Memo to the NFL: Clean it up or Close it down


Two weeks ago before a video emerged of Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice brutally hitting his wife in a hotel elevator, I gave my students an assignment as a writing prompt. “NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has said if a player is accused of domestic abuse moving forward, the punishment Read more

What to do if You Just Got Laid Off or Fired


To me, other than the loss of a loved one, I cannot think of an event more disheartening, more unnerving, more earth-shattering than being laid off or fired from what provides you and your family with basic necessities--food, clothing, and shelter. It seems to me, as of late, that everyone I know Read more

Is Ghostbusters the Perfect Comedy? Quite Possibly.


When my colleagues recently organized a matinee viewing of the remastered re-release of the 1984 classic, Ghostbusters, to kickstart Labor Day weekend, I was all in. I've always loved the movie, Ghostbusters, but admitted that I hadn't seen it from beginning to end in over a decade. Sure, I'd seen clips here Read more

A (Video) Wake-Up Call


We’re all guilty of it at one time or another. Our favorite actor, sports star or politician finds himself or herself in a bad place. Perhaps it’s an affair that stuns, domestic abuse that horrifies or – worst of all – murder to another human being. We, the fans, Read more

Joan Rivers: An American Institution


“Think positive. Make a list. “One, I don’t live in Bosnia. Two, I never dated O. J.” I started to write a memorial for Joan Rivers and found the task more difficult than I expected it to be. Why? Celebrity deaths hurt, especially when we feel like we’ve known the Read more

Preserving the Phantom Set & Silent Film History


For those of us who grew up loving film, there are certain moments that are engrained in our minds from movies seen on the big and small screens during our youth. Remember ducking your head below the old theater seats when the raptors chased down children in a massive Read more

Music

Concert Review: “Bruno Mars – The Moonshine Jungle Tour” 2014 Leg

Posted on by Alex Beene in Entertainment, Featured, Music | Leave a comment

98fb846afbf385de347341fb29adad9c Concert Review: Bruno Mars   The Moonshine Jungle Tour 2014 Leg

*The following reviews were gathered from Bruno Mars’ performance at the FedEx Forum on June 6, 2014. He’s currently traveling the United States for the second leg of his Moonshine Jungle Tour.*

Alex Beene: I never saw Michael Jackson live in concert. Sad, I know. Thanks to MJ’s weird obsession with staying off the road in later years and blowing millions in Vegas on junk that now occupies dusty space in the attic of Neverland Ranch, my knowledge of the former King of Pop’s performance power will forever be limited to clips from the past.

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Roundtable: What is the Best Disney Song Ever?

Posted on by Alex Beene in Entertainment, Featured, Movies, Music, Roundtables | 3 Comments

disneyrank Roundtable: What is the Best Disney Song Ever?

Alex Beene: Disney’s latest animated feature is one of their biggest hits ever. “Frozen” has made more than $1 billion worldwide, has merchandise selling out in stores nationwide and has kids lining – and parents paying – up to get in on the fun (the wait to see the “Frozen” princesses at Disney World runs an average of two hours!). Read more

Love Never Felt So Good

Posted on by Warner Russell in Featured, Music | 1 Comment

2014 05 02 michaeljackson justintimberlake timbaland jpg 630x360 q85 Love Never Felt So Good

Last summer’s hit song, Robin Thicke and Pharrell’s “Blurred Lines,” was awesome the first time I heard it. Catchy the next 20 times. But naturally, like most summer jams, it got really, really stale by the middle of June. Then there was the whole Miley Cyrus/Robin Thicke VMA debacle that completely ruined it.

About a week ago, I heard “Love Never Felt So Good” off of Michael Jackson’s posthumous release Xscape. Then I heard the version of the song that featured Justin Timberlake. Immediately I knew this would be the 2014 summer mega-hit.

It’s catchy. It’s danceable. The video is great. It alludes to Jackson’s past videos and features JT doing some signature MJ moves. It’s pretty much the perfect song for the hot summer months. So look for it in the club, on the radio, on the streets, everywhere.

And in about two months, look for it to still be enjoyable. “Blurred Lines” became very easy to hate. “Love Never Felt So Good” will be a song the world is still enjoying years from now. The duet between the King of Pop and who I believe is his heir-apparent is a refreshing change of pace for the inevitable continuous airplay this summer.

If you haven’t heard it, check out the video below. I bet you’ll love it. And I bet you’ll still love it next summer.

2014 Beale Street Music Festival

Posted on by Warner Russell in Entertainment, Featured, Music | Leave a comment

Screen shot 2014 02 27 at 11.29.06 AM 2014 Beale Street Music Festival

Last year I shared my knee jerk reactions to the Beale Street Music Festival lineup announcement. Comments came along throughout the day lauding how great a job Memphis does getting decent acts to Tom Lee Park for the affordable event, and I felt like a jackass for putting down the Little Festival that Could.

The year before last, my last time to attend the BSMF, I wrote a short review and a long rant about how to make the festival better. I still stand by those thoughts. Read more

In Defense of Justin Bieber

Posted on by Alex Beene in Entertainment, Featured, Music | Leave a comment

bieber1 In Defense of Justin Bieber

Kudos to Virginia Sen. Mark Warner for proving himself to be – like most of his D.C. colleagues – completely off-focus. Instead of making headlines for doing anything legislatively progressive, he saw top news billing for saying he would sign a petition to deport Canadian pop singer Justin Bieber.

And why has this petition been started? Multiple stories have surfaced in recent weeks of Bieber’s wild lifestyle. He got a DUI, which subsequently produced a memorable mugshot. Investigators have pulled drugs from his homes and planes. The paparazzi is following him on a 24/7 basis at this point, and not a day goes by that his photos aren’t splashed on media sites.

Let me insert a rare dose of logic into this mainstream entertainment disease: Justin Bieber is 19 years old. I’ll repeat that: he’s 19. To put into context for guys and girls of my generation how young he is, he was three months old when “The Lion King” released to theaters for the first time. Yeah.

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Daft Punk, Macklemore & Madonna Head Up Historic Grammys

Posted on by Alex Beene in Awards Addict, Entertainment, Featured, Music | Leave a comment

grammy1 Daft Punk, Macklemore & Madonna Head Up Historic Grammys

In many ways, the 56th Annual Grammys was a mixture of everything right and wrong with modern awards shows. Performances ranged from the inspirational to the outlandish, but all proved to be the type of buzz-worthy segments show producers were eager to achieve.

The 2014 ceremony was all about the leading women in music. Beyoncé kicked off the show with a sizzling “Drunk in Love” bit with husband Jay-Z. Lorde kept her angsty persona going with a memorable “Royals” solo. Who didn’t love Pink’s stunning descent from the ceiling? And Taylor Swift seemed hell-bent to prove her critics wrong and did such with a stunningly aggressive rendition for “All Too Well.”

Of course, the boys had their fun, too. Kendrick Lamar with Imagine Dragons easily stole the show with an intensity rarely seen on the Grammys stage. Ditto to Metallica’s return and the crazed finale that saw Nine Inch Nails, Queens of the Stone Age and Dave Grohl go ballistic with one of the best rock mash-ups in recent memory.

It was Daft Punk and friends who really owned the evening, though. Think it couldn’t get any better than an on-stage medley with Stevie Wonder? Amazingly, it did, as the crew swept the show, earning Record and Album of the Year. All of the “Get Lucky” love almost made us forget about Pharrell’s outrageous hat. Well, almost.

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