Saturday, February 16, 2008

Steady, As She Goes

There have been a few confusing reports surrounding the conservatorship case that involves Britney Spears going around for the past couple of days. Some news outlets are reporting that Team Spears is in jeopardy of losing conservatorship over Britney's person and assets because the case has been handed over to Federal jurisdiction. It turns out that those reports are completely wrong and it is suspected that the source of this information was leaked to the media by Osama Sam Lutfi, who is desperate to get his claws back into Britney's life. I am happy to report that Britney's father, Jamie Spears and her older brother Bryan Spears are still very much in control of her person and her assets ... which, seems evidently clear, has been the best thing to happen to her in a very long time. And, since Britney has been such a good girl these past couple of weeks, she was allowed to take a little shopping trip in West Hollywood ... here are a couple of pictures:


And speaking of Mr. Sam Lutfi, it appears that Team Spears is not going to ease up on putting the squeeze on him for allegedly drugging Britney while she was under his control. TMZ is reporting that the LAPD is actively investigating these charges against him:

TMZ has learned Sam Lutfi is under investigation by the LAPD for allegedly drugging Britney Spears. Law enforcement sources tell us the Major Crimes Division of the LAPD is on the case. The conservators have complained that Lutfi drugged Spears as a way of keeping her under his control. We're told the investigation is very much active. Lutfi could not be reached for comment, however, Michael Sands, Lutfi's spokesperson, tells TMZ he is aware of the investigation.

This is awesome news ... I am *completely convinced* that Lutfi was acting improperly or illegally when he was so ingrained in her life ... there has to be evidence that proves this. I'm glad to know that the cops are not letting these allegations go unchecked. I am really hoping there will be some karmic, if not, legal consequences for his actions. It is my strong belief that we will eventually find out just how shady this dude really is. [Source]

Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson were both on hand in Berlin, Germany this week for the international premiere of their new movie The Other Boelyn Girl which was held at Berlinale Palast at the 58th Berlinale International Film Festival ... here are a few pics of the ladies on the red carpet:


Photo credit: Wireimage

Yes, these ladies look like they have gotten very chummy since working together on this film. This is one movie that is deffo on my must see list ... I'm a big fan of Natalie and her acting skills. While I'm not as excited about Scarlett's acting prowess, I am intrigued to see how she comes across in this film. Oh, who am I kidding ... I'm really all about seeing Eric Bana lookin' all regal and hot as King Henry VIII. [Source]

Elsewhere in Berlin, Germany, Kylie Minogue was among the guests at the 2008 German Echo Music Awards which were held at the ICC Centre last night ... here are a couple pics of Kylie workin' it on the red carpet:


Photo credit: Wireimage

It looks like she was really workin' the flat iron before she showed up at the awards show as well. I'm not all that crazy about this hairdo ... I think the flat-ironing makes her hair look fried and a bit fake. The curly 'do she was rockin' last week is really a very cute look for her ... but she is a style maven, I really would expect her to rock different looks every time she goes out. I just love her so I guess I can't really complain. [Source]

Celine Dion has become the latest celeb to make her way down to Africa to lend a helping hand in the area while she's in town to kick off her new world tour. Who says that philanthropy and artisty can't mix and mingle? Here are a couple pics of Celine trying to fit in -- awkwardly -- with the locals while wearing their native garb:


French Canadian Celine Dion's Zulu roots are all coming back to her. The singer, in Johannesburg, South Africa, to kick off her "Taking Chances" tour (lovebirds there saw the first show last night) spent some time today in Soweto Township, lending a hand to a school feeding program. Celine was thanked for her visit with traditional Zulu beadwork, warm smiles, and a collective high C, complete with emotional chest thump (though, umm...we can only prove the beadwork and smiles part).

I'd hate to question Celine's sincerity in these carefully posed photos (note how she caringly doles out food to a young African child framed just so in the photo as if she was completely unaware that her photo was being taken) so I'll just comment on her decision to wear the native garb ... yeah, all I can say is No. Let's move on, shall we? [Source]

Linday Lohan, intent on proving her civic-mindedness, was spotted making an exit from her court-mandated driving program at the Alternative Action Programs facility earlier this week as part of her punishment for her DUI arrest last year. It looks as if Lindsay wasn't really in the mood to smile for the cameras as she tried to pull an Olsen twins-like exit from the center:


I don't get it ... she should be happy to let people see how seriously she is taking her commitment to paying her debt to society. Linds has been doing a bang up job of staying on the straight and narrow in recent weeks and she should be commended for sticking with the program. I salute you, L. Lo, for keeping your nose clean and out of trubs. [Source]

Er ... what I don't salute you for, dear Lindsay, is your inability to kick your nicotine habit:


Photo credit: Splash News

Blech ... someone should call up the makers of Ariva and tell them that their shizz don't work. Lindsay has been seen carrying around their new fangled chewin' tobacco all over town and yet she still cannot kick her habit. It's cool that she's staying away from the hard stuff but I'd absolutely love it if she would stop torturing her body with those cancer sticks. [Source]

There is no doubt about it ... Amy Winehouse loves flaunting her individuality and seems like a pretty tough cookie to tame ... that is, except when the Grammy Awards comes to call. It turns out that she was forced to submit to censoring one of her tattoos by the Grammy folks who thought that her nudie tat would be too offensive for US TV. In this instance, Amy just rolled right over and let them do with her what they would:


Amy Winehouse is cleaning up her act in more ways than one. The singer used her trademark black eyeliner to cover up a topless tattoo on her arm when she performed via satellite at the Grammys, it has been revealed. Producers at the music ceremony, where Amy won five awards last week, were concerned by the graphic nature of one tattoo on her left arm which features a topless woman. So Amy, 24, filled in the offending area before she appeared on air. A source told the Daily Telegraph: "Amy drew a little black bikini top on the large topless female tattoo on her arm, so as not to offend any of America's puritanical viewers." After the show, the black pen mark was said to have been removed ... Last month, Amy's mother Janis Winehouse admitted she hated her daughter's tattoos - especially the etching in tribute to her husband Blake Fielder-Civil, who is currently on remand at Pentonville Prison awaiting trial on charges of attempting to pervert the course of justice. Janis said: "That dreadful one saying 'Blake's' on her breast - I hate that ... It was like when Amy got her 'Daddy's Girl' tattoo. She asked me, 'Do you want me to get mummy tattooed, too?' I said, 'No, don't worry'. That's not my thing."

I'm actually quite surprised that Amy would submit to this demand. While I wouldn't have been surprised to find out that she might let them censor her, I am very surprised that she agreed to do the censoring herself. I guess she really wanted to appear on the Grammy Awards show at all costs ... even if it meant squelching her integrity. [Source]

Jared Leto and his band 30 Seconds to Mars have filmed the first music video ever to be shot in Greenland for the express purpose of raising awareness to the Global Climate Crisis. Here are a few screencaps from their video for A Beautiful Lie which premiered on My Space a couple of weeks ago:


Here is the full text of the message from Jared Leto himself which explains, in extensive detail, the story behind this music video:

The Arctic...

Beautiful. Desolate. Fragile. There's something magical about even the name itself. I heard recently that often times the most difficult path is also the right one. Well, this project was definitely one of the most painstaking and difficult creative challenge we have ever undertaken as a band. It has also been one of the most inspiring – a rare opportunity to reach into our imagination and push the limits of whats possibile. It will always be an important part of our story and a defining element of our lives.

It’s still hard to believe that we were actually there, two hundred miles north of the Arctic circle, carrying our guitars, drums, cameras and giddy selves across that endless and alien frozen tundra, watching as the ice cracked its thunderous warnings under our feet and shot what is our love letter to this magnificent and, sadly, soon to be lost treasure.

It almost didn't happen. In fact, we were pretty much convinced it wouldn't happen. We even considered abandoning the idea after being told many times by very smart, educated, well-grounded and rational people that we were indeed out of our collective fucking minds for even thinking we could shoot a 'music video' in the Arctic circle.

"Wouldn't a green screen do the trick? Who will know the difference???"

Yes, this was actually suggested as an option. And no it wasn't the way we wanted to go. For us, it was so much more about the journey, about actually being there, and we weren't interested in manipulating or manufacturing that experience. By the way, to clarify, there is absolutely no greenscreen in the project at all. Everything we shot was 100% real and filmed in the Arctic. Real and cold. But in some ways their concerns were valid: constant technical issues, the schematics of travel and production, cost, the 192 different kinds of insurance we needed and couldn't get, the very real dangers involved, and finding a group of people insane enough to join us. All of these became hurdles that we somehow managed to jump, either out of bravery or ignorance but fortunately, somehow, we finally landed in Greenland.

After the planes, trains, boats, battles and yes, even an airline strike thrown in for good measure, we set foot in Illulisat - a gorgeous town known for its icebergs – pulled our gear off the plane and immediately launched into a mad scramble and began shooting in a spirited race with the weather and a precarious dance with our delicate surroundings.

We were too awe struck and having too much fun to notice, but this was probably the most dangerous and exhilarating thing we've ever done in our entire lives. From tempting fate atop the gargantuan icebergs that were literally breaking apart under our feet (the most amazing sound I've ever heard), to standing on the edge of the very real and the very, very slippery 200-foot ice cliffs, to the threat of spending the night on that gorgeous but quite cold and tricky glacier for the night, it was a full on adventure in the best sense of the word. And honestly, we can't wait to go back.

As beautiful as it was and excited as we were, I have to admit it was virtually impossible to shoot anything at all in that extremely challenging environment. We had the phenomenally good luck of a few hours a day of decent sunlight but mostly it was a fierce fight with the fog, clouds, wind, rain, equipment, schedule, dogs, seals and those pesky and unpredictable animals called human beings. It all added up to us being incredibly lucky to have even gotten a few decent shots a day… Oh yeah, and the fact that literally days before we left we didn't even think we would make it there at all definitely helped add to the chaos. Fun! Who needs preproduction anyway...

This project has been an enormous undertaking involving new technology and methods of working that extended the "normal" procedures. Overall preproduction, shooting, and post have taken over 6 months. Yes, SIX MONTHS! We admit this is slightly insane considering its a 5 minute piece....but c'est la vie, time flies when you’re having fun!

This is definitely a departure from the two previous videos and we are excited about that. It’s not a piece based on a fantasy oriented narrative or surrealistic adventure like The Kill or From Yesterday. As proud as we are of both of those projects we felt it was time to walk down a different path. A Beautiful Lie is a simple story that is, for the most part, a traditional, performance-based video that happens to be shot in an exotic and ridiculously beautiful but endangered wilderness. For us, this was definitely a case of the journey being the destination and the process of plotting, planning, dreaming and executing will always be as important – if not more - than the end result.

For the record, let me state loud and clearly: We do not profess to be experts on the environmental conditions of the planet. We do not pretend to live our lives in perfect harmony with the Earth making sure that every time we exhale we purchase green tags to offset the carbon emissions that come from all the hot air we admittedly toss around. And yes, we are aware of the implications and banal social dangers that could come with making an environmental statement in a music video. But we were compelled and inspired to move forward regardless and it ultimately came down to us asking ourselves...

"Is it better to do this than to not?"

The answer was a resounding "yes" and we jumped in. Because this is such a hot topic and a cause celebre we thought long and hard about what, why, and whether we were actually going to go through with this at all. Ultimately, we decided that being part of the solution - or even just attempting to be a part of solution - is better than sitting around and complaining about it. If, after all of this, in the smallest way possible, we are part of that solution rather than the problem then it will have been worth it all.

We all know by now that our planet is in deep trouble. We have abused it horribly and we are paying the price. It’s time to try to do what we can, both as individuals and collectively, to find better and kinder ways to live. It’s not our right; it’s our responsibility. We are all guilty. We can all change.

With this video, abeautifullie.org and the making-of, we hope that we can share with you all in some small way the experience that inspired us so much and that you can join us in this great adventure. We know you were there in spirit and, as always, supporting our collective dreams together.

So, now that you are here on abeautifullie.org we encourage you to dig around, explore, get involved and share your journey with us. Together, we can do something great and make a difference.

-jared

P.S. - Being the first American video ever shot in its entirety in the Peoples Republic of China was an incredible honor, being the first (but hopefully not the last) shot in the Arctic is a dream. We're just wondering what we could possibly do next...hmmm.....well I do have this one idea......

P.P.S - Emissions from the energy consumed in connection with producing the A Beautiful Lie video were offset using Solar Energy Certificates purchased from the Bonneville Environmental Foundation. The certificates support enough solar energy to offset approximately 250,000 Kilowatt hours, or 350,000 pounds of CO2 emissions – the approximate emissions reduction equivalent of planting 46 acres of trees or not driving 36 cars for one year.


Um ... can I just say that I'm very glad that Jared is doing everything he can to help raise awareness for this very important cause. If his piercing baby blue eyes cannot save the world than we are doomed. [Source]

The Academy Awards are almost upon us so the Motion Picture Academy has rolled out a bunch of super shiny Oscars for preview by the world's media:


Photo credit: Splash News

These are the most coveted trophies in Hollywood so it would make sense that the Academy would use them in this manner to help hype up the Academy Awards which are set to air live next weekend. Now that the Writer's Strike is dunzo, the awards show can move forward as if nothing were ever wrong in the first place. [Source]

And finally ... here is this week's batch of photos sent in by Pink is the new Blog readers -- Denise sends in a couple of pics of her Valentine's Day gifts which were given to her this year by her boyfriend Brock ... who had the awesome idea to put her face on a chocolate crème brulee -- Linh sends in a pic from her daughter Sophia's 1st birthday photo session where she got all dolled up in a supercute pink tutu -- Alison sends in one of her pinkified engagement photos with her fiancée which was shot by photographer Liesl Henrichsen -- Meaghan, who goes to Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario, Canada, sends in a pic of a bunch of girls from her floor in Conrad Hall all decked out in Think Pink t-shirts which were created for Breast Cancer Awareness week -- Chris sends in a cute picture birthday message, by way of twin hippos named Bubba and Duncan, to his boyfriend Anthony who recently celebrated his 23rd birthday:


Thank you all so much for the great pics ... I love them all ... and I love that y'all continue to take the time to send in your pics from your various celebrations and accomplishments. It's always such a treat to see the pics that continue to arrive in my inbox weekly. XOXO

Les News:
David and I spent the crux of last night just chillin' in our amazing hotel room. This morning, we made an early day of it, getting up early and hittin' the city. We talked about renting bikes to take on the city but the weather was just too cold for that ... instead, we went to the FOAM museum to see their amazing photography exhibits and then spent a few hours walking around the Museum district (Museumplein) checking out the shops and just taking in more of the city.

Tonight, we have dinner and dancing on the agenda :) Tomorrow is our 2 year anniversary. Life is good. And so ... that is all for now ... I'm out.