Check Out The Trailer For The New Grace Jones Documentary

The trailer for the long-anticipated upcoming Grace Jones documentary, Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami, is here at last. The film is directed by Sophie Fiennes (The Pervert’s Guide To Ideology) and will debut October 25 in the UK.

“What is it in that movie? Sometimes you have to be a high-flying bitch,” Jones explains in voiceover as the trailer opens.

The film was shot over the course of more than half a decade, and will offer an intimate glimpse into the life of one of fashion and music’s most inimitable superstars.

“This is the first time people will see me in this way,” Jones told Screen Daily about the film. “They will see a very candid portrayal. It is raw. It will be like seeing me almost naked, I’m very happy with the film. I didn’t feel like it was an invasion. It was a very smooth and comfortable process.”

The movie will offer never-before-seen performances, uncensored interviews, and rare insights into Jones’ life.

“This film began in a collaborative creative spirit,” Fiennes told the Independent“Grace had fiercely controlled her public image, but made the bold decision to un-mask. She never sought to control my shooting process, and I didn’t second-guess the narrative of the film as I was shooting. I just gathered evidence. The film is a deliberately present-tense experience; for me this is the thrill-ride of verité cinema.”

Bloodlight and Bami is an official selection of the Toronto International Film Festival.


Keith Haring’s Humanity Heads to Paris

Keith Haring’s art is like a visual punch in the face. A true trailblazer during New York City’s street culture movement in the 1980s, the inimitable graffiti virtuoso’s playfully subversive imagery slapped society with a unique call-to-action that cleverly commanded open and direct discussions about sex, racism, war, power and violence. Following his untimely death in 1990 at the age of 31, the artist’s signature silhouettes, iconic bold lines, and legendary phrases live on through thoughtful brand collaborations managed by the Keith Haring Foundation, as well as exclusive exhibitions at major museums across the globe.  

A social activist at heart, Haring’s powerful political messages are as impactful today as they were at the height of his career. To celebrate his legacy, the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (Museum of Modern Art of the City of Paris) and Le CENTQUATRE present one of the artist’s largest retrospectives to date. The Political Line runs from April 19 through August 18and boasts nearly 250 striking images on canvas, subway walls and tarpaulins, including such works as A Pile of Crowns, For Jean-Michel Basquiat (1988), Brazil (1989), and Andy Mouse – New Coke (1985), a tribute to Haring’s close friend and mentor, Andy Warhol. The CENTQUATRE art space will showcase 20 large-format works, most notably The Ten Commandments (1985), which is a mighty set of 25-foot panels that cleverly merge Biblical references with socio-political iconography. In short, it’s bucket list-worthy for Haring diehards.

keith haring brazil

Brazil, 1989, Glenstone, © Keith Haring Foundation

Dedicated to supporting art initiatives around the world (projects include Miss Van’s exhibition in Los Angeles, Fuzi UV TPK’s tattoo residency at New York’s The Hole Shop, and Barry McGee’s retrospective at the Berkeley Art Museum in California), premium denim and lifestyle brand Citizens of Humanity (COH) is sponsoring the exhibition and will also host a special children’s program to salute the partnership. "I am inspired by people that follow their own ideas and create what no one has before them," explains COH founder, Paris-born Jerome Dahan. "As a child, I didn’t have the opportunity to be exposed to ‘art’ as it was defined inside a museum or gallery. Contemporary art, which feels far more accessible, was one I connected with. When I came to the states, I found the look and voice of artists at the time particularly interesting and inspiring, as they were rewriting the rules and, for the first time, were so much a part of popular culture. Haring defines a true artist to me; he had a strong vision, incredible courage, and spoke from the heart." Dahan has paintings from both Haring and Basquiat in his home collection.

"As a team, we wanted to support an exhibition that showcases the work of a man who truly was a Citizen of Humanity and who helped draw attention to social issues that are important to all of us," explains COH president, Amy Williams. "To do so in Jerome’s birthplace, during the 10-year anniversary of our brand, makes it even more important." In addition to the artist’s undeniable draw, Paris, contemporary art and charity are three elements that attracted COH to sponsoring the exhibition. Over the last year, the brand has been working to develop and share their story while expanding presence in France, a place that is very much a part of their DNA.

Haring’s connection to France includes a 1985 exhibition at the CAPC Musee d’Art Contemporain (Museum of Contemporary Art) in Bordeaux and a vibrant 1987 mural on the exterior of Necker Children’s Hospital in Paris. Although his international presence is certainly revered, the artist was a New Yorker through and through. Born on May 4, 1958 in Reading, Pennsylvania, in 1987 Haring dropped out of the Ivy School of Professional Art in Pittsburgh after two semesters when he realized that he wasn’t interested in becoming a commercial graphic artist. Later that year, he moved to New York City and enrolled in the School of Visual Arts (SVA), where his love affair with street art first sparked. Swiftly making a name for himself through rapid, mind-blowing public paintings in subways (this was around the time his infamous "Radiant Baby" figure was born), by the 1980s he was making waves with fellow 20th century game-changers like the aforementioned Basquiat and Warhol, and collaborating with a host of acclaimed audio angels. Memorable designs include a leather jacket donned by Madonna in 1984 during her performance of "Like a Virgin" for the TV dance show, Solid Gold, and brilliantly eccentric outfits sported by the one and only Grace Jones in her 1986 music video for "I’m Not Perfect (But I’m Perfect for You)." (There’s also body painting involved and cameos by Haring and Warhol. That video will change your life.)

Living friends of the artist continue to sing his praises. Queen of New York’s underground scene in the ’80s and FUN Gallery co-founder (her memoir, FUN Gallery…The True Story, is a must-read) Patti Astor recalls her first encounter with the artist: "I met Keith on Astor Place in 1980. He was wearing his distinctive Day-Glo painted googly eyeglasses and asked to take my picture. What a lucky day for me! We were privileged to show Keith and [famed Lower East Side graffiti artist Angel Ortiz] LA2 at the FUN Gallery in February of 1983. If there is one artist who epitomizes the breakthrough spirit of the early ’80s—a moment when your ‘art’ and your impact on the culture were inseparable—it is Keith. I think of him every day."

Hollywood-born, Brooklyn-based art legend Kenny Scharf was friends and roommates with Haring and appears in the 2008 documentary, The Universe of Keith Haring. He shares Astor’s sentiment: "Although Keith and I were the same age, I always felt that he was my guide and teacher. I learned so much from him and still use his advice today. Thank you, Keith, forever."

The Political Line runs from April 19 through August 18, 2013 at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, 11 Avenue du Président Wilson, 75116 Paris, France.

September Music Reviews: Laura Marling, Beirut, Grace Jones

Laura Marling, A Creature I Don’t Know (Ribbon) After being showered with praise from The New York Times and Spin for her debut and sophomore albums, each of which was nominated for a Mercury Prize, expectations couldn’t be higher for Laura Marling’s latest elease, A Creature I Don’t Know. Fortunately for the 21-year-old British singer-songwriter—who already snagged the Best Female Solo Artist prize at the 2011 Brit Awards—the record is a triumph. Building on the strength of her previous two efforts, Creature boasts a folksy, wistful feel, but it’s her voice—at times light and subtle, at others bold and deep—that makes her music so unforgettable. —Sharon Wu

Tinariwen, Tassili (Anti-) Tinariwen, a revolving band of Touareg (nomads from northern Mali) musicians, recorded the songs that appear on their fifth album, Tassili, under the stars of the southeastern Algerian desert. They collaborated with TV on the Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe and Kyp Malone on reticence-free rhapsodies against the glow of nightly campfires, and the result is as back-to-basics as their open-air recording studio. Tinariwen’s signature assouf guitar style (which some suggest is a distant relative of blues music) goes acoustic with subdued percussion and handclaps so hypnotic they almost make translation—the group sings in Tamashek—unnecessary, even though their lyrics tell impassioned tales about a group of wanderers struggling for survival. “Tenéré Taqqim Tossam” is an ode to the Saharan spirit: “Oh jealous desert, why can’t you see you are a treasure?” —Tricia Taormina

The Kooks, Junk of the Heart (Astralwerks) After leaving no stone unturned on their multi-continental Konk tour, the Kooks are back with their signature, seemingly indefatigable enthusiasm—and matching guitar rhythms—but this time with the confidence to experiment with a sadder sound. Junk of the Heart, their third record, was recorded in the English countryside beginning in 2009. As infectious as their debut, Inside In/Inside Out, it delivers the Kooks’ classic pop-rock sound and impassioned lyrics, which are reminiscent of a road trip with the windows rolled down. More sedate tracks (“Taking Pictures of You”) may come as a bit of a surprise, but fear not, Kook-heads: singer Luke Pritchard follows through on his proclamation, “If it doesn’t make you feel good, what’s the point?” Point taken. —Rosa Heyman

CSS, La Liberación (V2/Cooperative Music USA/Downtown) Nothing gets the party started quite like São Paulo–based, adolescent-giddy pop-rock crew CSS (an abbreviation of Cansei de Ser Sexy, Portuguese for “tired of being sexy”), and their fourth album La Liberación is no exception. It’s been a while since we’ve heard from the group, who released their raucous self-titled breakthrough in 2006, and it was worth the wait. Jam-packed with one dance-floor anthem after the next, La Liberación delivers tracks like “City Girl,” a surefire rump-shaker punctuated with refreshingly petulant lyrics like “Nothing hurts in the big city.” (If only that were the case.) “Hits Me Like a Rock,” the album’s first single, is about listening to your favorite jam over and over, and it’ll have you doing just that. —Lorenna Gomez-Sanchez

Beirut, The Rip Tide (Pompeii) Whereas The Flying Club Cup, Beirut’s second album, sounded like a zeppelin tour of the world, the Zach Condon–helmed music collective’s third full-length, The Rip Tide, looks for exoticism in the personal. There’s still an instrumental and stylistic fluency on the record, represented by exotic strings, last-call accordions, and a horn section that feels equal parts mariachi and polka, but the overall effect is sparer than Beirut’s previous efforts. Recorded in upstate New York, Brooklyn, and New Mexico, Rip Tide’s tracks began as melodies teased out on Condon’s ukulele or piano before his band would layer in ornate studio accompaniments, only to be distilled and refined again by Condon. Pompeii Records is owned and controlled by the indie darling himself, but that doesn’t stop standout track “Santa Fe” from sounding a bit like a pop song. —Megan Conway

A.A. Bondy, Believers (Fat Possum) A. A. Bondy, the founding member of Verbena, a ’90s rock outfit from Alabama, struck out on his own with two albums that garnered praise from the likes of Conor Oberst and Bon Iver. Now comes Believers, which was produced by Los Angeles–based impresario Rob Schnapf (Elliot Smith, Beck). Deviating from Verbena’s harder sound, Bondy’s individual style is melancholy and deeply soulful. Like many of the languid rhythms for which he’s become known, the quirky instrumentals and rock-rooted melodies on Believers are spartan, simple, and sincere. —Sharon Wu

Grace Jones, Hurricane (Pias) Forget what you know about Grace Jones. No, actually don’t. After nearly two decades out of the limelight, the music and fashion icon has blown into town with her fifth studio album, Hurricane, proving she’s just as bizarre—and genius—as ever. Making full use of her growly pipes, Jones steps away from the Studio 54 beats of her past and veers into a synthesis of nü-metal, dub, and dancehall—which makes sense, given that she collaborated with everyone from Brian Eno and Tricky to reggae producers Sly and Robbie. Jones’ eclectic team gives her music depth, but while it bursts out of the gate at super-speed (“This is Life”), the record loses steam midway through (“Well Well Well”), sputtering to an abrupt halt (“Devil in My Life”) instead of accelerating across the finish line. —Hillary Weston

Grace Jones’ New Album Finally Gets a Domestic Release

So soon after one major storm has blown through our lives, another, significantly more powerful one is about to hit. When you hear Grace Jones open her new album Hurricane with the fierce proclamation, “This is my voice / My weapon of choice,” you’re inclined to believe she could destroy anything in her path with just a few contractions of those monumental vocal chords. Compared to her, Irene was a rather demure lass.

Ms. Jones, it must first be said, is now curiously recontextualized, as she is still deeply linked with the particular cultural juxtapositions of the era that made her a superstar. When punk and disco were fighting it out, she commanded them both to do her bidding; and she was the very personification of 80’s glamour and extravagance, while also epitomizing a new kind of raw female power, which refused to accept weepy, huggy XX-chromosome stereotypes (though the era of Lilith Fair would soon put them right back in place.)

And where Lady Gaga is really more of a postmodern Colorforms set, utterly reliant on the goofy, shiny accoutrements, Grace’s incomparable sense of style has always radiated strictly from within; she was a superheroine, and the clothes were merely her sidekicks. Still, it’s incomprehensible, considering how deeply the Jamaican-American goddess is psychically linked with New York City, that it has taken two years for Hurricane to secure a US release (out this week on PIAS America, packaged with a second disk of dub versions). Produced by Ivor Guest and with an estimable cast of guests including Tricky, Brian Eno, and Sly & Robbie, it’s Jones at her thundering best; which, of course, only makes the delayed release all the more baffling.

The album’s most ferocious track, “Corporate Cannibal”, contains probably the most amazing white-collar-crime / sexual-predator couplet ever: “Pleased to have you on my plate / Your meat is sweet to me.” It draws a straight line from Gordon Gekko to Goldman Sachs over some of the most terrifyingly thrilling dub-metal since Massive Attack’s Mezzanine album. “Well Well Well” and “Sunset Sunrise” are signature slices of only-as-Grace-could-do-them post-punk-post-disco reggae.

She’s up to far more than her usual tricks, though. “The Devil In My Life” is an eerie, almost gothic affair (fittingly, she wrote it in Venice), with Grace despairing, “Isn’t it a crying shame / That you became the devil in my life.” But it’s the haunting, epic title track that seems most revealing, as Ms. Jones, over a mournful orchestral sweep, seems to lament all that we are capable of creating and yet all that we leave destroyed in out paths.

“I am woman, I am sun / I can give birth to she, I can give birth to son” she howls on “Hurricane”, before roaring out the malevolent declaration that she’ll, “Be a hurricane, ripping up trees.”

You’ve been warned.

Grace Jones Gets Catty Over Gaga Outfit Copying

I know it’s hard to believe, but not everybody loves Gaga. On the list of haters who’ve failed to accept the pantsless popster into their lives are straight men, jealous girls, Juggalos, hardcore kids, people who hate fun, and now, legendary musical icon Grace Jones. When asked by the Guardian UK to confirm reports Lady Gaga had invited her on what would’ve doubtlessly been a magical musical journey, Grace Jones, never one to mince words, said, “Yes, she did, but I said no. I’d just prefer to work with someone who is more original and someone who is not copying me, actually. I’ve seen some things she’s worn that I’ve worn, and that does kind of piss me off.”

This makes baby Gaga sad! I can just imagine her face falling as she read this, pounds of makeup unable to conceal the CGI tears welling in the corners of her huge, freaky eyes. There’s a reason Gaga pulls from icons past, it’s because they are awesome. Why does Jones want all traces of her awesomeness to die with her when she could live forever in the form of giant shoulder pads and silver sequins? Does she want to consign us to boring-looking Britney clones forever? Not to mention the fact that a whole generation of youngsters saying “Grace who?” might’ve discovered her via the blonde behemoth. Lord knows Grace is amazing, but I think she’s making a mistake bigger than one of her hats. For the sake of pop music’s future outrageousness, I’d urge her to reconsider.

Grace Jones’ Costume Orgy at the Hollywood Bowl

Grace Jones played the Hollywood Bowl last night for the first time in 20 years as part of KCRW’s World Festival, and the altogether impression left was nothing if not unforgettable. At 61, and soon to release her 10th studio album, titled Hurricane, the Jamaican-born musician can shake, croon, and pull off over-the-top costumes better than nearly any other performer working today. Jones, a former model and muse to (former lover) photographer and stylist Jean-Paul Goude after Of Montreal took the stage, whose performance last night (which included a cameo from style maven Janelle Monae and an onstage engagement for the band’s keyboardist) was also one for the books. But back to Jones; to put it simply, her onstage ensembles could put Lady Gaga to shame.

The handiwork of costume designer Eiko Ishioka, Jones’ sartorial repertoire included a costume change for nearly ever song (of which there were close to 10 — Jones was cut off prematurely by curfew). The range of ensembles include a body-con zebra jumpsuit topped off with a six-foot white wig, enormous sparkling pouf pants, a fierce oversized-shouldered gown with a 10-foot sheer train (for “Hurricane,” of course) and a truly breathtaking Issey Miyake-esque red creation that included countless pleats in the front, revealed at the end of “La Vie En Rose” to be entirely backless save for a red g-string. In other words, the kind of avant-garde fashion you likely won’t see anywhere else, nor on anyone else who can wear it as well as Jones.


Grace Jones Plays L.A. for First Time in 20 Years

One of my earliest memories of Grace Jones was living in New Jersey and watching in wonder as visions of this mannish woman, slightly menacing and utterly fascinating, danced across the screen. I didn’t understand her as an eight-year-old, and I never would have guessed that many years later, sometime in my 20s, sometime around five or six in the morning, Grace Jones would pick me up against a wall and kiss me.

I don’t think I’ll be so lucky this weekend when she storms the Hollywood Bowl on Sunday (part of KCRW’s World Festival), with a collection of trusty openers including station regular Henry Rollins on hosting duties, and Of Montreal and Dengue Fever. Tickets on sale here.

Per the kiss: It’s a long story, but we were at an afterparty thrown in her honor, at a defunct club in Seattle called Needless to say everyone was inebriated, and I said something about how she looked so amazing and ageless, and how she was much shorter than I anticipated, when she stopped, took a look at me, and lifted me up. It was quite a thrill, if obviously in jest. I still have to remind myself I didn’t imagine it.

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Industry Insiders: Josh Wagner, Hotel Barman

As regional director of nightlife for Morgans Hotel Group in Miami, Josh Wagner oversees Skybar at the Shore Club, Sunset Lounge at Mondrian, and Florida Room at the Delano. Here, he talks to us about cachaça, Grace Jones shedding tears, and growing a beard.

What are your favorite places in Miami, outside of Morgans properties? The pool at The Standard Hotel is the most relaxing place in Miami, period. There’s an incredible place called Silvia’s. It’s this inland restaurant on the canal where nobody speaks any English, and you can pick your fish in an icebox right there, and they cook it up right on the spot for you. I love the bar at Smith & Wollensky. I like Abbey Brewing Co. because it’s a tiny bar that just has beer and a dart board, and on any night off, there’s nothing better than a pint and a game of darts.

What does “regional director of nightlife” entail? I make sure that we have the proper finger on the pulse of what’s happening. Plus I control the decision-making on anything from special events, music and entertainment, any programming. Anything regarding nightlife or entertainment.

What’s the most difficult part of your job? Sleeping and not being able to find enough time to sleep.

How would you describe yourself? As a gentleman who is calculating and knows what I would like to accomplish in my life.

And what would you like to accomplish in your life? I’d like to have a hotel chain that features great public areas, that has great food and beverage options. It’ll be very much the equation of successful boutique hotels. Then I’ll retire from that, become a politician for 15 years, and teach history to college kids wearing a corduroy jacket with elbow patches and a pipe and a big beard.

Every night, do you jump around between all three places? I spend most of my time at the Florida Room because my office is at Delano, but I bounce around to the three as much as I can.

How do these three spots differ? Symbiotic with the actual hotel properties themselves, each of the properties offers something unique. The properties share certain characteristics that are similar and very distinct to Morgans, but they are also three completely different experiences. Skybar at the Shore Club is a larger venue where you can sit and have a club-like experience in the Red Room, or have cocktails outside in the garden or poolside. You have Nobu and Ago on that property as well. The Florida Room is the smaller, more intimate gem sitting under the basement of Delano. When Ian Schrager built it, the mentality was that we have to build an iconic lounge underneath to follow suit. It’s a Latin-style speakeasy piano bar, and every night, we do live music followed by atypical DJ sets. It’s a very non-South Beach formula of 70s, 80s funk, old-school hip-hop. The clientele at the Florida Room is very mature, and it’s not a forced mentality of bottle service. Any night, you’ll walk down and you can see a performance of anyone from Grace Jones to Perry Farrell. Between all three of our properties, you can really roam and experience something completely different.

How’s business at the Mondrian? The Mondrian is our newest property down here, and the Sunset Lounge is there because Miami has kind of always lacked a place for the people who have a regular 9-5 job. This is a place to have cocktails right after work, or use as a pre-dinner/post-dinner venue for cocktails. The Mondrian is the first hotel built in 40 years on the west side of South Beach, with beautiful views at sunset. We really wanted to create an offering for people to sit and have cocktails and not feel like they’re being forced to enjoy Miami clubland. It’s relaxed and chill. There we have a cachaça bar. Cachaça is what tequila was 15 years ago. We have 60 different types of cachaça, and we infuse 8 different flavors. You can enjoy a wonderful, tropical environment with a properly made cocktail with crushed ice, and anything from cardamom and pineapple to passion fruit and chili. You genuinely feel like you’re on a tropical vacation at the Sunset Lounge.

Are there any personal touches that you’ve added to these venues? The people that work there. One of the things that we really pride ourselves on is seeing people succeed, and for us, it seems that at all of our properties we have our family. You’d experience that when you go there, that there’s someone who cares about their job, and they see their future potential in it. I’m really proud of the teams that we’ve created.

What do you look for in potential employees? I look for people who care, who smile and are friendly. We’re in the business of engaging with guests and talking with people. You have to be a people person. We help create experiences, and when people come out to enjoy themselves at Morgans hotels, they’re looking to make memories, to have positive experiences. I look for staffers who want to help make moments, and we’ve done a pretty good job finding them.

What’s your favorite property? I’d have to say the Florida Room because you never know what’s going to turn up there. Lenny Kravitz designed the lounge, and some of the most intimate moments of live music that I’ve ever seen have been in the Florida Room.

Most memorable experience there? When we had Perry Farrell performing in the middle of the room, surrounded by a cocoon of people … everybody was just completely entrenched in the fact that they would have this man sweating on them. Grace Jones was sitting and crying in front of an audience that she was actually touching in a room that fits no more than 250 people.

How was Lenny Kravitz involved in the design of the Florida Room? Lenny has a design company called Kravitz Design, and the Florida Room is actually their first public project. They created this gorgeous room with Swarovski crystal chandeliers and a $150,000 custom-made Schimmel lucite piano. There’s only three in the world, and the other two are in Lenny’s apartments in New York and in Paris. There are leather ceilings and glass-beaded wallpaper. The place oozes sophistication and intimacy.

What’s going on in nightlife in Miami from a general perspective? Nightlife in Miami is at a major crossroads, and bottle service is obviously dead. It was uncool two years ago. It was a means to be able to gain access and purchase real estate that nobody else was able to buy. But 2009 is the year of the bartender. That guy who used to go out and spend $2,000 on a table is still going out, but now he’s spending $200 at the bar. Places that have great bartenders and great cocktails are places that are not going to see a real dip in sales at the bar. Happy or sad people always like to drink; that’s one thing that always needs to be remembered. The juice in that bottle, that stuff is liquid gold. Go down to Wall Street now, you look at the pubs around Wall Street, and they’re absolutely packed. Those guys are having rough times, but it doesn’t mean that they can’t afford a couple beers at the end of their day.

Week in Divas: Natasha Richardson’s Organs, Beyoncé Goes Nintendo

imageThis week, we learned that no one can out-diva New York City herself, try hard as they might. And that when NYC has no qualms about strapping on her sharpest pair of high heels and kicking your ass, even her guardian has little choice but to shyly step aside. More sobering is how she’s even helped manage to humble once-wealthy wannabes, driving them to ask for alms. But because that’s too real and because the President told us last night that this reality looks poised to settle in for a good while longer, let’s instead preoccupy ourselves with more obliviously pleasant thoughts — the likes of which helped us get through the first miserable eight years of this century. Pleasant thoughts like hand-held video games, leather, and Grace Jones.

● Proving that there is in fact tangible life after death, the late but everlasting Natasha Richardson’s organs have been donated to waiting transplant patients. [ShowbizSpy]

● And proving that there’s life after the Oscars, Freida Pinto, most recently snatched up by Woody Allen, has secured a role in Julian Schnabel’s next flick. [ Press Association]

Lily Allen archnemesis Cheryl Cole and the rest of the Girls Aloud are demonstrating maturity accrued through seven years of girlbandery by squeezing into garish rubber outfits. [Daily Mail]

● Guys, Lindsay Lohan would kindly like it if you stopped talking about her. Also she crashed her car. Again. [New York Daily News]

● Oxygen — the cable network that gave Janice Dickinson her own reality series where she perpetually appears in soft-focus — polled a number of women, age 18-34, and found that only 25% of them would rather win America’s Next Top Model than the Nobel Peace Prize. [Jezebel]

● Busying himself with cleaning up Paula Abdul’s spittle or perhaps a frantic round of manscaping, Simon Cowell found himself too busy to take an audience with Barack Obama, who seemed genuinely interested in appearing on American Idol. [Sify]

● Joining Bat For Lashes, the Pet Shop Boys, and Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, glam-soul crooner Grace Jones will be taking the stage at this summer’s Latitude Festival in the UK. [Yahoo]

● Sacrilege! The Daily Mail contends that Darwinist poster girl Jade Goody may be a heroine in the same league as Princess Diana. Except for that not-being-born-into-royalty junk. [The Daily Mail]

● Having left her mark on everything from more-talented younger sisters to ubiquitous L’Oreal endorsements, Beyoncé now hungrily eyes a new subset of fans: gaming geeks. Probably contemplating on a Street Fighter II-style video game that incorporates every Destiny’s Child to date, she will wedge her way into the world of video games, one Nintendo DS at a time. [Kotaku]