Published March 11, 2009
You can’t blame a media outfit for trying: E! Entertainment Television, the sort of armpit of celebrity TV, donated $250,000 to the Jolie-Pitt Foundation last year.
Theirs was one of just four donations to Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s joint charitable fund. The others were Angie ($1,194,911) and Brad ($956.961) themselves, and "Ocean’s Eleven" (Twelve and Thirteen, too!) producer Jerry Weintraub ($5,000).
Not even People magazine, often accused of getting exclusives from the couple by tantalizing them with remuneration, is listed in the now available federal tax filing from 2007.
Who knows what E! — which is owned by cable provider Comcast — thought it was buying? Maybe some extra face time on the red carpet? They certainly weren’t going to get it with headlines like this one from their online gossip back on February 20, 2009: "Angelina — From Sex Kitten to Emaciated Mama."
It’s not clear whether E! curried any favor with the couple because of their donation. Other than using the Pitts to film a "Wild On…" episode on the beaches of Cambodia, or making an E! True Hollywood Story about the Darfur genocide, the payback results are unknown.
The E! donation certainly added to the stunning amount Jolie & Pitt gave away through this foundation in 2007: $3.4 million.
Where did the money go? It’s nice to say it did not go to any kooky religions or cults. Instead, the couple put the money to causes they’ve been vocal about. The largest single recipient was Pitt’s Make it Right Foundation in New Orleans, which got $1,364,320 million. They also split $1 million evenly among three different UN based organizations working in Darfur, Pitt’s other pet cause. Another $400,000 went to Cambodia’s children’s causes, a country from which they adopted a child, plus $150,000 to a project in his name: the Maddox Chivan Children’s Center.
Pitt, by the way, is involved in two other charities as well: his Make it Right Foundation in New Orleans, with a $15 million endowment; and the Not on Our Watch group concerning Darfur.
Here’s some news about Michael Jackson’s upcoming shows at the O2 Arena in London.
There are ten shows scheduled, beginning July 8th and going through that month.
But the big news is that Ticketmaster’s German website is already listing ten more shows beginning January 7, 2010 and stretching through February. This means that whatever happens in July, Jackson will have a few months off to regroup before starting up again.
And none of this comes cheap.
The top ticket prices — at least at the box office — for Michael Jackson’s London shows is $1,100 or 795 British pounds.
The Thriller package secures floor or level 1 seats. It includes Champagne on arrival, a pre-show party with a deejay and entertainment, red carpet VIP entry, a goody bag, souvenir tour laminate, after-party, and free parking.
No word yet on what’s in the goody bag. If the big Jackson memorabilia auction doesn’t go well, there may be souvenirs to go around!
Is there no way for Milk and Spider Man actor James Franco to go to college classes quietly?
Yesterday one of the blogs picked up a cameraphone picture one of Franco’s classmates took of him at New York University. The setting is a huge classroom with bleacher seats. Franco is seen taking a cat nap.
So what happened? Franco tells me it was a late night lecture in contemporary art. It was not one of his writing classes, which should be obvious considering its size.
Franco is a big fan of contemporary art. His family runs a respected art gallery in Ohio. So it’s no surprise that he wanted to sit in on the lecture. The sorry thing is, someone in the class couldn’t just leave him alone.
Maybe pictures should be taken of the students in all Franco’s classes, and sent to their families. I’ll bet there’s a lot of snoring going on, by students who are not — as Franco is — paying his own way through school.
What he could have been dreaming about in the art lecture: last summer Franco made a 65 minute experimental film called "Erasing James Franco" directed by rising star conceptual artist Carter.
The film — in which Franco re-enacts all of the movie roles he’s had so far — will be screened at the Museum of Modern Art on April 6th. The project emulates a Robert Rauschenberg film called "Erased DeKooning." It’s not their only collaboration: last week, Franco was seen at the Armory Show at Pier 94 admiring a Carter piece that featured a model of his own (Franco’s) disembodied leg.
Could there be anything worse than yesterday’s release of "Covered: A Revolution in Sound" from Warner M. Group? This idiotic collection — an embarrassing salute to the real Warner Music’s 50th anniversary — seems like one more nail in the coffin for the clueless people who bought Warner Music from Time Warner five years ago.
The greatest slap in the face? A cover of Neil Young’s epic, "Like a Hurricane," by Adam Sandler. Yes, that Adam Sandler, he of the absolutely awful movies and annoying baby talk. A comedian -- he calls himself a comedian -- and yet here he is performing his Bar Mitzvah karaoke version of one of Neil Young’s sacred classics, murdering it, mocking it, shredding it into a whiny, tinny reproduction. What’s worse: when he performed it on Letterman back in December, Sandler paid legendary guitarist Waddy Wachtel to imitate Young.
This is supposed to be a tribute to the great hits on the old Warner Bros. Records? I think not. Here is a clip of the real Neil Young playing "Like A Hurricane" live. Was it necessary to inflict Adam Sandler onto this?
Can the new WMG, with a stock price ($1.89) so low they’re practically giving it away, be stopped? Now, I feel, there must be legislation. The rest of "Covered" is as miserable as this, too, with really bad versions of Madonna’s "Borderline," Talking Heads’ "Burning Down the House," Roxy Music’s "More than This," and so on. Only one track, country singer James Otto’s take on Van Morrison’s "Into the Mystic" makes any sense.
It’s not like label tribute albums can’t be interesting. Elektra Records — destroyed by WMG since the changeover — celebrated their 40th anniversary in 1990 with a big CD set called "Rubiyat." It was artful and innovative, with great curios like Faster Pussycat covering Carly Simon’s "You’re So Vain" and the Cure did the Doors "Hello I Love You." The choices were curated and crafted. But those days are long gone, especially at WMG.