November 3rd, 2009
08:18 PM ET

Alec Baldwin & Steve Martin to co-host Oscars

This just in: to counter the widespread belief that the Motion Picture Academy is dominated by old white guys, the 82nd Academy Awards will be hosted by... two old white guys!  Okay, Alec Baldwin is barely past the half-century mark, and doing what many consider the best work of his career on "30 Rock," but Steve Martin will be eligible for Medicare next year.  (Man, now I feel old.)

Martin has proven his chops writing as well as performing, and it's a good bet they'll make at least a few references to the comedy "It's Complicated," which comes out this Christmas and stars Baldwin and Martin as rivals for Meryl Streep's affections.  And Baldwin will probably take a jab at his co-host by mentioning his 2004 Oscar nomination, as Best Supporting Actor for "The Cooler," a few times: Martin has never received a nod from the Academy, not even for his marvelous screenplay for 1987's "Roxanne."

As for hosting, Baldwin is something of a novice, but Martin hosted the Academy Awards in 2001, earning an Emmy nomination, and again in 2003.  Interestingly, when our Denise Quan interviewed Martin this May about his new bluegrass album, she asked him about a possible return as Oscar host.  His reply: "I don't think so... I did it twice, that was enough... as soon as you say yes to the Oscars, that's the only thing you think about for three months."  Guess we know what he'll be thinking about between now and next March 7.

The "mature" pair probably won't dance about the stage as Hugh Jackman did last year, though there's a good chance Martin will pull out his banjo at least once... and they're definitely both funny.  How do you think they'll do as Oscar hosts?

November 3rd, 2009
04:32 PM ET

Prepare for Devo 2010

The countdown toward the next phase of "De-evolution" is under way.  Devo has a new deal with Warner Brothers Records that will bring to the world a brand new Devo studio album and a world tour next year.  The sonic subversion begins in March, according to the record label.

Devo's been around for 35 years and the innovations they brought to the stage and studio have been copied by generations to follow.  But Mark and Bob Mothersbaugh and Gerry and Bob Casale are not planning "De-evolution 2010" as a nostalgia tour.  In fact, they'll get that out of the way this month with shows in seven cities.

In each city - starting tonight in Los Angeles - Devo will play back-to-back nights.  The first night, they will perform their 1978 album "Are We Not Men?"  The second night, it's the 1980 breakthrough LP "Freedom of Choice."  The other cities: San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Washington, D.C., New York and Toronto.  (Except for the addition of drummer Josh Freese, who joined them about 15 years ago, the current Devo is the original Devo.)

Warner Brothers - the band's label for six LPs between 1978 and 1984 - will reissue CD and limited-edition colored vinyl version's of "Are We Not Men?" and "Freedom of Choice" this week. I suspect the four other Devo albums in the company's archives will soon follow.  It's a good reason for fans to search their local thrift stores for a turntable.  There's nothing like the warm sound of a diamond needle sliding along the vinyl groove on a Devo record.

For those who think Devo's new look will feature the color gray (as in hair), you only need to read the reviews from last March, when the group played the South By Southwest festival.  Billboard's reviewer said the old songs sounded "revitalized" while the new music "freshened the experience."

Let the De-evolution begin!

November 3rd, 2009
03:10 PM ET

Welcome to Rihanna's dark side

If you thought Rihanna was bad before, then welcome to her dark side.

The wait is not quite over for her upcoming album, “Rated R” – due November 23 - but the singer is revealing another taste of her evolved sound with the video for her latest single, “Wait Your Turn” , on RihannaNow.com.

Like her barbed-wire bound image on the album cover, “Wait Your Turn’s” grainy black-and-white video is a testament to toughness. The trendsetter dons plenty of leather, enough jewelry to seriously injure anyone looking for a fist fight and she is not - I repeat not - afraid of the crotch grab.

The dark sunglasses she wears seem a little reminiscent of Aaliyah, which she switches up with an eye-patch over her left eye. I smell a new signature look, but only time will tell if it’ll take off like her jet-black haircut of yesteryear.

The Barbadian songstress revealed to Glamour magazine in an interview that she put everything she wanted to say in the past eight months into her music.

“[My new album] is super fearless,” she said in the interview, “which is exactly how I feel right now. I am in a really good place.”

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Filed under: Celebrities • Rihanna
November 3rd, 2009
02:28 PM ET

Defending Jon Gosselin!

With the World Series ending soon, America will soon be able to focus on its other national pastime: bashing Jon Gosselin. Ever since Gosselin and his wife Kate split, and Jon started partying it up with a much younger woman,  many have  gleefully ridiculed him as a negligent father, a wannabe playboy and your basic Class-A dog.

Now, Jon’s admitting his sins. This past weekend he appeared before cameras at a New York synagogue to apologize to his ex-wife for his behavior. In choosing such a public forum, Jon was also offering an implicit apology to those of us who’ve followed, and disapproved of, his post-breakup antics. It’s an apology we should accept. It may be my basic sense of fair play (or my Y chromosome) talking here, but Jon Gosselin is getting a bum rap. Here’s why:

1.)    We all saw this coming –  Back when the titular family of  “Jon & Kate Plus 8” was still intact, viewers picked up on two simple facts: 1.) the eight kids were adorable and 2.) Kate wasn’t very nice to Jon. Kate habitually bossed, belittled and berated Jon, often in front of the children. Jon and Kate’s troubling marital dynamic became so entrenched in popular culture that even non –watchers became aware of it. In fact, some people I know who are now on the “I Hate Jon” bandwagon used to actually pity Jon and openly wonder when Kate’s antics would make him snap. Well, after their split, Jon did snap; he careened headfirst into a boozy sea of European yacht parties, willing young women and ugly Ed Hardy T-shirts. Acceptable behavior for a father of eight? No. Understandable behavior for someone first tasting independence after a long and one-sided relationship? Definitely.

2.)    Breakups are hard.  We all know that people sometimes act out a bit after they’ve ended a long relationship.  It’s a painful process that sometimes takes years to work through. If Jon’s truly over it now, as he says he is, it will have only taken him a little over four months. Again, not an ideal situation but an understandable one.

3.)    Kate hasn’t been perfect either.   Jon hasn’t cornered the market on questionable post-divorce behavior. Kate’s rushed on to almost every major daytime TV show to complain about divorce matters best settled privately in court. And by giving tacit approval to TLC’s ruthless campaign to savage Jon’s reputation and salvage the “Kate Plus 8” empire, Kate arguably has complicated this split every bit as much as Jon (who, it should be noted, helped build that empire) has. No, two wrongs don’t make a right. But when two people each stack up an impressive list of “wrongs” and only one gets called on it, something isn’t right.

It’s only natural that we take sides in the Jon and Kate breakup; we each have our own experiences, values, and ideas about relationships that can’t help but influence how we react to this very public split. But by endlessly bashing one or both parties in this saga, we ignore a sad truth: that Jon and Kate both are doing what they think is best for themselves and their children during a terrible ordeal – an ordeal that many of us have either witnessed or experienced ourselves. Yes, Jon and Kate have each earned some well-deserved criticism for their actions. Still, they both deserve some compassion as well.

November 3rd, 2009
01:05 PM ET

Your pop culture cheat sheet

Here's what's happening in the world of entertainment today:

Sony Pictures decided to extend the run of concert film "Michael Jackson's This Is It" due to the fact that the popularity of the film seemed to extend beyond Jackson fans when the studio looked at opening night ticket sales, according to EW.com. The movie will now remain in theaters through Thanksgiving.

After last year's successful "Marley & Me," Owen Wilson is sticking with canine family fare. The Hollywood Reporter says that he has been tapped to voice comic strip character Marmaduke in a feature length movie about the Great Dane.

Variety reports that George Clooney is in discussions to join the cast of "The Descendants," a "family dramedy" to be directed by "Sideways'" Alexander Payne.

Kathy Griffin has been tapped to host "Let's Dance," another celebrity dancing show, set to make its debut on November 23 after "Dancing with the Stars," according to EW.com. The show will get a trial run of five episodes to begin with.

"Terminator: Salvation" was not the last we've heard of the film franchise. Rights to future "Terminator" movies will go up for auction in January, Variety reports.

EW.com reports that "Heroes" cast member Adrian Pasdar, who played flying U.S. Senator Nathan Petrelli, is leaving the show.

November 3rd, 2009
11:20 AM ET

Judges pummel 'Dancing' star

The competition is getting tougher and so are the judges’ comments on “Dancing With the Stars.”

Last night, the biggest zingers were reserved for Mark Dacascos, host of Food Network's "Iron Chef America," who has had a good run on the show until now.

His samba - performed with new dance partner Anna Trebunskaya, filling in for Lacey Schwimmer who was under the weather this week – seemed like a nice, energetic routine but it really didn’t go over well with the judges.

It was like “Kung Fu Panda doing the samba on the ‘Planet of the Apes,’ ” said judge Bruno Tonioli. (Ouch.)

“It was a mess,” added judge Carrie Ann Inaba.

Maybe it was the jarring black and green costumes the couple wore during the routine?

All of the professional dancers sported outfits designed by their celebrity partners on last night’s show, with mixed results. Louis Van Amstel tried to make the best out of the electric blue, fringe-gone-wild pants picked out for him by Kelly Osbourne.

Fringe worked better for Karina Smirnoff, who wore a great pink dress chosen by singer Aaron Carter. But it was their amazing footwork that earned them a couple of perfect scores for their jive.

“That had enough energy to light up Hollywood,” said judge Len Goodman. (Not to take anything away from Carter's routine, but does it seem like the famously cranky Goodman has been told to be more generous with praise? He's been uncharacteristically complimentary of most couples over the last couple of episodes.)

Two celebrities will be eliminated from the competition tonight. Who do you think should go?

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Filed under: Dancing With The Stars • television
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