Archive for June, 2010

Country Singer Mindy McCready Bounces Back

It is a story that we have heard time and again — star falls from grace, picks up the pieces and rises again. Regardless of the number of times that we hear the story, we should certainly wish only the best for the person involved – celebrity or not.

Mindy McCreadyOne such story is that of country singer Mindy McCready. At 18 she was one of the rising stars in the country music scene; her debut album, “Ten Thousand Angels,” sold two million copies, according to a feature on CBSNews.com.

She was, however, unable to sustain that first success. While she did come out with three more albums, they were all considered as failures commercially. The problems were not confined to her career and life in the limelight; her personal life was also in disarray, and she suffered from a substance abuse problem.

Entertainment Weekly senior writer Whitney Pastorek told CBS News: “It really seemed like McCready became more of a tabloid headline than a music headline, and that her scandals started to outweigh the significance of her singles.”

She has since tried to put her life back on track and was one of the stars who appeared on the VH1 reality show Celebrity Rehab. The show became part of her conscious effort to rid herself of her substance abuse problem, an issue that has reportedly led to attempts at ending her life.

On trying to commit suicide, McCready said: “I didn’t knowingly ever try to kill myself… It was after there had been a depressing moment or…  a crushing thing had happened to me that… I would drink too much and I don’t really remember making those decisions.”

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Eminem Raps About Drug Experience in New Album

Artists do have a convenient outlet for their emotions – their experiences certainly help them with their craft. For Eminem, his battle with substance abuse made for an “addictive” hip-hop album, based on a review by USA Today.

eminemIn the track Talking 2 Myself, the rapper shares: “Encore, I was on drugs / Relapse, I was flushing them out.” He used details from his experiences in the album, with the review indicating that he went more for “substance versus shock value.” He also tackles his insecurities in the track Going Through Changes and his “inner demons” in the track Not Afraid. He also dealt with his uneasiness with celebrity in Almost Famous as well as with the hip-hop industry in 25 to Life.

The album is deemed as a great comeback album for the rapper, whose career took a bit of a slack as he struggled with substance abuse, depression and grief.

A post on Testing It Up from last March shared how Eminem turned to – and received help from – another celebrity who also had a personal experience with substance abuse: Elton John. The rapper had admitted to abusing a variety of prescription drugs such as Ambien, Vicodin and Valium.

Recovery was released on June 22 and marked his return to the limelight. TubePotato.net shared the following quote from Village Voice contributor Chris Weingarten: “He’s rapping again, he’s a beast again. It may not be the hottest album. The choruses are still a little corny, but he’s rapping like he was in the ’90s, when he was doing ridiculous punch-line rap on Rawkus [Records] stuff. He’s back to being a crazy wordsmith. He’s being very clear and focused, and it shows.”

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Weeds: Marijuana in Suburban America

The title says it all. Weeds the TV series focuses on marijuana in the suburbs – and the unlikely people involved in its cultivation and distribution. Nowadays, marijuana is no longer considered exclusively as an illegal substance – but in the series, it is viewed in that context. At the center of the story is Nancy Botwin (played by Mary-Louise Parker) who, at the beginning of the series, had just become a widow. She then turns to growing and selling marijuana in order to support her family, the death of her husband having been unexpected.

WeedsThe term Weeds, therefore, does not just refer to the slang for marijuana, but also refers to the old term used for the mourning garment – the black dress – used by grieving widows.

In the beginning, Botwin was simply involved in low-level dealing of drugs and growing of marijuana; such was the situation during the first 3 seasons. Eventually, as in anyone who lives in the world of drugs, Botwin’s involvement grew to smuggling of illegal substances from Mexico into the United States.

The series was created by Jenji Kohan, whose screenplay for the pilot episode earned him a WGA award, and is produced by Lionsgate Television for the Showtime cable television network. It has thus far been nominates for 19 Emmy Awards and 10 Golden Globes.

Weeds first aired in August 2005 and has since run five seasons, with a sixth currently in production. Weeds Season 6 is scheduled to air on August 16. During its first season, Weeds  became the highest rated series for Showtime.

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Rent: Living in America at the End of the Millennium

Rent is considered as one of the best musicals to hit Broadway in the last 20 years – and that has nothing to do with the fact that it is this writer’s personal favorite. It is a rock musical that deals with rather sensitive issues that some may even consider taboo – AIDS, drugs and homosexuality.

RentEven with such heavy issues in its storyline, however, creator Jonathan Larson was able to tastefully bring together the story of “a year in the life of friends” – creative yet struggling artists living in New York’s Lower East Side.

Some scenes in the musical and its movie adaptation depict the underground drug scene in the Big Apple; clandestine meetings in dark alleys, with junkies following and begging “The Man” for “X” (marijuana or MDMA), “smack” and “horse” (heroin), and “jugie boogie boy” (crack cocaine).

One of the more endearing scenes is the first interaction between exotic dancer and heroin addict Mimi Marquez, who drops her “stash” in the darkened apartment shared by songwriter and former junkie Roger Davis, who eventually become lovers. A clear favorite by most people is Angel Dumott Schunard, a drag queen and street drummer suffering from AIDS; she meets philosopher and anarchist Tom Collins, who also has AIDS, in an alley after he was mugged – and they fall in love.

It is hard not to sing along to Seasons of Love, or groove to the beat of La Vie Boheme. Other characters are filmmaker Mark Cohen, who serves as the narrator; bisexual performance artist Maureen Johnson and her life partner lawyer Joanne Jefferson; and landlord Benjamin “Benny” Coffin III.

Rent won, among other awards, a Tony for Best Musical. It had a 12-year run, opening on January 25, 1996 and closing on September 7, 2008.

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House MD: Dr. House Battles Drug Addiction

The famous Emmy Award winning show House MD features the story of unconventional Dr. Gregory House and his group of diagnosticians as they take on the most puzzling of medical cases. Heading the diagnostic division of the fictional Princeton-Plainsoboro Teaching Hospital, Dr. House leads through tough medical enigmas and challenges, as they deal with relationships, drugs and death.

House MDHolmes = Homes = House

The character of Gregory House is highly inspired by Sherlock Holmes. Like Sherlock Holmes, our protagonist Dr. House is as single-minded, brilliant and arrogant in their respective fields. A large portion of the show centers on House’s plight against drug addiction, particularly against the pain killer Vicodin. This also parallels to Holmes, which was written to have been addicted to injected cocaine and Opium.

Drug Addiction

The first few seasons of House revolved around his dependency with Vicodin for his leg pain. He had a leg infarction years ago that made it necessary for him to take Vicodin. Vicodin is an addictive pain killer medication and in seasons 5 and 6,we see how House struggles to get through with rehab. He has been addicted to Vicodin since season 1. Throughout the series, we see House take different drugs like LSD, oxycodone, Alzheimer’s medication and methadone.

Why Watch House MD

House MD is one of the top rated shows in the US today. Six seasons in, House still draws a lot of loyal viewers because of its witty humor, unconventional storytelling and heart-tugging stories. The viewer can also learn a lot about handling addictions and how these dangerous drugs affect one’s relationship with those around him.

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LOST: Overcoming Drugs In and Off the Island

The Lost TV series follows the story of a group of people who crash landed in a mysterious island. The story has proven to be a hit for millions of loyal viewers around the world. For six years, Lost has continually bewildered its viewers with its unpredictable twists and turns with characters who have captured the hearts of fans worldwide. Probably one of the reasons people follow the series is that, despite polar bears, black smoke and other unexplainable things, it has discussed real issues that concern real people, including drug abuse.

LostCharlie Pace and Heroin

Those who are loyal to the TV show know Charlie Pace, a beloved character killed in the finale of season 3 but still appears every now and then until the series ended. Charlie is a character whose personal battle with drugs reverberates with personal power. Charlie was a heroin addict before the crash landing that sent them to the island. The episode showcasing Charlie’s battles with his addiction and how he conquered it is a valiant reminder that all of us have it in us to conquer our personal demons.

Jack Shephard and Oxycodone

Jack is a spinal surgeon and the early leader of the survivors. When they were able to escape the island for the first time, Jack suffered depression and went into Oxycodone abuse as well as alcohol abuse. Oxycodone is a narcotic pain reliever that has similarities with morphine.

Lost Conclusion

Lost recently concluded a wonderful 6-year journey filled with mystery, personal battles and relationships that took the minds and hearts of not only fans of science fiction, but a wide range of people whose personal lives coincide with the story lines. Indeed, Lost is one of America’s best TV series ever created.

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