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


Updated:  October 27, 2005

Happy Hallowe'en!  Find your favourite party and celebrate safely!   This week brings a very special interview with Kirk Franklin!  Check it out below and get your copy of Hero.  Speaking of heros, kudos to my brother-in-law, Lorne Kearnan, who travels this week with The Salvation Army as part of their Katrina Relief work in Houston, Texas - see SCOOP below.   DeeKaye visits us again - this time at Hugh's Room with some superb players backing him up!  And Kanye West is coming - have you bought your tickets yet?

Listen, this week brings another FREE CD giveaway to the first five people that can name the title of The Show's debut release (under MUSIC NEWS - hint: open the full page) - CLICK HERE!   I'm a big fan of these guys - pick up their CD today! 
Check out the pictures in my PHOTO GALLERY from the CD Release Party for Melanie Durrant - pick up your copy today!

Check out all categories - tons of Canadian content in MUSIC NEWS, FILM NEWS, TV NEWS, THEATRE 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.






DeeKaye Ibomeka at Hugh’s Room – November 4, 2005

November 4 presents an opportunity to see rising jazz, soul and blues baritone DeeKaye Ibomeka headlining the prestigious Hugh’s Room in Toronto. The 25-year-old  jazz baritone with  enormous stage presence and 3-octave range has just completed the recording of his debut CD, co-written with and produced by jacksoul’s Haydain Neale.  DeeKaye made an impressive Montreal debut this summer at the Jazz Festival’s spectacular “Voices of Soul” concert where he shared the stage with The Neville Brothers, Patti Labelle, Ann Peebles, Deborah Cox and Jully Black.  DeeKaye’s debut CD is scheduled for release in early 2006 and features his unique blend of jazz, soul and the blues.  Don’t miss this opportunity to check out the vocal stylings of DeeKaye Ibomeka who will be backed by a hot band featuring Andrew Craig on keyboards and Roger Travassos on drums!

Hugh’s Room
2261 Dundas St. West
Special Guest performance at 8:30pm
Tickets $20 in advance $22 at the door.
Call for tickets: 416.531.6604




Kanye West In Concert – November 9, 2005

No matter who you are or where you lived - if you owned a radio, television, computer or CD player, you felt Kanye West’s presence.  Since the release of his 3 million selling, critically acclaimed-debut The College Dropout, the Chicago-born 28 year old rapper/producer/hip-hop icon has been at the top of the charts and at the top of his game. From the red carpet of the 47th Grammys - where he topped all nominees with a historic ten nods and took home awards for Best Rap Album, Best Rap Song and Best R&B song - to the millions of albums sold, a sold-out stadium tour with Usher, and his ubiquitous presence on MTV, BET, CNN, and radio stations nationwide, West grew from being an artist to watch to an artist you experience.   This tour also features special guests Fantasia and Keyshia Cole.


with special guests Fantasia and Keyshia Cole
Air Canada Centre
40 Bay St.
Doors: 6:30pm
Show:  7:30pm
Tickets (incl. GST) $69.50, $59.50 and $45.50 (plus convenience fees and CRF)
8 ticket limit
Tickets available at all Ticketmaster outlets and at the Air Canada Centre Box Office
Call 416-870-8000 to charge by phone
Or order online at







Interview With Kirk Franklin

Sony/BMG gave me the unique opportunity to interview Kirk Franklin by
phone this week.  If you like gospel music at all, Kirk Franklin’s Hero is the CD to pick up.  My favourite tracks include Looking for You, Let it Go (Fred Hammond on his reflection on wounds caused by fatherlessness), Afterwhile sung by Yolanda Adams (a song about moving past pain, with clarity and sensitivity), Stevie Wonder’s Why and Sunshine.  Other than one track on the CD (which was written by Andre Harris and Vidal Davis), Kirk Franklin wrote all the songs.  I highly recommend that you pick up this CD! 

As in my previous newsletters, his latest offering is Hero.  Kirk Franklin’s music has always been gospel that makes ‘the gospel’ more appealing to those that may not have a religious affiliation.  By keeping it current and fresh it appeals to many age groups and reaches ears that may not otherwise hear the positive message of the lyrics.  LE:     I’ve always seen you as one of the major artists that broke gospel into the mainstream listening audience.  How would you qualify your contribution?

KIRK:    I see myself as a church dude.  Just a regular young guy that loves God, and God on His own chose, for whatever reason, to take music and put it in different environments.  That was not my attempt.  My attempt was not to try to do that.  I’m just trying to be consistent with the path. 

I struggle with it, you know.  There are times that I forget that it wasn’t my plan and it wasn’t my agenda – sometimes you move in your own flesh to try to get over. 

LE:          That’s just in life I guess.  Anybody with a Christian or any religious affiliation – a lot is expected.  People forget that believers are human too.  Do you feel challenged in trying to portray innocence because America is hurting so much right now?  I feel like on this CD you were trying to address that. 

KIRK:    I wanted to address that but I didn’t feel challenged in it.  My approach is very honest.  Even as an album gets out and you kind of forget to listen – some people find me a little wishy washy.  The Rebirth album was a very straightforward album and with this one, it’s an album that God led me to do but for some people, it can be kind of wishy washy. 

Is it traditional, is it hip hop?  Is he going to be worshippy?  And for me, I’m just trying to be me.  I’m just trying to be obedient to what God has for me to do and not trying to do anything more than that. 

LE:          Well, that’s the music industry as well – more so than the consumer - that wants to put you into a category.  Sometimes it doesn’t matter, you’ve just got to let the music ‘be’.  The music industry is very driven by commercial gain – have you felt those pressures and has it ever affected the music?

KIRK:     You can feel the pressure when I take my eyes off Christ and when I put my eyes on to the world’s agenda.  You can feel that pressure but that’s a pressure that you put on yourself. 

LE:          Do you find anything exciting about the industry? 

KIRK:    Not the industry stuff, no.  The music that’s from God is wonderful but when you take something from the Creator and you put it in front of the creation, which is Man, the creation tries to validate it to see whether it’s good or bad – that’s when everything gets contaminated and real foggy.  A lot of times we can be guilty of leaning to what the creation is saying instead of resting on what the Creator gave. 

I find myself so guilty of that.  Even with this record, there were times I was guilty of that.  Many days that I was looking for Man to validate something that God gave.  It’s an unfair thing to ask God to give you something that’s never been created and then we look for the applause of Man to validate it.  That’s not good. 

LE:          Maybe that’s just part of it and I think that’s just how we’re made.  I think that there are tests along the way.  Even within believers, you get different approaches to presenting the work – no matter how you look at it, you’ve got to stay true to what He told you to do. 

KIRK:     Amen!  Speak sister!

LE:          I really loved this CD by the way.  I really was touched by quite a few of the tracks.  You say that there’s a point where you can see all of life’s successes and failures have all been for a purpose.  What are some of your defining moments?

KIRK:    There’s never one defining moment – the creative process evolves because it’s always evolving.  There’s a dude in the Bible named Paul and it’s all about how we’ve been transformed from glory to glory – we’re going from one season of growth to the other season of growth.  Every season there’s so many tremendous lessons.

Remember my wife and I have four kids.  There’s not enough paper in the world to write down all of the defining moments as parents that we see in our children.  Life is so full of those types of lessons and those lessons are the ones that we take to the studio when we sit down to the keyboards and when we put the pen to paper. 

LE:          Did you have a defining moment when it came to this project?

KIRK:    The defining moment for Hero for me, the one that I remember mostly is that those were songs I was showing my wife.  Just the creative process for me too – it is the scariest, the most vulnerable project because if you don’t say nothing, the people around are looking at you like ‘what’s wrong fool?’. 

You are very vulnerable to God to depend on Him to say something.  You’re asking Him to say something significant.  When I was working on the song ‘Imagine Me’, I called my wife upstairs to listen to the skeleton of it.  I was just singing out that line and she looked at and she shook her head, ‘You don’t get it but I guess you’re not supposed to’.  That was a very defining moment for me for this project. 

LE:          Would you say that the difference between this project and other projects would be that you left yourself more vulnerable to the message or to God?

KIRK:    Just more vulnerable.  Here I am.  For me, it’s always like a naked place but I can admit that this time around, it was a little more naked for me.  There’s this needy place.

The biggest concern is that you sit and ask God for something that you look to Man to validate and that’s wrong.  So, because of that, if you go before God again, will God still allow me to hear Him when He knows that I’m going to be tempted?  You know when your kid asks you for the keys but every time they get the car, there’s a dent somewhere.  Do you keep giving them the keys?  It’s always that vulnerable place where ‘Is God going to give me the keys?’

LE:          Well I can really feel the message on this CD.  In April 2006, you’ll be hosting the Dove Awards, Gospel music’s highest honour - what’s the most exciting about hosting for you?

KIRK:     Well, it’s my first time hosting the Dove Awards – it’s going to be real cool because I’m a champion and I want both those communities to be one. 

LE:          Are you touring at all with Hero?  Will there be a Canadian tour?

KIRK:     Not yet – probably not until February.  I’d LOVE to come to Canada.  Yeah. 

LE:          There’s a lot of people that I’m speaking for that would love you to come to Canada.

KIRK:     Wow.  Well then yes, I’ve got to come to Canada. 

LE:          What pieces of advice do you give someone who wants to become a Gospel artist? 

KIRK:     When you have the microphone, the microphone is a very powerful thing and it’s very important you realize that there’s a responsibility with the microphone – a responsibility to say something very significant.  Nobody can make that decision.  I would say to those that are Christian artists, that is even more magnified because you have to be willing to die – that you cannot allow the vehicle to take the place of the vision. 

LE:          Who are some of your influences?

KIRK:     My influences coming up were Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway and even hip hop like Run DMC.  It wasn’t until I trusted Christ with my heart and became a born again Christian that the influences of Christian music really began to resonate in my heart. 

LE:          You’ve got a unique brand of music with a global appeal.  What’s been one of the highlights of your career?

KIRK:     Being able to keep my family together while I still do it. 

LE:          If you could work with any artist (living or past), who would they be?

KIRK:     I don’t know.  I’ve been on tour with everybody from Bono to Stevie Wonder so I’m pretty good!

LE:          How does the gospel/Christian community embrace your success?

KIRK:     I don’t know.  I try very hard to be a servant to my community, to be a light to my community, to win my community with the vision of Christ, to be able to be someone who can help and just pour love into them.  That’s how I try to be to my community. 

LE:          What do you want people to remember you for? 

KIRK:     That dude was real – he was a real dude. 

LE:          What’s in your CD player right now?

KIRK:     I’ve got a rapper by the name of The Truth, a Christian dude, he’s hot and Coldplay and I’ve got some Bob James, some Lalah Hathaway

LE:          Well, that about wraps it up.  I wanted to wish you condolences on the loss of Gerald Wright, your longtime manager and friend. 

KIRK:     Thank you so much. 

I certainly hope that Mr. Franklin makes his way up to Canada – as we all have seen on various television specials and award shows, he puts on a great show with an amazing array of talented vocalists and musicians.  I’m sure he would manage to bring us a new kind of blessing. 

Thanks to
Steve Nightingale at Sony/BMG for the opportunity! 







Motivational Note: The Creative Shoeshine Man

By Willie Jolley, Host of the “Willie Jolley Motivational Minute” syndicated radio show!

To be a success, you must find imaginative ways to overcome some of the
obstacles that you will be presented with. You’ve got to be creative. Les Brown tells a story about a busy executive who was on his way to a meeting and was always rushing from one place to another. As he left his office he was approached by a shoeshine man who said, “Hey man, you’ve got some crummy looking shoes. Why don’t you let me give you a shine?” The businessman said, “No …I don’t have time.” Every block for the next six blocks he was approached about a shoeshine and gave the same answer, “No … I don’t have time for a shoeshine.” Well, at the seventh block he walked past a shoeshine stand and the man was counting: “97, 98, 99, 100.” He then said, “My friend, you look like a busy man so I apologize for the interruption. But today is my birthday and I made myself a promise that I would give a free shine to the one-hundredth person. Please allow me the opportunity to give you a shine, in fact the shoes looked like they were brand-new. As the businessman was preparing to leave he said, “What is you regular fee?” The shoeshine man said, “Five dollars, sir.” The businessman gave him a ten and said, “Happy Birthday.” The shoe shiner stood there for a few minutes and then said, 97, 98, 99…” Friends, this story simply shoes that we must be creative and use our wits, because many times that will be all that we have. Be creative!! Visit for more information.







The Salvation Army In Canada To Send Teams To Assist With Hurricane Katrina Relief Efforts


(Sept. 6, 2005) The Salvation Army in Canada will be sending its first team to assist with Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. Ten Salvation Army personnel and volunteers will be heading to Houston, Texas this week to begin work with those affected by this tragedy.  Teams of 10 will be sent to the impacted areas and will work in 12 day shifts. All personnel are fully trained and the team's expertise will include emotional and spiritual care, counselling, logistics, operations, finance and administration. Many have experience in situations such as 9/11, Iraq and Swiss Air Flight No. 111. It is expected that this will be the first team of many and that the Canadian Salvation Army's response will continue during the coming months,     The Salvation Army's work continues as it assists more than 200,000 people throughout Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. The ongoing efforts include thousands of meals served daily, counselling and shelter at Salvation Army facilities throughout the southern United States.  Please support The Salvation Army's Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.

Financial contributions can be made by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY (725-2769), by visiting our website,, by mailing donations to The Salvation Army Territorial Headquarters, Canada and Bermuda, 2 Overlea Blvd., Toronto, Ontario M4H 1P4, or dropping off financial donations at the closest Salvation Army unit in your area. Donors should specify their gift to the Hurricane Katrina Relief Effort.

The Salvation Army serves in 110 countries throughout the world. It began its work in Canada in 1882 as a Christian movement with an acute social conscience. With more than 120 years experience, The Salvation Army continues to provide professional services that are relevant to the diverse needs of vulnerable people and their communities.







Civil Rights Icon Rosa Parks Dies At 92

Source:  CNN

(Oct. 25, 2005) Rosa Parks, whose act of civil disobedience in 1955
inspired the modern civil rights movement, died Monday in Detroit, Michigan. She was 92. Parks' moment in history began in December 1955 when she refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama. Her arrest triggered a 381-day boycott of the bus system by blacks that was organized by a 26-year-old Baptist minister, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. The boycott led to a court ruling desegregating public transportation in Montgomery, but it wasn't until the 1964 Civil Rights Act that all public accommodations nationwide were desegregated. Facing regular threats and having lost her department store job because of her activism, Parks moved from Alabama to Detroit in 1957. She later joined the staff of U.S. Rep. John Conyers, a Michigan Democrat. Conyers, who first met Parks during the early days of the civil rights struggle, recalled Monday that she worked on his original congressional staff when he first was elected to the House of Representatives in 1964. "I think that she, as the mother of the new civil rights movement, has left an impact not just on the nation, but on the world," he told CNN in a telephone interview. "She was a real apostle of the non-violence movement." He remembered her as someone who never raised her voice -- an eloquent voice of the civil rights movement.

"You treated her with deference because she was so quiet, so serene -- just a very special person," he said, adding that "there was only one" Rosa Parks. Gregory Reed, a long-time friend and attorney, said Parks died between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. of natural causes. He called Parks "a lady of great courage." Parks co-founded the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development to help young people pursue educational opportunities, get them registered to vote and work toward racial peace. "As long as there is unemployment, war, crime and all things that go to the infliction of man's inhumanity to man, regardless -- there is much to be done, and people need to work together," she once said. Even into her 80s, she was active on the lecture circuit, speaking at civil rights groups and accepting awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1996 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 1999. "This medal is encouragement for all of us to continue until all have rights," she said at the June 1999 ceremony for the latter medal. Parks was the subject of the documentary "Mighty Times: The Legacy of Rosa Parks," which received a 2002 Oscar nomination for best documentary short. In April, Parks and rap duo OutKast settled a lawsuit over the use of her name on a CD released in 1998. (Full story)

Bus boycott

She was born Rosa Louise McCauley in Tuskegee, Alabama, on February 4, 1913. Her marriage to Raymond Parks lasted from 1932 until his death in 1977. Parks' father, James McCauley, was a carpenter, and her mother, Leona Edwards McCauley, a teacher. Before her arrest in 1955, Parks was active in the voter registration movement and with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, where she also worked as a secretary in 1943.  At the time of her arrest, Parks was 42 and on her way home from work as a seamstress. She took a seat in the front of the black section of a city bus in Montgomery. The bus filled up and the bus driver demanded that she move so a white male passenger could have her seat. "The driver wanted us to stand up, the four of us. We didn't move at the beginning, but he says, 'Let me have these seats.' And the other three people moved, but I didn't," she once said. When Parks refused to give up her seat, a police officer arrested her.  As the officer took her away, she recalled that she asked, "Why do you push us around?" The officer's response: "I don't know, but the law's the law, and you're under arrest." She added, "I only knew that, as I was being arrested, that it was the very last time that I would ever ride in humiliation of this kind." Four days later, Parks was convicted of disorderly conduct and fined $14. That same day, a group of blacks founded the Montgomery Improvement Association and named King, the young pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, as its leader, and the bus boycott began.

For the next 381 days, blacks -- who according to Time magazine had comprised two-thirds of Montgomery bus riders -- boycotted public transportation to protest Parks' arrest and in turn the city's Jim Crow segregation laws. Black people walked, rode taxis and used carpools in an effort that severely damaged the transit company's finances.  The mass movement marked one of the largest and most successful challenges of segregation and helped catapult King to the forefront of the civil rights movement. The boycott ended on November 13, 1956, after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that Montgomery's segregated bus service was unconstitutional. Parks' act of defiance came one year after the Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education decision that led to the end of racial segregation in public schools. (Full story) U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, a Democrat, told CNN Monday he watched the 1955-56 Montgomery drama unfold as a teenager and it inspired him to get active in the civil rights movement. "It was so unbelievable that this woman -- this one woman -- had the courage to take a seat and refuse to get up and give it up to a white gentleman. By sitting down, she was standing up for all Americans," he said.

Civil Rights Icon Rosa Parks Has Died

Excerpt from

(Oct. 25, 20050 The woman known as the "Mother of The Civil Rights Movement,"
Rosa Parks, has died. She passed away of natural causes at her home in Detroit. She was 92  In 1955, Parks' act of non-violent civil disobedience sparked the 380-day Montgomery Bus Boycott and a mobilization of groups throughout the South to protest segregation, register blacks to vote and fight for political and civil rights. The boycott brought national attention to the movement and an unknown young Baptist minister named Martin Luther King Jr. "Rosa Parks made a courageous decision and started the civil rights movement. Dr. King took it from there,'' said Morris Dees, founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, before her death. Most people don't know it, but Parks wasn't the first person arrested for violating bus- segregation ordinances in Montgomery, Alabama. Local civil-rights activists and church leaders chose her as a test case because of her impeccable reputation and respect in the black community. "For white culture, an African-American man protesting created fear,'' Douglas Brinkley, her biographer, said last year. "This demure, dainty woman exposed the true ugliness of the Jim Crow South.'' Rosa Louise McCauley was born on Feb. 4, 1913, in Tuskegee, Alabama. She was the oldest child of Leona Edwards and James McCauley, a carpenter. Parks' grandparents had been slaves. When slavery ended, her grandfather slept in a rocking chair with a shotgun on his knee, to defend against the Ku Klux Klan. Her parents separated when she was young, and Parks grew up with her mother, brother and maternal grandparents in rural Pine Level, Alabama. At age 11, Parks moved to Montgomery to live with her aunt and attend the private Montgomery Industrial School for Girls, cleaning classrooms in exchange for tuition. She dropped out of Booker T. Washington High School after her mother became ill, although she later earned a diploma and attended Alabama State Teachers' College. She wed barber Raymond Parks in December 1932. The couple was respected in Montgomery's black community. Parks attended the African Methodist Episcopal Church and was active in civil rights.

She subtly protested the indignities of segregated water fountains and elevators and often walked home from work rather than ride the buses. She argued with bus drivers who insisted that blacks use the rear entrance. James F. Blake, the driver who evicted Parks from his bus in 1943, was the one who summoned authorities when she refused to give up her seat in 1955. "You died a little each time you found yourself face to face with this kind of discrimination,'' she had said. The Montgomery city bus system required blacks -- 75 percent of its riders -- to enter the front of a bus to pay, then get off and re-board through the back door. The first four rows were always reserved for whites. Blacks could sit in the middle section, but if a white wanted one of the seats, black passengers were forced to vacate the entire row. Three women and two teenagers had already been arrested in 1955 for refusing to comply. Parks hadn't planned to protest that day. She left her seamstress job on the evening of Dec. 1, 1955. Her back and shoulders ached and she hoped to get a seat. With the rear of the bus filled, Parks sat in the first row of the "colored section'' with three other blacks. A white man boarded and Blake ordered them to move. All did except Parks, who refused with a simple "No.'' "People always say that I didn't give up my seat because I was tired, but that wasn't true,'' Parks said in her 1992 autobiography. "... No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.'' Parks was taken to jail. On Dec. 5, 1955, her trial date, more than 7,000 blacks met at the Holt Street Baptist Church. They formed the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA), with King, a 26-year-old Ph.D., as its head. For the next 13 months, virtually all blacks in Montgomery walked or carpooled, despite harassment by authorities. The bus service almost went bankrupt. Parks was convicted and fined $14, but she refused to pay. In February 1956, the MIA filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Parks and the three other women. The lower court declared segregated seating unconstitutional and ordered Montgomery buses integrated. The Supreme Court upheld the decision, outlawing segregation and discriminatory practices on city buses in December 1956.

Parks, her husband and some family members lost their jobs and were constantly harassed and threatened. Raymond Parks had a nervous breakdown. They moved to Detroit, where Parks' younger brother Sylvester lived. In 1965, U.S. Representative John Conyers hired Parks as a staff assistant. She worked in various administrative jobs for 23 years and retired in 1988 at age 75. In retirement, Parks continued to make public appearances and give speeches, including a rousing address at the Million Man March in Washington in 1995, when she was 83. She founded the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self-Development in 1987 to teach leadership skills to underprivileged teenagers. Parks received dozens of awards and honorary degrees. In 1980, she was the first woman to receive the Martin Luther King Jr. Non-violent Peace Prize. In 1999, President Bill Clinton presented her with the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor, the nation's highest civilian award. Time magazine named Parks one of the "100 most influential people of the 20th century.'' The Henry Ford Museum in Michigan bought and exhibited the bus on which she was arrested. The Rosa Parks Library and Museum opened in Montgomery in 2000. Parks sued the rap duo OutKast in 1999 over the song "Rosa Parks,'' which she claimed wrongly exploited her name. In August 2004, Parks sued OutKast's record companies and two booksellers, seeking more than $5 billion, AP has reported. Parks rarely appeared in public since cancelling a meeting with President George W. Bush in 2001, AP has reported. A federal judge in October 2004 appointed former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer to serve as guardian to Parks, about a month after her doctor said she was suffering from dementia. Raymond Parks died in 1977. The couple had no children. And at EUR press time, funeral service arrangements had not been announced.







The Show's Debut Release - October 18, 2005

It's time for The Show to officially begin. A quartet of vocalists, writers and producers, Joel Legall, Dane Auston, Mateo Charlton and Omar Lunan
(collectively known as The Show), have successfully created a sound and experience that is uniquely their own.  Performing together under various names since 1996, The Show have invested years of intensive studio work and perfected their 'Urban Reality' sound - an innovative blend of Hip-Hop, R&B/Soul, Gospel, Reggae and Alternative influences over their time together.   The Show were given a feature audience opportunity earlier this year on a bill with Young Buck (G-Unit) in Toronto at Tonic Nightclub. The guys debuted a solid set to the packed crowd.

DEBT, SWEAT & TEARS was released by EMI Music Canada on October 18, 2005.  Listen and Watch.

Band Bio

In a music industry overrun with acts that emphasize style over substance,
The Show is a band that defies any stereotype.  There's no team of writers, producers and stylists pulling the strings from behind the scenes, leaving the public to guess whom the real artists are.  The Show, consisting of Joel Legall, Dane Auston, Mateo Charlton and Omar Lunan, is the honest reflection of art imitating life -- or vice versa. They came together as vocalists, writers and producers to create a sound and experience all their own.

DEBT, SWEAT & TEARS is their long-awaited first full-length album, the members of The Show are by no means new to the business. In fact, they have been together, singing and performing under various names, since 1996.  Many years of intensive studio work followed, where they began to perfect their "Urban Reality" sound, an innovative blend of Hip-Hop, R&B/Soul, Gospel, Reggae & Alternative influences.  With their extensive history in the music business, the band has had the opportunity to perform with such acts as Ginuwine, Usher and 98 Degrees, as well as Canada's very own first Pop Stars, Sugar Jones.   

In 2003, The Show joined forces with the upstart label Inside Music and headed into the studio with label head Craig McConnell to craft their debut album. Six months of intensive sessions followed, including contributions from Saukrates, Ian Thornley and Snow, and the results proved to be entirely worth the wait. The album is a collection of events each of the members have either experienced or felt very strongly connected to. 

While The Show was working on the album, they simultaneously shot a 90-minute broadcast-quality documentary with Much Music Video Award-winning director Warren Sonoda. Produced by Darius Films, it includes archival footage, extensive interviews with band members and their families and comedic segments. The mission of the DVD was to create a package that would offer The Show's audience not just 13 songs about life and its tribulations, but also footage of the band just being four guys who make music. The result gives the viewer faces and personalities to put to the music.  

Both the album and the documentary, along with 5.1 Surround Sound mixes, will be released to the public on the double-sided disc format DVD+/DualDisc. A CD on one side and a DVD on the other, this disc will offer The Show fans an abundance of value-added content while retailing at a price point competitive with regular CDs.




Kardinal Offishall's New Album 'Fire & Glory' Scheduled For Release November 15, 2005

Source:  Virgin Music Canada

Toronto, October 14th, 2005 - Canada's most celebrated emcee Kardinal Offishall will be releasing his much-anticipated third album Fire & Glory on November 15th, 2005. Fire & Glory is the follow up to 2001's Firestarter Vol.1: Quest For Fire and the independently released I And I. Fire & Glory features Kardinal's award winning production and unique diction, a blend of Jamaican patois and Canadian and American slang. Also featured are collaborations with Busta Rhymes, Spragga Benz, Renee Neufville, Vybz Kartel, Glenn Lewis and Ray Robinson.  The first official single from FIRE & GLORY is 'Everyday Rudebwoy,' an interpolation of Arrested Development's single 'Everyday People'. "I've always loved Arrested's version of it and I think people will appreciate the unique twist I put on it. I made it sound even more feel good with vocalist Ray Robinson, and then I touch on some real issues that some communities have to deal with, like police harassment, and men taking ownership of their children and relationship scenarios."

In May of this year KARDINAL signed a deal with Virgin Music Canada to release FIRE & GLORY, "I am pleased to finally be able to enter into a business venture with a reputable Canadian label. Virgin has expressed a desire to take this project to the highest level and I welcome their enthusiasm and share the same desire" - states Kardinal.    "We are very excited to have entered in to this arrangement as Kardinal is one of Canada's most important MC's. Kardinal is a distinctly Canadian artist and a true ambassador for hip-hop culture which is reflected both in his art and performance." - says Craig Mannix, Director, Artist & Urban Label Development.   Kardinal's international production credits, collaborations, accomplishments, awards and accolades are extensive. He co-wrote the Gold selling, Juno award winning 'Money Jane' with Sean Paul, collaborated on remixes with the Neptunes' Pharrell Williams, worked on records with Method Man as well as received unsolicited remix offers from Busta Rhymes and Bounty Killer. To date, Kardinal is the only Canadian urban artist to appear on BET's 'Rap City,' and on MTV's 'Advance Warning.'

Fire & Glory Track Listing:

1. Last Standing Soldier

2. E.G.G. (Everybody Gone Gangsta) featuring: Vybz Kartel
3. Heads Up 
4. Everyday Rudebwoy featuring Ray Robinson
5. The Best Man
6. Freshie featuring Ro Dolla
7. Sunday
8. Kaysarasara featuring: Estelle
9. Neva New (Till I Kissed You)
10. Mr. Officer featuring Rene Neufville (formerly of Zhané)
11. Whatchalike featuring: Busta Rhymes
12. Fire and Glory
13. Feel Alright
14. All the Way 




Jelleestone’s New Release In Stores This Week

Source:  Universal Music Canada

It's been a long time coming for this Rexdale representative to educate the
masses on what's really hood! Well on Tuesday, October 25th, it's about to go down really big with the release of Jelleestone's new album entitled "The Hood Is Here"! Whether you know this man as the Stone Poet or J-Sizzle, it's no question that Jelleestone has come along way and has definitely paved the way for many Canadian Hip Hop acts doing they thing! He's earned himself international notoriety with his 2002 smash hit "Money Pt. 1" and more recently won a 2004 MMVA for his Dancehall heater "Who Dat" featuring the one and only Elephant Man! But in 2005, things are about to get heated up as Jelleestone brings back that raw, grimey street s&%t that the streets have been waiting for. His single "The Hood Is Here" is a true testament to what's happening in various neighborhoods across the country and the globe for that matter. And if ya'll have been keeping your ears to the streets, then you definitely know about "The Hood Is Here Remix" featuring some of Toronto's finest "street MC's" including Mayhem Morearty, JB & Payback, Imperial, Stumpy, V.D'ablo and Jugganott!

But don't get it twisted cause' your man Jellee got something for everyone
including his latest single "Friendamine" featuring Nelly Furtado. "The Hood Is Here" is definitely an album that ya'll need to cop and pop in that stereo. The album features production by Maza, The Godfather and Noah to name a few. Whether you're from the T-Dot, Vancity or all places in between, Jelleestone wants to make sure ya'll represent your hood to the fullest. And you best be sure that the man's got love for every hood in this country! Listen to the album people and take in the messages that this man is delivering. The streets are no joke and whether it's in the US or Canada, Jelleestone wants to make sure that the "hood" gets heard! Be on the lookout for Jelleestone as he makes his way into your city.

Thursday Oct. 27th - Montreal, QC
Friday Oct. 28th - Vancouver, BC
Saturday Oct. 29th - Edmonton, AB
Sunday Oct. 30th - Calgary, AB
Monday Oct. 31st - Calgary, AB

The Hood Is Here

Three decades into the rise of the rap game, one truth remains: Hip never would have hopped without the hood. From the streets of New York, where rap was born, to the stoops of all the world's inner cities, hip hop is most at home in the places where people breathe and bleed the urban sagas painted by its lyrics. In Toronto, that means neighbourhoods like Rexdale - or Doomstown, in hood-speak - a concrete jungle populated by highrise towers, lowrise housing complexes and lowdown playas.   "I been in the hood for over a quarter of a century, man," says Jelleestone, Rexdale's favourite son. "I am the hood, the hood is me. There's no separation there."   Jellee's hood story is actually a tale of two cities: Born in Toronto (government name David Carty), he grew up splitting time between his mother's place in Rexdale and his father's in the Bronx. The former was - and is - his heart; the latter provided his education. "Hip hop was formally introduced to me in New York," the MC says. "But once I understood the culture and everything it was about, I was like, 'Shit, we do this at home [in Rexdale].' The music was telling stories that I was living."  

Jelleestone started breakdancing all the way back in 1983. He began rhyming in middle school, first with a group called PNP (or Poet and Prophet), then as part of a Rexdale wrecking crew known as the Original Rude Boys. ORB got rolling in 1993, opening Toronto shows for the likes of U.S. stars Black Moon and the Pharcyde.   Jellee took the first step towards carving his name as a solo artist in 1997, scoring a minor hit with a compilation track called When You're Hot, You're Hot. His name broke for real in 2002, when Money, Pt. 1, the lead single from his debut solo banger, Rex Entertainment/Warner Records' Jelleestone Thirteen, climbed to the top of Billboard's Hot 100 chart. Jelleestone was nominated for best new solo artist and best rap recording at Canada's 2002 Juno Awards.   Jellee's world devolved from bad to worse when the rough-and-tumble rhymer was arrested on a gun charge in Toronto. "A glitch in the Matrix held me up in prison for a minute," he says now, laughing at the memory. "I wound up in the hands of the law and sitting on bail for two years. At first it put a damper on my creativity - I shook for a month, like aw shit. I couldn't concentrate. But after that, I was like, 'Man, fuck it.' God forbid, if they try to lock me up and succeed, at least I'll have a record out. Snow went platinum in jail. Same with 'Pac."   It won't come to that. Jellee's legal problems are in the past, clearing the path for The Hood is Here, a hard-charging return to form due out this Fall on Rex/BlackSmith Entertainment, with distribution by Universal Music. Jellee's second platter builds on his first, serving up more of the "hood hop" sound he established with Jelleestone Thirteen.  

Last time out, Jelleestone came strong for Rexdale. This time, he's looking to rep all. "T-Dot MC, but I ain't Kardinal, I ain't Saukrates / My name ain't Choclair, you could get shot here," he rhymes on the The Hood is Here's body-rocking, radio-friendly title track. A video for the song takes viewers to the corners of Toronto that are most often seen as horror stories on the late-night news: Rexdale, Jane and Finch, Regent Park, Flemingdon Park and the Jungle. "We did helicopter shots and all that," Jellee says. "I don't know of another artist, rap or rock, who has done that. Elsewhere on the album, Elephant Man holds down Who Dat?; Sauks swings through with a hot verse on My Peoples.   "I'm hollering my hood story, but it's not just me. Dudes over here are going through it, dudes over there are going through it," Jelleestone says. "This is about making good music - making hits, making things that the whole world will want to sing. I already gave my hood something to be proud of, now I need to do it for my whole city. No matter if they're still here in the city or anywhere else in the world, to say, 'Yeah, that's me. That's mine.'"  




Eternia & Urbnet Records Proudly Present: It’s Called Life


Toronto, ON – October 25, 2005 – Described as “Canada’s Dopest Female Emcee” by Exclaim magazine, Eternia has garnered well deserved media and music industry attention over the past five years for her musical contributions in the international Hip Hop scene.  As an anomaly amidst her peers, Eternia breaks through gender and racial stereotypes in the male-dominated world of rap music to release her debut album, It’s Called Life.  Funded by FACTOR, and released across Canada on October 11th through Urbnet Records, and in Australia through Shogun Distribution, It’s Called Life is a personal, honest & retrospective glimpse of life
through Eternia’s eyes.  Catch a sneak preview of the record, and order your copy, at Eternia's Urbnet Site

Following a slew of successful singles, videos & feature releases including “Work it Out”, “Sorrow Song” (Universal/Maple), “Understand if I” (Battle Axe Records), & “Just the Way it Is” (Urbnet), and the Australian national chart-topper “Movin’” (Warner).  Right on the heels of Eternia’s independent release “Where I Been – The Collection”, and straight from touring with Van’s Warped Tour and an Australian Promotional Tour in October, Eternia proudly introduces to the world her most personal offering yet, the highly anticipated full-length album, It’s Called Life.

Featuring Production By: Tone Mason, Mercilless, Rude, Collizhun, Kenny "Bounce" Neal, & Simahlak. 

Featuring Appearances By
: Wordsworth, Kenn Starr, DJ Dopey, Helixx C. of Anomalies, Freestyle of the Arsonists, Cesar Comanche of the Justus League & Jessica Kaya.


"It's aggressive, insightful, and unapologetic"
- Dose Magazine
"As expected, the debut is fresher than mountain air - but way smarter"
- Now Magazine
"From the first note to the last, it keeps the neck snappin' and the ears focused"
- DJ Bringham Young, WIDR, Michigan




Raul Midón: Back-Up Vet Steps To Front

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Ashante Infantry, Entertainment Reporter

(Oct. 20, 2005) Everything. And nothing.  That's what being blind means to
Raul Midón, who's garnering growing acclaim as an innovative singer, songwriter and guitarist.  After years in studio musician obscurity, the New York-based 39-year-old debuted with State of Mind, an eclectic album showcasing his soulful voice, uplifting pop lyrics and jazz, flamenco and classical virtuosity.  A recent Toronto gig at the Kool Haus, opening for pop heartthrob Jason Mraz, confirmed his reputation as a veritable one-man band. Midón, a versatile tenor who can also pull off a convincing falsetto, slapped out percussion on his acoustic guitar, strummed harmonies and played trumpet.  "People say, `Does (being blind) make you a better musician? Does it make you hear better?'" Midón said.  "I don't think so. What it might do is, it limits your possibilities. Whatever it is that you're going to do is going to take more effort as a blind person — even walking to the store.  "So you kind of have to get it together and figure out what it is you really want. So maybe it focused me a little more on that I wanted to do music. And blindness isn't really an impediment in making music per se, especially if you create your own."  After graduating from the University of Miami's prestigious music program, he found work as a back-up vocalist and guitarist for Ricky Martin, Enrique Iglesias and Shakira. But in 2002, he moved to New York to establish a solo career.  "I realized I had to create my own world and surround myself with people to help me with it," explained Midón.  "Why would someone hire a blind person as a side person or hired gun, when that person might need extra considerations at certain points, in terms of travelling, etc.?"

Perched on a barstool inside the cavernous Kool Haus after sound check, Midón is forthright, exuding the simple, contemplative nature of his music and lyrics.  It's his third appearance in Toronto since opening for Joss Stone at Massey Hall in June. An assistant, a necessity for Midón, hovers nearby as the musician recalls his journey from club shows to scoring a song in Spike Lee's film She Hate Me and that turning point meeting with legendary producer Arif Mardin (Aretha Franklin, Barbra Streisand, Norah Jones).  "A lawyer brought me into Arif's office and I played for him live and he instantly said, `I want to work with this guy.' The music business is a very tricky thing: you get a lot of people telling you, `Well, you know it's great what you do, but if you want to be commercial you have to tone this down, or tone that down.'  "Arif was the first one that I ever worked with to say `Don't change anything. Don't change the way you play guitar. It's weird, but it's great.'  "Arif doesn't have anything to prove; he's not looking for his next big hit. It's the best contribution that a producer can make — to try to find the art in what the artist is doing instead of trying to impose their thing on it."  Influenced by Mardin's work with'70s star Donny Hathaway, Midón dedicated "Sittin' in the Middle" to the late soul singer.  "I would listen to Donny every morning before I went to the studio just as a way to inspire me to be the best that I could be, because I was working with legends and they'd worked with legends, and I didn't want to fall short. I just wanted to bring it."  And with Mardin and his son Joe handling production, EMI Music executives kept hands off the genre-defying album.  "I know that the best chance that I have of being successful as an artist is to be myself. If it doesn't happen, then it doesn't happen, but it's being myself that is going to set me apart."  But first he'll have to learn to deal with journalists' unyielding comparisons of him to childhood idol Stevie Wonder, who contributed a harmonica solo to "Expressions of Love."  "I understand it, we're both blind and there's a bit of an aesthetic similarity in terms of our singing, but that's as far as it goes, mostly because Stevie Wonder has accomplished so much. For me to even put myself in that league is just ridiculous."

Born in rural New Mexico, Midón and his identical twin brother Marco (a NASA engineer) were raised by their father and maternal grandmother. Their African American mother died from complications of an aneurysm. Their dad, an Argentine folkloric dancer, exposed the boys (both blinded shortly after birth) to jazz, bossa nova and contemporary classical music. Midón started on drums.  "I'm a rhythm fanatic," said the artist, who plays congas on his album. "I hear rhythm in everything: in the wheels of the bus and the windshield wipers."  As the interview winds down, Midón tells of meeting Kathleen, his wife of six years, at a Miami nightclub.  "For me, the whole idea of, `Is a woman beautiful physically or not?' is just anathema. I've never cared about that. If a beautiful woman comes up to me and gives me a limp handshake and is kinda `Nice to meet ya' (here he imitates a cartoon-voiced nymphet) ... that's not sexy.  "If somebody comes up to me and is warm and seems like they're glad to be alive, that's sexy to me. I've never seen, so I don't draw pictures in my head ... it doesn't enter into it for me. To me, there's so much more to it if you're going to be with someone for the rest of your life, that picking a woman with your eyes seems to me — and this is a blind guy talking, so whatever that's worth — to be stupid."




Is Ottawa Ready For This Guy? Peter Hinton

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail - By Kamal Al-Solaylee

(Oct. 25, 2005) OTTAWA -- No one was more surprised to be approached and interviewed for, let alone given, the artistic directorship of the National
Arts Centre's English theatre than Peter Hinton himself. "Three quarters of the way of being interviewed for the job I had one of those moments where I asked myself, 'Why am I doing this? I have a successful freelance career and this job . . . requires some sacrifices,' " said Hinton, as he recalls one of the monologues that played in his head this past summer as the NAC's president and chief executive officer Peter Herrndorf was courting him for the post. Who would blame him? The Toronto-born and raised Hinton, 42, who has been living and working out of both Montreal and Stratford, Ont., for a number of years, has built a reputation as a champion of risky theatre work that resides outside of the mainstream of Canadian culture. The NAC -- divided into Orchestra, Dance, English and French Theatre -- was created by Lester B. Pearson as a centennial project of the federal government, and its artistic reputation never escaped that whiff of officialdom and patronage. Yet only two weeks into the start of a month-long, in-house transition period with outgoing artistic director Marti Maraden and before running the show on his own (beginning Nov. 1), there are no visible signs of doubt, reluctance or regret in Hinton. The mercurial director and playwright of the flamboyant and ambitions trilogy The Swanne (2002-04) and the man behind the current landmark production of Into the Woods -- both produced by the Stratford Festival -- is well on his way toward redefining and recharting a course for the future. The real question now is not whether Hinton is ready for Ottawa, but is Ottawa ready for him?

"A new artistic director should be an opportunity for a theatre to look at itself, to re-examine what it's doing," says Hinton as he takes a bite from his grilled portobello-mushroom sandwich at a trendy Ottawa brasserie, across the street from the drab NAC building. Old jazz standards are playing in the background, but nostalgia holds little appeal for him today. "My appointment to the place begged a lot of questions about what kind of future there would be." While acknowledging the "evolution" work of Maraden -- in particular her "adventurous" Shakespeare and smart choices of new Canadian plays -- Hinton believes the NAC is ready for "something new, something different." But first some ground rules have to be established. Ottawa and the rest of Canada had better take note. "A big part of what I want to do is change the perception of the NAC as a regional theatre for Ottawa," says Hinton, citing the growth and development of the city's Great Canadian Theatre Company as one reason. Another perception of the NAC in Canada, continues Hinton, is that of a "subsidy" and "road house" for regional theatres -- a place to go to spread costs and minimize financial risks of productions that are large or under development. "The NAC has to wean itself from a dependency on co-productions. We have to develop a house style, our identity." To do this, Hinton's "biggest challenge" is filling the English theatre with a resident company of actors and designers at the NAC. In seeking inspiration and thematic resonance for future seasons, Hinton needed to look no farther than the very three words of the institution he's now part of: national, arts and centre. "Often you'll see an artistic director writing in his program that a season is about a general idea. What I decided for the NAC is instead of looking at it as a reflective thing, is to make it an active thing. What are the questions that need to be explored? And then building a season around these questions. . . . What's a national theatre? What role should art play in our culture or society? Why do we still go to the theatre?" Although Hinton will not commit to any specifics, he can reveal that "every play in the season next year will be a Canadian play and will explore these issues. Every play will be about artists," not in the sense of backstage drama but in "questioning the vitality of art speaking to an audience. To invite the audience into this dialogue. I want to talk to the people that [NAC subscription] telemarketers talk to and say we want to be entertained and not to think."

Since it opened in 1969, the NAC has never done an all-Canadian season, notes Hinton. "That's really interesting to me. It speaks to the brevity of our history and the way new-play development has grown and reached its own ceiling." His brand of nationalism, however, will not be of the naive flag-waving or the outmoded "telling our own stories" kinds. "It's about having a discussion around definition: What does national culture mean? What does that mean ethnically, sexually, politically as well as regionally." So, for now and in as much as one conversation can, that takes care of national and art, but what about centre? "It made me think of a service organization. Then I started to think about the word and its possibilities as a laboratory and where people come to do stuff. . . . It's got to be out of the main purview. We shouldn't be doing what all the theatres normally do, but what they would like to do." Hinton's appointment should be good news for playwrights who have been discouraged from writing large-cast plays (in Canada that's any play with more than four or five characters). "Too many plays have been abandoned by the playwrights because of lack of resources to accomplish their vision," says Hinton. Others, whose plays were deemed too controversial for regional theatres, may also have a friend in Hinton. "We have seen the results of conservative choices: dead theatre," he says. While he expects to be busy performing his Hinton-to-the-playwright-rescue role, he intends to take time out for himself as a writer. It was one of his conditions for accepting the job. As a director, he'll also be very strict about which projects he takes on. "I don't want to get into a situation where my directing is writing for someone. You can fix scenes through the directing but I don't want to do that. I want to collaborate with the playwright." And if all of the above is not enough work, he's also planning a season of "Jacobeathan" -- Jacobean, Elizabethan, Renaissance plays, a repertoire that personally fascinates him. (A sneak preview will be his production of John Webster's
The Duchess of Malfi at Stratford next year.) "This is the work that became so dangerous, theatres had to be shut."  As long as that history doesn't repeat itself, a bit of 17th-century danger for its English theatre may just be what the NAC needs to survive in the 21st. "I'm a big believer that if you care about something and believe in it to just do it," insists Hinton. "It's easier to equivocate and qualify and end up doing nothing close to what you have intended at all."




Recording Industry Sings The Blues: Statscan

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail - By Terry Weber

(Oct. 26, 2005) Canada's recording industry reported its worst financial
showing in six years in 2003 with illegal downloading – never exactly music to the sector's ears – the likely culprit for plunging sales and dropping profits, Statistics Canada said Wednesday. In the year, the government agency said, the Canadian sound recording industry reported revenue of $708.7-million. That was down 17.7 per cent from 2000 and 20.5 per cent below the peak seen in 1998. By comparison, sales over the three-previous years fell just 3.4 per cent. “This overall decline in sales raises questions about factors such as illegal file downloads and swapping song files,” Statscan said. Statscan said the decline in consumer spending may have also reflected increased competition from other media, such as DVDs and cell phones. Declining new releases were also linked to the overall poor showing that year. Rock and pop music had a particularly poor showing over the six-year period covered in the Statscan report, with the two genres consistently losing market share. By 2003, rock and pop accounted for about 67 per cent of all recording sales, compared with 73 per cent in 1998. Sales by Canadian artists, meanwhile, fell 20 per cent between 2000 and 2003. But they still were able to hold about 16 per cent of the market, largely because of 17.3-per-cent drop in sales by foreign artists the same year.

In 2003, recording companies issued 5,619 new releases, down from 6,654 in 2000. Of the 2003 total, only 904 came from Canadian artists. That was the first time in five years that output by Canadian acts fell below the 1,000 mark. The profit picture for record companies was similarly dire. In 2003, company profits totalled $30.5-million, less than one-fifth of the profit seen just three years earlier. The profit margin of the combined companies fell to 2.6 per cent, from 11.9 per cent, Statscan said. For Canadian-controlled companies, the profit margin in 2003 was 0.5 per cent, down from 7.1 per cent three years earlier. For foreign companies, margins fell to 3.2 per cent, from 12.7 per cent. In Canada, foreign-controlled companies accounted for about 85 per cent of sales in 2003 for a total of $600-million that year. Statscan also noted, however, that, while sales were down across the industry, Canadian-controlled companies saw smaller declines than their foreign-owned counterparts. Sales by Canadian firms fell about 3.1 per cent in 2003. By comparison, sales by foreign firms in the Canadian market were down 19.9 per cent. One positive note, Statscan said, was struck by the DVD industry, which reported increases in sales of music-themed DVDs and videos. Between 2000 and 2003, sales of those recordings more than doubled.  Still, the agency added, sales of those DVDs and videos still only accounted for 4.5 per cent of total revenue in 2003.




CD Review: Stevie Wonder: A Time 2 Love (Motown/Universal)

By Darryl Sterdan -- Winnipeg Sun

Putting out an album every 10 years has its pros and cons.  The upside: Everybody's thrilled to see you -- plus they've likely forgotten how bad your last disc sucked.  The downside: After a decade to get it right, you'd better deliver the goods.  Well, we are happy to report soul icon Stevie Wonder does indeed get it right -- or at least more right than wrong -- on A Time 2 Love, his long-overdue follow-up to 1995's blah Conversation Peace.  Despite his lengthy absence, Wonder hasn't lost his songwriting touch or supple voice; if anything, he's reconnected with his creative muse and become reinvigorated as a performer, resulting in his first disc in memory that doesn't seem embarrassing next to his classic albums.   Cuts like Please Don't Hurt My Baby, So What the Fuss, Positivity and Sweetest Somebody I Know revisit the irresistible clavinet-and-harmonica funk and soul-pop of the '70s; the thickly vibing If Your Love Cannot Be Moved shows Wonder can handle contemporary hip-hop; heartfelt piano ballads like Moon Blue, True Love and How Will I Know (featuring daughter Aisha Morris) are smooth enough to erase the treacly aftertaste of The Lady in Red; and the fact Wonder plays most of the instruments on these 15 tracks goes a long way toward justifying the long wait for this 77-minute disc.  You could argue there are a few too many slow cuts in the second half, a few too many questionable guest spots (why have Paul McCartney play guitar and not sing?) and a few too many songs that play it safe. But you can't dispute that A Time 2 Love is both a solid comeback and a welcome return to form by one of pop's most significant voices.  Signed, sealed and delivered.




Usher’s Label To Spit Out First Product

Excerpt from

(Oct. 24, 2005)  *Usher's US Records will become official with the
release of its first album, “In the Mix,” the soundtrack for the singer’s upcoming romantic comedy, due in theatres on Nov. 23 with co-stars Chazz Palminteri and Emmanuelle Chriqui.  No release date has been set for the album.  The set is led by a dual-single featuring two US Records acts, rapper Rico Love ("Settle Down") and R&B quintet One Chance ("That's My World"). Hype Williams is on board to direct both videos, according to Billboard.  Distributed through J Records, the label also houses R&B singer Rayan. All three of Usher’s acts each contribute two songs to the soundtrack, described by the singer as "eclectic soul and hip-hop funk." Rounding out the 13-track set of original material are songs by Anthony Hamilton, Christina Milian, Claudette Ortiz (formerly of City High), Paul Wall and R&B newcomer Chris Brown, among others.  "I didn't want to take all the light," says Usher, who contributes just one song to the project. He added of his US artists: "They can hold their own. They don't need me on all their songs."  Future plans call for the label to introduce solo debut albums by Love and One Chance between first and second quarter of 2006. Usher hopes to see the label grow as big as LaFace Records, the Atlanta-based company where Usher rose to stardom under the direction of co-founders Antonio "L.A." Reid and Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds.  "While diligently building my career, I've gone through a lot of trial and error to find what works and what doesn't," says Usher. "With that comes an understanding of how to offer the same opportunities to other artists."  In the Ursh pipeline is the upcoming film "The Ballad of Walter Holmes," a contemporary musical called "Freestyle" and a possible film where he would portray Morgan Freeman's character as a young man. As for the rumours surrounding his connection with the upcoming "Dreamgirls" film opposite Eddie Murphy, Beyonce and Jamie Foxx, Usher says his involvement is now "up in the air" due to scheduling issues.  He eyes mid-2006 as the earliest he'll go back in the studio for his LaFace/Zomba follow up to “Confessions.”

Usher Brings The 'Truth' On Live DVD

Excerpt from - By Gail Mitchell, L.A.

(Oct. 24, 2005) Usher brings viewers into his world on the DVD "Behind the Truth: Truth Tour -- Live," which will be available Nov. 8 exclusively via Best Buy. The concert was shot in his Atlanta hometown and will most likely be Usher's last release until he returns to the studio next year to begin work on the follow-up to 2004's multi-platinum "Confessions."  "The 'Confessions' album was all about confessions but also about truth," Usher tells "And that's what is displayed on this DVD. It shows the truth of the past, now and the future. It shows insight as to where I came from. It talks about the next steps in my career, including my record label [US Records], my philanthropy/foundation [New Look Foundation] and my other business endeavours [including his part-ownership of the Cleveland Cavaliers and fashion line]."  Usher worked with the production company Tall Pony to develop special camera technology for the DVD shoot. "This show was shot with 30 cameras," he says. "The modern technology allows viewers to choose which camera they want to view the show from: in close-up so you can see the dance movements or from the audience's perspective."  As previously reported, US Records will bow next month with the soundtrack "In the Mix," which will introduce label artists Rico Love and One Chance. US is also home to Atlanta-based R&B singer Rayan, of whom Usher says, "He's a natural talent, who's passionate like a Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Stevie Wonder or Brian McKnight. When you hear his voice, you hear a little church and a lot of emotion."  "The one thing that attracted me to him was his way with words," Usher says of Rico Love. "He's a great writer. And he never writes anything down; he keeps it all in his memory. That was a sign to me that this guy is on the ball."  As for Chicago-based male quintet One Chance, "These guys are real performers who can sing," Usher says. "I want to bring back the era of the Temptations, Four Tops, Boyz II Men, Jodeci: classic R&B acts who represent the total package."




Mary J. Blige Releases Reminisce December 6

Source:  Universal Music Canada

Tuesday, October 25, 2005 (Toronto, ON) – On December 6th Universal Music Canada/Geffen Records will release three-time Grammy Award winner, Mary J. Blige’s “Reminisce,” a retrospective album that explores the music that has propelled her to the top of the music industry. No one will want to miss out on this impressive collection of classic Mary material. Songs on “Reminisce” are culled from Mary’s multi-platinum studio albums “What’s the 411,” “My Life,” “Share My World,” “Mary,” “Love & Life” and her most recent release 2004’s “No More Drama.” Highlights include Mary’s #1 radio hit, “Family Affair,” “Not Gon’ Cry,” as well and an exciting collection of her R&B and pop hits. In addition, “Reminisce” features several new tracks including “MJB Da MVP” (Mary’s song over The Game’s “Hate it Or Love It”), an inspiring duet with Bono on U2’s “One,” and the album’s debut single, “Be Without You.”  “Reminisce,” however, is just the beginning of a two album campaign. Reflecting a newfound serenity without forgetting her trademark straight-up messages to players, cheaters and fools, Mary will take us on a new musical journey this spring with the release of her seventh studio album “The Breakthrough.” With a new lease on life, Mary will take us on a magic carpet ride fulfilling all of our musical and spiritual needs. Delivered with conviction and compassion, the songs on “Reminisce” and “The Breakthrough” are evidence of Mary’s spiritual growth and her transcendence over a childhood in the projects of Yonkers, New York, and an early success plagued with drama, to her current joy. “Yes, she’s gotten lost, she’s done this and that and she’s been trying to figure it out,” Mary admits in her typically forthright manner.

Nobody tells it like Mary. Over the course of 14 years, with a voice that is rough and ready, sweet and pure, Mary J. Blige is capable of conveying heartache and happiness in a single musical phrase. A confessional singer, her emotional honesty reflects the great traditions of blues and soul with a ripped-from-the-pages-of-your-diary immediacy that has won her countless honours and a devoted, ever-growing audience around the world. More than a vocalist, she is an accomplished recording artist known for her electrifying live performances, dramatic videos and innovative studio productions with a who’s − who and who’s − hot of musical talents from Elton John to Dr. Dre.

Beyond giving to the world through song, Mary is committed to helping through deed. In addition to filming anti-drug PSAs, Mary has worked with various education groups and received Rock the Vote’s highest honour, the “Patrick Lippert Award.” She is a tireless fund-raiser for people with AIDS. Most recently she has joined the Crest Healthy Smiles campaign to bring awareness to the oral health care epidemic. The organization, through partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, provides children in underserved communities with necessary tools for preventive care, education and low or no cost dental services.  Whether pouring her heart out in a recording booth, on a concert stage, or privately learning how to love herself and help others, Mary has discovered something powerful: The music that she makes, the songs that have brought so much joy and solace to so many, have also been her own salvation. When you think of perseverance, strength and commitment, you think of Mary J Blige. “Reminisce” and “The Breakthrough” is the soundtrack of that journey.




Razia Said: Her Music is Magical

Excerpt from - By Deardra Shuler

(Oct. 25, 2005)
Razia Said gave an outstanding performance recently when she appeared at Joe’s Pub in New York City.  She debuted her new CD “Magical” to a packed house.  Her songs were so enchanting that all but six people stood up to dance.  Her music, reminiscent of the styling of Sade, is smooth and inviting.  The two women share a common bond in music as well as a mixed heritage.  A woman of Afro-Arabic blend, Razia embodies the exotic beauty of both races.  Her mother is Afro-Arabic and her father Indian.   Born in Madagascar, an island situated on the southeast coast of Africa and the fourth largest island in the world, Razia has also lived in Europe, and Asia.  She presently resides in New York City. Music is no stranger to the lovely African whose youth was filled with the harmonious refrains of her uncle’s guitar.  Though she grew up listening to more traditional African artists like Mahaleho, Pierre Akendengue, and Geoffrey Oryema,  she also listened to Western artists such as the Beatles, Bob Marley and James Brown. At age 10, she began to sing in accompaniment to her uncle’s guitar. Later, she moved to Gambon in West Africa where she sang in her local church.  “The traditional music of my country is called Salegy and it is has a different rhythm from that of the West.  Salegy is predominately played in Madagascar.  The interesting thing is that in the northeast region of Madagascar where I grew up, the musical tempo is faster than that of other regions within Madagascar.  Madagascar is a rather big island with an ancient history.  Over 200 million years ago, though attached to Africa the island drifted away into the Indian Ocean. So naturally, I have a bond to the music of my native land” explained the lively singer.  “In this album, listeners can sense the spirit of Madagascar through my melodies and harmonies.  In the future, I plan to use more of my native instruments. In fact, I have sweet memories attached to the sound of the valiha, which is a stringed bamboo instrument. I also use the kabosy, a hybrid of mandolin and guitar which gives off the harmonious sound that is associated with much of African music.” 

Razia is also a songwriter.  “My uncle was very influential in my life.  He taught me to write songs.  One day he just picked up his guitar and suggested he and I compose a song.  I had no idea how to write a song but my uncle just told me to clear my mind and allow myself to flow with the music. I did that then and I continue to write music the same way to this day.”  There are some people born to the rhythms of life thus Razia seems born to her destiny. “Although, I took a few music classes to learn basic chords for guitar and some singing techniques to avoid damaging my vocal chords, I am pretty much a natural singer.  I can’t say that I have had a lot of formal training,” remarked Razia after debuting her magical CD. Not only is Razia’s vocals magical, but so are her songs.  Her music seems to personify an eclectic sprinkle of jazz, R&B, blended into a World Music stew.  The diverse artist began work on her Magical release last summer.  Her CD is co-written and produced by acoustic guitarist Jamie Ambler and produced by Nir Graff and Ethan Graff.  Songs such as “Under A Mango Tree,” a ballad that is close to the singer’s heart because it reflects Razia’s memories of her childhood.  Rade Rajonary, a bass player, also from Madagascar, is featured on her song “Ties Never Die.”  She describes the song, “I Made My Mind” featuring Antonio Danferfield on trumpet and Aaron Heick on sax, as a hymn to freedom. “The songs “Alio,” “Magical,” and “Under A Mango Tree,” define my sound the best” elucidated Razia as she chatted about her music.  “I see myself as a world singer,” said Razia of her music.  “I would describe my music as “world soul,” but with jazz inspirations.”  And indeed one can concur after listening to “Alio,” another song featured on the “Magical” CD.  Alio seems to pay tribute to the women of the world with its pulsating Latin and African beats which give birth to a fire and passion that lie deep in the female soul. Although, “Magical” is Razia’s debut CD, she has already composed 30 other songs for her next CD. 

“I am always singing so it’s magical to finally create this album” stated the prolific artist and songwriter.  “It’s true that people often compare my music to Sade’s music. In fact, I’m compared to Sade all the time.  I think we share the same kind of spirit, style, energy, and delivery.  Maybe it’s because we are two exotic women from Africa who have both lived in Europe and our music shares the same kind of soothing energy.  I consider it a compliment when people put me in that same type of vibe as Sade because I love her music, but there are also nuances that make her music and my music very different” continued Razia.   Ms. Said, who has lived in America for 18 years, is married and lives with her husband and child in Harlem. Though music is her first love, she holds a PhD in Pharmacy which she earned at The University of La Tronche in Grenoble, France.  She also expresses her creativity through painting and writing poetry.
Although the talented balladeer has had several singing engagements throughout New York City, she definitely has plans to feature her new release through an upcoming tour.  She plans to tour in Paris and Italy in December.  She also plans to attend a lot of jazz and world festivals while on tour. Razia recognizes the virtue of being kind and doing the best she can in everything she does and it is clear that her music is the embodiment of her personal philosophy.   
Interested parties can find out more about this intriguing artist at




Vienna's Calling Beats Out Day Job

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Tabassum Siddiqui, Toronto Star

(Oct. 25, 2005) It's a good thing no one ever told Vienna Teng not to quit
her day job. Only months after leaving behind her old career as a software engineer for computing giant Cisco Systems in 2002, the San Francisco-based singer-songwriter/pianist had signed a record deal and landed a spot on the Late Show with David Letterman.  Teng, 26, had grown up playing classical piano (she changed her name from Cynthia to Vienna after the Austrian city of composers), but it wasn't until college that she began to write and perform her own folk-pop songs, experimenting on the old piano in the dorm lounge at Stanford, where she was studying computer science.  Her fellow students took a shine to her sweet voice and intimate lyrics, and encouraged her to take her music into the city's vibrant coffeehouse scene. "Invariably, right during my quietest song or most important lyrical moment, they'd start up the espresso grinder and run it for the remainder of the tune," Teng says from a tour stop in Boston.  Burned out on computers and beginning to realize that music was her true calling, Teng nonetheless decided to take a job in her field upon graduation — but only as a safety net.  "At that point, I'd already made a half-subconscious decision to take a job that wasn't completely engrossing to me, because I wanted to have enough energy to focus on trying to make this music thing happen," she says.  Boston-based indie label Virt Records had heard songs from Teng's self-made debut CD on the Internet and wanted to sign her. She re-recorded that album, Waking Hour, in the summer of 2002 with producer David Henry (REM, Cowboy Junkies), and soon the raves for her warm, melodic sound started piling up.  And then came The Call.  "Virt Records, right in the beginning of 2003, started giving me very vague phone calls: `You might be going out of town next weekend, but I can't confirm anything right now and I don't want to tell you anything and let you down later.' Then suddenly the call came through: `You're going to play on the Late Show this Monday, and you have to fly out tomorrow.'  "So it all happened very quickly. At the time, I hadn't been on tour, or on television, and that's quite a place to start. I think it helped that the entire time, I couldn't quite believe I was there, and the fact that it hadn't sunk in helped me hold it together," Teng says, still sounding dazed by the experience.  That appearance led to others on CNN and National Public Radio, and at the beginning of this year, noted folk/roots label Rounder Records signed Teng to an international deal, which will see her tour Canada for the first time in support of her new Warm Strangers disc.  "I guess I never thought (pursuing music) would be a bad decision. I thought, `I have to give this a chance and I know I will regret it if I don't,' so no matter what becomes of it, it'll be worth it,'' Teng says.





Kanye’s Billboard Reign

Excerpt from

(Oct. 21, 2005) *Kanye West’s “Gold Digger” featuring Jamie Foxx
remains at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart and Hot Ringtones chart for a seventh consecutive week.  The single also tops the Pop 100 for a fifth week. Chris Brown’s “Run It!” moves up six spots to No. 2. The teen-aged Jive artist also holds down the chart’s greatest gainer for digital sales and airplay. Elsewhere in the top ten, The Black Eyed Peas' "My Humps" remains at No. 4 on the Hot 100 while Mariah Carey's "Shake It Off" falls 3-5. "Like You" by Bow Wow featuring Ciara slips 5-6 and Young Jeezy's "Soul Survivor" featuring Akon remains as No. 7. Ciara's "And I" debuts on the Hot 100 at No. 96 and Kanye West's "Hear 'Em Say" featuring Adam Levine enters at No. 100.

Kirk Franklin And Rebecca St. James Host 2006 Dove Awards

Excerpt from

(Oct. 21, 2005) Gospel music’s highest honour, the Dove Award, will be
handed out on Wednesday, April 5, 2006 in Nashville when two of gospel music’s brightest personalities, Kirk Franklin and Rebecca St. James, host the 37th Annual GMA Music Awards, announced John W. Styll, president of the Gospel Music Association (GMA) and executive producer of the awards show.    Meanwhile, the Dove awards show still hasn't landed that major cable network to present the show live coast to coast.  BUT the (as they're now called) Gospel Music Association Music Awards show has found itself a TV syndication deal that will put it on air much quicker than in years past.   The show will take place at the Grand Ole Opry House. The ticket prices are ($200, $125, $95 and $55) and are on sale now through, if you'd like to go in person. If not, syndicator Central City Productions, from Chicago, will get the show on major network affiliates throughout the country. The show aired on Channel 5 here last year, and that may happen again.  The show will air April 15-May 21, which is anywhere from six weeks to six months earlier than past years. "In the absence of a major network deal, this arrangement works really well to get this show broadcast on major network television stations," says GMA president John Styll.  Will the show ever be cablecast or broadcast live?  "We hope so in the right time. We hope it'll happen somewhat naturally as we continue to grow the audience for the show."

We Remember: Jazz Pianist And Singer Shirley Horn Dies At 71

Excerpt from

(Oct. 24, 2005)  *Shirley Horn, a noted ballad singer and a pianist whose career took off under Miles Davis in the 1960s, died Thursday of complications from diabetes, her record company said in a
statement. She was 71. Born in Washington D.C. on May 1, 1934, Horn learned how to play the piano at age four and went on to study classical piano at Howard University.  She formed put her first trio in 1954, and achieved her first success in jazz during the early sixties with the encouragement of Miles Davis and Quincy Jones.  She recorded three albums during 1963-1965 for Mercury and ABC/Paramount, but decided to stay in the Washington, D.C. are to raise a family instead of pursuing her career. In the 1980s, she returned to the limelight on SteepleChase Records and put out a series of well-received albums.  In 1986, she began recording for Verve and released such albums as “I Remember Miles,” a tribute album to Davis which won the Grammy for best jazz vocal album in 1998. Six of her albums during this period were nominated for Grammy awards. The Kennedy Center honoured Horn with a tribute in 2004, and she was awarded a Jazz Master Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts.  "I'm not a quitter, I'm a fighter," she told The Washington Post in late 2004, a few years after diabetes forced the amputation of her right foot. "I've tried to keep things as level as possible through this whole thing -- I'm cool. I know what I have to d I'm never going to give up the piano, I'm never going to stop singing till God says, 'I called your number.' I didn't panic, because I have so much love for what I do."

Dynamic Duo Places The Soul Back In R&B: Christión Is Back

Source: Echo Hattix / Echoing Soundz, Inc. /

(Oct. 24, 2005)  Los Angeles, CA  –  Its been a long time coming, but Oakland based Christión is back on the music scene with a new
album, Project Plato that will give Hip-Hop and R&B fans young and old the soul that has been missing.  The Oakland Tribune hailed them as “the next heirs to the Marvin Gaye and Curtis Mayfield throne,” and they carry this same torch to their sophomore album.  Christión initially found critical acclaim as the first R&B group on Roc-A-Fella Records with their single “Full of Smoke,” on the debut album, Ghetto Cyrano.  The video for “Full of Smoke,” a chilling tale of a street hustler coming to grips of his negative lifestyle, also made rotation on BET.  Ghetto Cyrano has won rave reviews on VIBE, Rolling Stone, Billboard Magazine, People and The Source.   “I want to thank all the fans who’ve patiently waited for our return,” says group member Kenni Ski.  “I know it’s been a minute since ya’ll heard from us.  I look forward to the new path of the group and I hope the fans of our music will join us on our journey.” Now on The Mint Records, Kenni Ski and T. Ross of Christión, are ready to bring classic Rhythm and Blues to the forefront for everyone to enjoy.  Kenni Ski, who has produced songs for Aftermath, DJ Clue, Dawn Robinson of En Vogue, and both brother and former group member, Allen Anthony, are behind the classic sound and laid back lyrics of Christión, have been quoted in songs by Jay-Z, Diddy and Nas. With songs filled with tales from first hand experiences and youthful wisdom with a new unique flavour, Christión’s new album, Project Plato, will be impossible to put down.

Nelly Tries 'Sweatsuit' On Again

Excerpt from - By Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

(Oct. 20, 2005) Nelly has rounded up 14 highlights from his simultaneously released 2004 albums "Sweat" and "Suit" plus a handful of new songs for the appropriately named "Sweatsuit." Due Nov. 22 via Universal, the set is led by the fresh cuts "Grilz" featuring Paul Wall and Ali & Gipp, "Tired" featuring Avery Storm and "Nasty Girl" featuring Diddy, the late Notorious B.I.G. and Jagged Edge.  A video for "Grilz" is expected to be shot in Atlanta in the coming weeks. The Jermaine Dupri-produced track spotlights the trend of rappers outfitting their mouths with "grill pieces," of which Wall has emerged as major proponent.  Among the holdovers from "Sweat" and "Suit" are such hits as "Over and Over" featuring Tim McGraw and "My Place," which peaked at No. 3 and No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100, respectively.  The new collection is also tipped to feature such collaborations as "She Don't Know My Name" with Snoop Dogg and Ronald Isley, "River Don't Runnn" with Murphy Lee and Stephen Marley and "Playa" with Mobb Deep and Missy Elliott.  "Suit" and "Sweat" debuted in the top two slots of The Billboard 200 last October. They have sold 4.3 million copies combined in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Africa Unite: The Singles Collection Features “Slogans” First New Official Bob Marley Recording In More Than A Decade

Monday, October 24th 2005  (TORONTO, ON.) - In the year Bob Marley would have turned 60, the past, present and future of his music are celebrated not only with the first Bob Marley & The Wailers greatest hits package to include both his early sides and his Island Records hits but also a new recording and two new remixes.  Along with 17 vintage tracks, Africa Unite: The Singles Collection (Island/Tuff Gong/Universal Music Canada), in stores November 15, 2005, spotlights “Slogans,” the first new official Marley track released in more than a decade. It is believed Marley recorded the song “Slogans” in a Miami bedroom in 1979.  The tapes were kept at Marley’s mother’s house and last year the reggae legend’s sons Stephen and Ziggy revisited the acoustic demo.  In 2005, Stephen overdubbed the tracks with other instruments, including guitar by Eric Clapton.  Stephen and Ziggy produced “Slogans” specifically for this release.   Another new recording is a remix of “Africa Unite,” whose original was heard on the 1979 album Survival.  The song is presented here in an anthemic remix by of The Black Eyed Peas, who was personally invited to create the remix by Rita Marley, Bob’s wife.  Also new is the Ashley Beedle Remix of “Get Up, Stand Up Vs. Jamrock,” a mash-up of Bob’s classic and “Welcome To Jamrock,” the 2005 hit from youngest son Damian. Africa Unite: The Singles Collection commemorates Marley’s life on record just as the 2005 Africa Unite concert in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on his 60th birthday (February 6) commemorated it on stage.  Africa Unite: The Singles Collection includes the early classics “Soul Rebel,” “Lively Up Yourself,” “Trenchtown Rock” and “Concrete Jungle” alongside the Island hits “I Shot The Sheriff,” “Get Up, Stand Up,” “No Woman, No Cry,” “Exodus,” “Jamming,” “Could You Be Loved,” “One Love/People Get Ready,” “Roots, Rock, Reggae,” “Waiting In Vain,” “The Sun Is Shining,” “Is This Love,” “Three Little Birds” and “Buffalo Soldier.”  Marley’s stature in music grows with each passing year.  Africa Unite: The Singles Collection continues his legacy.

Replacing Stern A Task For Many Mouths

Source: Associated Press

(Oct. 25, 2005) New York — Goodbye, Howard Stern. Hello, David Lee
Roth. And Adam Carolla. And CNN Radio News. And Jack-FM. And ... Infinity Broadcasting Corp., finally revealing its plans to replace the self-proclaimed "King of All Media," announced a new morning drive time line-up Tuesday of assorted hosts for its 27 soon-to-be former Stern stations. Rather than turning to a single replacement, Infinity offered a variety of names for different markets. The biggest belonged to ex-Van Halen front man Roth and comedian Carolla. Roth, who appeared Tuesday morning on Stern's nationally syndicated show to announced the move, will start in January on WXRK-FM in New York, WBCN-FM in Boston, WYSP-FM in Philadelphia, WRKZ-FM in Pittsburgh, WNCX-FM in Cleveland, WPBZ-FM in West Palm Beach, Fla., and KLLI-FM in Dallas. Carolla, known for his comedy work on The Man Show and Loveline, takes over on the Infinity stations in Los Angeles (KLSX-FM), San Diego (KPLN-FM), Phoenix (KZON-FM), Portland (KUFO-FM) and Las Vegas (KXTE-FM). "When we set out to find a replacement for Howard Stern, we took the opportunity to cultivate a wide array of talent, from both in and out of the radio industry," said Joel Hollander, Infinity's chairman and CEO. Stern is on the air through the end of this year, before he makes the leap from terrestrial radio to Sirius Satellite Radio. Infinity stations in Sacramento, Buffalo, N.Y., and Fresno, Calif., will replace Stern by switching to the "Jack" format, which features expanded play lists of hundreds of songs — but includes no disc jockeys. A dozen other Infinity stations will replace Stern with anything from talk radio to Tim Warner Inc.'s CNN Radio News. Rover, a disc jockey heard in Ohio, will expand his show into Chicago, Detroit, Cincinnati, Memphis and Rochester, N.Y. Washington-based morning hosts The Junkies will add Baltimore as an outlet, while WOCL-FM in Orlando will feature the team of Drew and Mel while KXBT-FM in Austin will air Star & Buc Wild.





Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Chuck Berry, Live Goode, Universe Italy
DESTINY'S CHILD #1's (Columbia)
FAITH EVANS A Faithful Christmas (Capitol)

FEFE DOBSON Sunday Love (Island)
JELLEESTONE, The Hood Is Here, (Universal)
Lil' Flip, Flip Side of Lil Flip, Sucka Free
NSYNC Greatest Hits (Jive)
Prince Paul, Hip Hop Gold Dust, Antidote
ROBBIE WILLIAMS Intensive Care (Virgin)
SHARISSA Every Beat Of My Heart (Virgin)
Slum Village, Slum Village, Barak
Sly & The Family Stone, Mastercuts Presents, Mastercuts

Tuesday, November 1, 2005

DIANA KRALL Christmas Songs (Verve)
FREDDIE JACKSON Personal Reflections (Artemis)
ISAAC HAYES Ultimate Isaac Hayes: Can You Dig It? (Stax)
PUBLIC ENEMY New Whirl Odor (Slam Jamz)
R. KELLY Trapped in the Closet Chapters 1-12 (DVD) (Jive)
SANTANA All That I Am (Arista)
TERRI CLARK Life Goes On (Mercury Nashville)






Underwood On Playing ‘Old Money’ In ‘G’

Excerpt from

(Oct. 24, 2005) What happens when you take F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” and deep fry it in a vat of today’s hip hop
culture? You get “G,” a glossy film opening in theatres this Friday starring Richard T. Jones in a role pattered after the historic literary character.   Blair Underwood, one of the film’s co-stars, explains the parallel story prevalent in both “G” and “The Great Gatsby.” “It is a classic American tale of a love triangle, of an enigmatic mysterious character who has all of this so-called new money in Long Island in the 1920s and 30s,” the actor says of Jay Gatsby, portrayed by Robert Redford in the 1974 film adaptation of the novel. “He throws these elaborate parties, but he is new money, as opposed to old money that’s been there for many, many years. This new money character comes to Long Island to find the love of his life who he fell in love with many years ago, but that woman is now married to this old money character. These are the basic themes you see replayed in ‘G.’” “G” tells the story of self-made millionaire and rap mogul Summer G (Jones) who is willing to risk the rap empire he built from scratch in order to get back the love of his life, played by Chenoa Maxwell.  “New money nowadays – in say, the Hamptons in New York – would be the moguls of contemporary music, specifically hip hop; Russell Simmons and Diddy,” Underwood explains. “This character Summer G is a hip hop mogul cut from the same cloth.  He comes to the Hamptons. He throws these big elaborate parties. He’s mysterious, he’s hip, he’s cool and he’s come to claim his love, who is now married to this old money, conservative, uptight guy.  And that’s the character that I play; his name is Chip Hightower.  As is the journey with most African American stories outside of the hood, Hollywood passed on “G” in a major way, forcing producers to seek financing elsewhere.  Andrew Lauren Productions eventually came to the table and made it possible for the film to arrive in theatres across the country weekend.

“From the giddyup, the making of the movie is a story in and of itself,” laughs Underwood. “This is the little movie that could.” Directed by Christopher Scott Cherot ("Hav Plenty”) and written by Cherot and Charles E. Drew, Jr., the film is based on a play written by Drew, and stars much of the cast from the stage production that ran in New York’s Greenwich Village. "These are talented, up and coming faces who deserve to be seen more,” Underwood said of the supporting cast, which also includes Sonja Sohn and Andre Royo as an urban music writer who spends the summer writing about G and his Hamptons lifestyle. “For me, it was an honour to work with them.  And I was always picking their brain.” With its posh, Hamptons backdrop, “G” looks and feels a world apart from the stereotype-ridden urban dramas cranked out by Hollywood studios. Underwood said it was Drew’s script and its multi-dimensioned characters that appealed to him. “To put all of these elements together – the hipness and the relevancy of hip hop today, but set in the context of the Hamptons, beachfront properties, wealth, money,” he said. “And then you have very human, universal dynamics flowing back and forth between the characters: love hate, infidelity, loyalty, all those things. You have well-dressed, good lookin’ black folk in a wealthy environment. They’re talking about the highs and lows, depth, breadth and width of humanity. We don’t get a chance to do that too often on screen.




Could Movies Be Stunting Our Cultural Growth?

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Robin Harvey, Staff Reporter

(Oct. 22, 2005) Casting Toronto chiefly as
Hollywood North and ignoring its role as a pivotal theatre town is shortsighted and may be foolhardy, says a leader in the British arts and dance scene.  "Movies are a hugely popular forum for all people so they are out there on everybody's radar," Luke Rittner, chairman of the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, said at a reception at the Canadian Music Centre's Chalmers House in Toronto this week.  "But what builds the fundamentals of culture comes from the bottom up," said Rittner, who is also chief executive of the Royal Academy of Dance. "It's the smaller arts. The plays, the dancers. The visual artists ... you have to educate the ordinary person when they are young to build culture — get them in the schools."  Rittner was in Toronto to mark a special workshop LAMBDA was running with Ryerson Theatre School grads.  He said Canada may not be taking advantage of its strongest cultural card — its multicultural communities' commitment to their diverse art forms, both in education and financial support.  "This is a way where Toronto can lead the world," he said. "The partnerships that can be explored with the different multicultural communities, to expand the arts bases in this city, are staggering."  William Boyle, CEO of Harbourfront Centre, said governments are too quick to believe that film money means the city is a player on the cultural scene. He pointed out that Harbourfront pumps $130 million into the local economy.

"That's all (local money) ... artists currently living here, people involved in dance, theatre and music, visual arts," he said. "That is what develops our cultural base right here and now."  That is different from much of the film industry, where a substantial amount of the money leaves the city and the country, Boyle said.  "Ontario should be supporting the film industry but we are underfunding our feeder cultural forces. We ignore them at our peril," he said, adding that the movie industry does little to support development of new talent or cultural identity.  Actor Lally Cadeau, who has spent nine seasons at the Stratford Festival, says classical theatre is a vital element of our culture.  "It gives younger performers opportunities to grow and learn," she said. "It gives us all something to strive for. We all develop as performers. As Canadian performers."  Perry Schneiderman, chair of Ryerson's Theatre School, said the obsession with Hollywood North — and the focus of government resources to supporting the film industry — may bring in big bucks, but "it's the tail wagging the dog.  "Not one of these Toronto standing in for Chicago/New York or whatever films will do much to develop our culture," he said. "The seeds are sewn in theatre ... True talent is developed."




Man Who Taught Marley Guitar Doesn't Like To Be Noticed

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Ashante Infantry, Entertainment Reporter

(Oct. 22, 2005) Ernie Ranglin began his music career as a defiant 10-year-old, singing and playing ukulele on Jamaica's first radio station, to the great
displeasure of his strict, religious parents.  By his mid-teens, he was in his own band, landing club gigs and studio work.  "I had to support myself, because my parents turned against me because of my music," Ranglin has said. "They said I would be a drunkard in the streets."  Instead, he became one of the founders of ska, known for his timing and playful melodies, and recognized as Jamaica's greatest jazz guitarist.  Along the way, he gave Bob Marley guitar lessons, played on and arranged Jamaica's first international hit, Millie Small's 1964 "My Boy Lollipop," and collaborated with African musicians and his native island's other esteemed jazz export, pianist Monty Alexander.  Backed by local musicians, the congenial 73-year-old father of six, married for 36 years to his second wife, makes a rare appearance in Toronto tonight, performing his melange of calypso, reggae, pop and jazz at Hugh's Room. In an interview from his Florida home, he said he's cutting back on travels — not because he's tired, just growing wary of airport x-ray machines. 


"I'm a jazz player, but I'm also Jamaican, so I try to mix the jazz feel with a Jamaican beat. I went to Senegal and linked up with their musicians (including noted singer Baaba Maal) and we did a record (1998's In Search Of The Lost Riddim) mixing their sound with Caribbean music and American jazz. I've been to South Africa many times, but I want to go into deeper parts of the continent, because I want to know more about their culture and rhythms. Music should be a potpourri. Imagine combining Arabian and Japanese music. That could be really something good."

The full Monty

"While I was playing professionally, he (pianist Alexander) was still going to college and he convinced his teacher to let him out of class to come and play with us. Back then we played mento and calypso, as well as swing, bebop and songs from Broadway musicals. Then he went to America where he was really exposed to some of their great jazz musicians, while I was between Jamaica and the Bahamas and only heard them on record. Whenever we meet, it's a pleasure. We've toured together in places likes Switzerland and New Zealand, and last year we recorded (the CD) Rocksteady."


"Jamaica has given me many wonderful awards — the Order of Distinction, the Musgrave Medal, a Doctor of Literature from the University of the West Indies — which I keep in my office at home. But I'm not a person who likes excitement. Even in Jamaica, I like to be low-key — if people don't recognize me, I don't make them any wiser. Sometimes I hear people talking about Ernie Ranglin and I'm right there listening. That's good, because I'm always eager to know how I'm doing."

Strictly business

"I'm self-taught. I read books and listened to albums to study the harmonies and arrangements. I had a good ear. My early inspiration came from saxophonist Louis Jordan and organist Bill Doggett; but Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie were the ones that really sparked me. Today, there are a few fellows doing jazz, but as far as I'm concerned it could be called funk. Everything now is the commercial way, which I guess is the financial way. That's very sad. The music should be more serious, like the days of Parker and John Coltrane. That's jazz to me. But who am I to say what is what?"




George Clooney, The Thinker

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail - By James Adams

(Oct. 22, 2005 The movie
Good Night, and Good Luck takes you back to a time and place -- the early 1950s, the newsroom of CBS Television in Manhattan -- when you didn't need permission to fire up a cigarette in your boss's office, yet that same boss could fire you if he learned you were married to a fellow employee. It was a time when secretaries (all female, of course) were thick of ankle, sensible of dress and bustling models of uncomplaining efficiency. A time when an interviewer could ask Liberace if he was ready to settle down with Mrs. Right and not have the at-home audience instantaneously snicker into its highballs. Yet for all its knowing humour, pomaded machismo and loving recreations of tobacco-cured TV studios and fluorescent-lit hallways, Good Night, and Good Luck is no lightweight exercise in style-driven nostalgia. It's a damn serious movie, a labour of love, in fact, about the labour that was (and perhaps still is) TV journalism, directed, co-produced, co-written by and co-starring none other than the Man with the Golden Grin, George Clooney, hunkish star of Ocean's Eleven, Batman and Robin and TV's ER. As the driving force, Clooney is determined to see that his creation, which marks his second foray into directing (the first was 2002's Confessions of a Dangerous Mind), gets as much attention as charisma and clout allow. That's a tough sell given that Good Night, and Good Luck is a nudity-free look back on a real political story from a half-century ago featuring two now-dead white guys.

To get the word out, Clooney agreed to give The Globe and Mail a rare interview over the phone from Los Angeles, where he's readying Syriana, another feature in which he co-stars and serves as executive producer, for release. As he talks about Good Night, the actor-director is precise and smart, offering certain quantitative details. Clooney says, for instance, that when he tested the film earlier this year, 20 per cent of the sample audience inquired as to the name of the actor portraying its trigger-point figure, the burly Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy. The footage is, in fact, of McCarthy himself, courtesy of 1950s Kinescope footage. "We realized we couldn't cast an actor as McCarthy," he explains. "He'd look too much like a buffoon." Good Night, and Good Luck hinges on what was, at the time, a defining national event: the real-life showdown between McCarthy, the politician who was determined to root out, among many others, the 205 Communist agents he said had infiltrated the U.S. government, and Edward R. Murrow, a veteran reporter and host of CBS-TV's then well regarded current-affairs program See It Now. In a famous, controversial TV special aired March 9, 1954, Murrow pointedly attacked McCarthy's tendency to "convict people by hearsay, rumour or innuendo" and the climate of fear he stoked. This was followed a few weeks later by McCarthy's equally famous televised rebuttal in which he accused Murrow of being a long-time Communist sympathizer and "the cleverest of the jackal pack which is always at the throat of anyone who dares to expose Communist traitors." Although shot over six weeks earlier this year for only $8-million (U.S.), Good Night, and Good Luck -- the title comes from Murrow's trademark sign-off -- hasn't lacked for exposure (including a cover story on Clooney for the inaugural edition of Men's Vogue), or critical trophies, most notably for best screenplay and best actor (for David Strathairn as Murrow) at last month's Venice International Film Festival.

The movie, moreover, grossed more than $610,000 in its first week in early October, on just 11 screens in the United States -- the highest per-screen result of any film in the country and more than double what Clooney expected. It's a sign, perhaps, of good things ahead as Good Night goes into wider release this coming Friday, and Hollywood looks to the Oscar nominations deadline just three months away. The son of former newsman Nick Clooney and an ex-journalism student himself, the 44-year-old Clooney is at once dismayed and philosophic about the amnesia his test audiences exhibited. "Almost 50 per cent didn't know Murrow. Thirty per cent hadn't heard of McCarthy, or they knew the term 'McCarthyism' but didn't associate it with this guy named Joe McCarthy. "We don't have history, a sense of history, in America. It's clear we don't because we seem to repeat so much of it." Not surprisingly, those who think they do have a sense of the historical record have been quick to tease out resonances between what's pictured in Good Night and the current political and journalistic landscape in the U.S. Some on the right say the movie has been "edited with the devilishly clever selectivity" that McCarthyites accused Murrow of practising 50 years ago. Others of more liberal cast say it's pervaded by the aroma of the Patriot Act, the incarcerations at Guantanamo Bay and the abuses of Abu Ghraib, not to mention the timidity and compliance of the U.S. media post-9/11. Others have argued that while the "advocacy journalism" and "enlightened citizenship" Good Night celebrates paved the way for TV newsman Walter Cronkite and Watergate's Woodward and Bernstein, Murrow's spawn also includes Bill O'Reilly, Matt Drudge and The Barbara Walters Specials.

Strathairn acknowledges "a piece of history was in everybody's pocket" during the making of Good Night. The actor, who reflected on his role during a visit to Toronto the week before last, first came to prominence starring in such politically charged John Sayles movies as Return of the Secaucus 7, Matewan and Eight Men Out. On Good Night, he says, "You could reach in and pull out the McCarthy hearings of 1953, or the internment of Japanese-Americans in camps after Pearl Harbor in 1941, or the American press after 9/11." At the same time, "no one ever said, 'George is going for a direct reflection here.' George just wanted to tell a story, a true story, about a journalist working at a particular moment in the history of TV journalism, someone who used the instrument to great ends, not for purposes of polarization. George did not set out to make a Michael Moore propagandizing divisive assault." Both Strathairn and Clooney -- who plays Murrow's boss and future CBS News president Fred Friendly -- agree that if Good Night stands as something other than a gripping, fact-based cautionary tale, it's as a sort of mash note to the U.S. Constitution and the protections afforded by the Bill of Rights (including trials involving sworn testimony, credible witnesses, legitimate evidence and adequate legal representation). "The reason Murrow's speeches hold up, even in 'insane' places in America," says Clooney, "is not because of some liberal bias. It's because they're not preaching or preachy; they're speaking straight to Constitutional issues." Clooney is unabashedly happy to identify himself as a liberal and to set conservative teeth gnashing by, variously, working with U2's Bono on behalf of international debt relief, appearing on telethons to raise money for victims of natural disasters, bashing McCarthy apologist Ann Coulter as "incompetent," and announcing plans to build a casino in Las Vegas that would contribute 25 per cent of its profits to charity. At the same time, he's been hesitant to go the endorsement route -- to the point last year of steering clear of stumping for his father Nick's campaign to become a Democratic congressman from Kentucky, or giving an overt thumbs-up to John Kerry's presidential candidacy. "The word liberal is not a bad word. I challenge anyone to find where we've been on the wrong side of an issue." But he acknowledges that liberals, at least for the time being, have "lost the moral argument" and may continue to stay lost until the end of the decade, in part, "I guess because we're bad at self-promotion."

By Hollywood standards, and even some Canadian ones, $8-million is not a big budget -- Syriana, another political film in which Clooney plays a salt-and-pepper-bearded CIA operative, cost close to $60-million -- but Clooney insists he and co-writer Grant Heslov never conceived of Good Night as anything bigger than what it is. "We were trying to create this claustrophobic feeling," inspired, in part, by such movies as Fail-Safe and 12 Angry Men, "where everything is in this kind of box." In fact, not one of Good Night's 93 minutes contains a single exterior shot, and in only four or five brief instances does the camera take the viewer outside CBS headquarters. "Opening up" the movie to show, say, Murrow at home with his wife and son would have been a mistake, according to Clooney. Yes, it would have given the viewer more context, more biography -- but with a corresponding loss of paranoia-fuelled tension. "It wouldn't look nearly as dangerous as what we were trying to convey." Another advantage of the low budget was the freedom it gave Clooney to cast Strathairn, heretofore an actor's actor, as his lead, instead of an A-lister. "I'm not a big rehearsal guy," Clooney explains. "You get the right people, and let them do it. David was the right guy for the job. I did maybe three takes at most on his speeches. Most of the time he was dead-perfect on his first try. But I'd call for these additional takes because, you know, I felt that's what a director should do!" Strathairn, 56, recalls doing no more than two reads of the script in front of Clooney, with his sole screen test occurring just one week before principal photography started. "George told me, 'It's not a biopic. Don't worry about an impersonation. Just try to download [Murrow's] stuff -- his vocabulary, his cadence, his presence. And you gotta smoke cigarettes, a lot of cigarettes.' " This because Murrow fed his nicotine habit incessantly, even on camera, and died of lung cancer in 1965, just two days after his 57th birthday. (Strathairn matches his subject puff for throat-searing puff, itself an impressive acting feat given that he's a non-smoker.)  Having cinematographer Robert Elswit shoot in black and white was always part of the plan, given the integration with the old McCarthy reels. Besides, Murrow to this day is remembered as a black-and-white presence in the living rooms of America. "I don't think even Life [magazine] ever published a colour photograph of the man," Clooney says. Some other things cohered, clearly, with the benefit of good luck: Clooney hired Dianne Reeves to sing, live to film, a brace of jazz standards accompanied by members of his deceased aunt Rosemary Clooney's band. At 49, Reeves is well-regarded in jazz circles but is hardly a household name. "She sent a tape in," he says. "I thought it was good. I told her, 'You're in.' " Originally, Clooney wrote just one scene, albeit a key one, with music in mind, in this instance, the melody and lyrics of How High the Moon. But then he saw how other songs, like You're Driving Me Crazy and I've Got My Eye on You, could function as "a kind of Greek chorus." In fact, if one excludes the tip-tapping of Murrow's typewriter and the clinking of glasses of Scotch and creaking of chairs, Reeves and company are the only soundtrack on Good Night.

Clooney acknowledges that the proliferation of TV channels in the last 30 years means there may never be another Edward R. Murrow or Walter Cronkite to "speak truth to power" and galvanize public opinion. But this isn't necessarily a bad thing, even if the elegiac tone of Good Night, and Good Luck might suggest otherwise. "Instead of it being just one person, it can be all the media people, as a collective. It's like [Fox News's] Shepard Smith in the wake of Katrina telling [Fox pundit] Bill O'Reilly he's full of crap. It has the same effect. "Maybe it's no longer possible for there to be a 'most trusted man in America.' " [the moniker held by comedian Milton Berle in the 1950s and Cronkite in the 1960s.] "But what if the most trusted man in America today was a mouthpiece for the U.S. government? We'd be in big trouble." Good Night, and Good Luck opens in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal next Friday and in Ottawa and Winnipeg on Nov. 4.




Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang: Witty Gritty Bang Bang

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Susan Walker, Entertainment Reporter

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang

Starring Robert Downey Jr., Val Kilmer and Michelle Monaghan. Written and directed by Shane Black. 103 minutes. At the Varsity. 14A

(Oct. 21, 2005) Let's get this perfectly clear: there's no such thing as a bad
movie in which Robert Downey Jr. plays a starring role.  Shane Black, famous for writing Lethal Weapon, casts him well as the hapless, petty thief on the run who stumbles into a movie audition and finds himself parachuted into the Hollywood party scene. Harold Lockhart thinks he's headed for the silver screen.  Downey Jr.'s inimitable mix of talents - he can be comic, tragic and especially tragi-comic - score high in the aptitudes required to carry a movie that is goofy, satiric, self-referential, suspenseful and action-packed. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang is an action farce that pays homage to American film noir, The Big Sleep in particular, the director's own penchant for cliffhanger action and to Hollywood in all its sleazy absurdity.  Piercing the fourth wall with his opening monologue, Downey as Harry Lockhart welcomes the audience to the poolside scene at a lavish Hollywood party. "I'll be your narrator."  Then there's Gay Perry - an uncommonly funny Val Kilmer - the private detective hired to show Harry how to act like a private detective. This is Perry, deadpanning to Harry's question "Are you really gay?": "No, right now I'm knee-deep in pussy. I just like the name."  Gay Perry really is, of course. He's also a tough, shirt-button-busting gunman when he has to be. (The string of gay gags that runs through Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang is only a notch above the purely puerile, but at least it's gay-positive.)  Harry also meets the beautiful Harmony Faith Lane (Michele Monaghan) at the party, in fact tries to rescue her from some skirt-lifting creep who finds her dozing and gets punched out for it. When Harry later catches up with Harmony and her badass girlfriend he's pleased to learn that she is in fact his little friend from the small town in Indiana where they grew up.  Apart from being Harry's love interest, Harmony's function is to introduce a meta-plot. As a child she read all the detective stories by a pulp fiction writer whose chief character was Jenny Gossamer. Slowly - no surprise - the movie starts to resemble one of Jenny's stories in which two seemingly dissimilar cases are found to be the same one.

Harry and Gay, channelling Laurel and Hardy, land a dead body on their first outing. Harry so bungles his instructions that Perry starts to deal out the abuse. Trying to ditch him, he says: "Any questions, hesitate to call."  Hours later a second corpse is found: It is Harmony's sister. The two bodies lead back to Harlan Dexter, a former actor and now multi-millionaire owner of a string of nursing homes for the mentally ill. Hilariously, this part is played by Corbin Bernsen, best remembered, maybe only remembered, for his role as cheesy Arnie Becker in L.A. Law. And it is as Arnie that we see him in a flashback.  In the deliberately over-complicated and wildly paced plot, one bullet-riddled body leads to another and the thugs fall like flies. Then comes the obligatory car chase on the freeway and Harry's one-armed, Harold Lloyd-style, life-and-death suspension from a precariously tipping coffin.  Sleeping around is another theme to serve the ridiculous and satirize L.A.'s one-industry community. Flicka, a buxom peroxide blonde, found at the bar where Harry tracks down Harmony is the first in a series of sluts, male and female: "She's been f----d more times than she's had hot meals," notes Harry as narrator.  Even the smart-aleck repartee serves double duty as a spoof on private dick movies of the past. In response to some insult hurled at him by Harmony's trashy girlfriend, Harry says: "Your mouth is a recommended place to put a sock."  Soon it's all over but the wrap-up remarks, as Harry addresses the audience "with one final scene for your viewing pleasure." It's a movie, after all, a movie-lover's movie.




A Nose For A Good Story: Steve Martin

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Peter Howell, Movie Critic

(Oct. 21, 2005) Over three decades in the public eye, Steve Martin has
learned the art of saying a lot while keeping secret that which he chooses not to reveal.  It's a skill that politicians, major rock stars and the most serious of actors employ to stay out of trouble and to protect their privacy and sanity. Martin, who recently turned 60, has long wished to be considered a serious actor, and so this one-time "wild and crazy guy" has become the mild and evasive man. He's very good at it, I've found, both in one-on-one interview situations and in press conferences, where he adjusts his technique to suit the audience. He's been doing plenty of both to promote Shopgirl, his wistful new romance that opens today, starring himself, Claire Danes and Jason Schwartzman.  On his own, the Texas-born and California-reared Martin is unfailingly polite, apologizing for interrupting a journalist's question. He's self-deprecating and eager to please, avoiding any appearance of putting on airs. He gives long and thoughtful answers, unless you ask him something that goes against the grain or intrudes on a personal space. Then you get "no" or "never" or both in reply. Such as when I asked him if he will ever return to his wacky stand-up comic routine that first won him fame in the 1970s: "Nope. Never, never, never, never, never."  At press conferences, including the one he shared at the Toronto film festival with Shopgirl co-star Claire Danes, he's more the jolly raconteur. He spins out one-liners ("In drama you worry and in comedy you really worry") and banters back and forth. He appears to enjoy the process of discussing his writing, his acting and his theories about comedy.  But listen carefully and you can hear the steel gates clatter down and the castle doors clang shut. Such as when a journo poses the most sensitive question of all regarding Shopgirl, the screen adaptation of Martin's 2000 novella about a naïve sales clerk with artistic ambitions (played by Danes in the movie) who falls for a secretive and manipulative older man (Martin).  Here goes: Exactly how much of Shopgirl is based on Martin's own romantic past?  He bristles at the query but quickly rallies his defences.

"Well, it's hard to answer," he says, guarding a smile. "Some is personal, some isn't. It's a work of fiction. It's a work of imagination, I hope. It's also that you draw characters from life."  In point of fact, Shopgirl is based on a lot more of Martin's recent life than he cares for the public to know. A few days after his Toronto visit, the New York Times published an interview with his ex-girlfriend Allyson Hollingsworth, 36, who looks a lot like Claire Danes and who met Martin in similar circumstances as those in Shopgirl. She is also an artist, and she worked as artistic consultant for the Shopgirl movie, which Martin also produced. Bit by bit, she recreated a striking nude charcoal self-portrait of herself, which Danes' character Mirabelle Buttersfield is seen making and displaying.  In deference to Martin, Hollingsworth declined to comment on her past romantic relationship with him, or to reveal how closely Shopgirl reflects it. Martin also declined comment, and the topic was still not on his agenda when I chatted with him by phone from L.A. last week.  He did, however, agree with me that he has become less forthcoming as his career has progressed, and he has grown weary of the constant need to "stoke the star-maker machinery," as Joni Mitchell once said of fame. He doesn't like having his picture taken — this is the same guy who used to prance on stage in King Tut and bunny rabbit outfits — and he does press interviews out of a sense of duty, not desire.  "It is difficult talking about things, because I don't like to get political in interviews," he says.  "It just leads to trouble. And I don't know why I'm telling you all this, but I don't think I can add anything to my own work. Nothing that anybody else couldn't add, just by looking at it."  He admires the way Bob Dylan has so skilfully befuddled and blocked every interviewer who has dogged him since the early 1960s.  "You don't want to know what Bob Dylan is thinking," Martin insists, expressing a minority opinion he takes to be common sense.  "I'm a different personality. I wish I had that same strength. I always find that interviews with artists are always wrong. They're always wrong about themselves. What we like about (their art) and what they like about it are really two different things."  You can sympathize a bit with Martin, even if it's hard to muster many tears for a man who has hit movies, TV shows, plays, books and records to his credit, and whose sizeable personal wealth has allowed him to indulge his hobby of collecting art by such greats as Picasso, Hooper and de Kooning.

When he first hit it big as a comedian, this one-time Disneyland children's performer and gag writer for the Smothers Brothers and Sonny and Cher liked to mock show biz conventions. He was the clown prince of the counter-culture, the master of the ironic putdown of the old and the corny. He wrote jokes and short stories — remember Cruel Shoes, his 1979 publishing debut? — that appealed to corners of the brain where logic learned to "get small" and to mock the straight.  He didn't have to sell his work or even talk about it. He was so hip, all it took were a few appearances hosting Saturday Night Live — the hottest show of the 1970s — for everyone to know what he was about, and to get where he was coming from.  "I grew up in the '60s and it was just a whole other attitude," Martin agrees.  "Lorne Michaels talks about how he never marketed SNL. And I never did Steve Martin lunch boxes in the '70s, because our ethic was that you were supposed to let the work speak for itself. But now the process is that you write it and you make it and then you explain it. Which you know, in a sense, you're doing the job of the journalist or taking away the job from the journalist."  Lately he's more acutely aware of this situation than usual. Besides Shopgirl, he's also answering questions about his remake of The Pink Panther and his comedy sequel Cheaper by the Dozen 2, both due out in coming weeks owing to an unfortunate collision of production and marketing schedules.  He's not looking forward to trying to talk intelligently about his two comedies — "Sometimes you're just making stuff up''— but he knows it's demanded of him, and he will oblige. He's much more willing to man the phone and smile at press conferences for Shopgirl, because it means so much more to him, and it's part of the serious artistic expressions he wants to make for the rest of his life. "I feel a connection to Shopgirl. It was my first serious prose piece. So I really became intimate with every sentence. I felt really personal about it, although it's not a personal story."  Not a personal story? So there's nothing about Martin like his Shopgirl character Ray Porter, the outwardly courteous and generous millionaire who deep down has serious intimacy issues? To give an honest answer to that question, Martin would have to reflect on his failed past relationships not just with his Shopgirl muse Allyson Hollingsworth, but his long string of former flames that have included his ex-wife Victoria Tennant and girlfriends Anne Heche and Bernadette Peters.  Martin is not about to get that personal, so here's what he says about playing Ray Porter: "I understood the character. It was hard to say some of the things that Ray Porter had to say."  It's too soon for him to get much feedback on the movie, but Shopgirl has been out as a book long enough for Martin to hear some interesting comments, which split along gender and age lines. Many men have told him they understand Ray Porter, too. Many older women describe the story as sad, or even a tragedy. Many younger women, however, call it romantic. He finds that fascinating.  The steel gates are starting to roll down and the castle doors are being closed on the interview. But Martin finishes with an anecdote he'll likely tell many times as he promotes The Pink Panther, in which he recreates the bumbling Inspector Clouseau character made famous by Peter Sellers.  "I met Peter Sellers once, at a promotional event in Hawaii about 1980. He was extremely kind to me. He came up to me, and I don't tell this story very often, and I was doing stand-up and I had The Jerk coming out. I was under a lot of criticism because I was kind of a flagrant comedian. And he said, `I know you're under a lot of criticism right now, but I know what you're doing.' It was really nice."  It sounds like the most honest and intimate thing Martin has said in the entire interview. But how could anyone know for sure?

Shopgirl: A Melancholy Fairy Tale

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Peter Howell, Movie Critic


Starring Steve Martin, Claire Danes and Jason Schwartzman. Directed by Anand Tucker. 104 minutes. At the Cumberland and Paramount theatres. PG

(Oct. 21, 2005) It is a scene from a fairy tale, which
Shopgirl is, in its own wonderfully melancholy way.  Tucked away at the end of a long aisle of women's accoutrements in a Beverly Hills store, dreamily gazing skyward as she waits for the customers who rarely attend, is a young woman in her late 20s named Mirabelle Buttersfield (Claire Danes).  She sells long formal gloves, the kind that women don't much wear anymore. But that fits her lifestyle, which seems of a time and place somewhere over the rainbow. She's come to L.A. from rural Vermont, and resides in a whimsical flat with an up-and-down staircase. She has a pet cat that is almost invisible and drives a pick-up truck she wishes could be that way.  Mirabelle has abandoned all thoughts of excitement in exchange for low stress and regular hours. And yet she yearns for something more. She stays up late taking Polaroid pictures and drawing charcoal sketches for the avant-garde art she produces every six months or so, and occasionally manages to sell.  She is waiting for life to happen to her, rather than seeking to make her own way. And in the tradition of the best fairy tales, life does just that. Before she really knows what is happening, Mirabelle finds herself being courted by two very different men: the scruffy and fidgety Jeremy (Jason Schwartzman), who is close to her age; and the dapper but reserved Ray Porter (Steve Martin), who is a good 20 years her senior.  It is a love triangle of sorts, one the multi-talented Martin has made more apparent in his screenplay than he did in his novella of the same name. But any similarity to Jules et Jim (which director Anand Tucker referenced in Hilary and Jackie, his best-known film) is not only coincidental, but ludicrous.  Jeremy is not right for Mirabelle. A rock amplifier salesman with few ambitions, he's unkempt, a cheapskate (his idea of a movie date is to sit and stare at the marquee) and he's as dopey as a dormouse.  Ray is so much more appealing. A dot-com millionaire with mansions in L.A. and Seattle, a private jet and enough money to make a girl feel like Cinderella every night, he's made Mirabelle the envy of all the other girls at Saks Fifth Avenue, especially bitchy vamp Lisa (Bridgette Wilson-Sampras).  There can be no comparison between Jeremy and Ray, can there? Unless you make love your basis, and assess how well a person gives it as well as receives it. That levels the playing field for this love match.

Recalling Martin's earlier L.A. idylls in L.A. Story and Bowfinger, the movie dreamily views the City of Angels with a similar smiling benevolence — every night is starry in cinematographer Peter Suschitzky's poetic lens — but with a deep sense of longing. There are so many stories beneath the swaying palms and roaring expressways, and so many of them involve people who just want to be loved.  Shopgirl's feathery plot is lifted by three sterling performances.  As Ray, a man as grey as his suits, Steve Martin has never smiled less or seemed more significant. Fans may be taken aback by how forced his humour seems. Ray is not an easy guy to laugh with.  As Jeremy, the restless rocker, Jason Schwartzman has never seemed more yearning.  And as Mirabelle, the woman with stars in her eyes and romance in her heart, Claire Danes has never seemed more fragile, or more appealing. Her eyes fill with wonder and apprehension as she gazes out into that starry distance, wondering if knights ride among the hills of Hollywood.





John Singleton Given ‘Behind The Lens’ Award

Excerpt from

(Oct. 25, 2005) *On Sunday, filmmaker
John Singleton was given DaimlerChrysler’s prestigious Behind the Lens award for career achievement during a ceremony in Los Angeles.    “This is my first career achievement honour where I’m being honoured for the body of my work,” the 37-year-old told EUR’s Lee Bailey. “It’s funny because I’ve been in the business 15 years, and in our business, that’s almost like a lifetime. And I think that I’m just getting started.” Singleton broke onto the scene in 1991 with the groundbreaking “Boyz N the Hood,” which helped to jump-start the careers of Lawrence Fishburne, Ice Cube, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Angela Bassett. He went on to write two more films – “Poetic Justice” and “Baby Boy” – to complete what he has called his “hood trilogy” depicting the lives of folk growing up in South Central, Los Angeles.    “John is one of two people in this whole world who believed in me more than I believed in myself,” said Tyrese, who starred in “Baby Boy” as well as Singleton’s last directorial effort, “Four Brothers.” “If it weren’t for him seeing things in me, as far as acting, then I wouldn’t be here.”  Tyrese also credits the USC film school veteran with introducing him to a new tax bracket.   “I’ve been doing music for a long time now, and I done made more money in this acting thing than I could ever see in my damn life,” laughs Tyrese, a Compton native who cut his teeth in the industry as an R&B singer. “I’m tryin’ to tell you, when a man can put food on your table, boy, that’s where all your respect go to.” Other films on Singleton’s resume include “Rosewood,” “2 Fast 2 Furious” and the forthcoming “Fear and Respect” and “Luke Cage,” both due next year.   “People were surprised at what I’ve done in the last 15 years, just wait and see what I’m gonna do in the next 20 and 30 years in this business,” Singleton said.







Pay TV: Monopoly Or Just A Sweet Deal?

Source: John Mckay, Canadian Press

(Oct. 21, 2005) Several Canadian media heavyweights go before the CRTC on Monday armed with compelling evidence for and against the idea of at least one more pay television service for domestic viewers.  In this corner, there are four broadcast industry groups who argue that ending a two-decades-old monopoly on premium viewing is long overdue. In the other corner, the owners of Astral Media and Corus Entertainment
who, since 1983, have dominated pay TV with The Movie Network in Eastern Canada and Movie Central in the West respectively.  "We believe that by licensing Spotlight and introducing competition to this platform everyone wins, even the incumbents," argues George Burger, president and CEO of Spotlight Television, a joint venture between Burger, a former Alliance Communications executive, and Larry Tanenbaum, chairman of the private investment company Kilmer Van Nostrand.  But John Riley, president of Astral Television Networks, says Canadians are getting all the premium programming available now with one-stop shopping and at a much cheaper rate than through a U.S.-style competitive model.  "Why would consumers benefit from this?" Riley asks. "You're taking the programming that they already receive on one channel and saying it would be better if we sprinkled that over two channels, perhaps more."  Riley says subscribers to his Movie Network, for example, get all the good stuff from HBO and Showtime in the U.S. — shows like The Sopranos and Six Feet Under — plus original Canadian content, for about $20 a month. He presents charts showing that in contrast, Americans fork out about $50 for the same content because they have to buy more than one service if they want to get everything. Burger describes those figures as "a little less than accurate."  In addition to Spotlight, applicants include:

·  Allarco Entertainment, backed by the Alberta-based Allard broadcast family, which pioneered pay TV in Canada with the old Superchannel service. Their plan would have all programmers share access to the imported HBO, Showtime and Starz fare.

·  BoomTV is a bilingual proposal from Quebecor's Archambault Group. Their plan is to introduce bidding for U.S. shows which critics say would drive up the cost.

·  The Canadian Film Channel, from Channel Zero, operators of the current digital-tier specialty channels Moviola and Silver Screen Classics. With a unique twist, TCFC does not want to go head to head with other applicants or the incumbents but suggests being bundled along with those services as a supplementary offering.

Spotlight argues its investment plan would create more Canadian content and yield more revenue from the whole pay TV sector by ending a monopoly that has been getting rich without having to aggressively seek out new subscribers.  Spotlight has the backing of Bell ExpressVu, one of the country's major satellite carriers.  He also dismissed the thought that one of the new applicants might pull a fast one and come up with an exclusive deal to launch an HBO Canada, in the way Alberta-based Craig Media a few years back surprised the industry with its MTV Canada specialty channel.  Following the hearings, the federal broadcast regulator is expected to make a ruling some time next spring. A new service, if one is approved, could be up and running a year from now.




Becoming Black

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Robert Crew, Arts Writer

(Oct. 26, 2005) It's lunchtime and Conrad Black has made a modest meal of beef stroganoff, rice and salad before rising majestically from the table.
"Right," he booms to all within earshot, "I'm now ready to meet the maggots of the media."  It's not the real Lord Black of Crossharbour, but certainly a more than reasonable facsimile thereof.  We are in downtown Hamilton, in the old-world Hamilton Club where stern oil paintings hang on the walls, impassive witnesses to the organized mayhem that is a movie set.  The movie in question is Shades of Black. Drawing on the book by Richard Siklos, it charts the rise and (maybe) fall of the embattled former chairman of Hollinger International, who stepped down in 2003 after allegations that he and other company officers had misappropriated funds. The CTV movie stars Toronto actor Albert Schultz as the Crossharbour Kid himself and Vancouver's Jason Priestley (Beverley Hills 90210) as a fictional investigator posing as a newspaper reporter. It is directed by Hamilton-born Alex Chapple, now based in the U.S.  We caught up with Schultz in the makeup chair just before lunch; Schultz, who is 43, plays Black from ages 28 to 61.  He's had quite a morning. Shooting began at 7 a.m. and the first task of the day was a love scene and proposal to Shirley Gail Hishon, whom Black married in 1978. Hishon is played by Toronto actress Amy Price-Francis, whom Schultz met for the first time that morning.  But he reports that the kissing went quite well, thank you. "It's a tough job," he mutters to lack of sympathy all round.  This afternoon's scenes feature the older Black, and hairdresser Sandy Sokolowski has meticulously applied grey streaks to Schultz's hair and added a pair of caterpillar eyebrows before handing Schultz over to makeup artist Linda McCormack, who is using latex to create folds on Schultz's eyelids and enlarging a fake mole on his right temple.  The real mole grew as Black became older, she explains.  Slender Hollywood starlet Lara Flynn Boyle, who plays Barbara Amiel, Black's second wife, is expected on set in the next day or so, but she and Schultz have already shot scenes in London, England.

"She's a hoot," he says, bemoaning the fact the 35-year-old doesn't have to spend the one hour-plus in makeup that he does. "Look at Barbara today: she doesn't age."  Later, the affable, media-friendly Schultz reveals it was charm that won him the role.  The public image of Black may be of an aggressive, pompous man, but the private man is apparently very different.  "Ivan Fecan (CEO of Bell Globemedia, which owns CTV), told me the reason he wanted me to do the role was because of the charm I could bring to it," Schultz says. "He knows Black and says he is an extremely charming and likeable guy."  Besides, there are family connections. Schultz's wife Susan's mother was, at one time, married to Conrad Black's uncle: "I know every one of his first cousins, his uncles and his aunts, everyone except him."  Schultz describes the movie as an epic story about a man who defies the stereotypical image of the modest, retiring Canadian. "He stands out because of his hubris, his arrogance, his accomplishments."  His task, as he sees it, is to convey the complexity of the man, the shades of light and dark that make up "a very complicated individual who just happens to live on a very grand scale."  It was the layered character of Black that sparked the imagination of executive producer Mary Young Leckie in the first place.  "I love his complexities," she says. "The man is erudite, articulate, a brilliant writer, a passionate historian, a ruthless businessman and he clearly likes women. I love the fact that he can go nose to nose with strong women."  The movie is produced by Screendoor Inc. No airdate has been set.  Schultz is not attempting to mimic Black —"I am not Rich Little nor do I want to be" — but Priestley still feels Schultz has caught the man precisely.  "To me, he is Conrad Black and when I see real pictures of Conrad Black, I go, `Who's that guy?' He really has embodied the role," says Priestley.  As we leave the set, Schultz and Priestley are rehearsing the final scene of the day:  "This is typical of second-rate journalists," Schultz roars at Priestley's character. "I don't care to tell the media what to write, but I do ask them to think for themselves."  Fade to Black.





Sawyer Won't Replace Jennings: ABC News

Source: Associated Press

(Oct. 24, 2005) New York — ABC News hasn't named a permanent replacement for the late Peter Jennings at World News Tonight, but did say Monday who it won't be — Diane Sawyer. The network was responding to a report in Broadcasting & Cable magazine that "insiders at the network are buzzing over Diane Sawyer's apparent interest in the blue-chip slot." But after speaking to both Sawyer and ABC News President David Westin, Westin spokesman Jeffrey Schneider said Sawyer was not a candidate for the evening anchor job. It's likely that Sawyer will probably be doing more prime-time documentaries, but she's remaining at Good Morning America, he said. Sawyer has not been among the World News Tonight fill-in anchors — Charles Gibson, Elizabeth Vargas and Bob Woodruff, who have all been mentioned as candidates for the full-time job. There's no timetable for ABC News' announcement, Schneider said.

‘Desperate’ Basement Brother Revealed

Excerpt from

(Oct. 25, 2005) *On Sunday, “Desperate Housewives” fans got their first good look at the man locked in the basement of Betty Applewhite’s home. 
Viewers also found out that he is a fugitive from Chicago where he may have been responsible for the killing of a teenage girl four months ago. "It's time we talked about her, Caleb," Betty tells him after seeing a TV news report of another man arrested for the girl’s murder. "Until you start accepting responsibility for what happened, you know I can't let you out of here."  Caleb is played by 28-year-old actor Page Kennedy, more recently known as Big Trickey from Showtime’s “Barber Shop” and soon to appear in Usher’s forthcoming film, “In the Mix.”  The Shakespeare-trained actor says his character’s story is evolving as production continues, and he has know idea what’s going to happen.  "I do know that he's sweet but he can be very dangerous," the Detroit native told The Associated Press.  In Sunday’s episode, Betty (Alfre Woodard) wrote a letter to Chicago police to explain that the wrong man had been arrested for the murder of 17-year-old high school student, Melanie Foster.  Her son Matthew (Mechad Brooks) finds the letter and warns that she’s putting Caleb – who appears to be developmentally disabled – in danger. Caleb’s relationship to the Applewhites has yet to be revealed. Kennedy said he'll have no regrets even if his "Desperate Housewives" run turns out to be one season long. He was so excited to join the popular ABC series that he walked away from his recurring role on “Barber Shop,” and parts on WB's upcoming Rebecca Romijn series "Pepper Dennis" and on UPN's "Love, Inc."  "I needed this opportunity to play this kind of character," Kennedy said. "It isn't the kind that comes around often and it's usually played by a name (actor). This is an opportunity for me to showcase all the years of training I've had."  Kennedy’s big opportunity almost never happened.  In order to audition for “Housewives” at Universal Studios, the actor had to finish a “Barber Shop” scene at Paramount Studios. The “Housewives” producers had cooperated by pushing his tryout time to the end of the day at 5 p.m. The "Barber Shop" shoot, however, ran long.  "So 5 o'clock came, then 5:45. I booked to my car and rushed from Paramount to Universal in the middle of traffic," Kennedy recalled. "When I got there they were all leaving. But they came back and watched and (series creator) Marc Cherry said it was worth the wait."







Meet The New Frodo

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Richard Ouzounian

(Oct. 23, 2005) LONDON - Tomorrow morning, The Lord of the Rings, the biggest production in Canadian theatrical history, starts full rehearsals at a
downtown Toronto warehouse.  But if you don't hear any noise from the 55 cast members, it's probably because they'll be holding their collective breaths in anticipation.  And it's also likely that the most anxious one of all will be the relatively unknown 26-year-old actor who'll be playing the wide-eyed hobbit, Frodo.  His name is James Loye, but after tomorrow, no one will be asking "Who's he?" for a very long time.  The $27-million stage version of the Tolkien classic is a Kevin Wallace Limited Production, presented by Kevin Wallace and Saul Zaentz, in association with David and Ed Mirvish and Michael Cohl.  In terms of size, scope and ambition, it exceeds anything this city has ever seen, and the hopes being pinned on it are correspondingly high. At the Princess of Wales Theatre's capacity, it could play to 832,000 people a year, while its economic impact on our city has been conservatively estimated in excess of $700 million annually.  And although many high-profile performers like Brent Carver (Gandalf) and Michael Therriault (Gollum) feature prominently in the company, it's Frodo that most people consider to be the pivotal role.  What kind of a mountain is that for someone just five years out of theatre school to climb?  "It's a bloody intimidating one," said Loye in London a few weeks ago, shortly before he packed up and moved to Toronto. He sat in the bar of the veddy chic Metropolitan Hotel, just off Hyde Park, sipping a latte, trying to look cool and failing miserably.  "I can't help it," he laughed, "I suddenly wake up in the morning and remember that I'm going to be Frodo. It's overwhelmingly exciting. I am playing one of the leading roles in the largest show ever created. Oh my God ..."  Loye is a compact, handsome young man with an exceptionally deep voice, a sly grin and the habit of rolling his shoulders like a boxer when he's nervous.  He's about as different from Elijah Wood (who played Frodo in the film trilogy) as you can get, and that suits him fine.

"I think Elijah did an amazing job," offered Loye, "but I don't want to be a carbon copy of him. I'm a different actor in a different medium. I mean, in the film, you could do a close-up of Frodo's eyes and that would tell you all you needed to know, but I'll have to figure out how to do it in a different way."  It's interesting how when Loye started to describe Frodo, he wound up painting a portrait of someone a lot like himself.  "He's a gentle, land-loving person, a good man, but an unlikely bloke to be involved in such a huge adventure. The whole thing is a voyage of discovery for him."  Loye's own voyage began in Bristol in 1979. He was raised at first in a nearby community called Rangeworthy and then his family moved when he was seven to Waltham in South Gloucestershire.  "It was quite rural there," he recalled. "My dad was an insurance broker for farms and things like that, but he also used to organize the local shows. I remember when I was 7, prancing around in some good old Stanley Holloway music hall numbers."  Loye took the bus every day to school where he was torn between his love of theatre and his fondness for sports.  "I was a contradiction. The kid who did school plays as well as rugby. I remember coming in from sports practice covered in mud and then having to spring into play rehearsals."  But in the end, the stage won out. "Acting was the one thing I really loved doing. I could put all my feelings and frustrations into it.  "When it came down to having my career advice talks at school, I told the counsellor I'd like to give this acting thing a go and he said, `James you are going to have to endure years of poverty.'"

Fortunately, he got a more positive reaction at home. "My parents have been very supportive. They've always said, `Whatever you want to do, we're with you.'"  He looked a bit wistful. "My dad wished he had pursued show business a bit more, but he said it was never an option for him, so he was pleased that I was having a go at it."  Loye went into the Welsh College of Music and Drama and described his time there as "wonderful," though "I was so young, so raw. I remember calling my mom from the supermarket and saying, `Help me, I don't know what food to buy.'"  Despite his smallish stature, he found himself being cast "in a lot of older parts, filled with gravitas. I think it must have been my voice. One teacher said, `You look like 16 and you sound like 40,' which I was prepared to take as a compliment."  A fond memory of those days was playing Sir Thomas Fairfax in a play called The World Turned Upside Down.  "They asked all the men to grow facial hair, but after a month, all I had was this kind of Amish chin fringe. Then they put a long wig on me and a stick-on beard. I looked like a comedy pirate, so they took the beard off. Then I just looked like Alanis Morissette."  Right after graduation in 2000, he landed his first job, at the Bristol Old Vic in A Streetcar Named Desire, cast as the young newspaper boy that Blanche tries to seduce.  "It was lovely to be in my home town, with mom and dad and mini-bus loads of my friends coming to see me. But getting paid for acting was a shock. My first cheque arrived and I said, `Blimey, what's this?'"  He immediately landed a spot with a big talent agency and shot his first TV commercial. "It was for Pepsi and I was a young student playing table football in a rec room and suddenly the table came to life and Beckham and all the greats were playing with me. I had to break the news later to everyone that I never met any of the real footballers. It was all just special effectsy."  Loye worked fairly steadily on the British regional theatre circuit, playing in everything from Ibsen to Shakespeare, but "there were gaps in my theatre work that I had to fill, in less than glamorous ways. I worked as a lifeguard, I was a steward at a notoriously violent football club, but not for long. I was even a barman at a pub called The Slug and Lettuce."

And then he was called in to audition for a new musical of The Lord of the Rings.  "I have to confess I'd never read the books, but I'd seen the movies and I thought they were wonderful. I remember going to the first one with my brother on Christmas Eve and being so taken with it.  "I didn't know anything about this production, how ambitious it was, the intricacy and depth. I'd never been up for a musical before, so I just showed up and recited `Jabberwocky' because I thought it was Tolkienesque and sang Don McLean's `The Grave.' They asked me back the next day and I gave them James Taylor's `Fire and Rain.'"  Loye didn't hear anything more from Rings masters, and so he performed for a season at the Chichester Festival. Then he was called back for a third audition and a dance workshop with choreographer Peter Darling.  "I went to that and I was slightly unsure — I do freestyle. For a West Country lad with a barn dance, I do fine, but don't choreograph me. It takes a while to get into me bones. Like rugby."  Loye looked a little sheepish as he revealed that "All of this time, I honestly never thought they were considering me for Frodo. I thought I might just wind up as some random hobbit."  But producer Wallace and his cohorts tracked Loye down again in New York, where he was on tour with the Young Vic production of Beauty and The Beast.  "I figured James Taylor had worked for me before, so this time I sang `Sweet Baby James' and the next day they asked me to do the workshop. It was a great chance to explore elements of the production, but I didn't think anything of my chances after that."  Then one night last summer, when he was sitting backstage at London's outdoor Regent Park Theatre, Loye got the word.

"I had just finished my last scene as Sir Andrew Aguecheek in Twelfth Night and was waiting for my curtain call when Kevin Wallace phoned me.  "He said, `We want you to play Frodo, but you can't tell anyone just yet.'"  A cinemascope smile creased his features. "I felt like I was going to explode, but I kept it all inside."  Those in charge felt sure Loye was their man.  "He is a tremendous actor," said director Matthew Warchus. "He is very sympathetic with a strange sort of quality of otherworldly isolation — separateness almost Hamlet-like, which is perfect for this role." Wallace added, "He radiates an inner intensity that gives his performance the underlying complexity and layers of intelligence, sensitivity, judgment, integrity and wit that set Frodo apart."  Loye is still trying to figure out for himself what Frodo is like. "There's a great strength inside him and I don't think even he knows what it is, but it's there. He's just being honest to who he is, travelling through this world and eventually coming out the other end as the winner."  Which is exactly what Toronto will be hoping tomorrow morning — not just for James Loye, but everyone connected with The Lord of The Rings.





Allen Picks Apart Alouettes

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Rick Matsumoto, Sports Reporter

(Oct. 23, 20050 MONTREAL - The debate is over. Done. FinisDamon
Allen has ended any question about who should wear the CFL's most outstanding player laurels this year.  The 42-year-old Toronto Argonaut quarterback, who is in his 21st season, has never won the league's most outstanding player award even though he's its all-time passing yardage leader and bound for the Hall of Fame.  Argo head coach Mike Clemons has no doubt the long drought will end this year after Allen posted his second consecutive 400-yard-plus passing clinic to lead the Boatmen to a 49-23 demolition of the Als yesterday before 51,279 fans at Olympic Stadium.  He had thrown for 484 yards a week earlier against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.  "MVP?" was Clemons' rhetorical answer, when asked if he's seen a better performance by a CFL quarterback. "Finally?  "It was a complete performance; so much control. That's what was so amazing. It was not just that he was so productive, he was so under control all the time."  The victory, the Argos' second in three meetings with the Alouettes this season, all but secured first place for the Boatmen, a prize that will give them a bye into the East Division final Nov. 20 at the Rogers Centre.  Wide receiver Tony Miles, who led all receivers with 10 catches for 119 yards, said Allen "always shows up for the big games."  "We had to come in here and get a win. We knew what was at stake," he said. "He played a phenomenal game and we did a great job working for him."  Both the Argos and Als have two games left and they play the same teams — Hamilton and Ottawa — on alternate weeks.  The Alouettes will now likely play host to the East semi-final with a West crossover team (Saskatchewan or Calgary) the opponent.

"This is as embarrassing a game as I've ever been involved with," said Als' head coach Don Matthews. "We have to take a hard look at where we go from here. I'm at a loss why we played so badly with everything on the line. It was a total team collapse."  Clemons also praised the work of the offensive line and Allen extended similar accolades.  "Whenever you play a game such as this you credit your O-line," said Allen. "They've been playing outstanding especially the last three weeks. They've really given me time and allowed me to get into a rhythm and playing this game the way I'm capable of playing.  "For what we were able to do (yesterday), the guys up front deserve all the credit ... those five has really been gelling."  Centre Chad Folk agreed the unit is finally coming together.  "We had some changes at the beginning of the year and some injuries," he said. "You don't want to use that as an excuse, but if you can play together for four or five weeks and gain some camaraderie it really helps."  Dave Costa, who has taken over at right guard for the past four games, was modest about his contribution.  "I hope I'm helping," he said. "But it think it's more of a team thing than anything."  Allen said he was grateful for Clemons' support, adding he came into the season hoping to remain injury-free, give Argos a chance to finish first, host the Eastern final and win the Grey Cup.  Allen connected on touchdown passes to receivers Arland Bruce III, Robert Baker and R.Jay Soward as well Jeff Johnson, who took over as running back after starter Sean Millington suffered a season-ending ruptured Achilles tendon in his right leg.  Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo had a difficult day against the Argo defence, managing to complete just 12 of 24 throws for 264 yards while giving up three interceptions.




Reggie Miller Enjoying Retirement

Excerpt from

(Oct. 24, 2005)  *Since his retirement from the NBA last May after 18 years with the Indiana Pacers, Reggie Miller has been trying to
settle into an equally-as-hectic schedule as a studio and game analyst for TNT’s NBA coverage, as well as the head of his own movie production company called Boom Baby Productions. The five-time All-Star has also filled in for Regis Philbin on “Live with Regis and Kelly,” and worked on a promo spot for TNT’s upcoming basketball season directed by his former Madison Square Garden nemesis, Spike Lee. "It's strange not to be a part of an (NBA) organization or part of a team," the 40-year-old told AP. "I'm not joking with anybody on the bus like I usually do. But waking up with my back, knees and ankles hurting — that's not stuff I'm going to miss much." Miller will work his first Pacers regular-season game on Nov. 3 in Miami, followed by a Thanksgiving-night matchup between Indiana and Cleveland at home. "God forbid they will be in a close game and need a last-second shot," said Cheryl Miller, Reggie's sister and TNT sideline reporter. It was Cheryl who lobbied the network to hire Reggie after his retirement. Turner Sports president David Levy quickly made Miller the first TNT employee hired to do both game and studio work. "We felt he had the crossover talent," Levy said. "He's always been a great trash talker. He'll fit in well with the studio show. We've got the best of both worlds." Miller will join Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith in studio. Magic Johnson will be in studio when Miller is on the road.

Away from basketball, Miller has spent much of the past month working on Boom Baby's first movie, "Beautiful Ohio," starring Oscar winner William Hurt. The 1970s-set film about a dysfunctional family will be directed by Chad Lowe and co-produced by Lowe’s wife, Hilary Swank. Miller has been actively picking locations, casting and budgeting for the $3 million film, slated to be entered in next year's Toronto Film Festival.  In working with Spike Lee on the TNT promo, Miller said it reminded him of his days antagonizing the director at his courtside seat whenever the Pacers played the Knicks.  "You hear him ranting and raving on the sidelines," he said. "He rants and raves from the director's chair, too. But we all know he's a fantastic film director."





Magic Taps Celebs For A Game Of Horse

(Oct. 26, 2005) *Magic Johnson is trying to make the popular basketball
game of horse the next big reality show craze.   According to Daily Variety, Johnson and reality producer Phil Gurin have begun negotiations with potential sponsors for the project, which will pit two or more players against one another in the basketball, shot-for-shot showdown. "You don't have to spell 'horse.' Maybe you could spell 'Pepsi' or 'Nokia,'" Gurin joked about the show, tentatively-titled “Celebrity Horse.” "It's a completely sponsor-friendly show."  Because "so many celebrities are big basketball players," Gurin said, attracting talent should be a breeze. Contestants will compete for charity, and Gurin said it's possible an entire season of the show could be taped over a single weekend. The current plan is to have a series of round-robin matchups between East and West Coast leagues, culminating in a potentially live finale. Magic will likely have an on-air presence, possibly as a color commentator.    

Horse tutorial: Two or more players to try to make baskets from various spots around the court. When one person makes a shot, the other players have to attempt the shot from the same spot; anyone who misses is assigned one of the five letters that spell "horse" and is out when the word is completed. The last person left wins.





Diana Evans: Her Twin's Suicide Compelled Her To Write

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Ashante Infantry

(Oct. 21, 2005) Let's see: identical female twins, British father and Nigerian mother, raised in the northwest London suburb of Neasden, one sister
struggles with depression and commits suicide.  Sounds a lot like Diana Evans's life.  Sounds a lot like Diana Evans's debut novel 26a.  But thick is the line between reality and fiction, says the British writer who reads at the International Festival of Authors tonight.  Her book, which tells the enchanting but melancholy tale of twin sisters Georgia and Bessi, coming of age against the backdrop of their parents' marital discord; a dead pet hamster; Nigerian folklore; Michael Jackson worship and mental illness, earned this year's Orange Award for new writers.  Evans, 34, was acclaimed for her droll, magic realism approach and linguistic flair (Neasden is described as "what the city stepped on to be sexy" and the sisters' telepathic connection as "touching eyes") in telling the story about the emotional complexity of the twin relationship — a subject she knows intimately.  "It would have been easy to dismiss it as autobiographical fiction, which has happened a lot in women's fiction," said Evans in an interview.  She said this has sometimes meant women's novels get discounted as "professional literature" even though many books by male authors are also drawn from their lives. "But their autobiographies are seen as social comment rather than domestic."  Though not the basis of her book, the 1998 suicide of Evans's twin sister Paula (to whom 26a is dedicated) was definitely the catalyst.  "It wasn't just the ordinary experience of grief, the twin factor made it into something much more intense and kind of magical," said the author, curled into a plush loveseat in the lobby of the King Edward Hotel.  Throughout our chat, the author, doe-eyed and petite, is reserved and unsmiling, as she is in most published photos. Not until the tape recorder is shut off and the conversation turns to music journalism, her previous forté, do the honeyed laugh and incisive wit emerge. But then, dead sisters don't engender much levity.

"When she died, I felt like I had to do something to mark what happened in some way. It was too big a thing for me to just carry on with my normal life."  One of six daughters, Evans was a dancer and arts journalist, reading feverishly and penning poetry and short stories in her downtime.  "I've always had a sense that writing was my gift and that I would probably write books, but I just didn't know when. My twin's death was kind of a jolt to make me begin to do something I was destined to do anyway.  "It wasn't that I was writing a book to get it published or become a famous author. It was a labour of love and I was determined to keep doing it even if I was 60 when I finished it."  She enrolled in the noted creative writing program at the University of East Anglia (which also spawned The Remains of the Day's Kazuo Ishiguro and Booker Prize-winner Ian McEwan) where nurturing rather than instruction enhanced her developing narrative about the dynamics of twins.  "You get a certain amount of attention (as a twin), which is nice, especially when you're a kid, but as you grow up you want to be known as an individual. In order to find yourself, you have to distance yourself from your twin, but that compromises your own sense of self."  In 26a, Bessi is the more independent of the two and Georgia battles with mental demons before taking her own life. Evans gives the suicide a supernatural cast.  "I've imagined that you're in a place where you don't necessarily see it as death, you see it as a way out, a route to another space or state. You don't think of death in the same way as someone who is not suicidal would: as an end. I've never felt suicidal myself, so I can't say how it feels. But I imagine that your head is in a fantasy space in a way."  The mother of a 10-month-old daughter is working on a new novel — on a more hurried pace than the first.  "There is pressure, but you can't think about it, because you can't write a book under duress. Well, you can write a bad book under duress. I have a deadline, but the way I see it, let it take as long as it takes. I'm not going to hand in a sub-par book just to meet a deadline."




‘Wild And Crazy Guy' Receives Mark Twain Award

Source:  Associated Press - By Juan-Carlos Rodriguez

(Oct. 24, 2005) Washington — Steve Martin's character in The Jerk is ecstatic to find his name in print -- in the phone book. “Things are
going to start happening to me now!” he says. Twenty-six years later, the actor and writer is receiving a more prestigious form of recognition. For his career achievements, Martin was honoured Sunday with one of the nation's top comedy awards -- the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Among those saluting the versatile performer at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts were actors Tom Hanks, Lily Tomlin, Diane Keaton, Martin Short and Claire Danes and musicians Paul Simon and Randy Newman. “He redefined comedy by defining the moment of our ascendancy as a generation,” Hanks said. “As did Charlie Chaplin, as did the Marx Brothers, as did Laurel and Hardy define their own times, Steve Martin defined ours.” Martin's colleagues paid tribute in between dozens of clips from his movies and TV appearances. Newman performed I Love to See You Smile, a song from Martin's film Parenthood. Tomlin said, “His artistry soars to heights of sublime silliness and divine absurdity.” In accepting the Mark Twain Prize, Martin mentioned some other awards he had won, including a 1969 writing Emmy for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. “But of course the Mark Twain Prize is more special to me,” he said, “because it's more recent.” “He's an original genius,” Short said before the ceremony. “He's kind of blazed his own trail.” “I think he's the most intelligent man I've ever met,” said Monty Python veteran Eric Idle. “Honesty, simplicity and truth are the secret to his comedy.” Hanks disagreed, saying Martin's success was based on “self-loathing and unhappiness.” Asked if he had any regrets, Martin said, “It's a life of cherishing a few things and regretting a lot of things, but that's the life of a performer.” Martin's career got off the ground in the late 1960s, when he wrote for the Smothers Brothers' show. As a stand-up comic, he grew popular on campuses and often appeared on Johnny Carson's The Tonight Show.  He hit his stride playing larger-than-life characters while hosting Saturday Night Live in the 1970s. His performances on that show -- from a singing King Tut to Georg Festrunk, better known as one of two “wild and crazy guys” -- earned him fame as a zany comedian. After starring in the hit The Jerk in 1979, Martin appeared in more than 30 other films. He also wrote the screenplays for such films as Roxanne (1987) and A Simple Twist of Fate (1994). Over the years Martin expanded his repertoire to include plays, novels and humorous magazine pieces for The New Yorker. His 1993 play, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, which envisioned a meeting between Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso at a Paris cafe, has been produced around the world. Despite these sophisticated career turns, Martin, now 60, hasn't forgotten where he came from -- he will star next year as the stumbling, bungling Inspector Jacques Clouseau in The Pink Panther, a prequel to the popular Peter Sellers movies. PBS plans to air the Martin tribute on Nov. 9. Previous Mark Twain Prize winners include Richard Pryor, Jonathan Winters, Whoopi Goldberg and Bob Newhart.




Too Much Good Is Bad: International Festival of Authors

Excerpt from The Toronto Star

(Oct. 23, 2005) David Rakoff asks for ordinary tap water with his lunch. No Perrier or Evian for this transplanted Toronto boy turned New York wit, in
town to read at the International Festival of Authors.  "It's safe and it's good plus there is a political reason for drinking it," he says. "The gas and the vehicles used to transport water all over the continent to people who already have perfectly good drinking water is wasteful and destructive to the environment. Plus, I'm such a cheapskate — it seems crazy to have to buy water in a restaurant."  Among the best pieces in his second collection of personal essays, Don't Get Too Comfortable (just published by Doubleday) is "What is the sound of one hand shopping?" which excoriates the pretensions of the drinkers of designer water, the self-styled connoisseurs who insist on imported ice cubes in their single malt scotch, and are willing to pay $36 (U.S.) for a kilo of fleur de sel.  Locating the most exquisite sea salt is among the problems unique to the first world, along with finding high-thread-count sheets and olive oil with the requisite degree of virginity.  We have become, he writes, an army of "high-maintenance princesses trying to make our way through a world full of irksome peas."  Does he see himself as more moralist than humorist? "I wouldn't mind if there was a little more guilt out there. We could all of us, me included, count our blessings, acknowledge our privileges," he says.  Among Rakoff's blessings are the degree of distinction he has achieved, at 41, in the highly competitive New York literary world. These days, after a recent appearance on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, he is recognized by strangers on the streets of Manhattan.  The New Yorker's humour writer David Sedaris told this reporter: "I'm crazy about David. He's Algonquin Round Table witty. He has a fierce intelligence and is incredibly sophisticated and he's got a tape recorder in his head. You go to a movie with David and he can recite the whole dialogue after."  Rakoff found his voice gradually and painfully after 13 years spent answering other people's phones, and writing press releases about other people's books while toiling in the publishing industry, mainly for HarperCollins.  He began freelancing amusing Q and A interviews for the New York Times Magazine. "I couldn't help feeling it was cheating because I wasn't writing, just transcribing," he says. It was his friend Sedaris who had pushed Rakoff a decade ago to take his writings to National Public Radio's show, This American Life, where he himself had got his start. The first piece NPR ran was "Christmas Freud," an account of Rakoff's impersonating the father of psychoanalysis in the window of Barney's department store during the festive season. (The piece appears in Fraud, his first collection published in 2001.)

While at the authors' festival, he says he'll take care not to read anything he's read here before: "I don't want to be seen as more of a hack than I already am."  In an essay about plastic surgery, this is how he describes his appearance: "A permanent red spot on the left side of my forehead; a brow pleated with worry; a furrow between my eyebrows so deep that at times it could be coin slot; purple hollows under my eyes...; a nose more fleshy and wide than prototypically Semitic; a set of those Fred Flintstone nasal creases down to the corners of my mouth" and "in profile, a double chin."  Clearly, in the time honoured tradition of the shoemaker's children going barefoot, the children of psychiatrists are no more comfortable in their skin than anyone else.  Rakoff is the youngest of three children of Vivian Rakoff, the former director of the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry, perhaps Toronto's best known shrink, rumoured to be the inspiration for one of Timothy Findley's psychiatrist characters in his 1993 novel Headhunter. His mother, Gina Shochat-Rakoff, is an M.D. who has practised psychotherapy.  David attended Forest Hill Collegiate in the 1970s, where the girls got nose jobs for their 16th birthdays. "Forest Hill was a strange, materialistic place," he says. He knew from an early age that he was gay. In an essay about fashion, he describes himself aged 10 passing the hors d'oeuvres around at his parents' cocktail parties and asking one of the women guests if her dress was "an Albert Nippon."  He spent weekends watching old movies at the Bloor Cinema — he has an encyclopaedic knowledge of film — and worshipping ballerina Karen Kain. "Being gay added an extra-special flavour to the horror of being a teenager," he says.  After graduating from high school at 17, he felt he had to get out of Toronto. He took a degree in Japanese at Columbia University in New York ("I have some facility in languages") and went to Tokyo to work as a translator for a publisher of art books.  It was, he writes, "his first attempt to lead an adult life" and he failed: after four months, at the age of 22, he noticed that a pea-sized lump in his neck had grown in three weeks to the size of a plum and he had to return to Toronto to seek treatment at Princess Margaret hospital for Hodgkin's lymphoma.  A poignant essay that concludes his first collection describes his search for the sperm that he was urged to store before having radiation and chemotherapy, in case he ever wanted to be a father.

After his lymphoma was arrested, he headed back to New York. He lives near Union Square, and recently took out U.S. citizenship. "I did it so I can entrench my relationship to New York, to get to stay in a place that is truly my home."  What's next for David Rakoff? Has he thought of tackling a play or novel? He says he is "crippled with fear' about writing in longer genres but knows he has to move beyond the essay form. "The self loathing and panic will reach a head of steam that will goad me into trying either one," is all he'll say.

Author Q&A: Helen Oyeyemi

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Vit Wagner

(Oct. 26, 2005) The 26th International Festival of Authors, continuing to Oct. 29 at Harbourfront Centre, has welcomed an influx of fresh young faces. Among
this year's invitees are 14 authors — roughly 25 per cent of the total roster — who have published their first book. Following is one in a series of Q&As on getting started.

Name: Helen Oyeyemi
Age: 21
Hometown: London, England and Ibadan, Nigeria
Book: The Icarus Girl (Viking Canada), a novel
IFOA appearances: Reads on a program with Diana Evans, Nick Laird and Zadie Smith, tomorrow at 8 p.m. at Premiere Dance Theatre; joins David Baddiel and Francine Prose for round table discussion on the subject "Books That Have Influenced You," Saturday at 5 p.m. in the Brigantine Room.

Q. What was the greatest obstacle to becoming a published author?

A. School. The fact that almost all of my teachers were demanding homework and hassling me while I was trying to write this novel. But I know they only did it because they care.

Q. What is the strongest selling point for your book?

A. I really have no idea?!

Q. If writing hadn't panned out, what was your fallback career?

A. Psychology! But I still want to be a librarian. Maybe. I change my mind every minute.

Skittish Agents: 26th International Festival Of Authors

Excerpt from The Toronto Star – By Vit Wagner

(Oct. 23, 2005) The 26th International Festival of Authors, continuing to Oct. 29 at Harbourfront Centre, has welcomed an influx of fresh young faces. Among this year's invitees are 14 authors — roughly 25 per cent of the total roster — who have just published their first book. Following is one in a series of Q&As on getting started.  Name: Josh Emmons.  Age: 32.  Hometown: "Originally from Eureka, Ca., I lived in New Orleans until Hurricane Katrina struck. I'm currently in Seattle, waiting to go back."  Book: The Loss of Leon Meed (Simon & Schuster Canada), a novel.  IFOA appearances: Joins Tash Aw, Uzodinma Iweala and Jim Lynch for a round-table discussion on "the first book" Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Lakeside Terrace; reads on a program with David Gilmour, Ali Smith and Christopher Wilson, Thursday at 8 p.m. in the Brigantine Room.  What was the greatest obstacle to becoming a published author?  "For a long time it was finding an agent; they can be elusive, skittish creatures. I wrote magazine articles and book reviews, hoping that a few bylines would help me out on that score, but it all boiled down to writing a book that an agent responded to enthusiastically (`enthusiasm' is their favourite emotion) and wanted to hawk in a crowded, desperate marketplace."  What is the strongest selling point for your book?  "Although it's an ensemble novel about 10 loosely connected people, written in a realist style, it has a fabulist element — a man appearing and disappearing mysteriously — that lends a fairytale quality to the story. ... For adults of all ages."  If writing hadn't panned out, what was your fallback career?  "I've been a waiter, teacher, editor and retail salesperson — and hay baler — but at a certain point I traded it all in for the writing life because nothing else mattered to me. I don't know what I would've done if writing hadn't then panned out. Probably I'd be huddling in a corner somewhere right now, totally cowed by the real world, ready for a definitive breakdown that would force someone to feed and house me. And because making a living in the arts, especially the literary arts, is so uncertain — most people can't do it for long — I may find my corner yet."

David Rakoff: Canada's Big Apple Peeler

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail - By Sarah Hampson

(Oct. 22, 2005) 'Can we go off the record?" worries David Rakoff, the line between his eyebrows deepening, his big eyes full of trepidation. "No problem," I say, turning my tape recorder off. "Okay," he begins, placing his hands on the table, palms down, as if he's about to make a big announcement to corporate shareholders. "Torontonians are polite, but not warm," he says, looking up to gauge response to his proclamation. That's it? "Why does that have to be off the record?" "Oh, I don't want to be seen as criticizing." His hands now run over his balding, close-shaven head. He cringes into the back of his seat. "You're not. You're allowed to make an observation." He shrugs and reluctantly acquiesces. The tape recorder goes back on. "And in New York," he continues bravely, "That might be the very opposite. People are warm, but they're not polite. They're direct. I love the emotional immediacy of the place." He looks up again, slightly embarrassed, as if reading the molecules in the room to see how his words might have altered the IR balance. David Rakoff, a 41-year-old Montreal-born writer who has lived in New York for 18 years, has earned a reputation as a witty, incisive social observer on National Public Radio's This American Life, and in print. But Rakoff doesn't spout off, not easily anyway. In his writing for magazines and in two collections of his essays, he pokes fun at the way we are with the tip of his pen, delicately dissecting the rich absurdity of certain situations, and showing us something important (although not necessarily reassuring) about ourselves. And in person? Well, Don't Get Too Comfortable is the title of his new collection of journalistic essays, a wryly-observed tour through the world of American excess, but it's also an accurate description of Rakoff's relationship with his talent. He is not comfortable with his insight, and he rarely feels at home with his work as a writer. "There are times when I feel I just can't do it," he says, growing smaller in a chair in his publisher's boardroom. "I just can't be at that phase again where I'm just scribbling furiously in my God-damned notebook and then typing up the notes and then thinking, 'What the hell is this?' It's like being given 90 balls of yarn and being, like, 'Okay, where's the sweater?' " His first collection, Fraud, met with critical acclaim and made him part of that cabal of male writers in New York -- call them the Big Apple Peelers -- who skin the city, society at large and any experience they can find, to figure out what weird human foibles lie underneath. David Sedaris is another, as is Dave Eggers.

In Don't Get Too Comfortable, Rakoff continues the tradition of letting us in on his adventures (and misadventures). He takes a trip on one of the last flights on the Concorde. Then, by way of comparison, hops on board Hooters Air out of Newark, New Jersey. He checks out a Karl Lagerfeld fashion show, observes a Playboy shoot off the coast of Belize; works as a pool boy in South Beach; submits to a consultation with a plastic surgeon; and thinks about what the popular show, Puppetry of the Penis, really means. But the process was agonizing. "I was so horrified by the manuscript," he offers with no prompting. "It was one of those things where it was as if I had come in drunk to a party and I'd actually urinated on myself and hadn't realized and somebody would have to take me aside and say, 'Okay, you can't come in here . You've pissed your pants. Why don't you just go home?' "Do you know that feeling when you've done something of which you are so ashamed that the only thing you can do is fix your gaze on some point in the room and make your face a mask of immobility?" His large-featured face cracks with a small self-conscious smile. "I thought that there wasn't a single stylish turn of phrase. A Sno-Cone machine could have written this, I thought." This interview is not as bad as you might think. Rakoff is not talking about his creative angst as a pity-the-poor-writer ploy. He is too self-effacing, too easily embarrassed to do that. Which is not to say there isn't a feeling that he doth protest too much. His writing, after all, is sharp and clean, and he later admits that he, too, realizes it's pretty good after he has allowed "some air" between him and his work. Listening to him, there is more a sense that he plummets the depth of his low self-esteem out of a desire to inform people about the texture of the air he breathes, which is what he likes to do. In all his work, Rakoff allows the circumstances he puts himself in to dent his easily-nicked sensibilities, so that he can write about what it feels like to be there. The life of being a writer is just another situation he finds himself in, which, according to him, involves taking two power naps a day, worrying, eating snacks constantly, calling friends when he shouldn't, never leaving his Union Square apartment in New York, and checking his email every nanosecond. But it's a tortuous life he loves. "I think about writing all the time," he tells me lushly. "I think about what it means to me. . . . I think about what it means to do it. It really does suffuse me in every way, shape and form." That much is clear. He is deeply in his head, thinking over every twist and turn of thought. Might that have anything to do with the fact that he's the son of a prominent psychiatrist, Vivian Rakoff, and his wife, Gina Shochat-Rakoff, a physician/psychotherapist, who live in Toronto? I ask this gently, thinking that maybe growing up with in household that values the inner life, he might have learned to listen to himself from an early age. "It has nothing to do with my family. It's just who I am," he asserts pointedly. "It's part of the culture of New York." Rakoff will peel back the layers of other people and situations, but never those of his family or childhood. He is the youngest of three siblings. The others remain in Toronto, which is where he attended high school (Forest Hill Collegiate) before heading to Columbia University to study Asian culture and languages. His brother is a stand-up comedian; his sister, a non-lawyer family-conflict mediator. Any reason for his silence? "To even articulate it would be essentially to be writing about my family," he says, smiling sweetly and close-lipped.

What's that all about? Some guilt thing? Not wanting to upset anyone? "No, it's just private. You don't want to turn every viable human experience that you have into material." Why not? A lot of people do. Memoir is big. "Because then you're a hack," he shoots back, his eyes widening, stunned, it seems, by the vehemence of his own response. "If you can't walk to the corner without thinking about, 'Oh, I can get 250 words out of this . . .," he trails off, shaking his head in disapproval. "Sometimes, you just have to live your life." Does he know his next book project? "Oh," he moans, head in hands again, back in the comfort of his melancholia. "I'm still very much in the state of mind that the jig is up. I felt that after the first book. It's why it took me four years to write this book, because I felt I just shot my wad on the first one." What will he do then, aside from continuing to write magazine pieces? A few years ago he acted in The Book of Liz, a farce by David and Amy Sedaris. Early in his career, he worked as an editor, and then as a communications manager for Harper Collins in New York. Would he go back to that? "No," he muses in a low groan. "I don't think I could go back to facilitating the work of others, not being able to do my own, and having been given the taste of the great privilege of doing that in my life." Then, brightening slightly, he says that he has been thinking about the merit of "letting the gluten rest." He spoke to a writer friend the other day, who told him that Zadie Smith, the British writing sensation, is going to fix up her house now that she has written another book. "And I thought, 'Oh, I could paint my bathroom!' I'm down to the wire financially, but I don't think I would run out of money if I painted my bathroom!" Any colour in mind? "Oh, celery-ish," he beams, with the broadest smile of the interview. David Rakoff reads at the Harbourfront Centre's Brigantine Room in Toronto, tomorrow at 5 p.m. (with Rick Moody and Seth), as part of the International Festival of Authors, and is interviewed (with Jonathan Safran Foer) at IFOA on Tuesday at 7 p.m. Information: 416-973-4000 or




Conspicuous Consumption: Finishing Touches

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Rita Zekas

(Oct. 23, 2005) Finishing Touches women's boutique is a retail star.  Co-owners Pat Kline and Mary Lu Toms are celebrating 30 years in
business at 3281 Yonge St., in that fly-over part of Yonge, north of Lawrence.  "Our location is not the downtown core," says Toms. "But we consider ourselves a downtown store."  Karen Kain is an FT regular, ditto Mary Walsh, comic Jen Irwin, sportscaster Jody Vance, figure skater Debbi Wilkes, and Citytv personalities including Marilyn Denis. The store has been sourced by stylists for a variety of TV movies, music videos, films and series from Street Legal to Style by Jury.  Former First Lady Lady Bird Johnson "pulled up one day in a limo and toured the store with her daughter, Lucy," Kline recalls.  "We didn't know what hit us. Why would she stop in north Yonge St., with bodyguards? They blocked the door and the women sat down and had stuff brought to them."  A "shrouded" Sandy Dennis came in during one film festival, and did a walk through.  And they do volume. They've gone from 400 square feet to 3,200 square feet — practically unheard of in retail, where neighbourhood stores routinely make way for Starbucks.  "I attribute it to our adaptability," explains Kline. "We understand the trends and react quickly."  "We are not afraid of change," adds Toms. "There are people who shopped here 15 years ago who come in and say, `I thought you were still doing country,' as if we were still doing Ralph Lauren prairie skirts."  Not that they would have been out of place last summer, with the glut of hippie-dippy tiered skirts at every price point.

"We know our customer," says Kline.  "The market changes and we pick up new customers," elaborates Toms.  "We'd go out of business if we depended on the same customers," Kline states. "A lot of our customers still like the high-rise (rather than butt-crack) pant."  Adds Tom: "So we still have a lot of them. The old customers trust us."  And they have incentives.  "We have rewards in points," points out Kline. "And we have our mailers, which have hot picks of the season from our staffers. They sell out in one day ... We've kept our staff; some have been with us for 25 years. They've left to have babies and come back, and our new staff generates a new customer base."  "Our loyal customers say, `Why would we go anywhere else?'" Toms says. "When we go buying (they still do the buying) we think, `You know, so and so would like this.' We custom shop for them. We track it, service them, phone them and give them personal service."  For example, they ordered a black, boiled wool pant from Lida Baday and the entire stock was pre-sold at $400 a pop.  "Brian Bailey named a pair of pants `the FT pant' because we sold so many," Kline says. "He made one pant that we sold more of than anyone in the country," adds Toms.  That said, sometimes it's not feasible to anticipate trends. If customers are not ready for it, they don't jump the gun.  "For next spring, we know our customer has not had enough of tiered skirts and shrunken jackets," says Kline. "You have to know your business. What do you have that Holts, Mendocino and Over the Rainbow doesn't?"  They concur that the most difficult fashion trends for customers to relinquish were shoulder pads and stirrup pants. Don't go there.  Kline and Toms met at Seneca College, where Toms was a graphic designer for the media program and Kline was director of the communications program. They worked together on a TV production handbook.

They opened Finishing Touches originally as a home accessories shop, branching out into kaftans and jackets.  "The first year we opened, I put a plant in the window and I sold it," Kline recalls. "The guy thought we were a florist shop."  They used their pension money, plus a loan from a kindly old banker in the 'hood, to open.  "We got an $8,000 loan from an old guy at the top of the street," Kline recalls.  "Nobody could go into business being so underfinanced," says Toms. "We cashed in our pension funds, we wall-papered, painted and found friends to hang shelves."  "One of our (male) friends called it our `expensive hobby,'" chuckles Kline.  "We didn't have money for inventory," says Toms. "So we went to the yellow pages and picked up baskets to sell."  So, will they be in the biz another 30 years? "No!" says Toms unequivocally.  Kline is not so sure: "One of our customers celebrated her 95th birthday and she still shops at Finishing Touches with her daughter and grandchildren."





Michael Jordan Reflects In New Autobiography

Excerpt from

(Oct. 26, 2005) *Three years removed from his playing career and in celebration of the 20th anniversary of Air Jordan, Michael Jordan reflects on his on and off court successes, including the creation of Brand Jordan, in “Driven from Within” (Atria Books; $35.00; Hardcover) edited by Mark Vancil.  The book includes stories, anecdotes, drawings, and photographs that capture Jordan's exceptional career. He introduces the reader to some of the people closest to him, including Dean Smith, the University of North Carolina coach who saw Michael's superstar potential and became like his second father; his mother, Delores Jordan; and Tinker Hatfield, the design genius behind 14 of the 20 Air Jordan shoes.  The book also offers a peek inside the creative process at Nike, including the creation of Jordan XX, developed to celebrate Jordan's 20-year milestone of collaboration with the company.   “Driven from Within” culminates with Michael Jordan's speculations on what the future holds.  "In all honesty, I don't know what's ahead," Jordan say. "If you ask me what I'm going to do in five years, I can't tell you. This moment? Now that's a different story."  During his incredible career on the court, Michael Jordan won five MVP awards, set numerous NBA records, and led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championship titles. He was also a member of the "Dream Team" that brought home the gold medal at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona and re-established the United States as the world's pre-eminent basketball power.

Jordan Puts Cards On The Table For ’60 Minutes’

Excerpt from

(Oct. 21, 2005) *This Sunday’s episode of CBS’ “60 Minutes” includes an interview with NBA legend Michael Jordan, who talks at length about a
gambling problem that almost destroyed him. The former athlete, who led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championships, said his excessive gambling was a by-product of his competitive nature, but he eventually recognized that his behaviour was growing increasingly out of control.  "I've gotten myself into [gambling] situations where I would not walk away and I've pushed the envelope," Jordan said in the interview. "It's very embarrassing... one of the things you totally regret. So you look at yourself in the mirror and say, 'I was stupid.'"  In the interview, Jordan also discussed his passion for basketball, the murder of his father, and critics who expect him to be more vocal about political, racial and social issues.  "It's heavy duty to try to do everything and please everybody,” he said. “My job was to go out there and play the game of basketball as best I can."  Jordan's new book, “Driven from Within," arrives in stores on Oct. 24th.







Maximum Fitness, Minimum Time: 16 Tips

By Tom Storms, Certified Personal Trainer/Fitness Consultant

1. In the beginning, your fitness plan should not be overly
aggressive. One of the biggest problems most people encounter when starting a fitness program is rapidly depleted motivation after only a few weeks due to an overly ambitious fitness plan. Two days per week of 20-minute low-intensity cardiovascular exercise (walking, jogging, biking, swimming); and two days per week of 30-minute light resistance training (using weights or resistance machines) is adequate in the beginning. As you become acclimated to the lifestyle shift you can add more days and get improved results. But beware: If you try to do too much too fast, you may end up quitting altogether.  If you've tried and failed doing it alone, then I suggest you get a training partner or personal trainer who will help you sustain your motivation.

2. If your goal is fat-loss, then your cardiovascular exercise should be low intensity. Your heart rate during cardio exercise should not exceed 50 percent to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate. The simple formula for calculating your 100-percent maximum heart rate is 220 minus your age.  If the intensity of your exercise increases your heart rate beyond 70 percent (which can occur very easily if you are in poor shape), you start shifting from using body fat as your energy source to relying on glucose metabolism. Your personal trainer can supply you with a simple heart-rate monitor you can wear during exercise so you always stay in your peak fat-burning range.

3. Don't waste your time working small muscles with isolated movements. If you don't enjoy doing resistance training or are pressed for time, concentrate on working the largest muscle groups with compound resistance movements.  When I see overweight people doing wrist curls or lateral raises, I wonder why. It’s generally just a lack of understanding of how their bodies work. Most people want to lose fat and tone and firm their bodies. The way to do that is to use resistance (weights or machines) to train the large muscle groups.  Men should be concentrating on legs, chest and back. Women should concentrate more on their legs and back. The best exercises for legs are lunges or squats (your personal trainer will show you the proper form and then monitor you during the exercise) and leg press. The best chest exercise is bench press, and the best back exercise is the seated row. All of these are compound movements, which means they incorporate multiple muscle groups.

4. Always, always, always stretch. Stretching improves flexibility, blood flow, muscle recovery, low-back pain and a host of other things. Additionally, stretching can prevent injury, make you sleep better and improve your performance in all sports. Always stretch, but be certain not to stretch cold muscles. You should always warm up before stretching. However, it is very important that you know how to stretch. Never bounce! Your personal trainer will show you the proper execution and timing of your stretches.

5. Never, ever do a traditional sit-up. Unless you are super athlete with an incredibly well-developed midsection, sit-ups can lead to a strained lower back and possibly lumbar injuries. But it gets worse. Rather than hitting your abdominal section, sit-ups can shift exercise tension to your hip flexors which defeats the purpose.  There is so much misinformation about how to strengthen, tone and firm the midsection, it's almost frightening. It is very difficult to learn proper abdominal-exercise technique by reading about it or watching it demonstrated on a video. You need to do it with supervision and get feedback about your form from a knowledgeable source.  And keep in mind that you use your abdominal muscles in almost every single movement you make. Strengthening your abdominal region is the single-most-effective way to prevent, or recover from, low-back pain.

6. Set realistically attainable goals. You must have tangible, quantifiable, short-term and long-term goals for your fitness program so you can gauge your progress. It's crucial to have a baseline before you begin, so you can measure success. Your health club or personal trainer can give you a complete fitness analysis (don't be shy -- you need this) that will aid you or your trainer in developing a personalized fitness program that addresses your particular needs.  Having goals, particularly short-term goals, allows you to track your progress and keep you motivated when times are tough and you don't feel like exercising. Keeping a journal of your cardio and resistance-training workouts, as well as tracking what you eat, is truly a fitness-success secret.  Just remember your goals should be realistic and attainable. The best way for you to understand what is realistic and attainable for you is to talk to a fitness professional -- don't buy into the hype of infomercials or diet-and-fitness products that blatantly mislead.

7. Set exercise appointments with yourself. You wouldn't miss a business meeting or client appointment, would you? So don't miss your exercise appointment with yourself. Nothing is more important than your health. Nothing. Everything else will crumble around you if your health goes south. So make your exercise appointments a priority.  If you find it difficult to keep these appointments, then consider hiring a personal trainer who will hold you to your commitment. When you have money invested and someone waiting for you to show up, you are much more likely to actually show up!

8. Remember the benefits of exercise. Remember that feeling of euphoria you experienced after a particularly good workout? You experienced that feeling because the most powerful feel-good drug in the world, endorphins, were coursing through your veins. If there is a panacea, it s exercise.  Nothing feels better than the post-workout high you experience after exercising. Revel in that feeling. Let it wash over you and truly experience it. Etch that feeling in your brain. It will fuel your motivation on those inevitable days when you just don't feel like exercising. Being physically fit affects every single aspect of your life: You sleep better, eat better, love better, overcome stress better, work better, communicate better and live better!

9. Exercise correctly. So much time is wasted doing, at best, unproductive exercise, or at worst, dangerous exercise. Get educated on how to exercise correctly. And the absolute best way to do that is to hire a personal trainer to develop a program for you and then teach you what to do and how to do it right.  Personal training does not have to be an ongoing process. You can hire a personal trainer for whatever length of time you need to learn the ropes. It could be five sessions or 15. It's completely up to you. But statistics prove that those who understand how to exercise correctly, get better, faster results. And that's what you want, right? Results!

10. Enjoy yourself. The most difficult thing is actually getting into your running shoes or going to the gym. But once you begin your work-out, relax and enjoy the process. Don't fight it. Make exercise your personal time.  When you are exercising you can focus completely on yourself. Yes, exercising can and should be somewhat rigorous (depending on your level of fitness), but it is just that investment that makes it supremely rewarding. As with anything, if you are in the moment, you can fully appreciate the experience and truly enjoy the process.

11. Americans eat too many carbohydrates for our lifestyles. Minimize your intake of bread, pasta, rice, potato and of course all sugary drinks. We are no longer an agrarian society participating in manual labour. Most of us are fairly sedentary throughout the day and therefore do not need the high levels of carbohydrates to sustain our energy.  Additionally, carbohydrates are addictive. The more doughnuts you eat, the more you want. The bulk of your carbohydrates should come from vegetables and fruit. And those with high water content, such as cucumbers, grapefruit, tomatoes, cantaloupe, strawberries and even vegetable soups (watch out for high sodium), will fill you up nicely.  By the way, numerous studies have conclusively proven that the quarter of the population eating the most vegetables get half the cancer of the quarter eating the least!

12. Deep-fried food has no nutritional value none! Almost every food, whether it s steak, chocolate or red wine, has some nutrients to contribute. But one thing is absolute: Fried foods are garbage.  Potato chips, French fries, onion rings, breaded chicken strips and all the rest of the deep-fried junk are pregnant with saturated fat and calories, and they contain almost zero nutritional value. If you're trying to lose weight and/or reduce fat, simply eliminate fried foods completely from your diet. Yikes! That stuff is scary.

13. Never, ever skip breakfast. If you want to maximize your fitness results or fat-loss efforts, you've got to eat breakfast. Even if you don't exercise at all, breakfast remains the most important meal of the day.  Your breakfast should contain complete proteins and complex carbohydrates (if you're trying to lose weight, you should eat the bulk of your complex carbohydrates at breakfast and lunch and only have vegetable carbohydrates at dinner). A great breakfast is oatmeal (not the pre-packaged, pre-sweetened kind) with a little honey and banana and a protein drink. Or try scrambled egg whites with Healthy Choice turkey sausage.

14. Eat fat to lose fat. Healthy fats are necessary to your body for a bunch of reasons: regulating hormonal production, improving immune function, lowering total cholesterol, lubricating joints, and providing the basics for healthy hair, nails and skin.  You must be aware of the difference between healthy good fats and dangerous bad fats. Good fats are monounsaturated fats such as olive; peanut and canola oil; avocados; all-natural peanut butter and nuts; and omega-3 fats found in salmon, mackerel and soy-based foods. Bad fats are saturated fats, partially hydrogenated fats (killers!), and trans fats.  Your personal trainer can provide you with a simple diet program that will compliment your exercise to help you live longer, feel better and boost your immune system. The bottom line is your body needs good fats and will revolt if you attempt to abstain from them; it absolutely does not need bad fats.

15. Drink plenty of fresh, clean water. Yes, I know that you've heard this over and over again. The recommended amount is approximately eight glasses, or 64 ounces, of water every day. When you are exercising, you need to drink even more. More than 75 percent of your body is water (even bone is more than 20-percent water). When you don't drink enough water and substitute diuretics like coffee, tea and caffeinated sodas, you dehydrate your body, your blood doesn't flow properly and your digestive system doesn't operate smoothly (among other problems).  Even a small deficit of water can radically affect how your body performs. Here's a good rule of thumb: If you're urine is a dark yellow and/or has a strong odour, you're not drinking enough water. Drink up!

16. Eat regularly throughout the day. Fasting or overly restrictive diets will enable you to lose weight in the short run, because the weight you lose is primarily water weight and lean muscle mass. But in the long-run, it has exactly the opposite effect you want.  When you restrict your diet, your body instinctively thinks it's being starved and shifts into a protective mode by storing fat. Energy expenditures are fuelled by your lean muscles. Therefore your body fat remains essentially the same and you lose vital fluids and muscle instead.  The less muscle you have, the slower your metabolism becomes, and the less fat you burn. You should be eating three nutritionally balanced meals each day, and you should have at least one or two healthy snacks. This keeps your metabolic furnace stoked, so you burn more at a faster rate. I know it's counter-intuitive, but it's the gospel truth!

There you have it -- 16 essential strategies for an effective weight-loss-and-fitness program that will have you looking and feeling better than you have in years -- maybe ever!  I realize that starting (or re-starting) a productive and effective health-and-fitness program is not easy. That's why I encourage you to get help.  If you're sick, you go to the doctor. If you've got a tax problem, you see an accountant (or an attorney!). Have a toothache? You're off to the dentist. Leaky pipes result in a call to the plumber. So why is it that so many people attempt to solve their health-and-fitness problems without consulting an expert? I don't know exactly, but I encourage you to make the investment in yourself, in your quality of life, by hiring a qualified professional to help you get started.  The hardest part is just getting started and sustaining your motivation until fitness becomes habitual. Once you develop the habit, which can take as little as 30 days, your whole life will change for the better.

Visit Tom Storms' site at









The Orbit Room
College Street
10:30 pm 

: Featuring Wade O. Brown, Shamakah Ali, Rich Brown, Adrian Eccleston, David Williams.


College Street Bar
574 College Street (at Manning)
10:30 pm

: Featuring Dione Taylor, Sandy Mamane, Davide Direnzo, Justin Abedin, Dafydd Hughes and David French.


Irie Food Joint 
745 Queen Street W.   
10:00 pm

: Don’t miss the party on one of the hottest patios in the city at Irie Food Joint.  You HAVE to come out and help us celebrate the remainder of the summer.   DJ Carl Allen will be spinning the tunes while Kayte Burgess and Adrian Eccleston bring the live music.  Make some new friends and meet up with some old ones! 


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. 


Hugh’s Room
2261 Dundas St. West
Special Guest performance at 8:30pm
Tickets $20 in advance $22 at the door.
Call for tickets: 416.531.6604

EVENT PROFILE: November 4 presents an opportunity to see rising jazz, soul and blues baritone DeeKaye Ibomeka headlining the prestigious Hugh’s Room in Toronto. The 25-year-old  jazz baritone with  enormous stage presence and 3-octave range has just completed the recording of his debut CD, co-written with and produced by jacksoul’s Haydain Neale.  DeeKaye made an impressive Montreal debut this summer at the Jazz Festival’s spectacular “Voices of Soul” concert where he shared the stage with The Neville Brothers, Patti Labelle, Ann Peebles, Deborah Cox and Jully Black.  DeeKaye’s debut CD is scheduled for release in early 2006 and features his unique blend of jazz, soul and the blues.  Don’t miss this opportunity to check out the vocal stylings of DeeKaye Ibomeka who will be backed by a hot band featuring Andrew Craig on keyboards and Roger Travassos on drums!


The Orbit Room
College Street
10:30 pm 

: Featuring Wade O. Brown, Shamakah Ali, Rich Brown, Adrian Eccleston, David Williams.


College Street Bar
574 College Street (at Manning)
10:30 pm

: Featuring Dione Taylor, Sandy Mamane, Davide Direnzo, Justin Abedin, Dafydd Hughes and David French.



Have a great week!  

Dawn Langfield   
Langfield Entertainment