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Q&A: Dillon Francis on surprising collaborators and his pop-leaning new album

The mainstream rise of electronic dance music in recent years has led to an increasingly crowded space for artists. While DJs and producers come and go more frequently, Los Angeles native Dillon Francis has established himself as a mainstay. His ability to transform songs initially earned him a fanbase, but his musical risk-taking and infectious personality have kept him relevant.

He recently credited social media as the way he best reaches his growing number of fans.

“I definitely thought [Vine and Instragram] would help people understand who I was as a person; like that I love to have a lot of fun,” Francis said on the phone from Asheville, N.C., earlier this week. “I think people could notice that through my music but then they could really tell through all those videos. And that’s what it’s all about.”

Before headlining Rams Head Live on Saturday (which follows a set at Washington’s Echostage on Friday), the 27-year-old DJ and producer discussed his new album, his various alter...

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'American Horror Story' recap, 'Test of Strength'

It’s possible the real “test of strength” referenced in this week’s “American Horror Story: Freak Show” title is whether you can watch the last five minutes without covering your eyes.

So much for young love. At the Motts, Jimmy is taken upstairs to see Bette and Dot. Gloria and Dandy insist that the girls aren’t prisoners when they’re living in a fancy mansion eating ice cream. Jimmy says they’ve got to go, like, right now. Neither girl seems completely sold on this idea, until Dot realizes Dandy read her diary and knows about her secret plan to get surgery that will forever separate her from Bette. For her part, Bette chooses her sister, despite the fact that Dandy says he loves her, and claims that she’ll always choose Dot, no matter what.

Bette also tells Jimmy Dandy’s the one who really saved those kidnapped kids, a bit of information that makes Jimmy start wondering about the identity of the second killer clown he saw. He’s not sure it’s Dandy, but it’s obvious he’s wondering...

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At 100, the Baltimore Museum of Art reinvents itself for a younger generation

The Baltimore Museum of Art is going back to its future.

As the museum celebrates its 100th anniversary this weekend, it is committed to reinventing itself for a younger generation of edgy, curious, energetic museum-goers while remaining faithful to the mission that made it an important part of civic life to begin with.

The reopening of the 1929 entrance designed by architect John Russell Pope, with its portico roof supported by six Ionic columns, will signal the completion of the second and arguably most significant phase of a nearly five-year, $28 million renovation in which virtually every aspect of the museum has been rethought with the needs of current and future visitors in mind.

That means coming up with a new way to present of its American art collection and creating spaces that appeal to contemporary forms of art, such as videos and film. It means mounting exhibits that tackle social issues such as homelessness and immigration and opening up its gallery space to such dynamic...

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'Top Chef' recap, 'The First Thanksgiving'

Aaron’s finally gone! Here are a collection of feels: 

Keriann: “It’s like a breath of fresh air!”

Gregory: “That kid’s like such a pain in the ass.”

Dougie: “He was messy.”

Adam: “Time for him to go.”

I can’t remember the last time someone was so disliked on “Top Chef” by their peers. The other good thing is that we don’t have to watch yet another replay of Keriann and Aaron shouting at each other.

What we still get, though, is Katsuji continuously hamming it up. Guess since he’s based in Beverly Hills, he can be a comedian if this cooking thing doesn’t work out.

Adam is confident because he essentially played Aaron by watching him scallop noodle himself out of the competition, but there are still plenty of strong chefs left so he’s still very cautious.

The next morning we find out that Melissa is gay and her girlfriend has left a packet of love notes for her. How sweet. I’ll tell you one thing though, given Melissa’s performance so far, chances are she’s not going to need the whole...

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'Survivor' recap, 'Getting to Crunch Time'

It’s Night 21 at Huyopa after Tribal Council, and Reed is trying to put on a good face, but he’s reeling because he wasn’t expecting Josh to leave. Jon is feeling a little bit of remorse about leading Jon on, but still feels like he made the right decision by siding with Jeremy.

Keith is not so happy about it, and has no problem in talking about, and it seems like he’s pinning most of the blame on Missy. That’s good, Keith, focus on her because I’d like her gone. He even talks about pissing them off so much that they vote for him, but he can play his Idol and get whoever he wants out.

Reward Challenge time! They are battling on a shaky beam over a pit of mud. It’s Wes, Keith, Jon, Jaclyn and Missy on one team, and Natalie, Reed, Jeremy, Alec and Baylor on the other. It starts raining and the mud is getting insane. Wes and Reed are up first, and Reed wins the first point. Natalie and Jaclyn are up next, and though Jaclyn has a longer reach, she misjudges a push and is off first. ...

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Through honesty, Bleachers tries to get better

Do not be fooled by the cheery composition of “I Wanna Get Better,” the debut single from the New York City-based rock act Bleachers.

Underneath the stomping drums, major piano chords and gang of soaring vocals is singer/songwriter Jack Antonoff's attempt to confront long-stirring demons, all in one song. From an awful acid trip to his sister's unexpected death more than a decade ago, the Bleachers frontman distilled these negative, life-changing events into an anthemic and ultimately hopeful song about self-improvement.

The result was not only Bleachers' first No. 1 hit (Billboard's Alternative Songs chart), but also one of the best rock-oriented songs to hit mainstream radio in 2014. The reception to the song — a likely highlight when Bleachers headlines Baltimore Soundstage on Saturday — “means the world” to Antonoff.

“There's this idea that to have something become big or mainstream, you have to dumb it down, and I don't think that's true,” Antonoff said earlier this week from a...

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