March 25, 2009
TV star takes blame for lookalike’s NYC misbehavior
MANHATTAN — For over a month now, gossip columns and blogs have been storming with allegations that Kiefer Sutherland, star of FOX’s hit TV show 24, has repeatedly engaged in egregious public misbehavior all over New York City.
Most recently, the New York Post reported on its famous and widely-cited Page Six that Sutherland had been spotted in the audience at the Lower East Side’s tiny Rockwood Music Hall, where he loudly heckled bluegrass singer and guitarist Michael Daves during Daves’s weekly solo performance.
According to the report, a clearly intoxicated individual matching Sutherland’s exact description suddenly began shouting profanities at Daves between songs.
“The first thing he yelled was, ‘You’re a motherf—cker!’ But in a very positive way,” recounted Daves.
Believing the man to be Kiefer Sutherland, Daves engaged him in a spirited back and forth shouting of “You are the man! No, you are the man!”
Which climaxed with both shouting, “We are the MEN!”
Egan, a founding member of the Irish band Solas, has often been mistaken for Sutherland in public, especially in poorly lit bar environments such as the Rockwood. But this episode is their most damaging case of mistaken identity so far, as multiple eyewitnesses confidently misidentified Sutherland as the heckler.
The Post report, which has since snowballed into an avalanche of bad publicity for Sutherland, notably marks the first time a bluegrass guitarist has ever been mentioned by name on Page Six.
Sutherland, who has admitted in the past to having a drinking problem, is now widely reputed to have fallen off the wagon into a pattern of public wastedness and belligerence.
Egan, on the other hand, who regularly wakes up in strange beds covered in other men’s blood, maintains an excellent reputation as an upstanding and moderate musician.
MEMPHIS — Questlove, the most celebrated drummer in all of folk music and a cornerstone of the Philadelphia folk group the Roots, recently made a surprise appearance at the 2009 International Folk Alliance Conference where he baffled and confounded the attendees with his presence.
Despite an apparently serious full-page advertisement for Questlove in the official Folk Alliance program, most conference participants seemed completely unaware that a Questlove concert might actually be happening.
“What the hell would Questlove be doing at Folk Alliance? I assumed that was a joke, or a misprint, or maybe someone was f—king with us,” said old-time fiddler Matt Brown.
Folk Alliance, the annual industry convention for folk music professionals, takes place for one week each February in Memphis, TN.
Folk music experts have hailed it as “the world’s largest open mic night” and a “very ingenious” way to write off a weeklong party on one’s federal taxes.
Every year, thousands of musicians come to the convention, where they outnumber the sum total of promoters, booking agents, managers, festival representatives and all other professionals by at least twelve-to-one.
“Is it really only twelve-to-one? I would have guessed quite a bit higher,” said one aspiring singer-songwriter from Boston.
For four days, these numerous musicians perform in hotel rooms, foyers, stairwells, balconies, utility closets, elevators and bathrooms, hoping to somehow attract a paid performance opportunity, or gig, for later in the year.
The musicians’ aspirations, however illogical, seem to take root in the unverifiable rumor that a four-piece band once got a gig by playing at Folk Alliance in 2004.
“Yeah, that’s totally true. Group called Crooked Steel, or something. I heard they totally blew up right after that, too” said nyckelharpa player Bronwyn Bird, whose band Blue Moose and the Unbuttoned Zippers was showcasing at Folk Alliance.
During Questlove’s showcase, the drummer repeatedly dazzled the crowd with his undeniable rhythmical abilities.
Then, as part of a brief question-and-answer session, he delivered a cogent, insightful, perfectly worded and altogether brilliant address on the musicological relationship between folk music and hip-hop.
Finally, he jammed with banjo player Bela Fleck whose intricate finger patterns soon hypnotized the drummer, ending the showcase in a triumphant moment for folk music.
Despite the success of Questlove’s showcase, some attendees remained skeptical.
“I know it’s tough times and all, but if Questlove is desperate enough for gigs that he feels the need to showcase at Folk Alliance, we’re all screwed,” said Nashville fiddler Billy Contreras.
“He used to be so famous,” say industry insiders
NEW YORK — On January 31, actor, comedian, author, and former celebrity Steve Martin will release his first-ever album of original banjo music, boldly defying industry conventions in a radical attempt to salvage his foundering career.
“Is this a joke?” asked one entertainment columnist. “You can never tell with this guy.”
As his star has faded in recent years, Martin has frequently made clandestine club appearances in the Manhattan area, playing banjo with anyone who might have him.
“At a club you’ll typically find Steve Martin on the same bill as high school kids and amateur strippers, which must be pretty rough for someone who used to be a household name,” said Arturo Baronista, a New York nightclub regular.
And Martin’s increasingly rare television appearances now merely involve the former actor as a backup instrumentalist for much more famous banjo players such as Earl Scruggs, Tony Trischka and Bela Fleck.
Tellingly, Martin’s own website provides frequent and extensive updates about his banjo projects with only rare mentions of the other activities, such as acting and comedy, for which he was once so famous.
According to statements released by Martin, an impressive roster of musical superstars such as Matt Flinner, Russ Barenberg, and Dolly Parton will accompany him on the upcoming recording.
“By associating himself with luminaries like those, he reinforces the notion of his own celebrity,” said celebrity expert Emma Beaton. “This whole project is likely a carefully calculated ploy motivated by Martin’s insatiable lust for fame.”
Strangely, the album also features Brittany Haas, a homeless fiddle genius from the streets of New Jersey.
“She is not allowed to sleep here,” said John McEuen, the album’s producer.
Martin’s banjo skills are formidable, but the buildup to his CD release has some industry insiders longing for the old days.
“I still think he’s pretty funny,” said McEuen.
Calcium, herbal bone supplement abuse causes near-fatal overdosePORTLAND, OR — According to his management, Darol Anger has voluntarily checked himself into a ten-week substance abuse rehabilitation program specialized for celebrity entertainers.
The renowned musician is reportedly seeking treatment to address several chemical dependencies he acquired during the long course of therapy for his fractured wrist.
The multifaceted Anger is not only a fiddle player but an accomplished practitioner of Parkour, the art of running through urban and rural environments at an unyielding pace using jumping, climbing and rolling to overcome obstacles.
Anger, a consummate innovator, was reportedly pioneering a bicycle-based variant of Parkour when he broke his wrist, an injury that has put his performing career on hold for months.
“He just wanted to get better so badly. He really thought those supplements were the way,” said a source close to Anger.
Like many who suffer from chronic health problems, Anger gradually became dependent on the medications he took to treat his injury. According to several close friends, the fiddler’s life quickly spiraled downward in a cycle of abuse, desperation and self-destruction.
At the height of his addiction, Anger estimates that he was consuming between six and seven kilograms of pure elemental calcium each day in powder- and pill-form, about five thousand times the quantity recommended for a 200-pound adult.
On top of this, Anger would routinely binge on entire bottles of various over-the-counter bone supplements.
“The money goes fast when you’re living like that,” said bassist and rock music historian Skip Ward.
Indeed, Anger soon found himself in dire straits.
“Late one night after the stores in town had closed I realized I had cashed my calcium supply. All gone. Just totally kicked. Plus which I was broke, completely broke,” recalled Anger. “I was fiending so badly I drank a whole quart of rotten milk that I found in a dumpster.”
“I wish I could say that was my lowest low, but it’s not even close,” he added.
Indeed, Anger’s descent into addiction culminated with a life-changing overdose. Friends found him in his home early one morning, unconscious but still breathing.
“He looked like a stick of chalk,” said one of the friends.
“Yeah, and there were bone supplement pills and empty herbal remedy bottles everywhere,” said another. “We rushed him to the hospital, and thank God he’s going to be OK.”
Anger’s cast is scheduled for removal on Nov. 18.
“Best jam ever,” says Pinkham
For approximately six unbroken hours starting at 10pm CST on Nov. 8, 2008, Pinkham had an electrifying, thrilling and altogether mind-blowing jam session with himself, playing both mandolin and fiddle simultaneously.
“It was a little like that scene in Fight Club where Edward Norton beats the s—t out of himself,” said Michael Barnett, who witnessed the jam.
Pinkham, whose youthful countenance and shaggy brown hair make him instantly recognizable, earns his living as a professional mandolinist. He also performs extensively on violin under the pseudonym Alex Hargreaves, and his violin playing is by all accounts prodigious.
Although Pinkham and Hargreaves are ostensibly different people, their stage attire is identical, and neither personality wears any disguise.
“That whole double-identity, alter-ego thing works out great most of the time, but it gets a little awkward at the occasional festival that books both Josh Pinkham and Alex Hargreaves separately. People get really confused because they are obviously the same person,” said Sarah Jarosz.
At the Rice Festival in Fischer, TX, Josh Pinkham was present performing with the Deadly Gentlemen, and “Alex Hargreaves” was also on hand to play fiddle with the Sarah Jarosz Trio.
“After Sarah’s set, there were a lot of weird moments when people would walk up to Josh to compliment him on his fiddle playing, and Josh would insist that the fiddle player they just saw was not him,” said Sam Grisman, bassist for both the Deadly Gentlemen and the Sarah Jarosz Trio.
“I mean, I’ll play in both bands, but I’m not going to pretend to be two different people,” said Grisman. “That’s just stupid, and it sort of offends people.”
Later that night at Jarosz’s house, Pinkham initiated a highly interactive jam session with himself, effortlessly segueing between bluegrass, jazz, rock, classical and free improvisation with a passion and intensity rarely seen in impromptu music sessions.
Pinkham reluctantly stopped jamming just after 4am, punctually leaving to catch a flight from Austin Bergstrom International Airport.
Before departing Jarosz’s house, Pinkham complimented himself for the exceptionally well-played music.
“Sickest jam ever,” said Pinkham.
Legions of suitors crushed by newsMONTREAL — In a tale reminiscent of a classic Walt Disney movie, a woodsy Quebecois aboriginal with almost no experience in the modern world has successfully romanced the most beautiful and widely-desired woman in all of folk music.
Natalie Haas, 25, the nation’s premier female folk cellist, holds a degree from The Juilliard School in Manhattan, where she majored in Manners and Charm with a minor in Cello Performance. She is also an expert in Victorian fashion and rarely appears in public wearing anything other than a brand new hand-sewn ball gown.
Ms. Haas has performed extensively with musical icons such as Alasdair Fraser and Mark O’Connor, and she attributes her fastidious approach to music and life to her extremely traditional mother, Barbara Haas, a strict disciplinarian.
Yann Falquet, whose rugged good looks and wild hair recall a young Tarzan of the Apes, has been very slowly adapting to life outside the remote forest in Quebec where he was raised. He now can be seen performing with a renowned French-Canadian trio called Genticorum.
Falquet’s earliest encounter with modern civilization took place last year when he accidentally boarded Alasdair Fraser’s Canadian Fiddle Train, and his natural gift for music first came to light.
“Here comes this crazy looking guy, wearing a bunch of rags, and you can’t understand a word he says,” recalled musician Laura Cortese. “But then he picks up this guitar, and it’s pure magic.”
Despite their disparate upbringings, Falquet and Ms. Haas soon fell in love and have now been an official couple for several months, utterly crushing the hopes and dreams of Ms. Haas’s numerous suitors.
“It’s like my blood is acid and my body is made of pain, not flesh,” said one former suitor, who preferred to remain anonymous.
“My brain feels like it’s being electrocuted from the second I wake up until I go to bed, and I’m lucky if I sleep even one night a week,” said another.
According to sources close to Haas, the happy couple has successfully managed many challenges, such as Falquet’s alien status and aversion to all forms of modern technology.
“Internet? Cell phone? Forget about it. The most sophisticated tool I’ve ever seen this guy use is a guitar pick,” said a close friend of Ms. Haas.
“It’s not that he’s emotionally detached, he actually does not know how to use a cell phone,” said Ms. Haas. “Sometimes if I haven’t seen him in awhile and I’m starting to wonder where in the world he is, he just pops up out of the woods and surprises me. It’s so romantic!”
The 84-year-old musical genius whose electrifying playing and deep musical spirit founded the genre of bluegrass banjo has been spotted driving around Nashville in a new Cadillac with a new girlfriend.
Although the banjo icon (whom we shall not name here out of respect for his tremendous career achievements) has been driving far too fast to accurately identify his new girlfriend, sources in Nashville indicate that the new gal is approximately 20 years old and possibly Asian or part-Asian.
The BG Intelligencer has launched an investigation into the identity of the lucky lady. Based on the information we have at this point, we are somewhat certain she is Eva Scow, 19, a Californian mandolin player and specialist in the exotic chorro music of Brazil.
After a recent night of hard-partying in Nevada City, CA, Ms. Scow said about her life, “I feel great. Everything is really falling into place.”
We wish the new couple the best of luck!
“She’s my f—ing soulmate, dude” says Thile to pal
[EDITOR’S NOTE: It has recently been called to our attention that no part of this article is even barely true.]
MANHATTAN — New York has been abuzz all summer with rumors stemming from the Chris Thile, Dolly Parton scandal.
Thile, the highest paid player in major-league bluegrass, has reportedly told buddy and bandmate Noam Pikelny that Dolly Parton is “my f—ing soulmate, dude.”
The association between Thile and Parton began in the early part of this decade, when Thile played mandolin in the bluegrass band fronted by the musical icon, former sex symbol and occasional actress.
Obvious erotic tension suffused that band, which eventually broke up amid allegations that Parton, 62, had taken the virginity of the young mandolin prodigy.
After a several year remission, the scandal flared up again this summer when Thile was spotted leaving a surreptitious rendezvous at Parton’s Tennessee mansion.
Thile’s romantic partner, a NYC designer and musician, at first devastated by the revelations of Thile’s infidelity, has recently been seen at the West Village gastro-pub the Spotted Pig on an apparent date with rocker Lenny Kravitz.
“I thought he was Macaulay Culkin,” says actress
PHILADELPHIA — Mila Kunis and longtime boyfriend Macaulay Culkin are repairing their badly battered relationship after a hilarious misunderstanding led the actress to commit an egregious act of infidelity.
The former star of Fox’s “That ‘70’s Show” and voice of Meg on the popular cartoon The Family Guy, Ms. Kunis was on location in Philadelphia for the filming of her upcoming movie Max Payne, also starring Mark Wahlberg and Ludacris.
“We were taking a quick break from filming, and I couldn’t believe it when I looked across the street and saw Mac [Culkin] walking by,” said Ms. Kunis.
“I figured he had come out to surprise me, which is totally just like him,” she continued.
“Anyway, we hadn’t seen each other in weeks, and there was just this unbelievable spark right at that moment,” said the former Complex cover model.
“Next thing I knew we were back on set in my trailer and like two hours had gone by,” she said.
But the actress was shocked back into reality when she received a phone call from the real Macaulay Culkin later in the day, according to sources close to both parties.
“People have been confusing me and Culkin ever since I started gigging at the age of twelve,” said Bryce Milano, 16, mandolinist. “It’s usually just kind of insulting, but this time it worked out amazingly.”
Said Culkin, “I will kill Bryce Milano if I ever see him. I swear to God.”
Fans Wonder: Is She Still Pure?
NEW YORK — Sarah Jarosz, 17, the Austin, TX singer and multi-instrumentalist whose rise to fame was all but certain now finds herself embroiled in a dramatic New York City scandal.
Jarosz, whose virginal beauty and multifaceted talent often draw comparisons to a young Britney Spears, surfaced in NYC on July 16 on her way to perform at the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival near Hudson, NY.
During her night in the city, the underage starlet illegally attended a show at the Bowery Ballroom where she was seen mingling with the members of Crooked Still, Chatham County Line, and the Infamous Stringdusters, all three of which were performing that night. She was also spotted briefly fawning over Tony-award winner John Gallagher, Jr., former star of the Broadway musical Spring Awakening.
After singing harmony with Crooked Still’s Aoife O’Donovan on the beautiful ballad “Captain, Captain” Jarosz proceeded to widen the already alarming rift between her musical purity and offstage behavior.
“Get my ass to the afterparty, b—ch,” she reportedly whispered to O’Donovan before leaving the stage.
At the West Village afterparty, Ms. Jarosz soon disappeared to the roof, where she remained until at least dawn in the unchaperoned company of a known New York playboy and alleged hebephile at least ten to fifteen years her senior.
National hebephile disclosure laws prohibit the publication of the full identity of Ms. Jarosz’s companion, so we will refer to him simply as Dr. L.
When we reached Dr. L. for comment, he provided us with the following prepared statement:
“I will not be portrayed as the R. Kelly of the banjo. I readily admit to the mistakes I have made in the past, and I have repaid my debt to society. I deny that anything unsavory occurred between myself and Miss Jarosz on the night of July 16. I am determined to restore my good name and reputation within the world of folk music, and I will defend my right to privacy by legal means if necessary.”
Despite the denials, news of that night’s activities have caused concern among many fans, wary of seeing yet another talented teen fall from grace before achieving her artistic potential.
Ms. Jarosz will proceed with the recording of her debut album for Sugar Hill Records as planned.