Monday, February 27, 2012

Goodbye Oscars, hello new blog

Readers who e-mailed me this morning all wanted to talk about the Oscars, so how can I start my new blog with anything else? 

Wait a minute. That's rude. I should start by saying hello. Hi, there! Pull up a chair. I'm the grinning guy in the picture, minus a few pounds (as readers of last year's Pounding Away blog may recall.)

I'll be talking every Monday, Wednesday and Friday about something to do with culture. That should be a broad enough topic to let me ramble on happily about whatever catches my fancy. I'll be happy to answer questions, field criticism -- I have the skin of a rhinoceros, so fire away -- and pontificate about anything under the artistic sun. For instance...

...the Academy Awards. First, Billy Crystal needs to be entombed again. I would rather have Uggie the dog, unheralded star of "The Artist," bark an opening monologue than listen to Crystal croak through "It's a grand night for Oscar" and make bad puns again. The show moves reasonably well when he's in charge, but that's a low standard; it's like thanking a short-order cook for not dropping your burger on the floor.

Second, the show needs to dump Cirque du Soleil fireworks and restore the Lifetime Achievement Award to its proper place. Someone who didn't know the work of James Earl Jones would learn nothing by seeing him beam from his seat, but proper film clips might inspire people to dig into his work. I realize producers are desperate to make the show exciting -- restoring live performances of songs might help -- but it's fundamentally an orgy of back-patting. Let it be one, and pat the right back!