Fan Fare

Entertainment behind the scenes

Glee, God, Gays and Grilled Cheesus


gleeIt’s hard to think of a primetime U.S. network TV show (not to mention a comedy) that has managed to combine  philosophical arguments about God, teen sexual angst, parents,  mental disability with music by Barbra Streisand, The Beatles and Billy Joel  into an hour of entertainment — and still get in a few laughs along with the tears.

But “Glee” managed to pull it off in its “Grilled Cheesus” episode, and without apparently offending any of the above mentioned groups. And the show did it just a week after the fun-filled exuberance of its Britney Spears themed tribute.

We got Kurt railing passionately against a God (or at least a Church) that made him gay but then seemed to beatlesexclude him from its belief system. Finn offering up  juvenile prayers for sporting success and sexual conquest to the apparent face of Jesus burned into his grilled cheese sandwich,  and  Sue questioning  a God that could give her beloved older sister a mental impairment.

Not for the first time in the short history of the TV  show, the drama overshadowed many of the musical cover versions  –  with the exception perhaps of Kurt’s touching rendition of “I Want to Hold Your Hand” as a slow ballad, rather than the bubbly 1960s Beatles original.

Stars, stores align for Lennon’s 70th birthday


LennonWhat do Lady Gaga, Yoko Ono, Iggy Pop and Bloomie’s have in common? This week: They are all singing John Lennon’s praises. Well, Bloomingdale’s isn’t — not exactly. But you can buy apparel from Lyric Culture, which is featuring John Lennon’s songs, this week at the department store. Their t-shirts caught our eye as Oct. 9, what would have been the Beatle’s 70th birthday, draws near.

Numerous events are planned around the world. Lady Gaga, Yoko and Iggy played in L.A. and, of course, there is a lot of merchandising — record reissues, DVDs, Beatles and Lennon memorabilia. The Lyric Culture clothing comes from company founder Hanna Rochelle, also a singer-songwriter.

“X Factor” hits wrong note


Cheryl1Britain’s “The X Factor” has struck a bum chord, even before the main knock-out phase of the hugely popular TV show begins. Judge Cheryl Cole has incensed thousands of viewers with her selection of three finalists from a shortlist of eight contestants. Hopeful Gamu Nhengu, 18, was rejected by Cole, despite impressing with her audition and being among the early favourites to win the show.

One reason for the strength of the reaction — nearly 90,000 people have already leant their support to a Facebook page supporting Zimbabwe-born Nhengu — is that Cher Lloyd went through to the finals, despite being able to sing barely a note due to a sore throat. Katie Waissel also succeeded, despite failing to impress many who watched the show at the weekend. Only Cole’s choice of the accomplished Rebecca Ferguson was universally popular.

from Environment Forum:

Surprise ending to director’s oil sands visit

James Cameron did not meet expectations with his high-profile visit to Alberta's oil sands, and that's probably to the Canadian-born filmmaker's credit.

An earlier contention by the director of "Titanic" and "Avatar" that development of the massive energy resource was a black eye for Canada had industry supporters in a tizzy.

Alan Parsons’ third act: instructional filmmaker


Alan Parsons is perhaps best known for his work with the easy-listening progressive rock group that bears his name. Between 1976 and 1990, the Alan Parsons Project enjoyed eight top-40 singles in the United States, including the No. 3 smash “Eye in the Sky.” But before he became a rock star, Parsons was a knob-twiddler at EMI’s Abbey Road Studios in London. He was an assistant engineer on the Beatles’ final albums “Let it Be” and “Abbey Road,” and one of the brains behind the 1973 Pink Floyd opus “The Dark Side of the Moon,” one of the biggest-selling albums of all time.
alan2Now resident in Santa Barbara, 95 miles northwest of Los Angeles, Parsons is trying his hand at instructional filmmaking. He has just released a three-disc DVD package that aims to lift “this mysterious veil of secrecy” that surrounds the recording experience, he said Wednesday.

Art & Science of Sound Recording,” which was two years in the making and is narrated by Billy Bob Thornton, is aimed at both music industry professionals and casual observers. It covers such topics as studio acoustics, the use of microphones and consoles, and recording techniques for vocals and various instruments. There’s also a useful section called “Dealing with Disasters.” 

Britney Spears lets her music do (most of) the talking on “Glee”


It was the night of the Britneys on “Glee” in the musical comedy’s third affectionate tribute to pop culture divas — although Brbritsnake2itney  Spears’ own  much talked-about cameo role turned out to be much smaller than expected.

But “Glee’s” other Britney (played by Heather Morris) turned out to be booty-shaking worthy of her namesake in an episode  that featured five of the pop princess’s biggest hits — and many more of her iconic looks.

from Photographers' Blog:

Off the runway at NY Fashion Week

Reuters photographer Brendan McDermid shares his experience covering New York Fashion Week, with the logistics of shooting backstage, the shows and everything in between.

Soundgarden the real Warriors of Rock at Hollywood show


Reunited rockers Soundgarden took time out from rehearsals in Seattle to play a corporate gig in Hollywood on Monday, the band’s fourth show since it announced an end to its 13-year hiatus on New Year’s Eve.

ccornellSinger Chris Cornell (pictured at left), guitarist Kim Thayil, bassist Ben Shepherd and drummer Matt Cameron whipped up a mosh pit with old favorites like “Rusty Cage,” “Spoonman” and “Outshined” during their 50-minute set on the Paramount Pictures lot. Apart from a grin exchanged between Cornell and Thayil towards the end, the studious quartet barely interacted. Cornell’s occasional comments were muffled by the sound system.

Who is greatest stage actor of all?


McKellenSo who is the greatest stage actor of them all?

Britain’s “The Stage” theatrical publication is holding a poll to ask visitors to its website to choose who is the best stage actor of all time. Six of the 10 shortlisted artists are still alive, and include legends not only of the stage, but also the screen, including Judi Dench and Ian McKellen (pictured at right). The Stage will keep the voting lines open for the next 10 weeks and publish the winner in a special Christmas edition.

Here is the full list. How about giving us your opinion as well? And if you think the best ever to walk the boards is not on the list, let us know.

Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez — right fit for “American Idol”?


tyler “American Idol” has finally announced its new judging panel, ending months of speculation about the future shape of the show.

But are  Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler and actress/singer Jennifer Lopez  the right choice? And will star power be enough to keep old “Idol” fans (and hopefully millions more new ones) tuning in when the show returns in January?