Mel Gibson

GIBSON DOES CANNES CANNES --We've shied away from entering the Le Gibson-fiasco because I believe that it's a fight where there's no clear winner ... only losers. Obviously, Mel has some issues and whatever he's doing, or done, doesn't seem to be working. That said, his new movie The Beaver directed by Jodie Foster , though not ratcheting up any impressive numbers at the theaters here, has nonetheless gone onto receiving some pretty impressive praise from the movie critics and industry persons in Cannes. Tuesday night was the night of the film's premiere and Gibson, a last minute appearance at the fete received a 10-minute ovation, and almost unanimous praise for his role in the film. The prolonged and tumultuous reception for him and Foster was the talk of the Croisette that night. He wasn't even a definite to show but he hit the red carpet and even generated applause at the film's end. One prominent producer in the audience there said she thought Gibson was amazing in the film and “If people didn't hate him so much he'd be winning awards for this.” She also added that the tabloids abroad have been equally as rough on him as the ones here. I'm still troubled by what's been played out in the media, but I've got to admit, he's one terrific actor … and, always has been. One of my favorites of his is Peter Weir's The Year of Living Dangerously (1982) with Sigourney Weaver and Linda Hunt; just an outstanding movie. And, that first Lethal Weapon movie, near the end of the movie when he breaks down at his wife's grave … just sensational. I haven't seen The Beaver yet … but, I will.


Forest Whitaker

TV BATTLEFIELD --- As the Upfronts continue this week, the TV-field is literally littered with 29 canceled show; among them, Forest Whitaker's Criminal Mind:Suspicious Behavior, which was somewhat of a surprise. The show started strong, then faltered … then came back in the last few weeks with some rather scintillating acting and writing. And, don't forget, it was a mid-season replacement to start with! Christian Slater's third series in a row to get the ax … might be back after all. A well-coordinated efforts by the audience and some industry folk is making Fox take another look. And, last night's finale of The Good Wife was just terrific; in many ways, maybe the best episode of this current season. Superlative work all ... and, last night's episode showcased the terrific Josh Charles. We're still sullen over CBS' axing of The Defenders with Jim Belushi and Jerry O'Connell … some other network should pick this one up … maybe even TNT! And, just in case you didn't realize the severity of this week's presentations, via Nikki Finke in Deadline Hollywood: “Just about everyone says that the 2011 Upfront ad sales season will be a record breaker; Barclays Capital analyst Anthony DiClemente expects advertisers to commit about $9.2 billion from prime ad spots at ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC this next season beginning in September. That's up 7.5% vs. last year and will beat 2008's record 8.8. billion. He also adds that this will be the first year buyers will spend an equal amount on all of cable, up 15%.” But, don't kid yourself … the quality that existed decades ago is no longer there. Today, a new show will know its fate within 2 weeks … don't believe it? Just ask Paul Reiser; Matthew Perry;and Don Johnson. Man, it's a minefield out there!



WELL DONE MS. SMITH --- Via Emily Smith in PAGE SIX: Are there any real hip-hop stars left without a vodka brand? SNL's Andy Samberg and his Lonely Island posse have signed on as creative directors of Diageo's Rokk Vodka. New Yorkers who've noticed ads for their new album Turtleneck and Chain, may have thought Rokk was a joke since the beverage appears in campaigns for the new album. Akon and Rihanna are also featured in their ads. Gotta' get me a vodka brand to endorse!!! How about Times Square Gossip Vodka?


STEVENS AN IRIDIUM --- One of our favorites around here, singer/songwriter Larry Stevens, will appear at NYC's Iridium, Tuesday, June 7 (7:00PM), with his band comprising, Van Manakas, Liberty DeVitto, and Muddy Shews. Stevens, a dynamic singer and songwriter has 3 sensational albums to his credit: Heart of a Fighter; Downstair's at Mayors; and his newest Mercer Street. Expect to see Steve Walter and PR-guru David Salidor front-and-center. Check our Stevens for sure!


Priscilla Queen Of The Desert

PRISCILLA UNION -- And, what's this about the Broadway's Priscilla heading to an arbitration showdown over the production's use of taped music, as well as the number of musicians employed at each performance? This is the latest salvo in an ongoing and often bitter war between Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians which reps Broadway musicians and Broadway producers. The union went on strike in 2003 over the minimum number of musicians required for specific Broadway theaters. That dispute resulted in the shuttering down of almost of Broadway musicals for close to a week at a loss of several millions dollars. For the Palace Theatre, Priscilla's home on Broadway, the previous minimum number of musicians was 24; after the 2003 negotiations, the number went down to 18. Currently, Priscilla has nine. My take is that it's rather ironic they picked this show;with singer Bette Midler is one of the producers. I predict a quick fine will be paid; they'll add some more musicians and move on. In these down-trodden economic days ... no one wants to be out of work. We'll let you know what happens.

The hearing will take place in June and is the latest salvo in an ongoing and sometimes bitter war between Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians, which represents Broadway musicians, and Broadway producers.

The union went on strike in 2003 over the minimum number of musicians required for specific Broadway theatres. That dispute resulted in the shutting down of almost all Broadway musicals for close to a week at a loss of several million dollars. For the Palace Theatre, Priscilla’s home on Broadway, the previous minimum number of musicians was 24. After the 2003 negotiations, that number went down to 18. Priscilla has nine.