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LE NEWSLETTER

October 20, 2011

Are we really heading towards the end of October?  So that means that Hallowe'en is right around the corner!  Where does the time go?

Special notice for the
Divine Brown fans out there, she has two upcoming live performances. The first is an event called Whisky Rocks! also featuring Big Sugar and more on October 20 at the Mod Club.  Go to www.fullcc.com for more info and tickets.  

Divine also performs at the 2011 Planet Africa Awards on October 22 at Roy Thompson Hall.  For tickets and more info visit www.planetafricagroup.com.

Two hot events coming up are unique in their own rights: the first is on November 4 called
FOR A LIVING PLANET, a special concert in support of World Wildlife Fund Canada with an amazing talent line-up; and the second is Peter Furler and Special Guests Canadian Christmas Tour coming in December in support of World Vision Canada.  Another great line-up so check them both out under HOT EVENTS!

This week's news features news on
Drake and his comedic performance on Saturday Night Live with two AMAZING performances with his Canadian content band - very hot; and Damon Allen joins the talented cast of professional athletes in the Hall of Fame; the panel is starting to be chosen for Canada's Got Talent including Measha Brueggergosmanand Martin Short; and the tragic news of Dan Wheldon's passing at the IZOD IndyCar Series on the weekend.  Check it out under TOP STORIES.

Don't forget to check out the
TIDBITS sections of the various categories - lots of succinct but hot news there too.  Scroll to your entertainment news, and click on the photo or the headline and you'll get directly to the article and your latest entertainment news!

::TOP STORIES::

Drake Appears on SNL!

As you may have heard by now,
Drake performed on Saturday Night Live this past Saturday night!  Check out the hilarious interview with Drake and as well the videos of his performances from his “Take Care” album, including Headlines where he gives a shout out to Toronto saying “Let’s do it one more time for Toronto!”.

SNL - SNL Digital Short: Drake Interview: HERE

Drake and Nikki Minaj: Make Me Proud “Let’s do it one more time for Toronto”!: HERE

Drake: Headlines: HERE

Allen Headlines The 2012 Canadian Football Hall Of Fame Class

Source: www.thestar.com

(Oct. 16, 2011) TORONTO—
Damon Allen is heading into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.

Allen, who saw Anthony Calvillo break three of his all-time CFL passing records this year, headlined the 2012 induction class announced Sunday on TSN at halftime of the game between the Montreal Alouettes and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Also named for enshrinement are former players Milt Stegall, Tyrone Jones (posthumously) and Jack Abendschan.

Former CFL tailback Eric Lapointe will be inducted as a Canadian university player while former Calgary Dinos head coach Peter Connellan and B.C. Lions and Toronto Argonauts owner David Braley were named as builders.

Allen, 48, spent 23 seasons in the CFL and retired following the 2007 season as the league leader in passing yards (72,381), touchdowns (394) and completions (5,158). However, Calvillo broke all three marks this season and surpassed Allen as pro football’s all-time passing leader in last week’s win over Toronto.

Allen remains in the CFL record book, most notably as the top rushing quarterback in league history with 11,920 yards. That total leaves him third in all-time rushing behind Mike Pringle (16,425 yards) and George Reed (16,116).

Stegall, 41, spent his entire 14-year CFL career with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The nine-time all-star was its outstanding player in 2002. When he retired in following the 2008 season he did so as the career leader in receiving yards (15,153) and touchdowns (147), although B.C. Lions slotback Geroy Simon is on pace to surpass Stegall’s yardage mark.

Jones was a flamboyant linebacker during his 10-year CFL career, spent mostly with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (1983-‘87, 1989-‘91). The colourful Jones was never afraid to speak his mind but backed up his words with stellar play on the field, earning CFL all-star honours four times and being named a division all-star on five occasions.

He remains the Bombers all-time sacks leader (98), was named the league’s top defensive player in 1985 and won two Grey Cups. Jones was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer in August 2005 and died June 10, 2008, at the age of 46.

Abendschan spent his entire 11-year CFL career with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, playing offensive guard while also serving as the team’s kicker. In fact, at the time of his retirement following the ‘75 season the five-time All-Canadian was the last of the old-time kickers who also played a regular position.

Lapointe, 37, enjoyed a stellar collegiate career at Mount Allison, named Canadian university football’s top rookie in 1995 before twice capturing the Hec Crighton Trophy its outstanding player. The native of Brossard, Que., spent time in the CFL with Hamilton, Toronto and Montreal from 1999 to 2006 after rushing for 4,666 yards with the Mounties.

Connellan built the Dinos program into a Canadian university powerhouse during his 13-year tenure as the school’s head coach. He never coached a losing team and guided Calgary to eight Canada West Championships and four Vanier Cup Championships. He posted a stellar 70-32 regular-season record but was 16-6 in the playoffs and twice claimed the Frank Tindall Trophy as CIS coach of the year (1977, ‘85).

The 70-year-old Braley has the distinction of currently owning two CFL franchises — the B.C. Lions and Toronto Argonauts. He entered the CFL as an owner of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats from 1987 until 1990, then returned to Canadian football in 1997 by purchasing the Lions. He added the Argos to his sports portfolio last year, becoming the first person in league history to own separate teams at the same time.

Braley owns Orlick Industries Ltd., a Hamilton-based auto parts manufacturer and was appointed to the Senate on May 20, 2010.

Brueggergosman On ‘Canada's Got Talent’ Judging Panel

Source: www.globeandmail.com - The Canadian Press

(Oct 17, 2011) TORONTO — Opera star
Measha Brueggergosman and songwriter Stephan Moccio will join Martin Short on the Canada's Got Talent judging panel.

Citytv also announced that Toronto TV personality Dina Pugliese will host the show.

Brueggergosman is a Juno-winning soprano who has performed in famed venues around the world including Roy Thomson Hall, Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center.

Originally from St. Catharines, Ont., Moccio is known for writing the song I Believe for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. He's also worked with artists including Celine Dion, Josh Groban, Olivia Newton-John and Gladys Knight.

The Canada's Got Talent live theatre audition tour continue Tuesday in Calgary.

The show is set to premiere next March.

The Talent franchise originated in the U.K., with reality TV's Simon Cowell serving as creator and one of the show's judges.

Since then, new versions have sprouted in nearly every corner of the world, including Australia, Chile, Italy, China, India and Thailand.

Driver Wheldon Killed At Indy Race

Source: www.thestar.com

(Oct. 16, 2011) The announcement of his death was made shortly
after 6 p.m. ET. IndyCar also announced that the final race of the IZOD IndyCar Series season was over and that the drivers still in competition would drive five slow laps in salute.

Cheers, whistles and applause from fans at the track greeted the cars as the drivers circled the speedway. A piper played Amazing Grace.

Three-time champion Dario Franchitti was in tears in the cockpit of his car as he prepared to join the other drivers in salute.

"IndyCar is sad to announce that
Dan Wheldon has passed away from unsurvivable injuries," said IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Dan and his family. IndyCar, its drivers and teams have decided to end the race. We will run a five-lap salute in honor of Dan."

Wheldon had talked to ABC announcer Scott Goodyear from his car during the warm-up laps - chief announcer Marty Reid had introduced Wheldon as the network's "in-race reporter" - and when the green flag was thrown Wheldon had actually used his Twitter account to Tweet: "Green!!!"

Wheldon was the Indy Racing League's Rookie of the Year in 2003 and two years later was the IRL champion and winner of his first Indianapolis 500. He won the "500" a second time this year. He lived in St. Petersburg, Fla., and was married with two young sons.

An Englishman by birth, Wheldon moved to the United States in 1999 after funding to support his racing career in Britain dried up. He was able to keep racing in the U.S. and was a star in Formula Atlantic and Indy Lights before he moved to the Indy car series with Panther Racing and then Andretti-Green Racing. He joined Chip Ganassi Racing in 2006.

Wheldon had been busy this season testing the new Dallara 2012 Indy car, which will replace the current car. He was recruited for the job after winning the "500" in May for a team made up of Sam Schmidt Motorsport and Bryan Herta Racing. He didn't have a ride for the rest of this season and worked several races as a TV analyst.

It was expected that Wheldon would drive for Andretti Autosport in 2012, to replace the departing Danica Patrick with sponsorship from GoDaddy.com, although there had not been a formal announcement.

Tony Kanaan, who was declared winner of the race after it was called off, was a teammate of Wheldon's at what-was-then Andretti-Green and had difficulty finding the right words to express his anguish upon learning of his friend's death.

Wheldon had been racing Sunday for a $5 million bonus in a car sponsored by Toronto company Bowers & Wilkins. Bernard originally wanted five non-IndyCar Series regulars - such as NASCAR's Kasey Kahn and X-Games star Travis Pastrana - to race for the big prize but when that idea fizzled, Wheldon was recruited to start the race last and try to win it. He would split the prize with a fan, if successful.


DAN WHELDON CELEBRATES AFTER WINNING THE INDIANAPOLIS 500

IZOD IndyCar Series official had confirmed earlier that Wheldon was
transported by medical helicopter from the speedway to the LV University Medical Centre following a huge accident that resulted in the race being stopped.

Driver Paul Tracy of Scarborough told TV reporters that "about 20 doctors are working on Dan" inside the medical centre before he was taken away on the helicopter. He described the accident as a "horrendous crash."

The red flag was out for nearly two hours before the announcement of Wheldon's passing was made.

The big accident took place on the 12th lap and involved 15 cars. Wheldon, whose car flew through the air and landed upside down, appeared immediately to have been badly injured.

The 15 cars - nearly half the field - were damaged when two crashes happened almost simultaneously at speeds approaching 220 miles an hour. The largest field of the year, 34 cars, had started the race.

Will Power, championship contender for Penske Racing, was involved and was out of the race. This meant Franchitti, who was not involved, is the 2011 champion - his third straight for Chip Ganassi Racing.

ABC reported that Power was taken to hospital later complaining of back pain.

Tracy, J.R. Hildebrand (meaning Oakville's James Hinchcliffe is the series' Sunoco Rookie of the Year as Hildebrand was the only other driver in contention), Townsend Bell, Pippa Mann, Buddy Rice, Wade Cunningham, Vitor Meira, Alex Lloyd and E.J. Viso were among the other drivers involved.

Mann and Hildebrand were sent to the hospital after receiving treatment at the infield medical-care centre. Unlike Wheldon, however, they were all - including Power - transported by ambulance or car.

Shortly after 5 p.m. ET, the drivers still in the race were summoned to a meeting where they were given the bad news. The meeting lasted for about 45 minutes and, according to one driver, there had been a discussion about continuing the race. In the end, the race was called.

The last Indy car driver to die at a race was Paul Dana, who was killed during a practice for the season-opener at Homestead-Miami in 2006. The race went ahead later in the day and, ironically, the winner was Dan Wheldon.

The last Indy car driver to die in a race was Greg Moore of Maple Ridge, B.C., at the California Speedway in 1999. The race continued after Moore was taken to hospital. At the Las Vegas race Sunday, Greg Moore's father, Ric, was seen hugging Franchitti, who was one of Greg Moore's best friends.

When the race started earlier, Kanaan led from pole and was still in front when the race was red-flagged. Danica Patrick, Scott Dixon and Canadian Alex Tagliani were among the other drivers who escaped the crash.

Wheldon had started at the back of the field and was carving his way forward as he raced to win the bonus. He had advanced about 10 positions when the accident happened.

There were actually two crashes. Two cars appeared to touch wheels (it turned out to be Hinchcliffe and Helio Castroneves) and the drivers eased off the throttle momentarily. Wade Cunningham, following right behind, spun while trying to avoid them and triggered a crash that involved three or four cars.

As that happened, Vitor Meira - who was leading a pack of cars immediately behind the Cunningham crash - appeared to lose control and stacked up the rest of the cars. Wheldon didn't stand a chance and rode up and over several cars before crashing upside down into the outside wall catch fencing.

There were several flash fires.

Drivers interviewed, including Franchitti, were critical of aspects of the contest, suggesting the track was too fast for the type of cars being raced and that some of the drivers were not experienced enough to be racing at those speeds and at such close quarters.

“I could see within five laps people were starting to do crazy stuff,” Franchitti said. “I love hard racing but that to me is not really what it’s about. You saw what happened, one small mistake from somebody.”

Veteran Davey Hamilton, who survived a vicious crash at Texas Motor Speedway 11 years ago, said he would now re-think continuing to race. ``It’s the worst (crash) I`ve ever seen in my career,`he said, getting emotional momentarily.

``It’s sad, man.``

Hinchcliffe said the accident actually started when he and Helio Castroneves touched wheels. That resulted in Cunningham hitting the brakes and that started the first accident.

``We`ve never had a situation like this,’ Hinchcliffe said, "where 34 cars are going flat out on a mile-and-a-half track. There`s zero margin of error.``

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway issued this statement on behalf of President and CEO Jeff Belskus:

"We are incredibly saddened at the passing of Dan Wheldon. He was a great champion of the Indianapolis 500 and a wonderful ambassador for the race, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and all of motorsports.

"Most importantly, he was a fantastic husband, father and man - a good friend to so many in this sport. His memory will live forever at the Speedway, both through the magnitude of his accomplishments on the track and his magnetism off the track.

"Our deepest sympathies are extended to his entire family, team and fans."

Al Speyer, director of racing for Firestone, said:

"Recently, we had been working very closely with Dan on the development of the 2012 IndyCar. His passion for the sport was evident every day and he worked endlessly to do the best he could at everything he did. 

"We extend our sympathies to his family, to his team, and to his many friends and fans.  He was a talented competitor on the track who will be long remembered by all who had the privilege of working with and knowing him."

::MUSIC NEWS::

Avril Lavigne: Lost In Wonderland?

Source: www.globeandmail.com - By Brad Wheeler

(Oct 16, 2011) "No one was seeing eye to eye."

Avril Lavigne is on the phone from Calgary, speaking about the rough experiences involved in making her latest album, Goodbye Lullaby, released after much delay last March.

"There was a lot of fighting and going back and forth," she continues. "I don't think it was good for the record or for me and the creative process."

The album's contrasting styles suggest the source of her frustration. Swedish pop maestro Max Martin (who cashes cheques signed by people named Britney, Ke$ha and Pink) collaborated on four bubble-gummed tracks, including the bratty lead single, What the Hell.

Lavigne, coming off a divorce with Sum 41 rocker Deryck Whibley, resisted what she saw as her label's desire for more rhythmic material. She instead wanted songs that were personal and acoustic, with her voice higher in the mix. We hear that on the strummed Wish You Were Here and the album-closing Goodbye, a poignant ballad written and produced by Lavigne. "I did my best," she says. "And it's all good now."

Or is it? In some Canadian cities, Lavigne's current Black Star tour has been drawing pitifully small audiences - an estimated 4,000 (mostly) kids and mothers at Rogers Arena in Vancouver on Oct. 3, and 6,000 at Calgary's Saddledome this week. Those are cavernous arenas that can hold several times that many concertgoers. Some of the reviews have been harsh, too, asking when Lavigne, the 27-year-old pop star who once skateboarded the friendly streets of Napanee, Ont., was finally going to grow up.

It's a good question. She is trying to mature, it appears, but her (now former) record label, RCA, didn't seem to have much interest in seeing Lavigne outgrow her snotty Sk8er Boi image. Something like last year's Alice in Wonderland soundtrack song, Alice - an emotive ballad in the style of Chantal Kreviazuk - is the path the singer-songwriter would herself like to follow.

Major labels, though, aren't generally in the business of fostering careers. They mine the trends, loving the pop-sexy, not the long-term artistry. It's the business.

But if growing old with your audience is challenging, it's not impossible. In the industry, it's called "pulling a George Michael," a reference to the British singer's jump from bleach-blond Wham! singer to the more mature artist who made Faith and Freedom. The video for the latter was clear in its message: To create a fresh new image, you have to do some tearing down and blowing up.

Thing is, it might be too late for Lavigne. "I'll win the race, keep up with the pace," she sings on Alice. But Lavigne is stuck in limbo, in danger of being left behind altogether. On tour and on her new album, she's playing to children even as she attempts to grow up. Like Alice, one pill makes her smaller while the other one makes her tall.

"I think she's stuck," says Eric Alper, a veteran of the industry, who looks after media relations and label acquisitions at eOne Music Canada, a leading record distributor. "She's stuck in an area, knowing why people liked her in the past, and she's not leaving that area." Alper and eOne tend to work with older, established artists. "She needs to do what she wants to do," he advises, "but I don't think she's there yet."

Lavigne exploded in 2002 as a 17-year-old pop-punk princess with her album Let Go and its breakthrough single, Complicated. Her follow-up records, Under My Skin and The Best Damn Thing, sold awfully well. She has diversified into fragrances and fashion. She's massive in Asia.

So, no bake sales yet to raise money for Lavigne. But her original girly fans are in their 20s now, not too likely to place Avril posters in dorm rooms. Recruit fresh middle-schoolers, you say? Not likely either: The Glow Stick crowd has its own heroes - the Lady Gagas and Katy Perrys of the pop sphere.

When asked about recruiting new audiences or keeping old ones, the singer sounds puzzlingly unfocused. "I don't really think about that kind of stuff," she acknowledges much too readily. "I make my music. I go on tour. I work really hard. I do the best that I can do."

This is an artist who needs guidance. She left her Vancouver-based management, Nettwerk, in 2009. "When you think about it, none of Nettwerk's artists ever really grow," says veteran music journalist Larry LeBlanc, perhaps overstating the case, but pointing to other former Nettwerk acts such as the Barenaked Ladies. "Even Sarah McLachlan: How much did she really change or grow when she was there?"

This summer, Lavigne moved to the Epic label from RCA, where, says the singer, she had never been a good fit. "They didn't really try to understand me. These were business people trying to ... discourage me. It's not helpful."

"They tried to dress her up," says LeBlanc, presumably referring to the lavishly posed cover shot on Goodbye Lullaby, "but I'm not sure where they take her."

Where to take her is the decision of Epic, the label now run by L.A. Reid, the man who signed Lavigne to the now-defunct Arista Records way back in 2000. Listening to Lavigne, it sounds as if she and Epic will start with a relatively fresh slate. "I'm not really sure what I have in store for my next album," says the star. "I never really think about it until I've started the project and I'm in it."

That kind of short-sightedness doesn't tend to serve recording artists well, according to Alper. "If you want to be an artist with a career, you have to be looking one to two albums down the road, because their audience might not be there any more as the artist grows up."

George Michael is not the only recording artist to successfully move up in weight class. Michael Jackson disappeared as a child and came back a few years later the king of pop. After leaving boy band 'N Sync, Justin Timberlake expertly matured as an artist.

Justin Bieber is making the moves of a teen idol in it for the long, long run. His upcoming Christmas album pairs him on duets with such older artists as Mariah Carey, Usher and Boyz II Men, the R&B group whose name, fittingly, describes the formidable professional trick Bieber is attempting to achieve.

As for Lavigne, she might not possess the talent and savvy of Timberlake, Bieber and Jackson. Very few do. Still, she puts on a brave face, saying that the tour is going well and that she's playing to "thousands of people."

The poor attendance is an alarm bell, but it isn't just about the money. "It can shake an artist's confidence playing to empty arenas, and it can destroy their career," says Alper. "It can lead to horrible shows, and you start second-guessing yourself. You start thinking 'Maybe this isn't what people want to hear.' "

On Alice, Lavigne sounded a defiant note: "When I fall and hit the ground," she sang, "I will turn myself around." In the real world, that's easier said than done. Rabbit holes, after all, can be deep.

Avril Lavigne plays Sudbury on Sunday; Ottawa on Monday; Moncton on Wednesday; Halifax on Thursday; London, Ont., on Oct. 22; Toronto on Oct. 24; Montreal on Oct. 25.

Humble (And Fred) Beginnings

Source: www.thestar.com - By Vinay Menon

(Oct. 14, 2011) The world of commercial radio is littered with bodies.


Station names change. Formats are always in flux. Program directors come and go. The hiring and firing of on-air talent is usually a craven reflex to ratings, which are scrutinized with chronic unease. Personalities shine and fade.

One day, you are thriving in a large market. The next, you’re gone.

At least, that used to be the cycle. But if Howard Glassman and Fred Patterson — Humble and Fred, to longtime Toronto radio listeners — have their way, there may be life after radio death.

In a makeshift studio, in a low-rise building on a desolate street in Etobicoke,
Humble and Fred are planning to rebottle the madcap alchemy that first earned them a devoted following in 1989, when they stormed the air as the irreverent morning hosts at CFNY (now The Edge 102.1).

In short: They are planning to be reborn.

Not on the FM dial, but on the Internet, in a podcast that debuts Saturday and will then be uploaded daily, Monday to Friday, at HumbleandFredRadio.com.

“This was the first time we’ve both been out of work at the same time together since we were together for the better part of 15 years,” says Glassman, who was fired from Boom 97.3 in April.

“It’s funny because people say, ‘Oh, jeez, you’re both unemployed right now,’ “ adds Patterson, 55, who was fired from Peterborough’s The Wolf 101.5 in July. “ ‘It should be no trouble getting a job on the radio! Everybody would want Humble and Fred!’ Ah, no.”

We’re sitting inside the second-floor offices of Redfish Entertainment, a video production company where Glassman is executive producer and creative director. The studio, which they painted and furnished — broadcast-quality microphones sit atop Patterson’s old kitchen table — will be ground zero for the podcast, a gambit that has both men feeling exhilarated and anxious at the same time.

“It’s a little bit scary some days thinking we have to make this work,” says Glassman, 51. “This has to work because right now this is the only monetary thing we are doing.”

They were the No. 1 morning team in the mid-’90s and even survived Howard Stern’s arrival, but it’s been six years since the duo worked together. Their last gig as Humble and Fred unfolded at the Mix 99.9 (now Virgin Radio), where Patterson was let go in 2005, leaving Glassman alone for a year until he too was shown the door.

The podcast, they say, will be the show they always wanted to give fans but never could on commercial radio: uncut, uncensored and uncouth. They have full control. They are booking guests. They are planning bits. They are even making sales calls and recruiting sponsors. They are looking forward to occupying not just their new office but a creative space, one that is free of skittish managers and toxic consultants.

“I just lost all my confidence,” says Patterson, of those final days at the Mix. “I didn’t know what I was supposed to say because it seemed no matter what I said it was the wrong thing. The whole (Freddie P.) character was destroyed and it was all I knew. You can’t be a morning man and second-guess yourself every time you open your mouth.”

The duo certainly put in every effort to entertain their radio faithful over the years.

In 2003 they told a campaigning Dalton McGuinty that his wife Terri was “hot” and Glassman challenged the Liberal leader to arm-wrestle. In 2000, they gave the familiar radio-station gimmick — a car giveaway — their own spin by giving them to listeners with the best auto sob stories, and making the prizes old and used: a 1989 Dodge Omni, a 1990 Dodge Shadow and a 1986 Audi 5000S. (The Shadow went to a man who said his truck's radiator burst at the same time as his wife’s water broke; he delivered the baby himself at the side of the highway and cut the umbilical cord with his teeth.)

For fans, this sort of thing made tuning in a morning habit, but times have changed; we live in an on-demand culture. The lockstep rituals once tethered to notions of radio timeslots or appointment television or reading a newspaper first thing in the morning have given way to a scattershot universe where media is consumed when the consumer feels like consuming.

Or as Glassman notes, quoting friend and veteran broadcaster Alan Cross, “Radio stations have become un-programmable iPods.”

With this in mind, the new Humble & Fred Radio Show ( www.humbleandfredradio.com) will not stream live, save for the occasional show built around audience interaction or a musical guest. Instead, each episode will be recorded in the morning with the assistance of Mike Boon, their digital partner. Then shows will be uploaded around 1 p.m., so listeners can listen at their convenience.

The question becomes: Will this work? And how will success be measured?

“Success will be if we find a way to make money being ourselves,” says Glassman. “Obviously, we’re motivated by unemployment, which is a pretty powerful motivator.”

In typical Humble and Fred fashion, their new mission statement is at once self-deprecating and ridiculously hyperbolic: “After more than 20 years on Toronto’s airwaves, Humble and Fred are no longer wanted by regular radio . . . It seems Humble and Fred wrecked every radio station they worked for, so the only option now is to wreck the Internet.”

Jokes aside, they know this won’t be easy. Breaking through the clutter and noise will be the biggest challenge of their careers. But unlike most new podcasts, this one arrives with brand equity; Glassman cites the example of Chicago ex-radio man Steve Dahl, whose audience followed him to his podcast in droves. If the conditions are right, Humble and Fred’s podcast has the potential to ignite.

But the stars know the business model is different. If a commercial radio station were to attract, say, 10,000 listeners a day, it could not survive. However, with no staff and no overhead, 10,000 downloads could generate sufficient revenue.

And if it does take off, who knows, a commercial station may beckon. In fact, when they announced the new initiative, a number of stations inquired about possible content sharing deals even before hearing a minute of what’s to come.

“Listen, we’re not going to lie to you,” says Glassman. “If some big radio station wanted to hire us for big radio-station money, this would be cute and everything, but we’d have to go. But nobody is doing that.

“So this is what’s left for us. But in a way, because we were forced into it, it has made us embrace this new frontier.”

“Ten years ago, we would have been silenced,” says Patterson, of this possible rebirth. “You wouldn’t have been able to hear us anywhere. But we can make this decision now, ‘Hey, we’re not going to be silenced.’ “

The Monday Q&A: Buffy Sainte-Marie

Source: www.globeandmail.com - By Brad Wheeler

(Oct 16, 2011)
Buffy Sainte-Marie, the Canadian Cree folk-music icon and activist, headlines this year's imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, a celebration of indigenous culture and talent kicking off in Toronto this week. The 70-year-old singer-songwriter spoke to The Globe recently about songs, soldiers and castles made of sand.

You're closing this year's imagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival with a concert. What can your audience expect from you?

It's a mix of things people expect and things that will really surprise people. My audiences usually ask for Up Where We Belong, Until It's Time for You to Go and Universal Soldier. But we'll do stuff from our new album, Running for the Drum, which is pow-wow rock, featuring my band. It isn't new to aboriginal audiences, but maybe it is to other people. It's really up tempo, with a real power to the words.

Do you think your audience sees Universal Soldier in contemporary terms, or is it a song that connects them to another era?

I think people get it immediately that the song is still relevant. If people discovered me in the sixties, they might look at Universal Soldier as a song that was important to their youth. If they discovered me during my Sesame Street years in the seventies, they may never have heard of the song because it was blacklisted by then.

Certainly, it's an important song. But it does seem like an odd one to call out as a song request, like it's a pop hit or something.

Well, most people might not know about Until It's Time For You to Go, even though they've heard it. They probably heard it by Elvis Presley or Barbra Streisand or Neil Diamond or Bobby Darin or somebody.

Likewise, they might not know you wrote Up Where We Belong. They might not know you wrote Universal Soldier, for that matter.

A lot of people think Donovan wrote Universal Soldier. I did a concert with him four or five months ago in London. He only does his own songs, except for two of mine. So it's easy to see how that confusion would arise.

As long as you get the royalties, right?

[Laughs.] For Universal Soldier I didn't, because I gave away the publishing for $1 when I first got to Greenwich Village. Ten years later I bought it back for 25 grand. Show business is a tricky ladder.

What do you think of today's youth activism and their reactions to war?

A lot of people are so dependent upon the corporate reality. We don't go to college for the same reasons we used to - for a general education and to learn about the world and to gain the skills needed to participate in the world. Now people go to college for a meal ticket, and a place to stand in line of some plantation owner who kind of rules their lives from then on.

Which is a dangerous thing, obviously.

Yes. I think we're so co-opted by the money interests, who I think have a huge responsibility for war. The average person doesn't think very much about who's responsible for war.

Your song Universal Soldier suggests we're all responsible, right?

It spells that out pretty clearly. It's a song about individual responsibility for the world we live in. But there's so much money in war. If somebody's going to write a new song about the war, have them write about war being such a racket.

Reading your bio, I see descriptions like a "spellbinding performer" and "audacious attitude," which I think translates to "swagger" today. What kind of adjectives do you prefer when describing yourself?

I don't know. I just think of myself as very fortunate. I feel as though I'm an overgrown kid. I had the same skills as other kindergarten kids, except as an adult I've managed to hold onto them. I think that's something that resonates with people.

Certainly your old Sesame Street fans would get that.

I have a PhD in fine arts, but I never took any music lessons. I make it up, the same as any kid does. I've held onto the same kind of skills that every child uses when you take them to the beach. They use their imaginations. They make castles in the sand. The skills are the natural gifts that the Creator gives us all. The lucky ones become artists, and the very lucky ones get to become professional artists. It's an incredible privilege.

This interview has been condensed and edited.

The Beat featuring Buffy Sainte-Marie plays Toronto's Phoenix Concert Theatre on Oct. 22.

Stalking Success For Singer Jason Derulo

Source:
www.metronews.ca/toronto - Richard Drew, The Associated Press

(October 18, 2011)
Jason Derulo’s message to hit songwriters and producers: Check your egos at the door!

The 22-year-old singer, whose 2010 self-titled debut was produced by J.R. Rotem, wanted to challenge himself on his new album, so he held recording sessions with other producers.

Things didn’t always go smoothly.

“Some of these people were walking in with these huge egos and they haven’t really done anything and I’m like, ‘I’m not really with that, man,’” said Derulo, best known for hits like Whatcha Say and In My Head. “I can’t really get down like that.”

Future History still features Rotem, but also includes RedOne, The-Dream and DJ Frank E. It debuted at No. 29 on the Billboard charts last month.

So some sessions didn’t go well?

I’m a fan of a lot of other producers and their work, so I wanted to kind of dive in and see what that was like. So I worked with a lot of people (and in) some instances it didn’t work because I’m really not into working with people I don’t have, like, a special connection with. ... So it has to be a friendly connection as well as business connection as well as a creative connection to make great material.

What would happen after it didn’t work out?

So usually if I meet somebody and we don’t click, I just won’t finish the session. I’ll be like, ‘Maybe we can do this another time’ and they’ll never hear from me again.

How was RedOne?

He’s somebody that’s so down to earth ... a lot of these other people could take some notes. ... Just yesterday he was texting me, ‘Hey, did you see the response on our songs? It’s amazing. It’s a smash.’ He’s like, ‘I’m so excited.’ Like, he still has that same excitement as he did in the beginning, and that’s incredible.

So the song Be Careful is about a stalker?

I had a stalker situation where I met this girl and it started off as something that I thought would be some kind of, I don’t know what to call it, fling. But it just turned out to be something totally different and she was following me around the world.

Were you hesitant about writing the song since she was stalking you?

I’m never hesitant about writing a song. It doesn’t really matter what it is. If you don’t want a song written about you, you should probably not be in my life (laughs). I’m going to write songs about anything. I’ve had girls sit in the studio with me and they just burst into tears because I literally will tell the whole story how it is, you know what I mean? Whether it’s painful or not.

How did It Girl come about?

It definitely was one of those songs that kind of just like rolled off the tongue and I haven’t found my “it girl” yet, but you know, I know she’s out there somewhere.

What was it like recording Breathing, which is uptempo but is also about your cousin’s death?

It’s partly about my cousin’s passing and partly about a relationship I was in. ... It has a positive-negative vibe to it. If you’re going through something you don’t have to dwell in it. You can pick yourself up and that was the thought process behind writing this song and during the recording process, during the writing process it was pretty emotional and pretty rough for me ... I was actually in tears when I was making the record.

Are you going on tour?

I’m starting my tour in February ... going to the U.K. then Australia and I think I’m going to come to America after. I’m excited because we’re doing these huge rooms and there’s a lot of things that I wanted to do that I couldn’t do because I was a new artist and the budgets weren’t there, or the venues weren’t big enough that I was playing at. But now selling out these 15,000-seaters across the world is really exciting. I can spread my wings.

EUR Perspective on Whitney: And I … I … will always … be a Diva

Source:
www.eurweb.com

(Oct. 18, 2011) *There was a time when
Whitney Houston was the brightest star in the universe. Remember that?  It’s kind of hard to nowadays. Seven consecutive #1 hits. The biggest-selling single by a female artist in history. Starring roles in The Bodyguard and Waiting to Exhale and The Preacher’s Wife.  Astonishingly beautiful, with a voice from the heavens and talent to spare.

And now … a punch line. What could be sadder than that? A decade’s worth of ugly innuendo, drug rumors, shaky performances, bizarre television appearances, that train-wreck of a marriage to Bobby Brown.  We’ve watched as she’s self-destructed – like Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears, a voyeuristic peek into a life crushed by fame. It’s captivating in its train-wreck scene. There’s nothing sadder than seeing an icon have their aura stripped away.

Could there be a second life for Whitney? Let’s hope so. Ironically, Houston was on a flight to Detroit to the set of a pretty high-profile film project, the remake of the 1976 film “Sparkle” with Jordin Sparks, Mike Epps and Derek Luke. A showy role like that one is a good first step on the road to a comeback – just look at Eddie Murphy’s transcendent performance in “Dreamgirls.” Maybe … with some time out of the tabloids and some time to recover, that astonishing voice will come back.

Hey, who would have thought Britney Spears would be back in society’s good graces after her very public breakdown, and that immortal photo of her attacking the car with an umbrella, bald as Patrick Stewart? She’s recovered, and come back stronger … and she doesn’t have anywhere near the talent that Whitney does. Something to wish for over the next couple of years.

It Was No Easy Road to Success for Le’Andria Johnson

Source: www.eurweb.com

(October 18, 2011) *Gospel singer and BET’s “Sundays Best” winner,
Le’Andria Johnson admitted in a recent AP interview that she wasn’t quite ready to become the gospel star her fans wanted her to be.

When she won, her worldly habits still held on. Smoking, drinking, clubbing and anything else you might think of were still a part of her every day and at one point she didn’t think she would be able to meet the standards of a gospel singer.

“I didn’t want to be disrespectful to God,” Johnson said. “I wanted to cool out for the moment and do me, go out or do anything. But no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t do it. Going out to the club — I couldn’t. Drinking — I just couldn’t do it.”

So she found the courage and the will power to let it all go and became a rising star in the gospel world.

“When you see that mic in my hand, I’m giving you what happened to me last week or last month,” Johnson said. “Good or bad, I’m giving you my story. My music is my reality show.”

The 29-year-old mother of three has been through two marriages, financial hardships, and a home foreclosure.

Faced with her struggles, when the call came for auditions for “Sundays Best,” Johnson didn’t actually want to make the 10-hour drive from her home in Orlando, Fla. to New Orleans. But her family encouraged her to make the trip.

Bogged down with life, she showed up  in flip-flops and gym socks. Fellow contestants whispered about her appearance.

“The whole time, some were like ‘Oh, what does she have on? Or why does she dress like that?” she recalled. “I got those looks. I dealt with all that. I almost left. But it was a little voice in me that told me to stand (still). From there, I’ve watched God change my life one episode at a time.”

Now she’s signed with Music World Gospel, encouraging fans everywhere.

“There’s life in a dead situation,” she said. “God can use whomever he wants to use. When I don’t give myself too much credit, I know God is taking care of the situation. It’s not me. I’m just glad to be a willing vessel.”

Read/learn MORE about Le’Andria Johnson at Yahoo News.

Mavis Staples Still Preaching At 73

Source: www.globeandmail.com - By Fiona Morrow

Mavis Staples with Allen Toussaint
At the Chan Centre in Vancouver On Sunday

(Oct 14, 2011) "I have come too far, and I am still on that highway and
I will be there until Dr. King's dream has been realized."

Mavis Staples opened her only Canadian tour date with a powerhouse rendition of Freedom's Highway. On the day that a monument to Martin Luther King was dedicated in the National Mall in Washington, Staples was celebrating.

"Y'all know I'm happy, don't you?" the 73-year-old gospel queen beamed. "I was there [when he made that speech]. I am a living witness."

It was a fabulous opening to a set that demanded respect: As Mavis reminded us, the Staples family has been "taking y'all there for 61 years, and we're not tired yet."

Not tired of singing in praise of the Lord and for equality, no, but physically, at least, Staples had to pace herself. Mid-set she, along with her backing singer/older sister Yvonne, sat to the side of the stage to rest as the band played a couple of acoustic numbers. She was also troubled occasionally by a cough that was an obvious frustration to her, drinking water and holding a black towel up to her neck for relief.

But when she was at full strength she soared. Regardless of religious conviction, or lack thereof, when she entreated us with Wade in the Water, you could well believe the heavens were rocking along. And later, when she covered the Band classic The Weight, there was no doubting her ability to take that load.

Friendly and chatty throughout, Staples interacted with an appreciative audience, even pausing to put one fan right when he called out if she was referring to Mahalia Jackson. Staples had said she was taking us back to the 1970s, and did an about-face at the interjection.

"Mahalia was the greatest gospel singer to have ever lived," she said with a smile. "But now it's Mavis's turn." And with that, she launched into her closing number, I'll take you there.

The band was tight, providing plenty of vocal backup as well as terrific bluesy riffs from Rick Hollstrom's guitar.

They followed an opening set from the ever-classy New Orleans songmeister Allen Toussaint (also 73). Decked out in a glittery green jacket and shiny apricot pants, Toussaint dazzled hardest while careening through a phenomenal back catalogue that included hit covers from the Yardbirds, Jerry Garcia and the Rolling Stones.

Before he left the stage, he apologized to those whose view of him was obscured by his piano, giving one woman a stunning-looking Mardi Gras mask he produced from a nondescript plastic bag.

It was an odd moment, especially coming on the coat-tails of an impassioned performance of City of New Orleans. But when you're a septuagenarian legend still killing on stage, you've surely earned the right to pull up a chair or hand out trinkets whenever you damn well please.

Herbie Hancock Returns To Classical Roots

Source:
www.globeandmail.com - J.D. Considine

(Oct. 19, 2011) Although he’s known throughout the world as a jazz pianist,
Herbie Hancock started out playing classical music. In fact, he was a bit of prodigy, winning a competition at age 11 to perform a Mozart concerto with the Chicago Symphony.

“Actually, I didn’t do any solo recitals,” he recalls. “When my teacher had a recital for her students, I would play one or maybe two pieces, and then some other students of hers would play some other pieces. But the first time I was a soloist was when I was 11.”

“I started off as an engineering major in college, for two years,” he continues, over the phone from his office in Los Angeles. “But then I changed to music composition for my third and fourth year, and I got my degree in music. But after that, I really stopped having a formal relationship with classical music.”

Instead, he became one of the hottest young pianists in jazz, cutting his first album, Takin’ Off, in 1962 (it included his classic composition Watermelon Man), and joining the Miles Davis quintet a year later. Over the next few decades, Hancock did a bit of everything, from soundtrack work to electronic funk to Brazilian pop, and in 2008 won the album of the year Grammy Award for his Joni Mitchell tribute, River: The Joni Letters.

That same year, classical music popped back into his life. He had been asked to do a truncated version of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue as a duet with the classical pianist Lang Lang. “That was initially just a one-time thing, but it led to six concerts in Europe, and a few in the United States and Canada,” he says. “Classical music kept popping up in different forms, and so I began to see it as kind of a sign, a new opportunity presenting itself to me as a professional now.

“So now I’m exploring that territory.”

That’s why, when he comes to Toronto’s Massey Hall on Saturday, he’ll be performing with an orchestra, not a jazz band. And even though he’ll be performing Rhapsody in Blue again, he won’t be playing it the way he did with Lang Lang – or even, necessarily, the way he did last month, when he was the featured soloist on the season opener for the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Hancock’s approach to the piece, he says, varies depending on two things. “One is how I make certain choices with the notes that Gershwin wrote, and the other is other liberties I take with adding things of my own to what’s there.”

Regarding the choices Hancock made with Gershwin’s notes, Los Angeles Times reviewer Mark Swed observed that Hancock “didn’t so much play the Rhapsody as investigate it … trying things out one way, then another.”

Perhaps surprisingly, Hancock is a bit more conservative when it comes to adding his own notes. “If I chose to, I could, where the music stops and holds, add a completely improvised thing for a moment or two, and then have that lead to what Gershwin wrote,” he says. “I haven’t decided to do that when I perform in Toronto. But when I did perform with Lang Lang, because we were two pianos, it kind of made sense, because he’s a classical pianist, and I come from the jazz tradition.”

Nonetheless, Hancock is keen to connect his classical background and his jazz impulses, and help bring improvisation back into the classical tradition.

“Improvisation was one of the tools of classical music,” he points out. Keyboard virtuosos from Bach to Chopin to Liszt were famous improvisers, and up until the early 19th century, cadenzas – the extended solo section in classical concertos – were routinely improvised.

“But at a certain point they became repertoire,” Hancock says. Specific cadenzas were written out, and that’s what everyone played. “Pretty soon, because learning repertoire takes up so much time for a classical pianist, there’s no time to learn to improvise.

“So one of the things I’m interested in is sparking up a new interest in classical musicians for improvising. Not necessarily improvising in a swing way with jazz – yes, if that’s what they want – but also improvising in a classical way.”

Hancock himself has been practising “improvising in a classical way” himself, something he says takes a lot of work. “But if it’s not hard, then I’m not working hard enough,” he says. “I have to make it a challenge.”

Herbie Hancock performs at Massey Hall in Toronto with the Massey Hall Orchestra on Oct. 22 at 8 p.m.; and at the Jack Singer Concert Hall in Calgary with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra on Nov. 9.

Jeff Beck Still Thrills, With Help From A Texan Prodigy

Source:
www.globeandmail.com - By Robert Everett-Green

Jeff Beck & Tyler Bryant
At Massey Hall in Toronto on Tuesday

(October 19, 2011) For a few minutes near the end of his show,
Jeff Beck seemed to have stepped into a time machine and come face to face with his younger self.

The British guitarist was well into an incendiary version of Sly Stone's I Want to Take You Higher when he brought out Tyler Bryant, a 20-year-old guitarist from Texas who has the same lean profile and speedy fingers as the veteran virtuoso. They may even have the same barber.

Beck likes to celebrate young talent; another of his finds was Tal Wilkenfeld, the Australian bass prodigy who played with him for three years and appears on four tracks from his latest album, Emotion and Commotion.

The word on Bryant seems to be spreading quickly. Massey was mostly full when he began his brief opening set, which featured some amazingly agile playing on acoustic dreadnought and archtop guitars, which he sometimes fuzzed up to sound almost like their electric cousins. The wrenching immediacy of his blues numbers kind of tore the house down, which is doubly impressive when you consider the stature of the headliner.

Beck's powers on his instrument are still stunning to witness. The detail he could work into the smallest phrase was so rich, I sometimes wanted to pause and rewind so I could hear that bit again. He must be one of the most physically efficient guitarists ever - such an economy of movement to achieve so much. You get the feeling that everything is in easy reach for him at all times - not just the riffs, but the full range of possibilities, in texture, density, rhythm: the whole panoply of musical effect.

Many of his offerings were groove-based numbers built on a tight, bumpy foundation of rugged beats from bassist Rhonda Smith and drummer Narada Michael Walden (who both took cameos singing). Smith's prickly, percussive style put me in mind of Primus's Les Claypool, while Walden's showy athletic drumming filled up his extensive kit and then some.

Jumpy as they could be in their substrata, some of those numbers settled into a relatively static place. Brilliant as his improvisations were, Beck sometimes skimped a bit on narrative interest - the kind of purely musical storytelling that can give tension and drama to an extended tune.

He doesn't sing, but he has developed an eloquent technique for aria-like, single-line solos - another kind of virtuosity, heavily dependent on his fine mastery of the whammy bar. The best of those long-breathed outings came in his moving and original cover of the Beatles' A Day in the Life, which gave new dimension to the song and new meaning to the phrase "singing guitar."

Keyboardist Jason Rebello showed the same kind of nimble-fingered acuity as his colleagues, though seemed hopelessly addicted to breathy synth sounds that should have been left behind with the eighties. This show would have been stronger with some updated keyboard sounds, and with a bit of set-list editing: the Rollin' and Tumblin' heard on Tuesday was a pale replica of the terrifying versions Beck recorded on 2001's outstanding You Had It Coming, and performed at Massey with guitarist/vocalist Jennifer Batten the same year.

But Beck can still thrill, and surprise. Who else would cover Puccini (Nessun dorma) and Lady Gaga (Bad Romance) and do a rip-roaring tribute to Les Paul (How High the Moon)on the same show?

Jeff Beck's Canadian tour continues with shows at the Thunder Bay Auditorium (Oct. 21), Pantages Playhouse Theatre in Winnipeg (Oct. 22), Calgary's Jack Singer Concert Hall (Oct. 24), Edmonton's Winspear Theatre (Oct. 25), and the Centre in Vancouver (Oct. 27).

Lady Gaga To Perform At MTV Europe Music Awards

Source:
www.metronews.ca/toronto - Richard Drew, The Associated Press

(October 17, 2011) LONDON - American pop stars
Lady Gaga and Bruno Mars will be performing at the MTV Europe Music Awards in Northern Ireland next month.

The music channel will be taking over the city of Belfast on Nov. 6 for its annual ceremony, and for the first time the MTV Europe Music Awards will be held in three different locations.

Gaga and Mars will join Coldplay, Jessie J and LMFAO in performing at the Odyssey Arena. The Red Hot Chili Peppers will be playing at Ulster Hall, while Snow Patrol and Jason Derulo will be on stage at City Hall.

The show is being hosted by actress/singer Selena Gomez.

Gaga leads the way with six MTV Europe music award nominations, while Mars and Katy Perry have four each.

MUSIC TIDBITS

In Time for Christmas, Carl Thomas Album Aims to Please

Source: www.eurweb.com

(Oct 16, 2011) *R&B singer
Carl Thomas has finalized a date for his new album, “Conquer,” the album we’ve all been waiting for. So on Dec. 6, wait no more because the saucy, sexy sensual, and don’t forget inspirational music will be out in stores. “I am back,” the singer declared. “Do you know why? I am back because this game will tell the truth on you. If you are meant for it, it won’t allow you to stray away for too long.” This is Carl’s first album in four years. He promises this one is aged to perfection with productions from Harris, Rico Love, Mario Winans, Blac Elvis, Heavy D and Mike Winans. “As a songwriter, I hear songs and say, ‘Man, I wish I had written that record,’” Carl said. “There are types of records that have eluded me most of my career. Those are the records that I managed to find for Conquer.” He added that this album is something different, something that will not only keep real music alive, but also inspire and strengthen those who may be going through.

LL Cool J’s Not Impressed with Today’s Hip Hop Artists

Source: www.eurweb.com

(Oct 15, 2011) *Finally someone else, besides Ice T, from the old
school has laid down his true feelings about Hip Hop artists these days. LL Cool J said he’s not all that impressed with what’s being dished out today. “Right now, there isn’t really anything that has my attention like that to be honest with you,” he told MTV. “There’s nothing that-I’m not like shivering in my seat.” But he’s not writing off everyone with his sweeping statement. He did give props where they were due, mentioning Drake’s “I’m on One” as a song he likes. Although he doesn’t believe there’s any momentous music worth spotlighting alone, he did have some positive comments for artists like Soulja Boy, Rick Ross and other popular Hip Hoppers of today. Regardless, LL says the foundation is what is most relevant in Hip Hop. “It’s pretty obvious that what Dr. Dre and NWA did for gangsta rap music I did for romantic music and music with females. I basically started a section of a genre and created it and put it out there and now lots of people are doing it. I think it’s great. It’s better than downing them and telling [females] they ain’t nothing,” he said.

‘Immortal’: Posthumous MJ Album Ready for Release in November

Source: www.eurweb.com

(Oct 15, 2011) *In the midst of the trial of the decade, a posthumous
Michael Jackson album is getting ready to hit shelves this November, in time for the holidays. Entitled “Immortal,” the release is a deluxe double disc and sing disc with a creative touch to the Pop star’s 40 greatest original compositions. “Michael’s legacy as the greatest entertainer of our lifetime is inspiring beyond words. It was clear from the start that Michael’s voice and overall musical essence was the sole/soul source of creative energy driving the project,” says Antunes. “From the studio to the stage, there’s an undeniable integrity and resolute truth in Michael’s vocal performances that are highlighted in the Immortal arrangements. It was built with love and respect for Michael’s music, his family, and his millions of fans around the world.” The compilation will consist of redesigned versions of his hits, mashups and recently discovered never before heard music.

R.E.M.'s Wistful Farewell Single

Source: www.thestar.com - by: Garnet Fraser


(October 18, 2011) Courtesy RollingStone.com, the final single by
R.E.M., "We All Go Back to Where We Belong." (Listen here.) Like a whole lot of songs from the second half of the band's career, it's wistful, melancholy and maybe could use a bit more bottom end, but fans will be glad to have it anyhow. It appears on the compilation album Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage, out Nov. 15.

‘Redhead Keysh’ Cole to Drop CD No. 5 Feat. Trey Songz

Source: www.eurweb.com

(October 17, 2011) *Just after having her second wedding ceremony
with hubby and Cleveland Cavaliers player Daniel “Boobie” Gibson and last year’s album, “Calling All Hearts,” Keyshia Cole is back to work. She revealed recently that she and Trey Songz are going to work together for her fifth album, “Woman to Woman.” She took to Twitter to make the announcement. “So excited about this album! Although Ron Fair is no longer with Geffen records, I’m very accustomed 2 him being here. MY NEW TEAM IS GR8. I will name them all very soon. New team. New life. New album. My child. My husband. 30′s are the new 20′s LOL. AND SO FORTH AND SO ON. HA” And you won’t have to wait long. The album is due out in February 2012. Expect some good ol’ classic “redhead Keysh.” “Had to bring the REDHEAD KEYSH bak for this album. Cause I LOVE my ladies. MOTIVATION,” the 30-year-old singer tweeted.

Method Man Says He and His Beloved Weed Must Part Ways

Source: www.eurweb.com

(October 18, 2011) *This is breaking news. Prepare yourself for some
shocking, unbelievable news. Method Man has announced that he is distancing himself from marijuana. Yes you read that correctly. The king of weed has decided that he’s going to let go of the weed, but a little at a time. In an interview with VIBE, he shared that his music is going to reflect a different side of him, but he never admits that he won’t stop smoking. “I don’t want that every time you hear Method Man’s name you associate it with getting high or marijuana because there’s so much more to me than that. I’m not actually distancing myself from my marijuana culture people but it’s not in the forefront anymore. I got kids to raise, man. Plus it was never really that bad. It gets comes to a point where no matter where you go they’re always thinking you’re high. And I’m not always high. I mean right now I’m sober as a priest.” Yeah, he’s not going to stop. He’s the president of The Smoker’s Club Tour. And he’s not on any kind of quest to eradicate weed from Hip Hop. It’s just a personal choice. “It’s always going to be there whether it’s Wiz or Method Man or Redman, Big K.R.I.T. whoever. It’s always just going to be there. It’s recreational, baby. Do you know how many closeted weed smokers there are? They’re going to be coming out of the closet like gay men. I’m serious. Then we’re going to have these marches like the gay community did.”

VIDEO: Trainspotting Plus Chris Brown Lookalike Equals New Rihanna Video

Source: www.thestar.com - by: Garnet Fraser

(October 19, 2011) Rihanna's video for her hit "We Found Love" is out and it's ... interesting. It's rather true to the song's Euro-disco feel geographically - shot in Northern Ireland and including settings like a muddy farm rave and a fish 'n' chips shop. Also, it's a rather druggy in its look and its plot details; this is a love born of, and destroyed by, substance abuse. So a bit of Trainspotting and a pinch of Requiem for a Dream and a model, Dudley O’Shaughnessy, done up to look a lot like Chris Brown. Enjoy: HERE

Bruce Cockburn, Dave Gunning Lead Folk-Music Nods

Source:
www.globeandmail.com - The Canadian Press

(Oct. 19, 2011) Toronto— Veteran Ottawa singer/songwriter
Bruce Cockburn and Dave Gunning of Pictou County, N.S., each nabbed a leading four nods as nominations for the Canadian Folk Music Awards were announced Wednesday. Cockburn is up for awards including contemporary singer of the year and solo artist of the year after releasing Small Source of Comfort, his 30th record. That disc is also up for contemporary folk album of the year, where he'll compete with artists including the Good Lovelies and Lynn Miles. Gunning's nominations, meanwhile, included nods for traditional singer of the year and traditional album of the year for A Tribute to John Allan Cameron. Other multiple nominees include Montreal trio Genticorum, Winnipeg's the Wailin' Jennys and veteran St. John's songwriter Ron Hynes. The seventh instalment of the annual Canadian Folk Music Awards will be held at Toronto's Isabel Bader Theatre on Dec. 4.

BeBe and CeCe Winans to Receive Walk of Fame Star

Source:
www.eurweb.com - By Mona Austin

(Oct. 19, 2011) *Multi-Grammy award winning gospel act
BeBe and CeCe Winans‘ celebrated career will be honored with the 2,452nd star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Thursday, October 20. They began singing professionally in 1982 as members of the PTL Singers. Known for their contemporary R&B style the Detroit natives are a bright reflection of the Winans gospel music dynasty. They have sang in tandem for over 20 years as well as enjoyed success as solo artists. Among their top recordings are “Heaven,” “Addictive Love,” “If Anything Ever Happened to You” and “It’s Okay.” The Walk of Fame distinction solidifies BeBe and CeCe’s place among gospel royals Mahalia Jackson, James Cleveland and Andrae Crouch who also have stars. The pair join Melissa Etheridge, Los Tigres Del Norte, Rascal Flatts, Go-Go’s, Slash, and will i. Am as 2011 “Star” recipients in the recording artist category. The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce will cement their star and consequently the duo’s contribution to music history into the honorable Walk of Fame on October 20 at 11:30 a.m. at 6126 Hollywood Blvd. The event is open to the public.

::FILM NEWS::    

Michael Shannon’s Rise, From Cameo King To Krypton General

Source: www.thestar.com - By Peter Howell

(Oct 13, 2011)
Michael Shannon has risen to prominence so quickly, in movies like Revolutionary Road (which brought him an Oscar nomination) and the TV series Boardwalk Empire, that it seems as if he’s a new talent on the scene.

Take a gander at his résumé on Imdb.com, however, and there are a lot of bit parts in movies that few outside of his mother even knew that Shannon was in: World Trade Center, Bad Boys II, 8 Mile, Pearl Harbor, Tigerland and Groundhog Day, dating as far back as 1992.

“Yes, it’s kind of like the ‘Where’s Waldo?’ period of my career,” Shannon, 37, says with a grin during a TIFF interview last month.

“It’s like, ‘Oh, there he is. I’ve seen that guy before, but I don’t know where.’ Back when I first went to L.A. I was getting little parts here and there, trying to get established.”

Mission accomplished. Shannon may not be a household name just yet, but with starring roles like his paranoid prophet in the chiller Take Shelter, a festival-circuit champ now hitting theatres, and his General Zod super villain role in the coming Superman reboot, his small-time days are clearly behind him.

Q. Was it frustrating working your way up the acting ranks?

A. No, actually, I wound up having a lot of fun in L.A. Friends of mine that had moved out there said it wouldn’t be my thing but the interesting thing about L.A. is there’s a whole other culture there that doesn’t have anything to do with filmmaking. It’s a really big, diverse city, actually, and once you discover that it’s an interesting place to be. 

Q. So you got some satisfaction out of these smaller roles.

A. Oh, yes. I mean, you take something like Tigerland — that was a great thing to be a part of because that was Colin Farrell’s big breakthrough. Getting to watch him was really something; he worked so hard and he was so dedicated. I was still learning; I had had a lot of experience in theatre, but I was still trying to figure the whole film thing out. I don’t think, when I first started out, I would have been comfortable with doing a leading role. It probably would have scared the hell out of me. 

Q. Did you ever look at somebody like Colin Farrell and wonder, “Why can’t it be me?”

A. No, no! I’ve always had a lot of respect for him for having the courage to show up and do it. It’s interesting: Matt Davis played the other lead in Tigerland, and that’s kind of sad because I haven’t really seen him since then. When they did that movie, they were both in the same position. That’s how fickle Hollywood is: Colin’s a big star and Matt Davis is “Who’s Matt Davis?” It’s really creepy.

Q. Take Shelter is like an episode of The Twilight Zone, in that you’re constantly wondering if your Doomsday prophet Curtis is mad or cosmically enlightened.

A. Yes. The film plays on so many levels for me. I mean, there’s the psychological manifestation and also the metaphysical, spiritual component to it, where you notice in the film that the rest of his family goes to church — or his wife’s family — and he doesn’t. And why is that?

You know, the notion that if you don’t think there’s anybody running the show up there, the world becomes — or can become — a very frightening place because everything seems so arbitrary. There’s that whole notion of, “Is somebody really orchestrating all this or is it just happening totally free form?” The beautiful thing about using nature in the film, to me, is very poetic. Nature is not malicious or unkind; it’s not seeking to do any damage. It just happens. There’s something so beautiful about being afraid of something happening in the sky because the sky is something you can’t run from, you know?

Q. I was thinking about you when Hurricane Irene was threatening New York earlier this year, thinking of how it seemed like Take Shelter.

A. Right. I was in New York when Irene happened, actually. Me and my family, we went up to Grandma’s house in Harlem. My wife, her mother lives in Harlem; she lives on a hill, so it was a good place to be. But our apartment is right in Zone A — what they called the mandatory evacuation zone. It’s hard these days, with the 24-hour news channels: it seems like every day there’s a disaster and something terrible is happening. So it’s hard to figure out. It’s definitely like the boy who cried wolf, you know? It’s hard to figure out when you should really be worried. 

Q. It’s funny to hear you say that when you consider how serious your character is in Take Shelter.

A. It’s very ironic! During the hurricane, I just played cards and ate cookies. Waited it out. It dawned on me about halfway through the night, “Maybe I should be more concerned, like Curtis.” It’s so weird to have embodied that character and, yet, not have the same compunctions. 

Q. There’s a photo of you on the web in your General Zod costume for Man of Steel, the Superman reboot. Are you going to have to develop a “Doctor Evil” tic to play Zod?

A. No! I’ve just been focusing on the very simple premise that the guy is a general, and what does that mean? I’ve done a lot of military characters, but I’ve never been higher than a sergeant. “General” is a whole new ballgame. He was in charge of the whole military on Krypton. It’s mind-boggling to even try to fathom what that’s like. 

Tintin’s Homeland Gives A Thumbs’ Up — And A Sigh Of Relief

Source: www.thestar.com - By Raf Casert

(Oct 13, 2011) BRUSSELS—Thundering typhoons! Steven Spielberg
has won the seal of approval of Tintin’s native land — and that’s no mean feat.

In Tintin’s home city, movie journalists got a sneak preview of
The Adventures of Tintin — The Secret of the Unicorn this week, and knives were sharpened in case it turned out that some Hollywood mogul had barged in and desecrated perhaps Europe’s greatest cartoon character ever.

Have no fear.

By the end of the movie, the critics were as beguiled by the movie as Tintin’s sidekick Captain Haddock by a bottle of whisky.

“Bull’s eye,” headlined the Dutch-speaking De Standaard newspaper. “A pure jewel,” the Francophone Le Soir had on its front page, showing that the ever-bickering linguistic groups in this culturally divided nation had found a rare issue on which they could agree.

Director Spielberg will come to the Oct. 22 world premiere in person, knowing the critics themselves have rolled out the red carpet.

The Adventures of Tintin, co-produced by Peter Jackson of Lord of the Rings fame, aspires to become a Christmas blockbuster in North America, where it is scheduled to open Dec. 21. But like the fearless young reporter that Tintin is, the movie seeks out the road less travelled to success.

Instead of launching in North America, it takes on the world first, counting on releases in Europe, Asia and the Middle East to create enough of a buzz among American fans for whom the magic word Tintin is often still an unknown quantity.

In France, Le Figaro magazine has already called it “the most anticipated movie of 2011.”

The cartoon books have been translated into 70-plus languages from Chinese to Armenian, with English and Spanish thrown in, and sold in the tens of millions of copies. But only in Belgium has it been ingrained in the DNA of most youngsters since the 1950s.

It has left cartoonist Herge, who died in 1983, as a national treasure.

And from the movie’s start, Spielberg makes a solemn bow to Belgium and the artist, setting the opening scene at a bric-a-brac market where Herge is a boardwalk portrait artist drawing many of the real characters from his two dozen books.

The roughly drawn sketches are the perfect transition to the movie’s world of performance-capture technology, in which digital renderings are made of performances by live actors, with computer imagery added to create a combination of live action layered with digital animation.

“Did I capture something of the likeness?” the computerized Herge asks the model.

The emphatic “yes” applies to Spielberg’s scene-setting as well.

Most amazing of all, the spirit of the yellowing pages with fading colours of old Tintin albums that so many Belgians have stocked in cellars and attics travels exceedingly well through time into 21st-century bits and bytes.

“The American has fully grasped the Herge grammar,” said Le Soir.

Those Hollywood types recreated 1940s Belgium to such an extent that De Standaard critic wrote in admiration that “the sidewalks and facades of Brussels are recognizable.”

Spielberg does stick fully to one line running through all the Tintin cartoons: the movie has no romantic interest whatsoever.

The Big Year: Three Cuckoos In Search Of Themselves

Source: www.thestar.com - By Peter Howell

The Big Year
Starring Steve Martin, Owen Wilson and Jack Black. Directed by David Frankel. 100 minutes. Opens Oct. 14 at major theatres. PG

(Oct 13, 2011) “Who doesn’t love birds?” Jack Black says via narrative
intro to The Big Year, a comedy about competitive birding and male bonding.

The assertion depends on where you stand, or maybe roost.

Birds are great when viewed in flight or singing happily in a garden. They’re not so great when fouling a windshield or gobbling freshly planted seed.

The situation is the same with Black and his fellow birdbrains Steve Martin and Owen Wilson. They’re amusing when their worst excesses are kept in check. They’re not so hilarious when self-control or the script fails them.

Happily, The Big Year offers a chance to agree with Black twice over. All of these featherheads — both the avian and human kind — are lovable.

Even better, they’re funny, in a comedy that doesn’t have to swoop to conquer.

Black is Brad Harris, a chronically broke computer technician, who has a mania for birding (not “birdwatching,” if you please).

So do Martin’s Stu Preissler and Wilson’s Kenny Bostick. Preissler is the self-made CEO of a company he’s too important to retire from, much as he longs to.

Bostick is a successful renovator whose real claim to fame is as the world’s foremost birder. He holds the record of 732 viewings in a single year in North America, known as a big year in birding circles, or maybe nests.

A big year is only possible when winds and fate drive enough birds of differing varieties before the eager binoculars of birders. One such year has arrived.

Bostick aims to maintain or better his record. Harris and Preissler intend to beat it. In the next 12 months, they’ll risk life and limb, max out credit cards and try the patience of spouses and other relations as they criss-cross the continent chasing their winged prey.

As a bemused Englishman observes in the film: “Only Americans can turn birding into a competition.”

Maybe, but The Big Year is based at least in part on fact. Howard Franklin bases his screenplay on the book of the same name by Mark Obmascik, which was based on a real 1998 contest by three men and which is subtitled “A Tale of Man, Nature and Fowl Obsession.”

“Obsession” is the operative word, and it’s the common link that will help many people understand the human loons of The Big Year. Many people have obsessions, whether they’re running marathons (not jogging) or collecting Star Wars memorabilia.

Director David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada) wisely doesn’t mock birders. He shows the humanity inherent in their obsession.

He also gets understated performances out of Black, Martin and Wilson that thankfully stray from their all-too-familiar respective poses as freak, doofus and clown.

Their characters aren’t just searching for birds, they’re searching for themselves. They may not like what they find: one man’s epiphany could be another’s loss.

As they chase for such avian delights as pintailed snipes and olive-beaked pipits, the three men cross paths with a Who’s Who of supporting stars: Brian Dennehy, Dianne Wiest, Anjelica Huston, Rosamund Pike, JoBeth Williams, Tim Blake Nelson, Kevin Pollak and John Cleese (as additional narrator).

Some of the talent seems wasted, glimpsed as briefly as many of the birds hiding amidst the film’s splendid scenery.

You may also groan when you hear the inevitable soundtrack use of The Beatles’ “Blackbird,” tastefully rendered as a jazzy piano instrumental, or The Trashmen’s “Surfin’ Bird,” heard repeatedly as a ringtone (“B-b-b-bird, bird, bird, b-bird’s the word …”)

The Big Year frequently soars nonetheless. It’s ultimately about how the birds watch us, wondering who the real cuckoos are.

West Memphis Three Set Free — But Struggle Continues

Source: www.thestar.com - By Hamish McKenzie

(Oct. 15, 2011) NEW YORK—The surprise August release of three
convicted murderers who are the subjects of a celebrity-endorsed campaign for exoneration was an “imperfect result,” says one of the filmmakers behind Paradise Lost: Purgatory.

“This ending is not the happy ending we would have liked it to be,” Paradise Lost co-director Joe Berlinger told an audience of reporters at a special screening with the so-called West Memphis Three in New York this week. “Of course, we’re thrilled that they’re out of prison, but it’s a very bittersweet conclusion to this affair.”

Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jesse Misskelley Jr. were teenagers when they were convicted for the 1993 murder of three boys in West Memphis, Ark. Accused of committing the murders as part of a satanic ritual, they were sent to jail largely on the basis of a confession from Misskelley that supporters believe was coerced by police. Baldwin and Misskelley got life sentences, while Echols, said to be the ringleader, was sentenced to death.

After Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky’s 1996 film Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills spurred a protracted legal struggle and public support from celebrities — including Eddie Vedder, Johnny Depp, Peter Jackson and Dixie Chick Natalie Maines — the trio were finally set free this past Aug. 19 thanks to a legal loophole known as an “Alford plea.” Under the unusual agreement, the three asserted their innocence while acknowledging the prosecution had enough evidence to convince a jury they were guilty “beyond reasonable doubt.”

“It means they have a Sword of Damocles hanging over their heads,” said Berlinger, who added, however, that he would have taken the same deal.

The agreement was forged after a new judge was assigned to the case and the state of Arkansas determined that an impending Supreme Court trial would be unnecessarily long and expensive. It also came in light of new evidence unearthed by the third Paradise Lost documentary, which reveals that DNA evidence could not link the three to the crime scene and that the jury at the original trial was guilty of misconduct. The film, which screened at the recent Toronto International Film Festival and is the follow-up to 2000’s Paradise Lost: Revelations, airs on HBO Canada in January.

Seated on stage in casual street clothes and sipping bottled water, the Three expressed gratitude to the filmmakers and to their supporters.

“If they wouldn’t have been there from the beginning to get the actual trial on film, then I think there’s every chance the case would have gradually sunk into obscurity, and people would have forgotten about it,” Echols said.

Echols, Baldwin, and Misskelley said they were still adjusting to life outside prison and getting to grips with unfamiliar realities such as cellphones, the internet and eating with a fork.

“In a lot of ways it’s felt like every day is a week, since we’ve gotten out,” Echols said. “We haven’t even been out two months yet, and it almost feels like prison was years ago.”

Baldwin, who now lives in Seattle and is working in construction, said he spends his free time with family and friends and likes going to the movies. He recently got his driver’s permit. “I’m just really enjoying life,” he said.

In Paradise Lost: Revelations, the second of the three documentaries, Echols said if he ever got free he would want to fade into obscurity. Asked what he thinks of the media event in light of those comments, he said it’s not easy having to relive the trial and his long incarceration, but he doesn’t want the case to be forgotten.

“People think this case is something out of the ordinary,” he said. “It’s not — it happens to people all the time. It’s going to keep happening to people until something’s done about it. The only way that’s going to happen is if someone speaks out.”

Lawyers for the three said the murder investigation is continuing and that the defence team will continue to look for new evidence that could lead to a conviction. If they can find evidence that implicates another suspect, they will petition for the three to be cleared of the crimes.

Benda Bilili!: Spirit Out Of Squalor

Source: www.thestar.com - By Peter Howell

Benda Bilili!
A documentary on the street musicians of Kinshasa band Staff Benda Bilili. Directed by Renaud Barret and Florent de La Tullaye. 85 minutes. Opens Oct. 14 at TIFF Bell Lightbox. PG

(Oct. 13, 2011) On the poorest streets of Kinshasa, capital city of the Democratic Republic of Congo, even a dirty piece of cardboard is a status symbol.

It means you have a place to sleep. It’s worth fighting over, and people do.

The setting could hardly be more depressing, and the documentary
Benda Bilili! makes no attempt to hide it.

From out of the gloom comes the hypnotic grooves of a band called Staff Benda Bilili. The name means “look beyond appearances,” and the members of this remarkable musical collective do just that.

They celebrate their life in song and whatever moves they can manage. Many of them are paraplegics, unable to move their legs. Yet they all seem possessed of an irrepressible spirit.

French filmmakers Renaud Barret and Florent de La Tullaye were working on a world music doc when they ran into Staff Benda Bilili, who get around on makeshift bicycles and other contraptions resembling something out of a Jean-Pierre Jeunet film.

Over five years, from 2005, they documented the band’s struggles to pull together, to record their first album and to simply survive. They’re also working toward their first European tour. Will it happen?

Singer/guitarist Papa Ricky leads the band. We also get to know new recruit Roger, who plays a homemade device he calls a “satonge,” which consists of a tin milk can, a string and a bent piece of metal. He plays it like a guitar, and plays it well.

Roger was introduced to the band by the directors. We watch as he grows up, struggling and serenading along with his elders. He’s trying to earn money to help his sick mother and two younger brothers.

Staff Benda Bilili practise in the Kinshasa Zoo, which seems to have more people than animals. Nothing will stop them.

“I’ll know we’ll succeed someday,” Papa Ricky sings.

There’s even a song about sleeping on cardboard. It could be the anthem for Staff Benda Bilili.

“Who doesn’t sleep on cardboard?” the lyrics go. “We dream on it, too.”

Will Smith New Part-Owner of Philadelphia 76ers

Source: www.eurweb.com

(October 18, 2011) *A deal to sell the Philadelphia 76ers to a group
that includes Hollywood superstar Will Smith has been completed, reports ESPN.

The new ownership team is headlined by New York-based leveraged buyout specialist Joshua Harris, David Blitzer and former NBA agent and Sacramento Kings executive Jason Levien. Smith, one of the city’s favorite sons, has invested as a minority shareholder.

The sale ends Comcast-Spectacor’s 15-year run of ownership.

Named by Newsweek in April 2007 as the most powerful actor in Hollywood, Smith joins the Sixers in a capacity akin to music mogul Jay-Z’s role with the New Jersey Nets. And Levien is believed to be the first former agent to be part of an NBA ownership group since Lewis Schaffel served as the original managing partner of the Miami Heat.

Sources say that the Indonesian media magnate Erick Thohir is also joining the Sixers as the first Asian investor in an NBA team.

Comcast-Spectacor, led by chairman Ed Snider, purchased the Sixers from Harold Katz on April 24, 1996. Comcast-Spectacor also owns the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers and the Wells Fargo Center. The Sixers will become a tenant in the building once the NBA lockout is over.

The 76ers were valued this year by Forbes at $330 million, 17th in the NBA, and have a television deal with cable station Comcast SportsNet through 2029.

FILM TIDBITS

Sean Penn Still Has A Sense Of Humour!

Source: www.thestar.com - by: Peter Howell

(October 18, 2011) A new Funny or Die sketch about Hollywood
celebrities brainstorming to assist President Bill Clinton's charity reveals the pensive Sean Penn can still laugh at himself. While Ben Stiller, Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig and spouses Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen discuss ideas to lend their star power to assist the Clinton Foundation, Penn humorously wails about someone stealing his lunch from the boardroom fridge. If you doubted whether the serioso superstar still knew how to lighten up -- especially since Penn is seriously involved in such worthy causes as Haitian earthquake relief -- the sketch should put your mind at ease. And also tickle your funny bone, especially if you stick around until the very end.

Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman Give Les Miz A Try

Source: www.thestar.com - by: Linda Barnard


(October 18, 2011) Les Miserables may have been how some may
have been tempted to describe last year’s Oscar hosting duties by Anne Hathaway and James Franco, but now Hathaway is using her singing voice for a higher purpose. She’ll play Fantine in the big-screen version of the enduring Broadway musical hit Les Miserables. Song-and-dance vet Hugh Jackman will play the lead, Jean Valjean and Russell Crowe is the relentless cop on his tail, Inspector Javert.  The King’s Speech director Tom Hooper will be at the helm and the movie is due in theatres Dec. 7, 2012. And Hathaway and Jackman did a credible job on a duet at the 81st Academy Awards in 2009, after all.

Kim Cattrall Helping Mentor New Canadian Acting Talent

Source: www.thestar.com - by: Linda Barnard

(October 19, 2011) The Canadian Film Centre has signed up Kim Cattrall as a mentor for the CFC Actors Conservatory, Canada’s first professional training program for onscreen acting talent. Previous mentors have included Edward Norton, Patricia Clarkson, Guillermo Del Toro, John Patrick Shanley, Colm Feore, Don McKellar, Liane Balaban and Kiefer Sutherland. Cattrall will share her expertise with the next generation of actors through master classes and workshops. Cattrall is currently in Toronto in Noël Coward's Private Lives at the Royal Alexandra Theatre starring with Paul Gross. On Oct. 24, Cattrall appears at the TIFF Bell Lightbox for "In Conversation With...Kim Cattrall," co-presentation of CFC and TIFF. For tickets and info, go to tiff.net

::TV NEWS::     

Looking At Breast Cancer With An Unflinching Eye

Source: www.globeandmail.com - By Andrew Ryan

(Oct 14, 2011) The world is awash in pink of late.


We are, as you must know, midway into
Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the annual international drive to focus public attention on the terrible disease and raise funds for research and prevention. And once again, everything has gone pink to support the campaign.

As in Octobers past, there are fundraising events and all manner of pink products, ranging from costume jewellery to cosmetics. Pink packaging of everyday items, from mushrooms to bottled water, abounds. Hulking NFL players are wearing pink cleats and Montreal Canadiens' goalie Carey Price is sporting a pink mask and pink-trimmed pads. Yes, there is a pink BlackBerry available.

And while all this pink activity continues to raise proceeds for a very worthy cause, the disease continues to claim the lives of more than 5,000 Canadian women each year, and remains the most common cause of death in women under 50. And for those who survive, life is forever changed.

The reality of breast cancer is put on stark display in
Baring It All on The Passionate Eye (CBC News Network, 10 p.m.). Produced and directed by Australian filmmaker Patricia Zagarella, the documentary unflinchingly profiles the subjects of The SCAR Project, a Pulitzer-nominated photography exhibition featuring portraits of breast cancer survivors aged 18 to 35.

As the film relates, The SCAR Project was initiated by fashion photographer David Jay, whose creative muse clicked after his girlfriend's twin sister, Paulina, was diagnosed with breast cancer four years back. Paulina immediately underwent a mastectomy, after which she agreed to a topless photo shoot displaying her new scars. The SCAR Project was born.

The word SCAR, Jay explains, is an acronym for Surviving Cancer Absolute Reality. The photos were made public and gradually more breast cancer survivors began making the pilgrimage to Jay's New York studio for their own shoots. The film interviews four of the project's photo subjects, each a remarkable woman in her own right.

The most touching participant is Marcy, who discovered a lump in her breast while pregnant with her second child. The film shows Marcy and her husband reliving the day they received her breast cancer diagnosis. It was a defining moment in their lives.

Next is Vanessa, a woman in her mid-twenties stricken with breast cancer six months after marrying her college sweetheart. She talks frankly about the impact of the diagnosis, and the fact that she no longer feels like a complete woman. Her husband Billy is grudgingly supportive of her decision to take part in the SCAR Project.

Also profiled is Michaela, who already survived ovarian cancer and had both breasts removed in a preventive measure. "You feel like 20 years of your life is taken away from you," she reflects sadly.

And then there's Sylvia, a young Asian woman in her early twenties, who has had a radical mastectomy and extensive chemotherapy. She brings all five of her wigs to her photo shoot, which takes place in a New York hotel room. Sylvia asks Jay to make her photos "more conservative," in deference to her traditional family.

In each instance, the survivors of Baring It All are strong, inspiring women, and for some, the battle against breast cancer goes on.

The film fast-forwards one year as Jay catches up with the women, and we learn of their progress. Some have fared better than others, but the one constant evident among the four is their optimism and determination that tomorrow will be a better day.

For better or worse, this is what breast cancer looks like - the love, the pain and the whole damn thing. Baring it All should be required viewing for every single Canadian whose lives have been affected by cancer in some way, and really, that's all of us, isn't it?

Check local listings.

John Doyle will return.

A View From Inside The Dream House

Source: www.thestar.com - By Peter Howell

(Oct 13, 2011) When he’s not busy playing dads, docs and cops in
innumerable films and TV shows, Canadian character actor David Huband moonlights as an improv comedian.

Good thing, too, because he needed both a sense of humour and quick wits to survive the shoot of
Dream House, the horror film that unintentionally turned into the Movie from Hell.

Nothing in his years with Second City and his own comedy troupe Illustrated Men prepared Huband for the winging-it wackiness of 10 days he spent in the winter of 2009 with director Jim Sheridan (My Left Foot, In America) on the Oakville set of Dream House. (Oakville was subbing for a Connecticut small town; interiors were shot in Toronto at Pinewood Studios.)

Huband, 54, played a cop named Officer Nelson. He and fellow actor Mark Wilson, who played a police boss named Capt. Conklin, watched as Sheridan struggled to make what was supposed to be a quality haunted house flick starring top Hollywood talent Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz and Naomi Watts.

It didn’t turn out that way. Not by a long shot. Dream House became the proverbial nightmare, involving at least one reshoot, sudden character changes and editing that looks as if it were done with a chainsaw.

The reviled film slunk into theatres Sept. 30 without critical previews and with a Rotten Tomatoes score of just 7 percent “fresh,” making it one of the year’s worst reviewed movies.

Dream House wasn’t just released; it was abandoned, like a dead body booted out of a gangster’s speeding auto. No one even bothered protecting the film’s central reveal, which is given away in the tell-all trailer.

“Jim was having problems with the studio (Morgan Creek Productions) even during the shoot,” Huband says.

“He spent most of the time on set screaming at someone in L.A. It was crazy — crazy!”

That was just the start of it. As the L.A. Times recently reported in its 24 Frames blog, Sheridan was so unhappy with Dream House, the six-time Oscar nominee vainly attempted this past summer to have his name removed from the film.

He failed, but Huband contends that the Irish director can’t duck all the blame. Sheridan’s habit of prolonged rehearsals and sudden script changes led to numerous delays, misunderstandings and cock-ups.

Take the diner scene, in which Craig’s Will Atenton shows up to angrily ask local yokel coppers Nelson and Conklin why nobody told him about the psychotic killings that had occurred in his newly purchased house.

“That was the first day of shooting for me,” Huband says.

“We get set to rehearse with Jim and Daniel and we rehearsed the diner scene for eight hours. We didn’t shoot it! The crew is sitting around on their iPhones and playing video games for eight hours.

“We rehearse and rehearse and finally we shoot it. And they shoot it 10 different ways. It was a way bigger scene and it was a long day and it went on forever. Then the scene is a minute and a half. Everything got cut!”

It should be noted that Huband is no rookie. The Winnipeg-born actor has been working since he was 12, and has appeared in such movies as Cinderella Man, Frequency, Down to Earth and Wrong Turn, and such TV shows as Corner Gas, Street Legal, The Newsroom, Monk and Little Mosque on the Prairie. He knows his way around a set and how to take direction.

“Each one has its different problems, a different beast,” he says of his various productions.

“But Jim was kind of crazy a bit. He basically threw out the script and let us improvise … I don’t think we ever did two takes the same way. I’d do one scene where I’m banging on Daniel’s door, and then Jim would say, ‘Cut!’

“Then he’d say, ‘Mark, this time you knock on the door! Okay, Dave, speak like Mark!’ And I’d say to him, ‘How is this cutting together, Jim?’”

Not terribly well, as anybody who sat through Dream House can attest, although most of Huband’s footage never made the final print.

Huband later found out that Sheridan had reshot the diner scene using different actors playing the cops, but finally ended up using the original version.

Craig remained a trouper through it all. The man who plays 007 was neither shaken nor stirred by Sheridan’s shenanigans.

“He’s a sweetheart, he really is, just the sweetest guy. Very approachable. Whenever they’d call ‘cut!’ and we had a break or reset, he’d dash back to his Winnebago. But he was very approachable, he had a great sense of humour and was really, really nice to his fellow actors.”

Craig was the polar opposite of Russell Crowe, whom Huband worked with over a 41-day shoot in Toronto a few years earlier for Cinderella Man. He describes the Aussie actor as a “psychopath” — but he means that in the nicest possible way.

“If you weren’t doing your job he would just rip into you,” Huband says. “But in terms of his acting ability, his professionalism was just unbelievable. He had something like 1,800 choreographed moves to learn for his fights, and I think I saw him screw up twice in the entire shoot. He was amazing that way.”

Crowe’s creative muse wasn’t in sync with the film’s shooting schedule. But his frequent absences opened up opportunities for Huband, who played a character named Ford Bond.

“I got a lot of face time on that movie, a lot of close-ups. I call all the fights. When Russell decided he had had enough that day and decided to go home, they were stuck. They still had like six, seven hours to shoot. They said to me, ‘Here, let’s shoot you, man.’ They just gave me some stuff. Learn it in five minutes and somehow I did it.”

Huband is grateful for Crowe giving him so much screen time in Cinderella Man, even though Crowe didn’t do it deliberately. And he found that the Aussie firebrand wasn’t so fiery off the set. He even had a beer or three with him.

“I’ve had many things with him,” Huband says conspiratorially.

“He was quite a character when he was here.”

All things considered, the even-tempered Huband can even laugh off his Dream House experience. He was joking this week that Morgan Creek sent him a poster as a present. How generous!

Huband didn’t mind working with Sheridan, truth be told. That improv experience really saw him through.

“In spite of the crappiness of the movie, I thought Jim was great to work with. I love working with directors that give you freedom. . .

“I’ve worked on films where directors make you really specific to the script, and that can be a pain in the ass sometimes. I enjoyed the freedom to explore stuff like that.”

Henry Simmons on his ‘Man Up!’ Character: ‘He’s A Little Off’

Source: www.eurweb.com - by Cherie Saunders

(Oct 17, 2011) *
Henry Simmons, the 6 ft. 4 hottie best known for his role on “NYPD Blue,” returns to television Tuesday as the perfect “upgrade.”

In other words, he plays the handsome, cocksure boyfriend of a woman whose ex-husband is, well, the exact opposite – short, pasty, unkempt and unsure of himself.

In fact, the whole premise of “Man Up!,” premiering Tuesday at 8:30 on ABC, centers on the insecurity of three men in their 30s (Mather ZickelChristopher Moynihan and Dan Fogler) who bump up against society’s expectations of what it means to be a man. For
example, is it okay for grown-ass men to spend evenings playing video games with each other? Also, are men automatically expected to fight other men who are perceived as threats? Is using hazelnut creamer too effeminate? These are all issues that come up in the pilot. [Scroll down to watch the trailer.]

Simmons’ character Grant serves as the constant reminder of what modern manhood is supposed to look like. It’s an image the three BFFs find both frustrating and annoying.

“He’s just not aware that he’s offending people,” Simmons told EUR
exclusively of his character during interviews for the show.  ”He’s just very confident. When he walks into a room he’s the center of attention. Ladies want to be with him, guys want to be like him.”

“I think Grant is the kind of guy who appears to be perfect,” he continued. “He has harmony in his life, he has balance in his life in terms of family and his career, but there’s something odd about this guy.  You see a little bit in the first episode. He’s a little off.”

Without giving up any details, Simmons, 41, says Grant “does something that is just so strange and I can’t explain it. You’ll have to see it. When I was reading it, I was like, ‘Where did that come from?’”

In the bonus audio below, Simmons tells us what it’s like to take on the first comedic TV role of his career. [Scroll down to watch the "Man Up!" trailer and Simmons' cast commentary.]

Video: Salem Unleashes His Inner Trekkie And Goes One-On-One With Captain Kirk

Source: www.thestar.com - By Rob Salem

(October 18, 2011) Like almost any young boy growing up in the ’60s,
William Shatner was my hero. My entire week revolved around Star Trek. My fondest fantasy was to one day boldly go off with Captain James T. Kirk to save entire galaxies and rescue exotic alien slave-girls. Even if it meant wearing a red shirt, which generally guaranteed certain death before the first commercial break. It would have been worth it.

I’d met Shatner several times since, in a professional capacity, always taking great pains to keep submerged the over-excited 9-year-old boy hidden deep inside.

My favourite adult encounter was several years back, when I was a movie critic covering the junket for one of the Star Trek films — I’ve long ago forgotten which.

When the interview sessions were over, I stepped into the hotel elevator, and was absolutely stunned to suddenly find myself alone in there with William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy.

Again, I maintained my professional demeanour. But inside the 9-year-old was leaping up and down: “I’m on the turbo-lift with Kirk and Spock! I’m on the turbo-lift with Kirk and Spock!”

Outwardly, I thought, I remained cool and aloof. I happened to be standing in front of the elevator panel and, not trusting myself to even speak, wordlessly gestured, ‘Which floor?’

There was a long pause, as Shatner looked to Nimoy, and then back at me. “Bridge,” he deadpanned.

Totally busted.

And now here I am, all these years later, and William Shatner is actually sitting at my desk. It’s just him and me, mano-a-fano. I am determined not to lose it. I am only moderately successful.

I’m sure I’m not the first adult fan to be utterly overwhelmed at meeting you in person.

Nor hopefully the last.

After all these years, how do you feel about fans? It’s been a while since that classic Saturday Night Live sketch, where you famously suggested they all “Get a life.” Earlier this month, Leonard Nimoy made his last official convention appearance. Will you continue to do conventions? Or have you had enough hero worship?

Funny you should ask . . . that happens to be the subject of my next documentary, Fanatic. After all those years of “Beam me up, Scotty” . . .

Which you never actually said.

Which I never actually said . . . I met this college professor who was teaching a course about Star Trek and its impact on the culture, and the way he put it was, it really is its own mythology. And the fans are able to participate in the myth.

It’s almost in its way religious: The way you get communion and you drink the wine and the blood . . . these people are getting autographs, wearing the costumes, participating in the ritual, and being part of the cultural myth. It’s really sort of admirable. They are participating wholeheartedly and with so much passion, something that a lot of us don’t do.

And that’s what my movie will be about.

So all those Captain Kirk action figures on display in all those adolescent bedrooms . . . really a kind of secular shrine.

I have nothing to do with those (action figures).

What about all that other Star Trek merchandise . . . I read somewhere that it was a rubber Captain Kirk mask, turned inside out, that the killer wore in the Halloween movies.

That’s absolutely true. I tried to sue them. The mask was made for Star Trek and somehow found its way into stores as something you could wear for Halloween. And the guys who were making Halloween the movie needed a scary face, and that’s what was used for the movie.

But here’s the better story: I used to take my kids out for Halloween, trick-or-treating, and because I didn’t want the neighbourhood to know who I am, I would put that mask on. And then, when the people said, “That’s it, that’s all the candy we’ve got,” I’d whip off the mask.

My young kids couldn’t understand why these people were laughing. All they knew was that when I took off my mask and they would get gobs of extra candy.

I love it. There’s another classic Shatner anecdote I want to get in here, about you and the first Apollo moon landing. This was just after Star Trek, and you were out of work . . .

Not exactly. I was working. I was working in the cellar of the house that entertainment built. I was doing a little play that I had put together and was touring summer theatres. And because I was now broke, I was living in a camper over my truck. I’d drive to all of these summer theatres, put down the legs of this camper, slide the truck out from under it, go about my business, and the next week go on to the next theatre.

Now, keep in mind here, I had actually been to NASA. At the height of Star Trek’s popularity, they had invited me to come down. I met the astronauts, I met the engineers, I was in the lunar module . . .

But now I was struggling to stay afloat by touring summer theatres. And on the night in question, I was playing the Hamptons — so everybody that I now know was in their mansions, while I was in a camper, parked in a field.

So I finished the play that night, went back to my truck . . . and I had in the camper this little portable black-and-white set. That was my television. And there I was, watching these guys that I had actually met, and they’re on the moon, and I’m lying on my back in the camper with a little square TV set balanced on my chest.

Captain Kirk, grounded. But not for long. You have gone on to become a best-selling author, director, producer, recording artist, entrepreneur, horse-breeder, talk-show host . . . Bill, you’re 80 years old. You don’t look it, but still . . . I’m 53, I have one job, and I’m exhausted.

You should get out more.

Is there anything on this planet — on any planet, for that matter — that you haven’t done yet but you’d still like to try?

What have you got?

VIDEO

From Halifax To The Comedy Network, By Way Of YouTube

Source: www.globeandmail.com - By Brad Wheeler

(Oct 16, 2011) A group of young Canadians gets together and forms a
comedy troupe. They perform onstage, doing improv, sketch comedy and individual standup – and soon their very specific brand of humour reaches an audience of millions. This is, more or less, the story of Kids In The Hall, and something similar is happening with the Halifax group Picnicface.

So it makes sense that Kids member Mark McKinney is there on the set of Picnicface’s new Comedy Network sketch series, serving as executive producer. He’s an obvious choice for this material and group, and McKinney also has years of TV writing and performing experience, from work behind the scenes at Saturday Night Live to the comedy series Less Than Kind.

Though, from his perch on a folding lawn chair, it doesn’t look like McKinney’s too busy right now.

“I’m here to not do anything unless there is an absolute need for it,” he admits, sitting alongside several members of the group in a central Halifax backyard. “There are challenges to move sketches from theatre to TV, but they’re way ahead of the curve from where Kids in the Hall were – because we didn’t understand TV, we didn’t have the Internet back then.”

Indeed Picnicface has taken a very 21st-century approach to bring their work beyond the Halifax clubs. They’ve had massive success with short videos posted on YouTube and Will Ferrell’s Funny or Die website; Ferrell himself has praised the group’s videos. Their most popular video, far and away, is called Powerthirst, a satiric jab at energy drink advertising, which promises that if you enjoy the beverage you’ll have “400 babies” and be able to run “like Kenyans.” Cumulatively, Picnicface’s online content has scored well over 40 million hits.

Those videos were directed by Picnicface member Andrew Wood, who’s a former host of the CBC-TV series Street Cents. That’s in keeping with the group’s self-sufficient nature; the eight members collaborate on all their projects with little outside help. The show is being shot in the house of group member Bill Wood, which serves as the troupe’s home for TV purposes.

“It’s like finding a truffle,” McKinney whispers in the backyard as action is called somewhere inside the house. “Nobody can plant it; you can’t seed it. It’s just there and it’s delicious. When young guys and girls find each other and share a common sensibility and develop it without any reference to any commercial application, it’s the coolest thing. It very, very much reminds me of Kids in the Hall.”

Tearing Bush away from a new film treatment he’s working on, he’ll go so far to say the reason he’s in sketch comedy at all is due to the work of McKinney and KITH. “In grade eight we’d be quoting these characters that was just our vernacular, Kids in the Hall. But that inspired me to do this. I’d love it if grade eights or grade nines would quote our sketches.”

Picnicface’s Internet presence has probably already accomplished that goal, but if the TV show doesn’t make them a household name, they have other projects that might. Wood co-wrote a feature film with Picnicface cohorts Mark Little and Scott Vrooman. Roller Town, which shot in Nova Scotia in the summer of 2010, was the opening-night screening at the Atlantic Film Festival in Halifax in September. The low-budget comedy stars all the members of Picnicface – Kyle Dooley, Evany Rosen, Brian MacQuarrie, Cheryl Hann, Wood, Little, Vrooman and Bush – and is a satire on roller disco movies of the late 1970s, popular before most of the members of Picnicface were even born. The movie is expected to be released later this year.

If that wasn’t enough to keep Picnicface busy, in October HarperCollins is publishing a book called Picnicface’s Canada, containing select observations on our nation by the Haligonian funny people.

So, with the 13 episodes of their Comedy Network TV show, a slew of Internet videos, a feature film and a book under their belts, McKinney is left with little to do.

“Really, it’s just to watch and maybe nudge a bit,” he says with a barely perceptible shrug. “They’re very self-contained.”

In terms of a direct influence from Kids in the Hall on Picnicface’s Internet-savvy humour, McKinney isn’t sure there is any that people will notice, “But I think the form, the way they came together is very similar,” he says. “I recognize the discussions, the arguments, the way they pursue an idea. It’s all very familiar. It’s weird. I’m having a lot of flashbacks.”

Special to The Globe and Mail

Jaleel White Wants Folks to Move On From ‘Urkel’

Source: www.eurweb.com

(October 18, 2011) *Whether he likes it or not,
Jaleel White has become part of American pop culture due to his memorable character of Steve Urkel on the ’90s sitcom “Family Matters.”

Since the role, White has tried to show that he can play more than just the geeky, annoying neighbor that he made famous. (He’s portrayed Bruce Lee, Elvis Presley and a member of the opposite sex.) But he doesn’t feel like people are giving him props for taking on a variety of roles.

“I’m very versatile, but somehow I didn’t earn the tag of being called a versatile actor,” White, 34, tells People. “I’m still chasing that one Vanity Fair tag that says, ‘This guy’s a versatile actor.’ I accept it. It’s fine. But for me, it’s like what do I have to do to get that [acknowledgement]?”

White, who says he gets “recognized everywhere I
go,” isn’t big on reminiscing about the days of playing the character who made him a household name.

“I don’t [miss playing Urkel],” he says. “I really don’t. I’m not trying to get away from it or anything like that, but I don’t miss the role at all – really. I just want to work. I want my daughter to say, ‘I know what Daddy does,’ not ‘what Daddy did.”

White – who most recently played an inmate on Fox’s House, M.D. earlier this year – guest stars as a scheming wealthy director on the season premiere of fellow former child star Tatyana Ali’s latest sitcom, “Love That Girl!.” The actor says it’s “cool” sharing a screen with Ali, who he hasn’t filmed with since his small stint on “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” many years ago.

The episode, which airs Monday night at 8 p.m. on TV One, is the first of many more roles to come, predicts White.

“I just want people to know I haven’t gone anywhere,” he says. “The passion was gone for awhile, but I’ve got my mojo back.”

Its a Wrap for Charlies Angels

Source: www.eurweb.com

(Oct 14, 2011) *In a move many TV critics saw coming since the pilot episode aired, ABC has canceled its heavily-marketed “
Charlie’s Angels” reboot due to low ratings.

The Miami-set remake – starring Minka Kelly, Rachael Taylor and the franchise’s first African American Angel played by Annie Ilonzeh – failed to make a dent against heavy Thursday night competition, notes The Hollywood Reporter.

Production has already been shut been shut down, and ABC has not made an announcement on what will become of the remaining episodes. On Thursday, Oct. 27, ABC will air The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown at 8 p.m.

“Charlie’s Angels’” Sept. 22 premiere attracted 8.7 million viewers and a 2.1 rating in the advertiser-coveted adults 18-49 demographic against competition including the second night of Fox’s “X Factor” premiere. As the season progressed, the hour-long drama failed to match its debut ratings, sinking each week.

After critics and viewers blasted the show following its premiere, the action drama that counts Drew Barrymore as an executive producer dropped 29 percent, collecting 7.2 million viewers and a 1.5 in the demo. For its third episode on Oct. 6, Angels attracted 5.9 million viewers and a 1.2 in the demo, matching the CW’s “The Vampire Diaries.” Last night, “Angels’ saw a slight uptick, improving to a 1.3 rating.

Angels joins NBC’s “The Playboy Club” and “Free Agents,” as well as CBS’ “How to Be a Gentleman” and the CW’s unscripted show ‘H8R” as rookie series that have been axed.

The Girls Are All Right, Unless They’re On A Plane

Source: www.thestar.com - By Bill Brioux

(Oct 13, 2011) How much time does a new TV show get to prove
itself?

Many experts figure if a show hasn’t hooked viewers in those first four weeks, it isn’t going to hook them at all. Some open big but flop after that. Others start to build through word-of-mouth.

Still others don’t make it to four weeks. Already cancelled this season by their originating U.S. networks are The Playboy Club, Free Agents, H8R and How to be a Gentleman. None aired more than three times.

On the positive side, these shows have all received full-season renewals based on just the first few airings:
girl comedies Whitney, 2 Broke Girls, New Girl and Up All Night, ABC series Revenge and Suburgatory, plus three shows from The CW: Ringer, The Secret Circle and Hart of Dixie.

The jury is out on a few fall shows that carried high expectations. The
X Factor was supposed to be the next “Death Star,” a sure-fire hit based on its enormous success in the U.K. Instead, the Simon Cowell series has been beaten by Survivor three weeks in a row in Canada and is only drawing about half what American Idol routinely pulls in the States. As CBC must be asking after anemic Sunday ratings for Cover Me Canada, are we all finally sick to death of these ubiquitous talent shows?

Terra Nova also brought enormous expectations due to its executive producer (Steven Spielberg) and reportedly high price tag. The dino drama has delivered so far in Canada, opening to a record 1.4 million-plus viewers on City and staying near that level. So far, it is ahead of what went before at Fox, but at a much higher cost.

Also notable so far this fall is how well a few older shows are doing. Everyone knew Two and a Half Men would open huge with new star Ashton Kutcher, but it remains America’s No. 1 comedy and, by far, CTV Two’s No. 1 show. The addition of Ted Danson to CSI also seems to have brought new life to that 13-year-old drama, and NCIS: Los Angeles is more popular than ever.

Still, four weeks in, it looks like there are no game changers this season. Here’s a look at how five other rookies have fared, with grades for each:

Michael Tuesday & Thursdays (Tues., 9 p.m., CBC). Critics (including the Star’s own Rob Salem) loved this crisp and clever comedy. CBC, however, has taken a Sidney Crosby-like hit to the head this fall, hammered by a Two and a Half Men-led import assault. Michael was flattened in Week 1 against Modern Family and The X Factor. When it dropped to 199,000 viewers in Week 2, CBC booted it to Tuesdays, where it fell to 153,000 against NCIS: Los Angeles and Dancing With the Stars. It bounced back over the 200,000 mark in weeks 4 and 5 (when Ed Asner was added) but could barely survive on a specialty channel at this level. The consensus now is that Michael may be too smart for the room, an HBO show stuck on a CBC schedule.

Creative grade: A

Performance: F

New Girl (Tues. 9 p.m., City\Fox) , on the other hand, has found both critical and commercial validation. Zooey Deschanel is the season’s “it” girl, with the series opening to a robust 736,000 viewers on City, settling in at 565,000 by Week 3. It’s done even better following Glee on Fox, earning a full season pickup. However, Fox this week decided to shelve their hot new sitcom for three weeks until after the baseball playoffs. No worries: this Girl will be missed and welcomed back.

Creative: B+

Performance: B

Prime Suspect (Thurs., 10 p.m., Global/NBC). Most critics love Maria Bello as this tough big city cop, but the drama hasn’t been the hit Global was hoping for and seems stuck in the middle of the pack of U.S. network dramas. While it stands apart from the Helen Mirren original, and has been picked up for six more scripts by NBC, this Suspect may be too familiar to American audiences, especially given the dozen or so procedural cop shows already on CBS’s schedule.

Creative: B

Performance: B-

Unforgettable (Tues., 10 p.m., CTV/CBS). The premise — a woman (Poppy Montgomery) remembers everything and is therefore invaluable to the police — seemed like every married man’s worst nightmare. Critics may have dismissed it as just another cookie cutter, cop-with-a-gimmick drama from CBS, but close to two million viewers caught the opener in Canada and very few have left.

Creative: B-

Performance: B

Pan Am (Sun., 10 p.m., CTV/ABC). After a takeoff of close to two million viewers, CTV was quick to declare this the drama hit of the new season. Pan Am, however, has been in a tailspin ever since, dropping to 1.4 million and 1.1 million viewers in subsequent weeks. In the U.S. — where the fate of these shows are determined — Pan Am was ABC’s second lowest-rated scripted show last week, ahead of only soon-to-be-cancelled Charlie’s Angels. Why the turbulence? Sold as a female empowerment series, it seems more like a soap one week, a spy show the next. It also tried to ride a Man Men wave of ’60s nostalgia. The problem there was a) if you’re a fan of heady Mad Men, you’re going to find this stewardess show on cruise control by comparison and b) Mad Men draws surprisingly few viewers. Please raise your tray tables and fasten your seatbelts.

Creative: C

Performance: C

TV TIDBITS

Mariah Carey to Show Off Twins on ABC’s ’20/20′

Source: www.eurweb.com

(Oct 17, 2011) *New parents
Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon will finally show off their twin babies as part of a Barbara Walters interview for “20/20.” The broadcast, set to air Friday (Oct. 21), will feature a first look at daughter Monroe and son Moroccan, who were born on April 30 and have been kept hidden from the public, until now. According to ABC, Walters was invited to spend time with Carey and Cannon and meet the kids in their New York home. A post on Carey’s website reads: “Mariah and Nick recently sat down with Barbara Walters in their New York apartment to discuss Mariah’s pregnancy, their marriage, their beautiful baby twins Monroe and Moroccan and much more.”

3rd Annual Soul Train Awards to be Hosted by Cedric the Entertainer

Source: www.eurweb.com

(Oct 15, 2011) *The 2011
Soul Train Awards are just around the corner and Cedric the Entertainer will be this year’s host. The 3rd annual event will highlight the best of today’s R&B music while bridging the latest styles to the classic sounds of yesterday. It’ll take place at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Ga. on Thursday Nov. 17 and will premiere on both BET and Centric at 9pm Eastern on Sunday, November 27. This year’s celebration will be the 40th anniversary of Soul Train and will honor pioneers like Earth, Wind and Fire as well as Gladys Knight. “We are thrilled to have an opportunity to partner with BET/Centric again to produce another Soul Tran Awards presentation,” said Soul Train CEO Kenard Gibbs. “These annual awards allow us to celebrate the legacy of the Soul Train brand by showcasing amazing new talent that has been influenced by the music icons who have contributed to the success of the Soul Train series.”

Marlon Wayans to Star in New Comedy Series

Source: www.eurweb.com

(October 18, 2011) *
Marlon Wayans might be coming back to the small screen real soon. According to Deadline.com, the actor wrote, will executive produce, and star in a new comedy series, which is still in the making at ABC Studios. It’s been 16 years since Wayans co-created and co-starred in the long running WB comedy series, “The Wayans Bros.” The new show will follow a similar theme. The comedy, which has an odd couple/buddy cop comedy feel to it, centers on two brothers, both cops. Having fallen down on his luck, one of them moves in with his brother and his family. Wayans will play the married brother. Stay tuned as more develops.

Trailer: Common in Doc about Rap’s Healing Power in Uganda

Source:
www.eurweb.com

(Oct. 19, 2011)
Common poses for photographs for the AMC series "Hell on Wheels" in Cannes. (Oct. 4, 2011) *Common and will.i.am have been recruited for a new TV documentary about the power of hip-hop. The pair will team up to shoot “Bouncing Cats,” which chronicles one man’s attempt to improve the lives of Ugandan children through the use of music and breakdance. Common will serve as the narrator, while the Black Eyed Peas star will be among those who have agreed to talk about the power of rap and hip-hop. The film, which will also feature Mos Def, will debut in Nov. 19 on The Documentary Channel (DOC).

 

Bobby Brown Shooting for the Stars with New Edition Reality Show

Source:
www.eurweb.com

(Oct. 19, 2011) *In an effort to rebuild his fame and re-establish himself as a sex
symbol, old school singer Bobby Brown is planning to document the New Edition comeback on the small screen with a new reality show. He says the effort has long been prayed for and it looks like it’s all manifesting itself. Brown tells Hustler magazine: “We have a conference call every Sunday. We’re putting it (band) back together. “I think the thing that was missing with us was prayer – us being able to pray together and understand our differences. I think that’s what made us fight so much. “Our friendship was lost once the business of being in the band exploded. We’re now working at becoming friends again and getting back together next year for a tour and an album. And maybe a television show.”

::THEATRE NEWS::

New Hal Prince Musical Sparks Dancap Season

Source: www.thestar.com - By Richard Ouzounian

(Oct 17, 2011) A new Broadway-bound musical is the highlight of
Dancap Productions’ 2012 season, announced Monday.

The new season promises a wide assortment of hit musicals, including the Tony Award-winning In the Heights, as well as Million Dollar Quartet, Beauty and the Beast, West Side Story and Shrek.

But for the first time in many years, a Broadway-bound musical will have its world premiere in Toronto.

Productions like Show Boat and Kiss of the Spider Woman started out here and went on to Gotham triumph. Now, the man behind those shows (and countless others), Harold Prince, is the subject of Dancap’s world premiere,
Prince of Broadway.

As originally reported in the Star in June, Prince of Broadway will clock the life of Prince, the only man in history with 21 Tony Awards to his credit, both as producer (Fiddler on the Roof) and director (The Phantom of the Opera).

The Star asked Prince, always known as a man for whom theme comes before all else, what he thought the message of this show would be.

“It culls from almost 60 years of working in the musical theatre and, in particular, it addresses luck as a factor in anyone’s career,” he said.

The veteran showman soft-shoed around the issue of whether a specific actor would portray him but said, “I will be represented onstage using a variety of techniques, not just film.”

The new musical will include music from all of Prince’s major shows, which means it will be the first stage show to feature songs by both Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber on the same stage at the same time.

Besides his numerous successes, Prince has also been the force behind shows that featured memorable material even though they weren’t hits themselves, like A Doll’s Life and Parade.

“When we put together a list of all the songs from all the shows I produced, it came to 55 single-spaced typed pages,” he laughed. “We’ve chosen from the hits as well as the flops, but every song is a good one.”

Prince of Broadway will play the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in August 2012, with exact dates undetermined.

In the Heights starts the season, Feb. 7-19 at the Toronto Centre for the Arts. This warm-hearted show won the Tony Award for Best Musical for its invigoratingly tuneful portrait of the multiracial Washington Heights neighbourhood in New York City.

Shrek the Musical follows March 20 to April 1, also at the TCA, cataloguing the exploits of the biggest, greenest ogre you’ve ever seen, a witty donkey, a killer dragon and, of course, a gorgeous princess.

The recent Broadway revival of West Side Story, featuring both Spanish as well as English in the dialogue and lyrics, will be at the TCA from May 8-June 3.

One of the most beloved musicals of all times, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast will take up residence at the Four Seasons Centre from July 3-22, while the rock ’n’ roll sensation Million Dollar Quartet shakes the roof off the TCA from July 20-29.

Dancap also announced the three Torontonians who will appear in its December 2011 production of Green Day’s American Idiot. In one of the leading roles, Jake Epstein will star as Will, as previously revealed in the Star. Talia Aaron and Gabriel Antonacci will be members of the ensemble.

And, as a special bonus for the 2012 holiday season,

Dancap will present A Christmas Story, The Musical!, the beloved Jean Shepherd story of bespectacled Ralphie Parker and his dreams of getting a Red Ryder BB Gun from Santa. Look for it in December 2012 at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts.

Contact www.DancapTickets.com or call 416-640-0172 for subscription information.

The Men Behind The “Man In The Mirror”

Source: www.thestar.com - By Richard Ouzounian

(Oct. 16, 2011) MONTREAL—If it takes a village to raise a child, then
just imagine how many people it must take to re-create the world of that eternal child, Michael Jackson.

On this afternoon following the triumphant opening night of Cirque du Soleil's latest show, it looks like half of Montreal is packed backstage at the Bell Centre, maintaining costumes, testing rigging, fixing props and guiding a corps of journalists from around the globe on a tour behind the scenes of the spectacular show that will arrive in Toronto on Oct. 21.

The program tells you that 64 artists are onstage and it also reveals three times that number helped create it. Reliable reports say that the technical crew is twice the complement of cast.

Do the math and it reveals close to 400 people with a stake in this bold piece of entertainment which I described as “Part rock concert, part aerial fantasy, part multimedia extravaganza and part surreal performance art.”

The different thing about this show is that many of the people in it had worked with Jackson during his spectacular skyrocket of a career, playing in his band, dancing in his ensemble, even choreographing him on occasion. Some were even by his side, rehearsing the abortive This Is It tour that Jackson was preparing when he died.

“Once you worked with Michael, it changed you for life,” says Jamie King, the show's author and director. “The time I spent dancing with him on the Dangerous tour taught me a new way of looking at the world of performance.”

King has directed many rock greats since that time, including Rihanna and Madonna, but working with the memory of Michael “was something else again. I'm not going to try and tell you that he spoke to me or anything weird like that, but if I was staging a scene, sometimes I'd just get an overwhelming feeling it had to change and that feeling was Michael.”

Costume designer Zaidy Goco had prepared all the clothes for This Is It, only to see most of them never worn. He proudly says that he didn't copy any of those designs outright for the current show, but held onto little pieces of them.

“Michael was about new ideas, new technology, but I still wanted to keep little pieces of him from the past alive in the show.

“The important thing for me in creating fashion for the stage is to come up with things that people in the audience would want to wear too.”

Musical director Greg Phillinganes has played with all the greats of the music world since his debut with Stevie Wonder in 1975, but what he cherishes most closely is being Jackson's MD on the Bad and Dangerous tours.

“Everybody has a different memory of Michael,” he says, “that's what you've got to respect and remember. When his mother comes up to me last night with tears in her eyes, I know she's not thinking of the Michael I recall, but the kid whose snotty nose she wiped.

“And at the end of the show, when Michael is singing 'I'll Be There', I'm playing the piano and it's just the two of us, I go to a very private place inside my soul.”

But perhaps the most touching insights come from someone who only dreamed of working with Michael Jackson until this project came along. Salah Benlemqawanssa is the Moroccan mime artist who plays a kind of Michael surrogate in the show, part Man in the Mirror, part Marcel Marceau.

“I never had the chance to meet Michael, but he was special to me because of his music. He is still special to me. Every day, every second, he still says something to me.

“I think it will take all of my life to understand it.”

Cirque du Soleil's Michael Jackson—The IMMORTAL World Tour can be seen at the Air Canada Centre on Oct. 21, 22, 23. For tickets, go to www.cirquedusoleil.com or 416-870-8000.

Marital Arts

Source: www.thestar.com - By Trish Crawford

(October 19, 2011) She does the dishes and makes dinner, he takes out the garbage and gets their son to school. He gets the groceries but she writes out the list.

She’s an opera diva with cascading black hair and designer gowns and he’s a pianist with a chamber ensemble. These lovers, parents and well-known musicians often work together performing in recitals.

There’s no grand plan to the happy professional and marital union of
Isabel Bayrakdarian and Serouj Kradjian. She says, “We just wing it.”

But on performance days she tells Kradjian, “Don’t treat me like your wife.” On Friday, before their 8 p.m. show at the Markham Theatre, Bayrakdarian will be “sleeping in.”

“I used to think I had to go to the salon and get my hair done on performance day. Now, I do it myself. I don’t do any chores. It’s an important part of my preparation, I like to give so much.”

A non-wife for the day, there will be no domestic business or unnecessary chit chat so she stays centred and calm. Sometime in the afternoon, she’ll call her mother and tell her the time of the performance, adding, “Pray for me.”

Kradjian, for his part, will prepare an oatmeal breakfast for 3-1/2-year-old Ari before dropping him off at his Montessori school. Then, he heads to downtown Toronto to practice with his Amici Chamber Ensemble which plays Sunday at the Glenn Gould Studio. After three hours of pounding the keyboard, he will return home for more playing.

“I have to be at the keyboard,” says Kradjian, pointing to the piano in the family’s living room where the couple rehearses. Kradjian must play whatever piano is supplied by the venue. Being able to tackle any kind of quirks a new piano might throw his way is part of the skill required of a concert pianist, he says.

To handle this uncertainty, he practices.

“I need to do something, keep busy,” he says, adding that then he eats a big plate of pasta about four hours before the show. Bayrakdarian eats lightly and avoids dairy at all cost; it affects her vocal chords.

“Why make myself work more for the sake of a slice of cheese?” she says.

Even though he’s been told not to act like a husband, Kradjian will drive them both to the theatre. And, during the performance, Bayrakdarian will turn away from the audience and give her husband of seven years a wink.

Otherwise, it’s strictly business onstage, says Kradjian, saying, “We must be professional. I don’t want people saying, look at them, they’re such a nice couple. I want them to be experiencing good quality music.”

They will be performing a piece by Gomidas Vartabed called “The Apricot Tree” that they first performed together as teenagers in Toronto’s St. Mary Armenian Apostolic Church. She was in the choir, he was the organist.

Kradjian says, “Having love and music intertwined is my path to happiness. May it never change.”

While they frequently perform together, they laugh at the suggestion they might get bored with each other.

“We fell in love with each other not by being continually together. He was in Europe and I was in Toronto,” says Bayrakdarian. “We’re both independent spirits. I have always needed alone time, to sort out my thoughts.”

Being an opera singer means she has to go far afield for months at a time.

Until recently, Ari travelled with his parents but now that he’s in school that will have to change. The parents are heading out for a month-long concert tour of British Columbia in November without him and admit they’re rethinking how they can mix family and careers.

“He is so used to going to sleep on a plane in one country and waking up in another. But, as exciting as it is to go to Whitehorse, it is exciting for him to go to school, see his friends, go to swimming lessons,” says Bayrakdarian.

::TECHNOLOGY NEWS::

More Facebook Friends Means More Brain Tissue, Study Finds

Source:
www.thestar.com

(October 19, 2011) LONDON—People who have more
Facebook friends have more grey matter in their brains, a finding that may spur further research on the relationship between social networking and the mind, British researchers said Wednesday.

A strong correlation was found between the number of Facebook connections and the amount of grey matter, or brain tissue responsible for processing signals, according to research led by Geraint Rees, a senior clinical research fellow at University College London.

The results, based on magnetic resonance imaging of 125 college students’ brains, were published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

While more grey matter in some areas of the brain can imply greater competence in some skills, greater mass in other regions may mean an individual is more easily distracted, Rees said. Similar research conducted at Boston’s Northeastern University found that the size of the amygdala, which processes memory and emotional responses, is related to the size and complexity of social networks in adults.

“We don’t yet know whether more is good or not,” Rees told reporters in a telephone conference call. “What we do know is these changes in grey matter can be seen in a lot of situations.”

Facebook operates the world’s biggest social- networking website, with more than 800 million users. The study’s sample consisted of college students whose networks of Facebook friends ranged from the single digits to about 1,000, Rees said. The average number of friends was about 300, with most participants having fewer than 300 in their network. The findings were also replicated in a group of 40 additional participants, he said.

Further research is necessary to understand the relationship between the amount of grey matter and the number of social connections a person has, Rees said. It’s unclear from the data whether having more Facebook friends makes the regions of the brain larger or whether some people have an innate ability to have more friends, the researchers said.

The study was funded by the Wellcome Trust, a medical-research charity based in London.

Zynga Adds Casino Games To Line-Up

Source: www.globeandmail.com - Reuters

(Oct 11, 2011) SAN FRANCISCO — Social games company
Zynga is releasing 10 new products including a bingo game and a lineup of casino-themed games, its chief executive Mark Pincus said Tuesday.

The company, which makes “FarmVille” and “CityVille,” draws most of its users from Facebook and makes money from selling virtual goods such as costumes and weapons that people use to play the online games.

It filed for an initial public offering of up to $1-billion in July. Difficult market conditions spurred by the weak economy have forced Zynga to delay the IPO, according to media reports.

Mr. Pincus introduced several new games at the company’s headquarters such as “CastleVille” and “Hidden Chronicles,” in which players must find hidden objects.

Zynga’s new franchise, “Zynga Casino,” includes its Poker game and a bingo game.

Zynga has been increasingly challenged by other video game companies such as Electronic Arts, which are starting to attack its gaming turf on Facebook.

Little-Known Startup Becomes ‘Rising Star’ Of Tokyo Game Show

Source: www.globeandmail.com - Yuri Kageyama, The Associated Press

(Oct 11, 2011) CHIBA, Japan— A start-up little known outside Japan that offers games for cellphones is emerging as the new star at this year’s Tokyo video game exhibition, usually dominated by big-name console makers like Sony and Microsoft.

Gree Inc., a social networking service that began just seven years ago in the founder’s living room, had its first booth ever at the sprawling Tokyo Game Show, which previewed to media Thursday ahead of its opening to the public later this week at a hall in this Tokyo suburb.

Its stardom underlines the arrival of so-called “social games” aimed at casual users passing the time on smartphones and tablet devices rather than the sophisticated plots, imagery and controls found on gaming devices.

With Gree, mobile games are an additional feature to its social networking service, similar to those already common in the U.S. and other nations with Facebook and Twitter, although those don’t focus as much on gaming.

Yoshikazu Tanaka, the 34-year-old founder and chief executive of Gree, said he was serious about expanding business overseas, targeting 1 billion users in the next several years.

Gree already has drawn 140 million users worldwide, and has opened overseas offices, including San Francisco and London.

Gree’s booth was among the biggest at the annual Tokyo Game Show.

And it was drawing just as much of a crowd as Sony Corp., which exhibits every year, and was showing off its new portable machine, PlayStation Vita, set to go on sale Dec. 17 in Japan and early next year in the U.S. and Europe.

In Japan, PS Vita will face off this holiday season against DS3, the portable from Nintendo Co., which features glasses-free 3-D imagery.

Both Nintendo and Sony executives, in presentations earlier this week, expressed worries about keeping growth going in the gaming business, perhaps because of competition from devices like smartphones, Gree’s specialty.

The shift to smartphones was affecting game-software makers as well.

“The network itself is the new platform,” said Yoichi Wada, head of Japanese game software maker Square Enix. “Game developers need to keep in mind that gaming is spreading to casual users, including newcomers.”

But the advantage of offering gaming on cellphones is simple: Almost everyone in the industrialized world owns a cellphone, and as more nations join that fold, people in those nations are bound to buy cellphones, too.

Tanaka said the advent of social gaming had changed the industry because people were always connected to networks with smartphones and tablets like the iPad, and people aren’t necessarily going to go out and invest hundreds of dollars in a special game machine.

Tanaka said he envisioned a time when cell phones would become plentiful in places like Africa and South America for low prices, and people, who would never dream of buying expensive game machines, would be accessing Gree services from cellphones as gaming newcomers.

“What is coming next is very important,” he said as a keynote speaker, a good indicator of his spot in the limelight. “Gree is targeting all cellphone-users.”

Takashi Sensui, general manager at Microsoft Japan Co., said Microsoft sees social gaming as an opportunity to grow, as it is strong in games for cellphones and computers, as well as with those for its Xbox 360 home console.

What computer device people may want to use merely depends on where they are, such as whether they are on the move or they are at home, he said.

“You can use Microsoft’s platform anywhere, anytime and everywhere, on any type of device to enjoy entertainment,” he said.

::OTHER NEWS::

MLK Memorial Dedication in DC Draws Thousands

Source: www.eurweb.com

(Oct 16, 2011) *Thousands of people spanning all ages and races
honored the legacy of the nation’s foremost civil rights leader during Sunday’s formal dedication of the new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington.

Aretha Franklin, poet Nikki Giovanni and President Barack Obama were among those who attended the more than four-hour ceremony. King’s children and other leaders spoke before the president, invoking his “I Have a Dream” speech and calling upon a new generation to help fully realize that dream.

Some in the crowd arrived as early as 5 a.m., and the crowd eventually overflowed beyond the park gates. Some women wore large Sunday hats for the occasion.

The president arrived late morning with his wife and two daughters, which drew loud cheers from those watching his entrance on large screens.

Cherry Hawkins traveled from Houston with her cousins and arrived at 6 a.m. to be part of the dedication. They postponed earlier plans to attend the August dedication, which was postponed because of Hurricane Irene.

“I wanted to do this for my kids and grandkids,” Hawkins said. She expects the memorial will be in their history books someday. “They can say, ‘Oh, my granny did that.’”

Read/learn MORE at Yahoo News.

::TRAVEL NEWS::

Canadians Planning Vacations Despite Economy

Source:
www.metronews.ca/toronto - The Canadian Press

(October 18, 2011) TORONTO - A new survey suggests Canadians still
have their sights set on vacation spots despite uncertainty about the direction of the economy.  The Bank of Montreal (TSX:BMO) found that 61 per cent of respondents say they will take a fall or winter holiday this year.  About 20 per cent of respondents say they'll travel outside of Canada, with 14 per cent planning to head to the United States and five per cent vacationing outside North America.  In comparison, about 79 per cent of Canadians vacationed this past summer.

Solo Travel Offers Unique Perspective For Women

Source:
www.metronews.ca/toronto - Kristi Eaton, The Associated Press

(October 13, 2011) Three years ago I embarked on my first
solo travel experience, a nine-day reporting trip to Samoa. I was 23, fresh out of college and eager to see what the world had to offer.

Looking back, I marvel at how eager people were to strike up conversations with me, invite me to an activity or offer tips on a hidden gem not listed in my guidebook. But I also cringe at some of my decisions, like getting in a car alone with two men who offered to show me around the island of Upolu. Fortunately that adventure turned out fine, and overall, my visit to Samoa opened up my eyes to a whole new way of travelling.

I've since gone on solo trips to Vietnam, Hong Kong, Thailand, Australia and Antigua, and I've learned to make safe choices while experiencing destinations in ways that travelling with others might not allow.

Other women who travel alone have similar perspectives. "I find that if I am travelling alone, it is much easier to meet the locals," said Betty Thesky, 46, a flight attendant who has been to more than 30 countries and whose first solo trip was to Jordan and Israel.

She said that while people assume couples and groups want to be left alone, "you are more approachable when you are by yourself, and people assume that if you're alone, you would appreciate company."

Angie Orth, 29, who left her job as a New York public relations executive to travel the world for a year, said travelling solo allows her to be selfish with her time, money and itinerary.

"You can do whatever you want. If you want to sit in a cafe and drink coffee and be on Facebook all day, you can. You don't have to have someone saying why didn't we go here or see this museum," said Orth, who has so far this year travelled to Fiji, New Zealand, Indonesia, Thailand, Greece and Spain, among other countries.

But the downside of being alone, she said, is that she can't trust everyone she meets.

"You just have to be a little more careful when you're on your own," she added. Orth, who is single, says she tells people that she's in a relationship as a way to set a clear boundary from the start.

Thesky said she finds there's an unwritten rule among solo travellers that asking another traveller to dinner or drinks in a new country does not automatically constitute a date. In fact, she said, simply asking about a destination or something listed in a guidebook can sometimes lead not only to helpful information but to an invitation for coffee or dinner.

"Once you start to realize how friendly people can be, it gets much easier to approach them," Thesky said.

Elinor Warkentin, 52, of Vancouver, recommends that female solo travellers consider joining an organization like Women Welcome Women World Wide. The group connects female travellers with women living in the country they are visiting. Warkentin has met or stayed with more than 100 women this way, and is often met at airports and train stations by other group members.

"We all have a desire to get to know each other," she said.

Safety is also an important consideration for Warkentin. After being robbed of her camera at knifepoint while travelling alone in Chile in 1992, she downsized her camera and routinely uses windows or other reflective surfaces to see who's behind her. She also always maps out in advance exactly how to reach her first hotel upon arrival in a new country, and leaves expensive jewelry at home while trying to blend in to the local culture.

She recommends a bus tour the first day in a new place too, as a way to get oriented. "I kind of geographically get the lay of the land and then I can go back and explore," she said.

Thesky recommends hostels and budget hotels for single travellers because they often have common areas where people can meet. Another resource is the website for Couchsurfing, which connects travellers to hosts with free informal lodging as well as offering options for simply meeting locals for coffee or a drink.

On a recent trip to Antigua, I connected with a 22-year-old woman through Couchsurfing who picked me up at the airport, showed me local spots on the island and introduced me to her friends and parents. We bonded instantly over our shared sense of wanderlust and were laughing within minutes of my arrival. We still talk about once a week and often discuss the possibility of travelling together.

So far, though, we haven't done it. We're too busy planning trips on our own.

———

Online: Angie Orth's blog about her yearlong solo trip: http://www.angieaway.com

Betty Thesky's podcast about travel: http://www.bettyinthesky.com

http://www.womenwelcomewomen.org.uk/

http://www.couchsurfing.com

::SPORTS NEWS::

Georges St-Pierre out of UFC 137

Source: www.globeandmail.com - Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

(October 18, 2011) Toronto — A knee injury suffered in training
Tuesday has forced welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre out of next week's UFC 137 title fight with Carlos (Natural Born Killer) Condit.

“We don't play golf,” a muted St-Pierre told The Canadian Press. “It's a full-contact sport. This stuff happens.”

St-Pierre sustained a strained knee ligament defending a takedown at Montreal's Tristar Gym in his final week of training. The champion says he will be sidelined about four weeks.

The 30-year-old from Montreal was slated to meet Condit on Oct. 29 in Las Vegas. St-Pierre was supposed to wrap up training camp Saturday.

The new marquee bout at the Mandalay Bay Events Center will be a three-round welterweight bout between B.J. Penn and Nick Diaz, which had been the co-main event.

The card is already sold out, but the UFC will doubtless feel the financial pinch in its pay-per-view audience. UFC president Dana White, who said via Twitter he is “beyond” devastated at the news, has said St-Pierre is the organization's pay-per-view king and the fighter's loss may well deter viewers from digging into their wallet.

Ironically, St-Pierre was originally slated to meet Diaz in the main event, but White replaced Diaz with Condit after the California challenger, who does not play well with others when it comes to media, failed to show for publicity events in Toronto and Las Vegas.

White then pitted Diaz against Penn.

Welterweight Josh Koscheck, no stranger to stepping up to take fights on short notice, promptly offered Tuesday to fight in place of St-Pierre.

“Duty calls again???” he said in a tweet to White.

But Condit (27-5), who was doing interviews about the GSP fight Tuesday, will still get his shot.

“We will sit Carlos to wait for GSP,” wrote White, who tweeted that he respected Koscheck for making the offer. “It's looking so far like he could be ready in a couple months.”

St-Pierre (22-2) said he had tweaked his other knee in training last week. It turned out to be just a slight bruise but he believes Tuesday's injury occurred because he was compensating for the other knee.

“It's just the way I tried to defend the takedown,” he explained. “I fell down and when I stood up, I could feel something weird.”

Trainer Firas Zahabi said St-Pierre initially tried to continue.

“After the takedown it looked a little weird,” he said. “I was actually a little concerned but I wasn't sure how bad it was.

“Once he started moving around, I saw that he was limping and he had to stop.”

Zahabi says St-Pierre needs a month off — physically and mentally.

“The (training) camp was extremely rigorous and I think just mentally he needs some time and he needs to get ready for the next training camp,” he said.

With high-profile main events already booked in cards through mid-December, St-Pierre has some time to retool.

“I don't know what their (UFC) agenda looks like but I know Georges needs a month to heal and then two months to prepare,” Zahabi said.

Condit, a former WEC champion, said in a statement that while he was “greatly disappointed,” he understood “injuries are a part of this business.”

“Georges is a great competitor and I know that he will want to return to 100 per cent health as soon as possible so that this fight can be rescheduled,” he added.

“This is the best training camp I have ever had, and I look forward to carrying over the growth that I've experienced in this camp to my next one.

“I have trained for over a decade in mixed martial arts with the clear goal of becoming the best fighter in the world at my weight class. I have worked this long to become the UFC welterweight champion. I will work a little longer.”

The UFC has been hit hard by injuries in recent times, reflecting a hard-nosed sport where the training can be tougher than the fights themselves.

Lightweight champion Frank Edgar's recent title defence against Gray Maynard was delayed when both fighters were injured in the leadup. Heavyweight title-holder Cain Velasquez has been sidelined by shoulder surgery.

Light-heavyweight champion Jon (Bones) Jones, former light-heavyweight title-holder Rashad Evans and former heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar (diverticulitis) have also been sidelined for varying amounts of time.

It has made for some frantic rejigging of cards.

In Diaz and Penn, the UFC has a pair of name fighters as a replacement main event — although not with the same star power of GSP.

Diaz (25-7-1) is making his return to the UFC after a stint as Strikeforce champion.

Penn (16-7-2) is a former UFC lightweight and welterweight title-holder who has gone 1-2-1 in his last four fights.

He lost his 155-pound title and a rematch to Frankie (The Answer) Edgar last year before knocking out former 170-pound champion Matt Hughes.

He fought welterweight Jon Fitch to a tie at UFC 127 in February.

Penn and St-Pierre have been linked by injury before.

St-Pierre was slated to meet champion Matt Hughes at UFC 63 in September 2006 but had to withdraw due to a groin injury. Penn stepped in for the Canadian, losing by third-round TKO.

St-Pierre went on to beat Hughes for the championship at UFC 65 in November 2006. He lost the title next time out to Matt Serra at UFC 69 in April 2007 — a fight delayed two months due to a GSP knee issue — but won it back from Serra at UFC 83 in April 2008.

The Canadian has defended the welterweight championship six times since.

St-Pierre also tore his abductor muscle — in three places — in beating Thiago Alves at UFC 100 in July 2009.

Zahabi says he sees beyond the disappointment of this latest injury setback.

“I like to think the training is still there. it still counted for something. There's going to be another fight ... He's improved, he's come a long way, he's progressed as he does in every camp.

“I was very happy with the camp.”

The Loneliness Of The Long-Distance Record Holder

Source: www.globeandmail.com - By John Allemang

(Oct 15, 2011) It's a rainy Toronto Sunday, 6:30 a.m., and the old
blue-collar neighbourhood of Mimico is cold, dark and deserted. Jerome Drayton is in his element.

The compact 66-year-old in the bright-red Canada road-racing cap became a morning person more by necessity than by nature. In his prime between 1969 and 1977, when running was its own reward and the marathon's highest ranks were populated by single-minded amateurs, extreme-sport ascetics and the odd barefoot African, he'd already have had eight kilometres under his belt by this hour - part of a rigorous training program that demanded up to 45 kilometres of daily roadwork sandwiched around a 9-to-5 job.

Now it's a slow coffee in a brightly lit McDonald's. An arthritic knee has left him with a limp, and cataracts cloud his vision.

The prime of Jerome Drayton seems far away in a world where the marathon has been redefined as a mass-participation sport and top-ranked athletes can afford to race rarely and live comfortably. Yet there's something timely about the quiet retiree leafing through the free morning newspaper in the corner booth: Thirty-six years after he ran 2 hours 10 minutes 9 seconds in bad shoes on a rainy day in Fukuoka, Japan, he remains the Canadian marathon record holder.

It's a paradox that puzzles even him.

"Why is my record still around after all these years?" he asks. "It doesn't make any sense."

The organizers of Sunday's Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon agree. They're offering a $36,000 prize for any Canadian who can beat Drayton's best time. And they've found a taker in Reid Coolsaet, a gregarious 32-year-old distance runner from Hamilton who ran 2:11:23 in last year's race and talks confidently of reaching 2:09:55 this year.

Years of finely tuned physical preparation and scientific calculation have gone into this assault on the record. Coolsaet will be led out by a personal pacemaker instructed to deliver him to the half-marathon point at precisely the 64:40 mark. Double that, allow a few seconds for fatigue, balance the spectre of hitting the dreaded late-marathon "wall" against the adrenalin rush of being cheered on by thousands of fans - and voila, a Canadian record.

When Drayton turned to marathon running before the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, he had to undertake his own research, searching for clues in the latest scientific periodicals.

The running boom was in its infancy, and marathoners were still a rare breed of loners who perfected their techniques through trial and error. When Drayton won the 1977 Boston marathon in conditions he calls "brutally hot," there were no water stations on the course.

"I literally thought two or three times in the race that I was going to drop dead," he says. Never the diplomat, he damned the race organizers from the winner's circle, and helped push marathoning into the modern world.

His illustrious career - including three victories at Fukuoka, the unofficial world championship - was filled with examples of mismanagement that would astonish today's well-treated professionals. Officials thought nothing of making him run and rerun races to prove his fitness, in an era before marathoners were acknowledged to run faster by competing less frequently.

His worst experience at the hands of others came in the Canadian trials for the 1972 Munich Olympics: He ran a time far slower than his norm, only to discover that the Montreal course was a kilometre too long.

"They were nice enough to invite us back to run it again the next week," Drayton says with four decades' worth of stored-up contempt. "I declined, and missed out on Munich."

It was a huge disappointment, but not just because he forfeited his chance at a medal. Munich was also his home, the city that imbued him with the mental toughness of the true marathoner.

He was born in war-ravaged Germany in 1945. Before he Canadianized himself as Jerome Drayton, he was Peter Buniak, the only child of young, impoverished Russian-Ukrainian parents who fed him frozen potatoes and icicles when he was an infant and placed him in a foster home at 6.

"I learned how to fight, how to throw stones when it was three against one, and how to keep to myself," he says, repeating the few memories he's willing to share.

His mother left his father, immigrated to Canada in 1955 and found a job as a hospital worker in Toronto. A year later, she sent for him.

Drayton speculates that he might have joined a street gang if he hadn't found the disciplined escape of running as a teenager.

And yet in an event where the psychological component of putting up with agony and tedium and disappointment is essential to success, his hard upbringing comes across as an advantage.

"I never really liked the marathon to begin with," he says. "But when it really felt like a chore, I'd just say to myself, 'Somewhere in the world, one of my competitors is out there running right now. He's got to do it, so I've got to do it.'"

When Drayton considers why his record has stood for 36 years, he focuses first on the reluctance of younger runners to train as hard as he did; he was running upward of 300 kilometres a week while working as a sports administrator for the Ontario Ministry of Culture and Recreation.

Coolsaet thinks his peak of 230 kilometres a week is sufficient. Distance isn't everything; his prerace preparation also includes sleeping in a generator-fired altitude tent and calculating his per-kilometre carbohydrate requirements from a personalized lemon-lime Ironman Perform drink.

But he agrees that motivation has been lacking for Canadian marathoners over the last few decades, particularly as African runners came to dominate the sport and brought the world record down to a seemingly unreachable 2:03:38.

"I think a mental shift needed to happen, to change what Canadians perceive as fast and doable," Coolsaet says. "Somewhere in the 1990s, it just got lost. You'd look at the Kenyans who had so many advantages of running as young children and living at altitude for generations and generations. Our guys weren't working hard enough, and somehow 2:15 became a fast time."

What makes Drayton's record seem even more remarkable is that he set it in spite of an uncharacteristic blunder: He raced in untested, custom-made shoes he'd been given by an eager Japanese firm.

"These guys who are talking about beating my time are lucky that I only ran 2:10:09, because my shoe fell apart in the last three kilometres," Drayton says. "The arch support came loose, it drifted under my toes, and I had to slow down in order to work it back where it belonged. I probably lost a good minute there."

No present-day marathoner would take that kind of ad-hoc approach to a competition. The modern runner's body and mind are trained to recognize the slightest fluctuations in racing speed, hydration, carbohydrate needs. Still, if the weather turns extreme, or Coolsaet's pacemaker is off by even a second over each kilometre, 2:10:09 could stay in the books for another year.

Coolsaet has studied Drayton's career. He knows what can go wrong, even when the best runners are at the peak of their form. But as the day of reckoning approaches, he's not backing off - he's set his goal at 2:09:55.

"If you're aiming to beat 2:10:09, you might as well aim for a sub-2:10," Coolsaet says. "I'm definitely going for it ... if it happens, it's not going to be by chance."

Trash talk like this is music to Jerome Drayton's ears. He doesn't need the renown of a record any more. He'd rather be the competitor who's driving Coolsaet's dreams. "I wish him luck," Drayton says, happy to hand over the laurels to a rival he's never met. "Tell him, enjoy the $36,000 if you get it. And if you don't, try, try again."

Canada, U.S. Share Bronze at Baseball World Cup

Source: www.globeandmail.com - The Canadian Press

(Oct 15, 2011) Panama City — Both Canada and the United States
earned easy bronze medals at the Baseball World Cup.

The two teams each received the medals following the cancellation of their third-place game due to heavy rain which lasted nearly two hours Saturday.

Once the rain stopped it was determined by tournament officials that the field was in no condition to play.

“Obviously we would have preferred to win the medal by playing the game on the field,” said Canadian manager Ernie Whitt. “I am very proud of this group and the way in which they performed during the tournament. This is a great day for Baseball Canada.”

It's the second consecutive bronze for Canada at the Baseball World Cup, having finished third in Italy in 2009.

The teams will be awarded their medals following the gold medal game between Cuba and the Netherlands.

The Canadian team will then travel to Lagos de Moreno, Mexico on Sunday in advance of the Pan Am Games. Canada opens the tournament on Oct. 19 against Puerto Rico.

Kenneth Mungara Continues Marathon Dominance

Source: www.globeandmail.com - By James Christie

(Oct 16, 2011) First place in a race doesn't always net the biggest
spoils.

Kenyan
Kenneth Mungara captured his fourth consecutive crown in the Scotiabank Waterfront Toronto Marathon on a cool, breezy Sunday in 2 hours nine minutes and 51 seconds, edging Ethiopian Shami Dawit.

But victory likely isn't enough to put the 38-year-old Mungara in a Kenyan singlet at the marathon start line for the 2012 London Olympics. He comes from a country where scores of marathoners can run 2:10 or better - and two of Kenya's three marathon places already have been given to world record holder Patrick Makau (2:03:38 at Berlin) and world champion Abel Kirui (2:07:38 at Daegu, South Korea).

On the other hand, Reid Coolsaet and Eric Gillis, stable-mates at Guelph, Ontario's Speed River club, found themselves celebrating London Olympic marathon berths after placing third and fourth, respectively, in the race along the Lake Ontario shoreline. And 100-year-old Fauja Singh set a record as the only centenarian to complete a marathon. The London, England runner who competes in a yellow turban, ran the race in 8:25:18. He, too hopes to go the Olympic Games - as a torchbearer.

Coolsaet and Gillis beat Athletics Canada's top Olympic qualifying standard of 2:11:29. Coolsaet had a personal-best marathon time of 2:10:55 and Gillis charged to fourth in 2:11:28, a second under the cut-off. They'll be Canada's first Olympic marathoners since Bruce Deacon was 44th at Sydney in 2000.

"I can't believe it was one second, over a marathon," Gillis marvelled of collecting the day's most important prize by such a slim margin. "I could have just as easily been one second over. I'm lucky to get that standard. I couldn't have done it this time last year," said Gillis, a native of Antigonish, N.S. He had set Olympic qualifying as his goal but had to overcome cold and blustery conditions. He knows what it takes to go to the Olympics. He finished 33rd as a 10,000-metre Olympian in Beijing.

Mungara was impressed with his own perseverance if not his time. Last year, in better weather, he ran the fastest time ever on Canadian soil, 2:07:58.

"It was a very good day for me today, but it was very tough on my body because it was very windy and cold," Mungara said.

Ethiopia's Koren Yal was the top female finisher in 2:22:43 - 13th overall and only a second slower than the female course record run in 2010 by Kenyan Sharon Cherop. Ethiopia's Mare Dibaba was second among the women Sunday in 2:23.25. Vancouver's Katherine Moore was eighth in 2:48.48.

Coolsaet, 32, came close to Drayton's Canadian native record - and may have to blame answering nature's call for missing out on the $36,000 bonus that was on offer for breaking the mark. The distance between Coolsaet's 2:10:55 and Jerome Drayton's 1975 record of 2:10:09 could be the brief bathroom break Coolsaet had to take at 25 km. He said the pause felt like only 15 seconds, but it also took him time to leave the race, to get back into it, to find his pacer again and claw his way back to the leaders.

He'd decided the night before- after getting out of bed and having a talk with coach Dave Scott-Thomas - that there was no reason not to try to hang on with the lead group. They were attempting to get through the first half of the race in 63:45, compared with 65 minutes for the second flight.

"I decided to roll the dice and go with the leaders," Coolsaet said. "I was fortunate enough to have a good pack that I was able to use to block the wind and that really helped me for the first 35-36 kilometres." But then the African lead runners accelerated and Coolsaet was on his own to gut it out the rest of the way.

In the half marathon, Thomas Breitenbach won the men's race in 1:07:21.2 and Leslie Sexton won the women's race in 1:16:32.6.

Fauja Singh, looking remarkably fresh at the end of his long race, said he "just completed a lifetime goal."

 

Centenarian Marathoner Singh Sets World Record By Completing Toronto Event

Source: www.thestar.com - Lori Ewing

(Oct 16, 2011) TORONTO—
Fauja Singh secured a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records on Sunday at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

The 100-year-old accomplished an amazing feat, becoming the oldest person ever to complete a full-distance 42-kilometre marathon. It took Singh over eight hours to cross the finish line — more than six hours after Kenya’s Kenneth Mungara won the event for the fourth straight year — and he was the last competitor to complete the course. But his time wasn’t nearly remarkable as the accomplishment itself.

“Beating his original prediction, he’s overjoyed,” said coach and translator Harmander Singh. “Earlier, just before we came around the (final) corner, he said, ‘Achieving this will be like getting married again.’

“He’s absolutely overjoyed, he’s achieved his life-long wish.”

Although event workers dismantled the barricades along the finish line and took down sponsor banners even as Singh made his way up the final few hundred metres of the race, a throng of media, family, friends and supporters were there when Singh made marathon history.

And Singh, who only speaks Punjabi, also surprised himself. Through his interpreter, he said he had set a goal of finishing the race in about nine hours.

“He said he achieved this through the help of God but even God must be getting fed up of helping him,” Harmander Singh said, drawing chuckles from assembled media after the race.

Sunday’s run was Fauja Singh’s eighth marathon — he ran his first at the tender age of 89 — and wasn’t the first time he set a record. In the 2003 Toronto event, he set the mark in the 90-plus category, finishing the race in five hours 40 minutes and one second.

And on Thursday in Toronto, Singh — whose first name means soldier — broke world records for runners older than 100 in eight different distances ranging from 100 metres to 5,000 metres.

Singh, a five-foot-eight, 115-pound British citizen and vegetarian, looked tired and spent following the race and organizers gingerly assisted him to the post-event news conference. After receiving gentle massages to his legs and calf muscles as well as cups of water from members of his entourage, Singh leaned back on a couch and spoke little to start the news conference.

But a short time into it, he began looking remarkably relaxed and fresh with his hands clasped behind his head. Then, he abruptly sat up straight and with a smile, motioned for the microphone, obviously getting his second wind.

“He says he’s recovered now so he’s going to talk,” his translator said, again drawing laughter.

Affectionately dubbed the Turbaned Tornado, Singh began running roughly 20 years ago after losing his wife and child. The five-foot-eight centenarian said he’s happy to see more minorities taking part in such marathon events and is hopeful his next project will be participating in the torch relay for the 2012 London Summer Games.

Singh carried the torch during the relay for the 2004 Athens Games.

Race director Alan Brookes struggled to find the right words to describe Singh’s remarkable accomplishment.

“I’m speechless,” he said. “Fauja Singh is a remarkable human being.”

Canadian Rowers Scoop Pan Am Medals

Source: www.thestar.com - Lori Ewing

(Oct 17, 2011) GUADALAJARA, MEXICO—
Sarah Bonikowsky has seen the view from the top as a member of Canada’s mighty Olympic rowing team and hopes the Pan American Games podium is a step back toward rowing on sport’s biggest stage.

The 29-year-old from Orangeville partnered with Sandra Kisil of Ancaster to capture bronze in the women’s pairs, one of three medals Canada’s rowing team claimed Monday. The men’s fours — Spencer Crowley of Lantzville, B.C., Toronto’s Blake Parsons, David Wakulich of St. Catharines and Kai Langerfeld of Parksville, B.C. — won a silver medal, while Toronto’s Elizabeth McCord and Audra Vair of Creemore, Ont., took bronze in women’s doubles sculls.

Canada has 14 medals (two gold, four silver, eight bronze) through three days of competition, adding a silver and two bronze in squash Monday.

Bonikowsky was a member of the women’s eight that finished fourth at the 2008 Olympics, then took two years off to complete a masters degree in occupational therapy. Muscling someone out of a boat that recently rowed to silver at the world championships won’t be easy.

“We’re always trying to have the fastest athletes at that particular moment in time,” said Bonikowsky, who was a spare in the eight on the World Cup circuit this past summer. “The eight qualified for the Olympics, so that’s exciting. Our pair did not qualify but still can, so hopefully by the Olympics there will be 10 spots open.”

Bonikowsky has put her therapy career on hold in her quest for a London Olympic berth, but hopes to eventually work with Paralympic athletes.

“I’d like to help get people back into sport who have been injured or if they’ve got long-term disabilities, working on what sports fit best for them, and how their equipment helps them perform better,” Bonikowsky said.

Bonikowsky and Kisil finished in seven minutes 32.74 seconds. Argentina (7:24.57) won with the U.S. second (7:29.05).

The men’s four posted a time of six minutes 5.65 seconds, finishing behind Argentina (6:04.41).

“We executed our start well, better than in the heat. Argentina, Mexico and Cuba set a great pace, and the (United States) moved after the first 1,000 metres,” said Wakulich.

“With 600 metres to go, we knew what we had to do, and the crews responded to my calls. I’m proud of our guys. They put everything into it.”

McCord and Vair won bronze in 7:16.29 behind first-place Cuba (7:13.76) and the U.S. (7:14.34).

“It was a fight the whole way down the course. We gave it our all. We knew it was going to be a tight race, and a good chase at the finish,” said McCord.

Parsons, a former rugby player who switched to rowing when he made the Princeton University team as a walk-on, is competing in his first multi-sport Games.

“I don’t think I really realized it until we went up to the start of the final, even though we’re about two hours away from the athletes village, where all the other events are taking place, you still get a real sense that you’re part of something bigger,” Parsons said. “That’s really cool to be part of that, part of the Canadian team.”

Canada Captures Tae Kwon Do Gold At Pan Am Games

Source: www.globeandmail.com - The Canadian Press

(Oct 14, 2011) Guadalajara, Mexico—
Melissa Pagnotta won a gold medal in taekwondo Monday to highlight a strong day for Canada at the Pan American Games.

The Toronto native beat Paige McPherson of the United States in the women's under-67 kilogram final.

Pagnotta's victory increased Canada's gold-medal count to 16 (three gold, five silver, eight bronze ) through three days of competition.

The first-place finish capped a successful day for Canada with three medals apiece in rowing and squash.

The national rowing squad claimed silver in men's fours, bronze in women's pairs and bronze in women's sculls.

The men's fours finished second in a time of six minutes 5.65 seconds. The team consisted of Spencer Crowley of Lantzville, B.C., Toronto's Blake Parsons, David Wakulich of St. Catharines, Ont., and Kai Langerfeld of Parksville, B.C.

Argentina won gold in 6:04.41 while Cuba (6:06.51) took bronze in the six-team final.

“We executed our start well, better than in the heat. Argentina, Mexico and Cuba set a great pace, and the (United States) moved after the first 1,000 metres,” said Wakulich.

“With 600 metres to go, we knew what we had to do, and the crews responded to my calls. I'm proud of our guys. They put everything into it.”

The women's pairs team of Sarah Bonikowsky of Orangeville, Ont., and Sandra Kisil of Ancaster, Ont., claimed a bronze medal in 7:32.74. Argentina (7:24.57) captured the gold medal ahead of the U.S. (7:29.05).

In women's double sculls, Toronto's Elizabeth McCord and Audra Vair of Creemore, Ont., won bronze in 7:16.29 behind first-place Cuba (7:13.76) and the U.S. (7:14.34).

In the men's double sculls final, Steven Payne of Parksville, B.C., and Eric Bevan of North Vancouver, B.C., finished fifth in 6:47.76.

Canada added a silver and two bronze medals in squash.

Samantha Cornett of Deep River, Ont., earned the silver after losing to Mexico's Samantha Teran in the women's singles final.

“It was the hardest match on paper,” said Cornett. “I was definitively apprehensive about playing it. I learned a little bit about myself today. I know that I can do it and where I want to be. It's not miles away but a couple.”

Miranda Ranieri of Waterloo, Ont., earned a bronze when she lost to Cornett in the semi-final.

Montreal's Shawn Delierre settled for third place in men's singles after losing to Colombia's Miguel Rodriguez.

The badminton team guaranteed itself three bronze-medal finishes with victories in mixed doubles, women's doubles and women's semifinals.

Calgary's Toby Ng and Grace Gao advanced to the semifinals in mixed doubles with a win over Suriname. Gao also partnered with Jocelyn Ko to beat Peru and secure a spot in the women's doubles semi.

In women's singles, Michelle Li of Toronto moved into the semis with a win over American Iris Wang.

Canada's men's cycling team broke the national record in the team pursuit event. Jean-Michael Lachance and Remi Pelletier-Roy, both of Quebec City, Victoria's Rob Britton and Jacob Schwingboth of Cloverdale, B.C., finished fifth in 4:14.389 to miss a birth in the medal races.

The previous mark of 4:16.816 was set at last year's UCI World Cup.

“It's fantastic,” said track cycling coach Tanya Dubnicoff. “It was a great effort by all (the) guys, considering that they never rode a unit before today. It's a very good accomplishment for the team, for Canada.”

In the men's 10-metre air rifle final, Cory Niefer of Saskatoon finished fifth with 688.3 points.

Canada's women's volleyball team a two-set lead in a five-set loss to the 14th-ranked Dominican Republic.

The loss dropped 22nd-ranked Canada (0-3) out of medal contention and into the consolation round for positions five through eight.

“It's frustrating to lose a match that way,” said libero Julie Young of Red Deer, Alta. “We laid it all out there. We were consistent from start to finish but they elevated their game in the third set.”

Jennifer Hinze of Vancouver led Canadian scorers with 18 points, while Tasha Holness of Calgary added 17.

CFL Hall of Famer Tommy Grant Dies

Source: www.globeandmail.com - The Canadian Press

(October 18, 2011) Hamilton, Ont. —
Tommy Grant was a Grey Cup fixture, appearing in the CFL championship a record-tying nine times during his 14-year career and winning it on four occasions.

The versatile running back, flanker and kick-returner died Tuesday morning at a hospital in London, Ont. He was 76.

Grant is among seven CFL players to appear in nine Grey Cup games.

Grant, a native of Windsor, Ont., attended the 2011 Windsor Essex Hall of Fame induction dinner Saturday and was taken to hospital in London after becoming ill.

Grant played 13 seasons with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats before finishing his CFL career with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 1969. Grant was named the East Division's top rookie in 1956 before capturing the league's top Canadian award in 1964.

Grant had 329 career catches for 6,542 yards (19.9-yard average) and added 559 yards rushing on 127 carries (4.4-yard average). He also scored 54 touchdowns.

Grant also registered 215 career punt returns for 1,229 yards and had 80 kickoff returns for 1,998 yards. Grant even returned four interceptions 82 yards.

Grant was inducted into the Windsor Essex County Sports Hall of Fame in 1983 before being named to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1995.

The Ticats added Grant to their Wall of Honour last season.

“A Hall of Fame player on the field and a real gentleman off of it, our deepest sympathies and condolences go out to the entire Grant family on behalf of the Tiger-Cats organization”, president Scott Mitchell said in a statement. “We all cherished our time with Tommy last year as he was inducted into the Tiger-Cats Wall of Honour and will treasure the memories of watching him enjoy that special night with his family.

“We will miss seeing Tommy at Ivor Wynne stadium and have little doubt his legacy as a Wall of Honour Member and that of four-time Grey Cup Champion and nine-time Grey Cup participant will be remembered and admired for decades to come.”

Added CFL commissioner Mark Cohon: “Our league joins the Tiger-Cats in mourning the loss of Tommy Grant, while celebrating his life and tremendous football career and our thoughts are with his family and many friends.”

Longshot Sarah Lynx wins Pattison Canadian International

Source: www.globeandmail.com - By Beverley Smith

(Oct 16, 2011) It seems to be an international trend.

Once again, a filly showed her heels to the males as tiny
Sarah Lynx - the only filly in the race - slipped over the yielding turf course and easily won the $1.5-million Canadian International Stakes at Woodbine.

She is the first female to win the race since Infamy in 1988.

Sarah Lynx wasn't alone in major weekend races at Woodbine. Hard Not to Like, a little grey filly, won the $250,000 Cup and Saucer Stakes at Woodbine, too, winning by almost five lengths, with ease.

Sarah Lynx, an Irish-bred filly that races in Europe, won by four lengths at odds of 22 to 1, dusting off last year's winner, Joshua Tree and favoured Treasure Beach, who won the Irish Derby earlier this year.

Sarah Lynx, a quixotic and feisty filly, who walked backward and did capers during the post parade, surprised even her jockey, Christophe Soumillon, with the ease of her win.

"I know she is a small filly, but she's very strong in the head, like a colt," Soumillon said. "She's really strong and you can see before the race she is not easy to handle, and I had to ride her quite hard to get her to go to the front."

But when she did gain the front in the homestretch, Soumillion asked for more, she went into another gear.

Assistant trainer Kate Bradley, said the win was "phenomenal," but at this stage, she does not know where she's going next. She has a ticket to return to Europe on Tuesday, but with Sarah Lynx's win, she has just earned an automatic berth in the Breeders' Cup Turf Classic at Louisville, Kentucky in another two weeks.

Bradley, trainer John Hammond (who has trained two winners of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in France), and Soumillon will have a group meeting to decide whether she tries the Breeders' Cup or whether she might be better served by going to lucrative races in Hong Kong and Japan later in the month.

"She is fresh," Soumillon said.

The victory was Soumillon's second million-dollar race in two days. He also won the $2-million Champion Stakes at Ascot in England on Saturday with Cirrus des Aigles, but then lost the prize money when stewards fined him about $80,000 for whipping the horse six times in the final furlong under new stringent racing rules in England. In new rules established only on Oct. 10, jockeys are allowed to whip a horse only five times in the final furlong.

Afterwards, Soumillon said: I am very, very embarrassed for British racing, The people and the fans have been let down. ... It's different in this country to everywhere else."

Soumillon said he hadn't ridden in Britain for a month. Jockeys need international guidelines, like they have in other sports, he said.

Jockeys in England threatened to go on strike because of the new rules. One big-name jockey quit.

Soumillon's share of the winning purse at Woodbine is $90,000.

He said at Woodbine that he hopes the British Racing Commission will review the suspension (he also received five days, which is not applied during stakes races), and the fine for "such a small mistake,"

"I would probably be in the world record book to have the biggest fine every in sports...but I hope the judge will see in the future that it is probably something too hard."

Soumillon says he has a soft spot for Canada. He's ridden in Canada only three times, and won two of them. The last time he was here, a year ago, he took a side trip to small towns in Quebec and became enamoured with the people.

"I really enjoy the place," he said. "It's some kind of good feelings. I was very happy to win this today.

Cardinals Revolving Bullpen Ready For Rangers

Source: www.globeandmail.com - By Jeff Blair

(October 18, 2011) The baseball world has been talking about Tony La
Russa's aggressive use of the bullpen en route to the World Series. But Octavio Dotel's been living La Vida La Russa.

"It's been a little bit tough, I can't lie about it," Dotel said during the National League Championship Series. "There's no guarantee about the situation he'll use you in. All you know is you don't know ... but sometimes, it's good that you don't know. During the regular season I wouldn't go down to the bullpen until, maybe, the fourth inning but I can't do that now. With Tony? You can be pitching in the fourth inning. All I know is in the World Series, I'm going to be down there for the second inning. Maybe the first."

La Russa dipped into his bullpen on 28 different occasions in skippering the St. Louis Cardinals past the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Championship Series and into the World Series, which opens Wednesday night at the Ballpark in Arlington against the Texas Rangers. "Some people might be surprised, but we're not," left-hander Marc Rzepczynski said, smiling. "Tony's been doing that since the first of September."

That was made easier when general manager John Mozeliak sent Colby Rasmus to the Toronto Blue Jays for a package that included Dotel, a 37-year-old right-hander, and Marc Rzepczynski, a converted starter who added two to three miles per hour to a moving fastball when the Blue Jays moved him into the bullpen.

The Cardinals wouldn't have made the playoffs without Rzepczynski and Dotel. And without Dotel owning the Brewers' Ryan Braun and Rzepczynski turning Prince Fielder into an offensive afterthought, the Cardinals likely wouldn't have found themselves in the World Series. "No chance, none," catcher Yadier Molina said after Game 5, waving his hand for emphasis. "Without that trade, we're home. Zep ... if he stays healthy ... wow, he's one of those guys who's going to have a long, long career."

The Rangers also owe the Blue Jays a debt of gratitude, since Mike Napoli - who was flipped to the Rangers for Frank Francisco after the Blue Jays acquired him from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for Vernon Wells - has given manager Ron Washington's lineup a depth it did not possess in last year's World Series.

La Russa is going to have to manage the hell out of his team to win this Series. Instead of the duo of right-hand hitting Braun and lefty-hitting Fielder back to back in the order, La Russa will be faced with a team that often has powerful right-handed hitters - Michael Young, Adrian Beltre, Napoli and Nelson Cruz - between lefty hitters Josh Hamilton and David Murphy, the latter of whom is a platoon outfielder who hit .417 in the American League Championship Series with two doubles and a triple. Since Jaime Garcia is the Cardinals only lefty starter, Murphy's going to be a regular: a land mine in the bottom of the order.

Neither team received much from its starting pitchers in their respective league championship series. Washington, his bullpen deepened by trade deadline acquisitions of Mike Gonzalez, Mike Adams and Koji Uehara and the continued health of howitzer-armed Alexi Ogando, will also match up with aplomb. But this is a Series where the NL's home-field advantage - pitchers hitting - adds another dimension. His mettle will be tested against a manager who says his bullpen use is predicated on simply giving himself the best chance to get three outs in the inning at hand.

Dotel viewed his tenure with the Blue Jays as a pit stop, while Rzepczynski has the organization in his DNA.

"I had a run where things weren't working for me earlier in the year, and [Bruce Walton, the Blue Jays pitching coach], sat me down and said: 'Look, you're not going back down to Triple-A. You're in the majors. We're going to work through it up here,'" said Rzepczynski. "I think of that, now."

Four more wins and Rzepczynski will be much more than that: he will be a World Series winner.

NBA Owners, Players Set To Use Mediation

Source: www.globeandmail.com - By Brian Mahoney, The Associated Press

(October 17, 2011)
NBA owners and players are ready to try mediation, and commissioner David Stern wants results quickly.

Stern said last week during an interview with WFAN radio in New York without a deal Tuesday when the sides meet with federal mediator George Cohen, his "gut" was there wouldn't be NBA basketball on Christmas.

Owners are opening two days of board meetings Wednesday, and Stern wants to be able to bring a deal to them.

But can a mediator swoop in and smooth out two years of bickering in one day?

Lawyer Jay Krupin, chair of EpsteinBeckerGreen's national labour practice in Washington, doesn't think so - unless the players are prepared to concede on some issues.

"If the players want to get back on the court, then this is a great time for them to try to show that they're willing to make some type of compromise, and I think that's what it is," he said. "This is an opportunity to really determine whether or not the players are willing to make concessions.

"I think the owners are willing to walk away without concessions, so if the players really want to make concessions when they meet, that has to be expressed to the mediator.

"If that happens, then the burden turns to the NBA to say, 'All right, you'll be willing to make some concessions; now we're willing to talk.' If they're not willing to make concessions, then the mediation would just go on for the day and it'll let the NBA know that they probably have to cancel, go through Christmas and maybe even the rest of the season."

Players already feel they've conceded plenty financially, and they dismissed Stern's attempt to attach added importance to Tuesday's talks. Union president Derek Fisher of the Los Angeles Lakers said it was just an "arbitrary deadline" for potential Christmas cancellations.

Stern was clear in the radio interview and others he gave late last week that he was just stating his opinion about further losses of games - but not about his desire for significant movement Tuesday.

"If there's a breakthrough, it's going to come Tuesday," he told NBA TV. "And if not, I think that the season is really going to potentially escape from us because we aren't making any progress."

Cohen, who tried to resolve the NFL's labour dispute, met with the sides individually at their offices in New York on Monday. He will then oversee talks between their full bargaining committees Tuesday at a hotel.

He said last week he had already been in contact with representatives of both sides "for a number of months," so he's familiar with some of the issues that still divide them.

Players oppose a hard salary cap, and they believe owners' attempts to make the luxury tax more punitive and limit the use of spending exceptions will effectively create one. Also, each side has formally proposed receiving 53 per cent of basketball-related income after players were guaranteed 57 per cent under the previous collective bargaining agreement.

With so many issues remaining beyond those, it seems too much to get done in one day. Executive director Billy Hunter said Friday after meeting with players in Los Angeles the union sought to have the whole week set aside for mediation but the league wouldn't commit to that because of its owners meetings.

"The board of governors meeting has been scheduled for a year for Wednesday and Thursday. We told the mediator that we would make ourselves available day and night on all other days," Stern said in a statement to The Associated Press.

Cohen was appointed director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service by American President Barack Obama in 2009. He helped broker a deal between Major League Soccer and its players just before the season was scheduled to begin and was lead lawyer for the baseball players' union when it won an injunction against its owners in 1995, ending the 7 1/2-month strike.

Krupin calls Cohen "a very good mediator" and "wonderful gentleman," saying, "If there's a real interest in the parties trying to get something done, George would be able to make it happen."

But, he adds, that's dependent on the players.

"It's much easier for the federal mediator to say to the players, 'Look at the scale where we are. Really the owners have very little to lose. They made a long-term investment. As players, you have only a few years to play at your peak and the owners can hold out a lot longer than you can. So when you look at this objectively, you really should try to understand that there has to be a change in the system,"' Krupin said.

"And I think that's why the commissioner said, 'I'm going to give you Tuesday. I'm not going to meet the rest of the week.' I think that (owners) know they have the upper hand and they're giving them the opportunity to reach a deal, and so I don't see George having to put great thoughts into either side's mind. I think that George can be used as a facilitator to try to get a deal if the players really wanted one."