June 17, 2010 at 12:21 pm , by Lisa M. Gerry
Last year was a wild one for Tori Spelling. She was a tabloid target, with speculations about an eating disorder (which she firmly denies), a rocky marriage, and the on-again, off-again feud with her mom. But despite the negative press, she says, “I am so appreciative of everything that’s happened in my life.” And Spelling, 37, certainly isn’t slowing down. She’s bringing her proclivity for perfectionism to some new projects: In addition to Tori and Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood, she has a new show in the works, Tori and Dean: Weddings, a children’s fashion line called Little Maven—and now—her third book, Uncharted TerriTORI.
You’re one busy lady. When do you find time to write?
[Laughs] It’s hard. I write during naptime or at night once the kids go to bed. I have a really good memory and I remember every detail of every story, but after my second book when something funny or interesting would happen, I started writing it in my Blackberry.
The tone of Uncharted TerriTORI is different than your others. It seems that all of your success has also caused you quite a bit of stress. How do you decompress?
Watching my kids makes everything go away. Dean has hobbies and he always tells me, “You need a hobby.” And I’m like, “Why would I need to go somewhere and do a hobby when I could just sit and play with them?” That’s my decompress time.
June 9, 2010 at 9:00 am , by Lisa M. Gerry
Sarah McLachlan is back in a big way. On June 15, the three-time Grammy winner is releasing her first album in seven years, The Laws of Illusion. And on June 27—after more than 10 years—she’s re-launching the legendary, lady-power concert series, Lilith Fair. We talked about how she juggles being a single mom, a singer/songwriter, a trailblazer and a humanitarian.
This is your first studio album in seven years. What inspired you to make it now?
I’ve been working on it for a long time, but I have two small kids [India Ann Sushil, 8 and Taja Summer, 3], so that majorly slows down the process. (Laughs) I have about 15 minutes in the morning to write, which is not ideal. So, for the last couple of years, I took time to just be at home, spend time with my kids, work when I feel like it—and sort of have a normal life. It’s been luxurious.
Why the title The Laws of Illusion?
I was thinking about the fairytale that we buy into as children—the white-picket fence and the happily ever after. You buy into it, and most times, it turns out to be false. Obviously, it has a lot to do with the demise of my marriage [McLachlan separated from her husband, and drummer in her band, Ashwin Sood, in 2008] and all of the emotions that comes with that—anger, loss, and then, the fresh possibility of something new. There’s always hope.
April 26, 2010 at 9:30 am , by Lisa M. Gerry
I feel so lucky to have grown up with parents who appreciate great music. Some of my earliest music memories are of listening to James Brown in my father’s car, or singing along to James Taylor records. We always knew when my mother was cooking dinner, because she’d pump up the volume on her favorite songs. So, my parents’ music became my music, and I fell in love with artists like Mary Chapin Carpenter.
What inspired this album?
It was born out of adversity, after I got so sick three years ago [Carpenter suffered a pulmonary embolism in 2007]. A great deal of the songs document some pretty dark times, but also resilience. Ultimately, this record is about resilience.
Where do you write your songs?
I like to be at my desk with my yellow note pad, my Paper Mate Sharpwriter pencil and an eraser. I haven’t varied from that for years.
I was so struck by your song “I Have A Need For Solitude.”
My husband [Tim Smith] said, Oh my God that’s the most autobiographical song you’ve ever written.
Are you ever worried about feeling vulnerable when a personal song reaches the masses?
In the end, my music is about expressing myself. It’s about connecting with the world by speaking about who you are. I don’t think I’ve ever come to a place where I think Oh, I’ve said too much, I shouldn’t write that.
I think the more honest you are in your writing the more you connect with people.
Abso-frickin-lutely. I’m astounded when someone tells me their story and how a song has meant something to them. That connection is what we all crave. We all want to be known. We all want to feel that we’re not alone.
This summer, you’re leaving your beautiful farm in Virginia and hitting the road. What’s your favorite part about going on tour?
This tour feels really celebratory because it’s the first one I’ve done since I got sick. Being on stage every night, playing these songs and connecting with the audience. There’s nothing like that. I live for that.
April 9, 2010 at 11:40 am , by Lisa M. Gerry
I am fascinated by relationships—what makes them last, what makes them end and all the nitty gritty in between. Thankfully, LHJ is too (as evidenced by our most popular column, Can This Marriage Me Saved). So, when I got the chance to talk to Judge Lynn Toler—who since 2006 has been the host of Divorce Court, television’s longest running court show—I wanted to know what she’s learned about love from her time on the bench.
You’ve been married 21 years. Has being exposed to so much divorce caused you to lose any faith in marriage?
It does two things: One, it teaches me what not to do because you see the same mistake made over and over again. And two, even when my husband and I aren’t getting along, it makes me appreciate what I’ve got.
So, what’s a common mistake people make in their marriages?
They break the “False OK” rule. I’ve done it in my marriage. I kept saying “OK” to my husband when things weren’t OK. Men take you at face value. You don’t make things better by not telling the truth.
We’re seeing so much in the news about unfaithful men—from politicians to pro athletes. In your experience, how often are couples able to work through infidelity?
Women who have been cheated on tend to stay more than a guy who has been cheated on. Women tend to defend the home…we have a strong biological desire to keep the family intact. That drives a lot of what we do, even when we have difficulty.
What makes you a lady: Strength and restraint—the ability to do anything that you need to do, coupled with the good sense not to do the things you could do, but shouldn’t.
Favorite guilty pleasure: Double stuffed Oreo cookies.
Three things on my life list: (1) I would like to be fluent in a second language. (2) My mother said to me about a year ago, “Your sister and you have arrived.” And she said “arrival” is this: If she were to die tomorrow, she’d know we’d be just fine. So, I want my kids to arrive. (3) This is a silly thing, but I’d like to commit to memory John Dunne’s Seventeenth meditation. It’s the most beautiful piece of writing in the world.
(Image courtesy of Twentieth Television)
March 17, 2010 at 3:43 pm , by Lisa M. Gerry
Let me tell you ladies, these five women know how to get down. I saw the group perform live (with special guest PS 22) while they were in New York City on their Songs From the Heart Tour, and their energy and talent was exhilarating and inspiring. Their repertoire ranges from heartbreakingly beautiful ballads (like “Fields of Gold” and “Amazing Graze”) to feisty fiddle solos (courtesy of Máiréad Nesbitt) and traditional Irish tunes.
I sat down with them while they were in the Big Apple to chat a bit about their most exciting experience so far as a band and why they think their music is hitting such a nerve right now with audiences around the world. Check out our talk…PLUS a special, live performace with the ladies below. Cheers!
February 12, 2010 at 4:33 pm , by Lisa M. Gerry
After talking to the multi-hyphenate Tim McGraw, I started thinking I should probably be doing a bit more with my time. The man is amazing. He is a country music superstar, actor (in an Oscar-nominated movie no less!), devoted husband to the beautiful Faith Hill, father of three girls (ages 12, 11 and 8), cologne creator and author! Seriously, I need to step up my game…I get tired just thinking about what his schedule must be like.
Ever the Southern gentleman, Tim took time out of his (very) busy day to talk about his second children’s book, Love Your Heart—a touching story about a little girl and her father.
What do you get out of writing kids’ books that’s different from writing music?
Well, it’s probably the only thing that I do that my kids really care about or like. They certainly don’t listen to my music. They’ll listen to their mother, but they don’t listen to me. Since I’m not one of the Jonas Brothers or Taylor Swift, it’s not their cup of tea.
What made you decide to write a children’s book?
My writing partner, Tom Douglas, and I wrote a song called, “My Little Girl.” It turned out to be this really big record and everybody loved the story. (Watch the music video after the jump.) So, Tom came up with the idea of turning it into our first book.
February 5, 2010 at 3:46 pm , by Lisa M. Gerry
If Drew Barrymore were a drink, she would be champagne. She is bubbly, sparkling, girly and fun. I have been a fan of hers for as long as I can remember. In high school, my girlfriends and I would watch (and rewatch) her movies like The Wedding Singer, Never Been Kissed (“I love baseball!”) and Charlie’s Angels (who we may or may not have taped ourselves impersonating while dancing to Destiny’s Child). And as I’ve grown up, I continue to be more and more inspired by who she is and the work she creates.
Recently, I got the chance to speak to Drew about her film directorial debut, Whip It, which was just released on DVD. The film (which she also starred in) is about a girl (Ellen Page) whose spirit-suffocating small-town life is transformed when she discovers the rough and raucous world of roller derby. “The themes in this movie were really close to my heart,” Drew said. “I believe in having fun, laughing, enjoying life and rocking out with your friends. And I also believe in trying to find what you want to do in the world and who you want to be.” Seriously, what’s not to love?
The last year was a big one for you. Grey Gardens was quite a departure from anything you’ve done before and you directed your first film.
Thank you. I wanted to demand more of myself and face my fears. I didn’t really know if I could pull these things off, but I think the best way to figure it out is to try it. I kind of gave up my whole life so I could give a thousand percent of dedication and focus to both projects.
What about Whip It made you want to direct it?
My whole life I’ve wanted to direct a film—it’s been my dream since I was 7 years old. But I wanted to be patient, produce a lot of movies and work with more film directors to figure out what kind of director I wanted to be. Directing a film is a massive undertaking and if you care about every little detail, it’s a 6-7 day a week job, for a minimum of 2-3 years—so I wanted the film I chose to be compelling and personal.