Posts By Jonathan Durbin

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Fashion Week Frenzy: Girls Go Wild For Erin Fetherston

erinfetherston.jpgIt’s New York Fashion Week, and that means that Manhattan’s hosting all kinds of celebrities, models and designers. To present you with the best of the best, we asked America’s Most Smartest Model host and Harper’s Bazaar contributing fashion editor Mary Alice Stephenson to give her take on all the stylish craziness. In today’s installment, we discuss designer Erin Fetherston, whose line is a favorite of such celebrities as Zooey Deschanel (Elf), Anne Hathaway (The Devil Wears Prada) and, for some reason, Damon Dash (former Jay-Z business associate). The designer’s show was studded with celebrities, high-profile editors and buyers, and the theme had something to do with black roses — beautiful and oddly upsetting at the same time. More after the jump:

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The Giants Win! Paula Abdul Lip-Synchs!

The New York Giants shocking upset last night wasn’t the only Super Bowl performance worth noting, although it was certainly the most memorable. In slightly less stunning news, American Idol judge and 45-year-old pop star Paula Abdul returned, singing a song called “Dance Like There’s No Tomorrow.” In a word: Awkweird. Although we are staunch believers in second chances, and know with certainty here at VH1 that second acts in American public life both exist and are de rigeur (Scott Baio is 46! Peter Brady is married! Bret Michaels is looking for love in all the wrong places!), Abdul’s lip-synching was awkward in the extreme. Fellow Idol judge Randy Jackson accompanied Abdul on bass. And more than one Internet critic has called for the return of MC Skat Kat. That would have been interesting.

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Super Bowl ’08: Cheaters Never Win!

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Britney Spears’ Contagious Craziness

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As if what’s happening in the Spears household wasn’t bad enough, now it seems that whatever’s wrong with the deposed pop princess might be catching. In terrifying news for people who fly in planes, an Air Canada flight from Toronto to London had to be diverted to Ireland on Tuesday because the co-pilot apparently suffered a nervous breakdown. According to reports, he was dragged screaming from the cockpit and placed into restraints. As one passenger told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation: “His voice was clear so he didn’t sound drunk or anything. He was swearing and asking for God and very distressed. He basically said he wanted to talk to God.” Couple that with the news of Jamie Lynn’s pregnancy and even news about Eva Mendes’ rehab visit, and we think we’ve identified a trend. Crazy: No longer reserved for full-moons only.

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Sundance Stories: Jack Black, Swagboy

An oddly blonde Jack Black informed VH1 News that the celebrity swag at Sundance wasn’t exactly free — it comes at a price. The price? Taking a picture with the stuff, which means being prepped to be the next face of a random cosmetics brand in their Asian marketing campaign. (Just kidding. Sort of.) We caught all of the action at Sundance, the annual Park City, Utah, meet-and-greet, where celebrities came to check out new films, promote their own, and, in general, raise the level of conversation. Whether or not that actually worked in practice is something else entirely. When asked, for instance, about his horrendous new glasses, Bono claimed that they’re 3-D. That goes along with U2‘s new film, U2 3D, but it doesn’t change the fact that the world’s most socially conscious star of the stage needs a new stylist. For more on the festival, click here.

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Akon Wants To Be Startin’ Somethin’

Akon, the buff African-American superstar with the dulcet voice and penchant for, uh, escalating interactions between artist and audience, had the privilege of duetting with the Gloved One on “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’” for Thriller 25, the anniversary edition of Michael Jackson‘s storied album. The record won’t be out until February 12th, but we’re streaming that track for you, here and now. And since we’ve had the privilege of listening to it, let’s just say that it’s a real duet, not one of those that stop with backing vocals added to the chorus. Between this and Rihanna‘s “Don’t Stop the Music,” the lyrics “Mama-se, mama-sa, ma-ma-koo-sa” have rarely had so much exposure.

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Baseball’s Steroid Scandal Spills Into Rap

50cent.jpgSteroids are celebrity poison. After a protracted investigation last year into performance-enhancing drugs’ presence in Major League Baseball, and Marion Jones‘ confession last fall that she had a little help from some pharmaceutical friends, authorities are looking at the world of rap and R&B. A new report alleges steroid use by several entertainers, including 50 Cent, Mary J. Blige, Timbaland, Wyclef Jean and Tyler Perry. (Blige’s spokesperson denies the accusation; Perry’s representation refused to comment.) What, if anything, this has to do with the price of tea in China is unclear: Officials say that none of the celebrities have broken the law, and that for now, they’re focusing on the doctors who are prescribing the drugs, not the already beleaguered music industry. Besides, unless we’ve been misled, ‘roids don’t help you rap. And if this story’s true, they apparently don’t help you win a fake record-selling battle with Kanye West trumped up for press on September 11th, either. Here are some sweet portraits of the artists in their buff mode.

In other, sort of related news: NBC has been randomly testing the cast members of the network’s hit show American Gladiators in an effort to avoid just this sort of thing. In made-up, totally fake news: the WWE saw the story in this morning’s New York Post, went home and Soloflexed the tears away shortly before putting its fingers in its ears and throwing out its television set.

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Nirvana Biopic News: Courtney Love’s Casting Call

scarlett.jpgThe rumor’s out that alt-rock lightning rod/David LaChapelle muse Courtney Love has begun casting for a 2009 film based on Heavier Than Heaven, a biography of her husband, Mr. Pisces Iscariot himself, Kurt Cobain. According to reports, Love has asked Woody Allen mainstay Scarlett Johansson to play herself. She’s also reportedly lined up Ryan Gosling to play Cobain. No word on whether or not she’s asked Keanu Reeves to play Krist Novoselic, Animal from the Muppets to play Dave Grohl, Will Ferrell to play Mark Lanegan, Anthony Bourdain to play Chris Cornell, Adam Duritz to play Buzz Osbourne, Karen O to play Kathleen Hanna, Kathleen Hanna to play Kat Bjelland, or Thurston Moore to play Eric Erlandson, but stay tuned and we’ll let you know as soon as the news breaks.

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Radiohead’s Happy New Year

Radiohead: What eminently likeable rapscallions they are.

In addition to snookering the entire record industry by releasing their latest collection, In Rainbows, on their own, without the mitigation of label distribution and/or marketing (really makes you wonder whether Seinfeld needed to torture everyone with that Bee Movie campaign, doesn’t it?), the experimental British post-rockers topped Billboard’s album charts this past week. The amount of records sold was negligible — they didn’t even break 130,000 — but still, for a band that basically gave away its new album for free online, that’s not half bad. Because Radiohead loves you, they’ve released videos of them performing songs off their new album. Watch “Jigsaw” (above), “Unravel,” “Reckoner” and “Bodysnatcher” here now. The lo-fi charm is undeniable. Just try to deny it, and we’ll send 10 rabid Radiohead fans to your house now to explain why you’re wrong. They’ll do it, too. Trust us.

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American Idol Returns, But Former Contestants Can’t Catch a Break

mcphee.jpgSeason 7 of American Idol premieres next Wednesday and Thursday on Fox, but evidence in the press suggests that contestants might not have as long a shelf-life as Kelly Clarkson’s career would have you believe. Case in point? Katharine McPhee has split from RCA records, joining her fellow castmates Taylor Hicks and Ruben Studdard in being without label representation. Wikipedia notes that there are rumors of her courting another major label (or vice-versa), but there’s no word on any of that yet. Still, she’s in markedly better shape than down-and-out former Idol contestant Jessica Sierra, who’s on VH1′s new show, premiering tonight, Celebrity Rehab. Couple all that with Sanjaya exhaustion, and we’re beginning to wonder: Has the Idol phenomenon lost its luster? Maybe it’s just us, but we’re kind of wishing pop music would go back to its much less democratic state, with nepotism and Berry Gordy in charge.

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Thriller Turns 25, and Michael Jackson Invites Kanye West to the Party

It’s been 25 short years since Michael Jackson released Thriller and changed the music industry forever. In the intervening years, the self-appointed King of Pop has undeniably been plagued with problems, but notwithstanding his biography, Thriller, which has gone platinum an astounding 27 times, remains an incredible collection of hit singles. You can’t deny it. And if you try to deny it, we’ll play you “P.Y.T.” or something and dare you not to dance. Good frickin’ luck.

The 25th anniversary edition of the album will feature the videos, the music, a live performance, and the help of a few friends: Kanye West, will.i.am and Akon. We’re looking forward to “Billie Jean 2008″ with Kanye in particular, though hearing what Akon has going on “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’” is a fairly intriguing proposal as well. In unrelated news: the Francis Ford Coppola-directed masterpiece Captain Eo will not be included, much to all of our sadness.