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Is Kanye West an evil genius or just plain evil? One could argue his brand has never been bigger, and the negative press is only serving to perpetuate his popularity, given that all his pop-up shows sell out swiftly.
When the ‘Life of Pablo’ rapper debuted his Yeezy Season 4 collection in the blazing heat, hours late, and left models passing out sans water and sitting on the grass, the press rightfully erupted, and even the designer for Bergdorf Goodman came to the rescue. The editorial director for The Cut called the experience “shameful” and said “the most responsible thing we could all do would be to write NOTHING about this show.” To be fair, many models starve themselves to meet the unfair demands of the industry (not Kanye West), and West cannot control the weather. This is certainly not the first nor the worst thing anyone has been asked to do to promote a product. That being said, art often speaks for itself, and there’s no art in passed out models, broken shoes, and less-than-impressive clothes.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The death of one’s brand is low and slow, and I predict Kanye West is on his way. We can argue endlessly about whether all press is good press, and whether this is all part of some master plan, but I beg to differ. His talent is music, not fashion, and the more the public believes him to be an egomaniac, the less likely they are to support him.
During casual conversation at many Los Angeles outings, the subject of my “free pass” comes up, and though Brad Pitt or Rob Lowe might be the easy choice, my selection is always the very sexy Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who first gained heartthrob status as Denny on ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’ He has since had many memorable roles, the last of which was on ‘The Good Wife,’ and he can now be seen on ‘The Walking Dead’ as Negan, the villain of season 7. Just who will he kill, and does he look just as handsome while doing it? The answer to the second question is yes, and for the answer to the first, see below. You might find a clue.
Patrick Dempsey just mastered the art of saying absolutely nothing AND everything about his personal life while promoting his upcoming film, Bridget Jones’ Baby. The former ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ star opened up to People Magazine about the reconciliation with his longtime wife, Jillian, saying, “Our marriage was not something I was prepared to let go of” and “I [learned] to prioritize. Our union has to be the priority. I wasn’t prepared to give up on her and she wasn’t either. We both wanted to fight for it.” Though he did not admit the source of their issues, tabloids have long speculated that Dempsey’s penchant for racing cars took considerable time away from their union, and he has seriously dialed back on the dangerous hobby since mending his marriage.
It’s worth noting that one can talk about his or her personal life without divulging too much, and Dempsey did it beautifully. The television star is also a rare breed of actor who can master both mediums, having had a successful film career prior to his resurgence as “McDreamy.” For more, visit PEOPLE.
Alicia Keys’ face value just went up exponentially, as the singer unveiled her makeup-free look to the world, proclaiming that she “hope[s] to God it’s a revolution. ‘Cause I don’t want to cover up anymore. Not my face, not my mind, not my soul, not my thoughts, not my dreams, not my struggles, not my emotional growth. Nothing.” The public’s strong reaction to her bold choice, uncovered a few layers of latent judgment, as society has long held women to a higher standard of beauty. That being said, it’s worth nothing that all men on television ALSO wear makeup, it’s just far less obvious. In fact, Conan could possibly blend into white walls without bronzer (a joke he’s often made himself).
I’ve always maintained that women don’t look BETTER with makeup, they just look DIFFERENT, and sometimes it’s good to switch it up. Hair down, hair up, formal, casual, etc. The light and shade of life creates standout moments, and without contrast of any kind, things can be a bit lackluster. It is; however, interesting to see what people actually look like without their faces covered. It might be a movement, but here’s hoping going bra-less isn’t next.
Just who is Nick Waterhouse, and how does he achieve a vintage sound? The singer/songwriter/producer is Los Angeles based, and his third album, Never Twice, is set for release on September 30. The first video for the album, “Old Place,” is “an expertly blended mélange of styles—soul, Cuban rhythm, blues, funk, the kinds of sounds that are played in bars like this all over the country.” Listen below
Los Angeles natives know there’s always a concert to see and a new venue to visit to scope out underground talent, but as an experienced Angelino, I can tell you that there’s no cooler concert with better live sound than the FIREPIT SESSIONS. Nestled in a secret enclave of Silverlake, and hosted by talented engineer and certified music influencer Adam Labov, the unique, two-day experience offers multiple back-to-back bands whose identity remains a secret until they hit the stage. Though perhaps I could have convinced Adam to reveal the names for “press” purposes, I trust his taste and love the surprise. It’s also impossible to guess because even rock bands take the stage, proving that Adam’s eclectic lineup is one-of-a-kind. For your chance to obtain the secret address for the SEPTEMBER 10 and SEPTEMBER 11 FIREPIT SESSIONS, send an email with the subject line “Firepit Sessions” to Vanessa@TheDishmaster.com.
For more information, read my exclusive interview below with the man himself, Adam Labov.
I know you have extensive experience in the music industry. Tell me how you got started in this business.
Whether or not I realized it at the time, I think that it all began when I was 13 years old and saw my first real rock concert, Nirvana in 1993. Even though I couldn’t hear properly for a few days afterward, I knew right away that live music was something I needed to always have in my life. The energy I felt that night was unlike anything I had ever experienced before, and even after attending and mixing thousands of shows, it still continues for me.
In 1999, I took some audio engineer classes and created a home studio to hone my engineering skills. When I moved to LA in 2003, I knew that many studios were having trouble making money, so I figured it was financially risky to open up another studio here. I decided to try my luck with live sound and went to all the live music venues on the Sunset Strip and around town seeking work as a live engineer. I got a call a month later to work at the Key Club and so it began….
When did you first come up with the idea for these Firepit Sessions?
It happened after hosting a huge house party one day in 2008 where I had 5 popular local bands play really loud sets, and the cops (and some neighbors) showed up multiple times. I knew that if I wanted to continue having shows at my house, the format would have to be refined.
A month or so later, I asked my friend Travis Warren if he could bring his acoustic guitar over to perform an intimate, “unplugged” set for my birthday. I invited about 30 friends over and it was an incredibly special time. I’d like to think that night was the beginning of Firepit Sessions.
What is your ultimate goal for these sessions? I know it’s free, but do you anticipate having to charge for entry as it grows in popularity?
Making money from Firepit Sessions has never been a priority or even much of a thought and I’m never planning to charge an entrance fee. Money just complicates things and I’d rather it remain out of Firepit Sessions.
Firepit Sessions has become a passion project for me. I love the idea of being able to host a party like this, where I curate every aspect of the entire weekend and then document it on the website. It’s my way of trying to give back to the Los Angeles music community from which I’ve received so many incredible opportunities and positive experiences.
I want Firepit Sessions to be a safe haven for musicians to experiment with their craft, as well as provide a comfortable place for members of the audience to experience live music in a new light. Many local businesses have generously donated food, libations, and other services and I look forward to partnering with other like-minded people to help Firepit Sessions evolve. Given my erratic travel schedule, the event also serves as the perfect setting for me to see many of my friends at one time, and then introducing those friends to other like-minded people. I love watching those connections being made and then eventually blossoming into other creative endeavors.
How do you choose the band that performs?
I’ve made a long and ever-growing list of bands I want to eventually perform at Firepit Sessions. Many are bands I already work with, or friends of friends. I also have some bands that are likely too well known, but it keeps me motivated to try and make it happen.
Once I find an available weekend for Firepit Sessions, I go through the list and try my best to create a cohesive and diverse lineup based on who is available. I’m beyond grateful to all the musicians that have agreed to perform at Firepit Sessions, some multiple times; especially considering the fact they don’t get paid and I won’t let them publicly promote the shows before they happen.
This has gained a lot of popularity. Are you ever approached by an artist you have to turn down?
Given the infrequent nature of these concerts, only about 10 set times are available in any given year. I’ve had to turn down bands mainly because I already had enough acts booked for that particular session. I try to schedule them for future Firepit Sessions if I think the vibe is right for what is happening over here.
I’ve seen rock bands perform in this rather intimate setting. Do you think it’s a challenge for them to transform their style?
My musical friends are talented and can easily adapt to the space and the unique audio challenges it presents. The biggest issue is the 70+ steps to go up and down for load in/out.
When I first begin to pitch the idea of performing at Firepit Sessions to bands, I always reference “MTV unplugged”. In particular, the episodes with Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains and Nirvana still remain as some of my favorite concerts because it forced those loud rock bands to become vulnerable by making them step outside their comfort zone to scale things back. It also provided the audience with a less amplified environment, which I believe made the listener feel more connected to the band and vice versa. I find that’s when some of the best performances can happen, and certainly has become one of the ideas behind Firepit Sessions.
A great example of this is the band Fool’s Gold who was kind enough to perform on two separate occasions. Their typical set up was full electric, but for FIrepit Sessions, they incorporated acoustic guitars, scaled back the drums, encouraged audience singing and even rearranged the songs. They turned out to be completely unique performances and totally exemplify the mood I’m going for.
That being said, I’ve upgraded the audio production over the years to be able to accommodate full band set ups and recently received a sponsorship from one of my favorite audio equipment companies. At this point there really isn’t a situation that isn’t “doable”.
I will always root for Britney Spears, as will the rest of America. She’s a true comeback story, and it’s good to see that we are not defined by our worst moments. Having said that, her performance at the MTV VMAs just isn’t up to snuff. In fact, if I were on her team, I’d have kept her off the stage entirely. For starters, it was fine for her to lip sync at the beginning of her career because she was dancing. But now, there’s no excuse. She’s walking across the stage with extremely minimal choreography, And if you’re going to go that route, then the performance better be extremely high-concept to distract the audience from the issue at hand. Instead, they put her center stage sans distraction, and left her up there with nothing to fill the time. As for G-Easy, they have zero chemistry. Like I said, I love Britney, but her team just needs to do better. They have something to work with here, and they’re doing nothing.
Rihanna gets an A for effort. With a medley of her most-loved hits, some interesting chaps, and an overflow of pink, it was an extravaganza for the eyes. Britney’s team should take note. Though it wasn’t heavy with choreography on Rihanna’s part, there’s enough good stuff on stage to make this memorable.
Beyonce made the other performances feel as if a lion went up against a bunch of ants. In short, she slayed, and her 15 minute show was an extremely original, eye-catching masterpiece. It’s Beyonce’s world, and everyone else just lives in it.
I would encourage Kanye West to give money to charity, rather than begging for big outlets to invest in him. Actually, I’d encourage him to physically go to a shelter and feed the homeless, because his bloated display of hubris isn’t just tired, it’s sad. For a man that does only one thing well, he sure doesn’t do it often. If you love Beyonce, take notes from her, and do less talking and more performing. He will continue to get away with this for some time, because the decline of one’s brand is a slow death, and like the frog being boiled in water, it will soon be too late to recover.
I don’t like spinning at the gym, and I certainly don’t like it on the stage. This feels like the princess version of a dance routine designed by some ladies from Brentwood who said to Grande, “You know what would be so cool?! Spin bikes on stage! OMG and the Olympics just happened so like . . . add a pommel horse!!”
I had high hopes for Nick Jonas, but this dated performance reeked of the 90’s. If he wants to convince the public that his boy band days are behind him, this was not the way to go. Jonas has marketed himself as the cool, sexy guy who was just too mature for a trio with his brothers. The only thing missing here was Nick Lachey.
In case you wonder whether Britney Spears can be normal, listen to her radio interview below where she seems less nervous, and more authentic. She discusses her carpool karaoke experience with James Corden, and recounts feeling “awkward,” along with a dislike for two of her most famous songs.