April 29th, 2008
08:05 AM ET

Wanted: Roger Waters' pig (reward offered!)

How do you lose an inflatable pig that's as big as a two-story house?

Have you seen this pig? There's a $10,000 reward for its return.

The big escape happened Sunday in Indio, Calfiornia, on the last night of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Former Pink Floyd bassist Roger Waters was performing his song, "Pigs," to 50,000 people when a giant balloon in the shape of a 50-foot pig rose from behind the stage and floated above the audience. (Fans will be familiar with such displays going back to Pink Floyd's "Animals" tour in the '70s.)

Organizers cut the anchor cables free Sunday night and made plans to retrieve the pig when it landed - but as of late Monday, the inflatable animal has not been located. Now, his owners are offering a $10,000 reward for his safe return, plus lifelong tickets to Coachella for four people.

If a 50-foot pig floats by your window, please contact lostpig@coachella.com. The pig can be identified by graffiti on its sides, and the name "Obama" spray-painted on its underbelly.

- Denise Quan, CNN Entertainment Producer

Postscript, Wednesday 10:21 a.m. ET: The pig has been found! See this Associated Press article for details.

Filed under: Uncategorized
April 28th, 2008
08:10 AM ET

Coachella: Sean Penn offering rides

"What the [bleep] is Sean Penn doing on the main stage of Coachella?" asked the actor-activist to the crowd gathered at the 2008 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival - the three-day indie rock celebration held this weekend in Indio, California.

Penn was there Sunday to recruit festivalgoers for his six-day Dirty Hands Caravan, which will make a round trip to New Orleans and back on a fleet of biodiesel buses, spreading a multi-layered message of voting, volunteerism, political activism and continuing the post-Katrina clean-up in New Orleans.

"We got buses right here at Coachella. We'll feed you and take care of lodging at no cost to you. We'll leave at 1 p.m. tomorrow from the clock tower." Musicians Ben Harper and Everlast will provide entertainment along the route.

The 47-year-old Oscar winner went on to tell the crowd, most of them under 30, that "revolution is a young man's job, and you can be the revolutionaries."

He then ended his plea quoting Spicoli, his stoner character from "Fast Times at Ridgemont High." "I'm going to say something I haven't said in 27 years. Hey bud, let's party!'"

- Denise Quan, CNN Entertainment Producer

Filed under: Uncategorized
April 27th, 2008
10:54 PM ET

Coachella diary, day 2

On Saturday, 47 acts took the stage for Day 2 of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California - but the one name that seemed to be on everyone's lips was Prince. His announcement two weeks ago as the evening's headliner surprised many who thought the '80s pop superstar was an odd fit at this mecca of indie rock.

But at Coachella, anything goes. Two years ago, Madonna played a dance set in the DJ tent.

When Prince finally hit the main stage shortly after 11 p.m., he played for nearly two hours in an all-star Vegas-style revue that showcased his 25-year career. The Time's Morris Day and Jerome Benton added their signature dance moves to "Jungle Love," and Sheila E pounded the skins for "Glamorous Life."

Thirtysomething fans sang along at the top of their lungs, while a number of twentysomethings looked on, a bit bewildered.

The diminutive Rock and Roll Hall of Famer finally connected with all ages of the alt-rock audience when he unveiled an impassioned cover of Radiohead's 1993 single, "Creep" - complete with a blistering guitar solo that channeled Jimi Hendrix. Prince's rendition of the Beatles' "Come Together" was also a crowd-pleaser.

Then there were his selections form his own vast songbook. "1999," "Little Red Corvette, "Cream," "U Got the Look" and "7" all made the Coachella set list. Prince waited until the first encore to bust out a majestic arrangement of "Purple Rain," and when he finally concluded his set at 1 a.m. with "Let's Go Crazy," the jubilant crowd did just that.

On Sunday, Roger Waters revisits "Dark Side of the Moon" to close out Coachella 2008.

- Denise Quan, CNN Entertainment Producer

Filed under: Uncategorized
April 26th, 2008
04:47 PM ET

Coachella diary, day 1

This year's Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California, kicked off with a tone as laid-back as Friday night's headliner, Jack Johnson. Forty-three acts performed on five main stages in 96-degree weather.

Our highlights - and one or two lowlights - can be found below (on a scale of one through five, five being best):

Breakout bands:

The Raconteurs *****

Jack White, Brendan Benson and company channeled Led Zeppelin in a highly charged set that took the band to the next level, and caused many fans to wonder which group was really White's side project - the Raconteurs or the White Stripes.

Vampire Weekend ****

They've gone from the Ivy League to the big league faster than you can say "rehearsal in my dorm room at Columbia University." The year's biggest buzz band charmed an overflowing crowd with happy-go-lucky Afro-pop. We'll even forgive the Chachi factor - bassist Chris Baio is the nephew of actor-turned-reality star Scott Baio.

Pendulum ****

Festivalgoers bounced their heads to the beat long after the electronica rock outfit from Australia left the stage. Obviously, this Pendulum is swinging in the right direction.

Rating the reunions:

The Verve ****

When singer Richard Ashcroft launched into the band's classic "Bitter Sweet Symphony," the song was every bit as fresh and haunting as it was 11 years ago. Here's a reunion that sounded like the group had never left.

Breeders **

Unfortunately, the Breeders' first live set in six years sounded as ragged as their troubled history. Kim Deal and her twin sister, Kelley, could have used a bit more rehearsal before taking the main stage - where many in the audience drifted off to see Vampire Weekend next door after the Breeders failed to connect.

The scene:

Star power *

Shia LaBeouf, Steven Tyler from Aerosmith, Gary Dourdan from "CSI" and the dude who played Bud Bundy on "Married With Children." [Editor's note: David Faustino.] Where are Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Tara Reid when you need them?

You get what you pay for *

Parking may be plentiful, and the price is certainly right (free) - but at the end of the night, cars were at a standstill for more than an hour. Turns out somebody forgot to unlock the gate.

- Denise Quan, CNN Entertainment Producer

Filed under: Uncategorized
April 22nd, 2008
02:38 PM ET

Unspooling 'Tapestry'

Before there was “Millennium,” before the “Bodyguard” soundtrack, before “Thriller” and “Saturday Night Fever” and “Rumours,” there was “Tapestry.”

Carole King has been writing hit songs since the late 1950s.

Carole King’s opus, just released in a new, 2-CD “Legacy” edition, came out in March 1971 and quickly became the biggest, fastest-selling album of its time. It spawned a No. 1 hit – “It’s Too Late” – spent 15 weeks as the top album in the country, ranked as one of the top-selling albums of both 1971 and 1972, and stayed on the Billboard album charts for more than six years.

It also won King, who had risen to fame as one of the great Brill Building songwriters of the early ‘60s, the Grammy for album of the year.

Thirty-seven years later, it’s still a revealing record. King didn’t have overwhelming pipes, nor did she hide her voice behind a layer of coyness. She simply sang – about breakups, about sex, about death (in the rather cheerful “Smackwater Jack,” with lyrics by her ex-husband, Gerry Goffin), about life for a woman just turned 30.

“[‘Tapestry’] is an album of surpassing personal intimacy and musical accomplishment and a work infused with a sense of artistic purpose. It is also easy to listen to and easy to enjoy,” wrote Jon Landau in Rolling Stone, praising King’s “marvelously expressive” voice.

King’s quiet, polished directness was a staple of the singer-songwriter movement, a group that included Cat Stevens, Gordon Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell and her friend James Taylor. (Others, including Neil Young, Paul Simon and Van Morrison, were also lumped into the genre at times, though “singer-songwriter” soon became synonymous with a kind of lightweight earnestness that Young, for one, couldn’t wait to leave behind.)

At 67, King is still making and performing music - and, given her amazing output (much done with Goffin), she has plenty to work with. But “Tapestry” remains a high point in a long and honored career.

- Todd Leopold, CNN.com Entertainment Producer

Filed under: Uncategorized
April 18th, 2008
02:15 PM ET

Support your local record store

Saturday marks Record Store Day. Its founders say it’s an opportunity to celebrate the culture of the mom-and-pop record stores across the country.

It’s also an opportunity to have a big party. Many of the more than 450 stores taking part in Record Store Day are throwing a celebration. Watch what Record Store Day is all about

Record Store Day co-founder Eric Levin, owner of Criminal Records in Atlanta, Georgia, says the idea was spurred by the notion that independent record stores are becoming extinct – often taken over by large retail chains or vanishing entirely. But Levin says that’s not the case. While some stores do go out of business, he says, many are a strong part of the community - releasing records, hiring musicians and participating in local events.

And Record Store Day is garnering support from some major names in the music business. American heavy metal band Metallica is launching the day with an event at a local record store near San Francisco. Log on to recordstoreday.com and you’ll see a listing of events taking place on April 19, in addition to testimony from musicians such as Bruce Springsteen and Ben Harper on why record stores are essential.

Guitarist, singer and songwriter Joan Jett, known for “I Love Rock N’ Roll” and “I Hate Myself for Loving You,” puts it this way on the Web site: “Any artist that doesn't support the wonderful ma and pa record stores across America is contributing to our own extinction.”

Nowadays, of course, a growing number of people get their music online. Some may have never set foot in an actual record store. But, says Atlanta musician Shannon Mulvaney, there’s a big difference between sitting in front of a computer listening to music and walking the aisles of the local record store, sifting through vinyl and CDs where you are surrounded by “music geeks.” It’s not just bits and bytes in a record store – it’s music, with all its colors.

So take some time Saturday and drop by your local platter seller. You don’t even have to be a music geek to do so.

- Lila Eidi, CNN.com Senior Producer, Digital Content

Filed under: Uncategorized
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