British rocker Billy Bragg staged an impromptu concert in St. Louis, Missouri on Tuesday (19Aug14) amid escalating violence in nearby Ferguson. Tensions have been high in the area following the death of teenager Michael Brown, who was gunned down as he attempted to surrender to police investigating a robbery incident on 9 August (14). The incident has prompted violent clashes with protesters and local law enforcement officers, and a number of celebrities have offered up their thoughts on the issues facing the city.
But folk singer and political activist Bragg and touring partner Joe Purdy decided to actually go there to see them for themselves during their current American tour, and decided to take a detour to stage a spontaneous benefit concert.
Bragg tells Rolling Stone, "A number of people said to me on Twitter, 'If you’re going to go to St. Louis, are you going to go to Ferguson?' But we didn't want to just go there and walk through Ferguson and be tourists. We wanted to do something for the community."
Through local connections, Bragg was put in touch with Steven Fitzpatrick Smith, the owner of local St. Louis pub the Royale, who has been attending the protests. Smith not only offered up his venue for the gig, but also asked fans attending to collect food, funds, and medical and school school supplies for a food pantry at a Ferguson church.
During the gig, Bragg performed some of his own tracks such as I Keep Faith, and also covered tunes pointed towards the unrest happening nearby, singing protest songs like Woody Guthrie's Hangknot, Slipknot and George Perkins' Cryin' in the Streets, while Purdy joined him for Bob Dylan's The Times They Are a-Changin'.
Bragg called on the 200 fans at the gig to take action and change the way the troubled city is perceived, stating, "The true enemy of all of us who want to make the world a better place is not capitalism or conservatism, it's cynicism. You have the opportunity to show the world that St. Louis is not a cynical place."
Bragg and Purdy's activism began early on Tuesday, when they met with railroad workers on strike and picketing teachers in Illinois, and they also performed for inmates at the Iowa State Penitentiary.
An Ohio couple has has launched an appeal for information following an attack at a Motley Crue concert in Cuyahoga Falls on Tuesday night (12Aug14). Jeff Stone and his girlfriend Kristine Scheetz were injured in a fight that broke out two songs into the rock group's set at Blossom Music Center and they've turned to social media in an effort to catch the men behind the melee.
Stone, who was left with a dislocated shoulder, tells Cleveland.com, "I don't even remember how many there were... Kristine just crawled into a little ball, yelling, 'Why are you doing this?' She's never been in a fight."
And he took to Facebook.com to add, "It was a nasty fight, and one of the scariest moments I've ever experienced."
Stone is offering a $5,000 reward (£2,900) reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those involved.
Marvel bosses gave Guardians Of The Galaxy director James Gunn a birthday gift to remember by presenting him with a powerful prop from the blockbuster film. The latest movie from the Marvel Cinematic Universe has already raked in more than $313 million (£186 million) at the worldwide box office, and company executives have recruited Gunn for a follow-up film in 2017.
For his 44th birthday on Tuesday (05Aug14), Marvel chiefs showed their gratitude for his role in making the film a big hit, by giving him a replica of the infinity stone, the item of immeasurable power which is coveted by supervillain Thanos, played by Josh Brolin in the film.
Gunn shared a photo of his unique gift on Instagram.com on Friday (08Aug14), showing the handcrafted item next to a plaque with a quote from Guardians hero Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), which reads "That was a pretty good plan."
Gunn added the caption, "Pretty wonderful birthday gift from the folks at Marvel."
A man has been arrested and charged with assault after allegedly throwing furniture on the Rhode Island set of Woody Allen's new movie. Police were called to the scene near Brown University in Providence on Tuesday (05Aug14) after the suspect hurled a chair at security guards and ran off.
He was tackled to the ground and had to be taken to hospital for medical treatment after injuring his head.
Cops have since identified the male as Mark Spiridakos. He had reportedly walked onto the set and began asking "weird questions" about the stars of as-yet-untitled project before allegedly turning violent.
Allen has been shooting the new film with Emma Stone, Joaquin Phoenix and Parker Posey in Rhode Island for the past few weeks.
The Who guitarist Pete Townshend warned Britain's former Prime Minister Tony Blair not to court friendships with celebrities ahead of his famous 'Cool Britannia' event in 1997. The U.K.'s current leader David Cameron mimicked Blair's stunt by hosting his own star-studded bash at the Foreign Office in London on Tuesday (01Jul14), welcoming guests including actress Helen Bonham Carter and Townshend's bandmate Roger Daltrey.
However, Townshend, who was not invited to Cameron's event, insists politicians should not seek approval from stars, and reveals he warned Blair against his party plans.
He tells Britain's Daily Mail newspaper, "My advice was: 'Don't let f**king Damon Albarn and Noel Gallagher come and talk to you, because as soon as things go a little bit difficult - and as soon as they get their tax bill - they'll drop you like a stone.' Which is exactly what happened."
A Downing Street spokesperson said this week's (beg30Jun14) event, which was also attended by Downton Abbey writer Julian Fellowes among others, was held to mark the creative industry's contribution to the economy.
A sweat-stained jumpsuit worn by Elvis Presley while performing in Las Vegas is going up for auction. The King's white costume, which is decorated with a large green and blue peacock across the front, is part of a music memorabilia sale titled A Rock & Roll History: Presley to Punk hosted by Sotheby's New York.
On the auction house's website, the jumpsuit is described as having "minor staining and browning; non-working zipper" and is expected to fetch at least $200,000 (£117,560).
Presley's red button-down shirt worn during the 1964 film Kissin' Cousins and a white wool jacket worn in concert in the early 1950s will also go under the hammer on Tuesday (24Jun14).
In addition to Presley's former possessions, the sale also includes a red military-style jacket worn by Michael Jackson, Bob Dylan's handwritten lyrics to Like a Rolling Stone, Kurt Cobain's smashed Univox guitar and John Lennon's upright piano.
Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield have pulled another goodwill stunt in front of the New York City paparazzi by holding up signs urging fans to donate to their favourite charities.
On Tuesday (17Jun14), The Amazing Spider-Man co-stars and real-life lovers spotted snappers while eating breakfast at a cafe, and decided to create an impromptu photoshoot to raise awareness for organisations close to their hearts.
When they walked outside, Stone held up a card which read: "Good morning! We were eating and saw a group of guys with cameras outside. And so we thought, let's try this again. We don't need the attention, but these wonderful organisations do:", while Garfield's read: "www.youthmentoring.org, www.autismspeaks.org (and don't forget) www.wwo.org, www.gildasclubnyc.org. Here's to the stuff that matters. Have a great day!"
The couple pulled a similar stunt in 2012, when they held up cardboard signs in front of their faces urging the public to support the Worldwide Orphans Foundation and cancer charity Gilda's Club.
Soul legend Gladys Knight and British singer Joss Stone were among the celebrities marking the 80th anniversary of Harlem's historic Apollo Theater on Tuesday night (10Jun14). The fundraising gala, hosted by comedian Wayne Brady for the second year, raised a huge $2.3 million (£1.4 million) and was the most successful night since the annual event was started nine years ago.
Stone performed a rendition of James Brown's It's A Man's World while music icons including Knight, The Isley Brothers and Doug E. Fresh were also on hand to entertain the audience with classic Motown and hip-hop hits. Money raised by the event, which celebrates the singers, dancers and comics who have graced the theatre's stage since it opened in 1934, is used to support the Apollo's education and community outreach programs.
Apollo boss Jonelle Procope said, "Funds for the Apollo allow us to continue to provide innovative performing arts programs, educational programs for young people, students and families."
Pamela Anderson saved the day at the World Music Awards in Monaco on Tuesday (27May14) when she stepped in at the last minute to replace Sharon Stone as host, according to reports. It is still not clear why Stone had to pull out of the ceremony, but her replacement had a great time, posing with the stars and then posting the photos online.
In a tweet on Wednesday (28May14), Anderson wrote, "Last minute - was asked to Saved the day (sic) - hosting @WORLDMUSICAWARD Rock 'n Roll - I love."
Anderson's last minute hosting gig wasn't the only drama at the World Music Awards - Mariah Carey reportedly delayed the show by more than an hour when she showed up late for her opening performance.
Two men who were convicted of plotting to kidnap and murder British soul singer Joss Stone in 2011 have appeared in court to appeal their prison sentences. Junior Bradshaw, 33, and Kevin Liverpool, 36, were jailed in 2013, two years after police smashed a conspiracy to snatch the You Had Me star from her countryside home in south-west England, decapitate her and throw her corpse into a river.
Bradshaw received 18 years behind bars, while Liverpool was given life in prison.
However, the two men, who denied the allegations, are challenging their sentences and appeared at the Court of Appeal in London on Friday (16May14) to argue their case.
Three judges will consider their request and deliver a verdict on Tuesday (20May14).