Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

Conan O'Brien leaves late night, starts Twitter account

Long-time late night host/short-lived Tonight Show host Conan O'Brien is keeping his brand alive in the online sphere through the use of Twitter, which he started using last month after leaving NBC. Conan's been poking fun at the life of an out of work television host with tweets like "Hey gang! Look for me at the Oscars tonight. I'll be in the parking lot, wearing my prom tux and listening on the radio."

Wielding his power, he also picked one person to randomly follow Friday afternoon, Sarah Killen, who went from three followers to almost 19,000 in the wake of becoming Conan's chosen one. Conan announced the moment with the message "I've decided to follow someone at random. She likes peanut butter and gummy dinosaurs. Sarah Killen, your life is about to change."

Killen's riding her 15 minutes of fame, appearing on Larry King and MTV, getting a free computer and upping her Twitter production as she finds herself with a platform out of thin air. She also used the excitement of Conan fans for good, using her Twitter to raise money for charity.

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Singer/songwriter David Bazan plays Long Beach; $2.99 album on Amazon

Singer-songwriter David Bazan, hailing from my former homeland of Seattle, is doing a concert tonight in Long Beach. He recently released his first solo full-length album, Curse Your Branches, after previous being known as the mastermind of indie rock darling Pedro the Lion.

While with Pedro the Lion, he was part of the Christian indie rock world inhabited by artists like Sufjan Stevens and would play Christian rock festivals. However, in recent years he left behind Christianity and struggled with alcohol abuse, including getting drunk at one of those Christian rock festivals and getting kicked off the grounds.

Curse Your Branches is an introspective look at his relationship with his spirituality and the challenges he's faced in recent years. The opening track, "Hard To Be," takes a harsh look at the story of Adam and Eve. Check out this video of Bazan playing the song at a house show last December:

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Stan Lee & the Oscars; SNL presidents reunite

For your consideration... Mr. Stan Lee!

(While I still haven't met Stan Lee, perhaps my undying support shall aid in this quest.)

And, as long as we're talking Funny Or Die videos, it was quite the sight for a comedy fan like myself to see generations of "Saturday Night Live" presidential impersonators brought together in this video (with a special appearance by Jim Carrey pinch hitting as Reagan):

It made me miss the late, great Phil Hartman. His all-time classic appearance in the Clinton at McDonalds sketch:

(Warlords!)

(Via Superhero Hype)

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Comic-Con: San Diego no more?

As a huge comic book fan, I finally made the visit to geek mecca Comic-Con in beautiful San Diego last summer, along with 126,000 other fans. However, the buzz over the last year has been about whether this cultural phenomenon has finally outgrown its homeland, with the current contract running through 2012, leaving the convention on the open market for 2013 and beyond.

Other contenders being talked about include Los Angeles, Anaheim and Las Vegas. The event brings in tens of millions of dollars of spending, so it's a coveted gem for any city.

In order to keep the event in San Diego, local hotels are offering to double the dedicated hotel space from 7,000 to 14,000 rooms and offering 300,000 square feet of free meeting space from 2013 to 2015. A citizens task force has also approved expanding San Diego convention center, though that plan may not be put in action.

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American Idol & the butchering of Marvin Gaye's 'What's Going On'

Brief thoughts on last night's butchering of "What's Going On" by Mr. Jermaine Sellers:

Attention singers of Earth! Please, please, please, do not try to do Marvin Gaye. I once heard it said that you should never do Marvin Gaye at karaoke because, as good as you are, you ain't Marvin, and those words have never been truer than they were on last night's American Idol as Jermaine Sellers murdered Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On."

Jermaine's failure:

The judges' comments:

As Simon notes, this is one of the all time great songs, and you don't need to screw around so much with the arrangement. (Leave Marvin alone!)

Check out the greatness of the original:

Related story: 'Idol' judges give male semifinalists praise

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