STAFF & GUEST BLOG
March 30th, 2012, by Sean Nixon

When hip-hop lost a brother, Ms. Voletta Wallace lost a son. (Photo credit: H.Depot)

Voletta Wallace mourns the loss of her son the way any mother would. Her son Christopher Wallace, aka The Notorious B.I.G. was shot and killed in California in 1995.

It’s been 15 years since the smooth rapper extraordinaire was taken away from us. Since that time, Voletta Wallace’s quest for justice has been unwavering.

Unfortunately to this day, no arrests or convictions from the 1995 shooting and subsequent death have been made. Now, Biggie’s Mom says it’s time for justice to prevail, and there’s talk of new information that may finally lead to just that.

L.A. Weekly journalist Chris Vogel writes that a former police detective, Greg Kading, recently wrote and self– published his account of the L.A. investigation in his newest book, Murder Rap.

In the article, Vogel goes on to write that Kading’s information may provide new evidence, which can hopefully lead to some closure and justice for the Wallace family. No mother or family should ever have to go through that.

It’s a tragic case that has been cold for too long. And while the hip hop community felt as if they lost a brother, it’s important to remember that Ms. Wallace in fact, lost a son. My hope is that the new information leads to an actual arrest and conviction soon.

March 26th, 2012, by Sean Nixon

Today the fight for job creation, home ownership and sustainable living is at the forefront of many Americans’ lives. Often times when listening to news reports of the number of men and women facing unemployment and foreclosures in this new economy, it’s important to put a real face to these issues.

Yahoo’s Remaking America is an exploration of people in the country living, working and fighting to survive. It is an extraordinary journey into the lives of Americans who are at a financial and, at times, emotional crossroads in their lives.

These families have shared their stories for the world to see in an effort to put a face on the real issues many Americans are facing throughout the country. The courage displayed in sharing their stories is a testament to the American spirit of perseverance and excellence. Hopefully it will inspire you to dig deep and overcome any challenges you may face in your life.

Check out the clip below.

STAFF & GUEST BLOG
March 24th, 2012, by Jeremy Freed

Even with the glut of excellent TV soon to be upon us–the return of Mad Men this weekend and Game of Thrones next–I was disappointed to hear about the recent cancellation of HBO’s newest series, Luck. Created by David Milch (of Deadwood renown) and starring Dustin Hoffman, among other notables, Luck looked like it might have the goods to become a hit.

Sadly, after two horses died on set during the filming of season 1, and a third perished during the filming of season 2, HBO pulled the plug on the series. Some speculated that HBO’s reasoning had more to do with the buzz-diminishing effect of the deaths, while others pointed out that groups like PETA had been critical of Luck since the beginning.

What’s clear is that HBO entering into the unwinnable debate on the ethics of horse racing wouldn’t have been good for business.

The irony of this situation, of course, is that Milch is an outspoken lover of horses and horse racing, and Luck is something of a love letter to his lifelong devotion to the sport. A sad, seedy love letter, but a love letter nonetheless. The other irony is that horses regularly die in the course of horse racing and training, often at a far greater rate than they did on the show. Nonetheless, the argument that one horse death for the sake of entertainment is one too many seems to prevail here. The animal rights activists have won this battle, but the war is ongoing.

STAFF & GUEST BLOG
March 24th, 2012, by Jeremy Freed

A new solo show by Canadian photographer Stan Douglas takes a look at the culture of the 1970s through the lens of a fictional photojournalist. Douglas’ latest works examine two seemingly disparate 1970s cultural scenes–disco-era New York City and post-war Angola–and shows how common elements in dance, fashion and politics suggest they are closer linked than we might think. Juxtaposing scenes carefully set up to resemble ’70s-era New York City’s vibrant disco scene with images recreating Angola in its heyday, Douglas comments on war, dance and the cultural crossovers between those far-flung locations in that turbulent decade.

Apart from Douglas’ convincing art direction, which flawlessly and artfully recreates both of these places and times, the show is a great starting point for a discussion on the distinctions between journalism and art. How apropos.

Disco Angola, at New York’s David Zwirner Gallery, runs through April 28th. Or check out the slideshow on Cool Hunting.

March 23rd, 2012, by Sean Nixon

Hmm, so just what are the candidates saying? Credit:Ondrejk Wikimedia commons

There’s a coded language between friends, inside jokes between co-workers and a lexicon or lingo that goes with every industry. The realm of politics is no different.

Politicians and candidates alike have long used a series of words and phrases that have meant the difference between winning the next primary and election cycle or being thrown in hot water. So just what are the politicians truly saying?

Well, you’re in luck. The good folks at Yahoo took the time to investigate just what candidates truly mean when they’re in an interview or speaking to potential voters.

Just think of it as the Rosetta Stone of political jargon. Take a look at these findings from the Yahoo team online. You’ll be glad you did.

March 23rd, 2012, by Sean Nixon

Recently, talk show legend Montel Williams sat down to talk with CNN’s Piers Morgan on a host of issues.

Most notably was his ever present passion and fervor on the issue of personal accountability with respect to those in office, including the GOP presidential candidates.

Williams is a no nonsense kind of guy who tells it like it is. He’s passionate about the issues and comes from the heart. His remarks are not bombastic, nor are they said to create headlines. What he does offer however is an honest, raw emotion that comes from a place that I think most people can appreciate if they give it a chance.

The exchange between Morgan and Williams was engaging to say the least. Whether discussing issues of health, politics or the state of affairs in American society, the two brought an energy and an awareness that is severely lacking in mainstream media at times.

Personally, I find it interesting anytime two talk show hosts get together. In my opinion, it always leads to good conversation. The night’s exchange was no disappointment. Check out the clip below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PRIMER
March 21st, 2012, by Carla Amurao

Photo courtesy: Van Evers, Tavis Smiley Media, Inc.

Airdate | Thursday, March 22, 2012

Hometown | Baltimore, MD

Notable Accomplishments | Writer-producer for the fifth and sixth seasons of The Sopranos and creator-executive producer-head writer-show runner for Mad Men. The former racked up an impressive 21 Emmys and 5 Golden Globes in its six-year run.

Why He’s Buzzing | With the long Mad Men hiatus that ended on Sunday, March 25, 2012, audiences anticipated the premiere of season 5. The series received critical acclaim for its historical authenticity and visual style, resulting in 15 Emmys and 4 Golden Globes and making Mad Men the first basic cable series to win an Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series for all fours years of broadcast (2008-2011).

Matthew Weiner Trivia

  • Wrote the pilot of Mad Men as a spec script while working as a writer on Becker.
  • Not only did he earn an MFA from the University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television (now School of Cinematic Arts), but he also taught an undergraduate screenwriting class in 2004.
  • His son, Marten, plays the recurring role of Glen Bishop in Mad Men. Furthermore, the scene where Glen walks in on Betty Draper in the bathroom (then later asks for a lock of her hair!) is based on an experience from Weiner’s childhood.
  • Was a one-day champion on the trivia-quiz show Jeopardy!

Selection of projects

Television

2000-2002 Becker, Co-producer/producer, writer
2002-2003 Andy Richter Controls the Universe, Supervising producer, writer
2004-2007 The Sopranos, Supervising producer, co-executive producer, executive producer, writer, actor (Episodes “Stage 5” and “Two Tonys” as Manny Safer)
2007-present Mad Men, Executive producer, writer, director
2011 The Simpsons, (Episode “The Man in the Blue Flannel Pants” as businessman [voice])

Mad Men Season Five Trailer

Season Five Promotion Art

March 19th, 2012, by Jeremy Freed

Image: Korean Central News Agency

Daily life for the citizens of North Korea, a notoriously secretive, closed society, is as mysterious to most as the goings on at the bottom of the ocean. We hear stories of famine, human rights abuses and extreme corruption, but given the country’s mistrust of outsiders, details are few and far between.

Recently, Associated Press photographer David Guttenfelder has taken a bold step towards giving the West a glimpse at daily life in the socialist state by opening a news bureau in Pyongyang this past January. Not only does Guttenfelder have unprecedented access to the country, he has begun acting as an informal ambassador on behalf of the West.

A new show at The 8th Floor gallery in New York City, billed as “A Joint Exhibition by The Associated Press and the Korean Central News Agency,” displays some of Guttenfelder’s photos alongside images provided by the North Korean state media service. While the photojournalist’s images are somewhat restrained compared to others that have emerged from North Korea recently, alongside the super-glossy shots provided by the state, the exhibit tells another story — of the beginning of a relationship between the secretive regime and the West.

In a story on the New York Times‘ website, Santiago Lyon, the AP’s director of photography, describes it as a “trust-building exercise.” “Of course, the nature of the society means that you can’t just go wandering around as you might be able to on the streets of New Delhi or London. You ask for permission, you get to see certain things and you do the best with the access you have. On that front, we’re making progress.”

 

PRIMER
March 18th, 2012, by Carla Amurao

Photo courtesy: Van Evers, Tavis Smiley Media, Inc.


Airdate |
Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Hometown | Dallas, TX 

Birth name | Marvin Lee Aday (later changed to “Michael Lee Aday”)

Parents | Wilma Artie and Orvis Wesley Aday

Meat Loaf Trivia

  • “Bat Out of Hell” is one of five biggest selling albums of all time.
  • Before “Bat Out of Hell”, Meat Loaf was a high school football player, nightclub bouncer and stage actor.
  • After making a guest appearance on House, Meat Loaf learned the show’s star, Hugh Laurie, is a classically-trained pianist. The end result? A collaboration on the song “If I Can’t Have You” on the album, “Hang Cool Teddy Bear”.
  • According to his IMDB profile, Meat Loaf tells contradictory “official” stories of how he got his stage name. Also, despite the moniker, he doesn’t like to eat meat loaf.
  • In 1978, Meat Loaf fell off the stage and broke his leg during a concert in Canada. He completed the rest of the tour while in a wheel chair.

Web Exclusive

The hard rock musician discusses the eye-opening experience of working with hip-hop legend Chuck D of Public Enemy and Lil Jon.

(View full post to see video)

“Just having those two guys on the record has made my life.” Meat Loaf, on his new respect for hip-hop

Selection of performances and projects

Music (and Honors)

1977 “Bat Out of Hell” – Certified Platinum in U.K. (7x), Australia (24x), United States (14x); Diamond (2x) in Canada
1981 “Dead Ringer” – Certified Platinum in U.S.; Gold in Canada
1983 “Midnight at the Lost and Found” – Certified Gold in U.K .
1984 “Bad Attitude” – Certified Gold in U.K.
1986 “Blind Before I Stop” – Certified Silver in U.K.
1993 “Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell” – Certified Platinum in UK (6x), Canada (9x), U.S. (5x) – Grammy for Best Rock Vocal Performance, Solo for “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)”
1995 “Welcome to the Neighbourhood” – Certified Platinum in U.K. (3x), Canada, U.S. (2x)
2003 “Couldn’t Have Said It Better” – Certified Platinum in U.K. and U.S.
2006 “Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster is Loose” - Certified Platinum in U.K. and CAN; Gold in Australia and U.S.
2010 “Hang Cool Teddy Bear” – Certified Platinum in U.K.
2011 “Hell in a Handbasket”

Movies

1975 The Rocky Horror Picture Show
1979 Americathon
1980 Roadie
1981 Dead Ringer
1992 Wayne’s World
1998 Black Dog
1999 Fight Club
2000 Blacktop
2001 Formula 51
2002 The 51st State
2004 A Hole in One
2005 BloodRayne
2007 Urban Decay
2008 Meat Loaf: In Search of Paradise
2010 Burning Bright

Television

1992 Tales from the Crypt (Episode “What’s Cookin’” as Chumley)
1997 Nash Bridges (Episode “Wild Card” as Charlie Pep)
1998 South Park (Episode “Chef Aid” – Cameo)
2001 The Ballad of Lucy Whipple (as Amos ‘Rattlesnake Jake’ Frogge)
2006 Masters of Horror (Episode “Pelts” as Jake Feldman)
2009 House (Episode “Simple Explanation” as Eddie)
2009 Ghost Hunters (Episode “Bat Out of Hell” as Himself)
2009 Monk (Episode “Mr. Monk and the Voodoo Curse” as Reverend Hadley Jorgensen)
2009 Citizen Jane (as Detective Jack Morris)
2010 WWE Raw (as Himself)
2010 Glee (Episode “The Rocky Horror Glee Show as Barry Jeffries)
2011 The Celebrity Apprentice (as Himself)

What is your favorite Meat Loaf project? Share your thoughts below.

March 18th, 2012, by Jeremy Freed

Recently (and dubiously), re-elected Russian strongman Valdimir Putin has long endeavored to paint himself as a tough–even thuggish–macho man. It’s probably the strongest element of his public persona. This is in no small part due to an ongoing PR campaign in which the Russian leader is photographed doing extremely macho things–riding motorcycles, flying a plane, hunting, fishing shirtless, riding horses shirtless, bending frying pans with his bare hands.

The most recent publicity stunt involved a photo of Putin assisting conservation researchers by subduing a tiger with a tranquilizer gun. Only, as it turns out, the photo was completely staged, using a docile captive tiger. Surprisingly, this isn’t the first instance of Putin’s flacks cooking up a stunt like this. In her exhaustive new biography, The Man Without A Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin, Russian journalist Masha Gessen recounts another similar incident, in which he was photographed after retrieving two pieces of valuable ancient pottery from the Black Sea. Only it turns out the pieces had been retrieved and cleaned up previously and placed in his hands for the photo. His press secretary admitted the whole thing and was surprisingly casual about it.

In an interview with Fresh Air‘s Dave Davies, Gessen noted that the incident, and specifically the press secretary’s response, is quite telling about the current state of Russian politics.”What he was trying to say, and actually here’s an important point here, what he said when he admitted that the vases had been planted, was that it was a perfectly normal photo op. OK, so we planted the vases for the photo op. And I think that this is actually one of those rare moments when the Russian regime sort of shows how warped its view of the world has become.”

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