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NEWSLETTER

Updated:  April 26, 2006

Comin' at you one day early this week as I leave to cover the Carnival in St. Maarten tomorrow morning! Full coverage next week! Check out the PHOTO GALLERY for pics from the closing of ReelWorld Film Festival. See you next week!

Check out all categories - tons of Canadian content in MUSIC NEWS, FILM NEWS, TV NEWS, THEATRE NEWS, and OTHER NEWS!  Have a read and a scroll!  This newsletter is designed to give you some updated entertainment-related news and provide you with our upcoming event listings.   Welcome to those who are new members.  Want your events listed by date?  Check out EVENTSWant to be removed from the distribution, click REMOVE.

::TOP STORIES::

St. Kitts Announces Official Roster For The 10th Annual St. Kitts Music Festival

(April 20, 2006) – Basseterre, St. Kitts - Mr. Allister Williams, Executive Director of the St. Kitts Music Festival, today announces the official roster of top musical acts scheduled to perform at the 10th Annual St. Kitts Music Festival taking place from June 29th to July 2nd, 2006.  The artists will be performing on their set dates, as follows:

Thursday, June 29

Soca/Calypso Explosion featuring King Dis 'n Dat, King Socrates, King Meeko and King Konris backed by the Legends Band

 
Friday, June 30

Saturday, July 1


Sunday, July 2

 

 

NEWA featuring Nicholas Brancker, Eddie Bullen, Wilson Laurencin and Artura Tappin, with special guest Bruce Skerritt   Reggae artist Shaggy said about the Music Festival, “I have been to St. Kitts before and I am so glad to make it to round two.  Being from Jamaica, the people of the smaller islands have a flavour of my extended family.  The energy, love and friendliness is absolutely magical.  St. Kitts, here I come!”   Also commenting on the St. Kitts Music Festival, the legendary Dionne Warwick said, “I’m looking forward to a wonderful time of great music and great talent.”  Artist Eddie Bullen of the group NEWA said, “We’re looking forward to playing at the St. Kitts Music Festival for 2006 together with our special guest Bruce Skerritt.  I think this will be a performance that will make the Caribbean people proud.”  Added band member Wilson Laurencin, “Sun, sand and music – welcome to utopia!  You’ve got to love the St. Kitts Music Festival.” Now in its 10th consecutive year, the Festival attracts both locals and visitors alike and features various musical styles on the popular market, including R&B, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Reggae, Soca, Calypso, Gospel and Contemporary music.  Past artists have included such top acts as Kenny Rogers, Boyz II Men, Wyclef Jean, Brian McKnight, Ashanti, Shaggy, Eve, Bobby Caldwell, DMX, Hugh Masekala, Xtatik, the Temptations, Chaka Khan, Maxi Priest, Ronald “Boo” Hinkson and Busta Rhymes.    

“The organizers have done an excellent job in putting together this year’s St. Kitts Music Festival,” said Richard “Ricky” O. Skerritt, Minister of State in the Ministry of Tourism, Sports and Culture for St. Kitts.  “The 10th anniversary of the Festival should be an enormous success with so many quality artists scheduled to appear.  Visitors from across the Caribbean, North America and Europe will be treated to many outstanding performances and we hope their experience of our island will keep them coming back again and again.”     The Festival begins at 8:00pm on Thursday and Friday and at 7:00pm on Saturday and Sunday.  Tickets are US$40.00 nightly or US$145 for a ticket to all four nights. Credit card holders can also purchase tickets in advance via the website www.stkittsmusicfestival.net.  The website purchase will generate a receipt that must then be redeemed with a valid ID at the St. Kitts Music Festival Office in St. Kitts for the actual ticket.   Located in the northern Leeward Islands of the Caribbean, St. Kitts offers a diverse tourism product developed from the destination’s natural beauty, cultural heritage and rich history.  Originally populated by native Carib Indians, the island was colonized by the British in 1623 and gained its independence, in Federation with Nevis, in 1983.  It now offers visitors a wide variety of vacation activities including hiking through the tropical rainforest, riding the scenic railway that connects the island’s sugar plantations, touring Brimstone Hill Fortress, the only man-made UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Eastern Caribbean, and the more traditional vacation pastimes such as watersports, golf, shopping, tennis, gourmet dining, gaming at St. Kitts’ exclusive casino or simply relaxing on one of the island’s sandy beaches.  Guests can select from accommodations ranging from intimate plantation inns to larger hotels or resorts.  In 2007, St. Kitts will be a host venue for the ICC (International Cricket Council) Cricket World Cup with six Phase One matches scheduled to take place at Warner Park Stadium in March 2007, featuring Australia, South Africa, Holland and Scotland.    For more information about St. Kitts, please contact the St. Kitts Tourism Authority toll free from the US at 1-800-582-6208 or from Canada 1-888-395-4887, e-mail info@stkittstourism.kn or visit the website at www.stkitts-tourism.com.

Black. White. Forum On SUN TV

Source:  Sun TV

(Apr. 24, 2006) SUN TV launched a Black.White. forum on www.suntv.canoe.ca to encourage viewers to express their opinions and share their views on the provocative series and how it relates to today’s society.  Join us and share your thoughts before the series ends. The episodes will only get hotter and so will the forum conversations so don’t miss on the opportunity to have a voice. One viewer states, “…..Actually I think it's interesting how all of the "couples"; the dads, the moms and the kids, have completely different attitudes”.  If you missed last weeks airing, highlights will be recapped at the beginning of this Sunday’s episode. SUN TV will be airing the final three episodes of the six-part series Black.White., the controversial documentary reality show, starting Sunday April 30th at 9PM. The final episode will air May 14, 2006.  Episodic information for the final three shows are below:

Episode 4 – Sunday, April 30th
Emotions run high as the project reveals unexpected truths about the family members. After experiencing racism for the first time, Carmen becomes disheartened with Bruno's obstinate views and expresses serious concerns about their future together.  Rose struggles to fit in with her black friends.  When Nick encourages his etiquette classmates to use a racial epithet (the N word) in his presence, Brian and Renee take steps to educate Nick about his cultural roots.

Episode 5 – Sunday, May 7th
Tensions grow as the families struggle to find common ground. Rose develops a crush on a friend from poetry class. Renee develops a new friendship that transcends race, and Bruno and Brian reach an impasse over their different interpretations of racism.

Episode 6 – Sunday, May 14th
Both families share the profound impact the six week project has had on their lives and begin to reconcile their differences as the journey comes to an end. Rose prepares for her final performance before a live audience at the Slam Poetry event. Nick spends the day with an ex-gang member.  Renee and Carmen make amends, and Brian and Bruno agree to disagree.

Show Synopsis:

What is it like to be in someone else’s skin? That question is answered in Black.White. a provocative and insightful new original six-part documentary series from Emmy award winning producer R.J. Cutler and actor/producer/writer Ice Cube.  Black.White. examines race with an extraordinary approach by putting new faces on the Sparks family, an African-American family, and the Wurgel family, a Caucasian family. Through the transformative power of makeup, the Wurgel family become black and the Sparks family become white, which challenges their beliefs and core values in ways they never could have imagined.   In addition to the pressure of their newly assumed race, (make-up for each family member took three to five hours a day) the families shared a home in Tarzana, Calif., for the duration of the six-week production, which wrapped last summer. Cameras followed the families throughout Southern California as they went about their daily routines as the opposite race.

SUN TV is available EST on Rogers Cable Channel 15, Bell Express Vu 213 and Star Choice 326.

About Sun TV

SUN TV is owned and operated by TVA Group Inc. (TSX: TVA.b), operator of the largest French-language-general-interest television network in Quebec as well as a number of specialty channels. Leveraging a strong knowledge base from the #1 network in French Canada, TVA and strong promotional and content ties with the Toronto Sun, Canoe.ca and 24 hours, SUNTV is poised for growth and increasing influence in the Toronto market. For further information visit www.suntv.canoe.ca.  

EUR CONCERT REVIEW: Anthony Hamilton, Heather Headley, and Van Hunt Perform

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com - By Gerald Radford

(Apr. 25, 2006)
   Luke 9:26 “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him…” No, this isn’t the EUR bible study, but it’s a befitting way to begin the review of the Anthony Hamilton and Heather Headley show I attended a few nights ago at the Universal Citywalk Gibson Amphitheater in Los Angeles.   I’d normally begin by talking about the opening act, Van Hunt, then I’d work my way up to the headliner, which was Anthony Hamilton in this case, but, as to not dilute the relevance of the opening line, I’ll start with Anthony Hamilton’s set and work backwards.    Hamilton, to me, seems to have a different spirit. He appears to be decidedly unconcerned with “bling,” he curtails his usage of expletives and other untoward language that’s pretty commonplace in today’s music, and he exhibits a strong sense of peace and humility.  He’s as gracious and respectable in public as any media trained artist would be, but he seems to come from a more genuine place.  After experiencing his performance the other night, I’ve discovered the reason why.    His set included all the elements that you would find at any good live show (and it WAS good): a nicely designed set (his had an elegant/classy touch); amazing backup singers (including a super-sized tenor with the agility of a stickman); a full proficient band (my guest and I kept turning to one another saying, “That band is slamming!”); and the performance of all your favourite songs (the diverse crowd was surprisingly familiar with Hamilton’s repertoire and nearly EVERYONE was on their feet singing along).  But, it was when he took the show to church (even transforming the stage to resemble one) that you truly got a sense of what drives Hamilton and powers his raspy, classically soulful voice. 

 After seamlessly covering familiar material from his two albums, he passionately performed “Preacher’s Daughter,” from his latest album, and then lifted spirits with his anointed delivery of “Pass Me Over,” a spiritual song inspired by his experience with the recent death of his best friend.  “Preacher’s Daughter,” a song calling preachers to accountability for their own struggling children, wrapped up with his keyboardist being left onstage alone with one of the background singers hauntingly bellowing, “where were you?” directed toward those neglectful shepherds.  The keyboardist kept playing as she disappeared into the shadows and led the way for each piece of the band to then begin returning to the stage, one by one, dressed in white, building up to the full-bodied sound of “Pass Me Over.”   Anthony then appeared, accompanied by a small but powerful choir, and fervently brought the song home with his captivatingly distinct voice. His passion for the subject matter was apparent, as he nearly segued into a full-blown altar call by unapologetically evoking the name of Jesus and encouraging others to do the same; “This ain’t for show, this thang is real…I live it,” he sang.  He was in no way “ashamed of Him and His words,” and appeared to have a heart for sharing his salvation with anyone that would listen. According to Galatians 5:22, the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control; and Hamilton has undoubtedly been touched by the spirit – and was given an amazing voice to boot.  While Hamilton brought the spirit and soul to the show, along with her big voice, Heather Headley brought the class and professionalism.  With a background on Broadway, from being in productions like The Lion King and Aida (for which she won a Tony Award), Headley managed to turn a modest set into full-blown production.  In reality, she only had a black curtain, her band members and two background singers to work with, but her physically emotive performance style caused you to imagine all kinds of elaborate props.  From a subtle grinding of her foot to a slight widening of her eyes, the confident Headley made you believe you were watching a Broadway production; the girl knows her way around a stage.  She compellingly performed all her familiar songs, including “He Is,” “I Wish,” and “In My Mind” from her latest album, Me Time, and threw in couple of the obscure from her first album.  She also treated the grown and sexy audience to a medley of past hits from Anita Baker and Babyface, including “Giving You the Best That I’ve Got” and “Whip Appeal.”    I must admit that I wasn’t a huge fan of Headley’s prior to attending the show because I thought she was too “Broadway,” but that very thing is what won me over.   In addition, some that had gone to see Hamilton never having heard of Headley signed on as new fans.  The petite-framed professional commanded the stage and, I’m sure, sold a few more records after that performance.  Atlanta singer-guitarist Van Hunt opened the show with a rather short set, but what I heard of his performance was solid (got there a tad late).  He seemed to be channelling prince in his delivery of “Seconds of Pleasure,” probably his most popular song.   All things taken together, it was a very good show and I was certainly glad that I went…

'Sad' That Jazz Gets Less Play

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Ashante Infantry, Staff Reporter

(Apr. 25, 2006) According to the publicity material, this is Diane Schuur's 26th year in the music business, but the 52-year-old songstress known for her clear, mellifluous tone actually landed her first paying gig at age 9. Officially, her tenure as a 3 1/2-octave jazz vocalist traces back to an outstanding 1979 performance at the Monterey Jazz Festival, with two Grammy awards and recordings with Count Basie and B.B. King in the years since. Her latest album Schuur Fire is a collaboration with vibes-marimba player Dave Samuels' Latin jazz ensemble Caribbean Jazz Project. The result is a mix of jazz standards and pop tunes such as Cole Porter's "So in Love," Stevie Wonder's "As" and Duran Duran's "Ordinary World," enveloped in Latin rhythms. Blind since birth, the Seattle native chatted with the Star from her California home in advance of her appearance at the Glenn Gould Studio tomorrow as part of Toronto Downtown Jazz's 20th Anniversary Concert Series.

Starting out:

"My aunt set up an audition for me one Saturday afternoon at the Holiday Inn in Fife, Washington, which is a little town outside Tacoma. I sang `Unforgettable,' `I Left My Heart in San Francisco' and `Don't Take Your Love From Me.' I started working there the following weekend. I went to a school about 150 miles south of where I was living at the time, and I would commute home on the weekends to work."

Singing for your supper:

"In some ways it's more of a challenge now, because there's a lot of competition out there and the Internet has taken over. People don't buy records as much as they used to. I'm very thankful that I've already established myself as an artist. I had 11 appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

"Educational stations like PBS are about the only place that you really find good jazz on television now. I think it's sad that people are not really appreciating the American art form. I'm not putting down any other kind of music, it's just that jazz is such a special thing. And I'm not putting down the Internet at all, I love the Internet, even though at this minute my server's down."

On the road:

"I love to watch TV (with described video) and my newest thing is called the Slingbox. It hooks up to a router; when I get to a hotel that has high speed Internet, I connect with that and I'm able to watch live TV like I was in Los Angeles. It's quite wonderful, because it also includes recorded shows, so I can catch up on programming that I've missed — The Young and the Restless, The Bold and the Beautiful, CSI ... I also love the old shows, like The Twilight Zone and Dark Shadows."

Up next:

"I have an album, Live In London, coming out in June that was recorded at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club last July. It includes some selections from Schuur Fire and because Les McCann was in the audience, one of his tunes. Also in June, there's a DVD coming out that I recorded with Maynard Ferguson's group back in '98 which has been in the can all this time — just one of those business things. I'm real excited about that."

Diane Schuur performs tomorrow at 8 p.m. at Glenn Gould Studio. Tickets are $45 at 416-870-8000 or ticketmaster.ca.

Michael Elliot: Determined to Win and Winning

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com - By Deardra Shuler

(Apr. 25, 2006)
  Screenwriter Michael Elliot is the phoenix who’s risen out of the ashes of his life.  Born and raised in Philadelphia in 1967, he unfortunately was part of a dysfunctional family. His mother married a Trinidadian man when Michael was age 6 and Michael only saw his biological father a few times.  Although, his father could have contacted him, he didn’t.  His stepfather was a Jehovah’s Witness so his mother converted.   Immediately, after the honeymoon, his stepfather began beating Michael and continued until Michael left home at 16.     “When 10, I heard my stepfather tell my mother he wanted his own child. I learned then how he truly felt about me. I was afraid of him but as time passed, I deemed I would no longer tolerate his abuse,” said Michael of his painful childhood. “One fateful Thursday, my stepfather pulled out his belt, as did I, but neither of us did anything.  The following day, I decided to stay with my grandmother and my mother did nothing to stop me.  My stepfather told me never to return and informed me I would never amount to anything.”  Because Michael’s family refused to pay for Michael’s expenses, his grandmother contacted Social Services leaving Michael a note informing him he was to report to the Youth Emergency Shelter. “I cried and begged my grandmother to let me stay since she had a 3 bedroom house.  It wasn’t like I was a problem kid. I was a good kid but my grandmother sent me to the Youth Shelter anyway. My aunt visited me the first week but after that, I never saw a single relative. They simply abandoned me.  Not one cared enough to take me in.  I spent my entire junior year of HS at the Shelter. I even got stabbed.   Later, I was moved to Barren’s Home for Boys.”      Elliot’s grades plummeted but fortunately, two social workers, Ms. Hernandez and Ms. Faison, believed in him.  “I asked my mother for Summer School money, she refused.  In fact, my mother went to Court to make me a ward of the State so she wouldn’t be legally responsible for me,” reflected Michael. “The social workers approached the Director of Youth Services about me and he and his wife paid for Summer School.  That was my first encounter with white people,” claimed Elliot who eventually got into a State run program that allowed him to live independently.  Once Elliot turned 18, the State evicted him. Elliot was homeless.  He dropped out of school and stayed with an aunt while he got a job.  “After one week, my Aunt informed me her one bedroom apartment couldn’t accommodate me.  So, for the next two years, I was homeless.” Michael found himself staying in basements and riding trains all night.  In 1987, he finally got off the streets after meeting a woman who arranged for him to care for and stay in the home of an elderly man.  Elliot was 20. 
 
Elliot’s idea to publish a hip hop magazine paid off in March of 1988 when he printed 2500 copies of his magazine Krush.  “I made enough money to buy radio time to promote it.  I became a magazine publisher. Unfortunately, within a year folks jumped on my idea and I had a lot of competition. I couldn’t compete.”  Elliot turned to TV after viewing an infomercial. He entitled his show Krush Rap, taping it in music stores until he secured a sponsor. “In 1991, I left TV and self published a book called “The Inside Rapper’s Guide to Getting A Record Deal.”  I got a job with Source Magazine in New York as Director of Special Projects until 1995.” Michael worked simultaneously on a hip hop radio show at Hot 97.  He went on to host and co-produce “Street Heat” with Sony Worldwide Networks.      Elliot went into the movie business, partnering with Sean “Puffy” Combs. He went out to LA with a mere $700 and became President of Bad Boy Films. “The week I moved there Tupac got shot and then later Notorious Big.  Because of all the negative rhetoric Puffy decided to dissolve Bad Boy Films.  Unemployed, I remained in LA. I decided to write movies.  I wrote a screenplay entitled “Seven Days.”  It sold in seven days. At first, I focused on money but realized it was better to focus on the joy of writing, so I did and stuck with it. I wrote “Brown Sugar.” Fox Searchlight bought it. I got $100,000.00 upfront and another $125,000 once the movie was made,” claimed Michael.  Brown Sugar grossed $30 million and Elliot was now in the screenwriting game.  He became a member of the Writer’s Guild. Next Elliot wrote “Carmen,” a hip hop remake of the opera Carmen starring Beyonce Knowles, Mos Def, Lil’Bow Wow, and Mekhi Phifer.  He then penned “Like Mike.” 20th Century Fox made the film. “Like me, it was about a kid who wanted a family. Lil’ Bow Wow appeared in it.  My biological father read about me.  He contacted me pretending he had been searching for me. I knew that wasn’t true, so I didn’t respond,” remarked the enduring screenwriter.  Elliot wrote the comedy “Just Wright.”  Queen Latifah starred in it and Walt Disney Pictures bought it. He is presently writing a pilot for a series called “The Fabulous” which he pitched to HBO.  The pilot revolves around affluent black folks.  Michael founded DreamSpring Entertainment, Inc., producing a series of ‘How To’ DVDs specifically designed to help people break into careers in the Entertainment Industry. See www.dreamspringentertainment.com.     “I’ve stopped fearing so I am a risk taker.  I have no Plan B,” claims Michael. “I have to succeed.  I have to trust. Life has taught me that. As a spiritual person, I know everything I’ve done has been with God’s help.  It’s due to God’s grace that I’ve never stop believing the rainbow is coming.  I’ve been forced to realize my dreams. Therefore, I know, through determination, you can make your dreams possible.”

::MUSIC NEWS::

Monday Music Enlivens Uganda

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - John Goddard, Staff Reporter

(Apr. 25, 2006) KAMPALA, UGANDA—It was the saddest funeral Moses Matovu can remember. A pioneering trumpet player named Gabriel Mukungu had died and almost nobody came to mourn him. The five musician friends who attended, and a few close relatives, could barely scrape together enough money to pay funeral expenses. "That got us scared," Matovu says. "We said, one of us could be the next. Let's make a club so that that person will be looked after." From such feelings of sadness and insecurity sprang the Musicians' Club, founded in 1989 and now one of the liveliest and most enduring cultural institutions in Kampala, capital of the East African country of Uganda. Every Monday night, musicians old and young, traditional and pop, legendary and unknown, come to perform at a community concert for which no admission price is charged and from which, official policy states, "nobody is ever turned away." Although not a money maker, it offers musicians the security of a vital live music scene. On the first two Mondays of every month, the event unfolds at the club's office on the second floor of the National Theatre, fitting in at most 30 people at a time. On the third Monday, the jam is held on the theatre's front steps, allowing for a couple of hundred listeners. And on the last Monday of the month, bands use a stage beside the theatre for what is called Jam on the Green, facing a lawn that accommodates 600 to 700 people and often playing until 2 or 3 a.m.

"It gives me a chance to perform live," says singer Phina Mugerwa, 23. She has a couple of music videos in current rotation, she says, but no band ties beyond the Musicians' Club house band. "There is a lot of kavuyo (chaos)," Bebe Cool, one of the country's hottest stars, complained to the national newspaper The New Vision, about why he shows up only occasionally. But his faint damning sounded almost like praise. "People don't come for the music," he said. "They come to smoke cigarettes and drink and look for girls." Matovu puts the music first, but he can tolerate a little kavuyo. At 56, he serves both as chairman of the Musicians' Club, and as leader and saxophonist of Afrigo Band, Uganda's top group founded in 1976. "A live scene is essential for a healthy music industry," he says between sips on a soft drink. Most young Ugandan chart-toppers, Matovu says, don't know how to play an instrument. They write a song, take it to a studio, record the vocals and let a technician add the rest. "Onstage, they sing to playback," he says. "We (older musicians) advise them to learn instruments. If a CD gets stuck while you're singing, what will you do?" There is no playback machine at Jam on the Green. At a typical session, a crowd begins to form sometime after 7 p.m. on the lawn bounded by the theatre and a large semi-circle of thatched huts belonging to the tourist-oriented African Crafts Village. Along the theatre wall, vendors turn pieces of chicken and beef on charcoal grills, and at a nearby stand a barman pours "Club" brand beer at 50 cents a glass from a single spout. Ugandans have a reputation as being exceptionally courteous and socially gracious. Tourists are made welcome and a smattering of backpackers stand out partly for their T-shirts in a dressed up crowd. There is no sign of cigarettes at the event, or for that matter anywhere else in East Africa — there is no tradition of smoking in the region. And the park seems free of heavy drinking or any other type of kavuyo. On the contrary, the crowd seems slow to get going. Near midnight somebody breaks ranks and begins to dance in front of the stage, rousing others to move to the succession of pop singers, rock, hip hop and reggae bands. Uganda has had difficulty finding a place in world music circles. Senegal has mbalax, Nigeria has high life, and the Democratic Republic of Congo has rumba and soukous. Ugandan music lacks a defining sound. In Matovu's group, Congolese influences remain unmistakable but with a Ugandan sensibility and "feel," he says.

Corporate Jamaica Hunts Jamaican Music Stars In Marketing Campaigns

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com - By Kevin Jackson

(April 20, 2006)   Toots Hibbert has done it for the Super Plus chain of supermarkets. Richie Stephens represented for both Busta and Courts while Wayne Marshall did it for both bmobile and Western Union.  Corporate Jamaica has over years cashed in on the popularity of entertainers to promote their products and services.  Here are some more examples.  Anthony Cruz and McKinneys Tonic Cream; Fantan Mojah and Yardie Roots Malta; Macka Diamond and Wray and Nephew Rum Cream; Beenie Man and Courts and bmobile; Bounty Killer and Singer and bmobile; General B and Bigga; Stitchie and Buckingham Orange Juice; Ernie Smith and Samms Clothing Store; Papa San and Carolina Milk; Elephant Man and JN Money Transfer; Karen Smith and Grace Cock Soup; Shaggy and Grace Tropical Rhythms; and Maxi Priest and NCB Omni.   The latest corporate entity to utilize entertainers, is the Wisynco company. The company has involved the chart topping dancehall duo Leftside and Esco to promote its Wata brand.  Leftside and Esco, who are well known musicians, have produced hit dancehall rhythms. As recording artistes, they have hit the charts with the number one hit Tuck in Yuh Belly. The duo’s latest single Blow Di Whistle has been creating waves. The soca-influenced song has been embraced by Wata for its latest promotional vehicle.  ‘This song is basically a work for hire. The distributors of the Wata product wanted to recreate a song coming off the Iwer George song. The vibe has been good so far’, Matthew ‘Esco’ Thompson explained recently.

Although a bit suggestive, Whistle appears to have been embraced by loyal soca enthusiasts.  ‘We hope it will do well for the carnival season. If you notice the video has a lot of girls, and we tried to create a whole different look’, added Thompson.  The video for Blow di Whistle was shot on location in Lime Cay a few weeks ago.  According to Zachary Harding, Director of Marketing at Wysinco, distributors of Wata, Leftside and Esco were chosen for the campaign due to their popularity and his past association with them.  ‘They are one of the hottest duos and they are extremely talented. I have worked with them in the past, and they represent the young energy that is 18-30 demographic that is being focused on’. Mr. Harding added ‘The response on the song has been great and people love it. Its not a regular straight up soca song, but it has a little bit of innuendo in it’.   Mr. Harding also gave props to the director of the video, Winston Mayhew from Hyperactive Entertainment. ‘He did a good job with the video. He brings that kind of energy and he knows what’s happening out there. He has the ability to get people on the set and be creative’.  In related Leftside and Esco news, the duo recently completed work on their hot new dancehall rhythm which is called Dem Time Deh. It is due for release in May. The project features contributions from heavy weight acts including Vybz Kartel, Wayne Marshall, Bounty Killer, Idonia, Flava Unit, Elephant Man, Mr. Easy, and Alaine.  The duo contributes three songs to the project. ‘This rhythm is a little bit different from the regular dancehall rhythms out there. We are trying to bring back the days of ‘Dem Time Deh’, Thompson explained.  This is the follow up to the duo’s most recent project, the Galore rhythm. The Galore contains the hit singles Wine up Pon Har, and I Forgot Them.

Meet Bad Boy's Cheri Dennis

Source: LaTrice Burnette / Atlantic Records

   Finally made it/ underrated/ they couldn't contain it/I'm elated.../For so long they doubted me/ for so long they abandoned me/ but now I've made it through/ uh huh/ and now you see it too.../ surviving through the storm now I came up/ pushed on and on and on...  --Cheri Dennis, "Finally Made It"

(Apr. 21, 2006) Welcome Cheri Dennis. The new female soloist hailing from the Midwest is ready to prove that Cleveland is not only the home of the Rock & Roll Museum, but also the home to some serious hip-hop soul.  Although she is a girl with plenty of rhythm and blues, Cheri is a cool departure from the R&B norm.    As the first solo female release from the Bad Boy camp since Faith Evans, Cheri has been anxiously waiting in the wings for many years-all her to life be exact. "I grew up in a very spiritual and religious household, so I've always known music," she explains. "I can't even think of my first experience where I said, 'Oh I want to sing.' It's just always been there. It's who I am."   Today, as a wise-beyond-her-years twenty-something, Cheri has gracefully navigated the tangled web of record deals and other sundry pit stops while steering through Cleveland's working class to New York's bright lights. Her self-titled Bad Boy debut offers up a refreshing mix of sweet melodies and wide-ranging tempos, bound to solidify her as a music mainstay.     As Cheri proclaims in one of her jazzy, sexy interludes, she's "Finally Made It".  Singing at the age of eight in her grandmother's church choir, Cheri always possessed the burning desire to become a singer and was fully confident that one day she would achieve her dreams. When people would inquire about her plans after high school, 'College or work?' she'd reply with much conviction, "I'm a singer. I'm going to be a star!" There was never a moment she thought about anything else.   "It was just meant for me to be a singer," Cheri says referring to her signing to Bad Boy Records.  She was in New York chasing her dream for no more than 2 weeks before randomly running in Sean "Diddy" Combs at a party.  While at the party Cheri ceased her opportunity and began an impromptu performance singing solid vocals over the song the DJ was playing.  The hip hop impresario instantly became enamoured by Cheri's vocal capabilities and in only a matter of weeks, without even thinking twice, Diddy had her paperwork drawn up for the record deal.

But after commanding the coveted ear of her label Chairman and producer Sean "Diddy" Combs, Cheri spent what felt like an eternity in and out of studios recording tracks for her album.  She blessed Mase's album, and a few years later made feature appearances on two Bad Boy releases "The Saga Continues" and "We Invented the Remix.", that whet fans' appetites and made them anxious for the  melodic, sweet voice's own album. But Cheri knows all about timing; she understands that the pot don't whistle 'til the water's boiling and now, finally, it's all about her debut, and Cheri totally gets the significance of it all.  "I cut school to buy the first Faith album back then," she admits with a sly smile, knowing the irony of her words. "She's someone who has influenced my sound because she has such an amazing voice." Cheri has a distinctively different vocal quality and feel to her music than her predecessor, but with a close listen to breathy songs like "Matrix" (produced by Diddy) and feel-good remake produced of The Notorious B.I.G.'s famous "Sky's the Limit", by Harve Pierre, real music buffs will undoubtedly hear the special connection. Cheri describes her sound as "hip-hop soul, R&B with an edge." She blends together the grace of gospel with a rock and roll edge, R&B soul and a little pop style.  Cheri's most meaningful musical influences were Prince and Madonna. Says the budding starlet, "I'm a very sensual person, so I connect with that in Prince.  And with Madonna, it wasn't so much the music as it was her power and presence."  And yes, in the most subtle ways Cheri reflects what she has learned from the both of them. She also reflects on inspirations that have come from Minnie Ripperton and Aretha Franklin, "when you think of those singers, the first thing that comes to mind is their voice.  Their voices were so powerful and moving, I just hope that my singing moves people.  I want people to hear me live and realize that it is not just about a studio for me, rather it is about singing well."    But all hers are the little, yet important things on this CD, for example, the special treats like those raspy finishes that she lends to adlibs on the standout "So Complete," a substantial, yet simple track produced by Bucwild. It's easy to also get a sample of her pretty harmonies on "Finally Made It," a song for anyone who accomplishes their goals. "Caught Up," a sure hit-co-written by Cheri-is one of those rare "all year long, any time of day" joints. She's deliberate with her phrasing in her songs, too, check out "Something," it's just more evidence of her impressive vocal control. Control she definitively proves with one listen to her sharp soprano lilt, which Cheri favours especially on the hooks like the fun and catchy "Remind You," and throughout the oh-so-alluring, up-tempo "I Love You" her smash first single produced by Ryan Leslie. 

There is truly something for all types on this album.  People who live for dance tracks will flock to the dripping wet single "Ooh La La," the theme song from the hit show MTV's Making the Band 3.  Listeners will also find themselves seeking out more of the fly girl flow Cheri teases on her "Act Like You Know", and they'll most certainly be stuck on the drama-induced, hip-hop flavoured vocals of the Mary J. inspired "All I Wanna Do".  Cheri has a rawness that's all her own. She's journeyed a long way to get where she is but this is only the beginning. And she promises, this debut not withstanding, that she has much more to offer. She stays passionate in her delivery and crisp vocals and, the best thing about her (not including her funky, high-end downtown fashion sense) is that she's a new artist with a real sense of self.  She doesn't gush over folk, not Diddy (even though she calls him a legendary leader)-not anyone. Instead, Cheri remains focused on work, her work. "This is all I do, I'm focused" reveals the songstress.  And after this is completed, we ask, "what then?"  "I look forward to more, and more," She answers "I expect to have a long career in this industry." Cleveland stand up!

NEW Audio from Cheri Dennis - "I Love You" feat. Jim Jones & Yung Joc

"I Love You" - Cheri Dennis feat. Jim Jones & Yung Joc (Audio)

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REAL:
 

Soprano's Clarity Suits Older Music

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - John Terauds, Classical Music Critic


(Apr. 21, 2006) Soprano
Meredith Hall is one of a brace of young singers currently gracing Toronto stages with personality, great voices and assured technique.  She usually specializes in Baroque and early music and can be heard on a number of recordings. But it's rare to hear her sing solo, as she did yesterday afternoon for the season-closing concert of the Women's Musical Club of Toronto, at University of Toronto's Walter Hall.  Rather than being accompanied on piano, as is usual in vocal recitals, Hall was joined by Quebecois lute player Sylvain Bergeron and, later, by her husband, guitarist Bernard Farley.  The program spanned the early 17th century to the premiere of a new work by Alexander Rapoport along with some fresh arrangements (by Farley) of traditional songs of Newfoundland and Scotland.  It was a meaty, varied recital that would challenge the most versatile performer.  Unfortunately, Hall showed that her stylistic range may not be as wide as she'd like. This is not an unusual problem, as most musicians discover that they have a natural aptitude for a particular genre or era.

With a crystal-clear soprano voice with good range and reasonable power, Hall meticulously — almost obsessively — polishes each vowel and displays a clear sense of where each musical phrase is going. She loves to add drama to the singing, but often leaves the impression that the sound comes first, the emotional content second.  This serves her perfectly in the early music. In songs by John Blow, Henry Purcell, Barbara Strozzi and Claudio Monteverdi, she wrung every drop of beauty from the already gorgeous scores — aided by delicate accompaniment by Bergeron.  The later works, including four Lieder by Franz Schubert and the folk songs, were sung in a very similar manner, which ended up sounding too precious. Farley's guitar playing tried to emulate Schubert's intricate accompaniments, but came up short. His folk-song arrangements, however, were great at evoking shifting moods.  The new piece by Rapoport, a sequence of vocalises, was tuneful, rather cheesy and too long.  Hall's strength is early music. There's little wrong with that.

Commercial Radio Being Cut From Cable

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail - Grant Robertson, Media Reporter

(Apr. 21, 2006) Cable providers have been cleared by Ottawa to drop dozens of radio stations from their services in order make room for digital and high-definition television channels. The federal broadcast regulator said yesterday it will no longer require distributors to carry commercial radio stations on their analog wires -- a throwback to the 1970s when FM was added to cable in order to boost the industry's reach. The advent of streaming audio over the Internet has made cable less important for radio stations, while distributors have been clamouring to free up broadband capacity for new TV channels. However, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) will still require distributors to carry public radio on cable, including French and English CBC, aboriginal and campus stations. The cable industry argued few Canadians even know cable radio feeds exist. A survey commissioned by Rogers Cable Communications Inc. found 9 per cent of people asked had tuned in to it by hooking an analog wire to their receiver. The CBC has argued that number is much higher, citing a 2005 study from the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement that said a quarter of Canadians receive AM and FM stations through cable feeds. Rogers, which carries about 40 radio stations on its analog service, might drop roughly 35 of those. That will give the company enough capacity on its wires to add 10 digital TV channels or six high-definition feeds, said David Purdy, vice-president of television product management at Rogers. "The number of customers actually using this service on analog is very, very low," he said. "It was a really inefficient use of bandwidth." Before the Internet, radio stations relied on cable to reach audiences outside their broadcast areas. The feeds were mandated in 1975 as a way to bolster FM and peaked in the early 1980s when AM was added. Cable was also seen as a way to make public radio, such as the CBC and low-power community broadcasters, available to audiences that didn't get the broadcast signals. CBC spokesman Jason MacDonald said the public broadcaster is happy Ottawa will still require CBC channels in French and English to be carried. Listeners outside Quebec often use cable feeds to access the French broadcasts, he said. For the majority of commercial broadcasters, however, the winding down of radio on analog cable will have little impact, since the Internet has opened up distribution. "We get more reception on the Internet than we do from our position on cable," said Ken Regan, general manager of Edmonton-based CKUA, Canada's largest community radio station. Cable distributors offer music channels, such as jazz and classical stations, on their digital TV feeds. Rogers may look to add commercial stations to those packages, which its satellite competitors have offered. Distributing radio through digital set-top boxes requires less than one-eighth the bandwidth than analog cable requires. "We haven't made a final decision in terms of how many stations we carry and which ones," said Rogers' Mr. Purdy. "We'll be talking to the broadcasters in the next few weeks."

Unhooked: Cable providers looking to free up bandwidth for new digital and high-definition TV channels are allowed to drop commercial radio stations from their analog cable service, the CRTC said yesterday.

What is analog cable radio?: FM radio stations were placed on cable TV wires starting in 1975, allowing listeners to hear a clear feed of those stations by hooking a TV cable to a similar jack on their stereo receiver. AM stations were added 10 years later. There are 14 radio stations in Canada that only broadcast on analog cable, mostly small multicultural broadcasters.

Who uses it?: Before the advent of streaming Internet feeds and satellite radio, analog cable was the primary way audiences listened to stations outside their broadcast area. Campus radio and community broadcasters also rely on cable to reach a broader audience. A survey for Rogers Cable said 9 per cent of people use analog cable to listen to radio feeds, while the CBC has argued as many as 25 per cent of Canadians use it.

Who is affected?: Commercial radio stations can now be dropped from analog feeds, but public radio must be carried. That includes at least one French and English CBC station and local campus, aboriginal and community stations. Remote towns in the B.C. mountains and small communities on the East Coast are among the audiences that still use analog cable for radio.

Who is not affected?: Music stations on digital cable, such as the commercial-free jazz, classical and pop channels, that are transmitted through set-top boxes are not affected. Cable distributors may add commercial radio stations to their digital channels, as satellite providers have done.

'The number of customers actually using this service on analog is very, very low. It was a really inefficient use of bandwidth.'

David Purdy, Rogers' vice-president of television product management

Stern Replacement Roth Gets The Boot

Source: Larry Mcshane, Associated Press


(Apr. 21, 2006) NEW YORK — Well, that didn't take long. Rocker-turned-radio host
David Lee Roth, who accepted the no-win task of replacing ratings king Howard Stern in January, was bounced from the airwaves Friday after barely three months on the air in New York, Philadelphia, Boston and four other markets.  "I was booted, tossed, and it's going to cost somebody," Roth said on his last show, intimating that his lawyers would go after CBS Radio for the full compensation due from his reported $4 million contract. The timing of the move was interesting: It arrived just days before the Roth show's first Arbitron numbers.  CBS Radio spokeswoman Shavonne Harding said the company would have an announcement soon on its plans. She declined any other comment, and would not say who will replace the former Van Halen front man on Monday's morning drive time shift.  Roth said he was only told about the syndicated show's demise while riding in a car to the WFNY-FM studios in Manhattan.  His replacements, in a hiring fraught with bizarre subplots, will be shock jocks Greg (Opie) Hughes and Anthony Cumia — currently available only to the 6.5 million listeners on XM satellite radio.  "Apparently we can talk about it now. So much for keeping a lid on this," the pair said Friday on their show's website. "The Opie and Anthony show will be replacing David Lee Roth in several markets on CBS Radio Free-FM stations." 

Opie and Anthony's syndicated show was yanked from terrestrial radio in August 2002 after airing a live account of listeners having sex in St. Patrick's Cathedral. The company that silenced the duo was the same one that just hired them back, CBS Radio.  It also puts the pair in the slot long dominated by Stern, who feuded with Opie and Anthony for years before leaving for Sirius Satellite Radio. And it reverses the trend of satellite looting traditional radio for talent. Instead, CBS Radio is reaching out to satellite radio for syndicated programming.  "What they're doing is switching to a proven act," said Tom Taylor, editor of the trade publication Inside Radio. "This is a group with a pedigree. I would think the stations involved are very happy about this."  There is no word on when the Opie and Anthony show will debut on CBS Radio. The Associated Press was told the pair will do three hours on both XM and CBS, and two additional hours exclusively for the satellite audience.  In addition to New York, Boston and Philadelphia, Opie and Anthony will reportedly air in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, West Palm Beach, Fla., and Dallas.  Further proof of how strange the O&A move was: Bill Donohue of the Catholic League, who demanded the pair's dismissal after the St. Patrick's scandal, issued a statement wishing the pair well.  "(They've) made it clear they regretted the St. Patrick's stunt," said Donohue, who appeared as a guest on the pair's XM show. "In short, the Catholic League hopes Opie and Anthony have a great run on CBS Radio."

MUSIC TIDBITS

Pepsi And ‘Mimi’ Join Forces

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com

(April 20, 2006)   *After spending a busy 2005 dominating the music charts, Mariah Carey will kick back with a Pepsi this spring under a new partnership that will see the singer star in a new commercial as well as write and record original ringtones that will be available exclusively through a Pepsi Cool Tones & Motorola Phones promotion. "I had a lot of fun with this project,” Carey said in a statement. “It was a great creative outlet because musically I could do things here that I would never think to do for one of my albums. This was a great idea by Pepsi, and I'm happy to be a part of it." The promotion allows users the opportunity to download more than 100 original ringtones created specifically for the program by a host of popular artists, including 20 original voice and music tones written and produced by Carey. Additional information about the promotion can be found on http://www.pepsismash.com.  Carey’s TV spot, directed by Paul Hunter, will premiere nationwide next month.  Her partnership with Pepsi also includes an exclusive Pepsi Smash concert this summer at the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles, which will be the first stop of her highly anticipated tour. Music fans will be able to win tickets to the show, Carey's first full concert performance in over three years, via radio and retail promotions across the country.

Greensleeves Records’ Ragga Ragga 2006 Compilation Disc Is Red Hot

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com - By Kevin Jackson

(April 20, 2006)   It is the season for reggae and dancehall compilation discs.  Ragga Ragga Ragga 2006, the various artistes compilation series from London’s Greensleeves Records stifles the competition with its hit laden tracks. The compilation is an entertaining journey which takes listeners through some of the biggest hits released so far for 2006. Producers and artistes take the spotlight on this 18-track opus, offering die hard dancehall enthusiasts a plethora of tracks to feast on. This is not a one time listen compilation. It takes more than a couple of spins for songs like Tony Matterhorn’s Dutty Wine, Heart Attack by Beenie Man, 2 Much Gun by Busy Signal, We Set the Trend by Beenie Man, Killa Walk Prezzi Bounce by Sultex 3000, Chicken Head by Idonia, Good Good a Pressure Dem by Buju Banton, Bogle Memorial by Delly Ranx, Get Crazy by Voice Mail and Beauty Queen by Buju Banton to work their magic charm.  Super dancehall producers including Dane ‘Fire Links’ Johnson, Stephen ‘Supa Hype’ Davis, Steely and Clevie, Dave Kelly, Trevor ‘Baby G’ James, Lloyd ‘John John’ James Jr., Michael ‘Liquid’ Brissett, Leftside and Esco, Byron Murray, Chad ‘Goofy’ Simpson, Christopher Birch and Donovan Bennett obviously have their ears to the street, and as such dug deep into their creative boxes to offer some of the trendiest and mouth watering tracks. Ragga Ragga Ragga 2006 which was released on March 21 is a definite must have!

Barbershop Society To Honour Gordon Lightfoot

Source: Canadian Press

(Apr. 21, 2006)
Before he became a legendary folk singer, Gordon Lightfoot would belt it out in a barbershop quartet.  He formed his first group, The Collegiate Four, in 1952 as he was entering high school.  Lightfoot, of Orillia, Ont., will return to his roots this weekend when he's honoured by Barbershop Harmony Society, the world's largest all-male singing organization.  The group is set to present Lightfoot with an honorary membership during a ceremony on Saturday night in Toronto.  Other singers honoured by the society include Dick Van Dyke, Irving Berlin, Meredith Willson, Victor Borge, the Osmond Brothers, Sherrill Milnes and Gene Puerling.

Jerkins Completes Katrina Benefit CD

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com

(Apr. 21, 2006) *Rodney Jerkins has just completed the final mixes on his all-star Katrina benefit CD, which reunites Sister Sledge and puts them with the likes of Patti Labelle, George Clinton, Ciara and others for an update on their biggest hit, “We Are Family.”  The single will be released to radio the third week of June and to retail on Aug 29, while a full-length CD, to include music recorded by various artists (to be announced), will be distributed by Universal Music Group worldwide this fall.    Proceeds will benefit victims of the Hurricane Katrina disaster through project partners, including "Points Of Light Foundation" (www.polf.org), "Communities In Schools" (www.cisnet.org) and the "U.S. Dream Academy."   "My ‘family’ in the music business -- my friends -- are excited to be a part of the ‘We Are Family’ CD and DVD to raise funds and awareness for the displaced families still affected by Hurricane Katrina," says Jerkins in a statement. "I am honoured to lend my creative talents to help the volunteers who provide the social and human services needed on a daily basis to help these families make it day-to-day. They are heroes in action."   Also lending vocals to the project are Christina Milian, Chris Brown, Lyfe Jennings, Mary Mary and Ray J.    The benefit single marks the first performance by Sister Sledge in two decades.

Sirius To Provide Satellite Radio Coverage Of CFL

Source: Canadian Press

(Apr. 24, 2006) Satellite radio provider Sirius Canada and the Canadian Football League have agreed to a multi-year partnership.  Sirius Canada will be the exclusive North American satellite radio broadcaster for CFL games and content under the three-year agreement, which was announced Monday.  Beginning this season, Sirius will carry live coverage of CFL regular-season games, the playoffs and the Grey Cup.  The 2006 CFL season opens June 16 with Winnipeg at Montreal and Saskatchewan at B.C.

Rappers Recommend Being Frugal

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail

(Apr. 24, 2006) New York -- LL Cool J is urging fans to be financially responsible. The platinum-selling rap star spoke Saturday at the Hip Hop Summit on Financial Empowerment. It mixed stars with financial experts to offer advice on home ownership and personal finance. "The biggest misconception probably comes from the hip-hop community that the money lasts forever," LL Cool J said. "You have to do the right thing with it." Fellow chart-topping rapper Nas said it was important to teach young fans about financial responsibility. "We've got to think about growing old in this game." AP

Major Music Labels Talking Mega-Merger

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail

(Apr. 24, 2006) London -- Executives at Warner Music Group and British record label EMI will resume talks that could lead to the creation of the world's third largest music company, a newspaper reported yesterday. Sources close to both groups told The Sunday Times that the two companies would resume discussions in a few months. "This deal is going to happen. The only question is timing," one adviser told the newspaper. A merger would create the world's third biggest label. AFP

::FILM NEWS::

Sprockets: Festival Appeals To Sophisticated Kids

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Susan Walker, Entertainment Reporter

(Apr. 22, 2006)
To judge by the offerings among the 35 features and 87 shorts in Sprockets International Film Festival for Children, today's young viewers are a sophisticated lot, capable of enjoying a classic children's tale such as Heidi or Lassie but ready to confront serious issues such as AIDS in Africa, racism and cultural conflict or the consequences of having a drug-addicted parent.  For its ninth edition, the festival, which runs through April 30, is starting to resemble its parent, the Toronto International Film Festival, as a launching pad for movies destined for commercial release.  British director Charles Sturridge's Lassie, which opened the festival last night, screens again today. It's lavishly filmed in English and Scottish landscapes. Peter O'Toole plays the crusty old duke who buys the beautiful dog from an unemployed miner, whose son Joe (an immensely captivating Jonathan Mason) is heartbroken by the loss.  Shirley Temple was an immortal Heidi in the 1937 adaptation of the 1880 children's book by Johanna Spyri. Emma Bolger (In America), is equally endearing and spirited as the Swiss orphan in a U.K. production of Heidi directed by Paul Marcus. Max Von Sydow is the reclusive gruff grandfather who lives in the Alps and comes to love the grandchild thrust into his care. Geraldine Chaplin plays the nasty housekeeper in the wealthy Frankfurt home where Heidi is sent to be a companion to an invalid girl. Suitable for children ages 6 and up and bound to prompt tears from all, Heidi gets its first screening tomorrow night.  The title character in the Dutch film Polleke is an 11-year-old girl with all the spunk of Heidi, facing problems scarcely imaginable in Spyri's day. She lives in a low-income housing complex and is seriously smitten with the Moroccan boy who lives across the courtyard. Her father is a Peter Pan type, addicted to hard drugs; her mother is a serial monogamist who takes up with Polleke's teacher. Polleke takes on adult-sized issues of cultural difference and parental bad behaviour in a movie for ages 10 and up that is wonderfully entertaining as well as pointedly illustrative of contemporary conflicts. The first screening is tomorrow afternoon.  We Shall Overcome is a Danish film set in 1969 that shows how a revolutionary spirit circled the globe, filling a 13-year-old farm boy with such admiration for Martin Luther King Jr. that he demands to be known as Martin instead of his real name. More than a little nostalgia for the period infects this film, in which a longhaired teacher champions the boy's cause after he is punished to the point of injury by an authoritarian principal. For ages 10 and up, We Shall Overcome first screens Sunday afternoon.  Hinokio is a very up-to-the minute update on the Pinocchio story, made in Japan and sure to appeal to any kid who has ever played a video game. Satoru is a boy who has shut himself up in his room following his mother's death. Hinokio is the robot his father has built to stand in for him in the outside world. A modern fable filled with fantastic cinematic conceits, Hinoko is for children aged 9 and up and screens Sunday morning.

Compared with hard-hitting, contemporary family films such as Polleke and Hinokio, the American movie Akeelah and the Bee has a smarmy feel, despite its setting in an underprivileged South Los Angeles neighbourhood. Keke Palmer out-acts her elders (Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett) as Akeelah, the reluctant spelling whiz who overcomes family strains and her coach's misery to go, predictably, to the national spelling bee in Washington D.C. Appropriate for kids aged 7 and up, it screens once only, on Sunday afternoon.  A rather flimsy Canadian feature, Move Your World documents the experiences of three Canadians chosen to travel to Tanzania to meet with teenagers there and see first-hand how HIV/AIDS is devastating their communities. Recommended for those 10 and up, it screens on Saturday, April 29. Bigger things are expected from the Canadian movie that closes the festival on Sunday, April 30, Booky Makes Her Mark. Based on books by Bernice Thurman Hunter, Booky is set in Depression-era Toronto, and stars Tatiana Maslany as a 15-year-old girl who strives to be a writer amidst pressing problems of poverty, ill health and social alienation. For ages 8 and up.  A German movie, The Treasure of the White Falcons, falls into the Hardy Boys tradition, as three friends go treasure hunting and discover a lot more than they bargained for, including the reason for the mysterious disappearance of another boy adventurer 10 years earlier. For children aged 9 and up; the movie screens first on Sunday.  Among the festival's many animated offerings is The Dog, the General and the Birds, a folksy tale rendered in charming painterly images and told in French with English subtitles. A Russian general who drove Napoleon Bonaparte's troops out of Moscow by sending flaming birds to set the city on fire, must answer to the animal kingdom for his sacrifice of the winged warriors. Screening tomorrow afternoon, the movie is recommended for ages 8 and up.  Sprockets also offers Reel Rascals, a program of short films for children aged 3 to 6; film craft workshops with instruction on animation and how to make a film in a day; and Jump Cuts, a showcase for films and videos made by Ontario students in grades 3 to 12.  Along with the downtown venues at Ryerson University and Canada Square, festival organizers have added screenings at Cineplex Odeon Queensway and Silver City Richmond Hill.

Chiwetel Ejiofor Kicking his Heel Up High

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com - By Gil Robertson, The Robertson Treatment: (America’s Premiere Lifestyle Column) Vol. 9 Edition

(April 20, 2006)   In Hollywood, there's always a Next Big Thing -- you know, that promising young thespian poised on the edge of mainstream success. In recent years  Anthony Mackie, and most notably Terrence Howard have captured this mantle place of attention from critics and fans alike. Now, Afro-British actor Chiwetel Ejoiofor (pronounced Ch(ew-it-tell Edge-e-o-four), can also lay claim to that distinction.         With a growing body of roles that includes works by Stephen Frears (“Dirty Pretty Things”), Spike Lee (“She Hate Me,” “Inside Man”), and even Woody Allen (“Melinda and Melinda”), Ejiofor consistently demonstrates his worth as an actor of merit.  After you factor in his most recent performances in last fall’s “Serenity”  the recent “Inside Man” and the newly released “Kinky Boots”, it becomes clear that he’s an outright movie star as well.        Born in London of Nigerian parents, the 31-year old actor recently sat down with the Robertson Treatment.  To talk about his acting chops and what’s it’s like being comfortable in his own skin. 

Robertson Treatment: How long did it take for you to get completely comfortable wearing all the clothing you had to wear for this role?

CHIWETEL: It took quite a long time. It was up until, I think, almost when we started really shooting it. We had quite a long period of rehearsals and choreography and getting used to all the different aspects of it, and a number of meetings with Sammy Sheldon, who did all the costume design, and Trefor Proud, who did the hair and makeup. So there was a lot of preparation time, and then also putting together the music and choreographing stuff with the rest of the guys doing all the numbers. But it took all the time that we had, really, to really feel completely sort of comfortable and almost become a kind of idea, or sort of second nature, and just sort of turning up and getting into the makeup chair and the transformation beginning. And just sort of shocking moments along the way. I think when I first had my eyebrows waxed, I was pretty disturbed. [laughs] But then all of that was sort of geared towards creating this kind of character which all of that sort of helped do, really. Even the trepidation and the sort of nervous energy was all a great part of learning about Simon and Lola and the character research, in its own way.

RT: How did you approach the character?

CHIWETEL: I just wanted to make sure that Lola was somebody that people could...that was very true to her...like, had distinction from the people in the factory, and very, very different from anybody else in the environment, but also was a very real person that everybody could sort of related to and understand and sort of realize that the differences between them, if you like, were only sort of very surface ones, and actually, in the end, everybody had the opportunity to sort of realize that what brought them together was greater than what separated them. And I wanted that to happen, but I wanted it to happen sort of honestly, I guess, and not feel sort of forced, or not feel like you'd ever think that these people somehow could never sort of relate to Lola because she was too outlandish or too kind of wild, or too sort of much, I suppose. So I guess that's how I looked at it.

RT: Lola makes a distinction between drag queen and transvestite. How much understanding do you have of that world now?

CHIWETEL: Yeah, I mean, there are as many different reasons as there are people. I think in this story, it was very important, to me anyway, just to make sure that it is a very...It's a very specific tale. And it has its own questions and its own answers, and it's a tale about fathers and sons, obviously, and about the nature of masculinity, and what is the distinction between transvestitism and drag queens and so on. But it's a very individual story, and there are very sort of psychological reasonings, but they are in no way a sort of generalization of everybody's reasoning behind transvestitism and cross-dressing. And I feel like I got a very good and in-depth sort of understanding of the scene and the distinctions within the scene and so on. So in that sense, it was very interesting. But like I say, in no way is the film supposed to reflect the kind of general transgender world. It's a very specific story, I think.

RT: Is there a different acting discipline in England that allows you to be more fearless than most actors in Hollywood?

CHIWETEL: I don't know. I mean, I guess in the end, it's a kind of a complex question because, you know...I read the script, I really enjoyed the character, and I didn't feel that I had in any way set myself up as an actor to be categorized as a single thing anyway. And I never felt that people who were coming to see films that I was in had any reason to assume that they were going to get a certain kind of product. So it never felt risky to me because there was nothing for it to be risky against. So I was very happy. I loved the character and I really enjoyed the message of the film and the story of the people, and I was a fan of Julian's work. So yeah, it was sort of a no-brainer. I was thrilled to be inv 

RT: Does it take a certain amount of security or comfort with yourself to do this kind of role?

CHIWETEL: I don't know. I think for me, the question would be in a sense, if...what would complicate my relationship I think in a lot of ways to being an actor and so on, was if I was to read a script that I really liked and a character that I really liked and yet...and you know, with a cast and a crew and a director that I wanted to work with, and not do it...and I think that finding an answer to why I wouldn't do it would be such a complicated sort of process that would, in some ways, really deconstruct why I wanted to be an actor in the first place. So I don't know, but that would be a kind of weird position. But in the sense of doing a project like this where I was aware that it was going to be a stretch, and I was aware that it involved quite a lot of work and preparation...one feels kind of nervous about it, but also that's a very exhilarating and exciting part of the process. And certainly I became an actor just to kind of get involved in different worlds and different scenes and just sort of understand various different vibes and genres.

RT: Did you have a favourite scene to shoot?

CHIWETEL: Well, I love the stuff in the clubs. In some ways, that was...I mean, there's always going to be in a script a few scenes that...they're always in the back of your mind, and you're always thinking, "Well, I've got to go and do that scene." And I think for me, a central part of Lola was always songs, and these costumes, and whatever, and this club, and the kind of the drag show. And we'd spend a lot of time working on the different looks and so on. And so when that sort of came around, I was excited and I was nervous and everybody there, all the background people, were of that world, so I felt that...and I think that they didn't...At that time, when we first started doing the shows, people weren't sure what this was going to be in a sense. So they didn't know whether this was going to be some sort of pastiche, whether it was some sort of spoof. So people were sort of gently cynical about the whole thing in a perfectly reasonable way. So I was thrilled that everybody, once they saw what we were doing, kind of just really got into it. And then you know, we just had a great time doing the show. So I enjoyed that.

RT: Tell us about Children of Men, the Alfonso Cuaron movie that you’re shooting now?

CHIWETEL: Yeah, it's...Well, that's it. It's Children of Men, it's Alfonso Cuaron's film. It's sort of set a short time in the future with general sort of political societal collapses as well as these issues of fertility that have created a very enraged and complex society, and it's based on the Peter James novel. Alfonso, I think, has adapted and written a terrific script, and a really good cast of people have come together to shoot the film. And I think he's an amazing director. And I think the work that we were doing on the film is just exceptional. It's one of those things that I don't think anybody's ever really seen before, and I think it's really going to be quite interesting to see when it comes out. I play, along with Julianne Moore, the heads of an anti-government group that is sort of existing on the fringes of society, and we sort of try to get the allegiance of Clive Owens' character.

Chloë Sevigny: Just A Fashionista In Nun's Clothing

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Rita Zekas, Toronto Star

(Apr. 22, 2006)
Like most young Catholic girls, I wanted to be a nun.  That changed radically when I discovered they wore sensible shoes.  Not so fashionista actor Chloë Sevigny, who plays Clara, a novice nun determined to help children in AIDS-ravaged Africa, in the film 3 Needles, which opened yesterday.  During an interview at the Toronto International Film Festival last September, where 3 Needles premiered, Sevigny insisted she'd never wanted to be a nun. Then we noticed that she was wearing Dolce & Gabbana shoes.  Sevigny did, however, attend mass and Sunday school in Darien, Conn., where she was born in 1974. She made the pilgrimage to St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City, where she'd watch the nuns help with communion.  "I was amazed to see them dedicating their lives to Jesus, being so selfless to devote themselves to something great," she recalled. "I hold them in high regard. I go to mass for my own reasons: ever since I was a kid, it was about the iconography. I love the tradition, the communion and the reminder of what you can do in daily life. It is calming. I smell the incense; it's a spiritual moment."  She is known as the go-to girl for indies and art films, and since 1999 has appeared in Shattered Glass, Party Monster, Dogville, American Psycho, A Map of the World, Trees Lounge, Kids and Boys Don't Cry, for which she was nominated for a best supporting actress Oscar.  She co-starred with Vincent Gallo in The Brown Bunny, infamous for its fellatio scene. But since we were talking nuns, we didn't go there.  She recently played the new girlfriend of the Dr. Herman Tarnower of Scarsdale Diet fame in the TV-movie Mrs. Harris, and currently plays whiny shopaholic Nicki, one of Bill Paxton's three wives, in the series Big Love. Her role in 3 Needles is her first as a nun. Coincidentally, that friend is Tara Subkoff, creator of the "painfully hip" clothing line Imitation of Christ, of which Sevigny is the muse.  "Her show is the only show I care about," she said.  Sevigny has modelled in it.  "I'm runway roadkill," she laughed. "It's kind of boring, girls parading back and forth — I want more theatrics. That's why Tara is so great. I've modelled here and there. I have to be thankful for the fashion industry — it paid my bills. It paid my rent.

"I was always into clothes growing up in Connecticut. I worked at Sassy magazine because I thought I wanted to work in journalism. I was an intern, running errands, helping the main stylist.  "I didn't have a lot of direction or drive as a teen. I was a `fuck-you' kinda kid. I didn't have a lot of heroes. I hung with stoners. I grew up trying to move to New York. I did acting as a kid: commercials, some summer theatre," she said.  "How does one become an actor? It seemed impossible. I did music videos and then I popped up in indies. I ran with the opportunity because I thought I wanted to do costumes."  Sevigny moved to New York at age 18 and was spotted on the street by a fashion editor impressed with her flair for street fashion. She was immediately recruited for Sassy.  She appeared in videos for Sonic Youth and the Lemonheads, and modelled for Miu Miu, H&M and x-girl, the urban clothing line created by Sonic Youth frontwoman Kim Gordon.  In 1994, Jay McInerney (Bright Lights, Big City) dubbed 20-year-old Sevigny the "coolest girl in the world" in a piece in The New Yorker.  She made her film debut in 1995 in Kids, playing a virginal teen who contracts HIV from her first sexual encounter. She'd met Kids director Harmony Korine in Tompkins Square Park, where she used to hang out watching the skateboarders. She and Korine became both romantically and professionally involved.  Sevigny clearly goes for the script rather than the paycheque. 3 Needles is Canadian-financed and directed, written and produced by Canadian Thom Fitzgerald, whose work she'd never seen, even though he's won more than two dozen international awards since his quirky 1997 debut film, The Hanging Garden.  "Someone sent me the script," Sevigny recalled. "I fell in love with it. I guess I was scared to watch his work. I'm so lazy I still haven't.  "I liked the joining of the characters and the church. Clara made the ultimate sacrifice of her body."  Clara seems a strange fit for a nun. Why did she chose to become one?

"It is something very private," Sevigny mused. "I had the feeling it was because she was so self righteous. Maybe Thom thought it was something different.  "When Clara sees Sandra Oh (who plays Sister Mary John) enjoying food, she sees gluttony. She is disappointed in her. Clara has a goody-goody, self-righteous thing. I tried to make her more flawed."  Though the cast and crew didn't stay in the dung huts where the nuns were billeted in the film, there were no mod cons in South Africa, where they shot.  "We stayed in a B&B hotel," Sevigny said. "It was charming but very primitive: no TV, no telephone. We had to bring our own alarm clocks. We ate the same food for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  "It was a beach town, off-season. It was breathtaking but I had a lot of problems with the politics. The young people were questioning what the elders, the older Afrikaans, taught them. It was depressing. All they did was criticize Americans."  One of her most mesmerizing moments, in the film, sees Clara happen upon a herd of giraffes.  "I got out of the Jeep and started walking towards them, and they (the film crew) turned on the camera," Sevigny said. "They were babies and mostly curious."  As well as her effect on the animals, the nun's habit had an effect on the people.  "I was treated with respect and admiration," Sevigny said. "I'd take off the habit and they'd snicker at my Western clothes. It was day and night, and it helped drive the character."  Next up: Zodiac, directed by David Fincher, who helmed Seven, Fight Club and Panic Room.  "It's a blockbuster about the Zodiac killer in the '70s, with Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo and Robert Downey Jr. I play the girlfriend. Choose one: the girlfriend or the victim.  "It's my first studio picture," she said, adding: "I'm all grown up."

The Eva Longoria Interview

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com
By Kam Williams

(Apr. 21, 2006) *Born on March 15, 1975, Eva Jacqueline Longoria was the youngest of four sisters raised by her parents on a ranch in Corpus Christi, Texas. She earned a BS in Kinesiology at Texas A&M, before being spotted by a talent scout who brought her to Hollywood.    The 5’2” Latina settled for bit parts on such soap operas as General Hospital, The Young and the Restless and Beverly Hills 90210 till she landed a recurring role on the short-lived revival of Dragnet in 2003. Eva’s fortunes would change dramatically the very next year, when she was signed to play wanton adulteress Gabrielle Solis on Desperate Housewives. The show turned out to be a runaway hit, turning Longoria into an overnight sensation who currently commands a cool quarter million dollars per episode.   Longoria is apparently earning every penny of her salary, having been conked unconscious on the set for four minutes by a pole which fell on her head. Most folks don’t know that Eva also headlines a stand-up variety show at The Comedy Store in L.A. and at other clubs around the country called Hot Tamales Live, accompanied by a bevy of Latin American comedienne’s including Kiki Melendez and Tess. Among her many celebrity endorsements are ones with Hanes, New York & Company, plus a $2.36 million deal with L’Oreal and others.  Longoria was Named #1 on Maxim Magazine’s Hot 100 List of 2005, and a steamy shot of her in a bikini graced the cover of its 100th issue. Furthermore, the magazine commissioned an artist to paint a super-sized, 75’ by 100’ reproduction of the picture in the desert where it is visible from outer space via satellite.  As for her personal life, since divorcing her husband Tyler Christopher last year, the 31 year-old Mexican-American man-eater’s dating pool has included boy band ‘N Sync’s JC Chasez, and actor boy toys Hayden Christensen, Butch Klein, Kiefer Sutherland, and Sean Faris. Lately, however, she has been romantically-linked to Tony Parker, the 23 year-old point guard of the San Antonio Suns. She even admits to having the flying Frenchman’s initials tattooed in an intimate area of her body.  Here, Eva talks about her new movie, The Sentinel, a political potboiler about a traitor in the ranks of the Secret Service where she plays an Agent opposite Kiefer Sutherland, and Academy Award-winners Michael Douglas and Kim Basinger.

Kam Williams: How does it feel knowing you can be seen in a skimpy bikini from outer space?

Eva Longoria: [Laughs] “I’m really nervous, because if an alien is passing by and happens to see my picture, he’s going to come looking for me. But it was fun. I was really honoured. Maxim was celebrating its 100th issue, and they teamed up with Google Earth and Las Vegas to paint my picture on a football field. So, technically, I have the biggest ass in the world.

KW: Have you flown over it leaving Las Vegas?

EL: No, I wonder if I could see it if I was flying to Vegas. I gotta check that out next time I go there.

KW: You’ve been added to the list of landmarks you can see from the air, like The Great Wall of China.

EL: Yes, I’m the Eighth Wonder of the World.

KW: How did you like the change of pace of making and action flick like The Sentinel?

EL: Fun! Fun! Well, first of all, just even going from a set full of estrogen to one full of testosterone was exciting to me. I found it exhilarating, because I don’t get to do that every day. And that was the whole point of picking a movie. I wanted to do something completely opposite of Gabrielle and Desperate Housewives. And I found it in Jill Marin.

KW: Was it a hard character for you to play?

EL: No, actually, she’s a lot closer to who I am as a person. I’m a tomboy. I love shooting guns and running around. To be able to do that in the movie was just like vacation to me, instead of getting dressed up or putting on lingerie.

KW: What does it feel like to go in a couple of years from an aspiring actress to a celebrity whose every date is being monitored by the tabloids?

EL: I can’t articulate it. That’s funny, because it’s the most asked question I get. How does it feel? I don’t know. Overwhelming would be a good word, but it doesn’t accurately describe everything that’s happened in the past two and a half years. It’s just been a roller coaster of ups. It’s like I can’t keep up with all the good news.

KW: So, there’s nothing you’d like to undo?

EL: No, I don’t regret anything I do, ever, whether articles I’ve done or things I’ve said. And as far as what’s happened in the past, I wouldn’t take anything back. People think I’m an overnight success with Desperate Housewives, but I was working for eight years. And they ask if there’s a movie I wish I hadn’t done. There isn’t, because everything that I’ve done in the past has built my character. All the rejections have been a bonus for me. Eva Mendez and I met at the audition for Spanglish. And neither of us got it, obviously. I ran into her a year or two later, and she said, “Isn’t it funny, if I had gotten Spanglish, I couldn’t have done Hitch.” And if I had done Spanglish, I wouldn’t have done Desperate Housewives. I always think everything’s for a reason, everything is meant to be. So, I’m very grateful, and always reflecting on that.

KW: Were you stereotyped early in your career and mostly offered roles like the one you auditioned for in Spanglish where you would’ve played a Mexican maid?

EL: I have been blessed that I wasn’t pigeonholed into that. Those roles didn’t come to me because I didn’t have an accent. They’d ask, “Couldn’t you do it a little more feisty, fiery, Latin.” I’d respond with, “I’m sorry, were you getting Jewish fire? Because I am Latin.” Even though I am very tied to and close to my heritage, I learned Spanish in college, I didn’t grow up with it. Growing up in South Texas is different from Miami or L.A. where it is a necessity to speak Spanish.

KW: Did you know Desperate Housewives was going to be a big hit?

EL: We were just excited to get picked up for a second year after the first two episodes aired. That was kind of unheard of. So, we felt, “Wow, we’re going to have jobs for a while.” But we didn’t realize that it was going to be a phenomenon or a worldwide hit. We were all surprised by the obsession with the show and the enormity that it became.

KW: You’ve certainly come a long way financially from your days as a struggling actress on soap operas.

EL: I was making almost minimum wage on The Young and the Restless. But it was my first job, so I accepted my first quote. I had a great time on it, and it obviously led me to better things.

KW: Do you feel a responsibility as a Latino-American to maintain any connections to the community?

EL: Absolutely! I see myself as a role model.

KW: So, what programs are you involved with?

EL: I work a lot with NCLR which is the largest Latino civil rights organization in the country. And I also work a lot with the UFW, the United Farm Workers. So, I’ve been in the field, and experienced a day in the life with the people. I’m presently producing a documentary on the labour workers.

KW: Where do you find time for that when you’re on an award-winning TV show?

EL: Far more important than any awards for me as a Latino in entertainment is the mission of the NCLR. The reason I demanded to produce is because we’re in this big debate about the future of our immigration laws, and it is coloured by the often negative media portrayals of Latinos on television. So, if I could possibly help effect any changes because of a role that I’m playing, then I’m going to do it.

KW: Why are you concerned about the issue of Latino immigration?

EL: Because history repeats itself. This happened in the 1940s, after The Great depression, when they did a huge deportation of not only Mexicans, but many Mexican-Americans who were full-fledged citizens. I think our administration can’t afford to let this to end badly again. Everybody has a right to be treated as a human being. Did you know that there are slavery lawsuits brought right now in Florida against some orange growers by MALDEF, the Mexican-American Legal Defense Educational Fund?

KW: No, I didn’t.

EL: Well, we’re fighting, and suing and helping because they’re being treated like slaves. It’s insane that it’s 2006 and that’s happening, and that we have to bring a lawsuit to stop it.

KW: Who has inspired this commitment in you?

EL: I don’t know. It’s just my personality. It could divine intervention. I am like no one in my family. I really think I was adopted and they won’t tell me. Everyone’s a pessimist. I’m a huge optimist. It might spawn from the fact that I grew up with a lot of women around me. My mom had nine sisters. I have three sisters. My sister just had two girls. There’s no men in my family. So, we pretty much ruled the house, and that’s all I’ve ever known.

KW: When Tony becomes a free agent, will he try to sign with the Lakers to be with you in L.A?

EL: Not the Lakers. He would consider the Clippers, but never the Lakers.

KW: Thanks for the interview.

EL: You’re very welcome. Bye.

Road Carnage Beckons

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Geoff Pevere


(Apr. 21, 2006) It's been 10 years since the Canadian road movie — a tradition inspired equally by geography and temperament — met two dissimilarly spectacular dead ends with David Cronenberg's Crash and Bruce McDonald's
Hard Core Logo.  It's an occasion worth marking, not merely because the brand-name value of Cronenberg's brilliantly audacious adaptation of J.G. Ballard's 1973 novel has been rudely usurped by Paul Haggis's Oscar-winning liberal purgative of the same name. These films are worth remembering because time has blessed them both: the wreckage they describe still smoulders.  Hard Core Logo was Toronto director Bruce McDonald's fourth film, and the third in a loosely comprised trilogy of movies about rock 'n' road.  But where Roadkill (1989) and Highway 61 (1991) were shaggy-dog dropout odysseys fuelled by punk attitude and a gregarious romantic anarchy, Hard Core Logo was about what happens when you realize the party's over and all your friends have moved to the suburbs.  It was about a quartet of incipiently middle-aged punk rockers — Vancouver's Hard Core Logo — who reunite for a miserable five-city tour of western Canada in the year after Kurt Cobain's death.  Based on a novel by Michael Turner and scripted by Noel S. Baker, Hard Core Logo is, in part, a mock-doc directed by a filmmaker named "Bruce McDonald." We're privy to the formerly notorious band's decision — prompted by the charismatically detestable lead singer Joe Dick (Hugh Dillon) to reunite for a small tour to raise funds for the supposedly gunshot punk guru Bucky Haight (Julian Richings), and we follow as the wheels start coming off the bus nearly before the show even hits the road.  While the impetus of Hard Core Logo's crash and burn on the road to Regina can be pinned to Joe's brazen fabrication of Bucky's Lennon-like martyrdom — when they arrive at the reclusive punk legend's prairie farm, he's as fit as an acid-dropping, martini-swilling punk guru can possibly be — the real reasons are rooted in Joe's tortured desire to get Callum Keith Rennie's Hollywood-bound guitarist Billy Tallent back in the group.

As the spit-prone Joe keeps telling him, he loves Billy, but his desire (which verges on the blatantly homoerotic) underscores the ultimate tragedy of trying to be faithful to pure punk principle after you've reached the age of mid-life reality check. More than anything, what Joe wants is the past back, and the entire trip is an attempt to escape the inevitable. If McDonald's movie is about a crushing collision with reality, Cronenberg's most controversial movie is about collision as a catapult beyond reality. (The director himself is a long-time gearhead.)  Based on J.G. Ballard's 1973 novel about a writer (named James Ballard) who falls in with a group of automotive crash fetishists after barely surviving a collision with a woman on the streets of London, Cronenberg's movie relocates the action to the arterial superhighways that ribbon Toronto. He reduces his character's psychological motivation to an enigmatic sexual obsessiveness ("drive," if you will), and stages a series of calmly outrageous sexual encounters that deliberately fetishize the idea of the fusion of body with machinery — which is exactly what happens when vehicles smash and mingle.  Igniting an almost instant international outrage, the movie was attacked even at its very first post-screening press conference at the Cannes Film Festival, where even the customarily reclusive Ballard himself made a public appearance not only to defend the film, but to claim that it actually represented a step beyond the novel.  Cronenberg's movie begins, he told a seemingly still-traumatized roomful of reporters, where his book ended.  Crash is a work of deliberate, precise and unsettling perversion. By replicating, in its cool tone of amoral fixation, the state of almost narcotic self-absorption of its autoerotic characters, it compels you to experience their world without making any allowances for the intrusion of conventional "normal" behaviour. Certainly, it's not an easy film, neither in terms of conventional engagement, nor instant apprehension. (Like many people, I didn't get it when I first saw it. I thought it ought to have exactly what it's most effective for not having: a "normal" character to escort us into the darkness.)  But it's built to last. Over the years, I've probably returned to Cronenberg's Crash about a dozen times, and on each occasion I'm slammed again by the movie's intelligence, humour, stylistic innovation and sheer pedal-to-the-metal fearlessness.  Moreover, it strikes me as possibly one of the most astute movies ever made about a certain aspect of living in this city: this is the Toronto of vast suburban sprawl and constant traffic, a place of cold grey skies, high-rise apartments overlooking multi-lane interchanges, airport parking garages and a certain sense of Big Smoke urban rootlessness.  From its first appearance in Canadian movies, the road has tended to beckon as a path that leads nowhere: indeed, such key movies as Nobody Waved Good-bye and Goin' Down the Road end with images of cars receding into an uncertain distance.  In their drastically different ways a decade ago, both Hard Core Logo and Crash stayed behind the wheel until the bitter end.

Aniston's More Recent Friends

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Ty Burr, Special To The Star, Boston Globe

(Apr. 23, 2006) Gawkers may stand 10 deep outside her publicity tent set up at the bottom of Main Street in Park City, Utah. But inside that tent is a thoroughly normal woman who seems more like an easygoing housecleaner than the Olympian drama queen on the cover of People.  The scene earlier this year: Sundance 2006 is in full swing, and the main street of this ski town has been transformed into paparazzi central, not least because of the woman inside that tent.
Jennifer Aniston may have the schlumpiest role in Nicole Holofcener's Friends With Money, now playing in Toronto, but because she's Jennifer Aniston, ex-Friends star and spurned wife in the ongoing Brad/Angelina tabloid melodrama, she's a front-page story.  Holofcener's indie comedy-drama is the festival's kickoff movie, and like the director's previous films, 1996's Walking and Talking and 2001's Lovely and Amazing, it's a showcase for some of the industry's most reliable and least-appreciated actresses. Catherine Keener, soon to be Oscar-nominated for playing Harper Lee in Capote, plays a neurotic screenwriter married to and emotionally abused by her writing partner (Jason Isaacs). The great Frances McDormand is a designer having a hilarious and touching midlife meltdown, while Joan Cusack plays their fussy, wealthy friend.  The fourth corner of this cinematic coffee klatsch is Aniston as Olivia — the single one, the pothead, the pal who can't get over her married ex-lover and who cleans houses for a living because a career would be too much work.  Speaking of work, though, part of Aniston's function is to promote this little film at Sundance. To forestall unseemly questions about her home life, publicists have insisted she be interviewed with Keener, but that's fine: The two yap merrily like, well, friends with money, stepping on each other's sentences and telling gleeful little tales on each other. (Warning: The following interview is entirely Brad-free.)

In Friends With Money, did you have any desire to play each other's characters? Could you have played them?

Aniston: But wouldn't that have been boring? I loved Olivia.

Keener: I think each one has a little of the others in them. They're friends, and you often do that in a friendship: You select out the traits you like, even if it's not conscious. When I read the script, I did look at Olivia's part and thought that was who Nicole wanted me to play, because it was a little — it's not dissimilar to characters I've played for her. But she wanted to allow me to have a fresh experience with her.

How'd the script come to you, Jennifer?

(simultaneously)

Aniston: Nicole called, she basically asked me —

Keener: Nicole asked me if she would ever do it, and I said, `She loves your movies, I think she'd be thrilled' —

Aniston: — and I couldn't believe she was asking —

Keener: She's very particular about casting, Nicole. No matter where you are and what profile you have in our acting community —

Aniston: — which I feel so grateful for, because there's not many people that can see past that sometimes. Especially ... (She stops herself.) In the independent world, you really do get to stretch a little and get out of your box, and that's really refreshing. You gotta do that for your soul.

And how exactly does one go about researching the role of a pot-smoking housecleaner?

Aniston: Well ...

Keener: (whistles innocently) Well, what I've heard about pot —

Aniston: I Googled it —

Keener: It makes you get into things —

Aniston: — and you kind of obsessively do things. Really well.

Keener: Jennifer takes a lot of pride in her attention to detail —

Aniston: I have a girlfriend that I modelled Olivia after. I have my wonderful group of girlfriends, and there is the one who is younger than all of us, who hasn't quite figured out exactly what she wants to do, slightly unmotivated but trying to motivate, and we're always giving her clothes and footing the bill and loving her. And she's happy — she's not an unhappy person.

Keener: — She's smart, educated —

Has she seen the movie yet?

Aniston: No —

Keener: — And don't write any of that. (laughs)

Can you talk about the push-pull between celebrity and acting? Does your public image limit you when you're choosing roles?

Aniston: I try not to think about that. As long as I feel I can do my job — and do it well — that will hopefully win. Part of it makes me want to leave Los Angeles, though, because I feel like just a piece of chum out there. I go to other places in the country —

Keener: — They don't care —

Aniston: — And you're another human being and there's respect. You don't see people looking at you with dollar signs in their eyes —

Keener: (interrupting) Can I? Just observing as a friend, I think that people with the kind of high profile that Jennifer has can go either way. You can rest on your image or your laurels, if there are laurels, or it can make you push harder to not be complacent. There are people like that, who just say "I'm stopping, I'm going to keep making these movies, I'm comfortable," but those people, honestly, in 10 years? They're angry, sad, bitter, and they want to stop doing (expletive) comedies. They want a real job. And, I tell you, the fame is what makes them like that, it's not the work —

Aniston: — It's seductive. It's like this weird, dark goddess, and people get sucked into believing all that.

Have you carved out a place in your life where you can go out to Starbucks or the bookstore?

Aniston: I do. It's easier in certain places —

Keener: Mars. (laughs) I have to tell people when we're in a grocery store shopping — well, this is what she does. She'll put stuff like meat, which I don't eat, in my cart —

Aniston: — Hee-hee —

Keener: — without my seeing it, so when I go to the register —

Aniston: — See, that's a fun thing to do, sneak up on people and throw stuff into their cart —

Keener: — But also I'm the bodyguard who will say, `No, you can't take a picture, she's buying personal hygiene things here, just let her go through the express line' —

Aniston: — Ha! —

Keener: — And sometimes you just have to gut up and say, yeah, this might not be the most likable thing I've ever done, but that's okay, at least I'll like myself at the end of the day —

Catherine, you came to stardom a little later in your career —

Keener: "Later," interesting. Okay, I'm an old, old person.

Aniston: (cracks up)

Keener: We don't really care, me and Shirley — no, it's absolutely true, whatever modicum of fame I have —

Aniston: — You love your anonymity —

Keener: — Yeah. What was the question?

Whether coming to fame with a little more experience under your belt made you more wary about it, or wiser, or cynical. Or not.

Keener: You know, I hate saying that's probably true, but it is. I am cynical about some things. Maybe I'm realistic. One of the first auditions for a film I had, I got very good notes in terms of the audition itself, but literally the director said, "She's not sexy." In the notes. And it came back to me. And I thought, that's an absolute. I can't do anything about that. And what I did was get in the car with my dog and drive to New Mexico and I spent three months in Roswell having the time of my life. And it just let me let go a little —

Aniston: That's a nice story.

Keener: Not at the time. It was really demoralizing. I just thought, ''I can't work on that." Now I don't have that issue.

Some people would say going to New Mexico for three months with your dog is sexy.

Keener: That's sexy for me. And I'll tell you, it made me feel that if they can say "No" to me, I can say "No" right back. And that helped me keep going.

So what about The 40-Year-Old Virgin? Has your teenage boy recognition on the street improved?

Keener: It is so much better.

Aniston: (laughs) That was so fun. My God. Did you ever see it?

Keener: Yes, twice! I learned so much making it. You see, you had training in improvisation from Friends. You just throw it out. The movies I've done, you respect the writer and there's no need to think about other lines, but this was one where they kept saying, "Okay, now say something else!" There was never "cut." With these guys who were so talented at improv, it was an amazing learning experience.

Was there a lot of improv on Friends With Money?

Keener: Nooo. Nicole writes like that —

Aniston: It's her writing —

Keener: She's a beautiful, understated, specific writer.

Aniston: We're lucky.

Keener: It's almost how you're supposed to be able to write: one page, single-spaced. All the extra stuff's gone.

Is that a sensibility that's at all respected in the film industry?

Keener: A lot of people in Los Angeles don't recognize good writing, I'm sorry to say. It's my opinion. People will make movies there with a lot of money, and I feel like what they perceive as good writing is often over-writing and has a lot of big scenes that just don't ring true. I don't know, it's not the kind of writing I respond to.

Can you give a specific example of how something might have played out differently on the set with Nicole as opposed to a male director?

Aniston: I don't think I can make that distinction. There was a comfort on the set — and maybe it's because I know her, too, through Keener. (to Keener) What's the difference between a male and a female director? There's something about feminine energy. It was extremely casual. We were filming in houses, changing in bathrooms —

Keener: — If you were uptight, forget it, it wasn't a movie you wanted to work on —

Aniston: — It wasn't a vanity piece, you didn't wait around for lighting —

Keener: — People have commented that it's not "beauty lighting," and we love that. They'd be asking, "Are you aware of that?" when it was intentional on Nicole's part. And the guys in the movie were however prickish they had to be to support our characters. It's like team sports. You just want to do your part.

Must be fun to have Frances McDormand on your team.

Keener: She's amazing —

Aniston: — She's the most fun —

Keener: — She's got a killer whistle —

Aniston: — Scared the crap out of me —

Keener: — Like a paparazzi whistle —

Aniston: — She's got power.

Is it a given, Jennifer, that you'll be part of Nicole's troupe now?

Aniston: I don't know. I don't want to seem presumptuous. Or desperate. Maybe I'll just ask her flat out, or beg her. It was a very safe environment at a time when it was tricky. (pause) I mean, there was a lot goin' on. And it was just the perfect place to be. The perfect place.

When Lying Means You Live

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Geoff Pevere


Va, vis et deviens (Live and Become)

Starring Yaël Abecassis, Roschdy Zem, Moshe Agazai, Mosche Abebe, Sirak M. Sabahat. Written and directed by Radu Mihaileanu. With English subtitles. 140 minutes. At Bayview Village. 14A

(Apr. 21, 2006) The story of an Ethiopian boy who poses as a Jew in Israel in order to find refuge from famine in Africa, Radu Mihaileanu's
Va, vis et deviens (Live and Become) is a sprawling, truth-based tale held together by a remarkable trio of performances.  Following the story of the virtually orphaned child Solomon (who will be named Schlomo when he settles in Israel) from his separation from his mother in 1984, to his eventual return to the Sudan as a doctor more than 20 years later, Va, vis et deviens features three young actors in the same role. The internal experience each suggests is what provides the movie with its cohesive emotional undercurrent.  Essentially a first-person story of displacement within displacement — even as a black Ethiopian Jew, Schlomo finds himself in a constant state of semi-exile from his new country — Mihaileanu's movie unfolds from the perspective of a terrified boy torn from his mother and acutely aware of his own difference. The result is that he regards his world, including his white, upper middle-class, left-leaning family, his teachers, schoolmates and all authority, with a quiet wariness.  Since the film's principal dramatic focus is the burden of Schlomo's secret — when his mother sent him away, she promised he must never reveal he's not a Jew — and since we can also see that circumstances must eventually ensure the secret cannot be kept, Va, vis et deviens verges on being self-defeatingly overlong: at nearly 2 1/2 hours, it could have sharpened its power by tightening Schlomo's story. Conversely, the film might not feel quite so thin if the supporting characters, primarily Schlomo's immediate family, had room to develop. As it is, Schlomo not only anchors the film's point of view, he monopolizes its emotional life. 

Can Jenkinson Cure Telefilm?

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Martin Knelman


(Apr. 24, 2006) Michael Jenkinson, who grew up in Toronto before making it in Hollywood, flew back to his hometown yesterday to begin his new life as Telefilm Canada's miracle doctor.  This morning at the Spoke Club, Wayne Clarkson, Telefilm's embattled executive director, will introduce his newly minted movie czar to the media and the players — many of them bothered and bewildered — on the English side of the industry.  Jenkinson's mandate as feature film executive reporting directly to Clarkson: to fix a system that does not seem to be working, especially when measured against Telefilm's French-language movies, which have lately been achieving huge box- office success.  "I've always been adventurous in my choices and I do feel this is a great opportunity," Jenkinson explained cheerfully in an interview yesterday at his hotel just after arriving from L.A.  Does the man not realize he is entering a world of fear and loathing, as well as expectations that some veterans would describe as impossible to meet?  Well, at 44, Jenkinson has enjoyed a life of taking big risks, which may explain why he is embracing a job cynical observers might describe as sure to test anyone's sanity and temper.  Born in Jamaica, he moved to Toronto along with his parents and two older sisters, living in the Annex and later Downsview. After earning his law degree at Osgoode Hall and his MBA at the University of Western Ontario, Jenkinson landed on Wall Street earning a big salary at the Chase Manhattan Bank.  But after taking a year off and travelling through Southeast Asia and Africa, he decided he wanted to work in films — and talked his way into the Canadian Film Centre, where he learned how to be a movie producer.  Then with the help of Norman Jewison, Jenkinson landed an apprenticeship at 20th Century Fox in L.A., where after a few years he became vice-president of acquisitions and production.  By then Jenkinson was ready for another risk and another challenge. He left Fox to set up a small L.A.-based company called Urban Entertainment, where he was CEO. Its specialty: creating a library of animated shorts for the Internet.

That led to an investment from Time Warner and a first-look deal with New Line Cinema. Jenkinson's biggest breakthrough was producing Undercover Brother, a spy comedy released by Universal.  So why leave the world's movie capital? "I had a terrific ride in Hollywood for 13 years, but I was looking to move back to Canada," he says. He and his wife, who is from Milan, have two sons, ages 8 and 6. They'd prefer to raise them in Toronto.  "This position strikes me as a terrific opportunity," Jenkinson explains. "The issues are complex. It's a chance to work with filmmakers I respect within an institution that produces a significant number of films."  By appointing Jenkinson, Clarkson is effectively cancelling Telefilm's previous system. Until now, decisions about funding English-language movies were made by committee, with complicated rules about deadlines and regional representation. Telefilm's feature film budget is about $80 million, including French-language production, new media and low-budget films.  Jenkinson's job will be to choose which English-language movies costing more than $1 million get Telefilm backing. Typically Telefilm invests an average of $2 million in 10 or 12 of those movies. For every one that gets funding, seven or eight will be turned down.  The biggest problem is that Canadian films account for less than 2 per cent of the box office in English Canada (compared to more than 20 per cent in Quebec).  The federal government wants box office on the English side to improve. Meanwhile, major producers and distributors blame Telefilm for the industry's malaise, and loudly offer self-serving suggestions for rewriting Telefilm's rules.  "I don't think any one appointment is a panacea," says Clarkson, "but I do feel we are moving in the right direction by bringing Michael in and moving away from decision by committee. The film business does not work by consensus and compromise. It's a world of risk and passion."  Asked what his goal might be, Jenkinson replies: "The most important challenge is develop the kind of diverse portfolio at which Hollywood studios and mini-majors excel. They survive by spreading their risk and giving themselves a chance of having a breakaway hit."  But with limited resources, Jenkinson plans to focus on niche markets. "My goal above all is to keep the audience in mind," he explains. "We have to keep asking: `Who are we making these movies for?'"  Jenkinson assumes his new position on May 15.

The EUR Interview: Sahara Garey (Akeelah And The Bee)

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com – By Kam Williams

(April 24, 2006) *Adorable 14-year-old Sahara Garey was born in Houston, Texas on June 5, 1991. She discovered her passion for acting at the very early age of nine when while watching a Juicy Juice commercial. She turned to her mom and said that she wanted to be on TV like the kids she was watching.   Sahara was already heavily into the pageant circuit and so her mother, who has always been supportive, told her she had to pick which one she wanted to do. Since Sahara was up for trying something new, she chose acting!  The next year, her father’s job took the family to Los Angeles and in one short week, Sahara was signed to an agency. Her first job was in the kids TV pilot “The Pinky the Clown Show,” where she played a puppet who turned in to a real child who turned back into a puppet at the end. She followed that with a recurring role on the hit NBC daytime drama “Days of Our Lives,” and then with a string of guest-starring roles, which included NBC’s “American Dreams,” Disney’s “That So Raven,” and FX’s “The Shield.”  She can currently be seen in a supporting role in the Akeelah and the Bee opposite Keke Palmer, Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne. In the movie, she plays Akeelah’s best friend, Georgia.  When she is not acting, Sahara loves doing typical teenage girl stuff, which includes, talking to her friends on the phone and chatting with them on her computer and she LOVES to shop. She even enjoys window-shopping. She also likes hanging out with her little brother Canyon and with her parents, who have taught her a biggest lesson in life, which is to keep striving for her dreams.  The Garey family currently resides in Los Angeles.

Kam Williams: How did you end up in show business at such an early age?

Sahara Garey: Well, when I was really young, my Mom entered me in pageants. In the beginning, I wasn’t really into it that much, because I wasn’t really old enough to know what I was doing.

KW: What was it like doing kiddie beauty pageants?

SG:  We traveled everywhere. And I had training in Tennessee like two times a month.

KW: As you got older, did you ever want to quit?

SG: At one point, my Mom gave me a break, but then I said, “I want to do that again!”

KW: So, when did you make the jump over to acting?

SG: When pageants kind of started getting old. I was watching TV, and I saw some kids, and I thought, “Hmm, maybe I can do that.” So, I asked my mother, “Ma, can I try doing the things those kids are doing on TV?” It was a Juicy Juice commercial. She was like, “Really? Are you serious about it? Is it something you really want to do?” I said, “Yeah, I want to try it.” And so, she said, “Okay, sure.”

KW: Did you find that the pageants prepared you for acting?

SG: Yes, they got me ready for acting, because being on stage and doing interviews built my confidence.

KW: What did you do next?

SG: We moved to California and got an agent. Since then, I’ve been taking acting classes, and auditioning, and dancing, and so many other things to try to get me to where I am now.

KW: Do you sing, too?

SG: Yes, I do. I sing country music. I’ve been singing country since I was little.

KW: Who’s your favourite country artist?

SG: Definitely, The Dixie Chicks! I love The Dixie Chicks!

KW: Are you thinking about a singing career?

SG: I would like to go for a singing career later, but I’m mostly working on my acting, because that’s really what I’m doing right now.

KW: Are you a fan of American Idol?

SG: Yes I am. I haven’t really watched very much of it this year, but I have watched it.

KW: Who are some of your favourites from previous years?

SG: There are so many of them. It’s kind of hard to remember all of their names. I have them in my head. I love them all. I really love Fantasia… and Kelly Clarkson…

KW: Are you planning to go to college?

SG: I have no choice. I have to go to college. During those years, I think that maybe I will keep doing my acting, but if it starts getting too hard, I will take a break. I’m definitely going to try to do both at the same time.

KW: Do you have any siblings?

SG: Yes, I have one brother. His name is Khanyon. He’s 11. He’s really into sports. He plays tennis and basketball, and wants to get into football.

KW: Are you and your Mom very close?

SG: Yes, she really helps me. In the beginning, I thought that I knew everything. But I have to admit that I didn’t know anything. Initially, I wasn’t getting call backs. After I started listening to her more, I was like, “Wow! She really does know what she’s talking about.” So, now I trust her a lot.

KW: Where did your Mom get her knowledge? Was she an actress?

SG: She attended a performing arts high school and graduated from Prairie View A&M with a degree in theatre. She did do some acting, modeling and dancing.

KW: What was your big break?

SG: My very first TV show, I think, was “Days of Our Lives,” on NBC.

KW: What’s a kid doing on a soap opera?

SG: [Giggles] Well, there was this storyline where there was a murderer, but no one knew who the killer was. There was this Thanksgiving party where they had a humongous piñata. And you’ll never guess what was in the piñata: a dead body! I had to hit the piñata and then go, “Oh my God! It’s a dead body!”

KW: Was it upsetting playing that scene so young?

SG: It was kind of hilarious to me, but still kind of scary, you know.

KW: You’ve also been on “That’s So Raven.” What was that like?

SG: I had so much fun doing that, because my character was quite mean to Corey and that’s nothing like me. It’s kind of fun being mean and not like myself. She’d steal his popcorn, and he’d say, “I’ll save a seat for you.” And I’d reply, “Whatever.”

KW: How about your appearance on “The Shield”?

SG: Wow! I never, ever thought that I would be playing a girl cutting a baby out of a woman’s stomach, and killing the baby also. I never thought that I would do that.

KW: How did that make you feel?

SG: I don’t even have words for it. It’s kind of scary, you know?

KW: Yeah. What types of roles do you prefer comedy or dramatic?

SG: I think I’d like to try something really serious next. I don’t want to go for the roles that are just “ha-ha.”

KW: Tell me a little about Akeelah and the Bee.

SG: The movie is about so much more than just a spelling bee and a younger girl making it. It’s about all the struggles that she goes through and how she’s able to cope with that through her gift of spelling. There are so many people around her that want to help her do well, that she is able to get the whole community behind her on her way to the national spelling bee.

KW: Tell me a little about your character, Georgia.

SG: Georgia could be a good student but she skips class so many times to go shopping or to hang out. But she encourages Akeelah, because she sees so many qualities in her that she doesn’t think she herself has. Georgia aims lower, but she encourages Akeelah to aim higher.

KW: What school do you attend in real life?

SG: I’m home schooled in a home school program. I’m an independent worker. So, I’ll get my work like once a month, and I’ll do all of it. Every two weeks, I’ll meet a teacher and turn in my work. Then she’ll go over it. Since I don’t really have a teacher, I have to do a lot of reading and research for myself.

KW: Are you as good a speller as Akeelah?

SG: I don’t know if my spelling is as good as Akeelah’s, but I would definitely try to be as good.

KW: What advice do you have for kids who want to follow in your footsteps?

SG: I would tell them to go for it, go to acting classes, work hard, be uninhibited, and don’t ever say you can’t do it. Just do the best you can.

KW: What was it like working with Laurence Fishburne, Angela Bassett and Keke Palmer?

SG: I loved working with them all. They were all just really, really nice to me, and comforting.  Laurence Fishburne would watch the dailies the day after we did a scene. He would come to me and say, “Sahara, you’re doing a great job. Keep it up!” That would just make my day and inspire me to work even harder. Angela Bassett was so sweet. She would talk to me and help keep me calm on the set. I just love her. And Keke was a hoot. She was always doing something that made me laugh. She’s really, really cool in person.

KW: Thanks for the interview. I hope you’ll give me another one, when you get really famous?

SG: Hey, no problem. I’ll keep that promise.

Cameron Sees Future In 3-D Films

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail - Sheigh Crabtree, Reuters News Agency

(Apr. 25, 2006) LAS VEGAS -- Titanic director
James Cameron, warning that Hollywood is "in a fight for survival," wants the movie industry to offer films in digital 3-D to counteract declining sales and rampant piracy. "Maybe we just need to fight back harder, come out blazing, not wither away and die," the Canadian-born director said during his keynote address Sunday at the National Association of Broadcasters' Digital Cinema Summit in Las Vegas. "D-cinema can do it, for a number of reasons, but because d-cinema is an enabling technology for 3-D. Digital 3-D is a revolutionary form of showmanship that is within our grasp. It can get people off their butts and away from their portable devices and get people back in the theatres where they belong." Cameron also took the occasion of the world's largest annual film and broadcast technology trade show at the Las Vegas Convention Center to fire a few shots across the bow of the controversial practice of simultaneous movie and video releasing being promoted by entrepreneur Mark Cuban and Bubble director Steven Soderbergh, among others. We're so scared of piracy right now that we're ready to pimp out our mothers," Cameron said. "This whole day-and-date DVD release nonsense? Here's an answer: [Digital cinema is] one of the strongest reasons I've been pushing 3-D for the past few years because it offers a powerful experience which you can only have in the movie theatre." The director of the highest-grossing film of all time in nominal terms at $1.8 billion (U.S.) worldwide said he is considering a re-release of 1997's Titanic in digital 3-D, just as Peter Jackson is planning at some point for King Kong and, possibly, his The Lord of the Rings trilogy. George Lucas also plans to re-release his original Star Wars in 3-D timed to the space opera's 30th anniversary next year.

With filmmakers and exhibitors united behind the idea of enhanced cinema experiences, Cameron predicted that studios would become even more focused on both releasing new titles and re-releasing classics in 3-D digital cinema. "We will reach a point in a few years when every major studio will ask how many of its four or five annual tent poles should be in 3-D . . . ," Cameron said. "Every year there will be a copy of timeless favourites brought back through [3-D] dimensionalization," he said. "The new wave of 3-D films will be the must-see films, the major releases from major filmmakers." Cameron said that despite industry-wide squabbling and fear-based decision-making associated with new technology, and even despite the fact that the major studios haven't co-operated in the past, the digital cinema rollout actually is happening. Among the films testing the various 3-D waters are Narnia producer Walden Media and New Line Cinema's Journey to the Center of the Earth, which is being shot live-action with stereographic cameras; Robert Zemeckis's Beowulf, which is employing 3-D-animated performance capture; and Walt Disney Feature Animation's computer-animated Meet the Robinsons, which will be projected in 3-D.

‘Hustle & Flow’ Actors Score MTV Movie Award Nods

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com

(April 25, 2006) *“Hustle & Flow” actors Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson are among the nominees announced for this year’s MTV Movie Awards, scheduled to tape June 3 at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, CA, with a premiere date set for Thursday, June 8 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.   Howard and Henson are joint nominees in the category “Best Kiss,” while Howard was also nominated for Best Performance and Henson nabbed a nod for Breakthrough Performance.  In the category, Henson will face Romany Malco from “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” Nelly from “The Longest Yard” and “Four Brothers” star Andre 3000.   Other 2006 MTV Movie Award nominees included “Madea's Family Reunion” director and star Tyler Perry for Comedic Performance, “The Pink Panther’s” Beyonce for Sexiest Performance and “Sin City” co-stars Rosario Dawson and Clive Owen for Best Kiss.   The winners will be chosen by viewers who vote online at MovieAwards.MTV.com before May 19th. Fans can also vote from their mobile phone by texting "movieawards" to 91757 to receive a ballot. Voting is also available by dialing toll free to 1-877-MTV-VOTE.   Here are the nominees:

BEST MOVIE
* The 40-Year-Old Virgin (Universal Pictures)
* Batman Begins (Warner Bros. Pictures)
* King Kong (Universal Pictures)
* Sin City (Dimension Films)
* Wedding Crashers (New Line Cinema)
BEST PERFORMANCE
* Joaquin Phoenix - Walk the Line (20th Century Fox)
* Jake Gyllenhaal - Brokeback Mountain (Focus Features)
* Rachel McAdams - Red Eye (DreamWorks SKG)
* Steve Carell - The 40-Year Old Virgin (Universal Pictures)
* Terrence Howard - Hustle & Flow (Paramount Classics)
* Reese Witherspoon - Walk the Line (20th Century Fox)
BEST COMEDIC PERFORMANCE
* Owen Wilson - Wedding Crashers (New Line Cinema)
* Adam Sandler - The Longest Yard (Paramount Pictures)
* Steve Carell - The 40-Year-Old Virgin (Universal Pictures)
* Tyler Perry - Tyler Perry's Madea's Family Reunion (Lions Gate Films)
* Vince Vaughn - Wedding Crashers (New Line Cinema)
BEST ON-SCREEN TEAM
* Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen & Romany Malco - The 40-Year-Old Virgin (Universal Pictures)
* Johnny Knoxville, Seann William Scott & Jessica Simpson - The Dukes of Hazzard (Warner Bros. Pictures)
* Jessica Alba, Ioan Gruffudd, Chris Evans & Michael Chiklis - Fantastic Four (20th Century Fox)
* Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson & Rupert Grint - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Warner Bros. Pictures)
* Vince Vaughn & Owen Wilson - Wedding Crashers (New Line Cinema)
BEST VILLAIN
* Cillian Murphy - Batman Begins (Warner Bros. Pictures)
* Hayden Christensen - Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith (20th Century Fox)
* Ralph Fiennes - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Warner Bros. Pictures)
* Tilda Swinton - The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (Disney Pictures)
* Tobin Bell - Saw II (Lions Gate Films)
BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE
* Andre "3000" Benjamin - Four Brothers (Paramount Pictures)
* Isla Fisher - Wedding Crashers (New Line Cinema)
* Nelly - The Longest Yard (Paramount Pictures)
* Jennifer Carpenter - The Exorcism of Emily Rose (Screen Gems)
* Romany Malco - The 40-Year-Old Virgin (Universal Pictures)
* Taraji P. Henson - Hustle & Flow (Paramount Classics)
BEST HERO
* Christian Bale - Batman Begins (Warner Bros. Pictures)
* Jessica Alba - Fantastic Four (20th Century Fox)
* Daniel Radcliffe - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Warner Bros. Pictures)
* Kate Beckinsale - Underworld: Evolution (Screen Gems)
* Ewan McGregor - Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith (20th Century Fox)
SEXIEST PERFORMANCE
* Beyonce Knowles - The Pink Panther (Sony Pictures)
* Jessica Alba - Sin City (Dimension Films)
* Jessica Simpson - The Dukes of Hazzard (Warner Bros. Pictures)
* Ziyi Zhang - Memoirs of a Geisha (Sony Pictures)
* Rob Schneider - Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo (Sony Pictures)
BEST FIGHT
* Kong vs. The Planes - King Kong (Universal Pictures)
* Stephen Chow vs. Axe Gang - Kung Fu Hustle (Sony Pictures Classics)
* Angelina Jolie vs. Brad Pitt - Mr. & Mrs. Smith (20th Century Fox)
* Ewan McGregor vs. Hayden Christensen - Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith (20th Century Fox)
BEST KISS
* Jake Gyllenhaal & Heath Ledger - Brokeback Mountain (Focus Features)
* Taraji P. Henson & Terrence Howard - Hustle & Flow (Paramount Classics)
* Anna Faris & Chris Marquette - Just Friends (New Line Cinema)
* Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt - Mr. & Mrs. Smith (20th Century Fox)
* Rosario Dawson & Clive Owen - Sin City (Dimension Films)
BEST FRIGHTENED PERFORMANCE
* Rachel Nichols - The Amityville Horror (MGM)
* Jennifer Carpenter - The Exorcism of Emily Rose (Screen Gems)
* Derek Richardson - Hostel (Lions Gate Films)
* Paris Hilton - House of Wax (Warner Bros. Pictures)
* Dakota Fanning - War of the Worlds (Paramount Pictures)
mtvU STUDENT FILMMAKER AWARD
* Joshua Caldwell (Fordham University) - A Beautiful Lie
* Sean Mullin (Columbia University) - Sadiq
* Stephen Reedy (Diablo Valley College) - Undercut
* Jarrett Slavin (University of Michigan) - The Spiral Project
* Landon Zakheim (Emerson College) - The Fabulous Felix McCabe

Comedies Lead MTV Movie Award Nominees

Excerpt from The Toronto Star

(Apr. 24, 2006) NEW YORK (AP) — Comedies, frequently snubbed by award shows, will be front and centre at this year's MTV Movie Awards.  The 40-Year Old Virgin and Wedding Crashers lead with five nominations each, MTV announced Monday. Both films will compete for best movie along with Batman Begins, King Kong and Sin City.  Virgin star Steve Carell is up for three awards, including best performance, best comedic performance and best onscreen team with Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen and Romany Malco.  Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn will also vie for best onscreen team for Wedding Crashers. Both actors received nominations for best comedic performance.  Nominees for best kiss include Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger for Brokeback Mountain and Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie for Mr. & Mrs. Smith.  Crash, the Academy Awards best-picture winner, didn't receive a nomination.  One of the more unlikely groups of nominees is for sexiest performance, a newly added category. Rob Schneider, star of Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo, competes with Beyonce Knowles, Jessica Alba, Jessica Simpson and Ziyi Zhang.  MTV has also added a category for best hero and will present an mtvU Student Filmmaker Award. For the first time, acting awards won't be divided by gender, and instead will be grouped under best performance.  A host and performers will be announced later.  The 2006 MTV Movie Awards will take place June 3 at Sony Picture Studios in Culver City, Calif. The show will air June 8 on MTV (9 p.m. EDT).

FILM TIDBITS

No Canucks at Cannes

Source: Associated Press/Star Staff

(Apr. 21, 2006) PARIS—Pedro Almodovar, Sofia Coppola and Nanni Moretti are among the filmmakers who will compete for the top prize at the
Cannes Film Festival next month.  Coppola is competing at Cannes for the first time with Marie-Antoinette, a biopic of the ill-fated French queen starring Kirsten Dunst in the title role. The American director's father, Francis Ford Coppola, won the top prize in 1979 for Apocalypse Now.  Spain's Almodovar, named best director at Cannes for All About My Mother in 1999, is back with Volver, a tale of troubled relationships among three generations of women, starring Penelope Cruz.  Other directors in the lineup of 19 films in the main competition, announced yesterday, include Britain's Ken Loach (Sweet Sixteen), Turkey's Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Uzak), Mexico's Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (21 Grams) and U.S. filmmaker Richard Linklater (Before Sunset). Ron Howard's The Da Vinci Code will be the opening-night movie on May 17, but it is not competing for prizes. Hong Kong's Wong Kar-wai, director of In the Mood for Love, presides over the jury at the festival, which runs through May 28.  There are no Canadian films in competition.  

Tom Hanks Takes A Chance On Mamma Mia!

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail

(Apr. 21, 2006) New York — Mamma Mia!, the campy, crowd-pleasing musical inspired by ABBA disco-pop hits, is heading for the big screen, the trade paper Variety reported Wednesday. Tom Hanks' production company, Playtone, the paper reported, has inked a deal with Littlestar Services Limited, the company run by the hit show's producer, Judy Craymer, and ABBA songwriters Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus. Discussions are now being held with Universal Pictures to finance and distribute the film. A Universal spokeswoman declined comment on the deal, but confirmed the story's details. The movie is expected to be released in late 2007, Variety said. The musical -- which includes 22 ABBA classics like Dancing Queen, Take a Chance on Me and, of course, Mamma Mia — has earned $1.6-billion (U.S.) worldwide since its London opening in 1999.

Travolta, JLo To Star in 'Dallas' Movie

Source: Associated Press

(Apr. 21, 2006) London — Gurinder Chadha will direct John Travolta and Jennifer Lopez in a big-screen version of the prime-time soap opera Dallas. The British filmmaker, who directed 2002's Bend it Like Beckham, said Friday she had signed a deal with 20th Century Fox. Travolta will star as the conniving Texas oil baron J.R. Ewing and Lopez will play his wife, Sue Ellen. Filming is set to begin in October, with the movie slated for a late 2007 release. Dallas aired from 1978 to 1991. In 1980, an estimated 83 million TV viewers tuned in to find out who shot J.R., played by Larry Hagman, who had been blasted within an inch of his life in the previous season's cliffhanger finale. (The shooter turned out to be Ewing's sister-in-law Kristin.) Chadha, who gave Jane Austen a Bollywood twist in Bride & Prejudice, is also involved in adapting another TV hit, the '60s sitcom I Dream of Jeannie. She said that film "is still in the pipeline, but there is still some way to go on the script."

::TV NEWS::

U.S. Networks Try New Technologies They Won't Open To Canadians

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Raju Mudhar, Staff Reporter

(Apr. 23, 2006) Maybe if this section weren't called Buzz, we wouldn't care so much. But it's galling to consider the buzz in the U.S. about hot new digital deliveries, with near-daily announcements of entertainment companies trying new technologies, when that conduit slams shut at the Canadian border.  So, why isn't it happening here?  Below the 49th parallel, networks ABC and CBS are leading the way. First, the companies signed onto Apple's iTunes service to sell hits like Lost and Desperate Housewives a day after their regular television broadcast. Just like with music, that model proved to be a success and other networks followed suit.  The latest development has companies trying to cut out the middleman. Starting in May, ABC will mount four shows in streaming video on its own website, complete with ads. It's only a two-month experiment for now — networks are throwing things up on a wall to see what sticks. CBS is also making a similar attempt and, this past week, even PBS's new president mused about placing video online.  Often there's a lag expected in new offerings to Canada. But even straightforward things like Google Video and iTunes (at least with longform video) still haven't set up their e-commerce functions for Canada. As well, movie-streaming sites like movielink.com and cinemanow.com won't allow service to Canadians.  Yet, consider that Canadians have one of the highest broadband penetration rates in the world. Canada would seem an ideal place to try some of these initiatives. It hasn't happened.  "They're just being very careful," says Phil Swann, president and operator of TV predictions. com, an industry newsletter and website.  "The networks are not certain if there's a business option there. They are still trying to figure out where the value is, whether it's from a marketing point of view or where brand awareness is concerned. The second thing is, they are not confident they've got all the loopholes tied up in terms of piracy issues, so they're proceeding very cautiously."  While downloading obviously presents piracy issues (and Canadians are also some of the highest downloaders in the world), many of the new offerings are piracy-resistant streaming-based. And that's where rights management issues and licensing deals come into play: Canada is considered a separate territory to U.S. broadcasters.

For example, last month AOL in the U.S. launched In2Tv.com (http://television.aol.com/in2tv). It's a web-casting network that airs many of the old, off-air Warner Bros. TV shows like Chico and the Man, Wonder Woman, Head of the Class and many more — for free. By placing them online and making viewers watch a commercial first, the shows create new revenues. "As you've seen, they've signed a lot of relationships with different archived shows that are going to be running on their In2TV webcast. Those negotiations are currently in discussion for Canada," says Becky Bolt, spokesperson for AOL Canada. "So as a Canadian, (the site) actually recognizes your IP address and will not allow access."  (What makes this one even more frustrating is that when we tried to view it, the pre-show commercial played but we were denied the show.)  Bolt says, "It's a broadcast rights situation" — streaming this stuff to Canadian eyeballs might well upset the Canadian TV stations who've paid for exclusive rights. But shouldn't Canadian broadcasters jump in to offer, say, Corner Gas on our iPods or PCs?  "I think it's very disappointing to see what little the Canadian networks have done to bring Canadian content to the online marketplace," says Michael Geist, a University of Ottawa law professor and Canadian research chair on the Internet. He's also a Toronto Star columnist.  "Frankly, I think there's no excuse for CBC, CTV and Global to not be providing more of their content online ... there are clearly some opportunities there and they're not being pursued. I don't think it speaks well for any one of them."  The party line, though, is that it's only a matter of time.  "It's a pretty simple equation to make it available to people in Canada," says Swann, "and that's to find a way to get more revenue."

Musicians Slumming On TV

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Vinay Menon


(Apr. 25, 2006) If this keeps up, musicians will have no time for music. On tomorrow's CSI: NY (CBS, CTV, 10 p.m.), Kid Rock plays an unruly, limp-haired rocker prone to scandal. In other words: himself. In the episode, Mr. Rock is questioned by detectives after a limo driver's body is found in an alley during his concert. (Presumably, the fellow didn't take his own life after hearing "American Bad Ass.") The guest spot comes a month after rapper Ludacris appeared on NBC's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. And it comes a week after news surfaced that ABC was negotiating with Mick Jagger to accept a role in a comedy pilot. The Rolling Stones front man would be — bad pun alert! — the robbery target of some sticky-fingered jack flashes who are too proud to beg and can't get no satisfaction in their dead-end jobs. Time, you see, is not on their side. No word yet if the heist will be carried out on wild horses. Mick Jagger on the same network as Hope & Faith? Yes, 42 years after The Beatles performed on The Ed Sullivan Show, the British invasion continues. ABC has another rock-inspired comedy in the pipeline. Him and Us will revolve around an aging musician and his quirky entourage. The series will star Anthony Stewart Head. It is executive produced by Elton John, meaning it could break all budget records for wardrobe and makeup. Meanwhile, in the past two weeks, American Idol (Fox, CTV, 8 tonight) has enlisted both Queen members and Rod Stewart. Would anybody be surprised if Elvis Presley and Jim Morrison showed up to sing a duet during the finale? On tonight's show, the Top 6 will be coached by Andrea Bocelli who, like Stevie Wonder, can at least claim to have never seen the show before getting involved. But one thing is certain: music execs now see Idol as a massive opportunity. Just ask Canada's Daniel Powter, whose song "Bad Day" is used during those syrupy post-elimination video montages. The song was downloaded more than 690,000 times between Feb. 7 and April 9. Over the past 15 years, as music sales flatlined, artists have been searching for new ways to get noticed in the ever-expanding celebrity verse. A solution? Start thinking about television as one big music video. Soon, TV cameras were everywhere, documenting the profanity-laced dysfunction of The Osbournes, the domestic folly of Nick and Jessica, the mindless tedium that is Britney Spears. Bobby Brown cracked Socratic. Tommy Lee went to college. Vanilla Ice had delusions of a comeback. Flavour Flav became a cable curiosity. And TLC and INXS went on a prime-time mission to recruit a new singer. The aforementioned Lee, along with Supernova bandmates Gilby Clarke and Jason Newsted, hopes to do the same this summer on Rock Star which, quite possibly, may need to find contestants with criminal records.

In the '80s, when Sting was in Dune, when David Bowie was in The Hunger, they were still regarded as musicians. But by 2001, the boundaries between acting and singing had become a little blurry. Chris Isaak and Reba McEntire launched eponymous TV shows. A new generation of double threats — Mandy Moore, Lindsay Lohan, Hilary Duff, Beyoncé — was unleashed on an unsuspecting mass market. The Simpsons alone has attracted guest shots by everybody from Aerosmith to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Ramones to Smashing Pumpkins, R.E.M. to the Moody Blues. And the number of musicians making TV cameos keeps ratcheting up. Rock stars, it was once said, were made. Today, they're made for TV. Roles on hit shows are no longer considered a creative lark but an important new way to play the fame game. Who knew The Monkees were such visionaries? The downside to all of this, of course, is a loss of mystique. In 1967, The Who performed on The Smothers Brothers Show and promptly terrified millions of parents. Three decades later, their music was so marketing-friendly it would be used to open CSI. If you watched Live Aid in 1985, you will recall U2's stirring set. Back then, Bono triggered an automatic fascination. He certainly didn't seem like somebody who would one day wish Johnny Drama a happy birthday on Entourage. Are the times a changin'? Did video kill the radio star? Who knows? But I miss the days when musicians cared more about recording studios than television sets.

Robert Smigel Satirical Cartoons Mark A First With Their Own Episode Of SNL

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Rob Salem, TV Critic

(Apr. 23, 2006) The crime-fighting, Spandex-clad, super-heroic "Ex-Presidents." The similarly Spandex-clad "Ambiguously Gay Duo." The archly animated "Fun with Real Audio." Last week's scathing "Journey to the Disney Vault."  The satiric, retro cartoon comedy of veteran sketch scribe
Robert Smigel has been drawing big laughs for years. Now Saturday Night Live's longest-running current contributor gets what no non-actor has ever gotten — his own best-of show. The all-animated TV Funhouse special airs this week in the traditional SNL slot, Saturday night at 11:30 on NBC (and Global).  "I've been there a long, long time," allows Smigel, who joined the show in 1985 as a staff writer. "I guess I'm getting this special because they've finally given up on me leaving. I think I'm the first person who hasn't left who's getting a special like this. So maybe it's a cue: `Maybe he'll leave if we ...' "  Smigel is in no hurry to go anywhere. "Why would I?" he asks. "It's a great gig." And it's not like he doesn't have outside interests.  His old SNL collaborator, Conan O'Brien, has gone on to become a talk-show host of some repute, and Smigel is right there with him, putting words in the mouth (and his hand up the butt) of puppet provocateur Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. And those chroma-keyed lips and impersonated voices of famous people in photos, à la the cheesy old kiddie cartoon Clutch Cargo? That's Smigel, too.  He did a single season of TV Funhouse on the U.S. station Comedy Central (a second season to be animated in Toronto never quite materialized) and is currently working on a new animated series, "probably for Fox."  Smigel is even now still sifting through a decade's worth of his animated SNL segments, trying to pick a representative best-of.  The special will include another 10 minutes of new material — an opening sketch and interstitial bits featuring animated "guest hosts" Ace and Gary — the aforementioned Ambiguously Gay Duo — interacting with the members of the live (more or less) SNL ensemble.  The Duo are voiced, as they have been from the beginning, by two other Smigel pals who have gone on to greater things: Steven Colbert and Steve Carell.

"Ace and Gary actually originated on ABC, in prime time," Smigel says, explaining the chronology. "I was producing (The Dana Carvey Show) in 1996. We were trying to do a sketch show, and I wanted to have some cartoons in it, just to make it look different from a typical sketch show.  "And that was my first idea. We had hired Steve Colbert and Steve Carell as cast members, and their first job turned out to be recording the voices for the first Ace and Gary cartoon. And getting it through ABC prime-time was very interesting ... I mean, the show was following Home Improvement, and they were very, very careful about what they were letting on.  "I remember I had to show them models of the characters, with their enlarged genitalia, and Batman-y nipple-ized uniforms ... but the hardest thing to get by them was the car. I mean, the car, shaped like genitalia, resembling same ... and they made me write down the colour. So I wrote `peach.' Because I figured it would sell better than `flesh-coloured.'  "It got by. So, since then, any time I think I'm going to have a problem with the censors, I just say `peach.'"  Still, there's a lot more you can get away with in two dimensions.  "It's much more subversive," acknowledges Smigel. "The cartoons that I parody are rooted in a kind of corny innocence, and that's always fun to screw with. And when it's couched in real silliness, it's not as much of a direct hit.  "It's very different than when I was a staff writer. When you're a staff writer, you can write anything you want on Tuesday night, and (then) it's completely up to Lorne (producer Michaels) and the head writers and the room.  "In a way, it's great to have the freedom to put whatever you want on the air. But on the flip side, I agonize over my ideas a lot more, because I know that, chances are, it's gonna be on television, and it's gonna have my name on it, and I don't want it to suck.  "So I'm my own boss. I drive myself crazy now."  His accomplishments from those days in the SNL writer's room are the stuff of legend, like guest host William Shatner's notorious "Get a life!" Trekkie kiss-off ("He'd never heard that phrase before"), and the even more infamous "Penis Sketch" of 1988.  "Years ago, I wrote this sketch with Conan and a bunch of other people about a nude beach, and the word `penis' was uttered 60 times. This was a big deal to get on (the air). It was actually referred to on the front page of The Times. My parents were so proud."

His other claim to cult fame is Lookwell, a spoofy cop comedy starring hammy Adam West. Co-written and co-produced with O'Brien, the failed pilot has become, through the fan underground and now the Internet (tinyurl.com/j9fz5), one of the most popular and most-seen unaired episodes in television history.  "I don't know if we could have sustained (Lookwell). But the good thing about it is, all the buzz about it actually has got (West) work, on Family Guy and other shows. He's got a great cartoon voice."  Once again, it comes back to cartoons. "I wanted to be a cartoonist as a kid. But ... I liked the more cynical stuff. I was a Peanuts fanatic. That's what spoke to me."  Not that he bears the Mouse any malice — notwithstanding his recent (and viewable on YouTube.com) "Disney Vault," a swipe at what he has called "one of the most cretinous creations in marketing." Smigel's version of the vault includes Walt's frozen head and the never-released, breezily bigoted original print of Song of the South.  "I have a different perspective now," he says. "I've watched Lady and the Tramp with my son, you know, like, 50 times."

A Small-Screen Kind Of Wisdom

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Malene Arpe, Pop Culture Writer

(Apr. 22, 2006) TV Turn-off week starts on Monday.  It's time once again to forget about your television and smell the roses, play with your children, interact with other humans, read a book, cook a meal, take a walk, ride a horse, play a board game, go to the movies, go to the theatre, host a dinner party, have interesting and serious conversations about how television is evil, destroying our brains while enticing toddlers to heinous violence, corrupting our morals and numbing us to the horrors of the world, all the while making us more obedient consumers. Good times.  Consider, however, before you reach for the remote, the holes you'd have in your education if you'd never watched television. From geo-politics to physics, through romance and relationship advice, to grand philosophical ideas and simple, helpful, practical hints, it's all there when you turn on your television. Just check out these 97 nuggets of wisdom.

·  "Don't mistake coincidence for fate."

Mr. Eko, Lost

·  "Fate? Ha! That's what you call it when you don't know the name of the person screwing you over!"

Lois, Malcolm in the Middle

·  "I think the lesson here is, it really doesn't matter where you're from, as long as we're all the same religion."

Peter, Family Guy

·  "Just 'cause I talk to God doesn't mean I'm crazy."

Robert Rebadow, Oz

·  "Destiny's just another word for not having a choice."

Clark Kent, Smallville

·  "A leader can't lead until he knows where he's going."

John Locke, Lost

·  "Drive carefully — the lives you save may be our own."

Hogan, Hogan's Heroes

·  "Without rules, we all might as well be up in a tree flinging our crap at each other."

Red, That '70s Show

·  "It's not the thing you fling, it's the fling itself!"

Chris, Northern Exposure

·  "We're all unhappy. That's the thing about life."

Lindsay, Freaks and Geeks

·  "Pain or damage don't end the world. Or despair or f--king beatings. The world ends when you're dead. Until then, you got more punishment in store. Stand it like a man ... and give some back."

Al Swearengen, Deadwood

·  "Greater than the death of flesh is the death of hope, the death of dreams."

G'Kar, Babylon 5

·  "You just have to give guys a chance. Sometimes you meet a guy and think he's a pig, but then later on you realize he actually has a really good body."

Amy Wong, Futurama

·  "I thought I was in love once, and then later I thought maybe it was just an inner-ear imbalance."

Fraser, Due South

·  "When your heart skips a beat, it isn't love, it's indigestion."

Mrs. Rachel Lynde, Road to Avonlea

·  "... talk. Keep eye contact. Funny is good, but don't be glib. And remember, if you hurt her, I will beat you to death with a shovel."

Willow, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

·  "One more thing: no talking about the environment, the environment is not sexy, do not talk about it."

Manny, Degrassi: The Next Generation

·  "F.Y.I., if cuddling is the best part, he isn't doing it right."

Logan, Veronica Mars

·  "Barnes just broke the cardinal rule in politics: never get caught in bed with a dead woman or a live man."

J.R., Dallas

·  "Plenty of girls and bands and slogans and lots of hoopla, but remember, no politics. Issues confuse people."

Penguin, Batman

·  "Time can't just disappear. It's a universal invariant!"

Scully, X-Files

·  "Time has little to do with infinity and jelly donuts."

Mac, Magnum P.I.

·  "Why do you have to break up with her? Be a man. Just stop calling."

Joey, Friends

·  "You have reached Ritual Sacrifice. For goats, please press `1' or say `goats.' To sacrifice a loved one or pet, press the pound key."

Answering service, Angel

·  "There are no holidays in the fight against evil."

Maxwell Smart, Get Smart

·  "You have to stop the Q-tip when there's resistance."

Chandler, Friends

·  "Bob Barker reminding you: help control the pet population. Have your pet spayed or neutered."

Bob Barker, The Price is Right

·  "You can eat anything as long as it's fried."

John Crichton, Farscape

·  "Mushrooms aren't medication. They taste good on hamburgers, but they don't raise the dead."

Scully, X-Files

·  "Solitude never hurt anyone. Emily Dickinson lived alone, and she wrote some of the most beautiful poetry the world has ever known ... then went crazy as a loon."

Lisa, The Simpsons

·  "We live as if the world is as it should be, to show it what it can be."

Angel, Angel

·  "If you're going to lie, be creative or we'll get bored."

Green, Law & Order

·  "Remember when your high school history teacher said that the course of human events changes 'cause of the deeds of great men. Well, the bitch was lying. F--k Caesar, f--k Lincoln, f--k Mahatma Gandhi. The world keeps moving 'cause of you and me, the anonymous. Revolutions get going 'cause there ain't enough bread. Wars happen over a game of checkers."

Augustus Hill, Oz

·  "I will not make any deals with you. I've resigned. I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered. My life is my own."

Number 6, The Prisoner

·  "My teeth, my car, my vagina, my business."

Kelly Osbourne, The Osbournes

·  "Self respect's a bitch."

Maggie Doyle, ER

·  "Every culture nurtures ideals of beauty toward which people strive — fine! But in the future people will look back upon the surgical alterations of the nose or breasts or buttocks with the same horror that we regard the binding of feet or the use of bronze coils to extend the neck."

Temperance Brennan, Bones

·  "Do you understand the second you look in the mirror and you're happy with what you see, baby, you just lost the battle."

Dr. Cox, Scrubs

·  "A paperclip can be a wondrous thing. More times than I can remember, one of these has gotten me out of a tight spot."

MacGyver, MacGyver

·  "Don't wear mittens. It'll slow you down."

Darlene, Roseanne

·  "All due respect, you got no f--kin' idea what it's like to be Number One. Every decision you make affects every facet of every other f--kin' thing. It's too much to deal with almost. And in the end you're completely alone with it all."

Anthony Soprano, The Sopranos

·  "Trust no one, my friend, no one. Not your most grateful freedman. Not your most intimate friend. Not your dearest child. Not the wife of your bosom. Trust no one."

Herod, I, Claudius

·  "Never do tequila shooters within a country mile of a marriage chapel."

Al, Married with Children

·  "Your friend's gay, stop hating and just deal."

Jimmy, Degrassi: The Next Generation

·  "C-3PO wasn't gay, he was British."

Will, Will & Grace

·  "Here's a tip: aluminum foil. It makes a lovely hat and it blocks out the government's mind-control rays. It'll keep you guys out of trouble."

Munch, X-Files

·  "In life you have to do a lot of things you don't f--king want to do. Many times, that's what the f--k life is ... one vile f--king task after another."

Al Swearengen, Deadwood

·  "Golf is accuracy."

Jack Shephard, Lost

·  "It's all fun and games until one of you gets my foot up your ass."

Veronica, Veronica Mars

·  "There is no cannibalism in the British Navy, absolutely none, and when I say none, I mean there is a certain amount."

Sir John Cunningham, Monty Python

·  "Normal is the halfway point between what you want and what you can get."

Samantha, Sex and the City

·  "Pathetic human race. Arranging their knowledge by category just made it easier to absorb. Dewey, you fool! Your decimal system has played right into my hands! Ha ha ha ha!"

Giant Brain, Futurama

·  "I hate it when villains quote Shakespeare."

John Crichton, Farscape

·  "You know, I rather like this God fellow. Very theatrical, you know. Pestilence here, a plague there. Omnipotence ... gotta get me some of that."

Stewie, Family Guy

·  "I pity the fool who goes out tryin' a' take over da world, then runs home cryin' to his momma!"

B.A. Baracus, The A-Team

·  "You can only know a man so much."

Samson, Carnivale

·  "When others do a foolish thing, you should tell them it is a foolish thing. They can still continue to do it, but at least the truth is where it needs to be."

Dukhat, Babylon 5

·  "The truth is like sunlight. People used to think it's good for you."

Nancy Gribble, King of the Hill

·  "You probably don't think that I can force this towel down your throat. But trust me, I can. All the way. Except I'd hold onto this one little bit at the end. When your stomach starts to digest it, I pull it out. Taking your stomach lining with it. For most people it would take about a week to die. It's very painful."

Jack Bauer, 24

·  "Remember, we're not allowed to liquefy humans."

Sally, Third Rock from the Sun

·  "Let's do it to them before they do it to us."

Stan Jablonski, Hill Street Blues

·  "You can make a man eat shredded cardboard, if you play the right tricks."

Jeannie's sister, I Dream of Jeannie

·  "Eating cardboard can ruin your life. You could end up in the street living in a box. Then you'll eat the box, and you'll be homeless."

Dan, Roseanne

·  "J. Geils was right. Love stinks. You can dress it up with sequins and shoulder pads but one way or another you're just gonna end up alone at the spring dance strapped into uncomfortable underwear."

Veronica, Veronica Mars

·  "If men needed abortions, there would be drive-thru windows with beer on tap and ESPN on the TVs."

Patient, ER

·  "When guys are persistent, it's romantic, they make movies about that. If it's a woman, then they cast Glenn Close."

Ally, Ally McBeal

·  "Far as I see it, you people been given the shortest end of the stick ever been offered a human soul in this crap-heel 'verse. But you took that end, and you.... Well, you took it. And that's — well, I guess that's somethin'."

Jayne, Firefly

·  "Don't blame someone else for setting the trap that you were stupid enough to walk into."

Abe Carver, Days of Our Lives

·  "Sometimes things get so messed up, crying is the only thing you can do."

Beaver, Leave it to Beaver

·  "Cottage cheese solves nothing. Chocolate can do it all."

Rhoda, The Mary Tyler Moore Show

·  "Academia is one huge circle jerk. All the sequestered people desperately defending the one good idea they have had in their lives."

Brenda, Six Feet Under

·  "I don't have anything against education — as long as it doesn't interfere with your thinking!"

Ben Cartwright, Bonanza

·  "Those of you who have served for long on this vessel have encountered alien life-forms. You know the greatest danger facing us is ourselves, and irrational fear of the unknown. But there's no such thing as `the unknown,' only things temporarily hidden, temporarily not understood."

Captain Kirk, Star Trek

·  "There's a reason you separate military and the police. One fights the enemies of the state, the other serves and protects the people. When the military becomes both, then the enemies of the state tend to become the people."

William Adama, Battlestar Galactica

·  "There's an old Italian saying: you f--k up once, you lose two teeth."

Anthony Soprano, The Sopranos

·  "You men have no idea what we're dealing with down there. Teeth placement, and jaw stress, and suction, and gag reflex, and all the while bobbing up and down, moaning and trying to breathe through our noses. Easy? Honey, they don't call it a job for nothin'!"

Samantha, Sex and the City

·  "... if you're all that sensitive, you just don't have to watch the program! I mean you've got arms, why don't you get up and change the channel?"

Harold Ramis, SCTV

·  "Ever since we said `I do,' there have been so many things that we don't."

Lucy, I Love Lucy

·  "Domestication is the enemy of romance."

Sean Blumberg, Felicity

·  "Once trust is out of a relationship, it's not so much fun lying any more."

Norm, Cheers

·  "Remember, licking doorknobs is illegal on other planets."

Spongebob, Spongebob Squarepants

·  "When I think about everything we've been through together, maybe it's not the destination that matters, maybe it's the journey, and if that journey takes a little longer, so we can do something we all believe in, I can't think of any place I'd rather be or any people I'd rather be with."

Harry Kim, Star Trek Voyager

·  "If more of our so-called leaders would walk the same streets as the people who voted them in, live in the same buildings, eat the same food instead of hiding behind glass and steel and bodyguards, maybe we'd get better leadership and a little more concern for the future."

John Sheridan, Babylon 5

·  "It's my estimation that ... every man ever got a statue made of him was one kind of sumbitch or another."

Mal, Firefly

·  "You both look so happy. Just enjoy it while it lasts. Which isn't very long. You think you have forever, but you don't. Soon you start to get on each other's nerves. Then you don't tell the other person as much as you used to 'cause, really, what's the point? You thought they understood you, but they never did ... not really. Finally, not only do you not tell the other person anything real, you actively start lying to him. And then when you think it can't get any worse, he up and dies! No matter what you do, you end up alone. Not knowing who you are or what you really want!"

Ruth, Six Feet Under

·  "The secret to success, whether it's women or money, is knowing when to quit. I oughta know: I'm divorced and broke."

Sonny Crockett, Miami Vice

·  "You know, at the beauty academy they teach us that people aren't black or white or yellow or red, but their hair can be."

Luanne, King of the Hill

·  "Maybe it's time you got out there and started meeting people. You know? Meeting women. Meeting women who didn't give birth to you."

Michael, Arrested Development

·  "What's the point of going out? We're just going to wind up back here anyway."

Homer, The Simpsons

·  "Sometimes the road less travelled is less travelled for a reason."

Jerry, Seinfeld

·  "Have to keep a firm hand on boys nowadays, Ward. My Clarence answered me back the other day. I smacked him right in the mouth. None of this psychology for me."

Fred Rutherford, Leave it to Beaver

·  "Tragedy blows through your life like a tornado, uprooting everything. Creating chaos. You wait for the dust to settle and then you choose. You can live in the wreckage and pretend it's still the mansion you remember. Or you can crawl from the rubble and slowly rebuild."

Veronica, Veronica Mars

·  "Well, you gotta know how deep the doo-doo is, Ryg, if you're gonna dig your way out."

John Crichton, Farscape

·  "Danny, you can't go back to the way things were, 'cause they were never that way in the first place."

Brett Sinclair, The Persuaders

·  "You're all gonna die. But you knew that already, 'cause that's the cool reward for being human."

Buffy, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

·  "I wish life were more like a porno movie."

Chris Pontius, Jackass

·  "Paula, you're talking rubbish."

Simon, American Idol

TV TIDBITS

Channel Surfers Protest Philips' TV Technology

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail - Grant Robertson,
Media Reporter

(Apr. 22, 2006)
Koninklijke Philips Electronics NV, one of the world's biggest manufacturers of television sets, is facing a backlash from irate consumers over technology it has invented that prevents viewers from channel surfing during commercial breaks. The Netherlands-based company -- maker of Philips brand TV sets -- issued an apologetic statement after angry e-mails and phone calls flooded its North American office Wednesday afternoon and continued through yesterday. "They have been very vocal," Philips spokesman Andre Manning said of the consumer response. "You can fill in the blanks of what they are saying. They are really upset." The furor erupted after reports surfaced that Phillips has applied for a U.S. patent on technology that lets broadcasters lock channels during commercial interludes of certain programs. Such a device would prevent channel surfing at a time when the emergence of personal video recorders (PVRs) and other technology is giving consumers increasing power to ignore commercials at the push of a button. But Philips is scrambling to quell the backlash, pointing out its patent is actually meant to help viewers, not hold them captive. The device, inserted into TV sets, also allows networks to offer live shows without commercials, depending on what the viewer prefers. Industry speculation has suggested the broadcasters could sell the commercial-free option for a small fee. "Philips never had the intention to force viewers to watch ads against their will and does not use this technology in any current Philips products," the company said in a statement. "Nor do we have any plans to do so." Philips has been experimenting with advertising in recent months. Last fall it sponsored an entire episode of 60 Minutes, buying all of the show's commercial space. In exchange for being the sole advertiser on the show, Philips gave half of the ad time back, allowing the show to run longer. Though the proposed Philips patent may never become a commercial reality, the idea has some industry watchers baffled. "Who's going to buy this?" said Hugh Dow, president of Toronto media buyer M2 Universal, which negotiates commercial time with networks. "I suppose the networks or the broadcasters might be interested. But I can't imagine there would be too much consumer interest."

Corner Gas Among Winners At Screenwriting Awards

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail


(Apr. 25, 2006) Toronto -- The 2006 Canadian Screenwriting Awards were handed out at Toronto's Brant House last night. The show, hosted by Scott Thompson, presented awards to Brent Butt and Paul Mather (in the Comedy & Variety category, for Corner Gas), Susan Nielsen (in the half-hour drama series category, for Robson Arms) and Susan Coyne, Bob Martin and Mark McKinney (in the hour-long drama series category, for Slings & Arrows). Other winners included Wil Zmak (feature film The Dark Hours), Suzanne Couture (TV movie The Man Who Lost Himself), and Jason Sherman (radio drama Episode I). The youth winner was Jeff Biederman, for The Party, while the children and preschool winners were Mary Crawford and Alan Templeton for Stolen Voices. Staff

Comedy Central Moves Forward With ‘Chappelle’

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com

(April 25, 2006) *Looks like Comedy Central is making good on its promise to air a third season of “Chappelle’s Show” featuring new, unseen sketches that host Dave Chappelle left behind in his sudden departure last year.  According to the New York Post, an invitation-only audience was on hand as the network staged four tapings of the wraparounds — the monologues used to introduce each sketch — for the show's pieced-together third season due to premiere in July.  "It was definitely funny," says Alex Smith from Blue Bell, Pa., who attended two tapings. "But compared to his other seasons, it wasn't as good. I guess because with the other seasons, everything seemed so new. They really weren't as funny as his older stuff."   On the other hand, audience member Sheldon Sampson of Brooklyn told the Post: "It was all hysterical. I would say they were just as good as anything from the other seasons, even the controversial stuff."  Comedy Central says it actually has enough material to produce four new episodes, but at this point, is only planning three shows. The network believes each new episode will be a ratings winner.   “We wouldn't be putting this stuff on the air if we didn't believe in it," says Lou Wallach, the network's executive in charge of original programming. "The stakes with this material are just too high."   The wraparounds, filmed at Sony BMG's midtown studios, were performed by the show's co-creator, Neal Brennan, and cast members Charlie Murphy and Donnell Rawlings. Among the new sketches is a parody of MTV’s “Cribs,” which features a wealthy Chappelle making an omelette using 4 million-year-old dinosaur eggs and sprinkling diamonds on his food instead of salt.      The controversial final sketch Chappelle filmed before walking away will also be included, according to the Post.

Dead Prez, Starz Inblack Team For Documentary

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com

(April 25, 2006)  *On June 9, Starz InBlack and the rap group Dead Prez team up for a concert documentary designed to bring attention to some of the social ills facing the black community.   "Dead Prez: It's Bigger Than Hip-Hop," beginning at 10 p.m. ET/PT, mixes concert footage of the rap duo in San Francisco with a documentary that examines the shortfalls of the public education system, as well as minority entrepreneurship and social revolution.  The documentary is infused with dialog and interviews from dead prez’s  M-1 and stic.man, as well as Kamel Bell, owner of Ankh Marketing and son of incarcerated Black Panther Herman Bell; Fred Hampton, Jr., son of Black Panther Chairman Fred Hampton; Bay-area rapper Ise Lyfe; and hip hop activist/radio personality Davey D.    "We've never had the opportunity to express ourselves on this level of magnitude," states group member M-1. "Starz InBlack taking a chance on us lets us know that the work we are doing is not in vain. That our message is penetrating, it's getting through."    On the music side, dead prez' will perform songs from their highly charged catalogue, which includes "Know Your Enemy," "They Schools," "Hell Yeah" and "Bigger Than Hip Hop."   "Our aim is to provide a programming experience that viewers will not get anywhere else," said David Charmatz, senior vice president, channel management. "We like to push the limits and go where other networks fear to tread. We recognized in dead prez a message that deserves to be heard. We aim to enlighten and entertain, and 'Dead Prez: It's Bigger than Hip Hop' does both."

::THEATRE NEWS::

Beatles Team Up With Cirque Du Soleil In Vegas

Source: Ryan Nakashima, Associated Press

(Apr. 21, 2006) Las Vegas — The Beatles will soon join Hairspray, Mamma Mia! and Celine Dion on the fabled Las Vegas Strip. Tickets went on sale Wednesday for Love, a theatre collaboration that features the legendary music of the Fab Four and the acrobatic spectacle of Cirque du Soleil. The show premieres June 30 with an international cast of 60 performers at the Mirage hotel-casino. It is the first major theatrical partnership for The Beatles' record label, Apple Corps Ltd., which has carefully guarded the British band's groundbreaking collection of songs for decades. Sir George Martin, the Beatles' original producer, and his son, Giles Martin, have accessed the entire archive of nearly 200 Beatles songs to assemble the musical score for the show. “Love is really the strongest theme of what the Beatles used to create their songs,” creative director Gilles Ste-Croix said in an interview. “From their first song, their first success, it was about love, to the last song they recorded.” The creators aren't releasing a song list because the show will feature whole songs and song fragments, said Cirque spokeswoman Jennifer Dunne. “Fans will have fun trying to figure out which are partial songs,” she said. “We won't give out the song list and we probably never will.” Apple plans to release an album of the show's score through EMI Music later this year.

The show will take place in a 2,013-seat theatre in the round that took two years to build. In grand Cirque style, aerial acrobats, tumblers and dancers are to move through the set while high-definition video images will be projected onto 100-foot-tall screens. Roller skating and BMX bikes will appear while Beatles montages play through more than 6,000 sources of sound, including three speakers on every seat, Ste-Croix said. “We really want people to feel like they're in the studio with the Beatles,” he said. For the Mirage, the show replaces the legendary Siegfried & Roy act that closed after illusionist Roy Horn was nearly killed Oct. 3, 2003, by one of his tigers. Love is the fifth production on the Strip by Cirque du Soleil. The troupes of international performers combine classic circus performances, lighting effects and a surreal atmosphere with dance, humour and audience participation. It's also the latest big production to hit the Las Vegas Strip. The Broadway hit Hairspray recently followed Avenue Q to Las Vegas, where it will soon be joined by productions of The Phantom of the Opera, The Producers and Monty Python's Spamalot.

THEATRE TIDBITS

Historic Danforth Venue Gets Reno

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Tabassum Siddiqui, Staff Reporter

(Apr. 22, 2006) The new owners of the Music Hall on Danforth Ave. want Torontonians to take a seat.  And not just for upcoming shows at the refurbished theatre — in fact, they mean it quite literally. About 300 of the plush theatre chairs from the building's auditorium are up for grabs tomorrow during a public "seat sale" at the venue.  The historic theatre at Danforth and Broadview Aves. was falling into a state of disrepair before new owners took it over last October. They've been busy renovating the stately old venue ever since — even now, just weeks before its gala opening May 9, the steady hum of drills greets those who walk in the doorway, which is blocked by dozens of stacked boxes of supplies.  In giving the playhouse a facelift, the new owners decided to replace the crimson cinema-style seats, which date from between the 1940s and 1970s, with something a bit more modern.  Owner Glyn Laverick says 400 of the hall's 1,200 seats have been replaced so far.  "Everyone has a story about the Music Hall — so in some way it's like owning a part of the place, a bit of history," he says.  During tomorrow's sale, which runs from 10 a.m. "until they're gone," the seats will retail from $15 to $60 depending on condition, parts and size, Laverick says.  Laverick, an affable 20-something Brit with a background in running nightclubs and other live venues, moved to Toronto two years ago and bought the Music Hall last year with business partner Lara Wiechula and a small group of private investors.  Completed in 1918, over the years the Music Hall has been a playhouse, a cinema and a concert hall.

::OTHER NEWS::

Writers Seeking A Serious Space To Do Their Best May Find Inspiration

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Patrick Evans, Entertainment Reporter

(Apr. 23, 2006) Six years was how long Mitch Kowalski's novel idea rattled around his head.  But when can a lawyer and a father find time to write fiction? The years were flying by, and the closest Kowalski ever got to expressing himself on paper was legal writing. "That was just dry," he says. His lower lip hangs open like he's dying of thirst as he repeats it: "Dry. Dry."  His novel would be all about this Canadian guy in the Philippines who just got divorced. The guy is pretty sure his ex-wife was his last chance at love, see, but after some adventure, intrigue and angst he finds a new love — a true love — and realizes life sometimes offers second chances.  Kowalski is in the middle of giving himself a second chance. Last year he left his job at a law office to open the Toronto Writers' Centre, a members-only space for new and established writers opening May 1 at 101 Yorkville Ave., near Yonge and Bloor Sts.  The idea is to provide members some mausoleum-quiet within a soundproofed writing area, and some literary hob-knobbing in common spaces. Kowalski is counting on his supervisory role freeing up time for him to write.  Today the centre's doors are open, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., for a preview of the space.  Kowalski, 43, wrote fiction back in high school and university. "Then, I took a wrong turn when I went into law school," he said. "You get caught up in Bay Street. You get married, have kids. Time goes by really fast."  The writing centre, he says, is about finally getting down to work on what matters most to him, and helping other writers do the same.  "Writing at home never works. Twenty minutes and I want to eat. Then, I want to do laundry." Libraries? "Too noisy." The next option is renting office space. "But that's tremendously expensive."  Kowalski calls the Toronto Writers' Centre "the middle ground" — a place to write that's cheaper than an office and quieter than home.  "I completely stole the idea from New York City," he says. He was inspired by the success of similar writing spaces there. He set to work on a business model. "I crunched the numbers and saw it would work here."

Open from 7 a.m. 'til 11 p.m., seven days a week, the centre will feature a large room with desks, lamps, Internet connections and strict noise rules. No phone calls; no cellphone or BlackBerry tones; no earphones leaking tinny music sounds; no exceptions, not even if you're James Joyce risen from the dead.  But writers are also expected to mix it up with their peers at the centre, so Kowalski created spaces to hang out and talk — the kitchen, a lounge area where coffee tables are strewn with daily newspapers and literary trade magazines, and a wooden balcony overlooking the street.  The lounge will also feature occasional readings and workshops, including Governor General's Award nominee Gail Nyoka, a playwright and author, who will conduct a workshop on writing children's books.  Children's book author Paulette Bourgeois, creator of the popular Franklin the Turtle series, has already signed up for a six-month commitment.  "I've been writing for 22 years at home," she says. "When you've been at home for 22 years writing you feel very isolated and tend to procrastinate. When you're at home and you should be writing, suddenly the laundry becomes important."  Another one doing laundry instead of writing.  The search for a place to write is itself the stuff of literature. In 1929, author Virginia Woolf published A Room of One's Own, an essay examining the barriers that kept women from realizing their artistic potential, such as a roomful of screaming kids. Woolf wrote, "a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction."  Alice Munro's 1968 short story The Office picked up Woolf's harried housewife theme as Munro's protagonist rents an office space to write in, only to face constant intrusions by her landlord.  Several Canadian writers have sought peace and quiet at Berton House Writers Retreat in the Yukon. The boyhood home of author Pierre Berton, every year Berton House offers a few lucky writers a place to live and write, a monthly honorarium, and the solitude of the northern landscape.  Toronto-based novelist Andrew Pyper finished his first book, Lost Girls, at Berton House in 1997. He writes at home now, but his office is soon to be transformed into a nursery for his new baby. Pyper's now in the market for a private office space.  "It's really different for everyone," he says of the author's search for that perfect place to write.  "I have colleagues who are very fussy about their space. They have the white-noise machines to cover up any unnecessary sound. Or they can only write when the moon is in a specific phase."  Similarly fussy authors curious about the Toronto Writers' Centre are welcome at today's open house. Membership costs $175 per month with a six-month commitment, in addition to a $107 initiation fee to help cover the business's capital costs. For more information check out http://www.writerscentre.ca.

::SPORTS NEWS::

Canucks Fire Crawford

Source: Canadian Press

(Apr. 25, 2006) VANCOUVER (CP) — The Vancouver Canucks fired Marc Crawford on Tuesday, joining the Toronto Maple Leafs in jettisoning their head coach after missing the playoffs.  Crawford, 45, had one year left on his contract, which paid him $1 million US a season.  The Canucks finished ninth in the Western Conference this season with a 42-32-8 record. GM Dave Nonis said he felt the move was necessary to give the team a “kickstart.”  “(We felt) that we haven’t played with the fire that we have been known to have had,” Nonis told a news conference at GM Place. ``I felt that a change behind the bench was the first place to start.”  Nonis, who called Crawford a good friend, said the coach took the news well.  “He was very thankful for the time that he’s had here,” he said. “He would have liked another year to get back at it. But he’s been around this game a long time. He handled it very well. Probably better than I did.”  Nonis said Crawford’s firing will put more pressure on the players.  “I think there’s a lot of blame to be spread around and I think a lot of that falls on the shoulders of those in that room,” said Nonis.  The Canucks will begin putting together what Nonis termed “an appropriate short list” for Crawford’s successor.  With eight games left in the regular season, the Canucks were two points out of first place in the Northwest Division and looked to control their own destiny.

The team went on to lose five of seven games in April and finished with a 42-32-8 record for 92 points. They were ninth in the Western Conference, three points behind the Edmonton Oilers.  The move wasn’t a complete surprise. The Vancouver Province carried a photo of Crawford on Tuesday under the headline What’s Taking So Long?  Since being hired in January 1999, Crawford took Vancouver to the playoffs four times and holds the franchise record of 246 wins. But during that time the Canucks won just one playoff series and twice lost a Game 7 on home ice.  There has been criticism the team were no longer listening to Crawford. Players continued to take undisciplined penalties and blew leads in crucial games as the Canucks battled for their playoff lives.  The Canucks missing the playoffs was a major topic of conversation in hockey-mad Vancouver. Newspaper columnists have speculated on what changes the team needs to make and sports radio callers have suggested all sorts of moves.  The move comes less than a week after the Leafs fired long-time coach Pat Quinn. There has been speculation that Quinn, a former Canucks GM who has a home in B.C., could be Crawford’s successor.  The native of Belleville, Ont., began his NHL coaching career with the Quebec Nordiques in 1994 where he became the youngest coach to win the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year.  He led the Colorado Avalanche to a Stanley Cup title in 1996.  Crawford played his entire six-year NHL career with the Canucks.

Toronto Loves The Leafs, Not Hockey

Excerpt from The Toronto Star -
Dave Feschuk

(Apr. 25, 2006) There are those who call Toronto hockey's mecca and to those folks one can only say: get your heads out of your blue-and-white clown wigs and examine last night's evidence.  There was perfectly passable playoff hockey being played near the lakeshore, complete with a certified NHL starting goalie and a soon-to-be NHL coach. It was the Marlies' first post-season game in their first AHL season and the connections to their parent club, the vaunted Leafs, couldn't have been more buzz-inducing.  Paul Maurice, odds-on favourite to land the vacant Leafs coaching job, was at the bench. Jean-Sebastien Aubin, the Leafs' starter before their playoff hopes went kaput, was in goal. Eight other Marlies spent time in the NHL this season. And yet the populace of the supposed centre of the puck-worshipping universe wasn't interested. The players wore look-alike Leaf sweaters, but it wasn't a Leaf game. Which meant you could have sent Tie Domi and a Sharpie to the Eaton Centre, charged the frothing faithful $20 to rub Domi's famous melon and still drawn a bigger throng.  There couldn't have been more than a couple of thousand folks in the seats of the old horse barn at Exhibition Place. But Leaf fans could take comfort that one of those truly hockey-mad souls was Richard Peddie, CEO of the company that owns the Leafs and Marlies, who was no doubt charting Maurice's line changes out of respect to the exhaustive due-diligence process.  You might think a high-powered big-league sports executive would have been humiliated to possess no other sporting option than a near-empty minor-league arena in mid-April. But Peddie strolled around with his perma-smile in place, the sparse crowd — an announced 2,888 in the 8,295-capacity rink — barely acknowledging his presence.  One fan, at least, hurled something resembling a passionate urging at the CEO.

"Are you going to fire Fergie, too?" asked David Brown, a Leaf season-ticket holder for the better part of the past three decades, confronting Peddie on the future of GM John Ferguson Jr.  Peddie replied in the negative, at which point the fan's demeanour turned slightly sour. "Come on, Richard!" said an exasperated Brown, raising his voice a little.  But Peddie just shook his head and smiled. And Brown, who was at the game with his 13-year-old son Adam and his brother, Stacy, carried on through the concourse.  "He hasn't done much, has he?" said Brown, 44, explaining his argument for Ferguson's ouster. "He brought in a bunch of guys that haven't performed."  There is speculation, notwithstanding last night's 4-1 loss that put the Grand Rapids Griffins up 2-1 in their best-of-seven series, that it won't be long until Ferguson brings in Maurice. But Maurice said yesterday that he understands the Leafs' insistence on conducting the corporate coaching search.  "They have to get absolutely the best coach they can," Maurice said. "You guys can speculate on who it is. I'm coaching this team regardless of what happens. As long as we're going I'm here and want to be here. To be honest with you, I'm not really interested in anything else right now."  Toronto's Leaf lovers apparently couldn't be less interested in the Calder Cup playdowns, even if Maurice is their man. Then again, there were pre-season suggestions people might pay to see Wayne Gretzky coach and the Phoenix Coyotes finished 15th in road attendance (22nd at home).  David Brown, for his part, wasn't at the Coliseum to see Maurice. He's not even convinced the Marlies coach is qualified to take the Leaf helm (Maurice's NHL teams finished out of the playoffs in five of eight seasons).  "I'm just here," Brown said, "to get my hockey fix for the week."  In a city that loves one team far more than it loves the game, he is in a slim minority.

Ample Opportunity For Argos, Ticats To Get Their Hate On

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Rick Matsumoto, Sports Reporter

(Apr. 25, 2006) Hamilton Tiger-Cats quarterback Jason Maas figures that when the Ticats and Argonauts knock helmets on Sept.9, the wisest thing for him to do is to have his firmly screwed on.  If familiarity really does breed contempt, the two sides should be pretty contemptuous of each other by then.  It will be the sixth time in 13 weeks that the two rivals will have clashed. And it has never taken that long for their mutual animosity to boil over.  The recent demise of the Ottawa Renegades forced the CFL to come up with a quickly revised schedule, resulting in the Argos and Ticats meeting six times this season — two pre-season games and four regular-season clashes. A seventh encounter could happen at playoff time.  Maas became a Ticat after a convoluted trade that sent star running back Troy Davis to Edmonton last fall. As an Eskimo for the past six years, Maas is acutely aware of a similar antagonism between Edmonton and Calgary.  He recently travelled the 70 kilometres down the QEW to help Argos quarterback Damon Allen promote his second annual Quarterback Challenge, which takes place May 13 at Ivor Wynne Stadium, and to show that the fierce competition doesn't extend to the off-season.  "I enjoy playing those games," Maas said. "They're emotionally packed. If we meet them in the playoff, that would be seven times we'd play them. I think that's awesome. I'm thrilled we're doing that."  Maas acknowledges that by the fifth or sixth game, however, emotions on both sides could be bubbling furiously.

"Let's hope the emotions get to that point, but don't boil over," he said. "Any time you play a team that many times, you know them pretty well. There's going to be a lot of bad blood."  Allen doesn't think fans will have to wait until Game 4 or 5 to see emotions explode. The tone will be set early.  "You can tell by the first pre-season game what kind of year it's going to be," he said. "Even when we played them out in Halifax (last year) there were a few punches thrown. That tells you right there that there's a buzz in the air whenever the two teams meet."  While there is the anticipation that the hatred the two teams exhibit for each other — at least on the field — will be exacerbated by the increase in games, former Ticats quarterback Danny McManus says familiarity could also produce a ho-hum attitude.  McManus, who was traded to Edmonton as part of the Maas deal and then flipped to the Stampeders, wonders how fans will react to seeing the same teams play over and over.  "It may get stale," he said. "Even the fans may say, `Aw, we're playing Toronto again. It used to be that when we played the Argos we wanted to get `em. Now it's this is Game 5 or Game 6.' It'll be interesting to see how the fans respond."  Argo executive Adam Rita was the team's head coach in 1991 when the league also went with two four-team divisions and Winnipeg was in the East, as is the case again this season. The Argos met the Bombers five times that year on their way to winning the Cup.  "It gets monotonous," Rita admitted. "Basically, there are no secrets in football. That's why when the American teams came in (during the short-lived expansion into the U.S. in the mid-90s) we all kind of rejoiced as coaches because we got to play someone different.  "When you play a team as many times as we do, you run out of moves. You have to rely on your team being emotional and physical."  The Argos and Ticats have never had a problem with that.  NOTE: The proceeds from Damon Allen's Quarterback Challenge will go to Horizons for Youth and two youth charities yet to be selected. For tickets call 905-547-2287.

 ::FITNESS NEWS::

Thighs Matters: 3 Animated Leg Exercises!

By Raphael Calzadilla, BA, CPT, ACE, eDiets Chief Fitness Pro

(April 24, 2006) What part of your body seems to carry excessive flab and makes you totally uncomfortable in jeans or pants? It may be your butt, belly or hips, but I think a few hands may rise in the air with the answer -- inner thighs! The focus of this article is to provide truth about how to reduce and tighten the inner thigh area and also to dispel one big myth.  Many of you have been raving about the animated exercises, so I’m providing an inner thigh workout with eDiets' easy-to-follow exercise animations to help get you to your goal. The workout is designed as a specialty workout. It’s not designed to be the "be all and end all" for tightening and reducing flab on the inner thighs. Let’s dispel one big myth. Always remember that spot reduction is not possible, so losing flab only on your inner thighs is not going to happen. The human body just doesn’t work that way. For inner thighs to become leaner and tighter, overall body fat must be reduced through a combination of proper nutrition, exercise and consistency. Your nutrition plan must have you eating frequent, healthy meals and snacks to control blood sugar levels, but it must also place you in a slight calorie deficit (less than maintenance). This is the only way to shed the flab. I won’t kid you, this process does take time, but with some persistence and perspiration you can make your inner thighs leaner and tighter. The formula never changes; it’s the lack of consistency that holds many people back. If you haven’t joined eDiets, it’s time to get this issue out of the way. Your legs won’t get slimmer without a purposeful and easy-to-use meal plan. I also recommend our fitness plan that provides great workouts, animations and descriptions. This inner thigh specialty workout only needs to be done once or twice per week on alternate days. The specialty routine also assumes that you workout with weights and perform cardiovascular exercise approximately three days per week.

If you don’t follow the above program, try to make it part of your lifestyle slowly and with care. Then, add my specialty inner thigh routine when your fitness level increases. This routine will add some tightness to your inner thighs without the need of joining a gym. Let’s have some fun!

The Inner Thigh Speciality Workout

Fitness Band Standing Leg Adduction


Starting Position:

·  Attach a fitness band to a door at ankle height (the band should come with a door attachment).

·  Attach the fitness band to your left ankle.

·  Stand with your left side facing the door with your weight on the right leg, and your right hand on a chair or table balancing your body.

·  Place your left hand on your hip.

·  Maintain a slight bend in the knees throughout the exercise.

Movement:

·  Contracting the inner thigh muscles, move the left leg passed the right leg stopping when you feel a contraction on the inner thigh.

·  Slowly return to the starting position.

·  After the set, perform the movement with the other leg. Key Points:

·  Exhale while moving the leg across the body.

·  Inhale while returning to the starting position.·  Perform 15 slow and controlled repetitions for each leg and then immediately go to the next exercise.

Lying Leg Adduction

Starting Position:

·  Lie on your right side with your right arm supporting your upper body.

·  Your right leg should be straight and your left leg should be bent.

·  Support your weight on your right arm and left leg.

Movement:

·  Contracting the inner thigh muscles, lift your right leg up until you feel a contraction of the inner thigh muscles.

·  After completing the set on the right side, perform the exercise on the left side.

Key Points:

·  Exhale while lifting your leg up.

·  Inhale while returning to the starting position.

·  You may use ankle weights to increase the level of difficulty.

·  If you are an intermediate exerciser, you can add resistance to the inner thigh as you are lifting. You can resist your inner thigh with your hand or use a weighted object.

Perform 20 slow and controlled repetitions on each side and immediately go to the next exercise.

Ankle Weight Standing Leg Adduction

Although we did a similar movement with the fitness band in the first exercise, I want to change the band to an ankle weight and go for a real burn on the inner thighs.

Starting Position:

·  Place an ankle weight on your left ankle.

·  Stand erect with your weight on the right leg with a soft bend in the knee and your right hand on a chair or table for balance.

·  Place your left hand on your hip.

Movement:

·  Contracting the inner thigh (adductor) muscles, move your left leg past your right leg.

·  Slowly return to the starting position, stopping when the left leg is in front of the right leg.

Key Points:

·  Exhale while lifting the weight.

·  Inhale while returning to the starting position.

·  If you have one leg that is more dominant than the other, start out with the less dominant leg first.

Perform 15-20 slow and controlled repetitions.

After completing the routine, take a 60-second break and repeat the above sequence two additional times (this is the ultimate goal).

Beginners should perform one set, intermediates two sets, and advanced exercisers three sets. Just remember to focus all your attention on the inner thighs and perform the movements with perfect form.

If you decide to get serious about your nutrition and overall exercise program, then adding my inner thigh specialty workout will help in your quest for a pair of slimmer legs -- just in time to buy those new loose-fitting jeans.

As always, check with your doctor prior to beginning any exercise program.

 ::MOTIVATION::

Motivational Note: Motivation

By Jason M. Gracia President, Motivation123 http://www.Motivation123.com

The ability to control your motivation is the most important skill you will ever learn, and the ideas below will give you a great start to making this skill a part of your daily life.

1.                   Let Go of the Past: Before you can create a better future, you must let go of the pains in your past. Failing once does not mean you will fail forever. Learn from your history, but don't let it stand as an obstacle between you and your dreams.

2.                   Remember Success: Just as important as learning from and overcoming past failure is recalling past success. It doesn't matter who you are, you have succeeded at something at sometime in your past. Don't gloss over these moments. Use them to remind you that you can in fact achieve your goals.

3.                   Realize the Possibilities: It's possible. The dreams you hold in your heart but push to the back of your mind are within your reach. Accept the fact that you can create a better life. This will serve as the springboard of belief you need to succeed.

4.                   Dream the Big Dream: In order for dreams and desires to inspire you to action and achievement, they need to be big. If you don't get excited about what you have planned for the future, you will never find the inspiration you need to change your life. Powerful dreams can move the soul, and when you dream the big dream, you will be driven to make the compelling picture a tangible reality.

5.                   Thinking Your Way to Change: No matter how bad you want it to happen, change will never result from thinking alone - you must take action. The world is swimming in dreamers, but only those who act on their desires achieve truly remarkable results.

6.                   A Daily Habit to Begin Today: Set aside at least 30 minutes each night to review your day and plan for the next. It's a simple way to add an element of control to your life. Also, beginning this habit today will help tremendously when you begin to work toward your exciting and inspiring goals and dreams.

7.                   Mix It Up: The wrong routine can spell certain doom for your goals and dreams. To make sure this doesn't happen to you, add at least one new step to your daily routine to help break up the pattern. One new activity will set the stage for many more in the future, making it possible for you to break free of any negative routines.

8.                   A Team Sport: Don't go at this alone. Achieving a goal or dream requires a team effort. There will be times when you feel like giving up, when you feel like it's too much to take. One of the surest ways to overcome these small setbacks is to have the support and guidance of your goal partner.

9.                   Get excited about what's to come: You are on your way to getting everything you have ever wanted! Now is the time to get excited and inspired about what your future holds. Imagine living your ideal life - now make it happen!

10.                Raise Your Standards: It's time to raise your standards. It's time to expect more out of yourself than anyone else. Accept nothing less than your absolute best in all that you do and you'll have no problem creating your ideal life. After all, you'd expect nothing less than living the life of your dreams.

11.                Take Ownership: Before positive changes can take place, you must take responsibility for your position in life. You are in control of your future and are the only one who can guarantee a better life. If you play the role of a victim, giving up control and ownership of your life, you will never enjoy the amazing opportunities that life offers to us all.

12.                Write in a Journal: A million thoughts may rush through your mind each day, but if you do nothing to capture them, they often disappear as quickly as they came. Take time to write in a journal each week. This will not only help you overcome obstacles you are facing in your life but also help you discover what you really want.

13.                Who Do You Admire?: Make a list of at least three people that you admire. With your list in hand describe what it is that you most respect about each individual. Often pinpointing what we admire in others offers insight into what we wish to become ourselves.

14.                The Moment: Remember a time when everything seemed to be going just right? When nothing could get you down? When you thought to yourself, 'This moment, right now, is what life is all about.' We all have moments in life when we feel we are at our best, but most people don't utilize them. Use the special moments in your life to bring to light goals and desires that are sure to fulfill your needs. Learning from and building on these times will help you create magic moments on a daily basis for the rest of your life.

15.                A Friendly Brainstorming Session: Gather a group of your closest friends, the ones who know you better than anyone else, and use their knowledge about you and your life to help you brainstorm goal and dream ideas. They will likely offer ideas you never considered yourself.

When Should You Begin?: It's decision time. You can continue to dream about the things you want or you can do something about them. You can let routine run the show or you can take control and make a change. You can put off your happiness until another day or you can begin doing the things you know you are capable of doing right now - the choice is yours.