The Who rocker Roger Daltrey has reunited the original stars of his first ever Teenage Cancer Trust show to perform again for the 15th anniversary of the fundraising concert series. Noel Gallagher, Paul Weller and Stereophonics frontman Kelly Jones joined Daltrey's band onstage for The Who and Friends gig in the British capital in 2000.
The original concept eventually became an annual concert series raising money for the Teenage Cancer Trust, and Daltrey has now brought back Gallagher, Weller and Jones to mark 15 years since the first gig.
Jones will kick off the shows with his band Stereophonics on 23 March (15), Weller will take to the stage with Johnny Marr on 27 March (15), and Gallagher will close out the series on 28 March (15), while other shows will be headlined by Van Morrison and The Who.
Daltrey says, "To be back for our 15th year at the Royal Albert Hall for Teenage Cancer Trust is an incredible achievement. This is all made possible by the loyalty of the music and comedy business. Paul, Noel and Kelly (from Stereophonics) were there for the first event, and many thereafter. I can't thank them enough for being back with us this year."
Jones has also expressed his delight to be back at the event 15 years after it all started.
He tells British radio station Absolute Radio's Breakfast Show host Christian O'Connell, "I played the first TCT gig 15 years ago. We all played together that night so this one is going to be the anniversary of the first one. We travelled in with Noel (Gallagher) and imagine we'll do the same again. It was a special night with some incredible memories."
Absolute Radio is the official radio partner for Teenage Cancer Trust at the Royal Albert Hall and will be broadcasting highlights from the 15th Anniversary shows.
Gloria Estefan, Cyndi Lauper and Kenneth 'babyface' Edmonds have been nominated for induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Linda Perry and Jerry Garcia are also on the shortlist.
The inductees will be announced at a ceremony in New York next summer (15).
Established in 1969, the Songwriters Hall of Fame honours those whose work represents "a spectrum of the most beloved songs from the world’s popular music songbook"
Songwriter Johnny Mercer and publishers Abe Olman and Howie Richmond founded the organisation.
Past inductees have included Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier and Brian Holland, Desmond Child, Hal David and Burt Bacharach, John Fogerty, Bob Dylan, Isaac Hayes and David Porter, Carole King, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Sir Elton John and Bernie Taupin, Brian Wilson, James Taylor, James Brown, Bruce Springsteen, Jimmy Webb, Van Morrison, Kris Kristofferson, Dolly Parton, Diane Warren and Leonard Cohen.
Kurt Cobain is set to be immortalised in comic book form thanks to a tribute which will be released on the 20th anniversary of his passing. The Nirvana frontman died from a shotgun wound at his home in Seattle, Washington in April, 1994 and to commemorate the music icon's legacy, writer and artist Jayfri Hashim has created Tribute: Kurt Cobain in honour of the beloved rocker.
The book will tell the story of Cobain's life, from his days starting out as a musician to his battle with the pressures of success and fame.
Bluewater Productions publisher Darren G. Davis explains the importance of the the comic books in a statement: "The Tribute line of comic books tells the stories of people that have made a significant difference in the world while they were with us. It is a way for us to honor these people who have made a difference in the world.
"Not only is this a great way to understand the importance of his contribution to music, but it is a great tool for kids to read about him in a different medium."
Other artists featured in the Bluewater Tribute line of comic books include John Lennon, Sir Paul McCartney, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Keith Richards.
Tribute: Kurt Cobain will be published on 2 April (14).
Jim Britt/ABC via Getty
Allow me to open this article with a candid admission: I want to believe that Andy Kaufman is still alive. I've wanted to believe that Andy Kaufman was still alive since I was first introduced to the comedic genius' story at age 11, sparked by my fandom of Taxi (thank you, Nick at Nite) to watch Man on the Moon (thank you, HBO). I had loved his work as Latka Gravas and knew his famous Mighty Mouse gag, but wasn't familiar with the man or his legacy — nor his dedication to very fabric of comedy — until Milos Forman and Jim Carrey painted such a colorful picture. Ever since then, I've read everything I could about Kaufman. I've watched all his old routines, reveling in his variety of hoaxes and schemes. I hung a decidedly creepy poster of the man in my college dorm room, alienating visitors with my 48 square inch print of the swarthy weirdo with the menacing stare. In short (although I guess it's too late for that), I love Andy Kaufman. Many do. And among those is, quite likely, a large population who were really hoping that this new revelation was not a hoax.
On Monday, New York City's Gotham Comedy Club hosted the 9th Annual Andy Kaufman Award finals — a nation-wide talent competition constructed to showcase the varied creative exploits of budding performers. The most notable performance of the night came not from a contestant, though, but from a 24-year-old young woman who took the stage beside Michael Kaufman (Andy's brother and the founder of the award show), announcing herself to be the daughter of Andy Kaufman, and pronouncing her alleged father to be still alive. Watch the video for yourself, courtesy of Cinema Blend:
A bit of background info. In 1984, Kaufman was believed (by some) to be killed by a longstanding struggle with lung cancer... a curiosity to those who knew Kaufman as a very healthy individual who never smoked a day in his life. Due to the number of times he pulled the wool over America's eyes — he staged so many elaborate cons, short and long, that to take anything Kaufman did at face value would be foolish — a number of people have assumed that the death was a ruse. Kaufman could have faked it for a number of reasons: Maybe to sink into a life of privacy that he might enjoy amongst his loved ones, maybe to emancipate himself from the cannibalistic vanity of the Hollywood business, or maybe, simply, because he thought it would be funny. We'd believe any and all.
Kaufman hasn't been seen publicly since '84, and doesn't appear to have had any encounter with his brother Michael, with whom he shared an ostensibly good relationship. The one exception to the actor/comedian's 30-year absentia came in 1999, at a restaurant where he planned to meet his brother had he ever decided to fake his own death. Andy didn't show, but Michael is said to have come into the possession of a message from his brother, stating that Andy was alive, happy, living with a wife and children, and uncomfortable discarding his privacy just yet. With the passing of the Kaufman brothers' father this past summer, Andy is said — by his alleged daughter — to be reconsidering his privacy, opening up to the idea of reconnecting with his brother, and possibly extending his publicity beyond that. The young woman revealed that Andy is a big fan and follower of the awards circuit that Michael Kaufman has set up in his name, taking special interest in Michael's forwarding of their appreciation of comedy and performance.
And so, here we are. Wondering if this new twist of fate carries with it any veritability at all.
On the side of "Come on, this is ridiculous!" Cinema Blend acknowledges the uncanny resemblance that exists between the Kaufman daughter and theater actress Alexandra Tatarsky, who is reported to have met Michael Kaufman at a Manhattan art gallery and, quite possibly, planned the whole ordeal with Andy's brother from there. Incidentally, Tatarsky's father is a 58-year-old New York-based psychologist.
On the side of "Well, maybe... just maybe..." we really only have faith. Faith and the proclamations of present parties who insist that the whole scene was a genuine display of shock and emotion on the parts of both Michael and the niece he would have first met on this night.
And somewhere in the middle, airing cautiously on the side of the former mentality but with a smidgen of hope that maybe... just maybe... it's possible that the Elvis-impersonating Foreign Man pulled off one of the greatest gags in showbiz history, do I lie. Contemplating skeptically the rare reversal of the Internet death hoax.
I'm wont to believe that the whole thing is an act. In truth, it would be amazing if Kaufman were to resurface, and not only for the reason of having my hero back among us once more, but in the showcase of a performance artist's true devotion to the art that he pioneered in his heyday. But as much as I'd bask in the glory of Kaufman's triumphant resurgence, there would be cons to this turn of events as well.
With the rebirth of a legend comes the rebirth of his humanity. Just like with Elvis, Tupac, Houdini, James Dean, Jim Morrison, John Belushi, and a number of other legends, a portion of the majesty of these figures' work is owed to their untimely passing. Immortalized by the short section of time that they got the opportunity to showcase their brilliance, we remember these greats as flawless. Their images are limited to their triumphs. They are dehumanized and transformed into ideas of perfection (in their respective fields). Andy Kaufman was 35 at the time of his supposed death, having only treated us to a few years of his maniacal brain before leaving this Earth (or just leaving its eye). Back with us, Kaufman would be a man. A man, granted, who managed a 30-year prank, but a man (and a 64-year-old one, to boot) who'd have to carry forth nonstop with his genius in order to maintain "the legend." For a while, doable. For a lifetime, impossible.
That's why we speak with a hymnal whisper of John Lennon, but a merry appreciation of Paul McCartney. Paul is a man. An unbelievably talented force of musical creativity and chutzpah. But John, now, is just shy of a god. Granted, John was also a dark, brooding loon and Paul is a pretty even-keeled and chipper fellow. But it's also the immortalization thing.
We'd lose the Kaufman we knew if we were to unite with one that lived today. He'd arise as a man, one living in a different kind of world that might not play conduit to the tricks at which he was such a master. And we'd eventually have to ask the inevitable question: What kind of person willingly lets their brother, parents, and friends believe he is dead for 30 years, all in the service of a joke or his own desires for privacy?
I say this not motived to castigate Kaufman, if he indeed is still out there, or to call attention to humanity's odd glorification of the dead. I say this as an appeasement for those, like me, who really want to believe that he did it. That he faked it all, hid away, and decided, "What the hell? Let's get the band back together!" Anything is possible. But this is probably not the case. Sadly, Andy Kaufman may very well have died back in 1984. But on that very same day, something was born: his legacy. The legendary, inimitable character that has coursed through the veins of comedians ever since, hoping to achieve this wonderful spirit's passion for laughter, performance, and emotion. In a way, no matter what, he's still at large. Because nobody, 30 years after disappearing, could inspire this much conversation about the veracity of his death. Andy might not be on this Earth any longer, but he continues to fool us all. And we're all terribly grateful for it.
Thank you very much.
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Every year, the approach of the holidays brings with it a slew of movies overflowing with tinsel, kisses under the mistletoe, and family fights that get resolved over hot cocoa. The trailer for the upcoming film All Is Bright, however, promises none of those things. Instead, the black comedy seems like the perfect antitode to all of those treacle-y sweet holiday movies - anyone who has ever gotten frustrated around the holidays will find Paul Giamatti sawing apart an inflatable snowman cathartic.
The film, which is director Phil Morrison's first since 2006's Junebug, centers around Dennis (Giamatti), a French Canadian ex-con who leaves prison to discover that his daughter thinks he's dead and his former partner, Rene (Paul Rudd), is dating his ex-wife. Jobless, homeless, and hopeless, he teams up with Rene once again to sell Christmas trees in New York around the holidays in the hopes of making some fast cash. Although Rudd's charming loser promises to bring most of the humor to the film, he seems set to be overshadowed by another great performance by Giamatti. However, the real pressure is on Morrison: after eight years, critics and fans will be dying to see how well the film stacks up against Junebug.
All Is Bright will be avilable On Demand on September 20, and in theaters October 4 , well before the egg nog hangover sets in.
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There may be nothing that celebrities love more than over-the-top weddings, and so far this summer, we've already seen our fair share of star-studded nuptials. Star Wars creator George Lucas wed his longtime girlfriend Mellody Hobson at Skywalker Ranch on Saturday. Their reception featured performances by Van Morrison and Janelle Monae. In late May, Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul tied the knot with activist Lauren Parsekian. They had an elaborate Parisian carnival-themed wedding, complete with mimes, stilt walkers, and magic by David Blaine, as well as musical guests John Mayer and Foster the People.
But even non-celebrity weddings are pretty insane. Think about it — people shell out tens of thousands of dollars for an event that will last a matter of hours. Buzzfeed hit the nail of the head with this video entitled "19 Reasons Why Weddings Are Surreal." It's pretty enlightening about the absurdity of what weddings have become in our society, but it also admittedly makes us want to get dressed up and go to one. After all, as the video points out, at weddings you get to have dessert… twice.
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Aretha Franklin, Billy Joel, Quincy Jones and Josh Groban were among the stars who came together in New York on Saturday night (11May13) for a memorial in honour of late music producer Phil Ramone. The producer and sound engineer died at the age of 79 on 30 March (13), just weeks after he was hospitalised to treat an aortic aneurysm, and several of his famous friends gathered at the Salvation Army's Centennial Memorial Temple for a celebration of his life.
Matthew Morrison, Paul Simon and Kevin Spacey also attended the show, and the Glee star shared a picture of a commemorative programme from the event on his Twitter.com page.
He added, "Great memorial for Phil Ramone with QuincyDJones (sic), Josh Groban, Billy Joel, Paul Simon, Kevin Spacey. Such an honor!"
Groban also took to his page on the site to reveal, "Sang at a wonderful, musical memorial for my dear friend Phil Ramone tonight. So much love was in the room and he is missed."
The Tribeca Film Festival has announced the Spotlight Lineup of films for its 11th annual fete, taking place April 17-28 in Manhattan. It’s an impressive roster of much of the indie world’s greatest talent, including a new buddy comedy from the director of Junebug starring Paul Giamatti and Paul Rudd, Richard Linklater’s highly anticipated follow-up to Before Sunset, a few notable documentaries, and an experimental take on Star Wars courtesy of hundreds of diehard fans. Here are the ones that caught our eye:
Almost Christmas—Paul Giamatti and Paul Rudd are two Quebecois ne’er-do-wells who come up with a get rich quick scheme to sell Christmas trees in New York City. The only proble is that Rudd’s character has just stolen Giamatti’s wife. It’s director Phil Morrison’s first feature since his elegant, Ozu-esque Junebug earned Oscar love in 2006.
RELATED: Paul Rudd and 16 Other Stars Who Don’t Age
Before Midnight—Richard Linklater is on the verge of turning the ongoing saga of Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) into a narrative version of the Up Series. Nine years elapsed between 1995’s Before Sunrise and older, wiser follow-up 2004 Before Sunset. Now, nine years have passed again, and the third installment, Before Midnight, finds Jesse and Celine at another crossroads in their eternal “ships that pass in the night” relationship. This time the beautiful European setting where they exchange loving glances and probing conversation is Greece.
Byzantium—Director Neil Jordan of Interview With the Vampire fame is training his lens on immortal bloodsuckers once again. Gemma Arterton and Saoirse Ronan play a mother and daughter on the run for possibly supernatural reasons.
Prince Avalanche—After high-profile bro-comedy duds Your Highness and The Sitter, David Gordon Green goes back to his subtle indie roots. Reminiscent of the quiet lyricism of George Washington, Prince Avalanche stars Emile Hirsch and, once again, Paul Rudd as road workers repainting a highway in a fire-damaged forest during the summer of 1988.
Adult World—Emma Roberts plays an aspiring poet who has to take a job at a local sex shop, Adult World, in order to make ends meet. The on thing keeping her going? A mentorship with professionally eccentric writer John Cusack.
Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me—At 87, the Broadway legend is as irascible as ever. Now Tina Fey, Nathan Lane, Hal Prince and more weigh in on what Stritch’s career has meant to them. We’ll drink to that.
Gasland Part II—The Oscar nominated 2011 documentary about hydraulic fracking gets a wider focus in this follow-up, showing how the energy extraction technique can cause earthquakes and even be used as part of anti-terror psychological operations tactics.
Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia—Few Americans, period, have ever had a more interesting life than Gore Vidal. The famously revisionist—infamously prickly—author and critic was good friends with Amelia Earhart as a kid, sparred on-air with William F. Buckley, and wrote the book (Lincoln) that convinced Michele Bachmann to leave the Democratic party for the Republicans. The late Christopher Hitchens and more remember him as the quintessential man of letters.
AND A BONUS EXPERIMENTAL FILM
Star Wars Uncut—Project curator Casey Pugh put out a call for hundreds of Star Wars fans and amateur filmmakers to assemble 15-second snippets of Star Wars: Episode IV—A New Hope using mixed-media alternatives: animation, stop-motion, live-action reenactments, which when put together recreate George Lucas’ film in its entirety, just very, very differently.
Follow Christian Blauvelt on Twitter @Ctblauvelt
[Photo Credit: Tribeca Film Festival]
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It was the trickle of pee heard around the world. Cannes attendees were aghast and/or amused an infamous scene from The Paperboy that shows Nicole Kidman urinating on Zac Efron; this is apparently a great salve for jellyfish burns which were covering our Ken Doll-like protagonist. (In fact the term protagonist should be used very loosely for Efron's character Jack who is mostly acted upon than active throughout.)
Lurid! Sexy! Perverse! Trashy! Whether or not it's actually effective is overshadowed by all the hubbub that's attached itself to the movie for better or worse. In fact the movie is all of these things — but that's actually not a compliment. What could have become somethingmemorable is jaw-droppingly bad (when it's not hilarious). Director Lee Daniels uses a few different visual styles throughout from a stark black and white palette for a crime scene recreation at the beginning to a '70s porno aesthetic that oscillates between psychedelic and straight-up sweaty with an emphasis on Efron's tighty-whiteys. This only enhances the sloppiness of the script which uses lines like narrator/housekeeper/nanny Anita's (Macy Gray) "You ain't tired enough to be retired " to conjure up the down-home wisdom of the South. Despite Gray's musical talents she is not a good choice for a narrator or an actor for that matter. In a way — insofar as they're perhaps the only female characters given a chunk of screen time — her foil is Charlotte Bless Nicole Kidman's character. Anita is the mother figure who wears as we see in an early scene control-top pantyhose whereas Charlotte is all clam diggers and Barbie doll make-up. Or as Anita puts it "an oversexed Barbie doll."
The slapdash plot is that Jack's older brother Ward (Matthew McConaughey) comes back to town with his colleague Yardley (David Oyelowo) to investigate the case of a death row criminal named Hillary Van Wetter. Yardley is black and British which seems to confuse many of the people he meets in this backwoods town. Hillary (John Cusack) hidden under a mop of greasy black hair) is a slack-jawed yokel who could care less if he's going to be killed for a crime he might or might not have committed. He is way more interested in his bride-to-be Charlotte who has fallen in love with him through letters — this is her thing apparently writing letters and falling in love with inmates — and has rushed to help Ward and Yardley free her man. In the meantime we're subjected to at least one simulated sex scene that will haunt your dreams forever. Besides Hillary's shortcomings as a character that could rustle up any sort of empathy the case itself is so boring it begs the question why a respected journalist would be interested enough to pursue it.
The rest of the movie is filled with longing an attempt to place any the story in some sort of social context via class and race even more Zac Efron's underwear sexual violence alligator innards swamp people in comically ramshackle homes and a glimpse of one glistening McConaughey 'tock. Harmony Korine called and he wants his Gummo back.
It's probably tantalizing for this cast to take on "serious" "edgy" work by an Oscar-nominated director. Cusack ditched his boombox blasting "In Your Eyes" long ago and Efron's been trying to shed his squeaky clean image for so long that he finally dropped a condom on the red carpet for The Lorax so we'd know he's not smooth like a Ken doll despite how he was filmed by Daniels. On the other hand Nicole Kidman has been making interesting and varied career choices for years so it's confounding why she'd be interested in a one-dimensional character like Charlotte. McConaughey's on a roll and like the rest of the cast he's got plenty of interesting projects worth watching so this probably won't slow him down. Even Daniels is already shooting a new film The Butler as we can see from Oprah's dazzling Instagram feed. It's as if they all want to put The Paperboy behind them as soon as possible. It's hard to blame them.
There is something particularly unnerving about demon possession. It's the idea of something you can't see or control creeping into your body and taking up residence eventually obliterating all you once were and turning you into nothing more than a sack of meat to be manipulated. Then there's also the shrouded ritual around exorcisms: the Latin chants the flesh-sizzling crucifixes and the burning Holy Water. As it turns out exorcism isn't just the domain of Catholics.
The myths and legends of the Jews aren't nearly as well known but their creepy dybbuk goes toe-to-toe with anything other world religions come up with. There are various interpretations of what a dybbuk is or where it comes from — is it a ghost a demon a soul of a sinner? — but in any case it's looking for a body to hang out in for a while. Especially according to the solemn Hasidic Jews in The Possession an innocent young person and even better a young girl.
The central idea in The Possession is that a fancy-looking wooden box bought at a garage sale was specifically created to house a dybbuk that was tormenting its previous owner. Unfortunately it caught the eye of young Emily (Natasha Calis) a sensitive artistic girl who persuades her freshly divorced dad Clyde (Jeffrey Dean Morgan of Watchmen and Grey's Anatomy) to buy it for her. Never mind the odd carvings on it — that would be Hebrew — or how it's created without seams so it would be difficult to open or why it's an object of fascination for a young girl; Clyde is trying really hard to please his disaffected daughters and do the typical freshly divorced parent dance of trying to please them no matter the cost.
Soon enough the creepy voices calling to Emily from the box convince her to open it up; inside are even creepier personal objects that are just harbingers of what's to come for her her older sister Hannah (Madison Davenport) her mom Stephanie (Kyra Sedgwick) and even Stephanie's annoying new boyfriend Brett (Grant Show). Clyde and Stephanie squabble over things like pizza for dinner and try to convince each other and themselves that Emily's increasingly odd behavior is that of a troubled adolescent. It's not of course and eventually Clyde enlists the help of the son of a Hasidic rabbi a young man named Tzadok played by the former Hasidic reggae musician Matisyahu to help them perform an exorcism on Emily.
The Possession is not going to join the ranks of The Exorcist in the horror pantheon but it does do a remarkable job of making its characters intelligent and even occasionally droll and it offers up plenty of chills despite a PG-13 rating. Perhaps it's because of that rating that The Possession is so effective; the filmmakers are forced to make the benign scary. Giant moths and flying Torahs take the place of little Reagan violently masturbating with a crucifix in The Exorcist. Gagging and binging on food is also an indicator of Emily's possession — an interesting twist given the anxieties of becoming a woman a girl Emily's age would face. There is something inside her controlling her and she knows it and she is fighting it. The most impressive part of Calis's performance is how she communicates Emily's torment with a few simple tears rolling down her face as the dybbuk's control grows. The camerawork adds to the anxiety; one particularly scary scene uses ordinary glass kitchenware to great effect.
The Possession is a short 92 minutes and it does dawdle in places. It seems as though some of the scenes were juggled around to make the PG-13 cut; the moth infestation scene would have made more sense later in the movie. Some of the problems are solved too quickly or simply and yet it also takes a while for Clyde's character to get with it. Stephanie is a fairly bland character; she makes jewelry and yells at Clyde for not being present in their marriage a lot and then there's a thing with a restraining order that's pretty silly. Emily is occasionally dressed up like your typical horror movie spooky girl with shadowed eyes an over-powdered face and dark clothes; it's much more disturbing when she just looks like an ordinary though ill young girl. The scenes in the heavily Hasidic neighborhood in Brooklyn look oddly fake and while it's hard to think of who else could have played Tzadok an observant Hasidic Jew who is also an outsider willing to take risks the others will not Matisyahu is not a very good actor. Still the filmmakers should be commended for authenticity insofar as Matisyahu has studied and lived as a Hasidic Jew.
It would be cool if Lionsgate and Ghost House Pictures were to release the R-rated version of the movie on DVD. What the filmmakers have done within the confines of a PG-13 rating is creepy enough to make me curious to see the more adult version. The Possession is no horror superstar and its name is all too forgettable in a summer full of long-gestating horror movies quickly pushed out the door. It's entertaining enough and could even find a broader audience on DVD. Jeffrey Dean Morgan can read the Old Testament to me any time.