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Entertainment behind the scenes

from Tales from the Trail:

First lady likes Obama’s voice; rates Romney singing ‘beautiful’

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Michelle Obama might have been one of the few people in the United States who knew President Barack Obama could actually carry a tune before he surprised an Apollo Theater audience this month.

In her debut appearance on NBC “The Tonight Show” as first lady, Mrs. Obama told host Jay Leno that her husband sings to her all the time.  She said she even knew what song it would be when she heard about his singing a line from Al Green's "Let's Stay Together." Mrs. Obama gave a very tiny demonstration before conceding that the president was the better singer. Obama said her husband has a beautiful voice.

Asked about the performance turned in by Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney singing "America the Beautiful" on the campaign trail in Florida, Mrs. Obama said "its beautiful."

Here's a clip from NBC

(Video clip courtesy: NBC/ Photo credit: NBC “The Tonight Show”/Stacie McChesney)

from MediaFile:

New “Twilight” film takes $283.5 mln global bite

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The new "Twilight" vampire movie opened with a massive $283.5 million in worldwide ticket sales over the weekend as passionate fans filled theaters for the beginning of a two-part finale for the hugely popular supernatural love story.

"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 1" captured an estimated $139.5 million in the United States and Canada, distributor Summit Entertainment said on Sunday. That ranked as the fifth biggest domestic opening of all time.

Is rock-and-roll the new stimulus?

By Rob Cox
The opinions expressed are his own.

When it comes to urban economic development, Ashley Capps isn’t the kind of businessman that comes to the mind of most local politicians. After all, he’s a rock-and-roll promoter. He puts on big, rollicking festivals, like the Bonnaroo Festival, where tens of thousands of music fans camp, dance and party in the middle of the Tennessee countryside. So what’s a guy like Capps doing in a city like Asheville, North Carolina?

Well, from the looks of the past weekend, he’s making serious coin for the people of this town in the mountains of western North Carolina. The second annual Moogfest, which Capps’ firm AC Entertainment puts together in homage to the godfather/inventor of the electronic synthesizer Bob Moog, brought as many as 30,000 people into downtown Asheville, to sample music, art and electronic geekery at a handful of venues.

from Environment Forum:

Brad Pitt, Matt Damon give krill a star turn

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There are no small parts, only small actors, or so the old show-biz saying goes. Now there are big stars -- Matt Damon and Brad Pitt -- playing two of the smallest parts ever. In a far cry from "Ocean's Eleven" (and 12 and 13) they're lending their voices to a pair of krill, small shrimp-like creatures that form the base of the Antarctic food web.

Pitt and Damon play Will and Bill, the krill, in "Happy Feet Two," the sequel to the 2006 dancing-penguins animated feature. Both films have conservation themes. The latest movie  opens  in mid-November.

from Photographers' Blog:

Lisbon Fashion Week: A frivolous affair?

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While covering Lisbon Fashion Week, photographer Rafa Marchante spoke with fashion designers, models, photographers and journalists, asking them if they thought the fashion world was frivolous.

from Jeremy Gaunt:

#ThingsStrongerThanTheKenyaShilling

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Twitter does have some very strange Trends. These are the things that appear on the right-hand side of the page that show what people are talking about. They more they talk, the more likely it is that something will get listed.  More often than not they are about celebrities such as Justin Bieber.

But today's Worldwide  Trends was particularly unusual.

#ThingsStrongerThanTheKenyaShilling was right up there near the top.

As the graph here shows, the shilling has taken a heavy beating since the Lehman Brother collapse. This is one reason for the Twitter outburst.  "Kenyans are getting fed up," said @oreo_junkie, whose Twitter feed states it is from Nairobi.

from Photographers' Blog:

Keeping up with the catwalk

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By Suzanne Plunkett

Looking back at images from more than a decade ago, you could be forgiven for thinking that the job of covering catwalk season was once far less demanding, but just as fashions change, so do the demands on photographers.

When I made my Fashion Week debut at a DKNY show in New York in the spring of 1999, all I had to worry about was getting a well-exposed, in-focus photo of every outfit on the catwalk. Since we were still shooting in film, this came with its own stresses. Every time I finished a roll, there was a desperate scramble to rewind and change before the next model paraded by.

You! Get on Paul Smith’s catwalk now!

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By Marie-Louise Gumuchian
I am usually accustomed to sitting far away from the catwalk, rows behind the fashion elite and squeezed between other reporters. Sometimes, I don’t even have a seat but stand with media or production crews, straining my neck to see a designer’s offerings for next season.
But this fashion week in London, I got to taste the real deal as I was catapulted onto the catwalk itself, strutting with other models. Not exactly something I had ever imagined doing.
As part of our coverage of London Fashion Week this weekend, I had just finished interviewing British designer Paul Smith backstage ahead of his spring/summer 2012 womenswear show.
I chatted with my colleagues about how friendly he had been with us and how with 40 minutes to go until show time, how amazingly calm everyone backstage was – a rare sight during the fashion week frenzy. We watched as models lined up preparing for their rehearsal with music blaring in the background — a required ritual ahead of any show. Suddenly the lady lining them up called out loudly: “You! Come over here.”
I was not sure who she was talking, but it seemed she was facing my direction — “You, come here” she said, now clearly looking at me.
“But I’m not a model,” I protested as my TV producer colleague held onto me to prove we were part of the same team. “I’m a journalist, I’m here to cover the show.”
“Doesn’t matter, come here, we need one of you here,” she answered, waving me over. Confused, I obliged, not quite sure what she wanted me to do.
“Stand here,” she said, placing me between two young models. And then she walked off. I looked in front and I could see models, one by one, making their entrance on the catwalk just behind the screen.
HORRIFIED
I was horrified. “What do I do now? Do I actually have to walk down?” I cried out to my colleagues. They laughed, one even whipped out her phone and told our cameraman, in place at the end of the catwalk, to get ready to film.
I desperately looked for the lady who had placed me in the line of models, questioning myself as to why I had come over, but she was busy fussing getting other girls in place. She even placed another girl — not a model — in the queue. Phew I thought, I’m not the only one. But this girl seemed a lot calmer than I was, clearly accustomed to such impromptu moves in fashion show rehearsals.
“What do I do,” I asked when the choreographer lady finally came round to me, noticing the line in front of me was getting alarmingly shorter.
“Walk down the catwalk, just enjoy it!” she said.
Okay I thought, I’m not 100 percent sure about the ethics of hitting the catwalk, but to avoid any drama, I’ll play along.
I thought, this will be fine, as three, then two, then one and then no more models were in front of me anymore. And so my turn came. A friendly looking man, who was timing the rehearsal, held onto my arm, clearly seeing I looked a little nervous: “Just enjoy it, it’s only a rehearsal,” he said. “Now go.”
STRUT? SWAY? POUT?
And so I went. And there was the huge catwalk in front of me. A dozen thoughts suddenly crammed my head — Where do I look? Do I strut down? Do I sway my hips? Do I pout? Do I smile? Panic spread so I just held on tightly to my blackberry.
I must have walked three steps when a new message arrived – not now I thought! I quickly looked down at it but realised that was not very model-like behaviour so I looked back up and straight ahead.
I could see the few people sitting on the sidelines looked confused at my presence as I clearly was not a model. While I like to think I had made a stylish effort for Fashion Week, I clearly was not wearing designer clothes. But I stared straight ahead, thinking what a surreal experience this was — – especially as only weeks ago I was in North Africa helping out on our coverage of the Libyan conflict with fashion the last thing on my mind.
The lights were blazing and I could not make out the photographers nor cameramen in front of me. So this is what it feels like to be a catwalk model, I thought, it’s quite easy. Then I recalled I was actually wearing comfortable wedges and not skyscraper heels.
The catwalk was not an average up and down runway, but a rectangle shaped around a central seating space. As I approached the TV and picture crews, I looked straight ahead –and swiftly turned my heel round.
Phew, I thought, halfway done. The walking back down the catwalk was a lot easier – mainly because this part of the huge room was practically empty. Although I must have walked a little too fast as I could see I was cutting into the approaching model’s space. I held back, let her do her thing, and then calmly made my exit.
My colleagues greeted me with beaming smiles and applause. Our cameraman rushed back, confused: “What was that all about?” he asked. “I have no idea,” I replied, laughing. “But it was fun.”

from Photographers' Blog:

Seen on the fashion scene

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By Allison Joyce

Held twice yearly in February and September, New York Fashion Week features designers from all over the world, displaying their creations on the runways. A small venue of tents pops up in Lincoln Center to house the crowd of celebrities, designers and models who descend upon the city. The event also draws its own share of notable and outrageous personalities, fashionistas, and those who come just to be seen on the scene.

I am now into my fourth year of covering the event and have started to recognize a group of colorful, sassy characters who come to Fashion Week each year. Some are former models, some are bloggers, and others seem to be famous just for their outlandish outfits or feline sidekicks. A few of them stand out because they are decked out in the same colorful suits, ostentatious hair styles and eye catching accessories year after year, appearing in the lobby or on the pavilion like clockwork. Most of them seem to be there for the same reasons, to network and be part of the scene.

from Photographers' Blog:

Mr. Cooper, please meet Mr. Cooper

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Madame Tussauds wax figures are one of those rare enigmas of an ancient art that has not only lasted but has flourished when, by all accounts, it has been surpassed by technology.

When we want to see what famous people look like all we have to do is sit down at a computer or TV and we can find out more than we ever really needed to know. We can find out what they look like, where they eat, who they are dating, who they are not dating, or even what they did last night.

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