year in review 2007
In Review 2008 | Food |
Cinema | Theater
| Dance | Art
| Books | Classical
| Live | Recordings
but not forgotten
Yeltsin, Benazir Bhutto, Lady Bird Johnson, Jack Valenti,
Molly Ivins, Merv Griffin, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., Paul
Tibbets, Wally Schirra, Art Buchwald, David Halberstam, Norman
Mailer, Kurt Waldheim, Leona Helmsley, Richard Jewell, E.
Howard Hunt, Kitty Carlisle Hart, Tony Wilson, Anna Nicole
Smith, Jane Wyman, Deborah Kerr, Yvonne De Carlo, Marcel Marceau,
Michelangelo Antonioni, Ingmar Bergman, Carlo Ponti, Kurt
Vonnegut, Madeleine L’Engle, Ike Turner, Oscar Peterson, Max
Roach, Luciano Pavarotti, Dan Fogelberg, Gian Carlo Menotti,
Ernest Gallo, Liz Claiborne, Don Ho, Porter Wagoner, Alice
Coltrane, Robert Goulet, Beverly Sills, Phil Rizzuto, Jerry
Falwell, Evel Knievel.
Political figures Jane Bolin, Teddy Kollek, Thomas Eagleton,
Mohammed Zahir Shah, Michael Deaver, Ian Smith, Henry Hyde.
Writers Ira Levin, Mark Harris, Sidney Sheldon, Elizabeth
Filmmakers A.I. Bezzerides, Bob Clark, László Kovács, Melville
Actors Betty Hutton, Calvert DeForest (aka Larry “Bud” Melman),
Ian Richardson, Herman Brix (aka Bruce Bennett), Gordon Scott,
Charles Lane, John Inman, Tom Poston, Alice Ghostley, Lois
Maxwell, Laraine Day, Dick “Mr. Whipple” Wilson.
Musicians Kevin DuBrow, Brad Delp, “Sneaky” Pete Kleinow,
Tommy Makem, Joe Hunter, Frankie Lane, Bobby “Boris” Pickett,
San Fadyl, Mstislav Rostropovich, Michael Brecker, Denny Doherty,
Luther Ingram, Boots Randolph, Tommy Newsome, Lee Hazlewood,
Dakota Staton, Barbara McNair, Zola Taylor, Joe Zawinul, Teresa
Brewer, Casey Calvert, Pimp C.
TV Personalities Don “Mr. Wizard” Herbert, Tom Snyder, Joey
Bishop, Joel Siegel, Charles Nelson Reilly, Brett Somers.
Arts figures Iwao Takamoto, Richard Jeni, Johnny Hart, Michael
Local notables Ann Comella, Ed Swartz, William Pascarell.
Religious figures Tammy Faye Messner, Rex Humbard, Sri Chinmoy.
Rich people Brooke Astor, Arabella Spencer-Churchill.
Activist Yolanda King.
War criminal Maurice Papon.
Sports figures Benny Parsons, Scott “Bam Bam” Bigelow, John
Doherty, Bowie Kuhn, Darryl Stingley, Chris Benoit, Bill Walsh,
Darrent Williams, Sean Taylor, the Fabulous Moolah.
Critters Barbaro the Kentucky Derby winner, Washoe the sign-
language chimp, Tatiana the tiger, Alex the brainy African
and back again
Park concert series, Joe Bruno’s power, John McCain’s campaign,
and back again, old rock bands division
Zeppelin, the Police, Genesis, Crowded House, Squeeze, Van
Halen with David Lee Roth, Black Sabbath with Ronnie James
and back again, disposable pop bands division
into the evil hands of Rupert Murdoch
Wall Street Journal
and we thought he’d never leave
and replaced by Drew Carey
to pot (or steroids, actually)
Aaron’s home run record
going . . .
York Senate Republicans, Eliot Spitzer’s national ambitions,
consumer civility, affordable gas, hopes to end the Iraq war,
a Starbucks-free block in downtown Albany, public smoking
anywhere on planet Earth, analog television signals, Amy Winehouse
Potter, Boston’s Big Dig
minus the expletives
Willis as John McLane in Live Free or Die Hard
but very lonely
Bethlehem roundabouts, Daughtry
popular as New York state attorney general and the landslide
winner in the 2006 gubernatorial election, Eliot Spitzer came
charging into office—and proceeded to make several major political
missteps that have sent his approval ratings into free-fall.
From his “I’m a fucking steamroller” boast to his public tongue-lashing
of noncooperative Democrats in their home districts to his
clumsy handling of the Bruno “Troopergate” mess to his ill-fated
attempt to allow illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses,
Spitzer has shown he is a man of conviction, ideas, and not
much political savvy. He apparently thought he could win these
battles simply by being the smartest guy in the room; as his
nemesis Joe Bruno well knows, it takes a different kind of
smarts to rule Albany.
Cuomo has a history of doing what is best for himself, party
be damned. But it wasn’t until Troopergate that the new attorney
general reminded folks that he would stick a knife in any
turned back to further his political career. The reminder
came when he cited shadowy rulings to chide Gov. Eliot Spitzer,
a move Albany District Attorney David Soares reportedly condemned.
Country of Immigrant . . . Haters
Spitzer’s proposal to give driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants
set off a firestorm of debate in New York and across the country.
Spitzer was lampooned by conservative groups for what they
said was an attempt to legalize illegal immigrants. Spitzer
was forced to scrap his plan because of the backlash and apparently
only managed to raise the hackles of anti- immigrant groups.
Quiet . . . Too Quiet
has been more than a year since State Sen. Joe Bruno announced
that he was under investigation by the FBI, and so far, nothing.
We have waited and wondered: Does the FBI have the goods on
the strongman of Rensselaer County or not? Did U.S. Attorney
Glen Suddaby’s nomination for a federal judgeship derail a
possible prosecution? Bruno certainly doesn’t behave like
a man cowed by the prospect of a federal trial, flexing his
muscle and trading blows with the newcomer governor. Does
Bruno know something that we don’t?
with the direction of the Albany County Democratic Committee,
Jerry Jennings formed a Democratic city committee to endorse
and back candidates, contradicting the work of the county
committee. Meanwhile, chaos seemed to reign in the Albany
County Legislature elections. What kind of chaos? The kind
that gets Brian Scavo elected.
Police Chief James Tuffey and Mayor Jerry Jennings both uttered
the word this year, the word neither one of them has been
willing to speak in reference to Albany before: “gang.” It
seems they may have noticed Albany has a problem with those
Is an Illegal Weapon?—A Primer
it legal for police to buy automatic weapons and resell them?
How about an assistant district attorney? Albany Police Chief
James Tuffey says it’s a matter of “intent.” We hope that
someone gets to the bottom of this mess. (Hat-tip to our pal
at the Democracy in Albany blog, and the Times Union
for going to court over this one.)
John, the Demon Driver of the Northway
Congressman of New York’s 20th District John Sweeney was pulled
over for DWI after he nearly swiped a police cruiser. Sweeney
reportedly was found to have a young woman sitting on his
lap. Although he did plead guilty without much fuss, plans
for his political resurrection likely have been sidelined.
Tutunjian trounced his Democrat opponent for mayor, but Trojans
don’t really like their politicians. They just tolerate them.
So to ensure that the Republican administration doesn’t let
all that power go to its collective head, the wise citizens
of Troy also voted in, or reelected, six Democrat councilmen,
handing a strong majority over to the Democrats. Early bets
are that this will not only slow the realization of some of
Tutunjian’s pet proposals, but also create some lively, and
bloody, political theater.
Other Horse Race
was clear quite early that this year’s election season in
Saratoga Springs would not be like any other. Allegations
that long-term Democratic Department of Public Works Commissioner
Thomas McTygue was under investigation by the FBI flew through
the city. Multiple workers under McTygue came forward with
allegations about McTygue’s ethics and misuse of DPW resources.
Meanwhile, Mayor Valerie Keehn fought to keep her job against
McTygue-backed Gordon Boyd and Republican Scott Johnson. Boyd
got trounced, as did McTygue for his DPW seat, but Scott Johnson
unseated Keehn to become the new mayor of Saratoga Springs.
Stone, a political advisor to Republican State Sen. Joseph
Bruno (R-Brunswick), was forced to resign this year after
making threatening calls to Gov. Spitzer’s elderly father,
Bernard, who is suffering from Parkinson’s disease. Stone
used profanities to describe Spitzer and informed Bernard
Spitzer that he would be compelled to testify about loans
he made to his son. He told Bernard he would be “arrested
and brought to Albany.” Stone insisted the call was an elaborate
conspiracy and that he had been set up.
administration of George W. Bush is in trouble, and it doesn’t
take a political analyst to see it. All one has to do is start
counting up the top-level appointees who have taken the opportunity
to get out: economic adviser Al Hubbard, Homeland Security
adviser Fran Townsend, Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, communications
director Dan Bartlett, State Department undersecretary for
public diplomacy and public affairs Karen Hughes, and budget
director Rob Portman. With a recession looming, Bush’s lame-duck
floundering, and a sure-to-be nasty 2008 election threatening
to bring a lot of hard-earned negative press to the feet of
their boss, these appointees couldn’t dive into their book
deals and K Street job offers fast enough.
I Am Telling You I’m Not Going
Gonzales just couldn’t take a hint. As the various scandals
plaguing the U.S. Department of Justice dragged on, and even
Republican senators were telling him—in “senateese”—to fuck
off, the dull-witted attorney general would not resign. Finally,
his patron, the president, told him he could go. So he did.
Had a Wide Stance
a dingy bathroom stall in a Minnesota airport came the “tap
tap tap” heard ’round the world, as Idaho U.S. Senator Larry
Craig was busted for lewd behavior. A strong case can be made
that Craig was entrapped. An equally strong case can be made
that Craig and his fellow “I’m not gay” Republican pals are
a gaggle of douche bags who should just come out of the damn
in Very High Places
Dick Cheney chief of staff I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, widely
viewed as the Bush administration’s fall guy in the Valerie
Plame affair, was convicted on March 6 of perjury, obstruction
of justice and making false statements to federal investigators.
But he never served a day in prison; on July 2, President
Bush commuted Libby’s 30-month prison sentence. Although Libby
had been convicted by a jury for his involvement in a scheme
to publicly identify a classified CIA agent and then obstruct
a federal investigation into the matter, Bush called his sentence
strapping a woman upside down to a board, blinding her with
a mask, seizing her mouth shut, and pouring water into her
nostrils to stimulate the sensation of drowning sounds to
you like anything less than torture, than you should apply
for a job at the White House. Attorney General Michael Mukasey
has refused to say whether or not he considers waterboarding
to be an act of torture, a definite nod to his boss’ inclination
to approve extreme “interrogation techniques.” And as the
White House and CIA scramble to spin-control the leaked revelations
that tapes of interrogations of suspected terrorists were
destroyed by the CIA, one can only wonder: If waterboarding
isn’t considered torture, what else has been allowed?
and People Killers For Hire
2004, when the charred remains of four American contractors
were dragged through the streets of Fallujah and hung from
a bridge spanning the Euphrates, few Americans knew that those
men had worked for Blackwater USA, and if they had known,
it would have made little difference. This year, Blackwater
finally was given the spotlight it deserves in investigative
reporter Jeremy Scahill’s best-selling book. Now, much about
the Virginia-based mercenary company has become widespread
knowledge: The founder, billionaire ex-Navy SEAL Erik Prince,
is the largest contributor to the Republican party; Blackwater
has been hired for domestic military work, such as “policing”
the streets of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina; and Blackwater
employees, hired to guard top U.S. officials in Iraq, sometimes
shoot civilians, and journalists’ dogs.
Check. Afghanistan? Check. Pakistan? Oh crap. Our ally is
in deep, deep trouble. The military dictator “took off his
uniform,” as our president so inelegantly suggested, but still
shows no sign of letting go of absolute power. Our prime-minister
pick was just horribly murdered. And, unlike the other problem
countries, Pakistan has nukes. Happy New Year!
Has Nukes?—A Primer
Iran. Repeat, not Iran. The National Intelligence Estimate
was finally released, and it turns out Iran halted their nuclear
weapons program years ago. Mr. Bush, please step away from
that button—and pay attention to Pakistan.
Doin’ It for Themselves
Americans wring their hands over the possibility that we could
elect (gasp) a woman president, other countries this past
year happily elevated accomplished females to top executive
positions. Prathiba Patil was elected as the first female
president of India, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner became
the first female president of Argentina, and Yulia Tymoshenko
became prime minister of Ukraine. And, on a completely inappropriate
note, the photos we’ve seen of Kirchner have us Metroland
men packing our bags for Buenos Aries. Muy caliente.
Magazine couldn’t get over Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin’s
dispassionate blue eyes. They belie no hint of feeling, wrote
a reporter in the magazine’s person-of-the-year profile of
Putin; there is a deadness that seizes steely control of every
situation. Simply: Putin is a stone-cold badass. His strongman
political maneuvering in Moscow set the stage for his ascendancy
to unchecked authoritarian control. He brazenly cock-blocked
Bush’s thrust for war in Iran. A friend recently returned
from a trip to Moscow saying that some of his Russian relatives,
so filled with nationalistic pride, now refuse to speak any
English. Putin has reminded his own people and the rest of
the world why Russia was once and could again become a power
broker on the world stage.
Prime Minister Tony Blair resigned his post on June 27, ending
a more-than-10-year stint in the position. Blair had lost
the support of the British people, apparently thanks to his
unyielding support of President Bush and the Iraq War.
on the heels of the cross-party endorsement of John McCain
by Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman, Bill Clinton decided
to make a little announcement of his own. Clinton told a crowd
at a campaign stop in South Carolina that, once elected, Hillary
would send him and George Bush Sr., on a tour abroad to announce
that “America is open for business and cooperation again.”
Bush Sr. quickly denied that he would have anything to do
with the Clinton world tour.
President-elect Al Gore continued his ascent to godliness
this year. In February, he took home an Academy Award for
last year’s global-warming doc An Inconvenient Truth.
In July, he organized Live Earth, a worldwide series of benefit
concerts aimed to combat climate change. And in December,
Gore shared the Nobel Peace Prize with the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change. Next stop: the White House?
Baby . . . Vote for My Guy
it start with “Obama Girl,” back in April 2007? This much-watched
viral video featured a comely lass singing the praises of
presidential hopeful Barack Obama, and got, well, old fast.
At least it was a professional bit of ephemera; those homemade
videos by “crazy eyes” Ron Paul Girl prattling on about irrigation
and how Ron Paul will get all our hoses flowing are creepy.
Real Mitt Romney
depends on where you check in with Republican Mitt Romney
on the space-time continuum. Governor Mittens, late of Massachusetts,
hated guns and loved the gays. Presidential candidate Mittens
hates the gays and loves the guns. Candidate Mittens loves
puppies. Vacationer Mittens shoved the family dog into a carrier
and strapped it on the station wagon roof for a long trip.
(And, surprise, the dog crapped down the back window at 55
MPH.) Who will Mittens be tomorrow? Stay tuned.
Winfrey, the queen of all media, took a break from self-aggrandizement
and making millions of dollars to go on the road with Barack
Obama. We’ll see if she can sell a president they way she
It. Ever. End? Not the Bush presidency, though that’s another
endless misery. No, we mean the campaign to replace the current
idiot in chief. Ten months, one week and counting. . . .
about that budget trip to Montreal and your confidence in
the American economy. The value of the U.S. dollar dropped
below the Canadian “Loonie” for the first time in 31 years.
The good news: You no longer have to feel guilty about sneaking
that Canadian penny in with your change.
What You Pay For
subprime lending market, that Rube Goldberg-esque machinery
of economic debauchery, went into its thunderous death throes
this year, taking down with it the already flagging U.S. dollar.
Other victims of this buy-now-pay-a-shit-ton-later, floating-interest,
bank-loan scheme are a half a million soon-to-be-former homeowners,
and the American ownership of three of the United States’
largest banks. A recession is heralded for 2008, and this
time the experts say we all know exactly what to blame. But
this banker-made catastrophe hasn’t hurt everyone: $38 billion
dollars in bonuses were handed out this holiday season to
executives at the top five Wall Street firms.
founder Keith Raniere doesn’t like all the attention; he is
notoriously reclusive. But when you create an executive-training
system that attracts TV stars, billionaires, and the children
of a Mexican ex-president for clients, you get noticed. And
when your followers donate $30,000 to Hillary Clinton’s presidential
war chest, even New York Post and Village Voice take note.
We suspect that even more big surprises await us from Capital
Infrastructure We Trust, Blindly
Aug. 10, the Interstate 35W bridge in Minneapolis collapsed
during rush hour, plunging dozens of cars into the river below,
killing 13 people, injuring more than 60, and leaving a school
bus full of children clinging to the edge of a concrete slab.
The tragedy raised national awareness of bridge safety, at
least until Superbad hit theaters.
April 16, Seung-Hui Cho went on a shooting rampage at Virginia
Tech in Blacksburg, Va. By the time he was finished, 32 people
(including the perpetrator) had died and many more were wounded,
making the incident the deadliest school shooting in U.S.
Bee or Not To Bee
year marked the first-ever national honeybee crisis, which
reminded us, or at least should have, of the interconnectedness
and delicacy of our environment and agricultural systems.
In a syndrome researchers dubbed “colony collapse disorder,”
bees fly off in search of pollen and never return to their
colony. And no one knows why. And those buzzing little bees
are critical. According to a Cornell University study, aside
from the environmental implications, honeybees pollinate more
than $14 billion worth of seeds and crops in the United States
every year. Be afraid. Bee very afraid.
China with Death
our slightly paranoid conspiracy-theorist perspective, this
is the most underhanded assault we can remember. It began
with our pets: The cat food, dog food, fish food, even cow
feed was poisoned. Then the children: Our toy boxes were suddenly
overflowing with deadly weapons; we were struck with terror
when we caught little Jimmy chewing on Spider-Man’s head.
It was a patient attack—lead paint was slowly breeding an
entire generation of mildly brain-damaged Americans. The nation
bloomed with an enthusiastic sense of economic patriotism,
fueled by the fundamental sentiment, “Buy American or die!!!”
Zheng Xiaoyu, head of the State Food and Drug Administration
of the People’s Republic of China, was executed for corruption
and approving tainted products. A fierce argument against
our conspiracy theory?
Is a Bomb?—A Primer
more specifically, what is not a bomb. A Lite Brite-style
light board featuring a basic-cable cartoon character flipping
the bird—the Mooninite Err of Aqua Teen Hunger Force
fame—is not an explosive terrorist device. Unlike the dozens
of cities where this viral marketing campaign for a feature-length
cartoon was deployed without attracting police interest, Boston
law enforcement went absolutely ape and called in Homeland
Security. And they looked like fools.
No We Won’t Write
Nov. 5, members of the Writers Guild of America, the labor
union representing radio, television and film writers, went
on strike against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television
Producers. The strike, which has affected over 12,000 writers,
is in large part over contractual compensation for DVD sales
and “new media”—content written for and distributed over digital
media and the Internet. The last such strike, 20 years ago,
lasted for 22 weeks and cost the entertainment industry an
estimated $500 million. Of course, if you’re a big fan of
reality television, this just may be your dream come true.
covetous slaves to geekdom couldn’t wait to get their delicate,
greasy paws onto Apple’s latest and greatest technological
shackle, the iPhone. Hailed as revolutionary and thrust into
the face of everyone without $500 to waste on a cell phone,
the iPhone’s interface—a large, always-smudged, touch-sensitive
screen—lets users finger their way through contacts, bookmarked
Web sites, and so much more. Believe us: so much more. It
might be the most important piece of geek gadgetry since the
pocket protector; and yeah, we’re jealous.
other team in pro football history can say it: 16-0. The New
England Patriots had a banner year on their way to going undefeated:
Tom Brady set a new record for touchdown throws (50) and Randy
Moss set a new mark for touchdown receptions (22), while the
team posted the most total points (589) as well as wins, since
the Miami Dolphins’ 1972 undefeated regular season was only
14 games long. They need win just three more games to make
the ultimate claim: best team ever.
or No Way
region’s three favorite baseball teams all looked like winners
for a while in 2007. But the star-laden Mets fizzled spectacularly,
and the Yankees ran out of gas in the playoffs yet again.
While the above descriptions sound like Boston teams of old,
this time it was the Red Sox who looked like the best team
all year, and proved it by cruising to a championship.
of Them Juicers
years of doing the institutional equivalent of putting his
fingers in his ears and mumbling “la la la la,” Major League
Baseball Commissioner Bud “rhymes with dud” Selig sent former
U.S. Senator George Mitchell out to find evidence of steroid—and
other tasty substance—use among the players. And guess what?
It wasn’t just Barry Bonds. Surprise, surprise . . . Rocket!
Dec. 10, Atlanta falcons quarterback and three-time Pro Bowler
Michael Vick was sentenced to 23 months in federal prison
for his part in an illegal dogfighting ring—including the
killing of dogs who did not fight aggressively enough—on his
Virginia estate. Although public sentiment seemed to weigh
heavily against Vick (the guy is clearly a giant douche),
the case did create something of a divide among African-American
leaders and commentators: While some maintained that animal
abuse is abhorrent under any circumstances, others suggested
that Vick was the victim of racism and that dogfighting is
an acceptable part of urban black culture.
His Ball and Going Home
cuddly murderer O.J. Simpson added burglary to his illustrious
resume in September, when he and several accomplices were
charged with stealing Simpson memorabilia from the Palace
Station hotel-casino in Las Vegas. (“I just wanted to get
my stuff back,” he reportedly said.) Several codefendants
have taken plea deals, while Simpson pleaded not guilty on
Nov. 29 and will be tried in April 2008. What will he do without
Johnnie Cochran? Stay tuned to find out!
of the Retail Blob
Center is undergoing a prolonged overhaul—the retail equivalent
of plastic surgery. They’ve peeled it to the bone, given it
a fresh look, and added some fancy bits. New stores, new restaurants,
even a ritzy new movie theater on the way. But, like so many
glamour-hungry patients, it doesn’t seem to know when to stop.
The mall is oozing into the parking lot, and we’re becoming
worried for Wolf Road. You’d better gobble down that dinner
at P.F. Changs, or the mall may leach out and swallow your
Theatre in Schenectady completed years of major renovations
this year, unveiling their vastly expanded main-theater stage
early in the year, then opening three brand-new adjacent venues
in September, making the 400 block of State Street the entertainment
center of the Capital Region. Who knew?
Capital Region saw a welcome addition to the radio dial this
July when public-radio station 97.7 FM dropped classical music
in favor of the AAA, or Adult Album Alternative, format. WEXT,
or Exit 97.7, went a step further than just playing Ryan Adams
album cuts by including a healthy, if not unprecedented, amount
of locally produced music in regular rotation.
in Black, Again
the fine leadership of the still-new board and director Marcia
White, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center ended the 2007
season in the black, again. Excellent work.
we’re handing out kudos, here’s to Barrington Stage Company
and director Julianne Boyd. They celebrated their 25th anniversary
with a widely acknowledged knockout of a production of West
Side Story. Two of Metroland’s critics agreed that
it was the best production of the year—and if you can get
Ralph Hammann and Jim Yeara to agree on anything, that’s something.
Makeover: Gallery Edition
1925, Beech-Nut mogul Bartlett Arkell built the Canajoharie
Public Library and Art Gallery. Still supported by the Arkell
Endowment, the gallery recently underwent a $10 million renovation.
The spectacular new building houses a rich permanent collection,
including work by Winslow Homer, Mary Cassatt, Andrew Wyeth,
Georgia O’Keefe and Edward Hopper, and an extensive archive
of Beech-Nut advertising art. The revitalized museum also
hosts changing exhibitions, film and concert series, and workshops
and educational programs. If you’ve long been pining for a
legitimate reason to visit Canajoharie, now you have one.
Year in White Trash
Britney, where do we begin? The shaved head? The stint in
rehab? The banging of random dudes in hotel pools? The running
over of innocent bystanders with your vehicle? That awesome
comeback “performance” at the MTV awards show? Chris Crocker?
The fact that your album actually kinda turned out OK? So
many possibilities. . . . Wait, we’ve got it! How about the
fact that your 16-year-old kid sister went and got herself
knocked up? See, Brit? You are a role model!
End to a High-Profile Life
Nicole Smith, alive and dead, has been tabloid fodder for
more than a decade. The stripper turned Playboy Bunny captured
the imagination of billionaire octogenarians everywhere when,
in 1994, she married J. Howard Marshall, 63 years her senior.
Her battles with drugs, alcohol, and her weight were a constant
source for ridicule in tabloids, blogs and late-night TV.
When her son Daniel died in the fall of 2006, Smith reportedly
plummeted into a depression that ended in a drug overdose.
Even the fight over where to bury her body became scandal,
with her estranged mother and boyfriend engaging in a high-profile
legal dispute that dominated the news cycle.
Hear It for the Curves
Love Hewitt rose up against the body-image twisting paparazzi
after a series of bikini-clad photos of the actress garnered
brazen publicity—the petite but curvaceous actress was repeatedly
ridiculed for being fat. But, unlike so many young starlets,
J. Love didn’t wallow in celery and diet pills. She spoke
up for herself, and against the skeletally-thin-is-sexy Hollywood
aesthetic, saying, “Being a size 0 doesn’t make you beautiful.
. . . To all girls with butts, boobs, hips and a waist, put
on a bikini—put it on and stay strong.”
put, Alec Baldwin ruled in 2007. He was the funniest actor
on the best comedy on TV, Tina Fey’s 30 Rock. (This
is a show with Fey, Tracy Morgan and Judah Friedlander, too.)
And when his 12-year-old daughter gave him a hard time, he
called her “rude” and “a little pig.” While that may seem
harsh, it pales in comparison with some of our own memories
of parental chastisement. Nut up, children of America—listen
to the smart Baldwin and be polite.
band Radiohead, recently freed from a lengthy contract with
EMI, announced the release of their new album through their
Web site on Oct. 1 with the simple message, “Well, the new
album is finished, and it’s coming out in 10 days. We’ve called
it In Rainbows.” The album’s experimental release structure,
which allowed fans to pay as little or as much as they desired
to download 128kbps MP3 files of the tracks, was hailed as
a harbinger of doom for the major-label system, and the phrase
“doing a Radiohead” made its way into the music-biz vernacular.
At year’s end, the band got really subversive and, uh, released
the album on CD.
years after being charged with 14 counts of child pornography,
R&B singer Robert Sylvester “R” Kelly came dangerously
close to actually facing trial. Meanwhile, he released a new
studio album, toured the country several times over, and debuted
another 10 wicked awesome chapters of his wicked awesome Trapped
in the Closet soap opera. Here’s hoping the next chapters
are on their way soon, because Kelly’s trial is set to begin
on May 9, 2008.
Morons Are Winning
that the rich are getting richer, but not wiser: The $27 million,
60,000-square-foot Creation Museum opened in Blacksburg, Ky.,
this May. This just in: The Earth is 6,000 years old and dinosaurs
coexisted peacefully with humans! Bill Hicks is spinning in
Can Haz Kittehs?
was the year of the lol cat. What is a lol cat? A funny picture
of a cat (or squirrel, dog, mouse or, famously, a walrus),
with accompanying text that is written in a kind of pidgin
English. For some reason, many of us find this hilarious (except
for those of us who had our bucket stolen). And if you looked
at the Metroland blog this year, you couldn’t escape
them. Srsly. Kthnxbye.