Friday, June 18, 2010

A Star is Born

Yes, this is yet another post about The Go-Go's. But I've got actual news to share. Rather cool news, in fact. At least I think so and since this is my blog, I'm going to write about it.

Picture it, February 2002. The Go-Go's had recently released their fourth CD and I, along with a couple friends decided that they deserved a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. DeDe, who lives in San Jose, Joseph who lives in Las Vegas and me, here in Chicago, decided to research how one goes about getting a star. I won't bore you with all the details about what qualifies a celebrity for a star, but there has to be a nomination document prepared, the celebrity has to be willing to appear at the ceremony (unless they're dead), and the nominating party has to be able to write a check for $15,000 over to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. Hmm...

So we brainstormed and came up with some ideas. We contacted members of the band and since they were scheduled to perform a handful of shows around the country, we asked them if they would let us auction off "Meet and Greet" events at each of their shows. They were 100 percent on board and agreed. We set up a Paypal account and created a website and people donated. Much to our surprise, we raised OVER $15,000 in 34 days.

Then it was up to us to write the nominating document. It was a labor of love for us. We poured over articles that chronicled their Los Angeles roots and their rapid rise to fame. The end result was a great presentation. We even solicited for celebrity testimonials and we got them. Finally, we got a letter from their management stating the band's committment to appear at a ceremony, should they receive a star. I organized the box, which included CDs and a DVD of their work and sent it to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. We were thrilled with our work and felt like we were a shoe-in.


Undaunted, we knew we needed to do nothing but send a letter during the next year's nomination period to have our nomination renewed. We did, again feeling very confident.


Each year, we kept it up. We tweaked the nomination, updated it and kept submitting it.


Back in 2008, I spoke with their current manager, who was committed to see this through. By now the fee had been increased to $25,000. He said that the balance would be raised elsewhere. At that same event, I had a brief chat with Belinda Carlisle about it and she was so surprised that they hadn't been awarded their star but thanked me for my continued efforts. The nomination period came and went and again, no star.

2009 - no star.

Earlier this year, it was announced that the band, who had been working together a few weeks each year, would embark on their final tour, dubbed "Happily Ever After - The Go-Go's Farewell Tour." The Star would be a do or die effort as far as we were concerned. Having raised the money, thereby making a committment to all of the investors, we knew we would have to continue, but with the band finished, the chances of getting the star would have been even worse.

The band's management has been doing their part to keep the nomination alive. Not having seen what was submitted, we were nervous but hopeful.

Unfortunately, The Go-Go's had to cancel their "Farewell Tour." Guitarist Jane Wiedlin was injured in an accident while hiking near her home and tore the ACL in her left knee. Surgery was done on July 16, she is recovering at home.

Thursday July 17, a headline appeared online that The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce announced their 2011 nominees for Stars. 30 recipients were announced, the article named about 10. I glanced through the list, shrugged and went back to my work.

I received a text message from a friend who said "Jane just posted on Facebook that The Go-Go's are getting their star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame. Is it true?"


I began to search online, I could not find a complete list of nominees. Thankfully the work day was over so I left for home, but before I got there, I had an email from DeDe telling me that it had finally happened.

The Go-Go's got their Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame!!

I still can't believe it. If it hadn't been for us brainstorming one night, this would never have happened. Because of our efforts, the band that has meant so much to us for nearly 30 years will finally be immortalized in the very pavement where they, as a band, were born. Let me tell you, it's a great feeling knowing that I played a part in that.

Next up, the placement of the star. It probably will be a few months before it happens. I will be there. I can't wait!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Summer Reading

On Tuesday June 1, Belinda Carlisle’s book “Lips Unsealed” was released.

I first heard about this project over a year ago. There had been some talk on the internet that Belinda had signed a deal to release an autobiography. Much discussion ensued. Would it be a tell-all about her days as a member of The Go-Go’s? Would she reveal secrets about her band mates or would this be just about her. Well, the latter is more accurate. In the book, Belinda discusses growing up while dealing with feelings of insecurity, coping with losing her father, and finding her place in the world. It’s a journey that walks the reader through the forming of The Go-Go’s, their rise and fall and reforming, and all of Belinda’s personal demons that manifested themselves on and off for nearly 30 years. Ultimately it’s a story of redemption and healing.

Having heard so many of the stories over the years, it was really cool to read them as told by someone who was there. There are glimpses into the recording sessions of her solo albums. And, as she has been most candid about in press interviews, stories of drug and alcohol use, including during her pregnancy.

Belinda opens up about motherhood, and dealing with the regret of not being home with her son as much as she would have liked.

She even mentions "Dancing With the Stars." :)

I read the book in 3 days. I paced myself, as it would have been easy to not put the book down. The book is truly her voice and her sense of humor. Yes, there are parts of the book that made me laugh. Overall it’s a pretty fair balance of ups and downs but by the time I got to the end I was feeling happy for her.

As a fan, I would recommend this book to everybody. It may not be to everybody’s liking so I would qualify my review by suggesting it to anybody who is interested in a story of someone’s journey to find who they are and creating an eye opening journey along the way.

That’s the first of my summer reads. What’s on your reading list this summer?