1999-2010

Thursday, December 31, 2009

2010

Orianthi: Pick hit for 2010


We heard this song on KISS-FM on the radio last night and figure it will be a big hit in 2010. It's "According To You" by Orianthi Panagaris, the blonde girl who was supposed to be the guitarist for Michael Jackson's comeback concerts, the one who was featured in that shaky "last rehearsal" clip they issued right after he died.


Good hook, garbagey Steve Vai guitar, Hoku-Lavigney sounding, it jumped out of the dashboard and somebody's got to clean up in Jacko 's wake. In its fourth week on the Billboard Hot 100, it's moved up to #36. We'll see.

Lindsay Lohan watch: Last days of the year


Hard-living, hardly-working troubled and talented actress Lindsay Lohan has dodged the Grim Reaper and in deed spent the final days of Celebrity Death Year 2009 shopping.


We sincerely hope she moves from the paparazzi pages and back to the big screen in 2010.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tabloid Baby's 2009 Story of The Year

The Death of Danny Gans


The tragic, sudden death of Las Vegas Strip headliner Danny Gans in his bed on May 1st would seem to have closed the book on an unlikely, inspirational, only-in-America success story of a would-be Major League ballplayer who fell back on his natural charm and talents as an impressionist to become the biggest star in the entertainment capital’s history. The fact that Gans had supposedly finished his autobiography the day before he died, combined with the mystery surrounding the death of this sturdy, clean-living family man and the stubborn, bizarre refusal of the Las Vegas news media to investigate the police blotter incident meant that the story was only beginning to get underway.

Danny Gans was an enigma in Las Vegas, a Born Again Christian who shunned his fellow entertainers and was involved with an evangelical megachurch on the edge of town. He was an athlete and avid golfer whose history of physical injuries and missed shows led to whispers of steroid and painkiller abuse. He had just recently begun a residency at the new Wynn Encore resort in a theatre said to be “cursed” by failure.

Yet, after paramedics arrived to find Danny Gans lifeless in his bedroom, the Las Vegas news media—as a group—showed little interest in the story. They dutifully copied the paramedic and police reports, took quotes from Gans’ manager and fellow celebs, and, amid shock and surprise that Danny Gans would go anywhere near a drug, waited for the coroner’s report. When the coroner finally tiptoed around the conclusion that Gans had died due to an overdose of the powerful opiate hydromorphone (aka "drugstore heroin"), the news was reported, one local paper printed a doctor’s suggestion that he had swallowed a single, out-of-date tablet and the promised in-depth coverage never materialized. In subsequent months, news that Gans was part owner of a pharmacy, and that the pharmacy manufactured an erection pill and marketed it with the promise it would make the user “F*** like a pornstar” still failed to pique the curiosity or a responsibility of the Las Vegas news media.

As facts dribbled out, the official story slowly morphed into something new. The entertainer who would never go near a drug only took the drugs he was prescribed If he was on steroids, it was to help his ravaged vocal cords. If his company sold a porn-promising erection pill, he didn't know about it.

Most recently, Gans’ manager spoke with the Las Vegas Sun and contradicted the official version of Gans’ death that the news media had accepted as gospel. Chip Lightman claimed that he had been phoned by Gans’ wife Julie at 3:15 a.m. on May 1st— a half hour before she dialed 911— and that she told him Gans had been dead "a couple of hours.”

We don’t expect the Las Vegas news media to find this latest twist newsworthy either.

We do see the Danny Gans story as the great, unexamined story of 2009, one that encompasses show business, corporate America, religion, sports, Las Vegas’ economic woes, the casino industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the justice system, hypocricy— and the sad state of American journalism.

By our count, Tabloid Baby has posted 137 Danny Gans-related stories.


Tabloid Baby's 2009 Journalist of The Year

Steve Friess


We had our first encounter with Steve Friess a week after the death of Danny Gans. He'd written a column in the Las Vegas Weekly explaining why the sudden, mysterious passing of the Strip superstar was not a story worth covering. We emailed him to ask why he and his fellow Vegas journos were not doing the basic legwork on what, to all appearances, was a major cultural, economic and news story.

Within minutes, he emailed back:

""Uh, because until the toxicology reports come back it would be irresponsible and inappropriate for legitimate reporters to write baseless speculation? Because a man is dead and a family is in mourning and the state of the nation is not dependent upon exacerbating their grief? Because Pulitzer Prize winning newspapers have better uses of their resources than to 'investigate' something that public documents will reveal soon enough anyway?

"I looked over what you've been 'reporting.' It's all beneath contempt. Ginning up Robin Leach's 'rumors' when the rumors he's referring to have nothing to do with Gans' death, implying an inappropriate relationship with Alicia Jacobs, attacking the local press for having a modicum of dignity and restraint on a story that will come out anyway ... I need to go take a shower now. Blech.""

Then he whipped off a blog post that referred to our editor as an "asshole" and "vermin."

And so began our relationship with the Vegas blogger, New York Times stringer, hearing-impaired music reviewer, Gay Vegas author, comp queen and concert producer that culminates in our naming Steve Friess Tabloid Baby's 2009 Journalist of The Year.

In the weeks and months to follow our first correspondence, Steve Friess made an attempt to close down our site because we ran his photo (forcing to use fascimiles), began a disinformation campaign to lead us and other journos off the track, and was revealed to have close ties to many figures in the Gans story, including Gans' boss Steve Wynn and Alicia Jacobs, the beauty queen-turned-local entertainment reporter who was Gans' close friend and the first person informed by Gans' manager of his death.

Then there was the Michael Jackson story. After writing that "Michael Jackson’s untimely death was the best thing that could ever have happened to Michael Jackson’s music," and while covering the Vegas angle of the criminal investigation into Jacko's death for The New York Times, Friess inexplicably announced that he was producing and promoting a Jacko birthday "tribute" concert at the Palms Hotel, where he and his local NBC producer husband had honeymooned.

“In Las Vegas, when left to our own devices,
we do things a little differently.”
--Steve Friess, Las Vegas Weekly

In both the Gans and Jackson cases, Friess attempted to cover his tracks with unintentionally hilarious apologias in the Las Vegas Weekly.

So why does it matter?

Steve Friess, with his tendency to hurl insults, hold grudges and get himself into local gossip columns, is not merely a Vegas combination of Perez Hilton and Louella Parsons.

He is perhaps the most powerful journalist in Las Vegas.

As a freelance correspondent for major news organizations including The New York Times and USA Today, he is the filter through which distant editors can determine whether a story in Las Vegas s worth covering. In the case of Danny Gans, Friess made it clear that the story was not worth covering. And if his relationship with Danny Gans' boss Steve Wynn, or his even closer relationship with staffers on the local NBC affiliate (including his second "husband" and their BFF Alicia Jacobs) created a conflict of interest, so be it.

Steve Friess has no qualms about swinging his conflicts of interest in public, whether it's his political activism, favoritism, foul insults or kneejerk shouts of homophobia against anyone who questions his intentions or positions.

When local Greenspun Media laid off many reporters, editors and columnist earlier this month, Steve Friess, who attends fancy openings of hotels, gets himself and his family members free admission into any show on the Strip whenever he wants, squirrels away opening night mementos and souvenirs that one day will be worth thousands on eBay, kept his job. But then again, Steve Friess, who poses as a brave, independent journalist, is the ultimate courtier to the powerful whose blogsite always displays a link to his interviews with Steve Wynn.

Read our coverage of Steve Friess here.


Tabloid Baby's 2009 Mystery of The Year

What ever happened
to Down Charleston Blvd?



The Las Vegas-based website operated for several months with a concentration on show reviews and other entertainment-related stories. And then, in May, it began covering the death of local superstar Danny Gans, despite an agreement by other journalists and news organizations in town that the untimely, unexplained, suspicious demise of the biggest name in town at the age of 52 wasn't news. As Las Vegas was swarmed with rumours and chatter that the mainstream sources studiously ignored, the anonymous workers at Down Charleston Blvd brought them forward, asked questions and pursued the leads. Down Charleston Blvd went farther than any other media organization, even bringing up the whispers that Gans may have been murdered.

And then on June 16, the site ran an item entitled More on Danny Gans Overdose-- and went dead. Never heard from again. Our email correspondence with the editor ended in a string of unanswered emails. That final posting remains online, a monument and, perhaps, a warning.

If Danny Gans did not die for our sins, Down Charleston Blvd very well may have.

Here it that final post in its entirety:

More On Danny Gans’ Overdose
Posted on June 16, 2009 by downcharlestonblvd

Before we get into the details and news let me say a few things.


Since news broke about what killed Danny Gans we have received some more information from our sources, plus we gained more sources who are now willing to divulge certain details they know being that the word is out that Gans used drugs. With the details we know, the information that has been provided to us, and what fact checking we could do, I will try to piece together exactly what we know at this point and answer some of the questions you have emailed, plus question we posed on our last update.


Contrary to what you may have heard or read in a certain Las Vegas newspaper; Hydromorphone is NOT a commonly prescribed drug here is Nevada. The only thing common about Hydromorphone here in Nevada is it’s availability on the streets, mostly in Las Vegas.


It’s powerful potency, high addiction possibility, and high price make it a a well sought drug here in Las Vegas (despite it’s high price) for those who want to take things to the next level. With all pain medication, you build up a resistance to it. All of the sudden 1-2 pills isn’t getting rid of the pain and/or giving you a high/euphoria. So you have to increase the amount you are taking to get the desired effect. The euphoria you get from prescription drugs in the opiate family is not like the buzz you would get from marijuana, alcohol, or other street drugs.


One of the many areas/topics I have covered as a journalist is drugs – whether prescribed or not.
I

t started with an article and essay (years ago) on the differences and trends between drug usage between lower income neighborhoods and higher income neighborhoods -or- if you will, between Ghettos and Suburbs. I’ve spent a lot of time with all kinds of users. I’ve went to and stayed in areas of Las Vegas that no other journalist has gone or will go. with that said, one of the best descriptions I have heard about using prescription pills in the opiate family is that the euphoric feeling is similar to being high on marijuana or having a beer buzz except you don’t have the negative affects. Meaning your have the high but you are still able to function and carry on with your normal life. The only difference is everything feels so much better. You are happy, excited, energetic, and feeling good all over. This is the exact reason why so many have become addicted from all walks of life. Most people would be absolutely shocked if they knew who abused prescription drugs.


Now, lets get down to details on what we know.


First and foremost, lets call it for what it really is – an overdose


Clark County Coroner Mike Murphy’s “Death was accidental” + “No signs of drug abuse” have little to no merit. Being that key details have not been released and will most likely never be released (Gans’ Family would have to authorize it) secondly, Murphy has been receiving a lot of skepticism and criticism from many in the medical community. Publicly and Privately medical professionals have sounded off on local televisions, newspapers, radio, and even privately calling Murphy’s results without merit, vague, and possibly incorrect. Some have privately questioned his experience and credentials based on his final results in the Death of Danny Gans.


Another physician that was feeling the burn was Gans’ physician Dr. Michael Fishell. Knowing his name was quickly circulating after the coroner’s results were released, Fishell knew people would put the pieces together and assume that he recently prescribed Danny Gans the drugs that ultimately killed him which would tarnish his business badly. He quickly spoke with the Review Journal making clear that the only time he prescribed Gans’ hydromorphone was 5 years ago, He went even further by accessing all of Gans’ records and found that none of Gans’ other physicians in California or Nevada had prescribed him hydromorphone.


This pretty much dismisses the possibility of a malpractice issue but this also verifies are report that a source had told us Gans did not have a prescription for hydromorphone.

Gans has been addicted to Hydromorphone for over 5 years

A reliable source tells us that Gans became addicted around the time he first received the prescription for hydromorphone. The source was unsure how often Gans took the pills initially, and did not know when dosages were upped. As stated above, to get the effect you have grown accustomed to, you eventually have to take more then before.


Our source said that they were not sure if Gans knew himself that asking for more prescriptions and/or going to other doctors would cause suspicion and possibly an investigation or if a close associate told him.


Our source did say that very few people knew Gans was even taking it, let alone continuing to take it for so long.


As far as other drugs – our source says that Gans’ did dabble with steroids on and off – which started way back in his baseball playing days.


He also used and tried various pain meds, typically in the synthetic opiate family. When he started using hydromorphone, he liked it so much that it was almost always what he took because it trumped all the other pain meds he took and tried.

How and Where did Gans get the dillies (hydromorphone)

Our source was not a 100% certain on this, but with compiled details from all of our sources there are two possibilities. One being a close trusted associate of Gans that he trusted and this associate relied on Gans for something, most likely income, and this person most likely did not associate with Gans’ other friends. The second possible and more likely person would be Gans’ manager Chip Lightman. It’s quite common for mangers to provide their clients with whatever they want, sometimes including drugs and women. It happens in Vegas a lot. I have seen it personally and I have been approached by out of town Managers and associates of high profile people asking where they can get this or that, usually offering to pay me for such information. Everyone’s heard “What Happens Here, Stays Here” but the motto amongst locals is “It’s all about who you know”


Chip Lightman has been called a lot of things by a lot of people.


Some in the local entertainment industry despise dealing with the man.


His reputation for being a “pain” is pretty widespread.


He’s been sued, Danny Gans Fired him, only to rehire him later, he’s been accused of propping Danny up way higher then he should have been, and one source told us “Chip is a lying, bloodsucking asshole, which really means he his skills as a manager are sharp but he is no one I’d want to ever be friends with” another source close to Gans told us on the topic of Chip Lightman – “Chip’s comments in the RJ since Danny died are phony” our source went on to say “Chip gives the impression that he is real close with Danny’s family but that is not entirely accurate, and his comment about being haunted by who gave Danny the pills shows he is a incompetent manager or a flat out liar”. Lightman’s comments since Gans death, as well as comments from so-called friends of Gans have drawn criticism and speculation that Lightman is still playing PR Guy even after his clients death and the so-called friends were obviously not very close since they had no idea that Gans was taking scripts. I’ve received far too many emails saying that the comments from Chip and Friends are only making Danny Gans look worse and they should just “Shut Up”

The Signs Gans was using

Our source pointed that when Gans would tell reporters and friends about taking a Tylenol or a Motrin that those were Gans; “code words” and in actuality he was referring to Dillies (hydromorphone)


Our source also noted “With all the injuries Danny suffered over the years and the constant wear and tear from his performances, he’d still continue to do active things like play golf and more then once he’d hurt himself, agitate a muscle, and he wouldn’t stress about it like he used to; He’d say I’ll take a Tylenol, I’ll take a Motrin and I’ll be better. That kind pain would not be fixed by no over the counter pain medicine, his confidence in being better by the next day or so was because he had Dilaud.


Is there anything to Dr. Michael Fishell’s speculation that Gans may have taken what was left of the prescription of hydromorphone/Dilaud he prescribed Gans in ‘04-’05?


Not likely, unless Gans had a good amount of pills left and took a lot of them all at once or within a very short period of time.
Dr. Fishell’s interview with the Review Journal showed how little he knew Danny Gans, which he wouldn’t be the first ‘friend’ on that list. Dr. Fishell saying he spoke because of rumors about Gans using is not the whole truth, he also spoke out for his own reputation as well. Anyone reading what he said to the RJ can clearly see that
he is is denial.

What about Gans not using Dilaudid or other pain meds because of his voice being affected?

Nearly every person who said Gans wouldn’t of used pain meds because they would damage his voice were the same people who denied or had no idea that Gans even took pain meds. Can prescription medications damage your voice? Yes and No. I’ve heard loss of voice associated with many different types of prescriptions, not as much with pain meds. However it is possible, yet the several sources we have spoken with said that it may have been a concern of his but it didn’t stop him from using.

Now, there have been celebs who have abused pain meds before, some of these people rely heavily on their voice. Whether they are singers, rappers, or host a radio show – yet where is the loss in their voice?

Will Gans’ Family Ever Consent To Releasing The Report?

The chances of Gans’ family giving consent are extremely slim.


The chances would be higher if there was a doctor involved in prescribing the meds because the family would likely want justice for the doctor’s malpractice. From what we have gathered, giving consent to release the results would only further tarnish Gans’ image because it is likely it would show other drugs, perhaps alcohol (which can be fatal when combined with hydromorphone) or perhaps in some medical circles it would show Gans did have drug abuse problems.

it is certain the meds were prescribed, just not to Gans’ himself.


Now whether it was prescribed to someone close to Gans or someone he never knew, we may never know.

Is The Review Journal Covering Up The Gans Story?

A friend, and Review Journal Employee has informed me that the RJ has been extremely reluctant to talk about Gans. They want to story to be gone as soon as possible. As also reported by Tabloid Baby The Review Journal has gone out of it’s way to bury details, not report specific facts, and rarely ask questions. Now this is not the first time the Review Journal has buried stories or reported as little as possible.


Las Vegas is a very transient town so many residents here are unaware of the history of the Review Journal, and do not remember some of the issues that had many Las Vegan’s furious. What you wont hear about from the RJ is the many letters, emails, and comments they have received whether phoned in or posted on their website (and then deleted)


What are readers complaining about?


They want to know whats going on with the death of Danny Gans. Some readers practically begging for more coverage. Last Friday in their ‘Letters To The Editor Section” you see a headline criticizing the RJ for looking into a public figure aka Gans. At a quick glance it appears that all of the letters to the editor are about this, but in actuality it is only one letter. My friend/RJ Employee told me that they did that as a response to all the criticism they have received from readers and abroad as a way to somehow justify why they haven’t been doing their job.

With Danny Gans being propped up as this squeaky clean guy, evangelical christian, devoted family man… It has all now blown up and backfired.


On all levels, the general public feels it was all a sham.
The sad thing is that if Gans truly did have an addiction problem he could have got help. Although our source said that they were not aware of Gans discussing his problem with anyone in his church or his family – some now speculate that he was too afraid that going to anyone or even going public would absolutely ruin him.

The public’s perception of Gans has turned dark. Whether he had a addiction problem or not, it is absolutely clear that he should not have taken hydromorphone. He left behind a wife and a child – some have called it “Selfish”, “Cowardly” and just plain “Stupid” – Words I thought I’d never see describing Danny Gans.

Alan (a DCB Reader) from here in Las Vegas wrote in an email to us


“Shame and Embarrassment is what Gans would have got if he had been open about his problem, he may have lost a lot but even so, it’s much better then dying and leaving your family behind to pick up those awfully jagged pieces”



Tabloid Baby's Top Trend of 2009

Dying.


This was the year we started turning to the obit pages first. This was the year we realized we've created so many celebrities over the past fifty years that we're bound to be losing several a day. This was the year they were dying in fours and fives rather than threes. This is the year we were running so many posts about pop culture and tabloid figures who'd popped their clogs that we began running a Death of The Day column, with no end in sight. This was the year too many people died.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Derek Loux's memorial to highlight all the children adopted because of his influence


The many children adopted because of the work and influence of Derek Loux will be central to the memorial service for the Christian singing star, adoption advocate and father of ten who was killed in a highway accident the day before Christmas Eve.

As Christian adoption groups around the country reel from his loss and prepare for the farewell, a post on the The Zoe Foundation ("promoting adoption as a positive alternative to abortion") website says that at the Loux family's wishes, the foundation is helping produce a large "display of children who were adopted as a result of Derek’s influence over the past few years. The display will be used in the memorial service as well as placed in the Children’s Home that Renee (Derek's widow) plans on building in days to come."


The memorial service will take place at the International House of Prayer-Kansas City Forerunner School of Ministry Building at 12444 Grandview Road in Kansas City, Missouri.

Viewing of the body will be 10 am to noon, with the service from 2 to 4:30 pm.

The service can be seen live on www.ihop.org.

Those who want to donate to Loux's family can send checks to: IHOP-KC, 3535 E. Red Bridge Rd, Kansas City, MO 64137. Checks can also be brought to the IHOP-KC Business Office. Checks should be made out to "SCCFF," with "IHOP Benevolence Fund" in memo line. For credit card donations, call: 816-763-00200 x2250. Donations are tax deductible.

Disrael: M-I-C-K-E-Y N-E-V-E-R F-O-R-G-E-T


Our Man Elli in Israel checks in with some historic Disney news: The Walt Disney Company will produce, for the first time, original Hebrew-language shows in Israel. The Disney Channel began airing in Israel this year and has been so successful, it's begun joint production with Herzliya Studios on two original programs to air there.


So let's put aside all that talk about old Uncle Walt being an antisemite. Yes, in the 1930s he was sympathetic to the pro-Nazi German American Bund, and allegedly showed up at a meeting or two, and yes, legend has it that he, alone among all studio heads, met with Hitler's filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl when she was looking for work in Hollywood, and yes, legend has it he told her he admired her work that hiring her would hurt the brand, and yes, there were lots of Jew gags in the animated shorts Walt approved (like the scene in the original "The Three Little Pigs" in which the Big Bad Wolf comes to the door dressed as a stereotypical Jewish peddler, yes--- in any case, there's always Eisner and Iger... oy!

UPDATE: Our Man Elli reminds us we can't put aside Uncle Walt's record, and adds this from the Israel News Network: "The announcement is bitter irony for Hamas, which was forced to stop its anti-Israel children’s programs, featuring Disney characters, after the company threatened to sue it for copyright infringement. Hamas used characters similar to Mickey Mouse, among others, to air material that often incited Arab children to become martyrs when they grow up.

"Anti-Israel groups previously have tried to boycott Disney, which 10 years ago set up its Millennium exhibition in Florida and referred to Jerusalem as 'the capital of the millennium' and the 'heart of the Israeli people..' The Arab League had tried to boycott Disney until Saudi Prince Walid ibn Talal, who was a large shareholder of Euro Disney said, 'If we boycott Disney, Israel will win because it will impact our image negatively in the United States.'"

Here's the original Playboy photo that TMZ doctored and claimed to be a picture of JFK with nude women


Thanks to The Smoking Gun, here's the shot from the 1967 Playboy magazine article, "Charter Yacht Party: How to Have a Ball on the Briny with an Able-Bodied Complement of Ship's Belles," a doctored version of which the corporate porn-pushing gossip site TMZ.com actually tried to pass off as a "mid-1950s" shot of John Fitzgerald Kennedy: an "exclusive" photo "that could have changed history." Despite the obvious, clumsy doctoring of the photo that we pointed out this morning, TMZ had the moronic audacity to state "TMZ had multiple experts examine the photo -- all say there is no evidence the picture was Photoshopped."



We find it hard to believe that none of the size queens in the TMZ jacuzzi noticed the tan lines or body shapes that didn't fit the era. Obviously, shaved bronzed midget frontman Harvey Levin and his boy team knew they'd be caught out within hours of posting the obvious fraud.

So what's their game?

We can only hope someone screwed up and that they paid big money for it.

TMZ admits JFK photo was a fake


We told you they were full of shit. From the tab lines to the sloppy photoshopping of a head that looked somewhat like John Fitzgerald Kennedy's, it was obvious that the corporate porn-pushing gossip site TMZ.com was perpetrating an attention-grabbing fraud with a phony shot purporting to show JFK on a yacht filled with naked women.

Now TMZ admits the deception. Playboy magazine ran the original photo in 1967. For you TMZ nitwits who don't know history, that's after JFK was assassinated.

And you lazy journos take them seriously as a source.

Tan line betrays TMZs JFK photo as fake


Has the mainstream news media gone so soft and stupid that they'll buy anything these days just because it's put out there by a corporate porn-pushing gossip site? TMZ.com and its shaved bronzed midget frontman chose the dead zone between Christmas and New Year's, when the B teams are running the copy and assignment desks, to squeeze out a conveniently-crumpled photo purportedly to show John Fitzgerald Kennedy sunning himself on a yacht while a bevy of naked beauties dive, sun and climb around him. The sleazy subliterates claim the photo was taken pre-Presidency in the "mid-1950s" and that "TMZ had multiple experts examine the photo -- all say there is no evidence the picture was Photoshopped."



No evidence?
Start with "JFK"'s head. Why, if, as the experts claim, there is no sign of photoshopping or other manipulation, does the head appear to be lopped apart from the body and surrounded by a black shadow?


The least we could expect from the TMZ boys is good head.


As for the women: Are the bodies era-appropriate? And, more obviously, is the tan line on the woman at right typical of the mid-1950s?


Why are we even wasting time on this? Well, remember that lazy fellow journos take the site seriously, and cite it as a source. In fact, this morning, TMZ's biggest cheerleader, New York Times boy blogger Brian Stelter, writes a fawning appreciation while pushing TMZ's flier that it's opening a TMZ sports division (see, Tiger Woods was a good story, so naturally...)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Webcast funeral for Derek Loux


The memorial service for Derek Loux, the Christian singing star, adoption advocate and married father of ten children, will take place on January 2nd can be seen online.

Loux died of injuries suffered in a highway wreck the day before Christmas Eve, while returning home to Kansas City from a ministry conference in Colorado. He was 37. According to the death notice that appears in today's Kansas City Star, the memorial service will take place at the International House of Prayer-Kansas City Forerunner School of Ministry Building at 12444 Grandview Road.

Viewing of the body will be 10 am to noon, and the service from 2 to 4:30 pm. The service can be seen live on www.ihop.org.


KANSAS CITY STAR
DEATH NOTICE
Dec. 27, 2009
DEREK R. LOUX
On Wednesday, December 23, 2009, 37-year-old Derek R. Loux, husband, father, brother and son, went home to be with the Lord after a fatal car accident in Nebraska. Derek is survived by his wife Renee of 17 years and their 10 children, Telma (19), Teyolla and Keyolla (18-year-old twins), Leeann (15), Sophia (12), Michaela (9), Sana (8), Sasha (7), Ethan (6) and Silas (3). Eight of their children are adopted: six of their girls are from the Marshall Islands, their three boys, all with special needs, are from the Ukraine. He was preceded in death by a son, Josiah (www.josiahfund.org). Derek was part of the senior leadership team of the International House of Prayer of Kansas City, a worship leader, conference speaker, professional musician singer and songwriter who recorded several CDs. Derek's life passion was adopting and restoring orphans; he pioneered the vision of the Orphan Justice Center (OJC), a haven for rescued orphans. The memorial service will be held Saturday, January 2, 2010, at the IHOP-KC Forerunner School of Ministry Building - 12444 Grandview Road, Kansas City, Mo. Service times are as follows: Viewing - 10 a.m. to noon, memorial service 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Service can be seen live on www.ihop.org. (Arr. Newcomer's Longview Funeral Home, 12700 S. Raytown Road in Kansas City, Mo., 816-761-6272.)

The Review-Journal's #6 local story of 2009


"Throughout the paper today you'll find our annual Top 10 lists --
top news, top sports, top business and entertainment.
It is that time of year. Time to reflect on the past
and contemplate its lessons for the coming New Year."
--Thomas Mitchell, Las Vegas Review-Journal editor

Around a week before the end of every year, newspapers fill space left vacant by vacationing reporters with the year's Top 10 lists, ranging from notable deaths to top stories-- lists almost always written even farther in advance of the end of the year, and always missing some major passing or event that takes place in the weeks after the space-filler was written.

The Las Vegas-Review Journal is no exception. This morning's Sunday edition would have gone directly into the fireplace, if not for a bizarre anomaly among its list of the Top 10 Local Stories of 2009: The #6 story is one they barely covered and never investigated!

Yes,

6. DANNY GANS DIES

"Impressionist Danny Gans had been a fixture on Las Vegas marquees for more than a decade when his wife found him unconscious and not breathing in their bed in the early morning hours of May 1.

"Despite the efforts of his wife and paramedics to revive him, the 52-year-old never regained consciousness.

"Entertainers and fans mourned Gans, who had just begun a run at Encore after eight years at The Mirage, while medical examiners tried to determine what killed the star.

"Five weeks later, the coroner's office blamed the accidental death on a combination of heart and blood diseases along with a powerful prescription painkiller used to treat chronic pain, hydromorphone. Gans had battled a painful chronic shoulder injury that required surgery five months earlier.
"

Odd that editor and McCloud impersonator Thomas Mitchell, (who doffed his Stetson in respect to the holidays and womenfolk for this edition) would choose for the Top 10 a story that his rootin' tootin' team avoided covering or investigating in such a deliberate and embarrassing manner. The paper's obvious complicity in a coverup was even made public when the Review-Journal's publisher, Stephens Media, made a deal with Gans' family within a week of the local superstar's death to publish his autobiography!


Odd as well that "The King of Pop"-- the death of Michael Jackson --would rank two slots above Gans' death on the list. Not only was Jacko's passing an international story, but the initial coverage in the hours and days after he died showed how good, hardworking journos can investigate and answer questions about a celebrity's (and in Gans' case, business and religious leader) unexplained death without having to wait for a coroner to sort out the official story-- in direct contrast to the lax coverage of Gans' death led by Mitchell and his crew.

In the Las Vegas media, the Danny Gans story was the great unexplored story of 2009, and for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, whose publisher Stephens Media made a deal with Gans' family days after the tragedy to publish his autobiography, the great conflict of interest and missed opportunity.


From the morning Gans' death was announced by his manager Chip Lightman and boss Steve Wynn, the Review-Journal (and other local media outlets) remained at a distance from the story, as if the unexplained death of a seemingly healthy, athletic, prominent Born Again Christian family man who was a decade-long major economic force and most unique Vegas showman was somehow a private matter that did not even warrant a chat with the responding paramedics.

Just click here and peruse the past seven months of Tabloid Baby coverage to get an idea of the Review-Journal and cowboy editor Thomas Mitchell's crimes of omission.

So why would it make the Top 10?

And then we get to that problem of compiling Top 10 lists while there are still weeks left in the year, because the Review-Journal's neat encapsulation of the story misses the latest, explosive chapter: Lightman's recent interview, in the "competing" Las Vegas Sun, in which he contradicts the official timeline of what occurred on the morning of May 1st and opens the door to the possibility of a new inquest and investigation.

It was a timeline that the Review-Journal took at face value. It will be interesting to see whether the journalists at the paper will follow this latest lead, or if the Review-Journal is even in business to compile next yar's Top 10 list.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Derek Loux was not driving in fatal crash


Christian singer and adoption advocate Derek Loux was not driving the SUV in the single-car accident that killed him the day before Christmas Eve. The latest reports say that Loux was a passenger in the Dodge Durango when it skidded out of control and slid off Interstate 80 around 4 a.m. Wednesday, about two miles east of the small Nebraska town of Cozad. The 28-year-old driver was taken to an area hospital after the crash. We don't know his condition.

State troopers say both men were wearing seatbelts.

Derek Loux, 37, was on his way back home to Grandview, Missouri, from a ministry conference in Colorado, where he went to learn how to minister to victims of human trafficking. Loux's passion was getting people to adopt special needs and underprivileged children. A minister with the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Missouri, he preached around the world on the subject and he and his wife Renee were parents of eight adopted children, in addition to two girls of their own. Their firstborn son Josiah, died of spinal bifada and inspired Loux to begin The Josiah Fund.

This is the letter from the IHOP leadership, posted on the Loux family website:

Dear IHOP family,

Derek Loux, who was such an important part of our IHOP family for many years, is now in the presence of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Early this morning as he was traveling home from Colorado, Derek was killed in an automobile accident when his car hit a patch of black ice. Derek had been in Colorado to receive more extensive training in how to minister to victims of human trafficking.

For years, this precious man of God has faithfully served his Lord and our Missions Base in so many areas, including helping pioneer the Forerunner Music Academy, where he served as director. Derek was part of the IHOP-KC senior leadership team, a worship leader in the House of Prayer, and a frequent IHOP-KC conference speaker. He has recorded professionally as a musician, singer and songwriter; including his albums Paper Religion and Fragrant Burning. Before joining IHOP-KC, he served as the director of IHOP-Indianapolis for four years.

Derek’s life passion was adopting and restoring orphans; he pioneered the vision of the Orphan Justice Center – a haven of restoration for rescued orphans. OJC recently become an official part of IHOP. His tireless voice for the weak and voiceless indelibly marked us all. How we will miss him.

Renee and the children will need so very much love and support, not only in these first weeks, but for many years. In the immediate, Pamela Stead will spearhead all practical care for the family. Please contact her (pamelastead@ihop.org) if you want to be involved in practical helps. We ask you to please give the Loux family (immediate and extended) privacy to grieve, and only go to the home if invited. There will be many ways to give – meals, childcare, home care, finances. More details will follow soon on how you can give to this precious family, as well as Memorial plans.

We do not grieve as those who have no hope, but oh how we grieve. For Renee, for children who have lost their earthly father, and for our family who has lost a marvelous comrade. Until that Day when He dries every tear…we mourn with the Loux family.


The IHOP Leadership Team


Vic Chesnutt committed suicide because he couldn't pay his medical bills


Vic Chesnutt was a performer whose talent as a songwriter and singer overshadowed the novelty of being a paraplegic, performing with a guitar in a wheelchair. He wrote of struggling through life and committed suicide this week, apparently because he couldn't pay his medical bills.

We've been following the health care debate in Washington, learning firsthand how difficult it is to heal and carry on or even get treatment at all while negotiating the insurance bureaucracy through Tabloid baby pal (one of our pals at Frozen Pictures) Brett Hudson's blog, and know far too many people without medical insurance not to know the corruption of America's health care system.


Vic Chestnutt wrote of struggling through life and flirting with death and had attempted suicide before. He was also a loud critic of the health care system and in recent interviews said that operations had left him deep in debt.

Earlier this month, he spoke with the LA Times for an article whose lead was "If you ever need a clear example of the institutionalized cruelty of the American healthcare system, ask Vic Chesnutt."

"There's an albatross that follows Chesnutt from the door of his home to every show he plays. Though he's currently insured, an accumulating stream of nearly $70,000 worth of unpaid hospital bills is threatening to swallow much of his livelihood as a songwriter. It's left him in an unprecedented condition-- one where he's at a loss for words.

"'I'm not too eloquent talking about these things,' Chesnutt said. 'I was making payments, but I can't anymore and I really have no idea what I'm going to do. It seems absurd they can charge this much. When I think about all this, it gets me so furious. I could die tomorrow because of other operations I need that I can't afford. I could die any day now, but I don't want to pay them another nickel.'

"...Chesnutt's very real ensnarement in the insurance system lends an uncomfortable yet deeply compelling undertone to his lyrical attempts to make peace with illness, his paraplegism and death. Chesnutt doesn't hold out too much hope for whatever healthcare bill makes it through the Senate, either-- 'What will pass will be weak, the powers that be will be happy and the insurance companies will be thrilled,' he believes."


Yeah, Vic Chesnutt was suicidal and his demons and death obsession were at the core of his artistry. But it sure looks like the health care system helped him over the edge.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas mourning for Derek Loux


The stories are coming in and we're beginning to get a clearer picture of Derek Loux, the Christian singer, minister and adoption advocate who died after an SUV wreck in Nebraska the day before Christmas Eve.

Loux's death made the news because he'd released a couple of albums as a Contemporary Christian singer. Digging a bit deeper, we learned that he was an evangelizing minister who promoted adoption around the world, that he died while returning from a training session on how to minister to victims of human trafficking-- and that his death left ten children fatherless, only weeks after a family trip to Disneyland.


We'd asked you to send us information to fill in his back story, and now the life of Derek Loux is coming into focus, and questions, like why he started something called The Joshua Fund. Glenn E. Rice of The Kansas City Star tells us that "Derek Loux’s ministry was built on the foundation that there was always room at the family table for another child.

"In recent years, Loux and his wife, Renee, adopted a household of children that included five girls from the Marshall Islands and three boys with special needs from Ukraine. The couple already had two children."

Derek and Renee Loux moved to Kansas City a few years ago to work with the International House of Prayer (IHOP) ministry and help launch its music ministry, the Forerunner Music Academy. Before that, he was director of an IHOP ministry in Indianapolis.


"Loux was raised in Pennsylvania. After high school, he joined the Last Days Ministries in Texas. Part of his training included an internship in the Marshall Islands, where he met his wife. (The Loux family website says, 'Renee grew up on the mission field in the Pacific islands and Derek grew up in a traveling ministry with his family.') The couple married in 1992. Two years later, their first child, Josiah, was born with severe spina bifida. Josiah died two years later.

"To honor his memory, the couple created the Josiah Fund with a mission of rescuing, adopting and restoring needy and neglected children. The couple was raising money to purchase property for a group home and adopt more children.

"They also sought to inspire other couples to adopt children, particularly those with special needs. In recent years, about 20 IHOP families have adopted 60 children from throughout the United States and from other countries."


Kathleen emails:

"I was to meet Derek at the Indianapolis House of Prayer, the year prior he and his family moving to Kansas City.

"He was a Godly example of a true believer in watching him relate to his wife, children, sister and parents. His music and teaching opened my

"Heart more to God. My life was enriched by Derek. Thank you, Lord, for sharing Derek with us."


Christmas


Thursday, December 24, 2009

The death of Derek Loux is America's Christmas Eve tragedy


Word on Christmas Eve morning of the death of a young, charismatic Christian music star is news. The death of Christian music star Derek Loux is the American Christmas tragedy of the season.

Derek Loux was on his way home to Grandview, Missouri from a ministry conference in Colorado yesterday morning when when the SUV he was in skidded out of control on black ice on a snowy Highway 80 near Cozad, Nebraska. He died from his injuries.


Loux was a pleasant enough singer who touched the Contemporary Christian charts a couple of years back with an album called Paper Religion. He worked the Christian evangelical industry as a director of and preacher for something called the International House of Prayer (yes, also known as IHOP) in Kansas City, Missouri. If the story stopped there it would be just another ironic chuckle from the 2009 Celebrity Death Reaper on the way to taking sportscaster George Michael-- but it doesn't stop there.


Derek Loux's IHOP ministry was focused on promoting the adoption of disadvantaged and special needs children. He started something called The Josiah Fund to raise money to build a group home for orphaned kids in hopes of encouraging fellow Christians to take them in. And he his wife Renee walked the walk. Their family includes ten children, eight adopted-- three with special needs.


We didn't know anything about Derek Loux before we got into the Tabloid Baby office this morning and agreed to make his The Death of The Day. Then we looked into his family website, and saw the posting earlier this month about bringing his kids to Southern California to visit Universal Studios and Disneyland. We realized this death and life warranted much more.


Ten kids will face Christmas without the man they called Papa.

We suspect we will all be hearing a lot more about the life and work of Derek Loux.



(What's Derek Loux's backstory? What led him on this path? If you, email us here.)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tabloid Baby Top 10 Christmas Songs: #1!

DANNY GANS BOMBSHELL: MANAGER SAYS VEGAS STAR DIED "A COUPLE OF HOURS" BEFORE HIS WIFE CALLED 911

LEILA NAVIDI

In a shocking interview with the Las Vegas Sun, Danny Gans’ manager has raised disturbing new questions about the circumstances of the musical impressionist’s drug-related death.

Chip Lightman, who was first to receive word from Gans’ wife Julie that the Las Vegas Strip star had died in his bed in early morning of May 1st, indicates that Gans may have died hours earlier than police reported, and that Julie Gans phoned Lightman a half hour before she called 911.

STEVE MARCUS/LAS VEGAS SUN

According to the incident report from the Henderson Police Department, Gans’ wife Julie (“Julia”) awoke “at approximately 0340 hours… and realized Daniel was no longer snoring. When Julia checked on Daniel she realized she was unresponsive and she could not tell if he was breathing and or if he had a pulse. Julia immediately called 911.”

Lightman, however, tells Sun columnist John Katsilometes that Julie Gans called him at 3:15 a.m., and told him that Gans had died “a couple of hours ago.”

I get a call at 3:15 in the morning, and it’s Julie, his wife, and she goes, ‘Dan is gone.’ I’m like, “What!?” At that moment, it was like I was dreaming. I didn’t think I was awake and on the phone, and then I go, What do you mean?’ And she said, ‘Danny died, Chip.’ I’m saying, ‘No.”’ She said, ‘Call whoever you have to call and let them know, and I’ll talk to you later.’

“I asked, ‘When did it happen?’ She said, ‘A couple of hours ago.’”

Henderson police report that Julie Gans called 911 at 3:44 a.m.


Lightman also responds to a question Tabloid Baby first asked in the days following Gans’ death: why he immediately phoned Alicia Jacobs, the beauty queen turned local entertainment reporter who flaunted her close relationship with Gans, to inform her of Gans' passing.

“I had collected my thoughts, and I thought, ‘OK, how do I get the word out? Do I get Steve Wynn up at about 4 in the morning and tell him? Or do I call (Wynn Las Vegas spokeswoman) Jennifer Dunne? ... I finally just called Alicia. She was the first person I thought of to get the word out, get it on the air, and I knew her number. When something like that happens, you’re in shock. Danny had just done an interview with her, and she was fresh on my mind when I thought ‘media.’ I thought, ‘I’ll just call Alicia.’ They were friends, too.”


Lightman’s latest statements are all the more disturbing in light of the fact that they come more than seven months after Gans’ death, with more than enough time to prepare his answers, and after he and others close to the situation have altered their stories more than once to fit new information and circumstances that arise.


And while it's Lightman's backhanded swipe at Gans' widow in an interview to promote the Gans autobiography that stands out, Lightman's latest version also paints a very different picture of Gans.

While he once claimed that Gans seemed to be in perfect health in the days leading to his death, he now tells Katsilometes that the star was ill.

“A few days before he died, I said, ‘You don’t look like you feel well.’ He said, “I’ve been fighting something. I’m just drained beyond drained. My shoulder has been acting up, the kids are sick, everyone around me is sick.’ The Wednesday night before he died — we always sat and met before onstage, usually at 7:10 — and he didn’t look good. He looked worn out..."

He admits that Gans may have been using steroids-- for his vocal cords:

"People said to me, when the coroner’s (report) hadn’t come out yet, 'We know he’s doing tons of steroids, and he had bulked up like the Hulk,' and all this stuff. And you know, if Dan did that, he didn’t do it around me. If Dan took any steroids, it was for his voice, to lessen the inflammation on his vocal chords... He worked out five days a week, and he had a 2,000-square-foot gym at his house."

He even says Gans' Encore Theatre, may have been cursed.

“The biggest concern was the room People said it was a bad-luck room, it’s cursed. Dan was saying, ‘Spamalot didn’t work, Avenue Q before Spamalot didn’t work. Nothing has worked, and they were very good shows.’"

The Henderson Police Department investigation into Gans’ death was open for almost two months, but no criminal charges were filed. We do not know if the police looked into the records of Gans home or Chip Lightman phone calls.

Julie Gans and her children moved to Los Angeles during that time. Although the three teenage children have been brought out to speak with the media twice since the tragic death, Julie Gans has not been seen in public.

The Las Vegas news media as a group deliberately avoided any investigation of the circumstance of Gans death or unexamined private life (Katsilometes wrote the day after Gans’ death about rumours of Gans’ steroid use—but never followed up), and Steve Friess, a local blogger, comp queen, New York Times stringer and close associate with Gans boss Steve Wynn, joined with Jacobs in a campaign to stop any investigation into the death and in fact, have this site shut down.

Public perception of the Born Again Christian, athletic, corporate entertainer has shifted in recent months with the revelations that marked a male erection party pill. Gans’ children, brought out to face the media last month to promote the recently-published autobiography, changed a story they’d told earlier to acknowledge that their father did take prescription medication.

Developing...

AUDIO: JULIE GANS' 911 call