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Archive for March, 2010

Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

Have you been to or driven by a Blockbuster video store lately? I don’t know about you, but I’ve been noticing the ‘SALE’ or ‘DVDS AS LOW AS $2.99’ signs in the windows. Perhaps online movie renting services are finally catching up with them?

As a matter of fact, the movie superstore is actually thinking about filing for bankruptcy. According to USA Today, Blockbuster ended 2009 with nearly $1 billion in debt. That’s quite a bit of debt, guys. On April 1 of this year, the company will have to make an interest payment, but who knows if that will happen.

With the rise of movie rental sites on the internet, like Netflix and Redbox, it’s no big surprise that Blockbuster is having some problems keeping up. A main issue they face is their pricing policies. To rent one video from a Blockbuster store costs the consumer nearly $5, while a one month subscription with an unlimited amount of DVD rentals from Netflix starts at $8.99.

Also, internet movie rental sites have become so popular that many post offices now have separate mail drop boxes to accommodate just the DVDs coming and going by mail. Even though Blockbuster also offers these services, it may be too late for them to catch up.

The digital age is upon us, and if you can’t find a way to make a successful business venture in it, you’re out of the ballgame. As far as renting movies goes, check out this smartmoney.com article about the best movie rental options.

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

We all know who Mike Tyson is…he’s a boxing champion, an undisputed heavyweight, a crazed lunatic (for biting off Evander Holyfield’s earlobe), and has even done a few minor roles in movies. The latest, of course, was his part in The Hangover, as himself.

Now, Tyson is doing something that seems a little out of his league. He has just signed up to work on a new reality tv show on Animal Planet. I know what you’re thinking…how does Mike Tyson get on Animal Planet? Pigeons, that’s how. The New York Post reported that the champ owns a few hundred birds at various lofts in Brooklyn and New Jersey.

The show, called Taking on Tyson, will focus on Tyson’s love of his pigeons. He claims he has been caring for birds since age 11. He provided shelter and food for many birds around his childhood home in Brownsville. This is the first time he will race the pigeons, and has even called in an expert to train them.

Pigeon racing is a widely occuring sport, in which the birds sometimes race up to 500 miles in one race, putting them at risk for medical and emotional issues. Because of this fact, it is also widely disliked, especially by animal activist groups. PETA and Audubon Magazine have already jumped on the bandwagon to have this sport stopped.

However, Tyson is especially excited about this latest endeavour, which will begin shooting in Brooklyn later next month. If you happen to be in the area, make sure you take special care of the way you treat the pigeons. “I never hurt anybody until somebody hurt one of my birds,” Tyson says.

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

It’s finally here! Last night, the famous jam band Phish released their long awaited summer tour dates. Fans were eager to get the dates to plan their summer tour schedules. All across the web, rumors were buzzing about possible dates for months.

Actually, the rumored dates I had previously posted weren’t too far off.

The summer concert series will kick off on June 11 in Chicago and will wrap up August 18 at Jones Beach, NY. The tour has 29 stops along its journey, all of which won’t let down fans. If you’re looking for some advance ticket sales, check out Music Today. (That will go on until March 26 at midnight.)

Here they are —

June:
11 Chicago, IL Toyota Park
12 Cuyahoga Falls, OH Blossom Music Center
13 Hershey, PA Hersheypark Stadium
15 Portsmouth, VA Ntelos Pavilion at Harbor Center
17 Hartford, CT Comcast Theatre
18 Hartford, CT Comcast Theatre
19-20 Saratoga Springs, NY Saratoga Performing Arts Center
22 Mansfield, MA Comcast Center
24-25 Camden, NJ Susquehanna Bank Center
26-27 Columbia, MD Merriweather Post Pavilion
29 Canandaigua, NY CMAC

July:
1 Raleigh, NC Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion
2 Charlotte, NC Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
3-4 Alpharetta, GA Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre @ Encore Park

August:
5-7 Berkeley, CA Greek Theatre
9-10 Telluride, CO Telluride Town Park
12-13 Noblesville, IN Verizon Wireless Music Center
14-15 East Troy, WI Alpine Valley Music Theatre
17-18 Wantagh, NY Nikon Theater at Jones Beach

This announcement of their summer tour also comes with a secondary announcement. They will now have their own 3D movie, called Phish 3D. The movie will consist of footage shot during Phish’s Festival 8, a 3 day festival that happened over this past Halloween and covered numerous Rolling Stones songs. It will be released some time this April. Visit the website to sign up for more information as it becomes available.

Well, I’d say Phish fans are certainly getting their jollies this month. Now, let’s see how fast those tickets sell out!

UPDATE 3/25/10: An official trailer for Phish 3D has just been released. Check it:

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

Iggy Pop and the Stooges celebrate their induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Last night, at 8:30 sharp, a ceremony took place which inducted some of the biggest names in music into its highly esteemed ranks. That’s right folks, I’m talking about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2010 inductees ceremony.

The ceremony kicked off with Phish playing a cover of ‘Watcher of the Skies’ by Genesis, and then lead singer Trey Anastasio bestowed the honor upon the musical group.

Various covers were performed by other bands as well, including Maroon 5, Rob Thomas, Chris Isaak, and Faith Hill.

Here is a complete list of the inductees:

  • Jimmy Cliff
  • Genesis
  • The Stooges
  • ABBA
  • The Hollies
  • David Geffen
  • Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil
  • Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry
  • Jesse Stone
  • Mort Shuman
  • Otis Blackwell

On the whole, everyone seemed a little nervous onstage last night as songs were played, groups were introduced, and speeches were made. However, the positive vibe and good cheer was certainly in the air as new and old musicians alike paid their tributes to the inductees.

If you would like more information about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, there is much to see and do on their website. Just click the link.

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

This Monday, Tim Burton, along with French actress Marion Cotillard, was awarded with a very high honor among the French entertainment industry. He was added to France’s cultural honor roll, which the director is very proud of.

During a ceremony in Paris, Burton was given a medallion and made an official officer in France’s National Order of Arts and Letters. This couldn’t come at a better time for the quirky movie afficionado. With his latest release of Alice in Wonderland, he’s got millions of fans eating out of his hands.

The Associated Press reported the following statements made by Burton about the high honor: 

“From the beginning of my career, I always felt a very special place in my heart (for) France,” he told the crowd of journalists and fans. “Because whether or not you liked the movies, I always felt that the French were looking for the poetry, looking for the meaning, looking for the things I was trying to do.

“France has such a special place in my heart and I feel much more at home here than I do in my own country, and I always have,” he said, adding: “I thank you very much.”

That last comment has brought some controversy to people from the United States, but we’ll let that slide here. Come on, let the guy enjoy his honor!

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

Some bands have truly made their mark on us. Their staying power has far outlived anything their original songs were meant to make us feel in one single moment. In some cases, the legacy can live on, even after a lead singer’s death.

I’m talking about Sublime, a punk-ska-reggae band from California that still holds a place in many fans hearts, especially after lead singer Bradley Nowell’s death from a drug overdose in 1996. But now, 14 years later, the rest of the band members want to give it another go, but this time, with a new singer.

Rome Ramirez, the newbie singer of Sublime with Rome.

Rome Ramirez, the 21 year old newbie, will replace Nowell’s vocals and guitar. The rest of the band says he has a creepy resemblance to Nowell, both in his singing and guitar skills. Rolling Stone Magazine reported that Ramirez had been playing solo around California, and then had a chance to jam with Sublime originals Eric Wilson and Bud Gaugh. The three hit it off, and now have scheduled seven tour dates. If all goes well with that, the band says it will start touring regularly and making albums.

The band had to change its name because of a previous lawsuit made by Nowell’s family. Now, they will play as ‘Sublime with Rome.’ But the name change is welcomed because a Sublime without Nowell needs a fresh start.

The first tour date will kick off in Los Angeles on none other than April 20 (4/20 for the potheads in the audience). Some things never change.

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

Appropriate post title…considering that seeing Alice in Wonderland is very much like tripping on mushrooms.

The movie, which I happened to see in 3D, is nothing short of spectacular with bits and pieces of happiness and wonder mixed in. Characters that you remember from your childhood Alice in Wonderland books come back to life, but in a new way….a way that Tim Burton can only produce.

Spoiler Alert! The movie takes place with a much older Alice, who comes back to Wonderland after having years and years of ‘dreams’ about it. This time around, she still thinks it is a dream and keeps trying to pinch herself to wake up. But it doesn’t work. This is the real deal, Alice.

The entire plot of the movie is laid out in the very beginning, which many people may find to be poor writing, but it served well here. Knowing the ending of the movie does not mean that you will know how characters get there. The journey through Wonderland is psychedelic and winding, as Alice prepares to slay the Jabberwocky, a dragon type creature who is loyal to the Red Queen.

Johnny Depp did a wonderful job as the Mad Hatter, but was very much upstaged by Mia Wasikowska, who played Alice. Other memorable characters were the Cheshire Cat, who floated along and disappeared at his whims, the caterpillar, and of course, that big headed Red Queen, played by Helena Bonham Carter.

My only qualm — seeing the movie in 3D may not have been worth the extra money. There was nothing in particular that stood out as an incredible 3D scene. If you want to save money when you see this, just pay for the regular version. It’s basically the same.

Alice in Wonderland is worth the watch. Tim Burton’s world of big and tall mushrooms, forests, oversized chess boards, and towering castles is unlike anything I’ve ever seen in a movie before. It’s far out, dude.

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