Country music stars Lady Antebellum will be honoured at the 2014 Grammys on the Hill Awards for their excellence in both music and philanthropic efforts. The trio, made of Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood, will be given the Recording Artists' Coalition Award during the annual ceremony next month (02Apr14) in Washington, D.C.
The event mixes power players in both music and politics, and the award Lady Antebellum is set to receive is named for a program founded by singers Don Henley and Sheryl Crow.
Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow lauds the Grammy Award winners for their work in and out of the studio, including with their organisation called Ladyaid Fund, which supports children's hospitals in North America.
Portnow says in a statement that reads: "We are proud to honor Lady Antebellum for their artistry and inventiveness in the country arena as well as their philanthropic efforts to make a difference for disadvantaged children here and abroad."
Along with Lady Antebellum, House of Representatives Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi will also be honoured for recognising the role music plays in American life.
“Seven years ago, I called you up here for one meeting. And you kept coming up.” – Jack Donaghy to Liz Lemon
Her show had been overtaken, the jobs of her friends were thrust into peril, and she had just spent an inordinate sum of cash on street vender hot dogs… to prove a lesson to the citizens of New York about not line-cutting. It was the day that Liz Lemon — writer, feminist, workaholic, misanthropist, lover of sandwiches all — met her match: Jack Donaghy — executive, capitalist, workaholic, egotist, wearer of the post-6 tuxedo.
Their initial exchange was hardly a pleasant one, with Jack tossing insulting presumptions by way of Liz and Liz countering with a scowl so sour it’d melt a solid brick of night cheese.
And from there, did the relationship bloom — starting off as a classic case of employee vs. management/artist vs. suit animosity, evolving quickly to a protégée and mentor ordeal, and landing ultimately in the realm of good old codependent friendship. And as with every small screen incarnation of the phenomenon (when it occurs between two adult humans of compatible gender), there was the palpable hint of romantic tension. Will they? Won’t they? Should they?
On any other show, they might have. But 30 Rock had different plans for its starring duo. Plans like the co-attendance of events like high school reunions, business conventions riddled with confusing acronyms, and birthday parties for the surviving members of the Hapsburg lineage. Together, Liz and Jack would take on ad hoc Mamma Mias, face the wrath of certified loon Gavin Volure, and dive headfirst into a frenzy that can only be described as Christmas Attack Zone. The better part of this past decade has seen the pair off on some of television’s most unique misadventures to date. The relationship concocted between 30 Rock’s starring players has made not only for a special kind of comedy, but for a special kind of heartwarming as well.
As such, the long awaited farewell these characters were charged with bidding audiences — not to mention each other — couldn’t have been an easy feat to pull off. Melding the inimitable brand of reality-bending, self-skewering, rapid-fire humor with the sentiment and substance that has layered the Liz and Jack camaraderie since Season 1 would be seemingly implausible. How do you do justice not only to the characters individually, but to the chemistry they have built? The unparalleled friendship in which we have reveled for seven years now?
I couldn’t spell out the formula for you — though I do imagine every draft of Liz and Jack’s big sendoff had some pejorative reference to Top Chef — but I can say with confidence that 30 Rock, as it has done with so many of its spectacular gags, episodes, and, hell, seasons — pulled it off. Perfectly. Following a series of madcap self-realizations and back-to-work high jinks, Liz Lemon finding herself charged with crafting one last episode of TGS with Tracy Jordan to fulfill her contractual obligation to NBC… which is so invested in bringing the TGS ep count to a solid 150, lest it (by its own contractual obligation) be forced to pay Tracy Jordan several million dollars. I don’t get it, but hey, I never went to business school.
Liz isn’t exactly hesitant to return to work — her time spent at home, especially in the hours of her family’s absentia (her children at school and Criss having taken a receptionist position in a dentist’s office) has begun to drive her mad. But she wants to be rid of TGS once and for all so that she can move on and start anew. Thus, the classic Liz Lemon frustration sets in… especially when she’s dealt the usual dose of difficult behavior by her adversary Tracy.
Striving desperately to put on “the big show” — a task with which she has struggled time and time and time and time and time again — Liz finds all parties reliably problematic. Jenna, having sought fame unsuccessfully in dramatic television and Hollywood alike, is focusing her energies on her post-TGS Broadway career… and is finding it hard to tap into her true feelings about leaving the show behind. Pete is maneuvering a covert operation to fake his own death and rid himself of his miserable life once and for all. And Lutz, who has won the right to choose the last free lunch thanks to the name roulette, wants to order Blimpies.
But the biggest problem Liz is facing is not her childish headliner, her self-obsessed second biller, her maniacal producer, or her lackadaisical writers. It is, in fact, her perfectly groomed work husband-slash-uncle: Jack. Caught in the throes of his own identity crises, Jack’s renouncement of the workaholic lifestyle catapults Liz straight into the Hollywood sign of a psychological meltdowns. Still hung up on his mother’s dying words (“I just want you to be happy”), Jack questions his own satisfaction with his lot in life. Now that he is Kabletown’s president, Jack should, ostensibly, be riding high. He’s the envy of businessmen everywhere and the bane all left-leaning socialists’ existences (Good Sportsmanship Award goes to Nancy Pelosi for a self-mocking cameo). He is a karate master, a spiritual maven, a follicular dynamo. He even managed to convince former lovers Nancy and Elisa (Julianne Moore and Salma Hayek, back and with brand new accents!) into communal sexual congress. Jack has won at pretty much everything. But he’s still not… happy.
Thus, he opens up to Liz. He drops some truth bombs on her mind grapes, admitting that his longtime counsel of her, his glorification of work and business, was demonically misguided. Liz, feeling hurt and betrayed, refuses to forgive Jack for his misdirection, abandonment, and personal affronts. More than anything else, it seems that Liz cannot face the man, whom she has held in such high regard, as a failure. Her mentor (whether she has ever been able to refer to him as such or not) has fallen from glory. That’s a hard cheesy blaster to swallow.
And while the final episode of TGS picks up steam in its downward spiral, Jack too explores a colossal meltdown. Weeping openly to Jenna, expressing fond appreciation for his underlings, bidding farewell to members of the NBC staff, Jack sends off signs of depression and suicidal behavior, gradually frightening Liz more and more. But one thing at a time.
Liz is able to rectify her lunchtime follies, finally allowing long-suffering Lutz the simple victory of a Blimpies lunch, and is happy to brush off Pete’s odd suggestions of his harebrained ploy. But there is another standing problem she must address: the absence of Tracy.
The media focused so much on Michelle Obama’s looks for yesterday’s inauguration that The Daily Show correspondents spent an entire segment wearing bobs-with-bangs wigs. Yes, we all got a little too excited this week about Michelle Obama’s spectacular new bangs. Even I, a longtime bang advocate, found myself particularly surprised by how flattering they looked on the First Lady.
And yes, I’m totally fine with having that thought.
One could make the argument that we are being superficial and ignoring the real issues by spending time on Michelle Obama’s shocking aesthetic decisions — not just bangs, but a Jason Wu gown for the second inauguration in a row! But one can also be pretty sure that the same air time and publication space used to discuss such matters would not automatically be turned over to incisive analyses of geopolitics. If anything, they’d be in danger of occupation by a Kardashian or Real Housewifian sartorial choice. Wouldn’t you rather see Michelle Obama there?
RELATED: Michelle Obama Style Guide: Did the First Lady Top Her 2009 Inaugural Looks?
That’s why we can all feel good about our obsession with Michelle’s bangs and gowns and sweaters and eyelashes, especially on Inauguration Day, which is basically like prom for presidents.
This obsession may carry a whiff of sexism, in the most basic sense: No, we’re not quite as interested in men’s fashion choices, though Jay-Z also looked spectacular. Oh, and you, too, Mr. President. But the president is the one who is president. The fact that we haven’t had a female president is sexism. The fact that we pay more attention to the president’s words — you know, the historic invocation of Stonewall and call for gay rights, the plea for better gun control — than to his outfit is common sense.
RELATED: Michelle Obama Rocks New Bangs: The Best and Worst in Celebrity Fringe
It’s deeply sexist when we degrade and dismiss a woman in politics based on her looks, as so many have done to Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, and probably every other female politician ever. It’s sexist when we focus on Sarah Palin’s sex appeal while ignoring her politics, for better or worse.
But on a day when pageantry is paramount, and the First Lady looks stunning, there’s nothing wrong with stopping to admire her. She’s a particularly important public figure for women, based, to some extent, on the way she looks — she is a woman of color who wears both designer and off-the-rack mall staples like J. Crew. She also has the kind of figure we don’t necessarily have to starve ourselves to aspire to (though we will need our hand weights). That’s no small thing.
Now, how many of you are getting bangs this week?
RELATED: Beyonce and Jay-Z: The Other First Couple?
Hollywood.com correspondent Jennifer Keishin Armstrong is the author of two forthcoming books, Sexy Feminism (due out in March) and Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted, a history of The Mary Tyler Moore Show (due out in May). For more information visit JenniferKArmstrong.com.
Follow Jennifer on Twitter @jmkarmstrong
S1:E7 Last night’s Real Housewives of DC began with Cat finishing her book, called Inbox Full, and asking her White House photographer husband (whom she’s now divorced from) to help her come up with a cover. A few episodes back he took pictures of her carrying bags up as she went up and down escalators and pretended to look at the The Day After Tomorrow water wave sized group of messages on her Blackberry. She began instructing him as to where he should put her name and what kind of shading to do, and made the mistake of asking what he was doing for the rest of the day. He responded he was flying to Manhattan to photograph the Peter Jackson, then Bill Clinton, then General Petraeus, then Nancy Pelosi, and then Tim Geitner… so could she kindly cease publishing her book and give the tree husbands back to their grieving and terribly devastated tree wives?
Michaele went over to spend an afternoon with the cheerleaders of the Washington Redskins because she cheered for the team back in the 80s and apparently, the Redskins are the only group who want to have anything to do with their old and bored and hated by their mother-in-laws and liverspotted alumni. But she wasn’t alone that day! A bunch of other 80s Redskins cheerleaders were there, and it was very hard to believe the younger cheerleaders didn’t just school them in cheers and youth and thank them for being the generation who discovered if you smoke too much, your voice changes and morphs into a bus motor. Instead, we got many shots of the same stringy blond hair whirling around in different directions. Michaele was by far the worst cheerleader – she had her hands up when they were supposed to be down, forgot that 8 came after 7, and popped her head up and down like she was a Brady. Finally, the choreographer put her in the back.
Stacie did something really cute and gathered up a bunch of crazy sundae toppings for her kids to make sundaes, and invited Mary, Mary’s kids, Cat’s kids, and Lynda over to enjoy on the ice cream bedazzling. Cat went over to Stacie’s friend Erica and started complaining how she fell over on the way over, and Erica was all like, “so you’re mean AND klutzy?” Cat didn’t like that very much, but her attention was immediately redirected to Jacob, Stacie’s son, who asked who the oldest mommy in the room was. The mothers thought it would be better to let the kids guess, and Cat’s daughters recognized this game IMMEDIATELY and said their mother was the youngest and Mary was the oldest. The septic tank stays vacant once again!
The women left the children to their sundaes and all went into the other room to discuss how terrible a mother Mary is because her daughter quit her job and continues to live at home. Then Erica told Cat that she really doesn’t like her because Cat said a long time ago that she hates Tyra Banks. (Why is Erica even on this show? She’s not one of the five housewives…is she an understudy for the guy who makes the horse noises in Spamalot?) Lynda confusingly stepped in -- which was especially surprising because the room wasn’t feng shui at all -- and told Erica to stop judging everyone. Cat got up and left, and Erica kept talking about how negative Cat was, and everyone was like, “cut her a break, her husband wants to go take pictures of a general rather than decide how the placement of her name on her book cover is going to negatively affect the sequins of her dress.”
Mary’s daughter sat down with her parents and asked for more time to stay in the house. Her plan was to save up more money and be out of the house by spring or summer or fall, but not winter because it’s too cold to fold a cardboard box in winter. Lolly’s father wants her out of the nest, like now, because little birds have to fly so their wings don’t become vestigial appendages, but Mary didn’t seem to want her to leave at all. I guess she really likes having her clothes stolen, seeing as she’s feeding the burglar and not locking the lock on her closet!
Lynda, Erica, Cat, Stacie and her husband, Mary and Paul went to David Catania’s office, a D.C. Councilmember who’s trying very hard to get the gay marriage bill passed. Right from the beginning, there was immediate tension between Cat and Erica, but it was quickly overshadowed by a disagreement on the subject itself between Mary and everyone else. Mary said the issue didn’t affect her, which was kind of shocking (seeing as all her friends are stylists and own antique shops where chairs are for looking instead of for sitting), as was when Stacie’s husband said he understood civil unions, but believed marriage was between a man and a woman. Oh snap, and Stacie believed that too! Did they forget their hairstylist (Paul Wharton, the guy who had to pay for his own birthday party because the Salahis stiffed him with the bill) had called the meeting in the first place? Paul was very upset once he found out he was friends with three people who didn’t believe in gay marriage.
The Salahis met with one of their business advisors on how they’re going to make a bill that protects wineries become a law? I think that’s what she said? I was listening…but it just sounded so much like history class and I’ve always spent history class trying to spot the place where I burned my nose with a curling iron, so I kind of was thinking more about how everyone else went to a gay marriage meeting and Michaele was off cheerleading. The advisor also said that most wineries cannot make a profit by just being a winery, which means they must really have no money since the winery isn’t even operational anymore. Michaele and Tareq kept talking about how many people the vineyard had made happy, but that seems improbable since the name is stupid and there’s no wine left.
The next Salahi project they did was meet with a writer (who lived in a decidedly un-writerlike house) who was going to help them write a tell-all book about their terrible family woes. The title of it will be, “Wine, War and Roses,” and this sentence (and recap) is over because I’m too discouraged.