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September 13, 2007

So much to share with you this week including many pics in my PHOTO GALLERY from film festival festivities.  Also of note is that the one and only Chaka Khan is releasing her first CD in 10 years!

And don't forget two special showcases coming up -
Morley, an amazing vocalist signed to Universal France, is going to perform two shows while in Toronto.  Trust me, not to be missed!

After some thought and reflection, I have written a piece in
JUST MY OPINION about the recent uproar about tickets for the Planet Africa Party this year.  Feel free to weigh in on the subject.



New York's Own MORLEY Hits Toronto with Two Shows!

Source:  Langfield Entertainment

September 4, 2007  (Toronto) - Universal France artist, Morley, who was recently named "New York Times Emerging Artist”, is coming to Toronto  to celebrate her latest musical offering SeenMorley performs with a full band on Wednesday, September 19th at Revival (College and Shaw).  Morley is coming to Toronto to enjoy some of the Toronto International Film Festival and has decided to bless us with a local gigs while she’s here.  "Toronto is one of my favourite cities on the planet because of its international community. I see my reflection here in so many different faces, it's a city that holds evidence that we can cohabitate in harmony . . . makes me want to become an ex-patriot," says Morley.

The plight of Toronto’s homeless hasn’t escaped New York songstress Morley.  In town to perform two live shows, Morley has chosen Sistering as the charity that will receive partial proceeds from all ticket sales. (See full press release below.)

Click HERE to listen to Morley music.


783 College Street (at Shaw)

Doors 7:00 pm
Show:  8:00 pm
TICKETS:  $10.00 at door


Singer/songwriter Morley is soulful, sensual, and down-to-earth, and her sultry voice and socially conscious lyrics fused with deep grooves attract an audience as diverse as her influences. Compared to a range of artists from Nina Simone and Sade to Annie Lennox and Joni Mitchell, with a sound that is all her own, Morley carries on their legacy. Her self-produced album Days Like These, licensed to Universal France and released in the U.S. on Circular Moves, garnered stellar reviews and has led to sharing stages with superstars Dave Matthews, Amadou et Mariam, Simply Red, Rodrigo & Gabriela, and Raul Midón, to name a few. She is the artist in residence at NYC's famous "Joe's Pub" where she regularly sells out and wows her audiences!

Morley recently completed her new CD Seen slated for release late-Fall 2007. Co-produced by Jay Newland, Jean-Philippe Allard, and Morley, Seen features an array of stellar musicians, including Larry Campbell, Gil Goldstein, Richard Bona, and others. Morley's evocative, alluring voice can also be heard on the current national Ralph Lauren Polo ad campaign for the fragrance "My Romance".


"This jazz minded pop chanteuse, soul sister, cosmopolitan home girl from Jamaica Queens embodies modern-day NY femininity in all its multicultural finess." -The New York Times

"Somewhere between Sade and Portishead, there's Morley" -Time Magazine

"Morley's urban folk is smooth and powerful and proves she knows love is the only way." - Time Out New York

http://www.myspace.com/morleymusic — Morley's official MySpace page which has several songs from her soon-to-be-released CD Seen, co-produced for Universal France by Jean-Philippe Allard, who is also the president of Universal France, Jay Newland, and Morley.

— Morley's official website, which is currently being updated, and has the songs from her last CD, Days Like These, co-produced by Jay Newland of Norah Jones fame.

New York’s Morley to donate proceeds from Toronto shows to Sistering

Source:  Deborah Bowers

Toronto – Sept. 13 – Even though she’s American, the plight of Toronto’s homeless hasn’t escaped New York songstress Morley.  In town to perform with a full band at Revival (783 College Street West) on Wednesday, September 19th – Morley has chosen
Sistering as the charity that will receive partial proceeds from all ticket sales.

Morley’s social and political awareness came at a very early age.  Today, she has loaned more than just her voice to several causes around the world – from protecting the environment to ending child poverty.  She has performed for His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela in Capetown, South Africa, and at Carnegie Hall with David Amram for Eco-Fest. Morley participated in the Tribute to Joni Mitchell at Symphony Space and sold out the Thalia Theater there. She’s toured Europe in the musical, The Temptations of St. Anthony, and sang alongside Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon on the soundtrack for the HBO special, Beah Richards, A Black Woman Speaks. Morley was the 2005 recipient of the Abe Olman scholarship for excellence in song writing, representing ASCAP and performed at the 60th anniversary of the UN.

“Toronto is one of my favourite cities on the planet because of its international community. I see my reflection here in so many different faces, it’s a city that holds evidence that we can cohabitate in harmony,” says Morley.

Empowering ordinary women in extraordinary circumstances

Sistering has been providing services to homeless, under housed, socially isolated and low-income women for 23 years.  Sistering includes a Drop-In Centre on College Street, an Outreach Program in Parkdale, and two residences where women are permanently housed – one for adult single women and the other for single mothers and their children.

In a safe, social space for women, Sistering provides hot meals, clothing, laundry and shower facilities, access to health care professionals, a mailing address, informal counselling, housing assistance and support, life skills workshops and support groups.   Two self-employment programs – On The Path, a sewing program and Inspirations Art Studio, an arts based micro-enterprise initiative – enable women to enhance their incomes.

“Women like
Morley realize the importance of women supporting each other – the sisterhood.  It is what we have based our organization on and we are both proud and excited to be partnering with such a strong and wonderful person.  Morley’s music is both conscious and uplifting – her strength comes from within and shines through,” says Sistering’s Executive Director, Angela Robertson.

Known for her socially conscious lyrics and deep, soulful grooves, Morley combines her unique experiences as a former teacher in New York City’s shelters and public school system and as a choreographer (Alvin Ailey, Max Roach) to create songs that have attracted diverse audiences all over the world.   With influences that range from Bob Marley to Bob Dylan, her music is informed by real life and has been compared to the likes of Joni Mitchell, Nina Simone, Sade and Annie Lennox. 


Chaka Khan To Release First New Studio Project In 10 Years

Source: Sony/BMG Music Canada

Celebrating over three decades of milestones, Chaka Khan will release her first new studio album in over 10 years.  Khan’s music and celebrity have influenced generations of fans and contemporary recording artists setting standards across every music genre: Pop, Rhythm & Blues, Rock, Disco, Soul, Jazz, Hip Hop and even Classical.   Chaka Khan is a musical Icon.   FUNK THIS produced by the Grammy Award winners Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis embodies the funky soul of her musical roots with Rufus and her signature passionately-honest vocal styles that make Chaka Khan timeless.   “The album may remind people of my early Rufus albums because I’m in a similar ‘soul space.’  I’ve been on a little journey in the last few years, finding Yvette again.” (Referring to her birth name) “I went through a period of being insecure.  I’m walking a different path now.  I’ve changed.  This album is different from any other album I’ve recorded because it reflects what I’m about, who I am now.  The album is called, ‘Funk This!’ because it’s funky!”  The thoughtful work ranges from original copyrights, collaborations with superstar artists, to adding her signature stamp on important contemporary classics.  

The collection includes fresh renditions of Prince’s “Sign ‘O’ the Times”; a duet with Michael McDonald on “You Belong To Me,” a song he co-wrote with Carly Simon, Joni Mitchell’s “Ladies Man,” Jimi Hendrix’s “Castle Made Of Sand,” the soul classic “Foolish Fool” and Rufus medley of  “Pack’d My Bags,” and “You Got The Love.”    FUNK THIS original’s include “Disrespectful,” the tour-de-force duet with powerhouse Mary J. Blige, a poignant poetic ballad, “Angel,” the acoustic “One For All Time” penned by Chaka and Terry Lewis, the deeply beautiful and soulful “Will You Love Me?” and self affirming “Superlife” among others.   Eight-time Grammy Award winner singer, songwriter and community advocate – Chaka Khan has been active in lending her support to the community for many years.   The Chaka Khan Foundation, founded in 1999, raised over $1.4 million through its funding raising efforts last year alone.   The Foundation assists women and children at risk and benefits Autism research, awareness and therapy.   For more information, please go to www.chakakhanfoundation.org.

Track List:

 1) Back In The Day
 2) Foolish Fool
 3) One For All Time
 4) Angel
 5) Will You Love Me?
 6) Castles Made Of Sand
 7) Disrespectful (Featuring Mary J. Blige)
 8) Sign ‘O’ The Times
 9) Pack’d My Bags/You Got The Love (Featuring Tony Maiden)
10) Ladies Man
11) You Belong To Me (Featuring Michael McDonald)
12) Hail To The Wrong
13) Superlife



Open Letter to Cameron Bailey, Founder, Planet Africa

I have to address this issue with you, Mr. Bailey, as someone who is evidently responsible for the ticketing and invitation fiasco with the
Planet Africa party this year.  Have you heard the outcry from many industry professionals in film and entertainment about the lack of communication with respect to invitations and tickets?   

I'm sure that you have and thus, I would like a response, as I am speaking for at least 100 people that reached out to me with requests for tickets and/or any information.  Regardless of how this situation came to be – perhaps with reasoning we are not aware of – I still think that those excluded deserve an explanation as to why they were left off the invite list this year.  On a proactive, I do offer my hand in getting contact information to you for those I know that were excluded this year so as to avoid this happening in the future.

I understand that in the big picture of things, that perhaps this is just not all that important - but rarely have I heard such a heated discourse from those of us in the industry over one invitation.  This implies that your event is embraced and anticipated every year.  It is where the Black community and those that support the Black community can come together and enjoy each others’ company with less schmooze than other film festival events.  It’s a party – it’s a celebration of achievements.  It is where actors, filmmakers and festival-goers alike can come together and let their festival hair down. 

Having been pegged as ‘one of the hottest parties of TIFF’ by many, it only stands to reason that when folks that have been invited to this event since its inception did not get invited this year, it led to a massive response of resentment and disappointment.   

The biggest issue was that no one knew how to get tickets.  Someone said Cameron Bailey is the only one with tickets, another offered a phone # to call to get tickets (with no phone call returned), another offered another name to call to get tickets - who was out of tickets almost as soon as he received them.  I spent way too much time on the hunt for tickets – but felt compelled to for all those in my weekly distribution and friends that by rights of their accomplishments alone, should have been invited yet again. 

Having said that, I did attend the Planet Africa party this year - with no ticket in hand, no way ‘in’.  Since I was at another festival event that evening and the venue, Phoenix, is close to where I live, I decided to step to the door to see what would happen.  We were not asked for anything and told to go right in.  Huh?  If I’d known it was going to be that easy, I would have told the hundred people that asked me about tickets and the whereabouts of venue to just show up. 

But apparently, many were asked for tickets and denied entrance if they were not ticket holders (as I had phone messages to that effect).  And these are very well-known and respected Canadian ‘industry’ people being turned away at the door.  Yet some were eventually let in. 

In any case, the party was great as usual with bumpin’ music, happy attendees, open bar and celebs alike.  I just wish all those deserving were there to enjoy it with me.

I understand that this letter could keep me off the invite list forever but I am humbly writing for those legitimate industry folks that expressed their concern to me. 


Dawn Langfield

PS  Feel free to contact me to weigh in on this issue HERE.


Charges Laid In Jacksoul Singer’s Traffic Collision

Excerpt from The Toronto Star - Ashante Infantry

(Sept. 11, 2007) A 20-year-old Toronto man has been charged in the collision that landed Jacksoul frontman
Haydain Neale in hospital with head injuries.  Kyle Samuel will appear in court at Old City Hall on Oct. 25 to face allegations of making an unsafe turn.  Meanwhile, Hamilton-born Neale who resides in east Toronto with his wife and teenaged daughter remains in critical condition in hospital where he was induced into a coma.  “The family is cautiously optimistic,” said Toronto Police Detective Paul Higgins. “The progress is slow (and) there is still a level of unconsciousness.”  Neale, 36, was riding his motorized scooter south on Kennedy Rd. near Eglinton Ave. about 10 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 3 when a car turned into his path. Neither alcohol, speed, mechanical failure, nor intent were factors, police said. And the singer was wearing a helmet.  The five-member band Neale leads is best known for the hits “Can’t Stop” and “Still Believe in Love.” Their latest effort, mySOUL, garnered a Juno earlier this year for R&B/Soul Recording.

Brian Melo Wins Canadian Idol

Excerpt from www.thestar.com - Tim Lai, Entertainment Reporter

(September 12, 2007) On a night when Canada tipped its hat to Hamilton's
Brian Melo, he reneged on an earlier promise to show off his head if he won.  "Yeah, that's a lie," the 25-year-old former construction worker said last night with a big grin as he addressed reporters as the new Canadian Idol. "If I do that, then there's no more surprise."  Hamilton's hat lovin' alt-rocker edged out Alberta's teenage country crooner Jaydee Bixby in what executive producer John Brunton described as a "flip of the coin." Melo beat 10,000 would-be Idols who auditioned this year and captured the majority of more than five million votes cast after Monday’s final performances. "I wasn't nervous. Once (host Ben Mulroney) called my name, there was that sense of satisfaction, so it was definitely gratifying," Melo told a press conference following a contract signing with Sony BMG.  The humble Melo said he has been preparing to make a name for himself in the music business, but he didn't think it would be so soon. He added that he wants to parlay his success around the world as well.

The raspy-voiced singer from Steeltown who delivered one of the most memorable moments in the Idol history earlier this season with Radiohead's "Karma Police" repeated the performance last night and cemented his musical status. "That may be one of those memorable moments for me of the whole Idol experience for the past five years," said judge Jake Gold. Melo capped off the night with his new single "All I Ever Wanted," which is set to hit radio today Judge Sass Jordan said the song, penned by Chris Perry and Nicole Hughes, sounded as if Melo wrote it himself since he served up such a resounding performance. "When I first heard the single, I thought it was catered to myself and other artists like Dwight (d'Eon). Even though I didn't write it, I could really relate to the lyrics," he said. "I just want to lose myself in that song. It has all the great things for a great song and great single." He said he's ready to head to songwriting camps and have as much input as he can on his upcoming disc.  While Melo and Bixby's singing styles could not be any more different, the two were neck and neck going into the final week. Only 2 per cent of the vote separated the pair when Mission, B.C.'s Carly Rae Jepsen was sent home last week.  Bixby, the boy with a voice of Elvis, was very gracious in his second-place finish.  Despite being more critical of his singing on Monday's show, all the judges said the kid with the innocence the country fell in love with would have a big career, and Bixby has the country capital in sight.  "I'd really like to go out to Nashville – if I have to hitchhike I'll get there," Bixby said. "For me, just to go out and do what I like and be involved in the music I'm into, that's my goal." He added that the critical comments throughout the competition didn't phase him.

"I just came from high school and kids can be cruel, so what the judges said was nothing," he told reporters, who burst into laughter. Monday 's show drew 2.23 million viewers – about three per cent higher than last year. The season's final tally reached more than 37.3 million votes, a million more than last year's competition. Idol officials pointed out that 2007 total was 62 per cent higher than the 2006 federal election.  Bon Jovi, Avril Lavigne and last year's winner, Eva Avila, performed on last night's two-hour finale, capping off a star-studded season that featured Rihanna, Enrique Iglesias, Brian May and Roger Taylor of Queen, Maroon 5, Kelly Clarkson, Paul Anka and Kalan Porter. Brunton said the decision to allow hopefuls to play instruments brought Canada's emerging singer-songwriters like the two finalists. Bixby and Melo both brought acoustic guitars to their audition.  To the consensus of the Idol officials, they said the right guy won.  "Brian needed to win for his career," said Gold.  As for Melo, he knows the promotion juggernaut now begins and he's ready to hit the studio and make a stop in his hometown on the Idol tour in December. But he's not sure what he'll do with the new fame, and especially fortune.  "I haven't even opened the cheque, so I don't know how much I'm getting," he said with a chuckle. Hats? Maybe, but he got about 50 by being on the show.

Toronto Filmmakers Make Pitch-Perfect Play

Excerpt from www.thestar.com - Jennifer Fong, Special To The Star

(September 12, 2007) Toronto filmmakers
Jim Goodall's and Paul Lenart's cheque might be too big for the ATM, but it will fit in just fine in Giantland. Goodall, 32, and Lenart, 39, ended up with an oversized photo-op cheque for $10,000 after beating out five other contestants in a pitch showdown yesterday for their proposed film Giantland.  Before a crowd of more than 250 at Telefilm Canada's Pitch This! competition, each finalist had only six minutes to explain their film's plot and convince a jury of industry veterans that their project would be a worthy investment. With so much on the line, and so little time, the pressure was on.  But producer Lenart and writer-director Goodall got the job done with their animated family film about two kids who fall through a sink into Giantland, a world that human interference has put at risk. The tale, which Lenart likened to Lord of the Rings and the Chronicles of Narnia, will be told through a combination of CGI, puppetry, live action and painting. While Lenart and Goodall explained their vision for Giantland, rough scenes from the project screened next to them – a strategy that jury member Jane Tattersall said helped the team. "I think in the end why Giantland was chosen was because there was a very strong visual component," she said. "You knew what the story was, you could see from the animation they'd done what it was going to look like."

Afterwards, Lenart confessed: "We actually didn't get around to writing our pitch until a week ago." Still, Lenart and Goodall managed to give a polished presentation at Pitch This!, where previous winners include two films currently screening at TIFF – Richie Mehta's Amal (2005), part of this year's Canada First! program, and Chaz Thorne's Poor Boy's Game (2001), a Special Presentation. Lenart and Goodall are excited to see where their win will take them. "This will allow us to actively start looking for money and conducting some more tests," said Lenart. They hope to see a theatrical release for Giantland in two or three years. For now though, their main concern is how to get their cheque to the bank.

Jennifer Fong was chosen for TIFF's inaugural Sid Adilman Mentorship Program, writing for The Festival Daily and blogging at tiff07.ca. The program was established in memory of the Star's veteran entertainment journalist Sid Adilman through a family endowment.

Chris Brown Gets Candid In Giant Magazine

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com

(September 11, 2007) *You saw his show-stopping performance at Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards. Now, get up close and personal with singer
Chris Brown through a candid interview in Giant Magazine. The artist, who graces the publication’s Sept. 2007 cover, opens up about childhood family drama, his early crush on Ciara, his desire to fill Michael Jackson's shoes and the pressure to stay on top. Below are excerpts from Laura Checkoway's exclusive conversation with Brown, entitled: "Most Likely to Succeed."

• ON HIS ABUSIVE STEPFATHER  "(I told my mother) 'I just want you to know that I love you, but I'm gonna take a baseball bat one day while you are at work, and I'm gonna kill him.' He used to hit my mom...He made me terrified all the time, terrified like I had to pee on myself. I remember one night he made her nose bleed. I was crying and thinking, 'I'm just gonna go crazy on him one day...' I hate him to this day."

• ON HIS CRUSH ON CIARA "When Ciara came out, I looooved her. This was before her and Bow Wow and before anybody knew me at all. I met her at a show and was just really intrigued. I remember talking to her like, 'Yo, I'm attracted to you and all that.' But I was too young for her. I didn't get the time of day!"

• ON THE PRESSURES OF SUCCESS "With a second album, there's a lot of pressure to maintain status. It's like if you're popular in high school, you gotta keep it up - keep the fresh gear on, keep saying the right things. The whole music industry is like high school. I guess prom was the Grammys."  

• ON MICHAEL JACKSON "Michael Jackson sold twenty-five million albums, so I wanna get to at least twelve. Michael (Jackson) said to me, 'being able to dance and sing; that's rare. Nobody can do it - only you, me and a couple of others. Keep working and dream big.' Michael Jackson told me to dream big!"


50 Cent, Kanye Both Winners In CD Battle

Excerpt from
www.thestar.com - Pop & Jazz Critic

September 09, 2007) Ideally, this week's Kanye West-50 Cent showdown would be a story of good vs. evil: a politically conscious MC going head to head with an unrepentant gangsta rapper. But it's not that simple.  West's shine has been tarnished by his narcissistic tendencies and public boastfulness, while 50 Cent's entrepreneurial flair garners grudging admiration.  Both have shown themselves adept enough at marketing to make this "battle" – West's new disc, Graduation, and 50 Cent's Curtis come out on Tuesday – seem more like a scheme, at a time when record sales are at a historic low. Especially with West telling Rolling Stone the pair met three months ago to listen to each other's albums. "50 said 'Can't Tell Me Nothing' was his favourite song (on West's Graduation), so I said 'Okay, that's my first single,' " West told the magazine. "We push each other." West's record label subsequently threw down the gauntlet by moving Graduation's release date, putting it in direct competition with Curtis.  "I don't think it was preplanned," said Erik Parker, director of content for hip-hop site SOHH.com, of 50 Cent's early August interview with the website in which he declared he "won't put out any more solo albums" if West's Graduation outsells his Curtis.

"He's very savvy, but I think he went off the cuff on that one," said Parker of the entertainer's videotaped exchange with senior correspondent Carl Chery.  "He was very matter of fact and really trying to make his point that there's no way he's going to lose. This is absolutely a campaign. They each are vying to be the people's champ here." 50 Cent is the incumbent, so to speak, having sold 11 million albums to West's measly 6 million. But they're both iconic fixtures at the top of the hip-hop food chain. 50 Cent – alias Curtis Jackson, Teflon Don and Fiddy – is the tough guy, a former drug dealer who survived being shot nine times to successfully debut in 2003 with Get Rich or Die Tryin' under the tutelage of Eminem and Dr. Dre. Since then the 32-year-old Queens, N.Y. native has diversified with movies, books, video games, clothing, beverages, and a stable of performers called G-Unit. He's No. 2 (behind Jay-Z) on Forbes' list of "Hip-Hop Cash Kings" with earnings of $32 million (U.S.) last year.

Chicago-born West, 30, also overcame adversity – a near fatal car accident and the assumption that producers can't rap – to issue the critical and commercial smash The College Dropout in 2004. On records and on the record, the Louis Vuitton Don grapples with weighty issues, such as materialism, conflict diamonds and Hurricane Katrina. That's why there's a lot more than sales at stake, said industry veteran and Canadian Idol judge Farley Flex. "It's also about whether the public is willing to support social commentary in music and make artists accountable for the lyrics they write," Flex said. "Kanye is trying to influence minds and he has shown that he's not afraid to compete with the lowest hanging fruit. I don't think 50 is dissing conscious rap, he just writes the music he thinks will sell. But if Kanye continues to be successful he will influence other rappers to do what he does." So far, West leads at every juncture – advance orders on iTunes, lead single charting and polling at SOHH.com, the biggest and longest running hip-hop website.  He was also the favourite in an informal survey of New Jersey students by Rider University professor Mickey Hess, author of the new book Is Hip Hop Dead? The Past, Present, and Future of America's Most Wanted Music.

"Stylistically and content-wise they find 50 Cent to be simplistic," said Hess of the students in his Hip Hop and American Culture class. "And he's also inconsistent. A few years ago he called out Ja Rule for singing on one of his tracks and now he's doing the same thing. He's seen to follow whatever is trendy." But listeners, record labels and the artists all win regardless of the outcome, posited Parker. "We get to see a good game and they get to make a lot of money off of it. That’s what showmanship is all about.  "If you get this rising tide that is going to lift 50 and Kanye and people get excited about buying albums, then it may help the next (Houston rapper) Chamillionare, or whoever else comes out after." Outside of a good ol' freestyle battle, which would be the icing on the cake of their upcoming joint appearance on BET's 106 & Park on Tuesday, this is the healthiest kind of rap "war," said Parker. "It gives everybody a chance to get out their bravado and macho hip-hop stances, yet it doesn't go so far where it needs to be something where people are going to get hurt, or have to do anything illegal."

Visit sohh.com to have your say in Kanye West vs. 50 Cent Decision '07.

Genesis: Big Things Never Arrive

Excerpt from www.globeandmail.com -
Brad Wheeler

September 8, 2007) The skies threatened a storm, but mustered only wind and a few sprinkles. Likewise, a performance by a reunited British rock act stayed poised for big things that never fully arrived. On a spectacular behemoth of a stage and in front of a mature, ready crowd that was not wildly expressive, Genesis kicked off the North American leg of its world tour, at a venue where kicking is nothing new. BMO Field, a soccer-pitch stadium, played host to its first concert – a show that had plenty of classic hits and musical precision, but nothing for the highlight reel. I'm not sure anyone or anything is to blame. Fans faced long line-ups getting into the place, but, after a stop at one of the many concession stands once inside, most were in their seats by the time the field lights lowered (late) at 9 p.m. Following the proggy instrumentals Behind the Lines and Duke's End, the driving, synthesized Turn it On Again began the concert in earnest. “We're Genesis,” said sociable frontman Phil Collins after, “and we're gonna try and entertain you this evening.” They did try, in their way. But the thing of it is, Genesis is not really a stadium band – even if the stadium is a relatively small one (at some 20,000 seats), and even if the LED-panelled Water World backdrop dazzled with lights, live video and set-closing fireworks. The feeling was that the touring unit – Collins and charter members Tony Banks on keyboards and Mike Rutherford on bass and guitar, with longtime associates Chester Thompson and Daryl Stuermer on drums and guitars, respectively – was playing to divided loyalties.  The percussive and politically-minded 1986 hit Land of Confusion roused some of the fans; others applauded earlier, artier material.

“Are there any old people here tonight? Apart from us? Collins asked, rhetorically. “This is your moment then, it's time for us to play some very, very old songs.” And so the introduction went for a medley that began with the whirling, swirling In the Cage, from 1974's conceptual (some-say) masterpiece, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. The concert ended with the anthem Carpet Crawlers, also from Lamb. Collins, 56, was the workhorse of the bunch, working 160 of 160 minutes. Bald, grizzled and hammy (whipping out a small camera for snapshots), the showman either doubled-drummed with Thompson (both beating on a vinyl chair at one point) or fronted on the eerie Mama or the middle of the road Throwing it All Away  Collins's voice has lost nothing. The set list was honed, blending together slow-dance ballads with melodic rock and more progressive works. Medleys and epic tunes ebbed and flowed. But the performance, professional as it was, just never took off. Before the sprawling Domino, Collins grandstanded, literally, by directing separate audience sections to cheer on his command.  That's the way it was all night, really – a big crowd disconnected from itself. First encore tune I Can't Dance – “what a silly song,” Collins quipped – must have bewildered the right-brained faction.  And a gorgeous, swaying number from 1973's Selling England by the Pound should have had everyone together on the chorus. Hey, maybe they were, in their heads, singing to themselves “I know what I like, I like what I know.” Genesis plays Montreal's Olympic Stadium, Sept. 14, and Ottawa's Scotiabank Place, Sept. 15.

Randy Gill, Johnny's Brother, Readies CD

Source: Kristal Miller, kristalmiller@bbrbr.com

(September 6, 2007) Randy Gill, brother of Johnny Gill and member of the group II D Extreme, is bringing back R&B music in more ways than one!  For starters, he's been in the studio recording songs for his upcoming solo CD entitled "Gillology." The three songs he's previewing on his MySpace page
(www.myspace.com/gillology) indicate this CD will give R&B lovers plenty of that good music we've been missing.  "Ready 4 Me" is a sensuous ballad that promises "bathing, touching, tasting, anything you like." In this song, Randy not only shines as a songwriter and producer, but his vocal performance is emotionally and dramatically near perfection.  "Marry Me" is a heartfelt declaration of love and appreciation that is appropriately composed on the guitar. The simplicity of the composition and sincerity of the message make this song the ultimate background music for a romantic proposal.  A song he recently added, "Radio," may prove to be the most commercially successful of the three. Featuring the vocals of Remedy, Jermaine Mickey (from II D Extreme), and Dujour as the DJ, this song will appeal to anyone who enjoys good music and good singing.

In addition to his solo CD, Randy has also been in the studio with II D  Extreme working on a project celebrating the group's 15th Anniversary. II D  fans are anxiously awaiting preview music from this CD and you can be assured it will include that great composing, lyrics, singing, and harmony that we've come to expect from II D.  As if that isn't enough, Randy is the host of a monthly R&B radio program  called the BBRBR Listening Party. BBRBR stands for Bring Back R&B Radio.  This program features a fan critique of three recently released R&B songs and is currently being broadcast on over a dozen online radio stations, including regular rotation on World Vibe Radio on Monday-Wednesday-Friday at 12:30 p.m. CST (www.worldviberadio.net).   Randy Gill can't single handedly bring back R&B to a place of prominence, but he sure is doing his part. Check out his preview songs and let him know how you like them. (www.myspace.com/gillology)

Videos Embrace No-Budget Revolution

Excerpt from www.thestar.com - Jake Coyle, Associated Press

(September 07, 2007) NEW YORK–The
music video is shrinking. With the music industry in crisis from falling sales and file sharing, labels have less cash to subsidize elaborate videos that will mostly be seen in miniature on computers. The result has been a major shift in the art form, as artists increasingly embrace the YouTube aesthetic with cheap, stripped-down, low-production videos. The shrinkage of the video will be obvious Sunday at the MTV Video Music Awards, where grandiose, ambitious videos will seem like an exotic species facing extinction. "The business is changing radically. It does feel smaller, cheaper," says veteran music video director Samuel Bayer, whose many clips include Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," Blind Melon's "No Rain" and Green Day's "Boulevard of Broken Dreams," which won six awards at the 2005 VMAs. Even Kanye West – one of the most video-conscious artists in music – experimented with a small, quirky clip for his new hit "Can't Tell Me Nothing." Instead of the flamboyant rapper, the video stars the bearded, dishevelled, unmistakably white comedian Zach Galifianakis. Pimping an orange tractor on a country farm, he lip-synchs: "Homey, this is my day." When MTV's award show kicked off 24 years ago, the network was ushering in a new era where the video was king: a branding tool and an art form rolled into one. Today, the channel broadcasts mostly reality shows while YouTube, iTunes, MySpace and various other online destinations have become the dominant viewing platform for videos.

Directors are gradually adapting to the smaller-sized medium. Chris Applebaum's video for Rihanna's "Umbrella" is nominated for five VMAs, including Video of the Year and Best Director. It's a sleek, beautiful creation, and Applebaum was conscious of where it would be most watched. "I had a lunch with Rihanna and Jay (label head Jay-Z) and we talked about the fact that most people are going to watch things on their laptop," says Applebaum. "It's important to be bold and simple and to find the elegance in simplicity." Bayer's video for Justin Timberlake's "What Goes Around ... Comes Around" is nominated for numerous VMAs, including Best Video and Best Director. Starring Timberlake and Scarlett Johansson, the video has a distinctively cinematic feel, complete with a car chase and end credits. In this way, "What Goes Around" feels old-school – like a rebellion against the new aesthetic. Instead, Bayer aimed for an experience more like Michael Jackson's landmark 1983 "Thriller" video, directed by John Landis. "I said, `We gotta go big,'" says Bayer. "If I'm going up against an OK Go video with four guys on a treadmill that plays millions of times on YouTube, how can I do something that is the opposite of that?" In the late '80s and through the '90s, budgets and ambition ran high. Mark Romanek's 1995 video for Michael and Janet Jackson's "Scream" is considered the most expensive ever, at an estimated $7 million (figures U.S.). There have been many videos in the $2 million range, including Brett Ratner's "Heartbreaker" for Mariah Carey, Hype Williams' clip for Busta Rhymes' "What's It Gonna Be?!" and David Fincher's "Express Yourself" for Madonna.

"What Goes Around" cost approximately $1 million, but Bayer thinks it could be one of the last big-budget videos. "A comet hit the Earth and the dinosaurs are dying," says Bayer. "There's a new age coming. I think those days are over." Many artists and directors are now creating videos knowing they'll have to compete for eyeballs on YouTube.  OK Go's famous treadmill-choreographed video for "Here It Goes Again" was perfectly suited for viral distribution, but the power pop band is far from alone in its reconsidered methods. The Decemberists and Modest Mouse both asked fans to fill in the background to a video shot in front of a green screen. Jessica Simpson did a version of "A Public Affair" composed entirely of fans dancing and lip-synching to the pop song. "The new aesthetic is that it's very low-budget, lo-fi, very do-it-yourself, not at all dedicated to the old style of music video, which was always bigger and louder and more explosions and more money," says Saul Austerlitz, author of Money for Nothing: A History of the Music Video.  "This is more a punk-rock aesthetic," he adds. "It's very exciting."

Thank Bjork and M.I.A. (but not the organizers)

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

Virgin Festival
At Toronto Island Park on Saturday

(September 10, 2007) Only a churl would accept a lovely present and complain about the wrapping. Bjork's performance at the opening night of the Virgin Festival was so transporting that I forgive the festival its glaring faults as an event (more on those below). Bjork has been making strange and beautiful music for a couple of decades, and she's still exploring a frontier that nobody else can find.  Her dynamic show seemed to exist in three tenses at once: present, future and primeval past. Her music from ten years ago (she played several items from 1997's Telegram) sounded as fresh and original as the things she pulled from last spring's Volta. The show was impeccably planned and produced, yet she romped around the stage in her Pierrot-as-baroque-angel outfit as if making everything up on the spot. No one else could tour with a brass band and make it seem like the coolest sound on earth. The 20 women of the Icelandic band Wonder Brass, and a battery of live percussion, grounded the music in organic tones that gave new point to the boldly synthetic sounds of synthesizers and drum machines. Songs such as Declare Independence and Earth Invaders were wildly spectacular, but for me the most mind-blowing thing was her performance of Cover Me, which with its clotted organ accompaniment sounded like high-church contemporary music of a kind that would never otherwise transfix 25,000 pop fans standing in a dark field.

The day's other big revelation was M.I.A, who tore up the mainstage with a mid-afternoon set of gangsta rap from some extra-territorial party zone of fun and social combat.  I've been stuck on this British Sri Lankan's music for two years, but was unprepared for the flirty authority with which she hurled her deeply ambiguous music at the audience. Sheathed in black and pink, she invited everybody to get carnal while contemplating the global cultural mash-up represented by her pungent collage of world music, street sounds and dance beats. When the world is in flames, she seemed to say, the disenfranchised dance on the battlefields. K-os started my afternoon with a free-flowing set of funky hip-hop, with a mixed ensemble that proved it's possible to swing and rock out simultaneously. He free-styled, he let loose with some messy invigorating jazz-rock fusion, he did a brief a capella of the Wayne Newton (!) classic, Danke Schoen. He was completely himself, and didn't seem at all bothered with whether that fit anybody's expectations. Hard to believe he and his strong recent album were stiffed for a Polaris Prize nomination. Other boys on the main stage did their jobs and left me feeling only a shade warmer than indifferent. I like the Arctic Monkeys on record, but after three live exposures I can't get excited by their living-jukebox approach. They delivered, but Lord, they must be bored doing the same tunes the same way every time. I've never quite got the deep hold Interpol has on some people, and came no closer to penetrating the mystery on Saturday. Yes, they have a distinctive sound, but they're awfully parsimonious about what they do with it. After half a dozen songs that all treaded the same narrow ground musically and emotionally, I wanted to shout: What are you guys afraid of?

The mainstage went blank for about an hour in the late afternoon, after Kid Koala abandoned his DJ set when the hot sun began melting his vinyl. He was a last-minute replacement for Amy Winehouse (who cancelled three weeks ago), though why the festival thought a DJ set would work on the main stage is baffling. People drifted around during the hiatus, checking out the side stages, whose offerings generally paled in comparison to what was happening simultaneously at the Osheaga Festival in Montreal. As an event, the two-year-old Virgin Festival still lacks personality. The thing felt utterly corporate, and displayed a rats-in-maze approach to crowd control. Saturday was like a day-long exercise in docility training. I counted eight uniformed cops patrolling the small DJ tent, as if club music + alcohol = guaranteed mayhem. Gee, officer Krupke, we only came to have fun.

Don't Mention The F-Word To This Saxist

Excerpt from www.thestar.com - Ashante Infantry, Pop & Jazz Critic

(September 10, 2007) Initially, Brooklyn-based saxist
Rudresh Mahanthappa balked at the invitation from a couple of young Toronto musicians to participate in a unique event kicking off at Hugh's Room tomorrow. "They were calling it an Indo-Jazz Fusion Festival and I told them that I wasn't going to be a part of it unless they dropped fusion, because I think of fusion as the f-word," he explained by phone from New York.  "It connotes so many terrible, superficial projects that I don't want to have anything to do with." However, the 36-year-old musician finds it appropriate that Toronto is showcasing the successful merger of Eastern and Western styles with a two-day line-up comprised of his group, Indo-Pak Coalition, Indian classical vocalist Shantanu Bhattacharyya, and Toronto's Monsoon and Tasa. (All profits from the event will fund a scholarship for underprivileged music students in India). "I think the South Asian population there is huge and very connected," he said. "And I feel there are more Indo-Canadians that are actually out there playing music – forget about even jazz, but hip hop and deejaying. I can count on one hand the number of Indian jazz musicians in America who are actually on the scene." That elite group includes pianist Vijay Iyer. He and Mahanthappa play in each other's quartets and also perform as a duo, Raw Materials, which debuted in 1996 at Toronto's defunct South Asian arts festival Desh Pardesh.

Though Mahanthappa performs in six different ensembles, he called his work with Iyer his "most significant and influential collaboration," owing in part to their mutual heritage. "There are definitely lots of Indian influences in what we do sonically and rhythmically, but when we go to play I don't want anybody expecting something Indian, because that's kind of an unrealistic expectation, because we're Indian American. I grew up listening to the same '80s rock as anybody else my age." His trio Indo-Pak Coalition is rounded out by Pakistani American guitarist Rez Abbasi and Jewish tabla player Dan Weiss. Mahanthappa said the group's moniker is meant to spoof a common name for South Asian businesses in North America. "We have two South Asians playing Western instruments and the white guy playing the Indian instrument. When I look at it sometimes it just make me laugh, it's so hilarious."  The Indo-Jazz Music Festival takes place Sept. 11 and 13. For schedule and ticket information visit hughsroom.com, or call 416-531-6604.

Bleary-eyed Britney kicks off MTV Video Music Awards

Excerpt from www.thestar.com - Associated Press

(September 9, 2007) LAS VEGAS — Somewhere, Kevin Federline is laughing. An out-of-shape, out-of-touch
Britney Spears delivered what was destined to be the most talked about performance of the MTV Video Music Awards — but for all the wrong reasons.  Kicking off the show Sunday night with her new single, “Gimme More,” Spears looked bleary and unprepared, much like her recent tabloid exploits on the streets of Los Angeles. She walked through her dance moves with little enthusiasm. She appeared to have forgotten the art of lip-synching. And, perhaps most unforgivable given her once-taut frame, she looked embarrassingly out of shape.  Even the celebrity-studded audience seemed bewildered. 50 Cent looked at Spears with a confused look on his face; Diddy, her new best friend, was expressionless.  Some comeback. Breathlessly hyped by MTV as the evening’s most anticipated performance, it became the most shockingly bad of the night. Jive Records might want to push back that Nov. 13 album release date.  The VMAs had better luck with their own reinvention on Sunday. After suffering poor reviews and a decline in ratings over the last few years, MTV moved the show to Las Vegas’ Palms Casino, shortened the show from three hours to two, and changed the show’s setup to focus more on performances than awards. Justin Timberlake and Timbaland, Kanye West, Fall Out Boy and the Foo Fighters each hosted separate suite parties, where much of the show’s performances were held.

Thankfully, after Spears’ dismal start and an awkward, off-colour intro by comedian Sarah Silverman, the show rebounded with several exciting performances. (There was even more drama in the audience: an off-camera fight broke out between Pamela Anderson exes Kid Rock and Tommy Lee, leading Diddy to remark: “It’s not just the hip-hop artists that sometimes have a problem.”)  Timberlake’s suite was packed with revellers, alcohol and eight lingerie-clad stripper types on raised platforms. Before he accepted the Quadruple Threat of the Year award at his suite, the DJ summoned the partygoers to watch the monitor and go crazy if Timberlake won.  He did, they did, and Timberlake said: “I want to challenge MTV to play more videos!” Then he was whisked away by bodyguards and disappeared.  Timberlake was the night’s big winner, with four trophies. After accepting the award for Male Artist of the Year, he jabbed at MTV again: “We don’t want to see the Simpsons on reality television” — apparently he’s not a fan of either Jessica or Ashlee’s MTV shows.  Meanwhile, Rihanna won the coveted Video of the Year for her metallically inspired “Umbrella,” and Monster Single of the Year for her ubiquitous hit “Umbrella,” and Beyonce and Shakira won Most Earthshattering Collaboration for “Beautiful Liar.” Beyonce’s shimmering gold dress barely contained her top; immediately after she picked up her trophy, she asked an assistant backstage to help fix her dress, apparently to prevent a wardrobe malfunction.

Other performers were appearing on the show’s main stage, in front of an industry-only audience seated at tables, like at the Golden Globes. Chris Brown gave one of the evening’s most extravagant performances — a dance-centric, eye-popping spectacle that channelled Michael Jackson, right down to a brief “Billie Jean” imitation.  Alicia Keys had the evening’s most rousing performance, debuting her new song “No One” and then an inspired, choir-backed cover of George Michael’s “Freedom.”  While performances like Keys and Spears were delivered on the main stage, others were delivered in snippets: Akon crooned a bit of his “Smack That” before an award was announced, while the cameras zoomed in on performances from Fall Out Boy and the Foo Fighters mid-performance in their suites, giving viewers the sense that they had happened upon an intimate concert. Cee-Lo delivered a rocking version of Prince’s naughty classic “Darling Nikki” in the Foo Fighters suite; Soulja Boy was showing Kanye West his “Crank That” dance in West’s suite.  Though the suites appeared to be chaotic parties, the MTV-cast revellers were carefully organized and strategically placed for the cameras. In another suite, the MC encouraged everyone to drink and keep the energy up.  Choreographed or not, Timberlake and Timbaland’s joint suite looked like the most exciting — T.I., buffeted by pole dancers, delivered a rousing version of “Big Things Poppin”’ while 50 Cent stopped by to perform “Ayo Technology” with Timberlake and Timbaland.

Not to be outdone, T-Pain and West danced high atop Las Vegas in one of the Palms’ balcony suites as they celebrated “The Good Life.” And Lil Wayne, doing double duty in the Fall Out Boy suite after opening the pre-show with Nicole Scherzinger, was particularly animated.  But the TV audience never got full views of those shows, though MTV promised viewers more via its website and other “remixed” versions of the show. That might have been the purpose: to whet appetites for repeat viewings by promising glimpses of what they missed during the traditional broadcast. And unlike in recent years, there was plenty reason to come back for more.

Emerson Drive In Top Gear

Excerpt from www.globeandmail.com - Tim Cook, Canadian Press

(September 11, 2007) REGINA — Pop-country band
Emerson Drive steered its way to the Canadian Country Music Awards Monday night and left with a trunk full of hardware. The smooth-sounding quintet — which recently lost a member— took home song and video of the year awards for their hit “Moments,” which they performed to kick off the show, as well as for group of the year. “The last two and a half years, there have been so many people who have put in a ton of effort to put out the countrified CD,” said lead singer Brad Mates, as he accepted the award for group of the year, which they also won in 2002 and 2003. “First and foremost, obviously the fans that have really jumped on board this year. Thank you so much.” The ballad “Moments” hit No. 1 as a single on the Billboard country music charts south of the border earlier this year. The song peaked at No. 4 in Canada for the band that got their start in Grande Prairie, Alta.

The group also includes guitarist Danick Dupelle, drummer Mike Melancon, David Pichette on fiddle, Patrick Bourque on bass and Dale Wallace on keyboards. Veteran Canadian country act Brad Johner impressed fans in his home province, picking up the first award of the night for male artist of the year. Johner, who got his start with his brother Ken as The Johner Brothers, was born in Midale, Sask., about 150 kilometres southeast of Regina. “Well, that makes for a good beginning doesn't it?,” Johner said as the crowd screamed. Johner told the crowd about how he wrote an acceptance speech when he and his brother were nominated for an award in 1992 and he has kept it in his wallet ever since. But he ended up forgetting his billfold in the dressing room back stage. “I'm going to wing it again after all those years,” Johner joked. Alberta singer-songwriter Carolyn Dawn Johnson — a perennial winner at the annual awards show — won female artist of the year honours, but was edged out for the fan's choice award by another Alberta songstress, Terri Clark. “I must be really tired because I'm feeling very emotional,” Johnson said holding back tears. “I love music so much,” she said as someone in the crowd yelled back: “We love you!” Clark accepted the award via video from Toronto, where she is recording her next album.

“We're just going to keep doing what we do,” she said. Mitch Merrett, Aaron Pritchett and Deric Ruttan won the songwriter of the year award for the irreverent hit “Hold My Beer,” which Pritchett recorded himself. Pritchett called the tune — which features the refrain “hold my beer, while I kiss your girlfriend” — a “killer fun song” that everyone can sing along to. “I swear to God, I didn't think we were going to win this at all,” he said. “Listen to my voice, I am so nervous ... big crowd too, it's kind of weird.”  Album of the year honours were taken home by the Manitoba group Doc Walker for its self-titled release. The Corb Lund Band won the award for roots group of the year, while Shane Yellowbird of Hobbema, Alta., took home the rising star honour. Yellowbird, whose debut album is “Life is Calling My Name,” was nominated for five awards overall. Nova Scotia's George Canyon was also nominated from five awards, but failed to take home any hardware. Awards show host Paul Brandt, whose long-awaited new album “Risk” comes out Tuesday, was also shut out in the four categories in which he was nominated.

Winners at the 2007 Canadian Country Music Association awards

Fans' choice: Terri Clark
Single of the year: Moments (Emerson Drive)
Album of the year: Doc Walker (Doc Walker)
Songwriter of the year: Mitch Merrett, Aaron Pritchett, Deric Ruttan (Hold My Beer, Aaron Pritchett)
Video of the year: Moments (Emerson Drive)
Female artist of the year: Carolyn Dawn Johnson
Male artist of the year: Brad Johner
Group of the year: Emerson Drive
Roots artist or group of the year: Corb Lund Band
Rising star: Shane Yellowbird


98.7 Too Close To 99.1: CBC

Excerpt from www.thestar.com - Greg Quill

(September 12, 2007) A would-be commercial Toronto radio station aimed at 600,000 black listeners is blaming CBC Radio for the expiration of its temporary licence. Owners of fledgling
CARN (Caribbean and African Radio Network) at 98.7 FM are under the gun to find a new frequency within three months.  CARN wants to test its signal on 98.7 under its temporary licence, but CBC says 98.7 is too close to its 99.1 location on the FM dial and that testing will interfere with CBC Radio One's signal.  "We're hoping public and political pressure will help CBC see reason," said Delford Blythe, vice-president of the upstart station, which was granted a partial licence by the federal broadcast regulator in 2006.  In its decision to grant the licence, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission gave CARN three months to find a frequency other than 98.7 FM. But suitable FM alternatives are not available and the AM market is diminishing, Blythe said. To operate on 98.7, CARN needs CBC's approval before being issued a technical licence by Industry Canada. CBC has no issue with the CARN, other than the proximity to its own signal, said CBC spokesperson Jeff Keay. "CBC carried out its own internal tests on the 98.7 frequency for its French-language service and we don't agree with (CARN's) determination that it's interference-free."

Staggered Crossing To Play One More Show, Then That's It

By: ChartAttack.com Staff

(Sept. 7, 2007) Toronto pop/rock quartet
Staggered Crossing are calling it quits after 13 years, but will go out with a bang at a Nov. 2 hometown show at the Horseshoe Tavern. "As our lives have changed and evolved individually we have found it increasingly difficult to devote the time and energy to the band that it deserves," says a statement posted on the group's website. "Out of respect for our fans and for the excellence we demand from ourselves we will be hanging up the proverbial skates. "While it would certainly be more fun to announce a break up because of 'creative differences' or because of some monumental and catastrophic fight between bandmates, neither is the case. We simply cannot continue to commit the time, energy and enthusiasm to this band that we love so much. We are still great friends and this change is not the end of our musical collaborations. We continue and will continue to support each other in our various endeavours as fervently as we supported each other through the years in StagX." Staggered Crossing are comprised of high school friends Julian Taylor (vocals, guitar), Dan Black (bass), David Marshall (guitar) and Jeremy Elliott (drums). They signed with Warner Music Canada in 1999 and released their self-titled debut two years later. Their second album, 2002's Last Summer When We Were Famous, was produced by former Wilco member Jay Bennett. Their third and final LP, Burgundy & Blue, was issued in 2004.

Kanye West Is GQ’s ‘Man Of The Year’

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com

(September 6, 2007) *As
Kanye West prepares for the Sept. 11 release of his new album, “Graduation,” the rapper-producer was honoured by GQ magazine as its chosen “International Man of the Year.  West was presented with the honour by actress Rosario Dawson at GQ’s 10th Annual Awards ceremony, which took place Tuesday night at Covent Garden's Royal Opera House in London and was hosted by music legend Elton John.  A panel of GQ experts selected West for the award, won in previous years by Jay-Z, Sir Paul McCartney, director Pedro Almodovar and Jennifer Aniston.  Other winners at the award ceremony included actor Michael Caine (Lifetime Achievement Award), singer James Blunt (Solo Artist of the Year), modern artist Tracey Emin (Woman of the Year), while stars like Madonna, Naomi Campbell, Lily Allen, Jude Law and others were in attendance. Meanwhile, Kanye appears with 50 Cent on the cover of Vibe magazine’s new September issue. The photo shows profiles of their heads as they stare each other down to symbolize the joint release date of their albums on Sept. 11.

New Maxwell Album Due Next Year

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com

(September 10, 2007) *
Maxwell fans were thrown a bone on Friday (Sept. 7) when the singer uploaded a snippet of his new song, “Pretty Wings,” on his MySpace site.   The track will appear on his forthcoming album, “Black Summer’s Night,” which was originally due in February 2008, the singer announced in October. "Maxwell's still working with Sade's band, his tried-and-true team," new Columbia urban music exec Kyambo "Hip-Hop" Joshua tells Billboard. "He took some time off and now he's ready."       "He's recorded so much material that he's got a couple of albums done," he continues. "So, he might be going out on the road touring for this album soon. I won't say the album will drop first-quarter 2008, but [next] summer sounds good."

Wu-Tang Previews New Album

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com

(September 10, 2007) *Billboard.com got a chance to preview eight unmastered tracks from the new
Wu Tang Clan album, “The 8 Diagrams,” due Nov. 13 via Wu Music Group/Loud/SRC/Universal. The group’s first studio album in six years includes "My People Gently Weeps," an interpolation of the Beatles' "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" featuring input from Dhani Harrison, son of late Beatle George Harrison. Funk legend George Clinton appears on the fast, old-school-sounding "Wolves," a showcase for group member U-God, says Billboard.   On the tracks "Weak Spot" and "Thug World," producer RZA provides his trademark dark, symphonic samples, while Method Man is showcased on the soulful head-nodder "They Want To Stick Me for My Riches."  In  “Watch Your Mouth,” Raekwon spits: "I'm from a boulevard where ni**as get jacked and peed on.” The group attempts to re-establish its presence in hip hop with "Take It Back," which features Method Man stating: "Before you even had a name, you was screaming Wu-Tang." The album includes a tribute to the late Ol' Dirty Bastard, "Life Changes," highlighted by heartfelt verses from GZA: "Now I'm in the booth 10 feet from where he lay dead / I think about him on this song and what he might have said."

Joe Zawinul, 75: Jazz Legend

Excerpt from www.thestar.com - Associated Press

(September 11, 2007) VIENNA, Austria – Jazz legend Joe Zawinul, who soared to fame as one of the creators of jazz fusion and performed and recorded with Miles Davis, has died, a hospital official said. He was 75. Zawinul died early Tuesday, a spokeswoman for Vienna's Wilhelimina Clinic said, without giving details. Zawinul had been hospitalized since last month. Zawinul, who turned 75 on July 7, won widespread acclaim for his keyboard work on chart-topping Davis albums such as "In A Silent Way" and "Bitches Brew," and was a leading force behind the so-called "Electric Jazz" movement. In 1970, Zawinul founded the band Weather Report and produced a series of albums including "Heavy Weather," "Black Market" and ``I Sing the Body Electric." After that band's break-up, he founded the Zawinul Syndicate in 1987. Zawinul is credited with bringing the electric piano and synthesizer into the jazz mainstream. This past spring, he toured Europe to mark the 20th anniversary of the Zawinul Syndicate. He sought medical attention when the tour ended, the Viennese Hospital Association said in a statement last month.

Grandmaster Flash To Drop New Book And CD

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com

(September 11, 2007) *Hip Hop pioneer
Grandmaster Flash is set to release a new book chronicling his historic career, as well as record music for a new album due in 2008. The DJ will team with author David Ritz for “The Grandmaster Flash Story,” a memoir about his rise to fame with rap group The Furious Five and pioneering various turntable techniques that helped to define the hip hop genre.  His upcoming album, “The Bridge,” will be released via his own Adrenaline Entertainment label.  Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five were recently part of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 2007 class of inductees. The turntablist hosts The FlashMash, a weekly radio show on Sirius Satellite Radio, and has a DJ gig at New York City’s China Club every Friday night.

The Four Tops Return With New Release

Source: Jenice Smith, Jenny Jenny Records, jennyjennyrecords@yahoo.com, www.myspace.com/jennyjennyrecords

(September 12, 2007) (DETROIT/LOS ANGELES) - Jenny Jenny Records is delighted to announce
The Four Tops long-awaited release, "East Coast West Coast."   In early 2008, Jenny Jenny Records will also release a full-length album of new Four Tops music - the first new music from the Hall-of-Famers in two decades. The classic R&B group, known for its vigorous touring and exhilarating stage show, has thrown its peerless energy into these new studio recordings.   The first single, "East Coast West Coast,"  was co-written by original Tops member Duke Fakir, current Top Lawrence Payton Jr., (son of original member Lawrence Payton), and Paul Hill, who also produced the track.   Performing along side Fakir and Payton Jr. are Theo Peoples (Grammy nominated as lead singer of The Temptations, best known for "Stay" and "Promise) and Ronnie McNeir, whose story is the stuff of music legend.   When original lead singer Levi Stubbs became ill at a sold-out concert in 2001, the group was ready to cancel the show.  Saying "Put me in a tux!," Ronnie strode out onstage and proceeded to finish the sold out concert to rave reviews, securing his spot as a permanent member of the group. "East Coast West Coast" will be available on CD in selected retail outlets and directly from Jenny Jenny Records September 18, with digital distribution to follow.  The company plans to release a second single in October 2007, and full-length CD in early 2008. Jenny Jenny Records was founded in 2002 in Los Angeles by entrepreneur and industry insider Jenice Smith.  The label focuses on artist-driven projects from legendary acts like The Four Tops.  The company differs from other labels, relying on time-tested expertise to control costs and create efficiently, producing great new records, happy artists, and thrilled fans.


Paul Haggis: Big Film, Small Ego

Excerpt from www.globeandmail.com -
Leah Mclaren

September 7, 2007) ‘I've only done two movies, so what the hell do I know?”  Paul Haggis responds with a laugh after he is asked to compare the Toronto International Film Festival with others across the world.  The self-deprecating Canadian director is on the phone from New York when he starts to recount what it was like when his first film, Crash, played TIFF a few years back. “Toronto was the place we took Crash to sell.… I remember walking in the first night and seeing the screen, which was 50 feet tall. I was horrified because all through the screening I had to watch all of my 50-foot-tall mistakes.” Haggis is back at TIFF this week, just days after a triumphant visit to the Venice Film Festival, where his new film, In the Valley of Elah, received a 10-minute standing ovation. But the 54-year-old filmmaker won't necessarily be out on the town here. “It's very hard to go places these days – I can hardly get in the door because my head is so large now. “The truth is, I'm literally only going to be in town for a day and a half, so I won't get to do much on this trip, which is a shame because Toronto is my favourite festival. I'd love to stick around and go to all the parties and see movies and old friends. “But there'll be no rest for the wicked – or the wildly successful.”

Haggis's Iraq war drama will have its gala premiere at Toronto's Elgin Theatre before moving on to a Washington premiere and the rest of the international festival circuit. The director's self-critical perfectionism has served him well in the years since working on the hit Canadian drama Due South. Like so many ambitious Canadian screenwriters, he fled to Hollywood in his early 20s to pursue success in showbiz. While things worked out well for Haggis, it's not a route he recommends to aspiring filmmakers today.  “It's not really important where you are any more,” he says. “It's not about ‘How do I get to Hollywood and get an agent?' It's about telling a great story, defining something you're passionate about, and writing it or making it. Too many people spend too much time wondering what Hollywood wants. I myself wasted many years doing just that. Then I wrote Crash on spec, a movie about an issue that troubled me greatly, and everything changed. “My advice to young filmmakers is to ask questions we don't have answers for. And you can do that in Toronto or Halifax, or anywhere.” While back on his native turf, Haggis says he'll be seeing a few friends from his hometown of London, Ont., including his father, who attended the Venice premiere. If time permits, he says, he'd love to catch up with Atom Egoyan and Norman Jewison – two of his peers whom he admires most, and maybe even grab a bite to eat at Prego or Sotto Sotto.

“I usually stay at the Four Seasons,” he adds, “but they were too busy to take me this year, so I'm staying somewhere else.” Asked if he would ever consider working with a Canadian creative team again, as American director Brian de Palma chose to do on his latest film, Redacted (also about Iraq and set to open at TIFF), Haggis is playfully circumspect. “Don't be silly, I'm much too big for that,” he says, and then becomes serious. “Actually the truth is, I tried to lure a great DP [director of photography] down to the States a few years ago, but he was just too busy to work with me.”

Gosling Swims Against Hollywood Current

Excerpt from www.thestar.com - Geoff Pevere, Movie Critic

(September 12, 2007) It might say something about his Canadian roots, but stardom seems to sit as lightly on the shoulders of Ryan Gosling – the London, Ont.-born, Academy Award-nominated actor who is in Toronto to attend the premiere of the boy-meets-inflatable-doll movie Lars and the Real Girl – as lightly as a snowflake. And just watch him brush it off. "All I try to do is make movies I'd like to see," he says with a thoughtful scratch of his beard. "And then I go and ruin the experience by being in them." Although repeatedly touted as one of his generation's finest actors, the almost 27-year-old former child actor and regular on Breaker High for its 1997-'98 single season – who is meeting the world media while dressed in brown workpants and a much-laundered denim shirt – sees nothing remarkable in what he does. If anything, "I just got lucky," he shrugs. Of his two most acclaimed roles, that of the self-loathing Jewish neo-Nazi in The Believer and the crack-addled high school teacher in Half Nelson, he defers to superior script and direction and insists, "Anybody would have been good in those parts." About to leave for New Zealand to film The Lovely Bones for director Peter Jackson (whom he describes, for having the sheer gall to make a movie of Lord of the Rings, as "my kind of crazy"), Gosling claims to have no career game plan going. Apart from doing his level best to make movies that don't suck.

"All I want," he says, "is to give people their money's worth. "Look," he says, leaning forward in a gesture of on-the-record confidentiality.  "I've made movies that didn't really turn out the way I thought they would, and it puts you in an awkward place. Because I feel like I have a responsibility to tell people the truth, but then you maroon everybody who worked so hard. So all I'm really trying to do is avoid putting myself in that place by making the best movies I can." In the title role in Lars and the Real Girl, due in theatres in November, Gosling plays a lonely and delusional small-town guy who lives in his brother's garage and who finds solace in the imaginary (and platonic) affections of a synthetic soulmate.  It reminded him of one of his favourite movies: Harvey.  "Now there's a great movie. And nobody talks about it and it never got the reputation it deserved." As well as the 1950 movie in which James Stewart portrays a man who lives in contentedly boozy company with an imaginary giant rabbit, Lars reminded Gosling of certain other, similarly under-regarded films concerned with people who drift more or less happily on the far side of normal. "It also had a kind of Hal Ashby thing I liked," he says. "Like Being There or Harold and Maude." But then comes the Ryan Gosling king of compliments. "I think Gene Wilder is one of the most underrated actors of them all," he says. "Gene Wilder is my Marlon Brando. And this kind of felt like something he might do."

Toronto Filmmakers Make Pitch-Perfect Play

Excerpt from www.thestar.com - Jennifer Fong, Special To The Star

(September 12, 2007) Toronto filmmakers Jim Goodall's and Paul Lenart's cheque might be too big for the ATM, but it will fit in just fine in Giantland. Goodall, 32, and Lenart, 39, ended up with an oversized photo-op cheque for $10,000 after beating out five other contestants in a pitch showdown yesterday for their proposed film Giantland.  Before a crowd of more than 250 at Telefilm Canada's Pitch This! competition, each finalist had only six minutes to explain their film's plot and convince a jury of industry veterans that their project would be a worthy investment. With so much on the line, and so little time, the pressure was on.  But producer Lenart and writer-director Goodall got the job done with their animated family film about two kids who fall through a sink into Giantland, a world that human interference has put at risk. The tale, which Lenart likened to Lord of the Rings and the Chronicles of Narnia, will be told through a combination of CGI, puppetry, live action and painting. While Lenart and Goodall explained their vision for Giantland, rough scenes from the project screened next to them – a strategy that jury member Jane Tattersall said helped the team. "I think in the end why Giantland was chosen was because there was a very strong visual component," she said. "You knew what the story was, you could see from the animation they'd done what it was going to look like."

Afterwards, Lenart confessed: "We actually didn't get around to writing our pitch until a week ago." Still, Lenart and Goodall managed to give a polished presentation at Pitch This!, where previous winners include two films currently screening at TIFF – Richie Mehta's Amal (2005), part of this year's Canada First! program, and Chaz Thorne's Poor Boy's Game (2001), a Special Presentation. Lenart and Goodall are excited to see where their win will take them. "This will allow us to actively start looking for money and conducting some more tests," said Lenart. They hope to see a theatrical release for Giantland in two or three years. For now though, their main concern is how to get their cheque to the bank.

Jennifer Fong was chosen for TIFF's inaugural Sid Adilman Mentorship Program, writing for The Festival Daily and blogging at tiff07.ca. The program was established in memory of the Star's veteran entertainment journalist Sid Adilman through a family endowment.

Guy Maddin: His Own Private Winnipeg

Excerpt from

September 7, 2007) Guy Maddin has made the film he thought he'd never make. My Winnipeg, which premiered this week at the Toronto International Film Festival, is Maddin's documentary farewell to his often maligned and misunderstood hometown, which he is now leaving for Toronto, in part to be closer to his daughter. “I've always told myself, and anyone who'd listen, that I'd never make a documentary,” Maddin says, sipping tea in the living room of his Winnipeg apartment. “It takes far too much discipline, the kind I don't possess.” The project began at a time when Maddin, out of money and looking for work, spoke to Michael Burns of the Documentary Channel. Burns asked him to make a film about Winnipeg, but he didn't want to see the frozen hellhole that everyone thinks they know. He wanted, Maddin explains, to be enchanted. “Basically he was hiring me to make a propaganda film,” says the director. In fact, a film about Winnipeg was something Maddin had been thinking about, on some level, for years. When his distinctive, eccentric films had played in such cities as Berlin and Tokyo, recalls Maddin, audiences would inevitably ask, “Where do these movies come from? What is Winnipeg like?”

He spent many nights, trudging along the city's frozen paths, pondering how to explain Winnipeg. The questions he asked himself became the central questions of the film: how to escape one's city, and how to escape the power of family and memory? “I could just feel the years slipping away from me, and the years ahead of me shrinking, and my own place in time being so precarious,” he says. “I was scared the movie would be 50-per-cent gripe and 50-per-cent depression, but in the end I'm pleased with the power of Winnipeg to enchant, and I think there's enough enchantment that it pushes through any treatment of the place.” The filmmaker wanted to evoke the mix of love and frustration many Winnipeggers, myself included, feel for their city. I grew up in Winnipeg, left at 18 to live in Montreal and Toronto and Britain, and came back to the city 11 years later.  I've found there's something about Winnipeg that lends itself to civic navel-gazing. Barely a day goes by that I don't think about its strengths and failings – something I didn't do when I lived elsewhere. The film shows Maddin, played by Darcy Fehr, trying to leave Winnipeg by train. Outside, says the narrator, it's winter, always winter, in the coldest city in the world, a city stupefied by nostalgia. “What if I had already left decades ago?” the narrator asks.

It's a question Maddin considers more often these days, and one that he thinks nags many people who remain in Winnipeg. What if he had moved? How might things have been different? “I have attempted to leave a number of times,” he concedes. “But I think it's more like a child running away from home, and I might well come back when I get hungry or lonely. Then again, I might make it this time. I'm 51 years old. I'm old enough now.” He assumes he was held in place by the same mysterious forces that keep so many Winnipeggers from leaving: Maybe it's even had something to do with the first-nations legend referred to in the film, about magnetic underground rivers that meet below the Red and the Assiniboine – the forks beneath the forks. “I'd like to think it's some kind of parapsychically powerful location,” he says. “Since Winnipeg has the harshest climate of any city over 100,000, and nobody's leaving, there must be a pretty powerful attraction keeping us here.” Or, he offers, maybe it's just laziness and a lack of imagination. Maddin stresses that the film is his Winnipeg. It's a mixture of travelogue and memoir that revolves around his old family home on Ellice Avenue in the city's west end, above the hair salon run by his mother; and also around the now-demolished Winnipeg Arena – where he swears he was born, and where he spent much of his childhood. It includes, as well, dramatic recreations of traumatic childhood moments, and a whimsical, mythologized tour of the city's historical highlights. “A city is nothing but streets and edifices teeming with memories, and [my] memories are inextricably tangled up with civic and family and personal memories,” says Maddin. “To do an honest portrait, I have to deal with all of those things.” The suicide of his older brother at 16, when Maddin was just 7, is touched on, though it's not something he likes to discuss. “It probably made me who I am, because it was this unspeakable catastrophe right in the middle of a family,” he says. “I inherited his bed on the very night he passed away, and I felt a pretty sorry sort of substitute. Pretty early on I had a sense of what a mythic figure was supposed to be like.”

Myths are an abiding concern of Maddin's. He argues they are more important than facts, because they're what people remember and believe. But he says Canadians, unlike Americans, are too modest to engage in myth-making: Rather than portray their folk heroes as larger than life, they flip their binoculars around to make them smaller. Maddin also chooses to mythologize the city's history of proletarian resistance and collective action. There's the General Strike of 1919, and the story of the Wolseley elm, a massive tree that grew in the middle of a roadway. When the city wanted to chop the tree down in the 1950s, a group of local women chained themselves around its trunk. He also celebrates the city's geography with a sequence on back lanes (a shadowy mirror of the more respectable street grid) and the unusual number of downtown streets that bear women's first names, which he claims were named for madams in the city's brothels. He then moves on to Garbage Hill, the only piece of elevated land in the city – a former garbage dump that was covered in sod and converted into a park. Legend has it that the freezing and thawing of the hill will sometimes heave up car fenders. What makes Winnipeg unusual, Maddin says, is that it's locked in time, and has been since 1913, when a recession and the soon-to-open Panama Canal brought an end to the city's boom. Today he can't walk the streets of the old Exchange District without feeling the ghosts of a more prosperous era. “While not every Winnipegger may be pining for those times, they certainly are informed by them,” he says. “They can't help but think, the soil upon which they're walking used to be richer.” It's at this point that Maddin's sense of wonder and playfulness gives way to anger at what he sees as a city bent on mediocrity. “ ‘What if?' Thinking about the city made me consider that phrase a lot. What if Winnipeg hadn't made 100 consecutive bad city planning decisions?” he asks.

His biggest gripe along those lines involves the demise of the old Winnipeg Arena, where Maddin's father spent most of his time behind the bench of the Winnipeg Maroons. After his father's death in 1970 – which Maddin blames on the decision to cancel the Winnipeg-based national hockey team – the arena came to represent, to the son, his father's fading masculine world. First the NHL's Jets left because they couldn't sell enough luxury boxes. Then Eaton's went bankrupt, and city council decided to tear down the old Eaton's building on Portage Avenue and put a new arena in its place. “Only a few protesters from the flaky arts community linked arms around the building. But it was a lot bigger than the Wolseley elm, and they couldn't make it all the way around,” he says. Maddin watched as the old arena was torn to pieces. Just before the building came down, he snuck in and videotaped himself: the last man to pee in a massive trench urinal that ran along the walls of the arena men's room. “I always felt I loved the arena more than anybody else anyway, so to take the last pee in it was like the Governor-General made a decree,” he says. “People who talk about the arena talk about the trough all the time. It sort of binds Winnipeggers together, so I feel pretty special about it.” Maddin says he has no idea how the film will be received. It's much more straightforward than his earlier, more deliberately obscure films, although it's still typically Maddin: black-and-white, and with a definite melodramatic feel. He hopes that it will play around the world. “I think it would be hilarious to hold captive a very large audience in a world capital abroad to see a travelogue on Winnipeg,” he says. “There are so many things specific to Winnipeg in it, but I hope that it's so specific that it's universal – that people will begin to see their own hometown materialize before their eyes in Winnipeg.”

Gyllenhaal An Invisible Man

Excerpt from
www.thestar.com - Movie Critic

September 09, 2007) When it came to committing to play a CIA analyst who finds himself a reluctant but complicit witness to torture in the forthcoming thriller Rendition, Jake Gyllenhaal was sold on something that might hold a special allure for a movie star.  `"I liked the fact the guy was invisible." Sprawled over a chair in a well air-conditioned hotel suite, Gyllenhaal, 26, is basking in relief from the stifling room in which he has just done a dozen or so consecutive TV interviews.  There was no air conditioning in that room and the fan was on the fritz, but for appearance's sake, the Academy Award-nominated actor was compelled to keep wearing his natty suit jacket and open white shirt collar ensemble.  Though that hardy qualifies as torture – and certainly not compared to that endured by the Egyptian-American chemist whose sudden, CIA-sanctioned abduction to Egypt is what propels Rendition across three continents, several characters and a gamut of competing political perspectives – it was uncomfortable nonetheless.  First thing in the new room, Gyllenhaal strips down to trousers and a V-necked T-shirt. Second thing, he muses on where he took his inspiration from.

"Richard Burton in The Spy Who Came In From the Cold," he says with a laugh, only to instantly adopt a more serious demeanour. "I'm not kidding. I learned a lot from that performance about how to play a guy who's invisible. And who's silent." Like the grey-flannel spook played by Burton in the black-and-white Cold War classic, Gyllenhaal's Douglas Freeman is a man who's having a hard time keeping the mask up. Standing and watching as Omar Metwally's Anwar El-Ibrahimi is subjected to increasingly cruel forms of punishment, Freeman becomes increasingly unsettled as the evidence of something altogether unfamiliar begins to trouble the surface of his professional composure.  That something is a conscience, and the actions Freeman will take as a result of its emergence will be the closest anything in Rendition comes to heroic.  "But I hope people don't walk out of the movie cheering for the guy," Gyllenhaal observes.  "Because he's just one guy. And what I really liked about this script is that there's no right and wrong, at least as far as my character is concerned. There's only does it work or not? And since he thinks the methods aren't working, he sees no point in them. And who knows if what he ultimately does really does anything anyway?" The son of TV director Stephen Gyllenhaal and Losing Isaiah screenwriter Naomi Foner (his sister is actress Maggie Gyllenhaal), the actor grew up in a liberal-leaning, Democrat-supporting household in Los Angeles. "I get about 15 emails a day from my mother," he laughs. "And each one has links to all these political blogs she thinks I should check out."

But while he's not reluctant to admit he's political, Gyllenhaal does insist that politics and performance should be strictly chaperoned when they get too close – lest one take undue advantage of the other. "What I really liked about this script," he says, "And what I really admired about Gavin (Hood, Rendition's South African-born director) is that politics is secondary to the human story. And as an actor I'm always interested in the human side of politics. The thing about this movie is that everybody believes they're acting out of the best intentions. They all think they're doing some kind of good. And they're all acting on what they've been told.  "But who's to say what you're being told is the truth?" adds Gyllenhaal. "I think people question whether they're being told the truth in situations like this. And who can blame them? Even worse, a lot of people have even lost the want for the truth." For Gyllenhaal, that's the issue: not that people are being lied to about what their governments may be doing on their behalf, but that they may not care. "I heard somebody say recently that people actually prefer ignorance," he says. "I know I do a lot of the time. The truth can be painful." If Gyllenhaal took a lesson away from making Rendition, it was what the filmmaker told him about art and politics. Gyllenhaal describes him as "robust, energized and very wise and very political" – and very wise. "He always said to me how important it was for him as a filmmaker not to judge. People tend to see artists talking about politics as a kind of judgement. And then you've lost them.  "Somehow, Gavin manages to walk that line without judgment."

A Look Inside TIFF's Star-Shielding Bubble

Excerpt from www.globeandmail.com - Johanna Schneller

(September 7, 2007) TORONTO — Don't look for Brad Pitt or GeorgeClooney in the airport customs queue. The A-list doesn't fly commercial to the Toronto International Film Festival. They arrive on private jets, paid for by their films' studios or production companies. Customs officials come to them, boarding the planes to process them privately. No matter how green an actor's sensibilities, when it comes to moving through the 10 glittering days of TIFF, efficiency is more important. "There's always a car when we need it," as one Los Angeles publicist put it. "Always." Many of TIFF's guests are lesser-known directors and actors who wait in lines, walk down Bloor Street and hail taxis like everyone else. But for medium to supernova-sized stars, it's possible, even preferable, to get through their two or three days here barely touching pavement. They do venture out for press conferences, premieres and parties, but how privately or publicly is up to them. "A celebrity's feeling about Toronto is, 'If I want to be seen, I will, and if I don't, I won't,' " said Mark Pogachefsky, whose firm mPRm handles publicity for films large and small. "Actors come in, do what they're supposed to and leave. There's not exactly a lot of time to go to Holt Renfrew."

"They don't go out much," said Catherine Olim, a veteran publicist with the American powerhouse firm PMK-HBH. "The Toronto festival has become a place where U.S. studios launch their films with junket-style publicity, so the stars come to work. They spend their days doing interviews and their evenings working the red carpets at their premieres and after-parties. Maybe they go out to dinner. The reason to be there is to be in the public eye, but it's very contained." Here's how a star's typical TIFF trip goes: Those who do fly commercial generally come business class, and speed through customs. (Though many seem to get separated from their luggage: Recently Guy Pearce and Hugo Weaving both rumpled through a full day of interviews before their bags showed up.) After that, they're rarely alone. Some arrive towing personal publicists from New York or Los Angeles; others are met immediately by a studio rep for their film. "I'm old school; I'm with them from the moment they get off the plane until the moment they get back on," said Chris Allicock, who's been a publicist for 32 years, currently at Amber Light Productions. Some stars make special requests: Jeff Goldblum needs a gym for two hours a day; Bai Ling wants a haircut. Occasionally they schmooze with one another, between interviews on the Intercontinental patio, or while waiting for their cars in the lobby of the Four Seasons. But mostly they spend one to three full days in their hotels, shuttling between interview suites, eating from room service while on the fly. "It's what I call, 'Whack 'em and stack 'em,' " Mr. Allicock said. "When I had David Strathairn here for Good Night, and Good Luck, he did 27 interviews in one day." Sharon Stone was famous for bringing a trunk of clothes and changing for every TV interview. Most celebs get dressed once and break only for brief hair and makeup touch-ups.

Toronto is a breeze to navigate. Cannes takes place on one crazy, crawling street. Venice has boats; Sundance, sprawl. In Toronto, though, festival headquarter hotels have well-managed front entrances - the L-shaped driveway of the Four Seasons, the indented curb in front of the Intercontinental - so cars can glide in and out in seconds. Most hotels have secret back entrances, too, with driveways too narrow for fans to congregate in. Same for the theatres: Stars enter Roy Thomson Hall through the red-carpeted front door, but rarely leave that way. The Varsity Cinemas has a labyrinthine back exit. The Scotiabank Theatre has a green room. "You can always figure out how to go in or out another way," a publicist said. "For a Martin Scorsese tribute in 1982, we brought in Robert De Niro and Harvey Keitel as surprise guests," said Wayne Clarkson, the head of Telefilm Canada, who was then TIFF's festival director. "We took them down the service elevator at the Hotel Plaza 2 [now the Marriott], so that wasn't exactly glamorous. Once we got them in the University Theatre, we had to stash them in the manager's office, which was a real hell-hole. And it was the Eighties, with all the Studio 54 sensibilities, so keeping them confined was somewhat taxing. When De Niro finally got out of there, he looked like a deer in the headlights." The two actors did, however, stroll down Bloor Street from hotel to theatre at 8 p.m., "and no one harassed us," Mr. Clarkson said. "You couldn't do that today, now that every cellphone has a camera, and everything is on the Internet in five minutes. The level of intensity has gone up noticeably." "The last few years have gotten a little more fan-y," Mr. Pogachefsky said. "Velvet ropes outside the hotels, more security guys in the lobbies. "Toronto crowds are respectful, though. People behave. With your sunglasses on and your head down, most stars can still cross from the Four Seasons to the Intercontinental."

"I think it's sweet how people just stand where they're told," Ms. Olim agreed. "It's because they're fans, not paparazzi pushing and shoving. Nobody brings bodyguards because nobody needs them. It's friendly, a movie-lovers' festival. The crowds seem so positive. I was with Emma Thompson last year as she was leaving the Intercontinental in a car with a sunroof. She popped up through the roof and waved to everyone - cheering them on, they were cheering back, it was adorable." "The Toronto festival still honours the filmmaker," the L.A. publicist said. "It's not just being seen and going to parties and everything excessive. If a star loves his movie, he loves that it's in Toronto." "We look forward to Toronto," Mr. Pogachefsky concurred. "It still has the reputation of having great audiences. In fact, it's almost like, 'Yeah, yeah, great audience.' There's very little surprise when you get a good reaction. Now it's more like, if they don't applaud, you're in trouble." At least it's easy to slip out of town. Near the end of last year's fest, 40 people were lined up behind the velvet ropes outside the Intercontinental; 40 pairs of eyes were trained on the main, revolving door. Three metres east of them, through the gift shop door, Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts exited, unseen.

Bursting the bubble

Not all stars stay safely ensconced in the TIFF bubble. A few who broke out:

Colin Farrell

The bad lad and Irish hottie was caught in a rather precarious situation in 2002 when he was spotted mooning onlookers and his friends outside a Toronto bar.

Nick Nolte

Mr. Nolte caused frequent headlines during his 2004 film-fest appearances. In town to promote Hotel Rwanda, Mr. Nolte smashed glasses at Lobby, demanded to serve himself at the Drake and wandered around pigeon-toed at the Schmooze CityTV party, flapping a napkin as if it were a fan.

Roger Ebert

As reporters and moviegoers marched into the Varsity Theatre for Far From Heaven in 2002, the critic had a hellish experience. Even with a press pass and celebrity status in his own right, Mr. Ebert couldn't get in the theatre because it was full. A hissy fit ensued, and articles tsking his behaviour appeared in newspapers and online for days afterward.

Cameron Diaz

After Ms. Diaz heard one too many camera shutters click, the movie star freaked out at photographers on the red carpet in 2005, when her film In Her Shoes was screening. She even went so far as to say that it was giving her a nervous breakdown. That, of course, just led to more frenzy and fodder for the press. Too bad they didn't put themselves in her shoes.

Sean Penn

Mr. Penn lit up conversation last year when he smoked cigarettes during two news conferences inside the Sutton Place Hotel's walls. Although the Hollywood "bad boy" got away with the acts, the hotel faced fines of more than $600 for his behaviour.

Lt.-Gen. Roméo Dallaire Gave His Nametag And Medals To Actor Roy Dupuis

Excerpt from www.thestar.com - Peter Howell, Movie Critic

(September 10, 2007)  When the time came for the military man and the movie star to bid each other adieu, they gave each other a spontaneous hug. Neither of them expected it or necessarily even wanted it. But that's how emotional their meeting had been. The embrace was between Rwandan genocide hero Lt.-Gen.
Roméo Dallaire and Roy Dupuis, the actor and fellow Quebecer who plays him in Shake Hands With the Devil, the biographical drama that premiered yesterday at the Toronto International Film Festival. The hug came after an intense five-hour discussion between Dallaire and Dupuis in summer 2006, a final debriefing as Dupuis was heading off to Kigali to seek dramatic truth in recounting the events there of the spring of 1994, when upwards of one million Rwandans died in a genocidal eruption of ethnic hostilities.  "I'm not the hugging sort, and yet it was very spontaneous," Dallaire, 61, said yesterday, as he and Dupuis spoke to the Star hours before their film's premiere. "It was a mangy day like today, it was rainy, and it was a spontaneous communion between us that left me so serene."

Dupuis was equally moved. In playing Dallaire, who is now retired from the military and sits in Parliament as a Liberal senator, he wanted to do justice to a figure whose humanitarian bravery had already been recounted in several films, but whose personal ordeal remained untold on screen. "He was pretty much the last person I hugged before leaving for Rwanda," said Dupuis, whose leather jacket and lumberjack shirt yesterday played sartorial counterpoint to Dallaire's suit and tie. "And that was a very, very important meeting for me. He was very generous and opened up to who he is." For added authenticity, Dallaire gave Dupuis the military nametag and medals he wore during his time in Rwanda from 1993-94, when he was the Force Commander of UNAMIR, the United Nations peacekeeping force that tried to stop a genocidal tribal war by Hutu extremists against rival Tutsis and Hutu moderates.  Dallaire and his men were hopelessly outnumbered by hordes of murderous Hutus, and also hampered by foot-dragging UN bureaucrats and a world more interested in O.J. Simpson than African suffering.  Still, Dallaire's peacekeepers did all they could to curb the bloodshed, an atrocity that weighed so heavily upon Dallaire, it left him suicidal and with a severe case of post-traumatic stress disorder. He recounted his experiences in an award-winning book, also titled Shake Hands With the Devil. Dallaire knew that Dupuis would do a better job playing him than American actor Nick Nolte did in Hotel Rwanda, in a role so small it was almost a cameo. Dallaire and Dupuis both come from small Quebec towns, and he's an admirer of how well Dupuis played another Canadian icon, hockey great Maurice Richard, in the movie The Rocket. Dallaire also felt the dramatic version of Shake Hands With the Devil, directed by British helmer Roger Spottiswoode (Tomorrow Never Dies), would be more revealing than Peter Raymont's 2004 documentary of the same name. The doc opened at that year's TIFF along with Hotel Rwanda, a drama starring Don Cheadle that Dallaire didn't much like.

Dallaire said he was astonished to learn from the makers of Hotel Rwanda that they hadn't read his book for research. "I told them, `Well, you're producing fiction, because you've exploited only one component.' It had no depth and in fact it played with history." He feels this new dramatic recreation of the events of spring 1994 in Rwanda comes closest to telling the full story. He's not worried that people might think the story has already been told. "This film is fact ... and if there are other movies on Rwanda, hey, how many movies have they made on the Holocaust?" Spottiswoode's Shake Hands With the Devil firmly puts the blame on red tape and global indifference for exacerbating and extending the Rwandan genocide. Dupuis and Dallaire both said it's time the message really got out, and they hope people will take the film to heart. "It was pretty much all the fault of the UN and all those big countries that are in it. I never felt that we were exploiting the suffering of the Rwandans to make a movie out of it, but we were really telling a story about what we did wrong. I think it's the first time that it's so clearly explained." Dallaire didn't visit the Kigali set of Shake Hands With the Devil, as he had for the 2004 documentary. He didn't want to intimidate Dupuis, or put added pressure on him.

"He had to live the experience by doing it, and he didn't need another general looking over his shoulder." But Dallaire let it be known he was just a phone call away, if Dupuis had any questions. "I never called him," Dupuis said, "but I knew he was always there. He was the one keeping me going, because it was tough. But having it tough was food for the character. Dallaire's only real regret about the new movie is that it took so long to make. Still, he and Dupuis are both hopeful that the film will find an audience at theatres, and then become a DVD that schools can use as a teaching tool. "Whatever you see is always something that lasts," Dallaire said.

India's Top Stars Not Afraid To Take Risks

Excerpt from www.thestar.com - Prithi Yelaja, Staff Reporter

(September 10, 2007) Only the Big B – as in iconic actor Amitabh Bachchan – whose star power translates to big box office, could pull off India's first English-language feature with a homegrown cast and crew.  Of that, Arindam Chaudhuri, producer of
The Last Lear, which had its worldwide premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival yesterday, is sure. "With Mr. Bachchan as your headliner, you have the courage to experiment," said Chaudhuri, 36.  "Also it gives us a broader international platform to have our film in English." Looking fit and relaxed on the sofa in his suite at the Royal York Hotel before yesterday's gala, Bachchan, 65, who was named Star of the Millennium in a BBC poll, is characteristically more humble. "I'm just happy with the fact that I was able to do something different," he says of his role. So far, my career has been very commercial escapist cinema. In my younger years, I was only playing romantic leads, but it limits you. You have to be good-looking, have an interest in a good-looking girl, convince her father to let you marry her and beat the baddies, but that's about it. As you grow older, there's more variety in the roles that are offered and definitely it becomes more challenging."

In The Last Lear, Bachchan, with flowing grey tresses, plays a craggy Shakespearean stage actor who is cajoled out of reclusion to act in his first film, with tragic consequences. With this film, Bachchan's career, which spans nearly four decades and 150 movies, comes full circle. The movie, set in Calcutta, is based on Utpal Dutt's Bengali play Aajker Shahjahan. Bachchan started his career with Dutt in Saat Hindustani in 1969. Director Rituparno Ghosh, 42, describes The Last Lear as a "film completed in a major hurry." Shooting started in March. The cast, along with a packed gala at Roy Thomson Hall, saw the "oven-fresh product" for the first time.  The movie may not appeal to the Indian masses, most of whom don't speak English, but there is a growing appetite among the middle class for non-formulaic "art films" devoid of songs and dances, and stock themes of good guys versus bad guys and marriage, says Ghosh. The Last Lear is the first such film, not only for Bachchan, but also his co-stars Preity Zinta, 32, who is used to more glamorous roles, and former model Arjun Rampal, 34. Zinta says she was pleased to be proven wrong about the genre. "I did think with art films that they don't pay you, they don't feed you, but I was wrong, and I'm so happy to be here." Rampal admits to some trepidation about acting in English. "It was really nerve-wracking and a bit strange when you're speaking English for the first time on film. You're not used to hearing yourself. Initially I was cracking up hearing myself. I was saying, `Please let's do this movie in Hindi.'"  But with Shakespeare as a main theme and soliloquies from Henry V, The Tempest, King Lear and Hamlet, the film had to be in English, says Ghosh, a veteran of 15 films, all in Hindi or Bengali. The voices were dubbed in a studio after shooting wrapped because Ghosh wanted the stars to concentrate on acting. English subtitles were added to help decode regional differences in India, as well as make the movie more accessible to a global audience, says Ghosh.

Kate Bosworth Is Flying High

Excerpt from www.thestar.com - Richard Ouzounian, Entertainment Reporter

(September 11, 2007) This time around, she's flying on her own. When we last left Kate Bosworth, she was soaring through the skies with the Man of Steel in Superman Returns. But now she's on a whole different trajectory with The Girl in the Park, David Auburn's film which had its world premiere Sunday night at the Toronto International Film Festival. "It's the kind of part I love to play," said Bosworth during an interview yesterday of her character, Louise. "She's pitched somewhere between fragility and strength." Bosworth is edgy, but somehow haunting as Louise, a homeless young woman in New York who picks up a different guy every night in order to have a place to stay. "She's a survivor and a hustler," Bosworth admits. "She winds up becoming a pathological liar just to help her get to the next day. But it starts catching up to her." When she bursts into angry tears after suffering a humiliating brush-off from a man, she attracts the attention of Sigourney Weaver's wonderfully wounded Julia.

Weaver's character has never been able to recover from the day 16 years ago when her 3-year-old daughter vanished in Central Park. Julia and Louise's lives gradually become entangled together since, as Bosworth notes, "both the super-organized woman and the totally free one are ultimately empty and they find something in each other." Events take several disturbing turns as Julia makes Louise dye her hair to look like her long-lost daughter and even starts calling her by the girl's name, Maggie. Bosworth's character doesn't put all the pieces together, because she too "likes to play mind games and doesn't know what's true and what isn't." There are times in recent years when Bosworth came to feel that way about her own existence. Besides a busy film career, her tumultuous four-year, on-and-off relationship with actor Orlando Bloom kept her firmly in the spotlight, until, as she confesses, "I felt like I was in a particularly confusing part of my life." Born in 1983 in Los Angeles, she got her first featured role in 1998 in Robert Redford's The Horse Whisperer. But it wasn't until her 2002 performance as a Maui surfer girl in Blue Crush that she became a star.

Since then, her career has bounced back and forth among darker films like Wonderland, pieces of fluff like Win a Date With Tad Hamilton! and her surprising turn as Sandra Dee in Beyond the Sea. "I know, I know," she laughs, "my career is quite difficult to categorize. The parts I pick quite simply depend upon what mood I'm in." Superman Returns may have been her biggest movie to date, but it's not necessarily an experience she's in a hurry to repeat. "It's very strange to be in a film like that. Sometimes you start feeling like a stunt woman. It's easy to get lost in what you're doing. There were days on end when it felt like all I was doing was hanging from wires." She compares that experience with The Girl in the Park. "We had 26 days to shoot (it) as opposed to nine months for Superman Returns. I prefer working more intensely, flying by the seat of your pants. I can't think of drawing out an emotional performance over nine months. That would be excruciating!" And in the end, her latest film proved to be both a personally and professionally nurturing experience for Bosworth Her final break-up with Bloom took place in September. Two months later, she began shooting The Girl in the Park. "To be able to explore emotions as deeply as I did," she concludes, "and have a partner in Sigourney who made me feel so safe, was a very therapeutic thing for me." The Girl in the Park screens today at noon at Scotiabank Theatre and Thursday at 9:30 p.m at the Varsity.


Critics Want Smoking In Movies Doused

Excerpt from www.thestar.com - Brooks Boliek, The Hollywood Reporter

(September 07, 2007) WASHINGTON–A new survey that claims to show a link between
smoking on film and teenage tobacco use is firing up advocates of an automatic R rating for movies that feature smoking. A study released this week in the journal Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine proposes a direct link between viewing smoking in movies and established adolescent smoking. The study was conducted by Dr. James Sargent at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Hanover, N.H., and funded by the National Cancer Institute and American Legacy Foundation. The study, "Exposure to Smoking Depictions in Movies: Its Association With Established Adolescent Smoking," contends that it is the first national study to show that exposure to smoking in movies predicts whether young people will become lifelong smokers. According to the research survey, youth who are exposed to cigarette use in movies double their risk of becoming established smokers and are then at high risk to suffer the consequences of adult tobacco addiction. The American Legacy Foundation is one of the most vocal advocates for an R rating for movies that show smoking. "What we need to do to affect meaningful change is to keep smoking out of the G, PG and PG-13 films currently influencing our youth," said Dr. Cheryl G. Healton, American Legacy Foundation president and CEO. "As the summer movie blockbuster season comes to a close, we have witnessed some positive changes in the landscape in this arena."

This spring, the Motion Picture Association of America announced a new ratings clarification to consider smoking as a factor when it rates movies. Healton said that action had not gone far enough. "The action failed to address the concerns of major public health groups and parents nationwide," she said in a statement. "We have seen the results of this empty policy; the first movie, Hairspray, was tagged with a PG-ratings descriptor to include `momentary teen smoking.' These MPAA actions will have little impact on youth exposure to movie smoking.'' But industry executives accused American Legacy of being hypocritical. They contend that the organization's own guidelines allow smoking for historical context and other issues. "Here is a move set in the 1970s. People smoked (more) then. If that's not historical, what is?'' one industry executive responded. The executive defended the initiative taken as an extraordinary step. "We've taken as bold a step as any industry could be expected to take," he said.

Jane Wyman, 93: Oscar-Winning Actress

Excerpt from www.thestar.com - Associated Press

(September 10, 2007) LOS ANGELES –
Jane Wyman, an Academy Award winner for her performance as the deaf rape victim in Johnny Belinda, star of the long-running TV series Falcon Crest and Ronald Reagan's first wife, died this morning at 93. Wyman died at her Palm Springs home, said Richard Adney of Forest Lawn Memorial Park and Mortuary in Cathedral City. No other details were immediately available. Wyman's film career spanned from the 1930s, including Gold Diggers of 1937, to 1969's How to Commit Marriage, co-starring Bob Hope and Jackie Gleason. From 1981 to 1990 she played Angela Channing, a Napa Valley winery owner who maintained her power with a steely will on Falcon Crest. Her marriage in 1940 to fellow Warner Bros. contract player Reagan was celebrated in the fan magazines as one of Hollywood's ideal unions. While he was in uniform during World War II, her career ascended, signalled by her 1946 Oscar nomination for The Yearling. The couple divorced in 1948, the year she won the Oscar for Johnny Belinda. Reagan reportedly cracked to a friend: "Maybe I should name Johnny Belinda as co-respondent.''

After Reagan became governor of California and then president of the United States, Wyman kept a decorous silence about her ex-husband, who had married actress Nancy Davis. In a 1968 newspaper interview, Wyman explained the reason: "It's not because I'm bitter or because I don't agree with him politically. I've always been a registered Republican. But it's bad taste to talk about ex-husbands and ex-wives, that's all. Also, I don't know a damn thing about politics.'' A few days after Reagan died on June 5, 2004, Wyman broke her silence, saying: "America has lost a great president and a great, kind and gentle man.''  It was 1936 when Warner Bros. signed Wyman to a long-term contract. She long remembered the first line she spoke as a chorus girl to show producer Dick Powell: "I'm Bessie Fuffnik. I swim, ride, dive, imitate wild birds and play the trombone.'' Warner Bros. was notorious for typecasting its contract players, and Wyman suffered that fate. She recalled in 1968: "For 10 years I was the wisecracking lady reporter who stormed the city desk snapping, `Stop the presses! I've got a story that will break this town wide open!''' In 1937, Wyman married a wealthy manufacturer of children's clothes, Myron Futterman, in New Orleans. The marriage was reported as her second, but an earlier marriage was never confirmed. She divorced him in November 1938, declaring she wanted children and he didn't. The actress became entranced by Reagan, a handsome former sportscaster who was a newcomer to the Warner lot. She wangled a date with him, and romance ensued.

After returning from a personal appearance tour with columnist Louella Parsons, they were married on Jan. 26, 1940. The following year she gave birth to a daughter, Maureen. They later adopted a son, Michael. They also had a daughter who was born several months premature in June 1947 and died a day later. In Reagan's autobiography An American Life, the index shows only one mention of Wyman, and it runs for only two sentences. ``That same year I made the Knute Rockne movie, I married Jane Wyman, another contract player at Warners," Reagan wrote. "Our marriage produced two wonderful children, Maureen and Michael, but it didn't work out, and in 1948 we were divorced." The final divorce decree was issued in 1949. Their daughter Maureen died in August 2001 after a battle with cancer. At the funeral, Wyman, balancing on a cane, put a cross on the casket. Reagan, suffering from Alzheimer's disease, was not well enough to attend. Early in their marriage, Reagan's career grew with Knute Rockne – All American and King's Row while Wyman languished as "Joan Blondell of the B's." That changed after Reagan joined the army. Wyman escaped B-pictures by persuading Jack Warner to loan her to Paramount for The Lost Weekend. The film won the Academy Award for 1945 and led to another loanout – to MGM for The Yearling. De-glamorized as a backwoods wife and mother, the actress received her first Oscar nomination. After 40 films at Warner Bros., Wyman achieved her first acting challenge with Johnny Belinda. When Jack Warner saw a rough cut of the film, he ranted to the director, Jean Negulesco: "We invented talking pictures, and you make a picture about a deaf and dumb girl!'' He changed his attitude when Johnny Belinda received 12 Academy Award nominations and the Oscar for Jane Wyman. Her acceptance speech was brief: "I accept this award very gratefully for keeping my mouth shut once. I think I'll do it again.'' Reagan became increasingly active in politics as his wife's career climbed. When she divorced him, she testified: "Politics built a barrier between us. I tried to make his interests mine, but finally there was nothing to sustain our marriage.''

Wyman continued making prestigious films such as The Glass Menagerie, Alfred Hitchcock's Stage Fright, Here Comes the Groom (with Bing Crosby). Two tearjerkers, The Blue Veil (1951) and Magnificent Obsession (1954), brought her Oscar nominations as best actress. Other film credits include: So Big, Lucy Gallant, All That Heaven Allows, Miracle in the Rain, Holiday for Lovers, Pollyanna and Bon Voyage!' Her first entry into television came with The Jane Wyman Show, an anthology series that appeared on NBC from 1955 to 1958. She introduced the shows, half of them starring herself, half with other actors. She quit the show after three years, saying that ``putting on a miniature movie once a week" was exhausting. In 1952 Wyman married Fred Karger, a studio music director. They divorced, later remarried and divorced the second time in 1965. She remained single thereafter. While not working, she devoted much of her time to benefits and telethons for the Arthritis Foundation. When Wyman received the script for Falcon Crest, she was undecided about undertaking the nasty, power-mad Angela Channing, so different from the self-sacrificing characters of her movie days. But she liked the idea that Angela "runs everything. She goes straight through everything like a Mack truck.'' Riding the wave of prime-time soap operas that made Dallas and Dynasty national sensations, Falcon Crest lasted nine seasons. The series ended with Angela again in control of the vineyard. Her battered family raised their glasses in a toast: ``The land endures.''

After Reagan became president in 1981, his former wife gave few interviews and responded to questions about him with a stony look. When "Falcon Crest" ended, she withdrew from public view. She saw a few intimates and devoted much time to painting. She summed up her long career in a 1981 newspaper interview: ``I've been through four different cycles in pictures: the brassy blonde, then came the musicals, the high dramas, then the inauguration of television.'' In the end, she had survived for decades in a town notorious for exploiting talent and then discarding it. Sarah Jane Fulks was born in St. Joseph, Mo., in 1914. She grew up in a cheerless home in which her mother's time was devoted to her seriously ailing husband. After the father died, Sarah Jane accompanied her mother to Los Angeles, where the girl tried to get jobs in the studios. There was no work for the snub-nosed teenager, and she returned to St. Joseph. She attended the University of Missouri, worked as a manicurist and switchboard operator, then sang on radio as Jane Durrell. When that career dwindled, she decided to try Hollywood again, began playing bit parts, and changed Durrell to Wyman.

Jon Stewart To Host Oscars

Excerpt from www.globeandmail.com - Associated Press

(September 12, 2007) BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Comedian Jon Stewart will return as host of the Oscars for the 80th awards show on Feb. 24, it was announced Wednesday. The host of TV's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart will get his second shot at hosting Hollywood's premiere event, which will be held on Feb. 24 at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. He hosted the 78th annual awards show in 2006. Stewart was “a terrific host” for that event, Oscar telecast producer Gil Cates said in a statement from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. “He is smart, quick, funny, loves movies and is a great guy.” The statement did not say why the academy decided to go with Stewart after comedian Ellen DeGeneres hosted last year. “I'm thrilled to be asked to host the Academy Awards for the second time because, as they say, the third time's a charm,” Stewart joked in the statement.

Previous Cates-selected hosts include comedians Steve Martin, Chris Rock and Billy Crystal. Stewart, a political satirist, injected some political humour into his 2006 performance, taking jabs at the war in Iraq and ribbing Hollywood's elite about their ties to the Democratic Party. However, some jokes bombed and he got mixed reviews. “His usually impeccable blend of puckishness and self-effacement fell flat,” wrote an Associated Press reviewer. He was “too deferential, too nice and too obvious in his targets,” the review said. Stewart noted the split decision on his own Comedy Central show the night after the Oscars, saying he had a great time but did not know how he did until he saw the reviews. “I sucked and was great!” he said. “I was a painfully smug and unfunny heir to Johnny Carson.” He hosted the Grammy Awards in 2001 and 2002.


Jamie Foxx To Get Hollywood Star Next Week

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com

(September 7, 2007) *
Jamie Foxx, a former comedian who has risen to the upper echelon of Tinseltown elite, will receive the 2,347th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame during an unveiling ceremony to be held Sept. 14.  The star will be placed outside of the Kodak Theatre on Hollywood Blvd., where the actor/singer picked up an Academy Award in 2005 for portraying legendary singer Ray Charles in the film “Ray.”   Meanwhile, some folks who wanted to use a particular elevator at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills last week were met with the outstretched hand of Foxx’s bodyguard to hold them at bay. A spy inside of the elevator with Foxx told EUR there was plenty of extra room, despite the large amount of journalists and studio publicists there to junket Foxx’s upcoming film, “The Kingdom.”  But when the elevator would stop at a floor to pick up passengers, Foxx’s bodyguard would throw his arm out to prevent anyone from entering, according to our witness. An explanation for the behaviour was offered to the New York Post by Foxx’s rep, who said: "There were four to five people in the elevator with Foxx at the time and rushing to get to interviews to promote his film."

Meagan Good Joins Mike Myers Movie

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com

(September 6, 2007) *
Meagan Good was among a trio of new talent added to “The Love Guru,” starring Mike Myers as an American raised in an Indian ashram who returns to the States to break into the self-help business. Oscar winner Ben Kingsley and John Oliver also join the Paramount Pictures comedy, which already stars Jessica Alba, Romany Malco, Verne Troyer and Justin Timberlake. The first challenge for Myers’ character in the film is to settle the romantic troubles and subsequent professional downfall of a star hockey player whose wife left him for a rival athlete. Good plays Prudence, the woman who leaves Toronto Maple Leafs player Darren Roanoke (Malco) for his French-Canadian hockey nemesis, Jacques Grande (Timberlake).  Kingsley has signed to play Guru Tugginmypudha, the ashram leader who teaches Myers how to love himself and how to wear a chastity belt. Oliver plays manager Dick Pants, whose goal is to get the Love Guru on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" to settle a rivalry between his client and Deepak Chopra.  Alba plays the Maple Leafs manager, who enlists the Love Guru's services to restore Roanoke's mojo after Prudence betrays him. Troyer plays the team coach.  The film began production Friday in Toronto and is scheduled for release June 20. Good’s resume includes lead roles in the hits "Stomp the Yard" and "Waist Deep" and also appeared in the acclaimed indie "Brick," "Roll Bounce" and "You Got Served."

Jennifer Hudson Joins ‘Sex And The City’ Film

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com

(September 12, 2007) *Academy Award winner
Jennifer Hudson has scored a plush role in the forthcoming big screen adaptation of HBO’s "Sex and the City."  The former “American Idol” contestant, who won an Oscar for her supporting role in "Dreamgirls," will play the assistant to Sarah Jessica Parker's character, Carrie Bradshaw.  Parker, along with the show’s other three leads, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis and Cynthia Nixon, signed on for the project in July after New Line Cinema agreed to finance and distribute the film. Shooting will begin next week in New York under the direction of “Sex in the City” creator, Michael Patrick King, who also wrote the script.  J-Hud, meanwhile, just completed production on the Sony-distributed ensemble drama "Winged Creatures," starring Kate Beckinsale, Forrest Whitaker, Jackie Earle Haley and Dakota Fanning.  Hudson is also in the studio working on her debut album for Arista Records, due for release in the first quarter of 2008.

Don Cheadle Goes To The ‘Dogs’

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com

(September 12, 2007) *
Don Cheadle has been cast in the film adaptation of Lois Duncan’s 1971 children’s book, “Hotel for Dogs,” which follows two orphaned teenagers who hide dozens of stray dogs in an abandoned hotel. According to Variety, the DreamWorks live-action project stars Julia Roberts’ niece Emma Roberts as one of the orphaned teens, while Cheadle will star as a beleaguered social worker who keeps the kids out of trouble. The film, which begins shooting in early November, marks Thor Freudenthal's feature directorial debut.  Cheadle was last seen on the big screen in the critically acclaimed biopic “Talk to Me,” based on the true story of Washington D.C. radio personality Petey Greene.



Enthusiastic About TV On Sunday Again

Excerpt from www.thestar.com - Bill Brioux, Canadian Press

(September 07, 2007) After a summer of nothing's on, TV is about to heat up again. With the networks set to launch their fall seasons in a week or so, the Movie Network makes a pre-emptive strike this Sunday with shows featuring two of the biggest names on HBO and one sexy new series. First up at 8:30 p.m., Seinfeld co-creator Larry David returns after a prolonged absence with a sixth season of Curb Your Enthusiasm. It has been well over a year since TV's most neurotic and savage wit last made fun of himself and his pampered Hollywood pals. At the end of last season, it looked like the series was over. David had died and gone to heaven, only to be kicked out for completely annoying his guardian angel. David admitted to critics in July on the TV networks' press tour that he almost walked away from the series at that point. ``Every season that I do is my last season," he said. "That's the only way I can get through the season. If I thought that I had to come back and do it again, I would never do it in the first place." Brutally honest and sometimes dysfunctional relationships are at the heart of the drama that follows Curb on Sunday at 9 p.m. Tell Me You Love Me explores sexual relationships and intimacy in a way that is as blunt and frank as Larry David is when it comes to comedy.

The show looks at four couples at different stages in life. A couple in their 40s have stopped having sex. Another couple in their 30s are trying to have a baby, which is killing their fun in the bedroom. An engaged couple in their 20s seem to be compatible only in the sack. All three couples see a therapist (Jane Alexander) for counselling. She and her hubby (played by former Falcon Crest stud David Selby) still have the hots for each other as older adults. Ally Walker (Profiler), Tim DeKay (Carnivale), Sonya Walger (Lost), Adam Scott (Knocked Up), Michelle Borth (Wonderland) and Canadian Luke Kirby (Slings & Arrows) are among the actors; Canadian Patricia Rozema directed several episodes. The graphic sex scenes on the series were the talk of the press tour. "Were they really doing it?" was a question frequently heard from critics already cooped up too long at the hotel.  It may be a little too honest for viewers who are checking this out just because of the buzz about the sex scenes. Tell Me You Love Me can be painful to watch for couples honest enough to admit that they can identify with these characters. As Walker observes, series creator Cynthia Mort didn't set out to write "the kick-ass sex scene of the century." Instead, this is "sex when you're trying to get pregnant, which is not hot," says Walker, or "we're not having sex, which is depressing." It's not there to titillate, she says, "it's like reality."

An even more bracing dose of reality arrives at 10 p.m. with the premiere of HBO's Alive Day Memories: Home From Iraq.  The hour-long documentary finds former Sopranos boss James Gandolfini sitting in a chair across from several American soldiers seriously wounded in the war.  While their stories are fascinating, the physical and emotional scars that are also revealed are searing and unsettling. As one of the soldiers, Cpl. Jonathan Bartlett, told reporters last July there were "12 functioning limbs" out of 20 between the five soldiers at the press session. While he admits he's no Barbara Walters, Gandolfini does a fine job drawing the stories from the soldiers. He felt he owed it to the men and women he met while on a USO tour of Iraq. "I was playing this tough guy on TV," he said, "and I guess I wanted to go meet a few real ones."


Sony Canada Invests In Revitalizing An Historic Toronto Landmark

Source: Sony Centre

(Sept. 7, 2007) Toronto, Canada – The Board of Directors of the Hummingbird Centre and Sony Canada are pleased to announce a partnership agreement, commencing September 7, 2007, for the revitalization of the Hummingbird Centre that attracts over 400,000 patrons per year.  This $10 million, 20-year title sponsorship will re-energize the entertainment venue with aesthetic improvements and technical upgrades, all while maintaining the heritage of the Toronto landmark.    Now renamed the
Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, the facility will undergo a complete interior renovation commencing June 2008.  When completed, the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts will be transformed into a state-of-the-art, versatile, multimedia theatre and concert venue.  The 47-year-old historic building will be outfitted with the most technically advanced audio and video Sony products that offer the ultimate entertainment experience.

“Sony Canada’s investment in our theatre signifies the importance of Toronto as a major centre for arts and creativity,” said Dan Brambilla, chief executive officer of the Centre.  “We strategically approached Sony as the naming sponsor of our venue because of their commitment to continually provide the very best entertainment experience.  We see this partnership as a collaboration between a leading entertainment company and a live entertainment venue.”   “We are proud to be part of the revitalization of the Centre,” said Doug Wilson, president and chief operating officer of Sony Canada.  “The Sony Centre for the Performing Arts will offer the highest quality live entertainment, performing arts and multicultural programming which will raise the profile of this unique Centre for the City of Toronto.”

About Sony of Canada Ltd.

Established in 1955, Sony of Canada Ltd. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony Corporation, of Tokyo, Japan, a world leader in High Definition.  Sony provides end-to-end solutions through products that include the market-leading Blu-ray player, BRAVIA televisions, Cyber-shot digital cameras, Handycam Camcorders, VAIO computers, broadcast cameras, IPELA security cameras and video conferencing, and many more products that deliver the true entertainment experience.  Sony is one of the most comprehensive entertainment companies in the world with a portfolio that includes electronics, music, movies, games and online businesses.   With headquarters in Toronto, sales offices in Vancouver and Montreal, and distribution centres in Coquitlam, British Columbia, and Whitby, Ontario, approximately 1,200 employees support a network of more than 500 authorized dealers and 79 Sony stores across Canada.   Sony Canada is proud to support the communities in which it operates through corporate sponsorships of organizations that include the Make-a-Wish Foundation Canada, the United Way and Earth Day Canada. 

About the Theatre:

In 1954, philanthropist, horse breeder, and developer E.P. Taylor, the head of the O’Keefe Brewing Company and Argus Corporation, offered to build a much-needed performing arts centre for the city. On October 1, 1960, the complex, which became known as the O’Keefe Centre, opened with the pre-Broadway premiere of Alexander H. Cohen’s production of the Lerner and Loewe musical Camelot with Richard Burton, Julie Andrews and Robert Goulet.  In 1967 the building and land were sold to the City of Toronto and in 1996 the facility was renamed The Hummingbird Centre after the naming rights were purchased by the Canadian software company Hummingbird Ltd.  The auditorium was designed to serve a wide range of performing arts, and has seen such artists as Ethel Merman, Angela Lansbury, Yul Brynner, Carol Channing, Pearl Bailey, Petula Clark, Duke Ellington, Marlene Dietrich, Diana Ross, Shirley MacLaine, Judy Garland, Sammy Davis Jr., Liza Minnelli, Liberace, Placido Domingo, Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud, Ralph Richardson, Vivien Leigh, Christopher Plummer, Jessica Tandy, Hume Cronyn and Michael York. Renowned architect Daniel Libeskind will redesign the complex, which includes two key concepts: the creation of a $75 million “Arts & Heritage Awareness Centre” (the AHA! Centre) and above it, the 47-storey residential L Tower.

Stratford Lines Up Brian Dennehy

Excerpt from www.globeandmail.com - Kamal Al-Solaylee

(September 6, 2007) An American star, a British writer-actor-director and two renowned Canadian playwrights will be part of the international mix at next year's Stratford Shakespeare Festival. The festival announced yesterday that stage and screen actor Brian Dennehy will star in a double bill of Samuel Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape and Eugene O'Neill's Hughie at the Studio Theatre. He is also slated to play the King in Marti Maraden's production of William Shakespeare's All's Well That Ends Well. Dennehy's recent appearances on Broadway have earned him two Tony Awards as best actor: in 1999 for his performance as Willy Loman in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman and again in 2003 as James Tyrone in O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night. Most recently he was seen opposite Christopher Plummer - another star already confirmed for the 2008 playbill at Stratford - in a revival of Inherit the Wind. But it wasn't Plummer who got Dennehy into Stratford. "I always admired him as an actor ... and we got talking and started to explore projects," says Don Shipley, one of three co-artistic directors at the fest. "By the time we began that overture about the potential of him coming here, we were out of the gate in terms of planning and casting of principal roles." When the prospect of doing these "two tour-de-force performances" in a double bill rose, Dennehy signed on. Simon Callow, a veteran of British theatre and film as well as an acclaimed authority on Orson Welles and Charles Dickens, has been commissioned by the festival to write a (still-untitled) play based on Shakespeare's sonnets. Dates for the production are yet to be confirmed, but Michael Langham is set to direct it, also at the Studio Theatre. Callow is perhaps best known to North American audiences for his performances in Four Weddings and a Funeral and Shakespeare in Love. "Because of his love for the sonnets and our desire to further reinforce the direction of Shakespeare [at the festival], it seemed like a natural fit," Shipley explains.

The festival also announced another two new plays at the Studio Theatre, a space that has been "designated as a venue for very challenging work," Shipley says. Playwright and director Morris Panych (The Overcoat, Vigil) will adapt Herman Melville's classic Moby-Dick to the stage. Set to the music of Debussy, the production will use movement and dance. Canadian-born playwright Joanna McClelland Glass will follow a more historical approach with Palmer Park, a new play set during race riots in the Detroit of the sixties. Glass lived in Palmer Park at the time and was part of a "Utopian experiment in integration." Her most recent work, Trying, was also based on autobiographical material and became one of the most produced plays in Canada of the past few years. With these two commissions, the Ontario festival steps up its commitment to new plays by Canadian writers. "We would love to start preparing the way for a more vigorous approach to new play development and new commissions in '09," Shipley says. "We also take it very seriously to incubate new Canadian musicals." The Stratford Festival also announced Shakespeare's Universe, a new outdoor initiative designed to illuminate the social and political background to Shakespeare and provide a context to his plays on the 2008 season. Peter Hinton will direct Her Infinite Variety, a mixture of "history, sword fights, songs and scenes in an outdoor setting" that focuses on Shakespeare's women.


We Will Rock You To Rock Longer

Excerpt from www.thestar.com

(September 07, 2007) We Will Rock You, the raucous stage musical that celebrates the songs of Queen, has been extended into the New Year at the Canon Theatre. Originally slated to close Sept. 2, then Nov. 4, it will now play until Jan. 6. More than 350,000 people have attended since it opened in March with repeat ticket-buyers and fan-club members swelling attendance figures. The Toronto production has outlasted runs in Australia, South Africa, South Korea and other countries. The new block of tickets goes on sale Monday.  Star Staff


Damon Hosts Kids Charity Gala In Toronto

Excerpt from www.thestar.com - Lauren La Rose, Canadian Press

(September 9, 2007)
Matt Damon has described his past experience visiting Africa as "life-changing," stoking his passion to help and empower some of the world's most impoverished citizens. But when the actor returns to the continent, he'll have some high-profile company – courtesy of longtime friend Ben Affleck. The Oscar winners are scheduled to leave Monday for Tanzania to observe aid work being done in the country. Damon said it will be similar to a six-day trip to the continent last year, where he spent much of his time in Zambia. "We're just going to observe these programs and just try to learn," he said. "Our job is just to be quiet and listen and take notes and meet people and listen to peoples' stories." Damon had hoped to visit with refugees from Sudan's Darfur region in neighbouring Chad but said the trip fell through at the last minute. Throughout the summer, he has been actively involved in helping raise millions to support humanitarian efforts in the region, along with fellow Ocean's Thirteen stars Don Cheadle, George Clooney and Brad Pitt. "I'm still open to going and I hope to go," he said. There's clearly an appetite back at home for what the issues are there, but also it's a very complicated situation there, it's a very fluid situation and it keeps changing." Damon was in Toronto on Sunday lending his star power to a homegrown humanitarian effort, returning as host of the One X One benefit gala for the second consecutive year.

The event raises money for domestic and global children's charities. Last year's gala raised more than $3.5 million and the foundation has raised more than $5 million since its inception in 2005. Grammy Award-winner Wyclef Jean is heading up musical leadership of the gala, which was slated to include performances by Shakira, Montreal singing sensation Nikki Yanofsky and the African Children's Choir. Jean will also be honoured with a special humanitarian award for his work in his native Haiti through the Yele Haiti movement. Richard Gere, supermodel Petra Nemcova, Phil Fontaine, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, and Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, are among those being honoured for their work to fight child poverty and suffering around the world. Damon said participation in an event like the One X One benefit gala is a "no-brainer" for him. "This event is so great, and it's such a huge fundraiser," he said in an interview hours before the gala. "The people that show up, the Canadians that turn out for this are just real heavy hitters, and they're there to make an impact." Damon said the bulk of the $2 million raised for his clean-water initiative H20 Africa was raised at last year's gala. He attended a private screening of the documentary, Running the Sahara in Toronto on Saturday, which he executive produced and narrated. It follows runners Charlie Engle, Kevin Lin and Canadian Ray Zahab, who are also One X One award honourees, on their 111-day, nearly 7,000-kilometre run across the desert, while also bringing awareness to H20 Africa.

Zahab, of Chelsea, Que., north of Gatineau, said Damon would call the trio on their satellite phone during the journey to boost their spirits. "You talk about a down-to-earth, totally cool, awesome guy that really, truly practices what he preaches," he said. "He really believes in what he does and does what he believes, and I think that that's just so cool, and it was very encouraging and it was very motivating to have Matt saying to us, `Guys, it's awesome, it's amazing, what you're doing is amazing."' Damon said he believes poverty in Africa can be remedied if individuals are mobilized to help in bringing about change. "When you're working with people and meeting with people who are just worried about surviving, they have absolutely no chance to get out of that cycle. You are only worried about making it to the next day and your kids making it to the next day, and that is the cycle that needs to be broken," he said. "When people are subsisting on less than $1 a day they're not getting educated, they're not getting adequate health care, they're not getting enough food. Those are the issues that you go, `Look, as a citizen of the world, I'm not going to stand for this.' These are not problems that can't be solved – these are problems that can be solved." Damon said he wants to broaden his involvement in humanitarian work, and hopes his daughters, Isabella and Alexia, can share in his journey. "It's very important to me to raise my kids with a broader understanding of the world, and I want them to come on a lot of these trips with me when they're older."

African Queen: Six Questions with Supermodel Alek Wek

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com - Robertson Treatment (America’s Premiere Lifestyle Column) Volume 10, Issue 14

(September 11, 2007) *I must admit to nearly wrecking my car the first time I laid eyes on supermodel Alek Wek. With her deep chocolate-skin and classic African features, the Sudanese native was nothing short of breathtaking as she sauntered along the  very upscale and fashionable stretch of boutiques that run along Sunset Plaza in  West Hollywood.  Since her arrival on the world fashion stage in 1995, Wek has succeed in expanding beauty standards in the fashion world and society at large to the fact black- in whatever shade- is indeed beautiful. Lately Wek has been expanding her base as a model to include acting (Four Features 2002), and fashion design (her Wek 1933 line of hand bags and leather accessories is sold in high-end emporiums throughout the world).With the publication of her autobiography, Alek the 30-year old Brooklyn resident can now add author to her impressive resume. The Robertson Treatment engaged Wek with 6-questions about her life as a symbol for social change.

Robertson Treatment: What motivated you to write a book about your life?

Alek Wek: I didn't expect to write about my experiences but after a visit back to Sudan three years ago with my mother, I knew that my story just might be one that helps to inspire people but also enable them to learn about a culture unlike their own. So my memoir does not just entail my career as a model, but it really brings full circle my whole life, growing up as a happy girl who didn't realize that her family was of modest means in Sudan, to fleeing her home due to the outbreak of civil war in her hometown, to seeking refuge in London which at the time was not only foreign geographically but also culturally, to being "discovered" as a model and an entire new world of opportunities opening up to me.

RT: Briefly, tell us about your life in the spotlight as a model.

AK:  I can honestly say that it wasn't always easy in the beginning. First, I never had dreams of being a model. Fashion was not something that was particularly on my radar. When the opportunity was presented to me, I didn't take it seriously and for two weeks, I went about my life as if nothing had happened. However, the scout who approached me initially kept pursuing me and calling my house. Eventually, I agreed to at least check it out and it turned out that it was a reputable agency. So, as my career got underway, it was tough because it was not a consistent stream of income and at one point, I even strongly considered quitting. But I'm the kind of person who goes full steam ahead and so after a lot of consideration, I decided to stick with it. When the Elle cover happened in 1997, it really did change everything and that's when I knew that I had to put to good use the voice and platform I'd been given.

RT: In what way has your success as a model expanded societal views about beauty?

AK: I've always felt that beauty is a universal thing. I've never believed that beauty is one thing or another. It may sound cliché, but beauty really is about an individual as a whole, particularly who we are on the inside. When I first got into this business, I was not considered the conventional standard of beauty, but things eventually changed and people saw me for me, not just what I supposedly represent. I feel that the ultimate level of beauty is feeling comfortable in your own skin. When you love yourself and take care of yourself, you exude a confidence and comfort that results in natural beauty.

RT: Tell my readers about your handbag line.

AK: I'm very excited about my handbag line, which I began in 2001. It's named after my father and his birth year. I often feel sad that he's not here to have seen me grow into the woman I've become because I think he'd be proud, but I know he's with me in spirit. The handbag line is one that promotes luxury, sophistication, style and convenience. The construction of the bags also promotes practicality for women. We want to look good while being able to wear and really enjoy the use of our accessories over the long term. The Wek1933 customer is one who embraces style but also a bag that she can love and use forever.

RT: What do you want readers to gain from your story?

AK: I hope that they come to understand that life can be hard and unfair, but it doesn't mean you have to give up. When I look back on my life, there were definitely some hard times but the good far outweighs the not-so-good. I'm grateful for all of my experiences as they make up who I am today.

RT: What can African Americans do about the situation in Darfur and Sudan as a whole?

AK: We're off to a great start in terms of the awareness and attention that's been given to what has happened for more years than I care to remember in Sudan. There is a lot of re-building to be done so whether it's lending your voice or providing money, or offering one's time to the effort, it all matters. There is no one thing that stands out as being most helpful. A unified effort will help bring about change, and I hope that this is the direction it will continue to take.

Comedian Rosato Found Guilty

Excerpt from www.globeandmail.com - Gregory Bonnell, Canadian Press

(September 5, 2007) KINGSTON, Ont. — Troubled comedian Tony Rosato has been found guilty of criminally harassing his wife. Superior Court Justice Gordon Thomson then set aside the conviction and ordered the Toronto actor committed to a mental institution for a maximum of three years. If Mr. Rosato is judged to be cured before that time, he will be released; if he is not, he will then face civil committal proceedings. Normally, defendants found not criminally responsible by reason of mental disorder are committed to a mental hospital but may never get out from under court supervision. Wednesday's decision sets a time line for how long they may be supervised by the courts. Judge Thomson agreed to Crown lawyer Priscilla Christie's request that the court grant a conditional discharge with a probation order requiring Mr. Rosato to get psychiatric treatment. “This balances the interests of the accused with the interests of the victim and the public,” Ms. Christie told the court. The judge noted that he found Mr. Rosato's rambling and often incoherent testimony on Tuesday “a very bizarre hour of evidence.”

Mr. Rosato, who suffers from Capgras syndrome, described how he concluded his wife was not the woman he married — speculating she had been replaced by twins or triplets — and that his infant daughter had also been replaced. Mr. Rosato said he believes Leah Rosato's face was digitally removed from their wedding photos and another woman's put in and doubts it was even her who testified against him at the preliminary hearing. He also said that during a court-ordered supervised visitation with his baby daughter, another couple's child was handed to him by a Children's Aid worker. In his verdict, the judge said that Mr. Rosato's evidence did not raise any reasonable doubt in his mind that Mr. Rosato harassed his wife. Judge Thomson stated that he was satisfied that Mr. Rosato did “frighten, scare, annoy, bedevil... badger..., continuously or chronically, until he wore his young wife down with fear and exhaustion.” Mr. Rosato had pleaded not guilty. The judge cited Leah Rosato's testimony that her husband had been abusive, that he had said her family was connected to pedophilia and incest, that he had called his wife “crack-whore” when she breastfed their baby and had said she was impure and needed to be purified, and that he shook the baby, yelled in her ears and was afraid of beings called “astral attackers.” The judge noted in his verdict that Tony Rosato had become so controlling he forced his wife to cut off all contact with her family, and forced her to denounce them in a letter.

Mr. Rosato protested the verdict, claiming he had not been allowed to defend himself. “I said ‘Excuse me, this is not my daughter,”' he recalled. Mr. Rosato, born in Naples, Italy, joined SCTV in its final season in 1980, his best-known character a tippling TV chef named Marcello Sebastiano. He appeared on Saturday Night Live for one season in 1981, then in 1985 began a four-year stint on the popular Canadian police drama Night Heat.


Argos Pin Hope On Bishop

Excerpt from www.thestar.com - Dave Feschuk, Sports Columnist

(September 07, 2007) As hosts of the 2007 Grey Cup, the Toronto Argonauts have been desperately vying to build a football club good enough to earn a berth in the big game. So call this week a season-turning moment of truth.  And know that, because the Argonauts let the moment pass without success – because they allowed Casey Printers, one of the best CFL-proven quarterbacks on the planet, to sign with the last-place Hamilton Tiger-Cats – their championship-game ambitions are looking just a little more like false hope. In a summer in which the 3-6 Argonauts have made it their business to spend money on seemingly every available spare part on the market, from Derrell Mitchell to Robert Edwards, yesterday they missed out on the pièce de résistance of the mid-season signings. In the same instant, the Argos' faith in Michael Bishop, the starting quarterback who has much to prove as a CFL No. 1, escalated from necessarily generous to dubiously complete. The Argos, in not landing Printers, showed they are sold on Bishop's status as a championship-worthy team-runner, which is obviously great for Bishop's ego. As for the fans of the double blue, perhaps they've been noticing that the folks in charge of their beloved team's roster have miscalculated every permutation of their quarterback situation this season. These are the same guys who ill-headedly gave Damon Allen an opening-day start, who gave Mike McMahon all of a nanosecond to prove he didn't belong in this league, who gave McMahon's minutes to Rocky Butler, even though Butler's a proven middle-of-the-roader. Now they're saying they're comfortable enough with Bishop to pass up Printers. And what are the odds they're right?

Perhaps it'll be a forever-debatable point, since Printers, the league's outstanding player in 2004 when he was with a Grey Cup finalist in B.C., hasn't exactly landed in a situation where he's a sure thing to shine. Instead of resurrecting a season, Printers, who spent the past year and a half on the Kansas City Chiefs' practice squad, has been relegated to saving an owner's face.  For Bob Young, the Hamilton money man, making Printers the highest-paid player in the league at $500,000-some a season while slipping him a similarly hefty signing bonus tells the long-suffering fans of his 1-8 club that there's hope beyond the win-loss record. Toronto, on the other hand, is supposed to be winning, and now. Yet this is the second straight season in which the Argos have encountered a major regular-season slump, and the only member of the hierarchy who's been thrown over the side is former offensive co-ordinator Kent Austin. It speaks to the dark comedy of the Toronto situation that Austin is now head coach of the best team in the league, and that Bishop, a quarterback whose critics within the club have been many – and whose legend grew substantially when he was on the sidelines during a five-game losing streak – is suddenly the man on whom it all rides. The Argos obviously believe their QB is a transformed player, otherwise the Hogtown fat cats surely could have pulled off a deal to land Printers, no matter the so-called salary cap situation, no matter the stakes. As Printers' agent, Jason Medlock had said a few days before yesterday's press conference in Hamilton: "If it gets down to a number he likes from a club but it affects their cap, I'm savvy enough to make it work." Indeed, in the CFL, one suspects salary cap savvy amounts to the unspoken acceptance of unmarked bills in a brown paper bag. Come late autumn, don't think the Argos won't be looking back on this week and wishing they'd filled the bag to bulging and rode Printers to the Grey Cup game.


Tiger Wins Again: His 60th Career Victory

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com

(September 11, 2007) *Tiger Woods shot an eight-under-par 63 Sunday to claim a two-shot victory at the seven million-dollar BMW Championship at Chicago’s Cog Hill golf course.  Tiger started the day one shot off the lead, then went on to sink eight birdies. His four birdies in five holes on the back nine matched the course record.  The world No. 1 claimed his sixth U.S. PGA Tour victory of the year, and the 60th of his career - just two less than legend Arnold Palmer.  Woods also moved back to the top of the standings in the new FedEx Cup playoff series, which concludes with the Tour Championship next week.  The man leading the standings after next week's concluding Tour Championship will earn a 10 million-dollar bonus.