Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

Wu Man's Ancient Dances Will Bridge Chinese Centuries at Royce Hall

Wu Man

Liu Junqi

“I haven’t seen other pieces like that,” says Wu Man of Ancient Dances, the suite that will be the centerpiece of her concert Saturday at UCLA’s Royce Hall

Normally we’re dubious about such declarations. And given Wu Man’s career and credentials, it’s hard to imagine there’s anything she hasn’t seen, musically speaking. She’s arguably the world’s leading virtuoso of the pipa, the mind-bogglingly demanding Chinese lute. She’s certainly the most famous and wide-ranging practitioner of the instrument. 

No one is even close, given her collaborations with composers and artists including Philip Glass, Terry Riley, Lou Harrison, Tan Dun, the Kronos Quartet, Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, jazz innovator Henry Threadgill and English folk guitarist Martin Simpson, to name a handful. Her 2010 album Immeasurable Light, featuring Kronos, mixes original, very modern classical approaches with intensely-researched reconstructions of tunes dating form the 8th to 12th century, uncovered in caves in Western China. In contrast, her 2005 album Wu Man and Friends she applied her towering talents to music from Appalachia and Uganda -- and various points in between, whichever direction you would go to make that trip.

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Michael J. Fox really plays guitar, rocks Back to the Future's 'Johnny B. Goode'

2011 A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Cure Parkinson's - Show

Mike Coppola/Getty Images for the Michael J.

Michael J. Fox onstage at the 2011 A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Cure Parkinson's event at The Waldorf-Astoria on November 12, 2011 in New York City.

2011 A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Cure Parkinson's - Show

Mike Coppola/Getty Images for the Michael J.

Michael J. Fox onstage at the 2011 A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Cure Parkinson's event at The Waldorf-Astoria on November 12, 2011 in New York City.

2011 A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Cure Parkinson's - Show

Mike Coppola/Getty Images for the Michael J.

Michael J. Fox and Joan Jett onstage at the 2011 A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Cure Parkinson's event at The Waldorf-Astoria on November 12, 2011 in New York City.

2011 A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Cure Parkinson's - Show

Mike Coppola/Getty Images for the Michael J.

Michael J. Fox onstage at the 2011 A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Cure Parkinson's event at The Waldorf-Astoria on November 12, 2011 in New York City.


The Michael J. Fox Foundation held its annual fundraiser this weekend, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Cure Parkinson's. The highlight of this event: Michael J. Fox closing the show by playing "Johnny B. Goode," a la the scene from "Back To The Future" where Marty McFly inspires a young Chuck Berry through his guitar at the Enchantment Under The Sea dance.

Fox simulated playing guitar good enough to pass on camera in the original film, but apparently he does it for real now. Fox also rocked out with Joan Jett; at the 2008 event, he played with the Who.

Watch Fox lay it down below on what the Daily What points out was the 56th anniversary of when the dance takes place in the film:

Unlike the film, he doesn't deliver the vocals, and he experiences the curse of pretty much any event with a microphone — feedback.

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Street busker Chelsea Williams breaks out with 'Billionaire' in new Chevy commercial

TheGetor/YouTube

Chelsea Williams plays in Santa Monica, Sunday, April 4, 2010.

Have you watched TV recently? Well, then chances are high you may have noticed Miss Chelsea Williams, a singer featured in a new Chevrolet Cruze commercial singing the Travie McCoy/Bruno Mars song "Billionaire."

Turns out that she's an L.A. local, making her living for years playing on the streets at places like Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade and Universal CityWalk. She's managed to sell 75,000 CDs on her own through her less than traditional methods, after finding that she sold more and grew her fanbase more on the streets than in coffee houses or in clubs. She's performed four days a week around L.A. for years.

She's gotten attention from musicians and Hollywood stars; Crosby, Stills and Nash even sent her flowers when they saw her cover of "Helplessly Hoping" on YouTube.

Her songs have also started showing up on various television shows, and with the new commercial, she's getting some more featured face time. She also plays with a group, the Salty Suites.

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Want to see a Katy Perry concert? Here's how to do it, for free

MTV Europe Music Awards 2011 - Show

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Katy Perry performs onstage during the MTV Europe Music Awards 2010 live show at at the Odyssey Arena on November 6, 2011 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Katy Perry is doing a "Katy Perry Gives Thanks" show to end her California Dreams Tour at the Staples Center, with the tickets being given away free on Facebook. It's a drawing, so you're not guaranteed to get a chance to register, but if you're interested and happen to be available the night before Thanksgiving, you can give it a shot. Each entry is eligible for up to four passes. This ends a 122-date (wait, what?!) tour.

This is the part where I feel a bit jealous of those who manage to win tickets to this show, and feel a bit guilty for winning tickets to a Katy Perry show when she was first breaking out and deciding that I didn't need to go wait around for a couple hours to hear "I Kissed A Girl" at the end. (I didn't know she was going to be a star! And, after listening to more of her music, I enjoy her work. So there.)

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UFC comes to network television - and to Anaheim

UFC on Fox: Velasquez v Dos Santos - Press Conference

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Cain Velasquez attends the UFC on Fox: Velasquez v Dos Santos - Press Conference at W Hollywood on September 20, 2011 in Hollywood, California.

UFC on Fox: Velasquez v Dos Santos - Press Conference

Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos face off at the UFC on Fox: Velasquez v Dos Santos - Press Conference at W Hollywood on September 20, 2011 in Hollywood, California.

UFC on Fox: Velasquez v Dos Santos - Press Conference

Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

Cain Velasquez attends the UFC on Fox: Velasquez v Dos Santos - Press Conference at W Hollywood on September 20, 2011 in Hollywood, California.


Mixed martial arts organization UFC is coming back to Southern California this weekend. Anaheim is getting one of the biggest shows in the history of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, as it's UFC's first show on network television.

As part of a deal reported to be worth $100 million per year for UFC, Fox is airing four primetime specials per year. The deal doesn't fully go into effect quite yet, but this weekend's show is serving as a preview.

Only one fight is scheduled to air on the Saturday night special: A Heavyweight Championship bout between champion Cain Velasquez and challenger Junior Dos Santos. Will this be a five-round battle, or could it end in a minute and leave UFC fans with a show of filler?

The two also aren't stars yet. The Mexican-American Velasquez is quiet, but UFC hopes that the Latino community will latch on to him. He'd begun to catch on before, but suffered an injury that kept him on the shelf for 13 months between fights.

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