Two members of punk protest band Pussy Riot could be freed from prison and 30 people arrested in a Greenpeace protest could avoid jail under an amnesty proposed by Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin. Putin says plans the amnesty this month to mark the anniversary of the adoption of Russia’s post-Communist constitution in 1993. But of course it’s also a big P.R. move in advance of the Winter Olympics being held in Sochi, Russia. I’m thrilled if the Pussies — Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina (pictured) — are freed, but would be even happier if Putin would move to improve his record on other human-rights issues, especially those involving things LGBT.
Rawiya Kameir has it right when she says: ‘Childish Gambino (pictured), aka Donald Glover from Community, is an angsty, post-Internet messiah. “Because the Internet” isn’t just an album—it’s performance art.’ Further: ‘Rap hasn’t been concerned with “street authenticity” in years, and anyone who tells you the opposite is living in a past that’s long since been shattered Read more »
Bette Midler has teamed with director William Friedkin and scribe Harvey Fierstein to develop an HBO biopic on Mae West. Project is based on West’s 1959 autobiography “Goodness Had Nothing to Do With It.” The performer who became synonymous with busty bravado, sex and sultry humor died in 1980 at age 87. The new TV movie has Emmy written all over it: will it be as dull as HBO’s recent biopic about Liberace?
I don’t know what’s going on with me this week — a reaction to the relentless cheeriness of Christmas? — that I find myself listening this music. Seven years after the highly acclaimed “Armageddon Gigolo,” Simone Salvatori and Stefano Puri once again find their paths crossing: “Black Hearts in Black Suits” is the result of three years of work, composed by Puri specifically for Spiritual Front, classed as as “suicide pop” but somehow not depressing to me. The new project is based on the poetry of filmmaker Rainer Maria Fassbinder. A concept album more akin to an opera than to the traditional LP, “Black Hearts” travels from Franz Schubert to Nick Cave, Michael Nyman to David Tibet, from Arvo Pärt to Marc Almond.
As we finally come face to face with Tolkien‘s “Smaug” on the big screen, Philip Hoare sets off in search of the greatest of all mythical creatures – from the satanic lizards of the Bible to the Jungian monster within us all.
I’m talking of course about Eleanor Parker, who died today in that place where old movie stars go to golf away their decline: Palm Springs. And, no, it wasn’t the Carrie Underwood “Sound of Music” that killed her. She’d been out of the public spotlight for quite some time. Parker’s greatest performance — and the first of her three Oscar nominations — was in the 1950 women’s-prison picture, “Caged,” an absolute masterpiece of both late noir and women’s-ensemble acting. Parker played the new fish, Marie Allen, whom I happen to know that Taylor Schilling, in this year’s women’s-prison Netflix show, “Orange is the New Black,” partly based her performance on.
New York mag chooses “12 Stories” as its Album Of the Year: ‘There’s not a false move or bum note on the fabulous debut album by 38-year-old country singer-songwriter Brandy Clark. [Take a listen.] Every tune, every lyric—every pedal-steel line and snare-drum crack and harmony vocal—is slotted precisely in place. The music takes in ballad weepers, chugging honky-tonk, and burly roots rock; the production honors tradition but is crisp and up-to-date, with no Read more »