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NEWSLETTER

Updated:  October 27, 2005


This week brings some sad news in my extended family, the Salmons. Dr. Doug Salmon (husband of Bev and father to Doug, Jr., Warren, Heather and Leslie) passed away last week. He walked through life as such a Distinguished Gentleman and will be sorely missed by all that knew him - for me as "Doc". My prayers go out to all who loved this great, quiet and brilliant man. The legacy he leaves with us is truly incredible. See more details below. The edition is dedicated to his memory and for the impact he has had on us personally, professionally and spiritually.

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.

 

 

::HOT EVENTS::

 

 

Canadian Music Artists Join Katrina Fundraising Efforts – HOT Line-Up

Have you wondered what you can do to help while watching the media coverage of the devastating trail of Hurricane Katrina? This is your opportunity to help those in need - come out on Thursday, October 6th to Revival, 783 College Street at 8:00 pm for one of the hottest musical showcases to support Habitat For Humanity's "Operation Home Delivery" project to aid the rebuilding of the gulf coast.  Syreeta Neal, one of Toronto’s R&B divas (and daughter of Grammy-winning Kenny Neal), a native of New Orleans has family members who lost their homes. Syreeta returned to Toronto just days after surviving the challenges that the hurricane left in its wake. Syreeta’s first order of business? To put together a fundraiser with a plethora of her friends and family in a musical showcase to help those left without a home.

The goal is to raise funds for Habitat For Humanity's "Operation Home Delivery" project. This division of HFH is a program where "sample" houses are built and sent to areas in the gulf coast affected by Hurricane Katrina. Volunteers then rebuild whole communities speedily in order to assist impoverished families to start anew. Syreeta’s vision is to effect change for the future of these people. With costs of $100 million dollars to build 1,500 houses, the need for donations is great.

The show will be hosted by Syreeta Neal and one of the South's hottest producers Howard M. (Master P., Lil Romeo, C Miller, Faith Evans, Lil Wayne!). The confirmed line-up is:

Andrew Craig
Dane
DJ Carl Allen
Graph Nobel
James Bryan
Jeen O'Brien
Kayte Burgess
Jennie Laws
Melanie Durrant
Syreeta Neal
The Show
Wade O. Brown
Zaki Ibrahim
… and more surprise special guests!

The majority of the performers will be playing acoustically or "unplugged" in an intimate setting. The range of varied performers includes the genres of rock, R&B, dance and soul - all joining forces to raise some funds. Anyone who wants to help heal through the power of music and give what they can for the cause is welcome!

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 6
CONCERT FOR KATRINA RELIEF

Hosted by Syreeta Neal and Howard M.
Revival Lounge
783 College Street (at Shaw)
Doors open: 8:00 pm
Showtime: 9:30 pm
Cover: $10 before 10:00 pm, $15 after 10:00 pm

 

 

 

Ladies Night at Hotel Lounge - Thursdays

Every Thursday night Hotel Boutique Lounge invite you to “Ladies Night” Hosted by: Trent, Canada’s top male model (www.trentonline.ca).

Hotel Boutique Lounge is an intimate night club, where you can party in style with Toronto’s most stunning ladies and classy men. Thursdays cater to women! Ladies are free all night long, and there are free drink tickets, product gift bags, long stem red roes, and much more as giveaways.  Come and check out the newest Thursday night in Toronto!

LADIES NIGHT THURSDAYS
Hosted by Trent
Hotel Boutique
Lounge
77 Peter Street, Main Floor
21 and over
Ladies free all night long
For Reservations:416.345.8585
www.hotelboutiquelounge.com
www.trentonline.ca

 

 

 

::WE REMEMBER::

 

 

Dr. Douglas Salmon, 81: Surgeon, Scholar

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Philip Mascoll, Staff Reporter


(Sep. 27, 2005)
Dr. John Douglas Graham Roy Salmon was a kind and wonderful person who had to struggle for everything he achieved, his family and friends say. Salmon, who died last Wednesday at age 81, wasn't only one of the first black surgeons in Canada. He was an accomplished pianist, scholar, athlete and sculptor as well. "From the moment I met him, I knew he was a person I could truly respect, and I never varied from thinking that way," Beverley (Bev) Salmon, his wife and former Metro Toronto and North York councillor said of her partner for 49 years. "He was always warm and loving to all the family. He had a way of reaching out to people ... he was loved by patients and colleagues alike. He was truly a role model and inspiration." His lifelong friend, lawyer Leonard Braithwaite, Canada's first black MPP, called Salmon "kind and capable. "This great land of ours is better because of him," Braithwaite said of the man he grew up with near Kensington Market. Braithwaite said that in those days, before World War II, black families were few and far between in Toronto. Salmon's life was a story of triumph over adversity. Born Dec. 13, 1923, in Toronto to Jamaican immigrants Eugenie, a Black Cross (the Marcus Garvey-originated medical corps) nurse, and Robert, a veteran of the Boer War, Douglas was the youngest of six children. They became orphaned during the Great Depression when Douglas was 6. Their mother's sister, Margaret Brown (Aunt Mag), a childless widow in her 50s, stepped in to raise them. Salmon was independent and strong-willed even as a child. His late sister, Stevella, used to recall that even from a very young age, her baby brother was always insistent that "I'm going to be a docta!"

Young Douglas Salmon would let nothing stand in his way, according to the family history. Always resourceful and self-motivated he would go around the neighbourhood and light furnaces for a penny, as well as work three paper routes so he, too, could contribute to the family. In the 1940s, "Doug Salmon & his Orchestra" entertained at dances, parties and lodges in and around Toronto. Not escaping the realities of racism of the day, Salmon became a protest leader on the Race Discrimination Committee (1942), which battled for the rights of blacks to enter Toronto's Palais Royale to see jazz greats such as Duke Ellington. The protest came after he and a group of friends were denied admission to the Palais Royale to hear Earl "Fatha" Hines play piano.

In a 1992 interview with the
Star, Salmon said while Canada didn't have segregation in those days, blacks did find themselves shut out of places. "You didn't see blacks as salespersons. As far as education was concerned, you saw few blacks introduced to university." In 1951, he obtained his honours degree in physiology and biochemistry from the University of Toronto, and in 1955, his medical degree, graduating president of his second medical year. Salmon received scholarships from the American Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation and interned at Toronto Western Hospital. In 1954, his sister Bea introduced him to Beverley Bell, a young Victorian Order nurse. They were married in 1956 and immediately moved to Detroit. Although he was offered a thriving practice in Detroit, the couple chose to return to Toronto and started a family. They had four children: J. Douglas Jr., Warren, Heather and Leslie. In 1967, Salmon joined Scarborough Centenary Hospital's general surgical staff. He was the busiest general surgeon there for many years, which his colleagues attributed to not only his superior skills and training, but also his work ethic, conscientious patient care, disciplined lifestyle and great personality. Salmon was known for his courage, humility and compassion, as he became one of the first surgeons in Canada to treat the morbidly obese with breakthrough gastric bypass surgery.

Salmon became president of Centenary's medical staff and was later appointed chief of general surgery, the first black person in Canada to hold such positions. After retiring from Centenary Hospital in 1995, he joined the Rudd Clinic in downtown Toronto. He retired from practice in 1997. Salmon was a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons and a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. In recognition of his outstanding stature and service to the community, he was awarded the Canadian Black Achievement Award, Medicine. In tribute to their beloved husband and father, his family has established the Dr. John Douglas Graham Salmon Award for Black Medical Students, administered through the University of Toronto's faculty of medicine. Donations to the award may be made c/o The Medical Science Building, Room 2306, 1 Kings College Circle, Toronto, M5S 1A8, or call Ingrid Graham, 416-946-7681. Visitation will take place today at Jerrett Funeral Home, 6191 Yonge St., south of Steeles Ave., from 2-4 p.m. and from 7-9 p.m. A funeral is to be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow at St. John's York Mills Anglican Church, 19 Don Ridge, North York, with a reception to follow at the church. The interment is private.

The Passing of Dr. John Douglas (Doug) Graham Salmon, M.D., F.R.C.S(C), F.A.C.S. - Retired Surgeon and Chief of Surgery at Scarborough Centenary Hospital

On Wednesday, September 21, 2005 at age 81, Douglas died peacefully at home surrounded by loved ones after a lengthy and courageous struggle. He was lovingly cared for by his family and caregivers. Devoted dearly loved husband of Bev, loving father of Douglas Jr. (Susan Fraser), Warren, Heather and Leslie (Jeff Jones). Beloved grandfather of Caitlyn, Tyler, Jordan, Shakarri and the late baby Angel Rose. He will be missed by his extended family and friends. Survived by his sister Bea, predeceased by his parents Eugenie and Robert, and siblings Stevella, Arthur, Lloyd, Mae and his beloved Aunt Mag. Friends will be received at the Jerrett Funeral Home, 6191 Yonge Street (2 lights south of Steeles Ave.) Tuesday, September 27 from 2 – 4 and 7 – 9 pm. Funeral Service Wednesday, September 28 at 11am at St. John’s York Mills Anglican Church, 19 Don Ridge. Reception to follow at the church. Private Interment. Donations in Doug’s memory can be made to the University of Toronto, The John Douglas Graham Salmon Award for Black Medical Students c/o The Medical Science Building, Rm 2306, 1 Kings College Circle, Toronto, Ontario M5S 1A8 or call Ingrid Graham (416)946-7681.

 

 

 

::MUSIC NEWS::

 

 

Urban Music Association Of Canada Unveils Nominees For 2005 Awards

(September 27, 2005) - Today the
Urban Music Association of Canada (UMAC) announced the nominees for the 2005 Canadian Urban Music Awards (CUMAs), the flagship event on Canada's urban music calendar taking place November 28 & 29 in Toronto.

Leading the field with five nominations apiece are Hip-Hop star
k-os and R&B powerhouse Jully Black. In addition to his nomination in the Fan's Choice Award category, k-os racked up nominations for Hip-Hop Recording of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, Producer of the Year and Music Video of the Year for his critically-acclaimed Joyful Rebellion project.

Black's hit single "Sweat of Your Brow", off of her debut album, This is Me, earned a nomination in the R&B/Soul Recording of the Year category, as well as two nominations for Dance/Electronic Recording of the Year for remixes of the song by Trackheadz and Tricky Moreira. The co-host of last year's awards show also earned nods in the Music Video and New Artist of the Year categories.

Fan's Choice nominees
Keshia Chanté and Divine Brown were close behind with four nominations each. Chanté, who took home three CUMA trophies last year, is also up for R&B/Soul Recording of the Year ("Let the Music Take You"), Music Video of the Year, and shares a Songwriter of the Year nomination with Rupert Gayle. Divine Brown was rewarded with four nods for her stellar self-titled debut offering (R&B/Soul Recording, New Artist, Music Video and Fan's Choice).

Shawn Desman, who came Back for More earlier this year with his sophomore release, scored three nominations (R&B/Soul Recording of the Year, Songwriter of the Year and Fan's Choice Award).

Breakthrough R&B star
Massari earned two nominations (R&B/Soul Recording of the Year and New Artist of the Year) in recognition of his solid self-titled debut album. Other double-nominees include talented Hip-Hop artist Rochester aka Juice (Hip-Hop Recording of the Year and New Artist of the Year), producer/songwriter/rapper Saukrates (Producer and Songwriter of the Year), Montreal-based Hip-Hop artist and MusiquePlus VJ Malik Shaheed (Francophone Recording of the Year and Media Personality of the Year), and Hip-Hop star K'naan (Hip Hop Recording of the Year and Songwriter of the Year).

Other notable urban music stars competing for 2005
CUMAs include Maestro (Hip-Hop Recording of the Year), jazz icons Jane Bunnett, Ranee Lee and Oliver Jones (Jazz Recording), Sonia Collymore (Reggae Recording), and in the Global Rhythms category, Alpha Yaya Diallo, Donné Robert and Madagascar Slim from the award-winning African Guitar Summit collective.

"With the amazing field of nominees this year, the show promises to be an unbelievable showcase of talent and star-power," says
UMAC Executive Director, Aisha Wickham. "We are currently cooking up some awesome performance collaborations that we will be announcing soon. Believe me…this year's show is not to be missed!"

In a new category this year,
UMAC members will have the opportunity to honour an outstanding member of the urban music industry with the Community Service Award. Nominees in that category include the Atlantic Canada Hip Hop E-Newsletter (an online resource and mentoring tool for the East Coast music industry), B.L.O.C.K.Headz (a youth empowerment organization that has used music to raise political awareness), the Kay Morris Foundation (which supports orphans and provides disaster aid to Africa) and UrbanAIDS (which employs urban music to increase youth awareness of how to prevent HIV/AIDS and encourages youth to participate in volunteer activities to promote prevention and assist people affected by HIV/AIDS).

Canadian Idol judge Farley Flex will be honoured with this year's Special Achievement Award for raising the profile of urban music in Canada and for representing the industry on a national scale with infectious charisma and business acumen. Flex, who was one of the founding executives of FLOW 93.5 and has helped launch urban stations in Calgary and Edmonton, is currently guiding the careers of artists such as Canadian Idol finalists Toya Alexis and Gary Beals, as well as JUNO Award-winners In Essence through his company, Plasma Corporation. He is also a popular public speaker, coaching diverse audiences about potential, performance and effective career planning.

The Lifetime Achievement Award will go to jazz drummer
Archie Alleyne, who has played with countless jazz greats throughout his 56-year career, including Billie Holiday, Nancy Wilson, Mel Torme, Joe Sealy, Liberty Silver and many more. Currently, this primarily self-taught musician is co-band leader of Kollage, a jazz collective that has included emerging music stars from Hungary to Toronto and has performed for leaders like the President of Iceland to Nelson Mandela. In 2004, Kollage won Acoustic Group of the Year at the National Jazz Awards. Alleyne has a music scholarship fund and mentor program named in his honour, which helps inner-city high school students hone their skills with the guidance of seasoned jazz professionals.

The host for this year's award show will be internationally-renowned comedian
Russell Peters. Peters, who earlier this year became the first South Asian comedian to headline and sell-out the famed Apollo Theatre in New York and has played to sold-out crowds across the United States, was recently signed to a talent deal with Werner-Gold-Miller (part of Warner Bros. TV). His quick wit and riotous characterizations will make for a very entertaining and hilarious show.

The producer for this year's awards show is
Ngozi Paul of Ngozika Productions. Paul was part of the original creative team of Canada's first Black sitcom, Lord Have Mercy!, which was nominated for two Gemini Awards, including best comedic series. She was also co-producer of the landmark television event, The Tonya Lee Williams Gospel Jubilee, which aired on the CBC in March of 2004. The co-producer of the 2005 CUMAs is Sol Guy, who has been an influential contributor to the rise of Canadian urban music for more than a decade. As co-founder of Figure IV Entertainment, he worked closely with and developed the careers of RASCALZ, k-os, and Kardinal Offishall. Through his 4REAL project, he has traveled the world with his partner Joshua Sage, documenting the stories of young leaders around the world who are making change under extra-ordinary circumstances, and connecting them with internationally-renowned artists such as K'naan and dead prez.

The production team also includes
UMAC Artist Relations Director and Acting President Debi Blair and Joan Pierre. With a focus on television, urban music and event promotions, Blair is a veteran associate producer of previous CUMAs and will provide valuable creative and artistic leadership again for the 2005 awards. Pierre is a well-respected fixture in Canada's event planning industry and has over 25 years of experience in project management, sponsorship, arts administration and production for television and stage.

This year's event is generously supported by
FLOW 93.5 (Toronto), FACTOR (through the Canada Music Fund), The Bounce 91.7 (Edmonton), Radio Starmaker Fund, the SOCAN Foundation and the Toronto-Dominion Centre.

Online voting to select the winners of the
CUMAs is open exclusively to UMAC members from Wednesday, September 28 through Friday, October 28 at www.umacmembership.com.

For more information on the CUMAs and the nominees, visit www.umac.ca.

 

Where Fashion Meets Fado

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail - By Tony Montague


(Sept. 23, 2005) Mariza is still at work. The Portuguese chanteuse keeps a busy schedule, and just a few hours after flying home from two concerts in the Azores she's in the studio of dress-designer Joao Rolo, consulting with him on a floor-length gown for her North American tour. "Joao is a kind of Portuguese Valentino-figure -- very stylish," she says. "We've been collaborating for six years, from the beginning, and I owe him a great deal." With her haute-couture gowns and close-cropped platinum hair, Mariza has become an icon of Latin elegance in glossy magazines around the world. However, while she nurtures her image carefully, what really inspires Mariza is not fashion but fado -- the bittersweet music that encapsulates the soul of Lisbon. Sometimes referred to as the Portuguese blues, fado belongs to the streets and tavernas where it was created in the 19th century by sailors, fishwives, and former slaves. Mariza's powerful and supple voice is able to draw out every shade and colour of the emotionally saturated songs. You don't need to understand the language to know what she's singing about. "The essence of fado is human feelings," she says, "It deals with everything -- melancholy, saudade [yearning], joy, lost love, hope, grief. If it's part of life, then it's part of fado." Mariza was raised with fado. Her parents ran a small restaurant or fado-house in Mouraria, one of the cradles of the music, where she began singing at an early age.

Amazingly, her guitarist from that time still plays in her band. "Antonio [Neto] has performed with me since I was six and we're great friends. As children we used to make wonderful concerts on our street for the neighbours." Though Mariza mainly favours a traditional approach to accompaniment, with guitars and bass, she's also eager to explore new directions. For her third and latest album, Transparente, she travelled to Rio de Janeiro to work with Brazilian producer and cellist Jacques Morelenbaum. His chief innovation was to include such instruments as accordion and clarinet. "More of my personality, my fado, is able to appear than before. That's why I called it Transparente," says Mariza. "We had so much fun making it -- sometimes we stayed in the studio until 3:30 a.m. I never found time to go to the beach. Can you imagine being in Rio and not putting your feet in the ocean?" Transparente topped the Portuguese charts this summer. Next year, Mariza will also bring fado to the screen in a film by Spanish director Carlos Saura. "It's called Fados, but Carlos hasn't shown me the script yet, so I don't know if I will be acting or singing," she says, with a laugh "I just hope it won't make more people call me a diva. I hate that word. It comes from 'divine,' and I am just a human being, a fado singer, and so happy to be that." Mariza plays at The Chan Centre for the Performing Arts tomorrow. Tickets are $32 to $49 at Ticketmaster, 604-280-4444.

 

Tip: Bring CDS To CD Release Party

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Colin Pendrith, Special To The Star


(Sep. 24, 2005) Any old group of guys can throw together a motley rock outfit and play some shows. But it takes major dollars, a nationwide fan base and a coveted record deal to record an album, right? Absolutely wrong. Computer technology has made it cheaper and easier than ever to record your band's songs in high-quality digital format. All it takes is a little money and a lot of dedication. Using some would-be university tuition money, my group, The Jack Kerouac Knapsack Band, released a full-length album last January. We gigged like crazy and tried to move albums any way we could in a mad dash to pay back my debt to Queen's University and complete my degree by April. In the end, the work paid off — I graduated on time and our group began to see profits from record sales. Even without taking potentially catastrophic academic risks, unsigned bands can easily cut an album. Before you even get near a studio, you need a clear idea of what you want to accomplish. Bands like U2 can afford to spend months in the studio messing around with song "ideas" while the Daniel Lanoises of the world (read: enormously expensive producers) mould them into chart-topping hits. But your band probably doesn't have this option. If you can only afford 10 hours in the studio, don't spend the first three deciding which tunes to record. Do your prep-work ahead of time and you will see the dividends. Think about these important recording questions: How much money can I spend? Would I rather record more songs at a lesser quality or a few songs really well? How many songs do I have that are worth recording? There are three basic categories of studio releases: demos, EPs and LPs. A demo is the shortest and, in a sense, "most independent" of recordings. At an industry standard of three songs, a demo is inexpensive to record and serves as a succinct showcase of your band's material. An EP, or Extended Play, once denoted a seven-inch record but it now loosely defines a recording with anywhere from four to seven songs. An LP, or Long Play, is usually a recording of eight or more songs. But these definitions are by no means fixed. The first time a newspaper reviewed The Jack Kerouac Knapsack Band's debut LP, we were informed it was in fact an EP, despite being 40 minutes of music. Who knew? Perhaps you have grandiose aspirations of recording a concept album in the style of Tommy or Thick as a Brick. In this case, it may be worth sacrificing the recording quality of individual songs in order to lengthen the album and preserve its greater artistic integrity. As someone who co-wrote and recorded a rock opera based on Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene in exchange for university credit, I can tell you that there's something to be said for biting off more than you can chew. A basic rule is that the more time you spend on a song, the better it will sound. If you have time to record six vocal tracks, you are endowed with the opportunity to use the one in which your singer says "hips" instead of "lips." Trust me, it makes a big difference. On the other hand, your recordings will never be perfect so there is a limit to how picky you should be. Now for the CD release. The most common and effective way to generate interest in your CD is by throwing a CD release party — essentially a large, live show with your CD making its purchase debut. But it is absolutely integral that your CDs be present for this occasion. When The Jack Kerouac Knapsack Band threw its CD release party at the Elixir Nightclub in Kingston last January, we were disc-less. The company we hired to press our CDs promised the discs a week before the release party. This deadline was ignored and replaced by new, more ignorable deadlines. When the CDs eventually arrived, they were more than three weeks late for their promised due date. We wound up on stage explaining our CD would be arriving "sometime." Our band learned that when it comes time to press your CDs, it's worth a few extra dollars to hire a good company.

When a CD release party goes smoothly (and by this I mean having CDs!) you can expect the vast majority of the crowd, mostly your fan base, to buy a copy. The evening can amount to a hefty number of CD sales. But after the release party, try approaching independent stores that sell music by local artists. You'll likely be able to distribute your CDs on consignment: You get money every time your CD sells and the shop keeps an agreed-upon amount added to the retail price. Another way to get your music out there is to send your disc to campus and commercial radio stations. Toronto is fortunate enough to have three large campus radio stations with real audiences. While commercial radio stations may not accept unsolicited material, campus stations are always promoting undiscovered talent. And hearing your song on the radio is exciting. By making your music available for download on your website or through an online music community, more people will know about you. We sold several CDs to members of a naval academy in Annapolis, Maryland, when they downloaded our free songs online. (Offers for us to headline USO tours are undoubtedly around the corner.) Your CD is the mark you leave on the music industry. It captures your musical ideas at a specific point in time. So get to work on your masterpiece and don't worry about unsold CDs. They'll make great Christmas presents for years to come. HEAR THE PODCAST: Band members Colin Pendrith and Connor Thompson talk about the recording processes as they deconstruct the band's song "Steal The City." http://www.thestar.com/podcasts

 

Lauryn Opens MOBO

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com

(Sept. 26, 2005) *As scheduled, Lauryn Hill opened the 10th annual Music of Black Origin (MOBO) awards ceremony at London’s Royal Albert Hall on Thursday after booked performer Amerie pulled out at the last minute. Hill’s refusal to make the requisite trip to the press room following her performance was a minor irritation to reporters. However, bigger concerns loomed about the show’s increasing mainstream status – including the heavy presence of black American nominees. The criticism continues to baffle organizers, who have worked for the past decade to bring widespread credibility to Britain’s annual celebration of black music. “Mobo is an event that is about celebrating music of black origin. We’ve had people in the past that are not black and have won awards, presented and performed because they make music of black origin,” MOBO marketing and brand communications manager Kubi Springer tells the web site Black Britain. “If you take a look at the music industry scene from when MOBO started in 1996 to 2005, it really has shifted and Kanya King, our CEO and founder, had to bang down a lot of doors back then. People were saying to her, ‘Nobody’s going to be interested in watching an award show of this nature, there wasn’t an audience for it.’ Now ten years later, it’s a completely different ball game.” Past criticism of giving away too many awards to American artists who are never there to collect them was downplayed during Thursday’s ceremony, with only John Legend and Snoop Dogg the only Yankees taking home awards out of 13 categories. A surprise winner was UK rapper Sway, who won the trophy for best hip hop act against such American acts as 50 Cent and The Game. “We’ve got artists like Sway, who aren’t signed to a record company but are selling 290,000 mix tapes; you got people like Jamelia who are the face of a massive global brand like Reebok, the scene has changed. So being MOBO, we have to represent that,” continued Springer in defence of the show’s move toward the mainstream. “Music of black origin is important to us and we have to provide a platform and celebrate all of it.” The ceremony, hosted by Gina Yashere and Akon, included performances by Lemar, Ms Dynamite, Kano and John Legend, who took home the award for best R&B act. Public Enemy was honoured for outstanding contribution to black music, while a posthumous achievement award went to reggae great Bob Marley. It was accepted by his son Damian, who was named best reggae act and later closed the show with a tribute to his father alongside brothers Julian and Stephen. Singers Omar, Misha Paris and newcomer Nate James teamed to sing Luther Vandross’ “Never Too Much” in a tribute to the late R&B legend.

Here are the winners:

Best African Act – Youssou N’Dour
Best Album – Lemar
Best hip hop act – Sway
Best Jazz act – Rhian Benson
Best r&b act – John Legend
Best reggae act – Damian Marley
Best single – Lethal B Pow (Forward)
Best UK Club DJ – Steve Sutherland
Best UK Newcomer – Kano
Best UK Radio DJ –Tim Westwood
Best Video – Snoop Dogg ft Pharrell ‘Drop It Like It’s Hot’
Best World Music act – Daddy Yankee
UK act of the year – Lemar

 

MUSIC TIDBITS

Canadian Idol Runner-Up Signs Deal With Sony

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail


(Sept. 24, 2005) Corner Brook -- Rex Goudie, the Newfoundlander who placed second on Canadian Idol, has signed a record deal with Sony Music Canada. Just two days after his homecoming, the 19-year-old runner-up confirmed rumours of the deal. "I want this album to show everyone what I can do," he said. Sony BMG Canada president Lisa Zbitnew said the nonchalant attitude of the performer turned heads from his first performance. The fact that he narrowly lost to Calgary native Melissa O'Reilly didn't concern Sony executives. CP

SOUL: I've Got My Own Hell to Raise

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail - By Brad Wheeler


(Sept. 23, 2005) You can't be ordered to sing an album like this -- the peril is too great for anyone other than a volunteer. Stepping up is Detroit's Bettye LaVette, a glorious raw-voiced song stylist who pushes well into danger zone, achingly making hers the songs of 10 woman songwriters. Sinead O'Connor's I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got is done a cappella and defiantly, Lucinda Williams's Joy is funked-up something fierce, and Dolly Parton's Little Sparrow just plain terrifies. The album is produced by Joe Henry, the same guy who did so well by Solomon Burke on 2003's Don't Give Up on Me, an album that resembles this one a bit. LaVette even sounds like Burke on ace track Just Say So, but forget about the comparisons. Veteran LaVette puts it all on the line -- it's her heart on the recording-room floor. Hell is raised, and so are the stakes.

Gamble & Huff In Dance Music Hall Again

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com


(Sept. 23, 2005) *For the second year in a row, music legends Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff were inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame, this time in the "producer" category for creating an "outstanding body of work." Songs like "I Love Music," "Expressway to Your Heart," "Get Up, Get Down, Get Funky, Get Lose," "Love Train," "Bad Luck," "I'm Not Jivin,' I'm Jammin'" and "Now that We've Found Love," drew Gamble and Huff a standing ovation from the audience of hundreds of cheering music industry professionals when they took the stage together at the famed Manhattan Center as the showpiece and grand finale of the induction ceremony this week. "We are honoured by this incredible distinction and humbled by this exceptional tribute," Gamble said. "It feels wonderful to be recognized by dance music experts around the globe for a collection of music that we put our hearts and souls into producing and worked tirelessly, day and night, to create." Huff added: "We are especially ecstatic and overjoyed that such a prestigious honour has been bestowed upon us for two years in a row." Harold Melvin's Blue Notes, Sharon Paige and Bunny Sigler performed a medley of songs in the Gamble-Huff music collection, including "Hope that We Can Be Together Soon," "For the Love of Money," "Me and Mrs. Jones" and "Backstabbers," in a special Dance Music Hall of Fame tribute to the honoured pair. Last year, the co-founders of Philadelphia International Records were inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame's "record" category for creating dance songs "Love is the Message," recorded by MFSB featuring The Three Degrees and "Don't Leave Me This Way," recorded by Thelma Houston. The Hall of Fame hailed "Love is The Message" as "a timeless classic" embodying "the highest calling of music" and lauded Huff's keyboard solo as a "critical" component to the song. It recognized "Don't Leave Me This Way" for its "supercharged rhythm playing" and "breathtaking tambourine-driven break."

Shirley Caesar’s “I Know The Truth” Debuts At #3

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com


Gospel Grammy legend Shirley Caesar new release “I Know The Truth” debuted at #3 on the Billboard gospel charts. I Know The Truth has achieved the highest chart position, on the Billboard gospel charts, in twenty two years of Caesar’s career. "I Know The Truth," the first single, has been the talk of the music industry as it reveals a more versatile side of Caesar where she raps with Stellar/Dove award-winning artist Tonéx. A song that is definitely out of the box for Caesar exhibiting her ability to collaborate with any artist willing to bring it on. Other standout songs, on the 12-track project, include "Every Day is Like Mother's Day," in memory of Caesar's mother, and "Jail Bird," a country song about a man on death row who commits himself to God. “Miracles Still Happen” is a song you must listen to whenever you forget how God heals or whenever your Faith is not where it should be. This song will lift your spirits and remind you of how blessed you are. The awesome production of “Give Me A Song” is an upbeat tune that makes you want to move your body continuously. “I’ve Been Redeemed” and “Come To The Altar” bring Caesar’s signature energetic powerhouse vocals with an abundance of love and encouragement. For more information, go to www.shirleycaesar.com or www.artemisgospel.com.

D'Angelo Critically Injured In SUV Crash

Source: Associated Press

(Sept. 26, 2005) Richmond, Va. — R&B crooner D'Angelo, who won over America with his '90s soul ballads only to fade after bouts with the law and drugs, was critically injured in a car wreck outside his hometown of Richmond. D'Angelo, 31, born Michael Eugene Archer, was in a 2003 Hummer sport utility vehicle on Sept. 19 when it crossed the roadway and struck a fence, ejecting the singer, state police Sgt. Kevin Barrick said Monday. Archer wasn't wearing a seat restraint, Barrick said. Barrick said Archer was initially listed in critical condition, but that no further information is available. Officials at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center, where the Grammy-winning artist was flown after the wreck, said the family had asked that his condition not be released. Another person, Lynne Sellers, also was injured in the wreck. Police couldn't say which of the two had been driving. The accident occurred in Powhatan County, a bedroom community west of the city. Archer lives in Midlothian, just outside Richmond. The cause of the crash is under investigation, Barrick said. Known for hits such as Brown Sugar and a cover of Smokey Robinson's Cruisin', Archer rode a wave of popularity that culminated with a Grammy in 2001 for best male R&B vocal performance for Untitled (How Does It Feel) from the album Voodoo, which won a Grammy for best R&B album. In April, the singer was fined $250 and given a 90-day suspended jail term on a driving under the influence of alcohol conviction. His driver's licence was suspended for one year. On a marijuana charge, Archer was fined $50 and given a 10-day suspended jail term. His driver's licence was suspended for an additional six months. Earlier this month, he received a suspended prison sentence after being convicted of cocaine possession. Archer had faced three years in prison.

 

::FILM NEWS::

 

Tonya Lee Williams: from Y&R to ReelWorld

Source: by Barbara Goodman, Editorial Director, Canadian Health & Lifestyle

You may know her as Dr. Olivia Winters from the daytime drama, The Young and the Restless. But what you may not know is Tonya Lee Williams started her acting career on the Canadian TV screen as a teenage girl who had to move to Hollywood to make a living. This fascinating woman lives between the two worlds of L.A. and hometown Toronto. She shares her passions and inspirations of building a strong, independent Canadian film industry that encompasses the cultural diversity of Canada. Tonya is a modern day storyteller, sit back, relax and enjoy her tale.

H&L:
When you went to L.A., was it with the intention of ‘making it’?

Tonya: I never put that much expectation on myself, for me it’s about the experience. In the beginning of my career a modeling agency sent me to Paris, but I wasn’t tall enough. I learned that the experience of living in Paris for months with six other models was what was important.

I came back to Toronto to find there wasn’t much happening for people of colour. At an audition Gloria Reuben (of ER fame) said, “Tonya: ’s here we might as well all leave, she books everything.” If I was booking everything and not earning enough to live, then something was wrong. It started me thinking. I was one of the last to go to L.A.. I wanted to stay because I was booking. I thought there was more but there wasn’t. That was my reality check. I quickly found out that there’s a lot of money in L.A.. In one tiny guest spot I made what I’d make all year here. That was really appealing!

H&L: Is Canada’s acting market better today?

Tonya: There’s a different imbalance today. There’s more people of colour training but there’s still the same amount of work. If you compare that to when I was the only black person in my entire Ryerson University class ­ it’s actually worse. Young actors are already asking, “How do I get to L.A.?”

I’ve been asked why Canada loses its actors to the U.S.. Our perceived loss builds the business there. Mike Myers and Jim Carrey make billions for the U.S. film industry. We have to build a strong, independent industry that will create opportunities for our actors and attract international audiences. ReelWorld Film Festival and ReelWorld Foundation, are initiatives to help build this foundation, but won’t solve it alone.

H&L: How is the industry different here?

Tonya: There’s a drive in Hollywood you don’t find around film in Canada. I compare it to an athlete’s drive to keep going until they win. That’s how Hollywood projects are handled. A passionate drive runs through everyone to be the best at what they’re doing, whether they’re in the mailroom, behind or in front of the camera. They work hard because they know there’s thousands waiting in the wings.

H&L: Do you have that drive Tonya: ?

Tonya: Definitely. My parents came from the Caribbean. My father was a judge, and when you come from a country where many oppressive things hold you down you have to work hard to get anywhere. My parents divorced when I was 12. My mother was a nurse and yet I was taking piano, violin, ballet, and jazz after school. And if a school trip came up she saved for it. She sacrificed to give me every possible experience and opportunity. I watched her buy a house, rent it out then buy another. When I got into Ryerson she bought a house close by, and rented the other floors to pay for it so I wouldn’t be stressed. I came from that kind of drive and it’s bound to rub off.

She also taught me that because I was black I had to work harder to get the same opportunity as my friends. If you’re a person of colour that’s a given. I’m not sure Caucasians understand that’s how a child of colour is brought up. Your parents tell you that you have to be three times better just to be on a level playing field. The only Caucasians who may understand that are immigrants themselves. That reality was there when I went to L.A. as well. I had to audition more, at fewer auditions with a lot more competition. So I had to be brilliant to have a career equal to my friends. And it’s not any different for people of colour today.

H&L: What did you do differently to get ahead as an actor?

Tonya: When I got my first agent here and other people sat at home and waited for their agent to call I knew I didn’t have that option. I had to be creative. So after the Genie and Gemini Awards I would send a card to producers who won with my picture on it congratulating them. I did my own marketing. I didn’t have the option of waiting for the phone to ring. I had to create the thought to create a role for me because there were no roles for black women then.

My Ryerson voice coach offered some profound advice that’s still with me today, “You’re only a good actor if the audience likes you.” Simple but true. If people aren’t coming to watch you, you’re not good. And I believe that goes for film too. If an audience isn’t coming to what we create, it can’t be good. And those of us in the Canadian film industry need to find out what they like and create it to bring in the audiences.

H&L: Is there anything you’d like to say to today’s aspiring actors?

Tonya: Hollywood’s different today, it’s savvier. The actors of the future know how to write, direct and produce. No more sitting and waiting for a call. If I was starting now I’d align myself with emerging directors and screenwriters, a team where everyone can benefit from one another’s skills. You have to come with a story. Or find a true story that you can portray, make that your baby and run with it. Agents get excited about a project that has a strong story even if they don’t know you. I’ve found stories about historical women that I’d want to play in a movie.

H&L: What gets you through tough times?

Tonya: When I was a child I’d read a lot of fairy tales. The Prince would always have to fight a dragon and kill it before he’d win the hand of the princess ­ his reward. So I learned to romanticize the obstacles in my life. They’re just part of the journey, my dragon to slay to get the reward. I may not know what it is, it’s only important for me to know that there is that reward.

H&L: This comes from reading as a child?

Tonya: Yes, plus I was an only child and would easily fall into my own fantasy world. I also had rheumatic fever when I was four. I was hospitalized for six months and only had contact with my mother, the doctors and nurses.

My mother told me they held me down to give me the needles. This and the pain of the needles were very traumatic, so I’d escape into my fairytale world of “these people are clearly cruel and someone’s going to save me.” This was my way of dealing. I couldn’t play and run like the other kids either so that was more time spent reading and expanding my imagination.

H&L: What about Tonya: ’s future?

Tonya: I definitely see myself as a director. I also see myself in a little cabin writing a novel or a script. I can’t be creative when I have too much going on. The last few years with Y&R, and flying back and forth has squelched that and I’m really starting to crave it.

I also have to make a decision on what I’m going to focus on from a health perspective. The flying is hard on my body as well as the stress of not creating what I need. When I made the decision to phase out Y&R to be here more and to make this my job it really freaked me out. Because the reason I went to L.A. was to earn money. Last year I directed ‘Da Kink in My Hair’ and I hardly made anything. I still haven’t learned how to earn money here. So working with ReelWorld will help create work for me as a writer, director or producer as well as for other Canadians here ­ the dragon again.

My passion is to reveal the tapestry of Canadian multi-culturalism to the world. Canada is known as the biggest multi-cultural country in the world and I love that. We’re denying ourselves; we’re not showing the world our number one feature. We do this better than anyone else. And ReelWorld will help do this

H&L: You have a novel perspective for the film industry here.

Tonya: I believe we’re born with tools and that during our life we’re also given tools. There’s a reason I was born to Caribbean parents, another melting pot, lived in England, Canada and the U.S. There’s a multi-cultural thing in the way I’ve lived.

When I started the Film Festival everyone thought it would be a Black Film Festival but that was never my intention. My intention is to bring all cultural film under one Festival. The idea still hasn’t caught on. There are some 43 cultural film festivals in Toronto. I believe a time will come when there won’t be any segregated work.

H&L: Would you like to change your life in any way?

Tonya:
I’ve had a definite shift in my energy. I want to explore that and find more balance. I think people are supposed to be in a relationship, to have a family. There’s a connection I feel I’m missing. And I’d like to open that area of myself. I haven’t learned how to integrate relationships into my life yet so they’ve been short. And since I’ve been so busy in my career I don’t even know what I’d like in a relationship. When I asked myself that, what I realized was “Who do I want to be?” that’s what has to be clear first.

I’ve been living in a persona for many years. There’s a part of me that’s an all natural girl, and then there’s the Y&R persona that most people know. When I’m in L.A. I live in that persona, and I’m so not that. I’m so exhausted from living that persona I haven’t had the energy to find me. Ideally it would be great to be able to take the time to find that out. But what may happen as I live in my new choices I’ll actually find out.

H&L: What’s the one thing you’d really miss if it wasn’t in your life?

Tonya: (reflecting) I’m obsessive about quiet and silence. It’s the one thing where I feel I’d go insane if I couldn’t have it. I can go days with absolute silence so I can think, hear myself, be centred and be focused. I can give up material things, I don’t believe they have any real value except for the pleasure it brings in that moment.

H&L: You truly connect with your spirit.

Tonya: Yes. I believe that I’m just passing through this life. So I focus on why I’m here.

H&L: Why do you think you’re here?

Tonya: Well I know we’re all here to learn our lessons. I see it like we’re these rough objects that we’re polishing. I think most people feel we’re here to help other people. I think we’re really only here to help ourselves and in the helping of ourselves we help others. One of the things I’ve been learning through the Festival is to be a good team player; I’m a great lone wolf. I’ve found it hard to connect in groups where decisions are discussed and created by the group and not an individual. By me learning this, other people as well as the organization blossoms because of all their contributions.

I believe if you’re on the right path and learn your things then the energy you exude helps people around you without you even making an effort.

H&L: What do you do to feel good?

Tonya: I’m a huge pamperer. I go to a spa, get a massage, stay in bed and read all day Sunday. I love to do those things. And I love exploring. And it doesn’t matter where; it could be in my neighbourhood. I love watching others. These things relax me. And I’m a movie-a-holic. I love the whole story you get from a movie. Not like TV where there’s never an end. What irony that I’m in a Soap.

H&L: Your mentors.

Tonya: Diane Keaton. She’s done such amazing work. To maintain that career level for so many years, to direct, to write and have one of the most powerful production companies in Hollywood on her terms. She has a powerful drive, yet she shows her vulnerability, I think that’s beautiful. She adopted two children and created a functional family out of desire. Everything I believe a woman can be. Another is Goldie Hawn. I totally respect these women who’ve been able to balance their careers with family.

And clearly my mother.

H&L: Where are you like Diane Keaton?

Tonya: I see myself as yet to become a ‘Diane Keaton’. I’m growing into that.

H&L: A closing philosophy.

Tonya: Sometimes it’s enough just to wake up, open your eyes and declare it a beautiful day. Then don’t let the person honking his horn make you tense. What does it really matter in the big scheme of things? Feel sorry for that person having a hard, dark day. Then fill yours with lightness by complimenting someone and making them feel good ­ you’ll feel good too.

 

A Toronto Director Captures A City Of Dreams

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail - By John Barber

(Sept. 24, 2005) 'The summer will go on and on till everyone is out on the streets and feels like me," sighs the sparsely clad, sexually voracious gamine at the centre of Clement Virgo's new film, Lie with Me, as she prowls along a hot Toronto sidewalk, startlingly presented as a dreamland of casual licentiousness, inviting all eyes and letting her own roam free. The summer never does go on, of course. By the time Lie with Me opens this fall, Torontonians will have already donned their woollies, soberly abjured luscious sidewalk displays and half-forgotten the pleasures the hot months bring (many of which the film depicts in great detail -- outdoors, in public, upstairs, downstairs and otherwise). But the dream that our sticky summer might never end, that we are always so hot-blooded and free, is one of the themes that makes Lie with Me such an authentically Torontonian production. We have become used to seeing our city in movies, but rarely do we ever see ourselves. It's a double surprise when we see ourselves with such fresh eyes. Although I recognized my neighbourhood all through Lie with Me, I'll never again think the same way about the parkette at the end of the street -- or many of my other previously familiar haunts. Whatever other merits it may or may not possess -- let the crickets decide -- Lie with Me is some kind of landmark in the evolution of this city's film identity, elevating it far above its usual role as anonymous "location." It's a reminder that yes, there is cultural content in our flourishing, maquiladora-style film industry, founded as it is on the basis of cheap labour and a favourable exchange rate. And coming at a time when the city and local investors have finally come together to build the long-desired super-studio that is expected to intensify local production dramatically, it's a small but persuasive sign that film will continue to thrive in Toronto -- as culture and industry alike.

A summer love story, Lie with Me is also "a love letter to the city," a conscious homage, according to its director. What Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese and Spike Lee do for New York, what François Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard did for Paris, Clement Virgo set out to do for Toronto. "I wanted to make a film that really showcased Toronto," he said, "and also to show people around the world what it's like to live here." The refreshing result is a frontal assault on the traditional clichés. "The city is normally portrayed as cold and grey or ice-blue," the Jamaican-born immigrant complained. "There's usually lots of snow on the ground and people are suppressed. I really wanted to get away from that." So Virgo's Toronto is hot and sexy, a city of the illusory endless summer we all embrace so fervently. But the film's sex, as abundant as it is and as scandalous as it may seem to some, is equally shocking in its wholesomeness -- another conscious departure from what Mr. Virgo called "the long history of twisted and weird sex in Canadian cinema." Who would have thought that sex in the Annex was such fun, so exciting, even safe (with the prominent display of condoms striking a fittingly civic tone)? Who would have thought that the sight of one of their crumpled wrappers in the weeds -- a quintessentially urban if not a postcard image -- could inspire such sweet reverie in one of our very own daughters, as represented by the film's intrepid heroine, Leila? "I wanted to create a film that was sexy, that gives you a sense of the cultural ferment which is Canada, which is Toronto," Mr. Virgo said. "I wanted to capture the faces I see and the sense of going to Kensington Market or Chinatown, or walking down Bloor Street on a sunny afternoon." Consciously, his Toronto is not a noble Canadian landscape. It is the baking hard surface and the cooling fountains of Dundas Square, pay phones festooned with loose ends of packing tape, fire escapes leading to airy apartments and weedy trees shadowing cramped backyards. Just as deliberately, it is the opposite of its image in national mythology and conventional films, "the hostile place that beats you up and steals your dreams," according to the director.

"I'm an immigrant," he said. "This city is a place of dreams for me. It's a beautiful place, and I really wanted to mythologize that." Of course, it takes an immigrant to do such a thing in Toronto today. We've been waiting for the vision, we've been needing it without knowing it, and I, for one (old WASP), am thrilled to see it finally taking shape. In the meantime, life goes on in Hollywood North. City Hall will serve again as Good Guy headquarters in the next Jackie Chan movie, the NYPD will crash patrol cars recklessly on Adelaide Street and entire residential blocks will continue to surrender precious parking for the noble purpose of nurturing such as Clement Virgo and no-account schlockmeisters alike. The local film industry is healthier than ever, according to city officials, who dismiss concerns that the new super-studio will take too big a bite out of the local pie. There is plenty of growth and room for more, they say. Most encouragingly -- and uniquely in North America -- the $100-million Filmport complex will be built without the aid of government subsidy. So the film industry will soon be building whole new worlds inside the immense new studio, which, according to its promoters, will be big enough to accommodate the most expensive Hollywood blockbusters. Happily, the cameras are equally active chronicling the emergence of another new whole world -- our own -- on the streets outside.

 

A History Of Violence: Look Into The Soul

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Peter Howell, Movie Critic

(Sept 23, 2005) "What's bred in the bone will not out of the flesh," an English proverb goes, meaning that try as we may, we can't escape the people we really are. The thought is from a remarkable book by Robertson Davies, in which a biographer is stymied to discover that the facts of a man he is writing about "don't add up to the man we knew." The same dilemma now consumes another Canadian, filmmaker David Cronenberg. A History of Violence, his extraordinary new movie, finds universal truth in the mysterious past of a mundane man. Arriving in theatres today, after winning raves at both the Toronto and Cannes film festivals, it is an assured, potent statement from an auteur who isn't afraid to pack deep thoughts into a movie made for a wide audience. It is likely to be greeted as one of Cronenberg's finest works in a 40-year career that already boasts many highlights, and sure to be remembered when awards are handed out in the weeks and months ahead. A History of Violence is also one of Cronenberg's most direct films, as lean and muscular as the westerns of John Ford and Clint Eastwood, from which he drew much inspiration. But it is by no means a simple work. A lot is packed into its 95 minutes, relating to society's penchant for violent solutions and our shared culpability. Anyone who leaves the theatre without feeling powerfully affected by the film's messages — especially regarding the complicated relationship between sex and violence — will have missed the impact of Cronenberg's craftsmanship.

With a hat tip to Davies, here are the facts that don't add up — not at first — about a man named Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen). He's the owner of a popular diner in a sleepy Indiana town called Millbrook (actually Millbrook, Ont., where the movie was made). Tom fries eggs, pours coffee and makes banter with the locals, including the genial town sheriff (Peter MacNeill), who looks like he has plenty of spare time to chat. Tom has been married some 20 years to Edie (Maria Bello), a lawyer with a busy practice who still manages to put her family first. Edie may wish for something more in life — you can see it in her eyes — but she's happy with what she's got. She and Tom are the proud parents of teenaged Jack (Ashton Holmes), who is shy but very astute, and pre-teen Sarah (Heidi Hayes), who worries about bad things she can't see. A bedtime story leaves her fearful of monsters. "No, sweetie, there are no such things as monsters," Tom says. Tom is wrong. Two armed hoods, straight out of a Steinbeck novel, arrive at his diner one day at closing time, flashing leers and guns and demanding cash. The cock of a gun hammer indicates they're willing to be as monstrous as possible. In a heartbeat, Tom changes from mild hash slinger into an avenger. Tom becomes a national hero, hailed in the press for his bravery. He attracts the attention of other monsters, led by a sardonic creep named Carl (Ed Harris), who insists he knows Tom from a previous life. A life when Tom was known as Joey, and he was very comfortable with guns. "You've got the wrong guy," Tom insists. Edie backs him up. So does everyone else in town. How could quiet and true Tom be anything but a good man? Carl insists some more. So does a Philadelphia mobster named Richie (William Hurt), who further claims to be Joey's brother. They both have past issues to settle with Joey, whom they see hiding behind Tom's implacable face.

Cronenberg's film showcases the depth of the filmmaker's understanding of a world ruled by firepower. He points no fingers. We are all complicit. A History of Violence is loosely based on a graphic novel, with a screenplay credited to an unheralded Josh Olson, but it is a work clearly born of Cronenberg's depth of understanding of the dark side of the human psyche. Like those old westerns, and that proverb about our innate tendencies, the film finds the fault line separating wishful thinking from hard truth. Boasting career-peak performances by Mortensen and Bello, and introducing a fine young actor in Holmes, A History of Violence is also aces in technical terms. The mournful score by Howard Shore and immaculate cinematography by Peter Suschitzky, both of them Cronenberg regulars, contribute to a movie that fully realizes the ambitions and the insights of a true Canadian artist. This is an edited version of a review originally published during the Toronto International Film Festival.

 

Hooray For Hollywood And Other Bad Telefilm Ideas

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail -
By Kate Taylor

(Sept. 24, 2005) It's official: The federal film policy isn't working. In 2000, the Department of Canadian Heritage drafted From Script to Screen, a new feature-film policy that argued Canada had successfully built a film industry but now needed to build audiences, setting the infamous 5-per-cent target. The goal was for Canadian films, never popular with Canadian audiences, to earn a meagre 5 per cent of the domestic box office so utterly dominated by Hollywood. Many in the industry said it couldn't be done and have been proved more or less right. Five years later, the department has commissioned its own review of the policy from a private consultant, and the Canadian Press has smoked it out with an access-to information request: Behind its bland and rather technical language, and its mealy-mouthed recommendations, the report acknowledges the reality of recent gains at the box office. The 5-per-cent target has been reached -- Canadian box office hit 4.9 per cent this summer -- but that gain is almost entirely due to the popularity of Quebec films, which now account for about a quarter of the French-language box office. English-language box office stood at whopping 1.6 per cent in 2004! That is actually a significant gain -- it was down well under 1 per cent five years ago -- but it is mainly accounted for by a few international co-productions such as Being Julia, the Annette Bening film that few would identify as Canadian. The report reserves its harshest judgment for the Genies, Canada's English-language film awards, which it says are ineffective in promoting film and don't attract television audiences. And why would they? Most of the nominated films are Quebec titles that the rest of Canada doesn't recognize. The report also notes that while the new policy's attempts to foster screenwriting generated a lot of scripts, there isn't much evidence that producers are filming them. Well, this lopsided picture only represents what the industry has known for at least a year if not two. The only way actually to achieve the goal in English Canada would be to legislate some kind of Canadian quota in cinemas, a development that is never going to happen. Filmmakers say they aren't interested in being ghettoized; federal politicians, even if they had the political will to tackle Hollywood's ferocious trade lobby on the issue, have argued they don't have the constitutional authority to regulate an area of business that falls under provincial jurisdiction.

No, what the report should really be telling the government is that it's time to move beyond the box office as the way of both measuring and building success. In its desire to build audiences for Canadian film -- and who can argue with that? -- the policy focused too heavily on those magical numbers. The federal agency
Telefilm Canada has yet to find that break-through Canadian popular hit, but it has increasingly funded a few much bigger-budget movies in the hopes of striking pay dirt. As the report points out, such boffo movies have proved so elusive that, in English Canada, there has been no way for Telefilm to follow through on the policy's notion of rewarding success with funding for future projects. The policy also led to criticisms that Telefilm had abandoned art film in favour of schlock, moving away from the independent aesthetic that is where Canadian filmmakers have made their mark. Supporters defend the idea, arguing that comedy and romance are culture too, but the whole issue may be something of a red herring. Look at the three inarguably arty Canadian films to emerge from the recent Toronto international film festival. Atom Egoyan's Where the Truth Lies, David Cronenberg's A History of Violence and Deepa Mehta's Water are all significant cultural achievements and as such nurture the Canadian film industry and those directors' careers. However, since not one of them is set in Canada nor stars any Canadians in the leading roles, they do nothing to build an audience's immediate interest in Canadian film. The Canadian novel is such a well-established form it can happily embrace all the foreign locales that Austin Clarke or M. G. Vassanji have to offer; the Canadian film can only wish for such recognition. Five years and many dollars later, the film policy hasn't changed that. The consultant's report has no complaints about how efficiently the dollars were spent, but both the practice of throwing money at a wall to see if any of it sticks and the obsession with box office are borrowed from Hollywood, where the first weekend's take is read as the alpha and omega of a movie's success. In truth, the receipts from theatrical release now barely cover the whopping marketing budgets required to get people out on that first weekend. "Is it realistic to be trying to reach Canadians through a cinematic infrastructure built by Hollywood for Hollywood films," asks the parliamentary standing committee that is also reviewing the 2000 policy. And, one might add, an infrastructure that is not serving Hollywood particularly well as it struggles to recover from its worst summer since 1997.

The standing committee came out with its interim report back in June, and that document makes much more useful reading, since it is asking all the right questions. Canadian Heritage and Telefilm need to be looking beyond commercial theatrical release to examine how they can get more help from the power of DVDs, television, film festivals (which the consultant's report identifies as much more useful than the Genies in making Canadian film sexy) and film circuits, such as the one sponsored by the Toronto International Film Festival that circulates Canadian films to smaller centres where they would otherwise not be seen. If the CBC ever manages to crawl out from underneath the train wreck of its current labour dispute, it needs to be doing a lot more to make a place on television for Canadian film. Meanwhile, as the standing committee points out, the definition of marketable films needs to be broadened to include documentaries, a traditional Canadian strength and an increasingly popular alternative to fiction. You could add shorts to that category too. The committee is now doing a second round of hearings, asking questions such as how Canadian content should be defined and whether the Hollywood model should be abandoned, and is expected to report back later this fall. Let's hope it actually comes up with some tougher recommendations.

 

Our Movies Need A Hero

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Murray Whyte, Entertainment Reporter


(Sep. 25, 2005) In recent months, it has become his ritual. "On Friday night, I get on the train in Montreal. I turn my cellphone off. I'm drunk by Kingston — I'm not exaggerating," he says, laughing deeply, his whole body shaking, almost unable to believe it himself. "Marg" — his wife of many years, a saintly international development worker — "meets me in Belleville. I fall off the train, she drives me 20 minutes to our cottage, we have a last glass of wine together and I share with her the drama of my week — `You wouldn't believe what happened!' Then I fade away, wake up Saturday morning, and do nothing. That's how I cope." Nobody told Wayne Clarkson that being a saviour was such hard work. But since January, when he took over as executive director of Telefilm Canada, that's exactly what he's become. The agency is our largest — and only — national funding source for film and television. Its $385 million in annual funding is now in Clarkson's pocket. And ultimately, success or failure — of which there has been plenty, for too long — is now on him. "The Wayne Gretzky of Canadian Cinema" blared the headline in Canadian Business magazine. "Can this man save Canadian production?" read the story heralding his appointment in the industry bible, Playback. "The expectations are, let's be serious, unrealistic," said Clarkson, good-naturedly, over a late breakfast recently during the Toronto International Film Festival. "It's very intimidating. But things gotta change, and change dramatically." He inherited a mess. "Disastrous," said director Atom Egoyan, describing the regime under Clarkson's predecessor, Richard Stursberg. "For the only names people would even recognize in Canadian film, actual depression set in," said Sarah Polley, one of the country's best-known actors. "It became as though we were no longer welcome here." In a terse, briefly worded comment, director David Cronenberg said: "With Wayne, there could at least be some hope." Niv Fichman, an executive at Toronto film production house Rhombus Media, couldn't look forward without glancing back. "My faith in him," Fichman said, "is that he'll bring dignity back to Canadian cinema."

By many accounts, it had been lost. Stursberg followed a government mandate to increase Canadian films' share of the box office to 5 per cent by making more "commercial" films: a policy that helped spawn some of the depression of which Polley speaks. Its fruits — rare triumphs like the Oscar-winning The Barbarian Invasions set against a raft of commercially intended genre flops like Foolproof, Decoys and Goose! — yielded a depressingly familiar result: the majority of Canadian films sinking rapidly into oblivion. The mental state of a national artistic community can't be quantified. But some things can. A Canadian Heritage report stated that, almost five years and half a billion dollars after Stursberg's beginnings, Canadian films everywhere except Quebec have so far this year commanded a dismal 1 per cent of the box office. Last year it was 1.6 per cent — where it has hovered for years. ("I'm terrified that, on my headstone, it's going to read: `Never more than 2 per cent,'" Clarkson said.) The contrast with Quebec was stark: with more than 20 per cent of the domestic box office based on French-language films, one province nearly buoyed the entire nation's share to 5 per cent on its own, making English Canada's failings all the more apparent. Last fall, with these pressures coming to bear, Clarkson, at 62, was head of the Canadian Film Centre, Norman Jewison's talent incubator in a tony North Toronto estate. He'd been there since 1991. Months earlier, Stursberg had abandoned ship at Telefilm, taking over as the head of English television at CBC. A choice arose: an easy drift to retirement at the CFC, or the captaincy of a rudderless agency that was taking on a disturbing Titanic-like air. Clarkson bit. "I won't go into how old you get and the decisions you make in your life at certain ages," he said. "But I woke up one morning and I said, `I have another mountain I want to climb.'" Mountains are one thing. Clarkson, however, had chosen Everest, without oxygen.

The Anointed One. The conciliator, the diplomat. The blessed son of Canadian cinema. It's always been that way with Clarkson, it seems. After studying film at Carleton and at the Slade School of Fine Arts in London (his 1974 graduate thesis: "A Semiological Analysis of Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor"), Clarkson was serving as director of the National Film Theatre in Ottawa when, in 1978, he got the call to serve as director of the fledgling Festival of Festivals in Toronto. On his watch, it blossomed into an international, star-laden affair replete with the Hollywood A-list. He also established the Perspectives Canada program, the first comprehensive showcase of Canadian cinematic talent ever. In 1985, he went to the nascent Ontario Film Development Corporation, a David Peterson-era project meant to nurture young filmmakers in the wake of a disastrous filmmaking era, where films made for tax write-offs had all but destroyed the local industry. One of Clarkson's first projects at the OFDC hit big. Patricia Rozema's I Heard the Mermaids Singing won the Prix de la Jeunesse at Cannes in 1987.

"It went through the roof that night," recalled Bill House, a Toronto producer with Clarkson at the OFDC. "How could you imagine that such a little film could be such a big deal? But it was. For the first time, that kind of thing felt possible." Clarkson has spent a lifetime nurturing that sense of possibility, and just as long watching it quashed by an unforgiving public. "The expectations we put on our talent: `Every time you step out, you have to succeed, big time,'" he said. "And if they don't, we berate ourselves: `We're lousy, we can't do it.' I mean, s--t, you know? They just made a movie, for God's sake." With a mind to cultivation, not a quick fix, Clarkson's OFDC sowed the seeds of what would become the core of a national cinematic identity: Rozema, Egoyan, Don McKellar, Peter Mettler, among many others, all started there. "We just looked at ourselves, and the filmmakers we loved all over the world, and we felt we could join that group. "And," House said, "we had mucho fun." That's always come easily to Clarkson. At the Canadian Film Centre barbecue, a sprawling, annual festival-pegged affair at Clarkson's old stomping grounds, he mixed with the many luminaries, both governmental and film industry, shaking hands, laughing, hugging. He and Allan King, one of English Canada's seminal directors, greeted each other warmly. "Talent first," Clarkson said, offering a gracious sweep of the arm. "Money first," King shot back, and both laughed. "The first thing that strikes you about Wayne is how charming, how erudite he is," said Vincenzo Natali, whose cult hit Cube was produced under Clarkson while he was at the CFC. "He's sophisticated, but he's also so down to earth. I see him riding his bicycle around the Annex. There's no pretension to him." But those close to Clarkson are concerned. "The poor guy," said Jewison, at the event's VIP tent. "He's the right guy for the job, but man — can you imagine being the head of the only studio in the country? The poor guy," he repeated, shaking his head.

Thus far, Clarkson has enjoyed some slack. That will tighten in time, as too many producers vie for scant funds. "Wayne's far too sensitive to how culture is formed to be distracted by the big pronouncements," Egoyan said. "I've always had a tremendous amount of faith in what he's going to do." What he's going to do. That's the question. "He wouldn't presume to step in and immediately change things — even if people like me are pressuring him enormously," Fichman said. "And that's a good thing." Almost everyone agrees, though, that the agency is desperate for radical change — and soon. "Any attempt to please everybody in that position only guarantees the continuity of mediocrity, and mediocrity is what has reigned supreme in filmmaking in English Canada for the last two decades," said Robert Lantos, a senior Canadian producer of such films as Sunshine, Being Julia and Egoyan's recent Where the Truth Lies. "Political agendas — regional correctness, gender correctness, and a variety of other politically correct issues — have played a huge role in Telefilm's allocation of funds for a long time. To do that job, you have to have the courage to not please most people." So, Wayne? What'll it be? "I know the expectations," Clarkson said atop the Spoke Club's rooftop patio, wearing black jeans and weathered cowboy boots, a glass of Sauvignon Blanc in hand. His references are quick, encompassing the breadth of Canadian and international cinema — Jean-Luc Godard, Gilles Carle, Don Owen, Cronenberg — and Northrop Frye, and Karl Marx. Parochial culture, the kind that has reigned supreme, in Lantos's words, is not on Clarkson's agenda. "At the film centre, we didn't train Canadians to make only Canadian movies that fulfill Canadian cultural obligations, and by the way, we're taking our passport away from you," he said. "We need to claim our talent, but give them the opportunity." A few projects embody his early tenure: Trailer Park Boys: The Movie. ("Popular appeal? You bet!" Clarkson effused.) At the other end of the scale, an adaptation of Anne Michaels' challenging, Orange Prize-winning novel, Fugitive Pieces, from director Jeremy Podeswa.

Then, there is everything in between. Such as experimental filmmaker Annette Mangaard's demand for $1.5 million for an esoteric film that has no distributor. "No way. It's not my money," he said. Telefilm received more applications than ever this year — 90 submissions came in last April; 12 were accepted. This is the problem. "Telefilm can't be the only game in town. It's not healthy for Telefilm Canada, and it's not healthy for me," he said, laughing. Does this mean the return of the much-vilified tax-shelter era, when brokers and dentists threw cash at quickie, often-abortive movie projects for the tax write-off? "I won't say those magic words," Clarkson says slyly, "but we are asking for a private sector-driven alternative. The industry's smarter now, more mature. I think there's a kind of cultural confidence that wasn't there before." Mature. Confident. This, after all, is the goal. But with Clarkson poised to emerge from his months of contemplation and take real action, the hardest road is ahead. "This job is impossible. This job kills you," House said. "And the white knight is bound to be tarnished." Clarkson is ready. "I think I have the perspective I need. I can see it now," he says. "Can you be all things to all people? No, you can't. But you can change the culture." Clarkson pauses. The first year's been rough. Four remain. And then? "We'll see what's next," he said. "You've got to keep throwing yourself into the onslaught, clawing up the hill."

 

Roll Bounce: Spirit of the 70s

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Susan Walker, Entertainment Reporter


(Sep. 23, 2005) A family movie that is sure to please more than the parents, Roll Bounce is Saturday Night Fever on roller skates, Crooklyn with a dance element, and a nod to the TV series Boston Public all rolled, so to speak, into one. Neither of the last two connections is coincidental. Director Malcolm D. Lee is Spike Lee's cousin and the death of a mother has roughly the same effect on the Smith family in Roll Bounce as it had on the Carmichael family in Spike's Crooklyn, surely one of his best films. Xavier Smith's dad Curtis is Chi McBride, a late-blooming actor who created the complex character of principal Steven Harper in Boston Public. The soundtrack, with Bee Gees cuts from Saturday Night Fever, other '70s hits, and like-sounding tracks by Beyoncé among others, is a no-brainer. So is the casting of hip-hop star Bow Wow as X (Xavier), the leader of a pack of skaters whose resident roller arena, the Palisades, is closed down. They move to the Sweetwater Roller Rink outside their neighbourhood and so encounter the reigning roller-dance team and their over-the-top, flamboyant leader Sweetness (Wesley Jonathan). Lee and writer Norman Vance Jr. (Beauty Shop) hit all the requisite notes in an admittedly derivative movie that sees Xavier work out his grief over his mother, mend his relationship with his widowed father and (of course) get the girl, the beautiful Naomi (Meagan Good from D.E.B.S.). There's even a touching boy-girl friendship between Xavier and the orthodontally corrected Tori (Jurnee Smollett from Eve's Bayou). To top it off, there's the parallel relationship for Dad with the girl's mother, a tarty divorcée who moves in across the street.

The highly choreographed roller-dancing sequences in Roll Bounce will be enough for anyone who loves the thought of disco dancing and freewheeling ice dancing on eight wheels. The dialogue keeps up a steady fire of one-liners, especially when the local garbage men, an update on Shakespeare's fools, get going: "Check your package," one of them says to Xavier as they all lay eyes on Tori's mom. "There's a little fruit hanging out of the loom." When X's friends take aim at Tori for her braces, the jokes just won't stop. "A moment of silence for her face, please," says Boo (Marcus T. Paulk). The serious plot line is a cliché, but none the worse for wear. Xavier's dad keeps going in to get work as an airplane engineer and keeps getting rebuffed. He tries to keep his unemployed status from his children, Xavier and his sister. Meanwhile, in his own grief, he fails to acknowledge his son's trauma. Roll Bounce reels out more '70s nostalgia than you can point at with a Star Wars light sabre. Never mind the Bee Gees and Earth, Wind and Fire. The 'fros abound, and Sweetness' outré satin outfits alone could qualify in a competition for costume design. Best of all, for the teen audience who just might buy this bit of singin' and dancin' fun, is the roll call of contemporary black talent, from Bow Wow to dj Darryl DMC McDaniels playing himself. Roll Bounce is a movie made in the spirit of: what the world needs now is a bit of innocent diversion.

Bow Wow Is On A ‘Roll’

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com - By Marie Moore

(Sept. 23, 20050 *Bow Wow, the star of "Roll Bounce," is on a roll, himself. "Not only am I hot right now," he tells The Film Strip, "but I just got off a successful tour. We beat everybody on tour, from Destiny's Child to Eminen. You know what I'm saying? So to come off that, have this movie come out, go overseas and come back, start another movie and start working on a new album with Omarion is really exciting.” “Turning focus back to “Roll Bounce,” Bow Wow says that experience of playing displaced roller skater, Xaviar, was “great.” In the coming of age comedy, Xaviar – a.k.a. X – holds court with his friends at their local skating rink during the late 70s, but when it goes out of business, the boys try to set up shop at Sweetwater Roller Rink, only to find themselves the low men on the totem pole. “It was something different. I don't like doing something that I've already done,” he says of his character. “I know people will flip when they see it because when you see the film you don't see Bow Wow and I think that's the one thing I want people to take away when they see it. You can't even compare this person to Bow Wow. That was me the actor…I definitely feel it's something good for my career." Bow Wow says he is equally as proud of his skating skills. "I fought to do some of the things in the movie they didn't want me to do, but since I already knew how to skate, I was able to a lot of the skating myself," he beams. It seems as if the lone challenge facing this dynamic 18-year-old on set was getting acclimated to the film’s time period of 1978, a whole nine years before the youngin’ was born. “We couldn't even listen to iPods on set, no rap music, nothing,” he says.

“It was straight 70s themes all the way, but it worked out. It took us a minute to really study this era. [Director] Malcolm [Lee] even assigned us homework. We had to watch 'Cooley High,’ TV shows like 'Good Times' and 'Fat Albert.' We had to watch things like that to put us in that mind frame and that definitely helped me out a lot." The relevance between the 70s and today’s music did not go unnoticed by Bow Wow He says: "To this day, some of the best producers in the hip hop world still sample 70s music. I mean you look at Kanye West, who is a great producer, used a lot of old samples. He samples older than 1978, which was the time frame period in the movie, and it's always gonna be like that. It won't go anywhere. That style I feel, like the old music, will always blend in with the music of now. "Even if you go to the skating rink now, the DJs will do two hours of what's going on today but then they'll take you back like for a 30-minute period and play old records. When you hear those old records it's like, 'Now it's time to get off'. Like that's when you really get your skatin' on.” In addition to the laughs and the good music, “Roll Bounce” also depicts a loving relationship between X and his dad, played by Chi McBride. Bow Wow explained: "The relationship between my character and his father speaks to any generation. It's hard not having a mother around. The love you get from a father is a different kind of love you'll get from a mother. A mother brings a more sensitive side. So you want the best of both worlds. My father wasn't around when I was growing up, so I can relate to that." McBride was not only the father figure onscreen but off as well. Bow Wow, with all his confidence, did have doubts about playing Chi's son.

“I thought no way in the world was I going to pull some of this off,” he recalled. “I gotta give all my credit to Chi McBride because he brought a lot out of me as actor. He said, ‘Leave the rap at home. Bring the actor to the set. I’ll work with the actor.' He told me to stay focused, but after a while it just came natural to me and he said, 'After this, you'll be able to do anything,' and that's basically how I feel now. So he definitely raised my confidence level up because I definitely doubted myself and I give all the credit to Chi. Even when he wrapped, sometimes he would stay on the set for me." Don't expect Bow Wow to favour one medium over the other. He loves music just as much as making movies. And don't expect him to change his name either. He says: "Bow Wow is a brand name and people don't know Shad Moss (his real name). My hardcore fan base knows Chad Moss. When I get 12 movies under my belt, I'll go Shad Moss. I'm known in every household in America, and not only here but overseas. When you have a brand, it's only right not to abuse it." And as for his main squeeze, 19-year-old R&B singer Ciara, Bow Wow explains: “Ciara is a little gift, nothing major. Her mother is very supportive of everything I do. I mean she loves Ciara and she loves my mother. So it's a whole other connection. It's like my mom's daughter right there. She don't play when it comes to us two. So I mean it's just how it is. She's a real close friend, family. Same way with her people, too. I love her father. I grew up with my mother and I never really had that father connection until now. So me and C's father, we bond a lot. I talk to him on a daily basis. So everything is cool." In a way, “Roll Bounce” director Malcolm Lee is the famed Harlem Renaissance photographer James Van Der Zee of our times, but with moving images. Lee's "Roll Bounce" captures the souls of black folks, as most of his films do.

"This spoke to me in terms of the movies I like to do which are smart, funny, and have a lot of heart," Lee told TFS. But there was another factor even more important to Lee. "This was more about the material's emotional backbone; the father and son relationship." "Roll Bounce" is one of Lee's most challenging films in more ways than one. Besides roller skating stunts and the choreography, he had to record dialogue separately, which he says he hates. Also, Bow Wow and another co-star were under 18, which meant the most time they could spend on the set – by law – was nine hours. But Lee’s freedom in casting more than made up for those filming frustrations. He says it was important that he fill the screen with darker hued females in prominent roles. "I wanted to cast someone with brown skin who portrays a standard of beauty,” Lee says. “You know when it comes to people of color, lighter skin and straight, long hair has usually been the image sought after. When the script read that Meagan [Good] ‘was the most beautiful girl in the world,' I wanted to be sure that's how she was depicted. Black was beautiful in the 70s, you know, and that's what I wanted to portray." In finding more ways to ghettoize the film industry, it is now said that if you have two black leads in a film, it's called an urban film. Lee was asked to address this new alarming issue. "That's not true,” he responded. “It's a shame but that's often how it is, you know. Just by looking at the images from the Katrina hurricane it's very telling where we are in the country still. There are just a lot of issues with so-called urban movies. But the urban movies this year have broken out. Ice Cube in 'Are We There Yet' was No. 1, ‘Coach Carter’ No. 1, 'Diary of a Mad Black Woman’ No. 1; 'Hitch,' a black star, No. 1. God, I hope it continues this year.

Speaking of Hurricane Katrina, the state of affairs in New Orleans does not surprise Lee, who notes the issue of race that was thrust back into the public eye in the wake of the disaster. "Just look at the buzz words," he says referring to how the media reported the news. "[There were] two photographs: one of a white guy and one of a black guy. The black guy was looting and the white guy found the food. He couldn't have possibly robbed the store. He couldn't have possibly been desperate. He probably put $10 on the counter and said, 'OK, they'll have it later. Also, they only once showed the brother who had stolen apples and was giving them out to hungry people. No, I'm not surprised at how the poor are left behind. I hope people wake up.” The notion of promoting a comedy when such a tragedy has befallen the Gulf States suddenly seems a bit awkward to Lee. “But hey, I mean, this is a movie,” he says. “As frivolous as movies can be sometimes, I hope that a movie like this can help people to see that we're all human beings and we all share very similar feelings and experiences."

 

Bow Wow's Will To Exceed

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Sean Daly, Special To The Star


(Sep. 23, 2005) BEVERLY HILLS—Watch your back, Will Smith. Bow Wow wants to put you out of business. "I am too hot to stop right now," the 18-year- old rapper boasts. "I am gonna dominate both music and acting. He hasn't done that." Oh no? Perhaps young Shad Gregory Moss — that's how he was known before being renamed by Snoop Dogg in 2001 — hasn't heard about the half-billion dollars in box-office receipts collected by Independence Day and Men In Black, the string of top 10 hits ("Getting' Jiggy Wit It," "Miami") or that long-running sitcom about a kid from Bel Air. Or maybe he's just really (really) confident. Yeah, that's it. Just look at him, sittin' here in his white Nike Michael Jordan T-shirt showing off tattoos that go all the way up both arms. His hair is braided in cornrows and covered by a black skull cap. A large diamond cross dangles around his neck. He looks just like ... a young Allen Iverson. Heck, even pal Nick Cannon is envious. "That guy's been doin' it big for a while," Cannon says. "He's got his own pass. He's got houses and Ferraris and Rolls Royces ... I wanna be like Bow Wow!" And in some small way, don't we all? That is, after all, part of this kid's calculated plan to slowly and methodically take over the entertainment universe. "All people have their favourite rapper they like watching and they can just look at them and idolize them," he explains. "Even the suburban white kid on the block ... he has a do rag on, and a hat to the back, and baggy pants." That's why Mr. Wow is busy creating his own line of "hip-hop inspired" fashion, which should be in stores by next year. Think of it as his way of giving back to the little people. Will Smith never did that. Then again, the Fresh Prince never had to roller boogie in skin tight pants with a George Jefferson 'fro.

Luckily, that wasn't a problem for Bow Wow in his latest movie, Roll Bounce — a Bring It On with roller skates set in 1978 Chicago — which opens today. "I have been skating for years," he says. Since age six to be exact. And he's talkin' old-school skatin' — no rollerblades here. "(That's) a different style ... When it's time to really show off what you got, then it's four wheels." That was enough to impress director Malcolm Lee. "There aren't a whole lot of kid actors who have that combination of natural charisma and good looks and popularity that Bow Wow does," he admits. "The question was whether he would be able to step up to the plate and play a character that was very different from himself." Indeed, much of Bow Wow's resumé — Johnson Family Vacation, All About The Benjamins — hasn't challenged him to venture too far from his real-life persona. This is, after all, the same kid who swore while promoting his movie Like Mike that he would become the starting point guard for Duke University by age 19. So what happened, you ask? "I'm not 19 yet!" Again with the confidence. It's a wonder this guy doesn't have his own reality-TV show. "There are so many of them already that it is just whack," he says. "But if I had mine, people would actually get the real me."

What? You mean there's even more to this 5-foot-7 Cleveland native who arrived to the MTV Video Music Awards in August on the arm of R&B starlet Ciara? "I just bought me a $6,000 high-definition camera and I have been shooting everything, every day from the time I wake up," he reveals. "I always tell my mom, `We not like any other family.' We try to go out to the movies and it gets crazy." "We act retarded. We go to the grocery store and throw apples and play football. I got a show on that tape. I could take it to a network right now." That is, if he wasn't getting ready to ship off to Tokyo to star in The Fast and The Furious 3. It's almost hard to believe there was once a time we used to confuse this guy with another young entertainer — Little Romeo. Just don't bring that up today. "You can't even compare," he insists, trying hard to be diplomatic. "I don't got no beef with him. He is a cool cat. We played basketball a few times. He is really good in basketball. But when it comes to music, I feel like nobody can touch me."

 

FILM TIDBITS

C.R.A.Z.Y. Scores Again At Atlantic Film Festival

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail

(Sept. 26, 2005) Halifax -- The 25th Atlantic Film Festival has announced its awards for 2005. Jean-Marc Vallée's C.R.A.Z.Y. won for best Canadian feature, and Greg Spottiswood's Noise won best Canadian short. Thom Fitzgerald's Three Needles won for best direction. Vallée's film also won the award for best Canadian feature at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this month. In the Atlantic-Canadian film category, Tim Wilson's The Last Weir won for best Atlantic short film, and Andrea Dorfman's Sluts: The Documentary took the Rex Tasker Award for best documentary. Staff

Coppola To Begin New Film

Source: Associated Press

(Sept. 23, 2005) New York — After an eight-year absence, Francis Ford Coppola is returning to the director's chair. He will begin filming Youth Without Youth”in Romania on Oct. 3. Starring Tim Roth, the film is adapted from a novella by Romanian philosopher-author Mircea Eliade. “It's a parable, it's a fable. It's almost like an intellectual ‘Twilight Zone,”' the Godfather director said by phone Friday, speaking from Romania. “In a way it's like a Hitchcock picture and Tim Roth is the Jimmy Stewart — the guy who gets caught up in something fascinating and big.” The film takes place right before World War II and chronicles how a professor's life is altered after an “extraordinary change” late in his life, which leads to Nazi interest in studying him. It will be Coppola's first movie since 1997's The Rainmaker. In recent years, he's concentrated on new versions of past works, including Apocalypse Now Redux and, more recently, The Outsiders: The Whole Novel. And he's been working on a screenplay about New York in the future titled Megalopolis for more than two decades. Coppola, a five-time Oscar winner, said a friend recommended Youth Without Youth, saying it had similar themes to Megalopolis. Soon, Coppola was fascinated and wrote a screenplay. “I see this all as steps on the path to something,” Coppola said. “Maybe I'll be more qualified to do ‘Megalopolis' if I really digest this film. In a sense, I think a movie is really a little like a question and when you make it, that's when you get the answer.” Already immersed in preproduction, Coppola feels a “pleasant, stage-fright kind of nervous” about his directing return. Anticipating a release date of late 2006 or spring 2007, he envisions Youth Without Youth as a return to his roots in personal filmmaking — before The Godfather set him on a path of big studio projects. “I just feel that at a certain point you have to go back to the beginning again,” the 66-year-old director said. “The best thing for me at this point in my life is to become a student again and make movies with the eyes I had when I was enthusiastic about it in the first place.”

 

::TV NEWS::

 

Just Watch Me: Sophie Grégoire

Excerpt from The Globe and Mail - By Sarah Hampson

(Sept. 24, 2005) ‘He told me I was going to be his wife on our first date,” Sophie Grégoire blurts out, laughing girlishly. The new Mrs. Trudeau, the Quebec media personality who married Justin Trudeau, the 33-year-old heartthrob eldest son of late prime minister Pierre Trudeau, is clearly in the honeymoon of her 30-year-old life. Not only has love bloomed, but so have the career opportunities. Since her marriage in May, she has landed two new television gigs — a regular segment on beauty two mornings a week on a new show called Coup de pouce on Radio-Canada in Quebec and a job as a national correspondent on celebrity and Quebec culture for eTalk Daily, CTV's entertainment program. But, she says, it is the love in her life that fills her with a sense of purpose and calm. “There are other stresses that come with all of this,” she says, referring to the scrutiny she is under as a member of the Trudeau family. “But nothing compared to the calming sensation that I have every day.” She places one of her little hands over her heart on the lacy front of her white blouse, a sophisticated confection by Quebec designer Renata Morales. “I've been waiting for this state of mind and heart for a long time.” With her girl-next-door friendliness and fresh-as-a-peach appearance, Grégoire, an only child of a Montreal stockbroker and a former nurse, is Canada's answer to a Jennifer Aniston type — a sweetheart personality who immediately makes you feel as though you could be her best friend, sharing in the story of her life. She is willing to tell it all, but not out of indiscretion. A Catholic who was schooled by nuns, Grégoire has a philosophical streak and a strong belief in fate, which give her an exuberant confidence.It's as though she figures that providence smiled upon her in order to help her understand her purpose, now that she sees it, she feels compelled to explain.

“Justin and I didn't end up together for no reason,” she says. “We have values that come from the same roots — not only social causes, but [values about] life itself. We talk about that very often — why are we here? And we think about what we have to do, first, to be happy, but to be happy for us also means to make other people that we love happy.” Later, I begin to ask about the day of the wedding, wanting to know how it felt to be part of the great (and in recent years, sad) epic of the Trudeau family. After the ceremony in Montreal's Sainte-Madeleine d'Outrement church, the couple drove away in Pierre Trudeau's restored 1960 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL roadster that was adorned with yellow flowers and, in the middle, a single red rose, the signature sartorial flourish of the prime minister, who died in 2000. But before I can finish the question, Grégoire interjects, “And it was a sunny day when it was supposed to rain.” She sighs and then laughs. Like a sign from on high? “I totally believe that,” she states emphatically. “It was meant to be.” Why? “Because what Justin and I share is real and simple, and when there's so much love, I believe in energy. So all this is connected,” she says with her charming brand of confidence. The couple first met about 20 years ago, she tells me. “All my life, I went to school with Michel [the youngest Trudeau son who was killed in an avalanche in 1998]. The parties I would go to were at his house. Then, at a graduation party — I was there with my boyfriend at the time — I was at their place in the Laurentians, and I remember Justin serving us food. But, he didn't even notice me,” she confides, laughing, “I was three or four years younger than him. When you are 12 and 16, those are two different worlds.” They met again in 2003 when they were paired to co-host Le Bal Mercedes-Benz during the Montreal Grand Prix. “Justin looked at me and he said, ‘ I think I've seen you before.' And I said, ‘Well, I went to school with Michi all my life.' We hadn't seen each other for 15 years or more. Some of my friends knew Justin, and I would get news here and there, but I was not more interested than that, because I didn't know him.” She pauses. “I did think he was cute, though,” she adds as an afterthought. Well, she's not the only one who thinks that, I say. “But I've got him now!” she says through a peel of laughter. “Sorry!” Contrary to reports, Trudeau did not ask her out after their night of hosting the Grand Prix ball. “We had a chemical something happen,” she says. But she didn't hear from him for four months, and when she did run into him on the streets of Montreal, she refused to give him her telephone number when he asked for it. After the ball, she had sent him a note via e-mail as she routinely did to people she had encountered through her work.

But he never responded. And, she says with a scolding tone of voice, “He was very flirtatious that night! So I said, ‘Cross-check! No way! Off of my list!'” Sounds like she has read the popular book, The Rules, about how to play hard-to-get and land your man. “No,” she responds, “I don't believe in being tough with a man. On that special occasion, it was what I had to do. “And it worked!” she says. He said he would find her contact information from the e-mail, because he had kept it. He did. He phoned. They went for dinner. Talked for four hours. Sang karaoke. Went for ice cream. Headed back to his place. Talked for another two hours. (Always in French. “He is so happy he ended up with someone who speaks French, because his father always used to say, ‘ Tu es plus elegant en français,'” she beams.) “And then there was a serious moment when I saw his face change,” she tells me. “We were having a serious discussion about life and whatever.” And he said, ‘I'm 31 years old,' And I was like, ‘Yes, I know.' And he said, ‘I've been waiting for you all my life. You're not getting out. You'll be my wife and we'll have a life together.' We cried and that was it! We've been together ever since.” Wasn't she scared? “It took me more time than him to really decant everything. But something in the back of my mind said, ‘This is it. Go!'” She moved in three months later and suspended work. “We travelled everywhere. “I was exposed to amazing and enriching situations, everything from meeting the Dalai Lama to going up to the Arctic.”

About a year later, Trudeau formerly proposed after visiting his father's grave on the day that would have been his 85th birthday. He gave her a vintage-looking diamond ring that he designed with Dominic Lucas, whose Montreal jewellery-business family also created some pieces for Margaret when she was married to Pierre. How many carats? “No, I never asked,” she says. “I just know I love it.” Then I ask her the question that surely everyone has wanted to know. Doesn't she feel, as a woman, that she helped heal this family that has suffered so much recent loss? “Oh,” she says with an intake of breath, “You have no idea. I have felt the family change in a way since I've been there. Not because I think I do anything — no, no, no, no — but [because of] my presence as a woman? Yes.” Changed them? “I think,” she begins tentatively, shyly. “Margaret tells me. It's very emotional for me to think about this, because it becomes even more the reason for why Justin and I are together.” She pauses. “My mission is to bring love and stability, definitely.” Does she feel she is filling a gap? “No, I don't think that. Because the gap will always be there. But I think that I have brought maybe a new breath of fresh air, something positive, hope, happiness.” Of their surprising decision to co-operate with the media — she and Trudeau allowed a photographer to sell exclusive rights to their wedding day to Maclean's and 7 Jours, a magazine in Montreal, with no reported financial gain for the couple — she offers a simple explanation. “At first, we talked about it, and I told Justin that I'm not sure I want to share this — it's such a personal event in our lives. But at the same time, ever since I've met Justin, each time we've been seeing people on the street or people come up to us at an event or whatever, they have been so amazing to us. And I thought the least we can do is share this kind of day with them. Because they are curious and they are interested. And for the people who are not, well, that's fine, too.” A sweetheart bride. A rising media star. She astutely understands the importance of her moment. “I would lie if I said that I didn't have to weigh the options carefully,” she admits, when asked if her marriage made her more cautious about what she will do in her media career. (Educated at McGill University in commerce and at the University of Montreal, where she studied communications, Grégoire has worked on a variety of television shows, mostly marginal ones and only in Quebec. She also worked as a personal shopper in Montreal's Holt Renfrew, where she retains a few clients to this day.) “Justin gives me advice, yes, but he has total faith in me, and vice versa, so all this came very naturally.”

She has a relaxed attitude about her career, saying that she only accepted the jobs because she liked the team of people involved. There are clearly other roles on the horizon. “It's a priority for me in my life to become a mother,” she says. “When it happens, it happens.” And then there's the prospect of becoming a political wife. Trudeau, a former teacher in Vancouver, is now studying for his masters in environmental geography at McGill, but has long been pegged as a potential Liberal candidate. “I'm not going to try and see too far out,” Grégoire says. “If it happens, we'll be ready for it. If it doesn't, it wasn't meant to be. But one thing is for sure, if he does go into politics, it's not going to be now. It's not going to be for a long time.” Drink this young woman up, Canada. Poised, self-possessed, funny and spirited, she has a lot in front of her. “I do think I'm prone to happiness,” she confides near the end of the interview. That is the one thing she didn't need to say.

 

MTV Returns to Canada

(September 28, 2005) CTV Inc and MTV Networks today announced a bold new strategic alliance to build and grow the MTV brand in Canada. The announcement was made by Ivan Fecan, President and CEO of Bell Globemedia and CEO of CTV Inc. together with Bill Roedy, Vice Chairman, MTV Networks & President, MTV Networks International. The multi-layered CTV-led venture partners Canada’s No. 1 television brand with the world’s most valuable media brand, to create a vibrant platform for MTV in Canada, including:

An MTV branded analogue channel available to 4.4 million households

 

A commitment between CTV and MTV to create original Canadian programming, destined for airplay in Canada across numerous CTV platforms – and on MTV channels around the world

 

Exclusive access for CTV to the MTV brand and library of programming for use in Canada across CTV's conventional, and specialty services.

 

Exclusive access for CTV to MTV’s array of digital media assets in Canada, including online, wireless, interactive and Video On Demand, as well as development of new digital media content for Canadians.

 

Today’s announcement means that Canadians can access the true MTV experience in 360 degrees; with customized content not just across digital, specialty and conventional television platforms, but for the first time across a comprehensive assortment of interactive assets as outlined above. The MTV brand is not only back in Canada, but it has returned in a broader, deeper way than ever before. CTV’s talktv, an analogue specialty service currently available in 4.4 million Canadian households, will be re-born as a Canadian programmed and managed MTV channel, filled with dynamic, interactive, lifestyle, talk and documentary programming. The channel will continue to be fully compliant with its license condition of 68 per cent Canadian programming (71 per cent in prime time), representing one of the highest Canadian-content requirements of any Canadian service. Additionally, CTV confirmed today it has filed an application with the CRTC for a new Category-2 Digital Television Service – Canada’s next music television station. This new digital television service, along with the new MTV analogue channel, will provide alternate high quality entertainment options to all Canadians, and represent a great boost to local production and culture. Finally, MTV programming will continue to air across Canada inside a newly created MTV branded block of programming on CTV.

Today's announcement underscores CTV's strategic commitment to finding new opportunities for growth and success,” said Fecan. “Around the world, MTV is a brand that extends beyond television and we’re thrilled with the opportunity to work with our new partner and worldwide innovators at MTV to build a successful business that delivers fresh, honest and relevant content to Canadians.” “Canada is a very important market to MTV. As a source of dynamic debate, diversity and culture, MTV in Canada will reflect a uniquely Canadian perspective to enrich our global operation,” said Roedy. “This is a tremendous milestone in our global expansion, and its terrific to be partnering with CTV – their passion, expertise, and credibility are inspiring. We are going to do great things together.” Returning to Toronto to oversee the MTV business is Canadian Brad Schwartz, today named General Manager and Senior Vice President. In his previous position, Schwartz was Director, International Marketing Partnerships for MTV Networks International, based in New York, and responsible for worldwide marketing and sponsorship initiatives. “Our focus is to build a clearly Canadian interpretation of the MTV brand – one that will engage and excite all Canadians,” said Schwartz. “With the array of resources and expertise available from both the CTV and MTV families, we’re going to rapidly establish our presence in Canada, and become a vital and valued member of Canada’s creative and production communities.” “Canadians have come to know MTV as both a leading lifestyle and entertainment brand,” said Susanne Boyce, CTV President of Programming and Chair of the CTV Media Group, “The MTV philosophy has won the following of millions around the world for its leadership and vision in current affairs, offering an alternative voice and engaging viewers that the traditional mainstream media just don’t reach. It’s no secret that millions of Canadians – especially young Canadians – are yearning for new ways to become involved in issues that are important to them. They’re ready to be challenged by the bold, unorthodox approach that MTV has pioneered.” MTV’s content has a proven track record with Canadian viewers. The Osbournes became a Top 20 ratings winner for CTV when it launched in 2002. Additional MTV success stories on CTV include Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica, Punk'd, and Pimp My Ride.

“MTV’s commitment to bold, innovative and entertaining programming reflects CTV’s philosophy toward building successful schedules,” added Boyce. “With nation-builders like Live 8, The Juno Awards and Canadian Idol, and star vehicles like eTalk Daily to showcase them, CTV has demonstrated its commitment to developing Canadian stars. A partnership with MTV is an exciting and ideal extension of our overall program strategy.” In Canada, CTV remains the undisputed broadcast leader both in conventional television and in the Specialty sector. CTV finished the 2004-2005 season with 18 of Canada’s Top 20 programs, and is home to the most watched Canadian programs in all genres. CTV also owns interests in 14 Specialty services including The Discovery Channel, The Comedy Network, OLN and No. 1 ranked TSN. Comprehensive details relating to launch dates, content, co-production plans and branding, including details outlining the digital strategy, will be revealed in the weeks to come.

About CTV
CTV is Canada’s largest private broadcaster. Its conventional stations boast 18 of Canada's Top 20 programs including the No. 1 Drama (CSI), the No. 1 Comedy (Corner Gas), the No. 1 reality series (The Amazing Race) and the No. 1 ranked local and national news. CTV owns 21 conventional television stations and has interests in 14 specialty channels, including The Comedy Network, Discovery Channel and Canada's No. 1 specialty channel, TSN. CTV is owned by Bell Globemedia, Canada’s premier multi-media company. More information about CTV may be found on the company Web site at www.ctv.ca.

About MTV
MTV is the world’s largest television network and the leading multimedia brand for youth. For the 6th consecutive year, MTV was named The World's Most Valuable Media Brand in the Interbrand/Business Week 2005 World's Most Valuable Brands Report. With 43 programming services in Asia, Australia, Europe, Latin America, North America, Russia, and the Middle East, each MTV channel promotes local cultural tastes with a mixture of national, regional and international celebrities along with locally produced and globally shared programming. MTV’s holdings also include 37 locally operated Web sites worldwide as well as publishing, recorded music, radio, home video, licensing & merchandising and a feature film division. MTV Networks International includes the premier multimedia entertainment brands MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, TMF (The Music Factory), Paramount Comedy, VIVA, The Box, FLUX and Game One seen in 421.9 million households in 167 countries and 18 languages via 111 locally programmed and operated TV channels and 94 Web sites. The company’s diverse holdings also include interests in television syndication, digital media, publishing, home video, radio, recorded music, licensing & merchandising and two feature film divisions, MTV Films and Nickelodeon Movies. MTV Networks is a unit of Viacom International Inc. (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B).

 

Desperately Seeking Alfre

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com

(Sept. 23, 2005) *On the season finale of “Desperate Housewives” in May, Wysteria Lane received some mysterious new residents. Betty Appplewhite, played by Alfre Woodard, and her son, Matthew, portrayed by Mechad Brooks, moved in under the cover of night and looked a tad bit shady, to put it nicely. "I've never sold a house over the phone before," said their neighbour and real estate agent Edie Britt when she stopped by to welcome the family. Betty was cordial to Edie, but definitely cautious. Why did the Applewhites move into the house in the middle of the night? Why wouldn’t they let Edie inside? What big secret are they hiding? Unable to wait until Sunday, we scoured every available source to come up with some answers. The common denominator seems to be that the Applewhites are involved in something very dark and disturbing that will play out over several months. Last July during a press conference to promote the show in Beverly Hills, series creator Marc Cherry described the Applewhites’ secret as the prevailing mystery of next season and the “darkest thing we’ve ever done.” "My son and I have a lot of baggage with us and, it's not just the stuff that we were unloading from the car," Woodard told E! Online last month. "And it might make a few people's hair stand on end when they're watching. There's something very provocative that happens at the very end of the first episode, and that's the thing that'll make you go 'Whooooaa!' It plays out over months. But you'll definitely do that 'Whoooaa!'" People magazine reported in June: "Definitely keep an eye of Alfre Woodard's character. She came to Wysteria Lane with something to hide, and we're going to find out exactly what she's hiding in the season premiere. There's a reason they moved in the middle of the night, and there's a reason they moved themselves."

In July, Cherry revealed that Woodard's character was a concert pianist, “but is now involved with something very dark and spooky.” Marcia Cross, whose daughter on the show, Danielle, asks Betty to play the organ at her father’s funeral service, (if the rumour of this scene is actually true), told Entertainment Weekly: “If you're going to do a far-fetched mystery, you want to have someone who is really intriguing. Alfre carries that with her. As a person, you're like, 'Who is she?' She seems like the oldest soul you've ever met. If you had a lightweight in there, you wouldn't be that curious.” Entertainment Weekly goes on to report that Betty ends up making quite an impression at the service – “and not just for her ivory-tickling.” For a split second last summer, ABC “accidentally” (according to the network) ran a photo on its web site that showed a scene that was supposedly cut out of May’s season finale. It showed Betty and her son taking a tray into a locked basement room that looks almost as dank and dreary as the dungeon in the movie, “Saw.” The picture was immediately pulled. Finally, some parting words about the Applewhites from Cherry, courtesy of USA Today: "They come on the street; they seem like nice people - but they've got a secret. And it's pretty gothic. It's real and human and awful all at the same time.” Their story will begin to unfold Sunday night at 9 on ABC. The season premiere is titled, “Next.”

 

Both Sides In CBC Dispute Called To The Table

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - John Mckay, Canadian Press


(Sep. 25, 2005) The two sides in the CBC lockout have agreed to sit down with federal Labour Minister Joe Fontana on Monday in a bid to end the six-week-old dispute. The meeting will take place hours before Parliament is set to resume for the fall session. "I am inviting you to meet with me . . . to review the status of the negotiations and to develop a plan to bring these negotiations to a successful conclusion without further delay," Fontana said Friday in a letter to CBC president and CEO Robert Rabinovitch and to Arnold Amber, president of the CBC branch of the Canadian Media Guild. CBC spokesman Jason MacDonald confirmed that Rabinovitch will attend the meeting. "I think any initiative that could move the process along toward a negotiated agreement is positive," he said. "I mean I sound like a broken record but I've said our objective is to get a negotiated agreement as soon as possible." The union will also attend the meeting. Karen Wirsig of the Canadian Media Guild called the minister's invitation "the first major breakthrough" in the dispute. Fontana could not immediately be reached for comment Friday. His letter said he's heard grave concerns about the length of the lockout and is particularly worried about the impact it is having in remote areas of the country. The union is still planning a major rally Monday in Ottawa, where morale on the picket line is said to be sagging. Fontana's invitation came a day after the Guild tabled what it called its first comprehensive offer in the dispute that has locked out 5,500 unionized employees and crippled original programming on the CBC English-language radio and TV networks.

The package was quickly dismissed by management for failing to deal with two key issues: the CBC's wish to make greater use of contract employees and the qualifications a laid-off employee would have to have to justify bumping a colleague with less seniority. "It has been the experience at the CBC for deals to be concluded in Ottawa with both the federal mediators there, but also key members of the CBC management team who for the most part have not been present at the bargaining at all," said guild president Lise Lareau, referring to a 1996 dispute that was settled in such a manner that a deal was reached within three days. Ian Morrison, spokesman for the watchdog group Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, believes Rabinovitch — who has kept a low profile during the lockout — is under pressure from the CBC board of directors as well as the Commons heritage committee. "He has been in a sort of bunker," he said. "So I see this as a hopeful sign. If this does not resolve the issue, ultimately more people are going to be saying `Who is this Rabinovitch anyway? Why does he think that he can hold the public up to ransom for whatever purpose he has?'"

 

Don Adams, 82: Bumbling Spy On TV's Get Smart

Excerpt from The Toronto Star

(Sep. 26, 2005) LOS ANGELES (AP-CP) — Don Adams, the wry-voiced comedian who starred as the bumbling secret agent Maxwell Smart in the 1960s TV spoof of James Bond movies, Get Smart, has died. He was 82. Adams died of a lung infection late Sunday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, his friend and former agent Bruce Tufeld said Monday, adding that the actor broke his hip a year ago and had been in ill health since. As the inept Agent 86 of the super-secret federal agency CONTROL, Adams captured TV viewers with his antics in combating the evil agents of KAOS. When his explanations failed to convince the villains or his boss, he tried another tack: "Would you believe ... ?" It became a national catchphrase. Smart was also prone to spilling things on the desk or person of his boss — the Chief (actor Edward Platt). Smart's apologetic ``Sorry about that, chief" also entered the American lexicon. The spy gadgets, which aped those of the Bond movies, were a popular feature, especially the pre-cellphone telephone in a shoe. Smart's beautiful partner, Agent 99, played by Barbara Feldon, was as brainy as he was dense, and a plot romance led to marriage and the birth of twins later in the series. "He had this prodigious energy, so as an actor working with him it was like being plugged into an electric current," Feldon said from New York. "He would start and a scene would just take off and you were there for the ride. It was great fun acting with him." Adams was very intelligent, she said, a quality that suited the satiric show that had comedy geniuses Mel Brooks and Buck Henry behind it. "He wrote poetry, he had an interest in history ... He had that other side to him that does not come through Maxwell Smart," she said. "Don in person was anything but bumbling."

Adams had an "amazing memory" that allowed him to take an unusual approach to filming, Feldon said. Instead of learning his lines ahead of time he would have a script assistant read his part to him just once or twice. He invariably got it right but that didn't stop people from placing bets on it, she recounted. Adams, who had been under contract to NBC, was lukewarm about doing a spy spoof. When he learned that Brooks and Henry had written the pilot script, he accepted immediately. Get Smart debuted on NBC in September 1965 and scored No. 12 among the season's most-watched series and No. 22 in its second season. Get Smart twice won the Emmy for best comedy series with three Emmys for Adams as comedy actor. CBS picked up the show but the ratings fell off as the jokes seemed repetitive, and it was cancelled after four seasons. The show lived on in syndication and a cartoon series. In 1995 the Fox network revived the series with Smart as chief and 99 as a congresswoman. It lasted seven episodes. "It was a special show that became a cult classic of sorts, and I made a lot of money for it," he remarked of Get Smart in a 1995 interview. "But it also hindered me career-wise because I was typed. The character was so strong, particularly because of that distinctive voice, that nobody could picture me in any other type of role." However, he did make a sitcom comeback in the Canadian supermarket comedy Check It Out, which aired from 1985-88. He played Howard Bannister in the series, which also starred Dinah Christie. "Not a great show, but not bad. It was OK," he said in a 1999 interview with The Canadian Press while in Toronto to promote AlternaCall, Inc., a fledgling long-distance discount service. He was born Donald James Yarmy in New York City on April 13, 1923, Tufeld said, although some sources say 1926 or '27. The actor's father was a Hungarian Jew who ran a few small restaurants in the Bronx.

In a 1959 interview Adams said he never cared about being funny as a kid: "Sometimes I wonder how I got into comedy at all. I did movie star impressions as a kid in high school. Somehow they just got out of hand." In 1941, he dropped out of school to join the Marines. In Guadalcanal he survived the deadly blackwater fever and was returned to the States to become a drill instructor, acquiring the clipped delivery that served him well as a comedian. After the war he worked in New York as a commercial artist by day, doing stand-up comedy in clubs at night, taking the surname of his first wife, Adelaide Adams. His following grew, and soon he was appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show and late-night TV shows. Bill Dana, who had helped him develop comedy routines, cast him as his sidekick on Dana's show. That led to the NBC contract and Get Smart. Adams, who married and divorced three times and had seven children, served as the voice for the popular cartoon series, Inspector Gadget as well as the voice of Tennessee Tuxedo. In 1980, he appeared as Maxwell Smart in a feature film, The Nude Bomb, about a madman whose bomb destroyed people's clothing. Tufeld said funeral arrangements were incomplete.

 

TV TIDBITS

Shemar Moore On A Mission

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com - By Karu F. Daniels

(Sept. 22, 2005) “The world goes 'round and 'round and 'round. And 'round!” MAKING MOVES: Actor Shemar Moore is not just a pretty face. And he wants the world to know it. “I know I look like I live that choice life and I do but when you get doors slammed in your face because of how you look and people only want to have certain conversations with you, you get hungry,” the soon-to-be former soap hunk told “The RU Report” last weekend. “I’m ready to change the conversation that people are having about Shemar Moore.” New conversation fodder include his brand new star turn in CBS’s much buzzed about drama series, Criminal Minds,” which airs on Wednesdays and also stars Mandy Patinkin, Thomas Gibson, and Lola Glaudini. In the role of Special Agent Derek Morgan, an expert on obsessional crimes, the 35-year-old Mr. Moore sheds his former persona of Malcolm Winters, the veteran Black eye candy on the network’s legendary daytime serial “The Young & The Restless.” “This [show] gives me the opportunity to do something that I haven’t really gotten to do that I’ve known I could do for a long time,” he explained. “It’s a cerebral show where I get to pull more tools out of my tool box all at once, so to speak, as an actor and show that off. And people can finally take notice. “For me, this is truly a vehicle to break down those doors that I couldn’t get to in the last twelve years.” But don’t get it twisted. For full story: go to the Ru Report HERE.

Everybody Loved ‘Chris’

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com

(Sept. 26, 2005) *UPN’s “Everybody Hates Chris,” the Chris Rock-produced and –narrated sitcom set in his real New York hometown of Do or Die, Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, drew 7.8 million viewers during its 8 p.m. premiere Thursday, making it the most-watched comedy premiere in the network’s 10-year history and the No. 3 premiere of any kind on UPN (behind "Star Trek: Voyager," which launched the network in 1995, and "Enterprise" in 2001). “Chris” beat the first half-hour of NBC’s hour-long “Joey” premiere, which drew 7.5 million viewers. The show, inspired by Rock’s own upbringing, was second overall in the 8 to 8:30 portion of the 8 p.m. slot, getting about half the 15.5 million viewers who tuned in to time-period winner "Survivor: Guatamala." But in Brooklyn, the show beat “Joey,” “Survivor” and everything else in its 8 p.m. Thursday timeslot, including Fox’s “The O.C.” "Chris" was also No. 1 in New York with the advertiser-coveted 18- to 49-year-old viewers, and second around the country with that crowd. Meanwhile, the fourth season of "The Apprentice" had its smallest premiere audience ever with only 9.9 million viewers. To put it all in perspective, Thursday night’s ratings champ, “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” pulled 29 million viewers for CBS. Ten million of those folks turned away from the network’s new drama, “Criminal Minds.” The series, which co-stars Shemar Moore, still managed to earn the most-viewed series premiere of the season with 19.6 viewers.

 

::THEATRE NEWS::

 

Billy Gets Personal

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Richard Ouzounian


(Sep. 24, 2005) Ask Billy Crystal for the most important aspect of his work and — like most comedians — he'll tell you "it's all about timing." The difference is that he doesn't mean the one-liners he detonates to perfection when hosting the Oscars, or the laser accuracy of his numerous comic characterizations. No, what's on his mind these days is the 25 years it finally took him to find the courage to write 700 Sundays. Crystal's sweet-and-sour examination of his youth won the Tony Award last season for Best Special Theatrical Presentation after a sellout run that made a record profit of $14 million (US). It begins a North American tour on Wednesday at the Canon Theatre and the 58-year-old performer paused long enough during rehearsals in California to give this exclusive interview. On the phone, Crystal sounds more like the warm-hearted guy he played in films such as When Harry Met Sally than the sharp-tongued emcee who makes the Oscar night crowd perspire. This show means a lot to him and he's quick to explain why. "Back in 1978, I found myself thinking a lot about my Dad, just after I began to make it big on Soap." Crystal is talking about the controversial TV show that found him playing the first openly gay regular character on a network series. "I wished that Dad could have been there for that and so I started digging into my memories of him. I wrote down four pages of an outline. I called it 700 Sundays, which was the only way I had of measuring our time together." His father, Jack, had to work at several jobs to support the family. Consequently, Sunday was the only day he actually had to be with the kids. He died of a heart attack when Billy was only 15 and the title is his mathematical calculation of just how many days they got to spend together. "It tapped into some very strong feelings, feelings that I wasn't really ready to deal with. I was afraid of them. So it went into the `I'll get back to it next week' pile and my voice went into different things." Those "different things" he brushes off so lightly included a phenomenally successful career as a comedian. It reached a peak with the 1984-85 season on Saturday Night Live.

His flamboyant impersonation of Fernando Lamas and his catchphrase "You look MAH-velous!" made him a household name, but by 1986, "I felt I didn't have much to say anymore," so he stopped doing stand-up comedy for 15 years. Instead, he shifted his attention to what he calls "my movie world," with numerous high-grossing films such as City Slickers and Analyze This. But after a while, that paled as well. "I felt like the creative excitement was gone and I started to realize that there was a whole generation who didn't know me as a comedian, who hadn't heard my real voice." This was late in 2001, a tumultuous year for Crystal. He directed the TV movie 61*, about his lifelong idol (and eventual friend), baseball hero Mickey Mantle. Like most native New Yorkers, he was devastated by the events of 9/11, and within a few months, he suffered the loss of the two surviving pillars of his childhood — his mother Helen and his uncle Milt. "When Mom and Milt passed away, I kept thinking about my life and these wonderful people I had been blessed with. A lot of memories, great memories, but those bags are heavy things to carry around with you. You've got to do something with them. "I had this strange feeling inside me, an emptiness, but a heaviness as well. I finally asked myself, `What makes me happy? What really makes me happy?'" There's a long pause and then he offers the answer that finally came to him. "It's when I'm out with a live audience on a roll, talking about things that really matter to me." He tentatively dipped his toes back into the water. Old buddy David Steinberg invited him to Seattle for a charity benefit, in which Steinberg would interview Crystal about his life. "It was a cross between Inside the Actors' Studio and doing a really hot Letterman gig for two hours. It felt good to be back." In the audience, at Crystal's invitation, was Toronto-born director Des McAnuff, who had known the performer for years and offered what he saw that night a home at his La Jolla Playhouse. "You could take this to New York as it is," said McAnuff, but Crystal had another idea. "I brought out the four pages of the outline I had written back in 1978. I thought the time had come. If I could find the courage to talk about all these moving moments in my life and not be maudlin or sappy, then that would be wonderful."

McAnuff brought Crystal and his friend, writer Alan Zweibel, into a little rehearsal hall at Pepperdine University near Malibu. "I had my four-page outline, my memories and a pile of music on CD. And then we started." Crystal shivers at the memory. "Man, that's the DMZ out there and you've got to be fearless. All those characters, all those words, riffing away as fast as your mind can take you. Always knowing you had a theme to begin with; always knowing you had a theme to come back to." If that sounds a lot like jazz, it's only a matter of Crystal going back to his roots. His father booked concerts for greats such as Louis Armstrong and Billie Holliday and his uncle ran Commodore Records, dedicated to quality jazz. Young Billy grew up in a world he describes as an amalgam of "Jews and jazz, brisket and bourbon." When asked what he remembered best about the musicians from his past, he doesn't hesitate. "I loved the joy of them, the joy and the courage." His favourite was "a black stride piano player who spoke Yiddish named Willie `The Lion' Smith. He'd show up at our seders, wearing a yarmulke, and he nicknamed me `Face.'" A memory of him still exists in Crystal's company, which is called Face Productions. All of this was on Crystal's mind as "I would feed music into the CD player and just riff and tell these stories. Des and Alan would listen and shape it." Within three weeks, the show was ready. A preview period at La Jolla resulted in 18 minutes being cut; it opened on Broadway last December to sellout audiences and rave reviews. "People ask me when I started writing it," says Crystal, "and I tell them 1948," when he was 1 year old. "I was finally so ready to tell these stories." But some of them were harder to recall than others. Crystal's father had his fatal heart attack a few hours after he and Billy had fought bitterly. They never had the chance to reconcile.

That scene forms one of the more painful moments and Crystal admits, "It's still very hard to go there. Even though it's 42 years ago, it still feels as fresh and raw as it did that night. But at least I feel I have the chance to transform the hurt into something good." Apart from that childhood trauma, Crystal has had a blessed existence. He's been happily married to his wife Janice for 35 years and still proudly states, "She's the most sensible, sweetest, honest person I can ever imagine." Crystal asked her to produce 700 Sundays on Broadway and when she claimed lack of experience he told her, "You produced two kids and renovated our house six times. You can do this. You know, a lot of people on Broadway sleep with the producer to get the job. I'm no different." He's proud to have few regrets. "Only one, but it's a big one. I regret not being on the first broadcast of Saturday Night Live." Crystal was set to perform on that historic 1975 program, but when Lorne Michaels scheduled him at the very end and cut his airtime to two minutes, "I ended up walking off the show. Sure I came back as a regular nine years later, but still..." A world of regret exists inside his silence. "Well, maybe things are meant to be or not." As for his eight stints as host of the Oscars, Crystal allows that "I've liked the experience, but it consumes so much of the year and the rewards aren't what you put back into it. I don't know what I get out of it anymore, but I've still left the door open for the future." Right now, he's more than happy to continue with 700 Sundays because "it's the best part I ever had to play." In the end, he'll always be a jazz baby at heart. He admits that of all the catchphrases associated with him, the one he'd most like to be remembered by is freely borrowed from that black Yiddish-speaking stride piano player, Willie "The Lion" Smith. "Can you dig it? I knew that you could." Maybe he'd even like it on his tombstone? "Now that," laughs Crystal, "that would be cool."

 

Shadowland's Movable Feast Is Fine Theatrical Fare

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Richard Ouzounian, Theatre Critic


(Sep. 26, 2005) "Unique" is an overused word in the critical lexicon, but it's the one that best applies to The Lost Supper, the latest work from Shadowland Theatre. It's a strange but lovely mixture of puppetry, movement, light and music that tells seven distinctive stories, but barely uses a word. Shadowland is the Toronto Island-based group that brings its unique creativity to many aspects of our local theatre scene. It has won three Dora Awards for the grotesquely splendid costumes it provided for Video Cabaret, produced some memorable outdoor spectacles like Right of Passage and also created an assortment of memorable smaller pieces, of which The Lost Supper is a fine addition. Seven life-size puppets sit at a communal dinner table and, after a sort introductory talk from one of them (a kind of papier-mâché Margaret Visser), we launch into the individual anecdotes that connect each guest's life with the world of food. Throughout, the five black-clad manipulators (Anne Barber, Brad Harley, Mark Keetch, Noah Kenneally and Clea Minaker) do a delicate job of not only seeing that the larger puppets move and react appropriately, but that each story is told by a group of smaller puppets with a wealth of careful detail. The end result is not unlike those Matryoshka dolls, where a full-sized original keeps revealing a series of ever-tinier miniatures, to our constantly growing amazement. The Russian atmosphere is echoed by the content of the some of the tales as well as the heavenly Klezmer-flavoured score composed, arranged, produced and even partially played by David Buchbinder. The individual episodes range from an evocation of passion in a Provençal garden to a year in the life of a farmer, each handled with a different style and some amusing theatrical flair.

Is there a final point to it all, other than the celebration of the joys and sorrows that can be found in the community of dining? That's hard to say, but this is a piece that excites us more for its unheard echoes than its clearly defined statements. Mark Cassidy has directed with an invention that surpasses mere cleverness and a sense of just when we have to be dazzled and when it's time to let us sit and think. There's also a lot of humour in the piece — some subtle, some broad — and it makes for an entertaining hour. It's also a treat to see how the five cast members constantly reinforce the emotions that their puppets are meant to be feeling, with a wealth of subtle smiles, exchanged glances and murmured confidences. Rebecca Picherack has done wonders with a simple lighting plot, including a magical evocation of a Balinese shadow play. And, as mentioned before, Buchbinder's score wraps the whole thing up in a blanket of sound that soothes without ever smothering. It's some of the best theatre music I've heard in a long time. The Lost Supper once again shows that Shadowland is a group that can be counted on to provide Toronto theatre with work deliciously out of the ordinary. It's not conventional, but nothing this group does ever is. Still, if you want something different, you'll find it here.

 

Oprah To Produce Broadway's The Color Purple

Source: Associated Press

(Sept. 26, 2005) New York — The Color Purple, a musical based on Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, will have Oprah Winfrey as a producer and investor when it opens on Broadway in December. In Ms. Winfrey's first Broadway venture, she will contribute more than $1-million (U.S.) of the musical's $10-million production cost, The New York Times reported Sunday on its Web site. The musical, which has been revised since receiving some bad reviews when it opened in Atlanta last year, will be called Oprah Winfrey Presents: The Color Purple. Winfrey told the Times it has been “a secret dream” to be part of Broadway. “I hope to do for this production some of what I've been able to do for books — that is, to open the door to the possibilities for a world of people who have never been or even thought of going to a Broadway show,” she said. Ms. Winfrey was nominated for an Oscar for her role in the 1985 film version of The Color Purple, directed by Steven Spielberg. Ms. Walker's book has been adapted by Marsha Norman, author of ‘ night, Mother, while the score is by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray. The Winfrey production will be directed by Gary Griffin, a Chicago-based director best known for his small-scale productions of musicals such as My Fair Lady and Pacific Overtures. The choreographer is Donald Byrd. Besides Ms. Winfrey, producers include Quincy Jones, Scott Sanders and Roy Furman. The actress LaChanze will star in the show. The Color Purple is told through the eyes of Celie, a timid young Southern woman who is raped by her father, gives birth to two children and suffers years of cruelty married to an abusive man.

 

 ::SPORTS NEWS::

 

 

 

 

 

 

 ::OTHER NEWS::

What's this? Idealism in film biz?

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Peter Howell

(Sept. 23, 2005) Jeff Skoll has been called naïve a lot lately. The Montreal-born entrepreneur is getting used to it, and also to proving people wrong. In the late 1990s, he and his friend Pierre Omidyar had an idea for selling goods via the Internet. They believed people were basically honest, and that they'd be willing to do transactions on the honour system. Everyone laughed at how gullible Skoll and Omidyar were. Perhaps you've heard of their idea. They called it eBay, and it's now one of the biggest and most profitable of Internet success stories. Skoll has since left eBay, having made many millions off his naiveté. He's tilting his Quixotic lance at an even bigger windmill: Hollywood. At the not-so-young age of 40, he continues to believe in the essential decency of his fellow humans, despite everything life and the movies have taught him. Skoll last year created Participant Productions, an L.A.-based company that would have seemed perfectly logical in the hippy-dippy 1960s, but which seems downright crazy in the hard early years of the 21st century. As chairman and CEO of Participant, he's using his eBay bucks to back movies that seek to inform as well as to entertain. And not just movies that people will talk about after they've seen them, but movies that will motivate them to go out and change the world. Perhaps you've heard of some of them, which are already getting much attention and Oscar buzz. They include the recent Toronto film festival gala North Country, starring Charlize Theron, Sissy Spacek and Frances McDormand; the summer documentary Murderball and the soon-arriving George Clooney dramas Good Night, and Good Luck and Syriana.

Skoll and Ricky Strauss, 38, the company's first president, came to Toronto last week in the midst of the film festival frenzy to calmly talk about their shared vision for living better through socially conscious cinema. They want to make the films that Hollywood forgot. "As a kid, I'd see movies like The China Syndrome, All the President's Men or Gandhi and I thought, `Boy, it would be great to have a company that would focus on doing movies like that,'" said Skoll, who moved to Toronto at age 13 and ended up studying electrical engineering at the U of T. "And it would be even better to take these movies and to use them as a catalyst to actually change society, working with organizations that could be involved in these issues. Instead of people seeing a film and saying, `I'm going to go and have a beer,' they'd go, `Wow, what can I do to help?' And I wanted to give them tools that could actually help." The tools include educational kits and other interactive features, to be made available through Participant's website (http://www.participantproductions.com). You can stifle those snickers. At this point I must report that neither Skoll nor Strauss appeared to be wild-eyed dreamers or recreational drug users, as they sat before me across a table in a crowded hotel suite. Both men have considerable business experience: Skoll has founded two other companies besides eBay and Participant, and Strauss spent 17 years at Sony and its TriStar Pictures and Columbia Pictures affiliates, where he helped market socially aware films like Gandhi and Philadelphia. (Strauss is a New Yorker, incidentally, so he can't claim Canadian innocence as any kind of defence.) Even with that kind of background, Skoll admits the doors of Hollywood didn't exactly swing open, when he first began shopping the idea for Participant around last year. "Well, initially people would always say, `Nobody is going to want to see a spinach movie, a message movie.' "But it seemed like everybody I spoke to cared about a particular issue. No matter whether they were a director, an agent, a studio person or an actor or actress, they all seemed to have an issue important to them — such as AIDS, which is the theme of Philadelphia, which Ricky worked on way back when. "So when you put it in a context like that, they'd go, `Oh, we can do an entertaining movie that has AIDS as a theme? That's a cool idea. Now I get it. You can make good movies that people want to see and they also have a message.'"

It's hard to imagine a Hollywood person actually talking like that. The recent history of message movies has been something of a mixed message. There were Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 and Bowling for Columbine, which set new ticket sales records for documentaries, but neither film made a discernible impact on the public mind. George W. Bush was re-elected, despite the anti-Bush sentiment of Fahrenheit 9/11. And it seems likely that none of the pistol-packing hoodlums currently terrifying Toronto took Bowling's anti-gun message all that seriously. Ironically, Moore praised Toronto and Canadians for our lack of gun violence. It's even tougher to sell a dramatic feature with "spinach" content. In 1998, I interviewed another former Montrealer, Barnet Bain, who had almost the same ambitions as Skoll. Bain was going to make Hollywood movies meaningful with a company he founded called Metafilmics. But he lost a bundle on his first big movie, a Robin Williams' after-life bomb called What Dreams May Come, and he's barely been heard from since. Skoll and Strauss know that they've got their work cut out from them. But they're starting out with a very strong slate of films — North Country, Murderball, Syriana and Good Night, and Good Luck are all being considered as possible award winners this season. People will likely see these movies, but whether or not they'll want to change the world afterwards is a very big question mark. Strauss said Participant would do what it can to prompt public involvement by getting social organizations onside for every relevant movie. The company also plans to launch a new consumer-oriented website Oct. 7, and there are big plans to use blogs to spread the good word. They may be on to something. The New York Times this week ran a story about a hit Egyptian movie called The Embassy is in the Building, which reportedly takes a humorous and accommodating approach towards Israel, a country many Egyptians are at odds with. Even more amazing is the news that the film pokes fun at Islamic extremism. Is it possible that moviegoers are once again ready to eat their spinach, as they seemed so eager to do in the 1960s and 1970s? Skoll and Strauss seem convinced that they are. They both laughed when I ask them why they aren't bitter and cynical. "There's enough of those already in the movie business," Strauss replied.

 

Oprah Returns To New Books

Associated Press

(Sept. 23, 2005) New York — After two years of celebrating the past, Oprah Winfrey has decided to welcome back the present. Her latest book club pick, announced Thursday on her television show, is “A Million Little Pieces,” James Frey's graphic memoir of substance abuse. It marks two departures from Winfrey's recent choices: It's a contemporary book, and a work of nonfiction. “I've decided I will open the door to all books as potential Oprah's Book Club selections,” she said Thursday. “I feel this will give the book club a whole new range of opportunities to explore the world through words.” Mr. Frey's book was first released in 2003 and paperback publisher Anchor Books has commissioned a new printing of 600,000. “A Million Little Pieces” was No. 1 on Amazon.com as of Thursday night. Three years ago, Winfrey announced she was cutting back on book club picks, saying it had “become harder and harder to find books on a monthly basis that I feel absolutely compelled to share.” Since 2003, Ms. Winfrey has recommended “classics,” including John Steinbeck's “East of Eden” and Pearl Buck's “The Good Earth.” She recently completed a “Summer of Faulkner,” picking a trio of novels by the Southern writer. Last spring, more than 100 writers, including Pulitzer Prize winners Jane Smiley and Jhumpa Lahiri, wrote an open letter to Ms. Winfrey that urged her to “consider focusing, once again, on contemporary writers” and suggested that her abandonment of newer works was hurting sales.