Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Purple People

I'm still having a hard time believing that Heath Ledger has died. It's very strange for me to be this affected by the death of someone I've never met but it's all I've been able to think about every since hearing the news. I know that I felt a very strong affinity for Heath after seeing his amazing performance in Brokeback Mountain (that movie resonates with me very much) and I was very much looking forward to seeing his portrayal of The Joker in the new Batman movie this summer (Batman has always been my favorite since I was a child). I'm just so affected by the finality of his passing. The early indications are that his death was not intentional but until the toxicology report gets released there is still no definitive cause of death just yet. And so, we're left with pieces of the larger story as we try to put it all together.

One of the first things that was reported after news broke of Heath's death was that he died in Mary-Kate Olsen's SoHo apartment ... it now turns out that that isn't the case but the circumstances surrounding the way his body was discovered conspired just so as to make it seem as if it was MK's apartment:

The Olsen twins' connection to Heath Ledger's apartment is now clear ... A cleaning lady for Heath arrived at the apartment first, followed soon thereafter by a masseuse. They both entered the room at around the same time and discovered Heath's lifeless body. The cleaning lady called police. The masseuse, we're told, called the bodyguard for the Olsens. She called him because they're friends and he's an EMT. The bodyguard was around the block at Ashley's and he immediately went over. By the time he arrived, the cops were already there. We're also told it appeared Heath "had been dead for a while" and there were no visible signs of trauma. There was a pill bottle on the nightstand.

And so, that is how Mary-Kate Olsen's name got mixed up in this sad tale. I know I give the little munchkin grief on the blog but it must be really horrible for her to have her name mixed up in this tragic event when she had nothing at all to do with it. [Source]

Upon discovery of his body lying naked and face down on a bed "strewn with pills", a common belief was that Heath Ledger had committed suicide. As more information became available, it now appears that his death was accidental ... even still, the initial autopsy that was carried out this morning has proved "inconclusive" ("The autopsy was inconclusive," [says] New York City Medical Examiner spokeswoman Ellen Borakove. "We have to do further testing including toxicology and tissue testing. Neither cause of death or manner of death has been concluded. We expect additional results in 10 days to two weeks.") Here are a few of the last pictures taken of Heath clearly in character as he worked on the set of the movie he was filming, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus:

Photo credit: Splash News

Multiple sources in the NYPD tell TMZ, although it's too early to know, it's looking like Heath Ledger's death was accidental and not suicide. There have been numerous reports suggesting that Ledger took his own life by ingesting a boatload of pills. Contrary to initial reports, the pills that were "scattered" around Ledger's apartment were actually in containers. We're told the containers were not littering the apartment. Rather, some were in the medicine cabinet and some in other rooms. As we reported, one container was on Ledger's nightstand. Cops found sleeping pills and an anti-anxiety drug in the bedroom. A rep for the family tells TMZ that detectives have been in touch with Ledger's next of kin and the cops told them that so far there is no evidence suggesting suicide. Of course, until the toxicology reports come in, no one knows for sure. A well-connected source in the NYPD told us this morning the "operating theory" right now within the department is that it was an accidental death, not suicide. It's unclear if Ledger's health was a factor. As we first reported, he had pneumonia at the time of his death.

Max Buxbaum, a publicist for Heath Ledger, has issued the following statement echoing the contention that his death was accidental and NOT intentional:

"We are deeply saddened and shocked by this accident. This is an extremely difficult time for his loved ones. We're asking the media to please respect the family's privacy and avoid speculation until the facts are known."

Additionally, Heath Ledger's family have issued their own statement in the wake of his tragic death:

Heath's family confirms the very tragic, untimely and accidental passing of our dearly loved son, brother and doting father of Matilda. He was found peacefully asleep in his New York apartment by his housekeeper at 3:30 p.m. U.S. time. We would like to thank our friends and everyone around the world for their well wishes and kind thoughts at this time. Heath has touched so many people on so many different levels during his short life but few had the pleasure of truly knowing him. He was a down to earth, generous, kind-hearted, life-loving and selfless individual who was extremely inspirational to many. Please now respect our family's need to grieve and come to terms with our loss privately.

How incredibly sad for his family. I cannot imagine what pain they must be going thru at a time like this. Contrary to other media outlets, I am choosing not to post photos of Heath's body or of the grieving mother of his daughter, Michelle Williams, thru any of this initial craziness. [Source, Source]

Instead, I do want to post a few pics of Heath Ledger as I'd like to remember him ...

Photo credit: Splash News

... lookin' youthful and happy. Because I recently watched Brokeback Mountain again (it's been on my DVR for weeks now despite the fact that I own both the regular and the special edition DVD versions) I had to cue up my fave parts of the movie yesterday afternoon in memoriam. I have always been so moved by his performance in that film. His acting was truly a revelation for me and that is the way I will remember him. Again, I'm not sure why I'm so affected by his passing ... but it really does weigh on my mind still. I hope he rests in eternal peace ... my thoughts and prayers are with his family. [Source]

There is other news to be had today ... let's try and make the most of it and carry on. Britney Spears has thrown us another crazy curve ball after she reunited with her paramour du jour Adnan Ghalib last night. The couple were spotted hitting up their usual hotspots again mere milliseconds after Britney denied every meeting him and Ghalib's wife filed for divorce. And so to celebrate, Briney and her pap (who have been dubbed Pap Spears) got into her white Mercedes and decided to run someone over. It would appear that reports of his expulsion from Britney's life were premature:

The wife of Britney Spears' paparazzo pal has filed for legal separation from him. Azlynn Elizabeth Berry cites irreconcilable differences with Adnan Ghalib for the split after four years of marriage, according to documents filed Friday in Superior Court. Berry, representing herself in court papers, seeks spousal support, and for Ghalib to pay her legal fees, the filing said.

Well, if this ain't a sure sign that Ghalib is intent on getting his meat hooks into our dear Britney then I don't know what is. If we go by their individual driving skills then it looks like they're a match made in heaven. [Source]

Ghalib appeared on Entertainment Tonight and The Insider last night in the first of a 2-part series for ET and a 3-part series for The Insider where he talks at length about his relationship with Britney Spears. The first question posed to him reveals that he was "not paid" for his interviews ... clearly, he is only going on national TV out of the goodness of his heart in the hopes that he can answer the pressing questions that we're all dying to know:

THE INSIDER sat down yesterday in Los Angeles with Britney Spears' paparazzi friend-turned boyfriend, Adnan Ghalib in a 3-part exclusive interview set to air tonight, Wednesday, January 23rd thru Friday, the 25th. Ghalib tells THE INSIDER that he is not getting paid for this interview and insists, "This was my way of putting to rest some of the allegations and trying to get some of the media outlets to cut her a little slack and try to be fair." He reveals that his relationship with Spears turned intimate in December and says Spears was buying pregnancy tests for herself, "She has a very maternal instinct. She was feeling a lot of things she said she felt when she was pregnant. I think she was hoping she was pregnant with my child." On what happened the night Britney was taken to the hospital, Ghalib says he's not sure, "I left mid-afternoon and everything was fine. All I can say is she didn’t understand why she was taken to the hospital. She didn’t feel the need to be there. She just couldn’t understand why everything had escalated to that. Smiling and laughing isn't odd behavior. Most people fear the consequences of being strapped to a hospital gurney. I think she was just afraid of what was going to happen, it doesn’t mean you are crazy." Ghalib tells THE INSIDER how his relationship with Spears evolved into a romance, "I've worked with Britney for about five years. We established a friendship. There was a couple of times where she asked for my help. At first I was a little star struck. We managed to spend a time together away from the media and the press, like regular people." Ghalib says Spears speaks with an English accent because, "She just thinks it’s cute. Does that mean she is schizo? Absolutely not. To me, her speaking in an English accent is no different than people taking off a pair of black sunglasses and putting on white ones. Its just a costume." In fact, on Friday, Spears' voicemails will be played on THE INSIDER, in which she speaks with a British accent on Ghalib's' cell phone. What help does he think Britney needs? "Support and the removal of negative people." As far as future plans, Ghalib says the relationship is "far from over," and when asked if he wants to marry Britney he responds, "I’d be lying if I said no."

I have to be frank ... Adnan Ghalib really grosses me out. If he really is in deep with Britters than she's in far worse shape than I thought. I don't understand how she can't see how opportunistic he is ... especially since he swooped into her life at her most vulnerable ... right after she suffered a very public meltdown that resulted in her getting carted off to a hospital for psychological evaluation. It's just so gross. [Source]

Last bit of Britneyness ... she showed up at court today, bright and early, in order to try and show the court that she is committed to working towards getting her children back -- but ended up leaving before the hearing even began. Um, yeah. Here are pics of Britney out in North Hollywood, CA yesterday afternoon carrying on with her newest personal assistant:

Photo credit: Splash News

Once again, Britney Spears arrived for a custody hearing Wednesday – then left the courthouse before it began. The emergency hearing, which the pop singer had requested, was then held with ex-husband Kevin Federline in the courtroom. It was a replay of last week's hearing, when Spears showed up at the courthouse only to depart, missing a session in which she lost all access to sons Preston, 2, and Jayden, 1. Neither Spears nor Federline is required to attend the hearings. They arrived separately at the downtown Los Angeles courthouse Wednesday morning. Federline was seen entering the courtroom, but a court spokesman said Spears had left in her Mercedes.

Maybe she had a more pressing matter to attend to ... perhaps PetCo was having a sale? It should come as no surprise that the court has already ruled that Britney will enjoy no visitation and that Kevin Federline will continue to retain sole custody. [Source]

The trainwreck overseas, known as Amy Winehouse, is feeling the heat after a video showing her puffing on a crack pipe and talking about the various drugs she takes was released to the Interweb. The police are now interested in reviewing the video for themselves which may result in some sort of criminal prosecution (but I'm not holding my breath) ... which is such a bummer because Miss Amy finally got around to cleaning herself up a bit -- er, on the outside at least:

Amy Winehouse is facing a police probe following the emergence of a shocking video that showed the star apparently smoking crack cocaine. Police are examining the tape, after the tearful singer resurfaced yesterday to visit a rehab clinic. The visit comes as the Metropolitan Police confirmed it would investigate the claims that she was smoking crack cocaine, taking other drugs such as Ecstasy and cocaine, and admitting downing six Valium on video. A copy of the film was handed over at the request of the Metropolitan Police. The film was passed to Tower Hamlets detectives who are now analysing it. Amy's heartbroken father said the footage obtained of his daughter smoking crack may prove to be the wake-up call her family has longed for. The 24-year-old's father Mitch said: "Your video of Amy taking drugs may well be the best thing that has ever happened to her. It's nothing short of devastating - thinking she wants to destroy herself. For all the hurt and pain, it may finally be the thing to focus her mind and convince her to get the help she needs to quit for good." Amy's mother Janis reportedly broke down when she saw the newspaper report on the singer yesterday. She said: "I don't want to know about it - I can't look." Shamefaced Amy emerged from her East London home in a blacked-out Mercedes limousine to travel to the clinic. She appeared to have made a hasty attempt to change her disheveled appearance by ridding herself of a shock of blonde hair and reverting to the usual sleek black beehive and heavy make-up. Winehouse's spokesman told reporters the appointment at the clinic was a regular weekly session which formed part of her continuing treatment for drug addiction.

Please get help, Amy. The fact that you have managed to survive drug addiction for this long is a blessing. I just can't understand how people can be so reckless with their lives ... if we've learned anything from recent events it should be that life is precious and should be revered ... not toyed with. I just wish people could see that. [Source]

Man ... let's move on to happy things ... the amazing Lisa Loeb made an appearance at the Border's book store in Columbus Circle in NYC yesterday to perform a short in-store set and to sign copies of her newly re-released album The Purple Tape. Here are a few pics:

Photo credit: Wireimage

Longtime fans of Lisa Loeb know that The Purple Tape was released by Lisa herself back in 1992 before she had a recording contract -- which was before she met Ethan Hawke and shot to stardom with her hit song Stay (which Ethan passed along to Ben Stiller who used it in his movie Reality Bites). The songs on that release were only available on audio cassette (save for the song Guessing Games which appeared as a bonus track on the Japanese version of her second album Firecracker). Erik owns a copy of this very rare cassette tape. Now, after all these years, Lisa has re-released the tape in CD and digital forms. If you are even remotely a fan of Lisa Loeb you must get this release ... it's great to finally get to hear the songs in digital fidelity :) [Source]

Here are a few great pics of Owen Wilson enjoying a chilly dip in the Pacific Ocean in Malibu, CA this week:

Photo credit: Splash News

Owen didn't let the 50 degree weather keep him from going for a swim at his leisure. It's very, very nice seeing Owen so happy and alive :) [Source]

On another beach, this one in Islamorada, FL, Jude Law was spied enjoying himself some beachy fun:

Photo credit: Wireimage

Mmm mmm. Looks like a lot of fun to me ... it's not always readily apparent but Jude Law is one sexy beast. [Source]

Here are a couple pictures of Dita Von Teese, Claudia Schiffer and Victoria Beckham chillin' at the Roland Mouret Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2008 collection in Paris, France this week:

Photo credit: Splash News

Er, at the very least these are robotic approximations of Dita Von Teese, Claudia Schiffer and Victoria Beckham chillin' at the Roland Mouret Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2008 collection in Paris, France this week. [Source]

Eva Longoria is sportin' a new tattoo on the back of her neck, check it out:

Photo credit: Splash News

The tat appears to spell out the word NINE in a horrible font (but only cuz you can read it the same rightside up and upside down), most probably in tribute to her hubby Tony Parker -- #9 for the San Antonio Spurs. It's a cute sentiment ... terrrible execution, tho. [Source]

Here are a few pics of Bjork's performance at the Sydney Opera House as part of the Sydney Festival this week:

Photo credit: Wireimage

No word on whether or not Bjork kicked anyone's ass at the event ... tho, with her behavior recently, I wouldn't entirely rule it out. [Source]

Here are a few more pics of UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador David Beckham's recent visit to the town of Makeni in Sierra Leone's Northern Province of West Africa over the weekend:

Becks + babies = too cute to not post. Becks - shirt = ditto. [Source]

And finally, here are a few screencaps from a new Sunsilk commercial which features iconic images of Marilyn Monroe, Madonna and Shakira which is set to debut during the Superbowl next month ...

... or you can check it out online HERE. [Source]

Les News:
Last night I met up with Darion at the Ahmanson Theatre in downtown LA for a performance of The Color Purple. I have been wanting to see this show since it opened on Broadway so I was very anxious to see the show. Unfortch, news of Heath Ledger's death really put me in a sad mood ... which really didn't work well with the sad tone of the show. Thankfully, the uplifting parts of the show won out and we managed to have a great time:

I cannot tell you how impressed I was by the singing ... those folks just opened up their mouths and belted out the most wondrous sounds. I have no idea how they managed to take a story of such woe and turn it into something so uplifting. I had never seen the movie version so I had no idea that The Color Purple had such intensely tragic parts to it. Nonetheless, the musical version manages to offset the tragedy with hopefulness. I was also very shocked at the homosexual aspect of the story -- the relationship between Celie and Shug Avery (both women) was a nice surprise. It was just handled in such a classy way ... I was very impressed. Jeannette Bayardelle in the role of Celie was amazing ... she was a delight to watch on stage. I was also a fan of the Church Ladies (who acted as the musical's chorus). They were a fun addition to the cast. Michelle Williams of Destiny's Child played Shug Avery ... and she did a decent job. She apparently had to get really skinny for this role -- I didn't even recognize her at first. Overall, I was very impressed with this production ... I'd recommend this show to anyone. But, as I said, be warned of the sad and tragic tone of much of the story. The story has a happy ending ... but it takes a bit of a while to get there.

This afternoon I have a thing to do before I go to a meeting later on. I need to start packing for Detroit ... and so ... I'm out.