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November 5, 2013 | By Annlee Ellingson
And I thought the manic pixie dream girl had run her course. Apparently not, for she rears her cute, perky head again in "A Case of You," star Justin Long's debut as a writer and producer. Here, Brooklynite Sam (Long) has tired of writing novelizations for movies like "Teen Vampire. " He finds inspiration in Birdie (Evan Rachel Wood), the friendly barista at his neighborhood coffee shop with artsy friends. But instead of risking that she won't like the real him, he shapes himself into her dream guy based on her Facebook page, learning judo, French cooking and how to strum Joan Baez on the guitar.
October 25, 2013 | Eric Sondheimer
To hear the soothing, spiritual sounds coming from 17-year-old Cameron Griffin's acoustic guitar as he gently plucks its strings leaves a visitor feeling as if he has been transported to a sandy beach at sunset amid cool, refreshing waves. Then, seeing a video of the 6-foot-3, 215-pound Griffin sending a ballcarrier crashing to the ground adds to the intrigue of a teenager who's clearly a savant of sorts. How else to explain someone who took up the guitar seven years ago and taught himself to play by listening to music, then became a football standout only after going out for the team as a freshman at Los Angeles View Park Prep and learning how to play by listening to his coaches.
September 28, 2013 | By Randy Lewis
One of the most touching anecdotes in Linda Ronstadt's new memoir, "Simple Dreams," comes in the moment she told her parents she was skipping out on college to pursue a career in music. "My parents were upset and tried to talk me out of it," she writes in the book, published Sept. 17. "When it became apparent that they couldn't change my mind, my father went into the other room and returned with the Martin acoustic guitar that his father had bought in 1898. "When my father began singing as a young man, my grandfather had given him the instrument and said, ' Ahora que tienes guitarra, nunca tendrás hambre .' ('Now that you own a guitar, you will never be hungry.')
September 12, 2013 | By Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
TORONTO -- I caught John Ridley's Jimi Hendrix movie on the fly in Toronto. Literally. "All Is By My Side" was the last film I watched at the festival before catching a plane back to L.A. The film is both written and directed by Ridley, whose script for "12 Years a Slave" is all the talk at Toronto. “All Is By My Side” is a smaller indie project that captures a year in the life of the game-changing guitarist. WATCH: Toronto Film Festival trailers The year was 1966.
August 22, 2013 | By Randall Roberts, Los Angeles Times Pop Music Critic
Close your eyes. Erase your mind. Forget about Taylor Swift, Katy Perry and the various extracurricular activities that have hobbled singer-guitarist-romantic John Mayer's reputation off the playing field. Breathe, and think about the guitar while inhaling fresh air and electrified guitar licks. As a Wyoming wind blows through your hair, imagine that the John Mayer Cruise never happened. For many -- but by no means all -- such a Mayer reboot is necessary. Doing so in earnest before popping on his new album, "Paradise Valley," will offer payback for those yearning for peaceful, well-imagined guitar rock as earlier crafted by bands including the Eagles, the Flying Burrito Bros., the Grateful Dead and “Nashville Skyline”-era Bob Dylan.
July 21, 2013
Mel Smith British comedian, actor and director Mel Smith, 60, an actor, writer and director who was a major force in British comedy, died of a heart attack Friday at his home in northwest London, said his agent, Michael Foster. Smith shot to fame along with his partner-in-comedy Griff Rhys Jones in "Not the Nine O'Clock News," whose take-down of earnest BBC newscasts, talk shows and commercials would influence a generation of comedians. "We probably enjoyed ourselves far too much, but we had a roller coaster of a ride along the way. Terrific business.
July 13, 2013 | By Randall Roberts, Los Angeles Times Pop Music Critic
Pasadena is known for many things -- the Rose Bowl Parade, free-flying parrots and the little old ladies among them -- but it's never been considered a center for the rhythmic arts. Which is to say, few, if any, notable dance moves have been born here.  You wouldn't have known this on Friday night at Levitt Pavilion-Pasadena, though. Within 20 minutes, the masterful Malian guitarist Vieux Farka Toure and his three-piece band had prompted a creeping minority to groove their way to the front of the stage and peacock many visionary maneuvers.
May 23, 2013 | By Chris Barton
Consider an all-guitar jazz quartet and it's easy for your mind to conjure images of fingers burning up and down fretboards with the kind of mind-scrambling fireworks that've made heroes out of Pat Metheny and John McLaughlin. Although those approaches to guitar music aren't necessarily wrong, Anthony Wilson offers something more understated with his Seasons quartet. Assembled after being commissioned by guitar maker John Monteleone, the quartet of Wilson, Julian Lage, Chico Pinheiro and Steve Cardenas debuted at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2011 with a concert that became a split CD/DVD release that same year.
May 14, 2013
Ricky Gervais wants you to learn guitar. But he's not going to teach you. You are! The comic behind the BBC version of "The Office" - which in turn inspired NBC's American adaptation that ended its run this season - is back as David Brent, the bumbling manager from the fictional Wernham Hogg paper company. "I'm not going to teach you," Brent says in the video, which is part of the upcoming YouTube Comedy Week. "What? You're going to teach you. " PHOTOS: Packing up 'The Office' for good As "Office" fans know, Brent was a frustrated musician who would sometimes inflict, er, play songs for his bored or uncomfortable coworkers.
May 1, 2013 | McClatchy Newspapers
Guitarist and ethnomusicologist Bob Brozman, who progressed from an early fascination with the delta blues of the South to a consuming passion for the traditional music of Hawaii and became a leading authority on the National steel guitar, has died. He was 59. Brozman was found dead April 23 at his home in Santa Cruz. His death was ruled a suicide, according to the coroner's office of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Department. Brozman emerged in Santa Cruz in the 1970s as a street musician, playing a decidedly uncontemporary American roots style of music ranging from obscure jazz tunes to Hawaiian chanties.
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