Saturday, June 14, 2008

Bonnaroo fest opens with Metallica, Chris Rock

By JAKE COYLE, AP Entertainment Writer


Metallica's Lars Ulrich and Kirk Hammett introduced Rock, and the comedian in turn introduced who he called "the baddest ... band in the world." Both acts were unlikely fare for the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, which began in 2002 as primarily a jam band event.

But in recent years, Bonnaroo has broadened itself and brought more diverse fans to its 700-acre countryside site south of Nashville. Among the tens of thousands of festival-goers, Rock, Metallica and many other performers were very conscious of their entry into a tie-dyed world they seldom traffic in.

In a bit in his set about Prozac and other medications, Rock chastised the crowd, who he said was likely on "performance-enhancing drugs."

"You all should be ashamed of yourselves for taking antidepressants to see a comedian," joked Rock. "I am an antidepressant!"

Metallica also touted its cheerfulness.

"Do you feel good?" lead singer James Hetfield asked the crowd. "Metallica is here to make you feel better."

Performing on the main stage Friday night, Rock jumped right into his material, much of which he's performed during recent touring. Looking on backstage were many of the other comedians performing at the festival, as well as Jack White, whose band the Raconteurs took the main stage earlier in the day.

Rock worked the giant crowd without missing a beat in his timing, hitting on the election, Anna Nicole Smith and high gas prices despite the war in Iraq, ("If I invade IHOP, pancakes are going to be cheaper in my house," he said).

Metallica had a more difficult time winning over the crowd, which was head-banging but apparently not moshing. Hetfield repeatedly urged the audience to sing along. He asked, "We do have a few Metallica friends here, yes?"

Hetfield occasionally informed the crowd the titles of the songs they were playing and which album they were from. "That was `No Remorse' from `Kill `Em All,'" he said, an annotation that would have normally been completely superfluous for the band.

But Metallica is an exceptionally hard working band — they could be heard practicing backstage in a trailer shortly before their set. Eventually, they won the crowd over with their tenacity, as well as classics like "Sad But True" and "Enter Sandman," the latter of which was accompanied by pyrotechnics.

Like a jam band, Metallica has a fiercely devoted following and Hetfield alluded to this Bonnaroo-ness of Metallica: "We support live music ... and that's why we're here."

The notorious Tennessee heat that has in the past made Bonnaroo a chore was thus far bearable (after midnight, My Morning Jacket pulled out a cover of Sly and the Family Stone's "Hot Fun in the Summertime"). But by then, the rain that had threatened through much of the day finally fell.

One of Friday's big questions was whether M.I.A., the British electronic dancehall rapper, would show. She recently canceled her upcoming European tour due to exhaustion from touring, but still performed an energetic set at Bonnaroo. She repeatedly called it her "last show."

"This is my last show, and I'm glad I'm spending it with all my hippies," she announced.

Usually sold-out with an attendance of 80,000, this year's Bonnaroo hadn't yet reached capacity, but was overrun with tens of thousands of fans who came from far and wide to camp through the weekend.

Zach GalifianakisFiona AppleKanye Westlate Saturday nightWillie NelsonMy Morning JacketSwell Season


This content was originally posted on © 2008 If you are not reading this text from the above site, you are reading a splog

Musicians try to get out the vote at Bonnaroo

By JAKE COYLE, AP Entertainment Writer

That's the question many clipboard-wielding volunteers ask themselves as they solicit festival-goers at Bonnaroo, the massive annual music festival better known for dancing and campsite carousing than political activism. But going back to Woodstock, music festivals have long had a political connection, and some organizations are seeing a shift in eagerness from fans.

Headcount is a nonprofit organization founded by Marc Brownstein, the bassist from the jam band the Disco Biscuits, and Andy Bernstein to get people registered to vote. What makes Headcount an interesting barometer of political interest at music festivals is that it does almost all of its work at festivals and concerts.

Headcount will be at all the major festivals this summer as well as along for the ride on tours by the Dave Matthews Band, Pearl Jam and Foo Fighters. As much as any group, Headcount is trying to bring political involvement to summer concertgoing.

"The fans are significantly more receptive to the idea of stopping and taking the time to talk about voter registration right now," said Brownstein, speaking on his band's tour bus before playing a late set Friday night. "I think it's changing and it's changing rapidly because we're able to use the platform of music to get people thinking about things outside of music."

Bernstein acknowledges the generally young festival audiences have in recent years generally not thought of the political process as relating to them.

"But if there's a core purpose to Headcount, it's to take people who are outside of the process and bring them into the process," said Bernstein.

Headcount has thrived since being created in 2004, largely because of artist involvement. Bob Weir, formerly of the Grateful Dead and now a member of the Dead, is a board member.

Young voter turnout has been a factor in this year's election already, helping to fuel Barack Obama's rise to become the presumptive Democratic nominee. Among whites under 30, support for Obama grew from an 18-point margin through Super Tuesday to 38 points in later primaries — including a 60-point edge last month in Oregon.

Headcount's goal is to get 100,000 people registered this summer. They take registration for those declaring in any party and are on pace with 20,000 thus far. Early returns at Bonnaroo were looking promising.

They aren't the only gig in town. Rock the Vote is also here, as are numerous environmental groups.


On the Net:


This content was originally posted on © 2008 If you are not reading this text from the above site, you are reading a splog

Chris Rock performs for Bonnaroo masses

By JAKE COYLE, AP Entertainment Writer
2 hours, 19 minutes ago

Chris Rock played to a room Friday night that few comedians could command. Rock performed his act in front of tens of thousands on the main stage of the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival. Following him was Metallica, who had the benefit of screeching guitars, a dynamic light show and pyrotechnics.

Rock had only himself and a microphone, but nevertheless appeared to have the festival crowd hanging on his every punch line. Addressing the Bonnaroo crowd, which has traditionally been on the hippie side since it was founded in 2002, Rock mock-chastised them for taking what he called "performance-enhancing drugs."

"You all should be ashamed of yourselves for taking an antidepressant to see a comedian," said Rock. "I am an antidepressant!"

Rock, who recently took his "No Apologies" tour abroad where he in London set a record for the largest standup performance in the United Kingdom with a crowd of about 14,500, didn't do much to tailor his act to the Bonnaroo crowd.

However, there was surely more people there than the London audience; the festival typically draws nearly 80,000 and the majority of Friday's festival-goers watched Rock perform. Metallica's Lars Ulrich and Kirk Hammett introduced Rock while many of the other comedians performing at the festival — Zach Galifianakis and Brian Posehn among them — watched from backstage, naturally curious at how Rock would work the outsized room.

"60,000 people is too many for standup," said Rock's friend and frequent collaborator Louis C.K., who flew to the festival with Rock and performed his own set Saturday. "Even if 40,000 love you, you're still bombing really hard."

But Louis C.K. was impressed by how well Rock commanded the audience: "That's a big crowd to be winning over with jokes."

Rock quickly launched into politics and the presidential candidates' false claims of modesty.

"How many Kanye injections must you endure" to decide you should be president, Rock joked, referring to Kanye West, who was to perform late Saturday night at Bonnaroo.

Some of Rock's best material was about the presumptive Democratic nominee, Barack Obama, who Rock supports. The comedian said he was impressed by Obama's unmistakable blackness, joking that his name makes him sound like "the bass player for the Commodores."

Though Rock thinks America is "ready" for a black president, he doesn't think it's ready for a black first lady. When the crowd oohed, Rock insisted, "Yeah, I said it. At Bonnaroo I said it." His reason? Rock believes a black woman could never be in the background of a relationship, and that Obama would have been better off marrying a white woman: "Look what it did for Tiger Woods," he said.

One of Rock's best bits came while discussing rising gas prices despite the war in Iraq, which some predicted would help keep oil under control.

"Let me tell you something," said Rock. "If I invade IHOP, pancakes are going to be cheaper in my house."


On the Net:



This content was originally posted on © 2008 If you are not reading this text from the above site, you are reading a splog

Paul McCartney gives charity concert in Ukraine

By OLGA BONDARUK, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 46 minutes ago

Paul McCartney

The outdoor show, the first in Ukraine for the former Beatle, was billed as the biggest concert ever in the former Soviet republic. It was broadcast live on national television and on giant screens in five cities.

After a half-hour delay because of the weather, McCartney, who turns 66 next week, came out on the stage and greeted the crowd in Ukrainian, before diving into the Beatles hit "Drive My Car."

He followed up with a series of Beatles songs, including "Hey Jude," "Let it Be," "Back in the U.S.S.R.," and "Penny Lane." The show also included a rendition of "A Day in the Life," which McCartney dedicated to John Lennon.

McCartney returned for his encore waving a Ukrainian flag and finished off the two-hour show with fireworks, a rendition of "Yesterday" and a musical finale.

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili was in attendance.

Before the concert, fans in five major cities sang Beatles songs in a live TV linkup with the capital.

The square where McCartney played was the site of the Orange Revolution in 2004, when peaceful mass protests overturned a fraudulent election and brought a pro-Western opposition leader to power.

Organizers said the money raised will be spent on diagnostic equipment for Ukraine's National Cancer Institute's children's department. Many children now seek treatment abroad because Ukraine lacks the necessary equipment.

The concert was free but the organizers were asking for donations from Ukrainian businessmen and others.

More than 500 people have contributed a total of about $600,000 and donations were continuing to come in, said Tatyana Overina, spokeswoman for the Victor Pinchuk Foundation, which organized the concert.

Pinchuk, a billionaire businessman and Ukraine's richest man, established the foundation in 2006 to contribute to the modernization of Ukraine and bring forward a new generation of Ukrainian leaders.

This content was originally posted on © 2008 If you are not reading this text from the above site, you are reading a splog

Lionel Richie pledges Commodores reunion

21 minutes ago

Lionel RichieCommodores

Richie said a reunion could happen in the next two years.

"We better do it now, or in the next 10 years nobody would care," he told reporters before singing at Antigua's Romantic Rhythms festival.

Richie, 58, said it was important for the group to get together before it loses more band members. Lead guitarist Milan Williams died two years ago.

Richie was confident that synergy still existed between band members. He said Commodores' bass player Ronald La Pread joined him on stage during his last tour and played some of the group's old hits.

The Commodores were known for hits like "Three Times a Lady" and "Brick House."

Richie broke away from the Commodores in the late 1970s and topped the charts in the 1980s with songs like "Endless Love" and "Say You, Say Me."

This content was originally posted on © 2008 If you are not reading this text from the above site, you are reading a splog

Thursday, June 12, 2008

2 charged in London with giving Amy Winehouse drugs


The charges stem from a video that appeared to show the singer smoking crack cocaine.

London police say John Blagrove and Cara Burton have been charged with conspiracy to supply cocaine and MDMA, also known as ecstasy.

The suspects were released on bail Thursday until their next court appearance on July 1.

Police began an investigation after photos from the footage were published in The Sun newspaper in January. Detectives say Winehouse will not be charged in the case.

The singer has seen her rise to fame overshadowed by media attention to her turbulent private life. She is best known for her breakthrough hit "Rehab."

This content was originally posted on © 2008 If you are not reading this text from the above site, you are reading a splog

Jolie: Pregnancy is `great for the sex life'

Angelina Jolie

"It's great for the sex life," she tells Entertainment Weekly magazine. "It just makes you a lot more creative. So you have fun, and as a woman you're just so round and full."

Jolie, who's expecting twins, has said the babies are due in August. She and partner Brad Pitt have four children: Maddox, 6; Pax, 4; Zahara, 3; and Shiloh, 2.

When asked how she and Pitt plan to handle six young children, the 33-year-old actress says: "We really don't know. His mom and dad are on standby to come out and help. And fortunately we can hire help if we need it, but we're going to try as we usually do to balance it as well as we can."

Jolie says the couple want to make sure their older children feel included after the babies are born.

"They're old enough to feel included to change diapers themselves, to feed bottles themselves, like if I pump into a bottle. We're trying to find ways where it can be a fun group thing," she says.

How do Jolie and Pitt, 44, define their relationship?

"We have that problem all the time," she says. "I say `partner' sometimes. `Father of my children' is too long. But half the time people refer to us as, `So, your wife this, your husband that.' We've stopped correcting everybody.'"

Jolie, who has two upcoming films, "Wanted" and "Changeling," continues to draw strong reactions from the public, which she sees as a good thing.

"That some people support me and some people really don't like me tells me that I'm making decisions and I'm standing strong for something I believe in. I'm making choices in life. And that's the right thing to do."


On the Net:


This content was originally posted on © 2008 If you are not reading this text from the above site, you are reading a splog

Jolie pitted against Aniston in box-office tussle

32 minutes ago

Jennifer AnistonBrad Pitt

Jolie stars in Clint Eastwood's missing-child drama "Changeling" while Aniston is part of the ensemble cast in the romantic comedy "He's Just Not That Into You."

Aniston probably will win the dollar battle because her film debuts in nationwide release, while "Changeling" starts in just a few cities to build critical buzz before going wide Oct. 31.

But Jolie, an Academy Award winner for "Girl, Interrupted," likely will lead the acclaim game. Well received by critics in its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May, "Changeling" has put Jolie in the running for a best-actress Oscar.

Set in the 1920s and '30s, "Changeling" is based on the true story of a single mom in a nightmare battle with corrupt Los Angeles police trying to cover their mistakes in the investigation surrounding her missing 9-year-old son.

The commercial prospects for "He's Just Not That Into You" are bolstered by an all-star cast including Ben Affleck, Scarlett Johansson, Drew Barrymore and Jennifer Connelly. Directed by Ken Kwapis ("The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants"), the movie focuses on the mixed signals men and women send in relationships.

Pitt and Jolie — expecting twins, their fifth and sixth children — hooked up after co-starring in the 2005 hit "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" as his marriage to Aniston was unraveling.

Universal Pictures is releasing "Changeling" and Warner Bros. is distributing "He's Just Not That Into You."

This content was originally posted on © 2008 If you are not reading this text from the above site, you are reading a splog

Jamie Foxx and stylist settle lawsuit over fees

23 minutes ago

Documents filed Wednesday in Los Angeles show that attorneys for stylist Stacy Young and Foxx have reached an undisclosed agreement. Young helped Foxx primp for the 2006 BET Awards and a press junket for the film "Miami Vice."

Her lawsuit claimed that she was never paid for the work or her costs.

Foxx's attorneys denied the claims, saying Universal Studios, not Foxx, hired Young for the "Miami Vice" work.

Calls and e-mails sent to Young's and Foxx's attorneys were not immediately returned.

This content was originally posted on © 2008 If you are not reading this text from the above site, you are reading a splog

Jury gets case at R. Kelly child pornography trial

1 hour, 24 minutes ago

JurorsR. Kelly's child pornographygraphic sex tape

Prosecutors replayed the video during closing arguments, while defense attorneys reiterated that it's neither Kelly nor the person the state says was the underage girl — now a 23-year-old woman — on the tape. For three weeks, jurors have heard family members of the alleged victim, basketball coaches, forensics experts and others testify as to their identities.

While the tape rolled for a second time — the first was during opening statements last month — prosecutors told jurors that the man is Kelly, and that he controlled the encounter with the underage female, who was as young as 13 at the time.

"We're going to see his direction," Assistant State's Attorney Robert Heilengoetter said as the video played. He is "directing her to dance, where to stand, when to stop urinating," he said.

Kelly denies that the man in the video is him.

At one point in the video, entered into evidence as "People's Exhibit No. 1," the female dances and urinates on the floor — the man out of view. Back in view, he has sex with her. In one scene near the end of the video, alluded to in one count of the indictment, the man urinates on the female.

The monthlong trial has centered on whether Kelly is the man who appears on the 27-minute videotape, and whether a female who also appears on it is underage.

Kelly, 41, has pleaded not guilty to 14 counts of child pornography. Both he and the alleged victim, now 23, deny being on the tape and neither testified at trial.

Defense attorney Sam Adam Jr. told jurors that charges against Kelly came about because people were trying to extort money from the Grammy winner because the man on the tape "may favor him."

"That's what this is about — money, money, money," Adam said.

He also suggested that prosecutors pressured people into testifying against Kelly.

Over seven days presenting their case, prosecutors called 22 witnesses, including several childhood friends of the alleged victim and four of her relatives who identified her as the female on the video. Some said she had referred to Kelly as her "godfather."

In just two days, Kelly's lawyers called 12 witnesses. They included three relatives of the alleged victim who testified they did not recognize her as the female on the tape.

Adam said that the alleged victim's relatives know it's not her on the video because "any solid man in that family, any solid woman in that family would have gone over there and broken his legs, would have gone over there and beat the crap out of him."

The family also would have arranged for an order of protection against Kelly, but none of that happened, Adam said.


Associated Press Writer Don Babwin contributed to this report.

This content was originally posted on © 2008 If you are not reading this text from the above site, you are reading a splog

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

"This has been very, very different. I mean, we've only played in festivals to crowds of this many people." That's Black Lips' Jared Swilley, talking about the band's latest gig, one that finds them in unfamiliar territory — playing venues that hold several thousand people, as the opening act for some certifiable six-figure-selling rock stars, the Raconteurs.

I must admit: It was a bit disconcerting to see, of all bands, the lovably lecherous "bad kids" with the "dirty hands" from Atlanta in the support slot last Friday night (and all weekend long) at Manhattan's Terminal 5, a dance-turned-rock club that still has its black-and-chrome motif, fancy bars and disco ball in place. With weird sight lines and sound spots, and zero of the grit that's synonymous with the Lips, I'm still not sure Terminal 5 ought to be hosting rock bands. Mind you, the scruffy ATL-ers aren't complaining.

"We absolutely appreciate the Raconteurs taking us on tour with them — they've been great," said guitarist Ian St. Pé. Though he added they did receive an unexpected welcome to the tour a couple of weeks back, one with which they were unaccustomed. "They gave us a list of things we couldn't do — no setting guitars on fire, no touching the monitors, no spitting." Whoa. No spitting? Hard to believe that was not a deal-breaker for the Black Lips, especially for that salivating little rascal, guitarist Cole Alexander, whose hock-and-spit routine long ago became a trademark. No problem, said Cole. "Yeah, I just have to wipe up my spit. I don't want 'em to slip on it."

No such expectoration restrictions on Monday night in Hoboken, New Jersey, where the Lips were taking advantage of an off-night from the Raconteurs' trek to play their own show at the much more reasonably sized Maxwell's — a show attended, by the way, by Mr. Jack White himself. It was also a chance to play a more-than-40-minute set, and more songs from the Lips' last album, Good Bad Not Evil. Released nine months ago, the record is ridiculously deep in potential singles, and in fact, they've just released another. After somehow turning a song about a natural disaster into a good-time garage jam ("O Katrina!"), and their bluesy musings on hegemony ("Veni Vidi Vici"), the guys have returned with a track about a subject a little closer to home: Atlanta strippers. "It Feels Alright" — and its accompanying black-and-white video — serves up an homage to the boys' hometown and, as St. Pé explained, to a particular night spot known as Magic City. "It's an all-black strip club, where they'll showcase all the new rap songs that come out. They'll play 'em in the club for the girls to dance. It's a famous joint."

And then there's the matter of Black Lips' feature-film debut in director Roger Rawlings' "Let It Be," a fictional account of a band called the Renegades, reportedly loosely inspired by the Replacements, who "almost make it" in the formative years of indie music, the 1980s. While the guys say their taste in '80s music generally runs more toward hardcore bands like the Butthole Surfers, the Replacements and Hüsker Dü, they said they're up for the challenge of playing musicians, in a naturalistic way. "They purposely didn't want professional actors," explained Swilley. "They just wanted a real band. So it seems easy to just be ourselves in front of the camera."

First announced last winter, "Let It Be" has had some delays, but the Lips say it's still on track — though shooting may have to be pushed back to early next year because the boys' main order of business for the latter half of the summer (besides Swilley's impending wedding) will be situating themselves at a rented space in Atlanta and recording a new album. Though Alexander says they've only written "a couple of demos" so far, and drummer Joe Bradley says he's got "four or five" songs at different levels of completion in his head, they add that they are four independent writers and ideas come to them readily. St. Pé's not worried: "We'll be able to pump the album out, no problem."

On the live front, the band is looking forward to England's Glastonbury Festival at the end of June; August dates at Lollapalooza in Chicago and at Brooklyn's McCarren Park Pool with pals Deerhunter and King Khan; shows later in the year in India, Brazil and China; and maybe somewhere even more exotic. Black Lips' label, Vice Records, and its parent magazine have long had a reputation for guerrilla journalism in extreme locales. Last year, with their cameras in tow, the band played street gigs in Israel and Palestine, and Alexander said a show in Iraq has even been discussed. "We have a friend whose father is Iraqi and he smuggles people in the country. Or we could go in the Green Zone and play a U.S.O. show." Of course, that would be the safer option, but frankly, Red Zone is more Black Lips. "Like a guerrilla show," Cole reckoned. "They told me you can hire a militia, you go in with 'em, they start blasting guns, everybody freezes and you can, you know, play a show." Yikes.

If that all sounds like a pretty nonstop, breakneck schedule, that's nothing new. The old cliché "road warriors" certainly applies to Black Lips, and that's OK with them. After all, it wasn't that long ago that they were busting their asses for far less. As Swilley said: "Other jobs suck way worse." And finally, the Black Lips want you to give them a call on their hotline. The number is (949) 836-7407 (or TEN-SH0P). No joke.

"One of us will answer, for real, if we are on tour in America," St. Pé said. "Give us a call, and you will make our long-ass drives more fun."

See much more of my conversation with Black Lips at Rhapsody.

This content was originally posted on © 2008 If you are not reading this text from the above site, you are reading a splog

Korn, Mudvayne, Clear Channel Broadcasting and national concert promoter Live Nation have been named in a lawsuit filed earlier this year in Denver District Court by a 27-year-old waitress who was injured during a concert that took place March 8, 2006.

The woman claims several rowdy concertgoers knocked her to the ground and trampled her as they made their way toward the stage. The University of Denver, which was the site for the KBPI-FM "Birthday Bash" concert, is also named as a defendant in the suit.

According to a Rocky Mountain News report, the show was Nicole LaScalia's first concert experience. She ended up leaving the event in an ambulance after one of her legs was crushed by the weight of the crowd. She is seeking unspecified damages, and her case is likely to proceed slowly, to allow time for the numerous parties involved to respond to its claims.

The report says LaScalia underwent surgery to fix a fractured tibia and fibula, as well as her badly injured ankle. She has accrued about $60,000 in medical bills, and the suit will seek damages for "severe pain and suffering."

According to the suit, LaScalia fell to the ground when several fans surged toward the stage just as Mudvayne began their performance. "Something like this is reasonably foreseeable," LaScalia's lawyer, Darrell Elliott, told the paper. "There has to be sufficient supervision if you have festival seating to protect patrons. In this case, it didn't happen. Oversight was lacking."

Meanwhile, Clear Channel has responded to the suit, calling the victim's claims "frivolous and groundless." The company blamed the injuries on either her negligence or the actions of those in the crowd.

At press time, Elliott and representatives for Mudvayne had not responded to MTV News' requests for comment. In a statement, Korn's management said: "Although we can verify that Korn was not onstage during the alleged incident, we cannot comment further on the suit as it is a legal matter."

This content was originally posted on © 2008 If you are not reading this text from the above site, you are reading a splog

Nick Hogan might be in prison, but at least he has a new pen pal.

Hogan, who was transferred out of solitary confinement last week into a cell with three other inmates and a television, recently received correspondence from Stephanie Ragusa, a former middle school math teacher who is accused of having sex with a 14-year-old student, according to The Associated Press.

The letter of support was mailed to wrestler Hulk Hogan's 17-year-old son (born Nick Bollea) earlier this month. Ragusa, 29, is also incarcerated at the moment and faces charges of lewd or lascivious battery and unlawful sexual activity with a minor. According to Florida's St. Petersburg Times, Ragusa allegedly had an inappropriate sexual relationship with a student who was attending the school where she taught, and the two had three sexual encounters over the course of seven months.

In the letter, a copy of which was obtained by TMZ, Ragusa wrote, "I just want you to know that you are not alone, and for what it's worth, I can sympathize with the dynamics of your case." The letter continued, "It's not us, Nick, but something 'off' with society that our situations garner more attention and print than the president, the election or even an earthquake killing thousands. Keep your head up, and never lose sight of the light at the end of the tunnel. You have more people supporting and pulling for you than you will ever know. You remain in my prayers."

Bollea has been behind bars at the Pinellas County Jail in Largo, Florida, for little more than a month for the role he played in an August car crash that left his friend, John Graziano, critically injured.

After pleading no contest to the charges of reckless driving involving serious bodily injury last month, Bollea was ordered to serve eight months in jail. He was slapped with a probationary period of five years and 500 hours of community service. He must also surrender his driving privileges for three years and complete a DUI school within one year of his release from prison.

Bollea was charged in November for the August 26 crash in Clearwater, Florida, which left Graziano, a former U.S. Marine, permanently brain-damaged after sustaining a broken skull.

This content was originally posted on © 2008 If you are not reading this text from the above site, you are reading a splog

The Box-Office Top Five

#1 "Kung Fu Panda" ($60 million)

#2 "You Don't Mess With the Zohan" ($40 million)

#3 "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" ($22.8 million)

#4 "Sex and the City" ($21.3 million)

#5 "The Strangers" ($9.3 million)

We've already had the weekends of "Indy" and "Iron Man," and declared this the summer of "Sex." Now, it appears that when it comes to family-friendly fare, 2008 might just be the year of the panda.

Jack Black's "Kung Fu Panda" took home the box-office crown over the weekend, earning nearly $20 million more than its studio had projected. The animated comedy from the makers of the "Shrek" series tells the story of an overweight bear who studies with the Furious Five — Tigress, Crane, Mantis, Viper and Monkey — to become an unlikely Bruce Lee. The CGI-fueled fantasy, which co-stars the voices of Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan and Seth Rogen, took in some $60 million.

"Panda" was trailed more closely than expected by a summer hit only Jack Black was brave enough to mess with. Adam Sandler's hair-trimming, hair-raising comedy "You Don't Mess With the Zohan" opened in second place with $40 million, tying with "Click" for the funnyman's fourth-best opening in his career. A Sandler flick as unusually action-minded as it is political, "Zohan" tells the tale of an Israeli anti-terrorism commando who moves to New York and becomes a hairstylist. The flick co-stars several of the comedian's longtime friends and associates, including John Turturro, Nick Swardson and Rob "You Can Do Eeet!" Schneider.

"Indiana Jones and the Quest for Third Place" sums up Harrison Ford's weekend quite nicely, as his long-awaited blockbuster hung tough with $22.8 million. After three weekends, "Crystal Skull" is now at $253 million total.

They've spent a decade asking where all the good men are, and now the studio behind "Sex and the City" might want to ask Carrie Bradshaw and her friends where all the women went. One weekend after their movie set Hollywood on fire, "Sex" tumbled a massive 63 percent, taking in $21.3 million. Sarah Jessica Parker seems to have lost her core crowd to "Zohan," whose audience was 51 percent female — still, the movie will cross the $100 million mark by the beginning of this week.

"The Strangers" closed out the top five, as the only horror alternative currently at your local megaplex took in $9.3 million. Rounding out the big 10 films of the weekend were such former blockbusters as "Iron Man," "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian," "What Happens in Vegas," "Baby Mama" and "Made of Honor."

Quietly, the once-promising "Speed Racer" fell from the pack with a mere $370,000 in its fifth weekend; the $120 million dud has grossed only $42 million. But cheer up, Speed: Although you'll never see a sequel, you're still better off than Heather Graham's "Miss Conception," which averaged a mere $500 on each of its three screens.

Check out everything we've got on "Kung Fu Panda," "You Don't Mess With the Zohan" and "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull."

For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more — updated around the clock — visit MTVMoviesBlog.

This content was originally posted on © 2008 If you are not reading this text from the above site, you are reading a splog

First, "How I Met Your Mother" — now, the Pussycat Dolls.

Her albums might not sell the way they used to, but Britney Spears is turning into the queen of the red-hot cameo. According to People magazine, Brit filmed a bit part in the video for the Pussycat Dolls' "When I Grow Up" clip.

An unnamed source told the magazine that Spears had a "small part" in the video, which was shot Wednesday in Los Angeles. A "set source" told UsMagazine that Spears does not interact with the group in the video, and shot her scenes at the Warner Bros. lot Wednesday while the Dolls filmed in Hollywood. "In the scene shot [Wednesday], Britney is driving in a car," the source said. "They all wave at each other as they are passing in traffic — that is it. Of course, Britney looks hot and blonde. It is a very short sequence, but [Britney] had a lot of fun with it. Britney really likes the Dolls' music and when she saw them on the MTV [Movie Awards], she was totally down to do the video."

Spokespeople for Spears and the Dolls could not be reached for comment at press time.

Coming on the heels of her two-episode arc on "How I Met Your Mother," the Dolls shoot represents Spears' latest attempt to ease back into the spotlight, after spending much of the past year dealing with a series of personal crises. In fact, her second appearance on the sitcom went so well that onetime Brit doubter Neil Patrick Harris recently told People that "the door is open for her" to come back for a third go-round.

After a sizzling performance of "When I Grow Up" at the MTV Movie Awards last weekend, we'll be seeing plenty of PCD in the upcoming weeks. They'll appear on the June 12 episode of "So You Think You Can Dance," and the video for "When I Grow Up" will premiere on the new MTV video show "F'N MTV," which is hosted by Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz, on the 13th.

According to a source at their label, PCD's yet-untitled second album, featuring production from Timbaland, Rodney Jerkins and Sean Garrett, will be out in September.

[This story was originally published on 6.5.08 at 3:41 p.m. ET]

This content was originally posted on © 2008 If you are not reading this text from the above site, you are reading a splog

Over the past year, British soul singer Amy Winehouse has made as much news for her outrageous offstage behavior as she has for her Grammy-winning music. But, after scandals involving alleged drug abuse,
a reported stay in rehab, notoriously unkempt performances, a trip to jail for her husband on charges of attempting to pervert justice, several arrests on charges ranging from alleged assault to suspicion of drug use and a series of public breakdowns, the latest outrage tied to Winehouse has sparked the biggest response yet in England.

A videotape surfaced over the weekend that appears to show Winehouse and a friend singing a racial-epithet-loaded take on the traditional children's song "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes." In the clip, which was reportedly filmed by Winehouse's jailed husband, Blake Fielder-Civil, shortly after the pair's wedding last May, Winehouse and the unidentified friend are seen giggling and singing the lyrics: "Blacks, Pakis, g--ks and n-ps ... and deaf and dumb and blind and gay," while sitting on a couch in a dingy apartment. Fielder-Civil is heard repeatedly promising Winehouse that he is not filming the scene, even going so far as to swear on Winehouse's life that the video camera is not on.

Britain's Daily Mail reported on Monday that Winehouse had apologized for the video — which also appears to show drug paraphernalia on a table in the room where the song is sung. The content of the video was first reported Sunday in the British tabloid News of the World.

The paper reported that upon returning home shortly after 2 a.m. Monday, Winehouse invited some fans into her apartment, but not before holding what was described as an impromptu press conference on her front stoop, during which she reportedly said, "I don't want to play anything down, but I'm the least racist person going." The singer then reportedly slammed the "irresponsible" News of the World for not eliding some of the more inflammatory terms in its report, saying, "I think they should have starred out certain words."

A spokesperson for Winehouse said Monday (June 9) that there was no additional comment on the tape and referred MTV News to the apology that appears in the Daily Mail.

In addition to making racist gestures, including stretching out her eyes at one point, Winehouse is seen later in the video asleep on a sofa in the apartment, with what appears to be more drug paraphernalia on the floor around her. A friend, Eddie, apparently describes the drugs they have taken, telling Fielder-Civil, "a bit of E, a bit of C and a few beers, watched telly, smoked crack." And in another part of the video she turns down Fielder-Civil's request that she perform oral sex on him in the public stairwell of a hotel.

The News of the World also published a number of photos of the couple, including one that purports to show Winehouse holding what looks like a crack pipe and another that appears to depict the couple passing white pills between their lips. According to the tabloid, the series of photos were given to reporters by a close friend of Amy's who intended to show the effect Fielder-Civil has on Winehouse.

Fielder-Civil, 26, who has been in jail for nearly nine months, pleaded guilty last week to committing "grievous bodily harm" in the case in which he was accused of assaulting a pub owner and conspiring to obstruct justice into the investigation of that alleged incident, according to The Associated Press. There is no word yet on the penalty in the case, though Fielder-Civil faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison on the assault charge. The obstruction charge carries a maximum life sentence, though that is unlikely to be imposed in this case, the AP reported.

The Daily Mail reported on Monday that Winehouse was seen out with her father, Mitch, on Sunday in London's Camden neighborhood, where she reportedly chatted up fans as the racist-tape scandal was brewing. "If people could see the real Amy — the full picture, not just the worst photos — they would realize she is not in a constant pit of misery or permanently drug-addled," her dad reportedly said. "She's upbeat — even jolly — and she's been writing some fantastic new songs. She's really looking forward to performing again. ... She is getting better, working hard, standing by her husband and desperate to have a family. ... I honestly think in two years she will be fit, healthy and having babies — and motherhood will be her drug."

As for the photos that were leaked, including the one that appears to show her with a crack pipe, Amy reportedly said that they were taken during "really, really happy times."

This content was originally posted on © 2008 If you are not reading this text from the above site, you are reading a splog

She may not have been alive during the 1970s, but Lady GaGa's forthcoming debut album, The Fame, is an ode of sorts to the Me Decade, as is the video for the LP's first single, "Just Dance."

The New York-born theatrical dance-pop upstart said she didn't set out to emulate the sounds of the '70s. She just started writing music, incorporating her lifelong love of theater, fashion and pop into the material. The end result is a record that sounds like it could have come from a different period altogether.

"It's not really rocket science," joked Lady GaGa, who will release her debut LP this summer through Akon's Konvict Muzik, during a recent chat with MTV News. "The music is intended to inspire people to feel a certain way about themselves, so they'll be able to encompass, in their own lives, a sense of inner fame that they can project to the world, and the carefree nature of the album is a reflection of that aura. I like to funnel interesting ideas to the rest of the world through a pop lens."

Lady GaGa, who did a brief stint as a go-go dancer following a premature withdrawal from New York University, said she'd like to revive pop music, returning the one thing that's been missing from the equation since the heyday of 'NSYNC and Britney Spears.

"What has been lost in pop music these days is the combination of the visual and the imagery of the artist, along with the music — and both are just as important," she said. "So, even though the carefree nature of the album is something that people are latching onto right away about my stuff, I hope they will take notice of the interactive, multimedia nature of what I'm trying to do. The things I like to do and the theatrics, I like to incorporate them into the choreography. With my music, it's a party, it's a lifestyle, and it's about making the lifestyle the forefront of the music."

Lady GaGa's rise to prominence didn't happen overnight, of course. After dropping out of college, she said she decided to make a new life for herself. She found she was "super-uninspired, and I just wanted to do it alone, so it was me and my piano and three jobs, and I played every club, bombed in every club, and I worked my way up and put this performance-art show together, and here we are."

Since signing with Interscope and teaming with Akon, Lady GaGa has written tracks for the likes of Tami Chynn and the Pussycat Dolls. And while she's focused, for the moment, on her own career, she was recently asked to collaborate with one of her favorite artists, and it was an opportunity she couldn't pass up.

"I'm a huge New Kids fan," Lady GaGa gushed as she talked about appearing on the track "Big Boy/Big Girl" from the New Kids on the Block's forthcoming comeback LP, which is being produced her friend Red1. "He played them some of my records, and they said, 'Who is this chick?' " she explained. "So, I met up with the guys, and we actually ended up writing another song together. I've been blessed to be able to work with some top-tier producers and artists."

Lyrically, The Fame touches on a number of different topics, Lady GaGa said, but the record, as a whole, is a concept piece.

"This idea of 'the fame' runs through and through," she said. "Basically, if you have nothing — no money, no fame — you can still feel beautiful and dirty rich. It's about making choices, and having references — things you pull from your life that you believe in. It's about self-discovery and being creative. The record is slightly focused, but it's also eclectic."

The record's also very fashion-centric, which was something Lady GaGa couldn't have avoided.

"Fashion is everything," she said. "When I'm writing music, I'm thinking about the clothes I want to wear on stage. It's all about everything altogether — performance art, pop performance art, fashion. For me, it's everything coming together and being a real story that will bring back the super-fan. I want to bring that back. I want the imagery to be so strong that fans will want to eat and taste and lick every part of us."

This content was originally posted on © 2008 If you are not reading this text from the above site, you are reading a splog

Between the rumors of her pregnancy and of the band's breakup, Paramore singer Hayley Williams has had to deal with a lot of grief this year. And while she shot down the previous false reports by politely saying they were simply not true, she's taking the gloves off to deal with the latest scandal.

Posting on Paramore's LiveJournal page on Sunday, while the band was in Germany for the Rock am Ring festival, Williams lashed out at her ex-stepfather for posting some of her personal items for sale on eBay. In a post titled "ebay revenge," Williams wrote, "So ... I've decided to do this. It was only half thought out, but I'm doing it anyways. ... I saw that post someone made about the 'handwritten book' on eBay. Yes, it's mine. Hahah. I don't remember being a sad child, but I definitely loved horror films at a really young age. I guess that was reflected in this particular assignment," she said of the stapled-together book that appears to have been made out of colorful construction paper. The book's table of contents says it was written in July 1996, when she would have been 7 years old, and the chapters include "Me and your death," "It's to die for," "Mama help" and "My bad + sad Moments."

The eBay listing for the book had been removed at press time, but it was probably still up when Williams wrote her post.

"I'm actually posting about the seller of this item," she wrote. "It happens to be my ex-stepfather, who is ... well ... insane, hence the reason he is my EX-stepfather. So, while I can laugh at the fact that a bit of my past has surfaced, I have to admit I felt like throwing sh-- when I saw the username."

Williams wrote that she would love to post her ex-stepdad's full name, workplace and phone number, so that all her fans could "show him what it feels like when your personal life is out there for everyone to put their hands on." But instead, she said she would take the high road because, "fortunately for him, living with him for seven years wasn't quite enough to make me turn out just like him ... or was it?"

The post ends with Williams asking her fans not to bid on the item because she planned on buying it herself. And then, she appeared to have a change of heart: Her postscript includes a phone number after all, telling her fans to "coughgivehimhellcough." It is no longer a working number, however.

This content was originally posted on © 2008 If you are not reading this text from the above site, you are reading a splog

Artist: Maino

Representing: Brooklyn

Mixtape: The Last Real N---a Alive

411: Jimmy Spicer definitely wasn't the best rapper in the world. You haven't heard of him, right? OK. He wasn't even good. But his "Money (Dollar Bill Y'All)" was influential. The repetition of "dollar, dollar bill, y'all" had to inspire the same words on the hook to Wu-Tang's "C.R.E.A.M." Also, in the '90s, Mary J. Blige took her classic "Be Happy" to another level by speeding up Spicer's instrumental and remixing her hit.

Now, in 2008, Brooklyn's Maino has used the same sample for his "Hi Hater," a record that embraces jealousy and uses the negative energy for positive fuel.

"It was the Mary beat," he said driving through downtown Brooklyn past the location where the famous Albee Square Mall used to be (shout-out to Biz Markie!). "I figured [the beat] was older. I wasn't really sure. It was the Mary beat, to the 'Be Happy' remix. I always wanted to rap to it. I loved that. Then I researched the beat and it was 'dollar, dollar bill, y'all.' That's why I started my song with 'Dollar bill, y'all/ Lot of bills, y'all/ New year, trying to touch me a mil, y'all.'

"A lot of people ask me, 'How did you come up with that [hook]?' " he continued. "That's what I heard. I was riding around in the car listening to the beat. That's what I heard: 'Hi, hater!' I saw it. We coming through, and the haters is over, and we roll down the window — 'Hi, hater!' — waving at them."

Two Sundays ago, Maino tore down the Hot 97 Summer Jam by coming onstage with Alicia Keys as a surprise guest. The tens of thousands in the audience embraced his performance. Maino credits Swizz Beatz for hooking him up with A. Keys. His life is so much different than it was when he was serving out an almost 10-year prison sentence not too long ago.

"I know what it feels to wake up and the first thing you see is them bars," said Maino, who started his bid when he was just 16 years old. "One thing about being in prison I ain't lose: When I wake up now, the first thing I see is those bars. You feel hopeless. You at your lowest low. You not able to take care of your own self. You're depending on people in the outside world to check in on you. ... It's very depressing. You try to find hope in that by reading. Music for me helped me get through that. We were able to get mixtapes and things like that."

Maino's rise in the music game has been a process. He had one deal with Universal Records that fell through, and he's since signed to Atlantic. While everybody in the streets knows him through his mixtapes, cameos with good friend Lil' Kim and appearances on street DVDs, "Hi Hater" is actually the first real single he's ever had. His next album is slated for September 30 with production from Cool & Dre and GQ Beats, among others.

His latest mixtape, The Last Real N---a Alive, was just released with DJ Superstar Jay.

"I think I got better as a song maker, and I wanted people to see that," he said of his street CD. "Instead of trying to display a bunch of frivolous lyrics — 'my rhymes do this, my rhymes do that' — I wanted to give them real talk. You hear a lot of good records — a lot of records that could have made the album. I'm just trying to give them what's in store."

Joints To Check For

» "The Streets Been Good to Me." "I'm just trying to show people the edge of me," Maino explained. "The streets been good to me. They raised me as a person, as a man. The streets gave birth to the way I think before I went to prison and while I was in prison. It was the streets I came back to."

» "Dey Know" remix by Shawty Lo, also featuring Lil' Kim and Busta Rhymes. " 'Maino, I keep it gangsta. The side of my face been cut with a razor,' " Maino rapped as a preview. "I learned when a person underestimates you, they really at the disadvantage. You're at the advantage. They letting their guards down. That's how people get hurt, literally! I love when a person underestimates me. He's taking away from himself. I did that one time and got cut in my face. I underestimated the dude and overestimated myself: 'He ain't gonna do sh--.' It was in jail, Comstock [New York]. Never could I overestimate myself again and underestimate the next man. I apply the same thing to music. You think I ain't got it? You think I ain't capable? You don't think I know how to play chess? First move, check! Do something."

» "Real Talk." "I'm the last real n---a in the game. That speaks for itself," Maino said. "Real n---as are outnumbered 99 to one. I don't think I'm the sole real n---a on Earth. But I'm speaking for all the real n---as that's outnumbered. Where they at? In this rap game, there's not too many that's stand-up. There's a couple. It ain't too many. It's a few. I'm just making my mark, man. I'm just trying to tell the people. Like I said, you need a G in office. Who else is gonna represent you?"

Don't Sleep: Other Notable Selections This Week

» D12 - Return of the Dozen
» DJ Bobby Black - Crack Addiction
» DJ Dolla Sign - Terminator: The Curtis Jackson Chronicles
» J. Period and G. Brown - March 9 V.2» Trae tha Truth - Tha Diary of Tha Truth

'Hood's Heavy Rotation: Bubbling Below The Radar

» G-Unit - "Straight Outta Southside"
» N.E.R.D. - "Time For Some Action"
» Plies (featuring Keyshia Cole and J. Holiday) - "#1 Fan"
» Sean Garrett (featuring Pharrell Williams) - "Patron"

Celebrity Faves

Big brother is a proud brotha. The MTV News Hip-Hop Brain Trust recently voted Kanye West as the Hottest MC in the Game (the public is still up in arms over the top 10!), and Jay-Z agrees that 'Ye's development has been major.

"He's a complete package now," Hov said. "He's working on his craft as an MC. In the beginning, his flow wasn't as tight. It was more stretched out. He wouldn't hit everything all the time like the one, two. His flow was lacking, in my opinion. And this last album, everything came together. The songs were great, the hooks were incredible, and the lyrics — he really takes a lot of pride in what he writes. That happiness is seeing his evolution from the first album to now. It's like, 'Wow!' "

The Streets Is Talking: News & Notes From The Underground

You hear about it all the time: African-Americans who have "made it" but get reminders that racism in this country still exits, no matter how big your celebrity is or how much money you have. But how far up the food chain does racism go? Will it affect Illinois Senator Barack Obama if he becomes president?

"I get reminders," Nas told us of coming into contact with bigotry. "I see a lot of people get reminders all the time. But the president of the United States? I don't know. He can expect that everything that can happen, will happen. But he's a lot more powerful than Nasir Jones in a lot of ways. I think he'll be all right. People like me, we're gonna deal with [racism]. There's a lot of ignorance in the world. Look at the human family. We've been able to design iPods and so-called go the Moon. Yet, we can't get over racial difference and colors of skin. That's gotta go.

"If Barack becomes the president, it doesn't matter who looks at him as a n---er at that point," Nas continued. "Everybody gotta go through scrutiny, criticism by crazy people. They will criticize your child. They talked about the Clintons' daughter, and they talked about this one and that one. You gotta be able to take the high road on everybody. I think Obama is perfect for taking the high road. He's prepared. He's a black man. Him taking the high road is him taking the country on a high road. I think it's gonna benefit everybody in America with that guy in office. Let's hope it happens. Let's hope it's no funny business with that guy in office. Let's hope for the best."

After years of disinterest, the Big Apple native credits Obama's campaign for raising his awareness and excitement in politics again.

"It got me interested," Nas admitted. "I think in about 10 more years from today, you're gonna have more politicians who grew up listening to Illmatic that are ... MCs! That are rappers. You're gonna start seeing more rappers evolve into politicians. If we have a change this year and it's a positive thing, we trusting the system now. We believe in it more. We see something positive coming out of it that makes us want to get involved more. Five or 10 years from now, you might see somebody like me trust it more. Who knows? I won't say for sure."

Although he's anticipating a big change in the country should Obama take the Oval Office, Nas hasn't committed to casting a vote.

"I don't know what I'm doing as far as the vote this year," he admitted. "I'm excited about it, I just don't know what I'm doing. I'm still trying to figure out the next few months of my own life. My own politics. I'm the president of Nas World. That's a busy job already. To get out and vote? I gotta see."

The new song "Black President" appears on Nas' new The N---er Mixtape with DJ Green Lantern, as well as his yet-untitled July LP. ...

Shawty Lo doesn't want to fight T.I. He doesn't even want to battle him song for song with disses. The self-proclaimed "King of Bankhead" is ready to see his rivalry with the King of the South go up one notch, though. L.O. says he and Tip can duke it out on Saturday with their sets.

Both rappers are on the bill for the Atlanta radio station Hot 107.9's 13th annual Birthday Bash concert. The roster also features the Game, Lil Boosie, Webbie, DJ Khaled, Young Jeezy, Plies and Rocko.

"We gonna give the people what they want," Lo said late last week about what he and Tip will bring to the concert in their separate sets. "It's gonna be either he wins or I win. It ain't no beef or nothing. He said he's gonna have the best show. I say I'm gonna have the best show."

So what's at stake? "Bragging rights," Lo said. It's just that simple.

"He put the challenge out there. I'm going out there to do my show," Lo explained. "He said the Birthday Bash is his. It probably was. But now Shawty L.O. is in town."

He's in town for the show, at least. Shawty is still in demand out of town for various spot dates. He said his record label would love for him to put out the follow-up to his debut, Units in the City. The Georgia bulldog is still collecting beats from people like Polow Da Don, Jazze Pha and Soulja Boy but says he needs to finally buy an iPod so he can listen to and write tracks on the road. In addition to his next solo LP, there might be a group album on the horizon. Not with D4L, but with his favorite collaborator: Gucci Mane.

"Gucci, we were grinding together before it got to this point," he explained. "We were grinding hard. Right now, we're thinking about putting an album together. It's more than us two. [The record company was] saying me and Gucci, Lil Boosie and Gorilla Zoe. It would be crazy. We're gonna take it one day at a time and see how it goes. I believe we could put it together. We all get along very good. It's about making it make sense and making it happen." ...

Usually, rappers jack a singer's song and make an unofficial remix. Unless the singer is R. Kelly, we don't typically see it the other way around — especially not with a star as big as Janet Jackson.

"It was weird, bruh," Plies said about finding out that Janet took it upon herself to remix his "Bust It Baby 2" by adding her vocals. "I was in Milwaukee. One of the [program directors] said, 'I love the "Bust It Baby" remix. The one y'all did with Janet Jackson.' I didn't even know she did the record. Then I got a call from one of my peoples in Atlanta. They said Jermaine [Dupri] had just dropped the record off to the station. For the first 15, 20 minutes, I really thought the person who was telling me this was just talking.

"But to see a person of her caliber embrace my craft enough to feel that she wanted to be a part of it, that made me not only appreciate it, but made me feel I was going in the right direction," he continued.

Plies' Definition of Real comes out this week. Other than Ne-Yo, he has guest appearances from Jamie Foxx, J. Holiday, Keyshia Cole and the "radio killer" himself, The-Dream. No other rappers. And get this: He's already almost done with his third LP. It's called The Realest and comes out December 16. ...

We gotta shout out one of the new voices everyone will be hearing about in the next couple of years: D.C.-area rapper Wale. Some folks might already know dude from his tireless mixtape work repping the DMV (D.C., Maryland, Virginia); his musical cameo on "Entourage" last season; and various tracks that have come out in the past few months, including "Nike Boots" with Lil Wayne and his guest spot on the Roots' latest album. We've been a fan of his for a while, and now that he's been signed to Interscope, through Mark Ronson's Allido label, he's going to be getting that full national push.

Last week, Wale dropped his latest mixtape, Mixtape About Nothing, kind of a play on "Seinfeld" (and, crazy enough, he actually raps over a go-go version of the "Seinfeld" theme song). Wale is in that lane between being a street dude and being a Kanye West/ Lupe Fiasco type, a guy who grew up in the 'hoodiest of 'hoods but is still savvy enough to have his viral Internet game tight.

Of course, being from D.C., Wale reps go-go music too. "What I learned from go-go music is that I can't hear the greatness in a beat unless the drums are heavy," Wale told Mixtape Monday. "It's hard not to be influenced by go-go growing up here."

On Mixtape About Nothing, Wale raps fast and slow, over new beats and club jams, with a live band and a cappella. Trust us when we say that you won't be disappointed. Check out the full mixtape here. Plus, see a story we did on Wale last year.

For other artists featured in Mixtape Monday, check out Mixtape Mondays Headlines.

This content was originally posted on © 2008 If you are not reading this text from the above site, you are reading a splog
Nolan Bushnell has heard numerous pitches to adapt his life and the birth of Atari into a Hollywood production. He’s always passed on the opportunity.
But when writers Brian Hecker and Craig Sherman came to him, Bushnell said yes. “I felt that these guy got it in a very, very real way and [knew] what Atari stood for,” Bushnell told MTV Multiplayer over the phone last night.
Hecker and Sherman’s story of Atari was revealed to be picked up by Paramount Pictures last week, with actor Leonardo DiCaprio set to star. I asked Bushnell if could have ever imagined the boy in “Titanic” would one day be the person to represent his real-life experiences on the silver screen.

“No,” he laughed. “I’m very, very thrilled and honored that would be the case.”
Representatives of the current French-owned Atari company had no comment on the project’s announcement yet. But the newer Atari’s involvement remains a relevant question. Bushnell does not own the rights to the Atari trademark including that famous “triple-swoosh” logo. Atari does. To tell the complete story, it’s likely the new Phil Harrison-led Atari will have to be involved in some capacity.
As the project was still in its early stages, Bushnell couldn’t speculate too much on what would happen as it moved into production, but he expects the process will change his life.
“It’s a little bit mind boggling,” he said. “It’s hard to wrap my head around.”
Bushnell is used to people talking about him. It’s been 30 years since he left Atari, and much has been written about the company’s ups and downs since. He’s said that doesn’t faze him anymore, but also didn’t think such influential Hollywood talent would come asking about it at this stage in his life.
“There’s been a lot of books [about Atari],” he said. “Some correct, some incorrect. I’ve kind of gotten used to being portrayed by others. I kind of thought that this [a movie] might happen. I kind of thought that it wouldn’t happen until maybe after I was in the ground for a little while. [laughs]”
You can tell that Bushnell is giddy about the project. It comes through in every sentence. But to him, that excitement moves past the idea of walking down a red carpet and watching a movie about his life. It’s about passing on the spirit of Atari and what made the company such a success story in its early years.

“I thought [a movie] wouldn’t happen until after I was in the ground for a little while.”

“To me, one of the things that happened with Atari was that it was really almost against all odds,” he said. “Nobody thought that video games represented a business. That’s the part that I think a lot of people don’t understand; if you really work it, you can turn your dream into a reality. It’s not because the bankers like you, it’s not because Wall Street likes you, it’s because they all think you’re an idiot. But if you keep your dream in tact and just work as hard as you can, you can often pull it off.”
He believes the movie can help capture that unending drive he had so many years ago, and hopes the film can help inspire others to have the same attitude with their own ideas.
“I’ve been a proponent of entrepreneurs going for it,” he said. “People aren’t going to succeed as an entrepreneur unless they try. I feel like, if I can get more people to try that I’ll be rewarded. I really think the new ideas that come along are the things that make America and the world a better place. To the extent that it [the movie] can be a sort of pep talk — you know ‘follow your dream, go after it, make it happen, don’t settle.’ I think that would be a really good thing and I’d feel very proud to encourage as many people as I can do that.”
This will undoubtedly be Bushnell’s most ambitious brush with Hollywood, but it’s not the first time he’s associated himself with the process. He was briefly involved with a entrepreneur-judging reality show “Made in the USA.” Though the show didn’t prove a success, it did make one member of his family very happy.
“My 14-year-old was very enthusiastic about the fact that I actually had a star trailer,” he joked.
Before we got off the phone, I wondered if Bushnell might pull a Stan Lee and cameo in the film. He laughed at the prospect, adding that “all my kids have asked [to be in it].”
That might have something to do with a certain DiCaprio being on the set.
This content was originally posted on © 2008 If you are not reading this text from the above site, you are reading a splog

CHICAGO — After just two days of testimony from 12 witnesses, the defense rested in R. Kelly's child-pornography trial, with only rebuttal and closing arguments to go.


Status of Trial
The prosecution rested on June 2; the defense rested on June 9. Rebuttal begins June 10, and closing arguments are slated for June 12.

The Charges
Kelly faces 14 counts of child pornography — seven for directing, seven for producing.

What's at Stake?
Kelly faces 15 years in prison and a $100,000 fine. If convicted, he'd have to register as a sex offender.

For full coverage of the ongoing R. Kelly case, see The R. Kelly Trial Reports.

Anyone expecting the R&B singer or the girl in question to take the stand was sorely disappointed. Compared to the explosive testimony of Stephanie "Sparkle" Edwards or "threesome woman" Lisa Van Allen, there was no star witness for the defense — no one whose credibility could make or break the case. Instead, the singer's defense team focused on poking holes in the prosecution's case wherever it could — even at the risk of underdeveloping its own case.

Here's what the defense focused on and how Kelly's lawyers will piece it together in closing arguments, his last chance to convince the jury to acquit him:

Is R. Kelly the man on the tape?

Kelly's team has been steadfast in denying that the singer is on the tape. So who was it? They've suggested the man is a look-alike who lacks one of Kelly's distinguishing marks: a large mole on the lower left of his back. The prosecution's forensic video analyst slowed down a half-second's worth of footage from the sex tape and showed that the mole was visible, but then the defense's expert testified that this dark mark on the man's back was no mole, since it came and went, making it a possible artifact of electronic noise. Expect the prosecution's expert to take the stand Tuesday to rebut this assessment.

But whoever this look-alike is — and Kelly's team provided no suggestions as to the man's identity — he (or his cohorts) must have had access to the singer's home, this much the defense conceded. Though Kelly's lawyers alluded to the singer's rigorous tour schedule, they did not present his frequent out-of-town dates for an alibi. Nor did his lawyers present any evidence or witnesses regarding the room where the tape was shot, to demonstrate who else may have had access.

Instead, the defense talked about conspiracy theories, suggesting that there are many people who would want to set Kelly up. First and foremost on the list would be former mistress Van Allen, who testified that she had a threesome with the singer and the girl in question. Rather than present a string of character witnesses to testify that Kelly is not the type of man to do such a thing, the defense had a string of impeachment witnesses to testify that Van Allen is the type of person who would lie and steal to get what she wants and, in this case, get money in order not to testify. Since Van Allen was granted immunity, it would have been easy for her to admit that she did try to extort money from Kelly with an authentic tape of their sexual encounter. By denying that, she made herself (and her fiance, Yul Brown) an easy target for the defense, which dismantled her motives with three witnesses. (Three more were planned but never took the stand.)

Next on the conspiracy-theory hit list would be former protégé Sparkle, former manager Barry Hankerson, and Chicago Sun-Times reporter Jim DeRogatis. But the defense didn't develop these three as fall guys as much as they did Van Allen. With Sparkle, Kelly lawyer Ed Genson insinuated during cross-examination that she was still bitter over being dropped from Kelly's record label and that she had some business dealings with Hankerson, but the jury never heard from Hankerson — nor did they hear who Hankerson was or why he might be out to get Kelly. Same for DeRogatis, who took the Fifth when he took the stand, outside the presence of the jury. Any conspiracy theory involving these three will have to be made via argument, not evidence.

Was the girl on the tape underage?

To counter the dozen people — four relatives, three childhood friends (along with three of their parents) and two basketball coaches — who identified the girl on the tape, the defense presented three separate relatives who denied it was their loved one. Plus, the relatives that the defense presented were well-spoken and didn't contradict themselves — unlike the prosecution's witnesses, whose memories were a little fuzzy, especially for the uncle arrested for crack cocaine possession. This helped spread confusion: If there's no consensus in the family, there might be no consensus in the jury room.

Only aunts, uncles and cousins took the stand, but no immediate family. So where was the girl herself? Or her parents? Defense attorney Sam Adam Jr. made a big point in his opening argument that if this terrible thing had indeed happened to this young woman, why wasn't her mother there demanding justice? With no victim, there must be no crime, he implied. If there had been a crime, wouldn't the girl have told one of her friends or relatives or coaches, two of whom were cops? Since there was no outcry, since no one — save Sparkle, and only in hindsight — saw anything inappropriate between Kelly and his goddaughter, there's no proof of molestation, they say. Plus, like Kelly, the girl traveled a lot during the time frame prosecutors say the tape was made: her eighth-grade year.

To counteract all the people who so earnestly believe it is their friend or relative on the tape, the defense suggested that it is her head — but not her body — on the tape, which must have been doctored. That way, the defense doesn't have to attack crying mothers on the stand; they're not lying, just mistaken.

Could the tape have been fabricated?

The defense team's forensic video expert made a version of the tape in which he put a background of the log-cabin room in Kelly's home on a loop, then placed the man and the girl on the tape in a superimposed layer, and then made their heads disappear while they were having sex. This, he said, only took a few hours of work over a few afternoons and showed how a tape could be faked. Still, he conceded, there would be evidence of fakery.

The defense argues that the tape must be a fake and that the people in it must be paid actors or prostitutes. But two experts — one from the FBI — countered that the tape is authentic. For the jury, it becomes a battle of the experts. Which one do they believe: The prosecution expert, who really seemed to know what he was talking about and showed them how the mole, upon close inspection, was visible, or the defense expert, who wasn't as credentialed but showed them headless sex worthy of Washington Irving? If the jury buys the "Little Man" defense — which even Shawn Wayans doesn't give much credence to — then Kelly has a shot.

Kelly's team has to pull all this into a convincing argument — one that ties together all the loose ends and shows that certain inconsistencies in state witnesses' testimony were a product of conspiracies, not just faulty memories thanks to the trial's delay. For Kelly to go free, this jury needs to believe that there's been an elaborate scheme to "get him" — that he's the victim here, not the girl who didn't even bother to show up.

Find a review of the major players in the R. Kelly trial here. For full coverage of the case, read the R. Kelly Reports and check out this complete timeline of the events leading up to the trial.

This content was originally posted on © 2008 If you are not reading this text from the above site, you are reading a splog

A release date has been set, the principal cast will be returning and honchos at Marvel are already talking up potential villains. Just one month after its release, the overwhelming success of "Iron Man" has everyone talking sequel — including director Jon Favreau, the one guy in this whole affair who isn't even officially committed to the project.

Unlike with actors, it's unusual for studios to sign directors to more than one film. And yes, Marvel is brand-new to the whole negotiating thing. But could it be that the reason Favreau isn't signed yet for "Iron Man 2" is because he really wants to do ... something else?

Favreau himself teased as much at the green carpet for "The Incredible Hulk," insisting that, despite the overwhelming success of "Iron Man," he'd still like to be considered for "The Avengers."

"I'd love to [direct 'The Avengers']. But they announced that it's coming out in 2011, and 'Iron Man 2' is coming out in 2010, so there's no way that I could direct both. They'll either change the date, or maybe I'll just do 'Avengers' and not 'Iron Man 2,' or maybe just 'Iron Man 2' and not 'Avengers.' I would have preferred for those two movies to be at least two years apart so I could be involved with both of them."

Given a choice between the two, Favreau seems to prefer "The Avengers," the superhero tag-team event that will showcase Captain America, Tony Stark and Bruce Banner, among others. Why? Because it will feature Captain America, Tony Stark and Bruce Banner, among others.

" 'Avengers' seems to be the more fun one," Favreau said. "You get to use all the heroes for that one."

Favreau insisted that he hasn't had any official meetings with Marvel about either.

If Favreau does wind up working on "Iron Man 2," it may be on a different story line than perhaps he originally intended. As early as last July, when MTV News visited the set of "Iron Man," Favreau was hinting that the sequel would follow the famed "Demon in a Bottle" arc, wherein Tony Stark battles alcoholism. (For goodness' sake, the first shot of Stark in the current "Iron Man" is of him holding a drink!)

There's no doubt that it was set up, but now it might not pay off, Favreau implied.

"I always said it was interesting. I still think that. [But I'd] like to see if the public is ready to see Tony Stark fall apart yet. They might want to see him grow as a superhero before then," Favreau said. "It's just one of the story lines that I find compelling and would lend itself well to being in the movie.

"You want to stand out," Favreau continued. "There are so many superhero films out. I mean, 'Hancock' seems like it deals with similar themes. I want to see how they handle it and how the public receives that."

But regardless of what develops in closed-door meetings between Favreau, Marvel, the screenwriters and Robert Downey Jr., there is one thing that Favreau is happy to divulge about the sequel, independent of whether he'll be directing.

"Happy Hogan will have more to do next time," he said of the character he played in the first film. Hogan had a much more developed presence in the comics and eventually scores a romance with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow). "I had my hands full this time."

Check out everything we've got on "Iron Man."

For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more — updated around the clock — visit MTVMoviesBlog.

This content was originally posted on © 2008 If you are not reading this text from the above site, you are reading a splog

This content was originally posted on © 2008 If you are not reading this text from the above site, you are reading a splog

Where do old interviews go to die? Since 1988 they've gone into the MTV News vault, but we've been exhuming them to bring you these classic natterings. Here's the latest in the series, which runs every Tuesday.

Last week was a pretty good one for both Johnny Depp and Sarah Jessica Parker. On Sunday, June 1, while he was accepting two statuettes at the MTV Movie Awards (for his performances in "Sweeney Todd" and "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End"), her new movie, "Sex and the City," was sweeping Indiana Jones out of the top spot on the national box-office chart.

Whatever celebrating Depp and Parker may have done in the wake of these events was probably done separately. (He has lived for many years in France, while she has remained a New Yorker.) The last time we saw them, though, in the fall of 1994, they were teamed up to promote "Ed Wood," a new Tim Burton movie in which they both featured.

"Ed Wood" was a most unusual Hollywood product: a Disney film, no less, shot in black and white, about "the world's worst director" — the titular Wood, a figure virtually unknown outside the cult of very bad movies. (Burton was reported to have had to work for scale in exchange for getting the picture made and retaining control of it.) Depp played the late filmmaker as a lovable naïf — an iconic combination of great cinematic passion and utter lack of talent. Parker played Wood's girlfriend and sometime lead actress, the formidably stiff Dolores Fuller. Other cast members included Bill Murray, Vincent D'Onofrio (who contributed a striking cameo as Orson Welles), and Martin Landau, who won an Academy Award for his touching portrayal of the has-been horror star Bela Lugosi.

"Ed Wood" was a surprisingly buoyant movie. Burton based the picture on Rudolph Grey's very thorough 1991 biography, "Nightmare of Ecstasy"; but in a fond attempt to protect his hero from the sort of ridicule to which he'd been endlessly subjected in life, the director cut the story off before Wood began his 20-year descent into soft-core porn and skid-row squalor.

Burton's movie was a box-office failure, but it remains one of his most moving (and funniest) pictures. He and Depp and Parker have all gone on to much bigger things, of course — and so, in a way, has Ed Wood. Mocked at the time of their release (and for years afterward), Wood's most famously woebegone films — like the 1959 "Plan 9 from Outer Space" and the pioneering 1953 transvestite feature "Glen or Glenda" (with the cross-dressing Wood himself playing the title characters) — are now available in multi-DVD box sets. People are still watching — probably more so now than back in the day. If only Ed himself were here to see it. All is forgiven.

Enjoy digging through The Loder Files? You'll find more here, and there's much more to come from the vaults — check back every Tuesday!

Check out everything we've got on "Ed Wood."

For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more — updated around the clock — visit MTVMoviesBlog.

This content was originally posted on © 2008 If you are not reading this text from the above site, you are reading a splog

Since leaving house arrest earlier this year, T.I.'s public appearances have been at a premium. He's traveled all across the country talking to children as part of his community service duties, as well as promoting his upcoming LP, Paper Trail, which is due August 12.

But Friday night in Washington, D.C., was the first time the MC has gotten onstage and performed since his arrest on gun charges in October of last year. Tip rolled out 24 songs from his catalog and rocked the enthusiastic crowd at the Chocolate City's popular nightspot Love for 90 minutes, well into the early hours of Saturday morning.

With DJ MLK playing the records and his Grand Hustle family there to help spur him on, Tip started with "Help Is Coming," "Top Back" and "Rubber Band Man." He followed that with a three-point shot for the ladies, with "Let's Get Away," "Freak Through" and "Why You Wanna."

"He still got it," Tip said with a smile, referring to himself. "I can go all night with all the hits I got."

He performed one song, "No Matter What," from Paper Trail (he talked with MTV News about the album and his three-picture deal with Screen Gems at the MTV Movie Awards last week). And he reprised his recent appearances on remixes from Usher ("Love in This Club") and Lupe Fiasco ("Superstar"). He also paid tribute to the late Pimp C on the UGK-featured "Front Back" and to Tupac Shakur on "My Life."

Later in the set, he also delivered a promise to the crowd. "As long as I got a ounce of breath left in my body, I'mma be right here doing what I do," he said, before finishing off the set with "Big Sh-- Poppin' " and "What You Know."

"[T.I.'s] first show back was monumental!" raved DJ Drama, who attended the show, on Monday morning (June 9). "The house was packed, it was crazy."

Singer J. Holiday, former BET host Big Tigger, Denver Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin and the Washington Redskins' Clinton Portis were among the celebrities in attendance.

This content was originally posted on © 2008 If you are not reading this text from the above site, you are reading a splog

For as long as they can remember, Twilighters worldwide have been counting down the days to the release of the final book in the best-selling vampire saga. Now, MTV News has an exclusive announcement that will give fans one more reason to start lining up.

To celebrate the release of "Breaking Dawn," author Stephenie Meyer will attend four story-and-song-fueled special events, accompanied by Blue October singer/songwriter Justin Furstenfeld. Insisting the mini-tour idea is "cooler than anything I could have imagined," Meyer has made plans for the following dates:

· 8/1 - New York City @ Nokia Theatre at Times Square
· 8/5 - Chicago @ Harris Theater
· 8/7 - Los Angeles @ Royce Hall
· 8/12 - Seattle @ Benaroya Hall

Tickets for the "Breaking Dawn" concert series are $20 each and go on sale June 21 at 10 a.m. ET; information on where to buy them will be posted soon on StephenieMeyer and on TheTwilightSaga. After the concerts, fans can get autographs from Meyer. New York attendees will receive a limited edition "Breaking Dawn" bookplate, while fans at the other shows can bring their favorite Meyer novel for signing.

To help us make the big announcement as part of this week's Twilight Tuesday, an excited Furstenfeld was eager to talk about his most famous fan, the songs that inspired the author and whether he'll be appearing on the soundtrack to the "Twilight" movie. (Go to the MTV Movies Blog for more of Furstenfeld's thoughts on the soundtrack.)

MTV: How did you and Stephenie cook up these big plans?

Justin Furstenfeld: It's actually quite an honor. We got a call from Stephenie Meyer's publisher and manager, and I was told that some of my songs were quoted [as an influence] for her books. I had always been a fan of hers, and I was like, "What?" And next thing we knew, we'd come up with this question-and-answer, creative-writing concert series thing that's going on.

MTV: For people who aren't aware, take us through a few of Stephenie's playlist references to you.

Furstenfeld: When she wrote her book "New Moon," she quoted me for songs that had inspired her, she said, and she put us on her playlist. She has this thing called a playlist for all her readers. ...That song was "Hate Me." ... Also, the inspiration for some of "Eclipse" was a song called "Overweight," which was from our last album. And another song that helped inspire part of that book was a song called "Congratulations."

MTV: How, exactly, will these four events be going down?

Furstenfeld: Oh, it's a really classy kind of thing going on here. It's not just a regular rock-and-roll show. It'll be some question-and-answer stuff about creative writing, how I write my poetry and how she writes her books. And I'll play a few songs, and we'll have a good time.

MTV: Are you aware of the — how can I put this? — enthusiastic tendencies of "Twilight" fans?

Furstenfeld: I've just started understanding how ridiculous it is. ... It's almost like when I was a kid and I used to read Stephen King a lot; I was just like a cult follower. Anything he put out, I read in two days. She's like the Stephen King of today, but less gruesome. [Laughs.]

MTV: Blue October has a lot of die-hard fans too. Which fanbase do you expect to be dominating these shows?

Furstenfeld: Stephenie Meyer's fans can hold their own. I'm just looking forward to meeting a lot of new people. If some of our fans show up, that's even better, because they'll be introduced to Stephenie Meyer's fanbase. It's going to be crazy.

MTV: Tell us about the first time you and Stephenie ever met.

Furstenfeld: We're actually meeting this next week to listen to some music. We've never met face to face. We've just been complimenting each other via managers and via cell phones.

MTV: Everyone is dying to know what music will be in December's "Twilight" movie. Is this why you're previewing tunes for Stephenie? A mini-audition?

Furstenfeld: It's up in the air. I can't comment on that. We're going to see what happens when we meet and talk. I sure would love to score some of her movies, or have a song or two in it.

MTV: You've made no secret of your own personal struggles with substance abuse. Do you see similarities with the way the "Twilight" characters need to suppress their urges, resist their addictions, etc.?

Furstenfeld: Yes, and through her books and through some of my stuff, we touch upon issues that some people don't understand. It becomes an addiction and an obsession, and a disease, and you have to get to a place where you find that happy comfortable spot, and you try and live one day at a time.

MTV: I would think that, artist to artist, you're both eager to compare notes.

Furstenfeld: I can't wait to have that conversation with her. I want her to see this side of me, that music is therapy for me.

MTV: When you finally meet, who is more likely to ask for the first autograph?

Furstenfeld: I'm going to ask her for an autograph! What do you think? How many books has she sold?

Every Tuesday is "Twilight Tuesday" here at MTV News! Check back here each and every week for the hottest scoop on the film adaptation of Stephenie Meyer's beloved vampire series, and we'll still bring you breaking "Twilight" news throughout the rest of the week. And make sure you check out the MTV Movies Blog for our ongoing "Twilight" discussions each and every day.

Check out everything we've got on "Twilight."

For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more — updated around the clock — visit MTVMoviesBlog.

This content was originally posted on © 2008 If you are not reading this text from the above site, you are reading a splog