Page 22 by absences


									                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 ARAB TIMES, SUNDAY, JANUARY 4, 2009
NEWS/FEATURES                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    22

                               People & Places

           Rudolf’s tracks brightly uptempo

Manilow continues to
dazzle with ‘Eighties’
B    illboard CD reviews as presented
     by Reuters from New York.
   Artist: Common
                                            hem. But either way, this album from
                                            country legend Charlie Louvin, who
                                            began his career with his late brother
   Album: Universal Mind Control            Ira in the early ‘40s, is a welcome
(G.O.O.D. Music/Geffen Records)             remembrance of traditional American
   Everything’s wacky in Chicago hip-       folk music and its role as an ancestor
hop these days: Kanye West is all           of today’s news cycles. Louvin’s once-
mopey and contemplative, while              crystalline voice does wear his 81
Common has just landed on Planet            years, but it also carries deeper under-
Rock. The title track of the                standing of the heartache central to the
rapper/actor’s latest uses the entire       disaster songs he first recorded
soundtrack from the Atari 2600 edi-         decades ago, including the adapted
tion of “Super Breakout” to set the         spiritual “Wreck on the Highway,” the
tone for a synthetic, sexified club         coal-miners’ lament “Dark As a
record that’ll bring in new fans while      Dungeon” and the tragic waltz “Mary
probably alarming old ones. As was          of the Wild Moor.” The songs don’t
the case with John Legend, who              vary greatly in rhythm or simple sing-
beamed into the club on his latest, the     song melody, but they are stories as
initial effect is jarring, even in its      much as tunes, and Louvin and his
star’s capable hands. But it also settles   first-rate musicians are engaging sto-
in nicely. “Announcement” benefits          rytellers indeed.
from a slinky beat that lets the MC            Artist: Chopteeth Afrofunk Big
breathe, “Make My Day” issues some          Band
California love courtesy of Cee-Lo,            Album: Chopteeth Afrofunk Big
“Gladiator” is a great old-school brag      Band (Grigri Discs)
rhyme, and the pro-Obama preacher              This Washington, DC, crew, assem-
“Changes” lets the old Common back          bled by bassist Robert Fox and gui-
in the door.                                tarist Michael Shereikis, was inspired
   Artist: Barry Manilow                    by the musical legacy of Nigerian icon
   Album: The Greatest Hits of the          Fela Kuti. The album opens with
Eighties (Arista Records)                   “Struggle,” a thunderous bit of
   With a Christmas single on the adult     Afrofunk that does, indeed, invoke the
contemporary singles chart for the sec-     Fela Kuti vibe. Chopteeth’s reach
ond year in a row and a fifth sold-out      extends beyond Afrofunk, however.
year of live shows, Barry Manilow’s         “Upendo” is all about South Africa,
millennial presence continues to daz-       including a lyric sung in Swahili.
zle. Following “The Greatest Hits of        Malian griot Cheick Hamala Diabate           File photo shows Mickey Hart (left) and Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead talk before a news conference at the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco. Surviving members of the
the Fifties” (No. 1 debut, 2006),           joins the band on “Wili Nineh,” work-        Grateful Dead say they’ll regroup for a 19-city tour, their first since 2004, beginning April 12 in Greensboro, NC. The group, which now just calls itself The Dead, announced its
“Sixties” (No. 2, 2006) and                 ing a song that, appropriately, praises                                                                                       plans Thursday. (AP)
“Seventies” (No. 4, 2007), “Eighties”       the band members. The closer, “No
is already off to a merry start with a      Condition Is Permanent,” features DC                                                                        Grateful Dead alumni plan first tour in 5 years
No. 14 debut on the album chart.            rapper Head-Roc in a bangin’ rap-
Manilow’s gleeful duet with Reba            Afrofunk fusion that sounds exactly                                                                Surviving members of the Grateful Dead            Original band members Bob Weir, Phil              differences, aided by a successful
McEntire on “Islands in the Stream”         like something Fela would be into,                                                                 say they’ll regroup for a 19-city tour, their   Lesh, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann               October benefit concert in Pennsylvania
proves what a master arranger/inter-        were he alive and kicking.                                                                         first since 2004, beginning April 12 in         have toured sporadically since the 1995             for then-presidential candidate Barack
preter he is, taking an overtly familiar       Artist: Teslim                                                                                  Greensboro, North Carolina.                     death of guitarist Jerry Garcia, but strug-         Obama.
                                               Album: Teslim (Self-released)                                                                      The group, which now just calls itself       gled to get along personally and artisti-              Warren Haynes joins the Dead on lead
hit and recasting it honorably. The                                                                                                            The Dead, announced its plans                   cally. They told Rolling Stone in                   guitar, and Jeff Chimenti will play key-
same holds true for “Right Here                Teslim’s Kaila Flexer and Gari                                                                  Thursday.                                       November that they’ve worked out their              boards. (AP)
Waiting” and “Have I Told You               Hegedus are, respectively, a violinist
Lately.” Most surprising are “I Just        and an instrumentalist of bewildering
                                            proficiency who plays the oud, lauoto
Called to Say I Love You,” now a lite
rhumba, and “Never Gonna Give You           (an eight-stringed Greek lute), frame                                                                                          Hollywood closes off record foreign sales year
Up,” where Manilow busts a groove.          drums and viola, among others.
There’s a lot of uncertainty in the         Together they make exquisite music,
world, but “Eighties” is one sure thing.
   Artist: Maroon 5
   Album: Call And Response: The
Remix Album (A&M/Octone)
                                            drawing inspiration from Sephardic,
                                            Greek and Turkish traditional sources.
                                            Their tunes are exotic, and their virtu-
                                            osity is spellbinding. “Ajuar De Novia
                                                                                                                                               Smith voted top money maker
   Remix albums rightfully have a bad       Glana/Timarxou Street Dojo” is a                                                                   NEW YORK, Jan 3, (Agencies): No name            tomorrow” along with Chris Pine of                  dance in movie theaters: 1.35 billion seats
rep. Too often they’re merely contract      medley, blending a Sephardic tune                                                                  on the marquee was more pleasing to the-        “Bottle Shock.”                                     were sold in 2008, down from 1.4 billion
satisfiers — easy ways to give big          with a Hegedus original. “Stone’s                                                                  ater owners in 2008 than Will Smith,               Major Hollywood studios defied the               the previous year.
artists something fresh on the shelves      Throw” is a gorgeous original number                                                               according to a survey of movie exhibitors.      global economic meltdown to rake in                    The last North American silver screen
                                            by Flexer, with Hegedus on viola and         File photo shows actor Will Smith                        Smith, star of “Hancock” and “Seven          record overseas profits in 2008 at about            record was in 2002, when 1.57 billion
or to separate dedicated fans from                                                       attends the premiere of ‘The Day The
more of their dough. But “Call and          guest Olov Johansson on nyckelharpa                                                                Pounds,” was voted the star who generat-        $9.9 billion, a four-percent increase from          tickets were sold.
                                            (a Swedish keyed fiddle). Another            Earth Stood Still’ in New York. Smith has
Response” is everything the format                                                       been voted the top money-making star of               ed the most box office revenue for theaters     9.5 billion in 2007, according to media                The top three films in 2008 for North
could and should be. The band enlist-       Hegedus original, “Patalouda” (“but-         2008 in Quigley Publishing Company’s                  in an annual survey by Quigley Publishing       reports published Friday.                           America were the Batman sequel ($530
ed names big and small to get deep          terfly” in Greek), is a string tour-de-                 annual poll. (AP)                          Co.                                                Citing preliminary distributor estimates,        million), “Iron Man” ($318.3 million) and
into its two-album catalog, and judg-       force, featuring Flexer on violin and                                                                 Smith is only the second black actor to      the Hollywood Reporter said the six major           the Indiana Jones sequel ($317 million).
                                            Hegedus on cura saz and divan saz                                                                  be chosen in the Quigley poll, which since      Hollywood studios — 20th Century Fox,                  Meanwhile, Universal Pictures Friday
ing from the thoughtfulness of the
                                            (Turkish stringed instruments).                                                                    1932 has asked movie exhibitors to vote         Disney, Paramount, Sony, Universal and              said it hit a record global box office tally
contributions, they’re all pre-existing
Maroon fans. Swizz Beatz uses an                             Also:                                                                             on the 10 stars who brought in the most         Warner Brothers — each exceeded one                 of $2.834 billion in 2008, thanks to films
uncharacteristically loose and light           Jay-Z’s new album. “Swagga Like                                                                 business. Sidney Poitier topped the poll in     billion dollars in revenue for their over-          like “The Incredible Hulk’’, “Wanted’’ and
hand on “If I Never See Your Face           Us,” the single from the forthcoming                                                               1968.                                           seas operations in 2008 for the second              “Mamma Mia!’’
Again”; Mark Ronson gets Mary J.            album that still has no confirmed                                                                     Smith’s superhero summer blockbuster,        consecutive year.                                      The unit of General Electric Co’s NBC
Blige to contribute a great vocal to his    release date, has already been nomi-                                                               “Hancock,” grossed $228 million. “Seven            Steven Spielberg’s “Indiana Jones and            Universal, said its domestic domestic box-
funky take on “Wake Up Call”; and           nated for two Grammys. With                                                                        Pounds,” currently in theaters, has pulled      the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”                   office tally of $1.12 billion outpaced its
Pharrell Williams’ “She Will Be             “American Gangster,” we saw how                                                                    in a somewhat lackluster $39 million in         (Paramount Pictures International) topped           previous 2007 record of $1.099 billion,
Loved” is lo-fi and completely devoid       Hova has been inspired again, at least                                                             two weeks.                                      foreign revenue with $469.5 million                 while its international box-office surged
                                            by the movies. The new song                                                                           Following Smith, in order, were Robert       abroad, compared to 317 million dollars             66 percent to $1.714 billion from $1.034
of schmaltz or radio trickery. No one                                                                                                          Downey Jr. (“Iron Man,” “Tropic                 for US distribution.                                billion in 2007.
was trying to make new hits here or         “Brooklyn,” from the soundtrack to
                                            the Biggie Smalls biopic “Notorious,”            J.J. Abrams                  Kurtzman             Thunder”), Christian Bale (“The Dark               Batman movie “The Dark Knight”                      Universal said it released four films that
take their stock remix loop and care-                                                                                                          Knight”), Shia LaBeouf (“Indiana Jones          bagged $465 million overseas for Warner             grossed more than $100 million domesti-
lessly plop it over an unrelated melody     shows that the movies continue to
                                            inspire him. So what other surprises                                                               and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”)          Brothers International.                             cally, including “The Incredible Hulk’’,
— they seem to just really love the
songs.                                      does the Kanye West-produced album                    Variety                                      and LaBeouf’s “Indiana Jones” co-star              Paramount broke the $2-billion over-             “Wanted’’, “Mamma Mia!’’ and “The
                                            have in store for us?                                                                              Harrison Ford.                                  seas box office threshold for the first time,       Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor’’.
   Artist: Kevin Rudolf                                                                                                                           The top 10 were rounded out by Adam          garnering $2.037 billion, up 28.2 percent              Three comedies, “Forgetting Sarah
   Album: In The City (Cash                    Britney Spears (Nassau Coliseum,
                                            March 11 and 23). Now that she has           LOS ANGELES: Paramount already has hit                Sandler, Reese Witherspoon, George              from 2007.                                          Marshall’’, “Baby Mama’’ and “Role
Money/Universal Republic)                                                                warp speed with its high-profile relaunch of          Clooney, Angelina Jolie and Daniel Craig.          The North American box office market             Models’’ were also profitable, grossing
                                            straightened out her recording career
   Kevin Rudolf is a new face in pop        with the “Circus” album, will that           the “Star Trek” franchise.                               Last year’s winner, Johnny Depp, who         was relatively stable, with $9.59 billion in        more than $60 million apiece, the studio
— but not to those who pay attention        momentum carry over to her live                 For its first 2009 tentpole, the studio has        didn’t have a film released this year, didn’t   revenue, down slightly from the record              said.
to liner notes. The New York musician       show? (Will she actually, you know,          taken the unprecedented step of rolling out a         make this year’s poll, nor did seven-time       $9.66 billion in 2007, according to online             “Mamma Mia!’’ was the studio’s
is one of producer Timbaland’s resi-                                                     full-scale promotional tour for “Star Trek”           winner Tom Cruise.                              industry specialist              biggest earner of 2008, both earning $144
                                            sing a lot?) Her performances so far         much before its May 8 release.
dent studio aces, with playing credits      have been a bit so-so, but she is set to                                                              Anne Hathaway (“Rachel Getting                  But due to an increase in movie ticket           million domestically and $428.5 million
on albums by Justin Timberlake, Nelly                                                       Despite “Trek’s” indisputable cultural brand       Married”) was voted the top “star of            prices, the numbers conceal reduced atten-          internationally.
                                            start rehearsals in earnest next month       and avid fan base, the filmmakers and the stu-
Furtado, the Black Eyed Peas and Tim        with Wade Robson. Will it work?              dio hope to bypass two potential obstacles on
himself, and that pop/rock/hip-hop          Stranger things have happened.               the way to blockbuster returns: the MySpace           tentpoles. So extensive footage — including       “But I also appreciated Paramount’s argu-         people a taste of what’s to come that would
cred has made him the first non-rap            Ryan Star. The Dix Hills native has       generation’s unfamiliarity with the series and                                                                                                            really help us. Though my tendency is to keep
artist signed by Cash Money Records.                                                                                                           action sequences — are available to preview.    ment about it,” he said. “Ultimately, the movie
                                            been taking his time on his debut solo       genre, and the franchise’s typically anemic                                                                                                               things quiet, I thought that this was, given the
“In the City” is not a musician’s                                                        performance in the global market.                        Even so, Abrams admits that the front-       does the bulk of the work, for good or bad.
                                            album, and it’s certainly paying off.                                                                                                                                                                  way ‘Trek’ is perceived, especially overseas,
album, however; Rudolf is as much of                                                        “‘Star Trek,’ especially in the foreign territo-   loaded schedule was not his initial instinct.   And I felt that we had an opportunity to give       this was something that could help us over-
                                            The first single, “Right Now,” should        ries, is perceived as one thing,” director J.J.
a top 40 aspirant as any of the folks       be a hit. And Star, with the help of hit-                                                                                                                                                              come that stigma.”
he’s worked with, and the dozen tracks                                                   Abrams told The Hollywood Reporter.                                                                                                                           He and Paramount have a point. The for-
                                            making producers Matt Serletic               “Paramount thought it was really important to
on his solo debut, on which Rudolf                                                                                                                                                                                                                 eign take on any one of the previous 10
                                            (Mathbox Twenty) and Howard                  get it out there and show them that it’s another.”                                                                                                        “Trek” films never amounted to more than
plays nearly everything, hew toward         Benson (Daughtry), seems to be on his           Recently, Abrams made a good-natured,
the hooky, tuneful and danceable. The                                                                                                                                                                                                              37% of the worldwide total. The top-grossing
                                            way. His album is set for a spring           enthusiastic, 25-minute presentation to a                                                                                                                 entry, 1996’s “Star Trek: First Contact,”
three collaborations with rappers —         release.                                     crowd of invited journalists, executives and
including first single “Let It Rock”                                                                                                                                                                                                               beamed up only $146 million in total, with
                                               His upcoming album, due out in            studio employees in a theater on the                                                                                                                      $54 million coming from foreign markets.
with Lil Wayne plus hookups with Nas        May on Atlantic Records, is called           Paramount lot. With requisite introductions,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       The new “Trek” trailer debuted in front of
and Rick Ross — are thumping, syn-                                                       Abrams showcased the new trailer and four
                                            “11:59.” Is he trying to tell us some-       distinct sequences from the movie. In the past                                                                                                            “Quantum of Solace,” which hit theaters
thesizer-heavy club anthems. Other          thing?                                                                                                                                                                                                 November 14, while TV spots ran during this
tracks are brightly uptempo and, in                                                      week, the “Trek” roadshow had traveled to
                                               Well, maybe subconsciously. The           Rome; Cologne, Germany; Madrid; Paris;                                                                                                                    week’s episodes of “Terminator: The Sarah
spots, new wavey, while mellower            Dix Hills native has fallen victim to        London; and New York.                                                                                                                                     Connor Chronicles” and “Fringe,” the Fox
moments have the pop mainstream             unfortunate timing before — his band            Teaser trailers for potential summer block-                                                                                                            show created by Abrams and “Trek” screen-
firmly in their polished cross hairs. On                                                 busters often make their first appearances a                                                                                                              writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci.
                                            Stage released its debut on Maverick                                                                                                                                                                       But there still is the danger of enthusiasm
the six-and-a-half minute “Great            Records in 2003, just as the label was       year in advance; a “Trek” teaser was paired
Escape,” Rudolf laces guitar and piano                                                   with this past summer’s tentpoles. But any real                                                                                                           peaking too early, with plot points and chatter
                                            falling apart, leaving a great album         footage or extended trailers typically are                                                                                                                filling the Web waves months beforehand.
solos and displays some of the chops        without any promotion. (“That was            reserved to make a big splash with an airing                                                                                                                  Abrams is aware of the risk.
that could separate him from the pack.      such a sad time,” Star recalled recent-                                                                                                                                                                    “‘Jaws’ was a book before it was a movie,
                                                                                         during something like the Super Bowl in
   Artist: Charlie Louvin                   ly).                                         February.                                                                                                                                                 and people knew what happened to the
   Album: Sings Murder Ballads                 So it’s no surprise that Star is taking      Yet here was Abrams — who’s made it his                                                                                                                Titanic,” he added. “You can argue that for
And Disaster Songs (Tompkins                the timing of his current shot at main-      modus operandi to work under cloaks of invis-                                                                                                             some of the most successful movies ever, it
Square Records)                             stream success very seriously. “I final-     ibility and silence — putting not only himself                                                                                                            wasn’t that their stories were secret, it’s that
   Amid daily news of tragedy and           ly feel like I’m in the right spot at the    but also his actors and film in the spotlight far                                                                                                         the experience was fun or a thrill. So I’m
economic collapse, now is either the        right time,” says Star, calling from a       in advance of the movie’s opening.                                                                                                                        praying that we’re not going to blow it by
                                                                                            Since Paramount pushed back the “Trek”                                                                                                                 revealing some of the secrets, but you can’t
worst or best time to release a collec-     promo tour stop in Minneapolis. “It          release from its original 2008 holiday date, the                                                                                                          have it both ways — you can’t show the
                                                                                                                                               Family members attend the funeral of French designer Ted Lapidus during services at
tion of songs about death and may-          just feels gold, man.”                       director had the advantage of finishing his movie     the Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris, Jan 2. Fashion designer Ted Lapidus died Dec                   footage to try and make people understand and
                                                                                         early, unusual for rush-to-the-deadline summer              29, 2008 at age 79 in a Cannes hospital on the French Riviera. (RTRS)                         not give away something. (RTRS)

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