The Sound of Cinema (Part II): Sirens of the Silver Screen

In an earlier post I introduced a series based on exposing and exploring the incestuous relationships between movies and music. As noted, musicians have often made cameo appearances in movies, musical or otherwise. One of my personal favorites is (of course) Jack White's rendition of a kung-fu savvy "King of Rock 'n' Roll" in the 2007 comedy, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. A relentlessly hysterical spoof of pretty much any music bio-pic one could think of.

But I digress...

The topic at hand speaks to the musician whose presence on the silver screen rivals that of their presence on the concert stage. There are few musicians who have claimed, or at the very least shared the lead role in a film. For this discussion, I am requiring that the acting be on par or better than, said performers musical ability, and that the film be worth the view altogether. Although I would also like to categorize these persons as musicians who later turned to acting, the most obvious and accessible blurs this distinction. Cher is a consummate performer and can't be denied success in either medium. For an homage, here is a montage of her Oscar winning role as Loretta Castorini, in the 1987 film Moonstruck:

The musical beginnings of Cher's career included, providing back-up vocals for The Righteous Brother's "You've Lost That Loving Feeling" and several chart topping hits as one half of the "Sonny and Cher" duo. It was however, the coupling of her distinctive voice, provocative stage presence with a few acting lessons that earned her a Golden Globe for her shenanigans on The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour, in 1971. Along with two other Golden Globes later in her career, Cher's list of awards and nominations for her acting is as spectacular as the outfits she wears to receive them. It was no surprise to see Cher presenting at this years Golden Globes "shamelessly promoting" yet another movie role in the upcoming film Burlesque.

Although the acting career of Norah Jones is not quite as epic as the fore mentioned single syllabled diva, she's got time and talent tantamount to other rookies in the film industry. As the daughter of legendary sitar player Ravi Shankar and concert producer Sue Jones, and one who received training as a jazz vocalist and pianist, Jones' musical career was obviously first to take flight. Her first album Come Away With Me, earned her a Grammy for album of the year in 2003. Jones' acting debut in My Blueberry Nights may not have been award worthy, but performing alongside movie mainstays Jude Law, David Strathairn, Rachel Weisz and Natalie Portman, not to mention the savory cinematography, Jones is not entirely overwhelmed. As the movie progresses, so does her comfort level as an actress.

A woman with a radiant presence, Norah Jones leaves me hungry for an acting performance that does more than just wet my appetite. Given time and opportunity, however, her film career may be able to compliment her musical main course.

After exploring how a few female musicians have been able to modify their craft to reveal cinematic charm, it is time to acknowledge the male musicians who have also produced profound performances in film. Stay tuned for, "The Sound of Cinema (Part III): Crooners With More Than Just a Cameo..."

-Emma Jeanmarie


Delicacies a la ELEVATION

May we interest you in a little som'n som'n to cleanse your palate...or slit you tongue...

and for the main course may I recommend the "Man's Bread"...

-Emma Jeanmarie


SoCal Shindigs

It may not yet be the year 2095, but California still knows how to party and there's nothin' old school about the cinema and sounds that'll be bustin' through southern CA in the next few months.

For all of you cinemafiles headed to the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, get on the ball and catch the short Ana's Playground.


Directed by Eric Howell and accomplished through donations, it is a film with a purpose about children in the midst of armed conflict. Ana's Playground has all the real feeling of United 93 with the aesthetic brilliance of Soderbergh's Traffic wrapped in enigmatic symbolism. It is stunning indeed!

Even if you are not able to make it out to view the film, please take a peek at the online media kit and trailer which can be found at: www.anasplayground.com.

Maybe your trip to "the state that's untouchable, like Elliot Ness" has to wait until the spring, but don't make it too late, lest you miss "The Coach", otherwise known as Coachella or The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. It is a three day adventure of creative stimulus that'll keep ya jammin' until Lolla.


Many of the bands included in this year line up got a bit of a career boost by blogs and social networks, so lets keep up the talky talk...Can ya "digg" it?

Here is the list of what can be expected for each of the three days:

Friday, April 16th: Jay-Z, LCD Soundsystem, Them Crooked Vultures, Vampire Weekend, Deadmau5, Public Image Limited, The Specials, Grizzly Bear, Passion Pit, Echo and the Bunnymen, Benny Benassi, Fever Ray, Grace Jones, She & Him, Erol Alkan, The Avett Brothers, Calle 13, The Whitest Boy Alive, The Cribs, La Roux, Yeasayer, Lucero, DJ Lance Rock, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Proxy, Ra Ra Riot, Deer Tick, Wolfgang Gartner, Aeroplane, Iglu & Hartly, Sleigh Bells, P.O.S., Baroness, Hockey, Little Dragon, White Rabbits, Wale, Kate Miller-Heidke, As Tall as Lions, Jets Overhead, Alana Grace, Pablo Hassan.

Saturday, April 17th: Muse, Faith No More, TiĆ«sto, MGMT, David Guetta, The Dead Weather, Hot Chip, Devo, Coheed and Cambria, Kaskade, 2Many DJ’s, Major Lazer, Dirty Projectors, Gossip, Z-Trip, The xx, John Waters, Les Claypool, The Raveonettes, Mew, Sia, Camera Obscura, Tokyo Police Club, Porcupine Tree, Old Crow Medicine Show, Aterciopalados, Bassnectar, Frightened Rabbit, Dirty South, Flying Lotus, Corinne Bailey Rae, Pretty Lights, Shooter Jennings, RX Bandits, The Almighty Defenders, Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros, Craze & Klever, Zoe, The Temper Trap, Portugal. The Man, Band of Skulls, Girls, Beach House, Steel Train, Frank Turner.

Sunday, April 18th: Gorillaz, Pavement, Thom Yorke????, Phoenix, Orbital, Spoon, Sly and the Family Stone, De La Soul, Julian Casablancas, Plastikman, Gary Numan, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Sunny Day Real Estate, Yo La Tengo, MUTEMATH, Deerhunter, Infected Mushroom, Club 75, Matt & Kim, The Big Pink, Gil Scott-Heron, King Khan and the Shrines, Florence and the Machine, Yann Tiersen, Little Boots, Miike Snow, Talvin Singh, Ceu, B.o.B., Babasonicos, Owen Pallett, The Glitch Mob, Mayer Hawthorne, Local Natives, Rusko, The Middle East, Hadouken!, The Soft Pack, Kevin Devine, Paparazzi, Delphic, One EskimO.

"Shake it Cali"!
-Emma Jeanmarie


The Sound Of Cinema (Part I): Beyond the Bard

I was recently introduced to an epic film that not only rose to #2 on my list of movies most admired, but gave rise to an idea for a series of posts that will be collectively called "The Sound of Cinema". Music and movies have a grand history together so, because of the scope of the subject each post will have a set of parameters to which it must adhere. Realizing that several artists/films may have overlap in each category, I will try not to make mention of them in more that one post. Nor will I attempt to delve into all of the examples that may fit into the space of the designated parameters, but instead provide a sampling of inspired insight and musical memories from my some of my favorite flicks.

The film that triggered my ambitious musings about music and movies was Andrew Dominik's The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. The film is a gorgeous portrayal of the last few months of the life of Jesse James (played by Brit Pitt in one if the most sublime roles of his career) before he is shot and killed by Robert Ford whose fanatical, yet curiously narcissistic demeanor is defined in an extraordinary performance by Casey Affleck. The beauty of the dialog and character portrayal is rivaled only by the stunning cinematography juxtaposed by a haunting soundtrack complements of Nick Cave and Warren Ellis.

It was however Nick Cave's bit role of saloon singer mocking the follies of Robert Ford,

that gave me the idea to note some of the great cinematic performances
given to us by musicians. A few that come to mind immediately include: Tom Waits in The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, Norah Jones in My Blueberry Nights, David Bowie in The Prestige and The Labyrinth, and of course Cher in Mermaids, Moonstruck, The Witches of Eastwick and Mask, just to name a few. In the next post of this series I will lay out the parameters and delve into the details of the where some of our most beloved crooners and sirens make a scene on the silver screen, with more than just a cameo.

-Emma Jeanmarie


Rock the Cause: Building a New Generation of Volunteerism

Rock the Cause is a non-profit organization aiming to raise awareness, visibility, and membership for non-profits through Rock and Roll. Scott Herold, CEO of Rock the Cause, realized a need to involve the young generations with their community as the baby boomers retire. Rock the Cause takes a grass roots route by using Rock and Roll to engage younger generations to take notice and volunteer in their community. Rock the Cause aims to create awareness and to generate an aspiring attitude in youth.

Thus far, Rock the Cause has shown significant impact through their events: 40% of audience members gave money to causes they discovered through Rock the Cause, 33% became volunteers in their community, and 79% of the audience discovered new music.

On the 29th of this month, Rock the Cause (partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters) will be throwing an event called Glitter Ball 3: Big Hair Big Hearts, in which 80% of proceeds go to the partner non-profit. This event is a tribute to the 80’s with free big hair makeovers, cheap drinks, Pabst Blue Ribbon on tap, free beef jerky, Minnesota Roller Girls, and Vikings Cheerleaders. Furthermore, wine and chocolate truffles for the ladies. White Light Riot will be playing a tribute to Spinal Tap. The whole night will be full of 80’s fun and 80’s tunes played by The Melismatics, The Notties, The Bloodsugars, and Alison Scott. This is sure to be a rockin’ event which will end with a late night dance party hosted by Stellar Vector!

Glitter Ball 3 will be at Music Box Theater, 1407 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, and will start with Happy Hour at 6:30 pm and music beginning at 8:00pm. Tickets can be purchased at irockthecause.org for $15 in advance or $20 at the door. They also have VIP tickets for $50 which include open bar, reserved seating and swag. I wouldn’t wait too much longer, the show will sell out soon!

Check out these links to get involved:

YouTube: Videos of past events
Website: Learn what it's all about and how you can Rock the Cause!
Micro Website: Learn more and watch videos of others who Rock the Cause.
Facebook: Keep up-to-date with Rock the Cause news and events
Big Brothers Big Sisters: How to become a Big Brother or Big Sister

-Annie H.

Pandora Radio: Worth the Investment?

I have been a paying member of Pandora for at least 5 months now. I have to say that before that I was an avid listener of the free commercial version, but I wasn’t impressed. At first I fought against listening to online radio because it was easier to listen to what I wanted by bringing my ipod to work and hooking it up to the speakers. After awhile though I started to tire of songs I have been listening to for years. I turned to Pandora through a recommendation for music that I was not originally accustomed too. I was hoping to find songs that I could later add to my iTunes to make a better variety. I turned to Pandora and half way through the month I had eclipsed their 40 hour free limit, and they offered that I pay $1 to finish the month or go for the premium version for $36 a year. It was around pay day so I felt… why not? I paid for what they said was higher quality, commercial free, and in general an easier to use version.

5 months later I believe it clearly is worth the investment. This is by far the best online radio I have used, and the premium Pandora “One” is actually playing music I am familiar with as well as fully utilizing their logarithms in giving me music that is similar. I have found over 20 new artists that I have now started following and realize that my iTunes is useless now. All I use is Pandora and I haven’t even thought of buying a cd or individual songs (except Talib Kweli and Anthony Hamilton) since that time I decided to pay for Pandora.

All in all I give it a 8/10.

I wish I could skip more than 6 tracks in in an hour, but with licensing I understand why it’s not allowed. The interface can by clunky at times, and I wish the skip and pause buttons were a little bigger. Other than that, I listen to Pandora on my iPhone like a radio everywhere I go, at work on the computer, on my ps3 to use my sound system, and on my laptop while I’m out. I love it, and would recommend the premium version for those who can’t live without music like myself. Thank you.

From the mind of
Keveeno Reeverts


"Monkey Jazz" : BEARDYMAN & mr_hopkinson™

 This video has been around for a while, but I thought I'd put it out there for anyone who hasn't had a chance to check it out yet. Enjoy...