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June 27, 2008

Wincing for Winehouse


It's a gorgeous summer Friday here in SoCali, and we don't really mean to bring everybody down, but we feel like this is required reading so we're making the recommendation.

Claire Hoffman, whose journalistic chops are second to none, spends a night in Amy Winehouse's flat and comes out with a Rolling Stone feature that shows us how the multi-Grammy-winning artist lives these days and, at this rate, how she could die.

It's not judgmental, it's keenly observational. And heartbreaking.

The magazine will take some heat for publishing it (if the early online comments are any indication) because the reporter had access to unguarded, vulnerable and sometimes fairly incoherent moments with the soul singer. Assuming she didn't misrepresent herself or her intentions, and there's no indication she did, the reporter seems to have done her job the old fashioned way: go directly to the source, ask questions, pay attention, show don't tell.

The result is the train wreck we can't look away from, with details like the clutter and empty beer bottles all over Winehouse's apartment, her frequent disappearances into a room by herself, followed by more babbling, and her alarming physical state confirming all this year's tabloid tales.

Read it and weep.

A post script: After Winehouse reportedly showed up for rehearsal yesterday accompanied by a giant bottle of vodka, she did make it to the stage for a performance today at a celebration for Nelson Mandela. (She's pictured here at the show).

Another P.S.: Since we're pimping for Hoffman, check out her searing portrait of Joe "Ego Gone Wild" Francis. 



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Oscar Contenders

  • So "The Dark Knight" didn't make it into the final five after all, never mind that critical and popular support. Let's just call the comic-inspired mega-hit "The Biggest Snubee."

    Here are the best picture contenders in a race that, two weeks away from the Oscars, seems to be a foregone conclusion ("Slumdog") unless there's a come-from-behind possibility ("The Reader" anyone?)

    "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett; the politically timely "Milk;" rags-to-riches fairy tale, "Slumdog Millionaire," Holocaust best-seller-based drama "The Reader," and Watergate-era biopic "Frost/Nixon."

    Could "Button" and "Slumdog" split the vote, allowing another film to take the prize? Doesn't seem likely. After having clung to "Button" for months as what we thought would be the Academy voters' top vhoice, our money's now on "Slumdog." Momentum can't be ignored.

    Watch this blog for updates, ephemera and all manner of postulating.

Picture this

  • Mmmmm, chocolate Oscar. Not every star will walk away from the 81st annual Academy Awards with a trophy, but if they hit the high-profile Governor's Ball they can have pastry chef Sherry Yard's gold-dusted candy version. Also on the menu from celeb chef Wolfgang Puck is tuna tartare in sesame miso cones, chopped Chino Farms vegetable salad with ginger soy vinaigrette, Maine lobster and caviar. Serve it up! (Getty Images)

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