Tuesday, January 30, 2007

bizarro

What will Hermione say, Harry?

What will Hermione say, Harry?

Last updated at 11:44am on 30th January 2007

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Divested of his clothes, not to mention the lightning scar on his forehead, this is Harry Potter a million miles from Hogwarts.

Between filming the fifth and sixth Potter movies, 17-year-old Daniel Radcliffe is appearing on the West End stage in a revival of Peter Shaffer's controversial play Equus.

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He plays troubled stablehand Alan Strang and is involved in a lengthy nude sex scene with former Holby City actress Joanna Christie.

Radcliffe was clearly keen to impress with his physique, pumping up his slender frame in the gym for seven hours a week.

But whether his young fans will be impressed by his transition from Hermione Granger's boy wizard friend to hunky sex symbol remains to be seen.

Websites were receiving e-mails from parents worried about Radcliffe's appearance in the play, which will be open to children despite its explicit adult content.

One said: 'We as parents feel Daniel should not appear nude. Our nine-year-old son looks up to him as a role model. We are very disappointed and will avoid the future movies he makes.'

Another wrote: 'I am curious as to how and why his parents said this was okay.'

The play opens at the Gielgud Theatre on February 27 and has already attracted advance bookings worth £1million.

Radcliffe has been rehearsing his nude scene for a week with his female co-star and although he was 'a little hesitant and shy' at first, he had overcome his embarrassment, said producer David Pugh.

He added: 'Equus is on the school syllabus and I would never stipulate what age people should be to see it.'

Radcliffe's spokesman Vanessa Davies said: 'Daniel does not want to step away from Harry Potter but he does want to show he is an rounded actor capable of very different and diverse roles.

'He has tremendous support from Harry Potter fans.'

Equus opened in the West End in 1973 to huge controversy. It was followed in 1977 by a movie version in which Peter Firth played Alan and Jenny Agutter played his girlfriend Jill, both appearing full frontally nude.

Miss Agutter also features in the 2007 version - as a judge with her clothes on.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Early Social Distortion bassist ID'd in wreck

Sunday, January 21, 2007
Early Social Distortion bassist ID'd in wreck
Officials say that Brent Liles of Fullerton was bicyclist killed in Placentia crash.
By ERIC CARPENTER
The Orange County Register

PLACENTIA – Officials on Saturday identified Brent Liles of Fullerton, former bass guitarist in one of the region's most influential punk rock bands, Social Distortion, as the bicyclist killed by a big rig on Thursday.

Liles played bass on the group's groundbreaking "Mommy's Little Monster" recording in 1983 and went on to play with other well-known Orange County punk acts such as the group Agent Orange. He was 43.

"Brent was a fun-loving guy who approached his bass playing with a lot of enthusiasm and that made him a lot of fun to be around," said Frank Agnew, a fellow musician and friend.

Liles, wearing casual clothing, was riding a small dirt bicycle westbound on Orangethorpe Avenue just after 11:30 a.m. Thursday, California Highway Patrol officials said.

As he entered the crosswalk at the Orange (57) Freeway, a big rig carrying a trailer turned right onto the on-ramp and accelerated, hitting Liles. He was pronounced dead at the scene, officials said.

The driver, Javier Lopez of Rancho Cucamonga, was turning on a green light. He was not immediately cited, CHP officials said. The crash is still being investigated.

Liles joined Social Distortion in 1981 after a tumultuous beginning for the band, whose original members came from Fullerton and Huntington Beach.

He was recruited to play bass on "Mommy's Little Monster," which quickly brought the band national acclaim for its hard-driving music, raw vocals and themes of suburban alienation.

Orange County Register pop music critic Ben Wener called the album a "fundamental work" that set the groundwork for the West Coast punk rock scene.

Liles was featured in the limited-release film "Another State of Mind," which documented the band's early struggles on the road touring the United States and Canada in a pieced-together tour van.

Fed up with the band's internal turmoil, Liles abruptly left Social Distortion with drummer Derek O'Brien during a legendary New Year's Eve gig in 1983. The band soldiered on and garnered more widespread fame and even some pop-radio success under original frontman Mike Ness.

Ness did not return a phone call to his management company seeking comment.

Fans of Social Distortion said Liles was an important part of the band's history and he'll be sadly missed. The band's guitarist Dennis Dannell, who played with Liles, died of a brain aneurism in February 2000. The band continues on with a new lineup.

"I think most people think of Social D. and they think of Mike Ness. But they never could be what they are without some great supporting characters like Brent," said Sara Pendergast, 41, a longtime fan of the band.

"For people who love their music, it's like losing a member of the extended family."

Contact the writer: 714-704-3769 or ecarpenter@ocregister.com

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Monday, January 08, 2007

Sixty years of ch-ch-changes for David Bowie

by CHRISTOPHER SANDFORD Last updated at 11:00am on 8th January 2007

Reader comments (7)
David Bowie
David Bowie

Alter ego: Bowie as Ziggy Stardust


Around this time every year, the Hollywood trade press begins to fill with full-page advertisements from the major studios, rather quaintly 'recommending' or, if they are already successful at the box office, 'congratulating' a particular film or actor.

See more pictures of David Bowie's career here

The campaign is less of a public service and more a timely reminder to the voting members of the Academy of Motion Pictures, before that mysterious body announces its annual Oscar nominations.

This year, among the leading contenders in the category of Best Supporting Actor is David Bowie, for his role in the critically acclaimed thriller The Prestige.

Playing a portly-looking character in an Edwardian frock coat is just the latest in a seemingly endless series of reincarnations for the artist formerly known as Ziggy Stardust and, later, the Thin White Duke.

Already a veteran of 15 films, countless albums, soundtracks and record-breaking concert tours, he's in no danger of slowing down as he celebrates his 60th birthday today.

As one close friend told me, the word 'frenetic' can't begin to describe Bowie's lifestyle. 'He'll typically have six jobs going at once, and he's a master at blocking out the outside world. Phones ring and messages aren't returned. Texts only occasionally receive replies.

"He'll get around to dealing with what he feels is most important in the pile and he'll always show up for a mate, but basically you join the queue. His energy level is off the scale."

It is this energy and drive which has kept him at the top in rock music for more than 30 years - and it has allowed him to carry off the most remarkable series of character changes and leave many of his contemporaries behind.

But have these changes simply been good examples of astute marketing and showbiz flamboyance, or is there a darker side to Bowie's ever-changing personality, rooted in the history of mental illness which blighted his family?

Born in Brixton, south London, on January 8, 1947, Bowie was christened David Robert Jones. It was another 18 years before he adopted his better known alias, partly in homage to the Texan hero who popularised the double-edged knife, and partly to avoid being confused with Davy Jones of the Monkees.

David's father, John Jones, had a raffish side, and once disastrously owned a London piano bar named The Boop-ADoop, but he seems to have settled down with age, becoming a promotions officer for the charity Barnardo's.

David's mother, Peggy, a former cinema usher, was more colourful. According to several reliable witnesses and institutional records, there was more than a streak of mental instability in her family. Bowie's Aunt Una suffered from clinical depression and schizophrenia, underwent electric shock treatment and died in her late 30s.

A second aunt, Vivienne, suffered a schizophrenic attack, and a third, Nora, was lobotomised in an effort to cure what her mother described as 'bad nerves'.

Of Peggy's two remaining siblings, a brother won a Military Medal for heroism in which he showed 'utter disregard for his own life' in the North African desert, and a fourth sister, Pat (described by Bowie as a 'frightful aunt) was cast as the family rabble-rouser.

In 1937, after a brief affair with a bartender before she was married, Peggy gave birth to a son, Terry Burns. Some ten years later, Terry moved into the Jones household in Stansfield Road, Brixton, where he slept in the bed next to the newborn David.

He became his half-brother's role model, introducing him to the world of modern jazz and Beat authors such as Jack Kerouac. Peggy's sister, Pat, said: "David worshipped Terry, and Terry idolised him."

Unfortunately, the family "condition", as it was known, was again at work. In his mid-20s, Terry was diagnosed as a manic depressive and schizophrenic, and was eventually institutionalised.

One snowy morning in January 1985, he climbed over the wall of a psychiatric hospital in Surrey and walked to the nearby station, where he lay down on the track directly in the path of the oncoming London express train.

Terry was 47. David didn't attend the funeral but sent a wreath of roses and a card which read: "You've seen more things than we could imagine but all these moments will be lost, like tears washed away by the rain. God bless you - David."

Eight years later Bowie admitted: "It scared me. I felt my own mind was in question. I often wondered how near the line I was going - how far I should push myself."

Ziggy and the other characters, he explained, had been "alternative egos", a form of madness through which he had meant to preserve his sanity.

David Bowie never crossed the divide into mental illness. But he shared a number of the quirks shown by his maternal family. He would suddenly burst into tears, for example, and was said to have had a particularly active imagination.

One family friend told me that, as a four or five-year-old, David had phoned to summon the local ambulance one night, and successfully persuaded the operator that he was "dying".

That Bowie was conscious of his heritage seems obvious from the number of songs he wrote touching on lunacy or schizophrenia. Of the Oh! You Pretty Things lyrics, Bowie said: "I hadn't been to an analyst - my parents went, my brothers and sisters and my aunts and uncles and cousins, they did that. They ended up in a much worse state. I thought I'd write my problems out."

Bowie released his first single at the age of 17, as part of a group called The King Bees, in June 1964. In the late Sixties he was a regular performer at the Three Tuns pub in Beckenham, south London.

After a minor success with the 1969 song Space Oddity, Bowie's big break came with his introduction to a 26-year-old litigation clerk and would-be showbusiness agent named Tony DeFries.

Within a few months, he'd transformed Bowie's finances by renegotiating his publishing contract, transferring it from Essex Music to Chrysalis Music for a £5,000 advance, more than £50,000 today.

DeFries set up a company called Titanic Music, to administer a uniquely generous royalty rate of 75 per cent. After shaking hands in the boardroom with DeFries and the three Chrysalis directors, Bowie walked back to Trident Studios in Soho, where he blurted out to the first person he met (the cleaner) that he was "a star". That night at home in Beckenham he is said to have broken down and cried.

DeFries' entrepreneurial skills were matched by Bowie's astonishing sequence of songs, beginning with the 1971 album Hunky Dory. His genius was to take unpromising themes like sexual confusion and set them to catchy tunes.

His accompanying stage persona remains among the best loved, and most frequently imitated, of all his creations.

The Bowie of 1972-3 typically sported a wardrobe of red plastic boots, eyewateringly tight trousers, see-through blouses and glittering, sequinned jackets. The whole ensemble was topped off by a red cockade that became Ziggy's bestknown symbol, and that regularly led the list of great rock haircuts.

Bowie would later dismiss the look as "a cross between Nijinsky and Woolworths", something cobbled together from whatever was lying about.

The Ziggy character seemed to be genderless, an impression Bowie fuelled in a January 1972 interview in which he announced, "I'm gay, and always have been." However, Mary Finnigan, with whom Bowie had an affair in 1969, would insist that "David was more into women than men. Homosexuality with him was more opportunist and contrived." A number of other partners similarly agree that, while physically androgynous, Bowie was as 'straight' as they came.

In March 1970, Bowie married Angela Barnett, who described having met him through a mutual boyfriend whom "we were both f***ing". A year later, she gave birth to a son, whom they named Duncan Zowie Haywood Jones.

Having killed off the Ziggy character, Bowie produced his first No 1 album with the punning title Aladdin Sane. He reinvented himself as a soul singer, then as an unlikely duettist with Bing Crosby.

In 1976, he starred in the critically acclaimed sci-fi film The Man Who Fell To Earth. But another personality reinvention was looming.

Commenting on Britain's latest economic crisis, Bowie told a reporter: "I believe very strongly in Fascism. The only way we can speed up the sort of liberalism that's hanging foul in the air at the moment is to speed up the progress of a Right-wing, totally dictatorial tyranny and get it over as fast as possible."

Bowie subsequently explained his remarks were "a joke", although days later he treated his fans to a surprising spectacle on his arrival by the Orient Express at Victoria station in London. After the train pulled to a stop, Bowie walked to a waiting opentopped Mercedes, got in, stood up and thrust out his right arm in an apparent Nazi salute.

The Eighties were a quieter, but highly lucrative time for Bowie, who spent much of the decade in tax exile in Switzerland. He divorced Angela, and in 1983, reemerged with his chart-topping album Let's Dance and an accompanying tour, which was seen by three million fans around the world. This netted him £8m.

In 1992, Bowie married the Somalian model and actress Iman Abdul Majid. The couple, who have a young daughter, spend most of their time in New York.

In 1997 Bowie became the first major artist to turn himself into a Wall Street share issue. The so-called 'Bowie bond', which gave investors the chance to own a part of songs such as Rebel Rebel, was an instant sell-out, and reportedly put some £30m in Bowie's bank account.

Despite a personal wealth which is put at more than £100m, Bowie dismisses talk of his retirement.The only thing that could effect his future plans is his health.

There were warning signs in July 2004, when he pulled out of a European concert tour in Germany after complaining of shoulder pain. He underwent emergency surgery for an acutely blocked artery. He blamed the problem - which he later described as a minor heart attack - on years of heavy smoking and touring. He returned to New York to recuperate.

Now recovered, Bowie told friends he might revive his Ziggy Stardust persona. He will be selecting artists and performing at the High Line Festival in New York in May. And although he has made guest appearances with other artists such as David Gilmour and Arcade Fire, it will be his first proper show since his cancelled European tour.

His acting career, however, continues with his role in The Prestige and a guest appearance on Ricky Gervais's comedy series, Extras.

It's curiously tempting to bet on him surprising us all with at least one more of his classic reinventions, particularly as Tony Blair, a known fan, prepares to leave office.

In 2000, he was reported to have turned down the offer of a CBE in the Queen's birthday honours list. But now perhaps, after giving us Ziggy and other characters over the years, could this pop-music chameleon emerge as Sir David Bowie?

• Christopher Sandford's biography Bowie: Loving The Alien, is available in paperback published by Warner Books at £7.99.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Price of Cool

Sunday's videos

Stuck in myself-TRANSTIC NERVE ( from LIVE FILM vol.1 )

X- RAY SPEX IDENTITY LIVE

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Conservative Christian says God has predicted US slaughter


ANDY SULLIVAN IN WASHINGTON

PAT Robertson, an American Conservative Christian broadcaster says God told him a terrorist attack will result in "mass killing" in the United States in the second half of 2007.

I'm not saying necessarily nuclear, the Lord didn't say nuclear

"I'm not saying necessarily nuclear, the Lord didn't say nuclear," Mr Robertson said on his television show The 700 Club. "It'll be mass killing, possibly millions of people, major cities.

"The evil people will come after this country and there's a possibility, not a possibility, a definite certainty, that chaos is going to rule."

Mr Robertson told viewers they should not be afraid because "if you get blown up or something, you go to heaven; that's the worst thing that will happen to you".

He said God conveyed this message to him during an annual prayer retreat. He said he has received other messages during past retreats.

The broadcaster's 2006 forecast of heavy storm damage in coastal areas was followed by the second-lightest hurricane season since 1995. However, he said his prediction was borne out by storms in New England, Denver, the Pacific Northwest and the Philippines.

God did not warn him of any natural disasters this year, he said.

Mr Robertson, 76, reaches about a million viewers daily on the Christian Broadcasting Network, which he founded. He is credited for helping to shape political views of evangelical Christians, a vibrant force in the Republican Party, and campaigned for the presidency as a Republican in 1988.

He claims on his website that he can leg-press 2,000lb, thanks to an energy drink he promotes.


Robertson Says He Leg-Pressed 2,000 Pounds

Many evangelicals cringe at doomsayer's prophecies Pat Robertson draws viewers, but pastors say his remarks make Christians look bad

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