Black ascends to director’s chair
When young, gay writer Dustin Lance Black snagged a Best Original Screenplay Oscar this year for "Milk," it was pretty much inevitable that he would find himself uttering that most Hollywood of sentences: "What I really want to do is direct."

And so, like many career-hot scribes before him, Black is ascending to the director’s chair of a big studio film with "What’s Wrong with Virginia." (It’s not his virgin outing as a filmmaker; he’s helmed a few indie flicks already.)

Liam Neeson and Jennifer Connelly are both attached to star in the drama, about which little has been revealed so far; presumably, it won’t get rolling until after Black reunites with "Milk" director Gus Van Sant on "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test."

"Virginia" is still in pre-production, so it probably won’t pop up in theaters until 2010 at the very earliest.

Green Day lashes out at Wal-Mart
Green Day has the most popular CD in the country, but you won’t be able to find it at your local Wal-Mart.

The band says the giant superstore chain refused to stock its latest CD, "21st Century Breakdown," because Wal-Mart wanted the album edited for language and content, and they refused.

"Wal-Mart’s become the biggest retail outlet in the country, but they won’t carry our record because they wanted us to censor it," bi frontman Billie Joe Armstrong said in a recent interview.

While Wal-Mart sells CDs from acts known for raunchy content, including Eminem’s latest, they offer customers the "clean" version of those CDs, which are edited for content that may be objectionable. But in Armstrong’s view, "There’s nothing dirty about our record."

"They want artists to censor their records in order to be carried in there," he said. "We just said no. We’ve never done it before.

"You feel like you’re in 1953 or something."

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 22, 2009.
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