Fitz And The Tantrums Performing New Single Live On The Ellen DeGeneres Show

Courtesy:  Elektra Records

Courtesy: Elektra Records

Fitz and The Tantrums will release its new album this summer.  In anticipation of the album’s release, the group is performing the album’s lead single ‘Handclap’ live on The Ellen DeGeneres Show today.

Fitz and the Tantrums is scheduled to perform its new song ‘Handclap’ today live on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.  Audiences should check their local listings for the show’s air time in their market.  The song is the lead single from the group’s upcoming self-titled album.  That record is currently scheduled to be released Friday, June 10th in stores and online via Elektra Records.  ‘Handclap’ is already making waves for Fitz and the Tantrums.  It has been the #1 Most Added for two consecutive weeks on alternative radio stations nationwide.  It is also #15 * on the Mediabase Alternative chart and has reached the Top 5 of Spotify’s U.S. Viral Chart with more than 1.75 million streams.  Audiences can stream ‘Handclap’ online now via Soundcloud now.  The song’s lyric video is also streaming online via the group’s official YouTube channel.  It should be noted that anyone prone to seizures should use extreme caution in watching the video.

 

Handclap Video Grab

 

Fans that pre-order Fitz and the Tantrums now will receive ‘Handclap’ free.  It can be pre-ordered in a number of bundle packages via the group’s official online store.

Along with the group’s performance today on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, the group has announced that it will hit the road in support of its upcoming album beginning this Saturday, April 16th in Texas.  The summer tour currently runs through August 31st and includes a performance in Greensboro, NC on Wednesday, June 15th.  The group’s current tour schedule is noted below.  Tickets can be purchased online now here.

 

FITZ AND THE TANTRUMS – UPCOMING TOUR DATES
April
16 – The Woodlands, TX @ Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion – 35th Annual Buzzfest
30 – West Palm Beach, FL @ Sunfest
June
3 – Santa Barbara, CA @ KJEE Summer Round Up
4 – Mountain View, CA @ Shoreline Amphitheatre – Live 105 BFD 2016
11 – Brooklyn, MI @ Michigan International Speedway – Keloorah Festival
13 – Norfolk, VA @ Constant Convocation Center – 96x Fest
14 – Richmond, VA @ The National
15 – Greensboro, NC @ Cone Denim Arts Center
17 – Dover, DE @ Firefly Music Festival
18 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
19 – Hampton Beach, NH @ Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom
21 – New York, NY @ Terminal 5
23 – Clifton Park, NY @ Upstate Concert Hall
24 – Rochester, NY @ Rochester International Jazz Festival
25 – Toronto, ON @ Danforth Music Hall
28 – Bloomington, IN @ Bluebird Nightclub
29 – Milwaukee, MI @ Summerfest
July
14 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE
15 – Columbus, OH @ PromoWest Festival
16 – Kansas City, KS @ Sporting Park Stadium – KRBZ’s Annual Beach Buzz Ball
17 – North Birmingham, AL @ Sloss Music & Arts Festival
19 – New Orleans, LA @ Civic Theater
20 – Little Rock, AR @ Metroplex
22 – Tulsa, OK @ Cain’s Ballroom
23 – Dallas, TX @ House of Blues
24 – Austin, TX @ Stubb’s
26 – Albuquerque, NM @ Sunshine Theater
27 – Tempe, AZ @ Marquee Theatre
 
August
18 – Sacramento, CA @ Ace of Spades
19 – Portland, OR @ Oregon Zoo Amphitheater
20 – Seattle, WA @ Marymoor Park
22 – Eugene, OR @ Britt Pavilion
23 – Spokane, WA @ Knitting Factory
24 – Vancouver, BC @ Vogue Theatre
26 – Edmonton, AB @ Union Hall
27 – Calgary, AB @ MacEwan Hall
28 – Missoula, MT @ Big Sky Brewery
30 – Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory Concert House

31 – Jackson, WY @ Pink Garter Theatre

 

More information on Fitz and The Tantrum’s new single and album is available online with all of the latest updates on its tour, latest headlines and more at:

 

 

Website: http://www.fitzandthetantrums.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/fitzandthetantrums

Twitter: http://twitter.com/fitzandthetantrums

 

 

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Fitz And The Tantrums Perform New Single On ‘Ellen’

Courtesy:  BBGun Press

Courtesy: BBGun Press

L.A.-based pop sensation Fitz & The Tantrums performed on The Ellen Show this week.  The group performed its new single, ‘The Walker’ on Degeneres’ talk show as part of her birthday show.  The performance can be viewed online now at http://cdnapi.kaltura.com/index.php/extwidget/openGraph/wid/0_1imrwh3t.  ‘The Walker’ is taken from the group’s new Elektra Records release, More Than A Dream.

To add to the honor of performing for Ellen’s birthday show, the group’s new single was also hand-picked for the trailer for Ellen’s new Oscars trailer. Degeneres is scheduled to host the 2014 Oscars.  The trailer can be viewed online now at http://www.oscars.org/herewego/.  More information on Fitz and the Tantrums is available online now at http://www.facebook.com/fitzandthetantrums and http://fitzandthetantrums.com.

More information on The Ellen Degeneres Show is available online at http://www.facebook.com/ellentv, http://www.ellentv.com, and http://twitter.com/theellenshow.

More information on The Oscars is available online at http://www.facebook.com/TheOscars2014 and http://twitter.com/OscarCeremony.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Shelter Me Episode A Touching Tail…Er…Tale

Courtesy:  Virgil Films/Halo Purely For Pets/PBS

Courtesy: Virgil Films/Halo Purely For Pets/PBS

Thousands of animals end up in shelters across the country every year.  The reasons for this are as wide as the breeds of cats and dogs that end up being held at shelters.  People lose their jobs, have to move, or they simply run away from their homes.  In even worse cases, it’s because they have been taken from abusive owners.  Whatever the reason, these animals need loving homes.  So many shelter animals end up being euthanized because they don’t get adopted.  Virgil Films and Halo: Purely for Pets have partnered together in hopes of decreasing the number of animals euthanized each year and increase the number of shelter animals that find their forever homes instead in the new documentary, Shelter Me

Shelter Me is a heartwarming program that takes viewers into three different settings showing the value of shelter pets.  In hindsight, it’s less documentary and more advertisement for adopting shelter pets.  There is nothing wrong with this, either.  That is because so many shelters across the country are becoming overloaded with animals and underfunded.  That is, in sociological terms, what’s known as a negative correlation.  That’s not a good thing.  With any luck, this feature will help to turn that negative correlation into a positive one, and shelters will see an increase in both adoptions and funding.  It makes its argument through three examples of the value of shelter pets in society, starting with the dispelling of the reputation of Pit Bulls.  From there, it transitions into dogs that are made virtual inmates by their reputation to the impact of dogs on inmates themselves.  From there, it shows how the friendship between military men and women and service dogs can lead each others’ lives to turn around.  By the end of the feature, hopefully this feature will have convinced viewers of all ages and backgrounds to help give shelters and shelter dogs a second chance.

It is fitting that the very first segment of this feature features what is one of the most pressing issues in the world of pet owners.  The issue in question is that of the reputation of pit bulls.  Pit Bulls have arguably the single worst reputation of any dog breed.  That is because far too many people have abused them and made them into fighting animals.  As a result, most of the stories centered on Pit Bulls that people see on the news are negative.  But as audiences will see in this first segment, Pit Bulls are just as docile and loving as any other breed.  It dispels the belief that belief that this breed is just a mindless killer and proves even more the argument that it is indeed the fault of the human and not the dog that a Pit Bull becomes violent.  In an odd way, one could argue it is proof of the sociological argument that it is nurture, not nature that makes any living being become what it becomes in life. 

The second segment of Shelter Me is a proper transition from the topic of Pit Bulls.  This is because just as Pit Bulls have negative reputations, so do those behind bars.  Pit Bulls are ignored when they are sent to shelters just as inmates are largely ignored and labeled when they are put behind bars.  But as viewers will see in watching this segment, even those behind bars can be just as caring as the dogs for which they care.  Even more so, it shows that these dogs and others can help to give those behind bars the fire that they need to start their lives back on the right track.  Just as the dogs give the inmates featured here the start at a second chance, the dogs give themselves a second chance, proving their value even more.

The final segment of Shelter Me is just as solid a transition as that between the program’s lead segments.  The dogs featured in the feature’s second segment give both themselves and the inmates a second chance at life.  In the same vein, service dogs are just as valuable to the nation’s men and women in uniform.  Viewers are introduced to two young military veterans in this final segment. Both men were suffering the effects of fighting the war in the Middle East.  One was on the verge of taking his own life.  The other was on the verge of ending up as an inmate himself.  But when both men were partnered with a service/therapy dog, their lives were immediately turned around.  Because their lives were turned around for the better, it made them want to help their fellow soldiers.     

All three segments of Shelter Me provide very deeply heartwarming stories of the impact of shelter dogs on humans and vice versa.  From dispelling the reputation of Pit Bulls to showing the value of these and other dogs in various facets of life, Shelter Me provides audiences with touching story after story of the impact of shelter dogs.  The stories alone are enough to leave no eye the least bit dry.  Each one is compelling in its own right, showing that just because they’re in shelters, these animals are no less than those at a person’s local humane society.  Making the near hour-long feature even better is its transitions between each segments and the manner in which each segment is tied to the one before.  This makes the overall viewing experience all the easier and more touching.  Who knows?  It may even move viewers to share it with others and thus spread the movement to help both shelter pets and shelters.  Shelter Me is available now on DVD. 

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Finding Nemo Re-Issue Another “Splash” Hit

Courtesy: Disney/Pixar

Finding Nemo does so much right.  It all starts with the story itself.  What makes the story so enjoyable is its reflection of life.  The story is relatable to both parents and children.  That’s because it’s a story about family, and about loss.  The death of a parent/spouse–as dark as it may be–is part of what makes the story so relatable.  Some people complained about the movie’s early scene in which Marlin’s wife is killed.  But in the grand scheme of things, it was necessary.  It was a dual purpose scene.  It reminds audiences that–as dark as some want to argue it was–sometimes tragedies happen.  And as a result of those tragedies, the effect on surviving family members can vary in intensity.  In the case of Finding Nemo, the effect on Marlin (Nemo’s Dad), was that it made him overly protective of Nemo.  He even became scared of living life, period.  Marlin was so broken from having lost his wife and the rest of the babies, that he smothered Nemo.  That coddling played a direct role in the father-son dynamic set up throughout the story.

The father-son dynamic is another factor that makes Finding Nemo relatable to audiences.  Marlin is like any other parent.  He wants to hold on to his child as long as possible.  What sets him apart from other parents–and makes him relatable at the same time–is the tragic loss of his wife.  It makes him want to hold on to his son even more so than most parents would.  That’s what leads Nemo to start breaking away from his dad.  That coming-of-age story is seamlessly interwoven into the overall plot.  Again, it’s a story that both parents and children alike can relate to.  After all, every parent was once a child.  And every child reaches the “breakaway” point at one time or another; some earlier than others.  Nemo was one child who reached it earlier than others.  That goes back to the family tragedy at the beginning of the story.  The result of the child reaching the “breakaway” point is that sometimes, things are said and done that aren’t meant on both sides.  Despite that, family is family.  And a parent is still going to love a child regardless of who said what.  That love will lead a parent to do anything in order to protect his/her child.  Marlin does just that, swimming across the ocean to find his son.

Marlin’s journey across the ocean leads to another key story item.  The introduction of Dory (voiced by Ellen Degeneres) is an illustration of a person’s need for a “social net”, especially in the case of a family tragedy.  Dory plays a dual role.  One role is the voice of reason.  As “light-headed” as she may be, there are moments in which she manages to talk some sense into Marlin.  Along with talking sense into him, Dory also helps Marlin lighten up when he gets really stressed out.  She doesn’t even have to try.  It’s that same “light-headedness” that leads Marlin to do so.  What’s ultimately happening here is that the writers are reminding audiences that as bad as things can get, it’s still okay to laugh.  In fact, as bad as things can get, we all need to laugh.  She even reminds Marlin—or rather the audiences–that a parent has to eventually let a child go, and grow up.  It’s just more proof of everything that Finding Nemo does right.

One more thing that Finding Nemo gets right is something very subtle.  The story starts off very dark, both subject-wise, and color wise.  After that, the general colors used throughout the story are very bright.  It could be argued that as hopeless as Marlin wanted to be, he still had fight and hope.  And the use of the brighter colors helped emphasize that mood.  Just as near the end, audiences see the color darken at a key moment, only to brighten back up as the scene in question progresses.  That could be grasping at straws in interpretation.  But it does seem that there’s a direct link between the colors and the mood of the story from one scene to the next.  It’s just one more element of the whole thing that makes Finding Nemo so enjoyable.

Finding Nemo easily made a splash (pun fully intended) in theaters. And now on the upcoming DVD/Blu-ray combo pack, it’s just as much of a hit, if not more. Almost everything that could have been done right for the new presentation was done right, too.  The new re-issue has carried over a couple of the bonus features from the original DVD release.  But there are also many new features in this new release. The director’s commentary from the previous DVD release has been carried over.  But it’s been changed.  This time the commentary is presented in what has been called “CinExplore.”  That is the director commentary mixed with storyboard illustration placed into the movie at the same time.  This is a time saver in that it keeps viewers from having to go back to the special features to look through the movie’s original storyboard art.  Rather, it’s right there to view as audiences listen to the movie’s updated commentary.

In relation to its commentary, the new BD/DVD re-issue of Finding Nemo offers another related commentary that future script writers will appreciate.  Writer/Director Andrew Stanton discusses the use of flashbacks and his training on the use of them in “A Lesson in Flashbacks.”  On one hand, it’s a glorified deleted scenes feature.  But at the same time, it really is a lesson of sorts in which he explains how and why he was taught to use flashbacks as little as possible.  In relation to the flashbacks that never made it to screen in Finding Nemo, his lesson makes sense.  And why the flashbacks in question were never used makes just as much sense, too.

Also new to this re-issue is a feature focusing on Disney’s classic submarine ride and how it has been updated to fit Finding Nemo.  Audiences get a history lesson on the ride from its roots to where it is today.  Viewers get to see all the work that went into revamping the ride to make it current for today’s Disney theme park guests.  This is interesting for anyone who has any interest in special effects and computer graphics work.  It’s pretty interesting learning that the people behind the ride would do something as simple as using crushed colored glass to help accentuate the coral for riders.  It’s just one part of the near twenty-minute bonus that audiences will find an interesting update in itself and on this new re-issue.

Finding Nemo made big a huge “splash” in theaters when it was originally released in 2003.  Now nearly a decade after its original debut, it still has just as much relevance and importance to audiences as it did then.  Keeping that in mind, it’s good to see this modern classic back in stores and nearly fully updated for a whole new audience to enjoy.  The new Finding Nemo BD/DVD combo will be available in stores and online next Tuesday, December 4th.  It can be ordered direct via Disney’s online store at http://disneydvd.disney.go.com/finding-nemo.html.

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Pullman and Cusack are so right for Mr. Wrong

Courtesy: Touchstone Pictures/Mill Creek Entertainment

Mr. Wrong is like What About Bob? on acid.  It starts off with a slow boil.  But once it gets moving, it really gets moving.  Forget the fact that everybody already knows about Ellen’s background.  The fact of the matter is that this work is so twisted that one can’t help but laugh at it.  Even more ironic is that DeGeneres’ Martha really isn’t the star of the movie, although she is the lead.  Co-star Bill Pullman and Joan Cusack as Whitman Crawford and his ex, Inga Gunther make for the majority of the movie’s laughs.  Sitcoms have used the insane admirer and crazed ex plots many times over both before and after this movie.  Sometimes by themselves and sometimes together.  So those audiences who would want to lambast this movie for its outrageousness would be well served to lambast those sitcoms, too.

What sets Mr. Wrong apart from the sitcoms that have used the noted plots is just how over the top Whitman and Inga are.  That Whitman would go so far as to use the children of his mother’s housekeep to kidnap Martha and take her to Mexico is so bizarre that one can’t help but laugh at how outrageous it is.  And Inga’s threats again Martha are just as worth the laughs.  Fans will find themselves laughing uncontrollably as Inga tells Bob to put gum in Martha’s hair early on.  And of course there’s the even funnier bit about putting honey and ants on martha’s face.  The ants themselves are the kicker of that joke.

Mr. Wrong may not be one of the more memorable movies of the 90’s.  But take a moment to consider the number of rom-coms that have been copied and re-copied time and again.  Now considering those now far too stale works, they actually make Mr. Wrong worth at least one watch.

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