By Steve Weinstein
By Devon Maloney
By Tessa Stuart
By Alison Flowers
By Albert Samaha
By Jesse Jarnow
By Eric Tsetsi
By Raillan Brooks
Wynonna Judd had an 80-minute therapy session the other night, and since she billed it as a concert, I totally managed to be there to watch. At Foxwoods casino in the wilds of Connecticut, the backwoods powerhouse tossed off Christmas chestnuts in between occasionally rocking out on belty ballads like "I Wanna Know What Love Is." But primarily she talked a blue streak, while simultaneously revealing her obsessions, serving affirmations, and praising "family, fellowship, and food."
Entering in what looked like a red velour tent with a tiara, the bodacious bumpkin trotted out classics like "White Christmas" and "Winter Wonderland," which is a little like a construction worker attempting ballet in a china shop, but far less damaging. More paradoxically, Wynonna explained that she had released a yuletide CD "to get away from the commerciality of Christmas"but before you could pick that offbeat sentiment apart, on came the memories like moonshine spilling out of a broken keg. "I lived on a mountaintop in Kentucky, with Ma on welfare," said Wynonna, welling up, "which meant we were too."
"I never fit in with the other kids," she went on, poignantly adjusting her tiara. "I was high-spirited. Ma said it was ADHD. But I was just creative!" She was apparently extra creative in giving half-sister Ashleya major obsessionan even harder time than the imaginary creatures in Bug. "Why do you think she became an actress?" said Wynonna, grinning. "She's just reacting to all that holding her down till she peed in her pants!"
And the tough love is obviously still there on the mountain, I mean in the mansion. According to Wynonna, "Ashley's a Democrat and Ma's a Republican, and I say, 'Leave me out of this! I'm voting for Jesus to come back!' " (That was a tiny bit disingenuous. While waiting for the Messiah's return, Wynonna did once perform at a Republican convention.)
By now she'dgone and come back, having changed into a purple velour tent while keeping the same tiara poised on her "Miss America hair." Dripping with earnestness, she told us, "We've got to get back to The Little House on the Prairie!" Imploring us to hang on to our serenity prayers in between meals, Wynonna demanded, "Put on your big-girl panties and deal with it. Let it go! I used to show up with my Williams Sonoma pitchfork, but now I say, 'It's my mother's house. Let her do it her way!' "
There was no mention of Wy's own drunk-driving incident or her estranged husband's bad luck in pawing a minor. I guess she's let it go.
Earlier that evening, I stuck my pitchfork into a giant boar chop in Foxwoods's Grand Pequot Towers, which made my big-girl panties fit that much cozier. Also appetizing was a preview tour of the adjacent MGM Grand casino, which will be mammoth enough to house all the Judds and their obsessions (and exes). The powers that be wanted Bono to open the place, but he's unavailable, so I'm voting for Jesus to come back, with Amy Winehouseas an opener.
Tim Burton comes back with Sweeney Todd, the most Halloweeny Christmas movie ever made, with seething revenge and nostril-flaring holding you down till you pee in your pants. I call it Bloodbath and Beyond. As the main pitchfork holder, Johnny Depp broods charismatically and sounds like middle-period Bowie (I guess he's not invoking Keith Richards this time), and while Helena Bonham Carter's reedy voice will hardly erase memories of Angela Lansbury or Patti LuPone, she does some fun deadpan acting with the role, and her audition was undoubtedly no less rigorous than Tori Spelling's for Beverly Hills, 90210. A few of the songs don't soar as expected ("A Little Priest"), but "By the Sea" is beautifully realized and the art direction is tops throughout, like a Hammer film with extra money and vision. Of course, from the second everyone starts crooning, Depp's Pirates fan base will probably be so horrified you're going to witness some real bloodletting, honey.
After seeing the pumped-up I Am Legend, I could honestly star in I Am Deaf, but before the premiere screening, I was able to hear Will Smith's speech apologizing for having tied up the streets of New York with the filming. "Some of you gave me very distinct American signals of displeasure as you were riding by," he said, jiggily. But has Will given Scientology a big thumbs-up? Well, the lithe star admits to the press that he favors a higher power, "but that relationship is between me and the higher power." Would that godlike being be Jesus on the comeback trailor perhaps L. Ron Hubbard? If this is a hint, Jada's man recently boomed out at a press junket, "I love women!"
So does Jodie Foster, who recently acknowledged her longtime lover, Cydney Bernard, when accepting an award. The British press have credited this to Jodie having promised her best friend and supposed sperminator, Randy Stone, on his deathbed that she'd come out. (Randy was once married to Barbra Streisand's half-sister Ashley Judd, I mean Roslyn Kind, and went on to co-produce the Oscar-winning yay-gay short Trevor.) But we know the real reason Jodie's being more honestmy Out cover story using her as an example of a "glass closet" person who needs to do some shattering!