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Articles tagged with: USA

Arts Culture+Travel2015 January

Hotel Max Teams Pop Art with Sub Pop in Seattle

by Robert Michael Poole

Hotel Max, Seattle’s downtown boutique art hotel, has revealed its latest collaboration, teaming up with legendary local independent record label Sub Pop to combine music and art in its lobby – and beyond.

Arts Blouin Artinfo2014 January

Lady Gaga to Help Reignite K-Pop Invasion with Crayon Pop

by Robert Michael Poole

It should have happened by now. Optimists in South Korea had expected K-Pop to invade the US even before Psy went supernova in November 2012 with Gangnam Style. But tours by the likes of the Wonder Girls, sold out shows in New York by Girls Generation and a Will.i.am collaboration with 2NE1 have all as yet failed to place K-Pop at the top of the charts – or in the popular consciousness of the American public. But now Crayon Pop, a five-piece girl group only formed in 2012 by Chrome Entertainment have achieved quite a coup. Late last week Lady Gaga announced via Twitter that the quintet will open her summer concerts in North America.

Arts Blouin Artinfo2014 January

Masayoshi Haneda: Behind the Scenes with Keanu Reeves and Tom Cruise

by Robert Michael Poole

Breaking in to Hollywood is tough at the best of times. But for Asian actors, the day when one is given a lead role still seems some way off. That hasn’t stopped actor Masayoshi Haneda from Japan, from making significant headway though. In spring, Haneda will be back on the big screen once again, alongside Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt in the futuristic action movie, “Edge of Tomorrow.”

Arts Blouin Artinfo2013 January

Hokusai-inspired Tony Bennett on Jazz Bigotry and Lady Gaga

by Robert Michael Poole

Times gone by are often treasured in retrospect, but rarely as they were actually experienced. Tony Bennett grew up in the golden age of American popular music, listening to the standards as they were first being released, working with the icons of the early 20th century, and then joining their ranks during the 1950s pre-rock’n’roll era as he made his own name. Spending time with him now feels magical in the moment, partly due to the feeling of warmth, honesty, and star quality of a man who can tell tales of Billie Holiday first hand — but also because at the age of 87, it’s clear that his love for being onstage has not ebbed one bit.

Arts Blouin Artinfo2013 January

Jazz Singer Gregory Porter’s Heart Shines Like Bling Bling

by Robert Michael Poole

This month, Blue Note unveiled a new voice in jazz, a man whose pedigree on two independent label albums earned him consecutive Grammy nominations. Dubbed a “Soul Poet” for his lyrical tenacity in terms of social commentary, Gregory Porter sings in a booming baritone from the heart — a heart that he has already interpreted to be his very own “bling.” In Tokyo for a series of dates on what has become a non-stop round of international shows for the in-demand singer, Porter’s reputation as a spiritual thinker – words flowing from his mouth like a sonneteer – proves precise even during a morning encounter in classy Aoyama.

Arts Blouin Artinfo2013 January

INTERVIEW: Yoko Narahashi – Japan’s Gatekeeper to Hollywood

by Robert Michael Poole

When naming the most influential Japanese figure in Hollywood these days, only one person stands out – Yoko Narahashi. But her name may not be very familiar to industry outsiders. Ever since working on Steven Spielberg’s “Empire of the Sun,” the casting director is responsible for making the careers of dozens of actors from Japan over the years.

Arts Blouin Artinfo2013 January

INTERVIEW: Priscilla Ahn is Ready to Love

by Robert Michael Poole

Korean-American singer Priscilla Ahn may be an LA girl, but it’s in Japan that fans seemed to have warmed to her most. On her ninth visit to the country, she brought a band for the first time, presenting a new, fuller sound at Fuji Rock Festival that pits her crystalline voice against electronic beats and indie rock drums. Born in Georgia but raised in Pennsylvania, Ahn has spent the last ten years in Los Angeles. Yet despite her family on her mother’s side being Korean, she has been learning Japanese, even singing two songs in the language at Fuji Rock’s Red Marquee, where she presented her new sound to the Saturday morning crowd after just three rehearsals.

Arts Blouin Artinfo2013 January

Sukiyaki: Japan’s Greatest Moment in Music, 50 Years On

by Robert Michael Poole

This week marks the 50th anniversary of one of the most extraordinary songs to reach the top of the U.S. Billboard charts, a song named after a hot-pot dish that changed the perception of an entire nation for many, and set a bar that no other Asian act has yet been able to achieve. That song is Kyu Sakamoto’s 1963 classic “Sukiyaki.”

Arts Blouin Artinfo2013 January

Devo Team Up With Remo Camerota for DevoBots

by Robert Michael Poole

Visual artist Remo Camerota has always had a knack for adapting to new technologies. A fine arts graduate from Melbourne, he has worked in animation, cutting edge TV editing and special effects, and most recently made his name with urban painting and photography. Now Camerota has joined forces with animator Kiyoshi Kohatsu and programmer Pietro Zuco for a unique collaboration with the US new wave group Devo, creating a new edition of his Kit Robots series entitled “DevoBots.”

Arts Blouin Artinfo2013 January

Kii Arens Keeps Art in Rock Alive Through Poster Art

by Robert Michael Poole

When artist Storm Thorgerson, creator of iconic LP covers for Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, died earlier this year, it seemed like the age of art in rock had finally passed with him. While the need for cover art shrunk (quite literally) during the CD era, the digital age has created a musical landscape that does not require any cover art at all, arguably depriving a generation of listeners of the rich association that these visuals impart. Many of these are good enough to hang in galleries, and used to be as vital to a new release as the music itself. One artist though, Kii Arens, has found a niche in which he keeps this spirit alive.

Arts Blouin Artinfo1970 January

Masi Oka Interview: Hollywood’s Visual Effects Teams Need Reality Check

by Robert Michael Poole

Known to most as the master of space and time in the sci-fi series “Heroes,” Masi Oka is indeed a master of many talents. He is a visual effects artist at ILM who worked on the Star Wars prequels, an actor currently to be seen in the rebooted “Hawaii Five-O”, a teacher of improvisational comedy trained at Chicago’s Second City, and increasingly, a producer in his own right. The Japanese-American Oka is renowned for his high IQ – he was once featured on the cover of TIME magazine as an “Asian American Whiz Kid” – and when he sits down with BLOUIN ARTINFO Japan in Okinawa, his knowledge and skills across a wide range of show business is immediately apparent.

Arts The Japan Times2012 January

Jackson brothers to visit Michael’s ‘second home’

by Robert Michael Poole

“Immortal,” the new Michael Jackson-themed Cirque du Soleil show touring North America may sound grandiose but the self-proclaimed “King of Pop” was undoubtedly a larger-than-life character. While immortality was out of Jackson’s reach, the singer’s family are doing their best to keep his memory alive with musical extravaganzas. Two “Michael Jackson Tribute Live” concerts will take place Dec. 13 and 14 at Yoyogi National Stadium in Tokyo.

A K-Pop Sensation Plays Letterman

by Robert Michael Poole

Girls’ Generation is performing on CBS’s “The Late Show With David Letterman” tonight, the latest inroad by K-pop into the U.S. market.

The nine-piece pop act, which already plays to packed concert venues around Asia, will sing an English-language version of their male-baiting single “The Boys,” which was co-written by Teddy Riley, famed for his work with Michael Jackson, Bobby Brown and Usher.

Arts CNN1970 January

How Tadanobu Asano plans to crack Hollywood

by Robert Michael Poole

Tadanobu Asano is relaxed and composed, sitting over a huge desk at his management company’s offices in Harajuku. His hair is neat and trim, his knit jacket and jeans make him the picture of a man calm and content. He looks anything but the roguish bad boy that has filled the lead roles of so many indie Japanese films.

Arts CNN2010 January

The Jacksons to reform for Michael Jackson tribute show with A.I.

by Robert Michael Poole

The Jacksons, brothers Jackie, Tito, Marlon and Jermaine, will perform on stage next October for a Michael Jackson tribute concert series that starts with two shows in Tokyo. The announcement of the shows was made via a produced video during a special 10th anniversary performance of Japanese R&B star A.I.

A.I. will emcee the shows and sing with the brothers, and spoke exclusively to CNN. She will also be recording new tracks with The Jacksons in early 2011.

Arts CNN1970 January

Meisa Kuroki meets Angelina Jolie: ‘I have been inspired by her ambition’

by Robert Michael Poole

Japanese actress Meisa Kuroki talks to CNNGo about Jolie’s strong but vulnerable persona, and how the American has provided her with inspiration for her own life and career.

Fast-rising Japanese actress and singer Kuroki spoke to CNNGo seconds after stepping off stage with Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie, in Tokyo to promote her latest film, “Salt”. “I first saw her in [1999 psychological drama] ‘Girl Interrupted’ and that is still my favorite film of hers,” reveals Kuroki, who says she has been inspired by Jolie’s background and lifestyle.

Arts The Japan Times1970 January

Jazz singer Meyer raps up second album, ‘Passport’

by Robert Michael Poole

“There’s a whole bigger world out there than what we are doing,” says jazz pianist and vocalist Emi Meyer. “Studying roots music and ethnomusicology always kept me open-minded.” Born in Kyoto, but raised in Seattle, 23-year-old Meyer is exploring new musical genres for her sophomore album, “Passport.” She has teamed up with Japanese rapper and producer Shingo Annen, known to his fans as Shing02, for a journey that encompasses bossa nova, reggae and hip-hop. Annen describes the amalgamation as “an organic fusion of culture and styles.”

The world of J-pop pays tribute to the King of Pop

by Robert Michael Poole

Michael Jackson’s musical influence reached all corners of the globe — and Japan too. Artists across genres and generations have all spoken about the loss of one of the music industry’s all-time greats.

Arts The Japan Times1970 January

Anime conventions still set trends

by Robert Michael Poole

More than 40,000 people are expected to gather in Los Angeles between July 2 and July 5 for the largest anime, manga and games convention in North America, Anime EXPO. Despite reports suggesting Japan’s most ubiquitous cultural export might have peaked, AX is in it’s 18th year and is expecting another record turnout. According to estimates from the Japan External Trade Organization, the American market for Japanese anime-related products peaked in 2003 at $4.8 billion and has fallen ever since, to just $2.8 billion in 2007.

Stage: The Grammy Awards

by Robert Michael Poole

Lush, extravagant and star-studded. From a home sofa, the music industry’s biggest back-slapping event, The Grammy Awards, seems like a glorious red-carpeted affair, a paean to the most talented artists of the year in a reverential atmosphere. In reality though, The Staples Center in Los Angeles, more renowned as a sports arena, is as intimate as an Olympic opening ceremony, and the eulogies to god & inspiration echo fall mostly on deaf ears. The problem with music’s most prestigious event, is that like too much of today’s music product, it’s lost its soul.