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Idol Chatter

Idol Chatter

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Holy Hoover!

posted by ellen leventry

By now, the football as religion analogy is about as played out as steroid scandals in competitive cycling. But folks in Hoover, Alabama, take the phrase God on the Gridiron to a whole new level and MTV is there to […]

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A Pagan Presence on Sesame Street?

posted by ellen leventry

Last week marked the introduction of a new character on “Sesame Street”: Abby Cadabby, a fairy-in-training. Abby, who hails from Fairyside Gardens, Queens, is young, eager to learn, and has been described as a feminist who also likes being a […]

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Youth Springs Eternal in the Bahamas?

posted by ellen leventry

“Sure he may have walked through the Great Wall of China, wooed Claudia Schiffer, and used his superpowers to thwart would-be robbers, but those were mere parlor tricks,” writes Eonline‘s Josh Grossberg of magician David Copperfield‘s claim to have discovered […]

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New Exorcism Pilot: Touched by an Anglican?

posted by ellen leventry

What if Joan Girardi, the lead character on CBS’s retired smash-hit “Joan of Arcadia,” heard a voice, but it wasn’t the voice of God. What if it was a voice telling her to do very bad things? Well, Joan’s family […]

MTV: Multi-Faith Television?

posted by ellen leventry

As my fellow blogger Doug Howe recently noted, last week marked MTV’s 25th anniversary. Doug has decided to forsake the cable giant for more “positive, spiritual” pastures, but I am still on board. It’s true that the channel hawks such […]

Lewd Lyrics = Sex Sooner?

posted by ellen leventry

First Al Gore was right about the environment, and now Tipper Gore and her Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) may have been right about those explicit lyrics warning labels!? A recent study by the Rand Corp. showed that “teens who […]

Carlton is a Kaplan: Jewish Soap Opera Drama

posted by ellen leventry

A handsome Midwestern man discovers that his family is actually of Jewish heritage and that his mother was forced by the Nazis to catalog stolen art during World War II. Now the matron is working to see that the art […]

Alice Cooper’s Wonderland: A Christian Youth Center

posted by ellen leventry

In the immortal words of Alice Cooper, “School’s out for Summer.” But Cooper, the heavy metal maestro, is making sure that the kids of southwest Phoenix will still have a safe place to go once school doors are closed. MSNBC.com, […]

Mel’s Mea Culpa: Help Me, Jews!

posted by ellen leventry

Criticized yesterday for an apology that was deemed “insufficient” and “unremorseful” by Abraham H. Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, actor Mel Gibson released a full statement today asking for the forgiveness of the Jewish community for his […]

The Messengers: Return to Sender?

posted by ellen leventry

“The Messengers,” a new eight-part series on The Learning Channel featuring 10 of the nation’s up-and coming inspirational speakers, left me somewhat less than inspired. In the premiere episode, the contestants are left to live for 24 hours on L.A.’s […]

Mr. T Says Good-bye to the Bling

posted by ellen leventry

If a rose by any other name is still a rose, then is Mr. T without his miles of gold chains still Mr. T? The AP reports that Mr. T, star of “The A-team,” Rocky movies and his own eponymously […]

Dreamy Healer

posted by ellen leventry

Adam is your typical 19-year-old. He likes to work out, has tattoos, and goes out on dates. But Adam, as it turns out, is not just a typical university student, but a famous Canadian healer–“The Dream Healer.” Last night, John […]

Tzedakah Tsk Tsk?

posted by ellen leventry

What does it mean for a superstar’s career when shilling for a charity during a concert generates as much controversy as wearing a crown of thorns and strapping yourself to a wooden cross during a concert? No stranger to controversy, […]

The History Channel’s Psychic

posted by ellen leventry

John Holland is the perfect psychic for the History Channel. He eschews the usual gimmicks of media mediums, the schmaltziness of John Edward or the histrionics of “Most Haunted” and “Ghost Town”‘s Derek Acorah, and even goes so far as […]

Can Christianity Save Britney’s Marriage?

posted by ellen leventry

This week’s US Weekly features a headline that one might expect to find on an issue of the magazine Guideposts rather than on one of the nation’s top gossip magazines: “Kevin’s Last Chance: A Christian life coach helps Britney forgive […]

L’Chaim Lohan?

posted by ellen leventry

It seems that Madonna’s Kabbalah connection with Lindsay Lohan may be reaching new heights of mystical ecstacy.Perezhilton.com is featuring pictures of Lohan with a Jewish “chai” charm necklace. It is not clear whether wearing the Hebrew word for “life” around […]

Scientology on the Fast Track

posted by ellen leventry

While most recently associated with a certain couch-jumping movie star, Scientology has had a long history of recruiting celebrities. But now the L.A.-based religion is turning its sights to the massive demographics of NASCAR, which has, as of a 2004 […]

The Chicks Grow Up

posted by ellen leventry

The “Dixie Chicks” moniker has always been fitting, perfectly personifying the sassy, dynamic, youthful tunes of Natalie Maines, Emily Robison, and Martie Maguire. But their latest album, “Taking The Long Way,” shows that these girls ain’t chicks anymore–they’re wearier, wiser […]

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 […]

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 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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Brad’s Buddhist Body Art

posted by ellen leventry

It seems that fatherhood has brought out a devotion in Brad Pitt that transcends just sharing the same faux-hawk haircut with his adopted son, Maddox Jolie-Pitt. Hello! Magazine reports that the Hollywood hunk has gotten a Buddhist blessing tattooed on […]

Holy Hilton!?! Paris & Teresa, Separated at Birth?

posted by ellen leventry

Simple life, indeed. In possibly one of the most bizarre bids for publicity ever, MSNBC.com–via Access Hollywood via “People Magazine”–reports that Paris Hilton is on the short list to play Mother Teresa in a film set to begin production early […]

From One Rag to Another …

posted by ellen leventry

Sometimes I find New York Post gossip columnist Cindy Adams’s Larry King-like meanderings a bit too filled with non-sequiturs. For example, a snippet from today’s column: “B’way’s new show ‘Well’ has the line: ‘In the Midwest, Judaism is an accessory […]

Scientology vs. Kabbalah: A Spiritual Battle for Celebrity Souls

posted by ellen leventry

As if it isn’t enough to be badgered by paparazzi and crazed fans, now David and Victoria Beckham, Britain’s celebrity royals, are reportedly being fought over by Tom Cruise and Madonna. Does Tom want the soccer phenom to star in […]

Mandisa Testifies

posted by ellen leventry

“This song goes out to everybody that wants to be free. Your addiction, lifestyle, or situation may be big, but God is bigger,” proclaimed “American Idol” contestant Mandisa as she strutted onto the stage last night to sing the 2000 […]

Near-Death Experience in Newark

posted by ellen leventry

The metaphysical motif of the final “Sopranos” season rolled on last night, as a comatose Tony, shot by his Uncle Junior, chose not to “walk into the light,” even as he was driven toward it by Paulie Walnuts’s yammering at […]

Nothing Cheesy about this Nun

posted by ellen leventry

In “National Lampoon’s European Vacation,” Rusty Griswold discovers, much to his dismay, that every English television station airs the exact same show on cheese-making. So, when I saw that my local PBS station was airing a documentary called “The Cheese […]

Chronicles of Ridiculous?

posted by ellen leventry

Who says there’s no “Passion” effect, no rush to mimic Mel Gibson’s phenomenal success? Details magazine reports in its April cover story featuring Vin Diesel–whose recent filmography includes “The Chronicles of Riddick” and “The Pacifier”–that he is preparing to star […]

American Oracle? We’re Psyched!

posted by ellen leventry

SciFi Channel is looking for a few good psychics. The cable channel is planning a reality show, slated to air this summer, that promises to delve “into the world of psychic phenomena in a way never seen before.” “The Gift,” […]

South Park’s Chef Hanging up his Apron

posted by ellen leventry

What’s that saying about getting out of the kitchen if you can’t stand the heat? Looks like Isaac Hayes, the voice of Jerome “Chef” McElroy, doesn’t like what those “South Park” boys–Matt Stone and Trey Parker–have been cooking. E! Online […]

Focus on the Family: What “The Sopranos” & “Big Love” Have in Common

posted by ellen leventry

The long-awaited opener to the sixth season of “The Sopranos” started out more Beatnik than Bayonne. Viewers were treated to a surreal roundup of what’s happened since we last checked in the Sopranos, some 18 months ago, with William S. […]

Travolta in ‘Hairspray': Would L. Ron Hubbard Approve?

posted by ellen leventry

John Travolta’s decision to play Edna Turnblad in the upcoming musical film version of “Hairspray” –based on the stage musical, which was based on the original film–has “raised eyebrows of Scientology watchers,” reports MSNBC.com’s Scoop. Made famous by cross-dressing legend […]

Location, Location, Location

posted by ellen leventry

With homes in London, the British countryside, and Los Angeles, why would Madonna be interested in a “shack” by the Sea of Galilee? According to the The Times of London and other news organizations, the Material Girl’s representatives have been […]

On Sunday, Did God Create “Desperate Housewives”?

posted by ellen leventry

Those viewers who didn’t turn off the televisions directly after the Best Picture acceptance speech last night were treated to a bit of tasteless self-promotion by ABC. Pumping the return of its regularly scheduled Sunday night lineup–“Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” […]

Michelle Williams Won’t Be Speaking at Alumni Day

posted by ellen leventry

Actress Michelle Williams, who first shot to fame as beleaguered ex-bad-girl Jen Lindley on “Dawson’s Creek” and has since been Oscar-nominated for her turn as the beleaguered, heartbroken wife of gay cowboy Ennis Del Mar in “Brokeback Mountain,” won’t be […]

Get the Lard Out!

posted by ellen leventry

“Pancakes make people happy,” goes the slogan of the Royal Canadian Pancake House. But those delectable breakfast treats do much more than that on Shrove Tuesday–they provide the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. Traditionally, Christian households were […]

Karma in the ER

posted by ellen leventry

Karma visited the ER last night on “Grey’s Anatomy.” Or at least television’s version of karma – the idea that what comes around, goes around. Outside of Hollywood Hinduism*, karma can best be defined as action or duty. But as […]

Kabbalists on Ice

posted by ellen leventry

That red string around U.S. figure skater Sasha Cohen’s left wrist wasn’t part of her colorful costume–it was a Kabbalah bracelet. Ubiquitous among celebrities, including Madonna, Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher and even Paris Hilton, the trendy talisman of Jewish mystical […]

Turning the Other Cheek on ‘Idol’

posted by ellen leventry

American Idol contestant Mandisa Hundley threw the book at brash Brit judge Simon Cowell Wednesday night–a bit of the Good Book, that is. After the full-figured Hundley’s initial audition in Chicago, Cowell raised eyebrows and ire by asking if the […]

The Thrill of Victory, The Agony of Defeat

posted by ellen leventry

Sure we watch the Olympics for the fantastic athletic competitions, but what we really love is the human drama behind those achievements. And while the past few days have been full of drama–Michelle Kwan relinquishing her spot, Bode Miller not […]

Out of the Closet, in the ‘End of the Spear’

posted by ellen leventry

Actor Chad Allen and I have two things in common: (1) We share the same birthday, and (2) we both like boys. That’s right, the man chosen to play the dual role of evangelical missionary Nate Saint and his son […]

Kanye West’s God Complex

posted by ellen leventry

John Lennon declared the Beatles to be bigger than Jesus Christ, but at least they didn’t try to be Jesus Christ. Kanye West, the multi-platinum selling rap artist and outspoken celebrity who criticized President Bush’s Katrina relief efforts last year, […]

Looking for God in “The New World”

posted by ellen leventry

Just past the two-hour mark in Terrence Malick’s “The New World,” a character named Opechancanough–one of the “naturals,” as the film calls Native Americans–tells Rebecca, known as Pocahontas before her baptism, that he is being sent to England to “meet […]

Hindu Baby, One More Time!

posted by ellen leventry

It seems that Britney Spears is still following in the spiritual footsteps of her mentor Madonna. Having been introduced to Kabbalah by the Material Mom, the former Baptist was soon seen wearing a red string around her wrist and toting […]

Laugh Holiday

posted by ellen leventry

Queen Latifah made me cry. I wouldn’t normally admit that I teared up during a heartwarming, inspirational romantic comedy, but I’m willing to go on the record so that others might not pass up “Last Holiday, “a remake of the […]

Who You Gonna Call? Kabbalah!

posted by ellen leventry

MSNBC.com’s Scoop breaks the news States-side that Gwyneth Paltrow is demanding “proof” that her newly-renovated London home is haunted. According to London’s Daily Mail, Ms. Paltrow feels that her current pregnancy is not going as easily as her last one […]

“Lost” in Faith

posted by ellen leventry

Rabid fans of ABC’s “Lost” have many suspicions about the meaning of the show, fueled by their examination of myriad clues in exruciating detail. And while I was just as curious about things like where those numbers came from, I […]

Kelly Clarkson’s Jesus Juice

posted by ellen leventry

Biblical exegesis meets the Billboard Hot 100 in the January/February issue of Blender magazine. Kelly Clarkson–Blender’s Woman of the Year, winner of the first “American Idol,” and singer of the ubiquitous and insidiously infectious “Since U Been Gone”–considers herself a […]

Nip/Tuck Delivers

posted by ellen leventry

Nip/Tuck delivered early Christmas gifts this year, both figuratively and literally. The usually sordid plastic surgery doc-opera revealed a more spiritual side in last night’s episode–while still managing to keep the “ick” factor high. Mrs. Kringle–one half of a Santa-and-Mrs.-Claus […]

Hasidic Reggae Artist Hits the Big Time

posted by ellen leventry

Talk about your crossover artists! Matisyahu, born Matthew Miller, has been taking the reggae world by storm–which might not be so unusual, except for the fact that he’s a Hasidic Jew who sings/raps about the Jewish experience. Check out the […]

Chainsaw Conversions

posted by ellen leventry

I’ve heard of conversion by sword, but conversion by chainsaw? As another devoted fan of “Invasion,” I was stunned by last night’s episode, in which Deputy Lewis Sirk is convinced by Sheriff Tom Underlay–who is looking more and more like […]

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posted 2:05:00pm Jun. 30, 2015 | read full post »

The New ‘Peanuts’ Trailer Is Here, And We Just Can’t Get Enough
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posted 5:28:01pm Jun. 17, 2015 | read full post »

‘I'm Tired of Watching America be Led by Lunatics’
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posted 9:41:20am Jun. 16, 2015 | read full post »

Academy Award Winner Morgan Freeman Will Produce 'The Story of God'
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posted 9:17:12am Jun. 12, 2015 | read full post »

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