The Month in Pop Entertainment: May 2013

See previews of this month’s biggest pop entertainment.

Every month brings us countless ways to be entertained, but how do we really know what the biggest releases and events are at the movies, on television, or in music? Well, this handy top ten list, complete with release dates, is here to let you know what’s out there. There’s something for everybody and a whole month of entertainment ahead.

The Great Gatsby (May 10)

This adaptation of the classic novel features an all-star cast in one of the most lavish sets Hollywood will dish up this year. Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire star as ridiculously wealthy friends in a highly stylized vision of 1920s New York.

Iron Man 3 (May 3)

The first one was better than you thought it would be. The sequel was a little disappointing, but the sarcastic robotic man returns for another chapter in the Marvel summer movies saga. In this installment, prepare for a cast of iron men (and Pepper Potts) in multiple supersuits.

Lady Antebellum Golden album (May 7)

Their past two albums reached platinum status and racked up plenty of awards, so the music industry is eagerly awaiting this release. Their current single, “Downtown”, has already hit the top of the country airplay charts, so look for this album to get a few nominations in the not-too-distant-future.

American Idol Season 12 Finale (May 15th & 16th)

Even though this season has brought in low ratings (blame the talented yet boring all-female top 5), the powerhouse spectacle is still capable of putting on one of the most star-studded and pleasantly surprising finales of the year. Rumor has it that this year’s winner will perform a self-written coronation song from her own upcoming album.

The Mentalist Season Finale (May 5th)

Who is Red John? We may get closer to solving one of TV’s biggest mysteries when Patrick Jane narrows his list down to seven suspects at this end of the fifth season. No matter what he says, I’ll still think its Van Pelt.

Star Trek: Into Darkness (May 17)

Trekkers will be camping outside of theatres once again for this sequel to the 2009 blockbuster, in which a mysterious new villain (Sherlock’s Benedict Cumberbatch) threatens the Starship Enterprise.

Billboard Music Awards (May 19th)

One Direction, Taylor Swift, Maroon 5, and fun. are among the nominees. Justin Bieber, Bruno Mars, and Christina Aguilera are among the performers. Prince receives the Icon award, and those of us at home will have to sit through a lot of Virgin mobile commercials in order to see it all.

Supernatural Season Finale (May 15)

Fans of this cult hit are super devoted; partially because of the show’s annual season-ending cliffhangers that are capable of surprising even their biggest fans. This year, the Winchesters attempt to rid the world of every demon and monster using a teenage prophet of God, helpful angels, and a lot of suffering. We only hope that the night kicks off with an awesome season recap set to Kansas’ “Carry on Wayward Son”. (But for now, here’s a recap of the first half of the season set to REO Speedwagon’s “Back on the Road Again”).

Liz & Dick on DVD (May 14)

A tabloid target stars as the ultimate tabloid target: and fails miserably. Still, for those of us who couldn’t see it on cable, Liz & Dick hits DVD shelves this month. See it for the sheer ridiculousness of Lindsay Lohan in a bad wig eventually trying to pretend to be an elderly Elizabeth Taylor.

98 Degrees 2.0 album (May 7)

During the 1990s/early 2000s boy band craze, both N’Syncers and members of the Black & Blue army found common ground with these former-Motown hitmakers. This marks their first new album in over a decade, and judging from the reaction they got on the Today show, has potential.

This book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Marcelino Truong launched his autobiographical account of growing up in Saigon during the Vietnam War with the acclaimed graphic novel Such a Lovely Little War: Saigon 1961-63, originally published in French in 2012 and in English translation in 2016. That book concluded with his family's permanent relocation to London, England, as the chaos and bloodshed back home intensified.

Now Truong continues the tale with Saigon Calling: London 1963-75 (originally published in French in 2015), which follows the experiences of his family after they seek refuge in Europe. It offers a poignant illustration of what life was like for a family of refugees from the war, and from the perspective of young children (granted, Truong's family were a privileged and upper class set of refugees, well-connected with South Vietnamese and European elites). While relatives and friends struggle to survive amid the bombs and street warfare of Vietnam, the displaced narrator and his siblings find their attention consumed by the latest fashion and music trends in London. The book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

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The World of Captain Beefheart: An Interview with Gary Lucas and Nona Hendryx

Gary Lucas and Nona Hendryx (photo © Michael DelSol courtesy of Howlin' Wuelf Media)

Guitarist and band leader Gary Lucas and veteran vocalist Nona Hendryx pay tribute to one of rock's originals in this interview with PopMatters.

From the opening bars of "Suction Prints", we knew we had entered The World of Captain Beefheart and that was exactly where we wanted to be. There it was, that unmistakable fast 'n bulbous sound, the sudden shifts of meter and tempo, the slithery and stinging slide guitar in tandem with propulsive bass, the polyrhythmic drumming giving the music a swing unlike any other rock band.

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From Haircut 100 to his own modern pop stylings, Nick Heyward is loving this new phase of his career, experimenting with genre with the giddy glee of a true pop music nerd.

In 1982, Nick Heyward was a major star in the UK.

As the leader of pop sensations Haircut 100, he found himself loved by every teenage girl in the land. It's easy to see why, as Haircut 100 were a group of chaps so wholesome, they could have stepped from the pages of Lisa Simpson's "Non-Threatening Boys" magazine. They resembled a Benetton knitwear advert and played a type of quirky, pop-funk that propelled them into every transistor radio in Great Britain.

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Acid house legends 808 State bring a psychedelic vibe to Berlin producer NHOAH's stunning track "Abstellgleis".

Berlin producer NHOAH's "Abstellgleis" is a lean and slinky song from his album West-Berlin in which he reduced his working instruments down to a modular synthesizer system with a few controllers and a computer. "Abstellgleis" works primarily with circular patterns that establish a trancey mood and gently grow and expand as the piece proceeds. It creates a great deal of movement and energy.

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Beechwood offers up a breezy slice of sweet pop in "Heroin Honey" from the upcoming album Songs From the Land of Nod.

At just under two minutes, Beechwood's "Heroin Honey" is a breezy slice of sweet pop that recalls the best moments of the Zombies and Beach Boys, adding elements of garage and light tinges of the psychedelic. The song is one of 10 (11 if you count a bonus CD cut) tracks on the group's upcoming album Songs From the Land of Nod out 26 January via Alive Natural Sound Records.

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