Ah, anotheryear, another 52 editions of That's Really Week. 2009 began looking a whole lot like2008, actually: with Madonna, Britney Spears, Mariah Carey, and AmyWinehouse making headlines. Let'sget started.
First,Madonna topped concert trade magazine Pollstar's list of 2008'stop concert draws, with $280 million in worldwide ticket sales for her "Sticky& Sweet" tour. This set the record for the highest-grossing tour everby a solo artist--a record Madge herself previously set in 2006 with her $195million "Confessions" tour. Looks like Madonna won't have any trouble paying her ex Guy Ritchie alimony, then. Incidentally,other big concert grossers, so to speak, on Pollstar's 2008 list included fellow divas Celine Dion and Tina Turner, as well as veteran rockers the Eagles, the Police, Bon Jovi, and Bruce Springsteen. So it seems touring was one industry that wasn't hit toobadly by the 2008 recession.
Britney's upcoming "Circus" tour is sure to beone of the biggest grossers of 2009, of course. But while she prepares for thatwhirlwind, this week it was rumored that Britney had private-jetted off to Jodhpur, India,to celebrate Christmas and New Year'swith her supposed new boyfriend, "Womanizer" video choreographerSandip Soparrkar. But Britney'sIndian romance turned out to be, according to one source, a "totalfabrication." In fact, the "Womanizer" video wasn't even choreographed by Sandip, but by Britney's longtime collaborator Andre Fuentes. Instead, it turned out that Britney spent Christmaswith her sons in Los Angeles, and rang in thenew year in New Orleans,attending the December 31 wedding between her brother, Bryan Spears, and GraciellaSanchez, Jamie Lynn Spears's manager.
Speaking ofweddings, Amy Winehouse is reportedly considering reuniting with her estranged husbandBlake Fielder-Civil (aka " BlakeIncarcerated"), who has spent most of their troubled one-and-a-half-yearmarriage behind bars on assault charges. But while Blake Incarcerated remains incarceratedin a London prison until 2010, Amy will bespending their second honeymoon in Norway. Amy has been summoned toappear in a Norwegian court on January 12 in her appeal against a fine in adrugs possession case, stemming from a October 2007 incident when Amy and ayet-to-be-incarcerated Blake Incarcerated were arrested for possession of 7grams of marijuana. At the time, Amy and Blake just paid the fine of 3,000kroner ($415) each to put the episode behind them, but Amy's Norwegian attorney, Ole Kvelstad, says paying the fine was the equivalent to a "guilty"plea, so this could have serious consequences for Amy'scareer later on. For instance, she ever manages to actually get her act togetherand release a follow-up to Back To Black--in2009 or any other year--she could be denied a U.S. visa to tour, just as she wasforbidden to travel to perform at the Grammy Awards last year. Then how will she make the Pollstar list?
Meanwhile,while Amy was being accused of pot possession, fellow Grammy-winning divaMariah Carey was being accused of possessing poor understanding of scientific theories.Mathematician Dr. David Leslie criticizedMariah's appropriation of AlbertEinstein's mass-energy equivalenceformula E=MC2 (reinterpreted as "emancipation equals Mariah Carey timestwo") for her most recent album title. Dr. Leslie told BBC News that hewas dismayed that Mimi had had "misread the algebra," explaining: "The'two'in the equation means C squared, not MC multiplied by two. The correct readingof the equation is E=MCC, so perhaps Mariah'sre-interpretation should have been 'emancipationequals Mariah Carey Carey'?"
Gee, Dr.Leslie, thanks for clarifying.
Well,Mariah may not understand math too well, but Bjork seems to have a better grasp on the numbers game. Surprisingly,the seemingly kooky Icelandic diva did a very sensible thing this week and partneredwith Reykjavik-based venture company Audur Capital to establish an investmentfund to help restore Iceland'sbattered economy (which has been especially hard-hit by the global financialcrisis). According to the Audur Capital website, the fund (probablynon-coincidentally called BJORK) "will invest in sustainable businessesthat create value through the country'sunique resources, spectacular nature, vibrant culture, and green energy"and is currently seeking investors now.
The websitealso states that Bjork the singer "has become a spokeswoman for innovation,creative thinking, and increased diversity in the Icelandic economy." SurelyDr. Leslie would approve.
But surelyno doctor--particular one of the veterinarian variety--would approve of thecharges lobbied against DMX. The rapperfaces at least 90 days in jail (which, it should be noted, is a whole lot lessthan Blake Incarcerated has had to serve) after pleading guilty this week todrug and animal cruelty charges in Arizona. (In May 2008,DMX was arrested after sheriff'sdeputies raided his home and found dog carcasses and malnourished pitbulls.) "Iam pleased that this defendant will be held accountable for both his drug andanimal cruelty offenses," County Attorney Andrew Thomas said in astatement. We bet all those angry, hungry pitbulls are pleased as well.
Andfinally, just because we're endingthings on a bummer note anyway, we cannot complete this first That'sReally Week blog of 2009 without noting three sad musician deaths thisweek. Rock guitarist Delaney Bramlett,who collaborated with such artists as GeorgeHarrison and Eric Clapton andwas a member of the husband-and-wife blues duo Delaney & Bonnie, died Saturday after undergoing gallbladdersurgery; Vincent Ford, writer of theBob Marley classic "No Woman NoCry," died Sunday from diabetes complications; and Grammy-winning jazztrumpteter Freddie Hubbard diedMonday after suffering a heart attack. All three shall be dearly missed.
And withthat, let's hoping 2009 will be ayear filled with much more good news than bad. See you next week.
THIS WEEK'STOP 10 STORIES:
1) Madonna'sWorld Domination Continues - Her "Sticky &Sweet" international tour grossed $280 million in 2008.
2) They Tried To Make Her Go To Norway... - Amy Winehousehas to go to Norwayto face pot possession charges.
3) DMX In The Doghouse - TheRapper will spend at least 90 days in jail on animal cruelty charges.
4) Prince'sTriple Threat - His Purple Majesty plans to release three newalbums in 2009.
5) Farewell, Freddie - Jazzgreat Freddie Hubbard passes away at age 70.
6) Bye Bye, Bramlett - Guitarlegend Delaney Bramlett dies at age 69.
7) Fans Cry For "No Woman No Cry"Songwriter - Bob Marley songman Vincent Ford also dies.
8) Britney Not Going To Bollywood - Rumors ofSpears's Indian romance are greatlyexaggerated.
9) Mariah Can'tDo The Math - A scientist complains about Carey's lack of understanding of the "E=MC2"formula.
10) Bjork: A Solid Investment - The Icelandicsinger is raising funds to aid her homeland'seconomy.