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<p>From &quot;Good Ol' Freda&quot;: Freda Kelly and Paul McCartney</p>

From "Good Ol' Freda": Freda Kelly and Paul McCartney

SXSW Film: 'Good Ol' Freda' boasts rare music and lessons in the value of music

A discussion on 'one-off' recordings and the value of songs in the modern music era

AUSTIN -- At the top of the film "Good Ol' Freda," Beatles fans get hit in the face with one of the rarer, frequently bootlegged pieces of the Fab Four's history. It's the sound of the first Beatles Christmas recording, from 1963, of John, Paul, George and Ringo singing bits of "Good King Wenceslas" and "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," with scripted and improvised bits on wishing fans a happy holiday. It and all the following years' records were sent only to members of the Beatles fan club.

"Good Ol' Freda's" namesake Freda Kelly was the president and leader of the Beatles fan club for their entire career. And as director Ryan White said in the Q&A session after the documentary's premiere, it was a real testament to Kelly's integral role in the history of the Beatles' music career that the filmmakers were able to secure the sync rights to include that Christmas record for the movie.

In fact, there were four Beatles songs besides the Christmas recording that were weaved into Freda's chronological narrative: "I Saw Her Standing There," "Love Me Do," "I Feel Fine" and "I Will."

While Kelly's story is small, contained and another (albeit unfettered) look into the history of the Beatles, the securing of those licenses is epic in scope. As the music industry has splintered and merged and evolved in the past 40 years, so have the issues of copyright and ownership of Beatles master recordings. White said, "On my death bed... these will be the four proudest moments of my life, getting those four songs," conceding that it's "well known" that there are "countless circles of people" who must grant permission for these recordings. Publishers, labels, songwriters, estates and other rights holders make up these "countless" stakes.

It reminds me of Soundcloud and other music sharing technologies utilized by artists big and small today. On Soundcloud, a performer can share a snippet of work, or demos or unfinished, unmastered, unclaimed bits of music, just in order to connect with their audiences or workshop through their artistic ideas. They could put out their own Christmas recording of "Rudolph," just to say hi and thanks. Years later, what is the value of that work, when it is easily attained? "Rare" music is now so rarely rare.

We're in gawky, awkward teenaged years of music sharing (just ask the guys at Napster and the film "Downloaded"), and the intrinsic and net value of music is in a raw flux, due to the fact that artists make one-off and "exercise" material available readily. Some don't. In either case, were the artist to retain all rights to their material and exercise control over it -- as copyrights holders have done in the case of the Beatles -- good night and good luck, because from YouTube to Soundcloud to filesharing networks, they're everybody's at this point.

There are few artists that will ever be as famous and as "valued" as the Beatles, and for those that are, there's no such thing as the "rare Christmas recording" anymore. "Good Ol' Freda" is an inadvertent lesson in what rare even means to the current music consumer. That, on its face, is worth a trip to see "Freda."

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Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 172: '30 for 30: Survive and Advance,' 'Justified,' 'SNL' & more

Dan and Alan also answer questions about DVRs, pilot casting and 'previously on' clips


Last week, we thought the Firewall & Iceberg Podcast would be short. Instead, it was our longest ever. This week, we also thought it would be short, and it was — but only by the absurd F&I standards, in that it still clocked in around an hour. Another slow week brought with it more check-ins, a review of the latest "30 for 30" documentary, some listener mail and even a few minutes of sports talk! The lineup:

30 For 30's "Survive and Advance" (00:01:30 - 00:11:35)
"Justified" check-in (00:11:45 - 00:29:15)
"Saturday Night Live" check-in (00:29:15 - 00:39:30)
Listener Mail: Pilot casting (00:39:45 - 00:45:45)
Listener Mail: DVR impact on advertisers (00:45:50 - 00:50:20)
Listener Mail: Rotten Tomatoes for TV (00:50:40 - 00:53:35)
Listener Mail: "Walking Dead" and spoiler-y "Previously on" segments (00:53:35 - 00:59:40)
Sports Blather (00:59:50 - 01:04:50)
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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Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 172

Dan and Alan talk 'Survive and Advance,' 'Justified,' 'SNL' and more


Happy Monday, Boys & Girls!
Time for another installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
Last week, we had nothing to talk about, but it ended up being our longest podcast ever.
This week, we had very little to talk about, so we kept things short, or at least relatively short. We answered some mail, caught up on "Justified," chatted about the state of "Saturday Night Live" and whatnot.
Next week? Much busier!
Today's breakdown:
30 For 30's "Survive and Advance" (00:01:30 - 00:11:35)
"Justified" check-in (00:11:45 - 00:29:15)
"Saturday Night Live" check-in (00:29:15 - 00:39:30)
Listener Mail: Pilot casting (00:39:45 - 00:45:45)
Listener Mail: DVR impact on advertisers (00:45:50 - 00:50:20)
Listener Mail: Rotten Tomatoes for TV (00:50:40 - 00:53:35)
Listener Mail: "Walking Dead" and spoiler-y "Previously on" segments (00:53:35 - 00:59:40)
Sports Blather (00:59:50 - 01:04:50)

the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. [Or you can always follow our RSS Feed.] 

And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.

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<p>Danny Boyle and Ewan McGregor on the set of &quot;Trainspotting.&quot;</p>

Danny Boyle and Ewan McGregor on the set of "Trainspotting."

Credit: Miramax Films

'Trainspotting' sequel is on track, says Danny Boyle

Is his 13-year estrangement from Ewan McGregor over?

Only last week, we listed Danny Boyle and Ewan McGregor as one of several actor-director teams we'd like to see reunited, with a prospective "Trainspotting" sequel the ideal outcome. Well, if Boyle himself is to be believed, it looks as if we've got our wish.

Speaking at the SXSW fest over the weekend, where Boyle unveiled some footage from his new thriller "Trance" -- already being press-screened, and due out in a couple of weeks -- the Oscar-winning director claimed that "Porno," the long-mooted follow-up to his hit 1996 junkie drama, is back on his agenda and set to roll in 2016.

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<p>Alabama Shakes</p>

Alabama Shakes

Credit: ATO Records

Alabama Shakes gear up for summer headlining tour

Listen to Brittany Howard and Ruby Amanfu's salute to 'Sugarman's' Rodriguez

Alabama Shakes will start a North American headline tour June 18 at Columbus, Ohio’s LC Pavilion Outdoors.

The Grammy-nominated group continues to build its audience based on last year’s debut album, “Boys & Girls,” which spawned the hit “Hold On.”

Following the Grammy nods and the band’s appearances on “Saturday Night Live” and “Austin City Limits,” “Boys & Girls” sold an additional 100,000 copies, showing that the band’s flock is growing.

The summer tour comes after the group’s SXSW performances, as well as gigs at Lollapalooza Brazil in Sao Paulo and at Lollapalooza Chile in Santiago.

Alabama Shakes lead singer Brittany Howard paired with Ruby Amanfu for bluesy, spirited cover of Rodriguez’s “I Wonder.” The tune comes out on Jack White’s Third Man Records as single tomorrow (March 12). On the flip side is a cover of Memphis Minnie’s “When My Man Comes Home.”  Rodriguez, the subject of the Oscar-winning documentary “Searching For Sugar Man,” first recorded “I Wonder” on 1970’s “Cold Fact.”  Listen to the tune here on

ALABAMA SHAKES tour dates:

18 - Columbus, OH @ LC Pavilion - Outdoors
19 - Detroit, MI @ Royal Oak Music Theatre
20 - Toronto, ON @ Echo Beach
22 - Dover, DE @ Firefly Music Festival
23 - Port Chester, NY @ The Capitol Theatre
30 - London, UK @ Olympic Park/Hard Rock Calling w/Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band
13 - Louisville, KY @ Forecastle Festival
14 - Tulsa, OK @ Cain's Ballroom-w/Fly Golden Eagle & Hurray For The Riff Raff supporting
15 - Albuquerque, NM @ Popejoy Hall-w/Fly Golden Eagle & Hurray For The Riff Raff supporting
17 - Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Palladium-w/Fly Golden Eagle & Hurray For The Riff Raff supporting
18 - Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Palladium-w/Fly Golden Eagle & Hurray For The Riff Raff supporting
19 - Las Vegas, NV @ The Pearl Theater-w/Fly Golden Eagle & Hurray For The Riff Raff supporting
21 - Alta, WY @ Targhee Festival
23 - Vancouver, BC @ Vogue Theatre
25 - Calgary, AB @ Calgary Folk Music Festival
26 - Edmonton, AB @ Interstellar Rodeo
28 - Minneapolis, MN @ Cabooze Outdoor Plaza
7 - Oslo, Norway @ OYA Festival
8 - Gothenburg, Sweden @ Way Out West
9 - Skanderborg, Denmark @ Skanderborg Festival
10 - Haldern, Germany @ Haldern Festival
13 - Barcelona, Spain @ Apollo
14 - Porto, Portugal @ Paredes Da Coura
18 - Hallendoorn, Holland @ Lowlands Festival
7 - Guthrie, OK @ Gentlemen of the Road w/Mumford & Sons - SOLD OUT

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<p>Depeche Mode</p>

Depeche Mode

Depeche Mode sets dates for U.S. tour

Group's new album, 'Delta Machine,' comes out March 26

Depeche Mode, which will release its new album, “Delta Machine,” on March 26, will start at U.S. tour in August.

The tour, which starts Aug. 22 at Detroit’s DET Energy Music Theater, comes after the British band concludes a European tour, which begins May 7. The group, helmed by Dave Gahan and Martin Gore, will will play 37 dates, including several stadium stops across Europe.

Sales for the U.S. presale begin April 4.

Depeche Mode will appear on "The Late Show With David Letterman" tonight and play a show at SXSW on March 15.

Depeche Mode U.S. tour dates:

Thursday,  Aug. 22             Detroit, MI                  DTE Energy Music Theatre
Saturday,  Aug. 24             Chicago, IL                First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre
Tuesday,  Aug. 27              St. Paul,  MN             Minnesota State Fair**    
Sunday,  Sep. 1                  Toronto, ON              Molson Canadian Amphitheatre
Tuesday, Sep. 3                 Montreal, QB             Bell Centre
Friday,  Sep. 6                    Brooklyn, NY             Barclays Center
Sunday, Sep. 8 Wantagh, NY                               Nikon at Jones Beach Theater   
Tuesday, Sep. 10               Washington DC         Jiffy Lube Live
Thursday, Sep. 12              Atlanta, GA                Aaron's Amphitheatre at Lakewood
Saturday, Sep. 14              Tampa, FL                 Live Nation Amphitheatre at the   Florida State Fairgrounds
Sunday, Sep. 15                 Ft Lauderdale, FL      BB&T Center
Wednesday,  Sep. 18         Houston, TX              Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
Friday, Sep. 20 Dallas, TX Gexa Energy Pavilion
Sunday, Sep. 22                 San Diego, CA          Sleep Train Amphitheatre
Tuesday, Sep. 24               Santa Barbara, CA    Santa Barbara Bowl
Thursday, Sep. 26              Mountain View, CA   Shoreline Amphitheatre
Saturday, Sep. 28              Los Angeles, CA        STAPLES Center
Sunday, Sep. 29                 Los Angeles, CA        STAPLES Center
Tuesday, Oct. 8                  Phoenix, AZ               Desert Sky Pavilion


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<p>Dixie Chicks</p>

Dixie Chicks

Credit: Columbia Records

Ten years later: What we learned from the Dixie Chicks controversy

Do men get a free pass for much harsher crimes? Why is Natalie Maines rehashing it?

It looks like the Dixie Chicks’ Natalie Maines is still not ready to make nice. On Sunday night, she tweeted:

As you may recall, 10 years ago on March 10, the Dixie Chicks were on tour in London.  Under President George W. Bush’s command, the U.S. was preparing to invade Iraq under the alleged belief that Saddam Hussein was hiding “weapons of mass destruction.”  Like many people in the U.S.  and the rest of the world who opposed the war from the start, more than 1 million Brits had marched again the impending invasion. Maines looked out over the audience at Shepherd’s Bush Empire Theater and said, “Just so you know, we’re on the good side with y’all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas.”

That’s it. Since then, the level of discourse between politicians has sunk so low that it’s hard to believe it even registered a blip. It was painful to watch as the press piled on and she had to make an apology that felt forced and ultimately did no good anyway. Her fellow Dixie Chicks, Emily Robison and Martie Maguire, publicly stood by her as they watched their career go down; Innocent bystanders standing too close to the flame

I remember exactly where I was when I learned of her remarks. I was in Texas at South By Southwest in Austin. I remember reading about it online that night and having that feeling of “This is either going to blow over” or “This is going to be a disaster.” It was that kind of hold-your-breath feeling, like when you watch a baby fall and you wait to see her reaction to see how spooked she is before you react.  Sometimes the baby gets back up and laughs, and sometimes the exact same fall can provoke screams and an avalanche of tears.

Maines’ comments were a country career killer. The reaction was swift, brutal and ongoing. It included stations boycotting the group and fans burning their CDs.  Regardless of whether one agreed with her views, the unofficial blacklisting, which continues to this day, was a ridiculously knee-jerk overreaction in a format that wraps itself in jingoistic patriotism often defined in one very narrow, conservative way with little tolerance for opposing views.  And I say that as a great fan of country music.  But its long-held embrace of this vision of America that no longer exists, if it ever did other than in the movies or on “The Andy Griffith Show,”  is antiquated and damaging.

The Dixie Chicks

Contrast country radio’s response to Natalie Maines’ comments, in which she merely expressed her opinion, and a relatively mild one at that, with how R&B and pop radio treated Chris Brown, who actually broke the law and horribly abused a woman in 2009. He’s been welcomed back into the fold with all kinds of back-slapping and merriment. Hmmm.

Plus, for all the cries of Un-Americanism that occurred when Maines criticized Bush, the same rules clearly don’t apply to criticizing Obama. Otherwise, how do you explain Ted Nugent? Yes, Hank Williams Jr. got dumped by ESPN in 2011 for comparing Obama to Hitler, but those remarks were far more egregious than anything Maines ever said and no classic country stations pulled his music for any duration.  At least Maines’ comments never required the Secret Service to launch an investigation they were so incendiary.

Does that tell us something about how female artists who voice an opinion are considered too strident, whereas their male counterparts don’t fall under the same confines?

 The Dixie Chicks made one more album, 2006’s “Taking the Long Way Home,” which included the song “Not Ready To Make Nice.” The tune addressed the Iraq controversy in this verse: “And how in the world/can the words that I said/Send somebody so over the edge/That they’d write me a letter/ Saying that I better shut up and sing/Or my life will be over.”  The song received little country airplay.

The tune went on to win song and record of the year at the 2007 Grammy Awards, while “Taking the Long Way Home” won album of the year. It was a clear mandate from the mainstream Grammy voters that they supported The Chicks both musically and politically.

A 2006 Cecilia Peck-directed documentary, the excellent “Shut Up & Sing,” chronicled the ordeal. Maines, who, to be honest, does not always come off as particularly likable (and God only knows what prompted her to open back up this can of worms via Twitter yesterday), vacillates between incredulity and anger that her words caused such a firestorm. Indeed, a decade later, it is really impossible to believe that the statement caused so much destruction.

So how have things changed? In the country world, sadly, I would say not at all.  If anything, country artists are even more close-mouthed today for fear of offending their fans in the fly-over states, many of whom are conservative.  I’ve had conversations with country superstars who were Obama supporters and yet they would no more announce that publicly in 2008 or 2012 than they would insult your mama. Sometimes, even playing at Obama’s White House is enough to set off reactionary fans.

In fact, I know of no way to make a country artist clam up faster than to ask him or her about his political views. They will voice their support for the troops (Make no mistake about it, country artists have really done wonderful work that way and many of them put their lives on the line going to perform for the troops), but that’s about it.

Maines’ solo album comes out in May and, as one would expect, she’s staying a country mile away from country radio. The set, “Mother,” leans more toward rock. Maybe all her Twitter talk was simply a way of calling attention to herself.

So a decade later we seem to be no wiser and no more tolerant of opposing political views.  I wish instead of flippantly mouthing off on Twitter (Typical follow up: someone tweeted back “You’re a dumbass,” Maines responded “You are”) Maines had written a serious piece about what she had learned from this experience 10 years down the road.  I’m not  sure the rest of us learned anything.

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Does the 2014 SAG Awards date hint at a January Academy Awards?

Does the 2014 SAG Awards date hint at a January Academy Awards?

It seems crazy, but is it?

Every four years the Winter Olympics take a major bite out of the February Primetime television schedule as tens of millions of Americans cuddle up in front of the tube to watch bobsled racing, ski jumping and curling in hopes of U.S.A. taking home the gold.  It's always been something of a pain for awards show schedulers, but beyond a late dater date for Oscar, everything usually worked itself out.  More recently, however, changing dates for the games have found major awards season players trying to find safe haven with a night or weekend all to themselves.  Throw in competition from the Super Bowl, Grammys and Sundance and the first two months of 2014 become something of a logistical nightmare. The first major awards extravaganza to put a stake in the ground?  The 20th Screen Actors Guild Awards on Saturday, Jan. 18.

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<p>Mumford &amp; Sons</p>

Mumford & Sons

Credit: Glassnote

Watch: Mumford & Sons' 'Whispers in the Dark' music video

Pre-show rituals

A lot of bands have pre-show rituals, what it takes for the members to pump themselves up for the stage. For Mumford & Sons in their video for "Whispers in the Dark," theirs may sometimes involve a sea adventure and fashions from the 1800s.

 While Marcus Mumford spiritual, desirous lyrics may point to an actual "ark," but the lead singer's chosen vessel is a motorcycle here, the leather jacket covering his usual tweed vest.

"There’s something a little different this time, with a concept concocted by the band in conjunction with director Jim Canty and featuring all four band members. It was shot in Camden, New Jersey during their recent East Coast US Tour and also features some other familiar faces," the band posted on their website. Canty has helmed vids for other artists like Mark Ronson and Spiritualized.

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<p>Wallace Shawn and Julianna Margulies in a scene from last night's &quot;The Good Wife.&quot;</p>

Wallace Shawn and Julianna Margulies in a scene from last night's "The Good Wife."

Credit: CBS

Be our guest: How 'The Good Wife' has mastered the art of stunt casting

Wallace Shawn's turn last night as a drug kingpin lawyer was just the show's latest bit of guest star inspiration

I was going to write up a post devoted solely to last night's episode of "The Good Wife," if only so I could begin with the line "just as soon as I sing the the 'Growing Pains' theme song." But I was inspired by Wallace Shawn's turn as Lamond Bishop's intimidating lawyer to instead write about how well that show, and some others on TV right now, use guest stars.

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"The Real Housewives of Atlanta"

 "The Real Housewives of Atlanta"

Credit: Bravo

'The Real Housewives of Atlanta' recap: Is Porsha controlled by Kordell?

NeNe suggests that Porsha's under her husband's thumb, but is that fair?

The ladies' trip to Los Angeles is about a minute long, as the real focus is not to promote NeNe's TV show (which, by the way, is pretty awful) but to get the women to Sin City, pronto. Everyone seems eager to get to Vegas, but not everyone seems excited about the sin part. Or, more specifically, Porsha isn't excited about the sin part, because Kordell doesn't approve. Or maybe he would and Porsha's blaming him, or maybe he just doesn't know. Things get a little confusing on this episode, but then, you can't really expect Porsha to put together a coherent argument about anything. 

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<p>Paul Walker pushes himself in some interesting ways in the new film 'Hours,' which premiered last night at the SXSW&nbsp;film festival.</p>

Paul Walker pushes himself in some interesting ways in the new film 'Hours,' which premiered last night at the SXSW film festival.

Credit: The Safran Company

Review: Paul Walker struggles to save his daughter in tense and tiny 'Hours'

A genre writer takes control of his career with this indie thriller

AUSTIN - Eric Heisserer has had a tough career to judge as a screenwriter. His produced credits so far are "Final Destination 5," "A Nightmare On Elm Street," and "The Thing," and I would genuinely have a hard time finding much good to say about any of the three. I would have an equally hard time blaming much about the films on him, because I am keenly aware of just how insignificant a part of the machinery you are as a writer when you're working on franchise films and high-stakes remakes for the studios. The key decisions on all three of those movies were made by people way above Heisserer's pay grade.

Heisserer published a short story called "Hours" on a site called Popcorn Fiction, and if you're a regular reader of this blog, then you may recognize that site's name. I published two stories on the site as well, and I assume the same thing I liked about it is what drew Heisserer to it. The site is owned by Derek Haas, a working screenwriter, and while Popcorn Fiction is happy to publish a writer's story, they don't demand any ownership of the material, nor do they retain any rights over it if you choose to do something with it in another media. It's a great place to showcase personal work that you might otherwise never get in front of an audience, and for Heisserer, it was a chance to publish something very different than the work he's known for already. Not long after he put it up, he took it back down because the story was optioned and was set to be developed into a feature.

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