The Obvious: Courtney Love, who turned 50 earlier this week, is one of pop culture's great train wrecks. The Not-So-Obvious: Love, for all her nutty lore, is also rather talented, so much more than Kurt Cobain's burned-out, legally challenged widow. In Hole and as a solo act, she made some visceral grungy rock. She's even better -- when she bothers -- as an actress, most notably as ill-fated wife Althea in 1996's The People vs. Larry Flynt. So it's odd, but potentially good, news that Love will be joining the cast of FX's badass-bikers drama Sons of Anarchy during its seventh and final season. She'll play preschool teacher (haha) Mrs. Harrison, who takes interest in young Abel -- and who butts heads with Abel's mama (Drea de Matteo). Love will make her first appearance in the fourth episode, and you know what? I bet she's pretty darned GOOD....
07/08/14 Music & Concerts
There's absolutely nothing subtle about Robin Thicke, which is both his greatest strength and, well, the reason lots of people think he's a lunkhead. From his elevated hair to his wolfish grin to the audacity of Blurred Lines, the guy is all id, all out there. He definitely shares braggish traits — and undeniable talent — with Kanye West, especially with the sheer brazenness of Thicke's new album, Paula....
ORLANDO — Fear is a tricky commodity, and mondo business, for theme parks these days. You have to push the envelope to keep pace with your nearby competitors, but not be so pushy that too many potential guests tremble at the idea of your nefarious new terror machine.
Ihu's Breakaway Falls at Aquatica, SeaWorld's neighboring water park, is very much the modern I-dare-you attraction: a water slide and a drop tower all in one, a water slide you literally plummet almost straight down into. I was seriously freaking out before getting sucked into the swirly horror of it all. But I want to do it again. Right now. That innovative terror machine works quite well, thank you very much....
06/30/14 Music & Concerts
It's one of the great cruelties of life: Sooner or later, we all grow too old to shoot whipped cream out of our novelty brassieres. Just ask Katy Perry, whose sold-out Monday show at the Tampa Bay Times Forum was decidedly without rocketing foodstuffs, once the record-setting singer's vavoomish trademark.
Instead, the 29-year-old superstar streamlined this stop on her Prismatic World Tour into all parts self-empowerment, acrobatics, special effects (a puppet steed for Dark Horse) and a whiz-bang light design (everything lit up, from the mondo backing screen to the long runways to the jump ropes for opening number Roar)....
06/25/14 Music & Concerts
Lana Del Rey is something of a pop onomatopoeia. Her voice, like her Hollywood-circa-1939 name and persona, is lush, languid, a seductive instrument that makes the singer sound as if she couldn't be bothered to move from the fainting couch. In another time, another medium, the 28-year-old would have given hardboiled P.I. Philip Marlowe even more reasons to drink.
Del Rey (real name: Elizabeth Woolridge Grant, a native not of Los Angeles but New York City) released a new album this week, Ultraviolence, in which she adds even more red-lipstick edge to her femme fatale image. The LP follows the surge of two singles: No. 1 hit Summertime Sadness, which Miley Cyrus covered in concert, the latter only hoping to gain some of LDR's smoky mystique; and a fantastic re-do of Disney classic Once Upon a Dream, the once-chirpy Sleeping Beauty theme made malevolent for Maleficent. The latter is far scarier than anything heard in the Haunted Mansion; it's her crowning achievement....
06/24/14 Music & Concerts
Katy Perry's kisses, the hot ones and the cold ones, tell the tale of her career. • The singer, a daughter of Pentecostal pastors, commenced as a 23-year-old flirt with overeager lips. Her debut single, 2008's I Kissed a Girl ("and I liked it, the taste of her cherry ChapStick"), hit No. 1 in almost 20 countries, selling more than 4 million digital copies in the United States. • Boys, babes, the naughty pop princess aimed to smooch 'em all: in Sin City (2008's Waking Up in Vegas), in a menage a trois (2010's Last Friday Night), in a titillating marriage (to bad boy Russell Brand, whom she'd later divorce, letting it all crassly play out in a sexy concert movie, Katy Perry: Part of Me)....
In the bestselling books, in the box-office-breaking movies and now at Universal Orlando Resort, Diagon Alley is a magical land where boy wizard Harry Potter goes to shop. Oh, its Florida incarnation is an eye-popping place, as hundreds of media members, here and abroad, discovered this week at a glitzy press event inside the second Potter playground for Walt Disney World's chief competitor....
Did Times staff writer Sean Daly break the new Harry Potter ride at Universal Orlando?
During a press event Wednesday at Diagon Alley, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts was suffering the kind of tech glitches not even Dumbledore could fix. (Oh, we're getting tired of Potter references already.) A few guests made it through the entire indoor steel coaster that blends 3D effects and state-of-the-art trickery, although reports were that things weren't working too well for them, either....
06/15/14 Music & Concerts
With a warm, crisp delivery that trumpeted Michael Jackson and Motley Crue with equal reverence, pioneering DJ Casey Kasem owned Sunday mornings in the '70s and '80s. His American Top 40 was one of the most popular — and inclusive — radio shows ever, gathering both kids and parents, a rare feat indeed.
Broadcast over a whopping 450-plus stations at the height of his success, the ever-perky Mr. Kasem spent three to four hours teasing that week's No. 1 song, back when his list, and his No. 1, were the only ones that truly mattered. Would it be Marvin Gaye? Madonna? Duran Duran? Run-D.M.C.? Everyone was invited to Casey's party....
Not only does this season of Jeopardy mark Alex Trebek's 30th hosting the show (and subsequently making me feel like a moron), but it's also a Guinness World Records year for the Ontario-born smartypants.
Today's half-hour installment is his 6,829 episode -- earning the 73-year-old Trebek the coveted Guinness title of "Most Game Show Episodes Hosted by the Same Presenter (One Show)." Jeopardy also holds the Guinness trophy for most Emmy awards won by a TV game show: 30. (Wow, they really dig Guinness stats, huh? I get Guinness confused with Ripley's. Which one has the overweight twins on mopeds?) Anyway, "America's Favorite Quiz Show" -- their words, not mine, I prefer Match Game -- finishes its 30th season on Aug. 1; the 31st season begins Sept. 15....
REVIEW: A happy Adam Duritz (no, really!) and Counting Crows kick off summer tour right, tight in Tampa06/11/14 Blog
TAMPA -- With his trademark dreadlocks looking miraculously bountiful, almost as if they were created in Jim Henson's Muppet workshop, Counting Crows frontman Adam Duritz first took the Straz Center stage on Wednesday looking unsure, hesitant. The near-capacity crowd, just shy of 2,400, was equally wary. After all, as any fan of the '90s roots-rock survivors knows all too frustratingly well, you're never sure which head-trip Adam you're going to get. Loopy? Lucid? Lackadaisical? Or locked in to each romantically quavering song with a moving, yelping gusto?
In short: We got the last one, thankfully. The Crows, a hit-or-miss gang for sure, kicked off their summer tour with two hours of heart-swelling/heart-breaking goodness, the reason we fell in love with them -- and stayed in love with them. From opener Sullivan Street (one of five played from 1993 debut August and Everything After) through an assortment of hits, deep album cuts and covers (the Dead's Friend of the Devil especially), Duritz & Co. were in a giving, crowd-pleasing mood....
"Exploding golf balls, that would just be a little appetizer."
With the 114th U.S. Open Golf Championship happening this weekend at the No. 2 Course at North Carolina's Pinehurst Resort (and being broadcast on ESPN and NBC), Will Ferrell helps make golf more enjoyable for EVERYBODY....
06/10/14 Music & Concerts
Jack White digs old suits, old guitars, old scuzzy licks. The Pale Riffer cuts his own vinyl records in his Third Man shop, an indie valhalla in Nashville. He likes old words, too. His 2012 Grammy-nominated LP, Blunderbuss, was named after an 18th century muzzle-loading firearm, a no-nonsense weapon just like the dude himself. His latest LP, Lazaretto, refers to a quarantine hospital, a place for outcasts, a place he'd no doubt feel at home....
Jack White digs old suits, old guitars, old scuzzy licks. The Pale Riffer cuts his own vinyl records in his Third Man shop, an indie valhalla in Nashville. He likes old words, too. His 2012 Grammy-nominated LP, Blunderbuss, was named after an 18th century muzzle-loading firearm, a no-nonsense weapon just like the dude himself. His latest LP, Lazaretto, refers to a quarantine hospital, a place for outcasts, a place he’d no doubt feel at home....
Good news, Orange Is the New Black fans: Now you too can be "Pornstache"! The only thing we here at the Feed love more than Netflix-only-women-in-prison-dramedies are gloriously silly smartphone apps that celebrate Netflix-only-women-in-prison-dramedies. And Orange Is the New App is a free downloadable time-suck (available on iTunes and Google Play) that's more comforting than Taco Night at Litchfield Correctional. Just in time for the launch of the hit Netflix show's second season, you can superimpose your face into select scenes, create whimsical memes and send ready-made cards ("Waiting for Season 2 is Like Being in the Shu") to fellow fans. Oh, and there's a Crazy Eyes emoji!! Go have fun, smart chickens!!!!!...