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Russell Mael

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ENTERTAINMENT
April 17, 2013 | By Randy Lewis, Los Angeles Times
Sparks, the long-running L.A. pop-dance-rock band consisting of brothers Ron and Russell Mael, has long pushed at the boundaries of pop music. The quirky outfit created humor-laced operatic rock in the early 1970s that influenced Freddie Mercury and Queen, cooked up influential electronic dance music in the late '70s and flirted with pop stardom in the snappy techno-rock of its 1983 hit single "Cool Places. " The Mael brothers have since explored other quirky niches of the pop music world, abandoning the rock band format entirely for a trio of albums built on electronic and orchestral sounds.
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ENTERTAINMENT
November 12, 2013 | By Randy Lewis
A film translation of “The Seduction of Ingmar Bergman,” a 2009 radio drama by L.A. pop duo Sparks turned 2010 concept album turned 2011 sparsely staged theatrical production, is moving forward with Canadian director Guy Maddin at the helm. Sparks lead singer Russell Mael made the announcement Monday night during the twosome's homecoming performance with his brother (keyboardist and songwriter Ron Mael) at the Fonda Theatre in Hollywood to wrap the North American leg of their 2013 tour, which also brought the eccentric pair to the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival last spring.
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ENTERTAINMENT
September 12, 1998
"Knock Off" was absolutely horrible. I couldn't wait to see the review because I wanted to see how badly The Times would rip into it. I open up the paper to see Kevin Thomas calling this film "one of Van Damme's best" (" 'Knock Off' Is the Real Thing: Fast, Funny," Sept. 7). I disagree with almost everything that Thomas wrote about this film and I'm sure that I'm not the only one. Steven E. de Souza's script, which Thomas touts as "lean" and 'witty," is one of the worst I've ever heard, and not since Schwarzenegger in "Eraser" have lines been delivered this badly.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 7, 2013 | By David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times Book Critic
Tosh Berman's “Sparks-tastic: Twenty-One Nights With Sparks in London” (Barnacle Books: 220 pp., $14 paper) is exactly what it sounds like: the chronicle of a 21-night stand in London, in which the rock band Sparks played every one of their albums, back-to-back-to-back. Berman portrays himself as the world's most obsessive aficionado, traveling for a month to England, where he wrestles not only with loneliness and economic worries but also issues of identity. “[S]ince we're talking about pop music,” he writes early in the book, “we're also talking about image - how one lives out a life that is also an image, while projecting that image to the outside world.” In a very real way, then, “Sparks-tastic” is a kind of dream journal in three dimensions, in which the dream in question is neither that of the band nor of the audience individually, but rather something that is shared.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 25, 2013 | By Randy Lewis
This post has been updated. See note below for details. Eccentrically innovative Los Angeles art-rock duo Sparks ( a.k.a. brothers Ron and Russell Mael) will play a hometown show April 16, bringing their new stripped-down stage show, “Two Hands, One Mouth,” to the Masonic Temple at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. The concert falls between the two weekends they'll also be playing at Coachella. Sparks last performed in L.A. in 2011, not in a traditional concert setting for a semi-staged presentation of their “film-to-be” music-theater piece “The Seduction of Ingmar Bergman” as part of the Los Angeles Film Festival.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 12, 2013 | By Randy Lewis
A film translation of “The Seduction of Ingmar Bergman,” a 2009 radio drama by L.A. pop duo Sparks turned 2010 concept album turned 2011 sparsely staged theatrical production, is moving forward with Canadian director Guy Maddin at the helm. Sparks lead singer Russell Mael made the announcement Monday night during the twosome's homecoming performance with his brother (keyboardist and songwriter Ron Mael) at the Fonda Theatre in Hollywood to wrap the North American leg of their 2013 tour, which also brought the eccentric pair to the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival last spring.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 7, 2013 | By David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times Book Critic
Tosh Berman's “Sparks-tastic: Twenty-One Nights With Sparks in London” (Barnacle Books: 220 pp., $14 paper) is exactly what it sounds like: the chronicle of a 21-night stand in London, in which the rock band Sparks played every one of their albums, back-to-back-to-back. Berman portrays himself as the world's most obsessive aficionado, traveling for a month to England, where he wrestles not only with loneliness and economic worries but also issues of identity. “[S]ince we're talking about pop music,” he writes early in the book, “we're also talking about image - how one lives out a life that is also an image, while projecting that image to the outside world.” In a very real way, then, “Sparks-tastic” is a kind of dream journal in three dimensions, in which the dream in question is neither that of the band nor of the audience individually, but rather something that is shared.
NEWS
July 6, 2006 | Mark Sachs
RUSSELL and Ron Mael, longtime co-conspirators in the band Sparks, have just released their 20th album, "Hello Young Lovers," and the buzz has taken even them by surprise. "I think it's made people reassess Sparks a bit," says Russell, who's single ("and extremely desirable") and lives in Beverly Hills. "Bands can get lazy after 20 albums. But that's not us."
ENTERTAINMENT
February 13, 2009 | Randy Lewis
A couple take a scenic drive up Pacific Coast Highway, heading toward a romantic getaway in Santa Barbara, their passion for each other building as each mile passes. In most corners of the pop music world, you could guess exactly where such a scenario would lead. But Sparks, the veteran L.A. duo with a passion for unpredictability, resides in its own wonderfully strange little universe.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 22, 2007 | Randy Lewis
Think Ben Kweller was impressive performing three of his albums in their entirety in September? Or Lucinda Williams doing five of hers front to back on her last swing through town? The bar on albums in concert is soon to go up -- way up. Sparks, L.A.'s long-running band fronted by brothers Ron and Russell Mael, will play every one of the albums they've released dating to 1972 over the course of a month in London. "We thought that an ambitious (and insane!
ENTERTAINMENT
April 17, 2013 | By Randy Lewis, Los Angeles Times
Sparks, the long-running L.A. pop-dance-rock band consisting of brothers Ron and Russell Mael, has long pushed at the boundaries of pop music. The quirky outfit created humor-laced operatic rock in the early 1970s that influenced Freddie Mercury and Queen, cooked up influential electronic dance music in the late '70s and flirted with pop stardom in the snappy techno-rock of its 1983 hit single "Cool Places. " The Mael brothers have since explored other quirky niches of the pop music world, abandoning the rock band format entirely for a trio of albums built on electronic and orchestral sounds.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 25, 2013 | By Randy Lewis
This post has been updated. See note below for details. Eccentrically innovative Los Angeles art-rock duo Sparks ( a.k.a. brothers Ron and Russell Mael) will play a hometown show April 16, bringing their new stripped-down stage show, “Two Hands, One Mouth,” to the Masonic Temple at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. The concert falls between the two weekends they'll also be playing at Coachella. Sparks last performed in L.A. in 2011, not in a traditional concert setting for a semi-staged presentation of their “film-to-be” music-theater piece “The Seduction of Ingmar Bergman” as part of the Los Angeles Film Festival.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 13, 2009 | Randy Lewis
A couple take a scenic drive up Pacific Coast Highway, heading toward a romantic getaway in Santa Barbara, their passion for each other building as each mile passes. In most corners of the pop music world, you could guess exactly where such a scenario would lead. But Sparks, the veteran L.A. duo with a passion for unpredictability, resides in its own wonderfully strange little universe.
NEWS
July 6, 2006 | Mark Sachs
RUSSELL and Ron Mael, longtime co-conspirators in the band Sparks, have just released their 20th album, "Hello Young Lovers," and the buzz has taken even them by surprise. "I think it's made people reassess Sparks a bit," says Russell, who's single ("and extremely desirable") and lives in Beverly Hills. "Bands can get lazy after 20 albums. But that's not us."
ENTERTAINMENT
September 12, 1998
"Knock Off" was absolutely horrible. I couldn't wait to see the review because I wanted to see how badly The Times would rip into it. I open up the paper to see Kevin Thomas calling this film "one of Van Damme's best" (" 'Knock Off' Is the Real Thing: Fast, Funny," Sept. 7). I disagree with almost everything that Thomas wrote about this film and I'm sure that I'm not the only one. Steven E. de Souza's script, which Thomas touts as "lean" and 'witty," is one of the worst I've ever heard, and not since Schwarzenegger in "Eraser" have lines been delivered this badly.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 5, 1988 | PATRICK GOLDSTEIN
Sparks always has a hit song on KROQ-FM, the latest being "So Important." But no major U.S. record company is willing to give the group a shot at stardom these days. So Ron and Russell Mael have recorded a new album, "Interior Design," due out July 20 on their own label, Fine Art, which will distributed by Rhino/Capitol Records.
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