It really seems like this is the year for TV show cast reunions with A Different World, The Wonder Years, Boy Meets World (whose reunion has actually come in the form of new series Girl Meets World)… and now Blossom. Did I just hear somebody say ‘Whoa!’? *Joey Russo voice*
Yep, everyone’s favourite floppy-hat-wearing teen (I know I wasn’t the only one that adopted that style back in the day) and her slightly dysfunctional family, (well the actors who played them) made many a 90s kid’s dreams come true when they posed for a reunion pic recently. Well, the family minus the parents Mayim Balik (Blossom), Joey (Joey Lawrence) and Anthony (Michael Stoyanov) and including Blossom’s 1000 word per minute-talking best friend Sixx (Jena von Oy). I mean it would have been just plain wrong to leave out Sixx!
Exciting news this week, as the makers of the highly anticipated NWA biopic announced that they have finally cast the three leads, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube and the late Eazy-E, for ‘Straight Outta Compton’, the big screen movie about the legendary gangsta rap-pioneering hip hop outfit. And, thankfully they are all unknown actors!
‘After more than five years, four writers and a tough-to-please trio that holds cast and script veto power, Universal’s N.W.A biopic “Straight Outta Compton” is finally getting the green light.
Sources say the studio has assembled its leading threesome to tackle the roles of Ice Cube, Dr. Dre and the late Eazy-E. The three parties with approval – Cube, Dre and Eazy-E’s widow Tomica Wright – have signed off on the actors who will play the core members of the seminal rap group.
It’s no secret that Cube has been lobbying for his son, O’Shea Jackson Jr., 24, to be cast as the teen version of his father, and it appears he got his wish.
Less known is the classically trained actor who is said to have won the role of Dre, Marcus Callender. Although the alum of New York’s Shakespeare Lab at the Public Theater might be more familiar with Chekhov than Compton’s gang-plagued streets, he beat out a phalanx of would-be rappers (the Beats co-founder originally wanted Michael B. Jordan to play him, but the actor is about to take on a Fantastic Four reboot at Fox). Still, Callender has some screen credits, including the pilot for Steve Zaillian’s Criminal Justice on HBO, as well as bit parts in the CBS series Blue Bloods and Elementary.
Even more obscure is Jason Mitchell, who insiders say landed the film’s lead role of Eazy-E after an out-of-the-park screen test. The New Orleans-based actor, who is repped by Talent Connexion, has played small roles in Broken City and Contraband.’
I, for one am very excited about this movie, which has been in development for five years already, with multiple changes in terms of writers and directors! I am also so happy they didn’t just decide to go with a bunch of known actors who they felt would bring in a fan base as the NWA legacy can do that all by itself.
There was talk recently of comedian Katt Williams playing Eazy-E… Hmmm… I can see where they were going with that, but not sure to be honest. Also, I don’t think I could believe Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale Station) in the role of Dr. Dre… He is a good actor and all, but that is way too random for me. Even going by the fact that I felt the same way about Lil Mama playing Left Eye in the TLC movie last year, and then having to admit afterwards that she actually did an amazing job! Choosing fresh-faced actors hopefully means these young men are actually the best people for the job, and they will do the roles justice! The above picture shows (l-r) Oshea Jackson Junior, Jason Mitchell and Marcus Callender, crouching in front of (l-r) Ice Cube, the film’s director F. Gary Gray and Dr. Dre.
Will you be going to see this movie when it finally comes out?
So, I was sitting in my office this afternoon – had the place to myself, so I did what I often do when there is no one else in, which is have a little party!!! This entails me plugging in my iPod or clicking onto youtube and playing all my favourite tunes, as I dance and sing along, usually at the top of my voice!!!! Luckily we are the only office on the top floor, which means no one can be subjected to my voice! Although the security man did come in and ask if he could join my little shindig, having walked past and heard me, so I guess it can’t be that bad!
Anyway, I digress… So, I go onto Youtube and searched for Please Don’t Go Girl, a song by my fave band New Kids On The Block, as ain’t no real party complete without a lil old school NKOTB – obviously. And to my surprise one of the first videos listed wasn’t the Boston five (New Kids) as expected, but a trio of young teenage boys called ToBeOne. Since the video had been posted just two days ago I assumed it was new, and it looked sort of professional so I knew it wasn’t some random guys doing a home video, so curiosity got the best of me and I clicked on it.
So, apparently ToBeOne are Madison, Mikey and Jason are a new boy band from New Jersey US. The oldest is just 15 years old and they managed by Troy Carter (former manager of Lady GaGa), and they chose to cover (well the chorus any way) the New Kid’s classic hit Please Don’t Go Girl for their third single – nice. The jury is still out on the dance moves for me, even though these boys first came to public recognition after coming second on the sixth season of America’s Best Dance Crew. But as for the song, I quite like what they have done here, not as much as the original though! What do you think? Did they do a good job?
Interviews like this make me remember why I fell in love with hip hop in the first place! For the most part, it is all about the emotion of it – music and lyrics – which many of today’s ‘emcees’ don’t seem to have grasped. I can still partner so many personal emotions and memories to certain hip hop songs from way back in the day, in terms of how I felt when I first heard them or things that were going on in my life at the time the song was first released, which still holds so much power.
LL Cool J’s steely abs peeking out from that white Le Coq Sportif tracksuit in the I Need Love video might also have been an early contributing factor to my commitment to ride hard for this culture, but that’s a whole ‘nother issue for a whole ‘nother post! LOL!
By now it’s old news that popular chat show host Jimmy Fallon has taken over The Tonight Show hosting job from Jay Leno! But no doubt viewers are still buzzing from the antics served up on his debut show, which aired last week featuring A-List actor Will Smith, as a guest, who as well as giving an interview joined Jimmy for a wholly entertaining ‘evolution of hip hop dance’ journey.
Jimmy more than held his own against the former Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as they performed dances such as The Humpty Dance, The Running Man, The Wop, Twerking and the ‘Carlton Dance’. Hilarious stuff!
We spotted this interview, marking 25 years of the release Debbie Gibson’s second album Electric Youth over at Billboard.com:
On Jan. 24, 1989, Gibson released her sophomore album. It would spend five weeks atop the Billboard 200 and yield the Hot 100 No. 1 ‘Lost in Your Eyes.’ On the set’s 25th anniversary, Gibson reflects on its success and reveals what’s ahead in 2014
That’s it how it feels to listen to a highly-anticipated second album from an artist after you’ve been won over by a captivating debut.
Will it be as good? Will there be more hits? Will the overall sound have changed?
Can it even be better?
Twenty-five years ago today, fans of pop music’s then-teen queen Debbie Gibson pressed play on their boom boxes (or, CD players, if you believed that CDs were going to catch on …) and began getting to know “Electric Youth,” her follow-up to her smash first album, “Out of the Blue.”
Quickly, “cautiously” was surely removed from the experience.
Gibson had an impressive track record to follow. “Blue” yielded four Billboard Hot 100 top 10s in 1987-88: the No. 4-peaking hits “Only in My Dreams” and “Shake Your Love,” the No. 3 title cut and her first No. 1, ballad “Foolish Beat.” The album peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard 200 in a hefty 89-week run and was certified triple-Platinum by the RIAA.
“Electric Youth” measured up.
The set’s first single, piano ballad “Lost in Your Eyes,” soared to a three-week Hot 100 reign, while the album ruled the Billboard 200 for five frames. (In the ’80s, only four other albums by solo women posted commands as long or longer, two each by Whitney Houston and Madonna.)
The “Electric Youth” title cut (No. 11) and ballad “No More Rhyme” (No. 17) both hit the Hot 100′s top 20, with Gibson listing fourth single “We Could Be Together” among her five favorite songs of hers (when pestered last year by a certain zealous fan to rank her releases in order of preference).
On the milestone 25th anniversary of the release of the double-Platinum-certified “Electric Youth,” Gibson muses on many facets of the album, along with plans for upcoming projects, all with an energy that aptly mirrors the set’s lasting effervescence.
Billboard: Debbie, congratulations on the anniversary! It’s said that an artist has his or her whole life to make a first album, but a limited window to make the all-important follow-up. Did you feel that pressure when making “Electric Youth”? Perhaps not so much, since some songs I know were written, and performed live, years earlier? Plus, you could draw on the experience of having made “Blue.”
Gibson: I love this question and it definitely applied, but not to my first two albums, because, in a way, I feel like they were my debut combined. I had presented Atlantic Records with more than a hundred songs before they signed me, just to release “Only in My Dreams” as a 12-inch single, to make sure it wasn’t a fluke, since I was a teenager who wrote.
So, even though some of the songs [on "Youth"] were written after “Out of the Blue” came out, many were actually from that first batch of songs I wrote between the ages of 12 and 16.
Also, the beauty of recording as a teenager is that you don’t really know pressure yet. I had no bills to pay and I lived with my parents, so it was all really a glorified hobby to me. Pressure just did not enter into the equation.
I later did feel the pressure to release albums and had not accumulated songs from true-life experiences, which is why a lot of the material, I think, became mediocre.
I’m thrilled to say I have now taken real-life moments to accumulate my next batch of songs for an upcoming record. I feel like it’s “Out of the Blue” and “Electric Youth” all over again, because I am in a true channeling mode that can only come from giving yourself the luxury of time and living, as opposed to trying to create, or recreate, something.
How do you compare “Out of the Blue” and “Electric Youth”? To me, the latter presented a more mature artist (yes, even at 18), with songs like the flute-driven “Silence Speaks (A Thousand Words)” and “No More Rhyme” more adult-leaning, lyrically and musically, than much of “Blue.”
It’s funny to think a maturation process happens between the ages of 16 and 18, but I think, yes, those songs do represent a more poetic/less teenage point-of-view.
And, now thinking about it, I had traveled the world in the time between “Out of the Blue” and “Electric Youth” and went from rags to riches, so to speak, all of which will grow you up real quick.
How did “Lost in Your Eyes” come to be the first single from “Electric Youth”?
I had started performing that song on the road on the “Out of the Blue” tour. From the opening two bars of the piano intro, it elicited screams from audiences. It had yet to be recorded or played on the radio, but it was already a hit. That’s not ego talking. It’s just true of any artist and any song that has that feeling of being familiar, yet new. My acting teacher, Howard Fine, said that phrase to me in relation to what is a hit, be it a hit piece of theater or a hit song.
It’s so true. It’s like an old friend. You predict that the melody is going to go in a satisfying way.
Was there any trepidation, either from you or the label, about releasing a ballad first, with pop radio historically tempo-driven? Obviously, the success of “Foolish Beat” provided key evidence that you know your way around a ballad.
I don’t remember exact conversations, but it was no contest. And, at that point, I instinctually knew what would work next for me in my career. I had also witnessed firsthand audience response to the song on the “Out of the Blue” tour.
Obviously, dance songs can stand the test of time, but nothing penetrates and spans all age groups, all ethnicities or all genders like a ballad. One of my favorite things, to this day, is that many people come up to me and tell me that they learned how to play the piano from that song and from that sheet music, which is such an honor to me.
I curse my younger self, though, every time I go to belt the high D at the end live. (Laughs)
Tributes poured in for respected comedy actor and writer Harold Ramis, last night, after the Ghostbusters star passed away at the age of 69, following a long battle with an autoimmune disease. The star will probably be remembered best for playing Egon Spengler in both the Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters 2 movies, but hardcore comedy fans will know that Harold was a veteran writer for the big screen, and along with the Ghostbusters movies , he was responsible for writing and co-writing classic movies such as Animal House, Groundhog Day, Stripes, Caddyshack, National Lampoon’s Vacation and Analyze This. He laos wrote for TV and worked on several episodes of the US version of The Office.
With the 30th anniversary of the first Ghostbusters movie coming up this summer – this is very sad! That movie was very popular in my house growing up, as were several of those he wrote the screenplay for! RIP Harold Ramis – your legacy will live on in your brilliant work!
‘Deeply saddened to hear of the passing of my brilliant, gifted, funny friend, co-writer/performer and teacher Harold Ramis. May he now get the answers he was always seeking’ – Dan Akroyd
‘Sad to hear my friend Harold Ramis passed away. A brilliant, funny, actor and director. A wonderful husband and dad. Big loss to us all’ – Billy Crystal
‘Harold Ramis. Funny, gracious, kind hearted. A joy to have known you’ – Steve Carell
‘Very, very sad to hear that Harold Ramis has died. He was a lovely man and I loved working with him. RIP’ – Elizabeth Hurley
‘Today is a sad day. RIP Harold’ – Rick Moranis
‘Harold Ramis was a brilliant, shining example for every comedy writer hoping to achieve excellence in the field. He will be sorely missed’ – Seth MacFarlane
‘I collect spores, molds, and fungus’ – condolences to the family and friends of the great Harold Ramis’ – Jimmy Kimmel
‘REST IN PEACE Harold Ramis: a continued source of everything funny’ Henry Winkler
‘So sad about Harold Ramis. Comedy legend. And a lovely man’ – Rashida Jones
‘Very sad to hear that we lost Harold Ramis. Exceptionally talented, exceptionally kind’ – Julianne Moore
‘So sorry to hear about the death of Harold Ramis, a comedy master. Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day, and more’ – Steve Martin
‘Egon was my favorite Ghostbuster. Feels like we lost one of the Beatles’ -Jason Reitman
‘Harold Ramis. Ugh. this movie. This movie was EVERYTHING #STRIPES’ – Martha Plimpton
‘Stunned and saddened to hear of the death of Harold Ramis. A comedy hero…’ – Stephen Fry
‘So sad about Harold Ramis. His work changed my life and inspired me and made me want to do what I do. Very nice man and a good neighbor too’ – Tom Arnold
‘Sad to hear brilliant comedian, writer & director Harold Ramis has passed. A giant talent & extremely nice man. RIP’ – Pee-wee Herman
So, I came across a new reality show last week that filled me with glee – I do love a good reality TV show for those who don’t know!
But even better this time, is the fact that this particular show is centred around one of the best female r&b groups of the 90s, hell of all time, Sisters With Voices: SWV! The New York-bred trio of Cheryl ‘Coko’ Clemons (nee Gamble), Tamara ‘Taj’ Johnson-George and Leanne ‘LeLee’ Lyons (nee Johnson) had a barrel-load of huge hits back in the day, including Right Here, I’m So Into You, Anything and of course every girl’s favourite Weak… Sing it now ladies: ‘I tried hard to fight it….’ That bridge was too dope!!!!
The show, as it says in the title is about the girl’s getting back together after nearly 15 years and attempting to get themselves back to the top of the charts once again. One of the best things about a show such as this, is there is always room to dish the dirt on all that went on back in the day, namely why the group broke up all those years ago. On top of that the show sheds some light on past and current dynamics within the group and for the first time we really get to see their personalities – and let me say LeeLee is something else! In a good way – sorta! It also touches on their family lives and of course all the drama trying to get themselves up and popping after all these years!
Episode 1 kicks off as the girls prepare for a comeback show, all the way over in my hometown of London, and even more closer to home Wembley Arena – a show I actually attended back in March, 2013, which also featured the likes of Blackstreet, Dru Hill, Changing Faces and (cough, cough Jodeci), while subsequent episodes loos deeper into the girl’s relationships with each other past and present – and of course this means plenty of drama!!
Get into the first six episodes here!
On a side note: I have to say Coko was and still is one of the best r&b voices I’ve ever heard, her and Brandy really do it for me, in terms of the textures and the range, and it is good to see that unlike some other long-time singers, her voices doesn’t seem to have changed or deterred over the years.
Most contemporary dancers and music superstars cite Michael Jackson as an influence, especially when it comes to his moves. But how cool must it be to be able to say you were a direct influence on the ultimate entertainer, the best to ever do it, himself? Michael ‘Boogaloo Shrimp’ Chambers is one of very few who has that privilege, and it all kicked off whilst he was still a teenager!
THE A TEAM: L-R: Face, Murdock, B.A & (front) Hannibal
‘(Ten years ago / In 1972), a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn’t commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire… The A-Team.’