This week, Jack White will release his second solo album, Lazaretto. Out of all the music White has made — and all the classic styles he’s attempted to put his own spin on — Lazaretto is the biggest mixed bag of them all, nodding to classic country, bluegrass, jazz, funk, and naturally, the blues (this is Jack White). Lyrically, the songs nod to White’s own past in a more obtuse way than his 2012 break-up album, Blunderbuss: bad poetry and one-act plays White wrote when he was 19 served as the inspiration for some of the fictional characters we come to meet on Lazaretto. It also features yet another set of collaborators: White’s new backing band. … Read More
1. Zooey Deschanel will play country singer Loretta Lynn in a new Broadway musical adaptation of Coal Miner’s Daughter, the same part that earned Sissy Spacek the Academy Award for Best Actress. [via ArtsBeat]
2. Last night’s George Clooney-/Jeffrey Katzenberg-hosted $40,000-a-plate fundraiser for President Obama brought in an estimated $15 million. That’s better… Read More
Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar Hoover biopic J. Edgar is out on DVD today, following a fall theatrical run notable mostly for its lack of awards consideration; the film, and particularly Leonardo DiCaprio’s leading role in it, had been the object of much presumptive Oscar buzz (hitting, as it does, multiple circles in the Oscar Venn diagram: slightly villainous, based on a real person, wide range of aging, secretly gay). But the film underwhelmed, for one very simple reason: we’re just getting tired of biopics.
The biographical film portrait has been a venerable institution since the early days of cinema; Georges Méliès made a Joan of Arc biopic clear back in 1900. And while there have been scores of great ones, the tropes of the form (the birth-to-death chronology, the trials and triumphs, the romantic struggles, etc.) are so firmly established that the only biographical films that really make an impression any more, it seems, are those that buck the trends and experiment, or at least futz with the form a bit. After the jump, we’ll take a look at ten great biopics that made an impression, and float some theories as to why. … Read More
Country music doesn’t have much of a reputation for sticking its neck out on the gender-equality front. The genre is better known for the sentiments expressed in Tammy Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man” than for asserting women’s rights. But there are plenty of rock-em sock-em female country artists out there, and plenty of anthems about women fighting back — or just plain fighting — in the country oeuvre. Some, like Loretta Lynn’s “The Pill,” face political issues head on, while others, ranging as far back as the folk tune “Wish I Was A Single Girl Again,” question the value of being hitched up to a man at all. In honor of the one and only Dolly Parton, whose 66th birthday it is today, we present a feminist’s introduction to country songs, after the jump. … Read More
For some bands, there comes a time when music is not enough. Maybe the lead singer is acting like a diva, maybe there’s no more artistic inspiration, maybe your patented toothbrushes are made of toxic plastic, or maybe it’s just that you have a deep, unrealized vision of yourself as Julia Child. Regardless, for many musicians, food is the next frontier, and our Amazon shopping carts (if not our stomachs) are all the better for it. Want to make GWAR’s candied sweetbreads? How about some of Dolly Parton’s Dixie Fixin’s? Dig into our favorite musical cookbooks after the jump. … Read More