* Lady Gaga had a brief run-in with Caitlyn Jenner on the Red Carpet (yes, let’s capitalize this shizz!) at the infamous Oscars, and when Jenner mentioned she hadn’t seen Gaga at their local Starbucks lately, Ms. Lady effortlessly replied, “I’ve switched baristas.” This is the chef’s kiss of shade! It is freaking beautiful and I’m so jealous. I will never, ever be this quick on my feet. This is perfect and the Academy Awards should’ve ended right here. Who’s going to top this? (If you're wondering why Gaga wanted a quick escape from Caitlyn's company, it might have to do with the fact that Jenner is trans woman, who votes against trans rights. So, yeah - not Ms. Lady's cup of tea.)
Well, needless to say, we must kick this off with the Oscars and “The Slap.” That would be Travis Barker’s performance with Robert Glasper, of course! The drummer took the stage with jazz pianist Glasper, as well as legend/icon/drummer/percussionist Sheila E. and musical director Adam Blackstone. Travis immediately overpowered the all-star band with his complete lack of nuance on the kit, bashing away with no sense of sound levels, timing, or control. His abuse of the cymbals was especially egregious. It was like Stewart Copeland took over Barker’s body and was there to torture Sting’s earholes one more time. As a drummer, I was especially offended. Read the room, dude! It’s not all about you. When your instrument dominates the sonic landscape to the point that the audience can no longer hear ROBERT GLASPER, you are doing something very, very wrong. For shame. Take it elsewhere, pal! (If you'd like to experience Robert's music sans Barker, I highly recommend Glasper’s 2019 Fuck Yo Feelings and 2022’s Black Radio III. They live on repeat over here.)
* Speaking of Travis Barker, he was also at the Grammys because this guy apparently can’t leave an awards show alone these days. (Okay, fine. His style of playing was indeed better-suited for the rendition of “Are You Gonna Go My Way” he performed with H.E.R. and Lenny Kravitz. I type this begrudgingly.) The Grammys were held in Vegas, where Barker and his fiancé, Kourtney Kardashian, took the opportunity to indulge in a quickie. Wedding, that is! The duo popped over to the (extremely bleak-looking) One Love Wedding Chapel for some private “I do’s” four hours after the Grammy telecast concluded. However, don’t count out a more lavish ceremony in the future – “news” outlets are reporting that the couple has yet to obtain a marriage license. That’s code for, “Our union is not legal yet. We just wanted some attention.” In short, look for numerous false starts before the real wedding, which will surely be a part of the upcoming Keeping Up with the Kardashians reboot on Hulu. (Hire me, Hulu!) Maybe KK can get her honey some drum lessons as a wedding gift… Also, why is Barker the go-to drummer when we have Tommy Lee? Why am I not in charge of everything? So many questions.
(Btw, may I note the complete bougie unoriginality of eloping to a 24-hour chapel with an Elvis impersonator officiant in Sin City? Come on, guys! You’re rich. A little imagination, please. When my husband & I wed in Vegas, we hosted a small daytime pool party at a private cabana and then got married in the evening overlooking a shark tank. And that was on our plebian budget. Try harder!)
While we’re here, let’s chat more about the Grammys, which was its per-usual mixed bag of highs and lows (though much more well-received than the Oscars this year, for all the reasons you might suspect). First the lows. (I’m a, “Give me the bad news first,” kind of gal.)
Many of the awards were handed out at a barely-promoted pre-telecast, leaving many recipients to accept their winnings without the benefit of the splashy televised accolades. And these were some big awards, including Producer of the Year and Best Hip-Hop Album. By coincidence or design, the majority of the categories featured in this barely-seen stream featured predominantly Black artists. To leave these categories off of the prime time (i.e. the one that everyone actually watches) broadcast is not only a bad look for the Grammys, it is unfair to these hardworking artists. I understand the complaint that most award shows run too long – but surely we could sacrifice a few more air minutes to celebrate Best Hip-Hop Album! That’s a huge deal. I’m still shocked by this decision.
Another shocker: Louis C.K.’s win for Best Comedy Album. What in the actual hell, y’all? I get the “love the art, not the artist” concept. But at this point how/why would an organization even allow this nomination to occur, and who would vote for him? This is not a, “Whoops! He already has his award and then we found out” situation. Everyone already knows what C.K. did – and not allegedly! He’s admitted it. The Grammys has made some terrible choices throughout the years, and this one tops the recent list. (One way C.K. most likely slipped through the cracks is via a new voting structure, which allows members only 3 additional votes outside of their genre. But it’s still fucked up and needs to be addressed.)
BTS’s performance of “Butter” was a pretty open bid to be considered for the next Bond song and I am so into this choice. From this newsletter to Barbara Broccoli’s ears!
Billie Eilish, already honored for her James Bond franchise contribution, also performed with her brother, “the other one,” wearing a Taylor Hawkins t-shirt, which was a lovely tribute to the recently deceased/much missed drummer.
LiL Nas X, Chris Stapleton, Brandi Carlile, J Balvin, Jon Batiste, Silk Sonic, and more all lit up the stage with their respective performances. This pageantry and level of skill is exactly what people want from award shows.
An incredible video from Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his impassioned plea for support and peace was one of the most beautiful and heart-rendering moments of the night. The fact that the Grammys secured this direct commentary from Zelenskyy further highlighted the many Oscar fails. Of course, my top concern is: Will Sean Penn smelt his Oscar?! (Could you imagine being such a narcissist? While Penn’s point is completely valid, the consequence he offers up is ridiculous. Like, that’s the threat? To melt down your Oscars? Oh, no – anything but that! No wonder Charlize Theron ghosted this ass-hat.)
Trevor Noah! An absolute delight as host. This was the show to top as awards season finally comes to a belated close. I’m already looking forward to seeing what next year brings.
Are Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston secretly dating while they’re both stationed in Paris? Aniston is overseas filming the sequel to the Netflix/Adam Sandler flick, Murder Mystery. Pitt is nearby, checking on the vineyard he formerly co-owned with then wife, Angelina Jolie. Will all the free champagne fan the flames of reunion? Will we ever be free of the second most famous Bermuda Triangle? Stay tuned!
Have you seen the preview for the new Michael Bay film, Ambulance? I thought it was an elaborate joke, but it appears to be a real movie, starring Jake Gyllenhaal. I’m sorry, but is Jake in some kind of trouble we don’t know about? Is he in debt? That’s a lot of Taylor Swift red scarves to pay off! This looks so bad, I don’t think I’ll even be able to hate-watch it. And that’s saying a lot – I have a very high trash threshold, as we well know. Please do drop me a line if you dare to see this. I am curious by proxy!
Speaking of commercials, I also recently saw an advertisement for Dunkin’ Donuts. Okay, big deal. Who am I, Sean Penn? Well, hang on to you butts, as the great Samuel L. Jackson would say, because that ad included a new Dunkin’ Donut menu item: hummus. WHO WOULD BUY HUMMUS FROM DUNKIN’ DONUTS?! This is almost as disturbing as Ambulance. That’s it; this madness must end. Back to quarantine for everyone for another year.
When we last checked in with one another, Congress was holding hearings regarding President Biden’s nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson for Supreme Court. Well, today her seat was CONFIRMED! I’ve been doing a combination of happy dance/happy tears all day. There is hope for this country with the addition of Judge Jackson to the highest court in the land. Let’s celebrate this historic moment together! See you soon, my friends!