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Star Apps: Phantogram

Electronic rock duo Phantogram is named after an optical illusion that makes 2D images appear 3D, but the talents of Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter are plain to see and hear. I chatted with Carter about the twosome's most recent album, "Voices," the meanings behind some of their most heartfelt lyrics, keeping their almost 20-year friendship alive, and his favorite apps.

On both of your albums, the name Lucy keeps coming up. Who's Lucy? Lucy is an imaginary character that we made up. When I was writing "When I'm Small," there was a … Read more

Star Apps: Dan Stevens

War is hell, and so are ungracious houseguests. That's what one unsuspecting family discovers when David, a soldier just back from combat (played by Dan Stevens), crashes at their home in "The Guest." I chatted with Dan Stevens, the British actor best known for playing attorney and would-be heir Matthew Crawley on "Downton Abbey," about his latest role, becoming an American heartthrob, and his favorite apps.

What was the appeal of playing this particular character? When I came here to the States, I was looking for different challenges and didn't quite know what form … Read more

Star Apps: 'Sixteen Candles'

"Sixteen Candles" has just turned 30. To mark this momentous event, actors Gedde Watanabe, Debbie Pollack, and Justin Henry are attending a special screening of the '80s cult classic today at San Francisco's Castro Theatre. I chatted with the trio about the film's legacy, working with director John Hughes, the scenes that you've never seen, and their favorite apps.

Gedde Watanabe (Long Duk Dong)

Did growing up somewhat alienated as an Asian-American in Utah inform your portrayal of foreign exchange student Long Duk Dong? Absolutely not. [Laughs] There was some of the alienation where I … Read more

Star Apps: Julie Newmar

When you're an actress as inimitable as Julie Newmar, of course you have a rose, a day lily, and an orchid named in your honor. In 1995 she also inspired (and made a cameo appearance in) "To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar." Best known for playing Catwoman on the "Batman" TV series, Newmar will appear as part of the California Independent Film Festival's screening of "To Wong Foo." I chatted with Julie Newmar about her most iconic roles, working with the late Robin Williams, her chemistry with Adam West, the … Read more

Star Apps: Five Finger Death Punch and Hellyeah

Five Finger Death Punch guitarist Zoltan Bathory and Hellyeah vocalist Chad Gray were outcasts before joining the metal scene. Today they're at the center of an ever-growing community of metal bands and fans. This fall they'll tour with Volbeat and Nothing More, starting September 16 in Salt Lake City.

What kind of statement are you making on this package tour? Zoltan Bathory: This is the thing about the heavy metal guys, that we're not going to go away. This is here to stay. And if things get difficult, we'll figure out how to do it anyway. … Read more

Star Apps: Circa Zero

Rob Giles was once a Police fan, mystified by the "Ghost in the Machine" album cover. Andy Summers was once a member of The Police. Today the two play together in Circa Zero. I chatted with Rob Giles and Andy Summers about their new album, "Circus Hero," The Police, and their favorite apps.

How have people responded to a new, post-Police Andy Summers project? Andy Summers: Everybody loves us.

Rob Giles: I thought the response was going to be more polarizing, that people were going to really like it or not, but the response was overwhelmingly … Read more

Star Apps: Armin van Buuren

Grammy-nominated Armin van Buuren is more than trance music's most respected DJ/producer. Through his radio show, A State of Trance, and his "A State of Trance Classics" album series, he keeps the genre alive by highlighting what's fresh and preserving its illustrious past. US fans can taste his trance at New York's Electric Zoo Festival on August 30 or at Las Vegas' Marquee Nightclub & Dayclub on August 31.

Tell us about your Electric Zoo Festival set. It depends on the current releases, and it'll be a mix of what the people expect … Read more

Star Apps: 3 Doors Down

In 3 Doors Down's 2002 mega-hit "Here Without You" -- the band's most listened-to single of all time on Spotify -- singer Brad Arnold laments the separation from his significant other. Currently on the four-month acoustic Songs From the Basement tour, Arnold is certainly missing his wife. I chatted with Arnold about the current tour, the new album, band member departures, how he handles extended separations from his wife, and his favorite apps.

What can you tell us about your acoustic show? I think the acoustic show is a great experience. We really don't approach … Read more

Star Apps: Jade Starling

If you were old enough to fall in love in 1987, then you remember Pretty Poison's No. 1 dance hit, "Catch Me (I'm Falling)." Now a new generation of club kids can fall in love with singer Jade Starling, who has just released her solo debut, "Captive." The EDM-inspired album reflects not only her dance-pop obsession, but also her interest in the struggles we all face. "There has to be love and heartbreak, because you can't have one without the other," she says. I chatted with Starling about her comeback record, … Read more

Star Apps: Jeff Bridges

Jeff Bridges may be an Oscar-winning actor and an accomplished musician, but he still gets performance anxiety every time he's forced to "deliver the goods." I chatted with Bridges about the counsel his mother gave him to combat this and the advice he's given his daughter, singer-songwriter Jessie Bridges, who's opening on his tour with the Abiders. We also talked about his upcoming sci-fi flick, "The Giver," as well as the one item that always travels with him.

What can audiences expect to see on your tour with The Abiders? You never know … Read more