Grammys and Milk
Unless there's a scandal. I love a good scandal, which is why I couldn't resist that Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan face-off a couple weeks back. Although I was hoping for Jerry Springer-type results, it was exceedingly anticlimatic and I tuned it out early, thinking Kerrigan a tad smug and Harding too embarrassingly dense for words. I was therefore bouyed to see the Ross Regbagliati drug test flap occur.
Canadian Regbagliati won his gold medal for snowboarding then had it taken away when he tested positive for marijuana (he got it back). Snowboarding. The word "marginal" just barely doesn't fit the "sport," and it is my contention this "sport" was likely thought up by people who were stoned, so it makes perfect sense to me the participants get high. How it ever got approved as a competitive event is beyond me, though, since I would vote on having boogie-boarding considered for competition. All in all, Olympics coverage just ensures I am tuned in elsewhere. Like TMC or AMC.
Or to the Grammys. I have been waiting since I started this column last April for two television events: The Grammys and the Oscars. Right now it's Grammy time.
At least it will be Wednesday night (2/25, 7pm CBS), and we might even get to see a few of our own march across the stage to clutch the little statuettes. Shawn Colvin is up for Record of the Year plus a host of other categories for A Few Small Repairs, including Song of the Year. (We'd like to see you do well but, Shawn honey, you live here in Austin — act like it. We know you're about to have a baby but you've been here for a while. You rarely go out or participate locally or act like Austin is anything but the third line of an address form to fill out. You might be doing well now and it's fun to say you live here but it's tough to stay on top. One of the nice things about Austin is that it loves its musicians long after their last album stiffed or when they appear on Elmopalooza (2/20, 7pm ABC) but not if the only use the musician has for Austin is to say "I live in 78704." Hang out once in a while; we like you.)
Here's big points for the Austin Music Network for having zeroed in on Erykah Badu almost two years ago. Today, the Dallas chanteuse is up for Best New Artist, Best R&B Song, Best R&B Album, and Best Female R&B Vocal. Back then, AM15's Tim Hamblin waved her video at me and said, "this one is going places." Indeed. I was in hysterics the first time I heard her sing "Tyrone," high-fived the TV and called up a friend to spread the gospel.
It's a bit of a stretch to call Abra Moore a hometown girl but the Hawaii native has definitely put in her time here since her days with Poi Dog Pondering. However, her nomination for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance on "Four Leaf Clover" from Strangest Places is the most "Austin" nomination, since she lives here (and we see her around), wrote it here, and recorded it on AristaAustin. (While visiting Seattle in December, my 10-year-old niece Kristin became so enchanted by Moore's CD, I gave her my copy. When I was taking pictures of the kids later, Kristin held it up in every shot until I had to make her to put it away.)
This is not to overlook the male Texas artists nominated — Eric Johnson, Pantera, Kirk Franklin, Willie Nelson, Asleep at the Wheel (yeah, I know — Cindy Cashdollar), Lee Roy Parnell, or La Mafia, among others, but I thought last year was a particularly strong year for women recording. It'll be interesting to see if Marcia Ball, Irma Thomas, and Tracy Nelson get nominated next year for Sing It!
On a totally unrelated note, the Rolling Stones are nominated in Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal for "Anybody Seen My Baby?" and Best Rock Album for Bridges to Babylon. (I sat on the 12th row at their show last week in Houston for thebest Stones show I ever saw.)
Local theatre-goers know Barbara Chisholm as an award-winning stage actress around town. Around here, we know her as the wife of arts editor Robert Faires. Chisholm came sailing down the hall the other day and whooshed past my office door with a dazzling smile. Then, as if in a scene from a movie, she glided backward, removed her sunglasses with a dramatic flourish, and stared at me and officemate Marjorie Baumgarten incredulously. "Helen Hunt????" Chisholm almost choked. This required not one word of explanation. "Minnie Driver???" I sputtered, equally aghast. Three voices rose, squawking in protest and thus begins the road to the Oscars.
Ever since Marisa Tomei won for My Cousin Vinny, the barndoor swung open for young actresses with limited histories to get nominated for borderline acting. I like most of these actress but neither Best Supporting Actress nominee Driver in Good Will Huntingnor Best Actress nominee Hunt in Twister did anything that even remotely approaches acting. Their naturalness before the camera is charming and a refreshing contrast to the wooden, don't-we-look-good presence of actresses like Cameron Diaz but it's not acting. How could anyone who saw Pam Grier in Jackie Brown go for Hunt? And the conventional office wisdom is that Supporting Actress Kim Basinger got nominated mostly because audiences were bowled over she wasn't gawd-awful in L.A. Confidential.
It's not hard to see where this is all leading. Maybe I'll get Chisholm to put together a Chronicle viewer's handicap form for the Oscars. But first I have to get through the Grammys, praying Fiona Apple doesn't win so we're spared another earnest-but-pointless speech from the bug-eyed nominee. Fat chance.