Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

Bandgeek!: City Mouse, English Beat and Planets Live in Houses

1-24-14Once you get your fill of Justin Bieber gossip, you’ll need to see some good local music to make you feel clean again. Lucky for you the next seven days are packed with great shows, which we’ve compiled nicely for you in a format we call BANDGEEEK!


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Ryan Beatty premieres song/video from his upcoming album

When we last checked in with pop wunderkind (and Clovis native) Ryan Betty, he was heading out on a national tour with Australian pop singer (and friend) Cody Simpson. At the end of the tour, he said he would be back in Los Angeles in the studio working in his album.

From my story in The Bee:

He knows fans are waiting, and he is eager to release new music. But he also wants to make sure it’s done right.

He could write a song for the radio, get it done and out quick, he says.

“That’s not what I’m about.”

He thinks about longevity.

He wants to create something authentic and true to himself and his inspirations — guys like Stevie Wonder and Billy Joel, and bands such as Electric Light Orchestra.

“Once I release it, it’s going to be out there forever, ” he says. “It’s not like I can be like, ‘Hey, just kidding.’ “

And now we get our first taste of what he might have meant by that. Beatty just released a lyric video for “Chameleon.” This is the first release from his a self-titled EP that will be released Oct. 8 Watch the video on the jump and let us know what you think?

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Did they just say Fresno?: Justin Bieber’s Save Mart sell-out

Justin BieberRemember Bieber Fever? Remember when Justin Bieber, the teen-pop sensation came to Fresno last October? How months before that, tickets to the show went on sale, and 500 people lined up outside the Save Mart Center starting at five in morning? How, more than a few of them were turned away, because the show sold out so quickly?

Turns out, the quick sell-out was somewhat fabricated.

Of 12,000 seats, only 940 were actually available for purchase the day tickets went on sale, according to a story from the Rossen Report, which aired this morning on NBC’s “The Today Show.” The other 92 percent of tickets were held for special groups or made available via presale — although that didn’t go too smoothly for some fans, either.

Bieber isn’t the only artist to hold back a percentage of tickets for pre-sales and the like (the report also mentioned Pink, One Direction and Maroon 5), but his Fresno show was the the most dramatic example of such, according to the report. So, that’s another notch in the belt for our fine city.

While, none of this should come as a shock, it does throw into question the idea of ticket scarcity and makes you wonder about all those shows that “sold out in minutes.” What do you think? Is this even a story? Are general ticket buyers being lied to? Do we need some kind of consumer protection? Or is this just life in the age of the internet, where being connected (via fan clubs and the like) gets you the best access?

Watch the full report below:

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Observations from a grumpy old man

iKISSmage003NBC has launched the new series “Hannibal.” Great. All we needed was another cooking show.

It’s official. Jimmy Fallon will replace Jay Leno next year. Conan O’Brien won’t believe it until he sees it. And even then, he’ll take a wait and see attitude.

It sounded like the Hallmark Channel was taking a weird direction in programming when it announced a new show that would include three hours of catfights. Come to find out, it’s the “Kitten Bowl,” a special where real small cats will frolic for three hours.

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Observations from a grumpy old man

Justin BieberPeople Lindsay LohanJustin Bieber told his critics through an Instagram message that if they want to talk about someone with a problem them should look at Lindsay Lohan. Note to Bieber. Using Lohan as a yardstick sets the bar impossibly low.

Marvel is working with Ringling Brothers to create circus acts featuring their costumed super heroes. I can see it now. The blind Daredevil will have a knife throwing act, Spider-Man will be on the trapeze and Dr. Xavier will always correctly guess your weight.

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Observations from a grumpy old man

Justin BieberJustin Bieber is the only person who can have his picture made in a hospital bed and it looks like an Abercrombie & Fitch photo. He’s in London, may go to France. We see Justin’s underpants. Someone give the guy a gown.

TMZ is reporting Demi Moore has filed documents in response to Ashton Kutcher’s divorce petition where she’s asking for spousal support. She should be paying him. Considering how little she’s done in recent years, it’s been his fame carrying her since they got together.

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Observations from a grumpy old man

  • Bakersfield now has a radio station that plays only comedy programming. This week’s featured comedian is Jeff Dunham. That’s right, a ventriloquist is the featured artist on radio. That’s like enjoying the works of Justin Bieber by only reading the lyrics to his songs.
  • Because Khloe Kardashian Odom is a co-host on “The X Factor,” the Fox reality show now has a “Why factor?”
  • Disney has purchased Lucasfilms and will produce new “Star Wars” movie in 2015. Suggested titles: “Star Wars: The Disney Empire Strikes New Deal”; “Star Wars: Return of the Merchandising”; or “Star Wars: A New Hope for More Profits.”
  • Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk was arrested in Illinois after allegedly driving his truck into the middle of a corn field. His defense: if they build it, he will come.
  • Megan Fox is threatening to sue the party who used Photoshop to put her head on a nude body. She says that’s not her naked body. You can see the defense now — prove it.

Caption This: Justin Bieber edition

Hate him or love him, you gotta admit that The Bee’s photo gallery from Friday night’s Justin Bieber concert is pretty interesting. Visually, it looked like quite the show. Good work, Craig Kohlruss.

One of my favorite pics is the one below, mainly because I can’t help but wonder what The Biebs is looking at. So let’s have some fun. Leave a comment below and tell us what Justin is thinking in this pic.


Bieber Fever Watch, Day 2


Leading up to Justin Bieber’s sold-out Fresno appearance on Friday, we’re keeping an eye on all things Bieber. Join us in marveling at the insanity of it all.

The Biebs played in L.A. last night, filling the Staples Center and performing the greatest concert in the history of ever, according to the L.A. Times.

Sike! The L.A. Times kinda puked all over the show like an 18-year-old who drank too much milk. (Too soon?!?). The Times’ headline: “Justin Bieber hard to ‘Believe’ at Staples Center.”

Writes Mikael Wood:

“[T]his high-tech pop production (with a mixture of live and prerecorded singing) emphasized the idea of Bieber over the real-life person; it merely reinforced established baseline notions: Cute face! Great hair! Nice voice!

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Bieber Fever Watch, Day 1


Leading up to Justin Bieber’s sold-out Fresno appearance on Friday, we’re keeping an eye on all things Bieber. Join us in marveling at the insanity of it all.

Gasp! Justin Bieber upchucked on stage at his tour-opening concert in Arizona over the weekend. You might have heard. The video has been making the rounds.

You could almost hear the shrieks here in Fresno, as teeny boppers who have been tightly clutching concert tickets for months started to worry that their tiny heart throb might not be OK.

Fear not, Fresno, we’ve tracked down one of the most authoritative sources out there next to Justin himself, his mom, his doctor and Usher. I’m talking about Carly Rae Jepsen. Yes, the “Call Me Maybe” girl. She’s also Bieber’s opening act. We chatted yesterday and she told me:

He’s just fine. I don’t totally know if it was just an upset tummy or what, but what a pro to turn it around as quick as he did. I was really impressed by that. I don’t know that I would be able to do the same. But he was right back up there two seconds later. What a professional.

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Ryan Beatty Fame Watch: A cover by Justin Bieber and the front of YouTube

Note: Henceforth, these Ryan Beatty update posts will be titled “Ryan Beatty Fame Watch” because it’s looking pretty inevitable at this point.

Remember when our 16-year-old pop-star-in-the-making was covering Justin Bieber songs in his bedroom? Well, in a role reversal that shows just how far Ryan has come, The Biebs put out a video last night where he’s covering Ryan. No joke.

In other big Beatty news, he’s on the front of YouTube today in conjunction with his AT&T no-texting-and-driving PSA. (which I saw the other day on FX, btw)


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How’s that Bieber pre-sale thing working out?

One Beehive reader decided to go the pre-sale route for Justin Bieber’s upcoming show in Fresno — and it was not a smooth experience. Marsha Conant wrote late this morning:

After spending 2 hours on line this morning trying to get Beiber tickets for my teenage daughter, I have nothing in hand except frustration! Joined the fan club but could not re-access the site to get the code to use after paying a $29 quarterly membership! The site is down, I am sure because of the tremendous volume! Tried to get info on the meet and greet VIP packages, was not successful. Tried to find out about the American Express pre-sale starting tomorrow as I have an AE card, cannot find anything. Did find secondary tickets already on sale, the best ones available on the floor were $707 and it went from 4 available to 2 right before my eyes! Pre-sales, memberships its all a gimmick to jack up ticket prices! And desperate parents play exorbitant amounts for tickets! This reminds me of the Hannah Montana tour a few years ago! That was also a mess!

She followed up a few hours later:

I relogged on at 12:30 pm and was able to get 2 tickets at $200 each. The original tickets were no longer available!

Wait a second. $200 to see Bieber? I thought this was supposed to be a show with a top ticket price of $79.50. I wonder how good/bad the seats for sale June 2 will be?

Any other pre-sale stories to share, Beehivers?

Justin Bieber will play at the Save Mart


So it turns out there WAS a big concert announcement coming from the Save Mart Center — it just wasn’t Van Halen. reports:

Justin Bieber will play at Fresno’s Save Mart Center on Oct. 5. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. June 2 and can be purchased at select Save Mart Supermarkets, online at, charged by phone at (800) 745-3000 or at the Save Mart Center Box Office. Ticket prices are $39.50, $55, $65, $79.50.

Fresno will be the fifth stop on Bieber’s “Believe” tour, which opens Sept. 29 in Glendale, Ariz. The tour continues in Las Vegas before two shows in Los Angeles at the Staples Center.

Though there’s a June 2 date for general ticket sales, big concerts these days usually come with an array of pre-sale options. After the jump, you can see the official tour release detailing your chance for early tickets to see the Biebs (as soon as today!) if you join a fan club, are an American Express ticket holder, are willing to sacrifice your first-born child, etc.

In the meantime, it’s kind of fun to watch the early-morning cranks on react with predictable generational prickliness to the concert announcement. One writes:

you gotta feel bad for this generation of kids growing up with the worst period of music ever. embarassing.

I bet many, many decades ago that commenter’s parents said exactly the same thing.

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Entertainment this weekend

Justin Bieber.JPGThere’s something for everyone with this weekend’s entertainment options.

“Justin Bieber: Never Say Never”: This concert/documentary film is the story of the rise of Justin Bieber from street performer to superstar. It’s an interesting mix of performance and behind-the-scenes material. Even if you don’t have Bieber Fever it’s an interesting and entertaining offering.

“Thor”: This is one of the better comic book inspired movies because of the solid direction by Kenneth Branagh and strong performances by Natalie Portman and Anthony Hopkins. The film will make a star out of Chris Hemsworth.

“Femme Fatales,”emax 11 p.m. tonight, Cinemax: The new late-night anthology series features powerful and dangerous women. Each episode is introduced by the mysterious host, Lilith (Tanit Phoenix), and features different casts and storylines, some of which are intertwined. The series is from the creators of Femme Fatales Magazine and inspired by the tradition of pulp stories, film noir and graphic novels.

Ryan Beatty shows us his original side

Last week, I told you about homegrown YouTube sensation and aspiring pop star Ryan Beatty. Thus far, he’s built a good following online by covering popular songs.

Well this week — as he makes the local TV rounds — Ryan and his camp unleashed their first original song. It’s called “You’re My Girl” and it’s already got 12,000+ views since being posted on Saturday. It’s not going to silence any of our commenters who were bemoaning him being another Justin Bieber, but it shows the kid can do more than YouTube covers.

What do you guys think of this one?

Ryan Beatty: The Valley’s Justin Bieber?

In the past month, local vocalist Ryan Beatty has gone from a kid singing YouTube covers to a legit pop music threat.

Ryan is 15 and a sophomore at Clovis High. Since re-launching his YouTube channel this time last month, he’s been getting a lot of attention. Enough, actually, to be the No. 1 most subscribed musician on YouTube in the past month. The fact that his look is right in line with the world’s current No. 1 teen icon probably doesn’t hurt.

Videos of Ryan covering pop songs by Bruno Mars, Jessie J, Cee-Lo Green, often from his bedroom, have girls asking him to marry them in the YouTube comments. His cover of “Grenade” (above) has close to 60,000 views in three weeks. More important than proposals and views, though, his videos have caught the eye of Hollywood music execs.

According to his manager Nathaniel Levingston, Ryan is already being courted by some big players in pop music. Over the weekend, Ryan met with Disney and the camp of famed producer/songwriter Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins, whose credits include Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, Beyonce, Spice Girls and lots more. It sounds like a recording contract may be in place very soon, so stay tuned for updates.

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Get out there, take in another point of view

bieber.JPG I found this letter by Tom Barrack, the big shot real estate deal maker behind Colony Capital LLC, inspiring – and it’s about more than a man’s point of view on the “Twilight” series (though that is really interesting too).

Here’s his point, what he encouraged his staff to do:

It is time for all of us to become more creative, spend more time outside of the strict arithmetic cadence of our business, and understand foreign points of view.

To boil it down, he came to this conclusion one night when he had nothing to do and decided to read “Twilight,” something he mocked. In the end, he was captivated and read the series. He realized he needed to step outside his own interests to stay vital.

I think I’ll do the same. There are loads of things I don’t get that others really love. I think I’ll give a few a try and see what I learn.

To start, I’m going to listen to an entire Justin Bieber CD. Maybe, like Barrack, I can tap into what makes so many people — even adults –love this kid so much. That fact has illuded me to this point. I’m also going to read the Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo,” the start of a book series that is dominating the bestseller list and creating all kinds of buzz about which actress will nab the coveted lead role in a new version of the movie. What is it about this series that has people flocking to it?

I’m sure I will come up with some more ideas for new things to try out. What about you? Feel like taking the challenge?