Eighties pop stars acting badly

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Where do eighties teen pop stars go to die? The answer at the moment seems to be the video store. After twenty years or so in the wilderness, US one hit wonder Tiffany, has reappeared in, not one, but three low budget films. I guess she’s finally been allowed out of the shopping mall. Unfortunately, she’s still stuck in retail.

Tiffany Renee Darwish, known to her fans as Tiffany, first came to prominence with her single I Think We’re Alone Now which made a minor dent in the Australian charts, peaking at 46 in 1987. The video for the song famously depicts a sixteen year old Tiffany entertaining an over enthusiastic crowd at a shopping mall. It was actually extensive shopping mall tours that formed the basis of Tiffany’s marketing and promotions in the early stages of her career.

A cover of The Beatles’ I Saw Her Standing There, with the “her” replaced with a “him” fared better in the Australian charts, making it to number 10 in 1988. The music video featured Tiffany performing in front of a screaming live crowd.

Following a turn voicing Judy Jetson in the epic historical drama Jetsons: The Movie (1990), Tiffany disappeared from the Australian pop culture consciousness, perhaps forever.

Tiffany returned to the shopping mall when her career stalled. Sadly, it was as a cleaner. Only kidding, after being dropped by her record label, she continued to record albums as an independent artist and make plans for a comeback. Unfortunately, the plans consisted of rerecording her hits for a disco album, participating in reality shows featuring other eighties has-beens, attempting a career as a country singer and posing nude for Playboy. None of which worked.

After rival eighties teen queen Debbie Gibson successfully appeared in the direct to video adaption of Jane Austen’s Mega Shark Versus Giant Octopus, Tiffany was approached to make her feature film debut in the psychological thriller Blood Snow (2009). With a cast of relative unknowns, Tiffany stars opposite James Kyson Lee (Heroes) as a woman trapped in a cabin with friends during a blizzard. The DVD cover for this masterpiece is quite hilarious.  Whilst all of her co-stars have their film credits listed next to their names, poor Tiffany has the words, “I Think We’re Alone Now.”

Next for Tiffany was a “mockbuster” from The Asylum. I’ve written a column about this low budget production company. They make direct to video movies that are similarly titled to major cinema releases, such as The Transmorphers, Snakes on a Train and Sunday School Musical.

Mega Piranha (2010), a mockbuster of Piranha 3D, stars Tiffany alongside Barry Williams (Greg from The Brady Bunch). She plays a Professor (I’m not sure of what, perhaps shopping malls) who must stop a school of genetically modified piranha from attacking Florida. In the climax of the film, Professor Tiffany destroys the mega piranha by making them eat each other, presumably by forcing them to listen to her music.

Tiffany and Debbie Gibson will finally come head to head on the small screen this year, co-starring in Mega Python Versus Gatoroid, another monster disaster film from The Asylum. After battling it out in the charts during the eighties, both stars fight each other in a hair pulling, cake throwing melee that has to be seen to be believed. This scene is available online as a sneak peek.

Although Tiffany may not be a threat to the cinema box office or the music charts again, it is nice to know that she’s found herself a niche, even if it is the “gigantic steroid enhanced reptiles fighting each other” movie niche.

Blood Snow and Mega Piranha are available to rent now, and are well worth a chuckle on cheap Tuesday.

Published in: on February 8, 2011 at 07:25  Leave a Comment  
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On-Stage Accidents: don’t do a Buffett

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Following a sold out concert at the Hordern Pavilion on Wednesday night, US singer Jimmy Buffett walked off the stage. I know. All performers walk off the stage at the end of the show. Unfortunately, in this case, poor Jimmy literally walked off the stage.

After completing an encore set, a disoriented Buffett took one step too many towards his adoring “Parrotheads” (this is what his fans call themselves) and toppled off the stage, gashing his scalp and knocking himself unconscious. Luckily, the head emergency department doctor from St Vincent’s Hospital was in the front row to assist.

Buffett has been cleared of any serious injury and will hopefully continue on his world tour, as well as running his business empire which includes the Margaritaville Cafe and Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurant chains and the Margaritaville Beach Hotel at Pensacola Beach. Clearly spreading the island life vibe is very lucrative, as long as you don’t get too mellow at the front of the stage.

The Buffett incident is certainly not an isolated case. The stage is a very dangerous place and many performers have famously injured themselves, or their reputations, in front of a live audience.

In 2007, Beyonce was shaking her “thang” on a stage in Orlando, when she lost her footing and fell face first down twelve steps. Proving that she is a trooper, or perhaps a robot, Beyonce was back on her stilettos in seconds and the show continued. I guess that’s what happens when you don’t wear sensible shoes onstage.

Ashlee Simpson is the less talented sister of talentless singer Jessica Simpson. Back in 2004, whilst performing “live” on Saturday Night Live, the wrong song was cued and Ashlee was caught out when the first song she had successfully mimed started again. Stuck onstage during a live broadcast with her voice being heard but clearly not singing, Simpson danced an awkward jig before wandering away.

Later in the show, Ashlee blamed her band for playing the wrong song. She then claimed that her doctor had advised her to avoid singing due to recurrent acid reflux. Perhaps she had been listening to her own music because that’s what it does to me.

Several “singers” have had their careers shortened by being exposed lip synching during “live performances”, such as Betty Boo, Lindsay Lohan and the infamous Milli Vanilli. Amazingly, the live audience in Connecticut at the concert where poor old Milli and Vanilli were exposed don’t seem to notice that the line “Girl, you know it’s true” is repeated over and over again as the backing track skips. Maybe they thought it was a remix.

Miley Cyrus had a similar thing happen although to her credit, she was singing live. During a performance on live UK television in 2009, she forgot the words to Fly on the Wall and had to embarrassingly turn away from the camera for a few lines until she remembered what came next. I guess that’s what happens when you’re a manufactured popstar and don’t write your own material.

Pink’s most recent Australian concert tour featured circus-like high wire and flying stunts. Last year in Nuremberg, the popular singer came loose from her harness and was flung into a barricade. Besides a bruised ego and body, Pink was back onstage the following night.

The most famous onstage incident occurred during a simulated concert. In 1984, Michael Jackson was filming a Pepsi advert in front of an audience when the pyrotechnics set his hair alight. Unaware that his curls were aflame, the King of Pop continued to dance until he was saved by crew members. Jackson allegedly suffered burns to his scalp and in order to hide his scars underwent extensive plastic surgery…to his face.

Based on this evidence, the stage is potentially a very dangerous place to be, so think twice before you volunteer to sing Hotel California for the tenth time on Karaoke night.

Published in: on February 1, 2011 at 07:55  Leave a Comment  
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