Category: New York

Drake, La Roux, Willow Smith to ring in 'Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve'

Willow New Year’s Eve offers a few guarantees: drunk, raucous crowds with tacky countdown goggles, a boom in sales for streamers, confetti and whistles and, for those who decide to celebrate from the couch, "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve."

For its 39th consecutive year, the show, now hosted by Ryan Seacrest after Clark suffered a stroke in 2004, will once again ring in the new year with an impressive lineup.

The more than three-hour bicoastal celebration will feature performances from Drake, Willow Smith, Jennifer Hudson, La Roux, Far East Movement, Jason Derülo, Mike Posner, Natasha Bedingfield, Ne-Yo, Avril Lavigne and Train from both Los Angeles and Times Square in New York.

Black Eyed Peas frontwoman Fergie is returning for a fifth year to host the Hollywood portion, while Seacrest will be joined by funny girl-cum-bestselling author Jenny McCarthy from Times Square.  

As usual, Clark will be doing the countdown to midnight from the comfort and warmth of ABC studios.

-- Gerrick D. Kennedy

Photo: Willow Smith performs live at the holiday tree lighting and opening of the L.A. Kings' holiday ice rink at L.A. Live on Saturday. Credit: Katy Winn / Associated Press

Conan O'Brien comes to vinyl, thanks to Jack White


Don’t worry if you didn’t get a chance to experience Conan O’Brien live.

With his “Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour” wrapped and his return to late night not until November, Coco fans can get their fix of the orange-haired-one with two new releases set to hit stores this week.

Both were recorded at Jack White's Third Man complex in Nashville.

Jackandconan1final1 In June, O’Brien treated a small crowd of 300 to a last-minute,  intimate set, resulting in the first release, “Live at Third Man.” The album includes a duet with White on a cover of Eddie Cochran's “20 Flight Rock.”

The second release, “And They Call Me Mad?” -- that title is amazing for various reasons -- is a 7-inch single with O'Brien's improvised, spoken-word retelling of Frankenstein on one side and an interview with O’Brien by White on the other.

As an added bonus, for all you Team Coco fans, there will be 150 limited-edition tricolor 45s of the single up for grabs for  $100 each at Third Man's Nashville shop Tuesday. Proceeds will go to ReTune Nashville, an organization raising money for musicians relief following the city’s flood earlier this year.

Both releases can be ordered on Third Man Records' site, and the single will also be available on iTunes this week.

-- Gerrick D. Kennedy

Photos: (Top) Packaging for Conan O'Brien's single “And They Call Me Mad?” Credit: Third Man Records. (Below) O'Brien performs with Jack White. Credit:

Yoko Ono discusses PBS 'American Masters' documentary 'LennonNYC'

John Lennon gets a new nationality -- for a night -- on Nov. 22 when PBS umbrellas the ex-Beatle into its "American Masters" series with a new two-hour documentary focusing on the final years of his life when he and Yoko Ono lived in New York.

"LennonNYC" includes in-studio film and audio recordings never previously made public as well as interviews with Ono, music mogul David Geffen, producer Jack Douglas and many of the musicians who played with him on "Double Fantasy." That Grammy-winning 1980 album brought Lennon back into the public eye following his five-year "house-husband" period during which he devoted himself to helping raise his and Ono's son, Sean.

"It seems like you already know everything about us, but they got film footage that I didn't know about," Ono, 77, told members of the Television Critics Assn. who were shown three clips from the film Thursday in Beverly Hills.

She said Lennon on occasion said "He wished he had been born in New York," and described it as both "the city he loved so much, but also the city that killed him."

To a question about the upcoming parole hearing for her husband's killer, Mark David Chapman, Ono said she opposes his release. "I think he could still be a danger -- to other people, not just to me, Sean and Julian," referring to Lennon's son from his first marriage.

"American Masters" creator Susan Lacy told the TCA audience, "I've never been prouder of a film we have produced that this one."

-- Randy Lewis

Photo: John Lennon and Yoko Ono in New York City in 1973. Credit: Associated Press

Jay-Z: The next Frank Sinatra?


Here's hoping you're not yet tired of "Empire State of Mind." The Times' Geraldine Baum writes in this Sunday's Calendar that the Jay-Z and Alicia Keys hit appears to be ready to stand the test of time.

The question Baum raises: "Can any hip-hop song prove as universal and enduring as Duke Ellington's 'Take the A Train' (written by Billy Strayhorn) or Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart's 'Manhattan'? Or, for that matter, that other easy-to-whistle 'New York, New York,' by Leonard Bernstein and lyricists Betty Comden and Adolph Green, which explains, 'the Bronx is up and the Battery down, the people ride in a hole in the ground'?"

You'll have to read the story to explore the varying answers to the question, but Pop & Hiss is here to give you the music. Take a listen to some of the songs explored in Baum's piece -- or just revisit your favorite East Coast anthem -- below. 

Continue reading »

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