaries are Drying Up: The Musical

The Viewers Choice award winner, The Most Massive Woman Wins, has already been selected. The Grand Prize winner will be announce on August 9. Leave a comment and let me know which one you like the best.

Update: The winner has been chosen, and it is Sarah, Your Ovaries are Drying Up: The Musical. Congrats, to you Sarah. And your ovaries. I'm sure they were both an integral part of your success.

Remembering the 'Keeper of the Oscars'

I have always been hesitant about using this forum to post the passing of famous people that have won awards. Because of the wide range of awards and the life/death continuum known as the circle of life, I wanted to avoid having a blog that reminded readers of the In Memorium segments of most awards shows.

While I remain torn, I've decided to take it on a case by case basis. And here is one case where I felt it was more than appropriate to report an important passing in the awards show genre. According to the Associated Press, Steve Meissner died of a heart attack at his home on Wednesday at the very young age of 48.

Known as "the keeper of the Oscars", Meissner gave each statuette the white glove treatment, before handing them off to be manhandled by a celebrity. Each Oscar was carefully catelogued by Meissner, who maintained impeccable records and worked with award winners to ensure their names were properly engraved on their award.

As part of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences staff, Meissner kept track of every
Oscar ever awarded, documenting its whereabouts and refurbishing vintage awards. He also served as an executive assistant to academy president Sid Ganis.

July 25, 2009

What Do MJ, Nuclear Power and Andie MacDowell Have In Common?

The Save the World Awards used their title to tongue-in-cheekily pay tribute to Michael Jackson, in which they have not saved the world by contributing to the incessant focus on his passing. Or have saved the world by producing one of the funniest, strange and weirdly honorable press releases I have read in quite some time. That doesn't make any sense.

For example:

1. The awards were hosted by Andie MacDowell, who I fell in love with all over again while watching St. Elmo's Fire with my teenage daughter a few nights ago. Ahhhh....dreamy Rob Lowe, more appropriately aged Demi Moore, and lycra on Mare Winningham's thighs.

2. A typo has Nobel Peace Prize winner Betty Williams and Olympic sprinter Carl Lewis mubbing together.

3. Who builds a nuclear power plant, never uses it for its intended purpose and instead throws a lavish awards ceremony in it? Answer: Austria.

4. One of the environmentally friendly, eco-conscious, carbon footprint removing efforts employed at the event was composting. Most likely with one of these handy-dandy home future solar power station composters.

Not to throw into question whether Michael Jackson was charitable, but to carefully examine whether he truly 'saved the world', I found this look at his Heal the World charity interesting. Here's your chance to think for yourself.

Jackson Honoured at Awards Held in Austrian Nuclear Plant [AFP]

Is Michael Jackson's Charity a Fake? []

Photo credit: World Awards Media

July 17, 2009

VMAs Jump on the Brand Wagon -- Again!

I'm almost positive that with Russell Brand hosting the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards again this year, I will never get to the front of the library loaner line for My Bookie Wook. I am currently number 14; because I find him particularly hilarious and to maintain some sense of relevancy, I'd like to read the book before the VMA's in September. Keep your fingers crossed.

MTV points out that Brand will be hosting for the second year in a row, which is somewhat of an anomaly for VMA hosts. In the same way that his hair is an anomaly to his head. While I do want to take MTV to task for using the words 'VMA' and 'elite' in the same title, and would also like to question whether 'multi-time' is an actual world, I can respect their decision to have Brand host for a second time.

Other notable repeat hosters include: Arsenio Hall (4 consecutive), Dennis Miller (2 consecutive) and Chris Rock (3).

July 01, 2009

Highlights from the BET Awards

Not only did the BET Awards turn into a heartfelt tribute to the late Michael Jackson, it also created a lot of stir in the headlines for other reasons. Here's a recap:

Despite the climate of loss and remembrance brought on by MJ's recent death, BET producers made no plans to alter or remove Drake's womanizing performance of "Every Girl", which spiraled out of control when Lil' Wayne allowed his young daughter and her friends out onto the stage. I had planned on quoting a few lyrics, so you to get a feel for the inappropriateness of the situation. However, a mere glance caused me to be temporarily blinded. Not for the faint of heart that Lil' Wayne.

Access Hollywood had reported that Chris Brown would be taking part in the BET Awards tribute to Jackson, but the mysterious performance never materialized. What happened to Brown has been hotly debated, and his no show is likely linked to the infamous smack down he gave Rihanna following the Clive Davis 2009 Grammy pre-party. It's about time one or more hip-hop mogul stood up and indicated by their actions, that if you beget violence either on the street or in your home, we will not support you.

June 26, 2009

'Dark Knight' Never a Best Picture Contender

I intended this blog post to be about how the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences decision to open the list of Best Picture nominees from a reasonable five to an unmaneageable 10 seems like an attempt to please everyone all of the time.

However, after reading quite a few articles on the change, and giggling at some of the comments posted in response to these articles, I've determined that there are quite a few bitter, bitter folks out there that feel like the Dark Knight was bamboozled out of its Oscar nomination.

And I happen to disagree.

The Dark Knight was good superhero movie. It had hear-stopping action and blinding explosions. It was dark and beautiful. It had one incredible, stand-out performance that brought attention to the picture and created the kind of buzz that turns a good film into a box office blockbuster. But it was never a contender for Best Picture. Even if there had been 10 slots in the Best Picture category, they would have been filled by:

Wall-E, or

The Wrestler, or

Rachel Getting Married, or

Tropic Thunder,

and a toss-up between Doubt and Vicky Cristina Barcelona. But never the Dark Knight. Sorry fanboys. Heath Ledger was incredible. He did things with the character that made a tired housewife, soccer mom, wine-drinker watch a superhero movie. But he did not turn a good action pic into a Best Picture nominee. Not even close.

Best Picture Change Triggers a Backlash [New York Times]

Oscars to Include 10 Best Picture Nominees []

June 25, 2009

'Jon & Kate' Emmy Chances Sputtering

Someone has finally put their foot down and said "no" to the sparing 'Jon & Kate'. And that someone is the television academy responsible for selecting nominees for the Primetime Emmy Awards. Jon and Kate wanted their show to be nominated in the nonfiction series category usually reserved for outstanding documentary style shows like Deadliest Catch.

Instead, they have submitted two of their Season 4 episodes for consideration in the more appropriate reality show category. Will TV academy voters tsk, tsk the pairs' behavior by again denying them a nomination? All I can say is go Kathy Griffin.

June 23, 2009

Oscar Predictions Minus the Movies

With some heavy hitting directors up at bat, TheWrap takes its chances and announces potential contenders for this years' Oscar race. I suppose it's fun to take a stab at it, even if you find yourself flailing wildly with a rusted pocket knife, trying not to cut yourself shaving. Fine, fine. For not having seen the movies they seem to have a pretty good grasp on things.

I must admit, I am looking forward to quite a few of these films, and while I agree that having a director like Peter Jackson, Clint Eastwood or dare I say, James Cameron, at the helm pretty much guarantees you nominations at all the major awards shows. Let's just say, we remember Hook, Steven Spielberg. Yes, we do.

Here's my favorites:

SHUTTER ISLAND (Paramount, Oct. 2) I've been a fan of Dennis Lehane as a writer for quite some time, and I recently read his novel of the same name in anticipation of this release. After viewing the trailer, I'm not so sure this rendering is subtle enough for Oscar contention.

THE LOVELY BONES (Paramount/Dreamworks, Dec. 11) Its release date comes late in the season, but The Lovely Bones is my must-see movie of 2009. While it may seem a little too commercial for the Oscars, I look forward to enjoying the magnetism of Saoirse Ronan --both naive and diabolical as Briony Tallis in Atonement. Through his work on Heavenly Creatures, Peter Jackson has proven he has the dramatic chops, and restraint to compete at the Academy Awards.

UP (Disney/Pixar, May 29) Yes, I realize this movie does not fit into the yet-to-be-released-so-they-haven't-seen-it category, but it is a movie that I plan on seeing. That is, I haven't seen it yet. Don't judge. Since Beauty and the Beast in 1971, there hasn't been another animated film nominated. Not sure yet if UP can hold its own in the best picture category anyway.

Ahh. But it's all worth the wait!

TheWrap Predicts the Oscars -- and No, We Haven't seen the Movies [TheWrap]

April 30, 2009

Opposite-Sex Marriage and the Dove Awards

The Christian right love her, the Miss USA judges hate her. And the rest of us took a full 26 minutes to figure out exactly what she was talking about. Miss California Carrie Prejean received a standing ovation as she was announced as a presenter at the 40th annual Gospel Music Association Dove Awards.

When asked to express her views on marriage during the interview portion of the Miss USA pageant, she responded:
“I think its great Americans are able to choose one way or another. We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage. And you know what, I think in my country, in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there, but that’s how I was raised, and that’s how I think it should be — between a man and a woman.”
Oookay. I'm not up on all the judging rules of the Miss USA pageant, but should she really be judged according to the content of her response vs. the eloquence of her response? I mean we, the general public can judge her all day long. I don't want my government monitoring the sex of my soulmate. But should the judges mark her down because they had a difference of opinion. What if a judge thinks all the world's children should starve to death and a Miss USA contestant expresses her desire to feed the children? What about that?

In related news, those in the audience that support Miss Prejean may also support torture.

April 28, 2009

'Shrek' Receives 12 Drama Desk Noms

I was trying to think of another green character whose life story could potentially be turned into a musical, and all I could come up with is the Great Gazoo. And because he came along after The Flinstones jumped the shark, I'm not sure he will make the cut.

Remarkably, Shrek the Musical is a Broadway hit and has received the second highest number of nominations (12) for this years' Drama Desk Awards, including recognition in the Best Musical category. This despite all the burping and farting. This must be similar to my five year old burping the alphabet. Or twinkle, twinkle little star. While keeping company with a donkey? A national tour is planned for 2010.

April 27, 2009

Although silence has been heard for the past seven months; no better way to breath new life into a thing then to start right here at home. In Minnesota. With the one thing I have kept a constant while movies and music have fallen to the wayside. This, despite the fact that Entertainment Weekly has taken their magazine book section and reduced it to barely a review. So relish in the revival. Sandie. The only one reading, I'm sure.

The 2009 Minnesota Book Awards, hosted by MPR's Tom Cann, was held in St. Paul a few nights ago while the world was oblivious. As was the majority of Minnesotans -- only 2,000 voters selected the nights reader's choice award, which went to The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir by Kao Kalia Yang. This work of non-fiction that chronicles her family's story as they traveled from a Hmong refugee camp in Thailand to St. Paul, Minnesota, also won in the memoir/creative non-fiction story.

Another notable winner includes, The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson in the Children's Literature category. The tale progresses with a soothing, simple cadence and is enhanced by the unique look of the scratch board artwork illustrations. The Kay Sexton Award was given to Minnesota Historical Society's librarian, Patrick Coleman in recognition of 30 years of contributions to the literary community here in Minnesota.

While the book awards are all well and good, interestingly enough, the Minnesota Historical Society has just announced that due to lack of funding, they will cut book production and fire four staff members. Hopefully, winning the Kay Sexton Award will keep Patrick Coleman off the chopping block.

Hmong family memoir 'Latehomecomer' wins two Minnesota Book Awards; Erdrichs also honored [Pioneer Press]