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Updated:  April 14, 2005

The time has finally come - yes, my birthday.  I'm between shock and exhilaration - hence there is hope - check out the special offer from an amazing spa below - Laser Rejuvenation Clinic.  I had no idea that life’s little imperfections can now quickly be a thing of the past.  
While I was conducting a special interview with
Andre 3000, Outkast was scoring on Time's Most Influential People List.  Have a read and see what this eclectic, multi-talented artist has to say.  And I'm not the only one scoring some big interviews - Toronto's Adam Gonshor of andPOP talks to P. Diddy one on one last week - see below for the live interview. 

ReelWorld Film Festival kicked off on Wednesday night at Paramount with the showing of The Salon, starring Vivica A. Fox.  See photos in my PHOTO GALLERY.  And check out one of the many films being showcased in the festival under
FILM NEWS Sometimes in April. 

Check out the rest of the entertainment news below - MUSIC NEWS, FILM NEWS, TV NEWS, and OTHER NEWS!  Have a read and a scroll!  This newsletter is designed to give you some updated entertainment-related news and provide you with our upcoming event listings.   Welcome to those who are new members.  Want your events listed by date?  Check out EVENTS






United Way JAZZ JAM - Friday, April 22, 2005

Source:  United Way of Greater Toronto

An evening of smooth jazz from United Way’s African Canadian Committee to the jazz lovers of Toronto with Molly Johnson, Liberty Silver and Eddie Bullen.  Join Toronto’s own, internationally acclaimed jazz all-stars in a rare gathering right here at home. Molly Johnson, Liberty Silver and Eddie Bullen donate their award-winning talent to benefit United Way.

All proceeds go to United Way of Greater Toronto.

FRIDAY, APRIL 22, 2005
United Way JAZZ JAM
George Weston Recital Hall
Toronto Centre for the Arts
5040 Yonge St. (just north of Sheppard)
8:00 pm
Tickets - $55 or $40 Contact Ticketmaster at 416-870-8000 or

For more information, please contact Joy Bullen at 416-777-1444 ext 387 or









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Andre Benjamin:  King of Cool

This day was going to be a special day. I was given the opportunity to sit down with Andre Benjamin (aka Andre 3000).  I was thrilled to learn that Andre is a warm, articulate individual – not to mention dapper.  Andre was in full Andre regalia with his straw hat and plaid sweater, without an entourage of any sort in sight.  This mega-talented and diverse artist glided into his chosen meeting spot, Cabaret, a vintage clothing store where he shops in Toronto – coincidentally, directly across from Irie Food Joint – which is where we conducted this much-anticipated interview.  In his soft and lilting Atlanta accent, Andre spoke about Toronto, the upcoming film, Four Brothers, hip hop and Outkast’s latest project.


So many people are psyched that you’re in Toronto.  New fans and old skoolers that have followed you for a long time.  Are you enjoying the city and have you had the chance to get out and get a feel for our culture?


I love Toronto.  The people are really cool.  They’ve been really great to us while we’ve been here.  Because it’s been cold for the most part, I haven’t got out a lot but the few times I did get out, it was fun.  I love the shops, the little boutiques and haberdasheries around town.  I’ll be back for sure but I want to come back when it’s a lot warmer and I want to come back when it’s changing from summer to fall.  I heard the fall time is beautiful 


What has stood out for you the most since you’ve been here – that perhaps you were surprised to learn?


Really more than one individual thing I guess.  The people in Toronto.  I love place where it’s a mix of different cultures in one place.  And in Toronto, you have that. 


There’s a lot of talent in our city – both musically and the other arts.  Have you come across any Canadian actors on the set that you feel stood out to you? 


This film (Four Brothers) is an American film so most of the cast were American.  A lot of [Canadian actors] do theatre and stage.  They’d invite me to come by and see their stage plays and stuff to see them really get down. 


What challenges you the most in acting?


I think the challenge is actually becoming another person.  That’s the challenge that I love – that’s why I really do it.  Directors and producers would call and ask me to come out for auditions and when I started reading scripts, it was just great.  And I said, ‘let me try this out’. 


What made you choose this film?  Was it the role in particular or the director, John Singleton? 


With Four Brothers, it was a combination of things.  It was John Singleton – he actually called me first and asked me about being in the film.  He had sent the script and I thought it was a great script.  I didn’t know if I wanted to play the character at first then he assured me that Jeremiah (that’s the character I play) was not going to be a one-dimensional type character.  I thought that was cool.


Is he the strongest of the four brothers? 


It’s four brothers and we all grew up together.  We were all knuckleheads as children.  My character, Jeremiah, was the only one that stayed back in Detroit with our Mom and kind of made something of himself.  My other brothers were all out wilding and doing their own thing.  I have a family, I have two girls and a wife so I’m pretty much the more calm one – I guess you could say that.  When our Mom gets killed, all the brothers come back into town.  It’s myself, Mark Wahlberg, Tyrese Gibson and Garret Hedlund.  It’s strange.  People are going to wonder how are you all brothers?  Two Black guys and two White guys.  What happened is that we were all adopted when we were kids.  And someone killed our Mom and we have to go and find out who did it. 


That’s a great story.  Are you excited about it?  It sounds as though there’s been camaraderie on the set – that there’s a healthy vibe there. 


Yes.  I’m an only child so I really don’t know what it’s like to have brothers but on the set we actually get along like we’re really brothers and we start to take on the characteristics of our character in the movie.  You know, Mark Wahlberg, he’s supposed to be the oldest brother and he actually acts that way.  He has the most seniority in the film and we look up to him.  We see his professionalism.  He tells us about him making that transition.  It’s funny because myself, Tyrese and Mark, we all come from a music background and then have gotten into film.  So, he’s pretty sensitive to that – understanding and talking to us and letting us know. 


I think it’s an excellent casting choice. 


Thank you.  (smiles)


Making a transition into speaking about music, I know that you’ve done some work with Esthero here.  Do you know any other Canadian artists?


I remember a couple of years ago, there was this guy that had skills.  Kardinal. 


Do you notice any difference in the Canadian hip hop? 


No, not really.  Honestly, I don’t know a song by Kardinal but I just remember watching a video and listening to him rhyme and saying ‘Hey, that guy has skills’


Not being a hip hop head at all, I feel that hip hop started out to vent and elevate consciousness and awareness and I feel that maybe it’s taken another turn.  The question is, do you feel that it’s taken another turn?


Yes, for sure.  But I think a lot of people fail to realize that hip hop started – people want to say that it started as a conscious thing but it really started off as kids in a basement, bullshitting, having fun.  Not really talking about nothing – just rhyming.  Out of bullshit, they started to say what was going on around but it was still rhyming and having fun.  , I think that it went more mainstream when it’s not so threatening.  Hip hop did get a lot of attention in the 80’s when groups started being really serious and vulgar.  You had cases against Two Live Crew, you had controversy around Public Enemy.  Hip hop in the 80’s got a lot of attention because it was serious.  It was NWA – you know “F**k the Police”, it was Two Live Crew – “Me So Horny” and just the vulgar stuff.  That’s how they saw it.  I think now hip hop has gotten so easy.  And it’s formulated. 


Why do you think?


Rappers have gotten successful and other youngsters look up to them.  Hip hop finally started getting paid in the 90s.  And once it started getting paid … hip hop is one of the only jobs in America where you can be on the street one day and make one hit and sell millions of records and finally you’re paid.  It only takes a hit – you don’t have to go to college for four years, you don’t have to do the leg work.  So you have a lot of kids now – that’s all that want to do is hip hop.  It’s crazy because they see people like Master P, they see people like Puffy, they see people like Jay-Z with Bentleys and they think it was easy.  So, that formula, is what I’m saying, you’ve got people that rhyme and say that Jay-Z did it this way or Puffy did it this way or this song made a hit so let me call the Neptunes and let me get a beat from the Neptunes. 

But honestly, it’s taste.  Because even the guys that are making these ‘easy’ records, I wouldn’t say that they’re not real, they were safe. 


Do you think that perhaps some of them didn’t come from a hard and difficult place?


Some of them didn’t come from it but at the same time, that’s an argument too, because if hip hop is an art form, just like painting is an art form … do I have to be a killer to draw somebody get killed.  Or somebody laying there dead.  It’s all creative so if you have such a creative mind where you can create a story about a guy in the hood going through this and you make it believable, that’s actually a greater feat to me than somebody who’s actually from it.  Somebody’s who’s from it they’re just saying what they see.  But creating a whole life so you can look at it two ways.


I think a lot of people are real with it.  The hip hop fans that have been there from the get, I feel like they think that hip hop may be more watered down.


That is true.  It is more watered down.  You also have hip hop purists.  You’re always going to have that but you have to remember times change and music changes.  I mean if Mauly Maul or KRS-One listened to a record now and say, ‘aw, that’s watered down hip hop’, that’s kind of unfair. That’s almost like saying if you’ve got funk bands from the 70s, they say, ‘man that music you all doing now, is watered down because you all are using beat machines instead of a real drummer’.  I mean, come on!  Some great songs were made with drum machines. 


Outkast has skyrocketed and now your acting career is launching – what’s the biggest adjustment you’ve had? 


It’s just recognition because we’ve been around for 10 years and we didn’t start getting noticed until Stankonia until MTV started playing it. 


Why do you think that is? 


You never know, you never know.  Things always change, every album sounds different but I don’t know. 


Was it cool at the Grammys?


It was all right.  I mean, I like awards, especially Grammys.  All the other ones are ok because they’re People’s Choice Awards where people get voted because they think you’re cute or something like that.  But the Grammys are voted on by musicians – by the whole Committee- you know you have to be on the board to vote for the Grammys.  So, these are people that do classical music – you know it’s everybody – world music.  They actually sit there and vote on who it is.  If you get recognition from your peers, that’s a whole other thing. 


As far as your acting career, are there any adjustments that you’ve had to make? 


It’s all just avenues to get some creativity out.  Just to get some energy out some kind of way.  I guess the biggest adjustment when it comes to acting is letting go.  Letting loose.  Because as an entertainer, the audience, they don’t get to see every emotion of you, they only get to see happy and more happy.  As a musical audience, they don’t see you mad, they don’t see you cry, they don’t see you embarrassed, they don’t see you sad, because all that is not good for your career as a musician.  But as an actor, you have to be in touch with every one of those emotions so sometimes it’s hard to tap into those if for years, you’ve been hiding it.  So, that’s the hardest thing in acting. 


Musically or on the acting tip, if you could work with any artist, living or past, who would it be?


Anita Baker, John Coltrane and Minnie Ruperton.  I just would like to know what we would come up with. 


Did you ever want to give up when you were on your way up?


Hell yeah!  Plenty of times.  I feel like once I’ve done something, I’m ready to move on.  So, a lot of times, people around you are not ready for you to move on.  So, sometimes, you have to hold on and that’s not really a happy place to be either. 


The Outkast movie is coming up … When is it coming out?


It’s a 1930s musical starring myself and Big Boi.  I play a mortician and Big Boi plays a club owner.  I co-wrote the story with Bryan Barber and he wrote the script.  The end of this year, early next year.  The next Outkast album will be the soundtrack – it’s kind of like an attached thing. 


So, what’s in your CD player right now?


In my CD player right now is new beats, new music.  I’ve been through a silent period where I haven’t been listening to anything because I’m not really inspired right now.  Even the old stuff that I used to love, I don’t feel the same way about it.  So, I’m going to have to create some music that I like to play some music.


So, right now it’s just beats and trying to get into that mindset. 


Yeah, trying to find a new place.  Trying to find a new thing to get excited about. 


What do you want people to remember you for?


Honestly, I hope it’s not for a certain category.  I hope it’s not just that people remember great songs or a great film … because I’m not done.  I have to much that I have to do.  So, I hope that people remember by the time I’m done that he was a creator, like an idealist, that he had dreams that he wanted to do and just did ‘em.  He was a dreamer.  That’s all. 

Special thanks to Euafaula and Awaovieyi Agie (Canadian actor also in the film Four Brothers) who facilitated this interview.  








Motivational Note: Change is inevitable

Excerpt from - -- by Willie Jolley / Master of Music & Motivation /

Change is inevitable, but your response is optional! My mother used to tell me, "If you keep on doing what you've been doing, you will keep getting what you've been getting!" And it's been said, "The definition for insanity is to keep on doing the exact same thing, the exact same way and expect different results!" Be willing to change and try new things and be willing to really fly!







Carrying The Torch Forward

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Andy Murdoch

(Apr. 8, 2005) Bobby Sniderman just informed the Star he sold the Torch Bistro and the Top O' the Senator jazz club. The club and restaurant, which he created 15 years ago, officially fell into the hands of Dean Brown and Michael Sullivan yesterday.  Sniderman is a member of the Cambridge Club, a private men's club atop the downtown Sheraton Centre. Brown is the club's general manager, and the deal began behind club doors.  Sniderman said recently that the decision to sell was a practical one. "The business wasn't thriving and was without the attention it needed. I realized something had to give and that it would be me. And the diner is my first love."  Sullivan will be general manager of the club and restaurant. He is busy redoing the restaurant at the Taboo golf club in Muskoka with the man picked to be Torch's new chef, Tawfik Shehata. Shehata worked previously at Auberge du Pommier, and the defunct Eau on King St.  While Brown says major renovations on the second and third floors of the club will begin after this summer's jazz festival, the surroundings of Torch will not change — "we're not doing anything to take away the old-school look" — the name will. Torch becomes The Savoy in May. It will serve French bistro fare in the vein of Sullivan's favourite haunts in New York, Bouchon and Balthazar. The deal does not involve the Senator diner next door. The circa-1948 diner Sniderman bought in 1984 will stay in his hands.  But there are plans to relaunch the music venue in September, and here's a shocking change: Top O' the Senator will not stay strictly jazz.  "We're all jazz fans, but we need to branch out to make it profitable," Brown said. Rock, R&B and funk bands will play, too.  Sniderman has big plans for the diner, as well. He wants to bring in a younger crowd. "The 20-year-olds don't come like they used to. Or, the 20-year-olds that we used to get are all in their 40s now!"  Instead, he talked about making it a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week operation, modelling it on his restaurant, the Grand Café at Casino Niagara.  "It's a little tired right now," but Sniderman emphatically stated he won't mess with the classic '40s look. "I'd be run out of town if I changed it," he said, just before asking me if I had any suggestions as to what to do with it.




andPOP Goes 1 on 1 With P. Diddy

Written By: Adam Gonshor Video by Michael Levine

(Apr. 4, 2005) P. Diddy took over the city of Toronto one day last week to officially launch his clothing label, Sean John, in Canada.  He met with retailers, did interviews with the media, and threw three parties to make sure Sean John got off to a proper start. andPOP sat down with P. Diddy to talk about the Sean John label, what keeps it cool, and his plans for his Bad Boy label.

Watch Interview




A Shady Spot On The Family Tree

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail - By Robert Everett-Green

(Apr. 12, 2005) I didn't bring it up. I wasn't going to mention the family till she did, because when people talk about Martha Wainwright, they always drag in the family tree, and maybe she's tired of always having to take her place on one of the shadier boughs.
 But no. Barely 10 minutes into our conversation, the family was on her mind, root and branch, even as she sped alone down the California coast, a continent away from the centre of the clan. "It was important for me to make a good record, because my family's first albums are all sort of classic albums," she said on her mobile phone, referring to the debut efforts of Kate and Anna McGarrigle (her mother and aunt), father Loudon Wainwright III and brother Rufus. "They're all so good at what they do, and I had to make sure that I was too." Many people who heard Year of the Dragon, the haunting song that Martha wrote and sang on The McGarrigle Hour CD in 1998, were immediately convinced that she was. Predictions were made. Greatness was foreseen. She was 21 at the time. Years passed. She sang on her brother's records, toured with him and with her father, and recorded three homemade EPs that she sold only at shows. All worthy activities, but not the big bow-wow her fans were expecting. As time went by, with no CD of her own and no contract to make one, it seemed sometimes that Martha wasn't so much a performer as a puzzle.

And now, finally, it's here. Martha Wainwright, the CD, comes out today on MapleMusic in Canada, and on Rounder Records in the United States. It's a spacious and mysterious collection of songs, in which plain melodies and acute imagery react with the shadowy power of her singing to form something that feels secret and revelatory at the same time. In short, it's what her fans have always expected from her.
"It has taken me a long time to feel that I'm worth the effort," she said. ". . . I'm so down on myself. It's just the way I am. I never want to set myself up for disappointment. I have a tendency not to believe that something good will happen. Maybe that's why it takes me years to make a record.  But maybe that will change, as good things keep happening to me." The good things included finding the right producer, by not looking in any of the usual places. Family friends in the business had offered or been mentioned over the years, but they scared her. They all seemed to know what she should be, based on what the family was. Bass player Brad Albetta, on the other hand, was outside the family orbit, had a modest production background, and owned a studio in New York (where she lives) that he would let her use on spec. There was no contract with any label. Brad and Martha recorded songs, sent out the results, waited for the phone calls. When the calls came, they always had conditions attached. Change this, remake that. Martha wouldn't have any of it, and held out until Rounder stepped up at the very end of the process. "I didn't wait six years to make a record to change things," she said. "I'm kind of hardheaded that way. . . . Why should the record companies be involved in the creative process?"

There we have the other side, not the fearful, self-comparing Martha, but the Martha who would rather go home than play someone else's game. The Martha who has a bit of what her mother calls "the Wainwright gene" for defiant self-assertion and for the top spot on the marquee.
"I'm a little bit between the Wainwright gene and the McGarrigle gene. I want to be up there and perform, and I also want to have babies and stay at home with them. . . . I think my mother did my brother and me a great service by not having the Wainwright gene, because she was at home with us. I think it's a form of escapism to want to be on the road and working all the time. But it's funny, right now I have the life my father has. I'm always working." She calls Loudon "a great inspiration" and doesn't deny that he was the spark for an obscenely titled song that has had, for her, an embarrassing amount of U.S. radio play. In it, she tells the old man to take his notions about what she should and shouldn't be doing and go straight to hell. "I didn't want to rock the boat as much as I have," she said. "I just thought the song was kind of humorous and cute. It's about me and a father figure, or an authority figure. I think I was trying to convince myself that I'm not wasting my time. It came out of feeling that I wasn't being taken seriously by my dad, that I wasn't being an adult and responsible. By the time I was recording it, I'm not sure it was about Loudon any more. Maybe it was about a lot of guys, a lot of assholes." Maybe it was also about a family tradition of communicating with each other through songs. There are at least a dozen of those in the collected repertoire of the Wainwright-McGarrigles. Enough for a full CD. No wonder it's hard for Martha to separate her own career from those of the others. "I think Kate and Anna's first record is much more a testament to perfection than mine is," she said. ". . . Mine isn't a perfectly crystallized piece of work. It's just a representation of me during those years. People didn't think I was doing anything, but I was writing those songs. The record is about that time, about the life of a girl in her 20s." Some of the time, she really wasn't doing that much. She was drinking too hard and watching a lot of daytime TV. Not needing a day job presented certain problems, but also opportunities, as she discovered while watching Oprah.

"Here's Oprah telling me to love myself, and suddenly I'm crying, and it's not because Oprah's so great, but because she's touched a nerve," she said. It turned out to be a song-writing nerve. TV Show, one of the most personal songs on the new disc, came right out of that moment in front of the box. She even mentions Oprah at the close, which I mistakenly thought was a way of giving herself an escape hatch from an uncomfortably intimate revelation.
"If there's one thing I'm not, it's ironic," she insisted. "Never. Maybe sarcastic sometimes, but never ironic." You can't get further from irony than her performance of Whither Must I Wander, an old parlour song by Ralph Vaughan Williams, with lyrics by Robert Louis Stevenson. "Fair the day shine as it shone on my childhood," Martha sings, as purely and simply as her mother and aunt have sung many an old tune about home and hearth. Kate McGarrigle found that song for her daughter, whom she has helped along with an unusual mixture of parental care and the kind of patient support that A&R people ought to give but seldom do. "For my mom, I was an investment in the best sense of the word," Martha said. "She thought I was good at writing songs, and she thought I should have the time to do that, instead of bussing tables." Kate has helped with gigs, with the money to record and even with Martha's involvement in Martin Scorsese's film The Aviator. The movie already had parts for Rufus and Loudon when somebody on the project asked Rufus, during a shoot in Montreal, if he knew a woman who could sing a song from the forties. "He said, 'My sister.' Which was a good answer," said Martha. "My mom was there, and she ran up to the house and got a picture of me and a recording of me singing an old song, and ran back down and gave it to them. And then she ran into the bathroom and prayed to God that I would get the job. That's what the nuns can do to you." Characteristically, Martha was sure the scene would be left out of the film. It wasn't. And now her biggest scene yet is just beginning, and no one's going to leave it on the cutting-room floor. Martha Wainwright plays Toronto's Drake Hotel on April 19.




Mathew Knowles Joint Ventures With Jeremy Geffen And Max Gousse

Source: Sanctuary Urban / Kymberlee Norsworthy /

(Apr. 11, 2005)
New York, NY – Sanctuary Urban Management president Mathew Knowles has announced that music and film executives Max Gousse and Jeremy Geffen have brought the multi-faceted company, Arsenal Entertainment, to Sanctuary Urban.  The deal brings management clients including D12 (Shady/Aftermath), Youngbloodz (Jive), Czar-nok (Capitol); new artists Kobe, Demboyz, Traffik; producers Trackboyz, Sicknotes and PMG; and film and music video director D.A Bullock to the Sanctuary Urban roster.   Beginning his career as the original Urban Music Programmer for what is now known as MTV2, Max Gousse moved on to run Mecca Don Records through current Motown Chairman Sylvia Rhone’s East West Records. After seeing multi-platinum success there, Gousse moved on to a label deal and the position of Vice President of A&R with Sony Music Entertainment, where he enjoyed massive success with multi-platinum, pop sensation B2K and subsequent #1 box office hit, You Got Served. Prior to forming JGM (Jeremy Geffen Management), Jeremy Geffen did a stint with the famed William Morris Agency and later moved on to Lindsey Scott and Roger Davies management companies, respectively. Later working with many established Artists and Songwriters under the tutelage of Johnny Wright and Kenneth Crear, the USC Business graduate decided to strike out on his own and has been instrumental in advancing the careers of the Grammy nominated Trackboyz (Nelly’s Air Force Ones, J-Kwon’s Tipsy, Nappy Roots’ Po’ Folks), multi-platinum super group D-12 and Atlanta’s premier rap duo, the Youngbloodz.

 “Max and Jeremy have great ears for music, a track record of working with groundbreaking talent and are sharp businessmen,” says Mathew Knowles.  “Their addition to the Sanctuary Urban Management family is exciting and continues our tradition of establishing partnerships with the best and the brightest managers in the business.” Music World/Sanctuary Urban Management is a division of Music World/Sanctuary Urban Holding Group, Inc., a part of global independent music company The Sanctuary Group.  Music World and Sanctuary Urban Management together boasts a world-class roster of clients that include   Beyonce; D12; Bizarre (of D12); Jadakiss; Mary J. Blige; Sleepy Brown; Kelis; Destiny’s Child; Mario; EVE; Floetry; Freeway; RJ Helton; Darwin Hobbs; Iceberg; J Young; Shawn Mac; Mary Mary; Nelly; Kelly Rowland; Solange; Morgan Smith; Angie Stone; St. Lunatics; Styles P; Carl Thomas; Ted & Sheri; Trinitee 5:7; Michelle Williams and Xzibit.




Kathleen Edwards: Jabs, Hooks And Lyrical Punch Lines

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail - By Brad Wheeler

(Apr. 9, 2005) Two mornings ago, the city's downtown awoke to the sight of Kathleen Edwards. A weekly newspaper had the musician on its cover, in the pose of a boxer, with punching mitts over her breasts and a sly grin on her mug. And so, on the bundles in front of stores and on the faces of vendor boxes, we saw someone either as a fighter, a joker, or maybe a young woman just plain vulnerable. We got a bit of all three during the unhurried, swaying alt-country number Good Things, when a female member of the sold-out audience expressed admiration for guitarist Colin Cripps, who is also the husband of Edwards. "Lady, you better stay away from my [bleepin] man," the singer warned. We knew she meant it too, so she didn't have to add "I mean it," but she did anyway. Edwards probably is more a resister than a fighter, though -- a defier. "Don't dim," the singer told the lighting attendant who had done just that, reducing the spotlight she had earned, "I'm not done." She was nearing the end of the aching ballad Away, performed as a solo acoustic encore, whereas the rest of the concert she was accompanied (well) by her band. (Cripps, laid-back, fared best when on slide guitar -- winding and mercury-like on the twangy mid-tempo What Are You Waiting For.) On some of the more aggressive material -- stomping, twanging roots rock -- Edwards howled or sneered into the microphone. But on Away, a faint lament for lost friends ("And I think I forgot, what your face looks like/ I've been away"), she audibly trembled, her voice high, naked. Previous works of subtlety over the course of the evening (love song Summerlong, for example) were marred by a crackling stage-side speaker, but not this one, thankfully. Those numbers were among the many performed from the Toronto-based artist's sophomore album, Back to Me, a record favoured by critics for its strong, evocative lyrical work. (Songs performed from her 2002 debut Failer included Six O'clock News, One More Song the Radio Won't Like, The Lone Wolf and Westby.) Impressive as the lyrics are, the sold-out audience wasn't there solely for the words. The Lucinda Williams-meets-Blue Rodeo country rock got its play, and was more forcibly presented on stage than on disc.

No more so than on Independent Thief, striking for its man-defiant theme ("I don't want nothing from you/ All I need is just some company"), but musically unremarkable in its studio version. On stage, the song was brave all the way around. Edwards, a blue-jeaned, tomboyish, older-sister type, set a bold pace, striking her cowboy boot hard to the floor on the beat and delivering vocals slurry and Lucinda-like. She'd exchanged an electric guitar for the acoustic she'd used on the first two songs of the night (Pink Emerson Radio and In State). As she struck the chords, she looked toward her guitarist-husband, yelling over the din before turning to her floor-set amplifier, bending lower and lower to meet its level until she was on her knees. At song end, she thrust the instrument to the amp, creating a fuzzy cloud of feedback. And more like that. Much later in the show, on the rockabilly-influenced title track Back to Me, Edwards sang of her methods: "I've got ways to make you come . . . back to me." She paused lewdly in that sentence, and afterward she told the crowd of her idea to make a pair of gal's underwear -- with the words "I've got ways to make you come" on the front, and "back to me" on the rear. All this was told in case we didn't quite get the point when she first sang it. We got it.




Faith Hill Records Sampson Song

By Karen Bliss for Lowdown

Gordie Sampson expects Faith Hill's version of his song "Paris" to appear on the Grammy Award-winning country singer's forthcoming album. She has already performed it live.  "We hear it's on the record for sure, but I've just been telling people that she's recorded it," says Sampson, who cut the track for his own album, "Sunburn," released last summer on MapleMusic/Universal Music Canada.  Sampson, a Cape Breton native currently on tour in Canada with Australian-born country singer Keith Urban (who also cut two Sampson songs on his latest album, "Be Here") disguised "Paris" as a love song, which is likely Hill's interpretation, but that's hardly what inspired the lyric.  "It's actually about myself and the two (co) writers (Nashville-based Troy Verges and Blair Daly). We got jumped in Paris when we where there for one night and ended up in the hospital, full of blood," explains Sampson. "There's a line in it, 'American blood on the streets of St. Germaine,' which is what happened."  Sampson has no idea if Hill knows what the song is about. "I hope it doesn't matter. I hope she doesn't go, 'Oh, it's about a punch in the head? Well, that's not going on the record,'" he laughs.  The cover came about through Sampson's good friend, Tom Bukovic, Hill's guitar player. "They were cutting beds on her session and they all took a break and he just started playing it on piano. From what I heard, she walked by and said, 'What's that?'" recounts Sampson.  "That wasn't the first time she heard it. When he was playing it on piano, she was like, 'Oh yeah, that song. I heard that last week.' For whatever reason, she really seemed to have fallen in love with it."  Hill put the song on hold, so no other artist could record it, and started recording the song in late summer with her producer, Dan Huff. Sampson happened to be in Nashville at the time, so he went into the studio to hear what they were doing with it.  "I hung out with them for about half-an-hour and she told us about a concert she was doing that following week called Fashion Rocks, in New York City (Sept. 8 at Radio City Music Hall). She invited us there and we all (Sampson, Verges and Daly) flew out to see her perform, which was really fun." She sang just one song at the New York Fashion Week event that aired Sept. 26 on the FOX network and that was "Paris."

Sampson has Hill's live recording of the song on his iTunes.  He says her studio version is very different from his.  "She had Paul Buckmaster do a string arrangement," he says of the conductor/arranger who has worked with Elton John, Shawn Phillips, Harry Nilsson, David Bowie, Carly Simon, and The Rolling Stones. "He's in retirement now, but they got him to do this big orchestra arrangement on it. It kind of has a jazzy feel actually."  Sampson's second solo album, "Sunburn," has scanned 3,000 copies since its June 29 release date, according to Nielsen SoundScan Canada. Earlier this year, he was recognized with five 2005 East Coast Music Awards, including male artist of the year and album of the year, and received a nomination at last weekend's Juno Awards for songwriter for the year. The album's title-track was a top 20 hit at Hot AC and the second single, "Hanging By A Wire," is currently charting in the 30s.  The Keith Urban tour wraps up in the next few days:

04/07: London, ON: John Labatt Centre 
04/08: Rama, ON: Casino Rama 
04/09: Ottawa, ON: Civic Centre




Ty James: Born Supremacy

Excerpt from
- By Clover Hope

For Ty James, soul just runs in the blood. Like many other children who’ve lost their fathers, Ty has certainly grieved. But unlike many others, the aspiring rapper mourned with the world when her father Rick James passed away in August 2004. Though being the daughter of a legendary funk rocker comes with all the packaging of comfort and fame, it also has its prices—unwanted attention, blind expectations. Even more intriguing is the fact that Ty never met her father until the age of 13. But the father and daughter grew progressively closer, and his legacy may very well live through his namesake.   Since the early 90’s, Ty has been immersed in the music and Rap industry in the strangest of ways. Perhaps in 2005, her most vivid dreams will finally come true. Ty took time out while cruising the streets of L.A. to speak with about her aspirations, her tentatively titled album Addicted to the Game, and her unforgettable father. I think people will find it interesting that you used to hear your father’s songs on the radio before you ever met him, right?

Ty James: Absolutely. Well, as you can imagine, it wasn’t the easiest thing to deal with. It wasn’t the best feeling in the world, you know what I mean. Basically, my mom raised us pretty much all over L.A. and [made] us aware who our dad was. But he didn’t really have the time and energy to dedicate to a family because he was chasing a career, so that’s something that I’ve always understood. I don’t know how, but it’s a hard situation. It really is. You’ve lived all over Los Angeles as a child. Why were you guys moving around so much, because of financial problems?

Ty James: Yeah, pretty much financial problems, and [my mom] was chasing a dream as well. Both of my parents are artists, so as far as being grounded and stable, it wasn’t really happening like that. So did you think that your father had abandoned you guys, were you resentful toward him?

Ty James: No, it wasn’t at all abandonment. It was more so him wanting to do one thing, which was music. And my mom is very religious, so around the same time he was chasing his dream, she had became saved and involved in the church heavily. So that’s kind of how it ended up. And then with him being on the road all the time, it was—I don’t think it had anything to do with him not loving his children because obviously I found that out later on in life, but I’m just really supportive of anybody who’s chasing a dream. God is to judge them, and not us. So when you finally reunited with Rick, what feelings arose?

Ty James: [My brother and I] were excited. The lawyer and private investigator knocked on the door in South Central and our lives pretty much just changed instantly. A week or so [later], we were on the flight on the plane to go meet our dad. He was around me a lot in my younger ages, like one to five, six [years old], something like that. But, of course, I don’t remember it, so it’s two sides to both stories. My mom takes a lot of the blame and then he takes some of the blame. Back to what I was saying, it was exciting, of course. It was a lot of mixed emotions; it was curiosity. Never can I say that there was a moment of, like, stardom. I was curious to know who my father was, not who Rick James was. When you heard of his death, where were you at the time?

Ty James: I was leaving home on the freeway, actually. I was about three exits from his place, strangely, but I wasn’t going to his house. My cousin called me from New York, and he says—he gets on the phone, like, “Ty, what is this I hear. Uncle Rick is in the hospital and he didn’t make it.” And I was like, “That’s bulls**t. I just talked to him, that’s a rumour, that’s bulls**t.” He was like, “Nah, I’m serious, you need to see what’s going on. Just call, just do me a favour and call.” And I was like, “Okay, I’ll call but I already know.”

And as soon as I went to click over, my phone just started ringing crazy, off the hook. So meanwhile now, I’m pretty much close to his exit because I told you, it was like three or four exits away. By the time I got there, it was probably two hours later because I just kept driving on the freeway, like I just passed it up and kept driving. I can’t even explain it, it was really weird. And I snapped back into myself ‘cause I was like, “Oh my God, I gotta get over there.” But I just wanted to drive until I couldn’t drive anymore. So once I got there, my dad was still there, and I went in the room and sat with him for awhile, laid on the bed and everything hit. I surprised myself because I’ve always been real freaked out with stuff like that. But when it’s a part of you, it’s totally different. So did you actually speak to him at that time, before he died?

Ty James: No, he had passed already. And I was just there. But you actually got a chance to record with him before he passed, right?

Ty James: Well, we have some things in the studio, but it’s not a complete song, I’ll be able to use it. I’m really happy, though, because he was supportive. And, you know, it makes you feel better, like you almost got the okay. And it really didn’t happen where I know he embraced everything that I was doing until a few months before he passed, so that’s a very good feeling. And what was the experience like recording with him and finally getting a chance to work with him creatively?

Ty James: Well, of course I was pretty much at all the sessions that took place recently, like when we went in with Kanye [West] and his artist on J [Records], that was fun. We got to all do some stuff creatively on that. That was the most recent thing, actually, before he passed. But, he’s just a role model. Like, everybody in the studio is quiet and just paying attention to him because they know that he has something that they can learn from. You mentioned in an interview that you used to try to get away from the fact that he was your father. Is that because you didn’t want people to prejudge you or put any expectations on you?

Ty James: Exactly, exactly. And then a lot of it, as I got older, it was just the lifestyle overall. Like, you really have to be mature to handle this industry because it’s dirty. It really is, and that’s why I think that I hadn’t got involved from a musical standpoint [for] a long time. I was around in the era with Eazy E. And I was actually a part of one of his groups [Hoes Wit Attitude or H.W.A.] and that was pretty devastating as well. [It was like], my god, it’s nothing good, it’s nothing positive happening, yet it’s fame and it’s fortune and you achieve a dream, but at the same time, is it worth it? So, then by me having my girls [daughters], they’re my priority. It makes it rough. You have to really be well-grounded. I know I have a lot to do. So why even try this Rap thing at this point in your life? You don’t need money, so what’s driving you?

Ty James: Honestly, I ask myself that a lot of times. But something just keeps drawing and drawing and drawing me there. I love being on the mic. I love performing. So it has it’s ups and downs, and I’m not saying that I’m gonna do or die with this music because at this point in my life, business is more important, being a great mom, those things are more important. You mentioned this Eazy E group H.W.A that you were in. Can you talk about that and how you got into it?

Ty James: My cousin, her name is Kim. She was actually the leader of the group, if that’s what you wanna say. I can’t remember the other girl’s name, but I was the third member, not an original member. One of the girls, I guess she had got pregnant and moved out of the country, and they asked me to replace her. And that’s pretty much when I discovered that I had a love for the mic. Can you talk about the status of the album, like what label it’s coming out on?

Ty James: Actually, while we’re finishing up, we’re still shopping [for a label]. We haven’t really shopped that much because I wanted to be closer to being done, so we’re shopping as it stands. I’m not sure if we’re gonna go major [or] independent. That decision is really not gonna be made by me. Really, the best deal that comes across, I’m ready to work it. I’ll work it independent. I’m just ready to work. [Laughs] How old are your daughters?

Ty James: Jasmine is the 15-year-old and Charisma is my five-year-old. What have you told them or are going to tell them about their grandfather [Rick]?

Ty James: Both of my girls have a really close relationship with their grandfather, and really I don’t have to tell them anything. Jasmine, my 15-year-old, she totally understands, she grew up around him. My five-year-old, I’ll explain to her and I’ll have a lot of things to show her, so I want her to form her own opinion. He’s a loving man, and she knows that. He gave her nothing but love, and he just—he’s incredible and that’s all I can say.




Hezekiah Walker -- Celebrating 20 Years of Praising God through Gospel Music

Excerpt from -
By Deardra Shuler

(Apr. 12, 2005)
Hezekiah Walker had a Good Friday on Friday, March 25th when he celebrated his 20th Anniversary with the Love Fellowship Choir.  The program entitled “Good Friday Gospel,” featured one of the most popular choral groups in contemporary gospel, and was held at The Theater at Madison Square Garden.  The 3-hour gospel extravaganza included among its featured artist: Fred Hammond, Israel and New Breed, Bebe Wyans, Byron Cage and Donnie McClerkin.  The foot stomping show paid tribute to Walker and the Love Fellowship Choir’s 20 years of gospel music. “We have been performing at Radio City Music Hall the last five years but this year we decided to celebrate our show at The Theatre at Madison Square Garden.  We started off as the Crusade Choir, became the Love Fellowship Tabernacle Church Choir but now we call ourselves the Love Fellowship Choir.  We have about 80 people in the choir,” explained Pastor Walker. Hezekiah, who was born in the Fort Greene Housing Projects in Brooklyn, New York, started down the holy road to gospel as a child when he sang background in the last row of the choir at the Greater Bible Way Temple.  Eventually, he decided to start his own choir with a few of his friends.  They sang locally in the community.  “In 1985, twelve of us started singing professionally.  We sang at prisons, malls and radio stations” stated Walker.  “We did a concert at a prison and someone who was taping a show at the prison for BCAT heard us.  This person knew someone at a record company called Sweet Rain who was looking for a gospel choir and an introduction was made.  The record company rep came to hear us.  He liked us and wanted to invest in us so I took the chance.  Basically, I had no idea where it was going to go because my main interest was singing in the malls, hospitals and things like that.  But once Sweet Rain released the record the radio stations picked it up and started playing it and it got played all over the world,” said the ebullient singer. Walker and his choral singers became popular on the church circuit and ended up winning two Grammy Awards and ten Grammy nominations. 

The choir won a Grammy for “Live In Atlanta At Morehouse College.” The second Grammy was for “Fellowship Church Choir Live.”  The choir has traveled nationally and internationally.  They performed in Japan, Germany, South America and Africa.  “Of course we don’t travel with 80 people. We go on the road with 25 people including the band and singers. We did 7 concerts in Africa,” stated Walker.  “In fact, Gospel music is the #1 music over there.  We were in Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa where we actually ended up singing to separate audiences.  We did 3 concerts for black people and the other concerts we did were basically for white people.  What I found most unusual however was the separation of colour between black people.  I found out that the light skinned black people are considered like white people in South Africa.  It seems that during apartheid if you were real light you got segregated from the darker skinned black Africans.  The light skinned black people were actually taken from their families and placed in a different region.  But they did get the chance to go to school and work.  The sad thing that happened as a result of the light skinned black people being segregated from fellow Africans was that tensions developed between light skinned black people and darker skinned black people.  What’s worse is that even though apartheid is over, these same tensions still exists,” explained the choral singer. “Also, we were surprised that there were light skinned black churches and dark skinned black churches and never the twain did meet.  The dark skinned African churches actually saw the light skinned churches as white churches and vise-versa.  So when we went over there to perform we had to go to churches full of dark skinned black people and then had to go over to the other side of town and perform at the churches full of light skinned black people who were considered white.  We were really amazed at that.  We were shocked that the light skinned black people refused to go to the concerts we did for dark skinned Africans.  When we performed at the light skinned black churches we noticed there wasn’t a single dark face among them, except our faces because most of my choir is dark skinned.  The funny thing is, the light skinned black folks received us and loved us with no problem.  I wondered how could these light African folks receive us but could not receive their own.  It’s really sad to see how the white man has torn the black race apart like that.  It’s all over the world but it was very sad to see the aftermath of apartheid and how it has caused such a deep divide among the same race of people, both dark and light.  I have been thinking of writing some music about that,” claimed the songwriter. Hezekiah and his choir have produced 12 CDs to date among them “A Family Affair” and “Love Is Live.”  When the choir played Japan they discovered their CDs sold out there.  In fact, the Love Fellowship Choir is a household name in Japan.  They are equally appreciated by the Europeans and did a live recording in London at the Wimble Arena.  Some of the hits made famous by the Choir are: “Oh Lord We Praise You”  “Any Way You Bless Me,” “I’ll Make It” and “We Made It.” There last CD was entitled “I Need You To Survive.”  The Choir is presently recording a CD which is expected to be released in June of this year.

The Love Fellowship Choir has been setting the trend for choirs and groups for 20 years. “We are excited about our 20th Anniversary” stated Hezekiah.  “We have a lot of stories to tell.   When we came along in 1985, we set the stage for choirs to travel outside the metropolitan area.  Other than the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir we are the only choir that has won a Grammy.  There are basically two music charts in church music.  There is the Christian chart and the Gospel chart.  We don’t separate it but the music industry separates it and basically it’s separated into black and white music.  Just take a look in Billboard magazine. Christian music is considered the white side and gospel the black side.  Of course, this is not said out and out.  However, the Love Fellowship Choir is the only totally black choir in New York City that has won a Grammy.  We are the first choir to record gospel music at Radio City Music Hall.  Of course our 20th anniversary is going to be held at Madison Square Garden but a lot of folks are unaware that Radio City owns Madison Square Garden” remarked the choral leader.   A minister and family man, Pastor Walker, has dedicated his life to the Church and the preaching of the gospel which he does every Sunday in East, New York at the Love Fellowship Tabernacle as well as his church in Pennsylvania. “I love doing work within the community and performing my music. Gospel music has always touched me.  I have always wanted to sing music that touched people and helped them change in positive ways.  I love to see the people get excited about the songs we sing and I love to watch them join in and enjoy the music.  I try to treat people like I like to be treated.  I was delighted by the turnout for my 20th Anniversary it turned out to be a night that everyone truly enjoyed.”




50 Cent’s Ideal World Is “Peaceful”, Rapper Explains Gorilla Unit

Excerpt from - By Houston Williams And Amanda Diva

(Apr. 12, 2005)
While 50 Cent has the knack for engaging in lyrical warfare with his rap peers, the multi-platinum artist says that if he could choose his ideal world, it would be decidedly different from the way things presently are.  “[My ideal world] would be peaceful,” the rapper explained to And, even though beef seems to make the rap and real world rotate, the Queens, New York native reveals his rough past on the south side of Jamaica makes it appealing.  “It’ll be hella boring,” 50 continued. “I think after experiencing what I have, it’ll be interesting.” The rapper stated that his “get rich or die trying” mentality has been reaffirmed by the daily lives of normal people.  “It’s like working a 9-to-5 job. A person who does that dies before they can receive what they put in their pension. You should have it set up where you get your pension now,” he rationalized. “But it’s not structured like that, because the money is intended to go back to the powers that be.” His perfect earthly existence entails peace, and the rapper says that war is partially why he adjusted the meaning of his G-Unit clothing line to mean Gorilla Unit.  “You know what G-Unit stands for? Guerrilla Unit as in warfare, its military inspired,” he clarified. “And the ‘G’ in G-Unit also stands for Gangsta, which is associated with 50 Cent.” He divulges the reason for use of the usage of “gorilla”: “We try to make [G-Unit Clothing's name] for the general public to embrace it - to make things a little lighter [because] the whole country is at war. My intentions when coming up with the [original] name came from the History Channel. That’s why this is so exciting to me because I’m a dreamer. The only way you can get to where I’m at is through dreaming, because there was a point where no one believed I'd get here but me. So if I didn’t have that in my head, I wouldn’t be able to make it happen - even the clothing companies.”

And for 50 Cent the dreamer, matters boil down to execution of his vision and learning from others that paved roads before him.
 “G-Unit clothing did $55 million its first year. Sean John did $23 [million] and Rocawear did $18 [million],” he said. “So like I said, I don’t mind doing deals behind pole, as long as I do it better. I have their information. I can see what worked for them and what didn’t.” Dreams of peace won’t come to reality for 50 soon. He recently released a new diss record called “I Run New York” with Tony Yayo, where the G-Unit pair continue to berate Jadakiss and Fat Joe.  Yet, in seeming contradiction, the rapper’s G-Unity Foundation donated $200,000 to the Compton Unified School District to help restore their arts and music programs.




Russell Simmons Signs Run To New Label

Excerpt from - By Nolan Strong

(Apr. 13, 2005)
This morning (April 13th) Russell Simmons formally announced his latest venture, Russell Simmons Music Group, and revealed that he’s signed his brother Reverend Run of the seminal group Run DMC.  In addition to Run’s rock album, Simmons has also pulled R&B group Buddafly into his latest venture.  The new imprint will be distributed by Island Def Jam Music Group, a company that Simmons founded in 1984 with then partner Rick Rubin. Simmons later sold the label in 1999 for over $100 million dollars.  Simmons told in November that he was in negotiations with several labels including Island Def Jam, which is now helmed by Antonio "LA" Reid.  "I am happy to serve LA Reid," Simmons told "I have never had anything but respect for him. I am honoured to by a part of his team."  In February of 2004, Reid was named chairman of the label by Universal chairman Doug Morris, after former CEO Lyor Cohen left the label for Warner Music Group's top North American slot.  Reid has had an illustrious career as well and in 1989 founded LaFace Records, a joint venture with Arista.  LaFace pumped out hits by TLC, Toni Braxton, Outkast, Goodie Mob and others.

Reid took Clive Davis' top position at Arista and signed Avril Lavigne, Pink and others. According to published reports, BMG brass fired Reid because of his spending habits.
 Reid, who has quietly been reassembling Def Jam since several key people left with Cohen including top exec’s Kevin Liles and Julie Greenwald, said he was equally enthused about the new relationship. Reid revealed bringing Simmons back on board at Island Def Jam was something he had considered for sometime. “It has always been my intention to structure a situation that would keep Russell in the Island Def Jam family, and I am proud that we will be able to continue to accomplish our goals together," Reid said. “History has yet to catch up with the greatness of Russell Simmons and the extent of his contributions to our music and culture,” Jay-Z said of Simmons. “It is impossible to imagine the state of hip-hop today without accounting for Russell’s visionary leadership over the past 20 years.”




Outkast, Jay-Z, Kanye West Make Time's Most Influential People List

Excerpt from - By Tiffany Hamilton

(Apr 11, 2005) Time Magazine has named
Outkast, Jay-Z and Kanye West as three of the world's 100 most influential people.   The list features an eclectic mix of people who made an extreme impact on the world and in addition to the rappers includes inventors, political strategists and even terrorists.   The magazine's managing editor told the associated press that the reason for such a diverse group is that "influence can be defined in a myriad of ways."   Among those profiled in the now annual project are southern group Outkast, Jay-Z and Kanye West, as well as actor Jamie Foxx, Oprah Winfrey, Lebron James and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice.   Also named to the list are Clint Eastwood, Martha Stewart, Karl Rove, architect of George Bush's re-election campaign and terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.   The magazine first compiled the list in 1999 when it selected the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.




Diana Krall Snags Trio At Smooth Jazz Awards

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail -
By Mark Miller

(Apr. 11, 2005) Oakville, Ont. --
Diana Krall lengthened her impressive list of laurels by three at the first annual Canadian Smooth Jazz Awards held last night at the Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts in Ontario. The internationally popular singer and pianist was honoured as both female vocalist and songwriter of the year, sharing the latter award with her husband, Elvis Costello, for Narrow Daylight. Additionally, her most recent CD, The Girl in the Other Room, was named album of the year. The CSJA were organized by the Hamilton radio station Wave 94.7 FM and the website Other winners, as chosen by the public through on-line voting, included Marc Jordan (male vocalist), Rik Emmett (guitarist), Warren Hill (wind instrumentalist), Remy Shand (keyboardist) and the Clayton-Scott Group (group). The inaugural George Benson Lifetime Achievement Award was given to the American singer and guitarist himself. Meanwhile, the fourth annual National Jazz Awards, which honour the Canadian jazz scene more generally, have been announced for the Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto on June 21.




Damian Junior Gong Marley Tops The New York Reggae Chart

Excerpt from

(Apr. 7, 2005)
Grammy winner Damian ‘Junior Gong’ Marley has the new number one song on the New York Reggae chart this week with Welcome to Jamrock. The young Marley is the first offspring of the late reggae legend Bob Marley, to reach number one on that chart.  During his life and since his death, the elder Marley has scored a slate of number one hits on the New York Reggae chart, which dates back to the late 1970’s. His most recent number one song was a dance remix of Sun is Shining which topped Billboard’s Dance Music chart in 1999.   Bob Marley has topped the New York Reggae chart with hits including Could You Be Loved, One Love, Buffalo Soldier and Iron Lion Zion.  Marley’s widow Rita Marley did manage to score a number one song on the New York Reggae chart. Her Billboard Disco chart hit One Draw spent six weeks at number one on the New York chart in 1981. Welcome to Jamrock which topped the Choice FM Top 20 Reggae chart in London a few weeks ago, is steadily climbing local charts.  The song features a sample from Ini Kamoze’s 1980’s dancehall hit World a Reggae Music. And, in related news Junior Gong and his elder brother Stephen Marley will embark on a US tour next month. The tour is called Welcome to Jamrock US Tour and it kicks off on April 15 in St. Petersburg, Florida. The tour will make treks in cities including Charleston, South Carolina; Asheville, North Carolina, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Boston, Massachusetts; New York City, New York; Baltimore, Maryland; and Los Angeles, California. The tour wraps up on May 22 in Orlando, Florida.




Grand Master Flash Gets Sirius, Launches New Radio

Excerpt from - By Jayson Rodriguez

(Apr. 7, 2005)
Hip-Hop icon and pioneering turntabilist DJ Grandmaster Flash has signed with Sirius Satellite Radio for a new weekly mix show, the company announced today (April 7).   The Bronx native, who was nominated for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame last year along with the Furious Five, will spin a variety of musical genres each week on his “Flash Mash” show, which will air on Saturdays from 6pm to 9pm.   “I’m using the same template for the new show that I used in 1971, before hip-hop started – a combination of pop, rock, jazz, blues and R&B,” Flash said in a statement.   The DJ will also incorporate a bit of history into each show as well.   “I’ll be talking about the use of samples, what certain songs mean and were they came from, and playing what I feel, “ he said.   Flash added he would be scouring the world for new talent to play on the show.   “I’m calling out to all the labels throughout the world to send me their stuff, because this is going to me an amazing mix.”  Grandmaster Flash joins 50 Cent, whose G-Unit Radio debuted last week, along with Tony Touch and DJ Muggs, as the latest rap acquisitions by Sirius radio.




Pharrell Williams Launches Ice Cream Skateboarding Team

Excerpt from - By Morris Moore

(Apr. 5, 2005)
Pharrell Williams recently launched The Ice Cream skate team, lead by professional skateboarder Terry Kennedy.  According to an article published on, a sister site to television network ESPN that covers extreme sports, Williams snagged five amateurs who will tour the country for seven months with Kennedy. The team will scout talent and film tricks for an upcoming DVD/Combo, which will be released in the fall. Williams’ younger brother, Kato Williams is one of the team members, which is rounded out by Terrell Robinson, Kevin Booker, Jacob Walder and Jimmy Gorecki. "You get these hungry ams off the street and you show them they can make something of themselves and that's what Ice Cream is all about," Williams told "I want these skaters to get recognition for shredding and to show that what they are doing is a beautiful thing to aspire to."




Shakira Goes Bilingual On Two New Albums

Excerpt from -
Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

(Apr. 8, 2005) Latin superstar Shakira will release two new albums this year via Epic. First up is "Fijacion Oral 1," a Spanish-language set that will arrive June 7, while the all-English "Oral Fixation 2" will hit stores in November. The first single from the projects is "La Tortura" featuring Alejandro Sanz, which will hit U.S. radio outlets later this month.  "I did not set out to make two albums when I began the writing process but suddenly I realized I had written 60 songs, some in English and some in Spanish," Shakira says. "Twenty of these songs were selected and divided up by language to make two different albums."  Shakira co-wrote or wrote every song on both discs, and also handled some production duties in tandem with long-time collaborators Luis Ochoa, Tim Mitchell and Lester Mendez. Rick Rubin served as the executive producer.  "The stage at which human beings are the most orally fixated is the first stage of our lives, which is the most elementary, the most instinctive, and the most primitive," the artist says of the album names. "I think I am still in that stage, especially at this moment because I feel the most in touch with that animalistic aspect within me."  The new releases will be the follow-up to Shakira's 2001 album "Laundry Service," which debuted at No. 3 on The Billboard 200 and has sold 3.3 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.




Pittsburgh’s Mellon features George Benson

Excerpt from

(Apr. 11, 2005)
*Pittsburgh native George Benson will perform with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra as part of the city’s line-up of Mellon Jazz events. The concert will be held at 8 p.m. on June 17 at Heinz Hall as part of a new Mellon Jazz sponsorship that will help keep the sounds of jazz alive in the City of Pittsburgh's Riverview and Highland Parks. "Favourite sons help define their hometowns. Bringing George Benson to Heinz Hall places an internationally renowned jazz performer on stage with one of the world's most applauded symphony orchestras, and celebrates the traditions of excellence and accomplishment that have made Pittsburgh a great American city," said Rose M. Gabbianelli, Mellon executive vice president and director of corporate affairs.  Riverview Park's Stars at Riverview series of Saturday night jazz concerts begins on June 11 and continues through August 27. Highland Park's Reservoir of Jazz series of Sunday jazz concerts begins on August 7 and continues through Sunday, September 4. Both series feature all-star line-ups comprised of some of the area's most prominent jazz musicians, and give local jazz fans an opportunity to hear great live jazz for free in a casual public park setting in their communities.




Fabolous Sucked Into Big Mac Campaign

Excerpt from

(Apr. 12, 2005) *In McDonald's latest attempt to promote its Big Mac among the hip hop crowd, the fast food chain has teamed with the House of Blues for a three-week "Are You MAC Enough?" sweepstakes (April 12-May 2) starting with two launch concert events. 
Fabolous kicked things off last night with a performance in Chicago, while tonight’s show in Los Angeles features the Latin hip-hop outfit Ozomatli   "Music is a powerful tool to reach people," said Fabolous. "The "Are You MAC Enough?" sweepstakes gives us a great opportunity to blend our style of music with this promotion."  During the sweepstakes, a MAC code will be featured on Big Mac sandwich packaging at McDonald's. Customers can enter the code online at, or via text message for a chance to win the Big Mac "Are You MAC Enough?" Grand Prize -- tickets, to attend 10 concerts, with a guest, at any House of Blues location in the U.S. from July 2005 -- July 2006. The Grand Prize winner chooses the concerts to attend, and air, transportation and accommodations are included.




Lightfoot Back On Stage Again With Major Tour

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail - By James Adams

(Apr. 13, 2005) Toronto -- Gordon Lightfoot seems to have bounced back from the severe health problems that have laid him low since 2002, if a recently announced concert tour of North America is any indication. Lightfoot, 65, is set to start a 33-date swing next Friday at the Sycuan Resort and Casino in El Cajon, Calif. Other dates include a four-night stand at Las Vegas's Orleans Casino Apr. 28-May 1, four previously announced concerts at Toronto's Massey Hall May 18-21, and three performances Sept. 15-17 at the Nugget Casino Resort in northern Nevada. The tour, which also includes dates in the U.S. Midwest, Northeast and West Coast in August, September and October, ends with appearances in Stratford, Ont., and Lightfoot's hometown, Orillia, Ont., on Dec. 2 and 3, respectively. Lightfoot recently told Billboard he's been rehearsing with his band since December last year. "Things are booked, so I have to be there."




RIAA To Sue Students For Super-Fast Downloading

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail

(Apr. 13, 2005)
The recording industry intends to sue hundreds of college students accused of illegally distributing music and movies across Internet2, the super-fast computer network connecting leading universities for researching the next generation of the Internet, industry officials said yesterday. The Washington-based Recording Industry Association of America, the trade group for the largest labels, said it will file federal copyright lawsuits today against 405 students at 18 colleges with access to the Internet2 network, which boasts speeds hundreds of times faster than the Internet. Researchers at Internet2 once demonstrated they can download a DVD-quality copy of the popular movie The Matrix in 30 seconds, a feat they said would take roughly 25 hours over the Internet. Internet2 is used by several million university students, researchers and professionals around the world but is generally not accessible to the public. AP





Tuesday, April 5, 2005

Best of Brandy, Brandy, Rhino
Women & Songs, Vol. 8 [Bonus DVD], Various Artists, WEA International
Collection, Vol. 2: Never Too Much/Forever, For Al, Luther Vandross, Sony
First Lady, Faith Evans, Capitol
Hard to Find Soul, Various Artists, Time Life
I Chose to Sing the Blues, Ray Charles, Brentwood

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Al Green, Essential Al Green, Collectables
Assassin, Futur Que Nous Reserve T'Il, EMI
Bobby Valentino, Bobby Valentino, Def Jam
Iyanla Van Zant, Giving Thanks, Sounds True
Iyanla Van Zant, Giving to Yourself, Sounds True
Iyanla Van Zant, Living from Your Center, Sounds True
Mariah Carey, Emancipation of Mimi, Island
Martha Wainwright, Martha Wainwright, Zoe
Nivea, Complicated, Jive
Ray Charles, Anthology [United Multi Consign], United Multi Consign
Ray Charles, Genius Loves Company [Bonus DVD], EMI
Solomon Burke, Got to Get to You, Collectables
Teddy Pendergrass, Best of Live, Collectables
Toni Braxton, Un-Break My Heart: The Remix Collection, La Face
Various Artists, Essential Soul: Nitelife, Madacy
Various Artists, Pura Gasolina, Madacy Latino







Sometimes in April - Friday, April 15th, 2005

Each year, more than 10,000 filmmakers, film lovers, industry visionaries and international media gather in Toronto to experience ReelWorld Film Festival.  Founded in 1999 by actress and producer Tonya Lee Williams, the Festival is the premiere celebration of Canada's culturally and racially diverse film, video and new media production.  The Festival provides entertainment to filmgoing audiences and stimulating interaction for industry professionals. As a non-profit organization, the Festival also brings together artists from all facets of the industry to network, share and support each other through seminars, workshops, gala screenings and parties.

The Festival champions Canada's diverse entertainment industry nationally and internationally, creating opportunities for film and video makers to market their skills and pitch ideas to producers and investors seeking fresh concepts and skilled talent.

Sometimes in April: This harrowing HBO Films drama focuses on the almost indescribable human atrocities that took place a decade ago through the story of two Hutu brothers - one in the military, one a radio personality - whose relationship and private lives were forever changed in the midst of the genocide. Written and directed by Raoul Peck (Lumumba), the movie is the first large-scale film about the 100 days of the 1994 Rwandan genocide to be shot in Rwanda, in the locations where the real-life events transpired.  Both stories are an edge-of-the-seat thriller and a chilling reminder of man's incomprehensible capacity for cruelty, Sometimes in April is an epic story of courage in the face of daunting odds, as well as an exposé of the West's inaction as nearly a million Rwandans were being killed. The plot focuses on two brothers embroiled in the 1994 conflict between the Hutu majority (who had ruled Rwanda since 1959) and the Tutsi minority who had received favoured treatment when the country was ruled by Belgium.

The story is split between two Aprils, in 2004 and 1994, and tells the experiences of Augustin Muganza (Idris Elba). In April 1994, after the Hutu Army begins a systematic slaughter of Tutsis and more moderate Hutus, Augustin and a fellow Army officer named Xavier, defying their leadership, attempt to get their wives and children to safety.   In April 2004, Augustin receives a letter from Honore his brother, asking Augustin to visit him in prison in Tanzania, where he is about to plead guilty at the International Criminal Tribunal. After being urge to go his brother, Augustin reluctantly does so, and the movie moves back and forth between the two Aprils to fill us in on what happened to the family -- and the nation.

Programmer: Kirk Cooper

Director's Bio:  Raoul Peck (writer, director, executive producer) was educated in Haiti, Zaire (Congo), the U.S. and France. He studied engineering and economics at Berlin University, worked as a journalist and photographer from 1980 to 1985, and received his film degree from the Berlin Academy of Film and Television in 1988. Peck’s directorial career includes: “Lumumba,” which aired on HBO in 2002; “Haitian Corner”; the documentary “Lumumba -- Death of a Prophet,” which was awarded the Procirep Prize, Festival du Réel and Best Documentary at the Montreal Film Festival in 1992; “The Man on the Shore,” which was selected for competition at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival; “Desounen -- Dialogue with Death”; “Haiti -- Silence of the Dogs”; “Chère Catherine,” which was awarded the Sony Special Prize at the 1997 Locarno Festival; and “Corps Plongés.” Peck was awarded the Nestor Almendros Prize (1994) and The Irene Diamond Lifetime Achievement Award (2003) by Human Rights Watch.

All film screenings are shown at the Rainbow Cinemas Market Square.  For the full film schedule, go to 




Passion. Poetry. Post-Apartheid

Excerpt from The Toronto Star -
Peter Howell, Movie Critic

(Apr. 8, 2005)
The end of official apartheid in South Africa in the mid-1990s brought an astonishing exercise in national healing called the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), which offered amnesty to the perpetrators of racially motivated crimes in exchange for their sincere contrition.  Even the vilest of acts — including rape, torture and murder — committed by both sides of the racial divide during the apartheid years of 1960-94 were deemed subject to the African concept of "ubuntu," a form of absolution intended to restore social harmony through love rather than hate. In two years of TRC hearings that criss-crossed South Africa, from big city to tiny village, 21,800 victims told their stories and 1,163 perpetrators were granted amnesty.  Such divine forbearance is rarely seen in a world where scores are usually settled by violence or by Nuremberg-style trials where punishment is the only option.  Which is why we can share the disbelief and cynicism uttered by Samuel L. Jackson's journalist character Langston Whitfield, who dominates In My Country, John Boorman's dramatized account of the TRC era. Langston is a Washington Post reporter assigned to cover the TRC hearings, and their unique mandate to collect the stories of apartheid victims and the confessions of their transgressors.  "So what is African justice?" Whitfield asks radio reporter Anna Malan (Juliette Binoche), a white Afrikaner also covering the hearings. "Do you just have to say, `I'm sorry?'"  Anna tells him that South Africa is a lot more complicated than that, and forgiveness not so easily granted. But understanding the country requires more than a quick visit.  "When this is all over, you can jump on a plane to go home," she says. "We've got to live here."  Similar philosophical crosscurrents waft through In My Country, which L.A. screenwriter Ann Peacock has earnestly adapted from the book Country of My Skull, an account of the hearings by Antjie Krog, a South African poet and journalist. (The book title, reflecting its poetic nature, was originally the title of the movie, too, until blandness intervened.)  Binoche's Anna is clearly patterned on Krog, including the opening scenes establishing her upbringing as the daughter of a wealthy farm owner in a land where a minority of affluent whites until recently ruled a majority of impoverished blacks. Anna is the token liberal in a household of gun-toting supremacists and Binoche is the ideal face for the job: unlined and expressive, quick to offer succour.  "Remember where you're from, Anna," her father cautions her, as she heads off to begin her coverage of the TRC.

The temptation in a movie of this kind is to make a character like Anna the unvarnished heroine, bravely fighting for a cause that needs no explanation or justification. Indeed, Peacock's script occasionally creaks from Krog's overripe poetry, as when Anna exclaims in voice-over, "Truth has become a woman."  Poets make lousy journalists, and vice-versa. In My Country would be almost unbearable if passions went no further than trading righteous outbursts, however artful. And not just the passions of the inevitable romantic connection between Anna and Langston, who somehow forget that they're both married, and not to each other. Their affair is the weakest part of the movie, although the chemistry between Binoche and Jackson is undeniable.  Anna is not a completely sympathetic character, being too brittle and self-serving for her own good, both in and out of bed, and she's not as contrite about her country's past as she first seems. She makes a good match with Jackson's Langston, who tools around in a BMW and who is far more unscrupulous and confrontational than a reporter ought to be, especially one representing a paper like the Washington Post.  But Binoche and Jackson are good actors, as is South African star Menzi "Ngubs" Ngubane, who plays Anna's morally flexible sidekick. The movie is bigger than the sum of its parts.  Journeyman director Boorman recognizes he's making an important story that contains shades of grey, despite the stark colour contrast. He has done his homework, filming in South Africa after many years spent touring the country, and he is careful not to let the pious homilies of the script affect the harsh realities of the story.  Boorman exhibits the same hard-won wisdom he demonstrated a few years back with The General, in which "The Troubles" of Ireland were examined in the affairs of one fascinating and hard-to-hate crime lord.  The title star of The General, Brendan Gleeson, plays the chief villain of In My Country. He's Col. De Jager, the head of torture for the South African Police, who submits to an interview — more like an inquisition — with Langston that the movie repeatedly returns to as a sort of touchstone to the evils of apartheid. De Jager is as underwritten as Jackson's Langston is overbearing, but he provides a glimpse into the apartheid mind: "I killed for my country."  In My Country plays like a companion piece to the Oscar-nominated 2000 documentary Long Night's Journey Into Day, which presented actual TRC testimony in a far more compelling manner. As is often the case, re-enacted drama can't quite measure up to the weight of reality. But both films need to be seen, as essential history and as demonstration of a form of social reckoning where compassion triumphs over passion, and the olive branch over the gun.




Glynn Turman Gets His Groove Back in the New Adventure 'Sahara'

Excerpt from -
Chris Pryor

(Apr. 7, 2005) Glynn Turman's been in the acting game for a minute. After making his TV debut on the soap opera Peyton Place - playing the teenaged son of Dr. Harry and Alma Miles (Percy Rodriguez and Ruby Dee, respectively) -- Turman made further inroads on the acting scene with his portrayal of "Preacher" in the black film classic Cooley High opposite Lawrence Hilton Jacobs. While the film was made for television, Glynn's theatre chops prevailed and he's since moved from television to co-star in feature Hollywood productions like Deep Cover, The Inkwell, How Stella Got Her Groove Back and Men of Honor.  On April 8th Turman returns to theatres all over the country in the action/ adventure Sahara opposite Matthew McConaughey, Penélope Cruz and Steve Zahn. Glynn's latest offering was directed by newcomer Breck Eisner and is an adaptation from Clive Cussler's popular adventure novels that follow the globe-trotting exploits of Dirk Pitt (McConaughey) and Al Giordino (Zahn) who are in search of a Civil War Ironclad buried deep in an ancient riverbed thought to have flowed over what is now known as the Sahara Desert. As the tale holds, Pitt and Giordino cross paths with Dr. Hopper (Turman) and Dr. Rojas (Cruz) -- two physicians working for the World Health Organization who are racing against time to pinpoint the source of a deadly virus outbreak which threatens to erupt into an irrevocable pandemic if the source of the disease isn't found. The action/ adventure setting aside, according to the acting veteran, the actual shooting of Sahara proved to be a cross-cultural odyssey in its own right. "It was an adventure...we went to Africa -- Morocco -- for three months. Barcelona, Spain for a month, London for a couple of weeks... The picture, itself, is an adventure but the filming of the picture was an adventure as well. Meeting the people of Morocco -- a large part of the film was filmed in a small town -- called, Ifuud. Ifuud is caught at a crossroads between the old and the new but the old ways (of living) are still so ingrained...," he says referring to the influx of tourism and international film studios that have began to shoot productions in that part of the globe. "My hat's off to Breck Eisner who had to helm a crew of about 400 -- that [was] just the crew; sand [was] everywhere and that sand," Glynn continues -- unlike the High Desert area -- the sand there is like talcum powder, it's very fine so it just gets everywhere. [Eisner] would not relent, in terms of what he wanted to get [with the cameras] and I think it shows on the film."

Sahara is set in Africa and has a large supporting cast of black actors. While some might take exception to the fact that the main hero in the film is Caucasian and harbour thoughts that the film might be filled with "Tarzan saviour" stereotypes that have proliferated on the big screen in the past, Turman's not having any of it. "Well, it's easy to make that argument, it could've been me -- I used to be buff," he laughs "but at the same time that 's not necessarily the story that Clive Cussler wrote [which is] the character that he's had this ongoing series about." "However," Glynn continues, "if you read the same books, you'll see that Dr. Hopper is not black. Dr. Hopper is a big, red-headed Irishman -- I play Dr. Hopper," he explains..."on the one hand there were some creative liberties taken. I think that the picture, overall, has some very positive things to say in terms of what that's all about. First of all the head of the operation, who is my character, didn't have to be. She's (Dr. Rojas) is of Latin ancestry, there are both good guys and bad guys who are black -- didn't have to be. So you take the overall, bigger picture -- I think it addressed the situation well. If you take issue with "the Great White Hope Theory," we can always DO that but to what avail? In addition to his work on the hit prime time HBO series "The Wire" (now shooting it's third season) Turman's been working on an autobiography (untitled as of this writing) and has begun production of a one man play that he'd penned which chronicles his early years when he began cutting his teeth alongside the heroes and she-roes of black theatre. "[Moving Man is] taken from a book that I'm writing about my journey. And it's based on a specific segment as to what being in the original production of "A Raisin in the Sun" -- how that affected and changed my life. How I got into that in the first place and the world that I was in that introduced me to that monster of a play."
For all intents and purposes, one could consider Turman an elder statesman of sorts. Although he's been acting for over 3 decades, he too knows that he had to stand on the shoulders of giants who came before him and is matter-of-fact when pointing out that undeniable truth. "If it wasn't for Lorraine Hansbury, there wouldn't have been a place for August Wilson. She was a black woman who wrote the first Broadway drama, which was produced on Broadway by a man named Phillip Rose, it starred Sydney Poitier and Ruby Dee and Claudia McNeal, Louis Gossett, Ivan Dixon and I-- those were just the ones onstage," Glynn reflects. "Douglas Turner-Ward, who co-founded the Negro Ensemble Theatre Company and Lonnie Elder who wrote the movie "Sounder," so on and so forth," says Turman in homage to the legends who helped him find his voice on stage "All of these people were in this one production -- Beah Richards, was understudying Claudia McNeal. Lloyd Richards directed "A Raisin in the Sun" --  he's the one who directed August Wilson's first play and got August Wilson to become the giant that he is... if you just take the names that I just told you and the people who are still [inspired] as a result of that -- people who contributed to it -- it's proof-positive of the power that this woman, who 45 years later intrigued P-Diddy, the hippest cat in the new millennium, to come about and say "hey, I want to do this [play]" and to have him later say, "that's the hardest [thing] I've ever done in my life.  But," Turman continues, " what he did, as a result of doing that play, is introduce a whole [new] group of youngsters to Broadway, who never would've [otherwise] gone to see a Broadway production, necessarily -- had it not been for his celebrity. He used his celebrity well [and that] is what I expressed to him when we met." All of that aside, the Glynn doesn't mince words when asked his opinion about the deluge of singer/rapper/ actors that seem to be usurping a lot of the roles from long-time black thespians who, like himself, came out of theatre first. "I've always looked at myself as just an actor, like a carpenter or any tradesman, that's my craft...that's what I do," he says. "It doesn't matter where I do it as long as I am doing it as well as I can, in as good a project as I can. I'd like to make a lot of money, and sometimes I have, but sometimes I haven't made [anything] but I've been acting -- I took the initiative that I would define myself as opposed to being defined"

It's been said that one of the hardest toughest parts about being a working black actor in Hollywood is actually securing the work and Glynn has stood the test of time by consistently securing roles in features and TV but it's not lost on the veteran of stage and screen that he's building a legacy of his own. "A Different World," of course, was a endeavour -- we take a lot of pride in what we were able to accomplish with that," the actor says of the popular syndicated Cosby Show spin-off. "Cooley High's one of my favourite films that I've been a part of -- not just because I was in it but -- because it was such a wonderful film," says Turman beaming with pride, "I guess three generations now, recognize me from Cooley High -- it's fantastic." Sahara opens nation wide on April 8th




The Return Of Anthony Anderson

Excerpt from

(Apr. 11, 2005)
*In his first formal interviews since he has been completely free of all legal matters regarding a false rape charge, Anthony Anderson took time to address the people who have supported him throughout the ordeal that began when a woman on the set of his forthcoming film “Hustle and Flow” accused him of sexual assault last July. The 34-year-old Los Angeles native says it was “my faith in God, my faith in myself and family and fans, and my friends” that sustained him through the rough patch.  “There were a lot of prayers out there from people that I will never, ever meet in my life who have supported me, and I thank them for that,” said Anderson while promoting his latest film “King’s Ransom.”  In the comedy opening April 22, Anderson plays what he has described as an “a-hole” businessman who arranges his own kidnapping – with the help of his ditzy mistress (Regina Hall) and her ex-con brother (Charlie Murphy) – to keep his fortune from landing in the hands of his bitter soon-to-be ex-wife (Kellita Smith) in their divorce settlement. Anderson is also slated to star in Martin Scorsese’s upcoming “Infernal Affairs” for New Line Cinema opposite Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio, and the actor is currently enjoying critical acclaim in the dramatic role of an ex-gang drug distributor-turned-community leader on the FX series “The Shield.” “This has been part of a plan for us, my team and myself, to do something a bit more dramatic and serious,” says the actor. “I applaud New Line for giving me the chance to be a lead in a film. I applaud Shawn Ryan, the creator of ‘The Shield’, and FX for giving me a chance to show the viewing public a different side of me, something I haven’t been afforded and offered up until this point. It’s a step in a different direction. Something I’ve been waiting and wanting to do for quite some time now.” 

Things weren’t looking so positive last summer when a 25-year-old female extra on the Tennessee set of “Hustle and Flow” accused Anderson and the film's director Wayne Witherspoon of sexually assaulting her in a trailer. A judge threw out the case last October, saying the testimony by the accuser was some of the most suspicious he had heard in two decades.  The District Attorney’s office reviewed the case and decided months later not to seek a grand jury criminal indictment against Anderson and Witherspoon.  In March, talk of the Scorsese gig hit the trades, and soon Anderson found himself deep in A-list territory opposite Damon, DiCaprio, Mark Wahlberg and Jack Nicholson. “If we come anywhere close to doing what they did in the original, I think this is going to go through the roof,” says Anderson of the film, a remake of a 2002 Hong Kong flick about a rivalry between the Boston police force and an Irish-American gang. Of his role, Anderson says: “Leonardo DiCaprio, myself and Matt Damon, we all come up through the police force together. I’m one of the police officers. They go in their different directions as moles.” Anderson is hoping these new dramatic roles will unearth a more dramatic side of himself to casting directors.    “I’ve trained at this since I was nine years old, and to be able to show a different side of me as an actor that most people really didn’t know about and really haven’t seen, I get charged and juiced by that because I just love what I do,” said the actor. “Doing something that’s so far left of what I might be known for, and having success at that, and having people respond in a favourable way is just as exciting to me as having a room full of people laugh at a joke that they may see me do on screen.”   Check out King's Ransom starring Anthony Anderson, Jay Mohr, Regina Hall and Donald Faison IN THEATRES APRIL 22. Enter the Player's Ball Sweepstakes to Win a Hometown Screening and see the HILARIOUS trailer at!  (04-30)




Zoe Saldana: Sky's The Limit

Excerpt from - By Tiffany Hamilton

A lot has changed in the life of Dominican beauty
Zoe Saldana. From her break-out role as the best friend of pop princess Britney Spears in Crossroads, to playing a sexy siren who got to slap the taste out of co-star Johnny Depp’s mouth in Pirates of the Caribbean, there is something about Zoe that makes audiences want more.   Born in New Jersey, Zoe was raised first in Queens, New York then in the Dominican Republic, where she studied ballet and various forms of dance at the Espacio de Danza Academy before returning to the United States for high school. Her first major motion picture role was actually as a ballerina in the film Center Stage, followed by an appearance in Get Over It with Kirsten Dunst. She became a member of the New York theatre group FACES, which performs skits directed at teenagers to open up conversation about drug abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault. All of her hard work began to pay off with more scripts being passed her way, and her role in the phenomenally successful film Drumline set Zoe firmly in the ranks of hot Hollywood ladies.   Now starring in the new film Guess Who alongside the King Of Comedy, Bernie Mac, and the prince of Punk’d, Ashton Kutcher, Saldana is continuing her path of box office success. Alternatives got a chance to talk with Ms. Saldana about sex, love and what makes her tick. Alternatives: I got a chance to see you on Punk’d with Ashton. How did you feel, and was it before or after you shot Guess Who?

Zoe: What was funny is, it was way after. We wrapped Guess Who last summer, and that was done a few months ago - so it took him that long to get me.

AHHA: Well, at least we know you are a ride or die friend.

Zoe: Yeah, [laughs] and what’s even more hilarious is that one of my guy friends called and said that I am his chick for life because of the way I reacted.

AHHA: Yeah, it was serious. Now let’s talk about Guess Who. You play Teresa Jones, who falls in love with a white stock broker [played by Ashton Kutcher]. Was that a stretch from your actual dating life?

Zoe: Not really, as far as dating someone who wasn’t Black or Spanish. Truthfully, I don’t look at someone for their colour, because if they are a good person, they are a good person; that’s just how I was raised. So when I see a guy, I don’t think, ‘Wow, he’s a fine Black guy’ or whatever, I just think, ‘He’s a cool guy’.

AHHA: How was it working with Ashton Kutcher and Bernie Mac? Was it hard to keep your composure?

Zoe: It was great! They are so hilarious and such talented actors, I learned a lot from them. As far as keeping cool and not laughing my ass off, no I didn’t do a good job because they are just too funny. But I loved working with them, we had fun.

AHHA: I hear that you teamed up with Orlando Bloom again for a new film called Haven. How was it working with him and what is Haven about?

Zoe: Working with Orlando was great. I remember when we met on the set of Pirates of the Caribbean, we were just two kids happy to make it. Now we have grown a lot, both personally and industry-wise, so we met up and we’re like, ‘Let’s have lunch’. [laughs]. Haven to me is a great film, we are in the process now of looking for a studio to house the film. It’s about two people who are on this beach and they are there to just escape, you know, get away from everything in their everyday lives.

AHHA: With a lot of Hip-Hop stars getting into acting, is there anyone that you would like to work with?

Zoe: I would love to work with someone like Nas or Andre 3000, because Nas is so poetic with his rhymes and I feel he could really bring something to the art. But, I would really love to work with [Andre 3000], he is so fine.[laughs] I love the fact that he is so experimental [with his music] and it’s just something about him, I would work with him anytime. [laughs]

AHHA: I hear that you are stepping into the producers chair by producing your first independent film, Dias Duesperte. How is it taking on the role?

Zoe: It’s cool, but a lot of hard work. We are actually in the process of wrapping up the script, and I am flying to the Dominican Republic where the film will take place to do casting and all that stuff, so we can start filming hopefully this summer.

AHHA: What is the movie about?

Zoe: It’s about the children in the Dominican Republic who are starving and are very poverty stricken. It’s basically giving you an up close and personal look into what a day in their life is like. We ended up choosing to shoot the film in the Dominican Republic, because that is where both the director and I are from.

AHHA: That’s pretty deep...

Zoe: Yeah, it just shows that anyone can make a difference, but that celebrities need to use their money and star power to go towards something more than just shoes and things like that. I like shoes and things too, but instead of buying a $400 pair of shoes, buy a $150 pair and donate the rest, because there are kids out there who can really use a hot meal and warm clothes - and they need it way more than we do.

AHHA: Are you planning on debuting your film at the PanAfrican Film Festival when it’s completed?

Zoe: I would love to debut my film at an independent festival, but I really want it to debut on a major level. That way it can reach a lot of people and really show the effects of world hunger. I just don’t want this film to be written off as another indie film that’s deep, because they are a dime a dozen. I really want this film to touch people in such a way that they give help.

AHHA: A lot of roles that you have done so far have been pretty safe, do you plan on doing any action films?

Zoe: Well, I would love to play in a film where the character is really dark. I think a lot of actors start off doing certain roles that appear to be safe, because they are basically building a resume’ of their abilities. But the flip side to that is if you do it too much, you could end up being type cast as whatever they see you as being. But yeah, eventually I am going to step out and do some off the wall type of characters.

AHHA: Getting back to the theme of Guess Who and you being an equal opportunity dater, what type of guy grabs your attention?

Zoe: Let’s talk about guys who don’t. [laughs] I hate it when guys call out to me like I am an animal. I find that really annoying. I feel that if a man wants to talk to me, then he should approach me like a lady and not yell out the window like a fool. I also hate it when guys just come up and grab me. When I was in Atlanta filming Drumline, we had went out to a club and I had on a cute skirt and this guy just grabbed my ass. [laughs] I am laughing now, but at the time I cussed him out. He stood up and he was like 6’6”, but I didn’t care because I was so mad. My friends had to pull me out the club.

AHHA: Let me find out we are going to be watching the news and see you beating up some man for touching you. [laughs]

Zoe: [laughs]I promise my friends are like I am going to get shot by someone because I have a bad mouth, but to me it’s all about saying how I feel. I don’t care, and I don’t back down from anything I believe in.

AHHA: What’s the worst pick up line you have ever heard?

Zoe: Oh my gosh, I have heard some dumb ones. I mean, they were so dumb I don’t even remember them because I try not to hold on to ignorant comments. But regardless of what they were, pick up lines just don’t work on me. I love a guy who is just himself. He has to believe in doing things equally and by that I mean letting me pay sometimes and valuing my opinion. If he isn’t stepping to me like that, then he might as well not step at all.

AHHA: I read in an interview that you don’t like to define yourself as being a Black nor Latina actress, nor do you have a preference on what you play. Do you find that people tend to focus on race too much?

Zoe: I think that we have come a long way from when that’s all people thought about, but I do feel that there is still a lot of ignorance out there. What I meant by the comment I said was that I am not going to let any role define me. When I look in the mirror, I don’t see Black Zoe or Spanish Zoe, I just see Zoe - and that’s all I expect other people to see when they are looking at me for a part or whatever. I mean it’s obvious that there is a lot of ignorance out there, it’s evident by what some people say. But I don’t let that stuff bother me. When I go up for roles, if they don’t want me because I’m Black, then "oh well" I am on to the next audition, because you know what? It’s their loss. I am going to keep being me regardless, because that’s all I know how to do.




Wise Drew? Who Knew?

Excerpt from The Toronto Star -
Geoff Pevere, Movie Critic

(Apr. 6, 2005) BEVERLY HILLS, CALIF.—Despite it all,
Drew Barrymore is coping.  Never mind about the frog in her throat, which keeps hopping around between words during her meeting with the press at the junket for the new Barrymore-produced romantic comedy Fever Pitch.  Never mind about the hairy schedule, which will find the young producer and actress leaving for Las Vegas to begin her new movie mere hours after finishing the promotional responsibilities.  And never mind about the milestone. Drew Barrymore, the child star from the famous acting family who starred opposite E.T., may have just — omigod — turned 30. But "it's all good."  Asked if reaching the creaky old age of 30 is "traumatic," Barrymore looks mildly stunned.  "Did you say traumatic or dramatic?" she asks, clearing her throat.  "Traumatic," repeats her questioner.  "Why?" asks Barrymore, who is as chipper as possible under the circumstances. "Ahem. Excuse me. A-hem. Sorry."  Her new movie, which she produced as well as stars in, is a romantic comedy set against the triumphant victory — after 86 years of losing — of the Boston Red Sox in last year's World Series. It opens Friday.  Loosely adapted (and liberally Americanized) from British writer Nick Hornby's novel about intemperate soccer obsession, Fever Pitch stars Barrymore as a young professional who falls for a guy who actually sleeps in Red Sox pyjamas. He's played by Jimmy Fallon. And the movie was directed by Boston's Farrelly Brothers. It's a romantic comedy with a sports theme, which ought to give it pretty good date-movie potential.

"It's the best time in my life. Ahem. What could be traumatic about it?"
 "Well," offers another reporter, "It is a pretty youth-obsessed business."  "I have to say I'm feeling the opposite," insists Barrymore, who's been in the business since she was knee high to the frog currently doing cartwheels in her esophagus.  "I think the older I get, the better I get. And whatever gravity or wrinkles or anything is nothing compared to the wisdom inside my head and heart."  I check my notes. Is she turning 30 or 60?  "And I'm only getting better. Ahem. If my boobs fall down to the floor and it all just starts sagging and is hideous and gross and I shouldn't be in front of a camera, I love producing and I'd love to direct. So I'll just go behind the camera."  Nope, it's 30. Not 60.  "It's all good," she insists to no one's evident alarm. "There's plenty of work out there to be had. I'm just not worried about the physicality. I'm much more worried about how can I use this lifetime to gain the most wisdom that I possibly can."

This is inspirational. Here's the former Mrs. Tom Green, beautiful, rich and successful even at the ancient age of 30, and what she really cares about is the life of the spirit. Move over, Dalai Lama.
 "And I want to celebrate," she adds with conviction. "I feel like there is a lot of celebrating going on. I'm on the cover of Vogue magazine for the first time in my life. And I had to wait until I was 30 to be on it. That feels right. That feels like an achievement. It feels like it was worth the wait and I appreciate it more now."  It's so true. How many of us squandered the experience of being on the cover of Vogue before we had acquired the spiritual maturity to really appreciate it? Who can't relate to that?  As a producer, Barrymore keeps her hand in everything.  "Everything," she confirms. "The casting process. Trying to keep your budget a certain way. Hiring the director. Being involved in the rewrites, which is always my scariest process, the rewriting. The production designer, the cinematographer, the editing, the fact that it's got to be marketed appropriate to the publicity. All of it.  "I find it very empowering," she says between frog leaps. "And I just want to continue to grow. Ahem."  She's particularly proud of the work Peter and Bobby Farrelly did directing Fever Pitch, despite — or because of — the fact that it's easily the least Farrelly-esque of the Boston gross-out kings' movies.  Besides a single scene involving a dog and some vomit, you'd never even know Fever Pitch was a Farrelly production if you missed the credits. Barrymore hired them.  "Some of the films they have made are the greatest films in the history of comedy and filmmaking," Barrymore says of the creators of Shallow Hal and Stuck on You. "But I think this is an opportunity for them to show their more serious and mature side."  Originally, Fever Pitch was about a guy in love with the most cursed team in baseball. Then, as Barrymore and crew were shooting in Toronto, the Red Sox suddenly became contenders again. Then, against all odds, winners.  "The fact was, we were talking about the Boston Red Sox history throughout the movie, and as we were shooting it the history was changing. So what a phenomenal thing to incorporate into our film."

"A miracle was occurring," Barrymore exclaims. "Instead of just the boy getting the girl but his team loses yet again, he gets the girl and his team wins. It's like everybody wins. It's such an extraordinary celebration! Ahem."
 How about the losers? Was it also a celebration for St. Louis fans?  Barrymore frowns sympathetically.  "I just hate that there has to be someone winning and someone losing," she says with a cough and a sigh. "I will say that what I was happy about was that no matter what team you root for or where your loyalties lie or where you're from, I feel like everybody sort of took a moment and went, `All right, 86 years in the making. You've earned it.'  "I kind of felt everybody put their own loyalties aside for a second. Which was a very lovely moment in the world."  Drew Barrymore rises to leave, older but wiser. "Ahem. Excuse me."




Sykes Speaks About New Movie; Hard Rep; And The Infamous Bill Cosby Run-In

Excerpt from

(Apr. 13, 2005)
   *While the world has focused its attention on Jane Fonda and Jennifer Lopez in the forthcoming film “Monster-In-Law” (opening May 13), Wanda Sykes quietly shines in the role of Ruby, the assistant to Fonda’s Viola - a recently-fired news anchor who is hell bent on destroying her son’s relationship with his girlfriend.   “I thought I was being punk’d, when they told me I was going to be in a movie with Jane Fonda and Jennifer Lopez,” says comedian Wanda Sykes.  “I was looking for Ashton Kutcher. I was waiting for him to step out and go, ‘Cmon, you did “Pootie Tang.” You really think you’re gonna be in a movie with Jane Fonda? Get outta here.’” After all of the actors met for the first time, Sykes calmed down a bit. “Jane was just so down to earth and so gracious it just removed all this - I’m an icon and legendary actress two-time Oscar winner,” said Sykes. “That just went out the door and we really got along well off screen.  That’s why it worked so well on screen.”   The Portsmouth, Virginia-born, Maryland-raised comic is known for her irreverent sense of humour, most recently displayed in her Comedy Central reality series "Wanda Does It" where she tackled various blue-collar jobs. Sykes also wrote produced and starred in her own Fox show "Wanda at Large," which led to an early demise because of its placement on the network schedule, according to Sykes. “You’re just at their mercy as far as where they stick you,” she said of Fox’s behaviour toward her series. “I was doing well on Wednesday nights, and then when they moved us to Friday nights at 8 o’clock, a night that Fox never had original programming, I mean that was like being in the witness protection program.  Nobody could find us.” 

Mainstream audiences got hip to Sykes’ skills on HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” where she played herself as the neighbour of the show’s star and creator, Larry David.  Her character’s sassy attitude and sharp tongue mirrored the flavour of her stand-up – so much so, that folks began to think the actress had a similar personality when she was away from the spotlight. “I remember when I was doing my book signing [for “Yeah I Said It,” published by Simon and Schuster], people would come up and go, ‘C’mon, curse me out! Curse at me!’ I’m like why, you know, that’s not my personality, that’s more my stage personality.”  The Hampton University grad made headlines a while back when her attempt to fill time during an Emmy telecast led to an awkward exchange with Bill Cosby. Sykes was asked by producers to do a bit in the audience with a microphone – but the bit went awry. “The whole night, I was just going, ‘Okay, it’s a live show. I have like a minute and a half to go through and do my little segment, tell people to watch “Wanda At Large,” and get outta there.’  That’s why I was there.  I was on my way to Larry David, so I stopped by Bill Cosby just out of respect because he was there. I said hello to him, said a little thing. And then he said something.” When Sykes asked the veteran entertainer about the longevity of “The Cosby Show,” he suggested the series was successful because “we spoke English.” “Honestly, I wasn’t even listening,” Sykes continues. “But in my mind I was going, ‘Okay, do not give him the mic because he will go on and on and on. You know how he can just go on.  And he’ll take a long time before he’ll get to the funny.  So I was like, okay, yeah, yeah, yeah, and I just went on. I just blew right by it. And then the next morning, when people were talking about it, I was like, ‘What is everybody talking about?’ I didn’t even absorb it.” In retrospect, Sykes said her fellow “comedian fraternity” would frown on such a remark.  “You just don’t do that to another comic,” she explains.  For one of her next roles, she’ll voice the character of Stella the Skunk opposite voice actors Jim Carrey and Garry Shandling in “Over the Hedge.” When asked if this is a positive or negative career move, Sykes says:  “As far as body size, I guess going to a skunk is a good thing.  But as far as the odour, no.”




Manitoba Buying Sound Stage For $1.8-Million

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail

(Apr. 9, 2005)
Winnipeg -- The Manitoba government is spending $1.8-million to buy a financially troubled sound stage. The privately owned Prairie Production Centre in downtown Winnipeg was established six years ago to attract more film and television projects to the province. But it has had trouble finding business, so the province has stepped in to ensure it remains viable. The government says the indoor sound stage is vital to the film industry in the province. CP




Fred Hammond Brings 'The Gospel' To The Big Screen

Excerpt from

(Apr. 9, 2005)
The movie, 'The Gospel' has been in the works for some time now.  Filming took place in Atlanta, GA and many from the gospel community have been invited to make appearances in the production, including Donnie McClurkin, Delores "Mom" Winans and Hezekiah Walker. Former 'The Wire' star Idris Elba is also featured in the upcoming spiritually themed movie, with Rob Hardy for Columbia TriStar Motion Pictures sitting in the Directors Chair. You can also expect to see Boris Kodjoe, Nona Gaye, Keisha Knight Pulliam, Clifton Powell, Tamyra Gray, Aloma Wright and Omar Gooding.  Yolanda Adams and Martha Munizzi also have guest performances in the film, which will feature original music by Kirk Franklin.  'The Gospel' is being executive produced by gospel veteran Fred Hammond and Holly Davis-Carter in conjunction with Rainforest Films.  The movie is scheduled to hit theatres by the end of 2005.




Bollywood Goddess Takes On 'Godman'

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail

(Apr. 12, 2005)
Bombay -- Bollywood darling and former Miss World Aishwarya Rai will take on an obsessive "godman" in a new thriller set to start shooting in the next two months. Rai, the Hindi film industry's highest-paid actress -- currently being seen in North America in the feature Bride & Prejudice -- has signed on for Saamna (Confrontation), a film that for the first time in Bollywood deals with the contentious subject of gurus who exploit people by instilling fear in them. The film is being made by respected Bollywood director Raj Kumar Santoshi. AFP




Liotta To Star In Canadian Indie Shot In Calgary

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail

(Apr. 13, 2005)
Los Angeles -- Ray Liotta will star in a new comedy film by Canadian comic Bruce McCulloch about love and football. Liotta will play an unfaithful husband trying to repair his broken marriage. "I'm really excited to be back here working with all the local talent that I know and the new talent that I'm meeting" says McCulloch, who will write and direct the film, which will be shot in Calgary. Rachel Blanchard, Glenne Headly and Shaun Sipos also have been cast in the indie film Comeback Season. Reuters




Diva Chatter: Mariah Says ‘Glitter’ Helped Nation Heal After 9/11

Excerpt from

(Apr. 13, 2005)
*A nation still reeling from the shock of terrorism apparently turned to the movie “Glitter” for a bit of comic relief, according to the film’s star, Mariah Carey. The singer searched for and found a deeper meaning to the disastrous reviews the film received.  "The problem was Glitter was about a diva moment," she explained to the “New York Post.” "It was too close to my life. Another thing that people don't remember about Glitter is that it came out the week of 9/11. The movie became a pressure release for everyone dealing with the intensity of the attacks. Glitter was the safe joke of the day."







Amy Grant Signs On For NBC Pilot

Excerpt from -
Deborah Evans Price, Nashville

(Apr. 8, 2005)
Christian music star Amy Grant has been tapped to host "Three Wishes," an NBC pilot/special. She and the show's team of experts will make a variety of wishes come true for participants, such as aiding a family with a member's life-threatening medical crisis, helping to save a teacher's job and giving someone a chance to live out a sports fantasy.  Grant says she is not a big TV watcher and doesn't indulge in reality TV programming, but she really liked the concept for "Three Wishes."  "I met with the producers and was captivated by the stories, which I'm not supposed to talk about because it's like telling what the end of the book is," she says. "Everything this show is about are things that are important to me that I invest my personal time and energy in."  Andrew Glassman and Jason Raff, a duo whose credits include NBC's "Average Joe," are the executive producers of "Three Wishes." Glassman says, "While our team is there to help, ultimately, this show will be about people helping people make their wishes and dreams come true."  Production on the pilot began the first week of April. "I told them I don't have any talent in this area, but I was really moved by this," Grant says of the opportunity to do the show.  On the music side, Grant's 20th album, "Rock of Ages ... Hymns & Faith," arrives May 3 on Word/Curb/Warner Bros.




CBC Axing 33 Publicists, Will Outsource Promotions

Excerpt from The Toronto Star -
Antonia Zerbisias, Media Columnist

(Apr. 12, 2005)
CBC is axing 33 of the staffers who work to promote the public broadcaster's radio and TV programming, in a move aimed at saving $864,000 a year.  Most of the affected employees are in Toronto. At the end of June, 21 jobs lost will be here.  John Bozzo, CBC executive director of communications, informed employees yesterday the "publicity function" would be outsourced to a private sector company.  "This is not about the quality or the quantity of the work that they have done in the past," he told the Star.  "This is about, can we do it more efficiently and more effectively going forward."  The cuts are aimed at funnelling more money into drama programming, in keeping with a strategy outlined by CBC-TV executive vice-president Richard Stursberg.  Seven companies have so far submitted confidential requests for proposals. But the Canadian Media Guild (CMG), which represents CBC employees, is sceptical the private sector can do the job better or more cheaply.  "Even CBC acknowledges that salaries is not where savings are to be made," said CMG national president Lise Lareau yesterday.  "It will cost more very much more over the long run to outsource these jobs."  CBC's publicists are the men and women who pitch entertainment editors, writers and TV critics for coverage of their programs, a very competitive game today in the multi-channel universe — especially for Canadian programs.  CBC publicists have it tougher than their commercial network counterparts because the latter benefit from big U.S. network pushes, which result in magazine covers, TV talk shows and other promotional vehicles that flood our newsstands and airwaves.  Lareau points to the depth and breadth of knowledge held by CBC's publicists, some of who have worked at the public broadcaster for decades.  "This is a quick and dirty way of getting to line saving ordered by Stursberg so that he can do drama on CBC — but I think it will be a false economy," she said, insisting that publicity money will eventually have to come out of programming budgets.  Countered Bozzo, "We as a public broadcaster have to work extra hard to get our programs written about, and the publicists have done a good job of that in the past.  "But we're looking at a new model and we're confident it's going to get us the results we're going to need in the future."







Pitre Loading Her Gun For Massey Hall Run

Excerpt from The Toronto Star -
Richard Ouzounian

(Apr. 13, 2005) The theatrical drought that had been predicted for Toronto this summer is suddenly over with a thunderclap of talent arriving on the scene.  Louise Pitre, who hasn't appeared locally in a musical since her award-winning turn in Mamma Mia!, will be seen in the title role of one of the most beloved of Broadway shows.  Pitre will be slipping out of the sequined jumpsuit of the "Dancin' Queen" and putting on the buckskins of Wild West sharpshooter Annie Oakley in Annie Get Your Gun.  The Irving Berlin classic is expected to be presented for a month-long run at Massey Hall, starting in early August.  Annie Get Your Gun was first produced in 1946, starring the legendary Ethel Merman and most recently revived in 1999 with Bernadette Peters, who was later replaced with great success by country star Reba McEntire.  The role is a neat fit for Pitre, the Smooth Rock Falls, Ont. gal who shot to superstardom when she created the role of Donna in the North American premiere of the ABBA songfest Mamma Mia! in 2000. She later went on to tour it across America and wound up playing the role on Broadway for two years and earning a Tony nomination  In another casting coup, country music star Paul Brandt will be making his theatre debut as Pitre's romantic interest, Frank Butler.  The Albertan has the distinction of being the most honoured male country artist in Canadian history, with 12 Canadian Country Music Awards and 12 Junos.  The combination of Pitre and Brandt can be counted on to raise the roof of Massey Hall, whose heavenly acoustics already recommend it as a place to hear one of the most tuneful scores in Broadway history.  Producers plan to follow the format of the wildly successful Encores! series that plays every year at Manhattan's City Center theatre.  There will be full lighting and costumes, but no scenery. Instead, a 25-piece orchestra will fill the stage, conducted by Rick Fox, the man who has wielded the baton at many of Toronto's big musicals, from Phantom of the Opera to The Producers.  Berlin's score features such hits as "There's No Business Like Show Business," "You Can't Get a Man With a Gun" and "Doin' What Comes Naturally."  The direction and staging of the piece will be in the hands of Donna Feore, best known for her choreography with the Stratford Festival (My Fair Lady) and the Canadian Opera Company (Siegfried).  Complete details of the Massey Hall run will be released next week. Once they are, you can get your tickets, but leave your gun at home.

They say one swallow doesn't make a summer, but can one Somers make us swallow our lingering doubts that this long theatrical winter is finally over?  Here's hoping so, as Suzanne Somers brings her one-woman show The Blonde in the Thunderbird to Toronto, just prior to its Broadway run.  Somers is still best remembered for her creation of the clueless Chrissy on the popular 1970s sitcom Three's Company, but in recent years her fame has rested more on the series of self-help books she's written, the most recent being Slim and Sexy Forever.  The Blonde in the Thunderbird is described as a musical show that presents "the story of one woman's struggle to make it, tracing her path from a tortured childhood to where she is today."  It's written and directed by the team of Ken and Mitzi Welch, who have 14 Emmy Awards between them.  The Blonde in the Thunderbird will run at the Princess of Wales Theatre from June 16-26 and then go directly to the Brooks Atkinson Theatre on Broadway for its first performance on July 8.  Tickets will go on sale tomorrow at 416-872-1212.







DBX Sport Management Inc. Merges with Cardinal Group of Companies

Source:  Donovan Bailey, President & CEO, DBX Sport Management

We are very pleased to announce the merger of our company, DBX Sport Management Inc., with the Cardinal Group of Companies, a well respected and well known recruiting company, operating in Canada and the United States. The have been in business for 8 years and also represent students who are committed to furthering their education through scholarship opportunities in Canada and the U.S.   The principals of the Cardinal Group of Companies, Gerry Meehan and Scott Secord, are friends of mine and due to their professionalism and excellent staff, I considered them the best to nurture and guide Canada’s future stars!   I will be continuing to play an active role in the new company as the development of our student athletes continues to be my highest priority. We will make every effort to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible as this is important for your future successes      Please check the website, , for additional information on our new partner.   Additional sports and information will be added to this website following our merger.   Yours in Sport!




Tiger Wins

Excerpt from

(Apr. 11, 2005)
*For the fourth time, the green jacket is back in the possession of Tiger Woods. The golfer won the Masters Tournament in a dramatic sudden death playoff match against Chris DeMarco Sunday in Augusta, GA. After battling his way to the top of the leader board going into play Sunday, Woods dropped a series of eye-popping birdies and bogeys – including a ball that seemed to have stopped short of the hole, only to be pushed in by God, and a 15-foot birdie putt on the first extra hole to win the championship.




Bo Knows Apologies

Excerpt from

(Apr. 12, 2005)
*The “Inland Valley Daily Bulletin,” a Southern California newspaper, has apologized to former football and baseball star Bo Jackson for a March 24 story that said he had used steroids. Jackson responded last week by suing the newspaper, MediaNews Group Inc., MediaNews Group Interactive, Inc., the writer Jim Mohr and three other employees for unspecified general and punitive damages in Illinois. "Jackson has stated publicly he has never used steroids," the paper said on its Web site. "We retract the quote and the further statement that the speaker personally witnessed this damage to his life. We apologize to Mr. Jackson, without reservation." It was unclear how the retraction would affect Jackson's defamation suit.







Benzino Resigns From The Source

Excerpt from -  By Houston Williams

(Apr. 8, 2005)
Ray Benzino, the Chief Brand Executive and Co-owner of The Source magazine, has resigned from his position at the company today (April 8).   "If me leaving the source is gonna help the magazine then I'll do it," the rapper told  "The Source is an institution and is part of history; I want my kids and grandkids to enjoy the No. 1 Hip-Hop magazine for all time."  “I want to step down from the magazine and sell my stock effective immediately,” the rapper continued in a statement.   The rapper explained that there were a number of reasons for his departure, including his beef with Eminem, politics and other nearby business partnerships.   “This is a big step for me. I’ve been consumed too much with the whole conflict thing… the Eminem suit and I am sick of it. I don’t want to take away from what The Source has built up, but I got issues with The Source and magazines like that. Everyone is too politically correct. They’re not thinking about the little guy who can’t afford to pay for high priced ads. It’s like a monopoly,” he continued.   He also took issue with mogul Earl Graves and his Black Enterprise publication, which partnered with The Source when it sought to strengthen its financial status.   “Our other partner, Black Enterprises, is another reason why I’ve decided to leave. I don’t like how they perceive me. There are too many things that I don’t agree with, so I am moving on.”   Finally, Zino stated that he expects to start a new publication – a direct competitor of The Source – that will be free of his previous constraints.   “I plan on creating another magazine that has my voice which represents the little guy. It’s because of the manipulation of SoundScan and radio that Hip-hop is losing its edge,” he lamented. “I want to come out with a magazine that will reflect that. I want to start from the ground up and speak for the artists.”   While he's starting a mag, a rep for the rapper stated that he has no beef with his former publication. "They're still cool," the rep told and revealed that the rapper and former partner Dave Mays would have a press conference today.




Former Source COO Starts New Hip-Hop Magazine

Excerpt from - By Nolan Strong and Clover Hope

(Apr. 4, 2005)
Two weeks after resigning his post as chief operating officer of The Source magazine, publisher Jeremy Miller has announced the launch of DOWN magazine, a new publication focusing on the southern Hip-Hop scene. "I chose that name because essentially, it's a magazine entirely dedicated to southern hip hop and down south [music], that's pretty much where it came from," Miller told "I want to focus on the music that's being played in the south, the music that's being performed by southern artists, or if you’re new and upcoming artist, music that I think could be played down south in the clubs or the radio, that might be more of a southern style."  Miller plans to have the new title on the newsstands on July 26 in 16 states across North America. The magazine will regularly highlight up-and-coming artists from southern regions and emphasizes that no other publication puts such a spotlight on southern hip-hop talent. "I am somewhat biased when it comes to music I like," Miller said. "I like southern hip-hop music. I like the crunk type music. I am going to be open to every form of music coming out of the south, but I am going to have a focus on that grimy, country get crunk style of Hip-Hop. I am not trying to reinvent the wheel. The Source and XXL both have wonderful formats. I'm taking almost the same format and plugging in the niche style of music within Hip-Hop." Each issue of the magazine, which will be initially published bi-monthly, includes a compilation CD featuring tracks from unsigned hip-hop artists from the South.

"I have investors in the magazine, because it takes a lot of money to ensure you are going to be around for that third fourth or fifth issue," Miller said. "I told people I wouldn't put out the first issue until I could tell them when the second third and fourth issue were coming out."
As former COO of The Source for three years, Miller was involved in the hip-hop magazine’s publishing division, securing book deals and overseeing foreign licensing agreements among other things. The Oklahoma native started as an intern at the magazine in 1991 while attending New York University’s Stern School of Business. "After I moved into the circulation department, I helped grow the magazine from 50,000 copies to 800,000 copies," Miller stated. "My primary focus early on was expanding the magazine and getting the magazine to the streets and the stores. "I am hoping I have that catch 22 of having to print more copies than I am planning on by the second or third issue. That will be a nice problem to have."




Grab A Seat, Kim Is Dishing

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail - By Elizabeth Renzetti

(Apr. 9, 2005) There is a bed in the corner of Kim Cattrall's dressing room, and looking at it, you think: How much would that fetch on eBay? That there is a bed should not come as a surprise. The surprise is that it is so small -- room for only one, surely, maybe two if they're good friends -- and so demure in its tightly folded pale covers.  Beds figure prominently in Cattrall's fictional lives: If this were the boudoir of Samantha Jones, the Venus flytrap she played on Sex and the City, there'd be a mirror over the bed and several exhausted men underneath it. When Cattrall leaves this dressing room at the Comedy Theatre in London's West End, she'll spend the next two and a quarter hours immobile in another bed, a hospital one this time, as the quadriplegic sculptor in Whose Life is it Anyway? Shortly, she will begin her preshow ritual, which involves relaxing to a meditation tape. A Jo Malone candle burns on her dressing table, next to some daffodils that have seen better days. "Usually I have fresh flowers," Cattrall says, crushing one of the blooms between her fingers. Cattrall, who is 48, is a beautiful woman -- and none of your patronizing "for her age" or "at her stage in life," thanks very much. She has no makeup on, and looks a little exhausted. It is more tiring than you might think to move only your head for two hours a night, six nights a week, while the literalists in the audience gaze intently at your limbs to make sure they don't twitch. And after four months of projecting to the back of the room from a hospital bed, only to be followed in her off-hours by London's tabloids bearing rumours of lesbian trysts and Sex and the City hair-pulling, she's entitled to want to curl up in that dressing-room bed for a week or two. There isn't any rest in sight, however: After this production wraps at the end of April, she'll be concentrating on her new book and documentary, both called Sexual Intelligence, and embarking on a book for young women called Everything I Ever Learned About Being a Girl.

And despite the travails of being chased by motorcycle-riding paparazzi, the consolations of life in London have been abundant. Her performance has received excellent reviews, she feels a certain comfort being back in the land of her birth (she was born in Liverpool, moving to Vancouver Island as a child), and, oh yes, almost forgot -- there's a dishy 27-year-old Canadian boyfriend making gourmet meals back at her rented flat. If we take ourselves out of the gutter for a moment, we find also a more exalted pleasure: She is helping introduce the pleasures of the theatre to a new generation whose live-performance experience might otherwise be limited to watching Britney Spears at Wembley. "There have been a lot of young girls in the audience because of Sex and the City," she says. "I've had letters saying, 'I've come to London with my dad on business trips before but because you were in this play I wanted to see it, and now I want to see more theatre.' It's fantastic."  In Brian Clark's Whose Life is it Anyway?, Cattrall plays the paralyzed sculptor Claire Harrison, a role originally written for a man. ("That," she says dryly, "is probably why it's such a great part.") Claire is at the end of her tether, alternately rage-filled and bitterly funny. She wants to die, and no one will let her. Says director Peter Hall, "One of the great things about Kim is that she has a wonderful lack of sentimentality. She's a very precise and hard-edged actress. She's very touching in the part because she doesn't play for sympathy." Hall, a legend of British theatre, met Cattrall when he was head of the National Theatre and directing a touring production of Wild Honey in New York in the 1980s. In it, Ian McKellen played opposite a young actress with whom Hall stayed in touch. They talked many times over the years about working together, but their schedules wouldn't co-operate. One day, as Sex and the City was ending, Hall sent Cattrall the play to read, and four days later she was on board. "It is the most demanding acting job," he says, "because you're on the stage all the time and you can't move anything but your head." It's hard to be so still for so long, says Cattrall, and as she sits in her dressing room she seems already to be drawing her energy around like a blanket. She's casually dressed in jeans and a long-sleeved T-shirt, which is fine, because after watching Sex and the City for six years, I feel I know her private business better than her mother and her doctor combined.

She is, of course, an actress, and Samantha was an act. There's more housecat than panther to Cattrall; her voice is quiet and animated, not Samantha's whipped-cream purr. But, like Samantha, she has a refreshing tendency to call 'em as she sees 'em. She's not interested in blowing smoke up anyone's thong. Take Sex and the City, for example. Samantha is a role she will forever be associated with, and while she's fine with that -- "She's very sexy, very sassy, very courageous" -- she is also happy that the series is over, the last cosmopolitan drained. All that's left now are the rumours, because there's nothing the world loves more than a good old catfight. Last year there was much talk that Cattrall was the only member of the cast who didn't want to make a Sex and the City movie, largely because she felt she wasn't getting a fair deal. She does not refute that now. "If there is a movie, it will have to be a really good script, because there hasn't been a script, and also a very fair deal for everybody. Not just" and here her eyebrow climbs as high as the Empire State Building "some people."  Speaking of "some people," what about the reports that there was a rapprochement between her and the other cast members at Sarah Jessica Parker's 40th birthday party in New York? "Believe me, I would not be at that birthday party." Well, this certainly calls for a bit more prodding.  "Look," Cattrall sighs, "we had our time together. And the real truth of it is that we weren't best friends. We were colleagues. We had a common ground and a common purpose."  She has moved on, to a life in the movies (with a part in the recent Disney feature Ice Princess) and theatre (there are talks about bringing Whose Life is it Anyway? to New York). Increasingly, her life is in books -- Satisfaction: The Art of the Female Orgasm, written with now ex-husband Mark Levinson, was a bestseller -- and behind the camera. Her Toronto-based production company, Fertile Ground, is responsible for Sexual Intelligence, the documentary and accompanying book, which are due in the fall. In the documentary, history and psychology combine to unlock some of the mysteries of sex -- if indeed there are any mysteries left. It does sound better when she says it, so imagine this in Kim Cattrall's voice: "We go through a history of how men and women deal with their sexuality, the men dealing with the phallus, the penis, and women with the vulva, the vagina. . . . We end up taking the soul and the body and bringing them together in the myth of Eros and Psyche."

Hall, a legend of British theatre, met Cattrall when he was head of the National Theatre and directing a touring production of Wild Honey in New York in the 1980s. In it, Ian McKellen played opposite a young actress with whom Hall stayed in touch. They talked many times over the years about working together, but their schedules wouldn't co-operate. One day, as Sex and the City was ending, Hall sent Cattrall the play to read, and four days later she was on board. "It is the most demanding acting job," he says, "because you're on the stage all the time and you can't move anything but your head." It's hard to be so still for so long, says Cattrall, and as she sits in her dressing room she seems already to be drawing her energy around like a blanket. She's casually dressed in jeans and a long-sleeved T-shirt, which is fine, because after watching Sex and the City for six years, I feel I know her private business better than her mother and her doctor combined. She is, of course, an actress, and Samantha was an act. There's more housecat than panther to Cattrall; her voice is quiet and animated, not Samantha's whipped-cream purr. But, like Samantha, she has a refreshing tendency to call 'em as she sees 'em. She's not interested in blowing smoke up anyone's thong. Take Sex and the City, for example. Samantha is a role she will forever be associated with, and while she's fine with that -- "She's very sexy, very sassy, very courageous" -- she is also happy that the series is over, the last cosmopolitan drained. All that's left now are the rumours, because there's nothing the world loves more than a good old catfight. Last year there was much talk that Cattrall was the only member of the cast who didn't want to make a Sex and the City movie, largely because she felt she wasn't getting a fair deal. She does not refute that now. "If there is a movie, it will have to be a really good script, because there hasn't been a script, and also a very fair deal for everybody. Not just" and here her eyebrow climbs as high as the Empire State Building "some people."  Speaking of "some people," what about the reports that there was a rapprochement between her and the other cast members at Sarah Jessica Parker's 40th birthday party in New York? "Believe me, I would not be at that birthday party." Well, this certainly calls for a bit more prodding.  "Look," Cattrall sighs, "we had our time together. And the real truth of it is that we weren't best friends. We were colleagues. We had a common ground and a common purpose."  She has moved on, to a life in the movies (with a part in the recent Disney feature Ice Princess) and theatre (there are talks about bringing Whose Life is it Anyway? to New York). Increasingly, her life is in books -- Satisfaction: The Art of the Female Orgasm, written with now ex-husband Mark Levinson, was a bestseller -- and behind the camera. Her Toronto-based production company, Fertile Ground, is responsible for Sexual Intelligence, the documentary and accompanying book, which are due in the fall.

In the documentary, history and psychology combine to unlock some of the mysteries of sex -- if indeed there are any mysteries left. It does sound better when she says it, so imagine this in Kim Cattrall's voice: "We go through a history of how men and women deal with their sexuality, the men dealing with the phallus, the penis, and women with the vulva, the vagina. . . . We end up taking the soul and the body and bringing them together in the myth of Eros and Psyche."




Tina & Beyonce Knowles Get Job

source: PRNewswire

(Apr. 12, 2005)
NEW YORK -- Beyonce and Tina Knowles' fashion label, House of Dereon, announced today that they will provide exclusive wardrobes for the members of best-selling female group, Destiny's Child, as they take the concert stage in their upcoming tour; Destiny Fulfilled.  This year's April 2005 tour is a highly anticipated as it has been three years since the group took the world by storm with an international tour. Tina Knowles and her design team at The House of Dereon have designed sixty original ensemble costumes for Beyonce Knowles, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams to wear as they perform for an estimated forty domestic and thirty-five international cities crossing the globe. The completely accessorized costumes will run the gamut from sporty looks to outfits with a true evening feel.  The outfits, designed with luxury fabrics which include imported leathers, stretch silk, silk charmeuse, crystal mesh, and iridescent and silk chiffon, incorporate hundreds of hours in handwork, custom finishing and intricate beading with Swarovski Crystal. Beyonce has also played a very active role in the creative direction and inspiration for each piece; including the thirty-six outfits Tina designed with leather and denim for the Destiny's Child back-up dancers.  With a successful music career and a burgeoning film career, Beyonce has segued into one of her other passions, fashion.  Beyonce had this to say, "Performing is not only about sharing my musical passions, but it's also about expressing my individuality. By having Destiny's Child wearing House of Dereon on the tour, I am able to express my creativity and love of music and fashion."

House of Dereon Co-Creative Director, Tina Knowles said, "This is the fun part of the job! To be able to design clothing with my daughter for her, Kelly and Michelle is a complete thrill on every level. Through fashion, we are able to add an exciting visual component to the live performance of Destiny's Child ... this is one of the reasons we started House of Dereon."
House of Dereon has joined forces with Swarovski, the largest manufacturer of cut crystal in the world, to create custom designed Swarovski crystal appliqués and beading adornment for the costumes in the tour.  "Swarovski is thrilled to have a creative partnership with the House of Dereon and to have the stars of Destiny's Child sparkle on stage with Swarovski crystal," explains Nadja Swarovski, Vice President of International Communications for Swarovski. Heather Thomson Schindler, Co-Creative Director at House of Dereon, added "The wardrobe for the tour is a direct reflection of Destiny's Child. Each piece has a moody, romantic feeling, featuring dramatic cuts that are sexy and uninhibited." In addition to creating the wardrobe for the Destiny's Fulfilled tour, House of Dereon will be focusing some of their marketing initiatives to support the tour and further fuel their young contemporary sportswear collection which is slated to launch in select department and specialty stores across the country in October 2005.




Fabolous Sucked Into Big Mac Campaign

Excerpt from

(Apr. 12, 2005) *In McDonald's latest attempt to promote its Big Mac among the hip hop crowd, the fast food chain has teamed with the House of Blues for a three-week "Are You MAC Enough?" sweepstakes (April 12-May 2) starting with two launch concert events. 
Fabolous kicked things off last night with a performance in Chicago, while tonight’s show in Los Angeles features the Latin hip-hop outfit Ozomatli   "Music is a powerful tool to reach people," said Fabolous. "The "Are You MAC Enough?" sweepstakes gives us a great opportunity to blend our style of music with this promotion."  During the sweepstakes, a MAC code will be featured on Big Mac sandwich packaging at McDonald's. Customers can enter the code online at, or via text message for a chance to win the Big Mac "Are You MAC Enough?" Grand Prize -- tickets, to attend 10 concerts, with a guest, at any House of Blues location in the U.S. from July 2005 -- July 2006. The Grand Prize winner chooses the concerts to attend, and air, transportation and accommodations are included.




TECH BITS: Sony Films To Catch You On The Download; New Xbox Wants Its MTV

Excerpt from

*Sony Pictures says it will make its top 500 films available for digital download sometime this year in a bid to create an “iTunes” for movies. Legal film download sites, such as Movielink - a partnership between Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Studios and Warner Bros - currently provide access to a limited catalogue of films.

Microsoft Corp. announced Monday that it will lift the curtain on its new Xbox video game console in an MTV special set to air on May 12.  Usually, such unveilings occur at the annual industry trade show E3 -- which will be held the following week in Los Angeles. Actor Elijah Wood will host the show.




Common Launching New Line Of Hats

Excerpt from - By Houston Williams

(Apr. 12, 2005)
Rapper Common is planning to venture into clothing accessories with a line of “high-end” hats called Soji   “I love hats man, I been wearing them for so long and people always ask me where I get my hats from. So, why not just design something? I want to keep it high-end and quality on the hat side,” he told   The Chicago-born rapper explained that his Soji hat line would reflect his ever-evolving sense of style.   “It’ll be more variety, but it will be like the Applejack hats, but mostly like the styles that are high-end."  Laughingly, Common explained the roots of the name. [Soji] is my next door neighbour’s name and I love that name,” he stated laughingly.  Common expects Soji to be available in the fall of 2005 and is currently working out strategic partners.  “We’re getting all the designs together right now,” the rapper concluded. In previous interviews, Common has revealed that he also releasing a line of children’s books.







Fitness Myths Debunked

By Eston Dunn, MS, ACSM, Special For eFitness

(Apr. 11, 2005)
If you work out regularly, chances are you've picked up some fitness information in the sauna, locker room or gym. Trouble is, not everything you hear is right. There's a lot of misinformation going around and you're probably getting more half-truths or lies than sound advice.  To clear up this matter, I've assembled some common fitness myths and the facts behind them. This will help you exercise right and prevent you from being misled the next time you hear them.  Just like old wives' tales that have been passed down through generations, so have there been myths about exercise that have been handed down through the years. As knowledge increases, truths about exercise are revealed which put those myths to rest. However, some of us are still uncertain about what is myth and what is fact.  Over the years, the results of many studies have disproved some common exercise misconceptions.

"After being avid about working out, if I should ever stop exercising, my muscle will turn to fat."

This is impossible! Muscle tissue and fat tissue are two entirely different types of tissue! The molecular structure of one is completely unlike the molecular structure of the other. So, if you stop exercising, your muscle will NOT turn into fat. Rather, it will simply atrophy and become smaller in size.  However, if you're burning fewer calories than you consume, there IS a chance that your body will store more fat, and you could gain weight.

"You can 'spot-reduce' body fat."

You can choose just one area, such as the abdomen, arms, or thighs, and do exercises that will reduce the fat in that particular area. This is a big misconception. You CANNOT lose fat in just one specific part of your body. Fat is lost only by burning more calories than you consume, and it is lost equally in all areas of your body.  Aerobic exercises are generally the best types of exercises for burning fat. You CAN do area-specific exercises to tone and strengthen the muscles in a certain area, however. These types of exercises help improve overall fitness. But, they don't have a direct impact on stored body fat.

"Strength training will make a woman too muscular and appear less feminine and more masculine."

First of all, bodybuilders, as a rule, are genetically predisposed for that sport. The female body typically does not produce enough testosterone necessary to build big, bulky muscles. Strength training will tone and strengthen the muscles in a woman's body.  In fact, as a woman ages, she loses muscle mass and bone density. Strength training will increase her bone density and muscle mass, and will help lower her chances of developing osteoporosis. However, she will probably never look like a female bodybuilder.  According to a study conducted by Miriam Nelson of the Jean Mayer U.S. Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston, to be a female bodybuilder, a woman would have to endure extreme training habits that most strength-training programs do not endorse.

"The only way to burn calories is through cardiovascular exercise."

While it is true that cardiovascular workouts (i.e. aerobic dance or jogging) provide the most efficient ways to burn calories, a person burns calories merely by existing. Also, the more muscle mass you have, the more calories your body will burn naturally. This is because muscle is an active tissue.  However, just because you develop more muscle mass doesn't mean that you should neglect your cardiovascular training. For best results, strive for a balanced workout regimen.

"High-impact aerobics are the only way to lose the fat off my butt and thighs."

Actually, the body burns fat more efficiently when you engage in low- to moderate-intensity activities over a longer period of time. High-impact aerobic workouts burn stored carbohydrate calories (muscle glycogen and blood glucose) rather than metabolizing fat for energy.  The body chooses to burn fat when the body is at rest. Although, the fat is burned at a not-so-high rate. Low- to moderate-intensity workouts (combined with resistance training which targets your butt and thighs, specifically) tend to be safer and an excellent method of achieving your goals, according to experts.

"Never drink liquids while exercising."

It was once thought that drinking liquids would bloat the body and affect the athlete's performance. But the opposite is true. Boxers, dancers, football players, and long-distance runners may lose as much as five pounds while performing. What's lost is mainly water and if this isn't replaced, you could suffer from dehydration and heat stroke, which can be fatal.  Prohibiting water on the practice field has no physiological basis. Withholding liquids during hot, humid weather makes an athlete susceptible to heat cramps, heat exhaustion, or the more serious and sometimes fatal heat stroke. Dehydration causes fatigue, which in itself, makes an athlete more vulnerable to injury.  To improve athletic performance, don't wait until you're thirsty before you drink. By that time, you may already be dehydrated. Instead, drink water before, during, and after exercising. Take about eight ounces of water every 20 minutes while exercising.

"Never drink cold water while exercising."

Contrary to popular belief, cold water won't cause cramps and is the best drink for exercisers since it's absorbed rapidly. In effect, it cools the body faster than lukewarm or hot beverages.  What you should avoid is coffee, alcohol or carbonated beverages. The first two may dehydrate you while the latter can make you feel full, preventing you from drinking enough fluids.

"No pain, no gain."

There are people who think it's normal to feel tired and sore after a workout. That's to be expected at the start of an exercise program, but it should pass in a week or two.  If not, it's the body's way of telling you that it's being abused or injured. You're probably not exercising right or you're pushing yourself too hard. Rest for a few days, apply ice to the sore areas, and change your routine. Remember, a good exercise program should leave you rested and invigorated, not gasping for breath or crying!  If you experience major muscle aches after a demanding aerobics class or a longer-than-usual run, you've pushed yourself too hard. Experts believe that delayed muscle soreness, in which pain peaks 24 to 48 hours after exercise, results from inflammation and microscopic tears in the elastic tissues that surround muscle fibres. To give muscles time to adapt, don't do much too soon. A good rule of thumb: Increase exercise time or difficulty about 5 percent a session.

"Excessive sweating while exercising means you're not fit."

If you're fit, you'll sweat more. Sweating is the body's way of cooling itself. This mechanism improves as you exercise regularly.  As you get in better shape, your body learns to cool itself more efficiently. Blood is shunted to the skin's surface more quickly via tiny blood vessels that dilate and radiate heat away from the body. At the same time, the sweat glands increase their output of a fluid-and-sodium mixture, which cools the body as it evaporates.  While fit people produce more sweat than sedentary folks, they lose less salt, because more of it is reabsorbed by the body's cells as it travels from the sweat glands to the skin's surface.

"You should exercise every day to stay healthy."

You don't have to exercise vigorously every day to stay fit since even minimal physical activity like gardening or housecleaning can work wonders on your body.  In fact, experts say you can cut your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other ailments by 60 percent just by working out three times a week for 20 minutes. In between this, do what you want.  Some beginners, in their zeal to make up for 20 years of neglecting their bodies, vow to exercise every day for the next 20 years. This is not a good idea. If you're trying to get fit, your workouts are only part of the equation. Rest is just as important.

"To build muscles, eat high-protein foods."

This myth appears to have originated with the ancient Olympic Games. Early athletes thought they could acquire great strength by eating the raw meat of lions, tigers or animals with great fighting skills.  While meat is a good source of protein, loading up on it won't make your muscles bulge since the latter actually contain 72 percent water and only 22 percent protein. Besides, most of us consume adequate amounts of protein from daily meals. Getting more from foods, powders or supplements won't turn you into Arnold Schwarzenegger and may even damage your kidneys and liver.  There is no scientific evidence supporting the popular belief that athletes require massive amounts of protein-rich foods or protein supplements. Surveys show that athletes often consume four to five times their actual requirements. Yet there is absolutely no health or performance benefit from high-protein eating.  To build more muscles, you have to lift weights or perform some kind of weight-bearing activity religiously. In short, you have to work out instead of relying on the promises of protein drinks and pills.

"Women who exercise will have trouble delivering babies."

Years ago, you won't find pregnant women at the gym or health club. Doctors then treated pregnancy as a disease and they were afraid that exercise would lead to birth defects or encourage a miscarriage.  Today, it's a different ballgame. More and more women are going to the gym. And if you happen to be pregnant, the right exercise can be good for your baby and will make childbirth easy.  Not only is moderate exercise safe for your baby, it's also been shown to have tremendous benefits for mom. Compared to unfit pregnant women, regular exercisers tend to have fewer aches and pains, more self-esteem, and more energy and stamina, especially in the third trimester. Regular exercisers also have more confidence -- and perhaps strength -- during labour, and they seem to tolerate the pain better.

Good luck on your weight-loss endeavours!




EVENTS –APRIL 14 - 24, 2005




The Orbit Room
College Street
10:30 pm 
EVENT PROFILE: Featuring Wade O. Brown, Shamakah Ali, Rich Brown, Adrian Eccleston, David Williams.




College Street Bar  
574 College Street (at Manning)  
10:30 pm 
EVENT PROFILE: Featuring Dione Taylor, Sandy Mamane, Davide Direnzo, Justin Abedin, Dafydd Hughes and David French.




Irie Food Joint
745 Queen Street W.
10:00 pm
EVENT PROFILE: Newcomers and regulars alike were enjoying the vibe and promised to come back for more next week.  So, if you know what's good for you, make your way down there next Monday to enjoy the crazy and genius combination of Kayte Burgess and Adrian Eccleston - arrangements that will tantalize your ears and soul. 




Revival Bar  
783 College Street (at Shaw)  
10:00 pm  
EVENT PROFILE: Featuring Rich Brown, Joel Joseph and Shamakah Ali with various local artists. 




FRIDAY, APRIL 22, 2005
United Way JAZZ JAM
George Weston Recital Hall
Toronto Centre for the Arts
5040 Yonge St. (just north of Sheppard)
8:00 pm
Tickets - $55 or $40 Contact Ticketmaster at 416-870-8000 or

For more information, please contact Joy Bullen at 416-777-1444 ext 387 or

: An evening of smooth jazz from United Way’s African Canadian Committee to the jazz lovers of Toronto with Molly Johnson, Liberty Silver and Eddie Bullen.  Join Toronto’s own, internationally acclaimed jazz all-stars in a rare gathering right here at home. Molly Johnson, Liberty Silver and Eddie Bullen donate their award-winning talent to benefit United Way. All proceeds go to United Way of Greater Toronto.




The Orbit Room
College Street
10:30 pm 
EVENT PROFILE: Featuring Wade O. Brown, Shamakah Ali, Rich Brown, Adrian Eccleston, David Williams.




College Street Bar
574 College Street (at Manning)
10:30 pm 
EVENT PROFILE: Featuring Dione Taylor, Sandy Mamane, Davide Direnzo, Justin Abedin, Dafydd Hughes and David French




Have a great week!  

Dawn Langfield   
Langfield Entertainment