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Wednesday, March 13,2013

Cops, drugs and comedy

‘Super Troopers’ creators talk sequel and stand-up leading up to Connxtions shows

by Rich Tupica
Wednesday, Oct. 17 — Filmmakers/actors Steve Lemme and Kevin Heffernan of the Broken Lizard comedy group prefer to write about real life in their flicks. Sometimes, the reality is your friends have to quickly scarf a large bag of psychedelic mushrooms while being pulled over by the cops.
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Wednesday, March 13,2013

Good clean fun

Brian Regan brings his clean brand of comedy to the Wharton Center on Sunday

by Rich Tupica
Friday, Oct. 26 — Comedian Brian Regan may have started as a struggling club comic back in the early ‘80s, but like many other successful funnymen, he hustled hard. Soon enough, Regan moved on to late-night TV appearances and performing around 100 nights a year at large theaters across the map.
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Wednesday, March 13,2013

Wizards of winter

Trans-Siberian Orchestra rocks Breslin on Friday

by Rich Tupica
Thursday, Nov. 15 — When a major record label gives a progressive-rock fanatic an unlimited budget and total artistic control, a few things are certain: pyrotechnics, lasers and over the top light shows. Back in 1993, that was just the case for producer/songwriter Paul O'Neill, founder of Trans-Siberian Orchestra. After landing a record deal, his extravagant interpretation of prog-rock began to take shape. O’Neill, a 40-year veteran in the rock industry, has been an ardent follower of theatrical bands like Pink Floyd, The Who, Rush and Yes for decades, but he also loves classical music. And it’s not hard to tell.
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Wednesday, March 13,2013

New tunes and an old store

With new album on the horizon, Frontier Ruckus to play FBC anniversary bash Friday at the Loft

by Rich Tupica
Thursday, Nov. 29 — Playing over 1,000 gigs across the globe in the past five years hasn’t stopped Frontier Ruckus from recording a few acclaimed studio albums. And it appears their output isn’t slowing down: the Michigan band’s upcoming record, “The Eternity of Dimming,” fills two slabs of wax.
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Wednesday, March 13,2013

From Cuba, with jazz

Cuban timba musicians bring Grammy-nominated sound to Wharton Center tonight

by Rich Tupica
Thursday, Dec. 6 — Tiempo Libre’s latest album, “Secret Radio,” pays homage to the band members’ teen years — before they were nominated for three Grammy Awards, touring the world or performing with Joshua Bell on NBC’s Tonight Show.
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Wednesday, March 13,2013

Joshua Barton: Caught on tape

Lansing songwriter goes solo with new spacey country album

by Rich Tupica
Friday, Dec. 28 — Invoking psychedelic sounds with acoustic instruments while also tapping into classic country and gospel may seem like a daunting task for the average musician. But local songwriter Joshua Barton doesn’t seem to have a problem finding that assorted medium — maybe it’s because his musical idols range from Spacemen 3 to Johnny Cash.
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Wednesday, March 13,2013

Turn it down

A survey of Lansing's musical landscape

by Rich Tupica
The Plurals, one of Lansing's busiest indie bands, plays Wednesday at The Avenue Café. Opening the show are fellow local punks To Fear the Wolf and Honah Lee, a New Jersey-based power-pop-punk band.
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Wednesday, March 13,2013

The plaything's the thing

The wicked wit of Seth MacFarlane turns 'Ted' into a comedy with sharp claws

by James Sanford
“Ted” begins with a lonely young boy’s magical holiday wish for a special friend being granted. “It’s a Christmas miracle!” Mom declares as the child’s teddy bear comes to life. But don’t believe for a moment that “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane — who directed, produced, co-wrote and provided the voice for the title character — has suddenly turned sentimental and sweet-natured. The kid grows up to be John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg), a 35-year-old Bostonian stoner, and his best buddy, Ted, matures into a tyrant of a toy, a foul-mouthed, drug-craving, hooker-hiring ne’er-do-well; Winnie the Pooh would wince.
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Wednesday, March 13,2013

They shoot one-trick ponies, don’t they?

Sacha Baron Cohen wears out his welcome in record time in 'The Dictator'

by James Sanford
Perhaps you are old enough to remember the days when any “Saturday Night Live” sketch that got a few giggles suddenly became worthy of its own big-screen feature. Sure, “Wayne’s World” worked and “The Blues Brothers” long ago achieved cult classic status, but what about Al Franken’s “Stuart Saves His Family,” “Coneheads,” “Blues Brothers 2000,” Tim Meadows’ “The Ladies’ Man,” Molly Shannon’s “Superstar” and the almost unwatchable “It’s Pat: The Movie”? Talk about a lot of wasted money and wasted time.
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Wednesday, March 13,2013

From Havana with love

'Chico & Rita' is a stylish, jazzy animated romance

by James Sanford
Wednesday, May 16 — It's not just love at first sight when musician Chico catches a glimpse of sultry songbird Rita in “Chico & Rita”: It's love at first sound, too. In a dingy bar in late-1940s Havana, Rita saunters onto the stage, wearing a form-fitting, butterscotch-yellow dress and a Mona Lisa smile. Seconds after she launches into a scintillating rendition of “Besame Mucho,” Chico's heart goes into orbit.
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