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Idol Chatter

It is not cool to dress up as Maria Von Trapp from “The Sound of Music” for your high school halloween costume day, but I didn’t care. Julie Andrews (who played Maria) was, and still is a woman I admired with a voice I still adore. So, though I knew at the time it wasn’t cool, I did it anyway. And now I’ve learned that maybe I was cool, after all.

Entertainment Weekly’s new “Inspiration Issue” reveals that Gwen Stefani loved Maria as much as me: “I’m like a Trekkie, but for the ‘Sound of Music,'” says Stefani, music superstar, and popular clothing designer. “The first time I ever went on stage, at a high school talent show, the dress I wore was the dress that Maria wears when she sings ‘I Have Confidence.’ The drop-waisted tweed dress. I had that dress. I made it.”

It’s nice to see that the pop music maven and fashion icon isn’t embarrassed about what really inspires her. No gushy Oprah moment here.

EW, apparently hoping to join the marketable and profitable “inspiration” bandwagon, interviewed numerous artists for the feel-good issue, including director Christopher Guest (“For Your Consideration,” and actor Heath Ledger (“Brokeback Mountain”). Suprisingly, the directors seem to have been inspired mainly by other directors and films. Catherine Hardwicke director of “The Nativity” and “Thirteen” counts “Harold & Maude” as an influence). Actors are inspired by other actors (Djimon Hounsou by Morgan Freeman), and singers by other singers (Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz cite’s Robert Smith of The Cure as his idol).

But, the real delight is in the unexpected inspirations. Will Ferrell (“Stranger Than Fiction,” “Talladega Nights”) cites fitness guru Jack La Lanne as his “creative role model,” saying that La Lanne “was the guy who did one-handed push-ups and dragged tugboats with his bare hands. That guy knew how to live life.”

Some of the reader responses at the back of the magazine are also priceless, especially one from “Enrique”: “I was inspired by the season 1 finale [of “Lost“] to start meeting people in airport bars,” he writes. Eventually those airport bar meetings led Enrique to his fiancee.

While much of the entertainment produced these days could be called less than inspiring, it’s fun to see what molded the artists that we love. The best interview of the issue is horror-meister Stephen King meeting with the creative team behind “Lost“: J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse. The “Lost” gang was so excited that they brought copies of King’s books for him to sign, all except Abrams who was crestfallen because he forgot. King was also totally psyched to see the trio, since he is such a huge fan of the show.

It’s always nice to see that even media giants are just little kids when they meet their idols.

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