A Michael Jackson fan's bid to release an album full of Latin music versions of the King of Pop's hits has finally come to fruition almost four years after he initially came up with the idea. Unity: The Latin Tribute to Michael Jackson started as a Kickstarter.com campaign by Peruvian-American Tony Succar, following the positive response he received after recording a salsa version of Thriller.
The crowdfunding initiative was a success and Succar raised the $10,000 (£6,700) he needed to make the album back in 2011.
Almost four years of struggles later, he is ready to release the finished product in April (15).
Tracks include Billie Jean, I Want You Back and Man in the Mirror recorded by the likes of Tito Nieves and Obie Bermudez.
The album's first single is Puerto Rican singer Jean Rodriguez's rendition of Smooth Criminal.
Blues musician Melvin Jackson has died, aged 79.
The trumpeter and saxophonist passed away on Tuesday (30Dec14) at a hospice in Las Vegas, Nevada following a battle with Alzheimer's disease.
Jackson was a member of the backing band for blues legends B.B. King and Bobby 'Blue' Bland. He performed with them both for years, travelling to more than 90 countries during his career.
His former bandmate, drummer Tony Coleman, tells the Associated Press, "He's always been extremely serious about performing... There were no excuses - be on time, be professional, do your best - that's how he was."
Jackson quit performing in September (14).
Mariah Carey is facing a new embarrassment after raw audio footage of her live performance at a Christmas concert in New York was posted online, revealing her strained vocals as she struggled to hit the high notes.
The pop superstar opened the live broadcast of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, which aired on America's NBC Network on Wednesday (03Dec14), with a rendition of her festive classic All I Want for Christmas Is You, before artists including Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett, LeAnn Rimes, Idina Menzel and Cyndi Lauper hit the stage. However, isolated, unedited vocals from Carey's set have since surfaced on the Internet, with the footage clearly suggesting her voice wasn't in top shape - it cracks as she tries to sing the higher octaves of the track.
Critics attacked the singer online for the poor performance, but rock matriarch Sharon Osbourne has come to her defense, blaming the cold conditions for her vocal struggles and insisting she has nothing to be ashamed of.
Discussing the incident on her U.S. show The Talk on Thursday (04Dec14), Osbourne said, "Anybody who knows anything about vocal cords (knows) the best environment for singing live is humidity. Heat and humidity, and she's out there - it's freezing cold in New York - she's singing live, this woman is going through a divorce (with) two kids... It's like, 'Cut her some slack!' She could have mimed, (but) she didn't."
Carey split from husband Nick Cannon, the father of her young twins, earlier this year (14).
It's not the first time Carey's apparent vocal problems have hit headlines this year - she disappointed fans on the opening night of her Elusive Chanteuse World Tour in Tokyo, Japan in October (14), when it became clear her usually flawless vocals were not up to par as she attempted and failed to reach the high notes in some of her hit songs, including We Belong Together.
The vocal trouble wasn't the only drama surrounding Carey's appearance at the 82nd annual Christmas in Rockefeller Center celebration - her performance was initially scrapped on Tuesday (02Dec14) after she arrived three hours late to a pre-taping the day before the festive gig. She subsequently apologized to fans for her tardiness, blaming circumstances beyond her control.
Rapper T.I. was the guest of honour in Jackson, Mississippi on Wednesday (24Sep14) as he was presented with the key to the city. The Live Your Life hitmaker was feted during a special ceremony at City Hall, which was hosted by Mayor Tony Yarber, who praised the hip-hop star for using his many brushes with the law to encourage youths to make the right choices.
Accepting the accolade, T.I. said, "I can't really change everyone's opinion of me but I can change me.
"Everybody don't catch on and everybody don't acknowledge change at the same time, but the good part is, I ain't doing it for them (sic). I don't need credit. Just knowing that I can use my experiences, my past, good and bad, to help assist the future: children, teenagers, young adults and the grown people who may have gone through the same things. They can have an example showing that, 'Hey, just because I fell down in something, doesn't mean I got to stay down in it'. When it's all said and done, I've seen people rise from the wreckage."
During his visit to Jackson, T.I. also stopped by local schools to speak to students about how he overcame his troubled past. The rapper spent time behind bars for possession of weapons and drugs.
His Mississippi honour was an early birthday present of sorts for T.I. - the rapper/actor turned 34 on Thursday (25Sep14).
Samuel L. Jackson is in talks to replace his Django Unchained co-star Jamie Foxx in Kevin Hart's new movie The Black Phantom.
The Pulp Fiction star has become the frontrunner to become the Phantom's nemesis-turned-sidekick in the film, according to Deadline.com.
The film will team Hart with his Ride Along director Tim Story again, while producer Clint Culpepper previously worked with Jackson on 2008 thriller Lakeview Terrace.
It’s been a big week for Marvel fans. First, the company unveiled the new Thor, a woman who takes over the title and responsibilities of the God of Thunder after the current Thor is deemed unworthy to wield Mjolnir, and then the first look at the villains of The Avengers: Age of Ultron was revealed along with their new, Iron Man-centric backstories. But Marvel wasn’t quite done yet, and on Wednesday night, they turned to The Colbert Show to reveal that Sam Wilson, better known as Falcon, would be carrying the shield as the new Captain America.
The shift-in-power comes after Steve Rogers’ body has been drained of the super serum that turned him into Cap in the first place, which resulted in him rapidly ageing to better reflect his 95 years of age. Since he’s no longer to be the hero that America deserves, the mantle falls to his good buddy Sam, who will officially make his debut in the stars and stripes in All New Captain America #1. Iron Man will also be getting a makeover alongside Thor and Cap, and in the Superior Iron Man #1, fans will see Tony Stark move to San Francisco in his new, shiny silver suit, in order to make some changes that not all of the Bay Area’s residents take to, resulting in a darker, more temperamental hero. Of course, all of these changes lead to one big question: how will this affect the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Thus far, the two have operated as separate continuities, but both the solo and Avengers films take their cues from the comics. But while it’s likely that Tony’s new attitude might bleed over into his movie counterpart, the real thing that fans are wondering is whether or not Anthony Mackie will get to inherit the shield from Chris Evans. And it’s a possibility we’ve been thinking a lot about as well.
Why We Might See Mackie as Captain America: Though it’s the first time that Falcon has inherited the title of Captain America, he has a long history of carrying the shield whenever Steve is hurt or otherwise incapacitated, and has temporarily filled in for Cap multiple times over his fifty year run in the comics. Although Bucky Barnes’ stint as Cap is better known, Sam actually has a bigger history in the stars and stripes to draw from. Picking Sam as the new Cap would open up a lot more possibilities for the writers in terms of the stories they could tell and the comic books they could draw from.
Depending on how many movies Evans has left in his contract, it could also allow them to switch to a new Cap sooner than they could with Bucky, who at the end of The Winter Soldier still doesn’t remember anything about his life before becoming a HYDRA super-assassin. Passing the mantle to Falcon would allow them more time with Bucky’s story, and they wouldn’t need to rush through his discovery and recovery process in order to get him into Cap’s uniform quickly. Bucky’s story is a complex, compelling one, and it would be a shame to see the films bypass a lot of what makes it so interesting simply to rush him into a new uniform. The recent films’ focus on the psychological consequences of being a superhero has been one of the most engaging and entertaining parts of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Bucky is a prime candidate to explore more of those issues, and to add new layers to the story.
At this point in the films, Sam is in a better position to take over for Cap. His dedication to helping Steve, no questions asked, and to supporting him on his quest to repair the damage that HYDRA has done to S.H.I.E.L.D. and the American people is very reminiscent of Steve’s willingness to do anything to protect America, its ideals, and its people. Like Steve, he is a good guy through and through, the kind of person who would protect, inspire and encourage the American people, which is exactly what Captain America is supposed to do. Sam already embodies much of what makes Captain America the hero he is, just a little flashier and a little louder. Mackie is also in a slightly better position to inherit the franchise than Sebastian Stan is. Though both are talented actors who have been working for a long time, and are just starting to break through to the mainstream, Mackie is a bit more well-known and dynamic than Stan, which will no doubt come in handy with all of the press and fan attention that the actor who plays Captain America will have to deal with. And like both Evans and Stan, Mackie is a fan favorite, having won over everyone with his enthusiasm for his character. Nobody loves Falcon more than Mackie, and nobody would love being Cap more than Mackie would.
Why We Probably Won’t See Mackie As Captain America: Unfortunately, it seems seriously unlikely that we will ever see Sam inherit the title of Captain America on the big screen. Since Marvel plans out every part of their Cinematic Universe well in advance of the films’ release, they have been laying the seeds for Bucky to take over for Cap for some time now, dropping hints in both Captain America films that foreshadow his eventual ascent to the title. It seems unlikely that they would abandon the foundations that they have been laying for years now in order to give Sam the shield, even if it would be a smart decision.
Making Falcon the new Captain America would also risk angering the very vocal subset of fans who are reluctant to see any drastic changes made to the characters that they have become so comfortable with. Any time a character’s race gets changed – like when Miles Morales became Spider Man or Michael B. Jordan was cast as Johnny Storm in the Fantastic Four or Samuel L. Jackson was picked to play Nick Fury – some fans get upset about it, and because their negative outlook gets attention from both press and other fans, the studios become convinced that their position is the one that the entire fandom holds. Studios aren’t going to want to risk alienating a major part of their audience, and so they continue to make the safest choices imaginable. Why else do you think it’s taken so long for us to get a female-fronted superhero film?
Despite the quality of their films and the diversity of the heroes and comic books they have to offer, Marvel is still focused on pleasing their fans in order to make money. That means that if they think that audiences will be happier watching the white dudes they’re comfortable with save the world, that’s what they’re going to give them. It doesn’t matter how many issues Sam’s tenure as Captain America sells, or how much praise the books get, transitioning from Evans to Stan is the safer choice, and therefore the one most likely to make the most moviegoers happy. By catering to the fans who make the most noise, even if they’re the smallest subset of the fandom, Marvel will feel like it’s catering to the entire fanbase, which is why it’s so difficult to get Hollywood studios to break away from their standard formula.
On top of that, there’s no telling exactly how long Sam’s run as Cap will last. Comic books are constantly revamping and rebooting themselves, which means that plots are constantly being retconned and changed. If Sam is only going to have a short run as Cap, then the filmmakers might be hesitant to restructure the films around this new development, especially if they’re worried about how fans will react. Yes, Bucky’s time as Cap wasn’t particularly long, but the shift in power has been around long enough that they not only know how fans feel about it, but they’ve also been able to work out how best to incorporate it into the films.
We might only get to see Sam as Captain America in the comic books, but at least we have the knowledge that even that is enough to make Anthony Mackie the happiest person on earth right now. And when Mackie's happy, everyone is.
Daniel Radcliffe, Pitbull, Pharrell Williams and Will Ferrell will be among the celebrities unveiling stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2015.
The selection of next year's inductees was announced on Thursday (19Jun14). The Hollywood Chamber and the Walk of Fame Selection Committee members will also welcome author Raymond Chandler posthumously, Jennifer Garner, filmmaker Peter Jackson, Paul Rudd, Melissa McCarthy, Christoph Waltz, chef Bobby Flay, Seth MacFarlane, Julianna Margulies, Chris O'Donnell, Jim Parsons, Sofia Vergara and Kool & The Gang, among others, to Hollywood Boulevard.
Denzel Washington's A Raisin In The Sun has joined plays featuring James Franco and Bryan Cranston among the most financially successful Broadway projects this season after recouping the $4.25 million (2.7 million) it cost to stage. The show, which scooped the Best Revival award at Sunday's (08Jun14) Tonys, recouped the cash just days before the end of its run on Sunday (15Jun14).
The revival of Lorraine Hansberry’s 1959 play has grossed over $1 million (GBP625,000)-a-week throughout its 14-week limited engagement at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre.
A Raisin in the Sun also features LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Anika Noni Rose and Sophie Okonedo, who also picked up a Tony for Best Featured Actress in a Play.
Other plays that have recouped their investment on Broadway this season include Franco's Of Mice and Men; Cranston's All the Way, which was named Best Play at the Tonys; The Glass Menagerie, with Cherry Jones and Zachary Quinto; Betrayal, with Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz; the Shakespeare’s Globe's Twelfth Night and Richard III double bill, and Billy Crystal’s 700 Sundays.
When drag queens, rock and roll legends, murderous social climbers and tap dancing gangsters come together, it can only mean one thing: the Tony Awards. The biggest night on Broadway made its way to Radio City Music Hall Sunday night to celebrate the best and most unforgettable performances of the season, and while the show had its fair share of historical moments, show-stopping numbers and mind-blowing spectacle, the 2014 Tonys stood out for another reason – they were just plain weird.
From the moment that host Hugh Jackman hopped his way across the screen as part of the opening number it was clear that this year’s awards were going to be a memorable event, and between the impromptu rap numbers, the countless teleprompter issues and Neil Patrick Harris giving everyone a lap dance, the night only got stranger and stranger. It might be hard to believe that there's anything stranger than the idea of Barney Stinson in heels and a miniskirt or Rocky becoming a hit musical, but this year's Tonys managed to make both of those things seem downright normal with all of the confusing moments and odd numbers they unveiled, starting with that opening bit...
Hugh Jackman Bounces Back to Broadway After handing over hosting duties to Harris for the last several years, everyone was expecting Jackman to go big for his return to the Tonys stage. Instead, he went old-school, and spent four minutes hopping around Radio City Music Hall, meeting with all of the actors and checking out all of the shows, in an homage to Bobby Van’s “Take Me to Broadway.” It was a nice tribute to his love of the theater, but for an award show that prides itself on big production numbers and a host who loves a great song-and-dance moment, it was a slightly confusing, slightly underwhelming choice.
Clint Eastwood Loses the Teleprompter We’re not sure if the teleprompters weren’t working or if the champagne was just flowing a little too freely backstage, but almost every presenter struggled to get their words out (or, in Fran Drescher’s case, to read the names in the right order). However, no mispronunciations or flubbed cues held a candle to the rambling, confusing speech that Eastwood gave before giving out the directing awards. We think it had something to do with directing, the theater and the importance of remembering your glasses before you head out onstage, but we’d be lying if we said we could follow any of the nonsense he mumbled.
Neil Patrick Harris Licks Samuel L. Jackson’s Glasses Well, technically Hedwig did. During his raucous performance with the rest of the cast of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Harris took to the audience to make Orlando Bloom take part in a “car wash,” give Sting a lap dance, and make out with his husband David Burtka. Somewhere in there, he decided to steal the glasses of the most intimidating man in the audience, thoroughly clean them with his tongue and the place them delicately back on his face. See that mix of bewilderment, fear, and excitement on Jackson’s face? That’s the only appropriate reaction to have in a situation like that.
Jackman, T.I. and LL Cool J Rap The Music Man If you’ve ever listened to a recording of The Music Man and thought that what Harold Hill really needed were some sick beats, we have some good news for you. Over a beat from Questlove, Jackman, T.I. and LL Cool J (because the Tonys air on CBS) freestyled about the hardships of making a living by selling trombones, while the older members of the audience stood there uncomfortably, looking confused and terrified.
Rocky: The Musical Is All Scrap, No Song Look, when your whole show builds to an elaborate, full-contact boxing match complete with an announcer, jumbotron and full-scale ring, you want to show off all of the hard work and preparation that went into putting that number together. Still, would it have killed the Rocky producers to have their leading man Andy Karl sing a few bars? This is the Tony Awards, after all; if we wanted to watch people fight without bursting into song, we’d switch over to Game of Thrones.
Jennifer Hudson Gets an 11 O’Clock Number (Literally) We’re all for producers using the Tonys to preview some of the shows headed to the Great White Way in the upcoming season, but that doesn’t explain why the number promoting Finding Neverland – a show that won’t open for another year, featuring a performer who isn’t even part of the cast – interrupted the biggest awards of the night and forced the producers of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder to rush through their Best Musical acceptance speech. Maybe if someone had kept Eastwood on script, Hudson’s diva moment could have come at a more appropriate point in the show. Like as a replacement for whatever dreary song Sting broke out.
Sting is Writing a Musical This one’s self-explanatory.
Who Wrote Jackman’s Bits? If nothing else, this year’s Tony Awards were an experiment to see whether a three-hour show could be carried on nothing but Hugh Jackman’s charisma. Most of his bits were a little odd, relying on his good looks and smooth voice to carry him through to the next introduction, as if the whole show were thrown together during his downtime on the X-Men press tour. The fact that everything still worked is a testament to the sheer force of Jackman’s charm, and our willingness to forgive a great deal for a well-executed soft shoe.
Julianne Moore honoured Samuel L. Jackson's wife Latanya Richardson Jackson by reading out a special note of praise from America's First Lady Michelle Obama at a cast party this week (beg26May14). Jackson has been nominated for a 2014 Tony Award for her performance in a Broadway revival of A Raisin in the Sun, and the cast celebrated the achievement ahead of the prizegiving next month (Jun14) by hosting a bash in New York City on Tuesday night (27May14).
Actress Moore was among the revellers at the party, held at Lady Mendl's Tea Salon in Manhattan, and she read out a tribute to the guest of honour from the First Lady, who made a special trip to see the show last month (Apr14), along with her husband, U.S. President Barack Obama.
According to New York Post gossip column Page Six, the note read, "I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to see its (the play's) revival. Barack and I both agree your portrayal of (character) Mama stole the show."