The Right Of Creative Expression In A Suppressive Society Is The Focus Of Desert Dancer Movie

Sources: The Hindu | All Things  Michael

Indian-origin Hollywood actress Freida Pinto-starrer ‘Desert Dancer’ has unveiled its first trailer.

The trailer sees Pinto, 30, and her friends practicing choreographed dance moves in suppressed society while risking their lives, reported Ace Showbiz.

The movie centers on a real-life dancer Afshin Ghaffarian (played by Reece Ritchie).

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(Photo: Freida Pinto (L) and Reece Ritchie (R) pose with Iranian dancer Afshin Ghaffarian (C). Reuters)

The video first shows him as a kid who gets punished at school for dancing in class. Afshin’s passion, however, does not die. He learns dancing from videos of Michael Jackson, Gene Kelly and Rudolf Nureyev, and later creates his own dance company alongside some friends, including Pinto’s Elaheh.

Directed by Richard Raymond, the movie kicks off the opening night of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival at the Arlington Theatre.

Also starring Nazanin Boniadi, Tom Cullen and Marmama Corlett, the film will open in select theatres in the US on April 10 before going wide on April 17.

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Tap Legends The Nicholas Brothers Honored in Tribute

Sources: Reel Life With Jane – By Renee Camus | All Things Michael

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The Alex Theatre in Glendale, California, went back in time Sunday night to celebrate one of tap dancing’s greatest acts. Fayard and Harold Nicholas, better known as the Nicholas Brothers, stand for class, flash, and tremendous high energy in tap dance, with their formal tuxes, their elegant hands, and their explosive leaps and splits. As last night’s tribute reminded us, they transcended race to become two of the genre’s most-loved talents.

Last night’s tribute, written and directed by Tegan Summer (and Prospect House Entertainment) in honor of what would have been Fayard’s 100th birthday, was very much a family affair, with four generations of Nicholases in attendance. Fayard’s granddaughter Cathie Nicholas choreographed the live performances, she and her sister Nicole danced two of the numbers, their adorable children made appearances, and Fayard’s two sons, Tony and Paul, told stories of growing up with a famous father. We were treated to rare home movies and video footage, as well as some of the Brothers’ well-known dance clips.

Throughout the evening, host Stan Taffel informed the audience of the Brothers’ history, from their birth and upbringing through to their deaths (Harold in 2000 at age 79, and Fayard in 2006 at 91). The brothers, largely untrained and learning to dance from watching vaudeville acts, started performing together very young, instantly causing a sensation despite their ages and their skin color. By 1932, they were headlining acts at the Cotton Club when the elder Fayard was 18 and Harold was just 11 years old. They eventually started working in films.

The audience was treated to their first short film, “Pie Pie Blackbird,” giving us a fascinating look back at their style. They immediately have the irrepressible energy and even the split leaps they’re famous for, but they threw their upper bodies into the movements so much more, practically touching the floor with their hands at times, and not yet adapting the lifted chest and more upright style that defined them later on. It’s also clear (to this viewer, at least) that they’re probably wearing wooden taps. (Tap dancing is a partial descendent of English clogging, danced in wooden shoes, and Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, the grandfather of tap, often wore leather shoes with wooden taps).

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The home movies were incredible, from footage of the young Nicholas kids dancing in a studio backlot with Fred Astaire, to the slightly older Nicholas Brothers on stage with Carmen Miranda (their co-star in “Down Argentine Way”), to Fayard goofing around with a very young Tony Nicholas. It’s great to be reminded of their singing abilities too, something they’re not really known for. We even saw some of Harold’s acting turns, including a quirky clip from the Sidney Poitier-Bill Cosby vehicle “Uptown Saturday Night” (given how much, and why, Cosby has been in the news lately, it seemed like an odd choice). A rare television clip of the Nicholas Brothers tap dancing with Michael Jackson and family, including an adorable young Janet hoofing along with the rest of them, was really something to see, despite the poor film quality.

Spread throughout the evening were live performances by Cathie and Nicole Nicholas and dancers from the Debbie Allen Dance Academy, accompanied by the Opus One Orchestra led by Chester Whitmore, who also cut a rug. Allen, Dick Van Dyke, and Desmond Richardson all left video messages in place of attending live, and Taffel conducted interviews with special guests, including choreographer and tap dubberMiriam Nelson, tap experts and friends of the brothers Rusty Frank and Richard Fox, and two African American actresses who established their own firsts in celluloid, Nichelle Nichols (Lieutenant Uhura from “Star Trek”) and Gloria Hendry (Bond Girl from “Live and Let Die”). The latter two tied into the evening’s seemingly underlying theme: black performers who transcended race to make firsts in their respective careers.

While this was certainly admirable, the evening had a messy feel. It was perhaps too jam-packed, and started at least twenty minutes late, which forced Taffel to keep things moving and cut the interviews short. The live performances, while a fun throwback to Fayard and Harold’s style, needed a little more polish (and a slightly less slippery floor), especially when compared to the brilliance of the real Nicholas Brothers; and two dramatic scenes, written by Summer based on real events in Harold’s marriage to Dorothy Dandridge, severely changed the mood of the evening, and not in a good way. Their admirable efforts to avoid hagiography aside, the latter scene depicting the dissolution of Harold’s marriage did not paint him out to be a sympathetic, or even likable, character.

But the film clips celebrating the magnificent duo is really why we came to the Alex Theatre, and it was well worth celebrating. The Nicholas Brothers’ piece de resistance, their hyper-athletic and mind-boggling stair routine from “Stormy Weather” (included below), which we got to see, some of us for the first time, and some of us again but on a 46-foot screen, was a brilliant and natural close to the evening. It fully reminded us of the absolute power of their legacy.

 

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Tish Tindall Rewrites Robert Burns Musical With Music By Michael Jackson

Sources: Daily Record | Edited By – All Things Michael

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MEET the woman bringing Robert Burns to a whole new audience – in a musical set in modern times and backed by one of the most colourful characters in show business.

Tish Tindall hopes her production Robert Burns The Musical will bring his messages right up to date with a little help from a man who counted Michael Jackson as a friend.

The owner of Rock Academy Performing Arts is still reeling after being approached by Los Angeles producer David Gest about writing a show based on Burns – with music by Jackson.

The fact that Psycho star Anthony Perkins and Singing in the Rain’s Gene Kelly were meant to originally produce and direct just added to the sense of surrealism about it all.

Tish, 45, said: “You couldn’t make it up. My manager Richard Smith is also David Gest’s manager and told me David was thinking about reviving it.

Tish in shadow of Burns

Tish in shadow of Burns

“He and Michael Jackson were passionate about Burns and produced music about him together.

“Their initial musical was performed in 1996 with John Barrowman and came fourth as new
international musical of the year in the Netherlands. Then nothing happened.”

The deaths of Perkins and Kelly put the project on ice – until Tish became involved.

She said: “When Richard told me the story, I flippantly said to him, ‘If you need some Scottish writers, some real writers, then let me know.’

“A couple of calls later my partner Diane and I went to Leeds for dinner with David Gest.

“As we went over songs I thought, ‘This is mental. Here am I, a lassie from Inverurie, thinking what the hell?’”

David said he was keen for the show to be rewritten.

Tish said: “It belonged in the 90s – very Brigadoon. It was well-written but it didn’t really work for me.

“I didn’t think Scotland, at this time, would buy it. So I decided to write it from scratch.

“I wanted something not elitist, something to speak to the nation.

“For me, Burns was a simple guy and his genius was as interesting as his weakness. His passions and distractions make the man.”

Tish made reference to Jackson in her rewrite. She said: “We first meet our Burns in 1995 and take the action up to 2015, so one of young Burns’s influences is Michael Jackson.

“David Gest was going to play a cameo in our story of Tam o’ Shanter as part of a reality TV performance. But a TV commitment stopped that.”

Tish said it was a tall order trying to do justice to Burns.

She added: “You are about to bring to life one of the greatest Scots who ever lived and will either p*** everyone off or they’ll love you.

“Robert Burns wasn’t a drunk. He was only 37 when he died and wrote so much so he couldn’t have been that p***ed all the time.

“You never hear that about Shakespeare, who is revered in school. We want to take this into schools and have made everything easy to understand.

“Alison Tait of the Robert Burns World Federation said this will take Burns into the 21st century and is the most innovative, exciting and dynamic news for years.”

Tish narrates the show, which has an undiscovered cast. She said: “It depicts what happens when people become famous nowadays.

“Our Burns becomes a celeb and a bit of an a*** but has pride in his work.”

The musical includes Twitter hashtags and looks at sex

Tish, who secured Lady Gaga’s production man Richard Smith for the production, added: “I’m glad we are premiering it in Aberdeen and not in the central belt or London, because this will travel.

“The cast are so hungry – we have an ensemble of 33.

“This story needs to be told. From Lossiemouth to London to Los Angeles, we can do it all.”

The world premiere of Robert Burns The Musical is at Aberdeen’s Tivoli Theatre on Sunday.

 

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Guardians Of The Galaxy Awesome Mix Vol. 1 Now In Special Edition ZinePak

Sources: The Examiner – By Steven Diggs | All Things Michael

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When “Guardians of the Galaxy” first came out, one of the many triumphs of the stellar film was it’s amazing soundtrack. Out now, Marvel Music and Hollywood Records Awesome Mix Vol. 1 ZinePak turns the best soundtrack in years into a collector’s edition. Just look at the soundtrack included in this CD, which also contains a booklet for of interviews and notes about the movie:

1. “Hooked on a Feeling”- Performed by Blue Swede
2. “Go All the Way”- Performed by Raspberries
3. “Spirit in the Sky”- Performed by Norman Greenbaum
4. “Moonage Daydream”- Performed by David Bowie
5. “Fooled Around and Fell in Love”- Performed by Elvin Bishop6. “I’m Not in Love”- Performed by 10cc
7. “I Want You Back”- Performed by Jackson 5
8. “Come and Get Your Love”- Performed by Redbone
9. “Cherry Bomb”- Performed by The Runaways
10. “Escape (The Piña Colada Song)”- Performed by Rupert Holmes
11. “O-O-H Child”- Performed by The Five Stairsteps
12. “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”- Performed by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell

Available only at Wal-mart, the ZinePak currently sells for $14.88.

 

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Sixth Anniversary: Beyonce’s Best ‘Halo’ Performances

Sources: Billboard – By Erin Strecker | All Things Michael

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Need a little extra Beyonce inspiration today?

You’re in luck: It’s the sixth anniversary of Beyonce’s single release of “Halo,” one of her all-time great ballads. “Halo,” which won best pop vocal performance at the Grammys, peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100. To celebrate the song, we rounded up some of her best performances of the hit over the years.

Check them all out below.

1. On The Run Tour
On her 2014 summer tour with Jay Z, “Halo” was once again part of the finale, but this time it was snuck in mid-way through a “Young Forever” duet with her husband. The part that makes this version sweetest, of course, is the screen behind them showing home movie footage of one Blue Ivy Carter. Cut to overjoyed-looking Bey and Jay.

2. Beyonce’s Michael Jackson Tribute
It’s no secret Beyonce idolizes Michael Jackson (we all saw Blue’s Halloween costume, right?), so when Jackson sadly passed away in 2009, Beyonce honored him in concert with a very special performance. The sweetest part may have been the home movie footage of a young Bey excitedly telling her parents they were going to a Michael Jackson concert that evening. This performance made its way onto her live CD of this tour.

3. Beyonce Sings to Fan
During the I AM… World Tour, Beyonce made time to sing the inspirational track to a very special fan battling cancer.

4. “Halo” Acoustic
Hot off the release (and subsequent worldwide phenomenon) of the “Single Ladies” dance craze, it was time to put the focus back on Bey’s vocals. She did that with this viral acoustic performance.

5. Beyonce at the Super Bowl
Sensing a pattern? Beyonce closed out her 2013 Super Bowl Halftime Show performance with a particularly powerful version of “Halo” that allowed her to really belt. If you’ve ever felt the climactic chorus of the tune needed actual fireworks, well, this production has you covered.

6. Beyonce at Glastonbury
Bey has referred to playing Glastonbury as a career highlight, and her entire 90-minute set it absolutely worth watching. But the ending — a show-stopping performance of one of her most emotional tracks — is the high point.

 

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Vincent Price’s Daughter Remembers Her Father, Recognizes Michael Jackson And Tim Burton

Sources: Baltimore Post – Examiner | Edited By All Things Michael

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Behind the Mustache: The Lives of Vincent Price and Edgar Allan Poe gave fans a chance to honor Poe on the eve of his 206th birthday and to remember the life of actor Vincent Price, who passed away twenty-one years ago. On hand to honor Poe was John Astin, best known for playing Gomez in The Addams Family. And remembering Price was his daughter Victoria, author of Vincent Price: A Daughter’s Biography. The celebration took place at Westminster Hall and Burying Grounds, 519 West Fayette Street, Baltimore, Maryland.

Victoria Price spoke first, and in a presentation which lasted close to an hour, fondly recalled memories of a man whose life was immersed in art, movie-making and burlesque.

Burlesque????

“St. Louis had a beautiful art museum,” Victoria explained, “but they didn’t have a first rate theatre. They were, however, first rate in burlesque, so my dad developed quite a fondness for burlesque. His nickname in high school was Carrie, because he had a crush on a stripper named Carrie. My mother told me that burlesque remained such a part of my dad’s life, that at very inopportune moments at parties, he could be heard yelling, ‘Take it off! Take it all off!’”

Price also enjoyed sports, including baseball and deep-sea fishing. But it was in acting he lived his dream, despite the early advice of a famous friend.

Victoria with her father

Victoria and Vincent

“At Yale, dad studied art history, English, and poetry. And he also sang in the glee club. But he had a secret ambition to become an actor, so he sought out the advice of a famous friend – James Thurber, the great American humorist, essayist and cartoonist. Now, dad had never been cast in anything at Yale; he had never been cast in high school. He told Thurber about his secret ambition, and Thurber laughed at him and said, ‘Are you kidding me??? You don’t have a chance at becoming that.’ So my dad decided he would pursue artistry and went off to study at the University of London. However, dad did have the last laugh, because in a 1944 New Yorker essay about giving young people advice, Thurber wrote, ‘Ever since I told Vincent Price not to become an actor, I never give young people advice.”

Better advice would come from the first lady of the American stage, Helen Hayes.

“In 1935, while appearing on Broadway, my father was offered a million dollar contract to come out to Hollywood. But Dad was very humble and he always wanted to learn. So he went to Helen Hayes to ask if he should accept the offer. She asked him, ‘Do you feel you know your craft?’ and he said, ‘Well, no, how can I? I’ve only been in one and half plays!’ And she said, ‘Exactly. If you don’t want to be a flash in the pan, you turn down that contract and you learn your craft,’ and he did.

Price would learn his craft by doing summer stock and then returning to Broadway, and while working with Orson Wells’ Mercury Theatre. But it would be in Hollywood, and in the sinister roles he is best known for today, that he truly found his niche.

“The first time he knew the audience hated him, he felt at home.”

Only Vincent Price, she said, could sit quietly behind two terrified teenaged girls in a darkened movie house – watching one his horror films – and then at the climax of the picture, lean forward and with his distinctive voice ask, “Did you like it?”

Victoria concluded her reflections with a short glimpse of Vincent’s appearance on the Dean Martin roast of Bette Davis, and by recognizing two people – Tim Burton and Michael Jackson – for bringing her father’s unique persona to a new generation of fans.

“As long as there is Halloween, there will be Thriller,” she said.

“Quite a few people have suggested that my dad may be more famous now than he was twenty years ago at the end of his life and career. And that’s because of his scary movies; because of people like Tim Burton and Michael Jackson, who loved those scary movies; and because of fans like you. Thanks to you, my dad not only has never been forgotten, but he has been introduced to new generations of fans. And, for a daughter who loved him, that makes me happier than you can imagine.” (Source)

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Real Madrid Defender Sergio Ramos Shows Off Michael Jackson Tattoo

Sources: Daily Mail  – By Rohan Banerjee | All Things Michael

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Real Madrid and Spain star Sergio Ramos has had a tattoo of the late pop singer Michael Jackson drawn on the top of his forearm.

Jackson, who died in 2009, is featured in the ‘Smooth Criminal‘ outfit he wore while filming the music video for the hugely successful 1988 single.

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The tastefully done design is the latest of many ink jobs for Ramos, who has garnered a reputation for his often extravagant body art.

In June last year, the defender celebrated his successes with both club and country by having tattoos of the Champions League and World Cup trophies etched on the back of his calves.

Ramos has played a combined 28 games for Real Madrid and Spain so far this season, scoring six goals.

Madrid are currently top of La Liga with 45 points and have a game in hand over second-placed Barcelona who have 44.

Los Blancos won their last game 3-0 over Getafe with Ramos playing the full 90 minutes.

Instagram video

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