Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Wicked Cool

So, can someone define cool for me? If you have to put it in your name (Coolio, LL Cool J) are you trying too hard or just getting a head start. Why is it when an ex-Mousketeer sings lyrics as insipid as this..
Dirty Babe,
You see these shackles baby, I'm your slave
I'll let you whip me if I misbehave
It's just that no one makes me feel this way.

that people don't laugh so hard they lose their breath while tears of absurdity roll own their face.. Is it cool because there is a dance beat to it?

In Clay Aiken's recently concluded Soft Rock in a Hard Place tour, he did a great intro into a medley of some of Top 40 radio's greatest "hits". He said he was tired of not being cool and not being on the radio and that it must be all related to the material. (In part it is, which is why it still baffles that his label made him put out an album of love song covers last year.). But when he performed (effortlessly) a medley of hits ranging from pop to rap to hip hop to country to rock, it showed just how silly some of the songs were. ( And to be fair,it also showed how great others were. Say what you want about Michael Jackson today, the man could write hits.) Here, Clay realizes (sarcastically of course) that being cool is all about the fact that he sang those cool songs.

I'm tired of people telling me what is cool in the way the fashion industry decides what color is in this year. (Fifty bucks it won't go with my skin color.) Clay has won the Sexiest Crooner for InStyle Magazine three years in a row. So tell me why he wasn't even nominated this year and (gasp) Justin Timberlake won with the comment that he'd come so close in the past. Now I think JT has talent but I laugh every time someone tries to tell me he's cool, much less sexy. But then again, I like guys who don't need platform shoes in order to be taller than I am. And I'm not tall.

There are different levels of cool and different types of cool. Someone who fits the exact mold the industry peeps force upon the public (especially when marketed to impressionable teens) is exactly what isn't cool to me. It's just more of "me toos and wannabees". Original is cool. Smart is cool. Quick wit is cool. Confidence is cool. Style that fits a person's personality is cool. Gee, Clay is cool x 5. Or as Quiana Parler (his backup singer and insanely talented herself) would say, Clay is C to the O.O.L.

Radio singles processed in the studio is not cool. Gossip made up wholesale with a snicker, a wink and a nod is not cool.

Totally being silly and not giving a crap (Hey, everyone take a drink!) is cool.

Perhaps Leslie Gray Streeter of the West Palm Beach Post said it best in her/his review of the concert.

He is so uncool that he sort of is. And that's a talent.

Cool isn't someone who is one fabricated persona (half the female singers on the radio), or one troubled teen queen who hasn't grown up yet (Britney, Lindsay…and on and on) but one who is a blend of many things, all that represent their true self. Or as John Petric, music critic of The Other (A Columbus, Ohio newspaper) put it after being won over by Clay in concert.
So yes, Clay Aiken. He’s a piece of work isn’t he? A cross between John Edwards and Paul McCartney

Unlike other music critics Mr. Petric didn't write this review before he set foot in the venue. He admits he had different expectations and seemed as surprised as anyone that he liked the show and Clay. That's because Mr. Petric had succumbed to the media created image of Clay Aiken. The same media that had us convinced Angelina Jolie was one step from incest and now has us convinced she's one step from sainthood. Mr. Petric saw the cool
He had a fine sense of humor, often self-deprecating and a little bit wicked.

Oh, I'd say more than a little bit wicked. Wicked Cool.

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Clay and Kimmel: It Don't Mean a Thing...

(Clay and Kimmel are talking on their iPhones.)

Clay: Well, Jimmy? Are ya comin’ ta the Greek or aren’tcha?

Kimmel (reluctantly): Um...I wanted to talk to you about that--

Clay (firmly): Uh-UH. No excuses. It’s on a Saturday night, so don’t be tellin’ me ya got a show or hafta tape that goofy game show o' yores. NOT.BUYIN.’

Kimmel: Actually, I was going to ask if you had any more VIP tickets you could--

Clay: MORE tickets? (smiling) So yore rilly comin?’

Kimmel: Of course. (laying it on thick) You’re my best friend and soulmate, aren'tcha? Your poster is over my bed, isn't it? I’m all about supporting the arts, aren't I? And--

Clay (sardonically): --AND y’know if ya didn’t show I’d send a bounty hunter after yore ass.

Kimmel: Yep, that’s the ticket. Speaking of which -- got any more?

Clay: Jimmy, I alriddy got ya four. How many more d’ya need?

Kimmel: Well, I had Sarah and Uncle Frank and Aunt Chippy coming, but now Cousin Sal and Guillarmo and Veatrice and my bandleader Cleto and Cleto Senior want to come, too.

Clay: Wow...Ah’m rilly flattered they all wanna be thayre. So...that’ll be nine altogether? You need five more, right?

Kimmel: If four plus five equals nine, then yeah, that’s what I need.

Clay: Yore nothin’ if not a math whiz, aren’tcha? You shore all these folks’re gonna be able ta make it? Ah’d shore hate ta take the good seats from mah intrepid clackgatherers fer nothin.’ What're the venue security guys gonna do with themselves? An' otherwise who the heck is gonna record me pickin’ mah nose an’ hittin’ bad notes an’ fallin’ on mah butt?

Kimmel: Well, if you really want that filmed for posterity (or posterior, heh heh), I’d be glad to send over one of MY cameramen. Lord knows they're used to you making an ass out of yourself. (mock pleading) C'mon, Clay...pleeeeaze, can I have those extra tickets? Pleeeeeze? Can I? Huh? Can I? Huh? Huh?

Clay (giving him a hard time): Ah don’t know...that’s a lot. What if yore people don’t show up? Ah don't wanna be lookin' at a buncha empty seats.

Kimmel: Oh, they’ll be there all right. (cackles) If they want to keep their jobs.

Clay: Jimmy...ya cain’t fire yore family. Especially Sarah. (slyly) Unless she’s gotta than Ah thought.

Kimmel: Ahem! Oh, hey. I wanted to talk to you about this celebrity golf tournament thing.

Clay: Oh, yeah. Nice of ya ta agree ta do it, Jimmy.

Kimmel: No problem. You’re gonna be in my foursome, aren’t ya?

Clay (appalled): Jimmy! Ya know Ah don’t approve o’ that kinky group stuff.

Kimmel (patiently): No, Clay...for golf. A foursome for GOLF.

Clay (blushing): Oh. Ah see. (pause, deadpan) No.

Kimmel: Why not?

Clay (shrugs): Ah suck at sports.

Kimmel (snorts): Puh-leeze. Golf isn’t a sport.

Clay (drily): Rilly. Don’t tell Tiger Woods.

Kimmel: I mean, yeah...those professional golfers, they’re athletes. But guys like you 'n' me--

Clay (wry laugh): --like YOU, ya mean--

Kimmel: --like me, we just ride around on golf carts and scratch ourselves and have a few laughs and knock back beers and every once in a while we flail away with a nine iron. It’s just a social thing.

Clay: Ah guess Ah kin think of more innerstin’ social thangs than gittin’ loaded, fallin’ inta a lagoon, an’ gittin' pneumonia, which Ah don’t need ta remind ya is what happened the LAST time ya played in one o' these golf tournaments. In which case, Ah'm not shore this is such a good ahdea.

Kimmel: Hey, could I help it if Regis pushed me? Ruined a perfectly good fake Rolex. Anyway, this social thing’ll raise boatloads of money for your foundation -- what’s it called again? The Bugel-whatever it is.

Clay: Oh, you are SO fulla shi-stuff. You know durn well mah name is on it...y’know...jest fer fundraisin’ purposes an’ all.

Kimmel (bemused): Uh huh. Aren’t WE full of ourselves. And I can't believe you said "durn."

Clay (flustered): I--you--oh, skip it. Anyway...Ah don't know how ta play golf.

Kimmel: That's okay -- I can teach ya. It's all in the swing, and keeping your eye on the ball. Coordination and all that. Piece of cake.

Clay (doubtfully): Coordination, huh? (major eyeroll) So...if I do that foursome with you, that’d mean we’d hafta pick two other kinda well-known folks, right?

Kimmel: NOW who’s the math whiz? Yeah, we’d have to get two more. (teasingly) I was thinking maybe I’d ask a friend of mine...a lady you’ve actually met...

Clay (suspiciously): Who?

Kimmel: Let’s just say I’m sure she’d be happy to lend a HAND.


Clay (slow burn): Jimmy, are golf clubs considered blunt objects?


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