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BACKSTAGE WITH MARIAN
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Story outtakes, celebrity confessions and the latest pop culture news in the Bay Area

About Me
I'm a pop music writer for the San Jose Mercury News. I cover pop, hip hop, punk, rock, dance, and ethnic - well, basically everything you can dance to.

My Articles

MY PICKS
CD: Common:"Be"
Music Video Eminem: featuring Triumph the Insult Comic Dog
Trailer: The Year of the Yao
TV: Harvey Birdman
Videogame: Fable

MERCURY REVIEWS
Art: The New Art of India
Bar: Boswell's
Book: Jill Scott
Club: Forum
DVD: Kinsey
Movie: Cinderella Man
Music: Sleater-Kinney
Restaurant: The Melting Pot
Theater:The Mambo Kings

SICK SITE
Earth and Sun Kiss

MY PLAYLIST

1. R. Kelly: "Trapped In The Closet"

2. Weezer: "Hold Me"

3. Bright Eyes: "First Day Of My Life"

4. Ringside: "Miss You" and "Criminal"

ENTERTAINMENT RESOURCES
  • Billboard Charts
  • Encyclopedia
  • iticket.com
  • Moviefone
  • Music Dictionary
  • MTV
  • Pollstar
  • tickets.com
  • Urban Dictionary
  • ticketmaster.com
  • VH1

  • BLOGROLL
  • Adisa Banjoko : San Jose's Bishop of Hip hop
  • Angry Asian Man: Asian American media watchdog
  • Berkeley Blogs
  • Black Electorate : Inside Cultural, Economic and Political industries
  • BLT's Parry
  • Crayone: the trials and tribulations of a graffiti artist
  • Dan Gillmor : Grassroots Journalism
  • Dat Phan : Last Comic Standing season 1 winner
  • East Bay Livin' : Ellen Lee's EB hunt
  • Davey D: Hip Hop Daily News
  • Fortt: black american gen x journalist musician multicultural christian technophile
  • Jeff Chang: fellow Asian hip hop writer
  • Joe Grimm : Ask the Recruiter
  • In Passing : Random Street Conversations
  • Pacific Standard: Bay Area hip-hop
  • Pop And Politics
  • Pop Licks : O-Dub, a cultural critic
  • Scape: San Jose graffiti artist
  • SiliconBeat: News about tech money and innovation
  • Wednesday, June 01, 2005

    Sean Penn, Naomi Campbell in San Francisco at the Mambo Kings

    Last night, I caught the opening night of "the Mambo Kings" musical.

    Sitting across from me in the next aisle was none other than Sean Penn and Naomi Campbell. I don't know why they were together but they were. Penn wore a smoky dark suit complete with a little goatee. And, Campbell wore a flowy black dress.

    I saw nothing that would make wife Robin Wright mad, but Campbell was drop-dead gorgeous. (Wow, Usher lost out.)

    Maybe the connection was that Penn worked with the one of the lead singers from the musical - Esai Morales (of NYPD Blue fame) starred in his first film with Sean Penn in "Bad Boys."

    The musical was OK. Karen d'Souza, the Mercury News theater critic has a full review out on this link - but her initial thoughts were that it was too sitcomy.

    Here are my gut thoughts coming out of the film:
    • The music was beautiful but the lyrics were a bit hokey. Although, the central song about Maria really warms your heart.
    • David Alan Grier subbed in for the part of mean music mogul that originally Billy Dee Williams (of Lando Calrissian from Star Wars fame) was supposed to play. The Mad TV alum was hard to take seriously, and I wasn't sure he was supposed to be fully evil, or crusty on the outside, and soft on the inside.
    • There was also an unnecessary scene where he argues with his wayward assistant, and on the side two female assistants start to get it on.
    • The sets were amazing. The neon lights transport you to some balmy club.
    • Also the dancing was breathtaking - they move so fast, they take your eyes for a spin.
    As for tonight, ch-check it out:

    A Celebration of Revolutionary Music, Art, Culture, & Vendors
    WHERE: Studio Z, 314 11th St., SF
    WHEN: 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. tonight
    TIX: 21+ $5 before 10 p.m., $7 after
    WHY: Artists include - reMo'Conscious, Orukusaki, and the artists from Colored Ink Theater Group, plus there will be a vegan dessert bar.

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    Photo of Marian Liu by Stephanie Grace Lim, Mercury News
    You can e-mail me at mliu@mercurynews.com.