EXCLUSIVE: Acne Studios Teams With Russell Westbrook for Men’s Capsule Collection

TEAM PLAYER: According to Acne Studios creative director Jonny Johansson, the inspiration for the label’s capsule collection with basketball player Russell Westbrook was simple: “Denim and Russell — nothing more, nothing less.”
After casting the Houston Rockets point guard in its spring 2019 campaign, the Swedish label is continuing its creative partnership with Westbrook by debuting a 10-piece denim-heavy men’s wear collection, which includes outerwear, oversize shirts, jeans and shorts.
Launching Oct. 28, the capsule was teased by Westbrook himself, who wore some of the pieces to attend the Acne Studios men’s spring 2020 show in Paris. Prices start at 280 euros, or $ 310, for a pair of shorts, while jeans are priced at 320 euros, or $ 355, and jackets 550 euros, or $ 610.
In addition to an Eighties-style light blue acid wash denim, the boxy silhouettes were also done in a turquoise version, Westbrook’s favorite color. The hue was used on a half-zip Windbreaker featuring a large patch pocket on the front and drawstring hem as well as a denim utility vest with oversized front pockets and piping along the seams.

Russell Westbrook models a silhouette from his collection with Acne Studios. 
Courtesy

“Acne Studios is known for their denim and their different washes, and

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Farfetch Seals Exclusive Partnership With Prada Linea Rossa

LONDON — Farfetch has sealed an exclusive partnership to carry Prada’s Linea Rossa line.
The range, which debuts online today, will consist of 155 units across men’s, women’s, accessories and skiwear. The collection features updated versions of Nineties classics, such as sporty puffer jackets, updated with new technological materials and neon hues.
Holli Rogers, the retailer’s chief brand officer, said the collection will speak to “customer looking to rediscover the cutting-edge Linea Rossa collection” and will help enhance Farfetch’s position as a destination for exciting and exclusive product “from the world’s most dynamic brands.”
The Linea Rossa range made its comeback to the market last May, as the first exclusive drop on streetwear publication Highsnobiety’s new e-commerce platform, while now Farfetch will become its permanent retail partner.
Farfetch has been working to expand its assortment of exclusives, with brands such as Alyx, Valentino, Burberry and Stella McCartney all carrying exclusive product on the platform.
It has also been looking at introducing alternative retail models including handbag resale, as part of its sustainability agenda.

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EXCLUSIVE: Activewear Brand Varley Secures a $5 Million Investment

Varley is upping its game. 
The fast-growing women’s activewear brand has secured $ 5 million in investments, which the company plans to use for product development, including moving into new categories, redesigning the web site and hiring additional staff. 
“Women are definitely adopting the performance fashion lifestyle,” Lara Mead, cofounder of the brand, told WWD. “The majority of women now are doing some form of physical exercise. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re running marathons. But maybe they’re walking the dog or hiking with friends or going to a yoga class. We provide that performance outfit for her, whatever her activity is.”

The investments were provided by two of Europe’s most well-known business leaders: Ron Dennis and Anders Povlsen. But Mead, who cofounded the company with husband Ben Mead, said the demand for ath-leisure and activewear apparel has been growing all on its own. 
The duo founded Varley in 2015 after taking a trip to California. It was there that they saw the health-and-wellness movements and ath-leisure movements taking off.
“Much more rapidly than it was in Europe at the time,” Lara said, and realized a hole in the European market. 
“There was nothing really that we felt that translated to a European woman’s wardrobe,” Lara

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EXCLUSIVE: Wacoal America Is Getting a New CEO

Wacoal America’s changing of the guards is moving into the next phase. 
Starting Oct. 1, Mitch Kauffman will be elevated to president, as Bob Vitale, who has been chief executive officer and president of the women’s intimates apparel company for more than seven years, takes on a lesser role in preparation for his upcoming retirement. The move is part of Vitale’s succession plan, which has been in the works for six months. Kauffman will officially become ceo of Wacoal America in March, the end of the company’s current fiscal year. 
“I feel very, very confident that Mitch is the right person for this position,” Vitale told WWD. “The beauty of this situation is that Mitch has been here for three-and-a-half years. So he already understands our culture and our people. And I couldn’t be more delighted in terms of someone taking over my role.”

Bob Vitale, current chief executive officer and president of Wacoal America. 
Courtesy

Vitale, who has been with Wacoal America for 22 years and in the intimates apparel industry for more than four decades, including 20 years at Maidenform, added that Kauffman “is really going to be running the show” from now on. 
“And I’ll be giving my advice and guidance along the

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EXCLUSIVE: Gisele Bündchen Named Face of Dior Capture Totale

NATURAL FIT: Gisele Bündchen has been named the face of Dior Capture Totale. The Brazilian model will appear in a new print and digital advertising campaign for the skin-care line in 2020.
“The perfect embodiment of healthy beauty, our new spokesmodel is the icon of wellness, generated by a unique idea of healthy and purely authentic beauty,” said Claude Martinez, president and chief executive officer of Parfums Christian Dior. “This very same idea lies at the heart of the origins and the history of Capture Totale.
“Inner beauty nourishes, regenerates and radiates infinite external beauty with its full power and vital energy,” the executive continued. “Today, we are celebrating a supermodel glowing with health, who is an accomplished, stunningly beautiful woman, and of course, the iconic muse of conscious beauty, who joins us to convey and celebrate the house of Dior values.”
Alongside being a model, Bündchen is also an actress and environmentalist, who has designed and co-created some fashion collections and accessories.

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EXCLUSIVE: Ramdane Touhami Introduces Fashion Game and New Creative Agency

GAME ON: Fashion’s a game, literally, for entrepreneur Ramdane Touhami, who created a board game called Art, Recherche & Industrie to mark the official launch of his creative agency of the same name.
“It’s kind of a Monopoly of fashion and design,” he told WWD on Monday, the day before he would host a fete in Paris for the kickoff. “The idea of this game is you go around exactly like in Monopoly. You have to build your first store, your flagship store. And after, in the rules, we wrote clearly you have to be the richest. Don’t be nice to anyone, they’re all hypocrites.”
Three hundred of the artisanally designed games are being produced for Touhami to gift. “This is sarcastic fun, but it’s still fun,” he said.
The “franc mode” currency ranges from 100 FM bills to 50,000 FM bills, which feature portraits of famous fashion figures, including Gabrielle Chanel and Jeanne Lanvin.
As players pass go, they collect 20,000 FM in salary. Here, the roads are named after tony shopping streets, like Rue Cambon, Fifth Avenue and Faubourg Saint-Honoré. The three other corner squares of the board are Burn-Out, CEO Bonus and Holidays Simple Weekend.
Money and turns can be gained or

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EXCLUSIVE: Dior’s Maria Grazia Chiuri Talks Sustainability

PARIS — Maria Grazia Chiuri is thinking green.
In the run-up to her spring 2020 runway show for Dior on Tuesday, the designer has been delving into the brand’s archives — and in particular its rich tradition of floral designs — while trying to imagine how that heritage could be updated to address today’s climate crisis.
Her answer? A collaboration with the Paris-based landscape and urbanism collective Coloco on the set for the show, to be held at the Longchamp racecourse in Paris, which will feature 164 trees that will subsequently be replanted in four locations in and around the French capital.
“I asked them, ‘How can we do a set that speaks to the garden in a contemporary way?’” Chiuri told WWD in an exclusive interview in the brand’s temporary design studio overlooking the Seine river. “We have to translate this idea of a garden into concrete action: a support project that can create other gardens in the community.”
Coloco, whose expertise ranges from botanical activism to ecological engineering, was founded on the idea that gardens should be collective endeavors. The show set was conceived as an “inclusive garden” that promotes the need for plant diversity as a response to climate change.
“The tree

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EXCLUSIVE: L’Oréal Paris Fashion Show Planned for Paris Mint

IN MINT CONDITION: Helen Mirren, Andie MacDowell, Eva Longoria, Camila Cabello and Amber Heard are among the women who will walk L’Oréal Paris’ runway show, scheduled to be held at the Paris Mint on Sept. 28 at 6 p.m., during Paris Fashion Week.
It’s the third edition of the event hosted by L’Oréal Paris, which is an official partner of Paris Fashion Week.

The poster for L’Oréal Paris’ show. 
Courtesy Photo

“L’Oréal Paris is proud to unite an exceptional group of spokespeople to the catwalk, from award-winning actresses and singers to gold-medal athletes and top models, who embody self-empowerment,” the brand said in a statement.
“L’Oréal Paris is back with its Défilé, a spectacular runway show in the Monnaie de Paris, one of the city’s most historic settings,” said Delphine Viguier-Hovasse, L’Oréal Paris’ global brand president, in the statement. “The return of Le Défilé reaffirms our ties to the world of fashion through partnerships with both emerging designers and internationally renowned fashion houses. On this occasion, we are proud to unite our global family of inspirational women in celebration of beauty excellence and inclusivity.”
Thirty-two spokespeople will appear in L’Oréal Paris’ show. They will wear looks fashioned by 10 designer brands, including AMI Alexandre Mattiussi, Atlein,

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EXCLUSIVE: Louis Vuitton Introduces LVTV Editorial Content on YouTube

LET ME ENTERTAIN YOU: Louis Vuitton is augmenting its YouTube channel with a new entertainment section dubbed LVTV, featuring videos that take viewers behind the scenes with its celebrity brand ambassadors, and provide exclusive access to its fashion shows and leather goods workshops.
The editorial content is organized around five major categories: savoir-faire, institutional, friends of the house, travel and campaigns. Episodes include “Riverdale” star Madelaine Petsch doing ASMR with Vuitton handbags and shoes; Emma Stone getting ready for the 2019 Oscars, and documentary-maker Loïc Prigent visiting the historic Vuitton workshop in Asnières, on the outskirts of Paris.
Vuitton’s YouTube channel, which has 332,000 subscribers, is already home to ad campaigns, runway footage and branded content. The addition of original content, exclusive to the platform, comes at a time of rapid growth for YouTube’s fashion and beauty content, including the launch this month of a dedicated fashion vertical.
In a sign of the changing times, Vuitton teamed with YouTube star Emma Chamberlain for a video at its cruise 2020 show, which has garnered more than 2 million views. Its 20-minute clip featuring Vine stars the Dolan Twins attending the men’s spring 2020 show, meanwhile, has been watched almost 1.9 million times.

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EXCLUSIVE: Chanel Chooses Capri for Its Cruise 2021 Show

WANDERLUST: Chanel will be back on the road, to Capri, Italy, to show its cruise 2021 collection on May 7 next year, WWD has learned.
“We are very happy to go to Italy, and even more so to go to Capri,” Bruno Pavlovsky, president of fashion and president of Chanel SAS, told WWD. “It’s a very inspiring place, very inspiring for Virginie Viard. We have a lovely cruise show in the works.”
“From the 1920s, Gabrielle Chanel offered her clients lightweight and comfortable designs for yachting, coastal resorts, spa towns and other various sunny destinations such as the Riviera and the Lido beaches of Venice,” Chanel said in a statement.
It will be the second cruise collection designed by Viard, who has helmed the house’s artistic direction since the death of Karl Lagerfeld in February.
The Capri event will mark the first time since 2016 that Chanel is to present a cruise line outside of the French capital, where it’s been showing for the last three years to help the city counter the fallout from the 2015 terrorist attacks and to enhance its reputation as the global capital of fashion.
Prior to that, the fashion house was a big proponent of roving cruise shows, starting

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EXCLUSIVE: Dior to Publish Book of Photographs by Nikolai Von Bismarck

OUT OF THE SHADOWS: Fashion showgoers may know Nikolai von Bismarck as the boyfriend of Kate Moss. What many don’t realize is that he’s also an accomplished photographer — one who’s about to publish his first book in collaboration with Dior men’s artistic director Kim Jones.
“The Dior Sessions,” published by Rizzoli, charts Jones’ first year at Dior through more than 100 black-and-white portraits of his friends and colleagues. They include Moss and her daughter Lila Grace, A$ AP Rocky, Robert Pattinson, David Beckham, Demi Moore, Eddie Redmayne, Takashi Murakami and Jude Law.
Photographed on film over the course of 12 months and across three continents, the project acts like a snapshot of the era, Dior said in a statement.

A portrait of A$ AP Rocky in “The Dior Sessions.” 
Courtesy/Nikolai von Bismarck

“Simultaneously reflecting the present and respecting the past, it holds up a mirror to modern society’s multifaceted nature, in which creatives are multihyphenates and different media — music, fashion, film, art — cross-pollinate and intermingle free of hierarchy,” it said, drawing a parallel with Christian Dior’s relationships with artists.
Jones, meanwhile, described the sitters as “a diverse cross-section of people who do amazing things.”
Von Bismarck, who studied photography at Parsons Paris, worked for Annie Leibovitz

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EXCLUSIVE: Fenty to Open PFW Pop-Up at Galeries Lafayette Champs-Elysées

TRUE BLUE: Fenty is landing on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées for Paris Fashion Week.
The luxury house launched by Rihanna with LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton will take over Galeries Lafayette Champs-Elysées from Sept. 23 to Oct. 12, bathing its tunnel-like entrance in its signature blue color.
It will mark the brand’s third pop-up worldwide, following a temporary space in the Marais district of Paris for the label’s launch in May and a pop-up in June at The Webster in New York City — and the first time the label has partnered with a department store.
Whether Rihanna will personally inaugurate the space remains to be seen. Fresh off the positive reactions to her Savage x Fenty lingerie show, described as a highlight of New York Fashion Week, the pop star would be certain to trigger a mob scene with a personal appearance at the venue.

A look from Fenty’s fourth release, dropping on Sept. 19. 
Courtesy

Guillaume Houzé, director of image and communication of Groupe Galeries Lafayette, said: “It is a great pleasure to welcome Fenty at our Galeries Lafayette Champs-Elysées flagship for its second Parisian drop, and only a few months after its launch.
“Fenty provides women with a new definition of luxury and a

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EXCLUSIVE: Demna Gvasalia Exits Vetements

Demna Gvasalia, the Georgian designer who ignited the streetwear juggernaut in fashion, is stepping down from Vetements, the brand that sparked it — and also propelled him to the creative helm of Balenciaga in Paris.
“Vetements has always been a collective of creative minds. We will continue to push the boundaries even further, respecting codes and the authentic values of the brand, and keep on supporting honest creativity and genuine talent,” Demna’s brother Guram Gvasalia, cofounder and chief executive officer of the Zurich-based fashion house, said in a statement. “What Demna has accomplished over the past few years represents a key chapter in the story of Vetements. We are very grateful to Demna for having contributed to the great momentum of the house.”
Both brothers declined to elaborate beyond the statement, released exclusively to WWD over the weekend.
It is understood Demna Gvasalia will continue in his role as creative director of Balenciaga, which is scheduled to parade its spring 2020 show in Paris on Sept. 29, while the release hinted at additional projects, saying the designer, 38, is stepping down from his position at Vetements “to pursue new ventures.”
“Demna’s talent and vision of fashion have been fundamental in the continued success of

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EXCLUSIVE: AMI to Hold Shanghai Fashion Show 

PARIS — For its first fashion show outside of France, AMI is headed to Shanghai. Signaling a fresh Asian thrust for the brand, the show will be held on Oct. 12, preceded by pop-up stores in Shanghai, Beijing and Chengdu, which will open on Oct. 1.
“We’re heading into our ninth year and the number nine is a lucky number for me so we decided to celebrate this anniversary rather than the 10th,” Alexandre Mattiussi, AMI creative director, told WWD.
Mattiussi, who showed his label’s first collection in January 2011, said the label has a certain resonance in Asia.
“It’s a French designer at an affordable price point,” is how chief executive officer Nicolas Santi-Weil described the label’s positioning. Mattiussi started the label because “he loved beautiful things but he felt a little disconnected with reality because all the garments he was designing were sold at a price point that he could not afford himself,” said Santi-Weil, recalling the designer’s days at Givenchy.  
“AMI is appreciated in Asia because it’s a Parisian postcard,” said Mattiussi. At the same time, he said he might make small adjustments, like changing a fabric or a certain color. 
“We continue the story we started in Europe, it’s uninterrupted, the

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EXCLUSIVE: LVMH to Establish Karl Lagerfeld Fashion Prize

His legendary fashion career was ignited by an award. In his twilight years, he acted as a judge for the LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers, leaving most contenders starstruck.
And now he will be immortalized with a fashion prize in his name. LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton confirmed exclusively to WWD that its Special Prize will henceforth 
be named the Karl Lagerfeld Prize.
The first one is to be presented during the sixth edition of the contest on Sept. 4 at the Fondation Louis Vuitton.
“Karl Lagerfeld, creative director of the house of Fendi since 1965, 
was involved in the prize since its launch,” said Delphine Arnault, the force behind the high-profile design competition. “He was fully committed to it since Day One, 
transporting us with his enthusiasm and his energy, sharing with everyone, whether other jury members or candidates, his culture and his passion for fashion. We shall always cherish those precious moments.”
A key talent scout at the French luxury conglomerate and the number-two executive at its flagship Louis Vuitton brand, Arnault added that the Karl Lagerfeld Prize “naturally perpetuates the closeness we developed 
over the years and is a tribute to the man’s unique creative genius, to his ability to

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EXCLUSIVE: Damsel in Dior’s Jacey Duprie to Open a Shop at Platform in L.A.

While many of her fashion blogger contemporaries are boosting their personal brands by launching their own labels through online retailers — a trend as of late — Jacey Duprie of Damsel in Dior is showcasing her virtual world “IRL” with a brick-and-mortar location this fall.
“I want to get it open, like, yesterday,” said Duprie inside Platform, the trendy shopping project in Culver City and location of her pop-up, By Damsel. The two-month lease, with the option to extend, starts Nov. 1. “As soon as we can get in there, get it painted, get set up, we’re open.”
“Everything now is so digital,” she continued. “The whole influencer space is so saturated now, as well. I wanted to think outside the box. I wanted something for people to come and experience the brand firsthand, a space where they could feel everything we stand for, the touch, the smell, the overall aesthetic of the brand, in person.”
She described that aesthetic as “elevated basics, pieces that you’ll be able to wear for years to come, that can be incorporated with today’s trends.” The 600-square-foot shop will feature a range of items she has curated — priced $ 20 to $ 2,000 — from about a dozen

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EXCLUSIVE: Dior to Stage Runway Show for Men’s Pre-fall in Miami

THE ART OF TRAVEL: Kim Jones is deepening his ties to the art world. The designer plans to show his Dior pre-fall men’s wear collection in Miami on Dec. 3.
Jones staged his first traveling men’s show last year with a men’s pre-fall runway display in Tokyo, featuring a monumental sculpture by Japanese artist Hajime Sorayama. He will hit Miami two days before the start of Art Basel Miami Beach, one of the highlights of the year for art collectors and fashion brands alike.
With collaborations with Kaws, Raymond Pettibon and Daniel Arsham under his belt, it’s highly likely that Jones will tap another artist to work on the show.
“When I do these collections, I always think about what’s going to go in the exhibitions about Dior or Vuitton, whenever, in 50 years’ time, so it’s kind of important to have things that can create a legacy for the brand further along the line,” he told WWD recently.
The choice of location reflects not just Dior’s long-term relationship with the U.S., but also the strategic importance of the U.S. market, which accounted for 23 percent of sales at parent company LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton in the first half of 2019.

Kim Jones 
Courtesy/Jackie Nickerson

It

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Huckberry’s One-Day Summer Sale—Here’s How to Get Exclusive Early Access

Huckberry is such a popular destination for fantastic clothes and cool gear, it doesn’t have sales very often. So when it does, it’s kind of a big deal. Huckberry’s One-Day Summer Sale is coming this Sunday, June 30!  We got the inside skinny on the sale, and here’s the kicker: You don’t have to wait.

Now, these offers aren’t available to the general public until Sunday morning—but Men’s Journal readers can take advantage of these great deals right now at Huckberry.

From now until midnight PST on Sunday, take up to 35 percent off a swath of great stuff marked down at Huckberry. We’re talking shirts, pants, shorts, shoes, watches, gear, and so much more.

But you can also score huge savings on t-shirts, shorts, sandals and more! Tons of items that are going to be practical and stylish all summer long. A bunch of Huckberry’s own Flint and Tinder line is marked way down. And there are a dozen or more great watches, a host of belts, and few pair of sunglasses on sale. You can find several awesome weekenders and duffels marked down, and a load of backpacks, too. There’s even a sweet Stetson hat for 35 percent off!

Here’s a sampling of the awesome brand names you’ll find on sale at the Huckberry Summer Sale:

BioLite
Hydro Flask
Faherty
Black Diamond
Chrome Industries
Billy Reid
Coalatree
Luminox
Fjallraven

…and many more. We picked out a nice selection of some great gear and apparel for which we might have to crack open our wallets; they’re listed below.

Ready for your exclusive sneak peek at the Huckberry One-Day Summer Sale? Check out all the Top Deals right here.

Howler Brothers H Bar B Snapshirt

A modern take on the classic western shirt that protected cowboys from the blistering heat on the frontier, the H Bar B Snapshirt has traditional pearl snap buttons with a quick-drying poly-cotton blend. Perfect for fly fishing on a riverbank, kicking back on a beach, or beating the heat at work, this shirt is everything we love about the summer.

Get It: Take 30% off the Howler Brothers H Bar B Snapshirt (from $ 48; was $ 69) at Huckberry

Huckberry

Sunski Topekas Sunglasses

With a rounded frame that fits better to the face and traction pads on the bridge and temples for a secure fit when you’re on the move, trail running, mountain biking, leisurely jogs, or days spent lounging just got a whole lot better looking. Available in two frame colorways.

Get It: Take 21% off Sunski Topekas Sunglasses (from $ 54; was $ 68) at Huckberry

Huckberry

Coalatree 8.5-inch Trailhead Shorts

Everything you loved about Coalatree’s Trailhead Pant got downsized into cool, performance-forward shorts. Durable and ridiculously comfy, they’re the ultimate travel shorts for weekend getaways or extended sabbaticals: lightweight, super packable, and quick-drying. Available in three colors.

Get It: Take 30% off the Coalatree 8.5-inch Trailhead Shorts (from $ 48; was $ 69) at Huckberry

Huckberry

SeaVees Hermosa Plimsoll Sneakers

This new take on the classic beach tennie features a vintage wash and exclusive signature touches. With a textured linen upper and vintage wash finish, they’re lined with soft, brushed chambray, feature anitque nickel eyelets and a herringbone outsole. Four colors are available.

Get It: Take 24% off the SeaVees Hermosa Plimsoll Sneakers (from $ 59; was $ 78) at Huckberry

Huckberry

Billy Reid Denim Shirt

Billy Reid’s gear exudes a Southern Gentleman’s dapper aesthetic, but it’s tinged with workmanlike ruggedness. This distressed shirt is cut from washed denim, and looks like it has a few stories to tell—and a few more adventures up its sleeve. Available in dark Denim Dry, bright Bleached Wash, or Denim Wash (shown).

Get It: Take 30% off the Billy Reid Denim Shirt (from $ 136; was $ 195) at Huckberry

Huckberry

Marathon Diver’s Quartz

With high-torque Swiss quartz movement, this medium diver’s watch is lighter in weight and comfortable for all-day, everyday wear. It has water resistance (up to 300m) and dial legibility provided by tritium illumination on the dial and hands, which produce a steady glow for up to 25 years. 

Get It: Take20% off the Marathon Diver’s Quartz ($ 500; was $ 625) at Huckberry

Huckberry

Hydro Flask Hydration Pack 20L

Whether you prefer a hardwood court or a muddy trail, Hydro Flask has a system for you. The Hydration Pack is designed and built with the adventure athlete in mind. Decked out with an insulated water reserve and plenty of room for all your gear, it fits comfortably on your back while easily stashing at least 3 liters of water. Available in black or blue.

Get It: Take up to 35% off the 20L Hydro Flask Hydration Pack ($ 150; was $ 200) at Huckberry

 

Check out all the products and gear for Men’s journal readers

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Huckberry

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Intimate Earth, Calvista Ink Exclusive Partnership

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Exclusive First Review: Danner X Huckberry Vertigo 917 Goldrush Boots

As one of the premiere names in adventure footwear, Danner made its name on adventure boots as stylish on the sidewalk as they are sturdy on the trail. As one of the premiere destinations in men’s gear, Huckberry made its name showcasing the best gear for men in one online destination. Now these two renowned companies have come together on an exclusive collaboration that celebrates the best of both brands.

The Danner X Huckberry Vertigo 917 Goldrush is the first collab between the San Francisco retailer and Portland’s legendary bootmaker, and it’s only available at Huckberry. The Vertigo 917 has a sneaker-like soft outsole and supple full-grain leather upper, and it’s 100 percent waterproof. This means it’s not just comfortable but functional, both on the pavement and in the dirt. Basically, it’s a sneaker-boot.


5 Hiking Boots You Can Wear On or Off the Trail

 

danner huckberry boot
Huckberry

Huckberry put its own spin on the Vertigo 917 by giving it a brand-new golden colorway, a Vibram gum sole, suede heel, and exclusive Huckberry branding on the tongue. The Gore-Tex lining makes it waterproof while allowing your feet to breathe. It has a pliable, three-layer removable Ortholite footbed, and the rubberized midsole is softer and far more durable than traditional EVA. The exclusive gummed Vibram outsole is made of XS Trek rubber for durability and traction. And a modernized version of Danner’s trademark stitchdown construction has cupsole technology that allows the Goldrush to have a wider platform while eliminating the sidewall. The nylon, Chukka-like stretchy nylon shank adds even more flexibility and comfort.

Most Comfortable Danners Ever?

We were lucky enough to get an exclusive opportunity to try out the Danner X Huckberry Vertigo 917s and can honestly say this may be the most comfortable boot we’ve ever worn—certainly the most comfortable Danners. They’re super lightweight and extremely versatile. We wore them to the office and found they go as well with chinos as they do with jeans; we wore them to see a band at a club and were on our feet hours with no complaints. And they are, indeed, weatherproof, as we discovered on an extremely wet and rainy weekend in the city.


The Best Online Men's Stores

We also found that they fit better than other Danners we’ve worn. In the past, Danners have always been tight in the toe and almost too firm in the sole for extensive urban trekking; not so with the Vertigo 917 Goldrush. The last is based on the original Vertigo footbed, but is wider and more forgiving, as the supple leather sidewalls and flexible construction don’t give our feet the squeeze. (Note: We’ve been accused of having hobbit feet and these boots don’t come in Wide widths, so we ordered a half-size up. The fit is ideal: snug but not too tight.) Furthermore, the gum sole allows for traction and flexibility that’s key to hiking the urban jungle.

The Danner X Huckberry Vertigo 917 Goldrush is available now, exclusively at Huckberry, for $ 220.

huckberry danner collab boot
Huckberry

The post Exclusive First Review: Danner X Huckberry Vertigo 917 Goldrush Boots appeared first on Men's Journal.

Men’s Journal Latest Style News

Men’s Journal Exclusive Offer: 25 Percent Off at Taylor Stitch

We’re always excited to feature a company that takes responsibility for its products, cares about its employees, and conscious of its footprint on our planet.

And right now one of those companies, Taylor Stitch, is offering an exclusive discount to Men’s Journal readers. For a company that doesn’t often have sales, this is indeed a Very Big Deal.


10 Brands Making Outdoor Adventure Fashionable

Right now Men’s Journal readers can take 25 percent off select items at Taylor Stitch simply by checking out with the code TS25FORYOU. Refresh your winter wardrobe, get ready for spring, grab that jacket you’ve always had your eye on—however you want to justify it, you’ve got to get to Taylor Stitch right now and support a company that supports you. And the planet.

Here’s what’s available at this exclusive sale at Taylor Stitch.

The Montara Jacket in Vintage Blue

Originally from the 30s, the timeless silhouette of the Harrington jacket was revived as the weather barrier of choice for the counterculture trendsetters of the 60s, 70s, 80s and worn by dissidents from James Dean to the Clash. 

[$ 139, normally $ 178; taylorstitch.com   

 

Taylor Stitch

The Leeward Shirt in Navy Tartan

This wool-dominant blend is not only incredibly warm and insulating but it’s also lightly brushed, giving it a soft, pleasantly textured finish. Add to that a striking navy tartan, and you have a shirt that looks great from afar and even better up close.

[$ 149, normally $ 188; taylorstitch.com  

 

Taylor Stitch

The Coit Jacket in Blackwatch Wool

Blackwatch wool is a classic Scottish tartan, and the 80/20 wool/poly blend in the Coit will be sure to combat blustery climates from Northern California to Northern Maine. Weighing in at a burly 13-oz., it’s guaranteed to warm chilly nights in the colder seasons. You’re looking at a shirt jacket that’s staring at a solid twenty years of use.

[$ 189, normally $ 238; taylorstitch.com  

 

Taylor Stitch

The Après Hoodie in Olive Stripe Hemp Fleece

Hemp adds strength and abrasion resistance while also creating an unbelievable character of the finished garment. Pesticide-free by its very nature (it’s a weed), blending hemp with organic cotton forms a fabric free from chemicals harmful to our environment.

[$ 99, normally $ 188; taylorstitch.com]    

 

Taylor Stitch

The Yosemite Shirt in Camo

Built with 100 percent organic cotton flannel chamois, this heavy-duty perfectly brushed flannel never pills and just gets better with age. Good luck wearing through the elbows of this. The perfect outdoor men’s shirt? Maybe.

[$ 109, normally $ 125; taylorstitch.com]    

 

 

 

Taylor Stitch

The Truckee Jacket in Moss

Whether you’re using it as a camping pillow, throwing it over the shoulders of a loved one while huddled around the fire, or slipping it on after a day of shredding double blacks, the Truckee is bound to be your year-round go-to.

[$ 159, normally $ 198; taylorstitch.com]    

 

Taylor Stitch

The Winslow Parka in Navy

A custom natural un-dyed wool blanket lining under a naturally beeswaxed canvas—Halley Stevensons has been waxing fabrics since 1864—this weatherproof winter jacket will take you right through winter and on to summer. 

[$ 239, normally $ 298; taylorstitch.com]     

 

Taylor Stitch

The Primrose Jacket in Charcoal

Fusing technical details with an elegant urban aesthetic, this jacket is fully waterproof. The sleek trench silhouette guarantees that what’s underneath stays dry, whether it’s a sports coat or your faithful crewneck. And the cotton collar and front welt pockets give it a style that suits most any outfit.

[$ 259, normally $ 328; taylorstitch.com]    

 

Taylor Stitch

The post Men’s Journal Exclusive Offer: 25 Percent Off at Taylor Stitch appeared first on Men's Journal.

Men’s Journal Latest Style News

Are Trixie Mattel & Katya Fans Of Online Dating? Check Out This Exclusive Clip From ‘UNHhh’

Are Trixie Mattel and Katya fans of online dating?


Access Hollywood Latest News

Crystal Hefner Says Her Marriage With Hugh Hefner Wasn’t About Sex: ‘That Wasn’t All That Important’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Crystal Hefner is an open book.


Access Hollywood Latest News

Mandy Moore Spills Details On Her Sweet & Surprising Past With Meghan Markle (Exclusive)

Mandy Moore has a royal connection! The “This Is Us” star and Garnier brand ambassador sits exclusively with Access, where she gets surprised with a 2006 throwback photo of herself with now-Duchess Meghan Markle. Find out how the two know each other! Plus, Mandy shares about her inspiring holiday partnership with UNICEF and how her wedding details with fiancé Taylor Goldsmith are coming along.


Access Hollywood Latest Videos

‘This Is Us’: Mandy Moore Teases Big Revelations Ahead About Jack In Vietnam & More (Exclusive)

“This Is Us” star and Garnier brand ambassador Mandy Moore sits exclusively with Access and teases what’s ahead for her hit drama. With Jack’s experience in Vietnam being slowly uncovered, will Rebecca be able to help Kevin in his quest for more information? What about the woman with the necklace in Jack’s photo? Plus, Mandy shares why she loves being considered a signature brunette! “This Is Us” airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on NBC.


Access Hollywood Latest Videos

Kate Beckinsale & Comedian Jack Whitehall Have Been Dating For Several Months: ‘They’re Really Happy’ (Exclusive)

Kate Beckinsale is officially off the market!


Access Hollywood Latest News

‘The Voice’ Sneak Peek: Team JHud’s Tyshawn Colquitt & Zaxai Duke It Out To ‘Love Lies’ (EXCLUSIVE)

In a sneak peek at Monday’s episode exclusive to Access, two of Team Jennifer’s artists – Tyshawn Colquitt and Zaxai – present their Oscar-winning coach with one of her toughest decisions yet.


Access Hollywood Latest Videos

‘The Voice’ Sneak Peek: Team JHud’s Tyshawn Colquitt & Zaxai Duke It Out To ‘Love Lies’ (EXCLUSIVE)

There’s more fierce
battles on the way on “The Voice”!


Access Hollywood Latest News

Exclusive: “Crazy Rich Asians” Director Jon M. Chu’s iPhone XS Movie, “Somewhere”

Jon M. Chu, director of Crazy Rich Asians, made this short film exclusively for WIRED using the new Apple iPhone XS Max. Chu shot and edited the film himself, shooting handheld in available light and using only the native camera app and default stabilizer, without any additional crew or equipment.

“Somewhere”
Shot on the iPhone XS Max
No filters, no color correction.

Director, Cinematographer, Editor: Jon M. Chu
Starring: Luigi Rosado

WIRED Videos

Bachelor Nation’s Ashley Iaconetti & Kevin Wendt Split: ‘We Aren’t Each Other’s Perfect, Lifelong Match’ (Exclusive)

“The Bachelor Winter Games” stars Ashley Iaconetti and Kevin Wendt have called it quits.


Access Hollywood Latest News

Watch Betty’s Sultry ‘Mad World’ Striptease In Our Riverdale Exclusive Clip

Watch Betty Cooper’s sultry performance of ‘Mad World’ in this exclusive ‘Riverdale’ clip.
News

Entrenue Named Exclusive Distributor of Fun Factory’s Stronic G Thruster

Entrenue has been named exclusive U.S. distributor of Fun Factory’s Stronic G Thruster, a G-spot toy that uses the company’s patented Stronic technology to thrust and pulse hands-free.
XBIZ.com – Pleasure & Retail

SexToyDistributing.com Named Exclusive U.S. Distributor of New Tenga ‘Flex’

SexToyDistributing.com has been named exclusive U.S. distributor of the new Tenga Flex, a unique spiraled stroker with a flexible casing that allows for simultaneous swirling and suction sensations.
XBIZ.com – Pleasure & Retail

NBA Sports Crate Debuts With Exclusive Mitchell & Ness Snapback

Today (Oct. 30), Sports Crate, a division of Loot Crate, launched NBA Sports Crate, a bi-monthly subscription box loaded with team-focused products, merchandise and “experiences.” The key is that they get shipped right to your front door.

Touted as the Officially Licensed Subscription Box of the NBA, a subscription starts at $ 29.99. Each crates content is a surprise but the first month’s crate is set to feature exclusive Mitchell & Ness snapbacks that will be available to initial subscribers.

The NBA Sports Crate will launch with an initial 13 teams—the Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Philadelphia 76ers and San Antonio Spurs. More teams will be added on a rolling basis.

Check out detailed images of some of the initial goodies below and on the flip.

Fans can subscribe at www.sportscrate.com right now and right here.


Photo: Sports Crate

The post NBA Sports Crate Debuts With Exclusive Mitchell & Ness Snapback appeared first on Hip-Hop Wired.

Hip-Hop Wired

Exclusive: Taraji P. Henson On Her ‘Power Trip’ To The Top

“Empire” star Taraji P. Henson sat exclusively with Access Hollywood’s Natalie Morales at the Marie Claire Power Trip panel and chatted about how her confidence carried her to stardom.


Access Hollywood Latest Videos

EXCLUSIVE: Get A Sneak Peek at Season 3 Of ‘DC’s Legends of Tomorrow’

“DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” is coming back with a bang in Season 3 — we mean, coming back with Julius Caesar!


Access Hollywood Latest News

Eminem Goes Off On Donald Trump In Exclusive Freestyle For 2017 BET Hip Hop Awards

UPDATE: Slim Shady pulled no punches.


HipHopDX News

Stephen Colbert Shares ‘Exclusive Look’ At Steve Bannon’s ’60 Minutes’ Interview

(Spoof) spoiler alert.
Comedy
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SexToyDistributing Named Exclusive Distributor of TrueTouch Dildos

Sex Toy Distributing has been named the exclusive distributor of TrueTouch dual-density dildos, which are designed and manufactured in the U.S.
XBIZ.com – Pleasure & Retail

Exclusive: Nina Dobrev On BFF Julianne Hough’s Wedding: ‘It Was So Magical’

At a harper by Harper’s BAZAAR event, Nina Dobrev talks exclusively with Access Hollywood’s Alex Hudgens about Julianne Hough’s wedding. And, she talks about starring in the “Flatliners” remake.


Access Hollywood Latest Videos

Exclusive: Scott Foley On ‘Scandal’ Coming To An End & His Fitness Routine

“Scandal” celebrated a major milestone last season when it reached 100 episodes. And now, the cast is poised for one last milestone – the show’s seventh and final season. In our exclusive interview, Scott Foley reveals how he felt when he learned the end was near. And, watch as we join Scott and celebrity trainer Gunnar Peterson for a chest, shoulders and arms workout.


Access Hollywood Latest Videos

Exclusive: Sarah Hyland On Opening Up About Her Health Issues On Social Media

“Modern Family’s” Sarah Hyland is using her red carpet style to inspire other young girls, but in 2012, the 26-year-old revealed that she was diagnosed with kidney dysplasia at the age of nine. And, Sarah reveals exclusively to Access Hollywood’s Liz Hernandez that she’s ready to take on life fully renewed.


Access Hollywood Latest Videos

Exclusive: John Mayer On The Dangers Of Being Honest In His Music In A Tabloid World

John Mayer has admitted that his song, “Still Feel Like Your Man,” off his new album, “Search for Everything,” is about ex-girlfriend Katy Perry. But he is well aware that in the age of social media, if he sings about his personal life, not only will it end up on the charts, he’ll see it magnified in the tabloids. John broke down the dangers of being so open when he sat down with our guest correspondent, Rolling Stone contributing editor Joe Levy.


Access Hollywood Latest Videos

Raffi’s Joyous New Album: Exclusive Premiere

Raffi’s Joyous New Album: Exclusive PremiereThis month, more than 20 albums after Raffi’s seminal Baby Beluga first took toddlers by storm, the children’s troubadour will release a brand-new one: Owl Singalong. The jubilant mix of covers (“Garden Song,” “Abiyoyo,” “Somos el Barco”) and originals (“Green Dream,” “See the Moon”) hits stores on Jan. 15 (preorder here). But until then, Yahoo Parenting is exclusively premiering the album, streaming above.



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines

Exclusive: How Scarlett Johansson Nailed Her ‘Ghost In The Shell’ Pole Fight Scene!

In this exclusive sneak peek from the “Ghost in the Shell” Blu-ray and DVD, Scarlett Johansson and fight trainer Richard Norton show how Scarlett pulled off her impossible pole fight scene from the film. “Ghost in the Shell” is available for digital download July 7, and on Blu-ray and DVD July 25.


Access Hollywood Latest Videos

‘Tomb Raider’ Reboot Finds Director (Exclusive)


GK Films is producing the long-in-the-works reboot of the adventures of Lara Croft.

read more


Hollywood Reporter

Charlie Sheen reveals he’s HIV positive in TODAY Show exclusive

Charlie Sheen revealed he is HIV positive in an exclusive TODAY Show interview with Matt Lauer.


TODAY Pop Culture

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‘Property Brothers’ to Debut Two Country Music Songs on HGTV: First Listen (Exclusive)

Drew and Jonathan Scott chat with THR about co-writing and singing “Let the Night Shine In” and “Hold On” for their ‘Property Brothers at Home on the Ranch’ special.
Music News Headlines – Yahoo News

Germany’s ProSiebenSat.1 Signs Multi-Year Disney Deal (Exclusive)


The landmark licensing agreement will, for the first time, also give the German network exclusive SVOD rights to ABC television series.

read more



International

Stan Lee’s World of Heroes Launches ‘No Hero Now’ Music Video (Exclusive)

The Marvel icon is venturing into music videos.
Music News Headlines – Yahoo News

Exclusive: 6 Seconds Of Fame (VIDEO)

6 Seconds of Fame is a series of the funniest and most trending six second videos on the social network scene. Check out the videos that made it this week.

Filed under: Features, Videos Tagged: Social Network
AllHipHop.com: Hip-Hop News, Rumors, Interviews, Music, Videos and More

Justin Bieber, Access Hollywood’s Artist Of The Month, Exclusive Interview

Justin Bieber opens up after being named Access Hollywood’s “Artist of the Month.”


Access Hollywood Latest News

Jennifer Lawrence Drops Out of Sony’s ‘The Rosie Project’ (Exclusive)


The actress, however, is in early talks to star in Darren Aronofsky’s mystery indie project.

read more


Hollywood Reporter

EXCLUSIVE: Master P Reveals Release Date, Tracklist & Cover Art For ‘Empire’ Album

(AllHipHop News) Recently Master P announced he and his No Limit label were set to make a major comeback in different areas of entertainment. Part of that revival is the new reality series Family Empire set to air on Reelz on November 28. P is also dropping an album titled Empire on that same date.

[ALSO READ: Master P Set To Release “Ice Cream Man” Album Trilogy, New TV Show & Movie]

The 15-track project was produced by BlaqNmild. No Limit soldiers are featured throughout the album as well as fellow New Orleans legend Lil Wayne.

In addition, Master P is working on his King Of The South biopic. Queen Latifah, Wendell Pierce, and Charlamagne Tha God have already been tapped for the motion picture. Casting calls are currently being held.

[ALSO READ: Master P’s ‘King Of The South’ Biopic To Be Released In Spring 2016]

Check out the cover art and tracklist for Master P’s Empire below.

MASTER_P_EMPIRE_ALBUM_COVER

MASTER_P_EMPIRE_ALBUM_BACKCOVER

Filed under: News Tagged: AHH Exclusive, BlaqNmild, Master P, No Limit
AllHipHop.com: Hip-Hop News, Rumors, Interviews, Music, Videos and More

Christina Aguilera and Matthew Rutler to Host Hillary Clinton Fundraiser (Exclusive)


The star-studded event will be held Nov. 4.

read more


Hollywood Reporter

Christian Siriano’s New Red Carpet-Inspired Wedding Dresses: Come See Exclusive Photos

Red carpet darling Christian Siriano just launch a super-exclusive collection of wedding dresses inspired by gowns he designed for your favorite A-listers, and you have to see them. (He was behind Taylor Swift’s pink-ish golden…


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Exclusive: See Every Piece in the Nars x Steven Klein Collection!

What do you get when makeup artist François Nars teams up with photographer Steven Klein? The most provocative, seductive, menacingly beautiful makeup collection we’ve ever seen. Here, the exclusive first look before it hits shelves October 15.
The latest from allure.com
MillionaireMatch.com - the best dating site for sexy, successful singles!
MillionaireMatch.com – the best dating site for sexy, successful singles!

Exclusive: See the Entire Smashbox Holiday Collaboration Here First

Spanish artist Yago Hortal has teamed up with Smashbox for a collection of makeup and brushes inspired by the riotous splatters of color on his canvases. First, Google image search Hortal, because his paintings are incredible. Then, click through the full Smashbox Art. Love. Color. collection here—the products are so crazy colorful, they might just inspire you to create a masterpiece of your own.
The latest from allure.com
MillionaireMatch.com - the best dating site for sexy, successful singles!
MillionaireMatch.com – the best dating site for sexy, successful singles!

A2Z Europe Named Topco’s Exclusive European Distributor

A2Z Europe has entered a partnership with Topco Sales to become the exclusive European wholesaler of Topco’s full line of products.
XBIZ.com | Top Stories

‘Entourage’: ‘The Gang – Still Rockin’ It’ (Exclusive)

The original ‘Entourage’ cast, including Jeremy Piven and Adrian Grenier, reunites – and discuss how the movie version came to be.


Access Hollywood Latest Videos

EXCLUSIVE: Crooked I Criticizes Black Rappers For Being Afraid To Talk About Social Issues (VIDEO)

(AllHipHop News) With police brutality being a national news story for over a year and the 2016 presidential campaign dominating coverage, some Hip Hop artists have used their status to address social/political issues. According to Kxng Crooked I, more rappers need to step up and speak on the things taking place in America today.

[ALSO READ: Kanye West Talks The Delay On “SWISH” Album & Being A Fan Of Presidential Candidate Ben Carson]

“I just hate the way that Black rappers are scared to talk about what’s going on in America,” said Crooked. “They’re so tune into syrup, pills, weed, cars, women. If you take those subject matters away from them, they don’t rap about sh*t.”

The Slaughterhouse member also mentioned he is thinking about no longer using the word “n*gga.” In Crooked’s view, non-Black people are over abusing the n-word.

“When I say I don’t think you should say that, they say ‘well, you say it’.’ You Know what? I have to give some kind of credit to that comment,” explained Crooked.

[ALSO READ: Post Malone Says Sorry For Dropping “N-Word”]


Filed under: News, Videos Tagged: AHH Exclusive, KXNG CROOKED, n word, Slaughterhouse
Hip Hop News, Interviews and Music: Allhiphop.com

EXCLUSIVE: Loaded Lux Joins Murda Mook As A Host For “Keith Murray Vs Fredro Starr” Battle Event (VIDEO)

(AllHipHop News) Battle rap royalty will be on hand at the upcoming Keith Murray vs Fredro Starr lyrical contest. After it was announced Murda Mook will be on the stage that night, fellow legendary battler Loaded Lux has been named as a host of MC War’s “Generation X” as well.

[ALSO READ: Murda Mook To Host MC WAR’s “Keith Murray Vs Fredro Starr” Battle (VIDEO)]

In an exclusive interview, Lux was asked for his thoughts on the two veteran song makers’ decision to step into the battle arena. The Harlem native offered some advice to Murray and Starr by reminding them that things did not turn out well when another “industry rapper” went up against a professional battle rapper unprepared.

“I know what they do over them beats and that music, but listen man – I tell people the battle game’s like the fight game. You gotta come ready to work,” says Lux. “If you’re playing and you ain’t prepared, then it’s gonna show. You see what happened when Canibus tried to come through.”

The Keith Murray versus Fredro Starr battle is scheduled for October 4 at Brooklyn’s Milk River. Tickets are available at mcwars.com. AllHipHop.com will also broadcast the event live.

[ALSO READ: Keith Murray Calls Out Twista For $ 200,000 Rap Battle After Fredro Starr Contest (VIDEO)]

Watch Loaded Lux’s interview below.


Filed under: News, Videos Tagged: battle rap, Fredro Starr, Keith Murray, Loaded Lux, MC War
Hip Hop News, Interviews and Music: Allhiphop.com

EXCLUSIVE – Urban Legends: Part 1 Philly’s Jimmy Da Saint

Urban Legends is an AllHipHop.com original written series based on miraculous individual turnarounds in the urban entertainment world. Our features take a look at influential members in the Hip-Hop music, movie and television communities and we examine how they were able to find a better path despite their rough upbringing in the streets of urban America.
Below in our premiere story, we speak with Jimmy Da Saint about how he was able to overcome a life of crime to become one of the best-selling Black book authors in our era creating the Black Scarface series and others.   Having been incarcerated with the original Rick Ross during his federal prison stint, Jimmy developed an array of skills and published over 30 novels while he was incarcerated in prison. Read more and find out how Jimmy Da Saint put it all together from his own label that included members of State Property (Oschino and Sparks) to his highly successful booking and entertainment agency that he still runs today along with the Philly Hip-Hop Awards. A kid from West-Philly did that, and now he’s a book writer and a successful entrepreneur.

Let us highlight those that have persevered and turned over a new leaf after dealing with personal struggles. People that were caught up in the worlds of drugs and violent crimes but found a better way. They chose to do things the right way and these individuals are being rewarded. Enjoy, hope you learn something.

AllHipHop: If you could talk to me about your upbringing, where you’re from in Philly, how you were raised.  Just kind of want to know a little bit about that.

Jimmy Da Saint: Well I was raised in West Philadelphia, and I grew up – I wouldn’t say poor, see I didn’t know I was poor because my mom made sure I had everything.  So even though I grew up in the projects in West Philadelphia, I always had Christmas and Thanksgiving and Easter and all that kind of stuff.  My mom made sure that me and my brothers and sisters had that.  When I was younger, I was really into sports heavy,  I was a really good baseball player.  I played baseball in high school, junior high school and all that kind of stuff, and then I don’t know what happened.  When I got out of high school I just wanted fast money, I was just influenced by neighborhood drug dealers and guys who were getting fast money. That influenced me and I eventually wound up getting in that same profession – selling drugs and just being the whole street thing.

AllHipHop: So when you were selling drugs, were you selling crack?  Cocaine?  Were you selling weed?  What were you doing?

Jimmy Da Saint: Both.  Crack and cocaine, and I sold a little weed here and there.  I was really wasn’t too big on the weed, but I had it from time to time – I could get it.  I would get it to my workers that I would sell it– I didn’t actually sell it, myself.  I was in a position I had other people selling it for me.

AllHipHop: Right.  OK, go on.
Jimmy Da Saint:  That was it.  And I just got heavy into the whole drug thing and wound up, you know –  while I was in the whole drug business, I was also in the music business.  I was always involved with music because I used to be a rapper,
that happened to just be involved with drugs.  So I’d be selling drugs to other drug dealers that sold drugs for me and I’d be in the studio talkin sh*t and having fun living the life.

I’d be in the studio the majority of the day because I had a studio I owned– me and a friend of mine, they were making music and that’s why I wound up starting a group called ICH, Inner City Hustlers.  Two of the group members of ICH Oschino & Sparks, who I managed,  I wound up getting them a deal– a situation wi Rock-a-fella by Jay-Z.  He wound up signing two of my artists that were in my group.  I also managed a producer named Black Key at the time, and he wound up signing with Ruff Ryders.  He wound up doing a DMX album that was the Great Depression.

AllHipHop: Yeah, I know that.

Jimmy Da Saint: Yeah, I’ve known Black Key and worked with E-Ness since he was 13 –  he used to be Taz, like the Tasmanian Devil.  When I went to prison and came home from prison, he was E-Ness, so that was something new.  It’s like when I knew Cassidy, he was Lil’ B.  I came home from prison, he’s Cassidy.

AllHipHop: Yeah, that’s crazy.

Jimmy Da Saint: Yeah, so I was involved heavily in the music back then, mostly because I wound up getting a record deal, but I continued to sell drugs and I wound up getting in bad.  I was in my barbershop, and a FBI informant came in to buy a kilo of cocaine off me.  I sold him a kilo of cocaine, and I wound up getting indited.  A few days later, the FBI came and kicked my door in.  The person I sold the cocaine to was an informant and I didn’t know that he was working for the FBI.

AllHipHop: That’s crazy.  You pretty much answered my second question  “ICH,”  so you covered that but can you elaborate a bit more on “ICH”

Jimmy Da Saint:  Yeah ICH was pretty big and it’s crazy because in ’97 I was actually shot in an attempted kidnapping. I was in a wheelchair for a while, I was on a dialysis machine because my kidneys blew out, but I survived that and I wound up going right back into the whole drug thing again and I wound up getting indited and getting ten years in a federal prison.

But ICH was always a part of the mix.  ICH was a very, very, very popular group in Philadelphia.  When I came home from federal prison in 2010  I started ICH all over again, a new ICH with newer and younger members but I just stopped ICH, maybe, eight months ago.  I just stopped it and started focusing on one or two artists and not the whole group thing, eight artists at a time.

So I made them popular all over again.  I got XXL featured, if you go to Vibe.com or whatever, you’ll see it pops up. ‘Cause everybody was talking about them, we did a show with Wu-Tang and everybody– DMX, JadaKiss and we were the opening acts for all of them.  So when I came home it was easy for me to get five young, good city rappers, put them all together and I did the ICH all over again.  People remember the original ICH because of Oschino and Sparks.  They know Oschino and Sparks is from the group ICH and Jay-Z signed them and made a group called State Property and put those two members in State Property.

AllHipHop: Yeah.  So with these books and stuff like that, what was the spark that just, kind of made you pick up the pen one day and that kept you at it, you know what I mean?  What drove you?

Jimmy Da Saint:  You know, I just wanted to do something.  I remember the first day I went to prison– I actually started writing the first day I went to prison, day one.  Like, it didn’t take me a month, two months to get in there.  I remember walking in the yard and I was like, “Damn, I got ten years,” and I just wanted to write about it.  It’s just like I wanted to write and I remember they gave us some pens and pads to do something in our spare time– I began to write and I started writing and writing and then I was like, alright, start focusing on my first a book I wrote, called ‘Decisions,’ but I never put it out.

The first book I ever wrote, I let a few people read it and they liked it, then I started continuing to write, write, write and next thing you know I had four or five novels written and I got them typed and everything and I sent it out to a friend of mine, Vicky Stringer, who owns the largest Black independent book company in the world.  I sent it out to her because I was reading her book, and on the inside of her book, she said, “Write me.”

I wrote her and told her I was a book author and she wrote me back and said, “Send me the book.”  I sent it to her, she sent me a number back and said, “Call me as soon as possible.”  I called her, she said, “You got you a two-book deal.  This book is amazing.  I love it and I sent it to my publisher and they want to publish your book.”

And it happened just like that.  I was like, “Really?”  And they gave me advance money, and it was just a book deal– just like a record deal, but it was a book deal.  I was like, “Wow.”  I was just so inspired, I continued to keep writing and writing and writing and I wound up writing thirty novels while I was incarcerated.  I ghost-wrote a few books for other people and I got seventeen novels out right now, and a few are best-sellers.

I was like, “OK, I think I found my niche.”  I got a story to tell, I got shot, I grew up in the projects, I’m from the streets of Philly, I was a real drug dealer, I got indited by the FBI and the DEA, you now what I’m saying?  All my friends– half of my friends been murdered, I was in the rap game. I was with Jay-Z, with Dame Das.  This is my life– this has been my life.  Drugs and rap music has always been my life, so I could talk about this all day.

AllHipHop:  That’s crazy man.  I guess what’s amazing is that, you know, people don’t usually equate author, or novelist with drug dealer, street-shooting rapper – most people in society don’t associate the things at all.  They wouldn’t think that somebody who did that, could do what you did with these books.  What do you say to those people and why do you think you were able to do that?

Jimmy Da Saint:   It’s my life its real. Rick Ross was one of my closest friends in prison.  I walked up to him and I said, “You’re known for being a drug dealer,” and I said, “I can help change that.”  And he laughed and said, “Well what can you do?”  I said to him, “I’ll write a book.  I’m a book author– put best-selling book author next to your name, and we can get rid of that.”

He liked that and he said, “Wow.”  And I did it.  And I wound up writing a number one-selling book, Black Scarface.  That’s why it was co-written by Rick Ross.  I wanted to do something.  I wanted to show that I’m really one of y’all, like, really.  Not a fake one of y’all, I’m really one of y’all.  I’m from the streets.  No father, single mother, projects, crack cocaine, weed cocaine, murders, prison, FBI, rap music– I am that person all the way.  I don’t have to tell you about nobody else life, I can tell you about my life.

AllHipHop: What did you and Rick Ross talk about

Jimmy Da Saint: You know, Rick Ross told me something very important.  I’ll never forget it, he was like,, “Jim, you need to learn the art of networking.”  He said, “You so talented because you could write raps, you could write songs, you could write books.”

I was the commissioner of the basketball league in jail, I gave all those little concerts and poetry shows in jail. I was influential in prison and he was like, “But because you are so talented, these talents are going to go to your head and stuff because everybody depends on you,” He said, “You learn to be more humble and learn how to network more,” he said, “You’ll be a very powerful individual if you can do that.”

He’s the one who told me, “Just like this person over here might not be nobody, and just like this person over here is Jay-Z’s assistant or whatever, whatever, whatever, don’t break your neck for that assistant because everybody is the same and everybody is important.”  He used to tell me this all the time.  And I took that, I came home with that mentality– everyone counts.  Everybody.  Everyone, like this interview with you, or like an interview with Rock Lord Radio, underground radio with three viewers everyday, that’s important to me also.  If I can get my point across to those three individuals.

AllHipHop: Can you talk to me about your new movie with Rick Ross?

My new movie project is called FACE, based off my bestselling novel Black Scarface. It was co written by the real Rick Ross and Rick will be a producer on it. My partners on the project are Vance & Khan from Ruffhouse Records and William Alexander from Crevice Ent. in L.A. so I’m really looking forward to the possibilities on this one.

AllHipHop: Lastly, can you discuss your booking agency in Philly?

My company is called DaSaint Ent.  I manage artists, write books, produce movies, music and concerts with the local Live Nation. I have a back to school show I did with Mone’ Davis and several up and coming talents. I have the Philly Hip Hop awards and several other concerts I work on throughout the year. I’m staying busy!

For more information on Jimmy Da Saint, check out his Amazon website where he’s sold hundreds of thousands of books. Thank you Jimmy for telling your story. 

Filed under: Features Tagged: Jimmy Da Saint
Hip Hop News, Interviews and Music: Allhiphop.com

Arcade Fire’s ‘Reflektor Tapes’ Film: Exclusive First Look

Billboard has an early glimpse into the 75-minute Arcade Fire film with an exclusive first-look clip of “Here Comes The Nighttime.”
News, reviews, interviews and more for top artists and albums – MSN Music
ADULT ENTERTAINMENT NEWS UPDATE:Gabby Love’s top pick! Click and enjoy!

Emmy Surprise: Tracy Morgan Gets Emotional About His Big Hollywood Return (Exclusive Q&A)


The comedian reveals how it came together and what’s next.

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Hollywood Reporter

‘Monica The Medium’ Sneak Peek! (Exclusive)

Monica Ten-Kate juggles a reading while at a restaurant with friends. The full episode of ‘Monica the Medium’ airs September 22 at 8/7c on ABC Family.


Access Hollywood Latest Videos

Zurich Festival Head Launches Production Shingle (Exclusive)


With backing from Dhabi and German producer/distributor DCM, SPK Pictures plans to produce 8 films English-language features over the next four years.

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International

Hot Octopuss Signs Exclusive Indian Distribution Deal With Digital e-Life

Digital e-Life has signed an exclusive agreement with Hot Octopuss, an award-winning British sex toy brand, to bring the company’s products to India.
XBIZ.com | Top Stories

TIFF: World War II Film ‘Land of Mine’ Selling to Sony Pictures Classics (Exclusive)


The Martin Zandvliet-helmed film made its world premiere on the opening night of the Toronto Film Festival and has garnered some of the best reviews of the crop of acquisition titles available.

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Hollywood Reporter

Exclusive: Michael Ealy & Morris Chestnut Talk Good Vs. Evil In The Perfect Guy

Just in time for cuffing season and autumn date nights, Sony is unleashing the steamy thriller, The Perfect Guy upon audiences. The film splices just the right amount of chocolate box star power as Sanaa Latham stars as Leah, a successful professional who gets involved with a seemingly perfect guy Carter (Michael Ealy) after her longtime relationship with Dave (Morris Chestnut) hits a stagnant point. Unbeknownst to her upon their first date, Carter possesses a lethal alter-ego and when Dave comes back into the picture, an even more serious conflict is spawned.

The film combines the talents of director David M. Rosenthal and writers Alan B. McElroy and Tyger Williams alongside Ealy and Lathan in the executive producer chair. Hip-Hop Wired caught up with both of the leading men of the film and we broke apart their unique dynamic in The Perfect Guy.

Morris, if you had a dollar for every time a fan claimed you were “the perfect guy” how much money would you be holding?

Morris Chestnut: [Laughs] I thought you were going to ask me, if I had a dollar for every time some yelled out ‘Rickyyy’ [from Boyz n the Hood] I’d be a billionaire; I’d be richer than Donald Trump. Luckily I have people and fans who root for me but they don’t really tell me I’m the perfect guy.

You are pretty much the ideal good guy in every movie you play. How close were you to shaking things up this time around?

Morris Chestnut: The shake-up was when I came into the restaurant and had a situation with Mike’s character. That was the closest…and it was fun! Mike’s a really good dude; he’s a great actor and we had a great time shooting it.

Mike, you actually got to play the bad guy. Did you like doing this role?

Michael Ealy: I loved it. I loved everything from start to finish. In terms of coming on board to the project to producing the project and being part of the creative process and developing the script to where it needed to be. And shooting this movie was amazing.

The movie got shot in like a month?

Morris Chestnut: We shot it pretty quickly and it was pretty contained.

Michael Ealy: It was about two months for me.

Was this your first time executive producing, Mike?

Michael Ealy: Yes, the first and definitely won’t be the last. I could definitely see myself behind-the-scenes and transitioning as time goes by.

But the audience doesn’t want to see you behind-the-scenes, though.

Michael Ealy: Yeah…that’s alright [Laughs]. It depends on the content you give them and I think you got to share the love. Everybody has to get the shine in all aspects.

What was it like working with a first-time director?

Michael Ealy: David isn’t a first-time director. He’s a first-time studio director. He’s done independent films and I’ve seen his work and David’s sensibilities were exactly what we needed in this movie. Because he’s not in the studio system, he has more indie traits and once you’ve seen the film, you’ll understand that it’s not as polished as say a Think Like a Man. It’s not as conventional and that’s what we’re going for. It’s a genre piece and people know the genre but we shot it from a grimy sensibility opposed to relying on other troupes from other movies.

With a stalker tale like this, we’ve started to see it more prevalent in the news. Is there some sort of domestic violence message in this film?

Morris Chestnut: I definitely think so. I’d say the overall message is really trying to get to know the person [that you date]. Take your time and don’t rush into anything too quickly and really learn to understand them.

Michael Ealy: I’d say this story is bigger than domestic violence. I think domestic violence almost simplifies the script because it’s not a case of domestic or verbal abuse–that’s What’s Love Got to Do with It. This is a thriller–like a romantic, psychological thriller if you will–and it’s more about Carter’s goal. Carter’s goal isn’t to hurt Leah. Carter’s goal is to make Leah do what he wants, which is to love him. As long as she’s loves him, then she’s going to be O.K. and that’s the sociopath in him talking. It’s about control and power.

Is Carter setting light-skinned brothers back with this film?

Michael Ealy: You know…[Laughs]…no! People have made this comment and that’s not really the goal. And I feel like there will be a couple of light-skinned brothers that will be proud of this [Laughs]. But I don’t think being a sociopath has anything to do with the tone of anyone’s skin so that won’t apply here and people will see that in the movie.

Speaking of Ricky, did you get a chance to check out Straight Outta Compton yet, Morris?

Morris Chestnut: I haven’t! I’ve been working on this TV show, Rosewood and it’s been really hard for me to take out 2 1/2 hours for the movie. But I’m definitely going to see it real soon.

How do you feel about being on TV once again?

Morris Chestnut: It’s a blessing, to having the opportunity and I’m looking forward to it doing well. The good thing about a movie is you get a lot of time to sit in your trailer to get your character right. TV shows move so fast which could be a good and a bad thing. Some time you don’t get to get into a scene as much but it’s also good not waiting like eight hours just to shoot the first shot.

Both of you guys are part of a pretty tight-knit group of Black Hollywood. When you get a script and see that one or the other–like Sanaa Latham is on board, does it make an automatic go for you?

Morris Chestnut: For me, that was definitely one of things seeing both Sanaa and Michael were involved. I said, ‘Wow, these are two high-caliber actors and I want to be a part of it and add to the mix and see if we can make something special.’ And our characters never really worked together in the movies that we’ve done together so this was a chance for that happen.

Michael Ealy: We had a good crew. Working with Sanaa was something I wanted to do for a long time and she didn’t disappoint because she’s just that good. And funny…so funny.

Trailers look like they give a lot of the movie away but they really don’t. What can people expect from The Perfect Guy?

Morris Chestnut: They give some good moments away but there’s still the journey. A lot of times what I find is when it’s a good movie that’s well-executed, you kind of forget the trailer and getting engrossed in the movie step-by step, so hopefully this happens with this one.

Michael Ealy: There is still plenty of good moments that haven’t been given away and I can’t wait for people to see those moments, seeing that the studio has been playing nice.

The Perfect Guy hits theaters tomorrow, September 11. Pre-purchase your tickets on Fandago.


Photo: La Niece/WENN.com

The post Exclusive: Michael Ealy & Morris Chestnut Talk Good Vs. Evil In The Perfect Guy appeared first on Hip-Hop Wired.

Hip-Hop Wired

EXCLUSIVE: M.O.P’s Lil Fame Shares His Thoughts On Keith Murray Vs Fredro Starr Battle

(AllHipHop News) Brooklyn’s own Lil Fame is the latest veteran emcee to weigh in on the upcoming Keith Murray versus Fredro Starr battle. One half of M.O.P. will be in the building for the MC WARS event in his hometown, and he’s looking to see a great match between what he calls two important, successful artists.

[ALSO READ: 50 Cent Says “F*ck Fredro Starr” (VIDEO)]

“Don’t hit me with no Pacquiao-Mayweather sh*t. I want to see some sh*t go down,” says Fame. “Don’t waste my motherf*cking time. If y’all gonna do it, then do it, n*gga.”

The Keith Murray Vs Fredro Starr battle will take place at “Generation X” on Sunday, October 4 at New York City’s Milk River. Tickets for the event are available at mcwars.com. The showcase will also broadcast live on AllHipHop.com.

[ALSO READ: EXCLUSIVE: Brand Nubian’s Sadat X Discusses Keith Murray Vs Fredro Starr Battle (VIDEO)]

Watch Lil Fame’s prediction on Keith Murray Vs Fedro Starr in the video below.


Filed under: News, Videos Tagged: battle rap, Fredro Starr, Keith Murray, Lil Fame, M.O.P., MC Wars
AllHipHop

Exclusive: Check Out Jessica Alba’s Entire Honest Beauty Makeup and Skin-Care Line!

After over two decades of sitting in hair-and-makeup chairs, Alba knows her stuff, and aimed to create natural products that could compete with those from high-end beauty companies.
The latest from allure.com
MillionaireMatch.com - the best dating site for sexy, successful singles!
MillionaireMatch.com – the best dating site for sexy, successful singles!

Entrenue Named Exclusive Distributor of V20MAX for Men

Entrenue has been named as the exclusive distributor of the new male enhancement pill V20MAX, which according to the company, boasts a 95 percent success rate with no known negative side effects.
XBIZ.com | Top Stories

Get an Exclusive First Look at the & Other Stories Makeup Line

We got a first look at all the products, including a dizzying variety of eye shadow, lipstick, and blush shades, available at the flagship store in New York’s SoHo neighborhood.
The latest from allure.com
MillionaireMatch.com - the best dating site for sexy, successful singles!
MillionaireMatch.com – the best dating site for sexy, successful singles!

Castle Exclusive: Watch Ryan and Esposito’s “Definition of Love” Music Video!

Castle Exclusive: Watch Ryan and Esposito's "Definition of Love" Music Video!This article, Castle Exclusive: Watch Ryan and Esposito's "Definition of Love" Music Video!, originally appeared on TVGuide.com. Although the long wait for Castle's upcoming eighth season is almost over, we've got a special treat to hold you over these last few weeks. One of the special features on Castle's Season 7 DVD set, which hits stores Tuesday is a music video for "Definition of Love," a song Ryan (Seamus Dever) and … Read More > Other Links From TVGuide.com Castle Seamus Dever Jon Huertas



Music News Headlines – Yahoo News

Jennifer Lawrence’s Dior Beauty Ad: 13 Exclusive Behind-the-Scenes Photos


J.Law’s official Dior Addict lipstick campaign has (finally!) arrived. Here, we give you an exclusive look of the actress on set for her beauty campaign, working the camera with the brand’s shiny new lip shades.


Style

Watch Jennifer Lawrence Dish on Her Dior Addict Campaign (Exclusive)


“To me, the Dior woman is playful, spontaneous and free,” says the actress.

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Style

Marvel Shake-Up: Film Chief Kevin Feige Breaks Free of CEO Ike Perlmutter (Exclusive)


After Feige’s “years of frustration,” the studio’s movie group will now report to Disney’s Alan Horn.

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Hollywood Reporter

Entrenue Named Exclusive U.S. Distributor of French Brand Exsens

Entrenue has been named exclusive U.S. full-line distributor of Parisian sensual cosmetics brand Exsens.
XBIZ.com | Top Stories

Instagram and Jeremy Scott Partner for VMAs (Exclusive)


Thanks to Instagram’s new collab with Miley’s BFF, you’ll never miss an outrageous moment on Sunday’s red carpet.

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Style

‘The Grinder’ Showrunner Greg Malins Exits (Exclusive)


The Fox comedy becomes the fourth freshman series to see a change at the top this season.

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Hollywood Reporter

Daily Front Row Fashion Awards Announce Winners (Exclusive)


The third annual awards ceremony will be held Sept. 10 in New York.

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Style

Ice Cube and Son to Reunite on L.A. Riots Thriller (Exclusive)


Donovan Marsh is directing the Lionsgate film titled ‘April 29, 1992.’

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Hollywood Reporter

‘Jurassic World’ Writer Heads to ‘Kong: Skull Island’ (Exclusive)


Tom Hiddleston and Brie Larson are starring in the creature feature.

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Hollywood Reporter

Exclusive: See the Entire CoverGirl x Star Wars Collection!

Check out the whole collection, which launches officially on September 4, right here.
The latest from allure.com
MillionaireMatch.com - the best dating site for sexy, successful singles!
MillionaireMatch.com – the best dating site for sexy, successful singles!

Get an Exclusive First Look at the CoverGirl x Star Wars Campaign

For the ad campaign, the brand’s global creative design director, makeup artist Pat McGrath, brought the Force to life, creating six looks inspired by the film.
The latest from allure.com
MillionaireMatch.com - the best dating site for sexy, successful singles!
MillionaireMatch.com – the best dating site for sexy, successful singles!

Watch Maddie & Tae Sing in Acoustic “Fly” Music Video (Exclusive)

The country duo plays the guitar for their current single.
Music News Headlines – Yahoo News

Watch Maddie & Tae’s Acoustic “Fly” Music Video (Exclusive)

The country duo’s debut album drops Aug. 28.
Music News Headlines – Yahoo News

How to Make a Giant Creature – EXCLUSIVE: It’s Alive! Watch Jimmy Kimmel Take the Fully Formed Giant Creature for a Ride Down Hollywood Boulevard

Watch Matt Winston and the crew assemble the giant creature on Hollywood Boulevard before its big reveal on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Plus, watch Kimmel and his sidekick Guillermo take the nearly 14-foot tall, 2,000-pound creature for a ride.

Watch the Kimmel segment here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plmBWOL5LBw
WIRED Videos – The Scene

Check Out This Exclusive Clip From NBC’s Upcoming Sitcom “The Carmichael Show”

Jerrod Carmichael’s life as a stand-up comedian is serving as the inspiration for the new NBC sitcom The Carmichael Show. The half-hour family centered series also features the return of comic David Alan Grier to network television.

Veteran actress Loretta Devine along with Amber Stevens West and Lil Rel Howery round out the cast. Carmichael, Nick Stoller, and Ravi Nandan are attached as executive producers.

The Carmichael Show premieres August 26 on NBC at 9/8 central. Check out AllHipHOp.com’s exclusive clip from the upcoming program below.


Filed under: Alternatives, Videos Tagged: David Alan Grier, Jerrod Carmichael, Loretta Devine, The Carmichael Show
AllHipHop

Colin Farrell Joins Harry Potter Spinoff ‘Fantastic Beasts’ (Exclusive)


Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Ezra Miller and Alison Sudol are starring in the Warner Bros. film.

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International

Relativity’s Ryan Kavanaugh Breaks Silence, Points Fingers in Emotional Post-Bankruptcy Interview (Exclusive)


“I never thought an interview would make me cry,” insists the embattled helicopter-flying, high-living mogul who claims he’s the victim of an elaborate financial scheme (hint: not his own) and vows he won’t be wiped out personally by his company’s downfall (despite potentially losing $ 70 million).

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Hollywood Reporter

Channing Tatum Closes His ‘Gambit’ Deal (Exclusive)


The move comes despite reports that his participation in the ‘X-Men’ spinoff was in danger.

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Hollywood Reporter

‘Humans’ Sneak Peek (Exclusive)

In this exclusive sneak peek of ‘Humans,’ Dr. Millican (William Hurt) stands up to Synth Niska (Emily Berrington).


Access Hollywood Latest Videos

Exclusive: Cupcakes and Cashmere’s Emily Schuman Reveals 10 New Styles From Her Hot New Line

It might be fair to call Emily Schuman the O.G. of style bloggers: She started Cupcakes and Cashmere back in 2008 and since then has gotten married, had a baby, penned a book, and landed…


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FASHION NEWS UPDATE-Visit 2 Spendless Online today for the hottest deals online!

Jennifer Lawrence to Star in Love Story ‘Rosie Project’ (Exclusive)


The romantic dramedy is being developed at Columbia Pictures.

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Hollywood Reporter

Exclusive: Ruby Rose Gets Real

Newfound fame has overwhelmed many an overnight sensation, but breakout "Orange Is the New Black" star Ruby Rose is taking her instant success in stride.


Access Hollywood Latest News

Exclusive: Soon You’ll Hear Eminem, Kendrick Lamar And Dr. Dre On One ‘Insane’ Project

‘Straight Outta Compton’ director F. Gary Gray tells MTV News what to expect from the film’s soundtrack.
News

Exclusive Clip From 7 Days In Hell with Kit Harington

Exclusive Clip From 7 Days In Hell with Kit Harington

Exclusive Clip From 7 Days In Hell wi… 1:16
Charles Poole (Kit Harington) gives insight into what makes him one of the best tennis players in the world in this exclusive clip from 7 Days In Hell, premiering July 11th on HBO.
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Funny or Die | Funny Videos, Funny Video Clips, Funny Pictures

FilmOn, India’s Zee Team on Online Bollywood Channel (Exclusive)


Zee Bollyworld TV will offer movies and other content and will be available free on computers, tablets and other mobile devices.

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International

Exclusive: Bill Murray to Make First Comic-Con Appearance!

Bill Murray, Rock the KasbahBill Murray is coming to Comic-Con!

We die!

I can exclusively reveal that the funny man will make his first appearance at Comic-Con to promote his new film, Rock The…


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‘Star Wars’ Han Solo Spinoff in the Works With ‘Lego Movie’ Directors (Exclusive)


These are the directors you are looking for.

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Hollywood Reporter

Relativity Strikes $320 Million Deal With Catalyst Capital Group (Exclusive)


Kavanaugh retains control of Relativity and will remain CEO and chairman of the board, a source familiar with the negotiations said.

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Hollywood Reporter

Silento Explains How “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” Went Viral [Exclusive]

You haven’t been able stand two minutes near a computer this year without being subjected to the “Watch Me Nae Nae” song. The viral dance hit (officially titled “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” has been the subject of many YouTube and Vine renditions but only the creator, Silento has the magic ingredient behind the record. At seventeen-years-young, the ATL native already has a gold-selling single and a label deal with Capital Records with nothing but potential ahead.

Now history has shown us that these sort of break-out hits don’t exactly lead to substantial careers but Silento insists that he’s not an one-hit wonder when we grilled him about the notion at the 2015 Bet Awards.

“Before [“Watch Me Nae Nae”], I was making other music; rapping and singing. That’s just the attention track,” a confident Silento tells Hip-Hop Wired. As fate would have it, his claim to fame started by playing around on social media.

“At first…I was having fun at school; just singing out of my mouth. And I recorded for fifteen seconds and put it on my Instagram,” Silento recalled. After getting several hundred comments, his next move could be considered a no-brainer.

“Then from there, I capitalized and made it a song,” he admitted.

Watch our interview with Silento below and buy “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” on iTunes. The recently released official video can be seen below.


Photo: Hip-Hop Wired

The post Silento Explains How “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” Went Viral [Exclusive] appeared first on Hip-Hop Wired.

Hip-Hop Wired

Exclusive: Tink Names Her Top 3 Female Rappers [VIDEO]

Earlier in the year, Hip-Hop Wired presented the world with a definitive list for the best female rappers every to cold rock a microphone.

On the flipside, Timbaland protégé Tink has been the most exciting female rapper to hit the scene since obviously, Nicki Minaj. So much to the point where grouping her into a generalized “female rappers” category wouldn’t do her skill set any justice.

Nonetheless, the Chicago MC respects the game and rattled off her top three females of all-time (who not-so-ironically appeared at the top of our aforementioned list).

As for her highly anticipated debut album Think Tink, she insists that the project is still slated for a fall release but building a buzz opposed to a black album is still priority No. 1.

Who can blame her? Watch our BET Awards interview with Tink above.


Photo: Hip-Hop Wired

The post Exclusive: Tink Names Her Top 3 Female Rappers [VIDEO] appeared first on Hip-Hop Wired.

Hip-Hop Wired

Design FX – The Maze Runner Exclusive: Building the Mechanical Grievers & Complex Maze Set

Based on the hit YA novel of the same name, the upcoming flick The Maze Runner takes place in a post-apocalyptic world. To create the vast maze and relentless mechanical creatures called Grievers, FX experts Method Studios used technical and complicated special FX. Mike Seymour breaks down the tech behind the film.

WIRED Videos – The Scene

808s & Heartbreak (Exclusive Edition) – Kanye West

Kanye West - 808s & Heartbreak (Exclusive Edition)  artwork

808s & Heartbreak (Exclusive Edition)

Kanye West

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Price: $ 6.99

Release Date: December 31, 2007

© ℗ 2008 Roc-A-Fella Records, LLC

iTunes Store: Top Albums in Hip Hop/Rap

EXCLUSIVE: Cast Of The Entourage Movie Talk Recreating The Greatness

Whether you’re a curious newcomer or diehard fan, chances are the upcoming Entourage movie has managed to fly across your radar in some shape or fashion. Over the course of eight seasons, HBO delivered us a worthy depiction of brotherhood, camaraderie and perseverance. It just so happened to be set underneath the vice-laden lights of Hollywood, replete with enough sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll to feel the void. The characters were so true-to-life, it was only right that the boys returned to the silver screen to keep the story going.

Hip-Hop Wired was extremely fortuitous to get an extended invitation from Warner Bros. to shadow the Entourage movie’s set for a day. We indulged in the magic of the crew’s filmmaking process, who handily transformed a lavish pad in Palos Verdes into a Malibu beach house. Additionally, were also able to interview the time-tested cast of Kevin Connolly, Adrian Grenier, Kevin Dillon and Jerry Ferrara.

You may best know them as E, Vince, Drama and Turtle, respectively. Allow them to tell you why you should be present in theaters come June 3rd when the Entourage movie is officially unveiled.

Since the show left off, where have you guys been with your individual characters?

Adrian Grenier: Remarkably…it was like riding a bike. When we first started shooting down in Miami, I think we were all a little nervous, especially with the time away. But as soon as they yelled “Action!” we were right back in there. You really don’t need to relearn how to have a family reunion.

Jerry Ferrara: [My weight loss] is still a thing [Laughs]. It did kind of start a couple of years ago around Season 7 or 8. I think Doug’s mad at me because we had to write new jokes. There were several reasons why I got into shape and in a weird way, it added to the evolution of the character. But by no means was it for the role.

Kevin Dillon: It’s good to be back. I just relished in this character so much. You know how it is being Drama. He never gets what he deserves–in his opinion. He’s just so kooky and he’s got so many flaws. I feel like it’s easy for everyone [to get back into the swing of things]. We know our characters and we’re not on the set trying to figure out who we are.

Kevin Connolly: It’s something that we have talked about over the years. There’s two trains of thought where you kind of want to put it behind you but these characters have so good to all of us, that you don’t want to put it behind you. I can live with people screaming ‘E!’ when I walk into a restaurant [Laughs]. Of course you want to move on do other things as an actor but as long as people will have us and allow us to play these characters, I’m sure everyone would agree we would love to continue.

Continued On Next Page

The post EXCLUSIVE: Cast Of The Entourage Movie Talk Recreating The Greatness appeared first on Hip-Hop Wired.

Hip-Hop Wired

“Planetary” Exclusive Clip

In this exclusive clip from the new documentary “Planetary,” we learn how space travel has affected human beings on a greater scale, allowing us to view the world in which we live, with a completely new perspective.
WIRED Videos – The Scene

Sarah Silverman Joins Andy Samberg in Lonely Island Music Comedy (Exclusive)

Judd Apatow is producing the musically-inclined comedy with Lonely Island’s Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone and Samberg.
Music News Headlines – Yahoo News

Jana Kramer Joins Music Drama ‘Country Crush’ (Exclusive)

The country singer will costar with Munro Chambers and Sophie Tweed-Simmons.
Music News Headlines – Yahoo News

Music Festival-Set Feature ‘XO’ in the Works From Voltage, theAudience (Exclusive)

Samantha Taylor Pickett and Vineet Dewan wrote the script for the social-media-influenced ensemble film.
Music News Headlines – Yahoo News

Apple in talks with musicians for exclusive streaming deals: Bloomberg

A sign is seen outside the Apple Store in Covent Garden in London(Reuters) – Apple Inc has approached more than a dozen musicians, including British band Florence and the Machine, in an effort to sign exclusive deals for some of their music to be streamed on Beats, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The company is in talks with Florence and the Machine to give Apple limited streaming rights to a track from their album set to be released in June, Bloomberg said. Apple has also approached Taylor Swift and others about partnerships, the report said. Apple declined to comment.



Music News Headlines – Yahoo News

Mark Wahlberg And Ted Are The Best Lawyers Ever In This Exclusive ‘Ted 2′ Clip

In this exclusive clip as part of MTV Movie Takeover Week, Ted and John (Mark Wahlberg) demonstrate just how great they would be at being lawyers to their actual lawyer Samantha (Amanda Seyfried).
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Amy Schumer Gets The Opposite Of A Booty Call In This Exclusive Scene From ‘Trainwreck’

Check out this exclusive scene from the new Amy Schumer movie “Trainwreck.”
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Exclusive: Yo Gotti Talks New Album & Keys To Success For Indie Artists

Yo Gotti’s new album, The Art Of Hustle, is on the way! Yo Gotti states that he is in the process of picking the final tracks, and in the album’s artwork, he plans to lay out what the 10 laws of The Art Of Hustle are. Yo Gotti’s (now a veteran in the game) albums, strategic touring, and solid mixtape output have allowed the Memphis emcee to emerge as the people’s champ.

AllHipHop caught up with Yo Gotti to discuss his upcoming album and the keys to success as an independent artist. Check out the interview below.

“The key to success being an independent artist is always be willing to do the work yourself. Never wait on no one. Never wait on a record label, never wait on a budget, never on the go ahead. If you feel it and know what you are doing, take that responsibility and roll with it.”

“When you are first getting in the game just know what you are getting in it for. What’s your goals? What winning is to you.”

“The fact that I’m not taking penitentiary federal chances; I’m doing something I love to do naturally is success.”

Filed under: Features Tagged: Yo Gotti
AllHipHop

Rose Byrne Hates Melissa McCarthy’s ‘Abortion Of A Dress’ In This Exclusive ‘Spy’ Clip

Find out how Melissa McCarthy reminds Rose Byrne of her mother (in a bad way) in this exclusive “Spy” clip.
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Gale Anne Hurd On The Legacy of Wilma Mankiller (Exclusive Video)

I’ve asked Gale Anne Hurd to share her thoughts on why the story of the first female Principal Chief of The Cherokee Nation is one for the history books.

You might think the first woman to become principal chief of the Cherokee Nation is unrelated to my Sci-fi productions, but the late Wilma Mankiller was a real-life Ellen Ripley or Sarah Connor, and like the women of “The Walking Dead” she was a survivor-warrior who stepped up to lead her people.

As I sat down to write about Wilma Mankiller and the importance of her legacy,  I thought: Where do I start?  On the leadership front?  How she brought a nation together when many of the men who preceded her had failed?  Or the equally important aspect of her heritage, and how American history has essentially scrubbed the original “Americans”  from our history books?  “Most people like to deal with us as though we were in a museum or a history book,” Chief Wilma Mankiller once said of Native American tribes. For Wilma, there is added insult to injury: despite being a woman head of state of a sovereign nation, elected in 1983 who served three unprecedented and productive terms in office, she is not even mentioned in most history books.  For these reasons and so many more, director/producer Valerie Red-Horse and I feel now is the time to document Wilma’s life story in a film.

Native American Roots and Their Impact

Mankiller has taken on a whole life of its own through community outreach and social media.  An aspect of a Kickstarter campaign I was not expecting is the almost familial feeling of a group banding together, most of whom you have never met. One such person is Rustie Ann Miller, a Cherokee woman who has taken to Twitter for hours on end in support of our documentary.  She has tweeted to everyone from Barack Obama to Blake Shelton in hopes of having her Chief and idol’s story told.  As she said through her Twitter email to me, “I’ve been up two days now but can’t stop gotta make this happen”. Rustie Ann explains the urgency of this documentary in great detail, “My heritage is very important to me.  I believe by Mankiller’s story being told, it would open the eyes of many and help others with closure. Our people have been through a lot, and people need to know [about] the true Native American culture. I believe by making the Mankiller documentary, all cultures would benefit from her great wisdom, leadership, and love for the world.”

As filmmakers, Valerie and I, like Rustie Ann, understand the power of cinema to document history and preserve it for future generations. A film can generate awareness even more widespread than an article or a museum exhibit.  As Wilma Mankiller’s story comes closer to being lost to time, we have decided to act now to ensure that her name is never forgotten.  Wilma’s legacy is even more relevant in today’s partisan political world and can serve as an inspiration for unity and humility in politics, to care first about people rather than power.
   
For those of you not familiar with Wilma, let’s go back in time.  Wilma Mankiller was born at the tail end of World War II in 1945, in a city at the foothills of the Ozark Mountains of Oklahoma. Her father was a full-blooded Cherokee, while her mother was Dutch-Irish who embraced Cherokee life. Growing up, Wilma experienced many of the hardships suffered by the Cherokee Tribe, including forced relocation to San Francisco by the U.S. government when she was 10 years old. She referred to the event as her own “Trail of Tears,” 100 years after the Indian Removal Act of 1830 that forced several tribes to abandon their ancestral lands in the southeast and force-marched them 2,200 miles to Oklahoma in the dead of winter.  Over 4,000 Cherokee died along the way.
 
In the Bay Area, Wilma witnessed activism that shaped her worldview and set her on the path to leadership. In 1969, she was involved in the occupation of Alcatraz Island with other Native American activists looking to reclaim the land that rightfully belonged to them. It is fitting that her surname, “Mankiller,” refers to a traditional Cherokee warrior rank. Indeed, Wilma found her calling as a soldier for human rights.  She was a role model to all Native women, as highlighted by director/producer Valerie Red-Horse: “Being a Cherokee woman, the opportunity to tell the inspiring story of Wilma Mankiller’s life and legacy is extraordinary. Wilma’s journey is empowering and fascinating, and her influence and reach were clearly widespread. I believe we as a society have much to learn from her ability to unite and grow communities and governments, setting differences aside. This is a big task for us as filmmakers as this is so much more than mere entertainment – the program will be utilized for education and empowerment as well.”

An excluisve clip from Mankiller

Before and during her tenure, Wilma Mankiller took on some of the most urgent challenges of our time: education, alternative energy and small business development. She revived the Sequoyah High School, created a hydro-electric dam and established federal small business development grants which engendered self-empowerment. She also brought running water to the communities of Bell, Okalhoma and she tripled tribal membership from 55,000 to 165,000. Like any leader, her administration was not without detractors nor  controversy, but even her political foes will agree that Mankiller led an exemplarily courageous and accomplished life. As Gloria Steinem said in her review of Mankiller’s book, A Chief and Her People: “As one woman’s journey, Mankiller opens the heart. As the history of a people, it informs the mind. Together, it teaches us that, as long as people like Wilma Mankiller carry the flame within them, centuries of ignorance and genocide can’t extinguish the human spirit.”

Upon Wilma’s passing in April 2010, President Obama declared: “I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Wilma Mankiller today. As the Cherokee Nation’s first female chief, she transformed the Nation-to-Nation relationship between the Cherokee Nation and the Federal Government, and served as an inspiration to women in Indian Country and across America. A recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, she was recognized for her vision and commitment to a brighter future for all Americans. Her legacy will continue to encourage and motivate all who carry on her work. Michelle and I offer our condolences to Wilma’s family, especially her husband Charlie and two daughters, Gina and Felicia, as well as the Cherokee Nation and all those who knew her and were touched by her good works.”

Show me the money: a video primer on another kind of equality.

A number of people, including President Obama, have recognized the need to raise the profile of female leaders in this country. Women on 20s is a grassroots movement that seeks to replace Andrew Jackson on the $ 20 bill with a prominent woman from American history. The list of potential replacements is filled with worthy candidates – Sojourner Truth, Rachel Carson, Harriet Tubman – and Wilma Mankiller. The faces on U.S. bills haven’t changed since 1929, and honoring Wilma on the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in 2020, could not be more perfect. With President Jackson having forced the removal of the Cherokee from their ancestral lands despite a Supreme Court mandate ruling in the Tribe’s favor – putting Wilma on the $ 20 bill would be poetic justice at its finest.  As author Louise Erdrich stated in her New York Times opinion piece, “It would be poetically just for her to replace Jackson and I love the thought of her soft and majestic face on money. Not to mention the satisfying contrast of her ferocious name.”
 
Family & the Art of Filmmaking

We have brought together a filmmaking team that includes Wilma’s widower, Charlie Soap, her daughter, Gina Olaya, and producers Kristina Kiehl and Dawn Jackson. But we have been joined by hundreds who have pledged their support to our project on Kickstarter, where we are crowd-funding part of the film’s budget. We believe that crowdfunding is the ultimate way to honor a leader like Wilma, by bringing people together in a campaign, much like she did.  Gina Olaya, Wilma’s daughter, put it best: “Mom was one of a few Native leaders in the 80s and 90s who sacrificed everything to lead her people. She worked 16 hours a day, seven days a week, to fulfill their needs. Mom’s service to our tribe wasn’t to gain fame, or fortune, or even social status. She genuinely cared for the health and welfare of each and every citizen of the Cherokee Nation, regardless of political affiliation or socioeconomic status. She would meet with U.S. presidents, then come home to Oklahoma to prepare food and dance the night away at our ceremonial ground; a rare breed, in my opinion.”

This extended trailer will introduce you to the story of Wilma Mankiller – and you might also recognize a few familiar faces from a certain series on AMC…

Entertainment – The Huffington Post
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Exclusive: Nellie McKay’s Funky, Funny New Video

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MY WEEKLY READER
NELLIE MCKAY

Nellie McKay has a new album and she’s ready to…storm the Bastille! Covering classic pop tunes from the 1960s, McKay brings alive the era when protest didn’t seem pointless, without ever losing her sense of humor or pop smarts. She’s on an extended tour and you don’t want to miss her terrific live shows, where McKay’s deadpan humor always threatens to — but never quite — gleefully upstage her musical chops. God knows if she wanted McKay could do stand-up, host a variety show or some day in my dreams run for President. (Though the PETA-friendly McKay might want to concede Texas right off the bat.)

Catch her if you can and you’ll be a fan for life. In New York, McKay is playing 54 Below from April 13-April 18, an ideal venue for seeing her since it’s in the heart of the theater district and it’s only a matter of time before McKay starts creating musical theater staged on Broadway.

My Weekly Reader runs the gamut from the Kinks’ “Sunday Afternoon” (in which a one-percenter moans about having to pay taxes) to the Crosby Stills & Nash album closer and Vietnam freak-out “Wooden Ships” that imagined a post-apocalyptic world, finishing off the CD with some haunting woodwind.

And it’s fun! McKay gender flips playfully on both Herman’s Hermits’ “Mrs. Brown, You Have A Lovely Daughter” (with McKay turning to her trusty ukulele) and the Beatles’ “If I Fell.” Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick co-produces so the album is bursting with clever but subtle sonic touches.

Here’s McKay digging into another unexpected cover: Moby Grapes’ “Murder In My Heart For The Judge.”

It subtly brings up inequities in the legal system during the song proper. And the music video is a retro delight, using classic cartoon snippets for the visuals. Then the tune goes nutters with a long instrumental jam featuring Bela Fleck wigging out on banjo while McKay offers up chants for social justice alongside non sequiturs like “I’m white and I’m proud!” and (my favorite) “What do we want?” “Time travel!” “When do we want it?” “It’s irrelevant!”

Does this undercut her passionate message? Far from it. You can sing great songs, raise awareness and have a chuckle at the same time. Knowing Nellie McKay, she wouldn’t have it any other way.

_____________

Thanks for reading. Michael Giltz is the founder and CEO of BookFilter, a book lover’s best friend. Looking for what you should read next? Go to BookFilter! Wondering what new titles just came out? Go to BookFilter? Need a gift idea? Go to BookFilter! It’s a website that lets you browse for books online the way you do in a physical bookstore, provides comprehensive info on new releases every week in every category and offers passionate personal recommendations every step of the way. It’s like a fall book preview or holiday gift guide — but every week in every category. He’s also the cohost of Showbiz Sandbox, a weekly pop culture podcast that reveals the industry take on entertainment news of the day and features top journalists and opinion makers as guests. It’s available for free on iTunes. Visit Michael Giltz at his website and his daily blog. Download his podcast of celebrity interviews and his radio show, also called Popsurfing and also available for free on iTunes.

Note: Michael Giltz is provided with free tickets to shows with the understanding that he will be writing a review. All productions are in New York City unless otherwise indicated.
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Furious 7 Exclusive Featurette – An Inside Look (2015) – Paul Walker, Vin Diesel Movie HD

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Furious 7 Exclusive Featurette – An Inside Look (2015) – Paul Walker, Vin Diesel Movie HD

Ian Shaw seeks revenge against Dominic Toretto and his crew for the death of his brother.

The Movieclips Trailers channel is your destination for the hottest new trailers the second they drop. Whether it’s the latest studio release, an indie horror flick, an evocative documentary, or that new RomCom you’ve been waiting for, the Movieclips team is here day and night to make sure all the best new movie trailers are here for you the moment they’re released.

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Behind The Scenes of Arianny Celeste’s Exclusive Playboy Shoot

It’s always a pleasure to have UFC Octagon girl Arianny Celeste take over Playboy HQ for a day. Watch as she works the camera and owns the spot light. People at work were very distracted. For more Playboy: http://ply.by/3PV1bd
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Universal Music Settling Big Class Action Lawsuit Over Digital Royalties (Exclusive)

A deal would mean that all the record majors have resolved claims of cheating artists by treating iTunes downloads as “sales” rather than “licenses.”
Music News Headlines – Yahoo News

Outlander Season One, Volume One: Collector’s Edition Target Exclusive

Order from Target.com: http://sonypictur.es/YP2T11

“Outlander” follows the story of Claire Randall, a married combat nurse from 1945 who is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743, where she is immediately thrown into an unknown world where her life is threatened. When she is forced to marry Jamie, a chivalrous and romantic young Scottish warrior, a passionate affair is ignited that tears Claire’s heart between two vastly different men into two irreconcilable lives.

The “Outlander” series, adapted from Diana Gabaldon’s international best-selling books, spans the genres of romance, science fiction, history and adventure into one epic tale. From Executive Producer Ronald D. Moore, “Outlander” premieres August 9th on Starz.

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‘New York Spring Spectacular’ Music Revealed: Beyonce, Pharrell, Madonna (Exclusive)

Director-choreographer Warren Carlyle breaks down the Rockettes’ first major new spring show since 1997, and their first to get them kicking to current chart-toppers.
Music News Headlines – Yahoo News

Coming Up On Wednesday: Exclusive Interview And Intervention With Bobbi Kristina Brown’s Boyfriend (VIDEO)

Bobbi Kristina Brown, the only child of Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown, was found unresponsive in a bathtub in her home five weeks ago, and reportedly remains in a medically induced coma. As the 21-year-old fights for her life, reports have surfaced that a battle may be brewing between her family and her boyfriend, Nick Gordon. According to reports, Gordon has been banned from visiting Bobbi Kristina, leaving him distraught.

In a national television exclusive, Dr. Phil conducts an emotionally charged intervention with Gordon, offering the 22-year-old the treatment he appears to so desperately need as he battles drug and alcohol addiction. With his mother Michelle at his side, Gordon expresses the severe pain, mental anguish and panic attacks he says he has been suffering since Brown was found in her home in January and over the tragic loss of Whitney Houston three years ago.

“As we sit here right now, my son’s life hangs in the balance. When Whitney was found, he administered CPR to her and called me as he was standing in front of her saying, ‘Mom, why couldn’t I do it? I couldn’t get air into her lungs.’ He won’t let go of the guilt, ” says Gordon’s mother, Michelle.

This episode of Dr. Phil airs Wednesday, March 11th.

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Dr. Phil – The Huffington Post

Kendra Sunderland Inks Exclusive Deal With Pipedream

Days after announcing their offer for an exclusive toy deal, Pipedream has cemented a contract with 19-year-old Kendra Sunderland.
XBIZ.com | Top Stories

Epic-“Hold On” Video + Exclusive on Career & R&B

Emerging R&B/Pop group Epic has just released their first visual to their new ​single “Hold On,” a new-aged rendition of En Vogue’s classic ’90s hit. ​T​he California-native quartet comprised of Monie, Yei, Stixx and Blue introduce a strong vocal performance with a relatable sound to an old school classic.

Produced by Kevin “She’kspere” Briggs, best known for his work with Whitney Houston, Pink, Destiny’s Child and TLC, who manages the group along with Dynasty Records’ president Doe Henderson, featuring Kentucky artist Simms.

​Epic starts with a vocal delivery of a famed a cappella verse and transitions into a united front of girl power mixed with jazzy choreography, fancy cars, and defining hair colors and wardrobe.

Check out the video below:

AllHipHop also caught up with Epic to discuss their endeavors and the new wave of R&B.


What do you think R&B is missing right now? What happened to the R&B group era?

I think we have to show up the world that it’s missing an impactful girl group so when they see a girl group singing four part harmonies like it was in the ’90s they are going to be like omg we are really missing this. R&B needs to return to talking about real life situations; I feel like that’s what’s really missing the connectivity to people’s live. It’s really repetitive. Like what’s happening in our generations life that we all need to talk about? Girl groups that try to come out today they don’t influence others they just do what the trend is but its no one is really inspiring anyone. EPIC plans to inspire.


EPIC is unique because you also are all musicians? So one by one tell me which instrument do you play?

I’m Blue: I play the bass guitar.
Monie: I play the keyboard.
Stix: I play the drums.
Yei: I play the lead guitar.


Do you feel the pressure to conform to what’s popular with R&B going pop or Hip Hop?

We try to balance it out but stick to quality with our own twist. That makes it EPIC. They will love who we are because we want to give them something they will love.


Arguably people say the ’90s early 2000s was the last era of timeless R&B, so a lot of R&B artists are leaning on covers because it resonates well with fans. Is that what inspired the En Vogue “Hold On” cover?

Yes because that was a popular song in the ’90s. People loved when Jackson 5 did that intro and they redid it and that’s years of music history. We are bringing it back for this generation to hear and understand.


Are you working on any other covers?

We are working more on original music, but we probably will do more covers.


With Epic everyone is gorgeous, has vocals, and plays instruments but what else separates you from the whole and makes you different?

We truly love each other. We really are one; when people see us they automatically can see that. Our foundation is so strong and we have a church background as well.


I feel like it’s really important for R&B artists to come together more on a united front because of what’s going on with the genre. So are you working with any other R&B artists currently?

We worked with Sims who is featured on the song and we work with Mishon. He (Mishon) always comes in our session and helps us there. Mishon is like our big brother; he helps us with our visions and our creativity. It’s amazing when you come together with someone who wants to bring back R&B and who have that same passion and drive.


So what has it been like working with She’kspere?

We love him; it’s really been a great experience. It can only go up from here. We all just connected, and we started recording the first day. It’s crazy because She’kspere has worked with a lot of great girl groups, so it meant a lot to us. It’s amazing for him to believe in us.


So She’kspere what made you believe in them…. you worked with Destiny’s Child, TLC, Pink Whitney etc?

They had the look, quality, and the foundation. I saw the same thing that I saw in a Destiny’s Child and a TLC.


So an influential producer such as yourself has the ability to create hit after hit even when the genre is struggling so what’s your secret to success?

Always do great music and give great music to stars. You can have great music but you have to have great stars; you can have great stars but bad music…. you have to have both.


What do you think is going to make Epic come to the forefront and last?

The foundation. Most of these other groups didn’t have that training and development to stick together. Most of these groups fall apart before they get started. The others don’t have the training to withstand the pressure and havoc that comes along with the music industry. They have a really strong spiritual and disciplinarian background.


What do you think is the problem within the R&B genre right now? There is a lot of finger pointing.

Great music always prevails, and stars sell. It has to be great music. With music now you have to switch up the way you look at the approach. The capacity of what it does is different. I’m very comfortable where music is. It’s really an even playing field for everyone. Whomever comes out with the best product and package will be seen and rise to the top.


Epic, What’s your favorite behind the scenes moment?

Working in the studio, and we have fun. When we get sleepy late at night and early in the morning we all do crazy and silly things.

Filed under: Alternatives Tagged: Epic
AllHipHop

Complicated Game: Chatting with James McMurtry and Wind-Up’s Ed Vetri, Plus a Jes Exclusive

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A Conversation with James McMurtry

Mike Ragogna: James, Complicated Game is your first album in six years. How complicated was its creation?

James McMurtry: The writing process was no more complicated than usual. I start with two lines and a melody and try to build from there. If the song keeps me up at night, I finish it. If not, it goes on the scrap pile to possibly be fished out and finished at a later date.

The recording process was a bit different this time. CC Adcock and Mike Napolitano produced the record in New Orleans. Most of us in my racket have to tour more than we used to because the mailbox money’s not there anymore. We can’t afford to hunker down in the studio for six weeks. So I’d come in for a week, sometimes with my band, sometimes solo, lay down a few tracs and then head back out on the road. While I was gone, CC and Mike would figure out whom else they wanted on the record, or whom else they could get. Often, decisions were based on who happened to be in town. You never know who might turn up in New Orleans.

MR: Your songs’ topics cover a wide range yet they’re all able to fit into the “Americana” genre. Does making this breed of music afford you more freedom to investigate and express than the other genres? Considering everything evolves or at least changes a little, what do you think of the “Americana” these days and do you have any favorite contemporaries? And didn’t you receive a Grammy nomination?

JM: My Grammy nomination was for Long Form Video in 1994, just before Americana came to be thought of as a genre. I don’t know if there was a chart for Americana Radio at that time. Seems like AAA–Adult Alternative Airplay or Triple A–had just morphed into almost what AOR–Album Oriented Rock–had been, and Americana had not yet grown up into the slightly more country version of Triple A that it eventually became. don’t know if Americana qualifies as a genre, or if it’s a catchall category for those of us who play a mix of country and rock ‘n’ roll and can’t get much play anywhere else. I’m not complaining. I need the spins and I’m not sure what really constitutes a genre anyway. Americana Radio has a bright future if they keep spinning the likes of John Fulbright and Jason Isbell. Those guys are top notch.

MR: How personal does the subject matter get for you, for instance, how much of you is there in songs like “Copper Canteen” and “Deaver’s Crossing” maybe as opposed to “Long Island Shores” and “How’m I Gonna Find You Now”?

JM: My songs are fiction whether I’m in them or not. I did used to cross a farm owned by some people named Deaver when I was a kid, but I fictionalized the account. I never knew the real Mr. Deaver. He’s crippled up in the song because it fits the meter and makes a good story. I did meet the real Mrs. Deaver. She was delightful. The other three songs you mention are totally made up, unless you count the rattle in the dashboard in “How’m I . . .” I did have an actual dashboard rattle that got the song going in my head. I don’t wash down blood pressure pills with Red Bull, but a couple of nurses I met on a cruise ship told me they did that all the time.

MR: “Peter Pan,” “Out Here In The Middle” and “We Can’t Make It Here” are some of your best loved songs. Do you have any personal favorites?

JM:”Restless” is always fun to play, and “Long Island Sound” off the new record.

MR: What is it about James McMurtry songs and recordings that keeps it admired and relevant?

JM: You’d have to ask a listener. I don’t know what’s relevant or admired.

MR: What advice do you have for new artists?

JM: Don’t quit unless you can.

MR: What’s coming down the pike?

JM: The pike itself, and lots of it.

******************************

JES INTRODUCES “TWO SOULS”

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photo credit: Courtesy of KTEE And Planetjes Inc.

According to Jes…

“For ‘Two Souls,’ I was looking to write on the more progressive, more pop side of dance, but I wanted to keep the emotional and angelic feeling I love to put into my songs. ‘Two Souls’ has been a long journey, and it went through many incarnations. It started as a very stripped down ballad, but later took on a whole new shape. The meaning of the song is also very close to my heart. It’s about coincidence in life, the ironic instances when we have met before in a different time and place, but never knew it. I know it’s a bit of a different sound for me but I hope my audience will embrace it. They know I love to write and sing in so many different styles and I think this one will also capture their hearts.”

******************************

A Conversation with Ed Vetri

Mike Ragogna: Nice to meet you, Ed. So Wind-Up Music has gone through a maturation period that seems like you’ve ushered-in. First off, for perspective, let’s talk about your own music career background. What are some of your favorite career highs?

Ed Vetri: Hey Mike, nice to meet you. My favorite moments are dealing with the young artists, the excitement to get a record deal and get into studio, that first feeling that they are not alone anymore. Specific moments that come to mind; Creed selling out Madison Square Garden; and the album “Weathered” being #1 on the charts for nine consecutive weeks, Evanescence winning a Grammy for “Best New Artist,” Finger Eleven performing the hit “Paralyzer” on the rooftop at the Much Music Awards in 2007, Seether having three #1 singles off their last record on Wind-up. Achieving a number one single at rock for the Young Guns song “Bones” after working it for 37 weeks. The first new artist to achieve a #1 on its debut song since Seether’s “Fine Again” in 2003. Ironically, Seether took 32 weeks. Those long climbs to #1 songs define the tenacity and character of Wind-up. Finally launching the Virginmarys with iTunes and having it be the first artist and only “Double single of the week” with the song “just a ride”. All of our my great moments are centered and based on achievements of my artists.

MR: How did you come on board at Wind-Up and what did you most admire about them?

EV: I had a relationship with the founder, Alan Meltzer, through a prior deal we did together. In the late ’90s, he then purchased Grass Records–featuring a very young Conor Oberst–and upon the signing of Creed, the name was changed to Wind-up Records and I joined the team. So other than feeling we had the “tiger by the tail” with Creed and Alan’s crazy and wild passion, I felt it would be a great opportunity to get into the business I loved.

MR: Wind-Up has been around for 17 years now. What do you think the label stands for these days? What’s its mission compared to when they first started?

EV: I think our slogan “developing career artists” was true 17 years ago and rings truer today. The early mission was really to build a company, with Creed as its first artist, to compete with the majors. We committed to significant staff, including radio personnel, before putting out our first album. It was a “build it and they will come mentality,” be successful with Creed and other rock bands would find us as the best label for rock bands. Today we are not a format specific, we look at great talent, sounds writers and amazing performers, then we deal with genre and formats. Our roster is more varied than in the past, but the common thread amongst todays roster, include incredible live performers , with powerful songs and a commitment to work very hard.

MR: What is the most unique thing you bring to their creative or business model and ideally, what would you see Wind-Up having accomplished in about five years?

EV: I have always had a focus in creating value for the company. My business background is always there to compliment the creative side, always working in tandem at Wind-up. When I started, I was deeply committed to building a publishing and merchandising business. Those would and did end up creating great value to the company, but also allows for a deeper more, committed relationship with the artists. When you have multi-right deals with the artists, we can tap into various deal structures to find creative ways to finance artist development and allow us not to be a “one and done” company, but have the ability and commitment to put out multiple albums for each and every artist, thus giving their career a real shot. I feel I strategically and properly timed the selling of our back master and publishing catalogs. Those artists were all in different stages in their respective careers and WU is a a pure A&R focused development company, so I believe selling those back catalogs allowed WU to invest in its future signings and facilitated the heritage artists to move on to platforms that were more suitable for them at the point in their career.

MR: When you look at the current music scene, what are your thoughts? What do you think are its strengths and where do you think it needs to improve?

EV: I think the industry does a great job at creating hit songs and pop stars. I am not sure you will be listening to those songs 10 – 15 years from now, but they are very popular and successful at the moment. Many feel a bit fleeting. I think we need to have more long term career artists, ones that have longevity, most of the artists filling arenas consistently are from the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s and they do it year after year, because it is based not on one or two hit songs , but a long term relationship developed with their fans, consistent touring and an amazing catalog of songs. As labels we need to provide and platform to allow artists to grow over time and develop those deep routed fan relationships. We need artists, that write and perform their own music that have something meaningful to say and can deliver their music at a high level live.

MR: Do you think people will need a break from dancing someday and the music scene might embrace another direction with its pop?

EV: I think the is a place for all of it, EDM, POP , ROCK etc…the various festivals show collaborating artists from various genres working and performing together and I think and hope that will continue. I know there is always a place for great lve rock bands and I believe that is where the roots of music are deepest.

MR: Who are some of your current favorite artists and who are some of your favorites associated with Wind-Up?

EV: I have been to over 230 Bruce Springsteen shows so I need to start there! He is always current to me and still puts out meaningful records that have a strong message. I love Lorde, Eric Church, Royal Blood, Trombone Shorty, the list goes on…

MR: What advise would you give to new artists?

EV: They have to start the fire on their own. Don’t think magic happens when you sign a record deal, if you do happen to get one, that when the real hard work begins. Be a great live act and focus on songs, its always about the songs. Your job is to write, create and perform , do it everyday and make it special. Be committed , patient and focused, play every night, like you are playing in front of 10K people, you never know who is watching.

MR: Looking back at your career at this point, what would have done differently?

EV: Jeez, for one, listened to my kids when they told me many years ago I should be looking at these DJ’s and get into the live business! Maybe I should have stuck to those guitar and piano lessons, but hell , I am better finding great players than being one.

MR: What does the future bring for you and Wind-Up?

EV: I hope for great success for our artists, in however they measure success. WU and I remain committed to artist development and will look to be a leader in the independent music community for years to come Keeping the independent sector strong and healthy is critical for artists, I would hope the consolidation t the major label level stops and the indies can compete at the partner level on a fair and consistent basis with the majors. Great artists usually comes from the Indy sector first. If we are successful at having our music heard and our artists seen, then we have delivered and our employees will be happy and so will I. WU has always been about its artists first, however the consistency of its success has been its employees and leaders around this office, many that started with me “back in the day.”
Entertainment – The Huffington Post
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Jal: Chatting with Director Girish Malik and Composers Bickram Ghosh and Sonu Nigam, Plus A Scott Weiland Exclusive

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photo courtesy Doreen D’Agostino Media

A Conversation with Girish Malik, Bickram Gosh & Sonu Nigam

Mike Ragogna: Gentlemen, hello. The film Jal has gotten a lot of attention, lately, among the Oscar crowd where it’s on a long list of current nominees. How did this project and all of your involvements begin?

Girish Malik: It started as an idea for a short film about migratory birds and the environmental factors affecting them which evolved in to a human story over the years. During my many visits to Kutch for research along with Rakesh with whom I have co-written this film, I was fascinated with the place and the people, the nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes that keep moving and yet call this hostile desert home, pretty much like the flamingos. I felt so close and motivated to tell this story and to showcase this world. The music had a huge part to play in the narrative of the film. From the very beginning I was very clear about how I wanted the film to look, but I was still searching for the right sounds. During my research I came across, Bickram’s “Primal” track from his album Kingdom of Rhythm and that struck a chord with me. I had a meeting with him and we connected. Sonu I knew separately and we had earlier discussed other projects but I had never worked with him. During my conversations, I found out that they were collaborating on an album. From there the idea formed of both of them collaborating on JAL.

Bickram Ghosh: This is first film that Sonu Nigam and myself composed together for! Mr. Nigam is India’s singing superstar and he and I had been working together on an album, The Music Room. Mr. Girish Malik had been speaking separately with Mr. Nigam and me regarding his film only to discover we had already starting working as a duo! Mr. Malik had heard much of my previous work on audio albums and some of my tracks were already part of his soundtrack references.

When the three of us sat together we realized that there was a palpable chemistry and we were even able to create the song “Jal De” in record time which then was used to create a reference mood by Mr. Malik when he started shooting.

Sonu Nigam: It’s simply bliss to find ourselves in this elite list with some of the most celebrated composers in the world, and that too in our very first outing as a composer duo.  It so happened that I took a year’s sabbatical from Mumbai and moved to LA in 2009. Something happened and my musical sensibilities changed as a result of the unlearning that transpired in isolation there. Upon my return, myself and Mr. Bickram Ghosh, one of the finest percussionists in the world, decided on a musical collaboration couple of years back. In a chance meeting with director and old friend Girish Malik, Girish proposed I do the music for Jal. I proposed Bickram Gosh to join hands. And thus began the journey called Jal.

MR: Briefly, what are each of your creative histories?

GM: I have been creatively inclined since childhood and explored many mediums. I was a state level gymnast and was doing contemporary dancing and ballet. But later gravitated towards semi-classical and folk dancing specializing in Chau – an Indian tribal martial dance. I performed in India and internationally at many prestigious festivals as a dancer. This was in my final years of school and college. During college days, I got involved in theater where I spent many years acting with the most reputed personalities of Delhi Theater. Theatre led to television in Mumbai where I worked as a lead actor for seven years in some of the most popular shows. At the peak of my acting career, I felt stagnated because of the kind of work that was happening in Indian television and turned to production, direction and writing and set up a successful television and advertising production company. I produced, written and directed over 1000 hours of TV shows & many ad films. I have also worked as a creative consultant for top Indian and International broadcasters. JAL is my first feature film as a producer/director.

BG: I’ve played pure Indian classical music for many years, accompanied Ravi Shankar on the tabla for over a decade. I performed with him on his Grammy awarded album “Full Circle” in 2002. I played on the title track of George Harrison’s Brainwashed, which won a Grammy nomination. I played on two albums with Anoushka Shankar both of which got Grammy nominations. I have subsequently travelled the world with my Indo-fusion band Rhythmscape. I’ve collaborated with artists across the globe be it Africa, America, Japan, Israel, Australia, Europe etc. I often hear sounds in combination, cultures juxtaposed – that is what really marks my compositional faculties. I like working with a huge gamut of instruments. Of course, percussions are my first love.

SN: Having begun my career as a singer in my childhood 37 years back, I have been fortunate to have experienced unfathomable love and accolades worldwide. Music and songs play the most important part in Indian films – sometimes more pivotal than the script. And Indian film industry rules entertainment in the entire subcontinent. The past 23 years have given me thousands of songs, both film and non-film, thousands of concerts worldwide, besides opportunities like hosting the biggest, most respected and first ever talent show Saregama for 6 years on TV way back in 1995. I also judged the first two seasons of Indian Idol and then The X Factor eventually, besides various other major television series and events. Internationally, the only tribute to the great Michael Jackson by his blood line is in collaboration with me. Jermaine Jackson sang a song written and composed by me, which was inaugurated in the most prestigious IIFA Awards in Toronto in 2011. Besides, there are collaborations with Avicii for his song “Levels” and Britney Spears in “I Wanna Go.” Kylie Minogue’s only Indian film song is a duet with me.

MR: Bickram, you’re a world-renowned tabla player whose history includes playing with Ravi Shankar and George Harrison. What do you think your musical and life experiences affected what you brought to the project?

BG: I think like Mr. Shankar, who used Indian instruments and Indian musicality as his core language of communication, I too do the same. I may use western instruments or oriental sounds, but my core emotional content is brought from India, her rich tapestry of sounds and the ability of Indian instruments to strike a deep intimate chord with the human heart.

My life has been textured with rich emotional experiences honed through a huge amount of travel. I see the human predicament as the same, whichever part of the world you may be from. Therefore, I like using a single instrument and weaving a variety of sounds around it, thereby putting the basic instrument into a larger context. Kind of like what classic literature or film often does. Elevating one man’s story into a metaphor for the human predicament.

MR: Sonu, to you, how closely did the final music of the film express what you were envisioning?
 
SN: When I first penned the first 4 lines of the title song, I narrated it to my late mother, who had just been diagnosed with cancer and was getting treated then. I truly believe she blessed and initiated the creative process of Jal. Me and Bickram Ghosh then sat in my studio to design the core sound for the track that would in due course decide the core ethos of the film, which was yet to be shot. I would like to now mention our director Girish Malik for having the clarity of vision, the dignity of not succumbing to mediocrity and giving us complete freehand to musically express Jal.

MR: What do you think the state of Indian films are at this point in time? Do you see them being even more widely embraced than they are now?

GM: I really hope so. A lot of the emerging filmmakers from India are making films that are essentially Indian and yet very global. They are trying to make real, heartfelt stories that go beyond the formula. In India they form a niche but in a country like India, niche is also big. As for international recognition, there are a lot of pre-conceived notions about Indian cinema that we have to deal with. What’s great is that now there are more avenues and more awareness so, a lot of independent expression is coming out of the country. Earlier it was tougher to make those kind of films.

BG: I think the fact that some films like Jal are breaking free from the clichés that have plagued Indian cinema for long, is an excellent sign. Like Satyajit Ray who showed a real India, Girish Malik, through Jal, shows a side of India hitherto rarely seen on the screen. The fact that our film deals with the universal issue of water makes it a microcosm of a global issue. This kind of cinema will make Indian films much more relevant globally.

SN: The Indian Film Industry is a monster of an industry in its own capacity. We make all kinds of Cinema. Jal, and its music getting recognition in the mainstream category of Oscar, on its own merit, is a huge morale booster for not just the team involved, but the entire industry. Even a remote association with it, can change an entire culture of thought process of a film industry anywhere in the world. Such is the credibility of an Oscar.

MR: Girish, Jal already has received an Indian National Film Award for Best Visual Affects. What do you think it is about the film that’s resonating on the world stage?

GM: I am happy that the various aspects of the film are being recognized on different platforms. The subject of the film is of course very universal and so are the emotions associated. The film was first recognized at Busan International Film Festival in Korea where it was featured in competition and received critical and audience appreciation for its cinematography, story and of course the music. A lot of research and detailed work has been done on every element of the film keeping in mind the mood and narrative of the film. A lot of heart and soul and years of hard work has gone into the making of Jal.

MR: This may seem like a superficial question but how has Bollywood hurt or helped the cause for getting appreciation of Indian films and filmmakers?
 
GM: An Oscar nomination or win is huge, of course! It’s a wonderful validation of your hard work and talent. Being recognized on this huge platform by the biggest and the best also means that the film gets exposure all over the world. And if that happens it just makes it easier for us to continue doing the work we believe in. Jal is my first and it has been a huge struggle to make this film. If a nomination or win happens, it will make the road ahead easier.

BG: I feel the clichéd side of Bollywood which emanated from vaudeville – like format spilled over to the screen from the stage has run its course. It has helped primarily through gifting the world a huge treasury of songs and music which has been loved and appreciated widely. But the clichéd format has often clouded the minds of the world audience and they have unfortunately missed some gems from India in the process. This has been detrimental to getting appreciation.

SN: First of all I shun the word Bollywood. I find it to be a very tacky nomenclature for an entertainment industry as unique as Indian Film Industry. The dominance of Music, song and dance in 99% of the films here, coupling with some of the world’s most fanatic fan following, gives it a character unheard and unseen anywhere in the world. Ironically that trait itself isolates it from world platforms. Jal perhaps, is in this celebrated race predominantly due to its unique musical approach and its clever usage of music confirming to International norms. With all humility, no piece of the music of Jal, can be used in any of the other films in contention in the list, it is that unique!

MR: In your opinion, which scenes marry the music to the visuals best in the film?

GM: Honestly, I think all of it is very important. The work that happened on the music and background score of the film was very extensive, over almost a year. Each and every sound was worked upon with a lot of thought, keeping in mind the space and emotions of the film. Cinema is an audio-visual experience. And that is how we worked on and edited this film from the very beginning. I do have a few favorite sequences, of course. One is where Bakka is completely shattered and is hallucinating just before the twister. Then in the end when Bakka is being dragged through the desert… Also the sequence where Kim is being chased by Kesar with a dagger. Sounds are as important in invoking an emotion or conveying something as the visuals.

BG: The opening scene where the camera moves over the parched land and a frame drum played over it. The sounds created from dead skin – on the frame drum – almost sound a death- knell for life in the water afflicted area. The oboe that serves as Bakka’s theme is next. Bakka’s is a water diviner and seems to have supernatural powers. It was important to use a sound that was alien to the terrain so that Bakka was connected to something beyond his immediate surroundings. It breaks the familiarity of the character from his surroundings. I also like the impassioned drumming – using a huge variety of drums – during the water ritual.  The distinctive drum sounds used here are very different from the much used tympanies and other orchestral drums normally used in films. The exotic cry of the song “Jal De” (give me water ), the romance of the song “Ankhiyan Tihari” (your eyes) and the final climax where the chanting is used to denote a much larger force in action are also some of my favorites. I think the soundscape of Jal has a unique character and that is what is drawing people to it. It is a tapestry of fresh new sounds that put the visuals in a more pointed context.

SN: For me, the opening scene sets the tone of the soul of the movie and its music.

MR: What advice do you have for new musical artists and filmmakers?

GM: Musically, like I said, cinema is an audio-visual medium. Maybe because of my background as a classical dancer and in theater, my vision and thought process is always an amalgamation of sound and visuals. In fact even when I am writing a film, I start collecting sounds and make notes. Sometimes I write my scenes with an audio reference. I even pre-recorded some references to be used while shooting important sequences to get that mood and rhythm. Also, editing is not just editing the visuals, how you edit your sound will make a tremendous difference. I also completely believe in research and detailing. Shooting is just one part of the process. A lot of how the film turns out depends on your homework before the shoot and during writing and in the post-production. The key is in details. The rest, I think the safest thing to do is to take a chance and follow your heart!

BG: Learn your craft first. Then proceed through life with sincerity and passion. As you grow richer as a person, your work becomes deeper and more meaningful.

SN: I see a lot of creative artistes, singers, composers, directors, and writers etc., wasting their precious time criticizing other people’s work. Analyzing is imperative. Being a cynic, is anti-God. We close the doors to our creative and learning faculties when we are too critical in life. I have done that in my ignorance in my initial days too. But I got the point soon. Everyone around, is a guru, teaching you two things. What to do and what not to do. Listen!

MR: Will you all be working together again in the future?

GM: We have connected creatively during Jal and my kind of cinema matches their world of music. For every project of mine, I know how I want my sounds to be like and that is always the pre-requisite for who I need to associate with to give me that world.

BG: Of course, this is just the beginning!

Sonu Nigam: I would certainly want this bonding to bear more fruits for a long time to come.

MR: What do you picture reaction being to an Oscar nomination or win? In the long run, does it matter?

GM: An Oscar nomination or win is huge of course! It’s a wonderful validation of your hard work and talent. Being recognized on this huge platform by the biggest and the best also means that the film gets exposure all over the world. And if that happens it just makes it easier for us to continue doing the work we believe in. Jal is my first and it has been a huge struggle to make this film. If a nomination or win happens, it will make the road ahead easier.

BG: The Oscar is the biggest validation to cinema- related work in the world! Of course it matters! We believe we have a very special distinctive sound which is the result of life-long research, sincerity and experimentation. A recognition as huge as the Oscar can inspire us to work harder and can be a window to future opportunities which can then showcase our talent.

SN: Over the years having been bestowed with the most respected awards worldwide, I have come to believe that awards are like gifts. You love it when you receive it. But you shouldn’t complain when you don’t. I haven’t received one yet but I can assume that an Oscar must leave a lifelong impact on the receiver.

******************************

SCOTT WEILAND RELEASES HIS “MODZILLA”

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photo credit: Jamie Weiland

According to Scott Weiland…

“I feel that ‘Modzilla’ exemplifies the overall sonic quality of the album. The guitar sound and the vocals show a ‘no holds barred’ approach. It’s a fresh sort of retro but modern too, and I think that both the STP and VR fans as well as new fans will gravitate toward it.”


Entertainment – The Huffington Post
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Universal Music Files Copyright Lawsuit Over Mixtapes Sent to Prisoners (Exclusive)

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(AllHipHop News) The arrest of Bobby Shmurda has been one of the biggest rap related news stories of the week. The “Hot N***a” performer being charged with gun possession and conspiracy in New York has garnered a lot of opinions from people associated with the Hip Hop community.

[ALSO READ: Bobby Shmurda To Be Indicted On Gun Charges]

Shmurda’s label representative Sha Money of Epic Records issued a statement, Maybach Music Group rapper Meek Mill chastised the public for making fun of the Brooklyn native, and now James “Jimmy Henchman” Rosemond is offering his thoughts on the matter. The incarcerated former artist manager reached out exclusively to AllHipHop.com to address the 20-year-old entertainer’s latest run-in with the law.

“With everything happening with Bobby Shmurda there’s a need for a rap expert on deck, because the culture is under attack,” Rosemond tells AllHipHop.com. “If they can use 50’s lyrics against me as an executive to prove murder then we all in trouble.”

Earlier this month, Rosemond was convicted of hiring a gunman in the murder plot that left G-Unit associate Lowell “Lodi Mack” Fletcher dead in 2009. The killing was allegedly connected to the street war between 50 Cent’s G-Unit and Rosemond’s crew.

According to reports, Shmurda previously stated he felt New York City police were targeting him. Earlier this year, he was arrested for another gun possession charge, and later arrested again for smoking weed in public. In October, Shmurda even taunted the NYPD in an Instagram post. He wrote, “So da bum ass cops locked me up yesterday Fa some bulls**t made me miss.”

[ALSO READ: Jimmy Henchman Found Guilty In “Murder-For-Hire” Plot Against G-Unit Associate]

Filed under: News Tagged: 50 Cent, AHH Exclusive, Bobby Shmurda, Crime & Punishment, James “Jimmy Henchman” Rosemond
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EXCLUSIVE: Introducing “The Gambler” Star Anthony Kelley

Athlete-turned-actor Anthony Kelley is set to make his big screen debut in forthcoming motion picture The Gambler. Kelley’s first entry into the movie-making business has inspired the 22-year-old Los Angeles native to officially change his life path.

“I was pursuing a career in basketball, and I was at a crossroads. I was trying to go overseas, but that’s very hard,” Kelley tells AllHipHop.com. “So when I landed this role, I fell in love with acting. I decided I might as well just continue pursuing this career.”

Kelley jumped into his new passion with full force. While working on the Rupert Wyatt-directed movie he made it a point to absorb as much information from all the veterans on set as he could. The crime drama also features an all-star cast including Mark Wahlberg, John Goodman, Michael K. Williams, Jessica Lange, and Brie Larson.

“It was great working with the cast. At first I was a bit insecure, because this is my first film,” explains Kelley. “I’m a bit of a perfectionist, and I wanted to make sure everything was perfect, so after every take I would ask the cast and crew members, ‘How was it?’ Everybody was telling me it was good and just giving me their input. So it was great working on this film.”

[ALSO READ: Mark Wahlberg, Michael K. Williams, Cuba Gooding Jr & More Appear At “The Gambler” NYC Premiere]

Watch the trailer for The Gambler below.


Filed under: Alternatives Tagged: Anthony Kelley, Mark Wahlberg, Michael K Williams, The Gambler
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What’s Luke Skywalker Been Up to For the Last 30 Years? A MAD Magazine Exclusive

Next week, the new issue of MAD Magazine hits newsstands, which is okay, I guess. More important than that (and with a decidedly higher budget), next year sees the release of a new Star Wars film. Since the usual gang of idiots make their paltry salaries standing on the shoulders of other, more popular giants, they’ve set their sights on Star Wars once again.

I’ve written about the intersection of MAD and Star Wars before (for the official Star Wars website, no less) but it’s nice (I suppose) to see them go back to that dried up mine for material.

For their new issue, MAD has given us an exclusive look at their new spread that answers a very important question: What has Luke Skywalker been up to for the last 30 years? If you follow the right path, it actually tells the story of the old Expanded Universe…

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This issue of MAD Magazine comes out August 12th. For more information, visit the MAD website.

Bryan Young is the author of “A Children’s Illustrated History of Presidential Assassination,” the editor-in-chief of the nerd news and review site Big Shiny Robot!, and is the co-host of the Star Wars podcast, “Full of Sith.”
Entertainment – The Huffington Post
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Exclusive: Tim McGraw’s Secret to a Great Performance – Oprah’s Master Class – OWN

Grammy-winning country musician Tim McGraw says it’s not the big stage, the smoke or the lights that make a performance. Watch to see what two qualities Tim says an artist needs to be great.

More from this episode:
http://www.oprah.com/own-master-class/Oprahs-Master-Class-with-Tim-McGraw

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Conversations with Phillip Phillips, Matisyahu (with “Hard Way” Exclusive), Elizaveta and Filmmaker Kristian Day

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A Conversation with Phillip Phillips

Mike Ragogna: Phillip, the songs on Behind The Light–not exactly a light album–seem deeper or a little more introspective than those of your previous album, The World From The Side Of The Moon. What was the creative process like for this new one?

Phillip Phillips: The title itself, as you said, it’s not as light as the first album, but that’s what makes it special; it’s different and it has its own character to it. In this process, I had a little more time to play with the songs and really learn how they wanted to build themselves up, instead of me just forcing them together. It was a lot of fun because I brought my band in for a couple weeks. I wanted it to feel like a band record instead of just me. The first album feels a little like a band record, but not quite like I wanted it to. I grew up playing with bands because I don’t like being the center of attention. And all the guys who played live with me imbued their character and emotions in the songs instead of me telling them, “Play it like this.” That’s what’s beautiful about music to me, and how this whole album came out was very organic. We did it in about six or seven weeks, and the first one in three weeks, so this one had a little bit more time, but I’d been writing these songs since last summer and I was excited to get them all recorded. It was so much fun. It was still stressful, though, because you want to make everyone happy but also do your own thing. I learned a lot about writing, and writing singles in particular. “Thicket” and “Trigger” have really cool meanings and a cool music sound. But when it came down to focusing on, “What can a single sound like?” it had to be right, and I feel like we did that on this album.

MR: And Greg Wattenberg really helped you hunker down on this project overall?

PP: Absolutely. By the first album, he knew what I wanted, but with this one we had more time to sit with the songs and talk about what to change or tweak. It was just me and him, and we were basically producing and writing it at the same time we were recording it. I’d be writing it in one room, cutting drums in the next room, and singing in another. We had a cool process going, and he knew I wanted it to be more like a band record, and I feel like that’s how portrays itself when you listen to it.

MR: From “Searchlight” through “Open Your Eyes,” it feels like there’s a progression or journey or storyline threading these songs.

PP: Definitely, yeah, and that’s cool you said that. That’s how I want people to hear it. It’s more about the meaning and the emotions of the song. It takes you through all the different emotions of somebody’s life, some of it my own, some of it not. There’s a lot of heartbreak, a lot of personal experiences and sadness, but there’s also a lot of light at the end of the tunnel.

MR: When you were growing up and writing songs, who were your biggest influences?

PP: As I was growing up, it changed so much. When you’re young and pick up a guitar, you’re excited and innocent; you don’t know anything but you want to learn as much as you can. I would listen to AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Clapton, Joe Satriani. Then when I really started to write songs, I listened to Damien Rice, Dave Matthews, etc. Then I would go back to a lot of those older acts like Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix, and kind of listen to more of the songs instead of just the guitar. That’s how I’ve learned a lot about writing. No matter how many albums you put out, you still learn a little about writing, every time you write a song. But those are some of the influences, and when I was writing this album I was listening to a lot of Radiohead and Peter Gabriel. You want to listen to different musicians and artists to get inspiration.

MR: Were to evaluate or describe your musical self, would the term, “singer-songwriter” cover it?

PP: I definitely try to sing and I definitely try to write, yes, but again, it’s more about the band in the live shows instead of about me. I have a kind of “jam-oriented” style; I don’t like all the attention, but music itself is such a beautiful thing. The voice is an amazing instrument to listen to, but it’s also nice to hear a cello, guitar or organ solo. Whenever we do a live show we really represent that. Sometimes it’s free jams, off the top of my head, and sometimes it’s something we practice and make it challenging and keep it tight. So I guess I’m a “Jam-oriented singer/songwriter” who’s weird and doesn’t really know what he is.

MR: [laughs] You’ve had a great run so far from your pre-American Idol days to now. What advice can you give new artists?

PP: When I go back home, there’ll be people playing at some of the places I used to play. Before Idol, I would play shows non-stop because that was my income and that was what I loved to do. I loved to travel, too. I say you’ve got to get out there and be who you are, and people will like it. You want a record deal or whatever, but it’s got to be right. You don’t want to get it and then not know what’s going to happen. Know what you want out of your career and out of your own music. You want to represent yourself. You start learning more about yourself every time you play a show. I had a couple years, even before Idol, and I knew; basically it’s the same thing I do now, it’s just a little bit of a bigger scale.

MR: Are you a little shocked at how big a hit “Home”became and how huge your last album was?

PP: Oh yeah. I just got the plaque not too long ago, “Over One Million Albums Sold.” It’s a huge blessing, and I’m so thankful for everybody who’s out there supporting me, especially with the album. I’m more proud of that because it’s a whole piece. I’m not trying to brag or anything, but it’s like an unreal moment, you know? A million albums, dang. I’m so thankful for that.

MR: What would you tell Phillip Phillips right before he went on American Idol? Any advice you’d give that guy?

PP: Just keep doing what you’re doing, but do it a little bit harder.

Transcribed by Emily Fotis

O.A.R. and PHILLIP PHILLIPS 2014 SUMMER TOUR

DATE CITY VENUE

6/12/14 Thu St. Louis, MO Fox Theatre
6/13/14 Fri Kansas City, MO Crossroads
6/14/14 Sat Morrison, CO Red Rocks Amphitheatre
6/15/14 Sun Council Bluffs, IA Harrah’s Stir Cove
6/17/14 Tue Columbus, OH LC Pavilion
6/18/14 Wed Pittsburgh, PA Stage AE
6/20/14 Fri Cleveland, OH Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica
6/21/14 Sat Chicago, IL FirstMerit Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island
6/22/14 Sun Sterling Heights, MI Freedom Hill Amphitheatre
6/28/14 Sat Cincinnati, OH Riverbend Music Center

7/2/14 Wed Lewiston, NY Art Park
7/5/14 Sat Gilford, NH Meadowbrook
7/6/14 Sun Mashantucket, CT Foxwoods Resort Casino
7/10/14 Thu Boston, MA Blue Hills Bank Pavilion
7/11/14 Fri Wantagh, NY Nikon at Jones Beach Theater
7/12/14 Sat Holmdel, NJ PNC Bank Arts Center
7/13/14 Sun Raleigh, NC Red Hat Amphitheater
7/16/14 Wed Charlotte, NC Uptown Amphitheatre at the NC Music Factory
7/18/14 Fri Philadelphia, PA Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing
7/19/14 Sat Columbia, MD Merriweather Post Pavilion
7/20/14 Sun Portsmouth, VA nTelos Wireless Pavilion
7/24/14 Thu Glen Allen, VA Innsbrook After Hours
7/25/14 Fri Charleston, SC Family Circle Magazine Stadium
7/26/14 Sat Atlanta, GA Chastain Park Amphitheatre

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A Conversation with Matisyahu

Mike Ragogna: Akeda is your fifth album and your quote about it is, “The record and [that] period in my life deals with madness, listening for and following the inner intuitive voice.” This is a huge project for you.

Matisyahu: Yes. Every album I put out I feel like is going to be huge and I treat it as if it is, but I think this is certainly a shift musically for me into a domain that feels really natural and comfortable. A lot of the experiences I had in my philosophy provided much of the content for the record and it got me out of writing about ideas and instead taking the stories and symbols and making them a little more real, more emotional. So in that sense I think people are going to connect with it. At this point, I think my fans come from such diverse places, and the ones who have really stuck by are the ones who really connect with the words and the depth of the songs. I think they’ll be happy with this record in that sense.

MR: And hopefully they’ll be identifying with the topics and what you went through.

M: I think so.

MR: What does “Akeda” mean?

M: It refers to the story of Abraham and literally it means “Sacrifice.”

MR: How are you able to whittle down what you went through into a coherent project?

M: I kind of go into a creative state where I’m not necessarily trying to produce anything, but my ears are perked up; I listen to a lot of music and see what I connect with, and I try to live my life without any sort of strings attached. As time goes on and I start creating music and listening to it, I find it comes out very naturally; the songs, stories, ideas, lyrics start to flow and I enter into more of a productive process where I start writing a lot. It’s a lot of experiencing/writing, experiencing/writing, and putting it all together in the end. You really craft out the songs and pull the lyrics from different places and put it all together.

MR: Is that where your “inner intuitive voice” comes in?

M: Yeah. When I speak about that voice, I’m talking in reference to the story of Abraham. Abraham hears the voice of God, and it tells him to go do something that’s kind of crazy. I think that following your own path, trying to do what you know is right, correct or true is the experience you need to have to grow and evolve. Not everyone around you will always understand that, and there can even be consequences.

MR: Do you feel that that is the lesson in the story of Abraham?

M: In the religious circles where I was first introduced to the story, it’s sort of looked at as this very glorified thing, that Abraham hears the voice of God, doesn’t question it, and goes right away to sacrifice his son, and how hard that must have been. But then his wife has a heart attack when she finds out, and Isaac goes blind on the mountain, and they don’t really talk anymore after that, in the Bible; there were a lot of consequences to what he did. People thought he was completely crazy, after all those years of not having a child; and he has to go for three days with his son on this journey, and he’s thinking about what he’s going to do. It sort of personifies the story and makes it real, and that’s how I tried to write on this record with regards to the religious symbolism.

MR: This album comes off like an analog album of the past, although it has electronics, etc. Was that the goal? Did you think that would get you a warmer feel, a more personal approach when you were recording?

M: Yeah, I definitely was going for the more personal, stripped back, raw kind of feel to go along with the emotion and the theme of the record. So while we have electronics and programming, there’s not much layering. It gets pretty stark at times. Working with Joel [Hamilton], one of the things he does really well is translating some of the electronic stuff and incorporating the analog stuff. So while I had a lot of the electronic stuff happening with Stu Brooks, who produced the record, I had also put together a group of musicians I’ve worked with in the past, and recorded with Joel and got the rock sounds with the organic feel.

MR: You also brought Aaron Dugan, Rob Marscher and Mark Guiliana into the creative process.

M: That’s correct, that’s the band I was referencing.

MR: On the tracks where you’re featuring a couple of guest artists, how did that come together?

M: I toured with Collie Buddz and Zion I last summer, both of the artists that are featured on this record. So I had a relationship with them after being out on the road with them for a couple of months. I knew a lot of my fans would be excited by a collaboration with Collie Buddz; with Zion I, we were looking for someone to do something on the record, so we sent him the track and we loved what he came back with, so that’s how it went.

MR: In the end, Akeda represents what you went through in the past, but what does it represent as far as your moving forward?

M: A lot of it is about the process that we go through, and the cycles, as we go from record to record; creating a record, promoting, performing, going back in and writing again. A lot of it is about the process.

MR: Your first album was Live At Stubb’s on which you interacted with the listeners. Is that part of your mission as a recording artist, to keep a connection with the fans?

M: Yes. That’s the only way any of us has the ability to do what we do; it’s because of the people we connect with, and the lives that we touch. That’s very important to me. And the meanings that the songs begin to acquire as people begin to ascribe meaning to them, and have real experiences to the music. It makes the songs become multi-dimensional and grow in a way that you as the creator could never do on your own.

MR: What advice do you have for new artists?

M: For an artist who’s developing oneself and their voice or their artistry, the main thing is just spending time with their instrument, and expression, and living life without getting caught up on figuring out how to do it. I, at one point, was so focused on, “How will I make a profession? How can I do this? How can I get exposed?” I gave in and got focused on my life and my own spirituality and what it was that I wanted to share with the world, my own music and expression; and once I was ready to come out into the world, I felt like the world was ready to hear what I had to say. I think the main thing is to work from the inside out, as opposed to trying to work from the outside in. For an artist who’s already sort of established, I think it’s really the same thing. You have to stay inspired and alive. If you do that and trust your artistry, then you know that you’ll create what you need to create. The harder part is how to stay inspired and in that creative mode.

MR: Are you keeping aware of, or do you just let it be, your “evolution” in your spirituality as you’re moving through life?

M: Yes, and my music is the way in which I’m keeping track of my life, with the exception of Facebook and all the internet stuff. I can look back on my life and say, “Okay, I was here, I was there, this is when I looked like this, or believed that.” But mainly the music is the place in which I’m able to log what is it that inspires me and where I’m being influenced. So when I go back and listen to those records, I can see the evolution, and it is nice.

MR: Is there a point where you feel that artists will start relating more to the spirituality in their own music?

M: I think so. I definitely think there’s a movement now where a lot of people are writing songs that are important to them; there’s a lot of great music out there, and with the internet, it’s definitely easier to access all of them. That’s played a big role in my own inspiration, the access I have to new music that I never had before.

MR: Where is this all heading? Is there a big goal, or are you just living it day to day?

M: I’m always striving to be the best that I can be at what I do, so for me right now, the songs have been created, and thank God; I’m really proud of them. I feel good about the songs, and now it’s about getting them across to the people so they can connect with them.

Transcribed by Emily Fotis

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A Conversation with Elizaveta

Mike Ragogna: Elizaveta, would you take us on a little tour of your new EP Hero?

Elizaveta: Sure. “Hero” was the first one I put together. I produced it and did all the arrangements, and I had a lot of fun making it because I knew the choir for the song. If you listen to the song you’ll hear at the end of it that there’s a large choir singing. I couldn’t really afford to hire a choir and record them, so what I did was crowd source it. I asked my fans–my email list, specifically–to record themselves singing this little snippet of music that I posted for them privately, and to send it back to me. A number of people recorded themselves and sent it to me, and we mixed them all together and I ended up having a choir.

MR: That’s wonderful, I’ve never heard of that done before. What a creative idea.

E: It was great. There were maybe only a hundred or so people who ended up doing it, but it was really fun and people were really excited. Another thing a few of them did was film themselves singing. Some were just singing into their phone, others sitting in front of a river and singing. I asked them to be creative. I don’t have a music video for that song, and may not for a while because it’s a pretty epic song, so it would kind of need an epic video. But I’m going to make a fan-oriented music video, and that footage is being edited right now. It’s a way for me to connect to my fans and give back.

MR: You’ve had thirteen million views for a little thing you called “Superman with a GoPro.”

E: Yeah. I collaborated with two electro-duo DJs who work together, called Pegboard Nerds. They really loved my upcoming single and wanted to make their own remix of it. They had the opportunity to collaborate with the YouTube channel CorridorDigital that has a lot of subscribers. So it was perfect because it’s about Superman who’s flying through the air wearing a GoPro, and they made a pretty cool remix and the video went viral. That was a first for me, to know that thirteen million people have heard my voice. That’s really pretty cool.

MR: You’re using interactive methods and social media in ways that push the boundaries a little bit.

E: I don’t know if I’m pushing the boundaries on that. There are a lot of amazing artists who are very much ahead of the curve. There are a lot of people doing these things. I think you just find your own avenues, and for sure I would not be doing these cool things right now were it not for social media and the ability it gives me to connect to people around the world. Because I’m not on a major label–at the moment I’m on my own label that I started for this release specifically–it’s given me an opportunity to connect to all sorts of interesting, surprising and resourceful people who then show me the way elsewhere. But you’re right, it’s a pretty amazing world out there.

MR: You don’t seem to be glued to your classical upbringing. Were you tempted to go into classical music but then decide you needed to do something more than that?

E: Well, I did do a record on Univeral in 2012 with Greg Wells. That was kind of already a collection of different things, with certain sensibilities, my vocals, and specific writing holding them together. I think “Hero” takes it a little bit further. I just really love different styles–I go with what the song in my head asks me to do. I only hope that it’s not too jarring as far as the transitions go. But even on the more electronic songs I try to use organic textures like vocal arrangements, strings and other instruments, trying to connect different worlds. I think that, more than ever these days, it’s something that’s happening all over the place. Back in the day the word “Interdisciplinary” was kind of a new word; even in education, if you went to university and you mixed up your majors, that was unusual. But now everything is a mash-up, and I think that music is no exception. So as long as it sounds good, and as long as it makes sense to the listener from song to song, lyrically and emotionally, I hope it’s okay.

MR: This is an EP, so I’m imagining an album is on the horizon at some point.

E: For sure. I’m coming back to the States next week, and will spend some time working on some more tracks that I have in mind. Making this EP was a huge learning experience. I’m happy with the result, but I think I can do even better. Maybe a couple songs will be remixed or repositioned in the final album. Even though these days it’s all about the single, where people can go on iTunes and go from song to song…I feel that putting out an album that makes sense and is not just a collection of songs but has something linking those songs–whether it’s emotional or historical–I still feel like there’s a place for that. And if it’s genuine and it’s good, people connect to it.

MR: When you see your music used in placements in films and TV shows, how does it hit you, being the composer and recording artist?

E: I want to do more of it. I’d love to write some things that are specifically customized, because I think I also write visually. For me, all songs are vignettes of some sort, and if you listen to my songs–whether it’s the record Beatrix Runs or Hero–there’s somewhat of a cinematic quality.

MR: You’re of Russian descent, so what are you thinking when you’re looking at what’s going on in Russia and the Ukraine these days?

E: First and foremost, it’s pretty painful. None of it really should be happening. And secondly, a lot of it’s also confusing. There’s a lot of information coming from a number of sides, and it’s not always easy to process. And it’s difficult for me because I have Russian roots but I have a life in the US, and on top of that I also have Ukrainian heritage.

MR: That must be very disconcerting to see the chaos that’s going on in that part of the world right now.

E: For sure. It’s something that will play out, and I hope that in the end nobody wants any really serious conflict. My hope is that it will work out and people will sit down and talk and decisions will be made that, while they may not make everyone happy, at least will bring some compromises to the table that will keep the peace happening.

MR: What’s your advice for new artists?

E: It’s all about the song. If the song is there, you’re more than halfway there. Now as far as everything else, I think it’s important to be aware of your own potential. And it’s also important to be as persistent and disciplined as possible. The days of the so-called “Free-spirited artist” who doesn’t have a care in the world are maybe not completely over, but certainly it’s a rare artist that gets to have that kind of luxury. You really have to have a good, sober head on your shoulders and be aware what’s happening business-wise, and how you can take care of your own rights. I’d also advise an artist that it’s best to retain as many of your own rights as possible, especially when it comes to publishing. The day of the major record label is not coming to an end, but it’s a different age and everything’s switching to streaming, and recorded music doesn’t have the same value it used to. So the artist still needs to eat. Maybe they can live on music and poetry and sunlight and air, but if not, then it’s important to know where the income comes from. Normally it would come from the live performances and publishing.

MR: What’s your future look like?

E: You’re really tempting me to say “World domination” right now! [laughs] Frankly, I would like to continue doing music and know that I’m getting better and better at it, and keep receiving recognition for it. On this tour, I’ve been opening for–and singing pieces with–a veteran Russian rock band called Bi-2. They’re really wonderful guys and they’ve been around more than twenty years so they have a huge fan base and they tour all the time. This last tour was with a full symphony orchestra, and there was one stop in Belarus–in Minsk–where I have some of my roots. This was a ten-thousand-person arena that was chock full of people, and I got to play my thirty-minute opening set and then perform with and do one of my own songs with the symphony orchestra in the middle of their set. This was my first time performing in an arena, and I can tell you now that my goal is to sing in arenas at some point not too far in the future because I loved every second of it.

MR: I hope you get that, and maybe you’ll have a symphony of your own someday.

E: I hope so, too.

Transcribed by Emily Fotis

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photo credit: Jennifer Sampica

A Conversation with Kristian Day

Mike Ragogna: Filmmaker, director, producer Kristian Day, what is all this slick stuff you’re doing with making movies on iPhones?

Kristian Day: It all started when I had some equipment stolen a couple years ago in the middle of a production while I was camping. I was licking my wounds and thinking “How am I going to do this?” because I couldn’t replace these cameras. I had this idea that maybe the iPhone had been developed enough over the years that there might be some potential there since technology changes so quickly; people are using their phones more than point-and-shoot cameras now. So I did a little research and found that there’s technological benefits to the iPhone, like being able to encode at fifty megabytes per second, and its portability, etc. It’s still a phone, though; I’m not trying to say that it’s the be-all-end-all by any means, but it gave me this idea for artistic freedom with being able to shoot anywhere. I shot a pilot for a punk rock cooking show called Crowding the Pan, with Sam Auen, who’s a big, bearded, burly, tattooed ex-Army motorcyclist. He and I had a lot of similarities and I said, “I don’t want this to be ‘clean.’ I want it to be rough and dirty and I want everyone to feel like they can watch it and not get bored.” So we shot his entire pilot with the iPhone, which was a trick because I was trying to figure out work flow and what I needed to do to make it work correctly. When you shoot on an iPhone it doesn’t always come out correctly. I had to get the right apps, had to convert the footage to the right format, had to have external audio, etc., but with a two or three man crew we shot the pilot, sold it and it ran for thirteen episodes. It was originally kind of a joke. I have a lot of buddies in the film industry in Iowa who would talk about trying to get sponsorship from various businesses for many thousands of dollars, and when I started doing the iPhone stuff I said, “You know what, I’m going to shoot a show entirely on the iPhone and it will cost me nothing and I’m going to sell it.”

MR: Did it literally cost you nothing?

KD: It cost me nothing, if you’re not counting my time. I didn’t spend any money. I did it all myself. I’ve always gone with the idea of, “DIY or die,” so we shot it, edited it, close-captioned and did the final encoding. It was a three-day process that was go-go-go.

MR: Did you get the “DIY or die” idea from somewhere else or was that your own idea?

KD: I’ve always been inspired by Roger Corman, so I attribute it to him. You hear about him making Little Shop of Horrors in two nights and three days, something like that… if I could be in charge, I could do this in no time, but that’s not necessarily how a production works. You gotta work with a team in most scenarios, and sometimes you run into the situation where everyone’s in the same place as you, with the attitude of “Let’s do this and let’s do this right and not mess around,” and that’s how Sam and I work. In the end, he and I were the production team and it was his and my show. We ended up going wireless with the mic; for the first couple episodes we had a boom, but we wanted to simplify it even more. When we got the show rolling, after the third episode we got it down to where we could shoot in two hours, I could start encoding, I’d edit in one day, close-caption and get the show to the Hearst affiliate that had bought it.

MR: Do you see this as something where other people will be inspired by what you did and try to do their own thing?

KD: I think everyone should do something like that. I don’t want people to be held back by technology, and technology has become more affordable. Even in the early to mid ’90s, in order to make a film, it would cost you seven to ten thousand dollars, but with the iPhone–and you still have to have some skills like framing and knowing what’s good lighting and audio–you can get decent quality, and the picture in the end is what really matters. It’s very possible for anyone to be creative and not be held back.

MR: Is the resolution good enough for people to be looking at it on a fifty or sixty-inch screen?

KD: Oh yeah, it blows up really nicely. You hear about DLSR cameras, which are a big thing. But a DLSR can only encode up to thirty-two to thirty-eight megabytes per second, I think. The iPhone can encode up to fifty. Obviously the lenses are better for the Canons and DLSRs, while all you can do with the iPhone would be to add lens filters and lens attachments, but when you start color-correcting it doesn’t break up. So I can blow it up on a giant screen and it still holds together, it’s not pixelated or anything.

MR: Rumor has it that you used a microscope for filming one of your projects.

KD: I did. It was a project called I See What Is Here that screened at the Mobile Innovations Film Program that played at the New Zealand Film Archives in Auckland. It went down to the Melbourne International Film Festival in Australia. A lot of my films I really push into that market because some of the stuff I do is a little obscure and is testing the waters, especially the short films, and I can send them overseas and they do really well.

MR: You have a collection of short films and documentaries you’ve done, don’t you?

KD: Yeah. I’ve done two feature documentaries. One was Capone’s Whiskey: the Story of Templeton Rye, and then Brent Houzenga: Hybrid Pioneer. The …Rye documentary was probably my biggest release; it showed in forty-three theaters, and I had a television spinoff on Iowa Public Television; when Ken Burns’ Prohibition aired, Templeton Rye: Iowa’s Good Stuff was the sister film to it. And I’ve done a number of short films over the years. For a while there, I could shoot three or four or more a year. There were all different, and the microscope stuff was really an experiment. I’d gotten this microscope lens for six dollars on Amazon and I just wanted to see what it looked like. The things you could see with it were amazing. Six dollars on Amazon; and free shipping if you have Amazon Prime! [laughs]

MR: When you film, are you looking to innovate?

KD: Yeah, I’m trying to see more things. I want to see what else I can do. I shoot footage all the time; I have collections of things, and sometimes I’ll make short films and cut things together because I always figure I could use it. I think if you can do it this way and find a way to make it work, you can really create new worlds, see new things you wouldn’t otherwise be able to see, and you’re not really spending any money. It’s up to you to and, you have this piece of technology that can do wonderful things.

MR: Are you like this naturally, or did you have mentor or were you inspired by anything in particular?

KD: I was always into a lot of SciFi movies when I was a kid, like Forbidden Planet and any of the Godzilla films. And Barron Christian was kind of my mentor; he’s an actor, producer, director and voice actor. He lived the Hollywood life in the ’60s and ’70s. He was in a lot of different stuff, and he taught me a lot about creativity; he said “The rich have a lifestyle that comes with being rich, but you shouldn’t necessarily go that route; you’ll probably live a happier life if you pursue creativity,” which is something that he didn’t. He’s always inspired me to do films and he’s narrated a number of them like Templeton Rye and Hybrid Pioneer. I’ve snuck his voice into different things I’ve done as kind of a “Thank you” for pointing me in the right direction.

MR: What advice to you have for new artists, filmmakers or screenwriters?

KD: I like to tell people to first be realistic. I’ve worked a lot with the the David Lynch MA film program producing films, and I always just say don’t be held back by anything, but also be realistic about what you can do. You can be realistic and still be very creative with everything that you pursue. Also, the first project for anybody is sort of an “Ego” piece – you know, they want to have all this expression. I encourage that, but in the end it’s not necessarily what it’s all about. You can create amazing films and you have to decide what you want out of it. Do you want to be “Mr. Hollywood,” or do you be the creative artist? I always tell people to ask themselves that before they do anything. Figure out who are trying to be. If it is to be that Hollywood playboy, admit it to yourself first.

MR: What does Kristian Day want to be?

KD: I don’t know! I went from making films to having this theater. I’m still making films and producing television shows, doing post-production work. Again, I go back to Roger Corman; he never won an award until he got an honorary Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy. He had never won anything. No one said anything to him about any of the things he did, except word of mouth from the people that worked under him. He’s made more movies than anyone in the world at this point, I think. And I look at that as maybe the more grounding way to do things.

MR: What are some projects you would like to make to feel even more fulfilled?

KD: There are a few other documentaries I’d like to do, and there’s this one scripted piece that deals with understanding mental illness. I’ve always had an interest in whether people who have a mental illness realize they have a mental illness. I had one of the worst dates in my life back in 2009… first date/last date type of situation. I was asking this girl, “Wouldn’t it be interesting if people who have Down Syndrome or some mental illness don’t realize they have it? What if you and I, who think we’re living a normal life, had something wrong with us and we never realized it, and we were living a life thinking everything was normal to us?” I wrote a script that deals with a fantasy life of a young man who’s unconscious throughout this film. He dreams of a romance, but he has Down Syndrome. It’s about how he sees things. Everything’s very simple, but the emotions are very powerful. So this is a project that’s been sitting on paper for far too long, and I’d like to make it.

MR: Where do you think film is going these days?

KD: I think it’s really going short subject, such as with the Youtube generation and people’s short attention spans. Like an album going to a single. There’s so much gold on Youtube, but I don’t know where the money is with it yet. You know, you can have a million Youtube hits and make two dollars. They need to find a way to monetize it to make it work. Also, as much as I love choice, I feel like choice destroys economy, too, especially in the entertainment industry. What made old television shows work? That was the only thing that was on. You had four channels, you watched what was on. But now everything’s on demand and there’s so much content.

MR: You can also argue that that’s what hurt the music industry. People say it’s the MP3, but I think it’s also the delivery system antiquating.

KD: Totally. I’ve been making music for over ten years. I’ve done soundtracks and things like that. That’s what got me started were soundtracks. Now, I can tell my albums on iTunes right next to anyone else. In the end, it doesn’t necessarily make me much money, but it could potentially hurt someone who needs to sell X-number of records. And I think a lot of it is that the industry has pumped so much money into these things and they’re looking for a return faster than they can get it.

MR: Is there any advice you would give to yourself at this point?

KD: Chill out! I’m twenty-eight years old and I’ve made a lot of sacrifices to do what I’ve done; personal, relationship, family, financial; and part of me wants to go backwards and say, “Maybe I need to take a few minutes and not do it this way.” As much success as I’ve had, some things have happened that may have hurt people, or put me in precarious financial positions. I wish I could go back and just say, “Calm down, it’s not a race.”

MR: I think a lot of that could be myelination. A brain isn’t done forming until it’s twenty-five, so sometimes you probably just can’t help it.

KD: Absolutely, and that gets me on a whole other subject about people who experiment with different types of drugs and they do it at such a young age. I almost want to tell them that if they want to do that, at least wait until after their brain is fully developed. You’re just causing so much damage. If you want to trip, I aencourage you to trip, but do it after you’re twenty-five!

MR: [laughs] Have we covered absolutely, positively everything?

KD: I’m working on a small project right now. I do what some consider fancy film work, but then I also do very behind-the-scenes stuff, including closed-captioning and final encoding for delivery, etc. So we have a show that aired Friday, May 9th on FOX KDSM 17 called What’s up with WOZ. I do enjoy doing that stuff, because I forget there’s all sorts of nuts and bolts that go into these things. And even though closed-captioning is a slow death for me, I do enjoy it insofar as it reminds me of all the things that go into this.

2014-05-19-477720_311947858858795_726263183_o.jpg
photo credit: Jennifer Sampica

Transcribed by Emily Fotis
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