Tag Archives: 2018

DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE Coca-Cola Roxy Friday, October 19

Death Cab For Cutie will be at the Coca-Cola Roxy on Friday, October 19th at 8:00pm.

Reserved Balcony Tickets are $47.00 and General Admission Standing Room Floor tickets are $39.50. All ages are welcome.

Tickets are on sale Friday, May 4th at 10am at Ticketmaster.com or charge by phone at 800-745-3000.

For more information, visit deathcabforcutie.com, or www.cocacolaroxy.com.

Sasha Obama Vibing Out With Cardi B And Offset At The Fest

The second daughter of former President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama spent some time with the rappers Cardi B and Offset over the weekend at Washington’s Broccoli City Festival.

The “Bodak Yellow” rapper and Offset, her fiancee and member of the band Migos, headlined the music event ― which, yes, is actually called the Broccoli City Festival ― and they apparently spent some downtime backstage with Sasha Obama.

How did this trio get together? We have no idea, but 16-year-old Sasha looks like she’s been part of the gang for ages.

We can barely contain ourselves.

As for Cardi B, the Broccoli City performance was a big deal for her, as it was her last tour appearance before she’s scheduled to give birth.

Meek Mill released from prison

Meek Mill has been released from prison.

After spending nearly five months incarcerated after a controversial sentence of two to four years in prison for violating probation, the Philadelphia rapper was out and en route to a basketball game on Tuesday evening. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered an immediate release for Mill earlier in the day, directing the judge to release him on “unsecured bail.”

“I’d like to thank God, my family, my friends, my attorneys, my team at Roc Nation including JAY-Z, Desiree Perez, my good friend Michael Rubin, my fans, The Pennsylvania Supreme Court and all my public advocates for their love, support and encouragement during this difficult time,” the rapper, whose full name is Robert Rihmeek Williams, said in a statement obtained by CNN. “While the past five months have been a nightmare, the prayers, visits, calls, letters and rallies have helped me stay positive.”

Philadelphia 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin, a vocal supporter of Mill, shared an Instagram photo of Mill on the way to a 76ers game on Tuesday night.

Mill received a two-to-four year prison sentence in November for violating probation on a 2008 gun and drug case. (He was arrested in 2017 after being involved in a fight and arrested again later for popping wheelies on a dirt bike.) Judge Genece Brinkley cited a failed drug test and the rapper’s noncompliance with a court order restricting his travel in her sentencing order.

Earlier this month, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office recommended a new trial for Mill. But after a judge denied Mill bail, his plea was moved to the state’s Supreme Court.

The case has sparked outrage from criminal justice reform activists. Mill received widespread support from notable artists and athletes, including Colin Kapernick, rappers Jay-Z, T.I. and Rick Ross, New England Patirots owner Robert Kraft, comedian Kevin Hart and the 76ers’ Rubin.

“I think what the support did is bring the overall problem of the criminal justice reform that’s needed to light,” Rubin told CNN in an interview Tuesday. “There’s so many other people that have been wrongfully convicted.”

Mill thanked the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office for its support.

“To the Philly District Attorney’s office, I’m grateful for your commitment to justice. I understand that many people of color across the country don’t have that luxury and I plan to use my platform to shine a light on those issues,” he tweeted. “In the meantime, I plan to work closely with my legal team to overturn this unwarranted conviction and look forward to reuniting with my family and resuming my music career.”

Beyoncé reigns at Coachella once again

Written By | Chloe Melas

Ring the alarm!

Beyoncé did not disappoint at the closing weekend of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on Saturday night — turning it once again into what fans are calling, “Beychella.”

Queen Bey made headlines for her unbelievable performance last weekend. Backed by a full marching band in tribute to historically black colleges, a drumline and dozens of dancers, her powerful headlining set featured a surprise Destiny’s Child reunion, her husband Jay-Z and more. But with Beyoncé being, well, Beyoncé, some wondered how the superstar might mix things up for the festival’s second weekend.

With the exception of a wardrobe twist — shades of magenta instead of bright yellow — the set followed the same course and was equally all encompassing, complete with her former Destiny’s Child bandmates Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams taking the stage for some of their greatest hits, along with another dance-off with her younger sister, Solange Knowles.

Beyoncé’s husband Jay-Z also made a highly anticipated return for another round of duets to promote their upcoming “On The Run II” tour.

The one surprise guest was J. Balvin, who joined Beyoncé to perform “Mi Gente.”

‘Austin Powers’ actor Verne Troyer dead at 49

Written By | Christine Burroni

Verne Troyer, the actor best known for his role as “Mini-Me” in the “Austin Powers” series, died on Saturday, according to a statement posted on his Instagram page.

He was 49.

“Verne was an extremely caring individual. He wanted to make everyone smile, be happy, and laugh. Anybody in need, he would help to any extent possible. Verne hoped he made a positive change with the platform he had and worked towards spreading that message everyday.”

Troyer’s height — two feet and 8 inches — was due to his longtime diagnosis of achondroplasia dwarfism.

Earlier this month, the actor and comedian was hospitalized for possible alcohol poisoning, a year after he was in rehab.

“Verne was also a fighter when it came to his own battles. Over the years he’s struggled and won, struggled and won, struggled and fought some more, but unfortunately this time was too much.”

The social media announcement further explained the side effects of depression and urged followers to raise awareness of suicide. The announcement didn’t specifically state the actor’s cause of death and Troyer’s rep declined to comment further.

The statement concluded by asking for donations to Troyer’s two favorite charities, The Starkey Hearing Foundation and Best Buddies.

Troyer was married in 2004 to Playboy model Genevieve Gallen and was most recently linked to actress Brittney Powell. The actor was also known for his roles in “The Love Guru,” “Bubble Boy,” and “Postal,” along with various stints on reality TV shows.

“1968,” A Four-Part CNN Original Series Event, Debuts Sunday, May 27, at 9 P.M. ET

Series Features Interviews with Tom Hanks, Gloria Steinem, Dan Rather,

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and More

NEW YORK – April 19, 2018 –  From Emmy Award-winning executive producers Tom Hanks, Gary Goetzman and Mark Herzog comes a CNN Original Series Event, 1968.  Airing over two nights — Sunday, May 27 and Monday, May 28 between 9 p.m.–11:00 p.m. ET– the four-part docuseries goes back 50 years to explore 1968, a year marked by seismic shifts in American politics, social movements, global relations and cultural icons that changed the modern landscape. Using never-before-seen archival footage and contemporary interviews with journalists, historians, and notable figures, the series maps the tumultuous events of the entire year, from the assassinations of MLK and RFK to escalating anti-Vietnam War sentiment and civil rights struggles.

Following are descriptions and times for the four parts of 1968:

Sunday, May 27

• Part One: Winter (9 p.m.) – S. Marines are besieged at Khe Sanh and the Viet Cong launch the Tet offensive, the turning point in the Vietnam War. Meanwhile, the 1968 presidential election begins to take shape – Senator Eugene McCarthy dares to challenge the sitting president of his own party, Lyndon Johnson, while LBJ’s greatest political rival, Senator Robert Kennedy, eyes his own entry into the race. Republican Richard Nixon begins his political comeback attempt with another presidential run, as controversial independent candidate George Wallace mounts a populist campaign. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. travels to Memphis in support of a local sanitation worker’s strike. On the last day of March, President Johnson stuns the world with a surprise announcement that will change the course of history.

• Part Two: Spring (10 p.m.) – Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated in Memphis and in response, riots break out across the country. The Academy Award for Best Picture goes to the racially-themed In the Heat of the Night and Hair opens on Broadway. At Columbia University, striking students take control of the campus, leading to a bloody confrontation with police. As the battle of Khe Sahn rages in Vietnam, the United States and North Vietnam open peace talks in Paris. In the presidential race, Senators Kennedy and McCarthy battle each other from state to state in pursuit of the Democratic nomination. After the two trade victories, the nation turns its eyes to the final, fateful California primary.

Monday, May 28

• Part Three: Summer (9 p.m.) – The death of Senator Robert Kennedy roils the presidential race. Republican Richard Nixon fights to head off a last-minute challenge from Governor Ronald Reagan of California. Meanwhile, the Democratic Party has lost its most popular candidate and is at war with itself over the Vietnam War. Mayor Richard J. Daley vows to maintain law and order as protesters and politicos converge in Chicago for the Democratic National Convention. The world watches as events inside the convention hall fuel violent clashes in the street. Vice President Hubert Humphrey gains his party’s nomination and enters the presidential race as a decided underdog and takes a bold political stance in hopes of reversing his fortunes.

• Part Four: Fall (10 p.m.) – Just days after political demonstrations lead to the deaths of scores of students, the Summer Olympics open in Mexico City. Before an international audience, two American sprinters protest the national anthem from the medal stand. As the presidential campaign tightens, President Johnson calls a halt to the bombing of North Vietnam, a move calculated to help the surging Humphrey campaign. Richard Nixon attempts to sabotage the peace talks and the insurgent candidacy of independent George Wallace threatens to throw the election to the House of Representatives. On Election Day, the vote is so close that the winner, Richard Nixon, is not declared until the following morning. On television, Elvis Presley launches a comeback of his own. The widows of Senator Robert Kennedy and Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. look back at the year. On Christmas Eve, Apollo 8 comes around the dark side of the moon and broadcasts, live around the world, the first-ever images of the earth from space.

1968 will also stream live for subscribers on May 27 and May 28 via CNNgo (at CNN.com/go and via CNNgo apps for Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire, Samsung Smart TV and Android TV) and on the CNN mobile apps for iOS and Android. The series will also be available the day after the broadcast premieres on demand via cable/satellite systems, CNNgo platforms and CNN mobile apps.

Shakira & Maluma on Their ‘Absolute Chemistry’ & the New Latin Explosion

Written By | Leila Cobo

Two years ago, when Shakira was looking for songs for her 2017 Spanish-language album, El Dorado, Sony Music Latin chief Afo Verde had a suggestion: How about going into the studio for a writing session with a fellow Colombian, the red-hot up-and-comer Maluma? Shakira, 41, Latin music’s most bankable and best-known female star, was open to the idea. She had paired up with newcomers many times before, and while Maluma had yet to land a No. 1 single on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart, his Instagram and YouTube accounts were exploding, and she was intrigued by his sinuous 2015 pop-reggaetón hit, “Borro Casette.”

The collaboration “turned out to be one of the most brilliant ideas Afo Verde has had — and mind you, he has had several,” Shakira says now with a laugh. Says Verde, who also suggested Shakira’s collaborations with Prince Royce, Carlos Vives and Nicky Jam: “I was fascinated with her evolution from a global sensation to recording again as a mom. What was going to happen with all that sensuality? I thought those two together could do amazing things.”

“When I meet with a producer in the studio, it’s a bit like a blind date. But what I found [with Maluma] was absolute chemistry,” confirms Shakira. “The moment the creative energy started to flow, it never stopped.”

The meeting evolved into a joint recording session of two tracks, “Chantaje” and “Trap.” The former debuted at No. 1 on Hot Latin Songs in November 2016, where it ruled for 11 weeks. Even without a bilingual remix, it climbed to No. 51 on the Billboard Hot 100. Maluma, a star on the brink, finally exploded. Today, the 24-year-old is Latin pop’s new worldwide superstar, with seven No. 1s on the Latin Airplay chart, over 1 million tickets sold on his first world tour in 2017 and more Instagram followers (32.1 million) than any other male Latin star. He’s currently touring U.S. arenas for the first time, having sold out New York’s Madison Square Garden in March; promoting the Spanish-language version of Coca-Cola’s World Cup song by Jason Derulo, “Colors”; and prepping the May 18 release of his third studio album, F.A.M.E.

Shakira, meanwhile, will embark on her first world tour in seven years, in June, after sweeping the nominations for the 2018 Billboard Latin Music Awards with 12, including four for “Chantaje.” (Maluma has 10 nods.)

But the two have more than singles in common. Maluma (real name Juan Luis Londoño) grew up listening to Shakira and feels a deep artistic connection with her. “One of the things that has influenced me the most is the folkloric elements she has incorporated [into her music] since she was very young,” he says. “To be part of that group that has been influenced by the sounds that identify a country has definitely had a bearing on me and my musical career.”

Whatever the parallels, Maluma’s rise reflects just how much popular music has changed over the last two decades. While Shakira relied on the traditional crossover to English and her World Cup anthems to gain global recognition, Maluma has recorded mainly in Spanish (he sings in English for the first time on the new Burns single, “Hands on Me”), focusing on social media and YouTube views to find international fame.

In early April, the two friends met up in Barcelona, where Shakira lives with her partner and their two young boys, for a photo shoot and an intimate conversation in Spanish on what it means to be a Colombian superstar

Maluma, how was it to meet Shakira?

Maluma: I felt very proud because this was an opportunity for me to learn. I’m a new talent. My musical career is 6 years old. That’s nothing. And to go to Barcelona and meet with her, it was a beautiful experience. There was incredible chemistry.

Shakira: Thank you, Juan. I’m being very honest here — Maluma is one of the most talented people I’ve met. He has this mental agility to write lyrics, melodies, and the best thing is, we always agree. [Laughs.]

You’re both Colombian. What bearing does that have on your work together?

Shakira: I miss working with more Colombians in the studio. There’s an irreplaceable closeness to the culture. It’s something I can’t find with any other musician or artist. It’s reflected in the good vibe and what a good time we have. Sometimes the creative process can be as painful as giving birth. But when it’s with Maluma, it can even be pleasant.

Maluma: Ha! It can “even be pleasant.”

Maluma, what do you do to make her so happy?

Shakira: First of all, he calls me reina [queen] all the time. Reina here, reina there.

Maluma: [Laughs.] That’s the truth.

Shakira: When he called me reina the first time, I said, “We’re off to a good start.”

Maluma: I’ve always said that there’s one thing that differentiates us Colombians on a global scale: berraquera [loosely translated: grit, or guts]. Even if we’re not great musicians, we find the people who know how to make the songs great.

Shakira: When a Colombian gets obsessed with something, watch out. Our history and the social factors we’ve been submitted to have turned us into resourceful people who had to survive and find their way in life.

You both grew up during Colombia’s long rebel insurgency.

Maluma: We come from a history where we’ve had to look for our bread, you understand me? And we’ve had that hunger to forge ahead due to everything we’ve lived though. And in the studio, we’re the same way. “I can’t play that chord. OK, who knows how?” When you put together discipline and perseverance, you get beautiful careers, thank God.

Have you encountered barriers in the industry as Latin artists?

Shakira: The path to success has been longer, steeper, with more obstacles than if I had been born in Florida or New York City. To be born in Barranquilla and start a career at a time when the pop music scene was almost nonexistent in Colombia … When I began with my ballads and my rock songs, it was a very hostile environment. And there was no social media back then. I had to travel the entire length of Latin America to make my music known in the beginning, going from radio station to radio station. Sometimes we were in three countries in the same day.

Maluma, you had social media…

Maluma: From the onset. So there was a way to share my music around the world. But that didn’t mean that they were going to like my music in the U.S. I always say with a lot of pride that Latins have something in our blood that can’t be found everywhere, and that is fashionable around the world now. I grew up listening to and seeing American products. My friends and I would go onto all these platforms, and all we saw or heard was American hip-hop. They weren’t looking at the music we were making in Latin America, but Latin America was always heavily influenced by the music that Americans made. When we get on an American stage, when we have the opportunity to be on the Grammy stage, we enjoy it that much more, because we know how hard the work was.

Shakira: Latinos in general and Colombians in particular have had a hard history. A history where we’ve eaten dirt. We know what conflict is, and we know what it is to have nothing and to fight to get it. That, in a way, defines you as a human being and as an artist. What we’ve inherited and what we carry in our blood — that’s our raw material. That’s what we work with.

Are you surprised when you see several Latin music videos among the top 10 on YouTube in a given week?

Shakira: For a long time, the Americas looked at Anglo product. Now, the rest of the world is looking toward Latin America. And it’s more than a fad. It’s here to stay.

You don’t think this is like the so-called Latin explosion of the 1990s, which faded?

Shakira: I might consider myself debris from the Latin explosion. There are people who stay and people who disappear. It depends on us as artists and what we have to offer. It’s hard to generalize, but music is at a point where it increasingly has a more sophisticated sound that’s attractive to a global fan. Many Latin artists understand this universality well, and they know how to attract global tastes.

Maluma: As artists, if a door opens, it’s our job to make sure it stays open. One of the most beautiful experiences I had was in Israel last year, where I played for 17,000 people. I couldn’t believe it. I think the best is yet to come, and being part of this movement is an opportunity and an honor. What can be better for us than to sing in Spanish everywhere we go?

The two songs you’ve done together are very sexy but also tasteful. How do you strike that balance?

Shakira: It’s not premeditated or calculated. I connect with a song through dance and movement. Generally speaking, that’s why I don’t work with choreographers. My own artistic interpretation of the music I create is very important to me. We had a script for the “Chantaje” video, but it stemmed from what I was doing with the dance portion. Even the outfits depended on the dancing. There’s never a premeditated effort at shock value. “Chantaje” is a super sexy song, but there’s nothing erotic in the lyrical content.

“Tu Tu & More” defies the norm

Written By | Bianca Theodore

In Atlanta Ballet 2’s recent show “Tu Tu & More,” the word “more” is a deceiving wink. Even the word ballet fails to encompass its rich artistry and wildly exhilarating nature.

However, the “more” is also fitting, as it is more of an experience than a simple recital.

Unlike most ballets, the two intermissions do not separate acts of the same show. Rather, all three acts (Tu Tu, blink, and Minus 16) are so diverse they may as well be entirely different performances. According to the program, each of these acts are designed to “display the range of human experience” from “strikingly different points of view.”

And striking it certainly is, to say the least.

The first installment, Tu Tu, acts as the traditional leg of the show. Backed by Maurice Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major, the ballerinas are a physical embodiment of its lush melody, moving fluidly to the delicate piano riffs and runs. The dancers themselves were a study in classic technique, equally controlled and poised during various jumps, turns, and elaborate footwork. Largely a partner effort, the couples moved in near perfect synchronicity and harmony, acting as bodily extensions of one another.

Then came blink, choreographer Tara Lee’s brand new piece that would be premiered that opening night. In a short cameo, Lee graced the Cobb Energy screen to explain that the piece was inspired by stars, and the energy they exchange. The seven dancers were arranged to mimic constellations, but Lee’s true choreographic intent was to mimic the energy humans exchange everyday. Punctuated by “curving lines, free torsos, and punches of the extremities”, the choreography crackled with the electricity of brief encounters and fleeting moments.

Last, but surely not least, was Minus 16. The act had an unsuspecting beginning, a lone dancer freestyling on an empty stage to an audience still milling around during intermission. The lights were on and the curtain was drawn, but what began as a supposed sideshow quickly captured everyone’s attention. Eventually, the lone dancer was joined by dozens of others, all clad in a drab gray suit with a black top hat. The music was jarring, a peculiar score that featured haunting chants, cha-cha, techno, and mambo. The choreography could best be described as random on purpose; a seemingly discordant mixture of everything from tango to freestyle.

But the highlight of the three acts was Minus 16’s end, which found the dancers in the crowd, holding out an innocuous hand to shocked audience members. To their surprise and our delight, they were bought on stage with no preamble or instructions; just left to tango with the best of them.

At its crescendo, a woman from the crowd stood under a spotlight in the middle of the stage, hands up in victory to the sound of the audience’s standing ovation.

That moment is the more in “Tu Tu & More”; the element of surprise, of thrill, and the reminder that the more is what makes life worth living.

Usher is the victim of $820K home theft

Written By | Francesca Bacardi

Usher could be the latest victim of the celebrity bling ring.

Thieves stole about $820,000 in jewelry and cash from the R&B crooner’s home, according to The Blast. Usher’s estranged wife, Grace Miguel, reported the house had been broken into after she learned of the incident from the housekeeper on March 29.

The housekeeper reportedly told Miguel that she “discovered a footprint on the second floor, a handprint on the pillow in the lower floor, and the curtains to the lower floor window were open.” She went to look at the security footage to check if anyone could be seen but “noticed that the recording box was missing and connecting wires were cut.”

When Miguel arrived at the house, which is currently on the market to sell, she confirmed some of Usher’s jewelry had been stolen, as well as $20,000 in cash.

The thieves stole six watches, the most expensive of which cost $220,000, and a rose gold Jesus necklace worth $200,000.

Kelly Clarkson to Host the 2018 Billboard Music Awards

Written By | Katie Atkinson

After 15-plus years on Billboard‘s charts, Kelly Clarkson will put her hitmaking skills to work as host of the 2018 Billboard Music Awards, NBC announced Tuesday (April 17).

“To prepare for hosting the Billboard Music Awards, I already have 20 costume changes planned,” Clarkson said in a press release announcing the gig. “I will be flying in like my girl P!nk, and calling Amy Schumer and Sarah Silverman for jokes. Well, or I’m just gonna show up and celebrate my favorite artists and get to know a few more. Yeah, maybe I’ll go with that plan.”

Currently in her first season as a coach on NBC’s The Voice, Clarkson is the perfect pick to host the BBMAs’ first year on NBC. Clarkson has notched 27 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 chart so far, including 11 top 10s — three of which reached No. 1 (“A Moment Like This,” “My Life Would Suck Without You” and “Stronger [What Doesn’t Kill You]”). She’s also claimed 10 entries on the Billboard 200 albums chart, and among them are three No. 1s. Her most recent release, 2017’s Meaning of Life, bowed at No. 2 and launched a pair of top 20 hits on the Adult Pop Songs chart with “Love So Soft” and “I Don’t Think About You.” This past November, the inaugural American Idol champ accepted the Powerhouse prize at the Billboard Women in Music Awards.

“Kelly Clarkson has long been a Billboard chart phenomenon and has a first-hand understanding of what matters most in music today,” said Paul Telegdy, President, Alternative and Reality Group, NBC Entertainment. “Her enthusiasm for all genres of music and her innate sense of humor will make for a truly memorable night.”

The nominees for the 2018 Billboard Music Awards were announced Tuesday, and Kendrick Lamar, Ed Sheeran and Bruno Mars lead the way with 15 BBMA nominations apiece. All three are up for top artist, also competing against Drake (nine noms total) and Taylor Swift (five noms) in that field. Nominees for the BBMAs are selected through a number of factors, including key interactions with music fans, album and digital song sales, radio airplay, streaming, touring and social engagement, as tracked by Billboard and its data partners over a 12-month period.

The 2018 Billboard Music Awards will broadcast live from MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday, May 20, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on NBC. The three-hour event — produced by dick clark productions — will commemorate 60 years of Billboard charts.