20 Carlton Street, Suite 1032, Toronto, ON  M5B 2H5
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LE NEWSLETTER

January 14, 2010

Welcome to mid-January.  What a disaster that has hit Haiti!  As the world reaches out in this emergency situation, please give your support ... any support - see some suggestions for support under SCOOP

This week brings yet another loss of an amazing Canadian artist. 
Dave "Soulfingaz" Williams passed in his sleep on January 6, 2010, last week.  He was a much-cherished friend, musician and songwriter extraordinaire whose talent is of legendary status.  I wrote my own thoughts below under SCOOP.

Having said that, there was a very emotional tribute to
Soulfingaz held last Sunday night at Joe Mama's on King Street West put together by Jojo Bowden and many others.  Please check out photos in my PHOTO GALLERY

Next
Wednesday, January 20th is yet another tribute to be held for Soulfingaz at one of the venues that he frequently performed at, Revival.  Please come out and support this function with an amazing line-up of pure Canadian talent.   
This newsletter is designed to give you some updated entertainment-related news and provide you with our upcoming event listings.   Welcome to those who are new members.  Want your events listed by date?  Check out EVENTS

::HOT EVENTS::

Soulfingaz Tribute Concert – Wednesday, January 20th

Come out and celebrate the life of David "Soulfingaz" Williams. An amazing father, friend and one of the most influential musicians in the country... in his words: LET'S GO GET IT!!

Performers Confirmed:

The A Team featuring:

   Wade O Brown
   Glenn Lewis
   Ivana Santilli
   Saidah Baba Talibah

SHUGGA featuring:

   Mike Ferfolia
   Chris Rouse
   Alana Bridgewater

Divine Brown
Xtiin Jones
Erin Hunt
Shannon Maracle
Spookey Ruben
Hello Charlie
R E S
Leh-Lo

DJX
DJ K.C.
DJ Sean Sax
and many more special guests



WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 20, 2010
SOULFINGAZ TRIBUTE CONCERT
REVIVAL
783 College Street (at Shaw)

7:00 pm
(416) 535-7888
Tickets are $20 - funds are being raised to support Dave's two sons.

::SCOOP::

Salvation Army Mobilizes In Haiti

Source:  www.castanet.net


(January 13, 2010) The Salvation Army is mobilizing resources to respond to the destructive earthquake
that struck the Caribbean island of Haiti on Tuesday.

The country is paralyzed and many are without power, clean water, and food after the quake all but destroyed the city of Port au Prince.

The Salvation Army in Canada is sending an immediate $100,000 USD and a fundraising campaign has begun to support the humanitarian response.

“We are compelled to do whatever we can to help the victims of this terrible disaster,” says Commissioner William Francis, Territorial Commander of The Salvation Army for Canada & Bermuda.

He says the country’s infrastructure has been shattered and many of the Salvation Army’s buildings and facilities have seen significant damage, but personnel on the ground responded immediately, offering as much assistance as possible, including some shelter, food and clean water.

"The organization’s administrative compound is being used as an emergency operations centre with people sleeping in the parking lot."

Francis says the Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network is standing by to assist the public with Health and Welfare requests from individuals seeking information on family members in the affected area of Haiti.

Financial contributions to the Salvation Army's Haitian Relief effort can be made by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY (725-2769), by visiting our website, www.SalvationArmy.ca, by mailing donations to:

We Remember Dave "Soulfingaz" Williams

This week brings yet another loss of an amazing Canadian artist. 
Dave "Soulfingaz" Williams passed away in his sleep on January 6, 2010, last week.  He was a much-cherished friend, musician and songwriter extraordinaire whose talent is of legendary status - not to mention unprecedented prankster.  This is a particularly difficult loss for me personally for various reasons, one of them being I'm feeling hard hit from our cumulative losses these past nine months - Washington Savage, Haydain Neale and Soulfingaz

Soulfingaz endeared himself to many people through his skill, humour and unrelenting talent. Who HASN'T that guy worked with?  See the shortened list below.  He will be sorely missed - both personally and professionally.

Please check out an upcoming fundraiser for Dave's two sons - in the form of a celebratory concert with some top Canadian talent.  Check it out HERE

With all these losses, I had to ask myself, 'What's the message?' Perhaps that our music and entertainment industry has been thrown together these past few months in order to celebrate our fallen ... and, though grieving, we took comfort in each other and began to value time spent with each other a little bit more.  Unity.  Unity that perhaps may have been more illusive otherwise?  Perhaps.  All I know that is I'm glad to be part of this community that has helped me through these colossal personal and professional losses.  Don't you think we could all benefit from celebrating each other's gifts and talents while we are still here together?  I think so - and hopefully we will make a practice of doing just that.


About Soulfingaz

Source: http://www.myspace.com/soulfingaz

A mainstay in the international music scene, Soulfingaz studied composition and piano in Toronto, and since has been playing professionally in Canada, the US and Europe. As well as being self-taught, he plays rock, soul, funk, gospel, jazz, latin, classical, hip hop and other styles yet to be classified. His knowledge of harmony and his ear for melody can be heard on the many artists he has worked with either in the studio or live in the local and international music scene.

Currently he's signed with EMI/Canada Music Publishing in hopes of reaching an even greater artist base with his talent as a Producer/Songwriter/Musician (not any particular order) worldwide! Soulfingaz has worked with K-OS(Sunday Morning), Salome Bey, RES, Esthero (Musical Director), Parliament Funkadelic, Long Overdue, Dream Warriors (Soundclash!), Beenie Man, Saukrates, Orin Isaacs (Mike Bullard Show), Doc (Esthero, Graph Nobel), Kush, Molly Johnson, Billy-Newton Davis, Melanie Durrant, N'dea Davenport (Brand New Heavies), Ray Robinson, Simone Denny (Love Inc.), Deborah Cox, Ivana Santilli, Dawn Silva/Brides Of Funkenstein, Craig Razzor Sharpe (Canadian Idol!), Matt Dusk, Divine Brown, Abacus, Hotboxx, Kalabash (PanJazz), Tom McKay, The Blotts, Mark Plati (David Bowie, Prince, The Cure), Belle Phoenix, James Hudson Bay (Dying Hyms), Cutty Ranks, Mishke (B2K), Alex Greggs (N'Sync, Michael Jackson, BackStreet Boys), Lakota Son, Kelis (Femi Kuti: Red, Hot & Riot), Palomino, Tyrese (Four Brothers), Freddie McGregor, Vibrolux, RES, Izzy Novak, Jacksoul, the 13th), Master T (Da Mix On Muchmusic), 2Rude, St. Peter Miller, Mani Khaira, Saukrates, The Ethnocentric Bubbleheads, Measha Brueggergosman, Alana Levandoski (As The Crow Flies),The A-Team, Bass Is Base, Choclair, Michie Mee, Ghetto Concept, The Premiums, James Bryon (Philosopher Kings, Prozzak), Len, Jarvis Church  (Nelly Furtado ),Thomas "Nate" Reynolds, Will Kevans (They'll Shoot You Down ), Chris Rouse (Arousal! ), Ammoye (Soulovestar ), Shane Philips (Everybody), Katherine McPhee (American Idol), Kevin Breit (Norah Jones), Ken Nelson and Mark Phythian (Coldplay), Paul Shaffer (David Letterman), Dan Akroyd (SNL, Blues Brothers), Papichulo Crew, Eden Ants, Gruvoria, Melanie Durrant (Bang, Bang!!), Eddie Bullen, Skip Martin (The Dazz Band), Barrington Levy, MOS DEF, Vanessa B Williams (SoulFood), Tara Sloane (Joydrop), Vaness Alegassi, MissFly (U Say, Daydreamin'), Keisha Chante, David Deacon & The Word, Shantall Young (Dimple Entertainment, Latin Vibes), Big Sugar, Gordie Johnson, Ian Thornley (Big Wreck), Joydrop, Graph Nobel, Leh Lo ,Glenn Lewis, Wade O Brown (DUBBLIFE!!), Hello Charlie (Hip Kids), DAZE7 (The Grace, I Don't Wanna Know), just to name a few, and also scores for film and television in Canada and the U.S.  Some of his work can be heard on Canadian Idol (CTV), Divine Restoration (Vision 1/TV1), Ooh.La.La (City TV), Ed's Night Party (City TV), Pumped! (TVO), Catwalk (YTV), as well as being the writer for the theme song for the Toronto Show (SunTV/Toronto1), .He's played in the theatrical productions of Salome Bey's "Rainbow World", "'Mamma I Want To Sing" as well as in the live house band for "Canada's Walk of Fame" and the Gemini Awards.

::TOP STORIES::

Cowell Says He's Leaving `Idol'

Source: Associated Press - By Lynn Elber, AP Television Writer

(January 12, 2010)
Simon Cowell, the acerbic Brit who has helped give "American Idol" some of its sharpest — and nastiest — moments, will leave the popular singing show after this season.

The cantankerous judge said that "The X Factor," a show he created and is a hit in Britain, will join Fox's schedule next year. Cowell will be on "The X Factor."

Cowell's decision is the biggest threat yet to what has been the country's most popular TV program and a true cultural force. This season, original host Paula Abdul has been replaced by Ellen DeGeneres.

But Cowell, with his caustic commentary, has long been seen as the big star of "Idol."

He said it would have been difficult for him to do both shows. While he makes a reported $36 million a year to be on "American Idol," he owns "The X Factor" and could make much more if the show takes off.

Cowell and top Fox executives made the announcement to reporters in Pasadena at a meeting of the Television Critics Association, saying they had reached an agreement only a few hours before.

"I was offered a lot of money to stay on," Cowell said. "But that wasn't the reason behind it. I wanted to do something different. I wanted a new challenge."

Peter Price, chairman of the Fox Broadcasting Co., would not speculate on possible replacements for Cowell.

"We have to take our time on that," Price said. "We have to make sure the chemistry of the judges is as good as it can be."

Cowell said he didn't want to leave "American Idol" at a time when it was fading in the ratings.

"You want to leave on a high," he said. "I'm very proud of what the show has achieved."

___

AP Television Writer David Bauder contributed to this report.

BC Jeweller Creates Sterling “Fuck Cancer” Bracelet

Source: By Sarah Melody

(January 12, 2010) The cheap plastic yellow LiveStrong bracelets by the Lance Armstrong Foundation have raised millions for the cause, but really, who is going to wear that on a daily basis, if at all? Of course the dollar cost is no biggie and a worthwhile, inexpensive purchase, but isn’t it better to have a piece of jewellery that you can proudly wear? Vancouver jewellery designer and cancer survivor Susan Fiedler of Soul Flower has been turning heads with her elegant sterling silver bracelet engraved with the words we all feel — “Fuck Cancer.”

“I did not make the bracelet as a marketable item. I made it for myself and then other people wanted it,” Fiedler tells Samaritanmag. “I realized that it could be this great conversation starter. A lot of people felt the same way I did. The strong sentiment does scare people, but a lot of people feel really strongly about it in a way that they might not about a pink ribbon. It’s bold and it’s personal.”

In a little over a year, the sale of 710 bracelets, to date, has raised $35,500 for Vancouver’s InspireHealth, an integrated cancer care clinic where Fiedler was treated.

Cancer doesn’t run in Fiedler’s family, and she says there was no reason she should’ve got the potentially deadly disease. She took care of herself, ate healthily and stayed active, but cancer doesn’t discriminate. When, in October of 2007, at the age of 40, she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a blood cancer, it was like being hit by a ton of bricks.

“The type I [had] is not necessarily based on factors like smoking or getting too much sun, the things that
lead to other types of cancers. The only thing that it’s tied to is possibly toxins in the environment and I wasn’t a farmer, exposed to pesticides and toxins. Just bad luck, basically,” she explains.

“I was told that my initial diagnosis was most likely going to be stage 4 and that was most likely going to be incurable, chronic and probably fatal. I was totally shocked. When the test results came back three weeks later, it had come back as not as life threatening as the doctor had originally thought. I thought that once I recovered I wanted to show my gratitude for that and felt I had been given a real second chance.”

Fiedler, who was born in Toronto and grew up in Vancouver, spent her summers as a teen working for her friend’s family jewellery business. She eventually took over the owner’s job, which involved buying goods overseas. At the age of 21, Fiedler founded her own sterling silver jewellery company Soul Flower, which has grown from two silversmiths to employing more than a hundred people to meet production and sales demands.

After she beat cancer, Fiedler was visiting the home of her friend Ameen Merchant, and noticed a beautiful metal cuff covered in Arabic script, whose words were meant to protect the wearer. She was immediately inspired to create her own charmed bracelet and “Fuck Cancer” sprang came to mind. She launched the silver cuff bracelet, engraved with “Fuck Cancer,” in October of 2008, and sells it worldwide through www.fcancerembracelife.com at a cost of $150 for a medium/large and $125 for small/medium. Fifty dollars from each purchase goes to InspireHealth.

“It’s like a community centre for cancer patients, integrated cancer care free of charge to compliment the conventional care you’re getting,” Fiedler explains. “For example, if you’re getting chemotherapy, you can get complimentary acupuncture, complimentary nutritional counselling and complimentary yoga therapy. There’s a whole bunch of different therapy you can access, and doctors that are actually doctors, who have a holistic inspired practice.”

Among the Fuck Cancer bracelet customers are singer Sarah McLachlan, entrepreneur/Dragon’s Den panellist Brett Wilson and the band Barenaked Ladies. “They’re friends of mine and clients of Soul Flower,” says Fiedler. “They have all been personally touched by cancer. They got it immediately because there’s a real rock ‘n’ roll element to the bracelet. So they were happy to lend their support. Ed Robertson from Barenaked Ladies lost his mother to cancer this [past] year.”

Fuck Cancer bracelets are available online, in Vancouver store Y Yoga, and from InspireHealth. Fiedler plans to expand the line to stores in Ontario and is in talks of creating new items that are more affordable.

Fiedler says she’s really proud of the way the bracelets have touched and reached so many people with orders from the UK, Australia and U.S.

“People are starting to recognize that cancer patients need more than just conventional treatment. Where there’s a gap is between having your treatment and getting on with your life. There is a lot of unmet emotional and social needs of people who are cancer survivors or who are going through treatment,” she says. “Basically, that’s what I’m trying to address, create more community for people who’ve been through this experience.”

Buy one at www.fcancerembracelife.com

Conrad Murray On Verge Of Indictment

Source: www.eurweb.com

(January12, 2010) *The Associated Press is reportedly ready to seek an indictment of Michael Jackson’s doctor on a charge of involuntary manslaughter in connection with his death in June.

The coroner has ruled Jackson’s death at age 50 was a homicide caused by acute intoxication by the powerful anesthetic propofol, with other sedatives a contributing factor.

Dr. Conrad Murray, a cardiologist hired as Jackson’s personal physician for an upcoming tour, administered propofol and two other sedatives to help Jackson sleep, court documents state. Murray told police he left the room to use the bathroom, and phone records show he also made calls for 47 minutes around the time Jackson encountered problems.

When Murray realized Jackson was unresponsive, he began frantic efforts to revive him, but Jackson never regained consciousness.

A law enforcement source who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation remains open said Friday that Murray would be prosecuted on a theory of gross negligence alleging that his treatment of Jackson was an extreme departure from the standard of care normally followed by physicians.

Cujo Makes Retirement Official

Source: www.thestar.com – Paul Hunter

(January 12, 2010) No tears. No regrets.  Curtis Joseph, one of the winningest goaltenders in the history of the NHL, formally announced his retirement this afternoon in an upbeat press conference at the Air Canada Centre.

This wasn't an overwrought, emotional farewell. Instead, it was Joseph at his glib easygoing best, reminiscing with a room full of Toronto reporters as he recalled the best times from a 19-year career while painstakingly making reference to many of the people who mentored and helped him along the way.

In a quiet moment before he stepped to the podium in the ACC media room, Don Meehan, Joseph's long-time agent and friend, turned to him and asked: "Are you going to be okay with this?"

"I said, 'Donnie, I'm 42. It was a great run and a great career and I enjoyed every minute of it.'," recounted Joseph.

"It's been a great ride and today I'm happy to announce it's over. Certainly no regrets."

Joseph, a native of Keswick, Ont., retires as a Leaf, after returning to his "hometown" team for one last go 'round, playing 21 games in 2008-09. That farewell tour capped a career in which he posted some tremendous numbers, generally on middle-of-the-pack teams that he took further into the playoffs than their talent would suggest possible.

That included two trips to the conference final as the backbone of the Leafs in 1999 and 2002. Joseph was brilliant in those post-seasons.

Joseph finishes with 454 career victories, behind only Martin Brodeur (585), Patrick Roy (551) and Ed Belfour (484) on the all-time list. Although he only spent five seasons in a Toronto uniform, he is the franchise's fourth leading goaltender in victories with 138 and tied for seventh in shutouts with 17. His 2.49 goals against average as a Leaf is Toronto's seventh-best all-time.

Joseph, at 42, is clearly at peace with moments in his life that others might deem controversial.

He departed Toronto for Detroit as a free agent in 2002 hoping for a Stanley Cup that never came but Joseph said he can't second guess himself because of the friends he made.

"Obviously, my heart is always in Toronto but I'm in a great spot in life now and I don't think I'd change the path that's got me where I am today," he said.

Not getting back between the pipes for Canada at the 2002 Olympics after getting blasted by Sweden in the opener? Can't question that, he says now, because Martin Brodeur was "in a zone" en route to a gold medal.

How about that momentous double overtime, wraparound goal he yielded to Toronto's Doug Gilmour while he was at Maple Leaf Gardens with St. Louis in 1993? He says that, to this day, he happily signs photos of that loss for Toronto fans.

The only question now is whether he is Hall of Fame material.

"In my mind, he absolutely is," said former teammate Glenn Healy. "(His teams) weren't exactly the Montreal Canadiens of the late '70s. I was here. Your skill set takes you to a certain level but he had that intangible side, that competitiveness, that fire. Any opponent, any time, any place, you play in your running shoes, you could still win with him in the net."

Joseph said he is just honoured that his name is among those that fans and media consider for potential enshrinement.

Joseph said he is going to take a year to spend with his four children — including three boys who play minor-hockey in southern Ontario — before he decides what to pursue next.

::TRAVEL NEWS::

Going Bananas For Caribbean Cuisine

Source: www.thestar.com - Sharon McDonnell

(January 9, 2010) NEVIS – After dancing on stage, on cruise ships, on ice (``badly, in South Korea''), selling carpets in Istanbul, importing antiques, working in hotels – where she was once chastised for talking too much to the clientele – Gillian Smith has settled down in Nevis. More or less.

A steamer trunk. Turkish kilim rugs. Sequined Indian-style pillows in vivid colours, scattered on cast-iron daybeds. Riding boots. An old pith helmet.

Caribbean landscapes and portraits splash the walls of her restaurant,
Bananas, a plantation-style wooden house painted banana yellow, muted olive and terracotta, way up in the rain forest-clad hills above Charlestown.

From the look of it, she's just unpacked after a globetrotting jaunt. And perhaps she has.

Ask Smith a question, and the conversation is apt to range widely, and wildly, from one direction to another, with surprising starts and even more startling finishes. Why Nevis?

``I came to Nevis after crossing the Atlantic, as crew on a 43-footer, to mend a broken heart. I had planned to go to Cape Town, but stopped in Nevis for four days to visit a friend. I had a drink at Ozzie's, ended up renting it, and turned it into a small Caribbean bistro I named Bananas. That lasted 10 years,'' recalls the British expat, who was born in Yorkshire.

Dining at Bananas is like attending a house party in the lush countryside of Nevis, the quieter island in the two-island nation of St. Kitts and Nevis, presided over by an extremely eclectic, good-humoured and hands-on hostess who lives in a cottage behind the restaurant.

She grows bok choy, spinach, arugula, chiles, basil, mint, chives, and lemongrass in her garden, creates the menus and recipes, and does the food shopping.

Thai curries, Moroccan lamb shanks, panko-crusted salmon with stir fried vegetables in red curry sauce, bourbon-glazed baby-back ribs, and lobster tails with pineapple-ginger salsa amiably share a menu of what she dubs ``international comfort food'' with local dishes like tannia fritters, salt fish, Johnny cake, curried conch, stuffed christophene, and chunky fish chowder.

Her art gallery is in a separate wooden house, painted mauve and cornflower blue, half-strangled by a profusion of plants.

It sells paintings by Caribbean artists, including several who winter in Nevis, and a variety of jewellery, like freshwater pearls from Shanghai, old antique Afghan tribal jewellery – bought from a friend, a dealer from Kazakhstan – and copies of designer pieces.

Jasmine bushes draped themselves over the rattan chairs and tables on the veranda where I sat overlooking the countryside, and guests dining al fresco.

It's rare to discover a restaurant that so thoroughly mirrors the tastes of its owner.

``I used my dancing as a vehicle for a life of non-stop travel around the world, and even did a stint as a cancan dancer in Paris. But I stopped dancing because I fell in love with a French man and decided to follow him into the hotel business,'' Smith recalls.

``I was working at a lovely hotel in Perigord as a chambermaid in my late 20s, but got transferred to the restaurant because I was talking too much to the guests.''

Her abundant travel adventures have been a constant source of inspiration for decor and menus. ``When I went to Croatia, I got the idea to make my own fish pate, made from leftover fish heads, to serve with our bread rolls,'' says Smith, noting she plans to go to Cuba and Haiti to pick more art for her gallery.

She's a constant presence at Bananas unless she's travelling, which she does three months each year.

Bananas wasn't named because bananas dominate her menu – though Bananas makes its own banana rum from rhum agricole from Martinique, cane syrup and fresh bananas, and also serves aged rums from Martinique, Guyana, Anguilla, Cuba and Barbados.

But when she opened the first Bananas in the village of Cotton Ground in a former rum shop, and renovated it on a shoestring, it was surrounded by banana trees, and the locals charitably thought she was a bit, er, bananas to open a restaurant in such a small village with no expat community around.

``However, it worked,'' says Smith.

After three years, she moved to a much more upmarket cliff top location, and built Bananas' second incarnation from scratch on land she purchased in Upper Hamilton Estate above Charlestown.

``It's inconceivable I would have remained in Yorkshire. I've never had a lot of money, but I wanted a lifestyle,'' she notes.

Mission accomplished.

Sharon McDonnell is a New Orleans-based freelance writer whose visit was subsidized by St. Kitts Tourism.

::MUSIC NEWS::

Tegan And Sara: The Mistakes Make It Magic

Source: www.globeandmail.com - Marsha Lederman

Tegan and Sara
At the Orpheum in Vancouver on Tuesday

(January 7, 2010)
Tegan and Sara launched their North American tour at home in Vancouver Tuesday night with a show that started off rock-solid tight, but hit a few snags over the two hours. Thank Goodness for the snags. Off the rails has never sounded so good.

Material from Tegan and Sara's recent album Sainthood formed the backbone of the show, which kicked off with three songs from the CD ( Arrow , Don't Rush , The Ocean ) and mined from it again and again. The women moved effortlessly from guitar to keyboards and, along with their excellent three-piece band, were clearly well-rehearsed.

But it was when things went off-script that the show went from great to unforgettable. After a kick-ass crowd-pleasing version of On Directing that saw the duo (29-year old twins Tegan and Sara Quin) bathed in light and the audience bopping in their seats (strangely people remained seated until much later in the night – and then only got up when ordered to), Sara stopped to tell one of her stories.

The story itself – about receiving too few of those Valentine's Day candygrams in junior high school in Calgary (“I wasn't a dork but I was in no way popular and I really wanted a candygram,” she confessed) – was a typical funny, self-deprecating Tegan and Sara in-concert anecdote. While it didn't feel rehearsed, it was surely planned. What clearly wasn't planned was what happened next: Shortly into the next song, Red Belt , Sara stopped the band and asked to start over again.

“I really botched that shit up. It's no wonder I never got a candygram,” she said, urging the crowd to “remember five minutes ago when I seemed slick.” The slip-up – and the candygram confessional – set the tone everyone was waiting for. Great music, sure. But this night was going to be fun.

It had a bit of a sentimental feel to it, too, as the first show of a tour often does – in particular a show at home. (Well, the closest thing to home: Tegan has been living in Vancouver for nine years and Sara has an apartment but lives full time in Montreal). Vancouver is also home to their mother, who was in the audience, disapproving, the twins quipped, of their on-stage bickering. It's not unusual for a show this early in a tour (Tegan and Sara played a show in Victoria in December but considered Tuesday night the official start) to hit a few bumps. What was extraordinary is that the mistakes led to the magic – including what was surely the night's best moment. On the third song of the acoustic encore, Call It Off , Sara again ran into problems and had to, yes, call it off. “Sorry Tegan,” she said.

“A hand for my accompanist, my companion,” Tegan responded, and then launched into a story about how a German interviewer kept referring to the twins recently as “partners” in the romantic sense (both Tegan and Sara are lesbians). After that story, Tegan couldn't bring herself to re-start the song, with its gentle, heart-breaking lyrics. “It feels weird after all the stuff we just talked about.” Awkward.

On the fly, the women came up with a plan: They asked the audience to sing along. Finally, the audience stood – and sang. It was spine-tingling and gorgeous. That was the thing to do.

Tegan and Sara play The Orpheum in Vancouver Thursday night, and continue with dates in Kelowna, B.C.; Calgary; Edmonton; Saskatoon; Winnipeg; Montreal; Toronto; Ottawa; Quebec City; Fredericton and Halifax ( teganandsara.com ).

Classified Raps Patriotic In The Cold

Source: www.thestar.com - Ashante Infantry

(January 11, 2010) Thumping hip-hop beats resonated through a historic Halifax street Sunday as a local rapper shot a video poking fun at Canadian stereotypes.

Rapper
Classified mouthed his rendition of "O Canada" as fist-pumping and hockey stick-wielding devotees draped in Canadian flags endured freezing temperatures for the production.

Fans in red and white jerseys with the Maple Leaf on everything from their cheeks to T-shirts and posters marched down the long pedestrian courtyard as the song pounded out over a stereo system.

"It's awesome – it's good to see people out here, especially promoting hockey too," Bibs Gogan said, holding a hockey stick and sporting a blue jersey as his wife and young daughter stood by.

Despite temperatures that dipped to —5C, about 300 people turned up for the event in the heart of the city's historic downtown.

Many said they just wanted to support the award-winning rapper from Enfield, N.S., who uses his song to poke fun at well-worn Canadian stereotypes – many of which were highlighted in the crowd.

One man in a purple velvet suit recalled movie character Austin Powers, played by Canadian actor Mike Myers. Several fans painted "eh!" on their faces to make light of their own linguistic idiosyncrasies.

A giant beaver lumbered through the crowd, past two women sporting tight T-shirts with the message "I love beaver" in honour of the national mascot.

"People see Canada and get stereotypical / think we finish every sentence with buddy or b'ye," the artist sings in "Oh Canada."

For his part, Classified, a.k.a Luke Boyd, said he was thrilled to see so many people turn out for a song that has its roots in his travels through Europe, the U.K. and Australia, and the realization that people had funny notions about his country folk.

"You always hear the stereotypes and I just wanted to say my own piece. It's not like a serious song, but we're proud of where we're from ... and we don't take ourselves too seriously."

While he's never tried to conceal his Canadian upbringing, never has his nationality been more prevalent than on this latest disc with songs that pay tribute to everything from actor Jim Carrey to the Rockies, poutine and the word "buddy."

Unreleased Hendrix Recordings On Their Way

Source: www.thestar.com - Ashante Infantry

(January 11, 2010) Almost 40 years after his death, Jimi Hendrix will release a new album. A dozen studio recordings by the Jimi Hendrix Experience will finally see the light of day March 9 on Valleys of Neptune, the kick-off release in a year-long reissue program put together by the guitarist's estate and Sony's Legacy Recordings. The core of the material was recorded during a four-month period in 1969 during sessions for the follow-up to the group's Electric Ladyland album. Also included are covers of Cream's "Sunshine of Your Love" and "Mr. Bad Luck," a track from the sessions for 1967's Axis Bold As Love album. What's been dubbed the Jimi Hendrix Catalog Project will also include new deluxe CD/DVD editions of Are You Experienced?, Axis: Bold As Love, Electric Ladyland and First Rays of the New Rising Sun, all due March 9. Vinyl versions will also be available the same day. Below are the full details of the unreleased Valleys of Neptune material:

Stone Free
Recorded: Record Plant, New York, April 7, 9, 14, May 17,1969
Producer: Jimi Hendrix
Vocal, Guitar: Jimi Hendrix
Bass: Billy Cox
Drums: Mitch Mitchell
Backing Vocals: Roger Chapman, Andy Fairweather Low
Valleys Of Neptune
Recorded: Record Plant, New York, September 23, 1969, May 15, 1970
Producer: Jimi Hendrix
Vocal, Guitar: Jimi Hendrix
Drums: Mitch Mitchell
Bass: Billy Cox
Percussion: Juma Sultan
Bleeding Heart
Recorded: Record Plant, New York, April 24, 1969
Producer: Jimi Hendrix
Vocal, Guitar: Jimi Hendrix
Bass: Billy Cox
Drums: Rocky Isaac
Tambourine: Chris Grimes
Maracas: Al Marks
Hear My Train A Comin'
Recorded: Record Plant, New York, April 7, 1969
Producer: Jimi Hendrix
Vocal, Guitar: Jimi Hendrix
Bass: Noel Redding
Drums: Mitch Mitchell
Mr. Bad Luck
Recorded: Olympic Studios, London, May 5, 1967
Producer: Chas Chandler
Additional bass and drum recording, Air Studios, London, June 5, 1987
Vocal, Guitar: Jimi Hendrix
Bass: Noel Redding
Drums: Mitch Mitchell
Sunshine Of Your Love
Recorded: Olympic Studios, London, February 16, 1969
Producer: Jimi Hendrix
Guitar: Jimi Hendrix
Bass: Noel Redding
Drums: Mitch Mitchell
Percussion: Rocki Dzidzornu
Lover Man
Recorded: Olympic Studios, London, February 16, 1969
Producer: Jimi Hendrix
Vocal, Guitar: Jimi Hendrix
Bass: Noel Redding
Drums: Mitch Mitchell
Ships Passing Through The Night
Recorded: Record Plant, New York, April 14, 1969
Producer: Jimi Hendrix
Guitar, Vocals: Jimi Hendrix
Bass: Noel Redding
Drums: Mitch Mitchell
Fire
Recorded: Olympic Studios, London, February 17, 1969
Producer: Jimi Hendrix
Vocal, Guitar: Jimi Hendrix
Bass, Backing Vocal: Noel Redding
Drums: Mitch Mitchell
Red House
Recorded: Olympic Studios, London, February 17, 1969
Producer: Jimi Hendrix
Vocal, Guitar: Jimi Hendrix
Bass: Noel Redding
Drums: Mitch Mitchell
Lullaby For The Summer
Recorded: Record Plant, New York, April 7, 1969
Producer: Jimi Hendrix
Mixed By Eddie Kramer
Guitar: Jimi Hendrix
Bass: Noel Redding
Drums: Mitch Mitchell
Crying Blue Rain
Recorded: Olympic Studios, London, February 16, 1969
Producer: Jimi Hendrix
Additional bass and drum recording, Air Studios, London, June 5, 1987
Vocal, Guitar: Jimi Hendrix
Percussion: Rocki Dzidzornu
Bass: Noel Redding
Drums: Mitch Mitchell

MUSIC TIDBITS

Super Bowl Entertainment Line-up Takes Shape With Ne-Yo, Keri Hilson

Source: By The Associated Press

(January 12, 2010) NEW YORK - The teams haven't been decided for the NFL football
Super Bowl, but the entertainment line-up is already shaping up.  ESPN The Magazine said Monday that Ne-Yo and Keri Hilson have been tapped to perform at its annual party on Feb. 5. That's two days before the Super Bowl.  This year's NFL championship game is in Miami. The party is set for the Fontainebleau Miami Beach hotel.  Rihanna and Justin Bieber have already been announced to perform at the Pepsi Super Bowl Fan Jam on Feb. 4.  Of course, the big musical event will happen when The Who performs during halftime.

G Unit Rapper Charged After Toronto Promoter Beaten

Source: www.thestar.com - Ashante Infantry

(January 11, 2010) G Unit's Lloyd Banks is scheduled to appear at a Kitchener bail hearing Monday after a Toronto promoter was allegedly held against his will, beaten and robbed early Saturday. The confrontation between Banks (real name Christopher Lloyd), his three male associates who were also arrested, and concert promoter Chris Hines, 36, occurred at a Kitchener hotel following a poorly-attended show at nearby Brantford's Club NV, according to the Waterloo Region Record.  The four New Yorkers were charged with forcible confinement, aggravated assault and robbery after a dispute over Banks' performance fee, the Record reports.  Police said Hines was punched, kicked, robbed and held for an hour in a hotel room. He was treated for head and facial injuries and released from Grand River Hospital for serious, but non-life threatening injuries.  Banks, 27, Tyrell Cooper, 24, Nicklas Sloane, 25, and Shaun McGee, 31, appeared in court by video on Sunday and remain in custody. According to mtv.com, Banks was arrested on gun-possession charges in New York in August of 2005.

Director Guy Ritchie Launches Record Label

Source: Reuters

(January 11, 2010) British film director Guy Ritchie has launched a record label named after his London pub The Punchbowl. Punchbowl Recordings, a subsidiary of label giant Universal Music, has already made its first signing – the pub's in-house Irish group called The Punchbowl Band, comprising Willy Barr, Brendan McAuley, Steve Mulhern and Daniel Gott. The group has already preformed on the soundtrack of Ritchie's latest movie, the Hollywood blockbuster adaptation of Sherlock Holmes starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. “It's exciting to venture into the world of the music industry,” Ritchie said in a statement issued by Universal. “It's a tough place, but I've witnessed this band connect with people first hand. They have every chance of being embraced by a wider audience and I genuinely wish them the very best of luck with their debut album.” Pop producer Daniel Glatman heard the band while dining at the pub, and suggested the idea of releasing their music through a new label to Ritchie, formerly married to Madonna. The debut album Journey will, be released on March 1.

Toronto Island Broken Social Scene Concert Set For June

Source: www.thestar.com – Star Staff

(January 12, 2010) After last year's concert was cancelled amid scheduling problems and a faltering economy, Broken Social Scene's annual show on Toronto's Olympic Island is back on for June 19. Also playing on the bill are Pavement and Band of Horses, with more acts to be announced. Tickets ($50 plus various fees) go on sale Jan. 22. Details at www.torontoislandconcert.com. Last year's package show, slated for July 11, was called off with weeks to go; promoters cited noise from the Toronto Indy auto race as the underlying cause. It wasn't the only big concert package to suffer in 2009, as the annual Rogers Picnic at Fort York was cancelled and Toronto's Virgin Festival – once also hosted on the islands – had to move from Burl's Creek to the Molson Amphitheatre in the wake of poor sales.

Here in the Moment: Gail Pettis

Source: www.thestar.com – Ashante Infantry

(OA2 Records)
(out of 4)

(January 12, 2010) This is the 51-year-old Seattle performer's sophomore disc after making the transition from orthodontist to songstress in 2002. With two different ace rhythm sections she shows aplomb as she makes her way through standards such as "The Very Thought of You," "Night and Day" and "I Could Have Danced All Night." Kentucky-born and Indiana-raised, Pettis is by turns elegant and sultry, recalling the likes of Nancy Wilson and Anita O'Day with great clarity and risky phrasing. Here's to midlife crises. Top Track: A soulful "Thought About You" with only piano accompaniment.

Trey Songz Joins Jay-Z Tour

Source: www.eurweb.com

(January12, 2010) *On the heels of scoring two songs in the top five of the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart this week (“I Invented Sex” at No. 2 and “Say Aah” at No 3), R&B singer Trey Songz has been added to the second leg of Jay-Z’s “Blueprint 3? tour next month.  An Atlantic Records rep confirms the crooner will join fellow supporting act Young Jeezy beginning Feb. 20 at the Bank Atlantic Center in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Songz is currently scheduled to perform all 23 dates, wrapping up March 27 at the Pearl Concert Theater in Las Vegas, reports Billboard. The artist is nominated for a Best Contemporary R&B Album Grammy Award for his latest set, “Ready;” the album has sold 438,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen Soundscan.

Beyonce To Take Six Month Hiatus

Source: JAM! MUSIC- By WENN.COM

(January12, 2010) Beyonce is taking a six-month break from music so she can "recharge her batteries" and "just live life."  The Crazy In Love hitmaker will complete her 11-month world tour in Trinidad and Tobago next month and she's revealed she won't go back to work again until mid-2010.  She tells USA Today, "It's definitely time to take a break, to recharge my batteries. I'd like to take about six months and not go into the studio. I need to just live life, to be inspired by things again. I'm going to do random things. I want to go to restaurants, maybe take a class and see some movies and Broadway shows."  But Beyonce admits she will struggle to stay away from the studio: "It will be the hardest thing in the world for me to make myself not do an album and shoot a video and turn it in and say, 'I'm ready!' I already have all these melodies and ideas in my head. I have to tell myself, 'Sit down! Sit down'."

Boy George To Tour With Gaga

Source: JAM! MUSIC- By WENN.COM

(January12, 2010) Lady Gaga has hired her childhood musical idol Boy George to support her on tour in London next month.  The Eighties icon will perform alongside the Paparazzi hitmaker during her dates at the O2 Arena.  Explaining her choice, Gaga says, "I didn't fit in at high school, I wanted to be like Boy George and I felt like a freak. So now I like to create this atmosphere for my fans where they feel like they have a freak in me to hang out with, and they don't feel alone."  George is currently on probation following a jail stint last year for falsely imprisoning a male escort. He's forced to seek permission before accepting any job offers, and was recently banned from starring in the latest series of U.K. reality TV show Celebrity Big Brother.

Sade Announces Soldier Of Love Tour; Plus Watch Her Video For 'Soldier Of Love'

Source: www.eurweb.com

(January 13, 2010) *Sade, who turns 50 on Jan. 16, will embark on her first tour in nearly a decade to promote the Feb. 8 release of "Soldier of Love," her sixth album and first new disc since 2000's "Lover's Rock."  So far, the singer will roll through Europe in March, then, head to the States in April and May, reports Live Daily. More details are to be announced in the coming weeks. The title track of "Soldier of Love" has already been released to radio and online, and its music video has just premiered at Amazon.com and other video outlets.   The clip is filled with images of mysterious dancing commandos, swirling red smoke and racing clouds overhead. Watch:

Mary J. Blige to Headline and Rep Essence Music Fest

Source: www.eurweb.com

(January 13, 2010) *Mary J. Blige has not only been confirmed to perform at the annual Essence Music Festival in July, but she has also signed on as the event's official spokesperson, reports Billboard.  "We're thrilled to have Mary J. Blige on board for this year's Essence Music Festival," Michelle Ebanks, president, Essence Communications Inc., said in a statement.  "Her history with the Essence brand, both with the festival and the magazine, makes her a great spokesperson for this year's festival and we're looking  months."  Blige, an eight-time performer at the Essence Music Festival, will headline a line-up that includes other entertainers, artists, speakers, authors and community leaders to be announced in the coming weeks. The festival will take place during the weekend of July 2. Special weekend ticket packages and other information about the event can be found on essence.com.

:FILM NEWS::

Telefilm Is No Longer Wayne's World

Source: www.globeandmail.com - Gayle MacDonald

(January 13, 2010) When Wayne Clarkson took the thankless job of heading up Telefilm Canada in January, 2005, he ruefully joked that his biggest challenge would be finding an apartment to rent in Montreal. To no one's surprise – least of all Clarkson's – a pied-à-terre in La Belle Province was, by far, the easiest aspect of Clarkson's five-year mandate.

The reality for a Telefilm CEOis that it's impossible to please everyone. Regardless of who has filled the head honcho's shoes during the federal funding agency's 43 years, the hue and cry from the industry has always been the same: If you're a bully, as Clarkson's predecessor Richard Stursberg (now executive vice-president of CBC English services) was widely perceived to be, then you meddle too much. And if you're a gentler personality, as is the 62-year-old Clarkson – a fixture in Canadian arts and culture for 35 years – well then, you haven't made enough noise or got enough done.

“ As long as we're making Canadian TV dramas, documentaries and movies that are available to the Canadian public – that's the real deal.”

As he prepares to exit the agency's Bathurst Street headquarters in Toronto and to let go of his Montreal pad, Clarkson took some time to discuss the highs and lows of trying to juggle the demands of government bosses (always desperate to hold budgets in check) with the needs of cash-strapped independent filmmakers, who, particularly in English Canada, struggle on a daily basis to get Canadians to watch their movies.

“When I first came in, I took the Hippocratic Oath that says Do No Harm,” he says. “But my guiding light has been to help Canadian talent, to create Canadian movies or TV programs that engage Canadian audiences and the world.”

Does he think he has succeeded? He concedes that English-language cinema – which accounts for just 1 per cent of total domestic box office – still lags well behind the country's French-language film industry, which captures 26 per cent of total box office in Quebec.

“We all know there's no one simple solution” to bridging those two solitudes, says Clarkson, who before joining Telefilm was head of the Canadian Film Centre, an incubator for emerging filmmakers. “French Canada is a nation of approximately nine million people, surrounded by 350 million anglophones, and the value they place on culture is second only to health and daycare.

“English-language Canada is almost the reverse, and English-language feature film is marginalized. That's just the way it is.”

Still, he adds, “Internationally, we're a nation that is admired for our movies … We go to Cannes, Sundance, Berlin and Venice. English-Canadian cinema struggles for its place on the map, but our co-productions travel the world. And frankly, I'm tired of always trying to live up to a 5-per-cent-of-the-[total English Canadian box office] report card. To do so will require more money in the system,” Clarkson asserts, “which is not going to happen.

“But as long as we're making Canadian TV dramas, documentaries and movies that are available to the Canadian public – that's the real deal.”

During his tenure, Clarkson's critics have accused him of merely tinkering with – rather than overhauling – the system responsible for approving and funding English-language features. He has heard the complaints, but believes he has made strides in making Telefilm a more “efficient and effective administration, particularly through the merger of two big go-to funding agencies, the Canadian Television Fund and Telefilm.

“Those were difficult negotiations, because Telefilm was giving up governance over our broadcast money, while remaining administrator of those $300-million-plus funds [now called the Canadian New Media Fund]. That happened my first year. I didn't plan it, but it was a major undertaking ... that fundamentally altered the nature of this organization for the better in the long term.”

Early on, Clarkson also had to deal with a mess at the Montreal Film Festival (now called the World Film Festival), from which Telefilm yanked its funding. A 2004 study of Canada's major film festivals, commissioned by Telefilm and its Quebec counterpart, Société de développement des enterprises culturelles (SODEC), found the Montreal festival to be poorly managed and inadequately funded. Telefilm subsequently pulled its $525,000 annual investment from the WFF to bankroll a competing festival that failed after just one year.

“That was, again, something I inherited and dealt with as best the agency could. I think we were consistent in demanding greater accountability and governance, and when those standards were met, we renewed our financing. And we support them to this day.”

Eighteen months into the job, he also had to deal with the embarrassing hiring/non-hiring of Los Angeles-based studio executive Michael Jenkinson, who reneged at the last minute on a position that would have seen him overseeing approval for roughly $80-million in funding for English-language feature films. Clarkson had to step in and fill that role. And although he did not personally sign off on such Telefilm-funded movies as Passchendaele , Bon Cop, Bad Cop , De pere en flic , Silk , A History of Violence , One Week and Blindness , he says he's proud of those titles.

“When I came in, I wrote a list of what I wanted to do, and I wanted a Canadian film to be nominated for an Academy Award for best picture. That didn't happen, but we got nominations in other categories for [Sarah Polley's] Away From Her and [David Cronenberg's] Eastern Promises ,” he points out. “We got close.”

His regrets? They include the federal government's elimination in 2008 of a $3- to $4-million national training program that assisted emerging filmmakers. “I thought it was shortsighted and could not figure it out.” He also was keenly disappointed by Ottawa's decision to shelve an international co-production fund.

Is he predicting who will succeed him? The front runner is rumoured to be Michel Roy, the current chairman of Telefilm's board and father of hockey superstar Patrick. But Clarkson maintains he has no idea if such a rumour is well-founded.

As for his own future, for the next 12 months, Clarkson is going to hang out at his Muskoka cottage, and also hike Spain's 800-kilometre Camino del Santiago with his wife. “I have to say the last five years have been the most challenging, most stimulating period in my life,” he says.  

Proudly Flying The Maple Leaf Over L.A.

Source: www.thestar.com - Martin Knelman

(January 13, 2010) Has there ever been a Hollywood awards season as fruitful as 2010 for Canada's well-populated ex-pat community in southern California? The orgy of prize giving and making acceptance speeches is about to begin, but it is already clear this shapes up as a banner year.

You can safely assume that
James Cameron, Jason Reitman and Christopher Plummer are names you'll hear often when envelopes are about to be opened at the Golden Globes on Sunday and the Oscars on March 7.

In late January, three of the most celebrated Canadian natives to achieve international stardom are stepping into the spotlight to be feted. Taking bows will be three senior citizens:
Norman Jewison, Leonard Cohen and Neil Young.

Cohen will receive a lifetime achievement award at the Grammy Awards on Jan. 31. Young has been chosen by Grammy organizers as the MusiCares Person of the Year for his philanthropic work. Both will be honoured by the Canadian government at a soiree on Jan. 28 at the residence of Consul General David Fransen.

Add to the mix comedy veteran Eugene Levy, who will be saluted with ACTRA's Award of Excellence on Jan. 21, also at the residence of Canada's consul general in L.A.

This annual event honours performers who have raised the profile of the green-card crowd.

Past winners of this ACTRA-in-La-La-land award include Sandra Oh, Leslie Nielsen, Lloyd Bochner and Kiefer Sutherland, who created a bit of a stir in 2007 when he accepted the award graciously while waiting to start serving a jail sentence.

Not to be overlooked is Jewison, who will receive a lifetime achievement award from his Hollywood peers in the Directors Guild of America the same weekend that Cohen and Young are being showered with Grammy superlatives.

That should put an end to any suggestion that this is no country for old men, especially from Canada. Jewison is 83, Cohen 75 and Young 64.

The consul general's celebration on Jan. 28 will honour not just Cohen and Young but all Canadian 2010 Grammy nominees.

That includes Beast, Drake, Michael J. Fox, Northern Cree, David Foster, Melanie Fiona, Goldie Sampson, Michael Bublé, Nickelback and two members of the Kneebody group, Ben Wendel and Kaveh Rastegar.

How much can all these honours add up to in terms of enhancing Canada's international standing in the world of popular culture? It would help if there were a great Canadian movie in the mix, especially if it were actually set in Canada and revealed something about the soul, or at least the flavour, of the country. Sadly, there is not.

Cameron, Plummer and Reitman were all working on movies made and set in other countries.

As for Jewison, Cohen and Young, it would be interesting to do a survey to determine how many of their most ardent admirers elsewhere on the planet are even aware of their Canadian origins.

My guess: not many.

Young has a certain Canadian ID because one of his most famous songs has a familiar lyric, "there is a town in North Ontario ..."

Jewison is known on home turf for his Caledon farm, his maple syrup and the Canadian Film Centre. But how many movie buffs who cherish Moonstruck or In the Heat of the Night would be aware of that?

Cohen has strong links to Montreal, but it's probably news to music fans in San Francisco, London and Paris.

Now if only Canadians had the kind of strong identifiable accents that Australians do, then every time one of our crowd-pleasing entertainers won an award, it would raise the Maple Leaf.

Instead, the world can go on assuming that any Canadian artist is really an American. And we'll go on being overlooked and underrated by the rest of the planet.

Crazy Heart May Give Jeff Bridges A Shot At Oscar

Source: www.thestar.com - Linda Barnard

(January 12, 2010) Jeff Bridges added an extra shot of vodka to get to the soul of washed-up, hard-living country singer Bad Blake in Crazy Heart.

"Instead of one drink after work, I'd have two," Bridges said with a deep chuckle, as he rode in the back of a car down Manhattan streets Saturday afternoon. "I'd have a little bit more the night before."

Bridges, who turned 60 in December, found working with a slight hangover helped him convey just how lousy country legend Bad felt every morning, prying his eyes open in a crummy motel after a booze-soaked night onstage with yet another pickup band, playing his hits from 30 years before in the back room of another small-town bowling alley or juke joint.

"You know, I'm playing drunk a lot in this movie," Bridges pointed out with a hoarse laugh. "You don't want to work drunk. I've made that mistake before."

There are no mistakes discernible from Bridges in Crazy Heart, which opens here Friday.

He gives what's arguably the best performance of his career – one that spans nearly four decades and includes four Oscar nods. He's never won, but Crazy Heart may change that.

Lauded by critics and nominated for awards including Critics Choice, Screen Actors Guild and Sunday's Golden Globes, Bridges' name comes up often as a leading Oscar contender for his portrayal of Bad Blake.

The outlaw singer lives up to his name: a chain-smoking, staggering, puking mess who can still play guitar, sing and bed the occasional sad and saggy groupie, despite a passionate love for the bottle.

To look the part of a man decaying from the inside, Bridges packed on 25 pounds.

"It was bad food: eating as much ice cream and French fries and anything else I wanted," he said, sounding pleased with the process.

Bridges calls the experience of making the low-budget Crazy Heart "a tough and wonderful time." But when first approached by fledgling director Scott Cooper – who also wrote the screenplay based on Thomas Cobb's novel – he turned the role down.

"It's all about the music and when I initially got the script there was no music," said Bridges. "If the music wasn't the quality it turned out to be, the movie wouldn't be any good.

"With The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989), it set the bar pretty high for movies about musicians and music with all those popular and jazz standards."

The Fabulous Baker Boys, where Bridges co-starred with brother Beau (the pair are sons of actor Lloyd Bridges) was the first time many people realized the actor could also sing. But in reality, Bridges has been making music since he was 14.

His love for country was nurtured on the set of Michael Cimino's 1980 box-office flop Heaven's Gate, where Bridges worked not only with outlaw legend Kris Kristofferson, but also the musicians who would play pivotal roles in the production of Crazy Heart more than 25 years later.

"That's where I met Stephen Bruton and T-Bone Burnett, and I spent six months jamming with these guys every night," said Bridges. "The birth of the (Crazy Heart) music was there."

Burnett, one of Hollywood's most reliable soundtrack writers (O Brother, Where Art Thou?) wrote most of the music for Crazy Heart, along with Bruton and Bridges' friend from childhood, John Goodwin. Burnett also collaborated with Ryan Bingham on the title track, which is up for a slew of awards.

Bridges crafted Bad based on stories from guitarist Bruton, who had lived that kind of nomadic gig-to-gig existence playing in Kristofferson's band for 40 years.

But Bridges can lay claim to one quirk: Bad's tendency to spend his offstage time with his belt flapping open and the top of his pants undone. "That was me," said Bridges, laughing. "You want to be comfortable when you're driving."

Bruton died in May after a lengthy battle with cancer. As a tribute to his late friend, Bridges wore Bruton's elk's tooth necklace in Crazy Heart. "It was like a kind a mojo, a juju thing."

It was tough to lose him, Bridges added. "We had a wonderful time making the film, and he was in great spirits and in great shape."

But facing the loss of friends comes with the territory as years pass. And now Bridges finds himself at a new milestone.

"It's pretty interesting. It's hard to believe I'm 60," said Bridges. "I think of myself as in my mid-20s and then the body kind of starts to deteriorate and stuff, which is not too fun, but there's a kind of combination of, I wouldn't say urgency, but like if you want to do anything, do it now. There's a partner to that feeling of don't feel like you have to accomplish anything. Just relax and enjoy your life."

Regina Raps about Her Latest Role

Source: Kam Williams

(January 12, 2010)
Regina King was born and raised in Los Angeles where she started her showbiz career on the stage at an early age. That exposure led to a role on the sitcom “227” while just 14. Five years later, she made her screen debut as Shalika in fellow, USC alum John Singleton’s Boyz n the Hood. Since then, the attractive actress’ services have remained in demand as a romantic lead opposite everyone from Jamie Foxx in Ray to Will Smith in Enemy of the State to Chris Rock in Down to Earth to Eddie Murphy in Daddy Day Care to Cuba Gooding, Jr. in Jerry Maguire to Laz Alonso in This Christmas.

Regina recently moved back to the small screen where she can currently be found as LAPD Detective Lydia Adams on Southland, a cop drama airing Tuesday nights at 10 PM (ET/PT) on TNT. Here, she talks not only about her work on the raw-edged, cops series but about her life and career as well.

Kam Williams: Hi, Regina , thanks for the time.

Regina King: Oh, thanks for making the time.

KW: What interested you in Southland?

RK: Well, I was already a fan of [writer/producer] Ann Biderman’s work, and when I read the script, I really got excited about the prospect of playing a woman who was complex, not just a one-dimensional character defined by her children or her husband. What makes Lydia Adams interesting isn’t her children or her husband, but the fact that she’s successful and driven and has a full range of emotions, which is indicative of most women between the ages of 35 and 45. So, I thought it would be cool to represent the sort of women that I know.

KW: Laz Lyles asks, whether you see Lydia as reflective of a recent trend towards stronger female characters on cop dramas?

RK: Yes, but the beautiful thing about actresses is each of us can put a different spin on that type of woman.

KW: The series just moved from NBC to TNT. Laz also asks if that shift is going to affect the content or the show’s fairly graphic tone?

RK: No, I don’t thing the show will necessarily be changing. But there might be fewer conversations back and forth between the network and the producers about toning it down, because TNT understood the nature of the show that they picked up.

KW: Watching the second season’s premiere episode, I was surprised how realistic the storyline was, revolving around the Latino versus black gang wars in L.A.

RK: All of our stories are based on real stories, actual events which have made the news in the city.

KW: Children’s book author Irene Smalls asks, to what do you credit your enduring career from 227 to Southland?

RK: I have to give a lot of credit to my mom, who decided to send me to a regular public high school where I ran track and went to football games. So, I got to do the normal things that kids do.

KW: I noticed that some classmates from your graduating class have also fared well in showbiz.

RK: Yeah, [director] Tim Story… [jazz pianist] Eric Reed… there are definitely some of us out there.

KW: Speaking of high school, teacher Eric Daniels asks, how have you managed to stay so busy?

RK: Oh, I don’t know. [Chuckles] Luck, I guess. And by always being prepared, so that when an opportunity comes along, I can take it. I think that’s the short answer.

KW: You’ve played the leading lady opposite a lot of great actors. Which one was your favourite screen husband or lover?

RK: I can’t say. Each one had something that made them appealing. Chris Rock was awesome to talk to and funny at the same time. Eddie Murphy was surprisingly different, in a good way, from what I had anticipated. With Will Smith, it was very refreshing to be around someone who’s so excited about what he does. I’m sure that if he worked for the Sanitation Department, he’d be enthusiastic about how he throws out the trash. He fully commits to whatever he’s doing. And Jamie Foxx was like a walking TV, entertaining all the time.  

KW: Is there any question no one ever asks you, that you wish someone would? If so, please answer it.

RK: I don’t think so.

KW: I have a question from Laz Alonso, another one of your romantic co-stars: How can your fans help you?

RK: By going to TNT.com and leaving a message about how much they like the show, if they do genuinely enjoy it. And by going to Facebook and Twitter and telling all their friends to watch the show. That would be very helpful.

KW: The Tasha Smith question: Are you ever afraid?

RK: Of course, I am. Most of us are. Those who say they aren’t are lying.

KW: The Columbus Short question: Are you happy?

RK: Ooh, I know all these people asking questions. Yes, I’m very happy! I’m healthy… I’ve got a healthy, wonderful, 13 year-old son who’s a good person. I’m happy!

KW: The Boris Kodjoe question: What do you consider your biggest accomplishment?

RK: I’d say my son who is such a sweet person. He’s very polite. He opens doors for women. He removes his hat in restaurants, indoors in general, and whenever he’s introduced to a woman. So, I must be doing something right.

KW: When you look in the mirror, what do you see?

RK: I see somebody that’s happy.

KW: The Teri Emerson question: When was the last time you had a good laugh?

RK: Maybe about three hours ago, on a plane. I have one of those every day.

KW: The music maven Heather Covington question: What are you listening to on your iPod? 

RK: Gosh, what’s the last thing I downloaded? I really like Q-Tip’s album “The Renaissance,” and I’m still listening to Adele. And I’m a huge Maxwell fan. And on the plane, I was listening to Miles Davis’ “Kind of Blue.”

KW: What is your favourite dish to cook?

RK: That’s a good question, because I cook a lot! I had two couples over before Christmas for a dinner party where I made seafood lasagna, butternut squash soup and a walnut-pear-endive salad. And I made some caramel pecan ice cream for dessert.

KW: The bookworm Troy Johnson question: What was the last book you read?

RK: Carrie Fisher’s memoir “Wishful Drinking.”  View HERE

KW: The Ling-Ju Yen question: What is your earliest childhood memory?

RK: I guess opening Christmas presents, when my parents were still together.

KW: How do you want to be remembered?

RK: As a woman who tried her hardest and her best at everything she did.

KW: Well, thanks again, Regina , and best of luck with Southland on TNT

RK: Thanks, Kam.

To see a trailer for Southland visit HERE

Regina Raps about Her Latest Role

Source: Kam Williams

(January 12, 2010)
Regina King was born and raised in Los Angeles where she started her showbiz career on the stage at an early age. That exposure led to a role on the sitcom “227” while just 14. Five years later, she made her screen debut as Shalika in fellow, USC alum John Singleton’s Boyz n the Hood. Since then, the attractive actress’ services have remained in demand as a romantic lead opposite everyone from Jamie Foxx in Ray to Will Smith in Enemy of the State to Chris Rock in Down to Earth to Eddie Murphy in Daddy Day Care to Cuba Gooding, Jr. in Jerry Maguire to Laz Alonso in This Christmas.

Regina recently moved back to the small screen where she can currently be found as LAPD Detective Lydia Adams on Southland, a cop drama airing Tuesday nights at 10 PM (ET/PT) on TNT. Here, she talks not only about her work on the raw-edged, cops series but about her life and career as well.

Kam Williams: Hi, Regina , thanks for the time.

Regina King: Oh, thanks for making the time.

KW: What interested you in Southland?

RK: Well, I was already a fan of [writer/producer] Ann Biderman’s work, and when I read the script, I really got excited about the prospect of playing a woman who was complex, not just a one-dimensional character defined by her children or her husband. What makes Lydia Adams interesting isn’t her children or her husband, but the fact that she’s successful and driven and has a full range of emotions, which is indicative of most women between the ages of 35 and 45. So, I thought it would be cool to represent the sort of women that I know.

KW: Laz Lyles asks, whether you see Lydia as reflective of a recent trend towards stronger female characters on cop dramas?

RK: Yes, but the beautiful thing about actresses is each of us can put a different spin on that type of woman.

KW: The series just moved from NBC to TNT. Laz also asks if that shift is going to affect the content or the show’s fairly graphic tone?

RK: No, I don’t thing the show will necessarily be changing. But there might be fewer conversations back and forth between the network and the producers about toning it down, because TNT understood the nature of the show that they picked up.

KW: Watching the second season’s premiere episode, I was surprised how realistic the storyline was, revolving around the Latino versus black gang wars in L.A.

RK: All of our stories are based on real stories, actual events which have made the news in the city.

KW: Children’s book author Irene Smalls asks, to what do you credit your enduring career from 227 to Southland?

RK: I have to give a lot of credit to my mom, who decided to send me to a regular public high school where I ran track and went to football games. So, I got to do the normal things that kids do.

KW: I noticed that some classmates from your graduating class have also fared well in showbiz.

RK: Yeah, [director] Tim Story… [jazz pianist] Eric Reed… there are definitely some of us out there.

KW: Speaking of high school, teacher Eric Daniels asks, how have you managed to stay so busy?

RK: Oh, I don’t know. [Chuckles] Luck, I guess. And by always being prepared, so that when an opportunity comes along, I can take it. I think that’s the short answer.

KW: You’ve played the leading lady opposite a lot of great actors. Which one was your favourite screen husband or lover?

RK: I can’t say. Each one had something that made them appealing. Chris Rock was awesome to talk to and funny at the same time. Eddie Murphy was surprisingly different, in a good way, from what I had anticipated. With Will Smith, it was very refreshing to be around someone who’s so excited about what he does. I’m sure that if he worked for the Sanitation Department, he’d be enthusiastic about how he throws out the trash. He fully commits to whatever he’s doing. And Jamie Foxx was like a walking TV, entertaining all the time.  

KW: Is there any question no one ever asks you, that you wish someone would? If so, please answer it.

RK: I don’t think so.

KW: I have a question from Laz Alonso, another one of your romantic co-stars: How can your fans help you?

RK: By going to TNT.com and leaving a message about how much they like the show, if they do genuinely enjoy it. And by going to Facebook and Twitter and telling all their friends to watch the show. That would be very helpful.

KW: The Tasha Smith question: Are you ever afraid?

RK: Of course, I am. Most of us are. Those who say they aren’t are lying.

KW: The Columbus Short question: Are you happy?

RK: Ooh, I know all these people asking questions. Yes, I’m very happy! I’m healthy… I’ve got a healthy, wonderful, 13 year-old son who’s a good person. I’m happy!

KW: The Boris Kodjoe question: What do you consider your biggest accomplishment?

RK: I’d say my son who is such a sweet person. He’s very polite. He opens doors for women. He removes his hat in restaurants, indoors in general, and whenever he’s introduced to a woman. So, I must be doing something right.

KW: When you look in the mirror, what do you see?

RK: I see somebody that’s happy.

KW: The Teri Emerson question: When was the last time you had a good laugh?

RK: Maybe about three hours ago, on a plane. I have one of those every day.

KW: The music maven Heather Covington question: What are you listening to on your iPod? 

RK: Gosh, what’s the last thing I downloaded? I really like Q-Tip’s album “The Renaissance,” and I’m still listening to Adele. And I’m a huge Maxwell fan. And on the plane, I was listening to Miles Davis’ “Kind of Blue.”

KW: What is your favourite dish to cook?

RK: That’s a good question, because I cook a lot! I had two couples over before Christmas for a dinner party where I made seafood lasagna, butternut squash soup and a walnut-pear-endive salad. And I made some caramel pecan ice cream for dessert.

KW: The bookworm Troy Johnson question: What was the last book you read?

RK: Carrie Fisher’s memoir “Wishful Drinking.”  View HERE

KW: The Ling-Ju Yen question: What is your earliest childhood memory?

RK: I guess opening Christmas presents, when my parents were still together.

KW: How do you want to be remembered?

RK: As a woman who tried her hardest and her best at everything she did.

KW: Well, thanks again, Regina , and best of luck with Southland on TNT

RK: Thanks, Kam.

To see a trailer for Southland visit HERE

Saoirse Ronan Imagines There's A Heaven

Source: www.thestar.com - Linda Barnard

(January 13, 2010) "I feel like a '70s chick now," quipped 15-year-old Oscar nominee Saoirse Ronan, adding she loves the era's music, a typical teen's enthusiasm for the newly discovered in her voice.

The young Irish actress (her name is pronounced "Sur-shah," but friends call her "Sursh") with the arresting ice-blue eyes, immersed herself in the sounds of the mid-'70s for her role as 14-year-old murder victim Susie Salmon in
The Lovely Bones.

The movie opens Friday.

The film, directed by The Lord of the Rings franchise helmer Peter Jackson, is set in 1973 Pennsylvania. It's based on Alice Sebold's 2002 bestseller about a girl who watches her family, and the neighbour who killed her, from the afterlife.

"Fleetwood Mac is one of my favourite bands," Ronan said passionately as she curled up on a Yorkville hotel room couch with her co-star Rose McIver to talk about The Lovely Bones.

New Zealand native McIver, 21, plays her younger sister, Lindsey, who ages from 11 to 19 in the film.

Both actresses embraced the unfamiliar world of polyester pants and David Bowie for the movie, which has a soundtrack by English composer Brian Eno, who made his mark in the '70s with Roxy Music.

"I'm fascinated with the music – not the fashion, but the style where it started off from. It was a very interesting era, when things started to become bold," said Ronan, her Irish lilt coming as a surprise after hearing her mastery of a middle-America accent onscreen.

Ronan pointed out that teens today tend to have common ways of expressing themselves, thanks to globalization and the pervasive reach of popular TV shows.

That wasn't the case in the 1970s, "and because I'm not like that anyway, I felt it was very easy to go there. I feel like I'm not like one of those (modern) kids."

The Lovely Bones was shot two years ago, when Ronan was an unknown 13-year-old actress. All that changed in 2008 when she was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Briony Tallis in Atonement.

Both Ronan and McIver needed to do some homework to play typical American teens.

"I had the luxury of spending a few days at an American high school," said McIver. "Just seeing the cafeteria, and we went to a homecoming game and saw American football being played, and all these things that were completely foreign to me."

"We don't have those kind of high schools back home," added Ronan.

McIver also relied on her own diaries, kept through her school years, to help get her in touch with different stages of Lindsey's life. Physical alterations, like pigtails and braces, helped her look younger, along with medical tape that was used to flatten her womanly curves.

"Poor thing, I felt so bad for her," Ronan said.

"Especially during the running scenes," added McIver with a laugh, mock-gasping.

Susie, of course, doesn't age over the eight years that spans her family's grief and desperate attempts to find her killer and her remains.

Jackson has crafted an elaborate series of settings for the almost-heaven place Susie inhabits, where the scenery shifts from meadows and woods to fanciful places that challenge the imagination.

Shooting those scenes demanded much from Ronan. She was often acting in front of a bare blue screen – digital effects and scenery were added later – and had to rely solely on Jackson's descriptions to help her imagine her surroundings.

"We would play music every single day. It was very important and reflected the mood of the scene and it helped more than anything else," said Ronan, adding the playlist varied among '70s hits and albums, and classical.

"Pete would talk to me in between takes and he would describe what was going on and I would react to it," Ronan added.

So what did she think when she saw the final version of The Lovely Bones, when her moving to music and Jackson's direction meshed with his vision?

"Oh, I was completely blown away," said Ronan. "The in between was very, very beautiful."

::TV NEWS::

Classic Humour Returns To CBC With Kids In The Hall: Death Comes To Town

Source: www.thestar.com - Raju Mudhar

(January 12, 2010) Count me one of the many who are just happy to see The Kids in the Hall back on Canadian television.

The seminal sketch group has plenty of fans for its inspired brand of lunacy and many have been waiting for any new Kids content. Their prayers will be answered by the new Kids in the Hall: Death Come to Town, which kicks off Tuesday on CBC at 9 p.m.

Having seen the first two episodes of this Twin Peaks-esque eight-part miniseries, I doubt it will bring many new fans to the group, but for the converted it's a pretty fun piece, celebrating the troupe's strengths. Even after the first episode, I'm enjoying it more than the Kids' 1996 Brain Candy.

The five-man group displays its hallmarks, with each member playing several characters, dressing in drag and rocking a fat suit.

The humour is classic Kids, with plenty of visual gags mixed with off-colour, politically incorrect jokes that include a "special child," an incredibly obese character and plenty of stuff that those who are easily offended will find revolting.

But the troupe's eye for satire remains sharp as ever.

And this longer, cohesive story form gives the Kids a great opportunity to parody such things as the police, newscasters, everything small town and plenty more.

Shot in North Bay, the series is set in the fictional town of Shuckton, which in the opening moments has beloved Mayor Larry Bowman pitching it as the site of the 2028 Olympics. Bruce McCulloch plays him with aspects of an almost real-life Mayor Quimby, who has the townsfolk eating out of his hands. There's also some wonderful use of simple, fun computer-generated imagery.

But the character that I thought made the first episode was Mark McKinney's Grim Reaper, who literally shows up in town on a bus and then goes riding around on his tricked-out bike.

Visually, his outfit alone is a ton of gags, but I also loved the scene where he kills time in his hotel room by flipping through the Bible, commenting: "Ridiculous ... gibberish ... somewhat true."

The rest of the cast also shines. Some of the jokes fly by so quickly, fans will likely use the PVR to catch something they missed. I know I did.

The first episode ends with a murder that sets up the mystery for the rest of the series and I look forward to seeing how they tie the whole thing together.

I enjoyed the second episode even more than the first, with McCulloch's and McKinney's clueless cops getting more air time, and Scott Thompson getting a good turn as an ever-so-fashionable investigator.

I would also like to applaud the CBC for green-lighting this as an eight-part series, similar to the British model of television, where things seem to run as long as the creative teams and the networks feel that they should. You can feel plenty of network shows running on fumes as they try to pad out 22-episode orders.

It's also a good sign for the Ceeb, with one network exec I talked to at the winter launch admitting as much; this is the type of show the network might have missed out on a few years ago, either due to indifference or lack of desire from the creative party.

Last week's ratings for 18 to Life and Republic of Doyle were both impressive (although the real proof comes with this week and how many folks come back), but the CBC knows that Death Comes to Town is one of its big guns this season.

For long-waiting fans, I'll quote Mayor Bowman from the opening minutes of the first episode: "Can you smell the excitement?"

Sarah Palin Joins Fox News

Source: www.thestar.com - Ashante Infantry

(January 11, 2010) ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Sarah Palin, former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice-presidential candidate, will take her conservative message to Fox News as a regular commentator, the cable channel announced Monday.

"I am thrilled to be joining the great talent and management team at Fox News," Palin said in a statement posted on the network's website. "It's wonderful to be part of a place that so values fair and balanced news."

Fox said that according to the multi-year deal, Palin will offer political commentary and analysis. She also will host occasional episodes of Fox News Real American Stories, a series featuring true inspirational stories about Americans.

"Governor Palin has captivated everyone on both sides of the political spectrum and we are excited to add her dynamic voice to the FOX News line-up," Bill Shine, executive vice-president of programming, said in a statement.

Palin is hugely popular with conservatives and has more than 1.1 million Facebook followers.

She stepped down as Alaska governor in July, 17 months before the end of her first term in office. Her resignation came less than a year after she vaulted to overnight fame as John McCain's running mate.

Palin worked part-time as a weekend sportscaster in the 1980s for KTUU-TV in Anchorage.

Her upcoming commentary career had her Facebook fans giddy with excitement Monday.

"Tell 'em like it is girl!!!!!!," one poster wrote.

Palin finished a nationwide tour in December to promote her best-selling book, "Going Rogue."

Lost Fans To Sip Finale 'Cocktail'

Source: www.thestar.com - Rob Salem

(January 13, 2010) PASADENA, Calif. - `Get ready to scratch your heads, America."

So says producer Damon Lindelof of the impending last season of
Lost, which returns to answer our burning questions with a two-hour extended episode Feb. 2, preceded by a recap show, and then a run of 16 consecutive weeks leading up to the big two-hour finale.

"I think I had to read it three times before it made sense," laughed actor Emilie de Ravin, who co-stars as Claire.

"The premiere," chimed in Jorge "Hurley" Garcia, ``is definitely like, `What? Let me read that part again.'"

"It felt big, though, too," added Josh Holloway, a.k.a. Sawyer. "It felt like a finale ... that scale.

"Obviously, not every question is going to be answered," allowed producer Carlton Cuse. "(Some) people are going to be upset."

"But there's a fundamental sort of sense of mystery ... and to demystify that by trying to literally explain everything down to the little `midichlorian' of it all would be a mistake, in our view.

"So I think there will be hopefully a healthy cocktail of answers, mystery, quick character resolutions and some surprises."

Minor spoiler: They did let two of them slip at the end of the session. Harold Perrineau and Cynthia Watros will be coming back.

END OF DAYS? There may be light at the end of the tunnel for Lost, but 24 still doesn't know if its days are numbered. "There's never been one specific season that the next season was guaranteed or ensured," allowed star and executive producer Kiefer Sutherland, speaking to critics at the bi-annual TV tour.

"We've always approached each season, just the task of doing it, as so great that literally from the very first season on, we've completed that season, and it was really Fox's decision to pick us up."

Added Sutherland, "This has been one of the greatest gifts of my life, the ability to do 24, so for me, it's something that is absolutely open. I've always said that as long as people wanted us to make it and people were really interested in watching it, I would be interested."

FAMILY MATTERS: The Chinese pictograph for "crisis" has been broadly interpreted as a combination of "danger" and "opportunity."

When actor Maura Tierney had to back out of Parenthood (diagnosed with breast cancer, producers say she is doing well) the series pilot had already been shot.

A TV remake of the TV remake of the 1989 feature (a previous, short-lived series version – starring Leonardo DiCaprio!? – was attempted in 1990), the new hour dramedy is scheduled to debut this March, with a stellar ensemble that includes Peter Krause, Craig T. Nelson, Bonnie Bedelia.

And now Gilmore Girl Lauren Graham, taking over the Tierney role, which, producers say, also provided them a rare opportunity to tweak and fine-tune.

"I do think the newer version of the show does play lighter," concedes Jason Katims, Parenthood's co-executive producer, along with Ron Howard, director of the original film.

"Lauren brings so much to the role," says Katims, "and one of the things that she brings is this incredible humour."

But it was also "a second chance to do some other things as well," Howard added.

The original Parenthood film, Howard reveals, was largely inspired by an embarrassing incident in 1996 involving his now grown-up movie-star daughter, Bryce.

"We were going on location to make a movie, Gung Ho ... we were going to Buenos Aires and we were bringing the family. Bryce was sitting next to me. And I proudly thought, as kind of a forward-thinking progressive kind of dad, that she might like to try this appetizer sushi."

She took one bite and "projectile vomited" all over his shirt.

"And I began thinking ... it's both funny and it's painful, and it's profound. And we all experience it. And, you know, the idea for the movie was born," said Howard.

RETRO ROCKETSHIP: Those of us who grew up in the GTA in the 1960s will experience an odd shock of recognition midway through Thursday night's episode of Bones.

In a tongue-in-cheek homage to The X Files, co-star David Boreanaz walks into a diner in alien-obsessed Roswell, New Mexico ... where he is delighted to see a framed publicity photo of Buffalo kiddie-show host Dave Thomas and the puppet crew of his cardboard pseudo-spacecraft, Rocketship 7.

Thomas, it turns out, is Boreanaz's father. The Buffalo-born actor remembers tagging along on promotional trips to Toronto to meet the show's many young local fans. "I still have all the puppets," he grins. "Including Mr. Beeper."

TV TIDBITS

Conan O'Brien Says No Thanks To NBC Move

Source: www.thestar.com

(January 12, 2010) LOS ANGELES–Conan O'Brien says he's rejecting NBC's attempt to move The Tonight Show to a post-midnight slot to accommodate Jay Leno's return to late-night. In a statement Tuesday, O'Brien says that NBC has given him a scant seven months to try to establish himself as host of Tonight. NBC wants to move "The Jay Leno Show" out of prime-time and to the 11:35 p.m. EST daily slot, bumping "Tonight" to 12:05 p.m. EST. O'Brien said he hoped he and NBC could resolve the issue quickly so he could do a show of which he and his crew could be proud – ``for a company that values our work" – raising the possibility he might go to another network. But he said he has no such offer.

::THEATRE NEWS::

Exploring Canada's North-South Divide

Source: www.globeandmail.com – James Bradshaw

(January 7, 2010) A year ago, Abbie Ootova was in a bad way, her outlook on life as gloomy as the perpetually dark winter Nunavut sky above her. She had fallen in with the wrong young man, lost her direction in life, and been kicked out of the family home by her father.

“I was totally trouble last year. You know, teenagers. Boys and girls,” the 16-year-old from Pond Inlet says.

Now, she is taking to the stage at the National Arts Centre (NAC) in Ottawa as one of the leads in a world premiere play that seeks to bridge the divide between “the North” and “the South.” Her return to the theatre has given her life a crucial recalibration.

“I feel like I'm a lot better. It feels like I'm in the world again. Last year was so hard for me. Acting is a part of who I am,” she says.

Ootova plays Piuyuq in
Night , written and directed by Christopher Morris, artistic director of the ambitious Toronto theatre start-up Human Cargo. A result of creative workshops in Pond Inlet, Nunavut, and Iceland, the show explores the flawed relationship between Canada's remote northern aboriginal peoples against the backdrop of the months of 24-hour darkness these communities experience each year.

After 12 days at the NAC, it will travel to Yellowknife, Whitehorse and Inuvik, and Morris hopes to add Gananoque and Toronto to the tour.

Ootova began exploring her artistic side with square dancing when she was 10 years old.

Her creative quiver now includes acting, throat singing and other musical endeavours. She first met Morris on his inaugural trip to the North.

Like most of Morris's projects, Night began with an idea and a plane ticket. He had heard about Scandinavians committing suicide during the round-the-clock winter darkness and wanted to explore the phenomenon. In 2004 he chose Pond Inlet from a map and set out with only one contact, an introduction from a mutual friend, to steer him when he arrived.

While there, he was asked to help pull together a play, The Wolf , to be performed during Drug and Alcohol Awareness Week. Among its cast was 10-year-old Ootova, and both remember their first impressions of each other.

“She was just this really cute kid,” Morris says.

“He was totally dude, you know?” Ootova recalls.

Three years later, Ootova showed up at a youth workshop Morris was hosting in Pond Inlet. The two barely recognized each other at first, but the encounter led them to collaborate on a string of local shows. At the time, Morris had 27-year-old Iqaluit native and Genie Award nominee Annabella Piugattuk in mind for Night , but after she backed out for personal reason, Morris settled on Ootova.

The NAC came on board in 2007 after the first of three four-week workshops to improvise ideas for the play, which came to the attention of NAC English Theatre boss Peter Hinton. Remarkably, the show marks the first “project from the North” in the NAC's 40-year history.

Paula Danckert, the NAC dramaturge who oversaw Morris's writing of the final script last year, said that was because of the immense resources needed to get it off the ground. Night was considered “a very big risk, in a way,” not only for its funding and travel challenges, but also for the time it took to build trust between the Inuit and the many southern participants who came and went throughout the process, Danckert says. But Morris had done so much of the work of his own initiative, and the project's implications for the NAC's national mandate were exciting.

The theme of 24-hour darkness, which led Morris north in the first place, is now more of a backdrop, a “metaphor for our relationship to each other,” Morris says. At one workshop, Morris asked two Inuit and two southern Canadians who their first contact with the other group had been. The Inuit answered a priest and an RCMP officer. The southerners said an adopted child and a homeless man.

“I wondered, what do we think of each other?” Morris asks.

Danckert described the thrust of the show as creating curiosity and interest between Canada's cultures. “Understanding, maybe, comes later,” she says.

But Ootova is eager to accelerate that process and wears the emotional pain of the injustices done to her people by Canadians – specifically “whites” – on her sleeve.

“We're hurt. We're hurt,” she says. “We have to say to white people [that] we're not dogs.”

Still, she separates the actions and attitudes that have so angered her from the people themselves: “You guys are good friends of mine,” she adds, cheerily, of white Canadians.

And though she is fiercely proud of independent and unique Inuit traditions, she is anxious for Night to help close the North-South gap, not widen it.

“Being Canadian, I want to show Canada how it feels up North,” she says.

Details Of Cirque-Designed Program Announced

Source: www.globeandmail.com - James Bradshaw

(January 11, 2010) Canada's cultural offering at World Expo 2010 in Shanghai is starting to assume some of the grandeur characteristic of its producer, Cirque du Soleil.

More than 150 artists will be featured in Canada's themed creation, "The Living City: Inclusive, Sustainable, Creative," the brainchild of Cirque, which signed a partnership with the federal government to produce the event. The Canada Pavilion is expected to draw more than five million visitors, or an average of 30,000 per day over the six-month Expo. The total cost: about $58.5-million.

The line-up of performers, which includes Bedouin Soundclash, Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq, filmmakers Cordell Barker and Denis Villeneuve, Manitoba singer-songwriter Daniel Lavoie and photographer and video artist Scott Connaroe, is expected to be formally announced tomorrow.

At a "slam poetry/spoken word" event, works by poet Albert F. Moritz will be translated simultaneously between Mandarin and English. And the Red Sky contemporary dance troupe, a critical hit at last summer's Luminato Festival in Toronto for their show Tono, will revise the dance and music creation in Shanghai.

In all, more than 1,000 artists applied through a public call to represent Canada in Shanghai. Cirque staff culled the pool after consulting with the Canada Council for the Arts and the various provincial arts organizations.

While the line-up lacks the splash of big celebrity names - such as Alanis Morissette, who performed at Expo 2005 in Aichi, Japan - both Cirque and Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore are stressing the range of performers represent a huge spectrum of backgrounds, regions and art forms.

"This program is an opportunity to demonstrate the diversity of Canadian artistic forms in a whole new way," said Cirque executive producer Jacques Méthé.

Expo is considered an important diplomatic event for relations with China, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited the pavilion, now under construction, during a state visit last month. Cirque du Soleil's direction puts an internationally recognized and respected face on Canada's entry, though at no small cost. The government is paying $13.5-million in fees to Cirque and another $23-million for the building of the 6,000-square-metre pavilion, constructed by Canadian engineering firm SNC-Lavalin.

The cultural program will be headlined by five Cirque-created "celebration performances," which will showcase the chosen artists in large-scale, indoor shows for audiences of upward of 3,000 people.

The pavilion will also host an exhibition of more than 40 contemporary Canadian artists tied to the "Living City" theme. Visitors in the pavilion's "waiting area" will be entertained by screens showing 45 short works by Canadian filmmakers, both established and emerging. And another 60 live performances by Canadians will spill into the nearby Americas Square.

A further $22-million has been earmarked for accommodation, communication and security, but Canada's entry still looks frugal when compared with France, which is believed to have made the largest financial commitment of the 192 participating countries, pledging $75-million to create its garden-like pavilion.

WHO’S GOING TO EXPO?

More than 150 artists will perform at the Canada Pavilion at World Expo 2010 in Shanghai. Among the highlights are the artists listed below. Or for details on the shows visit www.expo2010canada.gc.ca.

Performing arts:

For 20 Years, Sam Lutfiyya Put The Music In Canada's Musical Theatre

Source: www.globeandmail.com - J. Kelly Nestruck

(January 12, 2010) Canadian musical theatre stars Louise Pitre, Jackie Richardson and Jeff Madden are among those performing tonight at the Toronto Centre for the Arts in tribute to a man whose name is known to very few of their fans, but should be. For 20 years, Sam Lutfiyya put the music in Canada's musical theatre.

The publicity-shy Lutfiyya, who died of cancer on November 23 at the age of 52, ran Music Services International, one of the biggest music contracting companies in North America. From his Winnipeg base, Lutfiyya put together orchestras and bands for theatrical productions across the country and around the world.

But that job description doesn't really do justice to how much of a behind-the-scenes power player he was or the respect he commanded. "As far as I'm concerned, we've lost the mayor of our artistic community," says producer Paul Shaw, who worked with him in the 1990s at Garth Drabinsky's Livent, later at the Canadian Stage Company and, most recently, Dancap Productions. "He was creative, very caring of artists and treated all people with respect."

A workaholic who didn't realize he was sick until it was too late, Lutfiyya hired the orchestras for a number of musicals still running in Canada - from Dancap's production of Jersey Boys, to the North American tour of Fiddler on the Roof starring Harvey Fierstein that closed in Toronto yesterday, to the production of The Drowsy Chaperone that just opened at the Manitoba Theatre Centre.

Up until his death, Lutfiyya, who leaves behind two sisters, a brother and his dear friend Natasha, was also working on music for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and as musical supervisor for Come Fly Away, choreographer Twyla Tharp's new Frank Sinatra show that is headed to Broadway in March. Tharp was not the only famous name in Lutfiyya's BlackBerry, who was born in Bangor, Me., but moved to Canada with his family at age 11. Alicia Keys, Barry Manilow, Chita Rivera, Sigur Ros and Jann Arden were just some of the artists he worked with on concert tours or special events.

But it was in musical theatre where Lutfiyya most left his mark. A percussionist who had played with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, under Earl Stafford, and the Winnipeg Symphony, he established Music Services International with Richard Hurst in 1989. Soon enough, MSI was putting together the orchestras for Livent's tours of shows such as Phantom of the Opera and Ragtime.

As MSI's remit expanded across North America and then to Europe and Asia, Lutfiyya's knowledge of musicians and musical directors from every city in Canada was a great boon. "The wonderful thing was because of Sam's knowledge of Canadian musicians, they had the opportunity to work all over the world," says Jim Biros, executive director of the Toronto Musicians Association.

With Lutfiyya gone, however, the future of his company is in doubt. "MSI was Sam," says his associate Levon Ichkhanian, one of the "Friends of Sam" who are organizing tonight's tribute. "His influence was so grand, however, that whoever was associated with him will carry his spirit forward."

Full disclosure: My father Shane is one of the many, many Canadian musicians who got regular work in and outside of Canada thanks to his friend Sam, whether touring North America with Chicago or going to China with 42nd Street. I knew Lutfiyya as "Uncle Sam" and first met him when he played as a percussionist in the pit at Rainbow Stage, Winnipeg's summer musical theatre. He was a warm and compassionate presence who stressed artistic integrity and excellence and whose motto - which almost everyone I interviewed about him repeated - was: "First and foremost we have to be good citizens."

He remained an excellent citizen of Winnipeg even as his business increasingly took him abroad. The Manitoba Theatre Centre has benefited from his skills since musical theatre was reintegrated into their season a decade ago. "His knowledge of musicians, local and international, was a resource that I can't even begin to know how we're going to replace," says Laurie Lam, producer at MTC.

Lutfiyya's knack for finding the right players for the right show was evident in MTC's world premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Boys in the Photograph last spring and can currently be heard in The Drowsy Chaperone. "The band is incredible and we've been talking a lot about how good it sounds and what a tribute it is to Sam," Lam says. At tonight's tribute to Lutfiyya in Toronto, a 45-member orchestra will back up the performers on songs from some of the shows he was involved in: The Phantom of the Opera, Mamma Mia!, Forever Swing, Cookin' at the Cookery and others. For more information, visit dancapproductions.com/sam.

Andrew Lloyd Webber's ideal Dorothy: Avril Lavigne

Source: www.globeandmail.com - J. Kelly Nestruck

(January 13, 2010) Andrew Lloyd Webber has beaten prostate cancer and is back at work. That work includes, of course, the upcoming Phantom of the Opera sequel, Love Never Dies, set to open in London with Toronto's Ramin Karimloo in the starring role in March.

But the composer has another project on the burner as well. He's revamping The Wizard of Oz for a new West End production and will cast its Dorothy via a reality TV show to be called either Over the Rainbow or, I think this is a joke, The Oz Factor.

How does he envision the winning Dorothy? Well, his ideal, he told the Scottish Sun, would be a certain rocker girl from Napanee.

"I want a Dorothy with attitude! She'll be more Avril Lavigne than Judy Garland," Lloyd Webber told the paper. "Of course, Judy Garland made the role famous but I'm looking for a 21st Century Dorothy. ... Anyone like Avril Lavigne or a bit like Amy Winehouse or something along those lines would be great."

In other news, Mirvish Productions has a snappy new website, and on that website is some information that hasn't been officially announced or, at least, publicized yet. Jake Ehrenreich's autobiographical off-Broadway show A Jew Grows in Brooklyn is coming to Toronto. It's currently booked into the Panasonic from April 14 to May 2.

The evolution of the Panasonic under Mirvish management is one of the more interesting stories in Toronto theatre of late. Opening there next week is Alisa Palmer's starry production of Caryl Churchill's Cloud 9 - a show I can't imagine would have been put on in one of the bigger Mirvish theatres - then My Mother's Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding is back in February 26. That little Fringe hit that could is currently booking to March 21, but we've been wondering if it could run even longer than that. A Jew Grows in Brooklyn's starting date leaves room for a couple more weeks extension of MMLJWW, but I guess now we know it'll have to get out of there in early April - unless it just goes on hiatus again. We'll see.

::OTHER NEWS::

Recalled by Life: A New Year’s Resolution

Source: by Kam Williams

“I came upon a child of God, he was walking along the road
And I asked him, tell me, where are you going and this he told me…
We are stardust, we are golden, we are billion-year-old carbon
And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.”

-- Joni Mitchell, “ Woodstock

Like a billion other New Year’s Eve partygoers, I exhibited an irrational exuberance when the ball dropped at the stroke of midnight, as if I’d just lost my cotton-pickin’ mind. But that tsunami of euphoria soon subsided, and I found myself feeling a little empty and searching for a deeper, more spiritual significance of the annual ritual. I wondered whether the turning of the proverbial page from 2009 to 2010 alone was really worthy of such elation in and of itself.

After all, what is a year, anyway, beyond a handy way of keeping track of footprints in the sand of time? Some of my fellow revellers seized on the occasion to recite their resolutions, generally a mundane list reflecting some rather shallow, selfish and materialistic goals. Sadly, the dreamweavers of Madison Avenue seem to have manipulated most of humanity away from that which actually satiates the soul’s thirst and replaced it with a never-ending discontent reflected in an unsettled sense that the key to happiness and fulfillment rests in being able to afford the trendiest designer clothes, that state-of-the-art gadget, this luxury automobile or that garish McMansion.

I am fortunate to no longer be susceptible to such Machiavellian marketing influences, having successfully excised that acquisitive instinct subtly whetted in me during childhood by a media-saturated milieu marked by the ubiquity of commercial advertisements aimed at making one feel inadequate and incomplete. Consequently, I am hopelessly behind the times in terms of fashion and space age accoutrements, as I still don’t own a cell phone or an iPod, and have no idea what might be the latest styles.

I also didn’t buy anyone any Christmas gifts this year, because my definition of the Christmas spirit emanates from a different understanding of Jesus’ teachings. I now firmly believe that when you find yourself obsessing about owning any possession, or with keeping up with the Joneses in any way, most likely the true desire is for more of God. I’m not suggesting that people necessarily need more formalized religion. For more often than not, that merely leads to more of the same, especially if approached with an uncorrected consumer mentality, as implied by the sceptics’ refrain, “The closer to Church, the further from God.”

Since the passing of both of my parents in recent years, I spend a great deal of time in solitude, especially walking in the woods. I guess nature serves for me as that place where I am best able to recalibrate my spirit and tune in to the essence of what really matters most. Only away from the over-stimulation of the incessant, 21st Century electronic assault do I find myself recalled by life.

But wherever you are, it is possible to shed the shell of conspicuous consumption and the shell of accumulation by carving out quiet time for moments of prayer and introspection. And in meditation you will find all that you crave simply by getting in touch with your higher self, your God-self that’s higher, and more satisfying than anything man-made.

So, if I’m making any New Year’s resolution for 2010, it’s that my calling won’t involve a Blackberry or any status symbols I supposedly can’t live without.



Kam Williams is a syndicated film and book critic, and a member of the NJ, NY, CT, PA, MA & US Supreme Court bars.

To hear Woodstock as performed by James Taylor, visit HERE.

::DANCE NEWS::

Old Men Can Dance

Source: www.globeandmail.com - Paula Citron

(January 11, 2010) The Three Man Project: Full Bloom – a show about aging male dancers that opens in Toronto on Tuesday (Jan. 12) after premiering in Germany last fall – is inspired by the famous Bette Davis quote: “Getting old is not for sissies.” Co-creator Kevin O'Day says: “We chose the title Full Bloom to be sarcastic. The performance career for most men in dance is over by their forties, yet here we are, three old guys putting ourselves on stage for an hour and 10 minutes.”

The three men in question are American-born O'Day, 48, artistic director of the German company Kevin O'Day-Ballett Mannheim; fellow American Luches Huddleston Jr., 40, director of movement for the Mannheim Opera Chorus; and Polish-born Canadian Robert Glumbek, 45, artistic associate of Toronto's ProArteDanza.

Their dance careers have included performances with Twyla Tharp and Mikhail Baryshnikov (O'Day); Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane, Elisa Monte, Joyce Trisler (Huddleston); and Warsaw Ballet and Robert Desrosiers (Glumbek). All are seasoned choreographers.

As proof of the frailty of a dancer's body, Glumbek will not be performing when Full Bloom plays Toronto's Young Centre this week. Of the three Full Bloom creators, Glumbek is the only one who still has an active dance career, and he suffered a hamstring injury on the opening night of his show Displacement at Toronto's Harbourfront Centre in November.

The injury will keep him out of action for six months. His role in Full Bloom is being performed by his friend Roberto Campanella, 41, artistic director of ProArteDanza, formerly of Danza Aterballetto and the National Ballet of Canada.

The audience is going to be wondering if we can finish the show — Robert Glumbek, 45

The point of intersection for the creators is Ballett Mannheim. Huddleston is a former company dancer under O'Day, while Glumbek spent two years there (2002-04) as a dancer/ballet master. It was Glumbek who suggested that he and O'Day work on something together, which meant bringing O'Day out of a nine-year retirement.

O'Day, Glumbek and Campanella share similar personal lives. They are straight men with two daughters each who have all suffered through a marriage breakdown. O'Day invited Huddleston into the project because O'Day thought that, as a gay black American living in Germany, Huddleston would bring a different experience to the mix. “We also needed his energy,” laughs O'Day. “Call it survival. A third person means less dancing for the other two.”

I spoke on the phone with O'Day and Huddleston from Germany, and met with Glumbek and Campanella at a Toronto café. Campanella was catching his breath from his rehearsal of Glumbek's role in the gruelling seven-minute trio finale of Full Bloom, which he describes as non-stop running and lifting. Explains Glumbek: “We deliberately planned the ending to push ourselves to the limit. The audience is going to be wondering if we can finish the show. They'll be able to see the struggle in our eyes, but that struggle is what life is all about.”

Ditto Full Bloom. In a series of solos, duets and trios, three aging men open their souls to the audience. “It comes from the heart,” says O'Day, “and not from the intellect.” Huddleston takes it a step further, suggesting that Full Bloom “expresses our feelings about what it means to be older men, both emotionally and physically.” For Glumbek: “It shows the real us – who we are today.” And, from Campanella, the outsider looking in, “it is all about communication on a very human level.”

The creation of Full Bloom began with pieces of music that meant something to each of the men. O'Day brought in Otis Redding's Try a Little Tenderness to address men's softer side, particularly their love and affection for each other. Glumbek's choice was Henryk Gorecki's Sonata for Two Violins, which anchored him to his Polish homeland and led to reflections on living in a new country. Huddleston's choice was Sex by the Bucovina Club, a band that fuses German hip hop and Balkan gypsy music. “I wanted us to explore if we are still sexy men at our age,” he says.

From those musical foundations, the dance was built through discussions and improvisations.

Full Bloom begins with the performers in suits and ties, in other words dressed as the grown ups they are supposed to be. The dance then touches on topics such as virility, war, fatherhood, rejection and resignation, not to mention such mundane activities as shaving and peeing. In all, there are 13 pieces of classical and popular music, each underlying the emotional centre of a themed segment.

Full Bloom has taken on a life of its own. Its two studio showings in Mannheim in October were sold out, as are the upcoming shows in the larger Tanzhaus, also in Mannheim, this month and next. The German press went gaga over the show, praising its honesty and wisdom. Baryshnikov has expressed to O'Day his interest in presenting Full Bloom at his centre in New York, as has Eric Gauthier for his Theaterhaus Stuttgart. And the five-day Toronto run follows a performance at the Banff Centre in Alberta last week.

Says O'Day: “To do this show, I've had to put myself on a strict regime of diet and exercise. I jog five kilometres a day, and have given up cow, pig and pasta. While it's a gift to perform Full Bloom, it's also going to be a relief to drink beer again when it's over.”

Full Bloom runs at Toronto's Young Centre Jan. 12 to 16.

::SPORTS NEWS::

Serena Williams Into Sydney Semi-Finals

Source: www.thestar.com


(January 13, 2010) SYDNEY – Top-ranked
Serena Williams advanced to the semi-finals at the Sydney International with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Vera Dushevina of Russia on Wednesday.

Dushevina sprayed a forehand wide to give Williams two match points and then double-faulted to finish the match in exactly an hour in a swirling breeze at the Sydney 2000 Olympics venue.

Williams, playing her only warmup tournament ahead of her attempted title defence at the Australian Open, next plays France's Aravane Rezai, who had a 6-3, 6-0 win over Italian Flavia Pennetta.

She said the strong breeze was a relief after a hot opening win here, although experiencing both conditions was a good test before the season's first major starts Monday at Melbourne Park.

"It was really windy out there, but it's good to have a good result in the wind," she said. "I definitely don't think I played my best, but that's comforting to know that today wasn't my best.''

Until this week, Williams hadn't played a tournament since she beat her older sister Venus in the final of the season-ending championship at Doha on Nov. 1. She said she had a lot of improving to do, and was aiming to be peaking at the end of the month.

"I always try to get there usually around the semi-finals and finals of the Grand Slams," the 11-time major winner said. "I'm just doing the best that I can now to get there. Hopefully I have long way to go, which I think is always good.''

Defending champion Elena Dementieva beat second-ranked Dinara Safina 6-2, 6-3 in the later quarterfinal, repeating the outcome of last year's Sydney final.

Safina, who lost the Australian Open final to Serena Williams last year two weeks after losing to Dementieva in Sydney, was two matches into a comeback from a back injury that forced her out of the season-ending event in October and interrupted her practice.

Olympic gold medalist Dementieva will meet sixth-seeded Victoria Azarenka, who advanced 2-6, 6-2, 7-5 over Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova.

On the men's side, Lleyton Hewitt started his bid for a fifth Sydney title with a 6-0, 6-2 win over Italian Andreas Seppi, reaching the quarterfinals with one 55-minute victory.

Former top-ranked Hewitt won six straight games, then overcame an early service break in the second set and won six straight games to finish when Seppi double-faulted at match point.

Fourth-seeded Hewitt, a former U.S. Open and Wimbledon champion, evened his career head-to-head matchups at 2-all with Seppi.

"I've had match points against him and ended up losing – that scoreline today looks a lot better," Hewitt said.

Hewitt next plays 2006 Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis, who ousted sixth-seeded Viktor Troicki of Serbia 7-5, 6-3.

Another Australian advanced to the quarterfinals when Peter Luczak had an upset 1-6, 6-4, 6-2 win over second-seeded Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic.

Also advancing were Frenchmen Julien Benneteau and Richard Gasquet – who beat eighth-seeded Benjamin Becker of Germany 6-2, 7-6 (4) – and American Mardy Fish, a 6-1, 6-2 winner over Russia's Evgency Korolev.