April showers bring May flowers ... so what does April snow bring? Hard to tell these days and even harder to determine what temperature to dress for. This is why Canadians have mastered the art of 'layering'. Well the good news is that we are one month closer to the warmer weather.
If you weren't able to go to the Naturally 7 concert last week ... well you missed it but you may catch some flavour of it in my RECAP. Don't forget the photos in my PHOTO GALLERY, not that they do them justice!
This week brings more changes in the music industry. Will Toronto maintain a Black radio station? Some interesting conversations on Facebook about this. We should know soon. In the meantime, the Grammys drop over 30 categories! Some great news is that Aretha is coming to Toronto for the jazz festival in June! And if you're a fan of Timmie's like I am, then the scoop is the prices are going up on Monday. Check out the story under TOP STORIES.
Tons of SPORTS NEWS this week too - hope you check it out below!
Now, take a scroll and a read of your weekly entertainment news.
This newsletter is designed to give you some updated entertainment-related news and provide you with our upcoming event listings. Welcome to those who are new members!
Media Giants Unite To Block Bid For Black Radio Station
Source: www.thestar.com - Ashante Infantry
(April 04, 2011) A trio of media giants have banded together to stop the bid for Toronto’s second black-owned and operated radio station as it faces its final hurdle.
Rogers, Astral and CTV submitted a joint intervention to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, which is holding its final hearing Tuesday on Fitzroy Gordon’s 10-year quest to bring a Caribbean and African-focused radio station to the airwaves.
In their submission against Gordon’s Intercity Broadcast Network, the companies say they “strongly object to Industry Canada’s decision to approve the use of the 98.7 FM frequency and are very concerned with the lack of transparency and the factors used to arrive at this decision.”
The CRTC is poised to renew the broadcast licence Gordon was awarded in 2006 (on his second try), which lapsed when the CBC objected to the proposed station being four notches away from its Radio One at 99.1 FM.
Typically, a newcomer requires permission from the incumbent broadcaster to use an adjacent frequency. However, Gordon conducted a three-week technical study last summer and received a letter from the CRTC earlier this year saying that additional Industry Canada testing found no disturbance of the CBC signal.
Consequently, this hearing was viewed as a formality since Gordon has met all the CRTC’s terms.
Rogers, Astral and CTV said Industry Canada’s decision to approve a second adjacent radio frequency without the incumbent station’s consent “runs counter to long-standing radio spectrum policy and practices,” and suggests that “such shoehorning practices” will set a bad precedent for congested radio markets across the country.
In a separate submission, CBC maintained its objection over the 98.7 FM bid, and cited the “unprecedented’ and “exceptional approach to licensing by the CRTC.”
None of the corporate behemoths criticized the merits of Gordon’s bid; in fact, CBC said it was “supportive of any initiative that would contribute to increasing the diversity of voices and the reflection of cultural diversity within a market.”
The commission also received nearly 800 letters supporting Gordon’s licence. Many of them referenced CTV’s recent $27 million purchase of The New Flow 93.5 FM — the city’s first black radio station, which debuted in 2001 — and decried a lack of cultural representation on Toronto’s airwaves.
Aretha's Free Show To Kick Off TD Jazz Fest
Source: www.thestar.com - Ashante Infantry
(April 05, 2011) The TD Toronto Jazz Festival's 25th anniversary is set for a royal launch with a free opening night show by the Queen of Soul.
“It's a real coup for the festival to be able to deliver Aretha Franklin to a free performance downtown,” said Pat Taylor, the event's executive producer at Tuesday's line-up announcement at the JAZZ.FM 91 studios.
Franklin, 69, will be on the comeback trail after undergoing unspecified surgery last fall and cancelling public activity through May on doctor's orders.
The Michigan resident appears regularly enough in Toronto, but a free show here is rare, if not unprecedented.
She will be accompanied by her 14 musicians and the 10-piece Toronto Jazz Festival Orchestra under the direction of trumpet ace Guido Basso. “We're hoping to hear the old chestnuts from her,” said Taylor of the icon's June 24 appearance at the Metro Square mainstage, next to Roy Thomson Hall.
Franklin caps a selection of remarkable singers scheduled for the festival's silver edition, including opera star Jessye Norman performing traditional jazz repertoire, Senegal's Youssou N'Dour and jazzers Kurt Elling, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Mose Allison, Eliane Elias and Toronto's Molly Johnson.
Among the jazz instrumentalist highlights: a solo piano series comprised of Kenny Barron, Vijay Iyer, Randy Weston and Jacky Terrasson; appearances by the Dave Brubeck Quartet, the Dave Holland Quintet, The Bad Plus and the Count Basie Orchestra; and the world premiere of Branford Marsalis and Joey Calderazzo's duo project Songs of Mirth and Melancholy.
The 10-day production will also welcome hip-hop band The Roots, funkmaster Bootsy Collins, the blues-steeped Robert Cray Band and comedian Reggie Watts.
Anchored by the Metro Square tent — a significant move from its longtime home at Nathan Phillips Hall due to that plaza's ongoing renovations — the festival's 350 free and ticketed shows will be spread across 40 city locations from bars and nightclubs to theatres, such as Koerner Hall and the Sony Centre.
Visit www.torontojazz.com for details and ticket information.
Tim Hortons Prices To Rise Monday
(April 05, 2011) The price of your double-double will likely go up beginning next Monday.
Tim Hortons says it's raising prices on some menu items beginning next week.
A sign posted in some stores says the company will put through a "small price increase" on April 11.
But, it didn't say which items will be increasing or by how much.
In February, the ubiquitous Canadian coffee-and-doughnut chain said it would pass on the rising cost of coffee and doughnut ingredients to franchises and customers.
Tim Hortons raised prices at its U.S. locations by about 3 per cent in February.
Grammys Drop More Than 30 Categories
Source: www.globeandmail.com - The Associated Press
(April 06, 2011) NEW YORK — Men and women will compete head-to-head, some of the more exotic awards like best Native American album and best spoken-word children's record have been eliminated, and the number of categories has been reduced by more than 30 in the biggest overhaul in the 53-year history of the Grammys.
While no musical genres will be excluded from Grammy contention, the changes will make the awards a lot more competitive.
“It ups the game in terms of what it takes to receive a Grammy and preserves the great esteem of with its held in the creative community, which is the most important element,” Recording Academy President and CEO Neil Portnow said in a telephone interview Wednesday.
While the Academy has adjusted its rules and adapted to industry changes over the years, these changes follow its first major examination of the awards structure, a process that took more than a year.
The biggest change will come in the number of categories, cut from 109 to 78. Awards will no longer be given in such categories as rap performance by a duo or group; some of the instrumental categories in pop, rock and country; traditional gospel; children's spoken-word album; Zydeco or Cajun music album; and best classical crossover album.
That doesn't mean that those types of music are ineligible; they will simply compete within larger fields.
Portnow said the changes will make the awards process more rigorous.
“That's appropriate. We are talking about the most prestigious, coveted award and it should be a high bar in terms of the measurement of receiving that,” he said.
Separate male and female vocal categories in fields like pop, R&B and country are among those being dropped. Men and women will now compete in each overall field. That is already the case in the field of rock, which does not have male and female vocal categories.
“A great singer is a great singer is a great singer, and somebody that has a gift in terms of their voice, and is at the top of their game in terms of their delivery and emotion, really isn't necessarily defined by gender,” Portnow said.
The changes would appear to make it more difficult for artists in lesser-known and less mainstream categories. Tia Carrere won't be taking home any more Grammys for best Hawaiian music album, for example. But she could still win in the new best regional roots music album category, which comprises more genres.
Other changes will require each category to have at least 40 entries instead of 25, and categories that receive between 25 and 39 will have only three nominations instead of four or five.
If a category gets fewer than 25 entries, it will be removed for that year, and if it happens three years in a row, the category will be discontinued and the material will find a new home in a related genre.
Sade Back With Another Classic Album in May and Tour in June
(April 04, 2011) *Just when you thought you wouldn’t hear from Sade for another decade, the group (Sade and them) announces a release of “The Ultimate Collection” set to drop May 3. The two-disc album will include three new songs including “Moon & Sky” featuring Jay-Z as well as a collection of songs from the singer’s best selling “Lover’s Rock” and “Soldier of Love.” Fans can pre-order the exclusive hits and get access to tour tickets at Sade.com. She’s also kicking her tour, with John Legend, on June 16th in Baltimore. Check the complete tour itinerary below.
Frampton’s Still With Us
Source: www.thestar.com - David Bauder
(April 04, 2011) Josh Groban, who just played a small concert in Toronto in January, is going big this summer: he’s playing the Air Canada Centre on July 18. Tickets ($70-$100) for the piano-pop star listening on sale now via Ticketmaster, Livenation.com and the ACC box office; students can get $25 ducats, but only at the ACC.
Other concert announcements:
• Peter Frampton is staging a Frampton Comes Alive! 35th anniversary tour — you are within your rights to call it the Frampton Still Alive tour — and it hits the Molson Amphitheatre on July 9. Tickets ($20-$80) on sale Friday from Ticketmaster and Livenation.com.
• Selena Gomez, the Disney star who at age 18 may be running out of time to be the new Miley Cyrus, plays the amphitheatre too, on Aug. 23. Tickets ($25-$50) on sale Saturday as per Frampton above.
• The Cars, whose new album Move Like This — their first in 24 years — is out May 10, will play Sound Academy on May 20. Tickets ($55-$75) available Friday courtesy Ticketmaster, Livenation.com and Rotate This and Soundscapes
• Veteran Dutch metal ensemble Within Temptation play the Sound Academy on Sept. 7; tickets ($25) from Ticketmaster, Livenation.com and Rotate This and Soundscapes.
• Critically acclaimed Illinois folk-rocker Lissie, having like Josh Groban sold out a show in January, comes back on May 28 to play the Phoenix. Tickets ($24) through Ticketweb, Rotate This and Soundscapes.
Leonard Cohen Wins $50,000 Gould Prize
Source: www.thestar.com - John Terauds
(April 02, 2011) More than one jury member used the word “uncompromising” to explain what made Leonard Cohen a natural winner of the ninth Glenn Gould Prize. The 76-year-old Montreal-born poet and singer-songwriter was not present at Friday's announcement at the Telus Centre.
“It is a great honour, sweetened by my love of the world of Glenn Gould, and our collective appreciation of his invigorating and enduring presence in the world of music and imagination,” said Cohen in a written statement.
The Glenn Gould Foundation has not yet set a date for a formal ceremony, concerts and other public events surrounding the handing over of the $50,000 cash prize to Cohen, as well as a $15,000 prize for a young artist Cohen will choose for the associated City of Toronto Glenn Gould Protégé Prize.
The star-studded, eight-person jury unanimously endorsed Cohen. Filmmaker Atom Egoyan told how his movie Exotica was inspired by Cohen's song “Everybody Knows.”
British writer, actor and director Stephen Fry said “the prize shouldn't go to the child of a decade,” but to someone whose influence crosses generations, noting Cohen's career became “richer and deeper over the years.”
Chinese pop star Dadawa added that the love and influence of Cohen's work is felt around the world, and she invited him to perform in China, “sooner rather than later.”
The foundation, set up after Gould's death in 1982, awarded its first triennial prize to composer R. Murray Schafer in 1987. Past laureates include Oscar Peterson, Yo-Yo Ma and André Previn.
Marsha Ambrosius Dedicated New Album
(April 03, 2011) *Marsha Ambrosius has taken a bold step across controversial lines, though some may say they saw it coming. If you don’t know by now, the former Floetry songstress is addressing suicide and gay bashing. Her friend, who attempted suicide, inspired the her project, “Late Nights & Early Mornings.”
“I lost a friend and I’ve had friends that have attempted suicide,” Ambrosius tells The AP. “There are people that don’t have a voice to speak out and show what is happening and what can happen, so I just wanted people to see the honesty in it and be aware.”
A recent music video captures a male friend of the singer’s who is assaulted and mistreated after being seen kissing another man. It ends with the man lying on the couch with a suicide note and pills scattered about.
“Because they’re in such a bad place in their lives, there’s nothing you can do to help someone if they can’t help themselves,” she said, keeping in mind her large gay audience. “I go to my shows and my audience is predominantly gay … I’ve been approached by many who’ve said my music has influenced them and we’ll speak about experiences that they’ve had. It’s just only right that I give that voice back.”
She added, “”I think many musicians separate themselves from what they’re actually going through in real life for fear of being judged for, you know, what their political views are (and) what they feel personally about things that are going on in the real world,” she said. “Music for me is personal and that’s the only way I know how to approach it.”
Jackson Browne: With These Songs, How Could You Ever Run On
Source: www.globeandmail.com - By Brad Wheeler
At Massey Hall in Toronto on Tuesday
(April 6, 2011) They shouted at him with the best words and in the best ways a songwriter could ever hear. "These are all my songs," the troubadour Jackson Browne said, as his audience called out their suggestions for a set list. It was a half-question that he raised with a smile, as if he had suddenly realized the full breadth of his career, though surely the stubbornly boyish 62-year-old Californian is very aware of what he's done.
Later he would play The Load-Out/Stay, with the line "people, you've got the power over what we do." To a degree, his fans at Massey Hall - and at all the venues of Browne's current Canadian tour - did have clout. The casually dressed solo performer appeared to act on song requests that were bellowed and chirped, as he extemporaneously switched between an electric piano and one of the 18 or so acoustic guitars behind him. More than once he moved to the piano, only to change his mind and go back to his guitar. But there was certain material he was going to do regardless - sooner or later he would hear the request for what he already had in mind.
And so he sang (always while seated) sombrely but assertively about love, about mortality, about the road and about loosening loads. He reflected on singing itself, and he offered Running on Empty of course. But then, with Browne, it's so often about running - sometimes to and sometimes fro, but always seemingly behind. A full house relished the time spent catching up with him, and with themselves too. Here are a few highlights.
The Barricades of Heaven "No, I couldn't tell you what the hell those brakes were for/ I was just trying to hear my song." A story song about beginnings and pages turned opened the concert. It set the tone for the show to come, presented in spare and thoughtful form, subdued yet determined, solemn but never depressive.
Rosie A yahoo yelled out for Browne to "play something dirty." On piano now, he obliged with an ode to sexual self-satisfaction: "When you turn out the light, I've got to hand it to me." It missed the sweet harmonies from 1977's Running on Empty album, but, given the subject matter, the solo version was fitting.
These Days Fluidly picked on an acoustic guitar and with a poignant glumness that must have seemed odd when he first sang this as a 16-year-old, Browne revisits himself - "Now if I seem to be afraid, to live the life I have made in song" - in a voice that is now grainier. He sings with a jutted jaw, from the back of his mouth, with less enunciation than before.
Somebody's Baby Browne was back at the piano for his bounciest presentation, a soundtrack hit from 1982. He chuckled to himself at one point, the possible memories behind his smile worth speculating on.
Don't Let Us Get Sick and Life'll Kill Ya On the second of these two Warren Zevon covers, Browne struggled with the guitar licks. As an excuse, he explained that he happened to know that the late Zevon hadn't sang and played guitar simultaneously (as Browne himself was attempting to do) on Life'll Kill Ya. The audience laughed; fallibility gets applause.
Take It Easy Blue Rodeo's Jim Cuddy was in the house, and you'd have to think this wasn't the first time he'd heard the Eagles hit about girls in flatbed Fords and a sweet love that just might save. "We oughta take it easy," Browne advised. And who would disagree?
Jackson Browne plays Kingston Friday; Montreal Saturday; Moncton April 11; Halifax, April 12; St. John's, April 14; Ottawa, April 17; London, Ont., April 18.
THE SET LIST
The Barricades of Heaven
Doctor My Eyes
Giving That Heaven Away
The Naked Ride Home
Fountain of Sorrow
Rock Me On the Water
Don't Let Us Get Sick (Warren Zevon cover)
Life'll Kill Ya (Warren Zevon cover)
Running on Empty
Love Needs a Heart
Your Bright Baby Blues
Sky Blue And Black
The Load Out/Stay
Going Down to Cuba
Take It Easy
Before the Deluge
New Jazz Festival Planned For Whistler
Source: www.globeandmail.com - By Marsha Lederman
(April 04, 2011) A new jazz festival is planned for Whistler, B.C. Jazz On The Mountain At Whistler will take place Labour Day weekend. Kevin Eubanks, who worked on TV with Jay Leno for 18 years, will be the festival's inaugural artist-in-residence. Other acts include celebrated American guitarist Stanley Jordan, jazz-fusion band Spyro Gyra and Montreal pianist Oliver Jones and his trio. "He's coming out of retirement as a special favour to me," said festival founder and producer Arnold Schwisberg Schwisberg, a Toronto-area commercial lawyer and long-time jazz enthusiast who has been involved with festivals in Montreal and Toronto, said he's wanted to bring a jazz festival to Whistler since his first visit there in 2004. "Whistler is a destination for sporting events, but what Whistler hasn't yet established for itself, even though it has abundant potential for this, is a destination for cultural events," said Schwisberg, who now owns a home in Whistler and lives there part-time.
Akon to Perform in India for his Birthday
(April 04, 2011) *Akon will head to India this month for a pair of performances beginning on his birthday, April 16, in Gurgaon near New Delhi and wrapping April 17 in the south Indian city of Bengaluru. This will be the second time the multi-platinum selling artist will perform in India, following his 2007 gig in New Delhi. “I can’t wait for my fans to join me where I’ll be performing all of your favourites and some new songs from my upcoming album, Stadium. It’s also my birthday so I have something very special planned for all my fans so you know it’s going to be one big party,” Akon said in a statement. Akon’s India connection also includes the singer’s upcoming contribution to the soundtrack of Bollywood superhero caper Ra.One starring top star Shah Rukh Khan slated for release this October.
U.S. Theatre Blames Impostors For Bogus Drake Shows
Source: www.thestar.com - Ashante Infantry
(April 05, 2011) STROUDSBURG, PA.—A Pennsylvania theatre says it’s been the victim of a swindle by people posing as managers for rapper Drake. The management at the Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg says the two shows supposedly scheduled for the Canadian rapper in late May were bogus from the start. The theatre and a local promoter say they were swindled by individuals posing as Drake’s manager, tour manager and even the artist himself. Theatre president Richard Berkowitz says he began sniffing out the scheme when the Virginia-based booking agency started asking for a cut of the ticket sales. Berkowitz says the matter has been referred to authorities. The theatre says a number of other promoters have been victims of similar scams. The theatre cancelled the non-existent shows Monday and said it would refund the cost of the sold-out tickets.
First Comic Role Has Right Brand Of Humour
Source: www.thestar.com - Linda Barnard
(April 01, 2011) A reporter’s fumbling has caused the phone to cut off and Dame Helen Mirren is not amused. The ice in her voice is palpable when she comes back on the line from Los Angeles to discuss her starring role in the reboot of the 1981 comedy, Arthur.
But Mirren is nothing if not a good sport and an apology melts the frost. By the time we start talking about her leading man, British bad-boy comic Russell Brand, she’s laughing out loud — especially when it’s mentioned that Brand recently told reporters he finds her “sexy” and “wants to snog” her.
“In my dreams is all I can say,” Mirren observes with a chuckle of the actor who also shared the screen with her in Julie Taymor’s version of The Tempest last year.
“He’s one of a kind,” she observes of Brand. “He has that combination of the amazing use of the English language, he’s always quoting Shakespeare and he has an incredible vocabulary but he’s physically funny, a long, thin person and he can do things with his legs.”
Brand plays Arthur, a lovable drunk, filthy rich and free of both pretension and ambition who is being pressured by his mother to marry a society powerhouse (Jennifer Garner) or lose his billions. Mirren is his iron-willed live-in nanny, Hobson — the role created as Hobson the butler by Shakespearean actor John Gielgud in the original Arthur with Oscar-winning results.
As with Gielgud’s approach to the role, Mirren uses deadpan delivery for her many very funny lines in Arthur. In fact, she has some of the best zingers in the movie, often upstaging Brand, adding they often came up with lines on their own during shooting.
This may be her first comedy, but Mirren takes to the genre with the same flair she has brought to her dramatic work, including her Oscar-winning turn in The Queen and The Last Station, for which she was nominated as Best Supporting Actress for playing Leo Tolstoy histrionics-prone wife, Sophia.
But Mirren generously says Brand was the funny one on the set and she predicts the outtakes of Arthur will be just as entertaining as the movie. “The DVD is going to be fantastic. Russell is ... incredibly inventive and funny and can do wonderful things.”
She’d never met Brand before they first worked together, although she knew of him. The British papers were filled with stories of his run-ins with police in recent years and the now-sober comic’s well-known addictions to booze, heroin and sex.
“I knew about his stand-up work and he was a rather notorious character in London for various reasons,” said Mirren.
Was she worried about his past excesses making him difficult to work with?
“No, not really. I quite like people who walk on the wild side,” said Mirren, “I just don’t want them to destroy themselves. But I am not judgmental. Nowadays young people do the stuff they’ve always done and they get followed around by people with cameras. They used to be able to f--- up as young people do and then move on.”
As for Arthur, Mirren sees the movie not as a remake, but as a different film.
“I didn’t particularly love it,” she said of the original, which starred Dudley Moore, who was nominated for an Oscar as the movie’s leading man. “I could see how brilliant Dudley Moore was but I didn’t like the glorification of the drunk. I didn’t find it funny. The tragedy of it was the drinking impacted on everything and I didn’t like idea of the girl (Liza Minnelli was Moore’s love interest) being his caretaker.”
Mirren said while Brand’s Arthur has just as intimate relationship with the bottle, “he is at the point where he can do whatever he wants to do and he can be drawn back from the brink.”
As for Hobson making the gender switch from male butler to female nanny, Mirren pointed out no one should mistake the character as a stand-in for Arthur’s cold and calculating mother, Vivienne (played by Geraldine James).
“Hobson is not taking the place of his mother. Nannies always say (that) I am an employee. This woman has grown to love this boy who is now a man absolutely and she sees all the good side of his nature. I see her more as a really good friend, the only one who will tell you the truth about yourself.”
Mirren’s fans will get a chance to see more of her comic side April 9 when she hosts Saturday Night Live for the first time. Is she looking forward to it?
“I don’t know,” she said with a laugh. “Ask me after.”
to Open Health Clinic in Sierra Leone
(April 01, 2011) *British actor Idris Elba is planning to open a healthcare clinic in Sierra Leone to provide support for sick families in his father’s homeland.
The actor was born in England to African parents and admits he’s “embarrassed” he’s never visited his father’s birthplace or his mother’s hometown in Ghana. So he’s putting together plans to boost healthcare in Sierra Leone by teaming up with a cousin to fund a medical unit in the country – and he’s even considering helping the region’s arts industry.
“It’s embarrassing. I have to go. There are plans, serious plans! I can’t wait,” Elba tells Britain’s Observer Magazine. “I want to go to Sierra Leone with something – whether it’s some sort of contribution to healthcare, or to the entertainment industry. My cousin is a nurse; we are talking about opening a clinic.
“I would really like to open a studio in Sierra Leone. It’s a country that can actually house and look like many parts of the world. If I could somehow encourage a film community to use Sierra Leone as the studio in West Africa to make films there, that would be really cool.”
Next up for Elba – the role of Heimdal in Marvel Studios’ “Thor,” due in theatres May 6. Watch trailer below.
Will Smith, Jaden Reteam for M. Night Shyamalan
(April 01, 2011) *Jaden Smith is again set to star opposite his father, Will Smith – this time in director M. Night Shyamalan’s next untitled sci-fi adventure, Doug Belgrad, president of Columbia Pictures, announced today.
When rumours of the project were first mentioned in October by The Hollywood Reporter, the project was called “One Thousand AE.”
Set 1,000 years into the future, the movie centers on a young boy who navigates an abandoned and sometimes scary Earth to save himself and his estranged father after their ship crashes.
Shyamalan and Will Smith will produce with James Lassiter, Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith and Ken Stovitz, Smith’s partners at Overbrook Entertainment. The screenplay is by M. Night Shyamalan and Gary Whitta.
“Night is an outstanding filmmaker who has a tremendous vision for this science-fiction adventure story and we couldn’t be more excited to be working again with Jaden after our experiences on The Pursuit of Happyness and The Karate Kid,” Belgrad said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to have the two of them together on this project.”
Added Shyamalan, “The chance to make a scary, science-fiction film starring Jaden and Will is my dream project.”
Jaden made his big screen debut in 2006′s The Pursuit of Happyness, co-starring his dad.
Monogamy: Zooming In On A Relationship
Source: www.thestar.com - Linda Barnard
Starring Chris Messina, Rashida Jones and Meital Dohan. Directed by Dana Adam Shapiro. 96 minutes. Playing April 1 to 7 at the Royal. 14A
(March 31, 2011) Brooklyn wedding photographer Theo (Julie & Julia’s Chris Messina) is bored with shooting the supposedly happy couples who awkwardly stare into his lens in Monogamy. What if he took photos of people on the sly who had no idea they were his subjects?
His fiancée, Nat (a pleasing Rashida Jones) is a supportive girlfriend, encouraging the sort-of hobby business that Theo calls Gumshoot, even when he’s hired by a woman who turns her photo session into a porn interlude on a park bench. Theo knows the sexy siren in the bad blond wig (Israel’s Meital Dohan) only through email conversations as Subgirl, although as he zooms in on the photos he’s taken of her, the images reveal far more intimate details.
Shades of Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow-Up? Perhaps director Dana Adam Shapiro (Oscar nominee for the fast-paced Murderball) has a passion for Antonioni, but he also has a thing for Charles Burnett, putting the same rubber dog mask the little girl wears in his pivotal film Killer of Sheep on Theo in several scenes. It adds a note of creepiness to the proceedings, although that’s lost to the obvious art-house trope that sticks out like a “look how cook I am” exclamation point.
Soon Theo’s curiosity about Subgirl becomes obsessive. He follows (maybe stalks is a better word) her, taking photos as she engages in rough sex with a man in car in a downtown lot. Is she a hooker? Is he nothing more than a sick voyeur?
The conceit is a decent idea for a thriller, if not a terribly original one, but Shapiro loses the rhythm with a plodding story and a pat ending we can see coming a mile away.
The more interesting aspect of Monogamy unspools as the audience plays Peeping Tom into Nat and Theo’s faltering pairing. They’re both unsure about their pending marriage. Their stresses relate to intimacy, their strained conversations familiar to anyone in a relationship. The awkwardness of their attempts to connect stand in contrast to the simple, raw sex Theo associates with Subgirl. The question of whether his obsession equals infidelity swirls around Nat and Theo as they try to get to the flawed heart of their relationship.
Shapiro gives us a simple, almost documentary-like low-budget film, the visuals punctuated with the staccato sound of a digital shutter. A spoken-word performance in a small club by hip-hop artist B.o.B, quirkily accompanied by a grinning tap dancer picks up the rhythm, but we don’t feel the same pulse with the rest of Monogamy.
Rallying Cry For Apathetic Teens
Source: www.globeandmail.com - By Guy Dixon
(April 04, 2011) The scene: A high-school auditorium in a Seattle suburb was packed last May with apathetic-seeming teens. They were watching the new U.S. documentary ReGeneration about young people like themselves: cellphone wielding, ear bud wearing, politically mute.
The film, one of the main attractions at this year's Sprockets children's film festival in Toronto, which starts Tuesday, looks at why teens and 20-year-olds today seem so politically disengaged, cocooned in a world of online friends and music on their iPods.
It's also really a 80-minute rallying cry aimed at young audiences, an admonishment that there's more to life than a new pair of new Nikes, with noted thinkers such as Noam Chomsky and historian-activist Howard Zinn (since deceased) talking about the forces bearing down on young people.
When the final credits rolled at the screening in Seattle, the students rose to their feet.
Director Phillip Montgomery and producer Matt DeRoss say they thought the kids just wanted to get up and leave, as kids do. Instead, the auditorium filled with a rousing ovation. The question-and-answer period became so animated that the principal cancelled classes for the rest of the morning. Long lines of students came to the microphone to have their say.
"A girl got up and started talking about her consumerism, and how terrible she thinks it is. And then kids started clapping. Then people started commenting on it and voicing their own thoughts," Montgomery says.
"It was amazing to see how deep down their awareness is of some of these issues," DeRoss adds. "And we had the same exact reaction in Rio, on another continent, in a completely different culture, and with Brazilian kids coming up to us and saying, 'We face the same situation in our cities.' " He says the film has prompted the same reaction at many of the festival it has played.
"The goal of the movie was to inspire a conversation after the movie," Montgomery says, noting how surprised he and DeRoss have been by the reaction. The discussion after screenings is invariably animated, sometimes heated, the very opposite of apathy.
Yet given the spirited response they describe by young audiences, why then do today's young people seem disengaged on the surface? Why aren't they as galvanized as the so-called great generation that fought the Second World War or the baby boomers protesting during the 1960s, the film asks?
A wealth of factors are cited by the talking heads, from parenting to media to education. They boil down to what Chomsky points to as an institutional system of control. Parents want their children to excel, so they shelter and coddle them. The media feeds them advertising at every turn. Then as they set out as young adults, huge student loans force young people to take company jobs to pay off their debt, and so the cycle continues, Chomsky and others argue.
It creates an environment in which activism can seem pointless. "There's not one thing out there that everyone is trying to fight right now. There are hundreds of things you hear about every day," says Nicole Artwohl, a working mother in her 20s in the film. "It does kind of numb you."
Whereas young people in the 1960s took to the street, many now feel powerless politically, the film argues. Rapper-actor Mos Def in the film puts it in a hip-hop context: "Don't pay attention to these stupid MCs, talking about [being] players. The real players got smart bombs. You see? And when they play, there's no more game."
"These are institutional problems. And one thing that [Chomsky is] always quick to point out is that these are not conspiracy theories. They're not outlandish thoughts. You don't have to connect the dots. These are just very obvious, common-sense problems that a lot of us are facing, that are based on the institutions that make up our society, whether it be politics, Wall Street, whatever," Montgomery says.
The filmmakers say that they were all "on the same page" making this film, all of the same ideological mindset. In fact, DeRoss, who is in his early 30s, noted that they wanted to examine their own personal apathy as filmmakers working in the Hollywood system. As a result, there are no dissenting voices extolling, say, the virtues of shopping in malls or the merits of MTV (although it does have writer and Fox News correspondent Tucker Carlson admitting the obvious, how media does its "best to affect youth culture").
"A big theme of the film we hope kids will take from it is critical thinking. Regardless of how you choose to live, within or without the system, you've got to question the system," Montgomery says. "This is a film I wish I could have seen in high school myself."
ReGeneration plays at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto as part of the Sprockets festival April 7, 8 and 9.
Best of the rest
Beyond the latest comic-book spinoff or teen-idol pic, there's a world of quality children's films out there. Toronto's Sprockets film festival, running from Tuesday through Sunday, April 17, shows an all-too-fleeting glimpse once a year that there are alternatives for all ages of children.
Some of this year's highlights include:
Finding Kind, a documentary about bullying between girls, featuring interviews with many girls throughout the United States describing the debilitating impact it can have, from depression to various other disorders. Recommended for viewers 12 and older. (April 6, 7 and 8)
Here Comes Lola, an award-winning German film about a nine-year-old who leads a rock star life in her dreams. In the real world, she would like a best friend forever. For ages 7 and older. (April 9 and 17)
Circus Dreams, a U.S. documentary about young performers in a travelling circus group. For ages 10 and older. (April 5, 14 and 17)
Not to be forgotten are the programs of short films, especially the popular Reel Rascals for children ages 3 and up. (April 9, 16 and 17)
See tiff.net/sprockets for a complete listing and schedule.
Next ‘Star Trek’ Film To Be ‘More Daring’
(April 05, 2011) Star Trek 2 will be “a bit more daring” than the 2009 instalment.
Screenwriter Robert Orci says the first film – a reboot of the classic ’60s TV series starring Chris Pine, Zoe Saldana and Zachary Quinto – had to be “organic” in feel so that people understood the characters. He believes the sequel will be “different.”
“I think we get to be a little bit more daring with the theme,” Orci says. “The first one had to be an origin story – or we felt it had to be an origin story – it was kind of ‘Star Trek Zero’ – how did it all start? So to do that organically, you had to get each character in his or her place.
“Now, they’re all together from the beginning, and so now they’re all going to face, I think, a theme that is different and potentially more challenging than just: They met and they’re kind of facing this force of nature in Nero.”
The writer also confirmed that the character of Kirk – originally played by William Shatner – may have become Captain of the USS Enterprise too quickly, a possible theme in the second film.
Speaking at WonderCon, Orci said: “Some people thought Kirk, did he become Captain too fast? It’s easy to think of, well, we’ll look through a place in the story – without giving anything in the story away – where someone can look at him sideways and go, ‘You sure became Captain fast!’
“And for anyone to say that, whether we do or not, that’s just an example. I’m not saying if for sure we’ll do that, you can do those kinds of things and suddenly your criticism is part of the movie, and it’s kind of fun if you’re a fan to see that incorporated.”
The movie is due out in 2012.
Putting More Pop Into A Popcorn Palace
Source: www.thestar.com - Peter Howell
(March 31, 2011) Piers Handling and Noah Cowan get excited by strangers at TIFF Bell Lightbox.
“We’re going into screenings and we don’t recognize the audiences that are in there, which is really good,” says Handling, TIFF’s co-director and CEO.
“For the new guy on the block, we’re feeling really, really happy with how the shows have performed,” adds Cowan, the Lightbox’s artistic director.
Business people normally like to see familiar faces; it means repeat customers. For an enterprise as unique as TIFF Bell Lightbox, now six months old as Toronto’s new home for cinephiles, different rules apply — although there’s still a need to build audiences and to sell more popcorn.
TIFF knows how to attract dedicated film buffs, as it proves for 10 days every September with its world-famous Toronto International Film Festival. What’s tougher to do is keep that momentum going 365 days of the year, and also to pull in the more casual movie fans — in other words, to put more pop into this high-end popcorn palace.
The Lightbox has five public movie theatres within its complex at King and John Sts., ranging in capacity from 80 to 528 seats and showing a wide variety of films. There are also spaces for gallery shows and teaching seminars, plus several restaurants.
Yet a surprising number of Torontonians don’t know this.
A recent TIFF telephone survey, canvassing several hundred respondents, found that just 50 per cent of Torontonians are even aware of the Lightbox, despite regular media coverage during its many years of construction, which has intensified since the gleaming $196-million facility opened Sept. 12.
Anecdotal evidence, including two mini-surveys by the Star (see sidebars), suggests that the Lightbox awareness factor might be even lower than TIFF’s findings. The theatres are usually far from packed.
“What, they show movies in there?” is a commonly heard comment.
True to his glass-half-full disposition, Handling says he’s cheered by TIFF’s 50 per cent awareness finding:
“You know, establishing the venue is a key and you don’t establish a venue like this overnight. I think we now recognize it’s going to take us at least a year, if not longer, for the general public of the city to become aware of the fact that we’re here . . . I was really amazed and heartened to see that one out of two of the general public that we surveyed by phone are aware of TIFF Bell Lightbox. That’s 50 per cent of the Toronto audience.”
The even better news, perhaps, is that the people who do know about the Lightbox seem to be enjoying it, especially special shows such as the Tim Burton exhibition in the ground-floor gallery, which opened in November and wraps up this month.
Handling and Cowan are delighted that the five most well-attended films to screen so far at the Lightbox indicate they’re hitting many of the cultural marks programmers set for themselves, with Canadian, documentary, classic and avant-garde films all represented.
In order of popularity, the Lightbox’s greatest hits to date are:
• Incendies: Quebecer Denis Villeneuve’s Oscar-nominated thriller of revealed family secrets.
• Kings of Pastry: A documentary of competitive French pastry chefs, by doc-making veterans D A Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
• 2001: A Space Odyssey: Stanley Kubrick’s sci-fi classic, in 70 mm.
• Enter the Void: Gaspar Noé’s mind-tripping after-life journey of transgressive devotion.
• Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives: Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Palme d’Or-winning dreamscape of family ghosts, a film that played in Toronto longer than in New York.
“We’re on track,” says Cowan, speaking of the Lightbox as a whole.
“The key learning thing we had here was that some times of the year do well. For example, the Christmas season was incredible here. And some other times of the year, you’re a little bit slower. But we seem to be following the trends of the other major institutions in the city, the ROM and the AGO especially, and we feel like the numbers that we’re generating from the (Burton) exhibition are really competitive with their shows.”
Hard Lightbox attendance figures are difficult to come by. The few that are available show steady if not spectacular progress.
“As of the end of February, we had 292,000 people into the building,” Handling says, reading off the stats.
“That’s close to six months, so we should be on target for somewhere between 600,000 to 700,000 admissions for the full year because, obviously, during TIFF we’ll have a lot of people coming in over the 10 days. That figure will spike. It will only get stronger.”
Besides TIFF, the Lightbox will also be home this year for the first time for the Sprockets and Hot Docs festivals, which Cowan describes as “people magnets.”
Cowan also announced recently a big exhibition devoted to Italian auteur Federico Fellini, coming in June following a successful run in Paris. He’s confident that will be as popular as the Burton exhibition.
Handling is particularly pleased with how many schools and students have discovered and enjoyed the Lightbox.
“Six months in, and we’ve already got major traction there. We’ve had about 30 universities and another 60 high schools have been in the building since we started, so those are fantastic figures.”
Still, even with the top figure of 700,000, that’s still well short of the 1 million people mark that TIFF is budgeting for, a figure that also includes the touring shows.
Handling and Cowan express confidence in reaching that magical 1 million figure, as awareness of the Lightbox grows: “With the film festival and the Film Circuit and all of our other activities, we’ll get pretty darned close, if not hit it, I think,” says Cowan.
Distributors who supply films for TIFF Bell Lightbox paint a slightly less rosy picture, although they remain enthusiastic about the facility’s potential.
“When I went to see (the 1955 Frank Tashlin comedy) Artists and Models, there were five people in the audience,” says Ron Mann of filmswelike, whose five Lightbox attractions to date have included Uncle Boonmee.
“I thought this was an off night, but apparently this is a frequent problem — people are staying away. Why? It’s not location, because the O&B Canteen is always busy.
“My guess is that there is no experience at exhibition. Take the gorgeous and expensive program: Can you figure out what’s playing on any given night? I can’t!”
The TIFF web site (TIFF.net) is another source of contention. Tom Alexander, the director of theatrical releasing for Mongrel Media, which has opened 13 titles at the Lightbox (including Cannes prize winner Of Gods and Men), calls the website less user-friendly than it should be.
He’s “happy” with the Lightbox, but has suggestions for improvement.
“It’s a gorgeous place to see a film, both aesthetically and technically in terms of presentation. It is truly a world-class cinema complex. However, I think part of the reason for the lower-than-expected box office is due to the look: As beautiful as it is, the high design is somewhat imposing for moviegoers.
“The biggest change I would suggest for the building would be giving more space for showcasing what films are coming up . . . given the street traffic on King St., I think they need to find a way to get people into the building who are in the area. It doesn’t really ‘look’ like a movie theatre and they need the outdoor-facing signage and posters to show what movies are coming up, and to make the complex feel more accessible.”
Handling agrees that the web site needs work. He and Cowan are also committed to improving the signage at the Lightbox, although both reject the suggestion of installing a standard theatre marquee, as many people have suggested.
The one major problem Handling and Cowan admit to is poor concession sales. Concessions are an essential part of the revenue stream for movie houses, but TIFF has historically not viewed itself as an aggressive hustler of popcorn, soda and hot dogs. That may change, because TIFF needs the money.
“Every piece of revenue matters,” Handling says. “We’ve stretched the budget this year by an extra $10 million coming into the building, so our budget has gone from about $22-23 million overall to $33 million. So you’re looking for every single piece of revenue you can find.”
The concession stand already sells popcorn, soda and other theatre treats, recently expanded by offering baked goods and pastries. There’s been discussion about including such high-profit items as burgers and hot dogs, but it’s a touchy topic. Many of the Cinematheque Ontario people who moved to the Lightbox from the AGO are hardcore cinephiles who object to anything more than bottled water in screenings.
Another possible revenue source might be to widen the Lightbox film roster to include the multiplex movies it currently doesn’t show on a regular basis. Why not add such high-end Oscar winners as The King’s Speech, The Social Network and Black Swan to the mix, perhaps as part of a director’s retrospective?
That’s not out of the question, but would put the not-for-profit Lightbox in competition with for-profit theatres, such as the Cineplex-run Scotiabank a few blocks to the north.
Even at the blue-sky stage where the idea is at now, it brings a note of worry to the measured response of Cineplex’s Pat Marshall:
“The focus of TIFF is to keep the festival pure, which means playing Canadian films and art films. We have a theatre (Scotiabank) located not far away from the Lightbox. TIFF uses that theatre and some of our other theatres during the festival. With the theatres being so close to one another, it wouldn’t make sense for them to show the same movies.”
None of these problems are insurmountable or unexpected, and there’s immense amount of goodwill amongst the various parties to make the Lighthouse an unqualified success. Ellis Jacob, Cineplex’s president and CEO, sits on TIFF’s board and also chairs its audit committee. He knows how to make a movie theatre work.
It must be remembered that the Lightbox is still a work in progress, with some finicky physical details still to be worked out — including how to stop a pesky draft outside Theatre 3, “which just makes people’s hats blow off,” says Cowan.
TIFF Bell Lightbox certainly wants to blow minds and hats, Cowan jokes, “but after the film!”
We Remember: EURweb Columnist and
Publicist Eugenia Wright
Source: www.eurweb.com - by Lee Bailey
(April 01, 2011) *Dear readers it is with sadness and sorrow that I inform you EURweb columnist, publicity maven and former actress, Eugenia Wright has passed away.
She died Thursday night at St Josephs Hospital from complications of pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). She had been hospitalized for over a month. Eugenia, was also affectionately known far and wide as the Kleopatra Girl. In fact her column here at EURweb was called “Kleopatra
Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai Leads IIFA
Source: www.globeandmail.com - The Canadian Press
(April 04, 2011) A Bollywood tale about gangsters in Mumbai's underworld has a leading 12 nominations for this year's International Indian Film Academy awards, which will be held in Toronto on June 25. Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai is up for awards including best film, direction, leading actor, story, lyrics, screenplay and dialogue. The other contenders in the best film category are Band Baaja Baaraat, Dabangg, My Name Is Khan and Raajneeti. The travelling award show, which is being held in North America for the first time, will be hosted by Riteish Deshmukh and Boman Irani. The Bollywood film industry will take over Toronto for a three-day festival of fan and industry events. Slumdog Millionaire star Anil Kapoor visited the city earlier this year to promote the event.
Thelma & Louise Stars To Reunite In
(April 05, 2011) Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis will grace a Toronto stage to mark the 20th anniversary of the iconic feminist movie, Thelma & Louise. Sarandon and Davis, both of whom were nominated for Oscars but lost, will appear on stage at Roy Thomson Hall on June 7. Billed as Thelma & Louise: The 20th Anniversary Homecoming, the evening event will begin with both actresses reflecting on the film, and will feature scenes from the film, interviews with those who brought it to the screen, and clips of other films the two have starred in since. Event sponsor MasterCard will provide a number of “best of house” to Women’s College Hospital to sell for fundraising purposes. The hospital, which specializes in women’s health issues, is in the midst of a capital campaign to build a new state of the art building. The Toronto Star is media sponsor of the event.
TV series 'Treme'
Celebrates A Community Rebuilding After Katrina
Source: www.globeandmail.com -
(April 05, 2011) The title of the HBO series Treme looks like a shortening of extreme, and in many ways it is. The force of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was extreme. The failure of the U.S. federal government and its agencies to protect New Orleans by maintaining the floodgates, canal walls and pumps was extreme. The devastation was extreme.
But Treme: The Complete First Season (2010), out this week on DVD and Blu-ray, officially refers to a mid-city New Orleans neighbourhood named after plantation owner Claude Tremé and pronounced treh-MAY. “Down in the Tremé,” John Boutté sings in the title song, “Just me and my baby/ We’re all going crazy....”
The show starts three years after Katrina. Residents have lost friends and loved ones. “Hey, how’s your home?” asks one. “Oh, don’t ask me about my [expletive] home,” replies another. Some are making a go of running restaurants. Some are returning from Baton Rouge and Houston, which sheltered the dispossessed. The question of whether New Orleans will rise again is asked often in these 10 episodes (the first runs 80 minutes, the others an hour each).
Creators David Simon and Eric Overmyer, who worked together on the series Homicide: Life on the Street and The Wire, tossed around the idea for a show long before Katrina. They wanted to celebrate the cultural gumbo of New Orleans, but couldn’t find a way into the story. The hurricane “gave us a way to frame it,” Overmyer says with knowing understatement.
They filmed on location, using a blend of actors, non-acting locals and New Orleans institutions such as the Rebirth Brass Band. That band leads a hey-baby-we’re-back parade in the opening episode, which introduces the main characters. Trombonist Antoine Batiste (Wendell Pierce of The Wire) is trying to make a living from the few gigs on offer, while his ex-wife LaDonna (Khandi Alexander) runs a bar. Davis McAlary (Steve Zahn) is a radio disc jockey who manages to be both a slacker and aggressively annoying.
Albert Lambreaux (Clarke Peters) has returned on a mission – a fool’s errand, everyone else says – to reform the coterie of men with whom he performed in elaborate costumes each year at Mardi Gras. Toni Bernette (Melissa Leo) is an attorney married to Creighton (John Goodman, a long-time resident of New Orleans), who is impatiently trying to persuade the world that New Orleans needs help.
While the other characters banter, play music and work to repair relationships and buildings, it’s Creighton who gets the lion’s share of exposition. What people crave now, he tells restaurant owner Janette Desautel (Kim Dickens), is “good food, companionship, community.” Katrina “was a natural disaster,” he informs a British interviewer. “The flooding of New Orleans was a man-made disaster.” He proceeds to explain why until, after the interviewer unwisely knocks the city’s culture, food and general worth, Creighton tosses the microphone into the canal.
The DVD offers audio commentaries and making-of segments about the city and the music. The Blu-ray offers much of that material as a picture-in-picture option.
Schwarzenegger To Star In
Animated TV Series
Source: www.globeandmail.com - Jamey Keaten, The Associated Press
(April 05, 2011) Cannes, France— Well, Arnold Schwarzenegger IS back.
The one-time muscleman who morphed into Hollywood icon and then California governor returns to his on-screen core — sort of — with a cheekily titled animated TV show, The Governator.
In an interview, the 63-year-old said he wants to surprise fans who expected him to go back to the big screen, shifting to the virtual world with a superhero who gets things done without the constraints of laws or an often-intractable political system.
“I think that a lot of times you can actually do more and accomplish more being outside of the system,” he said.
Schwarzenegger spoke to The Associated Press before unveiling details of what he calls a funny, action-packed, crime-fighting fantasy at the MipTV television business conference in the Riviera resort of Cannes. Action Comics giant Stan Lee will be at the show's creative helm.
Schwarzenegger, who will voice the superhero, was the talk of the town Monday. France's culture minister inducted him into the Legion of Honour and he had his handprints cast in cement for Cannes' star walk.
Three months out of office, current events are still on his mind, from Japan's earthquake disaster to the Arab world turmoil and to environmental and economic troubles in the West.
Still, showbiz is eclipsing politics for now.
“I am not as eager to run for office,” he said, lounging in an opulent hotel suite overlooking the Mediterranean. “Entertainment is the important thing right now.
“I am fortunate that I can have a foot in entertainment and a foot in the political arena,” he added.
That's where the show comes in: Bridging Schwarzenegger's many personas over the years in a TV project that riffs off his public service, his athletic and acting prowess, and his business savvy.
Think Bruce Wayne — the civilian tycoon behind the Batman mask — but involving a former California governor who assembles a team of whiz kids to fight both crime and natural disasters out of a high-tech lair under his mansion in Brentwood, and unbeknownst to his own family upstairs.
Producers of the show, which is to debut next year at locations still being determined, have cobbled together a comic-strip action extravaganza with laser-beam eyes, remote-controlled motorcycles and magic chewing-gum bubbles that change faces for incognito sleuthing. It also has what Schwarzenegger called “speaker spray,” which temporarily allows its recipient to converse in foreign languages — among much more gee-whiz gadgetry and imagination.
In short: “It's a superheroic guy” with powers that a real-world governor could only dream of.
“It's kind of like, when you see that you could have fought certain crimes but the system didn't allow you, or there were too many people that had to be asked for permission, by that time, the criminals were gone or the disaster that could have been prevented from happening,” Schwarzenegger said. “With this, it's a fantasy world where the governor has extra powers.”
In a sneak-peak teaser aired for the TV-world honchos at Cannes, the animated governor declares “I won't be back” on the capital steps. Newsman Larry King — show producers say it's really his voice — presses for answers.
Then, it was off to battling robots who try to rob an armoured car, in a splashy, high-colour sequence. The Governator “will be basically fighting the most evil, and worst, of the villains,” Schwarzenegger said.
The simplicity of save-the-day superheroism is a far cry from the messy world of political wrangling on issues like redistricting, budget balancing and state fiscal woes that hurt his popularity at the end of his seven-year term.
“When you are a governor, you deal with keeping the beaches clean, making sure there's enough funding for the after-school programs and the lunch programs for the kids, and all of those kinds of things,” he said at the presentation. “As an action hero, you just have to save the world — that's it.”
Schwarzenegger was quick to insist that the show won't be violent, a conscious break from his cinematic career: “If you look at my movies, a lot of heads come off ... this is not what this is.”
That, he told the AP, was what drew him to the project: a chance to change his image and surprise his fans.
“So we happened to start working on this, and I said, ‘This is a perfect thing to introduce first.’ ”
First? Did he mean before a possible return to acting?
Schwarzenegger played coy, or perhaps he simply hasn't made up his mind.
“There's a lot of scripts that I have been reading,” and he has been speaking to producers, directors and “the agencies,” he said. “We are getting closer to flushing out in which direction I am going to go.”
“I have not committed to anything. ... So now we are concentrating on launching this series and this character, and then when that is done, then I will make the next decision,” he said.
Delighted To Be Going Quietly Mad
Source: www.thestar.com - Peter Howell
(April 01, 2011) News has just broken out of L.A. that a fifth season of TV’s Mad Men is a definite go, although it will be delayed until early 2012.
This doesn’t stop Jessica Paré, suddenly the hit show’s most visible star during a Toronto press day, from nervously tapping the wood table next to her, hoping for luck.
“I’m not sure what the news is or if it’s real,” she says, doubting the word of Mad Men’s cable carrier AMC, as conveyed by the Hollywood trades.
“I haven’t heard anything from my people yet. I’m pretty sure I would get a text message from (show runner) Matt Weiner. As with everything else with this job, unless I hear it from Matt Weiner’s lips, I don’t believe it!”
One thing Weiner and his associates definitely have told her is not to comment to the press about anything about the show that hasn’t yet been seen on one of its Sunday night broadcasts.
Secrecy on the retro-themed series is tighter than a 1960s bomb shelter. Especially regarding the out-of-the-blue romance late in Season Four (now out on DVD) between Paré’s secretary character Megan Calvet and her mysterioso boss Don Draper (Jon Hamm), the chief spear carrier of Mad Men’s advertising jungle.
“The way they explain it is, (revealing secrets) is bad for the commercial potential of the show, which I get. But the other thing is that Mad Men fans really are very devoted.”
Devoted? Crazy would be a better word. Even The Wall Street Journal has a Mad Men blog, obsessively analyzing every detail, down to the last olive in the last martini.
“I’m not going to use that word!” Paré says, laughing.
“I think the thing about this show is that it invites the viewer to bring their own interpretations, more than for any other show. It doesn’t hit you over the head with reasons why. So you bring your own. And that’s one of the reasons why people like talking about it so much, and why they’re so devoted to it, and why they are really angry when you spoil a plot point for them beforehand.”
Welcome to Mad Men paranoia, Canuck style, and Paré is loving every minute of it. Before she went Mad, the 28-year-old ex-Montrealer, now living in L.A., had been ready to throw in the towel and start looking for non-acting work.
She’d received great reviews for her work in Suck, a rock ’n’ roll comedy that premiered at TIFF 2009, but the film vanished without a trace, or even a theatrical release. Then Mad Men suddenly threw her world into a whirl.
“The whole way it happened was totally weird — I mean wonderful!” she says, curling her 5’9” frame into a hotel chair for an interview.
“But when I auditioned for it, I was literally looking for a day job. I’ve been fortunate to have been doing this for 12 years and haven’t had to get a day job but it was getting to that point where it was like, ‘I don’t know what I’m going to do.’”
It wasn’t the first time that Paré has been vaulted from obscurity, either in real life or on the screen. In 2000, at age 19, she was the then-unknown star of Stardom, Denys Arcand’s movie about sudden celebrity that was chosen to close that year’s Cannes Film Festival.
Paré insists the engagement between Megan and Don came as almost as big a big surprise to her as it did to fans of the show. Paré had been in a popular TV series once before, a futuristic political drama called Jack & Bobby, and she learned not to think too far ahead about her character.
“I stopped speculating. I stopped trying to guess. And I think that’s good because, on my first series, Jack & Bobby, I did do a lot of that. I was like, ‘Oh, I bet it’s going to go here and this is going to happen’ and if that thing didn’t happen, I was disappointed and then it kind of ruined what did happen for me. I didn’t value it for what it was.
“So I did stop speculating at some point and, because I did, I think this whole engagement thing was amazing. Every day, I saw Matt on the set and said, ‘Thank you! Thank you! This is so great! Thank you!’”
She will comment on the changes that she, like every other Mad Men fan, has noticed in Don Draper this year. He went from being a rakish playboy to a guy who is much harder to like, especially regarding his treatment of women.
“Oh my God, they took him to such a dark place this season, which is why, I think, they wanted to end it on that upswing of that lightness (the engagement).
“When we shot the announcement scene in the office, we were shooting their reactions first, and all of them were looking at him like some kind of alien. Then Matt realized, when we turned around and shot the other side, ‘It’s because he’s smiling!’ We haven’t seen him smiling in a year and half!’”
Paré figures her character is in for interesting times, as the series moves from 1965 into 1966 — which means Vietnam, LSD, hippies and the rising tide of feminism.
“Don doesn’t want you to see behind the curtain. I think Megan is thinking, ‘I don’t care what’s behind there — I like it!’”
She’s hopeful Megan will continue to be a significant presence in Mad Men. But she’s pragmatic enough to know the role could end as suddenly as it began.
“I really like her. One of the reasons why I hope there is another season is that I think we’ve only begun to get to know her. Where we left her, in Season Four, she’s kind of the perfect girl. She’s intelligent, she’s driven without being hard, she’s very warm, she’s accepting, and there is an openness to her.
“But I don’t know what’s going to happen. I could go back and (Season Five) could open on my funeral. I just don’t know.”
Couric Leaving News Anchor Post
Source: www.thestar.com - David Bauder
(April 04, 2011) NEW YORK — Katie Couric is leaving her anchor post at “CBS Evening News” less than five years after becoming the first woman to solely helm a network TV evening newscast.
A network executive, who spoke on condition of anonymity because Couric has not officially announced her plans, reported the move to the Associated Press on Sunday night. The 54-year-old anchor is expected to launch a syndicated talk show in 2012 and several companies are vying for her services.
Couric’s move from NBC’s “Today” show was big news in 2006, and she began in the anchor chair with a flourish that September.
She tried to incorporate her strengths as an interviewer into a standard evening news format and millions of people who normally didn’t watch the news at night checked it out. But they drifted away and the evening newscast reverted to a more traditional broadcast.
After those first few weeks, the “CBS Evening News” settled into third place in the ratings and is well behind leader Brian Williams at NBC’s “Nightly News” and second-place Diane Sawyer at ABC’s “World News.”
No departure date has been set for Couric. Her CBS News contract expires on June 4.
“We’re having ongoing discussions with Katie Couric,” said CBS News spokeswoman Sonya McNair on Sunday.
“We have no announcements to make at this time. Until we do, we will continue to decline comment on rumour or speculation.”
Said Matthew Hiltzik, Couric’s spokesman: “Ditto.”
Still, discussions are already under way about who will replace Couric on the evening newscast. Russ Mitchell, Scott Pelley and Harry Smith are among the internal CBS candidates, and new CBS News Chairman Jeff Fager is also expected to look outside the company.
Couric, who was on vacation last week, was reluctant to talk about her future when she appeared on fellow CBS host David Letterman’s show on March 22. “Once you take that anchor chair, that’s what you do,” Letterman told her.
“Really?” Couric answered.
“Look at Walter Cronkite, look at Tom Brokaw, look at Brian Williams, look at Peter Jennings, look at all these people,” Letterman said. “They get in it, they saddle up and they ride into the sunset.”
Couric smiled widely and said she loved doing the evening news and was proud of her work, but made no future commitments. Despite the ratings problems, the “CBS Evening News” won the Edward R. Murrow Award as best newscast in 2008 and 2009.
Couric’s interview with then-Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin in 2008 was a memorable moment in the campaign after Palin couldn’t or wouldn’t answer Couric’s question about books or magazines she regularly read.
Even with those high points, broadcast news economics had changed markedly since she signed on with CBS and her reported $15 million a year salary became increasingly hard to justify for a third-place telecast.
Fager, the “60 Minutes” executive producer, was installed as CBS News chairman two months ago and new executives frequently like to put their own stamp on newscasts.
Rome Hartman, Couric’s first executive producer at the “CBS Evening News,” said that while Couric’s tenure clearly didn’t work out as well as CBS hoped, “I don’t think it’s right to think of it as, or call it, a failure.”
For the first time in many years, a network tried to increase the number of viewers watching the evening news instead of trying to steal a bigger slice out of an ever-shrinking pie, said Hartman, editor of “BBC World News America.”
“There are people who love Katie and those who don’t love her and that was a factor,” he said. “But it was the overall dynamics. There was a rock that we couldn’t move and I don’t think it would have mattered who we would have put in there.”
Although Couric will leave the evening news, she might not leave CBS. The CBS Corp. is a powerful force in the syndication business as owners of “Dr. Phil” and “Judge Judy,” and the upcoming departure in May of Oprah Winfrey will leave a huge void in the talk show marketplace.
Through CBS-owned stations, the company could give a big head start to a Couric show. Due to the sales calendar, such a show would not likely begin until fall 2012.
A syndication deal with CBS is seen as the only possibility that Couric would continue as evening news anchor on a temporary basis past June, if she were to agree to stay during an extended search for her successor.
Other chief contenders for Couric’s services are NBC and Telepictures. NBC is her old home, but is not considered a big player in the talk show business.
It tried and failed to launch a show for Jane Pauley, one of Couric’s predecessors on “Today.” Telepictures is bigger in the marketplace, producing “Ellen” and a new show with Anderson Cooper debuting in the fall, both of which could take potential time slots away from Couric.
Each of the companies has related news divisions where Couric could have some visibility before starting a talk show — at CBS, NBC or CNN, through Telepictures.
The personality that Couric could be expected to readily display on the talk show circuit could be seen last week in a video posted by aol.com.
Couric, who has actively encouraged Americans to get colonoscopies since her husband died of colon cancer, took a humorous look at undergoing her own test. Her doctor jokingly noted that he had found a Batman doll while looking at Couric’s internal organs.
Death In The Families In New
Source: www.thestar.com - Rob Salem
(April 02, 2011) There is something to be said for quality over quantity.
There is nothing “mini” about several much-anticipated cable miniseries coming up this month, the first two, The Borgias and The Killing, debuting side by side, in big, juicy two-hour chunks on Sunday night.
The Killing gets the jump at 9 p.m. on AMC, with The Borgias kicking off one hour later at 10 on Bravo. In the weeks that follow, you'll be able to watch them back-to-back at their respective 10 and 11 p.m. start times.
But by then, things will have become even more complicated, with the debut of the controversial mini The Kennedys, April 10 at 9 p.m. on History Television.
And then, one week later, it's the book-based, fan-revered epic fantasy Game of Thrones, debuting on HBO Canada April 17 at 9 p.m. Though not before a special advance sneak peak preview at 9 p.m. on Sunday.
If there was ever a reason to invest in a digital recording device, this Sunday night would be it.
All four of these miniseries have a great deal in common, beyond the Sunday-night scheduling logjam.
Three of them are period pieces. Two are based on historical events. Two were shot in Canada: The Killing in Vancouver, The Kennedys here in Toronto. One, The Borgias, is a Canadian co-production, teaming CTV and Showtime.
But there is one essential aspect that all four happen to share: they all involve families and violent death.
I don't know who decided that Sunday nights should be family night, but I don't think this is what they had in mind. And what it says about us, I don't even want to contemplate.
But three of the four (Game of Thrones is the exception) also have something inspiring to say about the calibre of Canadian talent, in front of and behind the camera.
François Arnaud and Colm Feore are two standout co-stars of The Borgias, as, respectively, papal patriarch Rodrigo Borgia's (Jeremy Irons) scheming son Cesare and Giuliano Della Rovere, his nemesis and eventual successor.
Canadians Kristin Lehman and Brandon Jay McLaren are significant support stars in The Killing, a day-by-day dissection of a murder investigation, with relative newcomer Katie Findlay as the teenaged victim.
And, aside from Tom Wilkinson's riveting portrayal of Joe Kennedy Sr., the real stars of The Kennedys are Barry Pepper's quite astonishing Bobby, Kristin Booth as Ethel Kennedy and Charlotte Sullivan as Marilyn Monroe.
The other area in which the first two series particularly excel is their breathtaking cinematography, both lensed by Canadian veterans of countless homegrown features and series.
Of course, The Borgias, with its lushly constructed period sets — built on location in Budapest, Hungary — could not be anything short of spectacular in recreating the Renaissance Vatican. And director of photography Paul Sarossy (The Adjuster, Love & Human Remains, Exotica, Kids in the Hall: Death Comes to Town) proves more than up to the task.
The relentlessly bleak visual landscape of The Killing is another thing entirely, as much a defining character of the story as any of the actual humans involved.
Here too, the DOP, Peter Wunstorf, brings to bear a lengthy résumé of Canadian credits in TV and film (Double Happiness, The Michelle Apartments, the pilots for Smallville and James Cameron's Dark Angel).
If anything, The Killing resembles an even darker take on the second season of Durham County, from their similarly barren industrial vistas to the pivotal performances in both of Michelle Forbes as an anguished mom.
The Borgias has been described, not inaccurately, as a 15th-century Sopranos: even the series' promotional tagline reads, “The original crime family.”
“There's a lot about power ... and what appears to be a crime family,” co-star Feore allowed when we talked at the TV previews in January.
“For (writer/director) Neil Jordan, it's essentially power and how that corrupts and how people, when they get to such positions of enormous influence and power, either lose themselves or find themselves, correspondingly.
“That complexity is what really interests him.”
In the opening double episode, Feore's own character has what can only be described as a Godfather moment, when he wakes up to find something wet and nasty in his bed.
“Keep in mind, though, this came first,” he laughs. “I think they stole it from us.”
‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ Remade For Poland And Israel
Source: www.thestar.com - Doug Smith
(April 04, 2011) Will everybody love a Raymond Baroneski and a Raymond Baronestein? Entertainment website Deadline Hollywood has reported that Phil Rosenthal, creator of the popular CBS series Everybody Loves Raymond, has signed a deal to create two new versions of that sitcom, one for Poland and one for Israel. The Emmy-winning series, which ran from September 1996 to May 2005, already has a successful Russian version called The Voronins, which almost rhymes with Barone, the last name of comic Ray Romano’s Long Island sportswriter character in the series, as well as his parents and older brother, Robert. Rosenthal, who created the original series along with Romano, has made a documentary called Exporting Raymond, which details how he franchised the comedy to Russia, where the show is the number one comedy on television.
Martin Lawrence to Appear on ‘Love That
(April 01, 2011) *TV One wraps up the season of its first original scripted series, “Love That Girl!,” with a special two-part finale Monday, April 11 and Monday, April 18 at 9 p.m. ET guest starring Martin Lawrence, who also serves as an executive producer. Created by Bentley Kyle Evans, the show stars Tatyana Ali as Tyana Jones, a young divorcee who returns home to Southern California for a second chance in life and a career in her father’s real estate business. When her unemployed brother Latrell (Alphonso McAuley), an aspiring stand-up comedian, unexpectedly moves in with her, the world that she was trying to create is suddenly turned upside down, and life will never be the same. Lawrence will star as Tyana’s Uncle Gerald, who interrupts her much-needed “staycation” when he drops in and needs a place to stay for a few days. Uncle Gerald becomes an annoying house guest, and when Tyana finally thinks he’s going to leave, Gerald tells her he must stay for a few more weeks while he waits to collect his winnings from a horse race. The episode repeats both nights at 10 p.m. and at midnight (all times ET).
Toni Braxton’s Reality Show
Source: www.eurweb.com - by Lee Bailey
(April 02, 2011) *Toni Braxton has done quite a bit to stay above water and maintain her lifestyle without a dime in the bank and after filing bankruptcy. Braxton’s latest financial troubles came to light in October 2010, when she admitted to owing between $10 million and $50 million in unpaid debts. But she recently signed a deal for a new reality show, “Braxton Family Values” with her sisters and her Mom, to bring that cash flow back her way. The drama filled show will premiere on April 12 this year. Braxton says, “ I have a big-a** house, three cars, and I fly first class all around the world. Some say I have the perfect life.” We shall see when the world gets all up in her business of life, drama, and family.
Card For Next Year Includes Pina Bausch
Source: www.globeandmail.com - Paula Citron
(April 05, 2011) Ottawa’s National Arts Centre 2011-12 dance season is, once again, the richest in the nation.
The four different dance series (one ballet, and three contemporary) and special presentations include 17 companies representing 11 countries. The dance events, as custom, run the gamut from traditional ballet, to the outer fringes of contemporary experimentation.
Five companies are appearing only in Ottawa. The big gun is the late, great Pina Bausch’s Tanztheater Wuppertal (Danzón, Nov. 25-26). Exclusive engagements also include two esteemed American companies, Pennsylvania Ballet (George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, Dec. 1-4) and Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet (works by William Forsythe, Christopher Wheeldon and Edwaard Liang, Mar. 3). Also making Ottawa stops only are famed Irish step dancer Colin Dunne’s solo show (Out of Time, Oct. 27-29), and Dance Works Rotterdam, under Canadian-born artistic director André Gingras (Anatomica, Feb. 15).
Other heavy hitters include Bolshoi Ballet (Don Quixote, May 23-26), Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (Revelations and Other Works, Apr. 17), and Argentina’s Tango Pasión (Feb. 21).
Among the new and the different are European contemporary dance stars – England’s Akram Khan Company (Gnosis, Feb. 1-2, and Vertical Road, Feb. 3-4), Belgium’s Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui/Eastman (Babel, Oct. 5-6), and France’s Cie Käfig’s hip-hop fusion (Correiria/Agwa, Apr. 19-20). Another hot company is China’s Guangzhou Ballet (Return on a Snowy Night, Oct. 15).
The Canadian home team includes Montreal’s Compagnie Marie Chouinard (The Golden Mean (Live), Nov. 9) and José Navas/Compagnie Flak (Personae, Mar. 8-10), Royal Winnipeg Ballet (Mark Godden’s Svengali, Jan. 26-28), National Ballet of Canada (Jon Neumeier’s The Seagull, Apr. 12-14), and Vancouver’s Dana Gingras/Animals of Distinction (Heart as Arena, May 10-12).
This Second City Riot Is Not
As Dangerous As It Could Have Been
Source: www.globeandmail.com - By Brad Wheeler
(April 01, 2011) Playing a game with myself on the way to Second City's funny enough new revue, I guessed how far into This Party's a Riot! that a Justin Bieber reference might rear its head. It only took about 10 minutes. It was a sight gag that got a laugh, even though it involved the Baby singer's former coif, not his newer immaculately scruffier one.
Pop culture moves mouse-click quick, as do weightier world events. Perhaps that's why This Party's a Riot! mostly keeps clear of the sort of hot-button issues the show's title might suggest. Recent successful revues (especially the fully realized Something Wicked Awesome This Way Comes) were thoughtful and on point as well as hilarious. This Party's a Riot!, on the other hand, offers a simpler, straighter kind of uproar.
Oh, sure, there was the sketch involving Facebook enthusiasts who sat out the rapid revolution in the Middle East, cheering from their computer terminals. But the bit was weak, one of a few which suffered from thin writing.
But if the script wasn't always riotous, the cast was charismatic and expressive in its antics. Adam Cawley is gaining confidence and emerges as the troupe's star in this, his fourth revue. The kinetic beanpole was terrifically uncomfortable in a skit involving threesome protocol, and rightly confused in a bit about a family tree that is a forest.
Newcomer Carly Heffernan dazzled with her improv skills, showing a zippy absurdist bent as a southern elder recalling a youthful courtship. Veteran Rob Baker, as her husband, couldn't keep up with Heffernan. Few could, one imagines, but in past I've found Baker's improv skills to be wanting. He's quick of mouth but not of mind, and often oddly aggressive.
Blue-ribbon zingers were few and far between, but here's one: "When you play strip poker with Rob Ford, nobody wins." And another winning line, on multiculturalism quandaries: "I have no idea what it means to be Canadian, but I'm pissed off when people aren't."
In the much stronger second Riot! act, a pair of sisters - Inessa Frantowski is a comic natural; Dale Boyer is versatile and always amuses - engaged in an odd sort of Brazilian-waxed bonding. It wasn't crotch humour, though. The time-shifting was sophisticated and the metaphors were clever.
On the other hand, the flatulence humour elsewhere was a gas, particularly the line about dresses being so short you could see the women fart. More fart fun, involving awkward yoga moments, was ripped straight from the videos of YouTube.
The closing sketch was quite a send-off, though because of its set-up, it might not be possible to use it every night. I could tell you its social-media secret, but then everyone would know it. Word travels fast, don't you know.
This Party's a Riot!
Directed by Bruce Pirrie
Starring Rob Baker, Dale Boyer, Adam Cawley, Inessa Frantowski, Carly Heffernan, Kris Siddiqi
At The Second City in Toronto
This Party's a Riot! continues at The Second City, 51 Mercer St., Toronto (416-343-0011).
A Madcap Tribute And
Compelling Solo From Dancemakers
Source: www.globeandmail.com - Paula Citron
Choreography by Ame Henderson, Martin Bélanger and Antonija Livingstone
At Dancemakers Centre for Creation
In Toronto on Tuesday
(April 06, 2011) The new Dancemakers show, Project 3/2/1, is another wild-card concept evening from the fertile brain of artistic director Michael Trent, aided and abetted by company dramaturge Jacob Zimmer.
Dancemakers was founded in 1974 as a repertory company, so Project 3/2/1 pays homage to that heritage by creating instant repertoire. The numbers stand for a trio, duet and solo, each created by different choreographers.
Over time, a repertoire remains the same while various generations of dancers perform the pieces. Project 3/2/1 builds its own sense of generation by changing the dancers every performance. During the two-week run, each company member performs each of the six roles on an alternating basis.
To add spice to the mix, Trent chose choreographers who just happen to be among the elite of Canadian contemporary dance innovators.
The Trio - Antonija Livingstone’s lightentertainment (performed by Paige Culley, Steeve Paquet and Robert Abubo)
Livingstone likes working with props.
The central core of this work is “change ringing” which involves a set of differently pitched hand bells to create sound patterns.
The change ringing takes place in the middle of the piece, and it is absolutely amazing how the various bells pass from person to person to create different sound patterns, without breaking the rhythm.
Surrounding the change ringing is controlled chaos. Abubo blows up long, skinny balloons. Culley tells an off-colour story about a hooker in a bar. Paquet sets off a flare. In between they perform choreography where they embrace and entwine.
In her program note, Livingstone describes the social life that change ringers share. This piece is a madcap tribute to both camaraderie and skill.
The Duet – Martin Bélanger’s Mythical Twins (performed by Kate Holden and Michael Trent)
Bélanger’s choreography is associated with wit and humour, and he does not disappoint.
He says that he has always been fascinated by twins, so picture two dancers garbed in identical sportswear and bright orange/red wigs, performing both mirror image and synchronized choreography.
What helps gives this work its amusing edge is the music soundtrack. It begins with the famous 20th Century Fox movie fanfare, followed by composer John Williams’ iconic Star Wars score.
Choreographically, every move is calculated, from big sweeping swoops of the total body, to the showing of big, wide smiles. There is also a subtle subtext going on. The Trent character seems to be a follower.
As the two preen and pose in space, they radiate their special twin status. The charm of this work is a surface simplicity that covers many hidden layers.
The Solo – Ame Henderson’s this body is another body(performed by Alanna Kraaijeveld)
In this piece, the intellectual Henderson has seemingly created the impossible – a solo that pays homage to the dancers who aren’t in the piece.
From the moment that Kraaijeveld comes on stage, and until she leaves, she physicalizes places where other dancers could be.
For example, her first position is standing against the back wall. She then comes out of that position, and before she puts herself back against the wall, her gestures and body language indicate that she can visualize the position as a defined image, a concrete reality in space. When she slides into the position again, it is like taking the place of another dancer’s body.
Throughout the piece, the dancer establishes a position, and then proceeds to assume it. It is all very deliberate, very calculated and very controlled. And, one can add, very compelling.
Dancemakers’s Project 3/2/1 continues until April 17.
New Malcolm X Bio Urges Feds
to Reopen Murder Investigation
(April 6, 2011) *A new biography of Malcolm X shines a new light on his murder and has sparked a new call for justice, reports CBS News.
“Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention,” the new book by Columbia University professor Manning Marable, outlines why the investigation should be reopened. Marable died last week, just before publication.
Zaheer Ali, Marable’s chief researcher, said, “Professor Marable believed in justice. And his killers were never served justice.”
On Feb. 21, 1965, Malcolm X was speaking to several hundred people at the Audubon Ballroom in upper Manhattan when three men suddenly stood up in the front rows and started shooting.
Talmadge Hayer was caught at the scene and confessed to being one of the gunmen. Twelve years later, he signed affidavits claiming two other men, who both served long sentences, had nothing to do with the shooting.
David Garrow, historian and author, said, “As Marable’s quite powerful book details, four of the actual assassins never were pursued and at least one of them still lives openly in the metro New York area.”
The book claims the New York Police Department knew Malcolm X’s life was in danger but turned the other way in the face of threats.
By almost any standard, the investigation at the Audubon Ballroom was shoddy. Four hours after Malcolm X was shot, the Audubon was reopened for a church dance. The crime scene was cleaned up before a full forensic analysis could be done.
“There were still bullet holes in the wall when this dance party was taking place,” Ali said. “So these kinds of questions are the kinds of questions this book raises.”
Police deny a cover-up. But in his last interview, Marable told CBS News he wanted the Justice Department to reopen the case. Now plenty of people wait to see if this last wish will be granted.
Does It Get Any Better than
‘The Strawberry Letter?’
Source: www.eurweb.com - By: Ricardo A. Hazell
(April 6, 2011) *Those that are fans of Steve Harvey’s syndicated morning radio show know of her, and even the more recent fans culled from the ‘Steve Harvey Project’ on BET’s Centric network might be familiar with her as well. She dishes advice straight from the heart, and seldom sounds like a snooty know it all, on her segment “The Strawberry Letter.”
Though she has made a career for herself by being giving advice in support of Mr. Harvey’s various media offerings, Shirley Strawberry steps out and gets her own part of the sunshine with her new book “The Strawberry Letter: Real Talk, Real Advice, Because Bitterness Isn’t Sexy.”
Lee Bailey and Shirley recently had a chat in support of her new book. Here’s what went down.
“In the show, we would get so many heartbreaking letters from women who were in horrible relationships with these men. They thought they were good men at first and something happened and it turned out that he was not the man of their dreams. More often the man of their nightmares.” explained Strawberry of a certain type of letter she often receives. She went on to tell us how Steve managed to release a relationship book before her. After all, isn’t she supposed to be the relationship ‘expert?’ “Steve really saw a need with all of the women calling in and he would tease them all the time and say how he would write a book. He finally sat down and wrote the book and I know that he wrote it because I was there first hand at the writing sessions.”
(Scroll down to learn how you can WIN an autographed copy of “The Strawberry Letter: Real Talk, Real Advice, Because Bitterness Isn’t Sexy.”)
Ok, Steve wrote a book about relationships, and it was pretty well received. But Strawberry tells EURweb that she never thought about writing a book. As a matter of fact, it was the common man and woman on the street that convinced her.
“Nobody asked me to write a book,” stated Shirley. “I get that question over and over again. Even after Steve wrote his book I never had any intentions to write a book. But people kept asking me. So, I said I’d do it. I just didn’t necessarily believe that people wanted to hear what I had to say. I had to hear it a lot of times. People really had to convince me to do it. There was some reluctance on my part. I’m glad I did now that it’s done. I respect all authors and writers because it’s not an easy thing to do. It’s very cathartic. You have a certain sense of accomplishment when you do it. I’m very happy that I did.”
And we’re certain fans of your signature brand of advice are happy that you got through it Ms. Strawberry. Prior to completing the book Shirley was perhaps sideswiped again when two major publishing house came knocking.
“Random House came to me and they asked me to write a book,” she explained. “They wanted to hear my side. Harper Collins (publisher of Steve Harvey’s book) asked me to write a book too, but I didn’t want to do it with them. I kind of wanted to do it on my own. That would have been a great bid and I know they would have taken great care of me, but I kind of wanted to do it on my own.”
As you may already know, Shirley is not a writer herself and had to enlist the considerable talents of author Lyah Beth LeFlore. She couldn’t have picked a better writer for this particular project if she tried.
“Lyah Beth LeFlore, she’s a writer. She’s written like six or seven books. She’s a lovely, talented writer. Originally out of St. Louis. She wrote the book with Eddie Levert and his son Gerald. She also wrote “Last Night a DJ Saved My Life.” I just loved her spirit. I loved the type of person she sounded like over the phone, because I still hadn’t met her yet. It’s like we just had kindred spirits,” gushed Strawberry.
As far as advice books go, relationship books have to be to be the toughest to pen. That’s because nobody has a perfect relationship, ever! Shirley’s no different, but that shouldn’t disqualify her from writing the book. She told Lee that she needs extra convincing when being courted.
“It’s no secret that I’m single. It’s interesting … a man would have to knock me down to get me to realize that he was interested in me. That’s kind of crazy, not literally, but he would have to really come strong with his hunting skills. I would really have to be convinced. If you’re interested in dating me, anyone who might be reading this, have your hunting skills. I wrote a letter to myself in the book. My advise to myself was ‘I need to get out more, meet people. When people ask you to go out, get up and go out. That’s how you meet people. They don’t come and knock on your door and that’s your husband right there.’”
Though she has written the book Strawberry says she has some difficulty following her own advice. Lee jokingly called her out on it.
“I’m trying Lee, I’m hard headed,” she laughed. “My Mom used to ask me why my head was so hard. I should say it’s easier sometimes to be a coach than a player. I mean it’s easier to give people advice than to take advice yourself. You get into this pattern or this mode where you want to help everybody, but when it comes to me…? I’m doing better and getting out more. I’m going to a party tomorrow.”
And what can readers expect?
“It’s a compilation of some of the show’s favourite letters from our listeners,” said Shirley. “It’s advice from me based on those letters and I recall situations from my past as well. No, (as I said,)I’m not in a relationship now but I have been in the past and I see the signs. Basically it’s a book about loving yourself.”
And what is the one piece of advice she wants folks – and herself – to take away from the book?
“If you get another day there’s another chance to be better. Consider this a blessing because your here. Each day that you’re here is another chance. I’m single, but that doesn’t mean that I have to be bitter, depressed and mean and desperate. I can still be happy where I am, but I can also work to improve and do better and show others how to work and do better.”
When asked what letter stood out to her the most Strawberry offered up a sordid tale that actually didn’t make the book.
“It’s interesting because the one that stands out to me didn’t make the book. There was this one crazy letter from a woman who said her husband was so overweight that he had problems cleaning himself. Whenever he had a cleaning problem he would call her, and she was just fed up with it. I told her to run for the hills. Actually I told her, short of any medical condition her husband might have, she and her husband really needed to sit down and work this thing out. If he’s obese then they really needed to start working on the diet plan and go from there. That was demeaning for her to have to do that. C’mon now, let’s be real. Who wants to do that?”
Though it may appear as Shirley Strawberry and Steve Harvey are quick-witted and have great answers of rapid fire, Strawberry tells EURweb that it’s nothing of the sort.
“Sometimes I struggle with the answers. I’m not a psychologist, nor is Steve. We just give common sense, homespun, sometimes comedic answers. Sometimes it’s just you’re stupid. C’mon, let’s not be this stupid. Sometimes there are letters we don’t have an answer to. If I don’t know we just say ‘I don’t know.’ We don’t have all the answers. Sometime it’s a simple as ‘You need God, this is way over our head.’ I just want people to love their lives and just start wherever they are. Start wherever you are and go from there.”
“The Strawberry Letter” was released yesterday (April 5, 2011) on Ballantine Books, a division of Random House. It’s not just a relationship book, though it’s sometimes billed that way. It’s Shirley Strawberry’s tips on how to have a happier life. And as much as she laughs and smiles you might want to heed, even if it’s just a bit.
Turks And Caicos Island Voted
Top Beach Destination
Source: www.globeandmail.com - Reuters
(April 05, 2011) New York— The tiny island of Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos has been voted the top beach destination in the world, according to the travel website TripAdvisor.
It ranked above such renowned beach destinations as Honolulu and Miami Beach in the report based on travellers’ reviews and ratings.
Myrtle Beach in South Carolina was the only destination in the United States to make the top five.
“A number of factors make these beach destinations stand out as wonderful choices,” said TripAdvisor spokesman Brooke Ferencsik. “In addition to featuring remarkable stretches of sand, these hot spots offer a wide variety of quality hotels, restaurants and activities to accommodate virtually any vacation budget, and appeal to any traveller type.”
Providenciales, which has experienced a boom in high-end resorts with total visitors tripling since the mid-1990s, was praised for its pristine white-sand beaches, calm, clear water and a healthy barrier reef appealing to snorkelers and divers.
Many reviewers called its Grace Bay Beach the world’s best.
Rounding out the top five were Boracay, in the Philippines, Aruba’s Palm/Eagle beach, Negril in Jamaica and Tulum, Mexico.
The quaint, Victorian-tinged Cape May, at the southern tip of New Jersey, was the only other U.S. beach among the top 10.
Grand Cayman’s famous Seven Mile Beach and Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic placed seventh and eighth respectively.
Ayia Napra in Cyprus was the top-rated European beach destination, followed by Skiathos, Greece.
Despite its glamorous, starry reputation, the French Riviera didn’t even place among Europe’s top 25.
In the South Pacific, synonymous with exotic beach travel for many, Bora Bora topped the list.
The top choice in Central and South America was Santa Teresa in Costa Rica, a country that has developed a reputation for eco-travel.
Other highly rated beach destinations included the Maldives, Panama City, Miami Beach, Isla Mujeres, Florida’s Sanibel Island and Playa del Carmen on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.
Fan: No Regrets After Improbable Playoff Push
(April 06, 2011) So that's it. This uneven, teeter-totter of a season has come to an unofficial end.
It happened at precisely 9:26 p.m.
Toronto and Washington were tied 2-2 at the ACC. But the fate of Leafs Nation was settled across the border when Buffalo scored into an empty net, giving them a 4-2 win over Tampa and, more important, giving Leaf fans a sixth consecutive year without postseason action.
To be honest, I'm surprised by how hard it hit me. Even this morning, as I wheeled out the recycling and fed the cats, the feeling of disappointment was wildly out of proportion with reality.
I mean, we knew "mathematical elimination" was all but inevitable. It may have been written in invisible ink but it was in our calendars some time ago. This race was always the longest of long shots. The odds never moved beyond grim. The surge was doomed, likely to run out of space and time.
Over the last few weeks, as this young team clawed their way out from the crater they dug during a disastrous first half, it was hard not to admire their own fierce determination, their own faith in the impossible.
At 9:31, as regulation time ended and the cameras showed the bench, I actually winced. The silhouette of those slouched bodies – every face etched with crushed disappointment – showed just how much they believed.
The pundits are now free to wag their fingers and conduct armchair postmortems on 2010-2011. The self-appointed experts can make sense of what happened, what should happen and what might possibly happen.
Me, I just want to say thank you to this young team.
Am I delusional? Crazy? A glutton for punishment? Has years of on-ice mediocrity dulled my critical faculties and lowered my expectations to zero? Am I suffering from a godforsaken mix of Stockholm Syndrome and Blind Faith?
All I really know is this: For the first time in a long time, I am bidding farewell to a season with no regrets and no residual anger. History may deem 2010-2011 to be another failure but it sure as hell doesn't feel that way at 8:53 a.m. this morning.
So, thank you.
Having watched every minute of every game this season, I believe my beloved team is finally, at long last, on the right track. The pieces are coming together. The future looks brighter than it has for quite some time.
In my opinion, my proudly biased opinion, this is not The End. It is The Beginning and I can't wait until the fall.
IOC Issues Guidelines To Avoid
Repeat Of Caster Semenya Fiasco
Source: www.globeandmail.com - By James Christie
(April 05, 2011) The International Olympic Committee used to have a simple way of telling the difference between men and women before they took to the field of play to compete for gold. In the 1960s, doubters simply told the athletes in a direct command: Pull down your pants.
Seeing was not believing in the 1970s, when the test of womanhood or manhood was determined by a count of chromosomes. First, it was a buccal smear. Then, analyses became even more scientific to catch imposters.
Now, there's a call for yet a new generation of tests because of a sex-type ambiguity called hyperandrogenism.
Starting with the 2012 Olympic Games in London, sports federations must adopt rules for their competitions "duly adapted to meet the specificities of the sport concerned," the IOC executive board said Tuesday. The IOC must establish "clear rules to determine the eligibility of female athletes with hyperandrogenism," the organization said in a statement.
The issue has been around for many years, but was in the spotlight when South African runner Caster Semenya won the women's 800-metres gold at the 2009 world track championships. Though the athlete had the external appearance of a woman and had been raised as a woman, medical investigation showed Semenya had naturally occurring organs that were producing testosterone and giving her an advantage in women's fields.
On Tuesday, the IOC accepted recommendations from its medical commission that: "A female recognized in law should be eligible to compete in female competitions provided that she has androgen levels below the male range (as shown by the serum concentration of testosterone) or, if within the male range."
That is, a women can have male hormones coursing in her body - as long as she derives no competitive advantage from such levels.
"An evaluation with respect to eligibility should be made on an anonymous basis by a panel of independent international experts in the field of hyperandrogenism that would in each case issue a recommendation on eligibility for the sport concerned."
That is to say, experts on sexual ambiguity must decide on the athlete's eligibility.
If an athlete is ruled ineligible to compete, she would be notified of the reasons why, and informed of the conditions she would be required to meet should she wish to become eligible again. And, if she declines to comply, "while that is her right as an individual," she will not be eligible to participate.
The investigation, naturally, would be conducted under strict confidentiality.
Although rare, some women develop masculine body characteristics due to an overproduction of male sex hormones. The androgenic effects on the human body explain why men perform better than women in most sports and are the reason for the distinction between male and female competition in most sports.
2014 ROSTER GROWS
Women's ski jumping, slopestyle events in snowboard and alpine freestyle, and acrobatic halfpipe skiing are among the additions to the Winter Olympic program the IOC will approve Wednesday for the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia.
More - including mixed relay in biathlon, and nation-based team events in figure skating and luge - may be coming as Canada's chances of its best medal output at a Winter Games get a boost.
The addition of tricks-based slopestyle and ski halfpipe events - using rails, jumps and moguls - would be the latest effort by the IOC to target a more youthful audience with spectacular events which lend themselves to stadium seating and TV coverage. They'd also make fuller use of facilities built for the Games, such as the halfpipes.
Reigning world champions for men's and women's halfpipe are Canadian (Rosalind Groenewoud of Calgary and Mike Riddle of Squamish, B.C.) and the world silver medalist and X Games champ in women's slopestyle is Kaya Turski of Montreal. Sarah Burke of Squamish is the current X Games and FIS World Cup overall champion.
American snowboard star Shaun White, who won halfpipe gold at the 2010 Games in Vancouver, has said he would like to add slopestyle to his schedule if it's approved for Sochi.
Ski-cross made its debut in Vancouver.
The IOC said last October that it "looked favourably" on the six proposed events but postponed a ruling until after the various world championships this winter. The IOC gave president Jacques Rogge the mandate to make the final decision himself, but he is expected to seek the board's approval Wednesday.
IOC officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press that women's ski jumping is virtually certain to be accepted.
Ski jumping and Nordic combined, which features ski jumping and cross-country skiing, are the only Winter Olympic events for men only.
The IOC twice turned down women's ski jumping for inclusion in the Vancouver Games, saying the sport lacked enough elite competitors. The women took their case all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, but failed to overturn the IOC decision.
The women backed up their case at the Nordic world championships in Oslo in early March, when competitors jumped in heavy fog and strong winds. There, IOC board member Gerhard Heiberg of Norway was impressed by the level of competition and said he'd recommend the event's inclusion to Rogge.
PAN AM 2015 PRESENCE
The IOC is meeting in London is in conjunction with the annual SportAccord Convention, a sports industry event attended by 1,500 delegates. There, Pan American Games officials will bid to get events on the Toronto 2015 docket upgraded to Olympic qualifiers for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.
Currently, success in 12 Pan Am sports yields an Olympic berth. Toronto 2015 chief executive officer Ian Troop said last week he has aiming for 20 events to be elevated to Olympic qualifiers.
WINTER GAMES BIDDERS LINE UP
The three cities bidding for the 2018 Winter Olympics - Annecy, France, Munich, Germany, and Pyeongchang, South Korea - will make presentations to a key international audience just three months before the IOC vote.
Scott Mitchell Named
Top-Ranked Prospect For Upcoming CFL Draft
Source: www.globeandmail.com - The Canadian Press
(April 05, 2011) TORONTO— Rice offensive lineman Scott Mitchell will enter this year's CFL Canadian college draft as the top-ranked prospect.
The six-foot-four, 295-pound tackle moved up a spot to the No. 1 position in the CFL's Scouting Bureau's list following a solid performance at the league's evaluation camp in March. Mitchell, an Ottawa native, went in as the second-ranked prospect but impressed with his versatility, lining up at guard and centre as well as at his natural position.
The 2011 CFL Canadian college draft will be held May 8.
Toronto native Philip Blake, a junior centre at Baylor, was the top-ranked prospect but didn't participate in the evaluation camp because he has another year of NCAA eligibility remaining and is expected to return to school this fall. He fell to No. 4 but is still eligible to be selected in the draft, with any team taking him retaining his CFL rights.
Calgary receiver Anthony Parker moved up a spot to No. 3 on the overall list. But making the biggest jump was St. Francis Xavier's Henoc Muamba, who went from seventh to third following the evaluation camp.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have the top pick in this year's draft. The last time the club selected first in the Canadian draft was in 1975.
LeBron James On The Cusp Of
Source: www.globeandmail.com - Tim Reynolds, The Associated Press
(April 05, 2011) MIAMI— LeBron James speaks often of his appreciation for NBA history.
On Wednesday, he'll likely make some history.
James needs only two points to reach 2,000 for the season, which would put him on another yet list alongside some of the game's greatest players. The NBA's two-time reigning MVP will become the eighth player to score 2,000 points seven times — and at age 26, he will be the youngest member of that elite club.
“It means a lot,” James said. “It means I've stayed healthy over the years. It also means the teammates and coaching staffs that I've had have given me the leeway to go out there and score.
“I've just tried to take full advantage of it. There's a lot of hard work that goes into it and I just try to go out on the court and be the best player I can every night.”
There's bigger issues for Miami (54-23) to tackle against the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night, namely trying to stay in position for the No. 2 spot in the Eastern Conference. The Heat entered Tuesday a half-game ahead of Boston (53-23) in the East race; the Celtics were playing Tuesday night at home against Philadelphia.
Plus, there's the not-so-small matter of Dwyane Wade's health. The 2006 NBA final MVP sat out practice Tuesday with a bruised right thigh, and isn't certain if he'll be able to play against the Bucks in a game that Miami probably can't afford to lose if it wants to hold home-court advantage in the first two rounds of the playoffs.
Still, James' latest accomplishment is one that Miami is noticing.
“You have to really catch yourself and not take his talent for granted,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We say it all the time, that greatness is consistency. You can book his numbers every single year against the best competition.
“And he does it every single night, to the point where I think a lot of people do take it for granted.”
Every other player with seven seasons of scoring 2,000 points — Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Alex English, Michael Jordan, Karl Malone, Oscar Robertson and Dominique Wilkins — is in the Basketball Hall of Fame.
James will be the eighth person in that seven-timers club, and Kobe Bryant needs only 85 points in the Lakers' final six games to get to 2,000 again and join as well. Of that group, James will get there two years faster than anyone else; Robertson was 28 when he scored 2,000 for the seventh and final time.
Everyone else on that list, except Abdul-Jabbar, joined James as having seven consecutive 2,000-point seasons. Malone is the only one with more, 11 straight and 12 in 13 seasons, the exception being only the 50-game season in 1998-99.
And Jordan reached 2,000 points in 10 consecutive full seasons, but that stretch was broken by his brief retirement for baseball.
“Knowing where I come from, knowing where I just was — I mean, in 2000, 2001, I was still in high school back in Ohio with a lot of dreams to become great — the fact that my name gets put with the great is definitely a testament to my work ethic and the people around me,” James said.
One of the common thoughts around the NBA was that James, Wade and Chris Bosh all would have their stats plummet by playing together in Miami.
Even to their own surprise, that wasn't exactly the case.
James may lead in the NBA in total points for the first time this season, after finishing second on that list in each of the last six seasons. He entered Tuesday three points ahead of Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant.
James' scoring average of 26.6 this season is only a little more than a point down from his average during seven seasons as Cleveland's primary offensive threat. Wade is averaging 25.7 points, just 0.9 points shy of what he managed a year ago. Bosh averaged 20.2 points in seven years with Toronto; he's at 18.7 this season as Miami's No. 3 option.
“You automatically think when you bring three guys together that are used to having the ball, it's going to take a lot away. ... It's just a testament to us figuring it out,” Wade said. “A lot of people questioned, ‘Can we play together?' I think we've done a great job.”
The numbers, naturally, support Wade's words.
“Just trying to stay above the curve,” James said.
Oshawa’s Dwyer Girls Aglow
With Hockey Gold
Source: www.thestar.com - Carola Vyhnak
(April 04, 2011) They’re Oshawa’s golden girls.
Hockey heroes who did their hometown and high school proud when they finally captured the elusive top prize in the provincial championship last month.
For three years, the Paul Dwyer Saints had nabbed every medal the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) tournament had to offer: silver, bronze and antique bronze.
But it was fourth-time lucky for the gutsy group who beat Ancaster’s Bishop Tonnos 5-2 in the gold-medal game in Stratford.
On Monday, the girls basked in the glow and glory of that coveted prize as their hard-fought champions’ banner rose to deafening cheers in the school cafeteria.
“It’s amazing. I’m just so happy,” said captain Jessica Pinkerton, 17, who led the way to victory with a hat-trick and an assist. “I couldn’t have done it without everyone else.”
That included goalie and best friend Stephanie Nehring, one of several players who will graduate from Monsignor Paul Dwyer Catholic High School this year with a fistful of medals.
“We knew this was our last chance,” said Nehring, 19, who earned shutouts at every Lake Ontario Secondary School Athletic Association playoff game last season.
Beaming alongside his jubilant team was coach Randy Boissoin, heaping praise for their persistence.
“They made it to the final four years in a row and now they’ve finished the mission,” he said. “There are hundreds of girls’ high school hockey teams across the province so it’s overwhelming to become No. 1.”
It was the first OFSAA hockey title in the school’s almost 50-year history, Boissoin added.
In a city that’s seen its share of bad news from GM job losses and economic challenges, a made-in-Oshawa hockey dynasty is something to brag about. Even a fresh ankle injury from his morning workout couldn’t keep a limping Mayor John Henry away from Monday’s rally.
“When you win as a team, we as a city celebrate,” he told them. “We’re so incredibly proud of your accomplishments.”
Victory at the March 25 title match tasted especially sweet served up with a side order of revenge, said Nehring, describing how Bishop Tonnos rubbed the Saints’ noses in a 2-1 loss earlier in the tournament.
They did “little stuff to get us mad,” like denying them the option of wearing blue rather than white jerseys, Pinkerton said.
With taunts from their rivals still ringing in their ears, Nehring said, “We just gave it to them.”
Their coach picked up on their renewed drive.
“It was a completely different feeling that Friday night, like they knew they could do it,” said Boissoin, crediting their success to a strong defence and “putting goals in the net.”
Ranked No. 1 going into the tournament, the Saints have shown all along they’ve got what it takes, he said. “The most they’ve let in is two goals all season.”
“We’ve come so close so many times,” he continued, displaying metal discs dangling from white, green and blue ribbons. “I’ve had some of the same kids for four or five years, sharing their ups and downs. They’re like family. That makes winning a little bit sweeter.”
Last year’s silver-lined near miss was heartbreaking, Nehring recalled of their 2-1 loss in overtime to St. Basil-the-Great of North York.
“We don’t like losing,” agreed Pinkerton, who describes hockey as “everything” to her.
The two teens are among a handful of key teammates who also play for the Whitby Wolves in the Provincial Women’s Hockey League. After graduation, they’ll head off to Guelph university to study criminology and put in more ice time.
Raptors’ 102-98 Win Over Magic
Gives Fans Reason To Cheer Again
Source: www.thestar.com - Doug Smith
(April 03, 2011) The fans were standing and screaming, the players were smiling, the guys on the bench were up and cheering and the mascot was hugging fans in the front row.
It was a night when maybe a few people saw the plan truly in action, a night when a group of young kids played like grizzled old veterans and in a season more about the future than the present, it had to send a message somewhere that things might be moving in the right direction.
Capping what was their best weekend set of games perhaps all season, the Raptors vanquished the Orlando Magic 102-98 before a sellout crowd at the Air Canada Centre on Sunday, providing a true feel-good moment for a team and its fan base that hasn’t had a lot to crow about this season.
“Everybody’s playing well right now, we’re playing well and when everyone’s touching (the ball), I think it is a fun way to play and a good way to play because it’s successful,” said Jerryd Bayless, who had a second excellent game in a row with 23 points and eight assists. “Obviously it’s been a bumpy road this year, up and down. Hopefully we end the year on a good note and we take it into next year.”
There remain six games to be played before the season is concluded but if it came to an end today, it would indeed be on a high note.
Missing starters Jose Calderon and Andrea Bargnani, the Raptors played well against the best team in the East before falling in Chicago on Saturday but they bounced back with another stellar effort against the 48-29 Magic at home.
It may do little to improve the team’s final placing this season but seeing youngsters like Bayless, Ed Davis and DeMar DeRozan handle a tough and rested opponent well down the stretch — Toronto outscored Orlando 29-19 in the final quarter — was rewarding.
“I think we’ve played 96 minutes of very good basketball the last two nights,” said coach Jay Triano. “Our guys are playing hard and they’re playing aggressive and they’re sharing the basketball. To have 24 assists tonight (on 40 made baskets) was very good for us.”
The assist total was not surprising given that Toronto’s two best players were Bayless and Leandro Barbosa, who had 14 points while wreaking havoc on the Magic defenders in the decisive fourth quarter.
When Orlando decided to go big with 6-10 Hedo Turkoglu as the point guard, the Raptors went small and dominated. There wasn’t an Orlando player able to keep Barbosa in front of them and Bayless was deadly from the floor, making seven of 14 shots including three of six three-pointers.
“It’s tough . . . when they’re on the floor together to decide who’s going to guard them,” Triano said of the small but speedy duo. “They’re both point guards and you put a (shooting guard) on one of them and you’ve got a guy who’s not used to participating in (defending) screen-roll action all the time.”
The Raptors also devised a solid enough defensive game plan that took away what Orlando does best. Fully comfortable with Dwight Howard scoring as much as he wanted, Toronto decided to try to limit the effectiveness of the Magic outside shooters and did a good enough job.
Howard finished with 31 points and Orlando shot 49 per cent from the floor but the Magic were discombobulated with Howard had to rest.
“We felt that if we helped a lot on Dwight, they would skip it and they get a lot of guys involved and they shoot a ton of threes,” said Triano. “Nine for 21 (from three-point range)? I’ll take against this team, they average 28 (a game) and everybody gets involved, everybody gets excited.
“We wanted one guy to be excited tonight and that was Dwight and we hoped he’d miss free throws and eventually he did.”
As human beings we possess determination and intelligence, the combination of which offers many opportunities. It is important to direct our intelligence with good intentions. Without intelligence, we cannot accomplish very much. Without good intentions, the way we exercise of our intelligence may have destructive results.