LeVar Burton Launches Kickstarter Campaign to Bring Back “Reading Rainbow”

Reading Rainbow

LeVar Burton, host of the incredibly popular educational program “Reading Rainbow” from 1983 through the mid-2000s, wants to resurrect the show. So, he has launched a Kickstarter campaign that aim to raise $1 million  to fund the development of a web version.

In 2011, Burton released a tablet version of “Reading Rainbow” – but as he acknowledges, there are many kids without access to tablets. Wider reach requires a web-based version; furthermore, Burton wants to create a new version of the show for the classroom, complete with resources for teachers, available for free to the most cash-strapped schools. If he can meet the $1 million goal, it should put the program in 1,500 classrooms for free.

“You take advantage of where kids are. Back in the ’80s that was in front of the television set,” Burton told the Verge. ”Today, you have to have access to the web. Universal access is really what this effort is all about.”

Click here to donate to Burton’s “Reading Rainbow” Kickstarter campaign.

Poet and Novelist Maya Angelou Dies at Age 86

Maya Angelou

According to CNN, Maya Angelou has died at the age of 86, her literary agent, Helen Brann, said Wednesday. She died at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Well known for her autobiographical works — especially I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, published in 1969 — Angelou was also a professor, singer, and dancer. In 2011, President Barack Obama awarded her with the Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor.

Click here for more information.

Rancid Tribute Album “Hooligans United” to Be Released Featuring Anti-Flag, Street Dogs, Death By Stereo, Kevin Seconds, and More

Rancid "Hooligans United"

At some point this year, a tribute album to RancidHooligans United, will be put out as a split release by Hellcat Records and Smelvis Records. The album will feature tracks by bands and artists including Anti-Flag, Street DogsKepi Ghoulie, Mustard Plug, Kevin Seconds, Death By Stereo, and many more. A full track listing is below, and you can check out more information here.

Rancid’s new album, Honor Is All We Know, will be released on June 10, 2014.

Hooligans United Track Listing (Not Final Order)
Street Dogs – Avenues & Alleyways
Far From Finished – It’s Quite Alright
Death March – I Am Forever
Hola Ghost – Django
The Forgotten – Corruption
Los Creepers – St. Marys
Left Alone – Black Derby Jacket
The Triggers – The Wars End
Potato Pirates – Hyena
The Phenomenauts – Life Wont Wait
Koffin Kats – Detroit
Death By Stereo – Rejected
The Interrupters – 11th Hour
Bunny Gang – International Coverup
Manic Hispanic – My Tia (Adina)
Mustard Plug – Roots Radicals
Deals Gone Bad – Antennas
Good 4 Nothing – Disconnected
The China Wife Motors – Something In The World Today
The Briggs – Who Would Have Thought
Inspector – Ruby Soho
Voodoo Glow Skulls – The Brothels
The Howlers – Don Giovanni
Kevin Seconds – Salvation
Big D and The Kids Table – Old Friend
Kepi Ghoulie – East Bay Night
Motel Drive – Motorcycle Ride
The Black Rose Phantoms – Tattoo
Anti-Flag – Maxwell Murder

(via PunkNews)

Macaulay Culkin’s The Pizza Underground Booed Off Stage, Pelted With Beer at UK’s Dot to Dot Music Festival

The Pizza Underground

As you may have heard several months ago, former child actor Macaulay Culkin has a “band” called The Pizza Underground, a pizza-themed group that riffs on on The Velvet Underground. Yes, this is still an ongoing thing, and in fact, the band is touring and performing at music festivals.

However, not everybody seems to enjoy their shtick. At the Dot to Dot Festival in Nottingham, England on May 25, 2014, the crowd  began to boo and throw full pints of beer at the stage after only one song.

“Why are you throwing those? I’d rather drink them?” Culkin yelled. The band only did one more song before ending their set.

Later, The Pizza Underground tweeted, “Thank you so much Nottingham and dot to dot. Sorry that a couple people ruined it for everyone.”

(via Stereogum)

Netflix to Develop “Wet Hot American Summer” TV Series

Wet Hot American Summer

For several years now, it has been speculated that a prequel or sequel to Wet Hot American Summer was in the works. Now, it appears that the idea has been shifted to a television series to be developed by Netflix.

The original 2001 film, co-written by Michael Showalter and David Wain (and directed by Wain) featured an all-star “who’s who” cast of comedy actors playing a group of summer camp counselors and campers: Showalter, Janeane Garofalo, Molly Shannon, Paul Rudd, Christopher Meloni, Ken Marino, Michael Ian Black, Amy Poehler, Bradley Cooper, David Hyde Pierce, Elizabeth Banks, H. Jon Benjamin, and Kevin Sussman.

In the decade-plus since the film was released, most of the cast have become bigger stars, with several developing into Hollywood household names. Still, Netflix hopes to bring back as many as possible, and given the flexibility of creating a show (rather than a movie), they just might be able to accommodate busy actors such as Rudd, Meloni, Poehler, Cooper, and Banks. Like the “Arrested Development” season developed for Netflix, the plan is to feature each character only in certain episodes.

Wain and Showalter will return to executive produce the series. The series itself is designed to function as a 10-episode prequel to the film, and will feature most of the cast playing high school or college age characters, despite most being in their 30s and 40s.

No timetable is yet set for the series to air, as it is in the earliest stages of development.

(via Screen Rant)

15 Members of the “Forever 27 Club” – Premature Deaths of Young Rock Stars

Forever 27 Club

When Nirvana‘s Kurt Cobain was found dead in April 1994, his grieving mother was quoted in the press as saying, “I told him not to join that stupid club.” The “club,” of course, refers to the now-mythologized “27 Club,” the supposedly cursed age at which rock stars are likely to die.

With the exception of the “32 Club,” no other age exists where musicians have an abnormally high rate of death. Is it a coincidence, or is there a reason behind this phenomenon?

Maybe a bit of both. While it’s likely a coincidence that so many celebrity musicians have died at the age of 27, it’s not coincidental that so many die young — in fact, according to team of British researchers, “North American pop stars were 87.6% as likely to be alive as [non-rock stars] of the same age and ethnicity — the lowest survival rate of any group identified” in a 2011 study. So if you’re looking to live a long life, steer clear of a career in the rock music biz — or take heed of the tragically short lives of these 15 rock stars.

Alexandre Levy (November 10, 1864 – January 17, 1892)

Alexandre Levy

Alexandre Levy

Brazilian Alexandre Levy is the very first member of the 27 Club. The São Paulo-born composer was a pioneer of Brazilian musical nationalism, fusing classical composition with Brazilian folk music, but died mysteriously in 1892. He did not suffer from any known illness, and the details of his death were never disclosed.

Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones (February 28, 1942 – July 3, 1969)

Brian Jones

Brian Jones

Brian Jones — and not Mick Jagger — was the original bandleader of the Rolling Stones. According to the Rolling Stones’ original bassist Bill Wyman, ”He formed the band. He chose the members. He named the band. He chose the music we played. He got us gigs. Very influential, very important, and then slowly lost it. Highly intelligent — and just kind of wasted it and blew it all away.”

Jones was a member of the Stones from 1962 until he was booted out of the band in June 1969. Less than a month later, he was found dead, having drowned in his swimming pool — intoxication from drugs and alcohol likely played a role. Forty-plus years later, the band is still going.

Alan Wilson of Canned Heat (July 4, 1943 – September 3, 1970)

Alan Wilson

Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson

In mid-1970, Alan Wilson attempted suicide by driving his car off of a Los Angeles freeway. However, he survived the attempt, and though he suffered from depression, was released from the hospital shortly thereafter.

Unfortunately, Wilson did not survive much longer. On September 3rd, he was found dead on a hillside Topanga Canyon. His death was attributed to “acute barbiturate intoxication,” and it was never clear whether it was a suicide, as no note was left.

Jimi Hendrix (November 27, 1942 – September 18, 1970)

Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix

Like many of the talented musicians on this list, Jimi Hendrix struggled greatly with drug and alcohol abuse during his short life. The Seattle native met his end in London while staying with his girlfriend Monika Dannemann, who was the last person to see him alive. After sharing a bottle of wine, Dannemann drove Hendrix to a friend’s house at 1:45 a.m. on September 18th, and picked him up at 3 a.m. The two stayed awake talking until 7 a.m., when they finally went to sleep.

When Dannemann awoke at around 11 a.m., she found Hendrix still breathing, but unresponsive. By 11:30, Hendrix was at St Mary Abbot’s Hospital, and by 12:45 that afternoon he was dead. His obituary revealed that Hendrix died of asphyxiation after choking on his own vomit due to barbiturate intoxication — he had ingested nine of Dannemann’s prescription Vesparax sleeping tablets, 18 times the recommended dosage.

In 1996, Dannemann committed suicide at the age of 50.

Janis Joplin (January 19, 1943 – October 4, 1970)

Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin

Just 16 days after the death of Jimi Hendrix, singer Janis Joplin was found dead in her room at the Landmark Motor Hotel (now the Highland Gardens Hotel) in Hollywood, California.

The official cause of death was a heroin overdose. It has been suggested that Joplin accidentally overdosed due to being supplied with abnormally potent heroin, as several of her dealer’s other customers also overdosed the week of her death.

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Watch: Veruca Salt Plays Their First Live Performance in 17 Years, Plays “Seether” on “Conan”

Veruca Salt on "Conan," May 21, 2014

In 2013, the original lineup of Veruca Salt reunited for the first time since breaking up in 1997. Then, in 2014, the band released an excellent new single on Record Store Day, “The Museum of Broken Relationships,” and then announced a summer tour.

Now the band has performed live together for the first time in 17 years. Watch Veruca Salt perform their 1994 hit “Seether” on “Conan” below.

Pearl Jam Announce 2014 US, European Tour Dates

Pearl Jam

Pearl Jam have announced a slew of American and European tour dates in support of their latest album, Lightning Bolt. Following a tour of shows and festivals in Europe, the band will go on a 10-city in October, kicking off in Cincinnati and finishing October 22nd in Denver.

Pearl Jam on Tour
06/16 Amsterdam, NL @ Ziggo Dome
06/17 Amsterdam, NL @ Ziggo Dome
06/20 Milan, iT @ San Siro Stadium
06/22 Trieste, IT @ Nereo Rocco Stadium
06/25 Vienna, AT @ Stadthalle
06/26 Berlin, DE @ Wuhlhelde
06/28 Stockholm, SE @ Friends Arena
06/29 Oslo, NO @ Telenor Arena
07/03 Gdynia, PL @ Open’er Festival
07/05 Werchter, BE @ Rock Werchter
07/08 Leeds, UK @ First Direct Arena
07/11 Milton Keynes, UK @ Milton Keynes Bowl
10/01 Cincinnati, OH @ U.S. Bank Arena
10/03 St. Louis, MO @ Scottrade Center
10/04 Austin, TX @ Austin City Limits
10/05 Austin, TX @ Austin City Limits
10/08 Tulsa, OK @ BOK Center
10/09 Lincoln, NE @ Pinnacle Bank Arena
10/10 Austin, TX @ Austin City Limits
10/11 Austin, TX @ Austin City Limits
10/12 Austin, TX @ Austin City Limits
10/14 Memphis, TN @ FedEx Forum
10/16 Detroit, MI @ Joe Louis Arena
10/17 Moline, IL @ iWireless Center
10/19 St. Paul, NM @ Xcel Energy Center
10/20 Milwaukee, WI @ BMO Harris Bradley Center
10/22 Denver, CO @ Pepsi Arena

(via CoS)

The Muffs Announce “Whoop Dee Doo,” Their First New Album in 10 Years – Listen to Lead Single “Up and Down Around”

The Muffs | photo by Kim Shattuck

The Muffs, comprised of Kim Shattuck (vocals and guitar), Ronnie Barnett (bass and backing vocals), and Roy McDonald (drums), will be releasing their sixth full-length album on July 29, 2014. The album, entitled Whoop Dee Doo, is the band’s first album since 2004′s Really Really Happy and will be released on Burger Records.

You can listen to first single, “Up And Down Around,” below, and check out the album art as well.

The Muffs "Whoop Dee Doo" album cover art 2014

Watch: Michael Jackson Hologram Performs at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards

Continuing the odd recent tradition of resurrecting dead performers as holograms, Michael Jackson appeared in hologram form at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards. An odd, Jackson-ish-looking image — overlaid on a performer who did his best to imitate the King of Pop’s signature dance moves — was projected while the newly released single “Slave to the Rhythm” was played over the PA system. Watch below.

2014 Northside Festival Adds More Than 150 New Bands, Sets Live Schedule

Northside Festival

The music portion of the 2014 Northside Festival, which will take place in Brooklyn from June 12th the 15th, has announced the addition of more than  150 bands to its lineup.

Northside Music has added Daniel Rossen (of Grizzly Bear & Department of Eagles), Pallbearer, Marnie Stern (solo), Marissa Nadler, Klingande, BADBADNOTGOOD, Ka, White Rabbits, Frankie Cosmos, Syd Arthur, Tweens, Alvvays, Kiesza, HOLYCHILD and Heliotropes. These acts join such previously announced artists as CHVRCHES, Beirut, The War on Drugs, Thee Oh Sees, Sharon Van Etten, Talib Kweli, Fuck Buttons, Titus Andronicus, Courtney Barnett, Dan Croll, Eagulls and Mas Ysa, with still more to come.

For the most up-to-date lineup, click here.

Sonic Youth to Reissue Six Albums

Sonic Youth "Daydream Nation"

In summer of 2014, Sonic Youth will reissue a number of their most iconic albums, as well as some of their out-of-print titles. On June 10, the band will first release a 2xLP and CD edition of their 1991 release Daydream Nation and their 1988 Ciccone Youth album, The Whitey Album. Both of those will be released via their own imprint.

Those releases will be followed up by LP and CD releases of the band’s out-of-print pre-Geffen recordings, including Confusion is Sex (1983), Bad Moon Rising (1985), EVOL (1986), Sister (1987), and Screaming Fields of Sonic Love (1996).

The band, which consisted of  Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon, Lee Ranaldo, and Steve Shelley, has no plans at this time to reunite.

(via Prefix)

Summer Nationals 2014 Tour Dates Announced With The Offspring, Bad Religion, and Pennywise

The Offspring

In 1994, Epitaph Records sponsored Summer Nationals, selling out three days at the Hollywood Palladium. The Offspring, having just released Smash, headlined with Bad Religion and Pennywise.

Twenty years later, that same trio will join together for the first time since that memorable moment and bring the event across North America. Starting in late July through the end of summer, these and other bands on select dates (including Stiff Little Fingers, Naked Raygun, and The Vandals), will hit the road for Summer Nationals 2014. On this tour, The Offspring will be performing Smash in its entirety. See full date listing below.

Summer Nationals 2014 Tour Dates:
7/29  Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE*
7/30  Baltimore, MD @ Pier Six Pavilion*
8/01 Asbury Park, NJ @ The Stone Pony Summer Stage*
8/02  Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory*
8/04  New York, NY @ Terminal 5*
8/05  New York, NY @ Terminal 5*
8/07  Toronto, ON @ TD Echo Beach*
8/08  Burlington, VT @ Waterfront Park (Lake Champlain Maritime Fest)*
8/11  Boston, MA @ House Of Blues*
8/14  Tampa, FL @ MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre#
8/15  West Palm Beach, FL @ Cruzan Amphitheatre#
8/16  Cape Canaveral, FL @ Exploration Tower at Port Canaveral#
8/19  St. Augustine, FL @ Saint Augustine Amphitheatre#
8/20  Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade Music Park#
8/22  Oklahoma City, OK @ Downtown Airpark#
8/24  Englewood, CO @ Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre#
8/26  Magna, UT @ The Great Saltair**
8/27  Las Vegas, NV @ The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino#
8/29  Mesa, AZ @ Mesa Amphitheatre#
8/30  Chula Vista, CA @ Sleep Train Amphitheatre*
8/31  Mountain View, CA @ Shoreline Amphitheatre Grounds*
9/07 Cincinnati, OH @ Horseshoe Cincinnati^
9/09  Milwaukee, WI @ Eagles Ballroom^
9/11  Council Bluffs, IA @ Harrah’s Ballroom^^

* w/ Bad Religion, Pennywise and The Vandals
# w/ Bad Religion, Pennywise and TBA
** w/ Pennywise and TBA
^ w/ Bad Religion, Stiff Little Fingers and TBA
^^ w/ Bad Religion, Stiff Little Fingers and Naked Raygun

Larry Wilmore to Replace Stephen Colbert’s Time Slot on Comedy Central With “The Minority Report”

Larry Wilmore

Larry Wilmore, well known as being the “Senior Black Correspondent” on “The Daily Show,” will replace Stephen Colbert in 2015 on Comedy Central. Colbert, host of “The Colbert Report,” will be succeeding David Letterman on CBS’s “Late Show.”

Replacing “The Colbert Report” will be “The Minority Report”. According to Comedy Central president Michele Ganeless, it will “provide an opportunity for underrepresented voices out there.”

Wilmore has been involved in many projects over the years, including co-creation of “The PJs” with Eddie Murphy, as well as “The Bernie Mac Show.”

“I’m beyond excited to have this chance to continue my relationships with Comedy Central and the brilliant Jon Stewart,” said Wilmore. Together, Stewart and Wilmore will serve as executive producers of the show.