Saturday, July 21, 2007

Showbiz for Dummies: Let’s Face the Music

Consider me your Dummy-in-Chief. I’m catching up here on the Boob Tube Midway, where American dreamers of all ilk from troubadours to inventors (yes, inventors) are testing their talents against the judges. Each judging panel comes with the obligatory Simon Cowell Brit snit clone. What a blast.

America’s got gall! Notice how the real stars are the judges themselves, grimacing and glaring, glancing away or holding flat noncommittal faces while contestants stand before them, about to be lionized or guillotined. We ride their every facial tick like a carnival ticket. We wait for Big Buzzers to go off, Red Lights to flash — OUT, damn Dummies, OUT! It’s all in the script, public humiliation is a spectator sport.

Dummy Memo to desperate circus owners looking for a hook: Book Kevin James, a nerdy illusionist who delivers super cool tricks, even if he works the kind of turn that Brit snit Piers Morgan sneeringly calls "a circus act." Ssssss! ... Tis the season to be overweight. The "Glamazons" are a female foursome of hefty hoofers who got a "yes" from the critics. I preferred the -- what's the pc word for "fat"? -- young man (Kate Smith’s grandson?) who sang his heart out, then was encouraged by his evil evaluators to share teary-eyed feelings about his late grandmother before they royally dumped him. Naive dummies wonder why. Smug dummies know why: Blood letting sells.

Dummies on Broadway no longer have to take it like a kid. The Mouse has fallen off two marquees marked Beauty and Tarzan. Mature dummies refuse to whistle Lion King tunes while they work.

No wonder the Tony Awards telecast is a ratings fiasco. Broadway’s newest CDs are not turning ears, says the L.A. Times. Let the Tony nominees henceforth compete before a panel of "realty" judges, same as amateurs do! Let Simon and his like dish out verdicts. "I just don’t buy your pile of tuneless poop..."

Onto the movies: A Dummy needs to learn (I tell my self over and over again) that oldest is not always goldest. Too many "Turner Classic Movies"should have been left on the cutting room floors. Mature Dummies embrace, guilt free, modern-day classics like Michael Moore’s powerful Sicko, a brilliant work of cinematic truth — or deception —bearing, so say its critics, falsehoods to promote universal health carry in the U.S. What is a good dummy to make of this all? Yours humbly chooses compassionate health care for all over the sinister medical-pharmaceutical-insurance-industrial complex, thank you, Ike. (By the way, your Dummy-in-Residence predicts that Hairspray will be the biggest movie musical hit in years.)

Circus reviewing for Dummies 1A. Never place backyard jackpotting over serious critiquing. Blackboard illustration: How would I fare at Circus Vargas were I to favor Baraboo Barb, who has many friends on the show and urges me to hug half of them on her behalf? Matriculating Dummies beware: Snitty Brit reviews (I plead guilty) are not written in the heat of group hugs -- or gropes.

Lastly, true dummies sometimes discover diamonds in the mush. Hours later, here I am, back from the TCM I just dissed, floating on clouds formed by Fred and Ginger in Irving Berlin’s languid Follow the Fleet. Blame it on five fabulous end minutes, a masterpiece in song and dance about embracing life while it embraces you. Fred is making one more appeal to win back Ginger ...before it’s too late ...

There may be trouble ahead,
but while there’s moonlight and music and love and romance,
lets face the music and dance...

Soon, we’ll be without the moon,
Singing a different tune and then...

And then. Yes, let’s face the music and dance. And dream. And invent. And fall on our big fat or skinny faces. And blog.

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