Sunday, July 20, 2008

NOT A GIRL, BUT IS SHE YET A WOMAN?
Britney Spears plays with the grown ups

I kinda hafta admit that I really didn't think I'd ever have a reason to report on the activities of Britney Spears on Gimme Never Gets. Her tendency toward confusing and self-centered behaviour doesn't exactly position her as an individual working toward the greater good, IMHO.



But maybe there's a change in the wind with Ms. Spears because last night she attended a fundraiser hosted by Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy for Generation Rescue, an amazing organization dedicated to researching autism under the belief the condition can be reversed!

People magazine's Good Deeds has the good deets:

With her divorce settlement behind her, Britney Spears took time out on Saturday night to do something for the kids, adding star wattage to Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey's fundraiser for Generation Rescue, an organization dedicated to researching autism.

"She looked great and seemed really happy," says a partygoer of the Snow Queen Vodka-sponsored shindig at the couple's home in Brentwood. Though she kept close to her assistant Brett and didn't speak to other guests, "She smiled and clapped during the video about autism. She was very into the information and watched a little bit of the dancers from Dancing with the Stars, sneaking out during one of the performances."

Also at the bash were newlyweds Charlie Sheen and Brooke Mueller ("The honeymoon isn't over!" remarked one guest), a "lovey-dovey" Robert Rodriguez and Rose McGowan, who kissed and danced all night, and of course the host couple.

"Jenny and Jim were adorable," says the guest, "She kept saying, 'I love you honey' to him when she thanked him from the stage." Carrey, not to be outdone by the DWTS folks, soon took to the dance floor, even challenging another guest to a playful dance-off.

Says the guest, "Jim was hilarious."


Photo Credit: WireImage

Hmmm... I do realize that smiling and clapping during an autism video isn't a bad thing, but I'm left wondering how deeply Britney Spears wishes to bring about change for autistic kids if she wasn't even engaging in conversation about the condition, about Generation Rescue, or about anything at all for that matter. But at least she was there and I guess that's a good thing, especially since she has two little boys of her own. Her involvement with these people may help her learn about possible ways to keep her own kids healthy.

And what about that Rose McGowan, eh? I had pretty much totally forgotten about her except for the fact that reading this article makes me think about Charmed which makes me think about her co-star on that show, Shannon Doherty, which makes me think about the fact that it's now been confirmed that Doherty will be part of the cast on this fall's 90210.

Yee-Haw for that news! Can. Not. Wait. to check out that show. Not just for old time's sake, but also to hopefully have another fun and fairly mindless teen drama to get all wrapped up in after the summer. I don't why I watch these shows (I'm also a Gossip Girl addict) because they certainly bring up reminders of just how painful being a teenager can be. Not to get all heavy about it, but it's good to know that the teenage years are not necessarily the *best* years of one's life. Things DO get better if you want them to :-)

Note to self: thinking about Rose McGowan also reminds me that I STILL haven't seen Grindhouse which I gotta get around to at some point ;-)



Back to Generation Rescue, I find this organization to be exciting because it is focused on the idea that autism is preventable and reversible. Their thinking is...

Our children are experiencing epidemics of ADD/ADHD, Asperger's, PDD-NOS, and Autism.

We believe these neurological disorders ("NDs") are environmental illnesses caused by an overload of heavy metals, live viruses, and bacteria. Proper treatment of our children, known as "biomedical intervention", is leading to recovery for thousands.

The cause of this epidemic of NDs is extremely controversial. We believe the cause includes the tripling of vaccines given to children in the last 15 years (with unstudied ingredients like mercury, aluminum and live viruses); growing evidence also suggests that maternal toxic load and prenatal vaccines, heavy metals like mercury in our air, toxic ingredients in our water, pesticides; and the overuse of antibiotics are also implicated. Generation Rescue's mission is to support continued research on causative factors and treatment approaches for NDs.

These are bold ideas which totally deserve research, funding and development. I wish the best for the parents involved in the organization because they are the ones who will get to true bottom of the issues and finally learn how to help their kids and, as a result, generations of kids to come. Check out the Generation Rescue website because it really is very interesting.

Woulda been fun to have seen Jim Carrey doin' his thang for his house guests. His work with Jenny McCarthy on autism calls to mind his earlier professional career, when he was already aware of using comedy as a powerful tool for promoting important issues ... check out his hilarious Environmental Guy from In Living Color:

Thursday, July 17, 2008

LET'S ALL (BAY)WATCH PAMELA ANDERSON'S NEW SHOW
Pam: Girl on the Loose! to premiere on E! Aug 3rd

Maybe playing with Barbie dolls or Fashion Plates as a young lad had something to do with my long-standing love and affection for Pamela Anderson.



I don't want to pander to obvious and superficial popular conclusions based on image, but really it's kinda hard not to do so. Howevs, there's much more to lovely Pamela than blonde hair, ginormous boobies, a tiny waist and youthful speech patterns.

She does Canada proud (born on the country's birthday - July 1st - in 1967) by advancing the cause of PETA and placing a recognizable face on a profound movement to change the way people think.

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and Pamela work together - particularly against cruelty to poultry allegedly sponsored by KFC. The PETA campaign has been known as KFC or, Kentucky Fried Cruelty.

Recently, PETA was finally able to end its boycott of KFC Canada thanks to the company's agreement to amend its slaughter practices. You can read about this long overdue development, and in addition here's a quick list of some changes made by KFC Canada:

* Phase in purchases of 100 percent of its chickens from suppliers that use CAK, standing for "controlled-atmosphere killing", the least cruel form of poultry slaughter ever developed. KFC Canada is the first major restaurant chain to commit to phasing in the exclusive purchasing of chicken meat from CAK slaughterhouses.

* Add a vegan faux-chicken item to the menu of all 461 Priszm-owned KFC restaurants (more than half of all the KFCs in Canada).

* Improve its animal welfare audit criteria to reduce the number of broken bones and other injuries suffered by birds.

* Urge its suppliers to adopt better practices, including improved lighting, lower stocking density and ammonia levels, and a phaseout of growth-promoting drugs and breeding practices that painfully cripple chickens.

* Form an animal welfare advisory panel to monitor the changes and recommend further advancements.



So, positive steps have definitely been taken. But, if you actually think for a few moments about why this boycott occurred in the first place, and then actually think for a few moments about having a chicken burger... well, you tend to lose your appetite a wee bit, n'est-ce pas?

Lucky for Pam and her fans, her star will continue to shine even brighter very soon which should mean that she can remain in a strong position to influence the effectiveness of PETA's initiatives all over world.

That's because August 3rd at 10pm is the E! premiere of Pam: Girl on the Loose! It's kind of a docu-series on the cable channel already rife with celebreality shows, but I think Pam's will stand out from the pack. Here's a bit about Pam's new show as reported by zap2it.com

E!'s not-really-a-reality-show reality show starring Pamela Anderson will be making its way to your TV screen in August.

"Pam: Girl on the Loose" is scheduled to premiere at 10 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 3. The show promises a "truly personal and in-depth glimpse" into Anderson's life as a mother, working actress and animal-rights activist.

Episodes will feature the former "Baywatch" and "Stacked" star holding a massive yard sale, taking meetings for various business endeavors and tending to her kids without the help of a maid or a nanny.

Anderson is among the executive producers of "Girl on the Loose," along with Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato ("The Eyes of Tammy Faye," "Showbiz Moms & Dads"), Tom Campbell and Jeff Pollack.

TIT-illated? Me too. Here's a preview:


Yeah, so it's gonna be fun to watch at the very least and at best it'll help to educate another demographic about some of the truly important work this woman does.

I do love me some Pam Anderson, indeed. Here she is on recent appearance on Larry King Live with Dan Mathews, her PETA cohort, talking up the good talk. I love what this guy has to say:


Before we wrap up our little trip down Pamela lane, let's have a moment for Fashion Plates:



Fashion Plates, as described on InThe80's, was 'an "artsy" toy from the eighties. By using several thin plates (aligned on a board and colored/traced over with colored pencils), you could create a woman with interchangeable fashionable outfits.'

Ah, such good times - it all flashes me back to grade four with one of the most non-judgmental gal pals of my youth, Tammy T.

I remember creating stunning designs using her Fashion Plates set, and I was inspired by her early acknowledgment of pop culture evidenced by her wearing of a "Who Shot J.R.?" t-shirt.

And... since we're now talking about that ancient reference too..., here's the classic scene from Dallas for anyone else who is as ridiculously reminiscent of the 80's as I am:






Sunday, July 13, 2008

1 CELEBRITY STORK = 2 BABIES!
Brangelina's Twins Finally Enter the World

Happy News to report today from the land of the gorgeous and the generous...

After much conjecture, anticipation, guessing, erroneous reporting and tons of bated breath the world over, the arrival of twins to parents Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie is now official. OFFICIALLY, official.

At around 8pm local time on Saturday (July 12) near Nice, France, Angelina Jolie delivered twins, a boy and a girl, by caesarean section.

According to Jolie's obstetrician, she and Brad Pitt are doing "marvelously well" after the birth.



In case you still don't quite believe that this birth event has finally happened, here's a photo... not of the babies, but of the next best thing at this point ... a birth certificate!



That's the mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, center, holding the birth certificates of one of Angelina Jolie's twins, Knox Leon Jolie-Pitt, with Dr. Michel Sussmann, Jolie's obstetrician, The photo was taken Sunday, July 13, 2008 by Claude Paris of The Associated Press.

Here are alot more details on the babies' birth as reported by the Canadian Press:

NICE, France - The Brangelina twins are here: Angelina Jolie has given birth to a girl and a boy, and dad Brad Pitt took the whole thing in stride. The obstetrician who delivered the twins, Dr. Michel Sussmann, said the actress, the babies and Pitt "are doing marvelously well."

The 33-year-old actress gave birth to a boy, Knox Leon, and a girl, Vivienne Marcheline, by Caesarean section about 8 p.m. Saturday in Nice in southern France. Jolie had a local anesthetic and was conscious throughout, the doctor said.


Pitt was in the delivery room at the seaside Lenval hospital as the babies were born one minute apart, Sussman said, the boy weighing just over five pounds and the girl five pounds.


"He was perfectly calm and everything went well," Sussmann said.
"He was very happy ... The emotion was very strong for him," the doctor added.

"Angelina Jolie was speaking, was laughing with her husband. They were happy."
"The mother, the babies, the father are doing marvelously well," he said.

Sussmann said the Caesarean was moved forward from its originally planned date "for medical reasons" so the babies could be born "in the best conditions." The doctor did not give details.
He said Jolie is expected to stay in the hospital for a few more days and that she now needs rest.

The four other Jolie-Pitt children - Maddox, 6; Pax, 4; Zahara, 3; and Shiloh, 2 - have not yet seen their new sister and brother, he added.


The doctor said he believed the baby girl's middle name was chosen in honour of Jolie's mother, actress Marcheline Bertrand, who died in January 2007 after a 7 1/2-year battle with cancer.


Jolie had checked into the hospital late last month to rest and be monitored by her doctor before the birth.

Before that, she, Pitt and their children had moved into a large estate, Miraval, in the French hamlet of Correns, which is just a short helicopter ride from the hospital. Correns is about 100 kilometres from Nice, a resort on the Mediterranean.


Though the lenses of the world's paparazzi had been trained on maternity wards across the French Riviera, Jolie managed to slip unobserved into the clinic, which has magnificent views of the Mediterranean, reportedly arriving by helicopter on the hospital's rooftop helipad.
Pitt was seen coming and going after Jolie's hospitalization became public.

The first photos of the new twins are expected to fetch millions of dollars.
Paparazzi and curious sightseers gathered outside the hospital in Nice on Sunday, hoping for glimpses and shots of Pitt.

Local newspaper Nice Matin, which first broke news of the birth, reported Sunday that the couple have sold rights for the first photo of their newly enlarged family to a U.S. publication, which it did not name, and that the proceeds would go to charity. The newspaper gave no source for that information.

But the doctor said the couple decided to announce the birth to Nice Matin first because of its links to Nice. The newspaper called the twins "the most famous babies in the world."


Earlier in the week, the hospital said it had coated the windows of Jolie's room with a special material to prevent paparazzi from taking unauthorized pictures of the star couple.


Tourists and residents of Nice, a popular resort, welcomed news of the birth. The city's mayor, Christian Estrosi, visited the hospital Sunday to deliver the twins' birth certificates, which spared Pitt the need to go to City Hall himself to register the babies, and run the gauntlet of the photographers waiting outside.


"It's a happy day for Mrs. Angelina Jolie and all the citizens of Nice," said Estrosi.


The mayor previously has said that the twins will always be considered honorary citizens of the city, regardless of whether they opt to obtain French citizenship.



Wow - I would imagine it's gonna be *quite* awhile before Angelina Jolie is physically able to strike a pose like the one above ;-)

I do hope that the "best conditions" referred to by the obstetrician were achieved and that mama and her babies are able to remain in strong health from this point on.

Marcheline is a beautiful second name to give to the baby girl, and certainly a beautiful tribute to Angelina's late mother.

It's interesting to note that her father, actor Jon Voight, is as yet unmentioned in all of this. It's no public secret their relationship is strained, but with the birth of two new additions to their family we can only hope that new life may give new inspiration for Angelina and Jon to come together somehow.

As expected, I'm really glad to know that the exorbitant sum to be paid for the first photos of babies will be donated to charity. That's really good news. As a hilarious aside to the baby pics aspect of this story, check out this LOL quote from a photo agency honcho:

"I've never known a set of pictures to be worth this amount of money," said Darryn Lyons, owner of Big Pictures, a celebrity photo agency in London. He estimated that the twins' official photos will be worth between $15 million and $20 million.

The only other photos that "would possibly come that close is Britney Spears giving birth to an alien," he said.

Hardy-Har-Har!!! Love, Love, LOVE it!

I wonder if Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have already selected a recipient for the money through their Jolie-Pitt Foundation? When they established the foundation in 2006, they kicked things off by donating 1 million dollars to each of Doctors Without Borders and Global Action for Children. Who knows where the money from the first pics of twins will go? Oddly, there's no website for the Jolie-Pitt Foundation.

Is it not kinda hilarious and mind-boggling that the hospital is just a short helicopter ride away from their home in France? The lifestyle and lengths gone to in order to ensure privacy are toooooooooooootally amazing! I really cannot imagine living that kind of life. Zoinks!



I guess that after a few requisite days of joyous rest and relaxation at the hospital, Angelina and the new twins will be able to re-join the rest of the family at their Chateau Miraval estate in the south of France which, unbelievably, has a 3-mile driveway and its own forest!

Check this place out!!! Freakin' byooooooooooooootiful, indeed...



Here's a news report with details on their French home (and their other homes, too):

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are buying a new home in the south of France. The couple has spent a reported 70 million U.S. dollars for a 1,000-acre estate in the European country, which even comes with its own title -- Chateau Miraval.

The estate, located in a village called Brignol near the Aix-en-Provence, comes complete with a three-mile long driveway, a private lake, moat and for ultimate privacy, its own forest.


Inside the lavish home are 35-spacious rooms, many of which featuring balconies offering amazing views of the surrounding valley.
On the grounds of the estate, 13 different varieties are reportedly harvested, and sprawled across the acreage are 20 fountains and a stream which runs through hidden tunnels, filling the moat and the lake.



The Pitts, who banked a combined 55 million dollars last year, already own a multi-million home in Berlin, and Angelina also owns a 4 million dollar converted farmhouse in Buckinghamshire, England.


In the United States, the couple owns a 9 million dollar oceanfront home in Malibu, California, and another home in Santa Barbara. They also paid the full asking price of 3.75 million dollars for their home in New Orleans.

There you have it, 3 homes in Europe and 3 homes in the USA. Even though their family just got bigger by two, they clearly have the space to get around and raise their kids with likely the best of everything.

These two brand new babies, along with their 4 siblings, are poised for a very, very interesting life. And with the ongoing and very public humanitarian commitments made by their parents, it looks like the world now has half a dozen youngins that will grow up learning how to live a kind and generous life.

Plus, it stands to reason that their lives will also be very, very interesting since they're going to wind up looking like a combination of their ridiculously beautiful parents.





Saturday, July 12, 2008

MISSIONARY (WO)MAN2

Saints and apostles backing up from behind

Two of my favourite ladies of music were in London together a couple nights ago to continue the good, hard work of raising awareness and funds for children with AIDS in Africa.

#1: The legendary Annie Lennox...

And, #2: The amazing Alicia Keys...

So, with hands that normally play the piano or hold a microphone, Alicia Keys and Annie Lennox each gave a helping hand to raise $700,000 at the UK's first "Black Ball"! Here's the story from People magazine:

Alicia Keys raised nearly $700,000 hosting Thursday's night's first U.K."Black Ball," a star-packed London fund-raiser to benefit children with AIDS in Africa.

"Our main goal is that for [one dollar] a day we can provide the medicine and care to keep children alive," said the R&Bsinger, 28, a co-founder of the Keep A Child Alive foundation.

Keys, who's touring Europe this summer, walked the red carpet with her brother Cole,and told reporters: "I'm definitely excited about bringing the one and only Annie Lennox on stage with me. It's going to be an exclusive, inspirational night."



Photo by: Dave Hogan / Getty; Landov

Initially formed by AIDS activist Leigh Blake in 2003, Keep A Child Alive aims to offer lifesaving anti-retroviral medicine to the children and families with HIV/AIDS in Africa as well as support an orphan-care project in India. As Blake told PEOPLE of Keys's involvement, "She is stronger than I am. She e-mails me every single day, she is incredible." Says Jennifer Hudson, 26, who costars with Keys in the upcoming The Secret Life of Bees, "I call Alicia my mentor."

Keys hosted the later part of the event in jeans and a Barack Obama T-shirt as she introduced performers. Lennox received a standing ovation when she did the evening's finale of "Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)" and REM's "Everybody Hurts" with Keys joining in on piano.

Guests included Mischa Barton and Kelly Rowland, who, after dancing up a storm, told PEOPLE the night was "perfect. A moment of true greatness."


Is it just me or does it seem kinda random that Mischa Barton was at this event? I'm not sure why she's been London these days, but hopefully it means there's no more of this to worry about. But, hey, if this means she's focusing her time and attention on things that matter, then more power to her I say!

Annie Lennox has long been involved in the AIDS cause across Africa. Last December 1st, on International AIDS Day (which also just so happens to be my birthday), her single "Sing" was released of her latest album "Songs of Mass Destruction". Proceeds from the single went to the HIV/AIDS fundraising and awareness program, Treatment Action Campaign.

The song was a collaboration with TONS of cool female singers like Madonna, Pink, Melissa Etheridge, Fergie, kd lang, Joss Stone, Martha Wainwright and LOTS more. When this single was released, here's what Annie said on her website about all of this:

"Several years ago I personally witnessed Nelson Mandela, standing in front of his former prison cell on Robben Island, addressing the world's press. His message was that the pandemic of HIV/AIDS in Africa was in fact, a genocide. Since that time I resolved to do as much as I can to bring attention to the HIV/AIDS crisis." (Wikipedia)

And I love that Alicia Keys is part of the AIDS awareness efforts, too. Her official website offers a way for fans, or just anyone really, to get involved in the program, Keep A Child Alive, for which she is their global ambassador.

Btw, if you love Alicia Keys' latest album AS I AM as much as I do, you'll be tickled to know that the video for her next single, Superwoman, is getting its exclusive premiere online this Tuesday (July 15). Go here to check it out.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

MISSIONARY MAN
"My mother told me good, my mother told me strong
She said be true to yourself and you can't go wrong"
~Eurythmics

Dear, sweet, adorable and HOT Prince Harry has just gotten a wee bit hotter. Not simply because he's shoveling the earth in sun-beaten Africa, but... because he's shoveling the earth in sun-beaten Africa.


Photo by: Chris Jackson / Getty

People published the following story on Harry, the People's Prince:

Prince Harry is once again raising a hand to help the AIDS-stricken African nation of Lesotho, this time building a special-needs school with his army buddies from the Household Cavalry's Blues and Royals regiment.

Harry, 23, says he hopes the facility in the northern town of Butha Buthe will be the first of many that can be provided by his Sentebale charitable foundation, reports Britain's Telegraph.

"At Sentebale, as long as we can keep funding the projects, we can make a massive, massive difference," the newspaper quotes Harry as saying – as he was building a ramp to help disabled students get to school.

In 2004, then then-19-year-old produced a TV documentary, The Forgotten Kingdom: Prince Harry in Lesotho, about the plight of the nation.

Once completed, the Thuso Centre will welcome more than 40 children with severe physical and mental disabilities – the first such school of its kind in the small kingdom.

"Everything here is just so positive and fantastic," says the royal. "Once the project is finished, we hope to make another in the center [of the nation] and one in the south. The children of Lesotho, the vulnerable children of Lesotho, that's what we're working towards."

...

I do realize it is incumbent upon royalty to perform philanthropic and humanitarian duties, but it still leaves me with a good taste in my mouth to see him doing this work. Which is likely nothing compared to the taste in my mouth if I can ever get my hands on Harry himself!

It just appears there are SO many issues to be sorted out in African nations. I would really like to go there one day myself to bear witness to the progress being made by so many. Plus, the opportunity to bear witness to African elephants in the wild would knock off my cotton socks! (yes, it's true, I do have a bit of a life long affinity for the elephant).


Photo Credit: Telegraph

While Prince Harry is in Lesotho this week, there's more on what he's doing there and on his organization, Sentebale, from the Associated Press:

Britain's royal soldier-humanitarian is in the impoverished African kingdom of Lesotho this week to work with Sentebale — the charity he and Lesotho's Prince Seeiso founded in the memory of Harry's late mother, Princess Diana.

Sentebale — which means "forget me not" in Sesotho — was founded to help orphans and vulnerable children in a nation of 1.8 million people where about 300,000 children have lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS. Many children are forced to leave school to look after younger siblings, and are open to abuse or exploitation.

The brightly colored Lesotho Child Counseling Unit is just one of a number of projects in which Sentebale is involved. Others include efforts to treat and educate about HIV/AIDS and help children with mental or physical disabilities.

The unit — set on a hilltop outside the capital, Maseru — provides a temporary haven for up to 40 children who have been sexually or physically abused. It was started in 2002 by a local child counselor who housed children in a shipping container at her home, but had to turn many away for lack of space and money.

It would only take a moment to click and learn more about Sentebale :-) Go on, do it for yourself. Oh alright... go on and do it for Prince Harry! Maybe these pics will encourage you...

Monday, July 7, 2008

SLIPPERY WHEN WET
And may the good Lord let him be wet always

There's something about Jon Bon Jovi that just keeps on making me like him. I'm not necessarily a fan, but I do dig the guy. And with this photo of him, what is not to like:



YUMMY! YUMMY! YUMMY!

Now seriously... did you know that Jon Bon Jovi was so freakin' hawt?! This is definitely my new favourite picture.

Anyway, I stood about 2 feet away from him when he walked the red carpet for the grand opening of Planet Hollywood back in the late 90's. I watched him as he spoke to the press. He is short, gracious and has fucking beautiful teeth. He has also been married for a really long time so there must be many other qualities that make this rocker a keeper. Plus, he's really cute. Even Carrie thought so in a fantastic episode of Sex and The City.

Another reason he's just so damn dreamy is that he's got a big heart and was in Detroit today to help build new homes for the city's homeless. Here's the poop from the Detroit Free Press:
Rock star Jon Bon Jovi visited Detroiters this afternoon to meet those who are benefitting from his most recent acts of generosity.

The singer took time before tonight's show at the Palace of Auburn Hills to meet with the Williams family in the Morningside neighborhood of Detroit, who live in a Habitat for Humanity home.

Bon Jovi began working with Habitat for Humanity in 2005 and continues to draw attention to the need for affordable housing nationwide. There are five new Habitat homes scheduled to be built in the neighborhood by November.

Candidates in the Habitat program must attend financial planning classes, maintain a bank account, spend a designated number of hours constructing the home and fulfill a list of other requirements.

The Williams' family finished their list last year and moved into their Detroit home in June 2007.
"Looking at it now, as opposed to then," said James Williams Sr., "if we had to do this by conventional means, there's honestly no telling how long it would've taken."

Thanks to Habitat for Humanity Detroit, among others, Williams and his family are now celebrating their first year in one of many homes popping up in the Motor City, and James said he would do it all over again.

"It was a no-brainer," said Williams. "We get a brand-new house that no one's ever lived in -- newly constructed -- and a zero-interest mortgage."

For this father of four, the security of owning a home is a relief.

"One of my concerns was always,'what happens when I leave?'" said Williams. "Having this house, I know I've got one piece of property... that I can hand down to my children."

Williams and his wife Lisa will attend Bon Jovi's concert tonight.

"We really want to revitalize the neighborhood...so that the kids can play in these streets," said Bon Jovi. "That's what America is all about."

As co-owner of the arena football team, the Philadelphia Soul, Bon Jovi has extended his philanthropy beyond his musical platform into the world of sports.

"The Soul Foundation has really differentiated itself from other sports teams both in Philadelphia and around the nation by making community a huge part of its mission statement," Bon Jovi said.

The Soul Foundation is one of the handful of organizations that are working to erect five new homes in Detroit's Morningside neighborhood by November of this year. Habitat and U-SNAP-BAC are planning to build 100 homes in Detroit in the next couple years, according to Habitat for Humanity Detroit Executive Director Vincent Tilford. The Soul Foundation is joining the effort to give Detroiters an opportunity to not only own a home, but help build it themselves.

As the band's tour nears its end, Bon Jovi told the Free Press he is tired, but "very happy."
"It wasn't meant to be a tour. It was supposed to be 10 shows at home and it turned into 99."
And I'll bet he's happy for the extra publicity, too! But really, this is GREAT work he's doing. I wish more of it could happen to compensate for the tragic shortfall in government response (or lack thereof) to housing crises in inner cities everywhere.

Here's a video of Mr. Bon Jovi talking and looking hot in Detroit Rock City:

video

Maybe good 'ol Jon will catch wind of how brutal the homeless situation is here in Vancouver and shine a much-needed international spotlight on it.

You can also learn more about Bon Jovi's charitable foundation, Philadelphia Soul.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

OMG! GM @ GM

George Michael plays Vancouver's GM Place

It appears as though I'm right on track to relive the 80's as much as possible in the course of one short week. That fact is thanks to me and the gang checking out a couple of live concerts by superstars from that big hair era. Make that, "Big Hair-a."

Not only did I manage to catch Cyndi Lauper and the B-52's last week, I also saw George Michael at GM Place last night. We took advantage of an Actual. Ticketmaster. Sale. which had tickets for George Michael available for 25 bucks! When was the last time you got to see a major recording artist performing live for less money that it takes to fill up your gas tank? Of course, thanks to Ticketmaster's "convenience" fee, the final price was $40.

By the way, Ticketmaster, I've yet to hear a plausible definition of just what exactly is a "convenience" fee. Is it for the convenience of allowing about 2 minutes on your website to decide if the seats which your software finds for me are appropriate for my requirements, not to mention worth an exorbitant sum before your site hits timeout and I'm forced to perform a ticket search all over again? Or is it for reducing the number of physical ticket outlets so that ticket buyers are forced into virtual hell? Or is it for…

Anyway, I imagine '25' was the magic number for the ticket price because the tour is titled "25 Live" to celebrate GM's 25 years in the recording biz. I've actually seen (and met) George Michael before, but that was a long time ago and I gotta be honest… I definitely didn't expect he'd have the kind of pull he used to have, but sure enough GM Place was packed to the rafters (which, conveniently, is precisely where our tickets placed us).

Thanks to the beer (which is $7.50 a serving), I kinda lost track of exactly how long the show was but it felt like it was way over 2 hours (plus a 20 minute intermission). The show was high energy and a lot of fun actually.

What was really impressive was the fact that the crowd was so into the show. Let's face it, Vancouver audiences can be pretty reserved (read: lame) in their response to live performances although lately I've seen some rather lively audiences at the Adele and Mika shows. For George Michael, everyone at GM Place was on their feet from the floor seats - all the way up to the nosebleeds.

The set list was just hit after hit after stinking pop hit. When you hear all his songs in a row like we did at the concert, you can realize just how prolific his career has been thus far. He played ancient Wham! tunes like Careless Whisper, A Different Corner, Everything She Wants and I'm Your Man. He also played pretty much everything off of the Faith album except I noted I Want Your Sex was nowhere to be heard. There was also lots of 90's tunes like Too Funky, Fastlove and Praying for Time (that's the one he did on American Idol this past season).

I think one of GM's best tunes is Freedom. After two encores, that song was the final song of the night. It was a definite crowd pleaser. Here's a video of it which is shot pretty much from the same vantage point we had for the show. At the end of the clip, you'll see production credits - those were actually displayed live on stage as the show came to a close. Never seen that before. Anyway, here's the clip - enjoy...


Thursday, July 3, 2008

SHE STILL BOPS
Cyndi Lauper's True Colours Tour hits Vancouver

Kinda feels like summer has arrived for good in Vancouver. Not only is there a good amount of sun lately, but the live music scene has picked up in a way that happens only at this time of year ... with outdoor shows and festivals.

You might already know that at the end of July, the first Pemberton Festival kicks off with some pretty cool acts like NIN, Coldplay, Interpol, Jay Z, Vampire Weekend, Metric, Chromeo and LOTS more (it's a 3-day blitz).

It's all going down just a couple hours north of the city - and if you've never seen the Pemberton Valley, this would be the *perfect* time to check it out because it's pretty amazing up there - big mountains, big sky, big fun.

Another summer outdoor festival is the True Colours tour. It hit Vancouver last Wednesday at Deer Lake Park in Burnaby. The True Colors tour is one of the newest music projects spearheaded by Cyndi Lauper and is named after her hit song from way back in 1986. The annual tour was inaugurated last summer in the U.S. and thank the pope this year Vancouver was included on the itinerary.

The show features a considerably varied line up of talent representing a fairly diverse selection of artists. The line up in Vancouver included Nona Hendryx, Joan Armatrading, Rosie O'Donnell, Carson Kressley, Margaret Cho, The B-52's, Sarah McLachlan and, of course, Cyndi Lauper was the headliner.

The whole purpose of the tour is to raise awareness of human rights, specifically for the gay community. A portion of the ticket sales goes to non-profit partners and additional fundraising is enabled through merchandise sales and online auctions.

About the actual venue… somehow I've never been to Deer Lake Park before, but am I ever glad I went! It's a great outdoor venue for a concert because the parkland you have to sit on to see the show (for some insane reason, chairs are not permitted) is on a gentle slope toward the lake itself. The stage was setup at the bottom of the slope so the sightlines are all good because nobody's big, fat head gets in your way.

Although I had a really brutal case of sinusitis that day, I wasn't about to give up a ticket that cost me $70. Turns out sitting on a blanket outside watching a concert was the same as sitting in the park across the street from my house with my iPod for company. I got through it alright except for going through practically one entire box of Kleenex during the show.

Here's a clip of Vancouver's Sarah McLachlan and Cyndi Lauper performing Time After Time:

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