1 Comment · Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Though we’re only about seven weeks into
2013, many of this year’s top stories (or, rather, the stories the media
has made into “top stories”) share a common thread — often, people are
not what they seem.
by Jac Kern
at 02:19 PM | Permalink
Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings
Bowl was arguably one of the most entertaining sporting events for even the
most athletically clueless. Admittedly, I fall into that category — this was
probably the most recent football game I’ve watched since last year’s SB — and generally
watch for the commercials and half-time show/to justify eating my weight in
cheese and crackers/to feel like a real American. But from on-field brawls and
the post-Beyonce power outage to the tense final minutes of the game, this shit
show was truly a spectacle! Bravo, NFL. Bravo, America.
half-time extravaganza was flawless, lip-synching or not. She booty-popped her
way through a handful of hits and even summoned recently-reunited Destiny’s
Children Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams (no, not her)
to perform a couple classics in coordinating outfits (obvs). Kelly was looking extra fabulous and, as a friend pointed out, that's really saying something about a chick dancing alongside Beyonce.
Michelle, as always, played the cute third wheel role. It appeared that her mic
was off for half of her time onstage, which was probably the stipulation for
Beyonce even allowing Michelle to be included in the reunion. DC superfan note:
Michelle always gets the shaft.
Hours after the
epic, show-stopping (literally — you know Bey caused that outage) show, Beyonce’s
summer tour was announced: The Mrs. Carter Show. Be still, my heart.
For those who care
even less about football than me but still want to check out the over-hyped
commercials, see a roundup here.
30 Rock came to a bittersweet end Thursday. Tina
Fey’s hit changed the comedy landscape and the way we look at snack foods (I’ll
never eat a cupcake the same way again!). Take one last jaunt through TGS memory
lane with every trucker hat
Frank wore throughout the series.
While Girls’ Lena Dunham is still new to the
TV scene, the love-her-or-hate-her writer/director/producer/actress will embark
on a new HBO series with Girls co-executive producer Jenni Konner.
Conan O’Brien a
certified comedy demigod — one of the most beloved late night hosts of the 21st
century. Despite the buzzed-about drama with Jay Leno and Conan’s move to TBS,
the show retained its core audience and it’s clear people still love them some
Coco. And, after watching last week’s Occupy Conan episode, it’s clear Coco
loves us, too. Back in November, the late night host announced he’d present a
fan-generated episode. Viewers were invited to re-imagine their own episode based on the Aug. 16, 2011 show with Anne Hathaway and Fun. Tons of original
content was submitted and mashed together to create an epically weird and
hilarious version of that episode. “Occupy Conan” featured animations,
live-action interpretations, puppets and even submissions from the likes of
Tina Fey, Fred Armisen and Joel McHale. I hadn’t actually seen the original
episode, which is unfortunate as Anne Hathaway gave the most WTF-worthy rap
performance only a white girl could pull off (or not — you decide). I wouldn’t
be surprised if this becomes a new TV trend for shows with particularly
ambitious/obsessed fans. Check out the full fan-sourced episode here.
homeless hitchhiker news: A delusional man in Fresno, Calif., claiming he was Jesus,
purposely hit a PG&E worker with his car. Thankfully, help was on the scene:
by Jac Kern
Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings
President Barack Obama’s second inauguration or, as it will be remembered,
Michelle Obama’s Bang-auguration
or, perhaps, Beyonce-gate.
I think we can all
agree that most of the event was kind of coma-inducing, right Sasha?
Between all the
swearing-ins and speeches, frozen onlookers and viewers at home were treated to
James Taylor singing “America the Beautiful” and (OK) Kelly Clarkson’s
rendition of “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” (meh). Richard Blanco became the first
Hispanic and openly gay as well as the youngest Inauguration poet (pretty cool,
I guess). Sadly, we didn’t get any true diva moments a la Aretha Franklin’s
iconic hat game
of 2009. Of course, not until Beyonce
took the stage for the National Anthem.
Editor’s Note: I really try to not constantly cover
the Beyonce beat, but she keeps being fabulous every damn week.
So Ms. Bey comes
out with a chic black dress, emerald earrings and her weave on-point, and belted out a fabulous National Anthem with enough flair but not too much
Christina Aguilerizing. Joe Biden was all over that shit.
wouldn’t be a true BK moment without a little drama, she ripped out her
earpiece mid-way through, and just kept on going. Note to self: sporadically
rip out earpieces more often in everyday life to show when I mean business. I’m
not sure if anyone really knows what that move means, but within 24 hours of
the Inauguration, everyone went from discussing Michelle’s bangs to accusing
Beyonce of lip synching the performance. Blasphemy! Beyonphemy!
Here’s a raw cut
of her singing via Vanity Fair.
It sounds like may
be singing with a backing track, which I feel like is fair game when performing
in front of a gigantic crowd. But if that’s lip-synching, Bey deserves an
award. That’s the most convincing lip synching I’ve ever seen, and I was the
first place winner for SharonFest’s 1999 “Puttin’ on the Hits” lip synch contest.
From diva drama to
sports scandals, Notre Damer Manti Te’o has been all over the news for the past
week. I don’t follow sports closely enough to have known about Te’o and his
epically tragic story of losing both his grandmother and girlfriend on Sept. 11, 2012 and then immediately hitting the
field and leading the Irish to beat Michigan 20-3. But people love a good,
sappy sports story, so I can understand why the story would get picked
up by Sports Illustrated. This was back in fall 2012, and the story probably
fell off most people's radar within a month or two. But Deadspin
followed up on the story and, in this INSANE investigative piece, discovered that, basically, the “girlfriend” in question never existed,
Te’o got catfished and was probably in on the whole thing. You've heard all about it on the news, but the details in the Deadspin story are absolutely cray.
Our editor Danny
is all about Jose Canseco’s unintentionally hilarious Twitter, but Sammy Sosa is beginning to take the lead in
the battle for the strangest social media accounts. Completely ignoring the
fact that he’s got some kind of Vitiligo thing going on, Sammy’s
Pinterest and Twitter are odd in their own respects. His Twitter info reads: "I
am the real Sammy Sosa. I will always love baseball, but now I'm a businessman
and entrepreneur." And it appears he responds to every tweet that so much as
mentions his name. Over on Pinterest, a site used primarily by women to “pin” and share everything
from recipes and DIY projects to fashion tips and fitness inspiration, Mr. Sosa
has turned it into his personal portrait portfolio.
Yes, most of the images he’s
pinned are photographs of himself posing around various office furniture. Each one is titled, “Sammy Sosa. Yes, I'm the real Sammy Sosa, and this is my Pinterest.”
Every Thursday I
watch Project Runway with my
boyfriend Jeff and our friend John. The design competition (which now, thanks
to Project Runway reboots, is always
on in some capacity, every single week) is on Lifetime, certainly a
female-targeted channel, as embarrassing as that may be for the female population. Additionally, I’d bet PR would draw mostly women on any
channel, and one could tell be just the commercials alone. First off, every
other ad is for Yoplait. The other half can be divided between Weigh Watchers, NuvaRing
and Tampax. Really, what else does a modern woman need? Yahoo (via Bust) has
the answer to this question:
Harmonie Korine‘s latest flick Spring Breakers finally has a trailer out and
never before have you so seriously wanted to see a movie starring ex-Disney starlets and Kevin Federline.
Somehow the Vice
(NSFW) did not make the preview, but they do have a confirmed role in the film.
Normally when a
show gets a One Million Moms protest, I want to watch it even more, but I can officially say for the first
time that I am agreement with these crazy bitches. Oxygen has pulled All My Babies’ Mamas, a reality show that was going to follow rapper Shawty
Lo and the 11 kids he had with 10 different women. Though we’ll never get to
see how the show turned out, it sounds like an extended version of the “Family
Flavors” episode of Flavor of Love. On second
thought, I kinda want to see it now…
And since it’s my
dream to be ?uestlove’s baby mama, here he is with Captian Kirk Douglas as Black
Simon and Garfunkel on Late Night with Jimmy
by Jac Kern
Posted In: TV/Celebrity
at 02:04 PM | Permalink
Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings
historically be an unlucky number, but we’re all sure to be blessed with pop
culture gold this year. Sure, Heidi and Spencer are back on TV and Kim
Kardashian is cooking up a baby with Kanye West — don’t run for the hills quite
yet. The fact that the New Year was rung in by a washed up Jamie Kennedy
and a stoned Macy Gray on this low-budge Los Angeles NYE show
has to be a good sign of what hot messes are to come. Here’s a peek at what’s to come in 2013. Many spoilers
lie ahead; proceed at your own risk.
This Sunday, the
Golden Globes (aka the one show where TV and movie stars mingle while drunk) will be hosted by women for the first time ever! OK, the show has only had an
official host since 2010, but it’s been Ricky Gervais every year since. This time around,
dynamic duo Tina Fey and Amy Poehler run the show. The pair have a long
history, back to their improv days at Second City in the ‘90s. Over the past
decade+ they’ve proven their comedic chemistry on Saturday Night Live and in Baby
Mama, but they’re also awesome in their respective rights, as seen on 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation. Check out some of my unlikely-but-hopeful Golden
Globes picks here.
calendar may deem 2013 the Year of the Snake, but according to my diva calendar,
this is definitely the Year of Beyonce. The musical maven, who just celebrated
baby Blue Ivy’s first birthday with hubby and baby daddy Jay-Z, is set to sing
the national anthem at President Obama’s inauguration Jan. 21. Next, she’ll fly
down to New Orleans to headline the Super Bowl halftime show
on Feb. 3. Bey is rumored to perform with a reunited Destiny’s Child (FINALLY)
and the Hov. Just two weeks later, HBO will premiere Queen B’s full-length documentary
on Feb. 16. The Bey-directed doc touts a personal, never-before-seen look at
“Beyonce the person” (there’s no way she’s 100% human, but whatever) as opposed
to Sasha Fierce the performer. A few things I’m really hoping to see: Jay-Z
changing Blue’s Egyptian cotton diaper; Beyonce eating actual solid food; a
baby bump shot to put those pesky rumors to rest; at least 13 different
The Walking Dead returns to AMC for the second half of
Season Three on Feb. 10. We’ll pick up with the new Woodbury/prison storylines
introduced in early December’s mid-season finale. Fan fave Daryl has been
captured by the Governor, who places him in the demented fighting arena against
his brother Merle (who was pretty much presumed dead by the group after leaving
a trail of blood and sawed-off hand behind in Season One). Loyalties will
certainly be tested when the Dixon bros meet for the first time and, according
to this sneak peak, the Woodbury clan wants them to battle to the death. Back
at the prison, Rick questions his leadership role and Tyreese (a character
plucked from the comics) will step up as the group’s token black guy. On the other side of the camera, showrunner Glen Mazzara, who took over for
Frank Darabont after a rather sluggish second season, will be stepping down.
Some speculate the move may be due to a lackluster second half of this season,
but Mazzara, AMC and comic creator/exec producer Robert Kirkman all claim the
departure is on good terms.
We’ll see for ourselves next month; meanwhile, check out this preview:
At first glance, Game
of Thrones did not seem like my small screen cop o’ tea. I generally don’t read
or watch anything too fantastical/mythical (but bring on the zombies and True Blood), plus the number of
characters and settings almost make fictional family trees and note-taking a
must. Regardless of TV preferences, though, GoT
is an addictive epic. And on March 31, fans will return to Westeros for a third,
slightly super-sized season.
See, in the past, episodes were generally just more than 50 minutes long. This
season promises several eps as long as 57 minutes, ultimately adding up to almost a whole extra episode. Way too nerdy and nitpicky?
Well, that’s Thrones for you. But another
fun addition to this season is that fans can now drink along with the show as New York’s Brewery Ommegang
releases a series of Game of Thrones beer. The first, Iron Throne Blonde Ale, is set
to debut in time for the season premiere.
And speaking of TV
show beer tie-ins, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia will also get its own brew
with Aleman and Two Brothers Brewing Co.’s Dayman Coffee IPA, also slated to come out this
March. Let’s just hope the gang hasn’t touched the stuff.
And since you
can’t even read the word “Dayman” without singing:
Moving along to
May, you better scratch those Star Wars Day
and Cinco de Mayo plans. Cult hit Arrested
Development is coming back with a new season, to be released on Netflix in
its entirety on May 4. Of course, everyone is happy to have a little more Tobias Fünke in their
lives, but this is a huge, possibly telling move for television in general.
Plenty of failed shows gain a following after their demise on TV, but rarely do these
shows actually get picked up again, and certainly not 7 years after
cancellation. My only fear is super-fans’ high expectations will be hard to meet in just a single season. 'Til the release,
catch up on the series and look out for these Easter eggs.
After being pushed
from its original Christmas 2012 premiere date,
Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby will
hit theaters May 10. The director is known for his visually exciting films,
such at Romeo + Juliet (which starred
Gatsby himself, Leonardo DiCaprio) and Moulin
Rouge, and likes to blend contemporary music and themes in with those of
the films’ eras. For example, in the following trailer, Kanye West's “No Church in the Wild” juxtaposes the 1922 setting.
If that's not enough for ya, stay tuned for more 2013 pop culture previews for summer and fall.
by Jac Kern
Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings
convinced the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Will and Kate, rarely have physical contact and imagining their sexy
times is like picturing two pieces of notebook paper laying on a desk, I think it’s
safe to say Queen Elizabeth’s turkey baster procedure was a success, cause Royal
Baby Watch is upon us!
Duchess Kate was
hospitalized last week for Hyperemesis Gravidarum, which is pretty much a fancy way of
saying “bad baby morning barfs.” My professional opinion is that her tiny
12-year-old boy body has gone into shock now that it requires more than its
usual daily dose of three saltines and a grapefruit. Will and Kate’s baby is
approximately the size of a pea at this point and people are already putting
Kate’s nonexistent stomach under a microscope, asking absurd questions like "Could it be twins?"
And, ever the bastion of journalism, US
Weekly has a timeline of the duchess’ body changes over the past 10 years
See Kate’s shape transform from fettuccine to spaghetti to
spaghetti a la fetus before your eyes!
I’m rarely one to
say “poor princess” and I love a good celebrity pregnancy as much as the next
sad fool, but Kate's gone through more than a year of royal pressure to get knocked up, and now she is, but not even at the standard
pregnancy announcement 3-month mark yet. Let up on her womb, yo!
If Kate was like
us lowly commoners, she’d likely be Instagramming her tiny bump and tweeting
from inside the hospital (Nuthin 2 worry bout, just tummy troubles #preggers).
Call it over-sharing, but most people announce their
monumental life moments on social media. So, thankfully, if you were trying to
recall the major events you experienced this past year, Facebook has gone ahead
and just done it for ya. Just go to your page, click See your 2012 Year in
Review or go to facebook.com/yearinreview/[your Facebook url]. A slideshow of
photos you’ve been tagged in rotates above a list of friends you’ve added and
pages you’ve liked in the past 12 months. Scrolling further down, Facebook has
generated what it believes to be the 20 “biggest moments” from your year,
including status updates, photos and links. I’m assuming those who’ve posted
about starting a new job, getting engaged/married, moving to a new city or
having a baby — royal or otherwise — would see those types of announcements
highlighted, but for losers like me that just incessantly post pointless crap,
this feature is pretty damn funny.3/20 "biggest moments" of my year include fictional characters and alcohol.
Social media is
more than just a place to show off how great your life is to all your lame high
school friends #thankful. It’s also a platform to reach out to public figures
and celebrities. And while a member of Smash Mouth probably doesn’t fall into
either category in the year 2012, Jon Hedren became determined to get a
response from the band once Smash Mouth got a verified Twitter account in 2011.
Now, for those who
don’t remember, Smash Mouth was a San Jose-based Pop/Rock band that provided
songs for every major movie trailer and/or film credits in the late ‘90s-early
‘00s (Mystery Men, Shrek, Rat Race, Inspector Gadget —
and that’s just “All Star”). They also mastered the art of the pencil-thin chin
Holy shit, it’s
multiple silly messages to the band, but the one stood out:
After hundreds of
retweets, the dumb challenge turned into a pledge to raise money for charity —
all if lead singer Steve Harwell would eat a giant plate of eggs. Weeks later,
a San Jose music venue promoter reached out to Jon after talking the challenge
over with Harwell. More than $100,000 was raised for St. Jude’s and the Smash
Mouth dude agreed to scarf some eggs at the nearby opening of a Guy Feiri
restaurant. Best team-up ever, right? As Jon describes in his Vice story, “Guy and Steve were supposedly
old friends and not actually the same man, despite the exact same fashion sense
and divorced dad aura.”
Go here to read
the full first-hand account of how this guy got the Smash Mouth guy to accept
an eating challenge.
Everyone knows a
good way for an actor to clinch an Oscar nom is by dropping or gaining a ton of
weight. By those standards, the stars of Dallas
Buyer’s Club, due in theaters in 2013, should be racking up the awards next year
because they’re giving a new name to manorexia. Matthew McConaughey, who plays Ron
Woodruff — a Texan who contracted HIV in the ‘80s — has been
photographed in various stages of emaciation
over the past few months (a stark contrast to his recent beefy Magic Mike look).
And Jared Leto, portraying a transgendered woman with AIDS, recently posed for
photographer Terry Richardson’s camera. I mean, way to commit to your craft but dude is cartoon skinny — like, he
disappears when he turns to the side.
In Beyonce news,
which should always be its own category, Mrs. Jay-Z is set to perform the
halftime show at Super Bowl XLVII, she just signed a major deal with Pepsi and
has directed, produced and starred in her own documentary, premiering on HBO
Feb. 16. Sounds like 2013 will be the year of the Bey.
if you attempted multiple times to pause exactly on the shot of what appears to
be Beyonce’s pregnant belly (not that I did…), it looks like she’s finally
putting those fake baby bump conspiracy theories to rest.
in case you missed the biggest news story of the week, a very fashionable
monkey was found in a Toronto Ikea, becoming an instant Internet celebrity.
Darwin is a domesticated macaque and has since been taken by
animal control. His owner Yasmin Nakhuda is currently trying to get little Darwin back.
by Deirdre Kaye
Posted In: Music Commentary
at 11:33 AM | Permalink
What "Pop music" has become … and why it makes for a delicious snack
You know what I like? Pop music. Some of you may be judging me right now and, for that, I’m judging you in return. There is absolutely no legitimate reason to dislike Pop.Of course, I get it. Most Pop music isn’t the well-written, deeper-than-the-ocean type stuff, but rather easy to understand and anchored by a catchy hook. There’s nothing wrong with that, though. Music isn’t supposed to be unattainable — we’re usually drawn to music because we can relate to it. Pop just expresses our emotions and situations in more simple terms than other genres.Some of you are probably starting to get nitpicky about my use of “Pop” as a genre. To a certain extent, Pop isn’t a genre at all. Historically, Pop was just short for popular, meaning it runs the gamut on genres. Listen to the current NOW That's What I Call Music collection (we’re up to about 4067 volumes, I believe) and you’ll see what I mean. It’s not full of ground-breaking musical experimentation or earth-shatteringly powerful lyricism, but every one of those songs has a damn good hook. Beyoncé wouldn’t classify herself as Pop. She’d call herself Hip Hop or R&B. “Run the World (Girls)” was certainly popular, though. Alex Clare’s “Too Close” is full of drums and synth awesomeness, lying somewhere between Rock and Electronic and yet it’s all over Top 40. Taylor Swift was, at one point, a Country artist. Now, with a little less accent and a lot less acoustic guitar, she’s lasting longer on Billboard’s Top 40 than the Country charts. The structures of their music may be very different, but they all end up on the same station.Pop has very much become its own genre. It’s the genre for all the likable and relatable music from all the other genres. Think of it as the exact opposite of “The Island of Misfit Toys.” Pop is The Genre of the Overplayed. They’re overplayed for a reason, though. Some of those songs are pretty close to genius. The best recent example is “Stereo Hearts” by Gym Class Heroes (and Adam Levine). The idea is simple: Boy loves Girl … a lot. But throughout the entire song, they pull from the same stereo heart metaphor. Whether he’s referring to the trials and tribulations of a relationship via a comparison to an old-school boombox that requires tons of D batteries or the simple idea of a heart beating, like speakers, with every note, they carry the thought all the way through. In my book, that’s pretty impressive.Speaking of Adam Levine, I like “Moves like Jagger,” too. You know what Michael Jackson, The King of Pop, sang about quite a bit? Dancing. You know what “Moves like Jagger” is about? Dancing … sort of. You know what it makes me want to do? Dance. Pop songs are nothing if not danceable. Even the slow ones! If they don’t make you wish for that cute guy across the room to come and sweep you off your feet and twirl you around the room, they’re doing something wrong.Yes. Sometimes Pop can be annoying. A majority of Pop music is made by people with “outside voices.” They always sound like they’re yelling. Often they’re squeaky, too. One Direction is super excited about what makes me beautiful. For someone who adds an unsure “maybe” to the end of her pick-up line, Carly Rae Jepsen's voice is far from a timid whisper. But, I still really like that song.The easiest explanation I can give is this: It’s catchy and easy and sometimes we’re all a little simpleminded.Carly Rae and Taylor Swift may not write the kind of music that would inspire people to become “Band-Aids” or make William Miller, Greil Marcus or Lester Bangs commit their lives to writing about music. They do, however, write songs that are fun to listen to when you’re on the way to see a more substantive show. After a long hard day of deep-thinking and problem solving, what’s wrong with a little light-hearted entertainment?So, for the sake of dancers, the simple-minded, the commuters and the road trippers: Long live Pop!
by Jac Kern
at 11:02 AM | Permalink
Jac's favorite recent pop culture and Internet findings
Move over, Coco-T, I have a new idol from reality
television land. Joan Koplan from AMC’s new show, Small Town Security,
is a gem. The docu-series follows a family-owned private security
company headed by Joan, the "Chief" and her husband, "Captain" Irwin
Koplan. Joan sought super-stardom her entire life, but ended up settling
as a wife and security officer when her Hollywood dreams hit a
dead-end. In Small Town Security,
Joan is a foul-mouthed, porn-loving, cigar-chomping fireball, complete
with a devilish sidekick, Lambchop the Chihuahua. It sounds ridiculous, which it is, but it's about time reality TV acknowledged its own absurdity. Catch up on episodes here. Congrats, Joan, you're a celebrity to at least one person!Combining the Earth's greatest elements: Beyonce, Snuggies and killer video
editing, this masterpiece by Ton Do-Nguyen
is one of the best Internet bits I’ve seen in a while and, considering my
digital consumption, that’s saying a lot. Check out his version of “Love on
and compare to Beyonce’s original here (yeah, it’s spot-on, too). Don't worry, Bey gives her
Finally, a guide to getting your Glamour Shots on-point.
Some people knew about Chick-fil-A’s Christian
background before last week, including RuPaul’s Drag Race alum, Willam Belli (and anyone who ever tried to get some waffle fries on a Sunday).
Let’s revisit this dragtastic look at chicken politics, with a dash of Wilson
Celebrities are just like us! New York photographer
Danny Evans waves his magic Photoshop wand over photos of famous people to make
them look normal and frumpy. Two words: Fat Kanye.There’s a point in every person’s life when it
seems like everyone else is reproducing. For some, digital baby books on
Facebook can serve as a constant reminder of mortality or send a woman’s
biological clock into overdrive. Or maybe you’re just like, “Hey, I’d rather
not see a newborn covered in birth goo at 9 a.m.” Regardless, most of us can
agree that babies in newsfeeds need to be stopped. Enter unbaby.me, a Chrome app that replaces all
Facebook kid photos with those of cats. While kitties are the default, users
can change their preferences to replace tiny human pics with photos of anything
I love me some Lena Dunham and Girls, but this
spoof by PeterFrankMike is too good.
Something tells me the ladies would appreciate the satire. Besides, don't most famous people have famous parents? And for the record, I would totally watch Boys.
0 Comments · Tuesday, July 3, 2012
The Flaming Lips have broken the world record for most concerts performed in multiple cities within the span of 24 hours
0 Comments · Tuesday, May 8, 2012
The massive outpouring of grief online after news that Beastie Boy Adam Yauch had died May 4 was
a great gauge of the Beasties’ widespread influence and impact.
by Mike Breen
Legend Josephine Baker passes away and Vince Gill is born
On this day in 1975, pioneering singer/actress/dancer/civil rights activist/spy Josephine Baker passed away at the age of 68. She died just a few days after a retrospective performance at the Bobino in Paris celebrating her 50 years in show biz. Jackie O, Princess Grace and Prince Rainier funded the show and opening night featured a celebrity-studded audience that included everyone from Mick Jagger to Sophia Loren. Baker's body was discovered four days later, reportedly surrounded by newspapers featuring glowing reviews of her performance. At her funeral, she became the first American woman to garner full French military honors, one of many "firsts" involving Baker. She was the first black woman to star in a major film, the first to demand (and get) integrated audiences at her concerts and the first to become a global superstar. She fought for civil rights in America (offered a chance to lead it after MLK's assassination, she declined for fear of also being killed) and, before that, helped France (her adopted homeland) in World War II, for which she received numerous honors. Baker was also reportedly a bi-sexual who had serious relationships with both men and women in her lifetime, adding some spicy mystique to her life story. She got her start as a vaudeville dancer at 15 and eventually became one of the highest paid chorus girls on the planet. In the mid ’20s she did burlesque shows in Paris and around Europe, well-known for her trademark banana-skirt and, later, her pet cheetah Chiquita, who would join her on stage (and, reportedly, terrorize the orchestra). Baker was considered a "muse" for artists from Pablo Picasso and Christian Dior to F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, who once said she was "the most sensational woman anyone ever saw."Baker's life has been the source of several films, musicals, plays and books. On screen and stage, she's been portrayed by the likes of Lynn Whitfield, Diana Ross, Keri Hilson and Beyonce, who sported Baker's banana costume during a 2006 performance (see below) and, in her "Naughty Girl" video, she again paid tribute by dancing in a giant champagne glass. Baker released several albums in the early ’50s for Columbia and Mercury. Here she is performing her biggest hit (in France), "J'ai Deux Amours." Click on for Born This Day featuring Hound Dog Taylor, Tiny Tim, Nick Hexum and Vince Gill.