April 24, 2003 |
The playing field began to tilt two years ago. The operators at MTV's popular countdown show TRL were being inundated with requests for Michelle Branch. Problem was, they didn't have any videos from the young Arizona singer. Her debut CD, The Spirit Room, wasn't in stores yet. So MTV called up Branch's record label, Maverick, wondering where in the world kids were seeing her clip. The answer was AOL Music. Along with Yahoo's similarly themed Web site, Launch, AOL Music has become a significant player in the music industry.
April 11, 2003 |
The eighth annual Lost Film Festival continues through this weekend, and the good news is, thanks to the folks at the Rotunda (4012 Walnut St., 215-573-3234, www.foundationarts.org), it's all free, but donations are encouraged. Among the music-related highlights: "156 Rivington," a documentary about ABC-No-Rio, the 20-year-old, once-squatted performance space in New York; "By Hook Or Crook," a lesbian buddy film co-written and directed by Tribe 8's Silas Howard; music videos by Tracy + the Plastics and Milemarker; and "Illegal Art," an exhibit hosted by Stay Free!
October 28, 2002 |
Recently, my seventh-grade daughter came home from school and told me about an exchange she'd had with another student we'll call "Shaina," who called my daughter a "retart. " Quick-witted as she is, my daughter responded: "It's retard, you retard. " Perhaps embarrassed by her mispronunciation of the word, Shaina criticized my daughter as being "too perfect," and added, "I bet you don't even listen to rap. " Actually, my daughter does listen to rap, and she watches music videos, too. The difference is that my daughter acknowledges that what she sees and hears on TV or the radio is pure entertainment and not behavior to be emulated.
March 17, 2002 |
Ever since Robert L. Johnson launched Black Entertainment Television in 1980, BET has come to mean many things to the many African Americans the cable network targets. To its hundreds of thousands of viewers, BET means, as its snazzy slogan proclaims, Black Star Power. But to its many vocal critics, who decry its abundance of lecherous music videos and lack of quality programs, BET still stands for Bad Entertainment Television. Many detractors hoped that BET's sale last year to mega-media conglomerate Viacom for a staggering $3 billion would make things better.
September 22, 2001 |
Glitter, the eagerly awaited, twice-postponed A Star Is Born revamp featuring Mariah Carey in her film debut, is so bad that you can write its epitaph. A star is stillborn. It's not entirely a failure of the story. This yarn about a backup singer who soars to the top while her famous discoverer and lover watches his career plummet has always worked before, for Janet Gaynor and, spectacularly, for Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand. It's not entirely a failure of direction.
August 5, 2001 |
Was it really 20 years ago this week that MTV aired its first music video, appropriately titled "Video Killed the Radio Star"? Don't ask me. I didn't "go on the cable," as a neighbor quaintly put it, until 1996. How did I live sans 6 billion channels of programming? Pretty well, thank you, as did many Philadelphians in a city not completely wired for cable access in the years following MTV's launch. Maternity leave, when my daughter's sleeping habits seemingly revolved around the magnetic pull of Jupiter, was trial by VHF. I soaked up lot of syndicated drek and projectile-vomited baby formula in those no-man's hours between 2 and 6 a.m. Under sleep-deprived duress, even reruns of Hogan's Heroes develop a certain twisted charm.
July 9, 2001 |
When Virgin Records America wanted to promote a song by the British pop band Blur in 1997, blasting it in arenas during National Hockey League games helped to do the job. "Song 2," in which the main vocal hook is "whoo-hoo," became a hit in the United States and continues to be known as an NHL anthem of sorts. "There are a lot of puzzle pieces to making a record successful, but that exposure to audiences all over the country was invaluable," said Kate Tews, vice president of advertising and merchandising at Virgin.
April 27, 2001 |
Genre-bending is an honorable practice that occasionally yields a pleasant surprise such as Naked Gun, a detective slapstick, or Pennies From Heaven, a musical melodrama. One Night at McCool's, a curious screwball noir, doesn't so much bend established genres as blend them into an unappetizing cocktail, where they curdle before pouring. More or less a Femme Fatale Attraction, the film stars Liv Tyler as Jewel, a ruby-lipped seductress falling out of her red velvet mini-dress and into the lives of bartender Randy (Matt Dillon)
February 10, 2001 |
When it came to light this week that a Neshaminy High School girl had videotaped two classmates having sex in the auditorium - and proudly showed the tape in school the following day - parents and teachers were aghast. Students, however, were barely atwitter. "I guess they were trying to express themselves," said senior Lauren Moore. "People were shocked, but really it was nothing big. " After all, Neshaminy is the school where shock-jock Howard Stern himself spoke on the loudspeaker last year to endorse the winning candidate for student body president.
December 15, 2000 |
'N Sync is on holiday hiatus. Steely Dan's dynamic duo are probably sunning themselves in Maui. The Eurythmics' brief reunion tour came and went with only a couple U.S. dates. Carlos Santana ain't ever gonna tour with all the guest talents who recorded on his hit comeback album. But if you want to delight a music fan this holiday season, give them a magic wand to summon up the sounds and sights of these artists (and others) performing on VHS videotape or DVD videodisc. Music fans can't help but connect better with the DVD versions.