Monthly Archives: June 2011

Dolly Parton Sees A “Better Day”

The eight-time Grammy Award winner returns with “Better Day,” the follow-up to her 2008 disc, “Backwoods Barbie.” Self-released on the country music icon’s own Dolly Records imprint, this program of 12 new recordings includes “Shine Like the Sun” and “The Sacrifice.” The lead single is a revamped rendition of “Together You and I,” an original she first cut back in 1974 with Porter Wagoner. “It is a very positive-sounding song and I love positive love songs,” says Parton. “I am kind of like a hopeless romantic: I believe that love can just last forever, or at least that it should!” Dolly kicks off a world tour in support of “Better Day” on July 17 in Knoxville, Tennessee, USA.


BOX OFFICE RATINGS, for the movie-goers and lovers amongst you:

1. Cars 2

2. Bad Teacher

3. Green Lantern

4. Super 8

5. Mr. Popper’s Penguins

6. X-Men: First Class

7. The Hangover Part II

8. Bridesmaids

9. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

10. Midnight in Paris

Joss Stone “Absolutely Fine” After Alleged Kidnap/Murder Attempt

Joss Stone has started her own label, recorded a new album and is working in the most talked-about supergroup of the year. Not bad for someone who was nearly the victim of a robbery and murder plot earlier this month. And, for starters, Stone can’t say much about the latter. “I would love to tell you about it, but I’ve been told not to, for obvious reasons,” the singer tells Police in England arrested two men on June 13 near Stone’s home in Cullompton, Mid Devon, who had plans to rob and kill her.
Nevertheless, she assures us that, “I’m fine… It’s weird. People are interesting in their heads but…now I have a perfect excuse to get three really cute little puppies that are going to grow up to be really big, cuddly dogs that will protect me, so I’m actually excited and I have to send (the accused) a thank-you letter.”

Stone’s attitude is just as, if not more, positive about “LP1,” the Dave Stewart co-produced set which is due out July 26 and marks the first release on her own Stone’d Records imprint, through Surfdog Records. “I can just do what I do now, do what’s fun, and I won’t do what’s not fun, which is so nice. There’s no man there in a suit telling me that I’m crap,” which Stone says was the case with 2009’s “Colour Me Free!” — “which is also nice. (‘LP1’) is about the whole new life that I’m living right now. It’s like a celebration of leaving the situation that I was in before and being free now.”

Stone isn’t sure yet what will become of the additional songs she recorded during the sessions, and she has some European live dates booked for late July. She hopes to line up more shows to support “LP1,” but she’s also in set-up mode for the September release of an album by Super Heavy, the Stewart-organized band that also includes Mick Jagger, Academy Award-winning Indian film composer A.R. Rahman and Damian Marley. “It feels like it was ages ago when we started that,” Stone says. “It’s quite interesting, because there’s all these different dynamics in one room with all of these different people who have different styles and different ideas. It was really fun. I was running around like a little child going, ‘This is so fun! I can’t believe this!’ and they were all looking at me like, ‘OK, calm down…’Stone says the Super Heavy album has “the weirdest sound…very eclectic. It’s like world music, but it’s not one style. It’s just not normal, but it’s a great to listen to.” She isn’t sure, however, what the group’s plans will be once the album comes out. God knows what’s going to happen, but I would definitely try to make myself available for any tour dates that come up. It would be the experience of a lifetime.”

Tom Cruise Is “Astonishing” in ‘Rock of Ages’

On Friday, Tom Cruise posted a photo of himself on his website as ’80s rocker Stacee Jaxx, for his role in the big-screen adaptation of the Broadway musical “Rock of Ages.” Cruise, who is shirtless in the photo, is sporting long hair and tattoos for his character, who will belt out ’80s classics such as Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive,” Scorpions’ “Rock You Like a Hurricane” and a group performance of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.”

Yet, the question on everyone’s mind is: Can he sing? Well, according to co-star Julianne Hough, the answer is yes. “I’m not kidding, the guy can sing,” Hough told MTV News on Monday (June 20) at the CESAR Canine Cuisine and American Humane Association’s voting kickoff for the Hero Dog Awards. “The guy can dance, the guy obviously can act. I mean, he can do it all, and he does it all very well.”

“I wasn’t there for the first day of shooting for his stuff, but I just got people emailing me, like, ‘Oh my gosh,’ chills, standing ovation, holy crap, the crew was blown away,” Hough gushed. “And I’m like, ‘I missed it! What the heck?’ So, he’s astonishing.” However, the “Dancing with the Stars” alum did get to hear Cruise’s singing voice, and she had to agree with the rest of the crew: He is the real deal. “Yeah, oh yeah, it’s ridiculous.” Hough said. “There are no words to describe how amazing Tom is. I mean, he’s so in it.” Hough, who wraps shooting on “Rock of Ages” in August, plays lead character Sherrie Christian alongside an all-star cast, including Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand and Mary J. Blige.

Marie Osmond to join ‘The Bold And The Beautiful’

“The Bold and the Beautiful” took home four trophies Sunday night at the Daytime Emmys awards show in Las Vegas, but as Marie Osmond says, The “B&B” family has a whole new reason to celebrate as Osmond will soon make an appearance on the long-running soap.

An excited Adam Gregory confirms that yes, “Marie is going to be starring in the Bold and the Beautiful.” Although she has yet to film any scenes, Gregory says we can expect to see Osmond on daytime television some time “later this year.”

Although Marie’s plan to join the iconic show are no joke, she jests, “that’s right, you only have ‘One Life to Live,’ and ‘All My Children’ asked me to do a soap, so I’m doing ‘The Bold and the Beautiful, ’cause I’m bold, and he’s beautiful.”

Paul McCartney rocks in the studio, on the road

Paul Mc Cartney hasn’t had an idle year since The Beatles formed in 1960, and 2011 is no exception.

He supervised reissues of his first two solo records, 1970’s McCartney and 1980’s McCartney II, each in special and deluxe editions with multiple extras. Both are out this week. “It’s a lot of fun revisiting the past,” McCartney says. “It’s like looking at old snapshot albums.” He’s not just excavating archives. Turning 69 this year, McCartney is rolling out U.S. dates, recording pop standards and plotting a hard-rock record.


McCartney closed his Up and Coming world tour with last Friday’s show in Las Vegas (Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon sat in the first row). He’ll launch his On the Run tour July 15 and 16 at Yankee Stadium, which will continue in Detroit, Chicago and Cincinnati.”We have a few dates lined up over the summer and autumn, some real nice ones that haven’t been announced yet,” McCartney says. “We always love playing in America.” Though he’s been performing since March 2010, McCartney has made time for the studio.


His twisted, shambolic version of It’s So Easy, punctuated by his raps, is the runaway standout on Rave On Buddy Holly, an all-star tribute out. He says, “I had the idea to try a crazy, funky version. It seems to be going down well.” McCartney’s planned rock album is tabled until he finishes a long-postponed standards collection. “I’ve wanted to do this kind of album for years,” he says. But “I never wanted to look like I was jumping on the bandwagon. “I’m trying to put a different spin on it,” says McCartney, who has been recording with Diana Krall. “A lot of the songs I’ve just discovered in researching the project. Some are big favorites from family sing-alongs as a kid. Great memories for me, that. And I’ve written a few tunes in the genre. We’re going all sorts of ways, and I’m having a ball.” With his crowded schedule, when does McCartney, who was recently engaged to Nancy Shevell, plan to squeeze in a wedding? “That would be telling, wouldn’t it?” he says

Nutty novels, thrillers on O Magazine reading list

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A British whodunit about two sisters, a look at absurd nuclear bomb shelters and a what-if novel modeled on Britain’s Princess Diana if she had lived to 50, are among 29 books on O, The Oprah Magazine’s summer reading list. The selections were culled from hundreds of new titles to satisfy readers during the summer when there is more time to snuggle up with a book on the beach, in a chaise longue or even the airplane seat, according to the newest edition of Winfrey’s monthly magazine. “I feel like we are curating a list of books that people are going to want to read,” said Sara Nelson, the magazine’s book editor. “It’s really for the pleasure of reading rather than education or enlightenment.”

British bestseller “Sister” by Rosamund Lupton, unfolds through a woman’s letters to her dead sister as she hunts her killer — even though everyone else thinks she had committed suicide. And British royal history turns into a thriller in “Untold Story” by Monica Ali, about a princess who fakes her own death and undergoes plastic surgery to live in a small American town. “While the heroine is named Lydia Snaresbrook, she’s clearly a dark-haired, rhinoplastied Princess Diana, who Ali imagines has faked her own death and come to live in a small American town,” Nelson said in describing the book on the magazine’s website. Bookworms, old and young, may see themselves in Rebecca Makkai’s “The Borrower,” a coming-of-age road trip about the relationship between a 20-something librarian and a 10-year-old boy with punitive parents. In what may well echo the sentiments of Winfrey’s Book Club members, the librarian in the novel concludes: “I do still believe that books can save you. I believed that would get his books, as surely as any addict will get his drug.”

Other truths may be found in nonfiction picks, though cooking and other how-to books are left for O’s other seasonal lists. One title explains itself: “Bomboozled: How the U.S. Government Misled Itself and its People into Believing They Could Survive a Nuclear Attack.” The darkly funny study by Susan Roy pairs illustrations with commentary. Other true stories include “Garden of Beasts,” in which William E. Dodd examines his family’s naivete about Nazi Germany and Mark Seal’s “The Man in the Rockefeller Suit,” an expose on art collector Clark Rockefeller, a conman arrested in 2008 for kidnapping his daughter, and charged with the murder of his former landlord.

The impact of Winfrey’s book recommendations has typically boosted sales of the titles. The magazine’s full summer reading list can be found at “It gives bookstores a reliable forecast of what could potentially be popular,” said Mary Gotaas, bookstore analyst at IBISWorld Inc. “We can’t kill a book,” Nelson said. “All of our power is positive power.”




Barry Manilow tackles fame in risky concept album

Not bad for a decidedly unfashionable singer – Barry Manilow earned a coveted spot as a trending topic on Twitter recently when he went on a daytime TV chat show to promote his first album of original material in 10 years. The honor is usually reserved for high-flying hotshots rather than golden-oldie types. Alas, the Internet buzz did not reflect the momentous occasion. “Barry Manilow is performing, and I’m three seconds from blowing my head off,” said one tweeter. Another added, “Barry Manilow is just plain scary looking.” But Manilow, whose eerily smooth face belies his 67 years (he turns 68 on June 17), has heard it all before. After 40 years in the business as the butt of all sorts of jokes, there’s nothing that can faze him.

But will his older-skewing female fans be there for his new album “15 Minutes,” an ambitious follow-up to a series of covers albums that sent him to the upper reaches of the charts for the first time since his ’70s heyday? Set for release in the United States and Canada on Tuesday (and the UK on June 20), the rock-flavored project is inspired by the harsh media spotlight shone on young celebrities. “It’s not pretty piano tinkling,” he said. “It’s got a lot of energy. Some of it is anger. I don’t know whether they’ll like that, but there’re a lot of great melodies on it, so hopefully they’ll connect with that.”

He always knows exactly what is planned for the next five years. A recent stint at London’s 02 Arena with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra was taped for a live album that will come out in the winter. Then he plans to record a follow-up to his first jazz album, 1984’s “2:00 A.M. Paradise Cafe.” By the end of this five-year plan he would be 73. “In my head I’m going on 35,” he insisted with a smile that barely creased his face. “Five years from now I’ll be 40. Hey!”

Catherine Zeta-Jones Dazzles in First Comeback Appearance

Catherine Zeta-Jones reminded the world why she’s a star as a presenter at Sunday’s Tony Awards in NYC. It was the Oscar- and Tony-winning actress’ first appearances since mid-April, when she briefly checked into a mental health facility, seeking treatment for Bipolar II disorder.
Handing out two trophies — for best actor in a leading role in a play (Mark Rylance, Jerusalem) and in a musical (Norbert Leo Butz, Catch Me If You Can) — the Welsh beauty, 41, dazzled in a curve-hugging red, sequined Elie Saab gown and jewels by van Cleef and Arpels.
The mom of two kids with husband Michael Douglas, Jones’ mental health battle came on the heels of Douglas’ own fight with stage-four throat cancer. “She’s great!” Douglas, 66, told Us Weekly last Thursday of his wife, who’s been shooting rock musical Rock of Ages in Miami with Julianne Hough, Tom Cruise, Russell Brand, Alec Baldwin, Malin Akerman and Mary J. Blige.” She’s doing a great job.”

Colin Firth Ddoing Neuroscience now

Academy Award winner Colin Firth has been credited as one of the co-authors on a recently published paper about the brain. Is there nothing he can’t do? Firth guest-edited an episode of a British radio show this past December that contained a segment in which politicians’ brains were scanned to see if there was a physiological difference between conservatives and liberals.

After the segment aired, a neuroscientist continued with the experiment, looking at 90 more subjects, and finding that, yes, there seems to be some difference in brain scans. No, they don’t really know what that means or why that would be, but the results of the study have been published in Current Biology and Colin Firth is now even more dreamy and accomplished than he was before.