Crazy Demands

Divas are gonna be divas. Ever since the first mega superstar back in Egyptian times was asked before their show, “Is there anything in particular we can do to make you comfortable?” the chronicles of divas making absurd requests has a long and very, very weird history. You might have heard of Van Halen’s “no brown M&Ms” demand. Kanye West has been known to ask for a barber’s chair in his green room. We all know Ye has some issues. Don’t get me started. Adele has banned organic honey in any of her pre-singing engagements. Organic honey. Go figure.

And the list goes on.

Now add to that list one Mr. Jack White. Check out the following link about a recent gig he did at Oklahoma University.

Is anyone really so surprised he’s made the list? The guy is pretty weird to begin with. Learning about his peculiar specifications isn’t going to rock the world to its core, but it’s still quite humorous to dissect for a little while. For me, anyway.

In the article, it says, “The most important function of a rider [aka the list of stupid demands requests] is that it lays out optimal technical specifications to ensure the audience has the best experience possible. For that, Jack hires a team of very qualified touring professionals who write the rider and attempt to execute a professional and pleasant experience for all involved.” And “Part of that is making sure that the tour personnel of about 30 people plus the local venue staff are fed. Contrary to what some believe, Jack doesn’t write the rider nor make demands about his favorite snacks that must be in his dressing room.”

My question is: How does the person at the venue (in this case a university) benefit from trying to follow a homemade guacamole recipe? I highly doubt OU hired a student from their culinary college or brought in a guacamole expert. It was probably the event planner or some underpaid (or unpaid) intern that was tasked with following the recipe to a T. The chances that they would get it right are pretty small if the “cook” never even tasted this particular type of guacamole before.

If the team has to be fed, why don’t they hire, oh I don’t know, a caterer? Or, here’s a wacky idea, order a pizza? Or, hell, buy some guacamole from the store? Oh, I know what you’re thinking, “Store bought guacamole, Wendy?” Let me tell you, these aren’t the olden days. Go to Whole Foods or other gourmet specialty grocery store and you’ll see that they make some fantastic guacs. But I digress, the question still remains, how in the world does the audience get a better show if the “team” is to be fed home-made guacamole?

And don’t even get me started on the no bananas in the building clause! How dangerous are bananas these days? Do they often show up with weapons now? Are they filled with Ebola? Are they now explosive à la the Acme Corporation? I’ve been racking my brain as to why they’re not even allowed in the building. Perhaps someone on the team is allergic or has a phobia (there are weirder fears for sure). If that’s the case how hard is it to keep any stray bananas in a bag that’s labeled “Bananas” just in case one does find its way into the green-room via a fruit basket?

Maybe Jack White has watched one too many Looney Tunes and now has a legitimate fear that a stray peel is going to go rogue and someone will slip and fall. That surely could cause the audience to have a less than optimal time. Or maybe not. Maybe it would enhance their viewing pleasure. Who knows?  The chances are pretty thin that this is a realistic possibility, but perhaps it happened in the past in which case who am I to cast blame.

One last little thought: Why do they care if the public knows their demands? If it’s as run of the mill as the PR press release makes it seem, why is it a breach of privacy and why does White’s camp seem to care so much?  It’s bad enough they have such demands in the first place, but if you’re getting paid $80,000 up front with an additional 90% of the ticket sales, you’d think you could take a little criticism.

Just another reason why I don’t understand celebrities. Does the crazy make the star or the star make the crazy?

Those sad, celebrity blues

Brooke Burke-Charvet, a model, host, former Playboy Playmate, and general low-level celebrity who rose to stardom mainly because she had a nice face and a surgically enhanced body, was just recently fired from her hosting gig on Dancing with the Stars.  She was apparently devastated and was “blindsided.” This news story has been all over the internet the past few days and I’m sorry but I don’t exactly know why any of us should care.

When a celebrity gets fired from a job, my empathy towards them is non-existent. Let’s take Ms. Burke-Charvet as an example. I don’t want to speculate, but I’m sure she got paid a little more than $20/hour for the time she put in as co-host. A lot more, actually. She won’t have to worry about paying the mortgage next month, let’s just put it that way. Plus, she gets fired and all this PR is instantly stirred up letting the world know, “Hey, there’s a pretty woman looking to get back in front of a camera.” If you think she doesn’t already have her pick of new jobs, given how well-publicized her recent availability in schedule was, then you’re crazy.

Now I do feel  for the average Joes out there who get blindsided by a pink slip after putting their blood, sweat, and tears into a thankless job for 5, 10, 20 years. After providing much-needed services — for peanuts compared to celebrities — people in this country routinely get booted because cheaper work is available. Or the job is no longer necessary due to automated processes.  Or the fat cats upstairs want more money in their pocket and to do that they eliminate a position, figuring that someone else can handle twice the workload. Whatever the reason — those people I feel sorry for.They are thrown into a tailspin without any sort of media campaign letting the world know they could use some work. It’s very possible that the fear of not being able to make the car payment or mortgage becomes reality.

But what about that baseball player who got cut from his team because he was juicing himself full of human growth hormone? ESPN will debate about his merits for hours on end, but he (and this is just an anonymous player) just made $13 million last year alone. I’m sorry, but someone who gets paid a ludicrous amount of money to hit a ball with a wooden stick, or introduce dancers onto a stage… I just can’t feel bad for them when they’re kicked to the curb.

Then there are supermodels that pout and complain about how difficult their lives are when they’re forced to put on a bikini and stand in cold water or, vice versa, wear a parka when it’s a balmy 85 degrees on the Santa Monica pier on shooting day.  I mean, that’s horrible! They should call the labor board for such atrocious treatment on the job!

Recently I read an article featuring today’s “It” girl Kate Upton. For unknowable and ludicrous reasons, Sports Illustrated put her ass in a bikini and shoved her into an anti-gravity chamber. First off — what!? Models floating in space in swimwear for a sports magazine? None of those things go to together. Secondly, in the article she was talking about how hard it was for her to do the shoot. Really!? It was hard to float? It was hard to look at a camera and smile? Was it hard to do all that rigorous, back-breaking work with the six figures they paid you?

A couple of things right off the top that I think may just be harder than putting on makeup and getting my picture taken: pouring hot tar in the middle of the summer for a highway construction project 50 hours a week; breaking up knife fights in juvenile detention centers; going around house to house at 6am every morning  emptying the festering trash out of garbage cans into the back of a truck; storming into a building that is on fire to save people; taking a call to the scene of a crime with no idea  what you will be facing. These are just a few examples of jobs that might, just might, be a little more difficult than Kate Upton’s daily regimen. And something tells me those workers aren’t getting even a fraction of what she’s making.

This goes for celebrities too whenever they complain about the trials and tribulations of their job when they’re being paid millions of dollars to do what they do (i.e. memorize lines and say them). Are you kidding me!? They not only complain about how hard it is to do their job, which is ridiculous enough, but then they also denigrate the movies or the movie franchises that made them household names. Or they sign up for and complete a movie only to complain about the end result (namely a bad movie) as if it had nothing whatsoever to do with them. I wonder if, in those cases, they return the money they were paid? Since they obviously are sooo sorry they were ever associated with the film. Somehow I doubt that.

Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love movies and there are certain actors and directors that I have a lot of respect for — but it’s usually for their philanthropic activities and the fact that they are always “classy” and dignified when it comes to interviews, comments, or criticizing others (as in, they don’t). It’s the whiny, bitchy celebrities that get on my last nerve. I have no sympathy for them…at all. Seriously, we should all have such things to complain about.

I feel for firefighters who have to risk their lives or police who could get shot at any moment — all for paltry sums. My heart goes out to the single parents who work two minimum wage jobs just to keep food on the table.  Those people—they can complain, deservedly so—I get it.  Celebrities not so much.