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“Bill and Ted” Alum Alex Winter Downloads Filmgoers On The Music Revolution

To an entire generation of teens in the late 80s and early 90s, Alex Winter was an unlikely idol, as “Bill” in ‘Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.” Now he’s an established writer and director with a new documentary about the tulmultous rise of the music downloading industry.

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To an entire generation of teens in the late 80s and early 90s, Alex Winter was an unlikely idol. As “Bill” in ‘Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure’ (and the subsequent sequel) he was paired with Keanu Reeves as a dim-witted but good natured metal head going on, well, excellent adventures. Now he’s an established writer and director with a new documentary about the tumultuous rise of the music downloading industry.

The film, entitled “Downloaded,” examines the real-life excellent adventures experienced by Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker. The pair began Napster in 1999 when they were 19 and 20 years old … and suddenly found themselves in a firestorm of controversy and legal battles with the music industry when the project became bigger than even they might have imagined. He spoke to POPgoesTheWeek about the film.

Through Napster’s successes and turmoils, Winter was fascinated by the story. “I met Shawn Fanning back when Napster was just coming to close,” he says. “We talked about telling the story in a movie then,” (In a separate interview, Fanning joked that Winter’s role in ‘Bill and Ted’ didn’t hurt in helping secure a meeting between them.) “and believe it or not it’s taken ten years to get it made. People back then had a hard time really understanding the technology, and it was unclear if it was going to stay or go.”

Shawn Fanning, Sean Parker and Alex Winter (courtesy VH1 via Alex Winter)

Clearly, the technology, at it’s core, stayed, even if Napster didn’t, thanks to government injunctions and multi million dollar lawsuits over illegal sharing and downloading. The story of what became of the Napster fortune and fame is compelling, but yet to be fully told on film. And that’s where Winter, who wrote and directed Downloaded comes in. In part, he says, to help set the record straight about the intentions of its originators – and all of the people behind the revolution of the music world as a whole – one that has sparked a relative end to music stores, ‘albums’ and concern about the industry at large.

“I think that there’s a lot of divisiveness between the existing establishment and the technological innovators. There’s a lot of misundestanding about the motives about the generational revolution that’s taking place right now. I think, first and foremost, I want to tell a great story – one that I think is worth telling – that’s really been the primary motivator. If this helps to add more sides to the conversation and clarify some things and get people thinking and talking about that, would be great.”

In the years following “Bill and Ted,” Winter has enjoyed a steady stream of acting roles, but has been largely occupied with developing Downloaded for the past few years. But as rumors brew about a new, updated installment to the “Bill and Ted” franchise, he is reluctant to elaborate on possible the new film.

“I have a big no comment on that,” he says. But even though the original movie, it’s sequel and long term cult-like success is clearly a chapter he’d like to close, he does understand the film’s continued appeal.

“I have sort of talked the subject out,” he adds, “but I think there’s a sweetness to them and people respond to that. I think it’s genuinely about two good friends – I think at the heart of it, it’s really about friendship and going through this crazy world as a team rather than on your own. The movie was written by two close friends and (Keanu) Reeves and I were really good friends and I think that really came across.”

“… I think people continually go back to a movies that have a certain kind of sincerity to them, especially in comedy. A lot of comedy can be mean spirited. I think it can be more challenging to make a comedy that isn’t mean spirited I think that’s what gives it legs.”
What happens after Downloaded hits theaters? A scripted film that draw upon an old favorite.
“I’m developing a remake of a great 80’s supernatural thriller called The Gate. I’m doing that hopefully after Downloaded… I think we can make a really great remake actually so a lot of my energy is going there.”
Downloaded premieres at film festivals this fall 2012.
For more about Alex Winter and his projects, follow @AlexWinter on twitter!
For more entertainment updates, follow @BrianBalthazar on twitter!

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Wendy Stuart Kaplan Knows How To Party – Now She’s Throwing An Epic One Of Her Own!

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Wendy Stuart Kaplan knows her way around a party. In her book, ‘She’s The Last Model Standing,” she wrote about her headline grabbing days at Studio 54, and now throws more than a few of her own. The latest is her “Reading For Filth” and her birthday extravaganza, where she, hosts Eileen Dover and Nick Lion and others (including yours truly!) will perform a collection of wildly entertaining essays, poems, comedic rants and more. The kind of person who is so ‘on the go’ you get exhausted just thinking about it (she, however, does not) I caught up with her as she was taking a break between a radio show, a modeling job and a party tonight. If you want to catch up with Wendy, you have to be flexible… she’s probably got a full schedule that day! Her party this Friday is one that will not only celebrate a wildly varied and entertaining life, but also celebrate the spoken word from a variety of performers.

Anyone who’s ready your book “She’s The Last Model Standing” knows you’ve been partying since studio 54 – when did you first realize you were a party girl?

I first realized when I came back to New York after college! I wasn’t until then, because there was no good place to party.

Where did you go to school?

SUNY Binghamton where I majored in anthropology – and then I went to Nigeria! I definitely enjoyed partying eventually, but back then I really, really wanted to go to Africa, which I did!  I have gone back often, most recently to work on my documentaries.

Wendy Kaplan was a bold faced name for tearing up the dance floor AND going home right after.

That’s wild! But it’s not surprising to hear of that passion since you make films about wildlife conservation there. But your festive side eventually DID come out! We all know you now as a social butterfly! Whether you’re at a party, or working a film premiere – but were you as confident and comfortable in the spotlight as a kid as you are now?

I was an oddball kid. I had two things: I had my friends in the Bronx, and the ones that I had in school and they didn’t mix all that well. I loved growing up there, that was home – but I remember as a kid I would get stomachaches before parties! How weird is that? Until you asked me I had forgotten all about that.

What were you worrying about?

Social pressures – what if nobody talks to me – oh my god, I’m not pretty. I had a short mop of brown hair because my mom thought I looked better with short hair, and I had chubby cheeks. I didn’t love that look. I used to put on wigs as a kid and imagine myself with long blonde hair!

And here we are! 

Here we are, right? Long blonde hair. I morphed into it. I’m totally self made!

Tell me more about Reading for Filth – your event this Friday at Club Bedlam.

Reading for Filth came about when Brian Butterick, also known as Hattie Hathaway, used to have these events. One had the byline, “low rent reading for a high rent city.” Reading for filth is an expression for ‘I’m going to read you to filth,’ as in, “I’m gonna tell you what I really think.” The performers would do a reading of their choice. Something personal, maybe about an old boyfriend, or something someone else wrote, and they’d get up and read it in front of a room. At the last one we had, Michael Musto read from Suzanne Somers’ poetry book. I didn’t even know she wrote poetry… here the same person who wrote about African violets is also behind the Thighmaster! Brought me to tears! I imagine her thighs going back and forth as she sits next to a table with a sole African violet in its little pot, which inspired her to write the poem.

The reason we chose to open my birthday party with it is, when Hattie passed away, my friend and partner in crime Michael Fontana (Eileen Dover) really wanted to keep it going. We say it’s such a downtown New York thing but it’s a New York thing. It’s a nationwide thing. Think about what’s hot right now: storytelling. And here we have had Reading for Filth going on long before all that other stuff. Brian Butterick had been doing it for six to ten years. He was very ahead of his time. We brought it back this past year.

You love people and being around them, entertaining them, but you also love your home life – please describe your NYC living situation. You have a beautiful place… but describe your roommates.

Well, we will have to go back about 30 years when I got my first rabbit. I haven’t lived without one for 30 years, so when one dies I always have one in the wings. Fast forward to now, we always have two rabbits. It’s nice if they have another rabbit to hangout with. Also, 33 years ago we got a baby cockatoo, named her Louise, fed her formula, and she is now hanging out with me in my living room. Did I also mention our blue merle chihuahua?

In my New York apartment everyone is loose. No one is caged.  Everybody is trained to go on those wee-wee pads you buy for dogs, and everybody goes on a wee-wee pad including the rabbits… but not the dog.

Wendy’s rabbit S’mores roams free in her apartment along side another rabbit, a cockatoo and a Chihuahua.
Wendy Kaplan’s dog Nugget does what it wants.

You know how to party – we know that – your wedding was no exception…describe your epic wedding.

So my wedding was 32 or so years ago. I should know that! Alan (a renowned photographer) and I got married in our huge loft, and you had to come dressed as members of a bridal party. It was on Halloween – you could be a bride, or a groom or a bridesmaid. The only problem was a lot of people thought it was a costume party and not an actual wedding. So we had people dressed as bridesmaids with five o’clock shadows and brides with full beards. They thought this was just going to be a big loft party – because we always gave huge parties – and not a wedding. But it was actually our wedding. I didn’t get many gifts because no one took it seriously. I won’t make that mistake again!

You’ve been modeling since you were in your twenties – what’s the best thing anyone can do to look and feel like a model whether they’re walking down the street or working it in the office?

You have to know who you are. What’s your style? What makes you feel good? What floats your boat? When you put on a certain dress how does that make you feel? Don’t go with trends, go with what you’re attached to! Listen to your inner fashionista. And you know what? We all have that.

Reading For Filth is open to the public this Friday at 8pm at Club Bedlam, 40 Avenue C, NYC. For more on Wendy visit her book’s Facebook page, her personal facebook page, or her instagram.

Visit her website, and buy her book on amazon!

 

 

 

 

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All 18 of the BAFTA Acting Nominees Are White, All Directing Nominees Are Male

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“Joker” is the one to watch at the upcoming BAFTAs, but if you’re looking for diversity and female directors, sadly you’ll have to look somewhere else. All the acting nominees are white, and all the directors are male.

Led by a lead actor nomination for Joaquin Phoenix, “Joker” received 11 nominations for Britain’s equivalent to the Oscars, competing with familiar Golden Globe nominees Taron Egerton, “Rocketman,”  Leonardo DiCaprio for “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood,” Adam Driver for “Marriage Story,” and Jonathan Pryce for “The Two Popes.”

Renée Zellweger leads the nominations for the best actress category for her role in “Judy,” alongside Jessie Buckley,  “Wild Rose,” Scarlett Johansson, “Marriage Story,” Saoirse Ronan, “Little Women,” and Charlize Theron for “Bombshell.”

Here are the other notable highlights:

See the full nomination page HERE.

  • 11 nominations for Joker
  • 10 nominations for The Irishman and Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
  • Nine nominations for 1917
  • Six nominations for Jojo Rabbit
  • Five nominations for Little WomenMarriage Story and The Two Popes
  • Four nominations for For SamaParasite and Rocketman
  • Three nominations for BombshellJudyLe Mans ’66 and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

The ceremony will be held on Feb. 2 at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

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The Best Golden Globe GIFS That Keep On GIF-ing.

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Sometimes an award show recap is best done with looping clips and no audio. Here are the best Golden Globe gifs making the rounds!

GIFS  via GIPHY  via NBC’s awards coverage.

THE FIRST WINNER OF THE NIGHT,  RAMY YOUSSEF ADMITTED THAT MOST PEOPLE HAVEN’T SEEN HIS SHOW ‘RAMY’ ON HULU. BUT THANKS TO HIS HILARIOUS, CHARMING SPEECH, A LOT OF PEOPLE WILL BE CHECKING IT OUT NOW.

I WANNA BORROW GWYNNIE’S SHEER GOWN FOR LOUNGING POOLSIDE AND SMOKING A VIRGINIA SLIM. AND I DON’T EVEN SMOKE. IS THAT MACRAME? I AM NOT HATING ON IT. I THINK IT’S DARING.

BEYONCE LOOK TRAPPED. HERE SHE IS GIVING US THE GOLD SHOULDER…

TOBIAS MENZIES SUMS UP A LOT OF FOLKS’ REACTION TO RICKY GERVAIS.

TOM HANKS FELT SIMILARLY.

WHEN YOU JUST WANNA FIND AN OPEN SPOT AT THE BAR…

BUSY PHILIPPS IS ALWAYS THERE TO SUPPORT BESTIE MICHELLE WILLIAMS. TONIGHT WAS NO EXCEPTION, AS SHE CHEERED ON MICHELLE’S SPEECH SUPPORTING A WOMAN’S RIGHT TO CHOOSE…

TIFFANY HADDISH AND SALMA HAYEK WERE FEELING IT TOO…

CAUGHT ON GIF: A MARRIAGE STORY‘S ADAM DRIVER CAUGHT SMILING!

ONCE AGAIN, WHATEVER WILL FERRELL DOES IS HILARIOUS:

IF YOU DIDN’T FALL FOR ADORABLE ROMAN GRIFFIN DAVIS IN HIS MOVIE ‘JOJO RABBIT,’ YOU FELL FOR HIM LAST NIGHT…

WHEN A CAMERA IS TRAINED ON YOUR FACE FOR MOST OF THE NIGHT… WHAT’S YOUR GO-TO EXPRESSION? HERE’S BRAD’S:

AND HERE’S PACINO’S: LOOK CLOSELY AND YOU’LL SEE HE’S BREATHING.

AND FOR SOME REASON THIS IS THE ONE OF JEN THAT’S TRENDING. WE CAN DO BETTER.

Jennifer Aniston Golden Globes

EVEN IF YOU DON’T WIN, THERE’S STILL CHAMPAGNE.

AND THEN IT WAS OVER. LOOK HOW MUCH TIME YOU’VE SAVED!

FOR MORE OF THIS, OR SOMETHING ELSE, OR JUST BECAUSE WE LIKE YOU, FOLLOW @BRIANBALTHAZAR ON TWITTER.

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