Fan Fare

Entertainment behind the scenes

Does Glastonbury live up to hype?


Glasto3As a first-time Glastonbury-goer, I travelled to this year’s event with some trepidation. After all, I had to pitch my own tent, find my way around a massive site with hundreds of bands playing on dozens of stages, get enough food and water to live, and face the infamous portable toilet facilities that have a habit of overflowing as 150,000-plus revellers relieve themselves.

As the event reaches its conclusion tonight, with Stevie Wonder the headline act, I can safely say I would do it all again. Joining 100,000 or so people jumping up and down to the likes of Shakira, Scissor Sisters and Muse at the main Pyramid stage is something to remember, as is the infectious feel-good vibe that seems to fill the air despite the concentration of so many people in relatively small spaces. Of course, the smiling faces may have as much to do with alcohol and illegal substances as good music, but it doesn’t seem to matter as people enter an alternative universe for four days.

I have to own up to the fact that, with a media pass, I have access to quieter areas of the festival and so-called “hospitality” camping. That means slightly more room in the corner of a field, and, more crucially, a greater toilet-to-punter ratio. The second factor that has made 2010 easier than most for a first-timer has been the weather. I’m complaining about the intense heat, particularly in the media tent which is effectively a giant sauna, but everyone I speak to would take hot over wet, because that’s when Glastonbury turns into a giant mudbath, making getting around and staying clean nigh impossible.

I still have a lot to discover, and would like to get to more of the smaller stages to see less established acts strut their stuff. With any luck, I’ll have a chance to try next time around.

Glastonbury’s new fad? Shade


Music, beer and wellington boots tend to top Glasto2Glastonbury revellers’ must-have list. This year they have added another essential commodity — shade. Baking hot temperatures in the high 20s Celsius are reducing many of the 150,000 revellers in the southwest of England to a lethargic crawl as they struggle to cope with the heat, not to mention the hangover.

Walk around the sprawling rural site and you will see unusually large empty spaces and then hundreds of people seemingly randomly crammed in odd places — against walls, around trees in the middle of dusty tracks and under benches. Then it becomes clear why — they have found shade from the sun, which has been beating down on the site virtually uninterrupted for the last two days.

Connecting with Michael Jackson, one year after his death


Jackson AnniversaryThere were no seances to raise him from the dead (at least as far as we know), but people around the world were connecting to Michael Jackson again, one year after his death. In Tokyo, fans slept with his memorabilia. In Vietnam, they held a night of performances. In New York, they danced at the Apollo Theater, and in Los Angeles they waited to pay their respects at the Forest Lawn cemetery where his body was laid to rest. Those pictured at right are at a parade in Liepzig, Germany. Read the full story here.

There is no doubt Jackson was the King of Pop, but will he be remembered in the same way as Elvis or Marilyn Monroe? Will his songs be sung and his moonwalk be danced? Time will tell. But we were out on Hollywood Boulevard on Friday to talk to people about what they most remembered about Michael Jackson. Click below to see what they had to say.

Daytime therapist, nighttime filmmaker captures Soviet life


Photo by Daniel Bases

He’s a physiotherapist by day and a filmmaker by nights, weekends and everything in between. Semyon Pinkhasov has captured facets of Soviet life that rarely get shared beyond Russia’s borders, even after the fall of the Iron Curtain.

(For story, click on

The self-taught, self-financed, award-winning amateur documentary filmmaker has seen his films shown worldwide at festivals and on Russian and English-language television channels. Focused on the arts and the sport of fencing (U.S. Olympic Team Coach in 1984), he tells stories about Grigory Fried, who has run a music appreciation club in Moscow for 45 years without taking a kopeck; Tikhon Khrennikov, the first and last secretary of the Union of Soviet Composers; and Boris Efimov, perhaps Stalin’s favorite cartoonist.

Team Edward or Jacob? Creative or pugnacious? Twihards analyzed


USA/Twilight fans can be fiercely divided in their loyalty to the vampire Edward or the werewolf Jacob but do they know why? Mindset Media, the makers of something  called psychographic ad technology, has conducted an online survey of 2,000 Twilight fans or Twihards and claims that personality may play a major role in which team people are drawn to.

“The diehard fans of each team share the personality traits of the character they support,” said Stephanie Wang, Director of Business Development at Mindset Media, in a statement.

Music to soothe the soul — even between Turks and Greeks


PH_MahmutCeylan_084(Writing and Reporting by Ayla Jean Yackley)

Turkish-Greek relations have never been smooth, exactly. The countries have gone to war against each other, and territory disputes continued to haunt them until the end of the 20th Century. Yet, in recent years, diplomacy has thawed the once icy relations between the two. This week, it was music that did the trick.

Not long after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople, the majestic fourth-century Hagia Ereine, Istanbul’s first Christian church, was turned into a weapons storage facility, but this week it served as the venue for the Turkish debut of Iannis Xenakis’ “Oresteia,” the late Greek composer’s re-imagining of Aeschylus’ ancient tale of war, treachery, democracy and peace. The setting proved dramatic, and inspiring, as part of the International Istanbul Music Festival. The city is this year’s European Capital of Culture.PH_MahmutCeylan_184

from MediaFile:

Entrepreneurs swarm at iPhone launch

In New York, the annual launch of iPhone upgrades has morphed from being a odd meeting of tech-geek-love into an  giant marketing opportunity for scrappy business-minded folks looking to promote a small business.

Hey, why not? Where else can you find hundreds of potential customers, stuck in line for hours with wallets deep enough to buy a pricey piece of hardware, a swarm of TV news cameras as well as myriad other member of the media (including yours truly), and minimal security?

Too old for Glastonbury?


Glastonbury1.jpgGlastonbury, at 42.

While I worry about whether I have packed my ear plugs, the conversations of music fans around me on the train to Glastonbury this morning make me feel very old indeed. What does not help is that everyone in my crowded carriage from London’s Paddington station looks less than half my age. One girl in a high-spirited group reads a text from a friend describing what she was up to in a college library late the night before (hint: it was neither reading nor sleeping). A boy discusses what drugs he is hoping to score at the festival. Alcohol is a popular topic, overall, as is first-year university exam results.

That can be quite an intimidating range of topics for a man of middle age. Add to that the mind-blowingly bewildering geography of the sprawling site when you get here and I begin to wonder whether I am too old for this gig. A Glastonbury “virgin” too. Really, the shame.

“Knight and Day” reviews, just like night and day


CruisePerhaps it is the perfect title for a film. “Knight and Day,” the new action adventure movie starring Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz, hit movie theater screens on Wednesday to mixed reviews, with some critics loving it, some hating it. On, which aggregates reviews and scores films, “Knight and Day” received a 53 percent positive rating with 54 of 101 reviews liking the film and 47 finding it not to their favor.

Writing in The New York Times, veteran critic A.O. Scott says “Knight and Day” “consists of one over-the-top, overblown blowup session after another — not one showing a scrap of wit — arranged in unvarying, hysterical rhythm.” Another long-time reviewer, Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times, says: “It’s hardly a perfect film, not even close, but it is the most entertaining, made-for-adults studio movie of the summer, and one of the reasons it works at all is the great skill and commitment Cruise brings.”

Christina Aguilera’s new album a “Bionic” bust


Maybe Christina Aguilera should have called her new album “Anemic” instead of “Bionic.” The album debuted at No. 3 on the U.S. pop chart Wednesday after selling just 110,000 copies last week, according to tracking firm Nielsen SoundScan.

xtina That’s a huge drop from her last studio album, “Back to Basics,” a double-disc set that debuted at No. 1 in 2006 with 346,000 units. In 2002, she went to No. 2 after “Stripped” kicked off with 330,470 units. It’s actually her worst start since a Christmas album debuted at No. 38 in early November 2000 with 29,700 units.