Saturday, October 27, 2007

Clay Aiken: Oh What a Night!



Clay looked very good last night and sounded even better. He's lost some weight since we saw him a few weeks ago and he's looking fine! We heard that he was suffering with Strep throat, though you wouldn't have known it to hear him.



The occasion was the Neil Sedaka Tribute and Gala at Lincoln Center in New York City. All proceeds go to The Elton John Aids Foundation. The Gala was a sell-out. Clay sang his hit version of Solitaire, written of course by Neil Sedaka 35 years ago. Clay's performance was much appreciated by all, judging from the huge ovation he received from not only the audience but from Mr. Sedaka and his entourage.



Clay, David Foster and Michael Dorf posed for a few pictures at rehearsal. Michael Dorf is the founder of the Knitting Factory, an influential music performance venue in New York City and he is currently one of the more important producers in New York City. He is responsible for producing a tribute series at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall to the songwriting legends of Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Sedaka and Elton John. He also produces Jewish Music Festivals and other large scale programs.

This is Clay's performance of Solitaire from last night.



Tuesday, October 23, 2007

One Year Old and All Is Well!



I started Chexxxy's Place one year ago. I didn't have a plan exactly. I just wanted to give the fans a place where they can talk about what THEY wanted to talk about and a place where the members won't need to be afraid to speak their truth.

Don't worry, I won't lapse into my version of the "I had a Dream" speech, but I did have a dream. I wanted to see if it was possible to have a message board that grew from nothing but what the members wanted. We started with one thread and I told the members that I wanted it to grow organically. State your wishes and we can make it so. Well, grow it did. We have many forums and cover many topics, some of them are topics that are not allowed at other boards.

I'm very happy with the way it has turned out. I'm even more proud of our members. The conversation runs from hilarious fun to serious and intelligent debate. There are no mods and we don't need any. A few members run and organize some special areas like the Beta Alpha project, we have few rules that I have very rarely needed to remind the members of:

1. Clay is the focus of this board and he is to be respected at all times, that includes his family, employees and friends.
2. Leave religion at the door. We have members of all faiths and intensities and this topic can be highly polarizing.
3. Leave your political views at the door. This topic can also become highly polarizing.
4. Do not assume that you know Clay's political leanings or his religious beliefs. Those are private and only he knows.
5. We take Clay at his word, he is the final authority on himself.


The general tone of the board is stated as follows:

This board is for fans, real ones that are interested in enjoying and supporting Clay. If a virtually unmoderated board that has few rules is what you are looking for, this is it. You won't be edited or publicly reprimanded. The admin won't tell you what to think or feel and won't tell you that Clay is off topic in any forum. This is a fanboard. Anyone who is not in it for love and support of Clay Aiken need not apply and won't stay long.

This is not a Yay Clay board though. By that I mean that you are not required to love everything or to kiss the ground he walks on but I expect opinions to be respectful of Clay and his fans.


We have had a few mis-steps in the beginning. One of them was a thread, called the Wall of Shame, that someone started in order to showcase and familiarize the members with the trolls, haters and other non-fans. There were pictures posted and comments were made. One unexpected result of that short lived thread was that some of the ones that were fingered as haters were cleared of the hater label because other members knew them and stood up to say that including that person was a mistake.

Within a week it was decided that it was a bad idea and it was deleted.

I usually stay out of the discussions unless it is a topic that I would like some feedback on, and it is usually board or blog related. The board belongs to the members as much as it does to me and that's worked very well so far.

We have 1158 members to date.

I've heard and read some rumors and harsh statements by both fans and haters. Of course the haters don't matter, but the harshest and the most creative critics turn out to be those people that have never been to the board but are quite happy to pass around gossip and rumor. Many of those critics and gossips have been invited to come and see for themselves but they assure me, and others, that they don't need to see the truth. Their minds are already made up.

It reminds me of the same dynamic as those fools that have assigned Clay with the character and identity that they prefer. The truth of Clay's own actions and words don't matter.

If you are curious and you are a fan, come check us out. Year 2 promises to be a blast!

Chexxxy's Place



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Friday, October 19, 2007

Clay Aiken: Committed to the Cause




Are celebrities lending more than just their names to a cause, or is it all about the photo-op?

"Celebrities are like major recruiters to the humanitarian cause," said Prendergast. "They certainly increase the number of people and donors interested in the cause."


Lisa Szarkowski, who heads the ambassador program for Unicef agreed.

"Celebrities have the ear and attention of the public," said Szarkowski. "They tend to command more attention than talking heads from our organization."


Attention that leads to big bucks. Aiken asked fans to donate money to Unicef to help the children in Lebanon and raised more than $75,000 in 24 hours.

So getting involved in causes may help celebrities draw attention to a specific need in some other part of the world as well as get their names in the spotlight -- but just how involved are they?

How Do Celebrities Get Involved?

It's not easy to be selected as a Unicef ambassador. The group sets high standards for celebrities to live up to.

"In terms of becoming an ambassador, it's definitely a process," said Szarkowski. "We like to work with people who are committed to the cause and the mission and to align themselves with us for the long term."


Aiken made the cut when he was named a Unicef ambassador in 2004. The organization approached Aiken after hearing of his involvement with his own charity, the Bubel/Aiken foundation that helps young people with special needs.

Aiken said he felt obligated to help those in need.

"One of the most important responsibilities that you have if you're answering to the public is that you try to use that position in a way that serves the people you're trying to entertain," said Aiken. "I think you have a responsibility when you realize you have kids watching you. ... You can set an example to have kids doing drugs, or you can set an example to have kids helping their communities or their world."


Preparing for a Trip

Despite some common misconceptions, celebrity representatives don't just jet set off for a photo-op; they prepare for months before taking a trip.

"We prepare them pretty well," said Szarkowski. "People don't become ambassadors or supporters of ours unless they go through a process of learning about us and engaging with us."


Celebrities sit through classes to learn about Unicef and all the various issues that threaten children's survival around the world.

"We study as much as we possibly can before we go," said Aiken. "And I study after I go, because I want to be an expert on it. I think it's a disservice to the country you're going to and the children you're trying to help if you don't know what's going on and can't speak knowledgably about your experience."


Aiken said the preparation is necessary in order to meet with health ministers and other officials on these trips.

"It wouldn't behoove anyone if we just went in to take pictures and came back," said Aiken. "The goal of all these visits and the reason we sit through extremely long sessions sometimes is so when we come back we know what we're talking about."


What Really Happens on Field Visits

Aiken didn't know what to expect during his first visit to Uganda. He walked into the minimalist community center, where he expected nobody to know his name. Suddenly, he was greeted with bows from the crowd.

"When we walked in, they kept calling me your excellency," laughed Aiken. "I think both visits we've been on there have been misconceptions about how important I am."


All joking aside, no matter how famous -- or infamous -- a celebrity is, celebrity support is essential.

But with so many problem areas across the globe, how do celebrities decide which country they want to visit? For most, the decision is made based on where the greatest need is at that time.

"The celebrities we work with want to go where they can be most helpful," said Szarkowski. "We're fortunate to have that caliber of people who basically say to us, 'Tell me where you want me to go.'"


In her eight years at Unicef, she said she's never had a celebrity refuse to go where they were asked to go. And the places they're asked to go certainly don't come with luxe accommodations.

"It's usually a tent somewhere.That's our standard accommodation," said Szarkowski.


Aiken and others pay their own way when they travel on behalf of Unicef. However, once they reach their destination, they don't have the need for many expenses. Most nights they're sleeping in tents on the ground.

In addition to the bare bones travel accommodations, celebrities must cope with extremely dangerous situations. In order to avoid conflict, Prendergast said every minute detail of the trip must be mapped out.

"These trips have to be planned very well to ensure maximum impact and security," said Prendergast.


Security is something Paris Hilton has expressed concern about regarding her upcoming trip, which has some people questioning her motivations.

"I'm scared, yeah. I've heard it's really dangerous," she said. "I've never been on a trip like this before."


All Attention Is Good Attention

Hilton, who is not with Unicef, will be filming scenes for her new reality TV show while she's in Rwanda, which has left some questioning the genuineness of her visit. But not everyone is upset about celebrities like Hilton lending their name to causes without much further involvement, if that is so in her case.

Aiken cautions, a focus on one organization or charity is important to the public.

"I get requests from every organization to come and do this or that," said Aiken. "It's not that I don't have a passion for kids with cancer, because I do. I feel like you can dilute your message if you talk about too many things."


While it remains to be seen how involved Hilton will be with her organization of choice, one celebrity who no doubt has stolen the humanitarian aid spotlight is in it for all the right reasons, according to Aiken.

"I look to Angelina Jolie as a prime example of someone who is doing an amazing job," said Aiken. "She really has a passion and she goes in and makes a point to educate herself about what's going on and that's the only way to do it."

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

All Hail Sir Robin!


January 18 - May 4, 2008 on Broadway

Clay Aiken, who became a music superstar following his success on the American Idol television series, will join the Tony Award-winning Best Musical, Monty Python's SPAMALOT, making his Broadway debut in the role of Sir Robin, at the Shubert Theatre, New York, from January 18 to May 4, 2008.



Tickets are available online now at telecharge.com
or by calling (212) 239-6200 and (800) 432-7250.

Directed by Mike Nichols, who won his eighth Tony Award for his direction of the new musical, Monty Python's SPAMALOT has a book by Eric Idle, "lovingly ripped-off" from the screenplay of the Pythons' best- loved film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail by Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin. The music is by Eric Idle and John DuPrez.



Clay Aiken, who has sold more than 6 million albums; co-authored a best-selling book; and, played six sold-out concert tours, said:

"I really couldn't have asked for a more wonderful group of people to work with. Let's not lie, the chance to work with legendary creative minds like Mike Nichols and Eric Idle is, on its own, a reason to jump at this opportunity. But, that's not all. The producers and creative folks I have had the chance to meet and work with so far have been unbelievably welcoming and wonderful. They've really made me feel at home already, and I haven't even started yet!"


Director Mike Nichols said:

"Clay Aiken is amazing beyond that glorious voice. Turns out he is an excellent comic actor and a master of character. People will be surprised by his wide ranging talent, since the first impression is of great country charm and a singer to remember. This guy is not only a star, he is a lot more. We are lucky to get him for SPAMALOT."


SPAMALOT author and original Python, Eric Idle, commented:


"This is great news. I have been a Clay Aiken fan ever since I took my daughter to see him live on the second season of American Idol and she held up a big sign of his name. Maybe now it should read 'American Idle.'"


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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Clay Aiken and Hate Crimes





First of all. the recant was so boring that it attracted tens of thousands of visits from all over the world. You may find it boring, anonymous, but many people, including media, were fascinated.

Secondly, you assume that I am a right wing conservative. This is the misconception that I want to address, not just for myself but to open the discussion for Clay's fans in general.

" He's probably more right wing conservative than you!" You've got that right, anonymous. My particular politics are probably as far as you can get from his.

I live in a place where being gay is no more interesting than having red hair or being born in China. This is a gay marriage destination, and I voted for it, despite the fact that I am not gay and it doesn't directly affect me or my family. The day it was passed into law in 2004 was a proud day for me because it advanced one of the human rights causes that I believe in. Every person has the right to life, freedom and the pursuit of happiness.

I am not religious at all. I may or may not follow Christian tenets. I wouldn't know because it doesn't interest me. I do however believe that everyone has the right to their beliefs and to express them when and how they choose. I feel honored to be allowed to observe, and I feel moved when Clay "talks to his God" in song. I don't feel pressured to follow him in his faith or to protest when he does, because I'm comfortable with who I am and I can admire Clay for being the man he is. Sometimes I even envy him for the obvious joy it brings him, but not enough, apparently, because I haven't joined the flock as of yet.

Some people think that if you hate what a gay man is doing that it means you hate gays. How narrow minded is that! Hate the action, not the man,. Isn't that how it should be? I am not homophobic but I do believe that many gay people are. They are incredibly cruel and they mock people, straight and gay, for the very things that they themselves are. Any gay man that mocks a man for having some effeminate mannerisms or for having a loose jointed walk or for his infectious giggle is a homophobe in my eyes. Anyone that attacks or ridicules a man because they perceive him to possibly be gay is a homophobe. A pink shirt is just a pink shirt, no matter who is wearing it. A man's sexuality is defined by who he is attracted to sexually, not by his clothes or his personality, and only he knows the answer to that. Whether he shares that bit of personal information or not isn't my business, but he does get to self identify and anyone that chooses to dispute that is an idiot.

Persecution of anyone is wrong and this is the basis for my defense of Clay Aiken and anyone else that is the victim of what I consider to be a hate crime. I'm looking at you John Paulus and you Perez Hilton and assholes like Kathy Griffin that make a living out of hate and ridicule.

Clay's fans widely vary in age, race, religion and politics. Why not share your beliefs and define who you are, rather than letting others define you.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Why Doesn't Clay Aiken Sue?



Some people have said that they believe the defamatory stories that the tabloids and gossip bloggers have published about Clay Aiken. They say that if these stories weren't true that he would sue them. This is a false assumption because the First Amendment protects tabloids and gossips from legal responsibility in America. The onus is on the victim to prove that the allegation is false and also to prove MALICE.

Celebrities have successfully sued for libel and defamation in the UK where the laws put the responsibility on the defendant [i.e.tabloids] to provide their sources and to prove the truth of their claim. The victim is presumed innocent. The First Amendment needs to be re-written to protect the victims in the USA.

The law does not protect Clay or anyone else in the public eye from outright lies and character assassination. All they need is a source, any source, including fame seekers, stalkers, anonymous tipsters, tabloids and rumor mills.

Take the following attempt to sue Perez Hilton for publishing defamatory statements about Samantha Ronson as an example.

Perez Hilton aka Mario Lavandeira published a report claiming Lindsay Lohan's friend, Samantha Ronson, planted cocaine found in the actress's car after a crash.

Samantha Ronson sued Perez Hilton for defamation after he repeated a report that first appeared on the Web site CelebrityBabylon.com.


"I am not now and have never been a drug user," Ronson stated in a supplemental declaration filed with the court on Monday. "I have never handled or touched cocaine. I did not ever place any cocaine at any place at any time."


According to the lawsuit, both postings defamed Ronson by stating she planted drugs that were found in Lohan's car after it crashed into a tree in Beverly Hills on May 26 and that she set up her friend to be photographed while under the influence of alcohol.


Hilton's attorney, Bryan J. Freedman, said his client made sure the information was "accurate and trustworthy" before he published his report.


"He stands by his actions as being legal and proper and believes that the First Amendment protects him," Freedman said.


Ronson must prove that even if the report was erroneous, Hilton acted maliciously


"The judge at this point found that they didn't provide any evidence of malice"


"If Ms. Ronson is attempting to get some sort of relief in court and to show that Mario Lavandeira had any malice, I think she's going to a hardware store for milk. It's just not going to happen," Freedman said.


No doubt that Clay Aiken and his attorneys understand that he could not win a similar suit because of the inadequate protection provided by the law. He would only bring more attention to the lurid allegations and waste a lot of money on court costs.

If Oprah Winfrey and other stars who are far wealthier and more influential than Clay Aiken can't, and don't, sue for these tabloid lies then why would anyone not understand the futility of such a lawsuit?


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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Clay Aiken: An Excellent Example




Fresh Bread Weblog featured Clay Aiken again today.

Monday, I featured Clay Aiken on my "Fresh Bread" blog. Today, I bring him into focus one more time. Not because he is a product of my "hero worship." Only Jesus fills that bill for me. However, I discovered on Monday that Clay has even more fans than I realized. He also has more harsh detractors.

So, today...I give honor where honor is due to one I consider a brother in Christ. I believe Clay is actively pursuing the passion of his heart and consciously demonstrating his faith...to bring healing to special needs children. Something he began BEFORE he became famous.

Who is my family? As Jesus said, "He who seeks to DO the will of My Father."

The video montage pictures Clay's heart. The music is one of my favorite songs, "The Prayer" by Josh Groban and Charlotte Church:


Saturday, October 06, 2007

John Paulus Said “It Was All A Hoax”

March 2 2007, John Paulus Admits He Was Hired To Lie About Clay Aiken!



















On Sept 28 2007, Paulus admitted that he had not spoken to the real Clay Aiken. He was fooled by an impostor and blogged about the fact that all of his saved Instant Messenger transcripts were with a Fake Clay.


















And then, just last week he LIED to the National Enquirer, telling Mr. Butterfield that he never confessed.