Oscar-nominated hip-hop star Pharrell Williams named his son Rocket Ayer to honour his favourite musicians, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Herbie Hancock and Roy Ayers. The Happy hitmaker reveals he and his wife, model/designer Helen Lasichanh, wanted to give the five year old a name that would symbolise the success they hope he will have in life, while also paying tribute to Williams' pop icons.
In a new interview with TV titan Oprah Winfrey, he says, "In the same way that the Indians name their children like behind a force or an animal or an element, we named him after a manmade machine that was meant to go up. Meant to ascend.
"And metaphorically, it was because of, you know, Stevie Wonder's Rocket Love, Elton John's Rocket Man and Herbie Hancock's Rocket. All of my favourite musicians. And his middle name is not Man. It's Ayer after Roy Ayers."
Alicia Keys will perform with Carole King and Roy Ayers at her annual Black Ball in November (13). The 10th anniversary of the fundraiser for her Keep a Child Alive charity will take place at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City.
British soul star Laura Mvula and opera singer Kathleen Battle will also perform.
Keys says, "This year's Black Ball is particularly special for all of us at KCA because it's a celebration of our 10th anniversary.
"It's incredible the impact that we've been able to make since the beginning. I can't wait to take the stage with musical giants Carole King and Roy Ayers for some ridiculously one-of-a-kind performances."
Ayers performed at the inaugural Black Ball in 2004 and soprano Battle sang alongside Keys at the 2007 event.
King was slated to perform at last year's (12) benefit, which was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy.
Enigmatic and deliberate Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy makes no reservations while unraveling its heady spy story for better or worse. The film based on the bestselling novel by John Le Carre is purposefully perplexing effectively mirroring the central character George Smiley's (Gary Oldman) own mind-bending investigation of the British MI6's mole problem. But the slow burn pacing clinical shooting style and air of intrigue only go so far—Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy sports an incredible cast that can't dramatically translate the movie's impenetrable narrative. Almost from the get go the movie collapses under its own weight.
After a botched mission in Hungary that saw his colleague Jim (Mark Strong) gunned down in the streets Smiley and his boss Control (John Hurt) are released from the "Circus" (codename for England's Secret Intelligence Service). But soon after Smiley is brought back on board as an impartial observer tasked to uncover the possible infiltration of the organization. The former agent already dealing with the crippling of his own marriage attempts to sift through the history and current goings on of the Circus narrowing his hunt down to four colleagues: Percy aka "Tinker" (Toby Jones) Bill aka "Tailor" (Colin Firth) Roy aka "Soldier" (Ciaran Hinds) and Toy aka "Poor Man" (David Dencik). Working with Peter (Benedict Cumberbatch) a conflicted younger member of the service and Ricki (Tom Hardy) a rogue agent who has information of his own Smiley slowly uncovers the muddled truth—occasionally breaking in to his own work place and crossing his own friends to do so.
Describing Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy as dense doesn't seem complicated enough. The first hour of the monster mystery moves at a sloth's pace trickling out information like the tedious drips of a leaky faucet. The talent on display is undeniable but the characters Smiley included are so cold that a connection can never be made. TTSS sporadically jumps around from past to present timelines without any indication: a tactic that proves especially confusing when scenes play out in reoccurring locations. It's not until halfway through that the movie decides to kick into high gear Smiley's search for a culprit finally becoming clear enough to thrill. A film that takes its time is one thing but Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy does so without any edge or hook.
What the movie lacks in coherency it makes up for in style and thespian gravitas. Director Tomas Alfredson has assembled some of the finest British performers working today and they turn the script's inaccessible spy jargon into poetry. Firth stands out as the group's suave slimeball a departure from his usual nice guy roles. Hardy assures us he's the next big thing once again as the agency's resident moppet a lover who breaks down after a romantic fling uncovers horrifying truth. Oldman is given the most difficult task of the bunch turning the reserved contemplative Smiley into a real human. He half succeeds—his observational slant in the beginning feels like an extension of the movie's bigger problems but once gets going in the second half of the film he's quite a bit of fun.
Alfredson constructs Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy like a cinematic architect each frame dripping with perfectly kitschy '70s production design and camera angles that make the spine tingle. He creates paranoia through framing similar to the Coppola's terrifying The Conversation but unlike that film TTSS doesn't have the characters or story to match. The movie strives to withhold information and succeeds—too much so. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy wants us to solve a mystery with George Smiley but it never clues us in to exactly why we should want to.