Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Baltimore Premieres Hairspray Hooplah

My temples are starting to throb. Yep. I'm starting to get a headache. I know I can't stop the beat, but could you please turn down the volume?

Baltimore hasn't felt this much celebrity buzz since John Travolta and Joaquin Phoenix came to town. Oh yeah. Ladder 49. Filmed in Pigtown. Of course, that was before Martin O'Malley and the General Assembly cut funding for Maryland's fledging film industry. Wasn't that supposed to be a division of The Department of Business and Economic Development? No wonder director Adam Shankman filmed the Broadway version in Toronto.

Poor little Charm City. Right when this latest incarnation of Hairspray goes mainstream Hollywood, Baltimore gets blackballed from its own tender story of overweight hons, Dick Clark wannabes, and civil rights riots. You gotta love a town like that. Takes a licking and keeps on ticking.

I heard Hairspray progenitor John Waters gave Shankman carte blanche on production. As great as Waters is, I'm a little peeved. I think he compromised the location because Hollywood power games aren't his cup of tea. As reflected in films like Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble, and Desperate Living, John has been and always will be quintessential Baltimore . His claim to fame is sticking with a genre he invented when Tarantino was pre-pubescent. If Edith Massey was alive to see what Hairspray has become, she'd lock up the Owl Bar and throw away the key.

Speaking of Hollywood mind games, none of the local premiere hype mentions John Travolta or his lovely wife, Kelly Preston. I hope their conspicuous absence isn't related to all the mean-spirited blogging. After Saturday Night Fever, I will always have a soft spot in my heart for John. Zac Efron, Amanda Bynes, Nikki Blonsky, Brittany Snow, Elijah Kelley...they're all very nice, but not in John's league. Love ya, Vinnie!

I have to think Queen Latifah may show. Reports of P. Diddy in town and living large are starting the make the rounds. That and a surprise appearance by Nicole Richie at an Annapolis fast food restaurant. When do celebrities like that ever come within partying distance of Pigtown? There must be more in the works than meets the eye.

Dare I dream of Michelle Pfeiffer or Christopher Walken sightings? Now that would be something worth jumping the light rail to Charles Street. Then again, the thought of fighting celebrity hungry masses for a fleeting glimpse of Tinseltown satellites only contributes to the pounding between my ears.

With everyone inundating downtown, this may be the perfect night to catch Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. May not even have to pre-buy the tickets.