Langfield Entertainment
88 Bloor Street E., Suite 2908, Toronto, ON  M4W 3G9
(416) 677-5883


Updated:  June 2, 2005

I think summer is actually here!  The International Reggae Superstars Concert is a one-day event - see details below.  Please have a read below for all the Canadian music news including Sony/BMG which offers some scoop on the celestial NewSong.  

I've moved again - this time once and for all!  My new address is under CONTACT USLaser Rejuvenation gives us their hot new May specials so ensure that you check them out!  No time like the present to get those summer touch-ups! 

This week is chock full of entertainment news below - 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 EVENTSWant to be removed from the distribution, click REMOVE.






International Reggae Superstars Concert – Sunday, June 26, 2005

Rena Malkah, Kick Ass Records

Toronto will be the host to the hottest event this summer.
The International Reggae Superstars Concert dubbed "Peace concert". The International Reggae Superstars Concert is a one-day event, which will be held on Sunday June 26th, 2005 Air Canada Centre, Downtown Toronto. Featured artists include Buju Banton, Bounty Killer, Lady Saw, Elephant Man, Cocoa-T, Kevin Lyttle, Trudy and many more!  The concert is intended for a family audience showcasing the best of local and international Reggae artists. This is a segment of the musical industry, which is exploding into the main stream. We can see this with increasing acceptance for this musical genre with recent hits such as Sean Paul's singles "Gimme di Light" and "Get Busy", Beenie Man's "King of the Dancehall" and Shaggy's "it wasn't me". Toronto will be provided with an experience of a concert that can only be compared to Reggae Sunsplash and Reggae Sumfest. 

The concert will attract over 10,000 patrons to the Air Canada Centre. The International Reggae Superstars concert has secured some of the best sponsors and partners to kick-off the concert in 2005.  The JACANA Entertainment team wants to welcome Toronto and invite the world to the 2005 International Reggae Superstars Concert. We want Toronto and the world to show us their roots and their rhythm.

SUNDAY, JUNE 26, 2005
Air Canada Centre
40 Bay Street
Tickets available at TicketMaster, Sunrise Records and Jean Machine locations - 416.870.8000




Luscious Bamboos: June 8, 2005

AVE DECO invites you to celebrate Spring with a colourful exhibition of the newest decorative oil paintings. 
The newest trend in home décor and accents - "Bamboo". Lose yourself in our luscious jungle of bamboos.


·  Over one billion people in the world live in bamboo houses
·  Bamboo is said to have aphrodisiacal powers
·  Symbolizes health, love, and luck
·  If you bought "Lucky Bamboo,"...the ones you buy growing in a vase with just water and some rocks...well, it's not a true bamboo; it's Dracaena - a kind of corn plant.

Warning: Objects On Walls Are More Seductive Than They Appear

What is AVE DECO?
Established in 2004, AVE DECO is the new distinctive retail art distributor for home and loft owners, offices, restaurants and lounges, hotels and venues, and interior designers, and specializes in imported decorative grand size paintings that provoke dramatic effects in personal and professional spaces.

Steam Whistle Brewing
255 Bremner Blvd.
6:00 pm
Complimentary drinks, food, music, and live viewing.

For your sneak peek, please visit us at:
RSVP to or call 416.364.5982






NewSong Rises

This Grammy-nominated, Dove Award–winning band has had seventeen #1 Christian Radio hits plus a #1 and a Top-20 at Mainstream radio (“The Christmas Shoes”
& “When God Made You”) while selling nearly 2 MILLION albums. NewSong’s highly popular concert tours have drawn over 1 MILLION people in just the last five years.  Now after much demand, NewSong releases its much anticipated FIRST WORSHIP project and FIRST LIVE album, mixing well-known worship songs (“Blessed Be Your Name,” “How Great Thou Art”) with three of the fastest-rising worship songs (“Wonderful Maker,” “Rescue,” “My Glorious”). Core fans will be excited to find a fresh new version of the NewSong classic “Arise My Love.”








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Motivational Note: No one was born to do what I was born to do.

By Willie Jolley, Visit for more information

Statistics show that accomplishments are directly affected by self-esteem, therefore to achieve high you must learn to love yourself. Dr. Carter G. Woodson said, "If you can determine the way a person thinks, then you will not have to worry about what they will do. You will not have to tell them to go to the back door. They will go without being told; and if there is no back door, they will cut one for their own special benefit!" Friends, make it a part of your daily routine to say to yourself, "I like myself, I love myself, just like there are no two leaves alike, no two snowflakes alike and no two fingerprints alike. No one was born to do what I was born to do. I am a unique person who God has created for a special purpose and I know that God does not make junk!" Make a commitment to yourself… to love yourself!







Move Over, Carrie. Canadians Are Here

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Vinay Menon

(May 28, 2005) The following sentence will either a) fill you with joy or b) fill you with dread: A new season of Canadian Idol begins on Monday.  That's right, compatriots. It's time to embrace our own licensed version of the Pop Idol franchise. Time to watch as a freshly scrubbed battalion of aspiring pop stars butcher treacly standards in our home-grown karaoke competition.  Last season's edition earned incredible numbers for CTV. The Sept.16 finale attracted more than 3 million viewers. The series was viewed by 64 per cent of this country's English-speaking audience, which can only mean that, when it comes to music, the French are superior.  More than 32 million votes were cast, which concluded with Kalan Porter, the cherub from Medicine Hat, emerging victorious over Theresa Sokyrka, the munchkin from Saskatoon.  Guest stars included Lionel Richie and Matt Dusk. No word yet on this season's celebrity line-up. But if producers want to shatter all previous rating highs, they should persuade Paul Martin to perform Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal." Or get Stephen Harper to drop down two octaves and belt out "Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Seen."  Before the second season began last June, we offered advice to all would-be Idols. Now, with the third season just 48 hours away, we offer some pointers to non-viewers tired of being excluded from the country's most infectious summertime discussion.  Want to contribute to the water-cooler powwow but don't have the stomach to endure Ben Mulroney in a pink blazer? Want to be in the know without risking permanent damage to your hearing? No problem. Herewith, A Cheater's Guide to Pretending You Watch Canadian Idol When You Really Don't:

Five Judge-Related Comments You Can Use At Any Time:
1. In his spare time, Zack Werner kicks kittens.
2. Jake Gold has a lot of wisdom — and really cool glasses.
3. Sass Jordan is so ... sassy!
4. Farley Flex could teach these contest kids a thing or two about style.
5. I wonder if any of them slept with Corey Clark.
Five Random Facts To Slip Into Conversations:
1. This year's audition tour visited 13 cities.
2. 187 "Gold Tickets" were issued.
3. In Toronto, 37 contestants received a Gold Ticket.
4. 43 per cent of competitors are 18 or younger.
5. Canadian Idol generates more auditions than American Idol on a per capita basis. Now if we could just do something about our military spending.
Five Sentences You Can Safely Use After Any Performance:
1. It sounded pitchy.
2. You rarely see that much dancing in a Gordon Lightfoot cover.
3. It will be interesting to see what people in Alberta make of that.
4. I predict he/she goes on to sell tens of CDs.
5. He's definitely in my dawg pound.
Five Geographical Questions To Start Discussions:
1. Did you know they expanded the audition tour to 13 cities this season?
2. Did you know that they visited every province and one territory?
3. Did you know Ontario contestants make up 34 per cent of the Top 187?
4. Did you know that nobody from Charlottetown got a Gold Ticket?
5. Did you know 18 Gold Tickets were issued to contestants from British Columbia? Coincidentally, 18 is also the percentage of B.C. teens who have never smoked dope.
Five Music Industry Facts To Impress Coworkers:
1. Ryan Malcolm, Gary Beals and Audrey de Montigny have received Juno nominations.
2. Kalan Porter's debut single, "Awake in a Dream," became the biggest-selling single debut for a Canadian artist.
3. Porter's CD, 219 Days, went double platinum.
4. Canadian Idol and American Idol employ the same vocal coach, Debra Byrd.
5. "Established" musicians throughout the free world continue to hate the Idol franchise the way the rest of us hate Paris Hilton.
Five General Observations:
1. Well, just be glad Bo Bice wasn't born in Manitoba.
2. I didn't realize Sarah McLachlan wrote that song in that key.
3. Do you think Paula Abdul will apply to be a judge on Canadian Idol if she gets fired this summer?
4. He has the poise of Ryan Malcolm, the vocal range of Kalan Porter and the star power of Jon Dore!
5. I wish Ben ended each show with "Mulroney ... out of town."




Canadian Idol More Musically Diverse: Judge

Source: Canadian Press

(May 29, 2005) When asked whether Canadian Idol is a more interesting show than American Idol, judge Farley Flex doesn't hesitate.  "Oh hell yeah," he says. "Hell yeah."  The boasting comes as American Idol wraps a successful fourth season and Flex prepares to once again dole out advice to Canadian singing hopefuls alongside fellow judges Zack Werner, Sass Jordan and Jake Gold.  The third instalment of Canadian Idol begins Monday at 8 p.m. EDT on CTV (check local listings), with the initial shows — as usual — featuring auditions from across the country.  While American Idol made news this year for singling out performers from different musical genres (winner Carrie Underwood is a country crooner and runner-up Bo Bice a long-haired rocker), Flex insists the Canadian contest has always featured diverse performers.  "Maybe we have more eclectic tastes (in Canada)," he says, citing offbeat former Idol contestants like Jenny Gear and Jacob Hoggard.  "Population distribution has a lot to do with it too. When you go out to Newfoundland and those places they're less jaded or less influenced by American culture."  As a result, says Flex — who has managed homegrown artists like rapper Maestro — Canadian Idol is more about finding talented performers than about discovering a huge commercial star.  "America's driven by `you know what, it's got to make money.' I think here we're driven by `here, it's got to be good and make money,' " he says.  This year, the judges visited 13 cities — including first-time trips to Whitehorse, Sudbury, Ont., and Moncton, N.B.  The show has been a fan favourite for the last two summers and has so far remained free of the voting snafus that have plagued the American version.  Of course, American Idol also made headlines for another reason this year — allegations of a sex scandal involving a former contestant and judge Paula Abdul.  Flex laughs nervously when asked if a similar situation could arise in Canada involving himself or his fellow judges.  "You'd have to — from the standpoint of the Canadian show — be really dumb to even venture there," he says.  "I just don't see it happening up here at all."  Canadian Idol also airs this week on Tuesday and Wednesday.



Trailblazing Music, Arts

Source:  Metro News - Jill Andrew for Metro Toronto

(May 30, 2005)
Ebonnie Rowe, CEO and founder of PhemPhat Productions will be awarded a YWCA Women of Distinction award for her trailblazing role in the arts and entertainment development of Canada's female urban music scene tonight at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. She is one of eight women from various career paths to be honoured by the YWCA this year. "We live in an often sexist, racist and classist world, but we can't sit and cry. You've got to make moves towards change," says Rowe, whose company teaches women how to make informed decisions about their music careers while surrounding themselves by inspiring mentors and industry allies. Ten years ago, Rowe was tired of seeing women in the urban music industry represented as nothing more than decorated hood ornaments with legs. The male-dominated urban music industry didn't seem ready to make space for ambitious women like Rowe, who, in 1992 co-founded and directed Each One, Teach One — a mentorship program. Rowe created PhemPhat to help establish access to resources and visibility of not only females as artists, but for those women wanting to explore careers in engineering, producing, artist development, management and label ownership in the urban music industry.

PhemPhat has helped further careers of many of Canada's top stars including Grammy award-winner Nelly Furtado, former Canadian Idol Top 10 finalist Toya Alexis and Universal Music R&B artist Jully Black. Through PhemPhat annual events like the Honey Jam, Canada's only national all-female competition, women from all backgrounds, representing all genres of music are given the opportunity to have their talent heard by eager fans, high-profile senior executives and managers. Auditions for this year's Honey Jam will take place this Sunday at The Mod Club (722 College St.), beginning at 2 p.m. PhemPhat also produces a magazine, music industry educational seminars and recently completed Canada's first all-female urban music CD compilation Honey Drops. PhemPhat also plans on having the annual Honey Jam showcase televised nationally in the near future.  Erika Savage, music entertainment lawyer and senior manager of business affairs and e-commerce for Universal Music Canada has fond memories of her beginnings with PhemPhat. "I attended my first Honey Jam show in 1996 and immediately I knew I had to be a part of PhemPhat," Savage says.

So what keeps Rowe moving faster and stronger each year with this year marking a first for PhemPhat who recently introduced the inclusion of the Honey Jam Hour at the Toronto Street Festival? "I am inspired yearly by the scope of PhemPhat. This motivates me to keep moving forward," Rowe says. "If you really want to make it you have to really want it. You have to not be able to do anything else."




7th Annual Celebrate Toronto Street Festival - July 8 – 10, 2005

Source:  City of Toronto

(June 1, 2005) Canada’s 1,896-kilometre cul-de-sac will once again be transformed into a curb to curb celebration of tastes, talent and all that is Toronto for the 7th Annual Celebrate Toronto Street Festival, July 8 – 10, 2005.  Yonge Street, where it intersects with Dundas St., St. Clair Ave., Eglinton Ave. and Lawrence Ave. will be converted into four distinct sites for free entertainment covering the artistic spectrum and ideal for the whole family. 

Each festival site provides a combination of musical entertainment, street theatre, circus arts and so much more and each main stage within each site has been themed:  Dundas St.:  Global Roots and Rhythms Stage; St. Clair Ave.: the Scotiabank Big Band Stage; Eglinton Ave.: the Midtown Mix Stage and Lawrence Ave.: The McDonald’s® Main Stage.  With over 500 artists from every corner of the world on four distinct sites, the Celebrate Toronto Street Festival will include:  

·       On the Global Roots and Rhythms Stage (Dundas):  the female quartet Roses in the Snow, Afrofest: Fojeba, The Gary Kendall Band, Kalabash, 2005 Juno Award-winner Sonia Collymore, the Flyer Bulger Klezmer Band and The Liquidaires;

·       On the Scotiabank Big Band Stage (St. Clair):  the Toronto Mendelssohn Youth Choir, John Alcorn with Strings, Anna Romain, DeeKaye Ibomeka, and the Wyndam Regency Orchestra;

·       On the Midtown Mix Stage (Eglinton):  the East Village Opera Company (Tyley Ross/Peter Kiesewalter), teenage pop sensations Liam Titcomb, Aselin Debison and Christine Evans, Afrokraut rockers Shawn Hewitt and The National Strike and Kevin Hearn (of Barenaked Ladies);

·       On the McDonald’s® Main Stage (Lawrence):  Second City’s Big Bad Wolf vs. Lord Underwareface von Schtinker,  one of the best mountain bike trials riders in the world Ryan Leech and an open-air screening of the Academy Award-winning “The Incredibles” among many, many, other performers and special activities for the entire family. 

 A large midway will also be set up at Yonge and Eglinton with a special children’s midway at Yonge and Lawrence.   The Celebrate Toronto Street Festival will also present the Toronto debut of Les GirafesAn Urban Operetta from Compagnie Off (France).   Yonge Street will never be the same after a herd of 8-metre high red giraffes manipulated, articulated and disarticulated by 18 invisible operators blind and on stilts slide along at a low trot, swinging their long flexible necks and standing out nonchalantly against the facades of Yonge Street.  An event not to be missed!       A full schedule with a complete list of all performers including bios is available online at   The Celebrate Toronto Street Festival also marks the return of the phenomenally successful restaurant promotion Summerlicious presented by American Express which will once again shine the spotlight on Toronto's hospitality industry.  Summerlicious is back with prix fixe offers at 120 of Toronto's finest restaurants The prix fixe menus are available at lunch and dinner at unbelievable price points.  In past years Torontonians and tourists alike enthusiastically celebrated the diverse and innovative cuisine of Toronto with delicious menus available at restaurants city-wide.  Summerlicious kicks off on July 8, to coincide with the Street Festival opening celebration, and runs until July 24.

Also, discover Toronto from July 8 – 24 with the Celebrate Toronto Passport, offering discounts at 24 of Toronto’s most thrilling destinations.  Visit for printable coupons or call Access Toronto at 416-338-0338 for a list of locations where you can pick up a copy of the passport booklet.    Admission to the Celebrate Toronto Street Festival is FREE and getting there couldn’t be easier.  All four festival sites are accessible via the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC).       Festival hours are:  Friday, July 8:  7pm-10pm (Dundas only), Saturday, July 9:  12 noon – 11pm (all sites), Sunday, July 10:  12 noon – 8pm (all sites).    In six short years the Celebrate Toronto Street Festival has grown to be one of Toronto’s highest-profile events with an annual attendance of more than one million people over 3 days.  20% of the festival’s total audience is tourists whose spending alone generates an economic impact of $7.4 million in the GTA.  Since its inception in 1998, the Celebrate Toronto Street Festival has been awarded six Festivals and Events Ontario Awards, three Canadian Event Industry Awards and two Ontario Economic Development Awards.  The addition of the Summerlicious restaurant promotion to the festival in 2003 has continued to increase the festival’s potential to generate major impact on the Toronto economy.   Yonge Street, known as the longest street in the world, was named in honour of Sir George Yonge, British Secretary of War in 1793. Lacking a “highway department,” Governor John Graves Simcoe forced settlers to spend 12 days a year to clear the road of logs and, as part of their sentence, convicted drunks removed the stumps. The Queen’s Rangers extended the street from Old York (now Toronto) to Lake Simcoe by 1796. And by the 1800s, Yonge Street extended to Georgian Bay. Better known today as Highway 11, Yonge Street stretches 1,896 kilometres from Toronto to Rainy River on the border of Manitoba and the United States.

For more information on the Celebrate Toronto Street Festival, the entertainment line-up and Summerlicious presented by American Express (including participating restaurants and menus) visit Toronto online at _events or the public can call Access Toronto at 416-338-0338.




UMAC Marks Launch Of 26th Anniversary Of Black Music Month


(June 1, 2005) - The Urban Music Association of Canada (UMAC) is pleased to recognize June 2005 as the 26th anniversary of Black Music Month. Since its creation in 1979, Black Music Month has celebrated the talent and contributions of Black musicians, songwriters, producers and industry representatives. It has honoured those who have influenced various genres of music including Jazz, Gospel, Blues, Reggae, Calypso, Rock 'n' Roll, Soul/R&B and Hip Hop.

Over the course of history, Black music has reflected the social climate of the times. From the days of Ancient Africa to the tragic periods of slavery and discrimination, through the progress of the Civil Rights movement, to the mainstream commercial exposure of today, Black music has told the story of the Black experience.  "The soul, rhythm, strength, pain and joy conveyed through all forms of Black music have played a pivotal role in the development of culture around the world," says Aisha Wickham, UMAC's Executive Director. "While UMAC is dedicated to celebrating Black music all year round, we take the opportunity this month to pay particular attention to those who paved the way for us to enjoy the heart, soul and passion of urban music." In Toronto, Mayor David Miller has officially proclaimed June as Black Music Month.

To see the full proclamation, go to




UMAC’s Sound Advice


We are pleased to introduce a new monthly information segment called Sound Advice, written by UMAC Member and entertainment lawyer Miro Oballa. He represents and negotiates agreements for songwriters, recording artists, producers, managers and independent labels in a wide range of music genres including urban, rock, jazz, world and electronic music. This segment will address frequently asked questions with respect to the music industry and the law.

Question: Recently, I wrote a song and I'd like to copyright it. Can I do this myself and how do I do it?

Answer: Copyright law automatically protects your song from the time you first record or write the song down. Simply having copyright is not enough to protect you if your song is copied, however. Like the old saying goes, it's not what you know, but what you can prove - and you need to be able to prove your ownership of the copyright if it is ever violated.

The strongest evidence of copyright is a registration with the copyright office. If you want to register your work here in Canada, go to the Industry Canada website at, click on "Copyrights" and follow the step-by-step guide to fill out your application. To register in the U.S., visit the U.S. Copyright Office website at and read the step-by-step guide on how to register your work.

By registering, you automatically receive a rebuttable presumption of ownership in the work in the eyes of a court. This means that the burden of proof now shifts to the other person to establish that they aren't violating your copyright instead of you having to prove that they are. Registering in the U.S. is also necessary to be able to claim for either statutory damages or attorney's fees in a U.S. copyright infringement claim. Unfortunately, registration cost money, so its not always viable to register every single song you write. A good rule of thumb is that if you are going to be passing the song around or playing it for a lot of other people, then it is a good idea to register it. Registration is more complicated in the U.S., but it is cheaper than in Canada since you can register more than one song for the same fee.

For the full story, go to under MEMBERS. 




K-OS Talks Canadian Hip-Hop, Bob Marley

Excerpt from - By Clover Hope

(June 1, 2005)
Canadian MC/vocalist K-OS recently discussed his future musical ventures, while elaborating on the state of the Canadian hip-hop scene and expressing his connection to reggae legend Bob Marley.  K-OS said although he hasn't begun work on his next studio album, he is developing song ideas and playing around with remixes.  The Trinidad-born rapper also pledged that his upcoming records will not rehash the same type of music.  "Right now I'm making a lot of beats and sizing up ideas for songs, but I haven't actually been in the studio," K-OS told "[But] if I did a whole album of songs that sounded the same, I think I wouldn't know what to do with myself. I'd go insane."

Comparing Canadian hip-hop to that of the States, K-OS said the consistency of the U.S. music industry leaves much to be desired.  The rapper praised certain Canadian hip-hop artists for recognizing their identity as non-Americans.  "I don't think the [music] industry in America is so hard to get into by accident. I think they're very particular about what shapes the culture and the fashion of that country," said K-OS. "Unfortunately, you have to jump through a lot of hoops to get heard in America, so it's very political."  Regarding his own infiltration into the U.S. music scene, K-OS expressed his dissatisfaction with the selection of music videos available and stated that his story lines in videos are typically unconventional.  "The way I'm coming across in my videos doesn't really fit into the American diaspora of what the Black identity is," said K-OS. "[In videos] Black people are never [presented as] human beings, they're never characters. They're never just people who are evolving, and I think my videos show me as that character."

Akin to his mentor Bob Marley, who pioneered reggae in America and internationally, K-OS said his rebellion is a personal movement.  The rapper's sophomore release
Joyful Rebellion consequently explores this theme through hip-hop, rock, and reggae elements.  "The real rebellion is choosing to think for yourself. That's what Bob Marley did," said K-OS. "And in him evolving and being this kid from Jamaica [who] took the music so far, he helped a whole people evolve because he was representing them in a way."




BENQ presents North by Northeast - FLOW 93.5 Presents The Urban Music Industry Workshop- Saturday, June 11

Source:  FLOW 93.5

FLOW 93.5, in partnership with the Urban Music Association of Canada, present a full afternoon of panels at the at the 2005 North By Northeast Music Conference & Festival. The Urban Music Industry Workshop takes place on Saturday, June 11 from 12:30-4:30 pm. The focus of this workshop is on understanding commercial radio infrastructure and achieving success as an independent artist.

12:30 - 4:30 PM

A pass for the Urban Music Industry Workshop is only $20! Passes on sale at the North By Northeast offices at 189 Church Street, just south of Dundas. BE SURE TO GET YOUR PASSES EARLY, AS SPACE IS LIMITED! For more information, call 416-863-NXNE or visit

The urban music industry workshop will feature the following topics:

ANR Lounge Demo
Saturday, June 11 from 12:30-1:15 pm
Presenter: Anna Maria Russo, Information Services Coordinator - MINC

ANR Lounge Project Manager Anna Maria Russo will be your tour guide to the most comprehensive web-resource for Canadian musicians on the internet. Learn how to use this online resource to promote your release to over 400 radio stations, find money for your professional demo or plan a tour.

FLOW 93.5 Presentation: Understanding Commercial Radio
Saturday, June 11 from 1:30 - 2:00 pm
Presenter: Justin Dumont, Music Director, FLOW 93.5

Learn about the science of commercial radio. Dumont will discuss and explain the formatics of programming a commercial radio station, how radio clocks are designed and implemented, how song rotations and categories work and the process of music meetings. If you are an artist who wants to hear your song played on commercial radio, come learn directly from the source what it takes!

Urban Music Demo Listening Session
Saturday, June 11 from 2:15 - 3:15 pm

Submit your demos for this music listening session with a twist. This time, we've put together a panel with not only radio programmers and record label reps, but also a music reviewer and DJs, who will critique the demos from their various perspectives.

Justin Dumont - Music Director, FLOW 93.5
David 'Click' Cox - A&R Representative, Universal Music Canada
DJ Christopher Michaels
Boogeyman (DJ)
Allan Mamaril - Marketing & Promotions, Canadian Music Network

UMAC Indie Lab (Music Lab Series):
Living Independently: Marketing, Publishing & Distribution Strategies for Independent Artists

Saturday, June 11 from 3:30 - 4:30 pm

This panel, which will include representatives from distribution and publishing companies, will provide artists and managers with marketing strategies and advice on how make use of distribution (retail, online and digital), manufacturing, merchandising and the Internet in order to achieve success in the music business.

Facilitator: Aisha Wickham - Executive Director, Urban Music Association of Canada

Gregg Terrence - President, Indie Pool Music Services
Mike Denney - Ontario Branch Manager, Distribution Fusion III Inc.
Vivian Barclay - Creative/Administrative Representative, Warner/Chappell Music Canada
Kevin 'Jedi' Barton - CEO, Soul Clap Records
Rich London - Recording Artist, Soul Clap Records

A pass for the Urban Music Industry Workshop is only $20! Passes on sale at the North By Northeast offices at 189 Church Street, just south of Dundas. BE SURE TO GET YOUR PASSES EARLY, AS SPACE IS LIMITED!

For more information, call 416-863-NXNE or visit




Joss Stone at Massey Hall

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Ashante Infantry, Toronto Star

(May 29, 2005) No matter how much Joss Stone's stock rose during her explosive Janis Joplin tribute with Melissa Etheridge at the last Grammy Awards, her career still hasn't caught up to the publicity the Brit teen's minders have generated on the strength of her preternaturally mature vocals.  Scooped up by a U.S. label after appearing on a BBC talent show at age 14, Stone has been touted by Tom Cruise, mentored by legendary soul singer Betty Wright and co-opted by The Gap, but has yet to vault into the superstar stratosphere as record execs have been predicting. While the lass's stirring new record Mind Body & Soul has a more contemporary feel than her 2003 debut, The Soul Sessions (released when she was just 16), it still seems incongruent with the barefoot hippie drag of the giggly distracted singer who spoke with the Star from Encino, Calif. as she was driving to breakfast with her boyfriend, 25-year-old Beau Dozier, son of renowned Motown songwriter Lamont Dozier.

It's June 1, this must be Massey Hall:

"The first of the month is always the most special day of the month for me. You know how the first day in the year is like a fresh start? Well, I go by month. It sets up my goals into sections. Since I'm touring, the goal in the month of June would be to be careful with my voice, to try to sing without hurting myself. Last year I really busted my voice up, to the point where I couldn't talk too much afterwards. I have a voice spray that's really good, but basically warmups are the only way. It's just discipline, you know, and I'm really not that disciplined."

Centre stage:

"I just get my songs together and I sing and hope people will like it. There'll be different songs in the set, since my last show there (Opera House, April 2004), because I have a new album and sometimes we mix things up anyway just for fun. Sometimes we take other people's songs and make a medley out of them.  "My band seems to get bigger and bigger as I go on. Now I have three backing singers, two guitars, two pianists and a drummer. They're all Americans. I told them to think of a name for themselves, but they haven't yet."

Bare feet:

"It's nothing spiritual or nothing fashion wise, I don't wear shoes on stage because I get nervous and I don't want to fall over. I was opening for Sting the other day and I stepped on something that gave me a splinter — on the second song in! — so I had to sing the whole set with a splinter in my foot. It was so funny.  "I'm really just a simple girl. I do like to wear nice clothes but, to be honest with you, I can't remember any of the designers. I go on the red carpet and (reporters) ask me `What are you wearing?' I always forget. I'm like, `Don't know — a dress?'"

Happy 18th!

"I celebrated the day before my birthday (April 11), because I was working on my birthday. I had a dinner at the Spice Market Restaurant in New York with my close friends. My dad and two of my best friends came over from England. The next day, actually my birthday, I did the Save the Music Concert for VH1. Then I went home to England for three days to have a birthday with my mum, because she couldn't come."

Rolling Stone:

"I live half and half in California and England. What I miss most about England is the people, my friends and my family, but they come to visit me. My boyfriend comes on the road with me, but not all the time; when we're apart we talk on the phone 24-7 and we have this I-chat thing which is really cool. We've been dating a year and half. He's an absolutely amazing producer and songwriter. I wrote `Spoiled' with him.  "I have a bag of pretty little stones that people that are really close to me have bought me. I take it with me everywhere I go. I feel like they hold an energy, like I'm carrying around all my friends' energy in the bag."




Labours of Lanois

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Vit Wagner, Pop Music Critic

(June 1, 2005) During a celebrated career that has spanned nearly 30 years, Daniel Lanois has gone from Eno to emo and back again.  The 53-year-old, Hamilton-bred musician and producer, returns to Toronto this weekend to be inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame. Famous mainly for his work with popular music icons U2, Bob Dylan and Peter Gabriel, he has lent his studio skills to a slew of projects — not all of them commercial juggernauts.  Last month, he was in Toronto to fine-tune a forthcoming disc by Dashboard Confessional, a.k.a. Christopher Carrabba, the young Florida singer/songwriter and popular purveyor of the soul-baring rock genre labelled emo.  "The kid's real smart. A great lyricist," says Lanois on the line from his Los Angeles home.  "I've really outdone myself with the arrangements. There are some really beautiful counter-melodies and sub-melodies. It's a really innovative record. I'm so happy I did it. I really hope it goes through the roof for him."  At the same time, Lanois is promoting a new disc of his own, Belladonna, an instrumental album he likens to the ambient soundscapes he recorded with fellow studio guru Brian Eno in the 1980s. It hits stores next Tuesday. He leads a four-piece band into the Winter Garden Theatre June 11 to perform selections from the new album, as well as songs from his earlier catalogue.  Prior to hooking up with Eno on 1980's Ambient 2: The Plateaux of Mirror, Lanois's short resume included three albums of kids' music with Raffi.

"If we were to look back at our great Canadian exports, of which we had many, the ambient music chapter that took place in Hamilton is a relatively uncelebrated one — probably because it was just instrumental ambient music," Lanois says. "But, as is often the case in Canada, we pay no attention to things going on right under our noses. And then 10 or 20 years later, we think, `Wasn't that great?'  "The idea of ambient music is that not everything is on your face. Sometimes it's nice that something is stirring the imagination without punching you in the face. You can put the record on, whether it's Belladonna or one of those Eno records I did in the '80s, and make your own movie. You are now the director. You are not being directed or told anything. We're going to send you off on a trip and your own imagination will be the boss. That's a nice thing to do for folks."  In some ways, Belladonna is a stylistic continuation of its predecessor, Shine. That album, released in 2003, wasn't wordless, but it was also rooted in a low-key, atmospheric vibe.  Lanois has now released two solo albums in three years, after keeping silent on that front for nearly a decade. He credits his label, Anti, home to such independent musical spirits as Tom Waits, Nick Cave and Marianne Faithfull.  "They're music lovers and great supporters of music that might not be considered commercial," he says. "They've been egging me on to do an instrumental record for a while, to revisit those early passions of mine. Some of it is among my best work."  Lanois' best work is an impressive roster — including his contributions to U2's Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby. His own favourite is 1997's Time Out of Mind, one of two albums (the other being 1989's Oh Mercy) he produced for Bob Dylan.  "There's a track on (Time Out of Mine), `Can't Wait'. I heard that the other day and I thought, `My God, I don't even know how we did it.' It was incredible. And I don't remember how I did it.  "I produce testimonial exorcisms," he continues. "That's what Danny Lanois does. The artist, whether they like or not, their heart and soul is going to be worn on the sleeve bigger than ever. That's my skill. That's my gift. That's what I bring out in people. And that's what I'll keep doing. I'm like a preacher. That's my gig."




Bittersweet Symphony

Excerpt from The Toronto Star -
William Littler

(May 28, 2005) "
Winnipeg Symphony can't pay musicians, may collapse"  "Calgary orchestra seeks $1.5 million to survive"  "Orchestral manoeuvres in the red"  "As funds disappear, so do orchestras” These are only a few of the newspaper headlines to have appeared in recent seasons above stories of gloom and doom in the symphonic world.  The situation is not a new one. Chronically under funded, our orchestras lurch from crisis to rescue and back to crisis again, without achieving long-term stability.  "Our orchestras are dysfunctional," accuses a blunt Ed Wulfe, recently re-elected president of the Houston Symphony Orchestra, traditionally one of North America's Top 10.  "The musicians have their own goals, management has its agenda and so has the board. But our orchestras can only work if everybody is playing on the same team."  Ed Smith came to the same conclusion. When he accepted the Toronto Symphony Orchestra's managing directorship, the man who discovered Simon Rattle found when he arrived in Canada an organization divided in its goals and unable to work as a team. It took his subsequent resignation to expose the depths of dysfunction.  That was only a few years ago. Today, according to the available evidence, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra is a different organization and Andrew Shaw credits the board chairmanship of former provincial premier Bob Rae with bringing about much of the change.

"It was a matter of leadership," Shaw recalls. "He pulled the organization together and had people speaking to each other again. He bought us time."  He also helped recruit Shaw, himself a former orchestral player, credited with turning the Royal Conservatory of Music's publishing arm, the Frederick Harris Music Co., into a profitable business, as the orchestra's new president and CEO.  "It was a real mess 3 1/2 years ago," concedes Shaw. "Negative press, negative attitudes inside and outside the organization. Our goal the first year was just to be able to get to the end of the year and set up a search committee to find a new music director.  "The second year we developed a market plan and set the stage for the music director to make a statement. Some people thought it was an impossible timeline, but we had to work quickly. Nobody is going to give money to an abstraction.  "Engaging Peter Oundjian (as music director) was a bit of a risk, but he has turned out to be a dream come true. He is so intelligent, so aware of what needs to be done."  The upshot? Over a three-year period, audiences have risen by 25 per cent. There are now 25,000 subscribers and the orchestra sells 230,000 seats per season. More than 20,000 young people (aged 15 to 29) have been recruited to the new "tsoundcheck" program alone, offering them good seats over the Internet for only $10 a ticket. The price makes going to the symphony competitive with a first-run movie.  Has all this put the Toronto Symphony Orchestra where it needs to be to achieve long-term stability? Not yet.  Although its endowment, at about $20 million, stands second among Canadian performing arts organizations to the Stratford Festival — an unprecedented figure for a Canadian orchestra — this is still only a fraction of what the major American orchestras have at their disposal.  He also wants to eliminate the accumulated deficit of $7 million. It's less than the Houston Symphony Orchestra's $10 million, but Toronto's red ink flows from year to year. "We still have a $1-million structural problem annually that has to be addressed," Shaw admits.

"So we are taking a page from the health services and universities. We have to have an integrated approach to fundraising. And our operation has become lean, if not mean."  As Shaw and his colleagues have worked behind the scenes to improve the Toronto Symphony Orchestra's bottom line, Oundjian has worked out front to put a new face on what happens in and around Roy Thomson Hall.  Within a few weeks, he will have reached the end of his first full season as music director, sometimes making music before full houses, often speaking informally with his listeners to introduce the music and soloists. The atmosphere is warmer in the hall than it has been in many years.  "My opening season with the Toronto Symphony continues to be an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling experience," Oundjian says. "The orchestra is filled with extraordinary musicians who continue to share their love and passion for music with the audience."  Some of those musicians are new and some have returned to the orchestra in order to make music with him. Principal double bass Joel Quarrington came back from Ottawa's National Arts Centre Orchestra, principal trumpet Andrew McCandless from the much richer Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Winona Zelenka has made her mark as new principal cellist and Teng Li has turned out to be a principal violist worthy to follow in the distinguished footsteps of Steven Dann.  Orchestras sometimes fail to acknowledge the visual impact they make, conditioning the way audiences listen. The Toronto Symphony has had more than its share of apparent zombies over the years, particularly in the string sections, but under Oundjian even some of the sitting dead are beginning to look re-energized.  The strings are a symphony's backbone and his credentials as former first violinist of one of the world's foremost chamber ensembles, the Tokyo String Quartet, have given him the background and impetus to improve the string sound.  His credentials as a conductor have been less impressive, since it is only for the past several years that he has been waving a stick. The performance of Beethoven's
Seventh Symphony with which he opened the season sounded more like a reading than an interpretation, and much of the seasoning necessary to turn a talent into a maestro has yet to take place.  The good news is that he and the orchestra seem mutually engaged. And for a new music director to inaugurate a contemporary music festival (New Creations) in his first season bodes well for his commitment to revitalizing the repertory. All 11 of the works presented over three programs were being heard in Toronto for the first time.

Talking conductors is a controversial issue. Even Leonard Bernstein was raked over the critical coals for daring to converse with his listeners. With his lightly English-accented voice (although born in Toronto, he received most of his education in England), Oundjian simply has a better knack than most of his colleagues for breaking the ice verbally.  If there is starch in his collar, none of it is attitudinal. He radiates friendliness from the stage and in these days of fierce competition for the cultural dollar, symphony orchestras can use all the friends they can get.  A radical? He is obviously not that. Balancing the New Creations Festival was a Mozart Festival, just about the safest programming imaginable. But as his quartet-playing years demonstrated, this man knows his Mozart, and there isn't a composer better suited to cultivating refinement in an orchestra.  Mozart will return in 2005-06, along with New Creations. So will some of the conductors around whose special talents the orchestra is building a complementary support structure to balance Oundjian's 12-week exposure. Former music directors Sir Andrew Davis and Gunther Herbig continue to make welcome returns, along with Gianandrea Noseda and Thomas Dausgaard.  It used to be said that the Toronto Symphony is a far better orchestra than the world knows. That situation has not changed. Largely through its Decca recordings and the tours flowing from them, the Montreal Symphony has been the Canadian orchestra with an international profile.  Having lost its record contract and its truly distinguished music director, Charles Dutoit, Montreal's orchestra is now far more debt-ridden and dysfunctional than its Ontario rival. Whether the appearance of the high-profile Kent Nagano as music director in 2006 and the still-unfulfilled promise of a new concert hall will be the catalysts for change remains to be seen.  Meanwhile, with sister orchestras in Calgary and Winnipeg in trouble, and others across the country barely holding their deficits at bay, the Canadian orchestral world is increasingly looking to Toronto as a model for recovery.  "I don't think a lot of orchestras got over the cutbacks of the early '90s," suggests Mike Forrester, Toronto's vice-president for marketing and development. "When they downsized, they lost marketing people trained at a level to close the income gap.  "We have expanded our fundraising and we've targeted new audiences in ethnic communities. We run ads in Cantonese and Mandarin newspapers and work with the Russian and Korean communities. And we've lowered the average age of our audience, with the help of our tsoundcheck program and singles series. There is now such a thing as date night with the Toronto Symphony. Who'd have thunk it?"  Who, indeed. Year One of the Age of Oundjian seems to be ending on one of the highest notes the Toronto Symphony Orchestra has hit in years. The struggle continues, but the smiles are returning to Roy Thomson Hall.




Jazz Theologian Goes Slumming, And Makes A Bit Of History

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail - By Carl Wilson

(May 28, 2005) It may not go down alongside the day Dizzy Gillespie met Chano Pazo (and invented Afro-Cuban bebop), but a real moment in the history of jazz -- or something -- went down last Saturday at the 22nd annual music festival in Victoriaville, Que., reconfirming it as the best place on the continent to go get your inner ear realigned. Having wrung out half its audience to the point of post-traumatic stress, noise band Wolf Eyes said there was time for one more: Did we want Leper War or Black Vomit? The poll was inconclusive, so the trio's hulking, bare-headed mouthpiece John Olson turned to the show's guest star: "Anthony?"  And at that, the near-sexagenarian, notoriously cerebral jazz composer Anthony Braxton glanced down at his saxophone, pursed his lips in a beatific smile and eagerly answered: "Black Vomit!" (Olson joked Braxton must have been inspired by their previous night in the hotel bar.) Within seconds came the shuddering solar-plexus drum blows and the jerrybuilt-electronics chaos of the track from Wolf Eyes' 2004 album Burned Mind. And the man who in 1971 released the first full-length solo saxophone album in jazz history was blowing madly along. Though Victoriaville's festival is supposed to be about tearing up the musical rulebook, in fact it's swarmed by sub-factions -- the jazz elitists, the rock yahoos, the Québécois-prog populists. This year was primed for a bit of a showdown. Unprecedentedly, director Michel Levasseur had handed some programming duties over to Thurston Moore of New York postpunk band Sonic Youth: Moore filled the third of the festival's five long days of music with the young brutalists of Wolf Eyes, Hair Police, his own mayhem-bound nine-piece Dream Aktion Unit and more.

Meanwhile Sunday was stacked with jazz heavies such as Braxton, German saxophonist Peter Brotzmann's Chicago Tentet and New York bassist William Parker's Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra. (There were also highlights outside either cluster, such as stunning avant-traditionalist Chinese singer and guzheng player Xu Fengxia, the harp and electronics set by Zeena Parkins and Ikue Mori, and Kid Koala and Martin Tétrault's super-charming turntable duet.) Braxton was officially at Victo (as devotees call the festival) to play a duet with guitar improviser Fred Frith, and with his own sextet, but his surprise coup was to sit in on Wolf Eyes' whole set. People giggled about this in the disconcerted way they do when categories come unglued: Why was the black college professor hanging with the white noise dropouts? Braxton's always been a divisive figure. Since his 1968 debut album, the Chicago-born musician's compositions titled with numbers and diagrams put off listeners and critics who thought he was too "academic," too enamoured with world music and European composers like Stockhausen to be loyal to jazz's swing and blues. Braxton rightly calls such criticism both "reverse racist" in its scorn for any contribution by whites, and straight-up "antebellum" racist in its conviction that black musicians should be gutbucket-instinctual rather than brainy and cosmological. But at Victo, where he's played many times in the past 22 years, and a few similar European festivals, he's a heroic warrior against the conservative revivalism that's dominated jazz since Ronald Reagan became U.S. president. It's a sign of insider status in these enclaves to grok Braxton's complex systems. But such supporters can be as much of a burden as detractors: His music isn't supposed to be some bonsai-tending hobbyist's pastime. Braxton constructs his arcane mathematical-alchemical structures by collaging musical elements together in a game of musical 3-D chess. He intends the results to resonate with global socio-political dynamics -- and even magically to alter or undermine them.

Braxton's first saw Wolf Eyes at a festival last year in Sweden. He bought up everything at the merchandise table and even fantasized about moving to Stockholm ("as a cook, if I had to") to study their "vibrational energies," until he found out they were actually from Michigan. If it wasn't my imagination, in Sunday's dazzling show by Braxton's sextet, amid aswirling mobile of suites that flirted and scrapped and merged with one another, some of the movements already seemed to carry the unbolted-buzz-saw timbral influence of Wolf Eyes. If it's startling that this jazz theoretician would fall for a thuggish group with roots in hardcore punk, consider what they have in common: Just as Braxton declares he's no longer a "jazz" musician ("I have no desire to extend American hegemony"), Wolf Eyes likely would distance themselves from "rock." Like Braxton, but at a much higher decibel level, Wolf Eyes interlay found sound, past influences and their own eccentric inventions, adding up to a sensibility dualistically divided between cyber futurism and Unabomber-cabin rustic grit. (Although the departure of member Aaron Dilloway seems to have subtracted a few degrees of seriousness.) Braxton's sextet is half of a new 12-piece group that he wants to make his personal permanent ensemble. The idea seems aimed in part at removing himself from the music business to an autonomous realm -- much the way the noise artists have built their own underground circuit. Brotzmann and Parker's big bands have vision too, of course, but for some reason this week they felt like ghosts of avant-gardism past. After their Sunday concerts, I had to soften my negative take on the circle-dance primitivism of New York's No Neck Blues Band, whose meandering set did eventually manage to evoke the kind of feral, present-tense presence the jazz groups never cohered enough to find. The peak in that sense was scaled Monday by Japanese noise royalty the Boredoms, whose closing post-psychedelic communal-rock ritual had a whole arena trancing out in baffling bliss. So to hell with genre and style. Crucial musicians always propose not just notes and chords but social experiments too hazardous for real life -- random racial-reassignment cosmetic surgery, suicide pacts, marathon group sex, giving up on language, returning to the ocean -- to be staged instead in sound. It's research-and-development on the human strain. And as Prof. Braxton knows, it can come along in shredded jeans cursing its head off and with sirens in its suitcase as (un-)easily as in any other outfit. The weekend's debates were bracing for all sides. To mark the spot with a bold red X, the festival really must issue a triple live-CD set of the many faces of Anthony Braxton at Victo 2005. And they absolutely must title it Black Vomit. Which is funny, you know, but not merely funny.




Shanice Hosts Album Preview Party

Excerpt from -
By Gerald Radford /

(May 27, 2005) With the joy of marriage and motherhood fuelling her fire, Shanice is back, with her signature smile and five-octave range intact.  She’s resurfaced with a new independently released album, Every Woman Dreams. To debut her latest offering, Shanice performed for an intimate group of fans, special guests, and celebrities at The Conga Room in Los Angeles Wednesday night (which turned into a surprise birthday bash for the R&B songbird), and the response was more than welcoming.   The performance was kicked off by her husband and muse, (actor/comedian) Flex Alexander, who spread rose petals along the path that she would walk to take the stage.  Shortly after, her angelic voice was heard coming from the entryway, singing in acappella the late Minnie Ripperton’s classic “Lovin’ You.”   Once she made her way to the stage and finished with the song’s familiar glass shattering note, the specially invited guests were going wild.  Now a woman, the vocal powerhouse went on to masterfully deliver several songs from her new album, which had a mature, yet playful feel. And with titles like “I’m Gonna Take Care of You” and “I’m So Crazy For You,” it was clear that they were inspired by her love for her hubby. 

One of the night's many highlights was her diva-esque performance of the title track and first single, “Every Woman Dreams,” on which she schools the ladies on not settling for less in their relationships.  She even put a little old school grit in it, which many may not be use to from her.  I suppose it changes the game when you’re singing from the heart.  She was almost glowing as she performed, often looking out into the crowd at her man.  Shanice has been away for a while, but she definitely still has what it takes to reclaim her position as one of the most notable voices in the industry.  Every Woman Dreams, Shanice's fifth album, is due in stores this August. It will be released on the couple’s own newly formed IME records, through a joint venture with industry vet Richard Nash’s Playtime Entertainment.  In the house to witness the performance was (Magic's better half) Cookie Johnson, EUR's Lee Bailey, comedian Joe Torrey, actress/singer Tichina Arnold and singing couple Chante Moore & Kenny Lattimore.




New Edition’s 'One Love' And Broken Relationships

Excerpt from

(June 1, 2005)
New Edition is gettin' right back. The group has teamed with Lincoln for their 30-city "2005 New Edition Concert Tour," which kicked off in Raleigh, North Carolina recently hit Los Angeles. Future dates include Washington, DC (June 3, 4); Detroit (June 5); New York (June 10) and Chicago (June 26).  The tour is in support of their 8th album “One Love,” which features 17 new tracks from the quintet, and will also highlight select appearances with the very embattled Bobby Brown. With the new album ready to roll, the group reminds fans that “One Love” is not a reunion album.  “It feels like a reunion to the public,” Ronnie states, “but we never considered ourselves broken up.”  The album was released late last year on Bad Boy Records, but the NE Heartbreakers have since left the label. "We thought it was gonna be like no limits," band member Ricky Bell told the AP. "Let's go all out. Let's just get with the best writers, the best producers, let's just exploit New Edition, like, all the way, and that wasn't the plan. I mean, once we got in with [Diddy], when we didn't agree with him on certain songs, we would get sent home for like six, seven months. You know, it would just be nothing being done."

Johnny Gill had even more to say about the break from Puff’s label, saying that he saw it coming from day one. “I just told everyone that I didn’t think we needed to be a part of the Bad Boy camp. We winded up not even getting a chance to really get anything off the ground. I foresaw what was going on with Bad Boy and when I asked the guys not to do this, they wanted to do it, and I am part of the group, so I had to get in the car and ride with them.” According to Gill, it didn’t take a fortune teller to anticipate that the relationship between New Edition and the Bad Boy label wouldn’t last. Apparently, just knowing P. Diddy was all it took for him to realize that it wouldn’t be a perfect combination. “I know Puffy very well. I know Puffy is the kind of cat that if you he doesn’t agree with something, you can’t agree to disagree with him,” Gill said. “It’s either his way or it’s nobody’s way. I knew that we would eventually butt heads and what that would lead to if you give into or allow him to have control over your career. And sure enough, I think at the end of the day, that’s what happened.” But when asked if he thought their brief time at Bad Boy was a waste, Gill modestly called it a learning experience. He said that the group has moved on and is looking forward to the tour.  “We’ve moved forward,” said Gill.  "We’ve been doing this for 22 years, that means way before we met Puffy and way after he’s gone, we will continue to do what we’ve been doing. It’s just another chapter in our book.”




Jermaine Dupri Introduces New Artist Mikkey

Source: Shemia Miller, Uncrowned City Records, Phone: 912-356-5392,;;

(June 1, 2005)
Jermaine Dupri, often not fully recognized for his phenomenal talents as a producer, is a proven hit-maker for artists such as: Usher, Da Brat, Kriss Kross, Lil Jon, Young Bloodz, Xscape, Lil Bow Wow, Mariah Carey, Alicia Keys, Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Aaliyah, Jay-Z, Ludacris, Toni Braxton and countless others. His extensive catalogue that screams talented, remarkable, and revolutionary has just gotten another name: Mikkey. He always pushes the bar, where no other producer dares to go. He continues to create new sounds that compliment the artist and send trendsetting ripples throughout the music industry.  As he has recently been appointed President of Virgin Records Urban Music, a new division at the label, Jermaine Dupri has made the most brilliant decision by signing Chicago's finest Mikkey. Music insiders are regarding this as a remarkable genius move as other labels are betting on their marketing power to attract fans, Jermaine Dupri seems to be betting on music's fans ability to recognize good and real music. Mikkey is expected to give Virgin Records the foundation that it needs for it's Hip Hop division. How did Jermaine Dupri pull this artist that was in a 3 way bidding war?  Mikkey explains, "I have no stage name, I am about reality, not conjuring up some phoney name, I just am who I am. Jermaine Dupri respects that." Mikkey continues, "I could tell when we met. It was crazy. I had a couple offers elsewhere that I was ready to pull the trigger on, but NO I.D. had a relationship with JD and said before I sign I should hear the (explicit) sh**. He heard it, loved it, doubled the offer on the table, and the rest is history. We're about to change the whole perception of Virgin."

If Mikkey sounds a bit confident, that's because he already has fans from JadaKiss to Kanye West. Jermaine Dupri adds, "I am confident that no other artists on other labels can touch Mikkey. He could easily go up against a 50 Cent or any other artist that has been in the rap game for years, and shut them down." Mikkey interrupts, "Yes, I am not into the rap beef thing, but I am quick to pull a House Niggas card. But I have to go on record saying that JD has a tremendous history of success, and just by taking on the Virgin job, this shows that he is both a risk-taker and a visionary. I'm going to help him do what no one has done before, make Virgin a credible rap label."
Mikkey in the bowels of the ghettos of Chicago, was primarily associated with killers and hustlers. He has seen horrendous acts that go on daily in the hood. Mikkey always had an intellectual spark and such an impeccable flow that it was recognized throughout Chicago. In fact, one night, unknowing to Mikkey, he had a special visitor in the crowd, Gil Scott Heron. And after hearing Mikkey's delivery, flow and uncompromising lyrics, Gil Scott Heron was very determined to take Mikkey out of the streets lifestyle. In fact, Gil Scott Heron came out of his reclusive space to train Mikkey for several years, about politics, war, society, and the world as we know it. After what seemed to be years of training, Gil Scott Heron finally gave Mikkey the approval to televise the revolution. Gil Scott Heron explains, "I've given up on rap music until I met Mikkey, it was a lot of good beats with no real substance. It seemed that rappers only talked about drugs, and exploiting our people no real art. Mikkey on the other hand will provide a different vibe, and I am passing him the baton to televise the revolution".  Mikkey reveals, "The news programming will never report it, because they are too afraid to go into the cold streets of the ghetto, they don't want their reporter to get shot, stabbed, or emotionally stained by those horrific acts, but I serve as the field reporter, for not only my neighbourhood, but ghettos around the globe. It's universal." Gil Scott Heron has passed the baton to Mikkey, and believes that he can bring the trendy sounds with his flow and wisdom.

Mikkey is not new to the "rap game" by any means. He and Kanye West formed a production company called Kanman productions, early in 2000. They were an inseparable team in Chicago. Kanye signed to The Roc, and Mikkey made other career moves. Many still regard Mikkey, Kanye West, Common and NO ID as the power houses of Chicago. Some regard this Chicago rap rebirth as a trend.
 But Mikkey adamantly disagrees with the rap critics, "Chicago is everything that Hip Hop embodies: poverty, struggle, spirituality, racism. It was only a matter of time before we started getting some light. Mikkey plans on bringing to Virgin Records and the music industry at whole a gritty, revolutionary, consciousness and truth that has been missing since Ice Cube's “Death Certificate.” "Man, ‘Death Certificate’ changed my life. Cube was the most gangsta out but [he] wasn't a dumb nigga, and definitely wasn't a house nigga. He pulled no punches. I plan on carrying that torch."  Mikkey's CD, “Nat Turner's Revenge,” is expected this fall. This CD is expected to have beats, music, delivery, and lyrics that are so revolutionary that it changes Hip Hop as we know it. Mikkey has lyrical arsenal to murder the competition for years and years and years.  Mikkey's last question to everyone involved, "You ain’t scared of Revolution is you?"




Two Mothers Of Invention

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail -
By Ryan Porter

(June 1, 2005) When New York art consultant and socialite
Yvonne Force Villareal broke into rap for electro band Fischerspooner, it was more than a glitzy party trick. She'd been spontaneously bursting into her dirty ditty, Megacolon, a rap about constipation, since she wrote the song with her college chum Sandra Hamburg in the late-eighties. She never thought Fischerspooner would flip for it. They asked Force Villareal and Hamburg to rap the track on what would become Fischerspooner's 2003 smash debut album, #1. After 15 years, art-world dignitary Yvonne Force Villareal and Vogue photographer Sandra Hamburg's refrain "Now my megacolon is a big, big hit" had come to pass. Adding "rapper" to their résumés in their late-30s, each with a toddler at home, marked the kickoff to an unlikely side-project: Mother Inc. Singing wryly about plastic surgery, having nothing to wear, the torture of fad diets and their fury over ATM machines that don't put out, they were soon signed to a major label -- a fashion label. Force Villareal's cachet skyrocketed after Vogue profiled her last July for her art consulting business. That piece led the formidable fashion house Fendi to her work. "These are two women who are really on the cutting edge of the fashion scene in New York," says Fendi's public-relations co-ordinator, Ayana Lewis. "They're bold, they're confidant, they shake things up." Their debut CD -- a mixture of disco, punk and electro-pop -- was released in April, and entirely sponsored by Fendi. The glamorous jacket photo was shot by Jessica Craig Martin, whose credits include The New York Times magazine, Details, W and five editions of Vogue. Fendi also sponsored a live Mother Inc. show on Feb. 2, two days before New York's spring fashion week. When they descended a staircase in Fendi gowns worth $5,000 (U.S.) each, singing the disco hit Native New Yorker, the fashion and art world salivated.

It had been more than 15 years since the women met at the Rhode Island School of Design. What inspired them was seeing a megacolon at the Walter Reed Medical Museum outside Washington. Force Villareal and Hamburg spliced their frustrations in flirtation, financial woes and debilitating hangovers with their newfound knowledge of the megacolon, an enlarged colon that results in constipation, to create their signature song. "It was really very meaningful to us," Force Villareal says today. "I remember singing it once sitting on the bar in Madrid in 1989, trying to translate it as I was singing in Spanish." Parties, car rides, art functions: Any excuse was a good excuse for an impromptu performance. Through the nineties, the friends grew apart, but reunited in 1998 at trendy lounge Lot 61 in New York to specifically discuss recording
Megacolon. "I'm always producing other people's dreams," Force Villareal says. "I felt: 'Wouldn't it be nice to get this one song done, recorded and out there in the world?' I would have done my own little art project. I really wanted to see it through." Mike Skinner, who wrote the music for their album with electro DJ Spencer Product, was impressed by Force Villareal and Hamburg's tenacity. "They've had these dreams since college. They've used the situation they're in to follow through on a dream that they had 15 years ago. And doing it well. They're working it like any 15-year-old punk rocker would, but they're doing it in high style." As funky, confident wives and mothers, there was one issue that Force Villareal and Hamburg disagreed with Skinner on. A song he wrote for them, WHAT!?, pictured the women chasing and seducing younger men. "I guess there were some questions about that," Hamburg says tactfully. Force Villareal is a tad blunter. "We're not like the Desperate Housewives prowling in the garden. We're with our husbands and we're happily married." In a refreshingly post-cougar move, they changed the perspective to reflect their ennui. "Mrs. Robinson is so passé," they rap in a tone that evokes rolling eyes and upturned chins.

Between career, society and musical stardom, Hamburg and Force Villareal put family first in their life and music. They chose the name Mother Inc. to address the tough stuff it takes to be a mom in today's society. "It's almost like you have to figure out a whole company now in order to be a mother," Force Villareal says from her New York loft, where she runs her business while raising her son. "It's a bigger thing than just a family unit -- you have to figure out a whole system to be a mother in our society." Case in point: Hamburg is eight months pregnant, but plans on squeezing a few gigs in before her second child is born. Pregnancy is a hot look for songs such as
Nipple Confusion, a rap about postpartum depression. "It does work for our shtick," Hamburg laughs over her third-trimester tour. But as moms worldwide know, it's not easy having it all. "I'm exhausted all the time," Force Villareal says. "Now that I have Mother Inc., whenever I'm not doing anything else, I'm working on that. It's all very intense. But it's also the best thing that anybody can do, I think." Most rewarding is seeing her son dance to her CD. "He is truly my biggest fan," she says. "He always picks up my CD and hands it to me so I'll play it for him. He's so cute. It's beautiful." Mother Inc.'s album is available at




Healey Battles A Return Bout Of Cancer

Source:  Canadian Press

(May 27, 2005) Toronto musician
Jeff Healey underwent what is being reported as a successful operation to remove a sarcoma, a malignant tumour on his left thigh and will be recovering for the next month. A publicist says it appears the cancer has not spread elsewhere in Healey's body but he will have to be checked every four to six months for the rest of his life. It was a cancer that required the removal of both the musician's eyes when he was an infant. "In spite of this news, I'm doing okay," he said in a statement from his hospital bed this week. "The doctor is very happy with the results of the operation." He said he recommends others with a previous history of cancer get regular check-ups because there is a genetic predisposition to other types of cancer. Healey plans to continue his new radio show on a Toronto jazz station and expects to be back playing at his night club by mid-June. In March, Healey's wife Cristie gave birth to the couple's first child.




Beck To Open For Rolling Stones In Toronto

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail

(May 28, 2005) Los Angeles -- Versatile rocker Beck will open for the Rolling Stones when their world tour passes through Toronto's Rogers Centre on Sept. 26, the band said on its website ( Also added to the line-up for the Stones' "Onstage" trek is Canadian band Our Lady Peace, which will perform in Ottawa on Aug. 28, and Moncton on Sept. 3. Quebec combo Les Trois Accords were previously announced for both those dates, as well as the Tragically Hip and Maroon5 for Moncton. The Stones' tour begins with two dates at Boston on Aug. 21 and 23, with the Black Eyed Peas in the support slot. Reuters




Mariah 'Belongs' At No. 1

Excerpt from

(May 27, 2005) *Our little Mimi has flapped her butterfly wings and landed atop the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the first time in five years with “We Belong Together,” the second single from her new album “The Emancipation of Mimi.”  It’s the 16th No. 1 hit for Carey, who hasn’t seen the view from the top since 2000’s “Thank God I Found You.”   Carey unseats Gwen Stefani’s “HollabackGirl,” which drops to No. 2 after four weeks at No. 1. Ciara's "Oh" featuring Ludacris remains at No. 3 and 50 Cent's "Just a Lil Bit" stays strong at No. 4. The Black Eyed Peas' "Don't Phunk With My Heart" moves up 6-5, trading places with "Hate It or Love It" by the Game featuring 50 Cent.  Kelly Clarkson's "Since U Been Gone" falls 7-8, but her new single "Behind these Hazel Eyes" moves 18-9. Rob Thomas' "Lonely No More" rounds out the top10.      Other Hot 100 newcomers this week are Fat Joe's "Get It Poppin'," featuring Nelly (No. 88), Mike Jones' "Back Then" (No. 91) and Teairra Mari's "Make Her Feel Good" (No. 98).




Will Canada Host Live Aid 2 Concert?

Excerpt from The Toronto Star

(May 31, 2005) LONDON (AP) — Organizers of the historic 1985 Live Aid concerts on Tuesday said five new concerts will take place July 2 in London, Paris, Berlin, Rome and Philadelphia.  The events are aimed at raising awareness of poverty in developing countries just days before leaders of the Group of Eight industrial countries meet in Britain.  Organizers didn't immediately announce what artists would perform at the concerts, which will be free and are not intended to raise money.  Venues for the July 2 events include London's Hyde Park, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin and the Circus Maximus in Rome. Organizers didn't immediately say where the Philadelphia gig would take place.  There are plans for concerts in other cities in G-8 countries, but organizers didn't give further details. Japan, Canada and Russia are the other three countries in the G-8, alongside Britain, France, Italy, Germany and the United States.  Bob Geldof, the driving force behind the Band Aid and Live Aid campaigns for African famine relief, called a new conference in London on Tuesday to announce the line-up for the event, to be called Live 8.




New Live Aid

Excerpt from

(May 27, 2005) *Live Aid founders Bob Geldof and Midge Ure confirmed Thursday they are planning another huge concert to fight poverty in Africa – but warned folks not to expect Live Aid II. "There's never going to be a Live Aid II," Geldof said at the Ivor Novello songwriting awards ceremony in London, "but there's something brewing. We'll have all the biggest names we can find. But it's not just about big names, it's about making a point."




Max Siegel Is Taking Care Of His Father’s Business

Excerpt from

(May 28, 2005)
The president of Verity Records Max Siegel, is pulling some of the country’s top music personalities and industry executives together for one of the hottest conferences of the year.  About My Father’s Business, also the name of Siegel’s new book, will teach and educate God’s people about good business and stewardship…inside and outside of the music studio. About My Father’s Business, is a three day conference that will unify Christians of all races and religious denominations. About My Father’s Business will be held in Siegel’s hometown of Indianapolis, IN on Thursday, August 25 through Saturday, August 27. The conference will take place at the Convention Center and the downtown Marriott will serve as the host hotel.  Joining host Max Siegel, will be a number of familiar faces from the gospel community:  Bishop Paul Morton, Smokie Norful, Pastor Marvin Sapp, Pastor Marvin Winans, Donald Lawrence, John Ramsey, William Murphy, Teresa Hairston, Donald Hillard, Sheilah Belle, Donna Richardson, V. Michael McKay, J Moss, Fred Hammond and Kirk Franklin and others.




More Reunion Talk From Fugees Camp

Excerpt from

(May 31, 2005) *While promoting the release of his solo album “Win Lose or Draw,” due June 14, Pras of The Fugees told Rolling Stone magazine the group is definitely plotting a new album to follow-up 1996’s “The Score.”
 ‘We're working on it," said Pras. “Clef and Lauryn's putting tracks together while I drop my solo album.” In a separate interview, Wyclef told the publication: "We've gone from not talking to having conversations. There's good vibes, good energies right now. I want the Fugee thing to happen -- because it's not just music, it's a movement." After an eight-year hiatus, the trio stiff-armed personal beefs and performed together for Dave Chappelle's surprise hip-hop Block Party event last September in Brooklyn. And Wyclef and Hill reunited again in March for a tsunami-relief benefit concert in Malaysia. Pras says fans can expect more of these surprise gigs in the near future.  "We're just gonna appear," he promises. "It's gonna be like, boom! The Fugees!"



Oscar Brown, Jr. Dead: Jazz Great Died Sunday At Age 78

Excerpt from

*Things didn't look good when we brought you news of his illness recently. Now, sadly we must report that legendary rhythm & blues and jazz singer, Oscar Brown, Jr., is dead. He died in Chicago on Sunday at age 78 following a two-month illness.  Brown had been hospitalized in April and again in mid-May complaining of pain and paralysis in his legs. He had emergency surgery on May 16 to address an abscess on his lower spine, Napoleon Brown said. He was known for such compositions "The Snake," "Signifyin' Monkey" and lyrics for Miles Davis' "All Blues." His bio noted that he was the son of a prosperous attorney and real estate broker and he began performing on radio as a teenager. His first album, Sin and Soul, came out in 1960. He appeared with such jazz greats as Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderly. While writing more than a dozen plays and musicals, Oscar Brown, Jr. was also active in the civil rights movement in the 1960s, running unsuccessfully twice for political office -- first for the Illinois legislature and later for the US Congress.




Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Aaliyah, One in a Million [Germany Bonus Track], Edel Germany
Abbacadabra, Mama Mia, Almighty
Björk, Army of Me: Remixes and Covers, One Little Indian Us
Bob Dylan, Classic Interviews, Vol. 2: The Weberman Tapes, United States Dist
Celine Dion, Unison/Celine Dion/The Colour of My Love, Sony
Culture Club, River Sessions, River UK
Divine Brown, Divine Brown, BlackSmith Entertainment
Ike & Tina Turner, 40 Great Performances, Prism Platinum
Jackson Sisters, When God Is in the Building, Malaco
Lemar, Time to Grow, Sony International
Lew Kirton, Just Arrived [Bonus Tracks], EMI
Little Richard, Best Of [Master Classics], Master Classics
Luther Vandross, Collection: Night I Fell in Love/Give Me the Reaso, Sony
Marvin Gaye, What's Going On [Pazzazz], Pazzazz
New Birth, Lifetime, Orpheus
Ray Charles, Late in the Evening, Pazzazz
Santana, Latin Tropical [Pazzazz], Pazzazz
Santana, Santana/Abraxas/Santana III, Sony
Teddy Pendergrass, Teddy/It's Time for Love, Diablo
UB40, Best of UB40, Vol. 2, EMI
Various Artists, Best of Ska, Vol. 1 [Pazzazz], Pazzazz
Various Artists, Best of Ska, Vol. 3, Pazzazz
Various Artists, Soul Lounge, Dome
Various Artists, Street Beatz [Bonus Track], BMG International
Willy Crook, Versiones, DBN

Tuesday, June 7, 2005

Black Eyed Peas, Monkey Business, A&M
Al Green, Simply Beautiful: The Love Songs, Crimson Productions
Chicago, Chicago Live [Platinum], Platinum Disc
D-Money, Heist, First Love
Ike & Tina Turner, Rockin' and Rollin' [Prism Leisure], Prism Platinum
Ike & Tina Turner, Very Best Of, Prism Platinum
Jethro Tull/Ian Anderson, Collector's Edition, Fuel 2000
Jodeci, Back to the Future: The Very Best of Jodeci [Clean, Universal
Jodeci, Back to the Future: The Very Best of Jodeci, Universal
Lou Rawls, Amen, Prism Platinum
Marvin Gaye, Nothing Like the Real Thing, Prism Platinum
Mary Wells, Mary Wells [Platinum Disc], Platinum Disc
Pat Benatar, Greatest Hits, Capitol
Raheem DeVaughn, Love Experience, Jive
Ray Charles, In Concert: I Can't Stop Loving You, Blaricum
Seal, Live in Paris [CD & DVD], Warner Brothers
Seal, Seal [1991] [CD & DVD}, Warner Brothers
Seal, Seal [1994] [CD & DVD], Warner Brothers
Simon and Garfunkel, Essential Simon and Garfunkel [France Bonus Tracks, Sony International
The Chi-Lites, Chi-Lites [Platinum Disc], Platinum Disc
The Drifters, 16 Greatest Hits [Passport Audio], Passport Audio
The Drifters, Collection [Prism], Prism Platinum
The Everly Brothers, Everly Brothers [Platinum], Platinum Disc
The Everly Brothers, Walk Right Back: 20 All-Time Hits [Prism Leisure], Prism Platinum
The Ohio Players, Ohio Players [Platinum Disc], Platinum Disc
Various Artists, 20 Soul Classics-Move on Up, Prism Platinum
Various Artists, Classic Soul Ballads, Time Life
Various Artists, Let's Hear It for the Girls, Crimson Productions
Various Artists, Northern Soul, Vol. 2, Crimson Productions
Various Artists, Soul Divas, Crimson Productions
Various Artists, Soul for the Midnight Hour, Crimson Productions






Tried, Tested And True

Excerpt from The Toronto Star -
Peter Howell, Movie Critic

(May 27, 2005) "Good Adam Sandler movie" is a phrase that can be uttered as often as "principled politician."  The Longest Yard dusts off the usage, and this faithful remake of the 1974 Burt Reynolds pigskin-and-prison comedy is more than just a rare score for Sandler.  It's also a touchdown for original star Reynolds, who assumes a new role better than patronizing cameo usually allotted to grizzled veterans. Reynolds is now coach of the jailbirds conscripted for a grudge football match against their brutal prison guards. Sandler assumes the elder star's quarterback position, and it's good to see both of them making more valuable use of their time — and ours.  Looking back over Adam Sandler's long and uneven screen career, it's apparent he's most comfortable in the sports milieu. Give him a story where a big game is at stake — golf in Happy Gilmore, football again in The Waterboy — and his comedy rises to the challenge.  Sandler, at 38, is the same age as Reynolds was for the first film, and he's at the same life crossroads — too old to play the twerp or the upstart.  It's time for the sobering influence of incipient middle age. You need some wisdom, too, and it's the getting of this wisdom that makes Sandler's Paul Crewe character both redeemable and watchable.  True to Tracy Keenan Wynn's original screenplay (new scribe Sheldon Turner wisely sticks to basics), Crewe is a disgraced former NFL star forced into retirement due to cheating incident.

He's been marking time with a girlfriend (the silicon-injected Courteney Cox, briefly hilarious) who despises him almost as much as he despises himself. When a domestic dispute escalates into a drunk-driving spree pursued by furious cops, Crewe is booked for a two-to-five stint in a federal penitentiary.  He's sent to the Texas slammer of Warden Hazen (James Cromwell) a football-crazy authoritarian with political ambitions. Hazen wants Crewe to coach a team of inmates to play against his semi-pro team of jail guards, whose inevitable easy victory will prove the value of authority.  Hazen's second-in-command Captain Knauer (William Fichtner) wants nothing to do with Crewe, and brutally instructs the new recruit to reject Hazen's offer of reduced jail time in return for gridiron glory.  Risking Knauer's wrath, Crewe agrees to do the warden's bidding. He puts together a team of cons, which he calls the Mean Machine, to play against the guards.  The ante is upped when ESPN offers to televise the game.  As with all such movies, half of the picture is devoted to the comedy of creating a team from scratch; the rest sets to prove that miracles do happen.  Assisted by fellow ex-pro Nate Scarborough (Reynolds) as coach and fellow convict Caretaker (Chris Rock) as combination comic relief and catalyst, Crewe sets about persuading the biggest and baddest of his jail peers (several of whom are real-life NFLers or pro wrestlers) to join his squad.

Caretaker helps Crewe persuades a team of basketball-playing homeboys (one played by rapper Nelly) that the lust for revenge against the guards cuts across race barriers.  As directed by Peter Segal, who has also helmed the Sandler comedies Anger Management and 50 First Dates, this new version of The Longest Yard reminds us of the original while not making us curse the decision to remake it.  That's no mean feat, especially when you consider this is the second remake in recent years (Mean Machine in 2001 wasn't nearly so successful).  Credit that to an older and wiser Sandler, who is realizing that it's in his interest to be generous with supporting stars, and that not every movie has to involve him getting the girl at the end.  In fact, the only woman in this movie after Cox exits stage left is Cloris Leachman, recently seen with Sandler in the wretched Spanglish, who entertains in the minor role of the Warden Hazen's hot-blooded secretary.  Only in a movie like this could anyone say, "Criminals are people, too," with a straight face.  The Longest Yard works well enough, but do all of Chris Rock's jokes have to be racial? Does Sandler always have to say "Just so you know"? And could the McDonald's product plugs be a less obvious?  But pushing an Adam Sandler movie from a "good" to "very good" rating is a task not even a Mean Machine bruiser could manage.




Longest Yard Actor A Sensitive Ex-Villain

Excerpt from The Toronto Star -
Doug Gross, Associated Press

(June 1, 2005) ATLANTA—In the late 1990s, when pro wrestling ruled the entertainment universe, a man called Goldberg was its biggest star.  Snarling, snorting and ripping his way through opponent after opponent for World Championship Wrestling, Bill Goldberg's chiselled physique, bald head and "nice Jewish name" became cultural icons.  Still, he says, he never truly considered himself a wrestler.  "I'm a defensive lineman who unfortunately had to reinvent himself," said Goldberg, who spent three years in the NFL. And this week, the Tulsa, Okla., native takes a pair of big steps in his latest reinvention effort.  Goldberg, 38, appears in The Longest Yard, a remake of the 1974 Burt Reynolds classic now in theatres.  And on Wednesday, the self-described "gearhead" premieres as the host of Automaniac, a 13-part look at famous and unique vehicles airing in the U.S. on the History Channel.  "I'd love to be Hollywood's next superhero; I'd love to be Hollywood's most violent villain ever," he said, seated in a long sleeve black T-shirt, jeans and mirrored sunglasses on a hotel balcony.

It's been an unlikely run so far for Goldberg, the son of a concert violinist and a doctor. He wasn't even a wrestling fan growing up.  His football career ended when a torn abdominal muscle forced him to retire after a total of 16 games as a nose tackle with the Atlanta Falcons in 1992-94.  "I like to tell people I made more tackles on the set than I did in the NFL," he said, referring to The Longest Yard, which is about a prison football game.  Soon after his football career ended, the 6-foot-2, 272-pound Goldberg found himself drifting in Atlanta when wrestlers from Ted Turner's WCW encouraged him to sign up.  In 1997 he made his first televised appearance, winning a match in Salt Lake City. His appeal was obvious and promoters pushed him on The Streak, an undefeated run of 173 victories that saw him claim the WCW's heavyweight title.  He soon achieved star status, appearing on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.  But he was never comfortable with what he calls the darker side of sports entertainment.  Goldberg relished his role as a hero to children and balked in 2000 when a storyline required him to become a "heel."  One night when a young cancer patient from the Make-a-Wish Foundation was his guest backstage, he went into the ring and savagely attacked Jim Duggan, a beloved wrestler who had recently returned from his own bout with cancer.  "I went backstage and my little Make-a-Wish girl was in tears, and so was I because I didn't know what to say," Goldberg said. "I know it's fiction; 99.9 per cent of the people in the world knows it's fiction. But not those little kids."




Tarantino, Rodriguez Team Up For Film 'Package'

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail

(May 28, 2005) Los Angeles -- Miramax Films' golden children Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez are teaming up for the new company established by the studio's founders, Bob and Harvey Weinstein. Tarantino and Rodriguez will each write and direct a 60-minute horror film, and the two films will be packaged under the title Grind House, which is planned for a spring 2006 release through the Weinstein Co. Tarantino, whose 1994 thriller Pulp Fiction helped turn Miramax into a powerhouse, sampled grindhouse (B-movie genre films) in his recent Kill Bill films. He said Grind House could be the first in a series of films. Reuters




Pinkett, Rock Go Back To Africa In ‘Madagascar’

Excerpt from

(May 27, 2005)
*“I didn’t know I was a zebra until yesterday,” said Chris Rock, who voices the striped animal Marty the Zebra in the DreamWorks animated CG feature “Madagascar,” in theatres today.  “I thought I was a muskrat,” Rock continued, causing Jada Pinkett Smith sitting next to him to LOL at a recent press conference for the film. The actress, who voices Gloria the Hippo, was asked for the bajillionth time if she was offended by the chunky role offered to her. “It just never occurred to me when [executive producer] Jeffrey Katzenberg showed me the picture of Gloria,” says Pinkett Smith.  “You know, yeah, she’s a hippo, but I’m playing a character. Plus, she’s adorable. It just never occurred to me that it was something I should be mad about.”  Smith’s hippo and Rock’s zebra soon find themselves out of New York’s Central Park Zoo and onto the mean streets of the city – until they are captured and shipped to Madagascar, off of Africa’s southern east coast. Along for the ride are Ben Stiller as Alex the Lion and David Schwimmer as a skittish giraffe named Melman. Their adventures in this eye-popping, special-effects delight are a welcome change of pace for Rock, who finally stars in a film that his kids can enjoy.  “They can’t see my movies now until they’re 30, so it’s nice that there’s something they can see right now,” he said. “That’s the attraction of [doing this film].” “Same here,” echoes Pinkett Smith, who had to calm her kids down when they found out she was attending a press conference for the film. “I told them I was coming up here today and they thought I was going to the premiere,” she said. “They were all upset. ‘I thought you were taking us,’” she squeals in her best kiddie imitation. “I was like, ‘It’s press. It’s not the movie.’ So they’re very, very excited.” 




FILM/TV QUICKIES: Jackson’s ‘Black Snake’ Will, Grace & Justin

Excerpt from

(May 30, 2005) *Samuel L. Jackson and Christina Ricci are in negotiations to star in the racially and sexually charged indie film “Black Snake Moan,” according to Production Weekly. Ricci would play a nymphomaniac who hopes an older bluesman, played by Jackson, can cure her sexual issues. The film borrows its name from a 1927 Blind Lemon Jefferson song. Production is set to begin this summer in Memphis with director Craig Brewster (“Hustle & Flow”). 

*According to Us Weekly, Justin Timberlake will guest star on “Will & Grace” next season as Jack’s “bad boy” boyfriend.  The singer has reportedly signed on for three episodes, although reps for the show have not confirmed the appearance.   




New Film-Censorship Rules Could Be Law By August

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail -
By James Adams

(June 1, 2005) Ontario's new film-classification act was passed by the legislature Monday and likely will be proclaimed law by the end of August, in compliance with an Ontario Court of Appeal ruling announced April 18. Bill 158 was introduced by the province's Liberal government late last year after an Ontario Superior Court ruling on April 30, 2004, declared the old Theatres Act violated freedom of expression.  According to the McGuinty government, only films with "explicitly violent or degrading sexual activity" or containing sexual images of persons under 18 years can be denied approval under Bill 158. In the meantime, the government will start to write the regulations for the act -- key concern for civil liberties lawyer Frank Addario. "The heart of the matter is going to be how they frame those regulations and we find out what they actually prohibit," he said yesterday in Toronto.




Cheadle the ‘Gangster’

Excerpt from

(June 1, 2005) *Don Cheadle – so fresh and so clean on the June “Ebony” cover – is being wooed by Universal Pictures and director Terry George to star in “American Gangster” for Brian Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment, reports Variety. Denzel Washington was attached to star until budget problems halted the project. George, who directed Cheadle in “Hotel Rwanda,” was hired in March to rework Steve Zaillian's script to a more manageable budget. Cheadle would play Frank Lucas, a Harlem heroin kingpin in the 1970s who, after he was brought to justice, helped end the corruption and legal loopholes that allowed him to import the drug from Southeast Asia.






Wedding Bells For Same-Sex Reality

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - ROB SALEM

(May 30, 2005) It is bound to be controversial. But then, Scott Thompson knows all about controversy.  Fortunately, he also knows all about entertaining and amusing, which is as much or more what My Fabulous Gay Wedding is about than pushing any sort of social/political agenda.  The daring six-part tryout series, debuting Wednesday night at 10 on Global, puts a same-sex spin on your basic make-a-wedding "reality" show, giving host Thompson and a crack team of planners, caterers and stylists a mere two weeks to throw together an elaborate thematic nuptial event, tailor-made to a particular male or female couple's tastes.  For example, the opening show, a Scottish-themed affair that had both bridegrooms, the show host, celebrity guest Ashley McIsaac and a chorus-line of muscled dancing boys all going commando in kilts.  Next week's episode, a lesbian wedding, features special guest comic/singer Lea DeLaria.  "There is one part they cut out that I'm really upset about," complains Thompson. "Lea comes in, and she's wearing this beaver hat, and she tells me, `I always wear my beaver hat whenever I come to Canada.' And I go, `Well, then what's your beaver wearing?'"  Anything short of that, though, seems to be fair game.  "I decided to take the show when I was assured that it would not be castrated," Thompson says.  "I knew that if we did it right that it would be funny and entertaining. But I wanted it to be sexual. Without that, there's nothing. Not raunchy. But you need to see them in bed. You need to see them touch each other. And you need to see their families. You need to see how moral they are ... because that leaves me to be the `fabulous' part."

My Fabulous Gay Wedding is, needless to say, unprecedented on Canadian broadcast television — or even American cable, where it will debut next month on the gay channel, Logo — though, inexplicably, with the word "Gay" excised from the title.  "It isn't Queer Eye," Thompson insists. "You've never seen anything like this before.  "This show goes further than Queer Eye, because they're not neutered. They're the stars of their show. In Queer Eye, the whole idea is that they help straight people. Very much like black characters were, for a long time, helpmates and sounding boards and mirrors for women. This is different."  Not nearly as different as Thompson's other recent TV venture, a series of satiric "reports" from New York Fashion Week for FT-FashionTelevision, delivered in the polyester'd guise of "Danny Husk," a fictional — and aggressively heterosexual — former war correspondent (for the Weather Channel).  "I'm not supposed to be having this much fun," Thompson says. "My career is supposed to be over. I was way more comfortable being a has-been than I am as a rising star."  The original idea for the FT spots, he says, was to do them as another of his Kids in the Hall characters, the more well-known, outrageously out-there Buddy Cole.  "But then I thought, `Hmm. That's too obvious. I'm gonna go there and what, talk to a million other Buddy Coles?' I like to be the prettiest peacock in the room. And if I'm going to be a fish out of water, who better than Danny?  "I am now the voice of the straight man. They have found a champion in me."  We could have done worse. Scott-as-Danny, in fact, cuts quite a lusty swath through the fashion industry's annual pretense parade — including a prolonged flirtation with Mick Jagger's model daughter, Elizabeth.  "She was seriously in love with me." Thompson marvels. "I got to touch her feet and everything. Every time I'd go by her she'd blush. And I'm thinking, `My God, I've got this 18-year-old girl in a lather!'  "I've realized that it's really all just about wearing a cheap suit and a moustache and acting like Daddy.  "Well, probably not her daddy."



Smart Dramas Are Back

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail - By Gayle Macdonald

(May 31, 2005) Still bleary-eyed and caffeine-drugged from a week of watching show after prime-time show for the upcoming 2005-2006 TV season, Canadian network execs arrived home this past weekend much poorer, but loaded down with some of the smartest scripted dramas and sitcoms to come out of Hollywood in years. "Desperate Housewives and Lost did a wonderful thing," raved CTV programming president Susanne Boyce. "They showed that audiences were willing to accept layered shows -- and the creative community rose to that. This year, they set the bar a notch higher. There are just so many more quality shows, and the momentum's rising in all the genres." Yesterday, powerhouse CTV -- it had 18 of the top-20 Nielsen-rated shows the past year -- announced it had scooped up a plethora of Disney programming, including the Mouse studio's Criminal Minds, with Mandy Patinkin as one of several FBI profilers; the supernatural thriller The Night Stalker, with Stuart Townsend; Commander-in-Chief, with Geena Davis as the next U.S. president; Ghost Whisperer, with Jennifer Love Hewitt as a young psychic who has a knack for hearing dead people's voices; What About Brian, about a 34-year-old bachelor; Inconceivable, a drama set in a fertility clinic and Disney's sole sitcom, Crumbs, with Fred Savage. CTV also purchased Warner Bros.' the-aliens-are-coming show called Invasion; Close to Home (a prosecutor takes on horrific cases in small-town USA) and another whodunit drama, The Evidence. Earlier, CanWest Global (owner of the Global network and the smaller, CH) announced a roster filled with 11 new dramas. It includes the much-hyped Jerry Bruckheimer thriller Prison Break; an inside-the-Pentagon drama E-Ring, with Benjamin Bratt; a sea creature nail-biter Fathom; as well as nine new comedies, including My Name is Earl, starring Jason Lee; War at Home, with Michael Rapaport; and Out of Practice, starring Henry Winkler and Stockard Channing. Global also picked up the spin-off of The Apprentice, starring the recently released white-collar criminal Martha Stewart. "It was a very important screening for us," says Barbara Williams, senior vice-president of Global's programming, acknowledging her network's lacklustre top-20 track record of late. "We were gunning for the big shows in order to have more in the top 20 -- and in the top 10. We were looking to build our one-hour dramas as well as to get back into the big comedy game, traditionally a stronghold for us.

"We went down determined to get the best of the drama and the best of the comedies to rebuild our strength," added Williams, who has been on the job at Global for four months, poached away recently from Quebecor's struggling new network, Toronto 1. Global used to dominate the ratings with strong franchises such as Seinfeld, Friends and The X Files. The tide turned in CTV's favour once it latched onto blockbuster shows such as CSI and Law & Order, which seem to be perpetually reborn in new towns and with new characters. In early June, the Canadian networks will start pitching these new shows to the advertising community, which is estimated to spend about $3.5-billion (compared with the $9-billion U.S. that advertisers fork over during the so-called Upfronts held recently in New York). The burning question this season will be, has CanWest Global finally snapped up a winning number of new dramas and sitcoms to get out of its ratings funk? Sunni Boot, president of Toronto media manager Zenith Optimedia Canada, hopes so, adding there is no doubt CanWest Global is under heavy pressure to get back into the top-20 list. "Media buyers want a balanced sales market, and CTV has owned it. What every buyer wants to see is a very strong CanWest with strong programs, that they place into their schedules well and leave them there to find their way, without switching them between Global and CH. "It's a cyclical business. And CTV has always been very good at choosing prime product. But there's a lot of luck involved too. And maybe this year will be CanWest's turn to reclaim some glory." CHUM Television also aggressively shopped at the L.A. Screenings (where the studios show off their new-season programs to foreign TV buyers) this past week. Now a bigger broadcaster with the purchase of three new Craig Media stations out west, CHUM bought Paramount's Everybody Hates Chris, a sitcom narrated by Chris Rock about his early childhood. CHUM also scooped up Just Legal, starring Don Johnson and Jay Baruchel, about two lawyers who help the unjustly accused; NBC's Three Wishes (Amy Grant and others travel to small towns and grant wishes) and WB's Supernatural (two brothers search for their missing dad and encounter dangerous forces along the way). "We're really excited about the Chris Rock show. It was the one with the highest buzz at the screenings and got the best reaction from the advertising community when we watched it at the Upfronts in New York" said CHUM's vice-president of programming Ellen Baine.

Global's Williams noted a major trend this season is the preponderance of magic- and imagination-themed TV. Along with that is a dearth of reality shows, which finally seem to be fading into the background. Among the other new dramas to air this season on Global and CH are Head Cases, Reunion, Threshold, The Unit, The Gate and Bones. "It was a great time to be in the one-hour-drama game because there was just so much great stuff to look at," said Williams. CTV's Boyce agreed, adding, "directors, writers and producers are smiling again." As for the rivalry between CTV and Global, Williams added she believes "we are very well positioned to take back a little bit of ground this year." Asked why CTV was able to pull so far ahead, Williams was non-committal. "It's a billion-dollar question and if I knew the answer to that, I'd be running NBC," she quipped. "It's a cyclical business, and there's a fair amount of good fortune in this game as well. Sometimes a network can get their hands on a franchise that has great legs, and CTV accomplished that with shows like CSI. But I do believe the business keeps churning. And there are always ups and downs." Hugh Dow, president of media buyer M2 Universal in Toronto, pointed out that CanWest Global -- besides sweeping a new programming team into place in the past six months -- has also gone through a major restructuring of its sales and marketing teams. "As little as five years ago, CanWest Global led the charge with Friends, Frasier and other popular half-hour sitcoms. Then CTV kicked in with the success of CSI and Law & Order, plus The Amazing Race, American Idol and the homespun comedy Corner Gas. "It's very easy to see why CTV is dominating the prime-time schedule now," summed up Dow. "But nothing lasts forever. It's a question of good scheduling, making the right purchases and a certain amount of luck. There is no kind of magic formula for the success of a TV show. Roughly 70 per cent of the new shows don't survive the first season, some only last a few weeks and some never even make the schedule. "It's a high-risk business," he concluded. "Absolutely, no question."



Megan Mullally Signs On To Host Talk Show

Source: Associated Press

(June 1, 2005) New York — Megan Mullally, one of the stars of Will & Grace, has been signed by NBC Universal Television Distribution to host a nationally syndicated talk show. The daily one-hour show will originate from Los Angeles. It is set for a fall 2006 debut, it was announced Tuesday. "Megan is a fantastic performer. A great actor and a great communicator, as all of her fans know," Jeff Zucker, president of NBC Universal Television Group, said in a statement. "Those skills will make her a great new addition to the daytime playing field." Mullally won an Emmy Award in 2000 for her role as Karen Walker on NBC's Will & Grace. "I think it will be fun," the 46-year-old actress said of the talk show. "Jeff Zucker is going to play drums in the band."







Out, Damned Fear!  Lucy Peacock Suffered From Near-Debilitating Stage Fright

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail -
By Michael Posner

(May 28, 2005) As occupational hazards go, nothing is more debilitating for professional actors than stage fright. It can ruin more than performances, extending beyond the theatre to affect everything from sleep to relationships. Many actors won't even discuss the subject -- the problem is worrisome enough without dwelling on it. But now that she's successfully "come out the other side," Lucy Peacock is more than happy to address it. Peacock, of course, is one of the brightest lights at Ontario's Stratford Festival. Now in her 18th season, she's tackled some of its most challenging roles, including Helena in All's Well That Ends Well, Portia in The Merchant of Venice and Desdemona in Othello. This season, she's starring (with Peter Donaldson) as the lead in the Jerry Herman musical Hello, Dolly! (opening Tuesday) and, with Seana McKenna, in an early Noel Coward comedy, Fallen Angels (opening next Thursday). The two shows are part of a week-long series of openings that include The Tempest, As You Like It, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Into the Woods, The Brothers Karamazov and Wingfield's Inferno. At their worst, the anxiety demons that plagued Peacock for several years could occur at almost any time -- "before going on stage or while on stage or even getting into the car to drive to the theatre." The problem came to a head, she said during an interview this week, during production of The King and I in 2003, "based on an absolute accumulation of stuff building over about three years. And it's taken more than two years to get over it." Peacock says she knew where the problems originated. "There were deaths I had not had time to properly mourn. Three people very close to me died, and I simply wasn't dealing with it. I became allergic to adrenalin, and adrenalin was kicking into my nervous energy. My body was saying to me, 'Check engine.' And being a working mother [she and husband Christopher Thomas have two sons, Harry, 14, and Ben, 9, and live on a horse farm outside Stratford, Ont.], I really don't have time to go into therapy."
Occasionally, the anxiety attack would precipitate a raging migraine. "That's my definition of hell," she says with a laugh now. "Doing The King and I with a migraine." What brought relief? Several things. "Knowing I wasn't alone, for one thing. . . . A chiropractor helped a lot. And my diet. I gave up caffeine, although now I'm back to drinking tons of tea. So I dealt with the externals, but I also finally dealt with the internals." Now, anxiety-free for 18 months, Peacock says she is "really happy performing again." When she took on the role of Anna in The King and I, Peacock hadn't sung professionally in 15 years. To prepare, she worked extensively with Stratford vocal coach Janine Pearson. "But it's really no way to live, so this year [preparing for Dolly], I did not use her as much. I just wanted to enjoy it. I'm a very disciplined actor, but I also believe in kicking back and having a glass of wine." Peacock calls the Dolly role a gift. "She's a wonderful character, a middle-aged widow, scraping out a living by being inventive and bohemian and a businesswoman." Based on Thornton Wilder's The Matchmaker, the musical (directed by Susan Schulman) tells the story of Dolly Gallagher Levi, a matchmaker hired by millionaire Horace Vandergelder to find him a wife. She has picked out a suitable candidate but, enterprising and pragmatic, soon resolves that Horace would make a good catch for someone very much like herself. "She thinks she'll marry him for his money," says Peacock, "but then she falls in love, which is not what she expects. She has to allow herself to move on." Schulman, who also directed Peacock in The King and I, says "Lucy's classical training enabled her to find things in the book that I never would have imagined. And vocally, the part is right in the meat of her voice."

Although both Peacock and McKenna have been at Stratford for years, Coward's Fallen Angels, directed by Brian Bedford, marks the first time the two will share the stage. Peacock calls Fallen Angels "the immature Coward. I think he was 23 when he wrote it, but it's great fun and we're getting the most out of it." If anyone at Stratford can be said to have theatre in their blood, Peacock can. She's the fourth generation of her family to make a career of it. Her late father, David, a former actor, headed Canada's National Theatre School in Montreal (of which Peacock is an alumna). Her mother, also an actress, was the niece of Dame Sybil Thorndike, among the leading ladies of the 20th-century stage. And her maternal grandmother was British actress Rosina Filippi.  "There's also some family lore," she says, "that there's an illegitimate connection to [19th-century Italian actress] Eleanora Duse." Peacock says Dame Sybil "is the most present and obvious influence. I've read and reread the biographies. [Director] John Neville used to tease me, saying I was getting 'very Sybil' on him." This summer, Peacock's son Harry will become the fifth generation of the family to tread the boards, playing young Prince Edward in Edward II (opening Aug. 12). Of the theatre's magnetic pull on young Harry, Peacock says she is "proud and a little nervous and, yes, encouraging." In November, when Stratford's season ends, Peacock plans to mount a one-woman show, The Blonde, the Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead (by Australian playwright Robert Hewitt). Directed by Geordie Johnson, she'll play seven parts. She plans to stage it at the Grand Theatre in London, Ont., and then, she hopes, to tour. Although the Hewitt piece is modern, Peacock's style is more traditionally classic. "Gil Wexler, the lighting designer, once told me I was an old-fashioned actress. I kind of loved him for recognizing that. Because that's sort of what I am -- an old-fashioned repertory actress."






SPORTS QUICKIES: Officer Shaq; Jeter’s Website

Excerpt from

(May 30, 2005) *Shaquille O’Neal, a 2003 graduate of the Los Angeles police academy, is now part of the law enforcement squad in Miami and has joined a federal task force that hunts down sexual predators who target children on the Internet.    "One day I’m going to have to stop playing basketball. I don't want to be like everyone else," Shaq told "Celebrity Justice" after graduating from the police academy in 2003, when he became a reserve officer for the Port Police. "I don't want to go sit in a studio and talk about young players. Talk about what I used to do and talk about this and that. I would like to see myself in a leadership position in law enforcement."

*New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter has launched his new official website, Fans can log on and read Jeter's journal entries, get extensive information on his Turn 2 Foundation, watch live and archived video, purchase Jeter merchandise and read the latest news about Jeter from on and off the field. Fans can also send e-mails to Jeter, and the Yankee shortstop will post his answers to selected questions throughout the year.




Good Wines Line Up At Angels Gate

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Gord Stimmell, Vintages

(May 28, 2005) It's nice seeing a deserving Ontario winery in the spotlight for the June Vintages release. Angels Gate may be a relatively new kid on the block, but it hits the mark quickly with a stable of high-quality wines.  Much of the credit goes to young winemaker Natalie Spytowski, who believes in all the right things when it comes to vines and grapes. Hand harvesting, diligent sorting, minimal filtration and close attention to final selection have created a fine line-up at Angels Gate.  Four of her wines are in the Vintages release today. The whites are quite stellar. Angels Gate 2003 Riesling Sussreserve ($12.95, 89) is showing better than when I first rated it in December, with candied pear and apple freshness with a slightly sweet, appealing edge to it.  And for chardo-centrics looking for that kiss of oak, Angels Gate Old Vines 2003 Chardonnay ($23.95, 90) delivers butter, lime, citrus and stone peach finesse. Despite the unevenness of 2003 reds after that bitter winter, the 2003 Cabernet Franc ($18.95, 88) has decent heft, with vanilla, herbal black cherry and cedar in a fairly tannic vehicle.  As for the rest of the Vintages release today, several wines are standouts.  Fans of Oregon will recognize Sokol Blosser Evolution ($24.95, 91), a non-vintage blend of nine white-grape varieties, a sort of surrogate Conundrum, at a better price. It sports complex flavours of peach, pineapple, melon, lime and lemon, a classy wine for deck or fine dining, showing oodles of finesse.

California has several worthy offerings. Two Tone Farm Chardonnay ($19.95, 89) dishes up butterscotch, lime and lemony apple flavours with a nice balance of wood and fruit from the Napa Valley, which is also the source for a very tasty Jamieson Canyon 2000 Cabernet Sauvignon ($28.95, 90) with sweet-edged smoky blackberry, cedar, chocolate and plum layers.  Bargain hunters can look to Chile for a collaboration between Jorge Coderch and Michel Laroche of Chablis, Paso de Luz Reserva 2004 Chardonnay ($13.95, 89), with smoky gunflint and spicy apple aromas and mellow tropical pineapple and peach flavours.  Australia also has a few winners. From Victoria, Brumby Wines 2003 Chardonnay ($16.95, 89) delivers floral lime, apple and peach in an appealing round style. And from an ever-popular producer, D'Arenberg Olive Grove 2003 Chardonnay ($16.95, 89) shows poignant peach, lime and lemony apple in a dry, food-friendly white. In reds, D'Arenberg Footbolt 2002 Shiraz ($19.95, 90) provides big, spicy black cherry and brambleberry aromas with big cherry and chocolate-accented fruit in a lush, almost hedonistic style.  France has one terrific value red in Delhon Frères Domaine Bassac 2003 Merlot ($14.95, 88) with smoky cherry and cedar depth, a succulent red selection from the Midi.  Italy scores with two whites. From a northern Italian producer, the Sudtirol-Alto Adige region, Tiefenbrunner 2003 Pinot Grigio ($16.95, 89) brims with bright floral peach, apple and jasmine notes with a spicy core, certainly a top-of-the-line grigio perfect for patio sipping. And Cusumano Angimbe 2003 Insolia/Chardonnay ($17.95, 89) dishes up buttery hazelnut, apricot, peach and nectarine with a fresh spicy apple finish, showcasing the aromatic nature of insolia, the native grape.

In reds, Spain delivers with Bodegas Piqueras Castillo do Almansa Seleccion 2000 ($19.95, 89) with hearty smoky black cherry, vanilla and cedar core, with hints of chocolate in the flavours adding to the rich mouth feel.  For those seeking low-alcohol (4.5%) refreshment, a hot day would not be complete without the cooling, sweet, soft, honeysuckle-laced Bava Moscato D'Asti 2004 ($15.95, 88) with its frizzante, or slightly fizzy style.  And of course, rosés are always great summer refreshers, but out of eight in this release, my favourite by far was a total surprise, the Pedroncelli 2004 Zinfandel Rosé ($11.95, 88), a "Cinderella zin" with rose petals, lime and sweet-edged raspberry nuances from Sonoma.  In two weeks, the June 11 Vintages release unfolds. I usually adore the Silver Stone 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon ($47.95, 91) from winemaker Dan Kleck, who did such fantastic Bordeaux reds when he was sculpting fine wines at Palmer in Long Island before being seduced to move to Napa.  However, it is pricey.  Fortunately, there are two red biggies at reasonable prices from Trinchero in Napa. Trinchero Family Selection 2003 Merlot ($16.95, 90) yields ripe, full black cherry pulp, cedar and vanilla, proving yet again that Sideways was wrong about merlots in general. However, if you agree with the Miles character, Trinchero Family Selection 2003 Pinot Noir ($17.95, 90) displays smoky raspberry, vanilla and cherry charm, with an opulently fruited sweet-edged finish.

The best-buy pinot noir of the release is from Corsica, Anne Delaroche Pinot Noir 2003 ($10.95, 88) with pretty beetroot, cherry and smoky licorice elements, again showing a sweet edge from perfectly ripe grapes.  And in case you sauvignoners thought I was forgetting about you, Konrad 2004 Sauvignon Blanc ($16.95, 90) dances with zesty green kiwi fruit and gooseberry, with tropical crushed pineapple, guava and a hint of apples in the fresh fruity finish. A delicious New Zealand white.  My highest-rated red of the June 11 release is Trinchero 2000 Main Street Cabernet Sauvignon ($54.95, 92) with monster sumptuous black cherry and vanilla bean and cassis power from a single vineyard selection. Unless you want to go for the 1.5-litre bottle of 2001 Dominus ($249.95, 93) which is reserved for the really big spenders. Hey, I adore Dominus, but not that much.  And, finally, to nightcap a fine summer outdoor dinner, Manuel D. Pocas LBV 1998 Port ($22.95, 90) offers lush blackberry, sweet cedar and vanilla flavours with a lingering rich finish of sweet plum preserves and dried dates.  Good hunting!



Dr. Phil's old. Vancouver's listening to Christian, 5

By Lyle Neff, Special to The Globe and Mail

(May 28, 2005) VANCOUVER — Christian Exley is one of those people who, despite a near-total lack of experience, can get by on charm. His inexperience is easy to explain: He's a lanky, brown-eyed boy from Surrey, B.C., who, having just turned 5 this spring, hasn't hit kindergarten yet. The charm comes through in a weekly radio show on Vancouver's dance-music station Z95.3 FM, a show in which Christian gives advice, and not on "kid problems," either, he insists: "I solve grown-up problems." And he does so regularly, in popular Wednesday morning drive-time segments in which Z's morning DJs, Nat Hunter and Drew Savage, help prompt the wise child to pontificate on rather more mature listeners' e-mailed questions. To Cam of Vancouver, for example, who's vexed by his wife's free-spending ways, Christian advises, "Keep going to the bank when she's out, and get more money." (This is followed by an extended digression about Christian's own mum's veggie-buying habits.) "How do I tell if boys like me?" teenaged Lisa asks. "Wear nice clothes and stuff," Christian wisely counsels. "Probably wear a nice headband." This is followed by a dissertation on the nature of love -- apparently it is marked by the sharing of "yoghurt and a cheese sandwich." Okay, this isn't exactly Dr. Phil. But it's Christian's sweet naiveté that's the draw here, not his deep insight. In an interview where he doesn't have to resolve adults' silly situations, Christian is happy to wander off topic. In a rainy Sunday-evening chat with him and his father recently, we somehow wind up talking about the first words of his one-year-old sister. (Christian also has another sister, 3, and his mum and dad, Rachel and Ryan Exley of Surrey, have another child on the way.) The sage of Z95.3 reports his sister's early vocabulary as follows: "Mama, dada, ball, skateboards. Biking." Then he begins chanting something that sounds like "Young boy! Big stuff!" At which point his dad gently intervenes. Christian is indeed interested in big stuff, Ryan Exley confirms. His son likes the square-jawed Rescue Heroes cartoon show and the souped-up toy cars called Hot Wheels. Christian has also discussed on-air the big question so many of us have asked ourselves: Should you become a hockey player, or a garbageman?

The lad's "Dear Christian" spot developed out of an earlier, recurring humorous bit Savage and Hunter created for their morning show (which is not an abrasive, sound-effects-driven "zoo" broadcast, by the way - it's soberly called Nat and Drew in the Morning). Nat and Drew used the reliable comedy strategy where you ask small kids preposterous questions, and the segment became a hit with listeners. It seemed a natural next step to enlist their show's producer's charismatic nephew, Christian, for a regular commentary on the sometimes hilarious disconnect between the worlds of adult and children. The show has hit the airwaves every Wednesday at 8:15 a.m. since April and has become a bit of a sensation. The attraction of "Dear Christian" may have less to do with the high-pitched advice the pint-sized Mr. Exley gives to his troubled correspondents (advice that most adults would consider rather odd, if cute) and more to do with his broadcast banter, which you could call confidently postmodern. Or maybe youthfully surreal. For example, Christian told a story recently of seeing the NHL's Markus Naslund at the eye doctor's. He only noted casually at the end of his tale that the Canucks captain wasn't, actually, there. But a picture of him was, duh, on the optometrist's wall. And the famous hockey player was wearing glasses. In the picture. Well, of course. Another part of the great good humour in the boy's show is listening as he bravely and unselfconsciously tries to wrestle words such as "optometrist" to the mat. Drew and Nat seem the perfect bemused adult foils for this kind of repartee, and although it's no secret that the show is carefully and skilfully edited, it feels a lot fresher than much of the clichéd, ad-lib silliness that Vancouver radio listeners often have to endure. Christian's mother, Rachel, a very busy woman whose next baby will arrive in just two months, is proud of her son's way with the microphone. "He's always had a fantastic personality and been very easy to talk to," she told radio writer Joe Leary recently, adding that she manages a remarkable volume of fan e-mail for Christian from "all the way to the Caribbean and South Africa." Her well-spoken son is also, more remarkably, easy to listen to. The fact that his advice is sometimes dangerous probably doesn't bother the young Christina Aguilera and Missy Elliott fans who tune in to the dance station. Dangerous? Well, Christian recently advised husbands faced with wives' "does-this-make-me-look-fat" question, to just be honest. Uh, Christian, can I give you some advice?




The Canadian Who's 'Seducing' London

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail -
By Elizabeth Renzetti

(May 30, 2005) London — Any time a philanthropist decides to give money to the arts, the cultural community sits up and takes notice. But when that philanthropist is a rich and beautiful Canadian woman with an intriguing past, whose advisers include Damien Hirst and Jeremy Irons, normal curiosity reaches a fever pitch. "Why is this £280-million blonde set on seducing London?" read a headline in The Evening Standard newspaper. The blonde in question is Louise Blouin MacBain, a Montreal native who made her fortune in classified advertising and recently launched a $30-million (U.S.) cultural foundation to "analyze and celebrate the many ways in which the human brain gives birth to new ideas and new directions." The Louise T. Blouin Foundation will be based in a new headquarters/arts centre currently under renovation in Notting Hill, although the foundation's launch was held in New York. The splashy event, at Manhattan's Nomadic Museum, was an opportunity to give awards to several high-profile names who represented "culture and creativity in their accomplishments," among them former U.S. president Bill Clinton, sculptor Anish Kapoor and groundbreaking theatre director Robert Wilson. A European launch will be held at the Venice Biennale next month. The names on the foundation's advisory board also hint at MacBain's network of contacts in the art world: They include soprano Renée Fleming, artists Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons, architect Richard Meier, and Charles Saumarez Smith of London's National Gallery. So what exactly will this foundation, with its headquarters in London and bases in New York and Paris, do? Its mission is not entirely clear from its mission statement, which says that "It will support and promote interdisciplinary research and activity in the pursuit of international enlightenment, communication and prosperity." Jeremy Newton, the brand-new head of the foundation, says, "To be brutally honest, we're very, very new. . . . We haven't done anything yet, we haven't achieved anything yet, so I'm reluctant to overclaim about how fantastic we'll be and how we'll change the world next week."

However, Newton and MacBain do have detailed plans for the future. In its first year, the foundation will concentrate on studying the economic impact of global culture, and will gather international data for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to include in its annual factbook. This, says Newton, will help arts groups in their lobbying efforts with government. The foundation's other mandate, says Newton, is to study the intersection of arts and science.  "Very specifically the relationship between the senses and the art; so looking at research into visual perception and visual arts, looking at music and the brain, looking at how the brain processes information from sense of smell and touch and taste," Newton adds.  A good part of the interest in the new venture has to do with the woman at its heart, who in 1987 with her former husband launched Trader Classified Media, which grew into a classified-ads magazine and website empire. More recently, she has moved into art publishing, with the acquisition of Art & Auction magazine in 2003. Her company, LTB Holding, also owns the magazines Modern Painter, Spoon and Museums. She is planning to launch, a database for art collectors and dealers, in the fall. MacBain's romantic history has been a source of fascination: She is divorced from John MacBain, her partner in the classified-ads business and with whom she has three children. Gossip columns have linked her in the past with Prince Andrew. And a story in Vanity Fair in 2003 dissected her tempestuous tenure as CEO of the international auction house Phillips, de Pury & Luxembourg, which is run by her former boyfriend, Simon de Pury. "The thing that's unmistakable about her is that she's completely sincere in her love of the arts, her philanthropic intentions," says Newton. "There's no pretension or hidden agenda. She's not doing this because she wants power or she wants to be made a dame." (MacBain was not available for an interview for this article.)  Colin Tweedy, of the British group Arts & Business, welcomes the new foundation, noting that private philanthropic ventures are often "more idiosyncratic, less politically correct, and driven by a personal vision." But he's not sure that everyone in the arts establishment will share his view. "There will be a lot of people in Britain who want to throw apples at her," Tweedy says. "The British are by nature very suspicious of wealth and very cynical. So it takes a lot of courage to do this. "She'll be given a hard time by people who wanted her to give her money to them. But she's doing something important for art in the modern world, so she gets my vote."




EVENTS –JUNE 2 - 12, 2005




The Orbit Room
College Street
10:30 pm 
EVENT PROFILE: Featuring Wade O. Brown, Shamakah Ali, Rich Brown, Adrian Eccleston, David Williams.




College Street Bar  
574 College Street (at Manning)  
10:30 pm 
EVENT PROFILE: Featuring Dione Taylor, Sandy Mamane, Davide Direnzo, Justin Abedin, Dafydd Hughes and David French.




Irie Food Joint
745 Queen Street W.
10:00 pm
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.  The party begins earlier next week – 9:00 pm.  Carl will be serving goodies from his bush grille for us to get some samples from his summer menu – not to mention the drink specials he’s got going on.  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. 




Indian Motorcycle
  King Street (at Peter)  
10:00 pm  
EVENT PROFILE: Featuring host Chris Rouse, Calvin Beale, Joel Joseph and Shamakah Ali with various local artists. 




Steam Whistle Brewing
255 Bremner Blvd.
6:00 pm
Complimentary drinks, food, music, and live viewing.

For your sneak peek, please visit us at:
RSVP to or call 416.364.5982

EVENT PROFILE: AVE DECO invites you to celebrate Spring with a colourful exhibition of the newest decorative oil paintings.  The newest trend in home décor and accents - "Bamboo". Lose yourself in our luscious jungle of bamboos.  Warning: Objects On Walls Are More Seductive Than They Appear




The Orbit Room
College Street
10:30 pm 
EVENT PROFILE: Featuring Wade O. Brown, Shamakah Ali, Rich Brown, Adrian Eccleston, David Williams.




College Street Bar
574 College Street (at Manning)
10:30 pm 
EVENT PROFILE: Featuring Dione Taylor, Sandy Mamane, Davide Direnzo, Justin Abedin, Dafydd Hughes and David French




Have a great week!  

Dawn Langfield   
Langfield Entertainment