Zz Top star Billy Gibbons is going back to his musical roots and planning a solo album full of Latin sounds. The guitar great has always been a huge fan of Cuban music and studied the music of percussionist Tito Puente as a teenager, and now he's planning a solo album full of his favourite rhythms.
He says, "I learned maracas, timbales, clavas, bongos... you name it, and, having lived in Mexico a couple years, I know just enough Spanish to get me in trouble.
"I put together a little side band... It's (project) is turning out to be such an obtuse, oddball, unexpected left turn from ZZ Top's blues background. But there is something to it."
But he insists his solo project doesn't mean the end of ZZ Top - the trio celebrated the 45th anniversary of its first gig earlier this month (Feb15).
Former supermodel Jerry Hall has landed a part in upcoming horror movie Hellbent, marking her first film role in four years. The ex-wife of Rolling Stones frontman Sir Mick Jagger will play a schoolmistress opposite Billy Bob Thornton, admits she is excited to appear on the big screen again.
Hall tells British newspaper the Daily Mirror, "It's a bit like Breaking Bad. I play a very stern schoolmistress with little sex appeal, so it won't be that glamorous but I'm very excited to be in it... I love to model and will always do my charity work but I'm really an actress at heart. I start filming in the U.S. next month."
She recently appeared in a traditional British pantomime playing the Wicked Queen in a production of Snow White in London, while her previous film appearances include a turn in 1989 blockbuster Batman.
Billy Crystal has upset gay rights groups by confessing he's put off TV shows that feature gratuitous and graphic portrayals of gay and lesbian themes.
The funnyman, who played one of TV's first gay characters in 1970s comedy show Soap, was asked about LGBT dramas during a Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, California, and his response left many journalists present stunned.
Promoting his new show The Comedians, Crystal said, "Sometimes I think, 'Ah, that's too much for me'."
Following fall-out from gay fans on social media, Crystal attempted to clarify his remarks to The Hollywood Reporter, explaining, "What I meant was that whenever sex or graphic nudity of any kind (gay or straight) is gratuitous to the plot or story, it becomes a little too much for my taste.
"Sometimes, it's just pushing it a little too far for my taste and I'm not going to reveal to you which ones (shows) they are... I hope people don't abuse it and shove it in our face… to the point where it feels like an every day kind of thing."
Actress/comedienne Margaret Cho spent the holidays feeding the homeless in California in honour of late actor Robin Williams. The funnywoman had a hard time dealing with Good Will Hunting star's death in August (14), and dealt with her sadness by working to raise awareness for a cause close to Williams' heart.
She tells U.S. talk show The View, "I spent the last two months feeding the homeless in San Francisco. It was my way of dealing with the death of Robin Williams, because I missed him and I think people don't understand what a huge homeless activist he was - not only with comic relief, raising $70 million with Whoopi (Goldberg) and Billy (Crystal), but he had a clause in his contract where a certain percentage of the workers in the movies that he did had to be homeless workers. So he gave people a dignified wage.
"I feel like that part of his legacy has been lost and I could not stop grieving him and Michael Pritchard, who is also a homeless activist and comedian, told me, 'Don't grieve Robin, be Robin'.
"So I went out on the streets of San Francisco for two months with the band Frightwig and we went out there and we played and did songs and made a meeting point for people to donate clothes, food... and money. (It was a) very little version of comic relief."
2014 was a great year for fans of pop culture and books. We learned the stories behind the making of a classic, had a young girl tell us what she's "learned," and even learned the secrets of modeling that Tyra could never have taught us. We've rounded up the best of these just in case you're looking for a last minute gift or the next pick for your book club.
1. "Yes Please" - Amy Poehler
Getty Images/Sonia Recchia
For: A fledgling feminist in her twenties who could use a good laugh and some sound advice from a Smart Girl, or anyone who needs to hear that it's okay to feel the way they're feeling.
Memorable Quote: "Because what else are we going to do? Say no? Say no to an opportunity that may be slightly out of our comfort zone? Quiet our voice because we are worried it's not perfect? I believe great people do things before they are ready."
(Bonus quote: "I have the Angelina Jolie of vaginas.")
2. "Not My Father's Son" - Alan Cumming
Getty Images/Brad Barket
For: Fans of Who Do You Think You Are? or anyone trying to overcome their childhood dramas and are seeking inspiration.
Memorable Quote: "For yes, being a woman, even one with a penis and for the purposes of drama really made me feel that women have been coerced into a way of presenting themselves that is basically a form of bondage. Their shoes, their skirts, even their nails seem designed to stop them from being able to escape whilst at the same time drawing attention to their sexual and secondary sexual characteristics. And I think that has happened so that men feel they can ogle them and protect them in equal measure."
3. "The Woman I Wanted To Be" - Diane von Furstenberg
Getty Images/Valeria Macon
For: The fashionista who knows what she wants, or the woman in your life who wants to 'have it all.'
Memorable Quote: "In my older face, I see my life. Every wrinkle, every smile line, every age spot. There is a saying that with age, you look outside what you are inside. If you are someone who never smiles your face gets saggy. If you're a person who smiles a lot, you will have more smile lines. Your wrinkles reflect the roads you have taken; they form the map of your life. My face reflects the wind and sun and rain and dust from the trips I've taken. My face carries all my memories. Why should I erase them?"
4. "So, Anyway" - John Cleese
Getty Images/Slaven Vlasic
For: The Monty Python fan seeking a crash course in what makes comedy funny and what makes a comedian successful.
Memorable Quote: "So, creatively, I was doubly blessed: constant relocation and parental disharmony. Add to these two gifts the well-established fact that many of the world's greatest geniuses, both artistic and scientific, have been the product of serious maternal deprivation, and I am forced to the conclusion that if only my mother had been just a little more emotionally inadequate, I could have been HUGE."
5. "Uganda Be Kidding Me" - Chelsea Handler
Getty Images/D Dipasupil
For: Chelsea Handler fans suffering withdrawals during this period between her E! show and her upcoming Netflix gig.
Memorable Quote: "There's a difference between being a class act and being classy. Peeing off the side of a Jeep doesn't mean you're not classy, it just means you're a free spirit with a small bladder."
6. "The Andy Cohen Diaries: A Deep Look at a Shallow Year" - Andy Cohen
Getty Images/Nomi Ellenson
For: Any pop culture junkie who wants all the dirt on their favorite celebrities; any Real Housewives fans itching to know which lady is causing the most trouble.
Memorable Quote: "I literally almost called this book Diary of a Name-Dropper. So if you want to play a drinking game while reading this book—and that's not a great idea and only gonna last for so long—take a swing every time you read a name you recognize."
7. "Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's 'Learned'" - Lena Dunham
For: Any guy or Girl who's almost getting it kind of together; anyone whose own thoughts have sometimes been too much for them.
Memorable Quote: "When someone shows you how little you mean to them and you keep coming back for more, before you know it you start to mean less to yourself. You are not made up of compartments! You are one whole person! What gets said to you gets said to all of you, ditto what gets done. Being treated like shit is not an amusing game or a transgressive intellectual experiment. It's something you accept, condone, and learn to believe you deserve. This is so simple. But I tried so hard to make it complicated."
8. "Dancing With Myself" - Billy Idol
Getty Images/Paul Archuleta
For: The wannabe groupie; anyone interested in the not-to-be-believed antics and lifestyles of glam rockers.
Memorable Quote: "After a while, my nose became so bloody that I reverted to smoking cocaine instead. From there, it was all downhill."
9. "Let's Just Say It Wasn't Pretty" - Diane Keaton
For: Anyone who has ever felt or been told they were ugly or imperfect; anyone who sees themselves aging before a mirror and sighs.
Memorable Quote: "After living with Mr. Lincoln's portrait for several years, I've come to this conclusion: his beauty, like the hidden cast of his right eye, became identifiable only after I included "unsightly" as a possible way of describing a beautiful face."
10. "Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes Across America" - John Waters
Getty Images/Rob Kim
For: Your eccentric friend with incurable wanderlust; anyone who wants to see America from a very different pair of eyes.
Memorable Quote: "I'm alive, I think, and so many of my friends are not. I may be nuts to be doing this, but I'm kind of proud of myself. I am having an adventure. I like my life. Even if I have to stand here for the rest of it."
11. "Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography" - Neil Patrick Harris
Getty Images/Frederick M. Brown
For: The person living a life that seems unworthy of a book and wants to live vicariously through Doogie Howser, M.D.; fans of choose-your-own-adventure books, biographies, and How I Met Your Mother.
Memorable Quote: "If you had known people would be calling you by your character name for the next twenty years, you might have asked for a different one. Thunderbolt Howser, say, or Dr. Feelgood, or Baron von Sexy Ass."
Gay country star Ty Herndon has been overwhelmed by the messages of support sent to him since he went public with his sexuality last week (ends23Nov14). The Living in a Moment hitmaker 'came out' during an interview with People magazine and admits the positive outpouring he received afterwards "blew his mind" and he now feels, "like the weight of the world's been lifted off my shoulders."
Herndon reveals he was nervous about returning to the stage at a gig in Illinois over the weekend (22-23Nov14), but he tells People.com, "They gave me a standing ovation and were just amazing and loving and kind... I got very emotional."
However, the success of his first post-announcement gig did not calm his fears ahead of his charity performance at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee, home of the iconic Grand Ole Opry on Monday (24Nov14).
He adds, "I was met at the back door of the Ryman with love and hugs from peers, from other artists, and affirmation and love by the Nashville community... My knees were shaking!... Walking out on the Grand Ole Opry stage as an open, free, happy, godly gay man is not something I thought I'd see in my lifetime... We knew that history was being made up there, and it was humbling."
Herndon has also been seeking advice from Chely Wright, the first commercial country artist to publicly 'come out' as gay.
He says, "(She) told me to turn off my computer for a little while and bask in the positive end of this... There are, of course, a few haters out there, but as we say in the South - 'Bless your heart. We're gonna pray for ya!'"
Hours after Herndon made his announcement, fellow country star Billy Gilman also 'came out' as gay in a YouTube.com video.
Robin Williams' son Zak paid tribute to his late father at the World Series baseball game between the San Francisco Giants and the Kansas City Royals on Sunday night (26Oct14) when he threw the ceremonial first pitch to comic/actor Billy Crystal. The Mrs. Doubtfire star was a loyal Giants fan and his three children attended the team's final home game of the championship at AT&T Park, but it was Zak who took to the mound for the ceremonial throw to his dad's longtime pal Crystal, another devoted baseball fan.
As part of a pre-game tribute, clips of Williams at Giants games were shown on the Jumbotron big screen.
The three kids were each gifted team jerseys with 'Williams' on the back.
A statement from the trio reads: "We are honoured to be here in tribute to our father, someone who loved his hometown and especially the Giants. For all of us, it is a tremendous delight and a little surreal to throw out the ceremonial first pitch of a World Series game for our team to our dad's best friend.
"We could not think of a better way to celebrate his memory."
Actors Rob Lowe and Benjamin Bratt were among the other celebrities at the ballpark, while rocker Aaron Lewis performed the U.S. National Anthem before the game, which the Giants won 5-0 to take a 3-2 lead in the World Series.
Billy Bob Thornton revisited his Angelina Jolie romance during a recent The Hollywood Reporter interview, recalling it was a wild and crazy time in his life full of ridiculous headlines and bizarre tales. The Sling Blade star dated Jolie from 1995 to 2000, when the two stars began a three-year marriage, and admits so many of the stories printed about the couple at the time were very strange - including tales about a basement 'dungeon', which was actually a recording studio, and the vials of blood he and his wife wore around their necks.
Thornton says, "It was a crazy time, I've never been fond of it.
"The vial of blood (story) is very simple. You know those lockets you buy that are clear and you put a picture of your granny in and wear it around your neck? She (Jolie) bought two of those.
"We were apart a lot because she's off making Tomb Raider and I'm making Monster's Ball (and) she thought it would be interesting and romantic if we took a little razor blade and sliced our fingers, smeared a little blood on these lockets and you wear it around your neck just like you wear your son or daughter's baby hair in one. Same thing.
"From that, we were wearing quart jars of blood around our necks. And we were vampires and we lived in a dungeon."
"I had a crush on him. I went through my whole Almost Famous phase, so I was, like, (character) Penny Lane for a good month. I wore the outfits and had the hair and the glasses... and then I found out I was going to be a part of the movie and it took me a minute at first, because I kind of had a little bit of a crush on him." Selena Gomez admits to a longtime crush on her 46-year-old Rudderless co-star Billy Crudup.
Bill Murray is teaming up with his Lost In Translation director Sofia Coppola to create a Christmas TV special.
The Ghostbusters actor will sing classic yuletide carols in the one-off show, which will be directed by Coppola. He tells Variety.com, "It's not going to be live... We're going to do it like a little movie. It won't have a format, but it's going to have music. It will have texture. It will have threads through it that are writing. There will be prose... It will have a patina style and wit to it. It will be nice." Many details are yet to be confirmed about the project, but Coppola adds, "We're working on a Christmas special... Not sure when it will air, but my motivation is to hear him singing my song requests." The duo previously worked together on Lost in Translation in 2003.