Updated: May 12, 2005
Check out the scoop on the much-anticipated spring music series brought to you by Kayte Burgess at The Richmond Lounge beginning on Wednesday, May 18th. Kayte and Adrian Eccleston also bring the tunes at Irie on Monday nights!
And Sony/BMG offers some scoop on the ever-fantastic Donnie McClurkin.
This week is chock full of 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.
Kayte Burgess at The Richmond Lounge’s Wednesday Nights
Toronto welcomes back to the stage Kayte Burgess for a series of original showcases. Come and join us for this special series at The Richmond Lounge which will feature Kayte’s newest material. Each week Kayte has invited special guests to join her in giving us the smooth vibes of spring. What a great line-up! Kayte's kickin' band consists of Joel Joseph, Adrian Eccleston, Roger Williams and Don Pham. Kayte has showcased her R&B and soul singing talents for the likes of Quincy Jones, Mariah Carey, Erykah Badu and Jill Scott. She has natural and magnetic presence and a true command of the stage. We hope to see you there!
WEDNESDAY, MAY 25
KAYTE BURGESS AND SPECIAL GUEST DWAYNE MORGAN
The Richmond Lounge
342 Richmond Street W. (entrance to the right of Fez Batik)
Doors open at 9:00 pm
Jars of Clay.
The latest contribution from multi-platinum, Grammy Award winners, Jars of Clay. Redemption Songs is a collection of reinvented ancient hymns and spiritual songs. As part of a church community that believed passionately the blessing of understanding the story of redemption through early church songs and ancient hymns, Jars of Clay found themselves a part of a growing renaissance, one that inspired them to write new songs using the rich hymn texts as the foundation. This renaissance was the beginning of a blend of familiar hymns, spirituals and ancient texts which has made Redemption Songs a timeless musical testimony of the Gospel story, reaching throughout history to give us roots and wings, while reminding a new generation that they are all a part of the ongoing Redemptive story.
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We would like to thank everyone that participated in our Third Annual Client Appreciation Day. It was a great success! We will be picking our winners from our Client Appreciation Day draw on Thursday May 12th. Winner will be contacted by phone or email over the next week. Six prizes in total which include; 2 treatments of Botox(TM) consult and treatment -50 units each prize. 2 treatments of Restylane(TM) consult and treatment - $500 value each prize. A beautiful Pashmina shawl donated by Amance (Upper level in Hazelton Lanes) Large, delicious gift basket from Whole Foods Market.
Exclusive Interview with Vivica A. Fox
(May 1, 2005) Ms. Vivica A. Fox glides into Trattoria Vaticano looking fabulous. We sat down and talked about her latest projects (including Missing currently being shot in Toronto), being an actress in Hollywood, producing, her role models and much more!
We started instantly talking about Vivica's latest film and television projects.
Note: The Salon opened the ReelWorld Film Festival in April 2005, where I first encountered the spirited Vivica A. Fox. It is a sassy and heart-warming film written, produced and directed by Mark Brown (“Barbershop”) and also produced by Vivica A. Fox who stars as Jenny, the owner of a neighbourhood beauty salon.
Vivica: I think of The Salon as The Beauty Shop meets Soul Food. It had a lot of messages, it had comedy, it had drama and it was an experience. You really felt like you went on the journey with these characters and what they were going through. I was really fortunate to work with Mark Brown that I worked with on Two Can Play that Game. It was the second or third movie that I produced. I think a lot of people think that when you produce, that it’s just a title. But not for me - I’m very involved with the script, with the casting, with the wardrobe, with everything. I like it because I feel like I’m in control of the product that I present to my audience.
LE: What's been your experience on
your current series Missing?
Note: Missing stars Vivica A. Fox as Nicole Scott, an FBI agent teamed up with Jess Mastriani (Caterina Scorsone), a novice agent who has a proven track record of using her psychic abilities to solve mysteries. Missing is on the Lifetime Network and is currently being shot in Toronto.
Vivica: The show on the first season was called 1-800-MISSING and had Gloria Rubens on the show. After the first season, she decided that she didn’t want to do the show anymore. Debra Martin Chase who is now my co-executive producing partner, said, ‘I’m going to find something for us to work on together.’ When they first approached me, I said 'No' because I just didn’t believe that network television supported their shows long enough. Debra said ‘This is on the Lifetime network - their longest show has been on for six years and they support their shows.’ Debra kept persistently calling and explained that she was also going to offer me co-executive producing.
And it films in Toronto, which is one of my favourite places. I love filming in Toronto. This is my fourth project that I’ve done up here. So, it worked out and we closed the deal!
We took the show and added myself, Mark Consuelos and Justin Louis [Canadian]. We revamped the show and made it sexier and edgier. Now they can’t wait for us to come back - June 12th in America. We got picked up and we’re back here for our third season. I love it, I love it.
LE: What do you like most about working in Toronto?
Vivica: Great shopping! I’m such a girl! My credit card got blazed up at Holt Renfrew! That whole strip is Gucci, Chanel, Louis Vitton and for us, you get the nice exchange on the money. I also love the restaurants here. And the people are really nice. Everyone that comes and does our show, is like, “I really like it up here.”
When people ask me what I feel about Toronto, I always say it’s a small, clean, friendly New York.
LE: And you’ve got Canadian actors on your show …
Vivica: My two co-stars, Caterina Scorsone and Justin Louis are Canadians and most of the day-players are all Canadians and I’m just really glad that the talent here is really good. A lot of actors are from theatre and they don’t disappoint.
LE: What have you found challenging when it comes to producing?
Vivica: The most challenging thing about producing is delivering the project on time and on budget, as well as getting the talent and the quality. Being an independent film producer, the budget’s a lot smaller.
LE: Tell me about your indie film “Getting Played” and your upcoming projects?
Vivica: I play the bitch this time. I mean, I was a bitch a little bit in Two Can Play That Game but I was the bitch that you rooted for. I wanted to play that role – someone else wins - and I had a great time playing her. I’m the straight up stuck-up movie star. It’s starring myself, Bill Bellamy, Carmen Electra, Stacey Dash. They’re in negotiations right now – hopefully it will come up and not go straight to DVD. For me, it was a learning experience and another film under my belt.
And then there’s The Starlet, I’m really hoping that gets picked up for a second season. And I’m also the voice of Cadillac for GM.
And then there’s Missing. So for 6-7 months of the year, I know that I’ve got a great job because I love being here. I’m not searching, I’m not looking. I’m very happy.
LE: How do you feel about the recent dialogue regarding the issue of whether other nationalities are taking over the parts originally intended for Black actresses?
Vivica: If you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em. I’ve got a Latin lover on my show, Mark Consuelos. What actors have to learn is marketability. If the film is going to be made, if you’re going to get a budget and distribution by hiring a person that is a little bit more worldwide, then … this is the business. It’s not personal baby. Embrace it, learn it and keep it moving.
I think the sad thing is that the bitterness that comes with that – what they don’t realize is that being bitter is a turnoff to other nationalities. I’m a businesswoman after I’m an actress. The fact is that they’re accepting different cultures loving each other.
LE: Do you see yourself as a Black actress in Hollywood?
Vivica: The wonderful thing is that I think finally I’ve become colourless to people. But my role models were Will Smith, Whoopi Goldberg. You don’t want to be considered a Black actress – you want people to say I like her as an actress. I learn from other people, I’m a sponge. I say, what is it that they’re doing that makes them successful? I don’t hate on them. I don’t get pissed off at their success.
There’s been times in my career that I’ve gotten frustrated and a friend of mine, Cassandra Mills, told me a couple of things. Watch what the next generation is doing and stay young as long as you can. You’ve got plenty of time to play somebody’s mama, somebody’s grandmamma. Look at who’s hot and stay in their rear view mirror. Look at what they’re doing – stay right there with them and sooner or later you’ll be beside them and then maybe you’ll go in front of them. But as long as you stay in the race, you’ll be all good. That’s the best advice she ever gave me.
You have to look at longevity and not just the moment. Don’t look at the small picture, look at the big picture. Thank goodness I’ve been mature enough not to hate and to learn.
LE: What’s been one of your favourite projects?
Vivica: Can I name my top five? (laughs) I’ve had some wonderful experiences. Kill Bill was amazing. It gave me a second energy boost for my career and provided a lot of wonderful opportunities. I always love working with females. When an audience goes to a movie, they think the girls are attractive but they’re not expecting acting, action and believability. The girls were incredible. And the opportunity to work with Quentin Tarantino - that was a wonderful experience.
Independence Day – because it opened the doors to my destiny. I fought really hard to get that project. Originally they wouldn’t even audition me because I didn’t have a big enough name. I auditioned six times and I got it! And the movie did so wonderful. It was my first big movie – it grossed $800 million worldwide and led to a lot of other opportunities.
LE: If you could work with any artist, who would they be?
Vivica: Samuel L. Jackson – the ultimate professional and Lena Horne, the screen goddess that radiates pure entertainment.
As most of you already know, my newsletters do not normally contain any form of entertainment rumours or gossip. But, I wanted to give Ms. Fox the opportunity to express anything left unsaid about her relationship with 50 Cent, especially given that he continues to bring up her name in lyrics and in the press (including a recent article in the May issue of Blender magazine).
She gave me the lowdown in no uncertain terms. Her words of advice? “Take the time to know someone before you get involved.” This is her story, as told to me.
Vivica A. Fox says that people’s fascination with the relationship between herself and 50 Cent has lasted longer than the relationship itself. Vivica does not deny that she was in love with 50 Cent – but also that he was with her. She is, however, disappointed that he chose to go public with their break-up without ever speaking with her about it – which is still the case. The break-up was apparently based on a photo shoot for Today's Black Woman in which 50 Cent felt he had been exploited by Ms. Fox and her management - even though he had clearly posed for the photos. A letter was immediately sent to Editor-in-Chief, Kate Ferguson stating that neither Vivica Fox nor her management had approved the photo for the cover, originally intended for Ms. Fox only. Ms. Ferguson wrote to Violator Records, CEO Chris Lighty apologizing for not obtaining permissions for the photo. Still, the magazine chose to run the cover regardless as they were dubbed Hollywood's Hottest Couple. To date, no response to the letter was ever received. Days after the alleged exploitive photo shoot, they appeared as the happy couple at the 2003 MTV Awards. Exploited? It's your call.
Regardless, Ms. Fox handles the situation today with humour with a dash of annoyance. My thoughts are that while this certainly holds some sort of fascination for many, it’s been almost two years since their brief encounter.
Vivica A. Fox has been hot in Hollywood since her film debut with Will Smith in Independence Day in 1996, although she had been on television since 1988. She strikes me as a strong and courageous woman who wants to be remembered as such. She goes on to say that she’s sacrificed a lot for her profession and has given it her all – while enjoying every single step.
I thank Vivica for taking the time she did and for being gracious enough to give me this extended interview. I’m certain that we can look forward to many more exciting projects from her in the future. She’s not going anywhere!
Motivational Note: Fly Like a Bumblebee
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com
No fear, no doubt. This is it, look out! Success is an amazing adventure. It is the process of having a dream and then pursuing that dream with your whole heart. It is getting to the point where you believe it is impossible to fail. I had the opportunity to meet Mary Kay Ash, the founder and president of Mary Kay Cosmetics. Mary Kay Ash is a remarkable woman who had a dream that others called impossible. She refused to listen to the naysayers and went on to build a business that is now one of the largest cosmetic companies in the world. The symbol for her company is a bumblebee and it represents the ability to do the impossible. Why? Because scientists and animal experts have emphatically stated that is impossible for the bumblebee to fly because it has small wings and a big body. But the bumblebee does not know that it is impossible for it to fly, so it flies anyway! The only one that ultimately keeps you from being great is you, and limiting your beliefs. Stop saying you cannot and start saying, "It is impossible for me to fail." And you, too, will do unbelievable things.
OH CANADA: K-OS Brings A Little
Northern Exposure And A Lot of Intellect To Hip-Hop
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com - By Kenya M. Yarbrough
(May 11, 2005) *Canada chaotic? The States’ half-sib to the north has rarely been referred to as the rowdy one, but turns out Canada is bringing the chaos, that’s K-OS. Acclaimed as a “visionary" by Billboard Magazine, Canadian rapper/singer k-os is riding those and several other laurels right along with the vibe of his reggae-jazz-pop induced hip-hop vibe. Since being named the best international rap artist at the 2003 Source Awards and garnering buzz for his debut disc “Exit,” k-os is becoming a name in the rap game. And with his follow-up disc picking up steam “Joyful Rebellion” hot off three wins at the 200 5 Juno Awards (Canada’s answer to the Grammy’s) including Best Rap Recoding, Single of the Year, and Video of the Year and a US spring tour, k-os shared a little of his game. Influenced by rappers like Chuck D, the Fugees, jazz greats like Wes Montgomery, rockers Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Lenny Kravitz, soulsters Stevie Wonder and Bob Marley, and even his former manager John Salley (yes, that John Salley), k-os considers himself inflexible. “I’m somewhat of a dogmatic individual, and I admit that.” k-os said about himself, which is quite contrary to the way he approaches hip-hop. The rapper infuses more than just thumping backbeats in his music. His “Joyful Rebellion,” which he wrote and produced, has been a favourite among fans and critics alike. Suede Magazine said, "If k-os is what Canadian hip-hop's all about, get ready for an exodus to the great black North." The hip-hop maestro incorporates genres of reggae, jazz, pop, R&B, and whatever ... takes his music to “a new level.” Although considered one, k-os debated the oxymoronic tag of the phrase “intelligent rapper.” He defended all rappers. “If you look at entertainers as a species – like there are various types of birds, there are various types of dogs, there are various types of horses, there’s not just one type of horse. You have a show horse – a horse that doesn’t work on a farm and doesn’t look like a race horse. The type of rappers that are bred to be on television as of today aren’t guys that feel like they have to need intellect to exist. That’s the more important thing. They’re probably geniuses or probably a lot of them are savant, crazy guys who come up with ideas on a stream of consciousness on a subversive level and come up with great song hooks and don’t know that if they ever nurtured their intelligence or even better felt they had to have it as much as a gold watch for people to get involved with them, then that would be a different state.”
K-os shared that intellect was a part of his household growing up and that it is something he always strives for. That’s evident in his lyrics as well as his name: k-os, i.e. knowledge of self. ‘“A lot of the rappers I listened to talked about knowledge of self – maybe that comes from the Nation of Islam, a black perspective and every great scripture from Hindu to Buddhism to Christianity says know thyself – so k-os is knowledge of self, that this is just a journey is just a process of getting to know yourself. You’re learning about yourself. If you don’t do that you will be in chaos. The name is a reminder to me that knowledge of self leads to stability and lack of knowledge of self leads to chaos and confusion.” Deep right? It gets deeper. K-os is no stranger to the arguments of conscious rap vs. bling rap vs. gangster rap. And says that while ‘back in the day’ was the heyday of message rap with artists such as Chuck D and KRS-One, he, along with some overlooked and underestimated rap cats are still about taking rap to a more urbane level. “It’s changed now, but I still think those guys still exist in New York or L.A., but will they get a record deal?” he mused, “I’m talking that stuff – but I’m from Canada.” Maybe it’s OK that a kid from Canada is saying it. K-os contends that it just might be that outside force that brings this type of enlightened rap race horse back to the front of the pack. “I play instruments and I sing and that enhances the hip-hop that I do, but I’m just here to have fun. Having fun in hip-hop means taking chances; [not] doing what was safe. I’m an extreme rap-sportist. My afro-centric fun is using a trumpet, my extreme sport is talking about something of intellect.”
K-os also defends that even though his rap route features conscious rhymes and world music, he can relate to all rap fans – without becoming just another international rhymer mimicking the styles of the States. “I’ve lived in the ghetto, I’ve been through that experience, I’ve seen those things. I’m a child of someone who left the ghetto for something better, and I’m a black man so I relate,” he said. But at the same time, he’s not trying to “sound American.” “I’m not afraid of the backlash of being intelligent or speaking a certain way. America thinks they’ve cornered the market on what being black is. There are blacks in Paris, they’re blacks in Trinidad, they’re blacks in Africa, but because of the media machine…the propaganda machine, everywhere in the world people think Americans are what black is. I shouldn’t be ashamed that I’m not dressed like an American or talk like an American. We’ll see when a video comes on and it’s a different slang, and a different swagger. Will it be, ‘Hey, that’s not black’ or will Americans question how black they are?” K-os says his sophomore album “Joyful Rebellion,” was a lot more fun. “Everyone says you have your whole life to do your first record. It’s every idea, it’ every song, every interlude, every chord. No one’s heard a lick from you – so this is you. Now they have an idea of you. How do you not evolve that?” K-os admitted that with his second album he wasn’t sure if he wanted to continue to make records because of the tribulations of the industry itself, the prejudices and stereotypes. But after a tour with The Roots and discovering that hip-hop is all over the world and not just in the confines of maple-leaf land and the TV flashing BET and MTV. “All of a sudden it got fun again. All of a sudden I turned back on my sampler and started freestyling it was not about being so angry as it was about finding a way to put your message there. That’s what the whole ‘Joyful Rebellion’ is. I’m still rebellious… but I just changed my attitude and on my album played instruments, everything I’ve ever been influenced by, and didn’t worry if I didn’t have training and it just came out the way it was.”
Hmm, clearly the earmarking of controlled chaos.
Won't Get Their MTV
Source: The Globe and Mail - By Scott Deveau
(May 10, 2005) MTV announced Tuesday it would no longer air in Canada after its broadcasting rights were bought by CHUM Ltd., a company that owns every music television channel in Canada, except Country Music Television. MTV Networks International terminated its agreement with the Craig Media Inc., which owned the broadcast rights for both MTV Canada and MTV2, after CHUM bought the company in December. Because MTV pulled out of the deal, MTV Canada and MTV2 will cease to broadcast on June 30, a date that was agreed upon by both MTV and CHUM. Rob Hooper, spokesman for MTV international, said the American music network was merely exercising its right to terminate its contract with Craig Media after a third party bought the company.
Hooper said MTV remains committed to Canadian audiences and will continue its presence here through syndicated shows like Punk'd, Newlyweds, and the Osbournes, which air on several Canadian networks, including MuchMusic. Hooper said MTV has other long-term ambitions in the Canadian television "beyond syndication," but that he was not at liberty to discuss them. He said MTV would announce its plans in the coming weeks. As a result of MTV pulling its channels, CHUM will be required to pay MTV the remaining licence fees, which amount to roughly $10-million. In addition, MTV Networks International will no longer have the option to acquire an equity interest in the channels. David Kines, vice-president of music and youth channels at CHUM television, said MTV Canada and MTV2, which were designated as a youth culture and music video station, will be rebranded in the coming weeks. CHUM has a long history of creating specialty channels and while Kline would not discuss the details of the new channels, he did say they would be complimentary to CHUM's existing teen-focused channels, like MuchMusic.
"Familiar"- The hot new R&B single from J'Lin produced by Deryck Roche
courtesy of Level2 Music Productions
Source: Deryck Roche
(May 7, 2005) J'Lin is a singer/songwriter and performer, who was raised in Buffalo NY and the Niagara Falls region of Canada. ‘J'Lin’ has created quite a buzz wherever he has performed. J'Lin is a singer/songwriter and performer, who was raised in Buffalo NY and the Niagara Falls region of Canada. ‘J'Lin’ has created quite a buzz wherever he has performed. Whether in Canada or the music city capital New York City, J'Lin has what it takes to gain and keep the most extreme music critics entertained. As it is well known, it’s a blessing to make it through an amateur performance at the APOLLO without getting escorted off the stage. J'Lin has gained the respect of the merciless Apollo audiences, by placing first three times consecutively! J'Lin also was awarded first place honours for the nationally renowned “A.I WORLDSTAR.COM” competition, showcasing Western New York and Southern Ontario’s ‘rising stars of tomorrow’. Known for his captivating stage presence and unbelievable live vocals, J'Lin has performed for various audiences, to crowds of over twenty thousand. J'Lin has performed along side respected artists such as Busta Rhymes, Alicia Keys, Big Gipp, and Joe to name a few. Some of J'Lin musical influences include, Luther Vandross, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and Tyrese. J'Lin has also collaborated with the likes of Buffalo’s platinum all-star producer “KID KOLD”, responsible for the platinum hit “GRAMMA USED TO SAY” for multi platinum hip hopper DMX. J'Lin's debut CD is sure to be a smash. Look out for J'Lin's new CD with writing and production from Level2 Music Productions !
Wonder To Drop Album On June 14
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com
(May 11, 2005) *At long last, Stevie Wonder has slated June 14 as the release date for his anticipated new album "A Time 2 Love," via Motown. The set has 16 tracks and two bonus cuts earmarked for release in foreign markets – the title track (co-written by labelmate India.Arie) "From the Bottom of My Heart" and "Positivity." Also on the LP is "My Love Is on Fire," a song he had originally written for Luther Vandross that will also appear on the Vandross tribute album being assembled by BMG North America chairman/CEO Clive Davis. As previously reported, the video for Wonder’s first single “So What the Fuss” is the first to feature video description technology for blind and visually impaired music fans. Busta Rhymes narrates the clip, which had its official unveiling Monday in Los Angeles. On hand were Motown president Sylvia Rhone, "Fuss" video director Paul Hunter and Linda Idoni, West Coast director of operations for the Media Access Group of WGBH. The Boston public television station pioneered the video description technology in 1990 and wrote the "Fuss" narration.
On the separate audio track, Rhymes describes everything that's going on in the video. For example, he says of one segment: "Stevie's playing a pearl-white drum set ... a white girl gets her hair braided by her black friend.” "The whole point is that there are 10 million people who are blind or have low-vision and are not able to enjoy the experience of seeing music videos," said Wonder, according to Billboard. "Why shouldn't we be able to experience that? I don't want this to be the last video description video; this is far bigger than me. We need to do everything to make the playing field of technology fair." Attendees of the premiere, who included members of the media and students from the Foundation for the Junior Blind, wore black blindfolds to fully experience the Rhymes-narrated version. Wonder said he got the idea to add the video description technology after listening to the "oh"s and "ah"s of his staff while they watched his "So What the Fuss" video for the first time. "I spent all this money on it, I wanted to know what was happening," Wonder said Monday.
A Sunny Kind Of Hurting
Excerpt from The Globe and Mail - By Robert Everett-Green
(May 5, 2005) The past exists only as fantasy or nightmare, depending on your point of view. The Raveonettes take it both ways on this time-tripping album, which reminds us that memory lane is often a back alley where bad things happen. Forget about the conceit that love is pain. In these songs, a bruise and a kiss are pretty much bound to go together. Love in a Trash-Can is a ballad of sexual captivity such as Bertolt Brecht would have appreciated. Red Tan opens with a tender reference to brass knuckles, followed by an invitation no fun-loving girl or boy could refuse: "If you and me should ever go to hell / c'mon, let's go right now." The kicker is that all of these songs are written in the sky-blue style of American rock circa 1960. Here Comes Mary trips along like a strollin' meditation by the Everly Brothers, whose close harmonies are the obvious model for the androgynous vocal couplings of Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo. The harmonic changes even resemble those of the Everlys' All I Have to Do Is Dream, the last word in penny-loafer romance. But Mary has just lost her boy to a gang war, and after she's had enough of feeling miserable in the rain, she's going home to kill herself. The Heavens plays on the noir side of hit-radio country ballads from the days of 45s, filling up the lyrics with keywords from the Hank Williams iconography of low-hanging moons and falling stars. Sleepwalking gets the boxy, reverberant sound of recorded music from that era down pat, though the song is about paralytic cool hipsters who look "pretty in black."
It takes an outsider to parse and deform conventions as shrewdly and unsentimentally as the Raveonettes do here (Wagner and Foo are from Denmark). It takes an insider to get the technical details right, and that's what the Raveonettes found in co-producer Richard Gottehrer, co-writer of The Angels' iconic 1963 hit, My Boyfriend's Back. That song's fusion of violence, fun and thwarted desire are the emotional ground zero of this disc, and the Raveonettes can't help but cover the tune. Ronnie Spector steps in for Ode to L.A., and when she does, you finally hear the kind of steel-belted pipes Wagner and Foo should have had on Somewhere in Texas (a perfect tune for Neko Case) and Seductress of Bums (a natural for Catatonia's Cerys Matthews). But they don't lack for good songs, and everything they do feels cunningly genuine. "All I have is memories," Wagner sings in the closer, a Hawaiian-flavoured country waltz, and you know just how much and how little that is.
Nelly’s Having A ‘Yard’ Sale:
Source: IE Marketing http://iemarketing.com/
(May 6, 2005) Multi-talented rapper, actor, entrepreneur Nelly is slated to release The Longest Yard soundtrack on his Derrty Ent. imprint, a venture with Universal Records. In addition to co-starring in The Longest Yard movie (Paramount Pictures), Nelly is the executive producer on the soundtrack, which will feature songs by D-12, Lil Wayne, Akon, Murphy Lee and introduces new up and coming Derrty Ent. artists Jung Tru and King Jacob. The lead single from The Longest Yard soundtrack is Nelly's "Errtime" produced by Jazze Pha. The soundtrack will hit stores on May 24th and the movie will be in theatres on May27th.
Nelly co-stars in the re-make of the 1974 comedy The Longest Yard with an all-star cast that includes Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, and Burt Reynolds. In his first major movie role, he plays a convict/football player named Earl Megget. The Longest Yard is the story of a pro quarterback Paul Crewe (Adam Sandler) and former college champion and coach (Burt Reynolds), who are doing time in the same prison. Asked to put together a team of inmates to take on the guards, Crewe enlists the help of Scarborough to coach the inmates to victory in a football game "fixed" to turn out quite another way.
On heels of the movie release, Nelly is also gearing up for a national "Sweat/Suit: Up Close & Personal" tour with Fat Joe, T.I. and his fellow St. Lunatics members Murphy Lee, Ali and Kyjuan. The tour kicked off in Cleveland on March 19th. Last year, the St. Louis native made musical history when he became the first solo artist to have two albums debut in the two top spots of Billboard's "Top 200 Albums" chart (Suit #1, Sweat #2), putting him in the elite company of The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, Guns N' Roses and other global superstars. Earlier this year, he continued to make history when he became the first hip-hop artist ever to receive two CMT (Country Music Television) award nominations for his #1 hit "Over & Over" with Tim McGraw. "Over & Over" recently rose to #1 on the UK singles chart.
Georgia Pays Tribute To Godfather Of Soul
Excerpt from The Toronto Star
(May 8, 2005) AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — The Godfather of Soul celebrated his 72nd birthday in grand fashion — unveiling a life-sized bronze likeness of himself. James Brown was born in South Carolina but grew up in this Georgia town, and he's proud of it. Town folks appreciate that and wanted him to know it. The statue shows Brown grinning broadly and wearing a cape. Brown unveiled the statue at a downtown birthday ceremony Friday attended by several hundred well wishers. "I hope I didn't disappoint anyone and I'm so glad you did what you did," Brown said of the statue. After sharing anecdotes from his childhood, Brown said: "God bless you and God is good, and please, please, please don't forget me." The statue was supposed to be unveiled at Brown's birthday last year, but the city postponed the ceremony because the entertainer, who has spent time in jail for drugs and assault, was facing domestic violence charges. He did not contest the charges, saying he wanted to keep his family matters private. "All of Augusta should be proud of the professional accomplishments of James Brown," said Mayor Bob Young. "He is truly an icon in his profession." At the ceremony, Rev. Al Sharpton, Brown's former road manager, said the statue will stand as a reminder that everyone gets knocked down, but champions get back up. "This is not a statue for his ego," Sharpton said. Funds for the $40,000 statue came from private donors and the city's downtown development authority. Growing up poor in this town of 200,000, about 225 kilometres east of Atlanta, Brown danced for change on the sidewalks that now surround the statue, read a city news release. He won his first talent show at the city's Lenox Theater and used to stand outside the Del Mar Casino on Walton Way — now James Brown Boulevard — to hear his idol, jazzman Louis Jordan of Let the Good Times Roll fame. Brown went on to be named to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Georgia Music Hall of Fame.
Sheila E. Is Every Woman
Source: Roz Stevenson, RSPR
(May 9, 2005) *Solombra Ingram, founder of the “I’m Every Woman” Conference and First Lady of Maranatha Community Church in Los Angeles, along with celebrity hostesses Paula Bond and Terri J. Vaughn (All of Us), will honour Sheila Escovedo (better known as Sheila E.) as Woman of the Year, citing her career achievements and charity efforts on behalf of “Li’l Angel Bunny Foundation,” which focuses on the needs of abused and abandoned children. R&B singing sensation Chante Moore will offer a musical salute to Shelia E. during the award’s luncheon. “Women in My Circle” is the theme of the 2nd Annual “I’m Every Woman” Conference, focusing on the complexities of relationships women experience in sisterhood, love and life. Speakers include Cookie Johnson, vice president of the board of directors of the Magic Johnson Foundation; Jewel Diamond Taylor, a powerful inspirational and motivational speaker and Veronica A. Lazarus, M.D., M.S., doctor of internal medicine and dermatology. The conference will be held on Saturday, May 21st from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. with breakfast and lunch being served at L.A. Mart Design Center, 1933 S. Broadway, California Room, 2nd Floor. The tickets are $65 per person or $550 for a table of ten. For information and registration visit us at www.imeverywoman.org or call (310) 226-6158. Escovedo picked up the drumsticks and started making music at the precocious age of three, while watching her legendary father, percussionist Pete Escovedo rehearse. Sheila E. delivered her first solo performance to a live audience two years later and has since established herself as one of the most talented percussionist/drummers and vocalists in the world. Escovedo became a top session and touring musician before the age of 20, performing and/or recording with George Duke, Herbie Hancock, Billy Cobham, Con Funk Shun and many others. She played with Marvin Gaye on his final world tour, and toured and/or recorded with Diana Ross, Gloria Estefan, Babyface, Patti LaBelle, Steve Nicks and Jennifer Lopez, and Kanye West among others.
In the 1980’s, Escovedo’s friend Prince helped catapult her to own pop superstardom. Her obvious talent and hits like “The Glamorous Life” and “Love Bizarre,” plus her pivotal work on other Prince-related projects made her an international star. Particularly proud moments include her participation in the “We Are The World” sessions and a performance on the Oscars with Placido Domingo. In recent years, she has served as musical director for the likes of Jennifer Lopez and Beyonce Knowles, as well as playing drums with Ringo Starr on his two most recent All-Starr Band outings. Her producing and arranging talents have been showcased on the NAACP Image Awards, Latin Grammy Awards, the 1996 Summer Olympics, the 1998 WOW Awards, the ALMAs, and on countless television programs – including becoming television’s first female musical director for Magic Johnson’s short-lived “The Magic Hour.” Escovedo’s enthusiasm for “passing it on” to a new generation of players led her to design “ClassE” Costume Series for adults, and The Sheila E.’s Player Series,” a new line of percussion instruments for kids, both with TOCA Kaman Music. Despite the demands of her commitment to making music, Escovedo maintains a heavy involvement in charitable organizations, most notably as co-chair of the Li’l Angel Bunny Foundation, focusing on the needs of abused, abandoned children. “There are so many children and young adults who need our help,” she says, “and we’re trying to help them get their lives together, by building their confidence through music and the arts. Its just another way for me to do God’s will. I believe we are here to help people in our lifetime. We must give of ourselves in order to truly live.” Cookie Johnson will speak on the topic of strength, honour and sacrifice of a virtuous woman. In addition to her position with the Magic Johnson Foundation, she speaks about women’s issues, as well as the health, educational and social needs of those residing in inner city communities. She is also involved in the development of the foundation’s overall goals, objectives and programs.
Johnson helped establish the BREATHE Program, a national asthma awareness initiative that works to educate children and parents about the impact of asthma in urban environments. She has also volunteered to do public service announcements for the National Medical Association’s immunization program and Prototype’s program for women and children affected by HIV/AIDS. She is a member of West Angeles Church of God in Christ and graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Retailing of Clothing and Textiles. A full-time mother, she is active in Elisa (5 years) and EJ’s (8 years) school programs and fundraising events. Jewel Diamond Taylor’s high-energy speeches and workshops go beyond the average. She lifts the low, pushes the slow, empowers others to know and encourages everyone to grow beyond their obstacles, procrastination, past adversity, addictions and fears. This cutting edge and multi-faceted messenger shines with empowerment, encouragement and educational insights. Jewel aka "The Minister of Motivation" and “The Self-esteem Dr.” is an emotional and motivational compass directing countless men, women and youth towards their potential and possibilities for personal growth, success and inner peace. Taylor speaks to the relevant themes of life with a fresh voice and perspective blending wisdom, wit, depth and compassion for our human struggle to achieve success and balanced living. Jewel’s pearls of wisdom and dynamic no nonsense style empowers people and strengthens organizations. Taylor’s message inspires her audience to learn how to cope, survive and thrive in this ever-changing world allowing them to add value to their family, community and the organization they serve. Taylor received her education in Psychology from California State University Dominguez Hills. Since 1984 her passion, excellence and messages for successful living have stimulated the minds, hearts, and actions of men, women and youth to cope with adversity and achieve success in their personal, professional and spiritual lives. She is the founder of the Women on the Grow, Super Goal Saturday Motivational Seminars and the Don't Give Up Conference. A Washington D. C. native, she resides in southern California with her family. Dr. Lazarus, a renowned health and beauty expert and doctor of internal medicine and dermatology, specializes in varicose vein pathology, cosmetic dermatology of the face and body and general dermatology. Her extensive research into skin conditions, such as psoriasis and varicose veins have been published in The American Academy of Dermatology Journal, Clinical Research, The Journal of Investigative Dermatology and others.
Dr. Lazarus charitable and missionary work includes her non-governmental agency “Doctors and Nurses to the World,” which went for 5 months to aid the crisis Rwanda in 1994 working with the United Nations’ High Commissioner on Refuges. She continues to support ongoing work in Sierra Leone, Gambia, Nicaragua and donations for the tsunami-devastated areas. She earned her Masters of Science, Master of Art and Doctor of Medicine degrees at the State University of New York at Buffalo with special emphasis on anatomy and electron microscopy of epidermal and dermal tissues. She completed postgraduate training in internal medicine at UCLA and was a dermatology research fellow at UC Irvine. A portion of the proceeds from the “I’m Every Woman” Conference will support Touching Lives, Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to providing educational materials, learning opportunities, informative trips abroad and scholarships for disadvantaged youth. Since 2000, the Maranatha Community Church has assisted more than 50 disadvantaged youth with travel opportunities and scholarships.
Toni Morrison Opera Straddles
Excerpt From The Toronto Star - William Littler
(May 9, 2005) DETROIT—The roar echoing through the packed confines of Detroit's Opera House Saturday night, when Nobel Prize-winner Toni Morrison walked on stage to take her bow, was of a magnitude ordinarily associated with winning touchdowns at closely contested football games. In a sense, the winning touchdown had been hers, at the world premiere of the first original opera commissioned for and presented on that stage by Michigan Opera Theater, Margaret Garner. A real-life character, Garner was a slave in pre-Civil War Kentucky, who escaped to Ohio with her husband and family only to be hunted down, recaptured and hanged. What was remarkable about her story was that she was hanged for killing one and trying to kill her other three children, rather than see them returned to slavery. And what was even more remarkable was that she was tried and convicted not for murder — as she would have been in "free state" Ohio — but for the destruction of her owner's property in "slave state" Kentucky. Toni Morrison had herself loosely adapted this story once before in her Pulitzer Prize-winning 1987 novel Beloved, and it was when David DiChiera, founder/general director of Michigan Opera Theater, learned of her interest in collaborating with the Grammy Award-winning composer Richard Danielpour on an operatic version, that a commission was born. A co-commission, actually. In order to finance the $5 million-plus (U.S.) project, DiChiera entered into partnership with Cincinnati Opera and Opera Company of Philadelphia, both of whom will mount the new work after its five-performance Detroit run ends on May 22. As he told his opening-night audience, DiChiera was eager to have his company's first major commission reflect "the African-American experience," an understandable objective in a city whose population is now mostly black and whose operatic audience is still mostly white. The opening-night audience for Margaret Garner was mostly white, as well, but I've never seen more black faces in a Michigan Opera Theater or any other traditional operatic audience. As that roaring standing ovation testified, Margaret Garner connected powerfully with its public. Danielpour offered part of the explanation in the souvenir program when he wrote, "what I understood was that the story that we were choosing was an archetype of perhaps the single greatest unhealed wound in our country's history, and that class and economics played just as great a role in this `wounding' as the idea of race did."
A highly skilled composer, who has provided music for such artists as cellist Yo-Yo Ma and mezzo-soprano Frederica Von Stade, Danielpour is something of a latter-day Romantic, who composes in a tonally rooted style accessible even to the neophyte public Michigan Opera Theater and its partners wanted particularly to reach. It is an unoriginal style. Sometimes one hears echoes of Janaèek in the brass writing, or hints of Bernstein in the harmonies or turns of phrase reminiscent of Gershwin. But Danielpour knows how to write for voices and how to support them orchestrally in a way that facilitates verbal clarity. Like John Estacio's musically less sophisticated Filumena, centrepiece of Alberta Scene at Ottawa's National Arts Centre, Margaret Garner is a largely old-fashioned opera that nevertheless works. It works primarily because of the emotional resonances of Toni Morrison's story. It also works because the opera has been handsomely produced, with a strong cast, directed on stage by Kenny Leon and headed by that splendid mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves in the title role — the very singer who approached DiChiera with the idea of commissioning an opera about Margaret Garner in the first place. Together with soprano Angela Brown as her mother-in-law Cilla (a role originally to have been sung by Jessye Norman), baritone Gregg Baker as her husband Robert and baritone Rodney Gilfrey as her predatory owner, Edward Gaines (Canadian tenors Roger Honeywell and John Mac Master appeared in smaller roles), Graves was supported by two different, well-contrasted choirs, one representing slaves, the other the owning classes, with Stefan Lano conducting the Michigan Opera Theater Orchestra. Complemented by flexible, Marjorie Bradley Kellogg sets, constructed at Great Lakes Scenic Studios in Burlington, Ont. and Paul Tazewell costumes assembled from various sources, including Malabar of Toronto, the production seems set for a considerable afterlife, once it departs Motown. Meanwhile, Michigan Opera Theater has already given the contemporary literature a vehicle for connecting a white European art form with a black North American public. Much greater operas have achieved much less.
The Art Of Seducing R. Kelly: Charlie Wilson
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com
(May 11, 2005) *Gap Band frontman Charlie Wilson went so far as to bum rush R. Kelly at his nightly 1 a.m. basketball game in Chicago several years ago to solicit his production talent for a forthcoming solo album, reports MTV. When Kelly arrived, long after his 1 a.m. scheduled time, Wilson waited for the cornrowed singer to finish three pick-up games before stepping to him with an invitation to see him perform in a gospel play. Kelly obliged, and brought along Ron “Mr. Biggs” Isley as his date. After the show, the duo went backstage and Wilson began his pitch. "I started talking sh--," Wilson told MTV. "'I can't get nobody to produce me. ... Biggs, what you gotta do to get your record produced?' Rob was like 'Aww sh--. Here we go!' I was clowning them all. [Kelly] was like, 'Uncle Charlie, you wanna go to the studio tonight?' " Once R. was on board, record labels were suddenly interested.
"Some labels just don't see the visions," Wilson explained. "They'd be like, ‘Who you trying to target? What fan base?' Ni**a, I'm just gonna sing. Can you put the record out? They was trying to put me in a cubby-hole. For many years they was looking at me funny, I guess. Then after I said I was mingling with R. Kelly, everybody started coming out the woodwork — some of the same people that turned me down! I was like, 'Dog, I was knocking on your door just last year. You should have hollered.'" As for his forthcoming album, Wilson recorded a song called “Floating” with Will.I.Am and Justin Timberlake, who also co-produced the track. "Some people think Justin is just this white kid from a boy band," Charlie said. "But he's this white kid who grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. This kid has it in his soul. He's got that black music in him. To watch him evolve and go in the studio with me and Will I. Am, it's crazy." Wilson just shot the video for his first single, "Charlie, Last Name Wilson," in Los Angeles with director Lenny Bass. (The single, we might add, is a killa.)
Tom Green Gives In To Rap Roots With CD, Ontario Tour
Excerpt from The Globe and Mail
(May 10, 2005) Toronto -- Canadian shock comic Tom Green, an unruly prankster and former talk-show host, returns to his roots with the forthcoming release of a yet-to-be-titled rap album. In a press statement, issued through record label Sony/BMG, the Ottawa-raised Green claims to have grappled with the idea that he is, in fact, a rapper. Though the performer is a known hoaxer, the claim is verifiable. As a founding member of the group Organized Rhyme, Green scored a 1993 Juno nomination for Check the O.R., and he had earlier hosted a radio rap show in Ottawa. The album is to be produced by Mike Simpson of the Dust Brothers, a pair known for their work with the Beastie Boys and Beck. A five-city Ontario jaunt, tastelessly dubbed "My Bum Is On Your Lips Tour," includes dates in London, Hamilton, Barrie, Kingston and Ottawa, and begins June 7. Staff
Amerie Albums Debut In Top Five
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com
(May 6, 2005) *Mariah Carey’s “The Emancipation of Mimi” album remains at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 album chart this week, moving 197,000 units according to Nielsen SoundScan. Bruce Springsteen’s 13th studio album “Devils and Dust” takes over the top spot, knocking Rob Thomas’ “…Something To Be” from No. 1 to 4. Bobby Valentino's self-titled first album sold 180,000 copies in its first week in stores to take No. 3, while Amerie’s album “Touch,” fuelled by the go-go-drenched first single “1 Thing,” moved 124,000 units to debut at No. 5. Meanwhile, Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl” stays at No. 1 on Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart this week, with Ciara hot on her heels moving 5-3 with “Oh,” featuring Ludacris. The Game's "Hate It or Love It" featuring 50 Cent sits between the ladies for a second week, while Akon's "Lonely" is No. 4 for a fourth. 50 Cent's "Just a Lil Bit" shoots 14-5, and the rapper’s "Candy Shop" featuring Olivia falls 3-6. Mariah Carey’s "We Belong Together" jumps into the top 10 from No. 12 to No. 7 - becoming the 23rd Hot 100 top 10 title of the singer’s career. Kelly Clarkson's "Since U Been Gone" drops 6-8; Rob Thomas' "Lonely No More" dips 7-9 and Bobby Valentino’s Disturbing Tha Peace/Def Jam single "Slow Down" rounds out the top 10.
Men Kill Afghani Pop Star In B.C.
Source: Canadian Press
(May 10, 2005) VANCOUVER—Popular Afghani pop star Nasrat Parsa died Sunday after being swarmed on the street outside his hotel following a performance at a downtown Vancouver theatre, police said yesterday. "He had been approached by three male suspects, one punched him and he fell down some stairs hitting his head," said Vancouver's Const. Tim Fanning. "He was rushed to hospital and was pronounced dead." Parsa, 36, made 10 albums since 1989 after he was discovered during a New Year's celebration on Radio Kabul. He toured all over the world and had been in Canada for the past month, promoting his new album Dil, a collection of soft melodies released last fall. Parsa performed in the GTA last week at Woodbridge's Pine Valley Banquet Hall. He also sang on Mother's Day in Vancouver and it was after that show, Fanning said, that Parsa was assaulted outside his hotel. A 19-year-old man was arrested and is charged with aggravated assault. Police have since recommended the charge be upgraded to manslaughter.
Stones Coming `Sooner Than You
Excerpt from The Toronto Star
(May 11, 2005) The Rolling Stones confirmed they will return to Toronto to rehearse for a year-long tour that begins Aug. 21 at Boston's Fenway Park and includes a Sept. 26 date at the Rogers Centre. "I don't know when we get there (to Toronto), but sooner than you think," Mick Jagger said during a press conference in New York yesterday to announce the trek, which includes 35 confirmed dates this year and more to follow in 2006. Toronto has long been a home away from home for the band, which used the city to gear up for tours in 1994, 1997 and 2002. But Jagger, in responding to a question from a BBC reporter, denied the preference had anything to do with a more favourable tax situation. "We love Canada," Jagger said. "We wouldn't rehearse there (just) for tax reasons." In 2002, the band performed a pre-tour club show at Palais Royale and then returned for dates at the Air Canada Centre and SkyDome. They returned the next summer to headline SARSstock at Downsview Park. The first leg of the tour includes three other Canadian stops: Moncton, Ottawa and Calgary. Ticket information for Toronto hasn't been announced. But Michael Cohl, the band's tour manager, confirmed that prices are up 10 per cent from 2002, when the top price here was $350. Although he was vague about details, Jagger confirmed that as many as 400 fans would be able to watch from the stage during shows. "You'll get a great view of our buns, so we'll have to work on that," said Jagger, who will turn 62 on July 26. The set list for the tour will include songs from a new album expected this summer. Asked if the tour would be the Stones' last, as has been rumoured, Jagger would only say that the band would never bill a tour as its last in an effort to inflate interest. "We don't really plan tours as the last tour," he said. "We take each tour as it comes."
Dame Dash Out At Universal
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com
(May 10, 2005) *It's only 3 months into his deal with Universal Music/Island Def Jam, but now we're hearing that Damon Dash's new record label, the Damon Dash Music Group, is exiting after the deal was signed, sealed and delivered, reports The New York Post. The paper's sources say that after signing the deal, Dash made demands for more money on marketing and promotion. That apparently didn't go over well with the suits in the big house. Reportedly he was also seeking an executive job within Universal which also didn't make for a happy situation. Bottom line ... the two sides found themselves at the bargaining table last week to work out an exit package. One has to wonder what Jay-Z's position is in all this. Well, it's no secret that Dash and Jay-Hova, who were partners in Rock-A-Fella Records just a few months ago, have been drifting apart for years. Jay-Z, now president of Def Jam, was responsible for overseeing Dash's label venture. Hmmm, from the outside it looks as if he wasn't exactly looking out for his ex. The report also says that Dash not only demanded more money be spent on him, but as we said was seeking a bigger role within the company. If that's true, maybe he somehow forgot that Jay-Z already has that position locked down. Besides, Jay-Z had already done the power sharing thing with Dash. Isn't that why he moved on? Look for an official announcement as early as this week.
N’Dambi Live In L.A.: Former Erykah Badu
Background Singer Steps Out On Her Own
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com - By Jasmyne Cannick
(May 10, 2005) *Before heading off to Europe to greet eager fans, Dallas born and former Erykah Badu background singer N'Dambi will perform a live set at L.A.'s hot spot for smart music, the Temple Bar. N'Dambi may not be as well known as her former boss Erykah, but she definitely can hold her own. With preparations to release her third album, "A Weird Kind of Wonderful," N'Dambi flawlessly blends soul, R&B and jazz together song after song. If her previous two albums, "Little Lost Girl Blues" and "Tunin Up and Cosignin" are any indication on what to expect from her on her latest release, fans everywhere will forgive her for the three year wait. Los Angelinos are in for a rare treat come Friday at the Temple Bar. Tickets are $10 and available for advanced purchases at www.templebarlive.com. The Texas beauty hits the stage at 10:30 p.m., so don't be late. Others on the bill for the evening include Damon Aaron (9 p.m.) and Malcolm Jamal Warner's band Miles Long (11:30 p.m.). Yes, I know, N'Dambi should be headlining. I am sure when she swaggers back through the Temple Bar that she will be the headline act. Temple Bar junkies know the rules, but for newbies, if you came to see N'Dambi, let them know at the door so a sista makes her money. For more information on N'Dambi visit her on the web at www.ndambionline.com.
Jazz Festival Plays Host To Metheny
Source: The Globe and Mail - By Mark Miller
(May 11, 2005) Toronto -- Indian tabla drummer Zakir Hussain and American guitarist Pat Metheny are in the spotlight at the 26th annual Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, June 30 to July 10. Hussain will be heard in four different collaborative settings, and Metheny in six, as part of the festival's prestigious Invitation series. The festival's indoor lineup of more than 100 shows, announced in full at a press conference yesterday, is headlined mainly by singers and pop artists, including Michael Bublé, Cesaria Evora, Mark Knopfler, Omara Portuondo, Al Jarreau, Roberta Flack and Paul Anka. The jazz tradition is rather conservatively represented by such notables as saxophonists Sonny Rollins, Charles Lloyd and Dewey Redman, bassists Dave Holland and Charlie Haden, trumpeter Enrico Rava and the pianists Fred Hersch, Bobo Stenson, Randy Weston, Geri Allen and Bill Charlap. The festival's outdoor programming will be announced in June.
May 3, 2005
AMY GRANT Rock of Ages (A&M)
Kem, Album II, Motown
Mike Jones, Who Is Mike Jones? [Chopped and Screwed], Warner Brothers
SHAWN DESMAN Back For More (BMG Canada/Vik)
The Jeff Healey Band, Live at Montrenx 1999, Eagle
Various Artists, Acoustic Tribute to Dave Matthews, Reverberations
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
Bryan Adams, Room Service, Mercury
DAVE MATTHEWS BAND Stand Up (Sony/BMG)
Dave Matthews Band, Stand Up, RCA
MISSY ELLIOTT TBA (Missy Elliott) (Elektra)
SNOOP DOGG The Puff Puff Pass Tour: Special Edition (Eagle Vision)
Various Artists, Southern Soul Showcase, Kent
Mission Accomplished For Lucas
Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Geoff Pevere, Film Critic
(May 6, 2005) SKYWALKER RANCH, Marin County, Calif.—On his hilly home turf far from the madding crowds already lining up to see what he is about to unleash, George Lucas is in a relaxed, affable mood. The world's most famous living movie director has spent the morning at his idyllic Skywalker Ranch production compound, meeting the press to discuss Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith, the concluding chapter in the now six-part fantasy saga that may be the most successful, transformative and adored franchise in the history of movies. But if such weighty claims can be placed on the shoulders of this slightly portly, unassuming man sporting jeans, sneakers, a neatly trimmed beard and an impressive white wave of rockabilly hair, they sit lightly. He can still shrug. "To me, it's just a movie," says Lucas as he settles in for his first one-on-one interview. "It's a job, it's what I do. I love it ... I come up with an idea and I make it and sometimes nobody wants to see it and sometimes everybody wants to see it. And you never know that. That's the odd end of it, is people take possession of it, and some of them are just orphans. But for me I love them all the same." The calm rural isolation of Skywalker Ranch — a series of Victorian-style buildings that belies both its high-tech production facilities and the insanely popular nature of what it produces — is an ideal extension of George Lucas's creative methodology: keep it simple, intimate and distraction-free. Revenge of the Sith is the most anxiously anticipated of all the Star Wars movies because it is the last, the one with the intimidating task of docking seamlessly with the first adventures of Luke Skywalker.
Yet Lucas shows no signs of having let those expectations penetrate his creative process. "I just shut that off," says the Modesto, Calif.-born moviemaker, who claims to pay little attention to what his legions of fans want or expect from him. "I love the fans and everything but I have to make a movie for myself. "Because if you think about that, you end up with a mess," he says. "You end up with a mishmash because the fans are all very independent, they all have very different ideas of what they want." When Lucas speaks of the different worlds into which his first and last Star Wars movies are being released, he is describing a galaxy both long ago and far away. "After the first one," he recalls, "I left for Hawaii for three or four weeks and, by the time I came back, it was a worldwide phenomenon. "But you've got to remember, today when a film is released it's released all in one day, so you actually know everything. In those days, it sort of dribbled on and on. So that, in those days, a year later Star Wars was still in theatres. It was actually still opening in certain countries. "And it didn't have an incredible opening weekend," he stresses. "It just kept plugging away and then people started talking about it. There weren't any toys in the beginning. There weren't any ancillary things. So it was a very different world that film was put into than the world we have today with DVDs and licensing." It's also a different universe media-wise, as this Lucas-hosted three-day pre-release promotion blitz testifies. But if the world of film production and PR has changed so unrecognizably in the 28 years between Star Wars and Revenge of the Sith, Lucas believes that his own role in altering that universe has been both overstated and misunderstood. He does not, for example, accept that he was the Darth Vader of the New Hollywood, the guy who brought down the golden era of the director-driven 1970s and ushered in the age of the franchise blockbuster. "That theory is extremely naive," he says. "That had absolutely nothing to do with Star Wars in terms of how it happened ... When I started in 1970, the corporations didn't exist (in the movie business).
"After Star Wars in 1980 the studios were all taken over by corporations. And of course they didn't know how to make movies, they didn't know how to run a studio, they didn't care about movies. "All they want is the bottom line. They want to make the money. They decided, `We can't think about ideas so we'll just take whatever works and copy it.' "And that has nothing to do with Star Wars or Jaws. Those movies just happened to be the ones that they focused on." If anything, Lucas thinks that the industry shake-up occasioned by Star Wars, which led to more screens showing more movies around the world, has been a positive development. "Now you have more theatres and therefore you have a lot more independent filmmaking," he says. "When Star Wars came out there were no independent films. Especially no American independent films. They were all foreign. "But nobody in America could get an independent film in a theatre because there weren't any screens. Now probably 25 per cent of the films out there are independent art films. And that didn't exist before. "A lot of people are going to say, `Yeah, but they're not any good, it's not like Five Easy Pieces.' And, well, that's a judgment call. "The thing of it is there were one or two Five Easy Pieces then and now there are 20 or 30 of them." If Lucas feels any sadness that the Star Wars saga is now complete (he will continue to supervise the various ancillary interests like TV shows and video games), he certainly isn't letting on. If anything, he seems relieved that the Force will no longer be with him. "I probably won't really understand it until I'm shooting a different movie," he suggests. "I'll be shooting some other movie and going `Wow, I'm not shooting Star Wars any more.'... When I get to this point normally I'm sitting down and starting to write another screenplay. Now I'm sitting down and starting to write a new Indiana Jones."
Besides, as he faces his 61st birthday this month, Lucas wants to get back to basics. To the kind of movies that inspired him, back when he was a skinny, bespectacled film student taking the Filmic Expression class at the University of Southern California. What does this mean? George Lucas wants to make experimental films. Just as he wanted to way back at the start. "I was already prone to underground films at that point," he says of his school days. "That's what I was interested in. And I was very prone to cinema verité documentary, because I was just starting out. So that's where my interest was. At the school that happened to be their point of view so I was really steeped in that." In particular, Lucas had his mind blown by the work of such innovative National Film Board of Canada filmmakers as Claude Jutra, Norman McLaren and especially the trailblazing movie collage artist Arthur Lipsett. He describes the NFB work that was regularly shown at the school as both a key influence on him and enduring one. "Yeah," he says, settling comfortably in a Victorian-style wooden chair. "I want to go back and explore the medium rather than just do what I do. I mean I can do this forever, I guess, because I know pretty well how to do it. But I really want to push the limits of what I can do. And what film does, what cinema does. "The art of motion," he adds with a satisfied smile. "I'm very interested in exploring that."
Jewish Fest Comes Of Age
Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Judy Gerstel, Staff Reporter
(May 6, 2005) Mazel Tov! It's the Bar Mitzvah year, the 13th annual Toronto festival of Jewish film. And, like any 13-year-old, this year's Toronto Jewish Film Festival, starting tomorrow and running through May 15, has many aspects both volatile and amusing, is full of promise, and wants to stay up late to party, with midnight screenings of films about the contemporary music scene in Israel. Jericho's Echo: Punk Rock in the Holy Land, in English and Hebrew with English subtitles, plays at the Bloor Cinema at midnight Saturday with director Liz Nord attending. But even in a picture about punk rock, politics plays a big role: band members passionately hold differing views about religious laws, mandatory military service, Israeli politics and the choice between a guitar and a gun. "Israeli movies are always political, no matter what they're about," notes Janice Kaye, who wrote the TJFF program. The centrepiece of the Festival is the sold-out Canadian premiere on Sunday evening of Protocols of Zion, a film that explores conspiracy theories about Jews — including the charge that Jews who worked in the World Trade Center were warned not to work on 9/11 — and the long, tragic shadow of anti-semitism. Directed by Marc Levin, Protocols made its debut at Sundance and will open in Toronto in the fall. After the screening, Levin will take the stage, along with Mark Weitzman, coauthor of the book, Dismantling the Big Lie: Protocols of the Elders of Zion. When festival director Helen Zukerman co-founded the event 13 years ago, there were 19 films. This year, there are 101 films from 19 countries, programmed by six different curators. "Number one," she says, "we're about good quality film. "This year, we have films from Portugal, Germany, Italy," she says. "We have Awake Zion, about the tie between reggae and Jewish music and the black community." The quirkiest film, she says, is Perla — "about a family of Romanian dwarfs."
Zukerman says there are still new stories to be discovered. For example, Wagner's Confession, about an ex-Nazi who went to South America and converted to Judaism and no one knew of his background. Or Edelweiss Pirates, about German thugs who worked for the Resistance and were honoured by Israel's Yad Vashem. "I never heard about them until I watched the film," says Zukerman. She acknowledges that "the Jewish community can be very political and the UJA (United Jewish Appeal) gets complaints. "Controversy?" she responds. "We love it!" Controversy and the politics of the Jewish community are the focus of one of the four Canadian features at the Festival. Not in My Name, directed by 27-year old Torontonian Igal Hecht, looks at the political split among Jews in the diaspora concerning Israel's policies. "One of the points we bring out is that the moderate left has been silenced by the extreme left," says Hecht. "I find myself where many Jews are now. I used to be on the left, and would like to be on the moderate left, but unfortunately, I have extremists speaking in my name. "What I attempted to do was to showcase the problems in our community and also make the Jewish community in North America aware that you can't just silence people on the left. You have to begin a dialogue with them or we're going to become a very polarized community." You could call his documentary a cry from the middle. Hecht says he made the film "because I felt it was an engaging story that really hasn't been told" And because he likes to look at "thorny issues nobody wants to discuss." For a complete TJFF schedule, go to http://www.tjff.com.
7 Questions For Paul Haggis
Excerpt from The Globe and Mail - By Liam Lacey
(May 6, 2005) Born March 10, 1953, in London, Ont. Writer, television-series creator, winner of two Emmys, six Geminis, and an Academy Award-nominee. Former writer, producer or creator of such shows as Hangin' in, Three's Company, The Love Boat, Diff'rent Strokes, thirtysomething, EZ Street, L.A. Law and Due South. In 2000, Paul Haggis quit his successful career as a TV writer to work in the movies. His first effort was an adaptation of a story he heard read on National Public Radio by writer FX Toole: That tale, Million Dollar Baby, went on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture this year. Haggis has also signed on to future projects with Clint Eastwood and Steven Spielberg and, this week, introduces his film directorial debut, Crash, a multicharacter drama about race and fear in Los Angeles, written by Haggis and his friend, Bobby Moresco. In an interview in a Toronto hotel suite, Haggis is dressed in a brown pullover sweater and blue jeans; with a cigarette in his mouth, he looks more like a guy who tapes down cables than the one who calls the shots. It fits: Haggis sees himself as a tradesman, in the business of building stories for the screen.
You've lived more of your life in Los Angeles at this point than you did in Canada. Is it reasonable to see Crash as a movie from the perspective of an outsider, perhaps even a Canadian, on the Los Angeles experience?
Very much so. I think a lot of my writing comes from the fact that I do feel like an outsider, in both countries, and yet I feel the need to belong in both societies. I wasn't brought up with the same prejudices and experiences that my American friends were. It's easier for me, I think, to spot the cultural anomalies.
I understand you had your car stolen at gunpoint, which happens to Brendan Fraser and Sandra Bullock in the movie. Were your muggers black and as you watched it happen, did you feel any twinge of reflexive racism?
They were two black kids but I didn't think about race. I just went to my car, I opened the door and turned and there were guns in my face. The curse of the writer is to be curious about people, to wonder who they were. Were they close friends? Was this the first time or did they do this as a career? When I started to write about it 10 years later, they became my protagonists. I followed them until they bumped into someone else and I wrote about that person. Race and ethnicity have become shorthand for how we think of strangers and how we react to what's unfamiliar.
Parallels and coincidence play a large part in Crash. Do you believe in fate?
Well, I'm a big fan of irony and I guess the gods have plans for us, meaning that whenever we get comfortable in our lives, something happens. After my divorce I bought this big, beautiful house on a cliff, overlooking the ocean where the dolphins played, all to make myself feel better. About six months later came the Los Angeles earthquakes and I lost it, and then discovered I had no insurance. After banging my head on the steering wheel of my car for 20 seconds, I decided to start all over again. It was a useful lesson about complacency.
Did that experience make you a better risk-taker?
I think I learned that from my mom and my dad. My dad remade himself from scratch four or five times. He started off as a salesman, then started a tiny construction company and then he got bored with that and decided to start a small theatre company, where I first tried writing. And when that didn't work he started an import-export business. . . . I'm never really happy until I'm doing something where I have a pretty good chance of failing, and with Crash I have a really good chance. In fact, it was the dumbest thing I ever did. I should have written some big thriller that I could sell to a major studio.
It strikes me that the scripts for Million Dollar Baby and Crash would be hard to mess with. A studio would have to swallow them whole or spit them out.
That was my experience with Clint Eastwood, who didn't change a word. But we'd tried for 3½ years to get the film made. We already had Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman in place and we wanted Clint as an actor but he asked to direct. My first instinct was to say no to him but my second thought was that I would be a fool. What could I learn from this man? And finally, I knew he'd do a much better job than I could have.
We've all heard the jokes that everyone in Hollywood wants to direct. Why is that any more important than writing well?
Filmmaking is really just storytelling, and I write stories that are personal to me. You want to get those pictures that are in your head out to the world; the best chance to do that is to be a director.
Relative to other elements in Hollywood movies -- the stars' salaries, the production values, the marketing, the script looks like the easiest, least expensive thing to get right. Yet it is almost always the weakest element. How have you managed to protect the quality of your work?
First, thanks for saying I have protected it. What you say is true. Too often movies are made in Los Angeles because it's the right packaging, the right concept and the right actor who's available. Then guys like me are called in to try to patch up the script, sometimes actually during shooting, and at that point, what can you really do? The studios have strong beliefs about what audiences want. I know that if any major studio had been silly enough to buy Million Dollar Baby, they would absolutely have insisted on an upbeat ending. Personally, I'm happier walking out of a film saying, 'What was that about?' I want to explore questions rather than answer them, and at this stage in my life, that's the only kind of story I want to write.
Cheadle’s Star Power Helps ‘Crash’
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com
(May 6, 2005) *Don Cheadle was one of the first actors to sign on to “Crash,” an uncomfortably provocative look at racial attitudes among a group of disparate citizens in modern day Los Angeles. For producers Paul Haggis and Robert Marasco, getting the gifted actor on board early on would make the project more attractive to potential financiers as well other A-list talent. But for Cheadle, it was the in-your-face honesty of Haggis’ script that was the closed the deal. “I’m never shocked at how sort of bold and rude or racist that people can be,” Cheadle told us during interviews for the movie in Los Angeles. “I laughed through the whole script and it was a laugh of like, ‘Oh my God, you’re really going to write this? We’re really going to do a movie where people really say these things?’ because I know people say them all the time. But it’s rare to see it that honest. It was just very humanizing in the way that it didn’t try to color coat it with this whole PC veneer. It stripped all that away and people just talked in their own unabashed opinions, which I thought was really good.” With Cheadle the first to sign on, his presence was used immediately in securing other names for the ensemble cast, including Sandra Bullock, Brendan Fraser, Matt Dillon, Thandie Newton and Larenz Tate. “I sort of helped [the producers] gain access to people and talk to them. And Paul, being a first-time director, that’s sometimes a real high hurdle to overcome. I remember talking to Larenz and him saying, ‘Okay so what’s up with this cat? I mean, I’m good with you and the script is good, but it’s like, what’s this going to be, you know?’ And I had a lot of those discussions with a lot of the other actors about my confidence in Paul and what I thought we were all going to be able to do together and it was a job for sure. But, finally we found Bobby and he had money independently and we just kind of moved forward and made it happen.”
Once the film started happening, Haggis continued looking to Cheadle for guidance with the script and its incendiary dialogue, words that Cheadle often thought should be more abrasive. “Whenever Paul and I would discuss the script and a certain scene would come up and he’d show me some pages and go what do you think about that, I’d go, ‘I think you should go farther. You haven’t dissed enough right here. You should really hit that one, you know, push the envelope.’” Cheadle said the experience of filming “Hotel Rwanda” had changed him personally, but he wasn’t sure if the movie, or motion pictures in general, should take up the mantle of being “socially conscious” with the sole intention of changing viewers’ minds. "Crash" puts similar demands on its audience, in that it flings racial issues toward the screen and dares you to look away. In comparing the two films, Cheadle says the more visceral “Crash” should give audiences a bigger challenge. “It’s easy when you see a movie that’s sort of detached from your own experience and it’s easier to look at that and go, ‘Oh, that was a terrible thing that happened over there to those people and I wasn’t involved in that, but I can sympathize and I feel awful for their plight.’ This one is like, ‘No, it’s you. You did it, you’re one of them. You, too.’ And I think sometimes people go, ‘I’m not so comfortable with dealing with that and looking in the mirror and seeing me up there. So, I don’t know if people are going to have the same reaction. I hope so.’” When asked if the experience of filming “Crash” has caused him to re-examine his own attitudes on race, he joked: “It deepened my overall prejudice against all people, really. Before going into the film, I was much more open-minded. Now, I just don’t like different people.” “You only like yourself?” co-star Larenz Tate asked the actor. “Yeah,” Cheadle smiled. “And people like me.”
A Very Private Ryan Phillippe
Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Sean Daly, Special To The Star
(May 10, 2005) LOS ANGELES— This time there was no discussion about the paparazzi. Or wife Reese Witherspoon. Or their much-publicized trips to marriage counselling. There were no questions about 5-year-old daughter Ava or 16-month-old son, Deacon. For the first time in a long time, Ryan Phillippe was able to roll up his sleeves, kick back in a VIP hotel suite and talk about ... his work. On this sunny Sunday morning he is especially proud of Crash, the gripping directorial debut from Million Dollar Baby's Canadian-born writer-producer Paul Haggis, which opened to favourable reviews and good box office grosses over the weekend. What makes this 90 minutes of film special? Consider the all-star cast: Phillippe, Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, and Jennifer Esposito. Then there's the gritty material — what Lions Gate Films bills as "an unflinching look at the complexities of racial tolerance ... in the diverse melting pot of post 9/11 Los Angeles." Crash is a collection of stories from 12 ethnically diverse (yet equally racist) characters, whose lives all seem to interlock as if by fate. There's the African-American television director, the Mexican locksmith, two carjackers, a Persian store owner, and two LAPD detectives who just happen to also be lovers. Phillippe (pronounced Fil-uh-pee) plays a rookie cop, whose innocence and idealism are put to the test during face-to-face encounters on the beat with his partner (Dillon). Both actors prepped for their roles the old fashioned way — by riding along with real men in blue. "A lieutenant took us around Hollywood while (he) harassed transvestites and whatever," Phillippe remembers. "I sat in the front and I always had a baseball cap on because my life's like that and I'm paranoid all the time that people are following me. Matt didn't wear a baseball cap, but he sat in the back of the squad car."
(Can you sense a misunderstanding?) "So we pull up at a stop light and some kid looks over and sees Matt in the back of the squad car and immediately starts calling all his friends saying `He's getting arrested,'" the actor says with a laugh. "He followed us for like three blocks and Matt's in the back like he's a criminal. That was one of the funniest moments." And a pleasant distraction from the film's not-always-so-subtle undertones of bigotry and "Can't We All Just Get Along?" Still, 30-year-old Phillippe — who spent his youth in New Castle, Del. and broke into show business as gay teenager Billy Douglas on the soap opera One Life To Live — immediately jumped at the project. "I knew Paul Haggis before," he explains. "About 10 years ago I did an episode of a show he produced (Due South) when I was just starting out as an actor." That role was quickly followed by some of Phillippe's best known work: I Know What You Did Last Summer, 54, and Cruel Intentions. The former high school yearbook editor first moved to New York in 1991 to pursue a career in modelling and initially supported himself with a series of part-time jobs. "I worked at a video store and then a restaurant called Rascals that sold crabs and seafood," he said. "I used to stink." But by 1996, Phillippe, the only son born to Richard, a chemical technician, and Susan, a pre-natal nurse (he has three sisters), had become something of a household name. The recognition ten-folded in June 1999 when he wed Witherspoon at the age of 24. Phillippe never embraced his fame. "There are just these certain social anxieties that I have that are very much related to being famous," he admits. "I don't love attention." What he does love is the art of storytelling. A black belt in tae kwon do and avid photographer, Phillippe created and runs Lucid Films with actors Seth Green and Breckin Meyer. "Ryan is very savvy about how the business works," notes Burr Steers, who directed the blond heartthrob in Igby Goes Down in 2002. "He made a point of learning everybody's job on the set." That experience prepared Phillippe to produce his first movie, the $12.5-million drama White Boy Shuffle, in 2002. But the actor in Phillippe has ever been concerned about box office numbers. After all, he reportedly turned down the role of Anakin Skywalker in the Star Wars series. The great thing about independent films like Crash: "They offer a new viewpoint and an opportunity to make a statement. When you're working for a (large) studio and you're trying to get a tie-in with McDonald's you can't do any of this stuff. This is what I would like my legacy to be, trying to make this type of a movie."
Looking For Movie Miracles
Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Peter Howell
(May 11, 2005) The 58th edition of the Cannes Film Festival begins today, heralded by a promise of quality and an official poster that aptly shows a stairway to heaven. Festival president Gilles Jacob confidently predicts this year's selection of 21 films from around the world — including two from Canada — competing for the fabled Palme d'Or prize represents "the end of the lean years" when it seemed global cinema was in an artistic decline. The 2005 competition slate, up two from last year, is packed with familiar names from past festivals, including Cannes regulars David Cronenberg and Atom Egoyan, the first Canadians to joust for the Palme in 28 years. They'll be contending over the next 11 days with new films from such filmmaking peers as Gus Van Sant (Last Days, based on doomed rock star Kurt Cobain); Lars von Trier (Manderlay, his latest anti-American screed); Tommy Lee Jones (The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, the actor's directorial debut); Michael Haneke (Caché); Jim Jarmusch (Broken Flowers); Wim Wenders (Don't Come Knocking); Hou Hsiao-Hsien (Three Times), Robert Rodriquez (Sin City) and Amos Gitaï (Free Zone). The world premieres of new works by Woody Allen (Match Point) and George Lucas (Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith) will screen out of competition, and Lucas will also be honoured with a special medal to be handed out in a ceremony aboard the luxury liner Queen Mary II, which will be docked in the Cannes harbour. Cronenberg's A History of Violence and Egoyan's Where the Truth Lies, both thrillers, are said to be unusually mainstream offerings from the two Toronto directors, something of an irony in a year Cannes officials say will be "under the sign of cinéma d'auteur." Both films are receiving their world premiere here, Egoyan's on Friday and Cronenberg's on Monday.
The Canadian contingent includes a third Toronto director, Stuart Samuels, whose cult movie documentary Midnight Movies: From the Margin to the Mainstream, premieres out of competition at midnight Friday. The eyes of most of the world, and the 4,000 writers and photographers gathered here, will be directed not at the films presented, but rather at the stars who will walk up the red carpet outside the Palais des Festivals to attend the gala screenings within. The famous strip of scarlet, which workers yesterday were busily laying in place, is the symbol of this year's official festival poster, which depicts a set of red stairs ascending into a blue nighttime sky twinkling with stars. These few dozen steps, flanked by swaying palm trees and the azure waters of the French Riviera, have been traversed by celebrities from around the globe. It was on these stairs that Madonna doffed her top in 1991 to reveal her Gaultier-designed cone bra, to the delight of onlookers, as she arrived for the premiere of her tell-all documentary Truth or Dare. It was also here where, in 1994, Quentin Tarantino and Uma Thurman strolled to unveil Pulp Fiction, that year's Palme winner. Three years later, these same steps saw Demi Moore flash daggers at her then-husband Bruce Willis, after Willis paid too much attention to the skimpy attire of Milla Jovovich, his co-star in The Fifth Element, the 1997 festival opener. Celebrity watchers will gawk at the red steps this year for Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello and Ed Harris, the stars of A History of Violence; and for Kevin Bacon and Colin Firth, the stars of Where the Truth Lies. First up the red carpet tonight will be the stars of Dominik Moll's gala opener Lemming, a dark emotional drama from France featuring Charlotte Rampling, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Laurent Lucas and André Dussollier.
Other Hollywood and international celebs expected at Cannes 2005 include Natalie Portman, Sarah Polley, Bill Murray, Sharon Stone, Tommy Lee Jones, Samuel L. Jackson, Woody Allen, George Lucas, Eva Marie Saint, Benicio del Toro, Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis, Jessica Alba, Scarlett Johansson, Ewan McGregor, Robert Downey Jr., Val Kilmer, Gael Garcia Bernal, William Hurt, Zhang Ziyi, Tilda Swinton and many others. Cannes 2005 promises to be a good year, perhaps even a "miraculous" one, to use the word employed by local paper Cannes-Matin to describe an incident that happened here on Sunday afternoon, just 150 metres away from the red steps. To the sound of a loud "boom," as witnesses later described it, a 50-year old pine tree, 10 metres in height, suddenly fell across the Croisette, the city's main boulevard. The tree landed straight across the road, right in front of the Gucci store, but incredibly hit neither pedestrians nor cars. Had the tree fallen during the festival, when thousands of people and bumper-to-bumper cars were jamming the Croisette, it is quite likely that someone would have been struck and possibly injured or killed. That someone could well have been a celebrity, since the tree's resting spot is near where limos stop to let the famous out to begin their red-carpet march. The incident was taken so seriously by the locals, Cannes-Matin reported it with a major story that included four colour photos, one of them prominently displayed on the front page. The fact that injury occurred only to the tree is taken as a good omen for the festival. By nightfall, city workers with chainsaws had chopped up the tree and hauled it away, leaving only a stump as a reminder of what had happened. L'exposition doit continuer — the show must go on — and no errant tree is going to stop it.
BHERC Screenwriting Competition
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com
(May 11, 2005) *The Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center (BHERC) is now accepting submissions for its annual screenwriting competition. Submissions must be original screenplays of 90-120 pages on any topic. The Grand Prize Winner will receive the following:
Nine finalists will receive two weekend passes to the African American Film Marketplace and Short Film Showcase, as well as special recognition on the BHERC website. Visit www.BHERC.org to download an application. The African American Film Marketplace and Short Film Showcase, to be held November 10-13 at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood, CA., features short films by today’s finest, emerging African American filmmakers while paying tribute to African American film pioneers. The event also offers informative seminars led by film and TV industry professionals. Mail Scripts to: 1875 Century Park East, 6th floor; Los Angeles, CA 90067. Scripts must be postmarked by midnight, August 31.
Smith is ‘Happy;’ Tucker in a ‘Rush;’
Plummer in ‘Saw 2;’ Diggs & Touchstone
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com
(May 6, 2005) *Will Smith has been cast in the drama “The Pursuit of Happyness,” (yes, that’s how it’s spelled in the title). Award-winning Italian director Gabriele Muccino will direct the actor in the mostly true story of Chris Gardner, who went from homelessness to unimaginable wealth by working his way up at a brokerage. Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment and Escape Artists are producing "Happyness" for Columbia Pictures.
*According to “Variety,” Chris Tucker is close to signing a two-picture, $40 million contract at New Line in the coming weeks that will put "Rush Hour 3" on track for a late fall start in Los Angeles and Paris. Jeff Nathanson, who wrote “Rush Hour 2” and just finished penning "Indiana Jones 4,” will begin writing the sequel script as soon as Tucker puts his John Hancock on a contract.
*Production began this week in Toronto on "Saw 2," the sequel to the horror film that co-starred Danny Glover as a detective investigating a serial murderer. Glenn Plummer, Donnie Wahlberg, Franky G, Emmanuelle Vaugier, Beverley Mitchell and Eric Knudsen have joined returning actors Shawnee Smith, Dina Meyer and Tobin Bell.
*While the jury is still out on whether Touchstone TV’s “Kevin Hill” will return to UPN for a sophomore season, the company his already secured a relationship with the show’s star Taye Diggs. The actor has signed a development deal with the studio that calls for Diggs and his manager Abe Hoch to bring series projects to Touchstone under their newly formed company O-Tay Productions. Diggs is currently at work on the feature-film adaptation of the musical "Rent," where he'll reprise his Broadway role of Benny.
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com
(May 9, 2005) *A documentary nine years in the making has swayed the U.S. Justice Department to reopen the investigation into the murder of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old black boy whose gruesome murder 50 years ago in Money, Mississippi shocked a nation and galvanized the civil rights movement. As part of the new investigation, Till’s body – buried in a cemetery in the Chicago suburb of Alsip –will be exhumed as federal authorities attempt to determine who killed him, the FBI said Wednesday. The documentary’s creator Keith Beauchamp believes five people who are still alive could lend new insight into the case and that as many as 10 people either observed or took part in the slaying," reports the Chicago Sun-Times.
Rhames, Ja Rule Go ‘Back In The Day’
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com
(May 10, 2005) *The unlikely duo of Ving Rhames and Ja Rule fuel the urban drama “Back in the Day,” a BET original film premiering Friday at 7:30 p.m. In addition, the “Back in the Day” DVD will debut in stores on May 24. Directed by James Hunter, this tale of love and redemption co-stars Pam Grier, Frank Langella, Tatyana Ali, Giancarlo Esposito, Tia Carrere, Debi Morgan, and Joe Morton. In “Back in the Day,” Rule portrays Reggie Cooper, a young man from the rough side of the tracks who lives with his divorced, affluent father (Esposito) in order to avoid the gang activity that almost claimed his teenage life in his mother's (Grier) neighbourhood. When Reggie reconnects with a recently paroled friend from his past (Rhames), he slips back into a life of crime with fatal consequences. Reggie becomes involved in the murder of a local preacher (Morton) and in the aftermath of this crime, he falls in love with the preacher's daughter (Ali). Ultimately, he must choose between losing everything he cares about and his lifelong loyalty to his oldest friend. "Almost every aspect of life involves choices, and this film deals with some of the hardest choices any man might face -- choosing between the love of a woman and loyalty to a long-time friend," said Ja Rule. "Anyone who has ever been at an important crossroads in their life will really feel the drama and pressure facing these characters."
And Joyce Agu Win Amazing Race
Source: Associated Press
(May 11, 2005) New York — Rob and Amber who? Married couple Uchenna and Joyce Agu outraced a pair of former Survivor contestants and a former prisoner of war and his beauty queen girlfriend to win the seventh edition of CBS' The Amazing Race and the $1-million (U.S.) prize. “It's so amazing, if I can use that word,” Joyce said while grinning and giggling at the CBS season finale party. Uchenna, 40, and Joyce, 44, from Houston, lugged boats in London, balanced water jugs on their heads in Africa and weighed complete strangers in Turkey — among other silly and strenuous tasks — in order to reach the finish line. Unlike previous seasons of Amazing Race, the racers didn't travel around the globe, instead they semi-circled from Long Beach, Calif., through South America, Africa, India, Europe and the Caribbean to their final destination in Miami. Because the Agus arrived last during a non-elimination leg before the home stretch, the couple was stripped of all their belongings and cash per the reality show's nefarious rules. The Agus begged their way to the finish line but didn't have enough money to pay their cab driver. Although they were only steps away the finish line and the $1-million prize, the Agus continued to beg from nearby strangers until they paid their cab fare. “It was all about honour,” said Uchenna. “That cab driver was going to get his money.” During an earlier stretch of the race in Jodhpur, India, Joyce agreed to shave her head as part of a Fast Forward challenge, allowing the Agus to skip to end of the leg. Uchenna cites that bold “sacrifice” as one of the turning points in the race.
“Once you shave it off, you have nothing to hide behind,” said Joyce. “People can actually see your soul. It's so bizarre. I'm glad I did it.” Much of the seventh season of Amazing Race was dominated by recently wed former Survivor contestants Rob “Boston Rob” Mariano, 29, and Amber Brkich, 26, who placed second in the race. Dating couple Ron Young, 28, from Villa Rica, Ga., and Kelly McCorkle, 26, from Greenville, S.C., placed third. “We thought they were regular people like us,” said Joyce of Mariano and Brkich. “Really, it was an eye opening experience when we got on the race and saw that their notoriety was so amazing and people all over the world recognized them. We tried to ignore all that and do our own race just to spite what was happening with them and obviously it still paid off.” Uchenna, an energy broker who once worked for Enron, and Joyce, a sales manager who once worked for WorldCom, plan to use their earnings for “bills, bills, bills” and to take their family on their own amazing trip. The Agus, who've tried unsuccessfully to have a child in the past, also said they would use their $1-million prize toward a baby. “My doctors offered us a free round of in vitro [fertilization],” said Joyce. “So after all this is over, if it doesn't work out, we have the money. We can adopt.”
Production Of 'Chappelle's Show' Is Suspended
Excerpt from The Globe and Mail
(May 5, 2005) New York — Production of the popular Comedy Central series Chappelle's Show has been suspended and its third season's premiere indefinitely delayed. Comedy Central issued a statement Wednesday, saying: "All parties are optimistic that production will resume in the near future." The season will not start May 31 as originally scheduled, the statement added. Neither Comedy Central publicist Tony Fox nor Dave Chappelle's spokesman, Matt Labov, would discuss what caused the halt in production or how long it might last. This unexpected turn deprives the network of one of its most valuable properties, a sketch-comedy series with a raw, satirical edge that became a critical and popular hit. Last summer Comedy Central signed Chappelle to a deal reportedly worth $50 million for a third and fourth season. The two-year agreement also allowed Chappelle to develop other programming for the cable channel and cut him in on DVD sales, a lucrative factor considering his series' first-season DVD sold more than 2 million copies. Last season the show was nominated for three Emmys, including outstanding comedy series.
Leslie Uggams Is Back On The Boards
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com - By Karu F. Daniels
“The hell if I care, I'm just here to get my cash.”
(May 5, 2005) GIVE MY REGARDS … BACK AGAIN: Living legend Leslie Uggams is back on the boards. The Broadway boards that is. The multi-talented Tony Award-winner is currently receiving rave reviews for her role in the new production of “On Golden Pond,” which has audiences lining up at The Cort Theater for eight shows a week. “I’m very excited,” the Washington Heights-bred thespian told “The RU Report” about the play, helmed by “Master Class” director Leonard Foglia and starring the remarkable, two time Tony Award winner James Earl Jones. “I was just saying to my husband that this is so exciting.” With a revised script by original playwright Ernest Thompson (who also won an Academy Award for adapting his own play into the screenplay for the 1981 hit film starring Henry Fonda, Katharine Hepburn, Dabney Coleman and Jane Fonda), the new version of “On Golden Pond” features Linda Powell, Peter Francis James, Craig Bockhorn and Alexander Mitchell in the classic story about the lovable curmudgeon and his spirited wife - a couple whose final summer at their lakeside cottage in Maine is interrupt ed by the arrival of their estranged daughter and her fiancé's young son. It’s a timeless story about bridging the generation gap and overcoming familial hardships. The Jeffrey Finn-produced masterpiece is the very first major U.S. production to feature African-American performers playing the family (representing a majority of the characters in the play). “I mean I love the play,” Ms. Uggams continued. “I think people are pleasantly surprised with our rendition of it, because we’re different people.”
“It’s much funnier than they remember it being,” she added. “And I think… this is a different animal than what people expect to see since they’ve seen the movie.” Noting that she did not have any reservations about stepping in Ms. Hepburn’s shoes as the female lead in the story, Ms. Uggams revealed that there was a certain variable that drew her in. “All I thought about was: ‘Wow, I really loved the story and James Earl Jones -- what a fabulous journey this is going to be.’ To be opposite of James Earl Jones is unbelievable. I have to pinch myself.” Ms. Uggams, who won a Tony Award in 1968 for her star turn in “Hallelujah, Baby!,” is no newcomer to the Great White Way. She’s starred in a string of high-profiled shows, including August Wilson’s “King Headley II,” which she was nominated for a Tony Award for. “Anything Goes,” “Jerry's Girls” and “Blues in the Night” are also in her repertoire. Her most recent Broadway stint was in the Tony Award winning musical “Thoroughly Modern Millie” in 2003. “I just love theatre,” she gushed about her stage work. Ms. Uggams, who turns 62 on May 25, credits revolutionary Black theatre maverick Woodie King, Jr. for bringing her back to the live theatre realm, after achieving success on television. “I did [theatre] for a while, and then I went out to Hollywood like everybody goes out to Hollywood and some do great and some don’t do that great. I was out there. But I was always back and forth,” the former Apollo Theater singer shared. “It was really Woodie who got the ball rolling,” she continued. “I was receiving an award from the National Black Arts Theater Festival and he said ‘You know, it’s the 20th Anniversary of ‘Black Girl’ and you played the ingénue and I’d like you to play the mother down at the Federal Theater’ and I was like ‘Ah, that’s interesting.’ I loved doing the movie --it was a wonderful story-- so I wound up doing it for him. And because of that a playwright named John Henry Redwood saw me do it and gave me the script to “The Old Settler,” and from there I was approached to do “King Headley II.” So it’s interesting how things flowed.”
Ms. Uggams, who is happily married to debonair Australian actor Graham Pratt and the mother of two grown children (Danielle and Justice) -- also entertainers, has always known how to go with the flow. An accomplished singer, Ms. Uggams performs jazz-styled concerts across the globe. She even recently released “On My Way To You,” a sublime opus of sultry jazz and Bossa Nova featuring her interpretations of the songs of Alan and Marilyn Bergman. And of course I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that fact that television audiences, worldwide, remembers her fondly as Kizzy Kente – the heroine of the historical Alex Hailey miniseries “Roots.” That’s the Emmy Award-nominated role that she still can’t shake, nearly 30 years later. “Oh God,” she smiled. “I mean, what a woman.. I just admire her so, so much. Through everything she had to go through, she was a survivor. She was a great survivor and she was able to take it up a notch with her son because he was going to be doing better than what she did, so she was not going to diminish in his eyes in any way. In order for him to survive she had to be a strong woman.” She added that people still refer to her as the precocious slave-woman. But she doesn’t take offence. “I love it, absolutely. I can’t be prouder than ever playing that part. And I welcome it.” “I just love what I do,” Ms. Uggams concluded about how her work inspires her. “I love getting a new project and working on it and watching it. It’s like getting a little seed and watering it and watching it grow. And that’s me, every time I face another project. I’m always excited about it because it’s something else to try and to grow. And I’m always willing to learn more.”
At 71, Robert Goulet Is Centre Stage On Broadway Again
Excerpt From The Toronto Star - Richard Ouzounian, Theatre Critic
(May 9, 2005) NEW YORK — Robert Goulet is back on Broadway and the ladies still love him. It doesn't matter to them that the 71 year old charmer is currently playing a gay man married to a drag queen in the revival of La Cage Aux Folles. The minute Goulet steps through the curtain, with his high-beam grin still intact, the crowd breaks into thunderous applause. And when he finally gets a chance to let his voice soar in Jerry Herman's ballad "Song On the Sand," the sound that ripples through the audience is not unlike the purr from some highly contented kittens. It's been 45 years since he burst into stardom as Lancelot in the original Broadway production of Camelot and though he's never really fallen off the celebrity radar, there have been plenty of ups and downs. He's been greatly adored and widely scorned, praised as classy and mocked as cheesy. The nice part is that he's comfortable with it all. "The accolades and the brickbats don't really matter," he insists. He touches his heart, "It's what's in here," then he points to the sky, "and what the Boss upstairs thinks of you." Sitting in the penthouse lounge of his midtown luxury hotel, Goulet is in an expansive mood as he traces the complicated path of his American-Canadian heritage. "Sometimes both countries want to claim me, but then there have been periods when each one said to the other `You take him, we don't want him.'" Here are the facts. He was born Robert Gerard Goulet in Lawrence, Mass. on Nov. 26, 1933. "My father Joseph was from Quebec and my mother Jeannette was from Lewiston, Maine, although her family originally came from Quebec as well. We lived in a French-Canadian enclave in Lawrence, Catholic churches and schools and a tight-knit society." Although Goulet never knew it, his father was slowly dying all through his childhood. "They never told me what it was or how serious it was. I just thought he was very sick." "I sang in the church choir, but I didn't think much of it. Then one night when I was 13, my father called me to his bedside and said `Robert, God gave you a voice. You must sing.' He died later that same night."
Goulet stretches out his arms to show how hopeless he felt. "What could I do after that? I had to honour his wish. But without that, I tell you, I never would have been a performer. I was always near the top of my class in my school. I wanted to go into politics. I might have been vice-president and we wouldn't be in this mess, eh?" After his father's death, the Goulets moved to Alberta, "where my grandfather had a farm, 200 miles north of Edmonton. We settled there for a while and then moved down to the city, but we were always very poor, even after my mother remarried." By 16, Goulet was performing with the Edmonton Symphony. "I sang two songs with the Summer Pops and they gave me $25. I said `You get paid, too?' and that was the first time I thought there might be something in this after all." He appeared in summer musicals across the country and got a scholarship to the Royal Conservatory of Music in 1955. In the same year, he married Louise Longmore and they had one daughter, Nicolette. In 1958 he was at Stratford, starring in The Beggar's Opera. He recalls that "Chris Plummer and Jason Robards were there that season as well and the three of us were drinking everything in the town." After that he was comfortably entrenched in a CBC-TV Sunday night variety show called Showtime "and I had a week off so I went to Bermuda to play golf." He returned to discover urgent messages from an American agent he had never heard of, telling him that Lerner and Loewe wanted him to audition for Lancelot in their new musical Camelot. "I later found out they had been looking everywhere and were about to go to England when Don Harron recommended me. I flew down and the airlines lost my luggage, so I showed up in a T-shirt, jeans, cowboy boots and a leather jacket that needed cleaning." Director Moss Hart sized him up and leered, "Well, I see you've come dressed for action." A recent biography of Hart revealed that the married director had a huge crush on Goulet during the show, but the young man never knew it. "I was a punk kid from Edmonton and I knew nothing about gay men. I've never been a homophobe, because I believe God created us all, but I had no clue what Moss was up to." He blushes slightly. "Well, one night even I started to catch his drift, when he took me to dinner at Sardi's and said `Bobby, stick with me and you'll be wearing platinum.'" He recalls when he first heard what remains his trademark song, "If Ever I Would Leave You." "It was the first day of rehearsals and I was too shy to go out with Richard (Burton), Julie (Andrews) and that crowd, so I just got some soup from a deli and brought it back to the rehearsal hall. Fritz Loewe was sitting at the piano and he said `Dear boy, let me show you your song.'"
Goulet quickly learned the number and when he finished singing it, he looked up to find Burton staring at him open-mouthed. "The voice of an angel," pronounced the famous Welshman. The world agreed. Camelot opened on Broadway in 1960 after a difficult Toronto tryout, and Goulet was plunged into a world of stardom he admits now that he "probably wasn't prepared for." He divorced his first wife in 1963 and married popular stage star Carol Lawrence. They stayed together for 18 tempestuous years, during which they had two sons. Goulet won a Tony Award (for 1968's The Happy Time) became a sought-after Vegas headliner and made many successful recordings, but his personal life was falling apart. In addition to an increasing problem with alcohol, his marriage had totally disintegrated. In 1981, Goulet finally walked out on what he calls "the barking and crying and yelling and fighting from the minute you woke up in the morning to the minute you went to bed at night." In 1982, he met and wed Vera Novak, a Yugoslavian-born writer and artist, whom he credits with getting his life back in order. "She's an influence on me and I love her dearly." Then he grins. "I listen to her most of the time." For the time being, he's having a wonderful time in La Cage Aux Folles and the guy who was once so clueless that he couldn't spot a gay pass now brings the curtain down smooching with his co-star, Gary Beach. "I'm not used to kissing men, so the first time I nearly broke Gary's nose. Then I hit his chin. I'm getting better." Goulet was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1993, underwent surgery and then had radiation five years later when it recurred. He's in good health now and unafraid of the future. "If I'm going to die, I'm going to die. I'm actually looking forward to it because I want to see what's around the corner. Maybe it's oblivion, but my Catholic upbringing tells me there's a life after for the soul. I'll say to God, `Give me a spot at the back of the hall and I'll spend eternity there.'"
Steve Nash Is Named Most Valuable
Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Doug Smith, Sports Reporter
(May 9, 2005) PHOENIX—In a sport far too often about me, Steve Nash has struck a blow for we. He stands as the anti-hero in a game that glorifies dunks and astounding feats of individual athleticism; he relishes team success far more than personal accolades, always willing to share the glory and the joy with his team-mates. He is a self-effacing Canadian Everyman in the most American of games, a kid who grew up in hockey country playing The City Game, fighting long odds and huge obstacles at every step. But today Steve Nash has to stand alone even if he doesn't enjoy it, today the Phoenix Suns point guard has to take ownership of a set of skills that sets him apart from every bigger, faster, more athletic basketball player on the planet. Today Steve Nash, the Victoria-raised gym rat now as famous in New York and Chicago and Barcelona and Athens as he is across Canada, is considered the best basketball player in the game. The 31-year-old Nash was named the Most Valuable Player of the NBA yesterday, edging gigantic Miami Heat centre Shaquille O'Neal in a voting process among North American media members that rewarded substance over style and teamwork over individuality. "It's incredible," he said at a news conference here yesterday. "I'm there with my heroes (former MVPs). It's been a long road for me and I feel really proud to accomplish this playing as a team, just trying to be a good team-mate. "That is the only way for me to highlight what I do as a basketball player." It is the first time a Canadian has won any individual NBA honour, let alone the top prize generally reserved for bigger, stronger, quicker players in the Michael Jordan, Bill Russell, Oscar Robertson mould. Nash, who joined the Suns this year as a free agent and helped them go from a 29-win, non-playoff team to one that had an NBA-best 62-20 record this season, received 65 of 127 first-place votes, seven more than the 7-foot-1 O'Neal. Of the 50 winners of the Most Valuable Player award, only six have been guards: Nash, Magic Johnson, Robertson, Jordan, Allen Iverson and Bob Cousy.
Standing just over 6 feet tall in a game dominated by players 6 inches to a foot taller than he and playing a pace some would consider pedestrian compared to some of the waterbugs to skitter across NBA courts, Nash has thrived on making his team-mates — and his team — better. It was fitting, and entirely in character, that he began yesterday's news conference by insisting that his team-mates, who turned out in full force to watch the proceedings, join him on the stage. "I'm happy for him," said Phoenix forward Shawn Marion. "Him getting the MVP makes us feel like we all got the MVP. "It couldn't happen to a better person or a better player." Nash has ascended to this lofty height against all expectations. He was the 15th player chosen in the 1996 NBA draft and he was pegged as a career backup point guard at that time. He was about the only one who truly believed he could reach this level. "I always try to set goals for myself and have my own time frame to accomplish them and to not give up on anything, to keep trying to improve and keep trying to find new ways to inspire myself to improve," he said. It is not as if Nash arrived at this point without countless hours of hard work. As a freshman at Santa Clara University — the only American school that would offer a scholarship to the unknown Canadian —he worked on his ball-handling skills by dribbling a tennis ball around the campus. As a high schooler at St. Michael's in Victoria, it was as if he owned the gym, shooting jump shot after jump shot after jump shot long after everyone had gone home. His singular goal was to become as great a player as he could be, regardless of the odds stacked against him. "My neighbourhood didn't have any NBA players, I was offered one (college) scholarship. Obviously hockey is the first, second and third story in our country, so to be here is to be very unlikely but at the same time it makes it a great accomplishment to cherish," he said. Nash's MVP victory should serve as a testament that following one's dreams is never bad, regardless of what difficulties are encountered. "Look at the list of names, and now you put Steve Nash on there," said Jay Triano, Nash's former coach with the Canadian national team, looking down a roster of previous winners that includes Jordan, Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell and Robertson, among others. "It shows you don't have to be 6-foot-9, you can be a guard, you can be from Victoria. Steve's broken the barriers for what some kids use as excuses to not succeed." There is much more to Nash, however, than his ability to make jump shots or thread passes through traffic on the court. He relishes the time he spends with his partner, Alejandra Amarilla, and twin daughters Bella and Lola, who were born just before this season began. His interests go far beyond sports and the NBA. His social conscience is such that he wore a T-shirt bearing an anti-war slogan at the NBA all-star weekend festivities in Philadelphia in 2002. He's well read, well versed in global issues. Those stands may have cost him the chance to earn significant endorsement opportunities, although he is in the first year of a contract that will pay him $60 million (all figures U.S.), so money is not an issue.
And while an MVP award will undoubtedly enhance Nash's marketability, especially in Canada, where he is idolized by a generation of young basketball players who have seen him rise from Canadian high schools to global stardom, don't expect him to leap at every commercial opportunity. "I'm not opposed (to them), obviously I turn most of them down, but if the right ones come along ... " he said. "It's usually time. I just don't want to give up much time in the summer with my family, or during the season." But even as he accepted the ultimate individual honour the NBA can bestow, Nash — typically — wouldn't suggest it was the ultimate moment of his career. "A lot of the great moments are games you win with your team-mates, there's nothing like sharing something with someone else," he said. "This is a pinnacle of a player's career individually. In many ways, the pinnacle of a player's career really is defined by team wins."
Nash to Host Charity Game this Summer at ACC?
Source: Canadian Press
(May 9, 2005) TORONTO (CP) Canada's MVP Steve Nash is bringing his game to Toronto. The Phoenix Suns point guard, who was named the NBA's Most Valuable Player on Sunday, said he's awaiting final approval from the league to host his first NBA charity all-star game at the Air Canada Centre this summer. ``It's an exciting time to have an impact in my home country, and especially in the community of Toronto, and do something special there,'' Nash said from Phoenix. The game is good news for Toronto basketball fans after former Toronto Raptors star Vince Carter left for the New Jersey Nets in a trade last December, putting an end to his popular charity all-star game that ran in conjunction with Caribana. Carter held his final game last summer amid reports he'd asked the Raptors to trade him. Nash, a Victoria native, said he'd love to host a charity game in Vancouver one day.
Steve Nash Foundation Charity Classic - Tune in for a special announcement – Tuesday, May 17th 10am
Sports Beat: Serena’s Lingerie Deal;
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com
(May 6, 2005) *Serena Williams’ clothing line Aneres has inked a deal with lingerie company Blue Intimates to create two full intimate apparel lines: Aneres, by Serena Williams and Infatuation, by Serena Williams. The collection will be presented to buyers in September 2005 and will be ready for stores in spring 2006.
*Charles Barkley’s new book “Who’s Afraid of a Large Black Man?” collects interviews about racism with 13 prominent people, including athletes, politicians and entertainers. Barkley tells “USA Today” that he is "not an angry black man who's trying to lecture everyone." But, he adds, "I'm in the unique position of being black and being somewhat famous and wealthy. … If black people with some influence don't address this issue and get conversations started, then who will? Racism is a taboo topic, but it shouldn't be."
No Sandals Please — It's Not Yet Summer
Excerpt From The Toronto Star
(May 7, 2005) People, I tell you this for your own good. The season we are in right now is SPRING. It's not yet summer. This means if it is warm outside, it is only temporary . It will be chilly again in a minute. This is a season when you really do need your jacket. This is also a season of terrible, terrible fashion faux-pas. Too many of you are out there in summer clothing and it looks bad, bad, bad. Canadians are people who mistake sunlight for warmth, hence can be found sitting in their parkas on plastic chairs on the sidewalk, sipping pints at "outdoor cafes." Canadians are people who strip down and show their untanned and goose-pimply flesh the second the snow melts. Not a pretty sight. I'm seeing some horrifying things. Shoes without socks. Bare winter-white legs with too-bright skirts. Just today I saw someone in a sleeveless top. Hey, you over there in the shorts and sandals. What in the name of all that is holy were you thinking? Please don't do that any more. And you with the floaty skirt and flip-flops. Do you see palm trees anywhere? Sweetie, this is not L.A., much as we'd like it to be. Now, to give credit to you, this is a tricky time of year, clothing-wise. We have been bundled up and hidden for so long, just the thought of freedom is intoxicating, and it's so hard to know what to wear when it's positively balmy in the morning and raining pure ice in the afternoon. This brief moment of confusion is what retailers call Transition, and it calls for careful dressing and a few essential items that are unnecessary at any other time of year. I have a friend who doesn't go anywhere without a pashmina. Pashminas are the problem child of the fashion world — the glamour magazines are always announcing their death or calling them downright tacky — but that isn't scaring anyone off. Pashminas won't go away because they work. They can add a nice flash of colour, and they keep us warm but not too warm. My friend is always taking hers out of her capacious bag when the weather takes a quick turn for the worse, or when the air conditioning brings the threat of pneumonia.
My personal advice is to wear lightweight cashmere cardigans, twin sets, turtlenecks, whatever you can lay your hands on. To be fair, this is my advice for almost any occasion — warmth in the spring or fall seasons, comfort in heartbreak, the thing to get to celebrate a promotion. In this season, it strikes the right balance: warm enough for the quick-change weather and almost the weight of a T-shirt so you can feel you're paying sufficient homage to nicer conditions. My favourite place to buy cashmere in colours almost too delicious to imagine is Marlowe, also known as cashmere heaven, at 38 Avenue Rd. Marlowe has exquisite sweaters and wonderful Boss Lady suits made of dreamy perfect fabric, but perfection does not come cheap. This is investment dressing, make no mistake about it. It is run by Elizabeth Moniz, a perfectionist beyond compare when it comes to the fit of a pant or a suit, and who is, as it happens, also a lot of fun. I have an indelible memory of Elizabeth and her equally gorgeous sister, who works with her, gliding into Xacutti on College St. one evening several years ago, both of them in slick black suits with crisp white shirts. They were understated, elegant, fabulous. That's when I got the Marlowe thing and understood that the clothes there are not for kids, they are for grown women with a confident way about them. Not rock star Dolce & Gabbana sexy, but maybe Catherine Deneuve sexy. Since then I've been relying on Elizabeth to keep me off the trashy-chick path I so easily veer into. She will often say, for example, "Do you think you'll be wearing heels that high with this skirt?" and by this I know that perhaps a kitten heel would be better. When it comes to taking the edge off bad fashion ideas, Elizabeth is the right person to consult. Her view on this season is, quite simply, that it is not summer, it's not winter, it is a transition and as such it requires a few key pieces that no well-dressed person should be without. "People mistake spring for summer. You can't jump right in, it's way too cold and the weather is fluctuating daily — summer clothes leave you way too exposed and winter clothes are too heavy," says Elizabeth. "You need to take the season seriously. So few people know how to properly dress for it."
So, how do you do it? First things first. You need a spring coat or a great trench. Sounds obvious, no? But because the season is short, this item is often overlooked. You really do need something for the few weeks or months it takes to warm up, and it's a good idea if the coat is at least water-resistant—let's face it, April showers bring May showers. Trust me, I've shirked the raincoat and have the trashed suits to prove it. Next, Elizabeth recommends a big wrap. Naturally, being a Marlowe girl she's recommending a cashmere blanket wrap (does anything sound nicer than that?). You do need something warm and woolly to replace a coat on those days when you know it won't rain. "A wrap feels lighter than a coat and you get great warmth. It looks great thrown over a suit jacket," she says. Think of the women you see in Paris or Milan, or imagine you would see if you were there. This kind of item is a staple of their wardrobe. I've seen Parisian women wrapped in a stole when it's chilly, or wearing one thrown over one shoulder when it's less so, or carrying one over a large-ish bag when weather permits. Like my friend and her pashmina, you'll find lots of ways to use this and it will save your soul when the weather gets really cold — usually mid-summer, indoors, when the air-con goes full-blast. The next transition season tip is mixing. Take that great fall wardrobe you've invested in and lighten things up. The great tweed jacket might work now with a lighter-weight wool pant instead of its matching trousers; mix khakis with a heavier wool sweater; wear a crisp white shirt to replace the crewneck sweater under your suit. Wear the full skirt you can't wait to get into, but instead of pairing it with a tank, wear a skinny lightweight wool or cashmere sweater or maybe a fitted jacket that otherwise would be seen with something more strict.
As for shoes, well, one rule of thumb: no toes. Please. Loafers or pumps are okay without socks or stockings if you must, but please no open toes until the heat of high noon in August, if ever. Sandals and toes are acceptable from cocktail hour onward. That's it. Please. Transition dressing also involves colour. Lighten up the heavy blacks or dark neutrals with pastels or the pop of something citrus-bright. Colour looks so beautiful in the spring sunshine, and it will get you into the summer-festive mood. "This season is about easing into it, not jumping into summer," says Elizabeth. It's also about being grown-up and urban. We live in one of the world's most cosmopolitan cities, or so they tell us. So let's dress the part.
Without More Cash In Irks Arts Crowd
Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Martin Knelman
(May 11, 2005) Monday's guest speaker was federal Heritage Minister Liza Frulla, and on the surface it was just another Canadian Club luncheon at the usual place, the Fairmont Royal York Hotel. But there was a strong subtext — funding jitters in the Toronto arts world. Despite assurances from Conservative heritage critic Bev Oda, there's a sense of urgency, if not panic, among arts folk. Everyone is in a rush to get documented commitments of support before Paul Martin's government crashes — especially while the Liberals are in the mood to hand out cash. But instead of offering a big cheque, Frulla delivered a passionate speech about the importance of the arts in general and culturally vibrant cities in particular. Being a glamorous and charismatic former Quebec media star, she did it with more style than we are used to from politicians waxing eloquent. No wonder. In her previous life as a journalist, Frulla was the first woman sportswriter to gain admittance to the Montreal Canadiens' dressing room. But she may face a tougher time gaining admittance to the House of Parliament after the next election. And at Monday's lunch, she was unable to answer the silent incantation — "Show us the money" — of a room filled with culture-world true believers. Two weeks ago she had already announced $25 million for Festival Centre, the Toronto International Film Festival's new home. It would be nice if, right about now, the government could shower $100 million or so on a great Toronto waterfront project. But since this city does not have one, we will have to settle for a paltry $10 million waterfront cleanup.
Meanwhile, Frulla explained "How Culture Defines Who We Are" — a song I think I've heard before, from an old familiar score. Then she played her ace, referring to the proposed long-term extension of the "Tomorrow Starts Today" arts funding program. "I am proud to say that the 2005 budget, if adopted in Parliament, will put an end to the cloud of uncertainty that has been hanging over our artists, creators and cultural entrepreneurs," said Frulla. "For the next five years, they can count on additional federal investments of $860 million." What if the budget is not passed? She let us draw our own scary conclusions.
Canada And Rogers Wireless Announce Launch Of Latest MuchMusic Edition Wireless
Source: Canada News Wire
(May 6, 2005) /CNW/ - Motorola, Inc. (NYSE: MOT), a global leader in wireless communications, and Rogers Wireless, Canada's leading wireless communications service provider, today announced the launch of the MuchMusic Edition Motorola V186M handset. For those who are serious about the mobile music lifestyle, the feature-rich V186M flip phone with EDGE* technology (Enhanced Data for Global Evolution) enables a high-speed multi-media experience and exclusive access to everything "Much," all for an attractive price. The V186M operates exclusively in Canada on the Rogers Wireless GSM/GPRS/EDGE network, the largest integrated wireless voice and data network in Canada. "Merging style and affordability with technological innovation, the Motorola V186M offers a fun and interactive experience for people who crave content and personalization," said Michael Hortie, Vice President, Mobile Devices Group, Motorola, Inc. "Access to an EDGE device with a suite of must-have features makes mobile entertainment quick and easy."
Rogers Wireless customers who choose the V186M will enjoy a prepaid wireless package that provides access to preloaded MuchMusic ringtones, graphics and more; further content(xx) through the exclusive online hub ; and updates on the latest concert, album, and artist buzz, direct from the MuchMusic studios. "Rogers Wireless is committed to delivering the ultimate mobile music experience and that includes putting MuchMusic right into the hands of our customers," said John Boynton, Vice President, Marketing, Segmentation, Rogers Wireless Inc. "The new V186M wireless phone operating on Rogers Wireless' high speed EDGE network is a fast and affordable way to stay fully tuned into the culture of MuchMusic."
Much style, Much function:
- The need for speed: Built with the power of EDGE* technology, this mobile is poised to deliver a feature-rich mobile experience, with faster speeds for easier downloading*, sharing* and storage of fun content - whether that is a video clip from MuchMusic programming or an MMS* message from friends
- Tune up: Whether it's a ring tune downloaded* from MuchMusic or an original creation using the V186M's MotoMixer, MP3s will sound crystal clear
- Say it loud: The built-in speakerphone lets the whole gang get in on the action
- Cover art: The V186M is a chic, compact flip phone and each handset comes packaged with a bonus MuchMusic wood grain bezel
Pricing and Availability
The Motorola V186M sells for $149.99(xxx) on a Rogers Wireless Pay-As-You-Go plan and is available for purchase at Rogers Wireless dealer and retail locations across Canada, or online at . Additional accessories can be purchased online at and .
Motorola is a Fortune 100 global communications leader that provides seamless mobility products and solutions across broadband, embedded systems and wireless networks. In your home, auto, workplace, and all spaces in between, seamless mobility means you can reach the people, things and information you need, on the go. Seamless mobility harnesses the power of technology convergence and enables smarter, faster, cost-effective and flexible communication. Motorola had sales of US$31.3 billion in 2004. For more information: .
About Rogers Wireless:
Rogers Wireless Inc. is Canada's largest wireless voice and data communications services provider with more than 5.5 million customers and offices in Canadian cities across the country. Rogers Wireless, which operates Canada's largest integrated wireless voice and data network, providing advanced voice and wireless data solutions to customers from coast to coast, is Canada's only carrier operating on the GSM/GPRS technology platform, the world standard for wireless communications technology. Rogers Wireless is a subsidiary of Rogers Communications Inc. (TSX: RCI; NYSE: RG), a diversified Canadian communications and media company. For further information, please visit .
An integral part of today's pop culture landscape, 'The Nation's Music Station' has been delivering fans an unparalleled music television experience since August 31, 1984. Direct from our critically-acclaimed street level studios in downtown Toronto, each and every program day not only hits the best in top music video, but creates a destination where fans can stay connected to exclusive LIVE performance and interviews from today's hottest musical artists and celebrity guests, the latest entertainment buzz, specialty programming, and Canada's favourite web destination for teens, . Along with marquee franchises including MuchOnDemand, MuchNews and The MuchMusic Video Awards, our top rated series including Live@Much and The NewMusic, are distributed to 120 countries internationally.
* Network, subscription and SIM card or service provider dependent feature. Not available in all areas.
(xx) Some content may be available at an additional cost.
(xxx) ($199.99 - $50.00 mail-in rebate equals $149.99); Price subject to change.
MOTOROLA and the Stylized M Logo are registered in the US Patent & Trademark Office. All other product or service names are the property of their respective owners.
Martin To Get Mark Twain Prize For Humour
Source: The Globe and Mail
(May 10, 2005) Washington — Steve Martin, the “wild and crazy guy” who went on to become a movie star, is getting one of America's top comedy prizes. Martin will be the eighth recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, given annually by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The presentation will be made Oct. 23. “His creations, be they on stage, on film or in a book, have created a collective memory of humour and joy for all Americans,” Kennedy Center Chairman Stephen A. Schwarzman said Tuesday. While best known for his comedy, Martin also is an award-winning fiction writer. He was the screenwriter for many of the films in which he starred, including Roxanne, L.A. Story, The Man with Two Brains and Bowfinger. And he plays the banjo. Born in Waco, Texas, and raised in Southern California, the 59-year-old Martin's varied interests were evident at a young age. He attended Long Beach State University for three years, earnings As a philosophy major, but left to become a comedy writer. He won an Emmy writing for the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and also did stand-up comedy. His career was aided by appearances on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show.
Martin guest-hosted Saturday Night Live several times, wearing his trademark arrow-through-the-head prop and performing the song King Tut, which ended up a gold record. He won Grammy Awards for two comedy albums — Let's Get Small and A Wild and Crazy Guy. His first big film success was The Jerk in 1979, which he co-wrote and starred in, playing a white hick raised by a black family. Other films include Parenthood, Father of the Bride and the 2003 Christmas hit Cheaper by the Dozen. A sequel is planned for the summer of 2006. He has twice been the host of the Academy Awards, joking about his relationship with movie studios. “I handed in a script last year and the studio didn't change a word,” he said. “The word they didn't change was on page 87.” Two short novels by Martin, Shopgirl and The Pleasure of My Company have been best sellers. His play Picasso at the Lapin Agile imagined a dialogue between the artist and Albert Einstein at a tourist night spot in Paris. Last year's Mark Twain prize went to Lorne Michaels, creator and producer of Saturday Night Live. Previous winners include Lily Tomlin, Richard Pryor, Jonathan Winters, Carl Reiner, Whoopi Goldberg and Bob Newhart.
Montel Urges Congress To ‘Legalize It’
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com
(May 6, 2005) *Talk show host Montel Williams, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1999, is pleading with Congress to pass legislation to allow him and other sick people to use marijuana for medical use without fear of being arrested. "This is really so simple it's ignorant," said Williams, alongside a group of medical marijuana advocates Wednesday at a Capitol Hill news conference, where a bipartisan group of lawmakers said decisions about medical marijuana should be left to the states. "I'm hurting right now. I'm hurting. Why? Because I knew I had to come to Washington, D.C., and I can't carry anything because I know I'd get busted." So far, ten states have laws that allow residents to spark one for medical purposes. The Supreme Court has said that does not protect distributors from federal anti-drug charges. The court is currently weighing a case about whether federal drug agents can go after patients in the states where the drug is allowed for medical purposes Alaska, California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Maine, Montana, Hawaii and Vermont. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., said he was reintroducing a bill that would allow states to set their own laws on medical marijuana. "The notion that a state-sanctioned practice of medicine ought to be criminalized really makes no sense," Frank said.
Water: How Much Do You Need?
by Debbie Hickey, B.A., CPT/LWMC ACE, Special For eFitness
(May 9, 2005) How often do you see someone with a bottle of water in their hand like it’s an appendage? I would wager it happens more often than not. I too am one of those "I can’t leave the house without my water bottle" people. There’s good reason to provide your body with a sufficient supply of water. Generally, men’s bodies are made up of about 60 percent water and women about 55 percent. Everything that happens in your body requires water -- oxygen transport, brain function, cell reproduction and cellular waste removal, kidney and liver filtration, organ functions, metabolism of fat in the liver, temperature regulation through perspiration, joint lubrication, electrolyte balance, continued youthful skin, blood, urine... and on and on. Proper hydration helps digestion, nutrient absorption and elimination. The amount of water you drink can also affect your energy levels. Dehydration causes a significant energy loss in approximately 80 percent of the population. On average, a 5 percent drop in body fluids can cause a 25–30 percent drop in energy. A 15 percent drop in body fluids can cause death. Water is also the single most effective detoxifier our body has. It flushes out toxins, which helps prevent disease. We are exposed daily to harmful substances from the air, food and just about everything we touch. We can’t avoid toxins but we can get rid of them with proper hydration. So how much is enough? Or too much? Each person’s needs are different depending upon weight, activity level and diet. To estimate how much water you need, divide your weight by two. The result is the number of ounces you should drink each day. You need more water if you're exercising and sweating profusely. You should drink water before, during and after your workout.
Water is your best choice because it has no calories, additives or preservatives. Research has also found that beverages containing caffeine are no longer considered the enemy when it comes to hydration. Studies performed at the Center for Human Nutrition followed a group of 18 men, 24-39 years old, who were given different combinations of water, coffee and caffeinated colas. During one phase of the experiment, the only fluid the volunteers consumed was water. During another, 75 percent of their intake was caffeinated. No difference in hydration was found between the two. But again, water is your best choice! Our bodies are designed to run primarily on water. And the quality of the water we use can affect our longevity. Bottled water is fast becoming a substitute for tap water. But the same standards don’t apply to both. Bottled water isn’t always as pure as people are led to believe. It also may contain lower levels of fluoride, which can cause a rise in tooth decay in children. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn't require that bottled water contain a certain level of fluoride. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires local water systems to report to the community no later than July 1 of each year with regard to the quality of the local water supply. No such reporting is required for bottled water. A home filtration system is another option. Distilled water filtration systems remove a lot of fluoride while carbon and charcoal systems do not. Home filtration is convenient and inexpensive.
Here are some suggestions to be sure the water you are drinking is the best source for your health:
1. Check out this valuable information at the EPA's website.
Drinking Water and Health: What you need to know explains what contaminants may be found, where drinking water comes from, how it’s treated, etc. www.epa.gov/safewater/dwhealth.html.
If your community report is online, you can find it here. www.epa.gov/safewater/dwinfo.htm.
Drinking Water Standards --
2. If your local water company’s report is not on the EPA website, call and ask them to provide you with a copy. Generally, the report outlines the levels in your water supply and what the EPA requirements are. If you're unsure about anything in the report, call and ask.
3. If you drink bottled water, check the company’s website for their water quality report. If they don’t have one online, call the number on the bottle and ask for it. If it’s not available, research different brands until you are satisfied with the information.
4. Consider home filtration systems. Many refrigerators now come with a built-in water filtration system. There are also systems that can be attached directly to your faucet or can be installed under the sink with a separate faucet. There are also systems that can be used much like a coffee filter, such as Brita.
No matter what your choice for your water needs, make like Gunga Din and always carry water with you throughout the day.
EVENTS –MAY 12 - 22, 2005
SATURDAY, MAY 14
The Orbit Room
EVENT PROFILE: Featuring Wade O. Brown, Shamakah Ali, Rich Brown, Adrian Eccleston, David Williams.
SUNDAY, MAY 15
College Street Bar
574 College Street (at Manning)
EVENT PROFILE: Featuring Dione Taylor, Sandy Mamane, Davide Direnzo, Justin Abedin, Dafydd Hughes and David French.
MONDAY, MAY 16
IRIE MONDAY NIGHT SESSIONS
Irie Food Joint
745 Queen Street W.
EVENT PROFILE: Welcome to Negril … Ontario, that is! Yes, Carl’s been at it again and has completely revamped his back patio for his faithful Irie patrons. And now that the weather is warmer, you just HAVE to come out and help launch the new Monday nights on the new and hip patio on Monday, May 9th. Rain or shine as the patio is covered for our convenience. The party begins earlier next week – 9:00 pm. Carl will be serving goodies from his bush grille for us to get some samples from his summer menu – not to mention the drink specials he’s got going on. A real celebration of summer at the hippest patio in Toronto! DJ Carl Allen will be spinning the tunes while Kayte Burgess and Adrian Eccleston bring the live music.
MONDAY, MAY 16
VIP JAM WITH SPECIAL GUESTS
783 College Street (at Shaw)
EVENT PROFILE: Featuring Rich Brown, Joel Joseph and Shamakah Ali with various local artists.
KAYTE BURGESS AND SPECIAL GUEST CHRIS ROUSE
The Richmond Lounge
342 Richmond Street W. (entrance to the right of Fez Batik)
Doors open at 9:00 pm
EVENT PROFILE: Toronto welcomes back to the stage Kayte Burgess for a series of original showcases. Come and join us for this special series at The Richmond Lounge which will feature Kayte’s newest material. Kayte's kickin' band consists of Joel Joseph, Adrian Eccleston, Roger Williams and Don Pham. Kayte has showcased her R&B and soul singing talents for the likes of Quincy Jones, Mariah Carey, Erykah Badu and Jill Scott. She has natural and magnetic presence and a true command of the stage. We hope to see you there!
SATURDAY, MAY 21
The Orbit Room
EVENT PROFILE: Featuring Wade O. Brown, Shamakah Ali, Rich Brown, Adrian Eccleston, David Williams.
SUNDAY, MAY 22
College Street Bar
574 College Street (at Manning)
EVENT PROFILE: Featuring Dione Taylor, Sandy Mamane, Davide Direnzo, Justin Abedin, Dafydd Hughes and David French
Have a great week!