by Jac Kern
14 days ago
Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings
American Idol’s 14th season
premiered last week and if you think you shouldn’t care because Ryan Seacrest
makes you uncomfortable, you are wrong. Well, not about the Ryan Seacrest part — he is
very distracting. Like, why is he still around? How much does he get paid to be
a weirdo to young singers? Is he actually a robot? What really happened to Brian Dunkleman? But you should be excited because Cincinnati’s own Jess Lamb is on it, and
there’s a very good chance she’ll go far in the competition.
I typically don’t watch the
music competition shows like Idol and
The Voice, because witnessing genuine
humans be embarrassed on television really upsets me. But when I heard Jess
Lamb had auditioned and got the golden Hollywood ticket, I had to give the show a
shot. Jess is a great local artist and I camped next to her at Bonnaroo one year, so I'm pretty much famous by proxy.Anyway, at 28 years old, Jess is painted as the mature one of the auditioning bunch, which is
probably going to make you feel like a shriveled French fry at the bottom of a
car. But with her age (seriously, I can’t) comes a breadth of talent and
experience. She writes and performs her own songs but — judging by her
audition — has no trouble with the traditional covers Idol necessitates.
Jess auditioned in Kansas
City, Mo., and got a great reaction from the judges, particularly crooner Harry
Connick, Jr. Check it out:
Auditions will continue
every Wednesday and Thursday for the next couple weeks, so we won’t be seeing
much of Jess again until the final 48 contestants are narrowed down to 24 after
a performance in front of a live audience (this has already been filmed). So, will
Jess make the cut? Idol teased us
with a “look” — or rather, listen — at the top 24. You can hear them sing but
can’t really make out anyone’s face. Judge for yourself.
All I can make out is a Captain Hook-looking dude with dreads. GO JESS.
Remember the uber-sleazy
Gaston from Beauty and the Beast? You
know the song, “No one's slick as Gaston/No one's quick as Gaston/No one does push-ups in the middle of an
amusement park like Gaston…” What? Yes.
Sia’s “Chandelier” girl
is back, and she’s dance-battling in a dirty cage with Shia LaBeouf, which some
people are NOT OK with.
Also, why did I just learn
that the little girl, Maddie Ziegler, is from Lifetime gem Dance Moms?!
Speaking of times when we
all get sucked into Wikipedia holes… Rapper T.I. is basically a suicide prevention
specialist. This isn’t news, but it’s new to me (please don’t ask why I’m Internet-searching
random rappers at night). Seriously, “Rescue of suicidal men” is a sub-section
on his Wikipedia page. In 2010, he stopped a young man from taking his life by
convincing him to not jump off a 22-foot Atlanta building. T.I. heard about the
situation on the radio, drove to the scene and asked police if there was
anything he could do to help. Pretty incredible. But before that, in 2006, T.I. discovered a struggling Scott Stapp
after the Creed frontman had jumped over his hotel balcony (whether this was a suicide
attempt or the result of insomniac hallucinations varies in reports). Can
we have T.I. intervene on Scott Stapp again please? Side note: Awesome reality
show idea. For real, though, dude seems like he needs it.
On a lighter note, here’s a
Larry David Lynch blog!
Parks and Recreation’s final season premiered last night. Jurassic World will be unleashed into theaters this summer. Chris
Pratt stars in both. Relevant:
American Crime Story casting news! If you recall, Ryan Murphy is spinning off on his American Horror Story miniseries
franchise with a true crime series. The idea is to explore a different criminal
case in American history each season, like how each AHS season explores fear and freaky folklore in a different arena.
The series’ debut will focus on the O.J. Simpson trial. Cuba Gooding, Jr.will play O.J., David "Forever Ross" Schwimmer will play Robert Kardashian and John Travolta will play Robert Shapiro. So much wut.This dog takes a bus to the
dog park and knows to get off at the appropriate stop — alone — which is more than I can
say about myself.
The Golden Globes, a.k.a Amy
‘n’ Tina’s Sleepover Party, were Sunday. The duo kicked ass in their final
hosting gig, don’t get me wrong, but overall the show left me wanting something
more exciting. Maybe it was the fact that the awards were so spread out. There
were big winners, for sure (Transparent,
Boyhood), but there were a lot of new
winners (which yields heartfelt but otherwise boring speeches) and no one show
or film truly swept.
If anything, it gave me a
bunch of new movies and shows to add to my watch-list. Peep the nominees and
winners here, if
you care, but the best part of the production was the monologue.
TinAmy were perfection. They
even killed it with a Cosby rape joke that certainly shook up the audience. Nothing
like seeing rich, famous celebrities panic over whether it’s OK to laugh.Other notes:
Leelah Alcorn — the local
transgender teen who took her own life earlier this month — got a shout out
from Transparent creator Jill Soloway.
The stars of Fifty Shades of Grey couldn’t muster enough chemistry to present an award, so that’s probably not a good sign…
George Clooney got a
lifetime achievement award and said nice things about his new wife.
Chrissy Teigen ugly-cried
when husband John Legend accepted an award with Common.
And that’s about it! Of
course, the Oscars are the pinnacle of awards season, and those nominees will
be announced Thursday.
by Amy Harris
Young Opera trio comes to PNC Pavilion Friday night
Il Volo — the popular Italian Opera trio from Sicily — features three teens with tenor voices so strong, they got America’s attention after one of the best guest performances in the history of American Idol, singing "O Sole Mio" last year. They formed in 2009 and were received very well in their native country, performing with some of the biggest international superstars in their short history. The group consists of Piero Barone, Ignazio Boschetto and Gianluca Ginoble. They are now set for their second U.S. tour which comes through Cincinnati tomorrow (Friday) night.Il Volo is produced by long time industry veteran Tony Renis, who discovered the boys two years ago along with Grammy-winning producer Humberto Gatica (Michael Bublé, Josh Groban and Celine Dion). CityBeat caught up with Gianluca Ginoble this week by phone to discuss his love of touring and how much he enjoys getting to do what he loves every day. He is just learning English but was able to provide a little insight into to the band’s grueling tour schedule. Check out Il Volo at Riverbend's PNC Pavilion on Friday.CityBeat: I know you were introduced to opera from family members growing up in Italy. How important is family tradition to you?Gianluca Ginoble: My family is the most important thing because my Grandpa is my inspiration. It was him that introduced me to this kind of music. But I love others as well, like Michael Buble and Frank Sinatra. I love Opera, but I also I love other kinds of music too. To me family is the most important thing.CB: You guys are going to start a long tour being away from home. Is it hard being on the road being away from friends and family or what is the hardest part for you?GG: When I am home, I can’t wait to do another tour because this is now my life. For me, it is like funny work because this is my passion. I am doing what I love to do, but when I am on tour I can’t wait to come back to my house and my home because I miss the family, my Grandpa. My Grandma died six months ago and for me it was an amazing pain. He was very important for me.CB: I am sorry to hear that. Are there any places on the tour in the United States that you are specifically looking forward to playing, the location or the venue?GG: Yes, yes, yes. My favorite city is Los Angeles. New York as well, but Los Angeles is the city of the dreams and the star, the Walk of Fame, the Oscars. For me it is the best city.CB: What has been your rehearsal process for the tour? What has that been like for you?GG: We have prepared with eight or nine hour rehearsals daily.CB: Every day?GG: Yes, because this is our first concert and we are preparing. When we have the soundcheck before the concert it is just 20 minutes or 30 minute,s so we have major rehearsals to get ready.CB: How do you take care of your voices?GG: Yes always, our voices are the most important thing.CB: Do you ever see the band crossing over to pop music or do you think you will stay with Opera?GG: I don’t know. We are open to many things. We did an American tour and it was wonderful, amazing because there were teenagers everywhere and in the U.S., in Miami, Los Angeles, New York and this is beautiful because it was our goal and this is a dream come true.CB: Where do you see yourself or the band in 10 more years?GG: I don’t know. I hope all this can continue in this way but life is unpredictable.CB: What is your favorite song to sing and perform?GG: "Smile," a Charlie Chaplin song.CB: What can the fans look forward to in Cincinnati at the show?GG: It is going to be a very beautiful show with more surprises. We have changed some things and I think it is going to be amazing. We have three new songs, which are a surprise.CB: How do stay connected to your fans with Facebook or Twitter?GG: Always, always. I update my fans, our fans. I am always doing “Greetings from …" I upload the pictures.CB: What are you looking forward to the most on the tour?GG: The most beautiful thing is to meet the fans. When I look at the people and they are happy and when they listen to our singing and we can make them happy, it is just beautiful.
by Mike Breen
'Idol' grey fox wins and the only Cincinnati Bengal ever covered by Bon Iver turns 65
On this date in 2006, Taylor Hicks won that year's American Idol karaoke contest, laying waste to runner-up Katharine McPhee. Soul Patrol!!! McPhee would bounce back and is currently starring in the hit network TV show Smash. Hicks, of course, went on to superstardom, scoring major hits with songs like … oh, wait. What ever did happen to that guy? Best guess: manager of a suburban Applebee's somewhere? Post-Idol, Hicks did score a role in the traveling production of Grease and his self-titled album went platinum, but Hicks was dropped from his label in 2008 and hasn't been heard from much since. Last night, a fella named Phillip Phillips (no lie! that's his name!) won this year's American Idol, beating a lady named Jessica Sanchez. I must confess I've not watch one second of American Idol this year (or the year before, or the year before, etc.), but reading The New York Times story on him from today, it appears Phillips actually can play guitar pretty well and covered songs by Damien Rice and The Box Tops when he was allowed to chose his own material to perform. Will Philly Phillips be a star, post-Idol? These things are hard to predict (ask Taylor Hicks), but it seems — from my admittedly peripheral view — that Phillips is more David Gray or Dave Matthews than Clay Aiken or Adam Lambert. Born This Day: Musical movers and shakers sharing a May 24 birthday include creative Jazz saxman Archie Shepp (1937); American music icon Robert Allen Zimmerman, better known as Bob Dylan (1941); big-voiced and bigger-haired R&B diva Ms. Patti LaBelle (1944); producer and guitarist (with Stevie Nicks, Linda Ronstadt, Warren Zevon and others) Waddy Wachtel (1947); singer/songwriter and eldest daughter of Johnny Cash's, Rosanne Cash (1955); frontman for Soul/Funk group Cameo ("Word Up"), Larry Blackmon (1956); former keyboardist for Beastie Boys pals Luscious Jackson, Vivian Trimble (1963); bassist for Redd Kross and current member of old-school Punk supergroup OFF!, Steve McDonald (1967); guitarist for rockers The Black Crowes, Rich Robinson (1969); and singer/songwriter and Country artist Mike Reid (1947).Born in Altoona, Penn., Reid attended Penn State, where he excelled on the football field. The tackle finished fifth in Heisman Trophy voting his senior year (1969) and earned a Bachelor's degree in music. In the 1970 NFL draft, Reid was the Cincinnati Bengals' top first-round selection (seventh overall). Known for his pass-rushing, Reid was a dominant defensive player selected All-Pro at his position in 1972 and 1973 (both years he made the Pro Bowl, as well). In ’74, an injured Reid posted lower numbers and retired at the end of the season as the Bengals all-time leader in sacks with 49. (Remember, the Bengals had only been a team since 1968.)During the off-season, Reid played piano with orchestras in Utah and Dallas, as well as the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. With some help from Larry Gatlin, he was ready to go into music full-time after retiring from professional football. Focused on songwriter, Reid won his first Grammy in 1984 for writing Ronnie Milsap's "Stranger in My House." We would go on to write several songs that hit No. 1 on the Country charts, including "Walk On Faith," the only No. 1 he also performed. Reid's songs were recorded by the likes of Etta James, Conway Twitty, Willie Nelson, Alabama, George Jones, Wynonna, Lee Greenwood, Kenny Rogers, Shelby Lynne, Shania Twain, Oak Ridge Boys, Collin Raye, Alabama and Tim McGraw over the years. But his "time capsule" tune has to be his 1992 hit with Bonnie Raitt, "I Can't Make You Love Me," his biggest Pop chart success. Reid is a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. In honor of his 65th birthday, here's Reid's biggest song sung by himself, followed by a pretty chilling more recent version by Justin Vernon of Bon Iver.
by Jac Kern
SmartTalk ConnectedConcversations continues its women's speaker series tonight with Kara DioGuardi. You might recognize DioGuardi from her short time as a judge on American Idol Seasons 8-9, but you've definitely heard her work as a writer and producer with some of the biggest Pop stars of the past decade. DioGuardi has been nominated for a Grammy and won countless other music awards for her work with Gwen Stefani, Christina Aguilera, Enrique Iglesias and Santana. Tonight, she'll speak on "Surviving Life, Love and American Idol" at 7:30 p.m. at the Aronoff Center. Past speakers for the series include Arianna Huffington and Tim Gunn (the only male speaker of the series' history. He's a honorary lady.) Find some last-minute tickets here.If you miss Turntable Tuesdays at Clifton's Golden Lions Lounge, dust off your disco balls, because John O'Bryant and Hilly Kenkel are back! The duo who presented the weeknight dance party on Ludlow Avenue have relocated downtown. Now Mainstay Rock Bar will be the place to for weeknight partiers, 10 p.m.-1 a.m. on Thursdays. Most of us haven't even thought about prom for years, but for high schoolers, the dance season is upon them. Any girl can attest to the importance of a perfect dress, but for many local young women, purchasing one is not financially possible. Kenzie's Closet takes gently worn dresses (many of us wear a prom dress just once) and make them available for disadvantaged girls in Greater Cincinnati. Principals, social workers and counselors refer these students to Kenzie's Closet, where the girls are able to browse tons of gorgeous gowns – and pick one free of charge. Tonight, Downtown's PLAY hosts a fundraiser for the organization. Just bring $10 or a formal dress, (shoes, bags and accessories are important, too!) and enjoy specialty drinks, specials, prize raffles and more from 7-10 p.m. tonight. It's an excellent opportunity to help young girls in need and make room in your closet. Important People is a diverse collective of area writers that strives to bring together others through creative expression at organized events. Tonight's Important People Forget Their Lines is a night of staged works of poetry, theater and other performances. Forget Their Lines is an investigation of the stage as an environment for exposing human impulses like anxiety, absurdity, self-deprecation and vulnerability. Come to Museum Gallery-Gallery Museum in the Brighton Arts District from 7-9 p.m. tonight to check it out. Read more about Important People and tonight's performers here.Martinis and manicures might sound a bit messy (I can't go without smudging wet polish while I'm sober), but not when professionals are involved! Oriental Wok in Hyde Park hosts a pampering session tonight: mini-manicure appointments, two cocktails and mani-friendly appetizers for $35. All proceeds go to the Red Cross to benefit local victims of recent tornadoes. Order some tasty dinner to go when you're done. Go here to RSVP.If you happen to see a little more PDA than usual, it's because today is the first national make-out session. Officially headquartered on Fountain Square (though all are encouraged to participate in any public space), the event was created by an area man to replace commercial "love" holidays like Valentine's Day with real, public signs of affection. Like smooching. Events on the square have been going all day, including live music, speed dating and vendors. Acoustic music runs 'til 4 p.m., followed by DJ tunes. Another speed dating session will take place 5-6 p.m., so if you don't have a partner to lock lips with, maybe you'll find one! Luxe Nightclub hosts the after-party. At least stop by for some free condoms. More info here.Find more arts, theater and comedy events on our To Do page, and follow our music blog for nightly shows.
by Danny Cross
The Enquirer today looks into an issue CityBeat investigated back in May of last year —
the ongoing debate weighing the danger police pursuits pose to
innocent bystanders and the police officers themselves. Our story
referenced the March 16, 2011 deaths of a downtown taxi driver and
his passenger when a fleeing suspect broadsided the taxi. In that
case, the Cincinnati Police Department determined that police had
followed the department’s pursuit policy. The Enquirer’s story
suggests that Cincinnati Police routinely fail to follow the pursuit
policy and that crashes and injuries during police chases occur more
here than the national average.
President Obama dropped $90 mil
on a couple of local non-profit development companies. Cincinnati
Center City Development Corp. (3CDC) and the Uptown Consortium were
awarded $50 million and $40 million tax credits, respectively, by the
U.S. Department of the Treasury as part of a program aimed at
spurring retail and residential growth. 3CDC says it plans to create
a rock climbing wall/juice bar/light-free techno dance hall in order
to draw more YPs to the area. (Just kidding.)
P&G plans to cut
5,700 jobs next year (and we just had our resumes all cleaned up to
prove we could write the best stories about how Tide makes clothing —
and life — better for everyone…).
A 15-year-old Milford
High School freshman named Eben Christian Franckewitz has advanced to
next Thursday’s live episode of American Idol. Franckewitz is
reportedly the first area reside to become one of the 24 Idol
semifinalists. Pick it up, area talented people!
The New York Police
Department is defending its recent practice of spying on mosques
using tactics it normally reserves for criminal organizations. The AP got a hold of documents that showed police "collecting the license plates of worshipers, monitoring
them on surveillance cameras and cataloging sermons through a network of
The new documents,
prepared for Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, show how the NYPD's
roster of paid informants monitored conversations and sermons inside
mosques. The records offer the first glimpse of what those
informants, known informally as "mosque crawlers," gleaned
from inside the houses of worship.
Chicago Mayor Rahm
Emanuel says his police would never spy on Muslims.
Officials in Australia
have opened another investigation into the 1980 death of a 9-week-old
baby whose parents say was taken away by a dingo. The mother was
convicted of murder and later cleared of the charge.
Seven Marines were
killed in a training crash near the California-Arizona border
Wednesday night, one of the deadliest training crashes ever.
Officials say it will take weeks to determine why the two helicopters
crashed in midair during a routine exercise.
JC Penny lost $87
million in the fourth quarter of 2011. CEO Ron Johnson says it’s
cool, though, because the company was getting a makeover and those
On the other side of
the fence dividing companies that lose money and companies that make
mass of it, Apple is so flush its CEO says the company has too much
cash. Tim Cook is reportedly “wondering what to do with the
company's $97.6 billion.”
More drivers than ever
are about to be paying $5 per galling for gas, although if we vote
Newt Gingrich for president he’ll make it $2.50.A new study says
that global warming could shrink the human race. Wait, what?!? It’s
true: NEW GLOBAL WARMING THREAT: HUMAN RACE MAY SHRINK. Great ... just great.
Oh, and the UC
basketball team beat No. 17 Louisville last night, a big step toward
playing in the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year. Nice,
one-handed jam, Dion!
0 Comments · Tuesday, August 24, 2010
That one random kid Kanye West was following on Twitter has been replaced ... by Justin Bieber. The two tweeted about working on a song together and, not long after, the duo turned into a trio with the addition of Wu-Tang Clan's Raekwon. While little Bieber referred to the collaboration as "EPIC," we're all sitting back with our "Huh?" faces on.
0 Comments · Wednesday, June 16, 2010
DEVO is target-marketing a new species: cats. To celebrate the release of their first album in 20 years, 'Something for Everybody,' the band hosted a nine-hour listening party only attended (in the flesh, er, fur) by 20 felines.
0 Comments · Wednesday, October 28, 2009
A group of musicians and performers has teamed up to demand that the U.S. government release the names of all songs used to grease the interrogation wheels (a.k.a. torture) at the GW Bush Sleepaway Camp (a.k.a. the Gitmo prison in Cuba).