Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Jury selects Caribou as Polaris Music Prize winner for year's top Canadian CD

TORONTO - Caribou took home $20,000 and the Polaris Music Prize Monday night for the CD, "Andorra," which was chosen by a jury as the year's best Canadian album.

A panel of more than 170 writers, broadcasters and bloggers drew up a short list of 10 of the best Canadian albums released between June 1, 2007, and May 31, 2008.

On Monday night, a jury of 11 members fought and debated over which CD deserved the award, which is meant to highlight creativity and diversity in Canadian music, without any consideration given to sales figures.

A Polaris spokewoman says it was the first time in the contest's three-year history that there was no clear front runner in the voting.

Monday, September 29, 2008

$20M Somali ransom demand for ship; 1 crewman dies

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — As a heavily armed U.S. destroyer patrolled nearby and planes flew overhead Sunday, a Somali pirate spokesman told The Associated Press his group was demanding a $20 million ransom to release a cargo ship loaded with Russian tanks.

The spokesman also warned that the pirates would fight to the death if any country tried military action to regain the ship, and a man who said he was the ship's captain reported that one crew member had died.

Pirates seized the Ukrainian-operated ship Faina off the coast of Somalia on Thursday as it headed to Kenya carrying 33 Russian-built T-72 tanks and a substantial amount of ammunition and spare parts. The ordnance was ordered by the Kenyan government.

The guided missile destroyer USS Howard was stationed off the Somali coast on Sunday, making sure that the pirates did not remove the tanks, ammunition and other heavy weapons from the ship, which was anchored off the coast.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

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Apparently www.learn-from-me-ungrateful-peasant.com was taken

LONDON — In the old days, ladies would turn on the television set and find Donna Reed singing the praises of soup, with the idea that purchasing this soup would make your house tidy and your hair glossy and your children upstanding heterosexuals. Who wouldn't want that life?

But then "style" had to come along and create that most dreaded compound noun, lifestyle, and its patron saint was Oprah. Until this week, that is, with the introduction of Gwyneth Paltrow's new website, Goop.com. Why is it called Goop? Perhaps "Any Old Load of Rubbish" and "Learn From Me, Ungrateful Peasant" were both taken.

"My life is good because I am not passive about it," writes the woman last seen serving coffee in Iron Man. "I want to nourish what is real, and I want to do it without wasting time." The website is in its infancy, but you can sign up for the e-mail newsletter, which soon will tell you what cool restaurants to visit in London or where to stay in Austin. "Learn something new," it urges. "Don't be lazy. Work out and stick with it." It's as if John Calvin and Princess Grace got together and wrote a game plan on a cocktail napkin.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

U.S. TV cameras follow famous captain to St. John's courthouse

An American TV crew followed a fishing captain to the provincial courthouse in St. John's Friday after a U.S. swordfish boat was charged with illegal fishing.

The skipper of the Sea Hawk is Linda Greenlaw, one of the real-life characters behind the movie The Perfect Storm. The charges were laid after a vessel was allegedly caught fishing just inside Canadian waters Sept. 23.

According to news reports, Greenlaw left Fairhaven, Mass., Sept. 16 with a film crew documenting the sword fishery for the American broadcaster NBC.

The producer is Original Productions, famous for reality TV series such as Deadliest Catch, Monster Garage and America's Toughest Jobs.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Anatomy Dissection: Couples News Nobody Knows!

OK, show of hands. Who wanted to scream "Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!” at Dr. Meredith Whiny-Pants Grey during tonight’s premiere of Grey’s Anatomy?

Wow. That's a lot of you. (You can put your hand down, Patrick Dempsey.)

Thankfully, Cristina (Sandra Oh) did the honors in a scene that pretty much stole the two-hour episode (don't read any further until you've seen it)—well, along with the intro of her new love interest Major Hottie, who so lived up to his name.

So, what really went down and what’s the latest exclusive scoop on Alex (Justin Chambers) and Izzie (Katherine Heigl)?

You can only find it here ...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Author Wayson Choy wins Harbourfront Festival Prize

Toronto — Toronto novelist and memoirist Wayson Choy has been named the winner of the $10,000 Harbourfront Festival Prize, an honour awarded annually to an individual who has made "a substantial contribution to the world of books and writing."

Born in Vancouver, Choy, 69, was chosen by a three-member jury, it was announced yesterday.

He will receive his cash award Nov. 1, the closing night of the 29th annual International Festival of Authors in Toronto.

Choy's books include the novels The Jade Peony and All That Matters and the memoir Paper Shadows: A Chinatown Childhood.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

DMX Hospitalized, No Court This Week

Things are really shaping up strangely for DMX.

The 37-year-old rapper was hospitalized Monday in Florida, meaning so much for tomorrow's court date in Arizona related to his ongoing animal-cruelty and drug-possession case.

Without disclosing exactly what was ailing DMX, whose real name is Earl Simmons, attorney Bradford Cohen told Billboard.com that "it was serious enough for him to be brought and taken into a treatment facility.

"He spent the night there last night and he will probably spend tonight there as well," Cohen said Tuesday. "I don't think it's going to be an ongoing thing or a life-threatening situation. He's going to be alright."

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Coward series tops 2009 Shaw Festival

The Shaw Festival will present a group of rarely performed one-act plays by British playwright Noel Coward in its 2009 season.

Coward, known for his light-hearted comedies, wrote the Tonight at 8.30 series for himself and his acting partner, Gertrude Lawrence, in 1935.

He created the set of 10 one-act plays to avoid the boredom of a three-month run of a single play.

Organizers of the Shaw Festival, based in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., call the production of the plays, ranging from comedy to fantasy to history, a "once-in-a-lifetime celebration" of Coward's work.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Mandy Moore Heads South for DJ AM

Mandy Moore has rushed to the bedside of ex-boyfriend and longtime pal DJ AM, E! News has learned.

Moore's rep, Kelly Bush, confirmed that the singer flew to Columbia, S.C., sometime yesterday. DJ AM, whose real name is Adam Goldstein, is in critical yet stable condition at the Joseph Still Burn Center in nearby Augusta, Ga.

He and Moore made a romantic connection in December 2006 at a New Year's Eve party in Miami, not long after AM and Nicole Richie had called off their engagement.

The pair amicably split about three months later.

And Moore isn't the only one who has jetted across the country to visit a loved one. Record producer Jermaine Dupri was spotted at the hospital today, while Travis Barker's ex-wife Shanna Moakler also hopped a flight Saturday to be with the injured drummer.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Barker's L.A. Store a Gathering Spot for Well-Wishers, Mourners

The staff at Travis Barker's Los Angeles boutique Fast Life are mourning one of their own and wishing only the best for another.

Barker's friend Chris "Lil' Chris" Baker, who managed the store, was one of four killed in the South Carolina Learjet crash that left the former Blink 182 drummer and DJ AM severely injured. Both are in critical yet stable condition at the Joseph Still Burn Center in Augusta, Ga.

E! News spotted concerned-looking supporters gathering at Fast Life, which features pop-punk gear for men and women, at around 1 p.m. A motorcycle adorned with yellow flower arrangements and a T-shirt was placed outside the store.

While staffers declined to comment on last night’s events, sources told us the vibe within the boutique was shocked and somber.

“There’s no music on, people are sitting or standing quietly," one insider said. "The staff is shuffling stock around the floor."

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Kanye, Sheryl, Stevie's Record Showing for Obama

At this point in the increasingly contentious presidential race, Barack Obama feels no need to change his tune.

Kanye West, Sheryl Crow, Stevie Wonder and a number of other avowed Obama supporters have lent songs to the fundraising album Yes We Can: Voices of a Grassroots Generation, which went on sale today exclusively on the Democratic candidate's campaign website.

In addition to uplifting tracks from the aforementioned artists, the compilation includes John Mayer's "Waiting on the World to Change," Jackson Browne's "Looking East," Los Lonely Boys' "Make It Better," excerpts from Obama speeches and a dozen other feel-good tunes.

Or, more pointedly, look-how-good-we-could-feel-if-we-elect-Obama tunes.

The diversity of the artists included "underscores how deeply inspiring this campaign has been across boundaries," Hidden Beach Recordings CEO Steve McKeever said Friday.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Dolly and 9 to 5 Cast's Fave Bosses From Hell

Long before Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada, there was Franklin J. Hart Jr. in 9 to 5.

In the 1979 movie, Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton play coworkers who seek revenge on their slimy sexist boss (Dabney Coleman) by kidnapping him. The staged musical adaptation opens on Saturday at the Ahmanson Theatre in downtown L.A.

I caught up with Ms. Parton (who wrote all the music for the new production) and the stars of the show earlier this morning to find about their own real-life bosses from hell. Here's what they told me:

Dolly Parton: Being the polite gal that she is, Parton didn't want give names or reveal too much, but she says she's had bosses just like Franklin Hart Jr. "They try to watch when your time of the month is just so they could say, 'Well, it must be that time of the month,' " Parton said. "And then they make you act like it's your time of the month because of the way they are!"

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Paris Hilton finds new BFF

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Paris Hilton launched a television show to look for a new best friend who was hot, loyal and "paparazzi-ready" -- and she says she found exactly what she was looking for.

Hilton, 27, the millionaire socialite, said some 300,000 Americans applied to take part in the reality series "Paris Hilton's My New BFF" (Best Friend Forever), which begins airing on September 30 on MTV.

The 16 women and two men selected to compete had to perform a series of challenges to be Hilton's new BFF, including how to look hot on a rollercoaster and making a commercial for one of her fashion products. She has now picked a winner with whom she said she has struck up a real, off-screen friendship.

Story of Inuit hunter Canada's pick for Oscar race

Canada has chosen Benoît Pilon's Ce qu'il faut pour vivre (The Necessities of Life) as its submission for a foreign-language film Oscar.

Telefilm announced the official choice, made by a cross-Canada committee, on Tuesday.

Set in the 1950s, the French-language film follows Tivii, an Inuit hunter who is suffering from tuberculosis in a Quebec sanatorium.

He appears to be giving up on life until a nurse arranges for young Inuit named Kaki to move to the sanatorium. Tivii begins teaching the boy traditional ways and regains his will to live.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Stephen Colbert Takes Back Christmas!

Nation, Stephen Colbert has already picked out your Christmas gift.

Don't worry, we're sure he'll give you an opportunity to reciprocate his generosity.

While lesser hosts are merely anticpating the end of summer, the Colbert Report honcho already has his Christmas special in the can, and it could be the season's most-beloved fake-news holiday show. And for those who can't wait for television to deliver the goods, there are special screenings available.

In the great tradition of holiday TV specials, the Comedy Central stalwart has surrounded himself with an array of demographically diverse performers: Elvis Costello, Feist, Toby Keith, John Legend and Willie Nelson.

Even better, Colbert has tapped Adam Schlesinger of the band Fountains of Wayne to pen a fresh batch of holiday themed songs, including "Have I Got a Present for You," Little Dealer Boy" and "There Are Worse Things to Believe In."

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

MTV Laying TRL to Rest

It's the end of an era for MTV.

Executive producer Dave Sirulnick said Monday that the final episode of TRL will air in November.

And, considering what MTV's program schedule looks like these days, the two-hour special—which doesn't have an exact date yet but will be shown on a Saturday afternoon—will seemingly be the most time the network has devoted to music videos all at once (minus the annual VMAs) in ages.

While this won't be the last episode ever of what premiered in 1998 as the Carson Daly-hosted Total Request Live, which helped introduce über-popsters such as Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Justin Timberlake (as part of 'N Sync) to the world, Sirulnick agreed that the interactive video-countdown show could use a break.

Daly left his career-making venture for NBC's late-night pastures in 2003, after which a revolving lineup of VJs, including Damien Fahey, LaLa Vasquez and Nick Lachey squeeze Vanessa Minnillo, took turns hosting.

Monday, September 15, 2008

J.Lo, McConaughey Storm the Beach

Jennifer Lopez may not have clocked the fastest time, but she and the other competitors at Sunday's 22nd Nautica Malibu Triathlon helped raise nearly $1 million for the Pediatric Cancer Research Program at Childrens Hospital in Los Angeles.

As reported earlier today, J.Lo turned in a seriously impressive 2 hours 23 minutes and 38 seconds and raised $125,000 on her own for the event, which was presented by Toyota.

The winner overall was Chris McCormack, while The Bachelor's Andy Baldwin won the celebrity bragging rights, if not a rose, with his time. Other stars who competed were Felicity Huffman, William H. Macy, John Hamm, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Jon Cryer, Monique Coleman, Scott Foley and Anna Kournikova.

Since they did so much good, we thought we'd offer you a treat for the eyes with our Sweatin' With the Stars gallery.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sit tight, a bigger bang is coming

THE vast new Cern particle collider has only just hummed into life, but physicists are already drawing up plans for a still larger machine to answer the questions even Albert Einstein was unable to resolve.

The International Linear Collider (ILC) would be a machine up to 31 miles long, comprising two giant “guns” that would accelerate electrons and particles of antimatter called positrons to near-light speeds before smashing them together.The results could open up some of the hottest topics in physics, such as the existence of extra dimensions, the origins of gravity and even how the big bang – the event that created the universe – happened.

“The ILC would build on the work of Cern’s new Large Hadron Collider [LHC],” said Brian Foster, professor of experimental physics at Oxford University and European director of the project. “The LHC smashes protons together to discover new particles but also generates lots of debris that obscures the fine detail. The ILC would be a much cleaner machine and tell us far more about their real nature.”

Physicists around the world have spent about £150m on designs for the new machine, nicknamed “Einstein’s telescope”, since the project was set up three years ago. About £10m has come from Britain.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Lifestyles guru Martha Stewart starts a new TV season back at home

BEDFORD, N.Y. - Martha Stewart is inviting everybody over.

The 67-year-old lifestyles guru (whose 62-hectare Cantitoe Corners has become a topic of high interest and curiosity among her fans) is welcoming them, and the rest of the world, for an unprecedented visit on Monday's "The Martha Stewart Show" (syndicated; check local time and station).

"So many people ask me, 'What's the farm like? What do you grow? What animals do you have?"' she explained to a reporter. "I decided it would be fun to kick off the fourth season at the farm - fun for the crew, too."

Any other weekday, "Martha Stewart" would be originating from Manhattan, often live, in front of a studio audience. But this taped premiere called for mobilizing a staff and crew of 100 (and enough equipment to shoot a feature film) at Stewart's estate, a spread she bought eight years ago in tony, leafy Bedford, about 50 kilometres north of the city.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Obama returns to cult comedy show

NEW YORK (AFP) — Barack Obama, after a bruising week of lipstick on pigs and other taunts on the White House campaign trail, returns to the cult TV show "Saturday Night Live" this weekend, aides said.

Obama will tape an appearance for the show's season premiere on Saturday in New York, after he was the star turn for a Halloween skit featuring an impersonator of Hillary Clinton last November.

Quite what the Democratic presidential hopeful will do on the program this time is still being worked out, the aides said, but it is a safe bet that the hosts will extract comedy value out of some of the recent campaign sparring.

John McCain's rival campaign accused Obama of a sexist "smear" against the Republican's running mate Sarah Palin after the Democrat, on Tuesday, said their promise of change was like putting "lipstick on a pig".

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Jessica Simpson: Down-Home and Downloaded

Jessica Simpson's week got off to a rough start when her live performance on Good Morning America suffered a technical malfunction. But things are definitely looking better right now.

Not only is her debut country album, Do You Know, the most downloaded album on iTunes since its release yesterday, but a source reveals to me that it’s expected to hold the top spot on the retailer's site for the entire week across all music genres.

If that bears out, that means she'll likely be knockin' down Young Jeezy and his recently released Recession from No. 1.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ed Norton hopes cop genre film 'Pride and Glory' speaks to America's bigger issues

TORONTO - Edward Norton says his new movie about corrupt New York City cops might look like just another "genre" film but it has the potential to speak to broader issues in America.

"Pride and Glory" stars Norton as Det. Ray Tierney, who's investigating the deaths of four officers gunned down during what appears to be a routine drug bust.

Tierney's brother, played by Noah Emmerich, and brother-in-law, played by Colin Farrell, are also police officers. Eventually Tierney's investigation uncovers evidence that casts suspicion on both men.

To make matters worse, Tierney's father, played by Jon Voight, is also a cop - one who believes that police should take care of their own.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Lawsuit: Window Provides Clear View of Disturbia

How many lawyers did it take to determine that Disturbia was kinda like Rear Window? ('Cause the critics figured it out right away.)

The estate of the man who owned the rights to Rear Window has sued Disturbia producer Steven Spielberg, claiming that the 2007 teen thriller ripped off the 1954 Alfred Hitchcock classic and the short story upon which it was based.

With a $20 million budget, Disturbia was considered a modest hit last year, taking in $80.2 million at the U.S. box office. None of which was shared with the estate of the late Sheldon Abend, who bought the rights to Cornell Woolrich's 1942 story It Had to Be Murder after the author died in 1968, according to the lawsuit.

The original tale of neighborly voyeurism was paid tons of lip service, however.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Justin Timberlake goes for 'Mr. Sexy Backwoods'

NEW YORK - Justin Timberlake is shaking his "Mr. Sexy Back" reputation for something more like "Mr. Sexy Backwoods."

Timberlake took an A-list New York Fashion Week crowd to Tennessee for his William Rast show on Sunday, treating the likes of Vogue editor Anna Wintour to buckets of Budweiser.

Jeremy Piven, Kevin Connolly and Emmanuelle Chriqui of HBO's "Entourage" were among those squished in the front row with Andy Samberg of "Saturday Night Live," model Rachel Hunter and actress Carla Gugino. The runway was set like an extended front porch to a run-down house, complete with a mounted deer head and the Tennessee state flag in the window.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Large Hadron Collider could help fight cancer

The giant new particle collider at Europe’s centre for nuclear research, which is due to start work on Wednesday, is being linked to spectacular spin-offs including improved cancer treatments, systems for destroying nuclear waste and insights into climate change.

“Everyone is looking at the start up of the Large Hadron Collider [LHC] but Cern has many other research programmes with important practical uses,” said Paul Collier, who runs the main control room at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (Cern).

The first beams of particles have been successfully fired around nearly half of the 17-mile tunnel in Switzerland, where Cern is based. Linked research has already spurred useful byproducts.

In a typical year, the huge machine, which will smash particles into each other at enormous speed, should generate enough data to fill 56m CDs. That means physicists have had to create a sophisticated system for organising information extremely quickly. The Grid, as they call it, is likely to become the model for many other systems designed to handle large volumes of data.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Mark Ruffalo looks to con-man pal for inspiration on 'The Brothers Bloom'

TORONTO - Mark Ruffalo had a criminal acquaintance to help him prep for his role as a con man in the quirky comedy "The Brothers Bloom," having its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.

"I know a diamond thief," the affable American actor, who plays lead grifter Stephen in the surreal globetrotting adventure, admitted with a grin at a roundtable interview at the festival on Friday.

"I've known him for a long time and a lot of Stephen is based on this guy. He's a total con man," said Ruffalo, who has two other films at the festival this year: "Blindness" and "What Doesn't Kill You."

Friday, September 5, 2008

Doofus Dandy Gets Fashionable With Ben Harper

David Arquette has found a new passion after the demise of his FX series Dirt—designing menswear.

Reports last week said the often outlandishly garbed Arquette will partner with equally eccentric singer Ben Harper on a collection called Propr (spelled correctly). And by spelled correctly we mean that this is the incorrect spelling David and Ben have chosen.

E! spotted Arquette out last night with wife Courteney Cox at Veuve Clicquot's fifth anniversary celebration for West Hollywood eatery Il Sole, where the actor and producer could speak of nothing but his forthcoming duds.

"David is so excited about his fashion line, its releasing next month," an onlooker said. "He was telling everyone about it, from guests to staff."

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Mazar and the Palins' Teen Mom Common Bond

Debi Mazar definitely doesn't want to see Sarah Palin as our next vice president, but that doesn't mean the Entourage star doesn't support her in some way.

Mazar knows all about teen pregnancy. Her mom had her when she was just 15 years old.

"I think it's completely fine," Mazar told me earlier today of 17-year-old mom-to-be Bristol Palin while promoting her new movie, The Women (I'll have more on the flick later on), at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills. "And I think Sarah Palin made a good choice in being supportive of her daughter...and I agree that it's private because those are her children. Her daughter fell in love and had sex. Big deal—it happens."

But if it's anything like her own childhood, Mazar says Sarah will likely hit some rough patches with her child because of her age. "My mom is a great mom and we're very close," Mazar says. "But because she had me so young, we had hurdles we had to go through. But it made me who I am today...As long as that kid has love and support, I wish her the best."

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Helen Mirren Clarifies Her Candor

Who are we to judge a grande dame's unflinching, witty honesty?

Thinking that people might get the wrong idea once the tabs had gotten their hooks into Helen Mirren's candid remarks about cocaine use, date rape and stealing food while poor, the Oscar winner's rep has reminded us of the magic word:

Context.

"Helen Mirren does not dispute the accuracy of statements attributed to her in an upcoming GQ article," read a statement released Tuesday by Mirren's publicist, Stan Rosenfield.

"She merely asks that people read the article in its entirety before drawing conclusions. If they do that, she says, their conclusions will likely be far less sweeping and sensational than those drawn by some in the popular press. She does not wish to qualify any of her remarks. She just wants to avoid having them presented in inflammatory language."

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Stolen photos of British royal offered for sale to Sun newspaper

LONDON - The Sun newspaper says it called police after being offered allegedly stolen pictures of Britain's Prince William and his girlfriend, Kate Middleton.

The British tabloid says it was offered more than 40 photographs showing the couple vacationing on the Caribbean island of Mustique, where they reportedly spent time early last month.

The paper says the pictures were taken from a digital camera stolen from a car in London just before noon on Friday.

Monday, September 1, 2008

'Dark Knight' swings past $500M mark; 2nd movie to hit that mark

LOS ANGELES - Batman's rich alter-ego Bruce Wayne has added half a billion dollars to his riches.

"The Dark Knight" has became the second movie in Hollywood history to top US$500 million at the domestic box office, raising its total to $502.4 million, according to estimates from distributor Warner Bros.

The film hit that mark in just over six weeks, half the time it took "Titanic," which reached $500 million in a little more than three months.

"Titanic," the biggest modern blockbuster, remains No. 1 on the domestic charts with $600.8 million.