Updated: November 3, 2005
November already? There's
so much to talk about this week so I'll
get right to it. As far as events go, there are some hot ones below
including DeeKaye tomorrow night, Kanye
West (I bought my tickets, did you?) and a new alternative to
dating in Toronto at the launch of At First Sight. Also, one of Toronto's
own, Lyriq Bent stars in Saw II, see details under FILM NEWS.
Sony/BMG offers us a new gospel release in the form of Israel & New Breed - check it out below. And there's a new Canadian documentary that airs in November on TVO - Black Coffee - see the details below.
Check out all categories - MUSIC NEWS, FILM NEWS, TV NEWS, THEATRE 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. Want to be removed from the distribution, click REMOVE.
DeeKaye Ibomeka at Hugh’s Room – November 4, 2005
November 4 presents an opportunity to see rising jazz, soul and blues baritone DeeKaye Ibomeka headlining the prestigious Hugh’s Room in Toronto. The 25-year-old jazz baritone with enormous stage presence and 3-octave range has just completed the recording of his debut CD, co-written with and produced by jacksoul’s Haydain Neale. DeeKaye made an impressive Montreal debut this summer at the Jazz Festival’s spectacular “Voices of Soul” concert where he shared the stage with The Neville Brothers, Patti Labelle, Ann Peebles, Deborah Cox and Jully Black. DeeKaye’s debut CD is scheduled for release in early 2006 and features his unique blend of jazz, soul and the blues. Don’t miss this opportunity to check out the vocal stylings of DeeKaye Ibomeka who will be backed by a hot band featuring Andrew Craig on keyboards and Roger Travassos on drums!
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2005
DEEKAYE IBOMEKA IN CONCERT
2261 Dundas St. West
Special Guest performance at 8:30pm
Tickets $20 in advance $22 at the door.
Call for tickets: 416.531.6604
Kanye West In Concert – November 9, 2005
No matter who you are or where you lived - if you owned a radio, television, computer or CD player, you felt Kanye West’s presence. Since the release of his 3 million selling, critically acclaimed-debut The College Dropout, the Chicago-born 28 year old rapper/producer/hip-hop icon has been at the top of the charts and at the top of his game. From the red carpet of the 47th Grammys - where he topped all nominees with a historic ten nods and took home awards for Best Rap Album, Best Rap Song and Best R&B song - to the millions of albums sold, a sold-out stadium tour with Usher, and his ubiquitous presence on MTV, BET, CNN, and radio stations nationwide, West grew from being an artist to watch to an artist you experience. This tour also features special guests Fantasia and Keyshia Cole.
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2005
KANYE WEST LIVE IN CONCERT
with special guests Fantasia and Keyshia Cole
Air Canada Centre
40 Bay St.
ALL AGES SHOW!
Tickets ON SALE NOW
Tickets (incl. GST) $69.50, $59.50 and $45.50 (plus convenience fees and CRF)
8 ticket limit
Tickets available at all Ticketmaster outlets and at the Air Canada Centre Box Office
Call 416-870-8000 to charge by phone
Or order online at www.ticketmaster.ca
At First Sight presents The Lock and Key
Ever wish for an alternative to the club scene to meet people? Well, now it's here! Come and check out At First Sight’s Lock and Key Launch Party on Saturday, November 12 at Tantric Martini Lounge! Our mission statement At First Sight is to offer a casual and relaxed alternative to the traditional dating scene. Our goal is to provide Canadian Black Singles the best way to establish relationships that add meaning to their lives. At First Sight Events provide a quick, fun, safe and comfortable way for singles to meet one another. At First Sight hosts Speed Dating Events and Social Gatherings in Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton and Scarborough.
In this casual atmosphere, we offer upscale Canadian Black Singles aged 30-45 male and female (limited spots available) interactive games, light starters, a cash bar and there are lots of prizes to be won! As well, we offer the smooth grooves of: DiJital Productions.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 12
The Lock and Key Launch Party!
(Followed by Tantric 25 Plus Saturdays)
Tantric Martini Lounge
422 Adelaide St (1 block west of Spadina)
Registration: *$19 (limited spots available)
*$15 when you register two more friends!
Available Online: www.atfirstsightonline.com or
Sign in at 9:00 pm. Mingling begins at 9:30 pm sharp!
For more info: firstname.lastname@example.org
**Also coming up**
Speed Dating - Register NOW for any and receive 10% off regular admission! Go
to www.atfirstsightonline.com for further
Come out and meet other Afro Canadian singles at the best speed dating party in Toronto! This event takes place at Irie Food Joint (745 Queen Street West). The evening features one age group and will include up to 15 - four-minute dates, light starters, prize giveaways! Sign-in begins at 7:00 pm, dating at 7:30 pm sharp! Please note - Advance registration is required for events.
Israel & New
Breed - New Release
Source: Sony/BMG Music Canada
The most-awarded Gospel Artist of 2005 returns with a live worship experience captured in an amazing 2 nights in Capetown! Alive In South Africa is the inspiring follow-up to the exploding Live From Another Level and takes the musical passion of the genre to a whole new level. Get ready for the voyage of a lifetime as ISRAEL & NEW BREED take you on an international journey of Worship with no limits or boundaries! This ground-breaking recording was captured over two nights of powerful and moving worship in Cape Town, South Africa. As ISRAEL & NEW BREED minister to the masses, you’ll get a first hand experience at what makes this group true worship leaders from deep within their hearts! You’ll get caught up in bountiful songs of praise such as the song for the nations “Not Forgotten,” the worshipful sounds of “It’s Raining,” and a song of healing and deliverance, “Favor of the Lord.” Get ready to feel the true power of Worship as you experience ALIVE IN SOUTH AFRICA with ISRAEL & NEW BREED, to be released on November 1, 2005!
– Three-Hour Documentary Caffeine Fix On TVO
Airs In Three Parts Beginning Wednesday, November 16, 2005 At 10:00pm EST
October 31, 2005 (Toronto)—Cuppa joe. Java. Coffee. Millions of java-addicted consumers make a beeline for local coffee shops every morning, willingly shelling out as much as $4 for one of the "specialty coffees," such as a tall, non-fat latte. Coffee represents the second-most-traded legal commodity in the world, after oil. But what lies behind our romance with the bean?
BLACK COFFEE, a new Canadian three-hour documentary on the social and cultural history of coffee, airs on TVO's "The View From Here" in three parts, beginning Wednesday, November 16 and continues on the following two Wednesdays. BLACK COFFEE was written and directed by Irene Angelico and produced by Ina Fichman, both Montreal-based. Fichman produced the 2004 YTV series "My Brand New Life," as well as the acclaimed documentary about Dorothys in Oz, Kansas, "Being Dorothy," seen on CBC in 2004. Angelico is best known for her other caffeine-fuelled trilogy, "The Cola Conquest." "These films took us around the world," said Fichman, "to meet those involved in both the production and consumption of coffee and production. It was extraordinary to see how coffee truly reflects the complex relationship between North and South."
The cost of a caffeine fix equals a day's wages for millions of workers of harvest workers around the world. From a $2 cup of coffee, only one cent goes to the grower. Many farmers have never tasted their own coffee. Since its alleged discovery by goats in the Ethiopian hillside in the sixth century, the beloved green bean hidden in the red cherry of the coffee bush has represented a dominant force in shaping the economic and social structures of entire nations. BLACK COFFEE provides a revealing portrait of the dark side of the brew that was instrumental in promoting romance, revolution and the slave trade. The series also sheds light on a human rights and ecological record that remains tenuous at best, and links the morning ritual to the rise in café culture as well as the Fair Trade movement’s efforts to guarantee small growers a decent price.
BLACK COFFEE was produced by Ina Fichman and Productions La Fête (Coffee) Inc. in association with TVOntario with the participation of the Canadian Television Fund created by the Government of Canada and the Canadian Cable Industry, Telefilm Canada: Equity Investment Program, CTF: Licence Fee Program, Government of Quebec Tax Credit Program, Canadian Film or Video Tax Credit Program, National Film Board of Canada, The Harold Greenberg Fund, Historia, TFO.
Out Of The Fire,
Itching For Glory
Excerpt from The Globe and Mail - By Joshua Ostroff
(Oct. 31, 2005) The music industry is almost as notorious a career breaker as a career maker. Toronto hip-hop hero Kardinal Offishall — home for the climax of a cross-country buzz-building tour presaging the mid-November release of his too-long-anticipated LP Fire & Glory — knows this all too well. "In order to get to the glory, I think you have to go through the fire," the tall rapper says, serenely perched on a couch in a downtown lounge. "You also can't appreciate the glory unless you've really been through tough times, rough times." In which case, Kardinal is ready to be awfully appreciative. Around the turn of the millennium, the Scarborough, Ont.-born rapper also known as Jason Harrow was one of Canada's most respected MCs and the recipient of a rare U.S. record deal to release his 2001 major label debut Firestarter Vol. 1: Quest for Fire. A collection of largely older material to whet the palette of unfamiliar audiences —including Money Jane, a remixed Baby Blue Soundcrew joint he co-wrote with then-unknown Sean Paul — it helped Kardinal establish an underground fan base stretching from Jamaica, Queens, to Jamaica proper. His patois-punctuated flow and dancehall reggae-influenced productions — in place since his 1996 debut single Naughty Dread — made Kardinal stand out in a crowded marketplace. He went gold in Canada and though mainstream America was still sleeping, his international profile grew following an appearance on BET's flagship show Rap City and remixes with famous fans like Busta Rhymes and dancehall artist Bounty Killer.
He always made a point of representing his T-Dot hometown — hit single BaKardi Slang was a lesson in local lingo — and it was even hoped that he could establish a beachhead for northern hip hop. At least until music-industry machinations conspired against him. In 2003, he watched the dissolution of his L.A. label MCA, his executive supporters get fired and his completed album Firestarter Vol. 2: The F-Word Theory put on the shelf, despite beats from Timbaland and an already-released soon-to-be classic single with The Neptunes called Bellydancer. "With the crumbling of MCA, all of a sudden nobody at the label was interested. They all started to lose focus," he recalls. Kardinal wasn't dropped, but put into a lengthy limbo when he was shuffled over to Geffen/Interscope and unhappily took a backseat to 50 Cent and G-Unit. "Obviously Kardinal Offishall is not going to be the top priority. That's the reality. So we came to an agreement and fled the scene. We were lucky we left before the album came out and that we were able to leave, not in good spirits, but with the masters." Nevertheless, momentum was lost and Kardinal was understandably angry. Rather than sit back and be bitter, he grabbed a mike and got ferocious. Written and recorded in three weeks, last year's Kill Bloodclot Bill Vol. 1 was a blistering attack on the music industry. Intended as a stop-gap to keep his name out while he retrenched for his full-length, the self-released mixtape quickly became a cult classic, winning over hip-hop heads across the continent, being named 2004's best Toronto recording by NOW magazine and even getting a surprise Juno nomination from the very industry he was denouncing.
"That was hilarious to me," Kardinal says with a booming laugh. "I was like sure, whatever. But really I'm just happy people felt the music and vibe of the mixtape. It did come at a time when I was physically burned out." Afraid of being forgotten, Kardinal had become a cameo fiend, appearing on records with underground rap producers Pete Rock and Prince Paul, Wu-Tang member Method Man and rising British grime star Lethal Bizzle. He also decided not to risk releasing the now-aging F-Word and only three songs from that album, including a Busta Rhymes collaboration, made it onto Fire & Glory. Still deeply inspired by dancehall, Kardinal self-produced the vast majority of the new tracks ("9.5 out of 14") and the album proves that consciousness-raising, story-telling and hip-shaking need not be mutually exclusive. With his post-MCA wariness and post-Bloodclot clout, Kardinal struck a "co-venture" deal between his own Black Jays label and Virgin Canada that provides major label backing without as many strings attached. "The contract is sales-driven so if they don't hold up to their part of the deal, then we're free to do what we want to do," he says, noting he's currently negotiating separate releases in other territories. But despite talent and a high-calibre album in hand, Kardinal knows finding that glory will still be a struggle. At Toronto's Getting Up hip-hop festival in August, Kardinal didn't just impress the hard-to-please crowd; he also smashed a guitar onstage. Though interpreted by some as a direct diss to Toronto's rock-influenced rapper k-os, Kardinal says it was intended to be an anti-industry rail against closed-minded radio programmers. "If one person is having success being a certain way, they're not paying attention unless you fit into that mode. If it doesn't, they won't play it," Kardinal explains. "So for someone to win right now, they have to fit into that whole k-os thing or else it ain't cool. "That's no fault of k-os and I'm sure that if I'm able to have success with this album, the next person is going to be like, 'Aw, man, what's all this Kardinal stuff? Can't I be me?'."
Consequence Drops New
Mixtape: The Cons Vol. 3 "Da Comeback Kid"
New York, New York – Consequence, the G.O.O.D. Music emcee behind the movement along side Kanye West, John Legend and Common, drops a new mixtape. The Cons Vol. 3: "Da Comeback Kid" features more of the emcee's stellar rhymes including with collaborations with Kanye West, Mike Jones, Common, John Legend, Dwele, Bun B and others. Additionally, Consequence appears on "Gone" along with Cam'ron on Kanye West's sophomore album Late Registration and is currently on the Touch the Sky Tour with Kanye West, Fantasia and Keyshia Cole. The tour kicked off on October 11th in Miami and continues through December 11th in Vancouver. Consequence is also finishing his forthcoming G.O.O.D. Music/Columbia Records release Don't Quit Your Day Job due out in 2006.
a Queens native, appeared on A Tribe Called
Quest's Beats Rhymes and Life which debuted at number 1 on the Billboard
Album Charts in 1996. In the years to follow, Consequence has
worked diligently on his craft, establishing his identity as an emcee separate
from A Tribe Called Quest. The prolific artist emerged with several mixtapes:
The Cons Vol. 1: “All Sales Are Final" (which was featured on MTV's
Mixtape Mondays on December of 2002, and in April 2003 was #1 Show Prove in XXL
and #1 Off The Radar in The Source), The Cons Vol. 2: “Make the Game Come to
You" and Take Em To The Cleaners (voted in the top ten independent
releases of 2004 by AllHipHop.com). Consequence released A Tribe Called Quence
on Draft Records in 2005. A Tribe Called Quence is the chronological
timeline of the career of Consequence starting from his introduction to the
world on the classic LP "Beats, Rhymes and Life" to his present works
with Kanye West and the G.O.O.D. Music family.
Consequence recently reunited with his cousin Q Tip (of A Tribe Called Quest) on the track "Sexy", which also features Andre 3000 of Outkast, for Q Tip's forthcoming Universal/Motown release. He also appeared in State Property 2 (Lions Gate Films) and appeared in an episode of Season Five of HBO's Def Poetry Jam (air date August 5th). Currently his main focus remains on his forthcoming G.O.O.D. Music/Columbia release Don't Quit Your Day Job, "what I rhyme about is what I see around me, I'm a result of the hood, my rhymes are a reflection of what I see.”
6 Questions With Alicia Keys
Excerpt from www.billboard.com - Jonathan Cohen
(Oct. 20, 2005) In less than five years, Alicia Keys has accomplished more than seasoned performers twice her age, from releasing two multiplatinum albums and winning nine Grammy Awards to consistently selling out concerts. Keys' performance chops are spotlighted on her new CD/DVD, "MTV Unplugged," which J Records released Oct. 11. The project features new single "Unbreakable," which is No. 48 this issue on The Billboard Hot 100, plus collaborations with Common, Mos Def, Damian Marley and Maroon5's Adam Levine.
Q: Why do you think doing an "Unplugged" session was a good fit for your music?
A: Before I even got signed, I'd play these small clubs, or hotels even. When I did get signed and I was going around letting people know what I was about, that's exactly how I did it: me on the piano, playing a couple of songs I'd written and talking to the people in between. That's how I got my performance chops up. Now, when I perform in front of large audiences, I'm much more comfortable, because I've already performed in front of tiny audiences—which is much harder, honestly. The smaller you strip things down, the more you depend on the songs and yourself, as opposed to arrangements. To go back to this style is one of the reasons why I really wanted to do this "Unplugged." Obviously it was a little different than me and my little Kurzweil keyboard, but it was that feeling. I could look at every face in the audience.
Q: What is the origin of "Unbreakable"?
A: It has been around since the sessions for the last record [2003's "The Diary of Alicia Keys"], and it was one of the favourites for the album. But when we started putting the album together, it just wasn't right for it. The style is so perfect for "Unplugged," so I decided to put it in there.
Q: Are you planning to tour anymore this year?
A: I was just talking to Bono the other day, and he was like, "Are you doing shows?" I've just been off the road for a month-and-a-half, and he was like, "You lucky girl." Something I've learned from people like U2, the Stones and Lenny Kravitz is that the grind of live shows is so necessary [to build your career]. We were on the road for two years straight doing shows. But for now, I'm not really doing anymore shows. I might do a couple of spontaneous, small, "Unplugged"-style things.
Q: Has any new material for your next studio album sprung forth lately?
A: Oh, there's been a lot of things springing forth from me. [laughs] I have this new direction I'm feeling I will go in for the next album. I've been playing around, experimenting and vibing on different styles. I have about four or five songs I've been working with, but I'm constantly writing all the time. I'll be really focusing on my next album at the top of this next year.
Q: In the midst of all these other projects, have you found time to do any writing with other artists in mind?
A: Well, there are a couple of things I'm working on, but they're not official. There are some really great collaborations that myself and my partner Crucial are working on. We like to write for artists we connect with, even though it's all different styles of music.
Q: Has your next book begun to take shape?
A: It is percolating. It will be based off my journals I've kept since I was 9. But it won't be an autobiography. It will be more like a novel, using the likeness of a young girl with big dreams and all the normal, everyday things from when you first can write them down to when you're 21. There's no date yet. I think this one is going to take me a little bit of time.
Rap B.I.G. Whigs To Appear On Biggie CD
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com
(Oct. 28, 2005) *Due Dec. 20 via Bad Boy, “The Notorious B.I.G. Duets: The Final Chapter” allows a number of top recording artists – both dead and alive – the means to flow alongside the legendary Brooklyn rapper. Among the set’s 22 tracks are “Hold Ya Head,” which debuted last September on AOL Music and features a sample of the late Bob Marley's "Johnny Was”; and the disc’s first single, “Nasty Girl,” featuring Diddy, Nelly, Jagged Edge and Avery Storm. The track will be shipped to radio on Nov. 14. "The Final Chapter" also features Fat Joe and the late Big Pun on "Get Your Grind On," while R. Kelly and Charlie Wilson guest on "Mi Casa." Twista and Krayzie Bone team up for "Spit Your Game," while Biggie's mother, Voletta Wallace, closes the disc with a poem, "Love Is Everlasting." Other artists confirmed to appear on the project include Mary J. Blige, Obie Trice, Nate Dogg, Missy, Redman, Freeway, Ludacris, Faith Evans, the Game, Slim Thug, T.I., KoRn and Bobby Valentino. Sean "Diddy" Combs said in a statement: "This movement has been both an emotional and therapeutic experience, one that finds us at the end of the road in terms of original releases for a great man and at the threshold of a sound and a quality which may have fallen by the wayside after losing him." The music tracks are all brand-new, were created by: Eminem, Swizz Beatz, Danja, Timbaland, Jazze Pha, Sean C "Sean Cane," Diddy, LV, Coptic, Lesette Wilson, Andre Harris, Vidal Davis, Just Blaze, Havoc, Stevie J, D. Dot, Reefa, Mike "Suga Mike" Allen, Mario Winans, J-Dub, Scott Storch, DJ Green Lantern, Clinton Sparks, Jonathan Davis, and Atticus Roff.
From The Shtetl To The Streets
Excerpt from The Globe and Mail
(Nov. 2, 2005) If the phrase "Jewish hip-hop" suggests little more than novelty recordings, that's because for a long time that's all it was. Even though the first prominent whites in rap music were Jews -- including the Beastie Boys, producer and entrepreneur Rick Rubin and members of the group 3rd Bass -- their Jewishness was never much a part of their artistic identity. "It just so happened that they were Jewish," says Bill Adler, who as the founding publicist for Def Jam Recordings worked with the Beasties, 3rd Bass and Rubin. "They weren't Jewish rappers in the sense that they were publicly Jewish." Instead, the first rappers to play up their Jewish identity did so mainly as shtick. In 1990, a duo calling itself 2 Live Jews released a parody of 2 Live Crew's As Nasty as They Wanna Be called As Kosher as They Wanna Be, which included such tracks as Oy! It's So Humid. Over time, 2 Live Jews were followed by M.O.T. (Members of the Tribe), whose oeuvre included Kosher Nostra, the Woody Allen-ish MC Paul Barman, and a 50 Cent knock-off called 50 Shekel, whose answer to In Da Club was called (what else?) In Da Shul.
Oy, indeed. Lately, though, things have begun to change. Staten Island-born rapper Remedy, an affiliate of the Wu-Tang Clan, had a minor hit in 2001 with Never Again, a rap dealing with his family and the Holocaust. There are Israeli acts, such as Sagol 59 and the group Hadag Nahash, who rap in Hebrew. There's the Los Angeles rapper Etan G, who dubbed his debut South Side of the Synagogue, and a Brooklyn crew called the Hip-Hop Hoodios whose lyrics play off their dual ethnicities as Jewish Latinos. Yet for all their verbal signifying, there's little of Jewish musical tradition in what these rappers do, apart from the occasional sample of Hava Negila. That's one of the reasons Socalled -- the nom de rap of Montrealer Josh Dolgin -- stands apart from the field, for his music relies as heavily on the klezmer tradition of Yiddish folk music as it does on hip-hop rhymes, samples and looped beats. "It's hip-hop music, it's klezmer music, and it's a combination," Dolgin says of his sound. "My real folk music is hip-hop -- that's what I grew up with as a kid, and danced to and feel at ease and musical and groovy with. And that's what I made for, like, 15 years, just straight-up rap music using machines and loops and samples and drum machines."
Like many kids interested in concocting their own beats from sampled material, Dolgin is an inveterate record collector, and trawled for interesting sounds wherever he could. But when he stumbled onto "these incredible old Yiddish records," his attitude toward music changed dramatically. Centuries old, Klezmer music arrived in North America with the immigration of Eastern European Jews. It was briefly in vogue during the swing era, earning attention mainly through crossover hits such as the Andrews Sisters' Bei Mir Bist Du Schon -- an adaptation of the Yiddish hit Bay Mir Bistu Sheyn -- and Benny Goodman's And the Angels Sing, but it had been essentially forgotten by the mid-seventies, when it began to revive on the folk circuit. Dolgin felt an immediate connection with the music. "I never felt that with jazz, or funk or gospel or salsa or whatever were the types of music that I played," he says. "Even hip-hop. And [in hip-hop] you're trying to represent yourself, to speak and present a reality to people. But I couldn't really represent with the hip-hop, because I wasn't black -- I was this weird white kid from the country." While discovering an ethnic identity through klezmer, Dolgin was also forging a new musical framework. "Once I found those records, I just wanted to chop them up, sample them, reference them," he says. "But in so doing, it made me learn about how to play actual traditional music. I had to learn how to be conversant in the style." He's succeeded admirably. Taking the stage with an Akai sampler and an accordion, Dolgin confounds the image of both rapper and klezmer musician, but his music is strong enough that he has collaborated both with Wu-Tang rapper Killah Priest and virtuoso klezmer clarinetist David Krakauer.
"He's a guy who's equally influenced by black-American urban music as well as Jewish music," says mandolinist Eric Stein, a member of the Toronto klezmer group Beyond the Pale and an occasional collaborator of Dolgin's. "Josh's music is something that deserves a great amount of attention, because it's something I think is totally accessible to people whether they're interested in Jewish music or not. It's just good music." Socalled performs tonight in Toronto with Beyond the Pale at the Drake Underground, 1150 Queen St. W. (416-531-5042).
Broken Social Scene
Excerpt from www.billboard.com - Katy Kroll
(Oct. 26, 2005) The whole of Toronto-based Broken Social Scene is the sum of many -- most of whom stem from a host of popular Canadian indie acts including Feist, Stars and Metric. In all, 17 members and four guest performers appear on the group's recently released self-titled album, which debuted the week of Oct. 22 at No. 2 on Billboard's Top Heatseekers chart. The epicenter of Broken Social Scene is its label, Arts & Crafts. Launched by member Kevin Drew, the imprint is home to many of the acts that are part of the collective. And since BSS' 2003 U.S. debut, "You Forgot It In People," generated interest in indie circles, several members' individual projects have also taken off. One that's certainly benefiting from the newfound notoriety is Metric, whose members Jimmy Shaw and Emily Haines both also contribute to Broken Social Scene. Their "Live It Out" (Last Gang) debuted at No. 37 on the Top Heatseekers list the same week as the BSS album. "I have a lot of faith in both projects," Shaw says. "Usually the music that I like doesn't make it anywhere, or at least doesn't gain mass appeal. But it seems like, for most of those bands that have come out of that area of Canada [and Broken Social Scene], people like the music and talk about it and word travels fast. A lot of kids know each other and like swapping records -- and that's the best way to find [new] music."
As the buzz surrounding Broken Social Scene continues to grow, so does interest in bands like Metric. "There's a lot of overlap," Shaw says. "When I go to Social Scene shows, or when I'm on tour with those guys, there's a lot Feist fans, a lot of [Apostle Of Hustle] fans, a lot of Stars fans [in the audience because] it's all very much kind of the same thing. It's hard to say whether the scene is directly responsible for any one band's success or not, though." But which came first, the individual bands or the collective? "A lot of people talk about it as if the bands are offshoots of Social Scene, but it's actually the other way around -- Social Scene is the offshoot of all the other bands. [All the members] were in all these bands in Toronto at the same time when we decided to do these Social Scene shows," Shaw notes. "Aside from three or four [core] members, everyone else puts their own projects first and then whatever time is left over they dedicate to Social Scene." With so many different bands and such diverse musical influences converging, it took more than two years to complete the latest album. And even for Shaw, it's hard to understand how it all came together in the end. "If you were to ask everyone involved, you would get 15 different perceptions of how that record was made. But I could never tell who was in the studio when or what the hell was going on. I went in the studio when someone called me up and asked me to come in," he laughs. "I wasn't the only one left in the dark, everybody was like that. The only two people who knew what was going on were Kevin and [producer] Dave [Newfeld]." As hard as it was to get everyone in the studio, it was even harder to coordinate a tour. That's why Metric's Shaw and Haines will be sitting this one out. "We're learning the evils of releasing simultaneous records," Shaw says. "The only way for both projects to be promoted at the same time is for me to be on tour with Metric. Metric can't exist without me, but Social Scene can." Both bands are currently touring North America.
Fiona Apple: Label Conflict Was This Singer's Best Friend
Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Ben Rayner, Pop Music Critic
(Oct. 31, 2005) Let's be honest here: while it exists in a perpetual state of tormented symbiosis with the record companies, the critical press loves to run with a good "Die, music industry! Die!" story if it thinks it's found one. So when persistent rumours of conflict between young singer/songwriter Fiona Apple and the higher-ups at Sony Music over the direction her third album would take gave way to its abrupt yanking from the release schedule last year, an onslaught of outraged column inches was foreordained. The Internet age, however, has granted fans a powerful weapon with which to join the fight for art over commerce. A vociferous online campaign thus erupted at FreeFiona.com earlier this year when a couple of tracks from the scrapped version of Extraordinary Machine recorded with longtime Apple friend and producer Jon Brion were leaked to the Net amid reports Sony had stalled the project over lack of an identifiable hit single. Free Fiona's grassroots crusade yielded great copy and, given Extraordinary Machine's recent Top 10 debut on Billboard's album chart, an extraordinary pre-release anti-marketing campaign. But Apple, who returned to the studio to rework most of the record with hip-hop/R&B hitmaker Mike Elizondo (Dr. Dre, 50 Cent), is these days stressing a more positive side of her struggle with Sony. "I didn't get to live with the songs like I usually do," says Apple, 28, chatting candidly and with easy, self-deprecating humour about the Machine drama whilst curled into the corner of a couch at Sony/BMG's Toronto office. "Jon does so much stuff and then you kind of pick through it and find the stuff that you like. And when we did When the Pawn ..., I knew right away what I liked and didn't like. But this time, I had no idea what I liked or I didn't like and I felt completely helpless. So I didn't end up satisfied with the recordings.
"Everybody thought that I'd handed in this done record and Sony shelved it because they didn't think there was a hit. They didn't think there was a hit, that was true, but I have no idea whether they would have shelved it because I was already saying to them I wanted to try the songs a different way." Few doubts lingered over Apple's legitimacy as an artist after she celebrated Tidal's 2.7-million-selling success with public declamations of celebrity ("This world is bullsh--," she infamously declared in 1997 from the global podium of the MTV Music Awards) and the cryptic complications of its follow-up, whose exaggeratedly long title starts with the words When the Pawn Hits the Conflicts ... Still, the six tortuous years it took to produce Extraordinary Machine affirm her claims of debilitating perfectionism. Apple concedes the long vanishing act was largely of her own design, motivated in part by aversion to stardom and seeing the details of her life (a horrific childhood rape in New York figured prominently in early press) thrown around dispassionately by the media. She also felt she had nothing to say and, following her last tour, bought a house in Venice, Calif., where she sank into a routine of not "doing much of any consequence at all.'' "It's the truth. I think if I'd known I was going to have this much time from the beginning, I might have planned a goal to achieve or gone back to school or written a book or something," she says. "But as it is, I really didn't do anything. "Ever since I started playing and writing music, I've always gone through periods of even a couple of years where I don't even touch the piano or think of writing. And I believe that's how it should be. I don't really believe in writer's block because if I start to write something and I'm not feeling it, I just stop. I'm not a writer that day. I really do feel it's out of my hands and I have to let it happen when it happens, no matter how long it takes. That's why every time I finish an album I'm not sure that I'll make another one."
It was at Brion's urging that Apple eventually roused herself to begin work on Extraordinary Machine, breaking a personal rule to not "force" songs before they take complete shape in her head after "a lot of walking and a lot of thinking." Yet while worries that Brion's baroque production didn't sit right with the torchy swing of her new tunes led her at the 11th hour to pursue a more stripped-down avenue with Elizondo, she allows that some of her overseers at Sony (now departed thanks to a business merger) had a hand in the drama. Once she started working with Elizondo, Apple says, she received word from her budget-conscious handlers that she would have to finish "one song at a time, then they would hear it and then give me money for the next one." Sony/BMG now insists Apple was the victim of "miscommunication," but she was insulted enough by the prospect of being told by a boardroom how to write a song that she threatened to "quit altogether if I couldn't do it my way" and shut production down completely for several months. Fortunately, the Free Fiona campaign stepped in at the right time to prompt a change of heart, allowing Apple and Elizondo to complete a swaggeringly mature work that has turned out to be one of 2005's best-reviewed albums. "Even though they set out to save the day in one way — to get Sony to release an album they thought was shelved — they actually did save me from that," she says. "It was never told to me, `Well, because of Free Fiona, we're gonna let you do it your own way.' But I'm sure it was because of them."
Yorker Has Toronto Moment: Dominique Keegan
Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Ben Rayner, Pop Music Critic
(Oct. 27, 2005) Poor, insecure Toronto has an almost tragic yearning to be mentioned in the same breath as New York as a global hotbed of hipsterdom, so it stands to reason Dominique Keegan will be embraced as a sort of local hero for elevating our city to marquee status in the latest volume of his The Sound of Young New York mix-disc series. Not to say The Sound of Young New York and Toronto — the third dance-rock/electro-punk/whatever throwdown compiled by Keegan and his Glass bandmate, Glen "DJ Wool" Brady — represents the Dublin-born DJ, producer and promoter's first acknowledgement of this town's thriving underground. A standout track on the last volume was "Sure Thing," a brooding collaboration between local house DJ/producer Steve Yanko and expat-Toronto indie-rocker Chris Field, done under the name The Voices. But since Keegan this time decided to include another Voices track, the melancholy comedown cut "Street Commander," on the new disc alongside Death From Above 1979's slamming "Romantic Rights" and a disco-fired remix of Panthers' "Thank Me With Your Hands" by DFA's Jesse Keeler in his MSTRKRFT guise, he felt it only fair to give Toronto co-billing in the title. "I thought that having a `Volume 3' would start to be a bit Now That's What I Call Music — and a bit crap," he chuckles. "And I really wanted to put that Death From Above 1979 track on there because I think it's great. And I wanted to put the Steve Yanko track on there not just because it's on my label (Plant Music) and he's my boy, but because I really like it and I feel that what he's doing isn't getting enough exposure. It was kind of a piss-take, too. I know when I get up (to Toronto), people are gonna be, like, `You didn't represent us properly.'" Keegan can confidently lay claim to knowing more about Toronto than the average New York resident. An "ex-ex-girlfriend" from these parts lured him up regularly for DJ dates and general hangin' out for several years. More recently, he's struck up a friendship with Synchro masterminds Denise Benson and Andrew Allsgood, who are bringing him back to play the club night's second-anniversary party at Andy Poolhall tomorrow night. In any case, however small the gesture, The Sound of Young New York and Toronto is a small badge of honour for the city's scene. Over the years, Keegan — through his defunct Plant Bar, the Plant Music label and the TSOYNY series — has proved an astute arbiter of what's "in" at any given time.
The original Sound of Young New York mix, after all, played a reasonably significant role in taking the ongoing rock-meets-dance-music revival embodied by the likes of Radio 4 and the "other" Death From Above (the record company and production team whose legal threats prompted the addition of "1979" to the Toronto duo's name) out of Brooklyn lofts and onto the world stage. "The origin of the series was, when I had Plant Bar up and running, I saw all these indie and rock kids getting into old-school house and acid-house and stuff and then making music based on that, starting to write guitar songs over a big kick drum," says Keegan. "And those people, in turn, turned all these dance kids that I knew who were suddenly, like, `F--- this instrumental shit, let's have a bit of a song again' and finding common ground in stuff like the Stone Roses. "Everyone was making these records and there was this huge hype around it, but no one could actually get them. There wasn't a CD coming out, so I thought, `F---, I should do a mix.' I wasn't trying to lay claim to anything with the name. They were just tunes I liked." The two later editions have been less "relevant" as snapshots of an emergent zeitgeist, Keegan concedes, and more about showcasing the work of friends, artists on Plant and tunes of which he's simply a fan. Rock's increasing dominance over electronic music in the mix, meanwhile, reflects his belief that "to a certain extent, all the great instrumental techno and house records have been made" — a belief backed up by his own recent retreat from his 1990s stint as a house DJ to a more rock-oriented (though still electronically tinged) gig as bass player and vocalist in The Glass. The Glass is on The Sound of Young New York and Toronto with the fine shoegazers-gone-clubbing ditty "Fourteen Again," begging the question of when the band's first full-length album might finally appear. "We're just constantly recording and making sh-- and trying to make as good an album as we can," says Keegan. "It has been a long time coming, but the way we make music isn't like most bands, who write their songs, go into the studio and record everything and it's done. "We record like dance producers. We go into the studio, roll a joint, make a beat and start f---in' around. It takes a long time. We have an album's worth of material, but we're always, like: `Ah, you could do better. Keep going.' There's so much noodling with dance music and modern software that, when dance producers try to make an album, it always takes a long time. Although we're really not big noodlers."
Everyone's Playing It, But Don't Call It
Excerpt from The Globe and Mail - By Mark Miller
(Oct. 29, 2005) The trend in jazz at the moment is simply that there is no trend. The music's all over the place. Make no mistake, this is a healthy state of affairs. Trends are for people who like rhyme and reason in their lives, while jazz at its best offers neither. Jazz goes where the musicians take it, from one note -- one solo, one tune, one record, one year, one decade -- to the next. When it does appear to be following a pattern, chances are good that the pattern has been imposed artificially from outside. Something just happens to catch the public's fancy, and the recording industry naturally responds with something else exactly like it, further encouraged by the potential profit to add the sort of promotion that it would otherwise never have received in the first place. Add some sympathetic resonance in a suggestible media on a slow news day, et voilà, a trend. We're not simply talking about the Swing revival of the 1990s, the "jam bands" of three or four years back or Diana Krall, Jamie Cullum and the rest of the current jazz-lite, vocalist-pianist crowd. Back in 1920, when the success of Mamie Smith's recording of Crazy Blues for OKeh took everyone by surprise, African-American women singing the blues to jazz accompaniment suddenly flourished on the Banner, Black Swan, Columbia and Paramount labels. (African-American women named Smith, in fact: Bessie, Clara, Clementine, Laura and Trixie among them. Now that's a trend.) A few years later, when Louis Armstrong made the same company a tidy sum with his Hot Fives and Hot Sevens, his fellow trumpeters River Reeves, Jabbo Smith and Red Allen were all groomed for similar success by OKeh's rivals.
Sixty years on, history repeated itself when the emergence of Wynton Marsalis inspired the major labels to support his fellow young trumpeters Terence Blanchard, Roy Hargrove, Marlon Jordan, Nicholas Payton and Marcus Printup, as well as his fellow young neo-conservatives more generally. Consider, though, that Hargrove and Payton have moved on in more recent years from neo-conservatism to embrace, in whole or in part, the funk-fusion of late-period Miles Davis, an era also explored in recent years by trumpeters Dave Douglas and Brian Lynch, saxophonist Chris Potter, Canadian drummers Jean Martin and Barry Romberg, and the wild and crazy Frenchman Médéric Collignon, whose band Collective Slang played the Canadian festival circuit recently. This might be a trend, save for the fact that it's really just another example of jazz going where the musicians wish to take it. They'll be off on a different tangent soon enough. In this particular instance -- this Miles-ian spree -- jazz is going somewhere raw, assertive and impulsive, too much so on all counts to be endorsed in the boardrooms of a recording industry beholden to the premise that jazz offering the least emotional offense promises the greatest commercial return. It's this kind of conservative corporate thinking that has inspired a growing number of important American players to take their fate on CD into their own hands. Dave Douglas, guitarist Jim Hall, bassist Dave Holland, saxophonists Branford Marsalis and Jane Ira Bloom and composer Maria Schneider have all sidestepped the industry to some degree, Douglas, Holland and Marsalis with labels of their own -- Greenleaf Music, Dare2 and Marsalis Music, respectively -- and Hall, Bloom and Schneider through their affiliation with ArtistShare. These exercises in self-determination are nothing new to Canadian musicians, who have been doing it themselves for years, beginning with Unity Records in 1987 and continuing more recently with Ambiances Magnétiques, Cornerstone, Effendi, Cellar Live and Romhog. Ditto the Europeans, and for even longer, with FMP, ICP, Incus and BVHaast. Not to forget the Americans Charles Mingus and Max Roach, who formed Debut Records back in 1952, responding -- like the Canadians and the avant-Europeans after them --- to the monolithic indifference of the mainstream recording industry. It's unreasonable, though, to expect that Douglas, Holland, Marsalis and Schneider will burst forth creatively now that they've thrown off the yoke of commercial imperatives. (For that matter, the new Douglas, Holland and Marsalis labels still rely on the majors for distribution; ArtistShare is available only on-line.) Their new releases are more of whatever they've been doing all along, none of it revolutionary. But the very fact that they've felt it necessary to step out on their own just to keep on doing it is, in itself, telling.
What they've been doing all along is stretching the perimeters of jazz by pushing out from the centre. Douglas, for one, has integrated elements from other musical traditions, while Holland has upped the rhythmic and melodic ante of improvisation and Schneider has expanded the orchestral reach and resources of the composer. In each case, though, the perimeters of jazz remain intact. It has been a long time since anyone has actually breached them, at least from the inside. Perhaps that's why there has been as much of a buzz lately about two long-lost concert recordings -- one from 1957 by Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane from Blue Note and the other (unreleased in Canada) from 1945 by Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker from Uptown -- as there has been about anything conceived in the last year or so. Fair enough: These two releases are a reminder of what modern jazz sounded like at those points in its history when it was absolutely fresh. Of late, only Dave Holland's quintet has come close to offering us a similar sensation. It's worth noting that neither Gillespie and Parker nor Monk and Coltrane started any trends in their time. (Okay, Dizzy's sartorial resplendence inspired a run in the late 1940s on berets, horn-rimmed glasses and goatees.) They established and refined an entirely new language, bebop, which became the very foundation of all that followed in modern jazz. But no trends. Trends pass; record sales tail off, media attention wanders and the artificiality of it all is forgotten as quickly as its revealed. What's real -- the sort of jazz that goes where the musicians, not the industry, take it -- is what endures.
Excerpt from www.billboard.com - Katy Kroll
(Oct. 5, 2005) Israeli-born Miri Ben-Ari came to the United States in the late 1990s with no money, no friends and unable to speak English. But the classically trained violinist was determined to make her mark on the music industry. With the release of her album "The Hip-Hop Violinist," Ben-Ari saw her years of hard work pay off. The album debuted at No. 10 last week on Billboard's Top Heatseekers chart. Ben-Ari was literally raised on classical music, but found a new musical direction in her late teens. "My parents only listened to classical, so I was never exposed to anything else," Ben-Ari says. "I had to discover things on my own. One day by accident I bought a jazz album by Charlie Parker and I realized there was another form of improvisation, and that was it. Classical don't groove like jazz or hip-hop, and I'm very groove oriented. It was very difficult [to leave classical behind], but it was something I had to do." After serving a mandatory two-year stink in the Israeli Army, the violinist moved to New York to study jazz. It was there that she found her true calling. While working the club circuit, she began making friends with the likes of Wynton Marsalis and Wyclef Jean. Those connections quickly snowballed and she found herself arranging and playing strings for such artists as Alicia Keys and Kanye West. Ben-Ari credits her time in the army as giving her the motivation to learn the skills that got her to where she is today.
"The army gave me the strength to leave the classical world behind," she says. "All the discipline and the whole concept of being one with such a great and powerful machine, I wasn't Miri Ben-Ari the violinist, I was just another soldier. It really humbles you but when you get out of there you have the illusion that you can do anything. Coming out of the army gives you the power to think you're the s***." That attitude helped her build many partnerships in the industry, so it was easy for her to assemble a high-profile hip-hop roster for "The Hip-Hop Violinist." Ben-Ari doesn't sing on any of the album's tracks, but instead features a rotating cast of performers, including West, Akon and Style P, among others. "It was very organic, since I worked with many of the people before," she says of the collaborations. "Certain people were perfect for certain songs. Like I wanted Styles P to be on [the first single, 'We Gonna Win']. It's the first song in hip-hop history where a violinist is taking a verse like a rapper -- Styles takes his verse and then I take my verse." Although Ben-Ari loves being in the spotlight, the idea of stepping out from behind the violin and singing isn't very appealing to her. "I believe that everything you do needs to be your forte," she says. "Therefore, just singing because I want to sing doesn't mean that I'll be the greatest vocalist ever. I have a musical ear and I'm not going to do anything that's not my forte. Besides, no one has ever said to me, 'Yo, I wish you sang.' I made the violin my voice." Along with just a DJ and an MC, Ben-Ari's unusual stage presence has been captivating hip-hop audiences across the country.
"I blew up because of my live show," she notes. "It's something that you have to see to believe. People always come out of my show and say it's the best thing they have ever seen. Then people learn about me being so original and so different -- I'm the first hip-hop violinist. It's just so unique and it takes a lot of guts to have a career that breaks all the rules about how you're supposed to play as a violinist." Miri Ben-Ari is currently on tour with Busta Rhymes.
Understanding One Of
The Greatest: Steve Reich
Excerpt from The Globe and Mail - By Robert Everett-Green
(Oct. 29, 2005) In the Zohar, the central book of the Kabbalah, the dawning of day is said to prompt a huge chorus of hymns in Heaven, and an increase in divine mercy. As the light of day wanes, however, the singing turns to howling, and contention spreads over the Earth, and judgment becomes more severe. You could interpret that to mean that there is music for all states of peace and conflict, and also that music has some effect on the moral universe. Or at least, that music can intensify our reflections on what we should and should not do, as seems to be the case in the recent works of Steve Reich. This 69-year-old American is one of the most influential living composers, and possibly the easiest to misunderstand. In many people's minds, Reich is identified with a handful of buoyant pieces from the sixties whose expansion of simple phrases into complex pulsing organisms became part of the textbook definition of minimalism. His canonic shifting of voices in and out of synchronization made "phasing" a common term of art, and his use of loops and patterns had an influence on new music and art rock that continues to this day. All that is in the history books, and rightly so. But even while he sharpened his skills at posing and working out purely musical problems, Reich was becoming a composer guided by a keen social and religious curiosity. Over the past two decades, he has created works that engage with the central moral dramas of our time. Different Trains (1988) touched on the Holocaust, Three Tales (2002) grappled with nuclear testing and genetic cloning, and his forthcoming Book of Daniel is a meditation on the fate of murdered journalist Daniel Pearl, with constant reference to Biblical narratives. "Very early on, people conceived of me as a very systematic, quasi-mathematical composer," Reich said during a lively conversation prior to his appearance at the University of Toronto for a lecture and concert, and for tomorrow's all-Reich program by Soundstreams Canada. "It was a mistake even then."
Even It's Gonna Rain (1965), the piece that first established his reputation, shows something of Reich's intuitive, socially engaged side. The piece's technical innovation lay in the way he used divergent tape speeds and editing to produce a multilayered work (a process largely guided by ear, he insists), but the substance of the piece all came from a few prophetic words by an ecstatic street preacher. "Musical intuition is at the rock bottom of everything I've ever done," Reich says. But it took the former philosophy student another decade to understand where his intuitions about life and its higher meaning were leading him, after a typical late-sixties tour of Hatha yoga and several forms of Eastern meditation. "I'm a high-metabolism New Yorker, and it was very focusing, steadying and useful," he said of those explorations. "But I felt something was missing. And I suddenly got this thought that maybe I could find something in my own backyard, which I knew nothing about." He began studying all the things he had missed as a Reform Jew, including the Torah and Biblical Hebrew. He began keeping kosher, and observing the Sabbath. Inevitably, this new theme of his life came into his music, which during the seventies had flowered far beyond his didactic early works to absorb shifts in harmony and a more fluid type of counterpoint than that of his "phasing" pieces. Tehillim (1981) brought Hebrew texts (from the Psalms) into his music, which for years had featured human voices only for their instrumental qualities. The recovery of words brought a new set of opportunities into view, and propelled him toward the socially engaged works of recent years.
"I decided I was going to finally do what every composer before me has done, which is to set text," he says. "Words force you to do things you wouldn't do otherwise, because of their rhythm and their meaning." You Are (Variations), his newest major work and the centrepiece of his latest CD on Nonesuch, is an austere and beautiful setting of four short statements, three from Hebrew texts and one from the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. The rhythm of the words is reflected in the whole structure of the piece, whose canonic repetitions of the texts is a form of active meditation on what they mean and also how they feel as verbal or ritual actions. You Are (Variations) is also the main music on Soundstreams's concert tomorrow. The recorded version, by the Los Angeles Master Chorale, features six singers and 28 instrumentalists -- an immense ensemble for Reich, who has always preferred small groups, and who quit writing for orchestras in 1987. "I stopped for the same reason that Bach sounds terrible with a large orchestra, because in contrapuntal music you need clarity and definition, and you can't get that with 18 first [violins] and 16 seconds," he says. "When you need a gazelle, an elephant won't do." Reich is writing The Book of Daniel for a revised version of the band he assembled for Music for 18 Players, a pivotal piece from the mid-seventies that greatly expanded his audience (the ECM recording sold over 100,000 copies, and Reich's ensemble performed it live at New York's legendary Bottom Line club). He has made more room this time for violins, because Daniel Pearl was an enthusiastic bluegrass and jazz fiddler.
The main impetus behind the work is the desire to mark Pearl's passing both as a personal tragedy, and as a symbol of the impact of 9/11, which touched Reich directly. His New York apartment is four blocks from the World Trade Center site. He and his wife, the video artist Beryl Korot (who has collaborated with him on all his music-theatre pieces), were in Vermont, but their son and granddaughter were in the Manhattan apartment during the attack. "You talk about terror, it was absolutely terrifying," Reich said, his fast-talking composure beginning to wane as he remembers. "My son called at about 8:30 a.m., we turned on the TV, and as we were watching, the second plane hit. . . . When the first tower went down, my son was still on the phone -- we kept the line open for six hours -- and he was screaming, 'It's black, it's pitch black!'. . . There was a radio tower on the top of the northern tower, and if it had fallen north instead of collapsing, there would have been nothing left of our building at all." Eventually the younger Reichs escaped the city, the darkness lifted, and the howling in Heaven came to a temporary halt. We're still waiting for the resumption of the celebratory hymns of dawn, echoes of which may be heard, by those prepared to listen, in the music of Steve Reich. The University of Toronto's Faculty of Music presents a free concert of Steve Reich's music at Walter Hall today at 2 p.m. Soundstreams Canada gives the Canadian premiere of You Are (Variations) at the University of Toronto's MacMillan Theatre tomorrow at 8 p.m.
Pérez Takes Traditional Sounds To The Street
Excerpt from www.billboard.com - Leila Cobo
(Oct. 27, 2005) Yolanda Pérez is not the first bilingual, bicultural artist to blend traditional Mexican with urban American sounds. But Pérez, 22, may have an edge over her competitors. Unlike most of her counterparts, she is female and -- judging by past success on radio -- she sings about topics her contemporaries want to hear. Counting on that youth appeal, Pérez is pushing her genre mix one step further by adding not only hip-hop but also reggaetón to her banda. "Esto Es Amor," due Nov. 1 on Fonovisa Records, leads off with the single "Cómo Quieras, Cuando Quieras," a reggaetón/banda blend featuring Pérez trading verses with reggaetón songstress Adassa. The contrast is striking, because banda is a traditional genre played only with acoustic instruments, predominantly brass. The bass line is played by the tuba, which in Pérez's banda/reggaetón mix also takes over the distinctive reggaetón bass line. "We were looking for a new sound," Pérez says. "We thought it'd be a good idea because of how the fans like to listen to both styles of music." Pérez readily admits that she goes "whichever way the fans pull me" because she embodies her fans. Born in Los Angeles to Mexican parents (who hail from banda music hotbed Zacatecas), Pérez grew up listening only to music in Spanish by the likes of ranchero stars Graciela Beltrán, Pepe Aguilar and Ana Bárbara. "I didn't think about it, but a lot of my friends didn't listen to what I listened to," she says. That was the case even when she started singing banda professionally, when she was only 11 years old. Things changed, she says, when she went to high school and sought out friends who knew nothing about her nascent fame. "I started hanging out with people who didn't know me, who didn't know that I sang, and that's when [my music] turned around." In 2003, Pérez inked with Fonovisa and released "Déjenme Llorar," which peaked at No. 29 on the Billboard Top Latin Albums chart, driven largely by the single "Estoy Enamorada." The hilarious track was a bilingual mishmash of banda and rap featuring an English-speaking Pérez verbally sparring with her old-fashioned, Spanish-speaking "dad" -- Los Angeles radio personality Don Cheto of KBUE -- about her dating choices. The song reached No. 7 on the Billboard regional Mexican airplay chart. But promotion of Pérez's follow-up album, "Aquí Me Tienes," stalled after she got pregnant. Now, following the birth of her daughter, she is back with "Eso Es Amor," which includes a mixture of styles, with reggaetón on some tracks, hip-hop on others and banda as the dominant presence. For Pérez, the mixture is simply part of her persona. "Reggaetón is just an ingredient," she says. "I did it because it's one of the styles of music I like to listen to."
Excerpted from the Oct. 29, 2005, issue of Billboard. The full original text is available to Billboard.com subscribers.
For information about ordering a copy of the issue, click here.
Becoming Part of the Whole
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com - By Deardra Shuler
(Nov. 1, 2005) The hush on stage at Joe’s Pub was circumvented with the squeal of brass. It’s piercing shrill evolved into a cacophony of instruments screaming, wailing, writhing, throbbing, breaching the silence with a language and tonality that took on a musical expression all its own. It had an intelligence that created and recreated itself while giving order to chaos. The Wallace Roney Band was playing pure jazz. They were playing the songs within their new CD Mystikal. And indeed, an aura of the mystical was apparent as the music struck upon the essence of form without form in search of the enigma that is true jazz. The blissful faces of the musicians were enraptured by some musical high that elevated their souls beyond time. Harmonies emerged touching levels of vibrations too high to be discerned by mind, understood only at the heart level. As the melodies, harmonies and vibrations crescendo and converged without restraint, it was reborn and sought to be free. Once released, it merely stopped, leaving behind the power of its expression with all in the room. This was the music of Wallace Roney. There is no doubt that Miles Davis influenced Wallace Roney. In fact, Miles was Roney’s mentor. While some may say that Mr. Roney is an imitator, I would say, not so. While there is certainly an essence of Miles in Roney’s music, the trumpeter has managed to carve out his own nitch keeping Miles alive through his trumpet while remaining true to his own considerable talents. Wallace set off on his musical odyssey at the age of 4. He grew up in Philadelphia but attended high school in Washington, D.C. “My father, who was a boxer and United States Marshall, used to mess around with the trumpet. I used to sneak and play my father’s trumpet until my grandmother bought me my own,” claimed Roney who later attended Howard University for a year and then Berklee College of Music for another year. Roney likes to experiment with his music and thus includes turntablist, DJ Val Jeanty, among those who play with his band. He collaborated with her on his record “No Room For Argument” and continues to add a little turntable spice to the mix. His band consists of his brother Antoine Roney on sax; Eric Allen on the drums; Ugonna Okegwo on bass; and Adam Holtzman on piano.
“I hear a lot of music in my head but I listen to other musicians to inspire me. If there is something that is happening that I can incorporate and take further, I am very open to that. I think at this point it’s not about trying to copy anyone but seeing if I can take something and express it in my own way while adding to it. I try not to lose the greatness of what jazz is but rather make it relevant to what’s going on with me as well” explained Roney. There are occasions when jazz musicians comment that individuals who haven’t explored jazz often pass on jazz because they have formed a preconceived idea of what jazz is about. They may not realize that jazz is comprised of many forms. “I think these misconceptions are two-fold. I think in many ways the record companies don’t get behind jazz music. If they took one-third of the PR budget that they use for rock, pop and hip hop music, jazz would definitely flourish. Hip hop I have respect for because these artists did the music even when they had no support. Once it garnered support the record companies jumped in and put money behind it. I think R&B and hip hop are relevant because its black music and it speaks to our people. However, I think to the overall intellectual music community that type of music is non-threatening. Jazz is more than threatening. Jazz has the ability to be the superior music. Unfortunately, this is still a racist world. Thus, those in power would hate to say that Charlie Parker, Dizzy or John Coltrane is greater than classical Paganni. Thus, the support is not there,” remarked the astute trumpeter who is married to pianist Gerri Allen. “I see my music as an extension of what is great about jazz music” said the occasional pugilist. “I hope to extend and broaden the music of the people whom I had the privilege of learning from, such as Miles Davis. I think Miles picked me because out of all the people he trusted, he felt that maybe, I would do something with what he gave me. That is what I like to believe I am doing. I am very influenced by the music of Miles, John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman. I believe when an artist contributes something it should be continued. I see myself as taking the best of it all and utilizing and regurgitating it via how it sounds within me” explained Roney who also released the album Prototype on High Note Records. Roney’s band has recently toured Minneapolis, Chicago and Dayton. He will be playing the upcoming Duke Ellington Jazz Festival in Washington, D.C. He toured Europe. “The Europeans are a receptive audience. If it wasn’t for Europe we probably wouldn’t have many jazz forums in which to perform” remarked the attractive musician. Roney is proud of his new CD Mystikal. “Mystikal is an extension of the last record I made. It’s my favourite recording so far. I feel that everything I wanted to say or do was fulfilled in this CD. This CD has mystical, spiritual forces as I see it. I took this CD much further than all the others. My wife, Gerri Allen, one of the great piano players of today, also played on this album.” “I like to feel I live by truth,” stated Roney of his music and life. “I try to find truth in every way possible and be honest to it. I don’t wake up in the morning and say I am great. I wake up in the morning and ask how can I be better? And if I become better than I ask how can I go further? I reflect on what’s my purpose in being better? What’s my goal? I ask myself whether the goal is to be part of a whole. I ponder this and just keep going forward knowing I am acknowledging something greater. Far greater than I can ever imagine and I let if drive me. I then allow my music to honour that goal.”
Where's the Santana in Santana?
Excerpt from The Globe and Mail - By Guy Dixon
(Nov. 1, 2005) His playing is possibly the most recognizable in rock today, carrying the same warmth just on the cusp of distortion that it had at his earliest gigs at The Fillmore in San Francisco. Helping to carry West Coast rock into the Woodstock era (with his legendary performance -- on acid -- under the overcast sky of upstate New York), he later branched out into 1970s fusion and various other styles with so-so success before settling into his current role as a standard-bearer of the American Latino groove. But with the release today of All That I Am, another album of pop collaborations, is Carlos Santana turning himself into a superstar session man, a mere accompanist for radio-friendly hits? It's a dispiriting question to have to ask. The guitarist evokes such good intentions and general hippie spirituality, particularly in concert, that to question him almost suggests something wrong with the person doing the asking. One solution could be to try to see it in the same light as Santana himself. "My whole life has been around people. It's not a shtick, a gimmick, a gadget or a gizmo or a formula," Santana said in his ultra-serene way during a stopover in Toronto. "My thing is all about being kind of like a maitre d'. I like complementing and serving people, and especially [serving] the songs. "So it's not like it's a formula," he added, wearing a black skullcap and speaking with monk-like calm. "For me, it's God's grace, and also I give a lot of credit to Mr. Clive Davis" -- Santana is careful to say the honorific and the full name of those he holds in esteem -- " 'cause he has big ears and we stick to something. We stick to a plan of what the song is supposed to do."
Following the same commercial format as 1999's multi-Grammy-winning Supernatural and 2002's Shaman, All That I Am was overseen by industry mogul Davis. The new album includes singers from Michelle Branch and Mary J. Blige to Aerosmith's Steve Tyler and Joss Stone, as if trying to one-up the previous CDs with big-name acts. Its release has also been delayed at least twice as tracks were tweaked and the marketing muscle of Sony BMG properly flexed. Yet it's impossible to imagine that older Santana fans won't view the new discmostly as a reminder of his older material. Even some in his own record company, those paid to plug the new material, will say how much more they relate to 1969's eponymous Santana or 1970's Abraxas rather than the new stuff. Older songs such as Jingo and Evil Ways created entire schools of Latin fusion and what was then dubbed "Chicano rock." And they remain more than mere crowd-pleasers today; Santana still plays the older material in concert with as much emotion as ever. Few rockers could muster the vibe of the bongo-playing hippies of San Francisco's Aquatic Park, where Santana says the impulse for his amalgam of sounds originated, with the same level of legitimacy. During concerts this summer, Santana made long speeches about being a child of the sixties. And the main topic of conversation among those leaving a show in Toronto was reminiscences about where they were when Abraxas was released.
How, then, should older Santana fans approach the new material -- pop tunes such as I'm Feeling You, with Santana trying hard to be heard over Branch's voice and the song's sugary production, or My Man, on which the guitarist noodles over rapper Big Boi? As it turns out, the collaborations on the new album weren't always a meeting of two artistic minds. The original vocals for Just Feeling Better, for instance, were performed by Puddle of Mudd's Wes Scantlin, but were replaced by vocals from Tyler. The track Brown Skin Girl was originally sung by Uncle Kracker, but the album version features American Idol runner-up Bo Bice. As Santana explained, the songs took precedence over the performers, himself included. One exception is the album's instrumental track, made with Metallica's Kirk Hammett and pedal steel guitarist Robert Randolph, which features true interplay between the musicians -- something once central to Santana. But then, he has always demurred for the sake of the music. Santana's bands in the early years were never simply guitar-driven; his playing was always a voice mingling with the percussion or countering Gregg Rolie's organ lines. "I'm still a 17-year-old child inside who is really hungry to learn, to express and articulate emotion, sound, frequency," Santana explained, ever philosophical. "I do a lot of research, listen to a lot of people, specifically a lot of African musicians. But I don't sound like them. I take and I give back. I listen to Peter Green, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, everybody," he said. "To me, every day is new.” He then veered to the spiritual. "Here's the big key for you people to understand, man: Learn to feel the light inside you. Learn to feel the cries of the Buddha, Krishna, Rama and Jehovah. They're all in your heart. . . . Once you feel that light, I guarantee you can will things to happen."
That is what a conversation with Santana is like: the purity of a note, finding the light and the "frequency" between us all. For someone who practises alone late into the night, endlessly bending emotion out of his guitar, thinking in terms of purity and light must make sense. "If you don't feel it, they're not going to feel it," he says of his playing. "So you should practise learning how to feel the air in your lungs, like how you can feel the water rising when the moon is in a certain way. You should be able to feel when you get aroused. You know, sexually aroused. You can feel the blood. You should feel that with the notes." It's all part of Santana's positive vibe, something so tangible it could almost be bottled and sold. (In fact, it is, with his new line of perfume.) The vibe began partly with a bad LSD trip in the height of his hippie days, he explained, which took him from being an average player to one able to unify disparate genres. "It was actually a jolt," he recalls, "me stepping out of my existence of being this little Mexican who washed dishes and becoming a person in the same arena as the Grateful Dead and Michael Bloomfield and Eric Clapton -- and having something to say musically and consciously for the highest good of the planet. "A lot of Mexicans walk around with guilt, shame, judgment, condemnation and fear. It's the indoctrination of the Catholic way of thinking. [But] when a Mexican wakes up, you become a multidimensional being, instead of just a Mexican, you know. I pledge allegiance to no flag." True to that ethic, Santana avoids any label, whether it's "commercial" or "anti-establishment." If it feels right, then it's right. Even to a jaded listener, Santana is working hard on the new songs, adapting his emotive playing to both the crossover hits and the album's straight-ahead Latin numbers. At 58, he sounds as engaged -- and joyous -- as he has ever been. "Get your intentions, your motives and your purpose in the same note . . . you can will things to happen, man," Santana said, still taking the spiritual high road. And with All That I Am, many fans will no doubt follow. Even if some would still rather listen to the old stuff.
Carlos Santana has been a presence on the international rock music scene for more than 35 years. But Carlos connoisseurs generally agree his most potent work -- as opposed to most commercially successful -- occurred in the early 1970s. Some choice cuts:
Abraxas (1970). A monumental leap forward from the band's 1969 debut, and still an essential Latin-rock template. The great music was nicely matched by the famous, sexy cover art by surrealist Mati Klarwein.
Caravanserai (1972). Probably the greatest Santana band record. Exultant guitar playing, driving percussion: a musical journey into the mystic.
Welcome (1973). Carlos at his most cosmic (and jazziest) as he discovers (and covers) John Coltrane and engages in duelling guitars with Mahavishnu John McLaughlin.
Lotus (1974). A brilliant live recording, taped at a blistering series of concerts in Japan. Offers an effective mix of the old (Black Magic Woman; Incident at Neshabur) and the jazz fusion he was embracing at the time.
Amigos (1976). Santana comes back to earth, at the behest of then-manager Bill Graham, and produces a strong recording that harks back to the Abraxas/Santana III heyday. After this, it was a descent into the banal, formulaic Latin-tinged pop that, with a few exceptions (Silver Creams--Golden Reality; The Swing of Delight; Blues for Salvador) has been his hallmark ever since.
Singer Ninja A Force
Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Tabassum Siddiqui
(Nov. 1, 2005) In the current indie-rock sweepstakes, where joyfulness is a hot commodity (see Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene, et al.), UK buzz band The Go! Team takes the prize hands down. The multi-culti Brighton brigade may have burst out of nowhere last year with their universally acclaimed, sample-happy debut album Thunder, Lightning, Strike but arrived at the beyond-packed Phoenix Concert Theatre Sunday night to a heroes' welcome, selling out the 1,000-plus venue just three months after their first visit to Toronto at the much smaller Lee's Palace (which holds 450 on a good night). What makes The Go! Team's rise even more remarkable is that Thunder, Lightning, Strike wasn't even available domestically on these shores until earlier this month. Though several North American labels were interested in signing the band based on strong word of mouth and a few scattered showcase gigs on this side of the pond, many balked at dealing with clearing the hundreds of samples Go! Team mastermind Ian Parton had used in piecing together the album's densely layered sound. Columbia Records, an offshoot of Sony/BMG, won out, and Parton remixed the record for its North American release and added two bonus tracks. The new version finally hit the shelves two weeks ago and, luckily for fans who'd already grown attached to the original tracks, the changes are subtle enough that you'd miss them completely if you weren't listening extremely closely. Thanks to the digital age, however, musical borders don't really exist any more. And so somehow in the year since the record came out in the U.K., Toronto has fallen in love with the Team's sunny cheerleader indie-pop. "Did anyone here have the illegal version?" the team's hyper-energized front woman, singer/rapper Ninja, teased towards the middle of Sunday's set at the Phoenix. "Criminals, criminals, criminals!" Noting that she was the only member of the six-strong troupe dressed for Halloween — looking like a bumblebee in a yellow top and black skirt and sporting a headband with fuzzy antennae — Ninja later acknowledged that Toronto had played a big part in the band's success. "You guys have been emailing us the most, shown us the most support," she said.
But Toronto crowds are never easy to please, and so it wasn't until the ferocious grinding guitars signalled the opening bars of Team favourite "The Power Is On" that the crammed-in bodies finally began to move. They pogoed. They danced. They ducked whenever Ninja flung handfuls of Halloween candy into the throng. And you haven't lived until you've seen a roomful of cooler-than-thou indie kids throw their arms in the air and cheer "Go Team!" in unison with utter abandon. But the best part about The Go! Team is that the folks on stage look like they're having just as much fun as the audience. Smartly alternating between promising new material and nuggets from the album as colourful animated projections unspooled on a large screen behind them, Team members constantly switched instruments and played their cheerful, shiny-bright anthems hard, fast and loud. Aside from the sheer elation of their music, what helps set The Go! Team apart from the rest of the current indie pack is Ninja, a diminutive force of nature; she could bottle that energy and sell it, or at the very least teach lessons in how to get a crowd going. The Team's hour-long set seemed to be over before it had begun. But by the time the disco ball was turned on during their encore, illuminating the grins plastered to faces, the chorus of their final tune, "Ladyflash," seemed apt: "We came here to rock the microphone," Ninja sang. Mission accomplished.
Ornette Coleman: A Historic Event From An Original
Excerpt from The Globe and Mail - By Mark Miller
Ornette Coleman at Massey Hall in Toronto on Saturday
(Oct. 31, 2005) There are concerts in the world of jazz, plenty of concerts, and then there are events. Ornette Coleman's appearance in Toronto on the weekend was both. The event first. Coleman at 75 is the last surviving pivotal figure in the history of jazz, a self-invented alto saxophonist and composer from Texas whose preference for freedom over structure changed the way the more open-minded of his fellow musicians thought about improvisation. They may not have embraced his ideas in whole, or even in part, but after Coleman, there was no looking back. Coleman doesn't perform anywhere very often these days, and hasn't played in Canada since the 1988 Festival International de Jazz de Montréal; about 20 years have passed since his last visit to Toronto. Between his historical significance generally and his long absence locally, you might think that the Toronto jazz community could muster up more than just two-thirds of a house for his quartet's appearance at Massey Hall on Saturday. Apparently not. At that, some part of this Toronto audience was in fact made up of jazz fans who had travelled from Calgary, Montreal, Ottawa and no doubt other points as far or further afield just for the occasion -- jazz fans quick to recognize an event when they see one. To the concert, then. Actually, as events go, this was a rather modest though altogether agreeable performance, running to roughly a dozen tunes in just over 90 minutes, inclusive of Coleman's stunning signature piece, Lonely Woman, as an encore. The concert's length was about right given the distilled nature of the quartet's resources: Coleman's saxophone (and briefly, once each, his trumpet and violin), Tony Falanga's bowed bass, Greg Cohen's "walking" bass and Denardo Coleman's drums. Variety was largely a function of mood, and mood in turn of tempo; Coleman's highly stylized alto was invariably stirring -- such tone, such vibrancy, such humanity -- but there was a certain sameness of texture and intensity from one piece to the next.
Coleman fashioned his solos around a patchwork of slippery licks, familiar leaps, quotes from old tunes and occasional bursts of fresh ideas. These were of course his licks, his leaps, his old tunes and his fresh ideas. Once an original, always an original, and if this original has taken to repeating himself, well, surely he's allowed. Coleman's alter ego in this current band is bassist Falanga, who takes a role previously held by trumpeter Don Cherry and then saxophonist Dewey Redman when it was held by anyone. With Greg Cohen covering off the traditional function of the bass in any modern jazz band, Falanga was free to bow sobbing counterlines to Coleman's lead and add lovely, dark-hued solos of his own, effectively -- and perhaps unexpectedly -- giving the saxophonist's music a second compelling voice. The team of Cohen and Denardo Coleman was industrious in support, and the drummer, for all of his busy work, was quite nuanced. They left the band floating freely on a wash of rhythms more often than they had it swinging explicitly, thereby affording Coleman Sr. and Falanga that much more freedom to take the music wherever they wanted. And if Coleman Sr. wasn't taking it anywhere he hasn't taken it many times before, the chance to hear him take it there again was still, as these exceedingly rare occasions come along in jazz, an event among events.
Skitch Henderson, 87
Associated Press - By Matt Apuzzo
(Nov. 2, 2005) New Haven, Conn. — Skitch Henderson, the Grammy-winning conductor who lent his musical expertise to Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby before founding the New York Pops and becoming the first Tonight Show bandleader, died Tuesday. He was 87. Henderson died at his home in New Milford of natural causes, said Barbara Burnside, director of marketing and public relations at New Milford Hospital. Born in England, Lyle Russell Cedric Henderson moved to the United States in the 1930s, eking out a living as a pianist, playing vaudeville and movie music in Minnesota and Montana roadhouses. He got his big break in 1937, when he filled in for a sick pianist touring with Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney. When the tour wrapped up in Chicago, he used the original pianist's ticket and went to Hollywood. There he joined the music department at MGM and played piano for Bob Hope's The Pepsodent Show. His friendship with Hope put him in touch with other stars of the day, including Crosby, who became a mentor to Henderson.
He studied with the noted composer Arnold Schoenberg, and Henderson's talented ear brought him renown from some of the era's most successful musicians. “I could sketch out a score in different keys, a new way each time,” Henderson said earlier this year. That quicksilver ability earned him the nickname “the sketch kid,” which Crosby urged him to adapt to “Skitch.” It stuck. During the Second World War, Henderson flew for both the Royal Air Force and the United States Army Air Corps. At his estate in New Milford, which he shared with his wife, Ruth, Henderson kept a collection of aviation memorabilia. Even at 87, he had said he hoped to fly the Atlantic once more. After the war, Henderson toured as Sinatra's musical director and lived what he called a “gypsy lifestyle,” touring the country with various bands. It was Sinatra's phone call that lured Henderson to New York. “Frank said, ‘I'm moving the Lucky Strike Show to New York. Get rid of those gypsies and get back here where you belong,”' Henderson recalled in 1985. He served as musical director for the Lucky Strike radio show and The Philco Hour with Crosby. And when NBC moved to television, the studio brought Henderson along as musical director.
In 1954, NBC pegged him as the bandleader for Steve Allen's Tonight Show, which brought Henderson into U.S. living rooms every night. Even as the hosts changed from Allen to Jack Paar to Johnny Carson, Henderson was a constant. He founded the New York Pops in 1983, using popular tunes to make orchestral music exciting. “People come to hear music that's accessible to them -- old songs that are powerful and don't go away,” he said. Even in his late 80s, Henderson maintained a tireless work schedule as music director for the Pops, where he regularly served as conductor. He also was a frequent guest conductor at a number of orchestras around the world. “I watch the public like a hawk. If I see boredom, I worry,” Henderson said. “You can tell by the applause: There's perfunctory applause, there's light applause, and then there's real applause. When it's right, applause sounds like vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce.”
Hot New Dancehall Reggae Star Idonia Debuts On VP Records
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com – By Kevin Jackson
(Oct. 28, 2005) Hot new deejay on the rise, Idonia has seen his chart hit Lolly from the Irish Dance rhythm included on VP Records’ annual Strictly the Best Volume 33 compilation. The compilation is regarded as one of VP Records’ top selling discs and has consistently dented the Billboard R&B Hip Hop and Reggae Album charts. Lolly which is sitting pretty in the Top 10 of the Reggae charts in Jamaica, was produced by Cordell ‘Skatta’ Burrell for Kings of Kings. Burrell was ecstatic about the inclusion of the song on the compilation disc. Earlier this week he told this column ‘I feel good to know that Idonia is finally getting some recognition for his work. At the end of the day it’s the work that you put out that people will remember you for’, said Mr. Burrell. This isn’t the first time that any of his projects has been included on the VP Records compilation. The Strictly the Best series debuted in 1992 with one disc. A few years later two volumes (lovers rock and dancehall) were became part of the annual release. Chris Schlarb, Director of Publicity of VP Records said “Strictly the Best is our premier compilation release behind Reggae Gold. Unlike Reggae Gold which focuses on the crossover market, Strictly the Best focuses on the tracks that we feel are burning up on the streets of Jamaica, with no regard to what will be ‘the next big thing’. This year we have decided to return to the original format of releasing two volumes simultaneously, one volume dancehall and one volume roots/lovers rock. There are so many hits out right now that we had to return to the traditional format’. Strictly the Best 31 which was released in 2003 remains the biggest selling series to date. It has moved 80,923 copies in the US according to sales tracker Soundscan.
Snoop's Label Inks Deal With Koch
Excerpt from www.billboard.com - Clover Hope, N.Y.
(Oct. 27, 2005) Snoop Dogg and his Doggystyle Records have entered into a joint partnership with Koch Records. The first release as part of the multi-album deal, "Snoop Dogg Presents Welcome To Tha Chuuch Tha Album," will hit stores Dec. 13. The disc is an expansion of Snoop's "Welcome to Da Chuuch" seven-volume mixtape series and includes new music from The Dogg Pound Fam, Nate Dogg, Kurupt, Lady Rage, and Daz Dillinger, as well as newcomers Tiffany Foxxx, RBX, Soopafly, Half-Dead, Mira-Mira, Mykestro. Doggystle was previously affiliated with TVT and most recently with MCA, with whom Snoop Dogg signed in 2001. His most recent solo album, 2004's "Snoop Dogg R&G: Rhythm & Gangsta -- The Masterpiece," was released by Geffen, to whom he remains signed. Snoop also recently formed the Snoop Youth Football League, which aims to involve underprivileged children in competitive sports.
LL Cool J Gets Busy On New Album
Excerpt from www.billboard.com - Gail Mitchell, L.A.
(Oct. 27, 2005) LL Cool J is at work on his as-yet-untitled next Def Jam album, which is expected to be released sometime in 2006. Backstage last night (Oct. 26) at the BET 25th anniversary celebration in Los Angeles, the rapper said the set will feature guest appearances from Mary J. Blige, 112 and Teairra Mari. The album will be the follow-up to 2004's "The DEFinition," which debuted at No. 4 on The Billboard 200 and has sold 743,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Meanwhile, the rapper said he has signed a nine-picture deal with Lions Gate Film to produce movies, and also has the option of acting in the projects. LL Cool J will next be seen in "Last Holiday," which stars Queen Latifah and is due Jan. 13 in U.S. theatres. He also appears in "Edison," which marks the film debut for pop star Justin Timberlake.
Previously Unreleased Marley Single
Source: Carrie Tolles, Shore Fire Media, email@example.com, http://www.shorefire.com , http://www.bobmarley.com/
(Oct. 31, 2005) The first new official Bob Marley track to be released in decades, "Slogans" is a song with a message of freedom and righteousness that transcends generations. It is believed that Marley recorded the song in a Miami bedroom in 1979. The acoustic demo was revisited by the reggae legend's sons Stephen and Ziggy with overdubbed instruments, including guitar by Eric Clapton. "Slogans" is a bright and mighty anthem reminiscent of classic Marley. Click the link below to watch the new "Slogans" video available online for a limited time. The captivating cinematography is full of classic Marley footage, explosive live concert visuals and poignant images from the 1960's and 1970's to the present era. The video provides a relevant backdrop to Marley's timeless and powerful lyrics that speak to the world we inhabit today as they did in 1979 when the song was written. The release of Bob Marley's "Slogans" is proof that a true artistic spirit never dies. The first greatest hits package to include both his early sides and his Island Records hits, Africa Unite: The Singles Collection commemorates Marley's life on record. In addition to the early classics the album also includes the new single "Slogans" and 2 new remixes: "Stand Up Jamrock (Ashley Beedle Remix)," a mash-up of Bob's classic and "Welcome To Jamrock," the 2005 hit from youngest son Damian; and the wil.i.am (Black Eyed Peas) remix of "Africa Unite." Other songs include 'Soul Rebel," "Lively Up Yourself," "Trenchtown Rock" and "Concrete Jungle" alongside the Island hits "I Shot The Sheriff," "Get Up, Stand Up," "No Woman, No Cry," "Exodus," "Jamming," "Could You Be Loved," "One Love/People Get Ready," "Roots, Rock, Reggae," "Waiting In Vain," "The Sun Is Shining," "Is This Love," "Three Little Birds" and "Buffalo Soldier."
CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE NEW "SLOGANS" VIDEO
Clark Goes Back To Her Roots
Excerpt from The Globe and Mail - By Ronna Rubin
(Nov. 1, 2005) Terri Clark's new album brings her back to the things that first drew her to country music. "This album is a bit of an homage to why I fell in love with country music in the first place," the Montreal-born singer said. "Twin fiddles and steel guitar -- the stuff that makes you feel good when you listen to it." Life Goes On, Clark's seventh album, is about real life. The first single and video, She Didn't Have Time, is a bit of autobiography, drawing on Clark's childhood with a single mother in Alberta. And Clark, whose first success in Nashville was a publishing deal, wrote or co-wrote three of the tracks on the new disc. "I have been fortunate to have had success the past three years, which has kept me very busy but has also taken away from my time spent writing songs," she said. "But this record was certainly a labour of love: it's a good mix of the old tried-and-true spunk along with some songs about the curveballs life throws you." The multi-million-selling country star is the first Canadian female artist to be inducted into the Grand Ole Opry. "I'm country to the bone," Clark said about her honky-tonk style. "I learned from listening to Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline, Reba -- the countriest of country." She has also been honoured with nominations from the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music. Clark acknowledges that Life Goes On pretty much mirrors her own life. "I'm proud of the songs on this new album and feel that they reflect many aspects of my personality and the direction my life is headed," she said. Newly married to her long-time tour manager, Greg Kaczor, the multi-tasking singer handled the planning of her wedding in the Canadian Rockies while finishing her album and making the music video for She Didn't Have Time. And did it all without breaking a sweat. "You always seem to end up right where you belong because life does go on," she said, "no matter what happens along the way."
M.C. Hammer To Unload Music Publishing
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com
(Nov. 1, 2005) *If he’s big enough to make fun of his financial freefall in the Nationwide Insurance commercial, than it was probably a no-brainer that M.C. Hammer would eventually put his music publishing and copyright assets up for sale. The rapper, who filed for bankruptcy in 1996, had as much as $20 million during his successful career, which saw his debut album “Let’s Get It Started” move 3 million units, and his 1990 follow up, “Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em,” sell 10 million. Wixen Music Publishing, the court-appointed publishing administrator for the publishing assets of five Hammer companies, says that the catalogue is still generating "substantial income." According to Billboard, the sale will include a 50% interest in "U Can't Touch This," which hit No. 1 in 1990 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart, and a 90% interest in "2 Legit 2 Quit," which peaked at No. 5 on the Hot 100. Among the copyright assets up for sale are clothing, dolls, lunchboxes and his own Saturday morning cartoon. The bankruptcy trustee is currently trying to locate 33 songwriters who had deals with the Hammer publishing companies. They risk losing their royalties if they do not contact attorney Terrance Stinnett with Goldberg, Stinnett, Meyers & Davis in San Francisco by Dec. 31. After that date, the royalties will by paid to the state of California as unclaimed property.
Two Urban Radio Giants To Launch New Network
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com
(Nov. 1, 2005) *Radio One and Reach Media are teaming to launch a new African-American talk-radio network, the cornerstone of which will be a show hosted by the Rev. Al Sharpton, reports the Boston Globe. Baltimore-based Radio One, the nation's seventh-largest radio company, and Reach Media, which owns and syndicates the ''Tom Joyner Morning Show," plan to launch the network on Boston’s WILD after the first of the year. If all goes as planned, the fledgling talk network will begin broadcasting on as many as 10 of Radio One's 70 stations, including AM outlets in Baltimore, Detroit, Miami, Cleveland, Washington D.C., and a handful of other cities. The programming would also be offered to stations outside of Radio One’s ownership. While programming has not been finalized, Radio One CEO Alfred Liggins III said that the as-yet-unnamed network will provide programming from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Sharpton’s show, scheduled to air weekdays from 1 to 4 p.m., is expected to be topical, if not entirely political. ''Life is political," Liggins told the Globe. ''Rush Limbaugh is political. Howard Stern has been political. That's the nature of the human existence. We won't focus exclusively on politics. We'll deal with the human existence of African-Americans in the broader landscape of America."
Is Nas About To Sign With Def Jam?
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com
(Nov. 1, 2005) *In the wake of the public beef squashing between Jay-Z and Nas last week, rumours are rampant that God’s Son is about to take things a step further and become an artist on Jigga’s Def Jam label. The rapper has reportedly dropped hints that he’s ready to leave Columbia/Sony Records where he's recorded his entire career. Island Def Jam chairman L.A. Reid told MTV of the Nas rumour: "I don't know if I have a comment for that. I'll tell you what, I absolutely love him. He's an amazing artist. I have loved him and supported him for years. “He's been a great supporter of mine. And obviously he and Jay-Z have a mutual respect and love and admiration for each other. So let's just see. I really don't know. Let's see what happens."
We Remember David Townsend Of Surface
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com
(Nov. 2, 2005) *Singer/songwriter David Townsend, a member of the 80's vocal trio Surface, was found dead inside his Northridge, CA home Wednesday night by a close friend. He was 50. The cause of death was unknown. Townsend wrote, produced and performed with various artists over the past three decades, including The Isley Brothers, Sister Sledge, New Edition, Rebbie Jackson, Jermaine Jackson and Aretha Franklin. With Surface, Townsend recorded such hits as "Happy," "Closer Than Friends," "Shower Me With Your Love" and the "The First Time" Bernard Jackson and David "Pic" Conley of Surface released the following statement Tuesday: "We are both shocked and very saddened by the loss of our close friend, David. He was a great producer, songwriter and a great friend. We will miss him. We also want to say thank you to all our fans around the world for their love and support during this difficult time." In 1987, the group's self-entitled album peaked at No. 11 on the Billboard R&B Album chart. The disc spawned two top ten R&B singles, "Happy" and "Lately"; and a top 25 R&B single "Let's Try Again." The group's 1989 follow-up sophomore album, "2nd Wave," was certified platinum and peaked at No.5 on the R&B chart. The album generated five singles, three of which went No. 1: "You Are My Everything" featuring guest vocalist Regina Belle, "Closer Than Friends" and "Shower Me With Your Love." The singles "Can We Spend Some Time Together" and the up-tempo dance floor cut "I Missed" were also top 5 hits. In 1991, the group's third album "3 Deep" was released with the No. 1 R&B single, "The First Time." Townsend was the son of the late legendary singer/songwriter/producer Ed Townsend, who was responsible for co-writing "Let's Get It On" with Marvin Gaye. At the time of David’s death, Surface was working on a new album scheduled for release in late 2006. The surviving members are scheduled to perform at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City, CA on Dec, 29 and 30. A funeral for Townsend will be held near Los Angeles on Thursday (Nov. 3) at the Inglewood Mortuary (3801 W. Manchester Blvd). The service will begin at 3 p.m. and is open to the public.
Ciara Prepares For Second Album
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com
(Nov. 2, 2005) *Before the year is out, Ciara says she’ll return to the studio to begin work on a follow-up to her 2004 Jive debut, "Goodies." The singer is also booked to work 11 dates of Gwen Stefani’s Harajuku Lovers 2005 tour in December, and has just wrapped her first starring role in MTV Films' "Rumble," due out in early 2006. The film, co-starring Adrienne Bailon of 3LW and Marques Houston, is a coming-of-age story about high school volleyball players. Ciara plays a 16-year-old student whose dad plays professional basketball. "He never comes to any of her volleyball games to support her, so you can kind of see her go through the emotions of that and try to figure out what she wants to do with her life," she says. "Acting is something I always wanted to do, so of course when the opportunity presented itself, I said this is a chance for me to get started."
Here are Ciara's tour dates with Gwen Stefani:
Dec. 3: Las Vegas (Aladdin Hotel)
Dec. 4: San Diego (Cox Arena)
Dec. 8: Cleveland (Wolstein Center)
Dec. 9: Toronto (Air Canada Centre)
Dec. 12: Uncasville, Conn. (Mohegan Sun)
Dec. 14: Verona, N.Y. (Turning Stone Casino)
Dec. 15: New York (Madison Square Garden)
Dec. 17: Columbus, Ohio (Schottenstein Center)
Dec. 18: Nashville (Gaylord Entertainment Center)
Dec. 20: Orlando, Fla. (TD Waterhouse Centre)
Dec. 21: Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Bank Atlantic Center)
New Kindred CD Inspired By Ossie & Ruby
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com
(Nov. 2, 2005) In following up their critically-acclaimed 2003 Hidden Beach Recordings debut Surrender to Love, Graydon and Dantzler were inspired by the collaborative relationship and marriage of another powerful couple, actors/activists Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee. Before Davis’ death earlier this year, the celebrated pair successfully balanced work and love for more than 50 years. Their marriage and working relationship was chronicled in their dual autobiography, In This Life Together, which also serves as the title of Kindred’s latest release. “We’re enamored of the relationship Davis and Dee created together, and everything they were able to accomplish,” says Dantzler. “Seeing these shining examples is the only way to let people truly know you can get to a place like that. We wanted to shed light on the black family and relationships in general.” Adds Graydon, “There’s no music that represents that kind of strong, committed couple relationship. It’s not about having a handbook or being experts; but more so about a free exchange of ideas – being open, talking and relating to one another honestly. This was our goal with this new album – to explore the relationship between couples who are truly friends, and share this with our fans.” Building on the sentiments touched on by its predecessor, IN THIS LIFE TOGETHER is a more intimate and candid look at what happens when life intrudes on love. Grown and sexy is one thing; juggling work, our personal lives, and additional obligations is quite another. Sharing the wisdom gleaned from being married for seven years and with three young children, Kindred is crafting its own contemporary, urban love story for the 21st Century, one that many couples will relate to.
Bent, Not Stapled Or Mutilated
Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Rita Zekas
(Oct. 29, 2005) When I sat down to screen the scary film Saw II, I thought I was going to have to watch the entire thing through my scarf. The establishing shot was a man with his head encased in A Man in the Iron Mask contraption, which didn't obscure his gouged-out eye. Turned out Saw II (which opened yesterday) was creepy but gripping without the standard slasher/demented sicko-behind-the-hockey-mask storyline. A handful of hostages must find their way out of a creaky old house booby-trapped by the sadistic serial killer Jigsaw before they expire from exposure to a lethal nerve gas. Donnie Wahlberg plays the lead, a police detective whose son is one of the hostages. Allegedly, the Miramax brothers Harvey and Bob Weinstein saw the first three minutes of Saw II and signed its director Darren Lynn Bousman up for a three-picture deal. Or so we are told by several handlers for actor Lyriq Bent (his real name), one of the co-stars of the film. Bent is not particularly a fan of the horror genre, he admits over herbal tea at Bistro 990. "It's a scary film and that's not a problem," he explains. "This is disturbing because it is not supernatural, it could happen in fact. It's when you don't know, that the fear occurs." And he is even less enamoured of needles. There is a scene in which hypodermic needles figure prominently and painfully. "I hate needles from every direction — I'd be a bad junkie," he allows. Good thing he's playing the leader of a S.W.A.T. team, instead, in the film. His character, Rigg, is not easily categorized. Is he a good guy or a bad guy? "He's on the edge," Bent says. "You are not sure what is going on with him. He's not good or bad; he'll fix the situation the best way he knows how. He depends on natural instincts and his training as a cop. "I'm feeling what Donnie is feeling. Rigg's got family and understood the importance of family. He does what he has to do to make sure (Donnie's) family is safe, even if it means crossing the line."
Bent hadn't seen the original Saw. When he saw the script for Saw II, he was intrigued. "It's my first horror psychological thriller," he admits. "Before I went on set, I rented the first one in which 75 per cent of the film took place in that one room, where two guys were trapped in an old room and one has to die to get out. I thought it was well done and that the storyline was incredible." Saw II stars Donnie Wahlberg, and Bent co-starred with Donnie's brother, Mark Wahlberg, in Four Brothers. "The Wahlbergs can't get enough of me," he jokes. In Four Brothers, Bent plays Damian. "He's a rogue character, someone not pleasant," he specifies. "He misled the police while the brothers were searching for their mother's killer. They come looking for this running, gun-shooting, dog-siccing Damian. I sic two Rottweilers on Mark's character and they bite his ass. I was the dog wrangler and I fear dogs; I've had bad experiences with dogs. "I did my own stunts and I tried to be at risk with my character but I left the life-threatening stunts to the stunt guy. But I was hanging six storeys by a rope and it was gruelling. It was shot last January, in —33C degrees, and —40C with wind chill. My character was one of those cool guys with no coat. Which was an improvement — originally my character was in shorts."
Bent's been in the biz for only 5 1/2 years. His credits include Kojak; Street Time; Platinum; The Caveman's Valentine; The Life and Hard Times of Guy Terrifico, a hit at this year's Toronto International Film Festival; and the Antonio Banderas film Take the Lead, in which Banderas plays a former professional dancer who volunteers to teach inner-city kids how to dance à la Mad Hot Ballroom. "I don't dance in the film," Bent demurs. "I play a character who finds himself in interesting situations. He tries to get the school kids involved in illegal acts." But he's not a pusher. "I'm more of a menace to society," he qualifies. "Like things that fall off trucks." He did work with Banderas. "He's a nice guy," Bent says. In Guy Terrifico, he plays Mr. Stuff, whom he describes as "edgy." "It's a parody," he explains. "It's a mockumentary about a country superstar." Working with A-list stars is not too shabby for a guy who had no intention of becoming an actor. Bent, who is a Torontonian of Jamaican descent, graduated with honours from the Computer Graphic Technician's program at Seneca College. "After my final year in computer graphics, I was out of work," he recalls. "So I did work going door-to-door, selling long distance plans, and got complimented: `Were you ever modelling?'" (Indeed, Bent is extremely photogenic and stylin' in his way cool T-shirt. "He is so gorgeous, I can't look at him," confessed an appreciative crew member on Saw II.)
"Or I'd get `You look familiar. Were you on TV? You might want to look into it.'" So he did. He studied acting in New York and his first gig was a student film. "I'm available for student films," he insists. That said, he chooses his roles carefully. "I try to be as eclectic as possible," he says. "I refused to be stereotyped as the angry, young, black actor. We pick and choose. I'm not waiting to be a celebrity. I'm starting from grass roots." Instead of grass/pot roles. "I like to straddle both bad and good guys. I like to view my characters as people I'd see on the street or on a bus. If not, I try to play the bad guy so that he doesn't have to be a maniac." Bent is currently shooting the werewolf thriller Skinwalkers, though is sworn to secrecy. "I can't say anything except that it's another horror film," he says. As if on cue, the P.R. woman for the film calls him on his cell phone at this precise point in the interview to tell him not to talk about it. "No comment on Skinwalkers," he echoes. (For actual comments on Skinwalkers, see page H7). His handlers tell him it's time for the next interview. He gulps down his tea and bolts. "Whoooo was that?" demand Bistro staffers of both sexual orientations. "And how old is he?" Didn't get a chance to ask but we'd say he was old enough.
Profits Need To Trickle Down: Study
Excerpt from The Globe and Mail - By James Adams
(Oct. 31, 2005) Canada's independent television producers are calling for "significant changes" to federal broadcast policy following the release today of a study that shows the country's big broadcasters are reaping huge revenues while the production sector languishes. The study, prepared by Nordicity Group for the Canadian Film and Television Production Association, which represents about 400 companies, looks at relations between producers and the country's eight largest broadcasters and TV services, including BCE Inc. (which owns The Globe and Mail), CanWest Global and CHUM Ltd., in the years 1999 through 2004. CFTPA president and CEO Guy Mayson is using the study as leverage in his organization's demand that Heritage Minister Liza Frulla start to spearhead a "new policy framework" for the country's TV industry, including more money to producers from broadcasters, improved tax credits, a redesigned Canadian Television Fund and programming expenditure requirements for conventional broadcasters. Among the Nordicity findings: In 2003 the earnings-before-taxes margin for Canada's largest broadcasters was 9.7 per cent, well above the 5.8 per cent average for the Canadian economy as a whole. In 2002 that margin for broadcasters was 6.1 per cent, while for film and TV producers, it was just 1.6 per cent. In 2003 the country's largest broadcasters earned $4.8-billion from their conventional, pay and specialty divisions. However, with the exception of mandated contributions to Canadian content in their specialty divisions, their contributions to production supported by the Canadian Television Fund declined by 14 per cent between 1999 and 2004. (For example, foreign programming acquisitions for pay and specialty services cost broadcasters $251-million in 2003 compared with the $315-million spent on Canadian programming, a difference of 26 per cent.)
In 2004 Canada's private conventional broadcasters spent four times more on buying foreign programming, largely of U.S. origin, than they did on acquiring independent Canadian shows: $535-million versus $124-million. Of this, $354-million was spent on foreign dramas, with only $68-million going to Canadian-made equivalents — a difference of more than 500 per cent. In a release issued today, Mayson places much of the blame on the divergence between the broadcast and production sectors on the TV policy that was announced in 1999 by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. That policy required large broadcasters like CTV and Global to put more Canadian content in their programming and to help them do so, the CRTC expanded the definition of Canadian "priority programming" to include entertainment magazines, variety shows and documentaries. At the same time, the federal broadcast regulator increased the definition of prime time to include the hours 7 to 11 p.m. seven days a week (previously it was 8 to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday), and tossed out the requirement that broadcasters had to spend a percentage of their revenues on Canadian content. The findings of the Nordicity study echo a report issued in July by the Coalition of Canadian Audio-visual Unions, which includes the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists and the Writers Guild of Canada. That report, titled The Need for a Regulatory Safety Net, calls on Canadian broadcasters to spend at least seven per cent of their annual gross advertising income on Canadian drama. It says that in 1998, before the introduction of the CRTC's new TV policy, private broadcasters spent almost $75-million on English-language drama; six years later, this expenditure had "bottomed out" at about $53-million, a decline of about 30 per cent.
Lara Flynn Boyle: Born to be Barbara Amiel
Excerpt from The Globe and Mail - By Gayle Macdonald
(Nov. 2, 2005) She nails the requisite air of haughty disdain. Imperious, impeccably groomed, supremely confident -- with brains and a rapier wit to boot -- Lara Flynn Boyle was clearly born to play Barbara Amiel, the couturier-clad better half of Conrad Black, whose ignominious corporate fall is the focus of an upcoming CTV movie, Shades of Black. Boyle isn't crazy about doing interviews, so getting an audience with the 35-year-old, reed-thin actress, who is in Toronto and environs shooting the $5-million film, takes some perseverance. A meeting is finally set up in Cambridge, Ont., a bucolic spot in what was once the stomping ground of Southern Ontario's farming gentry -- specifically at the Cruickston Estate, an 1858 mansion built by relatives of the wealthy American family the Astors. For this film -- based on the book Shades of Black by New York Times journalist Richard Siklos, and starring Canadian thespian Albert Schultz as Black -- the Cruickston manor subs for Black's grand family home. Here, Boyle made it clear from the outset that she will not be met by a reporter until she is in full makeup -- so there's a huddle outside in a parking lot until a publicist comes out to announce that the maquillage is complete. One braces for a steel edge. But inside, Boyle is seated in a chair in jeans, a brown cardigan, Ugg-boot-clad feet curled under her. She is far softer and girlish-looking close up, an incongruous image given that recent TV and film roles present her as a hard-ass (the evil Serleena in Men in Black II; the flint-eyed prosecutor in The Practice; a tough-as-nails casino owner in Las Vegas).
Her violet-blue eyes are pinpoint direct, but not without a glint of humour. And when she speaks -- in dulcet, buttery tones -- she's far more friendly than the hullabaloo that swirls around her suggests. Make no mistake, Boyle -- like the strong-willed Amiel -- does not suffer fools gladly. She loves to be contrarian, likes to make bold statements, and stoutly refuses to toe any politically correct line. Before reading this script, Boyle admits, she'd never heard of Lady and Lord Black of Crossharbour. But she says she felt immediate empathy for four-times married Amiel, a right-wing columnist with a penchant for pushing people's buttons. "I think anyone who takes the time to have an opinion, and then goes one step further and voices it, has a lot of guts. And I respect that," she says. "It doesn't necessarily mean I have to agree with someone's opinion, but I've always been fond of women who aren't afraid to think about something, and express what they're thinking." It was several weeks after she agreed to take the part that she finally clued in to how eerily she resembles her subject. "I was like, my goodness, she's quite a beautiful woman," Boyle says with a naughty smirk. "Not to blow my own horn, of course." A fan of method acting, Boyle says she is finding her inner Amiel by trying to delve into the "familiarities shared between my character and hers."
Pressed to elaborate on the common traits, Boyle pauses and tugs on her plump upper lip: "Well, you know, it's as simple as take no prisoners," she adds slyly. "That basically sums it up." While Amiel is portrayed here as a doting spouse, Boyle also plays her as a hard-driving columnist. "Her career was something that needs to be explored because it definitely shows up in the strong, charismatic scenes with her and Conrad," says Boyle, who once dated actor Jack Nicholson. "Ignorance is bliss. And this woman is not ignorant. "There is always an added responsibility to showing a side of someone who has actually put footsteps on the planet," says Boyle, who had been in 15 TV and film roles before finally landing in 1990 the career breakthrough role as the enigmatic Donna Hayward in David Lynch's cult soap, Twin Peaks. "So you sort of have to minimize when it comes to going into a scene. I've always said for years, [my job] is about entertaining. It's not my job to explain. It's just to entertain. And to try to take care of the people that I'm playing," Shades of Black executive producer Mary Young Leckie said she thought of casting Boyle as Amiel "the minute we thought of this movie two years ago. "The part was meant for her. Barbara Amiel is a very smart, very powerful, very talented woman. And she knows how to use both her brains and her beauty. Lara Flynn Boyle is brilliant and incredibly articulate. And she knows how to use her beauty. It wasn't a stretch."
Unlike in years past when Boyle was snapped by photographers looking shockingly thin, she's still uber-slim but not alarmingly so. The only child of divorced parents -- "my dad did a whole lot of nothing" -- Boyle says she was raised in Chicago by her mother, Sally. She enrolled in an improv acting class as a youngster, primarily to get over almost debilitating shyness. "My mom was trying to find ways to bring me out of my shell," she says. She signed up with a school run by the father of actor Jeremy Piven (up for an Emmy for his work on Entourage). "Me, John Cusack, a whole bunch of us came out of there." She graduated from Chicago's Academy of the Arts, got on a plane to Los Angeles when she was 18, and two weeks later, had an audition with Lynch. "He's such a savant," she says. "He was amazing." Since then, she's worked non-stop -- she's a self-described workaholic who thrives on a frenzied pace. Shades of Black, which was written by Andrew Wreggitt and is directed by Alex Chapple, was partly shot across the Atlantic in London, where the Blacks reside. Its Cruickston Estate location in Southern Ontario, however, may be the most exotic: It's apparently haunted by a historic clan of previous owners, namely Miss Wilks, Mrs. Keefer, two children, and a guy named Ed, a spirit the locals say hangs out on the third floor and likes to drink rye. Boyle admits she's heard all the wild tales, but has yet to personally be visited by one of these third-dimensional characters on set. "No, I haven't seen a ghost but I was in one room where one apparently likes to hang out," she says. "The chandelier did go on and off. And that was good enough for me to go running out of the room." (The crew apparently has caught sweeping sounds from the uninhabited third floor). Extraterrestrial weirdness, aside, Boyle adds the experience shooting in Canada has been hard work, but fulfilling. "It's been great having someone as wonderful as Albert [Schultz] to work with," says Boyle. "You know, I always enjoy complaining about things like, oh it's too hot. Or it's too cold. Or what time are we done? But I'm really lucky I can complain, and to have done all that I've done over the years.
"I'm lucky, too, to still be able to be on set, in this amazing place. I don't take anything for granted once the camera is rolling. There is total commitment there. And it's nice Albert is the same way." She's asked if there is any romantic attachment? "You know that depends on the hour," says Boyle, narrowing her cat eyes. Her publicist politely coughs. It's clear the interview has run its course.
Lara on the loose: a history
The tutu (2003). Sashayed down the Golden Globes red carpet in a pink ballerina maillot and tutu. Only her matching stilettos (with ribbons tied in bows under both knees) would have looked out of place on a five year old. Boyle told Joan Rivers that she was a prima ballerina or a prima donna. Jack Nicholson, her boyfriend at the time, said: "Lara's tutu was startling, but she's a very colourful actress."
Jack Nicholson (1998-2000). Before Demi and Ashton, this was the May-December romance the gossip pages couldn't get enough of. She was 30, he was 63 when they finally split in 2000. It was an on-again, off-again match that lingers still: Last year, tabloids reported that he still gives her fatherly advice and plies her with food. In 1998, before their relationship was public (Boyle was still dating David Spade), the lovers were in a car crash, but Boyle reportedly took off to avoid being seen with him.
The flight (January, 2005). Somewhere between Los Angeles and London, Boyle took off her clothes and climbed into the bed of a fellow first-class passenger, reported the British tabloid The Mail on Sunday. A British Airways spokeswoman confirms first-class passengers "reported that a female passenger in the cabin was behaving strangely." Weeks later, when asked if the reports were true, Boyle said: "My job is to entertain and not to explain." The living skeleton (mid-1990s-present). Anorexia? Bulimia? Overzealous metabolism? It's hard to tell, but her emaciated look alarms even the most slavish celebrity press. Boyle in 1998: "I'm the kind of person who at 11 o'clock at night can be pouring ranch dressing on my pizza. I eat four slices, go to bed and wake up the next morning and look the same. People want to kill me." In 2005: "I don't want to talk about [my weight]. We give it way too much publicity."
CBC Faces Some Dramatic Dilemmas
Excerpt from The Globe and Mail - By Gayle Macdonald
(Oct. 29, 2005) It goes to show what a three-year hiatus -- and a nasty eight-week lockout -- can do to a show. In the spring of 2002, writer-producer Wayne Grigsby's acclaimed miniseries Trudeau blew the socks off Canada's public broadcaster, garnering a remarkable 2 million viewers on its first night and 1.75 million the following evening. Fast-forward to the early part of last week. Grigsby's long-awaited, $8-million prequel to his prime-ministerial hit is set to hit the airwaves. Early buzz on Trudeau II: Maverick in the Making is good. Critics are gushing, particularly about the performance of young Quebec theatre actor Stéphane Demers. CBC's hopes are high. But the four-hour show, which aired Oct. 23 and 24, drew roughly a quarter of its predecessor's audience share -- about 500,000 viewers each night. "It's fair to say we're disappointed," says Chuck Thompson, director of communications for CBC Television, holding down the fort in Toronto this week while his bosses were pleading for more funding before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage. "It was a critically acclaimed miniseries, and a lot of people thought it was very well done. But it was up against some very stiff competition -- the World Series and CTV's Desperate Housewives, which did 3 million viewers (in Canada) that Sunday. "We put it out and we're very proud of where we put it in the schedule," Thompson continues. "But the broadcast landscape is fragmented, competitive and fickle."
Welcome to the drama dilemma of the CBC. Still recovering from the lockout, the public network has been trying to stagger the release of its dramatic shows, holding back some (like Trudeau II and two upcoming biopics on Shania Twain and Walter Gretzky, father of Wayne) to give the broadcaster enough time to properly promote and hype the programs. It's been anything but an easy road. During the work stoppage, The National with Peter Mansbridge was largely replaced with BBC News and drama was non-existent; viewers departed in droves. Sunni Boot, president and chief executive of media buyer Zenith Optimedia, says the public broadcaster has paid for the labour freeze. The CBC, she says, now corners about 13 per cent of English-speaking conventional TV viewing (of viewers aged two-plus), down from 15 per cent prior to the lockout. Boot points out, however, that all is not doom and gloom at the public broadcaster. Hockey Night in Canada came back firing on all cylinders after the NHL's year-long labour dispute. HNIC's first game averaged 1.65 million viewers, and the second, 1.22 million. "Both averages are considerably higher this year than in 2003," points out CBC director of research Ken LeClair. Thompson says the CBC is "ecstatic" with the hockey numbers, adding, "We'd like to take credit, but to be fair, there was a huge appetite in this country for the return of hockey." Boot adds that in the critical adult-viewing category (aged 25 to 54), hockey-watching is up 15 per cent compared with 2003. Also, the CBC broadcast of the Canadian Football League's Thanksgiving Day classic drew a respectable 673,000 viewers for its 1 p.m. game, and 909,000 football fans at 4 p.m.
And on the news front, LeClair says The National has basically maintained its market share. "Since the lockout ended," he says, "The National is back to its viewer level in the fall of 2004 . . . tracking an average of 670,000 viewers." Clearly, it's the riskier, dramatic programming that's been tougher to sell to the couch crowd, as well as advertisers. For example, the first night of Il Duce Canadese, a miniseries about a first-generation Canadian-Italian family suspected of fascist sympathies, fell miserably flat, drawing 172,000 viewers on its first night (Oct. 16) and 217,000 the next. Thompson says the show was a casualty of a compressed schedule due to the lockout, which meant he and his team "weren't in a position to give it the promotional campaign we otherwise would have. We weren't back to full capacity, and a lot of Canadians were still tuning elsewhere." The Turin Olympics, which will air on CBC in February, has added to the schedule squeeze, which is felt by shows such as Da Vinci's City Hall. The takeoff of the popular coroner show starring Nicholas Campbell, which debuted this past Tuesday, drew 564,000 viewers. "It was delayed one week," explains Thompson, adding "we wanted to ensure we gave it as much promotion leading up to the premier date as we could." But the series bowed opposite the barn-burner third game of the World Series. Was the CBC brass happy with the ratings the new Da Vinci's ratings? "It's premature to comment," says Thompson. "We think we need to give it a few more weeks, and then we can have a more informed discussion than we can right now."
Thompson points out that there is a bevy of CBC shows returning to the schedule within the next 10 days, including the Friday-night comedy line-up (This Hour Has 22 Minutes, The Red Green Show, Just for Laughs and Royal Canadian Air Farce), The Fifth Estate, Rick Mercer's Monday Report, This is Wonderland, the hockey drama The Tournament and the CFL playoffs, and later, the Grey Cup. Needless to say, he adds, expectations are high for the two "big-ticket" entertainment specials, The Walter Gretzky Story: Waking up Wally (Nov. 6) and Shania Twain's rags-to-riches tale (Nov. 7). "Coming out of the lockout, our primary focus was to ensure Canadians knew about three key areas: Hockey Night in Canada, The National and our big-ticket series," says Thompson, referring to Trudeau, Shania, Gretzky, a biopic on René Lévesque, and a series on the great Canada-Russian hockey series of 1972, to name a few. "As you can tell it's a very staggered launch," says Thompson, "but it gives us opportunities to launch shows so we're not putting the spotlight on them all at the same time." Boot, meanwhile, predicts the CBC will recover its traditional 15-per-cent share: "The news and current-affairs shows, combined with their solid comedy night on Fridays, and the specials, will bring its share of viewing back." Adds Boot, "I, for one, believe the CBC has a strong role to play in the fabric of our broadcast industry." It remains to be seen if viewers agree.
Stratford Reveals Its Leading Women
Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Richard Ouzounian, Theatre Critic
(Nov. 2, 2005) It looks like a great season for strong women at the Stratford Festival. The major portion of next year's casting was announced yesterday and revealed the presence in the company of Martha Henry, Seana McKenna, Blythe Wilson, Karen Robinson, Domini Blythe, Lucy Peacock, Cynthia Dale and Sara Topham. There was also a surprise addition to the schedule: Harlem Duet, Djanet Sears Governor General's Award-winning play, will open at the Studio Theatre on June 29. A modern re-examination of Othello, Sears' play will cast Robinson opposite Nigel Shawn Williams and Walter Borden. Henry will appear as the mother of all mothers, Volumnia in Coriolanus, opposite Colm Feore, as well as playing the haunted Mrs. Alving in Ibsen's Ghosts. It's a busy season for McKenna, who will star opposite Brian Bedford in two shows: Twelfth Night, playing Olivia and Malvolio, and London Assurance, as Lady Gay Spanker and Sir Harcourt Courtly. McKenna will also be seen as Amanda in The Glass Menagerie. Topham will appear as Laura in that play as well as Grace Harkaway in London Assurance and Dona Elvira in Don Juan. Blythe Wilson will be seen opposite Feore in the musical Oliver! as the doomed Nancy. Domini Blythe will play Mistress Quickly in Henry IV, Part I as well as the title role in Peter Hinton's Fanny Kemble. Peacock will be seen as Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing as well as in the title role in The Duchess of Malfi and the one-woman show The Blonde, The Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead. Dale was previously announced as Nellie Forbush in South Pacific, and yesterday revealed that her leading man will be Theodore Baerg.
Isn't It About Time To Break In A Whole New Set Of Celebs
Excerpt from The Toronto Star
(Oct. 30, 2005) There was a frenzy of excitement at the Starbucks at Richmond and Spadina location on Wednesday afternoon where there was a reported sighting of Brad Pitt having a cappuccino. Alas, it turned out to be a faux Pitt. Perhaps it was Aris Kontos, who was mistaken for Pitt in Greece during the Olympics. The real Pitt was in Malibu taking flying lessons. It's high season for fakes. Remember that faux Bono crashing the VIP areas at the Toronto International Film Festival? Segue, segue, segue. Can someone please mint a whole new set of celebs? Aren't we getting tired of the same old, same old? Aren't we sick of seeing Brad and Angelina, Nicole and Paris, Demi and Ashton, Tom and Katie, Nick and Jessica and Eva Longoria on the covers of every mag on the newsstand? We like the rules of media celebrity engagement as posted in Gawker: "You fluff a boldface name, you smack them down and repeat until said individual's celebrity can no long withstand another cycle." Hello Martha Stewart, who is being royally dissed by The Donald. Longoria is threatening to move to Texas to get away from the paps. As if. Ever notice that whenever Paris Hilton is getting low on ink, another sexcapade surfaces? And how long is it going to be before she runs out of Greek trust fund babies? Shouldn't she be leaving them to Athina Onassis?
Mickey Rourke dined at Opus last Saturday night and was on his best behaviour. Rourke did lunch at Trattoria Vaticano next day, as did Vivica A. Fox. Colm Meany, in town shooting The Hades Factor, stocked up on stogies at Thomas Hinds Tobacconist this week. Barenaked Lady Gord Downie had a club sandwich at the Bloor Street Diner on Wednesday before catching a movie. Cast and producers from the CTV MOW Shades of Black, including Jason Priestley and director Alex Chapple, dined at Bistro 990 last Sunday. Albert Schultz, who plays Conrad Black in Shades, Bistro'd on Wednesday. Steven Culp, son of Robert, who plays Rex Van De Kamp on Desperate Housewives, has been a regular at Bistro. Last weekend, director Sturla Gunnarson took his wife to dinner there to celebrate her birthday. Last Thursday, Louis Negin celebrated his at Bistro with pal Maxim Roy (ReGensis). Mos Def Bistro'd on Sunday; Gordon Pinsent and Charmion King on Monday; Dave Thomas, Sharon Gless and Sherry Miller on Wednesday; Don McManus on Thursday; and David Morse on Friday. Dave Thomas showed up to cheer on the cast at Second City Reloaded Tuesday night. The guests at Melanie Durrant's CD release party for her CD Where I'm Goin' at Revival on Tuesday included Glenn Lewis, J-Diggz and video director X.
In the same week that Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn were tonguing each other at Jon Favreau's birthday party in the L.A. Friars Club, Nicollette Sheridan decided not to be a real life wife, splitting from Nicklas Soderblom.
Shuffleboard & a movie
The 9th Floating Film Festival sets sail on Feb. 7 from Costa Rica for 11 days on the six-star luxury vessel Crystal Symphony. Ports of call include St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Maarten, Grand Turk and the Panama Canal. The festival will screen over 20 films and feature an all-star special tribute to a legendary actor or director. To book, call Rosemary Durham at 905-475-3667, ext. 230 or 1-800-268-0900.
It had to happen. In This Little Piggy Went to Prada, Amy Allen has come up with new nursery rhymes for mini-me consumers. To the tune of "Frere Jacques": "Louis Vuitton, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Burberry. Nappy bag dilemma — Lulu, Kate or Anya? Shopping spree, buy all three."
Confessions Of An Extreme Survivor: Sharon Osbourne
Excerpt from The Globe and Mail - By Stephen Hunt (Canadian Press)
(Oct. 29, 2005) LOS ANGELES — Morning people wake up so improbably perky, so relentlessly dialled into the day that non-morning people want to strangle them. One world, however, where morning people are almost nonexistent -- unless you count going to bed at dawn -- is rock 'n' roll. Unless, that is, you're Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne. "My husband and I are very conventional," says Sharon Osbourne, sitting in the posh living room of her quasi-posh (if a little eclectic) Beverly Hills estate, familiar to fans of MTV's The Osbournes, where she is chatting about her new memoir, Extreme, which hits bookstores today. "As far as relationships go, as far as sex goes, as far as we run our lives socially -- we are very boring." Sharon Osbourne is not an artist. She's not the talent. She's married to it. Through the quirks of popular culture, however, she has become her own unique brand of recognizable. "I'm not a star, I'm just a celebrity," she says, in a tone that sounds like a backhand slap to a town -- Los Angeles, where she has lived on and off for the past 29 years -- in which being a celebrity of any sort beats the other guy's hand, whatever that hand might be (billionaire, world heavyweight champ, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize). And in the rough-and-tumble world of rock and roll, where the chances of ending up a bloated corpse in a hotel room seem to be about 50-50, she's survived 35 years living in the teeth of it.
And she looks marvellous. Her hair is dyed auburn, she's wearing a brown silk shirt and beige slacks, and she's thin, thanks in equal parts to "massive" -- her word -- amounts of cosmetic surgery and a bout with colon cancer. But this is Los Angeles, and all of that is just back story. What matters is that she looks great. "I've been fat and thin so many times in my life," she says. "People aren't allowed to be fat any more. You can be an addict or go to prison, and that's socially acceptable, but being fat? That's not socially acceptable." Extreme is written in the voice of one of those rock-chick characters from Almost Famous -- relentless, frequently enraged, hilarious and profane, about as subtle as a Black Sabbath concert, as understated as a hotel suite full of musicians, cocaine, Jack Daniel's and groupies, with a late-breaking dose of international celebrity, terminal illness and personal redemption thrown in. "It's insane, isn't it?" she asks, somewhat rhetorically. "Isn't it amazing that so much can happen in our lives? I've had the drama and then, boom!: Something even more dramatic happens, and you think, my God. 'Everything in moderation' -- it should be -- but unfortunately, moderation has not been a part of my life in any way." What separates the woman from every other rock chick is that she didn't just climb aboard a bandwagon when it passed through town. Sharon Osbourne was born into rock and roll. Her father was Don Arden, one of the all-time legendary music promoters and managers, present at the dawn of rock and roll in the early sixties.
Growing up in the late 1950s and early sixties, Osbourne lived in a house in Brixton that was populated first by variety artists -- they rented rooms from Arden when they were doing a show in town -- and then by musicians whom Arden managed. Among them were Gene Vincent, Little Richard and Connie Francis, and other musicians Arden brought to the U.K. because he was certain that the future of popular music was American and black -- an unfortunate bit of timing when John Lennon, a huge fan of Vincent, asked Arden if he'd be interested in managing his group the Beatles. He took a pass. ("It was like, 'English rock 'n' roll? Don't make me laugh,' " Osbourne writes). "I had an unbelievable childhood, in the fact that my eyes were open to so much incredible talent that has now become rock-and-roll history," Osbourne says. "I think about how blessed I am to have rock-and-roll knowledge, because so few people who work in this industry know rock and roll's history. They don't! They don't know anything past Motley Crue." Reading Extreme is like sitting through Die Hard or Speed -- it's action-adventure as autobiography. There is almost no letup in the drama: Arden's fortunes veer wildly, and the family lurches from life in a mansion to regularly finding the power shut off. "My father never believed in saving for a rainy day," Osbourne writes. "So when the coffers were full, he'd be throwing money around, buying my mother jewellery and fur coats, taking us to the Talk of the Town in Leicester Square, for a slap-up meal and Judy Garland, but then I'd overhear them talking and he'd be saying things like, 'Christ Pads, 10 grand. Where am I going to get that from?' And so the jewels would go down to the pawn shop, until eventually she learnt to hide them where he couldn't find them." There is a youthful pregnancy of Sharon's that ends in miscarriage; Ozzy's astonishing substance abuse; Sharon being battered by her husband (and battering him right back -- "The general pattern was that Ozzy would hit and I would throw, anything that I could pick up, from lamps to tables to telephones"); his casual and frequent infidelities; Ozzy's firing from Black Sabbath in 1978; Sharon taking over his flagging career and helping it bloom all over again in the eighties.
And of course, biting the head off that bat. "Ozzy thought it was rubber," she writes, "put it in his mouth and ripped its head off. But not only was it real, it was alive." The book also details Sharon's 12-year courtship with Ozzy, their 1982 marriage, her briefly leaving him, the transformation of The Osbournes into the ultimate dysfunctional TV family, Sharon's diagnosis of colon cancer, the couple's children going through rehab and surviving it all. If Sharon Osbourne is a testament to anything, it's the ability to remain married through anything, and to have emerged as an icon for women who recognize a survivor when they see one. During the nearly hour-long interview, Osbourne casually lobs off scathing blasts as matter-of-factly as the Queen spouts cheery platitudes. But nothing really seems to grab her attention until we start dishing about how Renée Zellweger filed for divorce from her country-and-western musician husband of five months, Kenny Chesney, citing fraud. "That's sad," she says. "I feel very sad for her." And then she starts to ignite. "Because what is it that so many people in the entertainment industry rush into this marriage thing? They love the parties, they love the excitement, star couples make such great press together -- but then they get married." And how did Osbourne make it through 23 years with one husband, in a business where most marriages have shorter shelf lives than reality-show reruns? "I totally believe in marriage," she says. "I've been awful to my husband, my husband has been awful to me," she says, "but you work through it. There wasn't anyone I fell in lust with or love with other than my husband, and we have our children." Divorce, she says, "is, like, unthinkable to me. It's like totally unthinkable." She pauses for a moment. "The longer you know somebody, the more you know about them and -- your love changes," she says. "You love them, but then you love them for different things. And it just gets better." Spoken like a true survivor.
Cronenberg To Help Stage Warhol Show
Excerpt from The Globe and Mail - By James Adams
(Nov. 1, 2005) Acclaimed Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg has signed on as a kind of co-curator for an important selection of works by the late pop artist Andy Warhol that will be exhibited at the Art Gallery of Ontario next year. Mr. Cronenberg, 62, confirmed yesterday that he'll be involved in all aspects of the show, titled Andy Warhol/Supernova: Stars, Deaths and Disasters 1962-1964, including the installation of its 20 silkscreen paintings, the preparation of an audio guide and the selection of a series of Warhol films from the early 1960s. The exhibition -- which will feature Warhol's iconic images of Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor and Elvis Presley as well as his images of car wrecks, race riots and electric chairs -- is being organized by the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minn., and will have its only Canadian appearance at the AGO July 8 through Oct. 1. Its showcase in Ontario marks Mr. Cronenberg's first collaboration with an art institution -- unless, he said during an interview yesterday, "you include the programming I did for a sci-fi festival years ago." Mr. Cronenberg, currently enjoying both commercial and critical success with his latest feature A History of Violence, said he was approached in the spring by AGO chief curator Dennis Reid to help with the Warhol show.
Mr. Cronenberg said he was intrigued by the offer, but told Mr. Reid, "I'm not sure what I can bring to it." Later, in discussions with David Moos, the AGO's curator of contemporary art, it was decided he would help install the works and find a way to "integrate some of Mr. Warhol's films within the actual exhibition." Mr. Cronenberg plans to visit the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Pa., this year to see some of Warhol's early movies, including such "classics" as Empire, Sleep, Vinyl and Chelsea Girls, to see "the cross-connections" between them and the silkscreen works he was making at the same time. The Toronto-born director never met Mr. Warhol, who died at age 59 in 1987, but he said "[his] film career really started with the New York underground," of which the artist was a vital part, "not Hollywood." He recalled seeing films by Mr. Warhol and attending lectures by such other underground filmmaking pioneers as Jonas Mekas and Kenneth Anger at a cinematheque near Yorkville in the early and mid-60s. "Here was this parallel universe to Hollywood," he said. "It made me want to grab a camera and just start shooting, rather than get involved in the so-called official industry." Indeed, the titles alone of some of Mr. Cronenberg's earliest short films, from the late 1960s and early 1970s, are decidedly Warholesque: Don Valley, Tourettes, Scarborough Bluffs, In the Dirt, Stereo. "Of course," Mr. Cronenberg noted, "Andy's sensibility was pretty irresistible in those days. I mean, it was funny, it was trenchant. . . . Andy said the most brilliant things about Andy, so I felt we needed to hear his voice in this show."
Lindsey Williams' Neo Soul: Taking Soul Food To A Whole 'Nutha
Source: Lissa Brown, Penguin Group, Lissa.Brown@us.penguingroup.com
(Oct. 31, 2005) From the grandson of Harlem's queen of soul food, Sylvia Woods, Neo Soul is the first book to bring readers soul food with a healthy twist - - old favourites as well as new recipes that improve upon old family classics ... Collard greens, macaroni & cheese, corn bread...just the thought of these foods makes our mouths water. However, while soul food is associated with good taste it's also known to lead to extra pounds and questionable nutrition. Lindsey Williams know all about this first hand. He grew up in the kitchen of his grandmother's legendary restaurant, where he learned the art of authentic soul food cooking. But he was also always overweight, and when he tipped the scales at 400 pounds, he knew he had to make some drastic changes. So he completely changed his lifestyle and his diet, lost more than half his weight, and eventually created his own brand of healthy soul food cooking, which he serves today through his wildly successful event planning and catering business, Neo Soul Events and Catering. NEO SOUL differs from other cookbooks because Lindsey is a witness to what he discusses in his book. He knows what it is like to weigh over 400 pounds, and through extreme lifestyle changes, he was able to lose the weight. This is not only a cookbook, but a testimony to what healthy eating can do when done correctly. It does not mean that you stop eating your favourite foods-being the grandson of one of the world-famous soul-food pioneers, Lindsey knew this would not happen. It is about eating those favourite foods in a healthy way and this is what NEO SOUL is all about. NEO SOUL features more than 100 of Williams' delectable recipes, including Grandma's Roasted Turkey, Lenzo's Trout Stuffed with Collard Greens, Okra Gumbo, Neo Sweet Potato Pie, and Blueberry Buckle. These mouth-watering recipes are so good, you'll never miss the fat! For those who love soul food, who were hesitant to eat it because of the fat and calories or those who just enjoy cooking tasty, healthy foods, this is THE book you'll love and turn to again and again. Readers can indulge their soul-food appetite with healthy dishes that taste just like they came from a Grandma's kitchen.
About the Author:
Lindsey Williams is the owner of Neo Soul Events and Catering, a complete event planning and catering company. He has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, and many other TV talk shows, and his amazing story of weight loss has been featured in People magazine.
Foxx Wants Governator To Grant Clemency For Tookie
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com
(Nov. 1, 2005) *Stan “Tookie” Williams, the founder of the Crips gang who is scheduled to be executed next month, is getting some support from the Oscar-winning actor who portrayed him in a 2004 television movie. Jamie Foxx, who turns 38 on Williams’ execution date (Dec. 13), wants California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to grant clemency for the convicted murderer-turned-author. A Web site has been created to collect signatures in hopes of convincing Schwarzenegger to spare Tookie’s life. "We can't let [the execution] happen," Foxx told Fox 411 columnist Roger Freidman at the New York premiere of his new film, “Jarhead.” "We've got to do everything we can to get the word out. Do you know they've collected nearly 30,000 signatures so far?" Williams, who is the author of nine children’s books that promote peace, was sentenced to death in 1981 for the 1979 murder of a Los Angeles area 7-Eleven manager, and, shortly thereafter, three other people at a motel. In 1992, a judge recommended clemency for Tookie after he received two Nobel Peace Prize nominations.
Stanley ‘Tookie’ Williams To Be Executed
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com
(Oct. 28, 2005) *A judge signed a death warrant Monday for Stanley "Tookie" Williams, the co-founder of the notorious Crips gang who became a children’s author in jail and the subject of a 2004 biopic on FX. With the signing of the death warrant, Superior Court Judge William R. Pounders has rejected requests from Williams’ attorneys for a delay in the execution date to give them more time to seek clemency from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Tookie’s execution date has been set for Dec. 13. His lawyers had asked that the date be delayed for nine days, to Dec. 22. The Dec. 13 date means they have only until Nov. 8 to submit a clemency request to the governor. "This case has taken over 24 years to get to this point," Judge Pounders said. "That is a long delay in itself and I would hate to add to that delay." Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to consider Williams' case. Williams, 53, was sentenced to death in 1981 for fatally shooting Albert Owens, a Whittier convenience store worker, in 1979. He also was convicted of killing two Los Angeles motel owners and their daughter during a robbery that same year.
The Myth Of Fat Burning
By Greg Landry, M.S., eFitness Guest Columnist
(Oct. 31, 2005) You've probably heard it before: "You have to exercise at a lower intensity to burn more fat... to get in the "fat-burning zone." Guess what, it's a myth!
Here's how it got started. Your body is always "burning" a mixture of carbohydrates and fat for fuel. This mixture tends to contain a little more fat during lower intensity exercise. Somebody took this to mean that a lower intensity workout was best for losing weight... not so! It all comes from the same "pot." It doesn't matter if you're burning a little more fat or a little more carbohydrate at any particular time in your fuel mix. It all comes from the same calorie pool. The bottom line is, how many calories are you burning. Moderate intensity exercise actually burns more calories in a given time period. For example, you may burn 200 calories during a 30 minute low intensity exercise session and 300 calories during a 30 minute moderate intensity exercise session. Bottom line... burning more calories is better for weight loss.
Moderate intensity exercise increases your basal metabolic rate (BMR) more than lower intensity exercise. This means that you'll burn more calories 24 hours-a-day. Here's the one I like! Moderate intensity exercise gives you a better high! You know, the exercise high you get when your body releases endorphins and adrenaline. This can really elevate your mood and is great for people who are depressed. So, how can you know how intense your exercise is? Your heart rate is your body's "speedometer" and an excellent gauge of exercise intensity. Here's how to calculate your target heart rate range for moderate to high intensity exercise: The most accurate way to determine what your heart rate range should be while your exercising is to use the Karvonen equation, First, determine your theoretical max heart rate (Max HR) by subtracting your age from 220.
Next, determine your resting heart rate (Rest HR) by measuring it first thing in the morning in a seated, resting position. Then, determine the lower end and upper end of your target heart rate range:
(Max HR - Rest HR) X .50 + Rest HR = lower end
(Max HR - Rest HR) X .80 + Rest HR = upper end
For example, if you are 40 years old with a resting heart rate of 60:
Lower end of range
220 - 40 = 180 (Max HR)
(180 - 60) X .5 + 60 = 120 lower end of range
Upper end of range
220 - 40 = 180 (Max HR)
(180 - 60) X .8 + 60 = 156 (upper end of range)
So, in this example, your "aerobic training zone" or "target heart rate range" would be 120 to 156 beats per minute. That means that for the majority of your exercise session, your goal should be to maintain your heart rate within that range. If you are just starting your exercise program, you should be at the lower end of the range. As you become more conditioned, you can move up in the range. This will help you get the most benefit from the exercise you do. Note: Be sure to check with your doctor before starting or making changes to your exercise program. Author and exercise physiologist, Greg Landry, offers free, unique, weight loss and fitness articles and his Fast and Healthy Weight Loss Newsletter at his site, www.Landry.com.
Motivational Note: Left Brain Domain
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com - by Motivational Speaker and Author, Jewel Diamond Taylor www.DoNotGiveUp.net e-mail - JewelMotivates@aol.com
Your goal setting skills are greatly improved and empowered the more you are specific about what you desire. What is the date? What color? Where? When? How much? Who? You're more likely to reach your target and experience satisfaction by tapping into your left brain. Your left brain domain is where you think about details, strategy, planning, logic, time, reading, writing, arithmetic, sequential procedures and focused thinking. If you tend to be more right brain dominant, which is abstract and less focused, you could spend a lot of time daydreaming instead doing what's necessary to achieve your goals and dreams. If you are left brain dominant the downside is that you could become to rigid in your thinking and not trust your intuition. You more likely to stress when plans are delayed or changed. The ultimate goal achiever learns how to use their whole brain balancing their creativity with planning and emotions with logic.