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October 16, 2008

Kanye, Soderbergh show some skin


Negative campaigning, economic armageddon, sinking network ratings! Things are tough all over, so it's no wonder (at least to us) why some people's minds are drifting to the carnal.

Or in Kanye's case, it's not exhibitionism, it's art!

Word's streaming out today about a listening party that Grammy hoarder and airport rumbler Kanye West had this week for his latest effort, "808s & Heartbreak," with "styling" by Italian artist Vanessa Beecroft.

Kanye's more contemplative these days, he says, and less label conscious. Maybe that explains the three dozen naked chicks in stilettos that adorned the Hollywood soiree, possibly the only thing that could distract a music industry crowd from a) the soundtrack of the night and b) the bar.

Some did take a listen, though, and came up with a preliminary critique. Still reeling from his mother's sudden death, Kanye has created a subdued record, telling the assembled crowd "it's time to deliver ideas in the most naked form possible." He raps a little, but he sings a lot. He sings! Well, with a major assist from AutoTune.

Read more about the gathering here, and curse the fact that you weren't invited. We mean, if that kind of thing appeals to you.

Also on the take-it-all-off front, Oscar winning filmmaker Steven Soderbergh has cast 20-year-old porn star Sasha Grey (pictured) in an upcoming low-budget flick about a high-priced call girl. It's part of Soderbergh's deal with Mark Cuban's company and their toe-in-the-water day-and-date release experiment that has yet to gain much traction.

Grey is inching into mainstream film, after churning out a boatload of XXX flicks in her short career. "The Girlfriend Experience" is shooting now in New York.

Sounds a whole lot more intriguing than "Bubble," right?



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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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