The Longtime Voice Of Kermit The Frog Got The Can

'Muppets Most Wanted' Screening

It was reported last week that Steve Whitmire, the voice of Kermit the Frog, was retiring after 27 years. Well, apparently The Muppets set took a turn for the Jane Pauley/Deborah Norville, because Steve didn’t retire. He was fired! Steve was let go for mouthing off, and it wasn’t even to Miss Piggy! But don’t feel too bad for Steve. I’m sure he’ll a bright future ahead as a clairvoyant invited to dinner parties on any number of the Real Housewives franchises.

Steve says Disney gave him his pink slip for running around claiming Jim Henson (who died in 1990) wouldn’t have agreed with the direction Kermit was going in. Kermit’s voice will be replaced this week by Matt Vogelwho has been brought into the Muppet mix.

One of the big issues Steve had was how the now-cancelled ABC series The Muppets had an episode where Kermit and Miss Piggy (the rich man’s Ross and Rachel) break up. On the show, Kermit lied to his nephew Robin as to why. Kevin explained to the Hollywood Reporter:

“I don’t think Kermit would lie to him. I think that as Robin came to Kermit, he would say ‘things happen, people go their separate ways, but that doesn’t mean we don’t care about you.’ Kermit is too compassionate to lie to him to spare his feelings.”

I was really expecting Kevin to start talking about how Disney execs were trying to get on board the Breaking Bad gravy train by making Kermit and Miss Piggy deal meth to Zoot and Animal (they are rockstars, after all!). Maybe even run a brothel. But a white lie?! C’mon, Kev, live a little! Kermit probably has PTSD from sleeping with a hot-head pig all these years, so it’s only natural he’d want to fib in order to keep the waters calm.

Disney’s version of the story is basically that Steve has been a pain in their felt ass since they acquired the Muppets franchise in 2004, saying he was hostile and unprofessional. While we await word on whether or not Miss P notices anything slightly off in the bedroom this evening, I’m sure that slut pig (literally!) Denise (whom was introduced on The Muppets last year) is having the last laugh! “First I wrecked your home, and then I offed your Kermie! MWAHAHA!



John Oliver Cast As Bird. Just His Voice, Not His Body. #SAD

I think we can all agree that John Oliver deserves all the good things in life. Well, everyone except those anti-vaxxers in my Facebook feed who felt so betrayed by Oliver after his recent Last Week Tonight segment on vaccination (I see you now, randos I went to high school with, and I will definitely not be letting my future theoretical imaginary maybe-progeny near yours).

Anyway, one of the many good things that Oliver deserves is a piece of that sweet, sweet Disney money-pie (#TeamPie), which apparently he’s going to get now that he’s joined the cast of Jon Favreau’s upcoming live action remake of The Lion King. He’ll be playing Zazu, the sassy hornbill majordomo who served both Mufasa (reprised by James Earl Jones because you don’t fuck with Vader) and Simba (played by Donald Glover, because having Vader in the movie isn’t enough Disney synergy so why not add baby Lando?). In the circle of life, lions totally need help from birds. And apparently this casting is in spite of Oliver’s previously expressed opinion that birds are just a shitty sequel to the dinosaurs.

I joke, but it’s really from a place of pain and disappointment. When I hear all these incredible stars are joining a so-called «live action» remake, I want them IN COSTUME, AS A BIRD/LION/WARTHOG/WHATEVER. You know, performing the roles as living beings, like they did on Broadway (preferably with stilts). When it’s a voice cast, no matter how impressive (Billy Eichner and Seth Rogan are playing Timon and Pumbaa, which is also perfect), it makes me think it’s animated. Like, you know, the original Lion King? I get that Favreau pulled all this off with his version of The Jungle Book, but that film also gave rise to this:

jb idris.jpg

Is that Idris Elba cuddling a giant tiger, like he does in my dreams? No, that’s Idris Elba sitting next to Shere Khan, the character he voiced in The Jungle Book, as part of the marketing for the film which tried to leverage his good looks without putting them in the damn movie. You know when chicks post «thirsty» pics on Instagram? I don’t know what that means, but I think it might be similar to this.

Now, let’s take a moment and imagine a version of The Jungle Book where Idris Elba, in elaborate makeup, actually PLAYED the tiger. Or John Oliver is made up to play a bird, harassing Donald Glover in a lion’s mane. I want to live in a world that gives us those kinds of movies, is what I’m saying.

Anyway, more John Oliver is never a bad thing. The Lion King is currently set for a July 19, 2019 release.


A New Voice Reads Burma

In Yangon, the former capital of Myanmar (formerly Burma), there is a lively booksellers district on Pansodan Street. Like the rest of the country, the street is a clash between the old Burma and the new. The majestic pastel façades of colonial buildings—once gleaming new offices and stores, now more than 100 years old—are crumbling. Shopkeepers young and old (who, locked away from the world for decades by a brutal military regime, gained access to the Internet only a few years ago) buy cheap SIM cards and smartphones to communicate with friends and follow political news on Facebook. Inside the tiny shops and their crowded shelves, it’s impossible to avoid stumbling on relics of colonialism: teak-foresting manuals from the 1920s, Burmese-English translations of Wuthering Heights, trashy Burmese-language romance novels. And if you keep browsing, some modern English-language classics might turn up—stories by some of the greatest writers of the last two centuries—set right in Myanmar, a country still mysterious to much of the Western world.

For the most part, the English literary history of Myanmar has revolved around the British colonial experience. There’s George Orwell’s 1934 novel Burmese Days, based on his experiences working as a police captain in Burma (which scholars suggest is where he got his first taste of dystopia). More recently, Amitav Ghosh’s 2000 epic The Glass Palace traces the downfall and desolate exile of Burma’s last king. Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North, which won the 2014 Man Booker Prize, depicts the unspeakable horrors experienced by Allied prisoners in Burma during World War II. And of course, there’s Rudyard Kipling’s 1892 poem “Mandalay,” cemented in popular culture by Frank Sinatra’s “On the Road to Mandalay.” I found myself humming the campy tune as I sat in the teak-adorned Kipling’s Lounge at the Mandalay Hill Resort Hotel.

These acclaimed works—though separated by decades—share one common thread: All of them are white male-centric narratives. But this summer, a female writer will cast her gaze on her mother’s homeland with the publication of a stunning new novel. Miss Burma, by Charmaine Craig—the daughter of famous Burmese-born beauty queen and Karen freedom fighter Louisa Benson Craig—will give English-language readers an unprecedented glimpse into Myanmar’s culture and history—not only through the eyes of a woman, but also through those of the persecuted Karen people, who suffered for centuries in their country’s bloody ethnic conflicts. 

A view of Sule Pagoda in Yangon.
Image credit: Martin Puddy/Getty Images

The political history of Myanmar in the 20th century is complicated. If you’re familiar with the country, you probably know that Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi and her party, the National League for Democracy, recently won control of the government after a half century of rule by a brutal military junta. Even the former name of the country, “Burma,” was a point of violent contention—it refers to the ethnic Burmese people, just one of the hundreds of ethnic groups who have long called the country home, including (among many others) the Karen, Mon and Kachin people. 

Miss Burma is the story of Craig’s mother, born to a Jewish man and a Karen woman in the opening days of World War II. Through the lens of historical fiction, we watch the lives of these characters unfold—the British leave after the war, infighting for freedom gives way to a coup and 60 years of authoritarian rule sets in. The book tells a story little known to English audiences, taking readers to corners of the country still largely inaccessible to foreigners. A significant portion of the novel takes place in the wild forests of central and northern Burma, which are areas of conflict even today. Outsiders still need special permission from the government to enter huge swaths of the country, and are discouraged from leaving the modern cities. 

But the novel also provides readers and travelers eager to connect with the history of their surroundings ample landmarks to visit and begin exploring the country’s history. The story opens at Musmeah Yeshua Synagogue in Yangon (formerly Rangoon), where the story’s central couple struggles to understand each other’s language, culture and faith. The synagogue is still open to visitors and worshippers, despite Myanmar’s dwindling Jewish population. Today, Muslim caretakers maintain the grounds and protect the Torah, unconcerned with the religious and territorial conflict between the two peoples a few thousand miles away.

You can still stroll across the lush green grass of Fytche Square, renamed Maha Bandula Park in 1935. In the novel, Craig’s grandfather crosses the park every day to visit government buildings to acquire permits for his various businesses. The park is adjacent to the sparkling gold Sule Pagoda, which is now encased in a traffic circle that requires real courage to cross on foot. The regime did little to improve infrastructure, and even the once-sparkling Jewish-owned stores of Craig’s grandfather’s youth are still standing, their imported Mancunian tile floors now coated in dust. 

But the world is still catching up with the long-sequestered nation. Myanmar is a place of extremes: The great wealth in the ruling military class is contrasted with the dire poverty of the people who have been left behind. There are banks in the major cities with ATMs and plenty of kyats to dispense, though progress is slow—only a small handful of hotels accept credit cards. In more existential ways, progress is even slower. As the young democracy struggles to form a national identity, it needs heroes like Louisa Benson Craig—and stories like Miss Burma.

Main image: ACP/Trunk Archive

The post A New Voice Reads Burma appeared first on DuJour.


Open Post: Hosted By The Pure And Angelic Nightingale Voice Of Katie Price 


It’s been much too long since the ears of the world have been gently caressed by the velvety wave of powerful musical notes leaping out of the mouth of the most beautiful and talented swan in Britain, Katie Price! Katie’s highly impressive singing career started out in 2005 when she auditioned for Eurovision and she hasn’t released any music for a while. But along with various fillers, musical talent has been brewing inside Katie and she could no longer resist the urge to let it all out.

Katie has a new song out called I Got U. You can’t get it on iTunes in the U.S. Apple did have it on iTunes worldwide but their servers were brought down by billions of people trying to download the song of the millennium, so they yanked it off. Katie performed the song on Big Brother’s Bit on the Side last night (click here to watch it, motherfuckers won’t let me embed), and also on the talk show Loose Women (she’s a guest panelist on that) earlier this week. The other panelists were left stunned and were obviously not ready for those vocals, which were a mixture of recorded auto-tuned track and hound dog getting castrated without sedation. Katie not only can do a flawless impersonation of a Blow-Up Doll (see: picture above), but she can stun hos with her glorious voice. I can’t hate on Katie’s dancers for not really staying together. It’s physically impossible to concentrate on dance moves while in the presence of such natural, overwhelming talent!

Of course, haters slammed the nightingale of England for both performances, and said that she made their ears bleed. Katie said that she had “technical problems” during her Loose Women performance and doesn’t care about the haters. Katie shouldn’t care, because they have no idea what they’re talking about. Of course their ears bled. Their ears bled from the sheer power of that voice hitting them. They weren’t prepared, just like they weren’t prepared over a decade ago when Katie and her then husband Peter Andre delivered a whole new world of talent. Haters will still say this was auto-tuned.

Welcome back to the world of music, Katie! Ears have missed you (but Adele, Celine Dion and Barbra Streisand haven’t, because they have to file for unemployment now).

And here’s Katie “Putting Adele Out Of A Job” Price at Royal Ascot today:



Let This Video Be Your Annual Reminder That Jamie Foxx Has the Voice of a Damn Angel

Normally we wouldn’t support anyone interrupting a late-night bit about adorable dogs wearing sunglasses, but Jamie Foxx gets a pass just this once. The Baby Driver actor surprised James Corden on Thursday night by derailing The Late Late Show to challenge him to one of the show’s epic riff-offs. With some help from The Filharmonic, the two belted out songs like Bruno Mars’s «24K Magic» and Stevie Wonder’s «For Once in My Life,» and nearly came to blows over who deserved to be the winner. Luckily Ansel Elgort popped up out of literally nowhere to calm them down, and proved he’s got some seriously impressive pipes of his own.

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Niia Is the Unassuming Voice of Her Generation

No one knows exactly how many realizations Kylie Jenner had in 2016, but apparently one was that she likes jazz – judging by a video she dropped late last year featuring the music of up-and-coming singer and pianist Niia. With her music school background and an eclectic, understated sound that incorporates Danish pop and 90s soul, Niia is a breath of fresh air – and a left turn for Jenner, known to primarily bump rap and hip-hop in the background of her Snapchats. 

“She picked the song herself,” says Niia (pronounced ny-uh), a glamazonian, pony-tailed 28-year-old rocking all-black threads. “I was like, ‘What?’ [‘Last Night in Los Feliz’] is not a song she would normally choose. Everyone was like, ‘What’s this song?’ and I was like, ‘It’s me!’” 

With the release of her debut album, I, Niia needs less and less of an introduction. Jon Caramanica of the New York Times called the record “majestic,” and a display of “millennial romantic angst.” But Niia never aspired to be the voice of a generation. “When I was little, I was never like, ‘I want to be a big star,’” she admits. “To me, being a singer meant you go to school and then you probably become a music teacher.” 

But music school didn’t go according to plan, and after dropping out, Niia took to L.A. “You can always go back and get your degree – I’ll be that weird old lady with long hair in the vocal major class in a couple years,” jokes the Massachusetts native. “This industry is so youth-oriented and you should take opportunities when they come.”

Despite Niia’s thoughtful, refined delivery in song, she tends to be more off-the-cuff in life, like when she went on tour with Wyclef Jean after appearing on his sugary mid-2000s bop “Sweetest Girl (Dollar Bill)“. “It all happened way too fast,” she told But her move to Los Angeles paid off – both professionally and personally. It was there that she met Danish record producer Robin Hannibal – one half of the enigmatic dream-pop duo Rhye – who helped her crystalize her genre-bending sound, beginning on the 2014 EP Generation Blue. Around the time she moved, Niia also began a new relationship – a convergence of events that would inspire the album I, in which, unlike Adele (whose music famously reflects on romances past), Niia sings about her current relationships, flaws and all. “Falling in love is really shitty, to be honest with you, so I focus on the hard parts of falling in love, like being dissatisfied or jealous or insecure.” says the singer. “[But] we’re still together. I think it would be hard to go on tour and sing all these songs if we weren’t.”

With searing tracks like “Constantly Dissatisfied,” the record is, like any so-called angsty millennial, confessional. But, as Niia admits, that’s not in her nature: “I’m talking about things I, one, have never talked about, and two, would definitely not want anyone to know.” For “Sideline,” a song about vying for a lover’s undivided attention, Niia recruited the help of queen of catharsis Jazmine Sullivan. “I was like, if I’m going to lose to another woman, she’s going to have to be the most badass chick, that that’s Jazmine Sullivan,” Niia says of the duet, the inspiration for which wasn’t entirely autobiographical. “I was watching one of those channels where it’s all old videos from the 90s, and ‘The Boy is Mine’ by Monica and Brandy came on, and I was like, what if I do something like a modern day version of the diva duet?”

While she may take cues from previous generations, this jazz singer is anything but behind the times. “I wanted to give the idea [for ‘Sideline’] a more modern flip, because I didn’t really want to battle [Jazmine]. It’s more like we’re on the same team. I want to be a role model for women to band together,” she says. “…And beat up the dude. He’s the asshole, not us.” 

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Celine Dion’s Family Is Just Like Her Voice — Gorgeous and in Perfect Harmony

Celine Dion may be a world-renowned pop star, but she’s also a proud mom. The Canadian singer and her late husband René Angélil are parents to three sons, René-Charles, 16, and 6-year-old twins Eddy and Nelson. Over the years, the boys have grown up right before our eyes as they have accompanied their mother to various events, including her emotional return to the stage after René’s death last year. Aside from their public appearances, Celine has also given us a more candid look at her family life as she documents their sweet moments at home.

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