Thursday, March 15, 2012

Spring Break's Beauty and the Beast

PANAMA CITY BEACH — One was young, fresh of face and light of locks. The other is eligible for AARP, darker, rougher, rounder in different places and — let’s be honest — raunchier.

One is just entering the prime of her life, recently voted the Sexiest Woman Alive by Esquire readers. The other is on the far side of his prime and probably best known for all the on-camera sex he’s had.

Both were in town last week to promote products to the Spring Break crowd.

I spent a couple of minutes last Thursday in the company of Katrina Bowden, a 23-year-old who has appeared in movies (“American Reunion”) and TV shows (“30 Rock”). As the cover model for Maxim magazine’s February issue, she was on the beach to represent the magazine and promo the new Nintendo Wii game “Just Dance 3.”

Bowden judged dance-offs on a beachside stage in the afternoon sun behind Boardwalk Beach Resort and later at Hammerhead Fred’s foam party. She also spent time under a small cabana with a group of professional “Just Dance” dancers practicing the game’s moves. (See the full article here.)

Her handlers jealously guarded her time, allowing her to speak for only a few minutes and putting the kibosh on any video of the interview. (I tend to use the video function on my camera to record interviews these days; the handlers were nice enough to allow me to point the camera away from Bowden but hold it near enough that her voice was picked up.)

She seemed very sweet.

After the story appeared, I was asked to remove from the online version of the story a reference to the film “Tucker and Dale vs. Evil,” in which she played the female lead. I enjoyed that movie, and she said it was fun to make. But that wasn’t her reason for being here, apparently, and has been relegated to her entry.

>>Here is video from the day, despite her handlers' best efforts.<<

I spent a much longer time talking with former adult film star Ron Jeremy the next day under a tent in sprinkling rain. The 59-year-old was in town to promote a new rum label that bears his name and likeness, Ron de Jeremy rum. (He had no handlers and no stipulations about video, but after the run-in with Bowden’s folks, I went prepared with a notepad and pen.)

(See the full article here.)

Over a two-day stay, Jeremy spent hours in beach locations including Kwiker Liquor, Ms. Newby’s, Pineapple Willy’s and Coyote Ugly, signing bottles, posters, books, DVDs and body parts for fans. He took the time with each one to pose for photos, listen to their stories and share jokes. He played his harmonica (and that’s not a euphemism).

He seemed to enjoy meeting all these strangers, and he laughed a lot. Nothing was off-limits for the interview.

>>Here is video from the day.<<

Say what you like about beauty vs. the beast: Our Facebook post about Bowden got nine likes and one comment over the weekend; the one about Jeremy got 13 likes and 11 comments. Bowden’s story was picked up by newspapers and websites around the world, and the short video of her dancing received more than 13,600 plays in the first four days.

It’s a tale as old as time


This is my column, more or less, that appeared in today's paper and online at this link.
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