Local officials in the U.K. are moving forward with plans to mark the spot where Rolling Stones legends Sir Mick Jagger and Keith Richards first met in 1961. The pair struck up a friendship after spotting each other on a platform at Dartford train station in Kent, England and they went on to form the Rolling Stones in 1962.
Officials from the town council have spent years planning a way to memorialise the meeting point, and they have now confirmed a plaque is to be erected on the platform of the newly revamped station.
Council leader Jeremy Kite says, "We have wanted to put up the plaque for some time but it seems sensible to wait until the new railway station was up and running.
"Dartford really does have a rich, hidden history. We're a town that changed the world in terms of great inventors, pioneers, and, of course, great musicians. It's a great story and I'd love to see a permanent exhibition to compliment our traditional heritage."
Marginalized communities throughout history have had ways of communicating that are proof of clanship. But did you know the street slang used by queens the world over is at least two centuries old, and that you already know a few words of it?
There is disagreement about the exact origins of the gay ghetto slang known as Polari, but it rose in popularity during the 19th century in London's East End, and shares words with other street vernaculars like Cockney rhyming slang and Yiddsh. The language was common in professions that employed traveling male tradesmen, like the merchant marines and the theater. Gay men adopted it as a way to have sexual conversations safely and in secret.
If you feel ignorant, don't. You're already speaking Polari when you use words like butch, camp, and drag — and if you're paying attention, chicken, cottaging and zhoosh. Theater slang that is part of the lexicon, such as referring to dancers as "hoofers," also comes from Polari.
But if you hear someone say, "Vada the eek on that naff omi-palone," ask your local queen for a translation. And pray they aren't talking about you.
Avatar star Zoe Saldana has finally confirmed she's a married woman six months after exchanging vows with Italian artist Marco Perego. The actress, who previously dated Bradley Cooper after calling off her engagement to longtime boyfriend Keith Britton, was quizzed about her top secret nuptials during an appearance on chat show Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Tuesday night (03Dec13).
The host, who also wed this year (13), congratulated the star on her June (13) wedding, stating, "You got married since the last time I saw you."
Saldana replied, "I did," and then quickly changed the subject and asked Kimmel for details about his big day in July.
When Kimmel asked her where she wed, Saldana became visibly nervous before stating, "I got married in England. I did it in England."
Lions Gate via Everett Collection
When we last left our heroes, they had conquered all opponents in the 74th Annual Hunger Games, returned home to their newly refurbished living quarters in District 12, and fallen haplessly to the cannibalism of PTSD. And now we're back! Hitching our wagons once again to laconic Katniss Everdeen and her sweet-natured, just-for-the-camera boyfriend Peeta Mellark as they gear up for a second go at the Capitol's killing fields.
But hold your horses — there's a good hour and a half before we step back into the arena. However, the time spent with Katniss and Peeta before the announcement that they'll be competing again for the ceremonial Quarter Quell does not drag. In fact, it's got some of the film franchise's most interesting commentary about celebrity, reality television, and the media so far, well outweighing the merit of The Hunger Games' satire on the subject matter by having Katniss struggle with her responsibilities as Panem's idol. Does she abide by the command of status quo, delighting in the public's applause for her and keeping them complacently saturated with her smiles and curtsies? Or does Katniss hold three fingers high in opposition to the machine into which she has been thrown? It's a quarrel that the real Jennifer Lawrence would handle with a castigation of the media and a joke about sandwiches, or something... but her stakes are, admittedly, much lower. Harvey Weinstein isn't threatening to kill her secret boyfriend.
Through this chapter, Katniss also grapples with a more personal warfare: her devotion to Gale (despite her inability to commit to the idea of love) and her family, her complicated, moralistic affection for Peeta, her remorse over losing Rue, and her agonizing desire to flee the eye of the public and the Capitol. Oftentimes, Katniss' depression and guilty conscience transcends the bounds of sappy. Her soap opera scenes with a soot-covered Gale really push the limits, saved if only by the undeniable grace and charisma of star Lawrence at every step along the way of this film. So it's sappy, but never too sappy.
In fact, Catching Fire is a masterpiece of pushing limits as far as they'll extend before the point of diminishing returns. Director Francis Lawrence maintains an ambiance that lends to emotional investment but never imposes too much realism as to drip into territories of grit. All of Catching Fire lives in a dreamlike state, a stark contrast to Hunger Games' guttural, grimacing quality that robbed it of the life force Suzanne Collins pumped into her first novel.
Once we get to the thunderdome, our engines are effectively revved for the "fun part." Katniss, Peeta, and their array of allies and enemies traverse a nightmare course that seems perfectly suited for a videogame spin-off. At this point, we've spent just enough time with the secondary characters to grow a bit fond of them — deliberately obnoxious Finnick, jarringly provocative Johanna, offbeat geeks Beedee and Wiress — but not quite enough to dissolve the mystery surrounding any of them or their true intentions (which become more and more enigmatic as the film progresses). We only need adhere to Katniss and Peeta once tossed in the pit of doom that is the 75th Hunger Games arena, but finding real characters in the other tributes makes for a far more fun round of extreme manhunt.
But Catching Fire doesn't vie for anything particularly grand. It entertains and engages, having fun with and anchoring weight to its characters and circumstances, but stays within the expected confines of what a Hunger Games movie can be. It's a good one, but without shooting for succinctly interesting or surprising work with Katniss and her relationships or taking a stab at anything but the obvious in terms of sending up the militant tyrannical autocracy, it never even closes in on the possibility of being a great one.
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The Rolling Stones rocker Keith Richards has joined a campaign to protect a meadow opposite his famous home in Redlands, England. The guitarist's country estate became notorious back in 1967 when it was the scene of a major drugs bust involving his bandmate Sir Mick Jagger and the singer's then-girlfriend Marianne Faithfull.
Richards still owns the house, and is joining his neighbours in fighting to protect the surrounding countryside, including a meadow which they want to have reclassified as a nature reserve to protect it from possible development, according to Britain's Sunday Express.
Local resident Peter Dawson tells the newspaper, "It is vital Redlands Meadow gets protected by law otherwise it could be cultivated for agriculture using chemicals or it could even be sold for property development. We love Keith as a neighbour because he is completely dedicated to protecting the wonderful countryside we all enjoy so much. He may be a rock star but he is the most down to earth man I know."
Some celebrities take time out of their busy schedules of being famous to do charity work and take part in social causes. In the United States, the highest honor that a civilian can get is the Presidential Medal of Freedom, while in England, people are knighted and officially called “Sir” or “Dame.” Lucky for them, knighted celebs don’t have to go jousting or hang out in crusades, but they do get pretty awesome bragging rights. Of course, none of the following celebrities are “Sir” enough to match the one and only Sir Mix-A-Lot, but then again, who can?
Bow down, children – these 7 celebrities are recognized royalty in their home countries.
Elton John Elton John’s real name is Sir Elton Hercules John (actually it used to be Reginald Dwight, but we don’t need to go there). Knighted in 1998 for his charitable work and for being, well, Elton f**kng John, the Rocket Man has done a great deal for both music and charities, including campaigning hard for AIDS awareness since the 1980s.
Helen Mirren Helen Mirren may have pretended to be the Queen of England, but she is a genuine Dame. In 1996, Mirren was offered appointment as Commander of the British Order in 1996, but she declined, instead accepting damehood for her contributions to the performing arts in 2003. Her full title is Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire – with a title like that, it’s understandable why she held out. Really, though, Mirren should’ve received damehood just for those famously smoking hot bikini pictures.
Mick Jagger Fellow Rolling Stoner Keith Richards has been vocal about his disdain for knighthood, calling it a “paltry honor” that wasn’t true to what the Stones are about. In true Richards style, he said all this after once self-proclaimed “anarchist” Mick Jagger had already accepted his knighthood, which, by the way, was given rather dubiously. Reportedly, the Queen of England didn’t have “the stomach” to award gyrating Jagger with the honor, leaving it up to the Prince of Wales to do the dirty work.
Loretta Lynn Loretta Lynn is the Queen of Country for a reason – she is hands-down the most awarded woman in country music. Lynn has won numerous industry awards, and in 1995, was also the recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors award, a distinction given to performers that have made significant contributions to American culture. Just last month, President Obama announced Lynn will be awarded with the Medal of Freedom, calling her a “country legend.”
Bob Dylan He may have made a living singing anti-establishment songs for decades, but Bob Dylan had no problem being awarded the Medal of Freedom from President Obama in 2012. Obama said of Dylan that there was no “bigger giant in the history of American music” and commended him for his messages of freedom, while Dylan, in proper Dylan style, attended the ceremony looking like a lost Tim Burton character.
Oprah It’s no surprise that Oprah will be the owner of a Medal of Honor since Oprah owns pretty much everything. Along with Loretta Lynn, Oprah is also being awarded the prestigious honor for her long-standing philanthropy charity work this year.
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Rock legend Carl Palmer had to turn down the chance to become Black Sabbath's new drummer when the heavy metal stars reunited in 2011 because he was too busy touring with supergroup Asia. The former Emerson, Lake & Palmer star has revealed pal Tony Iommi offered him the job when it became clear Bill Ward would not be part of the reunion but he had to decline the dream gig.
Palmer, who will launch his first Los Angeles art exhibit at Mr. Musichead gallery on Thursday (22Aug13), tells WENN, "Tony and I did talk when they were looking for drummers to make the album and he put me forward. I couldn't do it because I was off with Asia, we were touring and then something else came up. I couldn't have done it but I would have loved to. It just wasn't on the cards."
But the rocker, who is hoping to attend Black Sabbath's homecoming gig in Birmingham, England in December (13), admits that playing in a band like Iommi's is something he'd still like to do.
He adds, "I was classically trained but basically I'm a rock drummer and I've never been in a true out-and-out guitar band like Black Sabbath, where it's just big riffs - very simple but very dynamic... It would be extremely invigorating.
"The older I get the more I appreciate that music... I was late to come to heavy metal. Asia had a bit of that but we were a little bit more corporate rock and melodic."
One thing Palmer won't be doing is reuniting with Greg Lake and Keith Emerson anytime soon.
He states, "I don't really want to play with ELP anymore. I've made that very clear. We played in July, 2010 in London and that's gone."
Council bosses in Leeds, England have apologised after Bruce Springsteen's tour trucks were given parking tickets. The Boss headed to the city to play for thousands of fans at Leeds Arena on Wednesday night (24Jul13), but drivers of his stage equipment landed in hot water with traffic wardens, who issued fines for parking their vehicles on a side street near the venue.
Council leader Keith Wakefield has now apologised for the move and has revoked the tickets.
He says, "It was somebody being a little bit stupid and zealous. It is an awareness thing. The lorries are supposed to park off-site and then be called into the arena."
Since delving into Christopher Guest's new television series Family Tree, I have been asked by many a Best in Show and A Mighty Wind fan deprived of an HBO subscription, "Is it hilarious?" And the answer, the unabashed truth, is no. Throughout the seven-episode season, I found myself going full half-hours without more than a laugh or two — and we're talking modest chuckles. Approaching the program with the expectations garnered from years of adoring Guest's uproarious big screen work, I found myself perplexed by the pilot: Are these punchlines supposed to earn more than just a knowing smirk? Are the gags and quirks of these subdued characters meant to stand up against the riotous one-liners of Guest's past work? Perhaps the director was going for something different, something alogether new, with this venture — something that might aptly be defined not only by its comedy but by its drama.
A full season having gone by, I still wonder exactly what Family Tree was going for all this time, whether it meant to identify itself by its laughter or its heart. But this muddled identity notwithstanding, these seven episodes proved that Guest knows precisely how to tell a story. On Sunday night, the chapter closed on star Chris O'Dowd's wayward hero Tom Chadwick, a recently unemployed and newly single 30-year-old Londoner who compenstates for his new void of substantial happiness by investigating his own family tree (an exploit brought on by the passing of a great aunt he barely knew). Having somewhat of a conflicted relationship with his alarmingly eccentric sister Bea (Nina Conti) — who carres a monkey puppet with her at all times through which to speak candidly — and their moreover distant father Keith (Michael McKean), Tom seems to look at family as the "final frontier," after coming up short in the realms of the romantic and the professional.
And so, his journeys take him much farther than he might have anticipated. He discovers his roots in showbiz, a set of unknown second cousins in a rural England town, and — in what seems to be the pay-off to which the first half of the season had been leading — takes a trip to U.S. soil when he finds out about a collection of Chadwicks residing across the pond, dating back to the 1800s.
The latter four episodes have Tom uniting with his American brethren: conspiracy theorist Al (Ed Begley Jr.) and his flighty hippie wife Kitty (Carrie Aizley), an eccentric but good-hearted pair who open their home to their visiting cousin; Civil War reenactor Rick (Matt Greisser) and his incurably blunt girlfriend Julie (Maria Blasucci), who also enjoy their share of clubbing; and oddball Southerner Dave (Guest himself), who suffers from a vestigial tail and hasn't seen his wife in two years. But his journeys do not cease with the Chadwicks — Tom learns, through interracting with his new kinfolk, that he has roots in American Indian and Jewish lineages, eventually coming to meet the equally amicable Schmelff side of the family (which includes the familiar faces of Kevin Pollak and Guest fixture Bob Balaban).
Recalling just how eager each new character is to welcome Tom into his or her life and home offers a new rationale behind what makes Family Tree work so well in the absence of obviously laugh-out-loud comedy, or punch-to-the-gut tearjerker moments. Whereas Tom's plight to find new family could have easily disintegrated into mayhem in the face of unanticipated madness, the quirks and eccentricities of his new relatives are met with the sort of kindly, humorous sensibility that you adopt to approach your own relatives' psychological shortcomings. Everyone that Tom meets, even Rick's didactic historian friend Harvey (Don Lake) who grows frustrated with Tom's irreverence for their Civil War reenactments, is more than happy to help him on his mission, and is just as excited as he about the background and legacy of the Chadwick clan.
Of course, the series takes some pretty standard turns: Tom meets an American girl, Ally (Amy Seimetz), whom he saves from a scuffle via his talents assessing the point of fault in traffic accidents, and becomes smitten with her, as does she with him. In the finale, he pioneers a ribald affection for his sister, warts and all, when he steals back her beloved Monk after it has been apprehended by a stubborn charity worker. These are the "high points" of the show's energy, the explosions of purpose and direction. Otherwise, Family Tree delivers a slight, slow, smooth arc to get Tom over his breakup and layoff, allowing him a new sense of self worth, which he derives from his bloodline adventure. And it's as engaging as it is pleasant.
Its outlying climactic beats aside, the series takes pride in its low energy and its realism, melding that classic Guest nuttiness with some down-to-earth charm. It's not as much a comedy as it is a venerable slice of life — we accompany Tom on his trip, which fits not to any particular storytelling form, but unravels organically as he learns about, contemplates, and experiences these new episodes of his life. So perhaps it isn't a misplaced identity at all, but just one that we don't often see on television: a program that realizes we don't need excess comedy or drama to stuff a story. We just need to be, as the character of Tom is at his core, fascinated with the intrinsically majestic idea of a story itself.
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Country music star Toby Keith returned to the rubble of his home town with a local Oklahoma TV crew earlier this week (beg01Jul13) to pay tribute to a beloved weatherman who kept him up to date with the May (13) storms. The Beer For My Horses singer was in Oklahoma the night before the tornadoes hit and had to watch the destruction of the 20 May (13) storm on an iPad app in a Nashville, Tennessee studio.
He quickly halted his recording plans and headed home to make sure his family and friends in Moore were OK - and he returned to the town with meteorologist pal Gary England this week as he prepared for his benefit concert in Norman this weekend (06Jul13).
Keith told the News9 weatherman, "I've got the News9 app on my iPad and so I got in the studio and started working and flipped it on.
"We sat and watched it (storm) as it crossed the interstate and 4th Street; I said, 'It's gonna get my sister...', and so we said, 'We have to start making arrangements to get back.'"
Keith told England that the frequent Oklahoma storms always bring back bad memories from his childhood: "We didn't have the storm shelters we have today... We had bunk beds and mum would wrap the mattresses around (them), put one on top, and we would just get in. We rode some out.
"There was (sic) big pieces of sheet rock and stuff coming through your window in the bedroom and the house was rattling... Those are bad memories."
The singer then thanked local news veteran England for his tireless storm reporting, insisting, "We lean on you for this," and adding, "You save a lot of lives."
Keith's tornado benefit concert on Saturday will feature performances from Willie Nelson, Garth Brooks, Ronnie Dunn, Trisha Yearwood and rocker Sammy Hagar.