5 Questions with @jrjeffrey…Ramble

Kansas Baby!

Back in the days of yore, when MTV was a powerhouse breaking new artists and playing videos during the day instead of 2-6 A.M. (I wrote ‘yore’ already people!), I was working on an upfront tape with my boss, Fleminator, who never wears underpants. (If I have to know you all have to know! Imagine the fun looks that info got when he came to visit me at Disney Channel…!) The head of marketing’s assistant, @jrjeffrey called to get the tape to messenger to Mr. Fancy Pants in LA for a meeting. Upfront tapes help sell advertising by showing off the best of the programming and adding some hot little figures to lure in partners.

I convinced @jrjeffrey to entrust me to FedEx the tape to Mr. Fancy Pants because Fleminator and I weren’t done with edits. He begrudging complied. The package went AWOL due to a FedEx blunder and Mr. Fancy Pants launched screaming fit heard around the world (or at least bi-coastally), causing a chain reaction that included a FAX of the air bill to prove I had written the address correctly so that  @jrjeffrey didn’t get sacked.

Thus a friendship was born which only deepened when @jrjeffrey to move into the same building as me in LA when we both moved out there for other jobs. It has spanned the test of demanding bosses, dieting, an arch nemesis named Carrie (we love you Carrie!) who said she would rather kill him than lose him to Tori Amos, countless job changes, me breaking his screen door – opps, multiple moves, a shared love of George Michael, a tiki doll, creating a themesong for his dog’s bowel movements, a roadtrip that included 9 hours to prepare for seeing Bjork in concert (no, nine hours really isn’t enough especially when you book a hotel you can walk to the show from!) and one to Vegas listening only to five songs from Madonna’s Light Years all the way there and back to LA.

Without further rambling, five questions with my Follow Friday pick of the week, @jrjeffrey.

Location: Los Angeles, CA
Vocation: Story Producer/Writer/Fabulist
Sign: Very Virgo

1) What is a fabulist and how can I earn that title?

Okay, the word fabulist actually means “a person who invents or relates fables” as well as a ” a teller of tales or liar.” Being related to fables, it is pronounced as such. However, I prefer to pronounce it like “fabulous,” and in turn, have come up with my own unique definition:

fabulist: anyone who observes all that is fabulous in life and shares it with others.

By this definition, you are already a fabulist.

I just always liked the word play of “fable” and “fabulous.” The origin of the storyteller goes back to the fable. I think all great stories teach a moral lesson, whether overt or subtle. The “fabulous” part adds some fun to it. Writers are observers first, and tellers second. Anyone who writes knows there is a fabulous quality to that process.

2) As a story editor of reality shows, what is an example of a scene that may have been as simple as two people making a sandwich that got turned into a huge fight with the use of music and edits:

In my experience, it is very difficult to cheat a fight in reality TV. There has to be some existing drama going on in the footage. In fact, the problem with reality TV fighting is often the opposite: how do we edit this fight down so that it makes sense to the audience & fits into the time we have for it? In real life, peoples’ fights are messy & inarticulate. They are not always on point. A good story editor/producer works with an editor to capture the essence of the fight in the clearest & most dramatic way. I would personally add to that “in an ethical way as well.”

The bottom line is that when you watch raw footage it is, for the most part, very boring. Think about watching hours upon hours of someone else’s home movies unedited. Big trip to Boring Town! Much like documentary film, the footage needs to be carefully selected & woven together to tell a cohesive & compelling story while remaining faithful to the inherent truth of what’s going on.

Coyotes Ate My Dog!

Often, the most manipulated scenes are comedy ones. Humor can definitely be edited together with good shots & great music. I’ll give an example from one of my favorite shows that I’ve worked on, “Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica.” I had to watch hours of Jessica Simpson training her new puppy. After watching it all, it was pretty evident that Jessica was not going to be the next “Dog Whisperer.” So, we took the most ridiculous moments of Jessica attempting to get Daisy to obey her commands, combined it with some comedic music & then cut to Nick sitting on the couch engrossed in a football game, but giving Jessica kudos for her excellent training skills. If you watched the couple hours that it all took place in, you’d be bored out of your mind. Instead we got you to laugh & enjoy it by culling the comedy of it for you.

3) As a lover of ‘ladies with piano’ (Tori Amos, Regina Spektor) who are some of the new artists you’ve fallen in love with this year?

Oh drat! I must say, I don’t know if its my laziness when it comes to sussing out new music or just a current lack of artists that are grabbing me, but I only have a limited list of newbies.

In the old-but-new category:

1- Amanda Palmer – one half of the lovely band, Dresden Dolls, has a great solo album out there. She’s an all-round artist whose performances often verge on avant garde. Her sound is unique & she loves to twitter!

2- Dolores O’Roirdan – her latest solo album may have been eclipsed by the announcement that she will be re-uniting with The Cranberries to tour. But this second solo effort is really good in my opinion. It has so much more life than the first solo album did.


3- Noush Skaugen – a bit more guitar than piano, but she did an awesome “Couch Series,” in which she covered songs by bands like Oasis & Foo Fighters. You can watch them at http://www.noushskaugen.com

4- Gossip – okay, I was way late to this party, but I dig Beth Ditto & their overall sound

5- Bat For Lashes – sort of an ethereal sound that harkens back to ’90s Alternative music

6- Florence & the Machine – I’m just starting to listen to her now & I’m having that feeling I had when I first heard Adele (although their sounds are worlds apart). She’s got an amazing voice. I missed her performance in LA, but heard she was AMAZING! Right now, she’s got me the most excited.

4) You’ve been a dog owner all your life and currently have a very adorable rescue dog, Kennedy. What advice would you give to people about selecting a rescue dog?

First off, find a good rescue shelter. Not all rescue shelters are created equal. Some well-meaning folks are in over their heads & running less than stellar facilities. Research the rescue shelters online before visiting them to make sure they don’t have complaints against them.

I adopted Kennedy from Pet Orphans in Van Nuys, CA – an amazing rescue foundation that’s been around for years and has a well-established reputation in the Los Angeles area.

I suggest visiting reputable no-kill, non-profit rescue groups over city shelters because often times they are getting their dogs from the city shelters themselves. The benefit is that the rescue shelters have trained personnel who can match you with an appropriate dog. Plus, an empty space in the rescue shelter means they can save another dog from the city shelters.

Bottom line is that cute dogs catch attention quick, but you will know intuitively if it’s the right fit. Keep an open mind. Be honest with yourself & get a dog that suits your lifestyle. For example, if you’re not an active person, don’t get a dog that requires a lot of exercise to stay calm & healthy.

Sometimes it takes a little time to find “the one,” but it is so worth it in the end. (Turns out, this last one guidleine also applies to finding a good man.)

5) Who would win in a fight Madonna VS. Angelina VS. Oprah VS. Ellen for your heart strings?

Oh wow! At least, you didn’t throw Tori in the mix. I’d never be able to decide.

The truth is that each of them are amazing women who have brought something much bigger than themselves to the table. BUT, I hate being indecisive, so I will choose.

Don't Mess With The O-han

Oprah. Mainly because she so clearly operates from an intuitive place & that has guided her to great things that have touched so many different lives. I have always been attracted to her spiritual nature. Her greatness comes from listening to that little voice inside.

Okay, I was gushing a bit there. So, let me step back & clarify that’s not to say she’s infallible. No one is. However, she has proven that staying true to your self is one of the surest paths to happiness. And to me, happiness is life’s greatest success!

Kylie Vs. Madonna

Kylie Minogue’s recent US Tour brought out long time competitor Madonna and her daughter Lourdes, aka LOLA (hey JLo you really thought you could claim the name Lola? I don’t think you’ve met Lourdes, she’ll cut a bitch.) Is it an epic battle of Blonde Ambition between Madge & Kylie on a global level? They each have a dizzying list of global awards, magazine covers, books, and huge gay followings. Let’s see how they stack up.

COUGAR POWER: Both ladies are hitting the Latin Flavored Model Pool:

Madge: Jesus Luz is 22, South American model trying to be a DJ.

Kylie: Andres is 31, Spanish been quoted as wanting to have babies

Cougar Winner: Madonna

Personal fave: Andres. MEOW!

SURVIVAL TACTICS: MADGE slept her way into the music scene to get the best beats, deals and opportunities. The First Lady of Reinvention counts Sean “Mr. Nice Guy” Penn and Guy “Homophobe According to her brother Christopher’s Tell-All” Ritchie as her two divorces and playthings include Vanilla Ice, JFK Jr. (RIP!), Warren Beaty, Sandra Bernhard and Dennis Rodman.

KYLIE survived CANCER! Her ex, Michael Hutchence, a powerful influence on taking her from dime a dozen soap star turned poptart, into a diva. He left her for Helena Christiansen (keep the Aussies away from her, she dated Heath Ledger who also met with a timely demise….egads, beauty has a price.) Her ex, Oliver Martinez is a French bad boy who stuck with her through cancer but ultimately was a huge cad aka Frenchman. Later baguette!

Winner: Both, it’s hard for a lady to be a pimp. Men can’t handle it when their women outshines them.

ACTING: Madonna please Girl Six? Evita? Swept Away (I can’t believe I watched this wretched garbage) but don’t forget she was, well herself in ‘Desparately Seeking Susan’ and she did a great job being….herself. Fortunately Madge has retired from acting.

Kylie started out in acting as a cheeky monkey on Neighbours. Her movie career has included being the Green Fairy in Moulin Rouge and she makes her Bollywood debut in “Blue”, some say the most expensive movie ever made. She knows her limits, she works her angles.

Winner: KYLIE

AGING GRACEFULLY: Someone, somewhere said that Blondes don’t age gracefully. How about pop divas? Both of these ladies have amazing, tight, fit bodies that are too be envied. They won’t be joining Tori Spelling showing off (almost non existent) arm fat as both have very defined muscles there.

Kylie has lived on the Euro continent and glammed up being a muse for Dolce & Gabbana, living a very glamourous life, decked in haute coutre. As a result of her battle with cancer she lost all her hair and her dresses grew longer. Since beating cancer, she’s been dabbling with botox to fight the age battle.

All of a sudden Madonna starting wearing Burberry trying to look like a lady but then continueing to flash us her crotch. Madonna strattled TVS in her “American Life” video, Britney in Brit Brit’s “Me Against The Music” video and now just thrusts it against a white backdrop in “Celebration.”

Winner: Kylie

SIBLINGS: Since Madge comes from a larger family, there is only a stack up of the most famous of her siblings.

Madonna: Brother Christopher wrote a scathing tell all. After being along for the ride and earning money and design opportunites through Madonna, she cut him off when he failed to deliver. Their relationship fully splintered when Guy Ritchie, a homophobe according to Christopher, entered the picture.

Kylie: Sister Dannii followed in her footsteps in both the acting realm (first she competed in Talent Time, the Aussie version of Star Search, then the Aussie Soap Home And Away) and being a disco diva. They have a healthy supportive relationship and are now partnering on Britain’s X-Factor.

Winner: Kylie

Successor: This is a tough one, does one look to the present when Lady Gaga is crashing the party or think long term here? Long term Madge is grooming Lourdes to inherit her kingdom, while Kylie has no heir apparents.

Winner: Madonna

ROBBIE WILLIAMS FACTOR: Robbie Williams and Kylie had a massive global smash for their duet “Kids.” Robbie also penned two songs for Light Years. However, on Robbie’s Rudebox album he not only released a song about Madonna called “She’s Madonna,” he mentioned her as Mrs. Ritchie in a second song. Who wins here? Robbie.

Lightening Round:
Dance moves: Madonna (she’s a trained dancer y’all)
Controvery: Madonna
Sexual Adventures: Madonna but personally I’d rather have Kylie’s history (less STDS)
Accents: Kylie, her Aussie accent has never turned into a forced faux Brit one
Famous Friends: Madonna – sorry Kylie she is BFF with Gwyneth!
Fashion: Kylie
Global Hits: Madonna
Fun: Kylie
, Madonna is more likely to demean you
Good Girl Gone Bad Award: Kylie, Madonna was always badass

Finally Tally: Madonna 8 Kylie 7

Madonna wins by a nose.

Jesus is more than a Boy Toy, he’s a DJ!…Ramble

Jesus Does Exist

These days ‘men’ have been falling over themselves to be boy toys for cougars and pumas (sorry fellas, I don’t date kids in high school!) In order to really get a bankroll, fellas, you have to transform yourself into a diverse brand that can stand apart from your benefactors. A wealthy puma with a global brand is a total catch because she can teach you her devious ways, propelling you to a level of self-promotion you never knew existed and will have you sucking at her fingers for another taste.

Being such a genetic lotto winner, Jesus, decided not to rest on the laurels of his inheritance, and get down to bringing love amongst the people. He found modeling and nightclubs allowed him to do this on a large scale. Then one night he prayed for the message to for the guidance to go global with his message of love. He prayed for someone who could help him promote his message.

God blessed Jesus with great bone structure and a world famous benefactor, Madonna. Hey, we all knew she had a deal with a higher power, we just didn’t know which one but despite the Kabblalah bracelet, Madge’s Catholic practices helped her get famous in the first place. She’s upgraded from faux Jesus, to a real Jesus. Madonna is paying her debt to God not only by adopting a rainbow tribe (Madge, you need an Eurasian next & I’m fully trained!), but making the dreams of Jesus come to light.

Jesus wants to be a DJ. If you haven’t already seen him being undressed in Madonna’s crotchscratchular (scratching is a DJ term, wink wink) “Celebration” video (she is celebrating getting another shot at the fountain of youth), here’s a little clip of him acknowledging Paul Oakenfold should stay behind the turntables himself:

I love you Paul Oakenfold but dancing is not your forte. It makes me laugh as Jesus looks at the Madonna ‘Celebration’ shirt Paul has to wear, while Lady Madonna ripped his shirt off of him.

If you are on the fence about buying a ticket to Brazil, for Jesus’ October tour dates, you can get a taste of now by downloading his demo. I’m serious, it’s Music Monday, don’t you want to dance? For inspiration? Come onnnnnn, I’m waiting!

In Defense of Gwyneth Paltrow & Her GOOP…Ramble

“Fuck the haters!” Gwyneth Paltrow said in the March issue of British Elle. “I saw this blog of people writing horrible things about me and for a second your ego is so wounded … How could people hate me, my intentions or what I’m trying to do? I’m a good person and I’m trying to put good things into the world.”

Hey Gwynnie, that’s not exactly the motto of your lifestyle website, GOOP, “nourish the inner spirit.” Yet, I can’t help think that it is. Tell those haters to shove it because honey, you have an Oscar. Why are all these people hating on Gwyneth? Yes, she says high brow pretentious things all the time, but I take pure joy in hearing them. People often wonder is she in on the joke?  I think she is the mastermind of the joke. Perhaps, like one of my boyfriends you feel you need a dictionary to understand her.  We’re too damn sensitive all the time and she calls us, America out on it. Gwyneth has an opinion and she’s not afraid to speak her mind.

I get asked ad nauseum why exactly I like her. According to my sister, I’m the only one she knows who likes Gwyneth. She’s wrong, Dr. Mom likes her too! As I do seem to always like the esoteric aka ‘difficult’ ones, I’ll give you insights into why I get a kick out of Gwyneth.

Gwyneth had a number one hit for singing ‘Cruisin’ with Huey Lewis. Yes, it was in Australia, who also are the only country to release The Hoff ‘Get Into My Car’…..but also the home of INXS, Jimmy Barnes (his daughter Eliza is the muse of Liam Finn), John Farnham, and of course, hello the one and only Eric Bana. Eric deserves his own ramble so I’ll move on now.

Which she and hubbie, Chris Martin sang at a friend’s wedding. She sounds vocally better than CMartin on this one (vocal imperfections make me, yeah love Coldplay!)

She’s married to the aforementioned Chris Martin, another person people seem to think is far too serious. Ricky Gervais’ interview with Chris sheds some light on that one:

and her man beats up the paparazzi for her when she’s been in hospital for fasting too much:

Oh, you thought I was going to say he also wrote a number one hit “Fix You” that is now a Coldplay classic? Well, yeah that too. He proves in this bit, that he rushes home for Gwyneth’s cooking.

Which takes us to Gwyneth’s cooking videos on GOOP. Who doesn’t need to know how to properly debone a chicken?

Not only did I find that video useful and I want to make some yummy chicken, I dearly love to laugh just like Elizabeth Bennett in ‘Pride & Prejudice.’ GP’s first cooking video took a lot of heat and even sparked this hilarious send up on Funnyordie.com

and Little Britain

If you can inspire in song and laughter how bad can you be?

Still not convinced? She let’s her kids listen to Uncle Jay-Z “99 Problems.” No? How about GP went on Conan with actual GOOP all over her fabulous legs? Thanks Gwynnie for posting exercise videos from your personal trainer so we can all try to get our legs looking that fabulous.

Gwynnie is just an Oscar winner trying to give back. She was charming in ‘Emma’ and renewed my love for that book. I thought Miramax should’ve campaigned for Joseph Fiennes’ eyes to win for ‘Shakespeare in Love’ but GP made it up to him by getting him cast in ‘Running With Scissors.’ GP is good to her friends, who mostly happen to be famous. How could they not? She grew up with a father who was a director and Blythe Danner for a mother? Even her brother, Jake is now a director.

 (Photo: Jenny Gage & Tom Betterton)
(Photo: Jenny Gage & Tom Betterton)

I adore Gwyneth because a) her line in ‘A Perfect Murder’ delivered with disdain: “That’s not happiness to see me.” Response:”Try surprise.” b) dig the reading reccomendations and advice through GOOP, which lead me to ‘Drink, Pray, F@ck’ which sends up the horrid whine, whinge, whine and repeat boo hoo I’m the victim book being made into a movie ‘Eat, Pray, Love.’ c) admire her for being able to wear those wonderful ankle breakers. She was the first one photographed in them and now I bet you have some version of that in your wardrobe as a must d) she gets to make babies with Chris Martin e) when she gets a mother-daughter photo, it’s taken by Annie Liebovitz

(Photo: Annie Liebovitz)
(Photo: Annie Liebovitz)

I’m also really glad that GP recently said she wasn’t going to start making kids films in lieu of accepting creative movie roles that speak to her. It’s annoying how parenthood has done that for some stars who used to be ‘edgy.’ People seriously want to bend the truth and take it out of context that she’s against kids’ films are seriously just haters. More press for Gwynnie, better movies for us! Go GP! (p.s. I picked that quote link since it links to an OLD! photo of Coldplay. Hahaha.)

Finally, I got a cheap thrill out of the fact I turned my friend Brian onto loving Gwyneth. He now goes around qualifying people with “she’s so not fabulous, she’s not being followed by GOOP on twitter.” In closing, it’s because GP is not Flawless, makes her appealing to me. I also have a few suggestions to give her for increasing GOOP’s traffic but it seems she’s already got Corporate America knocking on her door to partner with her so I’ll have to save that for the day when I either get to interview her or vice versa. GP let’s get together to do some cooking. I’ll introduce you to pre-marinated salmon from Trader Joe’s and help you deal with your reconstruction hassles in London. You can let me wear your accessories and do my Chris Martin dancing impression. It’s about perfect for a person who with one good ankle. Nourish that inner funnybone!

29 October update: Great quote from GP on the red carpet last night only proving my point Gwyneth is fabulousity personified with a great sense of humor.

“Oh we love movies at our house, and we get everything. Everything! Every children’s movie, every documentary, every drama, every indie, every porn–just kidding about the porn!” –Gwyneth Paltrow on her love of all film genres during the Valentino: The Last Emperor DVD launch party last night in New York. *from Fashion Week Daily