CD Review: Colin Hay

Ted Mills, News-Press Correspondent
June 8, 2007 9:03 AM
“Are You Lookin’ At Me?”

Twenty years after this former Men At Work frontman set off on a solo career, his ninth album finds him relaxed and still able to knock out the melodies. It’s not an ambitious album, yet neither is it bland. Hay ruminates on life — the title track, half-sung in his thick Scottish brogue — and death — “Lonely Without You,” which manages to be both touching and funny — in equal measure, and could have a hit in “Land of the Midnight Sun,” if radio still made a place for artists this quirky. Recommended.

Arts Article: Children of a Lesser God

ONSTAGE: More ‘Lesser’ – Director returns to ‘Children’ 22 years after SBCC production
June 8, 2007 8:27 AM
“This is the ultimate role for a deaf woman,” TL Forsberg says about her lead role in “Children of a Lesser God,” opening tonight at the Rubicon Theatre. “Then again, maybe it’s the only role.”
Forsberg is only half-joking. Mark Medoff’s “Children of a Lesser God” first premiered in the early 1980s and introduced audiences to the world of the deaf through a romance between James Leeds, a teacher of lip-reading, and a deaf former student, Sarah. The film version made Marlee Matlin an Oscar-winning star. As for the theatrical event, few plays involving the deaf have come since, says director Rod Lathim. And none, he says, match “Children” for its power and effect.

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Arts Article: Girl in a Coma

IN CONCERT: Three women in Coma rise – A newfound complexity is apparent on three-piece band’s latest album
June 8, 2007 8:55 AM
With a name like Girl in a Coma, music fans will be forgiven for thinking this three-piece all-female outfit sounds like a Morrissey/Smiths tribute band. After all, their name comes from The Smiths’ 1987 single. But have one listen to “Clumsy Sky,” the first single off the band’s debut album, and one hears an alternate world in which Patsy Cline was born decades later and started a punk band.
“That’s funny,” lead singer Nina Diaz says when the Cline comparison comes up. “The first song I ever sang with my mom was ‘Crazy.’ But really, I’m influenced by whatever I’m listening to at the time.”
Which is true for the whole band. The members of the San Antonio-based Girl in a Coma have spent their formative years absorbing decades of musical influences: The Smiths, Joy Division, The Ramones and Jeff Buckley all share CD shelf space.
“We still get a lot of Morrissey fans turning up,” the band’s drummer, Phanie D, says. “People come thinking we’ll do Smiths songs, but then they stay anyway.”

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Arts Article: Plain White T’s

Plain White Tim – From Bright Life to White Hot
June 8, 2007 8:59 AM

Followers of Santa Barbara’s rock scene may remember a band called Bright Life from a few years back. Signed to Capitol Records, they released one record, went on tour and even inspired a song by Sugarcult.

Tim Lopez remembers Bright Life well, because he played guitar for them. Now he returns to the area as guitarist for Chicago-based pop-rockers Plain White T’s, who play this week’s KJEE Seaside Beach Ball. How did a Santa Barbara native find his way to the Windy City?

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Arts Article: Queens of the Stone Age

KJEE’S SEASIDE BEACH BALL: The Queens and I – Guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen part of ever-changing Stone Age roster
June 8, 2007 8:00 AM

Signs of Summer: Popsicles, beach towels, flip-flops, barbecues. Add radio-friendly rock bands arriving en masse to that list.

Large rock festivals like KJEE’s Seaside Beach Ball, coming to the Ventura County Fairgrounds today, have become a way to expose a roster of popular and up-and-coming artists to the maximum amount of like-minded fans. One month ahead of the Warped Tour, the Beach Ball brings to the sunny city to the south a lineup featuring the famous (Queens of the Stone Age, former Soundgarden and Audioslave frontman, now solo artist Chris Cornell), the hip (Sum 41, Plain White T’s) and the buzz-worthy (Cold War Kids, Shiny Toy Guns).

For Troy Van Leeuwen, guitarist with Queens of the Stone Age, these festivals are a good way to make new fans and to play short sets to an already-hyped crowd. “We just came off KROQ’s Weenie Roast festival,” he says. “They had a revolving stage, and so you come on already playing. It’s crazy.”

The KJEE stage might not revolve, but the Queens will be turning heads with a set that unveils many of the new songs on their fifth album, “Era Vulgaris,” set to drop in a week.

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Foxy Baby

I just started using FoxyTunes with my Firefox browser and I kinda like it. It puts a music player controller down at the bottom right of the browser window, which fixed one thing that was bugging me recently: switching from Firefox to iTunes and back again (over and over again). So I went looking and found this.
But it also has oodles of Web 2.0 goodness: you can use whatever is playing and use Foxytunes’ portal to return a page of related searches, including YouTube, LyricWiki,, Flickr, Google, Hype Machine, Rhapsody, Amazon, and more. It’s reedonk.

Theater Review: This Is How It Goes

AND SO IT GOES – Neil LaBute trains his eye on race and gender relationships in Ensemble show
Not just a blistering treatise on race, Neil LaBute’s “This Is How It Goes” delivers a course on unreliable narrative in theater. Like the skin of an onion, layers of truth pull back as the play progresses until we’re never really sure about the truth of the matter. And Mr. LaBute does this without disappearing inside his own cleverness. Part of the reason lies in the play, but the rest lies with the cast and crew of Ensemble Theatre, assembled for this season’s final show at the Alhecama Theatre.

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