September 7, 2003 |
Of all the methods rock performers use to avoid the "here we are, now entertain us" gaze of an expectant audience, Jim James' ranks among the most inventive. The singer, songwriter and guitarist of My Morning Jacket - the Shelbyville, Ky., quintet whose revelatory and often astonishing third effort, It Still Moves (ATO/RCA . . out of 4 stars), arrives in stores Tuesday - simply hides behind a curtain of long, wavy brown hair. It cascades symmetrically from his scalp to cover his face and everything down to his waist, and is divided, but not officially parted, by a nose.
August 4, 2003 |
Aszreanna, 13, longs to be adopted. She has expressed her wishes of having a room of her own and a mom who has time to spend with her. "She's a very sweet girl," her social worker says, "but shy enough that it takes a while for her to warm up. "She has three foster siblings in her home, and if she has a bag of chips, fries or candy, she'll offer it to them before she takes a bite. " Aszreanna's activities include reading, going to church, shopping, listening to music and singing, and watching music videos.
July 2, 2003 |
As tooting-your-own-horn documentaries about innovative alt-rockers who've been around for 20 years go, Gigantic: A Tale of Two Johns goes very well indeed. John Flansburgh and John Linnell, the Lennon-McCartney of Brooklyn's Williamsburg, are nerdy musicheads made good. The duo's band, They Might Be Giants (a name taken from the 1971 George C. Scott flick about a delusional eccentric obsessed with Sherlock Holmes), has been making records and self-distributed cassette tapes since the early '80s.
May 15, 2003 |
This is, as the rapper himself would say, Eminem's moment. He owns it. First, he conquered the music charts (the Grammy-winning The Eminem Show was last year's best-selling record); he's made his acting debut in and nabbed a best-song Oscar for 8 Mile - and now he's got a video game. Conspiracy Entertainment's Mix TV Presents: Eminem, which can be played by one or two people in tandem or against each other, is a music-video brain teaser. The object is to unscramble puzzles formed from the game's four videos before each song concludes.
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.