‘Kill the Boy Band’ is dark and hilarious takedown of fangirl culture: book review

Boy bands: you either love ‘em or you hate ‘em. But no matter which camp you’re in, “Kill the Boy Band” is a hysterical and genre-defying read about fangirls going too far. In this YA black comedy with a twist of suspense, four teen girls hatch a plot to meet The Ruperts, the British boy band that they absolutely live for. Their plan goes alarmingly awry when one of the band members ends up passed out and tied up in the girls’ hotel room. They’ve accidentally kidnapped a pop star, and he happens to be the ugly, useless one, at that. And then, as they scramble to figure out what do with him, things take a deadly turn. Goldy Moldavsky’s debut is a brilliantly nuanced takedown of celebrity worship and fangirl culture. It’s dark, funny and relatable. Even if you were never a teen fangirl (are you telling me you never hung a celebrity poster above your bed and kissed it?), you’ve known one. She has a firm grasp on the world of modern boy band fandom: These girls live most of their lives via Twitter, Tumblr, fanfiction and gifs. The teenspeak is smart, up to date and hysterically spot-on. Like this piece of dialogue as the girls’ drama mounts: “I am so done. I cannot. I have lost the ability to can. I am consciously f-----g uncoupling myself from this situation.” Moldavsky also sneaks in a ton of apt pop culture jokes. Have fun spotting all the ‘80s movie references: The Ruperts, for one, are thus called because all four members are named Rupert. It’s a sly nod to the film “Heathers,” in which Winona Ryder and Christian Slater’s characters enact revenge on a group of popular girls, all named Heather. Like a proper crime story, “Kill the Boy Band” is also full of suspense. How are the girls going to get out of this situation unscathed? And is there a murderer among them? These girls live most of their lives via Twitter, Tumblr, Continue Reading

Bono, One Direction among music stars featured in new ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’ Band Aid charity video

LONDON -- Boy band One Direction and U2 lead singer Bono joined some of the biggest names in British pop and rock music on Saturday to record a new version of the Band Aid charity song to raise money to combat Ebola in Africa. The single, "Do They Know It's Christmas?", was first recorded 30 years ago after musician and philanthropist Bob Geldof inspired a host of stars to come together under the Band Aid name to help those affected by famine in Ethiopia. The song has been given a makeover, with words to the original version which he co-wrote with Midge Ure changed to reflect the current crisis. "The record, it's a song, it's a track but it's an event, and the next stage now is to turn it into a phenomenon like it was in the 80s," Geldof told BBC TV as he arrived at a recording studio in west London. He said he had spoken to British finance minister George Osborne who had agreed to forego the usual tax owed to the government from sales of the record. "It very much reminds me of 30 years ago. Everyone's bleary, pop singers, as George Osborne said, are not very good in the morning," said Geldof, who was frontman for Irish new wave band The Boomtown Rats. The original song from 1984, which raised 8 million pounds ($11 million), featured some of the era's biggest acts including U2's Bono, George Michael and David Bowie. It has been re-recorded twice in 1989 and 2004. Bono will be joined this time by Robert Plant, frontman of rock band Led Zeppelin, Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin and singers Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith. "It's huge to be involved," Niall Horan from One Direction told the BBC. "Hopefully it goes to number one and raises a lot of money for a really worthy cause." Geldof earlier this week he decided to remake the single after the United Nations contacted him, saying help was urgently needed to prevent the disease from spreading beyond West Africa. Continue Reading

Caitlyn Jenner receives standing ovation during surprise appearance at Boy George concert

Caitlyn Jenner made a showstopping appearance during a Culture Club concert — and the band couldn't have been more delighted. The 65-year-old reality star received a standing ovation when she appeared at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles Friday night to introduce the classic '80s pop band fronted by Boy George. "Caitlyn Jenner in the house for her first Boy George concert!" Jenner told the enthusiastic crowd. The “I Am Cait” star stunned in a pale, form-fitting dress, black leather jacket and black boots. "The only person who can out glam @boygeorge is @caitlynjenner," one concertgoer tweeted after the former Olympian took the stage. "Perfect intro to Culture Club." Boy George agreed with the fan, telling the audience, "I expected a standing ovation for her and I wasn't disappointed." "We need to celebrate the kinds of changes that are happening," he added. EMINEM MOCKS CAITLYN JENNER, SLAMS BILL COSBY IN BIZARRE FREESTYLE RAP The "Karma Chameleon" singer's onstage remarks echo what he said during an interview withThe Associated Press earlier this week. “The power of being yourself is so huge,” he said. “I mean you see it with Caitlyn Jenner, at this point being allowed to be who she is is so powerful it's permeating everything.” Jenner took in the Culture Club show with her pals, including transgender actress Candis Cayne. The two were even spotted dancing together during the performance. 'I AM CAIT' PREMIERES: NEW YORK TRANSGENDER WOMAN SAYS CAITLYN JENNER IS 'A'REAL ACTIVIST' Jenner’s concert outing comes just two days before the premiere of her E! docu-series “I Am Cait” on Sunday. Continue Reading

Boy bands Boyz II Men, 98 Degrees and New Kids on the Block play Izod Center

The screams came at a lower pitch and they weren't quite as relentless as before. But the women in their 30s who filled the “Package Tour” show at the Izod Center on Thursday, did their best to yell and wail as hard as they had for these same headlining heroes two decades ago. The naughtily named “Package” show brings together three of the biggest boy bands of the ’90s: The New Kids on the Block (who actually broke in the late ’80s), 98 Degrees (who never broke that big at all) and Boyz II Men (who are now far deeper into the latter category than the former). It’s an odd match, in a way, uniting acts more through their demographics than their actual sound or style. Boyz opened the night, which meant they got corralled into a slim, 30-minute set. They used it to showcase the undimmed richness of their harmonies (though they still enhanced them with backing tapes). The three-man-act specializes in either mewlingly romantic ballads or elegiac odes to times gone by. Songs like “It’s So Hard To Say Good-bye to Yesterday” and “End of the Road” have become kitsch anthems of mass mourning. Here they had a happier purpose: to milk dreamy memories of the past. The guys got more energy out of “Motownphilly,” one of their few songs with an R&B edge, as well as the one that salutes musical, rather than personal, memories. 98 Degrees never had as big a hit as B2M, though one of their new songs, “Girls Night Out” seemed tailor-made for this event. Its randy tone invokes a tame night at Chippendales. In their prime, 98D openly aped that strip club vibe, flashing physiques more common to varsity sports teams than to teen idols. Their best known member, Nick Lachey, gained far more fame after the band died, mainly for his brief marriage to Jessica Simpson. He has kept his looks, though they now seem less suited to a hunk Continue Reading

May concert guide for Phoenix: Chris Stapleton, Zac Brown Band, the Weeknd, Chainsmokers

Chris Stapleton, Zac Brown Band, the Weeknd and the Chainsmokers are among the higher-profile artists playing metro Phoenix in May 2017, whose other highlights range from Brian Wilson doing "Pet Sounds" to the Damned (not doing "Pet Sounds").They took the emo scene by storm with 2015’s “Joy, Departed” a cathartic postcard from the edge that offered vivid insights into Cameron Boucher's real-life struggles with manic depression without romanticizing sadness. This year’s “You're Not As _____ As You Think” is every bit as powerful, inspired as it was by Boucher reeling from the death of several friends since the release of “Joy, Departed.” The album was praised in Alternative Press, and deservedly so, as “an album that holds nothing back – musically nuanced but raw, explosive but restrained, matched only by the torrent of unapologetic emotion of Boucher’s subject matter.” Also playing: Walter, Etc., the Obsessives, Diners.Details: 7:30 p.m. Monday, May 1. Rebel Lounge, 2303 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix. $16; $14 in advance. 602-296-7013, therebellounge.com.A soulful vocalist whose sound is steeped as much in classic soul and R&B as modern jazz, she arrives in continued support of "Freedom & Surrender," an understated gem whose highlights range from heartfelt gospel to her aching cover of "To Love Somebody," a Bee Gees song that clearly didn't need another treatment (but I'm glad she didn't know that).Details: 7 p.m. Monday, May 1. MIM Music Theater, Musical Instrument Museum, 4725 E. Mayo Blvd., Phoenix. $48.50-$63.50. 480-478-6000, mim.org.Pop-punk veterans New Found Glory are bringing their 20th Anniversary Tour to the Nile Theater in Mesa on May 2. They've been called "the greatest pop-punk band in history" by Bad Religion's own Brett Gurewitz, who scooped them up for Epitaph after they walked out on Geffen. Their first album for the label, "Not without a Fight," debuted Continue Reading

Boy band creator Lou Pearlman sentenced to 25 years in prison

ORLANDO, Florida - Lou Pearlman, the man who created the Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync, was sentenced Wednesday to 25 years in federal prison for engineering a decades-long scam that bilked thousands of investors out of their life savings. It was the maximum sentence the boy band mogul could receive for allegedly swindling some $300 million (euro190 million) from investors and banks since the early 1980s. He pleaded guilty in March to two counts of conspiracy and single counts of money laundering and presenting a false claim in bankruptcy court. U.S. District Judge G. Kendall Sharp noted that many victims were Pearlman's relatives, friends and retirees in their 70s or 80s who lost everything. "The sympathy factor just doesn't run very high with the court," Sharp said. However, the judge said he would reduce Pearlman's sentence by one month for every $1 million (euro630,000) returned to investors. It was not clear how, or if, investors would ever be compensated. "I want to say clearly that there's no pot of gold out there," defense attorney Fletcher Peacock said. Prosecutors allege Pearlman scammed individuals out of an estimated $200 million (euro127 million), and banks out of another $100 million (euro63.5 million). The courtroom was packed with victims, some of whom gave emotional testimony. Another two dozen or so waited outside. "Over the past nine months since my arrest, I've come to realize the harm that's been done," Pearlman said in a short courtroom statement. "I'm truly sorry and I apologize for what's happened." Peacock said Pearlman meant to pay back all the investors, and noted he had returned about $103 million (euro65.38 million). He said Pearlman got caught up in lawsuits — also alleged fraudulent business practices — over his otherwise successful entertainment ventures in the 1990s that prevented him from returning the money. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Not-So-New Kids return to Block as ’90s boy band reunites

BOSTON -They may be pushing 40, but the New Kids are returning to the block.The boy band New Kids on the Block, which sold 70 million albums in the 1980s and early '90s, has reunited and plans to release a new album and go on tour. The reunion comes 20 years after the release of the group's multiplatinum album, "Hanging Tough.""The fan response to this has been incredible," band member Donnie Wahlberg told the Boston Herald.Wahlberg said he was persuaded to get back together with his former bandmates — Joey McIntyre, brothers Jordan and Jonathan Knight and Danny Wood — when they decided to record new music. Wahlberg said he wrote 80 percent of the new material with McIntyre and Jordan Knight."I had no interest going out on a nostalgia tour and singing the same material," said Wahlberg, 38. But he added: "We absolutely will do the old songs for sure."Producer Maurice Starr formed the group in Boston in the 1980s, hoping to recreate the success he had with another teen group from Boston, New Edition.At the height of their popularity, New Kids sold out world tours, marketed millions of dollars in merchandise and spawned a Saturday morning cartoon.The group disbanded in 1994. Wahlberg has acted on television and in movies, while Jordan Knight, McIntyre and Wood released solo albums. Jonathan Knight became a real estate developer. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Boy, oh boy, new Menudo’s coming to MTV

Move over "Making the Band," "Making Menudo" is the next best thing. MTV will launch a new reality series called "Making Menudo," designed to find the next bilingual boy band. The show will premiere Oct. 25 at 10:30 p.m. The show will bring together 15 male contestants between the ages of 13 and 19 selected from hundreds that auditioned this summer. The bilingual singers and dancers will participate in a "Menudo Boot Camp" down in Miami then compete to be one of the five finalists who will earn a recording contract with Epic Records. Each week, the boys will be grouped into threes, given a song-and-dance routine and expected to perform it all in front of a live audience after only 72 hours of rehearsal. At the end of the night, manager Johnny Wright, musical director/vocal coach David Coury and a team of choreographers will send one hopeful home. The series will feature guest appearances by Wilmer Valderrama, Frankie J, Backstreet Boy Howie D., and Epic Records President Charlie Walk. The original Menudo was popular back in the 1970s and '80s, selling more than 60 million records worldwide and launching the career of Ricky Martin. Menudo 2.0 will release their first album later this year. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Diddy giddy about ‘Band’ buzz

MTV's "Making the Band 4" doesn't launch until Monday, but diehard fans have already inundated the show's MySpace page and had an input into the cast of the show. Series producer Sean (Diddy) Combs and MTV brought viewers into the process early by allowing them to vote on audition tapes online. "In this day and age of being interactive, you just have to trust the voice of your fans," Combs tells the Daily News yesterday. "I think a lot of us are using the Internet to our advantage to keep everyone engaged in the process."And they have. Already, the show's MySpace page has more than 8,200 "friends" and plenty of comments."Cant wait 2 see who the guys r," writes one Web surfer."Making the Band," which is the second-longest running show on MTV behind "The Real World," is looking to create the next great boy band in its fourth reincarnation under Combs."It's definitely not following in the footsteps of Backstreet, 'N Sync, or Boyz II Men," Combs says. "It's really just a male group, and I think it will be a thing that people will respect."In its two cycles to date under Combs' guidance, "Making the Band" has yet to churn out a group of "American Idol"-winner caliber, but Combs doesn't think that makes his proteges a failure."Danity Kane [the girl group created last cycle] just went platinum," Combs says. "I think that's a huge success. I'd say over 80% of the industry doesn't go gold or platinum on their first album. And to be honest, I think domestically, Danity Kane sold more albums than I did. ... One of the hardest things in the music industry is to break a new group."And so, Combs says, he'll just keep doing his thing."I thought [the show] was a good idea to educate people to the realities of what it's like to be in the music industry," he says."For a while, I think a lot of people, especially young people, didn't know what my day job was. All they ever heard about was the parties, or who I was dating, or whatever the case was. This was a way to educate future Continue Reading

REINVENTING MENUDO. The original boy band will return with – what else – a reality show

If the recent return of such '80s phenomena as skinny jeans, "Miami Vice" and a good Mets team isn't enough to make you feel like you've gone back to the future, now comes the reemergence of perhaps the decade's most important contribution to pop culture. No, the mullet isn't coming back. Menudo is. The prefab, revolving-door boy band that set countless teenybopper hearts aflutter across Latin America and the United States throughout the 1980s - and gave the world Ricky Martin - is in the process of being revived, recast and reinvented. A new team of producers is searching for another quintet of fresh-faced boys to pick up where the old Menudo left off - i.e., sell millions of records and fill thousands of concert seats. "We thought it was a great time to bring the group back," says Jeff Weiner of Menudo Entertainment LLC, the company that bought the rights to the Menudo name two years ago. "During Menudo's heyday, every boy wanted to be one, and every girl wanted to meet one," adds Weiner. "We want to create that feeling again, but with a new, pop-urban sound sung in both English and Spanish. That's what's setting the trend now." Positioning the new Menudo as a crossover act isn't the only difference this go-round. During the height of Menudo­mania, the original producers resorted to a clever, if ultimately heartless, gimmick to keep the group forever young and young fans forever hooked. As soon as a member turned 16 - or his voice changed - he was replaced by a younger, often cuter, pubescent pretty boy cut from the same mold. The ploy helped extend Menudo's shelf life considerably longer than that of the average boy band. The group lasted from 1977 to the early 1990s and went through several incarnations, with a revolving roster of nearly three dozen teens. But it also meant most of them suddenly found themselves has-beens at tender ages. While ­several ex-Menudos have remained in show business in some capacity, only Martin - who has Continue Reading