Monday, 30 November 2009
Wednesday, 25 November 2009
Sunday, 22 November 2009
Everaldo Creary really stepped up his acting this year, starring in two well-received productions: Smile Orange from the late Trevor Rhone and Me and Mi Chapsie from Kwanzaa. Both his characters (lispy hotel worker Busboy and ‘cougar bait’ Donald, respectively) were fun, but it was the talent and nuance displayed by the young actor that was most memorable. What’s more, the credibility that Creary brings to the stage these days, while holding his own with more seasoned actors, might be enough to land him a coveted spot in the awards race this upcoming season.
As the conniving Curtis in JMTC’s less-than-spectacular Dreamgirls, Maurice Bryan deftly displayed a balance of acting range and singing ability, which made his performance all the more enjoyable and compelling. More to the point,
Playing Marilyn, a successful 50-year-old career woman who falls for a young stud in Aston Cooke’s Me and Mi Chapsie, Dahlia Harris proved once again that she is a courageous and committed actress. She adds a fiery jolt of pure comic bliss to the production, while giving a lip-smacking lesson to her younger counterparts on how to savour every ounce of flavour a role may offer. Having won two Actor Boy Awards (supporting and lead) in the past for Ras Noah & The Hawk and Concubine?, this season Harris could very well end up in the race for Actor Boy gold for her excellent performance.
Look out for more Actor Boy Watch features on TALLAWAH.
The Fall (Blue Note Records)
Artiste: Norah Jones
Tyrone’s Verdict: A-
I am a Norah Jones loyalist. So, after her last album – 2007’s Not Too Late – failed to win the acclaim that her two previous smash releases had achieved, I was worried that her new effort, The Fall, might suffer a similar fate. And, with a title like that, who could blame me? Quite extraordinarily though, Jones has managed to shrug off the 2007 slump, re-emerging with a masterful set of folk-pop, jazz and blues tracks that is sure to astound both critics and fans.
With The Fall, Jones enacts a sort of musical magic. It’s a beautiful, echoing collection, and a demonstration of her near-faultless and unflinching form. Jones also seizes the opportunity to venture into new territory, bringing music that delivers traces of rock and other genres that give her an edgier sound. It works, as her genius is all over this latest project, her fourth studio release. Yet, Jones doesn’t wander too far away from the formula that imbued the multi-Grammy-winning Come Away With Me and Feels Like Home with eminence and that repeat-worthy factor.
These are songs about heartache, people, places and circumstances, made vividly palpable by the empathy and nuance and Jones’ enchanting singing. Beneath the surface of these tracks, lies pain and desolation (“I Wouldn’t Need You,” “You’ve Ruined Me”) but also the power of love (“Light As A Feather”), which makes The Fall eerily more compelling than anything I’ve ever heard before from the folksy singer-songwriter.
On each of her four albums, Norah Jones sings a lot about reveries and fantasies (the excellent “Chasing Pirates”), journeys (“Back To Manhattan”), embracing change (“December”) and the peaks and vales of love and human relationships (the candid “Tell Your Mama” and “Man of the Hour”). It’s almost impossible to describe their effortless exactness and their unhurried economy. Simply captivating stuff.
Like on Come Away With Me, Jones reveals her aptitude for evoking a peculiar atmosphere of life and human connections, expressing their unspoken pressures (“It’s Gonna Be,” “Even Though”) and expectations (“Waiting”). And they are made all the more glorious by the sparse and sometimes sweeping production, coupled with poetically sensitive and skilled songwriting, including contributions from Jesse Harris, who penned Jones’ 2003 Record of the Year-winning hit “Don’t Know Why.”
The Fall proves that Norah Jones is one of most consistently true singer-songwriters of her generation, nothing more and nothing less than an artist who speaks to the human condition and the ways of the world.
BEST TRACKS: “Light As A Feather,” “Tell Your Mama,” “Chasing Pirates” and “I Wouldn’t Need You”
Dancehall-soul songstress Cherine Anderson opens up to BUZZZ magazine about pursuing new heights in her career in their November/December issue.
2009 was one of the best years of Anderson’s career; she created history when she appeared on several Billboard Charts after her song with Michael Franti and Spearhead, “Say Hey (I Love You)”, entered the Top 40 and she has been on tour with her collaborators, and also performed on the Ellen DeGeneres daytime talk show. In the New Year, she plans to complete work on her as-yet-untitled debut album, tour some more and tackle a range of new projects and ventures.
She tells the magazine: “This album is going to have a really eclectic sound. I want to have fun while making music that is creative, witty and enjoyable. I love where I am musically in my career. I am growing and my new music will reflect that.”
The new issue of the hip Caribbean lifestyle magazine also looks at:
FAMILY TIME AT CHRISTMAS
During the holiday season, we sometimes have trouble deciding where to go and which of our loved ones to spend time with. The magazine offers advice on this and other Christmas-related matters, sure to help you solve your dilemma.
DRESSING RIGHT FOR YOUR BIG NIGHT OUT
The November/December issue also offers tips on how to look and feel your best this Christmas, especially when it comes to stepping out to celebrate the season in fine style. From what to wear and how to wear it, the best fashion and style advice is available in this issue.
In addition to articles on do-it-to-yourself home remodelling, how to upgrade your motor vehicle and foods that make you look good, the November/December issue also features tips on proper hair care, new book and album reviews, and a range of stories on interesting personalities and places.
The November/December issue is available by this weekend on newsstands, at bookstores, pharmacies and supermarkets islandwide, throughout the Caribbean and in select North American locations. Pick up your copy early.
Precious: Based on the novel PUSH by Sapphire (Lionsgate Pictures)
Director: Lee Daniels
Cast: Gabourey Sidibe, Mo’Nique, Paula Patton and Mariah Carey
Running Time: 1hr 49 mins
Tyrone’s Verdict: B+
Precious is not for the faint of heart. It’s a raw and gritty but ultimately uplifting film that explores the bowels of poverty, misery and abuse, as well as the human spirit and its ability to rise above the most trying of circumstances. The film is drenched in pain, hardship and despair, but by the end it guarantees emotional uplift and a reminder that there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.
Directed with sharp focus and relentless ambition by Lee Daniels (Monster’s Ball), with the novel Push by Sapphire providing source material, the buzzworthy film shares the story of Claireece ‘Precious’ Jones (terrific newcomer Gabourey Sidibe), an obese and illiterate Black teenager living in 1980s Harlem. Sixteen and pregnant with her father’s second child, Precious lives in a dingy and dimly lit apartment with her bitter and cruel unemployed mother (comedienne Mo’Nique in a chilling performance) and is abused in almost every way imaginable.
Through her engaging voice-over narration, which provides a contrasting layer of warmth to the movie, we hear her thoughts like (“Sometimes I wish I was dead, but there’s always something in the way.”) To cope with her pain she fantasizes about a glamorous life in the spotlight, completed by a “light-skinned boyfriend,” red carpets, high fashion and flashing lights. Understandably, she longs to escape from the trap of poverty, abuse and illiteracy that threatens to destroy her soul.
Expulsion from school offers a blessing in disguise as she is led to an alternative education programme, where she meets Miss Raine (Paula Patton), a good-natured and compassionate teacher, who provides the ray of light Precious has been seeking. Mariah Carey, in a startlingly subtle yet effective performance, appears as a welfare officer seeking answers about Precious’ dysfunctional home life and relationship with her mother.
Precious captures how a lost and damaged girl picks herself up from the most horrific circumstances and steps into the light. Daniels shows courage as a director by treading deep into the pathologies of life in impoverished households and communities, while eliciting award-worthy turns from his cast. Mo’Nique is a clear standout; her performance as the wretched mother is so captivating that she steals every scene she appears in.
Deeply disturbing and provocative, yet well-wrought and superbly acted, Precious is a gem of a movie that could emerge as the darling of the imminent awards season. You know
Artiste: Carrie Underwood
Tyrone’s Verdict: B+
Most of the tracks on Carrie Underwood’s latest album, Play On, would not be out of place on her previous efforts – the multi-platinum-selling 2005 debut Some Hearts and the acclaimed 2007 follow-up Carnival Ride. Her songs address human frailty, trust, the never-ending quest for happiness and love in all its various shades and forms, and her powerful voice is a refreshing and juicy joy.
Underwood has demonstrated admirable consistency in her career since winning the fourth season of American Idol though some would dismiss her decision to stick to her area of expertise as simply “playing it safe.” Play On, laden with 13 tracks, is a superb effort, an enjoyable blend of bouncy country-pop awash in contemporary rhymes and rhythms. It is music that shows off her talent. At the same time, the Grammy winner doesn’t disappoint listeners who have come to expect poignant storytelling from her.
With the help of a highly skilled batch of songwriters, Underwood has become known for touching ballads and spirit-lifting anthems about struggle, loss and survival. The melancholy gem “Temporary Home” and the soothing “Mama’s Song,” about getting a mother to accept her daughter’s new man, are fine examples. In the same vein, “Someday When I Stop Loving You,” “Change” and “Look At Me” are haunting standout tracks that speak to overcoming doubt and casting fear aside.
But Underwood also manages to shine on more energetic fare like “Cowboy Casanova,” a percussion-laden track that recalls her smash hit “Before He Cheats.” Then there’s “Undo It” and “Unapologize,” two soft rock-flavoured songs that take men to task about their roles in relationships.
Among my other easy favourites are the stellar and inspirational title track and the gorgeous, well-executed collabo “What Can I Say?” (with notable vocal contributions from Sons of Sylvia). But Play On is not without flaw, as ambitious tracks like “Quitter” and the folksy, bluegrass-tinged “Songs Like This” fall short of the mark.
Still, on Underwood’s third studio album, her sensitivity and soulfulness echo at all the right moments. Equally compelling selling points for the CD include the singer’s impressive vocalizations and technical wizardry of such producers as Karlo DiGuardio and Marti Frederikson. With Play On, Underwood proves she has what it takes to keep her country queen crown firmly in place.
BEST TRACKS: “Someday When I Stop Loving You,” “Temporary Home,” “What Can I Say?” and “Play On”
Wednesday, 18 November 2009
Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls) will be starring in a biopic about Winnie Mandela, based on the book Winnie Mandela: A Life. Mandela, the ex-wife of South African President Nelson Mandela, is a controversial figure though a stalwart activist against apartheid, with some calling her the Mother of the Nation. She has also been embroiled in several scandals, both of the personal and political nature.
According to Variety, the movie will be directed by Darrell J. Roodt, the South African director of Cry, the Beloved Country, which featured James Earl Jones. Filming for the project commences in May 2010. Speaking about her new role, Hudson said, "I was compelled and moved when I read the script. Winnie Mandela is a complex and extraordinary woman, and I'm honored to be the actress asked to portray her. This is a powerful part of history that should be told."
In other J-Hud news, the 28-year-old singer-actress will make her debut performance at the Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival in Montego Bay in Januray 2010. In February, Hudson won a Grammy for her self-titled first album, which spawned the hit singles "Spotlight" and "If This Isn't Love."
Tuesday, 17 November 2009
The superstar entertainer was booked to play at next year's Big Day Out music festival set for January 15 in Auckland, New Zealand before outrage from gay rights groups forced organisers to drop him from the line up.
According to New Zealand-based news outlet 3 News, in an email sent out to GayNZ.com and other media, Beenie (ne Moses Davis) said the offending lyrics, which called for the murder of homosexuals, were written "at a point in my life when I younger and was seeing a lot of exploitation of poor and defenceless young boys in the garrison - where I too was born - by rich men. When I wrote the lyrics boys were raped and murdered often - even recently a nine-year-old went to buy cigarettes for a man, came back and was raped and murdered. The act of sodomy was my concern when I wrote the song.”
Continuing, Beenie Man wrote, "I realise that those men were not gays, but were predators or paedophiles, which is not a common word in my dialect – hence the perception when generalising. I am older and realised the difference after.”
Beenie Man also says he has repeatedly apologised for the lyrics overseas, and was "heartbroken" upon hearing his appearance in New Zealand had generated such opposition.
"In the past I offended others with offensive lyrics, I apologised then and now, I never took back my word. Our world is an interesting place filled with variety and we all have to respect others no matter what race, choices, culture or lifestyle. I am not a supporter of hatred and never was."
Beenie Man reportedly concludes the email with a message for New Zealand and Australia: "Australia and New Zealand, please know that I am sincere, and right now I am proposing peace, one world. One Love, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation and nationality."
Friday, 13 November 2009
Two-time Olympic gold medallist Veronica Campbell- Brown is expanding her resume, adding author to the ever-growing list of accomplishments. She has written a motivational text, A Better You: Inspirations For Life's Journey, which is currently available at local bookstores and other locations as well as via online outlets.
On November 13, the Jamaican sprint queen will be at Sangster's Montego Bay (St. James Street) to sign copies of the new book. On November 14, she will visit the bookstore chain's The Mall branch in Kingston to greet fans and autograph more copies of the book.
Instead of penning a straight autobiographical account of her life, Campbell-Brown said she chose to share her experiences on and off the track with readers. "I realised I wanted to help other people maximise their potential in whatever they do. So why not try to use the talent that God has given me to try and influence as many people as I can," Campbell-Brown told Spike mag. “It is basically there to help a lot of people and at times we all need extra strength to get along through life and I think it would be beneficial to share this information with the world."
Last Tuesday evening inside the Port Antonio Suite of the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel former world record holder Asafa Powell launched his track and field support initiative, the Asafa Powell Foundation which boasts the theme "Preparing today’s athletes to be tomorrow’s champions."
The aims and objectives of the foundation include:
1. To contribute to the personal welfare of track and field athletes especially those in the 12 – 25 age group.
2. To encourage, promote and propagate he principles of hard work, discipline, good behaviour and respect of self and others among young people, ages 6 – 30.
3. To encourage and promote academic excellence among our young people, particularly those who represent their school in track and field.
4. To assist schools at all levels, but particularly at the primary and secondary levels with sport gears, meals and the necessary equipment to advance their track and field programme.
5. To initiate, support and foster the work of any properly constituted authority or authorities – government or non-government, national, regional or international in the promotion of the objectives of the Foundation.
Triple world record holder Usain Bolt made a financial contribution to the foundation, pledging to make a donation on an annual basis.
"I have been in this sport for a long time, and I see where athletes need this help and I have been wondering how can I help them. I think this is the right time so I have decided to come out and see what I can do," Powell said. "I have received promises from all over, all types of people, teachers, lawyers, businessmen, from all over. I see how [everyone] appreciates and how much they love me."
Wednesday, 11 November 2009
Whip It (Fox Searchlight)
Director: Drew Barrymore
Cast: Ellen Page, Marcia Gay Harden, Kristen Wiig and Drew Barrymore
Running Time: 1hr 51 mins
Tyrone’s Verdict: B
Ellen Page returns to her comfort zone in the offbeat indie comedy-drama, Whip It, a frolicking and funny film about roller derby, family, and self-discovery. Directed by Drew Barrymore, who also co-stars in the picture, Whip It is unevenly paced for the first quarter, but thankfully the film grows less leaden as the actors sink their teeth deeper into the roles, some more sizable than others. So by the time the credits start rolling, that little quibble becomes almost immaterial.
Page, who landed an Oscar nod for her remarkable turn in Juno, is Bliss Cavendar, a 17-year-old high school misfit living in Bodeen, a small
There she encounters wild tomboy chicks in short shorts and fishnet tights beating the crap out of each other on roller skates before a screaming, blood-thirsty crowd. With names like Smashley Simpson (Barrymore), Maggie Mayhem (Kristen Wiig), Rosa Sparks (rapper Eve), Bloody Holly, and Eva Destruction, you know this is no sport for the fainthearted girl next door. In fact, roller derby is a grueling sport that calls for sturdiness, speed, and skill on skates. At least from my vantage point, beneath this veneer lurks a desultory lesbian undercurrent.
Desperate to leave a world of Stepford-style pageants, mind-numbing tradition, and archaic viewpoints on class and beauty behind, Bliss tries out for the Hurl Scouts, coached by a hothead named Razor (Andrew Wilson). She impressively makes the team, adopts the name Babe Ruthless and quickly becomes one of the best in the league. But to get to the top, she has to get past Iron Maven (convincingly played by Juliette Lewis), the cocky star player of their main rivals, the High Rollers. Another plot point involves Bliss falling for a cute musician, Oliver (Landon Pigg), who she meets at The Warehouse.
Pulling on her Juno chops, Page is wonderful as Bliss, bringing a mix of gracefulness and brawn to the role. She is the sweet schoolgirl, the tough athletic competitor and the caring daughter who really wants to make her mother and father happy and proud.
You can tell that Drew Barrymore is a sucker for a quirky indie that makes you both laugh and reflect on your own life. With Shauna Cross’ appealing novel and screenplay as source material, the director brings that same understanding of life, coupled with her enthusiasm, to her work behind the camera.
Minor, forgivable flaws aside, Whip It is charming and amusing, a satisfying and enjoyable look at small-town ideology, individuality and the search of passion and pleasure.
Sandals founder and chairman Gordon 'Butch' Stewart and CEO Adam Stewart joined a constellation of world star personalities on hand to witness the presentation of awards at a glitzy ceremony for the awards last Saturday at Grosvenor House,
“For almost three decades our priority has been to provide guests with an outstanding vacation experience. Our efforts to modernise the resorts and raise the bar on luxury included offerings never cease," said chairman Stewart. "We are so honoured to have been selected for these awards which represent such tremendous recognition of our team's efforts and achievements." the hotelier added.
The other top honours for the Sandals chain were:
. World's Leading Family All-Inclusive - Beaches Negril Resort & Spa
. World's Leading Family Resort -
. Caribbean's Leading Honeymoon Resort - Royal
. Antigua & Barbuda's Leading Resort - Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa
The World Travel Awards was founded in 1993 and is recognised as a premier event which acknowledges, honours and salutes excellence in the global travel and tourism industry.
The top writers in the 2009 Jamaica Creative Writing Competition, organized by the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), were awarded with medals and other prizes at a ceremony held at the Rex Nettleford Hall, UWI Mona last Thursday.
Other major awards included ‘Most Outstanding Writer’, which was copped by Malachi Smith; ‘Special Writer’, won by Christine Marshall; ‘Noteworthy Writer’ which was presented to Joy Campbell, while ‘Choice Writer’ went to Haneefah Seid, Julene Vanhorne, Shane Shaw, Sharon Hare and Verone Johnson in a tie. A total of ten gold medals, fifteen silver and seventeen bronze medals were presented across the categories of poems, short stories, novels and plays.
An exhibition of the awarded works will be mounted in collaboration with the Jamaica Library Service at parish libraries across the island over the next six months.
Last time we met, these hands remained bare,
worn from the lives they used to lead.
But today I reclaim them, each angry finger
that will turn against me tomorrow.
Doctor, I am fond of you;
You tower above this lovely building,
the god of plastic dreams.
Your four eyes try to undress me
to light the secret world of my mind
where I hide, sleep and cry.
You don’t understand the magic
of talking to oneself, quiet and alone.
I am king of all my memories lost.
Once I was handsome, now I am myself,
counting the infinite rows of paper birds,
praying that somehow they’d turn into blades.
To the Shrink… was awarded a gold medal in the National Creative Writing Competition in 2005. It was also featured in the Jamaica Journal (Volume 29, Number 3) in 2006.
Yendi Phillipps is heading to the Motherland. The beauty queen, Miss
“This is a dream come true for me.
Phillips left the island last week to begin a six month tenure at the agency and said she is prepared to dive head first into the very pressuring and competitive world of modeling. Phillips has been actively modeling both locally and internationally since she was sixteen years old but considers this move, the biggest in her career as a model. She also hopes to do commercial modeling and eventually sign contracts with major international companies.
The Base Model Agency was founded in 1999 by Neal Vincent and is recognized in the modelling industry as a very prominent agency on both the local and international circuits.