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December 17, 2013 | By Ellen Olivier
Singer, songwriter and producer Linda Perry has been chosen as the "visionary" for the Art of Elysium's seventh annual Heaven Gala in Los Angeles in January. The Art of Elysium is a charitable organization that brings creativity into the lives of hospitalized children through its network of volunteer musicians, artists, fashion designers, writers, filmmakers and actors. “We create a world around them that's very, very different from the world they're in and we empower the children to see things far beyond their hospital rooms,” says founder Jennifer Howell.
December 12, 2013 | By Hugh Hart
Elvis. Aretha. The Beatles. These are the titans. Jerome Felder, Spooner Oldham and Freda Kelly? They're the supporting players. Following on last year's Oscar-winning Sixto Rodriguez documentary, "Searching for Sugarman," a fresh set of nonfiction films this year focused on low-profile talents whose stories are every bit as fascinating as their more famous compatriots. Leading the charge this year: Oscar shortlisted documentary "20 Feet From Stardom. " Financed by the late record executive Gil Friesen, "Stardom" offers a bittersweet group portrait of half a dozen background singers who helped define landmark recordings by Ray Charles, Ike and Tina Turner, Rolling Stones, Sting and Stevie Wonder but failed to carve out comparable solo careers for themselves.  FULL COVERAGE: Oscars 2014 At the outset, director Morgan Neville faced a daunting challenge.
November 19, 2013 | By Reed Johnson
Like folk art and fine art, or mezcal and worms, sins and miracles might seem like a very odd couple. But for Demián Flores and Lila Downs, mixing pecados (sins) and milagros (miracles) proved to be a potent combination. Flores is a Oaxacan graphic artist and painter who often creates mash-ups of pop-culture and pre-Columbian imagery. Critics' darling Downs is a Oaxaca-born, Mexican American singer-songwriter. She's known for her theatrical stage persona and a syncretic musical style that cross-stitches elements of jazz, hip-hop, rock and ranchera.
November 19, 2013 | By Mikael Wood
A year ago this English singer-songwriter was largely unknown in the U.S. despite the fact that his self-titled debut had entered the British chart at No. 1. Today Jake Bugg is still largely unknown here, but the folks who do know him are people of influence. Thus "Shangri La," Bugg's second album, titled after the Malibu studio where he recorded with A-list producer Rick Rubin and an all-star band that included Elvis Costello's drummer and Chad Smith of Red Hot Chili Peppers. The result isn't the clean-up job it might've been; Bugg, 19, still sings with a nasal edge that wouldn't last more than a round on "American Idol.
November 12, 2013 | By Gerrick D. Kennedy
Jhené Aiko offered a quick warning before she played her single, “The Worst.” It's best enjoyed alone with a joint (her words). She curled into a plush leather chair, took a long sip from a cocktail and gently swayed as the wrenching production unfolded, her eyes shut as the particularly aching hook filled a North Hollywood recording studio. “I don't need you, I don't need you, but I want you,” she sings. “I don't mean to, I don't mean to, but I love you.” PHOTOS: Celebrities by The Times “The Worst” is the lead single for the singer-songwriter's new EP, “Sail Out.” Released on Monday, the EP serves as an appetizer as she completes her debut album, "Souled Out," and is the first release from producer No I.D.'s Artium imprint under Def Jam. In hip-hop Aiko is the new “it girl,” offering sultry, emotive hooks countering rhymes by J. Cole, Wale, Big Sean and Drake.
November 3, 2013 | By Lauren Beale
The show's over. Madonna has sold her mansion in Beverly Hills for $19.5 million. The single MLS listing photo offered only an aerial view, and agents and their clients who toured the home were among the few who have had a look inside. Those expecting the gabled-roofed home to have a gothic air were disappointed. "Tastefully decorated" was the word in real estate circles. During nearly a decade of ownership, the pop icon went on a spending spree, rebuilding and expanding the estate, which was completed in 2010.
November 1, 2013 | By Rebecca Keegan
Composer Robert Lopez was surfing YouTube recently when he came across a video of a music box playing "Let It Go," a stirring, radio-friendly empowerment anthem that he and his wife, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, wrote for the upcoming Walt Disney Animation movie "Frozen. " This is the second Disney feature film for the couple, who also helped write the music for 2011's "Winnie the Pooh. " But it's the first time their work has ended up in a pink box with twirling princesses - and in the lofty realm of Disney tunes that people can't seem to stop humming.
October 23, 2013 | By August Brown
Elliott Smith needed a cigarette. The singer-songwriter was onstage at Largo on Fairfax Avenue not long after smoking had been banned in California bars. "He'd played about 10 songs and said, 'I'm going to go take a smoke break, does anyone want to join me?'" remembered Largo's longtime owner Mark Flanagan of the 1998 show. "He put his guitar down and walked out to the street. Then 60 people got up and gathered outside. People who didn't even smoke were smoking outside just to be near him. " Smith died 10 years ago this week in his Echo Park home.
October 10, 2013 | By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
Elvis Presley called him up in the middle of the night to thank him for a song. John Lennon went to a banquet just so he could sit next to him. Dion said meeting with him was like "being inside a cubicle with a piano and a genius. " His name was Jerome Felder, but fame reached him under a pseudonym, Doc Pomus. If you care at all about the early days of rock 'n' roll, you either know who Doc Pomus was or count one of his songs as among your favorites: "This Magic Moment," "Save the Last Dance for Me," "Lonely Avenue," "Little Sister," "Viva Las Vegas," "Can't Get Used to Losing You," "A Teenager in Love.
October 3, 2013 | By Randall Roberts, Los Angeles Times Pop Music Critic
Ten years ago this November singer-songwriter Elliott Smith, then 34, died in an Echo Park bungalow from two knife stabs to the chest. According to William Todd Schultz's "Torment Saint: The Life of Elliott Smith," a clear-eyed and devastating new biography of the gifted and troubled artist, his death, likely a suicide, was inevitable. The only questions were how and when. Smith is most widely known for the use of his somber, melodic music to soundtrack Gus Van Sant's "Good Will Hunting" and a white-suited performance during the 1998 Academy Awards of the song "Miss Misery.
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