October 27, 2011
Happy Halloween to everyone! Enjoy safely!
So many hot events coming up! Just announced is that the Wailers are coming to Toronto for one night only on Saturday, November 19th! Yes, the one and only Wailers with special guests Divine Brown and Duane Stephenson so get your tickets now for a full night of amazing live music! I'm so excited about this concert and check out the video too! Get all the details under HOT EVENTS!
We can never say that there isn't great entertainment happening in this city! And also mark those calendars for these two concerts which are both giving back globally. The first is on November 4 called FOR A LIVING PLANET (featuring, amongst others, the incomparable Jully Black), which is a 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 scoop on the Pan Am Games where Canada wins gold in baseball, the glorious theatrical presentation of Bharati, a gala in New York on mental illness with my mentor Terrie Williams and a hockey story about the Staal brothers and the hit one brother Eric, put on the other, Marc. 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!
The Wailers With Special
Guests Divine Brown & Duane Stephenson – Sat., November 19 At The Sound
Source: Full Capacity Concerts and Live Nation Entertainment
Don’t miss The Wailers with special guests Divine Brown and Duane Stephenson in Toronto on Saturday, November 19th at The Sound Academy.
Together with Bob Marley, The Wailers have sold in excess of 250 million albums worldwide. In England alone, they’ve notched up over twenty chart hits, including seven Top 10 entries. Outside of their ground-breaking work with Marley, the Wailers have also played or performed with international acts like Sting, the Fugees, Stevie Wonder, Carlos Santana, and Alpha Blondy, as well as reggae legends such as Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, and Burning Spear. As the greatest living exponents of Jamaica’s reggae tradition, the Wailers have completed innumerable other tours, playing to an estimated 24 million people across the globe. They have also been the first reggae band to tour new territories on many occasions, including Africa and the Far East.
The history of the band during Marley’s lifetime is well known. Reggae music has never stopped evolving but for millions of people from around the world it’s still defined by the songs of Bob Marley and the Wailers. It’s been their heartbeat rhythms that have inspired so much of what’s followed since, as evidenced by the enduring popularity of the “one-drop” reggae sound.
The anchor of the band is Aston “Family Man” Barrett, who in addition to being Marley’s most trusted lieutenant, played on countless other classic reggae hits throughout the seventies. The authenticity he brings to the Wailers’ sound is indisputable and yet today’s line-up combines old school know-how with lead vocals from one of Jamaica’s most exciting new singers. Koolant joined the Wailers soon after his cameo appearance in the film Made In Jamaica. As enthusiastic audiences have already discovered, Koolant brings his own personal expression to Marley’s songs, revitalizing them for young and old alike. Yet there’s a great deal more to the Wailers than reliving the past. Apart from featuring on a forthcoming Wailers’ album studded with celebrity guest artists, Koolant sings lead vocals on the band’s two latest tracks – one a future lovers’ rock classic called Shining Star, and the other a heartfelt appeal – A Step For Mankind – made on behalf of the World Food Program, co-starring Duane Stephenson.
Both songs stand comparison with the band’s finest work from the past. The Wailers have succeeded in turning a fresh page and led by their charismatic new singer, they’re ready to make history once more.
About Divine Brown:
When Divine Brown enters a room the energy becomes electric. It’s that classic combination of attitude and altitude, for with Divine, people instantly recognize her as music royalty which she carries fearlessly having earned rather than borrowed her crown. It’s in her ability to at once invoke the empowered sexuality of Pam Grier’s seventies superwoman, Foxy Brown, while remaining immediately contemporary, exciting and fresh that drives her appeal. Fearless. Foxy. Fresh. Ladies and Gentlemen it’s time you know Divine Brown.
Fresh off the success of the riddem version of Old Skool Love, Divine recently returned to Jamaica to record a set of new tracks at Geejam studios. She brings this energy and vibe to the stage for the first time since her return and will deliver a riddem based set full of vibe and surprises.
Check out a sneak preview of her new song - Melody of my heart HERE
About Live Nation Entertainment:
Live Nation Entertainment is the world’s leading live entertainment and eCommerce company, comprised of four market leaders: Ticketmaster.com, Live Nation Concerts, Front Line Management Group and Live Nation Network. Ticketmaster.com is the global event ticketing leader and one of the world’s top five eCommerce sites, with over 26 million monthly unique visitors. Live Nation Concerts produces over 20,000 shows annually for more than 2,000 artists globally. Front Line is the world’s top artist management company, representing over 250 artists. These businesses power Live Nation Network, the leading provider of entertainment marketing solutions, enabling over 800 advertisers to tap into the 200 million consumers Live Nation delivers annually through its live event and digital platforms. For additional information, visit www.livenation.com/investors.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 19
WITH SPECIAL GUESTS DIVINE BROWN AND DUANE STEPHENSON
The Sound Academy
11 Polson St
Tickets on sale Friday October 21, 2011 @ 10:00AM
is a NO SERVICE FEE mobile ticketing service available exclusively to Rogers Wireless customers. Visit www.urmusic.ca/tickets or text TICKETS to 4849 for full event listings and special offers.
Tickets available through Ticketweb, Soundscapes and Rotate This.
Tickets (incl. HST): $29.50 Reserved Seating
Living Planet Featuring 54*40, Jully Black And Hawksley Workman: November 4, 2011
Source: Full Capacity Concerts
Full Capacity Concerts Presents FOR A LIVING PLANET, a special concert in support of World Wildlife Fund Canada, featuring live performances by three classic Canadian artists, 54*40, Jully Black, and Hawksley Workman. Net proceeds will be donated to WWF Canada.
World Wildlife Fund Canada has been in operation since 1967. Today it has become one of the country’s leading conservation organizations, enjoying the support of over 150,000 Canadians. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the planet’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature http://wwf.ca/
54*40 are an all time favourite Canadian alternative rock group from BC. They’ve steadily been rocking the country coast to coast since 1981 and continue to do so today. www.5440.com
Jully Black is another Canadian favourite, known for her rich R&B voice and songwriting skills. She has collaborated with an array of familiar names such as Nas, Missy Elliott, Saukrates, Choclair, Kardinal Offishall, Destiny’s Child and Sean Paul. www.jullyblack.com
Hawksley Workman is a Juno Award Winning Canadian rock singer-songwriter, producer, singer, multi instrumentalist, actor and published author. His 12 year career has produced as many records, all ambitiously creative and defying category. http://hawksleyworkman.com/2010
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2011
FOR A LIVING PLANET
FEATURING 54*40, JULLY BLACK AND HAWKSLEY WORKMAN
Glenn Gould Studios
250 Front St. W.
DOORS: 7:00 PM
SHOW: 8:00 PM
Tickets available at http://www.roythomson.com
More Information: www.fullcc.com /
Peter Furler And Special
Guests Canadian Christmas Tour – December 1 – 10, 2011
Source: Full Capacity Concerts and World Vision Canada
Full Capacity Concerts and World Vision Canada come together to bring Ontario the best in Christian pop rock music. 4 bands, one great evening of worship.
Peter Furler is the former lead singer of the Christian rock band Newsboys. He is currently touring his debut solo album ON FIRE. The single “Reach” is receiving great success in the Christian radio charts. www.peterfurler.com
Peter Furler - Reach (Official Music Video):
Building 429 are a Christian Rock band from North Carolina. They have just released their fifth album LISTEN TO THE SOUND. www.building429.com.
Building 429 - Listen To The Sound:
Levi McGrath – African flavoured folk/pop for fans of Pete Murray and Nelson Mandela. www.levimcgrath.com
Me In Motion are a Christian Rock band from Nashville, Tennessee. They are currently touring their single “Eye of the Hurricane” www.meinmotion.com
World Vision Canada is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. http://www.worldvision.ca
DECEMBER 1 – 10, 2011
PETER FURLER AND SPECIAL GUESTS BUILDING 429 , LEVI MCGRATH, ME IN MOTION
Temple Baptist Church
Mapleview Community Church
Church of Selwyn
Glad Tidings Church
Kingston Gospel Temple
London Gospel Temple
Canada Wins Pan Am Baseball Gold
Source: www.thestar.com - Doug Smith
(Oct 25, 2011) LAGOS DE MORENO, MEXICO—With one swing of the bat, Jimmy Van Ostrand drove in the only two runs Canada needed to beat the United States 2-1 Tuesday and win the gold medal at the Pan American Games.
The Richmond, B.C., native stepped up to the plate with two men on base in the top of the sixth inning and doubled down the right-field line to bring in Chris Robinson and Tim Smith. Both Robinson and Smith had two-out singles to start the rally.
The gold was Canada’s first at the Pan American Games, a competition that has been dominated by Cuba for 40 years. The Cubans had won 10 straight titles until the United States defeated them 12-10 in Monday’s semifinals. They instead had to settle for bronze.
Canada, coached by former Blue Jay catcher Ernie Whitt, beat Mexico 5-3 in the other semifinal to get a chance at gold, and they didn’t let the chance slip away.
Andrew Albers of North Battleford, Sask., started for Canada and gave up six hits while striking out eight through 6 2-3 innings. Scott Richmond came on in relief and shut down the Americans, striking out three of the seven batters he faced without surrendering a hit.
The Americans took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning at the Pan Am Baseball Stadium. A.J. Pollock singled through the right side with one out and advanced to second on a passed ball with two down.
Brett Carroll then doubled down the left field line to bring in Pollock and give the U.S. an early lead.
Andy Ven Hekken pitched seven innings for the Americans, and gave up both runs on six hits. Jeff Beliveau pitched the eighth, giving up one hit, and Pete Andrelczyk came on in the ninth.
Celebrating All Of India
Source: www.thestar.com - By Richard Ouzounian
(Oct 25, 2011) MONTREAL — When the “theatrical celebration of India” called Bharati opens at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts on Wednesday, it’s no coincidence that the event takes place on the first night of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, which is its own occasion for rejoicing.
Dan Brambilla, the CEO of the Sony Centre told The Star that “We brought it in for this time period and specifically arranged to have the opening coincide with the first night of Diwali as a celebration of South Asian culture in Toronto.”
Brambilla’s affinity for this region is well known, since he has often cited a sold-out production of Bombay Dreams as what got him thinking about programming shows that would reflect the multicultural life of Toronto more accurately.
And last season’s The Merchants of Bollywood, even though a fairly one-dimensional piece of work, was still a step in the right direction.
But here, at the Place des Arts in Montreal, a week before Bharati is due on our local stages, it’s possible to see what a very different kind of show this is.
With its cast of 70, over 1,000 costumes and elaborate backdrops and projections reflecting every part of that giant and complex country, it’s clear Bharati is aiming very high indeed.
On the afternoon of its final dress rehearsal, the first thing to grab the ear is the sound of live Indian music being played, not the canned soundtrack too often found in Bollywood exports.
“That’s what differentiates us from all the other Indian shows touring around the world,” says producer Gashash Desha proudly, “we have a 10 piece orchestra with top-line musicians playing dozens of authentic Indian instruments.”
A quick look at the dance number being rehearsed on stage also reinforces the impression that we’re not dealing with a hybrid ripoff.
“Bollywood is an important part of India, yes,” admits Desha, “but it’s only one part. This dance you’re watching now is a Tamil number and we have 7 different choreographers to ensure we have the authentic feel for every musical sequence.
Although Bharati has a storyline, about a young Indian man who returns from a long time in North America to work in his native country, only to find he has to rediscover it all again, which he does through falling in love with the beautiful Bharati, who comes to represent the country itself.
Bhavna Pani is the luminous-eyed actress who plays the role and her own persona — dignified, yet entrancing — seems to represent the nature of the show.
“It’s an entertaining show, but not a frivolous one. We try to represent the whole spirit of India, not just the clichés that everyone knows. We don’t talk about the Taj Mahal, or snake charmers or Ghandi.”
When the production was first mounted back in 2006, there was an incredible nation-wide competition for the role, involving literally thousands of young women, but Bhavna found herself being chosen.
“I still sometimes wonder why,” she says without any false modesty. “There were many girls prettier than me or more talented than me, but there must have been something inside me that made them choose me.”
Walking backstage through the racks of radiantly colourful silk costumes, it doesn’t take any effort to see how much care has been put into mounting the show authentically.
“We think of the show as a mosaic, as a microcosm of India,” says producer Desha, “and so each piece of it, each sari, or brooch, must be as perfect as it can be.
“We’re not just presenting a show that we want people to enjoy, we want them to begin to understand India as well.”
A lot of the burden of seeing that the show’s message is clear, but delivered in a light-handed way, falls to the actor who plays the narrator and in every country the play tours, the role is played by an actor who is fluent in the native language of the host country, be it Dutch, German, Israeli, or Polish, to name just a few.
In Canada, the role falls to the charming Rahul Vohra and it’s a delight to hear him seduce a Montreal audience with his perfect French cadence and jokes about the crumbling Champlain Bridge, only to switch into the smoothest of English when he’s visited backstage.
“The basic human drama of families in conflict and young people falling in love is what gives us a prism to view India in all of its myriad complexities. Yes, it’s a very large and diverse country, but through this piece of pure entertainment, you can come to understand it.
“It comes with a very pure heart, a very open heart. It says ‘Come join us in our honest enjoyment.”
Watching the show with a Montreal audience is an excellent way to see how cleverly it works. The audience on opening night was divided roughly 50-50 between members of the South Asian community and others.
At first, the feel of the music, the cultural references and the elegant austerity of some of the numbers may have seemed more accessible to those who understood the country.
But as the first act whirled its way through a panoramic look at this many-faceted land, everyone became equally engaged and by the time the first act curtain fell on a Bollywood-flavoured number that combined past and present, everyone was moved to cheer.
And on this Wednesday, the first night of Diwali, there’s no reason to believe that the reaction in Toronto will be any different.
Center Gala Focuses on Mental Health Awareness
Source: www.eurweb.com - By Audrey J. Bernard, Lifestyles & Society Editor
[Note from Dawn: This article includes the mention of my mentor and friend Terrie Williams - check out her amazing bio at www.terriewilliams.com.)
(Oct. 18, 2011) *The Full Circle Life Enrichment Center (the “Center”), a not for profit New York-based center providing counselling support to families and children in need, celebrated its 10th anniversary on Thursday, October 6, 2011 at the Chelsea Piers Lighthouse in New York City from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm.
NY1’s criminal justice reporter Dean Meminger served as Master of Ceremonies. Rev. Dr. A.R. Bernard, founder and senior pastor of Christian Cultural Center, served as keynote speaker. Entertainment was performed by the cast from Layon Gray’s acclaimed award-winning Off-Broadway play, “Angels Over Tuskegee.”
Themed “Sax, Strings, Sonnets and Songs,” this year’s gala gathering raised awareness and funding regarding mental health illnesses, particularly major depression. Proceeds from the gala will continue the important work of the Center.
Each year, the Center bestows its coveted “Inspire Award” to luminaries in medicine, theater, education, music, and sports “in recognition of their powerful decisions to use extraordinary talents, gifts and abilities as unwavering sources of inspiration and hope to hurting children and families worldwide.”
“This celebration also will help raise much needed funding to expand our education and training programs and national awareness about depression, in particular, and mental health, in general,” explained Derek H. Suite, MD, MS, co-founder and chief executive officer of the Center.
After an inspiring invocation by Rev. Alfonso Wyatt, guests dined on a sumptuous menu followed by the awards presentation by Dr. Suite who was joined by his lovely wife Darcel Dillard-Suite, MS, co-founder and chief operating officer of the Center during the awards program.
“Our Center’s mission is to eliminate barriers such as stigma, shame and fear associated with mental illness or seeking mental health treatment, commented Dr. Suite. “It is therefore fitting that our theme this evening is a celebration and honoring of those individuals who have championed for ‘Hope, Help, and Healing’.”
Following a delightfully informative video presentation by the awardees highlighting how advocating for mental health is important to their programs, foundations, and their art, the Suites presented the distinguished “Inspire Award” to: Kenneth Braswell, executive director of Father’s Incorporated; Terrie M. Williams, inspirational author, mental health advocate, and founder/president, The Stay Strong Foundation; and Dr. Gerald Landsberg, professor/director, Institute Against Violence at the NYU Silver School of Social Work/
Also New York Knick Allan Houston; Linda McGee, an educator for the Archdiocese of New York; Layon Gray, author of the acclaimed award winning Off-Broadway play, “Angels Over Tuskegee;” Ntozake Shange, author of “For Colored Girls….” accepted on her behalf by Terrie M. Williams; New York Yankee Bernie Williams accepted on his behalf by his wife Waleska Williams; gospel artist BeBe Winans (who left for South Africa the day before); and Brandon Marshall of the Miami Dolphins.
“Approximately 15 million American adults, or about 8% of the U.S. population, suffer from major depression; 80% experiencing this disease are not receiving treatment for it,” explained Dr. Suite during his eloquent closing remarks. “We are dedicated to serving hundreds of poor and hurting families nationwide by providing support to help overcome the fastest growing disability in the country.”
The Full Circle Life Enrichment Center’s mission is to eliminate barriers such as stigma, shame and fear associated with having mental illness or seeking mental health treatment. In this regard, it is committed to increasing access and usage of culturally competent mental health services.
Blood Brothers: Marc Staal Hasn't
Played Since Eric Gave Him A Concussion
Source: www.globeandmail.com - By Allan Maki
(Oct 20, 2011) Henry Staal has seen his sons do wondrous things in hockey: captain NHL all-star teams, win Stanley Cups, win a world championship and an Olympic gold medal for Canada.
But in late February, when Staal watched his oldest son, Eric, steamroll younger brother Marc, knocking him out of a game and into uncertainty, that was a first - and not a good one, the father said.
Since that hit, Marc has experienced post-concussion symptoms and seen limited action. While his New York Rangers travelled to Sweden and through Western Canada to open the 2011-12 NHL season, he has stayed behind, still bothered by the headaches brought on through exertion. No one is sure when he'll be cleared for contact in practice, a necessary step before getting game clearance, and that has cast a long shadow over several fronts.
In Thunder Bay, where parents Henry and Linda Staal reside, they've gotten past the angst of seeing one son rattle another in hockey and are hoping for a full recovery.
In Carolina, where Eric, 26, captains the Hurricanes, the oldest brother still feels terrible about lowering the boom when Marc had his head down looking for the puck. ("Eric really isn't pleased about it," Henry insisted. "He's not happy.")
As for Marc, he joked with reporters his dad "probably wasn't as mad [about the hit] as my mom was."
But a concerned Henry replied: "It wasn't good seeing him hit ... Marc doesn't say a lot, even to us. He never complains much."
Marc, 24, had been carrying the puck along the side boards when he was hooked by a Carolina player. With the puck in his skates, he looked down for a second only to get hit high by his 6-foot-4, 205-pound brother. Henry, who follows his sons' action via television, saw the play and did his best to explain what transpired between the two siblings.
"Marc has played hard against Eric before and there's always a little extra when they go against each other," Henry said. "Marc was looking at the puck and couldn't get his hands up. Eric caught him and he went flying. Things happens."
Marc did play for New York in the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs but struggled with headaches through the summer. He came to training camp and did the physical testing and suffered further setbacks. He had planned to be with the team when it went overseas but instead was told to take it easy. That order remains unchanged.
Marc Staal had emerged as the 24-year-old leader of a young Rangers defence. Last season, he played in his first NHL all-star game after being selected by Eric, who was named captain of one of the competing teams. Strong defensively and known for throwing some big hits of his own, including one on 23-year-old brother Jordan, of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Marc also produced a career-high 29 points.
Without their best over-all defender, the Rangers have been relying heavily on Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh, a pairing that combined for the winning goal in last Thursday's overtime win in Calgary against the Flames. To this point, Girardi has become the NHL leader in minutes played, while McDonagh has been asked to do more in just his second season in the league.
"We're all filling a lot of roles we're not used to. I happen to kill a lot more [penalties]," McDonagh said. "We're not trying to play like Marc. It's about guys stepping up a little bit more and playing together as a unit."
Girardi said the players aren't aware of how Staal is doing physically. They only know his return is not imminent.
"The trainers don't tell us anything [about Staal's condition] because we don't need that in our heads. We have to go out and play," Girardi said. "Marc is such a big part of this team. He's an assistant captain. We miss him but we can't use that as an excuse. We don't know when he'll be back."
Most recently, Staal has been spotted at the Ontario Migraine Clinic, which specializes in acupuncture treatment for headache sufferers. (The clinic was closed Friday and calls were not returned.)
He continues to skate on his own and harbours no open hostility towards the repentant Eric.
"It is what it is," Marc Staal said during training camp. "Can't do anything about it now."
Except hope that what happened between the brothers doesn't end up costing one his career.
"Marc was playing 25, 26 minutes in a game. He was really coming into his own," said the dad, Henry. "I'm sure he'll bounce back."
Hancock Gives It All A Try
Source: www.thestar.com - By Nick Krewen
(Oct 20, 2011) Legendary jazz innovator Herbie Hancock might be considered something of a prodigy, but that doesn’t mean he’s taking his upcoming performance of George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” with The Massey Hall Orchestra this Saturday night lightly.
In fact, the 71-year-old Chicago native, who will be performing the piece with the Massey Hall Orchestra at the famed venue, says he’s been doing his homework.
“I played ‘Rhapsody In Blue’ here in L.A. about a month ago, and I had to practice diligently for two months,” admits Hancock over the phone from his office.
“This will be the second performance of ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ that I’m playing by myself. I did perform the work with (Chinese pianist) Lang Lang — two pianos and orchestra.
“The first time was an excerpt from it in 2008, and then we did a tour in 2009, but the piano parts were divided up, and he played the tougher parts.”
Hancock, whose performance kicks off the annual Jazz @ Massey Hall Series, will perform the work unamplified with the orchestra conducted by Alain Trudel, a throwback to the way Massey Hall patrons would have heard Gershwin perform it himself when he graced the venue in 1934.
Aside from an orchestra-only performance of the composer’s Catfish Row Symphonic Suite from Porgy & Bess, the remainder of the program will be decidedly non-classical.
“I’m going to play some other pieces,” says Hancock, writer of such modern jazz standards as “Maiden Voyage,” “Chameleon” and “Watermelon Man.”
Hancock, who previously interpreted the music of the late Gershwin in his Grammy-winning 1998 album Gershwin’s World, says the Brooklyn-born composer impresses him on several fronts.
“It’s appealing to me, first of all, not because he was a pianist. It’s appealing to me just as a listener who loves music, and as a musician who loves music, because he wrote incredible songs,” says Hancock, who performed a Mozart piano concerto with the Chicago Symphony when he was 11 years old.
“He wrote incredible operas/operettas like Porgy & Bess and other pieces that covered a wider territory than just the jazz genre. He mixed classical music and classical influences with jazz” says Hancock, who performed a Mozart piano concerto with the Chicago Symphony when he was 11 years old.
“He also wrote some beautiful melodies, but Gershwin as a jazz pianist was amazing: a great talent — and a great stride piano player, which was the style of the late ‘20s through the ‘30s.”
Hancock also has something of a special relationship with Massey Hall: On October 25, 2001, Hancock teamed up with trumpeter Roy Hargrove and saxophonist Michael Brecker to record the Grammy-winning Directions In Music: Live At Massey Hall — Celebrating Miles Davis & John Coltrane.
Seventeen months later, on May 15, 2003, he reteamed with Hargrove and recruited drummer Roy Haynes, saxophonist Kenny Garrett and bassist Dave Holland to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the legendary Massey Hall performance that originally featured Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Charles Mingus and Max Roach.
“Those were both incredible experiences,” Hancock recalls. “I do remember that when we did Directions, we felt that that live performance was one of the best of the tour, and that’s why we chose that one for a live album.
“The vibe at Massey Hall is just so encouraging and inspiring that it led to that kind of performance.”
Since releasing his first album Takin’ Off on Blue Note in 1962, Hancock has helped Miles Davis usher in jazz fusion with the landmark ‘69-’70 Davis albums In A Silent Way and Bitches Brew, formed memorable combos like the V.S.O.P. Quintet (which included the immortal trumpeting icon Miles Davis’ lineup of Hancock, bass player Ron Carter, drummer Tony Williams and saxophonist Wayne Shorter with trumpeter Freddie Hubbard subbing in for Davis); the Quartet (which introduced a young Wynton Marsalis with Carter and Williams), recorded duet albums with fellow pianist Chick Corea and Shorter, and most recently, issued 2010’s ambitious The Imagine Project which united different artists and cultures from around the world.
Along the way, Hancock has taken jazz in innovative directions, from sophisticated modality (1965’s Maiden Voyage) to electronic jazz funk (1973’s Head Hunters, the first jazz album to sell one million copies) to radical scratch-driven dance music (1983’s Future Shock and the No. 1 smash “Rockit”) and accumulated 12 Grammy Awards (including album of the year for 1987’s Joni Mitchell tribute, River: The Joni Letters) and a 1986 Academy Award for Best Original Score for Round Midnight.
Which has he enjoyed the most?
“Each band is extraordinary because I’m basically a very curious person,” he responds. “It excites me to be exposed to something I wasn’t exposed to before and to see what I would do with it.
“I think that’s one of the most important characteristics I’d like to promote in other people: not to be afraid to examine a new idea. Be open and curious enough to examine it and draw your own conclusions.”
Although Hancock credits Tony Williams with introducing him to electronic classical music and the avant-garde jazz scene, he says it was Davis who initiated his trial-by-fire induction into the world of electric keyboards.
“At a recording session with Miles, I went to the studio and there was no acoustic piano there,” Hancock recalls. “And he pointed to the corner and he said, ‘I want you to play that!’ — and that was a Fender Rhodes electric piano.
“I’d never played one before. I don’t think I’d even heard one before. The only thing I knew was the reputation that many of the jazz pianists had expressed to me: They said, ‘Oh, it’s just a toy. It’s not a real piano.’ It was all negative.
“So that was my attitude: I turned it on, expecting to be disappointed, played a chord, and I said, ‘Oh, this sounds nice.’
“I was surprised at the mellowness of the sound, and the fact that I could turn it up and get some volume out of it, and not put weights on my fingers, which meant that I could play loud enough that the drummer wouldn’t have to tone down,” he laughs.
Hancock said he learned a valuable lesson that day.
“From that point on, I never accepted anybody else’s opinion on something or adapted it as my own until I had my own experience.”
Toronto Might Have The Occupy Anthem: Reach Up
Source: www.thestar.com - by: Garnet Fraser
(Oct 25, 2011) The Occupy protests have an awkward relationship with music; for one thing, there's the continuing problem in New York about controlling the protesters' dreaded drummers. Musicians do drop by, but most are not quite endorsing a movement as vague and sprawling as this one; indie rocker Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel performed a long acoustic set that was obliquely political at best; Kanye West went to the NYC protest and, for perhaps the first time in his life, had nothing to say.
Yet there is an expectation, given the history of protest songs and the folkies' involvement in the race and Vietnam protests in the 1960s, that music will carry the message. (Strictly personally, this is the one demonstration where I actually want to hear that clapped-out old chant "What do we want? When do we want it?", because no one seems able to narrow down what, precisely, the protesters want.)
It's into this context that Rufus Wainwright and Sean Lennon stepped yesterday, performing an arch version of Madonna's "Material Girl" for the assembled at New York's Zucotti Park:
One doesn't recall ironists making much of a difference in the world; on the other hand, you'll never find them in angry mobs, either. But maybe Toronto's Cale Sampson has something constructive to offer: The Toronto conscious rapper visited the protests at St. James Park last week and showed off a densely political track, "Reach Up":
It shades a bit into what sounds like conspiracy theory toward the end ("Business that control market share purposely keep all our resources scarce") but you can't say there isn't something to chew on. Sampson's website has more music and he promises a new album in 2012. Protest-friendly musicians should consider the bar set.
A Long Holiday With Buble
Source: www.thestar.com - By Ben Rayner
(Oct 22, 2011) Michael Bublé is a pop superstar with several continents’ worth of adoring female fans and 35 million in record sales to his name, yes, but none of that has caused his ego to inflate to the point where he’s comfortable with the idea of putting out a “picture book.”
Onstage Offstage, the glossy coffee-table tome to be released this Tuesday by Doubleday Canada, is thus a source of some chagrin to the Vancouver-bred crooner. Although it’s prefaced with 75 pages of cursory autobiographical notes by Bublé himself, the thing is essentially just a compendium of performance and “casual” shots by esteemed British portrait photographer Dean Freeman. It is not, stresses the 36-year-old singer — who really is as down-to-earth and unpretentious and funny in person as everyone says — a “memoir” or “a heavy biography.”
“You see how many pages there are,” says Bublé during a recent promotional visit to Toronto. “It’s just a really light read . . . It was gonna be just in the U.K. and then, all of a sudden, the Canadian publishers wanted it and then the American and then the Australian and — well, dude, I’m telling you right now: I’ve gotta come out and promote the thing, okay, because that’s the agreement that I made.
“I think it’s a good product, I think there are nice pictures and it gives people a nice, little insight into my life. It’s lovely. But it’s also embarrassing for me to have a picture book. It’s tough. I just don’t, frankly, understand who would want to buy a picture book of me. I wouldn’t buy my own picture book if I wasn’t me.”
Bublé’s anxieties over Onstage Offstage aside, the book does appear poised to turn up under many a Christmas tree during the looming holiday season. And now there’s a very good chance that a Michael Bublé record is going to be playing in the background in many of the same homes where Onstage Offstage will be unwrapped on Christmas morning, too.
Yes, Bublé has decided to follow up his smash 2009 hit Crazy Love with that most dreaded of seasonal recorded products, the Christmas album. He knows that Christmas albums tend to be dreaded, however, and took great pains to avoid adding another quickie cash-in to the annual slush pile while making Christmas, which arrives in stores alongside Onstage Offstage on Monday.
The disc, mostly recorded live off the floor with a full orchestra and stridently old-school in tone, is Bublé’s bid for the sort of holiday-time immortality enjoyed by Bing Crosby’s 1942 version of “White Christmas.”
The Crosby album of the same name, he says, was an annual staple during his childhood and served as his introduction to the classic American “jazz or pop or whatever you wanna call it” tradition he now upholds, so he wanted to give his own — which does indeed include “White Christmas” in the track listing (as a duet with Shania Twain), alongside reinterpretations of such standards as “Jingle Bells,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and “Silent Night” — proper justice.
“People don’t care about their Christmas records a lot of the time. They just kinda chuck ‘em out there,” concedes Bublé, who early in the process rebuffed an offer from producer David Foster to get things set up so his involvement would be nothing more than “two days to come and sing” over pre-recorded arrangements. “That was really nice of David, but I couldn’t. To me, that’s when sh-- gets bad. You didn’t really do anything. . .
“Christmas has always been a very special time. I’m very sentimental about it, and I feel for people who aren’t. I told my manager that I believed this would be the most important record of my life and he looked at me and said ‘You’re crazy.’ But if I do this the right way, this’ll be part of my legacy. I’m not talking sh--, I hope.”
Recording Christmas live “in a room with 90 people” seems a positively archaic practice in the digital age of ProTools and AutoTune. Engineer Al Schmidt told Bublé, in fact, that he hadn’t done an album that way since 1971.
Bublé, for his part, just hopes that people hear the extra effort that went into the record, flaws and all.
“Pop songs, I never wanna do live off the floor. So even on this record, a song like ‘All I Want for Christmas is You,’ that’s a pop song — there’s compression all over it, I fixed pitch, I wanted it to sound like a modern pop song. But for the other songs, I thought it was really important to catch the presence in the air.
“The first day I came in and I did ‘Santa Baby’ and I had these singers with me and we stuck the three mikes together and we all snuggled in together and we put the rhythm section down with strings and we did it about six times and I was in love with it. I knew right then that I was in love with it. And I’m pitchy on it. I can hear it now and when I listen to it I can show you all the places that I’m out and you can’t fix it. But I just wanted it to be real and I wanted it to be touching and I wanted to be able to show people really how important it was to me.”
The man does appear to be something of a Christmas fanatic.
After his day of press in Toronto, Bublé was flying to London to tape a Christmas TV special for the ITV network. He’s got another scheduled to air on these shores in NBC sometime in December, a Christmas broadcast that, he promises, “will be a little more Saturday Night Live than Perry Como.” Office star Ed Helms is involved, but that’s about all he’ll say about the show at this point.
There’s an awful lot more work on his plate, as well. International promotional obligations for Christmas and Onstage Offstage must also be satisfied during the weeks ahead, and the tour for 2009’s Crazy Love album will drag on through South Africa, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Mexico well into the new year — all of which begs the question: will Michael “Mr. Christmas” Bublé actually have time to celebrate Christmas himself this year? Heck, will he ever see his bride of seven months, Argentine actress Luisana Lopilato, again?
“I work until Dec. 22, then I’m gonna go see my wife,” he says. “I made a rule for me and Lu: I do one month on tour — a month and a week — and then two weeks off, then I do three weeks on and a week off.
“You know what? It’s hard. The businesses we’re in puts a lot of stress on a relationship. It’s hard. It’s hard, man. People want to rip you down. I don’t think they really want to see you two happy. We’re trying our best in the situation that we’re in to be patient with each other and give each other time and all that stuff, but yeah, it can be tough. We miss each other.”
?uestlove: New D’Angelo
Album In the Home Stretch
(Oct 25, 2011) *?uestlove of The Roots sat down recently with Billboard.com’s The Juice to discuss his numerous endeavors, including his work with crooner D’Angelo on his long-awaited new album project.
“He’s in the home stretch right now,” said the drummer. “I know that Fred Wesley and the JB Horns just did a cut that Q-Tip did; I know he’s doing his vocals right now.”
As for the next album from his own band, “We actually completed it at five this morning, so it’s officially done,” he said of “Undun,” the group’s 13th studio effort. “It’s essentially a biographical narrative about Redford Stephens. Stephens [is] a composite of four or five people that we’ve known over the past few years from Philadelphia.”
The album, which features Big K.R.I.T. and Phonte from Little Brother, tells Steven’s story backwards from his death to his birth.
When he’s not recording for “Undun” and D’Angelo’s project, ?uestlove is also juggling his group’s regular gig as the house band for “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon,” doing random DJ sets, and frequently sitting in with other bands.
When asked about The Roots’ incredible schedule, he took it all as just another day on the job. “It’s really not that hard,” he said. “People are always amazed with the amount of projects and events that we’re involved in and the hardest thing about it is just staying the course and concentrating. I’ve just seen so many examples of people who take it for granted. You dream of being in a certain position and once you approach it you manage to sabotage it or you get off course. For us, that’s really not an option.”
Despite the hectic schedule, ?uestlove brings it into perspective with hard work. “We’re really highly responsible and very disciplined,” he said. “I take pride in the fact that this is our 13th record; not many hip-hop groups can even get to their 8th record.”
Common’s New Album, New Movie, New TV Show
(Oct 21, 2011) *November is a busy month for multi-talented rapper and actor Common beginning with the release of his ninth studio album, “The Dreamer, The Believer,” and his role on animated family movie, “Happy Feet 2.” He’s also set to star on AMC series, “Hell on Wheels.”
The Western-themed show features the rapper as a formerly enslaved Black man attempting to adjust and live a trouble free life in America post-slavery.
Despite the time period and relevant racial environment, the show is focused on a former confederate soldier seeking revenge against the Union soldiers who killed his wife.
“The story is not just based on race, but it definitely has all of the issues we deal with today but its set in the Western [era],” Common told The Boom Box. “It’s dealing with some of the injustices that go on, the greed, how money and the hunger of big business can really walk over other people and racial divides.”
“Hell on Wheels” debuts on Nov. 6 at 10 p.m.
Common’s latest projects come just after the release of his monumental memoir “One Day It’ll All Make Sense” last month.
The book has received rave responses, by some of his closest friends, he said.
Eminem's Five-Year Memory Hole Thanks To Ambien
Source: www.thestar.com - by: Garnet Fraser
(Oct 19, 2011) Remember Eminem's decline period - the five-year gap between albums culminating with 2009's Relapse? Actually, you may remember it better than he does. The rapper tells Rolling Stone magazine that, owing to his addiction to the sleep drug Ambien, "…a lot of my memory is gone. I don't know if you've ever taken Ambien, but it's kind of a memory-eraser. That s--t wiped out five years of my life. People will tell me stories, and it's like, 'I did that?' I saw myself doing this thing on [television network] BET recently, and I was like, 'When was that?'"
It's a good little chat, and typically frank; he says of his latest album Recovery's response, "It feels good to have your work respected again." He says he had writer's block for four years as a result of the drug, which has some other reported victims in the world of music: Courtney Love has confessed (it's what she does) to an Ambien problem, and Pete Wentz, formerly of Fall Out Boy (or so says the Enquirer, which actually has a decent track record on these things). No word of regret in all of this from Rolling Stone, which made the drug part of its 2008 "Hot List" - which, for some reason, has vanished from their website but is visible here.
The drug's most famous user, of course, was Tiger Woods, who reportedly livened up his encounters with his mistresses with what one of them called "crazy (uninhibited) Ambien sex." So for all Mr. Mathers knows, he missed quite a party.
You know who's looking pretty good in all of this? The clean-living Mormons. Singer Brandon Flowers' latest video is a PSA for the Church of Latter-Day Saints:
See you in tabernacle, then. It might be a bit dull, but at least we'll ... remember all of it?
Jill Barber Brings A Songstress's Grace To The Stage
Source: www.globeandmail.com - By Brad Wheeler
At Glenn Gould Studio In Toronto on Saturday
(Oct 24, 2011) A pleasant enough diversion happened Saturday at Glenn Gould Studio, where bygones were remembered and moonlit music was elegantly made.
The Vancouver-based chanteuse Jill Barber and her five-piece band recreated jazzy-classy pre-rock sounds, with lyrical themes of romance, dreams and spells that leave one helpless. At times the willowy Barber, in a sparkly party dress and with her hair set high, seemed a bit sweetly mannered - possibly a persona was at work when it came to her soft banter between songs.
Which isn't to say the singer isn't delightful enough naturally. With her trademark wavering coo and graceful presence - a ballerina's poise at times - she offered a distraction from pressing concerns and things loud or busy or plain. She mostly presented lush material from her period-set albums (including this year's Mischievous Moon), with covers of Leonard Cohen, the Everly Brothers and Charles Aznavour (Plus bleu que tes yeux) too.
Chances: The title track to Barber's well-received 2008 album opened the concert, the second of her two sold-out appearances. A swaying, saccharine ballad about romantic kismet sets the Doris Day mood.
A Wish Under My Pillow: A coquettish ditty, performed with Barber and her fine band gathered around a single microphone, highlighted by a lip-whistle solo.
Took Me By Surprise: Cocktail bossa nova, with breezy "la-la-la" fills that recall the Carpenters, a sibling act from the seventies.
All I Have to Do Is Dream: The serene pop classic by the Everly Brothers is presented as a duet, with singer-songwriter Mathew Barber joining his sister on stage. You'd have to think that these two won a talent contest or two in their youth.
Dance Me to the End of Love: A cabaret-jazz rendition of Cohen's bittersweet song about passion closes the show. "Raise a tent of shelter now," Barber sings, "though every thread is torn." An evening of romantic music from another time is Barber's shelter to her audience, offered warmly.
Jill Barber plays London, Ont. Tuesday; St. Catharines, Ont., Wednesday; Guelph, Ont., Friday; Alliston, Ont., Saturday; with Western dates to follow (www.jillbarber.com/tour-dates.html).
Justin Timberlake Finally Returns To Music – Sadly, As A Rapper
Source: www.globeandmail.com - Dave Morris
(Oct 21, 2011) Remember when Justin Timberlake made music? Well he’s at it again. (Yay!)
Sort of. The five years since FutureSex/LoveSounds found the N*Sync wunderkind acting (The Social Network, Friends With Benefits), making SNL skits, guesting with Timbaland and Madonna on their own singles, and a bunch of other stuff (golf?) that keeps frustrated fans lusting after a new album like starving goldfish watching their owner struggle to get the top off a can of fish food. Insult, meet injury: Did we mention he raps now?
Check the Role Model clip from FreeSol, an act signed to Timberlake’s label and whose album he produced – but only if you ever wondered what it would sound like if Andy Samberg tried his hand at hashtag-rap: “Oops did I take it too far? Super Bowl" – referring, of course, to his role in Janet Jackson's infamous "wardrobe malfunction" at the 2004 SuperBowl halftime show.
Then the boyband escapee strikes a defiant pose, insisting he's "going hard like the opposite of soft” while rocking a plaid vest/baseball hat/goatee combo that the nation’s most fashionable drunk redneck hooligans will soon be scrambling to recreate. (You read it here first.)
Seriously, why must we suffer this way, Justin? Did we not make our grandparents dance to SexyBack at our weddings and bar mitzvahs? Have we not sufficiently forgiven you for your role in Tearin Up My Heart? And what did hip-hop do to deserve this? Isn’t it bad enough that Lil Wayne is now being outsold, and sometimes even outrapped, by the Black Eyed Peas?
As Ice Cube, another once-great musician ruined by chasing Hollywood’s golden calf, once rapped, you better check yourself before you wreck yourself.
Hathaway Launches New Facebook App for New Album
(Oct 21, 2011) *Lalah Hathaway is all about spreading the word about her newest album and she’s doing it big.
The self-proclaimed “gadget girl and tech junkie” launched a Facebook campaign to promote her sixth studio album, “Where It All Begins.”
She’s offering fans to share an in-app request with four friends for a chance to win an autographed CD.
Her partners in the campaign, Fairwave Media, have helped the singer create a custom application and a mobile app that allows fans to listen to a featured track, comment about it, and share it with four of their friends.
“The app was built to simply ‘incentivize’ a share. While social design is a core component of most web initiatives today and one can share just about anything, this app allows us to tailor the experience across the Facebook platform and mobile,” said Ajani Sandridge, Strategist at Fairwave Media.
Between October 25 and November 27, more than 127,000 global Facebook fans will have an opportunity to dialog around each of Hathaway’s tracks and receive a signed CD almost every 72 hours. To learn more about the “Where It All Begins” Giveaway, go to http://facebook.com/LalahHathaway or by visiting www.lalahhathaway.com on your mobile device.
By the way, if you haven’t heard any of Lalah’s new music, you are in for a treat. Here she is with some very tasty samples:
2011 Soul Train Award Nominees Announced: Chris Brown Leads Pack
(Oct 24, 2011) *The names have been released for the hottest singers, rappers, and performers for the 2011 Soul Train Awards. Leading the list is Chris Brown. The singer/dancer is poised to be the top awardee after being nominated for Best Male R&B/Soul Artist, Song of the Year, Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Best Dance Performance. Beyonce and Kanye West are also vying for big placements with four nominations apiece, while Brown’s ex, Rihanna, Adele and Kelly Rowland each have three noms. Marsha Ambrosius and Jennifer Hudson are also on the list. The 24th annual awards show will be taped in Atlanta on Nov. 17 and will air Nov. 27 on BET and Centric. Check out the complete list nominations below:
Song of the Year
“So In Love” – Jill Scott (featuring Anthony Hamilton)
“Motivation” – Kelly Rowland (featuring Lil Wayne)
“Sure Thing” – Miguel
“Rolling in the Deep” – Adele
“She Ain’t You” – Chris Brown
“All of the Lights” – Kanye West
Best Male R&B/Soul Artist
Cee Lo Green
Best Female R&B/Soul Artist
Mary J. Blige
Best New Artist
Album of the Year
Passion Pain & Pleasure – Trey Songz
21 – Adele
F.A.M.E. – Chris Brown
Light of the Sun – Jill Scott
4 – Beyoncé » Watch the Throne – Jay Z/Kanye West
Best Hip-Hop Song of the Year
Moment for Life – Nicki Minaj
All of the Lights – Kanye West
Look at Me Now – Chris Brown (featuring Busta Rhymes and Lil Wayne)
Out of My Head – Lupe Fiasco
Otis – Jay Z/Kanye West
Record of the Year (The Ashford & Simpson Songwriter’s Award)
“Rolling in the Deep” – Adele
“Far Away” – Marsha Ambrosius
“Best Thing I Never Had” – Beyoncé
“Good Man” – Raphael Saddiq
“Hold My Hand” (duet with Akon) – Michael Jackson
Best Dance Performance
“Motivation” – Kelly Rowland
“Only Girl in the World”/”What’s My Name” – Rihanna
“Run the World (Girls)” – Beyoncé
“She Ain’t You” – Chris Brown
“Walking” – Mary Mary
“Pretty Girl Rock” – Keri Hilson
Best Caribbean Performance
“Bend Over” – Machel Montano
“Man Down” – Rihanna
“Delilah” – Movado
“Wotless” – Kes The Band
“Summertime” – Vybz Kartel
Best Gospel Performance
“I Smile” – Kirk Franklin
“Walking” – Mary Mary
“Heaven Hear My Heart” – Trin-I-Tee 5:7
“I Believe” – James Fortune feat. Shawn McLemore
“More” – Cece Winans
U2 Honoured As 'Greatest Act' In Last 25 Years
Source: www.globeandmail.com - The Associated Press
(Oct 24, 2011) Rock icons U2 have something new to brag about - winning Q Magazine's Greatest Act of the Last 25 Years award.
The annual music awards by Britain's best-selling music monthly took place Monday in London and the Irish quartet was among the music notables at the ceremony.
The U.K.'s artist of the moment, singer/songwriter Adele, won two awards, for Best Female and Best Track for her song Rolling in the Deep. She didn't attend, since the event comes just two weeks after she was forced to cancel her U.S. tour due to throat problems.
Coldplay was voted Best Act in the World Today, although lead singer Chris Martin disagreed with the accolade.
"U2 are the best band in the world at the moment. We are about seventh," he said.
Noel Gallagher, one-half of the warring brothers who led the rock band Oasis to chart glory, was named a Q icon. But he said that award did not come close to rivalling his joy when his favourite soccer team, Manchester City, smashed crosstown rival Manchester United 6-1 on Sunday.
"No award can compare to that. That was the best day of my life, bar my children being born," Gallagher said.
Eighteen awards were handed out, including to rapper Tinie Tempah for Best Male Artist and to U.S. internet sensation Lana Del Ray, who was crowned the Next Big Thing.
Brian May and Roger Taylor accepted entry into the Q Hall of Fame on behalf of glam rockers Queen, and Take That's Gary Barlow was honoured as Classic Songwriter.
Multimillion selling DJ Norman Cook, aka Fat Boy Slim, was presented with a Q Inspiration award.
Coldplay Returns To Safer Ground
Source: www.thestar.com - By Ben Rayner
Mylo Xyloto (Parlophone/EMI)
(Oct 24, 2011) Chris Martin and Coldplay are so eager to please that it's virtually impossible to hate them, even though many “serious” music fans do.
Having made a fairly successful bid for artistic respectability with 2008's Viva La Vida — a “difficult” Coldplay record that wasn't actually all that difficult — the reigning kings of cuddly U.K. stadium rock channel some of the lessons learned from producer Brian Eno the last time around into an album that doesn't sound like it's trying nearly as hard to wow us with its experimentalism, while still messing around a bit with tried-and-true formulas.
Only a bit, though. If anything, Mylo Xyloto is a tacit acknowledgement from Coldplay itself that its fans prefer succour, support and sweetness from their Coldplay songs rather than scowls and self-conscious muddling about with synthesizers and murky Unforgettable Fire polyrhythms.
Although it throws you a few sonic curveballs — a heavy-footed synth-rock duet with Rihanna on “Princess of China,” a dollop of Jane's Addiction-esque funk riffery on “Major Minor,” a smattering of ambient instrumental bridges between songs that smack of returning collaborator Eno's influence — the quartet's fifth long-player is an unabashed pop record and a return to the highly melodic, hands-in-the-air uplift of A Rush of Blood to the Head and X&Y.
It's slightly unctuous in its desire to be loved, yes, but Mylo Xyloto does have some of the best and brightest songs of Coldplay's career working in its favour, albeit front-loaded to the detriment of the less distinctive material gumming up the back half. “Hurts Like Heaven” is an exuberant kickoff, taking a page from the Arcade Fire's occasional pillaging of the Born in the U.S.A.-era Bruce Springsteen songbook in both its hopeful tone and breathless (for Coldplay, at least) pace. “Paradise” has a gigantic gang chorus sure to be ringing out over soccer pitches all next summer. And “Charlie Brown” is a rousing misfit anthem about running wild “where the lost boys meet.”
The ballads, too, are every bit as on-point as they usually are. Say what you will about Martin's sentimental tendencies, but the man is uncommonly gifted at wooing the ladies and bringing out the latent girly-men in otherwise cold-hearted boys with his slow dances. The low-register “Us Against the World” is up there with “Fix You” or “Trouble” in the Coldplay canon, while “Up With the Birds” somehow gets away with so much goopy orchestral schmaltz that you wouldn't blink an eye if it morphed midway through into “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Fantastically sappy but forgivably so.
Top Track: “Paradise.” The best of that thing Coldplay does.
Stevie Wonder to Beam onto Vegas Strip for New Year’s Eve
(Oct 26, 2011) *Stevie Wonder has scheduled a huge New Year’s Eve gig in Sin City – and you won’t even need a ticket to get the experience.
In addition to entertaining a ticket-paying ballroom crowd at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, thousands of revelers on the Las Vegas Strip will able to watch the concert via video, reports the AP.
A limited number of tickets start at $250 and include an open bar. Meanwhile, the Strip will shut down to vehicle traffic and fill up with New Year’s Eve partiers who can watch it on a huge video screen.
Casino officials said the 25-time Grammy winner known for top hits including “Superstition” and “You are the Sunshine of My Life” will be its top performer one year after an exclusive grand opening bash that featured Jay-Z and Coldplay.
Lisa Marchese, the Cosmopolitan’s chief marketing officer, said Wonder has proven over several decades of performing he can appeal to audiences young and old.
“He’s gotten cool again in a whole different way with a young group of people who didn’t grow up with his music,” Marchese said. “He’s legendary, he’s an impresario, he’s contemporary but old school in this really unexpected way.”
Marchese said other acts and surprises would likely be added to the show, and other acts will perform throughout the property.
Aspiring Singer Gilani Taylor Dies
After Suffering Severe Burns in Car Crash
(Oct 24, 2011) *Aspiring singer and mother, Gilani Taylor, passed away on Friday, Oct. 21 after battling severe injuries from a fiery car crash that killed her 9-year-old daughter, Jayla. Gilani was 27.
At the beginning of October, Taylor and daughter Jayla were on their way to a church function, traveling on the 101 freeway near Las Virgenes Rd. in Southern California when their car spun out of control after a white SUV cut Taylor off. Taylor reacted by swerving into the center divider and lost control of her car, which slid sideways through lanes of traffic, hit a big rig and burst into flames, according to CHP and media reports.
Daughter Jayla Taylor was pronounced dead at the scene. Gilani Taylor was hospitalized with burns over 80 percent of her body.
She is survived by her husband Rodney Taylor and their 4-year-old daughter, Amina.
A website called ReflectionsofaQueen.com asks that you please visit JaylaTaylor.com to learn where to send financial support to the family to help cover Gilani’s memorial service expenses and any medical bills. Please also keep Gilani’s dream alive of releasing her album “Take a Picture.” She was in the process of raising the funds to do so before the accident. To contribute to the fund, that was set up before the accident click here Gilani Taylor Debut Album Fundraiser Her single “For You” can be purchased through iTunes by clicking here Gilani Taylor Single “For You”
Jon Bon Jovi Opens Pay-What-You-Can Charity Restaurant
Source: www.globeandmail.com - By Tralee Pearce
(Oct 21, 2011) It was time the Jersey Shore made it into the news for more than Snooki tans and cheesy nightclubs. Rocker Jon Bon Jovi has opened a charity restaurant (check it HERE) in his home state that allows patrons to pay what they can or work to cover their meals.
At Soul Kitchen, there are no prices next to menu items - comfort food such as Garden State Gumbo and BBQ grilled salmon - reports the Wall Street Journal. Diners who can afford to pay market prices are, of course, also welcome to the renovated 1,100- square-foot former auto-body shop.
No doubt it will enjoy some celebrity tourist traffic, but at the opening Wednesday, Mr. Bon Jovi told the Journal's Marshall Heyman that he hasn't been itching to join the ranks of celeb restaurateurs such as Justin Timberlake.
"No, no, that's not me. I'm not someone who's interested in food or good at preparing meals," Mr. Bon Jovi explained. "I'm more of a dishwasher. I love to wash dishes." (Maybe that's a reason his marriage to his high-school sweetheart has lasted since 1989.)
"And the amazing thing about this kitchen is I've found that the dishes don't come back so dirty," he added. "The plates are licked pretty clean, which says something about our food."
Mr. Bon Jovi's personal chef, Zeet Peabody, is at the helm in the kitchen. For now, food has been donated by Whole Foods, reports the Journal.
The musician was reportedly inspired by other pay-what-you can eateries. Denver [http://www.denverpost.com/lifestyles/ci_16707415], in particular, is a hot spot.
But the granddaddy of them all is a café in Salt Lake City: Denise Cerreta's One World Cafe, which has blossomed from a single café into a national non-profit foundation (the One World Everybody Eats Foundation [http://www.oneworldeverybodyeatsfoundation.org]). Ms. Cerreta now helps others, including Mr. Bon Jovi's JBJ Soul Foundation [http://www.jonbonjovisoulfoundation.org], to open similar ventures.
The idea is as ambitious as it is heartwarming: These restaurants can help curb hunger, cut food waste by using donated food, and help train people in the restaurant business.
Drake Drops Another Song With Lil
(Oct 24, 2011) Drake's new album Take Care is weeks away from the drop date (this Nov. 15th!), yet the singer keeps releasing new singles. On his slinky new track "The Real Her," Drake uses a watery wash over his vocals to craft a song about a girl who's more experienced than she comes off. It's a slow and melancholic effort that only starts to rev up when Weezy enters for a breezy guest spot.
Ontario Arts Council Picks New CEO
Source: www.thestar.com - By Martin Knelman
(Oct 24, 2011) Peter Caldwell, former vice-president of OCAD University, has been chosen as the new CEO for the Ontario Arts Council, the Star has learned. Caldwell, who had been in charge of administration and finance at OCAD since 1994, left in April, and was given an honorary degree in June. He supervised the planning and construction of the Sharp Centre of Design, the striking Will Alsop building that opened in 2004. Caldwell, who obtained an executive MBA from the prestigious Ivey School in 2006, will start work at the OAC in February. He replaces John Brotman, who is stepping down at the end of this year after a decade of handing out arts funding money from the government of Ontario. An official announcement is expected Monday.
No Mike McCary on Boyz II Men’s 20th Anniversary CD
(Oct 24, 2011) *Boyz II Men are marking the anniversary of their debut record, 1991′s “Cooleyhighharmony,” by recording old and new tracks for a retrospective record called “Twenty.” But only group members Nathan Morris, Wanya Morris and Shawn Stockman are taking part in the project. McCary, who left the group in the early 2000s, was to return for the album, but it didn’t work out. “We reached out to Michael to be on this record,” Nathan Morris told the New York Daily News, before explaining that McCary, in his view, didn’t want to put in the effort to reunite. “Mike just completely got lazy,” according to Nathan Morris, who ended up recording the bass parts on top of his own. “Twenty,” to be released Tuesday, finds the trio singing new songs as well as their classics – 10 of each. They will also take the project on the road. The “Twenty” tour will take them around the United States, Europe and Japan.
J.Lo’s On The Floor Nears
(Oct 25, 2011) *Jennifer Lopez’s “On the Floor” music video is about to break through the ceiling on YouTube. It’s currently ranked No. 3 on the video site, with more than 412 million streams, and it’s closing in on No. 2, Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance,” which has 422 million views. Justin Bieber’s “Baby” is No. 1 with 645 million. “On the Floor,” which features Pitbull, has more than 773, 620 likes, and just 59,868 dislikes. (By comparison, Rebecca Black’s viral hit, “Friday” — which now only has 4 million streams after being taken off YouTube following a copyright dispute — has 40,000 likes and a whopping 105,219 dislikes. Bieber’s “Baby” is also panned online with 936,000 likes, but 1.9 million dislikes.) Lopez’s single debuted at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts after it was released in March, making it her highest career launch.
T-Pain Details Dec. Release of New Album rEVOLVEr
(Oct 25, 2011) *T-Pain has announced that his upcoming album “rEVOLVEr” will be released on Dec. 6, with a track list that includes the platinum-selling “Best Love Song” featuring Chris Brown, and T-Pain’s current single “5 O’Clock”, featuring Lily Allen and Wiz Khalifa. [Scroll down to watch video.] “rEVOLVEr is drawn from seven albums’ worth of material,” said T-Pain in a statement released by RCA Record Co. “There are so many different things on this album. I couldn’t settle on what I wanted to include, but the final result I think will really hit all of my fans and different audiences.” The Grammy-winner, known for his use of auto-tune, said he would be staying away from the voice-modying effect on his new album, in an interview with Billboard Magazine earlier this year. T-Pain is currently supporting singer Chris Brown on his “F.A.M.E.” tour until November.
Del Toro: The
Haunter Becomes The Haunted
Source: www.thestar.com - By Peter Howell
(Oct 24, 2011) Guillermo del Toro doesn’t just make scary movies. He also lives them.
The Mexican horrormeister, coming Thursday to TIFF Bell Lightbox to talk about some of his favourite fright flicks, says he’s twice had encounters with real ghosts.
The first happened long ago in his house, and he talks about it as if everybody hears ghosts in their homes.
“It was just like a very, very sad sigh right next to my ear, but it lasted for 15 minutes,” del Toro says in an interview. “It was a human voice.”
The second spooky situation was far scarier, and happened quite recently. It was in his room at a hotel in New Zealand, where del Toro was scouting locations for The Hobbit, Peter Jackson’s 2012 prequel to The Lord of the Rings trilogy. (Del Toro is one of the film’s screenwriters; he was originally supposed to direct it before production delays kiboshed the plan.)
“The second (haunting) was really, really out of a bad horror movie, because it was a wailing woman and then she started screaming and a guy started crying.”
Del Toro’s voice rises as he describes this “really, really spooky” evening, and what he did to chase the bad spirits away.
“I had to stay in the room, so what I did was I pulled out my Apple computer and watched an episode of The Wire on DVD!”
He admits he got exactly what he asked for. He and his entourage were staying at the Waitomo Caves Hotel on New Zealand’s north island, a place they’d chosen in part because it’s reputed to be haunted.
“I knew the hotel was enchanted, so I asked for the haunted room. I, frankly, didn’t expect it to pay off.”
The director of Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy, The Devil’s Backbone and the coming alien-invasion thriller Pacific Rim (on which he’s currently doing pre-production work in Toronto), has long been a spook chaser. Del Toro’s haunted hotel quests usually come up snake eyes.
“I’ve stayed at the Langham Hotel in London and nothing happened. I’ve stayed in a hotel in the south of New Zealand and nothing happened. And, then, in this one, it happened and it was pretty terrifying.”
His Thursday talk at TIFF, in conversation with Noah Cowan, the Lightbox’s artistic director, has been designed with Halloween in mind.
Del Toro has curated a program, running Oct. 27-30, that features two of his own horror films (Cronos and The Devil’s Backbone) plus three favourites by other directors: Pupi Avati’s The Arcane Enchanter, Mario Bava’s Black Sabbath and Jack Clayton’s The Innocents.
The vampire-themed Cronos is del Toro’s 1993 feature debut while the haunted orphanage tale The Devil’s Backbone, released in 2001, is the film he feels closest to: “Dear Lord, I love that movie!”
There are connections: the three-episode Black Sabbath (1963), hosted by Boris Karloff (who also stars in one episode), helped del Toro scare up ideas for The Devil’s Backbone.
He’s also been moved by The Innocents (1961), aspects of which can be seen in the 2007 horror hit The Orphanage, which del Toro produced, and in fright films by other directors.
“It’s a movie I absolutely admire. We viewed it with great respect in doing The Orphanage. I think it was an influential movie for The Others, as well as essentially every great ghost movie ever made. We all stand on the shoulders of that movie.”
As for Avati’s The Arcane Enchanter (1996), it may not be the Italian’s horror master’s best-known work, but del Toro calls it a “masterpiece” nonetheless. Del Toro will be introducing a 9:30 p.m. screening of the film Thursday following his chat with Cowan, which begins at 6:30 p.m.
“The beauty of it, the one thing (Avati) is a master at and which many people don’t realize, is how he makes this movie consistently with non-breaking takes to create the density of atmosphere he needs. It’s amazing.”
So what really scares a guy like del Toro, who lives and breathes spooky stuff?
“In real life, it’s politicians!” he answers.
“I’ve had a couple of ghostly experiences in my life but that’s a couple in 47 years. So I’m not afraid of ghosts because it’s extremely rare that you will encounter one.”
More details of Del Toro’s TIFF talk and screenings at TIFF.net.
The Muppets Take
Source: www.thestar.com - By Linda Barnard
(Oct 25, 2011) The Muppets movie writer/co-star Jason Segel, a lifelong fan of the comic crew, says there’s room for fart jokes in the Muppet universe.
Segel, who was in town Tuesday along with Kermit the Frog to promote the Disney movie, in theatres Nov. 23, was reacting to published stories earlier this week quoting unnamed Muppets series veterans who took exception to the R-rated comedy star’s involvement with the family-friendly franchise and some of the gags seen in the movie’s trailer. Chief among them was Fozzie Bear’s whoopee-cushion “fart shoes,” describing them as being not true to the Muppet brand of humour.
“I disagree,” Segel told the Star, adding the naysayers have yet to see the movie. “I think the setup of that joke is that the Muppets (say they) would never make cheap jokes — and then they do the fart line. To be honest, that’s somebody not getting the premise of that joke.”
The Forgetting Sarah Marshall star, who said he has adored the Muppets since he was a kid, teamed with Get Him to the Greek’s Nicholas Stoller to write the peppy musical. The colourful movie sees the reunited Muppet gang pull together to save their mothballed Hollywood studio from demolition by an evil oil baron, played by Chris Cooper.
Segel plays Gary, who has a Muppet-mad brother named Walter — who also happens to be a Muppet, although he seems unaware of his foam form. Amy Adams co-stars as Gary’s devoted girlfriend. The three head for Los Angeles to tour the Muppet studios, but find the place shuttered and the cast gone.
The movie marks the return of the Muppets to the big screen for the first time since 1999’s underperforming Muppets from Space, introducing the slapstick comic crew to a new generation of fans while appealing to adult followers seeking a hit of nostalgia.
Segel and Stoller aren’t afraid to poke some fun at the troupe’s tumble off pop-culture radar and the movie contains a slew of jokes based on the Muppets as 1980s leftovers.
“I think that was a point of contention ego-wise for some people as well,” Segel added. “Having to acknowledge that the Muppets weren’t at the forefront like they were at one point was tough for some people who had been around from the beginning.
“For me it’s a lot more compelling to do a comeback movie than it is to do the next Muppet movie. I think you can’t have a comeback movie unless the Muppets have gone away and maybe it took an outside voice to have the courage to do that storyline.”
There’s no doubt the Muppets can still charm a crowd. Kermit fielded questions from a grinning gathering of local media, talking about his favourite part of making the movie (“lunch”) and his fondness for his fellow cast members, from Pepe the King Prawn, to human co-star Jack Black.
“I think part of it was it was called The Muppets that drew me right in,” Kermit said when asked why he agreed to do the movie.
He admitted like all showbiz relationships, living in the spotlight brings some tension to his on-and-off romance with bombastic co-star, Miss Piggy.
“When your significant other is a pig, there are challenges,” Kermit admitted. “For instance, you have to give up eating bacon.”
How does he feel about being part of a Muppets reboot?
“Reboot is a funny word when you’re a Muppet,” mused the celebrity frog. “When you get rebooted, you kind of fly through the sky. I don’t know whether it’s a reboot because we haven’t gone anywhere.”
Kermit added he was delighted to be back in Toronto, a city he’s worked in several times over the years, starting in the 1970s, working on The Frog Prince and later as “creative consultant” on Fraggle Rock.
“I’m not as young as I look,” Kermit said proudly. “I have to say I prefer this time of year before it gets any colder. Being a frog, I don’t have a winter coat. I don’t want to go dormant too soon.”
As for why people should see The Muppets, Kermit had two observations. “One really good reason is the popcorn. Another good reason is I want to make more movies.”
Reflects On The Road Behind Him
Source: www.globeandmail.com - By Guy Dixon
(Oct 21, 2011) When Pete and Joey drove down the road from Cape Breton to Toronto in their Chevy Impala (hand-painted flames on the front hood), Canadian cinema followed. The 1970 film Goin' Down The Road was as much a landmark for new Canadian filmmaking as Bonnie & Clyde and Midnight Cowboy was for Hollywood.
In the 40 years since, fans might have been speculated on what happened to Pete and Joey. Now, the original film's director Don Shebib has made a belated sequel, Down the Road Again, in which Pete (played by veteran Canadian actor Doug McGrath) retraces a secret about his deceased friend Joey (played in the original by Paul Bradley). The movie opened on Friday.
Joey's spirit remains in the sequel. Completing Down the Road Again was also the dream of celebrated Canadian actress Cayle Chernin, who played Pete's girlfriend in the first film and appears in this one - although she died before it was finished.
What results is not only a nostalgia trip for fans of the original, but also for the film's creators. As McGrath explains, though, the sequel has also given him a new lease on life late in his career.
What were your thoughts returning to this story after all these years?
We had been waiting for this for some time, so I guess what was in my mind was: 'Finally.' I'd been aware it was in progress, because Cayle Chernin had been pushing it for years. And so I knew that she had finally got Don on board to do something. He told me he sat down and wrote the script. She had brought him some ideas.
Was there a sense of nostalgia on set?
I had become a very close friend of Paul Bradley, although we didn't function very well together because he had a whole different lifestyle. But I had acquired such a great respect for him. And we really had established, I guess you'd call it, a spiritual contact. He knew when I'd come to town. I'd left Toronto in the years after the original film and went to California, and if I'd show up somewhere in Canada, he'd show up. We maintained that kind of contact, because we'd established a very close tie preparing for the original film. And re-establishing a closer friendship with Cayle and Jayne and Don, that brought back some thoughts about those days and what was happening then. That brought about a lot of nostalgic feelings.
What was happening back in those days?
I had come back from America in late '65, I guess. And I heard about Eli Rill's acting studio, a Toronto version of New York's famous Actors Studio. So I started there in 1966, and Cayle was there. She was this little sweet 15- or 16-year-old. And these young actors were really developing things, and then a few years later came Goin' Down The Road. That period of time was exciting in Canada.
You mention that you and Bradley had 'different lifestyles.' How were you two different in real life?
He lived pretty close to the street - not on the street, but pretty close to it. He certainly drank a lot. Maybe there was a great sense of disappointment in him that it didn't happen, didn't go further, especially with the great talent he had. He needed more of a team around him, to help him perhaps.
Whereas you were more of a stable career actor?
[He laughs.] Relatively speaking, I was a bit more stable, and I had other things happening in my life. That's the difference. I was working and became more involved in my own personal development and my spiritual development.
People will inevitably describe the original film and this sequel as bookends to your career. Are they?
I've noticed such a great change in my own thinking, even in the last couple of months. All of a sudden I've started to be a lot more talkative. I went to a couple of auditions, and all of a sudden, I'm doing this funny stuff. [He laughs.] And I don't know where it's going to go. So one of the things is that I would really like to get back on the stage. I'm very eager to get out to more auditions to see where this freedom will take me.
This interview has been condensed and edited.
Resurrects The Dead, And The Retired, For Rum Diary
Source: www.thestar.com - By James Rocchi
(Oct 20, 2011) BEVERLY HILLS, CALIF.—The Rum Diary sprung from the zany brain of the late Hunter S. Thompson, but the story of how it got to the screen is equally compelling.
Johnny Depp stars in the movie, which opens Oct. 28. Depp first played a variation on the real Thompson in 1998’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; this time around, Depp portrays a semi-fictionalized version of the younger Thompson caught between corruption and boozy idealism in Puerto Rico in the 1960s.
But this isn’t just an actor combing the work of an admired writer for work to adapt. If not for Depp, The Rum Diary, written in 1959, would literally not exist.
Lighting cigarillo after cigarillo at the Four Seasons press conference for the film, Depp explained how “Hunter and I were sitting in what he called the War Room back in about 1997, and going through all the manuscripts and bits and bops from Fear and Loathing, which included cherry stems and cocktail napkins and weird photographs and things like that.”
“I happened upon a cardboard box that (said) The Rum Diary. We started to read it cross-legged on the floor. I said, ‘Hunter, this is very good. You’re out of your mind; why don’t you publish this thing?’ He said, ‘Yes, I will; however, I think we should produce this (as a film) now. We should become partners on this.’ Of course, with Hunter you always agreed. . . ”
The novel was released a couple years later, while the film project stayed on the table. Thompson died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in 2005, after several setbacks to his mental and physical health.
Yet Depp persisted with the project, even coaxing cult British director Bruce Robinson (Withnail and I, How to get Ahead in Advertising) out of retirement to write and direct.
Asked if returning to directing after a 19-year hiatus (1992’s Jennifer Eight was his last credit) was like riding a bicycle, Robinson gave a smoke-tinged easy laugh.
“It was more of a penny farthing, I believe, than a bicycle. I was a little bit wobbly, all over the place,” the director said. “I was protected by my wonderful associates that I made the film with. It was getting back on a bicycle, but there was a great ease in there, because I was working with such great people.”
For Depp, the film is just one more way to make sure people get to know all sides of his lost friend.
“The main thing that no one really understood about Hunter or never realized about Hunter was that he (had) very strong, very thick moral fibre. He was first and foremost a Southern gentleman. He was a very sensitive — hypersensitive — man, hence the self-medication. A totally moral man.
“What everyone expected from Hunter Thompson was the circus come to town. What’s he going to do now? I witnessed it the first time I met him: He walked into a bar and cleared a path with a giant cattle prod and a tazer gun, and did that for about 10 minutes. It worked. There was that side to him that people expected, but the other side — when you really spend time with him — was this very visionary, highly intelligent, hypersensitive, beautiful man.”
Robinson, for his part, also tried to keep Thompson’s sprit on-set.
“We did have this ritual every day,” Robinson said. “We had Hunter’s chair with a script and (his) Dunhill cigarettes and a glass of Chivas Regal. Every morning before we started work, Johnny and I would stick our fingers in and put the perfume behind our ears of the whiskey to celebrate Hunter.”
Robinson laughed: “That was for him. It was, wasn’t it?”
“Most definitely,” Depp confirmed. “It became addictive for everyone; all the actors used to go over. The crew used to go over and dab. It was all for Hunter.”
Source: www.thestar.com - By Peter Howell
Paranormal Activity 3
Starring Chris Smith, Lauren Bittner, Chloe Csengery, Jessica Tyler Brown, Katie Featherston and Sprague Grayden. Directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman. At GTA theatres. 81 minutes. 14A
(Oct 21, 2011) Being a glass-half-full kinda guy, I’m grateful for the little things about Paranormal Activity 3.
The makers of this creepy cash cow resisted the impulse to call this “prequel threequel” something awkward like Paranormal Activity: The Awakening. They’ve kept it simple and at a lean running time of 81 minutes. Even better, they didn’t try to overload it by making it Paranormal Activity 3-D.
Instead they kick it old school, by moving most of the action to 1988, to flesh out an evolving back story about the poltergeist antics of the first two movies, which take place about 15 to 20 years later.
We finally get some answers for why Katie (Katie Featherston) and her sister Kristi (Sprague Grayden), seen briefly as adults in a dots-connecting prologue, first fell prey to a nocturnal demon that won’t leave them or their families alone.
Call it the thing that goes ka-ching in the night, because this is the rare third film that is arguably better than its predecessors, and could conceivably do even better business.
PA3 is directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, co-directors of the controversial 2010 film Catfish, which in many ways was more frightening because of the implications it raised about the misuse of social media and feigned identities.
It’s ironic that Joost and Schulman should now be turning their attention to the period before the Internet, social media and cellphones hit.
But they do their jobs well, seeking to scare people the time-tested way: by having them jump out of their seats.
They certainly succeed on several occasions, as young Katie and Kristi (Chloe Csengery and Jessica Tyler Brown) fall under the spell of an unseen mystery “friend” they call “Toby” — and what self-respecting spook calls itself that?
Their wedding videographer stepdad Dennis (Chris Smith) is curious about the girl’s claims, and also by the strange noises and bumps that keep happening in their home.
Doing what the curious adults did in the previous two films, he sets up a set of video cameras in the bedroom, the living room and elsewhere, hoping to catch evidence of something. Which he does, but what exactly is it?
Dennis isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, but he does perform one ingenious feat: he attaches a camera to the base of an oscillating fan, providing shocks at the edge of our peripheral vision as the camera moves back and forth on the flying furniture, ghostly visitations and other weird occurrences.
Natch, mom Julie (Laurie Bittner) refuses to buy any of this, since she’s playing the role of the disbelieving spouse, which is so common to the horror genre.
Well, she might ponder. The film frequently stretches credulity as to how Dennis is managing to capture all the spookery with his camera, even as he’s running to try to save his screaming family members. And isn’t it funny how 1988 VHS tape looks as sharp as 2011 digital content?
But it also holds our attention, rarely flagging as the narrative (written by Christopher B. Landon) unfolds with echoes of Rosemary’s Baby and The Blair Witch Project.
Series creator Oren Peli and his conscripts have managed to do it again, but you have to wonder how far they can continue to push this found-footage angle.
They can’t go much further back in time, even with the big hint dropped of a 1930s start of the spooking, because home video gear didn’t really become available for most homes until the 1980s. And they haven’t left much wiggle room for sequels.
But seeing how well they’ve done so far, it wouldn’t surprise me if they worked out a prequel using only prehistoric cave drawings.
Another Golden Link Added To Tarantino's Django Unchained
Source: www.thestar.com - by: Peter Howell
(Oct 21, 2011) 50/50 star Joseph Gordon-Levitt plans to join the burgeoning cast of Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino's slave payback thriller, Variety reports. Gordon-Levitt is in talks with Tarantino aimed at firming up his involvement, if the actor can fit it in amongst his other films. He would join a cast that includes his Inception co-star Leonardo DiCaprio, plus Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell and Don Johnson. Foxx plays the title role. He's former slave Django, in search of his enslaved wife, who is being kept on a Deep South plantation run by DiCaprio's Calvin Candie. Django is aided by a German bounty hunter, played by Waltz, the Oscar-winning star of Tarantino's most recent film, Inglourious Basterds. Tarantino has described Django Unchained as a "spaghetti western" or "a southern." He plans to begin shooting it in New Orleans in January, Variety says, with a release expected for Christmas 2012.
Angelina Jolie: Trailer Lands For Her First Film As
Source: www.thestar.com - by: Linda Barnard
(Oct 21, 2011) The first trailer for Angelina Jolie's premiere outing as a director (she also wrote the script) has landed and In the Land of Blood and Honey is making a good first impression. The drama is set amid the 1990s Bosnian war and pegged to a love story between a Muslim woman and a Serbian man. Zana Marjanovic (Paycheck), Rade Serbedzija (X-Men: First Class) and Goran Kostic (Taken) star and there's a rumour some guy named Brad Pitt may have a small role. The movie opens Dec. 23, which indicates the studio has some confidence the movie will be awards-season bait. Brad Brevet of industry website Rope of Silicone, offers this opinion: "Check out the trailer below and you tell me what kind of film we're looking at. Fascinating debut? Oscar contender? Passing interest? What?"
Matt Damon To Direct
Source: www.thestar.com - by: Linda Barnard
(Oct 20, 2011) One of Hollywood’s most bankable stars is about to get behind the camera. Matt Damon will follow his bestie and script-writing partner Ben Affleck make his directorial debut on an as-yet untitled drama he co-wrote with The Office’s John Krasinski. Various industry websites say Damon will also star in the movie, which is rumoured to be along the lines of Erin Brockovich. Damon also has two other films set to star filming; Father Daughter Time: A Tale of Armed Robbery and Eskimo Kisses, but website The Wrap reports “it appears this new script will go first and perhaps as early as spring 2012.”
Tyrese and Taraji P. Henson to
Star in Another John Singleton Movie
(Oct 22, 2011) *John Singleton is on his way to directing another potential classic with contemporary stars Tyrese and Taraji P. Henson. First seen together on screen with the hood classic, “Baby Boy,” the pair will work again with the director for something quite interesting, according to Tyrese. “Official…Me and my girl Taraji are doing another classic together soon!! John Singleton will be directing us. And no it’s not BB2,” Gibson tweeted to all of his fans. And just in case you were wondering, yes the two have amazing chemistry on set, however, the singer assures that’s as far as it goes. Nothing romantic is going on between the actors, at least that’s what Tyrese says. They’re just good friends. As far as the movie is concerned, few details have been released, but stay tuned for updates.
Drivers Are Back, And They're All Too Real
Source: www.globeandmail.com - By Andrew Ryan
(Oct 24, 2011) Don't go looking for realness on reality television. The inescapable truth of most reality shows is that they're not relatable to the average person.
Are we really expected to live vicariously through ex-NHLers attempting triple Lutzes on Battle of the Blades (CBC, 8 p.m.)? Is there any form of personal connection to watching semi-famous people bungle the samba on Dancing with the Stars (ABC, CTV, 8 p.m.)? The average viewer likely has more in common with the human cartoon characters on Two and a Half Men (CBS, CTV, 8 p.m.).
More often than not, the modern-day reality show exists to allow us to partake of weird and occasionally unsettling lifestyles from a safe distance - hence the continuing appeal of programs like Hoarders (A&E, 9 p.m.) and Man Vs. Food (OLN, 10 p.m.). If you see your life reflected in either of these shows, get thee to a therapist.
The notable exception to the unreality rule is Canada's Worst Driver (Discovery, 10 p.m.), which continues to shine a harsh light on some of the delinquent drivers that terrorize our roadways. Not many things on TV can make me cringe, but this show gives me the willies.
And clearly people are engaged by these terrible motorists. Back tonight for its seventh season, Canada's Worst Driver, or CWD, ranks as the highest-rated non-sports program on a Canadian specialty channel. The sixth season averaged 746,000 viewers per episode and the finale drew an astounding 925,000 viewers. By random comparison, Being Erica (CBC, 9 p.m.) is currently averaging around 300,000 Canadian viewers each Monday night.
The CWD viewing audience will immediately resume tonight because, as host Andrew Younghusband points out, there are bad drivers in every Canadian city. We see them, we know them and, if we're unfortunate, we run into them.
The first episode introduces viewers to the eight individuals tapped for the dubious distinction. Each bad driver has been nominated for the show by a friend or family member, and each is uniquely ill-equipped to drive a motor vehicle in his or her own way.
Tonight, meet Shirley, a nervous retiree comfortable only driving on the single-lane roads near her home in Port Caledonia, N.S. Once on major roadways, however, she's a nervous wreck incapable of merging or staying in her lane. Worse yet, whenever she gets confused, she comes to a dead stop.
Even more unsure is Lethbridge, Alta., native Sly, a doddering sort who depends entirely on a GPS device to tell him where he's going. A handheld GPS device, mind you, which is illegal to use while driving anywhere in Canada. Incredibly, Sly works as a deliveryman.
Worst of all is Afiya, a young woman with a heavy foot and a seeming lack of interest in anyone else on the road. The cameras capture Afiya driving in her hometown of Montreal and it's terrifying to watch her running red lights, weaving through traffic and shrieking at pedestrians to get out of her way.
And there are moments that will make the average driver's blood run cold. The opening challenge for the CWD candidates involves a one-hour trek to the driving rehabilitation centre. Afiya is still in a rush and pushes it to 130 kilometres an hour - 50 kms over the posted limit! Fearing for his life, the cameraman in the back seat asks her to pull over, after which Afiya is transported to the centre in a minivan.
When time comes for the assessment challenge, watch out. The test car is painted to resemble the Canadian flag and the drivers are required to perform a backing-up procedure using their mirrors (none of them use the mirrors and grind the car against concrete barriers), drive in reverse down a gauntlet of wheel covers (none of them make it) and then navigate their way through a slalom course of Styrofoam hockey player standees.
More than half smash the players, and by the time the assessment is finished, the test car is starting to look like a large red-and-white raisin.
Unlike fox-trotting celebrities or Being Erica, this is water-cooler television. Even for viewers who take public transit, Canada's Worst Driver is highly relatable material and more than a little bit scary. After witnessing all the carnage in the first show, it suddenly hits you: These people already have driver's licences. Be afraid.
Check local listings.
John Doyle will return.
Will Ferrell Wins
Prestigious Mark Twain Prize For Humour
Source: www.thestar.com - By Brett Zongker
(Oct 24, 2011) WASHINGTON—Will Ferrell, who refined his impersonation of President George W. Bush on the sketch comedy show “Saturday Night Live” and later took his presidential act to Broadway, was awarded the nation’s top humour prize Sunday night.
The TV star went on to make movies and co-found the popular website FunnyorDie.com in a career that won the 44-year-old the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor from the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
It was the Bush impression, though, that might have made the Washington crowd laugh — and cringe — the hardest Sunday.
“Washington is not a city much known for its comedy — at least not the intentional kind,” said PBS news anchor Gwen Ifill, who mentored Ferrell on his journalistic skills for the movie “Anchorman.”
“He got Democrats to pay and see and applaud George W. Bush,” she said.
Conan O’Brien, Jack Black, Matthew Broderick, Ben Stiller and Billie Joe Armstrong from the rock band Green Day performed Sunday in Ferrell’s honour, joined by Molly Shannon, Tim Meadows and Andy Samberg from Ferrell’s “SNL” days.
The show was taped for broadcast Oct. 31 on PBS stations nationwide.
Black opened the show with a song-and-dance routine for his friend and tried to lead the crowd in chanting “Will, Will, Will, will rock you.”
“It’s about time he got some official Washington, D.C., props,” Black said, noting that Ferrell had “reigned supreme” on “SNL” for seven years. “He’s crazy funny. He makes you laugh so hard you cry and pee simultaneously.”
O’Brien saluted Ferrell for giving so much of himself to his comedy. He said Ferrell had his sides physically softened and his “buttocks lowered with magnets” to prepare his body for spandex routines and at times streaking naked.
“Will magnifies and celebrates his flaws, just to entertain us,” O’Brien said.
O’Brien also thanked Ferrell for being his first guest and his last guest when he was host of NBC’s “Tonight Show.”
“It’s a rare friend who’s going to stick with you for five-and-a-half months,” he said.
Shannon, who met Ferrell while she was a waitress in Los Angeles, said that contrary to his TV persona, Ferrell is very serious and sweet to work with. As for the award, she joked “Will’s agents and manager clearly bought this for him.”
Some of Ferrell’s famous sketches from “SNL” were played on the big screen, including his “Cow Bell” routine with Christopher Walken and “Craig the Spartan Cheerleader.”
When he was finally awarded the prize, a bronze bust of Twain, Ferrell promptly dropped it on stage and tried to pick up the broken pieces. He joked that he had turned the prize down 13 times before but decided to accept this time because of the prize money (there isn’t any) and to be watched on PBS “by hundreds of people across this country.”
He thanked the Kennedy Center as “one of the few places that uphold comedy as what it truly is, an art form.”
Thirteen other people have won the Mark Twain Prize since 1998, including Tina Fey, Bill Cosby, Steve Martin and Whoopi Goldberg. It recognizes people who have followed the tradition of Samuel Clemens, the writer known as Mark Twain who used social commentary and satire to have an impact on society.
VIDEO: Leno: Obama
Talks Politics, Kardashians, Roscoes
(Oct 26, 2011) *President Obama discussed Gadaffi, Iraq and the GOP presidential field with Jay Leno Tuesday night — but he also chatted about chicken and waffles, the Kardashians and gray hair during his fourth visit (and 2nd as president) to NBC’s “The Tonight Show.” [Scroll down to watch.]
“This is somebody who, for 40 years, has terrorized his country and supported terrorism. And he had an opportunity during the Arab spring to finally let loose of his grip on power and to peacefully transition into democracy.
“We gave him ample opportunity, and he wouldn’t do it. And, obviously, you never like to see anybody come to the kind of end that he did, but I think it obviously sends a strong message around the world to dictators that… people long to be free, and they need to respect the human rights and the universal aspirations of people.”
Obama told Leno “you never like to see anybody come to the kind of end” that Muammar Gaddafi did, but that his death sends a message to other dictators.
POTUS also said he isn’t paying attention to the GOP debates this early in the election cycle. “I’m going to wait until everybody is voted off the island before –” he joked, trailing off before finishing the thought. “Once they narrow it down to one or two, I’ll start paying attention.”
He also chatted with Leno about Republican opposition to the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, and about what Michelle Obama is giving trick-or-treaters for Halloween.
As for his headline-making visit to Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffle, his view of The Kardashians, Michelle’s view of Halloween candy and more, watch below. [Scroll down to watch Obama’s entire appearance.]
Sign Deal For Universal Movies
(Oct 25, 2011) MONTREAL — A group of Canada’s pay-TV networks have signed an agreement with NBCUniversal Television Canada that will bring hundreds of Universal movie titles to subscribers of their cable channels and other services.
The multi-year, multi-platform deal was reached with Astral Media Inc. (TSX: ACM. A) for its cable channels The Movie Network, Super Ecran and Mpix in Central and Eastern Canada.
Separately, Corus Entertainment Inc. (TSX: CJR. B) announced the renewal of its multi-year agreement with NBCUniversal for its pay TV service, Movie Central, which serves Western Canada.
Terms of both deals weren’t released.
The agreements were reached as both Corus and Astral compete with online services such as Netflix for licensing rights to movies and programming.
“This multi-year deal also expands upon our ability to offer this sought-after content across multiple platforms, including our on-demand channels and through TMN OnLine, our broadband streaming service,” said Astral’s senior vice president of programming, Kevin Wright.
The contract with NBCUniversal Television Canada rounds out Astral’s studio offering which includes Sony Pictures, Warner Bros., Disney and Alliance, in addition to films and series acquired through a long-term deals with HBO and CBS Paramount which represents Showtime’s programming.
The new releases will first appear on the pay-per-view service Viewers Choice, which is partially owned by Astral, and will include movies such as Hop, The Adjustment Bureau and Fast Five.
Astral will release its fourth-quarter financial results later Tuesday.
Pop Up Video
Returns After 10 Years
Source: www.thestar.com - By Andrea Baillie
(Oct 25, 2011) New episodes of Pop Up Video will hit Canadian airwaves next week after a decade-long hiatus, and creator Woody Thompson says there’s one artist he was particularly keen to tackle.
“I think Lady Gaga has had a big impact on people being interested in music videos again,” Thompson said in a recent telephone interview from Los Angeles.
“The last two years, three years, Lady Gaga has actually created some interest in the genre again.”
Thompson’s enthusiasm is clear as he talks about the return of Pop Up Video, which he created with Tad Low in 1996. Known for its unique brand of trivia and snark, the show featured hit videos adorned with comic booklike bubbles containing obscure factoids about the making of the clips and the musicians who starred in them.
The creative format proved a winning one: Pop Up Video aired 209 episodes from 1996-2002.
By the end of its run, however, the Internet was beginning to drastically change the way music was consumed. Instantly available online, music videos — such a huge TV draw in the ‘80s — were no longer destination viewing.
Some artists began to tailor their videos for computer screens, while many music TV stations shifted their focus.
But when VH1 called Thompson about new episodes, the Gaga factor, plus 10 years of unpopped videos, proved too tempting to resist.
Thompson — who has produced various other shows during his time away from Pop Up Video — says he’s been gratified by viewer response in the United States, where new episodes are already airing.
“There have been a lot of nostalgic people who knew what it was who are commenting that they’ve kind of been put back in this place 10 years ago,” he said.
“(People) get put into this zone that they can’t get out of. ... They want to change the channel but they can’t and they suddenly are sitting through a Jordan Knight video that they never would have watched, and before they know it they are on a Sheryl Crow video that they never would have watched.”
When he started work on the new version, however, there were a few obstacles. Thompson had relocated from New York to Los Angeles. His team of original Pop Up writers who created the show’s trademark snide tone had dispersed.
Plus, social media tools such as Twitter had put Pop Up style commentary in the hands of the fans.
Thompson says he’s hired a “new group of misfits” to write the show, noting that the young team includes a former Olympic bobsledder, a Star Trek geek and a one-time hip-hop artist.
“That voice of kind of a fan/critic/snarky know-it-all was originally ... the voice and attitude (my partner and I had) toward music videos ... and that’s what was important to carry through,” he said.
“It’s a very specific way of writing and kind of a very specific way of thinking.”
For social media-savvy viewers, Thompson has added interactive elements to Pop Up Video, including an online feature that allows U.S. fans to “pop” their own videos. The tool is not yet available in Canada, but fans here can use other interactive components at the official Pop Up Video Facebook page.
One of the main draws of the revamped version will no doubt be the new material.
Upcoming episodes (60 have been ordered) are set to feature Justin Bieber, Bruno Mars and the Black Eyed Peas. The new team also had access to rap videos, which Thompson says were not played on VH1 during the show’s last incarnation.
Plus, says Thompson, reality show musicians created by programs such as American Idol and Making the Band proved fruitful fodder.
“It’s not really a show you watch to be introduced to new music,” he said of Pop Up Video. “The point of this show is to take videos that have been played into the ground and that were big hits and bring them back to life and enhance them for possibly a new audience or the same audience who loves them.”
And, the executive producer hasn’t ruled out updating classic videos he tackled during Pop Up Video’s first go-round.
Said Thompson: “God knows they’re still playing (a video) on VH1 Classic that (says) Carlos Leon is married to Madonna.”
And while the Internet is allowing fans to take a more participatory role in Pop Up, so too does it allow artists to comment on how they are “popped.”
“What is amazing is to see that artists are tweeting as they watch the show and reacting to their own videos,” said Thompson.
“We never heard from artists back in the day other than through the channel ... we never had instant reaction.”
New episodes of Pop Up Video will begin airing Monday on MuchMore.
Arsenio, Aubrey O’Day in New
(Oct 24, 2011) *The new cast of NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice 5″ outed themselves in New York last week as they participated in what appeared to be a sandwich-making competition for the upcoming season, according to the blog Reality Blurred.
Former talk show host Arsenio Hall and “Making the Band” vet Aubrey O’Day are said to be among a cast that includes Victoria Gotti, “Real Housewives of New Jersey” star Teresa Guidice, “American Idol” favorite Clay Aiken, race-car driver Marco Andretti, radio and TV personality Adam Carolla, “Wayne’s World” muse Tia Carrere, former bodybuilder and “Incredible Hulk” star Lou Ferrigno, “Shake Your Love” singer Debbie Gibson, magician Penn Jillette, “American Chopper” dad Paul Teutal, models Cheryl Tiegs and Patricia Velasquez, former Miss Universe Dayana Mendoza, Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider, foul-mouthed funny lady Lisa Lampanelli and actor George Takei, known worldwide as Sulu from “Star Trek.”
According to an eyewitness report from EW.com, Tiegs and Mendoza descended on New York’s West 52nd Street to lure customers with flyers, while the rest of the female team set up shop at Cafe Metro to serve customers.
The culinary offerings included Giudice’s “Hot-Blooded Housewife Hoagie” (which consisted of Italian meats on Focaccia bread, and carried an eye-popping $100 price tag), and Gibson’s “Teen Dream” grilled-cheese sandwich, which ran for a far more modest $20.
Legends You Thought You Knew
Source: www.thestar.com - By Bruce DeMara
(Oct 21, 2011) Eccentric genius, recluse, hypochondriac. Canadians may think they know who classical music legend Glenn Gould is. Mark Kingwell begs to differ.
Kingwell, an author and associate chair of philosophy at the University of Toronto, will offer a more textured view of Gould as the series Extraordinary Canadians debuts on Citytv at 8:30 p.m. on Sunday. (The series will also air on The Biography Channel beginning Oct. 29.)
The show, co-produced by Rogers Media Television, is based on a series of 18 books written by notable Canadians, including futurist writer Douglas Coupland, who profiles futurist thinker Marshall McLuhan, and former governor general Adrienne Clarkson, who profiles Dr. Norman Bethune, a hero of the Chinese Communist revolution. Twelve of the books have already been filmed, with the remaining six set to go into production next year.
“It’s a somewhat unusual pairing because I’m not a musician or an expert on classical music. Then I started thinking that writing about Gould as a thinker and an intellectual and approaching him that way had not really been done before,” Kingwell said.
“Most people’s ideas about Gould — even if they know quite a bit — are focused on the eccentricities, the humming, the strange posture at the piano. I wanted to try to reveal a different part of Gould, which is just how he deeply thought about all kinds of things,” Kingwell said, adding a second volume of Gould’s philosophical musings on the nature of music is on the way.
Series producer Kenneth Hirsch, who conceived the project, said the concept was always envisioned as both a book and a film, which were developed as one project.
“About five years ago, I came up with this idea: what better way to tell our story than through the eyes of our most imaginative storytellers?” Hirsch said.
Hirsch promised the television series — like the books — will take a different approach to their subjects than the standard bio.
“This is a great twist to the standard television biography format where instead of doing an exhaustive biography, we would be doing a point-of-view biography through the eyes of one of our great storytellers,” Hirsch said.
Hirsch said the Canadians chosen are indeed “extraordinary.”
“What I found amazing is how dramatic the stories of these extraordinary Canadians are. I don’t think we necessarily see our history that way, we don’t necessarily see ourselves that way,” Hirsch said.
“But these extraordinary Canadians were radical thinkers, they were rebels, they were really trailblazers, they were innovative and on the cutting edge of change in their time,” Hirsch added, noting that Gould, for example, is probably better known in Europe and Japan than he is at home.
It was director Adrian Wills — whose latest project is the story of Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte’s journey into space aboard the space shuttle — who was tasked with turning a book into a visually interesting half-hour program.
So, for example, the series will take a non-linear approach, beginning in 1981 — the year of Gould’s death — and ending in 1955, the year of his landmark work, Bach’s Goldberg Variations.
“We really wanted to give a sense of the ethereal and a poetic and elegant feel to the whole thing. What I like is taking people who are mythic and showing who they are as humans,” Wills said.
Girl? More Like
Source: www.globeandmail.com - By Rick Groen
(Oct 21, 2011) Dirty Girl isn't. Sorry, but it's just faux grime, a thin layer of bad behaviour that wipes clean with a two-ply tissue to reveal the real movie beneath - all shiny sentimentality. The eighties provide the setting, along with the abundant soundtrack, but really this is a flick that owes more to the present than the past, and more to the small screen than the large. It's Glee with a potty mouth.
The mouth belongs to Danielle, the title girl (Juno Temple - such a classic name), a high-schooler with a slutty rep that's not only well earned but a source of up-yours pride. "If it's a man's world, God wouldn't have made me," she boasts, and then takes pains to prove it - intimidating the jocks, berating the principal, striking fear into the God-fearing, brazenly role-reversing with Sue-Ann, her hopelessly young and single mom (Milla Jovovich). In the Oklahoma of 1987, Danielle is a crude force of nature, and, early on, it's fun to watch Temple blow around in this gale-force role.
But the fun stops about when the plot begins. Busted down to join the other misfits in a "special ed" class, our whirlwind meets the love that, in these parts at that time, still dare not speak its name. Yep, Clarke (Jeremy Dozier) is gay. He's also pudgy and a bit pathetic, much loved by his meek mother but routinely berated by his homophobic dad (Dwight Yoakam). Inevitably, after relieving herself of a few choice slurs, the not-so dirty girl bonds with the very gay guy to quickly cement their BFF status.
Already watery, the plot thins further when she decides to track down her never-seen father, somewhere off in California, and Clarke provides the family Caddy for transport. Off they ride into a road movie, the start-and-stop kind where the picture pauses for a production number whenever one of those eighties standards breaks out on the soundtrack. Like when the pair find themselves lip-synching and finger-jiving on the front seat while the radio blasts Lovergirl. Or when they pick up a male hitchhiker who, as good luck would have it, is an "erotic dancer" keen to strut his stuff in a field at night with the high-beams for a spotlight. Shift to the back seat and guess who loses his virginity.
Oh, they go on and so does the tuneful schmaltz. How about that strip contest at the honky-tonk saloon, where Danielle eagerly takes the stage only to relinquish it to Clarke - oops, it's a gay bar and don't the patrons adore his pudgy shimmying. From there, a few complications ensue, although writer-director Abe Sylvia's choice of palette - bright Technicolor with a fuzzy wash - is a broad hint that happy trails are just around the corner.
Before we get there, of course, Danielle must have her confrontation with long-lost Daddy, whereupon the music stops just long enough for an injection of poignancy. The remarkable thing is that Temple almost brings it off - her performance, and Dozier's too, are strong enough that they beg for better material. But Sylvia has paved the road with gooey sentiment, and he ain't about to change, not even when the highway winds back home again.
Then, damned if it isn't time for the high-school talent show. By now, the mouth is potty-trained and there's not a speck of dirt to be seen on the girl - golly gee, all that's left is Glee.
Directed and written by Abe Sylvia
Starring Juno Temple and Jeremy Dozier
Audio and Video: Tatyana Ali on Cable’s Embrace of Black Sitcoms
Source: www.eurweb.com - by Cherie Saunders
(Oct 21, 2011) *TV One’s “Love That Girl” returned this week for its third season with Tatyana Ali as that girl, a young divorcee who returns to southern California while trying to figure out her next move.
The show is among a healthy crop of African American sitcoms that have found a warm embrace on cable. In fact, viewers set a cable ratings record for the premiere of former WB series “The Game” when it premiered on BET last year. The network’s newest offering, “Reed Between the Lines,” is already building a loyal fan base, while TBS has no complaints about its Tyler Perry one-two punch of “House of Payne” and “Meet the Browns.”
Just as cable has become the hotspot for black sitcoms, the big broadcast channels (ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX and The WB) have just stopped trying altogether. Ali, who plays Tyana Jones in “Love That Girl!” says she doesn’t know why the major networks have practiced black flight, but she believes she knows why cable has picked up the slack.
“It’s because people want to see them. People want to laugh, and they want to have that feeling that, people had with “Fresh Prince,” she says of her first sitcom, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. “I still get it, even though it’s been so many years ago. People really felt like we were a part of their lives and a part of their families, like they were growing up with us. People want to feel good and laugh.”
As for “Love That Girl!” which featured another black sitcom veteran, Jaleel White, in Monday’s season premiere, Ali says it’s “wonderful” that TV One has taken a chance on the sitcom genre.
“I started working with them doing ‘TV One Access’ a few years ago and being their first show is just – it’s really amazing. But, yeah, I think they’re feeding an audience that’s underserved.”
In the bonus audio below, “Love That Girl!” creator and executive producer Bentley Kyle Evans says cable networks – and specifically TV One – are more willing than the majors to fall back and trust that the show runners know what they’re doing.
Video: Check Out
The Game Season 5 Trailer
(Oct 23, 2011) *All you fans of “The Game” don’t have to wait until January for get a glimpse of what to expect for season 5.
First of all, when season 4 ended, everything was a mess with Tasha (played by Wendy Raquel Robinson) was cut from Derwin’s camp and Melanie (Tia Mowry) and Derwin (Pooch Hall) were struggling with making a baby after she revealed she had an abortion in the past. Malik (Hosea Chanchez) was trying to rebuild his reputation as he started to distance himself from a past love interest, who happened to be married to the owner of the San Diego Sabers.
And of course, you’ve got Jason and Kelly (Coby Bell and Brittany Daniel) who are still trying to be normal after going through a public and quite terrible divorce.
The Talk Adds Aisha Tyler as Official Co-Host
(Oct 24, 2011) *After a week-long guest-hosting stint that was apparently an audition, actress-comedian Aisha Tyler has been announced as an official co-host of “The Talk.”
Today will be her first salaried day at the CBS daytime show, according to Deadline.com. She joins other regulars Sara Gilbert, Julie Chen, Sharon Osbourne and Sheryl Underwood at the table. Along with Underwood, Tyler is the second new co-host tapped for the talk show following the recent departure of Leah Remini and Holly Robinson Peete.
For the past 2 months, “The Talk” employed a number of recurring guest hosts, including Kris Jenner and Molly Shannon, as Osbourne is taking some time off this fall.
Tyler, who became the first black actor to land a major role on NBC’s megahit “Friends,” has talk show hosting experience. She was also one of several guest hosts on CBS’ “Late Late Show” in the transitional period between Craig Kilborn and Craig Ferguson. Tyler also did a stint as host of E!’s “Talk Soup,” and in 2009, she shot a pilot for her own talk show with ABC. Additionally, this past summer Tyler launched the talk show podcast “Girl on Guy.”
Meanwhile, Tyler and CBS go way back. She toplined her own comedy pilot in 2005, co-starred on the network’s drama series “Ghost Whisperer” and in the 2010 comedy pilot “Open Books,” and had a recurring role on “CSI.” Additionally, Tyler, continues to do comedy tours and voices one of the leads on FX’s animated comedy “Archer.”
To Return To Glee
Source: www.thestar.com - By Peter Howell
(Oct 25, 2011) Chord Overstreet has confirmed he is returning to Glee.
The 22-year-old actor is set to reprise his role as McKinley High student Sam Evans on the TV show in December after the program’s producers previously decided against keeping him on as a series regular for the third season.
The blond hunk — who made his debut in the second season — said: “I had the best time on Glee and couldn’t be more excited to be returning.”
Ryan Murphy — executive producer and co-creator of Glee — confirmed the news in a statement, saying: “We love Chord and have always said that we wanted him back.
“So here’s an early Christmas present for all the Gleeks — Sam is coming back to McKinley, and just in time for sectionals!”
Sam moved out of the state at the end of the second series after his father lost his job, shortly after he entered a relationship with Mercedes (Amber Riley).
Overstreet — who is believed to be dating Scream 4 actress Emma Roberts — was disappointed when he left Glee after turning down the chance to star in the show on a recurring basis to concentrate on a music career.
He previously said: “They offered me the chance to come back for a few episodes, but there was nothing guaranteed so I decided to dive into the music thing.”
Lee Daniels to Produce LGBT – Ball Society Series
(Oct 23, 2011) *The homosexual community is certainly making things happen lately. The latest movement is in the industry. “The L Word” was such a smash for Showtime, but after it ended, that empty space needs to be filled by something quite comparable. So the network has signed a deal with Lee Daniels and screenwriter W. Merritt Johnson that will focus on the LGBT community. According to reports, the show will be about disenfranchised multicultural transgender youth in the underground ball society in New York City, which consists of Black, Latino LGBT young people who come together to basically survive. Daniels and Johnson will be executive producers as well as writer and director. This big project adds to the long list Daniel is currently incurring, including feature film, “The Paper Boy.”
Wendy Williams Renewed for Two More Years
(Oct 24, 2011) Media personality Wendy Williams attends the Paper Magazine 2011 Nightlife awards at Hiro Ballroom at The Maritime Hotel on Sept. 27, 2011 in New York City *”The Wendy Williams Show” has been renewed for an additional two seasons through 2014 on Fox-owned stations, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The syndicated daily one-hour talk show produced by Debmar-Mercury performs well across the country, including being the No. 1 rated show in its timeslot among women 25-54 in the New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, Washington D.C., Houston, Detroit, Minneapolis, and Orlando markets. This season, the show was the only daytime talk show to snag Charlie Sheen before his Comedy Central Roast and the debut of “Two and a Half Men” with his replacement, Ashton Kutcher. It also got Fantasia Barrino’s first comments on rumors that she had been fired from the biopic about gospel singer Mahalia Jackson.
Matthew Morrison Expects ‘Glee’ To Gain A Lot Of
Source: www.thestar.com - By Robert Crew
(Oct 26, 2011) Matthew Morrison expects Glee to get “a lot of new members” next year. The actor — who plays the role of Spanish teacher Will Schuester in the musical TV show — admits he is excited to see where the series will go at the end of the third season as many of the stars, including Lea Michele, will be graduating and leaving. He said: “What to expect? I don’t know if I can give away too much, but there will be a lot of people graduating at the end of the season. “I’m not sure what that’s going to mean for the show, we’re probably going to get a lot of new members and maybe some of the old Glee members will become student teachers of mine, I don’t know.” Morrison also thinks many people will have been “surprised” when they saw his character Will finally in a relationship with germ-phobic teacher Emma. He said in a video for internet search engine site Bing: “It’s my favourite season so far. I think the coolest thing is that for Will’s character is he’s in a great relationship with Emma, you know the first episode you see him rolling over in his bed and she’s there living with him now. I think that was a big surprise for people.”
Bringing A Nigerian Rock God
Source: www.thestar.com - By Richard Ouzounian
(Oct 22, 2011) Who best to tell the story of a legend than another legend?
Fela Kuti, the Nigerian musician and political activist whose life and works are the subject of Fela!, the Tony Award-winning musical that Mirvish Productions is bringing to the Canon Theatre from Oct. 25-Nov. 6 was a man larger than life who believed that politics and art were inseparable.
The same can be said for Bill T Jones. The 59-year-old director/choreographer who brought Fela’s odyssey to the stage.
With a unique style of dance and an unabashed appetite for making sure that all his works had social importance as well as artistic merit, Jones seems to have been the perfect man to tackle Fela’s legacy.
“People often ask if I chose this project or if it chose me,” Jones laughs during a phone interview from New York, “and I guess the truth is it’s a little of both.
“Stephen (Hendel) discovered Fela’s music in 2000 and became so taken with it that he felt it had to come to the stage. After a few years, he approached me about the project.”
Jones, whose works usually bear provocative titles like Last Supper at Uncle Tom’s Cabin, felt an instant kinship with the Nigerian whose life was as excessive as his politics.
“There was a question as to whether or not we should glamourize Fela and eliminate all mention of his megalomania, his need to be loved, his grandstanding plays for attention, but I said no. He was a rock god in his own right, just as much as Jim Morrison or Jimi Hendrix and rock gods live by a different set of rules.”
In the early workshops of the show, Jones and his fellow collaborators made an attempt to explain Fela by having an older version of him come back after death and ask questions of his younger self, “but we luckily realized such things were unnecessary. Let us show the man as he was and his actions will explain themselves.
“So now we make it a concert at The Shrine and the audience can share what Fela’s followers did.”
The Shrine was a legendary nightclub in Lagos where Fela would perform before near-hysterical crowds, creating a frenzy fuelled by both his driving, relentless music, in a style called Afrobeat that mixed funk, jazz and tribal rhythms.
By this time, late in his life, the government forces were so concerned with his power that 1,000 troops would often be assembled to keep order.
“After the massacre at Kalakuta in 1977,” Jones says, “it was pretty much open war between Fela and the government for the rest of his life.”
The incident Jones refers to is one in which the army destroyed Fela’s self-declared “independent republic,” Kalakuta, where his followers and their families lived.
Fela was nearly beaten to death and his mother died of injuries she received when the soldiers flung her from a window.
“What we learn from Fela is that one must keep fighting, telling the truth, believing in what one feels is right. The occupations happening now in Wall Street and around the world are the kind of thing he would have applauded.
“But there’s also another vital thing to remember about Fela. He was also a great musician and his work lives on because the art itself is every bit as vital as the politics that drove it. And that, in the end, is what we strive for.”
Fela! will play at the Canon Theatre, 244 Victoria St. from Oct. 25-Nov. 6. For tickets call 416 872-1212 or go to Mirvish.com
Learning The Art Of Living
Beyond The Stage
Source: www.thestar.com - By Michael Crabb
(Oct 24, 2011) Being forced out of the job you love can be a nasty jolt for anyone, but if you’re a professional dancer the shock can be traumatic; which is why Canada’s Dancer Transition Resources Centre (DTRC) — celebrating its 25th anniversary on Oct. 26 with a gala event at the Imperial Room — is justifiably proud of making the experience a lot less painful for hundreds of dancers coast to coast.
When former National Ballet of Canada principal dancer Joysanne Sidimus opened the doors of the organization’s Toronto national office in Sept. 1985, most dancers did not want to confront the reality of the end of a stage career.
“It was a taboo subject,” she recalls. Even musing openly about it could be misinterpreted as signalling a lack of commitment.
Dancers train for many years to make it into the profession. It takes further years to hone talent into artistry and then, just as they feel they’ve made it, the body inexorably begins to let them down. A ballerina who can make it past 40 is considered exceptional. Injury can terminate a career much sooner.
Being passionate, driven creatures — almost a prerequisite for success — dancers see their work as a calling, not a job. The financial rewards are often paltry, yet the satisfaction of being a performer, of working within a community of like-minded colleagues and of achieving one’s dream can be intoxicating.
As Montreal-born Noam Gagnon, known internationally for his work with Vancouver’s Holy Body Tattoo, describes the experience of becoming a dancer: “The world disappeared like it had never before. I felt at home.”
To have it all taken away at an age when those in many other professions are just shifting into high gear comes as a cruel blow.
Yet, for years, nobody was willing to talk openly about it, let alone suggest dancers should confront the inevitable and make a plan. Sidimus, having witnessed the consequences of denial — — depression, substance abuse, even suicide — determined to effect a sea-change.
Having broadly surveyed the country and won the support of many company artistic directors, she proposed a member-based organization that would offer career counselling and access to retraining programs.
As the organization evolved, the DTRC, substantially funded by the federal government, broadened its mandate to embrace the full compass of a dancer’s life, from the training stage, through a performing career and beyond.
Nowadays, the DTRC runs workshops nationally for professional-level students. It helps working dancers start retraining part-time for post-performing careers. Its career counsellors help dancers acknowledge and capitalize on their strengths. Dancers are generally fast learners, team players with great collaborative skills, acutely intuitive and highly disciplined — all valuable transferable skills.
Says former National Ballet member Kevin Law, now a stock trader: “The work ethic, perseverance, precision and experience performing well under pressure demanded by classical ballet have all served me well in my current job.”
You might think former dancers would opt for ways to continue working within the profession as teachers, coaches and choreographers. In fact, DTRC “alumni” have moved on in every imaginable direction.
Noam Gagnon retrained as a Pilates teacher and now runs his own wellness centre. Others have become doctors, real estate agents, organic farmers, police officers; even a commercial airline pilot.
Says Amanda Hancox, who succeeded Sidimus as DTRC executive director in 2005: “Dancers can do just about anything they set their minds to.”
Former dancers represent a valuable pool of human capital that was once allowed to go to waste through fear and neglect. Because of a quarter century of work by the DTRC, today’s dancers know there’s a rewarding life awaiting them beyond the footlights.
Fluid Movement: A Feast Of The
Source: www.globeandmail.com - Paula Citron
(Oct 25, 2011) Fluid Movement Arts Festival is Calgary’s annual celebration of what curator Nicole Mion calls physical performance. Specifically, it means contemporary dance and performance art by international, national and local artists, and lots of it.
In one weekend, I crammed in shows that included international superstar Shantala Shivalingappa, Prairie Dance Circuit choreographers from Winnipeg, Regina, Calgary and Edmonton, two Alberta showcases with choreographers from Calgary and Edmonton, and a cabaret featuring performance art in a popular theatre bar.
That adds up to a whopping 23 performances.
My conclusion: Alberta has a very healthy dance scene with well-schooled dancers, though there’s not much mirth on the Prairies, except for some amusing performance art at the Physical Therapy Cabaret.
Some stand-out performances:
Shantala Shivalingappa (Paris)
This exquisite solo dancer was born in India and raised in Paris. She has performed with legendary choreographers Pina Bausch and Maurice Béjart, and theatre director Peter Brook. Credentials don’t get any better than that.
While Shivalingappa’s forte is the classical Indian dance style kuchipudi, her Calgary show Namasya (which means “homage” in Sanskrit) was contemporary dance. The choreography was by Ushio Amagatsu, Bausch, Shivalingappa herself and her mother, Savitry Nair.
“Gorgeous” cannot even begin to describe Shivalingappa moving through space. I’ve always believed that dancers with extra-long arms rivet the eye most compellingly. In her case, she used her long arms and hands to magnificent effect. Her gestural language was perfection, matching a masterfully controlled body.
The entire performance was a beautiful, trance-like dream.
Yukichi Hattori (Calgary)
Yukichi Hattori is a big star with Alberta Ballet, but he is also a choreographer of note. His duet Zen-Zen is about finding a state of balance. His clever take on the theme is showing how the outside world interferes with this personal quest.
Dancers Mark Wax and Tara Williamson were clearly ballet-trained and moved through space with great power. The choreography had the two on a collision course, punctuated by moments of stillness when each gathered his or her own inner resources. There was nothing tender about the movement.
Hattori also threw in humour. For example, Wax holds Williamson on his shoulders so that her belly and crotch are pressing into his face. Her body then becomes a face mask, and he becomes another persona.
The soundtrack was an actor (Hattori’s own father) reading a short story in Japanese. This melodramatic text added even more tension to the dance.
Stephen Thompson (Calgary/France)
At the Physical Therapy Cabaret, Stephen Thompson’s hilarious Etude: arms (gauche/droite) was announced as a solo for his left arm, with a special appearance by his right arm.
The performance artist sat in his chair and executed choreography for his fingers and arms. He also had signs with various cities and dates, like “Capetown, 2009,” presumably indicating where these performances originally took place.
One sequence had the fingers perform like a miniature line of cancan dancers. In another, the hands became mouths that sang a song, the right seemingly becoming the source of the low rapper voice, the left being the high voice. In another, the two arms and hands performed a swooping ballet.
It was quite amazing, and beguiling, how hands and arms could take on a theatrical life of their own.
Amber Borotsik (Edmonton)
Borotsik’s Here. Like This. was all about longing. Singer/composer Cory Vanderjagt performed live to a taped score. His haunting words and sweet voice reflected the despair of the couple portrayed by Borotsik and Jesse Gervais.
The choreography revolved around a chair that became a battleground. Borotsik and Gervais used aspects of contact improv in their various encounters. The effect was a struggle for control. It was almost as if they desperately wanted to be apart, yet were constantly being brought together.
Borotsik made sure the couple never connected emotionally. While they danced together physically, they never were tied together in an emotional way. The desire to be apart was stronger.
Perhaps Borotsik’s greatest gift was creating the layer of melancholy that pervaded the dance and its violent surface.
Nicole Mion (Calgary)
Mion created her solo Quiver to be performed by two different dancers, a man and a woman. I saw Vancouver’s James Gnam, who was simply splendid.
The word quiver implies a container, and in his hoodie and casual street clothes, Gnam embodied the energy of a street kid about to break out like an arrow released from a bow. In fact, Mion’s choreography had aspects of urban street dance.
The solo was a clever combination of loose and lanky movement, and control. It was this dichotomy that gave the piece its dynamic. Gnam was like a wired spring about to erupt.
The choreography created undulations where the dance seemed to ripple through his body. Mion also included both off-balance moments and recovery. Gnam was always in motion, but never comfortably.
Kimmo Pohjonen’s mournful music added to the disquiet.
Fluid Movement Arts Festival
At various venues
In Calgary, Friday through Sunday
Two Pianos, More Demands
Source: www.thestar.com - By Trish Crawford
(Oct 26, 2011) They admit it: actors Ted Dykstra and Richard Greenblatt were curmudgeons when their children were practising the piano.
“I was such an awful human being,” admits Greenblatt, one half of the 2 Pianos 4 Hands cast which returns to the stage starting Saturday in a Mirvish production at the Panasonic Theatre.
“I'd yell at her, be impatient and say, again, again, again,” laughs Greenblatt of the torture he put his daughter Natasha, now 26, through.
At one point, Natasha said she'd quit playing if he didn't leave her alone during practices, something that wound up in the play as did her promise to get her Grade 8 piano. After that, it was goodbye piano lessons.
Dykstra, who didn't have children when the two wrote the musical play 15 years ago, would “chastise” him.
“But then it was my turn. It's like you have no willpower. You're yelling, ‘Do it right. Do it six times in a row.' ”
Now that his son Theo is 10, “I'm trying to be more careful,” says Dystra. As it is, Theo must have a strong constitution because he still says, “Dad, come and help me.”
Ruefully, Dykstra says, “I'm getting better.”
Piano tales — the saga of the years and years of classical music lessons both Dykstra and Greenblatt took — is the subject of their successful play (running to Nov. 20) which ends with a totally legit eight-minute concert of Bach's Concerto in D minor.
Even though Dykstra grew up in Edmonton and Greenblatt in Montreal, they basically had the same musical experiences growing up including a long-suffering female teacher.
Dykstra brought his teacher Lillian Upright (no kidding here) to a performance and “she was delighted,” he says. They've worn out 10 tuxedos each through the 750 performances and jokingly call this month-long engagement their last farewell tour.
The universality of the experience of practising an instrument — or a sport for that matter — with the long hours of drudgery prodded on by parents and teachers has taken them across the country and around the world.
“I have had people say, ‘Oh that's about tennis,' ” says Greenblatt.
The Kiwanis Festival and the ubiquitous lessons and exams provided by the Royal Conservatory of Music means that Canadians have a common understanding of the play's core, says Greenblatt, adding that “saying Kiwanis is usually good for two minutes (of laughter).”
The play's veracity has been born out twice to them, first for their own hopes as aspiring classical musicians then in their children's.
Natasha, an actress who recently performed in the play The Railway Children, says Greenblatt was brutal about practising: “He always practised with me and he was terrible. He was exactly like one of the themes in the play. He was just very strict with high expectations.”
After she banished him from the room, he continued to holler instructions in from the kitchen.
“I was always comparing horror stories with other musical friends,” says Natasha who played piano until she was 16. She's seen the play 22 times and loves it.
“I think it's a great play. It's not afraid to talk about what goes along with those kinds of musical expectations.”
Her brother Will, 23, got off a little bit easier because he played the violin but Will says that didn't stop Greenblatt from horning in with advice. “Dad's brother played the violin so he felt justified in yelling at me about form and technique.”
Will ended up practising in his bedroom to escape. Still, if he stopped playing his father would yell up the stairs to get back to practising. So, the enterprising Will taped a practice and played it over and over. He recently confessed this to his dad, who thinks it's funny.
Source: www.thestar.com - By Robert Crew
Written and performed by Yisrael Campbell. Directed by Sam Gold. Until Nov. 6 at the St. Lawrence Centre’s Jane Mallett Theatre, 27 Front St. E. 416-366-7723.
(Oct 26, 2011) Christopher Campbell was born in suburban Philadelphia and raised a Catholic; his aunt was a nun for 50 years and his mother was a novice.
Yisrael Campbell is an Orthodox Jew who lives in Jerusalem, is married to a Jewish woman and has four children.
How Christopher (meaning the Christ bearer) became Yisrael (“he wrestles with God” ) is the subject of Circumcise Me!, a one-man show written and performed by Yisrael Campbell and presented at the Jane Mallett Theatre by the Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company.
I attended the final preview and it’s amusing stuff: Campbell is an affable guy with quite a story to tell. And it would be hard not to like him as he shambles on stage, reminding us about our cell phones and joking about the plastic bag he’s carrying. He’s a mensch.
But the journey really begins with his account of how he was addicted to drink and drugs from the ages of 7 to 16 — he stopped after a car accident 25 years ago and has remained sober ever since.
It was a conversation with a waitress, who urged him to read Leon Uris’ Exodus that sparked his interest in Judaism. He became a Reform Jew, undergoing a symbolic circumcision which involved the taking a drop of blood “and not from your thumb, either.” (He was actually circumcised at birth.)
He marries an Egyptian woman whose dad wants him to convert to Islam but, as he dryly remarks, “if I belong to all three major religions in one year, people are going to doubt my sincerity.”
The marriage fails, he becomes a Conservative Jew but still doesn’t find what he’s seeking, so moves to Israel and doggedly tries to become an Orthodox Jew. More than a year and another symbolic circumcision later, he succeeds.
It’s a light and easy evening of storytelling; Campbell is not a great one for introspection and the actual reasons for his triple conversion remain somewhat ill-defined.
The one moment when the show strikes a deeper note is when two of his friends are killed in a bomb attack in Jerusalem. Campbell recounts the tragic story with obvious emotion but doesn’t dwell on it. He and director Sam Gold blow the dark clouds away and the story quickly resumes its jokey, easy flow.
It’s interesting and it’s time-beguiling fun but Circumcise Me! doesn’t quite hurt as much as you think it might. Or perhaps, as much as it should.
When Is Grand Theft Auto 5
Source: www.thestar.com - By Raju Mudhar
(Oct 25, 2011) Get ready to rev your engines — Grand Theft Auto 5 is coming. Just how soon, we still don’t know.
Rockstar Games, the creator of the blockbuster videogame franchise, debuted the news with a simple message on the company’s homepage saying “Grand Theft Auto 5” followed by the date November 2, 2011.
It is believed that an official teaser trailer will be launched on that day. No other information — like potential release date, the game’s setting or on what consoles it will be available — has been released at this time.
Of course, this has caused an avalanche on speculations online about the games content and also what impact it might have on the video game industry.
The Grand Theft Auto series is a huge franchise in the videogame world, with more than 114 million units sold since the first game was launched in 1997. The company recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of Grand Theft Auto III earlier this week, which changed the format of the game from a top-down perspective to the third-person perspective. Grand Theft Auto IV was released in 2008, and has been supplemented by two downloadable expansion packs: the motorcycle gang based “The Lost & The Damned” and “The Ballad of Gay Tony.”
The games are hugely influential due to their open-world (also known as sandbox) environments where players can explore and take part of a range of activities. The games have all been city-based, and tell stories usually involving the criminal underworld, which allow the players to carjack automobiles, go on a variety of missions or meander at their own pace.
The series has also been controversial, as there are many salacious acts in the game, including picking up hookers. There was also the infamous Hot Coffee mod, which allowed players to engage in a hidden minigame that depicted the main characters of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas having sex onscreen.
Gaming sites have been speculating about the next Grand Theft Auto for a while now. A casting call from Rockstar parent corporation, Take Two, that included characters descriptions, led Kotaku to publish a story last March that said that the new game would be set in Los Santos, the game’s equivalent of Los Angeles. There had been some speculation that the game would go with an international setting in the next instalment.
As well, the expansive settings and hardware requirements of the Grand Theft Auto games has also led to online speculation that the new game might come out on the next generation of consoles. There have been rumblings that both Microsoft and Sony are considering updating their gaming devices — being dubbed the Xbox 720 and PS4, respectively, by gamers online — and that GTA V might be such a big game that it would require added technological horsepower.
With so many potential implications from the release of the next game, it’s clear that the gaming world will be paying close attention next Tuesday.
Leaf Peepers, It’s Time For
Caledon’s Autumn Calvacade Of Colour
Source: www.thestar.com - Pat Brennan
(Oct 9, 2011) One of the best views of autumn’s colours in the Greater Toronto Area is from the first tee at the Devil’s Pulpit Golf Course in Caledon. But it’ll cost you $55,000 to see it.
Rae Armstrong, course general manager, said you can see 54 kilometres from the first tee. “We call it The Tower Tee because you can see the CN Tower on most days.” And you can tee off into that view after paying your $55,000 membership fee.
Or, you can stop just outside the entrance gate to the Devil’s Pulpit on Escarpment Sideroad and get much the same view for free, advises Kelly Darnley, executive director at the Caledon Chamber of Commerce.
Her community is renowned for its Cavalcade of Colour, so parking will be at a premium this month.
The Forks of The Credit Road is a fun drive at any time of year, but for much of October it offers the added bonus of breathtaking colour as it twists, turns and dips trying to follow the route of the Credit River.
This road runs west off Highway 10 as you start to climb the Niagara Escarpment about six kilometres north of where Highway 410 blends into Highway 10. Escarpment Sideroad runs east off Highway 10 less than a kilometer north of Forks of The Credit Rd.
Michele Harris, executive director at Hills of The Headwaters Tourism Association, says her favourite leaf-viewing drive is to head south on Airport Rd. from Highway 89. That’ll take you through the Hockley Valley. Before Airport Rd. reaches Highway 9, you’ll encounter Hockley Rd. Turn right (west) and follow that twisting road through spectacular colour to Highway 10.
Go south on Highway 10 a couple of kilometres and watch for Monora Park on your right. It’s behind a Volkswagen dealership in the town of Orangeville. Park the car and walk under hundreds of maple trees so the kids can kick their way through the fallen leaves. The 16-hectare park features 18 kilometres of walking trails.
If you prefer to view the changing leaves while sitting back with a drink in your hand, climb aboard the http://www.creditvalleyexplorer.com/Credit Valley ExplorerEND.
This tourist train runs out of the railway yards in Orangeville nearly every day, but not all days. Get the details at www.creditvalleyexplorer.com. Reservations are required. Prices range from $44.50 to $52.50 for adults (13 +) and kids are $34.50 to $42.50.
The 70-kilometre train ride follows a rail line carved along the edge of the Niagara Escarpment 125 years ago. It rolls across the 350-metre-long trestle that carries the tracks over the Forks of The Credit. Smile when you’re on that trestle because you’re likely going to be photographed. The train on the trestle is one of the most popular photo opportunities for leaf watchers walking and riding along Forks of The Credit Rd.
The Hills of the Headwaters includes Erin, Orangeville, Caledon, Shelburne and a dozen charming little villages, such as Belfountain. It derives its name from the fact that four of southern Ontario’s principal rivers are born here. The Credit, Grand, Humber and Nottawasaga rivers flow from these hills. Melanchthon Township in the region is also home to Ontario’s largest wind farm.
The Georgetown area of Halton Hills just to the west of the Forks of the Credit offers some marvellous viewing areas for fall colours. The Bruce Trail cuts right through Scotsdale Farm on the east side of Trafalgar Rd., eight kilometres north of Georgetown and south of Highway 24 in Erin.
Stewart and Violet Bennett bequeathed their famous 218-hectare farm to Ontario Heritage Trust. Bennett had been president of the Royal Agriculture Winter Fair. The couple raised world-class Arabian horses and Shorthorn cattle on the farm, where a variety of Hollywood movies have been filmed. They include The Recruit, with Al Pacino and Colin Farrell, and the Long Kiss Goodnight, with Geena Davis.
Film directors are attracted by the farm’s spectacular scenery, which is at its height in October. There is free admission to the farm, plenty of parking space and easy access to several short side trails as well as the Bruce Trail.
JUST THE FACTS
The Hills of the Headwaters Tourism Association ( www.thehillsofheadwaters.com) has a web page that details hiking, biking, driving and motorcycle routes for seeing one of Ontario’s finest displays of fall colour. It also lists year-round cultural, artistic, shopping, dining and sports activities.
Forks of the Credit is 65 kilometres from 1 Yonge St. In the average 4-cylinder car it’ll cost slightly less than $5 to drive to the scene, if you pay $1.20/litre for gas and don’t stop for donuts and coffee. Extend your trip to Georgetown and you’ll add a whopping $1.50 to your fuel costs. The good news: it’s downhill all the way home.
Source: www.thestar.com - Heather Greenwood Davis
(Oct 19, 2011) OLD ROAD, ANTIGUA—There are two typical types of Caribbean resorts.
High-end properties that channel, sometimes successfully, Miami Beach or Bali with their white deck chairs and butler service, and “Caribbean” properties that offer the highly starched sheets and Bob Marley soundtrack on replay.
They aren’t all one or the other, but they usually fall comfortably close to one side of the spectrum.
As we drove through the large iron gates of Curtain Bluff I wasn’t quite sure where this one would fall.
The local foliage, wild and slightly overgrown, covers the sign at the entrance. The wicker furniture is well used but the meticulous staff and surroundings are impeccable without feeling fake. It would take me a full day to put my finger on where to put Curtain Bluff on my spectrum. The results? Dead centre.
Curtain Bluff is a Caribbean island resort but it is as distinct in persona from its sisters as you likely are from yours.
It is as Caribbean as the most locally owned property you can imagine and yet offers the luxurious comforts you’d hope for without going so far overboard that you’re at the whim of a butler who is as uncomfortable with your delicates as you are with him handling them.
It is an authentic family-style island experience with upscale gourmet food offerings and a complete lack of pretension — which explains why families that have found it haven’t left.
The resort is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and many of the families who are strolling the beach, sailing out for morning snorkelling, lounging in hammocks or playing squash have been coming here for generations.
When they arrive, staff hug them like cousins. In some cases they haven’t seen each other since the summer before. In others, staff have visited guests at their homes across the United States and Europe.
It’s exactly that connection and the longevity of it that sets this place apart.
When Sir Howard Hulford, a former World War II pilot, came to the island he hadn’t planned on building a hotel.
His widow Chelle explains he had long loved a spot on the island’s most southern coast and simply wanted to buy the land and build a home.
When the government insisted it would only sell the land for hotel development, Hulford, who had studied hotel management at Cornell University years earlier, agreed to do so.
But before he said yes, he visited with the elders in the rural Old Road community where he would be building.
“He sat with them and he explained that building a hotel of this calibre would change the community,” recalls Chelle. “He was very upfront with them. He said it would change their children and open up the world to them — both good and bad.”
Locals say that moment set the tone for all things to come and the success that followed.
“A lot of hotels here had the idea of coming to the island, making a lot of money and packing it back to the U.S. The way Mr. Hulford looked at it was a blueprint for other developers on the island,” says resort driver Maurice Francis, a friend of Hulford’s.
Today 99 per cent of the people who work and earn a living from Curtain Bluff are Old Road locals.
Hulford passed away in 2009 but his philanthropic gestures continue to change the community.
Tips have never been permitted and though there is a gratuity fee included in the resort charges (of which every employee gets a cut), guests often wanted to offer up something extra to the islanders.
So Hulford created the Old Road Fund. Those non-profit dollars have been used to help dozens of families afford educational opportunities, medical care and better their surroundings.
He also opened the doors of the resort to the neighbours, and every Saturday morning local children still come in from the village to play tennis with pros who teach Pepsi execs and the kids of premium stockholders during the week.
There’s more. Each summer Curtain Bluff pros return to Maine to teach while the resort is in its off-season. Twelve years ago Hulford decided local kids could benefit from continued instruction and exposure and began selecting six children each summer to attend on a full scholarship.
Island kids, many of whom had never visited neighbouring islands, were being sent to one of the most elite tennis camps in the U.S.
He helped their parents too. It was well known that every member of the staff who wanted to buy a house had access to an interest-free loan.
“He changed lives,” says Nigel Anthony, a 40-year-old tennis instructor at the resort who first arrived as a young teen curious about the game. Anthony is one of more than 45 people who have had university scholarships as a result of the program.
“In the town the people recognize it as an opportunity, and they keep a keen eye on the success of the place,” says Anthony. “Curtain Bluff’s success is their success.”
The Old Road community, once one of the poorest on the island is now touted as one of the most affluent.
According to Hulford’s wishes, Curtain Bluff will go forward in perpetuity with the same management and staff. His grave is at a far end of the property and his name comes up often: the outsider who became a local.
Heather Greenwood Davis is a freelance writer and columnist. Her trip to Curtain Bluff ( www.curtainbluff.com) was subsidized in part by the resort. Reach her at email@example.com
JUST THE FACTS
ARRIVING There are direct (four hours) and connecting flights out of Toronto on Air Canada, American Airlines, US Airways and others.
SLEEPING Curtain Bluff is located in Old Road village on the southern tip of the island of Antigua. Phone 268-462-8400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The all-inclusive rates start at $685 per night depending on time of year and choice of room. Special promotions can cut the rates significantly.
DINING The food at the resort is incredible, but if you opt to go off property you might want to try Cloggy’s at the Antigua Yacht Club www.facebook.com/cloggysantigua
WEB SURFING For more information on the island of Antigua visit www.antigua-barbuda.org/ and for more on Curtain Bluff visit www.curtainbluff.com
AVOIDING The cruise ships already know the island has plenty to offer. You’ll want to avoid the downtown shops when the vessels are in port.
Up At Pan Ams
Source: www.globeandmail.com - Lori Ewing
(Oct 23, 2011) GUADALAJARA, MEXICO—Whitney and Jason McClintock were balancing on water skis by the time they learned to walk, and before either of them can even remember.
Their parents’ philosophy was: If they could stand, they could stand on skis. Dad Jeff would run pulling them through the shallows of Lake Puslinch in Cambridge, Ont.
Two decades later, it’s no surprise Canada’s first family of water skiing dominated the sport at the Pan American Games, with Whitney winning a gold and three silver medals and brother Jason claiming a pair of silver.
“I don’t remember skiing for the first time, but my dad always tells people he took us out skiing before we could say no. We were 2 years old, both of us, and there’s video of us so we know it happened,” said Whitney, whose parents travelled to Guadalajara for the Games.
“They pretty much follow us around the world,” Whitney said. “It’s good to have the support system, having them there makes us feel more loved.”
The 22-year-old Whitney took gold in the tricks event Sunday before adding silver in the slalom and jump. She also was second in Saturday’s overall to finish the Games with four medals.
“My goal was definitely four golds, but it was a big goal for the end of the season,” she said. “This has definitely been a long season for us. Our worlds were in July, and this is a long way from July. I’m really happy with the way the weekend turned out.”
Teammate Karen Stevens of Iroquois, Ont., added two bronze medals in the slalom and jump events, a day after claiming bronze in the overall.
Jason McClintock, 24, won a silver medal in the tricks event and another in slalom at Chapala, sending Canada’s water-ski team home with 10 medals.
“He’s been on a lot of national teams with me, and it’s always so nice to have him here,” Whitney said of her brother. “He’s disappointed with his silver medals today as well. He was capable of gold, so we’re both a little disappointed. But it’s great to be at the Pan Am Games. We loved the experience, and the Mexican population loves the water skiing.”
Elsewhere, Canada won gold and silver in equestrian events. Jessica Phoenix of Cannington, Ont., won the individual eventing and teamed up with James Atkinson of Mountain Road, Man., Hawley Bennett of Langley, B.C., Rebecca Howard of Salmon Arm, B.C., and Serena O’Hanlon of Elgin, Ont., for silver in the team competition.
Canada’s women’s softball team settled for silver after suffering a four-inning, 11-1 loss to the United States in the final.
Brent McMahon of Victoria won bronze in the men’s triathlon, and Steven Takahashi of London, Ont., also took bronze in men’s 55-kilogram freestyle wrestling after his opponent failed to make weight.
Canada has 64 medals (18 gold, 22 silver, 24 bronze) and trails first-place America (155) and Brazil (67) in the standings.
The McClintocks were water-skiing competitively by the age of 7. Aunt Judy and uncle Joel were world champions and their parents were both national team skiers and ran their own ski school in Cambridge.
“Every step we were capable of taking growing up, our parents were pushing us through it,” said Jason, who has a colourful nautical-themed tattoo of sea monsters and buried treasure running the length of his left upper arm. “I don’t even remember running the course the first time. I was 4 or 5.
“It’s cool. I’ve been on the water longer than most people double my age.”
Whitney is the two-time defending world slalom champion, and 2009 world slalom, trick and overall champ. Yet because it’s not an Olympic sport, the McClintocks aren’t well known outside of the water-skiing world.
Canadian coach Matt Rini admits competing in relative obscurity can be frustrating.
“It’s easy to look at an Olympic gymnast or an Olympic track runner and know the amount of work that goes into that, because it’s well-publicized and everybody knows when you stand beside those people or watch them run,” Rini said.
“If you can’t see what these guys do, you can’t understand what it takes to do what they do. When you’re standing on the side of the lake and see someone fly 220 feet, your eyes get really big and you go ‘Wow, this isn’t just the cottage skiing I know or the rest of the world knows.’ ”
Maple Leafs Edge Reeling Habs In OT
Source: www.globeandmail.com - By Sean Gordon
(Oct 22, 2011) The Montreal Canadiens were in need of a pick-me-up to soothe the frayed nerves of fan base dismayed by their terrible start, so a new pre-game video montage made its debut, as did Quebec chanteuse Ima, who replaced the usual anthem singer.
The Habs' creative department will evidently have to try harder.
The team that seemingly can't lose erased three Montreal leads to send the team that can't win down to its fifth consecutive defeat and sixth in seven games to open the season.
Toronto Maple Leafs centre Mikhail Grabovski, the former Hab, shovelled the overtime winner past Carey Price, giving the Leafs a 5-4 victory, after making a swanky move to bring the puck out from behind the net that confounded Montreal defenceman Hal Gill.
"It's a little bit special," conceded a beaming Grabovski, whose family made the trek from Toronto, "I know a lot of people in Montreal, I have a lot of friends here."
Asked if he could hear the booing when he touched the puck, Grabovski laughed that "no, I just hear when (former Hab Mike) Komisarek touches the puck."
After Grabovski's goal the Toronto bench poured onto the ice as if it were a playoff game, and in some sense it was a momentous occasion - the Habs are now officially off to the worst start in more than 70 years.
And with Winnipeg's 5-3 defeat of Carolina, are the new occupants of the Eastern Conference basement.
The main talking point in Montreal is the Habs' lengthening skid, but the Leafs also have concerns to deal with after his game.
Namely, the health of Leafs netminder James Reimer, the man on whom so much depends.
Reimer appeared shaken up after Montreal captain Brian Gionta clipped him in the head as he cut across the front of the crease.
He took off his mask and kneeled for a few seconds, but carried on to finish the period despite suffering another hard bump on Montreal's opening goal.
But the Leafs' number one netminder couldn't come out for the second, and did not return to the Toronto bench.
Toronto coach Ron Wilson said after the game that Reimer was suffering from whiplash-like symptoms and that "he could have finished the game" but the decision was made to withdraw him in favour of Jonas Gustavsson as a precaution.
He will be re-evaluated on Sunday.
"I hope he's okay," said winger Clarke MacArthur, "he's a big part of our team."
So could a team that made the conference finals two short years ago and came within a goal of upsetting the Stanley Cup champs last year suddenly be an entrant in the Nail Yakupov sweepstakes?
Doubtful, and the Habs are relentlessly focused on the positives.
"There's a lot of games left. We'll get better," said centre Lars Eller, Montreal's most dangerous player on the night.
Winger Michael Cammalleri, who scored in the third period, said "I thought we executed better, we had a lot of tape-to-tape passes, we were crisper . . . we only need to be a little bit better and I think we'll be successful."
And goaltender Carey Price, who has offered some spotty performances, kept his team in the game in the third period - making two outrageous saves, including one where he reached back with his paddle to stifle a goal-bound shot.
If it's possible to give up five goals and still play well, Price did that.
The overtime point may take some of the pressure off coach Jacques Martin, but this is plainly a beleaguered team that is in considerable disarray.
How else to explain three blown leads and a pair of too-many-men penalties, including one on the power-play?
The Habs have a lot to talk about.
Martin said he liked the way his team battled on the night - despite surrendering seven power-plays to Toronto, which yielded a pair of goals - and that the inability to protect a third-period lead may be a by-product of an injury-riddled blue line.
"We three young D who don't have a lot of experience in the National Hockey League," he said.
The Canadiens will also rue the fact that their power-play has now scored just two goals in 29 attempts - they managed to squander a minute-long five-on-three.
Not to be unkind, but the coaches may have thought to send someone other than the willing, but limited Mathieu Darche out on the first wave.
The Canadiens typically take Sundays off when they play a Saturday night game at home, but this week they have been summoned to a meeting and will likely skate.
If there is a disconnect between the level of panic among those in the room and their fans, the distance might be shortened if Montreal can't find a way to beat the Florida Panthers on Monday.
Toronto captain Dion Phaneuf said the victory, in which the Leafs were outplayed for long stretches, was particularly encouraging.
"It's a big win for us in a lot of different ways . . . we go down, and you look at the way we really didn't stop playing our game," he said, "it shows what kind of group we have."
Added MacArthur: "when we're skating there's not too many teams that can keep up with us."
Toronto was in Carey Price's kitchen all night, and drove the net relentlessly - on the tying goal in the third, four Leafs were in the blue semi-circle - a tactic that Montreal evidently couldn't handle.
The Canadiens opened the scoring a few moments after MacArthur forced Price into a good save.
With Gionta in the box for running into Reimer, Steckel made a loose pass in the Montreal end that sent Lars Eller and Travis Moen away on a short-handed two-on-one.
Eller's astute pass put Moen in behind Phaneuf and he held off Steckel's desperation hook to slide the puck past Reimer, bowling him over for good measure.
The lead was short-lived.
Barely five minutes later Steckel made up for his earlier error by tipping a Jake Gardiner point shot off Price and into the net.
It was a tetchy first period with both goaltenders having to deal with plenty of contact in the crease, Montreal's P.K. Subban infuriated Leafs tough guys Mike Brown and Ken Rosehill by taking a healthy run at Toronto centre Mikhail Grabovski at centre ice.
The Belarusian - and former Hab - earned a shower of boos a little later on after Price dragged him down in a goalmouth melee. He took his time clambering off the Montreal netminder, knocking his mask off in the process.
The Habs wasted little time welcoming Gustavsson into the game.
Eller picked up the puck in his own end, shed two checkers and set sail for the Leafs net, his shot attempt pinged off Mike Komisarek and landed on Andrei Kostitsyn's blade, the big winger ripped a trademark wrister into the far top corner 29 seconds in to the frame.
Again, the Leafs riposte was swift.
A mere 36 seconds later, Toronto's Matthew Lombardi harried Hab defenceman Josh Gorges as he wheeled around his own net, and when the puck slipped off his stick, Phil Kessel was on hand to scoop up the turnover and pop a quick wrist shot past Price, who had no time to get set.
Then Rosehill, who also drew the penalty that lead to Toronto's opener, goaded Yannick Weber into a high-sticking penalty with the Leafs buzzing in the Montreal end.
On the ensuing power-play Montreal's Raphael Diaz broke his stick, and after Gionta handed him his, the Leafs threw the puck around until it came to Dion Phaneuf at the point, and he blasted an unstoppable slapshot into the far corner.
Rosehill, the Leafs enforcer, had a busy night, he also chased Subban down as he tried to gather a loose puck and knocked him down from behind into the boards, where the flashy Habs defenceman collided awkwardly with his shoulder.
The referees waved play on.
On another occasion, Hal Gill and Phaneuf exchanged angry words after the Toronto captain slammed him into the side wall.
Another set-to resulted when Erik Cole bumped Toronto's Nazem Kadri into Price's net. In the melee that followed, Price gave the rookie's helmet a swipe with his goal stick and earned a penalty for his trouble (it was served by Cole, who administered a three-part facewash to Kadri and he sat in the dislodged net.) Montreal stepped up the pressure late in the period and nearly tied the game through Tomas Plekanec, who was sent in alone on net by Gionta but couldn't get the puck past Gustavsson despite two whacks at it.
Plekanec was also foiled by Reimer in the first period on a back-door play created by Mike Cammalleri, Montreal's most dangerous forward on the night along with Eller.
There were obviously a few home truths discussed during the intermission in the Montreal room, because the Habs quickly tied the game in the third.
Subban's gorgeous diagonal pass found Cammalleri lurking at the Toronto blue line, and he skated in toward the faceoff dot before hammering a slap shot high to Gustavsson's glove side.
When Josh Gorges' shot found its way through a thicket of bodies - Moen got a stick on the puck for his second of the night - there was something very like catharsis in the Bell Centre.
But the Habs couldn't build on their lead despite long stretches of sustained pressure, and when a team is scuffling like this, such profligacy is not permissible.
The Leafs duly tied the game when a Grabovski shot produced a furious scramble in front of Price, who stopped Phaneuf close in, but Nikolai Kulemin was on hand to swat the puck into the open side of the net.
The Leafs had a decent opportunity to win the game in regulation, but Carl Gunnarsson's slap shot was turned away by Price's left pad.
There is clearly no love lost between these teams, Price appeared to give Grabovski an earful at the end of regulation as the Leafs centre jawed with Gorges.
Senators Send Mika Zibanejad
Back To Sweden
Source: www.globeandmail.com - The Canadian Press
(Oct 26, 2011) OTTAWA— It wasn't the decision Mika Zibanejad was hoping for, but one he accepted with grace.
The Ottawa Senators sent their 2011 first-round draft pick back to Swedish club team Djurgardens on Wednesday rather than burn the first year of his entry-level contract.
Zibanejad appeared in nine games for the Senators this season, registering one assist and a minus-3 rating. A tenth game with Ottawa would have meant the 18-year-old was sticking in the NHL.
“I really wanted to stay but they have more experience in this stuff than I do,” said Zibanejad, who was taken sixth overall at June's draft. “I think this is best for me and I'm excited to go back home.”
The Stockholm native played his ninth and final game with the Senators on Tuesday night in Carolina.
Ottawa can't recall him until his European season is over, unless it's under emergency circumstances.
Djurgardens has assured the Senators that Zibanejad will play a crucial role with the team, including first-line minutes and power play time.
“He might not reach that status with our team this year,” said Senators general manager Bryan Murray, adding the decision was a difficult one.
“We think for the long term development of him, to give him an opportunity to become what we believe he has a chance to become, and that is a quality NHL player, that this is the right step for him at this moment.”
The Senators see great potential in Zibanejad and want to ensure his development progresses.
“I think the reason we're probably sending him back is that we want him to have the puck, we want him to have a chance to score points, to be a legitimate top-six NHL player,” Murray said. “I think at 18 years of age, he was playing the last little bit to survive and not make mistakes, rather than be a creative kind of kid that we think he'll turn out to be.”
While he would have enjoyed the opportunity to play with the Senators, Zibanejad is looking at the decision as an opportunity for personal growth.
“I guess I get a bigger role back home and I feel comfortable with the game and I feel comfortable with everything outside the ice and just focusing on improving my game and improving all those small details that I have to do to make the team next year,” he said. “It's sad, but on the other hand it's a good thing for me and a good option for me to improve my game.”
Zibanejad will also now be eligible to represent his country at the world junior hockey championship in Alberta this winter.
Meanwhile, the Senators (4-5-0) will look to extend their winning streak to four games Thursday when they host the Florida Panthers (5-3-0).
It's been quite a turnaround for the Senators, who just last week were dealing with an embarrassing 7-2 home loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.
Part of Ottawa's improved play can be attributed to the power play, which is currently ranked No. 1 in the league. Ottawa is 10-for-32 with the man advantage this year.
Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek have also had great starts to the campaign, combining for 12 points in the last three games.
Spezza has three goals and four assists, while Michalek has three goals and two assists. Colin Greening, who completes the trio, has also played well in giving the Senators a solid first line.
On the downside, Ottawa's penalty kill sits 29th in the league with 13 goals allowed in 43 chances.
Raptors Add Experienced Voice To Front Office
Source: www.thestar.com - Doug Smith
(Oct 26, 2011) ORCHARD PARK, N.Y.—Bryan Colangelo finally has another voice to add to the chorus in the Raptors front office.
Fulfilling a promise he made a few months ago, Colangelo, the Raptors president and general manager, has added an experienced voice to his staff with the addition of Ed Stefanski as the team’s new executive vice-president of basketball operations.
According to several sources, the Raptors could formally introduce the former general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers and a long-time NBA executive as early as Thursday morning.
Stefanski’s specific duties remain unclear — the team had no official comment on the impending addition — but he will report to Colangelo in a changed Toronto front office.
The married father of four, who worked almost a decade with the New Jersey Nets before joining the Sixers, joins what will be an entirely revamped Raptors front office whenever the 2011-12 NBA season begins.
Maurizio Gherardini, Toronto’s senior vice-president at the start of last season, will have new duties — based in Europe, according to a source — and senior director of scouting Jim Kelly will also have a new job description. Both were given one-year contract extensions last summer, after Colangelo had decided to add a new face to the team’s hierarchy.
Add in the departure of Masai Ujiri, who left as director of global scouting in Toronto to become the executive vice-president of basketball operations for the Denver Nuggets and there are holes to be filled.
Former head coach Jay Triano has been bumped upstairs as a consultant to Colangelo and Marc Eversley remains as assistant general manager and one of Colangelo’s most trusted advisers, but there has been a void to be filled.
But even with the new structure, there will be little substantial change to Colangelo’s role. He will still have the final say in all significant player transactions while having a hand in almost everything to do with the basketball side of the operations
Stefanski has been long linked to the Raptors job. He, San Antonio Spurs executive Dennis Lindsay, New Orleans general manager Jeff Bower and Kevin Pritchard, a former Portland executive and current front office employee of the Indiana Pacers, were the four most reported names in Colangelo’s search.
Stefanski was fired by Philadelphia’s new owners last week after months of speculation. He had been with the team since December 2007, and had lost the title of president in 2010 when the club hired his former boss, Rod Thorn, from the Nets.
Stefanski’s notable moves in his four years as a Sixers executive include signing Andre Iguodala and Elton Brand to long-term contracts and bringing back Allen Iverson. He also fired coaches Maurice Cheeks and Eddie Jordan before hiring Doug Collins last season.
Stefanski was Nets general for three years prior to joining the Sixers and co-ordinated the trade that saw Vince Carter leave the Raptors.
NBA Labour Talks Turn Nasty As
Source: www.globeandmail.com - Brian Mahoney, The Associated Press
(Oct 20, 2011) NEW YORK— NBA labor talks turned nasty and broke off Thursday when three days of meetings failed to yield a deal to end a 112-day lockout, raising the likelihood that even more games will be canceled in an already fractured season.
After 30 hours of negotiations before a federal mediator, the sides remained divided over two main issues — the division of revenues and the structure of the salary cap system.
“Ultimately, we were unable to bridge the gap that separates the two parties,” NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver said. “We understand the ramifications of where we are. We're saddened on behalf of the game.”
Without a deal, NBA Commissioner David Stern, who missed Thursday's session with the flu, almost certainly will decide more games must be dropped.
The season was supposed to begin Nov. 1, but all games through Nov. 14 — 100 in total — already have been scrapped, costing players about $170 million in salaries.
Stern said previously that games through Christmas were in jeopardy without a deal this week. Silver said the labor committee would speak with Stern on Friday about the future schedule.
The union said owners essentially gave it an ultimatum to accept a 50-50 split of revenues, and president Derek Fisher accused management of lying to the media.
“We've spent the last few days making our best effort to try and find a resolution here. Not one that was necessarily a win-win. It wouldn't be a win for us. It wouldn't be a win for them. But one that we felt like would get our game back ... and get our guys back on the court, get our vendors back to work, get the arenas open, get these communities revitalized,” Fisher said.
“And in our opinion, that's not what the NBA and the league is interested in at this point. They're interested in telling you one side of the stories that are not true and this is very serious to us. This is not in any way about ego. There are a lot of people's livelihoods at stake separate from us.”
Billy Hunter, executive director of the players' association, said the union made “concession after concession after concession ... and it's just not enough.”
“We're not prepared to let them impose a system on us that eliminates guarantees, reduces contract lengths, diminishes all our increases,” he said. “We're saying no way. We fought too long and made too many sacrifices to get where we are.”
Previously each side had proposed receiving 53 percent of basketball-related income after players were guaranteed 57 percent under the previous collective bargaining agreement.
Silver said the league formally proposed a 50-50 revenue split Wednesday, and the union moved from 53 percent to 52.5 percent Thursday.
“Hopefully, we can get back to the table, but certainly a tough day, a very tough day,” said Peter Holt, the labor relations committee chair and owner of the San Antonio Spurs.
Asked whether the players would drop to 50 percent, Holt said he didn't think it was that big of a jump but that the union did.
He said the league would not go above 50 percent “as of today. But never say never on anything.”
Hunter said Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert told players to trust that if they took the 50-50 split, the salary cap issues could be worked out.
Owners and players met with federal mediator George Cohen for 16 hours Tuesday, ending around 2 a.m. Wednesday, then returned just eight hours later and spent another 8 1/2 hours in discussions. The sides then met for about five hours Thursday, before calling it quits.
Cohen said the two sides weren't able to resolve the “strongly held, competing positions that separated them on core issues.”
“In these circumstances, after carefully reviewing all of the events that have transpired, it is the considered judgment of myself ... that no useful purpose would be served by requesting the parties to continue the mediation process at this time,” Cohen said in a statement.
Both sides praised Cohen and said they felt there was some progress on minor issues at the start of the talks. But it was clear by the time talks broke down that there were bad feelings on both sides.
Though the sides have said they believe bargaining is the only route to a deal, the process could end up in the courts. Each brought an unfair labor practice charge against the other with the National Labor Relations Board, and the league also filed a federal lawsuit against the union attempting to block it from decertifying.
Union officials, so far, have been opposed to decertification, a route the NFL players initially chose during their lockout.
However, Hunter said Thursday that “all of our options are on the table. Everything.”
Broncos, Stuns Dolphins
Source: www.globeandmail.com - Steven Wine
(Oct 23, 2011) MIAMI—For 54 minutes, Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos couldn’t score.
Then they couldn’t be stopped.
Tebow rallied the Broncos with two touchdown passes in the final 2:44 of the fourth quarter to force overtime, and Matt Prater’s 52-yard field goal gave them an improbable 18-15 victory Sunday over the stunned Miami Dolphins.
The Broncos appeared beaten when they trailed 15-0 with 5:23 left and took over at their 20. At that point Tebow was 4 for 14 for 40 yards.
But he led TD drives of 80 and 56 yards sandwiched around a successful onside kick, and scored a two-point conversion standing up with 17 seconds left to tie the game.
In overtime, Denver’s D.J. Williams sacked Matt Moore to force a fumble and recovered it at the Miami 36. Three plays later Prater hit the game-winner.
The Broncos (2-4) won for the first time in the eight games they’ve played on the Dolphins’ field. Miami (0-6) extended the NFL’s longest losing streak to nine games, leaving the status of embattled coach Tony Sparano even more tenuous.
The Dolphins lost for the 12th time in their past 13 home games.
Tebow made his first start of the year after Denver benched Kyle Orton, and for much of the game the Broncos sputtered. As Tebow walked to the sideline after one series stalled, spectators chanted his name in derision, and Dolphins players gestured to the crowd to keep the jeers coming.
But with the Broncos on the verge of being shut out for the first time since 1992, Tebow led an eight-play touchdown drive that got them back in the game. Matthew Willis’ 42-yard reception was a pivotal play, and Tebow threw a 5-yard scoring pass to Demaryius Thomas with 2:44 left to make the score 15-7.
Then came the onside kick. Miami receiver Marlon Moore leaped to catch the ball but bobbled it and the Broncos’ Virgil Green recovered at their 44 with 2:31 left.
Tebow’s strike to a diving Daniel Fells gained 28 yards to the 3. Two plays later, Tebow fooled the Dolphins by rolling left and throwing back to the right to Fells, who dived across the goal line for a 3-yard score with 17 seconds left.
Denver still needed a 2-point conversion to stay alive, and Tebow kept up the middle and the game moved to overtime.
Prater missed field-goal attempts of 49 and 43 yards in regulation, but his kick with 7:24 left in OT gave Denver the victory.
While the Broncos were two time zones from home, lots of fans wore Tebow jerseys, and the popular quarterback drew a big roar trotting onto the field for his first series. Tebow won a 2005 high school state championship and the 2008 national title with the Florida Gators in the same stadium.
Crowd loyalties were divided even at halftime, when the Dolphins paid tribute to the 2008 Gators. Seventeen former Gators and former coach Urban Meyer took part in the ceremony, drawing a mix of cheers and jeers.
Despite the salute to the Gators and Tebow mania, the stadium was almost half empty at the start — a sign of growing fan discontent with the Dolphins.
The crowd was booing the home team before Miami’s first series ended, but Denver moved the ball no better. Together the two teams failed to convert their first 16 third-down situations.
Tebow’s first pass was tipped by a defender, and several subsequent throws landed nowhere near a receiver. He struggled to identify blitzes and looked unsettled in the pocket.
Midway through the third period Denver had netted 2 yards on 10 pass plays, an average of 7 inches per play. But Tebow’s final stats were better — 13 for 27 for 161 yards. He was sacked seven times but ran for 65 yards in eight carries.