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Entertainment behind the scenes

Leonardo DiCaprio, other celebs pump up youth vote


leo.jpgCelebrities Leonardo DiCaprio, Forest Whitaker, Tobey Maguire and are out to convince young people to vote — and they have made a series of public service announcements for the cause in partnership with Google, YouTube, Declare Yourself and MySpace.
While many of the celebrities have shown their support for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, the PSAs are meant to be non-partisan in tone and content, so don’t expect any digs at Sen. John McCain, the Republican presidential candidate.
In the first ad, stars including Jennifer Aniston, Halle Berry, and Ashton Kutcher, address viewers directly and urge them in a tongue-and-cheek way not to vote, before going on to not only call on the viewers to vote but to make sure they are registered and that their friends, too, are registered and are voting. You can watch it here.

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The PSA was produced by DiCaprio’s company, Appian Way Productions. This past weekend, we interviewed DiCaprio and he talked about his desire to get young voters to the polls. “My big message on this next election is that, hopefully, the youth movement will come out in full force this time,” DiCaprio said. “Hopefully we will have a true representation of this country because enough young people who care about policies for the next 50 years will go out to the polls and vote for the candidate they think best represents the United States.”

Alot has been made about the youth vote in this year’s election, and Obama has had a great deal of success in engaging young Americans. He even listens to hip hop music. Yet, time and again in U.S. elections, young people have failed to turn out at the polls in the numbers that older citizens do. Maybe this will help; maybe not. But it can’t hurt. If you’re in your 20s, will you vote? The election is Nov. 4.

Obama, McCain draw 14.6 mln viewers on “60 Minutes”


obama1.jpgIn another sign of strong interest in this year’s U.S. presidential election, Sunday’s “60 Minutes” featuring interviews with both candidates, Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain, drew 14.6 million viewers to the television news magazine for its highest viewership since January 2008.

That figure was up 21 percent in total U.S. households, 55 percent in adults 25- to 54-years-old and 50 percent in adults 18- to 49-years-old, compared to the same night last year, ”60 Minutes” said in a statement on Tuesday.

Singers for Obama release “Yes We Can” album


 You’ve heard them at the Obama campaign rallies and speeches for months, andstevie.jpg now  all those Stevie Wonder, Sheryl Crow, John Mayer and Los Lonely Boys songs that warm up the Democratic Party crowds have been put together on one album.

 Billed as the first-ever presidential campaign compilation, the 18-song disc “Yes We Can: Voices of a Grassroots Movement” also includes excerpts from speeches given by Barack Obama and goes on sale exclusively on the campaign’s official Web site on Friday.

NY Fashion Week campaigns for style, Lohan shows support


ronson1.jpg As the Nov. 4 U.S. presidential election draws near, New York’s Fashion Week has launched its own campaign — for style.

The entrance to the tents at Bryant Park in Midtown Manhattan, where designers are showing their spring/summer 2009 collections, are painted with large campaign-like badges that read “Declare your Style,” “Fashion = Change,” “Vote Fashion, “Super Model Delegate,” and “Accessorize for Democracy.”

Stars in Venice love Obama, but not too much


brad.jpgBarack Obama won yet more celebrity endorsements at the Venice film festival this year, although whether he would welcome them or not is a different matter.

From the very first press conference, stars from Hollywood who came to the canal city to promote their movies voiced support for the Democratic presidential candidate, although in the case of George Clooney and Brad Pitt, they were careful not to steal too much of the political limelight from Obama.

Tearful Oprah pledges “whatever it takes” to elect Obama


oprah.jpgIt’s no surprise talk show host Oprah Winfrey was wowed by Sen. Barack Obama’s speech in Denver. After all, she endorsed him last year and may have swayed early primary voters in Obama’s direction.

But O went beyond just being enthused by Obama’s speech on Thursday, as the presidential candidate accepted the Democratic Party nomination. “Just seeing him on stage, I cried my eyelashes off,” Winfrey told a reporter with the TV show Entertainment Tonight.

Does Madonna fuel controversy for her fans or for herself?


madonna-on-tour.jpgSex, religion, now politics. Madonna, true to style, has kicked off her world concert tour “Sticky & Sweet” with controversy by juxtaposing images of Adolf Hitler with John McCain, the Republican senator running for president alongside Democratic Senator Barack Obama and with Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe. Obama was named in a sequence with Mahatma Gandhi, John Lennon and Al Gore.  ”Outrageous, unacceptable and crudely divisive,” said McCain’s camp.

Madonna, who turned 50 this month, is listed as one of the world’s most successful female recording artists of all time, having sold over 200 million records in a career spanning 25 years.  Do you think she fuels controversy to keep fans coming back for more or is it a personal mission for The Material Girl? 

Daughtry, Everclear to rock Democratic convention


daughtry2.jpgIn this presidential election year, partisan politics have ruled the roost. But the Grammy Foundation plans to buck that trend by bringing live shows to both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions.
First on deck is the Dems’ gathering, which starts this Monday, Aug. 25. The Grammy Foundation announced this week that to accompany the convention in Denver, Colorado, the organization will have a concert in the city featuring performances by Grammy-nominated rockers Daughtry and Everclear, as well as the Flobots, a Denver-based band that combines alternative rock and hip-hop.
The show will happen on Aug. 26, and benefit the Grammy Foundation, a charitable arm of The Recording Academy that works to promote arts education and cultural preservation. The Recording Academy gives out the top U.S. music awards, the Grammys.
In 2000, the band Rage Against the Machine famously rocked fans outside the Democratic National Convention in a Los Angeles show that ended in clashes between police and protesters.
This year’s Grammy Foundation events promise to be decidedly less explosive affairs. The organization has pledged to use the events to inform party leaders about issues in the music industry.
The four-day Republican National Convention starts on Sept. 1 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. On Sept. 2 The Recording Academy will host “The Songwriters Circle: The Songs We Love” in Minneapolis. Grammy-winning songwriter Brett James, who wrote the song “Jesus Take the Wheel,” recorded by Carrie Underwood, will perform along with rising star Greg Laswell, another singer-songwriter.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis) 

Paris Hilton strikes back at McCain ad


paris-logo.jpgWASHINGTON – You knew she wouldn’t take this lying down.
Paris Hilton struck back Tuesday at Republican presidential candidate John McCain for running a campaign ad that likened Democratic rival Barack Obama’s celebrity to that of the blond socialite and to singer Britney Spears.

The video, posted on the Web site, began with images of the 71-year-old Arizona senator: “He’s the oldest celebrity in the world, like super-old. Old enough to remember when dancing was a sin and beer was served in a bucket. But, is he ready to lead?”
Then the camera turned on the blond socialite, sitting on a poolside lounge chair in a skimpy leopard-print bathing suit.
“Hey America, I am Paris Hilton and I’m a celebrity too,” she said. “Only I’m not from the olden days and I am not promising change like that other guy. I’m just hot.”
“But then that wrinkly white-haired guy used me in his campaign ad, which I guess means I’m running for president. And I want America to know that I’m like, totally ready to lead.”

McCain and Obama battle it out as comic superheroes


mccain-superhero.jpgComic fans attending this week’s Comic-Con Convention in San Diego have come face-to-face with two new superheroes battling for the good of the planet — Barack Obama and John McCain. The two U.S.  presidential contenders feature like superheroes on the front covers of two graphic novel biographies published by IDW Publishing.

“Presidential Material: Barack Obama” is written by Jeff Mariotte with artwork by Tom Morgan and “Presidential Material: John McCain” is written by Andy Helfer with artwork by Stephen Thompson. The cover art was created by fan favourite J. Scott Campbell. Both books are due to go on sale on Oct 8 but copies can be ordered in advance at