Jack White has become the subject of a quirky tribute album, featuring many of rock 'n' roll's trailblazers. Rockin' Legends Pay Tribute to Jack White, which is released on 19 November (13), will include covers of the former White Stripes star's hits by the likes of Wanda Jackson, Gary U.S. Bonds and Bobby Vee.
The highlight of the album is rockabilly queen Jackson's duet with Shooter Jennings on In the Cold, Cold Night.
Other stand-out tracks include Sonny Burgess and the Legendary Pacers' cover of the Raconteurs' Steady As She Goes, Vee's rendition of We're Going to Be Friends and Icky Thump by Los Straitjackets.
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Ah, the coveted Barclaycard Mercury Prize, where David Bowie and post-dubstep trailblazers you have never heard of pile in next to Arctic Monkeys for a televised extravaganza (ok, a televised gig in a room, where drunk industry people are eating meat and potatoes).
So what’s it all about? Well, in theory, it’s an indie-leaning prize for Album of the Year. Yep –that’s basically it. No ‘Most Charismatic Baby In A Music Video’. No ‘Most Dynamic Slut Drop’. It’s all about the music. One album of it. The best album, ever (this whole year). David Guetta and Psy do not feature – it’s a more chinstroking affair, accompanied by lots and lots of whingeing.
In typical Brit style, we love to hate the Mercury Prize. Even if you win, you can’t REALLY win. Every year the shortlisted nominations are greeted with much mewling and sniveling about the lineup and this year is no exception (YAY! Let’s have a good old moan up!).
As in, 2013’s Albums of the Year shortlist is great...if your favorite ice cream’s vanilla, your favorite dog is a golden retriever, your favorite cerea- you get the idea (you’re boring, not an idiot!).
The best bit is, you can be a dad who likes Pavement, a blogger who only likes Slayer and cats with dwarfism, or Katy Perry’s biggest fan (maybe). A colorful tapestry of impossible-to-please music lovers hating on this prize, while secretly rooting for the indie bedrock at its core is what makes Britain – and this prize - great.
Here are the contenders.
Arctic Monkeys: AM David Bowie: 'The Next Day' Disclosure: Settle Foals: Holy Fire Jake Bugg: Jake Bugg James Blake: Overgrown Jon Hopkins: Immunity Laura Marling: Once I Was An Eagle Laura Mvula: Sing To The Moon Rudimental: Home Savages: Silence Yourself Villagers: Awayland
Pick an artist at random and bitch about them, maybe while wearing a Joy Division t-shirt. That’s the charm of the Mercury Prize: a little healthy cynicism - and a lot of pretending you know anything about the albums in question down the pub.
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"The last thing an actor should be doing is singing in front of people... Trailblazers like William Shatner kind of wrecked it for all of us. I love Bill... but stay in your lane, I was told once." Actor Jeff Daniels defies showbusiness rules and hits clubs with his guitar when he's not filming.
Last week, both Odd Future singer Frank Ocean and longtime glass closet denizen Anderson Cooper both came out of the closet. In the few months before that, we saw both stripper-with-a-body-of-gold Matthew Bomer and Big Bang Theory übernerd Jim Parsons make the declaration too. At this rate, everyone in Hollywood will be openly gay by 2015! But who was the first celebrity to come out of the closet?
Despite what you might think, it wasn't Ellen DeGeneres, Neil Patrick Harris, or even fitness guru Richard Simmons (who, to my knowledge, has never professed his love for anything other than aerobics and short shorts). It was an actor named Billy Haines.
But Haines didn't get his People magazine cover — the actor lived in the 1920s as a silent film star who was a huge box office draw, thanks to films like The Midnight Express, Little Annie Rooney, and Navy Blues. His luck only continued in 1926, when he met his life-long partner Jimmy Shields in New York before the couple moved in together in Los Angeles. While their partnership was well known in Tinsel Town, it was still a secret to the public.
That all changed in 1933, when Haines was arrested in a YMCA after getting frisky with a sailor (only four decades before the Village People!) and his sexual orientation became public. Louis B. Mayer, the infamous head of MGM studio which had Haines under contract, demanded that Haines marry a woman and denounce being a homosexual in the press. Haines, however, refused in order to stay with Shields, and because of his respectable pride, the actor's contract was canceled.
Haines never worked as an actor again. Instead, he became an interior decorator for stars like Joan Crawford, making him the envy of every gay decorator that has ever lived (and there have been a few).
As it turns out, the actor was well ahead of his time. It wasn't until the '60s when stars would come out again — and, when they did, the discovery was hardly met with celebration. Tommy Kirk, a Disney child actor who starred in The Shaggy Dog and The Absent-Minded Professor, came out in 1963 at age 22 after Walt Disney found out he had a sexual relationship with a teenage boy. He was fired by the studio and, while he did outreach work for the gay community, never had steady acting work again (although he eventually started a carpet cleaning business). According to Sal Mineo's website, the Giant and Rebel Without a Cause actor came out in the late '60s, but he was killed in 1976 in a robbery gone bad.
Indeed, things did get better for gay Hollywood elite, even if some felt they had to qualify their sexual preference in order to be accepted in the industry. Laying the groundwork for other musicians to be as gay as they wanna be, Elton John came out as bisexual in a 1976 interview with Rolling Stone. But as we all know, Elton turned out to be "bi now, gay later," and only admitted he was, in fact, homosexual after divorcing wife Renate Blauel in 1988.
In the late '80s, a rash of British actors including Ian McKellen, Rupert Everett, and Stephen Frye came out and their revelations refreshingly didn't impact their careers — after all, McKellen went on to costar in two of the most successful franchises of all time, The Lord of the Rings and X-Men. That industry- and fan-wide acceptance lead to our modern age, which sees celebrities periodically come out of the closet with nary a shrug (unless, of course, you're a headline writer). While there have been many trailblazers to make it safe for gay actors to live and work openly, we all really have Billy Haines to thank, who made a very tough decision back when it had very difficult consequences. Maybe Frank Ocean should dedicate a song or two to him?
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
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The X-Men star will be presented with the Star Award, which is awarded to those who have helped empower lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth.
The Scottish actor, who has campaigned for numerous gay causes in the past, will collect the award at the 11th annual Young Trailblazers Benefit Gala on 30 April (12).
Thrilled Cumming says, "What we lack in the LGBT world is positive role models. Now, more than ever, if you’re out and proud and strong, it’s important to let our young brothers and sisters know that life is good and we are happy to be who we are. It’s important to speak out and get your message to the kids who need it most. It’s for all our good."
Organisers have praised Taymor for her "vision and courage as an exemplary director" while Juno screenwriter Diablo Cody will also be recognised at the event, which celebrates women for their creative accomplishments.
New Girl producer Elizabeth Meriwether and screenwriter Theresa Rebeck will also receive prizes at the second annual award ceremony hosted by the private women's college Barnard in New York.
A new award will be posthumously dedicated to Spider-Man producer Laura Ziskin, who lost her battle with cancer in June (11), and accepted by her daughter Julia Barry.
The honour will be handed out to female film trailblazers in future years.