Rob Thomas Goes to Nashville, Takes on Record Label
Matchbox Twenty lead singer Rob Thomas debuted My Secret Record — a documentary account of his battles with Atlantic Records bosses while recording his 2005 smash solo release, Something to Be — at the Nashville Film Festival last night, and we learned a few things from it. Another solo effort should come out within a few years, Matchbox Twenty will start work Monday on a retrospective album — and Thomas thinks today’s record industry as crass, celebrity-obsessed, and focused solely on the bottom line. The film, which, it’s worth noting, first screened far from Atlantic’s midtown HQ, is one part behind-the-scenes look at the making of Thomas’s album and two parts muckraking exposé of the music industry’s star-making machinery. “I didn’t set out to produce a documentary about myself because I don’t have enough of me,” Thomas said after the screening. “I wanted to see this through because this was an important part of my life. I’m happiest when I’m writing songs, and I’m just trying to find a space between Ashlee Simpson and Beyoncé for a career.” Distribution deals are pending, but, for now, an army of middle-aged female fanatics were begging last night for autographs, pictures, hugs, or whatever piece of Thomas they could grab as their own. We suspect Atlantic Records honchos may soon want a piece of his hide, too, but for less loving reasons. —Steve Ramos
Sundance Report: An Artist or a Fraud? Either Way, the Movie Sold
Binghamton, New York, toddler Marla Olmstead was hailed as an abstract-painting prodigy, then attacked as a fraud, all within six heady months in 2004–2005 — she’d gone from art-world darling to media scandal before her sixth birthday. Within days of Marla’s appearance in the Times, filmmaker Ami Bar-Lev dove into the scrum of TV cameras and gained the family’s trust. But after 60 Minutes’ hidden cameras captured Marla’s father instructing her how to paint, he too began to have doubts about their authenticity and about his own role in the publicity process. His skeptical documentary about Marla and how her story unfolded — My Kid Could Paint That — generated almost as much hype in Park City as its subject did two years ago. It sold in the wee hours of Sunday morning for a reported $1.85 million. We spoke to Bar-Lev in Park City.
Anna TV!Anna Wintour has agreed to let filmmakers shoot a documentary about life at Vogue as they put out their huge “Fashion Bible” September issue. (And Vogue editor-at-large André Leon Talley marched with the Reverend Al Sharpton at the Sean Bell demonstration.) A dead deer was found on the lawn of Dick Cheney’s residence, the U.S. Naval Observatory, though the veep probably didn’t shoot it. A woman who had an affair (and a kid) with Knicks legend Willis Reed in 1990 claims he is a deadbeat dad. (And New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick has an adultery scandal of his own.) The girls at Scores East Side say Lindsay Lohan was awkward working the pole when she came in with Kate Moss one night, express surprise that she got a movie role as a stripper. A 29-year-old woman is claiming to be the illegitimate daughter of Mel Gibson. “Page Six” prints a nasty item about Keith Olbermann, mentions his one-night stand with a fan, notes that his audience is smaller than Bill O’Reilly’s. Shocking. Former Secretary of State James Baker, Democrat Warren Beatty, and Republican Merv Griffin all got along in Iraq for one night, though it was probably the booze. Tennis great Chris Evert is dating golf great Greg Norman. Bruce Springsteen got some lovin’ from Nick Lachey so he could go home and brag to his daughter. Led Zeppelin lead singer Robert Plant tried to get flowers sent to Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun, but the receptionist he talked to didn’t know who Ertegun was. “Page Six” asks, “Which ‘socialite’ has high-society circles buzzing that she originally joined their inner circle as a high-class hooker?” (Really, who is it?) A woman popped Valium on a transatlantic flight to London with Courtney Love.
Horton Hears a Pollock
Trucker Teri Horton bought a $5 Jackson Pollock look-alike from a California thrift store fifteen years ago and is still trying to convince the art world of its legitimate provenance. In Who the #$&% Is Jackson Pollock?, the documentary about Horton’s quest that opened last week at the IFC Center in Greenwich Village, former Met director Thomas Hoving is among the experts who scoff at her painting, declaring that the piece “has no soul and no heart” after ostentatiously peering at it from different angles.
A fingerprint on the back of Untitled 1948 matches one on a paint can in Pollock’s well-preserved East Hampton studio, but forensic holds little currency with curators. “Scientists are very interesting,” says Hoving in the film, “but they come after the connoisseurs.” But buyers seem to agree with the CSI approach; Horton refused an initial offer of $2 million and most recently heard $19 million. She’s quiet about the deal’s details. Being coy, she says, “is a scheme I learned from the art world.”
— Wren Abbott