Fan Fare

Entertainment behind the scenes

Grammy downsizing tunes out musicians in niche categories


Grammy organizers are turning the clock back more than two decades by deciding to slash the number of categories at next year’s awards ceremony to 78 from 102. It marks the smallest field since 1990, when music industry voters infamously named pioneering lip-synching duo Milli Vanilli best new artist.

buddyIn a logical move, many vaguely similar categories are being combined — traditional blues and contemporary blues (the latter won this year by Buddy Guy, pictured at left); traditional folk and contemporary folk; hard rock and metal; banda and norteno; children’s musical and spoken word.

Even with the explosive growth in categories — from 28 at the first ceremony in 1959, to 41 in 1969, to 76 in 1989 — some categories have fallen by the wayside over the years. The Grammys have never felt the same since polka was dropped after the 2009 ceremony.

The latest downsizing certainly makes journalists’ live easier. All but 10 or so awards are given out during a fast-paced two-hour ceremony immediately preceding the live telecast, making it very difficult to keep track of winners and trends. Grammy officials never provide individual tallies or historical data, turning the whole event into a vast mathematical exercise for frazzled scribes paranoid about miscalculations.

UDPATE – Sheen’s “Torpedo” is a dud. What will he shoot now?


Conan1He’s no Conan O’Brien, Charlie Sheen.

But he did stage a comeback in Chicago.

Update — Following his Detroit  bomb, Charlie Sheen did what any respectable entertainer would do. He lived by the credo “the show must go on, ” and revamped his “Violent Torpedo of Truth” with a talk show format. Fans evidently liked it.

Charlie Sheen come’s back.

What Happened in Detroit? We covered here: Fans of the man with self-diagnosed “tiger’s blood” came to Detroit to cheer their hero in his one-man redemption show “My Violent Torpedo of Truth: Defeat is Not An Option”. They wanted him to prove his “Adonis DNA” and take on the corporate entertainment titans who fired him. They wanted to see if he had kicked his drugs and drinks-fueled lifestyle at his in-home rehab clinic he calls “The Sober Valley Lodge.” They wanted comedy, perhaps a few songs. They wanted the real story behind Sheen’s Hollywood veil.

Accidental superstar Kenny Rogers roasts himself


Kenny Rogers is either the most self-deprecating star in showbiz, or he’s a much better actor than he lets on his multitude of “Gambler” TV movies.Kenny Rogers

Despite a hugely successful career spanning more than 50 years, Rogers says he’s largely an untalented, unmotivated guy who just got lucky. Over and over again, during a hilariously revealing Q&A at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles on Monday, the bearded storyteller did his very best to shoot gaping holes in his legend. To wit:

Parents cashing in on royal couple?


Royals8.jpgThe parents of Prince William and Kate Middleton have not missed the marketing opportunity their children’s upcoming royal wedding presents.

Middleton’s family, which runs a party paraphernalia company called Party Pieces, has begun stocking regal trivia cards with crowns to scratch off and retailing at 3.99 pounds for a pack of 10. The cards, added to a range of products on offer for street parties — expected to be held up and down the country on the day of the wedding — have left the Middletons open to criticism that they are tastelessly cashing in on their daughter’s marriage to the second in line to the throne.

Here’s the real underground art movement

By Ayana Morali

Thought your routine trip to the subway vending machines was only useful to trek you to and from the office?  You might want to think twice before chucking your next expired monthly pass.  Two New York City artists have found a more inspired use for what most use as simple wallet liner.  Jean-Pierre Roy and Michael Kagan return this year in their second installment of all things metro card.  Their annual exhibit, Single Fare, is now showing through March 26th at the Sloan Fine Art Gallary on the Lower East Side.  All the pieces are priced at $100 with talent ranging from grad students to established artists in the New York City scene.  Watch the video to hear Jean-Pierre and Michael talk about the project:

Teen girl’s pop video mercilessly dissected by Internet masses


If you have trouble remembering the days of the week, a teen pop starlet named Rebecca Black has come to your rescue with an annoyingly catchy song that has quickly made her the hottest — and most lampooned — phenomenon on the Web. Black was a top-trending topic on Twitter on Tuesday, while her video for “Friday” racked up almost eight million page views in a matter of days.

The comments have been savage, ruthless dissections of the girl herself, her bubblegum pop song and the cheesy video. “Not joking. Worst lyrics I have ever heard. Ever. Yet so addictive,” was one of the kinder critiques.

Charlie Sheen could be ready to quiet down


SheenIt may be hard to believe after recent weeks of his rants on subjects ranging from “trolls” to “tiger blood” and the makers of his former hit sitcom “Two And A Half Men,” but Charlie Sheen says he is ready to give up on giving interviews to the media. Sheen, who was fired from his lucrative job as the star of the CBS show earlier this week, told the Dan Patrick radio program on Wednesday that it might be the last time he talks to a reporter.

“This could be my final interview, which is sort of symbolic because it’s where it all began and it’s where it all ends,” Sheen said, because “all they do is vilify me in their narrative speak.”

from Photographers' Blog:

Meeting a homeless “Millionaire”

I’d heard of Rubina Ali in my earlier visits to the Gharib Nagar shanty colony outside Mumbai’s suburban Bandra station but had never had the opportunity to meet her. It took a raging fire through the colony to finally bring me face-to-face with the child star of the Oscar-winning film "Slumdog Millionaire".

People watch from a nearby building as a fire burns in a slum in Mumbai March 4, 2011.   REUTERS/Vivek Prakash

On Friday night, after a long day out in the field covering various stories, I was finally on my way home. Suddenly I got a call from a friend about a major fire in the slums close to Bandra railway station in suburban Mumbai. I immediately called my colleague, Mumbai-based Reuters photographer Vivek Prakash, who lives quite close to where the fire had broken out. While Vivek rushed to the spot, I reached there shortly after. An inferno was burning in place of the small fire I’d imagined it to be.

Have Gaddafi stars gone far enough?


Beyonce, Nelly Furtado and Mariah Carey have all tried to repair any damage that their links to the tainted regime of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi may have caused them.Beyonce.jpg

On Monday, Furtado tweeted that she would give away the $1 million she earned for just 45 minutes performing before the clan in Italy in 2007. OK, it’s a start, but when, and to whom, and how will anyone know?

Sheen vs. Gaddafi – who has better value?


Charlie SheenCharlie Sheen or Muammar Gaddafi? Once thought to have nothing in common, the longtime Hollywood bad boy and embattled Libyan leader have not only topped the headlines this week, but popular culture blogs, news websites, media outlets and social networking sites. The Web has been abuzz with comparisons of both these colorful characters over who offers the better entertainment value for their outlandish quotes and in Gaddafi’s case, his unabashed fashion sense.

Britain’s The Guardian newspaper offered a much emailed quiz this week with 10 over-the-top quotes and a choice to pick in each case GaddafiSheen or Gaddafi, such as “I have defeated this earthworm, with my words.” Unless you have been following every development in each case, you might be surprised at what you get wrong.