The Dishmaster

Entertainment News With a Side of Dish

Monday

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January 2018

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COMMENTS

Artist on the Rise: Valerie June

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Photo by Tommy Kha

It’s a new year folks, and there are no words to describe 2018’s first pick for this week’s Artist on the Rise. It’s Valerie June, and her voice is so hauntingly beautiful it hurts my soul. To top it off, The Memphis-born singer-songwriter’s albums have incredible original material, with one track being better than the next. Her most recent record, “The Order of Time,” is no exception. June began her love of music singing  gospel at her church three times a week sans instruments. She recounts her unique vocals, saying “My parents couldn’t get over how weird I sounded—like an old man when I was just a toddler! But no one was gonna shut me up.” Years later, she found it important to learn an instrument. Of the process, June said, “I’d had so much fun in the dirty dives in Memphis or heading to Mississippi or Arkansas, it felt like something huge was missing when I couldn’t play shows, so I decided I needed to learn to play guitar because I’d never get gigs if I couldn’t accompany myself.” She now also plays the banjo and ukulele, and she later generated the funds for her first album via kickstarter, which led to convincing Black Keys front man Dan Auerbach to co-produce, simply by sending him samples.

On March 17, June will perform with one of my favorite bands of all time, The Wood Brothers. I’ve seen The Wood Brothers live, and there’s no better show on the planet. Head to Nashville to see these powerhouses come together for an incredible show. Find out about other performances HERE. Listen below, you’ll be hooked immediately.

Monday

25

December 2017

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COMMENTS

Artist on the Rise: Lewis Capaldi

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Lewis Capaldi

Here at The Dishmaster, I love to feature new artists. By “new,” I mean I recently learned of their music, whether I’m the last to know or not. I draw this distinction because this week’s feature is Lewis Capaldi, and his YouTube count suggests I’m late to the party. I discovered Lewis when I let last week’s feature, Freya Ridings, run endlessly until Capaldi’s videos began to play. Apparently YouTube is aware of my taste. His EP, Bruises, has satisfied my itch for a new release from Hozier, given that they share the same lane. The Scottish singer/songwriter wrote the single, “Fade,” with Grammy winner, Malay, and he was nominated for “Breakthrough Artist of the Year Award’ at the Scottish Music Awards. Listen below.

For my Los Angeles friends looking for tickets, he’ll be performing at Moroccan Lounge on April 1, 2018. For everyone else, click HERE to see if you’re lucky enough to see him visit your city.

Wednesday

20

December 2017

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COMMENTS

Now Streaming: Eminem’s Revival — A Full Review

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If you read the reviews, including a very detailed take-down in Variety and an effusive endorsement from Rolling Stone, you’d have zero idea what to believe about Eminem’s new album, Revival. And then there’s Paris Hilton, who called Eminem a “lyrical genius.” Apparently, she loved the album, which left me scratching my head as to whether that’s a good thing. After all, Paris Hilton is certainly NOT the arbiter of cool and her endorsement might represent something larger. Does this album speak to the hip hop community, or is it simply too mainstream? His choice of collaborators doesn’t help his case. Forgive me for not wanting to hear Ed Sheeren on an Eminem song.

Though I endlessly cover music on my blog, I’d fall short of calling myself a music critic. I’m certainly not going to offer a track-by-track breakdown. I’ll simply say it’s good. is it great? Probably not. It’s no secret that Eminem thrives with lyrics and falls short with production and beats. In casual conversation, someone close to me once compared Kanye’s rap ability to Eminem, which felt so out of touch it was laughable. Kanye would be the opposite. All production, minimal lyrics. Eminem is a poet, and music is a forum for him to express it. In the case of Revival, the chorus of each song is so annoying it should be left out. There’s no Dido juxtaposition that takes the song to the next level. Instead, it takes each song down a notch. Additionally, I don’t know who mixed this record, but the lyrics are way too low in comparison to the music. The music is actually getting in the way. It’s also worth noting that the “I Love Rock ‘N Roll” sample caused me physical pain.

I love Eminem. But sure — this could be better.

Tuesday

19

December 2017

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TV Tune Tuesday: Meet Musician Aron Wright

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As we learned from yesterday’s post about Freya Ridings and an earlier interview I did with the very talented Aurora, television is often the perfect venue to highlight new artists. I’ll try to do this feature every week, and this week’s pick is Aron Wright, whom I discovered on Grey’s Anatomy. His soul-melting voice can also be heard on many other shows, including The Blacklist, The Vampire Diaries, and more. According to Wright, he records his music in a 100-year-old church he converted into a studio. His credits include co-writing the song “Hallelujah” by Panic! at the Disco and penning “Walk Out On Me,” which was performed by Courtney Love on the FOX television show, Empire. The multi-instrumentalist (trumpet, bass trombone, tuba and guitar) was born in Little Rock, AR, and raised in St. Louis, MO before eventually moving to South Africa. He now lives in Nashville. Listen below.

Monday

18

December 2017

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Artist on the Rise: Freya Ridings’ Song Reaches TNT’s ‘Good Behavior’

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Freya Ridings

Television shows often have a limited music budget, which means they are forced to get creative when picking tracks. And it’s thanks to that creativity that I was introduced to the very beautiful song, “Lost Without You” by Freya Ridings, which was featured on TNT’s Good Behavior. This will be the third release from the 23-year-old Londoner, whose self-released singles have amassed millions of streams. Of the song, Ridings has said that she wanted to capture a heart-breaking moment from a train station that changed her life. The track was mixed by Tom Elmhirst (Adele, David Bowie, Amy Winehouse, Beck). Prior to “Lost Without You,” Ridings released “Blackout” and “Maps,” the latter of which is a cover of the popular Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs song. Listen to the stunning track below.

Monday

18

December 2017

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COMMENTS

Black Thought Delivers Jaw-Dropping Freestyle

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Funkmaster Flex’s Hot 97 radio show had a mind-blowing moment when The Roots’ Black Thought took the mic for a 10-minute freestyle over the beat of Mobb Deep’s “The Learning (Burn).” The Root’s co-founder showed off some delicious rhymes, timely lyrics, and solid proof that Philadelphia-raised Tariq Trotter is a force. It’s no secret that everyone on the planet took notice, including Diddy, who called it “the greatest freestyle in all of hip hop history.” Listen below.

Saturday

16

December 2017

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COMMENTS

Quote of the Week: Peter Jackson Exposes Harvey Weinstein’s Blacklist

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By Natasha Baucas

Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson is one of the first men to bring the sexual harassment conversation forward by exposing Harvey Weinstein’s wrath, admitting that actresses Mira Sorvino and Ashley Judd were indeed blacklisted by Weinstein. Though Lord of the Rings ultimately ended up at New Line Cinema, Jackson details early conversations with Weinstein about casting, in which he poisoned the well on the actresses who declined his sexual advances. When Weinstein countered his memory, Jackson stood firm. Kudos to you, Peter.

[M]any conversations occurred internally regarding potential casting. Fran Walsh and I recall . . . some of the names discussed with Miramax for possible roles in The Lord of the Rings movies. . . . Fran and I expressed our enthusiasm for Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino. In fact we met with Ashley and discussed two possible roles with her. After this meeting we were told by Miramax to steer clear of both Ashley and Mira, because they claimed to have had “bad experiences” with these particular actresses in the past. . . We have no reason to make it up.

Thursday

14

December 2017

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Alec Baldwin’s Best SNL Performances of All-Time

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Written by: Guest contributor

Alec Baldwin has been a regular guest on Saturday Night Live since 1990 and holds the current record for hosting the show 16 times. His talent for mimicry lends itself for clever impersonations, breathing life into a wide range of characters. He’s played everything from a deranged elf to the President of the United States. He clearly enjoys sketch comedy. Baldwin’s playful, impish nature is inclusive, making us feel like we’re in on the jokes.

Cockpit: 10/23/2016

Baldwin and Tom Hanks play off each other in this uncomfortably funny skit depicting the hero-pilot of the Hudson River landing fame, Sully Sullenberger.

Top Gun Auditions: 9/24/2001

Top Gun fans of a certain age will enjoy Baldwin’s eccentric Al Pacino.

The Joe Pesci Show: Robert De Niro, Mel Gibson, Danny Glover and Brad Pitt: 1/20/1996

Baldwin’s ability to mimic subtle body language and accents fleshes out his Robert De Niro.

Plastic Surgeon: 11/15/2003

Amy Poehler’s character goes to a plastic surgeon, played by Baldwin, for a breast augmentation consultation. The sketch pokes fun at Baldwin’s passionate monologues from the movie Malice.

Glengarry Glen Christmas: Elf Motivation:12/10/2005

Baldwin’s elf channels his Glengarry Glen Ross movie character and breaks the spirits of his elf subordinates.

The SNL Platinum Lounge:11/11/2006

Steve Martin and Baldwin play themselves bumping into each other before the show. Martin turns homicidal trying to prevent Baldwin from breaking his record for hosting SNL.

Inside The Actor’s Studio with Charles Nelson Reilly: 4/7/2001

This skit holds generational appeal to those of us who are old enough to remember the game show Hollywood Squares. Baldwin nails Reilly’s flamboyant nature with just enough camp.

Weekend Edition: Steve Rogers: 12/10/2011

Baldwin shines in this news segment poking fun at himself. He plays the pilot that threw him off a recent flight for refusing to turn off his mobile phone before takeoff.

Prince Charles Press Conference: 11/15/2003

If sexual innuendo is your cup of tea, you’ll enjoy the clever repartee of Baldwin’s secretary interacting with reporters during a news conference.

Date with a Child Psychologist: 9/24/2011

A dinner date goes horribly wrong. Baldwin’s pompous psychologist is impervious to his date’s growing discomfort while he unskillfully manages his child’s prolonged tantrum.

Donald Trump Press Conference Cold Open: 10/15/2016

Baldwin’s depiction of Trump’s first press conference since his election is colorfully irreverent. No matter what side of the aisle you fall on, Baldwin’s impression of Trump has received great reviews and has led to Baldwin to explore his options and take his Trump impression on the road.

Wii Guys: 2/14/2009

Depending on your tastes you’ll either laugh uncomfortably or with abandon while watching Baldwin as a father learn to master a Wii game with his sons.

Donald Trump Vs Hillary Clinton Third Debate Cold Open: 10/15/2016

Kate McKinnon and Baldwin skillfully lampoon the foibles of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. McKinnon would go on to win an Emmy for her performances on Saturday Night Live, with her role as Clinton being the most memorable.

NPR’s Delicious Dish: Schweddy Balls: 4/7/2001

The reigning crowd favorite of Baldwin’s SNL skits. As a guest on a highbrow National Public Radio cooking show, he discusses his recipe for Schweddy balls.

Thursday

7

December 2017

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COMMENTS

Hammer Museum Presents ‘Downsizing’ — A Full Review

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I’ve always liked Alexander Payne. ‘Sideways’ is a personal favorite and I take pride in saying that, as one of the film’s first viewers, I immediately recognized its prowess. Though it would be ambitious to say he’s done it again with ‘Downsizing,’ he’s certainly near the target. Payne and the film’s breakout star, Hong Chau, visited the Hammer Museum for a Q&A following the film, and the esteemed director gave us a closer look at the film’s underlying message hidden inside his playful concept. The Museum of Modern Art’s renowned series presents influential films over the past 12 months and they’ve got quite the roster to choose from. It’s also worth noting that only in Los Angeles would you get to pick the brain of the film’s creators and actors, so this opportunity is not to be missed.

‘Downsizing’ imagines what might happen if humans miniaturize themselves as a solution to over-population and financial strain. The new scientific discovery is irreversible, but the promise of a better life is too good to ignore. Paul Safranek (Matt Damon) and wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) decide to abandon Omaha in order to move to a new downsized community, but things go awry when Audrey abandons the plan, leaving Paul on his own. To put it simply, the political undertones are hidden within this comforting comedic delivery. Though it’s clear that much of this message is about our environmental destruction, there’sso many other questions to ask. First, if your income was suddenly 100 times its current value, would that solve your problems? Second, our middle class is becoming ever-the-more squeezed, making it sad that we’d have to resort to a 5-inch-tall solution. And lastly, those who downsize now have a self-imposed minority status.

I think even Matt Damon would agree that Hong Chau (Ngoc Lan) is the star of this film. A Vietnamese prison escapee who was forcibly miniaturized and is missing a lower leg, Lan seems to rid Paul of his own self-pity. By opening his eyes to her world, he breaks free of the cage he built for himself in both his worlds. If I could offer any critique, I’d say that the film is at its best when there’s a big/small juxtaposition. Instead of focusing its characters on Leisure Land (their new community), I’d have kept the interplay with the regular-sized community. After all, if there’s no big/small perspective, then everyone stays the same size, and the joke is lost. The funny, creative opportunities could have been pushed a tad further. And though I spent most of the film engrossed in all its possible social messages, Payne made those messages quite clear at the end, and it was a tad too heavy-handed for my taste. On an overall scale; however, it was a thought-provoking breath of fresh air.

Tuesday

28

November 2017

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COMMENTS

Mother! Destroyed Jennifer Lawrence and Darren Aronofsky’s Relationship

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Jennifer Lawrence is known for being real, and her interview with Adam Sandler about the movie ‘Mother!’ is no exception. The Oscar-winning actress revealed that the poor reviews for her film managed to tank her romance with its director, Darren Aronofsky, who couldn’t seem to shut off his deep-dive into vortex of negative feedback. Lawrence, on the other hand, desperately hoped to gain reprieve from the film, which is seemingly impossible while dating its director. Watch below for a very funny recount of her Aronofsky relationship.