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"The United States of Leland" leaves the viewer with so many questions and allows for multiple interpretations. To address the controversy of the film, which took 28 days to shoot, writer-director Matthew Ryan Hoge and actor Chris Klein made an appearance at the Ritz Carlton in Washington for an inside look at a very complex movie.
The United States of Leland
Fountains of Wayne jammed Sunday night at the 9:30 club, bringing back the nostalgic rock sound of the early 1960s. Through catchy sing-along tunes and clever storytelling, Fountains of Wayne appears to enjoy not being taken too seriously on stage.
Contending that the youth vote could be an important factor in this year's elections, one organization is working to mobilize young adults.
Yanni's Greek Taverna
"The Perfect Score"
Blue Man Group has been shocking its audiences for years with live performances at theaters in New York, Boston, Chicago and Las Vegas. The act began touring in concert arenas during the summer of 2002 at the Area 2 Festival with Moby, David Bowie, Busta Rhymes and world-renowned DJs. This past summer, Blue Man Group embarked on a summer tour and filmed two sold-out shows on Aug. 12 and 13 at the NextStage Amphitheatre in Grand Prairie, Texas.
The Funk Brothers caused a raucous audience to dance, clap and work some naughty moves on performers at the Birchmere music hall in Alexandria, Va., Monday night. For those who are not familiar with the band, guest vocalist Peabo Bryson described the Funk Brothers best by saying that "their music is the fabric of our society." Their music could be considered the soundtrack of our parent's baby-boomer generation.
Kenneth Cole is more than a fashion designer - he is an innovator and philanthropist devoted to helping the community that has supported his business for the past 20 years. Cole spent the day in D.C. Thursday, promoting his first book, "Footnotes," published by Simon & Schuster, which celebrates 20 years since the launch of Kenneth Cole Productions. Cole lectured at Georgetown and Howard universities, and held book signings at Borders on K Street and at his Georgetown store. The book logs childhood memories, struggles and triumphs in the fashion business, as well as overcoming tragedies.
Best known for his tear-jerking rock ballads, like "I'll Be," the soulful hometown American sound of Edwin McCain came partially from exposure to Motown and punk rock during his youth. In an interview with The Eagle, McCain shared his thoughts about the Birchmere Music Hall, where he will be performing this weekend promoting his most recent album, "The Austin Sessions."
The Eagle: How did you happen to pick up a Dianne Warren song ("I Could Not Ask for More")?
Edwin McCain: I was hired to sing that for the "Message in a Bottle" soundtrack.
The tempo of the song was actually half of what it is now. At first, I wasn't into it. Now it's a popular wedding song; every night on tour people tell me that it was their wedding song.
Eagle: I get the idea that your sounds come from a combination of rock and folk. Is this correct? And what music and musicians inspired you to come together and form your interesting sound with your band in 1993?
McCain: Actually, my music is a mix of rock, folk and R&B. I grew up on a lot of Motown, Earth, Wind & Fire, Al Green, Marvin Gaye, as well as a lot of punk music, like Bob Mould, Dead Kennedys, Black Flag and The Clash. I should also mention that David Wilcox is an unbelievable lyricist; he tackles complex themes in three minutes.
Eagle: "I'll Be" and "I Could Not Ask for More" were two of the most emotional rock ballads written in the late-1990s. Why do you think they have so much appeal?
McCain: If I knew, I'd be president of a record label. It's hard to say what parts of music move people and why. Music for me needs to be honest and emotional.
Eagle: So Edwin, what was "I'll Be" about?
McCain: It's a prayer about life. But it's also somewhat autobiographical, in a few ways about a former girlfriend who told me that she would always be a fan of mine.
Eagle: Speaking of fans, now I'm not sure if you are a fan or if you hate the show, but how do you feel about "I'll Be" being one of the most auditioned songs at the "American Idol" auditions, and why do you think this was the case?
McCain: I think the song touched a lot of people. The type of people who aspire to be musicians gravitate to that song. The producers asked me if I wanted to come laugh at the show and I thought it would be a fun opportunity. It actually proved to boost ticket sales during my tour at the time.
Eagle: How and where are you able to write songs and where do these ideas come from?
McCain: A lot of them are born from anger and frustration. It's about being open to ideas. You have to be open enough to receive the idea from outer space or wherever else it could come from.
Eagle: Much of your musical focus is on songwriting. Did you learn to sing or play guitar first, and which is more important to you during the songwriting process?
McCain: I learned to sing first, as a little kid in the church choir. I enjoy both, though. Guitar is more important at the beginning, but melody is very important to a song as well.
Eagle: What might surprise fans about your most recent recording, "The Austin Sessions," when you perform at the Birchmere next week?
McCain: We did [the album] really fast, in about 23 days. It's an all-acoustic record, which my fans have requested for a while. But I don't like to call them my fans, but my 'friends.' This is a thank you to them. I love the Birchmere; it's what music is supposed to be.
Eagle: What was your favorite cover to record and play live from this new album?
McCain: "No Choice" by Buddy Marlot. He's a great songwriter and the song really describes what we're up to as musicians. During one show, I did a Shawn Mullins cover of "Rockabye" when a girl in the front row obviously bought a ticket to the wrong concert.
Edwin McCain will appear Sunday, Nov. 23 at the Birchmere Music Hall in Alexandria, Va. For more information visit www.birchmere.com or www.edwin.com.
Guster and Third Eye Blind pumped up a college-dominated crowd at the 9:30 club Halloween night. The "Bosom Ball," a show sponsored by 104.1 WWZZ was quite a treat; in fact, a variety of shapes and sizes of women's undergarments hung from the rafters of the intimate club for decorations, but more importantly because the show was benefiting the George Washington University MFA Mobile Mammography Program.