Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Is art truly in the eye of the beholder in the pop culture gallery?

Announcements were made recently regarding the second season of Bravo's Work of Art,which is partly produced by Sarah Jessica Parker. The new round of this artist's competition will debut in October,with promises of a Parkour based challenge and performance art,not to mention a contender named "The Sucklord".

The first season of this show drew plenty of ire from those in the artistic community,claiming that it gave their calling a bad name.

While there is some truth to that,art(as in museum/gallery pieces) tends to get a bum rap from most arenas of the pop culture world,a place where ironically enough such talents are meant to flourish.

To get a better grasp on what I mean,here is a display of misunderstood artists for your perusal:

Everybody Doesn't Love Her Sculpture

As the reigning matriarch of the Barone clan on Everybody Loves Raymond,Marie often said that her cooking was the art form that she was devoted to. However,one episode had her attending an art class where she was assigned to make a sculpture as her class project.

Marie decided to use an abstract style but just about everyone who saw it had a very literal view on what it really was. Stunned by the suggestive nature of the piece but too polite to tell his mom the truth,Raymond was willing to let the statue be donated to the local church auction,if only to get it out of his house. In the end,it took a nun to let Marie in on what message her artistic statement was making:

Plenty of No Shows At Pam's Art Show

Back in her days as Dunder Mifflin receptionist,Pam on The Office had the small yet strong ambition to become an artist. Only Jim seemed to take that dream seriously,even more than she did at times.

However,Pam did take a chance on showcasing her work in an art show,to which she invited all of her co-workers. The vast majority of them failed to make an appearance and the few that did either had only insincere support or secret snide remarks to offer up in return.

Strangely enough,the best response to her drawings came from Michael Scott,normally one of the densest people on the planet. His appreciation was most welcome,for once:

Be afraid,Be very afraid...of her Art

Movies tend to feature wacky pretentious types when it comes to characters who create art and in the case of Beetlejuice,the off beat sculptures of yuppie stepmom Delia were almost part of the cast.

From being used to hold captive the elder members of the Deetz family during a supernatural shotgun wedding to nearly destroying the very house that they were moving into,Delia's statues were a true menace to society,polite and otherwise:

A Matter of Life,Death and Art

Another popular portrayal of artists is the tortured by inner demons type and on the first season of Heroes,Isaac Mendez fit that frame rather nicely.

As a former drug addict who drew comics to make money to support himself as a painter,Isaac had more than his share of psychic woes before his ability to predict the future affected his work.

His paintings became key plot points that motivated the actions of other newly empowered folk and while he met a gruesome untimely death at the hands of Sylar,Isaac's painting predictions managed to make their mark well into the second season:

I guess it is the fate of most artists not to be accepted in their time,fictional and real world wise. What is also important is the reaction of the viewer for whom their work is meant to stir some sort of emotion,good or bad. How well such creativity does that is subjective,of course but it's also a great way for people to connect with each other and that's the real benefit to us all:

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Who will win the battle of the similarly themed TV shows this fall?

With only a few weeks away from an all new season of TV shows to watch and wonder over,it's not too soon to place your bets on which ones will survive their initial outing and which won't.

Much like movie trailers,some programs are eager to showcase all the goods they have to offer in order to get you to tune in,which can either induce your appetite for viewing or kill it in a channel click.

For your best guess at what will fly high in the ratings,let's take a look at a trio of match-ups between shows that appear to share the same story line or tone. Bandwagons may be fun to ride but not so easy to stay on board if your gimmicky grip isn't strong enough:


For our first showdown,it's the Battle of the Whimsical Gals,as Zooey Deschanel stars in New Girl, as Jess, a plucky,offbeat single lady who decides to get over her cheating boyfriend by moving into a new place with three male roommates.

Naturally,the guys bond with their new roomie like a sister and wacky dating adventures follow. As charming as Zooey can be in movies,her quirky rambling can grate on your nerves over time and that's just from watching the promos for this show before it even airs:

Up against such star vehicle stuff is 2 Broke Girls, which has tough talking waitress Max(Kat Dennings)reluctantly taking under her wing a down on her financial luck heiress named Caroline(Beth Behrs)who is her new co-worker.

The ladies also become roommates and plan to raise both of their less than considerable fortunes by opening a cupcake shop,if they can scrap enough money together. This clash of personalities and social classes is a standard staple in the comedy cupboard but it seems to work well here:

Predicted Winner: I'm giving this one to 2 Broke Girls. Kat Dennings has great snarky attitude and the overall concept seems more in touch with the economic struggles that most of us are going through without making a complete mockery of them.

New Girl has an air of self indulgence about it,not to mention that when it comes to sitcoms,CBS has a way better track record than Fox.


We've got a pair of fairy tale based series that are clearly not meant for children on deck. Once Upon A Time has a woman named Emma Swan(Jennifer Morrison) moving to the town of Storybrook,where characters from classic bedtime tales have been exiled and are living out their eternal lives as so called regular people.

Emma is destined to change all of that but how she is to do so is yet unknown to her. The producers of Lost are behind this show and they are apparently going for the same kind of mystery within a mystery theme that engaged audiences before:

Meanwhile,Grimm is firmly set in the real world or so our leading man police detective Nick(David Guintoli)believes.

While tracking down a kidnapper of young girls wearing red,Nick discovers that he is the latest descendant of a long line of supernatural hunters who happened to spread all of those well known fairy tales. He can spot the true monsters of legend who easily hide out in plain sight amongst us and hopefully stop them from preying on the helpless in time:

Predicted Winner: This is a hard call,since the possible odds for both of these shows to fold their tents early(and together) is rather high. However,I will give the edge here to Grimm. Once Upon a Time seems to be overly complicated in it's plotting and one great thing about fairy tales is that they're deceivingly simple. A police procedural approach may be more accessible for such fantastical fare.


Last but far from least, Poor Little Rich Girl Thrillers seem to be back in style this season. Ringer has Sarah Michelle Geller as twin sisters Bridget and Siobhan,who reunited after six years with one sister married to a wealthy man and the other needing protection after witnessing a mob hit.

When Rich Sis Siobhan falls overboard during a private boat trip,Poor Sis Bridget steps into her very pricey shoes and attempts to adapt to her sibling's life. Turns out that money didn't buy her sister any love or safety as Bridget's list of folks to flee from grows bigger than before:

Revenge is set in the Hamptons,where Emily Thorne(Emily VanCamp)returns to settle an old score with the Grayson clan,headed up by mother Victoria(Madeleine Stowe).

For reasons known only to a few,Emily's father was wrongly imprisoned and Emily's happy childhood cut tragically short due to the machinations of the Grayson family and now a grown up Emily is out for some serious yet subtly scheming payback. The show is said to be loosely based on The Count of Monte Cristo and with any luck,it'll be as smartly written as that timeless tale is:

Predicted Winner: Ringer,no doubt about it. A double dose of Sarah Michelle Geller in a twisty-turn suspense series is pretty much golden,folks. Revenge might be a good show but SMG has a strong following from Buffy that still holds up today and plenty of her fans are happy to see her back on the small screen again.

Well,that's how I see it for now. Please feel free to give me your opinions on the subject and offer up a few upcoming throw-downs in TV land this autumn of your own. Picking winners is not an easy task,since there are always a number of variables that could tilt the end result either way. Then again,some battles are almost too simple to watch and see who ultimately comes out on top:

Monday, August 29, 2011

Rejoice in the calm after the storm by checking out these Sept/Oct new reads

Thankfully for all of us here on the east coast,Hurricane Irene was not as bad as we feared and while we begin the clean up process,some pop culture shopping can be done as well.

Granted,there are other major concerns that we need to stock up on within the next two months such as back to school supplies and Halloween candy(which will be set up side by side at your local superstore before this week is out,I'm sure)but it doesn't hurt to take a peek at what's coming soon to a bookseller near you.

Most of the new reads have a more serious autumn air about them yet there is fun to be had amongst these crisp new pages of seasonal reading:


Film critic Roger Ebert has written numerous books before but his upcoming memoir Life Itself promises to be quite the show stopper.

Recounting the story of his life from his childhood in Urbana,Illinois to getting his start in journalism at a local newspaper which took him to Chicago and his position as the movie critic for the Sun-Times,Ebert covers the waterfront on his past as well as his present.

He also talks about his struggles with thyroid cancer along with his takes on film stars and directors,plus his long time partnership with fellow film critic Gene Siskel on their many various TV review shows.Ebert's wry observations and literary charm should be as beneficial to the tone and pace of his own biography as it was and still is for his film critiques(Sept.13):

One of the most versatile entertainers of our time,John Lithgow has gone from theater to film to television with a grace and ease that many in his profession must surely envy.

He's also made his mark as an author with several successful children's books but now Lithgow is heading for the adult section of the bookstore with his new memoir entitled Drama:An Actor's Education. Lithgow talks about his early influences,which include his father who was an actor/director/producer whose work took their family on the road and gave him a taste for the theatrical life.

His life and times on stage and encountering such greats as Meryl Streep,Bob Fosse and Liv Ullman are relived,along with his thoughts and feelings about the craft of acting and why so many are drawn to it from performers to those in the audience. The most important reason for any professional calling is passion and Lithgow definately seems to have that in abundance here(October):


If you're a fan of the True Blood series who is not quite sure where the line between the TV and fictional version of the adventures of your favorite mind reading waitress in love with a couple of vampires(plus a werewolf or two)starts and ends,The Sookie Stackhouse Companion is your golden ticket.

Edited by the author who first created Sookie and friends,Charlaine Harris adds in a new novella specially written for this compendium of fun facts to know and tell about the world where her Southern Vampire Mysteries exist. Recipes,private conversations between characters,maps and an interview with True Blood exec Alan Ball make this book a spell binding must-have(late August,early September):


Miriam Toews' second novel,Irma Voth,takes place in Mexico where a film crew is planning to make a movie about the Mennonite community that lives there apart from their neighbors. Irma,a nineteen year old girl who is already a bit of an outcast due to her marriage to an unreliable young man,is hired as a translator for the crew.

This angers her father,whose wrath knows no bounds as he is determined to drive away the newcomers and destroy their film project.

Despite this extra emotional burden,Irma is just as determined to use this new connection to find a purpose in her already chaotic life. This look at a look inside a closed society and it's effects on one woman offers plenty of opportunity for real as well as fictitious insight into this seemingly inaccessible world(Sept):

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides follows the path of Madeleine and Mitchell,two people who met while in college during the 1980s and wound up going in very opposite directions in life.

As Madeleine pursues her love of literature,which takes a rather conflicting turn, and a new but unstable lover named Leonard Bankhead,Mitchell leaves his studies in divinity school to walk the earth as a true pilgrim. Even when experiencing spiritual insights in Mother Theresa's Calcutta,Mitchell fervently believes that he and Madeleine are destined to be together again one day.

Eugenides is known for his rather unique approach to story telling and while this new novel may seem conventional,there's no doubt that there is more to this coming of age love story than meets the eye(Oct).

Speaking of traditional sounding stories,Chris Bojahlian takes on the haunted house genre in The Night Strangers. When airline pilot Chip Linton moved his family to an old Victorian mansion in a quiet town out in New Hampshire,he felt safe from the media circus hounding him about the flight he survived that took dozens of lives.

Chip's sanity was also a near casualty of that tragic encounter but unfortunately he chose the wrong house to recover from those horrors in. Hidden passage ways,gruesome ghostly visitors and a dark history of the household all combine to make the Lintons life a new sort of hell on earth.

It will be interesting to see how this classic formula will turn out under Bohjalian's imaginative direction(Oct):


If you're in the mood for some offbeat short stories,there are two upcoming anthologies that should peak your interest. First up is Down These Strange Streets,which has on it's roster such well known paranormal writers as Patricia Briggs,Charlaine Harris and Carrie Vaughn along with a few others you may like to meet like Lisa Tuttle,Laurie R. King and Joe R. Lansdale.

Edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois,this pack of urban fantasy tales should have something for everybody to savor. From Sherlock Holmes to Sookie Stackhouse,this book is an open invite to the paranormal party(Oct).

For Jane Austen fans,this set of stories that pay homage to Our Dear Jane is a treat well worth savoring. Jane Austen Made Me Do It not only has specially written works by some of today's best Regency inspired authors like Lauren Willig,Stephanie Barron and Syrie James,it will also have a short story contributed by the winner of the contest held earlier this year via the Republic of Pemberley.

Edited by prominent Austen blogger Laurel Ann Nattress,this book is bound to be the delight of the season for those who endeavor to recapture the magic of Austen's words as much as we can(Oct):

Happy reading,folks and remember that the need to read is one addiction for which there is no cure and hopefully there never will be:

Friday, August 26, 2011

We swat away the end of Bad Movie Month with Mansquito

As our salute to SyFy Channel movies draw to a close,I must say something in favor of today's creature feature Mansquito(aka Mosquito Man). Unlike most of the made for TV/home video flicks that we've seen thus far,the budget for this monster movie clearly had more than the usual $1.50 to spend.

Yes,folks,Mansquito must have had three whole dollars in order to afford the likes of Corin Nemec as the leading man here. He plays a cop who happens to be dating a sexy scientist(Musetta Vander)that happens to researching a cure for the vicious strain of West Nile virus spreading around the world.

By sheer coincidence,the lab where our lady scientist is working at decides to use a death row prisoner to experiment on(a guy that went to prison due to the detective work of her boyfriend-wow,yet another coincidence!)and of course,the prisoner attempts to break free and winds up blowing up part of the lab where Scientist Lady is zapping mosquitoes(yep,the coincidences keep on coming there,folks)

Death Row Guy then morphs in Mansquito,a giant bug man who drains the blood out of nearly every human he encounters. While his transformation is quick and gross,Scientist Lady starts going through a few slow and scary changes of her own which are not pretty for her to feel or us to watch:

It takes quite awhile before Cop Boyfriend catches onto the whole mutant bug man deal,mainly because he's so busy with showing up at crime scenes and making scowls before giving out orders and taking off(you could play a drinking game based on the number of times someone asks him "Where are you going?").

Eventually,he realizes that Scientist Lady is starting to literally bug out and takes her to a hospital where he insists that she'll be safe from the clutches of Mansquito,who is just wanting for her to turn into his Frankenstein's Bride.

Naturally,that plan goes right out the window as our mutant mosquito man is not only bulletproof but drinks enough blood to grow wings(so not kidding about this one,I assure you):

A major showdown does occur,pitting Cop Boyfriend and Scientist Lady/Mosquito Woman against the Big Bug Man down in the sewer system for some reason. It's hard to decide which is more amusing:the crazy red eyes of Scientist Lady as she mutates,the lumbering stance of the poor guy in the Mansquito suit or the constant urge to shout out "Parker Lewis can't lose!" every time Nemec appears on screen:

This wraps up our Bad Movie Month for 2011 and thank you all for partaking in this glorious experience. Themes for next year's BBM are under consideration and suggestions are always welcome. Until then,keep that bug repellent close at hand because you never know when you're going to need it:

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A second serving of Top Chef :Just Desserts,a double Design Star elimination and witchy warfare on True Blood

The second season of Top Chef:Just Desserts had the new crew of contenders meet up at a malt shop for their first Quickfire Challenge. They had to work in teams of two to whip a modern take on soda shop favorites,something that was harder than it seemed to be.

The winners for this round were Amanda and Nelson,who made a chocolate sponge cake served with pistachios and pickled cherries. Those pickled cherries added a nice little twang to the dish,which the judges loved,and gave them both of immunity for the first Elimination Challenge-talk about sweet!

This was another team challenge,with four groups formed to create a showpiece based upon a classic fairytale,along with two desserts that tied into the story.

All of this was to be presented and served at a costume ball for 150 people,including the full panel of regular judges(Gail,Johnny,Danielle and Hubert Keller)who dressed up for the occasion. The guests appeared to be having fun and Judge Gail looked smashing in her red cloak.

Some of the showpieces(and theme treats)worked better than others. Team Jack and the Beanstalk,however,wasn't one of them.

Craig tried to make a good beanstalk but the ladies on his team eventually took over. It looked great from the front yet once you saw the back of that things,all the flaws were exposed,much like a starlet emerging from a limo in a short dress and no panties.

The desserts they made didn't help them out any either-sweet pea sorbet sounds good in theory but apparently not in practice or on the spoon.

The best showpiece of the bunch,in my opinion,was the one made by Team Goldilocks and the Three Bears. It was artistic without sacrificing the simplicity of the story. Anyone taking an objective look at that could easily tell what fairy tale it was.

Team Goldilocks was also smart about their desserts. One was a bear based mix of berries and cake with honey ice cream and the other offered up a sweet version of "baby bear" porridge in a rice pudding style.

Rebecca was nervous about the porridge,particularly when her team mate Orlando(who worked on the showpiece)convinced her to use cut oats instead of rice. Orlando's advice was sound and so was the end result.

The win,however,went to Team Red Riding Hood who did make a very good showpiece. The sugar figurine of Little Red Riding Hood had some nice suggestion of movement to it and the overall effect was great but I still think the Goldilocks one was on another level there.

What earned that team this victory was the accompanying desserts,I suspect. The judges flipped over the bombolini that was rose scented and served with tapioca. It also came with a mini strawberry gel dispenser which added a nifty interactive element to the whole dish.

The team on the bottom and up for elimination was the Hansel and Gretel group. For some bizarre reason,Lina refused to make a gingerbread or even a candy house which is like someone saying "That Snow White centerpiece doesn't need an apple!" What was she thinking?

Melissa objected strongly to that as well as Lina's insistence on making a cake base for the showpiece and she was right,edible display items like this are supposed to be chocolate and sugar only.

Their desserts didn't make sense either. One of them had smoked pineapple and the fella who made that claimed he was trying to capture a "forest" feeling to it. Judge Johnny asked him "Do pineapples grow in your forest?" Good one there,Johnny! Lina was sent home,mainly due to her argumentative nature and for once,I'm glad to see a competition show get rid of a really annoying person right from the start.

Well,things should get even more interesting from here on out. Next week, the competition truly gets heated as a cake display challenge has to deal with warm temperatures. Hope no one has a major meltdown!

The gang on Design Star got to work on an actual person's home as their challenge was to make over several rooms in a house nominated for the network's HGTV'ed series.

Meg had the landing and the foyer to upgrade and while her row of wall lanterns down stairs was a nice touch,the upstairs looked underdone. She's a sweet gal but she does tend to get flustered easily.

Mark,on the other hand,aced his reworking of the living room and dining room. He built a small dividing wall between the spaces as well as put together a great art piece for the living room using a stack of old records that the home owner was happy to have incorporated into the design.

The big winner this week was Karl,who finally got a chance to fully strut his stuff.

The master bed room was greatly transformed,thanks to the textured headboard and window extension treatments that he did,not to mention finding a chandelier that both the husband and wife of the household would be satisfied with.

Good going,Karl! Glad to see you do well on your own here and I hope you keep raising the bar for every challenge.

Two contenders were sent home this time and the first one to go was Leslie. She had one of the children's bedrooms and the parents mentioned that the little boy who it was for liked to perform in front of others.

Leslie had a little stage built,which was nice,but the curtain put up for it appeared to have been snatched from the bathroom shower. Also,there were too many mismatched items crammed in there,giving it a chaotic effect to the room. Two year olds create enough chaos on their own without a designer cranking it up there.

Kevin joined her,due to his family room that had seating issues. The revamp to the fireplace with the homeowner's painting mounted above it was excellent but the wrap around sofa he bought for the room didn't make that area the main focal point,which it should have been.

Another odd choice was the coffee table that Kevin placed in front of the fireplace. With no proper seating arranged by it,that table made no sense in that space.

I really thought Kellie was going to leave instead of Kevin,since she loused up the other kid's bedroom big time.

Word of advice,hon: when a six year old asks for bunk beds and a locker room design,he doesn't mean "make an over-sized bed with a crawlspace and tack up some wooden crates on the wall",which you did!

You claimed that you didn't want the room to look dated as the boy got older but a smart shopping trip to a home office store would've shown you some nice mini lockers perfect for storage up to his college years. Sorry,Kellie,but you really dropped the ball on this one.

Next week,the remaining designers have to do a demo on the Nate Berkus show and hopefully by now,they have their camera personae honed down well:

On True Blood,as Lafayette and Jesus work out a Ghost Whisperer situation and Jessica gets over Hoyt by hooking up with Jason, Marnie's witches are having second thoughts about waging war on the vampires after their big confrontation.

Even Tara is reconsidering her position on the matter and tries to lead a walk out but Marnie/Antonia is deaf to any dissension in the ranks,so she locks them in the Moon Goddess shop with her magic. Sookie shows up later to rescue Eric(with a clearly devious Debbie acting as her assistant) and while she can't save Eric,Tara is able to let her in on Marnie/Antonia's next plan of action:

Marnie/Antonia intends to have King Bill killed at the big Tolerance event in town,using Eric as his executioner. Under the direction of the spell he's under,Eric manages to lure a few of the security vampires on duty away from their posts in order to be magically recruited to the cause.

As Sookie manages to make her way through the crowded room to Bill,all hell breaks loose and it's too soon to tell what bodies will be hitting the floor for good here:


THE SOUP: Even during the midst of summer reruns and limited run series,this show keeps on stirring the best of the midsummer muck. We really should be grateful,since this is way better than actually watching the likes of Jersey Shore:

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Why is Gillian Anderson so picture perfect in period films?

Early news about Masterpiece Classic's schedule for 2012 includes a major casting tidbit about their upcoming programs designed to celebrate Charles Dickens' bicentennial birthday. A new version of Great Expectations is set for next April with Gillian Anderson playing the resentful eternal bride-to-be,Miss Havisham.

Anderson is no stranger to Masterpiece productions,not only from her Emmy nominated role as Lady Dedlock in Bleak House,having been a hostess of the show during it's Complete Jane Austen series a couple of years back:

For many actors,coming off of such a genre based hit show like The X-Files would have made any attempts at breaking out of the sci-fi mold next to impossible yet Anderson has been more than able to make a distinct mark elsewhere. She seems particularly at home in films set back in the past,leading a distinguishing air to the proceedings with ease.

We first saw this in the theatrical version of Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth in 2000,a film wasn't as appreciated then as it is now. Some may have thought the production too prim and proper in tone but Anderson fully embodied the charming yet clueless Lily Bart rather well.

Her simple yet subtle portrayal of a socially ambitious young woman who is her own worst enemy could have easily stepped out from the pages of Wharton's book:

Her acting talents are a plus,no doubt about it. However,it helps Anderson out quite a bit that she has such a versatile physical appearance that makes it readily believable to see her as a character from the Victorian era of London,Old New York or even the 1930s.

Most recently,she played Wallis Simpson in PBS's miniseries Any Human Heart and while Anderson is recognizable in the role,her facial features lend them credibly to being a mirror image of the infamous Duchess of Windsor:

Her most recent period piece performance has not been shown in America yet and I hope that our wait for the BBC adaptation of The Crimson Petal and the White is not too long indeed.

Based upon Michael Faber's absorbing epic novel,Anderson plays Mrs. Castaway,the eccentric but scheming brothel madam who is reluctant to part with her prize girl Sugar to lovestruck client William Rackam,not for a good price at least. With any luck,this oddly passionate drama will reach our shores as well as our TV sets,chalking up another winning Gillian Anderson piece of the past on film:

In the meantime,we have the delights of her Miss Havisham to savor next spring and the glory of her other Dickensian character to relish on home video. Gillian Anderson may have seemed to be the most unlikely darling of the period piece set but she has truly earned her place in the PBS pantheon and beyond. Long may this dark queen of drama reign:

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A look at the belles of the ball at this year's VMAs

Coming up sooner than you think,the MTV Video Music Awards are planning to hold their biggest celebration yet. Jam packed with major live performances and special surprises,such as a sneak peek at the film version of Hunger Games,this show promises to be quite the show stopper.

While I'm not the most musically adept person on the block,some of the singers up for a Moonman are familiar to me(for reasons good and bad)and I thought it would be fun as well as funky to shift the spotlight onto some of the top females nominated and/or performing that night. Nothing against the fellas but girl power is gold for venues like this:

Yes,it's Britney!

Britney is not only up for two awards for her "Til the World Ends" video,a special tribute to her career is planned as well. I suppose that highlighting her accomplishments is warranted at this moment in time,considering that she's made a decent comeback from the wackiness phase of her life.

As for the video itself,the story line appears to offer the perfect solution to the possible doomsday predictions for 2012;slip off to an underground dance party with Britney and friends,aka back-up dancers. Not exactly the stuff that Michael Bay movies are made up of but any port in a storm,as they say:

The Art of Adele

This is one lady whose dance card has been extremely full this year. She's nominated for several VMAs,including Best Video of the Year for her hit single "Rolling in the Deep."

Adele's bluesy vocals are top notch and the minimalism tone of the video allows you to be truly enraptured by this lyrical tribute to heartbreak. I personally hopes she wins big time here,allowing real talent to get it's proper due:

All hail the mighty Minaj

Nicki Minaj's star continues to rise as she is nominated for three VMAs,including both Best Female Video and Best Hip-Hop for her song "Super Bass".

Nicki's duet with Drake for "Moment 4 Life" is up for Best Collaboration as well and the two of them do make a lovely pair(music wise,that is. No gossip from this girl about any other connection between them).

Nicki Minaj not only has the swiftness of her vocal style but the solid singing voice of an artist who can become more than a flashy one note diva.

Her off beat fashion choices and pop culture friendly persona are also engaging yet you can sense that she has her feet firmly on the ground enough that she's in no danger of being overwhelmed by artifice. "Moment 4 Life" has a sweet Cinderella vibe to it that is not at all sappy and can be safely recommended by four of five dentists for their patients who chew gum while listening to music:

And then there's GaGa

The big news is that Lady GaGa will be the opening act for the VMAs this year,with plenty of speculation about what song she'll be performing and just how strange her act is going to be.

While "Born This Way" and "Judas" are the videos up for awards here, odds are that GaGa may select "You and I" as her big number since the official video has just been released.

While that video seems overloaded with more bizarre images than even expected for her,what I get out of that whole mix is some sort of tribute to a former lover who grew up in the Midwest and her desire to have been his personal playmate back in the days of his experimental youth. That's my best guess,anyway:

Good luck,gals and best of luck to the gents as well. Guys,one word of advice-if you really want to make an impact,Muppets are the way to go,OK?(apologies for the shameless pun there):