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Part one of our first two-parter! This week’s guest is singer/actress Anne Martinez. Not only is Anne a fantastic performer (she’s the former lead singer of the hit show Pin Up) she’s also a sci fi geek. This week she’s here to drop some knowledge on us about the Star Wars Trilogy, the Vegas entertainment scene and who she’d like to see remake Hellraiser.

Me and multi-instrumentalist Phil Stendek doing our version of Everybody Wants To Rule The World at Vinyl @ The Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas.

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    Jon Celentano

A short demo of my cover of Maxwell’s Ascension. In my opinion, one of the baby makingest of the baby making jams of the mid 90’s. This is my humble attempt at it. Not for sale or download. For demo and baby making purposes only.

"To me America used to be a place that made steel and cars and had giant department stores. Now, basically, we produce amateur talent and people that judge amateur talent."

-Jerry Seinfeld

This Is Not (Totally) About Woody Allen

Regarding Woody Allen and Dylan Farrow, I have no idea what happened between them. And neither do you or any of the pundits, celebrities, columnists, lawyers, abuse survivors, tv talking heads, magazine editors, bloggers, former girlfriends, siblings, former maids or documentarians weighing in on the matter. And for the record (and at the risk of sounding like an Allen apologist), Mia Farrow doesn’t know beyond the shadow of a doubt what actually happened either. We only know what was alleged. The only two people on earth who know what really occurred are Woody Allen and Dylan Farrow. And 20 years on their accounts may be (may be) colored by the shadows of time and the fog memory. But this blog isn’t necessarily about what may or may not have taken place 20 years ago between a father and his daughter or the timing of the allegation resurfacing or any of the possible motivations of anyone involved. This is about the willful hypocrisy we engage in when it comes to celebrities and celebrity culture; who we choose to celebrate and who we choose to vilify.

I’m not claiming to have any special knowledge or great insight into this story but I think there’s something that needs to be pointed out here. While what seems like the entire internet is calling for Woody Allen’s head on a platter or a boycott of his films because he may have sexually abused his daughter, we as a society are more than willing to embrace certain other celebrities and their work even though they have proven, documented criminal histories. Consider: 

Snoop Dog: drug dealing, prostitution. Now one of the world’s biggest and most beloved hip hop artists. He recently performed at the White House.

Ice T: drug dealing, prostitution, assault. The writer of Cop Killer is now one of television’s biggest stars playing… a cop.

Mark Wahlberg: robbery, assault. Now a world-wide box office star as both an actor and producer.

Tim Allen: drug trafficking. TV’s most beloved (and richest) dad since Bill Cosby, was caught with 650 grams of cocaine.

Ray Lewis: obstruction of justice (tried for murder and aggravated assault). Won a super bowl and is now loved by millions as one of the greatest defensive players in NFL history. And he’s a lock for the NFL Hall Of Fame.

Jay Z: drug dealing. Now an entertainment mogul: producer, rapper, entrepreneur. Married to one of the most famous women on the planet.

Robert Downey Jr:  arrested for driving drunk and possession of cocaine, crack, heroin and a Magnum revolver in 1996. Sentenced to three years probation. Ended up violating his probation and was sentenced to six months in prison. Arrested in 2000 for possession of cocaine. He’s Iron Man now.

The list goes on: Robert Mitchum, Merle Haggard, Kid Rock, Mike Tyson, and many, many more.

Just to be clear, I’m not making any moral judgements about these people or about Woody Allen for that matter. I love Robert Downey’s work, I listened to a ton of Snoop Dog and Ice Cube in high school, I was a huge Mike Tyson fan and I thought Mark Wahlberg was great in Boogie Nights, so I suppose I’m as big a hypocrite as anyone else in this. So it begs the question: Why do we choose to glorify and enrich some celebrities who have been accused of crimes, been found guilty in court and served prison sentences, while we jump at the chance to publicly vilify and indict other celebrities who are accused but not charged, are not tried and serve no jail time?    

My suspicion is that in this instance it’s because of the specific accusation. Child sexual abuse is horrible enough and the mere idea that it could involve a parent and their own child is stomach-churning, to say the least. It’s hard to wrap our heads around the idea that someone could do that to any child, let alone their own. Those who are guilty of such a thing deserve to be flushed from this world. And if it is one day proven that Woody Allen did abuse his daughter he deserves the most severe punishment possible. But in this case the allegation was never proven. There was no arrest, no trial, no conviction, no sentence passed. Quite unlike the other cases I mentioned. In addition, Allen has kept largely silent on the matter for two decades, in stark contrast to those who committed their crimes, and (at least with Ice T and Snoop Dog), bragged about them and then profited from their actions.    

Perhaps our willingness to forgive and forget the crimes of some celebrities is because they had justice meted out to them in the form of jail time or probation or a temporary loss of fortune and privilege. Maybe it’s because their stories epitomize the essence of American ingenuity and redemption. Maybe it’s because Americans will forgive almost anything as long as one apologizes sincerely enough and often enough and in the right way. Or the product one sells is of broad enough appeal that a marketing machine will be able to sanitize one’s image to make him/her acceptable to the general public. Considering that, maybe Woody Allen should apologize. Maybe release a statement that he’s sorry for all the hurt and upheaval this drama has caused his estranged family. Perhaps pen an open letter to Dylan Farrow expressing contrition and regret for whatever role he may have played in his daughter’s pain. Maybe even offer to donate all the profits from his remaining films to fight against child abuse and exploitation. Not just for Dylan Farrow’s sake, so that she may come to some sort of resolution, but for all of us so that we may satisfy our own need for moral equilibrium. So that we can move on and forgive Woody Allen and any other pop culture icon for their alleged misdeeds, just as we’ve come to forgive and embrace those who affected and quite possibly ruined lives with their past (yet proven) crimes and misdemeanors.

Please, God, Just Once

Just once I’d like to turn the tables on the guy that feels compelled to tell me he’s totally shocked & surprised by how good the band is:

You know, man, when I came in here tonight and saw you guys in the audience I was like, “Alright, you got like 5 minutes to not make me want to turn around and walk out of here.” Because when I saw, like, what you were wearing, with the super tight pleather skirts and Affliction t-shirts and the hipster beards and the plastic footballs of beer I thought you guys were really gonna suck as a crowd. But you guys surprised me. For real. You really did. Because, you know, like, cause I’m from L.A. and I’m in an audience sometimes (just on the weekends. Nothing like what you guys do) and I gotta say, you guys are a really good group. I was pretty impressed that your audience didn’t suck. God bless, dude.

Just once.

I Had No Idea

Because I’m a musician with stuff to promote I have a Reverb Nation page. Having a RN page means that every so often I get notices about promotional opportunities. One of these opportunities made its way to my inbox recently. It was for placement in a video game set in the middle east in the 1970’s. Now, a few years back I had a band called Tripsitter and we kind of specialized in writing and recording music that would sound right at home on 70’s am radio, right next to America, 10cc, Elton John and the Beach Boys. Back in ‘06 we put out a cd called California Son and I thought one or two of the songs from that disc would be just what the video game folks were looking for. Funny thing is, I don’t have a copy of the cd. Anywhere. I have 2 of the 10 songs in itunes. That’s it. I’ve asked my former bandmates for a copy (I know there are still a few boxes of them in someone’s garage) but as of this writing my hands are still empty. And I simply refuse to patronize itunes and pay $9.99 for a collection of songs that I wrote. It’s just un-American, for god’s sake. Instead I went trolling the deep waters of youtube in the hope of finding a high quality post of a couple of songs that I could download as an mp3 and submit to the above-mentioned video game. I did find one or two that will work but I also found a lot more. It turns out that even though Tripsitter disbanded several years ago, people are still just discovering the music we made. I mean, just discovering, as in as recently as 2 months ago. And it blows my mind. As I read the comments for the particular song I was listening to I was floored. This is what I found:

I am moved and humbled by all the love being shown for our little cd. I had no idea people were still listening to it and connecting to this music that was written in what seems like another life. So much has changed since we put this out. We got married, had kids, moved to other cities, lost and gained friends, toured the country, changed careers. Some of us are still making music and some are creating in different ways.  

As I listen to this song, especially the fade out (“won’t last forever… it’s kind of sad…”) I am at a loss to convey how utterly fitting the lyric is to the lives of the guys who made up the band. I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise. Life goes on for everyone and these are things that happen to all of us. But still…it makes me want to go back and do it all again, except this time maybe I’d be a little smarter and have more care for the people involved in making this music. Someday. 

At any rate, thank you to everyone who has discovered this music and is enjoying it. I’m thrilled that these songs are making people happy. 

That link again:

Hope you enjoy it.  

On doing your work

"…countless projects go unlaunched, improvements hidden, thoughts unstated—because the person behind the idea is hiding behind the false understanding that their work isn’t good enough yet."
-Seth Godin

I spent last night going through my hard drive and I found all this stuff I haven’t let out yet b/c I don’t think its “good enough”. Then out of the blue I found that quote. Its really not up to me to have an opinion on my work. My job is just to do it. Judging it is someone else’s job. 

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