February 28, 2010

LADY GAGA is allegedly facing a $19,000 Concert Fine

Source: PR-Newswire

The Poker Face hitmaker kicked off her two dates in the British capital by taking the stage at the O2 Arena around 45 minutes late after rehears als overran, according to Britain's Daily Star Sunday newspaper.
The late start took the singer 25 minutes over her curfew, which is imp osed by bosses at the O2, and she could face a heavy fine from executives at the venue.
A source tells the newspaper, "Lady Gaga was still doing her dress rehe arsal at 7pm when the doors were supposed to be open and the first suppor t act was due on. She wouldn=E2=80=99t finish rehearsing until she was ha ppy.
=E2=80=9CIn the end she was 45 minutes late but refused to cut the set short. She told organisers she didn=E2=80=99t care about the fine, all sh e cared about was putting on the best show for her =E2=80=98little monste rs=E2=80=99.=E2=80=9D Lady Gaga's show was watched by a star-studded audience including Chery l Cole, Lily Allen, Sharon Osbourne and Emma Bunton.

February 27, 2010

Marie Osmond’s Son Commits Suicide

Source: People.com
Image: From The internet
Marie Osmond's teenaged son, Michael Blosil, has killed himself by leaping to his death around 9 p.m. Friday in Los Angeles, reports Entertainment Tonight, which quotes Marie's brother, Donny Osmond, as saying, "Please pray for my sister and her family."

According to ET, Michael left a note explaining he intended to end his life after a lengthy battle with severe depression that left him, he said, feeling as if he had no friends and could never fit in. Read more>>

February 26, 2010

Book Review: “The Essential Jim Carrey,” by MA Cassata

Source: FFanzeen

Text © Robert Barry Francos
Images from the Internet 

The Essential Jim Carrey: An Unofficial Fan Guide
By M.A. Cassata
BearManor Media (Albany, GA), 2009
131 pages, $19.95Why am I reviewing a book about comedian / actor Jim Carrey? Well, I am proud to call the author my friend, and we support each other. She was a long-time contributor to the print version of FFanzeen, which you may have seen reprinted in this very blog.

M.A. Cassata is not new to the celebrity game, with a number of books under her belt, including ones about the Monkees, Michael J. Fox, Cher, Elton John, plus many other modern cultural phenoms, such as Britney Spears and ‘NSync. But I’m here to actually talk about the book, not the author (though if you’re interested in more of her work, check out theMACwire.com.

The book points out that Jim Carrey’s idol was Jimmy Stewart. While Stewart is not usually remembered as a comic actor (though he had his shining moments), Stewart’s everyman can be seen in Carrey characterizations, especially when Carrey’s in his non-rubber mode.

This factoid about Carrey admiring Stewart is sort of the heart of what makes this book tick. Rather than the usually bio book of the life of whomever where the author tells us what the subject was thinking years ago, Cassata breaks the information down to the bare, well, essentials.

The Essential Jim Carrey is almost like a “book of lists” about the Canadian comedian, which is well researched in fine detail, and collected into appropriate sections, such as filmography and other works (e.g., television roles and talk show appearances), trivia facts and quizzes, quotes by both the actor and his characters, and many other spots of information. This info is conveniently broken down into sections for films, topics, etc. For me, an especially interesting part is the section where his fans, such as the “Carreyholics Society,” get to spout off what they like about the man, their favorite films, and sometimes the ones that don’t work for them.

There is info and pictures of Carrey in various roles, right up to his 2009 portrayal of Scrooge in A Christmas Carol (hey, this book is hotoff the press, printing listed as Feb 2010). Heck, there is even a list (and description) of his films currently in development.

As much as this book is about Jim Carrey, it is also about – and for – his legion of fans. Yet, as gushy as this book sometimes becomes (in this case the direction one wants to go), it does not shy away from the knowledge that not all his films have been popular (such as The Majestic and, to some extent, The Cable Guy), and even his fans get to spout off what they think are his worst, as well as his best. There are also quotes about Carrey’s performances by various film critics, listed under banners of the films they reviewed. His co-actors also get a section to state what it was like to work with him.

Everything is very neatly packaged for the reader to find out what they want, including an extensive bibliography, and what memorabilia is most popular (and how much it sold for in auctions). It’s all very fun, breezy, and user – I mean reader friendly.

This is the kind of book I like to read before I go to bed, or, yes I’m going to say it, in the bathroom (I had the 50th Anniversary Edition ofRipley’s Believe It Or Not in my “library” by the throne for years…and now it looks like Carrey may be playing Ripley in a future flick…cosmic!). This book is chock full of short, fun facts, as well as Carrey’s history, both before fame and since.

To set the record straight, I thought he was brilliant on In Living Color, and my fave films of his are The Mask (I was a fan of the Dark Horse comic it was based on) and the bravo performance in Man on the Moon; I’m actually drawn towards his more serious work. Lastly, and this is important: one of the fans thanked and quoted is listed as Robert F. of Brooklyn. This is not me. Okay? Got that? Good. Now go out and get the book if you’re a fan: It’s essential.

(Additional Fan Reviews):

Just got the The Essential Jim Carrey  by M.A. Cassata and I love it! I'm a huge Jim Carrey fan.
Folks, this is the definitive book for the ultimate Jim Carrey fan or collector. It's apparent that this writer has a wealth of knowledge on the beloved actor, as well as a deep respect for the man & the actor.—L. Haneley

WOW!  I have The Essential Jim Carrey book. I cruised around online and took a chance with this book. I was not disappointed. I've been a fan of Jim Carey's for so many years. I think he's more than just a great actor, he's a true gentleman as well. I had the honor of meeting him briefly in NY. He didn't act like a celebrity at all. This book is a treasure in that it contains everything any Jim Carrey fan would love & appreciate.—R. Taylor

I purchased The Essential Jim Carrey  book and think the  author did a splendid job of  bringing Jim Carey the actor into the readers heart & soul. She also lets us peer deeply into the personal life and the tremendous charisma that Carrey brings to everything he does, whether personally or professionally. I love this book, it's better than most of the Jim Carrey books out there, as most of them are biographies, and this one is a tribute book— a really good tribute book!— J. H. Winger

Coming to DVD... The Rolling Stones "Rare and Unseen" (April 20,2010)

"Rare and Unseen", the second title in this exclusive and all new DVD collection for fans, takes an inside look at the sheer audacity of the band that took RnB and made it into mainstream rock: The Rolling Stones.

From smalltime band to megastar rockers, The Stones have certainly had a major impact in the music world. They played, they recorded and they conquered the planet for five decades.

This brand new DVD release is a collection of rare footage you won't find elsewhere! Features original rare film and videos of the band, newsreels and photographs from private collections.  

- Mick Jagger on World in Action talks at length on responsibility and the law
- Keith Richards at the Berlin Film Festival
- Charlie Watts in a rare sound bite or two
- Bill Wyman talks tours and life
- Rare footage of Brian Jones 1964
- Rare and Unseen footage of each of the band talking
- Local TV reports thought lost and now restored
- Rock'n'Roll, Tours and Nostalgia  
- Unseen interview footage from Belfast 

DOLLY PARTON's Nashville Store "Trinkets & Treasures" Set for March 12 Grand Opening

DOLLY PARTON has opened her first-ever retail store in Nashville--Dolly Parton’s Trinkets & Treasures--and will be on hand for the official grand opening/ribbon-cutting (pink, of course) ceremony in Nashville Friday, March 12. 
“When I was growing up in the backwoods of the Smoky Mountains, any trinket was a treasure to me,” says the vivacious singer, songwriter, author and entrepreneur.  “The mail order catalog was my wish book.  I wished I could have everything I saw.  Those childhood memories inspired my new Trinkets and Treasures store.  Come on in and wish and dream…and I will make them come true.”
Located in an old storefront on 2nd Ave. in historic downtown, the 1000 square-foot space reflects the DOLLY “Coat of Many Colors” influence with a mix of pink, yellow, red, blue, green and purple--both in the interior and exterior--with DOLLY music and videos filling the space.  Dolly Parton’s Trinkets & Treasures offers a mix of Dolly-centric items for fans of all ages including a music section stocked with Dolly Records’ releases--including the November 2009 2-disc DVD/CD set DOLLY: LIVE FROM LONDON--and a listening post to preview the tunes, t-shirts, hats and a collection of children and tween items.  For the store, Dolly has also created fun  items like a “Burpin’ 9-5” baby bib and special limited-edition “Coat Of Many Colors” customized guitars, hand-painted and embossed with rhinestones at her Nashville studio.
Opened in November, Dolly Parton’s Trinkets & Treasures is located at 126 2nd Ave North, Nashville, TN (next door to Wild Horse Saloon) and store hours are 10:00 AM-8:00 PM Sunday through Friday, and Saturday from 10:00 AM-10:00 PM.  This marks the first retail store for the internationally renowned superstar who launched her own Dolly Records in 2007 with her Backwoods Barbie CD. 
For more information, please visit http://www.dollypartonmusic.net.

Alice In Wonderland Royal World Premiere In London-February 25

All images: Courtesy of Jorge Herrera/Getty Images for Disney

Premiere Arrivals  and After-Party Arrivals Including Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway,  Mia Wasikowska, Helena Bonham Carter and others.

Green Day is Character Approved!

Source: The Deadbolt

The second  annual USA Network Character Approved Awards are in for 2010 as the honors and nominees settle into the IAC Building (tonight, February 25) in New York City. As part of the USANetwork Character initiative, the Character Approved Awards feature true innovators and trailblazers across different disciplines in society, from film and art to philanthropy and new media.
The Character Approved Awards honoree list includes such 2010 notable names as Green Day, recently Oscar Nominated director Kathryn Bigelow, acclaimed writer Nora Ephron, Yves Behar, designer of the Jawbone Bluetooth headset, and game creators of Guitar Hero and Rock Band, Alex Rigopulos and Eran Egozy. Read More>>

February 24, 2010

PUBLIC IMAGE LTD (PiL) Announce Headlining North American Tour

Image: Courtesy of MSO

Since returning in December 2009 for seven monumental concerts in the United Kingdom–their first shows in 17 years–PUBLIC IMAGE LTD(PiL) now continue into 2010 with a headlining North American tour starting Saturday, April 17 in San Francisco.
After fronting the 
Sex PistolsJohn Lydon formed Public Image Ltd in 1978. With their experimental sound fusing Rock, Dance, Folk, Ballet, Pop and Dub, PiL are regarded as producing some of the most diverse music of the 70s and 80s. As a band, the music and vision constantly evolved like no other, culminating in an incredible live experience.

The North American tour will be preceded by a special performance at the COACHELLA VALLEY MUSIC & ARTS FESTIVAL on Friday, April 16 (opening day of the three-day event) in Indio, CA. It marks their first show in the United States in 18 years. 

Cited as one of the most innovative and influential bands in music history, PiL return to a country where they enjoyed a special relationship throughout their career for what are set to be stunning shows. The North American dates will be followed by a series of high-profile summerEuropean Festival appearances

John Lydon (vocals), Lu Edmonds (guitar), Bruce Smith (drums) and Scott Firth  (bass) earned critical and public acclaim for their concerts in December 2009, with many British media outlets championing them as the shows of the year. 

John Lydon: “I sound like a bag of kittens thrown down the staircase.”

2010 sees the 30th anniversary of the band’s first U.S. tour and also their U.S TV debut on “American Bandstand,” where singer John Lydoninvited the audience onstage to dance with the band! Host Dick Clark famously introduced their appearance as "a memorable moment in rock n roll, something special and interesting.” 

With a wide and varied back catalogue spanning three decades, Public Image Ltd will be showcasing the unique sounds of tracks such as“Public Image,” “This Is Not A Love Song,” “Rise,” and “Disappointed,” with many further surprises in store.  

Lu Edmonds: Multi instrumentalist and former guitarist in The Damned Lu joined PiL in 1986 recording and playing on the album Happy? and co-writing the album 9 adding yet another dimension to the PiL sound. Lu is also associated with a variety of eclectic and acoustic bands including The Mekons and Siberian band Yat-Kha

Bruce Smith: Former drummer in The Pop Group and The Slits became percussionist for PiL also in 1986 playing and recording on the albumsHappy? and 9. Seen as a drumming virtuoso, Bruce Smith brought his unique style into the fold. Bruce has also played with the likes of Björkand Terence Trent D’Arby

Scott Firth: A bass player/multi instrumentalist that has collaborated and played with a variety of top musicians and bands including Steve Winwood, John Martyn, Elvis Costello and The Spice Girls. Scott’s arrival into the band in 2009 resulted in John Lydon declaring him “Genius at work!”

Apple iTunes

February 23, 2010

R.E.M. – There’s No Comparison

Text by Julia Masi, intro by Robert Barry Francos
Interview © 1983; RBF intro © 2010 by FFanzeen
Images from the Internet 

The following article and interview with R.E.M. was originally published in FFanzeen magazine, issue #10, in 1983. It was written by Julia Masi.

As far as I know, this is one of the first full articles about R.E.M. to appear outside their local area of Athens, GA (not counting reviews). When the article came out, they were relatively unknown, though on the brink, and in a very short time, they were at the top of the college radio circuit, on their way even further up. While I never saw R.E.M. perform live, I did see them once on the street outside Irving Plaza just as they broke nationally; I was leaving and they were entering, along with their manager, the late Jefferson Holt. I recognized them, and introduced myself. Most of them did not even acknowledge my existence and just kept on walking; they didn’t need my level of publication anymore. I shouted out after them, sarcastically, “You’re welcome.” Peter Buck was the only one to turn around, genuinely smile, and say “Thanks,” before rushing off to join the others.

Still, I’ve liked some of their music over the years, and have met some pretty rabid fans (hey, Joanne), yet with some song exceptions, I never caught R.E.M.-fever. But fame is a strange and powerful thing. How else can one explain the incredibly bad photos of the 1995 Patti Smith tour taken by Michael Stipe and published in the book 
Two Times Intro: On the Road with Patti Smith (Little Brown & Co., April 1998)?

What’s most important about R.E.M. is that they really did change the position of the power of college radio, which promoted the band to its heights (MTV also helped). R.E.M. became one of the stronger influences to arise out of independent music in that period. There were so many bands trying to sound like them and not succeeding, which is a sharp irony to this article. – RBF, 2010

They jokingly refer to themselves as “four pretty vague people,” but R.E.M. – Michael Stipe, Mike Mills, Pete Buck, and Bill Berry – are really the most modest and misunderstood stars to soar out of Athens, Georgia. Solely on the merit of their 12” EP, Chronic Town, on IRS Records, R.E.M. have propelled themselves from playing for a few friends in an abandoned church to facing audiences of 12,000 in major concert arenas. But even though their reviews have been raves, the rock’n’roll press has only been bombarding them with left-handed compliments as they constantly compare the band to other groups who are musically incongruous. Or accuse them of being overly influenced by musical forces that they never even heard.

“It’s like the Big Boss in the Sky says, ‘You have to tell the people what the music is,’” says Michael. “We’ve been trying for two-and-a-half years to come up with a term that describes the band, but we can’t. We’re not a pop band. We’re certainly not power-pop. We’re not punk. Though maybe we were punk in the beginning, but that was two-and-a-half year ago.

“It’s not that we’re so incredibly original, but it’s hard to find a category that we fit into. The best thing we’ve come up with is “folk-rock.” With a hyphen. But that’s sort of tongue-in-cheek.

“I wouldn’t call us a dance band. We’re not predominantly on stage to make people dance. If you want to get up and dance you can. The beat is fairly obvious. If you want to just sit there you can. If you want to walk out the door, you can do that, too. Many people have.”

He finds comparisons between R.E.M. and psychedelic music to be a “pretty loaded statement. If it is psychedelia, it’s 1982 psychedelia.” He says it’s a “let-down” to be compared with bands just because they hail from the same city or state, but he is complemented that R.E.M. has been said to sound like Love, Television, and Pere Ubu. He admits that journalists who’ve found parallels with the later, “have just been listening to us talk for too long. If you pushed it to extremes you could say we sound like them but…”

“We read our reviews and laugh,” admits Peter. “Then we’ll go out and buy records to see what we’re imitating. We’ll go out of our way to buy something just to see what it is we’re supposed to sound like. I bought a Beau Brummells album because some reviews said I played like Beau Brummell. I listened to it and I didn’t recognize anything. A lot of people have compared us to the Byrds, but none of us has ever listened to them.”

“Well, I’ve heard ‘Turn, Turn, Turn’,” Michael interjects, “but I didn’t listen to anything before I was 15 [he’s 23 now – JM], except Gershwin and Mancini. My parents had limited, but very good taste. Right now, I’ve gotRhapsody in Blue in my pocket.” He’s also got a penchant for classical music, especially theOverture 1812, “with real cannons,” and Patti Smith, who is the only person he ever wrote a fan letter to. “Her mother wrote back to me! It was really a touching birthday present.”

Recently, R.E.M. has been put on the receiving end when it comes to fan mail. And they love hearing from their listeners. “We’re all fans,” admits Michael, who tries to write back, except that, “We’ve only got one typewriter (among the band), but if someone has a question that’s valid, we’ll go out of our way to answer them. That’s what we’re here for.” Although almost all the letters start out the same, “This is the first fan letter I’ve ever written,” some of them can be quite original.

Most of the people who write to Michael are trying to find out what his lyrics are. At times, his singing sounds a little muddled. “It’s intentional on our part. It’s pushing on our part. The subjectiveness. People have sent their versions of the words and I’ve changed the original because their words were better. It’s very helpful.

“I’ve always loved sitting down with a record and not having the lyric there. Having the lyrics in front of you is like taking the raisins out of the raisin bread and expecting it to taste the same.

“The people will write in to tell us that they feel like making movies when they listen to the records. And they go into detail. Or that some of the songs make them feel a certain way. That’s what we’re trying to do; to have the music so that you can subjectively have the feeling come up by yourself with it.

“Some of the letters say, ‘The first time I heard that song, I got so depressed it made me cry.’ It’s great! That’s what we’re going for. You don’t have to sit down and force yourself to listen or even like the music. It’s just there and it’s a fairly recognizable form of music. That’s no problem with the audience. They can find out what the song means to them. If they give that much thought.”
“By-and-large, they’re interesting,” says Peter. “We’ve gotten a few acid-chaser dementeds. There’s one girl who wrote us and said she’d ‘come in contact with our little sphere,’ whatever that means, and then she said something about ‘working a certain flag.’ The whole letter made no sense at all. Real psychedelic, real ‘hey, man,’ that sort of thing. A lot of it is stream of consciousness writing. Some of it is really neat, like poetry. And some of it is like a teenager on a bad trip.” Peter feels that people write to them “not so much because we’re a great band, but because we’re accessible.”

They began playing as a hobby when they lived in an old tenement building in Athens. The building was originally a church, but the congregation it served had lost all its followers at the turn of the century. A real estate agent bought it and fixed it up enough to rent it as a house. After Michael moved in, he discovered a hole in the closet that, if you crawled through on all fours, would lead you to the back room of the church, which still had its pews and pulpit intact. Michael discovered that the acoustics of the room was great and there was plenty of space for dancing.

Playing in the church had no effects on their music. “I’d love to have some great religious vision,” confesses Peter, “but it was just our garage. We had parties there. We played our first dates there. It was real wild. Very sloppy and loose.

“It’s not that we’ve improved, we’re still very loose. It’s just natural of playing there. It’s really just fun to do. The hobby has taken over our lives.

“We’re not geniuses, but we write and play together real well. What I like best about the music is that it comes from nowhere. No traumas or anything. I’ve always imagined that the Beatles or the Kinks, when they sat down to write every day, had a bolt of lightening come from somewhere. But from writing, I realize that doesn’t happen.”

“I’m the stupid one, musically,” quips Michael. I don’t know anything musically; not that the other guys do, but they have to know a bit more because they carry an instrument. I help them veto or edit songs. I write most of the words, but those guys veto them, too, if I get ridiculous or too depressed to be happy.” His main concern when writing lyrics is to transmit “feelings or attitude.”

And that’s one of the reasons why R.E.M. was reluctant to tour, opening for bands like the Go-Go’s, before their EP came out. They felt their music would be lost on an audience who was just waiting for the headlining act. And they felt it would be devastating for the band if they had to play for an audience who wasn’t paying attention to them. But now that Chronic Town is on the charts, they’re anxious to get out and play.

“I can’t wait to make eye contact with as many people as possible. I can’t wait to stare down 12,000 people,” Michael laughs. “Twelve thousand people! What a joke. But the band has a good sense of humor. I hate comedy and despise jokes, but you have to have a sense of ‘you’ to be in a band. To be in this band, anyway!” 

Disney's Alice in Wonderland Opens March 5, 2010

All images: Courtesy of Walt Disney Films
A Look in pics... Tim Burton's  fantasy film Alice In Wonderland  starring Johnny Depp (The Mad Hatter), Anne Hathaway (The White Queen), Helena Bonham Carter (The Red Queen) and newcomer Mia Wasikowska.  The much anticipated  flick is due to hit theaters March 5th.