The Civil Wars star Joy Williams has denied fan suggestions she has reconciled with her bandmate John Paul White following the cancellation of their 2012 tour, revealing the pair are no longer on speaking terms. The folk duo scrapped all live shows in November (12) due to "internal discord" and "irreconcilable differences of ambition", but the stars were thought to have settled their differences in December (12), amid reports they had reunited in the studio to record new music.
Now Williams has opened up about the status of their hiatus, confessing the future of the group remains uncertain, even as the August (13) release date of a new album quickly approaches.
She tells the Associated Press, "John Paul and I aren't speaking right now but, to me, that doesn't determine the outcome of the band, because if we're not speaking we can't determine the outcome of the band at this moment. So the other elephant in the room is what's happening with the band? The reality is I'm not even quite sure."
Stopping just short of detailing their troubles, the 30 year old admits the two had problems before setting out on tour and she's convinced fans will be able to pick up on the tension in their songs, which were written last summer (12).
She adds, "If you want to know what happened to the band, listen to the album... (It) chronicles loss and regret and anger and victory and sweetness and loyalty and I hope that people get the chance to listen to it... It's so honest and it's so rich and, not to toot my own horn, I'm just really proud of what we created together. And we created it together - we just happened to be in a bit of a civil war ourselves."
Veteran crooners Neil Diamond and Barry Manilow thrilled spectators in Washington, D.C. on Thursday (04Jul13) by performing a spectacular concert to celebrate America's Independence Day. Thousands flocked to the city's National Mall to watch the Fourth of July extravaganza, which included an emotional performance from Diamond, who sang his anthem Sweet Caroline in tribute to victims of the recent Boston Marathon bombing.
The event also included a video message from Lincoln director Steven Spielberg before celebrated composer John Williams conducted the National Symphony Orchestra in a performance of the film's soundtrack.
Manilow closed the show by singing Let Freedom Ring prior to the big fireworks display.
In New York, Mariah Carey performed as part of the Macy's Fourth of July 2013 show and singer Usher curated the fireworks.
One of this summer's most highly anticipated movies is the Weinstein Company's The Butler. Starring Forest Whitaker, the film tells the story of Cecil Gaines, a man who works as a White House butler during eight American presidencies, from 1952 to 1986. During his tenure, he witnesses countless important events in 20th century U.S. history from a highly unique perspective. But the historical drama may be facing some turmoil. According to Deadline, Warner Bros. is attempting to prevent Harvey Weinstein from using the title The Butler, claiming that it posseses the sole rights to the title because of a 1916 silent comedy by the same name.
With The Butler's August release date fast approaching, this matter seems to have arisen oddly late in the game. There is reportedly a great deal of "outrage" at the Weinstein Company, and we aren't surprised: the only logical response to this situation is, "WTF?" Has anyone actually seen this silent comedy The Butler? Isn't this new movie supposed to be an inspiring tale about adversity and American history? Why are you trying to bring everybody down, Warner Bros.?
The Butler is based on the true story of Eugene Allen and also features such heavy-hitting stars as Oprah Winfrey (in her first major film role since Beloved in 1998), John Cusack, Jane Fonda, Robin Williams, Melissa Leo, Cuba Gooding Jr., Mariah Carey, Alan Rickman, Vanessa Redgrave, Liev Schreiber, James Marsden, Minka Kelly, and Lenny Kravitz.
With such an all-star cast and fascinating subject matter, The Butler promises to be one of the best biopics of 2013. Warner Bros' claim is fairly absurd, but it could have serious implications for the movie. Whatever its title may be, we're excited to see the film. After all, what's in a name? That which we call The Butler by any other name would be just as great.
Follow Caroline on Twitter @carolinesb | Follow Hollywood.com on Twitter @Hollywood_com
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Soul sensation Adele stepped back into the spotlight on Friday (21Jun13) to salute her record label boss at a New York City gala. The British singer has made only a handful of public appearances since giving birth to her son Angelo James last year (Oct12), but she made an exception to fete Columbia Records chairman Rob Stringer.
Adele appeared at the star-studded UJA-Federation of New York event at The Pierre hotel in Manhattan to hand Stringer the Music Visionary Award.
Accepting his prize, Stringer recalled meeting the Rolling in the Deep hitmaker in 2007 before she found fame: "Your career is defined by the people you work with. Six years ago, that young lady walked into our office with her manager and said, 'Yeah, this'll do,' with a cigarette in her mouth. It's fantastic to have her here... She doesn't get out much."
Neil Diamond, Jay-Z and John Legend were among those in the audience, while Haim and John Mayer performed songs to honour their label boss.
Celine Dion, Daft Punk, Patti Smith, Simon Cowell, Pharrell Williams, One Direction, Tony Bennett, Barbra Streisand and Steven Tyler also appeared in a video compilation thanking and congratulating Stringer.
If you haven't read a word of Anton Chekhov you'll enjoy Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. But you’ll find it so much funnier if you have.
Christopher Durang’s modern-day update of themes and situations from the Russian master’s oeuvre just won the Tony Award for Best Play, causing its run at the John Golden Theatre to be extended through August 28. Catching up with the play again following its Tony victory, it’s easy to see the reason why it took home the big prize. Or rather four reasons why: David Hyde Pierce, Kristine Nielsen, Sigourney Weaver, and Billy Magnussen as the titular quartet. Their commitment elevates what’s otherwise rather slight material — Durang’s transformation of Chekhov into a self-referential comedy of errors. Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is really no different from the playwright’s Durang/Durang, his collection of six one-act parodies of classic plays like Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie, which Durang transformed into “For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls.”
In Bucks County, PA, fiftysomething siblings Vanya (Hyde Pierce) and Sonia (Nielsen) greet the morning much as they always do: in pajamas drinking coffee on their porch, awaiting the arrival of a cherished blue heron. They’ve never had to earn a living — their famous actress sister Masha (Weaver) sends them money in exchange for being able to flaunt her fabulous movie-star life to them on occasion — and Vanya spends his days writing experimental plays, while Sonia pines for Vanya. Don’t worry, she’s an adopted sibling. Much of the play takes place on that porch, capped with a gabled roof, dappled with warm sunlight, and enfolded by a cherry orchard (because it’s Chekhov).
Though Vania, Sonia, and Masha’s sibling dynamics are very Chekhovian, Durang chooses to go meta on us by revealing that their parents were literature professors and community theater enthusiasts who deliberately named them after Chekhov characters. Some of Durang’s dialogue is overly expository in setting up this concept, with Vanya saying to Sonia “Well, I guess that’s what happens when your parents are literature professors,” as if she’s only learning of their profession for the first time. It’s the kind of conceptual futzing that’s frustrating.
But Durang’s material gets a shot of adrenaline the moment über-thesp Masha appears, threatening to sell their house out from under them and flaunting her vapid boy toy Spike (Magnussen), a finalist for a role on Entourage 2. Weaver’s Masha is in full Norma Desmond mode, crippled by both inferiority and superiority complexes, while Magnussen plays Spike with go-for-broke physicality as if he were a horny puppy dog — he humps Masha repeatedly throughout the show and performs a ridiculous “reverse striptease,” in which he starts with his clothes off but gives a Chippendales-style performance as he gets dressed. Once the laughs subside you realize the four characters represent four different coping methods for dealing with life: nostalgia (Vanya), hermitage (Sonia), escapism (Masha), and ignorance (Spike).
Durang tends toward the absurd, as he did in The Marriage of Bette and Boo and Betty’s Summer Vacation. Masha is determined to put her siblings in their lowly place by forcing them to attend a party where she’s dressed as Disney’s version of Snow White, while Vanya is a dwarf and Sonia is the Evil Queen. They stay in these costumes for much of the play.
In the second act, Durang starts treating his characters like human beings more than archetypes. Sonia’s role as the Evil Queen turns out to be a huge hit at the party, overshadowing Masha, and her sincere attempt at connection afterward, a lengthy phone conversation with a potential suitor, is hopeful and heartbreaking, a gossamer transformation perfectly executed by Nielsen. Vanya’s emotional breakdown after Spike doesn’t “get” his play about a molecule is a show-stopping five-minute monologue about his love of the analog era before the much-younger Spike’s birth and his contempt for everything that’s come since. Hyde Pierce may not have conveyed emotional fragility this acute since Niles Crane.
Though it’s hard not to think that Durang is really besotted with his own cleverness — and hard not to be annoyed by that — Vanya and Sonya and Masha and Spike is proof that serious neuroses don’t need to be taken too seriously.
Follow Christian Blauvelt on Twitter @Ctblauvelt | Follow Hollywood.com on Twitter @Hollywood_com
Don't worry, everybody — things are going to be just fine.
The summer looked bleak when we found out that Jon Stewart would be high tailing it out to Hollywood to direct his first feature film, leaving the Daily Show desk in the hands of one of his bespectacled lackeys. We wondered how our weeknights at 11 PM could possibly live up to those that have occupied the past decade and change, if it would even be worth it to keep up with current events without Stewart's trademark nebbishy bite lining every story.
When the news broke this weekend that the NSA has been tapping our phones and Internet histories, we weren't even sure where to turn for a stimulating, intellectual takedown of the political atrocity. We were at a loss.
But again, we need not worry. It’s going to be okay.
Oh, not the phone-tapping thing. That's still going on, and it's pretty f**king terrifying. But the Daily Show thing will be fine.
On Monday night, longtime correspondent John Oliver took Stewart's desk, at which he'll stay seated throughout the host's summer-long hiatus. Coming right out the gate with a self-mocking bit about his own inability to fill Stewart's shoes (a shtick carried on by costars Jason Jones, Samantha Bee, Jessica Williams, Al Madrigal, and Aasif Mandvi — each of whom expressed mock outrage at Oliver's promotion to temporary headliner).
Quickly, Oliver leapt right into the NSA story (which, understandably, maintained a stronghold on the episode's subject matter), covering the entire ordeal with the sort of clever wit we'd expect from any episode of the show.
Of course, we will miss Stewart, and will always hold him at a plateau beyond the reach of any competition or successor. As such, we might find Oliver's gags just a little too drawn out, his interview (Monday faced him with Seth Rogen for This Is the End) just a bit too fawning, his overall demeanor just a smidge too… non-Stewart. But as far as non-Stewarts go, we got a bargain with Oliver. We'll look forward to our New Jersey-born Jonathan Leibowitz's return come autumn. But until then, we're in for a few pleasant months with Oliver at the helm.
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Former lovers John Mayer and Katy Perry reunited on America's Memorial Day (27May13) when the I Kissed A Girl singer opened her Hollywood Hills home to friends for a summer party. The couple, which split for the second time earlier this year (13), was spotted chatting and flirting with each other at the bash.
A source tells Us Weekly magazine, "They seem to be back together-ish. They were very flirty and having a really good time together. They have good chemistry."
Other party-goers included Mindy Kaling, BJ Novak and Beth Behrs, as well as Perry's actress pal Allison Williams and her boyfriend Ricky Van Veen, who is one of Mayer's closest friends.
British boyband star Marvin Humes has been nominated for the U.K. title of Celebrity Dad of the Year, just a week after becoming a first-time father. The JLS singer welcomed daughter Alaia-Mai with his wife, The Saturdays beauty Rochelle Humes, on 20 May (13) and he's already receiving high praise from organisers of the Premier Inn award for taking on his daddy duties.
Humes is shortlisted alongside the likes of retired soccer ace David Beckham, Australian singer-turned-reality TV regular Peter Andre, Take That stars Gary Barlow and Robbie Williams, and Sir Elton John and his partner David Furnish, who became fathers for a second time in January (13).
British comedian David Walliams and actors James Corden and James Buckley are also in the running for the prize.
The winner is set to be announced in the run up to Father's Day on 16 June (13).
Barlow took home the award last year (12).
Superman composer John Williams has mixed feelings about the latest reboot of the superhero franchise as he is convinced late actor Christopher Reeve was the ultimate embodiment of the comic book character. Reeve played the lead in four Superman movies before his paralysis in a riding accident in 1995 and his death in 2004, and the part was taken over by Brandon Routh in 2006's Superman Returns, and by British actor Henry Cavill, who plays the lead role in the latest installment, Man of Steel.
However, Williams, who wrote the famous theme music which has been used throughout the superhero series, admits he still can't get used to seeing other actors playing Reeve's most famous role.
He tells Zap2it.com, "I hope it (Man of Steel) will be successful, and I look forward to seeing it. (But) it puts me in mind of the late Chris Reeve, who we all loved so much. It's going to be hard for me, not to let go of the music, but to let go of the idea of Superman being Chris.
"I thought he not only made that project successful, he embodied what all of us imagine Superman to look like if he could be given skin and bone, I think."
Man of Steel will be released next month (Jun13).
British singer Robbie Williams shocked audience members at the U.K.'s Sony Radio Academy Awards on Monday (13May13) by joking about the BBC's ongoing child sex scandal. The Angels hitmaker took to the stage at London's Grosvenor House, and during his performance he referenced Operation Yewtree, a police probe launched following claims late TV star Jimmy Savile abused hundreds of youngsters throughout his long-running entertainment career.
The star said, "I looked around the tables and mine was the only name I recognised... actually, looking from up here it looks like the stars of Operation Yewtree 2014."
His comment drew a collective gasp from the stunned audience, prompting the singer to ask, "Too soon?"
Williams also launched into an expletive-filled rant aimed at Radio 1 presenter Nick Grimshaw after bosses at the BBC-run programme decided against playing the singer's 2012 hit Candy as the 39-year-old didn't reflect their target audience's music choice.
During the ceremony, former Catatonia singer Cerys Matthews picked up the Music Radio Broadcaster of the Year for her show Cerys On 6 (BBC 6 Music) while the Best Music Feature or Documentary was won by The Story of Ed Sheeran (BBC Radio 1).
TV and radio personality Dermot O'Leary was awarded the Best Music Programme prize for his self-titled BBC Radio 2 show and veteran presenter John Humphrys collected the Radio Journalism award.