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Jon Chattman
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Jon Chattman has been a writer and blogger for over 15 years, specializing in film, television and especially music. His online A-Sides entertainment series, which debuted in August 2011, has garnered praise for its informal setting, its host's interview style, and has been a “must” destination for rising musicians and established artists including fun, Alice Cooper, Echosmith, American Authors, Bastille, Billy Corgan, Mikky Ekko, Courtney Love, Perry Farrell, Imagine Dragons, Air Supply, Feist, Dispatch, Gary Clark, Jr., Sleigh Bells, Joe Perry, and Alice Cooper.

Chattman has authored the following pop culture and sports-centric books: Time Heels (Pitch Publishing, 2014), How the Red Sox Explain New England (Triumph Books, 2013), Superfly: The Jimmy Snuka Story (Triumph, 2012), A Battle Royal in the Sky (Pitch Publishing, 2012), and I Love the Red Sox, I Hate the Yankees (Triumph, 2011). Those books were follow-ups to 2009's Sweet 'Stache, (Adams Media) and 2006's Rock On!.

His writing has also appeared in The New York Post, Wizard, Ultimate Marvel Magazine, the Danbury News Times, and TV Guide to name a few. Chattman has also owned and operated thecheappop.com pop culture humor and interview site since 2005.

In addition to his writing experience, Chattman promotes live music and comedy events in and around Westchester County, NY and New York City. He has also had several of his photographs published. In 2012, he created Pop Goes the Culture, a zany Westchester-based variety and awards show honoring all walks of pop life from The Magic Gardens Gary Gnu to Andrew W.K.

Chattman was selected as one of the “Rising Stars – Westchester’s Forty Under Forty” by The Business Council of Westchester in 2011.

Entries by Jon Chattman

A-Sides with Jon Chattman: Let Larkin Poe Rock You Like a Hurricane

(0) Comments | Posted April 26, 2016 | 12:22 PM

I feel it every time I have to watch a new music video debut on my phone versus my big screen. I feel it every time an iconic musician passes away. I feel it each time something newsworthy happens in the world of music. What do I feel? The need...

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A-Sides with Jon Chattman: Prince was the King of Everything

(0) Comments | Posted April 21, 2016 | 3:00 PM

Dearly beloved
We are gathered here today
To get through this thing called life

I keep coming back to it. It's the all-star jam at the end of the 2004 Hall of Fame Induction Cermony. The Beatles' "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" is being played and Tom Petty's...

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A-Sides with Jon Chattman; Lasting Love for Prince; Get in Love with Marco With Love

(0) Comments | Posted April 20, 2016 | 1:06 PM

Prince has left such a void. If his songs were available on Spotify, I'd make a playlist and share it right here, right now. I'd then play it every day until my final days. But, his songs aren't available much on the Interwebs -YouTube seems to be the best bet - so instead I'll just list my Top 20 songs (in order - and very hard to keep to that number I might add) by the legend. Feel his absence, but appreciate his legacy. He did more in his 57 years than most do in 57 lifetimes.

Read on and weigh in.

20. "She's Always In My Hair"
19. "Sometimes it Snows in April"
18. "1999"
17. "U Got The Look"
16. "Nothing Compares to You"
15. "Darling Nikki"
14. "Alphabet Street"
13. "Delirious"
12. "Thieves in the Temple"
11. "Gett Off"
10. "Raspberry Beret"
9. "7"
8. "I Wanna Be Your Lover"
7. "Let's Go Crazy"
6. "Sign 'o' the Times"
5. "I Would Die For You"
4. "Kiss"
3. "Purple Rain"
2. "When Doves Cry"
1. "Little Red Corvette"

Marco With Love
We move ON from remembering Prince (in this post anyway) to do that little thing that A-Sides does: sessions with artists discussing and performing their craft. Brooklyn's Marco With Love come off as sort of a Tom Petty for the 2010s. I hate comparison usually. Each artist is different, but it's not like I'm saying this band sounds like the second coming of Lou Bega, ya know? Anyway, the band led by Marco Argiro - raising the bar for that first name since Rubio dropped too many balls to even count - just dropped a new album Smothered & Covered , and it's retro-super cool. The album, which mixes originals and covers, is a follow-up to EPs Tidal Wave and Promised Land, which both dropped last year. Utterly original with a huge slice of throwback, check this band out yesterday.

"Big Black Dog"

To watch Marco With Love's exclusive performance of "Love" and to watch their A-Sides interview, click here. Videos/Alye Carlevaro

A-Sides' "Delve Into Twelve" Countdown
Each week A-Sides unleashes its top 12 tracks of the week AKA the "Delve Into Twelve" based on the following contributing factors: songs I'm playing out that particular week (no matter when they were released -- think overlooked songs, unreleased tracks and old favorites), songs various publicists are trying to get me to listen to that I did and dug a bunch, song posts and trends I've noticed on my friends' Facebook walls and, most importantly: what my toddler is currently enjoying thoroughly with an assist from my infant.

About A-Sides with Jon Chattman:
Jon Chattman's music/entertainment series typically features celebrities and artists (established or not) from all genres performing a track, and discussing what it means to them. This informal series focuses on the artist making art in a low-threatening, extremely informal (sometime humorous) way. No bells, no whistles -- just the music performed in a random, low-key setting followed by an unrehearsed chat. In an industry where everything often gets overblown and over manufactured, Jon strives for a refreshing change. Artists featured on the series include Imagine Dragons, Melissa Etheridge, Yoko Ono, Joe Perry, Alice Cooper, fun, Bleachers, Charli XCX, Marina and the Diamonds, and...

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A-Sides with Jon Chattman: Let Cash Cash and Jacquie Lee "Take You Home"

(0) Comments | Posted April 20, 2016 | 10:58 AM

Bill Murray's cameo in Zombieland. The endless appeal of "Wrecking Ball" by Miley Cyrus. The out-of-left-field release of 10 Cloverfield Lane. Me hearing "The Bad Touch" by the Bloodhound Gang this morning. Some things can be wonderfully unexpected. Take Cash Cash's newest collaboration. The hitmakers (seriously "Take Me Home" featuring...

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A-Sides with Jon Chattman: Take Your Winterpills, and Do a Victory Dance

(0) Comments | Posted April 13, 2016 | 11:10 AM

So much music out there is empty calories. Sometimes that's quite alright. I mean who doesn't like a nice hook you can dance to and blast out your car window, right? But, more times than not, I want some substance to go along with it. Winterpills are one...

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A-Sides with Jon Chattman: Pig in the City - Peppa Shines in NYC

(0) Comments | Posted April 11, 2016 | 10:58 AM

2016-04-11-1460385409-1781253-2016012514537439049468746DSC_3558.jpg
Photo/ Joe del Tufo

My son watches a lot of television shows that make my head spin and my eyes roll. One show, however, always makes me smile in the morning as I sip my first of way-too-many morning coffees. It's Peppa...

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A-Sides With Jon Chattman: In Good 'Spirits' with The Strumbellas

(0) Comments | Posted April 4, 2016 | 2:09 PM

When you're a writer, or any creative artist really, trying to rise above going from paycheck to paycheck, there's arguably always this sense of "maybe I should quit and do something that'll make me more money." But, reality soonafter sets in. You can't change the person you are. You can't...

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A-Sides with Jon Chattman: A Case of the "Mondays" (on Thursday) with The Summer Set; Three Dead Ships Come Sailing In

(0) Comments | Posted March 31, 2016 | 1:00 PM

Some seven years or so ago, The Summer Set found huge - bucket-list worthy success. They sold out world tours, got considering airplay and TV spots, and even performed at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. But all the awesomeness took its toll on the band, and they almost broke up....

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A-Sides Presents: Singer/Songwriter Throwdown With Father John Misty and Ray LaMontagne's Respective Beards

(0) Comments | Posted March 30, 2016 | 4:18 PM

Here are the results of last night's real slubberknocker between Father John Misty's beard taking on Ray LaMontagne's facial broom. Here's a transcript of the color commentary, which was provided by Peter Gallagher's eyebrows and Michael Stipe's Grizzly Adams fuzz.

PGE: It's pandemonium at the Staples Center as we're just about ready for our main event.

MSB: I tell you this has been an epic battle in the making ever since Father John Misty and his beard left Fleet Foxes back in 2008, and almost instantly, trash talked Ray LaMontagne for his erratic follicle behavior.

PGE: This battle has turned ugly. After years of ignoring his open challenges, LaMontagne's beard AKA "Wild Horses" finally accepted the challenge from Misty's beard AKA "Sally Hatchet" following an altercation at the December 19, 2015 Eight Nights of Chaka Khan Pay-Per-View. This epic battle, months, no years, in the making is now finally happening though it feels a bit like David vs. Goliath in that Wild Horses has looked more destined for the lightweight division versus the main stage

MSB: It surely isn't hobo chic like mine that's for sure.

[Music Begins to Play]

PGE: That's true. I long for the days of a clean-shaven Michael Stipe. Now I'm stuck with a walking bird's nest of a man. Well, Misty beard's music has started to play so the champ is here!

MSB: That's the trademark "Strange Encounter" playing of course. Look at Father Misty's eyes, he really seems determined for his fuzzy counterpart Hatchett to retain the gold tonight.

PGE: That's right, and look at what great shape his beard's in tonight. Father John told me in an off-camera interview that he hasn't shaved since Valentine's Day 2012 in preparation for this showdown. And just for background for those of you who are new to us - as Misty makes his way into the ring - these hair vs. hair matches are rather unorthodox. Through the mastery of science and Industrial Lights and Magic, Misty and LaMontagne's beards are actually able to physically come off the faces of their masters, and engage in a fight. The respective follicles are controlled by the minds of the musicians.

MSB: It's sort of like Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots but with beards and without children involved. Petey Eyes I tell you I get chills every time the beards come off the face. It's always a no holds barred match with the two opponents going at it in a very exciting, if not disturbing way.

PGE: And here we go.... Hatchett is off and ready to go. Oh, it looks like Father John Misty is grabbing the mic. "We've been discussing this for a few years now, Ray. Get out here and fight my beard like a man."

[Music Begins to Play]

PGE: And here comes Ray! He's being escorted to the ring once again by his manager Meg White to the tune of, well, "Meg White."

MSB: You know, "Everybody Hurts," and I have a feeling today is the day Wild Horses really feels the wrath of Father John Misty's weird beard. Horses has lost its girth, and comes off like a Family Ties Michael Gross' beard that couldn't even handle a clean-shaven Alex P. Keaton.

PGE: It does look a little weaker than usual. Ray and company have now entered the ring, and Horses has launched off his face. He gives a kiss to his owner and Meg, and we're about ready to begin.

[Bell rings]

Follow the action right here.

About A-Sides with Jon Chattman:
Jon Chattman's music/entertainment series typically features celebrities and artists (established or not) from all genres performing a track, and discussing what it means to them. This informal series focuses on the artist making art in a low-threatening, extremely informal (sometime humorous) way. No bells, no whistles -- just the music performed in a random, low-key setting followed by an unrehearsed chat. In an industry where everything often gets overblown and over manufactured, Jon strives for a refreshing change. Artists featured on the series include Imagine Dragons, Melissa Etheridge, Yoko Ono, Joe Perry, Alice Cooper, fun, Bleachers, Charli XCX, Marina and the Diamonds, and...

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CeeLo Green Weighs in on New Track, Gnarls Barkley Reunion, and Social Media

(0) Comments | Posted March 29, 2016 | 11:06 AM

Sometimes we do stupid things. Sometimes we write stupid things on social media. Almost always we regret the latter, and have a trail of comments to make sure we never forget. It's a way of life, and has been ever since Tom from MySpace uploaded his thumbnail or you yourself signed up for Friendster. When you're a celebrity, you're obviously judged under a massive microscope - like one designed by Rick Moranis' Honey, I Blew Up the Kid character -- CeeLo Green knows a bit about that notion.

The hitmaker and former Voice judge ran into some controversy a few years back surrounding tweets he put out following a felony charge (the felony charges themselves, which led to probation, were a bit alarming but I don't know the real story -- just what I've read -- so Google it if you want.) Since this is mostly a music series, I'm focusing on that. These days Green is focusing on his craft, and -- no doubt -- thinking long and hard what he posts on the Twitterverse.

The Goodie Mob/Gnarls Barkley star just premiered the official music video for "Working Class Heroes (Work)" off his recent solo effort Heart Blanche. The track is also featured on the upcoming soundtrack for Barbershop: The Next Cut. Green has also released a series of live material. Last week, A-Sides chatted with the alt-R&B/soulful artist and asked him about the new song, the ten-year anniversary of Gnarls Barkley's St. Elsewhere debut, and, yes, social media. Read on.

There's a certain 80's element to "Working Class Heroes (Work)." Did you set out as a throwback or am I completely hearing things?
No, you are not. There was a deliberate 80's influence initially for the direction of the album, it ultimately took a tuner but these are a few of the remaining songs that ended up make the final cut.

You've released some live material lately. Arguably more so than any musician I listen to, you seem to fully embrace the live performance. Can you describe the difference between recording in a studio and watching a song come together versus performing it on stage?
The differences are you begin to be tempted with the accessibility of manufacturing or making a song as perfectly as you like it to be, but there is something very gratifying about being in the "raw" and having that emotion being an involuntary action and leave it be.... And you know, there's a show case of confidence in there.

Speaking of which, have you ever worn your Gnarls Barkley stage outfits off stage? I miss those.
No I haven't.

You recently spoke to EW about the 10-year anniversary of Gnarls Barkley. Can we expect another album down the road? If not, are you comfortable leaving the band off where you did?
Oh, well we are in talks and in a high hopes to do another project in a very near future, so, no, I like to do another one. We both would.

Read the rest of the interview here.

A-Sides' "Delve Into Twelve" Countdown
Each week A-Sides unleashes its top 12 tracks of the week AKA the "Delve Into Twelve" based on the following contributing factors: songs I'm playing out that particular week (no matter when they were released -- think overlooked songs, unreleased tracks and old favorites), songs various publicists are trying to get me to listen to that I did and dug a bunch, song posts and trends I've noticed on my friends' Facebook walls and, most importantly: what my toddler is currently enjoying thoroughly with an assist from my infant.

About A-Sides with Jon Chattman:
Jon Chattman's music/entertainment series typically features celebrities and artists (established or not) from all genres performing a track, and discussing what it means to them. This informal series focuses on the artist making art in a low-threatening, extremely informal (sometime humorous) way. No bells, no whistles -- just the music performed in a random, low-key setting followed by an unrehearsed chat. In an industry where everything often gets overblown and over manufactured, Jon strives for a refreshing change. Artists featured on the series include Imagine Dragons, Melissa Etheridge, Yoko Ono, Joe Perry, Alice Cooper, fun, Bleachers, Charli XCX, Marina and the Diamonds, and...

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A-Sides with Jon Chattman: Make "Bad Decisions" with Denver's Top Flite Empire; Go "Crazy" for Sabryna

(0) Comments | Posted March 22, 2016 | 2:59 PM

Is Taco Tuesday a thing? I guess it is and even if it isn't, Tuesdays suck. Let's face it next to Monday, it's the second crappiest day of the week. Nothing really happens on this day - especially now that new music comes out Fridays instead. The reason I bring up this pre-Hump Day day is because I've taken it upon myself to make this way-too-early-in-the-week weekday cool again. Specifically, I'm showcasing two up-and-coming artists today who are poised for success. Read on, watch on, and truck on... the weekend will be here before you know it. Just, you know, not right now.

Denver's Top Flite Empire really break away from the hip-hop pack with their original party-inspired rap skills and lyrical mastery. Case in point: take a listen to the duo's anthem "Loop N Joop" and try not to like it. I dare you. Remember "truth or dare?" That game was stupid. Anyway, Top Flite Empire will drop their Bad Decisions EP in a few months, and when you have a listen, it won't shock you that it was produced by Dem Jointz (Dr. Dre and Rihanna).

Top Flite, which is comprised of King Tef (Sean Garris) and Hypnautic (Brian Godeaux), have been climbing the proverbial ladder since they debuted in 2011. Their mixtape OTFTM was a smash, and their new EP should make Denver as famous for its hip hop as it is for its legal weed. Speaking of which, the two have headlined the world's largest 4/20 rally. I spoke to the pair earlier this month. Read on, and follow them as they grow faster than a Chia Pet. Check out the interview here.

Like Top Flite Empire, LA-based recording artist Sabryna (Salmon) seems to be well on her way to stick out like a sore thumb. In this case, the "sore thumb" reference is a positive. The musician also worked with Dem Jointz. What a great day for me, by the way. I've gotten to type "Dem Jointz" three times. I wish I had a cool name like that. Dem Jon? Nah. I'll keep working on it. Anyway, Sabryna just dropped "Young, Sexy, Crazy," the second single off her debut EP of the same name, and it's a lovely slice of dance pop.


Sabryna's
music is cool but her backstory may be even cooler. It's debatable but how many people do you know traveled the world in their youth? She grew up between New Zealand and England, and hit every continent. Music was always in her bones, much like King Tef said in the answers above, and studied at Berklee College of Music. Check out the interview here.


A-Sides' "Delve Into Twelve" Countdown
Each week A-Sides unleashes its top 12 tracks of the week AKA the "Delve Into Twelve" based on the following contributing factors: songs I'm playing out that particular week (no matter when they were released -- think overlooked songs, unreleased tracks and old favorites), songs various publicists are trying to get me to listen to that I did and dug a bunch, song posts and trends I've noticed on my friends' Facebook walls and, most importantly: what my toddler is currently enjoying thoroughly with an assist from my infant.

About A-Sides with Jon Chattman:
Jon Chattman's music/entertainment series typically features celebrities and artists (established or not) from all genres performing a track, and discussing what it means to them. This informal series focuses on the artist making art in a low-threatening, extremely informal (sometime humorous) way. No bells, no whistles -- just the music performed in a random, low-key setting followed by an unrehearsed chat. In an industry where everything often gets overblown and over manufactured, Jon strives for a refreshing change. Artists featured on the series include Imagine Dragons, Melissa Etheridge, Yoko Ono, Joe Perry, Alice Cooper, fun, Bleachers, Charli XCX, Marina and the Diamonds, and...

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A-Sides with Jon Chattman: A Chat with "Cult" Classic Ian Astbury; Can I Get an "Amen?" Yeasayer Return with New LP

(0) Comments | Posted March 16, 2016 | 12:51 PM

My introduction to The Cult, like so many, came via the classic 1985 hit "She Sells Sanctuary." The song had a resounding effect on me - and it's a truly timeless rock song. If you've been following the band (no "cult" pun intended), you know they extend far behind that...

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A-Sides with Jon Chattman: Open "Season" for St. Louis Rapper J.R.; Max Frost Heats Up with New EP, Tour

(0) Comments | Posted March 15, 2016 | 1:19 PM

In 2000, Nelly arguably put the St. Louis hip-hop scene on the map with "Country Grammar." Some 16 years later, Cards country rapper J.R. has taken that torch and run with it ever since he dropped his No Filter On Da Way mixtape a few years back. Fittingly, a remix of "I'm Just Sayin" featured Nelly. Keeping the mainstream climb alive, J.R. released his debut EP - Gang Season - last month. The album's first single "Best Friends," which features Trey Songz, is already a hit and its accompanying music video has racked up over five million views. It's also caused some controversy (not for J.R.) in that a Long Island assistant principal appeared in and was subsequently fired.

A few weeks before J.R. , played some shows at SXSW, he sat down for an interview with A-Sides Read on.

"Best Friend" was huge. The video garnered over five million views. Did you think you'd score right out of the gate?
Yes and no. There is always that being the new guy in...there is always that 'what if'? But, we most definitely had our eyes set on what we wanted to do and accomplished it I feel, and [we're] still going.

Your EP is seven songs. Did you ever consider bringing it to a full-length album vs. EP?
Not at this time. I just want everybody to get used to me sonically and to build a core fan base and after a single I just felt that would be just too much to submerge with all that at this time. [We're] just trying to give them a taste right now and let them know what we can do.

Nelly really paved the way for St. Louis rap. He's an integral part of your remix as well. Can you describe his inspiration to you and your city?
Of course, he is a huge part, a huge influence on me musically and just as a kid growing up where I'm from. He changed the all feel of the city at that point in time. It was fun, you know what I mean? Even though there was still the crazy stuff going on streetwise, he made it entertaining. He was definitely a big part of everything I got going on.

Read the rest of the interview right here.

And now for something completely different...
He's toured with everyone from Fitz & The Tantrums to Gary Clark Jr., and come springtime, he's headlining his own show here in the states. He's Max Frost, and ironic to his name, he couldn't be any hotter. Jon, you can do better with that opening. Yes, I can. OK, enough talking to myself Gollum style- let's stay with Frost. The singer/songwriter recently released his Intoxication EP and is climbing that proverbial hitmaker ladder. His single "Withdrawal" has hit #1 on Hype Machine, and can already be heard in various TV spots. All of this comes on the heels of his debut EP Low High Low, which dropped a few years back. That album featured the hit "White Lies." The artist recently recorded two exclusive songs for A-Sides. Watch "Withdrawal" and "Let Me Down Easy." Watch below, and jump on the bandwagon before everyone else does.

Watch our exclusive interview as well as a performance of "Let Me Down Easy" right here.

About A-Sides with Jon Chattman:
Jon Chattman's music/entertainment series typically features celebrities and artists (established or not) from all genres performing a track, and discussing what it means to them. This informal series focuses on the artist making art in a low-threatening, extremely informal (sometime humorous) way. No bells, no whistles -- just the music performed in a random, low-key setting followed by an unrehearsed chat. In an industry where everything often gets overblown and over manufactured, Jon strives for a refreshing change. Artists featured on the series include Imagine Dragons, Melissa Etheridge, Yoko Ono, Joe Perry, Alice Cooper, fun, Bleachers, Charli XCX, Walk the Moon, and...

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A-Sides with Jon Chattman: PuppyMonkeyBaby, Star Wars, ZhuZhu Pets and Scouring the NYC Toy Fair for Cool Stuff

(0) Comments | Posted March 15, 2016 | 11:18 AM

On the last day of New York City's 113th North American International Toy Fair - the Western Hemisphere's largest and most important toy show - February 13-16, 2016, A-Sides' Jon Chattman toured the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center for some interesting upcoming products. Watch the video below, and...

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A-Sides with Jon Chattman: Matisyahu Reflects on 10 Years of 'Youth,' Home, and the Road

(0) Comments | Posted March 8, 2016 | 12:08 PM

Hasidic Jew makes it as a reggae star. It could've been a gimmick. It could've been a joke. It could've been an interesting episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. But, Matisyahu never came with a laugh track. Just raw, natural talent. And, in 2005, the musician...

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A-Sides with Jon Chattman: A Guide to Recognizing Fairground Saints; The Heirs Inherit Stardom

(1) Comments | Posted March 7, 2016 | 9:28 AM

Three-part harmonies are as refreshing as a lemonade stand in July. Kids still do that, right? Anyway, it's a rarity amongst bands (or done well anyway) and Fairground Saints just nail it and pretty much everything they sing and play with. The Los Angeles band's combined melodies and...

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A-Sides with Jon Chattman: Amazing Grace - Rising Star Just "Owns" It

(0) Comments | Posted March 1, 2016 | 10:15 AM

When Lorde unleashed mega-fantastic "Royals" a few years back, every blogger/writer in the world immediately pointed out how wise beyond her years the teenager was. I get the need to point that out.
Anytime someone who hasn't cracked their 20s yet (in any field), you feel compelled to...

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A-Sides with Jon Chattman: Boy...was it a Bad Year to Be An Oscar-Nominated Actor

(0) Comments | Posted February 29, 2016 | 9:25 AM

Chris Rock nailed his monologue at the 88th Annual Academy Awards. He fired off zinger after zinger about the whole "#oscarssowhite" movement, and nailed almost everyone. As the night went on, some jokes worked (...and "we're black" after a commercial break) while some didn't (the Girl Scout cookies bit was merely a knock-off of Ellen DeGeneres' pizza delivery guy bit). A vignette of African American actors thrusted -Forrest Gump style into nominated films killed it with Tracy Morgan as The Danish Girl and a personal favorite - Leslie Jones attacking Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant.

But, something was missing: an actual appreciation for the actors and actresses who were actually nominated. Coming off a sour Ricky Gervais Golden Globes gig in which his Hollywood-bashing schtick became stale, it would've been nice if we saw a little praise for the "white" actors nominated. A man-on-the-street segment where Rock interviewed Compton moviegoers, who all trashed nominated films only drove this statement home more.

The thing that gets me about the protests and the "oscarssowhite" movement is it's totally taken away from an array of amazing performances this year. Did something need to be done? Yes. Was it? Yes - Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs already changed the rules. It's enough. Go home Al Sharpton. Find something better to do. It's not as if the Academy nominated Will Ferrell for Daddy's Home or Mark Wahlberg for Ted 2. By the way, what a terrible opening montage of films this year to start the show. Ted 2 had a clip and I can't even count how many Jurassic World moments were shown. Lame. Lame. Lame.

Anyway, all of the nominees (and winners I might add) were deserving. Did Idris Elba get shafted? You're damn right he did. Did Straight Outta Compton? Of course. But don't tell me the nominated films and actors selected didn't deserve to be there. That's why I was bummed out, as much as I laughed, to see Rock focus his entire monologue on the "blackout." Each year, a host points out historical moments and singles out some nominees for their excellent work. Would it have been awful to congratulate Slyvester Stallone for scoring a nod 40 years later for playing the same character? How about a shout out to Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Mark Ruffalo, and Eddie Redymayne for being nominated yet again this year?

Look, ,I get it. Rock had to do this. He had his entire race watching. Spike Lee watched. You know he did. He wasn't there, but he was watching. So was blowhard Hall of Famer the Rev. Sharpton. People watched to see what the comedian would say, and he delivered. The Oscars, though, are about embracing cinema. Period. Between Rock and Gervais, this wasn't done this year, like, at all. I write all this thinking Rock did a great job. I only wish he and his writers acknowledged the rest of the room who did the same. Overall, it was a "B+" performance. I hope Rock hosts again without this whole controversy.

Anyway, here are some other observations from the night....

This is the first year I can remember where all of the winners deserved to win. I say this even though I wanted Stallone to win. Mark Rylance did, and I can't fight the Academy on it. He was brilliant.

Lou Gossett, Jr. introduced Dave Grohl. There's something you never thought you'd ever see.

Speaking of which, I'm wondering if Grohl's "In Memoriam" performance of The Beatles' "Blackbird" is still going on. Seriously, that lasted forever.

Alan Rickman's death still hurts. He never was nominated for any Oscars by the way - a travesty when you consider his work in Die Hard and Sense and Sensibility alone.

Stop cutting off meaningful speeches. Good for Alejandro G. Iñárritu for going on.

For more, click here.

About A-Sides with Jon Chattman:
Jon Chattman's music/entertainment series typically features celebrities and artists (established or not) from all genres performing a track, and discussing what it means to them. This informal series focuses on the artist making art in a low-threatening, extremely informal (sometime humorous) way. No bells, no whistles -- just the music performed in a random, low-key setting followed by an unrehearsed chat. In an industry where everything often gets overblown and over manufactured, Jon strives for a refreshing change. Artists featured on the series include Imagine Dragons, Bastille, Melissa Etheridge, Elle King, Air Supply, Yoko Ono, Joe Perry, Alice Cooper, fun, Bleachers, Charli XCX, and Cold War...

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A-Sides with Jon Chattman: Predicting this Year's Oscars is like Predicting Tomorrow's East Coast Weather

(0) Comments | Posted February 24, 2016 | 1:26 PM

When the final out of the World Series is made, it marks the unofficial beginning of the "hot stove" season. The term, of course, applies to media speculation over where baseball players will sign with or end up with via trades. Most of the chatter - especially on Twitter - is smoke but it makes for a nice continuation of the Major League Baseball season following the Fall Classic. This year's Oscar race feels like that. Because every major award seems to be splitting its votes among three films - Spotlight, The Revenant, and The Big Short, it's anyone's guess who is winning what. The 88th Annual Academy Awards is quite easily the hardest to call in some 25 years.
The #oscarsowhite movement has overshadowed this.

Only Leonardo DiCaprio seems like a shoo-in. Brie Larson may be. Sly Stallone, too. But, Saoirse Ronan keeps entering my mind for Brooklyn. She could walk away with the Shakespeare in Love vote. In other words, it's been awhile since a feel good movie won anything at the Oscars. Oh, and as for Rocky, I'm feeling like Spotlight's Mark Ruffalo could pull an upset especially if that film walks home with Best Picture. On a related note, Mad Max is so overrated.

I'm getting a headache over this. "Experts" have been going nuts weighing in on who's taking home the top prize - especially in recent weeks after the SAGs, the PGAs, and the DGAs. It's all nuts. It's like the MLB off-season but without insane Yoenis Cespedes rumors. Anyway - let's do this. Here are my predictions, which I have so so feelings about, below.

Best Picture
BEST BET TO WIN: Spotlight or The Revenant or The Big Short - in that order.
MAJOR UPSET POTENTIAL: Honestly if it's not one of the big three above it'll be the biggest shock in Oscar history.
WHO SHOULD WIN: My favorite films of the year weren't nominated so I'll say The Revenant but would be totally fine if Spotlight won. I'm still trying to figure out Short.

Best Actor
BEST BET TO WIN AND SHOULD WIN: The Revenant's Leonardo DiCaprio - finally.
MAJOR UPSET POTENTIAL: Bryan Cranston or Matt Damon but don't even think of it. This is Leo's unofficial Lifetime Achievement year.

Actress
BEST BET TO WIN AND SHOULD WIN: Room's Brie Larson
MAJOR UPSET POTENTIAL: Ronan as mentioned above.

Best Supporting Actor
BEST BET TO WIN AND SHOULD WIN: This is the biggest shot at an upset. Think Mickey Rourke for The Wrestler. Think Harden over Hudson. Yet, here I am saying Stallone because A) he deserves it and B) it's a great Hollywood story if he wins 40 years later.
MAJOR UPSET POTENTIAL: Ruffalo or Mark Rylance. Speaking of the latter, Bridge of Spies is totally underrated.

Best Supporting Actress
BEST BET TO WIN: Alicia Vikander. The Danish Girl
MAJOR UPSET POTENTIAL: Rooney Mara was the best thing in Carol, and could win it. Other weird theory: would the Oscars give two actresses under 30 an Oscar in the same year or will they give Jennifer Jason Leigh a Leo-esque Lifetime Achievement Award for Hateful Eight? That won't happen but if it does, I'll look like a genius.
WHO SHOULD WIN: Vikander for Ex Machina so I'm cool with her winning here for Danish.

Best Director
BEST BET TO WIN AND SHOULD WIN: Alejandro G. Inarritu, The Revenant
MAJOR UPSET POTENTIAL: This is a tough one. My gut tells me this is the spot where the Academy will give props to Mad Max: Fury Road but I'm holding off on writing that. George Miller this Bud might be for you.

For the rest of my predictions - because, you know you can't find another guy doing this article anywhere else - click here.

About A-Sides with Jon Chattman:
Jon Chattman's music/entertainment series typically features celebrities and artists (established or not) from all genres performing a track, and discussing what it means to them. This informal series focuses on the artist making art in a low-threatening, extremely informal (sometime humorous) way. No bells, no whistles -- just the music performed in a random, low-key setting followed by an unrehearsed chat. In an industry where everything often gets overblown and over manufactured, Jon strives for a refreshing change. Artists featured on the series include Imagine Dragons, Bastille, Melissa Etheridge, Elle King, Air Supply, Yoko Ono, Joe Perry, Alice Cooper, fun, Bleachers, Charli XCX, and Cold War...

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