prince

Still magical. Yet, there’s something there that wasn’t there before, and that something is meh.

Belle and Beast dance the night away.

If you’ve seen the 1991 Disney animated classic Beauty and the Beast as much as I have, you’re probably just as nervously excited for the live-action version as I was. The 1991 film was the first animated feature to ever be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar Award, and for good reason: it was smart, magical, romantic, and broke down animation barriers. The new live action version had to stay true to these things, while simultaneously amping up the drama, the romance, and the magic, and still embracing its classic songs (“Bonjour”, “Be Our Guest”, “Beauty and the Beast”, etc.). For a while, it was scarily unclear if the new version would be a musical at all. Once announced it would be, however, the producers needed to cast actors who could sing, and employ special effects that didn’t ruin the fun-loving side characters like Lumiere, Cogsworth, and, of course, the central character of the Beast. While the new songs and expanded character backstories are jarring and uninspired, the majority of the new Beauty and the Beast is still full of magic and romance, and does the original and Disney source material proud. The film also marks a pivotal point in Disney’s aspiration to have one of the industry’s most inclusive, and ethnically and racially diverse, modern film portfolios.

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Prince_Guitar_notype

I woke up in utter disbelief this morning. We’ve had a lot of music legends pass away in the last year, but nothing prepared me for the passing of Prince. The man was simply eternally youthful and filled with boundless energy. Less than six months ago, Prince played a 38-song set at Oracle Arena that got out around midnight, followed by another 18-song set at 3am at the Great American Music Hall — a feat that much younger musicians cannot accomplish.

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Whoever had this made is rad.

Whoever had this made is rad.

In the world according to Stace (that’d be me, for those not paying attention), Maya Rudolph is a genius. A comedic genius, you might say, but I mean it in a more general way. I’m just sayin’, if this woman ran for president, she might get my vote. Beautiful, funny, and musically talented, she’s got it all. As if that isn’t enough, she’s in a long-term relationship with the music of Prince, and it’s getting pretty serious. Recently, she’s been sharing it with the world alongside her college buddy, singer-songwriter Gretchen Lieberum, and together they are Princess.

Lucky, lucky me: SF Sketchfest brought this act to my city and gave me a ticket to watch! (Don’t be jealous.) So last night, I planted my feet outside the doors at Mezzanine in the drizzle and waited an hour to be let in. At first, I thought I’d finally found the island of misfit toys, as no one remotely associated with the venue seemed to know much about what was going on, who the artist was, if tickets would be available (the show was sold out, but of course there were still those willing to try at the door), or how long the event would go. In the end, after an hour, I was the first one in the door. Cocktail in hand, I picked a spot against a pillar near the front and there I stood for the two hours until the ladies graced the stage. I have to be honest: these were torturous hours. Though I subject myself to them regularly, I’m not especially fond of huge crowds, and Mezzanine really packed ’em in last night. I can’t blame everyone else in the city for wanting to witness the glory of Princess, but it didn’t stop me from wishing I had a little more room to breathe. (Seriously: I even texted managing editor Dakin, who was up front, to ask if it would be any better if I went back near the door. He said probably not much, so I sucked it up and stayed put.)

At last, though, the show was about to begin. [read the whole post]

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How much would you pay to see these guys?

How much would you pay to see these guys?

This started with a Facebook post I made on my personal wall:

The cheap seats are $171 for The Rolling Stones at Oracle. $660 for the top price level (not including VIP which costs GKHM). Makes Prince look like a bargain.

 

To that, my friend and fellow blogger John Marcher of A Beast in a Jungle responded with a long post that started with the line, “Gordon, I want to debate this with you.” So over the next few days, we sent some emails back and forth doing just that, and getting into deep topics like whether career artists are truly artists. I promised him the last word, and he’ll have it between us. We do invite you, however, to post your thoughts in the comments.

John Marcher:

Gordon, I want to debate this with you. The prices are what they are, and they are fair. Is $250 too much to see Prince in a small venue? Absolutely not. He and his band deserve to paid for the show. The people setting up and tearing down the show deserve to get paid. They have to eat on the road and stay in hotels- and do you think Prince and his band are going to eat at fucking Mel’s Diner and stay at the Holiday Inn? [read the whole post]

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All photos by Michelle Viray

All photos by Michelle Viray

Now that we’ve all had time to recover from a week’s worth of sun damage, get our voices back, and forget about the hours spent driving through the lonely west Texas desert, it’s time to reflect upon another year of SXSW. While everyone’s experience is different under the Austin sun, these are my recollections as to the best and worst of SXSW 2013.

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Appearing with Echo at The Warfield

This is kind of a slow show week… You know what’s great about living in the Bay Area? Prince, Kylie Minogue, Jenny Lewis, and Poncho Sanchez are all playing a “slow” week. This place is awesome!

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Spinning Platters Weekly Guide to Bay Area Concerts, 2/17/11 – 2/23/11

February 17, 2011

Next week is Noise Pop! If you’re not excited about Noise Pop for some reason, get excited about it! Look left, right now, see the pretty advertisement for the festival, click on it, and buy some tickets to something. But if you’re some sort of meany who hates Noise Pop and everything they stand for, […]

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Spinning Platters Weekly Guide to Bay Area Concerts, 12/23/10-12/29/10

December 23, 2010

Hey folks… Sorry, but this is a short list this week. Even musicians and club owners need to take a holiday! But, if you really can’t deal with it anymore, here are a few outings you can make:

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Show Review: The Corin Tucker Band w/ The Golden Bears at Great American Music Hall, 10/11/10

October 12, 2010
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHGYLpAG8BY”

I need to level with you, my loyal readers. Sleater-Kinney is my favorite band. End of story. I have seen them more times than any other band, and, quite happily, only once has seen them as a support act. (As sub-headliner at This Is Not A Festival in 1999) Since their hiatus began in 2006, […]

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Show Review: Greg Behrendt’s “Bring The Rock”

June 21, 2010

Spinning Platters is, according to the banner, is a “Community Of Bay Area Music Nerds.” So when I learned of this show at Cobb’s, I got very excited. The premise is comedians telling stories about music, and singing a song relevant to the story with a live band. Of course, this event causes my music […]

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