British rocker Billy Bragg staged an impromptu concert in St. Louis, Missouri on Tuesday (19Aug14) amid escalating violence in nearby Ferguson. Tensions have been high in the area following the death of teenager Michael Brown, who was gunned down as he attempted to surrender to police investigating a robbery incident on 9 August (14). The incident has prompted violent clashes with protesters and local law enforcement officers, and a number of celebrities have offered up their thoughts on the issues facing the city.
But folk singer and political activist Bragg and touring partner Joe Purdy decided to actually go there to see them for themselves during their current American tour, and decided to take a detour to stage a spontaneous benefit concert.
Bragg tells Rolling Stone, "A number of people said to me on Twitter, 'If you’re going to go to St. Louis, are you going to go to Ferguson?' But we didn't want to just go there and walk through Ferguson and be tourists. We wanted to do something for the community."
Through local connections, Bragg was put in touch with Steven Fitzpatrick Smith, the owner of local St. Louis pub the Royale, who has been attending the protests. Smith not only offered up his venue for the gig, but also asked fans attending to collect food, funds, and medical and school school supplies for a food pantry at a Ferguson church.
During the gig, Bragg performed some of his own tracks such as I Keep Faith, and also covered tunes pointed towards the unrest happening nearby, singing protest songs like Woody Guthrie's Hangknot, Slipknot and George Perkins' Cryin' in the Streets, while Purdy joined him for Bob Dylan's The Times They Are a-Changin'.
Bragg called on the 200 fans at the gig to take action and change the way the troubled city is perceived, stating, "The true enemy of all of us who want to make the world a better place is not capitalism or conservatism, it's cynicism. You have the opportunity to show the world that St. Louis is not a cynical place."
Bragg and Purdy's activism began early on Tuesday, when they met with railroad workers on strike and picketing teachers in Illinois, and they also performed for inmates at the Iowa State Penitentiary.
Pierce Brosnan has revealed he was in the running to play Batman for Tim Burton. The former James Bond met with the director while he was looking for his Caped Crusader for 1989's Batman, but he admits he couldn't quite see himself in the superhero role.
In a new Reddit.com chat, Brosnan recalls, "I just couldn't really take it seriously; any man who wears his underpants outside his pants just cannot be taken seriously. That was my foolish take on it. It was a joke, I thought. But how wrong was I?
"Don't get me wrong, because I love Batman, and I grew up on Batman. As a kid in Ireland, we used to get our raincoats and tie them round our neck and swing through the bicycle shed."
The role was picked up by Michael Keaton, who played Batman in two Burton movies. The character has also been played by George Clooney, Val Kilmer and Christian Bale on the big screen.
British musician Pj Harvey is set to receive an honorary degree from Goldsmiths University in London next month (Sep14). The singer/songwriter will be presented with the accolade during a prizegiving ceremony on 10 September (14).
Liz Bromley, Registrar and secretary of Goldsmiths, says, "Our honorands this year are a remarkable group of people... They have inspired us with their words, their music, and their art. They have fought for our rights... And they have helped us to understand who we are now by looking to the past.
"Today we are celebrating their achievements. We have invited them to join the Goldsmiths family and will be welcoming them into our community... They will now be a part of an institution that prides itself on empowering individuals from all walks of life to become visionaries, just like them."
This year's (14) other honourees include architect Dame Zaha Hadid, human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell and poet George Szirtes, while previous recipients include Sir Michael Caine and Placebo frontman Brian Molko.
Harvey was awarded a Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) medal in London last year (13).
Pop star George Michael sent fans of The Smiths into a spin by insisting a long-awaited reunion is on its way, but he has now confessed he was joking. The former Wham! star was asked in an interview published over the weekend (09-10Aug14) to reveal a secret and he replied, "The Smiths are reforming."
The comment, published by British newspaper The Guardian, sent fans of the band into meltdown because reunion rumours have been building for years despite repeated denials by the group's founders Morrissey and Johnny Marr.
However, the Careless Whisper hitmaker has now quashed the speculation by admitting his remark was made in jest.
A representative for the star tells WENN, "It was just a bit of fun, so not true."
Assuming you were born around 1983 and that your social circle in the early grammar school years consisted of a rigidly impermeable foursome, we can conclude indisputably that you spent a good deal of your time playing Ninja Turtles. Unlike other pop culture-inspired imagination games, Ninja Turtles never allowed for turn taking as far as the central roles were concerned. Maybe you’d alternate occupancy of Luke, Han, and Chewy when playing Star Wars, or switch off between Margaret and Jimmy for games of Liquid Sky. But when it came to Ninja Turtles, the margins were set before recess even began: you were either the leader, the tough one, the smart one, or the goofball. Without exception.
But are such stark roles present in any other pop culture phenomena? We’d have to imagine so. As such, we sought to our favorite foursomes from the entertainment world and took a stab at assigning them their respective Ninja Turtles.
LeonardoJerry, the leader (who, incidentally, derives all of his moral fiber from the noble Superman)
RaphaelGeorge, the truly "dark and disturbed" member of the group
DonatelloElaine, the intellectual — she did graduate from Tufts (her safety school), and she scored a 151 on an I.Q. test
MichelangeloKramer, the hipster dufus
THE HOGWARTS HOUSES
LeonardoGryffindor, house of the daring and noble
RaphaelSlytherin, house of the severe and ambitious
DonatelloRavenclaw, house of the wry and intellectual
MichelangeloHufflepuff, house of the spirited and kind
SEX AND THE CITY
LeonardoCarrie, the glue, the narrator and the center of everyone's attention
RaphaelMiranda, stubborn and cynical enough to walk away from the love of her life (twice!)
DonatelloCharlotte, the conservative, overachieving Ivy League grad obsessed with everything appearing perfect
MichelangeloSamantha, who has never passed up a chance to see and be seen
United Artist via Everett Collection
LeonardoPaul: "Think globally, act locally."
RaphaelJohn: "Everybody loves you when you're six foot in the ground."
DonatelloGeorge: "When you've seen beyond yourself, then you may find, peace of mind is waiting there."
MichelangeloRingo: "Peace and love. Peace and love."
LeonardoCaptain America, the wholesome, morally didactic good guy
RaphaelThe Hulk, the "muscle" who is tortured by his own demons
DonatelloIron Man, the tech genius who never hesitates to let his teammates know how much smarter he is than they are
MichelangeloThor, who's just kind of an idiot
LeonardoDawson, proving that having your name in the title doesn't save you from being the biggest buzzkill
RaphaelPacey, the rebellious, wise-cracking screw up of your teenage dreams
DonatelloJoey, smart - she went to Worthington! - sweet, and innocent, and always likely to end up in a bad situation
MichelangeloJen, the reformed party girl with a heart of gold and a chip on her shoulder
LeonardoMeg, the oldest sister and de facto head of the household
RaphaelJo, strong-willed and at odds with her siblings (and herself)
DonatelloBeth, who is shy, wise, and musically adept
MichelangeloAmy, the li'l one with the penchant for art
Columbia Pictures via Everett Collection
LeonardoRay, the heart and soul of the group
RaphaelPeter Venkman, the rebel who plays by his own rules (and forces everyone else to accommodate)
DonatelloEgon Spengler, the smartest in a team of scientists
MichelangeloWinston, who is also there
THE MT. RUSHMORE PRESIDENTS
LeonardoGeorge Washington, the diplomat who kicked off American democracy
RaphaelAbraham Lincoln, the agonizingly depressed hero who took to the front lines
DonatelloThomas Jefferson, the braniac wordsmith who wrote the Declaration of Independence
MichelangeloTheodore Roosevelt, the loon who used to fight bears and whatnot
LeonardoBlanche, the open-minded, creative sort
RaphaelSophia, a master of caustic wit
DonatelloDorothy, the smartest of the lot
MichelangeloRose, the ditz
THE FACTS OF LIFE
LeonardoBlair, who was rich and blond, so she was the natural choice for the central role in an '80s sitcom
RaphaelJo, who wears a leather jacket
DonatelloNatalie, who basically acts like she's 40 at age 15
MichelangeloTootie, who wears rollerskates all the time
20th Century Fox Film via Everett Collection
THE FANTASTIC FOUR
LeonardoSue Storm, the levelheaded voice of reason
RaphaelThe Thing, who is, as one might expect, pretty pissed about being a giant rock
DonatelloMr. Fantastic, the hyper-intellectual
MichelangeloJohnny Storm, the jag who's always jumping around and lighting stuff on fire, because he thinks it's cool
STAND BY ME
LeonardoGordie, the courageous leader
RaphaelChris, the young punk who has stolen his share of milk money
DonatelloVern, the timid perpetual bullying victim
MichelangeloTeddy, the kooky thrill-seeker
LeonardoHannah, who at the very least sees herself as a well-adjusted leader of mankind
RaphaelJessa, the alleged loose cannon who is riddled with dark passengers
DonatelloMarnie, the uptight would-be sophisticate who tries to manufacture life experience by the book
MichelangeloShoshanna, the young nutter butter who garners the least respect
LeonardoReggie Rocket, the smart, even-tempered overachiever
RaphaelOtto Rocket, the troublesome bad boy
DonatelloSam Dullard, the awkward intellectual
MichelangeloTwister Rodriguez, the idiot comic relief
Paramount Pictures via Everett Collection
LeonardoCady Heron, the acceptable human being
RaphaelRegina George, the villainous upstart
DonatelloGretchen Wieners, kind of just by default
MichelangeloKaren Smith... see "Thor"
LeonardoVinnie Barbarino, the boring (albeit charming) leader
RaphaelJuan Epstein, the tough guy with whom everybody knows not to mess
DonatelloArnold Horshach, the dorky dweeb
MichelangeloBoom Boom Washington, the loudmouthed goofball
A special thanks to writers Angie Han (an easygoing Michelangelo type) and Rudie Obias (a total Raphael, with respect) for helping to mastermind this piece, and to everyone else who contributed their varied expertise to the cause.
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If you’ve even given the Internet a cursory glance over the last few weeks, you’re probably aware that Chris Pratt is having a moment right now. Thanks to a starring role in Guardians of the Galaxy, one of the biggest movies of the year, even people who’ve never seen an episode of Parks and Recreation or Everwood are being clued into his goofy, lovable charms. But playing Peter Quill is bound to have more long-term effects on Pratt’s career than simply giving him a venue to showcase his French-braiding skills – the question that remains is whether these will be positive effects.
Obviously, getting to play a superhero in a Marvel film is going to be amazing for any actor. They’re easily the biggest, most-exciting films of the year; they guarantee you plenty of press attention and new fans, and open you up to countless new opportunities and projects. But what about the times Pratt won’t be protecting the galaxy? Actors who star in superhero and sci-fi franchises often struggle to break out of the shadow of their famous characters. Leonard Nimoy and George Takei will always be Spock and Sulu, no matter what other projects they pursue; despite the beard, Mark Hamill is still known as Luke Skywalker; even Michael Keaton has yet to surpass his Batman fame. Once you become recognized for a single, beloved character, it’s hard for fans to see you any other way, which could result in Pratt being stuck as Star-Lord for the rest of his career.
Despite being part of one of the most iconic franchises of all time, only Harrison Ford was really able to break away from his Star Wars character, which he did by jumping straight into the Indiana Jones series. Pratt is taking a somewhat similar path, following up Guardians of the Galaxy with Jurassic World, which should help keep him in people’s minds as something other than Star-Lord. Still, from what we’ve heard, Pratt’s character Owen seems to be similarly confident and wise-cracking, which could result in him being typecast as the good-looking jokester. Considering the fact that Pratt only just stopped being typecast as the “chubby, dumb best friend,” that’s not necessarily a step forward, even if it does guarantee him more leading roles. And since there are so many more actors in Hollywood who specialize in those kinds of roles, it means that Pratt will face a lot more competition for parts.
Becoming known solely as Star-Lord could also make it harder for Pratt to play the kind of supporting character roles that he’s done well with lately, like the underdog baseball player in Moneyball and the good-hearted but doofy colleague in Her. Now that he’s considered a leading man, he might not be considered for those roles anymore. Even if he is, it could be hard for audiences to see him as anything else, which could pull them out of the film. Sure, Star-Lord’s a nice guy and all, but who would actually believe that he’s working at a company that writes love letters?
Look at some of Pratt’s superhero contemporaries: it doesn’t matter what film Robert Downey Jr.’s in, he’s most likely playing the handsome jerk. Scarlett Johansson is almost always the tough girl. And Jeremy Renner is... constantly overlooked. It would be very easy for Pratt to get typecast as the rule-breaking wisecracker. That’s not to say he wouldn’t be great at those parts – he obviously plays them well – but it does put him in a box.
However, Pratt does have an extensive background in television, which gives him an advantage over some of his fellow Marvel heroes. Andy Dwyer and Peter Quill have a fair amount of similarities, but where one is a schlubby slacker, the other is an adventurous go-getter. And both are different still from Bright Abbott, the obnoxious football player Pratt played on Everwood. He’s already proved that he has the range to handle a variety of characters, and now that people are finally paying attention to him, that should help open him up to a different slate of roles and opportunities. Pratt’s got the talent and the charm to play almost anything, as his extensive sitcom past proves, so to keep him locked into one type of character for the rest of his career would be disappointing.
Singer George Michael clears out the Internet search history on his personal computer every day as he is terrified of cyber-crooks and phone-hackers. The former Wham! star always makes sure he deletes the details of websites he has visited before logging off at night, and he is adamant the routine is essential for his security.
He tells Q magazine, "(I do it) every single day. With the people around me, and all this phone-hacking going on, we all have to be vigilant again."
Friends of George Michael fear he is living as a hermit following his collapse earlier this year (14), according to a report. The former Wham! singer was hospitalised in May (14) after reportedly falling ill at his London home, and now several pals and neighbours are worried about his wellbeing.
He is reportedly rarely seen outside of his house and only one friend, record producer David Austen, is seen visiting, according to neighbours.
One friend tells Britain's Sunday People newspaper, "People are worried sick about him. He's just cut himself off from everyone."
Another adds, "He hasn't been seen out for months, he's self-conscious about the scars on his throat and head... and he's put on weight."
Michael was left with the scars from a near-fatal car accident last year (13), when he fell out of a moving vehicle on a highway.
British pop star Ed Sheeran has vowed never to sign up for a tax avoidance scheme as he fears he will end up losing his millions. Several British musicians, including Arctic Monkeys and George Michael, have been caught up in a scandal after they were implicated in a high-profile money-moving scheme last month (Jun14).
Sheeran has an estimated wealth of $8.5 million (£5 million) but he is adamant he has no plans to exploit any loopholes in the system as he fears he will end up paying a huge fine and shooting insurance adverts to make ends meet.
He tells British magazine Event, "I pay my taxes. I legitimately pay everything. I'm straight when it comes to that, absolutely 100 per cent. You hear all these horror stories about people doing schemes and not paying this or that. I don't want to have to do a First Direct advert or something at the beginning of the year to pay my tax."
Bombay Bicycle Club rocker Jack Steadman has branded the Arctic Monkeys' alleged involvement in a tax avoidance scheme "disgusting". The Cornerstone hitmakers were recently named in a list of celebrities, including George Michael and Sir Michael Caine, who allegedly invested in a variety of business schemes that exploit loopholes in the system to help their backers avoid paying hefty tax bills.
Steadman calls the practice "quite disgusting" and adds to BBC Radio 5 Live, "I'm also aware of how quickly you can change as a person, not that it forgives you. I'd be lying if I said I'd be like this my whole life, because I'm sure the Arctic Monkeys when they were young boys in Sheffield and you asked them this question (about tax avoidance) they would say, 'Absolutely not, this is horrific'. But the things that have happened to them and what they'd been thrown into has definitely had a huge effect on them."
He also vows to never participate in such a scheme, adding, "I live in this country and I use services like the NHS (National Health Service) and these services need money from people to use them so I'll always pay my taxes."