Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

Improv Lab aims to shake up traditional comedy world

Courtesy Jamie Flam

Improv Lab manager Jamie Flam

The Improv Lab is a 50-seat theater attached to the Hollywood Improv and marks an attempt by one of Los Angeles's traditional comedy clubs to try something different from the standard club formula. In an online editorial, Comedy Store marketing and development VP Alf LaMont wrote that "The Improv Lab is a ray of sunshine in an otherwise bleak landscape."

Improv Lab manager Jamie Flam agrees with LaMont that one of the keys is developing talent. "It really is as simple as talking to people about their shows" and providing resources, Flam says. "Just talking about the show and helping give notes and feedback." Flam says that, as someone who knows other comedians and has produced hundreds of shows, he can recommend other comedians who should be on a show and give feedback on how to promote the show and what would take a show to the next level.

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Motown legend Stevie Wonder drops in at Echo Park club tribute night

What began as a tribute night to Stevie Wonder at an Echo Park club took a turn for the unbelievable when Motown icon Stevie Wonder himself showed up to hang out, sing a few bars and talk politics. (Yes, politics.)

At the Echoplex, DJ Spinna was hosting his yearly "Wonder-full" club night, where Wonder fans gather to dance to the musician's arsenal of hits and B-sides, and buy T-shirts with screen prints of the legend's face on them.

It may have been his signature sunglasses or long braids decorated with small seashells, but Wonder's arrival was electric, unparalleled even by the Echoplex’s history of big-name talents like Beck and Nine Inch Nails.

The 22-time Grammy winner sat at a small table with friends and family, watching the party from a roped-off corner near the stage. This VIP area was modest, much like Wonder’s entourage and demeanor.

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Pomplamoose covers the Angry Birds theme song

We've extolled the virtues of Pomplamoose before, the quirky male/female pair who put out music videos of their work that show how each sound in that song was produced.

However, they've just released their most off the wall creation to date: A cover of a song familiar to the hordes of Angry Birds players the world over, the Angry Birds theme (at least those not covertly playing the game with the sound off).

True diehards will have to wait for covers of the versions from later releases of the game, but you can enjoy Version 1 below:

For your listening pleasure, more Pomplamoose:

Michael Jackson's "Beat It":

Earth, Wind & Fire's "September":

The Chordettes' "Mister Sandman":

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Foo Fighters release YouTube performance of their entire new album 'Wasting Light'

In an interesting marketing approach, the Foo Fighters performed their entire new album "Wasting Light" and put up a YouTube video of the performance. The video was shot in the Foo Fighters' Studio 606.

The Foos have done their best to get out the word however they can. They released a documentary on the history of the band "Back and Forth," which aired in theaters on April 5 along with a live, 3D performance of the album. The documentary later aired commercial-free on various cable channels on April 8.

They've also used viral videos, contests, secret shows, social media and more in order to promote "Wasting Light."

If you still haven't gotten your Foo fill, they're releasing an album of covers, "Medium Rare," as a limited-edition vinyl for Record Store Day tomorrow, April 16.

I had the chance to see the Foo Fighters live about a decade ago when they were on tour with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. While the Foo Fighters opened the show at Washington state music venue The Gorge, they ended up delivering the more memorable, energetic performance, including climbing the sound booth. It's fun to see them still energized a decade later.

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Google hires Happy Tree Friends to explain copyright to YouTube uploaders

Google's tightening their copyright policies for YouTube uploads. If you upload copyrighted material to YouTube, you'll have to watch a video called "YouTube Copyright School" and then pass a test on copyright to continue using the site.

That video features the Happy Tree Friends, Internet cartoon celebrities. The cartoon is known for the contrast between the cute animals and the graphic cartoon violence, but they've cleaned up their act for the big league of YouTube Copyright School.

After watching that video, YouTube users get two more chances before, on the third strike, being banned for life. According to Politico, this is the company's response to lawmakers and the entertainment industry complaining that Google hasn't cracked down on copyright infringement.

Given the giant amount of copyrighted material on YouTube put up there by people without the right to do so, it's an interesting approach as everyone tries to figure out the nature of copyright in the Internet age. There seems to be a tacit acceptance of a lot of this material being up by some artists and companies, so it will be interesting to see if this has much impact.

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