Latest Blog Posts

<p>John Mayer</p>

John Mayer

John Mayer sets new tour dates, release of first single 'Shadow Days'

New album 'Born And Raised' out later this Spring/early Summer

Fully recovered from vocal surgery John Mayer will hit the road for his first tour in two years on April 9.

The 18-city tour precedes the release of Mayer’s fifth album, “Born and Raised,” which will come out shortly thereafter. Mayer teased the first single from the album, “Shadow Days,” last week and it sounds like he’s taken a fairly stripped down turn under the guidance of producer Don Was.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Lady Antebellum</p>

Lady Antebellum

Credit: AP Photo

Lady Antebellum are readying a new album, while 'Own The Night' lives on

The Grammy-winning trio is already writing and collecting songs

Even though Lady Antebellum’s “Own The Night” still has a lot of life left in it, but the trio is already looking ahead to the next album.

"We probably have at least a dozen songs already, whether they're outside songs or ones we've written," the group's Hillary Scott tells "Songwriting is such therapy and such a release for us, and it's a way for us to kind of not get caught up in the madness of our schedules. We really do write a lot. Whether we're at home or on the road, we'll find time to write."

[More after the jump...]

She adds that even though the group is writing, there’s still much more to be mined from the Grammy-winning  “Own The Night.” The third single, “Dancin’ Away With My Heart” is at radio and there could be three more singles. Plus, Scott says that the band felt that they “kind of rushed” “Own The Night.”  “So we’re going to just settle in and write and write and write. We may try to go in [to the studio] at some point this year just to try some things, but honestly, it’s hard to tell.”

The trio, which also included Charles Kelley and David Haywood, is in the middle of its first arena headlining tour. The U.S. leg ends  June 30, then the band heads to Europe.



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Listen: Madonna's new single, 'Girl Gone Wild'

Does it make you want to go crazy?

Madonna’s “Girl Gone Wild” should be called “Girl Gone Mild.”

The song from Madge’s forthcoming “MDNA” is a straight-ahead electro-pop club track that is generic and bland. There’s nothing about it that signifies the presence of one of the biggest artists on the planet. It’s like Britney Spears-lite.

[More after the jump...]

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Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 117: Oscars, 'Awake,' 'GCB' & more

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 117: Oscars, 'Awake,' 'GCB' & more

Dan and Alan also review Ovation's 'We'll Take Manhattan' and answer your mail


Dan and I are a little punchy at the start of this Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, thanks to lots of time last night spent watching and writing about the Academy Awards. We talk about Billy Crystal a bit, then move on to reviews of NBC's parallel worlds cop drama "Awake," ABC's Texas soap opera "GCB," Ovation's TV-movie "We'll Take Manhattan," and letters about the sorry state of NBC (a podcast perennial!), the current season of "Top Chef" and the strategy behind mid-season premieres.

The line-up: 

The Oscars (00:00:40 - 00:19:15)
"Awake" (00:19:15 - 00:35:15)
"I'll Take Manhattan" (00:36:50 - 00:45:00)
"GCB" (00:45:10 - 00:53:45)
Listener Mail - What caused NBC's plight (00:54:00 - 01:03:10)
Listener Mail - "Top Chef" this season (01:03:10 - 01:08:55)
Listener Mail - Why do networks put shows at midseason anyway? (01:09:00 - 0:1:18:00)
As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. Or you can always follow our RSS Feed, download the MP3 file or stream it on Dan's blog.
And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.
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<p>Best Actress nominee Viola Davis arrives at the 84th Academy Awards.</p>

Best Actress nominee Viola Davis arrives at the 84th Academy Awards.

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Safety first: putting a lid on the 2011 Oscars

Meryl Streep's upset win typified a conservative night for the Academy

Having had a few hours to quite literally sleep on last night's Academy Awards after blearily turning in at 5.30 in the morning, I've woken up with a post-Oscar feeling that is unfamiliar to me, or at least has been for several years: sincere, sober, slightly stricken disappointment.

That is, I admit, a selfish and somewhat irrational response to an evening in which one of the most singularly delightful films of the year -- and comfortably my favorite of the nominees -- won Best Picture; in which, for the first time in far too long, the routinely dismaying Best Foreign Language Film award somehow found its way to a work of genuine consequence and artistry; in which "Academy Award winner Bret McKenzie" became a legit combination of words for future use and enjoyment; in which, after two straight years of getting it mortifyingly wrong, the Academy managed to stage a swift, entertaining if not especially imaginative show.

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<p>Danny&nbsp;DeVito was in a great mood when we sat down to discuss his work in the new Dr. Seuss adaptation 'The Lorax'</p>

Danny DeVito was in a great mood when we sat down to discuss his work in the new Dr. Seuss adaptation 'The Lorax'

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Danny DeVito talks 'Lorax,' promises 'War Of The Roses' Blu-ray soon

The star of the new adaptation of the Dr. Seuss classic talks about the role

Danny De Vito is a hardcore fan of home video, and has been for at least 20 years, so it's good to hear he's preparing Blu-ray special editions of his films "Hoffa" and "War Of The Roses" right now.

I met DeVito for the first time when I was working at Dave's Video in the early '90s.  There were three customers at that store who bought everything that came out, and I'm not exaggerating.  Danny DeVito, Ivan Reitman, and Steven Spielberg were voracious fans of laserdisc, and they all had the same standing order with the store.  Whatever we ordered, we were to order them copies for purchase as well.  I can't even imagine what DeVito's laserdisc collection must have looked like, but I know he took it seriously.

When it came to transferring his own films, he went above and beyond.  Both "Hoffa" and "War Of The Roses" got the deluxe treatment from Fox at the time, and when we sat down to talk about his work in the new film "The Lorax," I couldn't resist asking him about Blu-ray, and he told me that he's getting ready to bring those films out again, with new features added just to take advantage of Blu-ray.

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<p>Harry Turtledove's 'The War That Came Early' has been a huge hit for the author, but it meant more to one reader, and the story of how Turtledove reached out to him is quite moving.</p>

Harry Turtledove's 'The War That Came Early' has been a huge hit for the author, but it meant more to one reader, and the story of how Turtledove reached out to him is quite moving.

Credit: Del Rey Publishing

One Thing I Love Today: Author Harry Turtledove and Reddit make a wish come true

There are times the Internet restores my faith in people, and this is one

There are days where I think the Internet is one great big snark machine designed to take everything and transform it into this non-stop barrage of one-liners and attitude and irritating self-satisfaction, and I'm sure I'm as much a part of that as anyone, and then there are days where the Internet coughs up something so human and wonderful that it wipes away any complaint I might have.

I didn't see this until yesterday, but it's actually been bouncing around since Friday, and I think author Harry Turtledove might have just won me as a fan permanently.

By now, we've become used to the idea of Make-A-Wish and the way they reach out to help people diagnosed with terminal illnesses.  I've seen some pretty remarkable acts of giving since I moved to LA from people who were deeply moved by their encounters with the kids they came in contact with, and I think if you're in a position to help someone whose life is about to be cut brutally short, there's an obligation to try and do it.

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<p>Robert Richardson accepts his Best Cinematography&nbsp;Oscar for &quot;Hugo&quot;&nbsp;at the 84th annual&nbsp;Academy Awards.</p>

Robert Richardson accepts his Best Cinematography Oscar for "Hugo" at the 84th annual Academy Awards.

Credit: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Tech Support: 'Hugo' dominates Oscar's craft categories

Wrapping up the year and the Academy Awards below the line

It’s not usually appropriate for journalists to speak of how their personal experiences affect their views on particular events. But my experience watching the 2012 Academy Awards affects my analysis of it to such an extent that it would be dishonest for me to pretend anything otherwise.

Meryl Streep has been my favorite actress of all time for as long as I’ve had a “favorite actress of al time.” And as much as I loved Viola Davis’s performance in “The Help,” Streep remained my favorite of this year’s Best Actress nominees. Her victory and her speech made me extraordinarily happy last night.

She divided her “thank yous” between her husband, her makeup artist, and her Hollywood family. Notice that second class as a category unto itself. Roy Helland and Meryl Streep have worked together for almost four decades. His win for “The Iron Lady” is oh-so-deserved and I’ll give Streep the utmost in kudos for recognizing the work of the men and women below the line. Recognizing the importance of such work is what we’ve tried to do here at Tech Support.

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<p>Nicki Minaj</p>
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Nicki Minaj

Credit: Chris O'Meara/AP

Watch: Nicki Minaj, Chris Brown and Pitbull take over the NBA All-Star Game

Minaj debuts 'Starships,' Brown joins Pitbull for 'International Love'

Nicki Minaj left the Vatican out of her NBA All-Star Game in Orlando Sunday night.

She performed new single “Starships” in a fun, high energy performance that included scantily-clad men and was interrupted by the introduction of some of the players before Minaj returned to perform “Super Bass.”  “Starships” is already off to an incredible start at radio, debuting on the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 9.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Michel Hazanavicius holds his Oscar while being questioned at last night's Weinstein&nbsp;Company after-party.</p>

Michel Hazanavicius holds his Oscar while being questioned at last night's Weinstein Company after-party.

Credit: AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu

Congrats to our In Contention Oscar pool winners!

Byron A. Martin, Roberto Paula and Chris Swan, come on down!

Thanks to everyone for joining our Oscar pool at Picktainment for the third-straight season. This year, our victors were (drumroll please)...

First Prize goes to BYRON A. MARTIN, who got 20 out of 24 categories (including picking the Meryl Streep upset) and managed to come dangerously close to the show's run-time in our tie-breaker.

Second Prize goes to ROBERTO PAULA who got the exact same categories right (both winners missed Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Visual Effects and Best Documentary Feature) and also picked Streep, but came up short in the tie-breaker.

And Third Prize goes to CHRIS SWAN, who, like me, nailed down 19 out of 24 but had the right combination of points to claim that spot all to himself. He missed Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Visual Effects, Best Documentary Feature and Best Documentary Short.

But you guys have to reach out if you want your spoils so drop me a line with your preferred address and we'll mail out your prizes, a lovely combo of soundtracks and DVDs, ASAP!

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<p>Meryl&nbsp;Streep holds aloft her third Oscar</p>

Meryl Streep holds aloft her third Oscar

Credit: AP Photo/Joel Ryan

Off the Carpet: AMPAS hits reset

Last night's kudos season finale felt extremely safe and incredibly easy

So, the Oscars happened.

There were two legitimate surprises at last night's finale to the 2011-2012 film awards season. "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" became just the 15th (I believe) film to win Best Film Editing without receiving a Best Picture nomination. The last was :The Bourne Ultimatum" in 2007, then "Black Hawk Down" in 2001. And the last film to win ONLY Best Film Editing was "Bullitt" in 1968. And Meryl Streep finally nabbed that third Oscar her fans and supporters have demanded for her with increasing intensity over the last few years.

Someone on Twitter said they thought Streep's win over Viola Davis will not age well. I don't know what we'll think of it in the future, but I do know Streep and Davis are friends who would hate to know there are discussions and column inches being dedicated to this competition.

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<p>The French table(s) go crazy after &quot;The Artist&quot;&nbsp;is announced as best picture at the official Weinstein Company viewing party Sunday night in West Hollywood.</p>

The French table(s) go crazy after "The Artist" is announced as best picture at the official Weinstein Company viewing party Sunday night in West Hollywood.

A view of the 84th Academy Awards from the winner's party: The Weinstein Company

A big night for the mini-major as the 'Hugo' and 'Artist' battle heats up

Finding an appropriate location to watch the Academy Awards ever year in Los Angeles is akin to making sure you get invited to the right New Year's Eve party.  Chances are it's going to be crowded, there won't be enough alcohol, you wonder how you never get invited to the Elton John fete and you quickly realize not going to get to hear most of the countdown, er, telecast very well.  And for those of us who cover Hollywood's biggest night, trying to find a party where you can either live-blog or work is incredibly difficult.  Such troubles, eh?  This year, I jumped at the chance to watch the show from the vantage point of The Weinstein Company's shindig at the Mondrian Hotel on the Sunset Strip. And considering the mini-major was expected to dominate the evening's honors with "The Artist" it seemed like a safe bet.

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