Tag Archives: musician

Trump Invites Sarah Palin, Kid Rock, and Ted Nugent to the White House

Mother Jones

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President Donald Trump hosted a trio of eyebrow-raising guests at the White House on Wednesday, reportedly dining with Sarah Palin, Ted Nugent, and Kid Rock.

It’s not clear why Palin and her musician pals, one of whom has praised the use of the word “nigger” and suggested Barack Obama “suck on” his machine gun, were invited to the Oval Office, but here we are:

The guests even managed to sneak in a photo posing in front of a portrait of Hillary Clinton—seen in this Facebook post by Nugent’s wife, the self-avowed “Healthy Lifestyle Ambassador” Shermane Nugent:

The photos were roundly mocked when they first began appearing on social media:

Perhaps this is just one more reason the Trump White House is opting to keep its visitor logs secret?

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Trump Invites Sarah Palin, Kid Rock, and Ted Nugent to the White House

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How About If We Start Treating Beyoncé Like a Human Being?

Mother Jones

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I’m not a music person, so I have no particular personal opinion about Beyoncé’s musical powers. However, I do have an opinion about the increasingly tedious insistence that every time she shows her face publicly she has absolutely crushed, slayed, and otherwise annihilated every other musician currently alive or who has ever lived. I figured the same thing would happen tonight at the Grammys. Sure enough, the Daily Beast’s Kevin Fallon posted a thousand-word review of her performance that is, in tribute to Beyoncé’s reality-warping power, time-stamped an hour before she actually performed. Here’s a sample:

It’s a remarkable feat to resuscitate a nation while simultaneously taking their breath away, but such is the otherworldly power of Beyoncé…spiritual, sweeping…ethereal glow…jaw-dropping…leaps and bounds ahead of all her peers…trippy, spellbinding…a tribute to healing and resilience…Glorious is certainly one word to describe Sunday night’s galvanizing affair…ambitious, artistically audacious…she rises, and she lifts us up with her bold performance…gorgeous, provocative…It was glorious.

I assume the second use of “glorious” is because Fallon ran out of entries in his thesaurus.

Come on, folks. Beyoncé may be the best performer working today—I wouldn’t know—but can we start treating her like an actual human being? This stuff is just embarrassing.

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How About If We Start Treating Beyoncé Like a Human Being?

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The story behind Prince’s low-profile generosity to green causes

The story behind Prince’s low-profile generosity to green causes

By on Apr 26, 2016Share

In the outpouring of media coverage after Prince’s death at the age of 57 last week, fans around the globe began to learn more about the notoriously private star — including that he gave away a lot of money. Van Jones — the activist, author, former Obama administration official, and current CNN commentator — revealed that Prince had secretly funded causes from public radio to Black Lives Matter to the Harlem Children’s Zone. He also conceived of #YesWeCode, an initiative to train black kids for work in tech. And he supported Green For All, a group working to fight climate change and bring green jobs to underprivileged populations. Jones is in the leadership of the latter two organizations.

“I was an Oakland activist giving speeches about the need for green jobs,” Jones told me over the phone, recalling how he first came into contact with the musician 10 years ago. “Prince heard me in the media and sent a $50,000 check to support the work I was doing. But he did all his giving completely anonymously, so I sent the check back. You never know when someone is trying to set you up — it could have been from Chevron or from a drug dealer or whatever. So then he sent the check back and I sent it back again, and then he sent it back and then I sent it back, until finally a representative called and said, ‘Will you please accept this check? I won’t tell you who it is from, but the guy’s favorite color is purple.’ I said, ‘Well, now you have a different problem: I’m not gonna cash this check, I’m gonna frame it.’”

Soon after, Prince reached out to Jones, and the two became friends — a friendship that would last until his death. Jones’ role in Prince’s life was, he says, as “his lead guitarist for social impact, for lack of a better term.” Jones helped distribute Prince’s resources when he didn’t want the attention, including providing solar panels for families in Oakland. The families never knew who their benefactor was.

As a Jehovah’s Witness, Prince wasn’t permitted to advertise his good works. But even without his spiritual tradition, Jones says Prince would have been modest about his giving. “He thought it was in poor taste for these celebrities to get millions of dollars and then write a check and have their publicists all over the media bragging about it,” Jones said. “He was like, ‘This is ridiculous. We get enough attention. We’re celebrities.’”

Jones says that what Prince really cared about was humanity. “He cared about life and love and freedom,” Jones says. “His politics were not red. They were not blue. They were purple. He had a mind that let him see answers — musically, spiritually, even politically. Rather than argue about global warming, he said, ‘Let’s help kids put up solar panels.’”

It’s clear in conversation that Jones deeply mourns the loss of his friend. When asked what he will miss most, he takes a long pause, so long I think for a moment that the line has gone dead.

“Everybody will tell you about the songs, but the genius didn’t stop when he walked out of the studio,” Jones says. “He was so hilariously, ridiculously funny. He was Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, Kevin Hart–level funny. Dave Chapelle is probably funnier, but he’s the only one. Everybody else, Prince could have eaten their lunch, and half the time with no curse words. That’s irreplaceable. You can’t find that on YouTube or iTunes.”

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The story behind Prince’s low-profile generosity to green causes

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Musician Jenny Lewis on "Sipping the Kool-Aid" of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos

Mother Jones

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Jenny Lewis, the musician best-known for fronting Rilo Kiley and singing in the Postal Service, has a packed schedule at the Governors Ball Music Festival in New York City, but she never gives off the impression that she’s in a rush. She homes in on every person she’s introduced to with genuine enthusiasm. Lewis is tiny, with long red hair, a mega-watt smile, and a tie-dyed blazer inspired by, “Cosmos, man!”—the television show beloved by geeks that helped inspire her new solo album, The Voyager, out on July 29 (stream it here.)

The Voyager is a frank examination of womanhood, buried under a layer of sugary alt-pop. Lewis is largely known for her songwriting, often about relationships, and this record is no different: She covers topics like late bloomers, “When I turned 16, I was furious and restless,” troubled romances, “I told you I cheated and you punched through the drywall,” and marriage, “I could love you forever. I could love you until all the Polaroids fade.”

Lewis’s music video for the album’s first single, “Just One of the Guys,” is a star-studded affair, featuring her friends Anne Hathaway and Kristen Stewart all dolled up—but as men. The song is a partly a meditation on ticking clocks (“When I look at myself, all I can see/I’m just another lady without a baby.”) Lewis tells me her lyrics speak for themselves and there is, “that lady pressure, as you called it, that is just biological in some ways.” She adds that, “Despite hanging out with dudes for my entire life and trying to fit in, ultimately, I’m a woman, and I’m becoming more comfortable with that the older I get.” She adds, “I’ve fought to be where I am today, and I’m absolutely a feminist.”

Lewis wrote the album, her first solo record since 2008, while struggling with a two-year bout of insomnia that she says almost took her out of the game. “I became an asshole,” she jokes. While sleepless nights didn’t really help her creativity, they did prompt her to watch a lot of late-night boxing and Cosmos, the television series by Carl Sagan, which became inspiration for her album. “I would watch that over and over and some that imagery really made it into the songs,” she says. Which isn’t to say that the title track is “a science fiction song.” Instead, it’s more about personal voyages. As she sings, “Nothing lasts forever when you travel time/ I’ve been sipping that Kool-Aid of the cosmos.”

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Musician Jenny Lewis on "Sipping the Kool-Aid" of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos

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