Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Celeb Death Cult

made you look She's curvy, sometimes a redhead, and displays a smoldering mischievousness that -- when she puts her mind to it and doesn't do the vacant-eye mouthbreather thing -- can be construed as genuinely attractive. To me. But the unimaginative death cult over at New York Magazine has decided that this 21 year-old needed to re-create 36 year-old Marilyn's photo shoot from 1962. Monroe died six weeks later, further fueling America's inexcusable fascination with dead nude celebrities.

In the eerily technically-accurate recreation of Marilyn's final photoshoot, the pictures do give a sense of Marilyn's "In your face, you coy and priggish phony Camelot, these are my breasts!" manner. I always found that particular set of pictures eerie because I knew she was dead, so that might corrupt my analysis. But all of that is contaminated by forty-five years of crappy speculation. Or, guesswork. Or fantasy.
Ashley Judd Before NASCAR Guy got to recreate familiar scenes, but she had a whole movie and Mira Sorvino to help her.
Hello? Bobby who?
Never mind that the gal who is not Marilyn (but is posed in Marilyn's pictures) has been through a lot in the few years of her post-adolescent adolescence. Every day since she signed with Disney, we've been treated to stories of sex addiction and drug use and drinking and nipple slips and arrests and rehab and crotch shots and bad movie roles.
Sure, everybody has some fun in their twenties.
I, for one, wouldn't repeat those years. Except to send more 'thank you' cards and perhaps hold one job longer than I did and not take the other one. Because now, I would be Prime Minister of Latveria. But I digress.
At 21, I had been fired from my favorite band gig (because I "wasn't a musician" -- as if that had been a problem for the other three), graduated from the crack-the-books-and-a-beer life I had enjoyed for four years, and settled into working with a bunch of creepy forsaken old pariahs at an AM radio station, dried out and never got near a boat, skislope, or skateboard. Yeah, just what I had imagined my twenties would be.
I had, at 21, hit rock bottom. I was sure that every day for the rest of my life, I would drive a ten year-old American-made duct-tape-and-coat-hanger beater to a shack in a cowfield or a studio on the third floor of a real estate office or seed dealership where my co-workers, former middle-market radio "personalities" who were wanted for indecent exposure and fraud and child support, made lousy radio. I feared that for the rest of life, my evenings would consist of a cheap ham steak and tater tots washed down with a Tab in the one-room apartment upstairs from some indeterminate drug dealer. And then back to work because the station owners were too cheap to hire a reliable overnight guy.
Of course, to keep from going completely mad, I took a job working in theater. Guerilla street theater. One time, I played a thinly-veiled burlesque of the much-loved mayor of a major East Coast city impersonating Elvis singing a very clever musical number which ended with a (not-so-funny-for-me) half-striptease.
This so-called "guerilla theater" gig was actually fun and great preparation for my future, but the pay wasn't a check on Friday. Our pay was whatever ended up in the hat. Biggest night: fifteen bucks. Split three ways. We were supposedly getting a stipend from a grant by a fly-by-night "arts" group. But the grant ended up getting split six ways, the lion's share going to the sneaky broad who wrote the grant application and her boyfriend, who ended up taking all the money and flying to St. Lucia.
And I got my chest hair rubbed by strange middle-aged ladies -- and stranger men --who gave me a dollar. It was indeed preparation for other acting gigs, with all the stage fighting and stage dying, slapstick and uninhibited buffoonery, improvisation, and "staying in the moment." I know that all of that experience has informed all of my decisions. (Yeah. Even The CianciDance. I am SO glad YouTube didn't exist back then.)
I believe that those experiences have nourished me. So, I wonder if that hope informs real celebrities who take challenging roles or make sometimes-puzzling choices.
Maybe Lindsay, by channeling the sexually confident Marilyn, can exorcise a body- or self-image demon that's been seducing her to the seedier lifestyle options open to celebrities.
"Will this make me stronger? It sure hasn't killed me."

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