Arts, Entertainment, Living


Charlie Louvin, surviving half of the revered close-harmony duo the Louvin Brothers, first heard Ben Hall when the Belmont University student, a fingerstyle guitarist in the Merle Travis-Chet Atkins mode, visited the Louvin Museum in Nashville one day. Louvin knew that style well since Atkins played it on Louvin Brothers records in the 50's, when he did Nashville studio sessions. Louvin (who died in January) realized Hall was the real deal.

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Portal 2 Single Player Analysis and Review

Wednesday, 20 April 2011 01:18 PM Written by

I’ll always remember the first time I played Portal. I had heard about it but didn’t consider it essential to play.  A friend of mine had Valve’s Orange Box and told me that Portal was a must-play game.  I sat down and played it from start to finish in one sitting.

Playing Portal is an amazing gaming experience that is so remarkably unique and refreshing.  On the surface it’s a linear, physics-based puzzle game with a set number of tests to complete, but then you unearth a surprisingly captivating story as you are introduced to the now-iconic villain, GLaDOS.

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'Upstairs Downstairs' anecdotes

Wednesday, 20 April 2011 12:00 AM Written by


PBS's "Masterpiece: Classic" airs the final installment of the "Upstairs Downstairs" sequel Sunday (9 p.m., WQED) and this new series comes out on DVD next Tuesday ($34.98, BBC Home Video) with an enjoyable 34-minute making-of featurette that's missing just one person: Actress Eileen Atkins, who plays Maud in the series, is not among the interviewees.

Nothing in this bonus feature is as enjoyable as simply talking to Atkins about the show as I did at January press tour. She's a fantastic storyteller -- it's fun just to listen to her stories, including these:

-- The  "Upstairs" production team didn't consider bringing back other characters besides Rose (Jean Marsh) for a simple reason Atkins said: "I was about to say they're all dead. I mean, there is hardly anybody left."

Marsh added that Simon Williams wanted to return but "he shot himself in the last series. ... If he'd come back, we would have to have done a convoluted thing about, 'Oh my don't he look like Master and to think he's his great-uncle' or something. We all agreed it's a bit touch and go to have me in it 35 years later, let alone if you fitted anybody else in."

Read more after the jump. ...

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Crazy Hot Clothes Launches Themed At Home Parties

Wednesday, 20 April 2011 12:00 AM Written by


The local online vintage boutique, Crazy Hot Clothes Corp (CHC), is bringing its vintage wears to your home! If you love to play dress up or want to know more about how to style vintage clothing, then this is just the party for you.

CHC provides Private Viewing Collection Parties as home shopping events for you and your friends. To make this shopping experience special, CHC allows you to customize your party around the following themes:

Runway Ready: CHC takes actual runway trends and show you how to incorporate these trends into your wardrobe.

  • TV and Movie Fashion: CHC will work with you to find a period piece TV show or movie (ie. Mad Men) and style you and your friends in modern-looking outfits that are based upon the TV or movie fashions.
  • Celebrity Style: CHC will choose celebrity street and red carpet style and show you how to recreate the looks for yourself.
  • Time Era: CHC will show you its inventory, divided into time periods from the 1920's to 1980's, and show you how to reinvent the style from these eras into your current style.

In addition to the options above, CHC will allow you to customize a party by hand-selecting items from the CHC website according to the style preferences of you and your intended guests.

After you have designated the theme of your Private Viewing Party, you and your friends can enjoy afternoon or evening full of fun and fashion. CHC's stylish and knowledgeable staff will act as your personal shoppers, assisting you in finding and enhancing your own personal style with vintage wears. In addition, CHC provides a photobooth in which a professional photographer will photograph you and your friends dressing up in the clothing. There is no cost to hold a party and hostesses receive 25% in free merchandise of the party's total sales.

All items in the CHC inventory are hand-picked by owner, Nicole Couch from Sewickley. She says, "With CHC, I want to teach women about vintage clothing and show them how to pair vintage pieces with modern pieces already in their closets,"

You can view the collection of vintage wears offered by Crazy Hot Clothing online here. To schedule an at-home party, you can email Nicole Couch at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Be sure to check back on Friday for another Clutch post!

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'Glee' returns: Will it be worth the wait?

Tuesday, 19 April 2011 12:00 AM Written by

Glee_KurtWhen Fox's "Glee" (8 tonight, WPGH) last aired, it was preceded by a much deserved, building backlash. And then the show turned out one of its best episodes of the season as New Directions won regionals and Kurt and Blaine kissed for the first time.

But even a strong episode cannot mask the show's serious failings and even in this better-than-average episode, these missteps were on display.

Read more after the jump. ...


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Tracy Nelson shines on "Victim of the Blues"

Tuesday, 19 April 2011 12:00 AM Written by

51cU8caSCmL._SL500_AA300_I've been a fan of Tracy Nelson's singing for a long time. Her lusty vocals are soulful, bluesy, churchy, and still full of passion and power at 66.

She's been recording since 1964 (Charlie Musselwhite was the harp player), and her latest album, "Victim of the Blues" (Delta Groove) finds Nelson revisiting the sounds that lead the Wisconsin native to the blues, just as Musselwhite led a young Nelson through the blues clubs of Chicago, and then from Filmore to Nashville.

Nelson says in her liner notes that after doing some recent blues tours and festivals, the blues she was hearing weren't very much like the music that had inspired her. "Victim of the Blues," out today, is the result.

It's a set of classic material that gives Nelson's considerable pipes a workout, from the title track -- a Ma Rainey song -- through songs by Willie Dixon (Howlin' Wolf's "You'll Be Mine"), Jimmy Reed ("Shoot My Baby"), Muddy Waters ("One More Mile") plus other fine stuff by Irma Thomas, Percy Mayfield and Sam Hopkins.

She gave an interview to NPR recently in which she talks about her life and career, and it's worth a read.

This album was salvaged from a fire at her Tennessee home and studio last year, and its title says as much about her perseverance as it does her 40 years of making great music.

Nelson's musical styles and tastes have varied over the years, but it's a pleasure to hear her focus on the music that first moved her, and it's a pleasure to hear songs sung with her great voice. It's great to hear someone who just wants to sing some pure blues.

I had a hard time finding a current live video, but here's one that looks fairly recent:

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What Project Cafe Means for Nintendo

Monday, 18 April 2011 01:39 AM Written by

Nintendo is set to unveil its next console, codenamed “Project Café,” at E3 in June, but a handful of the console’s details have already leaked. is reporting that Nintendo plans to move forward with a controller that is sans motion control and is similar to a Gamecube controller.  The controller will have two analog control sticks, a D-Pad, and triggers, making it capable of mainstream gaming - a function that was lacking with the Wii. also confirmed reports that the controller will have a six-inch touch screen that will act as a “mini television,” capable of streaming full games from the console to the controller.

Unconfirmed reports state that Project Café will have graphical power comparable to the 360 and PS3.

Details of this new console may be sparse, but it sets the stage for plenty of speculation on what direction Project Café will take Nintendo.

The leaked reports suggest that Nintendo plans to leave motion control in the dust.  The company has most likely studied the current market state and has chosen to no longer compete with Kinect or the Playstation Move.  Nintendo may even believe that the motion control craze has run its course completely.

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Amber B back on 'Bad Girls Club'

Monday, 18 April 2011 12:00 AM Written by

amber_b_blogSouth Park's Amber Buell, last seen on Oxygen's "Bad Girls Club" back in 2008, is back on TV for "Love Games: Bad Girls Need Love Too" (10 tonight, Oxygen).

In her network bio, Amber says she recently broke up with her boyfriend: "I am all about the rebound guy!"

Out of the other side of her mouth in the same bio she says she's looking for love and no more roller coaster relationships.

"I used to have some really bad jealousy issues," Amber admits in tonight's season premiere, noting that she's now "looking hardcore" for love.

And what will the winners of this show get for embarrassing themselves in front of America (other than potentially scarred for life)? Just a trip for two to Cancun and an unspecified amount of spending money.

Read more after the jump. ...

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