Citing a tough economic climate, local jazz and blues standard-bearer KKJZ-FM (88.1) said Wednesday that the long-running Long Beach Blues Festival will be going on hiatus this year, breaking a Labor Day tradition that lasted 30 years.
On the bright side for blues fans, the Long Beach-based public radio station announced it will carry on the spirit of the festival with the KJAZZ Blues Bash, to be held at the festival's traditional home — the Cal State Long Beach campus. Scheduled for Sept. 4 at the university's Carpenter Center, the Blues Bash will offer a free outdoor fair featuring food and local music, culminating with a ticketed concert that evening featuring Keb' Mo', Guitar Shorty and Jon Cleary.
First staged in 1980 (back when KKJZ was known as KLON), the Long Beach Blues Festival spanned all three days of Labor Day weekend from 1996 to 2000, then went to a two-day format in 2001. "The Blues Festival hiatus was a tough decision," KKJZ station manager Stephanie Levine said in a statement. "But we will continue to work toward bringing back the festival in all its glory."
Grammy alters 'new' definition
The Recording Academy has altered the eligibility rules for the best new artist category at its annual Grammy Awards, amending the fine print to allow for some leeway if an artist had been previously nominated. The changes will be in place for the 53rd annual Grammy Awards, which are set for Feb. 13 at downtown's Staples Center.
Headlines were made when Lady Gaga, who shot to international superstardom with her debut album, "The Fame," was deemed ineligible for the best new artist field this year. Lady Gaga was nominated at the 2009 awards for her single "Just Dance," which was submitted in the best dance recording field. At the time, it was noted than an artist who had received a nomination at a previous ceremony could not be in the running for best new artist at a future Grammy program.
The changes for 2011 will allow for an act in a similar situation to be considered for best new artist, provided the act or group did not win a Grammy.
Getty makes top bid for a Turner
The J. Paul Getty Museum is poised to fork over $44.9 million for J.M.W. Turner's 1839 painting, "Modern Rome — Campo Vaccino," but don't make your plans just yet to see it in Brentwood.
The Getty was the high bidder for the painting Wednesday at an auction at Sotheby's in London. But under British law, artworks of special significance that have been on British soil for more than 50 years can't be sold and exported without a license — and the deal can be sunk if a British institution, or sometimes an individual, steps up to match what the foreign buyer was willing to pay.
The Getty knows the drill. In 2003, it tried to buy Raphael's "Madonna of the Pinks" from a private collection in Britain. The sale was a no-go: The National Gallery in London got the painting instead after raising $46.6 million.
Ringo Starr has
a peaceful 70th
With a little help from his friends, Ringo Starr celebrated his 70th birthday in New York with a global "Peace and Love" moment.
Starr led the salute Wednesday in Times Square to throngs of spectators looking to catch a glimpse of the legendary Beatles drummer.
He told the crowd that being in New York was a "magical moment in 1964, and it's still a magical moment."
Earlier, Starr was honored at the Hard Rock Café.
CNN editor is fired for tweet
Octavia Nasr, CNN's senior editor of Mideast affairs, lost her post Wednesday amid mounting criticism of a message she posted on Twitter expressing sadness at the death of a Lebanese cleric who once was an influential spiritual leader of the Shiite militant group Hezbollah.
Nasr, a Lebanese-born journalist who had worked for the cable news network for two decades, had already apologized in a blog post on CNN.com for "an error in judgment" for writing that Ayatollah Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah was "one of Hezbollah's giants I respect a lot."
Nasr's remarks were condemned by The Simon Wiesenthal Center, which called Fadlallah "an international 'godfather' of terrorism" and asked CNN to formally repudiate the comment.
The network issued a statement saying the tweet violated CNN's editorial standards. Nasr herself said she was wrong "to write such a simplistic comment."
"I'm sorry because it conveyed that I supported Fadlallah's life's work," she wrote in her blog post. "That's not the case at all." Rather, Nasr said, she was referring to the fact that Fadlallah took "a contrarian and pioneering stand among Shia clerics on woman's rights."
But CNN executives concluded that her comment had irreparably damaged Nasr's credibility.