Updated: August 17 2005
Newsletter is coming to you one day early this week as I am going to Chicago on Thursday to attend NABFEME with Kayte Burgess who is performing in the Women Who Jam concert - hot line-up and lots of celebrity guests and the top executives of the entertainment industry. (www.nabfeme.org) Don't forget about Irie Mondays and the special fundraiser for Sickle Cell on September 11 (details below).
Due to conflicting events, I missed a good 1/2 of Honey Jam this year but what I saw was again the high standard of PhemPhat in both the talent and the timeliness of the all-female showcase. Check out photos in my PHOTO GALLERY. Earlier that day, I checked out the theatre production Night Song - read my recap below - a very compelling and twisted story!
This week there's a lot of Canadian news is all categories so check it out - MUSIC NEWS, FILM NEWS, TV NEWS, and OTHER NEWS! Have a read and a scroll! This newsletter is designed to give you some updated entertainment-related news and provide you with our upcoming event listings. Welcome to those who are new members. Want your events listed by date? Check out EVENTS.
Monday Nights - Still the Hippest Monday
Don’t miss the party on one of the hottest patios in the city at Irie Food Joint. The weather is just fantastic now, so you just HAVE to come out and help us celebrate the remainder of the summer. Rain or shine as the patio is covered for our convenience. The party begins at 10:00 pm. DJ Carl Allen will be spinning the tunes while Kayte Burgess and Adrian Eccleston bring the live music. Make some new friends and meet up with some old ones!
MONDAY, AUGUST 22
IRIE MONDAY NIGHT SESSIONS
Irie Food Joint
745 Queen Street W.
The Sickle Cell Association of Ontario
Benefit Concert – September 11, 2005
The Sickle Cell Association of Ontario invites you to A Royal Tea & Benefit Concert featuring World Renowned Entertainer and Pianist Linda Gentille on September 11, 2005 at Le Royal Meridien King Edward Hotel. Sickle cell anemia is an inherited condition that can be life threatening. It causes chronic pain and swelling in the joints, fever and respiratory infections. There is no cure for sickle cell anemia – but there is hope through research. The Sickle Cell Association of Ontario is a voluntary, nonprofit, charitable organization which is funded by donations from individuals, organizations and employee charitable funds.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 11
A ROYAL TEA & BENEFIT CONCERT
FEATURING PIANIST LINDA GENTILLE
Le Royal Meridien King Edward Hotel
36 King Street East
Table of 10: $650
For More Information, Please Contact SCAO:
Night Song After Death
For first-time playwright Allen Forbes, the strength of his dark side is well in tact! I went to see the closing show for Allen's Night Song After Death this past Sunday. Night Song tells the story of two generations of Jamaican men and their family secrets. A visit from eldest son Teddy (Awaovieyi Agie) and his wife Ruth (Linda Spence), forces Fitz (Roy Lewis), the family patriarch to confront his fears and come to terms with the bitter-sweet memory of his deceased wife Julia.
The unexpected twists take the characters in this play down the dark road of manipulation, verbal and mental abuse, reunion and grief. The controlling patriarch played by Roy Lewis was so effective in his portrayal of the abusive father that when it came time to greet him after the production, I still felt a seething resentment, despite certain redeeming qualities of the character. The delivery of each of the cast members was comedic and totally engaging including the performance of Awaovieyi Agie (Teddy) whose brow-beaten, powerless character made me want to jump on stage in his defence.
Thank goodness for the character of Uncle Sam (Neville Edwards) whose strong spirit brought some sort of redemption to the dysfunctional family, namely (including characters mentioned above) the militant and defiant, Lenroy; the unforgiving, hurt and spiteful wife of Teddy, Ruth (Linda Spence), and the charismatic yet misguided youth, Joey (Duane Hall). All to say it was an afternoon of good theatre with the characters lingering in my mind well after the closing scene. I look forward to future developments of this play and congratulations to the cast and playwright for a job well done.
Motivational Note: The Billion-Dollar Motivation Secret
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com - Jason M. Gracia Founder and President http://www.motivation123.com
Imagine sitting on a tropical island, a cool breeze blowing against your face. In the distance you can hear the soothing sound of crystal clear waves rolling gently onto the shore. Peaceful feeling, don't you think? Imagine running full speed off the edge of a cliff, heart pounding in your chest, with a hang-glider attached to catch your fall. You sore through the air, seeing the world from a bird's eye view. You're on top of the world! Pretty exciting, isn't it? Imagine going through your entire day without a hint of stress, tension or worry. Everything goes your way and no one can get to you. Think about how life would be if every day went this way. Every day was free from worry and stress. Such a relaxing and happy picture. Something special happens within each of us when we close our eyes and imagine. We transport ourselves to better times, and forget, if only for a moment, the struggles of reality. We can even feel it in our bodies - the energy and excitement builds with the images of an inspiring future. This is the magic of visualization.
The Gift that Keeps on Giving
There are no boundaries when it comes to your imagination. You can create whatever pictures you desire. And it's fast. A few seconds is all it takes to put you in a state of excitement and enthusiasm. Take a few minutes right now to achieve your goals in your mind. Imagine a life that is exactly as you want it. What would you do each day? With whom would you do it? Nothing is too crazy or ambitious. If you can see it in your mind, you can make it a reality. Visualization is the first step to bringing a dream to life. If you can see yourself happy, successful, healthy and loving life, you can make it happen. The first step is to visualize it. Tom Watson, the founder of IBM, once described his secret to the unbelievable success he helped to create. The IBM you see today began from one simple technique. It is something you and I can do at any place and time. The same method Tom Watson used to grow IBM into a billion-dollar enterprise is available to you. He saw a picture in his mind. Before his company began operating, he knew exactly what it would look like when it was complete. The picture in his mind was as vivid and clear as the words you see on the screen in front of you. He could see the offices, the machines, the employees working busily accomplishing goals and setting new standards. He could see the satisfied customers as they shook hands with his associates. Tom Watson could see the office he would work from making vital decisions to help his dream progress. Tom Watson knew exactly what he was going to create. It was already real to him, he simply had to show the rest of the world what was in his mind. And it all began as a picture, a visualization.
The Secret Revealed
What is behind the power of visualization? Powerful, scientific fact. It is because of this one trait of the mind that visualization can excite and inspire you to create a life full of joy and happiness. The mind cannot tell the difference between a real experience and one vividly imagined. If you imagine a picture with enough detail and emotion, your mind will act on it as if it were real. Your brain will begin to think of ways to help you achieve your vision. It will constantly be thinking of ideas to make your picture a reality. You will begin to notice new opportunities in your environment that were always there, you just never looked for them before. Right about now you might be asking yourself, 'What if I don't even know what I want? What if I don't know what to imagine?' If this is true for you, keep reading. If not, you can move ahead to the next section. I can tell you from personal experience that not knowing what you want can be a confusing, frustrating and miserable time. But there is an answer. There are very specific steps you can take to discover what it is that you want, what goals will make you happy. If you would like to figure out what you want in life, visit the address below to learn eye-opening and insightful exercises to help you with this exciting process: http://www.motivation123.com/tmm-ez02.html
Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Lisa Wright, Staff Reporter
(Aug. 11, 2005) What happens when a New York hip-hop clothier decides to bring a slew of big-name U.S. rappers and his new video game to Toronto's waterfront? Well, expect a hip-hop circus under the big top at The Docks this weekend. Organizers have an ambitious juggling act in the works, mixing A-list music with all sorts of special events ranging from "MC mini-golf" to a "crunk" climbing wall and "jiggy" jousting. The two-day, all-ages Getting Up Festival at the Polson St. pier is being billed as a lifestyle event, a sort of "hip-hop-palooza" beyond the realm of a mere concert. U.S. big names on board include Kanye West, Ludacris, Nas, Mos Def, Fat Joe, Busta Rhymes, Lil Jon, Ciara and Brooke Valentine. Some of Canada's top talent is also invited to the party in their own backyard. Kardinal Offishall, the Rascalz, Swollen Members, Jully Black, Keshia Chante, Melanie Durrant, Jelleestone and Rochester a.k.a Juice will represent hip hop north. There won't be dancing bears or elephants in this circus, but one exotic animal will be prominent among the truckload of trinkets on offer: the rhino that serves as the trademark logo for Marc Ecko's urban clothing line. The New Jersey native is the chief organizer and sponsor of the Getting Up event, and he's naturally bringing his Ecko Unlimited wares to the party. "Oh yeah, you're going to see that rhino everywhere," says Little X, who is directing the festival pretty much in the image of his booty-shaking music videos. "It's hip hop. It's a party. There's no more consumer-friendly market," notes the Brampton native, who directed the video for Ludacris' "Pimpin' All Over the World" track, among numerous others for Usher and R. Kelly. The Getting Up main stage — built specially for the event — is smack-dab in the middle of the golf driving range at the Docks. There's a lot of hype surrounding this festival, since no one seems to recall Toronto hosting something this big in terms of hip hop recently, if ever. "If you love hip hop, you've got to be involved. It's going to be huge. It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing," advises Toronto rapper Rochester a.k.a Juice, who will be the first to take the stage Saturday. "It's good for local artists because it leads to other opportunities. I'm going to be a spectator, too. I love to learn." Getting Up is not just the name of the event. Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure is also the title of Ecko's new video game about the life of a graffiti artist, to be released next month by Atari. The phrase is slang for getting your art or tag "up" on a wall or high surface.
Ecko is crystal clear about how he chose to brand the festival. "When we were coming up with a name, we were trying to be strategic, looking at the things we needed to promote — and the game was obviously one of them. It's Marketing 101," he says. "Hip hop has never been just the music, ever. And it's not just recently getting materialistic," he says, saying it's the same way with rock music. The ultra-successful clothing designer — who has also teamed up with 50 Cent and Eve to churn out their fashion lines — says hip hop is now so mainstream that the suits use its slang in boardrooms. People expect commercialism to be part of an event of this magnitude, he says. "And the idea of `getting up' or getting noticed was something very cool, rather than calling it the Ecko Unlimited Rhino-Fest, or Rhino-palooza," laughs Ecko, a former graffiti artist himself who says he spent years working on the storyline for the new game. No surprise, there'll be a "players' club" at the Docks where gamers can try out Ecko's game and other Atari and Playstation offerings. Other events include a live graffiti exhibit featuring New York legends Cope2 and T-kid, who happen to be characters in the Getting Up game; a War of the Words freestyle rap battle for local MCs to show their skills; a "beatdown" battle for DJs; and a dance competition for b-boy and b-girl crews. Of course it wouldn't be hip hop without the requisite contingent of pimped-out rides and hotties. The front lot of The Docks will feature a luxury car show while the main stage will showcase a "video vixen" contest. The latter will have a panel of celebrity judges including who else, Little X, who is promising to put the winner in an upcoming video.
Independent artists in Canada always complain they have to go to the U.S. to make it in the business, particularly local rappers who continue to struggle to find their niche. Makes you wonder why Ecko came in this direction and picked Toronto to host a huge hip-hop festival. He says it was pretty simple. "Toronto is known for putting together some pretty big events like Caribana. Toronto is just a cool, cultural melting pot," he says. "We (at Ecko Unltd.) have a pretty healthy business in Canada, specifically in Toronto. I would say all the stars aligned. It was pretty spontaneous. Being up there for some parties and some events myself and getting a taste for the city, it just made sense," says Ecko, on the phone from his New York office. "We saw that bringing in this talent, coupled with the kind of lifestyle component we have — plus the physical location and the people — it just lends itself to giving this thing a shot," he says. So along with all the ear and eye candy, expect vendors galore throughout the 10-hectare Docks area. Again, think rhino. "It's going to be a hip-hop education and a hip-hop flea market," jokes Little X. For educational purposes, organizers added a culture corner showcasing the elements of hip-hop through art, books and film. Nearby will be a classic sneaker boutique from Fixins.com displaying shoes from around the globe, since kids love their kicks. It's definitely one of the big shows to hit the T-dot this summer, considering the big names and expected turnouts of 20,000 daily. Ticket prices aren't cheap: from $59.50 for a one-day basic pass to $139.50 for a two-day VIP pass (separate access to the venue, an indoor lounge, separate beer tent and toilets), before taxes and service charges. Ecko, 32, is bringing his wife, baby and toddler from New York to take in the show, underlining that it's also a family-friendly event.
"My hat's off to (Ecko) for even thinking of Toronto because he really could have had it anywhere," says Kardinal. "The whole perception of Toronto hip hop is growing. Hip hop has never been just about the music. It's about music and fashion and dancing and graffiti. A big part of hip hop is style," he says, adding the Ecko brand is a natural tie-in. Over the last 12 years, Ecko has expanded from selling track suits and baggy jeans to teens, to footwear, watches, underwear, cosmetics, leather goods and a premium collection of men's clothing. "Hip hop is used these days to sell everything from toothpaste to socks to beer," says Kardinal. "Before it used to be looked at as a sell-out, but now everybody does it. "I'm still waiting for some of those cheques," jokes the veteran of the Canadian scene, who knows what a hard sell that rap is in Canada, particularly for endorsements. Depending on the turnout — and, no doubt, the ringing of the registers — Ecko may hold the event annually both here and in other cities.
A Foxy Farewell For Destiny's Child
Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Ashante Infantry & Malene Arpe, Staff Reporters
(Aug. 12, 2005) It was the last chance to see the girls together, so we girls went together. And although we might have been the only females in the audience not wearing tank tops and screaming constantly, a reasonably good time was had. Destiny's Child's penultimate Canadian concert at the Air Canada Centre was an uber-boisterous affair, marked by more than a dozen costume changes and disastrously poor sound quality. The trio comprised of Beyoncé, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams, one of the best-selling girl groups in pop history, is going out at the top of their game — evidenced by the glossy, tightly choreographed two-hour spectacle before an enthusiastic crowd of 12,000. The group has announced that they will retire at the end of this tour, which wraps up in Vancouver on Sept. 10.
Opening acts: The arena was half-empty when Amerie hit the stage in gold hot pants; can't say they missed much. She's got killer legs and great hair, but instead of leaving the stage to change clothes after every song she should have stayed to build momentum. Mario is the Usher wannabe of 2005, right down to the fly, casual style, slick dance moves and tendency to posture and disrobe. His gyrating groin area undid his belt buckle, leading one mom to cover her five-year-old's eyes.
Hair and makeup: The wind machine was put to good, constant use, giving the three that shampoo-commercial look we love so much. But everyone looked as if they're halfway through the tour: A little tired around the eyes and, for Beyoncé, a little hefty around the thighs.
Songs: "Can't wait to hear Beyoncé sing. It's going to be f---ing goosebumps," purred a lithe teen in leopard pumps. Beyoncé got her turn with four solos, compared to Kelly's two and Michelle's one. But we did get all the hits, going back to "No, No, No Part 2," through "Independent Woman," "Bootylicious," "Say my Name," "Soldier" and "Lose my Breath," which was the encore, and, of course, "Survivor." Flamenco-style, no less.
Audience: Cropped sweaters, big shiny belts and wedge sandals were the staple among the girl-heavy, not-quite-capacity crowd. But there was a smattering of men, mostly fathers and boyfriends. When the trio called for lusty volunteers during "Cater 2 U," dozens of males ran forward. Question: What were their girlfriends/daughters thinking?
Merchandise: There's no way Tina Knowles (Beyoncé's mother and the group's primary stylist) designed those boring super-sized T-shirts that were being hawked for $40. Destiny's Child charm bracelets, key rings and glow sticks were to be had, but not a single CD on sale.
Clothes: Beyoncé's crocheted beachwear was particularly fetching and the leather get-up for "Soldier" was hot. Only real misfire was the gold '60s outfits. All clothing by House of Deréon, the collaboration between Beyoncé and her mom.
Sound: So horribly distorted was the sound from beginning to end that we think somebody should be fired. No excuse for that on a big-budget production like this, and don't even think about blaming our venue. If you didn't already know the songs, it was impossible to discern the lyrics.
Stage banter: We don't know. We couldn't hear what they were saying. We think Beyoncé loves us, and Kelly too; not sure about Michelle, she didn't smile much.
Staging: Lots of neon and lots of six-packs on the fine dancers. There may have been a bit of overuse of the three under-the-stage elevators used to ferry the divas on stage, but, hey, if you've got a gimmick that works...
Every song had a video element, shown on screens on each side of the stage and on one massive curved screen on top, leading to the curious phenomenon of the audience taking pictures, not of the performers on stage, but of the performers appearing on the screen.
Prediction: Beyoncé will marry Jay-Z, sell a huge amount of records, put those childbearing hips to good use and die old and happy. Kelly will sell fewer records but make many guest appearances on iffy TV shows and perhaps reconcile with what's-his-name, the football player. Michelle will appear on late-night infomercials and become a minister in Iowa.
No Slowing Down For Bobby Valentino
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com - (August 12, 2005) A very talented singer with poster boy looks, which have no doubt played a role in his solo success, Bobby Valentino, has been hot on the charts with not one, not two but three hit singles over the past few months. The former member of 1990s boy group Mista is taking the success in stride. ‘I haven’t changed one bit. Success is something that I have always wanted and now its here, and I am enjoying the ride,’ Valentino said in a recent interview with this writer. His debut solo album Disturbing tha Peace Presents Bobby Valentino shot to the number two spot on the Billboard R&B album chart and has already been certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Valentino whose real name is Bobby Wilson started his musical journey at the age of 15 in 1995 when he and his friends Darryl Allen, Brandon Brown and Byron Reeder formed the boy group Mista. The group was produced by Organized Noiz and was signed to Elektra Records. Their self titled debut album was released in 1996, and scored two Billboard chart hits Blackberry Molasses and Lady. Blackberry Molasses proved to be the group’s biggest hit peaking at number 13 on the R&B charts. In explaining why the group broke up, Valentino said ‘When groups make it, its something special. Being in a group was very hard. Everybody wanted to do their own thing, so that’s why we went our separate ways’, said Valentino. The Mississippi born-Valentino grew up in Atlanta. After the demise of Mista, he went to college to pursue Mass Communication. ‘I studied radio, television and film. I liked the editing aspects of radio and the camera. What I learned in college helps me in the day to day aspects of my career right now. When I am doing interviews, I ask the questions even before they ask me. It’s an intricate part in what I am doing now,’ Valentino explained.
Asked if being in a group during his teenage years has helped to shape him as an individual or as an entertainer, Valentino replied ‘I don’t want to make the same mistakes that others made. Back then I was doing it for the fun and it was real good. It was more like an internship for me.’ Since the success of his debut solo single Slow Down (which spent four weeks at number one on the Billboard R&B Chart), Valentino’s life has been on a high. ‘I have been able to travel the world and it has been very hectic. I was in South Africa recently where we were shooting a video, and it was just great. I was around all these animals, lions, elephants and tigers. It was a great experience for me.’ Valentino owes his success to Disturbing That Peace CEO, rapper Ludacris. Valentino’s demo tape was sent to the label and Ludacris was impressed with what he heard and offered him a record deal. ‘I had a chance to get my music to Ludacris and the Disturbing Tha Peace label. They just loved it and it was history from there. They liked me as an individual and as an artiste so they made it happen,’ he said. Valentino’s debut album is loaded with goodies for the ladies. Songs from the heart which explore relationships are the order of the day. Slow Down and Tell Me, both of which can be found on the album, are still hot on the charts. Another track Pimpin' All Over the World featuring Ludacris taken from the rapper’s Red Light District album and is also making gains on the Billboard charts. ‘If people loved Slow Down then they will love my album. You can expect to start listening from beginning to end and love everything that you hear,’ Valentino pointed out. He added ‘Slow Down was a personal experience. I saw this young lady and she had a pretty round thing that looked good to me. It was a real situation. My entire album is from personal experiences’. Valentino said he would love to visit Jamaica soon. ‘I love Jamaica and the whole reggae vibe. A friend of mine whose name is Ross just moved down there recently and he is enjoying it over there.’ He lists old school rhythm and blues acts including Anita Baker, boy group Jodeci, Marvin Gaye, Prince, Bob Marley and the Isley Brothers among his musical influences.
Bobby says he would like to branch off into other projects which would develop him as an all round entertainer. He said that five years from now he would have hoped to achieve most of what he wanted to accomplish. ‘Right now I am just promoting my album, but I would love to get into acting and some other stuff later on. Down the road I would like to be considered a premiere artiste and I want to be an all round entertainer.’ He points out that education is an important factor for any upcoming artiste in the business. ‘Education is the key in everything that you do. Perfecting your craft is very important and you have to continuously work at it,’ said Bobby.
Foot note: David Miller and Jackie Spillane from Def Jam’s International Marketing/Publicity department facilitated this interview with Bobby Valentino.
Progressive LA Nu-Soul Band's Debut CD Hit's Sept. 13
Source: Karen Taylor Bass, Taylor Made Media PR, email@example.com; 516.285.4999
(August 12, 2005) Los Angeles, CA -- Anyone asking the question what happened to Soul music has yet to hear The Rebirth, a seven-piece band that not only bings back the sound of the genre, but live musicianship. Their debut CD and Double LP, This Journey In, is slated for worldwide delivery on September 13, 2005 on indie hip-hop, funk & nü-soul label and distributor, Kajmere Sound Recordings/KSD Music. The Rebirth’s organic blend of contemporary and traditional soul music, along with tinges of hip-hop, jazz, Brazilian house and funk, is unlike any sound on radio—or stage—today. With influences that range from standard-bearing soul bands such as Earth, Wind & Fire, to the music of jazz masters like Roy Ayers, The Rebirth uses This Journey In to seamlessly unite a variety of musical styles. “We acknowledge our influences but we don’t want to be just a compilation of these influences,” says Loslito, Keyboardist, Band leader and Creator of the group. “We want to move the music forward, to what the future of soul music will be.” Having already released a number of solid-selling CD and 12” singles; including "This Journey In," "Every Body Say Yeah," "Got Your Madness," and a critically acclaimed cover of The Might Ryders’ “Evil Vibrations,” The Rebirth has already formed a loyal fan base. To introduce the 11-track collection of songs to music lovers and media in the U.S., The Rebirth is planning record release parties in Hollywood and New York City this fall; followed by a Record Release Tour in select markets, such as: Philadelphia, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco and San Diego.
The band will then head to Japan, Australia, then back to Europe for another round of international concert dates. “We just like to get out there and play,” says Loslito. “What better way for people all over the world to hear what our music is about than to experience it live.” And, the live Rebirth experience takes listeners back to when good music was played on stage and the audience became one with the groove. Helmed by Loslito, also co-Founder of Kajmere Sound Recordings/KSD Music and the foremost weekly underground hip-hop, soul, funk club in Los Angeles, The Root Down, Rebirth has been playing gigs from L.A. to Dublin since the late `90s. Now with the band, which includes Noelle Scaggs (lead vocals), Chris “C-Quest” Taylor (drums), Patrick Bailey (guitar), Gregory “Lectric” Malone (bass), Raul “Lil Big Fat” Gonzalez (percussion) and Mark Cross (keyboards), The Rebirth collective is looking to let even more in on their homegrown musical secret. This Journey In, written and produced by the band, will appeal to an array of music fans with an eclectic mix of powerful, music-driven cuts—from the House-infused, disco-Brazilian inspired track “Talking Me Down,” to the radio friendly message song “Common Ends,” to “Shake It” for those who like to simply jam out.
The Rebirth has bred musical creation on their journey. Come along for the ride. For more information on The Rebirth, please visit www.therebirthlive.com, www.kajmeresound.com and www.ksdmusic.com. About Kajmere Sound Music Group: Kajmere Sound Music Group, LLC. (Kajmere Sound Recordings, Kajmere Sound & Marketing and KSD Music) was founded in 2002 by Entrepreneur Joseph Davidian, Artist Manager/Film & T.V. Music Supervisor, Charles Raggio, and Club Promoter/Songwriter/Musician/DJ, Loslito, as a tool to promote quality, progressive or underground music in the hip-hop, funk and nü-soul genres. In just three years time, Kajmere has garnered over 250 releases for worldwide distribution, supports six label releases annually, runs five tastemaker clubs (in the house, hip-hop, funk, soul and Latin genres) and produces special events for numerous clients; including lifestyle brands and record release parties.
Benita Washington Is A Lady of Soul
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com
Gospel’s newest sensation Benita Washington has been nominated for a Lady Of Soul Award in the Best Gospel Album category for her debut album “Hold On.” Benita is also a presenter at the 10th Annual Awards. Others nominated in her category are Dorothy Norwood, Lashun Pace and Kierra ‘KiKi’ Sheard. “Wow, I can hardly believe it, this is great!” says an overwhelmed Benita. “I’m excited and I want to thank everyone for their support and I hope everyone will be touched by music.” Benita’s Hold On was released last year on Light Records [now Artemis Gospel]. It hit the top-ten on the Billboard Gospel Albums Chart and the lead single “Thank You” reached number three on the charts and remained for three consecutive weeks. The “Lady Of Soul Awards” will be taped for national broadcast at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, CA, Wednesday, September 7, 2005 and airs in most cities on September 17. This year’s show is hosted by Brian Mc Knight, Toni Braxton and Ciara. For a full television listing, see http://www.soultrain.com/losa/stations.html.
Benita is the original Gospel Dream Winner and was recently featured on CECE WINANS’ TOUR and guest starred with Prophetess Juanita Bynum on her TBN Mother’s Day Special. Benita was selected during Gospel Dream 2003 competition in Atlanta, Georgia from among over 500 aspiring artists. Along with winning first place at Gospel Dream, she was awarded a solo recording contract with Tehillah Music Group/Light Records and has received significant amount of marketing and promotions since garnering this spot. The Nashville resident and her husband Delvin are expecting their first baby later this fall.
‘Rising Stars,’ Jamaica’s Answer To ‘American
Idol’ Unearths Hot New Talent
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com - (August 11, 2005) Jamaica’s version to the immensely popular “American Idol” talent competition is Digicel “Rising Stars”. The series kicked off last year, and so far this year, the competition has unearthed tons of talented aspiring entertainers from across Jamaica. One of the hot talents this year, is boy group Q, dubbed as Jamaica’s Backstreet Boys. Q has been making quite an impact which has resulted in thousands of votes from female fans. Comprising four youngsters whose ages range from 18-22 years, Q has consistently come out on top of the elimination rounds. Last Friday, Q topped the polls earning the most votes from their first studio finals appearance. “We are just thrilled with what has been going on. Our lives have changed a lot since we entered ‘Rising Stars’,” group member Jerome Powell said. Powell, who is 22 years old, hooked up with the other members of the quartet earlier this year. A former member of Excelsior High School and the Institute of Academic Excellence, he says that music had always been his passion. A resident of Monza in Greater Portmore, St. Catherine, Powell said that he hid his singing talent from neighbours who are now taken aback with what has been happening. “The people in my community are just surprised with what has been taking place. They didn’t have any idea that I could sing. I am not the kind of person to walk around and brag,” Powell explained. Q took its name from the music term queue. “At first we used it as a musical queue, because we felt it was our queue to become stars, and that’s how we ended up in ‘Rising Stars.’ When we performed at the auditions, it was our very first time ever performing together,” 18 year old Kalvin Tahal said. Tahal, who attended St. Catherine High, is also a former student of the Institute of Academic Excellence. He along with Peter Edwards and Damarah Danni are founding members of Q. Kalvin is from St. Johns Heights in Spanish Town. Like the boy groups from overseas, Q comes equipped with tight harmonies, choreography and charisma. Their poster boy looks have also assisted in their popularity with teenage girls. ‘We cannot walk on the road unnoticed. It’s been really crazy girls see us and scream and treat us like celebrities’, said Danni.
Nineteen year old Danni, who is from Hampton Green in Spanish Town, says he is still stunned by all that has been happening. “Its like one of those rags to riches stories. The more we perform is the more relaxed we become. We are no longer nervous while performing,” he said. A former student at the St. Jago High School in Spanish Town, Danni says that if the group doesn’t win in Rising Stars, then they would still pursue their musical aspirations. “Even if we don’t win, is straight music for us because ‘Rising Stars’ has provided the avenue for us to get some great exposure and to earn a fan base,” said Danni. Nineteen year old Peter Edwards, who also attended St. Catherine High, is from Kitson Town in Spanish Town. He resides between there and Clarendon. “Our lives have gotten much better since ‘Rising Stars.’ It is bringing us closer to what we wanted to achieve, which is to elevate in the music business,” he said. He pointed out that the group’s harmonies and versatility are what set them apart from others. The members of Q say they are influenced by the likes of Take 6, Az Yet, Portrait, the Temptations, Boyz II Men and Backstreet Boys. As for their plans for the future, Danni says ‘We want people to appreciate our music. We hope to make a change. Singing isn’t really appreciated in Jamaica and I think we have the right stuff’.
Stones Rock Fans At Polished Tune-Up Gig
Excerpt from The Globe and Mail - By Jen Gerson
(August 11, 2005) For a practice session it was incredibly polished. From the costume changes to the spot-on perfect lighting sequences and the half-dozen slick musicians backing them up, the Rolling Stones gave 1,000 fans in Toronto an intimate hour they will not soon forget. The band started with a couple of tunes from their latest release Rough Justice, including the title track, but when they launched into She's So Cold and Mick Jagger tossed his blazer to the stage, the show was well under way. Many who crowded onto the floor in the Phoenix Concert Theatre on Sherbourne Street in Toronto had waited outside for ages -- some as long as 24 hours -- to get a ticket for the tune-up gig before the Stones hit the road for their latest world tour. Others, like Justin Orfus, stood outside the downtown venue after the show started and got a chance to slip in for the last six songs when a producer noticed the club wasn't full. "It was like the gates of heaven opening," Mr. Orfus said. "It was unbelievable. It was the greatest rock and roll band in a room of 1,000 friends," he said. "Coming in and seeing Keith Richards and Mick Jagger on my right, it was surreal that these gods of rock would descend on such a small venue. People in here need the Stones." Apparently, the Stones also needed the people. "I'd like to thank everybody in Toronto for being so welcoming to us," Mr. Jagger told the cheering room. "The attention boosted up our egos for the tour."
Mr. Jagger managed a couple of costume changes while encouraging audience members to follow his gestures. Among the songs the band performed -- including Sweet Baby Mine and a rarely heard live performance of Dead Flowers -- the band did a cover of Bob Marley's Get Up, Stand Up, which went over especially well with the crowd. They ended the show with Brown Sugar, then slipped in a lively encore of Jumpin' Jack Flash. Olga Kobylansky turned 55 waiting in line, telling her husband she had "a date with Mick." Her husband understood. Ms. Kobylansky said she last saw the band nearly 40 years ago and she's more excited this time. Ms. Kobylansky was one of more than 1,000 people waiting to attend the unscheduled event. Many said they had caught wind of the concert while hanging around the band's rehearsal spot in north Toronto, at a school in the Davisville and Mount Pleasant area. Skippy Shay, 38, a Philadelphia resident who runs the fan site stickyfingersjournal.com, said the rumours of the concert had begun circulating as early as Saturday. There were cheers as a convoy of vehicles carrying the band arrived and then more jubilation as the doors opened at 8 o'clock. "They're old dinosaurs but they're still picking it up," said Al Lalli, who's in his mid-40s. "Younger bands take note." The Nova Scotia group the Trews was scheduled to open last night for the Stones, a coup for the band that has not yet released its second album. The Stones tour officially begins Aug. 21 in Boston, where Black Eyed Peas will open.
Whoop It Up While
Making A Tune
Excerpt from The Globe and Mail - By Sarah Efron
(August 12, 2005) When recording engineers Jesse Gander and Colin Stewart joined forces to open the Hive Studios last year, they decided to split the studio time in half; every month, they would each spend 15 days recording bands. But what about the months with 31 days? Gander and Stewart decided to use them to throw parties: They bring local bands into the studio, invite a bunch of people and record a live session. Gander has no trouble finding bands to play Live at the Hive. His Burnaby studio is now a hot spot for local indie musicians. He estimates that 100 bands have recorded here over the past year and a half. The studio was so busy that 27-year-old Gander didn't start hosting the live sessions until January. Tomorrow's Live at the Hive, featuring The Robosexuals, The Approach and New Year's Resolution, is the studio's fifth live concert. Live at the Hive is hybrid, part house party, part recording session. People bring cases of beer and wander around the control room; Gander keeps a watchful eye on his precious equipment from behind the mixing board. The shows aren't advertised, but at least 50 people always turn up. Most are friends or fans of the bands, but Gander says even if you don't have a personal connection, you're welcome to come if you RSVP by e-mail.
At the end of the year, Gander will release a CD compilation of the live tracks on the studio's label, Hive Fidelity Recordings. "It'll be 30 of our favourite local bands playing live with no fixing, no editing and no overdubs," he says. "It'll be a document of what our studio sounds like, but with 50 drunk people in the way." When local rock band Ladyhawk played here, they taught the audience some melodies and had them sing into the microphones. The crowd at singer-pianist Veda Hille's show was asked to bring along acoustic guitars, shakers, banjos, tin cans, bongo drums and washboards so they could join in on certain numbers. Musicians from different bands are encouraged to jam with each other. Each performance is mixed live and recorded directly onto the Hive's computers, an experience some musicians describe as nerve-racking. "At first it was kind of tense," says J. P. Carter from the band Great Aunt Ida, who played at the Hive in May, "but once the alcohol settled in and we played a tune or two, it got festive and silly. Once I realized the music sounded good, it became a lot more fun." The next Live at the Hive is tomorrow at 8 p.m. at 8561 Government St., Burnaby, 604-216-4483. To RSVP, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quik CD reunites Jodeci
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com
(August 12, 2005) *DJ Quik’s new Mad Science label churns out its first product on Sept. 13 with the release of “Trauma,” the Compton rapper’s first new studio album since 2000’s “Balance & Options” on Arista. The set includes first single “Fandango,” featuring Cypress Hill's B-Real, and the track “Quik’s Groove,” which features all four members of Jodeci reuniting for the first time in nearly a decade. The album also includes guest performances from the Game, Chingy, Ludacris, T.I., Nate Dogg and Wyclef Jean.
Broken Social Scene Disc On The Way
Excerpt from The Globe and Mail - By Guy Dixon
(August 11, 2005) Toronto -- Ending the trickle of rumours, Toronto's indie-music collective Broken Social Scene officially announced details of its third album, due Oct. 4, which could become one of the most important gauges of the ongoing vitality of the Canadian independent-music scene. For one thing, much of the indie scene is to appear on the album, including members of Stars, Metric and the Dears, and singer Feist and the rapper k-os and others. Accolades surrounding the band's last album, 2002's You Forgot It in People, effectively helped to propel the latest wave of independent Canadian bands onto the international stage, and the group's every move is still followed on highly influential forums such as Pitchforkmedia.com. Yet the band did quash one rumour yesterday. The new album will be simply titled Broken Social Scene, not Windsurfing Nation as rumoured.
Sinead Embraces Rastafarian Culture
Excerpt from The Globe and Mail
(August 11, 2005) Kingston, Jamaica -- Sinead O'Connor, who has recorded her first reggae album, Throw Down Your Arms, said she has found solace in the Rastafarian faith. "To me, I have not made a reggae record, I've made a Rasta record," O'Connor said Monday night at a launch party for the album, set for release later this year. The album includes covers of classic protest songs such as Burning Spear's Throw Down Your Arms, Peter Tosh's Downpressor Man and Bob Marley's War. "It is my way of expressing gratitude to the Rasta people, because I am one of those human beings who would not be alive today if it was not for the teachings of Rastafari," the Irish pop singer said. AP
Shiny New Teairra
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com
(August 11, 2005) *Fueled by the success of her first single, “Make Her Feel Good,” Roc-A-Fella's new songstress Teairra Mari makes her Billboard 200 chart debut at No. 5, selling 69,000 copies of her CD, "Roc-A-Fella Presents Teairra Mari." The disc also hit No. 2 on Billboard's Top R&B Albums chart, while "Make Her Feel Good" currently sits at No. 10 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. Country singer Faith Hill tops the Billboard 200 with her new album “Fireflies,” unseating the 19th version of “Now That’s What I Call Music,” which falls to No. 2 following a two-week reign. Mariah Carey's "The Emancipation of Mimi" (Island/Def Jam) holds steady at No. 3, Young Jeezy's "Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101" (Def Jam) falls 2-4, while the Black Eyed Peas' "Monkey Business" (A&M/Interscope) inches down 7-8. Elsewhere on the chart, Public Enemy's greatest hits collection, "Power to the People and the Beats" (Def Jam/Chronicles/UME) debuts at No. 69.
Lil Bandit, Let It Be Known, EMI International
Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz, Reggaeton Remix, Ichiban/Ryko
Lou Rawls, Live! [Bonus Tracks], Blue Note
Mos Def, New Danger [Bonus Track], Universal International
Pras, Win Lose or Draw, Universal
Raul de Souza, Elixir, Tratore Music Brasil
Tina Turner, Essential Collection, Madacy
Various Artists, This Is Northern Soul! The Motown Sound, Vol. 1, Universal International
Wu-Tang Clan, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), BMG International
Will Leonard Cohen
Come To See His Film?
Excerpt from The Toronto Star
(Aug. 12, 2005) Frank Gehry, Leonard Cohen and Tommy Chong — three Canadian-born figures who are unlikely to ever share an elevator — are among the range of subjects receiving documentary attention at the Toronto International Film Festival Sept. 8-17. The festival announced titles of 24 non-fiction films from 16 countries yesterday, of which 13 will be making their world premieres in Toronto. Another two are being seen for the first time outside their countries of origin, while five films are making North American debuts. Causing extra stir around Lian Lunson's film Leonard Cohen I'm Your Man is the bruited possibility that the reclusive Montreal singer-poet may show up in Toronto for the festival screening. Sketches of Frank Gehry is billed as an intimate look at the Toronto-born architect by his close friend, Hollywood director Sydney Pollack. The Josh Gilbert film A/K/A Tommy Chong will look at civil liberties issues surrounding the Edmonton-born dope comic's incarceration in a U.S. prison for selling bongs on the Internet. Some other titles of note:
· Alex Hinton's Pick Up the Mic explores the world of queer rappers in the United States
· Another U.S. entry, Eugene Jarecki's Why We Fight, is described as an "unflinching look" at the anatomy of the American war machine
· From Germany comes Philip Gröning's Into Great Silence, a portrait of life inside the Grande Chartreuse monastery in the French Alps
· A German-Austrian film, Workingman's Death, has five portraits of heavy manual labour little changed by technology — from coal miners in the Ukraine to steelworkers in China
· Tómas Gislason's Overcoming visits the hermetically enclosed world of professional cycling in following a Danish cyclist's bid to win the Tour de France
· The Mexican film Black Bull, from Pedro González-Rubio and Carlos Armella, is an insight into the life of bullfighter Fernando Pacheco
· From India, Ashim Ahluwalia's John & Jane follows six "call agents" fielding North American 1-800 numbers in a Bombay call centre
· American Micha Peled's China Blue follows a young female Chinese worker from farm to factory
· On a personal level, Doug Block's 51
Birch Street is a dramatic look at his parents' 55-year marriage.
All but one film on yesterday's list are slotted in the Reel to Reel non-fiction cinema program. The festival's tally of documentaries is now 29. For more information about these and other Toronto film festival selections call 416-968-FILM or click on http://www.bell.ca/filmfest
Revenge Of The Rapper
Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Angela Dawson, Special To The Star, VNU Entertainment News
(Aug. 11, 2005) NEW YORK—Mark Wahlberg has sought to make movies with acclaimed directors throughout his career. The former rapper counts David O. Russell, Wolfgang Petersen, Tim Burton, Paul Thomas Anderson and Jonathan Demme among the filmmakers with whom he's worked. Now Wahlberg feels his apprenticeship is complete. It's time for a new strategy. He insists he'll only star in movies that appeal to him, regardless of who's running the show. "I don't care if (the late Stanley) Kubrick calls," he says. "If it's not the kind of movie I want to see or a part I want to play, I'm not doing it." Wahlberg's declaration is hardly surprising. The 34-year-old performer has said he will quit acting when he turns 40. What then? "My biggest interest is golf. I'd rather be playing golf than anything," he says. For now, though, the Dorchester, Mass., native has other commitments. He feels obligated to continue working to support his 2-year-old daughter Ella Rae with girlfriend Rhea Durham. (While marriage isn't on the horizon, Wahlberg won't rule it out.) What triggered Wahlberg's rebellion? Was it misfires like Demme's The Truth About Charlie or disappointments like Rock Star? He won't say. But he says he's unhappy with the compromises that big studio movies sometimes require. "I've worked with directors who've given me the experience," he explains. "I appreciate it. But now I want to make the movies I want to make.'' Four Brothers is the kind of movie Wahlberg is talking about. In it he plays a petty criminal who returns home to Detroit after his adoptive mother is killed in a grocery store holdup. He joins his three brothers — two black and another white — in finding the culprits and exacting revenge. The foster brothers, very different men with distinctive personalities and values, are unified by their common devotion to the woman who raised them.
John Singleton (Boyz N the Hood) directed the film. Yet that's not what attracted Wahlberg to it. "I read the script and loved the character," the actor explains. "I thought it would be a great film and figured that was pretty rare. It was something I'd like and I'd want to see." A long-time acquaintance of the filmmaker, Wahlberg found Singleton's collaborative style refreshing. The enigmatic Bobby Mercer was a role with which he could identify. Like Bobby, Wahlberg started down the wrong path early in life and was saved by some caring people around him. The character is a bit of a hothead with a chip on his shoulder, which could easily describe Wahlberg on a bad day. As the youngest of nine children, Wahlberg could relate to growing up in a boisterous household with siblings vying for parental attention. Working in an ensemble that includes model-actor Tyrese Gibson, Outkast's Andre 3000 Benjamin and Garrett Hedlund (Troy) also appealed to the actor. "It's a guy's movie with a guy's energy," he explains. The quartet bonded in a natural way, the cast mates agree. "You either like each other or not," Wahlberg insists. "You're going to respect each other or not. It was interesting. It wasn't something we had to force." The group bonded over ice hockey, a sport Wahlberg hadn't played in 20 years. Some of the others had never played it. Nevertheless, Singleton gave them skates and cut them loose. Gibson (Baby Boy) says everyone brought his own "colour" to the "painting." "We all looked up to Mark," he adds with a smile. "He's done more films than all of us combined." Of course, it wasn't all love and kisses on the set. The guys would rib each other mercilessly about clothes, hair, singing ability and more. Singleton incorporated some of the banter into the $40 million (US) film. "The big challenge for me was establishing these four individuals and then having them operate as a unit," he says.
With its intense violence and vigilante themes, Four Brothers is like a Western, only set in the inner city. "It's basically about these knuckleheads who find out that the woman they love has been killed and they want to avenge her murder," the director explains. For Wahlberg, trying to imagine his character's emotions was difficult. "I always think of my family and friends and draw from real life experiences" in roles, he says. "But to think about something like that happening to my mother — it's not a pleasant feeling." Born into a working-class family, Wahlberg started off on the wrong foot, selling drugs and getting in trouble with the law. He was jailed at 16 for assaulting two men during a robbery. While imprisoned, he decided to turn his life around. He credits his parents, a priest from his Catholic parish and the local Boys Club for helping him get back on track. With the help of his brother Donnie, a member of the pop group New Kids on the Block, Wahlberg found his way into music and reinvented himself as rapper Marky Mark. He still had a hair-trigger temper, and the rap lifestyle wasn't conducive to keeping a clean record. Eventually, he left rap and decided to become an actor. (Wahlberg no longer sings but says he enjoys listening to gospel and reggae.) Not surprisingly, his big screen idols include such tough guy actors as Steve McQueen, James Cagney and Clint Eastwood. Cagney, he says, is someone he closely identifies with. "I don't identify with guys that look better than the girls that are starring next to them," insists the former Calvin Klein underwear model. Wahlberg made his film debut in the 1994 Penny Marshall comedy Renaissance Man and received positive notices in 1995's drama The Basketball Diaries opposite Leonardo DiCaprio. But his breakout performance came as a porn star in Paul Thomas Anderson's 1997 drama Boogie Nights.
Other roles followed in The Perfect Storm, Planet of the Apes, Three Kings and The Italian Job. He reunited last year with Three Kings director Russell on the comedy I Heart Huckabees, receiving raves for his portrayal of an eco-friendly fireman. Wahlberg is also the executive producer of the hit HBO comedy series Entourage, though he says his involvement is limited to reviewing scripts and overseeing the show's direction. "I always was a little nervous that it was gonna steer too close to my life," he says. "I didn't want that situation to occur." He is particularly pleased that Jeremy Piven, who plays an aggressive, high-powered agent, is garnering accolades. "I told him he was going to get nominated for an Emmy and it happened," Wahlberg says, smiling. "He's long overdue." Wahlberg says he may direct an episode in the upcoming third season. He also reveals that his Four Brothers co-star Gibson will have a guest spot next season. Meanwhile, Wahlberg is filming Martin Scorsese's The Departed in Boston and New York. Following that, he will begin production on Disney's Invincible, playing real-life football star Vince Papale, who became the oldest rookie in NFL history in the mid-1970s. Wahlberg has been training with NFL pros to hone his catching skills. "It's four hours of full contact, the whole deal," he says.
An Actress On A Mean Streak
Excerpt from The Globe and Mail - By Jake Coyle, Associated Press
(August 11, 2005) NEW YORK -- Mean Girls may have been the coming out party for Lindsay Lohan, but considering Rachel McAdams's red-hot career, some revisionist history may be in order. McAdams, who portrayed the head of The Plastics (the hot-girl high-school clique) in 2004's Mean Girls, has emerged as 2005's most talked-about young actress. In the recent hit comedy Wedding Crashers, she plays Owen Wilson's love interest. The 28-year-old, who grew up in St. Thomas, Ont., has been on the rise since the romantic film The Notebook last summer. She won the MTV Movie Award for breakthrough female performance earlier this year. In the upcoming Wes Craven thriller Red Eye, McAdams plays a woman held hostage -- on an airplane -- by Cillian Murphy, a rising star himself after 28 Days Later. Come fall, she'll appear in The Family Stone with an ensemble cast including Diane Lane and Luke Wilson. The Family Stone will give her another chance to try her mantra: "If you think it, the camera will see it."
Do you feel like the spotlight on you is getting brighter?
Well, I did the promotion for Wedding Crashers and now for Red Eye and soon I'm going into promoting The Family Stone -- I guess I'm realizing that if you film for half a year, you're going to do press for half a year. It seems like the appropriate amount of exposure.
Are you caught off-guard by the quickness of it?
It feels very new. There's no training for this life. I think Toronto (where she lives now) helps keep me grounded. I try to do other things when I'm not working.
I don't do a lot; I'm pretty domesticated. I've started doing some gardening, but mostly it's just spending time with friends and family.
Do you feel any pull to move out to Los Angeles?
In the beginning, there was more of a push to move out there. Now it just feels like Toronto is working for me and I'll stick with that.
Was there any particular actor or movie that inspired you to get into movies?
The first movie I ever saw was Peter Pan. Actually going to see it in the theatre was so riveting.
You've said you like to "physicalize" your performances -- that being in motion makes you forget yourself. But in Red Eye, you're stuck in an airplane seat for much of the movie.
That was what I was so drawn to -- being in a confined kind of space and still have it dramatic. I just wanted to play with the idea that if you think it, the camera will see it. The evolution that happens in her life, I wanted to be able to express that without a lot of dialogue. I was scared. [Laughs.] And I knew I would have that payoff at the end where I could take off and be in motion.
Did you ever think you'd be head-butted in a movie, or head-butt someone yourself?
I had hoped. I didn't realize it would come so soon. We did stage combat at university and I was really shy and timid, but by the end of a year of beating this glove, you can really get into it. It's quite enjoyable. I have a background in figure skating, so any kind of choreography doesn't come too hard.
Were you claustrophobic shooting in a fake airplane all day?
Yeah, it was incredibly claustrophobic. It wasn't as disconcerting as I thought it was going to be, but at the same time, it elevated the tension. I was literally stuck on the plane for 12 hours every day. And the cameras are really close to your face and Cillian is in really close proximity to me and I can't get away.
What kind of scripts are you getting now? Do you notice any kind of theme?
There seems to be an overall theme to female roles in Hollywood: a lot of obvious parts like the wife, or the girlfriend. I'm trying to get away from that, which is why I loved Amy Stone [her character in The Family Stone]. It's a small part, a supporting role, but it's so rich, not a typical character. So I'm just looking for any good character -- I don't care if they're attractive people or not.
Is there an actor or actress whose career you'd like to emulate?
There are so many women that I admire and have learned so much from them -- watching them work and the choices that they make. I guess I want to carve out my own path. But I lovvvve Elizabeth Taylor.
Hip Hop, A Script And A Jump
Excerpt from The Globe and Mail - By Johanna Schneller
(August 12, 2005) It's been 50 years since Frank Sinatra won an Oscar for From Here to Eternity, and musicians continue to wash into movies with the tides. Pop tarts Hilary Duff, Jessica Simpson and Lindsay Lohan are in current releases (The Perfect Man, The Dukes of Hazzard and Herbie: Fully Loaded, respectively). Willie Nelson lopes around in The Dukes of Hazzard. And three of the stars in director John Singleton's new movie, Four Brothers, were singers first: Mark Wahlberg, Tyrese Gibson and Andre Benjamin, better known as André 3000. "Musicians have always found their way into the cinema. They're entertainers," Singleton said last March on the Toronto set of Four Brothers. But he, more than any director, has melded movies and urban musicians. His first film, 1991's Boyz N the Hood, starred rapper Ice Cube, who later starred in Singleton's Higher Learning (1995). Singleton cast Tupac Shakur and Janet Jackson in Poetic Justice (1993); Busta Rhymes in Higher Learning and Shaft (2000); Snoop Dogg and Tyrese in Baby Boy (2001); and Tyrese and Ludacris in 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003). As well, Singleton is the producer who shepherded newcomer Craig Brewer's Hustle and Flow, about a Memphis pimp who becomes a krunk musician, from studio rejection to rejection, finally financing it himself. At the last Sundance Festival, he had the satisfaction of watching it earn standing ovations and set a record for the most ever paid for a Sundance picture: $9-million (U.S.) from Paramount's MTV films. It's earned shining reviews, and Ludacris again plays a small, key role. "I think I'm the only filmmaker who's made a career out of taking people on the transition from music to film," Singleton said. "Not in a fad or cliché way. But when these guys want to do a picture, they come to me, go through a certain training, and they step up for me."
Yet even without Singleton, hip-hop musicians seem to toggle back and forth into films with less effort than it took Beyoncé to squeal "Shazam!" in Austin Powers 3. Before Four Brothers, for example, Benjamin had already appeared in Be Cool and Guy Ritchie's next film, Revolver. "Hip hop is a very personal, upfront discipline," said Lorenzo diBonaventura, Four Brothers' producer. "There are no instruments or bands to hide behind. It's you and a mike, interacting with an audience. I think you develop acting skills that rock musicians like Mick Jagger or David Bowie never developed. And being in videos gives you a certain calm and familiarity in front of the camera. The hard part is, how does one tell who's learned not to ham it up?" There is such a thing as too much persona. Eminem was great in 8 Mile, but he was playing Eminem. Ludacris is compelling as a successful rapper in Hustle and Flow -- but he is a successful rapper. "I'm starting back over," Benjamin admitted. "So I have that nervous energy, where you're picking up stuff from everybody, dreaming and having favourite actors." His list is pretty daunting: Jeffrey Wright, Johnny Depp, Robert De Niro, Denzel Washington, Benicio del Toro. "I know, I know," he said, flashing a smile. "I like actors who do these odd things, they can be different characters in damn near every movie. But I'm getting these roles, so I have to propel and hope I'm good enough." The problem is, most of these guys have made a career out of being the scariest mother in the room. Can they, as Benjamin has to in Four Brothers, slip on a cardigan and cry?
Benjamin said Wahlberg told him that there comes a point when you just have to let go. "There's no one foot in and one out," Benjamin said. "When he did Boogie Nights, his boys at home were shaking their heads. That's hard. You build your whole music career on this image, then for acting, you have to strip it down. Your vanity has to leave. You can't be worried about, are you looking perfect, are you sounding perfect." "You have to cry on a dime, and make all the ugly faces that come with crying, and just go for it," Tyrese Gibson agreed. So why do it? "I think my music fans have been able to connect with me even more through the characters I've acted, because they can feel their vulnerabilities so much," Gibson says. "That's inspired me to change my music. My next album [his fourth] is going to be more raw, more in your face, more relatable, where you can understand my heart and what I'm going through. I'm gonna say what needs to be said, not focus on rhyming, to deliver the rawest of the raw." "In music, I can say whatever I want, whenever I want," Benjamin said. "So I've gotten caught up in this world where it's all about me. In film, it's the opposite. I have to wake up early, come to rehearsal, read lines that someone else wrote. It's liberating, though. I have to go someplace emotionally that I haven't gone in 10 years. It's a kind of therapy." An acting career making someone grow up -- imagine that.
Twelve Disciples Of Nelson Mandela To Make World
Premiere At Toronto International Film Festival
Source: Chimpanzee Productions, Inc.; Thomas Allen Harris, Tel. 845-986-1646 Fax.845-986-1748, email@example.com; www.ChimpanzeeProductions.com
(August 11, 2005) Greenwood Lake, NY –For the third time in a row, Chimpanzee Productions, Inc. will have a film making its debut at the Toronto International Film Festival. Twelve Disciples Of Nelson Mandela (a son’s tribute to unsung heroes), will follow in the footsteps of the two previous installments of the Paulding Avenue Trilogy, VINTAGE: FAMILIES OF VALUE (1995) and E MINHA CARA/THAT’S MY FACE (2001), and make its debut at Toronto, as part of the Reel to Reel documentary category. “This is such a unique honor,” says director Thomas Allen Harris, “Twelve Disciples completes the chronicle of my family’s history over the last forty years as an African and American family at the epicenter of major social, political and cultural changes in America and the world.” TWELVE DISCIPLES is a co-production of the Independent Television Service (ITVS), with funds from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and will make its U.S. television premier on PBS’ P.O.V. series in 2006.
TWELVE DISCIPLES was produced by New York-based Chimpanzee Productions and co-produced by Johannesburg-based Curious Pictures. TWELVE DISCIPLES was directed by internationally acclaimed documentary filmmaker, Thomas Allen Harris, who is also producing the film together with Rudean Leinaeng, Woo Jung Cho and Don Perry and co-executive producer St. Clair Bourne. An original score was composed by Vernon Reid. The film was edited by Sam Pollard and Sabine Hoffman. Funding was also provided in part by the South African Free State Ministry of Sports, Culture, Science and Technology, the National Black Programming Consortium and National Endowment for the Arts. “I’m excited to be returning to Toronto again. I have several new projects that I want to promote, including a sex/comedy/thriller entitled ON THE D L and a two-part adaptation of the Debra Willis book REFLECTIONS IN BLACK: BLACK PHOTOGRAPHERS FROM 1840 TO THE PRESENT. Toronto is a great city to make international connections for both projects,” says Mr. Harris.
SYNOPSIS – TWELVE DISCIPLES OF NELSON MANDELA
Confronted by the death of his stepfather, Director Thomas Allen Harris embarks on a journey of reconciliation with the man who raised him as a son but whom he could never call “father.” Pule Benjamin Leinaeng ("Lee") was an ANC foot soldier, who sacrificed his life for the freedom of his country. As part of the first wave of South African exiles, Lee and his eleven comrades left Bloemfontein in 1960 to broadcast to the world the brutality of the apartheid system and to raise support for the ANC and its leaders, Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo. Drawing upon the memories of the surviving disciples and their families, young South African actors portray the harrowing events of the exodus and exile and in so doing, forge their own reconciliation between the generations.
ABOUT CHIMPANZEE PRODUCTIONS, INC.
Chimpanzee Productions, Inc. develops and produces filmed entertainment for domestic and international theatrical exhibition, home video/DVD, television, and ancillary markets. Chimpanzee focuses on projects that celebrate the diversity of major urban metropolitan areas worldwide, believing, as culture critic Nelson George wrote in Variety: “that a multiracial [world] needs multiracial media leadership.” Chimpanzee Production’s critically acclaimed documentary, É Minha Cara/That’s My Face premiered at the 2001 Toronto, 2002 Sundance and 2002 Tribeca Film Festivals and won seven international awards, including the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury of Christian Churches at the 2002 Berlin International Film Festival. That’s My Face is currently being broadcast throughout Europe and Franco-phone Africa on ARTÉ and in the United States on the Sundance Channel.
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR
Thomas Allen Harris, founder of Chimpanzee Productions, is an internationally celebrated filmmaker and recipient of Guggenheim, Rockefeller and Sundance Producers Fellowships. Mr. Harris has received grants from such institutions as the Ford Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Mr. Harris is a graduate of Harvard College and of the Whitney Museum of American Arts’ Independent Study Program.
Joy Bryant’s ‘Key’ To The Bayou
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com
(August 12, 2005) *New Orleans was calling actress Joy Bryant, much like the house at the center of her latest film “The Skeleton Key” was calling Caroline – a live-in nurse played by Kate Hudson who becomes swept up in southern Louisiana’s mystical and mysterious practices. Bryant plays Caroline’s best friend Jill, a voice of reason in this tale involving haunted attics, black slave spirits and the region’s little-known specialty – hoo-doo. The latter, a supernatural practice that infuses influences from Africa, France, the Caribbean and Spain, intrigues Caroline as she attempts to find out what her new elderly patient (John Hurt) is trying to tell her behind the back of his dubious wife - played to perfection by Gena Rowlands. “There were many things that attracted me to this project,” says Bryant. “The cast, [director] Iain Softley and his team, the story, the location—it’s this great mix of just the right amount of everything. In that way, it’s kind of like New Orleans itself. There is just so much going on and everywhere you look, there are stories. When you’re there, it doesn’t even really feel like you’re in the States—it’s definitely its own place.” Despite Jill’s warnings, Caroline arms herself with a skeleton key that unlocks every door of the elderly couple’s mansion. Intrigued by the strange couple and their interesting items around the house, Caroline begins secretly exploring the old mansion. Soon she discovers the hidden attic that anchors the film’s deadly secret. Producer Stacey Sher says it is Joy’s character who reminds Caroline to use her common sense when doing the stereotypical white-girl-in-a-horror-flick move of exploring unsafe places. “Joy brings an effervescent quality to her role,” Sher says. “In some ways, she speaks for the audience, the one who warns Caroline, ‘Don’t go into that room.’”
TIFF Docs Personal, Political
Excerpt from The Globe and Mail - By Guy Dixon
(August 12, 2005) Sydney Pollack's Sketches of Frank Gehry is on the roster of compelling documentaries coming to the Toronto International Film Festival that will undoubtedly draw close interest from movie distributors looking for the next hit in the increasingly lucrative documentary market. Pollack's film examines the process in which the renowned architect develops his designs, while showing glimpses of his personality, and it is one of a number of documentaries at next month's festival that focus on famous people. Others include Lian Lunson's Leonard Cohen I'm Your Man, with performances by Cohen, Nick Cave and U2; Pick Up the Mic, Alex Hinton's look at gay rappers; Tamra Davis's short film A Conversation With Basquiat; and Overcoming, Danish director Tomas Gislason's examination of the world of professional bicycle racing and the successful European team CSC. Documentaries on sociopolitical topics, however, continue to dominate the field. Indian director Ashim Ahluwalia's John & Jane follows workers at a Bombay call centre responding to American 1-800 calls and raises "disturbing questions about the nature of personal identity in the age of 21st century global technology," according to the festival. Among the many other films with a political slant are Christian Frei's The Giant Buddhas, a film essay on the destruction of two important Buddha statues in Afghanistan; Micha Peled's China Blue, an American film about female Chinese factory workers; and the world premiere of We Feed the World, Austrian director Erwin Wagenhofer's look at the global food industry. The third major trend in documentaries at the festival is a focus on individuals' personal stories, which could also become the next major trend in hit docs, as audiences look for something new after the success of politically driven fare such as Fahrenheit 9/11 and crowd pleasers such as March of the Penguins. Among the more personal stories are Black Sun, Gary Tarn's look at artist Hugues de Montalembert's sudden blindness; All About Darfur, Sudanese filmmaker Taghreed Elsanhouri's exploration of her homeland and race relations; and Black Bull, by directors Pedro Gonzalez-Rubio and Carlos Armella, about a bullfighter from Mayan southeastern Mexico. In addition, The Well, a Swedish film by Kristian Petri, follows unusual stories behind Orson Welles' ties to Spain.
Toccara Pulls Her Own Weight
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com - “You can’t get until you learn to start giving.”
(August 11, 2005) LARGE & IN CHARGE: Could Toccara Jones be the next “big” thing? The “America’s Next Top Model Cycle 3” finalist is now one of the stars of VH1’s hit reality series “Celebrity Fit Club,” where eight distinct celebrity personalities embark on their own gruelling fitness journey that promises a mixed bag of physical challenges. Hosted by actor/comedian Ant, the show has become an instant hit for the network’s wildly popular “Celebreality” Sunday night line-up. While Toccara, the one-named moniker that she is affectionately referred to as, was most likely in kindergarten when her fellow cast members (“227”’s vixen Jackee Harry, rock singer Jani Lane and “Eight Is Enough”’s Willie Aames) were enjoying the height of their celebrity success, she still shines bright as someone who’s relevant and current in today’s celebrity-driven media landscape.
And since she’s just beautiful and has a personality that pops, that’s even better. It was just ten months ago that she became a darling of the Tyra Banks-helmed UPN hit series. And since then, she’s made appearances on sitcoms such as “All of Us,” and was an “it girl” for the Ashley Stewart clothing line. “Doing the show is so much fun,” the 23-year-old Dayton, OH native said, during an interview with “The RU Report” earlier this week. “We had so many twists and turns and so many ups and downs, I really enjoyed it.” Throughout the season, the fitness-challenged celebs, who reportedly were paid upwards to $100,000 to bare their all for the cameras, come together for 14 back-breaking weeks of tough fitness training – mostly administered by the hard-driving drill sergeant, Harvey Walden, IV (who is a character in his own right). “When they told me that they wanted me to lose fifty pounds, I cracked up so much. I was like ‘Are you serious?’ I was rolling so much that my stomach was hurting and I had to yell ‘Cut Tape! Stop! Let’s start over.’ I said, ‘Y’all must be kidding me. There is no freaking way that I would lose that weight,” she revealed. “But it was more for like health issues, health reasons. Just because you’re big doesn’t mean that you cant be healthy. It was more like redefining my shape because I want to be on the cover of “Elle” and “Vogue” and “Sports Illustrated” and “Glamour” and I want to give them one less reason to deny me.” Toccara admittedly revealed that she gained over 25 pounds and ballooned to a whopping 205 pounds while enjoying the trappings of overnight celebrity (people of interests wining and dining her in hopes of getting her to do this, that or the other). “I was living it up when I first moved to New York,” she recollected with her charming southern/Midwest twang, then also adding that she experienced a bout of depression during the airing of the former reality show, while being forced to toil as a waitress at a Caribbean-inspired Harlem watering hole. It was due to the constrictive contractual terms for “America’s Next Top Model” that she couldn’t even procure work as a model through other avenues. Once contestants sign on for the show, they’re bound to the agreement for an entire year. Everything has to be cleared through producers, who don’t pay the contestants.
Now she is as free as she wants to be. When “The RU Report” caught up to the buxomly beauty, she was in the epicenter of her Harlem neighbourhood searching around for a quick fix – pizza. Family members are in town visiting and she’s playing the role of host. She and a neighbourhood pal wind up holed up in a local Mama’s Fried Chicken eatery seeking out vittles for an afternoon treat – before heading over to BET’s “106 & Park” countdown show to “hang out.” “I’ve been eating so when I go on the show and I’m trying to lower my caloric intake, and try to make my meals smaller, that ain’t s--t,” she said very matter-of-factly. “You go in and you eat what you supposed to eat and you’re still hungry. That don’t work, especially if you’re used to eating macaroni & cheese, mashed potatoes, fried chicken and all of that. And now you have to eat a salad?” The finale of this season’s “Celebrity Fit Club” is September 4, and from what we gather Toccara, who is back at her fighting weight of 180 pounds (“I want to be the only bitch that weights 180 pounds with a six-pack,” she deadpanned), may have come close to the show’s expectations. During the candid chit-chat she also weighed in on… Why “Snapple Lady” is back for a second season: “I don’t know. I guess Wendy [Kaufman] was a big hit last season. And she got a lot of following from the show, so I guess it was -- ya know what? I don’t know, ask the producers. Don’t ask me.” Being In The Mix With Jackee Harry: “It was interesting. We still communicate. It’s no bad feelings, no hard feelings. It was a learning experience, and not that I don’t want to sound bitter but you just can’t go in and just because you do a project call people your friends. I can’t say Gary Busey is my friend just because we did a project together. We’re associates and we know each other, and we have a good rapport but friends and having a good rapport are two different things.”
Life After America’s Next Top Model: “I tell you who I’m friends with. I’m friends with YaYa [Da Costa]. That’s my friend. I like YaYa but it’s kind of hard being friends with people you did the show with because we’re kind of like in competition with one another because there are still some things going on with UPN where they call us to do certain things and they only call certain girls. And say, me and YaYa are friends but I can’t be like ‘Girl, they called me to do this, yada yada yada…Oh, they didn’t call you?” So you gotta kinda be slick with it and say ‘So what you’re doing on August the 12. You gotta feel it out.” Getting Close With Tyra Banks: “I don’t get a chance to know Tyra like that. All I know her as is the producer, the host, the mentor. I don’t really have an inside look on Tyra personally -- only professionally. And to me, I have to give my hat off to her for carrying all of those hats and I think she does it really well. And plus she gave me a chance to be who I am. So I love that bitch!” Internal Happiness: “I think it’s internal –feeling good about yourself. Right now to this day, I could pull fat from right up out of my love handles I can shake my arm and they would jiggle. So it’s not really what I see in the mirror because sometimes I’m out and I’m just having fun and I enjoy people and I’m enjoying life, I’m eating, I’m dancing and I’m having a good time. And I can go across a mirror and be like ‘Oh s--t, I look good.’ But I’m not thinking about my looks, I’m not consumed with my looks. It’s all about feeling good. I don’t know, everyone has to find out what makes them happy. I’m happy. My dreams are coming true, I moved to New York. I’m a model. I work. I could pay my bills. My family went through a lot of trials and tribulations and I guess their weakness became my strength. All of the things that they’ve went through, I knew that this is not what I wanted. I had it right there in my face. I had everything that I didn’t want to be right there in my face.” Downsizing: “[My breasts] are humongous. I wear a size 36 DDD. I lost some weight. I was like a 40 DDD. I would like to get a breast reduction personally. But I think I will be too much, because if I got a breast reduction and I could wear any little top I wanted t Oh My God Call The Police! My shape is fine so if I got a breast reduction, I would only go to a 36 DD. It’s still big. It would just take this unnecessary breast that’s in my underarms away, that’s it. I want to do it for me. I don’t have any back problems. I don’t have any issue with them. It’s just more of a vain reason and I don’t think that’s a good enough reason for me to do it.”
Busting Loose: “First of all, I’m a plus-sized model but I want to be the first Black plus-sized supermodel of the world. And in order to do that, I can’t be stuck in a plus-sized world. I need to do Guess like how Anna Nicole Smith had a contract with that company, or have a contract with Calvin Klein. I need to be a big girl that does things that big girls don’t do. All of the big girls do Ashley Stewart. And all the big girls do Lane Bryant and The Avenue. That’s what they gave us. But I have to step outside of the box. I have to be where they be like ‘Damn, did you see Toccara do Calvin Klein or The Gap? That bitch is bad!’ I don’t want to be tied down to only do the plus-sized lines. It’s going to be hard to get that so I have to work harder for Gap to want me.” The Last Reality Show: “I don’t want to be famous because I do reality shows. I don’t want to be a reality star. I want to be more like you’ve seen me on the cover of this, you’ve seen me doing this movie, or doing this commercial. It’s not that I don’t want to do any more television but everything I do has to have a purpose. On ‘Top Model,’ we were striving to get a contract to be a model. On ‘Fit Club,’ we were trying to lose weight and be healthy; it wasn’t just for entertainment purposes. Like doing ‘The Real World’ or ‘The Surreal Life,’ they’re just sitting around chilling. They do little things for the community or whatever, I don’t know. I just don’t want to be on TV to be on TV.” Black Women Depicted As Bitchy On Reality TV: “Well, [producers] can’t show anything that you didn’t do. They can’t show what you’re not. They can take what you do and maybe piece it together and cut out some words – they have their tricks. But they got to get it from you in order to use it. Also, it’s reality TV first and foremost. So when they go out and they’re auditioning these people, they’re auditioning for characters. They’re auditioning for personalities. So maybe…”
John Singleton Owns Up To His Rap Rep
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com - "Four Brothers" stars some of the music industry’s heavy hitters. With John Singleton at the helm, this comes as no surprise. Ice Cube shot to stardom after starring in “Boyz N the Hood.” Since that film Singleton has featured more rap acts than any other director, and he takes pleasure in that fact. “I know certain people. and I can kind of gauge what they're capable of,” Singleton says. “I mean I made a career out of working with hip hop artists and I've been responsible for more hip hop artists making the transition from music into acting careers than anybody else. It's not like people work with me and they become a flash in the pan and don't do anything else. They end up doing a whole lot of different films, you know. I think it's a testament to the kind of process that I put them through. "I make them take the process of acting and the profession seriously. I just give them different things, you know, different drills to go through. I use a specific coach and we just go through a certain process. Then they take with them what they do with me onto whatever else they do." The star of “Four Brothers,” Mark Wahlberg—known as Marky Mark in his rap days—has known Singleton for quite some time. Wahlberg has wanted to work with Singleton for many years. “I finally have an opportunity to work with my buddy Mark,” Singleton says. “ We've been talking for many, many years about doing something. Mark and me have known each other for many years, have partied together and had a lot of good times together. We had always talked about doing something and it was just like the right time. It was finally the right time after 12 years of just partying and hanging out."
Explaining all the testosterone types he employed for this project, Singleton admitted, "I'm a man's man. You know what I mean? One thing I love about this movie is the guys are good looking but they're not like most of these Hollywood actors that are trying to look better than their female counterparts. My father and me used to sit around and watch Lee Marvin movies, Charles Bronson, Clint Eastwood, John Wayne, those kinds of films. So that's how I respond to male actors in a picture." Don't believe the hype that things have gotten better. Things have changed, but current circumstances are not as conducive to filmmaking as they were when Singleton first burst on the scene. "There's no system in place to help new filmmakers get in now. If I came along now no matter how good my screenplay was for 'Boyz 'N the hood' or whatever, coming out of film school I never would've got that movie made in the climate that's happening in American films, in the studios now...There are guys doing this stuff that are twice as old as me with millions and millions of dollars, but they make these bad movies.” Breaking it down further, Singleton went on to say, “I' m trying to do it on a different wave for this generation. My inspiration for the whole thing was like what John Sayles did; Cassavetes and Coppola tried to do. So I just make interesting pictures. If they are lower budgeted, that may seem out of the norm or alternative kinds of films, but they're still commercial movies. There's an audience for them. "It's amazing how you go to the studios and give them a great idea and they admit that it's a great idea but they can't do it. So I don't have to do that any more. I just keep my great idea and do my own movies. If they want to distribute them, that's fine." In the Charles Bronson “Death Wish” genre, "Four Brothers" is a vigilante kind of film. Listening to Wahlberg talk, his character might not be that much of a stretch from his real life persona. "I don't like to think about what I might do [if what happened in the film happened in real life] 'cause I'm raised Catholic. You’re supposed to be able to forgive in order to be forgiven. But in a situation like that, if something happens to someone I care about, someone who couldn't defend themselves, I don' t think I'd be too rational, you know. I would think about what the rational thing to do once I land in jail. So, God forbid something like that ever happens."
Tyrese Gibson, Wahlberg's brother in "Four Brothers," live in close proximity off the set as well. "A lot of days I would come to the set burnt out and would rely on the fellows' energy and jokes to help get me through the day," Gibson admitted. "I had rented a whole bunch of studio equipment and was making beats, songwriting and singin' all night in my apartment.” Wahlberg interjected, "Keeping half the people in the building up all night." "Basically," Gibson laughs, adding, "We live in the same building." The other Mercer Brother and other half of OutKast, Andre Benjamin, had mixed feeling about accepting the role of Jeremiah Mercer, especially being an only child. "Because I'm a beginner," Benjamin explained, "I'm a little hesitant about certain roles that I take. I knew I wanted to work with John though, and that's the only thing that kind of kept me on the fence about it. The story was great so I said, ‘Well let me think about it.’ One day I was downloading these songs and saw an advertisement for this band called the Brothers Four and I just I thought it was like this creative sign. So I called my agent the next morning." Brother Garrett Hedlund says he just feels "blessed" and is happy to have worked with Singleton and the cast. Sofia Vergara, who adds to the heat on screen, says she has no qualms about being seen as a Latin caricature: "First of all, I'm Latina. I didn't feel that that [my character] was in any way offensive. I just thought it was a way to make the movie a little bit fun to break all the strong drama, action, violence and all the testosterone. Anyways, I think she was crazy, but she was crazy for a reason. She was very afraid that she was gonna lose her man. And she had to be very loud and strong to be able to be heard in this house, to measure up to all those guys and be able to be even noticed. You know a quiet girl would have never survived in that house."
Berry At The Emmys
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com
(August 12, 2005) *Halle Berry has agreed to present at the 57th annual Emmy awards, which will air Sunday, Sept. 18 on CBS. The actress is up for two awards: outstanding actress in a movie or miniseries for "Their Eyes Were Watching God" and as a producer of best TV movie nominee "Lackawanna Blues." Jon Stewart, Kiefer Sutherland, Mariska Hargitay, Jon Cryer and Charlie Sheen were also among the first round of announced presenters.
The Secret Of Albert's Success
Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Richard Ouzounian
(Aug. 13, 2005) For Albert Schultz, the clock is always ticking. Sometimes it seems like there aren't enough hours in the day for the hyperactive head of Soulpepper Theatre Company to play all the roles he has assigned himself: actor, director, administrator, teacher, husband and father. "What makes Albert run?" is the question many people ask, but only a few close friends know the answer. Because it's not just the day-to-day pressures of career and family that send Schultz into overdrive, but something deeper, darker and far more personal. He was ready to discuss it on a recent afternoon break from rehearsing the title role in Soulpepper's production of Hamlet, which opens Thursday night. The curly-haired guy who became a star during his years on CBC-TV's Street Legal pauses in his search for the Prince of Denmark to sip some coffee at a Harbourfront restaurant. "My father died when I was five and half years old," is how he begins. "He had leukemia and he was only 45. "There's a legacy for me in that and it's not a particularly healthy one. I grew up thinking that living until 80 isn't part of the deal — 45 years. That's all you've got." He looks out over Lake Ontario. "I just turned 42. That means I feel I've only got three years left. Well, it certainly gives you a sense of urgency: get it done, get it done, get it DONE." He drums the table with his fingers. Not impatient with the interview, but with himself. "No matter what I'm doing, I always feel there's some other way I could be using my time better. It doesn't make me the easiest person to be around." The Schultz smile that follows takes some of the sting out of what he's said, but it makes you wonder how much he feels he should have accomplished by now. By the time he was 23, he was playing leading roles in the Young Company at Stratford. At 28, he was a regular on Street Legal, arguably one of the most popular drama series in CBC history, and at the age of 35, he started Soulpepper, the most instantly and continuously acclaimed theatre company on the Toronto scene.
This December will see the realization of Schultz's fondest dreams as Soulpepper moves into its own home at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts in the Distillery District. He's also been married to actor-writer Susan Coyne since 1988 and they have two children. To top it all off, he's about to open in the role every actor dreams of playing. It's hardly a time for Schultz to be saying "To be or not to be" about his own life. "I cheerfully admit it. I'm one of the luckiest men in the world. But that compulsion to be doing more has always been there. You'd probably have to go back a long way to figure out where it came from." Schultz is right, because the seeds of his destiny were sown in Pittsburgh during the 19th century. That's when his paternal great-grandfather came over from Prussia to build bridges in the burgeoning steel city. A man named Henry King, destined to be Schultz's maternal great-grandfather, was there as well, working as a captain of industry. Both families wound up each summer — as did many other Pittsburgh residents — in Port Hope, Ont. In 1898, King purchased one of the most beautiful estates in the region, named Penryn Park, and there romance flourished between the two families. They joined in marriage and Schultz's father was born in 1928. Asked for memories of him, Schultz has to shake his head. "I never really knew him well. He became sick shortly before I was born and he was only available to me so much." But from friends and relations, Schultz pieced together a portrait of an amazing man, who graduated magna cum laude from Princeton at 21, spoke numerous languages fluently and lived around the world, but eventually decided to devote his life to publishing and editing a small town daily paper: The Port Hope Evening Guide. Schultz has misty memories of idyllic family gatherings at Penryn Park, which he describes as "a wondrous place, positively Chekhovian. It even had its own cherry orchard."
But after his father's death, Schultz, his mother and brother moved away, first to Napanee and then, after she remarried, to Calgary. "It's strange," he says, "but I don't remember an awful lot of grieving at the time. Of course it was a huge loss, but I watched my mother and what she taught me is that you can survive. "To this day, I'm very good at dealing with crises, whatever form they take and I learned that then. Not to be daunted." Theatre became a part of the picture early for Schultz. His first memory is going at the age of four to see his mother play Nancy in an amateur production of Oliver! "I sat there watching her," he recalls, "and said `I'll play Oliver myself one day.'" For three years in his early teens, Schultz was sent away to a private boys school in New Hampshire called Cardigan Mountain, where he began carving out his theatrical destiny. "Every year, the big school event was a show featuring Sherlock Holmes and usually only a boy in Grade 9 got the role." Schultz preens, "I played it in both Grades 8 and 9." "The stage was always my dream," he admits. "My parents had been to the first seasons at Stratford and had those books Robertson Davies wrote about them. I discovered them and read them avidly. It became a magical place to me, a giant goal, somewhere I had to be." It didn't take Schultz long to get there. He spent two years at York University and then one year at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. He returned to Toronto and got cast immediately. His first role was as Daniel Richler in Jacob Two-Two and the Hooded Fang, then Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet and Laertes opposite R.H. Thomson's Hamlet. Suddenly the door to Stratford opened and Robin Phillips beckoned him in for two magical seasons. He played Romeo, Touchstone, got rave reviews and even a wife. "I had met Susan (Coyne) at a cousin's wedding when I was in Grade 11," Schultz says, laughing. "She was five years older than me and thought I was `a spotty teenager.' When we got together years later to play Romeo and Juliet opposite each other, it was somewhat different. We got to fall in love to some really good words." But after two years of spectacular productions, including William Hutt's King Lear with Schultz as Edgar, then-artistic director John Neville chose not to invite back Phillips or his company. "That was a real shock to all of us," says Schultz, the pain still fresh after 17 years. "All my dreams had been about that place. We were all being trumpeted as the hopes of the future. But that was not to be." So Schultz plunged into the world of television, joining the cast of the hit series Street Legal as the opportunistic Rob Diamond and "paying off my mortgage while I'd run out to Edmonton in the off season to do more theatre for Robin Phillips." But when the program had run its course, Schultz secretly breathed a sigh of relief. "I loved the people I worked with, but I hated what I was doing. After five years of stultifying boredom, I needed something to make me feel I was alive again."
And so, together with eleven other like-minded actors, they created an actor-driven classical repertory company they named Soulpepper. From its first performance of Don Carlos in the summer of 1998, the organization has electrified Toronto theatre. Not every production has been equally successful, but even at their least satisfactory, they possess a bravery and originality that other organizations rarely aspire to. True, Schultz has taken his share of knocks as a control-freak egotist of the first order. The company was supposed to be run by a collective, but he soon emerged as its guiding light. "Before we even started, I sat down and said, `You know, one person is probably going to wind up being in charge and I have the feeling I'm probably that guy.'" That's what happened and it's hard to think of a better match. Schultz adores what he's doing and confidently says, "I can look around the world and there is not a job I would want more than the one I have right now." And then, of course, there's Hamlet. "I wanted to play it because it's the biggest mountain, the ultimate test," says the lifelong overachiever. "But now that I'm inside it, I keep finding myself in awe of the writing. It takes different parts of your psyche and your emotional palette and answers them and challenges them every night." But it's not surprising what scene has the greatest resonance for him. "Every time I do the scene where I first meet the ghost of my father, it absolutely shatters me. When Joe (Ziegler) turns to me and says `I am thy father's spirit,' it connects to the bottom of my soul and I don't even have to try." Before he dashes back to rehearsal, there's time for one last question. What does he want to do for the rest of his life? "The rest of my life? What do you mean? I only have three more years left ... right?"
Three-Concert NFL Kickoff
Source: Associated Press
(Aug. 14, 2005) Los Angeles — The NFL will kick off the season Sept. 8 with concerts in three cities including Detroit featuring a look back at the history of the Super Bowl. A free concert outside Los Angeles Coliseum, site of the first Super Bowl, will include Grammy Award winners Kanye West and Maroon 5. They will be joined by former Super Bowl MVP Marcus Allen and the University of Southern California marching band. The other concerts will be at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., home of the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, and Detroit, site of the next Super Bowl on Feb. 5. Portions of the concerts will air live on ABC's “NFL Opening Kickoff” special leading into the season opener between the Patriots and Oakland Raiders. In Foxboro, Green Day and Santana will perform. Trisha Yearwood will sing the national anthem. The TV special will feature the first video footage of the Rolling Stones' tour, which plays Detroit on Aug. 31.
Funny Man With A Plan
Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Peter Howell, Movie Critic
(Aug. 14, 2005) F. Scott Fitzgerald proved himself both a lousy prophet and mathematician when he made the famous observation that "there are no second acts in American lives." Had the jazz-era scribe lived to watch the career of Steve Martin, who implausibly celebrates his 60th birthday today, he could have counted at least three acts in the funny man's remarkable career. In Act One, Martin is the proverbial "wild and craaaazy guy," the arrow-through-the-head clown from Waco, Texas, who combines idiocy and intellect to redefine 1970s comedy. He stands on stage in outlandish fake noses, arrow-through-the-head props and King Tut outfits, making balloon pets (a trick he learned at a Disneyland summer job), playing the banjo (honed at Knott's Berry Farm, another job) and generally acting the fool. A Rolling Stone cover story from 1977 depicts him as a madman in a box, dubbing him "Bananaland's Top Banana." His sold-out shows, hit LPs, best-selling books and eagerly awaited Saturday Night Live appearances are a form of performance art. Martin sometimes pokes fun at himself, sometimes at others, most times at the whole idea of comedy. He conscripts his entire audience to assist him in mocking a poor mook who gets up from the show to go to the bathroom, and who returns to discover he's part of a colossal in-joke. Martin tells a crowd of hundreds to follow him out of a concert venue to a drained swimming pool nearby, where he proceeds to swim laps atop their outstretched arms (did Martin invent moshing?) Another gang is cajoled into following him to a restaurant where they order a single French fry to go. He tells conspiratorial stories of taking drugs, which he calls "getting small" — a term that briefly becomes a catch phrase. Yet Martin's comedy increasingly tilts toward the intellectual and surreal, befitting a prematurely grey-haired man who studied philosophy at California State University, who dresses in tailored three-piece suits and who is a staunch vegetarian. He stops doing drugs and drinking to excess. Interviewers describe him as remarkably austere off stage. His jokes make sense only in their exquisite timing and absurdist paranoia. Such as when he claims his pet cat is embezzling his cheques. Or robots are stealing his luggage. Or how the best way to apologize for shooting someone dead is to simply say, "I forgot the gun was loaded." Act Two launches the movie career, beginning in 1978 with Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, a colossal bomb fashioned on Beatles songs. Martin plays smirking Dr. Maxwell Edison in a mercifully brief clip based on "Maxwell's Silver Hammer." He survives unscathed and proceeds to his first starring role, in the hit 1979 Carl Reiner comedy The Jerk, co-written by Martin. He plays "a poor black sharecropper's son" who is too stupid to realize he's the only white boy on the plantation. Modelling his performance after Jerry Lewis, an early influence, as was sad clown Red Skelton, Martin demonstrates that his stage act can be successfully transferred to the screen.
At the same time, he makes a conscious decision to sober up his stage act. He still does sold-out tours of stand-up comedy, including a stop at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens, but he no longer uses the arrow prop and he stops referring to himself as the "wild and craaaazy guy." He tells interviewers he wants to get into a more serious brand of comedy, which for most comedians would be like handing a suicidal person a loaded gun. Not for Martin. He demonstrates his new resolve in his next big movie, Pennies From Heaven, a Depression-era musical in which he sings and dances alongside Bernadette Peters, his co-star in The Jerk. The film brings mixed reviews and is only a modest success — people can't quite figure him out. But Martin and Peters are now dating, remaining a couple until about 1983. That's the year Martin makes the hit body-switch comedy All of Me with British actress Victoria Tennant, whom he marries. They remain paired until their divorce a decade later. A pattern quickly establishes itself in Martin's movie choices. He alternates between slapstick comedies (Three Amigos, Planes, Trains and Automobiles), grown-up charmers (Parenthood, Father of the Bride) and well-observed satires (Roxanne, L.A. Story). He's not universally applauded for his versatility. Movie biographer David Thomson scolds him in print for seeming false in his performances and for being "fundamentally averse to acting." Martin will continue this pattern, his best work generally being the stories he writes himself. He also produces, but resists the director's chair, reasoning he's a performer, not a manager. Act Three is Martin as the serious artist and Renaissance Man. Still a work in progress, it arguably begins with David Mamet's The Spanish Prisoner in 1997, Martin's first role as a truly evil man. He's an unscrupulous businessman out to dupe the unwitting inventor of a potentially lucrative financial innovation known as The Process. Martin turns 50 shortly before making the movie and unwisely laments to an unsympathetic Esquire writer that he feels he's entering "my last viable decade." He frets about ever meeting a woman again whom he'll want to stay with. He's been left shattered by his last serious girlfriend, the actress Anne Heche, who is less than half his age and who leaves him for another woman. He wonders if he still has any new ideas left in him and ponders if his middle-age crisis has already passed, or is still to come. His movies become both sillier (Cheaper by the Dozen, Bringing Down the House and the still-to-come Pink Panther remake) and more serious (Joe Gould's Secret, Novocaine and the still-to-come Shopgirl). He's that rare artist who can have movies simultaneously selling popcorn in multiplexes and filling seats at the Toronto International Film Festival. While promoting Novocaine at that year's Toronto fest, a movie in which he plays a diabolical dentist (shades of Little Shop of Horrors) Martin tells the Star he doesn't think that much about his career. "I just don't worry about it. I don't have a manager. I don't plot my career. I never have. I've never been clever enough." The words sound disingenuous; Martin is a very clever man. He's also very astute. About this same time, he lets the public in a secret that he's a major collector of art, one who has steadily amassed a valuable collection of original art by the likes of Picasso, Hopper, Hockney and de Kooning.
His Picasso passion includes a play he wrote called Picasso at the Lapine Agile, about a mythical encounter between the artist and Albert Einstein. It receives good notices and will eventually become a movie by the same name. Martin also contributes satirical essays to The New Yorker magazine, shaping his absurdist wit to suit a highbrow and high-heeled audience. One memorable piece describes in detail his attempt to have a child with the actress Gwyneth Paltrow, a woman he has never met and who has zero interest in him. He becomes an occasional host for the Academy Awards, when Billy Crystal doesn't feel like doing it. He's appreciated, but it seems as if he could be Crystal's straight man. His madcap days seem further away than ever. Will there be an Act Four for Martin? The wise person wouldn't bet against it. He remains as vigorous as always, but unpredictable in his choices. If he suddenly decided to become a champion whittler, a rodeo star or a monk, he'd find ways of making it work — and making it pay. He continues to insist, as he did to the Star in 2001, that he's on a path with no map and with no ego to guide him. "Whenever I get to thinking, `Should I do this, or should I do that?' I remember that no one is thinking about it but me. It really doesn't matter."
Photographer Paul Hoeffler
Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Peter Goddard
(Aug. 14, 2005) With any Paul Hoeffler photo, the picture gives the man away. The shots are classy, full of motion and warmth. They show a great love of style. Take, for example, his most famous image of a regal-looking Duke Ellington. Born in New York, Hoeffler died of cancer on July 30 in Toronto, where he'd been living since 1971. He was 67. "He was drawn to jazz's style," says Bill King, the organizing force behind the Beaches Jazz Festival. "When you think of Ellington in the Cotton Club, that was style. All the musicians went out and bought the finest suits, which they wore every night. It was a time that, when you came on stage, you looked the part." Railways sparked Hoeffler's interest in photography. "At 10, he was really interested in trains," says his wife, Claire Hoeffler (nee Snoulten), the Canadian pianist-teacher and the main reason for her husband's move to Toronto. "His father told him that since a lot of the trains and train stations were going to be gone, he should do something about it." Hoeffler began photographing jazz in the '50s as an assignment from a professor at Rochester Institute of Technology, where he was studying. Music of all kinds remained a leitmotif in his work, particularly while he worked through the '60s for most of the major record labels. Conductor Leopold Stokowski would even let him sit in various sections of the orchestra to give him better close-ups. In fact, music provided his accidental introduction to Claire. One day in 1963, he accidentally phoned her number. As he was beginning to apologize, she told him to "shut up." He had some Beethoven on his stereo. "I want to hear this," she said. So she listened. They talked and, in 1964, they married. Some 200 of his photos were used in Ken Burns' PBS miniseries Jazz. Although much of Hoeffler's work came in the '60s and '70s, arguably after jazz's halcyon days, there's an ageless look to them. "It's with his use of black and white," says King. "Black and white seems to live on eternally. It's as if these people are meant to live on eternally."
Pharrell – So Fresh And So Clean
Excerpt from www.eurweb.com
(August 12, 2005) *Esquire magazine has been taking note of the outfits worn by producer Pharrell Williams in the past year. Impressed with his choices, the publication has placed the Neptune atop its second annual list of the "Best Dressed Men in the World." Esquire notes Williams for "injecting dressed-up luxury into hip-hop style and thereby influencing a new generation of guys to consider more than just a pair of baggy jeans a reflection of their youthful vitality." "It's never about whether I'm the best-dressed guy in the room. I never go, `Oh, I'm killin' 'em tonight!' Instead it's about comfort and the flow," Williams, 32, tells the magazine. Last year’s inaugural winner, Andre 3000 of OutKast, drops to No. 5 for 2005. Other men gracing the list include Kanye West, Jay-Z, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, pro running back Curtis Martin and former President Clinton. The list, compiled by a panel of fashion experts and Esquire editors, will be in the magazine's September issue.
Madison Chase is a 2 Time ESPN Fitness Champion. She is the current 2004 Miss Fitness Bikini Runner UP. She is also a certified personal trainer to the stars. She focuses on strength, flexibility, and toning. A Miss Fitness competitor who has trained with prestigious schools such as School of American Ballet in New York City and Dance Theatre of Harlem. For more information, questions or bookings please visit www.madisonchasefitness.com.
EVENTS –AUGUST 4 - 14, 2005
SATURDAY, AUGUST 6
The Orbit Room
EVENT PROFILE: Featuring Wade O. Brown, Shamakah Ali, Rich Brown, Adrian Eccleston, David Williams.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 7
College Street Bar
574 College Street (at Manning)
EVENT PROFILE: Featuring Dione Taylor, Sandy Mamane, Davide Direnzo, Justin Abedin, Dafydd Hughes and David French.
MONDAY, AUGUST 8
IRIE MONDAY NIGHT SESSIONS
Irie Food Joint
745 Queen Street W.
EVENT PROFILE: Welcome to Negril … Ontario, that is! Yes, Carl’s been at it again and has completely revamped his back patio for his faithful Irie patrons. And now that the weather is warmer, you just HAVE to come out party on the new and hip patio. Rain or shine as the patio is covered for our convenience. A real celebration of summer at the hippest patio in Toronto! DJ Carl Allen will be spinning the tunes while Kayte Burgess and Adrian Eccleston bring the live music.
MONDAY, AUGUST 8
VIP JAM WITH SPECIAL GUESTS - NEW LOCATION
King Street (at Peter)
EVENT PROFILE: Featuring host Chris Rouse, Calvin Beale, Joel Joseph and Shamakah Ali with various local artists.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 13
The Orbit Room
EVENT PROFILE: Featuring Wade O. Brown, Shamakah Ali, Rich Brown, Adrian Eccleston, David Williams.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 14
College Street Bar
574 College Street (at Manning)
EVENT PROFILE: Featuring Dione Taylor, Sandy Mamane, Davide Direnzo, Justin Abedin, Dafydd Hughes and David French
Have a great week!