Friday, October 21, 2011
I went to the movies (50/50) for the first time ever at The Grove last night. The Grove is one of those outdoor shopping malls (at 3rd and Fairfax) that is meant to sort of look like a little Disney village. There's frequently music playing (I remember hearing Dean Martin on my last trip), there are several fountains, and there's even a train that runs through. There's an undeniable air of festivity about the whole place.
The complex has one of those ornate throwback movie theaters (possibly a genuine theater from that era, more likely a Disneyfied recreation), and I'd always wanted to see a movie there. Because The Grove is not a geographically logical theater for me, to accomplish the feat I'd need to both be in the neighborhood, and have no child with me at the time. The planets aligned last night when I was in Hollywood for an alumni event for Columbia University, where I went to journalism school.
All of this is parenthetical to what I actually want to talk about.
The full push is on at The Grove to advertise Happy Feet Two, which comes out next month. So I first encountered a poster in the elevator on the way down from the parking garage. I was reading through the names atop the poster, to see if most of the vocal talent seemed to be returning from the first movie -- not that I really liked the first movie, mind you, or could necessarily remember more than a few names. But it was something to do.
And so I noticed that the artist otherwise known as Pink was credited in the following way:
Or actually, if you want to get technical about it:
There's a comment to be made about the exclamation point in her name, but not today. Today it's all about the parenthetical clarification of who the heck "Alecia Moore" is.
Alecia Moore is of course Pink's birth name, and since Pink is making some strides (I guess) into acting, now she's ready to take the more mature approach to the moniker by which she's identified. We see this thing from time to time, and eventually, the re-branding may actually work. I'm pretty sure I've started referring to The Wrestler Formerly Known as The Rock as "Dwayne Johnson" in almost all contexts.
But I also thought there was something a bit better about the way they did Johnson's transition from wrestler to actor: He started being credited as Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. After enough times credited this way, "The Rock" disappeared and he became, simply, Dwayne Johnson. The caterpillar had become the butterfly.
It doesn't seem like there's the same kind of exit strategy with "Alecia Moore (P!nk)." Or maybe they just plan to execute that strategy faster, because the parenthetical reminder of who she is is particularly awkward. I guess in one sense the (P!nk) will drop off the name more easily, because it's at the end, and doesn't even interrupt the flow of the name like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. But in the short term, until that point is reached, it'll make for a lot of indelicate semantics. (I suppose this method of crediting the singer/actress is intended for the poster only -- I doubt she will be credited thus in the movie itself, because the people who would have been drawn to the movie by her presence will have already paid their admission fee.)
What's kind of funny is that on this same poster, there's another one-name recording artist who has yet to return to his birth name, and may never plan to: Common. Maybe Common just isn't that psyched about one day being referred to as Lonnie Lynn Jr. Wikipedia has his full name as Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr., so maybe he could just go with Rashid Lynn, which is probably okay. Or even Lonnie Rashid. Although of course, at first he'd have to be either Rashid "Common" Lynn, or maybe "Rashid Lynn (Common)" if Pink's little experiment does not end up being viewed as overly awkward.
Then when I got down inside the ornate theater at The Grove, I saw a poster for Garry Marshall's New Year's Eve -- you know, the movie that was greenlit after Marshall's Valentine's Day was such a commercial and critical success. (I jest.) And here I was reminded that Pink might be stuck with her chosen naming convention for longer than she thinks.
One of a kajillion stars appearing on the poster (including Robert De Niro?!?) was Chris Bridges. Don't know who I'm talking about when I say Chris Bridges? That's because the name still hasn't caught on. More than eight years after he appeared in 2 Fast 2 Furious, audiences still need to know that Chris Bridges is Chris "Ludacris" Bridges. Maybe it's because "Chris Bridges" is a pretty bland name. Then again, so is "Dwayne Johnson." Yet somehow The Rock has shirked his stage name while Ludacris has not.
Maybe there's a reason we need to keep being reminded who Chris Bridges is -- he's making crappy career choices. He's following up a disappointing "black friend" role in No Strings Attached with a role in a sappy chick flick ensemble movie that I can only assume will be disappointing.
Maybe I need to see his actual follow-up to No Strings Attached, Fast Five, to get excited again about Mr. Bridges. Everyone says it's fun. But I'm too anal, and I need to see Fasts two through four before I can see Fast Five.
One sequel I won't be seeing, however, is Happy Feet Two. Pink or P!nk or Alecia Moore (P!nk) or Alecia "P!nk" Moore notwithstanding.