Brian Newman divides his talent between playing with his own Jazz combo and backing old friend Lady Gaga
0 Comments · Wednesday, January 20, 2016
There aren’t many career paths that include studying at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music and working for a boss in a meat dress.
by Mike Breen
Former local Jazz musicians getting national exposure playing with a Jazz icon and a Pop superstar
Jazz musician Brian Newman, Ohio native and graduate of the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, has become a New York City Jazz scene staple with his group’s popular residencies in the city. And he’s been popping up on national television a lot recently thanks to his role as the bandleader of Lady Gaga’s Jazz projects. Gaga has employed Newman’s group for various Jazz performances over the past few years, including surprise club gigs in NYC and the singer’s 2011 network TV special, A Very Gaga Thanksgiving.Newman and his group, which features fellow CCM grads (and onetime players in Cincinnati’s music scene) Steve Kortyka (saxophone), Alex Smith (piano) and Scott Ritchie (bass), have also been working with American music icon Tony Bennett, thanks to Bennett and Gaga’s recent collaborative album, Cheek to Cheek, released in late September. For live and promotional appearances, Gaga’s Jazz backers meld with Bennett’s.Newman and Kortyka were recently seen backing Bennett on The Tonight Show (Gaga was unable to make the appearance, but taped an intro for the segment).
Newman was also the “guest bartender” on the popular Bravo show, Watch What Happens Live. The trumpeter got sucked into the action during the “after show” when his mom and dad called in; click here to check out the cute clip in which Newman thanks his parents for letting him do whatever he wanted and pursue his musical career.The full CCM-schooled crew will be featured on Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga: Cheek to Cheek LIVE!, part of PBS’ “Great Performances” series. Filmed at Lincoln Center in late July, the hourlong concert special premieres on Cincinnati PBS channel WCET on Oct. 24 at 9 p.m.
by Jac Kern
Posted In: TV/Celebrity
at 12:20 PM | Permalink
Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings
Children of the ‘80s likely
remember Jem, the glitziest high-tech
cartoon of the decade. The series followed Jerrica Benton (hottest name ever), band manager and HBIC at Starlight Music who used a holographic computer to
transform into the frontwoman of Jem and the Holograms. It’s basically the
blueprint for every show featuring secret alter-egos (lookin’ at you, Hannah
Montana). Well, Jem is getting the
movie treatment now, thanks to Jon Chu
(director of fine cinematic offerings like Step
Up 2: The Streets and Justin Bieber:
Never Say Never). This will be a modern, LIVE-ACTION remake. May I make a
For more Jem fun, go here to check out this horrendous/hilarious
Not Safe For Humanity spoof, courtesy of my little sister (pray for her).
Broad City is just the best. Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer rocked the first
season of their Comedy Central series — peep the finale tonight at 10:30 p.m. —
and the show’s been renewed for a second season. Here’s the duo adequately
expressing how I feel when depositing my tax return check.
CityGet More: Comedy
Want to watch Lady Gaga’s
new music video? Well you better have an hour and a love for all things Bravo.
The vid features the Real Housewives of
Beverly Hills ladies as a family band, Andy Cohen as God, Gaga as a wounded
phoenix or some shit, a synchronized swim team and four minutes of damn credits. Enjoy!
Ever since it was revealed
that American Horror Story would
follow an anthology format — with each season taking on new characters,
settings and themes — audiences have been speculating about where each subsequent season
would take us. I always hoped for some kind of dark sideshow set in the early
20th century, like a scarier, grittier Water
for Elephants. We’ve seen a murder house over the course of a century, an
insane asylum in the ‘60s and nearly the entire timeline of witchcraft and
Voodoo. Thankfully for weirdos like me who want to be scared by the creepy underground
world of old-timey carnivals, the wait is over. American Horror Story: Freak
Show is a go!
Ryan Murphy tweeted the
news Monday and here’s what we know so far: This season
will take place in Jupiter, Fla., (Palm Beach) in 1950. Jessica Lange, AHS queen for every season (this will be
her last), will portray a German Marlene Dietrich-type character
running one of the last freak shows in the States. Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson,
Frances Conroy, Angela Bassett and Kathy Bates have all signed on for the season
— they will reportedly
play the “freaks” at hand. Many other AHS alum are in talks to join this
carnival, thought the show tries to keep some details under wraps to surprise
the audience (ahem, son of Bloody Face). The season will premiere in October.
So, Kim and Kanye are on the April kover
of Vogue. Here’s some behind-the-scenes shit featuring little baby North, who
consistently has “Da fu?” face. Get used to it, gurl.
Former TV judge Joe Brown
was arrested this week for losing his shit in a court room. The mustachioed judge
was later released on his on recognizance, but not before giving us face in his mega-grump mug shot. Judge Joe Brown was cancelled last year.
Bradley Cooper and Louis C.K. both appeared in American Hustle, but a new video circulating connects the two in
another interesting way.
Louis C.K. hosts Saturday Night Live this week.
by Jac Kern
Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings
Apparently Lady Gaga did damn well as host and musical guest on this
week’s Saturday Night Live, because I
keep seeing stories
like this praising her. I don’t know for sure, though, because I fell
asleep on the couch at 10:30 p.m. and woke up just before 1 a.m., just in time to see something that has recurred in my nightmares ever since:
Yeah, that’s Gaga performing “Do What U Want” with R. Kelly, a single
off her new album Artpop. The two engaged
in a really weird sexual…something onstage, and shit just didn’t feel right.
Perhaps it’s not Gaga simulating robotic sex with the R&B star that
troubles me, but the notion of R. “I will pee on you” Kelly announcing that he
will do what he wants to your body. *Shudder*
up Dave Coulier, because Alanis Morissette’s quintessential slice of ‘90s
goodness that is Jagged Little Pill is
becoming a musical.
American Horror Story: Coven has been getting better and better by the week. We’ve seen zombies and
real monsters pulled from history as the witches of Miss Robichaux’s Academy
hone and develop their powers and discover new enemies. But the mellow Misty
Day has been my favorite character so far. The Stevie Nicks-obsessed
necromancer played to perfection by Lily Rabe has been shunned by society and,
thus, doesn’t know much about other witches. She leads a lonely life in a
little backwoods cabin reviving dead swamp creatures and jamming to Fleetwood
Mac. Her role has become abundantly more vital to the story, so it only makes
sense that the witchy woman herself, Stevie
Nicks will make her acting debut on an upcoming episode.
Surprise! A comically wigged Alexander
Skarsgård and Lindsay Lohan (who does not require accessories to play a joke character) played Kenny Powers’ grown
children on the Eastbound and Down series
The Real World is getting even realer next season (not) with The Real World: Ex-plosion. Taking place in San Francisco
(returning for the first time since 1994’s third season with Puck and Pedro),
this 29th (!!!) season will start like every other: with seven strangers — seven
young, attractive, easily influenced strangers — moving into a gigantic house
with an disproportionately small number of bedrooms, furnished by the Target
clearance aisle, perpetually stocked with booze and Sun Drop, conveniently
located within walking distance of a Subway. Four of the seven list
"model-slash-something" on their resumes.
But when the roomies take a trip four weeks into their stay, they will return
to their makeshift home full of their ex-boyfriends and -girlfriends. Because
there really weren’t enough
nonsensical drunken physical altercations in any of the past Real Worlds or challenges.
The annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show was last week (to be aired on Dec.
10 on CBS) featuring a dozen or so very
hungry women, one $10 million bra, a liberal definition of angel wings,
Lisa Frank-inspired looks and Taylor Swift. So if you’re a 12-year-old girl,
which clearly should be Vicky’s
target audience, this will be right up your alley. Photos from Jezebel here.
Kanye West premiered his new music video, “Bound 2” on Ellen this week (for real). This vid starts out on
a high note, with several shots of pretty, wild ponies and a lovely sample from
Brenda Lee’s 1959 song, “Sweet Nothings” (“Uh-huh, honey”). But then a fake
motorcycle and a jiggling Kim Kardashian sporting The Rachel cut pop up, and
they all ride off on the Hot Mess Highway. Kim forgot her shirt, so she has to
ride backwards, straddling Kanye, to protect her modesty. They must be in the
middle of nowhere, too, because Kanye does not seem concerned that his driving
vision is severely obstructed by his fiancée's bouncing boobies.
Seriously, though, did they make it in a mall video booth? Super sorry to
the 10-year-old whose birthday was booked right after this session. I could
only imagine it would be really slippery in there.
This week in classic local Craigslist finds, someone in the area is
looking for the best Chewbacca impression. Winner gets $100. Details here.
Plus, YouTube launches messy music awards and James Blake and Lou Reed name mixups
0 Comments · Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Britney Spears' music gets used as a pirate repellent and to tell the story of Jesus, the YouTube Music Awards were an unfocused mess, some dumb social media users mix up their Lous and James Blake wins the Mercury Prize, then gets dissed during his introduction.
by Jac Kern
Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings
Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards melted the face off the Internet, so if
you’re still trying to form an opinion and sift through gif reactions, or you’re
one of those people pretending you don’t know what the VMAs are — the Moonman
has been around since 1983 and the VMAs have been pooping out
pseudo-controversy for just as long. You know what they are. Sit back down — don’t worry, momma’s here.
If you really don’t watch the VMAs, it’s important to understand that the V and A do not
matter — MTV rarely plays music videos, as we all know, and no one ever
remembers who actually wins the Mooman by the end of the night. The respected
academy of critics are teens who vote for whichever marginally talented star tweets
the most. You watch for the pop culture experience — whether it’s Fiona Apple’s
“bullshit” acceptance speech, the Britney-Madonna kiss or Beyonce’s baby bump
announcement, crazy shit goes down at the VMAs. And this year was no different.
The big draw of the night was Lady Gaga’s big comeback. It’s been two
years since a big performance and release, and Mama Monster also is back from a
hip injury that kept her out of the public eye for a bit. Gaga opened the show
with her new single, “Applause,” which was welcomed by audience boos (those
turned out to be staged. Gaga — go figure.). The performance looked like some
kind of jazzy, art school, off-broadway number, complete with dudes in leotards and onstage
weave and costume changes, ending in LG in a big ass brown curly wig, a mermaid
shell bra and thong. Her body was siiiiick
(eat it, haters) and it was nice to see her look/act like a human — this is not the
meat dress-wearing, alien goth princess, Jo Calderone Gaga. This is ARTPOP
Artists.MTV, Music, Lady
She seemed a little more down-to-earth, if that’s possible? Like she was
having fun, and not taking it too seriously. Which is good, because her new
song is in a fucking Kia commercial.
Next up is the kind of moment that makes careers
and ends presidencies. Just kidding. It’s just Miley! So I (like every human
with access to the Internet) detailed my roller coaster of emotions when I first
watched Miley Cyrus’ video “We Can’t Stop.” And I must say, I have no problem
with MiCy growing up and changing directions. Alternatively, I have no problem with her being a completely fake, manufactured product (cut to Lady Gaga —Government Name: Stefani Germanotta — looking like the normal girl she
actually was less than a decade ago, on an episode of Boiling
Points. Most pop stars were once Hannah Montanas before their producers gave them "molly"
and a rejected Rihanna beat, OK?). I have no qualms with her getting an fierce
haircut and wearing denim diaper shorts and
juxtaposing her former good girl image with her current hot lady looks. But there's a difference between shifting
from Country to Pop or Disney kid to edgy starlet and purposefully quashing
your saccharine image by motorboating a woman's thonged butt on TV just for the
shock factor. I see you Miley, and I will not respond to you.
One note I must make about the performance is Miley did share the
spotlight with the black chicks from her "We Can't Stop" video. (Side note: those giant bear
backpack apparatuses they’re wearing look really heavy!) Many critics of the
vid questioned why these “friends” only appeared in one scene of the video,
when she appears to be so immersed in black culture throughout (See: Conversation
on cultural appropriation
I’m not prepared to start here). Once Miley was done assaulting her backup
dancers, rubbing her fur-covered crotch and definitely not lip synching (for
better or worse), the two songs that had everyone clutching their pearls this
year came to an uncomfortable head as Robin Thicke made his way onstage.
Thicke’s video for “Blurred Lines” sparked up just as much controversy
as Miley’s in recent months. From scantily-clad models (plus a naked one in the
uncensored version) to lyrics like “I know you want it” — plus dumb hastags
all over the place — there were bound to be some haters. But, doesn’t that
description sound comparable if not tamer than nearly any popular music video
circulating right now? Now, I can understand the concern about the subject of
“blurred lines” when there is so much right-wing bullshit about rape culture
going on right now. But the video came out in March, and it wasn’t until
recently, once a few people started writing about their disapproval, that other
folks started recycling these opinions and making parody videos that completely
miss the point. Look, I’ve got a soft spot for Robin Thicke. He started off more
than a decade ago as an R&B singer — he’s got a smooth-as-a-baby’s-butt
voice so of course his songs are
going to be sexual and of course some of his videos are going to feature sexy
girls. He’s married to actress Paula Patton, whom he’s been with since he was
16. They have an adorable son named Julian Fuego. If anything, Miley would corrupt him!
So Miley rips off her PedoBear onesie to reveal the two-piece from the
“Blurred Lines” video and everyone realizes yes, she’s going there. The world
looked on in sheer terror as she twerked every which way upon Thicke, stroking
him and herself with a We’re No. 1 finger you see at hockey games. Miley’s butt
looked really scary and Robin looked like Beetlejuice.
Let’s all cleanse ourselves by looking back on Thicke’s earlier, hairier years.
One actual quality performance of the night came from Justin Timberlake.
Sure, he’s ubiquitous, but damn, the dude is talented. JT sang and danced his
way across every stage in the Barclays Center, never missing a beat or breath, touching on
hits from all throughout his career. Naturally, everyone was waiting for the
anticipated *NSYNC reunion, and every time a cluster of male back-up dancers
rushed onstage, I thought that was the moment. Finally, four shadowy figures
emerged from an illuminated stage, and Justin joined them in the center.
I hate to be a spoilsport, but, *NSYNC, you’re tearin’ up my heart. Nearly any
millennial Pop lover was either a Backstreet Boy or *NSYNC fan, and I was
more of an *NSYNC girl. Nevertheless, when I recently had the opportunity to
attend the BSB reunion concert of PNC Pavilion, you better believe I screamed
my lungs out with the rest of the crowds of pathetic women. I had to hand it to
the ‘Boys — they looked more attractive as 40-year-olds than they did 20 years
ago! They were in shape, still had their chops and were really good sports
about it. The concert really was a fun time. So when I saw an overweight,
wobbling Chris Kirkpatrick struggling to pull his jacket over his tummy, I
could not focus on anything else. A single tear ran down my cheek. And why the
hell, of all songs to play during this rare moment, would they sing
“Girlfriend?!” I still love you, *NSYNC, but reunion wasted, in my opinion.
VMA, Artists.MTV, Music, Justin
More stuff: This picture is NOT the Smith family reacting to that Miley mess I
just recounted. This is a still taken during Gaga’s performance and it’s not
even an accurate reaction, so stop sharing it, ya losers.
Drake, Bruno Mars, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Kanye also performed,
and no one is going to say anything about that. Drake reminds me of a dinosaur
and his song was really boring. Kanye performed in a shadow in front of a
screen cuz he’s a dad now and he can’t be bothered with camera close-ups, guys.
The camera cut away to reaction shots from Taylor Swift so often, she should be credited as a co-host. Good god.
Katy Perry’s new song "Roar" ended the night with a boxing-themed performance
by the Brooklyn Bridge, but it seems like everyone was too busy freaking out about
Miley to notice. It was pretty fun, but apparently it sounds a lot like Sara
VMA, Artists.MTV, Music, Katy Perry
news, even D-list celebs, Like Dharma & Greg’s Thomas Gibson can get
Breaking Bad’s Anna Gun (Skyler White) wrote a New York Times op-ed about how everybody
HATES her — or at least the character she plays — any how this widespread
abomination doesn’t seem to carry over to male characters on television.
"Beauty and the Beat?"
In his latest video, my newest hero Todrick Hall takes it to the next level and
tells the story of Cinderella using the music of Beyoncé. Rupaul’s Drag Race star Shangela plays the fairy god mother.
0 Comments · Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Lady Gaga's next tour jaunt will include the BornBrave Bus, a safe place for fans to participate in talk sessions about “mental
health, depression, bullying, school and friends"; CD sales continued to plummet in 2012, but the vinyl LP, cassette and even MiniDisc formats all got a sales boost; in this week's installment of "Just another day in The Flaming Lips," the band's giant, laser-shooting hands were stolen at a festival show. If giant, laser-shooting hands weren't so hip right now, they would have been so much easier to find.
Photographer Matthew Rolston features Vent Haven figures in upcoming book
0 Comments · Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Matthew Rolston has taken close-up portraits, startlingly realistic
headshots, of some 200 figures — colloquially known as dummies — at Fort
Mitchell, Ky.’s Vent Haven ventriloquism museum. The results are in a
new book, Talking Heads, to be published next month by Pointed Leaf Press.
by Jac Kern
Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings
Even the most
plugged-in, pop culture-obsessed Facebook addicts miss out on Internet crazes
every once in a while; thus, Koren performer Psy’s viral music video for “Gangnam
Style” somehow escaped me. I’d seen
the term mentioned on blogs and even watched a (ridiculously high quality) wedding
video based on
confusing sensation before I was able to find a reference the original video. (Isn’t
it funny how that happens?) I found myself Googling “What the hell is Gangnam
Style?!” not knowing if it was a dance craze or song or fashion trend. The song
actually mocks the lifestyle of rich residents of the Seoul suburb, though most
attention surrounds Psy, a middle aged man singing angrily whilst doing a PG
version of “the pony.” I guess some
of the humor is lost on me because I’m secretly bitter I didn’t discover it
incarnation? Mitt Romney Style!
Who’s down for a
rousing game of “Steak House or Gay Bar?”
Kanye West stripped us all of our daily
affirmation source by deleting all of his previous tweets last week. He has since returned to Twitter, but just to mourn the one-year since Steve
Jobs’ death. Riveting stuff.
is the new black. Lately, high-profile performers across the globe have
proverbially sniffed the milk carton, shrugged and took a sip anyway, all
ending up tossing their cookies on stage. Now, if you’re like music editor Mike
watching people experience a retaliating
digestive system is disturbing and you'd rather not see that shit. Otherwise, here’s Lady Gaga
and Justin Beiber barfing at their
recent respective gigs. Thank goodness for HuffPo, who compiled a gallery of “Stars Who’ve Puked During Concerts.”
When Heidi Klum
and Seal broke up,
I was crushed (mostly because it meant no I’d really never be invited to one of their epic
Halloween parties or themed vow renewals).
When Amy Poehler and Will Arnett split,
I was angry and confused. (Can’t they just laugh it off?!) Well, now I know there’s
no such thing as love because after more than 30 years together, Danny DeVito
and Rhea Perlman have separated. Maybe people grow apart after decades
together. Perhaps DeVito’s role as Frank on Always Sunny began rubbing off on
him. I don’t care — Matilda’s parents were supposed to stay together forever.
Thankfully, Amber Tamblyn
and David Cross got hitched this week, giving us all a final shred of hope for
humanity. Check out Questlove’s Instagram (the coolest way to peep wedding pics, ever) for photos of the Esty-fied Tommy Hilfiger
ad starring Joan of Arcadia and Tobias Fünke.
0 Comments · Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Kanye West and Jay-Z will reportedly be making a sequel to their collaborative Watch the Throne
album, according to producer Mike Dean. But that’s just a small part of
the twosome’s plans to expand their kingdoms.