Tycho, tUnE-yArDs, Dan Deacon Lead Oakland United Benefit Concert

Tycho, tUnE-yArDs, Dan Deacon and Primus are just some of the acts lined-up for a benefit concert in support of the Oakland Fire Relief Fund. 

“Oakland United” will take place Dec. 14 at Oakland’s Fox Theater featuring a bill comprised mostly of Bay Area-acts, from Boots Riley (The Coup), Christopher Willits, Gabe Meline (KQED), Geographer, Hieroglyphics, Jay Som, Rogue Wave, Sam Lefebvre (East Bay Express), Sidecar Tommy (Beats Antique) and Thao Nguyen and more.

The benefit gig, described as an “evening of remembrance and community,” is spearheaded by local promoters Noise Pop and Another Planet Entertainment, along with Paradigm Agency’s Oakland office. The night is hosted by Josette Melchor of the Gray Area Foundation For The Arts, which started a fund in the wake of the devastating fire at a dance party in an Oakland warehouse which took the lives of 36 people. Gray Area has collected more than $500,000 since the tragedy.

“It is unfortunate that it takes a tragedy to shed light on a broader situation around the need for safe venues for artists, musicians, and creatives in the Bay Area,” comments Melchor, executive director and founder of Gray Area. “We will continue to increase this goal as support comes in. We want this funding to stay in the community that was impacted.”

All proceeds raised from the night will go directly to the relief fund, say reps for the Fox Theater. Tickets are priced at $49.50 (GA) or $35 (reserved balcony) and go on sale from noon Friday (Dec. 9) at Ticketmaster.

Click here for more information.

Stevie Nicks Adds 2017 Dates for ’24 Karat Gold Tour’

Stevie Nicks will hit the road with the Pretenders in 2017 for a run of newly-announced shows. 

The legendary Fleetwood Mac singer has added 20 dates to her 24 Karat Gold Tour, beginning Feb. 23 in Reno, Nevada and wrapping up April 6 in Uniondale, New York.

Live Nation will produce the shows in support of Nicks’ eighth and latest solo studio album 24 Karat Gold, which features new versions of works primarily written and demoed by the Rock And Roll Hall of Famer between 1969 and 1987 but never officially released.

Nicks and Chrissie Hynde’s Hall of Fame-inducted Pretenders are winding down a long stretch of 2016 concerts, which have been met with “huge ticket demands and stellar reviews,” reps say. 

“It’s been thrilling to get on stage each night and sing some of my early gems from early in my career along with getting the chance to sing the material from my last two albums,” comments Nicks in a statement.

The general ticket onsale begins Dec. 12, with an exclusive pre-sale for American Express cardholders starting Thursday (Dec. 7). Nicks and the Pretenders’ touring commitments for 2016 come to a conclusion Dec. 18 at the Forum in Inglewood. The new dates for 2017 are listed below.

Feb. 23 – Reno Events Center, Reno, NV 
Feb. 25 – Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, UT 
Feb. 28 – Moda Center, Portland, OR 
March 2 – Viejas Arena, San Diego, Calif 
March 6 – BOK Center, Tulsa, OK 
March 8 – FedExField, Landover, MD
March 10 – CenturyLink Center, Bossier City, LA 
March 12 – Frank Erwin Center, Austin, TX 
March 15 – Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, LA
March 17 – Nationwide Arena, Columbus, OH 
March 19 – PNC. Arena, Raleigh, NC 
March 21 – Amway Center, Orlando, FL
March 23 –Jacksonville Veterans Mem. Arena, Jacksonville, FL
March 25 –John Paul Jones Arena (JPJ Arena), Charlottesville, VA
March 26 – Royal Farms Arena, Baltimore, MD 
March 29 – Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN 
March 31 – PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, PA
April 2 – Prudential Center, Newark, NJ
April 5 – SNHU Arena, Manchester, NH 
April 6 – Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, NY

Prince’s ‘Purple Rain’ Features in a Minnesota Family’s Annual Christmas Display: Watch

Fans in Prince’s hometown of Minneapolis, Minn. took their dedication to the next level for the holiday season.

The Staudt family told the Minneapolis Star Tribune were hit hard by the legendary musician’s passing, so they decided to include the late superstar in their annual Christmas display as a tribute.

The “Purple Rain” intermission, which lasts about two minutes, includes thousands of purple Christmas lights, a spinning Prince symbol and pictures of the singer that illuminate the house between each show.

“Prince’s passing meant so much to our community that we decided to do a short dedication during the intermission of our Christmas light show to honor him,” said Mike Staudt. “We’ve received compliments on this part of our show and a few people have even mention it made them teary-eyed.”

View the show below.

Bill Cosby’s Deposition Can Be Used at Trial, Judge Says

Damaging testimony that Bill Cosby gave in an accuser’s lawsuit, including admissions that he gave young women drugs and alcohol before sex, can be used at his sex assault trial, a judge ruled Monday.

The defense has insisted Cosby testified only after being promised he would never be charged over his 2004 encounter with accuser Andrea Constand. But his lawyers at the time never had an immunity agreement or put anything in writing.

“This court concludes that there was neither an agreement nor a promise not to prosecute, only an exercise of prosecutorial discretion,” Montgomery County Judge Steven O’Neill wrote in his ruling.

Cosby, 79, acknowledged in the 2006 deposition that he had a string of extramarital relationships. He called them consensual, but many of the women say they were drugged and molested. Cosby, questioned about the 2004 encounter at his home with Constand, described being on his couch and putting his hand down her pants.

“I don’t hear her say anything. And I don’t feel her say anything. And so I continue and I go into the area that is somewhere between permission and rejection. I am not stopped,” he said in his testimony.

Prosecutors describe Constand as being semiconscious after Cosby gave her three unmarked blue pills for stress that night. The release of the deposition testimony last year prompted them to reopen her 2005 police complaint and arrest Cosby days before the statute of limitations expired. O’Neill has vowed to try the case by June.

The ruling on the deposition is one of two key pretrial issues that will determine the scope of the evidence against Cosby. The other question is how many other accusers will be allowed to testify in prosecutors’ attempt to show a pattern of similar conduct. Prosecutors hope to call 13 additional women who say they were assaulted by Cosby as far back as the 1960s. Two days of arguments on that issue are set for next week.

At a pretrial hearing earlier this year, O’Neill said that Cosby’s decision to testify at the deposition could have been strategic. The actor – known as America’s Dad for his top-rated family sitcom, “The Cosby Show,” which ran from 1984 to 1992 – could have invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself. But jurors would have heard of that decision if the case went to trial.

Cosby instead settled Constand’s lawsuit, for an undisclosed amount, after finishing four days of testimony about his extramarital affairs, his friendship with Constand and other topics.

In another excerpt, Cosby described a phone call with Constand’s mother a year later, when he refused to say what the pills were.

“I’m not going to argue with somebody’s mother who is accusing me of something,” he testified. “And I’m apologizing because I’m thinking this is a dirty old man with a young girl. I apologized. I said to the mother it was digital penetration.”

Cosby also described getting seven prescriptions for quaaludes in the 1970s, which he said he kept on hand to give women he hoped to seduce, “the same as a person would say, ‘Have a drink.'”

Constand had met Cosby at Temple University when she managed the women’s basketball team. He was a prominent booster and university trustee. She went to police in 2005 to report that he had sexually assaulted her a year earlier after taking what Cosby described as an herbal product. Constand, then 30, was dating a woman at the time and had no romantic interest in the 66-year-old Cosby, her lawyer has said.

District Attorney Kevin Steele called the ruling on the deposition an important development in the 12-year-old case.

“Allowing the jury to hear Mr. Cosby’s deposition testimony is another step forward in this case and will aid the jury in making its determination. It’s important that we are able to present all of the evidence available,” Steele said.

Defense lawyer Brian McMonagle had no comment on the decision.

The defense will fight strenuously to block the testimony of the other women, arguing that their accounts are vague, decades old and impossible to defend. Cosby’s lawyers had hoped to question the women in person to assess their credibility and relevance, but O’Neill rejected the idea.

Defense lawyers also say Cosby is legally blind and can no longer recognize his accusers or help his legal team prepare for trial.

Constand, 43, is now a massage therapist in her native Ontario. She signed off on the decision by prosecutors to reopen the case. The Associated Press does not typically name people who say they are sexual assault victims, but Constand has given permission for her name to be used.

Bob Dylan Writes Nobel Prize Speech, Patti Smith to Sing at Ceremony

He won’t be there in person but the Nobel Foundation says Bob Dylan has written a speech that will be read out at the traditional Nobel Prize banquet.

Dylan, the winner of this year’s Nobel Prize in literature, declined the invitation to the Dec. 10 prize ceremony and banquet, pleading other commitments.

But the Nobel Foundation said Monday (Dec. 5) that the singer-songwriter has written a “speech of thanks” that will be read by a yet-to-be-decided person at the lavish banquet in Stockholm’s City Hall.

At the Nobel awards ceremony earlier that day, Patti Smith will perform Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” as a tribute to the 75-year-old. Nobel spokeswoman Annika Pontikis says Dylan’s diploma and medal will be handed over at a later date that hasn’t been determined yet.

Live Nation Buys Australia’s Splendour and Falls Festivals

Live Nation is turbo-charging its international festivals portfolio with the acquisition of a controlling stake in Secret Sounds Group, the Australian entertainment company behind the popular Splendour in the Grass and Falls festivals. 

LN has acquired 51% in Secret Sounds, run by entrepreneurs Jessica Ducrou and Paul Piticco, for an undisclosed sum. 

Splendour in the Grass, a mid-year camping festival in Byron Bay, New South Wales; and Falls, which has events in Byron Bay; Lorne, Victoria; Marion Bay, Tasmania and Fremantle, Western Australia are the first Australian festival brands to join Live Nation, which already boasts more than 80 global fests, from Governors Ball, Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, Electric Daisy Carnival, Reading, Leeds, Rock Werchter and many more. 

Live Nation quietly launched in Australia in 2010 and retooled with the acquisition of leading local concert promoter Michael Coppel Presents in 2013 (Coppel now runs the live music giant’s activities in Australia and New Zealand).  Earlier this year, LN stepped into the venues space after securing a long-term lease for the famed venue in St Kilda, south Melbourne.

LN’s foray into Australian festivals coincides with a massive shakeup in the market. The once-titanic “big four” Australian touring fests Big Day Out, Soundwave, Future and Stereosonic all imploded in recent years, a situation many active promoters now see as an opportunity. 

“Splendour in the Grass and Falls are the two most iconic festivals in Australia,” said Michael Rapino, president and CEO, Live Nation Entertainment, in a statement. “Jess and Paul have created events that attract the biggest artists in the world but still feel uniquely Australian.  We look forward to partnering with them to find new ways to grow our live event footprint across Australia.”

Michael Coppel, president and CEO of Live Nation Australia and New Zealand, added, “We wholeheartedly welcome Jess and Paul and their teams into the rapidly growing Live Nation Australia family.  Our new relationship with the Secret Sounds group confirms Live Nation’s position at the forefront of the Australian live performance industry.”

The giant concerts promoter has been eyeing its entry into the festivals market for some time.  LN had worked on the proposed Movement Festival, a multi-date 2013 hip-hop event headlined by veteran rapper Nas, though the dates were ultimately scrapped just a week out from showtime. 

LN’s latest acquisition includes Secret Sounds’ touring, sponsorship, PR, artist management and domestic agency businesses, though excludes the Dew Process and Create Control Record labels, Dew Process Publishing and its interests in the North Byron Parklands festival site and The Triffid venue in Brisbane.

“We started Secret Sounds with the sole mission of introducing Australians to the best artists, events and music possible, and Live Nation is the perfect partner to help us take this goal to the next level. With their support we can continue to curate the lineups that fans love, while also experimenting with new exciting ways for fans to experience live music,” Ducrou and Piticco, co-CEO’s of Secret Sounds, explained in a joint statement. 

The deal comes a matter of weeks after Ducrou and Piticco brought their respective companies under the single Secret Sounds umbrella. 

The Eagles, James Taylor, Mavis Staples Among Those Feted at Kennedy Center Honors

The longest, loudest standing ovation of the Kennedy Center Honors gala wasn’t reserved for Al Pacino, Mavis Staples or the Eagles. Instead, it went to the man sitting to their left, attending his eighth and most likely his last honors presentation: President Barack Obama.

While politics were absent from the tributes to the performers who were recognized for influencing American culture on Sunday night, the arts community’s affection for Obama — and its nervousness about President-elect Donald Trump — was palpable in the Kennedy Center Opera House.

The president and first lady Michelle Obama were introduced last, after Pacino and his fellow honorees: gospel singer Staples; pianist Martha Argerich; singer-songwriter James Taylor; and Don Henley, Timothy B. Schmit and Joe Walsh, the surviving members of the Eagles.

After a sustained ovation, host Stephen Colbert greeted the crowd of Washington insiders as “endangered swamp-dwellers,” referencing Trump’s “drain the swamp” campaign pledge. He joked that Obama would need to receive the honor to attend again and that “unlike the Nobel Peace Prize, they don’t just give these away.”

The Kennedy Center Honors are in their 39th year, a period that has included six presidents — three Republicans, three Democrats — and all have taken time to welcome the recipients. But the 2016 election was noteworthy for the way A-list performers lined up behind Obama and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, while Trump had relatively few celebrity endorsements.

Although the president has no say in who receives the awards, Colbert joked that next year’s honorees would include Scott Baio, Gary Busey and Meat Loaf.

“For the past eight years, the White House has given us a leader who’s passionate, intelligent and dignified,” Colbert said, and the crowd rose for another prolonged ovation, prompting Obama to stand and wave.

“Sir, I don’t even know why you stood up. I was talking about Michelle,” Colbert said.

Earlier, at the White House, Obama welcomed the honorees at a reception and said participating in the gala was “one of the perks of the job.”

“The arts have always been part of life at the White House because the arts are always central to American life,” Obama said. “That’s why over the past eight years Michelle and I have invited some of the best writers, musicians, actors and dancers to share their gifts with the American people and to help tell the story of who we are.”

Kennedy Center chairman David Rubenstein also thanked the Obamas, noting that the president isn’t required to attend the honors or host a reception. He offered them a “golden ticket” good for free admission to any event at the center.

“Parking is extra,” Rubenstein said.

Another standing ovation went to Bill Clinton, who made a surprise appearance on stage to talk about how Taylor’s music resonated with him and the American public in times that tested the nation’s resolve.

“Our nation was reeling from the pain of Vietnam,” Clinton said. “James was there to satisfy our hunger for both intimacy and authenticity.”

Politics aside, the honors proceeded as usual, with musicians and actors taking the stage to pay tribute to the honorees, who stood on a balcony, waving and applauding as they wore the event’s signature rainbow-colored garlands. The ceremony will be broadcast Dec. 27 on CBS.

The tribute to Pacino included remarks by Sean Penn and recitations of Shakespeare by Laurence Fishburne and Lily Rabe. Chris O’Donnell and Gabrielle Anwar re-enacted the tango that Pacino danced with Anwar in Scent of a Woman, the 1992 movie that won Pacino his long-overdue Oscar.

Kevin Spacey gave a virtuoso tutorial on how to impersonate the actor whose passionate delivery has helped create some of the most memorable lines in American cinema. The keys are to look surprised and exhale loudly, Spacey said.

“Al seems to have a lot of air,” he said.

Garth Brooks, Sheryl Crow and Darius Rucker performed medleys of Taylor’s music. Yitzhak Perlman played violin and Yuja Wang played piano to honor the Argentine-born Argerich.

Staples’ songs were performed by Elle King, Bonnie Raitt and Andra Day, and actor Don Cheadle spoke about the civil rights legacy of Staples and her family, who were close to Martin Luther King Jr. and performed at John F. Kennedy’s inauguration.

“She’s still fighting. She’s still singing freedom songs,” Cheadle said.

The Eagles were originally selected to be honored last year, but the band opted to delay participation because of founding member Glenn Frey’s poor health. Frey died in January at age 67, making the event a bittersweet one for the surviving Eagles, who were joined by Frey’s widow, Cindy Frey. Henley has said the band will never perform again. Bob Seger, Vince Gill and Kings of Leon performed the Eagles’ music on Sunday.

“I want to dedicate this evening to our brother Glenn,” Henley said as the band accepted its honors Saturday night at the State Department. “He was so much a part of our success. He was the driving force in this band. He believed in the American dream.”

The band’s longtime manager, Irving Azoff, sobbed as he raised a glass to Frey.

“For our Eagles family,” he said, “2016 couldn’t have had a harder beginning or a more appropriate ending.”

Liz Morentin Named Warner Bros. Records EVP of Communications & Media

PR vet Liz Morentin has been named Executive Vice President of Communications and Media, Warner Bros. Records, it was announced today by Cameron Strang, Chairman and CEO, Warner Bros. Records.   As a member of the company’s senior management team, Morentin will oversee all communications and media efforts for the company’s roster of artists and corporate initiatives.  She will be based in the company’s headquarters in Burbank, California and will report to Warner Bros. Records EVP Peter Gray.

“Liz brings with her a wealth of cutting-edge publicity expertise from a variety of entertainment companies including music, live entertainment, television and digital which are vital elements in modern artist development,” Strang said. “Her vast experience will serve her well as she leads our PR team into the future, broadening the scope of our media and artist opportunities.”

“It’s an honor to work for such a legendary music company as Warner Bros. Records and to work under the excellent leadership of Cameron Strang and Peter Gray,” said Morentin.  “I began my career in music, and it’s truly a dream come true to work with Warner Bros.’ extraordinary roster of superstar and developing artists.”

Most recently, Morentin was SVP of Communications and Marketing for Dick Clark Productions, where she led campaigns for such shows as the Billboard Music Awards, the American Music Awards, the Academy of Country Music Awards, the Golden Globes, New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest and more. Previously, she spent five years as VP of Communications for Live Nation’s North American Concert division.  She began her career at Scoop Marketing in 1991 and has held posts at Epic Records, Rhino Records, Elektra Records, A&M Records, Arista and J Records. 

Shawn Mendes Performs ‘Mercy’ & ‘Treat You Better’ on ‘Saturday Night Live’

Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Shawn Mendes performs on stage at the MTV Europe Music Awards 2016 on Nov. 6, 2016 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

While Emma Stone is a superstar of young Hollywood at age 28, her Saturday Night Live companion this weekend was even younger. Shawn Mendes made his SNL debut at just age 18 on Saturday night, as the musical guest alongside host Stone.

He started things off at the piano with “Mercy,” the latest single from his second album Illuminate, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 back in September. Blue and white lights lit the stage as Mendes made his way from behind the keys to center stage after the first chorus, earnestly emoting his way through the midtempo number.

For his second song, he chose “Treat You Better,” the first single from Illuminate. While his fans are very familiar with the song — which hit the Billboard Hot 100 top 10 — Mendes made took some liberties with the melody and showed off some very elastic vocal skills.

Watch both performances below (we’ll update with official video when it becomes available):

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Watch Emma Stone Relive ‘High School’ in Her ‘Saturday Night Live’ Monologue

On Saturday night, Emma Stone went back to her old high school: The set of Saturday Night Live.

The La La Land actress — a third-time host of the show — said coming back to 30 Rock is like her very own high school reunion. There’s the mean girl (Vanessa Bayer), the stoner (Kenan Thompson) and the BMOC who got away (Bobby Moynihan, of course). There also was a real-life classmate: We learned that SNL cast member Aidy Bryant went to the same Phoenix high school as Stone, though the actress cut out after only a semester to pursue her Hollywood dreams.

Watch Stone’s wistful monologue below (we’ll update with official video when it’s posted):

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