Stevie Wonder turned his annual holiday benefit into a star-studded affair on Saturday (21Dec13) as he performed his classic double album Songs In The Key Of Life in its entirety, with a little help from the likes of John Mayer and Herbie Hancock. The Superstition legend delighted guests at the House Full of Toys gala by revisiting the 37-year-old album with many of the same bandmembers who had played on the original 1976 release.
Opening the show, he told the crowd, "Truly, I wanted to do this for years... but it felt like it was meant to be right now."
He was joined by a slew of musicians throughout the three-hour-long show, including Mayer on guitar for All Day Sucker, singer India.Arie on Saturn and R&B veteran Joe on tracks like Love's in Need of Love Today.
Wonder also reunited with Hancock for As, and recruited jazz musician Esperanza Spalding to play an upright bass for segments of the gig, which featured a nine-minute-long rendition of Isn't She Lovely, complete with an extended harmonica solo, reports RollingStone.com.
In between songs, the soul icon paid tribute to the late Nelson Mandela and even brought young members of his family onstage to join him in the spotlight.
The string of collaborations took place two days after he teamed up with Bon Jovi rocker Richie Sambora to perform a duet on Silent Night at the 2013 Hollywood Christmas Parade.
The musicians entertained fans with a performance of popular Christmas carol Silent Night as part of the annual holiday event, and the Bon Jovi guitarist couldn't believe his luck.
He says, "It is almost beyond words. He was the guy that I emulated when I was a boy, and he taught me how to sing. It was an honour to meet your teacher. The first thing I did was whisper in his ear, 'I'm sure you get this a lot, but you were my inspiration as a singer.' The first thing he said is (sic), 'You do the first verse!'"
Stars including Richie Sambora, Kelly Clarkson and Harry Styles have paid tribute to American radio host Kidd Kraddick after he died suddenly on Saturday (27Jul13) aged 53. Kraddick, real name David Kraddick, passed away at a charity golf tournament in New Orleans, Louisiana while raising money for his Kidd's Kids foundation but no official cause of death had been announced as WENN went to press.
He presented radio show Kidd Kraddick in the Morning on Dallas, Texas station KHKS-FM 106.1 and representatives from his company YEA Networks released a statement which reads, "All of us with YEA Networks and the Kidd Kraddick in the Morning crew are heartbroken over the loss of our dear friend and leader. Kidd devoted his life to making people smile every morning, and for 21 years his foundation has been dedicated to bringing joy to thousands of chronically and terminally ill children."
The statement added that the cause of death would be announced at "the appropriate time".
On hearing the tragic news, stars took to Twitter.com to express their shock, with Bon Jovi guitarist Sambora writing, "My deepest smypathy (sic) going out tonite (sic) to the friends and family of my friend and legend Kidd Kraddick...a great guy and supporter... Sad."
Singer Clarkson adds, "Oh man, I just heard Kidd Kraddick died! He's my childhood dj. What a sad day. His poor family. He was always nice 2 (sic) me from the beginning."
One Direction star Styles offers, "Absolutely devastated to hear about the sad passing of Kidd Kraddick. He was always so nice and will be incredibly missed. Lovely man. RIP." while Jordin Sparks adds, "I'm gonna miss you Kidd."
The Jonas Brothers singers Nick and Joe Jonas shared their shock, with Nick writing, "Really hope this is not true about Kidd Kraddick. You will be missed." and his brother Joe adding, "The sad sad news about Kidd Kraddick is shocking. He will be missed greatly."
The first and most important thing you should know about Paramount Pictures’ Thor is that it’s not a laughably corny comic book adaptation. Though you might find it hokey to hear a bunch of muscled heroes talk like British royalty while walking around the American Southwest in LARP garb director Kenneth Branagh has condensed vast Marvel mythology to make an accessible straightforward fantasy epic. Like most films of its ilk I’ve got some issues with its internal logic aesthetic and dialogue but the flaws didn’t keep me from having fun with this extra dimensional adventure.
Taking notes from fellow Avenger Iron Man the story begins with an enthralling event that takes place in a remote desert but quickly jumps back in time to tell the prologue which introduces the audience to the shining kingdom of Asgard and its various champions. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) son of Odin is heir to the throne but is an arrogant overeager and ill-tempered rogue whose aggressive antics threaten a shaky truce between his people and the frost giants of Jotunheim one of the universe’s many realms. Odin (played with aristocratic boldness by Anthony Hopkins) enraged by his son’s blatant disregard of his orders to forgo an assault on their enemies after they attempt to reclaim a powerful artifact banishes the boy to a life among the mortals of Earth leaving Asgard defenseless against the treachery of Loki his mischievous “other son” who’s always felt inferior to Thor. Powerless and confused the disgraced Prince finds unlikely allies in a trio of scientists (Natalie Portman Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings) who help him reclaim his former glory and defend our world from total destruction.
Individually the make-up visual effects CGI production design and art direction are all wondrous to behold but when fused together to create larger-than-life set pieces and action sequences the collaborative result is often unharmonious. I’m not knocking the 3D presentation; unlike 2010’s genre counterpart Clash of the Titans the filmmakers had plenty of time to perfect the third dimension and there are only a few moments that make the decision to convert look like it was a bad one. It’s the unavoidable overload of visual trickery that’s to blame for the frost giants’ icy weaponized constructs and other hybrids of the production looking noticeably artificial. Though there’s some imagery to nitpick the same can’t be said of Thor’s thunderous sound design which is amped with enough wattage to power The Avengers’ headquarters for a century.
Chock full of nods to the comics the screenplay is both a strength and weakness for the film. The story is well sequenced giving the audience enough time between action scenes to grasp the characters motivations and the plot but there are tangential narrative threads that disrupt the focus of the film. Chief amongst them is the frost giants’ fore mentioned relic which is given lots of attention in the first act but has little effect on the outcome. In addition I felt that S.H.I.E.L.D. was nearly irrelevant this time around; other than introducing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye the secret security faction just gets in the way of the movie’s momentum.
While most of the comedy crashes and burns there are a few laughs to be found in the film. Most come from star Hemsworth’s charismatic portrayal of the God of Thunder. He plays up the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the story with his cavalier but charming attitude and by breaking all rules of diner etiquette in a particularly funny scene with the scientists whose respective roles as love interest (Portman) friendly father figure (Skarsgaard) and POV character (Dennings) are ripped right out of a screenwriters handbook.
Though he handles the humorous moments without a problem Hemsworth struggles with some of the more dramatic scenes in the movie; the result of over-acting and too much time spent on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. Luckily he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that fills the void. Most impressive is Tom Hiddleston who gives a truly humanistic performance as the jealous Loki. His arc steeped in Shakespearean tragedy (like Thor’s) drums up genuine sympathy that one rarely has for a comic book movie villain.
My grievances with the technical aspects of the production aside Branagh has succeeded in further exploring the Marvel Universe with a film that works both as a standalone superhero flick and as the next chapter in the story of The Avengers. Thor is very much a comic book film and doesn’t hide from the reputation that its predecessors have given the sub-genre or the tropes that define it. Balanced pretty evenly between “serious” and “silly ” its scope is large enough to please fans well versed in the source material but its tone is light enough to make it a mainstream hit.
Stars including Beach Boys songwriter Brian Wilson, Joan Jett, Keith Richards and U2's The Edge have all paid tribute to late guitar legend Les Paul.
The musician-turned-guitar innovator died on Thursday at the age of 94 following a battle with pneumonia.
Former Guns n' Roses rocker Slash was the first to mourn the loss, calling Paul his "friend and mentor."
Now tributes have begun pouring in from the rest of the music industry.
Wilson has credited Les Paul with sparking his interest in guitars and the multi-track recording system that gave the Beach Boys their signature 'stacked vocal' sound, while Jett adds in a statement, "(He was a) genius inventor, musical innovator, and a wonderful person. Without the advances he pioneered, the recording sciences and the electric guitar would have been left years behind. I will miss him so much."
Rolling Stones star Richards adds, "Wow! All of us owe an unimaginable debt to his work and his talent."
The Edge has also paid tribute to the guitar hero, calling him a "true renaissance man."
He says, "Les Paul disproves the cliché that you can only be famous for one thing. His legacy as a musician and inventor will live on and his influence on Rock and Roll will never be forgotten."
Bon Jovi star Richie Sambora, Kiss frontman Paul Stanley and renowned guitarist Joe Satriani have also expressed their sadness at Paul's passing.
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Funnyman David Spade has told friends he plans to wed Heather Locklear as soon as she divorces rocker Richie Sambora.
The couple have dismissed reports they're an item, despite meeting for romantic liaisons, and wowing diners at select restaurants with their outward show of affection.
The couple were most recently spotted at the Sunset Tower Hotel in Los Angeles, where onlookers claim they acted like "lovestruck teenagers, holding hands and giggling throughout their meal," according to Life & Style magazine.
And although Spade's publicists are refusing to comment on the romance, the Joe Dirt star has reportedly told pals, "I'm so in love it's ridiculous. Never in my life did I think I'd be with someone so gorgeous and successful."
According to friends, Spade intends to propose to Locklear during an upcoming summer break at his Malibu, California, beach house.
The actor reportedly told one pal, "She knows I'm going to ask. It's all about timing."
Locklear's divorce from Bon Jovi guitarist Sambora is expected to be finalized in August. The actress filed for divorce from the rocker in February. Sambora is currently dating former Bond girl Denise Richards.
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