Rocker Billy Bragg is celebrating after successfully campaigning to overturn a ban on steel-strung guitars in U.K. prisons. Bragg joined forces with fellow rockers Johnny Marr, Pink Floyd's Dave Gilmour, Radiohead's Ed O'Brien and Philip Selway, and Guy Garvey from Elbow earlier this year (14) as part of an initiative to urge officials to rethink the ruling, which was passed last November (13) as part of the government's changes to the judicial system, which also included new restrictions on books for prisoners.
In an open letter published in April (14), Bragg's all-star group argued that music had "an important role to play in engaging prisoners in the process of rehabilitation", adding, "This ability will be seriously undermined if inmates are unable to practise between group sessions."
Government officials have since agreed to reverse the ban and allow steel-strung guitars back in detention centres and Bragg, who founded the Jail Guitar Doors rehabilitation initiative to provide instruments for inmates, is glad authorities have seen sense.
He says, "As an incentive to engage in rehabilitation, individual access to steel strung guitars can really help the atmosphere on a prison wing. I've had a number of projects involving guitars on hold which now will be able to go ahead, and will allow those using music in prisons to get on with this important work."
Organisers behind Croatia's Pula Film Festival were forced to pull a picture out of competition on Saturday (26Jul14) after discovering moviemakers had breached copyright laws by using songs by David Bowie and The Doors without permission. Vlog, directed by Bruno Pavid and produced by Slobodan Jokic of Croatia's Split Film Academy, featured tracks including Bowie's Space Oddity, The Doors' Light My Fire and Janis Joplin's Cry Baby for dramatic effect during one sequence, but after officials noticed there were no music rights included in the credits, they learned the tunes had been used illegally.
Festival bosses then decided to drop the film from competition.
Producer and festival boardmember Mike Downey says, "We cannot condone copyright infringement by any film in our competition."
Jury members announced the winners of the 61st annual event later that evening, with Kristijan Milic's war movie Number 55 leading the way with eight awards, including Best Film, Best Director and Best Script for Ivan Pavlicic, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Zoe Saldana almost quit the movie business after Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl, because she hated the way she was treated on the set of the film. The Avatar star landed her big Hollywood break as Anamaria in the 2003 blockbuster, but admits the experience was far from the dream she had hoped for.
She tells The Hollywood Reporter, "Those weren't the right people for me. I'm not talking about the cast. The cast was great. I'm talking about the political stuff that went on behind closed doors. It was a lot of above-the-line versus below-the-line, extras versus actors, producers versus PAs (personal assistants).
"It was very elitist. I almost quit the business. I was 23 years old, and I was like, 'F**k this! I am never putting myself in this situation again - people disrespecting me because they look at my number on a call sheet and they think I'm not important'."
Former Kyuss frontman John Garcia was stunned when his hero Robby Krieger agreed to play guitar on a track on his new self-titled solo album. The rocker recorded vocals for a recent Vista Chino album through a vintage microphone owned by the Doors guitarist, but he never thought he'd get the chance to record with Krieger.
He tells Rolling Stone he was left speechless when producer pal Harper Hug suggested Krieger for a "Spanish, flamenco guitar" on Her Bullets Energy - and then revealed he was helping the veteran build a studio.
Garcia says, "I pretty much fell over from my chair and said, 'Do you think he would do it?'"
Krieger picks up the story and adds, "For the last couple years, I've been building a new studio with Harper Hug... Harper played me a song that I really liked, and we decided to try recording some of my flamenco guitar on it. This was the first time we actually recorded at the studio. We did it in the big room, and it sounded awesome."
Garcia recalls, "We spent more time, I think, talking about golfing than we did about the track. I'm from Palm Springs, and there's a s**t-ton of golf courses here. He was asking me about a couple courses out here. I'm not a golfer myself, but he's Robby Krieger, so I was trying to do my best to accommodate."
Garcia's new album, which also features a guest spot from his Kyuss bandmate Nick Oliveri, will be released in August (14).
Former Destiny'S Child star Farrah Franklin has urged critics not to speculate about her disorderly conduct arrest on Sunday (20Jul14). The singer, 33, was taken into custody by police in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina after enjoying a night out with American football players Da'Quan Bowers and Ricky Sapp.
They returned to Sapp's home in the early hours of Sunday, but the sportsmen called cops after Franklin started shouting and slamming doors, according to TMZ.com. She ran off and was allegedly found lying intoxicated on a neighbour's front yard.
Franklin, who was subsequently released on bail, has yet to open up about the events which led to her arrest, but she took to her Twitter.com blog on Monday (21Jul14) to thank fans for their messages of support and blast those who were mocking her legal troubles.
In a series of posts, she wrote, "Unbothered and staying prayed up (sic) and, away from any negativity... Don't judge what you don't know.
"The sad thing is people LIVE for drama but run from the truth, Smh (shaking my head). There's always 3 sides to a story your side, my side and the TRUTH! But the truth is normally not as interesting as a lie, lol (laugh out loud).
"Thank you to EVERYONE who has reached out to send me love and Blessings during this messy time in my life it's greatly appreciated."
She added, "I pray for God to give me strength in every weak and weary place in My life and, for Him to turn My obstacles into Victories. Amen... God gives all of his hardest battles to his strongest soldiers."
Franklin was briefly a member of Beyonce's girl group before she was dismissed in 2000.
Wale has brushed off a Twitter.com attack from fellow rapper Meek Mill after he was accused of failing to support his label mate's new album. Mill took aim at the Pretty Girls hitmaker in a series of posts on Tuesday (08Jul14), a day after announcing plans for his next album Dreams Worth More Than Money, and suggested the stars, who are members of Rick Ross' Maybach Music Group (MMG) crew, had fallen out some time ago.
He tweeted, "Wale just ain't gone tweet a thing about my album.... He's been hating on me long time now ...don't even text me cornball! #UNOTMMG (sic)..."
Mill went on to lash out at other hip-hop stars in the music industry too, stating, "I don't need no support...It's about a lot of these dudes really b hating behind closed doors..All these guys that's on the rap scene kno (sic)".
Wale responded to the online attack shortly afterwards and shared a snap of an Instagram.com picture he had posted seven weeks ago, urging fans to check out Mill's new track Suicidal.
In the accompanying message, he wrote, "Few weeks ago. (7w (weeks)) I posted this .but ok. Movin along . My Avi (avatar) always changed when it's THAT time .. Ok that's not enough... But I don't care.. I wrote a long a** post (promoting the song) day before his single dropped .. (sic)".
Wale went on to comment on the lack of support he had received from his MMG associates after his track with Mariah Carey, You Don't Know What To Do, was released in May (14), adding, "Mariah record dropped nobody said a word I didn't care .. I still don't... I carry myself with confidence and humility".
He also claimed that Mill had been the one to ignore his text messages after wishing him a Happy Father's Day last month (Jun14), and ended the lengthy post by insisting he had nothing against Mill.
He continued, "one (thing) I'm not is a hater... I'm me and I'll be me and do this s**t... till I don't wanna do it (sic). I encourage you to wake up soon as you find time. This was a post about #nothin".
Whitesnake star David Coverdale had a scary encounter with a black bear at his home in Lake Tahoe, Nevada at the weekend (29Jun14). The Here I Go Again singer tells Classic Rock magazine he confronted the unwelcomed visitor after he had raided his refrigerator and relieved himself on Coverdale's kitchen floor.
The rocker explains, "It must have weighed 450-500 pounds. It... opened the fridge, ate his fill, then took a huge poop. I came upstairs and interrupted him.
"I shouted like crazy as I couldn't find my air horns. Thank God, he remembered where he entered... He headed for some sliding doors that we leave open when it's hot. They're only open five or six inches, and we have bear poles that prevent anyone or thing opening them. But I saw with my own eyes the creature rear up on its hind legs and squeeze out, taking an antique Tiffany lamp out as it escaped. Heartbreaking."
It's not the first time Coverdale has come face to face with a black bear in his home - one crept up on him while he was washing dishes back in 2007.
Frozen writer/director Jennifer Lee will have quite a task on her hands if she wants to recruit Josh Gad for the stage version of her hit movie - he insists he'll only return to Broadway for something truly special. Lee has made it clear she wants Gad, who was the break-out star of The Book of Mormon and picked up a Tony Award nomination for his role, to reprise his animated part as singing snowman Olaf onstage, but the actor insists that's not part of his immediate future.
He tells WENN, "How do you follow up Book of Mormon? I never expected it to become what it became, and it changed my life. It has become such a pop cultural touchstone that inevitably anything I do to follow it up will be a failure in comparison!
"At least from a commercial standpoint it would fail, so it's about artistically what do I want to do onstage and I don't know what that is yet. Mormon just opened up so many doors and it made me, in a weird way, a household name... It was a game changer.
"I get called a lot to come back to theatre but it just has to be the right thing. I haven't quite found that yet. It may be an original thing or a revival so we'll see."
Jane'S Addiction will headline the seventh annual Sunset Strip Music Festival in Los Angeles this autumn (14). The band will close down the fabled West Hollywood stretch of Sunset Boulevard on 20 September (14) as they headline the Saturday night of the four-day by performing 1988 album Nothing's Shocking in its entirety to mark the 25th anniversary of the record's release.
The band will also be honoured with the Elmer Valentine Award during a tribute event at The House of Blues Sunset Strip on 19 September (14).
The prize is named after the late co-founder of iconic Sunset Strip venues The Whisky, The Roxy and The Rainbow Bar & Grill, and previous recipients include Lou Adler, Ozzy Osbourne, Slash, Motley Crue, The Doors and Joan Jett.
Jane's Addiction's appearance at the SSMF will be a full circle moment for the band - the group's second ever concert took place at The Roxy in 1985.
Australian electronic music duo Empire of the Sun will headline the second day of the festival on 21 September (14), and artists including Cold War Kids, Kaiser Chiefs, Mayer Hawthorne, Tove Lo, and Minus the Bear are also on the bill for the weekend.
The musical adaptation of Disney's cult 1990s film Newsies is set to close after two years on Broadway. The production will shut its doors on 24 August (14) after 1,0005 performances at the Nederlander Theatre.
Inspired by the real-life Newsboys Strike of 1899 in New York City, Newsies was originally slated to run for 101 shows, but was extended and went on to win two Tony Awards for Best Original Score and Best Choreography.
Newsies has grossed more than $100 million (£58.8 million) in Broadway ticket sales, compared to the $3 million (£1.7 million) the 1992 film earned at the U.S. box office.
The show will go on the road for a North American tour beginning in October (14).