Iron Maiden's Trooper beer has proved a big hit as the brewers behind the drink have just produced the one millionth pint six months ahead of schedule. The heavy rockers launched the ale two months ago (May13) and beer experts at brewing company Robinsons estimate they have sold 20,000 pints a day.
Managing director Oliver Robinson says, "We are amazed to reach this mark in such a short time, a million pints already is way ahead of all rational expectations, and are grateful for the support we have had from the retailers, Maiden fans, real ale enthusiasts, our distributors and the beer trade generally as they were so quick to catch on to the genuine and unique quality of this beer."
He adds, "This is a great showcase for our new brew house and demonstrates the sorts of volumes it is capable of producing. It's very exciting to observe Trooper as it expands across Britain and then, we fully expect, internationally. It is easily the fastest-selling new beer Robinsons have ever had."
Rapper Jay-Z has made his first major signing as a qualified sports agent by picking up basketball superstar Kevin Durant. The Oklahoma City Thunder all-star has signed to Roc Nation Sports, the new agency the hip-hop icon has launched with bosses at the Creative Artist Agency.
Durant's new rep says, "He has a 90.5 (per cent) free throw shooting rate... (He's) a giving individual and a legend in the making. What more can I say?"
The Thunder star is considered one of the best five players in professional basketball.
Jay-Z's Roc Nation Sports also represents New York Yankees all-star second baseman Robinson Cano, New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith and female basketball phenomenon Skylar Diggins.
Daryl Hannah and Mia Farrow are among the stars who have reached out to Nelson Mandela and his family after it emerged the former South African leader is in a critical condition in hospital. Mandela, 94, has suffered failing health over the last few months as he battled a recurrent lung infection, and he has been under the care of doctors at a medical centre in Pretoria since 8 June (13).
However, his condition deteriorated over the weekend (22-23Jun13), and the country's current President Jacob Zuma revealed on Sunday (23Jun13) that Mandela is now critically ill.
The news has prompted an outpouring of love and support for the civil rights icon, with a number of stars expressing their sadness via social networking websites.
Splash star Hannah writes in a post on Twitter.com, "Love him... & strength love (sic) to him & his family," while fellow actress Farrow offers, "Thoughts, prayers, gratitude," adding a famous quote from Mandela: "For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."
Alyssa Milano and Holly Robinson Peete ask fans to pray for Mandela, while British singer Beverley Knight writes, "Just heard... Nelson Mandela's condition has become 'critical' overnight. I pray his remaining time is peaceful."
Messages have also been offered by rocker Billy Bragg, actor Albert Brooks and singer Alexandra Burke.
Stars including Ryan Phillippe, Mia Farrow and Brooklyn Decker were on the edge of their seats on Sunday (23Jun13) as daredevil Nik Wallenda walked a tightrope above a gorge in Arizona on live TV. Skywire Live With Nik Wallenda aired in the U.S. on the Discovery Channel, and celebrities took to their Twitter.com pages to share their awe as Wallenda made his way over the Little Colorado River Gorge, near the Grand Canyon, without a safety harness.
Actress/model Decker declared, "My stomach is inside my throat right now... Wow. Wow wow. Amazed/terrified", while Farrow proclaimed, "His poor poor family" and Carrie Underwood asked her fans, "Is anybody else watching this dude walk across the Grand Canyon (sic) on a tightrope? With no net! So crazy!"
Phillippe added, "This is the scariest thing I've ever watched... This is the best advertisement Jesus has had in forever!", while Holly Robinson Peete tweeted, "It's too windy! I can't watch" and actress Kaley Cuoco wrote, "This guy is effing nuts! I wanna throw up!"
Wallenda had viewers gripped for 22 tense minutes, and his famous fans were thrilled when he completed the challenge.
Country star Keith Urban declared, "Go Nik Wallenda! Absolutely astounding feat and faith! We were with you every single step!" and actor Jerry O'Connell added, "Congrats (sic) Nik Wallenda... I'm gonna dig my Shape Ups (shoes) out of the closet now."
Rapper Jay-Z is now authorised to scout professional baseball and basketball talent for his new sports management team after passing a licensing exam and becoming a certified agent. The Empire State of Mind hitmaker expanded his business empire earlier this year (13) with the launch of Roc Nation Sports, but he wasn't legally allowed to conduct negotiations with prospective clients until he completed the registration process.
And this week (begs17Jun13), the hip-hop star, real name Shawn Carter, was finally given the green light to recruit athletes for his company roster in Major League Baseball (MLB) and the National Basketball Association (NBA), according to ESPN.com.
A handful of players are already signed to Jay-Z's Roc Nation Sports, among them New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano and New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith.
Veteran British actress Joan Collins has publicly congratulated her novelist sister after she was feted in Queen Elizabeth II's birthday honours list. Popular author Jackie Collins was named as the recipient of an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) medal when the coveted titles were announced on Saturday (15Jun13) in honour of the British monarch's 2013 birthday celebrations.
Her actress sister has now expressed her well-wishes in a post on Twitter.com, writing, "Congratulations Jackie Collins on your well deserved OBE! Thrilled for you, sis!!!!! Will you be coming to get it? Must celebrate!"
Welsh comedian Rob Brydon also landed a Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) medal and his funnyman friend David Walliams was quick to respond, joking, "Congratulations to my friend Rob Brydon who was made a Dame today."
Singer Adele and former Blackadder co-stars Rowan Atkinson and Tony Robinson were also among those honoured with titles from the Queen, who celebrated her 87th birthday with a parade in London on Saturday (15Jun13).
The British monarch turned 87 in April (13) but her birthday is officially celebrated annually in June (13).
Singer Adele and Mr. Bean star Rowan Atkinson have been named among the recipients of coveted titles on Queen Elizabeth II's Birthday Honors List. The 87-year-old monarch has bestowed a Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) medal on the Grammy Award-winning 25 year old, while funnyman Atkinson has been awarded a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire).
Adele's MBE comes during a very special year for the new mum - she picked up her first Oscar in February (13) for co-writing the theme to hit Bond film Skyfall.
The two celebrities are among the nearly 1,200 people who have been recognised by The Queen on her birthday.
Atkinson's former Blackadder sidekick Tony Robinson has been handed a knighthood and will therefore be able to add 'Sir' to his name.
Upon hearing the news, Robinson, 66, told the BBC, "I'm thrilled, flattered and a little gob-smacked," adding, "I'll use my new title with abandon to highlight the causes I believe in, particularly the importance of culture, the arts and heritage in our society, and the plight of the infirm elderly and their carers.
"I also pledge that from this day on I'll slaughter all unruly dragons, and rescue any damsels in distress who request my help."
Meanwhile, one-time Bond villain Julian Glover, actress Claire Bloom and revered cinematographer Roger Deakins join Atkinson on the list of CBE recipients, celebrated sculptor Anish Kapoor has been given a knighthood, British comedian Rob Brydon and singer PJ Harvey have been honoured with MBEs and grown-up child star Aled Jones has picked up an OBE (Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) medal.
The 42 year old Walking in the Air hitmaker says, "I'm delighted and deeply honoured to be recognised."
Authors Jackie Collins, Kate Mosse and Joanne Harris have also been recognised on The Queen's Birthday Honors List - Collins and Mosse pick up CBEs for services to literature, while Harris is among the MBE recipients.
Aerosmith rockers Steven Tyler and Joe Perry were celebrated for their hit records on Thursday (13Jun13) as they were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. The Walk This Way hitmakers were joined by Sir Elton John, his songwriting partner Bernie Taupin and singer-songwriter J.D. Souther for the star-studded ceremony at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City.
Existing inductees Sir Elton and Taupin were presented with the Johnny Mercer Award, while legendary singer Smokey Robinson was on hand to give his good friend Motown founder Berry Gordy the Pioneer Award.
Celebrity guests including rock couple Avril Lavigne and Chad Kroeger, and singer Jordin Sparks were treated to performances by Sting and Foreigner.
The remaining members of hip-hop group The Pharcyde are taking legal action against their two former bandmates amid allegations they are illegally touring under the group name. Rapper Fatlip, real name Derrick Stewart, left the Runnin' hitmakers after the release of their second album in 1995, while Slimkid3, aka Tre Hardson, walked away from the band to go solo in 2000, leaving Romye 'Bootie Brown' Robinson and Imani Wilcox to continue under the group moniker.
Fatlip and Slimkid3 subsequently reunited and staged a series of performances together, and all four original members joined forces in 2008 to hit the stage at the Rock the Bells Festival Series across the U.S.
Fatlip and Slimkid3 have since announced plans to tour Europe as The Pharcyde to celebrate the band's 1992 debut album, Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde, with backing from bosses at their original label, Delicious Vinyl Records - but Robinson and Wilcox have taken issue with the billing for the live gigs and have filed suit in a federal court in Los Angeles.
The veteran stars are citing the terms of a recording contract, signed in 1992 and amended in 1997, in which they were granted sole rights to the band's "names, likenesses and other identifying material".
The plaintiffs claim a number of cease and desist letters have been ignored by Fatlip and Slimkid3, leaving them no choice but to sue for breach of contract, trademark infringement and unfair competition. Delicious Vinyl Records executives have also been named as defendants in the court papers.
Many would have been at least marginally on board with 100 minutes of celebrity cameos and screwball humor. That's how This Is the End was being sold, unsurprisingly: on its endless array of one-note celebrity appearances and the sort of pithy, naturalistic one liners for which this gang of Apatowlets has become famous. Another drug- and pop culture-infused high stakes comic adventure? Why not? Pineapple Express was enough of a good time to keep M.I.A. periodically in our heads for the years to follow. But This Is the End would prove, from the very first second of its opening shot, to be nothing like its Rogen and Goldberg-helmed predecessor.
Okay, not nothing. It's still got plenty of drugs, pop culture, and nutty gags. But that's not what it's about. Yes, this movie is actually, very adamantly, about something. And it's fascinating.
We realize that we're in for something unexpected when the movie introduces itself with a wordless, understated vantage point of Seth Rogen waiting humbly and uncomfortably in a Los Angeles airport. No over-the-top antics or goofy fantastical foreshadowing thrust upon us en media res to set the mood: instead, we're anchored way, way down to Earth as Seth reunites with lifelong pal Jay Baruchel, who is in town for the weekend. The moments to follow their gleeful embrace have the pair celebrating one another and their time together... a glee cut short when Seth introduces the idea of attending a party at James Franco's mansion that night.
Here's where the conflict comes in. Not a conflict developed simply to inject some character weight into a story about the apocalypse, but the actual central conflict of the movie. This, as we learn from an extensive, detailed conversation about Jay's aversion to Seth's Hollywood gang (which includes Franco, Jonah Hill, and Craig Robinson), is a story about this group of friends. No, quite accessibly, the very nature of any group of friends.
Stuck in a house together after the apocalypse rains down upon the Earth (sinkholes and fires and good people ascending to heaven and demons and all that jazz, it's pretty heavy), Seth, Jay, Franco, Jonah, and Craig metaphorically exemplify the isolated structure of a social clique. Like your high school group, your college house, your work cronies, or the bunch of kids you met on Birthright, this group is an island. And in this self-contained society, no matter how sure of itself that it might be, there are inevitably going to be rifts.
Feelings of imbalance, losing touch, in-group fighting, and that one friend that nobody likes or trusts (embodied here by a scene-stealing Danny McBride, who shows up midway through the adventure to hike up the chaos) are all issues painted quite vividly by This Is the End, using the apocalyptic backdrop to represent the world-ending turmoils that accompany any cherished friend group. And, of course, using the brand of comedy for which these guys are known to make the story all that more engaging. While any one of us might have thought, "Man, I'd love to write a movie about my group of friends," the thought always comes with a heavy-hearted realization that few people outside your group of friends would actually care all that much about them. But Rogen has the luxury of people very much caring about his friends. And so, they're the perfect gang through which this story might be told.
At the heart of the movie is Seth's relationship with Jay, the odd man out of the Hollywood clique, feeling overwhelmed by the eccentric Franco, intimidated by relative stranger Craig, and fully contemptuous in regards to the phony he considers Jonah to be. Seth, the group favorite, deals with the fissures, undertaking his own anxieties as the people around him turn on one another. Odds are, you've been someone in this situation. Odds are, one of the groups through which you've traversed have seen this type of calamity. Although we might consider our social circles to be entirely self-sustaining (as Franco assures the lot that they are, calling for everyone to stay put in his L.A. home), they are the most delicate things we have.
Delivered with a shocking amount of substance and enough of that beloved brand of Rogen-and-the-gang comedy to keep things lively and fun throughout, This Is the End tells a sociological story that even puts the friendship arcs of Superbad and Pineapple Express to shame. The sinkholes, demons, and lack of food light a fire under the central fivesome here. But as their friendships appear to be the whole world to these men, the crumbling of these friendships are the real apocalypse.
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