From his years as the frontman of the funk-R&B group the Gap Band, to singing hooks for rappers like Snoop Dogg and Kanye West, to his solo career recording R&B hits in his airy tenor, Charlie Wilson has been all about music. He grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the son of a Pentecostal preacher and a music minister mother. Wilson spent his early years singing for his father’s congregation and formed the Gap Band with his brothers, Ronnie and Robert, as a teenager.
In the late 1970s and early 80s, the Gap Band took their signature funk and R&B sound and made chart-topping hits like “Burn Rubber on Me”, “Outstanding”, “You Dropped a Bomb on Me”, and “Party Train”. The band’s management was rocky in the mid 1980s, and Wilson’s life took a downturn. A few years later, he was addicted to drugs and living on the streets. But a love for music, a sense of pride and a caring counselor helped right the course, and he retooled his career into Grammy-nominated solo work.
Wilson talks to us about crafting the now-classic sounds of the Gap Band, encounters with Stevie Wonder and Sly Stone, and why he returned to music after years of isolation and addiction.
“In the past five years, David O. Russell has made two of the most successful films of his career, The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook. What made all the difference, he says, is that these are stories that were intensely familiar to him. His own family is similarly colorful to the family at the core of The Fighter, and Bradley Cooper’s character, Pat, in Silver Linings Playbook,was like a 35-year-old version of Russell’s 18-year-old son, who also suffers from bipolar disorder. Russell also shares thwarted plans for the film, which was originally penned for Vince Vaughn and Zooey Deschanel, and explains how he eventually got his dream cast (includingBradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro) to form the perfect dysfunctional family.”
This hour: imperfect, impolitic, infuriating… love.
A Jerusalem Love Story by Daniel Estrin (Vox Tablet, 2013) Every relationship has its obstacles, but this one between two men - a Palestinian and an Israeli - may have more than any couple can bear.
Other Halves by Dennis Funk (Shortcuts, Falling Tree Productions, BBC Radio 4, 2013) When you enter a marriage, you assume that you know the essentials of who your partner really is. Turns out, not always.
Unwedding by Rachel Simone James and Sharon Mashihi (Unfictional, KCRW, 2013) Claire and Finbloom got together in such a torrid, pyrotechnic kind-of-way, they decided they could break up with no less fanfare.
A Second Chance by Mira Burt-Wintonick and Jonathan Goldstein (Wiretap, CBC, 2013) A young couple’s relationship starts out as a source of pleasure, becomes a source of pain and eventually turns out to be a lifesaver.
Gillian Jacobs may never know what it’s like to play the ingenue. As an actress, she has an energy that’s hard to pin down, but it’s anything but naive. After a tough stint at Juilliard’s acting school, Jacobs pursued a career in film and television, often being cast in dark, gritty roles. However, in 2009 her career took a sudden lurch in the opposite direction when she was cast in a very different role.
You probably know her as Britta Perry, the confident and outspoken student opposite Joel McHale’s self-involved lawyer-turned-study group leader Jeff Winger on Community. Britta is exceptionally eager, mostly to the vexation of her peers who often voice their displeasure at her stances on social issues. Her friends often describe her as “the worst”, but she’s ever-confident in her own identity.
When Jacobs signed up for the role in Community, all she knew was that Joel McHale had been cast in it, but she soon realized that it would be a very unique and ambitious show.
In this extended conversation with Jacobs, we’ll talk about why she didn’t fit in at Juilliard, her big break on Community, and get a peek behind the scenes on a beloved but aggrieved network show.
Jacobs co-stars with Ken Marino in the new movie Bad Milo!, available now on VOD, and plays Britta on NBC’s Community. The show’s fifth season premieres in January.
On an average workday, runners training for a marathon reported sitting for more than 10 hours a day, raising provocative questions about the growing prevalence of sedentary behavior and its accompanying health risks.
[r] Tune in for a rare interview with the soul legend Bill Withers. He retired from the music industry in the mid 1980s and, with a few exceptions, has stayed out of the public eye for more than 20 years. He and Jesse will talk about why he enlisted in the Navy, the challenge of making his first record in his thirties, and why he ultimately retired from the music industry. Plus, Pitchfork and Grantland writer Ian Cohen will bring in a couple of his all-time favorite heavy records; Brad Tolinski will share the album that kicked off a new era of rock in the 70s, then Davy Rothbart from FOUND magazine offers up a couple of his best finds. And lastly, Jesse will tell you about the NewsRadio scene that makes him laugh every single time he watches it. Spoiler alert: it’s all Phil Hartman’s fault.
Making music — and not just listening to it — while exercising makes the exercise easier, a remarkable new experiment finds, suggesting that the human love of music may have evolved, in part, to ease physical effort.