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Moving Into the Old NYT Building: Guitar Center

Coinciding with the retail chain’s 50th-year anniversary, Guitar Center Times Square is in final rehearsals.

RootsGuitarCenter

The 28,000-square-foot location opens Thursday August 7 with a free evening concert by The Roots at the Best Buy Theater across the street. Free tickets for the show are being given away at various New York GC locations:

Housed in the original New York Times building at 44th & Broadway, the Times Square location fosters a hands-on environment and offers unique features including a Fender custom shop where craftsmen tailor guitars to specifications, a boutique pedal selection in a 360-degree display and The Platinum Club, which showcases top-of-the-line, high-end luxury guitars.

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Mediabistro Course

The Art of the Book Review

The Art of the Book ReviewStarting August 4, learn how to get paid to write reviews that will influence the publishing landscape! Taught by a Publishers Weekly book critic, you'll learn how to recommend a book to its audience, write reviews of varying lengths, tailor a review to a specific publication and more! Register now!

Freddie Mercury Then, Adam Lambert Now

Interesting interview with Adam Lambert by Curtis M. Wong, deputy editor of HuffPo Gay Voices. Framed by the fact that in six, vertiginous years, Lambert has gone from auditioning on American Idol with “Bohemian Rhapsody” to fronting this summer’s Queen tour.

The bulk of the article is about how it was basically impossible for Mercury to talk publicly about his sexuality:

“From what I understand, it took Freddie a bit of time to come to terms with his sexuality, and once he did… He was living in a time when, as a celebrity or a rock star, it was something that was kind of off-limits,” said Lambert…

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Reverend Bud Green Says He Orchestrated Red, White and Blue Flags Switch

RevBudGreenFacebookWow. Per a report today by the New York Daily NewsJill Coffey and Tom Tracy, the news trail about the clandestine July 22 replacement of American flags atop the Brooklyn Bridge just veered into Cheech and Chong territory.

From their exclusive:

Reverend Bud Green, 49, called the News on Thursday to say that the flag replacement was actually the first part of what was to be a two-part strategy, with another set of banners going up later. But the increased NYPD surveillance on the bridge put a kibosh on a second switch.

“It was interesting that nobody knew what to make of it,” Green said. “It was interesting that people took it as a terror risk. We believe in non-violent civil disobedience. The government has everybody scared s——s. Was Martin Luther King Jr. a terrorist? Was Abbie Hoffman a terrorist? The government is trying to silence people.”

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VICE Chats with an Atypical Crack Reporter

RubenCastenedaCoverWe thoroughly enjoyed this week’s interview by VICE staff writer Matt Taylor with Ruben Castaneda, the Washington Post alum who once upon a time covered the crack beat while also, himself, regularly getting high on crack.

Castaneda’s book about this incredible and dangerous odyssey, Street Rising, was published at the beginning of the month. Here’s what Castaneda, who before the Post was with the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, he told Taylor when asked about the first time he tried the addictive drug:

“I was on a reporting assignment on the western edge of downtown LA in a pretty tough neighborhood. This very, very attractive young woman caught my eye. She gestured for me to come over, so I put the reporting aside for a moment and went over to flirt with her. Now, I was already, at this time, drinking heavily. In fact, I had already gotten pretty toasted that afternoon at Corky’s — a dive bar — so I was pretty impaired in judgment.”

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Janice Min Pays Tribute to Her Departing Culture Editor

DeganPenerTwitterProfilePicOn September 10, one of the original members of Janice Min‘s Hollywood Reporter team will be moving on.

Both the importance of culture editor Degen Pener‘s contributions and Min’s fondness for him, personally, shine through in a memo circulated this afternoon:

Dear Staff:

I’m sure many of you have heard the news that culture editor Degen Pener will be leaving us in September, but I wanted to formally tell all of you as I know his impact is felt around so many parts of this organization.

Almost exactly four years ago, Degen was among the first five people I hired at The Hollywood Reporter in anticipation of its relaunch. I had known Degen a bit in New York, and was surprised (as I considered him a bit of a free spirit) that he wanted to come work on what was then just an imaginary magazine that I could only describe conceptually (admittedly, it sounded pretty good). As our culture editor, he dove right in for the launch, and was instrumental in creating so much of the tone and style that is now synonymous with The Hollywood Reporter.

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Legendary Journalist Belva Davis Dishes on Interviewing the Greats

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Belva Davis, the first female African-American TV reporter on the West Coast, has paved the way for the likes of Tamron Hall and Soledad O’Brien. She is a true pioneer, a self-taught journalist whose incredible career has spanned print, radio and television.

In our latest So What Do You Do column, Davis talks about how she landed her fig gig at Jet, the reason she never turned down a story in the first decade of her career and why some of her memorable interview moments stand out for the wrong reasons:

I interviewed Jim Jones, who was someone I never wanted to talk to, and I had a poor interview with W.E.B. Dubois because I was young and didn’t know the significance of his importance. As time went on, I was interviewing Muhammad Ali one day and in the presence of Malcolm X the next. I did one of many interviews with Huey Newton in Cuba. Celebrities were open to me because I’d been on radio. I just pulled out some files the other day: interviews with Ella [Fitzgerald], Nancy [Wilson] and Lena [Horne]. But I think it was my first interview with then-Governor Reagan because it was unusual that I got past the Republican barricade. That was because of a co-worker and mentor named Roland Post, who became my co-anchor on a political talk show.

To hear more from Davis, including her experiences with sexism during the civil rights movement, read: So What Do You Do, Belva Davis, Pioneering Broadcast Journalist, TV Host and Author?

Vin Scully Laps KFWB

VinScullyDodgerStadiumLiving legend Vin Scully was born in 1927. Two years after the launch of Los Angeles AM radio station KFWB, originally owned by a group that included Warner Bros. co-founder Sam Warner.

All these years later, there was on the west coast the equivalent of a media “safe” call for Scully and a base-path-umpires-appeal “out” verdict for KFWB. While the 86-year-old broadcaster announced Tuesday that he is returning for another glorious season of radio and TV work in 2015, KFWB indicated last Friday that it will be switching to a mostly syndicated all-sports format in September. (The radio station, currently owned by CBS and held in a FCC-rules related trust, adopted its current all-news approach in 1968.)

We’re a bit surprised that at press time, neither the LA Register or LA Times appear to have reported on the KFWB switch. Although both papers rely mostly on freelance radio columnists now, this is media news that merits a scheduled editorial calendar pre-empt.

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New York Native Set to Bring NC17 Theater to LA

GregCayeaPicFollowing Tuesday’s west coast skywriting display, LA-based producer Greg Cayea (pictured) has further teased his forthcoming “NC17″ theatrical event. The ambitious extravaganza is set for weekends in October, with shows starting at 8 p.m. and running through until 5 a.m. the following morning. Here’s what Cayea is promising:

Theatrical Mischiefs, Body Painters, Escapists & Magicians, Hula Hoopers & Acrobats, Comediennes & Actors, Belly Dancers, Silk Dancers, Burlesque Dancers, Arial Performers, Bohemiéns, Illusionists, Contortionists, Trapeze Artists, Artistes de Cirque & Artistes de Rue, Pantomimes, Ventriloquists, Flame Wielders, Fire Breathers, Showgirls, Danger, Seduction, Escape.

It sounds like a theatrical extension of the speakeasy and lounge-bar vibe currently reshaping Los Angeles nightlife. A wave sparked by the Houston brothers, owners of No Vacancy, Dirty Laundry, Good Times at Davey Wayne’s, La Descarga and more.

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Remembering the Quest for Tom Snyder’s First Guest

TomSnyderOn this date seven years ago, Tom Snyder passed away in San Francisco. To honor the broadcaster’s life and legacy, longtime friend and producer Michael Horowicz likes to annually at this time share a fond Snyder anecdote.

Adding to the significance of this anniversary is the fact that July 29 is also the date that Horowicz himself was born.

“Much has been made recently about a new talk show’s ‘first guest,’” Horowicz tells FishbowlNY. “There was excitement over Jimmy Fallon’s first guest on The Tonight Show (Will Smith), as well as Seth Meyers on his first show (Amy Poehler). It was the same in December 1994, as we prepared to debut The Late Late Show with Tom on CBS the following month.”

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Filmmaker Prefers to Ignore ‘Lesbian Lena Dunham’ Label

From Down Under comes a fun interview with Desiree Akhavan, an Iranian-born actor-director who made waves this year at Sundance with her comedy Appropriate Behavior, in which she stars as Brooklyn bisexual Shirin.

Gay News Network Australia editor Rachel Cook asked Akhavan what it’s like to be saddled with the media label of being the “new lesbian Lena Dunham” (as opposed to the old?!). Here’s Akhavan’s answer:

“If I took that shit seriously I would spend the bulk of my time in the fetal position at the foot of my bed.”

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