Pop Culture

Stress is taking toll on Madonna's looks

Despite denials from Madonna’s publicist, a source close to the singer’s plastic surgeon says that the Material Girl has indeed had plastic surgery, as recently as this spring.

The procedure? “A mid-face lift,” says the source. “It’s meant to make the cheekbones more prominent.”

That isn’t entirely what’s to blame for Madonna’s increasingly haggard look, however. The source confirms that Madonna has lost a bit of weight, thanks in part to the stress induced by constant media coverage of the singer's supposed relationship with Yankee Alex Rodriguez.

A Madonna pal says friends are worried that her upcoming tour will take an additional toll, and would like to see her gain some weight.

But if Madonna insists on the medical route to youth (not a stretch, since she’s been known to carry vitamin B-12 shots on her person) Dr. Tahl Humes (who does not treat Madonna) of Vitahl Medical Rejuvenation Spa in Denver says she “would recommend using dermal fillers to restore her look.”

He's your handyman
Ben Stiller recently spoke to Elle magazine about Tom Cruise’s role in the upcoming satire "Tropic Thunder," and reported that Cruise had some interesting thoughts about his character.

“Tom said… ‘I want to play the studio guy.  I want to dance, and I want to have big hands,’ " Stiller told the magazine. “I’d never thought about the size of a character’s hands, ever. …Tom was doing this little dance, and I was like, ‘This is insane.  If this thing was on YouTube, it would be all over the world.  It would be a crazy screensaver.’ ”

Stiller’s complete interview, where he also discusses his inspiration for “Tropic Thunder,” is available in the September issue of Elle, on newsstands Aug. 11.

It can be easy being green, even for rockers
To everyone who teases me for being from “The Sootiest City in America”: You missed a great weekend in Pittsburgh.

Bob Dylan, The Raconteurs, Gnarls Barkley, and Anthony Kiedis were among the musicians  descending upon the city for the New American Music Union Summer Music Festival, sponsored by American Eagle Outfitters.

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The event, which also featured 15 of the country's best college bands, wasn’t your typical music festival. First, American Eagle saw to it that the event was as green as possible: Tickets came with a water bottle and free water refilling stations were onsite; there were bicycle-powered cell phone charging stations.

The musical acts were perfectly punctual, performances took advantage of literally every minute of stage time, and the musicians mingled in the VIP areas in ways I have never witnessed before. Cee-Lo of Gnarls Barkley hung with friends after his set and happily posed for pictures with fans. The Raconteurs’ Jack White and Brendan Benson strolled about as if they were in their own backyards, and I even spotted the reclusive Bob Dylan wandering among the trailers.

Although big names headlined the event, the festival was created to give burgeoning college bands a shot at a national platform. Kiedis announced the winner, The Black Fortys, of the University of Southern Illinois. The band won a full-day recording session in L.A., and American Eagle will promote one of the band’s tracks.

Makes you wonder if “American Idol” couldn’t stand to revamp their process to be more like the festival American Eagle and NAMU pulled off in Pittsburgh.

Weekend box office
Do you know what happens when you depend on a slacker/stoner film’s target audience to make it to the theater for opening weekend? They stay on the couch, and you lose your .

I don't mean to harsh the buzz of “Pineapple Express” and its fans, because yes, the film was in second place, but it still made $22 million over its opening weekend. (“Dark Knight” made $26 million). Also, “Pineapple Express” sort of shot itself in the foot by opening on Wednesday, as its early success cut into the weekend number. The five-day take was $40.5 million.

Courtney Hazlett delivers the Scoop Monday through Friday on msnb.com.

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