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Tag: "Lady Gaga"

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Pop Goes Political

Following her record-breaking rack up of eight MTV VMA’s for her single “Bad Romance” and collaboration with Beyoncé on “Telephone,” Lady Gaga gave fans a taste of what’s to come when she belted out lyrics to her future single, “Born This Way” at the podium: “I’m beautiful in my way, because God makes no mistakes, I’m on the right track, baby I was born this way.” The reigning Queen of Pop was escorted by three discharged US soldiers to her big night, a move made to raise awareness for the repeal of the controversial Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy employed by the US armed forces. There’s no mistaking the pointed message of the song, but was it also a call to action to her fellow superstars?

The “It Gets Better” campaign, sponsored by the Trevor Project, has celebs rallying around the LGBT community, urging troubled teens to seek help and hope, not suicide.

Tyler Clementi

It comes at the heels of a national string of gay suicides, most recently Tyler Clementi, the 18-year-old Rutgers student who leapt to his death after his roommate used a webcam to film him having homosexual sex. Clementi’s suicide was the fourth time in four weeks that gay youth suicide made headlines, prompting big reactions from some serious stars.

Ellen DeGeneres, Cyndi Lauper, Wendy Williams, Aubrey O’Day, Ke$ha, Ashley Tisdale, Leanne Rimes, Jason Derulo, Joe Jonas, Jewel and Eve are just a few of the stars who have lent their time and their stories in personal video messages directed at teens struggling with their sexuality and its harsh repercussions. Also reportedly in the works is a special episode of hit show, Glee that will broach the subject of bullying and tolerance.

Cyndi Lauper's personal message. http://www.wegiveadamn.org/videos/

Rumors are swirling that Pink, this year’s recipient of the Ally For Equality Award at the Human Rights Campaign’s 14th annual National Dinner in Washington, DC, will actually marry a gay couple in her next video, “Raise Your Glass.

With today being National Coming Out Day, it seems that finally, the art reflects the time and artists and fans are uniting to be heard.

By Cortney Wills

Cortney Wills is a pop culture journalist born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She has lived in LA, Chicago and NYC and enjoys all things entertainment.

Discourse & Dischord

The Good

Ke$ha, Ciara, Jewel, Jake Shears and more tell bullied kids, “It Gets Better”

This week, several artists took to their webcams to record heartfelt messages for Dan Savage’s It Gets Better project—aimed at bringing hope to bullied gay and lesbian teenagers. Ke$ha, Ciara, Jason Derülo, AJ McLean, Joel Madden and Jake Shears are just a few of the musicians who’ve posted their own messages. You can check them out here.

Hollerado go 8-bit for “Americanarama” video

Watch your back, OK Go. Canadian rockers Hollerado have come out with their own ambitious video choreography, and it’s pretty bitchin’. Watch them create a larger-than-life 8-bit video game with a big box, some placards and a couple well-timed sound effects.

The Bad

Weezer offered $10 million to break up

How mean-spirited and pointless can people get? Head over to www.thepoint.com and see firsthand. That’s where Weezer-hater James Burns established his fundraising campaign to come up with $10 million to offer to the band in exchange for them hanging up their guitars for good. Beard writes:

Every year, Rivers Cuomo swears that he’s changed, and that their new album is the best thing that he’s done since “Pinkerton,” and what happens? Another pile of crap like “Beverly Hills” or “I’m Your Daddy.” This is an abusive relationship, and it needs to stop now.

Tired of Weezer, too? Throw some virtual money over to Beard. He’s already got nearly $300! Who’s your daddy now, Cuomo?

Saudi Arabia Photoshops Mariah Carey

What to do when you’re an ultra conservative country promoting a concert for a scantily clad pop singer? You Photoshop the poster, duh. In this case, Saudi Arabia officials covered Mariah Carey’s whorish shoulders with extra cat. Problem solved.

The Ugly

Lil’ Wayne gets solitary confinement

Lil wayne

Most inmates get solitary confinement when they try to shank somebody. Lil’ Wayne got his for having headphones and an MP3 player charger. We’re no criminals, but seems like that would make a really ineffective shiv.

Miscellany

Next Big Nashville 2010: That’s a Wrap!

Next Big Nashville began with a whimper. Five years later it’s exploded into a full-blown rebel yell.

Gone are the days when a few honky tonks served as an excuse for local musicians to do sound check and dust off their amps. This year, over forty percent of the 150+ bands that performed at some 15 venues between September 29th-October 2nd were from outside of Nashville, double from last year.

By Steve Cross. Courtesy of Next Big Nashville

And forget about calling this a country event—Jack White all but abolished Nashville’s reputation as strictly a place for hick hooks and chords when he moved to town. Rockers, rappers, punks and alts were all right at home here in Music City.

Spotlight seekers came in hopes of ripping a page from say, the Jamey Johnson or Cage the Elephant success stories—good examples of the fest’s ability to get unsigned artists record deals and national attention.

Not that national attention was lacking. Headline acts such as Yeasayer and Washed Out, regulars on the tour circuit, were on the scene. ASCAP and BMI both held big bashes. Even local yokel Vince Gill popped up.

The Worsties Live at The Rutledge. By Brad Butcher. Courtesy of Next Big Nashville

“The parties this year were the best I’ve seen yet,” recalled Jesse Worstell, lead guitarist of OurStage’s own  The Worsties. “They provided a great opportunity for Nashville artists to mix it up with industry folk from around the globe.” The Worsties, a ska/punk Nashville-based band, were part of the Music City Unsigned showcase at one of NBN’s key venues, The Rutledge.

Jack White’s Third Man Records, 12th & Porter and The Basement were several other key venues this year for showcase events. One band that played The Basement, Madi Diaz, a folk pop duo, emerged with some strong street buzz.

“We had a great show this year,” recalled lead singer Madi Diaz. “We loved getting to see our out-of-town friends without having to go…well, out of town. Bring ‘em all to Nashville!’

Madi Diaz live at The Basement Nashville. By Steve Cross. Courtesy Next Big Nashville

After this year, that may no longer be a problem, now that the NBN Leadership, Music Digital Media Summit, is part of NBN. This was the first year the two events were held concurrent.

A-list speakers were not in short supply. Lady Gaga’s manager, Troy Carter, drew a crowd. Yet, the most tweeted about event seemed to be the Q&A with Kings of Leon band member Caleb Followill.

NBN co-founder Jason Moon Wilkins said he’s already looking at ways to expand on the education aspect next year. It’s just one more way to make NBN a must for the brightest minds and most exciting acts out there.

By Neal Webster Turnage

Neal Webster Turnage is a Los Angeles writer whose work appears frequently in many national and international consumer magazines.

Discourse & Dischord

The Good

2011 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees announced

Champagne’s a flowin’ at the homes of Bon Jovi, Neil Diamond, Alice Cooper, Tom Waits, LL Cool J and Dr. John, who among others, were all nominated into the 2011 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this week. The induction ceremony will take place on March 14th in Cleveland, Ohio. We would like an Alice Cooper/Neil Diamond duet please … to whoever is taking requests.

Joe Jonas is ridin’ solo

Following in his little bro’s footsteps, or maybe heeding the advice of Jason Derülo, Joe Jonas announced plans to record a solo all by himself. Something with “a sexier, Justin Timberlake vibe,” says the Middle One. Sexier than “Camp Rock”? Can it be done? We’ll all find out in 2011…

The Bad

Mariah Carey falls in Singapore

If you’re gonna fall, fall with class. Like Mariah Carey, who took a tumble in Singapore but smiled the whole way down. Then things got a little more diva-ish when Carey yelled for her assistant to come help her take her shoes off while the band kept playing “Make It Happen.” Check it out below.

Katy Perry avenges her “Sesame Street” snub

On SNL this past weekend, Katy Perry avenged her Sesame Street-banned bust by donning a low-cut Elmo t-shirt and bouncing around on a sofa. Those muppets must be seeing red!

The Ugly

MC Hammer starts beef with Jay Z

This would be funny if it weren’t so sad. Back story: On Kanye West’s song “So Appalled,” Jay-Z delivers a line about “blowing through $30,000 like Hammer.” Well, Mr. MC Hammer was none too pleased about that, and responded on Twitter by linking to a video of himself beating up a punching bag. “You want my attention [Jigga] you got it.” Punch, punch, punch. It’s all kind of embarrassing and feeble, but we’ll play along. Please Hammer, don’t hurt him!

Miscellany

Behind the Mic: Mailing List Management

When managed correctly, mailing lists can be the ultimate key to fan engagement. A mailing list is a directory of fan names and their contact information (e-mail address, phone number and city/state are all good to have). The easiest way to collect this information is to bring a “guestbook” with you to every show. You can leave the guestbook at your merch table, or bring it around to the crowd after your set. You should also have a sign up form on your Web site and MySpace page.

Lady Gaga's mailing list updates fans on her latest contest & music video.

To make signing up more appealing to your new fans, you should offer an incentive. For example, announce on stage that anyone who signs up for the mailing list will get a free CD, t-shirt or song download.

Let’s say you’ve got the contact information for twenty new fans. What now?

Create a spreadsheet (we recommend a Google Doc so all band members can easily update the list) and include columns for your fans’ names and all other info you asked for. Make sure you update the list after each show.

Thanks to this text alert, fans found out that the band's set time had changed.

Next, you might want to join a mailing list site, such as BandLetter.com, to help you brand and distribute your mailings in a professional manner. They will also offer well-designed e-mail templates, remind you when to send news out and help manage your contact list.

At this point, you’re probably wondering what constitutes “news”. Use your mail to announce upcoming shows, album releases, new songs, reviews and new merch. You can also use it to promote new videos, blog posts and, of course, your competitions on OurStage!

In addition to email, you can also use texting to reach your fans. Sites such as Mozes.com offer easy-to-use mobile alert creation and are used by artists like Rascal Flatts and Justin Bieber.

Of course, mobile alerts can’t be as in-depth as email newsletters, but the advantage here is guaranteed instant delivery to the palm of your fans’ hands. These updates are perfect for announcing a “flash sale,” last minute set time change or sending a reminder for a day-of album release or show.

Update fans at least once a month and encourage them to follow your social networking sites for day-to-day announcements and show invitations. Keeping your fans in the loop can make a huge difference in your album sales and show turnouts, so always stay in touch!

Discourse & Dischord

The Good

OK Go get dogged in new video

If you’ve ever watched an OK Go video, you know choreography is key. Exhibits A, B, and C right here. This latest installment is no different, but adds man’s best friend to the mix with heart-warming results. If one of these furry little rapscallions doesn’t get a gig on “Dancing With The Stars” then there is no justice in this world. Oh, and 10 points if you can spot the goat.

And then, these guys jumped on the bandwagon …

Ever heard of a band called OK Go? Quirky, ambitious videos? Winsome electro-pop? Subject of blurb Number 1 in this column? Here’s video that lampoons their whimsical, electro-pop methodology … using a giant pie!

The Bad

Aretha Franklin’s son beaten at Detroit gas station

Eddie Franklin, 52, son of soul singer Aretha Franklin, ended up in the hospital on Monday night after three men jumped him and beat him severely in a Detroit gas station parking lot. Franklin underwent emergency oral surgery and was released on Wednesday. Charges have not yet been filed.

The-Dream and L.A. Reid fired from Def Jam

L.A. Reid and The-Dream

Word on the street is that producer L.A. Reid (responsible for cultivating the careers of Mariah Carey, Pink, Usher, Ciara and countless other stars) and R&B singer/producer The-Dream were just fired from Def Jam Records due to “disappointing sales figures and exuberant spending.” If true, this would be The-Dream’s second break-up of 2010. If he gets strapped for cash, maybe he can sell the pointless hyphen in his name.

The Ugly

50 Cent threatens his dog with a knife

50 Cent and Oprah

In an attempt to be funny, 50 cent posted pics to his Twitter page of him threatening his yorkie, Oprah Winfrey, with a knife. Totally lame, and kind of disturbing. Seriously, someone call animal rescue on this tool. In happier news, here’s a video of kittens massaging each other.

Miscellany

Discourse & Dischord

The Good

Eminem and Jay-Z rock Yankee Stadium

Part one of Jay-Z and Eminem’s Home and Home Tour, which took place last week in Eminem’s hometown of Detroit, was a success (to put it mildly). And Part two, which took place this past Tuesday at Yankee Stadium in Jay-Z’s home turf, looks like it was just as epic, if not more so. Featuring repeat guest performances by Drake, Kanye West and Dr. Dre, the concert also featured surprise guests Swizz Beatz, Nicki Minaj and Coldplay’s Chris Martin, who joined buddy Jay-Z for a medley that included snippets of “Clocks” and “Viva La Vida.” Check out the clip below—goosebumps on the house.

Ted Leo + Paul F. Tompkins = “Bottled in Cork” video

Lampooning the archetypal rise and fall of a rock star, this new video from Ted Leo is a real hoot, thanks to a comically rich performance by Paul F. Tompkins, who plays the part of Leo’s would-be manager, Reginald Van Voorst. Enjoy the LOLs.

The Bad

Hootie and the Blowfish to get SC monument

It seems mean-spirited to throw this in the “Bad” section, but we didn’t have room for it anywhere else. Honest. And even if we were griping about the expense of funding such a monstrosity (your words, not ours), it wouldn’t change the fact that Hootie and the Blowfish are getting a big monument in Columbus, South Carolina. The band formed there on the campus of USC nearly 25 years ago, and went on to sell 16 million copies of their record, Cracked Rear View. The monument will be unveiled on October 21. Put that spray can down.

Weezer autotunes the news

If you have a sour Hootie aftertaste in your mouth, cleanse your palate with this video wherein Weezer autotunes current events. Catchy and informational!

The Ugly

George Michael sentenced to prison

George Michael was sentenced to eight weeks in jail and a five-year suspension of his driver’s license after he drove his Range Rover into a Snappy Snaps photo store (real name) on July 4th. Somebody won’t be singing “Freedom” anytime soon.

Miscellany

Discourse & Dischord

The Good

New Arcade Fire video brings it home … to your home

Remember when Arcade Fire came out with that incredible (and creepy) interactive video for “Neon Bible” and we all thought THERE’S NO WAY THEY CAN TOP THIS. Well, Montreal’s finest just topped that. Check out their interactive video for “We Used to Wait,” which uses Google Maps to incorporate your childhood home address into the footage. Customized nostalgia. There’s no way they can top that … right?

Kanye releases another track on his Web site

This one is called “Monster” and features an eclectic all-star lineup of Nicki Minaj, Justin Vernon from Bon Iver, Jay-Z and Rick Ross. What happens when indie-folk and hip hop collide? Find out here.

The Bad

John Lennon’s toilet sells for $15,000

That’s a lot of money for a porcelain throne, even if it once belonged to rock royalty. No butts about it.

The Ugly

Guns N’ Roses bomb at Leeds & Reading

Unless you’re easily shocked, the following will come as no surprise. Guns N’ Roses performance at England’s Leeds and Reading festivals left a lot to be desired. Like, for instance, punctuality. The band showed up an hour late to Reading and had to cut their performance short due to strict curfew laws. A few days later they repeated the tardiness at Leeds and were cut short again. Axl Rose took to Twitter to explain to fans, claiming there was “a deal in place” for the band to continue after curfew and “someone wasn’t informed, [someone] changed their mind … or [it] was a con.” By most reports, the performances were terrible, so thank goodness for cons and curfews.

Taylor Momsen is drinking the haterade

Taylor Momsen may have begun her career as the adorable Cindy Lou, but she’s become quite the Grinch in her off-camera life. Trying a little too hard to be tough and anti-establishment, the Pretty Reckless singer has spat the haterade out at Miley Cyrus, public toilets, Rihanna and her band name. We kind of hate that last one, too.

Miscellany

Discourse & Dischord


The Good

College Humor is afraid

Eminem isn’t afraid anymore. But unfortunately, his impersonator in CollegeHumor’s parody of “Not Afraid” is. Aliens, clowns, land sharks, ghost snakes—everything gives this guy the willies. Check out the super scary video below.

Kanye will release a song a week until Christmas

You heard it right. First up is “Power,” which you can download here. Merry Christmas!

The Bad

Songwriter George David Weiss dies

George David Weiss

George David Weiss, a songwriter best known for penning classics such as “What a Wonderful World” and “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” passed away on Monday. Weiss’ songs were recorded by artists ranging from Elvis to Louis Armstrong and Frank Sinatra. Weiss was 89-years-old.

The Ugly

Jay-Z woulda robbed Chris Martin’s ass back in the day

Jay-Z

Jay-Z and Chris Martin are good buds now, but if the Coldplay frontman had wandered into the Marcy projects back in the day, dude would have gotten jacked. As Jay-Z told Q Magazine, “I was a different person then—I wasn’t open to the world and different cultures. I would have been, ‘Yo! Who are you? Give me your money.’” Not sure what Jigga would have done with 20 quid in the ghetto, but anywho …

Miscellany

Discourse & Dischord

The Good

Weezer chooses photo of Hurley as cover art for Hurley

In the ultimate show of fandom, Weezer has selected a photo of a smiling Jorge Garcia, who played the character of Hurley on Lost, as the album art for the band’s upcoming album, also titled Hurley. (Confused yet?) Garcia is rightfully stoked about getting the cover. “This is really close to the top, for sure.” One thing Garcia is less thrilled about is his ponytail in the shot, which looks like it’s “starting to come loose or something.” Look, Hurley, count your blessings. Some people can’t even grow ponytails (looking at you, John Locke).

Britney Spears to appear on Glee

Yup, it’s really happening. Ms. Spears is not only getting a whole episode dedicated to her music, she’s also getting an acting part. Squeal! Jazz hands! Theater kids!

The Bad

Idol winner Fantasia ODs

After scandal erupted over her affair with a married man and an alleged sex tape, American Idol winner Fantasia Barrino overdosed on aspirin and sleeping pills and was rushed to the hospital in Charlotte, NC. The singer was released two days later with no life-threatening injuries. Besides the shame, embarrassment and guilt, she’s fine now. Which leads us to the question—Has there ever been a happy ending involving a sex tape? (On second thought, don’t answer that.)

The Ugly

Bieber gets water-bottled

During a concert in Sacramento, California, an overly excited fan (or that fan’s jealy boyfriend) threw a water bottle at Justin Bieber that hit him right in the face. Luckily it was captured on video. Two questions: 1) Why are we just seeing this now and 2) Wouldn’t it be cool if someone made the footage into a sweet remix? Oh wait, they did. Check it out below.

Miscellany

Kanye West back to following nobody on Twitter
Erykah Badu goes blonde, gets ‘hawk
Lady Gaga stage dives into crowd at Lollapalooza
Julian Casablancas wants to write theme song for NY Mets
Arcade Fire debuts at Number 1 on Billboard
M.I.A. debuts extremely SFW video for “XXXO”
Broken Social Scene endorses fan slap video for “All to All”
Soundgarden release comeback single “Black Rain”
Alanis Morissette is pregnant

 


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