Category Archives: Entertainment Journalism

Live Review: Rage Against the Machine Members Joined By Chuck D and B-Real for “Prophets of Rage” Show in L.A.

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA—This year’s messy, divisive presidential election has a silver lining: Rage Against the Machine has reunited—sort of.

At 7:05 AM on the Tuesday after Memorial Day, RATM’s Tom Morello, Brad Wilk, and Tim Commerford were joined by Chuck D and B-Real on KROQ. Together, the supergroup announced that they would be performing a surprise inaugural show in the evening at the Whisky A Go Go under the band name Prophets of Rage.

It was simple: one admission wristband per person, and the cost would be what Morello called “the people’s price: $20.” All of the proceeds would benefit the charity P.A.T.H.—People Assisting the Homeless.  One more rule: no cell phones.

Prophets of Rage - Rage Against the Machine Reunion - Chuck D - B-Real - Cypress Hill - Public Enemy

Photo by Brian Fishbach

Morello said the main reason they are getting together is because “both the country and the world are on the brink of the abyss, and we thought it was wholly irresponsible for us to be sitting on the sidelines.”

By 9:05 PM, original members of Rage Against the Machine, Public Enemy, and Cypress Hill were on stage together starting what they called “a musical revolution.”

The details of the revolution are still to be determined. But tonight, it involved twenty-one loud emotional songs spanning the careers of RATM, Public Enemy, and Cypress Hill.

Yes, original RATM frontman Zack de la Rocha was absent. But Chuck D and B-Real are deserving stand-ins. And they fit right in with three returning RATM guys.

In short, Prophets of Rage sounded amazing. They have been quietly rehearsing together nearly a month. Every move, every lyric and all the energy sounded explosive, in sync, and literally full of rage.

The night started with DJ Lord, who warmed up the crowd for ten minutes. The DJ set culminated with a remix of “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” the song to which the Prophets of Rage would first take the stage. Wilk sat at the drums, Morello grabbed a guitar that read “arm the homeless,” and Commerford, with his heavily tattooed biceps, picked up a bass.

The crowd of no more than 500 people were astonished at what they were looking at: a 75% RATM reunion. They were then hit with Chuck D and B-Real, both ready to blow the roof off the Whisky.

They opened with the group’s eponymous song, “Prophets of Rage,” a Public Enemy track from 1988.

Prophets ripped through two more RATM hits, “Guerilla Radio” and “Bombtrack” before playing the next Public Enemy tune, “My Uzi Weighs a Ton.”

The first part of the set would alternate a few more times, with RATM’s “People of the Sun” and “Take the Power Back.” Just before “Testify,” B-Real led the band through the 2000 Cypress Hill hit, “Rock Superstar.”

During that song, Commerford squinted at Morello who then gave a nod from across the stage. It seemed like a “just making sure we’re together” look. It was the kind  of non-verbal gesture that band mates who have been playing together for over 25 years would give to each other while just playing a cover for fun.

At one point, B-Real revealed that this concert was Chuck D’s first performance ever at the Whiskey on Sunset.

The next part of the set began as the RATM guys left the stage. Chuck D and B-Real then alternated singing each other’s hits, including “Bring the Noise” and “Insane in the Brain.” The entire time, Morello was taking a breather by the guitar tech, drinking a bottle of water, but bouncing and ferociously, one arm in the air, singing along.

Morello, Commerford, and Wilk jumped back in, ready to slay a few more RATM songs together on stage for the first time in nearly five years.

The last third of the setlist was marked by mostly RATM hits, beginning with “Sleep Now in the Fire.” After playing “Know Your Enemy,” B-Real mentoined Donald Trump, and the crowd booed in agreement.

It was evident that a big reason that Prophets of Rage got together is because of the rise of Trump. Morello even wore a red hat throughout the evening that read “Make America Rage Again,” a swift jab at Trump’s campaign slogan and goofy red hat.

Tom Morello Hat 2016 Donald Trump Parody

Photo by Brian Fishbach

Eventually, they played a mashup of the Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power” with the Beastie Boys’ “No Sleep Till Brooklyn.” The lyrics were changed, however to “No Sleep Till Cleveland,” a reference to the location of the Republican National Convention this summer.

That mashup ended with a brief jam that had some echos of Audioslave’s “Like a Stone”. Morello showcased how he can play a solo with his teeth.

Chuck D took a moment to acknowledge the elephant in the room: de la Rocha’s absence.

“We’re Prophets of Rage, but there’s always a seat warm for Zach de la Rocha,” he shouted.

B-Real continued, explaining the group’s mission: “We want y’all to know, we definitely, man, salute our brother [de la Rocha] right here, his words are needed right now. Well we decided to be the fuckin’ megaphone to shout in your fucking ear! Right now! You ready for that? You still standing strong?”

Wilk tapped the snare once and they started playing “Bulls on Parade.” B-Real reiterated one last time, “let’s make America rage again!” And the night ended the way RATM usually ended a show, with “Killing in the Name.” B-Real changed the lyrics, as de la Rocha usually did, to “some of those that burn crosses, are the same up in Congress.”

Prophets of Rage, along with DJ Lord took a bow. When the house lights turned on, fans ripped Shepard Fairey-designed posters from the walls. Fairey watched pleased from the balcony.

As the presidential election dialogue and demonstration literally rages on, the Prophets of Rage sound determined to spread their message of unrest and make a dent in it all. But until then, they will be playing another show at the Hollywood Palladium on June 3.

Rage Against the Machine Setlist 2016 Prophets of Rage Set List Whisky A Go Go

Photo by Brian Fishbach

SETLIST
Prophets of Rage (Public Enemy)
Guerilla Radio (RATM)
Bombtrack (RATM)
My Uzi Weighs a Ton (Public Enemy)
People of the Sun (RATM)
Take the Power Back (RATM)
Rock Superstar (Cypress Hill)
Testify (RATM)

(Morello, Wilk, Commerford exit)

Hands on the Pump (Cypress Hill)
Can’t Truss It (Public Enemy)
Insane in the Brain (Cypress Hill)
Bring the Noise (Public Enemy)
Ain’t Goin Out (Cypress Hill)
Terrordome (Cypress Hill)

(Morello, Wilk, Commerford return)

Sleep Now in the Fire (RATM)
Shut Em Down (Public Enemy)
Know Your Enemy (RATM)
Party’s Over (RATM)
No Sleep Till Cleveland / Fight the Power (Public Enemy)
Bulls on Parade (RATM)
Killing in the Name (RATM)

Brian Fishbach is a Music Journalist based in Los Angeles. Follow Brian on Twitter @BrianFishbach

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Guns N’ Roses Got Back Together ‘In This Lifetime’

Guns N’ Roses finally played a rock show again. And fans say it all lived up to the hype that has been building since the summer of 1993. Axl Rose, Slash, and Duff McKagan are officially back in the same band.

Friday night at the Troubador in Los Angeles, Guns N’ Roses played an intimate surprise concert. It had only been announced mere hours prior. A limited number of tickets (around 250) went on sale for only $10, setting off a massive line of would-be concert-goers at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Horne Avenue by 10:00 AM.

By the evening, the excitement had been brewing all day.

Even as late as 11:00 PM, some fans congregating outside the Troubador speculated that this could be some elaborate April Fools prank. And if it was, the thirty or so sheriff’s deputies on hand would have had a long night of thwarting riots.

But all signs were proving that this was no hoax. Literally:

guns-n-roses-not-in-this-lifetime-troubador-west-hollywood-california-2016-troubador

Photo by Brian Fishbach

Under a marquee sign that read “GUNS N ROSES, NOT IN THIS LIFETIME,” hundreds of envious fans gathered outside the Troubador in black leather, red bandanas, and GNR concert shirts. A few lamented that they shelled out as much as $1,000 to buy scalped admission wristbands, only to find out they were scammed. Real fans that obtained the scarce wristbands knew they could not put a price on rock music history.

Before the show, a few A-list celebrities dined at the next door Italian restaurant, Dan Tana’s. Spotted among them were Bradley Cooper and his mother Gloria, David Arquette, Chris Brown, and Jim Carrey. Others inside the Troubador included Nicholas Cage, Andrew Dice Clay, Lana Del Ray, Colin Hanks, Kate Hudson, and Lenny Kravitz.

Bradley Cooper arriving at the Guns N' Roses reunion show in West Hollywood. April 1, 2016

Photo by Brian Fishbach

The West Hollywood concert venue only has a capacity of 500. But in a few days, Guns N’ Roses will be entertaining entire football stadiums, and even headlining Coachella. Face-value for some of the best seats is in the ballpark of $500.

As lucky fans and VIP guests made their way into the Troubador, they were instructed to tuck their phones into green pouches that lock shut. The pouches, made by tech company Yondr, thwart fans from polluting the concert with endless smartphone picture-takers and annoying amateur videographers. Comedians Dave Chapelle and Louie CK have required their audiences to use the Yondr pouches at their recent shows as well. It also keeps the bootleg audio of their newest jokes off the internet.

But the no-phones rule didn’t stop a few fans from snapping some photos from the inside. The first photo of Axl on stage posted to Instagram just after midnight.

axl troubador 2016

Photo by Instagram users kunkfu33 and ali_shayesteh_management

Guns N’ Roses opened with “It’s So Easy,” and tore through a thorough setlist that included radio hits “Mr. Brownstone,” “Welcome to the Jungle,” and “Sweet Child O’Mine.” They didn’t have time for the nine-minute ballad, “November Rain.” But it all built up to an encore that closed the night with “Paradise City.”

Like any ordinary concert, fans scooped-up paper setlists and Slash’s guitar picks. One fan even caught a whistle that Axl threw into the crowd.

All of the grateful attendees were issued a souvenir black ticket (since their prized admission ticket had only been a wristband.) It was clearly an homage to their humble roots in the 1980s Los Angeles glam-rock scene, blended with a modern-day hashtag, #GnFnR. The ticket read,

GUNS N’ ROSES

DATE: Fri. April 1st

TIME: Sometime After 11 PM

#GnFnR

This was no ordinary concert. Guns N’ Roses are back. And now they are all warmed up to go on their first tour together in over twenty years.

guns n roses ticket troubador 2016

Photo by Instagram user paulhebertphoto

guns n roses setlist 2016 troubador

Photo by Instagram user damipantaleone


Pennywise Packs Hollywood Palladium for Three-Straight Nights of Full Album Setlists

Photo credit: Pennywisdom.com

Photo credit: Pennywisdom.com

Pennywise has a lot going well for them. They have pumped out an album almost every three years since 1988. They all still live with families where they grew up—the South Bay of Los Angeles. And the fans still show enough support to fill the Hollywood Palladium for three-straight nights.

Not only that, the punk rockers played a different album from beginning to end each of those nights. On Thursday, the self-titled album (1991). Friday, Unknown Road (1993). And on Saturday night, About Time (1995).

And even though all four members are either nearing or eclipsed age fifty, you could not tell unless you looked it up on Wikipedia.

Through all their years together, Pennywise’s onstage energy hasn’t waned a bit. And that’s expected out of a band that has had minimal (yet notable) lineup changes. And to understand those lineup changes is to understand Pennywise’s temperament.

In 1996, Pennywise lost their bassist Jason Thirsk to suicide. Lead singer Jim Lindberg, guitarist Fletcher Dragge, drummer Byron McMackin, and current bassist Randy Bradbury make sure to remind the crowd at every single show of Jason’s memory. Their last song ever since losing Jason has been a tribute song to him, “Bro Hymn.” One pre-chorus lyric reads, “brotherhood’s our rule we cannot bend.” The song is most notable for its passionate chanting chorus that directly mimics the repeating guitar riff. And the fans love to shout along.

It is almost as if every show that they do is dedicated to their dearly departed bandmate.

For a brief time from 2009 through 2012, lead singer Jim Lindberg left the band. Pennywise trucked on without him and released an album with replacement singer Zoli Teglas. And in 2012, when Teglas had an injury, Jim returned.

The gratefulness that these guys have for sticking together showed in every single second of every song at their three-night Palladium residency.

On night two, the crowd was already stuffed to capacity by time opening band H20 hit the stage. Outside the weed-haloed concert hall, a merchandise line easily fifty fans deep stretched down the concessions hallway. The shirts that have sold out the fastest are Pennywise parodies of Los Angeles-area sports logos: a black Kings-Pennywise mashup, a white Lakers-Pennywise girl shirt, and a blue Dodgers-Pennywise baseball tee.

A young fan boasts that his entire family drove up from San Diego just for the show.

By the time the lights dimmed, the nearly 4,000 fans were ready. Over the speakers, a piano riff of “Bro Hymn” built the anticipation. That happens to be just how the album Unknown Road begins. And then six-foot five-inch guitarist Dragge ripped a power chord as the spotlight hit Lindberg.

“Hello we are Pennywise!” Lindberg shouts into the microphone. Shirts and beers are launched into the air by fans ready to mosh. And from there, the energy didn’t stop until the house lights came on.

After moving the crowd for the first two songs, Dragge asked the them, “how many weed smokers are out there?” The crowd roars and flickers of lighters speckle. “How many vape smokers out there?” Dragge asked the crowd again. This time they “boo.” Typical questions coming from a guitarist with a beer-holder on his mic stand.

More items are tossed in the air as the mosh pit keeps spinning ravenously. Twice, Lindberg announces to the crowd that he found a wallet on stage.

And then a few words of homage. Lindberg admits that twenty-five years ago, the first time Pennywise played their hometown’s Palladium was in support of the album Unknown Road. After playing the song “Tester,” he shouts, “we haven’t played that live in 20 years.”

As the first set ends, Lindberg makes a pact with the crowd: “If you keep coming, we’ll keep coming, is that a fucking deal, LA? How about next year, we do the Full Circle album?”

The second set of the night begins immediately following the end of Unknown Road. They are playing the song “Something to Change,” but poor Lindberg minces the lyrics with another song. Not too surprising, as so many of the four-chord punk songs bear a beautiful resemblance to one another. Dragge chastises Lindberg, “we’re not supposed to stop when we fuck up! We broke that rule!”

A few songs later, they begin playing one of their more mainstream hits, “Fuck Authority.” The mosh pit looks more violent than ever. And floating around on top of the pit is a 31-year-old, five-foot three-inch woman from Pasadena named Devin Bell. She is attending all three concerts. She is handling the crowd surfing with a yoga-like cadence. She also got a Pennywise logo tattooed on her torso in December.

“It was so much fun,” Bell explains as she recalls sitting on a guy’s shoulders as he ran around the circle pit. “I want to engage with people, so when I’m singing and sitting on a guy’s shoulders, I want people to feel the energy that I’m feeling. I’m motivated by the music.”

A special guest is then welcomed to the stage: former Bad Religion and Circle Jerks guitarist Greg Hetson. Dragge towers over him as they team up to play a cover of Bad Religion’s “Do What You Want.”

As the energy is reaching an apex, Bradbury starts picking the bass riff to “Bro Hymn.” The crowd knows that this is it. After the first chorus, Pennywise is joined on stage by family and friends. Lindberg gives one of his daughters a high five. He is clearly a family man. And it was even more evident in his 2007 book, Punk Rock Dad.

“Bro Hymn” ends, the lights come up, the energy dissipates, and Pennywise exits.

As most of the crowd dispersed, some sweaty exhausted fans congregated up front to snag the band’s discarded guitar picks, drumsticks, and setlists from the roadie crew. One fan received not a setlist, but a printout of selected lyrics to some lesser-played Unknown Road songs. Maybe Lindberg did seem a little bit in his fifties.

Nobody seemed to notice. The guys of Pennywise seem no older than the twenty-three year-old album they just rocked.

BRIAN FISHBACH is a music journalist based in Los Angeles.

You can find his stories about rockstars at www.BrianFishbach.com


Red Hot Chili Peppers Rock Out at Fundraiser for Bernie Sanders

Red Hot chili Peppers fundraiser for bernie sanders los angeles ace hotel

LOS ANGELES — The Red Hot Chili Peppers showed just how much they “feel the Bern” last night.

The SoCal rockers played an energetic concert at the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles as a fundraiser for presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders.

Every time Anthony Keidis or Flea mentioned Senator Sanders, the beyond-capacity crowd of over 1,600 went into a frenzy—all while the man of the night was 2,700 miles away, campaigning in New Hampshire.

bernie sanders red hot chili peppers

It had all the trimmings of a typical campaign event: rows and rows of “Bernie 2016” signs, and volunteers armed with clipboards selling shirts, hats, and stickers.

Shepard Fairey, the artist behind the Obama “Hope” poster, designed the poster for the event and was in attendance as well.

The price of admission was bound to have generated a modest boost in funds for Senator Sanders. Although tickets prices started at $40, they soared up to $2,000 for a front-row seat and a meet-and-greet with the Chili Peppers. Undoubtedly, many volunteers and fans received comped tickets

The Grammy Award-winning group offered to do more, but Senator Sanders stood by his anti-large donation pledge.

“We offered to pay for the rent for the hotel and Bernie would not accept,” Keidis explained in a radio interview on KLOS.  “[Bernie] said ‘no I can’t take your money, that’s not how I work, I’m not taking those size contributions from groups, corporations, anything at all.’”

As the house lights dimmed to start the show, a two-minute taped video featured Senator Sanders thanking the crowd and the band for their support. From there, the band launched into a 12-song set-list that began with “Can’t Stop.”

Keidis then told the crowd that he’s supporting Bernie because he’s the “cutest candidate,” among other reasons. Sanders already has the endorsement of a plethora entertainers.

Then all four Chili Peppers adorned “Bernie 2016” hats, took a group photo, and bounced into their 1999 hit song, “Around the World.”

Sanders wasn’t the only one getting support from the Chili Peppers. They played homage to their recently departed idol and friend, David Bowie, with a cover of the song “Cracked Actor.”

And at center stage throughout the night, Chad Smith’s drum set featured a basshead with a mashup of Bowie and Sanders’ face.

david bowie drum set bass chad smithbernie sanders red hot chili peppers

BRIAN FISHBACH is a music journalist based in Los Angeles. Brian previously worked as a staffer in the U.S. Senate. You can find his stories about rockstars at www.BrianFishbach.com

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The Master of Reuniting 1990s Teen Film Casts

There is a film enthusiast in Los Angeles who is becoming the go-to-guy for wrangling and hosting 1990s film cast reunions: 24-year-old Kory Davis.

The grinning, self-declared “Movie Dude” has spent the past year commiserating with his favorite late-twentieth-century film actors and producers to the delight of almost a dozen sold-out screenings at classic movie theaters around Los Angeles.

In just the past year, Davis has hosted screenings and interviewed members of the casts of the American Pie series, the Harold & Kumar series, Mortal Kombat, The Power Rangers Movie, Bride of Chucky, Jawbreaker, The Wizard, Empire Records, The Girl Next Door, and 10 Things I Hate About You.  

But unlike most interviewers who ask open-ended questions to bored Hollywood stars, Davis is apt to insert his own commentary during his Q & A sessions. The actors sitting with him on wooden stools at the front of the packed theaters are always visibly amused by Davis’ verbose, unfiltered comments and curious questions.

“Alot of moderators ask very generic questions,” Davis explains. “I want to know how many times did Jason Biggs f–k the pie. How does the director even direct that?”

Photo by Antonio E. Pedreira

Kory Davis leading a discussion with the cast of Harold & Kumar on the film’s 10th anniversary. Photo by Antonio E. Pedreira.

As Davis put the 10 Things I Hate About You reunion together last November, actor David Krumholtz flattered Davis’ abilities, saying that in order to coax Joseph Gordon-Levitt to attend, he plead, ‘this kid is awesome, he’s not just a studio moderator.”  Joe did indeed show up to the midnight reunion and screening at Santa Monica’s Nuart Theater. Joe even stayed until his movie ended at half past 2:00 AM.

Growing Up in the Projection Room

One of Davis’ advantages is that he was as young as five years-old when he first saw some of the movies he screens. That’s a benefit of having an older brother and sister cool enough to show you PG-13 and R-rated movies. In fact, Davis spent his formative years watching teen comedies and horror films in the projection room of movie theaters in Louisiana.

By 2000, after seeing I Know What You Did Last Summer, She’s All That, Boys and Girls, and Down to You, the ten-year-old Davis was thoroughly inspired by the poise of the various characters played by Freddie Prinze, Jr.

Davis was so moved that he penned a three-page hand-written letter to the actor detailing how Prinze’s roles make him feel better about his struggles in middle school. Davis admits, “it was a sad, tragic letter,” and even more-so that Prinze never responded.

Still, much like the endings in his favorite 1990s films, Davis’ solitude in the projection room with just a 35MM roll by his side, his struggles eventually turned into a something great: a career.

During college, Davis interned at William Morris Endeavor doing story development. And sixteen years after first seeing Last Summer, Davis not only received a film degree from Columbia College, but was handed the degree at graduation by none other than the film’s star, Jennifer Love-Hewitt.

American Pie and Beyond

Only a year out of college, Davis crossed paths with Jon Hurwitz, the co-writer-director of the fourth installation of the American Pie series, as well as the co-creator of the Harold & Kumar series. Davis presented himself as the number-one fan of the American Pie series, and Hurwitz took him up on the idea to reunite the cast for the film’s 15th anniversary in the summer of 2014.

Clad in a shirt featuring a pie with a hole in it, Davis hosted an immaculate question and crude commentary session at the New Beverly Cinema. He was easily the youngest person in front of the crowd, with Jason Biggs, Tara Reid, John Cho, and Eddie Kaye Thomas all at least 10 years his senior.

“It was great, many of these actors know they have had successful careers because of these movies, so let’s celebrate it,” Davis describes the evening.

And celebrate they did. At one point, Davis voiced into the microphone his preferences, ranking the second American Pie film as “the funniest”. Then, Davis chastised the plot and love interest of the third film. The reunited cast members shot themselves a “did he just say that” look. But they knew, this was coming from a fan who still loves the film as much as he did when he first saw it at age 9.

Davis’ success at reuniting and interviewing 1990s film casts has earned him much acclaim from his subjects. Hurwitz recently posted his praise of the Movie Dude on Facebook: “Davis is the awesome young man who put together the amazing Harold & Kumar and American Pie anniversary screenings at the New Beverly last year. Since then, he’s gone on a tear, hosting events for his favorite movies all across LA. His Q & A’s are hilarious and unique, because you’re watching a genuinely obsessed movie fan mixing it up with his heroes unfiltered.”

The success is not stopping there.  Davis is about to become a touring interviewer for an upcoming Power Rangers reboot, featuring trips to Texas and even to London.

But before then, Davis has even more 1990s cinematic glory to celebrate in the coming weeks:

On Friday, March 20, Davis will be hosting a screening of I Know What You Did Last Summer and The Faculty. Cast attendees are yet to be announced, but the event will also be Davis’ 25th birthday.

On Friday, March 27, Davis will be hosting 15th anniversary screening of Coyote Ugly.

And on April 17, Davis will be hosting a reunion for the 1998 high school party bash film, Can’t Hardly Wait—and the films’ fans are eager to find out if the starring actress who handed Davis his college diploma will be in attendance. Either way, it is sure to be another fantastic night of 1990s teen comedy nostalgia.

To stay in the loop, follow Davis on Twitter: @Moviedude18


George Carlin’s Daughter Brings Dad Back to Life in Stage Show

Photo by Sherry Greczmiel

Photo by Sherry Greczmiel

It has been almost seven years since comedian George Carlin died at age 71.

Throughout his illustrious career, he was a Hippy-Dippy Weatherman, he got arrested for wrangling the Seven Words You Can’t Say on Television, he questioned the Government, and lampooned organized religion.

For over 50 years, Carlin toured the world sharing his meticulously-rehearsed comedy with devoted audiences. And while these worshipful fans of today get satisfaction out of just thinking of the man’s quotes, his only child, Kelly Carlin, still recalls him as “Dad”.

So what was it like having one of the twentieth century’s greatest entertainers for a father?

Kelly Carlin has one weekend left of her one-month residency of her one-person Broadway-caliber show about growing up with George as Dad, and mother Brenda.

The show, titled A Carlin Home Companion, will be playing until March 1st at the 130-seat Falcon Theater in Burbank. Audiences will get not just a George tribute, but a multimedia emotional story from Kelly about family, adolescence, dreams, passions, life, humor, and death.

“One of the things is just to be able to give [George Carlin] fans a 360-degree human perspective of my father as a man, as a husband, as a struggling artist who questioned purpose in life,” said Kelly of her show. “People saw this one version of my father on stage and just didn’t know much about him as a human.”

And it wasn’t all glamor and glory for Kelly, having a famous (and in some circles, infamous) Dad and growing up on Los Angeles’ lavish west side. Kelly’s show illustrates that the simplicity of her father’s comedy actually came from a man with a complicated, yet always loving, home life.

In total, Kelly Carlin’s show is the product of four years of writing, memorizing and performing the show at comedy festivals—carefully refining each moment of the 45 years she shared with her father down to a 95-minute masterpiece. Evidently, editing and exquisite stage presence are hereditary virtues.

Kelly, 51, hopes that people can learn through her story that coming to terms with life’s burdens can “take a while,”  and “takes a lot of courage.” She says that the show is “an interesting balance between being on [her] life, and at this point, is an exercise as an artist in creating a world for the audience to live through.”

Along with the stage direction of comedian-filmmaker Paul Provenza (The Aristocrats), A Carlin Home Companion brings to life what Kelly says, is the vulnerability many artists struggle with as they attempt to feel internally safe in the world.

Some of the most well-known comedians today have shown interest in Kelly’s show. In a recent episode of his podcast with Kelly, comedian Todd Glass admitted that he will not only be seeing the show with his production staff, but that he is indeed one of those fans who has elevated George (jocularly) to near-deity status: when Glass feels the need to prove himself, he doesn’t “swear to God”, he swears “to George Carlin”.

When the Los Angeles run of A Carlin Home Companion ends in early March, Kelly plans to take the show national. She will also be releasing what will likely be a detailed and deep memoir in September of this year.

And if you want to share some quality time with Kelly as she shares her tales from the Carlin family, go see A Carlin Home Companion on its final weekend:  http://www.falcontheatre.com/


Sum 41’s Deryck Whibley Performs Live for the First Time Since Nearly Dying

He didn’t storm into the party like [his] name was El Niño. That was 2001 (with his MTV smash hit, “Fat Lip”).

deryck whibley back on stageThis is thirteen years later. Meet Deryck Whibley—the lead singer and guitarist from Canadian punk-rock quartet Sum 41.

After millions of album sales, dozens of world tours, and collaborations with pop superstars Ludacris and Iggy Pop, Whibley took on this night what might be the biggest step of his life:  he calmly jumped back on stage to do what he loves most with six strings and amplified distortion.

To the casual observer, Whibley’s return to the stage looked like a quick cameo by a five-foot four-inch bleach-blond guitarist in a cover band.

But only six months ago, Whibley nearly died of alcohol-induced liver and kidney failure. So this night was a momentous occasion for the 34-year-old.

While Horrible Bosses 2 was premiering at the TCL Chinese Theater a few blocks away, Whibley’s return to the stage happened at what might have been the best party in Hollywood that night—at a bowling alley of all places.

The night began with the cover band Toddsplanet, fronted by H20 founder and touring Offspring guitarist Todd Morse. The 10-piece orchestra featured a talented, energetic brood of musicians specializing in rock-hip-hop-groovy-hybrid cover songs mostly from the late 20th century. As they opened their set with covers of “Back in Black”, “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked”, and the Rolling Stones’ “Miss You”, the bowling alley turned into the House of Blues.

But this wasn’t a concert Whibley. It was actually a fundraiser for The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank—and a delightful way for Whibley to ease back into the live music scene in the company of friends and family. And Playboy Bunnies, who along with Lucky Strike Entertainment, were a sponsor of the evening.

As Toddsplanet continued their set list of eclectic cover songs, Whibley waited for his cue to come on stage while standing about ten feet back from the front with his fiance, Ariana Cooper, by his side. The mere sight of Cooper standing with her arm wrapped around Whibley elicited a beautiful balance:  she is a stunning Los Angeles model standing least six feet tall (without platform shoes), with deep brown hair reaching almost to her waist.

If this were a Sum 41 show, Whibley and Cooper would have been in the epicenter of a mosh pit. Instead, they were soaking up each song belted by Toddsplanet. They weren’t dancing, swaying, or singing. They were content to have come this far together since Whibley’s alcoholism caught up with him half a year ago.

About midway through the set, the cover band’s front man called into the crowd for a guest performer to come on stage. But it wasn’t Whibley.

Strutting to the stage in a light-blue blazer with a fat cigar sizzling in his mouth came Entourage star Jeremy Piven. After a quick twirling of the drumsticks, Piven and the rest of Toddsplanet rocked a spot-on cover of Tom Petty’s “Mary Jane’s Last Dance”.  Later on, the bearded Piven would explain that his biggest influences in the drummer’s seat are Cream’s Ginger Baker, and Nirvana’s Dave Grohl.  And it showed.  Piven never missed a beat.

Whibley and Cooper grinned and snapped pictures of Piven smashing the drums. But overall, kept their animation to a minimum.

Two songs after Piven on the drums, Morse called upon Whibley to come on stage and and perform a passionate rendition of the Rolling Stones’ “Bitch”.  Joining Whibley on the guitar was Sugarcult guitarist Marko DeSantis who would take the lead on covering the Keith Richards guitar solos. Whibley stood in the back center, gingerly headbanging and ripping loud distorted power chords on a Fender Telecaster. Didn’t crack a smile.  Didn’t sing a word. His friends, several of whom originated in Canada as well, cheered him on. Cooper smiled from ear to ear at her man.

After stepping off the stage, the first person to hug Whibley was Piven. Although Whibley and Piven were taking pictures together in the middle of the crowd during the rest of the show, it is not likely that the Emmy award-winning actor will be filling the vacant drummer job for Sum 41. Steve Jocz, the long-time Sum 41 drummer, quit the band in 2013.

When asked about how he’s doing, Whibley said with poise and pride, “I feel absolutely great…just making new stuff for Sum 41.”

For the next nine and a half songs, the cover band continued to delight the crowd of over two hundred attendees. The night culminated with a 4-minute dance party as Toddsplanet finished their set with a cover of OutKast’s “Hey Ya!”  Whibley absorbed it all from the front of the would-be mosh pit with Piven.

Still, for the foreseeable future, the tabloid press will continue to define Whibley as either the ex-husband of Avril Lavigne (they split in 2010) or as just another recovering rockstar alcoholic.

But that could hardly be further from the truth. Whibley is back in the studio churning out another Sum 41 album. He’s alcohol-free, surrounded by talented friends, and even found time during Thanksgiving week to take his Mom to a Fleetwood Mac concert at The Inglewood Forum. He may not have stormed into the party like [his] name was El Niño, but he’s back and looks better than ever.


10 Things I Hate About You Cast Reunion Reminisces Like It Was 1999

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Andrew Keegan, and David Krumholtz Reunite for a “10 Things” Screening

In front of a packed house of more than 200 at 11:59 PM last Friday night, actors Joseph Gordon-Levitt, David Krumholtz, Andrew Keegan, and Susan May Pratt came together to celebrate fifteen years of 10 Things I Hate About You–a late-1990s high school comedy based loosely on William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew.

The pre-screening question and answer session featured the slap-happy actors, as well as screenwriters Karen McCullah and Kirsten Smith–and it felt like nothing short of a high school reunion of old friends.

On filming, actor David Krumholtz, who flew in from New Jersey just for the reunion, told the audience at the Nuart Theater in West Los Angeles, “the movie was like summer camp…and the group of actors hung out every single night.”

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who of all the actors at the reunion has achieved the most success since 1999, explained that the camaraderie they exuded while filming “never happens” amongst cast members, which ultimately made for such fantastic chemistry on screen.

The actors, now all in their mid-thirties, shared off-set anecdotes involving gratuitous cannabis use (which eventually became legal in Tacoma, Washington, where 10 Things was filmed), a group-outing to see the Beastie Boys in concert on their Hello Nasty tour, and rehearsing the famous penis-on-face drawing on Krumholtz by Keegan.

Eventually, the talk turned to a discussion of the fellow castmates who weren’t present at the reunion.

Although mention of Julia Styles was sparse, Larisa Oleynik offered a heartfelt email to be read to the crowd explaining her absence–she had lost her wallet and ID the night before in New York City and was unable to board a plane to California.

The most sincere moment of the evening by far was when the actors recalled their experiences with the late Heath Ledger, whose North American film career began with playing the mysteriously hilarious Patrick Verona in 10 Things.

On working with Ledger, Keegan told the crowd that “he was such a magical character, I’ve learned so much and was so inspired, having the opportunity to spend so much time [with Heath].”  Krumholtz shared that even though Heath arrived at the set two-weeks later than the rest of the cast that he “ingratiated himself” to everyone, and was “the de-facto leader of the group.”

Gordon-Levitt related how Ledger was quick to tease on set, and “knew how to play with you in such a way.”

After asking Keegan, clad in a fedora and a cape, about what other 1990s films he wanted to have a cast reunion, he admitted, “just this one, great to see everybody back together, connecting, remembering, experiencing shooting the film.  We had a great time.”  Likely as good of a time as the fans had

All for the price of $11, one fan in the crowd joked that she would have paid $100 to share the room with the teen film idols.

Around thirty minutes after midnight, 10 Things I Hate About You began to play to the cheers and applause of the crowd.  At 2:00 AM, as the credits began to roll, Joseph Gordon-Levitt put on a baseball cap and slyly escaped through the back exit like Batman.  Or in his case, Robin.


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