News / Arts & Entertainment

Beyonce to Direct HBO Movie; Adele Earns Diamond Status

Beyoncé poses for pictures at a press conference June 22, 2009 in New York.
Beyoncé poses for pictures at a press conference June 22, 2009 in New York.
Mary Morningstar
Beyonce recently announced that she’ll direct and star in a HBO documentary of her life and career.   “HBO has a history of pushing every boundary with class and authenticity," Beyonce said in a statement.  "Some of my favorite shows are on HBO, so I am excited that my film will be part of its bold programming.  This film was so personal to me, it had to have the right home.”  The documentary, which is due out on February 16, will include footage of concert performances, a look at her formative years through family home movies, and much more.

Adele's 21 Earns Diamond Album Status

Singer Adele poses on arrival at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles, August 28, 2011.Singer Adele poses on arrival at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles, August 28, 2011.
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Singer Adele poses on arrival at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles, August 28, 2011.
Singer Adele poses on arrival at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles, August 28, 2011.
British pop star Adele’s 21 album has reached the 10 million mark in U.S. sales.  21 joins an impressive list of Diamond certified albums, including Millennium and Backstreet Boys by the Backstreet Boys, No Strings Attached by *NSYNC, Supernatural by Santana, Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morissette, the soundtrack to The Bodyguard by Whitney Houston and Baby One More Time by Britney Spears, just to name a few.


Harris to Host National Christmas Treet Lighting

On December 6, the National Christmas Tree Lighting will take place on the Ellipse at President’s Park.  Actor Neil Patrick Harris will host this year’s event.  Performers include Jason Mraz, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Colbie Caillat, James Taylor, Ledisi, The Fray and 2012’s American Idol winner Phillip Phillips.  A live stream of the ceremony can be viewed at www.thenationaltree.org. In 1923, President Calvin Coolidge walked from the White House to the Ellipse to light the first National Christmas Tree, a 48-foot fir tree decorated with 2500 electric bulbs in red, white and green.


Hoffman, Letterman Among Kennedy Center Honorees

The 2012 Kennedy Center Honorees, from left, John Paul Jones, Buddy Guy, Jimmy Page, Natalia Makarova, Robert Plant, Dustin Hoffman, and David Letterman pose for a group photo Dec. 1, 2012 at the State Department in Washington.The 2012 Kennedy Center Honorees, from left, John Paul Jones, Buddy Guy, Jimmy Page, Natalia Makarova, Robert Plant, Dustin Hoffman, and David Letterman pose for a group photo Dec. 1, 2012 at the State Department in Washington.
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The 2012 Kennedy Center Honorees, from left, John Paul Jones, Buddy Guy, Jimmy Page, Natalia Makarova, Robert Plant, Dustin Hoffman, and David Letterman pose for a group photo Dec. 1, 2012 at the State Department in Washington.
The 2012 Kennedy Center Honorees, from left, John Paul Jones, Buddy Guy, Jimmy Page, Natalia Makarova, Robert Plant, Dustin Hoffman, and David Letterman pose for a group photo Dec. 1, 2012 at the State Department in Washington.
On December 2, a star-studded gala will be held at the Kennedy Center Opera House for this year’s Kennedy Center Honorees.  The 2012 Kennedy Center Honors recipients include actor Dustin Hoffman, late night television talk show host David Letterman, ballerina Natalia Makarova, blues guitarist and singer Buddy Guy and British rock band Led Zeppelin.  The event will be attended by President and Mrs. Obama and is scheduled to air as a two-hour CBS television special on December 26.



Rihanna Tops Billboard 200

Barbadian singer Rihanna performs during the fifth stop of her 777 worldwide tour at the E-Werk club in Berlin, Nov. 19, 2012.Barbadian singer Rihanna performs during the fifth stop of her 777 worldwide tour at the E-Werk club in Berlin, Nov. 19, 2012.
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Barbadian singer Rihanna performs during the fifth stop of her 777 worldwide tour at the E-Werk club in Berlin, Nov. 19, 2012.
Barbadian singer Rihanna performs during the fifth stop of her 777 worldwide tour at the E-Werk club in Berlin, Nov. 19, 2012.
Rihanna scores her first Number One album on the Billboard 200 chart this week with Unapologetic.  The set sold 238,000 copies its first week of release.  Rihanna also keeps her place at Number One on the Hot 100 chart for the second week with the album’s lead single “Diamonds.”  Other Top 10 entries on the Billboard 200 chart include “The World from the Side of the Moon” by Phillip Phillips (Number 4), “Rebel Soul” by Kid Rock (Number 5), “Celebration Day” by Led Zeppelin (Number 9) and “Woman To Woman” by Keyshia Cole (Number 10).

Mariah Carey Tops Billboard's Xmas Song List

Mariah CareyMariah Carey
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Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey
Billboard’s seasonal Holiday Songs chart has made its return.  Mariah Carey tops the list for the first week with “All I Want for Christmas Is You.”  This week’s other Top 10 favorite yuletide singles, in descending order, include Brenda Lee’s “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song,” Bobby Helms’ “Jingle Bell Rock,” Burl Ives’ “A Holly Jolly Christmas,” Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s “Christmas Eve,” Andy Williams’ “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” Jose Felciano’s “Feliz Navidad,” Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” and Wham’s “Last Christmas.”

Grammy Nominees Revealed on Dec. 5

On December 5, CBS-TV will air “The Grammy Nominations Concert Live! - Countdown To Music’s Biggest Night.”  The show will reveal the nominees in several major Grammy categories and feature performances by some of today’s biggest stars.  Co-hosted by LL Cool J and Taylor Swift, the special will include performances by fun., Ne-Yo, The Who, The Band Perry, Maroon 5, Luke Bryan, and others.

New Album Releases December 4:

 “Warrior” by Ke$ha
“Here’s To The Good Times” by Florida Georgia Line"
“O.N.I.F.C.” by Wiz Khalifa
“Bish Bosch” by Scott Walker
“Welcome To The Freakshow” by Hinder
“Sweeter Live” by Gavin DeGraw
“Stray Arrows - A Collection of Favorites” by Chevelle
“Hitchcock” - the original motion picture soundtrack

Musical Events/Festivals/Benefits:

On December 4, a Carole King tribute concert will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.  “A Celebration of Carole King and Her Music” features an all-star lineup of performers, including Alicia Keys, Katy Perry, Quincy Jones, Vince Gill, and others.  The show’s producer Lou Adler said, “Carole King’s music spans decades and genres as evidenced by the musical diversity of the artists participating.”  The event benefits late actor Paul Newman’s The Painted Turtle Camp, which provides support to children with serious illnesses and their families.

Star Birthdays

Singer Britney Spears, right, and Jason Trawick (file photo)Singer Britney Spears, right, and Jason Trawick (file photo)
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Singer Britney Spears, right, and Jason Trawick (file photo)
Singer Britney Spears, right, and Jason Trawick (file photo)
Pop singer Britney Spears will celebrate her 31st birthday on December 2.  Beginning at age eight, the Louisiana native spent her summers studying in New York at the Off-Broadway Dance Center and the Professional Arts School.  While in New York, she launched her career by appearing in national commercials and off-Broadway shows.  When she turned 11, Britney joined the cast of Disney’s Mickey Mouse Club in Orlando, Florida.  She signed a recording deal with Arista Records in 1998.  Sales of her first two albums, “Baby One More Time” and “Oops…I Did It Again,” total more than 13 million copies in the U.S.  Spears’ next CD, “Britney,” was released in 2001.  It debuted at Number One on the Billboard 200 chart, sold four million copies and produced several hits.  Britney’s 2003 CD, “In the Zone,” included a duet with Madonna, “Me Against the Music.”  In 2004, Britney married dancer Kevin Federline.  The couple’s first child, Sean Preston, was born in September 2005.  Britney gave birth to their second son, Jayden James, in September 2006.  Two months later, Britney filed for divorce.  Her 2007 album, “Blackout,” featured the hits “Gimme More” and “Piece Of Me.”  Britney’s 2008 studio album, “Circus,” debuted at Number One, which gave her a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the youngest artist to have five albums top the Billboard 200 chart. The collection sold four million copies worldwide.  Last year, she recorded her latest album, “Femme Fatale,” which produced her fourth Number One hit, “Hold It Against Me.”  She’s currently a judge on America’s “X Factor.”  Britney teamed with the Black Eyed Peas’ will.i.am on the brand new single, “Scream and Shout.” 

Rapper Jay-Z and his wife, singer Beyonce, attend the match between Novak Djokovic of Serbia and Rafael Nadal of Spain during the men's final of the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York (file photo)Rapper Jay-Z and his wife, singer Beyonce, attend the match between Novak Djokovic of Serbia and Rafael Nadal of Spain during the men's final of the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York (file photo)
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Rapper Jay-Z and his wife, singer Beyonce, attend the match between Novak Djokovic of Serbia and Rafael Nadal of Spain during the men's final of the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York (file photo)
Rapper Jay-Z and his wife, singer Beyonce, attend the match between Novak Djokovic of Serbia and Rafael Nadal of Spain during the men's final of the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York (file photo)
On December 4, rapper Jay-Z will celebrate his 42nd birthday.  Born Shawn Carter, his rags-to-riches life story began in the Marcy Projects of Brooklyn, New York.  Since the release of his 1996 debut album “Reasonable Doubt,” Jay-Z has sold more than 50 million records worldwide.  In 2008, Jay-Z married R&B star Beyonce.  The couple welcomed their first child, Blue Ivy, in January 2012.  Jay-Z’s 2009 album, “Blueprint 3,” featured the hits “Run This Town,” his duet with Alicia Keys “Empire State of Mind” and “Young Forever.”  Jay-Z’s memoir, “Decoded,” was published in 2010.  In it, he translates the lyrics to 36 of his songs that tell the story of his life.  Jay-Z collaborated with Kanye West on his latest album, “Watch the Throne.”  The album has sold more than one-and-a-half million copies since its release in August 2011.  The two hip-hop stars promoted “Watch the Throne” with a North American concert tour.  Time magazine recently announced that Jay-Z is among the nominees for its 2012 Person of the Year.

Country singer Gary Allan turns 45 on December 5.  The California native began performing in local clubs during his teenage years.  While in high school, Allan was offered a recording deal, but he turned it down to spend more time honing his musical skills.  In 1996, Allan was signed to Decca Records for the release of his debut album, “Used Heart for Sale.”  Three years later, he recorded the million-selling album “Smoke Rings in the Dark,” which included the Top 5 hit, “Right Where I Need To Be.”  In 2003, Allan won the Country Music Association’s Horizon Award.  His wife Angela committed suicide the following year.  Allan dealt with his grief by writing songs for his 2005 album, “Tough All Over.”  Last year, Allan and his stylist, Renee Layher, opened The Label, a high-end men’s clothing store in Los Angeles.  Allan is currently recording his ninth studio album, “Set You Free.”  Its lead single, “Every Storm (Runs Out of Rain),” climbs one space to Number 15 on this week’s Country Airplay chart. 

On December 5, rock pioneer Little Richard will celebrate his 80th birthday.  He was signed to RCA Records in 1951 after winning a talent contest.  Five years later, Little Richard recorded the Top 20 hit, “Tutti Frutti.”  The song was added to The Library of Congress National Recording Registry in 2010.  His other classic songs include “Long Tall Sally,” “Keep A Knockin’” and “Good Golly, Miss Molly.”  Little Richard was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.  (“Tutti Frutti”  CDP-188)
Jim Messina, half of the former duo Loggins & Messina, will turn 65 on December 5.  Messina was a member of Buffalo Springfield and Poco before forming Loggins & Messina with Kenny Loggins in 1970.  In 1972, the duo scored its biggest hit with the Top 5 single, “Your Mama Don’t Dance.”  In 2009, Messina recorded the Latin pop album, “Under a Mojito Moon.”  In addition to his solo music career, he runs The Songwriters’ Performance Workshop.  He holds the six-day intensive workshops for songwriters and singers at retreats, resorts and hotels throughout the U.S.

December 7 marks the birth date of the late singer-songwriter Harry Chapin (born 1942).  He is best remembered for the songs “Taxi,” “WOLD” and his 1974 Number One single, “Cat’s In The Cradle.”  Chapin was killed in a car accident in New York on July 16, 1981.  He was 38 years old.

December 8 marks the birth date of the late singer-dancer-actor Sammy Davis, Jr. (born 1925).  In the early 1940s, Davis began performing with his uncle in a dance trio and recorded his first album in 1954.  He scored a Number One hit in 1972 with “Candy Man,” a song that was featured in the film “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.”  Davis died in 1990 after a long battle with throat cancer.

Awards Presentations/Winners:

Justin Bieber accepts the award for favorite male artist - pop/rock at the 40th Annual American Music Awards Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles.Justin Bieber accepts the award for favorite male artist - pop/rock at the 40th Annual American Music Awards Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles.
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Justin Bieber accepts the award for favorite male artist - pop/rock at the 40th Annual American Music Awards Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles.
Justin Bieber accepts the award for favorite male artist - pop/rock at the 40th Annual American Music Awards Nov. 18, 2012, in Los Angeles.
Justin Bieber leads the 2013 People’s Choice Award nominees in the music categories.  His five nods include Favorite Male Artist, Favorite Pop Artist, Favorite Album for “Believe,” Favorite Music Video for “Boyfriend” and Favorite Music Fan Following.  Maroon 5, Katy Perry and One Direction follow close behind with four mentions each.  Other multiple nominees include Carly Rae Jepsen, Taylor Swift, Blake Shelton, fun., Adele, Carrie Underwood, Pink, Usher and Demi Lovato.  The awards also recognize fan favorites in film and television.  The People’s Choice Awards will be presented on January 9 in Los Angeles.  (Complete list of nominations at www.peopleschoice.com.

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Nigerian singer, songwriter Nneka sits down with Border Crossings host Larry London to perform songs from her latest CD, "My Fairy Tales" and to talk about her inspirations and influences.

Nigerian singer, songwriter Nneka sits down with Border Crossings host Larry London to perform songs from her latest CD, "My Fairy Tales" and to talk about her inspirations and influences.