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Star Apps: 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes'

"Dawn of the Planet of the Apes," set a decade after humanity and its power supply are nearly decimated, portrays the difficulty of rebuilding civilization without software. How would one navigate without Google Maps, see at night without Flashlight, or speak to intelligent life without FaceTime? Virtual city building via Minecraft or Civilization is also off the menu. But what if there was a way to get power from a hydroelectric dam? The only obstacle is a nation of spiteful super apes. That's the predicament for surviving humans in "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.&… Read more

Star Apps: Aerosmith

Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Aerosmith keep the rock flag flying high. This month the band kicks off the Let Rock Rule tour, with openers Slash and Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators. I chatted with Aerosmith bassist Tom Hamilton about the tour, the stories behind his most famous contributions, surviving cancer, the importance of staying up-to-date on Twitter and Logic X.

What can you tell us about the Let Rock Rule tour? Having Slash with us has created a synergy where instead of two rock bands, it's gonna be something bigger than that. We feel that it's … Read more

Star Apps: Kiss

Kiss has never been known for its humility. But there's no need for false modesty when you're one of the biggest rock bands of all time. Kiss has released 44 albums and sold 100 million of them over a 40-year career, and the band has an army of fans like no other. To mark its ruby anniversary, Kiss will hit the road with Def Leppard for a 40-plus-city tour that promises to be bigger and better than any Kiss concert before. I chatted with singer Paul Stanley about the summer tour, being inducted into the Rock and Roll … Read more

Star Apps: Frameline 38

Gay adoption, helicopter moms, and a pioneering gay athlete are just three of the stories at this year's Frameline 38: San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival, taking place June 19-29. Actor Alec Mapa ("Switched at Birth," "Desperate Housewives," and "Ugly Betty") talked to me about what he wants gays and allies to take away from his new documentary, "Baby Daddy." I also spoke with songwriter-actress Lisa Loeb, singer of "Stay (I Missed You)," about co-starring in the hilarious coming-of-age comedy, "Helicopter Mom." And four-time Olympic medalist Greg LouganisRead more

Star Apps: 'How to Train Your Dragon 2'

From "Beowulf" to "The Hobbit," men and dragons just can't seem to get along. This is certainly the case in 2010's "How to Train Your Dragon," until a young Viking dragon hunter, Hiccup, has a change of heart and eventually brings peace to warring factions. Four years later, when this amity is threatened, Hiccup (Jay Baruchel), his girlfriend Astrid (America Ferrera), and their entire island of Berk must go to war to preserve the peace in "How to Train Your Dragon 2." I chatted with Jay Baruchel and America Ferrera … Read more

Star Apps: Karmin

A little bit of rap, a little bit of R&B, and a lot of rock 'n' roll attitude. These are the genres that platinum-selling duo Karmin is made of. Currently promoting their debut full-length, "Pulses," on tour, Karmin's Amy Heidemann and Nick Noonan talked with me about their video (featuring George Takei) going viral, the ups and downs of fame, how they balance work with a relationship, and their favorite apps.

You had George Takei narrate your new video. How did that happen? Nick: We don't really know. He said yes, so we're … Read more

Star Apps: Berlin's Terri Nunn

Seminal new-wave band Berlin has returned to a more electronic sound on its latest release, "Animal," which the band is currently supporting on tour. Part '80s synthpop, part contemporary EDM, the record should appeal to nostalgia seekers and current club kids alike. The racy title track is as sultry as band classics "Sex (I'm a...)" and "Pleasure Victim." Vocalist Terri Nunn talks about the move back to electronica; the successes and failures of her platinum-selling, Oscar-winning band (for "Take My Breath Away" from "Top Gun"); her sex symbol status … Read more

Star Apps: Semi Precious Weapons

It's been four long years since Semi Precious Weapons released "You Love You" (2010), the follow-up to its debut, "We Love You" (2008). The LA-based quartet is best known for supporting artists such as Lady Gaga and Kesha, and now it's back with "Aviation," whose kick-off single, "Aviation High," is in heavy rotation on alternative rock radio. The 12-track disc, produced by Grammy-winning, multiplatinum producer Tricky Stewart (Beyoncé, Rihanna, Frank Ocean) finds the band flying from its rock roots into more R&B and pop territory. Semi Precious … Read more

Star Apps: Adult

Adult first exploded onto the electronic scene back in 2002 with the single "Contagious" from debut album "Resuscitation." Last year's "The Way Things Fall" demonstrates that the electro-punk duo has only improved with age. Adult will soon be mixing tracks from this latest LP into a career-spanning set at Moogfest 2014 (April 23-27).

What can you tell us about your upcoming Moogfest performance? We use the same principles for songwriting that we use for playing live. We try to write songs we would like to hear, and we try to put together a … Read more

Star Apps: Joe Satriani

Joe Satriani first gained attention as a six-string teacher in the late '70s, but that was only a stepping stone to platinum records and 15 Grammy nominations. "When I moved from New York to Berkeley, I was spending way too much time in this guitar store playing everything," Satriani says. "The owner said, 'You're not just going to sit here and play these guitars all day long. How about you give lessons?' I said, 'Oh, I don't want to do that again,' but he talked me into it. It was during that time when Kirk … Read more