This Week in Pop Culture Roundup (Nov. 12, 2011)

Maybe this week you were distracted with an overload of stories about Herman Cain’s sexual harassment accusers, concerns about whether Justin Bieber is going to be a father, or the firing of Penn State Coach Joe Paterno. If you fall behind on the latest news you risk embarrassing yourself like Ashton Kutcher did. So check out these links to some of the stories you might have missed.

Music

Rapper Heavy D passed away. RIP.

NPR will let you listen to REM’s new 2-CD set, “Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage.”

Taylor Swift won Entertainer of the Year at the Country Music Association Awards.

Lady Gaga won four awards at last Sunday’s MTV European Music Awards show. And was that streaker a planned part of show?

Decemberists frontman Colin Meloy and his sister Maile Meloy each have released new young-adult novels.

Singer Andy Williams revealed he has bladder cancer.

Wednesday night, Bruce Springsteen performed at the 5th Annual Stand Up for Heroes show. Watch videos of his performance on Blogness.

A Cheap Trick museum wants you to want it.

This “Desert Island Disc” discussion reminded us of Willie Nelson’s overlooked concept album Yesterday’s Wine. (via @grayflannelsuit)

Whatever gets the tooth fairy though the night: John Lennon’s tooth sold for more than $31,000.

New remasters from Pink Floyd were released and include alternate version of “Wish You Were Here.”

Movies

The new live-action Snow White will have 8 dwarves and many changes.

Snow White and the Huntsman will be released on June 1, 2012, but watch the trailer now. This ain’t your Disney version of Snow White.

Director Werner Herzog discussed his new film, Into the Abyss: A Tale of Death, A Tale of Life.

Seven years after the release of the excellent film Sideways director Alexander Payne released his follow-up film, The Descendants. I hear Oscar buzzing. . . .

Slate reconsidered Blue Velvet 25 years after the film’s release.

For Veterans Day, the Los Angeles Times chose the best war films from American cinema for each war.

The “Atlas Shrugged, Part 1″ producer is planning Part 2 despite the poor box office for the first movie.

Television
Piers Morgan quit “America’s Got Talent” to focus on another talent show: the 2012 presidential election. In related news, Howard Stern might join “America’s Got Talent.”

The producer of next year’s Oscar telecast, Brett Ratner, stepped down after making a stupid gay slur. After Ratner’s announcement, the Oscar host, Eddie Murphy, announced he would no longer host the show, apparently because he had only agreed to do the show because he had worked with Ratner on Tower Heist. Vegas just announced that the payout on bets for “Eddie Murphy wins an Oscar in the next decade” went up 1000%.

Regis Philbin’s last week on Live! with Regis and Kelly will include guests Kathie Lee Gifford, David Letterman and Tony Bennett.

13-year-old “X Factor” singer Rachel Crow started out life in a crack house before she was adopted. Although I had been favoring Josh Krajcik to win, Crow’s performance this week was probably the best of the group.

Other News
‘Family Circus’ creator Bil Keane died at age 89.

Slate had an interesting discussion of “The New Classics,” enduring books, films, ideas, etc. since 2000.

“This is Nixon unplugged“is how Historian Stanley Kutler described new recordings of the former president available online for the first time, including Nixon’s grand jury testimony.

In honor of Joe Frazier, who passed away, Life magazine presented a slideshow of never-seen photos from “The Fight of the Century” of Ali vs. Frazier in 1971

Two new biographies about Charles Dickens are out. In related news, I have had a two-volume Dickens biography on my shelf for more than a decade that I have yet to read. Now, I do not know where to start. Maybe I will watch a movie. . .

What was your favorite pop culture story this week? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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