Buggered Mind of Neale Sourna, The

Opines, comments, rants, concerns, imaginings from Neale Sourna, fiction author and more -- www.Neale-Sourna.com, www.PIE-Percept.com, www.ProjectKeanu.com, www.AuthorsDen.com/nealesourna, www.CafeShops.com/NealeSourna, www.Writing-Naked.com, and www.CuntSinger.com

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Ultimate MATRIX DVD set link

Ultimate MATRIX DVD set--http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/read.php?ID=13432

Yahoo Australia/New Zealand: Bans for Aborigines may be needed: PM

Sunday December 5, 02:11 PM AAP

Bans for Aborigines may be needed: PM

Curfews and alcohol bans may be necessary in Aboriginal communities, Prime Minister John Howard said, adding that civil liberties were less important than staying alive.

His comments drew harsh criticism from the Australian Council for Civil Liberties, which said economic solutions would do more than restrictive rules to improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people.

Indigenous problems should be solved at a community level rather than from the top down, Mr Howard said, even if that involved community-imposed curfews and alcohol bans.

"The answer lies in finding solutions at a local level that keep families together, re-assert the authority of parents, instill a greater sense of responsibility in parents and Aboriginal leaders," Mr Howard told ABC Television's Insiders program.

"Where they want to impose the disciplines of things like alcohol bans and limitations, they should be fully supported by governments and they shouldn't get tangled up with people running around and saying this is some kind of restriction on civil liberties.

"The most important civil liberty is to stay alive and unless people are given the opportunity to do so then you can't really start even talking about civil liberties."

That approach was completely unacceptable, Australian Council for Civil Liberties president Terry O'Gorman said.

"It is a policy approach that would never be tolerated in the wider community and it's not being approached equally across all Aboriginal communities," Mr O'Gorman said.

"Leaders in any community, be it Aboriginal or not, have an important role but the fact is that Aboriginal welfare cannot be considered in isolation from the policy issues of the rest of the country.

"Ultimately it has to be an economic approach and the federal government has to be involved in that."

The government would be willing to "go halfway" and work with all Aboriginal leaders to find solutions, Mr Howard said.

However, he emphasised that the new National Indigenous Council (NIC), which will meet for the first time this week, would remain the government's principal source of advice on indigenous issues.

Mr Howard last Friday met with indigenous leaders including Pat and Mick Dodson and former AFL star Michael Long after the footballer walked more than halfway from Melbourne to Canberra to highlight indigenous suffering.

Pat Dodson said he and other Aboriginal leaders were willing to work with the government.

"There's room to negotiate the ways these things can take place but we're all committed to turn around the sadness and the sorrow and the lack of opportunity in the indigenous communities in many places," he told Insiders.

"Instead of being in a position that appears to be oppositional to what the government's position is, we're seeking to have a dialogue about the best way to do that."

WEWS NewsNet5: John Carroll Investigates 3 Alleged Sexual Assaults

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John Carroll Investigates 3 Alleged Sexual Assaults

Thu Dec 2, 8:31 PM ET
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The campus at John Carroll University is on alert after three female students say they were sexually assaulted by male students, reported NewsChannel5.

University officials say the three separate incidents in the last three months are now under investigation.

One of the assaults possible involved the use of a date rape drug, GHB.

Officials said that the other two alleged assaults started as consensual sexual activity, but the male students later refused to stop their advances.

The college issued an e-mail Wednesday to all students saying that these sexual assault cases may result in criminal charges, and that any student who violates the John Carroll sexual misconduct policy will be expelled from the school.

WEWS' Joe Pagonakis reported that the school has talked to at least one of the accused attackers, but unless the female students file charges, all the school can do is warn its students.

"No one has come forward ... I can't move forward in the judicial process," said student counselor Sherri Crahen.

Officials say they will continue to question the students involved in all three cases, and they hope that the female students will file formal complaints so that the cases can be thoroughly investigated.

WEWS NewsNet5: Teens Tell Stories Of Sex At House Parties

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Teens Tell Stories Of Sex At House Parties

Thu Dec 2, 1:44 PM ET
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Research shows 16 percent of girls and 20 percent of boys have engaged in sexual intercourse by the time they reach their 14th birthday. For some fourth- and fifth-graders, sex is the topic of school lunch room conversations almost daily.

In a special report, NewsChannel5's Deb Lee explored the troubling statistics.

Lee talked with a 15-year-old Cleveland-area girl who is enrolled at the Pepper Pike Alcohol Treatment Center for kids about her experiences with alcohol and sex.

The teen said kids are having sex as young as 11 and 12 years old. She added that it happens at house parties in Cleveland and surrounding suburbs, where the liquor flows so freely and girls sometimes black out.

I know at least six or seven girls that are my good friends that got raped the first time they ever had sex, she said. That's how they lost their virginity by getting raped at a party while they were under the influence.

Another teen, who will be called Jay, also knows about the parties. He's also from the Cleveland area and was a resident at the treatment center. Jay, who is 18 now, said he had sex at an early age, too.

"I lost my virginity when I was 9 years old," he said. "Most of the time, it's us boys pressuring the girls to do this, do that. But sometimes it's not all our fault. Sometimes girls be dressing all trashy... you see them out in the street with their little short skirts and tank tops and stuff."

Another teen says TV glorifies sex.

"They're all drinking and getting drunk and everything and the rappers are talking about doing drugs and having sex with people and all that," a teen said.

Dr. Slyvia Rimm, an area expert on child psychology, has interviewed hundreds of children around the country for a book on habits of middle schoolers.

Lee said she discovered that second-, third- and fourth-graders are talking about sex.

"The oral sex, even a generation ago, wasn't common in high school and now is common as early as 8th grade and even common in high school and taken lightly, I'm sorry to say, in our former president's words," Rimm said.

Lee reported that former President Bill Clintons statement: I did not have sex with that woman... Miss Lewinsky," -- has had an impact.

She said teens do not think oral sex counts as sex.

"I think there can be real psychological harm when kids are that young Rimm said.

Many teens are choosing abstinence and sobriety. In fact, the 15-year-old in the story sought help through treatment and is now beginning a new life, in a new community, at a new school.

"I'm not going to have the peer pressure, and I'm gonna be able to do what I need to do to help myself," she said.

For more information, go to www.newdirect.org

NewsNet5 -- Police: Man Goes Into School, Grabs Boys' Genitals

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Police: Man Goes Into School, Grabs Boys' Genitals

Fri Dec 3,12:48 PM ET
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The Stark County [Greater Cleveland, Ohio USA] sheriff's department is investigating two reports of sexual assaults on high school students, reported NewsChannel5.

Two wrestlers at Glenoak High School say a man whom they didn't know grabbed them in the genital area.

One of the attacks happened in the boys locker room, and the other happened as the student was exiting the school.

The man is described as white and in his mid- to late 20s, or early 30s.

He's about 5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 11 inches and weighs about 200 pounds. He is also described as having a short, military-style haircut, dark goatee and glasses with black frames, and walks with a limp.

Call the Stark County sheriff's office if you have any information about the attacks.

Planet Out: Naval Academy rejects gay alumni group

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Planet Out
Naval Academy rejects gay alumni group

Fri Dec 3, 3:09 PM ET
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PlanetOut Network

SUMMARY: For the second year in a row, the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association has rejected a proposal from gay and lesbian graduates to establish their own alumni chapter.

For the second year in a row, the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association has rejected a proposal from gay and lesbian graduates to establish their own alumni chapter.

The group had changed its strategy this year, repositioning itself as a geography-based group. The proposed name for the group was changed from USNA Out to the Castro Chapter, named for the gay-identified district of San Francisco, where some of the group's 68 members live.

The group also changed its bylaws to specify that heterosexual alumni are welcome.

Last year the proposal was rejected because the chapter was not organized around geography, as nearly all other alumni groups are.

The association's reason for rejecting the group this year is nearly identical to last year's, according to its statement: "The Alumni Association believes that a chapter based on a special interest or personal characteristics is unnecessary and runs counter to its traditional geographic-based organizing principle."

The organization suggested that members of the proposed group who live in the Castro, for example, could join the existing San Francisco chapter.

Jeff Petrie, a 1989 graduate of the academy who founded the chapter, said the whole point of the proposal is that openly gay graduates do not always feel comfortable attending alumni functions in existing chapters.

"It is difficult for many of us gay graduates to participate in the regular chapter meetings, because we are not welcome," he said.

"I think when they reject us today, they are making their discrimination clear," Petrie told the Associated Press on Thursday.

Planet Out: Church convicts, defrocks lesbian cleric

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Planet Out
Church convicts, defrocks lesbian cleric

Thu Dec 2, 8:41 PM ET
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Tom Musbach, PlanetOut Network

SUMMARY: The United Methodist Church trial of a lesbian minister who violated church law by being honest about who she is ended Thursday with a guilty conviction and a vote to defrock her.

The rare United Methodist Church (UMC) trial of a lesbian minister who violated church law by being honest about who she is ended Thursday with a guilty conviction and a vote to defrock her.

A jury of clergy from the UMC voted 12-1 that Rev. Irene Elizabeth Stroud, 34, violated a church law that forbids "self-avowed, practicing homosexuals" from ministry. During the penalty phase, the jury voted 7-6 to defrock, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

The trial, which lasted two days, took place in Pughtown, in Eastern Pennsylvania. Dozens of protesters held vigil outside the building, some shielding themselves from the rain under rainbow-colored umbrellas.

Stroud had come out to her congregation during a sermon last year, admitting that she was in a long-term relationship with a woman. "I have come to a place where my discipleship, my walk with Christ, requires telling the whole truth, and paying whatever price truthfulness requires," she said.

Her congregation in Philadelphia was mostly supportive, but Stroud told reporters after the verdict she didn't anticipate the same reaction from the entire church.

"I did not go into this expecting to win," she said after the verdict. "I went into it knowing that it would be a painful moment in the life of the United Methodist Church."

A ruling on Wednesday in the case put her at a disadvantage, when the judge barred her attorney from calling witnesses who would challenge the church's 1984 law against openly gay ministers. The decision by presiding judge Joseph Yeakel, a retired bishop, eliminated six of Stroud's defense witnesses, the AP reported.

She has 30 days to appeal the verdict.

Unlike the Pennsylvania proceeding, most trials in the 8.3-million member denomination are held in private. The last time the church defrocked a lesbian minister was in 1987, in the case of Rev. Rose Mary Denman of New Hampshire.

In March of this year, however, another church court acquitted Rev. Karen Dammann, a minister in Washington, after she came out. Dammann's case angered so many conservative Methodists that the church's general conference approved language that said, "The United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching."

Citing the church's slogan of "Open hearts, open minds, open doors," Laura Montgomery Rutt, director of communications for Soulforce, denounced Thursday's verdict.

"This verdict shows the blatant hypocrisy of the United Methodist Church and poignantly illustrates the spiritual violence that the church perpetuates against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, both inside and outside the church," she said.

Members of Soulforce, a national group dedicated to ending "spiritual violence" against LGBT people, were among the protesters outside the trial.

Planet Out: Gay porn cable channel debuts in Canada

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Planet Out
Gay porn cable channel debuts in Canada

Fri Dec 3, 3:09 PM ET
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Eric Johnston, PlanetOut Network

SUMMARY: Canada's largest cable TV company began offering the Maleflixxx Television channel this week, advertised as the world's first digital cable channel dedicated to gay porn.

Canada's largest cable television company began offering the Maleflixxx Television channel to its subscribers this week, advertised as the world's first digital cable channel dedicated exclusively to hardcore gay adult programming.

Maleflixxx Television is available by subscription on Rogers Cable, which reaches approximately 2.25 million people in eastern Canada, including Toronto, Canada's largest city.

The channel offers all-male hardcore movies from gay filmmakers such as Falcon Studios, with each film starting on the hour or half hour. The current monthly subscription is $19.95 (Canadian) per month.

Presenting close to 100 full-length movies per month from a variety of genres including muscle, twink, leather and fetish, the operators of Maleflixxx Television say they plan to air at least one new feature film every day.

"We're very proud of it," said Eric Johnson, president of Sureflix Digital Distribution, the parent company of Maleflixxx Television. "Gay men are sexually active, liberated men and they enjoy good quality content. We firmly believe people should have as much choice as possible and should be able to watch whatever they want and however they want to watch it."

Johnson told the PlanetOut Network that once word gets out about Maleflixxx Television, he expects it to expand to other cable and satellite systems across Canada, and eventually into the United States and Europe. He said talks are already underway with cable and satellite companies in other countries.

"We're confident our high-quality content and knowledge of programming will draw in a rather substantial subscriber base at Rogers to begin with, and after that we expect the other cable and satellite companies to follow their example and pick up our channel," he said.

Johnson said he is not concerned about offending anyone who is opposed to the graphic nature of the programming.

"This is a subscriber-based channel. You have to order it in order to be able to watch it," he said, noting that Canadian cable companies have shown gay adult content before, without any "major complaints."

Sureflix Digital Distribution is a gay-owned, privately held company based in Toronto. In addition to Maleflixxx Television, Sureflix is also the parent company of www.maleflixxx.tv, an online distributor of gay hardcore video.

Planet Out: Greek lawyers won't sue over 'Alexander'

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Planet Out
Greek lawyers won't sue over 'Alexander'

Fri Dec 3, 3:09 PM ET
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Christopher Curtis, PlanetOut Network

SUMMARY: As the movie "Alexander" makes its Greek premiere on Friday, a group of Greek lawyers decided not to take legal action against the film for portraying the Greek leader as bisexual.

As the movie "Alexander" makes its Greek premiere on Friday, a group of Greek lawyers decided not to take legal action against the film for portraying the Greek leader as bisexual.

The group of 25 lawyers claimed there was no historical evidence suggesting Alexander had male lovers. They had threatened to go to court to get a disclaimer attached to the beginning of Oliver Stone's epic film, warning viewers that the film was not historically accurate.

But after a special screening Friday, attorneys changed their minds.

"There is a kiss that can be interpreted in many ways, but we have avoided the worst," Giannis Varnakas told the Associated Press (AP). "Fortunately it was not what we had feared. The people can go and see the movie."

LGBT rights campaigners condemned the lawyers' efforts, claiming they were not after historical accuracy, but simply homophobic.

Distributors of the film argued art should not be censored.

"Everyone has his own ethical values and beliefs, but I don't believe we should censor art. Cinema is an art and (Oliver) Stone did a movie -- not a historical documentary," Serafim Mavromatis told the AP. Mavromatis is the marketing and advertising manager for Spentzos Film, the Greek distributors of "Alexander."

Mavromatis added nothing in the movie can "damage" the image of Alexander.

"As a matter of fact, Alexander appears to be above and beyond being Greek," he said. "Numerous things have been written about him, and we are talking about a time in which other ethics, values and traditions existed."

boston.craigslist.org > rants & raves > An Open Letter To Porn

boston.craigslist.org > rants & raves >
An Open Letter To Porn
last modified:Tue Nov 23 12:02:12 2004

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An Open Letter To Porn
Reply to: anon-50001396@craigslist.org
Date: Tue Nov 23 12:01:32 2004

Dear Porn,

Hi there, how are you doing? It seems to me like
you're thriving - you're a multi-billion-dollar
worldwide industry and there's more of you out there
every day, in new forms, with new perversions,
expanding into more markets all the time. Your mother
must be so proud.

Don't worry about not recognizing me - you don't know
me, but we actually have a long history together. I
won't go into the full story, but just let me say that
I've done some crazy shit for you, stuff that I'm not
entirely proud of...but that's not to say that you
didn't reciprocate, of course. I mean, you completely
changed my life three times - first, when I discovered
masturbation, second, when I got a TV and VCR in my
own room, and third, when I discovered that I could
find you on the internet. Mind-blowing stuff...and now
that I'm living by myself and am currently single, I
can see you any time I want for as long as I want.
This is like our Golden Age together, except for one
slight problem. I didn't notice it at first, but as we
spent more and more time together it became pretty

You suck, dude.

And I'm not trying to make some sort of cute pun here
- you really do suck. You're awful, horrible, poorly
made, and I can think of a whole list of huge problems
that you have.

First off, you don't make any fucking sense. I mean,
have you ever sat down and actually tried to watch one
of your "features" straight through? If your plot
isn't some needlessly complicated, convoluted mishmash
of nightmarish editing, it's so utterly simple that
non-sex scenes consist of little more than "Hey, we
know each other, let's fuck." I realize that creating
plausible situations for characters to have sex while
only having 5-minute bursts of plot in which to do it
in is difficult, but with that in mind, why bother?
There are fewer people that watch a movie of you for
the plot than read Playboy for the articles (if that's
even possible).

Next, let's talk direction. Do any of the people who
direct you have any clue what in hell they're doing?
Here's just a few of the egregious errors most
directors make:

1) The Extended Close-up: You know, this may surprise
you, but anyone who's watched you for more than five
minutes knows exactly what a penis going in and out of
a vagina looks like. Especially when it's a close-up
shot, where all you can see is pussy, cock, and pubic
hair (except when it's a doggy-style shot, where all
you can see is pussy, cock, balls, pubic hair, and a
pair of asses). And do you know exactly what a
close-up shot of a penis going in and out of a vagina
looks like?

Do you get it now? We've seen it, and we've seen it a
million times, and it never looks any different! It's
not like you can even tell who's actually doing the
fucking just by looking at the close-up, like some
warped version of "Name That Tune" - so why do you
feel the need to spend 45 seconds out of every minute
showing it to us? Could we please actually see what's
going on in the rest of the scene, and maybe show some
breasts or, god forbid, the woman's face, for once?

2) The Guy Shot: Now what the hell is the point of
this? Go out on the street and randomly poll people -
99% of them are going to tell you that women are
better looking than men, and 100% of them are going to
say that female porn stars are better looking than
male porn stars (Ron Jeremy is smart and funny and
all, but let's admit it, dude is fucking ugly). So why
the hell do you randomly, all of a sudden, switch to a
shot of either just the guy's face or just the guy's
upper body or something for 30 seconds? Most guys in
porn don't bother acting while they're fucking anyway,
so all you really get is 30 seconds of not showing
anything remotely interesting. And do you know how
much it sucks to be jerking off, start to come, and
then get stuck with a Guy Shot? You know it's too late
and there's nothing you can do about it, but you'd
rather be doing anything else than coming at that
particular moment. (The nearest equivalent I can think
of is prepping a launch of a missile, pressing the
fire button, and all of a sudden realizing you've just
launched it at your own house.)

3) The Acting: Can this get any worse? It's bad enough
that the acting during the plot segments is wooden at
best, but then when you get to the sex scenes
themselves, it stays universally awful. First, there's
girls who break the fourth wall and look at the camera
when the cameraman isn't part of the scene. Girls, if
you're in control enough to look all sultry at the
camera, we can tell you're bullshitting. Secondly,
girls, don't continue moaning after the guy has pulled
out and is jerking off above you. Nobody is
stimulating you in any way - who the hell do you think
you're fooling? Thirdly, you could replace the guys in
porn with pieces of plywood that have strap-ons
attached to them, and there wouldn't be much

(And speaking of the guys, what the hell is with most
of you needing to jerk off to come? Here you are,
having sex with women that most guys would give their
non-masturbating arms to fuck, and they can't even get
you off? That just seems wrong somehow.)

4) Recycled footage: How fucking dumb do you think we
are? If you take the same 90-second loop of footage
and use it two, three, or even four times during one
scene - news flash! - we can tell, you idiots!

5) Outside shots: Sorry, but your directors need to
learn the concept of light and shadow, because when
you do a shitty job of dealing with light, all the
shadow means that you can't see a damned thing. And I
know it's outside and there are billions of insects
out there, but seeing those little black flies or
gnats flying around while trying to watch some
cunnilingus is really a turnoff.

6) Anal: Look, porn, if I were into watching the gay
version of you, I'd understand this. Guys not only
have the nerve endings in the asshole itself, we have
the prostate too, so it makes sense. But women? All
they have is the nerve endings way down at the end,
and with the amount of testimonials I've heard from
real women who swear against it, why do you perpetuate
this myth that women like taking it up the ass? Not
only that, but when a girl sucks a cock after it's
been up her ass, I don't feel like jerking off, I feel
like cringing. What does one have to do to make that
sanitary, give her a pre-fuck bleach enema?

Direction aside, there's all sorts of other stuff that
stinks about you, porn. For every decent boob job,
there's six girls who have obvious scars and stretch
marks or look like they've had a pair of
cantaloupe-sized lumps of Silly Putty stuck to their
chests. For every Chasey Lain, there's three
skanky-looking girls you wouldn't screw even if you
were falling-down drunk. For every ten seconds' worth
of actually arousing imagery, there's twenty minutes
of uninspriring tedium. And worst of all, for every
hour that I've spent watching you, downloading you,
sneaking around my parents' house looking for you, and
thinking about you in general, there's an hour that I
could have spent been doing something else a million
times more worthwhile.

You suck, porn. See you tonight.

-Lifetime Porn Watcher #10,495,102,867

it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or
other commercial interests

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Ain't It Cool: Constantine [Keanu Reeves]

Another CONSTANTINE Review And A Note From Lauren-Shuler Donner!!
Hi, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab...
This is perhaps the most exhaustive review of CONSTANTINE that we’ve gotten in yet, and I have to say... I’m really looking forward to the movie. I think it sounds cool as hell.

Hey all, thought I'd drop a note about a test screening in Pasadena last night for the new Keanu Reeves movie "Constantine". Just to provide a little background, I'm in the visual f/x biz, and was on the way to a Buena Vista screening on Monday night in Pasadena for "The Life Aquatic", when I happened to walk past a guy handing out fliers for the movie "Constantine". Which was a good thing as it turned out, because after 40 minutes the Disney folks couldn't get the sound and image synced up on "Life Aquatic" and had to cancel the screening. But I've seen the opening 5 times now, and I think I'm going to have those damn pink fish stuck in my head for weeks until I find out what happened to Steve Zissou and his crew.

Anyway, I'd heard a few bits and pieces about Constantine, mostly because I remembered they held a dog-and-pony talk at Comic-Con this year, which I didn't attend because I didn't feel like fighting the thousands of people in the auditorium waiting to get of glimpse of a celebrity. By the way, it cracked me up to watch the Wayan brother(s) stroll through the Con floor with bodyguards like someone was going to touch them or something. Is it me, or is Comic-Con becoming more Hollywood and less Comic every year? But I digress...

So, other than a vague kernel of knowledge that Constantine was a Big Budget Warner Brothers comic adaptation I was totally in the dark about the film. I hadn't read the comics, and I hadn't even seen the trailer. In fact I came to work yesterday morning (at an unnamed Studio, not Warner Brothers), and could only get one person interested in going to the screening with me. Suffice it to say that Warner's as some pr work to do to get this movie out in the public consciousness beyond the comic/Internet crowd.

We sat down in a packed theater, full of a random assortment of people, and I wasn't sure how the screening was going to play. A person behind us was eating something that smelled like bad fish, and the crowd was pretty rowdy. It didn't seem like a geek crowd with a lot of reverence for the source material, but more like they just pulled random people off the street. Which is what they did. The PR guy gave us the ypical intro about us being one of the first audiences in the world to see the film, and how the effects work was incomplete, yada yada yada...And the lights dimmed.

The first thing I should mention is the quality of the print we saw and what stage it was in. The print looked like some kind of digital intermediate, with minor pixelation and compression artifacts, but it wasn't awful. It had a very gritty look, which I think in part was due to the rough state it was in, but hopefully they'll retain that vibe in the final version. The cinematography is moody, and the look reminded me of the first "Blade" film, with a bit of the visual style of Michael Mann's Los Angeles from "Collateral" thrown in. There was a lot of incomplete and temp music as placeholders, but nothing really distracting. For once I was glad to see a test screening that didn't either use Hans Zimmer's Gladiator tracks or the Danny Elfman Scissorhands score as placeholder material. The effects work was surprisingly good and polished for an early screening, and I heard from a friend that Tippett has already finished a lot of their work on it. Thankfully there was no CG that was terribly distracting or obnoxious to pull you out of the story, ala "Blade 2". I have no idea what they're planning on adding as far as CG, but I hope it's not much more. What they had worked well. The Supernatural characters are generally played as non-effects driven, human characters, so hopefully they're not going to do something stupid like add horns or obnoxious glowing flames to any of them. Much like Pacino in Devil's Advocate, it's refreshing to see pure Evil played as a regular guy (or gal). By the way, there is a nice little bit part by Gavin Rossdale, lead singer of Bush, as the demon Balthazar. I didn't know who he was until I read the credits later, but he comes across well. There are subtle effects and some nice reveals of the Supernatural characters which let you see the world through Constantine's eyes, but it wasn't all in-your-face f/x work, like End of Days or the Mummy films. And the Hell stuff looked very promising, with a bit of a What Dreams May Come, painterly feeling. As someone who works on f/x for a living I can be overly critical, but I think they're taking a good approach with the balance between what you see explicitly and what is implied under the surface or in the visions the characters have. I can't wait to see the final, polished film just for the visuals.

I won't go into any major plot details or spoilers, and not having read the comics I have no idea how true it was to the original. I read somewhere that Constantine wasn't an American in the comics, and this film is firmly set in a dark, stylized Los Angeles, which looks like it exists outside of a specific period it time, much like the original "Blade". And it works. The nice thing about the original "Blade" and "Constantine" is that they play the world and the environment they're in as if they're 100% real. It's not a self-parody. It's not winking at itself in little homages to other films. And I love that the Director didn't feel the need to explain how and why they're in this world or what the rules are, but instead drops you straight into it at full speed. The beginning of the film plays out as if you stepped into the climax of the Exorcist, with very little exposition. Keanu shows up at an apartment building to exorcise a demon from a young girl, and mayhem ensues. The great thing is that it's all played straight. This is what Constantine does. This is who he is. Hey, watch out for that Soldier Demon over there. They don't lead the viewer by the nose and explain every aspect of the story up front. Slowly, over time, and through the interactions with other characters, you begin to piece things together and understand what's going on. But as with "Collateral", we're thrown into this guy's life during a short period, and we get to see and experience events as he does, almost as if it's in real time. Which brings me to the main character, Constantine.

I suppose a lot of how well this film does will come down to how you react to Keanu. Personally, I don't mind his acting in a lot of his films. I buy him in "Bill and Ted". I dug him in "The Matrix". I thought he kicked ass in "Speed". Yeah, his accent sucked in"Dracula" and pretty much ruined that movie for me, among other things. Here, he seems to be channeling Clint Eastwood through Neo. There is a lot of brooding and smoldering, with a sense of deep angst and turmoil. He usually looks like he just ate something really bad and is trying hard to digest it. But hey, I bought it. It seemed to work for the character. It's not an extremely dialogue-heavy film, but what exposition there was I thought he generally pulled off well. Your mileage may vary depending on how much Keanu baggage you bring to the table. And yeah, at times there are a bit too many similarities to the Matrix films, especially with some of the dialogue, thematic imagery and composition of the shots. Yes, he's playing another Christ-like martyr character. But if you look beyond all that I think there is much more to the film than a sort of shallow Matrix rip-off. The supporting cast was also good. I'll pay to see anything Rachel Weisz is in, and she doesn't dissapoint here. She plays twin sisters Angela and Isabel Dodson who hold a psychic connection to the spiritual world. She gives a believable, subtle performance which serves as a good counterbalance to the grim, brooding Constantine. Djimon Hounsou has a great role as Papa Midnite, the "Oracle" of this story. And Max Baker is also fun as Beeman, the "Whistler"/gadget guy in the film. Which brings up my only serious complaint in the film. They fell into a few too many cliched roles and story devices we've all seen a million times now. Did they have to use the same gun as Van Helsing? I'm sure it's probably from the comic, but it looks like they just took it and painted it gold. At some point these movies have to start getting away from the requisite Blockbuster Film cliches. At least in Constantine those moments were brief and somewhat underplayed, and the Bowling Alley set was a cool, original design for a Gadget Headquarters/Library of Knowledge. But there is no doubt that you're going to be recognizing some of the same characters and imagery you've seen many times before. Oh well, it's a postmodern world I guess, and there's not much we can do about that. At least in Constantine it was well done unlike some of the tripe Hollywood puts out like Van Helsing and Catwoman.

The other fantastic performance worth mentioning was Tilda Swinton as the Arch-Angel Gabriel. She was great, and brought a refined, underplayed nuance to the role. The only character I didn't really care for was Chaz Chandler, Constantine's disciple/trainee. He came off a bit flat and his storyline was a bit too cliched and calculated for my taste. It was like the writer threw him in as the obligatory sidekick but someone forgot to make us care about him. Funny sidekick dialogue. Check. Yearning to go out on his own that can only end in tragedy. Check. Keanu as subordinate father figure. Check. Lastly, I'm not sure who played the Devil, but my friend recognized him from other stuff he's been in and he was great. Not quite as over the top as Pacino in Devil's Advocate, but suitably creepy and loathsome. I hope they're going to keep most of his performance as is, and not replace it with some CG trickery.

The bottom line is that I think Warner's has a winner here. I don't know how it's going to play to the Comic crowd, but I had a great time. It's more thoughtful, suspenseful, and has better supporting characters than your typical big budget action film. The writing is good, and only crosses the line into camp/cheese a couple times, and that probably had more to do with Keanu's delivery than anything. There weren't any groan-inducing moments in the crowd I saw it with. It was actually pretty scary and everyone seemed to be digging it. All of the obnoxious people in the audience shut right up after the opening sequence and I didn't hear anyone cracking wise after that. I'd say if you liked the vibe and tone of the original Blade you'll probably like this. It's one of the better comic book adaptations I've seen, although that list is growing every year it seems. Constantine aims for the jugular and delivers a pretty good wallop while mixing in a thought provoking story about good and evil, angels and devils, and the price of salvation. I'll close with my favorite line from the film, when Constantine is talking to Angela about God's role in the world, and how he goes about doing things:

John Constantine - "God is like a kid with an ant farm. He doesn't really have a plan.
And we also got this letter from the film’s producer, Lauren Shuler Donner, about an unrelated matter. Sorry we didn’t get it up quicker, but it’s worth reading:

Dear Harry and Drew,

It's great to make movies but it's also great to give back. I have arranged an auction with E-bay, AOL and IN Style starting Nov. 15 for one week to benefit Hollygrove, a child-centered organization that serves abused and neglected children. Hollygrove houses abandoned children and also provides children at risk with psycological, educational and emotional support. It is an incredible organization that is in dire needs of funding. Therefore, I and many filmmakers have donated such items for sale such as :

The actual Wolverine CLAWSand case that Hugh Jackman wore in "X2" .

The 32 piece crystal chess set from "X2" - yes, the actual prop.

The "Daily Bugle" newspaper from "Spiderman" and Laura Ziskin.

A helmet from Tim Burton from "Planet of the Apes".

The bridal dress worn by Alysson Hannigan in "American Wedding".

The overcoat worn by Tom Hanks in "Road to Perdition" from Jeffery Katzenberg.

The 2 piece drum majors outfit from "Drum Line".

Ally Sheedy's ankle length black velvet skirt from "St. Elmo's Fire" .

A golden telescope used by Jim Carrey's charachter Count Olaf in "Lemony Snickett: A Series of Unfortunate Events".

"ELF" (sized ) costume from Toby Emmerich from the movie "ELF"

A life preserver from "Titanic"

A framed costume drawing from "Pirates of the Caribbean" donated by Jerry Bruckheimer.

And many many more items.

Please please I beg you print this letter and show the link to our auction and help these less fortunate children.

With gratititude - Lauren Shuler Donner
Thanks, Lauren. And thanks to our guest reviewer as well.
"Moriarty" out.

Same Sex Marriage What Ifs....

What if Jennifer Lopez and Beyonce Knowles married and had a child? A BOUNCING baby, without diapers to fit.

Thanks, IDR.

The Fantasticks (Original 1960 Off-Off Broadway Cast)

The Fantasticks (Original 1960 Off-Off Broadway Cast)
Harvey Schmidt. Tom Jones.

Decca U.S.
25 April, 2000
Audio CD

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On May 3, 1960, a chamber-sized variation on Romeo and Juliet by composer Harvey Schmidt and writer-lyricist Tom Jones opened off-off-Broadway at the Sullivan Street Playhouse. On May 3, 2000, The Fantasticks opened again at the Sullivan Street Playhouse, celebrating 40 continuous years of performances and having long since become the longest-running musical in the history of the world. And while many cast members have come and gone, it's the original cast recording that has become an indelible part of our memory, from the dual pianos dotting the overture and Jerry Orbach's rich reading of "Try to Remember" to the fathers' lament "Never Say No" and the gorgeous duet "Soon It's Gonna Rain." Even better, this anniversary edition CD benefits from remastered sound (you can now hear the harp strum in the opening bars) and a new booklet that includes a note from Jones, an introductory essay, and (drumroll, please) full lyrics. Yes, it's still true that the voices may not have the sheer beauty some modern ears might expect, and the pit band (augmented from two players to five for this recording) sounds a bit dated, but who cares? It's The Fantasticks, an essential piece of musical theater history. Long may it run. --David Horiuchi

When less gives more (Rating 5 of 5)

If a show opens in 1960 and is still running after about 16,000 performances, one can reasonably assume it is a good show in every sense of the words. Standing on the other pole (so to speak) from the current run of Broadway's visually rich/musically barren spectacles, is a charming little work designed for a basement production and so perfect that many have seen it several times, especially when friends come in from out of state. In fact, when they wanted to close it at last, the neighborhood would not let them!

So I don't have to sing the praises of this classic, which has been available for many years on the original cast LP. Now the Good News is that it has been made available in a "re-mastered, completely repackaged edition," as the press release expresses it on the Decca Broadway label (314 543 665-2). So sit back and enjoy once more the voices of Jerry Orbach, Kenneth Leson, Rita Gardner, William Larsen, Hugh Thomas, and all the others in this anti-spectacular with good dialogue, decent lyrics, and (Heaven be praised) lovely melodies. (And give the Rostand play, "The Romantiques," a read too. It is lovely.)

This is more than any metaphor will ever ever be. (Rating 5 of 5)

From the first staccato notes of the solo piano to Jerry Orbach and company urging us to "Try to Remember" this is a classic CD. The music and lyrics, though possibly a little odd at first, is witty, whimisical, clever, smart, and beautiful. This is one of the few cast albums of a show in which there is not a single bad song. The performances do nothing but enhance the music. This simple little show, which has been running off-Broadway for over thirty years, is well represented with this CD. Thirty years of audiences can't be wrong, and they aren't. This is a wonderful recording of a wonderful show. I gureente you will not be dissapointed.

Try to Remember... (Rating 5 of 5)

It was the spring of 1960. Dwight D. Eisenhower was the President, and Senator John F. Kennedy had yet to squeak by VP Richard Nixon in a to become President. Elvis Presley had recently been discharged from the U.S. Army. The average American's annual salary was around $4800, and minimum wage was $1.00 per hour. Cadillac had lowered their high tail fins. Elizabeth Taylor won an Oscar for her performance in Butterfield 8. The first manned space flight wouldn't take place for another year. The formation of the Peace Corps was a year away as well. Gary Powers was shot down in a U2 spy plane over the Soviet Union. Barbie dolls had just been introduced the year before. The Flintstones were almost five months away from their premiere. The Beatles hadn't even cut their first single record, and there were no Russian missiles in Cuba. Osama bin Laden was only three years old. The World Trade Center wasn't even on the drawing board yet.

But in early May, a small band of actors entered the Sullivan Street Playhouse, a tiny 150-seat theater in Greenwich Village, to perform a beautiful, romantic little musical about a boy, a girl and the pains of young love.

The week that The Fantasticks opened on its sparse stage, it was suggested to producer Lore Noto that he close the show. It suffered from mixed reviews, and the ticket sales could have been better. He decided to try and keep the show running for awhile, to the relief of the relatively unknown cast members. One of these was a young actor with a rich baritone voice named Jerry Orbach, who played the role of El Gallo, the narrator. He imagined that the show could well succeed if it had time to develop a following.

"I thought it could run for like five years," Mr. Orbach recently recalled.

It ran for thirty-seven years beyond that then-optimistic estimate.

The Fantasticks featured music by Harvey Schmidt and lyrics by Tom Jones, who began writing musicals together when they were students at the University of Texas. It became the longest running musical in the world and the longest running show of any kind in the history of the American theater.

But on Sunday evening, January 13th, 2002, after 17,162 performances, The Fantasticks did what few thought possible: it made its final bow.

Lyricist Tom Jones told those who offered their sympathies, "You can't be sad for a show that has run forty-two years, " as he and composer Harvey Schmidt greeted the closing night crowd. The final performance was delayed for nearly a half hour late as the show's former cast members, many who hadn't seen each other in years, held tearful reunions in the aisles and largely disregarded the ushers' attempts to get them to stay seated. Among the attendees were the original "Girl" Rita Gardner, original "Mortimer" George Curley, Oscar-winner F. Murray Abraham, who had played one of many El Gallos throughout the run, and set/costume designer Ed Wittstein.

The timing of its closing is particularly moving, given the horrible deaths of other lasting New York City monuments in the past few months. The message of The Fantasticks proved to be dissonantly significant in the days after the September 11th terrorist attacks. The opening words of Tom Jones' lyrics could have been written that very week:

Try to remember the kind of September
when life was slow and oh, so mellow.
Try to remember the kind of September
when grass was green and grain was yellow.
Try to remember the kind of September
when you were a tender and callow fellow.
Try to remember and if you remember
then follow...

It's been noted often that there were quite a few handkerchiefs wiping tears from the eyes of the patrons in the theater when this song was performed during those performances last September and into the fall.

On Sunday night, there probably wasn't a dry eye in the house, either.

Don't miss this excellent remastering of the 1960 off-off Broadway original cast recording. Simply put, it's superb.

Broadway & Off-Broadway's Jerry Orbach

Tony-Winner Jerry Orbach Is Dead at 69 (Playbill)
Kenneth Jones Playbill On-Line

Jerry Orbach, the Tony Award-winning star of Promises, Promises and other musicals, died Dec. 28 at the age of 69.

Mr. Orbach was widely known as gruff detective Lennie Briscoe on TV's "Law & Order." He left the show in 2004 and at the time of his death this week was planning to star in a new show in the NBC franchise tailored for just for him: "Law & Order: Trial by Jury."

It was recently revealed that Mr. Orbach was battling prostate cancer.

Broadway's marquee lights will be dimmed Wednesday Dec. 29 at 8 PM for one minute in the memory of the star, according to the League of American Theatres and Producers. Inc.

"Broadway is deeply saddened by the loss of well-loved stage and screen star Jerry Orbach," commented Jed Bernstein, president of the League. "Jerry was a true New Yorker. Both his Broadway and television career were based here and our city is just a little sadder without him."

Among Mr. Orbach's famous stage roles were El Gallo in the original Off-Broadway run of The Fantasticks, Billy Flynn in the 1975 musical Chicago, and Julian Marsh in the original 42nd Street. He won a Tony for Promises, Promises.

A character actor with heart, Mr. Orbach had the respect of his colleagues and managed to work in many venues: film, TV, plays, musicals and animated movies (he was the voice of Lumiere in the film "Beauty and the Beast").

The Bronx-born son of a restaurant manager, Mr. Orbach played New Yorkers in such films as "Prince of the City" and "Crimes and Misdemeanors."

According to his NBC "Law & Order" biography, he has been honored with the Crystal Apple Award from the New York City Mayor's Office of Film, Television and Broadcasting for his contribution to the arts, and was presented with a lifetime achievement award from the Friar's Club of New York.

Young New York actors making their first appearance on series TV (sometimes landing a one- or two-scene appearance with Mr. Orbach in "Law & Order") were made, in Mr. Orbach's presence, comfortable on the set. The highly formatted nature of the "Law & Order" storytelling (investigation and then prosecution) had become second nature to the seasoned pro in hundreds of episodes of the Dick Wolf-produced program.

If an actor flubbed a line in an exchange with Mr. Orbach, he might tell them to just "relax and keep going," knowing the director would be able to snag one of several takes.

The 1999-2000 season of "Law & Order" brought additional recognition to Mr. Orbach in the form of a third Emmy Award nomination - his first as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series - for his portrayal of Det. Briscoe. He earned previous Emmy nominations for his work on "Empty Nest" and Neil Simon's "Broadway Bound."

His film credits also include "Dirty Dancing," "Someone to Watch Over Me" and "F/X" and "Chinese Coffee."

His other television credits include starring in the series "The Law and Harry McGraw," as well as guest appearances on "The Golden Girls," "Hunter," "Murder, She Wrote," "Who's the Boss?" and more.

After studying acting at the University of Illinois and Northwestern University (hi parents had moved the Chicago area), Mr. Orbach made his New York stage debut in the famed Theatre de Lys revival of The Threepenny Opera, playing Mack the Knife in 1955.

While in New York, Mr. Orbach studied acting with Herbert Berghof, Mira Rostova and Lee Strasberg.

He sang "Try to Remember" in Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt's The Fantasticks in 1960 (and is heard on the original cast album), and made his Broadway debut as Paul, the puppeteer, in David Merrick's production of the musical Carnival.

For the City Center revival of Guys and Dolls, he received his first Tony Award nomination, for Best Featured Actor (Musical). Merrick would tap him in 1980 to play driven Broadway director Julian Marsh in the smash hit 42nd Street. . For Chicago, singing "Razzle Dazzle," among other Kander and Ebb songs, he was nominated for a Best Actor (Musical) Tony Award.

He won rave reviews for his virtuoso performance in Bruce Jay Friedman's Scuba Duba, and starred in the comedy 6 Rms Riv Vu and toured for nine months in the national company of Neil Simon's Chapter Two.

Mr. Orbach can also be seen on the PAX network hosting "Encounters with the Unexplained," a reality series featuring new insight and information about the world's great mysteries.

Mr. Orbach is survived by his wife, Elaine. They lived in New York City.

He had two sons, Anthony and Christoper, by actress-wife Marta Curro. The marriage ended in divorce.

Jerry Orbach

IMDB Bio Links

Law and Order star dies of cancer
Jerry Orbach
Orbach played Detective Lennie Briscoe in Law and Order
Actor Jerry Orbach, star of Law and Order, has died of prostate cancer, a representative of the show said.

The 69-year-old, who also starred in Dirty Dancing and Last Exit to Brooklyn, revealed he was battling cancer in early December.

He died in Manhattan on Tuesday night after several weeks of treatment.

Orbach had recently left Law and Order after 12 series to work on spin-off Law and Order: Trial by Jury playing the same character, Lennie Briscoe.

He had begun production on the new series when he was diagnosed with cancer but his manager at the time said it was hoped he would make a swift recovery.

US favourite

As well as a star of stage and screen, Orbach was also an accomplished Broadway actor.

He won a Tony Award for his performance in Promises, Promises and also appeared in Chicago and 42nd Street.

Law and Order has remained one of American TV's most popular shows, exported around the world.

It has received a number of Emmy nominations, including best actor for Orbach in 2002.

It has also spawned a number of spin-offs including Law and Order: Special Victims Unit and Law and Order: Criminal Intent.

Orbach also received Emmy nominations for outstanding guest actor for Golden Girls and supporting actor in a miniseries for Broadway Bound in 1997.

He also voiced the animated candlestick Lumiere in the Disney hit Beauty and the Beast.

A native of New York's Bronx district, Orbach was married to musical actress Elaine Cancilla.

How can you not love this guy? He's Fantasktick.


What can one truly say?

Artie Shaw

Entertainment - Canadian Press
Artie Shaw, star bandleader of swing era, dies in California at 94

22 minutes ago


THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) - Artie Shaw, the clarinetist and bandleader whose recording of Begin the Beguine epitomized the Big Band era, died Thursday at his home. He was 94.
Canadian Press Photo
Shaw had been in declining health for some time and apparently died of natural causes, his lawyer and longtime friend Eddie Ezor said. Shaw's caregiver was with him when he died, Ezor said.

At his peak in the 1930s and '40s, Shaw pulled in a five-figure salary per week and ranked with Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey and Glenn Miller as the bandleaders who made music swing. But he left the music world largely behind in the mid-'50s and spent much of the second half of his life devoted to writing and other pursuits.

His band's recording of Cole Porter's Begin the Beguine was intended to be the B side of the record. Instead, it became a huge hit, topping the charts for six weeks in 1938 and making Shaw famous at age 28.

Among his other hits, some with his big band and some with his quartet, the Gramercy Five: Frenesi, Dancing in the Dark, Nightmare, Back Bay Shuffle, Accent-tchu-ate the Positive, Traffic Jam, They Say, Moonglow, Stardust, Thanks for Ev'rything, Summit Ridge Drive and My Little Nest of Heavenly Blue.

He composed some of his songs, such as Interlude in B Flat, a 1935 work that featured an unusual combination of clarinet and strings.

He worked with such jazz legends as Buddy Rich, Mel Torme, Gordon Jenkins and, at a time when most white bandleaders refused to hire blacks, Billie Holiday.

Another famous roster: his wives. They included actresses Lana Turner (wife No. 3, 1940), Ava Gardner (news) (No. 5, 1945), and Evelyn Keyes (No. 8, 1957) and novelist Kathleen Winsor, author of the 1944 best-seller Forever Amber (No. 6, 1946).

The marriage to Keyes, best know for playing the middle of the three O'Hara sisters in Gone With the Wind, lasted the longest, until 1985, but they led separate lives for much of that time.

"I like her very much and she likes me, but we've found it about impossible to live together," he said in a 1973 interview.

After his first burst of stardom, his good looks made Hollywood come calling. It was while filming Dancing Coed, 1939, that he met Turner. In 1940, he appeared in another musical, Second Chorus, and got two Academy Award nominations for his musical contributions - for best score and best song (Love of My Life.)

A volatile and superbly intelligent man, Shaw hated the loss of privacy that stardom brought, had little use for signing autographs and once caused an uproar by calling jitterbugging fans "morons." He later said he was just referring to the rowdy ones.

"I could never understand why people wanted to dance to my music," he once said. "I made it good enough to listen to."

He chafed at having to play Begin the Beguine ad nauseam, wishing audiences would be more willing to accept new material. ("I mean, it's a good tune if you are going to be associated with one tune, but I didn't want that.")

He retired from performing several times - finally putting down his clarinet for good in the mid-'50s. After that, he lived in Spain for a time, operated a farm, and turned to literature full-time. He was a voracious reader since childhood, and had already produced a well-received autobiography, The Trouble with Cinderella, in 1952.

"I did all you can do with a clarinet," he said. "Any more would have been less."

He put out two collections of short fiction, I Love You, I Hate You, Drop Dead! and The Best of Intentions. He spent years working on a voluminous autobiographical novel tracing the rise of a young jazz musician, whom he called Albie Snow.

"I've lived for a long time and I've learned a few things that I'm passing on," he said.

Shaw was born Arthur Arshawsky on May 23, 1910, in New York City; his immigrant parents struggled to earn a living in the clothing business.

He began his professional career while still in his teens, first playing saxophone, then switching to clarinet to take advantage of a job opportunity.

By the time he was in his early 20s, he was a highly paid member of a CBS radio orchestra. After the first of his many retirements from the music business, he returned to New York and began assembling his first orchestra. Begin the Beguine and fame followed not long afterward.

He enlisted in the U.S. navy during the Second World War and wound up spending most of his time leading a band, giving shows for the troops.

An outspoken liberal, Shaw was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1953 when it was investigating communist influence in entertainment. For once, Shaw was contrite, telling committee members he had attended a couple of communist meetings after the war because of his interest in social justice and world peace - but had never joined the party or given it any money.

"I hate to admit that I was a dupe, but I guess I was," he said. Committee members responded with sympathy, one telling him to go out and use his talent "to fight for true Americanism."

His only musical activity in recent years was conducting a revival band he organized in the early 1980s, featuring arrangements Shaw's bands had used in the past. He did not play his clarinet.

Shaw was often asked about his supposed rivalry with fellow clarinetist Goodman. He said: "Benny, who was every bit as dedicated as I was, wanted to be an instrumentalist - he was a superb technician - while I wanted to be a musician. I think my mind was more complex than his."

Launch News: Artie Shaw, Star Bandleader, Dies at 94

Artie Shaw, Star Bandleader, Dies at 94

12/30/2004 5:36 PM, AP
Jeff Wilson

Artie Shaw, clarinetist and bandleader whose recording of "Begin the Beguine" epitomized the Big Band era, died at his home Thursday, orchestra manager Will Curtis said. He was 94. Shaw had been ill for some time, Curtis said, but he didn't know the specific cause of death.

At his peak in the 1930s and '40s, Shaw pulled in a five-figure salary per week and ranked with Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey and Glenn Miller as the bandleaders who made music swing. But he left the music world largely behind in the mid-'50s and spent much of the second half of his life at writing and other pusuits.

His band's recording of Cole Porter's "Begin the Beguine" was intended to be the "B" side of the record. Instead, it became a huge hit, topping the charts for six weeks in 1938 and making Shaw famous at age 28.

Among his other hits, some with his big band and some with his quartet, the Gramercy Five: "Frenesi," "Dancing in the Dark," "Nightmare," "Back Bay Shuffle," "Accent-tchu-ate the Positive," "Traffic Jam," "They Say," "Moonglow," "Stardust," "Thanks for Ev'rything," "Summit Ridge Drive" and "My Little Nest of Heavenly Blue."

He composed some of his songs, such as "Interlude in B Flat," 1935, a work that featured an unusual combination of clarinet and strings.

He worked with such jazz legends as Buddy Rich, Mel Torme, Gordon Jenkins and, at a time when most white bandleaders refused to hire blacks, Billie Holiday.

Another famous roster: his wives. They included actresses Lana Turner (wife No. 3, 1940), Ava Gardner (No. 5, 1945), and Evelyn Keyes (No. 8, 1957) and novelist Kathleen Winsor, author of the 1944 best-seller "Forever Amber" (No. 6, 1946).

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

PLAYGIRL Rings In A New Year

Press Release Source: Playgirl

PLAYGIRL Rings In A New Year
Tuesday December 7, 8:05 am ET

# NEW YORK, Dec. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- PLAYGIRL is celebrating the New Year with some great new treats lined up for in 2005. Our readers will notice some changes in the content and layout of the magazine that will continue throughout the year. We're taking everything that's great about PLAYGIRL, and making it even better.(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20030102/PLAYGIRLLOGO )

Highlights in the January, 2005 include:

PLAYGIRL Man of the Year Calendar (p 41) -- Our most anticipated bonus
feature is finally here. You've seen these hunks on our pages over the
past year and now they're all together in a super-sexy calendar. It's
time to hear from you by casting your vote for the hottest of them all
and crowing one of them Man of the Year 2005. Plus you get to keep the
pullout calendar as a souvenir from the editors of PLAYGIRL.

The Elements of Desire (p 26) -- Astrologist Kiki forecasts some very
pleasurable times ahead. She pens an erotic profile of each sun sign
and offers some characteristic traits. Fire signs tend to be passionate,
spontaneous and aggressive, while water signs are more romantic,
imaginative and sultry. What sign is the ideal partner for you? She'll
tell you all about it.

The Sex Files (p 58) -- In this age of conservative family values, sex
continues to sell ... big time. PLAYGIRL managing editor Jill Sieracki
explores this contradiction and exposes the truth on how and why
advertisers routinely push the envelope.

Evan Farmer (p 20) -- This hunky handyman stars in the TV show, While
You Were Out? and it's clear to see why his star is rising. With a
background in home improvement and architecture, Evan Farmer knows how
to fix your pipes and make you laugh at the same time. He sat down with
PLAYGIRL to discuss show biz, dating and his search for Mrs. Farmer.

Need It, Want It, Got To Have It (p 6) -- In our monthly round-up of new
products on the market, we've got some hot videos and new books you
won't want to miss, a website for exploring your own personal style and
some cool new music you'll be playing throughout the year.

PLAYGIRL TV is now available. Contact your local cable or satellite provider to find out how to order.

The January 2005 issue of PLAYGIRL hits newsstands December 7, 2004.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

REPRINT: Maxine Thompson's The Universal Language of Life

You have permission to publish this article electronically or in print, free of charge, as long as the bylines are included. A courtesy copy of your publication would be appreciated.

The Universal Language of Life

More Details at: http://www.maxinethompson.com

Three years ago, when I received the call from www.voice.america.com, asking if I would be interested in hosting a literary Internet radio show, I knew in a heartbeat that this was what I wanted to do. I didn’t have to sleep on it. I didn’t have to call and consult with anyone. I said a quick prayer and called right back. Committing to do the show for at least 13 weeks just felt right. I decided to name the show, "On The Same Page," taken from the name of my Internet Column, because writers are generally on the same page as dreamers.

This blessing reminded me of an experience I had just before I began hosting on the show. A few weeks earlier, on a Sunday, I accidentally stumbled into a Spanish congregation at my place of worship. At first, I started to leave, but then decided to stay and see how much of the meeting I could understand. (I hadn’t taken Spanish in over 30 years.)

I felt like an outsider and it struck me. Most creative artists write from a point of outside observation. Many writers tend to live on the fringes of society. Even many famous stories are about “Outsiders” such as in classics like Nathaniel Hawthorn’s The Scarlet Letter, Theodore Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, or Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. As an African American I can identify with the alienation explored in Ralph Ellison’s The Invisible Man.

That day, though, even as the outsider, I was surprised at how many things I understood—in spite of the language barrier. Because I could not understand the language, I tuned into the sounds of babies crying and young children stumbling over words as they tried to read from their Bibles. I watched young mothers comfort their children; proud father’s easing sleeping babies out of their mother’s arms—giving the mothers relief. I studied young newly weds holding hands and sneaking intimate peeks at one another. At the close of the meeting, when we sang, I recognized the emotion in the songs I knew by heart, even if they were sang in a different language.

From this experience, I got an idea. Just as it is the writer’s job to be a student of life, ever looking at old experiences with a fresh eye, it is also our job to help connect humanity. Our writing should be so universal that if it were translated, say into Spanish, with its romantic-sounding rolling r’s, the reader could still relate to the human longings, the foibles, and the frailties.

I had learned something from this meeting. There are 3 languages—-the language of the home, the language of the world and the language we all share—-the universal language of life. In addition to writing and publishing issues, these are some of the subjects I’d like to cover on On The Same Page Internet radio show at www.voiceamerica.com. I wanted to examine our differences and similarities as explored through the works of different writers from diverse backgrounds.

I have done the show for another reason. I like interviewing writers. They are often visionaries and generally peace makers. Writers have started revolutions of change, thoughts and ideas with the power of the pen. In addition, writers can give insights into their works that readers may or may not have recognized. It’s like that old saying, "If a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it, is there any sound?" It’s about the stimulus and the receptor.

In order for people to understand each other there has to be communication. One of the first diversity trainings I attended as a social worker dealt with being non-judgmental. As a writer, how do we do this? We put ourselves inside the character’s shoes and as that old Indian proverb goes, "we walk around in another man’s moccasins."

In the wake of 911, it is imperative that people begin to understand how to walk in another man’s shoes. I want to dive beneath the surface and talk about the issues we as humans beings face. We must learn to connect to one another and embrace that we are all part of the family of man in order to communicate, to learn, to understand.

From this end I have done shows on Voiceamerica.com since 3/5/02, Artistfirst.com since March 2004, and I hosted on harambeeradio.com for a six month stint.

Now I am gearing up to begin the Maxine Show in January 2005. This show will be dedicated to authors, readers, entrepreneurs in the Internet marketing or literary arena. I will be interviewing experts in order for listeners to learn the art of "How To Do various skills.

The show will be broadcast through live365.com and found at my website at http://www.maxinethompson.com.

These are the benefits of on-line radio.

1.You get to discuss your book, as well as tell who you are as a human being. Many readers like to get inside of a writer's heads.
2. You can read excerpts from your book and answer call-ins or emails.
3. You get to give out your websites, or places your books can be purchased and you get experience with being interviewed by the media.
4. You get to build a larger fan base through the archives.
5. You get to connect emotionally with your readers.
6. Your interview is not limited to one geographical area such as in off-line radio.

Why is Internet radio cost-effective for authors?
Who can better sell our books than us? In order to compete on a global scale, we must make use of this new technology.
A book is the perfect gift for Christmas. Please order my books at



Friday, December 03, 2004

Yay!!! It's Russell Wong.

Guest Russell Wong going handsome nose to handsome nose with regular Gary Dourdan on CSI: Crime Scene Investigations, CBS-TV, December 9, 2004. My vcr is so very programmed and waiting for them both.

And both are physical & emotion inspirations for my characters in AEGIS CLICK HERE.