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Idol Chatter

Idol Chatter

July 2009 Archives

Her Madgesty, the International Correspondent

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

Madonna has been published in the Jewish paper Yediot Ahronot as an international correspondent. But is her writing any good?

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Todd Agnew Speaks About Joy

posted by Paul O'Donnell

Christian singer Todd Agnew speaks about joy and his new single, “Joy Unspeakable” off of the album “Need.”

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Quiz: The Religion of TV Characters

posted by dross

A fun quiz on the religious lives of TV characters.

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Derek Webb: ‘I Can No Longer Make Apologies’ for How Christians Behave

posted by Paul O'Donnell

Derek Webb talks to Idol Chatter’s Paul O’Donnell about his album “Stockholm Syndrome” and the controversy around his song “What Matters More,” a scathing critique of how evangelical Christians approach homosexuality.

Madonna the Journalist?

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

Madonna branches out into journalism, penning an essay for an Israeli newspaper about her spiritual awakening.

‘More to Love': What’s Not to Love?

posted by Ellen Leventry

The new Fox reality show “More to Love” is a fresh take on “The Bachelor”–but I do have a few issues with it.

Watch Trailer: ‘G.I. Joe Rise Of The Cobra’

posted by dross

Watch the trailer for “G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra.”

The Daily Show, With…Jonathan Leibowitz?

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

A discussion of whether Jon Stewart should change his name back to his original, more Jewish birth name, Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz.

Discover ‘The Colony’

posted by Ellen Leventry

Discovery Channel’s new post-apocalyptic reality show, “The Colony” is an intriguing mix of “Survivor” and the Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook–it’s intriguing, but I have my suspicions about the show.

Michael Vick: Repentance, Forgiveness, or Refusal?

posted by Douglas Howe

Michael Vick, who was just released from jail after financing and hosting a dog fighting operation, will be given another chance to play for the NFL. Here’s why I’m going to pray for him and draft him onto my fantasy team.

Tweeting the Divine at the Western Wall

posted by Ellen Leventry

Alon Nil has started @TheJotel, where you can Tweet your prayers to the Western Wall. But would you publicly tweet God? Or would you care to keep your petitions private?

Is Merchandising Ruining ‘Twilight’?

posted by Donna Freitas

Is it possible for merchandise to ruin something altogether? Are the stars of “Twilight” overexposed–or at least ridiculing Stephenie Meyer’s smash hit beyond the tolerable? I’m starting to think so.

Loving ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’ and Dumbledore’s Moses Moment

posted by Donna Freitas

Although I loved the “Harry Potter” book series, I have generally not liked the movies. But the exception was “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” particularly the scene where Dumbledore has a Moses moment…

Can Rush, Oprah and Dr. Phil Serve Two Masters?

posted by Douglas Howe

If the top twelve media personalities (including Rush Limbaugh, Oprah, Simon Cowell, etc.) alone banked a total of $829 million last year–then when will our culture wake up to the fact that what we see on the air is not so much a reflection of culture but a reflection of what generates money for media stars and all of those who make money off of their shows?

Quiz: Superhero Spirituality

posted by dross

How does Kitty Pryde (Shadowcat) of the X-Men show her Jewish faith? What religion is Superman? Many comic book characters–the good and bad alike–either overtly or subtly express a religious affiliation. How much do you know about the spirituality of […]

Teaser Trailer: Tim Burton’s ‘Alice In Wonderland’

posted by dross

Watch the teaser trailer for Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderful” starring Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter and more.

Quote of the Day: Brad Pitt on God

posted by dross

Brad Pitt recently gave an interesting interview to the German magazine Bild in which he opens up about his spiritual life–or lack thereof. BILD: Do you believe in God? Brad Pitt (smiling): “No, no, no!” BILD: Is your soul spiritual? […]

Why Did NBC’s ‘Kings’ Fail? (Or Not)

posted by Donna Freitas

I had the good fortune of going to an advance screening of the premier for “Kings“–a TV show based on the Old Testament story of David and Goliath and the succession of kings that follows–with the cast and writer, Michael […]

Watch This: ‘Torchwood: Children of Earth’

posted by Ellen Leventry

“Torchwood: Children of Earth,” the “Doctor Who” spinoff miniseries currently playing on BBC America, is so good that I have practically forgotten the mediocrity that was “Torchwood’s” second season and can forgive all of its distracting stunt casting and convoluted […]

Dreams of Michael Jackson

posted by idol chatter

By Ariadne Green, dream expert On the afternoon of June 26th, Michael Jackson danced through the gates of heaven. I had a dream announcing his death the night before it happened. I was “dreamwalking” through Neverland mansion taking in the […]

Quiz: The Pop Gospel According to Michael Jackson

posted by Donna Freitas

Can’t get enough of Michael Jackson now that he’s gone? If you liked Beliefnet’s recent quiz on Michael Jackson’s Spiritual Lyrics, here is another quiz for you to check out: The Pop Gospel According to Michael Jackson by David Buckna. […]

Contest: Win ‘The Soloist’ on DVD Before You Can Buy It

posted by dross

“The Soloist” is based on the true story of a homeless, schizophrenic musician (Jamie Foxx) and a journalist (Robert Downey Jr.) who covers his amazing story and develops a friendship with him. The DVD releases on August 4, 2009. We […]

Kosher Phones, Using Tech to Control Your Followers, and ‘Jewish Girls in Krakow’

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

When you do a Google search in your brain for “Jewish Theater” and “New York,” you probably get “search results” that include “Fiddler on the Roof,” maybe a Yiddish play or two, a revival of “The Dybbuk.” But you probably […]

Exclusive Clip: ‘Minnesota Cuke and the Search For Noah’s Umbrella’

posted by dross

Watch an exclusive clip from the latest VeggieTales film, “Minnesota Cuke and the Search For Noah’s Umbrella.”

Catch Up With Susan Boyle on ‘America’s Got Talent’

posted by Kris Rasmussen

I am no flash in the pan Susan Boyle fan. I have been following her rising star with both interest and anxiety as she has navigated life after being runner-up on “Britain’s Got Talent.” Overnight singing sensation Boyle was hospitalized […]

Quiz: Movie Star Religion

posted by dross

Many of your favorite big screen movie stars were born into deeply religious families. And some of these celebrities actively practice a faith or spirituality while balancing the demands of Hollywood. How much do you know about the religious lives […]

Rap Video: The Bible in a Minute

posted by dross

This is pretty good!

Whoaaa: Mayim Bialik Returns to TV

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

Most people remember Mayim Bialik as the precocious heroine of the show “Blossom,” itself famous for another character named “Six,” and which provided a TV home for Joey Lawrence and his signature exclamation, “Whoaaa.” Others may remember even further back, […]

It’s National Junk Food Day: Will It Survive?

posted by Paul O'Donnell

Nobody seems to know where it came from, or when it started. But today, like every July 21st, is National Junk Food Day, a chance, according to tradition, to gorge on foods that are bad for you without a bit […]

What Are Your Favorite Embarrassing Songs?

posted by dross

Over on Steven Waldman’s blog he has a great post on his favorite embarrassing songs. He defines such music as “songs I secretly play when I’m alone that I know would mark me as a) unsophisticated b) sappy and c) […]

‘We Are Wizards': A Whimsical Look at Growing Up Harry Potter Style

posted by Kris Rasmussen

If watching “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince” over the weekend wasn’t enough to curb your Harry Potter cravings, I have good news for you. There’s a new “Harry Potter” movie you can watch and it’s free. Best of […]

Can’t Find Work? Move to an Ashram

posted by Donna Freitas

With our economy in tatters, an interesting trend is occurring: folks who have been laid off, but even more so, those job-hungry post-grads, are turning to spiritual work to tide them over until they get that coveted investment banking job […]

Beastie Boy Adam Yauch Diagnosed with Parotid Gland Cancer

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

Earlier today, Beastie Boy Adam “MCA” Yauch explained– via YouTube video clip– that he had been diagnosed with salivary gland cancer and would be canceling several dates in their upcoming tour schedule. While promoting their upcoming album in Europe, Yauch […]

No Hogwarts Required: Practice Wizardry on Your iPhone

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

“Expecto iPhonum!” If you’re like me, you’ve spent the last several years pointing at pens and chanting “wingardium leviosa,” in fruitless attempts to get your writing implements to float in the air. (What, that’s just me?) But now a new […]

Final Episodes of ‘Pushing Daisies’ Now Available

posted by Kris Rasmussen

Many “Pushing Daisies” fans were left with only a small taste of the sweetness and richness that made up the crazy world of magical pie baker Ned and his resurrected childhood sweetheart Chuck because ABC played only a few episodes […]

Focus on Inspiring Celebrity Relationships Over Break-Ups

posted by Douglas Howe

“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” -Genesis 2:24 “…as long as we both shall live.” -traditional wedding vow Apparently, vows don’t count much […]

Walter Cronkite: A Man of Truth

posted by Douglas Howe

He was the last trusted anchor. He was the man in the cultural pulpit. He was the one whom we trusted. He was what we once knew every night: the one who brought an unbiased representation of the news of […]

Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Moon Landing

posted by Douglas Howe

40 years ago this Monday, my neighbor, Neil Armstrong, walked on the moon. I’m not sure which is more unbelievable to me: the fact that it happened, or the fact that he and I now have mutual friends (I’ve never […]

Mazal Tov: Ivanka Trump Engaged to Jared Kushner

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

There’s an old phrase used to talk about the challenges of an interfaith relationship: “a bird may love a fish,” the expression goes, ” but where will they build a home?” Finding a place to live is not going to […]

Bob Dylan: Too Christian for Jimmy Carter?

posted by Paul O'Donnell

Jimmy Carter, it seems, believes in the separation between church and rock. The former president, whose 1976 White House campaign saw both performances by the Allman Brothers Band and the introduction of the term “born again” to the Washington media’s […]

The Church of ‘Twilight': Are you a Cullenite?

posted by Donna Freitas

Have you heard of Cullenism? Apparently, it’s been around for a while now, but I just learned of it today. Yes, that’s right: Cullenism, and its followers are called Cullenites. As in Edward Cullen, the star vampire from “Twilight,” the […]

James Caviezel Injured in Motorcycle Accident

posted by dross

Actor James (Jim) Caviezel, best known for portraying Jesus in Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ,” was injured in an accident yesterday, after a man threw a bicycle into his path while he was riding his Harley-Davidson. Caviezel, who […]

Sacha Baron Cohen Threatened by ‘Alleged Terrorist’…With a Lawsuit

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

It seems like Sacha Baron Cohen isn’t happy unless someone’s unhappy with him. He’s been the subject of lawsuits in the wake of his last movie, “Borat,” and now he’s back in the news, having offended many over the scenes […]

Emmy Nominations: Expanded Lists, Diluted Power

posted by Douglas Howe

The Emmy nominations were announced today, which for me is a good-news-bad-news thing. In fact, it’s bittersweet. For the record, “30 Rock” and “Mad Men” absolutely dominated the nominations. “30 Rock” led the comedy side of the slate with an […]

Frank McCourt Reportedly on Deathbed

posted by dross

What sad news! The Huffington Post is reporting that Pulitzer Prize winning author Frank McCourt is “gravely ill with meningitis” and “not expected to live” according to his brother Malachy. Throughout his memoirs, “Angela’s Ashes,” “‘Tis,” and “Teacher Man,” McCourt–one […]

‘Family Guy’ Gets Emmy Nomination

posted by dross

The Emmy nominations for 2009 were announced this morning and the biggest surprise of all was the inclusion of the Fox animated series, “Family Guy”–a show that’s known for keeping the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on their toes with their […]

Harry Potter Finally Receives Vatican Blessing

posted by Kris Rasmussen

It seems no one is truly impervious to the Chosen One from Hogwart’s spell after all. Although the Vatican has thoroughly denounced the” Harry Potter” series in the past (as recently as last year), the Vatican newspaper recently announced that […]

Hostage to Nobody: Derek Webb’s ‘Stockholm Syndrome’

posted by Paul O'Donnell

A few minutes of footage from the making of Derek Webb’s new, stunningly successful album, “Stockholm Syndrome” explains a lot about what Webb, the consciously controversial Christian singer-songwriter, is up to with his latest release. In the docu-video released last […]

A ‘Dear John’ Letter to Jon Gosselin

posted by Ellen Leventry

Dear Jon, Once upon a time, I sympathized with you, cringed with you as Kate commanded your every movement (to the point of telling you not to breathe so loudly) and browbeat your every decision. With reports of Kate off […]

How Well Do You Know Michael Jackson’s Lyrics?

posted by dross

Although the world still mourns the loss of Michael Jackson, his music will certainly live on. And while so many have enjoyed his songs for years, it’s easy to overlook the depth of his lyrics–which often contain positive references to […]

Jerry Jenkins and Stephen King: BFFs?

posted by Kris Rasmussen

Jerry Jenkins undoubtedly has a devoted fan base in Christian publishing and Stephen King is legend among horror novel devotees, but who would think these two would have much in common–much less have formed a friendship. Just when I thought […]

LaToya Jackson Cries ‘Foul Play’ in Michael Jackson’s Death

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

Michael Jackson’s been gone two weeks. There have been insane outpourings of sympathy and invective from fans and haters, respectively. There’s been one of what will likely be many memorials, that had locals grumbling about the cost to the state […]

Ken Mansfield’s Many Journeys

posted by Paul O'Donnell

What do the Beatles, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and Whitney Houston all have in common? Ken Mansfield. A former record executive who raced through the ’60s and ’70s on big expense accounts and marijuana-scented tour buses, Mansfield worked for them […]

Watch Trailer: ‘Julie & Julia’

posted by dross

“Julie & Julia” intertwines the lives of famous chef Julia Child (Meryl Streep) and blogger/aspiring writer Julie Powell (Amy Adams), who attempts all 524 recipes in Child’s book, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” over 365 days. Begins Aug 7. […]

Billy Mays: Posthumous Pitching

posted by Ellen Leventry

When I read yesterday on TMZ.com that ultimate pitchman Billy Mays would be posthumously pitching for Mighty Tape, my initial reaction was that it was a bit tacky, that the company behind the product, Media Enterprises, was potentially profiting from […]

David Arquette’s Sacrifice for Hunger Relief

posted by Douglas Howe

Many celebrities do really nice things for charity, but every once in a while they not only take on a cause, but they’re willing to get uncomfortable doing it. Such a sacrifice will be made next week above New York […]

‘Bruno’ is No ‘Borat’

posted by Douglas Howe

We like to keep things positive here at Idol Chatter. The intersection of pop culture and faith is a dynamic and inspiring corner of the blogosphere. But I’m struggling to find what’s positive or inspiring about Sasha Baron Cohen’s latest […]

The Ultimate Reality TV: Convert an Athiest!

posted by Douglas Howe

Well, we borrowed “American Idol” from Britain, and I say it’s time to borrow another TV show. This one’s from, of all places, Turkey! It’s designed to do something you’d never think is possible in a country like that–nor ours […]

Watch Clip: ‘Bruno’

posted by dross

In this clip from the upcoming comedy, title character Bruno (Sacha Baron Cohen), a gay Austrian fashion journalist has a conversation with an ex Palestinian Prime Minister and the ex head of Mossad, about hummus. The film releases July 10.

Interview with Asra Nomani of ‘The Mosque in Morgantown’

posted by dross

If you missed the recent PBS airing of “The Mosque in Morgantown,” about “Muslim Bad Girl” Asra Nomani’s fight to reform conservative mosques, good news–you can now order the DVD. And, to tide you over until it arrives, be sure […]

Michael Jackson’s Memorial: All Spirit, No Spectacle

posted by nsymmonds

Yesterday, many around the world gathered to watch the Michael Jackson memorial. There were those who were lucky enough to get tickets and then there were those, like myself, who were resigned to watching it on their computer screens. But […]

Respects to All, Including Mr. McNamara

posted by Douglas Howe

Apparently death isn’t a strong news story if there’s too many at one time. I fear our pop culture has become such a strong force in our nation that it may have more of an impact than it should upon […]

Michael Jackson’s Memorial: The Therapy of Spectacle

posted by Kris Rasmussen

When exactly the media reached the tipping point in its gluttonous, ravenous coverage of Michael Jackson’s death, I don’t know. The information, rumor and innuendo have been coming at me from my TV, my laptop, and my radio at a […]

Watch TV Clip: ‘Mending Fences’

posted by dross

In this clip from Hallmark’s upcoming TV movie, a woman (Angie Dickinson) and her daughter (Laura Leighton) fight to save a town’s water supply, which is threatened by the development of a casino. “Mending Fences” airs July 18.

Michael Jackson’s Spiritual Guilt

posted by dross

In 2001, a year after he wrote an essay for Beliefnet about growing up as a Jehovah’s Witness, Michael Jackson participated in an online audio chat sponsored by GetMusic.com and RollingStone.com and moderated by writer Anthony DeCurtis. In it, he […]

Faith-based Sarah Palin is a Media Star

posted by Douglas Howe

You may like her. You may not. But regardless of what the majority of politicos and pollsters are saying about her, Sarah Palin is emerging as one of the most recognizable pop culture icons of our time. She is the […]

Roger Federer and Tiger Woods’s Weekend Wins

posted by Douglas Howe

Sometimes sports television crosses over into the world of pop culture, and this year’s July 4th weekend certainly marked such a time. Roger Federer won his historically best 15th Grand Slam tennis title, and Tiger Woods won the tournament he […]

Michael Jackson Fan Suicides

posted by shuang

Has the cult of celebrity worship gone too far? Last week’s news highlighted a few Michael Jackson fans around the world committing suicide after being devastated by the pop singer’s death. A UK media outlet Sky News quoted the president […]

The Church of Twitter Gets Randy: To Tweet or Not to Tweet?

posted by Donna Freitas

Christian church groups and all types of faith-based organizations and communities that have jumped on the Twitter and Facebook bandwagons as an albeit abbreviated online forum for everything from evangelization to basic connection have been in the news a lot […]

Interview: Nati Baratz of ‘Unmistaken Child’

posted by Nell Minow

As they have for hundreds of years, a Buddhist monk goes on a journey in search of the “unmistaken child” who is the reincarnation of his master. The quest is unchanged in its goal and its procedures. But this time […]

‘Saving Grace': Keeps Getting Better

posted by Donna Freitas

I’ve been watching “Saving Grace” since the pilot aired, and the show is so well-written, well-acted, and edgy that it converted me to become a Holly Hunter fan. Though the show’s angel-spirituality side can get a bit syrupy at times […]

Hung Up on HBO’s ‘Hung’

posted by Ellen Leventry

I still haven’t quite forgiven HBO for canceling the brilliance of “Rome” only to perpetrate the anemic “John from Cincinnati” on viewers. Last year’s launch of “True Blood” put a better taste in my mouth, and now I find myself […]

Jermaine Jackson: ‘Michael Is a Gift from Allah’

posted by Idol Chatter

In an exclusive interview with Matt Lauer of the “Today Show,” Jermaine Jackson speaks candidly about his relationship with Michael and how he viewed Michael’s role on earth. Expressing his wish that he had passed away instead of Michael, Jermaine […]

Kevin of ‘Jonas Brothers’ Is Engaged

posted by Idol Chatter

Looks like the oldest JoBro is ready to give up his purity ring. People.com reports that Kevin, 21, proposed to his girlfriend of two years, Danielle Deleasa, 22, on Wednesday with a custom-designed engagement ring. The two lovebirds met while […]

‘True Blood’ Marathon This Weekend on HBO

posted by Donna Freitas

On Sunday, HBO will re-air the first three episodes of the second season of “True Blood.” So if you’re behind or just caught up from Netflix, or you simply love vampires, this is the night to wind down the Fourth […]

Actor Karl Malden: 1912-2009

posted by Kris Rasmussen

With so much of the world grotesquely fixated on every detail surrounding Michael Jackson’s death, the news of yet another Hollywood legend’s death was announced yesterday with little fanfare. Actor Karl Malden, known, to some, for being the voice heard […]

Michael Jackson’s Death: Does Fame Trump Faith?

posted by Idol Chatter

Question: What do Michael Jackson and Pope John Paul II have in common? Answer: They were the most recent famous public figures whose bodies were chosen for public viewing after their deaths. Before Michael Jackson, another famous figure whose body was public viewing was Pope […]

Dolly Parton: ‘Michael Always Had the Heart of an Angel’

posted by Idol Chatter

TVGuide.com discovered a wonderful video of Dolly Parton giving a heartfelt tribute to her close friend, Michael Jackson, a “true musical genius and fantastic performer and a really sweet, sweet soul.” She also reveals her belief that Michael is rejoicing […]

Pranking Celebrity Deaths

posted by shuang

In the wake (no pun intended) of recent celebrity deaths like Michael, Farrah, Ed, and Billy, there have been a surprising surge in false rumors swirling about other celebrity deaths: Jeff Goldblum, Natalie Portman, Harrison Ford, George Clooney, Rick Astley, […]

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Academy Award Nominated Film Unbroken Releases on DVD
The highly acclaimed film Unbroken, directed by Angelina Jolie that tells the inspirational story of Louis Zamperini hits DVD on March 24, 2015. At the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Louis Zamperini won a personal meeting with Adolf Hitler, who complimented his fast finish. In 1941, Zamperini enlisted in

posted 9:19:32am Mar. 23, 2015 | read full post »

Self/Less: 'God Created Man, Man Created Immortality'
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71fWtJXEI0Q What would it really feel like to feel immortal and you know longer had to worry about failing health? Phoenix Biogenic offers this once in a lifetime offer where the new body will be genetically mastered to perfection. Only a select few are chosen to

posted 10:57:15am Mar. 13, 2015 | read full post »

The New Trailer for CW’s ‘The Messengers’ Is Here, And It’s Like Nothing You’ve Ever Seen
[youtube]https://youtu.be/61AfGNlXf9M [/youtube] CW’s “The Messengers”, starring Diogo Morgado from the hit series “Son of God”, centers around five individuals who die as a result of an earthly phenomenon. When they return to earth as Angels with unique abilities, they must band together

posted 11:13:54am Mar. 12, 2015 | read full post »

Open Letters to Oscar Night Standouts
The following is a guest post from one of our Entertainment contributors, Malayna Dawn. Enjoy! Dear John Travolta: We know you are multi-talented and have played many characters, but lately it seems like you may be having trouble expressing your true self – at least in ways that the public ca

posted 10:46:28am Mar. 04, 2015 | read full post »

We Bid Farewell to Leonard Nimoy
Friday, February 27th Leonard Nimoy, famously known for his role as Spock in the infamous Star Trek series, passed away at the age of 83. His wife, Susan Bay Nimoy, confirmed his death, stating that the cause was the end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Nimoy publicly announced last

posted 2:25:26pm Feb. 27, 2015 | read full post »

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