20 Carlton Street, Suite 1032, Toronto, ON  M5B 2H5
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        (416) 677-5883
                                                                                                                                                                                           langfieldent@rogers.com
                                                                                                                                                                             www.langfieldentertainment.com

LE NEWSLETTER

July 26, 2007

Life can get a little busy sometimes but it always seems to be a little better in the summer somehow right?  Along those lines, last week I
failed to mention that I was able to catch three (count 'em three!) concerts.  For ALL these concerts, check out my PHOTO GALLERY!

First was
Musiq Soulchild concert at Phoenix - unbelievable talent that I've missed since his last release.  His band was incredible and he brought some rock tunes, gospel and his soul vibe.  Then there was Ivana Santilli at Revival with her smooth sultry sounds and hot band.  And last but not least, Kayte Burgess at Harlem.  Kayte put her show together for one of her visiting producers, Ali Shaheed Muhammad (formerly of Tribe Called Quest).  It was a high energy show with Kayte magic being backed up by some of my fav band members. 

I've been invited to attend
Crop Over in Barbados from August 1-8th!  You've probably heard lots of promo for it on FLOW 93.5.  Exciting and I'll be giving you a full report upon my return.  I may be sending you next week's newsletter a couple of days early as a result. 

Harbourfront Centre switches gears just in time for Toronto's Caribana -
Island Soul comes to town with  all things Caribbean.  Come down and join the fun!   Harlem weekly event listings are below as well.  And the popular Old School Request Party is BACK!  Check out all details below!
 

 

::HOT EVENTS::

 

Old School Request Party – Friday, August 3, 2007

SOLD OUT for the past 6 years, the
OLD SCHOOL REQUEST PARTY has been the hottest Karibana Friday night party in the city for the mature clientele.  This year we’re moving the party uptown to the immaculate Six Degrees nightclub (formerly Berlin), featuring two floors of old school musical vibes with The “Juiceman” Jonathan Shaw, DOC (CHRY radio), DJ Wayne, Bobby D, MC Toney Williams, Neddy Nyce - and special guest host Mark StrongOfficial Heat (Western NY and Southern Ontario's #1 music and entertainment TV show) will also be covering the event.  And remember….on Karibana Friday….what happens in de party…stays in de party…….

View the e-vite for this event
HERE.  Turn up your speakers....and tek a quick whine......

FRIDAY, AUGUST 3, 2007
THE 7TH ANNUAL KARIBANA FRIDAY OLD SCHOOL REQUEST PARTY
Six Degrees Nightclub
2335 Yonge Street (Yonge & Eglinton)
10:00 pm
Get on the $10 guestlist valid until 10:30 pm by RSVPing to
info@oldskoolrequest.com
www.oldschoolrequest.com

::ISLAND SOUL - AUGUST 3 - 6, 2007::

Source:  Harbourfront Centre

Check out Island Soul at
Harbourfront Centre!!  Perhaps you’d like an alternative to the other Caribana festivities and I can’t think of a better place! 

(July 18, 2007) -  Harbourfront Centre’s Island Soul festival jumps up and jumps through the musical history of Jamaica and Trinidad with star-studded concerts featuring Barrington Levy, Lord Superior, Ernest Ranglin, Black Stalin and more! All festival events are FREE admission (Complete event schedule below).The seventh edition of the festival begins with two nights of concerts (August 3 & 4) showcasing Calypso’s living legends. The Calypso Dreams Tour: Last of the Best features multiple Calypso Monarch winners like Black Stalin, Macomere Fifi and Singing Sandra alongside recording legends like Lord Superior and The Mighty Sparrow. There will also be screenings of the documentary CALYPSO DREAMS.

On Sunday August 5 Jamaican music comes to the fore with performances by Barrington Levy and Ernest Ranglin and the Canadian debut of pianist Kathy Brown. The day features screenings of acclaimed documentaries like MADE IN JAMAICA and COPING WITH BABYLON along with classics like ROCKERS and THE HARDER THEY COME. The day ends with inspired late night performances by the Dub Poets Collective.The finale of Island Soul on August 6 fills the Concert Stage with steel pan bands like Afro Pan and the Pan Fantasy Steelband and ends with a rousing Gospel Extravaganza featuring some of Toronto’s prominent Gospel vocalists and the U of T Choir! Island Soul embraces the influence of Latin cultures within the Caribbean with a Latin Urban Explosion (featuring emerging Canadian Latin talent) and the visual art exhibit The Way of the Saints: African Symbolism in Cuban Art – which features four Cuban artists who have exhibited internationally in mixed mediums and painting.

Island Soul is a festival for all ages and has afternoon family events including canoe rides on the Natrel Pond and a Friendship Tree craft activity on August 4, 5 and 6. Traditional Caribbean ring games and song games are featured by P.A.C.E. Canada on August 5.For more information on Island Soul events the public can call 416-973-4000 or visit www.harbourfrontcentre.com

Island Soul is part of Harbourfront Centre’s summer series of festivals, World Routes 2007 presented by RBC. Each weekend, top Canadian and international artists perform in all disciplines including; music, dance, theatre, visual arts, readings and film. Our 10-acre waterfront site is prized for its fun and educational family activities at multiple venues, as well as for the diversity of the International Marketplace and World Café.

Island Soul – All Events are FREE

FRIDAY, AUGUST 3, 2007

Music:
8:00 p.m. – Kobo Town (Concert Stage)
9:30 p.m. – The Calypso Dreams Tour: Last of the Best (Concert Stage) Featuring Black Stalin, Lord Superior and Macomere Fifi

Film:
6:30 p.m. – CALYPSO DREAMS (Studio Theatre)

Visual Arts: The Way of the Saints: African Symbolism in Cuban Art Featuring painting and mixed medium works by Elio Vilva Trujillo, Francisco Gordillo Arrendondo, Javier Gonzalez Gallosa and Lino Felix Vizcaino Sarria (Marilyn Brewer Community Space) – 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on August 3, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on August 4 and 5, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on August 6

SATURDAY, AUGUST 4, 2007

Music:
8:00 p.m. – Moses Revolution with Crazy (Concert Stage)
9:30 p.m. – The Calypso Dreams Tour: Last of the Best (Concert Stage)
Featuring The Mighty Sparrow, Crazy, Singing Sandra and Lord Superior

Dance/Music:
1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. – Ijo Vudu Dance Company (Toronto Star Stage)
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. – Latin Urban Explosion (Toronto Star Stage)
Featuring Orlando Valencia, Flakko, Shantall, Chicago, Phanta C, Trio
 and special guests Criollo from Montreal

Family Programming:
1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. – Friendship Tree (Natrel Kids Zone)
1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. – Canoe Rides (Natrel Pond)
1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. – Miss Lou’s Interactive Room (Miss Lou’s Room)

Film:
2:00 p.m. – MADE IN JAMAICA (Studio Theatre)
4:30 p.m. – SEQUINS, SOCA, SWEAT – THE HIDDEN HEART OF NOTTING HILL
 CARNIVAL (Studio Theatre)
6:30 p.m. – CALYPSO DREAMS (Studio Theatre)

Other: 3:00 p.m. - The Canadian Domino League
presents Domino on the Lake (Lakeside Terrace Tent)
This event is a demonstration and is closed to competitors.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 5, 2007

Music:
2:00 p.m. – Kathy Brown (Concert Stage)
3:30 p.m. – Ernest Ranglin (Concert Stage) – part of the Pepsi Concert
 Series
8:00 p.m. – I-Sax Injah (Concert Stage)
9:30 p.m. – Barrington Levy (Concert Stage)

Dance/Music: Toronto Star Stage
1:30 p.m. – Jamaican Focus: Reggaecise Workshop with Tamla Matthews
4:30 p.m. – Jamaican Focus: Reggae & Dancehall Dance Showcase
6:30 p.m. – Jamaican Focus: Reggae & Dancehall Workshop on the Lawn

Family Programming:
2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. – Children at Play (Ann Tindal Lawn)
1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. – Friendship Tree (Natrel Kids Zone)
1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. – Canoe Rides (Natrel Pond)
1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. – Miss Lou’s Interactive Room (Miss Lou’s Room)

Film:
1:00 p.m. – THE HARDER THEY COME (Studio Theatre)
3:30 p.m. – ROCKERS (Studio Theatre)
6:00 p.m. – MADE IN JAMAICA (Studio Theatre)
9:00 p.m. – COPING WITH BABYLON – Canadian Premier (Studio Theatre)

Food:
4:30 p.m. – Labrish - I Remember Jamaica When (Brigantine Room)
Celebrity and Community leader event celebrating the 45th Anniversary
of Jamaica’s Independence (Labrish = chat)

Other:
1:00 p.m. - The Canadian Domino League presents
Domino on the Lake (Lakeside Terrace Tent)
This event is a demonstration and is closed to competitors.

11:00 p.m. – Late Night Dub Poets Collective Spice Up the Place
 featuring Clifton Joseph, Afua Cooper, d’bi young, Klyde Box and Owen “Blakka”
 Ellis. Hosted by Sankofa (Brigantine Room)
– Late Night NOW presented by Heineken

MONDAY, AUGUST 6, 2007

Music:
1:00 p.m. – Pass The Torch: The Calypso and Soca Project (Toronto Star
 Stage)
2:00 p.m. – Afro Pan (Toronto Star Stage)
3:00 p.m. – Pan Fantasy Steelband (Concert Stage)
4:00 p.m. – Gospel Extravaganza (Prelude) (Toronto Star Stage)
4:30 p.m. – Gospel Extravaganza featuring Pastor Rich Brown, Kay
 Morris, Marc Masri, Paula Sanchex, Ammoi Levy and the U of T choir (Concert
 Stage)

Family Programming:
1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. – Friendship Tree (Natrel Kids Zone)
1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. – Canoe Rides (Natrel Pond)
1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. – Miss Lou’s Interactive Room (Miss Lou’s Room)


Harbourfront Centre is located 235 Queens Quay West, Toronto, ON
For public information please call 416-973-4000 or visit  www.harbourfrontcentre.com

HARLEM EVENTS**
Week of July 26-August 1, 2007

For information on the vibe of Harlem Restaurant and live music venue: Go to www.harlemrestaurant.com.
 

Date

Name of Event

What

July 26

Sound Plantation

Sound Plantation presents Sage  Sundiata unplugged

Doors: 9pm

Show: 10:30pm

$10

July 27

UrbanArtHouse

A night of - Images, Beats and Culture - Short films by: Charles Officer, Chris Pare and John Garcia
Wall art by: Cherisse Thurab's Photography
Live Performance by: Ginuwine Affection featuring EOP
Music provided by: DJ Solgroove (Old Skool, Funk, Hip Hop, R&B)

Doors: 9pm

Show: 10:00pm

$10

July 28

Two Katz in the City

Carl Cassell and Colin Jervis Host a night at Harlem

Music by the Legend himself DJ Carl Allen

Doors: 9pm

$5  free for anyone having dinner at Harlem (to make a reservation call 416.368.1920)

August 1

Vertigo

DJ David James (deep house deep tech garage)

Doors: 10pm

**HARLEM
67 Richmond St. (at Church)
Tel:
416-368-1920

 

::TOP STORIES::

Russell Peters' Homecoming

Excerpt from www.globeandmail.com

(July 23, 2007)
Russell Peters latest comedy tour is appropriately named Homecoming. The Brampton, Ont. raised comic has been everywhere but home over the past few years. He's been cracking up audiences all over the world during almost non-stop touring in support of his hit comedy DVD Outsourced, based on his Comedy Central special that aired in August 2006. He's sold out rock concert venues in four continents including an unprecedented two-night sellout of the Air Canada Centre in June, feats that have him peggeed as the hottest comedian in the world at the moment. Peters has brought his unique brand of comedy back to Canada this summer with an appearance at the Montréal Just for Laughs festival. He will kick off the inaugural Toronto Just for Laughs festival, hosting a free evening of comedy at Yonge-Dundas Square on Friday July 27. Following Peters' free show in Toronto on Friday, he'll prepare for his Western Canadian tour that will begin in Winnipeg on Sept. 18 and end in Victoria, B.C. Sept. 25th.

Artists Taking Credit For Songs They Didn't Write Prevalent In Pop Music Scene

Source: By Nekesa Mumbi Moody, Associated Press

(July 23, 2007) NEW YORK (AP) - Of all the names in music, Chantal Kreviazuk may be the least likely to appear in a headline. Although she recently released her own album, the songwriter usually stays behind the scenes to pen hits with artists such as Kelly Clarkson, Gwen Stefani and Avril Lavigne.  But earlier this month, Kreviazuk rocked the pop music world by suggesting that Lavigne was a collaborator in name only. Although she quickly retracted her comments and others defended Lavigne, the flap illuminated a long-standing fraud that has become more prevalent than ever: "
singer-songwriters" who do much less songwriting than their publicists would have you believe.  "It's crazy!" exclaimed Grammy-winning songwriter Diane Warren, who has written for artists such as Whitney Houston, Celine Dion and Mary J. Blige. "How can someone look in the mirror and know they didn't do something and their name is on it? For money? For credit? It's a lie."  This being the music industry, money is, of course, a factor, since the writers of hit songs can earn more than the singer over the long term. But today's singers also press for writing credit because it gives them more of a cache, presenting them as more of a "real artist" in comparison with a star who doesn't write a note.

"It's a practice that's been going on, but now it's really prevalent in every situation," says songwriter Adonis Shropshire, who helped pen the hit "My Boo" for Alicia Keys and Usher, and has worked with Chris Brown, Ciara and others.  Shropshire says that many artists will only allow songwriters to work on an album in return for song credit, and "if they do write, they ask for more publishing than they honestly contributed . . . it is the way it is."  The practice has been prevalent for decades. Elvis Presley's manager, Col. Tom Parker, manoeuvred to give the King songwriting credits on early hits like "Love Me Tender" even though he never wrote a word. James Brown was sued by an associate over song credits. Lauryn Hill settled a lawsuit by a group that claimed she improperly took sole production and writing credit on her Grammy-winning album "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill." And Diddy seemed to acknowledge claims that he wasn't really writing his raps in the "Bad Boys for Life" song with the brush-off line: "Don't worry if I write rhymes, I write cheques!"  The notion that serious artists have to write their own songs seems to have grown over the past two decades. Today, even the fluffiest of pop acts is credited as having written their own material.  "We as an industry . . . don't look at someone who has an incredible voice as an artist, whereas having an incredible voice is artistry," says Jody Gerson, an executive vice-president of EMI Music Publishing. "I think people place more of a value on an artist if they write their own songs; it gives them credibility."

Indeed, Lavigne's songwriting abilities have been touted since she broke out as a teen with the hit "Complicated." But how much she contributed to her music has long been scrutinized.  On her first album, Lavigne worked with the writing trio The Matrix, but ditched them on her second album when she felt they were taking too much credit for the songs. "I am a writer, and I won't accept people trying to take that away from me, and anyone who does is ignorant and doesn't know what they're talking about," she defiantly told The Associated Press in 2004.  She connected with Kreviazuk for her sophomore album and the two became close friends. Kreviazuk lauded her songwriting ability in an interview with AP, also in 2004 - which made Kreviazuk's comments to Performing Songwriting Magazine all the more curious.  "I mean, Avril, songwriter? Avril doesn't really sit and write songs by herself or anything. Avril will also cross the ethical line, and no one says anything," Kreviazuk - who was not included on Lavigne's latest album - told the magazine before retracting her statement. The Matrix later came out to defend Lavigne's songwriting integrity.  Grammy-winning songwriter
Dallas Austin says he's had a manager rave about a song Austin wrote all by himself, and then tell him, "We wanna know if we can get a piece of the pie on it because (the artist) wants to feel like she has a part ownership on the song.  "And I'll say, 'In all fairness, no. . . . If you want to work with me at least sit here and put something into it, instead of coming after I've done everything and try and claim percentages on it."'

Gerson calls the practice unfair but says it's "pretty prevalent in pop and R&B . . . I think the way people now divide publishing splits is who was in the room. 'OK . . . I changed the word 'the' to 'a,' and I deserve 10 per cent of the publishing."'  Sean Garrett, who has created smashes for Beyonce, Kelis, Fergie and others, says he gave up credit when he was just starting out, which is common for newcomers. "It bothered me, but I knew it was just a price that I had to pay to continue my career and stay focused with the big prize," he says.  Ne-Yo, a true singer-songwriter who co-wrote Beyonce's "Irreplaceable," says early in his career he had to deal with the same thing. He says some artists feel they are doing a novice a favour by recording their song - especially if it becomes a hit - so they deserve a piece of the royalties.  "If you're an unknown songwriter and you are lucky enough to get on a superstar's album and you know that the song is going to be a single," Ne-Yo says, "and it means if it becomes No. 1 everyone is going to know your name because you wrote it, I think it's worth giving up a piece of publishing . . . you are going to make your money back."  Shropshire recalls working with an A-list singer, whom he did not want to name, who wrote two words on a song and ended up getting a large piece of the publishing rights. But he couldn't complain when the song became a hit.  "It didn't really bother me that much. The song came out and it did wonderfully well," he says. "That's just the way the industry works."  That shouldn't be the case, says Warren. Although she had credit taken from her early in her career, she quickly put a stop to it. Later, one major superstar demanded some of Warren's royalties for the privilege of said superstar recording her song. But Warren refused.  "It's like, 'OK, you want some publishing? OK, then, give me a piece of the money you're making touring for the next five years for the hit I just wrote you."  But now that songwriters like Warren, Garrett and Ne-Yo are established, they rarely find themselves taken advantage of any more.  "I give other people credit where credit is due, like Beyonce really did vocally arrange ('Irreplaceable')," Ne-Yo says. "So for someone to come in and take my credit because they are who they are? That doesn't work for me. I don't care who you are. . . . I'm not going to give you something you don't deserve."

Arturo Tappin, Barbadian Jazz Icon, Will Launch New Album 'Inside Out' On Tuesday July 24, 2007

(July 16, 2007) NEW YORK - PRNewswire -- Legendary Barbadian jazz icon,
Arturo Tappin, will formally launch his new album "Inside Out" at the official Album Launch in Manhattan, NY on Tuesday July 24th from 6:30pm - 11pm. The launch is being produced by Antilia, Inc. - an upscale Caribbean special event company based in NYC. Malibu Rum will host a premium open bar for all invited attendees.     The event is being held at the high-profile Chelsea lounge Room Service, and endeavours to showcase Arturo's repositioning for a younger audience and potential for mainstream credibility. Along with unique new originals, the esteemed saxophonist will perform his own instrumental covers of top 10 Billboard hit songs from popular peer artists such as Gnarls Barkley, Rihanna, John Legend and Rupee. Truly, Arturo proves that the sax has moved far beyond the jazz genre from where it was conceived.

Arturo has recorded with the late Luther Vandross, and currently works alongside Grammy-award recipients and nominees Ralph MacDonald and Nicholas Branker. Other artists he has performed and/or recorded with include the likes of Ellis Marsalis, Dean Frasier, Maxi Priest and Bob Marley's Wailer's Band. He is widely regarded as one of the top saxophonists in the world, undisputed number 1 in the English-speaking Caribbean, and has performed for great world leaders such as Bill Clinton and Fidel Castro on more than one occasion. Arturo can currently be seen on stage with songbird Roberta Flack.

Lorne Michaels: The One Constant On Saturday Night Live

Excerpt from www.globeandmail.com - Andrew Ryan

(July 21, 2007) BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Few bosses inspire more fear in their employees than
Lorne Michaels. More than three decades of running Saturday Night Live have not appeared to soften the Canadian-born producer in any way. He continues to steer the franchise he created with an iron hand, screening every single sketch before letting it go to air. As any of the current cast members will attest, the live broadcasts are a breeze compared to the dreaded weekly pitch-meeting with the boss. "Man, I hate pitching sketches to Lorne," says cast regular Kenan Thompson. "I mean, he's super-cool and all, but God, he makes me nervous. The guy represents a lot of people's careers, you know?" Sophomore SNL cast member Andy Samberg appears equally fearful. "Lorne is a smooth dude, but he can be very intimidating. He never gets animated or anything, but if he doesn't think something is funny, you know it." Likewise, head writer and cast regular Seth Myers admits that when he joined the show in 2001, taking sketches to Michaels ranked a 10 out of 10 on the "terrified scale." Now? "It's about 9 ½. Lorne demands a certain level of intelligence in the comedy. At the same time, you know he will happily put something like Dick in a Box on the show. Lorne has very unique range."  But Michaels still knows funny, and how to pick his spots. Crass as it was, Dick in a Box was the sketch that single-handedly salvaged SNL's season last year, and it was a snap decision from the 62-year-old major domo.  Samberg took the concept — a soul music video with two smooth cats, played by Samberg and that week's host, Justin Timberlake, wrapping up special Christmas gifts for their ladies — to Michaels on the Friday afternoon before a live Saturday broadcast last December. Michaels sanctioned the idea, which was shot quickly on digital video and rushed to air for the Saturday show.

By Monday morning, an uncensored version of Dick in a Box had been watched by millions of viewers on You Tube. And this week it was nominated for an Emmy, in the Original Music and Lyrics category. "That's the real power of the show — you can go from blank page to on-the-air in 24 hours," says Michaels. "And it was a perfect form for the Internet, the same way The Chronicles of Narnia exploded the year before. It gets it out there." If just briefly, Dick in a Box made Saturday Night Live relevant again, and had people talking. It wasn't the show's best season, but then, like the New York Yankees, SNL has had great years and forgettable ones, with Michaels the manager providing stability and direction. He was there for the first broadcast in 1975, he left in 1980 for five years, and, on this day, he's at a posh Beverley Hills hotel promoting SNL's 33rd season starting in September. Basketball superstar LeBron James will host the opener. Michaels is smallish, soft-spoken and well-dressed, but with piercing dark eyes that you can easily imagine boring through one of his comedy charges at a writers' meeting. Stepping aside from the press conference fray to chat, he doesn't smile or laugh much for a Canadian who got his own start in the business by writing comedy sketches. Michaels, in fact, may be the most unassuming Canadian to enter the comedy business, and do it on American television, but nobody will ever match his eye for talent. Just about every major North American comedy star today came from his SNL factory. Working backward, the alumni include Will Ferrell, Adam Sandler, Mike Myers, Chris Rock, Eddie Murphy, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi. Even Chevy Chase had a movie career. They were all relative unknowns before they started pitching skits to Michaels.

Saturday Night Live has been alternately praised and battered by critics over the years, but it remains a viewing tradition for millions. The show's undying strength, says Michaels, is that "it comes from another time in network television — its budget, the way it's produced. It's really a throwback to live television from the fifties." Michaels also has a keen eye for what's hip on U.S. television, and to some extent he credits his birthplace. Born in Toronto as Lorne Michael Lipowitz in 1944 (a few months after NBC radio signed a young announcer named Don Pardo, who still opens each SNL broadcast), Michaels had the gift of seeing humour in his surroundings. "Toronto was the best of all worlds in terms of comedy grounding," he says. "It was an unbelievably dull city when I was growing up, so the safety and dullness made you find ways to amuse yourself." And the best way for a kid to amuse himself in the fifties was via the black-and-white console television set in the living room. Networks had signed on and comedy was king. Michaels absorbed all of it. "I used to watch The Colgate Comedy Hour with my family on Sunday night, but for me and my brother, it was always the Bilko show [with Phil Silvers]," he says. "On television we had Canadian comedy, American comedy and even some British comedy." Michaels graduated from the University of Toronto in 1966 and teamed with a young lawyer named Hart Pomerantz to create comedy pieces for CBC. They tested themselves in Los Angeles, with fleeting writing stints for Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In and a Phyllis Diller sitcom, and returned home to Canada. CBC gave the pair their own series, The Hart & Lorne Terrific Hour, a variety show with musical guests and improv-comedy players that included Aykroyd and Victor Garber. The show ran two seasons.

In 1975, Michaels was asked to put together a variety-style show for NBC to air in the post-news timeslot on Saturday night. The network was filling the space with reruns of Johnny Carson's The Tonight Show. Working with veteran producer Dick Ebersol, Michaels devised a casual variety format of sketch comedy and a weekly musical guest. He kept it simple. "We came on right after Watergate, and in my generation, the things we cared about were the music, the films and politics," says Michaels. "The show has always been a mix of those three things." To ensure the first season went smoothly, Michaels made calls home to some talented Canucks. "I just brought in the people who I knew were good," he shrugs. "Howard Shore was musical director and Paul Shaffer was in the band. Danny [Aykroyd] was on my show in Canada. It wasn't like I ever said: 'Okay, where are the Canadians?' I've always gone with the funniest people I can find." No other program was making fun of the president at the time. SNL entered the zeitgeist of American culture during that first season and stayed there, with only a few vacations since. When the original cast began to fragment and people left the show, Michaels treated the departures as opportunities.

"The show was always meant to be about different people, different subject matter," he says. "If the people who were doing the show in 1975 were still doing it, we'd all have guns in our mouths. It's kept fresh from the fact new faces come into it every year, and it's people at the beginning of their careers. There's a certain energy to that." And so it's gone on SNL for more than 30 years. To be fair, Michaels has always been more mentor than taskmaster to his cast. "Lorne is actually quite protective of us," says Samberg. "He's shown us how to interact with the press, with the crew and the host. He's a great teacher." In several weeks Michaels will resume the 70-hour work weeks and will sit through hundreds of sketch ideas from his young, mostly unknown cast. He holds firm in his resolution that his Saturday nights shall remain booked for years to come. "There are two driving forces in my life," he says. "One, I really love doing it. And two, my daughter gets out of high school in 2016, and that's a consideration because I want to be there. But I'm committed to the show. If I didn't think it was important, there are easier ways to make a living."

::MUSIC NEWS::

BET-J & VH1 Soul Get On Board With Hidden Beach's Keite Young!

Source:  Thornell Jones, Thornell@Fortressmarketing.com

(July 25, 2007) This week marks yet another milestone in Hidden Beach singer/songwriter
Keite Young's musical journey as the sumptuous soul of his official launch single, "If We Were Alone" makes its broadcast debut on two national video outlets popular with soul/R&B music fans.   The music clip (a duet with newly reactivated Stax Records soulstress N'dambi) debuted this past weekend on BET-J's "Soul Sessions," and will make its debut on VH1 Soul's "Sub Soul" program this week.   The video's storyline portrays two strangers who fantasize about an intimate encounter after meeting at a bus stop.  Keite Young and N'dambi both hail from the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, where they met on the music scene.  Since then, Young has made a name for himself with R&B/soul's alternative-friendly audience via intense, moving live sets opening slots for the likes of Robin Thicke, Frankie Beverly & Maze, Tank, the O'Jays and others.   The stage is clearly set for the 8/28 release of Keite Young's anticipated Hidden Beach debut CD "The Rise and Fall of Keite Young," as leading R&B/soul stations like WHUR-D.C. embrace the seductive sound of "If We Were Alone." 

It's only a matter of time before nationwide R&B/soul lovers discover and are fully enthralled by the progressive, yet old school-hued sound of Keite Young. BET-J's "Soul Sessions" airs Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday @ 8pm and 3am (est.); Friday @ 1pm and 3am (est.); Saturday @ 9pm (est.); and Sunday @ 9am (est.). VH1 Soul's "Sub Soul" airs Monday, Wednesday and Friday @ 10am, 6pm and 2am (est.). Check out Keite's scorcher "If We Were Alone," featuring N'Dambi at his MySpace site: www.myspace.com/keiteyoung

Corey Reynolds - The Closer Interview with Kam Williams

Source:  Kam Williams


Corey Reynolds was born on July 3rd, 1974 in Richmond, Virginia where he was raised till he decided to head west to take a shot at showbiz. But his career took a detour and instead of sticking around Los Angeles, he ended up in a traveling production of Smoky Joe’s Café.  Eventually, he settled in New York where he was cast in the role of Seaweed in the original Broadway production of Hairspray. After landing  a  Tony nomination for that dynamic performance, he returned to Hollywood,   appearing in The Terminal, directed by Steven Spielberg, and on several  TV  series, including Eve, The Guardian, Without a Trace, and CSI: Miami,  before  being invited to become a regular member of the ensemble on The Closer,  the  TNT dramatic police series co-starring Kyra Sedgwick, J.K Simmons and  Gina  Rivera.

Here, he talks about his career, and about playing Sergeant David Gabriel on the show, which recently started its third season.

KW: Had you hoped to be able to play Seaweed in the new screen version of Hairspray, given that you had originated the role on Broadway and landed a Tony nomination for it?

CR: I had some availability issues because of my prior commitments to the show, but to be honest, it never was something that I was really gunning for, because I really feel that you can’t just go back and recreate something. Hairspray was really special, such a big smash, and we were all so very young, just kids, and then this whirlwind happened. So, I thought I’d just keep my magic in a bottle. Still, I was a little disappointed to see that there’s no one from the Broadway show involved onscreen. I actually sang a song for the soundtrack.

KW: That must feel weird to see someone else in your role.

CR: It’s like seeing someone else dating your ex-girlfriend. But the truth of the matter is that I’ve worked very hard since leaving the show in 2003 to move into the realm of leading man and young adult, versus kid. So, I think that that type of project may not have been the type of springboard that I was looking for to use to continue my ascension in Hollywood. I’ve moved on, and I’m looking in a new direction career-wise, but I’m very grateful that something I was a part of creating continues to feed people and to provide them an outlet to do what they love. I think that’s just great.

KW: How did it feel to get a Tony Award nomination for Hairspray?

CR: That was pretty exciting. It was my first Broadway show, so to have that happen out of the gate, I was pleasantly surprised.

KW: That sort of stamped you as an accomplished actor right of the bat.

CR: Yeah, but I’ve got to get that trophy, though. I want to take that walk.

KW: Well, The Closer is getting a lot of critical acclaim, so maybe an Emmy’s on the horizon for you.

CR: Who knows? If I play my cards right, and continue to do what I consider good work, and let the chips fall where they may.

KW: How do you like playing Deputy Chief Johnson‘s [Kyra Sedgwick’s character] protégé, Sergeant Gabriel?

CR: I love it, hands down. I loved my character in Hairspray, but when it comes to theatre, you’re a little bit more restricted in what you can do, because you have the same show over and over again. But with this, being able to develop this character, and let him grow, and to allow myself to grow as an actor at the same time, really is wonderful. I couldn’t have asked for a better role on a television show. You don’t see many minority men my age playing college-educated, well-spoken, articulate, good guys. So, that was something that was really important to me as an actor, to try to find something that would present me in a light that I want to be seen in. And this show presented that opportunity.

KW: Yeah, and even when you do see that positive role model-type character, they often inject a lot of humour which undercuts

CR: …their own legitimacy as what ever professional they are.

KW: Right.

CR: I agree with you 100%. I see that in some other television series, a couple of medical shows. On one, there’s a doctor who went to college and med school, twelve years of intensive education after high school, and he’s still saying, “Whazzup?” You would think that at some point that educational experience would bleed into how they present themselves. What that does, in my opinion, is it kind of discredits the whole idea of being the professional. But for me, in playing Gabriel, it’s win-win across the board as far as how I like to act, and the type of person I want to portray.

KW: On The Closer, you’re surrounded by a talented cast, such as J.K.  Simmons, who got the biggest laughs, stealing all his scenes in  Spider-Man 3 as J. Jonah Jameson.

CR: Absolutely! He loves those Spidey checks. He was telling me that in the new Spiderman DVD…

KW: Spiderman 2.1

CR: Yeah, in 2.1 there’s a deleted scene of him in the Spider-Man costume in his office running around. And he said, “You know the worst part about it was they gave me Tobey’s suit, and it didn’t exactly fit me.” [Chuckles] Yeah, we have a great group with him, G.W. [Bailey], Kyra, Jon  [Tenney], Tony [Denison]… And for me, it’s important to be able to have this be the foundation of my television career.

KW: How is the daily grind of shooting a series?

CR: We shoot an episode every seven days, so we go Monday through Friday, and then Monday and Tuesday of the next week. If you’re in every scene, you’re probably looking at about a 65-70 hour week. But when you’re doing what you love, it may get tiring, but it never gets bad.

KW: Kyra’s from New York in real life, but has a Southern accent on the show, while you’re from the Virginia, but don’t have the accent. Did you deliberately try to lose yours?

CR: I wouldn’t say I’ve worked to lose it, but I’ve always been told by others that I’m well spoken, and that they’re surprised I’m from Virginia. But if you hear me on the phone with my family, you’ll get a totally different sound, I can assure you.

KW: Former L.A. District Attorney, Gil Garcetti, who prosecuted the O.J. Simpson case, is a consultant on the show. What’s he like?

CR: I gotta tell you, man, Gil is surprisingly one of the coolest people I know. You’d think that somebody in his position, and who had done what he’s done for a living, would be very uptight. Not at all… not at all.

KW: Jimmy Bayan told me to ask you where in L.A. you live.

CR: I live in Los Feliz. I just bought a house there, so I’m excited.

KW: Who would you like to see yourself acting opposite in a feature film?

CR: Ooh, that’s a really good question. There are lots of people I’d love an opportunity to work with. One of them was Tom Hanks, and I got to work with him on The Terminal. That experience really blew my mind to be honest. That was my first movie ever, and I’m on the set with Spielberg and Tom Hanks.

KW: How was it working with them?
|
CR: They are truly masters, and to be honest, they are two of the nicest people you could ever meet in your life. And for me, that was great to see people I admire, and to see how they treat other people. That helped me to understand that if you truly want to experience success on the scale that these guys are experiencing, there is a positive aura that must surround you. You must be a positive person to have staying power. Lots of people can get there, but longevity is what it’s all about.

KW: Did you observe anything about how they each approach their craft  from being around them on the set every day?

CR: Steven has a very concise and clear understanding of his vision, and what I think Tom had was a very clear and concise understanding of Steven. So, he was able to translate Steven’s vision instantly.

KW: What advice do you have for anyone who might want to follow in your footsteps?

CR: Stay realistic, know exactly what it is that you’re going for, and then stay determined, because determination is the deciding factor between success and failure.

KW: Corey, thanks for the interview, and I hope I can get another one with you after you break real big.

CR: You got one whenever you want, all right?

KW: Thanks.

CR: Take it easy.

Music To Cost Hairdressers

Excerpt from www.thestar.com - Canadian Press

(July 20, 2007) MONTREAL – The musical free ride is about to end for your local
hairdresser or barber shop.  The umbrella group for Canada's music composers is cracking down on thousands of hair salons that don't pay licensing fees for the soothing music they play while you get a trim or dye job. Anne Richard of the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) says the law has always required hairdressers and barbers to pay for playing CDs, MP3s or other recordings in public.  "They just didn't know about it," Richard said in an interview from her Montreal office.  "We don't have a huge staff for this, so each year we target different music users. Last year it was dentists, this year it's hairdressers."  The cash will go into a pool administered by SOCAN with more than 80 per cent of the money going directly into artist pockets, according to organization officials. About a dozen SOCAN employees are charged with enforcing the rule across Canada.

The move has the hair industry abuzz, according to Taryn Weinstock, editor of Canadian Hairdresser International magazine, based in Toronto.  She said large salons, where thumping dance music is an important part of the ambience, may have an easier time than a struggling shop with a single stylist.  "It's such a small industry," Weinstock said, adding that profit margins are tiny for most hairdressers.  Marrello Raffaello of Raffaello Salon in Toronto's tiny Yorkville neighbourhood envisions a nightmare of complications to sort out which salons should pay.  He pointed to old-school barbers who may play talk radio or nothing at all as they offer low-cost trims. Their entertainment is often simply debate on sports and current events.  "A lot of old barbers aren't into music," Raffaello said. "Are they going to pay? It's so tough to define. For a lot of people, it's just a little background noise to break the silence. For others, it's a key part of the business."  Raffaello, who plays the radio in his high-end salon, also wondered if SOCAN will be double dipping when radio stations already pay for the right to play the music.

Most radio is free because stations already pay, according to Richard, but it's not quite that simple. If Raffaello uses a standard radio to play the broadcast, he's off the hook. If he uses a fancy amplification system, he will pay, she said.  "I guess if small operators are put into jeopardy by having to pay $10 a month to creators of music, they can turn on a radio," she said.  Richard said numerous salons have long paid licensing fees after learning the law required the payments.

Expect New Babyface CD In September

Source: Amina Elshahawi, ThinkTank Marketing, amina@thinktankmktg.com, http://www.thinktankmktg.com 

(July 20, 2007) New York, NY -- Grammy award-winning megastar
Kenny 'Babyface' Edmonds, an icon figure of live performance, songwriting, and production whose work on his own music and others' has resulted in more than 100 million career sales, has completed his 11th album.  PLAYLIST, which will arrive in stores September 18th as the first album on the newly re-launched Mercury Records label, was announced earlier this week by Antonio "L.A." Reid, Chairman Island Def Jam Music Group and David Massey, President, Mercury Records. PLAYLIST will be Babyface's first album devoted (mostly) to cover versions of some of his favourite songs, among them James Taylor's "Fire & Rain," Bob Dylan's "Knockin' On Heaven's Door," Dan Fogelberg's "Longer,"  Jim Croce's "Time In A Bottle," Eric Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight,"  and many others.  The album will also include original material.    Over the course of the '90s, Babyface not only distinguished himself as the decade's single greatest hitmaker, but as one of the greatest hitmakers in the history of popular music.  His imprint (to date) extends to over 125  top 10 pop and R&B hits which include 47 #1 R&B hits, 51 top 10 pop hits, and 16 #1 pop hits.  For one span of time on Billboard's pop and R&B charts, Babyface was listed as the writer, producer and/or performer on twelve separate songs in the Top 20. 

His countless Grammy awards (which include Producer Of the Year in 1995, '96 and '97 - the only person in history to win three consecutive years), NAACP Image Awards, Billboard Music Awards, and American Music Awards are just one indication of Babyface's penetration into pop culture. In addition to co-founding  LaFace Records with Antonio "L.A." Reid in 1989 (home of Toni Braxton, OutKast, TLC, Pink and Usher), Babyface's name is linked to the world's biggest-selling and most universally popular recording artists - including Mary J. Blige, Boyz II Men, Brandy, Toni Braxton, Tevin Campbell, Mariah Carey, Eric Clapton, Celine Dion, Aretha Franklin, Dru Hill, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Lionel Richie, TLC, and Vanessa Williams - to name a few. Babyface is also responsible for such phenomena as the 7 million-selling Waiting To Exhale movie soundtrack album, and the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games anthem "Power Of the Dream" (which he co-wrote, and which was sung by Celine Dion).  As a movie producer, Babyface's company debuted in 1997 with Soul Food (which grossed over $43 million, and spun off a double-platinum soundtrack album), followed by Hav Plenty in 1998,  Light It Up in 1999 and Josie & The Pussycats (2001).  Babyface's albums and singles include: Lovers By Babyface (1987); Tender Lover (1989, double-platinum), a #1 R&B album in Billboard for 11 weeks, including the #1 R&B singles "It's No Crime" and "Tender Love," "Whip Appeal" (#2), and "My Kinda Girl" (#3); For the Cool In You (1993, triple-platinum), on the R&B album chart for 87 weeks, with the top 10 R&B singles "For the Cool In You," "Never Keeping Secrets," "And Our Feelings," and "When Can I See You"; The Day (1996, double-platinum), with the top 5 R&B/pop crossover hits "This Is For the Lover In You" (platinum) and "Every Time I Close My Eyes" (gold); MTV Unplugged NYC 1997 (gold); Christmas With Babyface (1998); Face2Face (2001); and Grown & Sexy (2005).

Recipient of the NAACP Lifetime achievement Award, the Essence Award For Excellence, GQ magazine's Man Of the Year honour, and named One Of the Most Influential People In America by TIME magazine, Babyface's caring and generosity are well-known.  He is national spokesman for the Boarder Baby Project in Washington, DC, which provides transitional housing for babies abandoned at birth, awaiting adoption.  In July 1999, Babyface became the largest single personal donor to VH1's "Save the Music" campaign when he donated $60,000 to the campaign in his home state of Indiana, to help improve the quality of music education in public schools by restoring and supporting music programs and raising public awareness.  That same month in Indianapolis, the Governor of Indiana renamed a 23-mile stretch of Interstate 65 "Kenneth 'Babyface' Edmonds Highway," the first time that a living African-American has been bestowed an honour of such magnitude.

Indie-Rock Titan's Enchanted Childhood

Excerpt from
www.thestar.com - Special To The Star

(July 22, 2007) This week Toronto indie-rock titan
Emily Haines whose growing fame stems from her songwriting in surging rock band Metric – releases a solo EP, following last year's CD, Knives Don't Have Your Back, and 2005's hit record with the band.  One reason for her prodigious creativity is obvious: her late father Paul, himself an apparent fount of ideas. The elder Haines wrote poetry, liner notes, fiction and most famously created the libretto for American jazz composer Carla Bley's 1971 double-album Escalator Over the Hill, described as "a who's who of both free jazz and rock" in Rolling Stone and "a monumental, Herculean work" in the Village Voice. On the 1994 album Darn It! his poems were put to music, sung by a varied crew including Mary Margaret O'Hara and Cream singer Jack Bruce. The creations ceased only with his death in 2003. Emily's concert this Wednesday at Harbourfront coincides with the publication of Secret Carnival Workers, a collection of her father's poetry and other writings. The Star asked her to reflect on the influence such a busily artistic father has had on his daughter. Her thoughts are annotated at the end.  

Growing up I always remember feeling like our house was floating in space. Every room was filled with treasures from all over the world; books from India, ears sculpted from wax, early Michael Snow (1) sketches, my mother Jo's paintings, Zuni fetishes, a giant photograph of (jazz trombonist) Jack Teagarden hanging over the breakfast table, chewy riddles like "Dada is the hatstand of the nervous system" printed and framed and placed strategically throughout my father Paul's magical study.

Everywhere I turned, I found something from the world my mom and dad had explored and created together, and all my adventures unfolded with a most unusual soundtrack: the unpredictable contents of whichever mixed tape Paul was making at the time. The whole area surrounding his stereo was cluttered with endless stacks of unmarked cassettes that I couldn't resist playing when no one was around. Who knew what imaginary places were captured in sound!  My dad tolerated this habit but not if I failed to return the tapes to their original location – an impossible task as they all appeared identical. For Paul there was nothing worse than listening to a tape and knowing what was coming next. He avoided all distinguishing marks on his masterpieces. When I went away to school and he started sending me tapes in the mail he amended this policy somewhat, occasionally scrawling things like "Fats Misc." or "Interior, Somewhere" on the cardboard cassette sleeve to give me a hint of what I was in for.  Even now, many years later, no matter where I am when I put on one of his tapes, I am transported back to being very young, crouched beside the stereo speakers constructing fantastic houses out of clear plastic cassette cases, quivering towers of windows overlooking the floor below. Maybe under different circumstances I could have become an architect, but something I heard in those early days got me started as a musician and I haven't been able to stop. I'm amazed that I can still romanticize those years and continue to take inspiration from those memories. My parents were both teachers and our house was not particularly big or fancy. In fact, aside from the placard on the door which read "Attention: Chien Bizarre"– a version of "Beware of Dog" more fitting for our insane Finnish Spitz – it wasn't remarkable in any way.

We had a willow tree, a badminton net, a basketball hoop and a gas station with a pinball arcade in the back for a next-door neighbour. These things provided amusement but the real world was inside records and books. On Tuesday I'm releasing an EP – a final companion piece to Knives Don't Have Your Back – that is named after a poem Paul wrote for his friend Robert Wyatt (2), called "What is Free to a Good Home?" I found out what it could mean to write a song by listening to Wyatt. When I made my first rudimentary recordings, he was kind enough to listen to them and send back cryptic observations and suggestions that kept me going.  What is Free to a Good Home? is being released simultaneously with the first published collection of Paul's writing, a book called Secret Carnival Workers. Songs on the EP like "Rowboat" and "The Bank" are the tracks most influenced sonically by my early years listening to Wyatt, and "Sprig" (3) is a Paul Haines poem set to music in a way I think he would appreciate. The musicians that inspired me as a kid were mostly people Paul collaborated with, and I've spent a lot of my life as an artist paying homage to them. My childhood was an enchanted time, and I know I will create a house that floats in space for my own kids someday – maybe minus the wax ears. In the meantime, I don't want to perpetuate nostalgia for a time that is gone. Devoting your life to the past is like being stuck in a long-distance relationship with someone who doesn't exist. I've done it and I don't recommend it.  The day Paul died all the appliances in the house stopped working, confirming at once my suspicions that the man was a conductor of electricity. In his absence I often feel like a tired machine myself. I hope that by releasing What is Free to a Good Home? and Secret Carnival Workers together this summer some aspect of Paul's presence – ideally his sense of humour! – will send a jolt to the living. Failing that, we can all try to find vinyl copies of Wyatt's album Nothing Can Stop Us, sit on the floor and listen to "Shipbuilding" (3) over and over, memorizing the words to remember we're alive.

Emily Haines performs Wednesday at 8 p.m. at the Harbourfront Concert Stage.

Canadian Idol May Follow The Voting Fans

Excerpt from www.thestar.com - Cassandra Szklarski, Canadian Press

(July 19, 2007)
Canadian Idol host Ben Mulroney says bringing the show's finale to another city could be a great way to embrace ardent fans in other parts of Canada while giving Hogtown a kick in the pants. "Just the finale, why not?" Mulroney said following the taping of the Top 10 performance show Tuesday. "It could be an interesting experiment." Although the hugely successful series draws the bulk of its viewers from Toronto, much of the voting audience tends to hail from smaller centres eager to support their hometown hero. Executive producer John Brunton chastised Toronto fans last month for ignoring talented singers from the city, noting that no one from Canada's most populous city had made it into the Top 10 in the past three seasons. Smalltown Newfoundlanders, by comparison, have made it into the Top 5 in each year of Idol, and have reached the runner-up spot in the past two years. Idol already kicks off each season by visiting major centres across the country for jam-packed audition sessions.

Brunton appeared open to the suggestion it may be time to take Idol on the road for the make-it or break-it performance and results episodes. "That's not a bad idea," says Brunton, the moustachioed TV guru also behind the travelling Junos telecast. "The reaction and reception we get across the country when we travel the show, and as you know when we travel the Junos, it's just unbelievable." The Junos hit the road to great success in 2002, taking Canada's biggest music awards show to St. John's, N.L., Ottawa, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Halifax and Saskatoon after spending more than three decades in Toronto. The show heads to Calgary next year. However, uprooting a production as massive as Idol would be no easy task, notes Mulroney, who said he'd be reluctant to leave his home for the three-month run. Such a scheme could work with a special episode, but moving the entire show would involve a logistics nightmare, he added while musing on scenarios that could work. "Listen, maybe turn it into a rock show, and every week the Top 10 would be in a different city," he suggested. "It would have to be very raw and I don't know how that would translate to television." Regardless of what's in store, such a move is not in the cards in the near future.

This week, the show's Top 10 contenders settled into a swank mansion that will be their home for as long as they survive on Idol. The would-be stars – ranging in age and background from baby-faced 16-year-old Jaydee Bixby of Drumheller, Alta. to 28-year-old lobster fisherman Dwight D'Eon of West Pubnico, N.S. – opened the doors to friends, family and media Tuesday for a peek at impressive digs that include nine bathrooms, a tennis court, an indoor pool, a squash court, gym, movie theatre and steam rooms. And although it's still months away, plans for the show's blockbuster finale in Toronto are already underway. Pop superstar Avril Lavigne is set to usher the new champ to stardom on Sept. 11. Toronto contender Martha Joy, a 16-year-old powerhouse who belted Celine Dion's "The Power of Love" on Tuesday, said she didn't feel any disadvantage coming from the big city, noting that regional support is not enough to carry someone all the way to the top spot. However, fellow Torontonian and Idol rival Mila Miller learned she was the first to be sent home from the Top 10 on Wednesday. The 17-year-old sang the Stevie Wonder hit, "Signed, Sealed, Delivered", but could not garner a big enough share of the 2.5 million votes to stay in the race.

Evelyn ‘Champagne’ King's 'Open Book'

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com - By Kenya M Yarbrough

(July 23, 2007) *Songbird
Evelyn ‘Champagne’ King has a career that has spanned more than just decades; she’s championed genres.  Discovered at the ripe age of 16, King’s career took off in 1979 with the huge Disco hit “Shame,” and held on to her place as a powerhouse throughout the ‘80s with synthesized chart toppers such as “I’m In Love” and “Love Come Down,” and the R&B hit “Kisses Don’t Lie.”  But while King considers that era her heyday, her sound was not relegated to just that time.  The ‘90s reintroduced the singer to a new set of fans. Thanks to the work of underground DJs, King took over another style of music – Dance. And not only did her re-spun classics crowd the floors, in 1996 her single “One More Time” hit the top of the Dance Charts. A decade has passed without a new studio album from the singer, but King is ready to blaze new trails in music with her new disc, “Open Book” due August 28th. “I’m celebrating 30 years August, and I’m very proud of that,” the Grammy-winning singer said. “I never really envisioned this happening – the longevity of it – never. When ‘Shame’ first came out, I said, ‘This young girl singing these songs, who’s really going to pay any attention?’ But then, it blew up overnight. And when I heard myself on the radio, I nearly passed out. It was really weird. I was only 15½, still a teenager. As soon as that happened, I was on the road most of my life. 30 years now, nothing but a suitcase.” King said she has absolutely no regrets for starting her career so early. After all, singing and performing was in her blood. Her father was a tenor for a few popular groups and often filled in for acts performing at the famous Apollo Theatre. “I always wanted to do it,” she said of following in her dad’s footsteps. “At 5 years old he took me to the Apollo to see him. I went up on stage and did belly rolls. I wasn’t singing, but I was performing.”

By age 14, the little performer was the lead of a local band in Philadelphia, and has kept the ‘belly roll’ sense of keeping the audience on their toes when she’s on stage. “You get out there, and you do your show, but sometimes they want you to do a little more. My passion is to sing and entertain. I have to move on that stage.” One thing the songstress doesn’t do on stage, however, is bring her own personal trauma. King is no stranger to loss, but told EUR’s Lee Bailey that performing has been her therapy not necessarily her sounding board for the pain. “You can’t show that to your audience,” she said. “They have no idea. I stress. I go through things. I’m only human. I lost my mom and dad and a brother in ’97. I lost a child in ’89. When all those things happen and I hit the stage, I feel like a beam of light goes over me and I love it.” Just last year, King also faced a personal scare. She described that she was suffering from a very large thyroid, the size of a pumpkin, which was removed in an operation October 2006.  “When I had that happen, I thought it was over,” she lamented. “I’m literally back. I’m positive, but there are certain things you can’t do anymore, like have children. It’s sad to see a lot of girls out there that don’t care to go to the doctor and check on things. I never really heard anyone talk about the fibroid thing.”

King said that that experience really made her pay attention to things. And she hopes that perhaps she can be a part of changing the lives of young women by bringing attention to the issue. “It changed my perspective of a lot of things,” she said.  Tragedy and health have never slowed down Evelyn “Champagne” King. After 30 years in the business, she’s not taken a vacation and has no plans to start slowing down. With a new deal with RNB Entertainment and Jaggo Records, she’s prepared a new set of tunes that her old and new fans will enjoy. “I already had my stuff ready. I co-wrote four cuts on [the album]. We all came together and I knew what I wanted. So I’m bringing what I feel they will like,” she said of the new disc. “I’ve always done nothing but work,” she continued. “Everybody says, ‘Evelyn, you’re coming back out? Where have you been?’ I’ve been working. But I have to say that I need more of my black audience to recognize that we are still out there.” King mentioned that her career has had its ups and downs, but believes that it all comes with the territory. She mentioned that while her career could be bigger, she’s quite comfortable and it’s that attitude that makes her so tenacious and her music timeless. “I just keep a positive attitude, though it does hurt from time to time,” she confessed. “I never wanted to be this big star. I don’t want that title. I just want to be Evelyn that loves what she does. And I’m getting that. I’m happy. I’m nothing but about positive.” For more on Evelyn ‘Champagne’ King and the “Open Book” CD, visit www.rnbtunes.com/artists/evelyn_king.html  or her site, www.evelynchampagneking.com.

Prince Masters God And Sex, Again

Excerpt from www.globeandmail.com - Robert Everett-Green

PLANET EARTH
Prince
Columbia/Sony
***

(July 24, 2007) The wider he casts his net, the more
Prince tells us about Prince. More, in the sense of telling again what we sort of already knew about his obsessions with God and sex, and his overwhelming need to be the master. The holographic cover of Planet Earth shows him hovering godlike over the earth in a red disco shirt and black corset, his hands and features stiff with self-consciousness. Tip the cover a little, and both star and globe vanish into that glyph-thing he used during the nineties instead of a name. A perfect fusion of self and cosmos. Or something. Planet Earth opens with a big-tent, groovy-gospel telling of some inconvenient truths about the planet and our sins against it. The bookend is the album-closing Resolution, which may be the closest Prince has come to writing a political folk song. In the songs in between, he mostly retires to his purple boudoir world. You don't need to listen too closely to the lyrics to understand that Prince can still write and perform at a very high level, with an instinctive, nomadic sense of style.

Guitar, the playful first single, has a dry, strutting rock beat and a sung-spoken, verse style that slyly evokes Hendrix well before Prince plays a brief, meaty solo.  The One U Wanna C is a beach-ready rocker with a shivery guitar sound that might have been imported from a new-wave B-side. Chelsea Rodgers turns to disco-funk with a touch of reggae, and Somewhere Here On Earth issues from a late-night cocktail lounge, with pillowy flutes and jazz-like riffs on piano. Mr. Goodnight is a sexual advertisement so airless as to resemble an act of auto-asphyxiation. The cooing backup singers ("Call Mr. Goodnight, he'll make you feel all right") sound like a team of procuresses. Somewhere Here On Earth reverses the viewpoint, in a coy falsetto projection of the patient submission Prince seems to want in a woman. Maybe this is the voice of his feminine side, maybe he really wants to know what it's like for a girl, or perhaps he just wants to gaze on himself from a different angle. The bland All the Midnights in the World could be an excerpt from a Prince musical and should be cut before the show goes into previews. Planet Earth is not a great Prince disc, but aside from a few missteps, it's still pretty good.

MC Cadence Weapon says he sees no point in becoming jaded about the state of hip hop

Excerpt from www.thestar.com - Ben Rayner, Pop Music Critic

(July 24, 2007) Heaven only knows what it's gonna take to get Canadians behind their own hip-hop talent, so the Americans might as well give it a shot. Despite sending the blogosphere into a tizzy and making the short list for the inaugural Polaris Music Prize, the home-recorded debut by Edmonton MC/producer Rollie Pemberton, a.k.a.
Cadence Weapon, 2005's Breaking Kayfabe, wasn't enough to make him a success story on the level of fellow Can-hop standard bearer k-os.  Undaunted by their home nation's commercial indifference, Pemberton and his Toronto indie label, Upper Class, found a supportive, international (re)launching pad earlier this year in U.S. punk outpost Epitaph Records' Anti- imprint. While Breaking Kayfabe enjoys time to breathe south of the border, Cadence Weapon has been polishing a second record that threatens to sound little like its predecessor. This weekend's Wakestock gig (Sunday, 2:20-3 p.m., Main Stage, Centre Island) will furnish T.O. fans with a preview. He offers a few thoughts via email.

Q: There's been an obvious effort to improve Wakestock's musical line-up this year, most notably on the hip-hop front. Is there anyone you're particularly interested in checking out while you're on the island?

A: I want to see De La Soul for the third time because I'm basically obsessed with them. I want to show them my Stakes Is High tattoo and also perhaps befriend them and become their protégé. But I definitely also want to check out my dudes Ten Second Epic.

Q: Are you gonna be treating us to some hot new shit while you're here? When's the new record coming down the pipe?

A: I will be doing mostly new tracks. The new album is mastered and will be coming out early next year. It's a space station. Blood on the dance floor. A rap party.

Q: By last summer, your live shows seemed to be tilting in a harder, more dance floor-driven direction ... is the next disc gonna be a full-on dance party or what?

A: It's mostly four-to-the-floor dance rap. In the time between albums, I've taken up DJing and got more interested in dance culture. Me and Nik Kozub from Shout Out Out Out Out typically do parties together in Edmonton as New Strathcona and I was a bit interested in making music people would want to play in a DJ set.

Q: It seems everyone but the members of G-Unit are pretty sour on the state of hip hop these days. Thoughts?

A: I always wonder who's better: dudes who only rap about how rap is dead and how commercial rap sucks, or dudes who only rap about money, cash and "hos"? Both are flawed in that their subject matter is so limited. I think it's easy to get jaded on the state of hip hop if you feel like it affects your livelihood. I don't fear the reaper. After the rap nuclear winter, I will reappear as MC C.H.U.D.

Q: Who'd win a Wakestock microphone battle of the hot young thangs: you or Lupe Fiasco?

A: I think we'd have trouble battling each other. What am I gonna say? Your jeans are slightly tighter than mine? You're a nerd? It seems a bit like that last part of 8 Mile where Eminem disses himself.

Band Takes Stock Of The Sum Of Its Parts

Excerpt from www.thestar.com - Ben Rayner, Pop Music Critic

(July 23, 2007) They survived a brush with death in a Congolese war zone to release their last album,
Chuck, in 2004, but the members of Sum 41 were nearly undone in the months that followed by a force much more insidious than bullets or mortar fire: their own indifference to being Sum 41. "We'd always said we were only going to do this as long as it was fun and when we got off the Chuck tour, the enthusiasm was gone. It didn't feel right," says front man/guitarist Deryck Whibley during a recent trip to Toronto. "I couldn't see what the purpose was any more. I thought about it and another Sum 41 record just wasn't exciting to me. So when we went home from the tour, I didn't think we were going to quit, but I was thinking, `I know I'm not going to do this for awhile and if I never do it again, it'll be for a good reason.'" Sum 41's future certainly didn't appear much brighter through the "six months of not really doing anything" that ensued. The band parted ways with its management. Whibley's marriage to fellow Canadian pop-punk titan Avril Lavigne threatened to become a full-time, tabloid-stalked distraction. And then came the announcement that guitarist Dave "Brownsound" Baksh was leaving the band he'd co-founded 10 years previous in an Ajax high school to concentrate on his own metal outfit, Brown Brigade.

Instead of being the death blow to Sum 41's platinum-plated reign as one of mall-punk's highest-prized marquee acts, though, it was the catalyst for the band's most dogged and adventurous studio outing yet, Underclass Hero.  The disc – a widescreen set of burnished punk screeds and emo-ish power ballads that chief songwriter and producer Whibley themed around the concept "confusion and frustration in modern society" – arrives in stores tomorrow. "I think part of Dave quitting was we'd been talking about how this was going to be really hard, that this was not going to be something easy to make," says Whibley, 27.  "I think he was okay with, like, skating by and doing the minimum. But when he realized we were going to do something that was way beyond anything we'd ever done, I think he decided he wanted to focus that much attention on his own thing. "We didn't want him to quit at all, but at the same time it solidified the three of us knowing that there was nobody here who didn't want to be here," he adds. "We knew we could do this. Then all the doubt from everyone else came around. We'd been gone a long time, we didn't have a manager, a guitar player or a producer any more. Everyone was, like: `Their best musician is gone. They probably won't make another record and if they do, it's gonna suck, anyway.' "I'm not trying to discredit him in any way," Whibley continues. "He's a better guitar player than I'll ever be, but he didn't write anything. There was no weirdness or surprise when he quit. The only surprise was that he made it that long. We'd been expecting it for six years that he was going to quit at any moment."

Having survived another near-death experience, Whibley, drummer Steve Jocz and bassist Cone McCaslin are now more committed than usual to the arduous worldwide touring schedule that turned their previous four records into hits. They won't even make it back to Canada until October. Whibley, who reveals a lot more of himself on Underclass Hero tracks like the Bush-baiting "March of the Dogs" and "Dear Father (Complete Unknown)," a dig at the dad he's never met, is particularly proud that the work is finally seeing the light of day. "It was the only way for me to make this record. I wasn't interested in doing another Sum 41 record otherwise," he says. "We owe it to ourselves to really see this through after all the things we went through."

Police Reunion Gig Arresting

Excerpt from www.thestar.com - Ben Rayner, Pop Music Critic

(July 23, 2007) To borrow a title: "When the World is Running Down, You Make the Best of What's Still Around." So, yeah, this
Police reunion likely never should have happened. Even Sting's own son, Joe Sumner – whose band, Fiction Plane, has been opening what will likely turn out to be the summer's biggest concert tour and is witnessing firsthand the deteriorating game of "nice" waged between Dad (a.k.a. Gordon Sumner), guitarist Andy Summers and drummer Stewart Copeland – has publicly given the reactivated trio only as long as it takes not to "beat each other to death" before the whole thing collapses amidst a violent reprisal of the conflicts that first killed the band at the peak of its global popularity 23 years ago. It's a good thing, though, that these cats probably really can't stand to be on the same stage together. Last night's performance by the beloved British trio at the Air Canada Centre – its first of three sold-out reunion gigs at the venue, with a second tonight and another at tour's end on Nov. 8 – exhibited none of the play-it-safe musical complacency that typically afflicts such grudging, exorbitantly priced "over my dead body" endeavours. No, The Police appear committed to making this more than a total murder-by-the-numbers sleepwalk to their substantial paycheques. The two-hour program was indeed composed of "greatest hits" culled from their redoubtable, five-album, '77-'84 playbook, but the song arrangements were frequently and diligently distended and twisted into curious new shapes, or occasionally lent contemporary vocal melodies more in tune with the 50-ish Sting's "mature" vocal register.

The changes might have frustrated and occasionally outright bored a 20,000-ish mob that mostly stayed on its feet from Summers' signature liquid guitar intro to "Message in a Bottle" until this writer fled during an anticlimactic encore reprisal of "Every Breath You Take" 120 minutes later – seriously, last night's masterful, arena-tweaking extended version of "So Lonely" was an entire curtain call in itself, the preceding, jubilant kick at "King of Pain" notwithstanding – but they contributed to the most consistently interesting and least tawdry or phoned-in-feeling reunion gig to pass through Toronto at this level in years. There's something to be said for a willingness to potentially fail, particularly when you're failing at nearly $300 a head. And The Police did fail mightily from time to time last night, turning the once-urgent "Don't Stand so Close to Me" into a flaccidly groovy argument for erectile-dysfunction medication, missing the glide on the chorus to "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da" and the apocalyptic bite of "Invisible Sun," and then totally degrading the more-valid-than-ever "end of the world" portent of "Walking in Your Footsteps" with a couple of dropped-in Summers blues riffs that provoked one of the few "holy cheeseball!" responses of an otherwise totally respectable night. Though sluggish enough to seem much longer than its actual running time, the mighty "Synchronicity II" retained its sleek, evil character. An explosive slow burn to the jubilant final chorus of "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" taught the value of patience to a room rendered slightly wary and weary by deliberate, elongated arrangements of "Walking on the Moon" and the aforementioned "When the World is Running Down, You Make the Best of What's Still Around."  Properly harnessed, in fact, the "wow" moments on the night – scattered though they might have been – probably coursed with enough of their own energy to generate light. I see a lot of crappy, walk-through-it reunion shows in this job, and this wasn't one of them. Probably because Sting and Copeland, he of the raised and ludicrously overexpanded drum kit, are so hell-bent on outshining one another's brilliance that Summers has the space to stitch the great songs they wrote together back into something egoless and essential.

Hard-To-Define Band The Deftones Lead 2007 Line-up

Excerpt from www.thestar.com - Ben Rayner, Pop Music Critic

(July 24, 2007) The critical intelligentsia is notoriously unkind to heavy metal until hindsight demands a positive reappraisal. It's part of their respective mythologies, for instance, that such rock luminaries as Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, Judas Priest, Mötley Crüe and Jane's Addiction – hell, even Led Zeppelin, the granddaddies of the genre – were initially sneered at or ignored by the dominant tastemakers of the day.  Even the Crüe's "hair-metal" peers during the 1980s weren't tarred with as uniformly damning a brush, though, as the acts saddled at the turn-of-the-millennium with the label "nu-metal." Poison might have been rightfully scorned in its time as utter cheese, but Korn and Limp Bizkit were essentially blamed in the press for starting the Woodstock '99 riots. That's some serious hostility. Korn now gets belated credit, at least, for setting, perfecting and then rethinking the ultimate nu-metal template.  The best band of the crop, though, was the
Deftones, who top a daunting bill at this weekend's Wakestock festival, that frenzy of music of extreme sports on Centre Island. The crew of elementary-school chums from Sacramento came out hard in the early '90s with a sound just a hair's breadth too slow, heavy and caustic to be then embraced alongside the not-dissimilar Smashing Pumpkins by the "alternative"-rock generation, yet whose precise, hardcore-gilded mood swings and contradictory weakness for Robert Smith-worthy swooning were nevertheless only as "metal" as their underpinning deep-end riffage cosmetically dictated.

Indeed the Deftones are apparently so used to being waved off as "nu-metal survivors" that guitarist Stephen Carpenter can't even receive a critic's fond admission of fanhood without getting his back up. "I don't know if it's us not getting our due, but we definitely get lumped into categories all the time that we would never consider ourselves to be part of," he says from a tour layover in Victoria.  "I think we just get dismissed because we're not commercially viable. That doesn't make sense to a lot of people. If it's not on the radio, it's not something they can see. (Singer) Chino (Moreno's) vocals aren't very decipherable as it is, so that throws people off big time. Especially with radio, what people want is songs you can sing along to all the time and you don't have to think about.  "And with us, I think, you've gotta focus on it too much." It's hard to say what people want from the Deftones. The band's initial commercial viability was demonstrated by unforeseen gold (500,000-plus) U.S. sales for its first two albums, 1995's searing Adrenaline and the comparably vicious 1997 Around the Fur, and then cemented by the platinum-plus success of 2000's White Pony – a divisive record whose Goth overtones and explorations of electronically enhanced headspaces eventually won the Deftones more fans than they lost.

The subsequent, defeatistly titled and executed Deftones in 2004 sounded like the work of a band unsure of where it wanted to go next. In fact, quibbles within the ranks over the creative direction of its next album, last year's experimentally inclined Saturday Night Wrist, would almost tear the band apart. Troubles began when the band enlisted heavyweight Canadian producer Bob Ezrin (the studio whiz behind Pink Floyd's The Wall, Alice Cooper's Billion Dollar Babies and Lou Reed's Berlin) rather than longtime producer Terry Date to shake up its studio habits. The contentious sessions that resulted proved tremendously stressful on both sides, eventually collapsing completely when an irate Moreno – mired in a divorce and gulping down enthusiastic amounts of booze and speed – took off without notice to tour with his dream-pop side project, Team Sleep.  It would be five months before he'd return to record his vocals for Saturday Night Wrist with another producer altogether. "We've definitely talked about all the ups and downs we experienced making the record, but Bob's a great guy," says Carpenter.  "His work habits and the method of operation that he goes by are not the same as ours. Individually, I absolutely agree and totally dig on Bob and how he works. But as a group, we've got people who just don't focus on their shit like they should or pass the buck, if you will." Was the scene really as bad as it's been made out to be? "Oh, yeah. We had a couple of drug addicts in the band during this process, man. It was hell.  "Everything's better now. But it's, like, who knows if it's gonna rear its ugly head again?" From all that conflict, the band emerged with its most striking, if not its best, album in Saturday Night Wrist and a renewed reputation as America's most innovative metal band. But Carpenter insists that "we're not trying to make anything that's groundbreaking." "We're just a garage band. We appreciate all the success that we've earned, but we take it as it comes. There's no master plan," he says.

MUSIC TIDBITS

A Rare Axe From The Past

Excerpt from www.thestar.com - Greg Quill, Entertainment Columnist

(July 19, 2007) Known as the great champion and saviour of the Fender Stratocaster,
Jimi Hendrix was rarely seen playing any other instrument. But he did make an appearance with this top-of-the-line 1967 Gibson SG Custom on the TV variety-talk program The Dick Cavett Show on Sept. 9,1969, seen here in a YouTube video. The guitar, one of the Hard Rock Café franchise's most prized relics, will be on display in the memorabilia collection for the next two months. We asked Toronto guitarist and SG expert Danny Marks to deconstruct the distinctive features of Jimi's Axe. Click here for a PDF of Jimi Hendrix's 1967 Gibson SG Custom.

IFC Goes Into R. Kelly’s “Closet’

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com

(July 23, 2007) *The
Independent Film Channel has acquired all 12 existing chapters of R. Kelly’s “Trapped in the Closet” music video soap opera, and has signed on to help the artist create 10 more.  According to Daily Variety, IFC will broadcast the original 12 episodes of the videos, which center around the romantic misadventures of a character named Sylvester. The channel’s Web site, IFC.com, also plans to stream the entire 22-episode run. Kelly said IFC made sense as a platform for the property, which may in fact be more of a classic serial than a movie, because he's "always thought of 'Trapped' as an independent film."  The show is part of IFC’s effort to gradually transition away from showing only independent film, says general manager Evan Shapiro. "What we want to do is go from an independent film channel to one that is the voice of independent culture," he tells Variety.

Keyshia Cole Back With Album, Tour

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com

(July 23, 2007) *Singer and reality show star
Keyshia Cole is back on the grind with the release of her new album in September, a tour that launched over the weekend in Maryland and the fall premiere of her reality show for BET.  On July 21, Cole was in Baltimore kicking off a tour behind her upcoming album “Just Like You,” which will drop on Sept. 11th along with the long-awaited new albums from Kanye West (“Graduation”) and 50 Cent (“Curtis”). Half of Cole’s 20-show run will be played in House of Blues venues across the country, including a two-night stand Sept. 2-3 at the HoB in West Hollywood, CA. The tour wraps up in September – a month before the premiere of BET’s “The Way It Is 2.” This season, the Cole’s reality series will follow her continued growth and evolution, as well as her strained relationship with her mother, according to a press release. The singer is also tapped to star in the upcoming MTV film, “How She Moves.”

Pras Says Fugees Reunion Is Dead

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com

(July 23, 2007) *Fans of
The Fugees who are hoping for a reunion can start preparing for disappointment. Group member Pras told Billboard that the group is dead, despite a brief reunion in 2004 to work on new material. "Me and Clef [Wyclef], we are on the same page, but Lauryn [Hill] is in her zone and I'm fed-up with that sh*t,” said Pras. "Here she is blessed with a gift with the opportunity to rock and give and she's running on some bullsh*t? I'm a fan of Lauryn's, but I can't respect that." Hill recently made headlines for playing a series of bizarre solo gigs, including one at the Paramount Theatre where she showed up late, apologized for falling down earlier and left some fans requesting refunds.

Ben Harper Hits The Road Behind ‘Lifeline’

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com

(July 23, 2007) *
Ben Harper and his band the Innocent Criminals launched a massive North American theatre tour in the fall to support their forthcoming album, “Lifeline.”  The trek is scheduled to begin Sept. 1 in Boulder, CO and crisscross the U.S. –dipping into Canada along the way – before wrapping in mid-November. For the first time in his career, Harper is bringing his concert tours to sit-down theatres. "The ICs and I are gonna dust off and dress up a little for this next tour, so feel free to do the same ... only if you're in the mood," Harper said in a posting at his Web site. "It will be a different musical experience, and I am excited for this--more of a sit down, acoustic show, some amplification as well, but a mixture of all this and hopefully some new covers too."  Harper’s set list includes tracks from the new album “Lifeline,” due Aug. 28, as well as songs from his back catalogue.  "As much as this tour is focused around the kick off of 'Lifeline,' these upcoming theatre shows are going to be an opportunity for us to play a lot of the songs that we haven't gotten to as often as we'd like--especially songs that we feel fit well with 'Lifeline,'" Harper said.  In the meantime, the lead single and video from the album, "In the Colors," are streaming at Harper's Web site. Also, Harper and the Innocent Criminals will hit the late-night talk-show circuit over the next few months, performing on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" Aug. 28, "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" Sept. 21 and "The Late Show with David Letterman" Oct. 1.

J.Lo And Husband Consider Joint Tour

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com

(July 23, 2007) *
Marc Anthony says he may hit the road this year for a co-headlining tour with his wife Jennifer Lopez. The couple stars in the upcoming film “El Cantante” and appear on each other’s albums. "Jennifer has never toured," Anthony tells Billboard. "I've toured all my life. This is where I can step in and say, 'Oh, my God, this could be fun,' and introduce her to that world." "It is something she's always wanted to do, but she's never had the time," he continues. "And I was offered many more films I never took advantage of because I was always on tour. So, yes, we're seriously talking about going out this year [and] putting together an amazing show with just her and myself."  "El Cantante," due in theatres Aug. 3, stars Anthony in a biopic about salsa legend Hector Lavoe. Lopez plays Lavoe's wife, Nilda. The film's soundtrack is to be released on July 24.

?uestlove Steers Al Green’s ‘Duet Album’

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com

(July 24, 2007) *
Al Green says he is 15 songs deep into his upcoming album produced by Roots drummer Amir “?uestlove” Thompson. The set, tentatively titled “The Duet Album,” will feature pairings with Anthony Hamilton, D'Angelo and possibly Alicia Keys and Joss Stone.  The soul crooner tells Billboard.com that he and the Roots have been recording tracks at New York’s Electric Lady Studios with hopes of finishing by November. His label, Blue Note, has set a target release date of early 2008.   "It's turning out to be like fresh cream, man, like fresh milk from the cow's titty, baby," Green told the Web site. "We wrote these songs right off the (studio) floor and cut 'em right there that same day.”  "It's the Roots band playing the music, producing the music, and they let Al sing what he sings and sing with these other people," he said. "I've never heard anything quite like it, 'cause I've never had anybody produce me other than Willie Mitchell. And when you give these young kids a shot at it, it's interesting to see the art they make. It's beautiful." Green said the new album has a hip-hop flavour to it, but there will be no rapping involved. In the meantime, the veteran R&B star will tour as part of the B.B. King Blues Festival 2007, which also features Etta James.

Amy Winehouse Is Odds-On Favourite For Best Album Award

Excerpt from www.thestar.com


(July 25, 2007)
Amy Winehouse is the bookie's favourite for Britain's Nationwide Mercury Prize, in front of Jamie T and the Arctic Monkeys.  Such is the prestige of the annual award for the best British or Irish album that the victor will probably see sales surge. The judges have often gone for an outsider – and some of the other nine shortlisted artists' CDs have a strong claim. Winehouse's nomination for Back to Black is her second for a Mercury and this time she has a real chance. The judges say they formally go by the music on the record alone and on this count, Winehouse has a lot going for her. "Rehab" and "You Know I'm No Good" are singles that mix R&B with jazz. The Mercury panellists do take some note of sales – at least they mentioned it when recognizing the Arctic Monkeys' debut –and Back to Black has gone platinum in both the U.S. and the U.K. They may also reward the popularity of Winehouse, 23, who swiftly followed the record with sell-out concerts, a BRIT award, marriage – and colourful headlines about drinking and tattoos. The Arctic Monkeys' victory last year was possibly too early, because the band's second album is an improvement. It's unlikely the band would win twice in a row. Jamie T has been on the road promoting his debut Panic Prevention. The 22-year-old put in an energetic performance in London earlier this year and he's improved since then while showcasing a CD that is a cross between the Streets and the Arctic Monkeys. Natasha Khan, who goes under the stage name Bat for Lashes, blew away everyone who heard her at Glastonbury. Her album Fur and Gold is a grower. A song such as "What's a Girl to Do?" has a quiet beauty.

We Remember Songwriter Ron Miller

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com

(July 25, 2007)  *Songwriter
Ron Miller, whose hits included such classics as “For Once in My Life” and other memorable songs for Motown, died Monday of cardiac arrest at Santa Monica UCLA Medical Center after a long battle with emphysema and cancer, reports AP. He was 74.    Miller began his professional career in the 1960s after Motown founder Berry Gordy discovered him at a piano bar. He became one of the label's first songwriters and record producers.    "For Once in My Life," written with Orlando Murden and made famous by Stevie Wonder, is one of the most recorded songs in history, with more than 270 versions, according to All Music Guide.     Miller’s songs have also been recorded by Judy Garland, Diana Ross, Ray Charles and Barbara Streisand. In 2005, Charles' and Gladys Knight's version of Miller's "Heaven Help Us All" picked up the best gospel performance Grammy.     "My father will be reborn every time someone sings one of his songs," Lisa Dawn Miller told the AP. "When they feel joy or sadness or any emotion, that will be my dad and his words."    Miller is survived by his wife, Aurora Miller, and six children. A memorial service was scheduled for Aug. 4.

::FILM NEWS::

Leading Ladies Behind The Screen

Excerpt from www.thestar.com - Martin Knelman, Entertainment Columnist

(July 19, 2007) In the 1970s, when
Helga Stephenson was starting out in the film business, women in senior posts were an endangered species. But yesterday, a ballroom at the Park Hyatt Hotel was packed with them. The occasion was a gala Women in Film & Television lunch at which seven dynamic women behind the screen were honoured by an organization with the mission of celebrating heroines who have managed to break into the guys' locker room known as show business. Stephenson – the visionary strategist who shaped the Toronto International Film Festival in its formative years – was among seven honourees at yesterday's event. "At first, when I started," she recalls, "I was always the only woman in the room, which I can tell you was not so much fun. It was the bad old days when being the only woman meant they looked at you when they wanted coffee." She stood her ground but wondered when the rules of the game would ever change. Well, they have. Many women at the lunch have broken into the executive suites.  Stephenson, who ran TIFF from 1987 through 1993, was in distinguished company.  The other winners:

'Who’s Your Caddy?' Big Boi Answers The Question In New Comedy Flick

Source: Roz StevensonPR

(July 19, 2007)
Antwan "Big Boi" Patton from the multi-platinum and Grammy winning hip-hop duo OutKast leads an all-star cast in Who's Your Caddy?, portraying C-Note, a superstar rap mogul who runs into fierce opposition when he tries to join a stuffy golf country club.   The wild street team and the stuffy elite, who collide on the green include Terry Crews, Tamala Jones, MTV's Andy Milonakis, comedienne Sherri Shepherd, funnyman Faizon Love, Finesse Mitchell, Jeffrey Jones, James Avery, Bruce Bruce, Bad Santa's Tony Cox, Garrett Morris, Mighty Rasta and Grammy-nominated rapper Lil' Wayne.   Our Stories and Dimension Films will release Who's Your Caddy? in theatres on July 27. When the board president of the Carolina Pines Golf & Country Club tries to deny C-Note membership, it's nothing that he and his entourage can't handle. Undeterred by the country club's rejection, C-Note gets the brilliant idea to buy the land adjacent to the golf club's 17th hole, which he cleverly leverages to gain membership. C-Note's crew causes serious confusion as they bring their larger-than-life style to the club.  As the club's conservative leadership desperately tries to revoke C-Note's membership, he realizes that his family's honour and secret record-breaking golf history is at stake.  As he takes on the fight of his life, C-Note pulls out all the stops to bring down the club's backwards establishment and welcome them to the 21st century.

In 2006 Patton leaped from hip-hop star to actor extraordinaire with starring roles in Idlewild with André Benjamin and ATL with T.I.  Soon after he landed the lead role in Who's Your Caddy?  Patton, who admits he wants to explore all performing avenues, talks about how the starring role in the film came about. "Actually, my manager called me and said, 'Yo, man, there's this film and I want you to check out the script.  I like it and they want you to play the lead.'  I said, 'Word?'  I read it and from the first couple of pages, I was laughing.  The script was so funny.  So, I said, 'I'm in.' It was just that simple," Patton says.    The film required him to golf and polo, neither of which he had done before, but that didn't deter Patton.  "Although I had never golfed, I picked up the basics quickly and after the first day, it was on.  As far as riding a horse went, I adjusted to it easily, too, because I'm really into animals.  Once I got on the horse, it was cool.  Before we started shooting I rode the horse for hours and I loved it.  Now, I'm looking into buying some horses.  So, these new experiences have really expanded my world," he acknowledges. The 32 year-old husband and father of three admits his life is a constant juggling act, "I try to keep family first.  I want to be there for wife and for my kids' soccer games, music recitals and parent-teacher meetings.  It's not easy, but I have a great team behind me that works hard to make sure everything gets done."

Patton spent the first half of his childhood in Savannah, Georgia before moving to Atlanta. He had a strong interest in hip-hop music, and met André "3000" Benjamin while attending Tri-Cities High School in the early '90s. The two eventually joined forces as OutKast and signed with LaFace Records.      In contrast to his more sedate, philosophical partner, Patton's on-record persona can be identified by his rapid-fire delivery, a style which has become more distinct since the album ATLiens.  Patton has often used his lyrics to criticize the problems that plague both the African American community and the world. One example is 2002's "War", a scathing attack on the Bush administration and the "war on terror."      In addition to his work on much OutKast and Dungeon Family-related material, Patton has also been featured on other artists' tracks without André 3000. His most notable guest appearances were on the 1999 Missy Elliott hit, "All N My Grill", the Youngbloodz' "85 South", and Trick Daddy's 2002 single "In Da Wind".        After four increasingly successful albums as a duo, Benjamin decided to make a solo album as a side project. Patton also produced the solo effort, and the album was packaged together with André 3000's solo album as Speakerboxxx/The Love Below in 2003.    Big Boi recently announced a new solo album in the works, which may be finished in 2007. Purportedly similar in sound to Speakerboxxx, it will feature production from André and long-time Dungeon Family production team Organized Noize.  Who's Your Caddy? is an MGM release of an Our Stories Films and Dimension Films Presentation of a Rifkin-Eberts Production/Kia Jam Production in association with Eleven Eleven Films.  The film is directed by Don Michael Paul (Half Past Dead, Furious Five) and written by Don Michael Paul, Bradley Allenstein and Robert Henny.  The producers are Christopher Eberts, Tracey E. Edmond, Kia Jam, Arnold Rifkin and the executive producers are Shakim Compere, Ross Dinerstein, Queen Latifah, Marvin Peart, Chris Roberts, and Bobby Schwartz.  The director of photography is Christopher Schenck.

Nikki Blonsky: Giving Hairspray Its Volume And Shine

Excerpt from www.globeandmail.com - R.M. Vaughan

(July 20, 2007) The
Nikki Blonsky story is almost too wonderful to be true. Plucked from obscurity after winning a U.S.-wide talent search, Blonsky is the lead – indeed the whole raison d'être – in the Hollywood version of the Broadway production of the John Waters indie-film classic Hairspray. As bubbly as Korean tapioca tea, Blonsky is remarkably composed for an unknown actress carrying a blockbuster musical with a megastar cast (including John Travolta, in a drag kit as convincing as the plush creatures from the old H.R. Pufnstuf show). Blonsky's energetic performance gives Hairspray its volume and shine. Her Tracy Turnblad – the plucky teen who just wants everyone in the segregated world of early-sixties Baltimore to get along – is note perfect. A star is born.

All this PR jazz about you being discovered in a malt shop. C'mon – you're really one of Ron Howard's kids, aren't you?

Ha! No, I'm not! No, I'm not a Howard. But he's a cool guy. I really was found in an ice-cream store.

But that doesn't happen any more. It's like something out of the forties.

Well, we're bringing back the old times. I'll tell you what happened – I saw the Broadway show when I was 15 and I fell in love with it. I fell in love with Tracy. It was the first time I found a character I connected with on a whole other level. I was like, that's me! I auditioned for the Broadway show when I was 16, but I didn't get it because on Broadway they don't hire anybody under 18.

So who plays Orphan Annie?

There's some pretty young-looking 18-year-olds out there. When I saw the movie auditions, I was raring to go. Five and a half months of auditions and callbacks later, I got it. I fell off my chair crying and screaming.

Do you feel guilty stealing this movie from John Travolta, Queen Latifah, Christopher Walken and Michelle Pfeiffer?

Oh my God! I'm honoured to be sharing this experience with all of them. Queen Latifah is one of my idols.

So that's a no?

I think we all should just be proud of what we've done.

Were you old enough to watch any of Waters' dirtier films while you were making Hairspray?

I saw a little bit of Pink Flamingos.

Which bits?

Well, I love me some Waters. I wanted to see it all!

If the musical of Pink Flamingos happens, will you follow Divine's lead and eat the dog poo?

Ummm. Let's just say I thank God for John Waters for creating Hairspray, so I'd pretty much do anything for him.

You are the veteran of many Great Neck South Senior High productions. Two questions – first, what did you learn from high-school musicals?

Our high school is the only one in the country that does a fully orchestrated opera every year. We would rehearse for six months, and we did some hefty productions. All that preparation taught me a lot of discipline.

Second question – where is Red Neck? I mean, Great Neck.

Are you calling me a redneck?

Oh, please. You should see where I'm from.

It's on Long Island, New York. A little suburb.

For someone who's only 4-foot-10, you command a lot of screen presence.

It's really just letting the inside take over the outside. If you're a big spirit inside, you can become 5-foot-11 outside. I was never a shy kid.

Any rehab stints on the horizon? You are a hot young starlet.

Ha! Absolutely not! No way! You know, this is such an honour, for me to be in this business – and the fact that people disgrace it in such a way kinda gets me a little disturbed. I would never shame the people who gave me this opportunity like that.

John Travolta's drag is most believable when he's on camera with you. Somehow, you two created your own drag chemistry.

Honestly, it's because we looked alike. And John and I were extremely close on and off set, and it kinda just became a believable mother-daughter relationship. He still checks up on me, like a mother.

Your performance in the film is underlined with righteous anger, especially when the film deals with issues of body size and exclusion.

You saw anger? I think it's more disbelief. Tracy is so carefree, she doesn't understand why black and white kids can't dance together, why heavyset girls can't fall in love. She's not angry, she's frustrated. I grew up having the same experiences, but I was never angry, I was frustrated. I had a lot of Ambers [Hairspray's villain, Amber von Tussle] in my life, calling me names, making fun of my weight, my height. I came to the conclusion that I didn't really care.

What's next? I hear “Bond girl” whispers.

Are you serious? Stop it! You're making that up! I'd totally be down for it!

A real man like Daniel Craig needs a real woman.

He needs a woman with curves! I'd show him a good time.

EUR FILM REVIEW: I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com - By Kam Williams

(July 23, 2007) *For years, Brooklyn firefighters Larry Valentine (
Kevin James) and Chuck Levine (Adam Sandler) have been best friends, at least on the job, even though they lead very different private lives.  Away from work, Chuck behaves like a wanton womanizer with no intentions of ever settling down, while Larry is a grieving widower who's too concerned about the welfare of his kids, Eric (Cole Morgen) and Tori (Shelby Adamowsky), to start thinking about dating again. Despite their differences, these buddies are absolutely committed to being there for each other, and Larry proves his loyalty the day he saves his pal's life during the collapse of a burning building. In return, Chuck promises to return the favour at the first opportunity, unaware how soon that pledge will be tested. For when bureaucratic red tape prevents Larry from naming his children as the beneficiaries of his life insurance policy, he learns that the snafu could be corrected instantly, if he only were married or had a domestic partner. So, to expedite matters, he asks Chuck to sign a document saying they're gay life mates, never expecting that a nosy inspector (Steve Buscemi) from the city's Fraud Detection Department might show up at his house unannounced periodically to make sure they're not lying.

With the prospect of prison hanging over their heads, Chuck grudgingly moves in with Larry, rather than risk going to jail. And it doesn't help that he has to hide the fact that he's straight from their knockout of a lawyer (Jessica Biel), since he finds himself falling head-over-heels in love with her. The ensuing awkwardness and embarrassment over having to pretend to be strange bedfellows probably sounds like a zany enough premise to make for a potentially hilarious sitcom. However, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry is so evilly executed that it deserves to be dismissed as a deliberately mean-spirited indulgence in homophobia.

For the full review by Kam Williams – go HERE.   

::TV NEWS::

Brent Butt's Loving His Hollywood Moment As Canuck Sitcom Is Touted Before Its U.S. Debut

Excerpt from
www.thestar.com - TV Critic

(July 22, 2007) LOS ANGELES– It's a long way from Dog River to Beverly Hills – approximately 3,000 km, as the crow flies, assuming the crow is flying south, southwest.
Brent Butt has just gotten off the plane from Vancouver, where he lives the half of the year he is not in rural Saskatchewan, taping his hit Canadian comedy, Corner Gas. The show is his gift to the world, seen in 27 countries – an already impressive figure now about to increase by one: The Big One, the gosh-almighty United States. At a special breakfast press conference yesterday in the midst of the TV critics tour (preceded by a poolside cocktailer for Canadian press at Trader Vic's the night before), Chicago-based national cable titan Superstation WGN announced its acquisition of Corner Gas, to run six times a week in various timeslots, with a potential viewing audience of 71 million. One can't help but wonder what Brent LeRoy would make of all this, though there is little to distinguish Butt from his sardonic alter-ego. He has often said that Corner Gas – about to enter its fifth season in Canada – represents the life he might have lived had he not decided to try comedy some 20 years ago.  "I can do a lot of things almost good enough to make a living," he says, "but just short of good enough to make a buck. And I used to hang out at the gas station with my buddies, so this is probably pretty reflective ...

"Sitting at a gas station in the middle of nowhere, eating a chilli dog and reading a comic book – that's pretty close to how things could have shaped up." Doing it on television has brought him here, to the alien environs of the Beverly Hilton, known as a preferred hideaway for Hollywood housewives recovering from plastic surgery. And it takes all of five minutes poolside to experience a quintessential Hollywood moment. Our waiter, who has been hovering, listening intently to our chat, sheepishly gives Butt his resumé and photo. Apparently, he's an aspiring stand-up comic. "Make sure you get this in the story," Butt laughs. Butt or LeRoy, it is fairly apparent that neither one of them really belongs here. "I can certainly see myself working in L.A.," he allows, "but I would never want to live here." He tried for half a year long ago, but couldn't get his papers to stay longer. "So I moved back to Vancouver. Got this little apartment I rented by the week. I lived in that apartment for 10 years." And he's still there, albeit in a bigger apartment, where he lives with his new wife and co-star, Nancy Robertson, when he isn't shooting Corner Gas or off touring his stand-up act. "I couldn't imagine not doing stand-up," he says. "I mean, why not? You get free drinks ... cheap, at least .. you get to see the country." Partway through each season, he says, "I get crazy itchy to do stand-up. I almost go down to the restaurant and say, `Can I get your attention? . . .'

"Right now we are working on trying to get me on Letterman to do a set," Butt beams. "It's exciting, but I kind of have to get up my chops, work up some new bits. I've got all these old bits ... `Dial phones? Does anybody have a dial phone?'" If he needed a TV sitcom to realize a comic's dream – a spot on Letterman's Late Show – Butt certainly doesn't begrudge the medium. "I love TV. Without being facetious, I think television is man's greatest achievement. There's a lot of s--- that goes on it, but I can sit in my home and watch what's going on in Africa as it happens. What kind of a miracle is that? Flying is probably third. Penicillin is probably second. But television? "Saying television is crap is like saying food is crap. No it isn't! Apples are delicious!" With Letterman in reach, all that remains to be seen is whether America is ready to embrace Corner Gas. A casual canvas here of the U.S. critics who've seen it invariably elicits polite, noncommittal comments like, "Well, it's very Canadian ..." – whatever that's supposed to mean. "I've heard it being described as `quietly subversive,' says Butt. "I kind of like that. `Softly making fun.' "And it is subtly subversive. And also silly. There is nothing that is too smart or subtle for our show. It's not about anything. And it's not above anything.  "I am personally a fan of all types of humour. I like dirty comedy, family comedy, stupid comedy (if) it's executed in a fairly original manner ... Anything fits in Corner Gas.  "If everybody follows the idiot, you will go farther than 20 geniuses pulling in different directions."

Canadian Movie Leads Emmys

Excerpt from www.thestar.com - Lynn Elber, Associated Press

(July 19, 2007) LOS ANGELES – The made-for-TV movie
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, which was shot in Alberta and stars Winnipeg-raised actor Adam Beach, led all Emmy nominees with 17 Thursday. Wounded Knee was directed by Quebec-born Yves Simoneau and featured hundreds of First Nations people from southern Alberta. In the historical epic, Beach plays Charles Eastman, a college-educated Sioux physician who struggles with his assimilation as the U.S. government continues a bloody campaign to settle Indian lands. The movie also stars Aidan Quinn as well as Montreal-born actor August Schellenberg. The Sopranos, the mob series that went to its grave with a shockingly inconclusive finale, found a happy ending with 15, including best drama. The other best-drama series were Boston Legal, Grey's Anatomy, House and freshman sci-fi sensation Heroes.

James Gandolfini, who played the emotionally conflicted mob boss on The Sopranos, and Edie Falco, who played his wife, both received top acting nominations. Another freshman hit, Ugly Betty, based on a Colombian telenovela, made it into the ranks of best comedy series nominees. It's joined by Entourage, 30 Rock, Two and a Half Men and last year's winner in the category, The Office. Ugly Betty star America Ferrera was recognized with a nomination for her starring role. Joining Gandolfini among lead drama series actor nominees were Hugh Laurie of House, Denis Leary of Rescue Me, James Spader of Boston Legal and last year's winner Kiefer Sutherland of 24. Last year's drama series was 24 but it was snubbed this time. Falco will compete with Patricia Arquette of Medium, Minnie Driver of The Riches, Sally Field of Brothers & Sisters, Kyra Sedgwick of The Closer and last year's winner, Mariska Hargitay of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Sedgwick got the news immediately. She helped announce bids for the 59th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards in a brief ceremony at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre. Friday Night Lights, the critically acclaimed but low-rated high school football drama that needed an Emmy boost, failed to gain major nominations. The Sopranos which premiered in January 1999 and had an on-and-off cable run, capped its final episode this year with an ambiguous ending that left fans in the dark about the fate of lead character Tony Soprano, last seen sitting in a diner with his wife and children. A suddenly black screen suggested sudden violence – or not. The series' other nominees included Michael Imperioli, who received a bid for best supporting dramatic actor for his role as the ill-fated Christopher. Aida Turturro, who played Tony's tough sister Janice, and Lorraine Bracco, who co-starred as his conflicted psychiatrist Dr. Melfi, were nominated for supporting actress.

Corey Reynolds - The Closer Interview with Kam Williams

Source:  Kam Williams


Corey Reynolds was born on July 3rd, 1974 in Richmond, Virginia where he was raised till he decided to head west to take a shot at showbiz. But his career took a detour and instead of sticking around Los Angeles, he ended up in a traveling production of Smoky Joe’s Café.  Eventually, he settled in New York where he was cast in the role of Seaweed in the original Broadway production of Hairspray. After landing  a  Tony nomination for that dynamic performance, he returned to Hollywood,   appearing in The Terminal, directed by Steven Spielberg, and on several  TV  series, including Eve, The Guardian, Without a Trace, and CSI: Miami,  before  being invited to become a regular member of the ensemble on The Closer,  the  TNT dramatic police series co-starring Kyra Sedgwick, J.K Simmons and  Gina  Rivera.

Here, he talks about his career, and about playing Sergeant David Gabriel on the show, which recently started its third season.

KW: Had you hoped to be able to play Seaweed in the new screen version of Hairspray, given that you had originated the role on Broadway and landed a Tony nomination for it?

CR: I had some availability issues because of my prior commitments to the show, but to be honest, it never was something that I was really gunning for, because I really feel that you can’t just go back and recreate something. Hairspray was really special, such a big smash, and we were all so very young, just kids, and then this whirlwind happened. So, I thought I’d just keep my magic in a bottle. Still, I was a little disappointed to see that there’s no one from the Broadway show involved onscreen. I actually sang a song for the soundtrack.

KW: That must feel weird to see someone else in your role.

CR: It’s like seeing someone else dating your ex-girlfriend. But the truth of the matter is that I’ve worked very hard since leaving the show in 2003 to move into the realm of leading man and young adult, versus kid. So, I think that that type of project may not have been the type of springboard that I was looking for to use to continue my ascension in Hollywood. I’ve moved on, and I’m looking in a new direction career-wise, but I’m very grateful that something I was a part of creating continues to feed people and to provide them an outlet to do what they love. I think that’s just great.

KW: How did it feel to get a Tony Award nomination for Hairspray?

CR: That was pretty exciting. It was my first Broadway show, so to have that happen out of the gate, I was pleasantly surprised.

KW: That sort of stamped you as an accomplished actor right of the bat.

CR: Yeah, but I’ve got to get that trophy, though. I want to take that walk.

KW: Well, The Closer is getting a lot of critical acclaim, so maybe an Emmy’s on the horizon for you.

CR: Who knows? If I play my cards right, and continue to do what I consider good work, and let the chips fall where they may.

KW: How do you like playing Deputy Chief Johnson‘s [Kyra Sedgwick’s character] protégé, Sergeant Gabriel?

CR: I love it, hands down. I loved my character in Hairspray, but when it comes to theatre, you’re a little bit more restricted in what you can do, because you have the same show over and over again. But with this, being able to develop this character, and let him grow, and to allow myself to grow as an actor at the same time, really is wonderful. I couldn’t have asked for a better role on a television show. You don’t see many minority men my age playing college-educated, well-spoken, articulate, good guys. So, that was something that was really important to me as an actor, to try to find something that would present me in a light that I want to be seen in. And this show presented that opportunity.

KW: Yeah, and even when you do see that positive role model-type character, they often inject a lot of humour which undercuts

CR: …their own legitimacy as what ever professional they are.

KW: Right.

CR: I agree with you 100%. I see that in some other television series, a couple of medical shows. On one, there’s a doctor who went to college and med school, twelve years of intensive education after high school, and he’s still saying, “Whazzup?” You would think that at some point that educational experience would bleed into how they present themselves. What that does, in my opinion, is it kind of discredits the whole idea of being the professional. But for me, in playing Gabriel, it’s win-win across the board as far as how I like to act, and the type of person I want to portray.

KW: On The Closer, you’re surrounded by a talented cast, such as J.K.  Simmons, who got the biggest laughs, stealing all his scenes in  Spider-Man 3 as J. Jonah Jameson.

CR: Absolutely! He loves those Spidey checks. He was telling me that in the new Spiderman DVD…

KW: Spiderman 2.1

CR: Yeah, in 2.1 there’s a deleted scene of him in the Spider-Man costume in his office running around. And he said, “You know the worst part about it was they gave me Tobey’s suit, and it didn’t exactly fit me.” [Chuckles] Yeah, we have a great group with him, G.W. [Bailey], Kyra, Jon  [Tenney], Tony [Denison]… And for me, it’s important to be able to have this be the foundation of my television career.

KW: How is the daily grind of shooting a series?

CR: We shoot an episode every seven days, so we go Monday through Friday, and then Monday and Tuesday of the next week. If you’re in every scene, you’re probably looking at about a 65-70 hour week. But when you’re doing what you love, it may get tiring, but it never gets bad.

KW: Kyra’s from New York in real life, but has a Southern accent on the show, while you’re from the Virginia, but don’t have the accent. Did you deliberately try to lose yours?

CR: I wouldn’t say I’ve worked to lose it, but I’ve always been told by others that I’m well spoken, and that they’re surprised I’m from Virginia. But if you hear me on the phone with my family, you’ll get a totally different sound, I can assure you.

KW: Former L.A. District Attorney, Gil Garcetti, who prosecuted the O.J. Simpson case, is a consultant on the show. What’s he like?

CR: I gotta tell you, man, Gil is surprisingly one of the coolest people I know. You’d think that somebody in his position, and who had done what he’s done for a living, would be very uptight. Not at all… not at all.

KW: Jimmy Bayan told me to ask you where in L.A. you live.

CR: I live in Los Feliz. I just bought a house there, so I’m excited.

KW: Who would you like to see yourself acting opposite in a feature film?

CR: Ooh, that’s a really good question. There are lots of people I’d love an opportunity to work with. One of them was Tom Hanks, and I got to work with him on The Terminal. That experience really blew my mind to be honest. That was my first movie ever, and I’m on the set with Spielberg and Tom Hanks.

KW: How was it working with them?
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CR: They are truly masters, and to be honest, they are two of the nicest people you could ever meet in your life. And for me, that was great to see people I admire, and to see how they treat other people. That helped me to understand that if you truly want to experience success on the scale that these guys are experiencing, there is a positive aura that must surround you. You must be a positive person to have staying power. Lots of people can get there, but longevity is what it’s all about.

KW: Did you observe anything about how they each approach their craft  from being around them on the set every day?

CR: Steven has a very concise and clear understanding of his vision, and what I think Tom had was a very clear and concise understanding of Steven. So, he was able to translate Steven’s vision instantly.

KW: What advice do you have for anyone who might want to follow in your footsteps?

CR: Stay realistic, know exactly what it is that you’re going for, and then stay determined, because determination is the deciding factor between success and failure.

KW: Corey, thanks for the interview, and I hope I can get another one with you after you break real big.

CR: You got one whenever you want, all right?

KW: Thanks.

CR: Take it easy.

David E. Talbert's New Show On TV One

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com - By LaRita Shelby

(July 20, 2007) *Leave it to TV One to lure award winning playwright and producer
David E. Talbert from behind the scenes to the front and center position on Stageblack; a new eight part reality series that follows ten aspiring actors and actresses vying for the chance to appear in David's acclaimed stage play Love In The Nick Of Tyme. David admits that being in the director's chair is easy but being the man out front was a challenge.  "When it came to the reality show, my wife and I came up with this idea together, then someone came with the bright idea (maybe Morris Chestnut and Tracey Edmonds) that I should be the one hosting it and of course, I did that kicking and screaming because I didn't want no part of being in front of the camera."   The ever cool Mr. Talbert gives this description of Stageblack.  "It's like Fame meets American Idol, meets The Apprentice.  All through the years I've been so blessed to meet so many people who didn't come through the traditional channels of coming into the business, these are people who maybe sung in their church or sung in the shower  or on the street corner or wherever.  I've been able to find all of this new talent so I thought it'd be good to be able to go all across the country and tap into some of that untapped talent." 

Stageblack was actually shot while David was on the road with "Love In The Nick Of Tyme" which starred Morris Chestnut, Avant and American Idol finalist Trenyse.  As the production traveled to ten cities, the series taped the behind the scenes antics of contestants hoping for a role in "Love in the Nick of Tyme" but only one man and one woman end up being chosen. Stageblack is not banking on the high ratings and entertainment value of merely embarrassing people.  While such is the norm for other reality competition shows, David puts a different spin on his show.  "My intention is to pull out the best in people and give them an opportunity to be the best that they can be while being honest at the same time."  Another exciting element of Stageblack combines the guidance of stars like Blair Underwood, Elise Neal and Deborah Cox who show up to give direction to the hopeful competitors. There's also a dose of comic relief and tough love from Freez Luv who serves as the show's den-father.   "It's a lot of dramatic stuff that happens in here because when you put this many people together for this period of time, a lot of things start to come out.  Freez Luv is a very comical character. He pushes buttons.  I'm the good cop.  I think he's the bad cop."

David E. Talbert Presents: StageBlack, airs Sunday, July 22 from 10-11 PM ET on  TV One.  The series will re-air Sunday nights at 1 AM, Friday mornings at 10 AM, and Saturday night at 11 PM.    David E. Talbert Presents: StageBlack is produced for TV One by Edmonds Entertainment in conjunction with David E. Talbert. The series was co-created by Lyn Talbert. Executive producers of the series are David E. Talbert, Morris Chestnut, Blair Underwood, Tracey Edmonds and Michael McQuarn.   Southwest Airlines is a sponsor and the official airline of David E. Talbert Presents: StageBlack.     David E. Talbert is currently in post production on his directorial debut for Sony/Screen Gems titled "First Sunday" which stars Ice Cube and Katt Williams.

Eddie Izzard - They're Taking This Funny Man Seriously

Excerpt from www.globeandmail.com - Gayle Macdonald

(July 19, 2007) After 20 years of working clubs, doing live theatre and getting bit movie roles, British stand-up comedian
Eddie Izzard is finally being taken seriously - as a dramatic actor, that is. As rumours swirl that the intellectual funny man may get a best-actor Emmy nomination today for his new hit TV show The Riches, Izzard has emerged as a tour de force in whatever genre he decides to dabble in. This weekend, the 45-year-old Izzard flies to Montreal to headline stand-up shows on Friday and Saturday at the Just for Laughs comedy festival. It's his fourth or fifth year in la belle cité - he can't remember which - and it's a gig the comic says he never turns down because, as a passionate linguist, he loves to parler en français whenever he gets the chance. "I come back because it's French and it's English and I can practise my French on unsuspecting shopkeepers whenever I please," says Izzard, who admits to studying languages (he also speaks "survival" German) up to four hours a day. "I'm a big Europhile and a big Francophile. Montreal is also a very ambitious festival," says Izzard, on a cellphone this week en route to a 9 p.m. gig at West Hollywood's Coronet Theater. "I don't suppose people from Europe would assume Montreal is where comedy is at. But it's there, all right."

Once referred to as the "Lost Python" by John Cleese, Izzard says he wanted to act since he was 7. He toiled in clubs around Britain through a good part of the eighties, honing his comedy routines and taking them to North America and through Europe in the nineties. In 1993, he finally hired an acting agent (in addition to his comedy agent) to land him meatier dramatic roles. Small parts in films such as The Cat's Meow and Velvet Goldmine came his way. But Izzard's big break in the United States came in 1999, when his comedy act Dress to Kill was shown on HBO. Izzard went on to win two Emmy Awards in 2000 (for performance and writing). And in 2003, he was also nominated for a Tony as best actor (play) for A Day in the Death of Joe Egg on Broadway. Soon after, Steven Soderbergh came calling with small parts in Ocean's 12 and 13. "Those films were a lot of fun," says Izzard, of working with the likes of George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Don Cheadle. "But it was also a little frustrating, because you feel like you get to base camp at Mount Everest. But then everyone else is going up Everest, and I'm thinking, okay, you climb up Everest. I'll do a couple of scenes and then go away."

These days, the film roles he's landing put him at least halfway up the mountain. Propelled by the critical acclaim of The Riches, which also stars fellow Briton Minnie Driver, Izzard is now getting substantial face time in big-budget movies such as Julie Taymor's Across the Universe (due out in September) and Bryan Singer's film about a plot to assassinate Hitler, which also stars Tom Cruise. Famous for his flamboyant transvestite leanings ("It is my manifest destiny to wear a dress on all seven continents," Izzard once remarked), he has now placed some restrictions on his choice of attire so as not to harm his burgeoning career. He describes himself as a straight transvestite or male lesbian, but says society has still been slow to embrace his predilection for makeup, heels and skirts. "I am a transvestite," he says. "I wear whatever I wish to wear [when performing live], just like a woman can choose to wear pants or a dress. But it's not drag. I refuse it to be called that. It's simply a dress." Like Izzard, his fans also tend to be free-thinkers. "My audiences are generally more alternative audiences," the comedian muses. "Thinking, alternative, inquiring minds come to my gigs. And if they're not that bent, they tend to run away screaming at all my weird references."

In The Riches (which airs on FX in the United States and Showcase in Canada), Izzard plays Wayne Malloy, the patriarch of a con-artist family of "travellers" who find a couple killed in a car accident and assume their identities. Wayne, his wife Dahlia (Driver) and their three kids move into the Riches' massive home in very upscale suburbia in Baton Rouge, La. The youngest son has a preference for wearing girl's clothing - a part of the script Izzard insists was there before he got involved - which means Izzard has now become "technical adviser" to the youth. Compared by critics to Weeds and The Sopranos, Izzard says The Riches is all about digging under the perfectly manicured lawns and finding the hypocrisies and dirty secrets of those who seem to be living the American dream. "This show holds a mirror up to American society - all the lies and the bullshit," says Izzard, who was born in Yemen, but grew up in Ireland, Wales and the south of England. "I love the role because it's all about exploring the underbelly of so-called established, civilized people. It's just great stuff to sink your teeth into." A born raconteur, Izzard's style is heavily influenced by Monty Python, and his free-wheeling comedic delivery is full of twists and surprises. A fan of the Discovery and History channels, and an ardent researcher on Wikipedia, Izzard says his craving for information is insatiable. "I never get tired of looking for information that will help me try to explain the world [comically]," says Izzard, who cites Jesus Ministers to the Dinosaurs as one of his more inspired routines. "I then try to do so, by talking through all this endless rubbish. I've always had a rather schizophrenic career that jostled between surreal comedy and drama. I always hoped the two sides would cross over. With The Riches, it finally seems to have happened."

Return Of Jericho Stuns Cast And Crew

Excerpt from www.thestar.com - Rob Salem, TV Critic

(July 20, 2007) LOS ANGELES, Calif.–CBS, traditionally the most staid of the U.S. networks, has never been known for its sense of humour – successful sitcoms aside. Or a willingness to court controversy. But there was plenty of both at its two-day presentations here at the TV critics tour. When we walked into the
Jericho session, on each chair was a big bag of peanuts and a T-shirt with a cartoon nut saying, "I saved Jericho" – an acknowledgment of the fans' campaign to inundate the network with nuts (referencing a line from the first-season finale) in the hopes of undoing its cancellation. No one was more surprised that it actually worked than Jericho's somewhat humbled producers and cast; the post-apocalyptic serial drama will return for at least seven episodes this season.  "I was shocked," confessed veteran show-runner Carol Barbee. "When you get cancelled – and in this world of television, it happens often – you kind of think that's it." Series star Skeet Ulrich first alerted his cast-mates by phone. "Everybody was on board the second we heard. I was just so happy ... I couldn't believe it had come to that point, and I had to share it with the people that I knew it meant the most to.

"But it's been an incredible experience, from the lows of cancellation to the fans rising up for us. And I think now the best way we can thank them is to continue to make the best show that we can ... "  And if they are threatened by cancellation again? "Send snakes," snickered Ulrich. "Strippers," countered co-star Lennie James. "I highly recommend some sort of mid-level food product," suggested Barbee. "We're going to try to insert into each show something that the fans could kind of laugh at, like `That's bananas!' ..."  "And then," added James, "we're going to sell them online." WE KID YOU NOT: The controversy came with the discussion of Kid Nation, one of the few reality shows I am actually looking forward to, in which 40 children, aged 8 to 15, spend 40 days and nights in a New Mexico ghost town, co-operating to build a working kid society. But many critics here were sceptical, particularly over the apparent lack of any adult supervision.  In fact, assured executive producer Tom Forman, there were actually hundreds of adults on site, covering every possible contingency.

"Pediatricians, child psychologists, an animal wrangler – because we had animals there – mostly standing back and watching the kids with instructions to step in if something was going wrong and anybody was in danger.  "I think we were all shocked by how little we had to do for them. And we really made a commitment amongst ourselves that we were going to let them do everything they could on their own." CORRECTION: NBC's Heroes World Tour brings cast members to Toronto's Yonge-Dundas Square on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1. I regret my July 18 column gave an incorrect date.

Grammer In New Fox Sitcom

Excerpt from www.thestar.com - Associated Press

(July 24, 2007) BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – Fox is rolling out two "news shows'': a sitcom starring
Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton as fictional news anchors in Pittsburgh, and an unscripted show starring a former bikini model-turned-anchorwoman in Texas. Unveiled at a Television Critics Association gathering here this week, both series are meant to deliver laughs – and ratings – but not necessarily headlines. That makes Grammer's job a whole lot easier. "Based upon my knowledge of most television newscasting now, it has nothing do with the news anyway," Grammer said at a Sunday session. "I'm very happy to just be another performer pretending to be a performer," added the former "Frasier" star, who will be back on the air this fall in the series "Back to You.'' Then at a Monday TCA meeting, Fox introduced "Anchorwoman," a reality show debuting Aug. 21 about a local TV station that tries to prove beauty, not news experience, drives broadcast news in Tyler, Texas. The subject of much derision among journalists, bikini model and former WWE diva Lauren Jones fielded questions from the TV critics about "Anchorwoman," which follows her through a 30-day trial by fire as the newest anchor on KYTX-TV's 5 p.m. newscast. "I was given the opportunity to live my dream," said the micro-mini-skirt-wearing Jones. "I always wanted to be an anchorwoman, and this was the opportunity to take the bull by the horns.''

Hoping to boost ratings for his CBS affiliate, station owner Phil Hurley partnered with reality maverick Brian Gadinsky (``American Idol'') to put the buxom blonde on the air – sans any formal journalism training. "There was an expectation or a stereotype that she was not going to take it seriously. That she was just there to further her own bikini modeling career," Gadinsky said. "But when she got there ... everybody fell in line, and she surprised them.'' Having survived her 30-day initiation, Jones says she's now fielding offers. But she's also in negotiations to stay on at KYTX. "We're trying to make the best decision if we're going to proceed forward. That's definitely an option right now, and it looks like a pretty good one," said Jones, a graduate of New York's Parson School of Design who considers Katie Couric a role model. Although the station has made no formal contract offer, Hurley says he'd like to keep her on the anchor desk. "But I'm afraid I'll lose her. ... She knows what we can pay.''

TV TIDBITS

Rebecca Wins Model Contest

Excerpt from www.thestar.com

(July 19, 2007)
Rebecca Hardy is Canada's Next Top Model. The redheaded factory worker from Mannheim, Ont., an unconventional beauty, was named the winner last night on the season finale of the Citytv series, the second Canadian edition of the U.S. show. Hardy, 22, has won an editorial spread in Fashion magazine, a modelling contract with Sutherland Models and a $100,000 contract with P&G Beauty. "Rebecca is the total package! She's got the looks, the smarts and the passion to be a bonafide success in this business," said Jay Manuel, the show's host and executive producer. "Expect to see her make a splash on the international modelling scene."  As the finale opened, four of 10 finalists remained: Rebecca; Tia, 19, from Montreal; Sinead, 18, from Chatham, Ont., and Tara, 20, from Calgary. "Oh my God," Rebecca sobbed when given the news. "I am just overwhelmed, I am so excited. I can't believe I'm here ... I couldn't be happier. I will not let you down, I promise." She said she doubts she'll return to blending raw meats on the graveyard shift in a Kitchener plant.

Lebron James To Host ‘SNL’ Season Premiere

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com

(July 19, 2007) *It’s official,
LeBron James will welcome viewers of “Saturday Night Live” to a new season of the long-running series in September, reports Daily Variety. The 22-year-old NBA star, announced Wednesday as host of the season premiere,  follows Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and his childhood idol Michael Jordan as prominent athletes who have hosted the sketch comedy show.  Last week, the Cleveland Cavaliers forward received positive reviews for his work co-hosting ESPN’s ESPY Awards with talk show host Jimmy Kimmel. James appeared in several skits and performed a spoof of Bobby Brown's "My Prerogative" with rewritten lyrics about his own fame. In the meantime, James is headed to minicamp with the U.S. national team as it begins preparations for next month's FIBA Americas tournament, the regional qualifier for the 2008 Olympics.

Bokeem Comes Out Of The Woodwork For New Gig

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com

(July 23, 2007) *
Bokeem Woodbine was poised to become one of the hottest young actors in the game back in the late 90s, but his star appeared to steadily fade prior to landing a role in "Ray."  Then he seemed to disappear again.   Now Woodbine is back on his grind in the new TNT series "Saving Grace," along with Oscar winning actress Holly Hunter.  Mr. Woodbine let EURweb know what he has been up to. "I had a long dry spell.  The last major showcase I had of my acting was 'Ray,' back in November of 2004," Woodbine told Lee Bailey.  "I had some TV stuff I was doing and an independent film that I did that was well received called 'Edmond', but other than that there has not been a lot of visibility for me.  This is a way for me to be reintroduced into people's minds." The actor also told us he really went all out for this role, in part because of the high quality of the script and cast.  "I got the script from my agent and he said 'this is the one to get' then he told me Holly Hunter was in it and I really went for it. From the first audition they encouraged me to really go for it." The actor said his role is admittedly somewhat cliché, but the dialogue is out of this world. "I said to myself 'How am I going to do something different with this?  This has been done so many times.'  The dialog is just so different.  Yes, it's a black guy on death row.  We've seen this before.  But the dialog is just so different." Just how different is the dialog?  See for yourself when "Saving Grace" debuts tonight at 10/9c.on TNT. 

Comic Drew Carey to replace Bob Barker on 'The Price is Right'

Source: By David Bauder, Associated Press

(July 23, 2007) NEW YORK (AP) - Genial comic Drew Carey was tapped Monday to replace silver-haired legend Bob Barker on the CBS daytime game show "The Price is Right."  The deal was set Monday afternoon shortly before Carey taped a segment of CBS's "Late Show" with David Letterman, where he confirmed it. "I realize what a big responsibility this is," said Carey. "It's only a game show, but it's the longest-running game show in American television and I plan to keep it that way."  The selection attracted more attention than usual for a daytime show because of the prospect of replacing Barker, 83. Barker retired after 35 years in the job last month following taping of his 6,586th episode.  The opening attracted widespread interest, including from comic Rosie O'Donnell after she left her co-hosting job on the daytime talk show "The View."  Carey, 49, spent a decade on his own ABC sitcom and also was host of the improvisational game show "Whose Line is It Anyway?"  He will also be host of a new CBS prime-time game show, "The Power of 10," that will air first next month. He told The Associated Press on Monday that CBS officials first contacted him about "The Price is Right" immediately after he completed a pilot of the other game show this spring.  "My agent called me and said 'I was talking to CBS casting today' and in my head I was thinking, 'Oh, 'CSI' guest star?' And he said what would you think about replacing Bob Barker on 'The Price is Right?"'  Asked if he found the prospect of replacing such a TV legend daunting, Carey recalled talking to a friend who knows the game show business who told him, "as long as Bob Barker is cool with it, the fans will be cool with it." While he doesn't know Barker, Carey said he's comfortable that his predecessor will be accepting.  The negotiation process was nerve-racking. While he was talking with CBS about the job, Carey said he got a call from another lawyer in Hollywood who told him one of his clients was offered "The Price is Right" job.  Carey said he figured CBS had lined up back-ups if the first choice did not come through.  "If I was going after a second baseman, I wouldn't just talk to one second baseman," the Cleveland Indians fan said. "If I were the general manager, I would be talking to a few second basemen."

::THEATRE NEWS::

Comedy Hit Jewtopia Comes To Toronto

Excerpt from www.thestar.com - Richard Ouzounian, Theatre Critic

(July 24, 2007) The longest-running comedy in off-Broadway history is set to open soon in Toronto, starring two of the funniest guys in Canada.
Jewtopia, by Bryan Fogel and Sam Wolfson, has played to some 400,000 people across America since its premiere in May 2003. It begins previews here at the Diesel Playhouse on Sept. 23 and will feature Matt Baram and Dave Kerr in the leading roles. Baram is a long-time Second City veteran and a Canadian Comedy Award winner. He's also one of the stars of the CBC-TV series, The Second City's Next Comedy Legend. Kerr is best known as the "roving reporter" on CTV's Canadian Idol and fans love the way he gives host Ben Mulroney the gears from a different Canadian location each week.

Jewtopia is about two 30-year-old single guys who are both in search of "the perfect Jewish girl." Chris O'Connell (Kerr) is a gentile and Adam Lipschitz (Baram) is a Jew. They agree to help each other find their dream romance in a resulting clash of stereotypes that was called "Hilarious, raucous, merciless!" by the Los Angeles Times. The rest of the Toronto cast is equally high-powered, including such well-known comic talents as Judy Marshak (Beauty and the Beast), Jeanie Calleja (Slings & Arrows), Jane Luke and Aron Tager (both from Billable Hours), Alan Price, Jeff Margolis and Shelley Simester, all under the directorial hand of stage veteran Avery Saltzman. The Toronto show is being produced by Michael Rubinoff, Lindsey Steinberg and Marshall Tishler and is here for a limited run through Nov. 4. Tickets are $41.50 to $53.50 and can be purchased by calling 416-971-5656 or by going online at www.dieselplayhouse.com. For more information on the play, go to www.jewtopiatoronto.com.

Facebook On Target With Urban Life

Excerpt from www.thestar.com - Richard Ouzounian, Theatre Critic

Facebook of Revelations
(out of four)
By The Company. Directed by Bruce Pirrie. At Second City, 51 Mercer St. 416-343-0011

(July 20, 2007) Forget about a time capsule. If you wanted somebody to know just what it was like to live in Toronto in 2007, then I'd make them a DVD of
Facebook of Revelations, which opened last night at Second City. Not only is it a totally hilarious evening in the theatre, but it's anchored firmly in the sweet and sour reality of our contemporary urban existence. Unlike the last two excellent Second City revues, this one has virtually no explicitly political content, but that doesn't mean it's free from social satire. Far from it. Whether they're sending up a couple who nearly wreck their marriage for the sake of "living green" or exposing the dark underbelly of corporate hatred, this comedy team scores bull's eye after bull's eye. Jim Annan is front and centre from the very start, as he slickly leads the company through Safe Bet: the Musical, the kind of hip but empty show you'd very likely see in our larger theatres. He's also delectable as a series of rumpled losers, including one dude who suddenly realizes the girl he thought he had dirty sex with the night before was actually his male roommate. Said roommate is Scott Montgomery, who excels at motor-mouthed characters, including a father who relates the entire history of our involvement in Afghanistan to his bewildered children, rather then telling them why their mother has abandoned them.

Lauren Ash corners the market with her unique single-malt style as wonderfully mouthy babes who can tell off an uptight wife, an annoying co-worker or a dim-witted husband with equal ease. Marty Adams has the most amazing sense of how to do large-scale physical comedy, and nowhere does it come to better use than in a hilarious sketch about a Blue Jays game from hell that drags on forever thanks to a rookie pitcher who can't decide what kind of pitch to throw. Karen Parker is the one who usually gets to play the uptight card and she does it perfectly in a sequence where she appears on a Rogers Cable show as a proper British breeder of female dogs who keeps shocking the kewl black host with her description of "how to treat those bitches." Darryl Hinds is that bewildered host, but he also scores as a consummate geek who thinks he can woo girls by singing them his karaoke renditions of songs from Disney musicals. And speaking of musicals, the show comes to a triumphant close with a "Jesus Is On Your Facebook," a gospel salute to the popular online social networking site. Even if you resist the temptation of "Jesus has requested you as a friend," you're bound to give in when Hinds gleefully informs you that "Jesus has changed his status from `Crucified' to `Risen again.'"  Bruce Pirrie has directed with style and the cast has responded with invention. Facebook of Revelations will definitely make you laugh, but – even better – it will make you think.
 

THEATRE TIDBITS

Kenny Leon ‘Coming To Dinner’

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com

(July 20, 2007) *Stage director
Kenny Leon will take on a stage adaptation of the 1967 Sidney Poitier film “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner” with hopes of bringing it to Broadway in fall 2008.  Leon, who directed August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean and Radio Golf, said in a statement: "‘Guess Who's Coming to Dinner’ is about truth and hypocrisy in the most wonderful country in the world. Given the times we live in, and the conditions of this country and the world, the essential story is still extremely timely.   “We need to look inward at ourselves to see who we are as Americans at our core. Are we who we say we are? Do we live the lives we dream about? This story is a delicate balance of comedy and drama on a search for personal truth. What a wonderful opportunity to rediscover and take a fresh look at this iconic work." Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy starred in the Columbia Pictures movie as white liberal parents whose adult daughter brings home an African-American boyfriend, played by Poitier.  Leon’s three critically acclaimed Broadway productions, including the recent run of “Raisin in the Sun” starring Phylicia Rashad and Sean “Diddy” Combs,  earned a total of 13 Tony nominations and two wins. He is co-founder and artistic director of True Colors Theatre Company in Atlanta.

::OTHER NEWS::

Arts Council Welcomes Extra $30M

Excerpt from www.globeandmail.com - Steve Rennie, Canadian Press

(July 20, 2007) TORONTO — The head of Canada's arts council welcomed the federal government's pledge Friday of an extra $30-million each year, but said the agency will continue pushing for the funding level promised by the Liberals before the last election. Speaking at a downtown Toronto theatre after the announcement by
Heritage Minister Bev Oda, Canada Council for the Arts director Bob Sirman said he will continue lobbying for the $300-million the Liberals promised prior to the 2006 vote. “The money never goes far enough when we're talking about investing in the future of an entire nation, but ... we take every announcement of additional money as the next stage or the next step in a growing development in support of the creative agenda of this country,” he said. Ms. Oda's announcement, made before a backdrop of four mannequins outfitted in costumes from the theatre's stage productions, increases the council's annual funding to about $181 million.

The Conservatives' May 2006 budget pledged a two-year, $50-million boost for the arts council — $20-million in 2006-07 and $30-million in 2007-08. Until Friday's pledge, the extra money wasn't guaranteed to continue flowing after that. Ms. Oda deflected criticism that the funding isn't close to the amount promised by the previous government. “The thing is ... real dollars that they can count on is more than just an election promise,” she said. Recent criticism of government arts funding by prominent Canadian author Yann Martel, who wrote the award-winning 2002 novel “Life of Pi,” didn't prompt the extra money, Ms. Oda said. The funding announcement was timed so the arts council could plan for the extra cash while it develops a strategic plan, to be released in October, for the next three to five years, Ms. Oda said. Knowing the council has the funding as it crafts its plan is an “enormous relief,” Mr. Sirman said. The head of the Cultural Human Resources Council, a non-profit agency that provides training and career development for the arts community, said Friday's announcement shows the government's commitment to the arts. “We're grateful for that amount and if we were offered more, I'm sure that it would be well-used,” Susan Annis said. “It would have been nice to have that ($300-million) amount, but we don't have that government, and what we've got here is stable and in the right direction.”

 Before They Were Famous, These Funny Folks Were Famished

Excerpt from www.thestar.com - Sabrina Jalees, Special To The Star

(July 19, 2007) Walking around an industry party, it's easy to peg the rich from the poor. The "My Blackberry has more functions than your laptop" from the "I can barely afford clothes to cover my lap, let alone a top."  Comics in the
Just For Laughs festival's "rising talent" showcases have a distinctly different look from renowned Gala comedians (the ones you see working giant stages on TV).  Nikki Glaser, a 23-year-old comic based in L.A., in town for New Faces, explained, "I'm blond. You can tell how broke I am by the length of my roots. They're like the rings on a tree. If the roots look orangey people are like, 'Oh, Nikki's Nice 'n Easy broke.'"  Realizing that every comic starts out famished, I went to the festival's famous, to find out: How broke was your brokest broke?

Zach Galifianakis

"I remember sitting on the hardwood floor of my New York apartment one Thanksgiving and looking around and there was nothing to eat. All I had was an empty box of pancake mix and a bottle of Wild Turkey. That was my Thanksgiving dinner." Galifianakis is on the Sarah Silverman Program and has his own DVD, Live At The Purple Onion.

David Cross

"I was pretty much homeless at my brokest. I made the move from Boston to L.A. and basically depended on crashing on buddies' couches. I ended up taking this sketchy messenger job where they paid you under the table and sent you to the most dangerous neighbourhoods. Janeane (Garofalo) was also a messenger at the time. I had nothing." Cross is the Emmy-winning half of comedy duo Mr. Show and starred as Tobias Funkë on Arrested Development.

Kathleen Madigan

"I was working in Memphis, Tennessee, and they put all three comics in one cockroach- and mouse-infested condo. All the other comics left for hotels – the cheapest hotel was $42 – and I couldn't afford it. I mean, my mom's place was never clean, but I couldn't get used to the cockroaches!" Madigan is a veteran of every network's late show as well as a judge for NBC's Last Comic Standing.  

Columnist and comic Sabrina Jalees is filing from Montreal's Just For Laughs festival all week.

Tammy Faye Messner, 65: TV Evangelist

Excerpt from www.thestar.com - Steve Hartsoe, Associated Press

(July 21, 2007) RALEIGH, N.C.–
Tammy Faye Messner, who as Tammy Faye Bakker helped her husband, Jim, build a multimillion-dollar evangelism empire and then saw it collapse in disgrace, has died. She was 65. Messner, who had battled colon cancer since 1996 that more recently spread to her lungs, died peacefully at her home Friday, said her booking agent, Joe Spotts, in an email. A family service was held Saturday in a private cemetery, where her ashes were interred, he said. She had frequently spoken about her medical problems, saying she hoped to be an inspiration to others. "Don't let fear rule your life," she said. "Live one day at a time, and never be afraid." But she told well-wishers in a note on her website in May that the doctors had stopped trying to treat the cancer. In an interview with CNN's Larry King two months later, an emaciated Messner – still using her trademark makeup – said, "I believe when I leave this earth, because I love the Lord, I'm going straight to heaven." Asked if she had any regrets, Messner said: "I don't think about it, Larry, because it's a waste of good brain space." For many, the TV image of then-Mrs. Bakker forgiving husband Jim's infidelities, tears streaking her cheeks with mascara, became a symbol for the wages of greed and hypocrisy in 1980s America.

She divorced her husband of 30 years, with whom she had two children, in 1992 while he was in prison for defrauding millions from followers of their PTL television ministries. The letters stood for "Praise the Lord" or "People that Love." Jim Bakker said in a statement that his ex-wife "lived her life like the song she sang, 'If Life Hands You a Lemon, Make Lemonade.''' "She is now in Heaven with her mother and grandmother and Jesus Christ, the one who she loves and has served from childbirth," he said. "That is the comfort I can give to all who loved her.'' Messner's second husband also served time in prison. She married Roe Messner, who had been the chief builder of the Bakkers' Heritage USA Christian theme park near Fort Mill, S.C., in 1993. In 1995, he was convicted of bankruptcy fraud, and he spent about two years in prison. Through it all, Messner kept plugging her faith and herself. She did concerts, a short-lived secular TV talk show and an inspirational videotape. In 2004, she co-operated in the making of a documentary about her struggle with cancer, called Tammy Faye: Death Defying. "I wanted to help people ... maybe show the inside (of the experience) and make it a little less frightening," she said. That same year, she appeared on the WB reality show The Surreal Life, co-starring with rapper Vanilla Ice, ex-porn star Ron Jeremy and others. She told King in 2004 that she didn't know who Jeremy was when they met and they became friends.

Messner was never charged with a crime in connection with the Bakker scandal. She said she counted the costs in other ways. "I know what it's like to hit rock bottom," she said in promotional material for her 1996 video You Can Make It. In the mid-1980s, the Bakkers were on top, ruling over a ministry that claimed 500,000 followers. Their Jim and Tammy Show, part TV talk show, part evangelism meeting, was seen across the country. Heritage USA boasted a 500-room hotel, shopping mall, convention centre, water-amusement park, TV studio and several real-estate developments. PTL employed about 2,000 people. Then in March 1987, Bakker resigned, admitting he had a tryst with Jessica Hahn, a 32-year-old former church secretary. Tammy Faye Bakker stuck with her disgraced husband through five stormy years of tabloid headlines as the ministry unravelled. Prosecutors said the PTL organization sold more than 150,000 ``lifetime partnerships" promising lodging at the theme park but did not build enough hotel space with the $158 million (U.S.) in proceeds. At his fraud trial, Jim Bakker was accused of diverting $3.7 million to personal use even though he knew the ministry was financially shaky. Trial testimony showed PTL paid $265,000 to Hahn to cover up the sexual encounter with the minister. Jim Bakker was convicted in 1989 of 24 fraud and conspiracy counts and sentenced to 45 years. The sentence was later reduced, and he was freed in 1994. He said that his wife's decision to leave him had been "like a meat hook deep in my heart. I couldn't eat for days.''

While not charged, his then-wife shared during the 1980s in the public criticism and ridicule over the couple's extravagance, including the reportedly gold-plated bathroom fixtures and an air-conditioned doghouse. There was even a popular T-shirt satirizing her image. The shirt read, "I ran into Tammy Faye at the shopping mall," with the lettering on top of what look like clots of mascara, traces of lipstick and smudges of peach-toned makeup. In a 1992 letter to her New Covenant Church in Orlando, Fla., she explained why she finally was seeking a divorce. "For years I have been pretending that everything is all right, when in fact I hurt all the time," she wrote. "I cannot pretend anymore.'' In the end, there wasn't any property to divide, her attorney said. The Bakkers lost their luxury homes in North Carolina, California and Tennessee, their fleet of Cadillacs and Mercedeses, and their vintage Rolls-Royce. Her autobiography, I Gotta Be Me, recounts a childhood as Tammy Faye LaValley, one of eight children of a poor family in International Falls, Minn. Her biological father walked out. She was reticent about her age, but a 2000 profile of her in the Star Tribune of Minneapolis said she was born in March 1942. She recalled trying eye makeup for the first time, then wiping it off for fear it was the devil's work. Then she thought again. "Why can't I do this?" she asked. "If it makes me look prettier, why can't I do this?'' She married Bakker in 1961, after they met at North Central Bible College in Minneapolis. Beginning with a children's puppet act, they created a religious show that brought a fundamentalist Protestant message to millions.

A secular TV talk program, the Jim J. and Tammy Faye Show with co-host Jim J. Bullock, lasted just six weeks in early 1996. Shortly after it went off the air, she underwent surgery for colon cancer. She said afterward that she endured bleeding for a year because she was embarrassed to go to a male doctor. And she wore her makeup even in surgery. "They didn't make me take it off," she said. "I had wonderful doctors and understanding nurses. I went in fully made up and came out fully made up.''

::SPORTS NEWS::

Champion Female Wakeboarder Works Hard To Earn The Respect Of Her Male Peers

Excerpt from www.thestar.com - Michele Henry, Staff Reporter

(July 23, 2007)
Sunni Anne Ball is no stranger to catcalls. She's used to being ogled for her body instead of her wakeboarding moves and she's heard it all – men love to make snide remarks about how she's out of her league. That just drives this wakeboarder, who recently took first place at the 2007 Wake Games, finished third overall at the 2007 Australian Tour of Wakeboarding and is ranked fourth on the Wakeboard Pro Tour.  "I'm used to it," says the 21-year-old Toronto native. "It just makes me want to go out and work harder at it." Ball says she has strived to earn the respect of her males peers. She started as a tomboy, sporty and "kind of a jock," trying to imitate her older brother, who also became a superior wakeboarder.  She's cleaned up at the award podium since she started wakeboarding as a child. She won the Russia World Cup Stop in 2005, the Canadian National Wakeboarding Championship 2006, came in second in Wakestock at the Toronto Islands last year and won it in 2005. She'll be competing at Wakestock again this week. Even though she can execute a flawless toeside backroll, it's a constant struggle to prove she belongs. Men outnumber women at competitions, she says, and financial backing is harder to get as a female. In this male-dominated sport, sponsors aren't convinced women can sell wakeboarding gear.

And while men who ride don't often pump up, Ball spends hours in the gym or playing team sports, such as basketball. It's all to become strong enough to keep her balance, be safe while doing flips, and keep her arms and hands firmly in contact with the toe, as she whizzes past her waterside audience.  Even though Ball rides with the guys, copies their moves and impresses them with her talent, she admits she'll never be as strong, fearless or accomplished at wakeboard as the opposite sex. "There's no way in hell I can compete against the guys," she says. "It's so apparent we're not at the same level. I've accepted it." Based in Florida, so she can practise and compete year-round, Ball has spent many hours trying to figure out why men can ride "harder" and pull off more impressive tricks than women. "Strength is a factor," she says, "and having balls. Women are cautious. We don't want to hurt ourselves. I've heard so many takes, like we're programmed to procreate so we want to take care of ourselves." Ball won't deny she wants to stay in one piece. She has dislocated her right shoulder many times, three times in one day while in Australia. She worked hard to rehab it, so it doesn't affect her ability to backside 180 – while in the air she passes the handle from her left hand to her right behind her back before landing.

She won't deny men are better than women at putting fears aside.  Ralph Geronimo, 44, Ball's first sponsor, agrees the sexes have different mental and physical approaches to the sport. Men throw more weight around when they ride, so the tricks they do seem bigger.  "Men are muscle, women are finesse," he says. "They can throw down the same tricks, but men are able to rock the wake a little more. Still Sunni-Anne could blow the sails off 80 per cent of the guys." Geronimo, who owns a sales agency and represents wakeboarding brands such as O'Brien, says the sport is spiking in popularity among women, and clothes and gear are designed to appeal to feminine tastes. Still, he says, he understands why the water sport, just like its cousin snowboarding, can be intimidating. People do get hurt. The most likely reason women haven't signed on in droves, he says, is that wakeboarding isn't like playing volleyball in a house league or going to the gym.  The season is short, you need regular access to a cottage and, most importantly, a boat.  "There needs to be more opportunity," he says. "It needs to be more visible." Speaking of visible, he says, it's only natural for men to ogle a "hot chick in board shorts and a bikini top. "But it's not a loss of respect for what they can do," Geronimo says. "When girls hit the water, the guys cheer them on. They cheer each other on."

Argentina Wins U-20 Gold

Excerpt from
www.thestar.com - Canadian Press

(July 22, 2007)
Mauro Zarate scored in the 86th minute Sunday to lead Argentina to a 2-1 comeback victory over the Czech Republic and the FIFA U-20 World Cup title for the sixth time. Zarate's low shot through traffic from the edge of the penalty box handcuffed goalkeeper Radek Petr, who was beaten to the short side. Sergio Aguero also scored for Argentina in the 62nd minute. Martin Fenin had given the Czechs a 1-0 lead in the 60th minute. Argentina finished the tournament with a 6-0-1 record, outscoring its opposition 16-2. This latest title cements Argentina's dominance at the under-20 level. The South Americans have won five of the last seven tournaments. Overall, the Argentines have won six of the 16 U-20 tournaments – in 1979, 1995, 1997, 2001, 2005 and now 2007. They have reached the semi-finals eight times in twelve attempts, and six times in their last seven appearances. The Czechs' previous best showing was making the quarterfinals: in 2001 as the Czech Republic and 1983 as Czechoslovakia.

Two RCMP officers in full uniform flanked the tournament trophy – which looks like a silver dumbbell with a ball jammed on one end – during the game played in hot sunny conditions at the National Soccer Stadium. After the final whistle, the Argentines danced, ripped off their shirts, clambered over the south goal and then raced up and down the field sliding in unison on their bellies as they neared each end. Then they jumped over the advertising boards at the north end to dance in front of a large group of their flag-waving fans. Two of the players returned to the field banging drums that fans had handed over and the dancing continued. The Czechs stood silently while organizers assembled the victory stand at centre field. Suspended captain Matias Cahais and Aguero took the trophy from FIFA president Sepp Blatter and raised it high, after kissing it, as confetti and fireworks filled the air. Another victory lap followed. Aguero was named winner of the Golden Boot Award as tournament top scorer with six goals. He also won the Adidas Golden Ball Award as best player in a vote of the media, ahead of Argentina's Maximiliano Moralez and Mexico's Giovani Dos Santos.

Aguero, who came on as a substitute in the 2005 final against Nigeria, becomes only the second player to play on the winning side in two U-20 finals. Portugal's Jaoa Pinto also did it in 1989 and 1991. After a so-so opening hour, the Czechs went ahead in the 60th minute on a goal finished brilliantly. A Czech attacker dribbled into the box and, meeting resistance, went back outside and sent the ball over to Fenin, who shielded the ball from defender Frederico Fazio and then turned, hammering a left footed-shot past a diving Sergio Romero. The ensuing Czech celebration was intense, with a teammate flinging Fenin to the ground and all 10 outfield players diving on top. But the Czech joy was short-lived. Two minutes later, midfielder Ever Banega unlocked the Czech defence with a perfect through ball that put Aguero in all alone and the Argentine captain calmly slotted the ball past Petr for his tournament-leading sixth goal. The goals upped the tempo of the game and Petr had to be sharp to stop Moralez from a sharp angle in the 70th minute. Earlier, Chile defeated Austria 1-0 to finish in third place, ending the tournament on a happier note than the post-game brawl that followed its semi-final loss to Argentina on Thursday. Cumulative attendance for the 52-match tournament was a record 1,195,239, although that includes doubleheaders like Sunday when the 19,526 ticket-holders got to see both matches.

Argentina showed plenty of individual flair but not much teamwork in a first half that did not deliver that many thrills. Too many times, Argentine players took on one too many defender and lost possession. That gave the hard-working, hard-tackling Czechs a chance to counter-attack. Spanish referee Alberto Undiano Mallenco gave his whistle a workout, booking Czech defender Lukas Kuban some 25 seconds into the game for a crunching tackle. There were six yellows – three to each side – and 29 fouls in the first half alone which did little to help the flow of the game. In all, he gave out 10 yellows – five a side.  The Czechs had the first good scoring opportunity off a free kick in the 10th minute but goalkeeper Romero's knee was in the right place at the right time to block a shot from Marek Suchy from close range. Early in the second half, the two teams traded chances, with Romero making a fine save off Kalouda's volley in the 51st minute after Petr stopped the Argentines from in-close at the other end. The two teams played to a 0-0 draw in their first game of the tournament, June 30 in Ottawa.

The South Americans made three changes – two enforced and one injury-related – to the team that beat Chile 3-0 in a bitter semi-final. Cahais and Claudio Yacob were both suspended after picking up a second yellow card while forward Angel Di Maria picked up a knock in the Chile game. The Czechs made one change to the side that defeated Austria 2-0 in the other semi-final, replacing the suspended Petr Janda with midfielder Jakub Mares. Notes: Sunday's final marked the fifth time South American and European teams have clashed in the FIFA U-20 final. South American won three of the four previous encounters ... Sunday also represented Argentina's 17th final in any FIFA competition. They won nine of the previous 16: two World Cups (1978, 1986), one Olympics (2004), one Confederations Cup (1992) and five U-20 World Cup (1979, 1995, 1997, 2001, 2005). Only Brazil has played more finals (23) and won more titles (14) ... The Czechs, formerly Czechoslovakia, were 1-3 in their previous FIFA finals: winning the Olympics (1980) but before that losing the World Cup (1934, 1962) and Olympics (1964).

::FITNESS NEWS::

Ab & Butt Toners: 10 Best Exercises

By Raphael Calzadilla, B.A., CPT, ACE, eDiets Chief Fitness Pro


I hate to see anyone feeling awful about their body, but at the same time that's what it sometimes takes for people to make changes. Looking in the mirror and being honest with yourself, becoming annoyed with how tight your clothes fit, going to the doctors and hearing about your health issues… Most times a wake-up call is exactly what we need.  So what areas of the body stand out so much that they practically initiate this wake-up call? We are obsessed with these two areas of the body -- glutes and abs. If an alien landed on earth and knew little of our culture, it would quickly assume that a firm butt and tight abs were reserved for those with royalty and prestige. It may sound crazy but just think of the way you look at someone with a tight butt or flat stomach.

A calorie-reduced nutrition program combined with exercise will do wonders to create a tight booty and firm abs. The formula that works for a healthy body is the same one that works for a great looking butt and abs -- nutrition, exercise and loads of consistency.  As far as nutrition, the biggest mistake people make is reducing calories as low as possible. After a few days of this insane approach they're back to eating more junk then ever because the approach isn't realistic. The key is to reduce calories low enough to lose fat but still keep calories high enough to sustain your energy. Food, when used properly, can actually stimulate the metabolism to lose body fat. This is where eDiets can help! Our staff of qualified dieticians have not only created great meal plans, but they're also accessible to you as an eDiets member whenever you have a question.

Your glutes and abs won't get tighter and smaller unless your overall body fat is reduced. You can perform all the butt movements on the planet for hours a day, but it won't make one bit of difference unless you lose body fat. Spot reduction is simply not possible.  To help accelerate your progress, I've constructed five great abdominal exercises and five great butt exercises. Take two exercises (one butt and one abs) and include them in your current workout (no matter what the workout is). Perform three sets of 15 reps of each on alternate days of the week. After three weeks, choose two other movements from the list. This alternating schedule will allow you to keep changing abdominal and butt exercises without adapting to the same movement. And it will also prevent boredom.

ABDOMINALS

Vertical Scissors


Starting Position:
·  Sit on a chair or bench with your legs straight out in front of you.
·  Your hands should be under your butt for balance.
Movement:
·  Contracting your abdominals, lift your right leg as you lower your left leg.
·  Reverse the positions of your legs by lowering your right leg and raising your left leg, mimicking a scissor.

Key Points:
·  Breathe rhythmically throughout the exercise.
·  Squeeze your butt and hip muscles as you switch legs.

Cable Kneeling Rope Crunch

Starting Position:
·  Kneel in front of the cable machine with your body facing the machine. Hold a rope attached to the upper cable attachment. Keep your elbows in.
Movement:
·  Contracting the abdominals, curl your body downward toward your legs stopping when you have reached a full contraction of your abdominals.
·  Slowly return to the starting position stopping just short of the weight stack touching.

Key Points:
·  Exhale while lifting the weight and curling down.
·  Inhale while returning to the starting position.

Incline Bench Leg Raises

Starting Position:
·  Lie on an incline bench and stabilize your body by gripping the bench above your head with your legs extended out.
Movement:
·  Contracting the lower ab area, raise your legs up until your hips form a 90-degree angle.
·  Slowly return to the starting position stopping just short of your legs touching the bench.

Key Points:
·  Exhale while lifting your legs.
·  Inhale while returning to the starting position.
·  Point your chin toward the ceiling to avoid using your upper body.

Reverse Ab Curl

Starting Position:
·  Lie on the floor with your back relaxed and your hands on the floor by your hips.
·  Keep the upper back pressed into the floor throughout the exercise.
Movement:
·  Contracting your abs, raise your butt and gently roll your hips off the floor stopping when you feel a full contraction of the abdominals and can no longer lift your hips.
·  Slowly return to the starting position.

Key Points:
·  Exhale while lifting your hips.
·  Inhale while returning to the starting position.

Reverse Trunk Twist

Starting Position:
·  Lie on the floor with your back relaxed and your arms out to the sides forming a "T" with your body.
·  Extend your legs straight up in the air so that your hips form a 90-degree angle with a slight bend in your knees.
Movement:
·  Contracting the abdominal and oblique muscles, lower your legs toward one side keeping your feet together and your back on the floor. Stop at the limits of the strength of your abdominal and oblique muscles.
·  This may start out as a very small range of motion and gradually increase as you get stronger.
·  Slowly return to the starting position.
·  After completing the set on the one side, repeat on the other side.

Key Points:
·  Exhale while lowering your legs.
·  Inhale while returning to the starting position.

BUTT

Smith Machine Forward Lunge


Starting Position:
·  Place the bar across the back of your shoulders. Be sure it is not resting on your neck.
·  Place one foot forward and one foot back. Both feet are flat on the floor and facing forward with a slight bend in the knees.
Movement:
·  Lower the weight until the front leg is at a 90-degree angle. The rear heel will come off the floor slightly but should remain straight with a slight bend in the knee.
·  Contracting the quadriceps muscles, slowly return to the starting position stopping just short of the legs fully extending.

Key Points:
·  Inhale while lowering the weight.
·  Exhale while returning to the starting position.
·  Do not let the front knee ride over your toes (you should be able to see your foot at all times).
·  Do not let the back arch.
·  Never let the knee of the back leg come in contact with the floor.

Barbell Wide Stance Squat

Starting Position:
·  Begin by standing tall with feet shoulder-width apart. Although the animation shows the feet wider than shoulder width, I�ve found that the glutes receive better stimulation when the feet are shoulder width.
·  Place a barbell across your shoulders. Be sure it is not resting on your neck.
·  Maintain a neutral spine and a slight bend in the knees.
Movement:
·  Concentrating on the quadriceps muscles, begin to lower your body by bending from your hips and knees.
·  Stop when your thighs are parallel with the floor.
·  Slowly return to the starting position stopping just short of your knees fully extending.
Key Points:
·  Exhale while returning to the starting position.
·  Inhale as you lower down.
·  Do not let your knees ride over your toes (you should be able to see your feet at all times).
·  It helps to find a marker on the wall to keep your eye on as you lift and lower, otherwise your head may tend to fall forward and your body will follow.
·  Think about sitting back in a chair as you are lowering down.
·  Push off with your heels as you return to the starting position.
·  Perform this movement in a slow and controlled fashion without using momentum.
·  You may want to try this exercise without weights until you master the movement. It is a very effective exercise that involves most of the muscle groups of the lower body, but if done improperly can lead to injuries.

Straight Leg Reverse Lift

Starting Position:
·  Start this exercise on your hands and knees.
·  Straighten your left leg as if you were going to do a push-up.
·  Keep the right leg bent, supporting your weight along with your arms.
Movement:
·  Contracting the buttocks muscles, lift your left leg up toward the ceiling stopping when you feel a full contraction of the buttocks.
·  Slowly return to the starting position.
·  After completing the set on the left side, repeat on the right side.
Key Points:
·  Exhale while lifting the leg.
·  Inhale while returning to the starting position.
·  Do not let the back arch.
·  If you are an intermediate or advanced exerciser, you can add an ankle weight to the working leg to make it more challenging.

Dumbbell Lunges

Starting Position:
·  Stand straight with your feet together.
·  Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your arms down at your sides.
Movement:
·  Step forward with the right leg and lower the left leg until the knee almost touches the floor.
·  Contracting the quadriceps muscles, push off your right foot slowly returning to the starting position.
·  Alternate the motion with the left leg to complete the set.
Key Points:
·  Inhale while stepping forward.
·  Exhale while returning to the starting position.
·  The step should be big enough that your left leg is nearly straight. Do not let your knee touch the floor.
·  Make sure your head is up and your back is straight.
·  Your chest should be lifted and your front leg should form a 90-degree angle at the bottom of the movement.
·  Your right knee should not pass your right foot. You should be able to see your toes at all times.
·  If you have one leg that is more dominant than the other, start out with the less dominant leg first.
·  Discontinue this exercise if you feel any discomfort in your knees.

Treadmill Incline Power Walk

Starting Position:
·  Stand tall with your legs straddling the belt.
·  Choose the manual program.
·  Step carefully on the belt.
Movement:
·  Perform a 5 minute warm-up and then adjust the incline setting to 12.0. Increase your speed to 3.0 mph to 3.5 mph based on your fitness level. Make sure to use your glutes and hips with each step Walk at this level for 15 to 20 minutes.

As always, please check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.

::MOTIVATION::

Motivational Note

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com - Dr. Gary Goodman: Author and expert on customer service and sales


"Many of us have things backwards. We believe that we have to wait to create the circumstances we want in life and rack up a lot of successes so we can finally relax. Actually, it works the other way around. We should leave where we are and move to where we ultimately dream of living, whether it’s Boulder, Santa Monica, Chicago, or Tibet. Then once we’re there, we’ll figure out ways to fashion a livelihood that will enable us to survive and to prosper from there. Paradise shouldn’t wait, and happiness shouldn’t either."