by Andrew Springsteen
I've been really obsessed with the concept of celebrities who maintain their own web sites lately. I'm not sure exactly why I like the idea so much, I guess maybe I just love the mental picture of some person who is supposed to be really cool and suave sitting around creating a web page, which is still one of the five least cool things you can do on earth (oh admit it, you know it's true, I don't care how cool any number of glossy, fresh-smelling magazines try to make it seem like a good idea. Come on, that's what they said about voting too). Really, just picture someone like Winona Ryder taking time out of her busy schedule of attending movie openings, going to glamorous parties and wanting a piece of me to sit at a computer trying to figure out how to get rid of the outlines around her images or how to make links show up without being underlined. Preposterous! Except the part about her wanting me. She does.
So what sites actually have celebrities involved? Here are a few with some level of celebrity/pseudo-celebrity involvement:
HalSparks.com is a great example of a site that is actually done completely by the celebrity in question (in this case that's Hal Sparks, the host of Talk Soup). It's not exactly overflowing with information but it's got enough to give you an idea of what he's into. Which in this case is music, kung fu, and sly come hither grins.
DeeSnider.com is a more typical site, as it has a ton of involvement from Dee Snider, but is actually maintained by someone else. Nonetheless, there's a section where the man himself keeps everyone updated with the status of his hair and career. He even used to keep an advice column there where fans could get get Dee's views of music ("[metal] HAS NEVER GONE AWAY AND IS COMING BACK REVITALIZED AND WITH A VENGEANCE!"), the education system ("Are the walls of your room made on cinder block and steel bars? If they are, I've got some bad news.... it sounds like you're in school!") and life in general ("Once a sick mutha fucker, ALWAYS a sick mutha fucker!").
Speaking of 80s hard rockaz, Sebastian Bach, formerly of Skid Row, runs his own site. He's got a new album out, called "BRING 'EM BACH ALIVE!" and he actually seems to update his site pretty regularily with news, upcoming tour dates, and more bach/back puns than I thought could possibly exist. Overall the site is really charming in it's earnestness and enthusiasm, and it harkens back to the days when blinking text meant something more than "look, we're egregiously European and we use the blink tag to show how clever and savvy our anti-art is!". On this page specifically it means "this page contains 400k of your daily recommended dosage of the purest, hardest ROCK". And me, I like pure rock.
Hey, did someone say rock? Oh yeah, I did. And i MEANT it. Well anyway, another band involved in their own site is the Old 97s, who I think are legitimate celebrities now that they're on late night TV shows a lot, etc. The site is written by their guitar player Ken Bethea, who uses the site to talk about the group's history and that sort of thing, and it's pretty down to earth and entertaining.
Maybe one of the most popular celebrities to run their own site is Ed Kowalczyk of crap-rock band Live. When he's not over-emoting and committing atrocities against music, Ed's filling his site with VRML and 3D dungeons and dragonesesque artwork.
Another currently popular celebrity with her own site is Camryn "This one's for the fat girls! Oh yeah and also it's for the girls who based their careers around one gimmick, for instance being fat. Don't forget to buy my book about me being fat!" Manheim, of The Practice. The site covers topics like her being fat, the Practice, and fat people.
Affleck.com is the official Ben Affleck site, which Benny-boy takes a very active part in. He uses the site to answer fans' questions, respond to rumors and just be his overly likeable self. He also posts pictures he took with his very own hands. That's right, THE same hands that brought you blockbuster films such as Goodwill Hunting and all those other ones with Matt Damon. Oh yeah and you can soon buy autographed stills of America's favorite earnest young man, right online! Yes ladies, he's dreamy AND he cares about your convenience!
So what's the big moral here, what conclusions can we draw? Celebrities aren't really as polished as we think deep down? Everyone feels like reaching out to the world now and then? The web is home to all sort of diverse and interesting people, even celebrities? Nope, the big lesson here is, simply stated, Winona Ryder wants me. And maybe you do too.
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