An Inside Look at ‘Monkey: Journey to the West’ With Jamie Hewlett

Gorillaz masterminds Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett are no strangers to ambitious work. Together, the pair created a cartoon band that not only got taken extremely seriously, but also sold millions of albums worldwide. In fact, the world of Gorillaz became so fully developed that the virtual band members began to feel as real as the actual musicians (led by Blur frontman Albarn) who brought their music to life. So, while many might balk at the idea of taking a hugely influential 16th-century Chinese novel and turning it into a modern-day acrobatic opera, Hewlett and Albarn jumped at the idea. … Read More

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Behind the Scenes of ‘Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812′

Located in a custom-built venue on the West Side of Manhattan that doubles as an ornate Russian-style supper club, Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 is reinventing the musical — and Tolstoy — for the 21st century. Based on an excerpt from War and Peace, the show is an elaborate production that surrounds its audience in a fully immersive environment, complete with a tasty meal. … Read More

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‘The Place Beyond the Pines’ and Other Films About Breaking the Law With Good Intentions

Ryan Gosling’s latest big-screen foray is far from traditional Hollywood fare. The Place Beyond the Pines — also starring Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, and Ray Liotta — re-teams the A-list actor with director Derek Cianfrance, the man behind the brilliantly devastating Blue Valentine. As we’ve hinted at before, revealing exactly what makes this film so different would spoil part of the (bleak) fun, but what has been made clear is the basic setup: Gosling plays Luke Glanton, a tatted-up stunt biker who discovers he has a previously unknown son. To try to support his newly found progeny, he turns to a life of crime, robbing banks to bankroll his child’s care. … Read More

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Reinvent the Folgers® Jingle for a Chance to Win $25K

It’s been nearly three decades since Leslie Pearl’s original jingle for Folgers® Coffee hit the air, and after all this time, it remains a familiar and much-loved tune to coffee lovers of all ages. The song, with its hook of “the best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup,” has existed in many forms… Read More

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Finding ‘Hidden’ Culture Around the Country with Sony

We dedicate ourselves daily to discovering the best cultural gems in our area, but alas, there are only so many of us. That’s why we love The Hidden, a cool project from our friends at Sony that put NEX-5R cameras in the hands of local influencers around the country so they could share their unique views of their local treasures.

Cultural representatives were chosen in 15 different area codes, and given free reign to capture images of whatever “hidden” finds they wanted to share. Their personal experience ranged from food to fashion to music, so the results were just as varied. Each influencer’s photos are now on display at their local Sony store, where they can be viewed until February 17. … Read More

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The Most Incredible Costumes from New York Comic Con

Halloween may still be a few weeks away, but if you were anywhere in the vicinity of New York’s Javits Convention Center this weekend, you’d be forgiven for thinking it came early. With the annual return of the New York Comic Con, midtown Manhattan’s west side was swamped with comic book, sci-fi, and fantasy fans — over 100,000 of them over the course of the event’s four-day run. Among those multitudes was a significant contingent proudly decked out in costume, representing characters from just about every genre, medium, and realm imaginable. The best of the best earned themselves a place in our exclusive NYCC 2012 photo gallery. And hey, Halloween really is still a few weeks way, so if you’re looking for inspiration, look no… Read More

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Jay-Z, Run-DMC, and More: The Made in America Fest in Photos

Jay-Z helped turn Philadelphia into a veritable music lover’s paradise over Labor Day weekend with the debut of his two-day Made in America festival. The fest, which the superstar hopes to make a yearly one, included performances from Janelle Monáe, D’Angelo, Miike Snow, Odd Future, Skrillex, The Hives, Santigold, Dirty Projectors, and Drake, in addition to headline performances by Pearl Jam and Jay-Z himself. It also marked hip-hop legends Run-DMC’s first return to the stage since the death of founding member Jam Master Jay in 2002. Surprise collaborations were a theme of the weekend, as well, with Eve joining Jill Scott during her set; Kanye West and his G.O.O.D. Music crew storming the stage to close out Jay-Z’s performance, and day one, with renditions of “Mercy,” “New God Flow,” and, of course, “Ni**as in Paris”; and Jay himself joining Pearl Jam for an unprecedented take on “99 Problems.” Even President Obama showed up, albeit in video form, urging people to vote while Jay looked on. Click through for our exclusive photo gallery from Made in America to see more of what went down in… Read More

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Lollapalooza 2012: The Festival in Photos

Last summer, formerly roaming, currently Chicago-based festival Lollapalooza celebrated its 20th anniversary. This past weekend, Perry Farrell’s brainchild barreled into its third decade, once again taking over Grant Park (and most of the surrounding area) with three days of marquee headliners, upstart buzz bands, and plenty of sun, food, and eventually, the requisite mud. Saturday’s installment saw a bit of a hitch, as the entire site was evacuated when a massive thunderstorm descended on the city; fortunately, the event resumed three hours later, with the mass exodus both out of and into the site handled remarkably well.

Nature’s wrath aside, it was another banner year for Lolla. Among the highlights were main stage sets from Florence + The Machine, Metric, Sigur Rós, and the Black Keys — the latter of whom received a personal introduction from Chicago Mayor (and former White House Chief of Staff) Rahm Emanuel. Jack White closed out the festival with a headlining performance featuring both his alternating all-male and all-female bands. And then there was our personal highlight, soul man of the hour, Frank Ocean, whose Saturday night set on the Google Play stage was both a revelation and the perfect reason to steer clear of that night’s main stage acts. Click through for our exclusive photo gallery from the entire weekend, both onsite and off, and if you were there too, share your own favorite moments in the comments. … Read More

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Check Out Amanda Palmer’s Exclusive Flavorpill Session

Last week, we welcomed the fabulous Amanda Palmer into our office as the latest performer in the Flavorpill Sessions concert series, presented with Livestream. We’ve been huge fans of Palmer since her early days in the Dresden Dolls, and based on what she’s revealed so far, her new album, Theater Is Evil, could be her best work yet. The record isn’t out until September 11, but Palmer and her new band, the Grand Theft Orchestra, have been teasing a good portion of it via recent live shows and digital samples. Meanwhile, her recent high-profile success on Kickstarter has exposed Palmer to an even wider audience — but exposure isn’t something the extremely inventive songwriter has ever had a problem with, as emphasized by her latest music video.

During her hour-long session, the performer commonly referred to as AFP ran through stripped-down solo versions of new tracks including “The Killing Type” and “The Bed Song,” pausing to take requests and answer questions from fans around the world. Check out a gallery of photos from the event, and then click through to watch a stream of the complete session. … Read More

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NexCyx Join Sting, Tom Jones, and Hugh Laurie in Cognac

This Spring, Hennessy held an international competition to offer one band the chance to travel to France and perform at the Cognac Blues Passions festival. After extensive judging and voting, the winners of the competition were NexCyx, a five-piece group from Barbados that mixes together hip-hop, pop, rock, and reggae with excellent results. (We’re especially fond of their party-starting track “On the Floor.”) Jetting off to Cognac last week, the band joined a bill that also included Tom Jones, Sting, Hugh Laurie, and other heavy hitters from the worlds of blues and roots music in its six-day lineup. Take a look at some of the highlights from the fest — which celebrates its 20th anniversary next year — in our exclusive photo gallery. … Read More

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