Babyface discovers a fledgling singer warbling on the Web
How do you get to VH1? Practice, practice, practice—and surf that Web site. That's how Alexis Aargont did it. She is the winner of VH1 s Road to Fame, which airs several times this month. When the 19-year-old singer's mom, Amanda, called LaFace Records to suggest that her baby might be ready to cut a demo, the company directed her to Tonos.com. It was launched last month by lyricist Carole Bayer Sager and producers David Foster and Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds to aid aspiring music-industry professionals as well as to find the next Whitney Houston. "My mom is completely illiterate with a computer," says Aargont, "so I found it and, sure enough, there was a contest for R&B singers." Aargont, who sells insurance and lives with her mom in East L.A., downloaded the backing musical tracks she needed, then recorded her demo—"How Do I Live" and "Un-break My Heart"—by singing into her computer. She then e-mailed the demo in. She doesn't have a contract yet, but, says Foster, "if this girl is destined to make it, we're going to cut two or three years off that struggle—and that's pretty exciting."
My Favorite Site
When he's taking a break from the drudgery of staging executive branch make-believe on The West Wing, Rob Lowe—White House Deputy Communications Director Sam Seaborn on the show—likes to keep up-to-date with the headlines on the Drudge Report (drudgereport.com), author-muckraker Matt Drudge's controversial site. "It's got all the political stuff I love," says Lowe. It's got hard news and also a really nice mix of bizarre info, It's a good place to spend a few minutes surfing." But what would his boss, President Bartlet, think?
We often receive e-mail greeting cards. Is it too much to ask that someone buy a real card as opposed to making a few clicks?
When sent for no special occasion—or for a silly holiday like Love Your Pet Day—e-cards are a fine way to say, "I'm thinking of you." But don't send an e-card when you would normally send a paper card or gift. It's not the thought that counts—it's the effort behind it. And the slogan for e-cards could be: "When you care enough to send the very least."
Click and Get it
Hello, Norma Jeane: Sothebys.com is auctioning items from Marilyn Monroe (right, in 1942), held by her half-sister Bemiece Miracle, 81. Included is the original sketch for the dress Marilyn wore when she sang "Happy Birthday" at JFK's 45th-birthday party in '62. Bidding ends March 1.
Heart of Darthness
Most movies' official Web sites put the hype in hypertext. But at starwars.com, Rick McCallum, producer of Star Wars: Episode II, sounds battle-fatigued about viewing the rough cut of the Phantom Menace sequel, due in theaters next year. "There's a lot of work to do," he says. "You go through various emotional stages."
Early in the process, McCallum admits on the site, "you have to face the truth of what you didn't get and what you hoped for." But he tells Online that "nothing made my Christmas holiday better than seeing this footage." Perfectionist director George Lucas may have wanted more also: Principal photography was mostly finished in October, but Lucas is heading back to England and Australia to shoot entirely new scenes. "We always put several weeks of additional shooting into the postproduction schedule," McCallum explains on the site. Adds a spokeswoman for Lucasfilm: "No one is going over-budget. It's just the way [Lucas] works." Looks like C-3PO and Jar Jar Binks will have to cancel their spring break plans.