Saturday, January 15, 2011

Ruby - Ti Amo - Che Confusione

Several updates since 2011: The Italian Senate has decided to oust ex-Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi from the Senate. With this measure, the "Cavaliere" will lose his parliamentary immunity and will have to serve a year of community service. Berlusconi was originally sentenced to four years because of tax evasion, some amnesty rules waived three years of this sentence and hard time was commuted to either house arrest or community service because of his old age, The 77-year old right wing populist, called it a "coup d'état" and a "sad day of sorrow for the Italian democracy."

In the Bunga-Bunga trial Berlusconi was found guilty and convicted of paying 17-year-old Moroccan prostitute Karima El Mahroug, aka Ruby Rubacuori for sexual services between February and May 2010 when she was under the age of 18. But he was found not guilty on appeal and in March 2015, the Italian Supreme Court (Corte Suprema di Cassazione) upheld his acquittal. 

In 2019, a new trial was started against Berlusconi accusing him of bribing (more than 10 million Euros) and silencing witnesses in the original Bunga-Bunga trials. There are several bribing cases on-going, as they were filled in the cities where the silenced witnesses received their payments. Also, in March 2019, a Moroccan model and witness, Imane Fadil, died under mysterious circumstances, some believing she was poisoned. Her cause of death is still being investigated in 2021. 

Original: 1/15/2011

Twelve years ago, the US finally seemed to get over Monica-Gate; then president Bill Clinton got acquitted by the Senate and was able to finish his second term. Sexual scandals and politics always lead to "Monkey Business", just ask Gary Hart and Donna Rice.
Now the "scimmie" are running free in Italy. The Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is investigated on suspicion of "extortion" and "child prostitution".
No, it was not an intern, but a Moroccan belly dancer,  Karima El Mahrough, who uses the stage name Ruby and has now become Ruby Rubacuori (Steal Hearts). To understand some of the Italian passion(e), let's visit with Umberto Tozzi. He ruled the airwaves in summer of '77, his song "Ti Amo" ("I Love You") was a chart topper for seven months.

When Umberto hails "ma tremo davanti al tuo seno", "but I tremble before your breast" then, oh yeah "that's amore". In the land of calcio (soccer) Ruby is at least a couple of goals ahead of  Monica. 

And while soccer headlines should be front material of "Il Corriere Della Sera" or "La Repubblica" the leading Italian newspapers, as Antonio Cassano just started playing for AC Milan (Berlusconi's club).
But no, it's Il Cavaliere or Cav (Knight) - he received this honor in 1977 - who dominates the Italian media. Only in the family owned papers "Il Giornale" (owned by his brother Paolo) and "Il Foglio" (owned by his soon to be ex-wife, Veronica Lario) does he get some slack. The first one talks of a "coup d'état" from the left and the other appeals that 
"L’uomo e l’amico lo conosciamo, non è Barbablù ma un padre di famiglia e un italiano giocoso e ardito". (The man is a friend we know, he is not a Bluebeard, but a family father and a playful and bold Italian).
Barbablù is actually based on the old French/Breton folktale "Les Contes de ma mère l'Oie" which were published in 1697. The "Stories of my mother, the Goose" tell about the fictional (maybe based on serial killer Gilles de Rais) character Bluebeard, who kills and then keeps the dead bodies of his former wives. In 1950 Italian director Carlo Bragaglia made a comedy out of this old tale, called "Le sei mogli di Barbablù". One of Italy's funniest comedians at that time, Totò Esposito tries to save his love and frees the six wives of Bluebeard.

In the pending divorce procedures, Veronica is asking for $ 5.6 millions alimony per month. Not just pocket change, even if you own almost $10 billions according to Forbes. This divorce is over another indiscretion, this one named, Noemi Letizia. "Papi", that's what she calls him, showed up for her 18th birthday and showered her with gifts.
But Ruby and earlier Noemi aren't the only problems for the septuagenarian, according to "La Stampa" there were eight (8) other beauties involved in the hot party nights in his private villa outside of Milan. 

According to witnesses, gigolo Silvio called the steamy encounters, Bunga-Bunga-nights, a term he adopted from his friend, Libyan head-of-state, Muammar al-Gaddafi. It describes a sex rite, basically an anal mass or gang rape of tribal enemies. So no wonder an Italian opposition leader came up with posters, showing the evolution of Silvio into Muammar...

By now everything, in Italy, is "bunga bunga", even when the strikers from Juve shoot some goals. "Bunga Bunga" may become the most overused expression this year, it definitely entered the Italian lexicons, and may enter the global ones too.

The Italian comic and pop band Elio e le Storie Tese (often abbreviated as EelST) - a heavily Frank Zappa influenced combo - even changed the words to Shakira's soccer World Cup anthem "Waka Waka" and appeared on State Television Rai 3.
Cavaliere Silvio calls the whole scandal just "mud throwing and theories", with no proven facts, and that sounds familiar to Bill Clinton's statements 12 years ago...
So while he's tryin' to keep the mud of his Teflon coat, an Italian jury just revoked his immunity in some (not related) corruption cases, the whole of Italy is in awe with Ruby. Maybe the British rock band, The Kaiser Chiefs should re-release their #1 hit (GB, IRL, US #14) hit from 2007, "Ruby, Ruby, Ruby."

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Tom Petty - Don't Pull Me Over

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, released their new album "MOJO" last summer. Five videos - out of the fairly bluesy album - were so far released on his youtube channel. Now "Don't Pull Me Over" saw the light of the day on the web (Huffington Post and Yahoo Music). And according to the HuffPost, it was Tom's daughter Adria Petty, who was at the helm of the little epic.

But first she had to twist her daddy's arm to make the video: "In his reclusive way my pop did not want to do any traditional promotion for Mojo. But with some nepotism and coaxing I was allowed to produce this strange and humble offering."

Director Adria Petty is leaving her mark, so far she has produced two shorts "Paris, Not France", about the hotel heiress, which premiered at the 2008 Toronto film festival and a really cool short "The Who: Mirror Door". Adria is also known as a director of several commercials (Converse, McDonald's, Target), but mostly as director of music videos for Regina Spektor, Beyoncé, and Duffy.

More intriguing to me were the videos she did for The Ditty Bops "Wishful Thinking" and Stacey Earle "Simple Girl".

After meandering into Adria Petty's work, let's "Don't Pull Me Over" make its own spin. I guess it is a bit strange, less for the visual part, but it's Reggae-tinged sound and message. Some voices insist he did promote Marijuana in his song "Mary Jane's Last Dance", while other sources claim, the song deals with the painful divorce from Jane Benyo, Adria's mom. Whatever -  the video for "Mary Jane's Last Dance" which stars Kim Basinger as the corpse, is a classic.

After hearing "Don't Pull Me Over", Willie Nelson came to mind first.

Not a big brainer, really, even though the 1960 picture was an arrest for speeding and having no license.

If the "Honeysuckle Rose" is passing you on the highway not only the smokestacks are puffing. Barbarossa is probably stoned in the back of his own bus. Big deal, nope, Willie admitted inhaling in CNN's green room, before meeting Larry King or smoking a fattie in the White House. I guess the cop that pulled him over, needs a life.  The joke now is, that Willie is on a diet and lost 6 ounces so far.

We all know Willie is just an "Angel Flying Too Close To The Ground". Which made my synopses go berserk, again. Simply, Blaze Foley, the much-missed Austin troubadour came to mind, his little ditty about an overeager policeman called "Officer Norris" 

You read us our rights, 
but you read them too fast, 
Officer Norris would you please kiss my ass

What a nice invitation. The second choice offers itself: Merle Haggard's live performance of probably Blaze's most famous song "If I Can Only Fly."

Blaze Foley - "Officer Norris."

Merle Haggard - "If I Could Only Fly"