Gospel singer Wayne Haun is celebrating after landing a 12-nomination haul ahead of this year's (14) Dove Awards. Officials at the Gospel Music Association announced the nominations for their 45th annual prizegiving on Wednesday (13Aug14) and Haun leads the pack, while artists Hillsong United, Lecrae, Matt Maher and American Idol star Mandisa land five nominations apiece.
Mandisa, Maher and Hillsong United will compete for the coveted Song of the Year trophy, alongside For King & Country, Matthew West, Natalie Grant, The Perrys, Karen Peck and New River, Brian Free & Assurance and Ernie Haase and Signature Sound, while Casting Crowns, NeedtoBreathe and Switchfoot will fight for Artist of the Year honours with Hillsong United, Lecrae and Mandisa.
The Gospel Awards will be held in Nashville, Tennessee in October (14).
Toronto Raptors brand ambassador Drake has landed the basketball team's bosses a $25,000 (£14,706) fine after breaking league rules by publicly inviting sports ace Kevin Durant to play in his Canadian hometown. The hip-hop star was onstage at his annual OVO Fest in the city earlier this month (Aug14), when he spotted Durant in the crowd and suggested the Oklahoma City Thunder forward make the move to fellow National Basketball Association (NBA) team the Raptors once he becomes a free agent in the summer of 2016.
He told the crowd, "Before we leave, I just want to show one of my brothers something. You know, my brother Kevin Durant was kind enough to come to the show tonight and watch us. I just want him to see what would happen if he came to play in Toronto. Let him know what would happen."
His comments prompted the audience to launch into a "KD" chant, but the incident has landed Drake in trouble with NBA officials, who have ruled the invite was the equivalent of an open attempt to recruit the player, which violates anti-tampering rules.
Drake was appointed the global ambassador of the Raptors last September (13).
Outspoken Kiss star Gene Simmons has risked incurring the wrath of African-Americans and race sympathisers by supporting disgraced basketball boss Donald Sterling's freedom of speech.
The Los Angeles Clippers owner was fined $2.5 million and threatened with expulsion from the National Basketball Association after he was caught on tape making derogatory race comments.
Simmons, who is now a sports team co-owner with arena football's L.A. Kiss, calls Sterling and his remarks "heinous", but insists people should be able to say what they think in private.
He tells the Wall Street Journal, "I'm on Mel Gibson's side, Don Sterling's side and anybody who has a racist or an expletive rant privately. The difference between this guy and anybody else is that he was caught. He was ambushed. I think he should have done penance and paid a fine."
"If because you say an off-colour joke or make a racist rant privately that causes you to lose a job, nobody would have a job. Black people do it, Jews do it, Christians do it - everybody does it. I'm on the side of free speech in the privacy of your own home. Big brother has finally crawled in bed with us."
Following his race row earlier this year (14), NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told Sterling he would have to sell the Clippers. That is still ongoing.
Rappers Insane Clown Posse have had their lawsuit against top U.S. authorities dismissed after objecting to a report which labelled their fans gang members. In January (14), Violent J, real name Joseph Bruce, and Shaggy 2 Dope, real name Joey Utsler, joined forces with four fans to sue officials at the U.S. Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the U.S. Federal District Court in Michigan, claiming their constitutional rights of free expression and association and due process were violated by the 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment.
The fans, who call themselves Juggalos, also alleged they had been subject to police harassment because of the designation, but last week (ends06Jul14) a federal judge ruled officials in the U.S. government were not responsible for the report from the state police agencies and dismissed the case.
The plaintiffs have since decided to challenge the decision and on Tuesday (08Jul14), they filed an appeal to have the judge's ruling reviewed.
Veteran singers Loretta Lynn and Jackson Browne are set to be saluted with lifetime achievement prizes at the 2014 Americana Music Association Honors and Awards in Nashville, Tennessee. Country icon Lynn will be recognised for her songwriting success, while social activist Browne will receive the Spirit of Americana Free Speech Award.
Blues musician Taj Mahal and Latin accordionist Flaco Jimenez will also be feted with the respective lifetime achievement awards for performance and instrumentalist.
The accolades will be presented to the quartet during the Americana Awards ceremony on 17 September (14).
Roseanne Cash, Robert Ellis and Jason Isbell lead the nominees for the event with three nods apiece.
British authorities are investigating new allegations of indecent assault against disgraced Australian entertainer Rolf Harris following his conviction on 12 charges on Monday (30Jun14). The musician and TV presenter, 84, was found guilty of inappropriately touching girls as young as seven between 1968 and 1986 during a seven-week trial at Southwark Crown Court in London.
He is due to be sentenced on Friday (04Jul14), but on Tuesday (01Jul14), U.K. police chiefs revealed they had received further complaints about Harris while he was on trial and the fresh claims are now being scrutinised to determine if further charges should be brought against him.
A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police tells the BBC, "(We have) received a number of new allegations and these are now being considered."
Following the news of Harris' conviction, executives at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) and at the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame declared they were stripping him of top honours he had previously been awarded.
The shamed star is currently free on bail.
Shamed entertainer Rolf Harris has been stripped of his Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame honour following his conviction on 12 indecent assault charges on Monday (30Jun14). The Australian musician and TV presenter was found guilty of indecently assaulting girls as young as seven between 1968 and 1986 during a trial at Southwark Crown Court in London.
Following news of the conviction, ARIA bosses announced on Tuesday (01Jul14) the veteran star would be stripped of his Hall of Fame award, making Harris the first ever honouree to lose the prestigious accolade.
ARIA chief executive officer Dan Rosen says in a statement, "Following his conviction in U.K. courts, the ARIA board has made the decision to withdraw the ARIA Hall of Fame award bestowed upon Rolf Harris."
Harris was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008 for his contribution to the Australian music industry. His name has now been removed from the ARIA website.
The news follows a similar decision by bosses at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), who announced on Monday they had annulled the fellowship bestowed on him in 2012.
Harris remains free on bail and is due to be sentenced on Friday (04Jul14).
Residents in the Bronx, New York are urging local officials to cancel an upcoming Jennifer Lopez concert amid concerns the superstar's homecoming show will cause big traffic problems in the surrounding neighbourhoods. The Jenny from the Block hitmaker is set to head home to headline a free gig in Pelham Bay Park on Wednesday (04Jun14), but a number of locals in City Island, a town which borders the park, are already upset by the impending chaos the gig will cause.
Members of the City Island Civic Association and its president, Bill Stanton, have penned a letter to both the Parks Commissioner and New York Police Department Commissioner to urge them to axe the concert so as to not overwhelm the neighbourhood of City Island.
In the letter, obtained by the New York Daily News, they state, "We write to you today on behalf of our small community of 4,500 residents... located next to Pelham Bay Park... the selected site for a free Jennifer Lopez concert for 25,000 visitors on June 4...
"To our knowledge, none of our elected officials or even our local community board had been consulted... They would have surely informed you that our small community sits immediately off of this venue and relies on the roadways within Pelham Bay Park to enter and exit our neighborhood."
Stanton goes on to state that a previous appearance by Lopez in Pelham Bay Park led to "illegal parking, tons of litter and standstill traffic on roads leading to City Island," adding that they are "nervous of a similar ordeal repeating itself".
The letter continues, "In our opinion this is grossly unfair, and steps must be taken to rectify this situation."
The members of the association are requesting for a special traffic lane designated for City Island residents to get home easily.
Lopez has yet to comment on the matter.
Columbia Pictures via Everett Collection
The sad truth is that most Hollywood films are made by men, for men, and about men. Moreover, critics argue, the films that do portray women tend to reduce them to offensive stereotypes. The way to break this pattern is to pay more attention to the female directors who are hard at work delivering quality material. Despite the odds, a handful of women have created films that are both cinematically and culturally relevant. What they don't receive, however, is the same praise as their male counterparts. In an attempt to correct this and give these filmmakers their proper due, we've provided a list of eight of the most influential female directors in film history.
Deren was an experimental filmmaker known for her association with the avant-garde movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Her films challenge cinematic conventions, defy narrative cohesion, and aim to provide an uncanny, sensory experience for the viewer. Her most significant works are Meshes of the Afternoon (1943) and At Land (1944), but Ritual in Transfigured Time (1946) is beautiful and captivating. In addition to being a filmmaker, Deren was an important film theorist and choreographer. You can watch the majority of her films on YouTube for free.
Dash's Daughters of the Dust (1992) is the first full-length film by a black woman to be released theatrically in the United States. Dash was part of the L.A. Rebellion film movement that formed out of UCLA film school in the 1960s and continued into the 1980s. The goal of the movement was to develop a Black Cinema that provided an alternative to the classical Hollywood film narrative. Unlike most Hollywood films, Daughters of the Dust is bold, unique, and extremely personal. You can stream Daughters of the Dust on Amazon or rent the DVD through Netflix.
Kopple isn't an easy filmmaker to pin down, but she's known to most cinephiles for her harrowing documentaries. She won an Academy Award for both Harlan County, USA (1976) and American Dream (1990), two films that portray in powerful detail the hardships of the working class. Her recent documentaries include Shut Up and Sing (2006), an in-depth look into the aftermath of the Dixie Chicks/George W. Bush controversy, and Running From Crazy (2013), a bleak portrait of mental illness through the family of Ernest Hemingway. You can stream American Dream and Shut Up and Sing on Amazon, and can purchase Harlan Country, USA on DVD through the Criterion Collection.
Shelton emerged on the independent scene in the 2000s with Humpday (2009), a hilarious mumblecore film about masculinity. Her later films like Your Sister's Sister (2011) and Touchy Feely (2013) feature more popular actors, but they're equally as perceptive and intimate. Shelton has often said that with modern technology, anyone has the potential to make a film if they're willing to finance it themselves and gather their friends. Although filmmaking isn't that easy, Shelton's point is that aspiring female directors shouldn't be waiting by the phone for the next big break, and instead should just go out there and make whatever they want to make. You can stream Humpday on Amazon, Touchy Feely on Netflix, and rent Your Sister's Sister on DVD through Netflix.
Potter is one of Britain's most idiosyncratic filmmakers working today. Orlando (1992), an adaptation of Virginia Woolf's novel, introduced the world to Tilda Swinton, and has now become a cult classic. Potter's Yes (2004) is a beautiful romance spoken in iambic pentameter, and her most recent film Ginger & Rosa (2013) is an evocative coming-of-age drama that contains Elle Fanning's best performance to date. Known for her distinct visuals, Potter is a true artist. You can stream Ginger & Rosa on Amazon and rent the rest of Potter's films on DVD through Netflix.
The French New Wave of the 1960s was dominated by auteurs like Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut, but somehow Varda carved a place for herself within the movement and reinvented cinema. Varda hasn't received the same attention as Godard and others, but Cleo From 5 to 7 (1962) is just as daring and innovative as Breathless (1960) and The 400 Blows (1959), and her post New Wave films like Vagabond (1985), The Gleaners & I (2000), and The Beaches of Agnès (2008) are better than anything Godard has made in the last thirty years. You can find most of Varda's films on Fandor or in the Criterion Collection.
Revisionist historians in film studies have identified Weber as the first American woman to direct films. Most of her work has been lost, but some films like Suspense (1913), Hypocrites (1915), and The Blot (1921) have survived and been restored. Weber is an important presence in the history of motion pictures, and reminds us that women have always impacted the industry and the art form. Most cinephiles credit D.W. Griffith with establishing cinematic codes and conventions, but Weber was alongside him every step of the way.
Bigelow may not be the greatest female director of all time, but she's arguably the most important. On top of being the first woman to win a Best Director Academy Award, she deserves credit for establishing a presence in a genre that is traditionally dominated by men. Bigelow's action films are kinetic and tense works of art, but unlike her male competition, she's not afraid to challenge the audience and subvert the genre. Strange Days (1995), for example, is more than just a clever science-fiction film. It's a disturbing study of surveillance, voyeurism, and misogyny. Blue Steel (1989) and Zero Dark Thirty (2012) transcend the police procedural genre to portray female protagonists that thrive in male-centric environments. Finally, The Hurt Locker (2008), the film for which Bigelow won Best Director (it also snagged Best Picture), is a suspenseful war thriller that simultaneously challenges traditional conceptions of masculinity. You can stream the majority of Bigelow's films on Amazon or rent them on DVD through Netflix.
FOX Broadcasting Co.
On paper, Sleepy Hollow sounds like a hot mess. The show reimagines the old legend with a sexy Ichabod Crane, a headless horseman charged with ushering in the apocalypse. Toss in John Cho from Harold and Kumar as a zombie, and a liberal sprinkling of clues found in the Bible of George Washington. Yes, that George Washington. But in practice, the show has become one of the biggest hits of the season. With the finale notching nearly 7 million viewers, Sleepy Hollow was certainly one of the most unique, entertaining, and audacious offerings of the season.
At the Television Critics Association press tour, Fox chairman Kevin Reilly declared the death of Fox’s traditional pilot season. Pilot season is when most networks choose their shows for the new season. Some of the pilots ordered will go to series and some will not, but the process is harrowing for creatives. Reilly pointed out this process isn’t conducive to the kind of interesting, ground-breaking, and watercooler chat-worthy programming Fox wants to develop. Instead, the station is going to adopt a cable approach to programming.
What does this have to do with Sleepy Hollow? As one of the most original offerings of the new season (and one of the best), Sleepy Hollow rose above the fray of new shows because it was truly audacious.
While Fox is throwing away their pilot season, they should also be taking notes on what makes great shows like Sleepy Hollow into critically beloved smashes. Here are four important lessons from Ichabod and Abbie:
1. Don’t be afraid to get weird.Sleepy Hollow has far and away one of the weirdest premises of any show on television. Most networks shy away from anything too crazy. They instead look for TV comfort food, something audiences are familiar with. The problem? Competition from an expanding cable universe, and now even streaming sites, mean audiences are becoming less interested in comfortable. Don’t be afraid to embrace concepts way, way left of center.
2. Do something no one else is doing.There are a million shows on television about cops, lawyers, serial killers, and doctors. There’s no way to stand out from the pack in this format. Those professions are interesting, sure, but those stories have been told a million times and a million different ways. One of the reasons Sleepy Hollow stood out this fall season is because it looked like nothing else on television.
3. Promote diversity.Diversity on the small screen is important, yet television is still overwhelmingly white. Sleepy Hollow is an incredibly diverse show, with actors of all different colors playing major roles in the narrative. The small screen needs more figures like Abbie Mills. The characters of color on Sleepy Hollow aren’t just sidekicks, like you might find on most other programs, they’re three-dimensional people. As mentioned, audiences are tired of seeing the same thing every week on screen. Representation is important, and diversity opens up new avenues for storytelling.
4. Have fun.During Sleepy Hollow’s first season, Ichabod Crane wore skinny jeans, bonded with an On Star agent, and was downright horrified to learn what Thomas Jefferson was up to in his free time. The show might have been non-stop action and adventure, but it wasn’t afraid to have fun. Some television shows take themselves much too seriously and drown in their own dour glominess. Sleepy Hollow reveled in its camp appeal, while always staying true to its story. If Fox is looking for another audacious hit, fun should be part of the equation.
What do you think? What are some lessons Fox can learn from Sleepy Hollow? Share in the comments!