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LEARNING DEMI: Every day, I pick up some new piece of information that proves useful or worthless given the perspective afforded by time. I don’t know if what I’ve learned about Demi Lovato—the young pop star scheduled to play House of Blues on July 14 ($36-$102)—will be useful in five years’ time, but nevertheless, here’s what I’ve learned. I know “Demi” is short for Demetria. I know she starred in two Disney Channel offerings, Camp Rock and Sonny With a Chance, and I imagine she was good in them because Disney hired her twice. I know she’s been in rehab for bulimia, which is awful business; I’m glad she’s moved past it. And I know she can sing beautifully, even if her instrument is shaped by recent annoying trends. (She’s got to lay off the glottal fry.) And I know I probably won’t see her perform, because her kind of pop doesn’t interest me. Still, it’s nice to learn all this, because you never know what’ll come up on bar trivia night.

ROOTS IN THE POOL: Used to be that “rootsy” was kind of a dirty word. It simply wasn’t cool to sound like The Band, the Grateful Dead or the Flying Burrito Brothers; punk swept all of that stuff off the table, and it took years of concerted effort by the likes of Uncle Tupelo to put it back. Now we’ve got bands such as the Austin, Texas, outfit Band of Heathens to mix up the rock, country and blues, and the fact that they’re doing it poolside at the hipper-than-thou Cosmopolitan on July 12 ($26) indicates how much cachet that rootsy sound has regained these past 20 years. Good to have it back.

NOW ON SALE: Fiona Apple performs at The Joint on Sept. 15 ($26-$91), in support of her new album The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do. And just like that, I’ve filled my column space. Thanks, Fiona Apple!

Suggested Next Read


Short Reviews


By Tribune Media Services

(R) ★★☆☆☆ Seth MacFarlane, co-writer/director/producer/and voice of Ted, offers this bully of a comedy. John (Mark Wahlberg) wishes upon a star for a friend. His teddy bear becomes a talking teddy bear, and the pair remain best pals and bong-devoted couch potatoes well into John’s arrested-development adulthood. The film concerns what John must do to keep his girlfriend (Mila Kunis), while keeping trash-talking, skank-chasing Ted around. Bits work, however it largely comes off as clever and lazy.