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Idol Chatter

Idol Chatter

January 1970 Archives

“I’ll have Yo-Yo Ma, Britney, and a Grande Mocha”

posted by doug howe

If you’re like me, the worlds of spiritual reflection and cultural relevance often meet at Starbucks, where I go for anything from solitude and reflection time to business meetings or reunions with friends. So I’m a Starbucks lover, but I’m […]

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Does Katherine McPhee Idolize Scientology?

posted by kris rasmussen

“American Idol” runner up Katherine McPhee may have thought the controversy surrounding her appearance in the final two instead of hugely popular rocker Chris Daughtry was going to be the most difficult moment of competing on the hit reality show. […]

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Why I Quit the Sopranos

posted by donna freitas

Several Sundays ago I surprised myself: Instead of settling into my Sunday night ritual of watching a new episode of the Sopranos, I kept the TV set to off. I told myself I’d watch it “On Demand” the next day […]

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‘Peaceful Warrior': Facing Your Demons, With Help From Socrates

posted by donna freitas

“Peaceful Warrior“–the movie version of the novel, “Way of the Peaceful Warrior,” written by former Olympic gymnast turned bestselling author Dan Millman–hits theaters up and down the West Coast this weekend. (Over the course of June, it will make its […]

Britney Spears, Religious Poet

posted by

Whether she’s kissing Madonna, marrying a childhood friend in Vegas, or filming her own so-awful-it’s-funny reality show, Britney Spears never fails to make for great sound bites and magazine covers. But, for me, the high points of my Britney fascination […]

The X Men Stand Up for Tolerance and Truth One Last Time

posted by kris rasmussen

Discrimination. Genetic engineering. The Federal government invading private citizens’ privacy. What has made the “X-Men” comic books and their recent adaptations on the big screen (“X-Men,” “X-Men United”) better than the average superhero-action-adventure fare is the way the mythology and […]

It’s a Wild, Wild World

posted by dilshad d. ali

After nearly three decades out of the musical spotlight, Yusuf Islam–formerly known as Cat Stevens–is back with the promise of a new album. Inspired by growing tensions between his beloved religion and the West, the singer-songwriter will be releasing a […]

Invisibility Cloaks: Coming Soon to a Store Near You!

posted by donna freitas

Fans of all things magical and related to Harry Potter will be happy to know scientists are hard at work turning Harry’s famous invisibility cloak–the one that allows him to maraud about Hogwarts undetected by the likes of Snape and […]

Farewell, Primetime Pagans

posted by ellen leventry

The end of the eight-year run of the WB’s “Charmed” also marked the passing of a programming trend that began in the mid-late 90s, Wicca and witches. The proliferation of this particular primetime paganism–or rather, this artistic approximation of paganism–began […]

Where You Can Be Safe From ‘The Da Vinci Code’

posted by

It’s a good thing Idol Chatter didn’t wait until its long-awaited Solomon Islands vacation to see “The Da Vinci Code.” The N.Y. Times reports that the small Pacific nation plans to ban the controversial movie… even though there are no […]

Role Reversals on “Lost”

posted by sherry huang

As promised in all the hype about the season finale of “Lost,” obsessed viewers learned the following: What happens when the “save the world” counter stops at zero… and the buttons aren’t pushed. At the beginning of Season Two, Locke […]

“Lost” Discovers A New Savior

posted by kris rasmussen

“But what about my friends?” In between all of the revelations about the hatch–I mean, hatches–and the return of Desmond, the guy the island survivors found in the hatch, it was still that line–spoken by roly-poly Hurley–that moved me the […]

Get Me to the Track on Time

posted by burb

Once upon a time, the Indianapolis 500 was as American as, well, as NASCAR and Bible Belt Christianity. This weekend’s 500 is as loud, fast, and potentially lethal as any stock-car event, but the open-wheel racers of the Indy Racing […]

It Was Bad and I Didn’t Like It–Coincidence?

posted by

It’s happened to me many times—a mind-blowing coincidence will occur, and I’ll think, “If this happened in a movie or a book, it would be totally corny and unbelievable.” Which is why it takes such great skill to make coincidence […]

Faith in “Doubt”

posted by

I heard a sermon on Broadway last night, and it wasn’t in the nearby Church of Scientology. It is the opening scene of the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Doubt,” and it sets the tone for a powerful play that poses the questions: […]

Madonna Nails Opening Night

posted by burb

It’s generally a sign of a rock star’s age–and fading relevance–when her fans are called “the faithful,” even when the artist in question is the renegade Roman Catholic-turned-Kabbalist Madonna. At 47, the singer kicked off her latest world tour this […]

When the Usual Christlike Symbols Just Won’t Do…

posted by laura sheahen

Beliefnet editors receive dozens of books each week, some memorable, some not so much. Every once in a while, however, a book’s back cover description is so arresting that it lingers in the mind for days. So it was with […]

Tonight: A Finale Battle of Epic Proportions

posted by donna freitas

In order to fit in the two-hour season finale of “Lost” during prime time evening hours this Wednesday, ABC decided to pit the (also two-hour) series finale of “Alias” against the (also two-hour) season finale of Fox’s “24” tonight. What […]

Homer Simpson on the Jews (and Charlie Brown)

posted by

On last night’s “Simpsons” season finale, Homer had the following astute observation about his marriage to Marge: “We been through more hardships than the Jews and Charlie Brown put together.” So who did go through more challenges and troubles: The […]

Thank ‘Nevaeh’ for Little Girls

posted by burb

Thank heaven for little girls, goes the old song. Thank Sonny Sandoval, of the Christian heavy-metal group P.O.D., for the most popular new name for little girls: Nevaeh–or “heaven” written backwards. Since Sandoval revealed his then-new daughter’s name during an […]

Here’s Where “The Da Vinci Code” Gets Personal

posted by doug howe

“The Da Vinci Code” is finally here. The P.R. machine that had Tom Hanks and his “Da Vinci” ‘do at the Oscars and trailers running for a year has succeeded. The reviews are out. Ministries around the world are spreading […]

Born–Again “Christian” Debuts at Cannes

posted by kris rasmussen

While Christians from all over the world have been flocking to the Cannes Film Festival to protest the premiere of “The Da Vinci Code,” a totally different kind of film about faith and Christianity is also debuting at Cannes this […]

Scientology Saves! (Real-Estate)

posted by burb

John Travolta and Tom Cruise aren’t the only Scientology fans in Tinsel Town. In an article titled “Why Scientology is Good For Hollywood,” design writer Alissa Walker praises the organization for sustaining architectural landmarks in the area’s seedy downtown. “With […]

McKellen Fans the ‘Da Vinci’ Flames

posted by holly rossi

Sir Ian McKellen, who plays historian Sir Leigh Teabing in “The Da Vinci Code,” is not staying out of the fray that swirls around the film. Unlike director Ron Howard and star Tom Hanks, who have publically reiterated the line […]

The ‘Da Vinci’ Movie: As Good (or Bad) as the Book

posted by

“The Da Vinci Code” movie, like the novel it’s based on, is ridiculous, obvious, over-the-top–and yet oddly compelling, a guilty pleasure that wraps interesting pseudohistory and pseudotheology into a shoot-’em-up thriller. In other words, if you liked the book, you’ll […]

Rolling Stone Bares Its Soul (or Lack Thereof)

posted by donna freitas

The big, fat extra-special 1,000th issue of Rolling Stone just arrived at the door complete with a psychedelic, 3-D cover featuring just about every rocker imaginable. The theme of this special edition is a cover art retrospective (which could double […]

First ‘Da Vinci’ Reviews: Bad for the Film, Good for Its Opponents

posted by

The first reviews of “The Da Vinci Code” are out after its debut at Cannes. And the verdict, seemingly unanimous, is: thumbs down. One critic called it “an unwieldy, bloated puzzle,” and another said it is “a stodgy, grim thing.” […]

All Aboard the Danielson Famile

posted by burb

Alvin the Chipmunk; Geddy Lee of Rush; Polyphonic Spree; The Violent Femmes’ Gordon Gano… Daniel Smith, the leader of the indie-gospel band Danielson Famile (sic), has been compared to any number of musical masters. The Famile’s new album, “Ships,” shows […]

Will You Othercott “The Da Vinci Code”?

posted by kris rasmussen

A few months ago I blogged–not-so flatteringly, I might add–about one novel response to the upcoming movie release of “The Da Vinci Code.” Barbara Nicolosi–a former nun who’s now the executive director of Act One, a program that trains Christians […]

How to Protest ‘The Da Vinci Code’

posted by holly rossi

Preparations for this Friday’s opening of “The Da Vinci Code” are reaching fever pitch–from eager moviegoers as well as Christians who are angry about the story and its pervasiveness in pop culture. So this begs the question–how should those opposed […]

Britney Kicks Kabbalah to the Curb?

posted by ellen leventry

Celebrity gossip site Perezhilton.com reports that Britney Spears has put the kibosh on her study of Kabbalah. Introduced to the belief system by Madonna, it seems that motherhood is trumping mysticism, as Spears explained in the “Love B: Stream of […]

“The West Wing”: Boring Finale, Awesome Legacy

posted by doug howe

“The West Wing” will go down in television history as one of the most wonderfully relevant shows and enduring DVD buys, even if its series finale was, dang it, such a bore. I enjoyed reading Michael Kress’s blog piece about […]

Faith-Affirming ‘Da Vinci Code’

posted by holly rossi

Is the mega-bestseller “The Da Vinci Code,” a work of fiction, actually influencing the religious beliefs of its readers? Yes, says a new survey released today by pollster George Barna–but not in the way many traditional Christians fear. The poll […]

‘7th Heaven’ Back from the Dead?

posted by holly rossi

It seems that “7th Heaven” may have nine lives. CNN reported today that the series, which had its much-touted finale last week, may return for an 11th season on the new CW network this fall. Fans of the show will, […]

Should Their Religions Lose Madge and Tom?

posted by burb

Rick Ross–head of the Rick A. Ross Institute for the Study of Destructive Cults, Controversial Groups and Movements–tracks benign as well as malignant para-religious groups on his site Cult News. Ross reports that the influence of nontraditional religion has been […]

Saying Good-bye to a Great President

posted by

We knew this would happen. Every presidency must end. This Sunday, we’ll bid adieu to President Josiah Bartlett, his family, and the aides who worked tirelessly for him these past seven years on “The West Wing.” “The West Wing” was […]

Obnoxious Civility

posted by doug howe

This week’s Boston Legal again took several shots at the George W. Bush administration, especially on the topics of abortion, womens’ rights, Bush’s random out-of-step-ness with society, and our alleged patriarchal approach to foreign policy. It got me–a Bush-loving Republican–to […]

Inspiring “Inventor”?

posted by kris rasmussen

With only a few episodes left, I suppose that now is as good of a time as any to admit to my current TV-viewing guilty pleasure–“American Inventor.” It’s not that I think it is an exciting, well-orchestrated reality show in […]

The Evolution of Mr. Eko on “Lost”

posted by donna freitas

It has been evident for a while that John Locke is no longer the only man of faith stranded on the mysterious island that the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 have inhabited for the first two seasons of ABC’s “Lost.” […]

“Da Vinci Code” Disclaimer Clamor

posted by burb

For the group we might call “Graham Green Catholics,” the flap generated by the upcoming release of “The Da Vinci Code” is another arrow in the side. The Catholic intellectual of the 20th century saw culture and art as another […]

” House” of Faith

posted by kris rasmussen

Yes, I have already blogged–and recently–about Fox’s medical drama, House, which week after week seems to find some new, thought-provoking way to tackle spirituality. But I can’t help but rave one more time about this show’s smart writing that intertwines […]

“Gilmore Girls” Finale Ends on a Greedy Note

posted by kris rasmussen

The WB dramedy “Gilmore Girls,” the one TV show I am truly, freakishly obsessed with, had its season finale last night, and while the episode itself was a bit of a disappointment at the end of a somewhat lackluster season, […]

“Veronica Mars”: Sleuthing and the Single Girl

posted by donna freitas

What is it about girls who save the world (or at least their small towns and high schools) and lackluster love lives? High school detective Veronica Mars has never wanted for admirers of the boy variety, but no matter which […]

The Sign of the Baffled?

posted by ellen leventry

Recently a reader wrote into the Chicagoist asking about an ominous billboard she came across during a commute: “The billboard just east of the Clybourn metra stop,” writes Nancy, “says, ‘6+6+06 the signs are all around you” on a black […]

The Online Da Vinci Debate

posted by holly rossi

Getting dizzy trying to navigate the myriad Christian websites that make the case against “The Da Vinci Code?” Fear not, I’m here to guide you. Some websites are simple and straightforward Q&As with Bible scholars and experts, like Amy Welborn’s […]

Saintly Feasts & Virginal Visions on “The Sopranos”

posted by donna freitas

The story for last night’s “Sopranos” episode, “The Ride” (number eight in a season of only twelve–the countdown until the end begins already) was set against the backdrop of the Feast of St. Elzear–which any New Yorker would recognize as […]

On the Indigo Girls, Methodists, Lesbians, and Love

posted by doug howe

One of Beliefnet’s news stories this weekened was about Emily Saliers, a lesbian who is one-half of the singing group The Indigo Girls. She was invited to be a speaker at the United Methodist Women’s Assembly this past weekend in […]

On “Mission: Impossible III”–and Seeking a Real Hero

posted by doug howe

Just before going to see Mission: Impossible III, I caught glimpses of the teaser trailers for both Superman and Casino Royale (the newest 007 sequel). That turned out to be a good thing, since these trailers gave me something to […]

He’s Not a Christian, He Just Plays One on TV

posted by ellen leventry

Some of you may recall meeting Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as the fierce, wild-eyed henchmen devoted to the resurrected Imhotep in “The Mummy Returns.” And though he played a convincing devotee of the evil ancient Egyptian High Priest, it’s his most recent […]

“Akeelah”‘s Inspiring Words

posted by kris rasmussen

Just how many movies can Hollywood make about spelling bees as a cinematic metaphor for overcoming the odds? It is easy to dismiss the latest film about the importence of speling wordz corectly, “Akeelah and the Bee,”–expanding to nationwide release […]

Jesus Christ, Superstar/Director

posted by

What would Jesus direct? That was the provocative question debated at a panel discussion I attended as part of the Tribeca Film Festival here in New York. On the panel were four Hollywood insiders who are also Christian: the actor […]

Faith vs. Family on “Alias”: Rimbaldi is Back!

posted by donna freitas

I’ve decided that Wednesday is ABC’s “Must-See-TV” night, with “Alias,” “Lost,” and “Invasion” taking up a mystery/sci-fi three-hour block, and it’s difficult to pick which show to write about. “Invasion” was all about fate, and “Lost” was all about betrayal […]

Remember: They Are Not Muslim

posted by dilshad d. ali

Just the other night my husband and I were discussing some world event in which Muslims came out looking bad, and we agreed on the totally obvious fact that the worldview about Islam had profoundly and irrevocably changed since 9/11. […]

Anyone Up for a Buddha-tini?

Picture yourself in one of the trendiest Manhattan restaurants. Fruity cocktails in deep martini glasses rest in many a manicured hand. Fashion is top-notch; this is New York after all. It’s dark, very dark. The lights are so dim that […]

Springsteen’s Seeger and More

posted by doug howe

I’m a Bruce Springsteen fan who’s had some fine spiritual reflections—and many moments of enjoyment—courtesy of Bruce’s music and writing. Usually it happens when the E-Street band is behind him, so I wasn’t necessarily excited about his new CD, “We […]

Play “Rock of Ages,” Hal

posted by burb

The Church of England has a surfeit of organs, but the ranks of organists to play them on Sunday morning is thinning. The dilemma has led to the runaway success of the HT 300 Hymnal-Plus, a machine that can play […]

A Cartoonish Plan for Arab-American Relations

posted by donna freitas

Next week, Queen Rania of Jordan puts on her P.R. hat at a Metropolitan Museum of Art dinner (whose roster of attendees includes Barbara Walters and Katie Couric, among other Hollywood and political VIPs). Her goal: to promote better understanding […]

A “United 93″ Meditation

posted by

In the debate over “United 93,” supporters and detractors of the Sept. 11 film tend to agree that Paul Greengrass has made a poweful and sensitive movie; disagreement has centered on whether it’s too soon for the country to re-encounter […]

Just How “Big” Can “Love” Get?

posted by donna freitas

No, I can’t help myself: This is my third blog posting about HBO’s “Big Love,” which aired its seventh episode last night. In “For the Wives, “Big Love” Falls Short on Love & Respect” and “HBO’s “Big Love”–And Why I’m […]

Grey Territory

posted by ellen leventry

If you didn’t already hate Alex Karev from “Grey’s Anatomy” for his womanizing ways and poor treatment of Izzy, last night’s episode gave you plenty of ammo. As regular viewers of the ABC smash hit know, Alex is the painfully […]

Go See “United 93″

posted by doug howe

Most docudramas, miniseries, and movies “inspired by actual events” are too long, too dramatic, and stray too far from the facts. “United 93” isn’t one of them, and I must disagree with my colleague, Michael, who wrote that he didn’t […]

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posted 9:03:34am May. 20, 2015 | read full post »

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posted 12:53:47pm May. 19, 2015 | read full post »

Blues Guitarist B.B. King Dead at 89
Legendary blues guitarist B.B. King died Thursday night at the age of 89 in a Las Vegas hospital. King was the son of a sharecropper, and was born on a plantation in Mississippi. He worked his way up from singing in church, performing on street ...

posted 9:27:21am May. 15, 2015 | read full post »

'Where Hope Grows' is a Much Watch
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posted 8:58:33am May. 15, 2015 | read full post »

One Good Fella
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posted 12:13:10pm May. 14, 2015 | read full post »

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