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What's Not To Love? [Flaunt, Feb., 1999]

written by Michael Krugman
"Making movies is something that takes two weeks of my time. I'm not an actress. I'm in a rock band, and I'm looking forward to just trouring and playing with my band again."

No second billing......You're a star now...

The blue-eyed blonde babe with a twist, a hyper-intellectual hottie with a rags to riches backstory in the classic MGM tradition, Courtney Love may be the perfect fin de siecle star, the preverbial Myth America. She's already made theat difficult transition from Rock Chick to Sex Symbol and Screen Goddess. [note: does this guy ever wash his ass-kissing lips...from:me] and Screen Goddess. After all, she's got the secret ingrediant, the 60-foot-face, that little something extra. The best thing about The People vs. Larry Flynt- and certainly the best thing about the execrable Feeling Minnesota-the next year will find Courtney sharing the limelight with Christina Ricci, Gaby Hoffman, Kate Hudson and those irritating Affleck brothers in risa Bramon Garcia's ensemble pic, 200 Cigarettes. That will be followed by the "Jim Carrey is Andy Kaufman" biopic, The Man In the Moon, marking her second collaboration with Milos Forman. Can a little fold fellow named Oscar be waiting? Talk about an accepting speech to look forward to.

Making movies is something that takes two weeks of my time." La Love said. "I'm not an actress. I'm in a rock band, and I'm looking forward to just trouring and playing with my band again."

Oh, right, Courtney's in a band. And a pretty damn good one, at that. Hole's years in the works Celebrity Skin is ostensibly a paean to the '70s rock-both sound and iconogranphy-of Courtney's youth (thus explaindng the cover art's striking resemblance to Lynrd Skynryd's Street Survivors.) the songwriting troughout Celelbrity Skin-specifically the Beach Boys homage of "Malibu" and even the catty "Playing Your Song"-is striking in its sense of positive vibrations heretofore unheard in Hole's music. I has been suggested that the record's undiluted popiness stems from the influence of Billy Corgan, a longtime Courtney pal and sometime flame, who is now persona non grata in Love Land.

"Yes, Billy did hang out with us in the studio and help with some things," was Courtney's diplomatic response to Corgan queries. " He gave some songs that touch, but it wasn't like some Alanis/Glen Ballard thing."

The fact is, no matter what involment the Pumkin might have had, the truth of Celebrity Skin is plucked straight from the brian of Courtney. The album is both brave and inspired, marked with a serious textual contant that conjures the thematic undercurrents of Roman Polanski's Chinatown-of Hollywood as an illusory metropolis built upon arid wasteland, the Magic Town populated by broken hearts and bad dreams, an L.A. as chalice filled with the water of rebirth and self-invention.

"There's this lack of ambition from people to make ambitious, magnificent, classic records." She continues, "There's a huge problem with people in my generation who have this conflict over what is selling out. And the problem is that people between the ages of 23 to 33, and certainly amongst my peers in songwriting, tend to not be ambitous because then they're somehow selling out and to me it's sort os ridiculous because we're now coming to end of the millenium and there aren't that many classic records by people in my age group. It's ridiculous.

Screenwriter Robert Towne has noted that the central crime of Chinatown is "the wanton destruction of the past," and the ability to remake and remodel herself is perhaps Courtney's greatest talent. This former druggie-stripper-punk rock chick is now living the archetypal Jackie Collins fantasy, jetting to London to perform with Hole, making movies in L.A., and hob-nobbing in Versace with the hoi-polloi in Vegas at the gala opening of the Bellagio.

Needless to say, the ironic duality if her Pop Goddess/Movies Star life isn't lost on Courtney. "I had dinner with Jim Carrey out in Brentwood," she says, "and I felt kind of desolate when I was done with my big Hollywood dinner. So me and my friends went to the Bauhaus reunion! So it felt nice and balanced. My punk side balanced. My punk side balanced my Hollywood side. As long as I do things like that, I stay balanced."

Put yourself inside Courtney's famous epidermis for a moment. Imagine: You've just arrived at you Hollywood Hillys home after a long day's shoot. Ed Norton is in the kitchen, stir-frying marinated wheat gluten and assorted veggies. You smootch a sleeping Frances on her forehead, check your e-mail, crack open a glass of Krital, ignite a Marlboro Light, put one foot up on the glass table and write a super-smart punk pop ditty like the new album's "Reasons To Be Beautiful." Yes, contradictions abound in Courtney Love's world, not the least of which is increasingly blurry line between her private and public lives. We may think we know all there is to know about Courtney-sordid tales of Jumbo's Clown Room and heroin, of her implant and the secrets of her tragic marriage though in truth, we know nothing of her real life.

But does that really mater?

Fully in control, yet brilliantly on the brink, Courtney love is living proof that Celebrity in indeed only Skin deep.


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