November 22, 2007
Happy Thanksgiving to our friends in America! And it's time for Grey Cup Sunday here! Root for your fav team!
The Gospel Christmas Project is a must-see show and a must-have CD. See details under HOT EVENTS.
Once again, there is plenty to read below so have a scroll and a read.
Two Shows, One CD - The Gospel Christmas Project – December 21
(Ottawa) and December 22, 2007 (Toronto)
Source: Andrew Craig
You’re invited to the Christmas musical events of 2007: the Gospel Christmas Project, live at Ottawa’s National Arts Centre and Toronto’s Massey Hall! Audiences are calling this show “fabulous”, “amazing”, “thrilling beyond expectation”, “music to God's ears” and “a wonderfully joyful spiritual evening”.
“The Gospel Christmas Project - LIVE!” is two hours of the world’s greatest Christmas carols, in all-stunning new arrangements made by musician, producer and broadcaster Andrew Craig. The songs are rendered by some of our country’s greatest voices:
Jackie Richardson, Canada’s Queen of Jazz and Blues,
Alana Bridgewater, “Killer Queen” in the Mirvish production of “We Will Rock You”
Kellylee Evans, 2007 Canadian Smooth Jazz Female Vocalist of the Year
Chris Lowe, a tremendous new voice recently-emerged from the Gospel community
and the Juno-award-winning Sharon Riley and Faith Chorale
“The Gospel Christmas Project” is already a wildly-popular radio show, a Gemini-nominated TV special, and a brand-new CD, called “The Gospel Christmas Project”, available in all major retail outlets right now, and on ITunes as of December 4.
“The Gospel Christmas Project” was originally performed in Ottawa in December 2006. It returns to Ottawa this Christmas, joined by the National Arts Centre Orchestra on December 21.
And the next night (December 22) The Gospel Christmas Project makes its Toronto debut at the legendary Massey Hall!
Visit the website: www.gospelxmasproject.com
Purchase CD at CBC Records, HERE!
Adrian Eccleston On Music
If you’ve not seen Adrian (Eccleston) live, perhaps (good) live music is not your thing. Choose any venue that rocks on a regular basis and chances are, Adrian has had something to do with it. From performing live on tours and in global music festivals to jamming in small crowded bars, playing live is an integral part of Adrian’s success. His stage presence, creative vibe and agile ability to learn new music quickly, has made him one of the most sought after live guitarists for local and international artists.
In the past seven years he’s toured with talents such as Nelly Furtado, Divine Brown, Jacksoul, Jarvis Church and Snow, and has performed for the likes of Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson, Pele, and former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien.
Check out this informative interview video at Mesa/Boogie HERE.
FACTOR Launches New Emerging Artists
**Want to apply but find the paperwork unmanageable. Would prefer to pay someone to fill it out accurately and better your chances of approval? Contact Aisha at Ngoma Productions - email@example.com
Please click here to download the application (Note: This program's application is not currently available as an online application or through our normal "Programs" drop-down menu. This will be corrected shortly. Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause).
For information on the Marketing and Promotion component, please download the Marketing and Promotion for Factor Funded Sound Recordings application.
PRESS RELEASE - [November 9, 2007] - On Tuesday November 6, 2007, FACTOR launched the Emerging Artist Program. This program has been developed to support grassroots artists whose careers have started to emerge at both the national and/or international level.
This program is to be funded through Canadian Content Development (CCD) dollars paid to FACTOR from Canada’s private radio broadcasters.
This program has been developed as a result of the recent decision by the CRTC and the messaging from Canada’s private radio broadcasters on the importance of providing support to emerging Canadian talent. The program also responds to cultural diversity because it is open to all musical genres.
Funds will be provided through the production component where FACTOR will provide up to 50% of the eligible budget to a maximum of $35,000 and the marketing and promotion component will provide up to $50,000 in funding to support the sound recording.
While criteria has been established to determine eligibility as to who can apply to the program, the criteria is not intended to be used for regulatory purposes.
“I am confident this new program will compliment FACTOR’s current programs and will help to further enhance the careers of Canadian artists;” stated Heather Ostertag, President and CEO of FACTOR.
Additional information, as well as the application forms can be found on the FACTOR website at www.factor.ca.
As a private non-profit organization, FACTOR is dedicated to providing assistance toward the growth and development of the Canadian independent recording industry. The foundation administers contributions from Canada’s Private Radio Broadcasters as well the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage’s Canada Music Fund.
For further information contact
Krista Culp, Communications Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org; 416-696-2215 x 215
Kanye West Resumes European Tour
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com
(November 19, 2007) *With his mother, Dr. Donda West's death just a week ago, Kanye West returned to Europe to fulfill his concert obligations beginning with Paris Saturday night.
However, when the rapper tried to perform "Hey Mama," he broke down in tears and couldn't finish.
"This song is for my mother..." is how West started to introduce the song to a sold-out crowd at Le Zénith in Paris, but couldn't go on.
"He said the word, 'Mother' and just couldn't go any further," Le Parisien journalist Meddy Magloire told People. "A back-up singer, the DJ and a guitar player came over to console him. (At one point,) it looked like he might collapse. He just couldn't continue. He just stood there in a spotlight, crying while the band continued playing."
Magloire says that after a few moments of stunned silence, the audience of 5,000 reacted by offering calls of encouragement, which grew into applause.
The band restarted the song, but West left the stage, but he came back after 10-15 minutes to finish the concert with a rousing performance of "Stronger."
At this point except for Monday's show in Amsterdam, West's European tour is still on which is somewhat surprising. He cancelled a Victoria's Secrets performance on Thursday and was not at the memorial for her in Chicago on Friday. There was speculation that he would remain reclusive until after his mother's funeral tomorrow in Oklahoma.
Now the word is that after the funeral he will resume the tour – including his planned Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 22, performance at the O2 arena in London. The European tour dates, which are listed on his website, end on December 4.
Meanwhile, the grieving artist is also tapped to work on upcoming albums from Mos Def and John Legend.
Legend, who is preparing a follow up to last year's "Once Again," says his thoughts are with West following the sudden death of his mother.
"She loved him and supported him unconditionally," Legend notes. "She was really there for him a lot and was ... really a great example for him. You could tell how close they were, and I just can't imagine how devastated he is right now."
Legend dedicated a performance of his hit "So High" to Dr. West at a Get Together show Wednesday in Detroit and said afterwards that he plans to attend her funeral tomorrow in Oklahoma.
Prince And Stevie Rock 'Superstition' In
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com
(November 20, 2007) *The audience came to New York's Madison Square Garden for a Stevie Wonder concert but got much more Saturday night when Prince showed up and took the stage for a surprise performance.
According to Fox411 columnist Roger Freidman, Prince "played a wicked guitar solo" during Wonder's performance of "Superstition." The Purple One had previously appeared on Wonder's 2005 album, "A Time 2 Love," playing guitar on the track "So What the Fusss."
Celebs among the sold out crowd included Chris Tucker, Ashford & Simpson, actor Anthony Mackie, attorney Londell McMillan and Spike Lee’s wife Tonya.
The two-and-a-half hour show began with Wonder asking for a moment of silence for victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He went on to explain how this current tour was inspired by the passing of his mother.
Other folks in the audience included BET’s Steven Hill and Essence magazine’s Susan Taylor.
The set list featured classics "Too High," "Visions," "Living for the City," "Golden Lady" and "Ribbon in the Sky." According to Friedman, the evening wound down with "Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing," "Signed, Sealed, Delivered," "My Cherie Amour," "Boogie On, Reggae Woman," "Sir Duke," "I Wish," "You Are the Sunshine of My Life" and "As."
Tony Bennett, the night's other surprise guest, joined Wonder on "For Once in My Life," which they recorded for Bennett's 2006 album, "Duets: An American Classic." That version won a Grammy for best pop collaboration with vocals.
Wonder's tour resumes Nov. 28 in Charlotte, N.C., and runs through Dec. 9 in Glendale, Ariz. He will also hold his annual House Full of Toys benefit Dec. 15 at Los Angeles' Nokia Live!
Artists Reap Honours For Radio Airplay
Excerpt from www.thestar.com - Greg Quill, Entertainment Columnist
(November 20, 2007) More than a dozen of Canada's top pop, rock, country, folk and dance music composers and lyricists were honoured at last night's 18th annual SOCAN Awards gala at the Carlu in Toronto.
Awards for pop songs that achieved the greatest number of plays on Canadian radio during 2006 were handed out to:
Tomi Swick for "A Night Like This"
Chantal Kreviazuk for her part in Kelly Clarkson's "Walk Away"
Jesse Dryfhout and Christopher Moerman, co-writers of Stabilo's "Flawed Design"
In the country music category:
Gordie Sampson was honoured for co-writing Carrie Underwood's hit "Jesus, Take The Wheel."
Daryl Burgess, Mitch Merrett and Aaron Pritchett scored for Pritchett's "Big Wheel"
Clayton Bellamy, Christopher Byrne and Jason McCoy for The Roadhammers' "Nashville Bound."
Rock songwriting awards recipients were:
Nickelback's Chad Kroeger, Daniel Adair, Michael Kroeger and Ryan Peake for "Savin' Me"
Nelly Furtado was honoured for her part in composing the hit "Promiscuous."
Presented by the Society of Composers Authors and Music Publishers of Canada, which collects, administers and distributes airplay and other royalties on behalf of its Canadian songwriter members, the awards gala was hosted by singers and songwriters Damhnait Doyle and Kim Stockwood, who also performed two songs as the pop duo Shaye.
Other SOCAN award winners were:
Corb Lund in the roots/folk category for his song "Hair in My Eyes Like a Highland Steer"
Maxime Morin for Champion's dance hit "No Heaven."
A special achievement award was presented to rock legend Ronnie Hawkins for his contribution to Canada's music industry and musical heritage during his career.
Internationally renowned polka king Walter Ostanek received the SOCAN Lifetime Achievement Award, and Nickelback received the International Achievement Award for bringing worldwide recognition to Canada.
Canadian folk music legend, the lat Stan Rogers, was honoured with SOCAN's National Achievement Award for outstanding success in the Canadian music industry.
And the other SOCAN winners were ...
Among songs that received SOCAN classic awards last night for achieving 100,000 plays on Canadian radio are:
“Try Walkin’ Away,” Murray McLauchlan
“Dark Horse” and “Trust Me (This Is Love),” Amanda Marshall
“The Mummers’ Dance,” Loreena McKennitt
“Some Kinda Wonderful” and “Love Song,” Sky
“Cuts Like A Knife,” “I’m Ready,” “It’s Only Love” and “This Time,” Bryan Adams
“Turn Me Loose,” “Working For The Weekend” and “Heaven In Your Eyes,” Loverboy
A complete list of winners is available online at socan.ca
Wyclef Jean Still Exploring Sounds
Source: By Gail Mitchell, Reuters
LOS ANGELES, USA (Reuters): "Eclectic" is a word critics have used to describe Wyclef Jean's music. But the musician /rapper /songwriter /producer says his vision was just ahead of its time.
"Sampling Enya with the Fugees, doing combinations with Kenny Rogers ... I was doing that 13-14 years ago," Jean said during an interview at Billboard. "I was called eclectic because of a certain box I was supposed to stay in. Now I hear everybody with everybody. Music is at a fresh space right now; there's a fusion going on. If I grow up knowing Johnny Cash, Run-D.M.C. and Jimi Hendrix, why can't I just play all the music?"
Jean does just that on his latest solo album, "The Carnival II: Memoirs of an Immigrant" (December 4, Columbia). Following the pattern of his previous albums, the artist marshals the creative forces of a diverse guest line-up, including Paul Simon, T.I., Mary J. Blige, Norah Jones, Akon, System of a Down's Serj Tankian, Lil Wayne and Shakira. Jean's longtime collaborator, cousin Jerry "Wonda" Duplessis, executive-produced the album with the artist.
"Carnival II" marks the Fugees frontman's return to Columbia/Sony and the 10-year anniversary of his solo debut, "Wyclef Jean Presents the Carnival Featuring Refugee Allstars." Acknowledging that "Carnival II" is similar to its predecessor, he attributes its release 10 years later as happenstance. "I didn't plan it like that," he insisted. "I was just inspired by Haiti and the fusion of culture around the world."
It was Jean's explosive pairing with Shakira on the No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hit "Hips Don't Lie" that signalled what Jean terms his second wind of inspiration. He had spent the greater part of the last three years doing charity work in his native Haiti. During that period, he lost a key inspiration and gained another.
The loss occurred with the unexpected death of his evangelist father. "The way I learned music was through traveling," Jean recalled. "I would hear different forms of it on the streets being with my father."
His inspirational boost came with the birth of his daughter two years ago. "A child does something else to you. She thinks I'm cool," he said in his lyrical Haitian lilt.
Then the call came from Shakira. "All he needed was to know that people were still into real music," Columbia VP of marketing Stephanie Gayle said. "And 'Hips' did that for him."
As did an invitation from T.I. to collaborate on the Atlanta rapper's single, "You Know What It Is." And the wind started to shift.
"I heard taking some time off can be dangerous in the music industry," Jean said with a laugh. "But I always have my pulse on music, even in Haiti. The vibe was so strong that when I got back to America, it made me see things differently. It was like, 'You can still do this. You can freak with this young kid generation because they're checking for you' -- the ones in this generation who are merging sounds like T-Pain, T.I. and Lil Wayne."
Jean gets an assist from some of hip-hop's most valuable players on lead single "Sweetest Girl (Dollar Bill)," featuring Akon and Lil Wayne. He then goes on to cater to another generation with Paul Simon on "Fast Car," which integrates a dark hip-hop beat with guitar.
In addition to reuniting with Shakira ("King and Queen"), Jean reteams with "911" partner Blige on the vulnerable "What About the Baby," which addresses children caught in the middle of separated parents. Jean is most excited about "Selena," his tribute to the Mexican songstress of the same name, which includes a sample of her famous "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom," approved by her father.
"Haitians and Mexicans share a similar story about pride and struggle," Jean said. "It was important that I reach out to my Mexican brothers and sisters and let them know that we are with them."
Love-In For Past American Idols At AMAs
Excerpt from www.thestar.com - Sandy Cohen, The Associated Press
(November 19, 2007) LOS ANGELES–Chris Daughtry may not have won American Idol, but his band Daughtry earned high enough honours at the American Music Awards last night to share the spotlight with Carrie Underwood and Justin Timberlake.
Daughtry made good on its three nominations, winning Favourite Pop/Rock Album for Daughtry, as well as Breakthrough Artist and Adult Contemporary Artist.
"Wow. I can't believe we're in the category with Justin Timberlake and Linkin Park. It's pretty awesome," the band's front man said.
Underwood, who did win her season of Idol, matched her three wins at the Country Music Association Awards this month with three trophies last night: Favourite Female Country Artist, Favourite Country Album for Some Hearts, and the T-Mobile Text-In Award.
"Thank you fans for going out and buying this album. You guys are amazing," she said. "This is one heck of a night."
Timberlake was a double winner, earning Male Pop/Rock Artist honours and the Soul/R&B Album award for his FutureSex/LoveSounds. Timberlake accepted by video from Australia.
Usher presented Beyoncé with the International Artist Award, which has been given to just a handful of artists, including Michael Jackson, Rod Stewart and Aerosmith.
"I'm so blessed to wake up every morning and do what I love. I don't take it for granted," she said.
The night was punctuated with performances, including a mash-up between Beyoncé and country duo Sugarland, who performed Beyoncé's hit "Irreplaceable."
Céline Dion performed her new song "Taking Chances" and Avril Lavigne performed "Hot."
Eighties rock band Duran Duran performed its new song "Falling Down," as well as the old hit "Hungry Like the Wolf."
After two weeks of writer-strike-imposed reruns of his late-night talk show, Jimmy Kimmel returned to live TV as host of the three-hour ceremony, broadcast live on ABC from downtown Los Angeles. The show's basic script was written before the strike began last week, but there were no writers to provide Kimmel with his trademark quips about current events.
One comedy bit came straight from September. Kid Rock spoofed his fistfight with rocker Tommy Lee at MTV's Video Music Awards, telling Kimmel: "You're in my seat," before pretending to punch the host in the face.
Kimmel said the Writers Guild of America strike prevented him from writing any jokes for the show. "It may not look like it, but I'm striking right now in my heart," he said, apologizing to the crowd for having to tolerate "made-up crap."
Still, Kimmel managed a few zingers, including an introduction of Snoop Dogg as "one of America's most beloved and arrested hip-hop stars."
For the first time in show history, winners were chosen by public votes cast online.
List Of Winners At American Music Awards
LOS ANGELES — Following is a complete list of winners at the 35th annual American Music Awards, which took place Sunday at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.
Noted Contemporary And International
Arts Presenter, Bill Bragin, Appointed Director, Public Programming, Lincoln
Center For The Performing Arts
Source: Lincoln Center
Bill Bragin has been named Director, Public Programming for Lincoln Center, Inc., it was announced today. Bragin, currently Director of Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater, will start at Lincoln Center in January, 2008.
In this newly created position, Bragin will be responsible for curating the popular Midsummer Night Swing and Lincoln Center Out of Doors festivals held on Lincoln Center’s public plazas each summer. Additionally, he will work throughout the year on select public programming including special upcoming 50th Anniversary events in 2009-2010, and other selected projects.
In issuing the announcement, Jane Moss, Vice President, Programming, commented, “We wish to unify the curatorial vision for our outdoor programming festivals – Midsummer Night Swing and Lincoln Center Out of Doors – especially in light of the current transformation of Lincoln Center ’s public spaces. Bill’s encyclopedic knowledge of the international music scene will ensure that the hundreds of thousands of people who come to Lincoln Center each summer will have outstanding, diverse artistic experiences in a new, welcoming outdoor environment.”
Throughout his career, Bragin has presented a who’s who of the music world, from Brazilian, Latin, African and Asian artists to rock, jazz, hip-hop, country, electronic and new music, as well as modern and ethnic dance and spoken word events. He has served as Director of Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater since 2001 where, during that time, he was dubbed by Time Out in 2005 as “ New York ’s Finest Music Booker.” While at The Public Theater, he presented more than 3,000 concerts, introduced the Joe’s Pub in the Park concert series at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, developed ongoing contemporary dance and family programming, and initiated the Public's acclaimed new rock musical Passing Strange, which will transfer to Broadway in February 2008. In 2004, he co-founded the annual globalFEST world music festival/showcase, presented with World Music Institute and World Music/Crash Arts, in order to expand the role of world music in the Performing Arts field in North America .
In addition, Bragin programmed the multi-disciplinary Central Park SummerStage performing arts festival for five seasons, including three as Artistic Director, expanding its international offerings and developing a dance and live music commissioning program. Bragin was music curator at Symphony Space for two seasons, where projects included the acclaimed Wall-to-Wall Miles Davis marathon. Previous experience includes working in a programming and production capacity for various festivals at George Wein's Festival Productions and managing the launch of Allen Toussaint and Joshua Feigenbaum's NYNO record label. He began his career as director of the Alternative Concert Series at Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges . Bragin has also consulted on a variety of music and performing arts projects including Lincoln Center Festival, the TED Conferences, the Abril Pro Rock Festival and worked with choreographers Susan Marshall, Wally Cardona and Ben Munisteri. He also dj’s internationally as part of the GlobeSonic Sound System, spinning hybridized world/electronic music under the moniker Acidophilus.
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc. (LCPA), serves three primary roles: presenter of superb artistic programming, national leader in arts and education, and manager of the Lincoln Center campus. As a presenter of more than 400 events annually, LCPA’s programs include American Songbook, Great Performers, Lincoln Center Festival, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, Midsummer Night Swing, the Mostly Mozart Festival, and Live From Lincoln Center . In addition, LCPA is leading a series of major capital projects on behalf of the resident organizations across the campus.
Lil Rick's Music Videos
Source: Pyramid Newsletter
(Nov. 19, 2007) Regional collaboration in the entertainment industry continues to yield fantastic results… and one need only look at the most recently produced soca music videos to see how.
The glossy, high energy videos for Barbados' 2007 Party Monarch Lil' Rick are the result of a Barbados/Jamaica joint venture which featured a glittering line-up of Jamaican talent. The videos for Crop Over 2007 mega hits 'Caan Wait' and 'Girls Gone Wild' were directed by Jamaican Director, Jay Will of Jay Will Films. His team included Producer, Carleene Samuels, Director of Photography Richard Lannaman and Choreographer Kameica Reid.
Jay Will counts among his clients Def Jam, N.O.R.E, Kanye West and Beenie Man yet continues to prove his worth with another Barbadian soca/reggae superstar – Biggie Irie. His 'Nah Goin' Home' video rose steadily to the top of MTV's Cross Caribbean Countdown and maintained that spot for an impressive five weeks. Matching raw talent with a sound academic grounding, Jay Will holds a Bachelors of Science Degree in Broadcast Journalism and a double minor in Theatre and Photography. No doubt this mix is a constant inspiration to his equally talented team which includes Producer Carlene Samuels. Her client roster includes Sean Paul, Kano, Skye and Mr. Vegas and her style is engraved on countless reggae and dancehall videos for industry heavyweights; Shaggy, Beenie Man and Morgan Heritage.
Director of Photography, Richard Lannaman who is known for having a keen eye for detail, has worked on projects such as; 'Third World Cop', Blue Waters Production 'Hit For Six' and more recently Biggie Irie's 'Nah Goin' Home' music video.
Look out for Lil Rick's music videos, capturing the true essence of the soca and dancehall cultures in his typical high energy format – thanks to noted Jamaican choreographer Kameica Reid. The combination of location shoots in Barbados, local talent and the Jamaican production team, the videos are sure to follow on the heels of all the other 'Game Over' mega hits.
New York based, Barbadian Stylist Jewel Shannon, was the mastermind behind the strong Barbadian colours that are reflected in the music video. Jewel's role was critical in outfitting both the sexy girls in the music and Lil Rick which complimented the various scenes and moods in the music videos.
Mannie Fresh Speaks Knowledge
Source: Beyond Radi www.hoticeonline.com; Fine Art: www.onemindstudio.com; True Hip-Hop: www.myspace.com/mic_club
(November 16, 2007) Star producer Mannie Fresh headlined the prestigious Behind the Boards Series earlier this month at the World Famous Mic Club in Atlanta.
Presented by 4Kings Entertainment and BMI Atlanta and hosted by D.R.E.S. tha Beatnik, alongside DJs Edward Scissorhands and Razah, this highly anticipated edition of the series welcomed Fresh, the creative mind behind sounds popularized by the Cash Money Millionaires and others.
Mannie Fresh did not disappoint, as he shared his thoughts on the music industry, fellow artists and his life in music.
Underground rap impresarios Dead Prez brought their A-game as well, performing to a packed crowd. All-star attendees included Ray Murray of Organized Noize, Goodie Mob's Khujo, Bizarre of D-12 and Public Enemy's Professor Griff.
During the Q&A, Mannie Fresh projected an optimistic outlook. From his musings on star T.I. , whom he called "a creative genius," to reflections on Katrina, he imparted hard-earned wisdom on the audience filled with fans and peers. Fresh also addressed the state of the music business, celebrated the diversity of hip hop and defined his own sound.
He professed, "I'm a regular dude who likes to have fun, be with family and collect sounds." He advised up and coming producers to "pray, for real. This is a hard business that can take over your mind and your soul; just pray and work."
The World Famous Mic Club's Behind the Boards Series is a recurring live event that has also hosted hip-hop legend Diamond D and Grammy award- winning producer 9th Wonder. "We are proud of what we are doing with the Behind the Boards Series and are going to keep doing it until we educate and entertain all who want it," said host Andre Lett aka DRES the Beatnik of 4Kings Entertainment. "These type events are exactly what we need to see more of if we are going to bring balance, artistic integrity & truth into an industry where these very valuable commodities are in short supply."
Sponsors of the November 1 edition of The World Famous Mic Club's Behind the Board Series included BMI Atlanta, Mogultunes.com, jGlass communications, Mindzai Multimedia, Paperbag films and Scion.
For more information on The World Famous Mic Club's Behind the Boards Series, please visit www.myspace.com/mic_club. To view pictures from this event, log on to www.myspace.com/jglasscomm.
Broadcast Music, Inc.® (BMI) is an American performing right organization that represents more than 350,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers in all genres of music and more than 6.5 million works. BMI's recently announced financial results, $839 million ( U.S. ) in royalty collections for its 2007 fiscal year, are the highest for any copyright organization in the world. BMI has represented the most popular and beloved music from around the world for over 65 years. The non-profit-making U.S. corporation collects license fees from businesses that use music, which it then distributes as royalties to the musical creators and copyright owners it represents.
Peabo Bryson's 'Missing You'
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com
(November 16, 2007) "One important thing for anybody aspiring to accomplish anything – especially if it has anything to do with success – is to never stop buying your own toilet paper. I need toilet paper. We all do, everyday. If you get it yourself, you’re dealing with the basic fundamentals of survival and humanness. It’s ok to believe in yourself and it’s ok to take yourself seriously, just not too seriously. And buying your own toilet paper keeps you from taking yourself too seriously."
*Soul singer Peabo Bryson has saturated the airwaves with his hit ballads for more than three decades.
He's been the male half of phenomenal duets with a veritable powerhouse hall of fame line-up of female singers including "Tonight, I Celebrate My Love" with Roberta Flack, "A Whole New World" with Regina Belle, and "Beauty and the Beast" with Celine Dion - the latter two garnered him an Oscar and a Grammy each.
Of course the duets aren’t his only claim to fame. His greatest solo hits include the late 70s smashes "Feel The Fire" and “I’m So Into You”; the 1989 hit “Show and Tell,” and “Can You Stop the Rain” from 1991, among others.
The reason behind his longevity, Bryson explained, is simply just being himself. While that may sound like generic rhetoric, the singer told EUR’s Lee Bailey that staying true really is the key. And that trueness remains on his latest offering, “Missing You,” released early last month.
“I made an important decision very early in my career not to try to be anything that I’m not. I ended up living my life and being myself and not having to try to be someone I’m not or have to hold up to some perception that someone else has of me or someone else’s image or idea of me,” he said. “I think that that individuality has always been an intricate part of my music. And I’d like to think that the music represents not being alone in your thoughts or your feelings.”
Feelings are just what Bryson conveys in his music, and he’s become known as a balladeer. But the singer adds that he is still connected to uptempo beats and reminded that his very first hit was a disco anthem called “Do It With Feeling.” Still, somewhere along the way, it was his smooth sound and sincere lyrics that made him a star, but even so, he stayed grounded.
“After receiving critical success on my first album on a major label, we were sitting around in a boardroom trying to figure out what my image should be, and I just spoke up after listening to everybody for about 45 minutes and said, ‘Why don’t I just be myself?’ And some idiot at the end of the table said, ‘That’s a good idea. That would be different. When you’re sitting in Hollywood, real is not the first thing that comes to mind.”
Bryson said that he makes it a point to keep it real and stay grounded. Though he has major award statues and a musical resume that legends are made of, he explained that he still buys his own toilet paper – a practice that reminds him he is only human.
“One important thing for anybody aspiring to accomplish anything – especially if it has anything to do with success – is to never stop buying your own toilet paper. I need toilet paper. We all do, everyday. If you get it yourself, you’re dealing with the basic fundamentals of survival and humanness. It’s ok to believe in yourself and it’s ok to take yourself seriously, just not too seriously. And buying your own toilet paper keeps you from taking yourself too seriously.”
However, one thing Bryson does take seriously is his music. Hardly impressed with contemporary music stars, Bryson spoke out about the loss of musical history and the art of music itself.
“If we’re not careful – living in our disposable culture of disposable attitudes and our innate desire to be in vogue – then we’re going to obliterate our history as it’s being made. No one is fervent about preserving the history of our culture. If you took a poll in a particular age demographic, I’ll bet you couldn’t find 10 people who know who Sam Cooke is. And that’s history. In the Top 10, when there used to only be one chart, he would have three songs. Nobody’s done that since. That’s an extraordinary and tragic story that has not been told. And who is a great singer now?” he challenged. “A great singer today is really judged by the marketing plan.”
Bryson continued that there is a market for people who are actual musicians, branding the current hitmakers simply as entertainers.
“It’s not that there’s no demographic audience for people who write real songs and who are musicians who are not putting their name on songs that they did not write. You can’t compose if you can’t play,” he reminded. “Now, people will forgive bad notes even mediocre music. And if you’re a young and up-and-coming artist and you write in a real song format, then you’re unique.”
The singer/songwriter’s familiar uniqueness is apparent on his new CD, his 20th release. He describes it as a combination of the old and the new, but adds that the album is full of more of what he is famous for, and what Bryson fans have been missing during his eight year hiatus.
The title track is another poignant ballad about missing someone, whether it be from the natural transition all humans make or a move in a new direction without that other person.
“They lyrical content was very special and it was a great metaphor for any of those circumstances where it was about anybody on any level,” Bryson said of the track. “I lived with it for a while and then decided it was something I needed to communicate. There’s not a lot of accompaniment with it at all. It was an opportunity for me to have my voice to be heard in a unique way. It was a great vehicle for my voice to shine in another way and an opportunity to showcase that which God has given me.”
As soon as the single was released, it became an instant hit on the overseas military airwaves and was quickly embraced by those serving in Iraq and their families, becoming somewhat of an anthem for soldiers.
“I’d like to think that it’s a representation of the entire CD project. The CD project is not as good as it could have been or it could be and that means that I still have miles to go, but it is an exceptionally good project. I think it’s the right step,” he said.
This new project comes eight years since his last album. The obvious questions is why'd it take so long?
“It takes eight years to find someplace that is the right place. It’s got to be the right thing at the right time. And it’s only going to get better.”
For more on Peabo Bryson’s new disc, “Missing You,” go to www.Peak-Records.com.
Spice Girls share Victoria's Secret
Excerpt from www.globeandmail.com - Alexandria Sage, Reuters
(November 16, 2007) LOS ANGELES — While difficult to upstage nearly nude supermodels strutting down a catwalk, the Spice Girls stole a share of the spotlight on Thursday as they kicked off a reunion tour with a warm-up at the Victoria's Secret fashion show.
In a sneak peak of their eagerly anticipated world tour that begins Dec. 2 in Vancouver, the members of the British girl group, whose monikers became household names in the 1990s, gave models like Heidi Klum a run for their money as they belted out their hit “Stop” and new single “Headlines.”
Lest anyone forget who they were, the group's five women, dressed in Second World War-era khaki and jaunty military caps, emerged onstage at the Hollywood show to perform their first number in front of huge glittering lights spelling out “Spice.” The band has sold more than 55 million albums, with 10 No. 1 singles.
The group's latest CD, “Spice Girls: Greatest Hits,” is being sold only at the lingerie chain, owned by Limited Brands. The fashion show will be broadcast Dec. 4 on CBS.
Victoria Beckham, a.k.a. Posh Spice, the most visible member of the group in recent years since her marriage to soccer player David Beckham, was back to her brunette hair colour from blond and wore an olive-drab cigarette skirt, with black gloves, wide belt and a plunging neckline.
“I'm in love with Victoria Beckham, which is probably an issue for David,” “American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest said after the show. “They could have stood there and done nothing and I'd have been happy,” he said of the group.
Besides the spectacle of the reunited Spice Girls, there was plenty to ogle onstage at the Kodak Theatre, home of the Academy Awards, even with celebrities such as Eva Longoria and Slash from the 1980s' rocker band Guns N' Roses in the crowd.
The Victoria's Secret models, who received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Wednesday, sported a series of animal-inspired lingerie looks, as barely there bras and panties were accessorized with plumage, skins and antlers seen usually only in the Serengeti.
In a respite from the overload of skin onstage, singer Seal, outfitted head to toe in glittering silver, crooned, “You're my angel, you're my girl,” in a duet with wife Klum that culminated in a lingering kiss at the base of the catwalk.
The Black Eyed Peas' William Adams, also known as will.i.am, started the show with the fitting rap hook: “Baby, where you get your body from?” Adams was a last-minute stand-in for hip-hop star Kanye West whose mother died earlier in the week.
Although Sporty Spice, a.k.a. Melanie Chisholm, has described the upcoming Spice Girls tour as a “final bow” for the group, there was nothing morose about its performance.
For its number “Headlines,” the group appeared in 1930s' long gowns in a stylized boudoir. Geri Halliwell, a.k.a. Ginger Spice, wore a fuchsia satin gown, while Chisholm, dressed in black, lounged on a divan.
WHO ARE THE SPICE GIRLS?
Rather that marking a new chapter, the band members have signalled that the tour starting in Vancouver on Dec. 2 is more of a final bow to celebrate a career that saw the group sell more than 55 million albums and rack up 10. No. 1 singles.
WHO WERE THE SPICE GIRLS?
- The Spice Girls' sex appeal, catchy tunes and “girl power” philosophy made them a pop music phenomenon in the mid-1990s.
-The British band was created in 1994 by two would-be managers who advertised for women to form an all-female group. The five winning applicants each took nicknames: * Sporty Spice - Melanie Chisholm, also known as Mel C, born January 1974.
* Posh Spice - Victoria Adams (married surname Beckham), born April 1974.
* Ginger Spice - Geri Halliwell, born August 1972.
* Baby Spice - Emma Bunton, born January 1976.
* Scary Spice - Melanie Brown, also known as Mel B, born May 1975.
- Their 1996 album “Spice” included the hit singles “Wannabe” and “Say You'll Be There” and launched them to international fame.
- They hit the peak of their fame in 1997 with the release of a second album, “Spiceworld,” plus a feature film of the same name.
- Halliwell left the group in 1998 and the other four went their separate ways after releasing the album “Forever” in 2000.
- This year, a DNA test confirmed actor-comedian Eddie Murphy was the father of Brown's newborn daughter. Brown gave birth to her second daughter on April 3 in a California hospital, naming the girl Angel Iris Murphy Brown after the Hollywood star. Brown and Murphy split up last December.
- Halliwell is back on the girl power trail — this time penning children's books about a feisty 9-year-old. Halliwell, following in the literary footsteps of fellow singers Madonna and Kylie Minogue, announced in April she would publish a series of six books she started writing when she was pregnant.
- Melanie C, who got her nickname because she always wore sports gear with the Spice Girls, launched her own singing career and has released four albums, the most recent this year.
- Victoria Beckham, formerly Posh Spice, signed up this year with television network NBC for an hour-long TV special, “Victoria Beckham: Coming to America,” about her move to Los Angeles with her husband, English soccer player David Beckham.
- Bunton gave birth to a baby boy on Aug. 10.
Sparks Will Fly
Excerpt from www.thestar.com - Preston Jones, Special To The Star
(November 20, 2007) Reigning American Idol champ Jordin Sparks' self-titled debut hits stores today. We caught up with the 17-year-old to assess her mood.
Q: So how're you feeling about your album? Nervous? Excited? Scared?
A: I'm ecstatic – just the fact that I'm saying that I have one day until my album comes out is tripping me out.
Q: I take it you're happy with the final product?
A: I'm actually very, very, very happy ... with the whole album. I don't know how many people can say that.
Q: Did you set out to make the album with any specific sound in mind?
A: My plan was to incorporate a little bit of everything on the album and I think it's a pretty good mix.
Q: What, ultimately, are you hoping people get out of your music?
A: I just hope that they like it and they're proud, because I worked really hard.
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
High Hopes: Putting Motivational
Principles in Hip Hop Form
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com -
(November 20, 2007) *There are some people whose eyes shine so bright you see they are a remarkable person. John-Leslie Brown, a.k.a. High Hopes, has enough hope in his eyes to light up the world. You tend to believe him when he tells you he is planning on changing the world by teaching people how to soar to their highest goal. A goal he knows they can achieve once they learn the tools of how to believe in themselves. Since age 15, High Hopes has been building the foundation that has led him to his life’s mission. The son of famed motivational speaker and author Les Brown, High Hopes, himself, is an inspiration. He’s a youth, who at 23 years old, has already set out on the road to his destiny, via motivating people throughout the world through his speeches, songs, workshops, and seminars.
“HIGH HOPES is an acronym which stands for Hip hop Intellectual Going Higher Helping Other People Everywhere Soar, “stated the young motivator. “And, by soar, I mean soar over all restrictions by way of lectures, workshops, seminars, and songs. Through these methods, I plan to help people expand their vision of themselves and their capabilities,” explained High Hopes about his desire to bridge the gap between the Hip Hop generation and the Civil Rights generation. “When you have low hopes you get low results. If money is the root and purpose of every motivation in life, it doesn’t lead to very much. Youth need to be taught to strive toward a higher purpose that improves themselves and their community,” said the young intellectual about the type of higher thinking he wishes to awaken in America.
Born in Detroit, Michigan, High Hopes presently lives in California. It seems easy to say that one wishes to help and to motivate, but one has to have a strategy concerning how to go about it. “What I’ve done is focus on the areas that need to be improved. I’ve noticed for example, the Black Community needs to improve its communication skills,” commented the young entrepreneur. “Thus, I started a Teen Speakers Bureau as a strategy to teach and help young adults develop their communication skills. Also, African Americans need to improve our sense of community and team work. A lot of people don’t have a greater vision of themselves because they are not working with other people who are of the same consciousness and/or mindset. Also, we need to recognize the greatness within ourselves. We need to know that there is more to who we are and to life than just maintaining a job. There are options,” explained the young motivator.
America’s Pop driven culture often recognizes greatness via celebrities and athletes. “Inner city folk and youth sometimes view celebrities and athletes as exceptions to the rule, rather than an example of what is possible for each of us. When you are in an environment where no examples are shown but just warnings given, it’s hard to identify one’s own unique gift,” stated the youthful sage about his goal to renew people’s passions and confidence in themselves.
If the churches, media, schools, or political arenas are not reaching people, isn’t it time to look toward more positive methods of programming to enlighten people? “Positive programming and new images are needed in place of the present programming which instructs people to fail and lose faith in their abilities. Media/Internet must be utilized to provide our nation with positive reinforcement that people can hear all day long on a daily basis. That is why I started putting motivational principles in hip hop form for youth especially. There is a lot of controversy in hip hop because of its language, content or lack thereof, thus I intend to turn that around and substitute positive messages so that youth can stop hearing about killing one another and start hearing songs about developing their communities, improving themselves and loving each other,” said High Hopes. “My plan is working. I have implemented a foundation of motivational principles to shift consciousness and raise awareness. I say ask for help not because you’re weak but because you’re strong,” says the talent. Via individuals having asked for help, High Hopes was able to organize buses to Jenna, LA. Also, he encourages youth to listen and learn from other people’s experiences in order to reinvent self and avoid the tragic experiences others have suffered.
High Hopes instructs people not to get caught up in their negative internal conversations and/or the situations around them, but instead to say … anything is possible…it’s possible. “We have to stop looking at our past as something that determines our future because it’s possible to reinvent ourselves,” remarked the prose artist. “It’s possible to create a new community despite all of the terrible things that are happening today and it’s possible to attract something positive into your life.”
High Hopes has lectured to schools, entrepreneurs, universities, church groups and spoken before the NAACP, The Boys and Girls Club and Bishop T.D. Jakes’ Man Power Conference as well as done leadership seminars for UCLA.
High Hopes has worked with the organization Activities for Retarded Children specializing in expanding minds through beats and rhymes and authored 4 motivational CDs entitled “Get Up: Up Thoughts for Down Times,” “High Hopes,” “A Message to the Elders,” and “The For Real Hip Hop All Stars.” He knows the formula is to entertain through informative messages via musical prose. “One of my songs is called “New Stereotypes.” It gives a message stating this generation can formulate new stereotypes to help shift the tide.” states Hopes. “Also my song “Give Up A Way,” says never give up. It says:
…If you were going to give up…you shoulda done it a long time ago…
Look for imagination and a good mind to go…When you got high hopes, they try to
keep you low, but when you know your soul… they can’t defeat you though…
Interested parties can view http://www.mrhighhopes.com for further information.
The Release of 'Shane'
Source: Pyramid Newsletter
(Nov. 19, 2007) Dynamic guitarist and R & B vocalist Shane Forrester has released his first solo album simply entitled 'Shane'. The twelve track album is a blend of R&B, Latin, hip –hop and gospel influenced songs. No stranger to the stage, Shane has performed with the band then called IV Play (now 4D People) and shared the stage with international artistes like Boys II Men, James Ingram and Beres Hammond. His smooth soulful vocals have also be great crowd pleasers at the Barbados Jazz Festival, Barbados GospelFest and the Ottawa Blues Fest. For more information on Shane and his new album, visit http://www.myspace.com/shaneforresterc
MTV Launches In Middle East
Excerpt from www.thestar.com - The Associated Press
(November 19, 2007) MTV is hoping to lure young Arabs away from the dozens of Middle East music video channels that already dominate the market with MTV Arabia. It launched at midnight Saturday with a pre-taped show featuring Ludacris, Akon, Lebanese rapper Karl Wolf and hip-hop band Desert Heat. The channel will focus on hip-hop and R&B, with 40 per cent Arabic music, and minimal bare skin and profanity.
Mos Def, John Legend Preparing New
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com -
(November 19, 2007) *R&B crooner John Legend and rapper Mos Def have both announced they will return to the studio soon to begin work on new albums, reports Billboard. "We're really just starting," Legend tells Billboard, adding that he has " three songs I love already" for the follow up to his current album, "Once Again." "I'm usually pretty prolific and pretty quick with my output, so I'm guessing I'll be done with it by the end of the spring and put it out either late summer or early fall. That's what I'm headed towards," he said. Legend -- who will be releasing one more single, "Show Me," from "Once Again" -- says it's too early to predict a musical direction or theme for the new project. "The songs I've done so far are different from each other," he says. He's already worked with producers will.i.am and Rick Knowles and plans to hook up with the Neptunes' Pharrell Williams, longtime friend and mentor Kanye West "and we'll see who else." West, currently dealing with the death of his mother Donda West, is also on deck to work with Mos Def on his forthcoming debut release for indie label Downtown Recordings. According to label head Josh Deutsch, Kanye will produce several tracks on the as-yet-untitled project. Also, the label said it does not plan to re-release "Tru3 Magic," which was issued on Geffen without fanfare late last year after being pushed back numerous times. It has sold just 86,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Mos Def recently appeared on the track "Drunk and Hot Girls" from West's new album, "Graduation."
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com
(November 19, 2007) *Erykah Badu is back on the scene with her new single, “Honey," produced by 9th Wonder for her upcoming album due Feb. 26 – also her 37th birthday. A special, 12-inch pink wax edition will be available only to DJ’s next month and will feature album tracks, “The Healer” and “Real Thing.” Badu says of her as-yet-untitled disc: “The music is the star. I just laid down my vocals and let the music breathe while the melodies tell the stories.” The new album will be Badu’s first full length outing in seven years.
Solange Leaves Columbia For Geffen
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com
(November 20, 2007) *Solange was a presenter at Sunday night's "American Music Awards" and watched as her sister, Beyonce, stole the spotlight with a bluegrass performance of her hit "Irreplaceable" and picked up an International Artist Award of Excellence. Bey's younger sister is hoping to finally carve out a slice of superstardom for herself with two big announcements: a move from her native Houston to Los Angeles and a new recording contract with Geffen records. Solange, 21, had been signed to Columbia Records, also the label of her older sister. There, she released her 2003 debut album, "Solo Star." Under a new joint venture relationship between Geffen and her father's Mathew Knowles' Music World Music shingle, the single mother of 3-year-old Daniel Julez Smith will soon release a follow-up project. At Geffen, the artist joins label mates Mary J. Blige, Keyshia Cole and Macy Gray.
Wyclef Confirms Relationship With Lauryn
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com
(November 20, 2007) * *Wyclef Jean confirmed his relationship with Lauryn Hill during a visit to Power 92 Chicago's the Chocolate Jock Morning Jump-off show. According to co-host Kendra G, Wyclef said he believes the eccentric behaviour of his former Fugees bandmate is due to a bi-polar condition, and not drug use as rumours have suggested. Clef also claimed Hill's Grammy-winning album "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" was dedicated to him. As a response, Wyclef said he recorded the track "Someone Please Call 911" with Mary J. Blige. Wyclef stated, "So I would say that after our relationship she went through whatever she had to go through but this is like 14years later…she gotta get it straight!"
Oh Come, All Ye Film Fans
Excerpt from www.globeandmail.com - Stephen Cole
(November 16, 2007) The holidays are upon us, as this week's opening of the fantastical Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium attests. And so it's for Hollywood to deck the malls not only with movies about magic toy shops but also about pregnant teenage moms, war-ravaged friendships and serial-killing barbers.
Why such diversified entertainment? Well, the happy/holy season is also the prelude to Hollywood's own gift-giving binge – the Academy Awards. To be eligible, films have to be out by Jan. 1, and so, over the years, Christmastime has evolved into Hollywood's preferred release platform for meaty (occasionally blood-rare), prestigious films.
Being a holiday, Christmas is also a time for blockbusters, the theory being that a big-budget film requires wide-open vacation time to bust blocks properly. Witness the summer-movie extravaganza.
To take stock of all the movies coming our way, here is our pre-sorted holiday film guide
This Christmas (Nov. 23)
Hollywood dreams of a black Christmas. Stomp the Yard stars Columbus Short and Chris Brown are together again in the story of an African-American Yuletide family reunion.
Alvin and the Chipmunks (Dec. 14)
They were washed up, everyone said. Five-time Grammy-winners, cartoon stars in the sixties, sure. But the munks' last movie, Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman (2000), was direct-to-video. Then: Ratatouille. Suddenly rodents are hot again.
Here comes Oscar
Margot at the Wedding (Nov. 23)
As a kid in Brooklyn, Noah Baumbach ( The Squid and the Whale) fell in love with Jennifer Jason Leigh's lost character in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Eighteen years later, the filmmaker found and married the actor, who now stars in his comedy-drama about rival sisters. With Nicole Kidman and Jack Black.
The Savages (Nov. 30)
Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney are distant siblings who reluctantly interrupt their busy schedules to parcel dad (Philip Bosco) off to a nursing home.
I'm Not There (Nov. 30)
Director Todd Haynes's ( Far From Heaven) speculative biopic offers seven sketches of Bob Dylan, with as many different leads, including Heath Ledger, Christian Bale and Richard Gere. Lavish soundtrack, with Dylan songs interpreted by Jeff Tweedy, Sonic Youth, Cat Power and others.
The Kite Runner (Dec. 14)
An adaptation of the celebrated novel by Khaled Hosseini – the story of how a rich Afghan boy is separated from a poor friend by foolish pride and the Soviet army. Much of the dialogue is Dari (Afghan Persian) with subtitles.
Youth Without Youth (Dec. 21)
Francis Ford Coppola's comeback is the pre-Second World War story of a professor (Tim Roth) on the run from Nazis.
Atonement (Dec. 7)
From Ian McEwan's novel, starring Keira Knightley and James McAvoy ( The Last King of Scotland) as cursed wartime lovers. Directed by Joe Wright, who did great things with Knightley in Pride & Prejudice.
P.S., I Love You (Dec. 21)
American girl's music-loving Irish husband dies, but refuses to leave her, having knocked off a series of pep talks before closing his guitar case for good. Each letter ends with the phrase “P.S., I Love You.” Hard hearts need not apply for entry to this film, which stars Hilary Swank, Gerard Butler and Lisa Kudrow.
Ho, ho, ho
My Dinner With Jimi (Dec. 7)
From screenwriter and former Turtle Howard Kaylan comes the story of the sixties pop group's Happy Together tour of Europe. Recalls Kaylan, “We met the Rolling Stones and the Beatles – who played us Sgt. Pepper's before it was released – all the same night. I wound up eating dinner with Hendrix at 4 a.m. and puking all over his red velvet suit.” Toronto only.
Juno (Dec. 14)
Juno (Haligonian Ellen Page) is a pregnant, unwed teen who sets out to find ideal adoptive parents for her baby. Michael Cera ( Superbad) is the surprised father; Jennifer Garner and Jason Batemen, the prospective parents who aren't as perfect as their J. Crew catalogue looks might suggest. Directed by Jason Reitman.
Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (Dec. 21)
John C. Reilley ( Talladega Nights) is Dewey Cox, a guitar-humping hillbilly cat who goes through four decades of musical costume changes. Written by Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, Superbad).
The Bucket List (Dec. 25)
Whining, complaining and very ill, Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman check out of a hospital and scoot out on a road trip. Grumpy Wild Old Hogs anyone?
The Golden Compass (Dec. 7)
Hollywood's biggest 2007 Christmas present came unwrapped recently when Christian groups protested the $200-million (U.S.) film version of Philip Pullman's bestseller. The magic journey to a northern world populated by lords, queens and polar-bear warriors, was, they said, anti-Christian. Starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig. Directed by Chris Weitz ( About a Boy).
I Am Legend (Dec. 14)
With a German shepherd his only company, Will Smith survives a virus that turns New York into a postapocalyptic wasteland. The last living man on Earth has company, however – the creepy, crawling undead. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Dec. 21)
Johnny Depp once wielded scissor hands for Tim Burton. Now he's using a straight razor to trim unwary customers in his 19th-century London barber shop. There's music, too – Depp and company belt out a score of songs by Stephen Sondheim, who had casting approval. With Helena Bonham Carter and Sasha Baron Cohen.
National Treasure: Book of Secrets (Dec. 21)
A father-and-son sleuth team, plus missing treasure, mysterious bad guys, no swearing – the Hardy Boys, right? Close. It's the sequel to Nicolas Cage's surprise 2004 hit, National Treasure. With Jon Voight and Helen Mirren.
Charlie Wilson's War (Dec. 25)
Mr. Wilson goes to Afghanistan. Tom Hanks is a Texas congressman who conspires with a rogue CIA operative (Philip Seymour Hoffman) to launch a covert operation against the Soviet military in Afghanistan. Julie Roberts is his benefactress. Directed by Mike Nichols, script by Aaron Sorkin.
Enchanted (Nov. 21)
An evil queen (Susan Sarandon) banishes a beautiful princess (Amy Adams) from paradise, sending her to New York. Live action mixed with animation. Julie Andrews narrates this spoonful of sugar from Disney.
August Rush (Nov. 21)
Freddie Highmore ( Charlie and the Chocolate Family) is a musical orphan in search of musician parents (Keri Russell, Jonathan Rhys Meyers) who never intended to let him go.
Grace is Gone (Dec. 7)
John Cusack's wife, a career soldier, is killed in Iraq. Heartbroken but resolute, he takes his young daughters on a trip to gently break the news.
The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep (Dec. 25)
A wee Scottish boy discovers a magic egg that grows into a sea serpent. When the water horse grows to monstrous proportions, he reluctantly releases the friendly beast into … Loch Ness!
The Great Debaters (Dec. 25)
Story of a black college debate team that beat Harvard in 1935. Starring Denzel Washington and Forest Whitaker.
A bit of bah, humbug
The Mist (Nov. 23)
A Trojan mist envelops a Maine town, unleashing a slavering crew of deadly creatures. Yes, another Stephen King story hits the big screen. With Thomas Jane and Marcia Gay Harden.
Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (Dec. 25)
Hey, monsters celebrate Christmas, too.
Dates may change, and may vary across the country.
Special to The Globe and Mail
Under The Spell Of Amy Adams
Excerpt from www.thestar.com - Theatre Critic
(November 18, 2007) Let's start this fairy tale with the ending: she lived happily ever after.
Amy Adams is the princess in question – literally as well as figuratively. She plays the starry-eyed, moonstruck Giselle who finds herself magically transported from a cartoon Neverland to a real-life contemporary Manhattan in the film Enchanted, opening this Wednesday.
If it once seemed like a risk to cast Adams, who's far from a household name, then Disney's gamble looks to have a happy ending too. Considerable positive buzz has sprung up surrounding the big-budget musical, due to overwhelmingly enthusiastic response at test screenings as well as glowing advance reviews.
At the centre of it all is the glowing presence of Adams, whose openhearted yet comedically astute work in Enchanted is the glue that binds the clever mix of satire and sentiment together. She lets us laugh at Giselle while falling in love with her – the kind of dual reaction she admits she has received all of her life.
"I've always been way too perky for some people," laughs the 33-year-old beauty, over the phone early on a recent Sunday morning, at an hour when most people were still in bed.
"I had two sisters and four brothers – and we were all really close together in age. I used to irritate the heck out of them when I'd start singing and dancing all over the place, but they knew what I was really like inside."
And that, surprisingly enough, was "shy. It's hard being the middle one of seven children. You can get lost in the crowd. I had to find a private time, a place where I could be the special one."
The Oscar nominee for her performance as Ashley in 2005's Junebug says she discovered her childhood hideaway in fairy tales, especially the animated ones from Disney that nurtured her during those early years.
"I loved stories about romance, about dashing princes who would come and take you away from the everyday world" – which at this point was Castle Rock, Colo., where her father moved the family after leaving the military.
Adams's father became an entertainer, singing, playing the guitar and doing Jerry Lee Lewis-like acrobatics on the piano. "I used to watch him," Adams giggles, "and wish I could be that cool one day."
Adams had another idol back then as well. "Julie Andrews was my princess when I was growing up. I loved everything she did." In fact, the way Adams plays the winsome Giselle could easily be taken as a homage to the early career of Andrews, delivered with a twinkle in the eye. But where Adams' heart really was taking her was dance. "I wanted to be a ballerina, oh, I wanted it so much. I trained, I took lessons, I worked as an apprentice. I thought it would be my life."
Still, when she graduated from high school, she realized that "I just wasn't good enough, no matter how much I worked."
She spent a brief period of time at Hooters ("My sister worked there and got me the job," she says, just a touch defensively), but then she found her niche in musical theatre, hoofing away in shows both at home in Colorado and in Atlanta, where her mother moved after her parents broke up in 1986.
Michael Brindisi, director of the huge Chanhassen Dinner Theatre complex just outside of Minneapolis, told a local journalist back in 1999 how he felt the first time Adams auditioned for him.
"She jumped right off the stage; she's just magnetic." She went on to do four shows for him, including a production of Good News, where a local critic called Adams "a winning flirt" and Brindisi still remembers her as "a sweetheart."
But after six years of non-stop dancing in musicals, Adams decided to give her body a rest, and found herself available to audition for the movie Drop Dead Gorgeous, shot in Minneapolis. She got the role of a sexy cheerleader and was encouraged to move to Los Angeles.
Once there, she worked fairly steadily, landing guest spots on most of the period's popular TV shows (The West Wing, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Charmed, Smallville). She also appeared in Catch Me If You Can as the nurse with a mouthful of braces who hit on Leonardo Di Caprio. Adams was glad to be working, but she found the parts strangely unfulfilling. "I never want to play at anything," she insists. "I want to be it."
Then along came Junebug. After her sexy film and TV roles, director Phil Morrison cast her way against type, seeing Adams as the sweet, motor-mouthed, pregnant Ashley who tells her husband things like "God loves you just the way you are, but too much to let you stay that way."
Adams loved playing the role, so much so that when shooting was over, she kept the red hair of her character, instead of the light blonde tresses she had worn for her first 30 years. She received a surprise Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress, but insists she's glad now that she didn't win. "It would have turned my whole life around and I just wasn't ready."
Hopefully she's ready now, because Enchanted, which pairs her romantically with Patrick Dempsey ("McDreamy" from Grey's Anatomy) will definitely put her in the spotlight. The film's producer, Barry Josephson, who spent 10 years bringing the project to the screen, told the Star he feels Adams is the secret ingredient that makes it all work.
"She had her own discipline and concept for the performance from the time of her audition to the last day of shooting. She brought us Giselle everyday. Amy's emotions are so genuine, you see her pain and her happiness, it's all right there."
Adams herself feels her approach was quite simple. "I just took it seriously," is her explanation.
Despite its witty spoofing of many elements from earlier Disney films, Enchanted firmly endorses the ultimate power of romance and when it comes to that, Adams is the best spokesperson you could ask for.
"I know it's difficult," she says, "but I believe love is possible in the real world," whose boyfriend is actor Darren Le Gallo.
"If you just keep bringing out the best parts of who you are, then you will attract somebody who supports that. And isn't that what all of us are looking for?"
In The Time Of Humidity
Excerpt from www.thestar.com - Entertainment Reporter
(November 18, 2007) "Parrots! We had terrible trouble with parrots. The parrots there fly around in flocks of hundreds and they're incredibly noisy birds. They lived in all those big trees where we were filming in the cemetery. They sit and they talk to one another. We tried gunfire – we really were firing guns at them – and it wouldn't move them. There was a lot of weird s--- in Cartagena."
To hear director Mike Newell tell it, the story behind the shooting of Love in the Time of Cholera in and around Cartagena, Colombia, has all the elements of a slightly surreal fiction by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who wrote the novel on which it's based.
"The makeup is so key in this film – Javier (Bardem) and I said to one another if you don't get the makeup right, you haven't got the movie," Newell recalls. The actors age more than 60 years and that meant using prosthetics, "little pads of gelatin and plastic and that stuff."
The makeup materials don't react well to sweat and in jungle-surrounded Cartagena, the humidity was so bad one needed a change of clothes by 7:30 in the morning. Without a cold place to go between takes, says Newell, "the makeup would simply slide off their faces. Which some days it did. They looked like Vincent Price in House of Wax."
The low-budget solution – Newell calls Love in the Time of Cholera a "little film" – was to convert steel cargo containers into air-conditioned trailers by putting wheels on them.
"Then we wheeled them around city, which was great. But the first time we had a distant location, which was a ranch about 40 miles into the country, all the axels started to break because we'd used steel that was about a millimetre too thin. Life was full of that kind of problem."
The difficulties included a total absence of any filmmaking infrastructure in a city Newell describes as looking as if "it has been simply plunked down from 16th-century Spain.
"There's this extraordinary sense of a world heritage site that has been dropped into this marshy jungle, where everything is too hot, too humid to breathe and where the mosquitoes are the size of B-29s."
Newell heard that the novel he'd always loved was being adapted by London writer Ronald Harwood (an Oscar winner for his screenplay of Roman Polanski's The Pianist) just after completing Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
"I hunted it," he says. "I thought `God, how wonderful it would be to get completely away from little kids in Scotland running around with wands.'"
Compared with some of his previous films, including Mona Lisa Smile, Donnie Brasco, Pushing Tin and Four Weddings and a Funeral, this movie was to be a non-Hollywood production with no huge box-office draws, but lots of fine character acting.
"We simply said (to the studio, New Line) `Whether you like it or not we are simply going to get the best actors we can and we're going to go right round the world. We went to Spain, Germany, Italy all over South America, Central America, North America."
The result was the cast – including Bardem, Giovanna Mezzogiorno, Benjamin Bratt, Fernanda Montenegro, Liev Schreiber, Hector Elizondo and John Leguizamo – is largely Latin or European and didn't have to fake accents.
It was very important to him that not only Marquez, whom he describes as "a vinegary character," approve of the final product (he did), but that Latin American audiences would buy into it.
"We were very afraid of the response that Latinos might have because of course if it's `Here come the gringos again colonizing this time our culture,' then that's a terrible blow."
The film won't be released in South America until Christmas, but already Newell has received the endorsement he was hoping for. Love in the Time of Cholera opened the Rio de Janeiro film festival in September and won an award from an American-based Latino association.
"They're very, very keen on it," says Newell with a grin. “Very energized by it and that's great."
Duo Held The Strings For Mr. Magorium
Excerpt from www.thestar.com - Staff Reporter
(November 17, 2007) For some people, movies are a way to cut the strings that bind them to reality. But for two Toronto-based puppeteers, being involved in a major motion picture means keeping the strings attached.
Last year, David and Ann Powell, the brother-sister duo behind Puppetmongers – one of the city's most established puppet studios – completed work on their first movie, Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium.
"It was quite fun. We haven't worked on anything like this before," said Ann, who saw the film in its entirety for the first time earlier this week.
Ann and David are used to putting on puppet theatre productions in Toronto. Their work on the film – which involved ripping stuffing out of dolls and filling them with rods and strings, then manipulating the dolls on camera – was similar to their everyday work with Puppetmongers.
Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, starring Dustin Hoffman, Natalie Portman and Jason Bateman, with a cameo by Kermit the Frog, is a children's movie filled with computer-generated imagery that may leave audiences hopelessly trying to distinguish between real-life and make believe.
But amid the computer graphics are several old-fashioned marionette puppets, brought to life by the Puppetmongers.
Though not as visually dazzling as the CGI effects, Ann's and David's simple characters – such as a hopping kangaroo and an entire cupboard of lively stuffed toys, including a sock monkey – are all important parts of the wonder of Mr. Magorium's emporium.
Not all of their creations survived the cutting room. "There were certain things we did that didn't get into (the film), but that always happens, I'm sure," said David.
The experience was one the Puppetmongers hope to someday repeat.
But, in the meantime, they're already back at work in their studios, running a puppet theatre group, a puppetry school and directing a series of plays for the holiday season. They will be performing Tea at the Palace, a Russian tale about justice, humanity and love at the Tarragon Theatre Dec. 26 to New Year's Day..
Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium opened in theatres yesterday.
Regina King: The This Christmas
Interview With Kam Williams
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com
(November 16, 2007) *Born in L.A. on January 15, 1971, Regina King started her showbiz career on the stage with the Crossroads Theater which is where she impressed Marla "Florence" Gibbs enough to land a role as the TV star's teenage daughter on the sitcom "227."
Five years later, Regina made the jump to the big screen, playing Shalika in fellow USC alum John Singleton's Boyz n the Hood.
The versatile actress has since appeared in virtually every genre of flick, as indicated by a resume' which reveals appearances in such diverse offerings as Ray, Down to Earth, Enemy of the State, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Jerry Maguire, Friday, Legally Blonde 2, Miss Congeniality 2, Daddy Day Care and Poetic Justice. In 2005, Regina earned an NAACP Image Award for her spirited performance as Ray Charles' backup singer/mistress Margie Hendricks in Ray.
A year ago, she filed for divorce from her husband of ten years, Ian Alexander, Sr. The couple have one child, Alexander, Jr.
Here, Regina talks about her latest role as Lisa Whitfield in This Christmas, a holiday ensemble drama written and directed by Preston Whitmore.
KAM WILLIAMS: What interested you in making this movie?
REGINA KING: When they asked about my interest, Loretta [Devine], Delroy [Lindo] and Idris [Elba] were already attached to the project. So that was the initial draw for me. And then, once I read the script, I thought it would be a challenge for me to play a submissive role.
KW: How would you describe Lisa?
RK: She's a submissive woman whose husband [Laz Alonso] wants to start up a company. He's not faithful, and she's aware of these things, but she continues to stay in the relationship as, I think, a lot of women do.
KW: Did the fact that Rain Forest Films was making the film a factor in your choosing to sign on?
RK: The success that they had with Stomp the Yard definitely was something that fielded the possibility that their next film could have the same, if not better, success.
KW: How was it working with Loretta Divine?
RK: She's awesome. I've known her prior to working with her on this film and she just has one of those infectious personalities. You just love to be around her, to talk to her and to hear her giggle.
KW: What message do you want audiences to take away from this film?
RK: I hate to use the term message because I don't think it's just a message. I don't think it's so much of a message film, but I think it might be a reminder of how important family is. When the girlfriends and the boyfriends are gone and the friends are gone, at the end of the day, all you have is your family. You can't change a sister; you can change a boyfriend or a friend, but you can't change a sister or a brother or a momma.
KW: Did you like the fact that this was a holiday film about a black family?
RK: Yes, that was attractive to me, but the thing that was more attractive than that is that this happens to be a black family. That's the subject of this film, but there's nothing about the issues that we're dealing with that are specifically black. Everything in this movie are things that translate - religion, color, language, creed, all of that. These things are universal, so that more than it being a black film is what attracted me.
For the full interview by Kam Williams, go HERE.
Loretta Divine & Delroy Lindo Star
In 'This Christmas'
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com -
(November 19, 2007) *The new holiday comedy/drama "This Christmas" opens nationwide this Wednesday, November 21 and in it, a family of familiar characters come together for the holidays.
The Whitfield siblings all come home for Christmas this year and – through a number of issues, events, and surprises – find out what family truly means.
Managing this seemingly unmanageable kin are Shirley Ann Whitfield, better known as Ma Dear, played by Loretta Divine and Joseph Black, played by Delroy Lindo.
“Loretta has a great part. My part is not as flushed out,” Lindo told EUR at the film's press junket. “And in terms of playing a couple, we didn’t get to do a whole lot together. These characters played more in the shadows and in the background.”
Divine added that the two only had one intimate scene, and they didn’t actually touch that much. She even added that she was rather intimidated with Delroy, as this was there first time working together. However, early critics are saying that Divine and Lindo are an undeniable duo in the film and that they fall into their characters quite well.
“As an audience, you get it. You sense the closeness, that there is very definitely a connection between us,” Lindo said, though he reiterated that his role in the film was rather minimal.
“I’m very self-critical as an actor and that sometimes leads me to undervalue what I do. When I read this, my reaction was that there was not enough there. The fact that [the audience] can see this man with the kind of qualities he has and the kind of values that are conveyed and transmitted is a testament to something. I’m just really critical when I see my own work. I’ll say, ‘I hope he comes across ... that there’s love and I hope that it comes across that he’s a good father figure’ because there’s not a lot of dialog and I’m not really in the film a lot.”
Lindo’s character, Joe Black, is based an actual gentleman in writer/director Preston Whitmore's life, and is portrayed as a very loving patriarch, an image not too often showcased on the big screen.
“I feel the terms in which Preston wrote - and the character he’s based on - is certainly somebody who would function like that in Preston’s life; a man who was involved with his mother who Preston gave a hard time constantly and the cat showed him nothing but love,” Lindo described. “I know that was a very central characteristic of his writing for Joe Black.
Whitmore said that he only had Divine in mind to play his mother. The seasoned actress clearly fit his image of a mother figure and he considers her consistent mother portrayals as perfect.
“I don’t get to do everything I’m asked, but I try to do as much as I can,” Divine said of being a go-to-actress for such positive roles. “I’ve really been lucky in that I like the type of work I do sort of attracts itself. So some of the images I get to play have been positive images, especially in movies that are primarily black-based movies. So I’ve been lucky that positive attracts positive.”
Divine said that though her character is based on Whitmore’s mom, her character is relatable to most strong and nurturing women. Though not a mother herself, she said that her character, Ma Dear, is a reflection of a number of women in her family and her sister in particular.
“I’m from a very large family and I’m from a single-parent home, so there are so many things that are generic to the story that I’ve grown up with. If you’ve ever lived in a large, loving family, it’s really clear. There’s all this energy that’s constant. There’s a position that you’re stuck in, which is what this movie is about – people who are stuck in positions and are fighting to buck up and go to the next position, but you’re there your entire life, which is what you learn about being part of a family. If you’re mama’s baby, you’re mama’s baby whether you’re 60 or whether you’re six,” she said.
“But the woman that I think about when I think of this character is my older sister. She embodies what (Preston) spoke of when he spoke of his mother: the church going, the well-informed. This is a woman who ran a business, who ran a family, and she had enough love for everybody and she had an answer to everything.”
Speaking of having the answers, the two actors were asked if the younger faction of actors on the set, including Chris Brown and Lauren London, had come to them for advice. Both Lindo and Divine modestly said, ‘No.’
“I’ve been doing it longer,” Divine said, “but I always say, ‘I’m just on the ship ahead of the ship that they’re on.’ Everything is newer and brighter to them. The opportunities are endless. It just depends on what opens for them when they knock and if they knock at all. We didn’t have any big advice sessions. We had a bonding session, and then we went to work.”
“This Christmas,” also starring Regina King, Mekhi Phipher, Idris Elba, Columbus Short, and Keith Robinson, opens this Wednesday, November 21. For more on the film and the cast and crew, check www.sonypictures.com/movies/thischristmas/.
Daryl Hannah To Receive Bahamas International
Film Festival Career Achievement Tribute Award
Source: Bahamas International Film Festival
(November 20, 2007) Nassau, Bahamas – The Bahamas International Film Festival (BIFF) announced today that Daryl Hannah will receive the Festival’s prestigious Career Achievement Tribute Award. The announcement was made by BIFF Founder and Executive Director Leslie Vanderpool.
Sponsored by wealth management company Lombard Odier Darier Hentsch, BIFF’s Career Achievement Tribute honours an actor or actress whose work has had a major impact and has advanced the frontiers of cinematic artistry around the world. Academy Award® winner Nicolas Cage was presented with the award last year.
Hannah will be on hand for the tribute presentation on Saturday, December 8th at the Atlantis Hotel & Resort on Paradise Island. Academy Award® winner Sir Sean Connery will again be lending his full support at BIFF, attending as the Festival’s Patron and presenting Daryl Hannah with the Career Achievement Tribute Award.
Laurent Colli, Head of Private Banking for Lombard Odier Darier Hentsch Private Bank and Trust said, "Our commitment to the Bahamas International Film Festival is a continuing effort to expand the Bahamian international culture to all countries around the world."
BIFF 2007 takes place from Thursday December 6th, through Thursday, December 13th. Because of the enormous growth and support for the Festival in its first three years, The Festival has been extended to a full seven days beginning this year. This year’s Festival will showcase 83 films from 26 different countries, including 54 features of which several are world or international premieres and nearly all Bahamian premieres.
Daryl Hannah’s career has spanned a 20 year period with appearances in over 40 feature films. From her early start as a teenager in Chicago in Brian De Palma’s “The Fury” starring Kirk Douglas, she set a pattern of working with some of the most talented and accomplished actors and directors of our time. Some of those include her turn as a gymnastic punk android in Ridley’s Scott’s cult classic “Blade Runner” starring Harrison Ford, to playing the innocent mermaid in Ron Howard’s “Splash” co-starring Tom Hanks and John Candy (and filmed in the Bahamas). Hannah has also worked with Woody Allen, Neil Jordan, Oliver Stone, Robert Altman and John Sayles to name a few.
Some of her most memorable films, which have stood the test of time, include “Roxanne” with Steve Martin, “Steel Magnolias” with Shirley MacLaine and Julia Roberts, “The Pope of Greenwich Village” with Mickey Rourke, “Grumpy Old Men” and “Grumpier Old Men” with the beloved Walter Mattheau and the great Jack Lemmon.
As well as the big studio films, Daryl has become a strong supporter and advocate of independent cinema, not only with her acting, but also by producing many films. She played a sad comic stripper in the fully improvised “Dancing at the Blue Iguana” directed by Michael Radford, a hermaphrodite angel in the Polish Brother’s “Northfolk” co-starring Nick Nolte and James Woods and a women struggling with adoption in John Sayles “Casa de los babies”.
Hannah can be seen in Quinton Tarantino’s highly successful “KILL BILL” Vol. 1 & Vol. II, in which she played the one eyed samurai assassin “Elle Driver.” She recently completed John Sayles’ political satire “Silver City” co-starring Richard Dreyfuss and Chris Cooper.
In 2001, Hannah made her stage debut in George Axelrod’s “Seven Year Itch,” directed by Michael Radford at the Queens Theatre in London’s famed West End. Hannah wrote, directed, and produced a 12-minute short, entitled “The Last Supper,” which received the Berlin International Film Festival’s Jury Award for Best Short. Hannah also directed, produced and shot the documentary “Strip Notes” which was inspired while researching her role for “Dancing At The Blue Iguana” that was shown on HBO and UK’s Channel 4.
About the Bahamas International Film Festival:
The Bahamas International Film Festival (BIFF) is a non-profit organization committed to providing the local community and International festival goers with a diverse presentation of films from The Bahamas and around the world. In addition to showcasing films that might not otherwise be released theatrically, BIFF provides unique cultural experiences, educational programs, and forums for exploring the past, present & future of cinema. BIFF aims to raise the level of filmmaking, participation and education throughout The Bahamas and the world.
The full BIFF program is now available in print or online at www.bintlfilmfest.com Booking for the Bahamas International Film Festival 2007 is now open. Tickets can be booked online, over the telephone, or in person at BIFF box offices. Every year the Festival offers advance ticket deals from the date of Box opening to the first day of the Festival.
About Lombard Odier Darier Hentsch:
Lombard Odier Darier Hentsch & Cie has been a family business of private bankers since 1796. As such, its values of responsibility, continuity, loyalty, and independence underpin the quality of the services it provides to its private and institutional clients. Its success in asset management and investment stems from its proven knowledge of economic trends, its selection of employees, and its ability to adapt. The relationships of trust it builds with its clients are shaped by the focus on business continuity that characterizes all its activities. Lombard Odier Darier Hentsch & Cie is resolutely international and sees its mission as being to support the entrepreneurial spirit of its clients and grow their assets in line with their requirements, their values, and their culture. The Firm has been placing its expertise at the disposal of its clients to serve this ambition for over two hundred years. The Firm’s identity is determined by values stemming from the concept of the family. As a key ally of family businesses worldwide and aware of the dynamic aspects of finance and business, the Group supports the worldwide development of the network of family businesses.
Film Student's Comedy Burns Tanning
Excerpt from www.globeandmail.com - The Canadian Press
(November 16, 2007) BRANTFORD, ONT. — Angry reaction from the tanning industry forced a film student from Brantford to cancel plans Thursday to shoot a comedy about a fictional illness dubbed tanorexia. Sarah Evans, a York University film major, had arranged to shoot portions of her short film “Stand 'N' Tan” at Michelle O'Brien's salon in Brantford. However, film plans were scrapped after O'Brien received a flurry of angry and concerned telephone calls other tanning operators and even from the B.C.-based Joint Canadian Tanning Association. Callers expressed dismay that tanning may be cast in an unflattering light in Evans's film. Evans was taken aback by the backlash over her film about a woman's addiction to excessive tanning. She says it was blown way out of proportion. The film “is a fantasy,” Evans said “It would never happen.”
Madea Headed Back To Big Screen
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com
(November 16, 2007) *Tyler Perry has signed on for films No. 6 and 7 under his expansive deal with Lionsgate. The filmmaker will direct and star as wisecracking, gun-toting grandma Madea again in a big screen version of his popular stage play "Madea Goes to Jail," and he'll also write, direct and star in his new original screenplay, "The Family That Preys Together." "An artist couldn't ask for a better home than Lionsgate; they're respectful, supportive and loyal to a fault," said Perry. "They've given me room to tell the stories I want to tell, the way I want to tell them. And I'm gratified and humbled that audiences have responded with such enthusiasm and love." The two films come on the heels of his latest box office success, "Why Did I Get Married," which starred Janet Jackson among the ensemble cast and debuted at No. 1 last month. Perry's next film, an adaptation of his stage play "Meet the Browns," will arrive in theatres on March 21 starring Perry and actress Angela Bassett.
Ludacris Up On 'Game' For Lionsgate
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com
(November 15, 2007) *Chris "Ludacris" Bridges will star in Lionsgate's upcoming science fiction action thriller opposite Gerard Butler, Alison Lohman and Zoe Bell. Previously titled "Game," the film takes place in the near future rampant with mind-control technology that has become part of everyday life. In this dystopian world, the ultimate online simulation environment is humans remote-controlling other humans in mass-scale, multiplayer online gaming, reports ComingSoon.net. Butler plays Kable, the top-ranked warrior in the highest-rated game, called "Slayers." With his every move tracked by millions, Kable's ultimate challenge is to regain his identity and bring down the system that has imprisoned him. Ludacris stars as a member of Lohman's resistance group, called Humanz, which protests the manner in which prisoners are being used as part of the video games.
Keke Palmer To Play Roxanne Shante
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com
(November 20, 2007) *"Akeelah and the Bee" star Keke Palmer will pick up a mic for her next role as 80s rapper Roxanne Shante in "The Vapors," an upcoming film about the formation and rise of hip hop's The Juice Crew. The collective was formed during the mid-eighties by DJ Marley Marl and included, in addition to Roxanne Shante, rappers MC Shan, Big Daddy, Kane, Craig G., Biz Markie, Kool G. Rap and DJ Polo, Masta Ace, TJ Swan, Cool V and Tragedy. The film is set in New York's Queensbridge Housing Projects, where the Juice Crew originated, and centers mostly around Marl, Biz Markie, Big Daddy Kane and Roxanne Shante. In addition to Palmer, Clifton Powell has been cast as popular New York DJ Mr. Magic. Due to begin production in January, 'The Vapors" will be helmed by Furqaan Clover, who just finished shooting the Wendy Williams biopic, "Queen of Media."
John Singleton Is Head 'Executive' In
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com
(November 21, 2007) *John Singleton has signed on to direct "Executive Order: Six," a thriller about residents of a snowbound town who join forces to battle a mysterious horror that turns out to be an alien unleashed by a plane crash. The project will be Singleton's first experience with extraterrestrial material. His last project was the 2005 revenge drama "Four Brothers." He was expected to direct Halle Berry and Billy Bob Thornton in "Tulia" next, but the film was pushed back indefinitely due to Berry's pregnancy. Casting for "Executive Order Six" is currently underway. Production on the indie film is scheduled to begin early next year with financing by Ryan Kavanaugh's Relativity.
A Hoser, Always A Hoser
Excerpt from www.thestar.com - Television Critic
(November 17, 2007) Dave Thomas is the first to acknowledge that the most successful and impactful things he's ever done have happened quite by accident.
"It's true," shrugs the SCTV veteran. "The McKenzie Brothers we just fell into. The cross-country tour I just did with my brother Ian, just fell into that. The animation company I'm involved with, Animax, a total accident ...
"Then again, so was my first marriage."
Of course, out of his many accomplishments, accidental and intentional (and for that matter, marital), the one that continues to resonate loudest does so to the lilting sound of "Koo-roo koo koo koo-roo koo kooooo ..."
The McKenzie Brothers, those iconic, beer-chugging, bacon-frying hoser siblings, were created as a sarcastic reaction to a CBC mandate to add a few minutes of pure Canadian content to the third season of SCTV, for which Thomas was both a co-founding performer and head writer.
"That pissed us off," Thomas acknowledges. "Rick (Moranis) and I asked, `Well, what do you want us to do, put up a map of Canada, dress in parkas and toques and talk like hosers?' And they went, `Okay ... could you have a Mountie in it, too?' So we put a Mountie mug in it – we couldn't get a real Mountie."
That was 24 years ago. Twenty-four years, a self-written and -directed movie, a platinum-selling record album, a Disney makeover as cartoon moose (mooses? meece?), a couple of commercial campaigns and a recent CBC reunion special – an extremely truncated version of the full-on Bob & Doug Mckenzie's Two-Four Anniversary DVD, which arrives at your local video store Tuesday.
"The former prime minister of Canada, Paul Martin, is our host," boasts Thomas. "I'm serious ... honestly, check him out. He's a really funny guy. If he'd been that funny when he was prime minister, then he still would be.
"There's some footage that hasn't been seen before, some behind-the-scenes stuff, some new stuff ... 91 minutes of program, 58 minutes of bonus extras, widescreen. It's gonna be huge with collectors. It's really the first thing that's come out in 24 years, since Strange Brew."
Like the brothers themselves, the 1983 comedy feature has since taken on a life of its own.
"I had heard it was a college cult movie in the States," Thomas says, "and that it was still doing well. I found out just recently that, since 2002, Strange Brew has sold 500,000 DVDs and 450,000 VHS tapes in the States alone. Now, for an old title, that's really good.
"You know, we've been trying to get the numbers out of those weasels for years. So I guess now we're going to have to go after them."
The mathematics of their ongoing success may be fuzzy, but its uncanny staying power in the U.S. alone is beyond dispute.
"They have somehow saturated into the culture," Thomas allows. "We didn't know – it was just something we did. We didn't put any effort into it, and the thing that we put no effort into, that was the thing that succeeded.
"I mean, I don't think if we had known what the stakes were that we would have treated it the same way. We probably would have blown it, if we had thought too much about it.
"But what was key, retrospectively, with the benefit of hindsight and others people's thoughts on this, was that Bob and Doug's topics were always really small.
"The shows were about nothing, but that being said, they were very sort of savvy in their time, to realize that public access is where it's (going). Real people are going to end up on TV, and in short segments. The way that Internet and broadband is going, that is the best, most easily digestible product.
"That's a good enough reason to do something like this. We're also doing a Bob & Doug cartoon series – Animax is doing it and Global is going to run with it.
"We're probably not going to do anything in live-action again ... I mean, no one our age should ever have to see themselves in HD."
Where Charles Meets Charlie
Excerpt from www.globeandmail.com - Andrew Ryan
(November 16, 2007) With the obvious exception of Walt Disney, no cartoonist made it bigger than Charles M. Schulz.
Uncle Walt gave the world Mickey Mouse, but Schulz's greatest creation was Peanuts, the slightly subversive comic universe centred around Charlie Brown - your typical luckless but cheerily optimistic American, trapped in a kid's body. The newspaper strip made its debut in 1950 and lasted more than half a century. Along the way, Peanuts became part of pop culture and spawned a growth industry of TV specials, greeting cards and coffee cups. No one ever suspected that Charles Schulz and Charlie Brown were the same person.
Both Charlie and Charles led quiet lives of desperation, according to Good Ol' Charles Schulz (Thursday, PBS at 8:30 p.m.). The American Masters documentary depicts the late Peanuts creator as a troubled and profoundly lovelorn man who was forever uncomfortable with his success.
The fact that Schulz was a complicated guy, like Charlie Brown, has shocked no one except maybe his children. The unflinching profile's debut last month on some PBS stations riled members of the late cartoonist's clan - already chagrined over the release of the book Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography, which paints the cartoonist's life in a similarly unflattering light. The TV profile was the last straw.
In an interview with The New York Times, Schulz's son, Monte, labelled the PBS film as "dreary and depressing. I was not happy with it at all. Our response to the book, and it's the same for the documentary, is they're kind of missing the point. They didn't really show enough of how fun Dad was."
While there are no facts put forth to suggest Schulz was belligerent or an unpleasant father to any of his five children, the documentary still paints a portrait of a man saddled by lifelong sadness.
Airing locally on the PBS affiliate WNED, the profile opens with the classic "Rosebud" sequence from Orson Welles's 1941 masterpiece Citizen Kane - against a backdrop of swirling snow, a glass globe shatters on a stone step. The scene explains the entire movie: Protagonist Charles Foster Kane became rich and famous, but he never recovered from his lost childhood.
As reported in the book and film, Schulz became obsessed with Citizen Kane in his later years and watched the film from start to finish more than 40 times. The parallels were likely too glaring to ignore.
The film slowly unfolds the artist's biographical detail, interspersing commentary with Peanuts comics and photographs of Schulz's pastoral upbringing in Minneapolis-St. Paul in the 1920s. The pictures are mindful of scenery in the strips: A world of playgrounds, park benches and skating rinks. Known as "Sparky" to family and friends, Schulz was a serious-looking kid with thick spectacles and a passion for hockey. As with Charlie Brown, his father was a barber.
As a kid, the painfully shy Charles liked to draw and signed up for correspondence art school (he was too withdrawn to consider attending regular classes). His mother died of cancer while he was away at army boot camp. When Schulz came out of the service four years later, he became an instructor at a Minneapolis art school and began toying with the idea of creating a daily newspaper strip.
Schulz was directionless until he met his first wife, Joyce. Tough and organized, Joyce is credited with pushing his career to the next level. Not surprisingly, she was the role model for the Peanuts character of Lucy.
The film covers the heady mid-sixties era when Peanuts graduated from simple newspaper strip to pop phenomenon. While Peanuts was heavily merchandised, Schulz always held firm creative control of the brand: He famously fought with network executives who wanted to excise Linus's retelling of the nativity story from the 1965 TV special A Charlie Brown Christmas. The scene stayed in.
Peanuts was clever and sharp for a newspaper strip, and its minimalist take on the human condition came from cute little kid characters, which was something new. Filmmaker David Van Taylor talks to acquaintances of Schulz who found themselves portrayed as Peanuts characters. The real Linus was an art-school classmate named Linus Maurer, while Snoopy was modelled after a precocious Schulz family mutt called Spike.
But the layer of melancholy just beneath the surface of most Peanuts strips was often mirrored by the events of Schulz's own life. The unlikely romance between pushy Lucy and the classical piano prodigy named Schroeder, for example, was reputedly representative of Schulz's failed marriage with Joyce. In their first panel together, Lucy asks: "Do piano players make a lot of money?"
And without fail, the strip always came back to the everyman Charlie Brown, the dogged loser who never got to kick the football and was forever yearning for the girl who got away.
Incredibly, the film tracks down Schulz's inspiration for the little red-haired girl, the unattainable object of Charlie Brown's desire for more than 50 years of Peanuts strips. The real version, a woman named Donna Wold, now in her 70s, tells of ending her relationship with Schulz while both were still in their teens. A half-hour after their breakup, she recalls, Schulz meekly returned and said, "I thought maybe you had changed your mind."
Despite any perceived personal flaws, Schulz was a professional. He wrote, drew and lettered the daily Peanuts strip right up until his death in 2000 and never missed a deadline. As shown in the program, the artist comes closest to revealing his true self in his last on-camera interview. "I can't believe they think I'm that good," says Schulz, maintaining Charlie Brown's insecurity to the end. "I just did the best I could."
DeGeneres Pulls Plug On Plans To Tape
Show In New York
Excerpt from www.globeandmail.com - Erin Carlson, Associated Press
(November 15, 2007) NEW YORK — Ellen DeGeneres has pulled the plug on plans to tape her show next week in New York, where Writers Guild East members had vowed to protest her decision to stay on the air during their strike.
Michael Winship, president of the East Coast branch of the Writers Guild, said the organization was “delighted” with DeGeneres' decision to stay on the West Coast.
“She knows that the Writers Guild East would have been there to protest her lack of solidarity, not only with her Guild writing staff but all the striking members of the Writers Guild, of which she is a member,” Winship said in a statement issued Wednesday.
Laura Mandel, a representative for “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” confirmed Wednesday that DeGeneres had scrapped the trip. When asked whether the cancellation was related to the strike, Mandel said: “We make changes all of the time. Our schedule is always fluid.”
The syndicated “Ellen” is staying on the air without its union writers, and though DeGeneres herself is a member of the WGA, Mandel says her role on the show is as a performer. She skipped her show the first day of the strike in support of her writers, but returned the following day to honour her contract.
The strike by television and film writers entered its 10th day Wednesday. While production on several talk shows was immediately halted, DeGeneres has stayed put. She told her studio audience last week that while she supported the striking writers, she was obligated under contract to continue her hosting duties.
Saturday Night Live, For Real
Excerpt from www.thestar.com - The Associated Press
(November 19, 2007) About 150 audience members in a tiny Manhattan theatre were the only folks to witness a totally new Saturday Night Live episode starring guest host Michael Cera and musical guest Yo La Tengo.
Anyone who tuned into NBC saw a two-week-old rerun thanks to an ongoing Writers Guild of America strike. Screenwriters and studios have agreed to resume formal contract negotiations next Monday.
The SNL cast and writers collaborated on the special Saturday Night Live – On Strike! event at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre to benefit behind-the-scenes staff affected by the strike. The live performance was not officially sanctioned by NBC, but SNL executive producer Lorne Michaels, who celebrated his 63rd birthday, did attend.
The performance included all the trappings of a typical SNL episode, such as a host monologue, musical performance, "Weekend Update" news segment and comedy sketches – all without any commercial interruption. "It was a little dirtier than usual," an audience member said.
"We're like cranky trained monkeys if we don't get to perform," said cast member Amy Poehler. "We all thought about what we're going to do during the strike and, because we have no other skills, we just scraped this together."
The entire current cast took part, except Maya Rudolph, who recently gave birth. Past cast members Rachel Dratch and Horatio Sanz also performed.
Star wire services
Men in Trees Won't Leave B.C., Says
Excerpt from www.globeandmail.com - Gayle Macdonald
(November 20, 2007) Hollywood's writers strike has given everyone the jitters, and now tongues are wagging in hard-hit centres such as Vancouver that the high Canadian dollar might mean some of the U.S. shows that have gone dark might never return to their British Columbia sets.
Rumours have been flying in production circles that the recent shutdown of U.S. serials such as Bionic Woman and Battlestar Galactica, might stay in Los Angeles when the writers go back to work because a large chunk of the financial incentive to shoot in B.C. has been squeezed because of our strong currency.
While few in the industry would go on the record about this most recent concern, one veteran writer/producer - L.A.-based Jenny Bicks (Sex and the City), the creator of the TV series Men in Trees - says the gossip is based on fear and paranoia and not fact.
For instance, Men in Trees, which stars Anne Heche and has been filming in and around Vancouver for the past two years, will definitely stay based in Canada's West Coast.
Bicks says her show is still shooting in B.C. thanks to a stockpile of scripts that she and her crew scrambled to get in before the work stoppage. If the strike drags on, Men in Trees - where Squamish stands in for fictional Elmo, Alaska - will shut down on Jan. 15, three months ahead of schedule.
"I really can't shoot the show anywhere else," Bicks says on her cellphone from the picket line outside the gates of Raleigh Studios in Hollywood. "It makes no sense to shoot anywhere else. We have no intention of moving the show. My crew can be rest assured we're not going anywhere. I'd be sad if that happened in B.C."
Another veteran American producer, who asked not to be named, also doubts that American shows based in Canada will pull up roots because of the dollar.
"Typically, most of the U.S. studios sign production deals in Canada with a locked-in rate, which would be much, much lower than where the Canadian dollar is now sitting," he points out. "So the dollar isn't really an issue."
Bicks, who started writing on HBO's Sex and the City in its first season and has also written screenplays for films such 2003's What a Girl Wants, says the "strike is hard for everybody. It's heartbreaking, frankly, not to feel that you can be involved in your show the way you'd like to be.".
Men in Trees is a romantic dramedy that centres on relationship coach Marin Frist's (Heche) misadventures after relocating to Alaska from Manhattan. "My gang is hanging tough and we're all very thankful to have stuff to shoot. I'm cautiously optimistic that this will get settled before we're in a position where our season is shortened," Bicks says.
As many as 1,000 jobs are on the line in B.C. in the next few months. NBC's Bionic Woman was supposed to run through to Dec. 12, while Battlestar Galactica was slated to run until March 10.
Other American shows filming in the province include Aliens in America, scheduled to stop production eight months early on Nov. 30; Supernatural, closing four months early on Dec. 5; and Smallville, three months early on Jan. 23.
On the weekend, Angels & Demons, the prequel to the film The Da Vinci Code, became the first big-screen casualty of the Hollywood writers strike. Sony Corp. pushed back the release date for the Ron Howard-directed religious thriller to 2009. It was originally set to open during the 2008 holiday season. An Oliver Stone-directed movie about the Vietnam War's My Lai Massacre has been put on hold, it was reported yesterday.
Last Friday, there was an encouraging development when the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers announced that they would return to contract negotiations on Nov. 26. The film and TV writers have been striking for more than two weeks.
Bicks applauds the return of the talks. "It's tough waking up early and walking in circles," she says (her shift starts at 6 a.m.). "And what's really difficult is to get your head around the fact that this could be a marathon. We have to keep our energy and optimism up. We want to be writing. We miss being on set. There has been a lot of growing anger toward the companies because people are out of work."
Compensation for shows offered on the Internet is at the heart of the dispute. The producers have said it's offering writers a share of licensing fees paid by websites to stream shows. The union has rejected the offer, saying the payments wouldn't begin until six weeks after a show goes online and viewer interest is nearly exhausted.
Writers also want a cut of revenue from non-skippable ads contained in many shows streamed free online. The alliance slammed the door on that demand.
The last writers walkout in 1988 lasted 22 weeks and cost the industry $500-million (U.S.). The entertainment industry contributes an estimated $30-billion a year to the Los Angeles economy, or about $80-million a day.
Another Canadian producer working in Los Angeles described the mood as ugly. "People are predicting if it doesn't get resolved before U.S. Thanksgiving, it will likely be a six-month-plus strike."
In other labour news yesterday, CBS News writers authorized a national strike, escalating a labour impasse with the network. About 500 CBS News television and radio writers have been working under an expired contract since April 2005.
With files from AP and AFP
Britain Garners Most Awards At
Excerpt from www.globeandmail.com - Chris Michaud, Reuters
(November 20, 2007) NEW YORK — Former U.S. vice-president Al Gore won another honour Monday when he received the Founders Award at the International Emmy Awards, which also gave a top prize to a controversial British television film about the assassination of President George W. Bush.
“Death of President,” which explores the aftermath of Bush's assassination in Chicago in October, 2007, won the International Emmy for best TV movie or miniseries, leading a pack of winners from the United Kingdom and the BBC that dominated the 35th annual awards.
The award was presented moments after Gore accepted his honour, an annual prize that recognized his role in launching Current TV, a cable and satellite network that uses viewer-created content.
Gore, accepting from Oscar-winning actor Robert De Niro, said in brief remarks that the future of world democracy “depends to a surprising degree on democratizing TV.” Current TV was thus born of the idea of connecting the Internet to television, Gore said.
The former vice-president, who ran against Bush in 2000 in a disputed election that was decided by a divided U.S. Supreme Court, also used the occasion to lobby on behalf of the environment, saying “the climate crisis is by far the most serious challenge the human race has ever faced.”
Earlier this year Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize, and appeared on stage at the Academy Awards when the documentary about his lecture tour on global warming, “An Inconvenient Truth” won the Oscar. He also won a prime-time Emmy for Current TV.
De Niro injected a political note, saying that Gore had been “voted out of office by the Supreme Court” in 2000.
Most all of competitive awards went to United Kingdom productions, which took seven of the nine prizes including best drama series for Granada Television's “The Street” and best comedy for the BBC's “Little Britain Abroad.”
The Street's Jim Broadbent tied for best actor with Pierre Bokma of the Netherlands' “The Chosen One,” while Muriel Robin was one of the few non-U.K. winners as best actress for “Marie Besnard -- The Poisoner,” in which she played a real life black widow serial killer.
Best documentary honours went to “Stephen Fry -- The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive,” while “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?” -- which chronicles a contest to star as Maria von Trapp in a London production of “The Sound of Music” -- was voted best non-scripted, or reality show.
The best children's program honour went to Poland's “The Magic Tree” while best arts programming was won by “Simon Schama's Power of Art: Bernini,” another BBC co-production.
A special award co-presented with UNICEF went to Thailand's “From South to North, From East to West,” an AIDS education program written by children.
French television executive Patrick Le Lay was honoured with the Directorate Award in recognition of his guiding the growth of TF1 into France's leading channel since its privatization, and helping to usher in new digital platforms.
CBC Still Tinkering With Falun Gong
Excerpt from www.thestar.com - Vinay Menon, Television Columnist
(November 20, 2007) Peter Rowe spent three long years making a documentary about China's repression of the Falun Gong spiritual movement. But in some ways, the last two weeks have been more exhausting.
On Nov. 6, five hours before Beyond the Red Wall: The Persecution of Falun Gong was scheduled to air on CBC Newsworld, the Canadian filmmaker was informed it had been yanked.
There were whispers Chinese diplomats had voiced complaints. And the notion Beijing was interfering with Canada's public broadcaster – a charge the CBC categorically denies – generated headlines across the planet.
Beyond the Red Wall is scheduled to air tonight at 10. Mind you, assuming it does, not even Rowe will have seen the final cut.
"I was called on Saturday and told that they were making more changes and did I want to be involved, and I said, `No, I didn't,'" he told me yesterday. "I'm on to my other projects and enough is enough."
The network's tinkering – the film was still in CBC's editing suite yesterday afternoon – comes after a six-hour marathon between Rowe and executives last Monday, during which a number of changes were requested.
Rowe complied, delivering a recut version on Friday. The changes affected about five minutes of the 41-minute film and included:
Adding technical evidence to charges from Falun Gong over a 2001 incident in Tiananmen Square in which five people allegedly died from self-immolation. Chinese authorities say the five were Falun Gong members; the group says the incident was a government-staged hoax.
Removing an interview clip in which a lawyer talks about human rights abuses and the Olympic Games, drawing an analogy between 1936 Berlin and 2008 Beijing.
Adding a "dramatization" label to footage provided by Falun Gong that allegedly shows how some of its members have been tortured in prison.
Editing the most inflammatory section of the film in which China is accused of harvesting organs from Falun Gong members for transplant.
Removing a reference to a website, allegedly based in Vancouver, in which kidney transplants were guaranteed provided the patient was willing to travel to China. (The website has since disappeared. And this year, China passed a law that makes illegal the sale of organs to foreigners.)
Changing the numerical points of evidence from 18 to 33 in a report about the alleged organ harvesting that was authored by Canadian lawyer David Matas and David Kilgour, former secretary of state for Asia-Pacific. And including a title card that says Amnesty International has not corroborated the report.
The irony is that Beyond the Red Wall is airing as part of The Lens, a series that's promoted as "innovative, compelling documentaries made exclusively by independent Canadian filmmakers." (Emphasis mine.)
This is not a news segment on The National. It's a provocative film with a point of view.
"This is the same unit that only in late September broadcast Fahrenheit 9/11, a far more contentious film than this one is," says Rowe. "They didn't ask Michael Moore to make any changes."
So how does he explain the skittishness?
"I think there is a great deal of nervousness about dealing with issues involving China at the CBC."
The suggestion is denied by CBC spokesperson Jeff Keay. He tells me changes were made after a "detailed review of the material" and not at the "behest of any outside parties."
"We've worked to ensure the finished product is both journalistically rigorous and as credible as possible," says Keay. "Several changes were required to ensure that source material and interviews were appropriately identified and attributed.
"There were two points where we disagreed as to whether specific assertions could be independently verified. Both cases related to organ harvesting and this resulted in deletions."
Curiously, though, Rowe delivered the finished film in March. He heard no objections until the day it was supposed to air.
In fact, the film aired Oct. 31 on the broadcaster's French-language service, Radio Canada.
It has also aired in New Zealand, Spain and Portugal, in each case without incident.
"I hope that I can make more films with the CBC, but I also hope that they would be less fractious and problem-filled edits than this one has been," says Rowe.
The film – at least the first and second cuts I screened – includes interviews with academics, politicians, lawyers, Chinese officials and Falun Gong members. Unless the CBC has gutted it over the past 72 hours, Rowe's film remains a searing indictment of China's treatment of the Falun Gong.
The downside to this month's publicity, Rowe says, is that it has overshadowed the film itself. But the upside, I suggest, is that more people may now watch.
CBC Wants More Women
Excerpt from www.globeandmail.com - Gayle Macdonald
(November 21, 2007) CBC Television unveiled its most aggressive winter schedule in decades yesterday, introducing a mixed bag of 12 new shows, many clearly aimed at attracting a younger, more female audience.
Launching on Jan. 7, CBC laid out a schedule that includes a new single-mom sitcom called Sophie, a new reality show, The Week the Women Went (all the gals in a rural Alberta town vamoose for a week and the men cope), and a daily daytime lifestyle program, hosted by the original Designer Guys, Steven Sabados and Chris Hyndman.
It's part of a strategy that Kirstine Layfield, CBC-TV's executive director of network programming, said will "diversify" the CBC audience, which has traditionally skewed male because of the public broadcaster's emphasis on sports and news programming.
"We're trying to be more inclusive," Layfield said. "This is our opportunity to include women more aggressively into the mix. Women are huge followers of drama. With our entertainment programming, we're trying to balance it out and have programs everyone would want to watch."
CBC's new winter dramas include MVP, a steamy soap that could appeal to both sexes. The network is calling MVP "a keyhole look" at the "sexy and scandalous world of a fictitious professional NHL hockey team of hunky players and their gorgeous girlfriends, wives, lovers and puck bunnies." The cast includes Kristen Booth and Lucas Bryant, and it airs on Jan. 11.
The Border is a hard-hitting drama (Jan. 7) focused on an elite Immigration and Customs Security squad, charged with bringing order amid trafficking, terrorism and corruption.
The cast includes James McGowan, Sofia Milos, Graham Abbey and Nazneen Contractor.
A quirky new dramatic series, jPod, will make its debut on Jan. 8 starring Alan Thicke and David Kopp.
Based on Douglas Coupland's cult bestseller of the same name, jPod chronicles the often shocking adventures of Ethan Jarlewski and his four co-workers at a game-design company who routinely deal with Chinese gangs, boneheaded bosses, sexual swinging, British royalty and gore-laced video games.
Layfield, 39, said she and her team have worked hard since she joined CBC two years ago to "shorten the amount of time it takes to get something to air. We understand what audiences are looking for, and we want to deliver it as soon as we can. Producers are no longer as frustrated with us, and they get to work on programs that will resonate."
She added that a protracted American writers strike could be a boon for the financially challenged public broadcaster. "What a great time to be launching new things. Our audiences will have the ability to focus on these new shows and learn about them. It's so much easier for them to do that when the competition [CTV and Global] is a little bit behind."
The female-friendly bent is an interesting demographic shift for the CBC, which has historically let archrivals CTV and Global duke it out for the all-important women aged-25-plus viewership, coveted by advertisers because this group makes the bulk of household purchases.
Sophie, which stars Natalie Brown, is about the successful businesswoman who seems to have it all, but finds herself jilted while she's eight months pregnant.
Layfield said she personally championed making a Canadian version of The Week the Women Went, which originally aired for one season on the BBC.
As a working mom of two young children, she found it fascinating to look at what happens when every woman from one town (Hardisty, Alta.) "picks up, packs up and leaves. And to follow the drama, humour and calamities when the men are left on their own to cope with housework, jobs, child care etc."
The Steven & Chris Show, which kicks off on Jan. 14, will focus on home decor, fashion, beauty, cooking, entertaining, health, fitness, relationships and the odd celebrity interview.
Also airing in March is a four-hour miniseries called The Englishman's Boy, adapted from Guy Vanderhaeghe's Governor-General's Award-winning novel. It stars Michael Therriault, Bob Hoskins, Nicholas Campbell, Michael Eisner and R.H. Thomson.
The sequel to the 2004 political thriller H2O, called H2O II: The Trojan Horse, will air in the spring. Paul Gross (who co-wrote the miniseries) reprises his role as Tom McLaughlin, the former Canadian prime minister who watches from the sidelines as Canadians vote to join the United States.
Test the Nation returns for another special, with hosts Wendy Mesley and Brent Bambury. As well, Canada's Next Great Prime Minister returns with host Rick Mercer.
CBC also announced that it has acquired the rights to both Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune from CBS Paramount International Television.
Both programs will begin airing on CBC Television next fall.
U.S. Eyes Canadian Shows
Excerpt from www.thestar.com - Lee-Anne Goodman, The Canadian Press
(November 19, 2007) The ongoing screenwriters strike in the United States has had an undeniable impact in Canada – American shows filming here are shutting down due to a lack of scripts, throwing hundreds out of work amid fears that a prolonged strike could damage the entire North American film and TV industry.
But there's been one bright spot on an otherwise bleak horizon: American broadcasters are eagerly eyeing Canadian shows as diverse as Little Mosque on the Prairie, Durham County and The Border, a new CBC drama that premieres in January.
"We've actually had inquiries from the U.S. networks about shows that we've either produced or are going into production on, so it's been interesting – they're looking for alternatives," Kirstine Layfield, head of network programming for CBC, said Monday.
"The U.S. is the hardest nut to crack. They are the most parochial of markets in the world – they buy no British, no Canadian, no anything. Because they're so obviously self-reliant, when this happens they all of a sudden have to look outside themselves, and that's what's happening right now."
Except for The Border, Layfield didn't want to name the CBC shows piquing the interest of American broadcasters due to ongoing negotiations. But Mary Darling, head of Westwind Productions, says Little Mosque is getting some attention.
She disputed a recent assertion by the president of the Writers Guild of Canada that Canadian producers are "dreaming in Technicolor" and entertaining some "weird pipe dream" if they think American networks are going to buy their shows.
"It's not a pipe dream," Darling said, adding that the longer the strike drags on, the more it could benefit Canadian producers eager to crack the massive and lucrative American market.
"In fact, the possibility does exist. There are two different networks looking at Little Mosque right now. We've heard from people I never expected to hear from directly ... there's been a definite increase in interest since the strike."
CTV programming president Susanne Boyce said American broadcasters have long been interested in Corner Gas, and says negotiations are continuing throughout the strike.
Where does that leave the writers for some of those Canadian shows? The Writers Guild of Canada and the Writers Guild of America share 265 dual members – mostly Canadian writers in the U.S. who are now on strike. Hundreds of other WGC members in Canada are standing in solidarity with their American counterparts.
In Vancouver, the Writers Guild of America is striking against television shows being shot there, including Bionic Woman, Battlestar Galactica – both of which have ceased production – and Smallville. Those shut-downs have put about 200 people out of work.
Denis McGrath, a longtime Canadian television writer who also pens the TV blog Dead Things on Sticks (www.heywriterboy.blogspot.com), says no Canadian-based writers should feel like scabs if the shows they worked on find homes in the U.S. because of the strike.
"If you're a Canadian writer and you're a Writers Guild of Canada writer, you've got to think about it; you've got to find your way through," said McGrath, who writes for The Border, the drama about immigration police premiering Jan. 7 on CBC.
"But if you worked for a show – you wrote it, you got paid, it got produced and it sells abroad – I mean you can't be against capitalism. American shows are regularly sold into our markets on Canadian networks, and because our Canadian networks are saturated with U.S. programming there is less opportunity for Canadian writers, so I don't think any WGC member needs to be upset if a show they worked on gets sold."
The trouble arises if a show is suddenly green-lit by a Canadian network simply to take advantage of the strike.
"The dirty little secret of private Canadian broadcasters is they have tons of shows in development because they have money for that and they can spend that money and point to that on their balance sheet and say: `Look, we're trying to develop Canadian shows,' and then they just never green-light any of them," McGrath said.
"But if one of those shows gets green-lit because it makes a U.S. sale it would not have otherwise made – if I was that writer, I would feel really, really skeevy. That's where it gets complicated."
McGrath said he also doubts whether U.S. networks will make any major Canadian purchases, and adds that Canadian producers might suffer long-term consequences if their shows are seen by American audiences simply because of the strike.
"From a producers' standpoint, I don't think it's the boon they think it's going to be – you can't overestimate the insularity of Americans," he said.
"And if you sell a couple of shows to American broadcasters, they are going to be seen as `strike shows.' In the long run, the producers of these shows – if they want to make more shows and have long-term relationships in the United States – may find that it's not a good thing to have aired during the strike."
Boyce agrees that Canadian producers should be wary of having their shows associated with the strike.
"You don't want to ever do anything off the backs of these fantastic writers," she said. "We just hope this ends for everyone soon."
If the strike endures, McGrath said, the biggest silver lining will be how it might encourage Canadians to take in homemade television in January, when many Canadian shows premiere.
"There will be no new U.S. programming on the air, and that's a tremendous opportunity for us – not in the U.S., but here in Canada."
BET's Celebration Of Gospel Back For
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com
(November 19, 2007 ) BET's highly acclaimed 'Celebration of Gospel' is back for its eighth annual gathering of the biggest names in gospel music. Aptly themed "Spirit in Song," Celebration of Gospel promises a two-hour foot-stomping, hand-clapping revival filled with rousing performances by Patti LaBelle, John Legend, Kirk Franklin, Yolanda Adams, Mighty Clouds of Joy, J Moss, Israel and The New Breed featuring T-Bone, Pastor Shirley Caesar, Dr. Bobby Jones, and the top five "Sunday Best" finalists. Additional performances and appearances will be announced soon. The inspirational affair will be taped at the historic Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles on Saturday, December 15. With a praise-filled "congregation" and a 24-piece orchestra led by world-renowned musical director Ray Chew, the show premieres on BET Sunday, January 27 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT. Veteran comedian/actor and popular syndicated radio personality Steve Harvey will reprise his annual role as host of the show. Free tickets are available to the public on a first-come, first-serve basis by submitting a request via BETRSVP@bet.net or calling (202) 608-2617.
Randy Jackson's 'Crew' Gets MTV Green
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com
(November 21, 2007) *It's official – MTV has closed a deal to air a new dance competition reality series from "American Idol" judge Randy Jackson and the creators of the World Hip-Hop Dance Championships, Howard and Karen Schwartz. Tentatively titled "Randy Jackson Presents America's Best Dance Crew," the show features hip hop dance groups from across the U.S. competing for a cash prize and a touring contract. The premiere has been scheduled for sometime early next year. Auditions are currently taking place for crews who will begin battling each other in live weekly performance shows with one group being eliminated each week by viewer vote – either via text message, online or by phone. "I have always wanted to do something with MTV," said Jackson, who is not expected to appear on camera. "MTV has the biggest voice, especially as it relates to music, dance and entertainment."
World Stage Fest Announces 2008 Line-Up
Excerpt from www.globeandmail.com - Kamal Al-Solaylee
(November 15, 2007) An eclectic mix of theatre, dance and opera from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United States and Britain has been chosen for Harbourfront Centre's World Stage 2008. Artistic director Tina Rasmussen yesterday announced the programming for the performance-based series, which runs in Toronto from Jan. 22 to May 10.
Australia's Back to Back Theatre - an ensemble of six actors with intellectual disabilities - kicks off the series with the Canadian premiere of its international hit small metal objects, a site-specific drama that takes a look at the workings of a theatre venue. Toronto choreographer Peter Chin examines the post genocide world of Cambodia's Khmer culture in the world premiere of Transmission of the Invisible in February. Also from Toronto in February is Tapestry New Opera Works, which unveils a mixed program of seven short works by Canadian artists titled Opera to Go 2008. Britain's Spymonkey stages Cooped, a distinctly bizarre English murder mystery with "slapstick comedy, naughtiness and nudity." In March, World Stage joins forces with Toronto's Theatre Centre to present FreeFall, the biennial festival of experimental performance. Legendary choreographer Bill T. Jones and his Arnie Zane Dance Company return to Harbourfront in April with Chapel/Chapter, a look at the construction of personal and public media stories. Black Grace, an all-male troupe from New Zealand's Samoan and Maori cultures, introduces Grassroots Tour in April. The 2008 series finale takes it back to Australia with The Space Between, a mixture of dance, circus art and rock 'n' roll by the acclaimed Circa company.
Griffiths - She's Arousing Interest
Excerpt from www.thestar.com - Theatre Critic
(November 17, 2007) Linda Griffiths is in love again.
The object of her affections is the sometimes giving, often unforgiving world of the theatre to which she's devoted most of the 51 years of her existence.
"Sometimes I say to myself, `This is no way to spend your life,'" observes Griffiths after a day of rehearsals for her latest play, Age of Arousal, which opens next Friday night in a Nightwood production at Factory Theatre.
"Then the lights go down and something rises up in me and I feel like a fool, but it's love. It's not always a healthy relationship, but it's from deep inside whatever viscera I have and I can't fight it."
After the disappointing response to her 2003 play Chronic, she's been largely absent from our stages for the past few years, but it looks as if she's coming back with a vengeance.
Age of Arousal had its premiere in Calgary earlier this year to such an enthusiastic response that she's already got four other productions of the play happening or scheduled around North America.
"At a certain point," she laughs, "it was like sending out notes in bottles. Some people would read it and respond immediately. Others wouldn't get it and just let the message float back out to sea."
The woman who's given us plays as diverse as Maggie and Pierre and Alien Creature hasn't just marched to the beat of a different drummer; she's been the majorette in front of the band, twirling her baton and spurring everyone on to new and edgier heights.
And, this time, she discovered her inspiration in the least likely of places: the dollar remainder bin of a bookstore. The volume in question was George Gissing's 1893 novel, The Odd Women.
"I had never heard of the book or the writer, but I flipped it over and there on the back it said `Five Victorian Spinsters' and I was hooked. I've always been a bit of a Merchant-Ivory slut. I can always spend many, many hours watching someone in a bonnet walk across a green field."
But as she delved into the book (set in 1885 in the world of the suffragettes), she found more than she had bargained for.
"My opinion of these women grew, as did my admiration of them and my delight in them. I didn't know they were so witty.
"Feminists are always portrayed as humourless and I don't understand why, because the ones I know are funny and wry and have a fine sense of the ridiculous."
She began writing the play about Mary Barfoot, an ex-militant suffragette who now runs a school for secretaries. A trio of spinster sisters and a charming but dastardly man arrive and rock Barfoot's world, causing political and sexual upheaval.
In the process, she resurrected an idea she had used in some of her past works called "Thoughtspeak," which consists of the characters voicing out loud the sentiments they would normally leave internalized.
"I used it as far back as Maggie and Pierre," she recalls. "I would have Trudeau in the middle of a boring political situation and then he would suddenly shout out, `I want someone to f---!'
"It was the perfect technique to employ with these Victorian women. What was going on underneath was such a splendid contrast to what they showed the world. The minute I started to let them go, it was like I was shot out of a cannon. I'd look up from my writing and 10 hours would have gone by."
For someone who first knew success in the halcyon days of Toronto's alternative theatre movement, Griffiths is the first one to admit that "it's much harder to have the same effect on an audience now. It mainly seems to happen in niche situations where you play a week in this city, a few days in another and piece together a public for your work that way."
But although she insists that "I don't live in the past," she still has a certain nostalgia for the time "when plays burst out of those confines to reach the toffs and the groundlings at the same time."
She points to her work O.D. on Paradise, which played at Theatre Passe Muraille in 1983 as a prime example.
"We created a tropical paradise inside Passe Muraille in the middle of winter. Volunteers came in from the streets and made paper flowers, thousands of them. Shops on Queen St. decorated their windows with displays of sand and shells to theme up with the play. It's always wonderful when an audience community comes together around a play."
And at the risk of attracting the wrath of the ever-watchful theatre gods, Griffiths is willing to venture that with Age of Arousal, "I'm getting this feeling again of bursting out of confines, a desire to look for more truly theatrical work. We need less minimalism these days. It's time for maximalism again."
The only thing that might disappoint some people is that Griffiths, the electric performer, isn't in her own play this time around.
"Even though Paul Thompson once told me that `sometimes the actor knows things that the writer doesn't,' I didn't feel the need to propel or fuel this project from inside. I'm perfectly happy to watch other people do it."
But that doesn't mean Griffiths has given up performing. Far from it.
"I'm currently working on a one-woman show called The Last Dog of War," she reveals, "but that's all I'm going to tell you now. You'll just have to wait and see."
And knowing Linda Griffiths, it should be worth the wait.
Cirque Empire To Grow In 2010
Excerpt from www.thestar.com - Vinay Menon, Television Columnist
(November 20, 2007) In association with the Los Angeles-based CIM Group, Cirque du Soleil announced yesterday it will open a new show in 2010 at the Kodak Theatre. Cirque will present 75 artists in a $100 million show that Cirque founder Guy Laliberté said would be inspired by "Hollywood's place in the history of the movies."
Talks Break Down Between Broadway
Excerpt from www.thestar.com - The Associated Press
(November 18, 2007) NEW YORK – Talks broke down Sunday between striking Broadway stagehands and theatre producers, with the producers' league announcing it has cancelled performances through Nov. 25, the lucrative Thanksgiving holiday weekend. "We are profoundly disappointed to have to tell you that talks broke off tonight, and that no further negotiations are scheduled," Charlotte St. Martin, the executive director of the League of American Theatres and Producers, said in a statement. "Out of respect for our public and our loyal theatregoers, many of whom are travelling from around the world, we regret that we must cancel performances through Sunday, Nov. 25," she added. Local 1, the stagehands' union, said through its spokesman Bruce Cohen, that "Just before the talks broke off, the producers informed the union that what the local had "offered was simply not enough.'' The union declined further comment.
Actors Found New Toronto Jewish Theatre
Excerpt from www.globeandmail.com - Michael Posner
(November 21, 2007) Toronto — Armed with an impressive $1-million budget, two successful Canadian actors - David Eisner and Avery Saltzman - have formed the Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company. The not-for-profit company, named for the late Toronto developer and funded in part by his estate, will start productions in February, beginning with Rose, a play by Martin Sherman (Bent). Directed by Diana Leblanc, it will star actress Lally Cadeau. Rose will be mounted for a month at the Jane Mallett Theatre, which will be the home of HGJT's 2008 season. The second show, scheduled to open in June, will be Wendy Wasserstein's The Sisters Rosensweig. A second season has already been planned.
Come Up Short
Excerpt from www.thestar.com - The Canadian Press
(November 18, 2007) Keith Stokes' 81-yard punt return for a touchdown powered the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to a stunning 19-9 win over the Toronto Argonauts in the East Division final Sunday.
Stokes, a former Argo, settled under Noel Prefontaine's boot at about the Winnipeg 29-yard line. He ran to his right before breaking inside of Toronto's Mike O'Shea. Stokes then ran towards the sidelines before cutting back inside, then out again to work his way past Prefontaine and score at 5:47 of the third for quarter a 19-1 Winnipeg lead that silenced a disappointing Rogers Centre gathering of 33,467.
Winnipeg will face either the B.C. Lions or Saskatchewan Roughriders in the Grey Cup next Sunday at Rogers Centre.
And for good measure, Winnipeg made Toronto linebacker Kevin Eiben eat crow. Last week, Eiben guaranteed the Bombers wouldn't score 10 points on the Argos' defence. But the visitors wasted little time blowing that prediction out of the water by leading 12-1 at halftime.
The TD was sweet redemption for Stokes, whose fumble on a punt return helped Toronto beat Winnipeg 16-8 at Rogers Centre on Oct. 27.
Woefully inconsistent throughout the game, Toronto quarterback Michael Bishop made it interesting with a one-yard run at 3:11 of the fourth. That capped a smart five-play, 102-yard drive (90 yards coming on a completion to Arland Bruce III) and cut Winnipeg's lead to 19-9. But that's as close as the Argos got.
Adding to the late drama was Winnipeg starter Kevin Glenn leaving early in the fourth with a left arm injury following a fumbled handoff to Charles Roberts. Backup Ryan Dinwiddie came in and was 4-of-4 passing for 80 yards but fumbled a handoff to Roberts that Toronto recovered at its three-yard line with 4:51 remaining.
Winnipeg also lost cornerback Juran Bolden to injury late in the fourth.
Despite Eiben's brash comments, history wasn't on Toronto's side. Since '94 only two teams have reached the Grey Cup as the host city ('94 B.C. Lions and '02 Edmonton Eskimos), with only the Lions going on to claim the CFL title in their home stadium.
And Sunday's game could've been Toronto coach Mike (Pinball) Clemons's last. Clemons completed his eighth season on the sidelines and has always maintained he's not a career coach. Last week, Clemons said he would sit down with his family at season's end to ponder his future.
Toronto came into Sunday's game a solid six-point favourite based on its stellar defence that anchored the Argos' amazing 9-1 record to end the regular season. But a problem that plagued the home side over that stretch – an inconsistent offence – reared its ugly head again.
Bishop, who came in 11-1 as Toronto's starter this year, looked every bit like someone making his first playoff start. The former Kansas State star never looked comfortable and struggled establishing any sort of consistency, completing 21-of-45 passes for 383 yards.
He was serenaded by boo birds at halftime with Toronto trailing 12-1, then chants of "Allen! Allen! Allen!" for backup Damon Allen were heard with 3:33 left in the third after Bishop missed a wide-open Derrell Mitchell on a 29-yard TD pass. The following play, Winnipeg's Jerome Haywood blocked Prefontaine's 36-yard field goal try.
Winnipeg's game plan was simple yet effective: establish the run, then follow it up with a short passing attack. Glenn, the CFL's passing leader and East Division finalist for the CFL's outstanding player award, was very effective through the air, completing 15-of-21 passes for 201 yards and a TD before getting hurt.
Roberts, though, was the sparkplug, running for 97 yards on 23 carries although he lost two fumbles.
Prefontaine, who's still recovering from a concussion, had a convert and two singles. In addition to the block, Prefontaine missed from 36 yards out.
Milt Stegall had Winnipeg's other touchdown. Troy Westwood added the converts, a field goal and two singles.
Notes: The Argos honoured outgoing president Keith Pelley at halftime ... Diane Clemons, the wife of Argos head coach Mike (Pinball) Clemons, sang the national anthem ... The Bombers have made the CFL playoffs a league-record 53 years and also have more playoff appearances (109) and playoff wins (59) than any other franchise.
Heading To The Grey Cup
Excerpt from www.thestar.com - The Canadian Press
(November 18, 2007) VANCOUVER – Quarterback Kerry Joseph sat back in his locker and soaked up the joy after the Saskatchewan Roughriders used 16 points off turnovers and a snarling defence to defeat the B.C. Lions 26-17 in Sunday's West Division final.
"There's a great feeling of joy right now," said Joseph, who threw two touchdown passes and rushed for 43 yards to send the underdog 'Riders to the Grey Cup for the first time since 1997.
"We worked so hard to get to this point and get this victory in a tough place like this. It's priceless right now."
Luca Congi kicked four field goals to send the 'Riders to Toronto where they will play the Winnipeg Blue Bombers Sunday.
Winnipeg beat Toronto 19-9 in the East Final earlier Sunday to advance to the Grey Cup.
The Lions, playing in their fourth consecutive West Final, were the pre-game favourites, but the 'Riders were able to close their ears to the thunderous noise from a crowd of 54,712.
"We believed all season long we could compete with anyone," said Joseph, the West's nominee as outstanding player, who completed 18 of 35 passes for 209 yards. "We believed coming in here, regardless if anyone gave us a chance or not, we could get it done. At the end of the day that's what matters."
The 'Riders defence shredded the Lions with seven sacks, two fumble recoveries and a pair of interceptions. Defensive end John Chick had two sacks, while linebacker Kitwana Jones recovered two fumbles.
"It was time for us to step up," said defensive back Eddie Davis, who had one interception. "Defensively we stumbled in the last couple games of the season. We wanted to come into the playoffs and have a good showing.
"Our offence was kind of slow at times, but defensively we just tried to keep the team in. We got some turnovers and it was just a heck of a game for us."
Wally Buono, the Lions coach and general manager, watched his team's bid to repeat as Grey Cup champions end with the 'Riders celebrating on the B.C. Place field.
"I told the players we're not happy with today, but we're not going to be ashamed of what we accomplished during the 18 weeks," said Buono.
Turnovers were the difference, said Buono.
"We didn't get any turnovers," he said. "I thought the defence kept us in the game, but we didn't cause them to make mistakes."
The 'Riders lost the 1997 Grey Cup 47-23 to Toronto in Edmonton.
Rookie 'Riders head coach Kent Austin was the quarterback on the last Saskatchewan team to win the Grey Cup, with a 43-40 win over Hamilton in 1989 in Toronto.
B.C. Place Stadium was a sea of Lions orange with ripples of 'Riders green. The thunderous noise resulted in Saskatchewan taking several procedure penalties, including back-to-back calls in the second quarter.
With the Lions trailing 13-10 late in the second quarter Dave Dickenson came in off the bench to replace B.C. starting quarterback Jarious Jackson. While Dickenson managed an 11-yard touchdown pass to Geroy Simon, he was sacked five times and fumbled the ball away, resulting in a Congi field goal.
Dickenson finished the game completing 14 of 19 passes for 128 yards and the touchdown.
Joseph hit Andy Fantuz for a 13-yard touchdown in the first quarter, then found Neal Hughes alone for a two-yard toss in the third.
Congi kick field goals of 37, 33, 26 and 23 yards.
Running back Joe Smith also scored on a one-yard plunge for the Lions.
Paul McCallum kicked a 45-yard field goal.
B.C.'s Ian Smart atoned for a first quarter punt fumble with a 78-yard kickoff return, which set up Simon's touchdown. He also had a 47-yard punt return.
The B.C. defence got its licks on Joseph. Cameron Wake, the West's nominee as rookie of the year and top defensive player, had four sacks.
Jackson struggled in his first playoff start. He put together one good drive, which resulted in Smith's touchdown, put also was picked off twice, both leading to field goals. He left the game after completing three of 12 passes for 51 yards.
Dickenson, who missed most of the season after suffering a concussion in a July 13 game in Regina, replaced Jackson with 1:23 left in the opening half.
The Lions set a franchise record for wins and points with a 14-3-1 regular-season. The Riders were second with a 12-6-0 record and defeated Calgary 26-24 last week in their first home playoff game since 1988.
Notes – It was the 11th time B.C. had hosted the West Final. . . . The Lions defeated Saskatchewan in a best-of-three series in their first-ever West Final in 1963. . . . Davis and Corey Grant have the most playoff experience on the Riders, having played in 13 post-season games and one Grey Cup. . . . Retired Lion Carl Kidd carried the Lions flag onto the field during pre-game.
13, Gajan Sivabalasingham Is Already A Golf Phenom
Excerpt from www.thestar.com -
(October 11, 2007) It's all about deep breaths.
If Gajan Sivabalasingham is feeling pressure out on the green, he takes a few deep breaths and tries to visualize his next shot.
"Right before you're about to hit . . . try to really clear yourself of everything . . . just think about hitting the shot. It's simple."
Simple for him, maybe. Thirteen-year-old Gajan, many would say, is a boy wonder of the golf world. In August, he was hot off a win at the Ontario Bantam Boys' Championship, the most important event for his age group in the province. He came from behind to shoot a 66 and walked away with the hefty Eagle Trophy.
This year, he has finished in the top three in eight tournaments. He has won 70 tournaments, his father, Siva, estimates, since he first picked up a club when he was 4. He was the youngest player to represent Canada at an international event at the age of 6 and won his first international tournament when he was 10.
Other than that, he's just a normal kid.
Sitting with a strawberry Slurpee at Markham Golf Dome, he's relaxed, slouching in his chair. He's used to being in the spotlight, being called "Little Tiger." He seems to take it in stride.
"Whether he wins a tournament or loses a tournament, he looks the same to me," says Siva, who came to Canada from Sri Lanka with his family in 1990. Gajan should enjoy the wins, Siva says, but also accept defeat, then take it to the next level. "Every day is a learning experience."
Gajan stays grounded by focusing on his studies. During the school year, he does his homework before heading to the golf course for a few hours.
Growing up, he was never the centre of attention, Gajan says. He has three older sisters; the eldest almost became a tennis pro. "It was more about them than me," he says.
Gajan is close to his family, and spends a lot of his time with his father. It's a relationship Siva cherishes and doesn't want to jeopardize.
"All parents have expectations and he's very gifted and talented," says Siva. "But if I push him too much, I might lose him."
It doesn't seem like Gajan needs much pushing anyway. By the end of the this season, he'll have played in about 20 tournaments. He also hosted his charity golf tournament, Gajan's Golf Classic, on Aug. 27, which raised $25,000 for the Hospital for Sick Children.
Despite the hectic schedule, Gajan says he has no intention of slowing down. "I love golf . . . it's more of a feeling than actually knowing what it is (that makes me love it)."
Canadian Athletes To Be Paid For Medal
Performances At Olympics
Source: The Canadian Press
(Nov. 19, 200o7) OTTAWA - For the first time, Canada's athletes will be paid for winning medals at Olympic games. Athletes will receive up to $20,000 per medal at the Games. The Canadian Olympic Committee says the athlete support and reward program is a way to compensate high-performance athletes for the financial burdens they often face while training for Olympic Games. The committee says gold medals will garner the higher amount, while silver medal winners will be paid $15,000 and bronze medal winners $10,000. The performance awards will apply to all Olympic sports, and will be the same whether athletes are in a team or individual sport. The first athletes to qualify for the awards will compete in Beijing next year.
Wotherspoon Win Speedskating Gold, Silver
Excerpt from www.thestar.com - The Canadian Press
(November 18, 2007) CALGARY – Canadian speedskaters Denny Morrison and Jeremy Wotherspoon finished one-two in the men's 1,000 metres at the Essent ISU World Cup. Morrison posted a winning time of one minute, 7.25 seconds for his second career World Cup victory. Wotherspoon, who won both 500 metres races at this World Cup, was on world-record pace heading into the bell lap, but finished behind Morrison in 1:07.31. Simon Kuipers of the Netherlands was third in 1:07:39. Anni Friesinger of Germany won the women's 1,000 metres in 1:13.49. Christine Nesbitt of London, Ont., was second in 1:14.14 and Italy's Chiara Simionata was third in 1:14.15. Morrison, Calgary's Arne Dankers and Steven Elm of Red Deer, Alta. won the men's team pursuit. Norway was second and Germany was third. Germany took the women's team pursuit. Nesbitt, Ottawa's Kristina Groves and Winnipeg's Shannon Rempel were second and Russia finished third. Canada finished the weekend with 10 medals: five gold, three silver and two bronze.
Spoken-Word Artist Ursula Ruckers Isn't Afraid To Use N-Word
Excerpt from www.thestar.com - Pop & Jazz Critic
(November 18, 2007) Since Philly spoken-word artist Ursula Rucker made her Toronto debut seven years ago, she has quit her day job, released three solo albums and expanded her family.
"I used to light candles and sit quietly and write," said the 39-year-old married mom of four boys ages three to 13 in a phone interview.
"That is no longer a possibility. By the time the house is quiet, my eyes are closing. I'm trying to figure out my writing process now.
But motherhood has not compromised the raw, colourful poetry she inks about subjects such as gang violence, education and sexuality.
"I let my kids listen to everything I do, expect for maybe "Black Erotica" (an oral sex paean from 2006's Ma'at Mama)," said Rucker, who appears at Trane Studio tomorrow and Tuesday as part of the venue's Afrikan Millennium and Cultural Arts Festival.
"In terms of any of the history, or society, or cultural issues, or women issues ... that's me and they know that's me. I use that language."
The one-time journalism major who is imbued with a gentle, seductive voice that first came to the fore with hip-hop band The Roots, and who has earned comparisons to lyrical African American first ladies Nikki Giovanni and Sonia Sanchez, is not about to excise inflammatory terms like the n-word from her edgy art.
"It's a touchy thing," she said. "It's something I really want to deal with in a performance piece. I've always wanted to do a nigger piece.
"I claim it. In many cultures where African peoples are in the Diaspora, we've taken many things that have been used to oppress us – whether that be religion, or a word – and made it our own, because many times that's all we could do to survive."
The danger, as outlined in the wider debate taking place in the post-Don Imus U.S., is whether such acceptance encourages some people, particularly non-blacks, to continue to use such terms disparagingly.
"I know that I know how to use (controversial) words, not everybody does," Rucker allows. "I never use them gratuitously, only when necessary to drive a point home, to tell a story.
"In that respect, all words are fair game for me. I teach my children what the words mean and what the different contexts are; everybody doesn't do that."
Since her recordings meld verse with electronica and acoustic jazz music, Rucker has been learning how to work with local musicians, when the cost of travelling with her regular drummer and guitarist is prohibitive.
Tuesday night at Trane she'll be accompanied by bassist Ian DaSouza, drummer Waleed Abdulhamid and guitarist Adrian Eccleston.
"I probably will give them some really vague directions. I just have the utmost respect and highest expectations of professional musicians and I know the wonders that they can do. I just say `Look, the song has this kind of feel, or this kind of subject matter.'"
Rucker is inspired by jazz, "not purely as a music, just like hip hop, as a movement, as a cultural philosophy. A lot of things are tied into jazz for black folks in America. I try to carry on the concept of it as a way of life and a way of creating art and music."
Currently at work on a long form poem to accompany photographs chronicling post-Katrina New Orleans, Rucker credits her children for keeping her performance ready.
"Having to yell at them constantly really keeps my vocal chords tight and I get to hit all kinds of notes."
Nintendo Unveils New DS Units
Source: Reuters News Agency
(November 20, 2007) SAN FRANCISCO – Nintendo Co Ltd on Tuesday unveiled two special editions of its DS handheld gaming unit as the video-game maker seeks to keep up fans' enthusiasm for the popular device heading into the holidays.
One version will be coloured gold and come with the epic adventure game "The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass" while a metallic pink model will come with puppy training title "Nintendogs," Nintendo said.
The new bundles will go on sale in the United States on Nov. 23, the "Black Friday" after the Thanksgiving holiday that is one of the biggest shopping days of the year.
New DS color schemes are eagerly received by Nintendo fans, who scramble to buy them as collectibles or for bragging rights.
Originally sold only in white when a slimmed-down version debuted in early 2006, Nintendo has slowly rolled out new colors and in the United States the device is now available in black, pink and a crimson-black combination.
With its touch screen and mix of advanced and easy-to-learn games, the DS has been a cash cow for Nintendo, selling 4.5 million units in the United States so far this year at about $130 each.
"We chose a couple of the products (games) we know are so loved ... and picked colors we know appeal to consumers right now," said Perrin Kaplan, director of communications for Nintendo's U.S. operations.
"It's already this incredible cake and we just want to put more icing on it," Perrin said.
A DS and one game normally costs about $160, but Nintendo said it will let retailers set their own prices for the new bundles or offer them with more accessories.
Jamie Oliver's Mission
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com - Jennifer Bain, Food Editor
(November 21, 2007) The past few years have been full of "dark bits" for Jamie Oliver.
"Some good, some exciting, some challenging," is how he sums it up. "I've achieved a lot, but not necessarily enough."
He's talking about his controversial crusade to improve hot school lunches in England, his burgeoning restaurant chain that trains disadvantaged youth, and his latest TV series that follows four of these restaurant grads as they compete for a country pub.
There is much to discuss in the 30 minutes allotted to us as Oliver buzzed through town last week, stopping at Indigo for a public book signing and then the Spoke Club for media interviews.
It has been five years since I first met Oliver, treating him to a meal of wild moose (steak and burgers). Back then he was still the "Naked Chef," the British upstart who stripped cooking of its pretension. "Food's not invented to be serious," he said at the time.
Oliver still oozes boyish charm, but that's tempered by the fact he's a family man (wife Jools was his childhood sweetheart, daughters Poppy and Daisy are 5 1/2 and 4 1/2 , respectively) and a workaholic with eight cookbooks and 10 TV shows to his credit.
He still strives to demystify cooking, and yet has become engaged in serious food issues.
One minute he's enthusing about salads and how to get your kids to eat and love them, the next he's raging about a survey that found 70 per cent of homes in England don't have a dinner table. People are eating on couches or in front of computers instead of with their families, laments Oliver.
"I just think that not having a dinner table in the house is the worst news of the decade."
So this is what England's Daily Mail meant when they wrote "Recently, Jamie, 32, has acquired a new quality: gravitas."
Yes, Oliver's exuberance is now laced with seriousness, but he's still dead honest. He admits that his social justice bent was part fluke and part guilt about wealth and fame.
"I was 24 years old and I'd paid off my mortgage and had money in the bank," recalls Oliver. "To be honest, I felt guilty."
The Daily Telegraph recently pegged Oliver's estimated fortune at $50 million – but you'd never know it eyeballing this guy who's proudly sporting a rumpled army shirt over a yellow t-shirt and jeans.
A quick recap: Oliver's meteoric rise started in 1997 when he landed his own show after generating buzz in the background of a TV documentary about the River Café. His Naked Chef books and TV series followed and by 2001 he was a phenomenon. That's when he decided "to give something back."
Oliver launched a restaurant to train disadvantaged youths, documenting every painful and exhilarating step for his Jamie's Kitchen TV series.
The Fifteen Foundation charity now owns restaurant Fifteen London, plus franchises in Amsterdam, Cornwall (U.K.) and Melbourne, Australia. The new four-part Jamie's Chef series follows four Fifteen grads as they compete for a country pub. (The winner must then open it.)
What is striking is Oliver's adept mentoring of these people, who've battled addictions, poverty and lousy childhoods, broken laws and done jail time. (He launched Fifteen against the advice of his father, accountant and business manager. "It was quite a selfish thing – it made me feel better.")
In 2004, Oliver became outraged at the wretched, processed food being served in schools at lunch. He began trying to get the "dinner ladies" to cook healthy and nutritious food, and the kids to eat it.
Remarkably, he got the government to pledge millions to boost lunch standards. Sadly, some parents fought back, passing burgers and fries through fences, lashing out at Oliver for judging them, and pulling their kids (apparently 400,000 of them) from lunch programs to brown bag it instead.
Naysayers crow that Oliver has failed, but he has always said that real change will take five or 10 years. "You can't make the High Street options like McDonald's and KFC disappear," he says, "but at the end of the day, cooking fresh food is putting you on the right path.
"It's not just what kids don't like. It's what they can and might like."
We've been serious for too long. As Oliver effortlessly strikes various poses for our photo shoot, chit-chat turns to his wife's love of yoga and the importance of exercise.
"One of the best exercises is a good bunk up – you know, a good shag," he says cockily. "I do find that Canadians are quite frisky."
Another thing we are is behind the times. The book and TV show that Oliver is promoting now are a year old in the U.K. He's already well into his new love of gardening organically at his Essex farmhouse.
Oliver plans to return to Toronto in February to promote his next projects – the cookbook and TV series Jamie at Home.
"Next year you'll be up to date."
One Minute Abs -- Without Lying Down
By Joyce Vedral, eDiets Contributor
10-Minute Fat-Zapping Workout!
Last week we talked about how busy you must be now that the holidays are fast approaching. Your schedule is crazier than ever, yet you don't want to neglect your workout. I showed you how to do three shoulder exercises without stopping -- a workout you can accomplish in just over a minute.
You can actually work nine body parts this way: chest, shoulders, biceps, triceps, back, butt, thighs, calves and abs. Yes, your abs -- and the best part is that you can do abs in giant sets (do three different exercises for abs without taking a rest). That's where you save your time!
Because you don't rest, and because the exercises move so fluidly from one to the next, you save time. Your one-minute workout is worth triple the time -- three minutes. And, if you do all nine body parts, it's worth 27 minutes -- or to round it off, a half hour.
Vertical Serratus Pull
Position: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and with one arm bent to an L position. The other arm can be touching your side oblique muscles -- on the same side of your L-shaped elbow. Flexing your working side oblique muscles as hard as possible, and keeping your elbow in the L shape, bend at the waist by bringing your elbow toward the center of your body. Return to start and repeat t10 times. Repeat for the other side. Without resting, sit down on a chair or bench.
Seated Lower Stomach Fat Knee-in:
Position: Sit on a chair or bench and lean back. Extend your legs -- keeping them together, straight out in front of you. Flexing your lower stomach muscles as hard as possible, pull your knees toward your body until you feel a good flex in your lower abdominal muscles. Without resting, return to start. Repeat 10times and without resting, move to the next exercise.
Seated Upper Abs Bulge-Bend
Position: Sit on a chair or bench with your feet on the floor and your back straight. Flexing your upper abdominals as hard as possible, bend at the waist until you cannot go any further. Without resting, return to start and repeat the movement ten times. You have finished your stomach in about a minute. You can giant set your entire body this way and get a total body workout done in about 10 minutes!
To work your entire body in ten minutes a day, visit my Website at www.joycevedral.com and see the VERTICAL FAT-ZAPPING WORKOUT DVD with free VERTICAL ABS.
Motivational Note - Can You See it Yet…
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com - By Willie Jolley, Host of the “Willie Jolley Show” on XM 169 –The Power!
(November 19, 2007 ) How do you make your dream come true? First, you have to know what your dreams are. If I gave you a ball and told you to hit a ten- foot wall that was five feet in front of you, could you do it? Of course, no problem! But if I blindfolded you and took you five steps back and then twirled you around ten times would you still be able to hit the wall with ease? No! As it is difficult to hit what you cannot see, and it is impossible to hit what you don’t know! That is why you must set goals. The starting point for your goals are your dreams. A goal is nothing more than a dream with a deadline. What is your dream and what is your goal?