HP and Arjan Writes Present Special Preview of Ellie Goulding’s New Album in New York

Last night at Manhattan’s posh Hotel on Rivington penthouse suite, HP and blogger Arjan Writes presented a special preview of “Halcyon,” the new album by British pop sensation Ellie Goulding. Best known in the United States for her monster hit, “Lights,” Goulding has gone on to great success stateside, appearing on “The Late Show with David Letterman” and “Saturday Night Live,” as well as a special guest appearance at the White House last December, where she sang Christmas carols onstage with Barack Obama. For all of her enormous success in the last few years, though, Goulding is a very humble, down-to-earth and endearing personality.

The evening began with a bit of background on Goulding, who grew up in the small town of Hereford and got heavily into music early on. “My mum was cool with music,” she says. “She would buy every new thing that was out. We really had no money, but whatever we did have, she’d spend it on CDs and tapes.” Idolizing singers like Bjork, Joni Mitchell, Beyonce and Stevie Nicks, Goulding says she quit college because “something was pushing me into music.” Elaborating on what that something is, she also says, “Having people come together for the same cause is really important. The fact that I can do that with shows is really awesome.”

Delving into “Halcyon,” we heard samples of a few tracks, including the clearly Bjork-influenced “My Blood,” which shares thematic water imagery with other songs on the album. Goulding says, “I have a fascination with the ocean, being lost at sea. I kind of want to be a mermaid.” The title track, “Halcyon,” addresses another theme of the album in its plaintive chorus: “When it’s just us, you show me what it feels like to be lonely, you show me what it feels like to be lost.” “I write songs out of being alone,” Goulding says. “I’m around people all the time, but there’s a theme of loneliness on this album.”

That is not to say the album is relentlessly downbeat or somber, however, as Goulding is quick to point out that “I like making things that give people hope, I suppose, in the least cheesy way possible.” Ellie Goulding’s career certainly seems to show a lot of hope, with unreleased collaborations with the likes of Skrillex and Swedish House Mafia possibly on the way “in the next couple of years,” proving her mantra that anything could happen.

  

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The Light from the TV Shows: A Chat with Chris Elliott (“Eagleheart”)

Chris Elliott has comedy in his genes, courtesy of his father, Bob Elliott (of the legendary comedy team Bob & Ray), and he’s passed his abilities on to the next generation, as his daughter Abby Elliott proves week after week on “Saturday Night Live,” but, geez, enough about his dad and kid already. Surely it’s time to shine the spotlight solely on Chris Elliott himself, who first won our hearts with his decidedly unique characters on “Late Night with David Letterman,” completely blew the minds of a generation of moviegoers with his film “Cabin Boy,” and has since gone on to appear in everything from “Manhunter” to “Everybody Loves Raymond.” On April 12, his current endeavor – Adult Swim’s “Eagleheart” – returns for its second season, just over a week after the DVD release of Season One, which hit stores on Tuesday. Bullz-Eye chatted with him…okay, fine, we geeked out…about the more eccentric side of his comedy, including his seminal TV series “Get A Life,” which, as you may have read elsewhere first (although it came from this interview), is coming to DVD in a complete-series set at long last.

Bullz-Eye: First off, let me just tell you what a pleasure it is to talk to you. I’ve been a fan for many years.

Chris Elliott: Oh, well, thank you. I just don’t hear that enough. [Laughs.]

BE: In my case, it’s no exaggeration: when I was in high school, I sent off for tickets for “Late Night with David Letterman.” Granted, I had graduated by the time I actually got them, but, hey, at least I got them.

CE: Oh, my gosh. That’s pretty funny. So did you actually wait four years for tickets?

BE: No, but it was more than a year: I sent them off during my senior year, and it was well after graduation when they finally arrived.

CE: Wow, that’s pretty amazing. But it proves that you were a hardcore fan. Do you remember who was on the show when you went?

BE: Absolutely: it was Jane Pauley and Bruno Kirby. I also remember that they did Shoe Removal Races that night, with a podiatrist squaring off against a shoe salesman.

CE: Ah, yes, that was an excellent episode. [Laughs.]

BE: You were actually just on Letterman’s show a few nights ago. It sounded like you may have taken a bit of flour into your lungs.

CE: [Laughs.] I started to smell like cookies after I was under the lights for a little while. But I thought it came off all right. It’s always fun to go back there, and I hate coming back on there as myself in any form. This interview is okay because I can’t see you. [Laughs.] But I don’t like coming on and just talking as myself, so I always come on with something.

BE: The “Downton Abbey” thing was great, too.

CE: Yeah, I thought that came out great.

BE: So let’s talk “Eagleheart.” One of the most surprising things about the series, at least to me, is that you don’t actually get a writing credit on the show. Not that you don’t have some input, given that you’re a consulting producer, but…

CE: I’d say these guys have my voice down. I knew that when I met with them. They were huge fans of mine, and, honestly, I didn’t want the extra work. [Laughs.] And at the same time, y’know, they changed the pilot quite a bit to suit me, and what I do – and Adam Resnick does this, also – is sort of take a pass at the scripts when they’re done with them and change a couple of jokes here and there, and if something’s not quite in my voice, I just kind of paraphrase what I would be saying, and that sort of thing. I’m sort of at the point in my career where writers that are working in the business sort of grew up knowing about me. At least the ones that are fans of mine, anyway. And they’re really capable of writing for me. It wasn’t always that case. Early on in my career, it was pretty much Adam and me just trying to establish this voice.

BE: Of course, it makes me wonder if people sometimes come to you with something utterly off the wall, saying, “Well, ‘Cabin Boy’ was so nuts that I figured you’d be into this.’

CE: Yeah, I think I get that a lot. It’s interesting: some people put anything weird in the “weird” category and think, “Oh, Chris’ll do that because it’s so weird.” But you’re right. Certain people, like yourself, get why certain things are funny-weird as opposed to just being strange. That’s a different breed. I think I do get lumped in a lot with “he’s just off the wall, he’s crazy.”

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The Man Who Would Be Edgar Pudwacker: Matt Damon’s 15 Funniest Appearances

On March 12th, Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass will be together again in theaters for their latest action thriller, “Green Zone,” a film set in the chaotic early days of the Iraqi War when no one could be trusted and every decision could detonate unforeseen consequences. Damon and Greengrass have clearly proven that they’ve got chemistry, what with their work together on “The Bourne Supremacy” and “The Bourne Ultimatum,” and we’re obviously looking forward to checking it out, but…well, here’s the thing: Damon’s a great action hero, but he can be pretty hilarious, too, and “Green Zone” doesn’t exactly look like what you’d call a laff riot.

To help cleanse your palate either before or after you’ve seen the film, however, we’ve compiled 15 of our favorite occasions when Matt Damon made with the funny. Your personal mileage may vary, but we’re guessing that, at the very least, you’ll get more laughs out of these clips than you will from “Green Zone.”

(Plus, don’t forget to head over to our “Green Zone” contest, where we’re giving away an Xbox 360!)

1. Glory Daze (1996): Okay, we’ll be honest with you: Damon’s barely in this film. It’s really a vehicle for his longtime buddy, Ben Affleck, who sports some seriously douche-tastic facial hair throughout the film. Although the remarkable number of recognizable faces to be found within the cast make it worth checking out (Sam Rockwell, Alyssa Milano, Matthew McConaughey, John Rhys-Davies, Kristin Bauer, French Stewart, Brendan Fraser, Leah Remini, Meredith Salinger, Mary Woronov, and Spaulding Gray all make appearances), the predominant reason we’ve included “Glory Daze” – which is, for the record, explores the hesitation all college graduates experience before entering the real world – is because no matter how many films he may eventually have to his credit, Matt Damon should never be allowed to escape the fact that, even though it was only for a few fleeting moments, he once played a character named Edward Pudwacker.

2. Dogma (1999): Kevin Smith movies aren’t generally where one goes to find eyebrow-raising theological discourse, but there are moments within this epic comedy that do indeed inspire such a reaction. Here, Damon – playing a fallen angel named Loki – proceeds to take a leisurely stroll through an airport and, in one brief conversation, casually destroy everything this poor nun has ever believed in. Why? “I just love to fuck with the clergy,” he says. “I love to keep those guys on their toes.”

3. Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001): It’s not quite on the level of Buck Henry pitching a sequel to “The Graduate,” but watching Gus Van Sant counting his money as he makes “Good Will Hunting 2: Hunting Season” is still pretty funny.

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