Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

Prince writes Minnesota Vikings tribute song

I don't know if the Minnesota Vikings are going to the Super Bowl, but I do know they officially have the coolest tribute song. Prince, inspired by the Vikings' victory over the Dallas Cowboys, wrote the song "Purple and Gold" in their honor.

It's a great song, with a bit of a regal quality to it, as well as a marching band feel that fits well for a sports song. I'm not a huge sports fan, but the Vikings are one team that I have a bit of an attachment to, as I went to college in Minnesota and used to sell concessions at the Metrodome to raise money for a club at my college.

I went to one of Prince's three shows he played in one night to promote his last album, and it's great to see the joy and excitement he still brings to his music several decades in. It was the best electric guitar I've ever heard live, and he also still knows how to put on a show.

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A stormy night in

I'm currently figuring out what I'm going to do this evening. I just received successive e-mails informing me that a) my gospel choir rehearsal is canceled due to the weather and b) my hiking group, which I normally go to when I don't go to choir, is canceled due to the weather.

I'm thinking that I have no earthly desire to go hiking in this weather (as I feel the water soaking through my socks from braving the elements to get lunch), so that's probably for the best. Backup plan: Enjoy singing vicariously (and singing along poorly at home) with American Idol.

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Tornado warnings

As we deal with weather reminiscent of 2012 and the Day After Tomorrow, including a tornado warning in Southern California, it reminded me of my time going to college in the upper Midwest at Saint Olaf College. I remember one tornado that came close to the school while I was there, and we were all sent to huddle in a reinforced hallway. We sang songs and made the most of it, but I didn't care for coming that close to Oz.

I loved my time in the Midwest, but worried at the time about dealing with such cold winters. Of course, I ended up moving to the home of different natural disasters with fires, earthquakes, mudslides and more.

Best of luck to everyone dealing with the intense weather. I'm off to go do more reporting on it; stay strong, everyone.






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Remembering Martin Luther King in music

I had the chance to celebrate the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. last night musically with the gospel choir I sing with, Hollywood Mass Choir, at our annual Martin Luther King tribute concert.

It reminded me of singing with my Seattle high school jazz choir at our annual Martin Luther King Day assemblies. Before I joined the choir, they used to perform "Shed A Little Light" by James Taylor every year.

Our school choirs would later start performing "MLK" by U2. It was fun to see the band play a snippet of this at their Rose Bowl concert at the end of October, which surprised me, since it was never a big hit.

Still, my personal favorite song about King is "Pride (In the Name of Love)," also by U2.

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New Incredible Hulk film better than last 2

I had the chance last night to see an advance screening of the new animated movie Planet Hulk, based on the Marvel Comics storyline. It was on the higher end of Saturday morning fare, though not as good as some other recent superhero animated movies like Superman/Batman: Public Enemies or Wonder Woman. Still, it was worlds better than either of the Hulk feature films (sorry, Ang Lee).

The movie is half space opera, half gladiator film. It utilizes the strengths of animation well, creating epic action sequences that would likely be cost prohibitive in a live-action film.

If you're interested in seeing Hulk smashing things, this movie delivers, along with some fun cameos from other heroes, including recent box office sensation Iron Man.

The screening also included a panel with some of the film's creators, as well as comic creator and television writer/producer Jeph Loeb (Lost, Heroes, Smallville). It was moderated by G4's Blair Butler, a true geek through and through who played to the comic loving audience well. Rick Wasserman, who did the voice of the Hulk, was also a funny, likable guy (despite his stereotypical actor scarf). Fun Fact: He's also the voice of AMC; he did a faux Mad Men promo during the panel.

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