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Former Blues Clues Star Steve Burns Is Making Trippy, Kid-Friendly Music

Actor/musician Steve Burns has led a truly interesting life: After spending seven years solving blue puppy-related mysteries in a house filled with talking furniture on Blues Clues, he left the hit show to begin building a music career with the help of psychedelic rock band The Flaming Lips. Producer Dave Fridmann and band member Steven Drozd helped Burns create his 2003 debut album, Songs for Dustmites, then re-teamed for his sophomore effort, 2009's Deep Sea Recovery Efforts. Now Burns and Drozd have formed a musical duo called STEVENSTEVEN and are gearing up to put out their debut LP.

The music clearly has heavy influences from The Flaming Lips, but it also draws from a number of other musicians and characters. Among their extensive list of influences, the duo cites: “Wondering, Burt, Black Sabbath, Cephalopods, Grover, Toy Commercials From The 1970s, Harry Nilsson, Dr. Seuss, Science, Bill Conti, Queen, Futzees, Rocky Balboa, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, True Love, Neil Diamond, The Zoo, Holly Hobbie, Fairy Tales, David Bowie, and Mister Rogers.”

The new album, called FOREVERYWHERE, will drop on February 24 and feature themes ranging from unicorn romance to pooping. The music is meant to be enjoyed by all ages; their music video for "The Unicorn And Princess Rainbow" is filled with rainbows, space, and an all-kid backing band.

The family-friendly musical duo will be trying out some of their songs live February 26 at the Brooklyn Bowl in New York. The all-ages event will kick off in the middle of the day, with doors opening at 11 a.m. and the music starting at 1 p.m.

[h/t Brooklyn Vegan]

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fun
New Tolkien-Themed Botany Book Describes the Plants of Middle-Earth
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While reading The Lord of the Rings saga, it's hard not to notice J.R.R. Tolkien’s clear love of nature. The books are replete with descriptions of lush foliage, rolling prairies, and coniferous forests. A new botany book builds on that knowledge. Entertainment Weekly reports that Flora of Middle-Earth: Plants of J.R.R. Tolkien's Legendarium provides fantasy-loving naturalists with a round-up of plants that grow in Middle-earth.

Written by University of Florida botanist Walter Judd, the book explores the ecology, etymology, and importance of over 160 plants. Many are either real—coffee, barley, wheat, etc.—or based on real-life species. (For example, pipe-weed may be tobacco, and mallorns are large trees similar to beech trees.)

Using his botany background, Judd explores why Tolkien may have felt compelled to include each in his fantasy world. His analyses are paired with woodcut-style drawings by artist Graham Judd, which depict Middle-earth's flowers, vegetables, fruits, herbs, and shrubs in their "natural" environments.

Check out some plant illustrations from Flora of Middle-Earth below:

[h/t Entertainment Weekly]

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Pop Culture
Prince Is Getting His Own Pantone Color: Love Symbol #2
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Prince was music royalty, so it only makes sense that purple—the hue traditionally favored by monarchs—was his signature color. To memorialize the late singer/songwriter, who died in April 2016, the Pantone Color Institute and the Prince Estate have collaborated on a custom shade of dark purple to represent the High Priest of Pop.

Pantone

Called Love Symbol #2, "the color was inspired by Prince’s custom-made Yamaha piano, which was originally scheduled to go on tour with the performer before his untimely passing at the age of 57," Pantone stated in a press release. "The color pays tribute to Prince’s indelible mark on music, art, fashion, and culture."

Thanks to the 1984 film Purple Rain and its Oscar-winning music, Prince has long been associated with royal hue. Now, “while the spectrum of the color purple will still be used in respect to the 'Purple One,' Love Symbol #2 will be the official color across the brand he left behind,” according to Pantone.

We couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate the Funky One’s flamboyant legacy.

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