20 Carlton Street, Suite 1032, Toronto, ON  M5B 2H5
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       (416) 677-5883


September 27, 2007

And then there was FALL!  Check out the Morley pictures from her performances last week!  What a great show and compelling and meaningful artist!!  And check out the scoop on two friends of mine, Tomás Doncker (who recently was in Toronto playing for Morley) and Christina K. - both out of New York and details below.

It's all about television this week with all the new series starting and the re-runs halted until next time. 

And don't forget to check out
Chaka Khan's latest offering - Funk This! (details below) 



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



Caribbean Week in Toronto – September 26 – 30

Source: Caribbean Tourism Organization

Caribbean Week in Toronto will be a celebration of the sights, sounds, colors, cultural and unique vacation attributes of the Caribbean. Tourism Officials, the media, artists, performers, celebrity chefs, sponsors and strategic partners will be converging on Toronto for a week of Caribbean hospitality and vacation special offers. Arranged by the Caribbean Tourism Organization, in conjunction with the Caribbean Hotel Association, the Week combines sponsored events with fashion, food, entertainment and a Caribbean wedding!  The week culminates with the Governments of the Caribbean Gala at the Liberty Grand.

On behalf of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) we cordially invite you to take part in our First Ever Caribbean Week being held in Toronto, Canada – September 26-30, 2007. The objectives of Caribbean Week in Toronto are to:

-               Provide high profile vehicles that showcase the Caribbean and provide opportunities for all members to promote and sell their individual products and services;

-               Create events which will attract significant positive media and consumer attention by presenting the best of the Caribbean;

-               Provide a heightened awareness of the Caribbean region in Canada.

About CTO:

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), with headquarters in Barbados and marketing operations in New York, London and Toronto, is the Caribbean’s tourism development agency and comprises membership of more than 30 Dutch, English, French and Spanish governments and a myriad of private sector entities. The CTO’s mission is to provide to and through its members, the services and information needed for the development of sustainable tourism for the economic and social benefit of the Caribbean people. The organization provides specialized support and technical assistance to member countries in the areas of marketing, human resource development, research and information technology, and sustainable development.

Michael Bublé Wants To Take Over The World

Excerpt from www.globeandmail.com - Michael Posner

(September 22, 2007) ATLANTA — Hot, 94 degrees Fahrenheit hot. At 7 o'clock in the evening. Welcome to Atlanta in August, the Deep South in high summer. Passing cars shimmer in the heat. Hotlanta, the natives call it. Avec raison. A hot town, welcoming the hottest singer around. Mr. Cool,
Michael Bublé. Outside the historic Fox Theatre, the line begins to form an hour before show time. The bustling crowd is mostly women, young or middle-aged, though there's a healthy sprinkling of couples, white and black, even families with young children. They've paid $100 a person to be here, and many are eager to hand out another $20 for a souvenir program.  “I saw him last year, too, and he was wonderful,” gushes Amanda Bullard, a young woman who works in the music industry. She's with her boyfriend. “He has that charisma and personality that Frank Sinatra had. I have all of Michael's albums, oh yes. He's absolutely beautiful – and that doesn't hurt anything either.”

Indeed. The frenzy begins an hour later when Michael Steven Bublé, 32, the only son of a Burnaby, B.C., salmon fisherman, and now a gold-plated show-business commodity, finally takes the stage. He appears suddenly and dramatically, framed in smoky, vectored spotlights. A feisty 14-piece band, mostly brass, is behind him. He wears a snappy, dark grey suit, white shirt and loosened tie. His hair is trim, but tussled, as if he might have just gotten out of bed. No accident, there. Not even a bar into his opening ballad, Leonard Cohen's I'm Your Man — “If you want a lover, I'll do anything you ask me to” – the screaming starts. When he ventures briefly into the first few rows to let fans take pictures, they rush the apron. One young woman, unsteady on her feet, manages to make it to the stage and is quickly led away by security. Another briefly grabs Bublé's butt. For almost two hours, in total command, the epitome of cool, Bublé variously belts and serenades, kibitzes with the band, pretends to play the trombone, impersonates Elvis – an uncanny imitation, to the tune of That's All Right (Mama) – and breezes through 20 songs, many of them from his new album, Call Me Irresponsible. Released in May, it debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's charts and still ranks high on the Top 200. He finishes with Sinatra's 40-year-old rouser, That's Life, backed by a powerful all-black Atlanta gospel choir. At the end, everyone is on their feet, clapping, whistling, whooping for more.

The Fox Theatre, a stop on his recent 19-city American tour, was a sell-out for two nights, 4,600 seats. Then it was on to Los Angeles, where he sold out the Greek Theatre, 5,800 seats, three consecutive nights. Burnaby boy makes good doesn't quite cover it. He's no longer an act; he's a phenomenon – astonishing, when you realize that less than seven years ago he was ready to chuck it all and study journalism. “I told him, ‘Michael, go ahead,' ” recalls his former manager, Bev Delich, who discovered him at 18 in a Vancouver talent contest. “And in a few years, when you see some other singer creeping up, making it big with the same songs you sing, you'll regret it for the rest of your life. And wish you could slash your wrists.” And here we are, 14 million albums sold and still counting. Seven Juno Awards. Two Grammy nominations. Enough gold and platinum records to fill a library. Concert tours though 44 countries. A global brand. Corporate deals with Starbucks, ESPN, Rolex, and more on the way, not to mention the burgeoning Bublé product line (lithographs, teddy bears, sweatshirts, anything warm and cuddly). Even Sinatra never had this.

And, lest we forget, there are the women. An inexhaustible parade. Legions of Michael-mad maidens wherever he goes, some of whom may or may not have played a part in the breakup of his relationship with Vancouver actress and singer Debbie Timuss, his former fiancée. But mostly they are just ardent fans. Others are ardent, but not necessarily fans, including the Virginia man who claimed Bublé had stolen music from black people, and threatened to kill him. After that incident, Bublé hired his high-school friend, Steve Hartley, as a personal bodyguard. Next month, he's off on a European and South African concert marathon – he's a much bigger deal overseas than in North America – playing (among other venues) London's 12,300-seat Wembley Arena, the 11,000-seat Palalottomatica in Rome, and the 18,000-seat Coca-Cola Dome in Johannesburg. Then he returns home for a new cross-Canada tour, announced this week. I have only this advice: Buy your tickets early. The boy is hot.

‘Michael does not have a filter'

After the Atlanta show, Bublé spent a few hours mingling and flirting in the bar at the Ritz-Carlton in Buckhead, an upscale suburb north of Atlanta. A long sleep, a few e-mails, some phone calls, including one to his girlfriend of two years, Emily Blunt, the British actress (The Devil Wears Prada) with whom he lives, and to his manager, Vancouver's Bruce Allen, to whom he talks every day – “bitching,” he says, “about the Canucks.” And now here he is the next afternoon, back in the bar, in a T-shirt, jeans, sneakers and a military-fatigue cap. Fresh-faced. Wide-eyed. He looks like a teenager. Bublé orders a cheeseburger, fries and bottled water. When it arrives, he carefully removes the onion. He eats the fries first, dipping them into a miniature bottle of Heinz ketchup, one at a time. And he talks. Openly, without self-censorship, in a way few A-list celebrities are allowed to do. About his family, Blunt, Allen, Paul Anka, who helped him choose songs for his self-titled first album, his creative battles with David Foster, who has produced Bublé's last three albums, and the double-edged sword of fame, one part ecstasy, one part something else. He's famous for his talking, of course, tending to err – in interviews or from the stage – a little too frequently on the side of indiscretion. But that's Bublé, always authentic, for better or worse. Asked once what the biggest mistake of his career was, he replied: “my mouth.” “Michael does not have a filter,” concedes manager Allen. “I keep reminding myself that he's 32, not a 50-year-old crooner. I could not put a leash on him. He's honest and candid and says what he thinks. He's not kept in a bubble. But he hasn't changed. The only difference is that instead of playing to 300 people, he's playing to 5,000 or 10,000.” Still, the Bublé urge to play is irrepressible. “Do you want to do more acting?” I ask him at one point. He's already appeared briefly in three mainstream films, including The Snow Walker and Duets. “No, not unless it's soft-core porn,” he says, totally straight-faced. A pause. “Or hard-core,” he adds, laughing. “That would be okay, too.”

‘He drew fame to himself like a magnet'

It's quite a story, the Bublé saga. Some of it is already legend. How as a kid, hanging out with his Italian grandfather, plumber Demetrio (Mitch) Santanga, he starts listening to old music. Old as in Sinatra, the Mills Brothers, Mel Tormé, Vic Damone, Bobby Darin. While his schoolmates in Burnaby groove on punk and heavy metal, Bublé's Walkman plays Stardust and Stormy Weather. The whole family likes to sing. But when Michael's 15 they notice – he was singing Irving Berlin's White Christmas at the time – something different about his voice: The kid has a set of serious pipes. And he wants to sing. Indeed, it's the only thing he wants to do. And what he wants to sing are the old songs. Santanga, whose clients included area bandleaders, barters his plumbing services in return for stage time for Michael, and pays for his singing lessons. At 18, the kid enters a local talent contest, singing All of Me. “How old are you?” asks the organizer, future manager Delich. “18.” “I have some good news and bad news,” she says. “You won. But you're disqualified. Underage.” Delich then enters him in the Canadian Youth Talent Search. He wins. It's shortly after that that Bublé asks her to be his manager. “I'll give you 15 per cent of everything.”

“Michael,” she says. “What's 15 per cent of nothing?” But she finally signs on, and represents Bublé for the next seven not-so-fruitful years. According to his friend, jazz musician and composer Gabriel Mark Hasselbach, “Bev was Michael's ticket out of Burnaby. She took that boy by the collar and dragged him to fame.” Well, almost. Dragged him to fame's threshold, perhaps. Delich campaigned tirelessly for Bublé, convinced he will one day make it big. “Some mornings I'd cry at the breakfast table, but I knew he had it.” The only person who believes in him more is Bublé himself. He does every gig imaginable – lounges, nightclubs, suburban malls, even a Santa Claus event for $80. He plays Elvis in Red Rock Diner (where he meet Timuss), and he does Dean Regan's musical revue, Forever Swing. Vancouver radio announcer Buzz Bishop, whose station sponsored nights at Vancouver's Babalu, remembers that the club's stage was cramped and the band small. “Yet Michael would put all his energy and passion into it,” recalls Bishop, now a friend of Bublé. “He treated every show as if he were headlining in Vegas.” But Bublé was impatient. Once, on a beach in Florida during a road trip, he tells Hasselbach he's ready to give it all up – return to Burnaby, find a job and start a family – if he doesn't become famous in the next few months. “How ludicrous that sounded to a veteran like me,” says Hasselbach. “It takes years of dues-paying to expect a payoff. Michael, in his early 20s, expected it tomorrow. It just goes to show you the power of intention. He drew fame to himself like a magnet.”

‘An unknown artist with an awkward name'

When they write the book on Michael Bublé, they'd better hold a special place for former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney and his one-time speechwriter Michael McSweeney. It's an improbable story, one that has already acquired the patina of myth. The oft-told part is that McSweeney saw Bublé perform at a corporate gig, and sent a CD to Mulroney, suggesting he might sing at the marriage of Mulroney's daughter, Caroline, to Andrew, son of Lewis Lapham, then editor of Harper's Magazine. That was in 2000. Mulroney, an enthusiastic crooner himself, loved the material and promptly hired Bublé. Among the wedding guests was an old Mulroney friend, record producer David Foster, whose résumé includes a veritable Who's Who of pop musicians. Among them: Celine Dion, Barbara Streisand, the Bee Gees, the Corrs, Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton. As the story goes, Foster was so knocked out by Bublé's nuptials performance – he sang Mack the Knife and a few of his own compositions – that he immediately signed him to a contract. Not quite. In fact, Foster confesses, he was something of a reluctant convert. “Not to Michael's talent,” he is quick to add, on the phone this week during a vacation in the south of France. “His wedding performance was incredible. But I just didn't know how you'd market that music.” Especially with an unknown artist with an awkward name. (Later, Warner executives suggested he change it, but Bublé refused.) Bruce Allen felt the same. Delich knew Allen had orchestrated the careers of Bryan Adams, Anne Murray and Martina McBride. She appealed for help in getting Bublé launched. “I don't know what I'd do with him,” Allen told her.

“Well, Bruce,” said Delich, “if you don't know, who does?” At the time, crooners weren't exactly selling like iPods. The niche – and it wasn't much more than that – was largely occupied by Harry Connick Jr. But the New Orleans showman had begun to show more interest in his acting career, leaving a possible vacuum. And Foster, who had persuaded his colleagues at Warner Music that an unknown young man named Josh Groban could sell them a ton of records by singing obscure Italian love ballads, had acquired a reputation for out-of-the box thinking. Still, Foster was averse. “David told me flat out, ‘You'll never be signed and I'll never produce you,' ”Bublé recalls. “ ‘I have no clue why or how to sell this.' But I drove him crazy, and so did Mulroney. He leaned on him. And let me tell you about David Foster. He didn't know me from Adam, and Beverly and I moved down there for a while, sharing an apartment in Westwood. We had nothing happening. Nothing. We were living on the dream. And David would say, ‘Take this. I know you need it.' And he'd hand me a cheque for $5,000.” Finally, Foster told Delich he'd do the record, but only if she raised the necessary funds, about half a million dollars.

‘I can't tell you how much I wanted it'

Later, Foster had a better idea: his friend Paul Anka, another showbiz legend. They all met one morning, at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, where Bublé was opening for Jay Leno. A piano was rolled in and Bublé, still a little hungover, sang My Way, which Anka had written for Sinatra. As Bublé recalls, “after about two lines, he stops me and says to Foster, ‘How much do you need, Fos?' And Foster says, ‘Squank' — that's David's nickname for Anka — ‘we need about X.' And he says, ‘Done.' ” But in the end, according to Delich, Foster used his own money, and took the finished record to Warner Music, where he had his own label, 143/Reprise. Even then, there remained a final, pivotal meeting between Bublé and Warner music chairman Tom Whalley. He went alone. “I waited outside, a wreck,” recalls Delich. “But Michael always told me the truth, good or bad. So he comes out and I say, ‘How did it go?' He told me Whalley asked him, ‘Why should we do this? People will compare you to Sinatra and you're not Sinatra.' And Michael said: ‘I don't want to be Sinatra. I'm not Sinatra. I've never wanted to be Sinatra. I want to be Michael Bublé.' ” Five days later, Warner gave it the green light.

“I can't tell you how much I wanted it,” Bublé says. It, in this context, is some amalgam of fame and success. Not money. Money is almost incidental. Apart from his Nintendo Wii and a little Vespa scooter he calls “the Harley,” Bublé owns few toys. He doesn't own a car. In fact, when a Vancouver dealership loaned him a BMW convertible to drive for a while, he soon gave it back. “Too ostentatious. Not me. I can't tell you how many people gave me the finger. I was pulled over twice.” But he and Blunt did recently buy a house in West Vancouver. Vancouver journalist Kerry Gold, who has followed Bublé's career for 11 years, says, “I've never met anyone so hungry for success. His manager Beverly would hound me to come see him perform. The young girls were transfixed. It's hard not to like Michael, because he has this way of making you feel like you're part of his inner circle, even when you're in the media. I think that's part of the reason for his success. He charms people.” Bublé wanted success so much that he refused to watch old videos of Sinatra or Bobby Darin onstage. “I couldn't watch them. It hurt me too much because I wanted it so bad. It hurt that that wasn't me, doing what I needed to do.” Bublé avoided videos for another reason; he didn't want to be accused – though he often was – of imitating other performers. “It took a long time before people started to see that I had found my own voice.” One night, Tony Bennett came to see him backstage at the Roxy Theatre in Los Angeles. “ ‘Kid,' he says to me, “I hear a lot voices in you. I hear me. I hear Frank. I hear Dean [Martin]. I hear Mel [Tormé]. Listen, kid. You steal from one, you're a thief. You steal from all of us, that's research.” When Foster's demo was finished, Delich took it to Bruce Allen. “What would you give it?” she asked. “I'd give it a nine.” “Not bad. Why not a 10?” “Nothing's a 10.” At which point, Delich finally ceded managerial reins to Allen, though she still receives a trailing royalty from his earnings, a gesture of thanks from Bublé. Although he spends very little on himself, he's generous to his family. Last Christmas, he gave his parents, Lewis and Amber, a cool million dollars, and $50,000 to each of his two sisters. “Why not?” he says. “They helped me out for years when I was struggling.”

‘I have a mission – to take over the world'

Even with Bruce Allen on board, however, Bublé kept pressing for more. “I said to him, ‘Why am I only playing 500-seat theatres or 1,100 seats and only 500 are filled? How come people don't know me?' And Bruce said, ‘Be patient, kid. You're the real deal. We will build this organically, one fan at a time, and the stronger your foundation, the more secure your career will be.' And of course, I'm thinking ‘bullshit.'” But Allen had a strategy. The first was to position Bublé as star material, not an opening act. The second, strongly endorsed by Bublé, was to broaden his appeal by leavening the American songbook with more contemporary tunes, works by Cohen, Willie Nelson, James Taylor, the Bee Gees and others. Although Bublé had co-written dozens of his own songs, and has put a few on his albums ( Home, written for former girlfriend Timuss; Everything, written for Blunt; and Lost), neither Allen nor Foster wanted the records to become a platform of self-indulgence. Warner Music expected the first album to sell 100,000 copies, tops. It sold millions. “Michael's going to have a 30-year career,” predicts Foster. “Or longer. A lot of other singers have turned to this material because their careers were in trouble. But Michael has always been here. He's lived this music. For my taste, he's the greatest singer alive, if you want that sound. But yes, we've had many healthy debates.” “It's testy,” Bublé says of his relationship with Foster. “But it's wonderful. I have the greatest producer in the world. We're both very passionate. l know what I want a song to sound like, and he's the same, and sometimes those visions clash. But I wouldn't be able to make these songs as good without him.” He's equally in awe of Allen, “the only critic I listen to. This kind of success – I don't think the Colonel [Tom Parker, Elvis Presley's legendary manager] could have achieved it.” Bublé is acutely aware that many music critics continue to regard him as “an analogy for what sucks.” But he considers it an expression of artistic elitism. “I'd be a lot more popular with the critics if I didn't sell.”

So what explains his success? Many things. Good fortune (meeting Michael McSweeney at the right moment). Good timing (born in 1975, he's able to draw upon the rich legacy of American music). Good genes, (not just the vocal cords, but a riveting stage presence that can't be taught). A high-powered team (Allen, Foster, and Warner producer Humberto Gattica). The precipitous decline of the old record industry (when there are fewer buyers, an asset like Bublé becomes all the more valuable and worth promoting). And a solid family foundation. “His upbringing was pretty special,” says Hasselbach. “The influences and support of his parents, and especially granddad, helped give him grounding in life and music, and also the confidence and wings to fly. He's as fresh a guy as you'll ever meet, and he mixes his inherent great voice, wit and charm into an exciting concoction.” And then there's the music, the popular appetite for which seems to grow stronger the more that contemporary music descends into mere noise. “My success,” he says, “is ultimately a testament to the music. It's timeless. I could be the coolest cat alive, but without that music.…” One afternoon a year ago, sitting in Vancouver with Blunt, Bublé watched Liza Minnelli on Inside t he Actors Studio. “And she sang this song about being deaf, and I tell you man, she emoted and I cried there on the couch. And I said to Emily, ‘That's what I'm missing.' Yes, I have confidence and can goof around, but when it comes to a song that needs to be interpreted seriously.… In the past, I was faking it. I'd sing a song and try to make it pretty, and then make a joke. Not any more.” “The women love you,” I said.

“Yes!” he exclaims, pumping his first as though he'd just beaten Roger Federer at Wimbledon. “They literally throw themselves at you.” “Just throw the light ones, please…. Look, this is why I wanted to do this. For the power to entertain. It's the only thing that's good about fame. I can go into a room and not have to stand there like a lemon. But all those stories, the women that said they made out with me in high school, they lied. They never would have made out with Michael Bublé.” Similarly, he dismisses rumours of more recent womanizing. His friend Hasselbach says, “Mikey was always a ladies' man to some degree, but he loves richly and fully, and treats women well.” So far, Bublé seems unspoiled by his riches. Can it last? He offers a story. As a kid, he worked summers on his father's fishing boat. “Four a.m. to 11, 4 a.m. to 11, every day. There was great camaraderie, but it was tough physically. And by 16, I had worked my way up to something like first mate. One year, we had this guy named Justin. He was 26. Big. Six-five. And one day I told him, ‘Hey, chop the ice. Now. When I say jump, you say: How high?' It led to a confrontation. “He headbutted me, and said, ‘I don't care whose son you are. Don't take away my dignity.' Now I should have known that. My father never spoke to people that way. But it taught me common respect. And I never, ever, talk down to people.” Nor, he insists, will he be tempted by greener pastures. “It's very easy to spread yourself too thin.” “Harry Connick, Jr.?” “I didn't say that … but the grass is always greener. And I have a mission – to take over the world and be the last man standing. That's what I want. To be the last man standing.”

FLOW 93.5 And Nando's Fight Hunger With Fall Food Drive

Source:  FLOW 93.5

TORONTO (September 26, 2007) –
FLOW 93.5 has partnered with Nando’s Flame-Grilled Chicken Restaurants and Daily Bread Food Bank to help fight hunger in the GTA this Thanksgiving Season.  On Saturday September 29th, FLOW 93.5 is holding a Food Drive at Nando’s Flame-Grilled Chicken Restaurant in Richmond Hill (9625 Yonge St) from 2pm to 5pm. Event organiser, FLOW 93.5 Promotions Director Venus Santos, says “We’ll be firing up the grill and giving away the world famous, Nando’s Flame-Grilled Peri-Peri Chicken to those who donate a minimum of $9.35 or 9 cans of non-perishable food items. Everyone is encouraged to join us and enjoy a day of food, music and fun, all in the spirit of giving.”

In addition, everyone who donates will be entered into a raffle where we are giving away $100 gift certificates for Nando’s Flame-Grilled Chicken Restaurants in the GTA. FLOW 93.5 has contributed one-of-a-kind, autographed items for silent auction. Auction items include signed paraphernalia from the cast of MTV’s The Hills, Ciara, T.I, Maroon 5, and Akon. The silent auction will be conducted at the event. Proceeds from the auction will go directly to Daily Bread Food Bank. All items are available for viewing at www.flow935.com.

Daily Bread Food Bank’s “Fall Food Drive,” which launched on Friday September 21st and will run until October 21st, hopes to receive in excess of 900,000 pounds of food donated by the public. Through a network of 190 food relief programs, 34% of Daily Bread's clients are children, and 27% have jobs. Daily Bread Food Bank aims to feed the hungry and eliminate the need for food banks in the GTA. Food donation drop offs can be made at any Loblaws store or Fire Hall in the GTA during the Food Drive period. Subsequently, monetary donations can be made by phoning Daily Bread Food Bank (416-203-0050) or visiting www.dailybread.ca. Fight hunger with us!

With nineteen restaurants in BC, Alberta and Ontario - including four (and counting) in the GTA - Nando's Canada delivers much more than tasty, healthy food. The company - through its campaign Chicken for ALL Canadians! – is focused on engaging all communities in Canada and is heavily involved with numerous charitable organizations.  “As a restaurant group, Nando's has the opportunity to nourish people physically and - in this case - feed them emotionally, as well. Serving lunch to those generous enough to support the cause is a great way to make a difference," said Mark Majewski, National Marketing Director, Nando's Canada. "I really hope we raise lots of money and a ton of food for Daily Bread Food Bank on September 29 to help them meet their Fall Food Drive fundraising goal."

For more information contact:
Venus Santos, Promotions Director, FLOW 93.5; 416-214-5000 x257; venus@flow935.com

Tomás Doncker - Groovy Sex Music

Source: Hana & Associates Media

Producer, singer and songwriter
Tomás Doncker, otherwise known as the pioneer of Groovy Sex Music made a come back with his new album "Inside Out," on July 15th @ cdbaby.com and itunes.com.   The album - under construction for the past year - embodies an eclectic blend of blues, soul and pop.  Doncker is sexy, soulful and original; his groovy sex music is for everybody, but sophisticated audiences appreciate him most.  Doncker cut his teeth hanging out in New York's downtown, fertile punk-funk explosion of the 1980's but after spending some time out of the loop and after seeing him perform, you'd have to agree that he's back, bigger and better than before!   Although Doncker and his band are independent artists, they represent the echelon of New York's elite musicians, specializing in songs about relationships among friends, family and lovers.     Alongside Doncker are his vocalists, acoustic-soul and pop-diva,   "Morley" and the legendary New York City songwriter, "Chocolate Genius." Steven Bernstein of Sex Mob [nominated for a Grammy in February, 2007] plays the trumpet. Daniel Sedownick handles percussion, and Booker King tames the bass.   

The Hollins Steele Factory production team and Ethan Ryman of the Garden of Ethan Studios of Brooklyn, NY produced the album along with Executive Producer, Russell Cooper.
 Doncker, who wrote seven of the nine songs on his album [two being re-makes of Sadé's "Somebody Already Broke My Heart" and Cat Stephens' "Peace Train"] are reflective of his life:   Track number one kicks off the album with "Faith and Trust."  The song was born out of the deep depression Doncker experienced over the death of his mother – a period in which he was homeless and unable to move forward.   He feels blessed to have graduated from this circumstance unscathed, realizing that the friendships he cultivated were like family:  "People may not be your flesh and blood but they'll treat you like you're 'one' and provide that crutch."   Although Doncker's temporary brush with depression transformed him, much has still changed since his hay day in the '80's with such artists like Madonna, Jean Michel Basquiat, Bootsy Collins and Yoko Ono for companions and co-workers: "I have found that time and experience have shaped me into the passionate artist I am today and although some experiences were difficult, I wouldn't trade the lessons for the world."

The response to his music has been, "…overwhelmingly positive," he says.   "People are comparing me to Robin Thicke, who I think has the best album of the year!"
 Doncker is currently wrapping up production for his new album, "The Mercy Suite" with Pulitzer Prize winning poet, Yesef Komunyaka.   "The album is about love, relationships and war and features guest appearances by Chocolate Genius, Morley and Corey Glover," says Doncker.  Currently residing in Brooklyn, New York, Doncker records and performs with his band and is finishing his highly anticipated acoustic/soul album.   It will be co-produced by Ethan Ryman (Garden of Ethan Studios) and the Hollins Steele production team once again.  Speaking of band performances, Doncker and his band are incredible live performers, which means a lot considering this technically-inspired music age we live in:   At the Voyage Restaurant and Lounge on September 18th, the bass player guided the performance with such ease and rhythmic calm, that a lock-jawed pit bull could relax. The percussionist contributed a Mediterranean element to the performance and the lovely backup singer Morley, was a pleasant reminder of the performance's vocal and physical beauty, which balanced the over-all act.   Last but not least, Doncker was the glue that held the performance together with his soothing guitar playing and milky, silky voice; he contributed the sexy element in which his groovy, sexy reputation is based.   His lyrics and the band's performance quality were so engaging that any audience would be subdued.   Tomás Doncker on his music:  "It's blues music about emotions; it's best to create music about things you've seen."  The artists he admires are, "…people who are fearless in their commitment to their craft despite the industry limitations."   He gives special thanks to his band and his guitar endorsers R.Roco Strings, Aslindane and Blueride/Regal Guitars.


Christina K. Releases Her Boyfriend

More Hits Entertainment, LLC and Caught Magazine

New York's pop artist and producer, Christina K. is staged to be the next big thing in music in 2008. Her new self-produced single "I Got a Boyfriend" is currently spinning on Top 40 Stations throughout the US. Christina K. brings something new and refreshing to music, as she not only writes, but also produces her own material. Her style is unique, and seamlessly blends the genres of both Pop and Hip-Hop music. Originally from Maryland, Christina moved to New York and worked within the music industry for a publicity and event-planning firm before venturing to fully pursue her career as an artist.

Writing rhymes since the age of 5, Christina K, a Capitol Heights, Maryland native expresses herself through hip-hop music. Inspired by Salt-N-Peppa this track takes you back to that old school hip-hop, pop, rock sound.

Please check out Christina K.'s MySpace page for more information:


Police To Monitor Songs For Anti-Gay Lyrics

Excerpt from www.thestar.com - Nicholas Keung, Immigration/Diversity Reporter

(September 26, 2007) Toronto police will monitor this Friday's concert by Jamaican dancehall artist O'Neil Bryan, also known as
Elephant Man, after receiving complaints that the performer incites anti-gay violence through his music. “Their lyrics, in my opinion, do tend to step over the line in regards to hate propaganda and advocating harm to one of the identified groups," said Det. Gary McQueen, of the hate crimes unit. “These entertainers have had some issues in other countries, in London, England, in particular," he added, referring to another complaint against Miguel Orlando Collins, a.k.a. Sizzla, who is booked at The Kool Haus Oct. 5. "We are looking at these situations to see if they apply to our experience in Toronto and Canada.” Despite protests by the Toronto-based Canadian Caribbean Human Rights Group, immigration officials have issued visas to both Bryan and Collins. The latter was banned from the United Kingdom in 2004. Bryan arrived in Canada last week and has performed in Winnipeg and Victoria, where local police closely monitored the concerts.

The artists' offensive lyrics use derogatory terms for gay men in Jamaican patois. Yesterday, a spokeman for Bryan's Toronto host, The Kool Haus on Queens Quay, also condemned the singers' anti-gay lyrics but said its hands were tied because of contractual agreements with both performers. Last week, a St. Catharines union pulled the plug at a CAW hall for Bryan's stop there. “I am a million per cent against lyrics that promote hatred against gays and lesbians, women, religions and races," Kool Haus CEO Charles Khabouth said via phone from Las Vegas. "Had I been aware of the nature of the lyrics, I wouldn't have allowed the booking."  Khabouth said contracts were signed months ago and he had not been aware of the lyrics. Ticket sales for Elephant Man's show have been poor, with only one-third of the 2,180 seats sold. Sizzla's concert is expected to draw 1,500.That's little comfort to the organizers of the Stop Murder Music campaign, made up of 20 advocacy groups that believe music by homophobic dancehall performers has contributed to mob attacks against gays in Jamaica and the Caribbean. Police could charge the artists if they perform anti-gay numbers. The artists' Toronto promoters, Ultimate Entertainment and Chris Hines Ent., say the performers don't have the power to "invoke violence and murder" against gays and lesbians.


Shaye No Longer A Trio, Except On TV

Excerpt from
www.thestar.com - Entertainment Columnist

(September 23, 2007) Only Canadians would work so hard to make compelling television of the story of a one-hit band that dissolved after its second album failed to light a fire, and then dare to air it six whole months after the trio – singers Kim Stockwood, Damhnait (pronounced "Davnet") Doyle and Tara MacLean – lost their big-time record deal and the entire five-year enterprise collapsed. That's essentially the honest but less-than-uplifting narrative that unfolds in
Shaye, which premiered a couple of weeks ago, and picks up with the second show tonight at 10 on E!. The final two parts of the series air Sept. 30 and Oct. 4. Americans would have done this differently, of course. The TV series would have been in the record company's control and used as a powerful promotional tool prior to the launch of the album, by which time the three lead characters would have become overnight celebrities, household names, and their record's success assured. The irony isn't lost on Stockwood and Doyle, who shrugged their shoulders over a lunch a few days ago. MacLean was absent, preparing for the birth of her second child and the start of sessions for her third solo CD. "Who knows? The TV show might boost record sales (of their current album, Lake of Fire) and we might get back together again," said Stockwood, a mother of two young sons and the wife of Alan Reid, the powerful head of the A&R division of Universal Music Canada.  Veteran songwriters and performers, they don't seem at all shattered by the well-chronicled rise and fall of their joint effort, the pop band Shaye, named after MacLean's late sister, a cancer victim.

"We should have gone out and played live more often, but getting us together is like mobilizing an army," Stockwood explained. "And the expenses are enormous, because we have to fly everywhere with babies and nannies.  "I'm 41, and my most important job right now is raising children and making a home. When we went to our first meeting at EMI, before we were signed, we handed them a list of things we weren't willing to do." That list included heading off together in a van for parts unknown, and playing in bars for a handful of locals, she said. "They saw us perform and saw something they liked, so they went ahead and signed us." Two albums, a bona fide radio hit ("Happy Baby," from the first CD, The Bridge), a couple of expensive videos and a label executive shuffle later, Shaye is, in effect, a ghost band whose entertaining experiences, dramatically set up in the series made by Breakthrough Films over the past 15 months, amount to little more than personal scrapbook fodder. It's hard to root for a band that has thrown in the towel – and that's the series' major flaw. "I had no expectations when we started this band," Doyle said. "We're lucky to have had a hit record, and for the experience we've gained as individuals. I think the TV series is an honest glimpse at what goes on in the music business, but it's not The Osbournes. "There are no rules in the music industry any more. You just throw spaghetti at walls and hope some of it sticks."

Will There Ever Be Another Glenn Gould?

Excerpt from
www.thestar.com - Classical Music Critic

(September 23, 2007) More has been said and written about
Glenn Gould than about any other classical musician of the 20th century. The late pianist and broadcaster is classical music's Elvis, growing larger in death than he was in an already public life. Only instead of Elvis's kitsch factor, he had a peculiar geek factor. Instead of helping popularize a new kind of music, like Elvis with rock 'n' roll, Gould made an old kind of music sound new again. As we approach what would have been his 75th birthday on Tuesday – and the 25th anniversary of his death on Oct. 4 – we have to wonder if any place in the world will ever again produce a concert phenomenon like this lifelong Torontonian. Popular culture in 2007 is much different from that of 60 years ago, when Gould made his Massey Hall debut with the Toronto Symphony.  One of the keys to understanding the phenomena of pianist Vladimir Horowitz, conductor Arturo Toscanini or Glenn Gould lies in North American middle-class musical culture of the 1930s, '40s and '50s, according to Gould biographer Kevin Bazzana. "Nearly half of middle-class adults had a relationship with classical music at that time," says Bazzana, whose book Wondrous Strange: The Life and Art of Glenn Gould is considered to be the definitive biography so far. Because of this connection between popular culture and classical music, it was easier for Gould to become a household name, for people to rush to the record store to buy his latest long-playing record.

I remember once visiting grandparents as a little boy, probably in the early '70s. Their open door created an endless riot of family and friends indoors. Yet, that afternoon, everything came to a halt because Gould was going to be on TV. Adults and kids were silenced as the black-and-white TV set flickered to life. For the next half hour, we were transfixed by the image of a strange man humming, gesticulating, practically crouched at his keyboard, weaving magical piano music. With so much of Gould's output preserved on DVD, many of us continue to stop the roistering of the world to commune with this man's eccentric, yet magnetically compelling, musical vision. Bazzana says that Gould came along in the record business at the perfect time: "Columbia (his label) was run by people who played musical instruments – imagine!" The CBC had money to spend on daily live radio concerts and documentaries, spurring Gould to develop his lifelong "love affair with the microphone," as he once said in an interview. Gould was featured in the CBC's first English-language television broadcast, and remained a frequent presence thereafter. The pianist, who hated the stress of performing live, quit the concert stage after a decade of sometimes intense touring that included the first visit of a Canadian artist to the U.S.S.R. There, just like everywhere else he went, he left audiences staggered by his musicianship. The power of his art was so strong that no one cared how strangely he behaved on stage.

But after 1964, he sequestered himself behind studio walls and, contrary to commercial wisdom that still applies today, managed to sell even more records than when he was appearing live. "There was always a venue for him," says Bazzana. "But it's hard to imagine today." In 2007, despite healthy ticket and disc sales, classical music is largely considered to be on the fringes of mainstream culture. "We have made of classical music something so serious, something almost religious, that many people don't feel comfortable approaching it anymore," says internationally applauded Canadian pianist Alain Lefevre. "There are two or three generations of people who no longer feel comfortable inside a concert hall." At the same time, music schools and universities churn out thousands of new graduates every year. "There was a time when there were too many pianists. Now there are as many violinists as there are clarinettists, and everything else," says Lefevre. "The environment is so different today," says Toronto pianist Patricia Parr, 70, who made her Toronto Symphony debut at age 9, and appeared at New York's Carnegie Hall a year later, in 1947. Since 1974, she has taught piano performance at the University of Toronto and at the Royal Conservatory of Music. "There are so many great young pianists out there," says Parr. "You have to win a competition to get noticed." Yet aside from participating in Toronto's first Kiwanis festival in his early teens, Gould stayed away from competitions. "What really made Glenn famous was the release of (J.S. Bach's) Goldberg Variations," in 1955, says Parr. "That would never happen today. You have to establish yourself before a record company will even look at you." Yet as we chat, Parr eventually concedes Gould "was so good at it that he would find a way to succeed at it today." It is a view echoed by Toronto artist managers Richard Paul and Andrew Kwan.

Gould's own agent, former Toronto Symphony general manager Walter Homburger, agrees: "A Glenn Gould will always come out at the top. He was a genius and he played unique piano. You might not agree necessarily with how he played, but he was unique."  Paul thinks an eccentric personality is an asset in an age where too many people are clamouring for our attention in all forms of media: "There is lots of room and almost a necessity today for individuals such as Glenn Gould." We also know that someone like him does not show up on stage or disc every day. Parr, who knew Gould and heard him perform live, says that, in 35 years of teaching, she has only had one student – a 17-year-old she currently teaches privately – "knock her socks off." Yes there will be pianists who dazzle us. Will they have the luck to be born at the right time and place, and with the special ingredient that will take them beyond the now-less-mainstream world of classical music? Liss Jeffrey, director of the McLuhan global research network at the University of Toronto, thinks it could happen: "The power of Internet-assisted digital media will make it even more possible for stellar artists who are – and whose work is – eccentric, original, and even marginal to find their enthusiastic audiences, and for those enthusiasts to share their discovery with a wider and wider popular consciousness." We can't forget that, among his many talents, Gould was a prophet of the 21st century – regarding recording technology, creating personalized playlists and wanting music all around him all day long (something he called "electronic wallpaper"). He knew a performer had to be unique in a media-saturated age. In a 1966 BBC interview, Gould left a lesson to ponder at a time of "super-recording technique and super artists and super engineers:" "I think that all the basic statements have been made for posterity. Now, what I think we must do is find our way around, try to find a raison d'être that is somehow different and yet is somehow right ... "The key to it is to turn performance into composition." In other words, someone will have to reinvent how we listen to music all over again.

Joni Mitchell: Past Outshines Present

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

Joni Mitchell
Hear Music/Starbucks

(September 25, 2007) Anger makes some people articulate and active, while others lapse into blocked silence.
Joni Mitchell has known both sides in her reactions to what we're doing to the Earth.  Her first album of new songs after almost a decade of silence finds words for the problem, and some of them are powerful. But Shine is a jeremiad that blunts its own message, with music that's too mellow to express the frustration seething in the lyrics. The disc's targets are many, from those who poison the land to jerks who pass on the right. It's Big Yellow Taxi expanded and annotated to album length, without that song's careening energy or concision. The best new song is This Place, a Taxi-like reflection on industrial development around her idyllic home in British Columbia. But its melodic contour, rhythmic style and instrumentation sound more like Daniel Lanois than Joni Mitchell. If I Had a Heart is another track worth hearing, in spite of a deadly dull beat. But songs like Bad Dreams sink into a pastoral mode that conveys as much tension as a tequila sunrise on the beach. The inertia that blights Mitchell's music these days is only partly masked by jumpy rhythms in songs such as Hana.

Her writing is melodic but often not very tuneful. I doubt that even her biggest fans will hum along to Strong and Wrong. Mitchell knows a lot more about orchestration than she did in her days on the Top 10, but some of what she has learned hasn't helped her music. The orchestral synthesizer she uses in most tunes sounds both lavish and cheap, and I tired very quickly of Rob Sheppard's squeaky saxophones. She probably writes too much at the keyboard, depending on her fingers to do the walking to some new place that they, with their habits of movement, seldom find. The opening instrumental minuet gets some of its character from Mitchell's staccato style of release. After several more songs, however, the effect starts to sound like a tic. She doesn't touch the guitar much, which is too bad. Her guitar style and especially her resonance on the instrument (a result of custom tunings) are not like anybody else's, and the guitar's demand for real kinetic involvement might have given the disc some energy. A new take on Big Yellow Taxi soups up the original without improving on it. It's sad to hear, in the midst of a disc whose balked musical environment may be all too apt for a once-remarkable musician who sees no way ahead for us and our wounded Earth.

Akon Makes His Presence Felt

Excerpt from
www.thestar.com - Pop Music Critic

(September 24, 2007)
Akon's already on top of the world, so it's pretty big of the man to cede the headlining spot on his Konvicted tour to R&B debutante Rihanna. And, actually, if production and minute-for-minute volume of ass-whuppin' tunes is the gauge, the Barbados-born sweetie ruled the day during Saturday night's joint touchdown of Akon's tour and Rihanna's Good Girl Gone Bad road show at the Molson Amphitheatre. The estrogen-charged mob of 8,000 or 9,000 was clearly there in large part just to see Akon doff his shirt. It was a cool night by the lake, so it took a good half hour for that Senegalese-raised torso to come out ("Don't worry, by the end of the show I'll be butt naked," he threatened). Not that Akon is strictly chiselled eye candy for the ladies. The guy is a total presence onstage, one who admittedly spends as much time hyping the crowd – with frequent assistance from his sidekick and DJ – as he does singing. But he's also one who can persuade a throng of adoring females to laugh off a protracted, late-night Marvin Gaye come-on speech that concludes in a joke about sending the chick "to the kitchen to be your bartender for the night." Word.

"Taking Over" took over, "Smack That" went down like the mega-single it is and "Ghetto" made clear that however one might feel about Akon's omnipresence or his contentious penchant for alternately dry-humping or jettisoning teen girls and boys into the crowd, he's got an affinity for heart-wrenching melody to rival any of the hip-hop "hook girls" he's supplanted on the Billboard singles chart. Further points to the man for announcing onstage that Toronto MC Kardinal Offishall is the newest signing to his Konvicted production posse. (Please, someone, let that guy break in the States 'coz he's about the best we've got.) But also for letting Rihanna strut her unconvincing stuff with all the bells and whistles normally accorded a Beyoncé. Decked out like a dominatrix to fit the Good Girl Gone Bad theme, the 19-year-old belter came on with the strutting surefootedness of a star who'd already proven herself bigger than the limited vocal and musical range allowed by her catalogue. "Umbrella" was the moment everyone was waiting for, but the undeniable, crowd-juicing strength of climactic set-list entries "Don't Stop the Music" and "Shut Up and Drive" rendered it almost unnecessary. They lit the place up. The fact that the songs mimicked Nelly Furtado's "Maneater" and a good chunk of the recent Avril Lavigne catalogue also laid plain the fact that Rihanna, despite her talents, remains at the mercy of the music industry to be Rihanna.

Soulful, Funky 'Lifeline' Reinvents Ben Harper

Excerpt from
www.thestar.com - Entertainment Columnist

(September 22, 2007) You could be forgiven for wondering just who that sartorially polished dude is on the cover of
Ben Harper's new album, Lifeline.  No hippie surfer couture here, no shy smile shining up from beneath ragged dreadlocks, no suggestion of a jam-band cult hero who made his name slinging an appealing mixture of improvised acoustic folk-blues and wildly inventive slide licks on his trademark Weissenborn resonator guitar. The newly minted, finely tailored Ben Harper who stands, arms folded imperiously across his chest, front and centre on Lifeline – surrounded by members of what appears now to be his permanent band, The Innocent Criminals – is clearly staking out new turf on his first collaborative effort, a true band album that evokes in style and content some of the best gospel pop, soul and R&B of the 1970s. Just don't call it a "project," as I did during a recent conference phone conversation with Harper, who's performing at Massey Hall next Friday and Saturday. "One brief recommendation," he said, interrupting my first question. "In conversing with musicians who might have a big enough ego to consider themselves artists, the word `project' is an awkward term." Point taken. "Project" is record company jargon, and Harper, despite the earnest support of a major label (Virgin/EMI), is defiantly independent, an unclassifiable, organic, free-range industry outsider.  'Til now.

Lifeline, with its funky grooves, well-articulated chord changes, tight musicianship, catchy retro melodies and bright, radio-friendly vocal tags, sounds polished, deliberate, ambitious. It's not exactly classic Harper, whose reputation is built on his almost mythical ability to bend traditional forms into a seamless and distinctive hybrid. This album sounds at times like Al Green, or Sam Cooke, or Squeeze mixing it up with the Staples. Very purposeful, very organized, very warm and intimate. Very vintage. That's because all 11 tracks were recorded live, off the floor, in just one week on analog equipment – no computer hardware or software, just microphones and magnetic tape – in a studio in Paris at the end of the band's tour last year. "In the world of modern audiophilia ... the '70s are clearly acknowledged as the height, the top shelf of sonic accomplishment, when it comes to multi-track recording," Harper explained. "And I wanted to have a piece of that. This was no accident. Every step was analog, right up to the mastering (stage), where it was printed on the CD." The idea for the project – sorry, the recording – was the result of extended jam sessions during sound checks on the Both Sides Of The Gun tour. Harper learned the benefits of handing off his material to members of his band, who gradually worked his songs, as well as their joint efforts, into a new shape –and a new sound. They decided to record in Paris, he said, "because you've got to get it on in Paris at least once in your life." A novice collaborator, Harper added that the process set him free, helping him get out of his own way. "The band pushed me in different directions musically than I would have gone myself. And I'm really excited to go there. I feel Lifeline is a musical arrival for me. Having gotten out of my own way, I was able to trust (the band) and their ideas. I'm excited by the potential future of more (of this) music.

"And it wasn't an easy process. I kind of went kicking and screaming at times. But, at a certain point, I realized once these songs were becoming complete pieces of music, the band was actually making them better, better than I could have made it on my own." Ostensibly the happy husband of movie star Laura Dern and father to their two children, the California-born-and-raised musician sounds oddly melancholy on Lifeline. Many of the best songs are filled with resentment and regret over failed relationships. Not his own, Harper was quick to point out. "Bitterness, confusion ... yeah, I hear that. But you infer that I'm writing about myself, which I'm not. If I wrote about myself you'd be hearing about a hotel room in Pittsburgh, which is where I am right now. If you're going to write a half-decent song, you've got to go outside yourself. People always say you have to live it to write it, but that's bull----. You've got to feel it to write it. If you feel other people's experiences, you can just as soon write their biographies." After some nine studio albums in his 15-year career, and a bunch of production credits, Harper has no doubt music has the power to change the world. "Music can make people real nervous," he said. "But just because you know you have a loud microphone doesn't mean you need to scream down it." Once the poster boy for young black artists trying to work in the mainstream pop music business, Harper said racial politics no longer concern him as an artist. "You know, at a certain point, you just let everyone else have at the colour thing. If you need to play that and that's going to influence the way you approach me or relate with me ... It's like people who compare me to Richie Havens. I love Richie Havens; I don't sound anything like him. If I was white, would you compare me to Richie Havens? Of course you wouldn't, even if I was making the same sound.  "People often hear with their eyes, and see with their ears. And it's an odd existence. Culture has never made any sense. It's important to know where you're from, but it's more important to know where you're going. Of course, it's a cliché, but it's the bottom-line truth.  "As far as dealing with people on a racial basis, I kind of had to throw that out the window a long, long, time ago. "I'd like to see more of every race at my shows, not just black people – that's absurd. Why would I want to see more black people? I want to see more black people, white people, Asian people, Latin-American people ...  "I want to see all kinds of more people at my shows."

Tebey Ottoh Brings His Songwriting Talent to ole

Source:  ole

(Sept. 21, 2007) He could have had a rewarding career professionally tossing a football, but for the newest ole signing
Tebey Ottoh, music is the only game in town.  “We’re excited to welcome Tebey to the roster," states ole's Managing Partner Robert Ott.   "It’s rare to see such developed and versatile song writing talent in someone so young and Tebey is just getting started.”   “His drive and artist background add to this talent immeasurably and we’re looking forward to a great deal of success together.”  Ottoh counts fellow ole writers Gilles Godard and Willie Mack as some of his favourite writing partners, as well as Shawn Desman and Tim Nichols ("Live Like You Were Dying") and looks forward to getting in the trenches with ole.  "I think we're both willing to work really hard to get songs placed and songs on the charts, you know?" says Ottoh.

"It's exciting to be over at ole because they really believe in what I'm doing. It's nice to work with a company that has passion for your songs, because that's half the battle.   "I'm looking forward to sharing future successes with ole."  "I'm putting everything I got into this music thing," says Ottoh. "If you want to be the best, you have to work at it every day and hone your craft. I just work on the music."  Ottoh, a songwriter and recording artist who recently landed the cut "Radio" on the 500,000-copy-selling Big & Rich album Between Raising Hell and Amazing Grace and has a pair of SOCAN No. 1 songs to his credit (Rex Goudie's "Run" and Shawn Desman's "Let's Go"), got an early start.  He was only 16 when a number of exciting career prospects presented themselves.  "I was a high-school all-Canadian in football as a wide receiver," Ottoh recalls.  "I was lucky enough to be recruited by a bunch of schools, like UCLA and University of Nebraska."  In fact, Ottoh was juggling several scholarship offers when RCA Nashville called.   "When I was getting ready to make the decision between accepting a scholarship to play ball in the States, RCA Nashville caught wind of what I was doing and offered me a record deal," Ottoh explains.

"It was a case of choosing what you love more, and for me, I chose music."  Signing with Warner Chappell, Ottoh wrote with such established Music Row veterans as Bob DiPiero, Annie Roboff, Naoise Sheridan, Rory Bourke and Jim Collins. He enlisted Bob Rock as producer and recorded his first album; was briefly managed by Bruce Allen and enjoyed Top 50 Billboard success with his single "We Shook Hands (Man To Man)."   But as often happens, for whatever reason, things don't work out.   After spending four years in Nashville, Ottoh lost his record deal, regrouped and moved back to Toronto, where he began expanding his horizons beyond country and began exploring the pop music world.  One of the folks he met during his early Nashville years was John Rich, a former member of Lonestar who was experiencing his own frustrations with a solo record deal.  "We ended up hooking up and becoming friends," Ottoh recalls. "The next thing you know, he's part of Big & Rich and pretty much the best songwriter in Nashville."  "I've known both John and Kenny (Alphin) for seven or eight years. I've gone out on the road with them a couple of times, just hanging out and writing songs," says Ottoh.  In fact, Tebey (pronounced Tay-bay) Ottoh concedes, "Radio" -- the track he co-wrote with Rich and Alphin that's on their Between Raising Hell and Amazing Grace -- was initially written five years ago "for my first record."   It's an association he hopes to maintain and expand with his new ole deal, especially since he's just moved back to Nashville.

"I'm back there not just because of the country connection, but just the fact that I can write every day," Ottoh explains.   "That's the main thing -- being able to work with great writers on an every day on a day-to-day basis. There are more writers in Nashville."  But just because he's based in Nashville doesn't mean that Ottoh is restricted to collaborating in Music City. He's been traveling frequently to Sweden, Los Angeles and Toronto to exercise his writing muscles, and says that will continue for the foreseeable future.  "I love traveling to write," says Ottoh. "That's the way that you can reach the best writers, by running around the world and work with as many people as possible. Even though my home base is in Nashville now, I'm traveling between Los Angeles, Toronto and Sweden a lot. I just want to continue to write great records and have some more hits."  He's also expanded his horizons over the past few years to encompass pop and R&B, contributing tracks to albums by Canadian Idol winner Melissa O'Neil and singer Cory Lee's new Sinful Innocence.   Earlier this year, Ottoh also finished first in the Pop/Top 40 category of the International Songwriting Competition for "Reckless," co-written by Marc Costanzo and Chin Injeti, and impressing a panel of judges that included Tom Waits, Brian Wilson, Sean Paul and The Cure's Robert Smith.  He participated in ole's first Urban Songcamp held in Toronto in late July/early August and just returned from his fourth trip to Sweden.  "One of the biggest writers I'm working with there right now is a guy named Jörgen Elofsson," says Ottoh. "He's just massive: He writes hits for Britney Spears and Kelly Clarkson and he's awesome.   "But I've just been networking with a whole bunch of people. It just so happens there's a few people in Sweden who seem to like what I'm doing."

He's currently working on a new album set for a 2008 release.  "I'm still figuring out where my artist side is going to land," Ottoh admits.  "The whole thing is about trying to be unique. Half the battle is being different from everything else out there.   "I would personally love to combine the two genres -- pop music and country -- sort of what Big & Rich and Rascal Flatts do. The battle right now is figuring out how to stand out and not sound the same as everybody else."  ole is certainly willing to help him find his numerous songwriting voices.

A Bad Rap For Hip-Hop

Excerpt from www.globeandmail.com - Jim Abrams, Associated Press

(September 25, 2007) Washington — Two rappers, sitting side-by-side in an ornate House hearing room, went in different directions Monday on the need for hip hop artists to expunge their work of sexist and violent language. One,
Master P, apologized to women for past songs that demeaned them, while another was defiant. Former gangsta rapper Master P, whose real name is Percy Miller, told a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing that he is now committed to producing clean lyrics. The angry music of his past, he said, came from seeing relatives and friends shot and killed. But he said now that he doesn't want his own children to listen to his music, “so if I can do anything to change this, I'm going to take a stand and do that.” “I want to apologize to all the women out there,” he said. “I was honestly wrong.” But rapper and record producer Levell Crump, known as David Banner, was defiant as lawmakers pressed him on his use of offensive language. “I'm like Stephen King: horror music is what I do,” he said in testimony laced with swear words. “Change the situation in my neighbourhood and maybe I'll get better,” he told one member of Congress.

The two rappers were joined by music industry executives and scholars. They disagreed over who was to blame for sexist and degrading language in hip-hop music but were united in opposing government censorship as a solution. “If by some stroke of the pen hip-hop was silenced, the issues would still be present in our communities,” Mr. Crump said. “Drugs, violence, sexism and the criminal element were around long before hip-hop existed.” At the hearing, music videos showing scantily clad women were played; music executives in dark suits testified on the uses of the “B,” “H,” and “N” words, and black civil rights leaders talked of corporate exploitation. “We have allowed greedy corporate executives — especially those in the entertainment industry — to lead many of our young people to believe that it is OK to entertain themselves by destroying the culture of our people,” E. Faye Williams, chair of the National Congress of Black Women, said. “From Imus to Industry: The business of stereotypes and degrading images” was the title of the hearing, referring to former radio host Don Imus, who lost his job after making derogatory comments about the Rutgers women's basketball team. The Imus incident has sparked debate within the music industry about black artists using offensive, misogynist and violent language.

“This hearing is not anti-hip-hop. I am a fan of hip-hop,” said subcommittee chairman Bobby Rush, D-Ill., who gained national prominence in the 1960s as the founder of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panthers. But he said there was a need “to address the issue of violence, hate and degradation that has reduced too many of our youngsters to automatons.” Record company executives defended the parental guidance labels and edited versions they said keep the more controversial material away from children and stressed that uniform standards or censorship won't work. In the '50s people were deeply offended by Elvis Presley, and a decade later many were scandalized by The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, said Edgar Bronfman Jr., chairman and CEO of Warner Music Group. “We have a responsibility to speak authentically to our viewers,” said Philippe Dauman, president & CEO of Viacom Inc., which owns such cable networks as MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and BET. He said his company takes an active role in editing obscenities out of music videos and excising gang symbols or portrayals of violence, but “we also believe that it is not our role to censor the creative expression of artists.”

Alfred Liggins III, chief executive officer of Radio One, Inc., one of the largest media companies that primarily serves African-Americans, said the company reviews the contents of songs before broadcasting them and takes care to comply with Federal Communications Commission guidelines. But “Radio One is also not in charge of creating content, or in the business of censorship or determining what is in good or bad taste.” The hearing was reminiscent of, although tamer than, a similar event in 1985. At the earlier hearing, lawmakers where exposed to Van Halen's Hot for Teacher and Twisted Sister's We're Not Going to Take It, and the late rocker Frank Zappa hurled insults at Tipper Gore, wife of then-Sen. Al Gore, and Susan Baker, wife of then Treasury Secretary James Baker, who were urging the recording industry to voluntarily police itself on song lyrics.

Salanyde Spreading The Reggae Message In Grand Cayman

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com - By Kevin Jackson

(September 20, 2007) Dancehall artiste
Sean Gordon who goes by the name Salanyde has been creating some impact in Grand Cayman with his brand of dancehall music.  This rising entertainer, who originally resided in Palmer's Cross, Clarendon, says his love and dedication for music along with his unique style and sound definitely places him in a position, to become a force to reckon with in the not too distant future. Salanyde started out performing for classmates and later on, would engage in lyrical clashes with other aspiring talents after school. After graduating from the Garvey Maceo high school in 2003, he worked for a year as a mechanic and dabbled with music in his spear time. The following year he migrated to West Bay in Grand Cayman. Having relocated to Cayman he decided to pursue a career in the music business, which for him was hobby, while he resided in Jamaica. He would later on make the link with two other Cayman based artists Bishmeezy and Phynezz and recorded a single titled "In Your Arms" (Bezzle Bezzle Entertainment).

A video was also shot for the song.  This opened up the doors for Salanyde, as he gained recognition from the recording, which led to a demand for him to perform on major stage shows in Grand Cayman. He would later share the stage with top acts from Jamaica including Beenie Man, Morgan Heritage, Busy Signal among others.  Having made a name for himself in Grand Cayman, Salanyde plans to return to Jamaica within the next few weeks to commence working with some of the island’s top record producers. He hopes to make inroads similar to what he has garnered in Grand Cayman.  His catchy phrase "Its off a di meeta" has won him a lot of fans in Cayman. When asked what it meant he said ‘It bad, it sort out, it wicked, all of these slangs put together means off a di meeta’.

Rahsaan Patterson - 'Wines & Spirits'

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com - By Deb Hinds

(September 21, 2007) Few voices in contemporary soul music are as revered as
Rahsaan Patterson's, so it comes as no surprise the anticipation with which fans await each release from the über singer/songwriter.  Rahsaan's latest CD, "Wines & Spirits," is likely to both please and surprise listeners with its progressive and genre-crossing leanings.  Easily his most eclectic and diverse album to date, only a pioneering talent like Rahsaan could pull off a CD that's all over the map both musically and vocally. "Wines & Spirits" begins with "Cloud 9," a super funky tune with uncharacteristically minimal vocals, and ends with a brilliant, masterful cover of the Janis Ian classic "Stars."  In between, there are a couple futuristic dance tracks ("Delirium (Comes and Goes)" and "Deliver Me"), a Prince-esque, ultramodern rock cut called "Pitch Black," a hip-hop track complete with emcee, the retro-gospel song "Oh Lord (Take Me Back)," and a few "vintage Rahsaan" midtempo grooves ("Feels Good," "Higher Love," "Stop Breakin' My Heart," and "No Danger") included for good measure.

Those who are looking for an album filled with now-classic Rahsaan tunes like those found on his first two albums may be taken aback at the collection of songs on "Wines and Spirits," which, similar to his third album "After Hours," really has to be listened to and marinated on in order to be fully appreciated. Never one to stick to a formula for crafting songs, Rahsaan's approach to music is clearly all about freedom and innovation, so a repeat of past, albeit popular song offerings, is not an option.  However, if you regard "soul" as invention and authenticity in music, rather than merely a style of music, then Rahsaan Patterson is soul and "Wines & Spirits" is what true artistry sounds like. -Deb Hinds / www.PlanetSoul.com 

Artist/Album: Rahsaan Patterson - "Wines & Spirits"
Label: Artistry Music Group
Street Date: September 25, 2007
Rahsaan Patterson on MySpace

Kravitz Lets Love Rule On Forthcoming New Album, And In Life

Excerpt from www.thestar.com - Nekesa Mumbi Moody
, Associated Press

(September 26, 2007) NEW YORK–
Lenny Kravitz's upcoming album is titled, It Is Time for a Love Revolution, with songs including "Love Love Love" and "Will You Marry Me." But anyone expecting a confessional on his romantic life may be disappointed. While saying his songs are "always personal," Kravitz said the album focuses on many aspects of love, and not just romantic love. “There are spiritual love songs, and social love songs, political, sad, happy and everything in between – it's about a lot of things," the 43-year-old rocker said of the album, due out in February. “I really do believe in the power in love, and I believe in God's power, and I believe in our ability to learn to deal with each other. And those are the things that I think about." Kravitz has had plenty of time for contemplation recently. He's been relaxing in Brazil since performing at Live Earth in July. “I’m not in Rio – I'm in the mountains with parrots and monkeys and waterfalls. It's really about looking inward. You become very introspective here. You have the atmosphere in which to hear yourself," he said in a phone interview. "I think that as I've grown, I've become more comfortable with myself ... What I have to do is be myself, and grow," Kravitz said that kind of growth is necessary to improve the state of the world, which he called "very sad. It begins with ourselves, in our homes, in our own environments, if we can start with that, we can carry it outward."

While Kravitz may be focused on the world, tabloids have been zeroing in on his love life. Earlier this month, former girlfriend Nicole Kidman told Vanity Fair that she was engaged briefly before marrying Keith Urban, but refused to name her fiancé. When asked whether he was the mystery man, Kravitz replied: "I keep that to myself. I feel like that is private and it's between the two of us, so I just leave it there. "However, Kravitz was willing to discuss another woman in his life – 18-year-old daughter Zoe: "Watching my daughter grow up is the highlight of everything.” The budding actress has appeared in two movies this year, including Jodie Foster's The Brave One. But he isn't concerned about how his daughter will adapt to the spotlight. “I don't rule her life. I was put here to teach her what I know, and that's what parents should do, and I feel like she has good knowledge to make good choices," he said. "You don't have to be in the spotlight to have problems ... it's really about how you handle it."


Kanye Tops Singles Chart

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com

(September 21, 2007) *
Kanye West continues to dominate in his rap rivalry with 50 Cent. On the heels of his “Graduation” album winning the first week sales race in both the U.S. and the U.K., the rapper’s single “Stronger” reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart; and he beat out 50 Cent again – winning at Britain’s “Music of Black Origin” Awards in the category of Best Hip Hop Act. On Tuesday, West was officially crowned champion in their heated sales battle – with "Graduation" selling 957,000 copies in its first week while 50's "Curtis" album moved 691,000 to land in second place.   West’s tune "Stronger" rose one place on the Billboard Hot 100 yesterday, trading places with last week's champ, teen rapper Soulja Boy's "Crank That (Soulja Boy)." In addition, “Graduation’s” latest single - "Good Life" featuring T-Pain – was the chart's top debut at No. 14.  Last week, West’s album debuted at No. 1 in the U.K., where the Mobos took place at London’s 02 Arena Wednesday night.  50 was supposed to attend, but cancelled his European appearances this week.       Other winners at the Mobo Awards included Amy Winehouse, who was named Best U.K. Female; Ne-Yo, who collected both the Best R&B title and Best Song for "Because Of You"; and Barbados-born Rihanna, who won Best International Act.

Prince Performs At London Fashion Show

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com

(September 20, 2007) *
Prince drew lots of quiet stares when he planted himself in the front row of Matthew Williamson's fashion show in London yesterday.   But when the lights dimmed and the first notes of his music began to pound through the sound system, His Royal Badness had the crowd screaming and scrambling to take cell phone photos as jumped onstage for a surprise performance. "He really wanted to do this, and you don't say 'No' to Prince," Williamson told Reuters TV following the show. The singer, currently in London performing a string of dates at the 02 Arena, took his front row seat at Williamson’s spring-summer 2008 collection and appeared to be there to just watch the show. But when one of his songs began to play, a pair of identical twins appeared on the catwalk and started to dance. Prince, wearing a black suit and hat, then began singing into a microphone from his seat before jumping up and performing from the start of the runway flanked by his band, reports Reuters. Audience members, including Sting’s wife Trudie Styler, rose to their feet and began cheering. He closed the show with his 1986 hit, “Kiss.”  Don’t expect to find any of this footage on YouTube. Those days are over, as Prince has gotten his lawyers to crack down on the use of unauthorized footage under threat of a lawsuit.

Henton Wins Award For 'Konvicted'

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com - By Kevin Jackson

(September 20, 2007) *Jamaican music producer
Paul Henton, more popularly known as Computer Paul, recently picked up a double platinum record for his work on the track Mama Africa. The track is featured on Akon’s double platinum selling album Konvicted. Henton played the keyboards on the track, which was produced by another Jamaican producer, Robert ‘Bobby Digital’ Dixon. Henton who has worked with a long list of Jamaican and international artistes over the years, was in high spirits when this column caught up with him earlier this week.  'I am happy to have been recognized for the work that I have done’, commented Henton. Henton already has four gold records for his work on gold selling albums and singles for reggae artistes including Shabba Ranks, Inner Circle and Jimmy Cliff. Henton currently manages Jamaican dancehall/pop girl group MBC. The group recently released an album with a Japanese imprint.

Amazon Launches iTunes Rival

Excerpt from
www.thestar.com - Reuters

(September 25, 2007) NEW YORK –
Amazon.com Inc launched an early version of its highly anticipated digital music download store, which is seen as a potential rival to Apple Inc's dominant iTunes system. Amazon's store, named "Amazon MP3," allows users to buy music without copy protection technology, so that the songs can play on a variety of devices including Apple's iPod. Most songs are priced from 89 cents to 99 cents (U.S.), with more than half of the 2 million songs priced at 89 cents, the online retailer said in a statement. Many Web start-ups have proposed business models to take on iTunes, which has a 70 per cent market share of digital music sales. Many have also failed as they get caught up in negotiations with the music companies. For weeks Amazon had been expected to launch its iTunes rival after signing deals with Universal Music Group, which is owned by French media giant Vivendi, and EMI.  U.S. music companies, concerned about piracy enabled by file-sharing Web site, are mulling new business models with a goal of increasing digital revenue as CD sales drop more sharply than anticipated. They also hope to create alternatives to iTunes to boost their negotiating power against Apple when licensing contracts are renewed.


Men On A Mission: Keep Rwanda Alive

Excerpt from www.globeandmail.com - Guy Dixon

(September 26, 2007) In a back room just off an old chapel on the military campus in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., actor
Roy Dupuis and Senator Roméo Dallaire relived the horrors of Rwanda. They spoke for five or six hours and shared a meal of takeout chicken, as Dallaire spoke of witnessing the 1994 genocide and being able to do next to nothing as head of the United Nations' Rwanda peacekeeping forces. Dupuis didn't need to ask many questions. The retired lieutenant-general poured out everything he remembered. “I left pretty filled up. There was a lot of information, emotionally and intellectually,” Dupuis said, speaking slowly about that day, as if trying to find the words to convey the effect it had on him. Their conversation took place the day before Dupuis left for Rwanda to play Dallaire on location in Shake Hands with the Devil, the new film version of Dallaire's book.

For Dupuis, the film, opening across Canada on Friday, was unlike any other movie he has made. “It really quickly became a mission,” he said as he and Dallaire sat together for an interview in Toronto. “It was the first time I've done a movie where the goal was so clear: that this story doesn't die, to inform people of the mechanics behind the UN, and how the big powers in this world manipulate the UN in a certain way for their own interests,” the actor said. “I’m very impressed that Roy sensed that it was a mission, a sense of duty, a responsibility,” Dallaire added. This is the third retelling of Dallaire's story, from his book in 2003, to a documentary in 2004 that won an Emmy award on Monday night, which recorded the lieutenant-general's return to Rwanda 10 years after his doomed mission, and now to the dramatic feature-film version.

Dallaire isn't worried about repetition. The more times this story is told, the better, he said. In fact, the feature film takes the story into “another league” altogether. “This is a culmination of years trying to get it to that level,” Dallaire said. But each new interpretation presents a risk. For instance, he has been critical of the composite UN peacekeeping character played by Nick Nolte, loosely meant to represent Dallaire, in Hotel Rwanda. Dallaire is much more optimistic about the new film. “I gave myself a mission when I left Rwanda that I would never let the genocide die. They don't have the funding, the structure to [keep the memory of the genocide alive] like the Holocaust, for example. And so there is no way that we can let that genocide die or let revisionists fiddle with it,” Dallaire said. “As we are showing this movie, we've got Darfur still stagnating. It's not as if it's an isolated event. This thing is still right in your face,” he said as he and Dupuis sit hunched forward. One of the film's producers warned that the two together might be a little imposing. Not entirely. Dupuis always seems a little remote in person, as if looking for a quick exit. Dallaire was more forthcoming and quick to explain what drives him, even if said with a soldier's formality. What is most apparent is the obvious bond between them.

“[I was] playing a man who has gone through something almost unimaginable, and I lived with him [inside myself] for almost two months. Always him. Not trying to see him from outside, but trying to get him from the inside all the time. Trying to understand him and be respectful. And not trying to clean him off, either. Just trying to be respectful to everything he is. It was the most intense and most demanding character I've ever had to play,” Dupuis said. Shake Hands with the Devil is as much about Dallaire's desperation and emotional tailspin as it is about the mass killings of Tutsis and moderate Hutus that prompted his breakdown. “The impact of post-traumatic stress disorder happens to us in those operations. At one point, I was becoming a liability to the mission. [The film] was pretty damn close to how it happened,” Dallaire said. There's also a glimpse of the night Dallaire was found intoxicated under a park bench in Quebec in 2000.“The suicide attempts? It certainly wouldn't be my preference to have them in the movie. Who wants that? However, again, the movie is factual,” he said. This includes not shying away from one particularly horrific experience. When visiting the camp of the rebel army of Rwandan Patriotic Front, led by Paul Kagame, now the President of Rwanda, the genocide had reached such heights that floating bodies filled rivers and streams. In the film, Dupuis lifts up the wooden boards of a small footbridge to reveal a logjam of dead bodies. In real life, it was a small suspension bridge over top of a pile of corpses. Dallaire said he felt Dupuis understood the emotions behind this during their long conversation together. “It’s as if he joined the brothers of arms,” Dallaire remembered. “When we left, we spontaneously hugged at the end of our day-long exercise. And I'm not into that. But it gave me an enormous sense of serenity that he got it. That he would be fair and responsible with it. And he was.”

Six Questions with Acting Legend Billy D. Williams

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com - Robertson Treatment (America’s Premiere Lifestyle Column) Volume 10, Issue 15

(September 25, 2007) *
Billy Dee Williams was the Sexist Man Alive long before Brad, George and Denzel. Best known as the paramour of Diana Ross in both “Lady Sings the Blues,” and “Mahogany,” Williams (70) has enjoyed a long and illustrious career as a leading man and character actor. The Harlem, New York native (who is also an accomplished artist and author), recently made the leap back in to television with a co-starring role on the new night-time soap “General Hospital: Night Shift”. The Robertson Treatment caught up with the acting legend to get the full scoop on what he’s been up to lately. 

Robertson Treatment: What was it about the character Toussaint that jumped out at you and made you want to come back to television full time?

Billy Dee Williams: Well, first of all I was asked to do it and they described the character that they wanted to create and they created this person for me. He’s a very intriguing character and is real interesting character with an interesting past.
The things that really interested me was the fact that I was going to sing. I have been known to sing. I’ve done some musicals, but I don’t really think of myself as a singer although I have done it on several different occasions. I have already done that and I think I did a pretty good job.

RT: So we shouldn’t expect a Billy Dee Williams album at any point?

BDW: Who knows? I am having a lot of fun right now in this chapter of my life. I have been thinking seriously for quite some time of doing some love songs and record some love songs.

RT: Were you ever a fan of General Hospital and prior to being approached to be on the show had you watched episodes of the show?

BDW: Well, I knew the lady who started it. Gloria Monty, she was a good friend of mine. I remember years ago she tried to kinda get me involved, but I had a lot of movies and stuff like that.

RT: Does it feel weird returning to television full time?

BDW: I have been doing television the whole time. I was doing television before I did movies. This is different and it’s a whole different format, but I am having a lot of fun with it. It’s much faster and it’s great practice for me when you’re given lines. There are very good writers on the show by the way. You really have to conjure up your improvisational skills because everything moves so quickly. You don’t have time to really put in a lot of research.

RT: You were one of the most popular black actors in American film in the ‘70s and looking back at such an illustrious career do you have any regrets? Anything you would have done differently?

BDW: It’s too late to think about stuff like that. The whole idea is to just continue to move on and move forward. I don’t think about regrets. I am sure there’s always one or two regrets but I don’t think one needs to dwell on that. I think the whole idea is simply to keep moving.

RT: Many would say that at your great age of 70 you should be sunning yourself on a beach somewhere with a cigar as you don’t need to work, so is this more of a creative outlet for you being on the show?

BDW: Yeah, I am just having fun and I am enjoying myself. I am at that point in my life where I am just laughing a lot and smiling a lot and involving myself. I like to stay involved so if it’s not this,  then it’s my painting. I’m a very lucky man.

Taiwan Applauds Controversial Film By Local Hero Lee

Excerpt from www.globeandmail.com - Doug Young, Reuters

(September 25, 2007) TAIPEI — Moviegoers in director
Ang Lee's native Taiwan gave a thumbs-up to his prize-winning “Lust, Caution,” appearing unfazed by the controversy surrounding it or the steamy sex scenes. The film, the surprise winner of this year's Golden Lion award at the Venice film festival, played to full houses on its Monday night premiere at several Taipei cinemas, which have given it an adult rating and are showing it uncut. “Lust, Caution,” a spy thriller set in Second World War Shanghai, got generally negative reviews at Venice and was panned by critics who said it was long and tedious. “Awesome,” one viewer described the 156-minute movie, which is punctuated by explicit and sometimes violent sex.  “There was a little bit too much sex in a few points, but overall it was okay,” said another movie goer, Shen Yun-hsi. “I'm still thinking about it. A lot happened.” The film will open in China this week but only after Lee himself excised a lot of the on-screen sex and other scenes Beijing deemed inappropriate. Lee, back home after a global tour, was especially nervous about the premiere of his film in Taiwan, due to the graphic sex, his brother told local media.

But the audience at one Taipei cinema, mostly in their 20s and 30s, gasped louder at a scene featuring a large diamond than at any of the sex scenes. “I feel good when I come back to Taiwan. When I make a Chinese movie, I can examine my growth and have a new start again,” Lee told a media briefing on Tuesday. “Every time when I come back, I review the past and it gives me the feeling that I will have a brand new start and keep going forward,” he added. “Lust, Caution” was being screened at 107 venues in Taiwan, a record for an adult-rated film, according to one media report. The movie was expected to gross $3.5-million Taiwanese ($106,000 U.S.) initially, and eventually break the $50-million Taiwanese record for a Lee film pulled in by his gay cowboy drama “Brokeback Mountain,” which won him an Oscar for best director. Lee made a number of Chinese-language movies in his early career, but for the most part has made English-language movies since gaining international acclaim. One notable exception is his China-based martial arts movie “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”.

The Saint Turns Sinful

Excerpt from www.globeandmail.com - Gayle Macdonald

(September 26, 2007) Actor
Jimmy Smits has made a career out of playing men with a strong moral compass, most notably as Detective Bobby Simone on NYPD Blue and before that as the young, pro-bono lawyer Victor Sifuentes on L.A. Law. But in two new roles the 52-year-old sheds his good-guy persona: He plays an adulterous husband in the film The Jane Austen Book Club opening on Friday and a morally conflicted businessman in the new TV series Cane. In the romantic feature film, Smits's character callously dumps his wife of 20-some years (another NYPD Blue alumnus, Amy Brenneman) for another woman. He tells her that leaving the other woman is “non-negotiable.” In Toronto earlier this month to promote the film, the handsome Latino explains that his character isn't as hard-hearted as he first seems. “I don't think that character's love for his wife and family ever diminished,” he muses. “He was always in love with her, but there obviously was a kind of miscommunication between them to the extent that he got the wandering, roving eye.  “But you know sometimes you have to go through valleys to get to nice peaks,” adds the gentle, 6-foot-4 giant, dressed impeccably in a dark blazer, black pants and gleaming black shoes. In the family drama Cane, which premiered this week on CBS and Global, Smits plays Alex Vega, the new head of his powerful Cuban-American family's sugar and rum business in Florida who teeters on the brink of corruption and compassion.

Smits says he was drawn to the character because of the “emotional ups and downs he goes through. “I thought Alex would be someone interesting to inhabit for a long period of time if I had the opportunity,” says the actor, who had just hopped off the red-eye from Los Angeles after putting in a 14-hour day on the Cane set. “The family is very affluent in South Florida. Alex is the adopted son, who because of a health crisis the patriarch figure [Hector Elizondo] is going through gets thrust into the forefront of this family. He is a very good son in the sense he has a strong moral compass and a sense of family and duty. But he gets himself into a lot of trouble too.”  Smits, a divorced father of two who has been living with actress Wanda de Jesus for more than 20 years, is bleary-eyed but says he made the all-night flight because he wanted to be on hand to support director Robin Swicord, an accomplished screenwriter ( Memoirs of a Geisha, Matilda) who wrote The Jane Austen Book Club screenplay and makes her directorial debut with the film. “This movie reminded me of doing a really nice, ensemble theatre piece,” says Smits, referring to the cast, which includes Maria Bello, Emily Blunt, Kathy Baker, Brenneman, Maggie Grace, Marc Blucas, Hugh Dancy and Canadian Kevin Zegers.  “I came in very early on. For Robin to be able to use this as her jumping-off point to get into this directorial thing is just a joy for me to be part of,” he adds. “... Plus Robin's great to work with because she loves actors.”

Born in New York to Cornelius Smits (a Surinamese immigrant from Dutch Guiana) and Emilina (a Puerto Rican nurse), Smits is the only one in his family (he has two younger sisters) to get into acting. A graduate of Brooklyn College and Cornell University, where he earned his master's degree in fine arts, he got his first break when he knocked on the door – fresh out of school – at the New York Shakespeare Festival. “I grew up watching plays that Joe Papp [founder of the New York Shakespeare Festival] produced and directed. And it just seemed when I finished university that it was the natural place to go for a job,” chuckles Smits. “I snuck in [to the theatre]. Little did I know that you don't really do things like that. But I did wind up getting a series of general auditions. I love Shakespeare, and I love the fact that his characters are just so emotionally resonant on so many levels. “When he was a kid, Smits recalls, his family moved all over. The forced changes of address, he figures, helped to prepare him for role playing as an actor. “Growing up in New York, we lived all around the city depending on our economic circumstance. I also lived in Puerto Rico for a number of years. “I know – through a lot of therapy – that moving around to a lot of different environments and me having to adapt has a lot to do with me being involved in this profession, in a strange way,” says the actor, who won a best supporting Emmy for his role as Sifuentes on L.A. Law and a Golden Globe for his work on NYPD Blue. “You constantly have to adapt to new environments and new sets of friends. You have to role-play to get involved and you have to be comfortable with yourself when you don't have the [social] interaction. I've been lucky because I've had wonderful teachers along the way who have nurtured and pushed me to the next level.”

It's worth noting that Smits has now assumed a kind of mentor role as co-founder of the 10-year-old National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts in Washington, a scholarship program for students who have demonstrated a love for the arts and have aspirations for graduate school. “It’s all about new talent and forging partnerships with people who have a unique voice but haven't had an opportunity to delve into new things. “To prepare for The Jane Austen Book Club, Smits says, he read Emma and Persuasion. In his mind, Austen is a master at dissecting the different classes of society. “The emotional landscape that they all share is similar, even though they may be in a different snack bracket.” A concept the Brooklyn-born actor gamely relates to.

Starz At Home In Toronto

Excerpt from www.thestar.com - Murray Whyte, Toronto Star

(September 26, 2007)
David Steinberg warns that his articulation might be a little off. "This will make more and more sense as I get further through my coffee," he says, chuckling. He can be forgiven a little mental cloudiness. Over the course of the past year – and especially during the past few months – Steinberg has been overseeing consolidation, amalgamation, construction, recruitment, and – oh, right – actual production at the newest of Toronto's big-league production facilities, the Canadian animation studio for Starz. It's a subsidiary of Liberty Media, a massive U.S. entertainment company with interests in virtually every kind of film and TV production and distribution. Haven't heard of Starz? Fair enough. Maybe you've heard of The Simpsons. Under its broad umbrella of companies, Starz produced both the movie and the TV series. Or possibly VeggieTales, a popular animated children's TV series that is spinning off into its own feature, The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything, this year. Or Everyone's Hero, a feature produced and released for 20th Century Fox last year. Also on the list: 9, a new feature produced by Tim Burton and directed by Shane Acker, who won a student Academy Award for an animated short last year. And all this, right here. Starting – officially – today.

With our dollar flirting with the parity mark against the U.S. greenback, no less, and the Toronto film industry suffering because of it, Starz Animation is happy to call the city home. "I spent the last 27 years in the L.A. marketplace working with so much amazing Canadian talent, it essentially drew me back to the source," said Steinberg,  now happily caffeinated and effusive. "The exchange rate, frankly, sucks," he laughs, "but even with the economics not being as ideal as they once were, the talent base and the smarts that are here far outweigh that. These guys know how to do what no one else does, and that is getting a really high level of quality on the screen for not as high a price point as the big studios." And the big studios have come calling – Universal, for example, for The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything, and its affiliate, Focus Features, for 9. Steinberg  says the studio, which started to form after Starz acquired IDT Entertainment a little over a year ago, is the key beneficiary of a welter of high-level Toronto-based animation programs, most notably at Sheridan and Seneca Colleges. "They're going to employ a good chunk of our graduates, and that's always great," says Michael Collins, dean of the animation school at Sheridan. "But it's a competitive marketplace, and it's probably a little too early to tell." People in the field remember the euphoria that accompanied the arrival of a Disney digital animation studio here, set up to produce direct-to-DVD features. It lasted only a few years before Disney consolidated the unit and shut it down. Disney "took a lot of employees" from places like Canadian-based children's programming giant Nelvana, and then had to lay them off. "People went through a dislocation for a while – some of them work here now," Collins said.

"But they found work again pretty quickly." In terms of competition, Collins thinks Starz is filling a market niche different from local outfits like Nelvana, or even Core Features, which produced Disney's animated theatrical release The Wild. "They have to maintain their contracts, but they seem to have a lot in the pipe and that's great," he said. Both Sheridan and Seneca have been talent factories, feeding into the Hollywood market for decades; Starz chose to come to them instead. Which suits Kevin Adams, an art director at the studio and a Sheridan grad, just fine. "I was in L.A. for a long time," says Adams, running through his various digital palettes: landscapes, character design, sets. "I was finally able to come back because there was something worth coming back for. "This is really a chance to rival or challenge some of those really big studios." Like, say, Pixar, which produced the two Toy Storys, or The Incredibles? That's the goal. With 165 employees and the eventual goal of 300 by 2009, Starz Toronto won't match its L.A. mothership, which counts 550, but it will be a significant production facility that rivals anything in Canada, not to mention many in the U.S. Key, of course, is the talent. "Really, the vast majority is local," Rubinstein says. "I'm the minority.” In the modelling department, Dave Baas and Paul Kohut – both part of the Canadian team for the 2005 Oscar-winning animated short Ryan, about National Film Board animation legend Ryan Larkin – watch as Mike Dharney, their colleague, demonstrates early motion and scene direction on The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything. Onscreen, Robert the Pirate (who, it should be noted, is actually a cucumber, and a bad-tempered one) jerkily draws his sword and glares menacingly – or as menacingly as a vegetable can, in any case. Baas explains that the scene construction gives the director a rough idea of where the shots and angles available to him are – a sort of storyboard in 3D. "It's a really useful tool," he says. Starz also adds a much-welcome presence in the film production scene in general here. Full-length animated features aside, the studio also does high-end CGI animation for live action features. It allows international blockbusters – the likes of which having been sparse here in recent years – a strong local facility to do everything locally. And hire locally, too. "That was our theory," Steinberg says. "If we build it, they will come – or come back."


Danny Glover Wraps Filming In Uruguay

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com

(September 21, 2007) *
Danny Glover, Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo have just completed work on location in Uruguay for the upcoming film “Blindness,” which tells the story of an unnamed city where everyone suddenly loses their eyesight, and the drama that ensues. "When you are blind you try to adopt another kind of sensitivity, so this role is definitely a challenge from a physical point of view," Glover, 60, told AP from the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo. "The story is powerful and it addresses how we relate to each other as human beings," he said. The film is based on a novel by Portuguese writer Jose Saramago and is directed by Fernando Meirelles, best known for helming "City of God," which depicts life in a Rio de Janeiro shantytown.  “Blindness” continues filming today in Brazil.

Otis Redding Film To Premiere In October

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com

(September 21, 2007)  *A new documentary on the life of
Otis Redding will have its world premiere in Hollywood next month.  “Dreams To Remember: The Legacy Of Otis Redding” features a wealth of performances filmed throughout America and Europe, beginning with Otis singing one of his earliest hits, “Pain In My Heart,” and progressing through the artist’s Stax/Volt career.   Included are complete performances of “I Can’t Turn You Loose,” “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long,” “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” and a host of others; “Try A Little Tenderness” and “Respect” were taped at a local Cleveland television show less than 24 hours before Otis’ death.   The film also contains in-depth interviews with those who helped Otis write and create his incredible music: Steve Cropper, who co-wrote with Otis and played guitar on virtually every record he made at Stax; Wayne Jackson, the trumpet player for the Mar-Keys/Memphis Horns who also played on most of Otis’ recordings, and Jim Stewart, the founder of Stax Records, who gave his first interview in 13 years for this film. And there are stirring reminiscences from Otis’ wife Zelma and daughter Karla.    “Dreams To Remember: The Legacy Of Otis Redding” will screen at Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre (6712 Hollywood Blvd.), on Monday, Oct. 8 at 8 p.m. A panel discussion with Zelma Redding (Otis’ widow), Wayne Jackson of the Mar-Keys, Grammy Award-winning Stax historian Rob Bowman and the documentary’s directors David Peck and Phil Galloway will follow.   Tickets are $10 for the general public, $8 students and seniors, $7 American Cinematheque members and are available through the festival Web site http://www.ModsAndRockers.com  or at the theatre box office in advance or at door.

Denzel Signs On For Hostage Drama

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com

(September 25, 2007) *
Denzel Washington has been cast in Columbia Pictures' remake of "The Taking of Pelham 1, 2, 3" for director Tony Scott, marking the pair's fourth time teaming for a feature film.     Set in contemporary New York, the story gets going when four hijackers hold up a subway train and demand ransom in exchange for the passengers. Washington will star as Lt. Zachary “Z" Garber, a character played in the 1974 original film by Walter Matthau.      The story, based on a novel by John Godey, also spawned a 1998 TV movie starring Edward James Olmos.      Sony will begin shooting the script from "Spider-Man 4" screenwriter David Koepp in the first quarter of 2008.      Scott, meanwhile, has directed Washington in "Déjà Vu" (2006), “Man on Fire" (2004) and "Crimson Tide" (1995).  The actor's upcoming credits include "American Gangster," helmed by Tony Scott's brother, Ridley.  The actor recently wrapped production on his latest directorial effort, "The Great Debaters."

Samuel L. Jackson, Bernie Mac Have 'Soul'

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com

(September 25, 2007) *
Samuel L. Jackson and Bernie Mac will play two former backup singers from a legendary soul group who reluctantly agree to a reunion tour in the upcoming film, “Soul Men."  In the Dimension Films comedy, the characters haven't spoken to each other in 20 years but agree to travel together for a tribute performance in honour of their recently deceased bandleader.   Both actors have vowed to do their own dancing and singing for the film, and producers David Friendly and Steven Greener are in negotiations to use the Stax Records catalogue.   Jackson will take on the role after he completes the Frank Miller-directed, "The Spirit." Mac is coming off the Walt Becker-directed Disney comedy "Old Dogs."

Gabriel Casseus Lands Disney Film

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com

(September 25, 2007) *Actor
Gabriel Casseus has joined the cast of Disney's "G-Force," a Jerry Bruckheimer-produced live-action/CGI family feature about genetically-enhanced animal commandos trying to prevent an evil billionaire from taking over the world.    Casseus, whose credits include "Get On the Bus," "Black Hawk Down" and ABC's "Their Eyes Were Watching God," will star as an NSA agent tracking a group of the commandos, reports Variety.      Meanwhile, the actor has also sold an action film titled "Bone Deep," which he wrote and will executive produce.  Also, Mandalay Alliance has optioned a horror comedy he wrote, "Boyz in the Wood," that would also feature him as its director.

Alliance Nabs Overture's Movies

Excerpt from www.globeandmail.com - Guy Dixon

(September 26, 2007) Toronto-based
Alliance Films announced a three-year deal Tuesday to handle Canadian distribution of upcoming feature films from the promising new independent studio Overture Films. In a press release, Overture's chief executive officer, Chris McGurk, and Alliance Film's executive chairman, Victor Loewy, said the partnership will add eight to 12 films a year to Alliance's slate, starting with Mad Money, due in theatres early next year and starring Diane Keaton, Queen Latifah and Katie Holmes. Alliance Films – formerly known as Motion Pictures Distribution (MPD) – is Canada's most powerful distribution company, with coveted clients such as Miramax Films, New Line, the Weinstein Co. and Focus Features. Earlier this year, Overture – the one-year-old, wholly owned subsidiary of U.S. giant Liberty Media Corp. – struck an international distribution deal with Paramount Vantage International. The company is now in production on Traitor, a thriller starring Don Cheadle and Guy Pearce. It also recently acquired North American rights to Tom McCarthy's The Visitor during the Toronto International Film Festival.  Next month, Overture starts shooting Last Chance Harvey, with Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson in London.  MPD was relaunched recently as Alliance Films by new owner Goldman Sachs & Co. after a rocky year and a half, during which senior executives were fired or quit. Veteran distributor Loewy re-emerged as executive chairman with the name change. Last January, MPD was sold as part of the $2.3-billion takeover of Alliance Atlantis Communications by Goldman Sachs and Canadian partner CanWest Global Communications.

Liv Ullmann Returning To Film

Excerpt from www.globeandmail.com - Reuters

(September 25, 2007) OSLO — Norway's most famous international actress,
Liv Ullmann, will play a grandmother in her first Norwegian film in 38 years, Norwegian media reported on Tuesday. Ullmann, age 68, will make her "comeback" in In a Mirror, in a Riddle, based on a novel by Norwegian author Jostein Gaarder and directed by Danish filmmaker Jesper Nielsen. Gaarder burst to international fame in 1991 with Sophie's World, a teenager's guide to philosophy. The film is the story of a severely ill 13-year-old girl, and filming will start in Oslo in November. Ullmann will play the girl's grandmother. "This is not only the first (Norwegian) part I have taken on since An-Magritt, it is also the first I have been offered," Ullmann told the daily Dagbladet from New York. Her role in the 1969 An-Magritt by director Arne Skouens was her last Norwegian leading film role. Ullmann said she did not plan to star in any more movies, but when she read the manuscript, she wept – with happiness. "I am very proud to be a part of this," she said. Ullmann, born in 1938, made her breakthrough in the 1966 film Persona directed by Ingmar Bergman and went on to play in eight other Bergman films including the powerful Scenes from a Marriage (1973) and Face to Face (1976). The Swedish Bergman, with whom Ullmann had a daughter, Linn Ullmann, died on July 31 at the age of 89. This week, Ullmann will travel to San Sebastian in Spain where she will receive an honorary prize with American actor Richard Gere.

Canadian Sex Slaves Doc Wins Emmy Award

Excerpt from www.globeandmail.com - Michael Posner

(September 26, 2007) Toronto —
Sex Slaves, Toronto producer/director Ric Bienstock's documentary about young, impoverished Eastern European women sold into sexual slavery, has won an Emmy Award in the investigation category. The film, which aired on PBS, previously won the Edward R. Murrow Award, the 2006 British Broadcast Award for Best Documentary and a Royal Television Society Award in Britain. Oddly, the only major awards show that seems to have overlooked it was Canada's Geminis, for which it was not even nominated. The doc focuses principally on a 21-year-old pregnant Moldavian woman kidnapped and later sold for $1,000 as a sex slave, and her husband's untiring — and ultimately successful — efforts to get her back.

Morgan Freeman To Play Nelson Mandela

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com

(September 26, 2007) *If all goes well, Clint Eastwood will direct
Morgan Freeman for a third time in their storied careers.  Following "Unforgiven" and Oscar-winner "Million Dollar Baby," Eastwood is in talks to helm "The Human Factor," about how the 1995 Rugby World Cup helped heal post-apartheid race relations in South Africa. Freeman would play the role of Nelson Mandela. The film is set immediately after the fall of apartheid, and after Mandela was released from a long imprisonment and became South African president. Mandela recognized the significance when South Africa was selected host of the 1995 Rugby World Cup after the team had been barred from even competing since the 1980s because of apartheid.  Freeman, who stars with Jack Nicholson in the upcoming Rob Reiner-directed WB film "The Bucket List," went to South Africa with McCreary last spring to get Mandela's blessing on the project.  Matt Damon is in talks to play the captain of the Springboks team.  Freeman and Revelations partner Lori McCreary are co-producing, while Warner Bros is currently negotiating to provide financing. "The Human Factor" is an adaptation of the John Carlin book "The Human Factor: Nelson Mandela and the Game that Changed the World." 


Little Mosque Expands Global Reach

Excerpt from
www.thestar.com - The Canadian Press

(September 25, 2007)
Little Mosque On The Prairie, the CBC hit comedy that begins its second season next week on CBC-TV, will soon air in Israel, the West Bank, Gaza, Dubai, Finland and Turkey. The first season of the show, about the residents of a small Muslim community in the fictional Canadian prairie town of Mercy, will begin airing Oct. 23 on Israel's paid satellite channel, Stars 3. Little Mosque will air in English with Hebrew subtitles. "It's so gratifying to know we'll be airing in Israel, and my biggest hope is that people watch the show and just feel that they are transported into a place of laughter and positive vibe," Mary Darling, executive producer of Little Mosque, said in an interview Tuesday. "If it can keep on keeping on and create dialogue, then it's serving the purpose of why we wanted to do the show beyond just doing a funny show about Muslims because we felt it hadn't been done yet." The show has also been sold to one of Finland's largest television broadcasters, YLE Teema. The first season of Little Mosque will begin airing next year in English with subtitles. The Turkish channel Kanal 7 is also picking up the show's first season and five episodes of Season 2 with an option for the remaining episodes. Dubai's Pyramedia, a pay channel, has also bought the show, something Darling says she's particularly excited about. Little Mosque will begin airing there early next year.

"Dubai is a modern Arab country where you've got Abu Dhabi next door – one is so concrete and old-fashioned, and one is all glass and has more cranes in it than anywhere else in the world, and it's building up. I think it's going to be really fascinating to see how very different Muslims greet the show." "I hope the comedy travels well and people understand that we're not making fun of the faith, we're making fun of the characters – it's something we're very watchful of because we know how sensitive it can be." Darling said in the eight months since Little Mosque debuted on CBC to huge ratings, her company, Westwind Pictures, has been inundated with offers from countries around the world interested in getting distribution rights to the show. "Since this show aired it has been a year of receiving and negotiating deals," she says with a laugh. "It's been busy, but it's been great. We're so excited by all the interest it's received internationally." In more Little Mosque news, Darling says a cross-country travelling musical and comedy show is in the works entitled Little Mosque Presents Islamapalooza. "We call it a blend of comedy and country and eastern music, an opportunity to lift the veil, if you will, on the Little Mosque cast and the show behind the scenes," she said. Five cast members – including Sheila McCarthy and Neil Crone – have confirmed that they'll participate, with more expected. The show will travel to Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Regina, Calgary and possibly Ottawa. The second season of Little Mosque on the Prairie premieres Oct. 3 on CBC.

A Dialogue with D.L. on Everything from Nappy-Headed Hos to His HBO Special

Source:  Kam Williams

Born on March 6, 1963,
Darryl Lynn Hughley was the second of four children raised in South Central, Los Angeles by his adoptive father, Charles, a janitor, and his stay-at-home mom, Audrey. For about a half-dozen years, D.L. was a member of the Bloods, but then the high school dropout decided to turn his life around following the shooting of a cousin. He broke his ties with the gang, earned a G.E.D., and got a job with the L.A. Times. There he met his future wife, Ladonna, with whom he would have his three children, Ryan, Tyler and Kyle. Ladonna was the one who convinced him he was funny enough to try his hand at stand-up. And he went on to enjoy phenomenal success as a comedian, perhaps peaking at that endeavour during The Original Kings of Comedy Tour, alongside Bernie Mac, Cedric the Entertainer and Steve Harvey. D.L. has also had quite a career as an actor on TV, not only with his own sitcom, The Hughleys, but also appearing on such shows as The Fresh Prince, The Parkers, Sister, Sister and Scrubs. Most recently, he co-starred on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, a short-lived series which was cancelled by NBC after 22 episodes. He’s made his mark on the big screen, too, with memorable performances in Scary Movie 3, Soul Plane, Chasing Papi, The Brothers, and more. However, a few months ago, Hughley created quite a controversy during an appearance on the Tonight Show when he qualified Don Imus’ “nappy-headed hos” comment by affirming, “They were some of the ugliest women I've seen in my whole life." (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIqD1GCvedw

Here, Hughley discusses that remark, as well as his new comedy special,
Unapologetic, which debuts on HBO on Saturday, September 22nd at 10 PM (check local listings). On October 4th, he’ll be kickstarting a nationwide stand-up tour in Trenton, NJ which will take him to over 25 cities by the end of the year.

DL: Hey, Kam, how are you?

KW: Fine, thanks so much for the time.

DL: What’s happening?

KW: I just checked out an early copy of your HBO special, Unapologetic, which I found hilarious, but of course, before we get to that, first I have to ask you about your controversial Tonight Show appearance. What type of feedback have you been getting from it?

DL: I think there are people who get that it’s a joke, and there are people who take it a little further than that. It kind of varies, but I think most people understand that that’s kind of the way I see things, and that I don’t believe I said anything that was untrue, and that it was just a joke.

KW: I’ve noticed this as a critic: a comic can get away with anything, as long as it’s funny. But if it falls flat, then everybody will focus on the fact that the material was also politically incorrect. If I walk out of a movie that had me howling, I can’t give it a bad review, even if I’m embarrassed about what I was laughing it.

DL: Exactly. I think that what I’ve come to realize is that we have a dual kind of existence in our society now. One, where we are open and honest, and that’s usually in our heads. And another, that we play out for everybody else. But if you look at what I said, I still hold to the fact that I personally don’t know a lot of attractive female basketball players. I just don’t. I was watching ESPN recently and they were talking about why the WNBA isn’t doing well, and ways to improve it. One of the ways was to make it sexier, because sex sells. So, I don’t think I said anything that a lot of people couldn’t obviously see. But because we live in a politically correct society, we have to almost filter our thoughts. And if you do that, that’s almost kind of antithetical to being a comedian. So, my purpose or intent is never to make people go, “Wow!” or shock them, but it’s just to say the things I see. And that’s what I’ve always tried to do.   

KW: Well let me say for the record that I have a first cousin who played on the U.S. Olympic Team who is very beautiful and feminine, and I met some of her teammates who were also very attractive. But I understand how you feel. For the audience watching you, there’s a dual reaction. They might initially laugh impulsively at what you said, but then there’s a secondary reaction where they can’t admit that they first found it funny, because Imus got fired for saying something similar.  

DL: Right, right, right. Imus got fired, ultimately, because he told a bad joke on a slow news week. That’s the real reason why he got fired.

KW: So, I guess you don’t think it was an important issue for the black community to organize around.

DL: I take exception to the fact that when in our community we’ve got people dying in the streets, especially in your area, New Jersey and Philadelphia, one of the most violent in the country, kids are dying left and right, and this is the issue we’re wasting time on. It’s ironic, the things we think are important as a society. The governor of your state almost got killed rushing to an apology for a dumb joke. He literally almost lost his life. That’s the height of irony. In the end, if he’d have died, would that have been worth it? Over an apology for a stupid joke? Is that where we’ve come? That’s dumb.

KW: Do you have anything special planned for New Jersey when you kick off your stand-up tour here in Trenton?

DL: Because it’s the first day of the Unapologetic tour, it’s something I’m going to be really focused and concentrating on. But to me, wherever I go, I want people to have a good time and to know that I came to be honest with them. 

KW: Are you going to conduct yourself differently due to the fallout from you remarks?

DL: I’m going to tell you how I see it, and accept the fact that some people are going to take umbrage. 

KW: How do you write your material, then? How do you decide what jokes to include in your act?

DL: You can’t write Imus, or Michael Vick, or O.J. I’m just blessed with a perspective to be able to notice them. Almost everything I did in the HBO Special was going on at that particular time.   

KW: Yeah, I noticed that it’s all observational humour touching on a lot of hot-button topics like Paris Hilton in jail, Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama running for president, Hurricane Katrina, Alec Baldwin’s parenting issues, and the female astronaut arrested in adult diapers.

DL: Yeah, even today, as I watch what’s going on with O.J., I’m thinking, if you killed two people, maybe you should lay low. That’s kind of obvious to me. I think stand-up is one of the last places left where people can expect to hear a level of truth. Newspapers, TV shows and radio stations are all controlled by corporations that are homogenizing everything so they can sell it. That how I see it. That may not be everybody else’s perspective, but I think I kind of have an obligation to have enough courage and conviction to say things as I see them accurately.  

KW: Were your comments on Jay Leno an orchestrated strategy to help you kick off your upcoming tour?

DL: No. I’ll be on the Tonight Show again tomorrow, and you’ll see that my act will be about what’s going on right now.

KW: What advice do you have for anyone who wants to follow in your footsteps as a comedian? 

DL: If you lack the courage of your convictions, sell shoes.

KW: Any plans for another Kings of Comedy tour?

DL: I don’t know. A lot of people have been asking me that lately. So, it’s kind of percolating. I’m not going to say anything more, but it sure would be a nice situation to get back into, because it was one of the best times I’ve had professionally.

KW: What else is going on with you?

DL: We just finished Studio 60, and that took so much out of me, by the time I finished with it I was drained. And it took me away from stand-up. I think we wrapped the season on the 23rd of April, and then right after that I only had about 30 days to prepare for this HBO Special. So, I was exhausted. 

KW: Why did you take that gig in the first place?

DL: To wash the taste of Soul Plane out of my mouth. I really needed that.

KW: And what was it like working with writer/producer Aaron Sorkin on that show?

DL: He’s a genius. But like most geniuses, when they make them big, they make them bigger than everybody else.

KW: Would you say that you’re happy?

DL: I think I’m as happy as a person like me can be. I’m not one of those cats who thinks he’s happy as a constant state. I think every human being gets 20 great days in his life, and I’ve had 6 of them so far.

KW: The reason I asked is because I recently interviewed Columbus Short and…

DL: I love Columbus!

KW: Yeah, well I asked him, “What question are you never asked that you’d like to be asked?” And he said, “Are you happy?” And I thought it was a good enough question to ask everybody I interview for now on.

DL: The funny thing is, I’ve got a wife, so I’m asked that question often. I think that happy might work for people in corporate America, but if you’re an entertainer on the stage, I don’t think that you can be happy and comfortable in your career. I just don’t.

KW: Doing stand-up has got to be one of the toughest things in the world. It’s just you and a mike in front of a live crowd.

DL: You know why that is? It’s because all of your sensibilities, your most natural inclination is to be liked and accepted. That’s a natural inclination. And that’s antithetical to what you have to do as a comedian. Take Kathy Griffin…

KW: Who made a crack about Christ during her Emmy acceptance speech the other night.

DL: It’s so funny that the Catholic Church came out against her the same week that the San Diego Archdiocese paid $600 million to settle a child molestation suit. And they can’t take a joke? Come on now! You wouldn’t spend that much money on hookers and cocaine. But you can’t take a joke? Come on!

KW: But I wonder whether she’d have made the same joke about Muhammad or Islam, given the assassination of filmmaker Theo Van Gogh.

DL: This takes us back to Imus and Michael Richards. At least they were honest. Everybody has the right to feel how they feel. The most dangerous thing about corporations creating the appearance of a homogenized society is that it makes us think that we’re further along than we are as a society, which is why we’re always shocked when something happens. 

KW: Yeah, like when we heard about that black woman who was just kidnapped by racist rednecks and raped for a week. 

DL: Right! The fact that we’re still shocked by stuff like that tells you that we’re not depicting our society accurately. We’re shocked when violence occurs, yet we’re the most violent country in the world. My gig is to observe all that stuff and take it in without ever forgetting that I’m here to make people laugh, not to preach. The payoff, hopefully, is that I’ve constructed the joke well enough to get a laugh.

KW: Do you expect a change in your live audience demographic on tour due to the Tonight Show?

DL: I couldn’t know. I don’t write jokes to gain or lose fans. Mt gig is just to do my job the best I can. Some people will be angry, but I’m a big boy.

KW: Do you read your fan mail?

DL: I don’t read good or bad.

KW: I’m the same way. I hate reading letters to the editor because you want to be liked, but you don’t want to be influenced in your opinions by what’s popular.

DL: I think we’re in the same position. You’re actually taking a stand on things that you haven’t taken a consensus on. And I don’t know how we can get to a consensus about what’s funny. Who are these people who presume to be the arbiters of what’s appropriate conversation? I’m a nightclub act. I tell jokes where people go to drink and eat chicken wings. And they’re there for a release.    

KW: When I reflect on my childhood, I remember we could be pretty cruel. You had to develop a thick skin early to survive. Everybody was teased, everybody had a nickname. Mine was Joe Kraut, because it was right after World War II, I guess, and I was the only kid on the block with red hair and freckles in an all black neighbourhood. 

DL: You remember when we grew up, our mothers taught us to say, “Sticks and stones can break my bones…” because they knew that growing up in the ‘hood was a cruel place. If you didn’t know how to defend yourself physically or verbally, you couldn’t go outside. So, pardon me if I’m not as affected by someone telling a joke that doesn’t go over that well. Pardon me if I don’t think that’s signalling the downfall of civilization. Pardon me if I go, “Learn how to take a joke.”

KW: Still, I wonder if there’s any special message you might have for sisters who might have been offended by what you had to say about the Rutgers basketball team?

DL: People who know me, know what I’m about. People who know me, know who I am. And people that are fans, will be fans. People that aren’t, aren’t. I just can’t truck in apologies for a perspective that is clearly all mine, and for something that was clearly a joke. I like to think that I’m pretty good at what I do, so I hope people will laugh, have a good time and enjoy themselves. 

KW: Jimmy Bayan was wondering where in L.A. you live.

DL: In Calabasas.

KW: Calabasas? Where’s that?

DL: Actually, it’s a place called Woodland Hills.

KW: Is there a question you always wished someone would ask you, but no one ever does?

DL: No, man, but thanks for taking the time to talk to me. I appreciate it.

KW: Same here, D.L. Good luck with the HBO special and with the tour. 

DL: Thank you very much.

Filling You In On The Facts Of Life

Excerpt from
www.thestar.com - Television Critic

(September 22, 2007) LOS ANGELES–A horrific triple homicide. An innocent cop framed, charged and convicted. A dozen years of brutal, dehumanizing incarceration. Eventual exoneration – and a substantial financial settlement from the very institutions that had betrayed and abandoned him. That's life. And that's
Life, a remarkable new drama debuting Wednesday at 10 p.m. on NBC and Global. In fact, Life is as much a comedy as it is a drama – again, not unlike life itself – equal parts police procedural and gently jokey character study, with an ongoing, somewhat serialized mystery to be solved and the occasional out-of-nowhere stylistic departure into faux documentary. All of it is anchored and brilliantly balanced by the nuanced lead performance of British Band of Brothers break-out Damian Lewis, again playing American as Charlie Crews, the wrongly locked-up cop now trying, in his wonky way, to re-adjust to life on the outside. It's Monk meets House, Burke's Law by way of The Count of Monte Cristo, coloured by a Zen-driven aspiration to inner peace and an aggressive obsession with fresh fruit.  And, in the case of Crews's new no-nonsense partner (Sarah Shahi), an excess of attitude, a history of drug addiction and a penchant for anonymous sex. Not exactly a match made in heaven. But again, going in – or rather, in this case, getting out – Crews is a mass of conflicts unto himself.

"There's a dichotomy in the character which is borne out of his experience of being 12 years in a maximum-security prison," the actor explains, lapsing back into his natural King's English. "Before he went to prison, he was really a regular guy like you or me, looking for a career in the LAPD and a pension. And something extraordinary happened to him that changed him. "I think he comes to life with fresh eyes. In some ways, he's liberated by his experience. As an element of cost, there's a little bit of pain, the yin and the yang of his experience, if you'd like. And his ability or his quickness to get in people's faces and resort to street mentality or the language of the prison never leaves him. So if it seems eccentric ... it simply is a result of his experiences to date, which have altered him greatly." Crews's ongoing efforts to move on with his life, to "live in the now," to conquer his demons and embrace his newfound freedom, are really only a part of the story. "First, it's a character-based drama," explains Life producer/writer Rand Ravich. "And like any character-based drama, there are longer-running, character-based themes and stories. But there will also be a closed-ended police story every week.  "He was in prison for 12 years. He dreamt about a lot of things for those 12 years, but mostly he dreamt about becoming a cop again. He wanted the suit. He wanted the badge. He wanted the gun. He wants to be a really good cop. So every week there will be a good cop story." And then there is ... all the other stuff. "There will be a piece of his life every week," Ravich continues. "Sometimes it will be the ... `conspiracy,' for lack of a better word. Sometimes it will be dealing with his ex-wife. Sometimes it will be learning how to date again. Sometimes it's as simple as dealing with his cell phone ... the whole world that he's missed out on for the last 12 years will be a part of this show every week."

CBC Names News Boss

Excerpt from www.globeandmail.com - Guy Dixon

(September 20, 2007)
John Cruickshank, the veteran Canadian journalist who rose to become publisher of the Chicago Sun-Times, is returning to Toronto to head CBC News. Following Tony Burman's departure in July from the position of editor-in-chief after a long career with the public broadcaster, the top news job at the CBC was split into two. Cruickshank's official title is publisher of CBC News. However, the expectation is that the CBC is still looking to fill the other newly created position of executive editor for English-language news and current-affairs programs. That job is seen as more like a newspaper editor-in-chief, working closely with producers in choosing the stories of the day. The position of publisher is seen as more of an oversight role, organizing the structure of the news departments and directing resources across the CBC's television, radio and online news services. Cruickshank, a former managing editor of The Globe and Mail, is a career-long newspaper man, not a broadcaster. Yet the CBC's managers were effusive Wednesday in their praise.

“He has enjoyed a distinguished career as a journalist, first in Canada and most recently in the U.S. He will be assuming leadership of the country's most important news organization in an exciting time,” said CBC-TV executive vice-president Richard Stursberg Wednesday in a release. The chief executive officer of the Sun-Times Media Group, Cyrus Friedheim, said in a separate release that Cruickshank “led this company through very difficult times” and that “his presence will be sorely missed.” During Cruickshank's tenure, both the Sun-Times and rival daily the Chicago Tribune have had to dramatically cut costs and jobs. Last year, the Sun-Times let go of around 10 per cent of its staff, while also beefing up its website with content from other Chicago-area papers it owns. Cruickshank wasn't immediately available for comment Wednesday. He is scheduled to begin at the CBC within three weeks. He began his career at the Montreal Gazette and the Kingston Whig-Standard before working his way through various beats and editing stints over a 14-year career at The Globe and Mail. Starting in 1981, his beats included education and Queen's Park before he became Vancouver bureau chief, editorial writer, associate editor and finally managing editor in 1992.  In 1995, he was appointed editor of The Vancouver Sun, where he was credited with creating a more cohesive style for the paper and bringing aboard a host of new section editors. In 2000, he moved to the Chicago Sun-Times, where he was named vice-president of editorial and co-editor. One mission was to wrest the paper from its brief down-market past when it was controlled in the mid-1980s by Rupert Murdoch.  By 2003, he was named publisher, and he is also currently COO of the Sun-Times Media Group, which includes suburban newspapers in the Chicago area.


Anthony Anderson’s ‘K’ville’ Tops Ratings

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com

(September 20, 2007) *Fox’s new drama series “
K-Ville” debuted to big numbers on Monday, drawing 9 million viewers to win the night’s coveted 18-49 demographic, according to early Nielsen data. The series, starring Anthony Anderson and Cole Hauser as police detectives in post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans, also outperformed last year's debut of "Vanished" in the same time slot by 5% in total viewers and 13% among adults 18-49.  The show’s 9 p.m., Monday competition included repeats on ABC and CBS and an original "The Singing Bee" on NBC, which drew 7.8 million viewers. “Prison Break,” which began its third season at 8 p.m. Monday with Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller) in a Panamanian jail, averaged an estimated 7.4 million viewers. Unfortunately, it was the series’ least watched premiere – down nearly 2 million viewers from the opener last year. It was beaten in the ratings by reruns of “How I Met Your Mother (10.9 million) and “The New Adventures of Old Christine (12.4 million) on CBS. “K-Ville,” slang for “Katrina-Ville,” expanded its “Prison Break” lead-in by 6% in adults 18-49 and 22% in total viewers. Next Monday, both shows will face serious competition from the season premieres of NBC’s "Heroes," ABC’s "Dancing With the Stars" and CBS’ "Two and a Half Men."

Whoopi's 'View' Tops 'Rosie's' In Ratings

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com

September 25, 2007) *After a slow start, ratings for "The View" have steadily increased since the addition of moderator Whoopi Goldberg, and is currently soaring above the numbers averaged during the controversy-riddled era of Rosie O'Donnell.     According to Daily Variety, the ABC morning talk show under Goldberg is averaging 3.5 million total viewers, a 7% increase from 3.3 million under O'Donnell last season.       Ratings weren't so “rosie" in the beginning for Goldberg. Her first show drew 3.4 million viewers, 1 million fewer than O'Donnell did on her first day in 2006. Pundits began to predict a permanent ratings drop-off from Rosie's tenure.     But after one week, the show under Whoopi was neck-and-neck with the Rosie-led show of last year. The second week into the season, "The View" was up 16% over last year, an unexpected turn for ABC daytime president Brian Frons, who was among those who believed Whoopi's numbers would never top Rosie's.   The addition of co-host Sherri Shepherd to the table also gave the show a ratings jolt. Since her Sept. 10 debut, “The View" has added 4% in total viewers.


Marcel Marceau Bows Out

Excerpt from www.globeandmail.com - Angela Doland, Associated Press

(September 23, 2007) PARIS —
Marcel Marceau, who revived the art of mime and brought poetry to silence, has died, his former assistant said Sunday. He was 84. Marceau died Saturday in Paris, French media reported. Former assistant Emmanuel Vacca announced the death on France-Info radio, but gave no details about the cause. Wearing white face paint, soft shoes and a battered hat topped with a red flower, Marceau, notably through his famed persona Bip, played the entire range of human emotions onstage for more than 50 years, never uttering a word. Offstage, however, he was famously chatty. “Never get a mime talking. He won't stop,” he once said. A French Jew, Marceau survived the Holocaust and also worked with the French Resistance to protect Jewish children. His biggest inspiration was Charlie Chaplin. Marceau, in turn, inspired countless young performers; Michael Jackson borrowed his famous “moonwalk” from a Marceau sketch, “Walking Against the Wind.” Marceau performed tirelessly around the world until late in life, never losing his agility, never going out of style. In one of his most poignant and philosophical acts, “Youth, Maturity, Old Age, Death,” he wordlessly showed the passing of an entire life in just minutes.

“Do not the most moving moments of our lives find us without words?” he once said. Prime Minister Francois Fillon praised Marceau as “the master,” saying he had the rare gift of “being able to communicate with each and everyone beyond the barriers of language.” Marceau was born Marcel Mangel on March 22, 1923, in Strasbourg, France. His father Charles, a butcher who sang baritone, introduced his son to the world of music and theatre at an early age. The boy adored the silent film stars of the era: Chaplin, Buster Keaton and the Marx brothers. When the Germans marched into eastern France, he and his family were given just hours to pack their bags. He fled to southwest France and changed his last name to Marceau to hide his Jewish origins. With his brother Alain, Marceau became active in the French Resistance. Marceau altered children's identity cards, changing their birth dates to trick the Germans into thinking they were too young to be deported. Because he spoke English, he was recruited to be a liaison officer with General George S. Patton's army. In 1944, Marceau's father was sent to Auschwitz, where he died. Later, he reflected on his father's death: “Yes, I cried for him.” But he also thought of all the others killed: “Among those kids was maybe an Einstein, a Mozart, somebody who (would have) found a cancer drug,” he told reporters in 2000. “That is why we have a great responsibility. Let us love one another.” When Paris was liberated, Marcel's life as a performer began. He enrolled in Charles Dullin's School of Dramatic Art, studying with the renowned mime Etienne Decroux. On a tiny stage at the Theatre de Poche, a smoke-filled Left Bank cabaret, he sought to perfect the style of mime that would become his trademark.

Bip — Marceau's on-stage persona — was born. Marceau once said that Bip was his creator's alter ego, a sad-faced double whose eyes lit up with child-like wonder as he discovered the world. Bip was a direct descendant of the 19th century harlequin, but his clownish gestures, Marceau said, were inspired by Chaplin and Keaton. Marceau likened his character to a modern-day Don Quixote, “alone in a fragile world filled with injustice and beauty.” Dressed in a white sailor suit, a top hat — a red rose perched on top — Bip chased butterflies and flirted at cocktail parties. He went to war and ran a matrimonial service. In one famous sketch, “Public Garden,” Marceau played all the characters in a park, from little boys playing ball to old women with knitting needles. In 1949 Marceau's newly formed mime troupe was the only one of its kind in Europe. But it was only after a hugely successful tour across the United States in the mid-1950s that Marceau received the acclaim that would make him an international star. Single-handedly, Marceau revived the art of mime. “I have a feeling that I did for mime what (Andres) Segovia did for the guitar, what (Pablo) Casals did for the cello,” he once told The Associated Press in an interview. In the past decades, he has taken Bip to from Mexico to China to Australia. He's also made film appearances. The most famous was Mel Brooks' “Silent Movie”: He had the only speaking line, “Non!” As he aged, Marceau kept on performing at the same level, never losing the agility that made him famous. On top of his Legion of Honour and his countless honorary degrees, he was invited to be a United Nations goodwill ambassador for a 2002 conference on aging. “If you stop at all when you are 70 or 80, you cannot go on,” he told The AP in an interview in 2003. “You have to keep working.” Funeral arrangements were not immediately known.

Mirvish Alive With Sound Of Music

Excerpt from
www.thestar.com - Theatre Critic

(September 25, 2007) "How do you solve a problem like Maria?" That's the question everyone will be asking today after it is announced that Andrew Lloyd Webber is looking for a Canadian talent to play the lead in a Toronto production of
The Sound of Music, to be staged by Mirvish Productions.  Wait, there's more.  The contest to find the right performer to play Rodgers and Hammerstein's Maria von Trapp, the nun-turned-governess made famous by Julie Andrews in the 1965 movie co-starring Christopher Plummer, will be made into a yet-as-unnamed television series that will air on CBC.  Both announcements are expected to be made this morning at joint press conference held by Mirvish Productions and CBC Television at the Princess of Wales Theatre  "I believe in the people you have here in Toronto," Lloyd Webber told the Star yesterday in an exclusive interview, "and I'm certain they can offer me everything I need to get a dazzling show on stage." The contest is by no means a brand-new concept.

Last year Webber went looking for a British Maria in the BBC TV series How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?, the title of which is taken from the musical's song "Maria."  The BBC series, created by Lloyd Webber, gave viewers the final pick after thousands of hopefuls were whittled down to 10 finalists. In the end British viewers picked 23-year-old Connie Fisher to play Maria. She has been appearing in the London Palladium production of The Sound of Music since it debuted last November.  The search for the star of a Toronto-produced Sound of Music seems like a simple idea. But the show sounds very much like another Canadian talent search that will also air next month on CBC.  Produced by Garth Drabinksy, the three-part Triple Sensation premieres Oct. 7 at 8 p.m. on CBC, continuing through Oct. 21. But on this show, instead of a dream role in a Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, the winner will receive a scholarship to study at one of the country's best theatrical institutions. The likes of Sergio Trujillo, Cynthia Dale, Adrian Nobel and Marvin Hamlisch are helping Drabinksy's kids along to the point where they have something to project. But now, with the timing of today's announcement so close to Triple Sensation's debut, it's been suddenly overshadowed by the arrival of Lloyd Webber and his trademark right-for-one-role cohorts.

Lloyd Webber said he was looking for overall talents, but in the BBC competition, the ones who fit his requirement seemed to do better. Meanwhile, Drabinsky has all along insisted he is looking for individuality and pedigree in the people he pursued for Triple Sensation.  It's fascinating how they seem to want different things from their artists. Lloyd Webber says he needs specific physical traits to fill the vocal and gymnastic characteristics of his lead characters, but Drabinsky has nothing in mind like that. While Andrew Lloyd Webber goes looking for men and women who can fulfill the particular needs that the requirements of his work demanded, the world of Garth Drabinsky seeks out the particular demands of each individual and what he or she could offer.


Ken Danby: Surreal Death Of A Canadian Icon

Excerpt from
www.thestar.com - Visual Arts Columnist

(September 25, 2007)
Ken Danby, the "Mr. Canada" of Canadian art, died Sunday during a canoe trip in Algonquin Park, aged 67.  "He was a great realist painter," said Walter Moos, Danby's mentor and dealer for more than 40 years. "But his death seems surreal because of where it was." Algonquin Park was the site of Canadian painter Tom Thomson's canoe-related death 90 years ago, a subject of books and films.  Danby was canoeing with his wife and frequent model, Gillian Danby, and friends when he collapsed. He was pronounced dead by two paramedics flown into the bush near North Tea Lake by air ambulance.  Born in Sault Ste. Marie, Danby filled his canvases with the simple reality of Canadian life as well as many of its most dramatic moments. Stampede (2006), his recent panoramic portrait of the Calgary Stampede, is a flurry of flying hooves and painterly fury. But he's best known for At the Crease, a 1972 painting of a masked goalie hunched over expectantly. It's often believed to a portrait of the Canadiens' Ken Dryden.

For years Danby denied any Dryden reference whatsoever. Later he relented a bit. "It's really whoever one wants it to be," he admitted.  "He was looking to be one of the great Canadian painters and to that end he aligned himself with great Canadian subjects," Matthew Teitelbaum, Art Gallery of Ontario director, said yesterday.  "He wanted to create a body of work that spanned everything from the everyday in Canada to the most heroic. ``I think he distinguished himself from his peers by the very breadth of his subject matter. He had the ambition to do something important." In the late '50s, after studies at the Ontario College of Art, Danby toyed with using ideas and techniques of abstract expressionism, as did many artists of his generation. Seeing an exhibition by American realistic painter Andrew Wyeth in Buffalo gave Danby the confidence to go against the abstract grain.

"Ken showed me some of his new realistic work," said Moos.  "I said, `This could be interesting, if you can continue in this way.' That was in 1963. He found a place to work on Manitoulin Island, which I staked him to. He was a natural artist. He had his first solo show with me in 1964, and it sold out." Eventually Wyeth himself became a fan, telling Danby that At the Crease was "a terrifying and exciting picture."  Abstraction's cult of personality and exhibitionism seemed to bother Danby. "The essence of art is not as concerned with personal expression as much as it is with the exploration of all facets of visual expression," he said. "The individual artist's unique approach simply becomes a particular vehicle by which a more important avenue is explored, the complete sphere of art." Danby, who served on the Canada Council and the Board of Trustees at the National Gallery of Canada, never lost his love for the rough and tumble of sports. He created a series of watercolours in the '80s for the America's Cup and portraits of Canadian athletes for the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo. Critics weren't always kind. "But you had to be a bit of a rebel if you were a representation painter," Christopher Pratt, his fellow realist painter, said yesterday from Newfoundland. "If you were a realistic painter you were assumed to be a bit retrograde. In fact Ken Danby was very much a Canadian painter."  Danby looked up to Alex Colville, the great Nova Scotia representational painter. Colville in turn followed Danby's career at a distance. "I remember a self-portrait he did that was foolishly called Magic Realism, something I have also been accused of," Colville said yesterday from Nova Scotia. "It's ironic that to the art world we're often seen as freaks and not belonging, while we're in the mainstream with the general public."

Hardcore Gamers Get Fix A Little Early

Excerpt from
www.thestar.com - Entertainment Reporter

(September 25, 2007) Just outside the Best Buy store at Bay and Dundas Sts., eager fans got a chance to play
Halo 3 before today's game launch at 12:01 a.m. Eyes locked in concentration, fingers twiddling with controllers, gamers enjoyed a series of eight-on-eight battles fragging each other, constantly dying and respawning and then repeating the process. The highly anticipated game definitely passed muster. "The great thing about the franchise is that it's completely unpredictable," said Ell Hamilton, a 19-year-old Ryerson student clad in black Halo shirt. "The graphics are obviously better, but really, it's pretty much just an improvement on Halo 2, which is what I'm glad they did, because the game was always great." Despite boasts that it will be the year's biggest launch – Halo 2 made $125 million (U.S.) in its first 24 hours, and analysts estimate Halo 3 will easily break $150 million in first-day sales (1.5 million units have already been pre-ordered in North America) – it was surprisingly calm outside Best Buy, where a line-up seemed slow to form.  "Halo fans are too cool to be seen lining up and waiting for a game," said one of the sales supervisors. "It's an older demographic who have work or school to go to. But they have been calling all day." He added that closer to the midnight launch, there would surely be a line.  While much of the talk in the gaming world over the past year has had to do with the rise of the importance of the casual gamer, Halo 3 is resounding proof that the hardcore gamer is still the backbone of the industry. The makers hope is that the final part of Master Chief's blockbuster trilogy will also provide a shot in the arm for the Xbox 360 console, which is in a heated battle with the resurgent Nintendo and its phenomenally successful Wii console.

"There would not be an Xbox 360 without all the support from the hardcore gamers on the original Xbox, so this is absolutely for that audience," says Ryan Biden, a product manager for Xbox Canada. But the Halo series has been a game changer for the industry and the hope is that the game will drive console sales and get more players online – and after the short demonstration it seemed to be working.  "I have some other expenses right now, but I really focused on getting a 360 because I really want to play it," said George Stepanov, 19. "I've read all about Halo 3 ... and now that I just played it, it totally rekindled the flame. The new game looks awesome."

What’s So Bad About Being Single?

By Michael Kramer

“You know what your problem is?” Who doesn’t love a conversation that starts like that? But if you’re over 35 and single, people somehow think it’s an open invitation to diagnose why you’re still single. “You don’t have room in your life for a woman.” “You’re too picky.” “You’re not picky enough.” (Sadly, I’ve dated a few women who have elicited that response from my friends.) The very term “singles” practically sounds like a disease (oh, wait, that’s “shingles”), and for those diagnosing us, being single seems to be our defining characteristic.  As the last of my peer group to remain single, I’ve noticed that friends, colleagues, family members, even shop owners, are quick to diagnose me. I bought new eyeglasses recently and the salesman asked my female friend whether we were a couple.  “No, we’re just friends,” she said.

“Good,” he said, “because based on how long it takes him to decide on a pair of glasses, if you’re waiting for a proposal, you’re gonna wait forever.” As if choosing eyewear were somehow related to choosing a spouse.   Is there something wrong with being single? But comments like these, repeated over and over through the years, made me start to doubt myself. Maybe something was wrong with me. Maybe I did have the dreaded singles disease. After all, people never give flattering reasons for why you’re still single. The diagnosis is never, “You’re too good-looking” or “If only you were less smart.” It’s always something negative. “You don’t know what you want in a woman.” “You’re looking for a woman who doesn’t exist.” If everybody’s saying these things, after a while you start thinking maybe they’re right.   It got to the point where even I started to wonder why I was still single. So I decided to put my fate in the hands of my happily married friends, Andy and Lisa. (Names have been changed to protect the guilty.) I agreed to let them set me up.   Andy and Lisa wanted to double date, so the four of us went to dinner. It turns out that the woman they set me up with had started a new job that day, and she joked — three times, so I sensed it was more than a joke — that she’s just not cut out for work, and she really just wants to marry a rich guy. That’s a nice thing to hear on a first date, because that’s exactly what guys are looking for in a woman. It’s the equivalent of a man telling a first date that he’s considering quitting his job to devote more time to chewing tobacco.

Then poker came up in conversation, and my date said she loves to gamble, but she’s having a bad year. “How so?” I asked. She said she’s down $19,000. Nineteen. Thousand. Dollars! I thought, Wow, so you don’t want to work AND you’ve got a gambling problem? You’re quite the catch.   After the date, Andy pulled me aside and excitedly asked, “So… what do you think?” Not wanting to be insulting, I said I thought she was nice, but not quite my type. To which Andy replied, “You know what your problem is? You don’t want to be happy.”   Now, wait a minute! I may not know myself perfectly, but I do know that an unambitious gambler is not my road to happiness. And that’s when I came to my senses and realized that the so-called “experts” who were diagnosing me didn’t know any more than I did. Being single isn’t a disease, yet so many married people think they’re Jonas Salk with the miracle cure. But with over 50 percent of marriages ending in divorce, maybe single people should be diagnosing married people.   What single people need to remember the fact is, we all go through life on our own timetable. I know many people who found their true love a little later in life. It wasn’t because they were crazy or afraid to commit or told too many corny jokes on dates or any of that stuff. It was because they found their true love a little later in life.

I have a well-meaning cousin who, upon hearing I wasn’t dating anyone, sighed and said, “There’s gotta be somebody out there for you.” She used the exact same tone that Dr. Frankenstein would have used if he were lamenting that his monster was still single. I told her, “It’s not like I’ve never been loved!” But then I realized that I didn’t need to get defensive. I mean, even Frankenstein’s monster found his soul mate, and I’m not sure he even had a soul. I have to believe I’m a better catch than he is. Just imagine what people must have said about him before he found his lovely bride. But did he listen? No. Ol’ Frankie’s monster just kept trudging along, with the bolts in his neck and his flat head held high. And until the rest of us find our soul mate, so should we.

Michael Kramer is an Emmy-nominated television writer living in Los Angeles. He is single, looking and, he likes to think, “well-adjusted.”


Canada's Women's Basketball Team Beats Jamaica 68-47 In Olympic Qualifying

Excerpt from
www.thestar.com - The Canadian Press

(September 26, 2007) VALDIVIA, Chile – Kim Smith of Mission, B.C., had 17 points and 10 rebounds as the Canadian women's basketball team opened the
FIBA Americas Olympic qualifying tournament Wednesday with a 68-47 win over Jamaica. Amanda Brown of Montreal added 11 points and eight boards for the 11th-ranked Canadians, while Isabelle Grenier of Ste-Foy, Que., finished with 10 points. Simone Ann-Marie Edwards topped Jamaica with 25 points and seven rebounds. The Canadian women are gunning for their first Olympic appearance since the 2000 Sydney Games, where they finished 10th, but they're in tough in Chile as only the gold-medallist from the FIBA tournament earns an automatic berth for the 2008 Beijing Games. Teams that finish second through fourth will have another shot at a second-chance tournament in June.

The Canadians face No. 8-ranked Cuba on Thursday, and then wrap up round-robin action against the top-ranked American squad – which has 10 WNBA players – on Friday. Canada needs to finish top-two in its pool to advance to Saturday's semi-finals, so a win against Cuba is crucial. Canada led from the opening whistle Wednesday, racing out to an 18-3 lead to end the first quarter.  Jamaica managed to cut the lead to nine midway through the second, but the Canadians took a 37-24 lead into the break, and had stretched it to 53-34 by the end of the third. Canada shot a decent 56 from two-point range, but struggled from long range, connecting on just four of 20 from beyond the arc.

Gretzky Plugs Electric Hockey Skates

Excerpt from
www.thestar.com - Sports Reporter

(September 26, 2007)
Wayne Gretzky heated up hockey during his Hall of Fame NHL career. Now, he’s heating up the ice.  Gretzky is plugging a new, battery-warmed skate blade that melts ice to give its wearer — so the endorsements contend — more speed with less work and overall, a better hockey experience. Hey, is it too late for the Leafs to place an order? The Thermablade inventor, Calgarian Tory Weber, says the steamy steel is not a novelty item, like Cooperalls, nasal strips or pyramid power. The 43-year-old, who spent more than $5 million over five years to bring his idea to market, believes the “fairly simple physics” behind the electronic blade will revolutionize hockey for competitive players. “I had a basic understanding that if you put something hot on ice, it’s going to melt and be slippery,’’ said the former steam engineer at the Banff Springs Hotel.  “It’s not super technical. We heat the blade and it creates a thin film of water between the skate blade and the ice and gives the user substantial performance benefits.”

Weber contacted Gretzky and delivered a prototype to him at the 2004 NHL all-star game in Minnesota. Number 99 tried them, was impressed and agreed to endorse the product. Certainly, flush NHLers can afford high-end equipment like brainy electronic blades that fit any make of boot. But what about the bulk of the hockey market that is used to paying less than $50 for a set? Weber won’t reveal pricing or target market (though pros clearly top the list) until the blade is officially launched next month in Toronto, but it’s unlikely hockey moms will pick up a pair for their house-league stars.  And that extra heat — what will it do to the ice? Company spokesperson Sam McCoubrey says product testing shows the warming effect is “negligible.”  However, with so many complaints about NHL ice conditions, the Maple Leafs, for instance, are fiercely protective of their frozen turf. In the off-season, a $3.8 million dehumidification system was x installed at the Air Canada Centre to help improve the ice quality — and unusual equipment like Thermablades will be closely monitored.x  “Conceptually, it sounds like a good thing for the players but I’m just not sure what effect it’s going to have on the ice,” said Diego Roccasalva, Maple Leaf Sport and Entertainment’s vice-president of operations.

“We’re being very cautious and ensuring that everything we do is consistent with producing the best ice that we can, and ultimately our goal is to have the best ice in the NHL ..... . When you put that kind of tender loving care into the ice, you want to make sure that whatever goes on it is consistent with (maintaining quality).” The NHL is also being cautious, studying safety issues — like a slapshot shattering the blade and scattering its electronic guts as dangerous debris — as well as ice conditions.  We understand the game is ever changing and that we can’t be totally against progress,’’ said NHL director of hockey operations Kris King.  The former Leaf, with league ice expert Dan Craig and NHLPA associate counsel Stu Grimson, have been reviewing Thermablade testing results with the company over the summer. “It’s a neat idea,” said King.  “But from our standpoint we also want to make sure that if we have 12 guys on the ice at one time with heated blades, we want to know how that will affect our ice surface.” King said the NHL is “not in the endorsement business” but all new products must be approved by the league for use in games. And don’t expect the technology to show up any time soon in other blade-running sports. It would not be allowed in international speed skating, for instance.  Speed Skating Canada boss Jean Dupré said there’s a specific rule against the heating of skate blades that was passed after it was discovered that teams experimented with heating blades before a race.  Heating the runners is also illegal in bobsleigh, but teams have tried it over the years.


Canada Basketball Unveils New Chief

Excerpt from
www.thestar.com - The Canadian Press

(September 26, 2007) Former Toronto Star columnist
Wayne Parrish has been named the new head of Canada Basketball. Parrish succeeds Fred Nykamp as the organization's executive director. Nykamp left Canada Basketball on May 24 to become the first-ever CEO of the Canadian Soccer Association. Nykamp didn't last long at the CSA. He says he is suing the organization after the CSA's board of directors voted not to ratify his contract. Parrish is a former sports columnist at the Toronto Star and sports editor of the Toronto Sun. A two-time National Newspaper Award winner, the Vancouver native was also general manager and executive editor of Toronto Sun and vice-president of strategic operations for Sun Media. He is also the editor of "Double Blue: An Illustrated History of the Toronto Argonauts."


Super 20-Minute Home Workout!

By Raphael Calzadilla, BA, ACE, RTS1, eDiets Chief Fitness Pro

“If you have made mistakes... there is always another chance for you... you may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call failure is not the falling down, but the staying down.” -- Mary Pickford

If you’ve suddenly been hit with a busy schedule or just need something quick, I have the workout for you.  The workout is simple, quick and absolutely effective. No hour-long sessions in the gym or long bouts of cardio, and no dreading the thought of exercise. Just a realistic alternative to all the noise in the world of fitness that makes us hate exercising. No anatomy lessons today, simply something you can do in your living room or office. The only weight you’ll need is your own body.  This series of movements will take about 20 minutes or less. Yep, you're reading correctly -- just 20 minutes. You can do them 3-4 times per week. Your entire body will be stimulated, and you’ll feel rejuvenated without all the added stress of having to go to the gym.

I’ve designed this routine so that one exercise stimulates multiple muscle groups. This way, you’ll get the best bang for your buck in the least amount of time. Perform each exercise in succession. After completing one movement, immediately continue to the next one. After you've completed all the movements, perform them one more time. Attempt 20-25 repetitions of each movement. Don’t worry if you can’t perform all the reps -- it will come. If you’re a beginner, take your time and go at your own pace.  OK, let's go!

1. BENT KNEE PUSH UPS Start with your hands and knees on a mat. Your hands should be shoulder width apart and your head, neck, hips and legs should be in a straight line. Do not let your back arch and cave in. Maintain a slight bend in the elbows. Lower your upper body by bending your elbows outward and stopping before your chest touches the floor. Contracting the chest muscles, slowly return to the starting position. Inhale while lowering your body. Exhale while returning to the starting position. After mastering this exercise, you may wish to try the full push-up.

2. LUNGE (with household cans) Stand straight with your feet together. Hold a can in each hand and keep your arms down at your sides. Step forward with the right leg and lower the left leg until the knee almost touches the floor. Contracting the quadriceps muscles (front of the thigh), push off your right foot slowly, returning to the starting position. Alternate the motion with the left leg to complete the set. Inhale while stepping forward. Exhale while returning to the starting position.

The step should be long enough that your left leg is nearly straight. Do not let your knee touch the floor. Make sure your head is up and your back is straight. Your chest should be lifted, and your front leg should form a 90-degree angle at the bottom of the movement. Your right knee should not pass your right foot, and you should be able to see your toes at all times. If you have one leg that is more dominant than the other, start out with the less-dominant leg first. Discontinue this exercise if you feel any discomfort in your knees.

3. ABDOMINAL BICYCLE MANOEUVRE Lie on a mat with your lower back in a comfortable position. Put your hands on either side of your head by your ears. Bring your knees up to about a 45-degree angle. Slowly go through a bicycle pedaling motion, alternating your left elbow to your right knee, then your right elbow to your left knee. This is a more advanced exercise, so don’t worry if you can’t perform a lot of them. Do not perform this activity if it puts any strain on your lower back. Also, don’t pull on your head and neck during this exercise. The lower to the ground your legs bicycle, the harder your abs have to work.

4. BENCH DIPS Using two benches or chairs, sit on one. Place palms on the bench with fingers wrapped around the edge. Place both feet on the other chair. Slide your upper body off the chair with your elbows nearly but not completely locked. Lower your upper body slowly toward the floor until your elbows are bent slightly more than 90 degrees. Contracting your triceps (back of the arm), extend your elbows and return to the starting position (stopping just short of the elbows fully extending). Inhale while lowering your body and exhale while returning to the starting position. Beginners should start with their feet on the floor and knees at a 90-degree angle. As you progress, move your feet out further until your legs are straight with a slight bend in the knees.

5. ABDOMINAL DOUBLE CRUNCH Lie on the floor face up. Bend your knees until your legs are at a 45-degree angle with both feet on the floor. Your back should be comfortably relaxed on the floor. Place both hands crossed on your chest. Contracting your abdominals, raise your head and legs off the floor toward one another. Slowly return to the starting position (stopping just short of your shoulders and feet touching the floor). Exhale while rising up and inhale while returning to the starting position. Keep your eyes on the ceiling to avoid pulling with your neck. Your hands should not be used to lift the head or assist in the movement.

There you have it! Five exercises performed for two cycles in just 20 minutes. You'll begin to notice a tighter feel in your muscles in a few weeks, and you will naturally perform more reps as time progresses -- all in 20 minutes or less.


Motivational Note

Excerpt from www.eurweb.com
Seneca: Philosopher, statesman, dramatist

"It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor."