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Not much has changed in American society since 1948, when biologist Alfred Kinsey published his ever-controversial "Sexual Behavior in the Human Male." We are still sexually repressed, refuse to discuss masturbation and find homosexual behavior unacceptable - and half the population is still clueless about the actual location of the clitoris. The striking similarities between Bill Condon's Kinsey biopic and contemporary America's social and moral landscape are a bit disturbing. They are especially so when you consider how much society has advanced and shifted in terms of civil rights, women's rights, technology, fashion and medicine. But, as "Kinsey" so subtly suggests, Americans are just as ignorantly fearful of human sexuality as we were more than 50 years ago.
Many people may be shocked to hear that writer-director Bill Condon was responsible for "Candyman II: Farewell to the Flesh." It's true - the man who won an Oscar for his 1999 screenplay "Gods and Monsters" used to direct bad horror movies. But Condon, who also wrote the screenplay for 2002's "Chicago," has come a long way since his horror days.
Let's say you're in a band. Your band has only been in existence for a short while, even though you and your bandmates have been playing music for what seems like forever. You play two shows in your hometown of Los Angeles, and suddenly the record label bidding war begins.
Martin Royale, lead singer of D.C.'s own Washington Social Club, gives his thoughts on Britney Spears, D.C.'s music scene and smoking weed in a question-and-answer session recently conducted over e-mail.
NEW YORK CITY - I go up to New York every month or so, usually with no purpose other than to drink myself silly and see how many days I can go without sleep. I usually come back with little of substance - maybe a few good stories and almost always a hangover, but rarely something more positive than a good time. Last week, however, one of my crazy New York trips had a purpose, or at least the guise of a purpose: the CMJ Music Marathon.
Selling out a show at the Black Cat is a good sign for an indie rock band. The venue may be relatively small, but it's harder than one would think to coax all the indie hipsters in D.C. into the same room for one whole night. Rilo Kiley now has that distinction. The band, which released its new album, "More Adventurous," to critical acclaim in August, sold out the elusive Black Cat last Sunday night.
Literally hundreds of teenage girls were waiting in line outside Tower Records in Rockville, Md. Some of them had been there for more than 15 hours. If it was the '60s, I could have sworn the throngs of screaming girls were waiting for the Beatles. But the handmade "I Heart Benji" T-shirts and the pink studded belts revealed differently. These pubescent pop-punkers were waiting to see Good Charlotte -- a far cry from the Beatles, although apparently they have a similar effect on women.
It's been the year of the reunions. Numerous bands that our parents revered during the '70s and '80s have recently rejoined forces for new songs, albums and tours. Jonathan Segal, guitarist for Camper Van Beethoven, a band whose heyday was in the mid-'80s and has recently reunited, notes that many bands are doing so in reaction to the current state of music.
Now this may be a crazy idea, but it seems that when a headlining band sells out a show, they should probably play a set that is longer than 35 minutes. But Las Vegas' the Killers, a band that has taken the music scene by storm following the June release of their debut album "Hot Fuss," seemed to find no issue with playing only 11 songs for the full house at the 9:30 club on Sunday.
It is a great responsibility to play a political figure on film, particularly one who is well-loved and greatly revered, one who even has iconic stature in the United State, his face gracing the T-shirts of hundreds of rebellious teenage boys who probably know nothing about him beyond his name: Che Guevara.
Those of you who frequent the 9:30 club Web site may have noticed something odd recently. Instead of the typical listing of shows featuring indie "it" bands, the best of pop punk and radio-ready adult contemporary, the 9:30 club is taking a night off from its usual three-act music shows on Tuesday to present something less than usual. WEDrock, an event put on by the gay rights coalition Freedom to Marry, is a different kind of show altogether.
Growing up in the United States, we are taught to "know thyself," that personal knowledge, and subsequently personal ambition, is the primary vehicle on the road of success. But at no point are we taught to "know thy country" or "know thy people." Our knowledge of America and its inhabitants is truly limited to fifth-grade geography class. And our knowledge of other countries and their people? Forget about it.
John Waters, a director know for his controversial films that include "Pink Flamingos" and "Cry-Baby," isn't afraid to bring taboo topics into the spotlight. In his new film, "A Dirty Shame," Waters highlights sex - specifically sexual addiction, fetishes and the creation of an entirely new sex act. In a recent interview, Waters, a hilariously funny man, offered his thoughts on movie ratings, liberalism and, of course, sex.
It's hard not to like John Waters. Sure, his movies are vulgar, disgusting and borderline offensive, but he's funny. And he's refreshing, because there's no one else like him in Hollywood, or anywhere else.
The booker at the Black Cat should be thanking their lucky stars that Paris Texas was on the bill Thursday night. Sandwiched between two of the world's most boring live bands, Paris Texas presented an energetic live set that probably saved many audience members from running to the box office for refunds at the night's end.
"Take It All Away"
She only got famous because her older sister is Jessica Simpson.
He only got famous because his ex-girlfriend is Ashlee Simpson.
"Pieces of Me"
"On the Way Down"
"40 Kinds of Sadness"
"Let's Take Our Time"
Who They Are:
Jessica Simpson's little sister who recently starred in her own reality show on MTV, "The Ashlee Simpson Show."
Simpson's ex-boyfriend who recently appeared in Ashlee's reality show, "The Ashlee Simpson Show."
Why They Rock:
She may be tone deaf, but her songs rock. Anyone with lyrics like "You can throw me like a boomerang/ I'll come back and beat you up" is a genius.
Johnny Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls produced it. That has to mean something, right? Right?
Why They Suck:
As anyone who watched her show knows, Ashlee can't sing worth a damn. Plus, her music is so over-produced you can practically hear the Pro Tools clicking together.
As anyone who has seen his picture knows, Ryan looks as contrived as his music sounds. Plus, it sounds like he borrowed Ashlee's Pro Tools to record the album.
Ashlee may not be a good musician, and her music may be contrived and radio-ready, but it's catchy and it's way better than anything Jessica ever made.
Ryan may have the face of a teen idol, but his music sucks ... even worse than anything Jessica ever made.
A lot goes into deciding how successful a show is. Indeed, it is often more than just, "Did the band play well?" The band's performance, of course, factors into the final decision, but more questions must be asked. Was the show fun? Was the audience cool? Is the lead singer as hot in person as he is on the CD cover? And, most importantly, did the club sell Corona for less than four bucks a pop?
There is no lack of ambition in the Driscoll family. Siblings Bruce and Erica, who make up the band Astaire, seem to be spearheading their own DIY movement in New York City. The duo not only played all of the instruments on their forthcoming EP, but they wrote, recorded and produced the album in their New York apartment and will release the EP on their own record label.
"On Your Shore"
Sounds like: the love child of Tori Amos and Peter Gabriel.