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Top 10 Oldies Songs About School

Here’s a list of the Top 10 best oldies songs about school and the classroom experience, in descending order. It’s subjective, of course, but it covers the 50s, 60s (and early 70s) in search of what your Guide considers the classic high school Oldies hits. If you have any suggestions for this list, feel free and e-mail me!

1. “School Day,” Chuck Berry

Sometimes listed as “School Days,” this little slice of teenage life helped solidify Chuck’s status for the ages as one of the great American songwriters. It mainly describes school as a drudgery, something to be gotten out of the way, but that’s how teens of all ages have viewed it, and so the message here remains as classic and enduring as the lyrics.

2. “High School Confidential,” Jerry Lee Lewis

This killer single from the Killer himself uses high school as a setting, not so much as a storyline. But who cares – this may be the world’s greatest sock hop record, one that sounds more like a backwoods barrelhouse. Is it any wonder the parents complained? This would have been Jerry Lee’s fourth consecutive hit in a row, if he hadn’t looked to high school for his wife, too.

3. “Charlie Brown,” The Coasters

Not to be confused with the Peanuts character, this delinquent refused to take to authority in any degree, making him a hero or a menace, depending on which side of the equation you were on. You didn’t have to love Charlie to love the song – Leiber and Stoller were just as good as Chuck Berry at detailing the teenage experience. And the Coasters were, in a way, their house band.

4. “School Is Out,” Gary U.S. Bonds

Gary would eventually do a sequel called “School Is In,” but it wouldn’t chart nearly as well. Which makes sense – who wants to party about going back to school? And Bonds’ wonderfully strange, multitracked records, drowning in echo and catcalls, were some of the greatest party records of all time. Besides, as Gary proves, half the fun of school was dreaming about what you’d do when you got out.

5. “Be True To Your School,” The Beach Boys

In such a conservative era as the early Sixties, it’s odd that more school-spirit anthems didn’t surface. And it’s only appropriate that the best of the ones which did belonged to the Beach Boys, who always projected a clean-cut, scholastic image. The production hints that the lads were soon to be leaving surf music for more Spectorian pastures.

6. “School’s Out,” Alice Cooper

Some purists will grumble that this isn’t a REAL rock and roll oldie, coming as it did in the beginning of the second Nixon administration. Still, it’s hard to imagine a greater celebration of juvenile delinquency, Alice’s stock in trade. This being ’72, it was a rather more sinister celebration, however – Ccoper declares that the school’s been destroyed and no one’s coming back. Yikes.

7. “Graduation Day,” Stark Whiteman and the Crowns

Certainly the rarest of the items on this list, this classic 45 isn’t available on CD anywhere that your Guide is aware of. Recorded by an obscure New Orleans outfit, this sad Fifties ballad was a hit in the region but never made the charts. It’s one of the best odes to the day in question, expressing a real, tangible sadness at the idea of leaving your friends behind forever.

8. “High School U.S.A.,” Tommy Facenda

Facenda was a one-hit wonder, but his one hit came with a truly ingenious marketing gimmick: record a quasi-rockabilly song about high schools, make one national version, and then make 28 (twenty-eight!) LOCAL versions for release in the country’s biggest radio markets. The national version’s hard to find, and the local ones are even more obscure. I’ve heard the one for my area; have you?

9. “School Girl,” The Five Royales

This song went largely unnoticed at the time of release, like a lot of the Royales’ 45s. And like most of their output, this lost doo-wop classic deserved better. One of many rock songs to use the schoolgirl as an idealized picture of early womanhood. If you like this, there’s a whole box set more of it where this came from.

10. “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl,” Sonny Boy Williamson (I)

Certainly the rawest and sexiest track here, this blues classic was written about the schoolgirl as a more, er, carnal fantasy. In fact, Williamson himself has intimated that race relations played a part in the story. Is the student in question white? Does it matter? It’s since been covered by every classic-rock band under the sun, but the original is arguably still the best


August 30, 2009 Posted by | 1 | Leave a comment

Christoph Waltz Discusses Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Inglourious Basterds’

 How good is Christoph Waltz in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds? So good that he Christoph Waltz


Christoph Waltz as Colonel Hans Landa in Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Inglourious Basterds.’

© The Weinstein Companywon the prestigious Best Actor award at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival for his portrayal of Nazi Colonel Hans Landa. It’s a deliciously evil yet strangely engaging character, and Waltz believes it’s one of the best parts ever written in the history of dramas. “I’m serious. I’m really serious. Take it and put it into sort of an ancient Greek setting, apply the label Euripides – just for sport. We still have the drama,” said Waltz at the film’s LA press day. “It holds up. If you put in Shakespearean terms, it still holds up.”

Waltz is from Vienna, once was an opera singer, is extensively trained in the theatre, and speaks English, French, and German, language skills that came in handy playing Col. Hans Landa. Waltz is pretty much prepared to tackle any role, but he admits that after his first read-through of theInglourious Basterds script, he thought the film could not be done.

“The first time I read the script I thought that it’s too much,” confessed Waltz. “And then I watched all the movies again and kind of tried to ease my way into understanding where it is and where it comes from, and sort of tried to work my way around it a little bit. If you take it full brunt, then it’s too much. Just like seeing it for the first time, it’s too much. You have to switch off certain channels in order not to get this sensory overload. But once you get that out of the way, it’s really interesting and it’s very parallel to seeing the movie. Once you get that whole thing out of the way and know what’s happening and all that, seeing it a second time you can actually then start to really enjoy the details. And that’s what reading [the script was like] – exactly the same thing.”

“So the first reading was too much. It’s impossible. But reviewing all the movies and then sort of continuing into the script and sticking with the first chapter for a while and re-reading the first chapter, then trying to understand. And you know how you start working on things, it’s a little bit like how you befriend a person.”

Overwhelmed with the first reading, Waltz says it was his second read-through of the first scene in the script that actually hooked him on the project. “The first scene alone is…it’s not all that difficult to understand reading this first scene what I meant initially about one of the greatest dramatic writings because you can see that in that first scene alone. Also these chapters kind of constitute, in a way, an entity, almost classical, especially the first scene, that is Aristotelian principles, the unity of time, the unity of place, the unity of action. You could perform this as a play onstage, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it actually happened. So, all these qualities apart from that brilliant and unparalleled dialogue and these linguistic quirks and turns and unexpected leaps, so yeah, it’s an actor’s dream. Something that you normally do not get to play,” said Waltz.

Perhaps one of the most frightening aspects of Waltz’ character Hans Landa is that he does evil while outwardly expressing friendliness. “Well, that’s a very interesting element, along those lines. Why would evil and friendliness contradict each other? Not at all. Why would evil and a sense of humor contradict each other? Not at all. We just like to see it that way because it makes it easier for us to recognize. So, you know, easy storytelling, easy characterization, cliche stereotypical so that we know exactly the guy with the black hat is the bad guy and the guy with the beige hat is the good guy. Happens so that the guy with the beige hat has a brown horse and the guy with the black hat has a black horse, so now we don’t even have to think because we know exactly what’s happening. Everything can develop according to our expectations,” explained Waltz. “Well, not really in the real world.”

“What makes evil evil? Not the raving beast. The raving beast is not evil. The raving beast is ridiculous. The friendly and accommodating and charming and solicitous person who then uses this what he has established trust, for example, or amicability, for a different outcome, and then the outcome might be… So how does one or how do I approach an evil character like that? By discarding the fact that it’s evil, by not judging. It’s difficult, especially in this context, you know, because this is probably the most evil period of human history.”

Waltz also had this to say about his character: “I was a bit offended in Germany. A journalist said, ‘Well, this is a man who likens Jews to rats without a blink of an eye.’ No, no, no, this is missing the point entirely. Entirely. He says, ‘The Germans are like the hawk, the Jew is like the rat,’ and then Goebbels says the same thing. But then where our conclusions differ is that I do not consider the comparison an insult. And that’s the key, not the rat comparison, that he doesn’t consider it an insult. And that actually is the most valuable clue to this character of all. That he does evaluate, he does not judge, he follows what it is. So this is, if you want, a truly modern character.”

* * * * * * * *

Inglourious Basterds hits theaters on August 21, 2009 and is rated R for strong graphic violence, language and brief sexuality.

August 30, 2009 Posted by | 1 | Leave a comment

Filmmaker Robert Rodriguez Talks About ‘Shorts’

Robert Rodriguez Shorts


Robert Rodriguez on the set of ‘Shorts’ with Jimmy Bennett and Jolie Vanier.

© Warner Bros Pictures

Shorts returns filmmaker Robert Rodriguez to kid-oriented comedy, marking his first family-friendly movie since 2005’s The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl. And we can thank his young son Rebel for Rodriguez’ latest family film.

“I’ve always loved doing short films and always wished I could do more, there’s just never a place to do them,” explained Rodriguez at the LA press day for the Warner Bros Pictures movie. “And so when my son [Rebel] came to me after Shark Boy, my third son, he said, ‘I want to come up with the next movie.’ And I said, ‘What do you want to do? We’ll come up with something. I’m out of ideas right now, I’ve just finished.’ And then he said, ‘Something like the Little Rascals,’ which I’d been showing them over a few months before to show how funny they were, and they loved how short they were.”

“I went, ‘Of course. How come I never thought of that?’ I just loved short films and we had a need to come up with a name kind of like that, like Our Gang or The Little Rascals. And we decided to call it Shorts because, as my son explained, it was because the stories are short, the kids are short, and they wear shorts, and we figured it would happen during in the summer. I said, ‘Okay, that’s good enough. That’ll be our title for now until we come up with a better one,’ which we never did. So it became that that’s the format the story’s told in, in a series of shorts. He tells them out of order, so it’s kind of like Pulp Fiction for kids and you have to figure out the little puzzle. And I just thought it would be a kind of unique way of telling the story for a family film where kids get kind of a puzzle to solve as well.”

Rebel isn’t Rodriguez’ first son to come up with the idea for a movie. Racer Rodriguez created the superhero world of Shark Boy and Lava Girl. But Rodriguez says it’s an organic process – and just a matter of giving credit where credit is due.

“Just about any filmmaker or writer, they don’t really originate all their ideas,” said Rodriguez. “Sometimes they’ll hear a piece of a conversation or somebody will tell them something. You eavesdrop and you get ideas for characters that way and stories that way. So very few things just come sprouting out of your brain. It’s really you’re responding to the world. In my world, a lot is my children. When people say, ‘Give me advice to go write a script or a novel,’ and they say, ‘Write what you know,’ what I know is my family life very well. So to not utilize that is to rob my career of a lot of inspiration and a lot of information.”

“A lot of times I’ll turn to them for ideas of empowerment that I’ve forgotten about, because you don’t need it once you grow up. You’re empowered; you know you can make anything happen. But for a kid who still needs his mom to drop him off at the mall or take him to the movies, he would love to have a wishing rod and then he could just wish he was there and be there. Or a jet pack if he was a spy kid and fly there. Or if he could be powerful like a shark, half boy/half shark,… Things really get into their dreams. So anything that empowers a kid usually does pretty well, and they watch it over and over again for those reasons.”

Asked if it’s hard to decide which idea from one of his kids to pursue, Rodriguez replied, “It’s not like you think. We’re not like at dinner and they say, ‘How about a movie about a creature…?’ ‘No, that’s not good enough.’ ‘What about a big, giant balloon that?’ ‘No, no.’ They’re never pitching anything. It was just that particular experience. Just both those times they just happened to have an idea they just couldn’t get out of their head. They kept saying it over and over.”

“The same with [Rebel]. He loves rocks and rocks. He’s always collecting rocks and he kept saying, ‘Oh, the rainbow rock and the canyon with the crocodiles and the snakes…’ We have a canyon on our property with a bunch of snakes, the one we shot in actually, it’s on my ranch. So I thought, ‘What if that was a wishing rock?’ So I tried the idea on them and I asked Rebel, ‘What would you wish for if you could wish for anything?’ He said, ‘I wish for a butt for a head. And I said, ‘Are you sure?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ And so I said, ‘Well let me ask his older, wiser brother,’ and he wished to be a potato. I thought, ‘What’s wrong with these guys?,’ recalled Rodriguez, laughing. “So I said, ‘Well, okay, what I would wish for is a million more wishes.’ And then their faces sort of dropped and they went, ‘Oh, oh, oh…’ Like, ‘Oh, he just blew our wish,’ then they kind of got it. So I thought, ‘Oh my god, this would be such a great story.'”


Looking Into the Future

Rodriguez is now in production on a film strictly for adults, Machete. Starring Danny Trejo, Macheteis based on the faux trailer included in Grindhouse. At the time of the Shorts press tour, Rodriguez had completed one week of shooting on Machete. “It was amazing,” said Rodriguez. ‘It’s really going good. That’s the shortest film schedule since MariachiMariachi was a 14-day shoot.Desperado was a 35-day shoot. This is about half the amount of time that we had on Shorts, which is a really short shoot, which was about 42 days. […]You have to just make quick decisions, and it comes out better. The energy is much better.”

The Machete trailer was over the top, and Rodriguez says we can expect more of the same from the real feature film. “There’s so much crazy stuff now. I just wanted to live up to the trailer and it’s far surpassed the trailer. So if you like the trailer, you’re going to love the movie. The movie’s got an insane cast,” said Rodriguez.

As for other projects, Rodriguez said they have a script for Sin City 2 but they haven’t shot anything yet. There’s also a script ready to go on Nerverackers, and Predators is nearing production. “I have a director on that and it’s my main crew that I usually use,” said Rodriguez about Predators. “And then it’s taking place right there [in Texas] so I get to walk in and see designs and comment on stuff and work on the script with him. We start shooting that pretty soon.”

August 30, 2009 Posted by | 1 | Leave a comment

Mozart Died of Strep Throat?

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

In case you missed today’s news, a report in the Annals of Internal Medicine stated that Mozart may have died from complications stemming from strep throat.  The composer died in 1791, when he was just 35 years old, but no one really knows why, though theories abound.  Some say he was poisoned, others say it was rheumatic fever, but his death certificate official states that he died of milliary fever.  Learn more about the life of Mozart in this Mozart profile.  According to researchers at the University of Amsterdam, Mozart’s death was similar to the deaths of many people in Vienna during the same time.  By comparing the deaths of those who died during the same month as Mozart, the researches discovered that many of the symptoms listed were consistent with those caused by the streptococcal pharyngitis bacteria.  I find the evidence to be quite compelling, but it just seems too easy.  What do you think?

August 30, 2009 Posted by | 1 | Leave a comment

Interview with ‘Iron Man 2’ Director Jon Favreau


Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr Iron Man 2Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr in ‘Iron Man 2.’

© Paramount Pictures

As he did with Iron Man, Jon Favreau used the San Diego Comic Con to help launch a word of mouth campaign for Iron Man 2. Director Favreau set the bar high with his first Iron Man movie, but if the reaction of the Comic Con crowd to the footage from Iron Man 2 is in any way indicative, then Iron Man 2 has lived up to the standards set by the 2008 blockbuster.

After wowing the crowd, Favreau sat down with the press to talk about his second Iron Man outing.


Jon Favreau Interview

You rocked the hall.

“…Boy, it was scary coming in. That’s the problem. Remember that Bugs Bunny where Daffy Duck drinks the gasoline, lights himself on fire and it blows up and everybody claps? It’s like, ‘What do you do for an encore?’ Last time around, we put it all out there because we had a lot to prove.”

You were the underdog last year.

“We were the underdog. If you remember, the first time I showed the stuff we were sandwiched between, on I think Thursday at the Paramount panel, everybody was waiting to see Indiana Jones. On the other side was Star Trek. They kind of just stuck us in there and we knew we had to fight our way. We were the runt and we had to fight our way to get the attention. This year it’s ridiculous, but even then it was 100s of properties that were trying to fight for attention. To emerge as one that was talked about was not a fait accompli by any stretch, so we knew we had to show a lot of footage. This time, if you look at what other films with established franchises do, they tend to just come, do a little soft pedal, just show up as a sign of respect and don’t do too much, maybe give away a shirt or something. I want every time that I come here, I bring what people expect.”

How did you avoid the trap of sequels adding too many villains and characters?

“Well, we had to walk a fine line. I think you’re good for number two. Two seems to be the charm because you got your origin story out of the way. You can add some complexity to it and you have room, because you don’t have to tell the origin story, to introduce the characters. When you get to number three, you can get hidebound. You’re like a beached whale sometimes because you have so much, you collapse under the weight of the complexity that you’ve created.”

“We looked at the successful sequels that we liked. I’m not talking about Two Towers or films that are chapters based on novels, or Harry Potter. I’m talking about true sequels. The two that we liked the most, this was me and Kevin Feige talking, were Wrath of Khan and Empire Strikes Back. Those were the two that we said, ‘They did it right. Now let’s look at what they did right.'”

“There were so many others that didn’t feel as good as the first, but for those two, what we found was that it really gave room to explore the characters and the villain plot lines were very simple but the stakes were very high. The less you get bogged down in complexity, the more you could really let the audience enjoy what they really like – which are the relationships. Two years later, I know I’m a pretty savvy audience member, I don’t remember the dynamics and the subtleties of it. It’s not as precious to me as it is to the filmmakers. So it’s putting yourself in the seat of the audience and saying, ‘What do they want to see more of?’ But you want to go bigger. You go from Alien to Aliens, and then you want to show them the characters that they’ve invested in and how they’ve changed and change those dynamics by introducing new characters. Don’t just add to the action, but throw the relationship into a little bit of a curve ball.”

Do you have double responsibility to set up part of The Avengers too?

“Yeah, I think that’s fun. I think it’s inevitable, and The Avengers might be the thing that helps rescue us from the inevitable sequel slump that you get into, because you’re throwing everything on its ear. It might be a failed experiment or it might be something wonderful, but it allows you to add complexity in an organic way where you’re culminating with something bigger, as opposed to trying to play out and not repeat the same story over and over again.”

How do you avoid overloading on villain origin stories?

“It’s very true. With Empire, what you do is you reveal layers of what the larger villain is. We’re not feeling any pressure right now to rush to the whole Mandarin sub-throughline.”

But that’s still intact?

“It’s still intact. We’re consistent with it. We know where it’s going, but I think audiences are pretty sophisticated. I watched the whole first season of Lost and of Heroes not having to know everything about what was going on. But I felt there was a consistency to those worlds. So in this case, with Mickey [Rourke], we definitely did want to have an origin story because we wanted an origin story to shadow and mirror Tony, because he’s introduced this technology into the world and how does that affect the world? We’re dealing with an arms race. That’s what Iron Man has always been. The thing about an arms race is, when you stop, the world doesn’t. You have windows of opportunity to change the world in good ways while all the bad forces are paralyzed, and what happens when those other superpowers emerge. It changes your tactics. Iron Man is dealing with as much as he can based on saying, ‘I am Iron Man.’ And what that has meant is to keep the world at bay with that new technology and who he was and how that changes now with the emergence of Mickey.”

How much pressure was on you to deliver the goods?

“I didn’t feel any pressure. Maybe I’m oblivious, but the only pressure I felt was really the people in this room and to the fans. Unfortunately, the way sequels work is they market them and sell them based on the first one. If you have a successful film, they could run it into the ground and sell your second film based on the first one. So, commercially, you have a safety net. The trick is, as a filmmaker and somebody who loves the movies that I make and the source material, I don’t want to fall into that trap. So the pressure is completely self-imposed. I want people to like this movie as much, if not better than the first one. That’s the game of chicken I’m playing. But there’s a safety net knowing people will check it out.”

Mickey Rourke in Iron Man 2Mickey Rourke in ‘Iron Man 2.’

© Paramount Pictures

“People stay away from our weekends with other movies. It’s going to get marketed well. It’s going to properly get its shot to do business. But the success of the first one that I really appreciated wasn’t just that people went to see it. It was that people were charmed by it. We wanted to make a charming film that didn’t lose track of what we did the first time around, and that’s my job. In bringing new cast members in that were consistent… You talk about ensemble writing, it’s bringing an ensemble that can be stewards of their character because we change stuff. Writing on these movies is something that’s a living, breathing thing and I want to give us the freedom that if we discover something in one scene, we can change a scene in the next act to support that.”

Why the new writer, Justin Theroux?

“Well, I love the first two sets of writers that I had worked with. Robert [Downey Jr] had a very good relationship with Justin. We found somebody who can help bring a voice to him. But the writing is such a collaborative process; it’s not like I wrote Swingers, we shot Swingers. This is like, ‘Here’s the basic story. Here’s the basic scenes. Here’s the basic structure, here are the basic set pieces. Let’s start drawing and storyboarding these moments. Now, how do we connect all of this?’ And then the last step is the actual writing of it. But I have the whole story in my head by the time the script actually emerges.”

Will you have a ‘story by’ credit?

“It’s part of directing. As a writer, I think it’s unfair because of the amount of work that the writers do do. I think that everybody has their role, but everybody overlaps. Justin Theroux shot some footage for me. Robert wrote a lot of his own stuff and was involved with the story process from the beginning. Gwyneth [Paltrow] comes in. Everybody improvises.”

How fluid was it? Was the script locked eventually?

“They never are. We locked script last week when we shot the last scene.”

What’s the intensity factor with Robert Downey Jr and Mickey Rourke together?

“Mickey and Robert didn’t work together a lot, and Robert had really gone out of his way to get Mickey involved. They were on the tour for the awards season last year together. They kept popping up at the same events because they were both nominated. So Mickey was definitely very, I think, appreciative that Robert fought so hard to get him, as did I. So off camera there was a lot of mutual respect and appreciation. But, of course, on camera, they’re two strong forces that definitely squared off against one another.”

What did Mickey and Scarlett Johansson add to the game?

“Well, Scarlett brings a new [element that] not only works us towards The Avengers but also changed the dynamic between Robert and Gwyneth. One of the other traps you don’t want to fall into is just repeating the same dynamics and turn it into Hart to Hart. You don’t want it to be Moonlighting. You don’t want to have the same thing over and over again. It’s not a television series, but I don’t know that you would like it for these guys. It’s a movie so you have to change things and you have to create a beginning, middle and an end so that it doesn’t just feel like an episode in a series of films. So by introducing her, that changes their dynamic. Scarlett appears in their life and has, as you can see, just a tremendous presence.”

“With Mickey Rourke, I didn’t want to just have two guys in robot suits hitting each other again. I wanted to have a different type of villain that used the same technology, existed within the same framework and rules of our world, but that was going to present not just a challenge physically but also in how dark he was and also how he’s related and how his fate and Tony’s fate are connected.”

How do you have time to act?

“I pushed it a little too hard this time. I was shooting I Love You, Man the week this movie came out, which was very weird to be on the phone with Jeffrey Katzenberg, sitting getting ready to be on the set of a movie sitting in like a small trailer as a supporting player on a low budget comedy. It was just a surreal experience. Then Couples Retreat I was writing. I was supposed to direct that. Vince had the idea. He was producing it. We were both going to star and I was going to direct, but because Iron Man’s release date was coming so fast, I couldn’t.”

“I worked on the script for about a year and had to put it down during the strike even, and then came back to it. Then I had to start working on Iron Man, so Vince rewrote it and Peter Billingsley, who’s been a collaborator with us, directed it. I got to carve out the time in the schedule to act in it, but I just went from project to project to project, as did Robert, and it’s a little overwhelming. I’m going to have to try to find time in here somehow.”

Is the thought that Avengers is the third Iron Man or is there an Iron Man 3?

“There’s an Iron Man 3. Here’s how I know. When they make the option deals, they include Iron Man 3 so I know they’re planning on 3. Whether that would be before or after Avengers… They’ve announced that Avengers is next but they pushed back The Avengers once, which I thought was encouraging.”

Does that give you more time to breathe?

“It does, and my involvement has yet to be determined on that project. Remember, you have to take into account what Thor is and you don’t know that until the film’s locked. You’re not going to know about Thor for two years, what that really means. And Captain America, they haven’t even started prepping yet. So there’s a lot of discovery that has to take place before you can understand what Avengers really is.”

What’s your place in that process?

“We talk about it and really Iron Man is their flagship franchise right now that we’re making a sequel for. It’s the one that’s informing the others the most. So I feel like I’m chopping my way through the jungle and Avengers will eventually be an oasis somewhere down the line. I’m pretty much hands-on day-to-day, just on Iron Man, but I think they’ll learn from what I’m discovering now that will inform the next one.”

August 28, 2009 Posted by | 1 | Leave a comment

Oldies Music Encyclopedia: “Glam Rock”

The New York Dolls' first LP, 1973

Definition: Glam rock, in its very first, classic incarnation in the UK from approximately 1972-1974, arose from a number of distinct musical trends: a move away from what was perceived as the crushing seriousness of the metal, prog and hard rock bands that would make up what would later be termed “classic rock,” a related love for retro Fifties three-chord rock and roll, the rise of bubblegum music aimed at teens in the late Sixties, and a general androgyny unleashed by the culture wars of that same time period. The typical UK glam rock song, therefore, was loud, stomping, simple, and flamboyant, with big guitar riffs and repeated chants that would encourage crowds to sing along. (The typical glam song of time also featured heavy, tribal beats and a lead vocal that blurred at least some gender distinctions.) Other artists that were too musically adventurous to stick to one genre dabbled in Glam as well (Queen, David Bowie, ELO, Cheap Trick).Of course, America took some note. Sweet managed to have hits in the USA; the New York Dolls took the movement to heart, transforming that city’s rock scene for the rest of the decade, and Alice Cooper began to inject the style and attitude of the genre into his own Doors-inspired mix of goth and hard rock. All of this helped make glam a tremendously influential movement: early punks and New Wavers caught on to the style’s anti-hippie stance and brutal simplicity, while metal and hard rock bands looking to capture a younger and more varied audience began to assimilate the genre as well. The most popular of these — KISS, Van Halen, Aerosmith — went on to make huge inroads into American radio with their bluesier and harder version of glam; in the Eighties, their success would spearhead the entire “hair metal” movement (for which glam is unfortunately confused to this day by many Americans).
Also Known As: Glam, Glitter Rock, Hair Metal

  1. “Ballroom Blitz,” Sweet
  2. “Metal Guru,” T. Rex
  3. “Suffragette City,” David Bowie
  4. “Cum On Feel The Noize,” Slade
  5. “All The Young Dudes,” Mott The Hoople
  6. “Personality Crisis,” The New York Dolls
  7. “Do The Strand,” Roxy Music
  8. “Can The Can,” Suzi Quatro
  9. “I’m The Leader Of The Gang,” Gary Glitter
  10. “Be My Lover,” Alice Cooper

The New York Dolls’ first LP, 1973


August 28, 2009 Posted by | 1 | 1 Comment

Fall Movie Preview2009


The hot summer months are behind us, signaling the time of year when studios get serious and unleash their dramas. The closer we draw to December, the more potential award-winners hit theaters. But unlike years past, this fall movie season doesn’t contain many clear-cut Oscar nominees and has more than the usual number of comedies. As of the end of August, no one film has broken out and generated any real Oscar buzz. Of course that’s likely to change, and undoubtedly some unexpected film will sneak up on us the way Slumdog Millionaire did in ’08.

Here’s the scoop on 2009’s fall releases, listed in release date order.

1. ‘9’

9© Focus Features
Release Date: September 9, 2009

The Story: Elijah Wood heads the voice cast of this visually stunning animated film from first time feature film director Shane Acker. 9 is set in a post-apocalyptic world in which humans no longer exist. Unusual-looking rag dolls must band together in this treacherous new world to take down the machines that want to destroy everything.

Featuring the Voices of Elijah Wood, Jennifer Connelly and Christopher Plummer

2. ‘Whiteout’

Whiteout© Warner Bros Pictures
Release Date: September 11, 2009

The Story: Whiteout is – finally – getting its theatrical release, after being pushed back a couple of times. Based on the comic book by Greg Rucka, Whiteout finds Kate Beckinsale up to her ears in trouble (and snow) as the only US Marshal covering Antarctica. Beckinsale battles the elements, and the impending extended period of darkness, to find a murderer.

Starring Kate Beckinsale and Gabriel Macht

3. ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs’

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs© Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Animation
Release Date: September 18, 2009

The Story: What if cheeseburgers and fries and other assorted food items fell from the sky instead of rain? That’s the premise of this animated family-friendly film based on the best-selling children’s book written by Judi Barrett and illustrated by Ron Barrett.

Starring Anna Faris and Andy Samberg

4. ‘The Informant!’

The Informant© Warner Bros Pictures
Release Date: September 18, 2009

The Story: Matt Damon reunites with Steven Soderbergh (the Ocean’s film franchise) for this tale of an unstable whistleblower who worked with the FBI to take down agri-industry power player Archer Daniels Midland (ADM). Based on a true story, The Informant! focuses on ADM executive Mark Whitacre (Damon) and his bizarre behavior as he imagines himself a hero while spying on his company for the government.

Starring Matt Damon and Scott Bakula

5. ‘Jennifer’s Body’

Jennifer's Body© 20th Century Fox
Release Date: September 18, 2009

The Story: Megan Fox of Transformers fame is the ‘body’ in this horror comedy from Juno screenwriter Diablo Cody. Fox plays a cheerleader who starts killing off boys after being possessed by a demon.

Cody had this to say about the film: “I was simultaneously trying to pay tribute to some of the conventions that we’ve already seen in horror, yet, at the same time, kind of turn them on their ear. So it was truly like a post-modern thriller in that, on the one hand, I grew up watching these amazing ’80s genre movies like The Lost Boys and this and that, and I wanted to honor that and, at the same time, I had never really seen this particular subgenre done with girls.”

Starring Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried

6. ‘Love Happens’

Love Happens© Universal Pictures
Release Date: September 18, 2009

The Story: It’s not a romantic comedy, but it is a story about love. That’s stating the obvious, right, given that the title of this Universal Pictures drama is Love Happens? Two actors who are no strangers to falling in love on screen pair up for the first time in this love story from first-time director Brandon Camp.

Starring Jennifer Aniston and Aaron Eckhart

7. ‘Fame’

Fame© MGM
Release Date: September 25, 2009

The Story: Everyone hum along: “I’m gonna live forever. Baby remember my name…” Fame is back with a new cast but the same basic storyline as the 1980 musical starring Irene Cara and Debbie Allen. Talented kids sing, dance, and come of age while enrolled in a school for the performing arts.

Starring Kay Panabaker and Kherington Payne

8. ‘Surrogates’

Surrogates© Touchstone Pictures
Release Date: September 25, 2009

The Story: Bruce Willis is back in action with Surrogates, a sci-fi thriller from Jonathan Mostow (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines). In this weird new world of the future, people no longer leave their homes. Instead, their robotic surrogates take on all the day-to-day tasks we would normally perform. Willis plays an FBI agent charged with investigating a murder in this relatively crime-free world.

Starring Bruce Willis and Radha Mitchell

9. ‘The Invention of Lying’

The Invention of Lying© Warner Bros Pictures
Release Date: October 2, 2009

The Story: How long would you last in a world in which everyone told the truth all the time, no matter what the circumstances, no matter who it hurt? Ricky Gervais co-wrote, co-directed and co-stars in a film where no one lies…until one day ‘Mark’ (Gervais) develops the ability to lie and discovers he can use this newfound ability to get what he wants.

Starring Jennifer Garner and Ricky Gervais

10. ‘A Serious Man’

A Serious Man© Focus Features
Release Date: October 2, 2009

The Story: Described as a black comedy, A Serious Man is the latest brainchild of writer/director/producers Ethan and Joel Coen (Burn After Reading, No Country for Old Men). Set in 1976, the film tells the story of a physics professor with a hapless brother, a son who’s a discipline problem, a daughter who steals, and a wife who’s leaving him for one of his fellow professors.

Starring Michael Stuhlberg and Adam Arkin


The hot summer months are behind us, signaling the time of year when studios get serious and unleash their dramas. The closer we draw to December, the more potential award-winners hit theaters. But unlike years past, this fall movie season doesn’t contain many clear-cut Oscar nominees and has more than the usual number of comedies. As of the end of August, no one film has broken out and generated any real Oscar buzz. Of course that’s likely to change, and undoubtedly some unexpected film will sneak up on us the way Slumdog Millionaire did in ’08.

Here’s the scoop on 2009’s fall releases, listed in release date order.

11. ‘Zombieland’

Zombieland© Columbia Pictures
Release Date: October 2, 2009

The Story: It’s happened, zombies have taken over the world. Now what? Well for the last surviving humans, there are really only two options: run and hide or take a stand and kill some zombies. Woody Harrelson prefers the kill option while Jesse Eisenberg is more into fleeing from the walking dead. But despite the difference in their approach to handling the situation, they find themselves having to work together in this strange, new zombie-centric world.

Starring Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson

12. ‘Couples Retreat’

Couples Retreat© Universal Pictures
Release Date: October 9, 2009

The Story: The cast list of Couples Retreat reads like a Who’s Who of the brighest stars in comedy movies today. Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau, Kristen Bell, Malin Akerman, Ken Jeong, Jason Bateman… Hopefully this relationship comedy will put the talents of all these funny people to good use. Actor/producer Peter Billingsley (remember him as ‘Ralphie’ in A Christmas Story?) steps behind the camera to helm this comedy about four couples who think they’re going to have time to rest and relax at a tropical island resort but instead are forced into participating in couples therapy.

Starring Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau

13. ‘Law Abiding Citizen’

Law Abiding Citizen© Overture Films
Release Date: October 16, 2009

The Story: Gerard Butler stars as Clyde Shelton, a husband and father whose family is brutally murdered in a home invasion. The men responsible are caught, but one is offered a deal to testify against his cohort in crime. That doesn’t sit well with Clyde, and he decides to take the law into his own hands since the court system has, in his opinion, failed to deal appropriately with the killers. Jamie Foxx co-stars as a prosecutor who has to figure out a way to stop Clyde from exacting revenge.

Starring Gerard Butler and Jamie Foxx

14. ‘The Road’

The Road© Dimension Films/2929
Release Date: October 16, 2009

The Story: Viggo Mortensen, who has since announced his retirement from acting, takes on the lead role in this sci-fi thriller set in a post-apocalyptic world. And if you think we’ve been talking about The Road for a long time, you’re absolutely correct. It’s been a long and winding road for this big screen adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s popular book, but it looks as though The Weinstein Company is finally sending The Road out into theaters.

Starring Viggo Mortensen and Charlize Theron

15. ‘Where the Wild Things Are’

Where the Wild Things Are© Warner Bros Pictures
Release Date: October 16, 2009

The Story: Writer/director Spike Jonze’s vision of Where the Wild Things Are is fully supported by the author of the book, Maurice Sendak. And all you have to do is look at one photo or watch the trailer to understand why Sendak is firmly behind this film adapation of his popular book. Where the Wild Things Are the movie brings the pages of the book to life and is one of the real must-see movies of 2009.

Starring Max Records and Catherine Keener

16. ‘Amelia’

Amelia© Fox Searchlight
Release Date: October 23, 2009

The Story: Amy Adams played her as a sassy gal with a can-do attitude in Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. But this Amelia Earhart project is much more serious, focusing on her accomplishments, her personal relationships, and her zest for life.

Starring Hilary Swank and Ewan McGregor

17. ‘Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant’

The Vampire's Assistant© Universal Pictures
Release Date: October 23, 2009

The Story: Initially, Universal Pictures was referring to this film simply as Cirque du Freak in early promotional materials. The Vampire’s Assistant portion of the title was tacked on later, and it’s a smart marketing move as anything ‘vampire’ is hot right now. Plus, the source material for this PG-13 film is the Cirque du Freak book series, and the second book of the franchise is The Vampire’s Assistant. Anyway, the Cirque du Freak books tell the story of Darren Shan, a boy who becomes a vampire’s assistant after a freak accident involving a spider stolen from a freak show.

Starring Chris Massoglia and John C Reilly

18. ‘Disney’s A Christmas Carol’

A Christmas Carol© ImageMovers Digital LLC
Release Date: November 6, 2009

The Story: Truth told, I wasn’t a fan of performance capture films at first. However, as the technology has improved (and the characters’ eyes have become less flat and dead looking), performance capture movies have grown on me. Now Disney, Robert Zemeckis and Jim Carrey are breathing new life into Dickens’ classic holiday tale, with Carrey tackling just about every main character in the film. That’s either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on whether you’re a fan of the comedian-turned-actor…

Starring Jim Carrey, Jim Carrey, Jim Carrey, Jim Carrey, Jim Carrey, and Jim Carrey

19. ‘The Box’

The Box© Warner Bros Pictures
Release Date: November 6, 2009

The Story: The Box is another one of those films that’s seen its release date bounced around. Writer/director Richard Kelly says the reason for the delay is due to the need to work on special effects, and we’ve no reason to doubt that’s why the movie has been postponed a few times. When it does hit theaters, we’ll see Cameron Diaz and James Marsden faced with an interesting moral dilemma. Push a button on this special box and receive a million dollars. The catch? If they do it, someone somewhere will immediately die as the result of their action.

Starring Cameron Diaz and James Marsden

20. ‘The Fourth Kind’

The Fourth Kind© Universal Pictures
Release Date: November 6, 2009

The Story: The Fourth Kind‘s trailer looks creepy, and all the more so when you consider the film’s supposedly based on real facts. Milla Jovovich (the Resident Evil films, A Perfect Getaway) plays a psychologist treating people who could quite possibly be victims of alien abductions. Watching these people freak out in the trailer gives me hope this will be worth checking out in theaters.

Starring Milla Jovovich and Elias Koteas


The hot summer months are behind us, signaling the time of year when studios get serious and unleash their dramas. The closer we draw to December, the more potential award-winners hit theaters. But unlike years past, this fall movie season doesn’t contain many clear-cut Oscar nominees and has more than the usual number of comedies. As of the end of August, no one film has broken out and generated any real Oscar buzz. Of course that’s likely to change, and undoubtedly some unexpected film will sneak up on us the way Slumdog Millionaire did in ’08.

Here’s the scoop on 2009’s fall releases, listed in release date order.

21. ‘The Men Who Stare at Goats’

The Men Who Stare at GoatsBook Cover © Simon & Schuster
Release Date: November 6, 2009

The Story: Why are men staring at goats? Would you believe me if I told you it’s because they’re part of a strange, top secret military unit who use their psychic abilities in order to combat their enemies? And they stare at goats to try and kill them using nothing more than their thoughts. This could be one bizarre, entertaining film…

Starring George Clooney and Ewan McGregor

22. ‘2012’

2012© Columbia Pictures
Release Date: November 13, 2009

The Story: Roland Emmerich, the filmmaker behind such big-budget, special effects-heavy disaster movies as Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow, is back with another end-of-the-world film. This time around Emmerich uses the doomsday prediction that there will be a cataclysmic event causing an end to civilization in 2012 as the jumping off point for a feature film. Good thing it’s hitting theaters in 2009.

Starring John Cusack and Amanda Peet

23. ‘New Moon’

New Moon© Summit Entertainment
Release Date: November 13, 2009

The Story: Here’s a little film that will slip into theaters without any fanfare. Not. New Moon is the second installment of the Twilight franchise and one of the most anticipated movies of 2009 (at least in certain demographics). Stephenie Meyer’s book focuses on the growing friendship between Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) and Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), with Bella’s vampire boyfriend, Edward (Robert Pattinson), missing for the majority of the story. But given the popularity of Pattinson, it’s likely the film will find many, many ways to work him back into the story.

Starring Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner and Kristen Stewart

24. ‘The Blind Side’

The Blind Side© Warner Bros Pictures
Release Date: November 20, 2009

The Story: Truthfully, I haven’t heard much about this film, but the little I do know sounds intriguing. The Blind Side is based on the true story of Michael Oher, recently drafted by the Baltimore Ravens. Oher came from a dysfunctional family and grew up in many different foster homes throughout his childhood. A poor student but an outstanding football player, Oher’s life turned around at age 16 when he was admitted to a private school and taken into the home of the Tuohys who provided a stable environment and helped him academically.

Starring Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw

25. ‘Planet 51’

Planet 51© TriStar Pictures
Release Date: November 20, 2009

The Story: Planet 51 is an animated alien adventure movie with a twist. Instead of the little green guys coming to Earth and embarking on a series of misadventures, an American astronaut lands on a planet populated by the green guys – a planet that’s eerily reminiscent of America in the 1950s.

Starring Dwayne Johnson and Jessica Biel

26. ‘Nine’

Nine© The Weinstein Company
Release Date: November 25, 2009

The Story: Not to be confused with 9 or District 9, this Nine is a musical loosely based on Federico Fellini’s 8 1/2. Director/choreographer Rob Marshall returns to his favorite genre in a star-studded production about a famous film director and the numerous women in his life.

Starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Penelope Cruz

27. ‘Ninja Assassin’

Ninja Assassin© Warner Bros Pictures
Release Date: November 25, 2009

The Story: Korean dancer/pop singer/actor Rain takes on his first starring role as one of the deadliest assassins in the world in this action pic produced by the Wachowski Brothers (the guys behind The Matrix movies). Rain had a lot to handle playing a dangerous killer, and he trained extensively in order to pull off the part. In our exclusive interview back in 2008, he talked about what he went through to prepare for the physically demanding role. “I learned Tae Kwon Do, it’s Korean martial arts, and I learned for this movie I learned so many martial arts and ninja expressions and ninja techniques and ninja martial arts,” said Rain, adding, “You’re going to like it.”

Starring Rain and Naomie Harris

August 28, 2009 Posted by | 1 | Leave a comment

Demetri Martin Talks About ‘Taking Woodstock’

Demetri MartinDemetri Martin in ‘Taking Woodstock.’

© Focus Features

Demetri Martin stars as Elliot Tiber, the man responsible for convincing the town of White Lake, NY, to host Woodstock back in 1969, in Taking Woodstock, directed by Ang Lee. Inspired by Tiber’s true story, Taking Woodstock explores the pivotal role Elliot played in one of the most influential music festivals in American history.

Martin is best known for his Comedy Central series Important Things With Demetri Martin and so being offered the role of Elliot in Focus Features’ Taking Woodstock came as a complete surprise to him. “It was crazy,” said Martin at the film’s NY press day. “It was very unexpected. I didn’t even know that this project existed or certainly that Ang [Lee] knew anything about what I do or me. James Schamus called me in for a general meeting nine months before I had a second meeting. So I had the general meeting and James and I just talked about music and random things, and about nine months later they called my agent again and said ‘Hey, James wants to meet with you again but also with Ang Lee.’ I was really surprised and said, ‘Okay, what about? They said, ‘Oh, this movie. They’re going to do a movie about Woodstock.’ I was like, ‘Oh cool.'”

Martin had enough time before his second meeting to grab the book the film’s based on. “I got the book on the Friday and I read it over the weekend, and then Monday I went in for the meeting. They said, ‘Hey, I don’t know how much you know about the project?’ I said, ‘Oh, I read the book over the weekend.’ And then Schamus said, ‘Oh, okay, let me explain. It’s mostly about the three weeks before the festival and his family and stuff.’ Because in the book the memoir that Elliot wrote, it’s pretty graphic about his coming of age sexually and all this stuff,” explained Martin. “So knowing that Ang did Brokeback and stuff, I was like, ‘You know, I’m not gay or a trained actor and I really haven’t been in many things.’ I was like, ‘I think you guys might have the wrong guy here because I don’t know if I really can do that,’ you know?”

The fact he didn’t have many acting credits under his belt played more into his anxiety over taking the role than the character’s sexual preferences. “When I thought about it, any qualms I have are more about just my ability to deliver, to portray it well enough so that it’s believable, I guess. Not that I can’t seem like a gay person but just simply, there’s a difference between just kissing somebody… I have friends who’ve kissed guys on stage who are straight, like two straight guys or something but then it’s like some big laugh because it’s like, ‘Oh we know they’re both straight.’ That’s different than kissing somebody you’re in love with, that you have a huge crush on, and you want to really sell that. So when I saw that in the script, that part I thought, you know, that might be tricky.”


Taking Direction from Oscar-Winning Filmmaker Ang Lee

Although he admits he didn’t always understand what it was Ang Lee wanted from him, Martin was definitely impressed with Lee throughout Taking Woodstock. “It was like a few times I kept thinking of the Karate Kid because it was like this sensei. ‘Do this with your arms,’ and I’m like, ‘Why?’ ‘Just do that with your arms.’ And you’re like, ‘Okay, so what does that do?’ You know, you don’t understand and there’s like the language barrier and stuff,” explained Martin.

“The coolest part about working with Ang probably was when I was standing there for a lot of the lighting and stuff I got to see all of the things he was trying to figure out for one scene. Like one scene at a time, with all the extras and the vehicles and then choosing lenses and then deciding whether or not to do coverage. And I started, once I relaxed a little more and I figured I can do this, I got to notice more beyond myself and worrying about ruining things or messing up a take and having to reset like 200 old cars and three of them broke down and now it takes 20 minutes before I can do the scene again. I would just like look around and it was really cool.”

“We did a scene where I’m walking with my parents back from the bank,” recalled Martin. “Elliot’s walking with his parents back from the bank, it’s pretty early in the movie and there was a shot of a loudspeaker from across the street, and then you find the parents and then come up this driveway. And they laid track and we rehearsed it and Ang did it all as one take, and we did it like maybe eight times or something. And then he was like, ‘All right, check the gate. We’ve got it.’ And I was like, ‘Wow, he’s doing no coverage. That’s pretty cool.’ It’s just cool to see that kind of confidence because he would just be very focused. Once it was composed and the scene was going, like he really couldn’t be distracted and he would just watch. And he’d be watching each performance and like how things were composed in the frame, and if he knew there was a take that he liked well enough, he trusted it.”


The Real Woodstock Music Festival and the Real Elliot Tiber

Martin met the real Elliot after he got cast in the role – and after he read Tiber’s book. “If I hadn’t read the book, I probably would have gone into meeting him with more of a blank slate. But he was more outgoing and kind of self-possessed than I thought he would be,” offered Martin. “Granted, he had written a very personal book, so I guess I should have expected as much. But at the time when I spoke to Michael Lang about him, he said that back then Elliot was really quiet and pretty unassuming and didn’t say a lot and was kind of shy. And he’s not like that now. Like he does bits, as you would say amongst the comedians. When you see him, he’s just kind of talking a lot and he’s on. He’s on, you know? And so it doesn’t seem like he was on back then. He was kind of scared and trying to figure stuff out. So, it’s interesting. You’re trying to play a guy but it’s like a time machine of that guy, like you’ve got to go back in his life.”

Demetri Martin Liev SchreiberDemetri Martin and Liev Schreiber in ‘Taking Woodstock.”

© Focus Features

Elliot Tiber actually visited the set and had a few things to say about Martin’s portrayal of him in the film. “The first time he came to the set he was like, ‘I would never wear a shirt like that.’ It was the first thing he said to me. I was like, ‘This is going to be fun.’ But he wasn’t around a lot saying, ‘I didn’t do that. I didn’t do this.’ But a couple of times – it was like half-joking. But it’s like, ‘Hey man, I didn’t pick the clothes.'”

In addition to reading Tiber’s book, Martin checked out footage from the real Woodstock. “I saw the documentary on television a long time ago. I realized it when they gave us videos, DVDs to look at for research, and I saw this split screen stuff. I was like, ‘Oh yes, I’ve seen this. I’ve seen this.’ I hadn’t seen the whole thing, and I tried to watch the whole thing this time and it’s long,” said Martin. “So I was aware of it, and it was mostly through the music. One of the coolest things about doing research for this was to try to think prospectively, to go back at a certain time and look forward. Because anything historical, of course I know it retrospectively and most of it I wasn’t there obviously. So the fact that it was just so surprisingly large is already interesting, when you go back and look at it, when you think 10,000, maybe 50,000, but the fact that it ballooned to 500,000…that’s so cool. It’s like what a giant surprise. It’s unbelievable.”

Martin did his research well, but didn’t go as far as to try out psychedelic drugs to get into character. “No,” said Martin, laughing. “I have all these food allergies so any moral issues aside, like I’ve avoided most drugs because I’m so afraid I’ll have an allergic reaction. You’re like at some party and they go, ‘Hey man, try this,’ and I’m like, ‘I have to go to the hospital. I’m getting hives.’ Because it’s like peanuts, poultry, seafood…it’s like pretty serious.”

* * * * * *

Taking Woodstock hits theaters on August 28, 2009 and is rated R for graphic nudity, some sexual content, drug use and language.

August 28, 2009 Posted by | 1 | Leave a comment

HIV/AIDS Update -New Intelence labeling: severe skin and hypersensitivity

Tibotec Therapeutics, in cooperation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, issued a Dear Healthcare Professional letter to relay important, updated prescribing information for Intelence (etravirine) which refelects an important safety update regarding severe skin and hypersensitivity reactions.

You can view the Dear Health Professional Letter at

The text of the letter appears below:


August 2009
Dear Healthcare Professional:

Tibotec Therapeutics, in cooperation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, would like to inform you of an important safety update to the Severe Skin Reactions WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS section (5.1) of the INTELENCE (etravirine) tablets prescribing information.

Specifically, the existing Warning and Precaution regarding Severe Skin Reactions has been strengthened to reflect that there have been postmarketing reports of:
• fatality due to toxic epidermal necrolysis
• hypersensitivity reactions, sometimes accompanied by hepatic failure
Additionally, Guidance has been added that INTELENCE should be immediately discontinued when signs and symptoms of severe skin or hypersensitivity reactions develop. Given the clinical relevance of these adverse reactions, the following information regarding severe skin and hypersensitivity reactions has been included in the INTELENCE Prescribing Information:


5.1 Severe Skin and Hypersensitivity Reactions


Severe, potentially life-threatening, and fatal skin reactions have been reported. These include cases of Stevens-Johnson syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis and erythema multiforme. Hypersensitivity reactions have also been reported and were characterized by rash, constitutional findings, and sometimes organ dysfunction, including hepatic failure. In Phase 3 clinical trials, Grade 3 and 4 rashes were reported in 1.3% of subjects receiving INTELENCE™ compared to 0.2% of placebo subjects. A total of 2% of HIV-1-infected subjects receiving INTELENCE™ discontinued from Phase 3 trials due to rash [see Adverse Reactions (6)]. Rash occurred most commonly during the first 6 weeks of therapy.


Discontinue INTELENCE™ immediately if signs or symptoms of severe skin reactions or hypersensitivity reactions develop (including, but not limited to, severe rash or rash accompanied by fever, general malaise, fatigue, muscle or joint aches, blisters, oral lesions, conjunctivitis, facial edema, hepatitis, eosinophilia). Clinical status including liver transaminases should be monitored and appropriate therapy initiated. Delay in stopping INTELENCE™ treatment after the onset of severe rash may result in a life-threatening reaction. 

In addition, the following sections of the INTELENCE Prescribing Information have been updated to include this new information: Highlights of Prescribing Information, Adverse Reactions and Patient Counseling. Furthermore the “What are the possible side effects of INTELENCE?” section of the patient Package Insert has also been updated.

Clinical Trials Experience

In Phase 3 studies, the most frequently reported adverse drug reaction of at least Grade 2 in severity was rash (9.0%). Stevens-Johnson syndrome, hypersensitivity reaction, and erythema multiforme were reported in < 0.1% of subjects during clinical development with INTELENCE. In general, in clinical trials, rash was mild to moderate, occurred primarily in the second week of therapy, and was infrequent after Week 4. Rash generally resolved within 1-2 weeks on continued therapy. A total of 2% of HIV-1 infected subjects in Phase 3 trials receiving INTELENCE discontinued due to rash.

Overall, the cases referenced above within clinical and post-marketing experience illustrate the importance of clinical vigilance and familiarity with the signs and symptoms of severe skin rash and hypersensitivity reactions. Additionally they also underscore the importance of immediate discontinuation of INTELENCE in cases where severe rash or hypersensitivity reaction is suspected.

Enclosed, please find the updated Prescribing Information as well as the Patient Package Insert.

Please see INTELENCE Indication and additional Important Safety Information included on page 3 and page 4 of this letter.

Tibotec Therapeutics is committed to ensuring that INTELENCE is used safely and effectively and providing you with the most current information for our products.

Should you have any questions, require further information on product safety, or wish to report adverse patient experiences, please contact Tibotec Therapeutics Medical Information at 1-877-REACH TT (1-877-732-2488).

Alternatively, adverse events may be reported to FDA’s MedWatch reporting system

  • By phone (1-800-FDA-1088), by facsimile (1-800-FDA-0178),
  • Online ( or
  • Mailed, using the MedWatch FDA 3500 postage paid form, to the FDA Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20852-9787

Ron Falcon, MD
Vice President, Clinical Affairs ________________________________________________

About INTELENCETM (etravirine) Tablets

INTELENCE, in combination with other antiretroviral agents (ARVs), is indicated for the treatment of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection in ARV treatment–experienced adult patients who have evidence of viral replication and HIV-1 strains resistant to a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) and other ARVs.

This indication is based on Week 24 analyses from 2 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of INTELENCE. Both studies were conducted in clinically advanced, 3-class ARV (NNRTI, N(t)RTI, protease inhibitor [PI]) treatment-experienced adults. The following points should be considered when initiating therapy with INTELENCE:

  • Treatment history and, when available, resistance testing, should guide the use of INTELENCE
  • The use of other active ARVs with INTELENCE is associated with an increased likelihood of treatment response
  • In patients who have experienced virologic failure on an NNRTI-containing regimen, do not use INTELENCE in combination with only N(t)RTIs
  • The risks and benefits of INTELENCE have not been established in pediatric patients or in treatment-naïve adult patients
    • Fat Redistribution: Redistribution and/or accumulation of body fat have been observed in patients receiving antiretroviral (ARV) therapy. The causal relationship, mechanism, and long-term consequences of these events have not been established
    • Immune reconstitution syndrome has been reported in patients treated with ARV therapy, including INTELENCE
    • Hepatic Impairment: INTELENCE should be used with caution in patients with severe hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh Class C) as pharmacokinetics of INTELENCE have not been evaluated in these patients

    • The most common adverse events (>10%) of any intensity that occurred at a higher rate than placebo were rash (16.9% vs. 9.3%) and nausea (13.9% vs. 11.1%)
    • The most common treatment-emergent adverse reactions (Grade 2-4) that occurred in patients receiving an INTELENCE-containing regimen vs. placebo were rash (9.0% vs. 3.1%), diarrhea (5.2% vs. 9.6%), nausea (4.7% vs. 3.5%), fatigue (3.3% vs. 4.0%), abdominal pain (3.0% vs. 2.5%), peripheral neuropathy (2.8% vs. 1.8%), hypertension (2.8% vs. 2.2%), headache (2.7% vs. 4.1%), and vomiting (2.3% vs. 2.0%)
    • INTELENCE should not be co-administered with the following ARVs: tipranavir/ritonavir, fosamprenavir/ritonavir, atazanavir/ritonavir, full-dose ritonavir (600 mg bid), protease inhibitors administered without ritonavir, and other NNRTIs
    • INTELENCE should not be co-administered with carbamazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin, rifampin, rifapentine, rifabutin (when part of a regimen containing protease inhibitor/ritonavir) or products containing St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum)
    • INTELENCE and lopinavir/ritonavir should be co-administered with caution
    • Co-administration of INTELENCE with other agents such as substrates, inhibitors, or inducers of CYP3A4, CYP2C9, and/or CYP2C19 may alter the therapeutic effect or adverse events profile of INTELENCE or the co-administered drug(s). This is not a complete list of potential drug interactions
  • Additional Important Safety Information

    Warnings & Precautions

    Use in Specific Populations

    Adverse Reactions

    Drug Interactions

    Please see accompanying full Prescribing Information for more details.





    Richard Klein
    Office of Special Health Issues
    Food and Drug Administration

    Kimberly Struble
    Division of Antiviral Drug Products
    Food and Drug Administration

August 28, 2009 Posted by | 1 | Leave a comment

How to Manage Your Online Life When You’re Dead

Legacy locker checks in with two
The San Francisco–based site Legacy Locker

When her 21-year-old daughter died in a sledding accident in early 2007, Pam Weiss had never logged onto Facebook. Back then, it was used almost exclusively by the young, like her daughter Amy, a student at UCLA. But Weiss knew her daughter had an account, so in her grief she turned to the social-networking site to look for photos. She found what she was looking for, and more — she was soon communicating with her daughter’s many friends, sharing memories and even piecing together a blueprint of things Amy had hoped to do in the future through posts she’d written. “It makes me feel good that Amy had a positive effect on so many people, and I wouldn’t have had a clue if it hadn’t been for Facebook,” says Weiss.

Like a growing number of people mourning loved ones, Weiss had tapped into one of the most powerful troves of memories going: their online presence. Though Facebook shut Amy’s account after three months (Weiss had copied much of it), the site later decided to keep deceased users’ profiles up. “We first realized we needed a protocol for deceased users after the Virginia Tech shooting, when students were looking for ways to remember and honor their classmates,” says Facebook spokesperson Elizabeth Linder. The site responded by creating a “memorial state” for profiles of deceased users, in which certain information, such as status updates and group affiliation, is removed. (See the best social-networking applications.)

Other sites are also grappling with the thorny question of what to do with users’ information after they die. As more and more people carry out their lives online, and as older generations make the digital move, there’s less being stored away in dusty attics for loved ones to discover and hang onto. Letters have become e-mails; diaries have morphed into blogs; photo albums have turned virtual and come with tags. The pieces of our lives we put online can feel as eternal as the Internet itself, but how much of our virtual identity actually lives on after we die? (Read “Your Facebook Relationship Status: It’s Complicated.”)

For now, that all depends on which sites you use. Social-networking sites tend to keep accounts up. Facebook’s memorialized profiles are restricted to the user’s friends, who can continue posting comments; relatives may request to have a profile removed altogether. (They cannot, however, gain access, which means users’ private messages are kept as just that.) Rival MySpace has adopted a similar policy, but does not restrict viewing, which has inspired one man to create, which aggregates profiles of the deceased. LiveJournal, one of the first blog providers, has an informal policy of freezing accounts but keeping them online. Photo-storage site Flickr, too, keeps accounts up; if any photos were tagged as private, however, Flickr won’t let friends or family into the account to access them. (See pictures of Obama on Flickr.)

E-mail doesn’t always disappear with you either. Yahoo! Mail’s rule is to keep accounts private: “The commitment Yahoo! makes to every person who signs up for an account is to treat their online activities as confidential, even after their death,” says spokesman Jason Khoury. Court orders sometimes overrule that. In 2005, relatives of a Marine killed in Iraq sued to gain access to his e-mail account. A judge sided with the family, but instead of turning over the account’s password, Yahoo! copied the e-mails onto a CD. Hotmail now allows family to order a CD as long as they can supply proof of death and proof of relationship. Gmail requires the same proof, as well as the copy of an entire e-mail sent from the deceased to the petitioner.

If that sounds like a lot of trouble to put your loved ones through, you can plan ahead. Firms like Legacy Locker, Asset Lock and Deathswitch now help people plan for their death by collecting details like your passwords while you’re living. Of course, you could just write your passwords on a piece of paper. But as Legacy Locker notes in its publicity material, you’ll constantly have to change them and add more as you open new accounts. For about $30 annually or $300 for a lifetime, the San Francisco–based site will manage account information (which it heavily encrypts), store files, designate beneficiaries and write “legacy letters” to be sent out after your death. The firm checks in with two verifiers — people you’ve designated to confirm your death and produce your death certificate — before disseminating your online assets.

On top of passwords and files, Deathswitch, which is based in Houston, also suggests you store funeral instructions, love notes and “unspeakable secrets.” It then regularly sends you e-mail prompts to verify that you’re still alive, at a frequency you decide upon. After a series of unanswered prompts, it will assume you’re dead, turn on the switch and release your messages to beneficiaries. One message is free; for more, the company charges $19.95 a year. “Digital legacy is at its best misunderstood and at worst not thought about,” says Legacy Locker founder Jeremy Toeman, who came up with the idea for his firm on a flight, imagining what would happen to his many Web domains if the plane crashed. “I would be surprised if, five years from now, it’s not common for people to consider their digital assets alongside their wills.”,8599,1916317,00.html?xid=rss-topstories

August 20, 2009 Posted by | 1 | Leave a comment