- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Dixie Chicks released a new album this week and made it known in no uncertain terms that they’re not sorry about what they call “The Incident”: singer Natalie Maines’ dissing of President Bush at a 2003 London concert. “I’d rather have a small following of really cool people who get it … than people that have us in their five-disc changer with Reba McEntire and Toby Keith,” Dixie Chick fiddler Martie Maguire told Time magazine. “We don’t want those kinds of fans. They limit what you can do.” This is what’s known in technical terms as an audience kiss-off, which, depending on how it turns out, can be a career-killer or essential turning point.

Dylan goes electric — When Bob Dylan plugged in at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, he heard a chorus of hisses from purist-minded fans. “Judas,” cried one. Responded Mr. Dylan before cranking out “Like a Rolling Stone”: “I don’t believe you. You’re a liar.”

Metallica sells out — Or: Metallica cuts off their hair and attempts a ‘90s alt-rock reinvention. Or: Metallica sues Napster and treats its audience like criminals.

Liz Phair turns pop-tart — Poof went the sexually frank, lo-fi indie-rock gems of Miss Phair’s 1993 debut “Exile in Guyville.” In their place in 2003 came a self-titled album that seemed to many fans a desperate attempt to capture a mainstream adult-contemporary audience.

Clint Eastwood renounces violence — He famously pointed a large handgun in our faces and asked us to “make his day,” finding fame and riches along the way. But this self-styled “Enforcer” said goodbye to all that with movies like his revisionist Western “Unforgiven.” And critics, who once dismissed him as a B-movie fascist, now can’t forgive him enough.

Woody Allen gets serious — The comic auteur followed his triumphant “Annie Hall” with the somber, Bergmanesque “Interiors” (in which he did not appear as an actor) and the self-important “Stardust Memories,” a surreal autobiographical homage to Italian director Federico Fellini that seemed to mock fans of his earlier comedies.

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