Thursday, August 30, 2007

A Chunk of the Truth about the Kidman/Urban Illusion

Some folks took the time to point out recently to one of the many responders to this blog the truth about this fantasy trip we are on with Keith Urban. Namely, that it is a fantasy. Most of us have our feet firmly planted on the ground. But there are a few who seem to be out in the nether regions and are lost. I am not talking about those who are warped or possibly ill. You know them. They are the ones that have a "personal" relationship with Keith because he squeezed their butt at a meet and greet, or he smiled at them on stage. I am not even talking about those very sad souls who believe they are married to him and have children with him and who stalk him. No, my concern is with, and the reason I write is, the woman or man who thinks that everything written about Keith and that wife of his is gospel.

You see this blind following particularly with her fans. There is one particular fan site that is so funny on the surface but after reading it for awhile you realize how sad it is. These people are living their lives through Nicole Kidman. Each new movie, each new article or interview, and it’s as if Kidman had spoken just to them. The sad part is that this isn't just a few but many people who feel the same way.

Sorry to blow this up for all of you living in the illusion, but Nicole Kidman doesn't care about you or your opinions. She hires bodyguards to protect herself from you and the only thing she wants is your money.

As for Keith, musicians are different. Of course, he is there to get adulation, that’s part of it. He goes out into the crowds - he is live. It is very “in the moment”, and a musician is playing to whatever is inside of the listener. Keith Urban doesn't know what you desire but perhaps something he is playing is touching you and affecting you. That is very intimate and dangerous. He isn't really asking you to come along as much as he is playing and it is touching you. Then you tell others and then it builds a following. That, my readers, is the power of music and when you are skilled as Keith you don't need to manipulate anyone.

Yet, we are all as good as the company we keep, and since 2005 things have changed a bit.

There has always been some speculation about plants from Camp Urban on fan sites. There are certain people who lead discussions toward a specific topic or away from others. There are also believed to be insiders who plant information in bits and pieces to create a demand for a show or CD or boost the ratings of a program that Keith will be on. I am fine with that. Tell me, “the fan” what is coming up. I always thought it was weird that a machinist and a beautician were able to go to all these shows all over the world and have inside information about tour dates months in advance, and yet post about how wonderful Keith and the wife are, as if they were normal fans? What I don't like is that there are now plants that seem to be having fan experiences to counter that which many of us know isn't true. They are creating a myth.

One thing about cruising all the fan sites is that not everyone has a great time. Not everything is hunky dory. A fan review generally is honest about the show. What has been appearing on some Keith sites is eyewitness reports of how wonderful everything is; how great the shows are; how they are filled to the rafters and sold out, and the thing that bugs me most -- that Keith is personally happy and well.

There is one poster who was at many of the shows writing glowing reviews. I am not talking about Green Bay or DC. I am talking about Australia and England and the US. This person even talked to Keith the day that he had the flu and had to say goodbye - perhaps forever - to Europe. What made this observer interested was that this poster happened to be in China when Keith and Kidman were there in 06. Happened to be? No, my readers, this person is paid to plant “all is well” hooey on Keith Urban fan sites.

And who pays her? Most investigations put this not at the feet of Camp Urban, but in the wacky manipulation superhighway created by Nicole Kidman and those she hires to protect her fame.

I am sure Kidman is not the only one that does this, but it’s painfully obvious that she doesn't get the world that Keith inhabits. For example, that shot of them at the 2006 Grammy’s with Keith dressed as Keith and in his element and Kidman dressed like what Vogue magazine would expect a rock and roll girlfriend to look like. She was out of place and she hasn't learned.

She is a shrewd manipulator of image but she hasn't figured out that what Keith does is touch your heart. He plays to your emotions. I guess you have to have some kind of emotional balance to understand this. It's why no one cares when she is at a show.

It’s not about her. It's about what we are getting that Keith is giving us. Keith's audience isn't that stupid. Some are a bit naive but so many are not. They can see his face and hear his voice and that’s when we understand. Plant all the glowing folks you want Kidman, we can pick them out and pick them apart. Going to see Keith has never been about you, your marriage or your drama, it’s about seeing one of the most talented musicians performing today reaching people through his art. Take some notes or just leave quietly…you won't be missed.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Kidman and the Tabloids

Did you enjoy reading the review of The Invasion in In Touch? How about the one in Star, OK or Life & Style? Funny, The Invasion opened last week and they didn't have a review. Wonder why? There was a review in People, but it was watery and not really that critical. The newspapers and TV film critics really slammed the film. Anyone who has followed the career of one Nicole Mary Kidman Cruise Urban knows that you can be blindfolded and have a better chance playing darts than Kidman does of having a hit film. Why didn't those tabloids review the film? They do review films. They aren't the late Pauline Kael but they do tell you whether or not to spend a buck on a film. But nothing about The Invasion.

For a few months now, Urban Myths has been pointing out to you, dear readers, about how Kidman has used the media to perpetuate the crap about her happy life.

We have gone over how a photo might appear and the circumstances about it. We talked about the race with Kidman's true love to manipulate the media. But what we haven't talked about is the need that exists between Kidman and those tabloids. They both keep one another afloat.

Let's start with People magazine. People is a legitimate, respected magazine. It's part of the establishment and it's less of a tabloid and more of a magazine. People is also a press agent’s wet dream. What a celebrity wants you to think about them is found in People. Note: Keith Urban couldn't buy coverage if his life depended on it. Yes, in 2002 he was voted one of those sexy dudes but it was a tiny picture and not more than that. Suddenly Kidman sits her ass on Keith's bike (a PR stunt, Keith privately told those close to him). The photo is shown first in the Aussie People then one week later in American People with a blurb about who this Keith Urban is, because certainly the average reader wouldn't know.

He got famous almost overnight. This was a good thing for Kidman - she was in the race with her true love and she used the magazine to show the world how happy she was. We had the pictures of Keith and Nicole strolling in Boston with a ring on her finger. That was black Wednesday, 11/16/05, the day after Keith Urban lost his singular identity as a country music star and Entertainer of The Year for the CMAs. She used People again to show the happy Thanksgiving, and the family Christmas stroll. She used People to write a story in winter 2006 about them living together in Nashville, and finally to announce her engagement. Of course, she neglected to tell Keith she was doing this, but she got what she wanted. They got a cover for the wedding. They got the cover again when he went into rehab. But the story was quite generic. When Keith came back he talked to People. So, if it's in People it must be true...right? Well, that’s what Keith said...

But those other rags? Well, they need a Nicole Kidman. She was Mrs. Tom Cruise. She won an Oscar. She got her heart broken. Yes, her life has sold their magazines and she needs them to perpetuate her name. She can't do it because of her work. Her movies are not the movies that the average reader will go see. Yet, Nicole Kidman needs those people who read the tabloids to keep her famous. She wouldn't give you the time of day on the street. But read about how she took a whole Sunday afternoon to see her poor addicted husband at Betty Ford and you keep her a viable commodity in Hollywood.

The tabloids want you to want to be interested in Nicole and Keith. They sell the magazine. Nicole and Keith (“I don't read them and neither should you”) Urban want you to be interested so that you will buy their tickets. It’s kinda creepy, like all those weird movies Kidman makes with little boys.

But let’s face facts…Kidman and Keith are actually boring. There isn't a scandal there. Yeah, there were rumors, and yes, Keith admitted they were true, but that was in a little known German magazine. These two aren't the power brokers that Katie and Tom are. So what does a famewhore like Kidman do? She knows the strength of those connections, so she cozies up to an emerging internet photo site. I am not mentioning the name, but this person is now on her fan board. It also appears that some deal or arrangement has been made with the photographer that was her worst enemy. He seems to be getting some very nice exclusives lately or else he is using older photos to help the myths move. All of that helps, but Kidman is just not exciting and she has been the subject of more and more ridicule.

Perez Hilton, LaineyGossip and Dlisted have all pointed out the flaws. In my opinion, the future of the celebrity is found in these places. The internet and those who use it for gossip are the new power. Why read about something in People when someone on a blog is actually talking about the real event? Why wait a week for a picture or a review of an event when you can log into Lainey every morning and get a pretty damn accurate report that hasn't been cleaned up by a Wendy Day? I love blind items. Both the E! message board and the king Ted Casablanca have some really great stuff. Nicole can't control that. Even if it’s not true, it’s gone as fast as it comes. It all becomes urban myth. And while the future is the internet, those tabloids will begin to flop just like a Nicole Kidman film. Is it really the consumer who controls the show, not Kidman, not People or Star, Life & Style, In Touch or OK? Not even US. So, the next time she is on the cover don't buy it and soon she won't be on the cover. Anyway you can read more about the real truth on a gossip site than in the pages of one of those magazines.

Hey, Nicole, no one really cares what you want them to believe. The truth will sell you out every time.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Kidman and Urban Flopping Down the Bunny Trail

What is she going to do? Her career is in the toilet, Tom is getting popular again, that damn kid is everywhere, I am getting older, Keith isn’t “the same” to his fans... random thoughts lashing through the mind of Nicole Kidman.

Are you going to go out and see The Invasion? From what I am reading it would be best to save your ten dollars, pull out your old Barbie and Ken and pretend Midge, Skipper, Tutti and Alan have all become zombies. Barbie must get out of the way before they take young Kelli with them.

Yet another Nicole Kidman movie that is a flop. Not just a flop, but one of the biggest stinkers of the year. Oh, I can only imagine how hot the Australian Outback is right now. I can also imagine one Keith Urban is trying hard to avoid calling back to Oz to check on the beautiful, beautiful princess. What will Mr. Kidman do? Let’s face facts. You can't keep having these kind of flops and get the paycheck that she gets. Yes, she is producing more of her own films but after awhile even those won't make a studio want to touch her. Her appeal is worldwide, so they say. What I don't understand is, what is her appeal?

I will admit when this whole contracted relationship started with Keith, I went and looked at some of her films, and with the exception of To Die For, I wasn't impressed. The whispered voice, the same delicate mannerisms, the red hair and perfect skin - yes that is part of the package. The looks that some find beautiful. When you get down to it - she isn't a good actress. I think for so long Hollywood bought this myth about Kidman being good. She made some "artistic" pictures, and she did a thriller or two. But what really pushed her to the A-list was her association with her former husband. Tom was THE thing and with her on his arm they were THE couple. She got the good scripts because it was a way to get to her husband.

And then it ended... it was over. "THE" couple got divorced and the murky details helped no one. Poor Nicole. Tom left her and why? No one knew except that Nic knows, but to this day that is just gossip and speculation and what was a 33 year old former Australian television actress to do? Well she lived with one of the best press manipulators ever. Nicole learned from the master.

She turned the divorce around and damaged the golden boy. She played “Polly Pity Me” to the hilt. She got the best publicist and with that the scripts kept coming and they were A-list scripts. Nicole Kidman won an Oscar for being a deserted wife more that her performance in The Others. After the Oscar, it should have been easy, but the roles were not good. Why? Because she has a limited range and a limited appeal. Diane Lane should have won the Oscar that year - she actually acted. Diane didn't have to put on a rubber nose and pull angst out of her pocket. Kidman's appeal has been like watching someone after they have been sick trying to regain their strength. When they get on their feet they don't need us. But Nicole needs us. To this day she is still trying hard to prove something and enough time has passed that her connection and her break up with Tom are in the past and some don't even remember it.

Is she a good actress? No, look at her body of work. Anyone could have done these roles and in some movies you wonder if they could have done them better. The Others was her last real hit. It was okay, but what if someone else had been in that role? There is a whole group of actresses who are far better than she is. She was going to be in Panic Room. Can you imagine that film with her instead of Jodie Foster? I can't.

What Kidman did was played the victim to further her career, but now the gig seems to be up. She is in another flop and people are wondering if her career may be up, too? She is getting older. There are a lot better actresses out there. Even her best friend Naomi Watts is a better actress. So what will be her next move? Kidman has always used her personal life to get attention, the attention she couldn't get with her acting. I predict that with yet another flop we will be hearing about Nicole Kidman “the woman” more and more. Pictures of her with her husband and more pictures of her trying to look like a mother.

Nicole doing her part with the UN. All of this to make us think of her as a celebrity, and not just an actor. The two things that could happen are a baby for the Kidmans or a divorce. I think either will be played to the hilt. Nicole Kidman, who had a hard time conceiving, conceives, or humanitarian Kidman finds a young child in China or India and she and Keith bring the baby back to Nashville and they become very public parents. The baptism, first steps, traveling to visit mom on the set. Little baby (Suri) Kidman-Urban will be a star in its own right. Of course no one would ever ask why not adopt from the US or Oz? Maybe because those pesky rules about having a parent who is a recovering addict might be used to stop the adoption. The happy family unit - working mom, devoted dad and little acquired baby just warms the heart doesn't?

My, oh, my, you don't win an Oscar for changing a nappie do you? But you can for being a victim. Kidman knows that by experience. So how does one achieve that? You have your marriage fall apart and it’s not your fault.

Keith goes back to being Keith and Nicole kicks him out. Of course she will be lauded. She was his savior but he was weak. She stood by him and he played her for a fool. He used her fame to get more for himself. Poor, Poor, Nicole.

I can't predict which one she will use but eventually one of these scenarios will come true. Flop after flop after flop. Nicole, I bet you have all your eggs in the basket of the Golden Compass. Happy Feet is for kids right? Rumors are already rampant that they have changed several of the characters, especially Kidman's character so much so that the loyal book reader may turn on the movie. I guess because I like Keith so much, I hope she gets some kind of hit and can keep working and eventually the marriage will lose its appeal. It’s already as if they aren't "the couple” in that sense. Nicole, I suggest you find that special television project that will endear you, as you totter into oblivion and one that will allow you to be happy enough to quit seeking fame by any means necessary. Do you really need to do that your kids and the incredible guy you are currently married to?

Friday, August 10, 2007

Unrest in Keith Urban's Monkeyville

Members of Keith Urban’s fan club have been desperately attempting to make known to Fan Club management and Keith Urban’s management their dissatisfaction with the present state of the Fan Club. Unlike most businesses who receive consumer complaints, it appears Monkeyville and Keith’s management is turning a deaf ear to the complaints made by Fan Club members regarding dissatisfaction with the fan club.

For your $24.99/per year membership fee the fan club member is to receive the following benefits:

Exclusive Video Footage: Most of this is a 2-3 minute video where Keith reads from just about the same script for every venue thanking people for showing up to the show. These exclusive videos are blatantly designed as advertisements for the next tour dates. Some of the membership thought the KU Tube footage was Keith’s way of reaching out to his fan club members. As soon as this was expressed on the Fan Club boards Keith took a break from taping and updating the KU Tube Footage.
Photo Galleries: These photo galleries are professional photos you can find on the internet if you know how to look for them. These photos eventually end up in magazine publication or for use in publicity. Thus, these photo galleries are not exclusive to the fan club.
News and Tour Dates: This is a joke most of the time I get my news through google alerts before anything is published on the site. What is ironic is that Nicole Kidman’s fan site has more up to date information regarding Keith Urban then his own fan site. As to Tour Dates, I have them from Pollstar usually a week before anything appears on this site.
Ticket Pre-Sales: If the Fan Club Pre-sales go through Ticketmaster then you’re going to pull up nosebleed seats. The only decent tickets I got through a Monkeyville pre-sale, were GA tickets to the Red Rocks concert in 2005 which were sold through Ticketmaster or from a ticket vendor other then Ticketmaster in 2006. There are some fan club members who will tell you that Keith nor his management can do anything about this, the problem has to do with Ticketmaster. I say they are naive.

Brad Paisley’s Fan Club which is also run by Echo had similar problems with Ticketmaster which are listed below:

1. Problems logging on and using the passwords to get tickets - some missed getting tickets because the passwords didn't work etc.

2. Poor seats - if they asked for two tickets - they were in section six at the back of the arena. Some found that they could get closer seats if they got an individual one, but generally nothing like what they'd been able to get through the fan club.

3. In some cases, they couldn't tell what seats they got...just had to take the seats they were assigned and wait for TM to send them to them, and hope they were decent.

The majority of complaining was the quality of the seats compared to what they'd been getting from the FC and being locked out from ordering seats because of the system not taking passwords etc...

In response to these complaints Mr. Paisley’s fan club sent out this e-mail to all fan club members:

Hey Guys! Thank you to everyone who has shared their thoughts and experiences on the VIP ticketing process through Ticketmaster! Based on your feedback, we have decided to resume VIP ticketing through while Ticketmaster revamps their ticketing process to better suit our needs. This means on the day of a VIP ticket sale, all you need to do is go to the Tour Page and click on the VIP ticketing icon! From there you will enter your credit card information and the tickets will be held for you on the night of the show at Will Call under the name on your Fan Club Membership. Each member may purchase up to two (2) tickets per show… and you may buy tickets to as many shows as you wish. There may be a few shows that we are unable to do ticketing for, but we’ll do our best to keep those to a minimum! And, as before, ticket prices will be determined by the venue and include a handling fee to cover the costs of credit card processing, etc.Again, we appreciate your feedback and patience… VIP ticketing is a benefit of being a loyal Brad Paisley Fan and we want your ticketing buying experience to be painless and fun!! Please keep an eye on the TOUR page for all the latest updates! Thanks for your support, Administrators

Nice to know that they listened to the fans and are taking care of them. So I’d say the lousy ticket selection has everything to do with the Fan Club and Keith’s management and nothing to do with it just being a Ticketmaster thing. Ticketmaster couldn’t shaft the fan club members without Keith’s help.
Meet and Greet Opportunities: Yes, there are meet and greet opportunities, (called the Keith Urban Backstage Experience because you probably won't get to "meet" him) but most Fan Clubs offer more then the number KU does. For example Rascal Flatts fan club offers 35 meet and greets per show. As opposed to the 8 BSE passes awarded via lottery by Monkeyville.
Community Boards: Yes, you have the opportunity to post on the community boards, as long as you agree with everyone, because if you state an original opinion which doesn't follow the line of stating Monkeyville is a wonderful place, then you run the risk of having your post deleted and yourself placed on mime status. Also you have to remember that you cannot post anything that you do not wish a 10 year old or a Catholic Nun to read. Basically all commentary must be “G” rated. The deletion of whole threads happens on a regular basis at Monkeyville, these deletions occur if you complain about lack of up to date information provided by the fan club; problems with the fan club ticket presales; or just stating disappointment that Keith cancelled a concert for which tickets had already been purchased.
Exclusive Contests: Yes, they have contests, most of which have to do with how much you are willing to embarrass yourself in the pursuit of promoting Keith to the general public.

Keith’s disconnection with the Fans has become obvious and it is my opinion that he is feeling the effect of this disconnection in the lack of sell outs on this tour. Just last week Keith had two nights of shows in Green Bay, Wisconsin in a facility which held only 5000 seats. I assume the reason they scheduled two nights at this particular venue was because the venue was so small and because on the prior tour there was a demand for a second show. It has been reported by a fan in attendance both nights that there were still a lot of empty seats in the venue, that there really isn’t a bad seat in the house, that even being in the very back of the venue would have had an awesome view. This same fan reported that one of her friends bought tickets the day of the second night and was in like row 13 on the floor (but outside aisle). Mind you, she didn't get them from the venue, but a ticket center in Green Bay, and only paid $60 each. This is just another indication of Fan dissatisfaction with Mr. Urban. In 2005, those row 13 seats would have fetched in excess of $100 a piece on the secondary market. Now some of the seats in the venues are being sold by the ticket brokers at below cost.

It is my prediction that if Keith does not do something to fix the problems that exist within the fan club and does not make an effort to reconnect with his fans, not only will Monkeyville membership continue to dwindle, but also Keith’s career may.