Thursday, May 29, 2008

Inconvenient Truth: The Opera

From the AP:
First it was the film and the book. Now the next stop for Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" is opera. La Scala officials say the Italian composer Giorgio Battistelli has been commissioned to produce an opera on the international multiformat hit for the 2011 season at the Milan opera house. The composer is currently artistic director of the Arena in Verona.
I always thought there should be an opera based on a PowerPoint presentation, so I'm pretty pleased about this.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Scarlett Johansson's Album Gets Bad Reviews

From Reuters:
"Anywhere I Lay My Head," a collection of Tom Waits songs recorded by the star of such films as "Match Point," "Lost in Translation" and "Girl with a Pearl Earring," has been described by the actress as "an intimate experience." But numerous reviews of the album complained that Johansson's vocals end up lost in the lush arrangements of producer David Andrew Sitek, the guitarist and keyboardist for the indie rock band TV on the Radio.

For some critics, that wasn't necessarily a bad thing.

"Johansson's voice is unremarkable and her pitch sometimes unsteady; she's a faintly goth Marilyn Manson lost in a sonic fog," wrote Rolling Stone magazine, which gave her a lukewarm 2.5 stars out of five.

Britain's Mojo magazine called the recordings "fussy and forgettable," adding that the decision to begin the album with an instrumental was hardly a vote of confidence in Johansson's vocal abilities.

The disc received a middling "C" grade from Entertainment Weekly magazine, which wrote that her "expressionless voice" was buried "deeply in the druggy ambiance."

And the Washington Post said it was possible to listen to all 40-plus minutes of Johansson's album and "still have no earthly idea what she sounds like."

"The album is ultimately too ethereal for its own good," the Post said. "Every song is like every other song, even the ones that sound different."


She later sang live with the band Jesus and Mary Chain at the Coachella Music Festival in California.

I didn't know about that last part. That's a nice move on the part of Jesus and Mary Chain. Anyhow, don't let those critics get you down Scarlett. They don't know what they're talking about, plus they're jealous of you (or your boyfriend).

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

David Bowie Musical

From Contact Music:
David Bowie fans can dust off their glitter trousers as the Thin White Duke is planning a musical theatre version of his hits, a tabloid reports. The Sun says a version of the 1976 cult sci-fi film The Man Who Fell To Earth will be hitting the West End after Bowie gave his permission for work to begin on the project.

According to a source quoted by the newspaper, the involvement of director Peter Schaufuss is what swung the decision. "David has been approached many times with a view of turning his songs into a stage production but he has always said no," the insider said.

"He guards his legacy carefully and didn't want a cheesy show tarnishing it."
He should star in it. That would be quite Advanced.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Lou Reed to Host Satellite Radio Show

It was only a matter of time (Reuters):
Rocker Lou Reed is taking a walk on the wild side to Sirius Satellite Radio Inc, where he will host his own weekly show, the company said. Dubbed "Lou Reed's New York Shuffle," the free-form radio show will premiere on Saturday at 7 p.m. EST on Sirius' Disorder channel 70.

"For years, I've always been a fan of eclectic radio, such as FM radio in the past when you could hear stations play widely divergent music, ranging from rock to country to jazz to opera," Reed said in a statement. "We will try to bring Sirius' listeners audio from all parts of the world that covers the whole musical spectrum."

Reed will co-host the show with Hal Willner, who was a musical director on "Berlin," a theatricalized concert version of Reed's 1973 album of the same name. The film opens in New York and Los Angeles on July 18.

That first sentence makes absolutely no sense. In what way is he walking on the wild side to satellite radio? I understand that Lou Reed is a one-hit wonder and all, but he does have other songs, including one that actually mentions satellites! Oh well, still good news.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Neil Diamond: All the Number-One Hit

Neil Diamond's got his first number-one record. Take it away, Reuters:
With "Home Before Dark," Neil Diamond has landed his first chart-topping album. The Columbia release, debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, got a big plug when Diamond appeared recently on "American Idol," bolstering its 146,000 first-week U.S. sales, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

The Rick Rubin-produced "Home" is Diamond's biggest debut sales week since SoundScan began tracking in 1991. He first appeared on Billboard's charts in 1966 with "The Feel of Neil Diamond"; the closest he got to No. 1 was with the 1973 soundtrack to "Jonathan Livingston Seagull," which reached No. 2.

You know what would be a great record? A Rick Rubin-produced George Michael album. "Who should Rick Rubin produce next?" could be a fun game.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Joaquin Phoenix Making a Record With Tim Burgess

According to Reuters, it's true:
Actor Joaquin Phoenix, who played Johnny Cash on the big screen, is cutting an album with Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess, has learned. But whether the set will be released remains unclear.

"Once he learned guitar, he found that he had quite a lot of demons inside himself that he wanted to expel through music," says Burgess, who has been mixing the record alongside Alan McGee, the Charlatans' manager and former head of U.K. independent label Creation Records.

But it seems that the perfectionism that has brought Phoenix acclaim as an actor could prevent the record from ever seeing the light of day.

This is not actual Advancement because I don't think Phoenix (or Burgess) rises to that level, but he did play somebody Advanced, so I thought I'd tell you about it. One thing I'm not sure about: Is it more Advanced for him to release the record or not?

Monday, May 12, 2008

David Byrne's Musical Building, Neil Young Gets a Spider

Sorry I've been away for a while, but I was busy on a project. But now I'm back so let's take a look at this, from the AP:
Ex-Talking Heads frontman David Byrne plans to turn a landmark building in Manhattan into a giant musical instrument. State officials say Byrne will create a temporary installation in the Great Hall of the Battery Maritime Building, which is next to the Whitehall Ferry Terminal. The "Playing the Building" installation will include devices attached to ceiling beams, plumbing, electrical conduits and other parts of the structure. Sound will be produced through vibration, making the building function as an instrument.
And here's this, from Reuters:
Iconic singer and songwriter Neil Young has had an honor bestowed upon him that is not received by many musicians -- his own spider. An East Carolina University biologist, Jason Bond, discovered a new species of trapdoor spider and opted to call the arachnid after his favorite musician, Canadian Neil Young, naming it Myrmekiaphila neilyoungi.

"There are rather strict rules about how you name new species," Bond said in a statement. "As long as these rules are followed you can give a new species just about any name you please. With regards to Neil Young, I really enjoy his music and have had a great appreciation of him as an activist for peace and justice."

Roy Orbison has his own spider too! But the question is, where is John Entwhistle's?