Olivia Wilde and H&M Launch a Very Eco-Chic Capsule Collection

Should you find yourself headed in the direction of Times Square today, we highly recommend grabbing some of your less-loved clothes from the back of your closet. In exchange any old wares to you donate to H&M‘s garment recycling program you will receive 20% off the store’s new Conscious Exclusive Collection–and a chance to meet its spokesperson, one Ms. Olivia Wilde.

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Kicking off the celebration will be a host of eco-conscious brands and celebs gathered together to fashionably toast the cause. The glam list of attendees and brands representing includes Blake Lively (Preserve), Lauren Bush Lauren (FEED), Studio One Eighty Nine (Rosario Dawson), and Lily Kwong (Amour Vert).

The collection is housed in a raw birch structure with sustainable metal inlays–delineated and distinguished from the rest of the H&M shopping experience. Beyond Times Square, however, collection will reach over 200 locations globally.

The clothes themselves are highly elevated and made with recycled, conscious materials as well as high in style–a mostly minimalist aesthetic including stacked-heeled sandals, an organic linen and silk sleeveless gown, a sleeveless cocktail dress made from organic hemp and silk, and a jacket made from organic leather. Other materials include tencel, recycled wool, and sequins.

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Cheers to guilt-free shopping.

Art Star Jeff Koons New H&M Bag Lands On Fifth Avenue

Jeff Koons and Julio Santo Domingo

When I first heard Jeff Koons was collaborating with retailer H&M I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Maybe some mylar-effect puffer jackets? A lobster print puffer jacket? A mylar/lobster print puffer jacket? Actually, Koons collaborated with H&M on a leather handbag printed with a photo of his famous balloon dog sculpture. The real sculpture will cost you over $50 million, but the bag costs just under $50. A real steal, and also a great solution for someone like me that can’t fit all my giant balloon dog sculptures in my tiny apartment. 

The launch party last night was held at H&M’s new 5th Avenue flagship. The crowd of guests included movie stars like Olivia Wilde and Ashley Benson along with art stars like Tim Barber and Jeanette Hayes. I tried to get a quote from Koons and Ashley, but when the time came I was quickly elbowed past by fashion writers more eager than myself, and suddenly not fast enough to reach them before fans bombarded them with requests for selfies. I gave up on the press pit and headed into the party a little disappointed that I didn’t get to ask Koons why he wasn’t carrying his own Koons bag like all the popular girls. I saw people buying as many as five of the purses, presumably to put the extras on eBay when they inevitably sell out, like H&M’s collabs in the past.

Beyond the chaos of the red carpet was a fun party with tiny fish tacos, a performance from teen cutie Birdy, some tipsy shopping, and crowding around Koons. While Koons sculptures have reflective surfaces that often make for a good #ARTSELFIE, the store’s mirrors provided for a new kind of #KOONSSELFIE in which the photographer/subject can now wear the Koons.

H&M x JEFF KOONS 5th Ave Flagship Event
Birdy

H&M x JEFF KOONS 5th Ave Flagship Event
Jeff Dorsman, Eric Zindorf

H&M x JEFF KOONS 5th Ave Flagship Event
Johannes Huebl

H&M x JEFF KOONS 5th Ave Flagship Event
Timo Weiland

H&M x JEFF KOONS 5th Ave Flagship Event
Olivia Wilde

H&M x JEFF KOONS 5th Ave Flagship Event
Lorenzo Martone

H&M x JEFF KOONS 5th Ave Flagship Event
Perez Hilton

H&M x JEFF KOONS 5th Ave Flagship Event
Nicky Hilton

H&M x JEFF KOONS 5th Ave Flagship Event
Cleo Wade, Margot

H&M x JEFF KOONS 5th Ave Flagship Event
June Ambrose

H&M x JEFF KOONS 5th Ave Flagship Event
Jeff Koons, Julio Santo Domingo

H&M x JEFF KOONS 5th Ave Flagship Event
Katie Schmidt, Marybeth Schmidt

H&M x JEFF KOONS 5th Ave Flagship Event
Donna D’Cruz

H&M x JEFF KOONS 5th Ave Flagship Event
Alek Wek

H&M x JEFF KOONS 5th Ave Flagship Event
Ryan McGinness

All photos courtesy of BFA/H&M

Director Joe Swanberg on ‘Drinking Buddies,’ Complicated Relationships, & Craft Beer

The last time I saw Joe Swanberg was at IFC Center in the winter of 2009. I was talking a class with filmmaker Caveh Zahedi who brought in guests to screen their films each week, and instead of presenting Hannah Takes the Stairs or Nights and Weekends, Swanberg chose to show us a rough-cut first hour of a very low-budget movie he was working on. In his Q&A afterwards, he expressed the challenges of making the film and the independent film world in general, seeming to have hit a point in his career that was dying for a shakeup. “I eventually finished that movie,” he told me earlier this week when we sat down to discuss his wildly enjoyable new feature Drinking Buddies. It’s been four years since he showed my class what would go on to be the Kate Lyn Sheil and Amy Seimetz-led Silver Bullets, but for the director who garnered acclaim for years as a leader in “mumblecore” cinema, his latest effort proves he’s not only crafted a film that has mass appeal but shows the work of a more matured director who has truly honed his own style of filmmaking.

Set in the world of a craft beer brewery in Chicago, Drinking Buddies tells the age old tale of intimate platonic love with a question mark. We’ve all been there and we’e all seen the way that underlying desire either fades or ignites into something substantial, but for the characters that populate his laid-back film—played fantastically by Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Ron Livingston, and Anna Kendrick—when things get complicated, sometimes a good pint of beer isn’t simply enough to ease the tension. As his largest production to date, the film explores the relationship between best friends Kate (Wilde) and Luke (Johnson) and their significant others Jill (Kendrick) and Chris (Livingston) as they grapple with feelings they cannot quite come to terms with or have forced themselves to repress. But unlike most “romantic comedies” of the same ilk, Drinking Buddies has a natural ease and genuine mix of playfulness and dramatic emotion that resonates in its small gestures and humility. Due in large part to Swanberg’s affinity for improvisation and replying on the personal strength’s of his actors, the film arrives from one honest moment to the next and leaves you feeling wholly satisfied. 
 
I sat down with Swanberg last Monday to talk about his moral duty to comedy, getting lucky with his cast, and just how much beer was consumed on set.
 
I realy enjoyed the film. It just felt really honest, which is rare these days. But your films always deal with complicated interpersonal relationships, so how did this specific story come to you and what’s your connection to having it set in a brewery?

Well, it was a couple things. I brew beer and I really pay attention to the craft beer scene—especially in Chicago. I have friends that work in the industry so that was really an early inspiration, just to do something set in a brewery. Then also, the movie Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice, and the idea of making a movie about these two couples and mixing up that. And Elaine May’s The Heartbreak Kid was an inspiration—her stuff general is an inspiration—that movie specifically, I just loved how complex and squirmy the relationships are in that.
 
I realized last night that another big early inspiration was this filmmaker Madeline Olnek—she made this movie Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same, which was at Sundance in 2011. I’d known her a long time and we were walking around, and she was saying that she had come to feel like, as a filmmaker, if you have the ability to make comedies, she said that she thinks it’s immoral not to. And I thought that was the most insane piece of film theory I’ve ever heard! But I couldn’t stop thinking about it and what it meant, and at this point, what I consider the noble task of making people laugh. So that really kicked around in my head for a long time and had a lot to do with why I made something like Drinking Buddies after this period of really dark, personal insular stuff like Silver Bullets—to make a comedy or comedy-drama but something that was funny.
 
Your other films have been heavily improvised with very loosely structured scripts. Did you have more of a structure for this movie but then just let the characters breath and play out their fate?

Pretty much. On Drinking Buddies, it was much more solid than it’s ever been before. On something like Silver Bullets there was literally no direction, we just started shooting scenes and then over the course of two and a half years sort of came together. But with Drinking Buddies there was an outline that was very solidly in place that we were working from.
 
I really appreciated the ending—when does life ever have a nice resolve, right? And everyone has been in a relationship like that, either you just stay friends and in time whatever weird romantic longings fade or you fall in love. Had you planned out the ending of the film or did that change as the shooting went along?
I did. I knew how I wanted it to end. The final scene in the movie wasn’t the final scene in the outline, there was one other small scene, which we shot, but when we shot the scene that is the final shot in the movie, I knew even on set that that was how it was going to end. We went through with shooting the other scene just in case, but in the editing room I never even ended up editing it.
 
In a film like this, so much depends on the idiosyncrasies of its characters and what the actors bring to them. How did you go about finding the leading actors and do you think it would have been a different film if not for them?
I didn’t write it with people in mind but because of the way that I work, it’s always so dependent on the people that I work with. If you were to sub out any of those four actors with somebody else, it would be a totally different movie. It’s one of the reasons why I love working that way, I feel like I’m best taking advantage of the talent that I’m working with and really shaping the movie around their strengths and what I find exciting about them. Jason Sudeikis knew my work and sort of encouraged Olivia to check it out and nudged her towards doing something like this, and Jake was recommended by Lizzy Caplan who had done a couple episodes of New Girl and thought he was really great. So she encouraged me to meet him. 
 
Even with Ron and Anna, everyone has a very genuine and exciting chemistry.

They’re amazing. I’m so spoiled, it’s really an incredible cast to get to work with. 
 
I’m sure you didn’t have very much to spend just hanging out before shooting. Did everyone click really fast?

We couldn’t spend much time, yeah. It was crazy. Olivia was coming back from China because she had just finished Spike Jonze’s movie, so she got in like two days before we started shooting. Ron and Anna didn’t come in until a week into when we started shooting, so it was really kind of nuts in terms of how they had to get to know each other. But that’s what makes them professionals, they’re good at faking it until they don’t have to fake it. 
 
Going back to your affinity for improv and letting the actors take the reigns there, was a lot of dialogue and the playfulness of the film just the actors just riffing and doing what felt right in the moment?

Definitely. All the dialogue is them coming up with that. Jake described it as, like, the first take is the writing take, and then we kind of go from there and use that as a sort of baseline to do multiple takes. It’s shot pretty conventionally even though the film’s improvised—there’s a lot of over the shoulder cross-cutting and things like that—but it’s one camera and so we get a take that we like, riff on that a couple times, and then hone it from there.
 
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The movie is so much about these close relationships and small moments between the characters and with the tenor of their lives, it really feels like it could be a story that could translate to any period of time. But it was interesting to see the little hints of modernity, like talking about Instagram. I thought I would hate hearing that in a film but it actually felt natural here.

I think it’s because it’s not a line. It’s not like I’m a screenwriter whose like, “I’m going to write an Instagram line to make my movie hip!” When that stuff comes out naturally in conversation, you can feel the difference between something that you feel like is trying to convince you that it’s cool and something that’s just two young people talking to each other. 
 
Drinking Buddies was obviously a bigger production than your past work and builds you out into a new audience as well. Was it a conscious decision for you to venture away from what you’d been doing and make something on a larger scale?

It was conscious in the sense that I was attempting to connect with a bigger group of people. That sort of goes back to what Madeline said—if you can make a comedy, it’s immoral night to. That fell in line with also the idea of wanting to reach the broadest audience possible with that movie. 
 
And to be able to make people laugh is not an easy feat.
It’s hard! I would argue—I’ll probably catch a lot of shit for this—that making a mainstream comedy is much more difficult than making an art film. That audience, the critical audience and the art house audience, it’s much easier at this point in my career to know exactly what they want and exactly what they would respond to, what kind of camera stuff they consider to be exciting or beautiful or whatever else. In terms of putting a movie in a multiplex and trying to make America laugh, I have no idea what they want. That’s a real challenge for me. But I didn’t know how big Drinking Buddies would be. It was a conscious effort to try and expand that and reach people, but I didn’t know that I would get these actors and that the movie would have the ability to reach so many people.
 
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So how much beer did you actually drink daily?

A lot. I tried to limit my beer consumption to one beer at lunch but then after we would finish each day—especially the days we were shooting in the brewery—I would often pester the brewers because I’m a home-brewer. I had so many questions for them, which naturally led to us having to drink beer so they could explain certain things to me. But it was great, I would love to make more movies set in the world of craft beer.
 
You mentioned that you were unaware of how big the movie would be—so how does all the positive reception feel?

I keep waiting for the backlash to start. Whenever anybody likes anything of mine, there’s always this sort of this immediate push back, so we’ll see how that goes, but it’s been great. I love the movie, I’m very proud of the movie, and I want people to like it so it’s exciting that people are watching it. And because it’s Magnolia, we’re doing the ultra VOD, so it’s already been on iTunes and VOD now for a couple weeks and there’s hard evidence that people are watching it, which is really exciting—but the theatrical side of that is still a big question mark. But from my point of view, just because of the actors involved and how good they are in it, there’s nothing not to like. When people don’t like the movie I completely understand, but even in those instances I feel like you’re still afforded the opportunity to see four really good actors doing good work, which for me, just as a film viewer, is exciting.
 
What do you think attracts you to keep exploring relationship dynamics as a topic for your work?

I just think about them a lot. It’s fascinating to me the way people—just in the relationships that I get to witness through friends of mine—it’s so interesting to think about, to meet and get to know two discreet people who have decided to make a go of it together. And from an outside perspective, you get to see who they are and why they click or don’t, and it’s just endlessly fascinating and there’s a million variables.

The Most Exciting Films From This Year’s South By Southwest

This year the film portion of the South by Southwest Conference had thirteen entrees that premiered at Sundance and a number of studio-funded projects destined for wide release, meant primarily to bolster the star power attending the daily and nightly Paramount theater premieres. This is not a bad thing—rather, it’s a testament to how vital the SXSW Film Conference has become to the film scene in general, a diverse conflagration of anything and everything within the strata of a theatrical experience. However, it doesn’t make breaking new, below-the-radar films any easier, especially with a bigger schedule—the much-anticipated premiere of the The East comes on the final night of the conference, after this will be published—and more theaters scattered around town.

That’s where I focused most of my efforts on the film front, catching more than 20 films—in honor of the film conference’s 20th anniversary—most of them produced on very low budgets or premiering for the first time in the United States. I skipped Burt Wonderstone and the Evil Dead reboot, as they’re flicks I’ll see in my local megaplex depending on the Rotten Tomatoes reception. I skipped Before Midnight in favor of a local Austinite’s film, quite regretfully—I’d rather pay to see the final installment of Linklater’s walk-and-talk romance trilogy, anyway. The six films listed here are the ones I found to be the most impressive and important glimpses into the cultural zeitgeist at the 2013 film conference—though there are a number I didn’t get a chance to see due to scheduling conflicts and the fact that the press screening library crammed into the convention center stairwell was so atrociously barren. But with so much paranoia surrounding pirating these days, who’s going to risk turning in a DVD to the media?

Spring Breakers

Unlike anything you’ve ever seen, the charged 1,300 plus audience at the Paramount was—as a Deadline reporter put it—both “joyful and bewildered” when the lights went up after the North American premiere. While some critics may find the surface layers of the film to be a mile wide and an inch deep, or an extended Skrillex music video, this is merely the backdrop Korine wanted to create. The slow-motion montage of barely clothed coeds binge drinking on a Florida Beach in the opening minutes of the film is the ultimate thesis statement—the youthful, primal obsession with self-destruction, beautiful imagery, carefree sexuality and complete sensory overload is all about to come into sharp focus.

With a dreamlike storyline, seedy neon-soaked cinematography, and non-linear editing reminiscent of a Terrence Malick film, Spring Breakers preys on the audience’s senses. You kind of can’t look away, whether you’re enjoying yourself or not. And—without giving up the ending—one could even argue that Korine’s work is a bizarrely magnificent statement about feminism, where the pretty, aggressive blondes in this vapid fantasy world of a St. Petersburg Spring Break are the ones who are the true gangsters.  Regardless of if you agree with any of this analysis, you should see Spring Breakers for James Franco alone, as the corn-rowed, grill-sporting thug who goes by the moniker of Alien—it’s truly a performance for the ages.

Yellow

Heather Wahlquist has appeared in relatively minor supporting roles in her husband Nick Cassavetes’s films over the past decade, which makes her leading performance in Yellow all the more impressive. In it, she plays one of those artificially gorgeous yet vividly delusional California women named Mary Holmes, who is barely holding it together. She teaches elementary school children and chases pills with vodka nips throughout the day, regularly drifting into her own alternate realities, which are equally colorful, musical, hilarious, and horrifying. As her antics get worse, she is forced to return home to her family, where Wahlquist takes us inside the core of her character, revealing the origins of her mania. The entire film, which Wahlquist also co-wrote, is a quiet yet remarkable achievement.

Good Ol’ Freda

The Beatles have been covered from just about every angle possible by now—except the one director Ryan White found for Good Ol’ Freda, when he interviewed Freda Kelly, the head of the band’s fan club for much of the ’60s and perhaps the only Beatles employee who had never broken her silence about the band. It’s a sweet film and a fascinating look at an incredibly respectful and moral person who was tasked with protecting and representing some of the most famous people in the world. White’s storytelling does reveal a few new insights into who the Beatles were behind the scenes, but the film focuses primarily on Freda, examining how someone so close to those who were literally changing the world could remain so true to who they really are as a person.

Scenic Route

Bleak tales about the insignificance of man and the brutality of the world are tough to pull off without fine acting and crackling dialogue, which is why Scenic Route works so well. Two friends, played by the diametrical opposed Josh Duhamel and Dan Fogler, are stranded off the incredibly photogenic highway through Death Valley and forced to reexamine their friendship after drifting apart. The situation quickly goes from bad to worse, however, due in part to both men’s egos and stupidity, as well as a bit of bad luck—which, when you get all philosophical about it, is something that life often serves most of us in the end.

Drinking Buddies

There’s a incredibly unique tone to Drinking Buddies, thanks in part to director Joe Swanberg’s technique of having his actors tightly improv every scene in the film. It’s also probably because his core cast consists of seasoned professionals like Anna Kendrick, Jake Johnson, Ron Livingston, and—most impressively—Olivia Wilde, who really shows off her dynamic acting chops while also looking crazy hot. The result is a romantic dramedy—if that’s even a thing—that qualifies as one of the more realistic unrequited love stories that has worked in a while.

Cheap Thrills

The first film purchased at South by Southwest this year—by none other then Drafthouse Films, who held the world premiere in one of their theaters—this fine dark comedy is ultimately a real-world fable about what desperate men will do for money. Made on a shoestring budget with a quality cast (Pat Healey, Sara Paxton, David Koechner, and, by far the most impressive transformation, Ethan Embry as a tough guy) Cheap Thrills is a testament to true independents of the past that deserve to break through to a wider audience. It manages to break new ground and entertain, while keeping its message hidden until the very last frame.   

Jennifer Garner Battles Olivia Wilde in All-American Pursuit of Butter Carving

Butter, y’all! Ain’t nothin’ more American, except maybe patriotism and competition. And strippers. And Kristen Schaal (this is my America, dammit). Butter has all that and more, with an all-star cast including Jennifer Garner, Hugh Jackman, Ty Burrell, Alicia Silverstone, and Olivia Wilde. And butter carving! It’s great to see the artistic sensibility of the Midwest finally breaking into the mainstream. (Next up: deep-fried Oreos!)

Chris Pine & Elizabeth Banks Play Long-Lost Siblings in ‘People Like Us’

It’s a time-tested nightmare scenario: You meet someone furiously good-looking and emotionally appealing, spend a little while flirting with them, and then — surprise, surprise — find out that they’re a long-lost relative, sending you into sexual therapy for a few years. People Like Us, the directorial debut of Transformers writer Alex Kurtzman, adds a few wrinkles to the formula: There’s $150,000 of inheritance money at stake, and one of the characters already knows he’s related to the other. Fun fun fun! In the movie, Chris Pine and Elizabeth Banks play unknowing siblings (he knows, she doesn’t), with Pine tasked with giving their dead father’s savings to Banks’s son. But he’s less than forward about his knowledge of their relation when they first meet, leading to the most awkwardly unintentional courtship this side of Luke and Leia. Watch the trailer after the click, via the Hollywood Reporter.

Olivia Wilde is there to play Pine’s girlfriend, while Michelle Pfeiffer plays a mom of questionable mental stability. Apparently, the movie’s original title was Welcome to People. Ha ha. Soooo not awkward, right? People Like Us is out on June 29.

Natalie Portman is IMDB’s Most Popular Actor

Natalie Portman’s having quite the 2012. First, she won the Best Actress Oscar for her hysterical/weepy performance in Black Swan. Then she had a baby, or something. But the finest honor was announced today: Portman’s topped the list of IMDB’s Top Stars of 2011, as decided by user hits on an actor’s IMDB page. She unseated Johnny Depp, who’s apparently ranked #1 for six of the last seven years — he moves to #3, while Mila Kunis shoots into the #2 slot. 

Also appearing in the Top 10, in order, were Emma Stone, Chris Hemsworth, Olivia Wilde, Jennifer Lawrence, Ryan Gosling and Christian Bale, a fine list of talented/good-looking actors who appeared in some quality movies this year. (Never mention Cowboys & Aliens, never.) Quality of selection process aside, it’s a nice look at Stars People Cared About In 2011, something you don’t always get from the typical award shows. IMDB is the world’s greatest test of popularity, as decided by people who like to yell a lot on the Internet. Do you remember when, for like six months, The Dark Knight was voted up as the Best Movie Of All-Time? (Of course you don’t, because it’s dumb.) Now it’s merely number 9, but still. That’s the type of shouty hubris I want from my lists, not anything "objective" or "meaningful."

Kudos to Natalie, even if her discussion board is filled with topics like "WHY is she sexy," "She so should’ve played Bella in Twilght [sic]…," and "Is it a jew?" Good luck for a killer 2012, as well. (More babies? More Thor? More weeping? Stay tuuuuuuuuuuuuned!)

Olivia Wilde Has Thoughts on How Not to Look Like a Tranny

Being the spokeswoman for a make-up company sure has its perks. Just ask Revlon’s newest brand ambassador Olivia Wilde, who, besides getting to jet around the world and be a movie star, also gets insider-y makeup tips from the pros! Wilde recently told Elle that “Even after years of getting my makeup done by professionals, I still have trouble knowing how to contour and shade.” Wilde’s beauty IQ has gone up a notch thanks to Revlon Global Creative Director and make-up maven Gucci Westman, who helped the Cowboy & Aliens star master multiple tricks of the trade, like how to apply eyeliner in a speeding cab. After the jump, a few of Ms. Wilde’s beauty rules.

● If you’re a snacker, don’t bother with lipstick no matter how great it is. Instead stick to playing up your eyes. 

● Wilde has learned that if you have a strong jaw, like herself, steer clear of doing a strong lip and eye. The combination will make you look like a “tranny’ real fast!”

● Whatever beauty crime you committed in youth, you’ll end up paying for it later. For Wilde, it was her compulsive love of plucking her eyebrows that led to her newfound adoration for the eyebrow pencil. 

● Whether you get your makeup fix at a mall, a drugstore, or both, Wilde explains the power of makeup as such: “By enhancing your favorite assets, you can harness your inner confidence and put forth the best version of yourself.” 

Look for Wilde’s Revlon ads in the new year.

 

Morning Links: Charlie Sheen Joins Twitter, Ryan Gosling Communes With the Wild(e)

● Charlie Sheen is down two children, up 706,301 twitter followers, and still always winning: “My sons’ are fine… My path is now clear… Defeat is not an option..!”. [Radar/Twitter] ● Robert Pattinson’s puppy-dog eyes harbor way more sadness than we imagined. “I’ve just kind of stopped doing everything,” he says. “I never change the channel in my trailer. I just watch reruns of House of Payne and Two and a Half Men.” Will the cancellation of Sheen’s show be too much to bear? [Vanity Fair] ● The 33 Chilean miners who spent 69 days trapped underground all have agents now to help them navigate a yet bigger darkness: the public. [NYP]

● Jonah Hill is in talks to make his directorial debut with The Kitchen Sink, a coming-of-age style comedy about an embattled high school of vampires, zombies, and humans coming together to defend their town from aliens. You know, it has everything but the kitchen sink… [Deadline] ● Ryan Gosling was recently spotted wandering the Cincinnati Aquarium with possible romantic-interest Olivia Wilde, and then, yesterday, he spent his day off playing nice with penguins at the zoo. Is there something you’re trying to tell us with all this communing, Ryan? [E!/PetSugar] ● Rihanna hit a billion YouTube views yesterday, joining Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, and Eminem as the fourth celebrity ever to do so. Since record sales are so dismal, fame and fortune swim in that sea of zeroes. [Suite101]