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NEWSLETTER

Updated:  September 1, 2005

Ahhh, the last long weekend of summer.  The end of a good (and scorching summer) and the beginning of my favourite season, fall.   Let's not forget those affected by Hurricane Katrina in our prayers.

Just a little time left to get your tickets for the special fundraiser for Sickle Cell on September 11 (details below).  

This week there's a lot of Canadian news is all categories so check it out - MUSIC NEWS, FILM NEWS, TV NEWS, and OTHER NEWS!  Have a read and a scroll!  This newsletter is designed to give you some updated entertainment-related news and provide you with our upcoming event listings.   Welcome to those who are new members.  Want your events listed by date?  Check out EVENTS

 

 

::HOT EVENTS::

 

 

Irie Monday Nights - Still the Hippest Monday
 
Don’t miss the party on one of the hottest patios in the city at Irie Food Joint.  Film Festival brings us a guest chef, Lee Bailey.  The weather is just fantastic now, so you just HAVE to come out and help us celebrate the remainder of the summer. Rain or shine as the patio is covered for our convenience.  The party begins at 10:00 pmDJ Carl Allen will be spinning the tunes while Kayte Burgess and Adrian Eccleston bring the live music.  Make some new friends and meet up with some old ones! 
 
 MONDAY, AUGUST 22
 IRIE MONDAY NIGHT SESSIONS
 Irie Food Joint
 745 Queen Street W.
 10:00 pm

 

 

 

The Sickle Cell Association of Ontario Benefit Concert – September 11, 2005

The Sickle Cell Association of Ontario invites you to A Royal Tea & Benefit Concert featuring World Renowned Entertainer and Pianist Linda Gentille on September 11, 2005 at Le Royal Meridien King Edward Hotel.  Sickle cell anemia is an inherited condition that can be life threatening. It causes chronic pain and swelling in the joints, fever and respiratory infections. There is no cure for sickle cell anemia – but there is hope through research.  The Sickle Cell Association of Ontario is a voluntary, nonprofit, charitable organization which is funded by donations from individuals, organizations and employee charitable funds.

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 11
A ROYAL TEA & BENEFIT CONCERT
FEATURING PIANIST LINDA GENTILLE
Le Royal Meridien King Edward Hotel
36 King Street East
Tickets:  $65
Table of 10:  $650
For More Information, Please Contact SCAO:
416,789,2855
Email sicklecell@look.ca

 

::THOUGHT::

 

 

Motivational Note: Overcome the fear and procrastination

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com - by Motivational Speaker and Author, Jewel Diamond Taylor www.DoNotGiveUp.net www.JewelDiamondTaylor.com e-mail - jewelmotivates@aol.com

One year from now do you want to find yourself in the same job, city, relationship or circumstances of pain or unfulfillment? Are you procrastinating about returning to college, starting your business or writing your book? One year will pass by whether you take action or not? Why not get started? Overcome the fear and procrastination. Begin taking back power, dominion and authority over the quality of your life. You can develop self-motivation and self-control to break the chains of addiction, procrastination, abuse, fear or any type of limited living. Play the popular gospel song by Mary Mary "Get the Shackles Off Your Feet".

 

 

 

::MUSIC NEWS::

 

 

Industry Blasts New Review Of Digital Radio

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail - By Simon Tuck

(Aug. 29, 2005) Ottawa — If the federal broadcast regulator is forced to conduct another review of subscription radio, it will mean pink slips millions of wasted dollars, and another year in which Canadian car buyers won't have access to the same digital services enjoyed by U.S. consumers. Those were the warnings yesterday from the auto industry and satellite radio providers, after weekend reports that Heritage Minister Liza Frulla will ask her cabinet colleagues to send a CRTC decision to issue satellite radio licences back to the regulator for more review. After intense lobbying from industry and her own caucus, Ms. Frulla has written a proposal that calls for cabinet to tell the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to reconsider after Liberal MPs raised concerns about Canadian and French-language content. One of the applicants, Kevin Shea, head of Sirius Canada Inc., said the CRTC would have little choice but to start from scratch with a new review if the decision is sent back. That, he said, could mean another two years, enough time for the blossoming grey market to establish dominance. Sirius says there are already about 100,000 Canadians subscribing to U.S. satellite radio and that the grey market could grow to three million. John Behove Jr., head of Canadian Satellite Radio Inc., another successful applicant, said he wasn't surprised to hear that Ms. Frulla is poised to ask for another review. "We had been forewarned that the minister would be the toughest part of this. “Both satellite players said they'll lose big dollars and eventually will have to cut jobs if the CRTC is forced into another review. "Shareholders are going to review their options," Mr. Shea said.

The CRTC decision, which saw all three subscription radio applicants receive licences, was issued June 16 after a process that included public hearings and took about two years. But some business and cultural groups appealed the decision, mainly on grounds that the services will not carry enough Canadian content. The loudest voices for cancellation or reconsideration have come from Quebec because of the small number of French-language channels on the satellite systems. The Liberal caucus is clearly divided on the issue: Many Quebec MPs want the ruling overturned, while many from southern Ontario -- home of the auto sector -- and rural areas where there are fewer radio options want the licencees to proceed. The cabinet will have the options of accepting the CRTC ruling, setting it aside -- effectively killing the licences -- or sending the issue back to the commission for reconsideration. Sirius and CSR, each of which is a consortium with U.S. partners, plan to beam hundreds of channels of radio content across Canada. Each is supported by at least one major auto maker, which plans to put satellite radio gear in new vehicles, and both say final approval is needed as soon as possible. David Patterson, General Motors of Canada Ltd.'s vice-president of corporate and governmental affairs, said yesterday that his company will have virtually no chance of getting satellite radio into 2006 models if the issue is returned to the CRTC. "We've already missed certain models. “Satellite radio has been available in some U.S. cars for several years, Mr. Patterson said. A joint proposal by CHUM Ltd. of Toronto and Astral Media Inc. of Montreal also received a licence for a similar service using ground-based transmitters. But the CHUM-Astral group made it clear that their business model wouldn't work if the two competing satellite groups were also licensed. The group filed an appeal to the federal cabinet last month.

Peter Miller, CHUM's head of regulatory affairs, said Ms. Frulla has little choice but to ask cabinet to send the decision back to the CRTC because the ruling contradicted one of the basic tenets of the Canadian broadcasting sector. The ruling granted licences with only about 10 per cent Canadian content, he said, whereas cable service providers and others have always been required to provide about as much domestic as foreign content. "It's a huge departure.” But the battle and the intense lobbying have only just begun. Sirius Canada is set today to release study that it commissioned on the issue that found public support for its position. The study, conducted this month by Veraxis Research and Communications, found that only 20 per cent of Quebeckers want the CRTC decision overturned, while 22 per cent of Canadians said they'd be interested in subscribing to satellite radio. The study was based on a sample of 1,200 Canadians, including 500 in Quebec.

Ottawa To Reconsider Satellite-Radio Ruling

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail = By Richard Blackwell And Campbell Clark

(Aug. 27, 2005) Winnipeg and Toronto — Lobbying is intensifying as the federal cabinet gears up to decide whether to allow two satellite radio companies to operate in Canada.  In June, the federal broadcast regulator gave licences to two firms that want to beam radio channels from U.S.-owned satellites to Canadians who are willing to pay. But business and cultural groups appealed the decision of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to the cabinet, mainly on grounds that the services will not carry enough Canadian content. The cabinet can let the CRTC's decision stand, cancel the licences, or refer the issue back to the commission for further consideration. Its decision is due by Sept. 14. The loudest voices for cancellation or reconsideration have come from Quebec because of the small number of French-language channels on the satellite systems. Under the licences issued to Canadian Satellite Radio Inc. and Sirius Canada Inc., the satellite providers must produce eight original channels in Canada and one francophone channel for every three English-language stations. Most channels will be American.

The Liberal cabinet faced intense lobbying this week at a three-day caucus meeting in Regina and a cabinet meeting yesterday in Winnipeg. John Bitove Jr., head of Canadian Satellite Radio, flew to Regina to press his case that the licences should stand. Pressure also came from Liberal MPs. The Quebec caucus, upset at the small number of French-language stations, called for cabinet to cancel the licences. “It looks like cultural dumping,” Montreal MP Denis Coderre said in an interview yesterday. “We're not asking just to revisit it. We truly need to have it stopped and redo the homework.” Toronto MP Sarmite Bulte called in a closed-door meeting for the cabinet to review the decision. “My concern is that it is going to fundamentally destroy the Canadian content rules,” Ms. Bulte said yesterday, adding that a public debate is needed. “If this is really what Canadians want, let's discuss it.” But some MPs, including many in the so-called “auto caucus” — ridings with car plants and their workers — want the CRTC decision to stand. Car buyers are a key market for satellite radio systems.

Heritage Minister Liza Frulla said she could not say what the cabinet will decide — although she is sensitive to concerns about content. “We are definitely looking at the implications for our system, and a great deal in terms of our Canadian production and our [English-French] Canadian duality and also to the service that we must give to all communities,” Ms. Frulla said after a cabinet meeting yesterday. Ms. Frulla said that she and Industry Minister David Emerson are consulting with industry and different communities and are preparing a proposal that will go shortly to cabinet committees, and later the full cabinet. “Our mind is pretty much made up, but right now I am obligated to say it is among the three options.” She said the government must balance the importance of being involved in new technology with the importance of Canadian cultural industries and language communities.

Prime Minister Paul Martin refused to signal his intent: “It's a discussion that we will have in cabinet, and when we have it in cabinet, we'll tell you the result.” Kevin Shea, chief executive officer of Sirius Canada, said he intends to boost his firm's content in the near future to create an equal number of English-and French-Canadian channels. “The fundamental feedback we're getting is that there is a concern with respect to the overall number of French channels,” he said. Mr. Bitove also promised to expand French content. “We don't intend to stay at three French channels forever,” he said. He said he is gearing up to offer a service by Dec. 1, in time for the Christmas shopping season, and that jobs depend on it. Carmakers that want satellite radio receivers in their new vehicles are also knocking on doors in Ottawa. “We've talked to individual cabinet ministers, we've talked to individual members of Parliament, and obviously we're going to be doing a lot more of that,” said David Patterson, General Motors of Canada Ltd.'s vice-president of corporate and governmental affairs. Electronics retailer The Source by Circuit City (formerly Radio Shack) yesterday ran full-page newspaper ads asking the cabinet to allow the CRTC decision to stand. Customers will turn to the illegal “grey market” if the licences are rescinded, the ads say.

Even Ottawa's Commissioner of Official Languages Dyane Adam has stepped into the fray. In a private letter to Ms. Frulla, she expressed concern about the small amount of French-language programming included in the new satellite radio package, and pointed out that the CRTC is a federal institution subject to the Official Languages Act.

 

 

 

NABFEME International Leadership Summit Re-Cap

Source:  www.umac.com - By UMAC Executive Director Aisha Wickham

(Aug. 29, 2005) Canada was in the house at the fourth International Leadership Summit for the National Association of Black Female Executives in Music & Entertainment (NABFEME). The gathering of celebrities and corporate power players took place in the beautiful city of Chicago from August 17-21.  This year's Summit had a theme of Music * Media * Style * Technology: Your Passport to Entertainment Industry Success, and featured showcases, workshops, award dinners and networking events with some of the most influential and powerful players in the music industry.  Toronto's Kayte Burgess (accompanied by Adrian Eccleston) was the only Canadian artist to perform at NABFEME's All-Female Showcase, Women Who Jam. Her single, "Now You Know", can also be found on the NABFEME CD compilation that was distributed at the conference.

"It was great to meet other female artists from across the U.S. and develop relationships with them," said Burgess. "We now have a network and I potentially will be able to go back to certain cities and do shows because of these artists, because we've hooked up and were able to get to know each other."  The highlight for me was the "white linen luncheon", In Celebration of the Celebrity Mom, featuring a powerhouse line-up of 'Celebrity Mom' guests including Jonetta Patton (Usher), Cissy Houston (Whitney Houston), Donda West (Kanye West), Roberta Shields (Ludacris), Umi Smith (Mos Def), Deloris Jordan (Michael Jordan), Carolyn London (Tyra Banks). Kanye West came on stage with a surprise performance of his new song "Hey Mama" dedicated to his Mom. Usher was also in attendance, and presented his mother with her award of recognition. In the true NABFEME spirit, this luncheon recognized the importance of support systems in the lives of artists and celebrities.

 

 

 

Pocket Dwellers Announce The Official Release Of PD-ATRICS

Source:  EMI Music

(Aug. 30, 2005) It is rare to find a musical act with such diverse styles and talents as the Pocket Dwellers. This seven strong collective boasts musicians ranging from classically and jazz trained to street-smart and self taught. The Pocket Dwellers began performing in 1996, and have to present played with a distinct range of artists from G. Love to Rascalz, and covered the festival circuit across the nation.  Their amalgamation of Jazz/Funk/Soul/Hip Hop into their own unique sound have drawn the group comparisons to The Roots as well as other notable artists. It's clear that beyond any comparisons this band is driven to stand out from the crowd and on their own musical merits. In anticipation of the upcoming release and the latest instalment in the Pocket Dwellers journey, PD-ATRICS  Dennis "DEkNOW" Passley Jr, tenor sax player in the group offered; "The band is comprised of seven equal parts, we all contribute to the writing and the running of the band. This past year was all spent writing and recording PD-ATRICS with the notion that we had to make a record that nobody thought we were capable of making."  In early 2000 the band set about creating their second release, Digitally Organic  and recruited multi-Juno award winning Michael Phillip Wojewoda (Barenaked Ladies, Rheostatics) on production detail. It was a cohesive meld of the bands varied influences and was infused with at times opposite yet easily co-existing musical approaches. It has become the norm for the band to consistently test and push beyond any set musical boundaries.

Chart Magazine clocked 2003's live release Lifecheck as one of it's top hip hop albums (November 21, 2003).  Exclaim! offered praise for the band and their live show: "Lifecheck  unquestionably confirms the groups live prowess. While they had already admirably captured their essence on the studio release Digitally Organic, this recording shows the group in their most comfortable element." Cyberkrib.com posted: "This makes for a very full sound that differs greatly from the beat-production-voice-over formula of most rap artists." September 27, 2005 marks the release of the newest effort by the Pocket Dwellers, PD-ATRICS.  It also defines a unique label arrangement, and the groups debut via Blue Note Records/EMI Music Canada. The lead single/video from the album, Trust Us will be serviced to video outlets the week of August 29. It was shot by award winning director, Duane Crichton.  "The idea behind the creation of this album was to take what we do and just refine it so more people can get with it. We didn't have to change what we were, we just had to focus it. We went for a specific sound. For the most part it's more hip hop sounding then our other albums with all the programmed drums going on but it still has that Pocket Dwellers way of including all styles. It represents our objective to continually blur the lines of music. Lots of different flavours on the record." - Marco Raposo / "Red" Photogenic a strongly rooted social commentary track will be used as part of an EMI Music Canada domestic music sampler provided to Visa to utilize over the early weeks of September when Toronto hosts the International Film Festival. National tour dates are quickly filling up the Pocket Dwellers autumn calendar, including an album launch date at The Drake in Toronto on September 30. November is looking like the time to expect to see the band tour coast to coast. Further details on confirmed shows will be forthcoming.

www.pocketdwellers.com   /   PD-ATRICS - September 27, 2005 

For any additional information on Pocket Dwellers, please contact;
Julie Booth, Capitol/Virgin Music Canada / National Media & Artist Relations; p/ 905 364 3168; e/ julie.booth@emimusic.ca; media.emimusic.ca / media.virginmusic.ca

 

 

 

Global Woos Top Guns For ET Spinoff

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Jim Bawden, Television Columnist

(Aug. 31, 2005) Global TV has confirmed it is joining forces with Hollywood-based Entertainment Tonight to produce a nightly news show titled Entertainment Tonight Canada. The idea is for ET to run at 7 and the new ET Canada at 7:30.  As predicted in the Star on Monday, MuchMusic's Rick Campanelli heads a talented bunch of reporters snatched from rival networks: Rosey Edeh comes over from CTV's E-Talk, Kim D'Eon used to report for CBC's The Hour and Roz Weston was a reporter for Toronto 1's A-List.  Headlining the half hour is Global entertainment veteran Cheryl Hickey. The executive producer is Zev Shalev, who recently worked with Barbara Williams, Global's senior vice-president of programming, at Toronto 1.  Present at the morning bash at the Drake Hotel was ET's executive producer Linda Bell Blue, who told the Star, "It just makes so much sense. It's great for both sides. We've been covering a lot of Toronto stories all along — we'll be doing the same at the Toronto Film Festival. With the Emmys coming up, we'll be able to cover the likes of Eric McCormack for ET Canada."  Williams said the deal was finalized at the same trendy Hollywood nitery frequented by Paris Hilton and her dog.  Williams said the two shows will be in close contact "all day" beginning with an early morning conference call. "Sometimes we may both tackle a story but from different angles. Peter Jennings' death — that was huge for us. The Canadian edition would cover his roots in broadcasting, how he got to be this commanding figure."  The shows hook up for the first time on Sept. 12 at 7 p.m. — the day the original ET celebrates its 25th year. As part of Global's commitment, Williams said she went after the best TV reporters available.  The 7 p.m. start puts ET/ET Canada on a ratings collision course with CTV's similarly themed eTalk Daily. In addition, Sun TV (Toronto 1's reconstructed identity) will have Inside Jam covering Toronto entertainment news, also at 7. And at 6:30, the Star! channel is going to air with Star! Daily starting on Sept. 6.

Entertainment Tonight Beckons For Rick Campanelli

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Vinay Menon

(Aug. 29, 2005) On Friday night, after nearly a decade as a MuchMusic personality, Rick Campanelli co-hosted his final episode of MuchOnDemand. During the live broadcast, singer Chantal Kreviazuk phoned to say goodbye. She also asked a deceptively simple question: "Where are you going?" Looking tongue-tied, Campanelli demurred. He told viewers — both at home and snaked along Queen St. W. — he would reappear on television later this fall, presumably, on another station. Cue the intrigue. The morning after his farewell, Campanelli had breakfast in Yorkville with his family. Industry scuttlebutt suggested Campanelli was going to Global, to join a new entertainment magazine. Details were sketchy. By sketchy, of course, I mean they were being guarded; at the corporate level, this appeared to be classified Above Top Secret. "Can you tell me about the new show?" I ask, when Campanelli calls Saturday morning to discuss his run with MuchMusic. "I can't," he says. "I'm really sorry." Huh? Dude? Nothing? "Nothing, man. Sorry." Damn. The Virginia creepers would have to wait; a weekend of planned gardening just turned into a weekend of investigation. So calls were placed on scrambled lines. Covert meetings were hastily convened in dark alleys. Blood oaths were taken, information was exchanged in binary code. Right about now, you should start humming the theme music to Entertainment Tonight. This, dear reader, is what I managed to stitch together from sources who, for obvious reasons, wish to remain anonymous: Tomorrow at 10:30 a.m., Global is hosting a media conference at the Drake Hotel, where it will announce a new show, ET Canada. Yes, incredibly, this new show will be affiliated with the syndicated American powerhouse, Entertainment Tonight. (There are rumours ET host Mary Hart will even attend Tuesday's press briefing.)

ET Canada, which debuts Sept. 12 at 7 p.m., will feature five roving correspondents, including Campanelli. Some of the other (unconfirmed) names I heard this weekend include: Cheryl Hickey (Global), Kim D'Eon (CBC), Roz Weston (Toronto 1) and a Canadian reporter who now works for NBC in New York. Stories are already being produced. One source said Zev Shalev will executive produce ET Canada. If true, this will reunite Shalev with Barbara Williams, a senior vice-president of programming now responsible for Global's entertainment slate. (Most recently, Shalev and Williams worked together at Toronto 1.) ET Canada, timed to premiere during the film festival, opens a fascinating new front in the ongoing war between CTV and Global. Though it won't go head-to-head in timeslot competition with CTV's eTalk Daily — the trailblazer when it comes to covering celebrity culture on Canadian TV — ET Canada is clearly hoping to replicate that show's success. Global execs would neither confirm nor deny findings of this investigation. "We have a big announcement on Tuesday and all the news will be revealed then," said one, when reached yesterday. A glance at the entertainment news programs south of the border — Entertainment Tonight, Extra, The Insider, Access Hollywood — reveals a cut-throat industry, one dominated by the "exclusives" cranked out of Hollywood's publicity machine. How will the arrival of ET Canada shake-up the still maturing industry here in Canada? And how will ET Canada benefit, if at all, from a proxy relationship with Paramount, which produces Entertainment Tonight? All of this remains to be seen. But ET Canada gives Global a formidable platform to promote talent while contributing, in some tangible way, to the quixotic notion of a Canadian star system. For Campanelli, joining such a show makes perfect sense. At 35, he was slowly drifting toward the outer orbit of MuchMusic's youth-obsessed demographic. Though the reality of this change hasn't crystallized yet, he's decidedly enthusiastic.

"I'm feeling pretty good," he says. "I'm really looking forward to where I'm going, so I think that took a lot of the pain away." His final show on MuchMusic included many retrospective clips, tracing back to his 1996 debut. It was interesting to watch his transition — as on-air monikers go, from "The Temp" to "The Franchise." "Too see all that, it just reminded me of all these fun things I was able to do while at MuchMusic," Campanelli says, of Friday's broadcast. "I don't think it will ever be the same." Surrounded by his parents, wife and baby son, Campanelli did not get as emotional as one might have guessed. "I was expecting to cry a little bit," he says. "But, funny enough, I guess it still hasn't hit me that that was my last show." And he has no regrets. "I could have stuck around for another five years. I loved the job. I loved what I did. But I thought, you know what, 9  1/2 years as a VJ is a long time. And if I didn't do it now and take this opportunity that was given to me, who knows when something else this big would come along again."

ET Heads North

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail - By Terry Weber, With a file from Canadian Press

(Aug. 30, 2005) Showbiz news stalwart Entertainment Tonight is heading north, with a Canadian edition of the program scheduled to debut early next month. Global TV announced on Tuesday that it will air a Canadian version of the show, which has dominated U.S. entertainment television for the last 25 years, starting Sept. 12. Global entertainment reporter Cheryl Hickey hosts the program and on-air staff will include former MuchMusic personality Rick Campanelli and former Toronto 1 reporter Roz Weston. “It's extremely exciting to be part of the world's largest entertainment news brand,” Barbara Williams, Global senior vice president, said. Advertisements “This program plays a key role in the Global schedule, giving us a power hour of entertainment news, and further underscoring our commitment to celebrating Canadian talent across our network.” Outlining the half-hour show's format, Global said the Canadian edition will showcase talent from this country and further “Canada's reputation as entertainment and celebrity hot spot.” Production teams in both Canada and the United States will collaborate, giving Canadian producers access to resources used for the U.S. edition as well as that show's archives, which stretch back 24 years. The U.S.-based edition launches its 25th season this fall. “ ET Canada will have a distinct perspective from its U.S. counterpart but a familiar feel, with comparable graphics and the signature ET theme song that almost anyone on the street can hum on demand,” Global said in a statement announcing the new show. Segments, Global said, will feature a blend of Canadian and global entertainment news told from a Canadian perspective. “It's with great pleasure we welcome ET Canada to the Entertainment Tonight family,” Linda Bell Blue, ET's executive producer, told reporters at a gala launch event hosted by Global. The original ET will also launch its 25th season in syndication Sept. 12. Host Mary Hart was expected to attend the Canadian launch but sent her best wishes from Turkey where she is on vacation.

 

 

 

MacIsaac Unplugged

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail - By Alexandra Gill

(Aug. 29, 2005) Vancouver — A few days before Ashley MacIsaac's Western Canadian tour dates for September were cancelled last week, Cape Breton's bad-boy fiddler posted a message on his website, explaining the situation with characteristic bluntness: "I have had dysentery [sic] for almost three months now and am bleeding quite a bit.” Dysentery? How does a well-to-do celebrity living in downtown Toronto catch a Third World disease that causes serious inflammation of the intestines? “I wasn't drinking any stagnant water, but I've learned how to wash my veggies," MacIsaac says over the phone while recuperating at home. Actually, he thinks he got sick because his immune system was weakened after he quit smoking pot in March. “That’s the reason I caught the infection, I'm sure," says MacIsaac, who was once addicted to crack cocaine, but kicked that habit seven years ago. In a previous posting, dated July 30, he said he had smoked less than two joints in the last four months. "I used to smoke that much every 20 minutes," he wrote. MacIsaac gave up pot, he now explains, because he was collecting signatures to run as an independent candidate in the next federal election, in the hope that Paul Martin's minority government would fall. “Everything has cleared up," the ever-erratic and completely batty genius says of his bout with dysentery. Still, his doctor advised him to take it easy before hitting the road with the Philip Glass Ensemble in October, which will be followed by more touring to support his new album, Pride, to be released Sept. 27. He's also been busy auditioning for the lead role in a film about the great 18th-century Italian violinist and composer Antonio Vivaldi. MacIsaac says he's taking care of himself, working out a lot and eating well these days. "Lots of lobster and caviar and foie gras and all the good things," he laughs. After he quit smoking pot, he dropped 40 pounds. Probably because he also stopped eating bread, he surmises. "I went to about 145-ish [pounds] and got my abs going and got strong."

Washboard stomach or not, when people read that MacIsaac has been bleeding from the rectum for three months and has lost 40 pounds, some will likely wonder if he has contracted AIDS, especially given the promiscuous lifestyle he has never shied away from flaunting. “That’s a pretty far stretch," he snarls, not amused. "I guess it's easier to make that stretch when someone is homosexual," he adds, launching into a rant about how, in North America, heterosexual women are the fastest-growing segment of society to report new cases of the HIV virus, which is true."No, if I had AIDS I'd be really skinny," he says, noting that he always practises safe sex. Truth be told, MacIsaac admits the weight loss and sickness might have something to do with the alcohol. "I hadn't had a drink for almost 10 years," says MacIsaac, now 30. "After I quit smoking pot, I thought I should be able to. So I got drunk. For the next month, I woke up and had a shot every morning. And then with the exercise, well, I just didn't eat as much. “Getting into shape was partly motivated by the fact that he is single again for the first time in a long time. "It's been a nice freedom. Of course, you feel pretty bad when you lose someone you want to be with. That's what kicked me in the ass to think about politics. If there's anything in the world that can allow you to replace a lost love, it's patriotism." MacIsaac is writing all about his love-hate relationship with Canada and Quebeckers in a new book, tentatively titled Je Suis de l'Acadie and My Grandmother Is a LeBlanc. His first book, a ghostwritten biography called Fiddling with Disaster, was published two years ago. “I’m totally pro-French, but one thing that really gets me going is that in Quebec, they think they're so much more special than everyone else because they were one of the original settlers. That's so old history, unlike the Canada we live in now that is so accepting of all cultures."

Asked about his new album, he says that some of the tracks document his most recent break-up. "I've crafted some songs around love and loss and want and desire. Of course, I've had to replace some of the he's with she's so as not to offend the traditionalists back home. “It’s hard to imagine traditionalists warming to the new hard-rock album, which, for the first time, contains absolutely no fiddle-playing. "I thought it would be easier to respond to the media who are always saying there's not enough fiddle by saying, 'Nope, there isn't any.' " Mind you, he doubts the media in Canada will even pay attention since no one here has yet written about his latest tour with the Philip Glass Ensemble for Orion, a new world-music composition in which he is featured as one of six soloists. The seven-movement piece was commissioned for the cultural component of the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, where it premiered at the Herodes Atticus amphitheatre near the Parthenon. The American minimalist composer, who has a summer home in Cape Breton and has been a mentor to MacIsaac since he was 16, has since taken the ensemble to Chicago, Los Angeles, Ravenna, Italy, and Lyon, France, where the kilted fiddler is usually singled out as the jig-dancing star of the show. “It was a big honour to be chosen and I never got any Canadian press," MacIsaac complains, quite fairly. “People are more interested in asking about golden showers in Canada," he taunts, referring to the time, in 1996, when he was removed from the Maclean's list of noteworthy Canadians because he had publicly revealed his fondness for underage boys and a predilection for sex acts involving urination. “How is that for jade-ish? When it gets malicious, I usually just . . . remove myself from the scene. “Apparently, MacIsaac has done it again. After this interview, which seemed to end amicably, he posted another message on his website: "I will no longer be doing any unscripted media requests in Canada -- only pre-approved questions. I am just sick of the same old shit." It was the question about AIDS that ticked him off.

 

 

 

MTV MUSIC VIDEO AWARDS COVERAGE

Green Day Has Best Day At MTV Awards

Source:  Associated Press

(Aug. 29, 2005) Miami — Rock was resplendent at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday night, as the veteran punk group Green Day took home seven moonmen and newcomers The Killers and Fall Out Boy won one each. Green Day, who arrived at the venue in the vintage green convertible from their gritty Boulevard of Broken Dreams video, won best rock video and video of the year for the clip -- two of their leading eight nominations. They also won the viewer's choice award, best group and several technical categories, losing only to Gwen Stefani's What You Waiting For? for art direction. In recent years, hip-hop and pop have dominated the show, especially in the major categories. Not this year: My Chemical Romance and Coldplay were among the showcase performances, and Kanye West was the only rapper to win an “all-genre” award, with his Jesus Walks taking best male video. “It's great to know that rock music still has a place at MTV,” said Green Day lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong. The Killers won for best new artist. Fall Out Boy won the MTV2 award for their song Sugar, We're Going Down, beating out artists like Mike Jones, My Chemical Romance and reggaeton star Daddy Yankee. But Pete Weintz of Fall Out Boy downplayed the “rock is resurgent” angle. “Whatever is going to happen is going to happen organically,” he said backstage. “The return of rock doesn't mean anything else is going away.”

Before the awards began, MTV dodged two major disasters -- one from nature, the other from the barrel of a gun. The annual bash was briefly overshadowed by hurricane Katrina, which hit southern Florida on Thursday and killed several people. As the storm passed, a celebratory mood took over the city -- until early Sunday morning, when rap mogul Suge Knight was targeted by gunfire at a Kanye West party. Knight was shot in the leg and scheduled for surgery at a Miami hospital; his lawyers would not release his condition, which was not expected to be life-threatening. TV vowed that neither Katrina nor Suge would affect the ceremonies -- and they didn’t. “The theme of tonight is, anything can happen,” proclaimed host Diddy, whose entrance included dancers, pyrotechnics and a cascading waterfall -- a spectacle that rivalled the show's actual performances. Ludacris managed to turn his hedonistic Pimpin' All Over the World into a multicultural Mardi Gras-like extravaganza, complete with steel drummers, African dancers and, of course, around-the-way booty-shaking girls. Miami booty king Luke of 2 Live Crew fame brought a bevy of girls for his cameo appearance. But one of the biggest surprises was MC Hammer, recapturing some of his glory while shaking to his '90s hit, U Can't Touch This. Another flashback came in a tribute to Diddy's protégé, the late Notorious B.I.G., featuring Diddy “conducting” a string orchestra as the legendary rapper's songs played. Snoop Dogg came out at the end and delivered a verse on the B.I.G. hit Warning.

Kelly Clarkson's Since U Been Gone won two awards, for best female and pop video. Also winning two awards were Missy Elliott, the Gorillaz and Stefani. The evening's most inexplicable moment may have come from R. Kelly, who remains a chart-topper while awaiting trial on child pornography charges. On a bedroom set that looked like a scene from a way-off-Broadway play, Kelly deliberately lip-synced highlights of his five-part soap opera infidelity song, Trapped In The Closet, then debuted a new chapter involving a cheating wife, a cheating husband and his boyfriend. Some of the night's more decadent moments came during the pre-show arrivals. Lil Jon came by sea on what looked to be a three-story, pimp-my-yacht contraption. The prison-bound Lil' Kim arrived on the white carpet in a Rolls Royce Phantom, though she looked somewhat demure in her low-cut mauve dress. “I might show some leg,” teased the star, who is due to start serving a year-and-a-day sentence in September on a perjury conviction. When MTV personality Sway delicately asked if she had anything to say to fans who “might not see you for a while,” Lil Kim said: “You can write me letters.” Entourage star Jeremy Piven couldn't help but tease Kim as they presented best rap video, which was won by Ludacris. “You know, she's about to go to the big house, for lying,” he said. “I'd like to place a call to the warden and upgrade your situation.”

Punk Rockers Rule MTV Awards

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Adrian Sainz, Associated Press

(Aug. 29, 2005) MIAMI - For the first time in a while, the MTV Video Music Awards rocked more than it hip-hopped. More than 11 years after their hit album "Dookie" reinvigorated punk rock, Green Day won seven video awards out of eight nominations Sunday for the socially conscious "American Idiot" and the melancholy "Boulevard of Broken Dreams," which frontman Billie Joe Armstrong called a "hangover" song. "This kind of response, I don't know, it's like you're at the biggest party in the United States right now and the song that gets most nominated and most celebrated is the biggest hangover,'' Armstrong told reporters after the show. The trio set the tone for the night with an energetic performance of "Boulevard." They were followed by fellow nominated rockers The Killers, My Chemical Romance, and Coldplay. Among the rock bands, The Killers and Fall Out Boy each won one moon man. "I thought we were going to win best rock video, but you just can't beat those Green Day people," said Brandon Flowers, lead singer for The Killers, who won for best new artist. Fall Out Boy won the MTV2 award for their song "Sugar, We're Going Down.'' Green Day, who arrived at the venue in the vintage green convertible from the "Boulevard" video, won best rock video and video of the year for the clip. They also won the viewer's choice award, best group and several technical categories. In recent years, hip-hop and pop have dominated the show, especially in the major categories. Not this year: Kanye West was the only rapper to win an "all-genre" award, with his "Jesus Walks" taking best male video. Other big winners Sunday included Kelly Clarkson, Missy Elliott, the Gorillaz and Gwen Stefani, who each won two awards. The annual bash was briefly overshadowed by Hurricane Katrina, which hit southern Florida on Thursday before taking aim on the Gulf Coast. As the storm passed Miami, a celebratory mood took over the city — until early Sunday morning, when rap mogul Suge Knight was targeted by gunfire at a Kanye West party. Knight was shot in the leg and scheduled for surgery at a Miami hospital; his lawyers would not release his condition, which was not expected to be life-threatening.

MTV vowed that neither Katrina nor Suge would affect the ceremonies — and they didn't. "The theme of tonight is, anything can happen," proclaimed show host Diddy, whose entrance included dancers, pyrotechnics and a cascading waterfall — a spectacle that rivalled the show's actual performances. MTV maintained the water theme throughout the show, with Mariah Carey and The Killers performing from swimming pools located at swank South Beach hotels. To end the show, Clarkson performed ``Since U Been Gone" — winner of best female video and best pop video — after being soaked by a torrent of water. "They wanted just the kids to get wet, but I ... just jumped out there with them," Clarkson said after the show. Ludacris managed to turn his hedonistic "Pimpin' All Over the World" into a multicultural Mardi Gras-like extravaganza, complete with steel drummers, African dancers and, of course, around-the-way booty-shaking girls. Miami booty king Luke of 2 Live Crew fame brought a bevy of girls for his cameo appearance. But one of the biggest surprises was MC Hammer, recapturing some of his glory while shaking to his '90s hit, "U Can't Touch This.'' Leading the fashion parade was "Desperate Housewives" star Eva Longoria, who donned a skimpy one-piece pink bathing suit that featured a plunging neckline reminiscent of Jennifer Lopez back when she was dating a guy named Puff Daddy. "Hey Diddy, you said anything goes, and I wasn't going to let a little hurricane prevent me from wearing my bathing suit!" she said. Not to be outdone, Latin singer Paulina Rubio wore a skintight lace Dolce & Gabbana vintage gown that showed off her thong. She calmly eluded the reaching arm of co-presenter Lil Jon. Another flashback came in a tribute to Diddy's protégé, the late Notorious B.I.G., featuring Diddy "conducting" a string orchestra as the legendary rapper's songs played. Snoop Dogg came out at the end and delivered a verse on the B.I.G. hit "Warning.'' The evening's most inexplicable moment may have come from R. Kelly, who remains a chart-topper while awaiting trial on child pornography charges.

On a bedroom set that looked like a scene from a way-off-Broadway play, Kelly deliberately lip-synced highlights of his five-part soap opera infidelity song, "Trapped In The Closet," then debuted a new chapter involving a cheating wife, a cheating husband and his boyfriend. Some of the night's more decadent moments came during the pre-show arrivals. Lil Jon came by sea on what looked to be a three-story, pimp-my-yacht contraption. The prison-bound Lil' Kim arrived on the white carpet in a Rolls Royce Phantom, though she looked somewhat demure in her low-cut mauve dress — no pasties or dangling appendages this year from the diminutive rapper. "I might show some leg," teased the star, who is due to start serving a year-and-a-day sentence in September on a perjury conviction. When MTV personality Sway delicately asked if she had anything to say to fans who "might not see you for a while," Lil Kim said: "You can write me letters.'' There also was a palpable Latin flavour to the show, with Colombian songstress Shakira performing her sexy "La Tortura'' with Spanish troubadour Alejandro Sanz. Later, reggaeton pacesetters Don Omar, Daddy Yankee and Tego Calderon presented quick snippets of their songs showcasing the growing musical genre, which combines Caribbean rhythms with Spanish-language rap.

Hunt Continues For Rap Mogul's Attacker

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Curt Anderson, Associated Press

(Aug. 29, 2005) MIAMI - A gunman remained at large Sunday after wounding rap mogul Marion (Suge) Knight at a party coinciding with the MTV Video Music Awards, police said. Knight, 40, was shot once in the upper right leg early Sunday at a star-studded party in Miami Beach that was hosted by Grammy-wining hip hop artist Kanye West. A police report described the shooter only as a black male wearing a pink shirt. "We are interviewing all the witnesses we can to hopefully develop a composite," police spokesman Bobby Hernandez said. It was the latest in a string of violent incidents that have shadowed the rap world, including the killings of stars Tupac Shakur in 1996, the Notorious B.I.G. in 1997 and Jam Master Jay of Run DMC in 2002. Knight was admitted to Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach in good condition. Hospital officials said he was scheduled for surgery to remove a bullet from his leg and repair a broken bone. An updated condition was not made available by midday Sunday. A group of friends waiting at the hospital said Knight was alert and talkative after the shooting. Knight's lawyer in Los Angeles, Dermot Givens, did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment. Several witnesses said Knight was sitting at a table in the VIP Red Room section of the Shore Club when a man walked up and opened fire shortly after midnight. No one else was injured. "I was dancing beside him, then I heard a pop that sounded like a champagne bottle had been opened, then I saw his bodyguards throw themselves on him," New York-based artist Lilo Kinne told the Miami Herald. "It happened so fast, people were in a panic, trying to get out of there." Celebrities who attended the party included Jessica Alba, Eddie Murphy, Paris Hilton, the Game and The Black Eyed Peas, but it was not clear if they were still there when the shooting happened. The first police officer to respond to the shooting was an off-duty Florida Highway Patrol officer who was working security at the nightclub, Hernandez said. Knight co-founded the pioneering rap label Death Row Records and hit the charts in the 1990s with West Coast stars including Snoop Dogg and Shakur. He was convicted in 1992 of assault and weapons violations and was placed on probation. In 1996, he was jailed for five years for violating probation after he and several associates, including Shakur, were recorded on videotape beating a gang rival at a Las Vegas hotel. Hours after that fight, Shakur was fatally wounded as he was riding in a car with Knight. Relatives of Notorious B.I.G. have accused Knight of involvement in B.I.G.'s death, though police have never named Knight as a suspect.

One Shooting Don’t Stop No Show

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com

(Aug. 29, 2005) *Limos were ditched for pimped-out rides as the star’rahs rolled up one by one and two by two (as Rihanna would say) to Miami’s American Airlines Arena for the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards.     With Katrina having come and gone leaving a string of cancelled pre-parties in its wake, partial sunshine welcomed the performers, presenters and nominees to the show’s white carpet. No one spoke of the Suge Knight shooting the night before. The celebrities and the VJ’s kept the banter about fashion, upcoming projects and if applicable, the vehicles that carried them to the venue. But in a spot that housed rap enemies 50 Cent, Fat Joe and The Game under the same roof, you knew someone was going to say something before the night was through. At 8 p.m. sharp, the main event started with Green Day’s performance of  “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” followed immediately by the grand entrance of the evening’s host, Diddy – a spectacle that looked like the offspring of an Olympic opening ceremony and an old-school David Copperfield special from the 1970s.After Ludacris and Bobby Valentino rocked “Pimpin’ All Over the World,” complete with African dancers and an African percussion outfit, Diddy returned to greet the crowd, spit some profanities and reiterate the show’s theme, “Anything Can Happen.”  He gave someone in the audience his Jacob the Jeweler watch off his wrist to prove the point.   Grandmaster Flash threw on George Clinton’s “Atomic Dog,” to try and coax Diddy into dancing. It worked, as “Atomic Dog” bled into other tracks. Eventually, the music drew Omarion on stage from the crowd like a pied piper, followed by Luther Campbell, who yelled over one of his shake beats. After that unlikely trio and their dancers cleared out, Diddy introduced M.C. Hammer, who came out and bucked around with his dancers in an “anything can happen” surprise performance.

Dallas, Texas natives Jessica and Ashlee Simpson came out hollerin’ “Derty South” to a slight smattering of boos before announcing Best R&B Video. “We learned how to shake our booties to some soul music,” they said, making things worse. Eric Roberts, Julia’s bro, was in the house (thanks to his guest appearance in Mariah Carey’s “It’s Like That/We Belong Together” and the Killers’ “Mr. Brightside” videos.)  He was on hand to introduce R. Kelly’s “Trapped in the Closet” mini-series.  A video clip of Part 1 quickly gave way to a live (lip-synched) performance.  He world-premiered a new sixth chapter, looking a bit schizophrenic as he played all the parts himself.  [The upshot, cheating Rufus ditches his gay lover Chuck to go back to his cheating wife, Cathy.] Diddy did a bit about his name change, saying he tossed out possible candidates Kunta Combs, Seanye West and Seandeleeza Diddy Rice. Folks got a last look at Lil Kim before she goes into the pokey next month. Her co-presenter Jeremy Piven awkwardly made fun of her jail situation as the crowd was too filled with pity to laugh. 

And then came the showstopper. Diddy, in another “Anything Can Happen” moment, fake-conducted a live orchestra rendition of Notorious B.I.G.’s classics “Juicy” and “Warning” as the videos for each boomed Biggie’s voice overtop of the new classical arrangements.  Snoop Dogg joined Diddy on stage to handle the rest of “Warning” live. And then came the drama. After Fat Joe hosted a Reggaton segment and before introducing the Best Hip Hop Video, he looked into the camera and said: “I’d like to tell the people [at] home I feel so safe tonight with all this police protection courtesy of G-Unit.  About ten minutes earlier, Common busted out a freestyle that had the line, “I ain’t 50 Cent but b*tch it’s your birthday.” The cameras cut to 50, who looked as if he was trying to figure out if that was supposed to be a dis. Kanye West and Jamie Foxx performed “Gold Digger.” Snoop introduced his “favourite comic” Dane Cook, who put the crowd to sleep. Bishop Magic Don Juan ditched his trademark shiny green suit for traditional business attire and traded his pimp cup for a tiny dog in another “Anything Can Happen” surprise. Gwen Stefani and Snoop Dogg won Diddy’s Fashion Challenge for the best dressed male and female celebrity in the building. Puffy (sorry, Diddy) gave the winners $50,000 out of his own pocket for their favourite charity. (Snoop’s loot is going to his Snoop Youth Football League; Hollaback Girl’s paper will benefit Southern Cali’s Orange County Children’s Hospital.

And then came the oh-no-she-didn’t moment. Eva Longoria got out of her sick bed and worked the stage in a coochie-cutting bathing suit. She introduced Mariah Carey, who performed “Shake It Off” with Jermaine Dupri and the “We Belong Together” remix with Jadakiss and Styles P. - from the National Hotel in South Beach.  Before presenting the award for Breakthrough Video, Lil Jon put his arm around Paulina Rubio and she promptly wrenched it off of her. 50 Cent, in a black tank top and black leather pants, performed “Disco Inferno” and “Outta Control” before Tony Yayo joined him on stage for their single “So Seductive.” Then both rappers got back at Fat Joe, yelling from the stage “Fat Joe is a p*ssy” and a string of other bleeped insults before making their exit.  Bow Wow and Paris Hilton got into a pissing contest over who had the most expensive ice. Destiny’s Child made a farewell speech before introducing the night’s final award for Video of the Year. Kelly Clarkson ended the show with “Since You’ve Been Gone” as water (the night’s theme) rendered her soaking wet. And that, ladies and gentlemen, was supposed to be the best VMAs ever?  Yeah, okay. 

Here are some of the winners:

BEST MALE VIDEO: Kanye West “Jesus Walks.”     
BEST FEMALE VIDEO: Kelly Clarkson, “Since You’ve Been Gone”
BEST R&B VIDEO: Alicia Keys “Karma”
BEST DANCE VIDEO: Missy Elliot f/Ciara and Fat Man Scoop “Lose Control”
BEST RAP VIDEO: Ludacris “Number One Spot”
BEST HIP HOP VIDEO: Missy Elliot f/Ciara and Fat Man Scoop “Lose Control”
(Green Day won everything else.)

Diddy Rolls Out White Carpet For MTV Bash

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Nekesa Mumbi Moody, Associated Press

(Aug. 26, 2005) MIAMI—Scoring an invite to one of Diddy's dazzling, decadent bashes is a notoriously difficult get.  But on Sunday, the rap personality is hosting a celebration that's not just for the sexy people. Anyone can tune to MTV's Video Music Awards (airing on MuchMusic in Canada) for what may be Diddy's wildest extravaganza to date, with a guest list that includes Mariah Carey, Jessica Simpson, 50 Cent, Green Day, Kelly Clarkson, Usher, Eva Longoria and Kanye West.  "What Diddy brings to it is this incredible sense of party,'' said Christina Norman, head of MTV. "He's a showman, he's a master of ceremonies, his own parties are legendary ..."  Though known for his braggadocio, Diddy seemed downright humble talking about his gala duties, despite joking about plans to run onstage naked.  "It was definitely a privilege and an honour. The timing is right," Diddy in an interview last week at MTV's midtown studios.  "I think a lot of things that I've done has built me up to this moment," he said. "Hosting is a certain art form, and hosting all those parties and showing people a good time is what I specialize in.''  The red carpet is out, Diddy's white carpet is in. And he is expecting celebrities attending — even the grungiest rockers — to be decked out in their most fashionable duds. He's even giving $50,000 (U.S.) each to the best-dressed male or female celebrity, to go to charity — he's coined it the Diddy Fashion Challenge.  "It's not even a thing that I want you to come in gowns and things. That's for the Oscars. I'm talking about be artistic in your fashion style and celebrate. I'm not hosting an awards show, I'm hosting a celebration."

 

 

 

Profile: David Gogo

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail - By Brad Wheeler

(Aug. 26, 2005) As record companies and musicians do their various things, the blues makes its own way. In the early nineties, EMI Records signed a young blues guitarist out of Nanaimo, B.C., and, naturally, strongly suggested that he put out a rock -- not a blues -- record. David Gogo did as he was instructed, but in an insurgent stroke, included one blues track on the album, B.B. King's It's My Own Fault, a slow burner that was a staple of King's live shows in the sixties. After the release of his self-titled debut in 1994, Gogo was driving through Toronto when he heard his work on the radio. The local FM rock station had spurned the album's rock single, playing instead the seven-minute-long blues track. "Not that I was trying too hard to be a rebel," Gogo explains over the phone, "but it was nice having the blues song sneak through. It got us some airplay and recognition." And it has kept coming. Although awarded the prize as the country's top blues guitarist twice over the past three years, the singer-guitarist has veered back and forth between genres, to the point that the boundaries are no longer so important to him. "I find that I'm just writing now," the 36-year-old Gogo says, referring to the material that graces his latest albums, 2002's Skeleton Key and last year's Vibe. "I'm not saying, 'Okay, this is a blues song and this is going to be my attempt at a commercial song.' I just try to follow my instincts, and lately it's been working pretty good." Gogo's instincts direct him to write material that is more bluesy than blues straight up (Colin James would be an apt comparison). Vibe features the southern-fried first single Love in the City, the fat-riffed, bruising Hit Me from Above and the languid acoustic 300 Pound Shoes. Other tracks lean to soulful classic rock.

On the road, Gogo makes set-list decisions in accordance with the venues and audiences. On opening slots with a headliner such as the Tragically Hip, Gogo might stick to more rockish material. On the other hand, organizers at blues festivals might prompt him toward the bluesier numbers. Often though, intentions give away to voices from the audience. "The Edmonton Blues Festival people wanted more blues from us, not the rock stuff," Gogo says, referring to an appearance last weekend. "But while we were playing, people were yelling out for the single." Not only does Gogo need to keep his repertoire straight, he also keeps his eye on not one, but two separate touring bands -- one based on the West Coast; the other in Ottawa. "It's the best thing I've done," he says, noting that the double-band setup cuts down on touring costs. "I get enough work to keep both bands loyal -- it's worked out great." Gogo has led bands for some time, but on occasion he's shared the stage with players with heavy legends attached to them. As a teenager, he met Stevie Ray Vaughan, who was something of a mentor to Gogo. He has played with Chicago great Otis Rush, and he has even traded licks with King at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland in 1992. The experience was unnerving to a 20-year-old kid from Nanaimo, but he "bit the bullet" and got through it. And now, 13 years down the road, Gogo meets up again with the acclaimed guitarist, playing on the undercard of King's 80th-birthday show at Toronto's Molson Amphitheatre on Wednesday. If he is invited to share the stage with the man known as the King of the Blues, Gogo will be do as he has done in similar spots. "Basically, you just respect the fact that it's their stage -- you're a guest. When they're playing, you keep it quiet, you keep it down." "But you've been invited up there for a reason," he continues. "I wait till they point to me, and I do my thing." David Gogo opens for B.B. King on Aug. 31, at the Molson Amphitheatre (7 p.m., $10.70 to $69.50, 416-870-8000).

 

 

 

7 Questions - Kanye West

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail - By J.D. Considine

(Aug. 26, 2005) Kanye West had been a big name in hip-hop circles since producing Jay-Z's 2001 hit Izzo (H.O.V.A.), but he didn't become a household name until three years later, when his debut album, The College Dropout, topped critics' polls and album charts, and won the Grammy for rap album of the year. Apparently, that's only the beginning. West was in Toronto recently to promote his second album, Late Registration, and made no effort to disguise his pride in the new album (which arrives in stores Tuesday). Co-produced with multi-instrumentalist Jon Brion, whose previous credits include albums by Fiona Apple and Aimee Mann, it abandons the hip-hop strategy of chopped beats and borrowed sounds for an approach West describes as "cinematic," employing everything from pipe organ and harpsichord to string sections and Maroon 5 heartthrob Adam Levine.  "I won't say this is the future of music, but it's going to be pretty hard to match it," he says confidently.

Jon Brion is notorious for telling an artist 'you can do better' and reworking tracks for months. Were you worried that you'd end up in that loop?

No, because we're the same people. I'm obsessive just like that, and we did take months on certain songs.  But I love that. And he really pushed me. Otherwise, there would be no last verse on Gone -- Jon begged for that. I love his feeling that you can always make it better. At a certain point, you have to stop and give the album to the release date. I'm still hearing stuff and thinking, I wish I could've done this, I wish I could've done that. But I'm pretty satisfied.

You mentioned that you're taking a big step forward, production-wise, for hip-hop. Why haven't other people gone to this extreme?

Well, there's André 3000. He did [Outkast's Speakerboxx/The Love Below] and it's one of my favourite albums, but I don't know if I can classify that as a hip-hop album. It's not rap music. That's something else. Something amazing.

On Roses, when you talk about when your grandmother was sick in hospital, you almost seem to be taking the Canadian stance that rich and poor are entitled to equal health care.

I didn't even know that. That's funny! [laughs] Really, I'm arguing, [raps] You know the best medicine goes to people who's paid. [speaks] And yet, in another year, I could have probably paid for my Gram, you know what I'm saying? 

Crack Music suggests that hip-hop is a way for African Americans to get real reparations. And here you are, signed to Roc-a-Fella and affiliated with Def Jam -- both companies founded by black men. It's not like the old days, when R&B labels were all run by whites.

It's funny you take it like that, because during the chitlin-circuit days, people would give their artists drugs, to lull them over and make them not think about their situation. And I'm saying, okay, let's take it back to that. The line that touches on that is: 'While our heroes and heroines got hooked on heroin. . . .' It was more thought provoking than saying, 'The CIA put drugs in the black community.'

There was some amazement at the listening session when you said Radiohead and System of a Down are your closest competition. Why is there such incredulity when a rapper shows interests outside of hip-hop? Is it because so many hip-hop stars have such distinct personalities?

Or just boxed-in personalities Like, Jay-Z, you're gangsta rap. Or Mos' Def, you're conscious rap.

Does that make it hard for a rap star to be an average person?

I punch myself out of a box all the time. Even with the lukewarm success of Workout Plan in comparison with the previous songs, at the end of the day it gave me the leeway to come however I wanted. I can say, 'It's a celebration, bitches!' and I think that would have been harder for people to take otherwise. You know, I'm taking off next summer to go and study poetry. Maybe it's not anything I could learn in a crash two months or three months, but that's what I'm going to do. Because there are so many things I want to touch on, and there are ways I think I can expand my mind lyrically.

Poetry, huh? Who do you read?

I don't. I'd say I don't read anything, other than in Stuff about Jessica Simpson. But Fiona Apple was telling me about these books that break down the way certain words fit together. I'm looking into that.

Kanye West Stars In New Pepsi Spot Directed By Spike Lee

Source: Pepsi via PRNewswire-FirstCall

(August 26, 2005) PURCHASE, NY -- Kanye West not only will be featured as a performer and nominee at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday, August 28, he also will appear in a new Pepsi commercial, which debuts during the telecast. The commercial, titled "Timeline," follows Kanye as he walks by iconic backdrops of various cities, including Paris, Cairo, Tokyo, and Chicago, via state-of-the-art computer graphics and special effects.  Set to the song "Heard 'Em Say" (featuring Adam Levine of Maroon 5) from his new album "Late Registration," Kanye and his "aura" (fuelled by Pepsi) have a major influence on every city he visits.  The 30-second spot was directed by Spike Lee and created by Spike DDB. From concept, to execution, to post-production and effects, to revisions -- a lot of work went into this creative process," said Kanye West, who is managed by Gee Roberson of Hip Hop Since 1978 Management and is signed to Jay-Z's Roc-A-Fella Rec record label.  "I want to thank Pepsi for working overtime to see this through." The "Timeline" commercial is a part of Kanye's new partnership with Pepsi. On August 13, the artist headlined an exclusive Pepsi Smash concert in Miami. Performance footage of Kanye from the concert is currently featured on Pepsi's music microsite on Yahoo! (http://www.smash.yahoo.com), which launched in June and includes original video programming from a variety of musical artists.  Las Vegas-based MEGA, INC., Pepsi's music marketing agency, facilitated the partnership with Kanye. Pepsi has a long history in music and has featured the biggest recording artists and a diverse range of chart-topping music in marketing campaigns. Recent campaigns have featured superstars Beyonce, Gwen Stefani and Diddy. The commercial starring Stefani helped launch the Pepsi iTunes promotion in which 200 million free songs were made available to consumers.

About Pepsi: Purchase, N.Y.-based Pepsi-Cola North America (http://www.pepsi.com) is the refreshment beverage unit of PepsiCo Inc. in the United States and Canada. Its U.S. brands include Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Pepsi Edge, Pepsi ONE, Wild Cherry Pepsi, Pepsi Twist, Pepsi Vanilla, Mountain Dew, Diet Mountain Dew, Mountain Dew Code Red, Mountain Dew LiveWire, Sierra Mist, Sierra Mist Free, Mug, Slice, Aquafina, Aquafina FlavorSplash, Aquafina Sparkling, Dole single-serve juices, Tropicana Juice Drinks and SoBe.  The company also makes and markets North America's best-selling ready-to-drink iced teas and coffees, respectively, via joint ventures with Lipton and Starbucks.

 

 

 

New Dee Dee Bridgewater CD 'J’ai Deux Amours' Set For Release Sept. 13

Source: Chip Schutzman, VP, Online Strategic Marketing, SOVEREIGN ARTISTS, chip@sovereignartists.com, www.SovereignArtists.com

(August 26, 2005) J’ai Deux Amours, Dee Dee Bridgewater’s lush new CD of French love songs, has been a project in the works for almost ten years.  A passionate song cycle that traces the arc of a love affair (literally and figuratively) and all of  the emotions which accompany it,  J’ai Deux Amours is a project which for Bridgewater truly emanates from the heart.  All 11 tracks on the record are wonderfully suited to Bridgewater’s magnificent vocal range, intensity of expression and keen wit, and reflect a varied period of time in the history of French music.   J’ai Deux Amours is set for release by Sovereign Artists on September 13 and will be accompanied by worldwide tour dates.  The concept for J’ai Deux Amours began in the mid-nineties when Bridgewater was living full-time in Paris.  “My time in France was (and continues to be) a period of healing, growth as a woman and an artist, and a discovery of the rest of the world,” says Bridgewater.  “As I began researching songs and finding the corresponding sheet music, an obvious story began unfolding reflective of both my personal life as well as my love for the country and people of  France.”  J’ai Deux Amours was produced by Dee Dee Bridgewater and features Bridgewater onVocals, Louis Winsberg on Lead Guitar,  Ira Coleman on Bass, Marc Berthoumitux on Accordion and Minino Garay on Percussion and Drums. All of the songs on J’ai Deux Amours are of French origin with the exception of “Girl Talk,” and most have been hit songs in their English versions.  “J’ai Deux Amours” and “La Vie en Rose” were obvious choices as they symbolize Paris – the first being associated with legendary chanteuse and Black American female icon Josephine Baker (whose 100th Birthday would have been celebrated in 2006 and for whom Bridgewater will be taking part in an international tribute); the second with Edith Piaf whom Bridgewater greatly admires as well.  “La Belle Vie/The Good Life” is a nod to composer Sacha Distel  (who passed away this past July) as well as to Betty Carter, a major influence on Bridgewater who performed the song regularly as part of her set.  “Dansez Sur Moi,” the French version of “Girl Talk,” was written and performed by French singer/poet/artist Claude Nougaro, whom Bridgewater performed on television with in the 90’s and who also passed away in 2004.   “Avec le Temps,” composed by Leo Ferre, has never been recorded in English, although it is a classic in French. As a matter of coincidence in 2004, Bridgewater was invited by Washington D.C.’s prestigious Kennedy Center to perform two special Valentine’s Day concerts honouring “Les Chansons Francaises” as part of a celebration honouring French culture.  This was the first time the material was to be performed live, and the response was tremendous.  Several months later, Bridgewater was in the studio recording J’ai Deux Amours.  

Bridgewater currently splits her time between the U.S. and France and was recently made a member of the “Haut Conseil de la Francophonie,” an organization which recognizes individuals on a global level who have made significant contributions to French culture and society.  As an Honorary Ambassador to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, Bridgewater continues to appeal for international solidarity to finance global grass-roots projects in the fight against world hunger, and will spend several months of 2006 in Mali, Africa, working with underprivileged female musicians.    Bridgewater hosts NPR’s weekly syndicated show JazzSet, now in its second decade on the air, and her duet with the Italian pop group Gabin, featured on the Monster-In-Law Soundtrack, is currently placing on singles charts across the European continent..  Bridgewater’s recordings are available worldwide and she continues to tour globally, performing to sold-out venues both domestically and internationally.   J’ai Deux Amours is Bridgewater’s 16th CD and is being released three years after her critically-acclaimed tribute to Kurt Weill, This Is New.  Bridgewater’s career has always bridged musical genres and she earned her first professional experience as a member of the legendary Thad Jones/Mel Louis Big Band.  Throughout the 70’s, she performed with such jazz notables as Max Roach, Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon, and Dizzy Gillespie.  After a foray into the pop world during the 1980’s, she relocated to Paris and began to turn her attention back to jazz.  She signed with the Verve label as both a performer and producer and released a series of acclaimed titles beginning with Keeping Tradition in 1993.  Almost all of them-including her wildly successful double Grammy Award-winning tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, Dear Ella, - have received Grammy nominations.   Interestingly, Bridgewater has also pursued a parallel career in musical theatre and won a Tony Award for her role as Glenda in The Wiz in 1975.  Her other credits include Sophisticated Ladies, Black Ballad, Carmen Jones, and Lady Day, a Billie Holiday tribute for which Bridgewater received the British  Laurence Olivier Nomination for Best Actress in a Musical.  She also became the first African American actress to play the role of Sally Bowles in Cabaret, a production staged at the Mogador Theatre in Paris.  J’ai Deux Amours is my way of thanking France, a country that opened its arms to me,” says Bridgewater.  “Me, a little girl from Flint, Michigan!  Like Josephine Baker, ‘J’ai deux amours, mon pays et Paris.’”  

OFFICIAL ARTIST WEBSITE: www.deedeebridgewater.com
OFFICIAL RECORD LABEL WEBSITE:  www.sovereignartists.com

 

 

 

Eric Benet: Weathered the Storm

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com - By Mr. Jawn Murray

(Aug. 30, 2005) Eric Benet may have lost his wife Halle Berry, but he definitely hasn’t lost his soul!   At the Birchmere Theater in Alexandria, Va., the charismatic crooner performed for a sold-out crowd of both women and men who packed the venue in anticipation of their favourite Benet songs. Welcomed to the stage with a roaring standing ovation, the singer sported a European-cut grey suit (and yes, he actually wore shoes) and immediately began the show with his song “If You Want Me to Stay.”  Getting the crowd involved early, he began teaching vocal parts so that the audience could sing along.  One woman became so excited during the song that her male companion yanked her arm and yelled, “Sit your ass down!” Benet then eased into the jazzy “When You Think of Me,” a number many remember from him serenading Berry at the NAACP Image Awards several years ago.  He then introduced “India” from his new album Hurricane.  “I wanted to write a song for my daughter that she could listen to when she’s 65 years old and know how her daddy felt about her,” he explained.   The self-reflective “Be Myself Again” followed.  He sang:  “I had the best the world could offer for sho'/ But peace of mind is much more precious than gold/ I was in a place where truth was hard to find/ But it's all revealed in time/ Stick out my chest and hold my head up high/ Forgot how it felt to feel so good inside/ A fool would gain the world just to lose himself/ Now I’m gonna be true to no one else.” Revisiting his debut album True To Myself, Benet then tackled “Feminity” and “Spiritual Thang.”  The Milwaukee native had a brain freeze on the latter tune—“Hell, I forgot the words,” he laughed.  “Let’s go to the chorus.” 

Before singing the title track to Hurricane, Benet became transparent with the crowd as he shared the meaning of the song.  “Sometimes things in your life go horribly wrong,” he said, before pausing for effect and a lot of laughs from the crowd that knew exactly what he was referencing.  “With that, you can either die or work to put all those things back together. That’s why I refer to it as a hurricane.” Then came “Spend My Life With You”—Benet’s biggest hit originally recorded as a duet with Tamia, but regularly performed with Terry Dexter on the road.  One of his backup singers sang the female lead that night, causing one to miss both Mrs. Grant Hill and Dexter very much.   Nat King Cole was evoked on “The Last Time,” a timeless and truly amazing jazz number written with celebrated producer David FosterBenet hopped off the stage sans bodyguards, dancing in the crowd with the groping-happy women who’d come center stage to party as he performed “Where Does the Love Go.”  Like a politician, Benet was making his constituents happy. He closed with his latest single, “I Wanne Be Loved,” before exiting the stage to a thunderous applause.  Benet returned for an encore, offering his single “George Porgy,” a funky remake of Toto's original that featured Faith Evans.  The other background singer, chirping from stage left in the absence of Evans, should have been the one who aided Benet on “Spend My Life With You” as she had the chops to pull it off. Benet’s tour continues in Los Angeles (Aug. 30) and Long Beach, Calif. (Aug. 31), and ends Sept. 1 at the House of Blues in San Diego, Calif.  People magazine put it best by saying, “The silky voiced singer reminds listeners of why, before he married [Halle] Berry, he was one of the most promising love-men.”

 

 

 

Cece Winans: 20 Years And Going Strong

Source: Erma Byrd, 323-965-5551, erma@ebyrdcom.com

(Aug. 30, 2005) Los Angeles, CA - As fans of music know, respect in any genre of music is hard-earned. In gospel, it is demanded. For nearly 20 years, Cece Winans has earned the respect and admiration of gospel aficionados, her peers and across the board by weaving an uncanny blend of music and message that effectively removes the delicate stigma of being "preached at." Through her immense musical contributions, CeCe Winans commands respect, which she has received in abundance to the tune of 20 Dove Awards, 6 Grammy Awards, 5 Stellar Awards, and 3 Soul Train, NAACP Image and Billboard Music Awards, Gold and Platinum sales certifications, and innumerable social and civic nominations and recognition.  CeCe Winans is the queen of gospel's royalty, the Winans family-very liberally numbered at well past 20 currently active members-which has dominated gospel and urban music for decades. CeCe and her brother BeBe gained fame in the 1980s and 1990s with a series of well-crafted albums that successfully straddled a fine line between secular and gospel music. Songs such as "Lost Without You," "It's OK," "Heaven," "Count On Me" and "I'll Take You There" brought the duo fame in both arenas, and laid the groundwork for CeCe's solo career. Alone in His Presence (1995), Everlasting Love and His Gift (both released in 1998), Alabaster Love (1999), Cece Winans (2001) and Throne Room (2003) unfailingly attracting and mesmerizing listeners throughout the world with breathtaking vocal style and insightful lyricism.  Indeed, listening to CeCe Winans' music and thoughtful lyrics is rather like having a warm and intimate conversation with a kindred spirit. The tête-à-tête continues with Purified, available at retail stores nationwide on September 13. Purified remains true to CeCe Winans' deep gospel roots, yet transcends her previous six releases by keeping an ear to contemporary musical trends. CeCe talks about the title of her sixth album and what Purified means to her: "When you hear the whole CD, you hear a lot of love. We're living in a time where we're labelling everything 'love,' and it's not! Love is pure, and that is my goal: to be purified in the Father's eye, and to do everything with a sense of purity; care about people, love one another without any hidden agendas. We, as a community, as a country, as a people, tend to forget what pure love is; what pure motives are, what pure peace is. It's just really my prayer that we desire what is pure, and I really think it should be everybody's prayer."

However, the road to the completion of Purified was not as smooth as the sounds that emanate from CeCe Winans' melodious voice. "It took a long time! But there were several reasons," Winans explains. "When you work with different producers, there are different time frames to consider; their availability-my availability. I was touring, so we had a couple of setbacks. It probably took about a year and a half from the concept of starting to its finish." The project began around Christmas of 2003 and wrapped just before the summer of 2005, but Winans says it was worth the wait, saying assertively, "I'm really pleased with the outcome."  One very palpable reason for Winans' enthusiasm was reuniting with an old friend, producer Keith Thomas, who worked with her and brother BeBe on several of their early classic hits, including "Addictive Love," "Lost Without You," "For Always," "It's O.K," "Meantime" and "Heaven." "I've always desired to work with Keith Thomas again, but a lot of times, timing and different things caused several projects to not work out. This time, we were able to sit down and make it happen." Thomas says of his reunion, "Cece and I hadn't worked together in almost a decade, and when she got ready to do Purified, she gave me a call and we hooked up. CeCe is like family; I've known her forever, and have a great relationship. What's not to like about her? She's so adorable!" CeCe says that working with Thomas came easy and was a comfortable fit, even after ten years apart: "It was awesome because Keith is one of the best. He knows me very well; he knows what sounds right and what doesn't sound right. I totally trust him when it comes to music production and producing my vocals. He's a genius with melodies and harmony lines. It was great being back in the studio with him."  Reuniting with Keith Thomas supplied lots of fun during the recording process, but CeCe also drew nephew Mario Winans into the studio. The author of one of 2004's biggest hit, "I Don't Wanna Know," Mario wrote and produced "Pray," the first single release from Purified. The song is a catchy, hook-laden piece that fits comfortably with CeCe's vision to reach out to young gospel lovers. CeCe recalls one distinct memory working with Mari "I never had a producer call me 'Auntie' before! Skeeter-I always call him Skeeter-had been trying to work with me for a long time. But, again, timing has everything to do with everything. Going into the studio, my record label (Pure Springs/Sony) asked if I would work with him. I said, 'Well, sure, I'd love to! I don't know what he's up to right now, as far as his time frame was concerned, but we were able to get one song in, which was 'Pray.' What can I say? He was very professional, had all his stuff laid out."

With today's youth searching for more spiritual direction, CeCe Winans' music aims to touch with a feather, rather than hit young fans over the head with hammer-like lyrics. CeCe reasons that "BeBe and I were teens ourselves when we started out, so automatically it grabbed the attention of young people. The older we get, we still love all different styles of music. I always try to inspire youths to do the right thing. Some of the music out today is pretty scary, and I hope that not just this CD but other inspirational or positive music that's out there will encourage young people to hold on and let them know that there's hope." CeCe cites one song in particular, "Let Everything," a pulsating pew-shaker that would fit quite comfortably in a dance club atmosphere. CeCe agrees, saying, "A lot of times, companies are so afraid of what the song is saying. But I say, 'Guys, people are past that! Don't put it in a box because it's blatant gospel. The beat is what it is-hot!'" Another of CeCe Winans' favourite youth-oriented songs is "Colourful World," about a young woman who "wears nose rings and weird things floating through her hair... But she could rule the world when she opens up her mouth and smiles."  CeCe Winans has also not forgotten contemporary fans, and points to "You Will", written by Tommy Sims, as a comfort to a member of her church before the song was completed. The member had recently lost a son to a car crash, and CeCe made a point of giving the woman a copy. "The song touches your heart so much, so I sent it to her, and she said that it took her through the whole time. She would play it over and over. Unfortunately, as a part of life, we experience hard times, pain and things that we don't expect to happen. But with time, you will heal."  A social activist beyond gospel, CeCe Winans has a cause that is near and dear to her heart. The effort is "Always Sisters," and Winans wrote a song of the same title that is included on Purified. "I got a chance to write the song with my sisters, Angelique and Debbie, along with Tommy Sims. It's a song that, hopefully, women will catch onto and realize how important your sisters are and also how important of a responsibility you have as a sister; whether it's your blood sister or just a sister-sister, woman-to-woman. We barely finished the song; we were laughing so much and having a good time."  In keeping with the song's theme, CeCe has planned a conference titled "Always Sisters, Always Friends," which will be held in Nashville on October 21 and 22, 2005. CeCe, along with Kirk Franklin, Kelly Price, Mary Mary and Christian comedienne Chocolate will appear to discuss today's women's issues. "This conference is to invite everybody, old girls, young girls, so we can encourage them to, first of all, love God and then how to love themselves. I'm blown away about how many kids take their own lives, how many are involved with anorexia, cutting themselves. We really have to take a little more time and walk them through certain things and get them to see who they really are and what they can accomplish; that they don't have to follow anybody: they are leaders. I feel an awesome responsibility to take the time to do this." Please visit www.alwayssisters.com for more details.

Cece Winans isn't waiting for Purified to hit retail before touring. You may see her performing at any number of places (check out www.cecewinans.com). Which begets the question: Does CeCe think there will ever be another full-on Winans Family Tour? "Yes, it's been a long time since we've done it. (Older brother) Ron has gone to Heaven, but we've got plenty of videotape on him. So, yes, I believe we will. BeBe and CeCe will be together soon, and then the nephews, the brothers, sisters, mom and dad. Now that we've lost Ron (early in 2005), we're going to take it one day at a time."  Purified marks another glorious chapter in CeCe Winans' career, and she takes the honours, recognition and awards in stride: "It's never been why I do what I do. But, of course, I'm always humbled by it, I'm always honoured by it, that my music has gotten recognition from my peers and has reached the level it has. I was talking with somebody the other day, and we were discussing how I get letters from young people saying they were contemplating suicide until they heard my music and decided to give life another try. And when you hear stuff like that, it's like, 'Yeah!' That's why we do what we do.'"

 

 

 

Reunited Divas Hoping To Be Back In Vogue

Excerpt From The Toronto Star - Ashante Infantry, Entertainment Reporter

(Aug. 30, 2005) Before The Spice Girls and TLC yielded the girl group mantle to Destiny's Child, the ladies of En Vogue reigned supreme.  Before — as with The Supremes of yore — infighting and solo aspirations tore them apart, the slinky quartet (Terry Ellis, Maxine Jones, Dawn Robinson and Cindy Herron) trilled sweetly on their 1990 debut Born to Sing, which delivered four No. 1 R&B singles: "Hold On", "Lies," "You Don't Have to Worry" and "Don't Go" and earned five Grammy nominations with 1992's Funky Divas.  They threatened to eclipse the velvet-voiced Luther Vandross when they opened for him at Maple Leaf Gardens in 1993.  Then Robinson left to record a solo album, later joining the short-lived group Lucy Pearl. Jones took a break to focus on motherhood and was replaced first by Amanda Cole, then by The Jamie Foxx Show actress Rhona Bennett. Now, with Herron on maternity leave with her fourth child, Jones is back.  With the expertise of long-time producers and founder Denzil Foster and Thomas McElroy, but without major label backing, the group released Soulflowers last year to little acclaim.  The Star spoke to Ellis, 39, from her Oakland, Calif. home on the eve of the current trio's Casino Rama gig.

Flying solo:

"I'm not married, no children. I did a little acting (Batman Forever, Roc, A Different World). I'm a homebody and a crafter, I love making things: jewellery, pillows, whatever. I have a craft room, I go in there, and I just create. It's a release for me, like therapy. Most of it ends up as gifts. I have some people that are interested in these trays I'm making now; they're like vanity trays or they can be tea trays. There's a part of me that feels like if I go into selling, it may diminish some of my joy. I'm sort of finding my balance with that, because I did have my own fragrance (Terry Ellis Southern Exposure) once and that was really gratifying for me. It started out just being a marketing idea for my 1995 solo album Southern Gal and people really loved it, so I did it for real."

Group dynamics:

"The original four (myself, Cindy, Maxine and Dawn) are talking about doing a new project, but nothing has been recorded yet. Five months ago, we sang background on Stevie Wonder's first single, "So What's the Fuss," for his upcoming album and he featured us in the video.  "Our sound has evolved with time, but it still has the En Vogue signature — our harmonies and the vocals. I don't think anything has changed really except the line-up and yes, we're not topping the charts. I think that boils down to dollars and cents. For instance, when we did the Soulflowers record it was an independent record and we basically needed more marketing dollars. That's the bottom line. But my experience with En Vogue has been extremely enlightening. I can't imagine doing anything other than what we did."

En vivo:

"I'm looking forward to this trip. I love Canada. Even though we're on the road about five days a month, this is a rare show for us. We've only been there about three times. We'll be performing all the hits from En Vogue, a few songs from the Soulflowers project and a tribute medley to what we call the real funky divas — all the ladies that inspired us when we were growing up and wanting to sing, like Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight and Patti Labelle. The choreography is still on point, but the wardrobe is probably a little more downplayed than people are used to seeing; we just want to be comfortable now."

 

 

 

Ray J Is Back With A New CD Raydiation

Source: Courtney Barnes, The Courtney Barnes Group, Courtney@cbgpr.com; Katy Krassner, Sanctuary Records, Katy.Krassner@Sanctuaryrecords.com; Kevin Chiaramonte, Sanctuary Records, Kevin.Chiaramonte@Sanctuarygroup.com

(Aug. 31, 2005) LOS ANGELES -- Ray J is back and poised to take the entertainment industry by storm with the upcoming release of his new Knockout/Sanctuary CD , Raydiation and his new starring role on the popular UPN series "One on One." The show premieres Sept 19 while the CD will hit stores the following day, September 20.  The busy entertainer will also continue his high profile hosting role on the hit BET program "BET.com Countdown" where he has emerged as the networks most popular talent.  The new album, appropriately titled Raydiation, has already received wide acclaim. While it has Ray J's style written all over it, Raydiation is enhanced by the production work of hit makers such as R. Kelly, Timbaland and Rodney Jerkins, who produced the lead, blossoming single "One Wish." This sparkling mid-tempo tune, widely embraced by multiple radio formats, has spawned the epic video directed by master lensman X that's now hit the top 10 on the BET's 106 & Park Countdown. Raydiation features guest vocals by the likes of Fat Joe (Keep Sweatin,') Mya (Sexy,) R. Kelly (Quit Actin',) and sister Brandy (War Is Over). In addition to his substantial music commitments (He is the Chairman of Knockout Entertainment, which has a slate of its own releases), Ray J is also conquering the television world. Starting last year when he rocketed BET shows "BET Style" and "The BET.Com Countdown" to the top of that network's programming, Ray J has extended his reign by taking on the starring role of Darrell 'D-Mack' McGinty on the hit UPN sitcom "One On One." Playing the lead role opposite Kyla Pratt, Ray J plays her hippest new roommate in the recently reformatted show. While Pratt plays the straight role, Ray J provides great chemistry and charisma with his natural comedic timing and acting skills.

While the show tapes five days a week for three weeks of every month, Ray J will spend weekends and his week off relentlessly promoting Raydiation via live shows and appearances throughout the country and in his continuing role on BET. Starting this past August 19, Ray J has been featured on over 27,000 movie screens nationwide as part of a huge "One Wish" promotion with Movie Tunes. Also see Ray J in upcoming issues of People, US Weekly, Vibe, In Touch, and Ebony Magazines and on television everywhere.

 

 

 

Dazed by Dizzy

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail - By Gene Lees

Dizzy: The Life and Times of John Birks Gillespie By Donald L. Maggin, HarperCollins, 422 pages, $37.95

When the Second World War ended, what was deemed a revolution came to jazz. Primarily the inspiration of alto saxophonist Charlie Parker and trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, it had an enormous and disorienting effect on jazz musicians and fans alike. Some loved it, some hated it; among the latter were Benny Goodman and Louis Armstrong, whose animus lay in the fact that they not only couldn't play it, they couldn't even understand it. Contemptuously called "Chinese music" by some, it wasn't helped by the nickname attached to it: bebop, a term that trivialized the music and, to an extent, still does. So, for that matter, did the nickname given to John Birks Gillespie: Dizzy. His friends, for the most part, called him Birks. He was an extraordinarily funny man, more so onstage than off, where he was, for the most part, thoughtful and serious, and inordinately kind and generous with his knowledge, the great teacher. He once told me, "I don't know that I know that much, but what I do know, I'm willing to share."  He was occasionally -- by younger and militant black musicians -- called an Uncle Tom, but that he was not. He simply loved to be the merry Andrew on stage, not as sycophancy, but because he liked to make people laugh. He once told me, "If making people laugh makes them more receptive to my music, then I'm going to do it, and I don't care what anyone says." By those who knew him well, he was more than liked, more than respected: He was loved.

For all the deserved reverence accorded Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, I believe that Dizzy was the greatest jazz musician who ever lived, and one of the greatest musicians of any kind who ever lived. Dizzy was pure genius, equally dazzling in his powers of invention and execution. But when in high school in St. Catharines, Ont., I heard my first Parker-Gillespie record -- it was Salt Peanuts, a classic example of the hilarious Dadaism Dizzy scattered to the winds -- I thought they were crazy. Some of my friends, however, did not, especially a young trumpet player, Kenny Wheeler, who went on to become a major figure on his instrument and as a composer. If Kenny took Bird, as Parker was called, and Dizzy seriously, I felt it behoved me to find out what he heard in them. When it hit me, it hit me hard. Reflections on these and collateral matters have come with the issue within weeks of two things. One is a Gillespie-Parker CD of material largely unissued and unknown, drawn from a concert they did in New York's Town Hall on June 22, 1945, with Al Haig on piano, Curly Russell on bass and Max Roach or (on two tracks) Sidney Catlett on drums. The CD is on Uptown Records (P.O. Box 394, Whitehall, Mich., 49461, U.S.A.), and that so monumentally important a record could be issued by an almost unknown label, when the major labels are doing almost nothing to the arts but damage, is a tragedy. The other is a biography by Donald L. Maggin, Dizzy: The Life and Times of John Birks Gillespie. It contains some good stuff, especially Maggin's exploration of Dizzy's brutalized childhood and roots, going back to the Yoruba people of Africa. British writer and musician Alyn Shipton's 1999 biography Groovin' High: The Life of Dizzy Gillespie did not uncover this much of Dizzy's family background. He avoided technical discussions the reader would not understand. Maggin does address them, and the result is dismaying. It lies in the author's ignorance of music, music theory and music history. Maggin is neither a journalist nor a musician. In fact, he is a creature of politics; he was chairman of the Democratic National Committee during Jimmy Carter's presidency. There are two (at least) cardinal sins a writer can commit: One is to assume knowledge of the subject in the reader; the other is to assume lack of it. Maggin manages to commit both in the same book.

The centre of the problem is Chapter 11, in which Maggin presumes that every reader is ignorant of harmony and must be taught its essence. It is, of course, a study in which musicians often invest years. And he knows little about it. The chapter is written like pronouncements from Olympus. I had the feeling all the way through that someone had tried to explain the subject to him, probably with a tape recorder running, after which he dutifully transcribed it. So I did some checking. Donald Maggin took two or three lessons from Jill McManus, a respected New York pianist with a background as a journalist at Time magazine. Mike Longo, who played piano for Dizzy over a period of 20 years and was his close friend, gave Maggin several dissertations, which he taped, on bebop harmony and the change from what had gone before. After these lessons, he presumes to teach us about the harmonic innovations of Gillespie and Parker, which are not innovations at all. Dizzy once talked with critic and journalist Doug Ramsey about this. Ramsey recalled, "I asked him how harmony changed in the transition to bop, and he said that bop harmonies were not new, that the chord applications he, Bird, Bud Powell and the others used had all been done by Stravinsky, Bartók and Ravel. I believe he also mentioned Shostakovich. He said that what really changed with bop was rhythm, and that rhythm -- he didn't use the word 'swing' -- was the most important element in jazz." Maggin creates the impression that what was done in bebop was unprecedented. Not true, and the "technical" chapter on this subject is, as one musician put it, "eerily naive." The more significant revolution is, as Dizzy said, rhythmic. It was disconcerting when you heard it for the first time, those displacements, phrases starting and stopping in unexpected places.  Maggin writes passages which, after reading them, Allyn Ferguson, film composer and former composition teacher at Stanford, called "gobbledegook." In the egregious Chapter 11, Maggin tells us that "the early bebop players loved to spin out lines [his italics, not mine] of notes, melodic statements of odd lengths that ignored the boundaries of bars." So did Artie Shaw and, as Shaw once told me, "In the Mozart A-major quintet, I can show you a phrase that's 11 bars long followed by one that's nine, and they're completely organic."

About the flatted fifth chord that Parker and Gillespie liked, and which mid-1940s lay writers loved to make fun of, Maggin says, "Dizzy discovered the magic of the interval in 1938. . . . The flatted fifth divides the octave exactly in half; for example, a G-flat is equidistant from the two Cs that frame its octave." Oh wow! And did you know that the Earth isn't flat? The flatted fifth is used mainly in dominant chords. Maggin doesn't mention that a G-7 flat five actually contains not one but two tritones. I guess he never noticed. If you are a lay reader and don't know what a tritone is, but you are familiar with the West Side Story score, try singing the song Maria. It begins with a tritone: "Mah-reeeeee . . ." The tritone -- once known as "the devil in music" and forbidden in early polyphony -- was not infrequent in the arias of Mozart. And composer Hale Smith assures me that the minor seventh flat-five chord, sometimes called half-diminished, supposedly pioneered by Thelonious Monk (and one of the most poignant chords in all music), also goes back to Mozart. Maggin gets all bent out of shape over the chromaticism of bebop, again suggesting (by omission of any mention of precedents) that it was introduced by Parker, Gillespie, et al. Apparently he has never heard of Bizet's Variations chromatiques de concert, or Bach's Chromatic Fantasy, written in 1720. Guitarist Jimmy Raney once showed me in a piece of Bach's, a perfect tone row à la Schoenberg, using all 12 tones without a repeat, and that's about as chromatic as you can get. In the early part of the 14th century, the full chromatic scale was discussed by theorists, and it was introduced by Adrian Willaert (1480-1562) and his pupil Cypriano de Rore (1516-65). Much of the rest of the book recounts material we have already heard, and we can certainly do without yet another resurrection of the story that Charlie Parker saw a dead chicken on the road ahead, stopped, picked it up and cooked it, thereby acquiring the name Yardbird, then Bird. It isn't even certain that the story is true. Toward the end of the book, Maggin falls into eye-glazing accounts of record dates, personnel and itineraries. But the problem with biography is that it is subjective, even when written by the most disciplined scholar -- which Maggin is not -- and no form of it is more subjective than autobiography, which is inevitably self-protective. Since much history depends on autobiography, and since much information is lost forever anyway, we are compelled to genuflect to Voltaire's aphorism that history is an agreed-upon fiction. I don't think Dizzy's own autobiography, To Be Or Not To Bop, can be considered reliable. If nothing else, his humility and deference to Parker makes some of it questionable. The disservice done by Maggin's book is that it will be quoted by future writers.

Charlie Parker has been accorded more honour than Dizzy, but Dizzy was the great teacher and disseminator. Parker died young of his narcotics habit and drinking. It is easier to praise those who seemed to be miserable than those who lived well, and they make for more dramatic movies, such as Bird (about Parker), Lady Sings the Blues (Billie Holiday) and Lenny (Lenny Bruce). Dizzy lived well, with his loving wife Lorraine, into a goodly age, and died with friends such as trumpeter Jon Faddis at his side, and one of his records, an excellent compendium of his mature work called Dizzy's Diamonds, playing near his bed. But if you want to know what the mid-1940s furor was about, get the Town Hall record. I consider it a major piece of musical documentation. Dorothy Parker once wrote of a book that it should not be casually tossed aside: "It should be thrown with great force." One is tempted to say the same of Maggin's biography. Well, it's not quite that bad. Four times winner of the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award, Canadian author Gene Lees has written 16 books on music, including biographies of Oscar Peterson, Woody Herman and, most recently, Johnny Mercer. He lives in California.

 

 

 

MUSIC TIDBITS

New Fugees Single Due Next Month

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com

(August 26, 2005) *A duet from Lauryn Hill and John Legend, entitled “So High,” was released to radio outlets last weekend and has picked up considerable airplay at stations in New York, Atlanta and Washington, D.C.  "The first time I ever appeared on a major album was when I played piano on 'Everything Is Everything' from 'The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,'" Legend told Billboard.com. "I have been wanting to work with her again ever since." Meanwhile, Rolling Stone reports that the reunited Fugees will have a new single on the street as early as next month.  Group members Hill, Wyclef Jean and Pras have already started recording songs for their first new studio album since 1996’s “The Score.”  The first single, “Take it Easy,” will be released in three weeks, according to Wyclef. "You've got three individuals that have grown musically," he says of the reunion. "But we're always on the same page – that's the magic of the Fugees. The Fugees is a unique situation, the real marriage of the hood and the suburbs together. It's always exciting." Wyclef says their third album will incorporate the old-school street vibe of their 1994 debut, “Blunted on Reality.”  "Our first record that blew up in New York City was called 'Mona Lisa/Nappy Heads,'" Wyclef says. "It's like we're going back to the core of where we come from. It's that record, the minute it comes on, you be like, 'Oh, that's what I've been missing!'"

Dr. Dre Back In The Lab

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com

(August 26, 2005) "There will be another Dr. Dre solo album, without a doubt," the artist’s longtime bassist Mike Elizondo told Billboard.com about the prospect of a new album from the NWA veteran.   However, fans who have been waiting a long time for a studio follow-up to 1999’s “Dr. Dre – 2001" must remain patient, says Elizondo.  “He wants to shock the world and put something out that no one would have ever thought possible from a hip-hop artist,” the bassist adds. “He's definitely going to take his time and make sure it's right, but there will be a collection of songs that will come out as a Dr. Dre solo album." When asked if he had played on any of the tracks laid down so far, Elizondo said: "We've been working. There's a team assembled and we'll definitely continue moving forward on that."

‘Jr. Gong’ On Legacy Of Famous Father

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com

(August 26, 2005)  *Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, who was only 2-years-old when his father Bob Marley died of cancer, says he has grown to know and understand the late reggae legend through the music he left behind. "He is very much present, his spirit is very much here, but not in a superficial way. He lives through us," said Damian, who also credits his mother, former Miss World Cindy Breakspeare, with helping him to get a sense of his late father. "I know my father - through my brothers and sister and my mother, and through his music.” Marley, 27, will drop his new album “Welcome to Jamrock” on Sept. 13 via Universal.  The title track has been a fixture on urban radio, complete with its sample from Ini Kamoze’s 1983 hit produced by Sly & Robbie, “World a Music.” (“Out in the streets, they call it murder…”) 

Irie Jamboree 2K5 Set For Next Sunday September 4 in New York

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com - By Kevin Jackson

(August 25, 2005) With just under a week left before the much-anticipated third annual Irie Jamboree 2K5 unfolds at Roy Wilkins Park, Queens, New York on Sunday, September 4th the marketing campaign is going very well according to Bobby Clarke, CEO of Irie Jam Radio. Dubbed as the hottest reggae ticket for the summer, the event will feature Damian ‘Jr. Gong’ Marley, Beenie Man, Sizzla, Elephant Man, Barrington Levy, Sanchez, Richie Spice, Kip Rich and a host of other rising starts.  Last year's festival attracted over ten thousand patrons and featured reggae stars Shabba Ranks, Luciano, Freddy McGregor, Half-Pint and others. The event was top notch in every way - from performances and production to the easy access patrons had entering the venue. This year's festival promises to be even better.  For more information call 1888 IRIE NYC or visit the web site at www.iriejamboree.com

TOK Members Part With Former Manager

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com - By Kevin Jackson

(August 25, 2005) The members of boy band TOK are no longer being managed by Olu Burns. Burns had assumed management of the group after they severed ties with one time manager Richard ‘Shams’ Browne.  Sunday night, Backstage at the television show “Rising Stars,” group member Alex said the group decided to move on and handle its own affairs after things with Burns didn’t work out they way that the group had intended.   “When it comes to business we had to make a few decisions. He is doing is thing in New York and we are doing our thing here in Jamaica.  It’s all about getting TOK to the forefront. We have been basically managing ourselves for three years now.” Burns himself is a former recording artist. The Chicago native is a former house music producer who scored a platinum selling single in the early 1990’s with French Kiss. He also released two albums with Epic Records under the moniker Lil Louis. Alex added, “The workload has gotten even harder for us now, but at the end of the day it is putting out some good work that people will remember you for. We are not going to let anyone or anything hold us back.” TOK’s former local chart topper “Footprints” is riding the Billboard R&B Singles chart, and at last check it was already in the Top 40 portion of the chart.  Alex says the group always knew that the song had the potential to crossover outside of Jamaica.  “We always believed in Footprints. It’s a very powerful song. That song was written following the death of my brother in 2003 due to gun violence. We had to make our voices heard as far as the violence is concerned,” he said.   TOK’s latest album “Unknown Language” went gold in Japan (100,000 units) two and a half weeks after it was released. The group’s next single set for international release is “Hey Ladies” from Donovan Bennett’s Jonkanoo rhythm. 

Quincy Wants His ‘Vibe’ Back

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com

(Aug. 29, 2005) *Vibe magazine founder Quincy Jones wants to buy back the hip hop publication he started in 1994 as a rival to Rolling Stone.   The famed music producer has joined with hedge fund BayStar Capital to offer $100 million to owner Freeman Spogli & Co., a person close to the matter tells Deal.com A source tells the Web site that Jones already has a minority stake in the venture. The bid, however, would give the bidding consortium a controlling stake, allowing Jones more input in the day-to-day operations. Time Inc. stepped to the plate in 1994 as the initial backers for Jones' new publication. Then-editor Jonathan Van Meter said at the time that he envisioned "as a black musical Rolling Stone," geared toward 16- to 35-year-olds. Two years later, Jones formed Vibe Ventures TV producer David Salzman and publishing executive Robert Miller to buy Vibe magazine from Time's Ventures division. In 1997, Freeman Spogli and Jones paid $42 million for controlling interests in Spin magazine, rolling it into New York-based Vibe/Spin Ventures LLC. That entity was a partnership between Freeman Spogli, Miller, Salzman and Jones.  Since 1997, Vibe has been controlled by Miller Publishing Group LLC which was formed by Freeman Spogli to purchase the magazines.

Xscape Reunites For Seagram’s Tour

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com

(Aug. 29, 2005) A reunited Xscape, Lil’ Mo, Raheem DeVaughn and Tela will headline Seagram’s Live 2005 24-city tour, beginning Sept. 16 in the Bay Area.   The trek will benefit the job training and housing initiatives of the national social service organization One Hundred Black Men, Inc. To celebrate the kick-off of the tour, Seagram’s Gin is presenting an exclusive, national promotion, the 2005 Seagram's Live Diamonds and Ice Escape with Xscape Sweepstakes, where one lucky winner will receive an all-expense paid trip for two to Los Angeles for a  $25,000 jewellery shopping spree in Beverly Hills with the ladies of Xscape and other artists on the tour.   The winner of the shopping spree will also receive tickets and VIP passes to attend the Los Angeles engagement of Seagram’s Live on September 18, 2005. Consumers over the age of 21 can log on to the interactive tour website www.SeagramsGin.com for details about this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.   

Lil Jon, Kelly nab BMIs

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com

(Aug. 29, 2005) *Lil Jon and R. Kelly were named Songwriters of the Year at the 2005 BMI Urban Awards, held Saturday in Miami Beach. Each received four "most performed song" awards. "Yeah!," written by Sean Garrett, Lil Jon and Patrick "j.Que" Smith, was named Song of the Year, Kanye West received Producer of the Year honours and EMI Music Publishing was awarded the BMI Crystal for Urban Publisher of the Year. The first Urban Ringtone Award went to Lil Jon and Craig D. Love for "Freek-A-Leek." A highlight of the gala was a tribute to urban funk legends Charlie Wilson and The GAP Band, who were named BMI Icons for their "enduring influence on generations of music makers."  For a complete list of 2005 BMI Urban Awards winners, please visit www.bmi.com/urban.  

Rock Star: INXS

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Vinay Menon

(Aug. 28, 2005) By any sensible prediction, it should have been a disaster. INXS was searching for a new lead singer to replace Michael Hutchence? And they were hoping to hook this New Sensation by casting their Aussie lines into the swirling vortex known as "reality" TV? Oh. God. No. But since its July 11 premiere, Rock Star: INXS has been an inexplicable joy. Unlike other karaoke snooze-a-paloozas, the contestants can actually — wait for it — sing! They have stage presence, charm, character, verve, talent. Some memorable performances already include MiG Ayesa's rendition of Frampton's "Baby, I Love Your Way" and Jordis Unga's mesmerizing cover of Bowie's "The Man Who Sold The World." And heading into Week 7, Oakville's J.D. Fortune has become the show's most intriguing (read: controversial) performer. Throw in a raucous crowd, Mark Burnett production values, a fire-and-brimstone backing band, Dave Navarro's sweet guidance, and host Brooke Burke's retina-scorching wardrobe, and you have one of this summer's guilty pleasures.

Roy Hargrove

Excerpt
from The Toronto Star - Ashante Infantry

 (Aug. 28, 2005) Roy Hargrove is a first-rate trumpeter, arranger and composer. He's got the straight-ahead jazz chops — all abstract and sophistication — but the 35-year-old Texan can also get down and funky with rap and R&B. And as the crowd discovered during June's show with his RH Factor band at the Downtown Jazz Festival, he sings too. Two hours into a show that ended well past midnight with countless encores, his spontaneity and musicianship came together: He stepped to the microphone, trumpet by his side, eyes closed, crooning softly, then scatting and finally wailing to the sound of a standing O. Later he shuffled to the rear of the stage, back to the audience, shaking his head — either awed or embarrassed. The talent is a given; it's inspiring to see the passion. (Fans can catch him, Gerald Albright and Hubert Laws on Def Jazz. The CD has smooth jazz versions of R&B, rap and hip-hop classics, such as Jay-Z's "Can I Get A . . .," LL Cool J's "Doin' It" and Method Man's "All I Need.")

Keys To Resurrect 'MTV Unplugged'

Source:  Associated Press

(Aug. 30, 2005) MiamiAlicia Keys has resurrected “MTV Unplugged.”  The singer and pianist has performed an acoustic set for the dormant MTV series, to air Sept. 23. MTV also announced Tuesday that the show will first premiere Sept. 15 on Overdrive, MTV's broadband network. “I've always been a very big fan of the show and when they stopped doing it, I was like, what happened to ‘MTV Unplugged?' I specifically went in there and said we have to do an ‘Unplugged,”' Keys she said. Keys' performance, filmed July 14 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, is a group effort. Mos Def, Common and Damian Marley are her guests, as well as Maroon 5's Adam Levine.  “Adam Levine and I remade the Rolling Stones' classic ‘Wild Horses' and it is right up my alley, that whole style” Keys said. “It has a style of its own but still stays very true to the classic arrangement and I love it.” Previous bare-bones performances on “Unplugged,” which debuted in 1989, include those by Eric Clapton, Nirvana and Jay-Z. Dashboard Confessional and Shakira were two of the most recent acts on the series back in 2002. After Keys' “MTV Unplugged” episode airs, it will be released as a CD and DVD on October 11.

 
  

 

 

::CD RELEASES::

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Earth, Wind & Fire, Collection: That's the Way of the World/All 'N All, Sony
J-Live, Hear After, Penalty (Ryko)
Kanye West, Late Registration, Roc-A-Fella
Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz, Whaaat!!! Okaaay!!! [DualDisc], Madacy
Macy Gray, Live in Las Vegas, Nutech Digital
Our Lady Peace, Healthy in Paranoid Times, Sony
Percy Sledge, Hit Songs of Percy Sledge, Curb
Rihanna, Music of the Sun, Def Jam

Tuesday, September 6, 2005

50 Cent, Massacre [CD & DVD], Aftermath
David Banner, Certified, Universal
Howard Jones, Revolution of the Heart, Koch
Jeffrey Osborne, From the Soul, Koch
Sarah McLachlan, Bloom: Remix 2, Arista
Sloan, Navy Blues, Koch
Turk, Still a Hot Boy, Laboratory

 

 

 

::FILM NEWS::

 

 

Constant Gardener Relevant, Dramatic, Complex

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Peter Howell, Movie Critic

(Aug. 31, 2005) The Constant Gardener is set in current times and deals with urgent issues of globalization and First World complicity in the exploitation of Third World people.  Yet this superlative drama, the release of which signals the start of the fall awards season, feels deeply rooted in the consciousness of the 1970s and early 1980s. It harkens back to an era when movies about socially relevant causes came without irony and with the conviction that wide exposure could bring about needed changes. In other words, this isn't your usual multiplex offering.  Brazil's Fernando Meirelles directs from Jeffrey Caine's screenplay taken from the John le Carré bestseller of the same name. The result is a fruitful hybrid of styles. Meirelles' kinetic visual style, which helped make his 2002 breakthrough City of God such an intense experience, finds a counterpoint in le Carré's carefully laid narrative strategies. The movie sticks to the essentials of le Carré's story, but the emotional impact is entirely different, especially in the Kenyan sequences where we also learn something about the people and the land.  It's a movie that can be perceived as a thriller, as a political drama or as a simple love story, the latter being one of the most poignant romantic matches seen this year. The fracturing of time in establishing scenes leads us down several different roads at once, but they will all arrive at the same destination: understanding the circumstances and motives behind a pair of suspicious deaths at the outset of the film.  Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz play Justin and Tessa Quayle, a most unlikely married couple, who first meet in London. Justin is a buttoned-down career diplomat for the British government, who values discretion as much as he does his well-tended garden. Rachel is an excitable social activist, 20 years her husband's junior, who speaks her mind on any and every cause, from the Iraq War to the flexible ethics of western governments and multinational drug firms.

It's the latter impulse that makes The Constant Gardener as current as today's headlines. Le Carré fashioned his story on news reports of drug firms using Third World nations as inexpensive but illegal testing grounds for medicines that haven't been approved by western health authorities. The author went so far as to include background materials to bolster his case, but Meirelles wisely avoids attempting to transpose everything from the page to the screen.  Instead, he simply points us to the many deceptions and justifications that are the stuff of modern business and government, which seem ever more entangled. Justin's fellow diplomats Sandy Woodrow (Danny Huston), and Sir Bernard Pellegrin (a wonderfully sleazy Bill Nighy) see their job as simply facilitators, greasing the wheels of international trade and avoiding public embarrassment at every turn. They also have personal agendas, which they wish to see advanced without incident.  So does Sir Kenneth Curtiss (Gerald McSorley), a drug tycoon, who sees nothing wrong with sacrificing many African lives to help perfect a drug that might save the lives of millions of people in developed countries.  As the cynical Woodrow puts it, "We're not paid to be bleeding hearts."  Justin watches with impotent fatalism as Tessa sets off on a personal mission to Kenya, seeking the truth about the pharmaceutical industry's involvement in illegal — and often fatal — human tests.  He's convinced she's having an affair, but he is too meek to act. That suddenly changes when he receives the news from Woodrow, as Justin calmly tends the plants in his wood-panelled office, that Tessa's mission to Kenya has reached a terrible end.  Justin discovers a conscience he didn't realize he had, becoming both a detective of the mind and the heart. As he delves into the facts of his wife's case, he grows appalled by what his government has allowed to happen. Yet he also falls more deeply in love with a woman he realizes he hasn't really known before.  The role fits Fiennes almost too easily, since he's more than capable of playing the mild-mannered type. Yet in the shadings he brings to his character, as he becomes more aware of his prior lack of insight, he delivers a performance that ranks amongst the best he's ever done.

The same can also be said of Weisz, best known for her comical turns in The Mummy franchise, who demonstrates dramatic roles are also well within her grasp.  The Constant Gardener is a well-tended tale, all the more so because Meirelles resists the urge to lecture or to draw lines of division too deeply. He and cameraman Cesar Charlone frequently pull the lens back to reveal everyday life in the shantytowns of Nairobi and other impoverished Kenyan locals, where life goes on even as some plot ways to sell it to the highest bidder.  There are heroes and villains in this movie, but they can't always be identified as such and reference points constantly shift. The movie is every bit as complicated as modern morality, but it is also as pure and simple as a true love's conviction.

This Charming, Intense Man

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail - By Caroline Byrne

(Aug. 26, 2005) London — Ralph Fiennes is holding court at the Dorchester Hotel, uncomfortably performing the actor's version of speed dating. The intensely private star of The Constant Gardener is promoting his romantic thriller, which opens in wide release next Wednesday, and seated across from him at three roundtables are 24 reporters firing random questions: Would he die for love? Film's most magnificent brooder pauses: "On these things we don't really know until it is asked of us." How did he make himself cry during filming? Fiennes shifts in his seat, his voice softening: "You sort of have to find some place in yourself where you are vulnerable and raw. It's hard to say what that is." Why do so many of Fiennes' leading ladies never make it to the end of the film? Finally, Fiennes laughs. "Jennifer Lopez did. She wasn't going to go." Excellent. Ralph Fiennes getting bitchy about J. Lo, his Maid in Manhattan co-star. Now we're getting somewhere. But the 42-year-old pro gets right back to business. He doesn't let down his guard until a reporter for a teen magazine asks Fiennes -- also cast as evil wizard Lord Voldemort in the upcoming Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire -- what magical power he'd like in real life. Does he want to fly? Be invisible? Hold back time? No. "I'd like to be able to clear away all anxiety and sleep easily. Like that," says Fiennes, snapping his fingers. "So when I was tired and I lay down instead of my head going brrrm, brrrm, brrrm, it would just go like that," he says. Snap. Fiennes has issues. He's a difficult interview, alternately aloof, superior and charming. Vanity Fair magazine portrayed him as an arrogant genius, an apt description for an actor of Olivier-like proportions. But he can also be rather fetching with a sharp sense of humour.

He doesn't miss a beat when asked about his tempestuous reputation with the media. "You're not quite Russell Crowe swinging a telephone," I venture later, in a one-on-one interview. "Oh, the phone is right here," Fiennes jokes, flashing his trademark maniacal smile and pointing to a large white handset. Fair enough. Fiennes has been burned before. The British tabloids whipped up a frenzy of Oedipal proportions in the mid-90s when Fiennes left his then-wife Alex Kingston (Dr. Elizabeth Corday on the television series ER) and moved in with Francesca Annis, a British actress 18 years his senior. At the time, Annis was performing Gertrude, on-stage mother to Fiennes's Hamlet. Fiennes's own mother had died in 1993 of breast cancer. During the same tumultuous period, Fiennes's career was in overdrive. He'd trained at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and won over critics with his portrayal of Heathcliff in a 1992 version of Wuthering Heights. Stephen Spielberg cast him as S.S. Commandant Amon Goeth in Schindler's List the following year, and his superb performance landed Fiennes his first Academy Award nomination. He followed up with Quiz Show in 1994 and another Oscar nomination in 1996 for the smouldering Hungarian count Laszlo de Almasy in The English Patient. Women still recall his bodice-ripping smile with a short intake of breath. The two unofficial rules to a successful Ralph Fiennes interview emerge quickly enough: 1) No questions about his romantic life; and 2) Don't ask why he's drawn to so many dark and brooding roles. I decide to take a punt anyway. "Can I ask whether you're still with your long-term partner?" I say tentatively, still eyeing the telephone. "No, because there is not much information out," Fiennes says. "Do you mean no, I can't ask you? Or . . ." I begin. "No," he interrupts, any trace of a smile long gone.

Next question. He's played a Nazi, two mentally disturbed killers and a list of tortured souls too long to mention, so why does he hate the "dark, brooding" question? "I don't necessarily hate it," he says, then relents. "Okay, on a bad day I might hate it. In my head I don't think: 'I'm going for a dark brooding role.' What happens is that you read a character and you think, here's a story, here's a person. That's what happens. That makes a movie or a play I want to be in. And then you do these events and people say 'Oh, you play all those dark brooding roles.' " Despite doing a good line in evil, Fiennes has held onto his sex-symbol status for more than a decade, but he seems genuinely uncomfortable with the attention. "Look, it's great to be an actor and if people want to see you and they like your work, then I suppose one should be flattered if, for them, you might be a sex symbol, but it has no relationship to the minute-to-minute of how I live my life," he says. "I feel uncomfortable when I'm asked about it and the 'SS' word comes up because I don't know what it means. One person's sex symbol is another person's turnoff." It's been a long road from Suffolk, England, to Hollywood 'SS.' The London-based actor grew up the oldest of six artistic siblings, including actor Joseph Fiennes.  His father, Mark, was a photographer and mother, Jini, a painter and acclaimed novelist writing under the name Jennifer Lash. But with little money or time to write, the family moved constantly -- at least 15 times in Britain and Ireland -- fixing up houses for resale. Perhaps this is why Fiennes admits he is so fond of certainty. ("Not routine," he says. "Certainty.") It may also explain his affinity with his latest character in The Constant Gardener, an adaptation of the book by British spy novelist John le Carré. Directed by Fernando Meirelles, an Oscar nominee for his work on City of God, The Constant Gardener is part love story, part political thriller. Fiennes plays Justin Quayle, a reliable, earnest middle-aged British diplomat posted in Nairobi to oversee aid distribution. But Quayle's more interested in pottering around the hothouse than helping his feisty young bride (played by the immensely likeable Rachel Weisz) who stumbles on a conspiracy involving the pharmaceutical industry and the British High Commission. Her murder forces Quayle to put aside the watering can to discover the truth behind her death.

Fiennes enjoyed researching the role, particularly visiting the British High Commission in Nairobi and swapping tales with le Carré, a former MI5 agent. "I think I got very quickly how clever [diplomats] were at apparently giving information, very good at answering, talking, engaging, but not giving much away," Fiennes said. "In every embassy there's always a secret-service person. I remember talking to John le Carré and he was saying he always likes to try and spot who was the spook in the embassy." Fiennes admits the idea of taking on the world doesn't come any easier to him than his character, Quayle. Fiennes doesn't wear his politics on his sleeve like many of the Hollywood A-list, but he's not shy about venturing an opinion on the British government or Iraq: "I couldn't see the logic unless Saddam was really about to press a button and our cities were about to be incinerated. And that proved to be blatantly false and I think the whole thing feels very dodgy to me." Luckily, Fiennes doesn't have to be worrying about saving the world again for a while. He wrapped the fourth Harry Potter in February, and while he refuses to reveal his deal, the series is sure to go to seven instalments. Meanwhile, he has three additional projects due for release including Merchant Ivory's The White Countess.  This time, he promises, his leading lady makes it to the end of the film. "I don't only want to play tragic love stories. The Merchant Ivory film I just did is a love story and both partners get through to the end, intact. Together."

 

 

 

FILM TIDBITS

Egoyan Film Receives U.S. Slap

Excerpt from The Toronto Star (Canadian Press)

(Aug. 25, 2005) U.S. censors officially stamped a harsh "NC-17" rating yesterday on Atom Egoyan's Where the Truth Lies, a move the Canadian director has said will sharply limit the film's American audience.  The rating was earned "for some explicit sexuality," Joan Graves of the Motion Picture Association of America said from Los Angeles.  The decision means that no one 17 or under can see the film, even with a parent or guardian.  ThinkFilm, the Toronto-based distributor for the film, has announced plans to appeal the rating board's decision.  "What we're supposed to do is rate the film the way we think most American parents would rate it," explained Graves. "We're supposed to reflect standards, not set them. Our board believes that most parents would think it's in the adult category."  Producer Robert Lantos has said many large U.S. theatre chains will not even screen NC-17 films. He argues it is "illogical" that many violent films pass muster with the U.S. ratings board while sexuality is often taboo.  Where the Truth Lies stars Colin Firth and Kevin Bacon as a comedy duo whose lives are torn asunder after a woman is found dead in their hotel suite.  The film's sex scenes, including a ménage à trois, raised eyebrows earlier this year at the Cannes Film Festival. Canadian reporter Kathleen O'Hara, who saw the film there, said it contains graphic sex.  Egoyan "would have to be living in a cave if he thought his film would be rated otherwise in today's America," she said.  The Hollywood Reporter said Egoyan had trimmed some scenes to try to soothe the censors but refused to alter the threesome sequence. "I guess I'm naïve," he was quoted as saying. "I really had no idea it would be a problem. I just heard the deciding factor could be thrusting. Apparently, anything over three thrusts and you're in trouble. Well, nobody told me."  Egoyan received two Oscar nominations for his 1997 film The Sweet Hereafter.  Where the Truth Lies will receive its North American premiere at the upcoming Toronto film festival. It's set to open in Canada on Oct. 7 and a week later in New York and Los Angeles.

Atlantic Film Fest To Feature 220 Movies

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail - By Gayle MacDonald

(Aug. 31, 2005) Toronto -- Celebrating its 25th year, the Atlantic Film Festival has announced a line-up of 220 movies, including Atlantic premieres by directors Thom Fitzgerald and Lasse Hallstrom. The Halifax festival opens with Fitzgerald's 3 Needles (which debuts a few days earlier at the Toronto International Film Festival), an epic that stars Chloë Sevigny, Sandra Oh, Olympia Dukakis and Lucy Liu. The event closes with An Unfinished Life from Hallstrom (The Shipping News and The Cider House Rules), whose cast includes Morgan Freeman, Robert Redford and Jennifer Lopez.  The festival, which runs Sept. 15 to 24, also will include a program called Focus on Germany, as well as retrospectives on directors Daniel Petrie Sr. and Terry Gilliam.

Cheadle Launches Darfur Aid Campaign

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com

(Aug. 30, 2005) *Actor Don Cheadle has started the campaign “Live For Darfur” in an effort to keep knowledge of the war-torn region’s genocide from slipping out of public awareness.    “Live For Darfur,” will encompass a series of events in which celebrities – from rock band U2 to Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel – work toward wrangling the world’s attention toward refugees in the Darfur region of Sudan. Next month, Cheadle will attend Save Darfur Coalition's "National Day of Action" in Washington, to address the death and disease plaguing the region. On the same day, he will participate in a National Leadership Assembly for groups to brief Save Darfur members and others on Sudanese issues. Last year, President Bush declared genocide was taking place in Sudan and called on world intervention. Since then, a long-running civil war has formally ended, but separate fighting continues to plague Darfur, where more than 2 million people have been left homeless. "The problems are very nuanced and complex and are things that we are in dire need of leadership from our government if we are going to see any change," Cheadle told AP. The actor, who has traveled to Africa three times in recent months, received an  Oscar nomination for “Hotel Rwanda,” in which he portrayed a hotel manager who saved the lives of some 1,200 refugees during the civil war in Rwanda that began in 1994. The movie has inspired him to become an activist for boosting aid to African nations whose people have been ravaged by starvation, drought and war. But Cheadle understands that these single events are a "raindrop approach" to the overall problem, and hinted at a torrent of more cohesive actions to come aimed at reaching a wider spectrum of people. "That strategy hasn't been completely put together ... but we are working toward that," he said, adding that American involvement is needed to prevent impoverished nations from becoming hotbeds of terrorism and disease. "It will have a direct impact on our citizens down the line. You can't just throw away an entire continent," he said.

Romanian Films Triumph At Copenhagen Film Fest

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail

(Aug. 30, 2005) Copenhagen -- Romanian-born director Radu Mihaileanu won awards at the Copenhagen International Film Festival for best movie and best script for Live and Become. Cristi Puiu, also of Romania, was given the Grand Jury Special Prize for his film The Death of Mr. Lazarescu at Sunday's Golden Swan ceremony. Norwegian director Bent Hamer won best director for his film Factotum. Lili Taylor, who stars in the film, was tapped best actress while the best actor title went to Ioan Fiscuteanu for his part in The Death of Mr. Lazarescu. AP

 

 

 

::TV NEWS::

 

 

TV: It's A Fall Invasion

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail - By John Doye

(Aug. 27, 2005)  Brace yourselves: The new American network TV season is filled with stories of dread and fear, but it's not all anxiety, all the time. Some of it is enormous fun. U.S. network TV (the Canadian TV season, which starts later, will be surveyed at that time) is at once fixed and extremely elastic. It is fixed in its formats — cop shows, lawyer shows, medical dramas, workplace sitcoms and family-based sitcoms. At the same time, competition from cable and the success of two hard-to-categorize series, Desperate Housewives and Lost, have forced the networks to be more creative in devising genre-bending concepts to hook viewers. This season, there are new series that qualify as cop shows, medical shows and legal dramas but in almost every case, the shows don't look, sound or feel like a traditional drama of the genre. The elasticity of American TV allows it respond quickly to changes in the American culture, to new anxieties, worries and obsessions Those who write dramas and comedies for network TV are the de facto mouthpieces for people who rarely, if ever, articulate what exists just below the surface of their imaginations. — for example, to the war in Iraq, which cable channel Showtime has taken on in the grim army series Over There. The truly dominant genre this season is the paranoid thriller. Three of the four major networks will air new dramas about the United States under attack from outside forces. ABC's Invasion, CBS's Threshold and NBC's Surface are about aliens — or something icky from another sphere — invading Planet Earth. Of course, "Earth" means the United States, so these shows are really about the U.S. under attack.

This is hardly surprising. The U.S. feels that it is, in the most authentic manner, under attack. Terrorists attacked it once and it could happen again. Travel to the U.S. these days and anyone can see the new level of anxiety and fear. This is the age of anxiety. Just as the 1950s, that era of Cold War paranoia about communism and Soviet spies, produced a rash of movies about "other" beings — Martians and zombies, mostly — this period of fear is producing its own rash of TV dramas that reflect War on Terror paranoia. Just as "Martian" equalled "Russian" in those movies, the current threatening creatures from some other place equal terrorists. Interestingly, in all three network dramas about invasion fears, the invaders lurk beneath the water. They are not far away in space, waiting to invade. Instead they are close by, close to home and more insidious. Of the three, Invasion is by far the most subtle and incisive about what fear does to family and community. It is written and created by the least likely figure — ex-Hardy Boy Shaun Cassidy. But the former teen idol has emerged as one of the most thoughtful and literary-minded TV writers. Years ago, Cassidy decided to give himself the university education he had missed and devoted his time to reading his way through Columbia University's "Great Book" course. It shows in everything he has created for television, from the remarkable American Gothic series to this new series. Invasion is about a small community and a family living through the aftermath of a hurricane and an obvious invasion by strange, malicious forces. It's about the U.S. after 9/11, and dealing with daily fears and a combative, oppressive authority. At a press conference in L.A. last month, Cassidy said of Invasion. "We're living in a society where a lot of things are being taken away from us for our own protection. There's divisiveness — very, very clearly drawn lines of divisiveness in the world, and who's an alien is kind of a subjective thing.

"I'm not making a political statement with the show, but it is certainly in the air and it's in my head and my heart so it's going to come out on the page." While Cassidy will acknowledge a political and social context, few other creators will do the same. Nobody wants to tell viewers that the show is an allegory. But that is what's going on. Even those shows that are not obviously about predatory "others," are about anxiety. Several cop shows present a United States in which criminals lurk everywhere and are especially vicious and demonic. Some are right-wing fantasies about lax, liberal laws allowing the most dangerous criminals to prey on nice, decent families. On these shows, women who are single and sexually active usually come to a very bad end. Several shows about cops or aliens are expertly made — gripping, slick and with compelling characters. As entertainment, they're cathartic. But, over all, this TV season is about everything the American audience fears and loathes. All that remains is for us to see what shows the audience adores.

 

 

 

::THEATRE NEWS::

 

 

Carmen, Lady Macbeth, Other Operatic Treats Bode Well For Fall Season

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - John Terauds, Toronto Star

(Aug. 31, 2005) An evening of opera highlights can be fun at any time of year. But there is something special about the Canadian Opera Company's Altamira Summer Concerts at Harbourfront, which are celebrating their 11th anniversary.  Last night was the first of three evenings our local grand opera company is using to put the spotlight on its new season — evidence that it's going to be a spectacular fall.  The COC's first two operas are Verdi's Macbeth, which has its first performance at the Hummingbird Centre on Sept. 22, and the perennially popular Carmen by Georges Bizet, whose curtain will rise on Sept. 29.  As is his habit, the company's general director Richard Bradshaw has plundered central and eastern Europe's opera houses for star talent. And stars they are, even if they are not well known in Toronto — yet.  The leading diva, who will play Lady Macbeth, is Hungarian singer Georgina Lukács, whom Bradshaw introduced last night as a protégée of European conductor Riccardo Muti.  After Bradshaw cued the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra from the podium last night, there came the dramatic "Pace, pace" aria from Verdi's La forza del destino, with which Lukács blew the house away well before the dwindling hurricane Katrina could breach our shores.  Lukács has a huge, dusky soprano that's strong in both upper and lower registers, ideally suited to the opera world's tragic roles.  Having repeated her bravura singing later in the program with the "Suicido" aria from Ponchielli's La Gioconda, her upcoming performance as the Scottish king's tormented wife is a tantalizing prospect.  The other singers who took turns on stage were equally compelling, especially baritone Atilla B. Kiss (another Hungarian), who will play Toreador in Carmen. Besides being ruggedly handsome, he has a big, solid and flexible voice.  Turkish-origin bass Barak Bilgili, who returns to the COC stage this season as Banquo in Macbeth, was deliciously sinister in "Le Veau d'or" from Gounod's Faust.

Russian mezzo-soprano Larissa Kostiuk, who we will see and hear as Carmen, was mesmerizing in a sorrowful, unaccompanied aria from Rimsky-Korsakov's The Tsar's Bride. She, too, will make a fabulous tragic heroine on our stage.  Among the many other treats for the audience that crowded Harbourfront's CIBC stage and the surrounding promenade were the opera company's Ensemble Studio. This group, picked for professional potential every year — and who get plenty of stage time — impressed with its high quality.  Soprano Joni Henson, whom we have watched develop over the last several years, has come into her own, as she proved in "Tacea la notte placida" from Verdi's Il Trovatore. And soprano Jessica Muirhead was enchanting in the "Song to the Moon" from Dvorák's opera Rusalka.  On the whole, it's an embarrassment of riches. With a different line-up of singers and music every night, you may want to return to the lakeside today and tomorrow. And you certainly want to catch the opera productions next month.

 

 

 

Kicks Are Mostly Visual

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Richard Ouzounian, Theatre Critic

(Aug. 31, 2005) Put down your latte, Little Grasshopper, while I tell you about Chun Yi: The Legend of Kung Fu.  Some wise masters say that the most dangerous road of all is the one called revenge, but on the basis of the show now playing at the Princess of Wales Theatre, I would say that the road which runs from Eastern mysticism to Western entertainment is an even more treacherous one.  The show's plot is classic in its simplicity: a young Chinese man who wishes to become a monk trains hard under a demanding master, undergoes temptation and finally triumphs as a Kung Fu Master.  We're used to this story (and variants thereof) being brought to us by everyone from Bruce Lee to David Carradine. But never before has it been mounted in a style so relentlessly over the top and in your face as it is here.  The lights are blinding and the music is deafening, while the cast scowl, scream and fight with mad abandon.  It's almost as though someone had taken a troupe from Cirque du Soleil, shot them full of testosterone and sent them on a trip to China.  Author/director Su Shijin obviously knew what he wanted and pursued it to the hilt. The effects are often visually stunning — in a kind of theme-park-on-steroids sort of way. With saffron-robed monks spinning through a cobalt-blue sky, there's plenty of visual stimulation.  And although there isn't all that much actual kung fu combat, the unison gymnastics and battle moves that are presented wind up looking quite effective.

The result is never boring, but — strangely enough — it never really becomes very engaging either.  It's hard not to be impressed when a show's leading man can break pieces of steel over his head, but in the end, you need more than that to stay involved.  And while it's true that the cast alternatively quiver with anger or remorse (it's good to have more than one arrow in your quiver), they offer precious little in between.  You could argue that this kind of presentation is what the material demands, but somehow, you find yourself wanting more.  This, after all, is supposed to be a story of spiritual growth, not something you might expect to see at the closing ceremonies of the 2008 Olympics.  There's also something relentlessly cloying about the way the younger members of the company are exploited and by the time a few multi-coloured dragons bound on for the finale, you wonder if there's any cliché left unturned.  With all of the swirling smoke, special aerial effects, flashing strobe lights and lushly orchestrated music, it eventually becomes obvious that the producers of this show missed their major marketing ploy.  They simply should have called it The Phantom of the Beijing Opera.

 

 

 

 ::SPORTS NEWS::

SPORTS TIDBITS

Serena ‘Flirts’ With Cosmetics Line

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com

(Aug. 30, 2005) *Tennis star Serena Williams is living out a fantasy as the new “guest creator” for Flirt! Cosmetics, a makeup line produced by Estee Lauder and sold only at Kohl's. "Flirt! fits my personality. It's young, colourful, funky, cool — it's a great fit for me," she tells AP.   Already a fashion mogul with her own clothing line Aneres, her name spelled backwards, Serena’s guest appearance with Flirt! gives her the chance to indulge in another aspect of the industry that excites her. "I've always been a beauty junkie," Williams said. "I've tried every product. I'm addicted to products. I can't go into the mall without buying everything. I said to my manager, 'I should get a beauty deal, I'm going to go broke buying all these products.’” Williams, who breezed past the first round of the U.S. Open in New York Monday, will design lip glosses that are attached to necklaces as part of her Flirt! line, due in stores February.  Meanwhile, the only obstacle hampering the two-time U.S. Open champion during her 6-1, 6-3 win over Yung-Jan Chan Monday was her $40,000 earrings, which kept dripping diamonds onto Arthur Ashe court.  Midway through the match, she ditched them altogether. If you’re wondering what Williams has planned outfit-wise for her U.S. Open run, she’s keeping it simple this time – sticking to a lilac and deep purple crisscross top with a mesh back panel and a coordinating purple pleated skirt.

 

 

 

 ::OTHER NEWS::

August Wilson To Continue Writing

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com

(Aug. 29, 2005) *In June, doctors diagnosed playwright August Wilson with inoperable liver cancer, but despite the grim news, the Pulitzer Prize-winner says he will continue to work on “Radio Golf,” the final play in his epic 10-work cycle about the black experience in 20th-century America. "He completed another draft of the play in early July," his assistant, Dena Levitin, told the Associated Press from Seattle where the 60-year-old Wilson lives with his wife, costume designer Constanza Romero, and their daughter, Azula. "Radio Golf" is currently working its way across the country playing regional theatres following an April world premiere at the Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven, Conn. The location has also played host to the first professional productions of Wilson’s "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom," "Fences," "Joe Turner's Come and Gone," "The Piano Lesson" and "Two Trains Running" – all part of the playwright’s 10-work cycle.       "Radio Golf," which takes place in the 1990s and follows a successful middle-class man's struggle with the past and present, is directed by Kenny Leon and is on view through Sept. 18 at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles where it opened Aug. 11. Another production is planned for Baltimore's Center Stage, March 24-April 30, also directed by Leon.  "We've been talking pretty regularly through all this," Gordon Davidson, founding artistic director of Center Theater (which includes the Mark Taper), told AP. A long-time champion of Wilson's work, he says the playwright didn't come to Los Angeles from Seattle for rehearsals, but he and Leon maintained contact with the author and his dramaturge, Todd Kreidler, through fax and e-mail.

"August did a lot of good work on the play and it's changed a great deal from Yale," Davidson told AP Friday. "He knew what he wanted to do, and he was up to doing the work." "We are close to being finished with (the changes)," Leon confirmed. "This time, though, it has been a different process. August wasn't in the room. So I flew back and forth to Seattle and LA. The only void has been not having August right there beside me, saying, `Let's try this.' "It's always been about the work and that's what's so amazing. For 22 years, he has carried the burden of producing these plays about African-American culture in America. The same energy and effort he gave to `Jitney,' `Fences' and `Gem of the Ocean,' is here. In spite of his health issues, he's coming at it like a fighter, a soldier. I have been impressed and amazed.”  The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Friday edition said his physicians had recommended drug therapy followed by a liver transplant, but the disease proved too far advanced. Wilson told the newspaper that doctors have given him three to five months to live.  "He's taking (the cancer) very well, with a lot of strength and determination," his wife told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "It's so hard when an illness falls on you. He has so many plans for working."  “It's not like poker, you can't throw your hand in," Wilson told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "I've lived a blessed life. I'm ready."

 

 

 

Harvey Returns As Host Of BET Comedy Awards

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com

(August 26, 2005) *Gearing up for its annual celebration of black comedy next month, BET trotted out host Steve Harvey before reporters earlier this week to promote the September 27 telecast of the 2005 BET Comedy Awards. By his side was  the network’s Senior VP of BET Music Programming and Talent, Stephen Hill, who warned that viewers may be “reaching for a respirator” by the end of the show.   “With a year’s worth of material like – oh, I don’t know – Michael Jackson, ‘Being Bobby Brown,’ sending the space shuttle up when it was still broke, there’s gonna be a lot of humour and a lot of things for people to draw on,” Hill said of the event, which honours the year’s funniest performances in film, television and stand-up. Martin Lawrence has been chosen to receive the 2005 BET Comedy Icon Award for his body of work and contribution to the field of comedy. The event will operate under the theme, “Oh! No They Didn't," with Harvey returning as the ringmaster for a second straight year.  “I’ve always been a big fan of BET and I’ve always stayed with BET no matter where my career has gone,” Harvey said Wednesday. “BET has been major in my career, and I’m grateful that we have this wonderful relationship where we keep an eye on one another.”   Among the guests schedule to appear on the show is the comedy veteran Paul Mooney, who raised eyebrows last year with his Coon Awards bit that “honoured” the likes of Michael Jackson and actor Cuba Gooding Jr.  So why court controversy again by bringing Mooney back?    “Paul Mooney brings an edge,” Hill told EUR’s Lee Bailey. “Quite frankly, he brought part of the edge to Richard Pryor, so Richard Pryor was divisive. I think to us, I would say as a people and as a TV show, we welcome the divisiveness.”  “All I can say is if you put me on the Coon Award list, just have the cameras rolling because a lot of sh*t gon’ pop off,” Harvey added. “Ima go out there and knock [Mooney’s] old ass out. That’s all I got to say. You can give that award to Cuba Gooding Jr., he ain’t had a fight since he was what? Eight? Nine?”

In addition to Paul Mooney, comedian Cheryl Underwood is also scheduled to perform during the two-hour show, which will be taped on Sept. 25 from the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Southern, California.  While the guest list is still in its early stages, Harvey took it upon himself to embellish the show’s celeb factor, adding the names: “Jay-Z, Ludacris, Patti Labelle, The Roots, Gladys Knight – a lil’ something for everybody. Earth Wind & Fire, Whitney and Bobby gon’ do a special R&B compilation album that night, it’s gonna be a wonderful night of entertainment. Beyonce, Prince said he’s gonna do a couple of numbers, Michael Jackson’s flying back in the country just FOR this.” Evidently, the comedy has already begun five weeks before the show is scheduled to begin.  Eighteen awards will be handed out during the night, including a statue in the new category, Outstanding DVD Release.  "The Bernie Mac Show," "Girlfriends" and "My Wife and Kids" are the top nominated television shows with eight, six and five nods respectively, while the "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" rules the box office categories with a record seven nominations. (See complete list of nominees below.) The Platinum Mic Stand-Up Award will be given to a stand-up comedian featured on the network who has enjoyed break-out success this year and will be decided by BET viewers. Through Sept. 24, fans can log onto http://www.bet.com to cast votes for their favourite comic.  Harvey says BET has been the biggest vehicle for unknown talent to get a leg up in the game.    “‘Comic View’ has been a stellar show for a long time, and I think that it gives a lot of young cats the opportunity to hone their craft and their skills,” he said. “Comedy clubs ain’t what they used to be in like 1985, 86, 88, where you could just go and work 50 weeks a year in a comedy club if you wanted to. So the only format these cats got is still what’s always been out there under the radar – the chitlin’ circuit – and hopefully BET’s ‘Comic View’ gives them young cats who you can’t see anywhere else a shot.” The BET Comedy Awards will kick off with red carpet arrivals during a half-hour Pre-Show at 8:30 p.m. Tickets range from $25 - $50 and are available through Ticketmaster outlets, online at http://www.ticketmaster.com or at the Pasadena Civic Center box office.  After last year’s telecast, Harvey said that BET had better invite him back this year to host the show, or the network would’ve been left wondering who set their entire operation on fire.

“I travel with a can of gas, because if some sh*t jump off, I’ll burn your building down,” Harvey cracked, sparking a room full of laughter. “I have no problem. As black people, we will start a fire as soon as we’re pissed off. And I keep a can of gas in my car in the event that BET had jacked me and not have invited me back. BET, the Pasadena Civic Auditorium – all that’s gone.”  When Hill countered that the price of gas might make him think twice about his arson, Harvey said soberly cracked: “Yeah, at $3 a gallon, it’s gonna be some small fires.”

Here is a complete list of BET COMEDY AWARDS nominees:

Outstanding Comedy Series
* Girlfriends -- UPN
* Half & Half -- UPN
* My Wife And Kids -- ABC
* That's So Raven -- DISNEY CHANNEL
* The Bernie Mac Show – FOX

Outstanding Comedy Variety Series
* Comic View -- BET
* Coming To The Stage -- BET
* MADtv -- FOX
* P. Diddy Presents the Bad Boys of Comedy -- HBO
* Saturday Night Live – NBC

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series
* Bernie Mac, The Bernie Mac Show -- FOX
* Damon Wayans, My Wife and Kids -- ABC
* Duane Martin, All of Us -- UPN
* Flex Alexander, One on One -- UPN
* Reggie Hayes, Girlfriends – UPN

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series
* Eve, Eve -- UPN
* Kellita Smith, The Bernie Mac Show -- FOX
* Raven-Symone, That's So Raven -- DISNEY CHANNEL
* Tisha Campbell-Martin, My Wife and Kids -- ABC
* Tracee Ellis Ross, Girlfriends – UPN

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series
* Donald Faison, Scrubs -- NBC
* Jeremy Suarez, The Bernie Mac Show -- FOX
* Khalil Kain, Girlfriends -- UPN
* Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Listen Up -- CBS
* Tony Rock, All of Us – UPN

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series
* Camille Winbush, The Bernie Mac Show -- FOX
* Dee Dee Davis, The Bernie Mac Show -- FOX
* Sherri Shepherd, Less Than Perfect -- ABC
* Telma Hopkins -- Half & Half - UPN
* Terri J. Vaughn, All of Us – UPN

Outstanding Directing For A Comedy Series
* All of Us, UPN -- Debbie Allen, Alfonso Ribiero
* Girlfriends, UPN -- Sheldon Epps, Mary Lou Belli, Leonard R. Garner Jr., Katy Garretson, Roger Christiansen
* My Wife and Kids, ABC -- Dean Lorey, Kim Wayans, Damien Wayans, Jim Vallely, Ron Moseley, Annice Parker, James Wilcox, George O. Gore II, Vito Giambalvo, Randy Fletcher, Craig Wayans, Mattie Curruthers, Tisha Campbell
* One on One, UPN -- Ken Whittingham, Brian K. Roberts, Maynard Virgil, Chip Hurd, Mary Lou Belli
* The Bernie Mac Show, FOX -- Linda Mendoza, Warren Hutcherson, Victor Nelli Jr

Outstanding Writing For A Comedy Series
* All of Us, UPN -- Arthur Harris, Stacy A. Littlejohn, Lori Lakin, Jewel Wormley, Josh Wolf, Demetrius A. Bady, Jared Bush, Byron Hord, Ray Lancon, John Simmons, Rob Rosell, Chad Drew, Betsy Borns,
* Girlfriends, UPN -- Mara Brock Akil, Mark Alton Brown, Dee LaDuke, Veronica Chambers, Michael B. Kaplan, Karin Gist, Tim Edwards, Regina Y. Hicks, Time Edwards, Michele Marburger, Kevin Marburger, Shauna Robinson, Prentice Penny
* Half & Half, UPN -- Yvette Lee Bowser, Jamie Wooten, Beth Seriff, Geoff Tarson, Carla Banks Waddles, Micaela Feeley, David M. Matthews, Chanuncey B. Raglin-Washington, Heather MacGillvray, Linda Mathious, Temple Northup, Winifred Hervey, Bill Fuller, Jim Pond, David L. Moses, Carla Banks Waddles
* My Wife and Kids, ABC -- Don Reo, Kerry Parker, Rodney Barnes, Craig Wayans, Damien Wayans, Valencia Parker, Kim Wayans, Tony Hicks, Ron Zimmerman, Kevin Knotts, Elvira Wayans, Dean Lorey, Ayesha Carr, Kevin Rooney
* The Bernie Mac Show, FOX -- Peter B. Aronson, Marc Abrams, Michael Benson, Richard Appel, Warren Hutcherson, Kate Angelo, John Riggi, Jerry Collins

Outstanding Theatrical Film
* Are We There Yet? -- Columbia Pictures
* Beauty Shop -- MGM Pictures
* Diary of a Mad Black Woman -- Lions Gate Films
* Hitch -- Columbia Pictures
* Mr. 3000 -- Touchstone Pictures

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Theatrical Film
* Bernie Mac, Guess Who -- Columbia Pictures
* Ice Cube, Are We There Yet? -- Columbia Pictures
* Shemar Moore, Diary of a Mad Black Woman -- Lions Gate Films
* Tyler Perry, Diary of a Mad Black Woman -- Lions Gate Films
* Will Smith, Hitch -- Columbia Pictures

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Theatrical Film
* Angela Bassett, Mr. 3000 -- Touchstone Pictures
* Gabrielle Union, The Honeymooners -- Paramount Pictures
* Kimberly Elise, Diary of a Mad Black Woman -- Lions Gate Films
* Mo'Nique, Hair Show -- UrbanWorks Entertainment
* Queen Latifah, Beauty Shop -- MGM Pictures

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Theatrical Film
* Andre 3000, Be Cool -- MGM Pictures
* Bernie Mac, Ocean's Twelve -- Warner Brothers Studios
* Cedric "The Entertainer," Be Cool -- MGM Pictures
* Chris Rock, The Longest Yard -- Columbia Pictures
* Don Cheadle, Ocean's Twelve -- Warner Brothers Studios

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Theatrical Film
* Christina Milian, Be Cool -- MGM Pictures
* Cicely Tyson, Diary of a Mad Black Woman -- Lions Gate Films
* Nia Long, Alfie --- Paramount Pictures
* Regina King, Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous -- Warner
  Brothers Studios
* Wanda Sykes, Monster In Law -- New Line Cinema

Outstanding Writing For A Theatrical Film
* Beauty Shop, Kate Lanier, Norman Vance Jr., Audrey Wells
* Diary of a Mad Black Woman, Tyler Perry
* Hair Show, Andrea Wiley, Sherri McGee, Devon Watkins
* She Hate Me, Michael Genet, Spike Lee
* The Cookout, Queen Latifah, Shakim Comprere

Best Performance In An Animated Theatrical Film
* Chris Rock, Madagascar -- DreamWorks Pictures
* Jada Pinkett-Smith, Madagascar - DreamWorks Pictures
* Raven-Symone, Kim Possible -- DISNEY CHANNEL
* Samuel L. Jackson, The Incredibles -- Walt Disney Pictures
* Will Smith, Shark Tale -- DreamWorks Pictures

Platinum Mic Stand-Up Award
* Adele Givens
* Alex Thomas
* DL Hughley
* Kevin Hart
* Sheryl Underwood

Outstanding DVD Release
* Bruce Bruce, Bruce Bruce -- Ventura Distribution
* Chris Rock, Never Scared -- Warner Home Video
* Dave Chappelle, Chappelle Show, 2nd Season -- Paramount Home Video
* DL Hughley, Live -- Ventura Distribution
* Steve Harvey, One Man -- 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Outstanding Directing For A Theatrical Film
* Beauty Shop, Billie Woodruff
* Be Cool, F. Gary Gray
* Diary of a Mad Black Woman, Darren Grant
* Hair Show, Leslie Small
* She Hate Me, Spike Lee

 

 

 

Real Life Lady Rap CEO Releases Gritty Novel

Source: Gil Robertson; 770-427-2878; pr@robertsontreatment.com

(Aug. 29, 2005) Lydia Harris, Rap label CEO, entrepreneur and wife of convicted drug kingpin Michael “Harry O” Harris travels deep into the trenches of some of the most notorious villains in the music industry in her autobiographical book “Married To The Game.” A real life, urban-Mafioso tale of love, loyalty, deceit and betrayal, Harris shows how she survived and stayed alive in the treacherous world of the rap music.   “Every business is a game. It can be played straight crooked or well but the bad thing about it is when you play the game too well it gets scary and the game starts playing you,” says Harris of the book. “After everything that I’ve been through, I can honestly say this book is a testimony to my faith,” she continues.  For so long Harris has “walked in silence” when it came to the on-goings of her life, now she’ll get to tell her side of the story of being a woman that breathes, lives and understands what it is like to be in the game.   “People  have tried to silence me…my life has been threatened, my home has been burglarized…my dog was shot and killed and for awhile I could no longer feel safe in houses and apartments so I lived in hotel rooms under aliases and hired bodyguards.”

More than just another biography from the urban mob, “Married To The Game” is ultimately one woman’s story of survival in a game that nearly began to play her. It is inspirational look at how Harris overcame the trials and tribulations of being thrown into a world in which she encountered more pain than most, as well as insurmountable lies and scare tactics that were thrown her way as a means to take her down.  “I was introduced to it on a blind date 16 years ago and I have had numerous wanted and unwanted rendezvous with it. Some good and a lot bad. I have seen record labels come and go with my own artists pulling up in VWs and pulling away in Cadillac Escalades never looking back. I’ve had everything from Lear Jets to death threats but through it all I’m still married to the game!” The poignantly gritty, chilling biography of Lydia Harris entitled “Married To The Game” hits bookstores in September 2005.

 

 

 

Olsen Incorporated

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Vinay Menon

(Aug. 31, 2005) Smiling amicably, and draped in silky shawls, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen amble into their hotel suite.  "It's freezing in here," says Ashley. Or maybe it was Mary-Kate; the introductions unfolded so quickly yesterday afternoon, it took a minute to get oriented.  Either way, it is chilly. So their publicist shuts down the air conditioner as a make-up artist and hair stylist prep the world's most famous twins for something that's become second nature: a photo shoot.  Appearances can be deceiving. And as Mary-Kate and Ashley kneel on a brown sofa to strike a pose, their petite bodies molded with identical contours, their delicate faces punctuated with eerily similar smirks, one is tempted to dismiss them as nothing more than a double-shot of fortuitous celebrity.  This would be a mistake.  At 19, and in full control of DualStar Entertainment Group, the multi-million dollar company founded in 1993 to leverage their astonishing popularity, Mary-Kate and Ashley have become, according to one industry publication, "The Most Powerful Young Women in Hollywood."  The company's mary-kateandashley brand is, indeed, a veritable powerhouse, enticing wide-eyed tweens with every imaginable lifestyle product — clothes, stationary, furniture, cosmetics, watches, rugs, perfume.  You wonder, though, if Mary-Kate and Ashley, who just finished first year at New York University, are at risk of outgrowing their fans.  "No, I think we've actually just kind of grown with our fan base," says Ashley. "Older people have been able to connect with us as we get older. And we still have our young fans — thank God they are so loyal."  This loyalty is confirmed three hours later at MuchMusic, as hundreds of fans — screaming, crying, hoisting signs, snapping cameras — assemble on Queen St. W., bathing Mary-Kate and Ashley with deafening, unconditional devotion.

"Full House still runs twice a day (in U.S. syndication)," says Mary-Kate, during our interview. "So it's pretty amazing to see how many kids come up to us and tell us they watch it every night."  From People's "50 Most Beautiful People" to Forbes' "Celebrity 100," the sisters are glowingly recognized every time observers compile "lists" based on fame and fortune and power.  But with Ashley posing alone for the July cover of Harper's Bazaar — and with nagging rumours of a sibling rift — are they growing apart? My speculation is shot down by Mary-Kate.  "Did you read that in a magazine?" she asks, her eyes playfully sarcastic. Note to self: I like this kid.  "It's not that we're growing apart or anything," explains Ashley, glancing at her sister. "It's just as you get older you grow into your own. We've always been able to distinguish ourselves as two different people, with two completely different personalities."  Many people still wrongly assume they're identical twins. Within the culture, though, they might as well be conjoined; "The Olsen Twins" is one of those media constructs that triggers a bemused rolling of green eyes.  "That was a hard transition for the press," says Mary-Kate. "To get it down that it was Mary-Kate and Ashley as opposed to the Olsen twins."  In yet another list, Fortune magazine recently estimated Mary-Kate and Ashley to be worth more than $135 million (U.S.) each. Given the pitfalls that can immolate a child actor, this dizzying, snowballing success is noteworthy. But when asked to explain it, the two shrug. Fame is so ingrained, it's almost banal.  "I think we're very fortunate and we realize that," says Mary-Kate. "It just happened, you know, through a lot of hard work."  They credit family and friends for keeping them "grounded" through years of unrelenting work. They went to school, to parties, to dances. Relatively speaking, they experienced a "normal childhood."  "Also, I think, the fact that we've been doing this since we were 9 months old and not having to jump into it and have all these new pressures, it's kind of like this is what we've doing from Day 1," says Ashley. "It's all we know. It's our second life."  The most vexing aspect of Growing Up Famous is, without a doubt, the lack of privacy. When Mary-Kate or Ashley leave the house, one thing is guaranteed: somebody, somewhere, will be skulking with a long-lens camera.  The two are now reading scripts, considering various projects. DualStar is poised to make several announcements. A highlight from their freshman year at NYU was the internships — Mary-Kate worked with fashion designer Zac Posen, while Ashley shadowed photographer Annie Liebovitz.  University life has been a pleasant surprise, especially since the Olsen twins — sorry, Mary-Kate and Ashley — are the last 19-year-olds in need of a degree. "For us, it was about taking the time to learn the things that you can't really learn on your own," says Ashley.  As our interview ends, the two jump off the couch in unison, extending hands, grinning sweetly. They're already thinking about what's planned next.

 

 

 

 ::FITNESS::

 

 

Work Out Without a Gym

Source:  By Gary Matthews, eFitness Guest Columnist

(August 22, 2005) We know that using free weights and machines is the fastest and most efficient way there is to improve your metabolism and strength, but for many reasons these may not be convenient or readily accessible to you.  You may also have no access to a commercial or home gym. But there can be a solution: A strength-training workout without the need of expensive machines.  As with any exercise, whether you are using your own body weight, machines or free weights, if the resistance doesn't increase, your muscles won't be worked to their maximum capacity and the stimulus these fibres need to grow will be missing.  Exercises done correctly outside the gym will build lean muscle and increase your metabolism without time constraints and financial cost.  These exercises can be easily done in a bedroom, hotel room, park, school yard, from ceiling rafters in a garage or in a doorway. All you have to do is use your imagination. There will always be a way to add more resistance to your workouts.  Please remember: It doesn't matter where you are working out -- always warm up properly before beginning your session, and cool down and stretch when you are finished.

Leg Exercises

Squats:

They build muscle in the thighs, shape the buttocks and improve endurance. Position your feet about 13 to 17 inches apart or at shoulder width, keeping the back straight and your head up. If you want you can use something that will give you support, i.e. a desk, bookcase, sink, etc.

Now squat down to where the tops of the thighs are parallel to the floor, hold for a second and then stand up, but don't bounce at the bottom of the movement. Use a nice, fluid motion. Always exhale as you stand up.

Lunges:

Stand straight in correct posture; now stand with one leg forward and one leg back. Keeping your abdominal muscles tight and chest up. Lower your upper body, bending your leg (don't step out too far).

You should have about 1 to 2 feet between your feet at this stage. The further forward you step, the more your gluteus and hamstring muscles will have to work.

Do not allow your knee to go forward beyond your toes as you come down and stop where your feel comfortable (try not to let your back come forward), then push directly back up. Do all your reps on one leg then switch legs and do all your reps on the other leg.

Back Exercises

Chin-Ups:

Chin-ups are a great upper-body workout, particularly targeting your biceps, deltoid and lat muscles. Use a doorway chin-up bar, ceiling rafters in a garage or grab the molding of your door frame, position your hands with an underhand grip and hang down stretching the lats, slowly raise your body until your chin reaches the bar level.

Pause a moment before slowly lowering yourself back to the starting position. Don't swing or use momentum to get your body to the top, just use the target muscles. Chinning bars can be removed from doorways when you are not using them -- they can be put up and taken down in seconds.

Bent Over Row:

Take up a position with your right hand and right knee braced on a sturdy bed or some other flat surface that will provide a good support. Now pick up a dumbbell or something heavy that you can hold onto with your left hand.

Visualize your arms as hooks and slowly bring the dumbbell or object up to the side of your chest, keeping your back straight. Then lower the weight back down to arms length. Concentrate on your back muscles. Reverse the whole procedure and do the exercise now with your right arm.

Chest Exercises

Push-Ups:

The push-up is used for building chest, shoulders and arms. Lie face down on the floor with your hands about shoulder-width apart and keeping your palms turned slightly inward. Now push up until your arms are straight, lower and repeat for repetitions.

To make it more difficult elevate your feet. Try placing the toes of your feet on a stable, elevated surface such as a bench, chair or a stair. Straightening your body, position your hands on the floor at shoulder width, lower your body until your chest touches the floor at the bottom, and then return to the starting position in a nice, fluid motion.

Dips:

This exercise can be done between two sturdy chairs or other surfaces that provide stability. The dip is another great upper-body exercise. It's a compound movement as well, and involves working all the muscles the push-up works.

Keep your head up and body as vertical as possible. For the beginning of the movement, start at the top (arms fully extended) and lower yourself until your upper arms are parallel to the seat of the chairs, hold and then push up to the top of the movement until your arms are fully extended again. Keep looking straight ahead and don't bounce at the bottom of the movement.

Adding Weight

Although the simple weight of your own body is enough resistance to provide an effective workout, we need progressive overload (added resistance) to become stronger.

So all we need to do is add some weight wherever we can find some. It doesn’t matter that there are no metal plates and fancy machines to use, because the body doesn't care as long as it's receiving resistance of some kind.

You can use heavy books clasped in your hands. You can buy cheap weighted dumbbells or ankle weights. A weighted vest will also allow you to add resistance for both chin-ups and push-ups. Try to buy one that will let you remove and add weight as you see fit. Also, a backpack filled with books can be perfect for most of the exercises and is a cheap alternative.

How about a couple of buckets and fill them with some water? As you get stronger fill them with more water. This is perfect because depending on the exercise, all you need to do is increase or decrease the amount of water in the buckets for the required amount of resistance.

Free weights and machines are fast and efficient, but you'll find these alternative exercises can provide you with the same benefits. So save your money.

 

 

 

EVENTS –SEPTEMBER 1-11, 2005

 

 

 

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 3
THE A-TEAM
The Orbit Room
College Street
10:30 pm 
$8.00   
 
EVENT PROFILE: Featuring Wade O. Brown, Shamakah Ali, Rich Brown, Adrian Eccleston, David Williams.

 

 

 

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 4
SOULAR
College Street Bar  
574 College Street (at Manning)  
10:30 pm 
$5.00   
  
EVENT PROFILE: Featuring Dione Taylor, Sandy Mamane, Davide Direnzo, Justin Abedin, Dafydd Hughes and David French.

 

 

 

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 5
IRIE MONDAY NIGHT SESSIONS
Irie Food Joint
745 Queen Street W.
10:00 pm
 
EVENT PROFILE:  Welcome to Negril Ontario, that is!  Yes, Carl’s been at it again and has completely revamped his back patio for his faithful Irie patrons.  And now that the weather is warmer, you just HAVE to come out party on the new and hip patio.  Rain or shine as the patio is covered for our convenience.  A real celebration of summer at the hippest patio in Toronto!  DJ Carl Allen will be spinning the tunes while Kayte Burgess and Adrian Eccleston bring the live music. 

 

 

 

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 5
VIP JAM WITH SPECIAL GUESTS  - NEW LOCATION
Indian Motorcycle
  King Street (at Peter)  
10:00 pm  
NO COVER  
  
EVENT PROFILE: Featuring host Chris Rouse, Calvin Beale, Joel Joseph and Shamakah Ali with various local artists. 

 

 

 

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 10
THE A-TEAM
The Orbit Room
College Street
10:30 pm 
$8.00   
 
EVENT PROFILE: Featuring Wade O. Brown, Shamakah Ali, Rich Brown, Adrian Eccleston, David Williams.

 

 

 

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 11
SOULAR 
College Street Bar
574 College Street (at Manning)
10:30 pm 
$5.00
 
EVENT PROFILE: Featuring Dione Taylor, Sandy Mamane, Davide Direnzo, Justin Abedin, Dafydd Hughes and David French

 

 

 

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 11
A ROYAL TEA & BENEFIT CONCERT
FEATURING PIANIST LINDA GENTILLE
Le Royal Meridien King Edward Hotel
36 King Street East
Tickets:  $65
Table of 10:  $650
For More Information, Please Contact SCAO:
416,789,2855
Email sicklecell@look.ca

EVENT PROFILE: The Sickle Cell Association of Ontario invites you to A Royal Tea & Benefit Concert featuring World Renowned Entertainer and Pianist Linda Gentille on September 11, 2005 at Le Royal Meridien King Edward Hotel.  Sickle cell anemia is an inherited condition that can be life threatening. It causes chronic pain and swelling in the joints, fever and respiratory infections. There is no cure for sickle cell anemia – but there is hope through research.  The Sickle Cell Association of Ontario is a voluntary, nonprofit, charitable organization which is funded by donations from individuals, organizations and employee charitable funds.

 

 

 

Have a great week!  


Dawn Langfield   
Langfield Entertainment  
www.langfieldentertainment.com