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<p>Dave Stewart and Orianthi play together at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles on Monday evening.</p>

Dave Stewart and Orianthi play together at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles on Monday evening.

Credit: Grammy Museum

Interview: Orianthi on Michael Jackson, Alice Cooper and her new album

Guitar virtuoso's 'Heaven In This Hell' is out today

As Orianthi signed autographs for a long line of fans Monday night at Los Angeles’ Grammy Museum, a teenage girl, her hair dyed the same blonde shade as Orianthi’s, shyly approached and asked her to inscribe her signature PRS SE Orianthi  guitar, a Christmas gift from her parents.

Orianthi, 28,  took her time with the girl, giving her plenty of encouragement. When she started playing more than 15 years ago, her guitar heroes were all male, so she knows how special it is that young girls now have someone like her to light the way.

“You could just tell she had a passion for it, that’s what I was like,” Orianthi told Hitfix the next morning. “I want to inspire more girls to play guitar. It’s not easy to be a female musician. To be a role model in any way is awesome.”

When she was growing up in Australia, her life changed when she saw Carlos Santana on his “Dance of the Rainbow Serpent” tour.  She turned to her father and said that was her career path. By the time she was 15, Orianthi had quit school and was playing in cover bands in Adelaide area bars, “putting guitar solos in Kylie Minogue songs.”

 In short order, she was opening for Steve Vai and Santana, then playing with Carrie Underwood, and, most notably, rehearsing with Michael Jackson for the ill-fated “This Is It” tour  after being hand picked by the King of Pop as lead guitarist.

Orianthi, who is on this month’s cover of Guitar World (only the third woman to accomplish that feat) now splits her time between her solo career and playing in Alice Cooper’s band.

After our interview today, she was headed to Switzerland for a date with Cooper, before returning to the U.S. for her own show March 17 at the Whisky on L.A.’s Sunset Strip.

The guitar wizard’s latest solo album, “Heaven In This Hell,” came out March 12. The set, produced by Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart, allows her to show off her full embrace of rock and blues much more than her previous efforts. “This album is totally me,” she says. “I’m just hoping that all the fans really dig it. It’s a little different.”

Indeed, the set is much grittier than her last full length album, 2009’s “Believe,” which included the pop hit, “According to You.”  “I didn’t want to be boxed in,” she says. “Some of the songs have rock, some have a country vibe some pop, and R&B vibe.”

She admits that leaving Geffen Records after “Believe” was a low point. “It was kind of, ‘I don’t have a record deal, what can I do?’ I just fell into writing an album, you meet people, you find contacts.”

Ultimately, she signed with Robo Records, who gave her the freedom to make the album she wanted. “You compromise a lot when you try to do a song for radio,” she says. “I want to make music that I can play live.”

Though she only played with Jackson for three months before his death, she learned a tremendous amount from the superstar. “Just watching him, the way he was. He really wanted to give the audience a show, make them feel like they were part of it,” she says. “He was very much of a perfectionist. It was about just putting yourself out there. He was just the best at what he did.”

She’s gleaned something from all her mentors. From Santana, “it’s all about transcending and getting to that zone. He has the same kind of childlike enthusiasm that he had when he was younger.  A lot of people that you meet get very jaded and turn off their lights and they don’t see everything brightly.”

On stage with Cooper, she’s learned to stay on her toes: “Lots of things are happening, whips and swords, balloons burst above my head,” she says. “There’s also a confetti cannon. I wasn’t aware it was behind me. It was right [behind] my butt. The sound guys were screaming that I had to [move]. I moved just in time. That would have been very painful.”

Orianthi isn’t sure just how many guitars she owns, adding only “I have a very healthy collection. Some are in Nashville, some in Los Angeles, some in Australia. I use them all.” Like B.B. King and his beloved Lucille, she gives them all names as well. Among her favorites are Pepper, a red-toned axe which she used when she auditioned for Jackson, and a green beauty named Frank. “When I want that heavier tone, I go use Frank....There’s a different energy that comes from them all, whether it’s the different wood or whoever put them together,” she says. “They’re all so great and different.”

While she finds if “comforting” to having a guitar within arm’s reach, she says the longest she’s ever gone without picking one up is probably a week:  “Sometimes, I play better if I leave it alone for a bit.”

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<p>A scene from &quot;From Up on Poppy Hill.&quot;</p>

A scene from "From Up on Poppy Hill."

Credit: GKIDS

With 'From Up on Poppy Hill' on the way, counting down Studio Ghibli's 10 best movies

From 'Spirited Away' to 'Arrietty,' we rank the Japanese studio's finest

A collective sigh may have been heard at many a viewing party a couple of weekends ago, when the Academy handed the Best Animated Feature Oscar to the conventional comforts of Pixar's "Brave" over the zappy multimedia invention of "Wreck-It Ralph," or the scrappy postmodernism of Tim Burton's "Frankenweenie." But it was easy enough to see what voters were going for: in a field thick with bristly new textures, the gentle, old-fashioned storytelling and comparative visual serenity of the Highland fairytale was that much more reassuring an option.

Not among the nominees, though it was on the category's shortlist, was "From Up on Poppy Hill" -- the latest from animation stalwarts Studio Ghibli. Only twice in the 12-year history of the animated feature Oscar has one of their films made the cut, yet Ghibli occupies a comparably elevated position to Pixar in the imaginations of animation enthusiasts. In an age where crude computer-animated money-grabbers are a dime a dozen, they're a trusted brand that stands for wholesome, attentive storytelling, meticulous artistry and genuine wonder.

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<p>Um, Sheri, you have something on your face</p>

Um, Sheri, you have something on your face

Credit: Anchor Bay Entertainment

Exclusive: Rob Zombie's 'Lords Of Salem' gets two new one-sheets

A conversation at SXSW ends with an online premiere

AUSTIN - A few minutes ago, I concluded the "Conversation With Rob Zombie" panel that I moderated by physically premiering the new one-sheets for the film in the room, and now we've got them here for you online as well.

Zombie is in town to show and discuss his new film "The Lords Of Salem," and the conversation we had about the film today was a good one.  I think it's interesting that they asked me to moderate the panel, as I've been very frank in print about my reaction to each of his films. Some of them I like, some of them I don't, and I was concerned at first that it was going to create some tension between us as a result. Nothing of the sort, as it happens, because Zombie genuinely doesn't seem to care about critical reaction. He seems to be the sort of filmmaker who had realized at this point that he's got to be happy with the work, and once he is, anything else that happens is almost irrelevant.

We talked about the development of the film, and he's continued to work on it even after I saw it at the Toronto Film Festival in the fall. There was one more round of editing to tweak the opening of the film and some individual moments within it, and the version that played here is the same one that will open in April. We also discussed his other work, including the new album he has coming out in April, the book version of "Lords" that arrives in stores today, and even his plans for what could have been a feature version of "Werewolf Women Of The SS" if only "Grindhouse" had made some money.

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<p>Olivia Wilde and Jake Johnson are &quot;Drinking Buddies&quot;</p>

Olivia Wilde and Jake Johnson are "Drinking Buddies"

Credit: Ben Richardson

SXSW: Joe Swanberg, Anna Kendrick, Olivia Wilde talk beer and sex in ‘Drinking Buddies’

Why does Joe Swanberg make improvised movies on women characters?

AUSTIN -- What is readily apparent from Joe Swanberg’s latest film “Drinking Buddies” is that the actors genuinely liked each other. In a press event following the film’s premiere at South By Southwest, Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Ron Livingston and Anna Kendrick confirmed as much, and even more so.

After a particularly explosive scene between his character and Wilde’s, Johnson had to text Wilde later to ask, “Are we cool?” Kendrick exploded into tears following a high-tension scene with Livingston, not because the scene necessarily broke her heart, but because of a prospect of a scene to come, where she’d have to recall to Johnson -- her character’s boyfriend in the film -- of her indiscretion.
 
Such is the challenge and highlight of a film like “Drinking Buddies,” dubbed an “improvised movie” because it had no script. Johnson said, though, that doesn’t mean this ship had no captain. “There was a clear vision start to finish,” he said.
 
That vision was through the eyes of a woman, Kate, “heavily based” on the real life of Swanberg’s female friend who works at a microbrewery in Chicago, where this film is also set. It’s a portrait of being a woman in a man’s world, of wanting attention, wanting to be attained but also, as Swanberg said, “getting good at deflecting that male attention.”
 
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Watch: Kelly Rowland likes her 'Kisses Down Low' in new video

Watch: Kelly Rowland likes her 'Kisses Down Low' in new video

Candy-coated clip keeps it clean

Kelly Rowland shows some amazing restraint in the video for “Kisses Down Low,” the second single from her fourth studio album, “Talk A Good Game.”

[More after the jump...]

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Exclusive: Selena Gomez reveals the title of her new single as 'Come and Get It'
Credit: HitFix

Exclusive: Selena Gomez reveals the title of her new single as 'Come and Get It'

Song -- sans Taylor Swift -- is out in April

AUSTIN -- In the middle of Spring Break, promoting her movie "Spring Breakers," Selena Gomez has even another reason to party. The pop singer and actress has been completing work on her new album, and revealed to HitFix during our interview this week at the South By Southwest film conference the title of her new single: "Come and Get It" will be out in April, and it will be a "good taste" of the album to follow.

"This is the hardest I've ever worked on an album," Gomez told me during our sit-down, during which she described the overall sound as "pop-electro." She calls "Come and Get It" a fun dance track.

What it won't have is Taylor Swift. MTV previously Tweeted that Gomez' next single was co-written by Swift, but Gomez seemed perplexed at the suggestion that she collaborated with her friend. "I definitely didn't work with Taylor on this record, but she's heard my stuff," she explained.

The as-yet-untitled album, however, will boast the influence of "Spring Breakers" composer and soundtrack man Skrillex.

Gomez' last album, "When the Sun Goes Down," was released in 2011.

Check out the video above for more details on Gomez' album and her feelings on production. Are you ready to come and get "Come and Get It?" Do you think we'll hear it before April?

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Justin Timberlake 'loves' Kanye West, he declares on 'Jimmy Fallon'

Justin Timberlake 'loves' Kanye West, he declares on 'Jimmy Fallon'

Watch: Timberlake performs soulful 'Pusher Love Girl'

Oh Justin Timberlake, what a scamp you are! Last night on “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon,” he played delightfully dumb when Fallon asked him about changing the lyrics to “Suit & Tie” on “Saturday Night Live” in response to a certain rapper’s earlier diss.

As we previously reported, while on stage in London a few weeks ago, as he seemed to be riffing about everything under the sun, Kayne West remarked “I got love for Hov,” meaning his “Watch The Throne” partner Jay-Z, who raps on “Suit & Tie,” but then added, “but I ain’t  f**king with that ‘Suit & Tie’.”

Timberlake had been silent, but very subtly he reworked the words to “Suit & Tie” on Saturday night to “My hit’s so sick got rappers acting dramatic.”

[More after the jump...]

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<p>David O. Russell at the Independent Spirit Awards in February</p>

David O. Russell at the Independent Spirit Awards in February

Credit: AP Photo

David O. Russell's 'Silver Linings Playbook' follow-up gets a release date

Sony has a packed potential awards slate on the way

When we laid out a slew of contenders for next year's Oscar season recently, we left off David O. Russell's currently untitled project revolving around the FBI's ABSCAM public corruption investigation of the 1970s and early 1980s. The reason was we weren't quite sure the film would make it out in time. Turns out, at least for now, that it will.

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"The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"

 "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"

Credit: Bravo

'Real Housewives of Beverly Hills recap: Kyle opens her store and confronts Kim

Kim explains why she seemed loopy in Paris

So, the ladies are back in Los Angeles, and that means no jogging by the Siene, no beheading ducks, none of Kyle's terrible fake French accent. Thankfully, drama follows these women around like vultures after a wagon train or high school chicks after Justin Bieber. It doesn't matter where they are, they can find something to scream, argue or cry about. Remember, Kyle and Kim managed to have a physical altercation in a limo. I mean, that takes some effort.

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<p>Carey Mulligan and Leonardo DiCaprio in &quot;The Great Gatsby.&quot;</p>

Carey Mulligan and Leonardo DiCaprio in "The Great Gatsby."

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Baz Luhrmann's 'The Great Gatsby' to open the 2013 Cannes Film Festival

'Moulin Rouge!' did the honors in 2001

When Warner Bros' announced last year that they were shifting Baz Luhrmann's lavish 3D interpretation of "The Great Gatsby" from Christmas 2012 to an early summer release date, my first thought was that a Cannes date had to be on the cards. Then, when the film's US release date was nailed down as May 10, five days before the festival begins, I was both puzzled and doubtful: with US projects of that magnitude, Cannes tends to secure the world premiere.

Turns out I overthought things, and that my initial instinct was correct. "The Great Gatsby" has been selected as the curtain-raiser for this year's Cannes Film Festival, 12 years after Luhrmann's "Moulin Rouge!" performed the same duty.

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<p>They only made one.</p>

They only made one.

Credit: Automat Pictures/Andrew Curtis

Review: New documentary does right by a cult movie icon in 'I Am Divine'

The real story behind John Waters's greatest movie star

AUSTIN - No horror movie has ever given me the same amount of anxiety before seeing it that "Pink Flamingos" did.

The first time I read about the film, I remember recoiling completely at every single part of the description. It was in Danny Peary's book "Cult Movies," and when I picked that book up in 1981, I read through it in about three days, and it started me on a search to see all the films in the book as quickly as possible. The only film that I hesitated about in any way was "Pink Flamingos." It didn't help that I read the J. Hoberman/Jonathan Rosenbaum "Midnight Movies" not long after that, and their chapter on John Waters only made me more sure I was afraid of everything that film stood for.  I was still in my early teens, and while I was drawn almost innately to the wilder fringes of film, my own personal life experience was so alien to what it sounded like Waters captured in his films that I just cringed at the idea of seeing them.

Now, at the age of 42, I laugh at the idea of ever having been afraid of Divine or John Waters or the films they made together. I may not love every one of their collaborations, but I love that they collaborated. I love that they found each other, and that along with the rest of the lunatics who were part of Dreamland Studios, like David Lochary or Mink Stole or Edith Massey, they made movies that didn't capture a subculture so much as they launched one. John Waters has been so thoroughly embraced by the mainstream at this point that it's hard to remember a time he was considered a purely underground artist, but the new documentary "I Am Divine" does a great job of showing how Glenn Milstead went from being a nice Baltimore kid to being a drag icon who shocked the world.

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<p>Monday's &quot;The Following&quot;</p>

Monday's "The Following"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'The Following' - 'Welcome Home'

Ryan bumps heads with a new authority figure and Carroll enjoys freedom
For the past several episodes, "The Following" has skirted the obvious fact that there's something sexual about Joe Carroll's murdering pattern. Whether or not he's sexually assaulting anyone (and we have not seen him do that), he specifically targets women -- young women. Almost all of the bodies so far have been women, and the men have been largely incidental manslaughters, killings on the way in or out of killing someone else.
 
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