Still more bands have been added to the increasingly amazing lineup for next month’s 2010 Norman Music Festival.
According to Oklahoma Rock Newsblog, Eagle Claw, Dikes of Holland, The Cassingles, The Stuffies, Indian Jewelry, Psychedelic Horseshit, Audra Mae, Ali Harter, Maggie McClure, Sherree Chamberlain, Green Corn Revival, Sh—-/Awesome, Gang Starr Museum, The Boom Bang, Algebra, Scales of Motion, 8Bit Cynics, Hiphopotamus, Copperheads, The Easy Lovers, Venus Bogardus, Radio Deception, Quantum Turbo, The Lily Guild, Wondernaut and The Candyguns have been added to the two-day free festival.
The third annual all-ages event will take place in downtown Norman on Saturday, April 24 and Sunday, April 25. Saturday performances will take place at night inside downtown venues, while Sunday performances will take place all day on stages set up on Main Street as well as inside downtown venues.
For more information, including previously announced artists, go to www.normanmusicfestival.com.
Today, I’m dedicating another of our Wednesday Video Spotlights to awesome trailers and clips from upcoming movies.
“Clash of the Titans,” which opens Friday, is among the previews posted below. Be sure to look for my feature on Sam Worthington and my review of the movie here at the blog on Friday.
Taylor Swift (Associated Press file photo)
Country music sensation is bringing her 2010 “Fearless Tour” to Oklahoma City’s Ford Center tonight.
I’ll be reviewing the show, so to prep, I’m posting some of Swift’s music videos here for the Wednesday Video Spotlight.
Be sure to check back here on the blog for my reviewing late tonight/early in the morning.
Rascal Flatts (Associated Press file photo)
Country band Rascal Flatts, which includes Joe Don Rooney of Picher, last weekend took a trip to Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla., to tape an appearance on the “Ellen DeGeneres Show.” The appearances is set to air Thursday, according to RascalFlatts.com.
Rascal Flatts performed their rapidly rising hit single, “Unstoppable,” which is currently No. 12 and climbing on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart.
In Oklahoma City, “Ellen” airs at 9 a.m. weekdays on KOCO-5.
For more TV news, go to Penny Soldan’s always-informative blog at blog.newsok.com/television.
From Wednesday’s Life section of The Oklahoman. 2 1/2 of 4 stars.
‘Last Song’ serves as Hannah Montana’s weepy swan song
Teen star Miley Cyrus takes a sizeable but savvy step away from her “Hannah Montana” persona with “The Last Song,” an effective if overstuffed weepy from best-selling novelist Nicholas Sparks (“The Notebook,” “Dear John”).
The film marks Cyrus’ canny attempt to transition away from the popular Disney Channel series that made her an acting/singing sensation with tween girls. Cyrus’ manager-mom Tish Cyrus even served as executive producer, with Sparks tailoring the story just for the young star. Cyrus, 17, again plays a musically talented teen, but this time one dealing with countless grown-up issues.
That’s barely exaggeration: Sparks’ tendency to heap drama after drama on his characters nearly undoes the film. His script calls upon Cyrus’ Ronnie to contend with divorce, first love, abusive relationships, class warfare, mean girls, serious illness and more. Naturally, this forces director Julie Anne Robinson to glue the movie together with more montages than a high school yearbook.
“The Last Song” opens as bitterly rebellious Ronnie and her chipper kid brother Jonah (Bobby Coleman) travel from New York to a picturesque Georgia beach town to spend the summer with their estranged father, Steve (Greg Kinnear). Ronnie blames her composer/pianist father for their parents’ divorce, and to spite him, she has given up her piano studies despite a scholarship offer from Juilliard.
Ronnie spends most of her time stewing in cynicism until she saves a nest of turtle eggs from hungry raccoons. Her act of kindness leads to a relationship with courtly and hunky aquarium volunteer Will (Liam Hemsworth), and the thrill of young love helps Ronnie shed her bitter shell. But Ronnie has daunting trust issues, and both Will and her father are harboring secrets that could break her heart.
Though she still uses her long locks as a kind of emotive crutch, Cyrus puts in a respectable performance, sparking strong chemistry with her co-stars and rolling with Sparks’ frequent plot turns. Ronnie’s surly attitude and single curse word may turn off some Cyrus fans and their parents.
While Cyrus essentially carries the film, Coleman, 12, manages to upstage the entire cast, not only delivering the best lines with aplomb but also shattering hearts in the film’s heavier moments.
It has too many verses and dramatic flourishes, including more than a few eye-rolling embellishments, but “The Last Song” hits enough right notes to induce laughter, tears and fond feelings toward families and first loves.
Taylor Swift poses for a photo at the 2010 Grammy Awards. (Associated Press file photo)
A version of this story appears in Wednesday’s Life section of The Oklahoman.
Gloriana vocalist gives her view of Taylor Swift’s singing
Despite boffo album sales and sold-out shows, superstar Taylor Swift has earned jeers for her live-on-TV performances at music awards shows.
Complaints about her singing skills undoubtedly took the shine off an otherwise triumphant night at January’s Grammy Awards, where she won four prizes, for best female country vocal performance and best country song for “White Horse” and album of the year and best country album for “Fearless.”
Scott Borchetta, CEO of Swift’s label, Big Machine Records, personally came to Swift’s defense after her off-key Grammys duet with Stevie Nicks drew widespread criticism. He blamed the less-than-impressive performance on a technical glitch.
After seeing the 20-year-old singer-songwriter’s live show about a dozen times, singer Rachel Reinert of Gloriana, opening act on Swift’s “Fearless” tour, said the superstar is consistently great in concert. The “Fearless” tour makes its latest stop at 7 tonight at Oklahoma City’s Ford Center.
“The only time that we ever see her perform live is during her concert sets. … She’s awesome, she’s absolutely wonderful, and you know, there’s a reason why she’s selling out all these arenas,” Reinert said in a phone interview from the road in Tampa, Fla.
“She has an incredible relationship with her crowd and she really speaks to them with her music and as a person. And she’s an amazing entertainer, and I think she sounds great.”
Reinert said she has never actually seen one of Swift’s awards show performances, since she and her bandmates generally are backstage or have their own duties during those programs.
“I think that there is definitely a certain amount of pressure, you know, just the fact that you’re on TV in front of millions of people and you’re in front of your peers, all these other artists,” she said.
She added that for top-level stars like Swift, an awards show involves much more activity than people might think, beyond even wardrobe changes, acceptance speeches and live performances.
“There’s a lot going on with all of that, between going out and doing the red carpet and doing all those interviews. And then you’ve gotta change and go and do a performance. And then you’re also worried about ‘Am I going to win this award?’ and then if you don’t, then that’s a bummer,” she said, adding she felt the stress last year when Gloriana was nominated for and won an American Music Award.
“And even when you do win an award, what’s crazy is people don’t realize, and not even we realized, is that … you have to go backstage and do all kinds of press and all kinds of photos and all that stuff. So there’s a lot that definitely goes into all that.”
Reinert’s comments echo those of Def Leppard frontman Joe Elliott, who came to Swift’s defense after critics called her performance with the band on “Pour Some Sugar on Me” at the 2009 CMT Music Award “breathless.”
“What a lot of people don’t know, because they’re not supposed to, is, she was up for five awards; two of them with us, and three on her own,” Elliott told Rolling Stone. “She won three of them, and about a minute before we started that song, she had just picked up an award. So, after she accepted the award, she had to run down the stairs, run back to her dressing room, and change her clothes.”
He said the young star was sprinting back towards the stage as the director started counting down to the band’s live performance.
“Literally, she’s running up the ramp, trying to put her in-ear monitoring in and clip the pack to the back of her skirt, so she can try to sing this thing,” Elliott said. “She was really a busy girl that evening. All we had to do was watch, and then wander out and get ready to perform this song. People said she was a bit breathless on the first line, and that’s why she was.”
He praised Swift for her energetic performance, saying “we brought down the house in the building” and adding that the CMT camp told him the show-closing duet was the “most-watched part of the entire evening.”
From Wednesday’s Life section of The Oklahoman.
Band’s start Swift, ‘Fearless’
Touring with Taylor Swift gives Gloriana quick, high-profile exposure
For country quartet Gloriana, 2010 already has been an Olympian year.
The foursome has contributed a new song to the Team USA Winter Olympics soundtrack, won the fan-voted Academy of Country Music top new vocal group award and will compete for the ACM’s top new artist title. The band, along with former “American Idol” contender Kellie Pickler, also is continuing to open for superstar Taylor Swift on her “Fearless 2010 Tour,” coming tonight to Oklahoma City.
“We are just so blessed with all these wonderfully opportunities that keep coming our way,” said Gloriana singer/tambourine player Rachel Reinert in a phone interview from Tampa, Fla., where Swift and her special guests resumed their “Fearless” trek across North America earlier this month after touring in Australia.
Gloriana had its career transformed in 2009 when Swift heard the contemporary country band’s rousing breakout hit “Wild at Heart” and personally invited the quartet to play on her wildly popular headlining tour.
“We literally went from like playing these dive bars with 100 to 200 people to arenas with 10,000 to 20,000 people. So we’re a little bit more experienced,” Reinert said with a laugh.
“It’s so cool that she’s asked us and Kellie to come out with her for a few more months. We were really sad when the tour was over last year, but we were like ‘All right, this is just goodbye for now, we’ll see you guys next year.’ It’s great just to know everyone and see everyone all over again.”
The four members of Gloriana – Reinert, singer/guitarist brothers Mike and Tom Gossin and singer/mandolin player Cheyenne Kimball – are going on three years as a band but have been making music since they were kids. After years of working hard and paying dues, Reinert said they are grateful that Swift “saw the potential in us and recognized that and was willing to kind of scoop us up and put us in front of … 10,000 to 20,000 people a night. That is definitely very like, wow, how did that happen? That’s crazy.”
Along with opening for Swift, the band last year released its self-titled debut album, which premiered at No. 3 on Billboard’s Top 200 list and No. 2 on the Billboard Country Albums Chart. “Wild at Heart” became the best-selling song by a new country artist in 2009, moving more than 375,000 copies to date, and Gloriana won the American Music Award for breakthrough artist of the year.
“I think a lot more people are starting to discover our music and hear about us and that’s really exciting. And we’re playing and headlining a lot of our own club and bar shows, and we’re selling those out,” said Reinert, whose band also will play a solo show Saturday at Miami’s Buffalo Run Casino.
“You get people out there singing on the words and they’re just excited to see you and they’re just so into the music. And that is the No. 1 reason why we do what we do is to reach out to people and for them to hear our music and relate to it. It’s what fuels us and what keeps us going.”
Winning awards doesn’t hurt, either. Gloriana recently beat out the Lost Trailers and Eli Young Band to earn the fan-voted ACM top new vocal group award. The quartet will compete against top new solo vocalist Luke Bryan and top new vocal duo Joey + Rory for the top new artist award, with fan voting starting Thursday at www.VoteACM.com. The winner will be announced when the 45th Annual ACM Awards air live from Las Vegas April 18 on CBS.
“To get recognized and to feel welcomed and embraced and to get that ACM nomination is the best feeling in the world,” Reinert said. “It’s just very gratifying, very rewarding, and we really, really would love to win it.”
She and her bandmates didn’t take home medals, but they were among the winners during last month’s Winter Olympics. NBC invited Gloriana to record a new song and music video for the AT&T Team USA Soundtrack. The quartet transformed a scrapped song called “The Last Goodbye,” which was originally set to appear on last year’s debut album, into the uplifting “The World Is Ours Tonight.”
“The lyrics obviously changed to fit more of like an inspirational kind of a theme, and we rearranged all the harmonies and rearranged the vocal parts and ended up going into the studio. And we were like, ‘yes, this is how this song was meant to be,’” she said.
The anthem has become so popular, the band decided to make it a single and rerelease its debut album with “The World Is Ours Tonight.”
“It’s very cool and it’s fun to be playing a completely new song. … It’s funny, like we play that song and we get through that first chorus and the hook that the world is ours tonight, and people are like going crazy,” she said.
“We just knew it was kind of one of those ‘let’s just go for it’ kind of things.”
With Swift on their side, Gloriana seems to be encountering many such opportunities.
Taylor Swift with Gloriana and Kellie Pickler
When: 7 tonight.
Where: Ford Center, 100 W Reno.
Information: (800) 745-3000 or www.okfordcenter.com.
When: 8 p.m. Saturday. Doors open at 7 p.m.
Where: Buffalo Run Casino, Miami.
Information: (918) 542-7140 or www.buffaloruncasino.com.
Today’s featured event:
See music sensation Taylor Swift, with special guests Kellie Pickler and Gloriana, at 7 tonight at the Ford Center, 100 W Reno.
Look for my review of the show late tonight/early Thursday morning.
For more information, go to www.okfordcenter.com.
For more events, go to www.wimgo.com.
“Twilight” author Stephenie Meyer announced today that she is releasing a novella titled “The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella.”
The novella will be told from the viewpoint of a vampire character from her third “Twilight Saga” novel, “Eclipse.”
“I’m as surprised as anyone about this novella,” said Meyer in a news release. “When I began working on it in 2005, it was simply an exercise to help me examine the other side of ‘Eclipse,’ which I was editing at the time. I thought it might end up as a short story that I could include on my Web site. Then, when work started on ‘The Twilight Saga: The Official Guide,’ I thought the ‘Guide’ would be a good fit for my Bree story. However, the story grew longer than I anticipated, until it was too long to fit into the ‘Guide.’”
“The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner” will be the first new title from Meyer in almost two years. The novella (at 192 pages) will be released at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, June 5, in hardcover for $13.99 with a first printing of 1.5 million copies.
One dollar for each book sold in the U.S. from the first printing will be donated to the American Red Cross International Response Fund, which supports disaster relief efforts such as those in Haiti and Chile. Donations to the Red Cross from the U.S. sales of “The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner” will continue until all first printing copies have been sold or at the end period from the initial publication date, whichever is the first to occur.
As a special thank you to fans, Meyer is giving them exclusive access to the novel on a dedicated Web site, www.breetanner.com, from June 7 to July 5. There, fans from around the world will be able to read the book online in English.
“I’d always considered ‘The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner’ as something for the fans,” said Meyer in the release. “They have been so supportive of all things ‘Twilight.’”
Visitors to the dedicated site will also find a link to the American Red Cross site (www.redcross.org), where they can make a donation and learn more about their relief efforts worldwide.
“I have been moved by the generous outpouring of support for the recent crises in Haiti and Chile,” said Meyer in the release. “I am glad that sales of this book will support the American Red Cross with their amazing efforts abroad.”
“Fans have been waiting with bated breath for a new book from Stephenie,” said Megan Tingley, Senior Vice President and Publisher of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, in the release. “We are doubly thrilled to be giving them the opportunity to read this exciting new work as well as contribute to an important cause at the same time.”
“The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner” is the riveting story of Bree Tanner, a newborn vampire first introduced in “Eclipse,” and the darker side of the world she inhabits. The novella chronicles the newborn vampire army’s journey as they prepare to close in on Bella Swan and the Cullens, following their encounter to its unforgettable conclusion.
The character Bree not only features prominently in the book “Eclipse,” but in the upcoming movie from Summit Entertainment.
“Stephenie was gracious enough to let me read a draft of the novella while we were prepping the movie ‘The Twilight Saga: Eclipse,’” said Director David Slade in the release.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the story and it gave us great insight and inspired location choices and the tailoring of scenes. I think fans are going to love the fascinating details involved in the loves, fears and actions of an emerging vampire.”
“The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner” will also be available as an e-book beginning at 7 a.m. June 5. Additionally, more information about the previously announced “The Twilight Saga: The Official Guide,” including publication date, will be released by the end of the year.
In less than five years, Meyer has become a worldwide publishing phenomenon. The “Twilight Saga”’s translation rights have been sold in nearly 50 countries and 100 million copies have been sold worldwide.
The theatrical version of “Eclipse” is due out in theaters June 30.
After the break, read the “The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner” announcement as it appeared today on www.StephenieMeyer.com.
Children race out to pick up eggs during the Easter egg hunt during Eggstravaganza 2007 at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History. Photo by Nate Billings/The Oklahoman Archives)
NORMAN – The Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, 2401 Chautauqua Ave., is offering free admission from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday for its annual Eggstravaganza Easter egg hunt on the museum grounds.
The event also will include crafts, games and activities both inside and outside, weather permitting.
The huge egg hunt will begin promptly at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday on the museum’s south grounds.
Eggstravaganza is created in partnership with the OU JC Penney Leadership Program.
For more information, go to www.snomnh.ou.edu.