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Stone Temple Pilots – ‘Stone Temple Pilots’ Review

stone temple pilots album coverStone Temple Pilots – ‘Stone Temple Pilots’

Photo courtesy Atlantic.

On their first studio album in nine years, Stone Temple Pilotshave crafted a record that very much feels like a continuation of where this quartet were heading after 2001’s Shangri-La Dee Da. Far from the proto-grunge of their early albums and closer to the mainstream spirit of both Shangri-La Dee Da and frontman Scott Weiland’s Velvet Revolver records, Stone Temple Pilots has more than its share of tuneful, deeply melodic moments. True, this isn’t the STP of “Plush,” but as their new record suggests, this might be a better, more confident version of the band.

The Time Apart Has Done Them Good

Soon after the release of 2001’s Shangri-La Dee Da, Stone Temple Pilots called it quits, leaving behind a legacy of rock-radio hits that were never popular with critics, who accused them of milking the alt-rock formula of the 1990s for commercial success. After STP’s breakup, Weiland teamed up with Slash and other former members of Guns N’ Roses to form Velvet Revolver, a group that unapologetically embraced classic-rock traditions, albeit with a sleek listener-friendly sheen. Later, Weiland released the 2008 solo record “Happy” in Galoshes, which allowed him to indulge his pop leanings and sonic adventurousness. Now that he’s back with his original group, it shouldn’t be a surprise that those side projects have influenced his melodies on Stone Temple Pilots. With his bandmates providing music that often resembles a more muscular, guitar-focused approach to the Beatles’ tight song structures, Weiland completes the band’s move away from the grunge leanings of Core and Purple. This may disappoint some old-school STP fans, but it’s an organic evolution that quite suits them.

A Stylistic Sweep

In a lot of ways, the album’s lead single and opening track, “Between the Lines,” is not indicative of the rest of Stone Temple Pilots. Though its fierce sense of melody carries through a lot of Stone Temple Pilots, “Between the Lines” possesses a strutting, up-tempo energy that’s not in keeping with the album’s largely reflective, sunny pop-rock. The closest the album comes to repeating the spirit of “Between the Lines” is on the next two tracks, “Take a Load Off” and “Huckleberry Crumble,” but from there the listener is confronted by Weiland’s spoken-sung vocals on “Hickory Dichotomy,” the balladry of “Dare If You Dare,” and the pure pop of “Cinnamon.” Emphasizing eclecticism, Stone Temple Pilots probably most recalls 1996’s Tiny Music…Songs From the Vatican Gift Shop in its stylistic sweep and largely gentler textures. It’s worth noting that Tiny Music, despite its many hits, was the moment when STP started losing a grip on their massive audience by encouraging musical experimentation. But in retrospect, Tiny Music was a crucial record in their oeuvre because it forced them to break out of the grunge mode that had characterized their first two albums, allowing them to flex their creative muscles. STP continue that musical progression on this new record, bringing in ’70-style arena rock, pop and glam for a tasty concoction. As a result, Stone Temple Pilots thankfully lacks the dull nostalgia that often trips up reunion/comeback albums.

Happy to Be Back

At 12 tracks, Stone Temple Pilots sags some in the center after an impressive start and a strong ending. “Hazy Daze” is as soupy as its title suggests, and “Bagman” is a weak stab at hard rock that lacks the fire of “Between the Lines.” But the lovely ballad “First Kiss on Mars” rights the ship as Stone Temple Pilots heads toward its finale, the pretty piano ditty “Maver.” Back in the early ‘90s when Stone Temple Pilots were roundly berated for their carpetbagging sound, it was largely due to the fact that STP were able to make the alt-rock of Nirvana and Pearl Jam palatable to the masses, which was strictly verboten for a musical style that supposedly prized its lack of commercial compromise over everything else. Stone Temple Pilots can still be criticized for their cribbing from other bands — “Between the Lines,” for instance, clearly borrows from Nirvana’s “Stay Away” — but their melodic sense remains impressive. Stone Temple Pilots will never be a beloved critical institution, but on their first album after a long layoff they sound quite happy just being themselves.
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June 25, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Interview with Kristen Stewart on ‘The Twilight Saga: Eclipse’

Kristen Stewart photo from The Twilight Saga: EclipseKristen Stewart as Bella in ‘The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.’

© Summit Entertainment
Bella’s really coming into her own in The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, the third film of the Twilight franchise, and Kristen Stewart’s happy to have been on the journey with her. Eclipsefinds Bella still being hunted by the vengeful vampire, Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard), while at the same time she’s nearing the end of her own time as a human and preparing to join the Cullen family forever as a vampire. Bella’s also dealing with having to convince Jacob (Taylor Lautner), who’s still in love with her, that she’s meant to be with Edward (Robert Pattinson) no matter the cost.Directed by David Slade (30 Days of Night) and based on the book by Stephenie Meyer,Eclipse is darker in tone than the first two movies, with not only the love story but the action taking center stage. At the press conference in Los Angeles to promote the Summit Entertainment film, Stewart talked about Bella’s journey and working David Slade as director.

Kristen Stewart The Twilight Saga: EclipsePress Conference

In this film Bella has to make a decision. Do you feel like that’s one of the biggest challenges in the movies so far?Kristen Stewart: “Yeah. There’s definitely the conflict in that she’s pushed to the point where the decision needs to made in this one. She does that in each movie, and what’s cool is that things change and as certain as she is sometimes and as absolutely gung-ho and young and courageous and brave as she is, she’s also willing to take a step back and go, ‘Okay, I’m going to reconsider my options and reconsider how I’m treating everybody.’ She acknowledges that she’s being a little bit selfish.”

“She makes the choice. I feel like the choice has been made. As soon she sees him in the first one it’s done, but it’s hard for her to get to point where everyone is going to accept that. And this is the one that it sort of happens in.”

Was there one scene that was really challenging for you? Maybe the action?

Kristen Stewart: “The action is absolutely everybody else’s responsibility. I just stand behind the people who are stronger than me. I didn’t get to run around as much as I did in the second movie, so the action wasn’t difficult. I guess one of the most challenging scenes would probably be kissing Jacob for real, finally for the first time and seeing that there was a different road to go down that was desirable as well. She’s got such tunnel vision, that Edward is the only thing for her – that’s a strange perspective. Then I have to go in and talk to Edward about it and it’s such a different dynamic than we’ve ever had. It was a different Bella. I had never had to play somebody who would’ve done stuff like that, so that was hard. And I was nervous as hell.”

Because of the kiss?

Kristen Stewart: “Just because of that moment and how different that kiss is to all of the rest of them in that movie, and how different they have to be. It is the most unique moment. It’s also a mistake, and I always say that Bella makes a lot of mistakes and she’s willing to own them. I think it’s cool to see her a little bit ashamed and at the same time scared. I think it’s a cool.”

Some suggest that the success of these movies has to do with forbidden love, loving a vampire and it’s mix with traditional family values. What do you think?

Kristen Stewart: “Right. I think that if you took all the mythical aspects of the story, that it would still stand as a really strong and interesting thing to be a part of. I think the whole vampire and the whole werewolf thing are really good sort of plot devices. All of the aspects of the vampire and all the aspects of a werewolf are fully encompassed by the humans, by Jacob and Edward. If all of that was gone, they would still be the same people. I don’t think it’s a big phenomenon because of the vampire mythical aspect. It definitely takes a good story and it raises the stakes and it makes it a little bit more interesting, but I think it’s just about who the characters are and how easy it is to have faith in them and be sort of addicted to them. They let you down a lot and then pick themselves back up. I don’t think it has anything to do with the vampire thing. I think that just makes it a little cooler.”

Can you talk about working with David Slade? He shot a lot of close-ups. Was there anything you had to adjust in your style of acting to compliment his filmmaking?

Kristen Stewart: “No. We’ve worked with the same DP now for New Moon and Eclipse and I always ask him, ‘Hey, how close are you?’ That’s something that David does intentionally, not tell you stuff like that which I completely understand because most actors are crazy and neurotic and don’t want to know the camera is up their nose. I didn’t do anything differently though.”

“You have to change a little bit every time that you work with a new director, but it’s cool working with someone different on each one of those. As long as someone has the same passion for it, as long as they’re into it, you have to do all this work. You have to reconsider all the ideas that had you been working with the same person you might just say, ‘Oh, we’ve covered that. We don’t need to go over that.’ But in this case I have to introduce my character to David. He meets Bella through me. We’ve done something already and it’s cool to let a new person into the fold. It’s fun.”

Now that you’ve done three of these are there things you wish had made it into the movie from the book that didn’t?

Kristen Stewart: “Yeah, totally. There are a million things. I mean every single time we watch one of the movies, especially when the cast watches it together, it’s always an incredibly frustrating experience. That’s why I’m glad that Breaking Dawn is going to be two movies, which I can finally say. So there’s going to be less of that, less of having to lose stuff. I know you want specific things, but I’m trying to think of one now but I can’t.”

Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson photo from The Twilight Saga: EclipseKristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson in ‘The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.’

© Summit Entertainment
What are your favorite and least favorite character traits that Bella has?Kristen Stewart: “I really don’t have one that’s my least favorite because as much as she can be [difficult], all the things that sort of annoy me about her are the things that I like about her. She always comes around and realizes that she can be a little selfish, I think. She’s definitely not naggy but she tries so hard not to be sometimes. I think sometimes, ‘Why don’t you just let yourself be?’ I think she picks at herself too much, but I can relate to that. I always say my favorite things about her is that she screws up a lot and doesn’t care and is like, ‘This is the way that life is and I’m young and I’m going on with it.'”

In the film Bella has an awkward conversation about the birds and bees with her father. Was that something that you had to deal with in real life?

Kristen Stewart: “No. I knew everything from word go. I was really mature that way. No. I mean I guess I probably had that moment. I guess that everybody does. I never had the talk. I could never have the talk. I didn’t need it.”

Bella doesn’t believe in marriage. Do you?

Kristen Stewart: “Yeah, sure. Whatever you want to do. I’m not ready to get married but I have a pretty great family and I’d like that, too, someday. Sure.”

In the tent scene you have two gorgeous guys talking passionately about you. What was going through your head during that? Were you trying not to laugh or were you asleep, thinking about the next scene?

Kristen Stewart: “It was so hot in that sleeping bag, literally, and then the takes are so long. That scene is eternal and I have nothing really to do in it, especially when we shot it. We got close-ups on two guys and we do mine and it’s completely separate. They run the lines a little bit, but I was playing halfway between being asleep and hearing bits. I couldn’t get my head around hearing that conversation because she’s really not supposed to. David was like, ‘Let it slip in. Hear a little bit and then fall back asleep.’ As soon as I’d hear any of that I’d be like, ‘Bing! What?’ So, that was difficult. But I just remember it being hot and in terms of being between those two guys, I’m always between those two guys. I think it’s really funny that Taylor [Lautner] always has to take his shirt off.”

What designer would love to see design Bella’s wedding dress and if you could dream it up what would it look like?

Kristen Stewart: “Well, Stephenie [Meyer] is absolutely in charge of that. I’m sure she has really specific ideas. I haven’t really thought about it. But I feel like Bella would definitely want something like really classic and really simple, too, but beautiful. I have no idea in terms of designers.”

Would it be white?

Kristen Stewart: “Yeah, or like creamy. But definitely classic, what the idea is behind the whole wedding dress. She doesn’t want to get married and because it means so much to Edward and because he has such different sensibilities and such different values, I think because she’s going to go ahead and go through with it, she’s going to give him everything. I think it’s going to be like a really beautiful and monumental wedding because he wants that. Usually it’s the opposite. Usually the girl wants it. It’s cute.”

Are you the type who rushes headlong into something that you want or are you more deliberate about your choices?

Kristen Stewart: “I guess it depends on what I’m making a choice about. For work stuff, I do what I feel and I don’t really worry about what it’s going to do afterwards. In terms of the way that I answer questions, too, and stuff like that, I guess I would be one of those types of people. I’m kind of a control freak though, too. I get really freaked out if I don’t know what’s going on and what’s going to happen. So I guess I’m a bit of both.”

Are either of these two characters, Edward and Jacob, good choices in men? They’re both a little obsessive and possessive. Are they actually good fantasy choices that young girls should have in their heads?

Kristen Stewart: “I don’t know. People always wonder if we should be giving little girls ideas of meeting the perfect man. If so many people have taken to it, it’s not something that’s been shoved into their heads. Everyone has that ideal, and especially little girls have this idea in their head that there is something that could be perfect for them in the end and that they can be better than all the rest of the girls because they’ll have the perfect guy who will never screw them over. Our movie isn’t perfect. None of our characters are perfect at all. They’re all so completely crazy and messed up and that’s why they go well together.”

“Again, they don’t make excuses for their weirdness and they accept each other for who they are. On paper I’m sure that if you were a friend of Bella’s you’d be telling her, ‘Yo, you better check your boy because he ain’t treating you well,’ or whatever. And Jacob, too, because he’s a nutcase. I think if you’re really in love with someone, then it doesn’t matter because that’s such an overpowering feeling and you’re willing to make sacrifices – and that’s our whole story.”

Can you talk about any other upcoming projects that you have aside from these movies?

Kristen Stewart: “I’m playing Marylou in On The Road. It was my first favorite book and that character is iconic and Walter Salles is directing it. I’m a huge fan of his and I’m doing that right after this press is over. In July we start a four week beatnik boot camp. It’s a small movie, too and so four weeks of rehearsal is crazy cool.”

Taylor just commented earlier that he’d never want to be in Bella’s situation, like in the tent scene. Is that situation something you’ve faced in your real life?

Kristen Stewart: “It’s hard to actually take details from your personal life and apply them a scene because, as much as you can identify with a feeling, you just get muddled. As soon as you start bringing your own stuff in it, it’s like, ‘No, that’s not right.’ You’re playing a different person. You can relate, but you kind of have to leave that stuff at the door.”

“It was hard, like I said before, for the same reason that it was hard to kiss Jacob, because it was so against everything that she’s always been. To shoot the scene felt good because she’s always wanted Jacob and Edward to level with each other finally, and it’s funny that it takes place while she’s sleeping between them. It was fun for me to shoot. I didn’t have a lot to do but it was fun to do because I liked the scene so much. I liked what finally happened in the scene, but I wish it wasn’t as hot. I was literally in a beanie and I was just sweating.”

Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner photo from The Twilight Saga: EclipseKristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner in ‘The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.’

© Summit Entertainment

Kristen Stewart: “I mean if you’re a fan of the books obviously I don’t need to give you any clues or reasons why you should go see the movie, but for someone who isn’t I do feel that these movies do stand alone. There’s a lot of back story in each one of them and so you don’t need to see the other ones to understand this one.”

“In this case I think it’s just kind of a more mature look at the same dynamic. The love triangle is definitely at its height and it comes to a conclusion as well. It ends here, and that’s been building up over the whole series. Also it has been more action than the other movies just because of the story. We have different vampires and everyone is trying to kill Bella again, but it’s more people and they all battle and stuff. For nonTwilight fans it definitely is a more dynamic movie, I think.”

Are you at the point now with Rob Pattinson where when you’re doing a very passionate or dramatic scene that all of a sudden you just start laughing?

Kristen Stewart: “That really happens all the time, definitely. More so with me and Taylor because we have so much fun with this stuff because our intimate moments are so few and far between and weird, the way they happen in the book. We have a little bit more of that. Me and Rob are always so serious because we have those scenes.”

So who is the better kisser, Rob, Dakota Fanning or Taylor?

Kristen Stewart: “Dakota. I’m just going to have to say that because it’s easier.”

Some of the nicest scenes in all these films are the scenes between Bella and her father. What’s that like, working with Billy Burke?

Kristen Stewart: “I love working with Billy. He’s just very no BS and obviously as an actor that’s what you need. He’s really good at knowing if the scene works or doesn’t work. I think he really understands the dynamic, the Charlie/Bella thing. It’s not a normal father/daughter dynamic. They haven’t known each other very long. She just moved to Forks and literally has a few memories of him as a little kid. But I love the gradual trust thing that happens. He’s really good at that because he doesn’t force it and it’s never creepy, and a lot of times it gets weird when some guy is playing your dad. It feels weird to you. It feels like they’re forcing sentiment. It’s disgusting, and I never feel that with him. I think he’s great and I love him.”

We see Bella really mature in this film, especially choosing to be a vampire not just for Edward but for other reasons. Can you talk about Bella and how she’s maturing as a woman?

Kristen Stewart: “She’s definitely making decisions for herself and not just going along with what Edward is saying to do, which is something that people instantly latch onto, that she’s this weak and codependent girl that’s just in need all the time with this guy. That’s so not the case. I think if it were to be told from his perspective that he would be just as vulnerable and as needy as her. It’s told from her mind though, so obviously those things are going to be more inherent.”

“I think she’s definitely, like I say over and over, owning up to things that have gone down. They’ve been both good and bad. She can reap the benefits from the things that she’s dealt with in a good way, and also make the relationships in her life stronger based on the mistakes that she’s made. As soon as you sort of screw someone over and go back and say, ‘I admit that. Can we still be really cool? I’ve been really selfish.’ Everyone now in the family is looking at her differently, like, ‘Oh, maybe she does know what she wants. Maybe she’s not acting so immature and crazy.’ I’m glad that you felt that.”

You’re in the middle of this journey with Bella Swan. Do you worry that it’s taking over your persona? The Runaways was a great film but it wasn’t a hit like the Twilightmovies. How do you feel about your life and career versus Bella?

Kristen Stewart: “This is a really unique situation. I get to play her for a really long time and that’s also a serious indulgence and something that’s really lucky because I feel really sad when I lose a character at the end of a short shoot, which is typically six weeks on a small movie which is what I’m used to. I don’t see her as being this, or it’s definitely, obviously the one role that’s put me in this sort of epic position. But it’s just another movie, and I think it doesn’t matter if you’re doing a studio movie or you’re doing an independent movie, when you get to set and you’re doing a scene it’s always going to be the same job. I really don’t think about my career in terms of planning it out and what this does for me. This was a part that I just really wanted to play and luckily I got to do it for a really long time.”

What drives you to succeed?

Kristen Stewart: “Well, I think that success is always something completely different to people. I feel like I succeeded if I’m doing something that makes me happy and I’m not lying to anybody. I’m not doing that now so I feel really good about myself. I don’t know. That’s a tough one, what drives me to succeed. I really specifically love acting and I think it’s a really cool thing to be really indulgent and follow that. I have a lot of ambitions in life, but for the next few years I just want to be an actor. That’s a lucky opportunity and that drives me to want to be good at that.”

June 25, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Kevin James, and David Spade Discuss ‘Grown Ups’

David Spade, Adam Sandler, Rob Schneider, Chris Rock and Kevin James photo from Grown UpsDavid Spade, Adam Sandler, Rob Schneider, Chris Rock and Kevin James in ‘Grown Ups.’

© Columbia Pictures

Friends in real life play friends onscreen in Grown Ups, a comedy about childhood teammates who get back together to mourn the passing of their youth basketball coach. Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Kevin James, David Spade and Rob Schneider play the friends who, although adults, can still act like kids when they get together.

Four of the five stars – and director Dennis Dugan – teamed up for an LA press conference to promote the Columbia Pictures comedy, and the fact they’re friends off-screen showed in the way they played off each other while handling questions.

Adam Sandler, David Spade, Chris Rock and Dennis Dugan Grown Ups Press Conference

As a father yourself, was this movie a way to maybe exorcise the fear that you might have that you are raising elitist, Beverly Hills children that turn out terribly? Secondly, as the writer, did you write with all of these guys in mind?Adam Sandler: “Yes, the second part of the question, I did. Me and Fred Wolf wrote the movie. The whole idea was about putting together old friends that get to hang out for a weekend. These guys are my old friends, so it made total sense. I’m glad they said yes to it. ”

“The idea of my kids being spoiled, I go to sleep thinking about it. I wake up thinking about. I’m trying to do the right thing. With the amount of money I have, it’s difficult to raise children the way I was raised. But I took away the west and north wing of the house for those guys. So, they’re not allowed in there.”

David Spade: “It’s hard to pretend you’re broke. They figure it out after a while.”

Chris Rock: “My kids don’t have a trust fund, they have a debt fund. Oh my God, they’re $4 million in the hole.”

Adam, what drives you to succeed?

Adam Sandler: “I don’t know what drives me to succeed. I know I want to always do the best I can. I never was like that as a kid. I guess I was maybe in little league baseball as far as I wanted to be good at that. But school, I certainly wasn’t the best at that. But this comedy thing and making movies and stuff, I love it so much that I do get driven to push myself as hard as I can.”

Do you guys feel like grown ups and when did it actually dawn on you that you’re actually a grown up? Or do you even feel like one yet?

David Spade: “I have problems with it. I’m probably the most little kid still out of this group. But I am clinging. It’s not cute anymore. I think when I bought a house, that’s when I thought I felt like that’s a grown up thing to do.”

Kevin James: “I think I’m playing grown up because I have kids now. But I don’t feel grown up yet.”

Chris Rock: “I felt it when I lost a house.”

Adam Sandler: “When you’re around the kids you feel like you act the most grown up, just because you’re supposed to lead.”

Kevin James: “Feel like you’re playing your father, right?”

Adam Sandler: “Yes, yes, exactly. I say things, like every other parent, that reminds you of your own parents. One thing I do know about being a parent, you understand why your father was in a bad mood a lot.”

Can you talk a little about the basketball angle in the movie?

Adam Sandler: “I grew up playing church league basketball, it was a big part of my town. I thought that instead of doing a movie about high school, I just thought it would be easier if we made it church league basketball kids who, when you see them in the past, it’s easier to buy little kids as us instead of high school kids who don’t. It would look a little closer to who we were if they were little. I thought like sixth grade was a big time, in my childhood, of hoops and friendship and coming up with funny things. That’s kind of what the movie is. Our kids are that age in the movie. We thought that that’s when it starts. You see the contrast of childhood now compared to what we were like as kids. So, that’s why I picked that, the 12-year-old basketball kind of thing. That was a big part of my life. These guys all play a little bit of ball. We just thought that would be interesting.”

In a couple of words, how would you describe yourselves at age 12?

Chris Rock: “Gay.”

No really, what were you like?

David Spade: “Nerdy, reserved, awkward.”

Kevin James: “Athletic, beating the nerds up. No. I was fit, believe it or not. Fit…go with fit.”

Adam Sandler: “Oh yes, look at the pictures.”

Kevin James: “I was fit.”

Adam Sandler: “He was in good shape.”

Kevin James: “For then.”

Adam Sandler: “From 11-14…no, how old?”

Kevin James: “Until stand-up comedy. Stand-up ruined me.”

Chris Rock: “And then the late night comedy.”

Kevin James: “Yes, late-night in diners and drinking late and waking up at 3:00 and then doing it again the next night can ruin a body.”

Can you all say what some of your favorite things are that you like to collect or what your hobbies are?

David Spade: “I was a coin collector. Rock says he didn’t have the luxury of collecting money as a child, but I had coins. I didn’t know I was nerdy at the time until I felt my 16-D Mercury Dime that was in uncirculated condition might be a panty dropper, and it turned out not to be. Surprisingly, the Benjamin Franklin Halves Mint set did some damage. Yeah, I did that. Then I stumbled into skateboarding, which kind of was cooler. But I wasn’t aware of what was cool. My dad wasn’t around so he couldn’t shake me and say, ‘Drop the coin collecting bit. It’s not where you want to go.’ So, that and the spelling bee and the chess, I think I had it figured out for myself.”

What do you like now?

David Spade: “Nothing. No, I still like some of the stuff, skateboarding. I golf now. Just stupid things. But I think I was more interesting back then because I was trying a bunch of different hobbies and collections. You know what I mean? I did rocks, all this dumb stuff. But now it’s just trying to stay afloat and just get through the days.”

Adam Sandler: “His hobbies now apparently are monologues.”

David Spade: “My hobbies are run-on sentences.”

Adam Sandler: “Last night I couldn’t sleep. It was like 2:00 in the morning. I was thinking, ‘What can I do?’ I’m watching TV. I’m like, ‘Let me do something else.’ I’m not going to fall asleep for a few hours. What are my hobbies? There was the masturbation option. I skipped that because just knowing my kids are down the hall I felt psychotic. So, I went with watching more TV. I couldn’t come up with anything. I was going, ‘God, read a book.’ Then I was like this, ‘Where do I keep the books?’ I’ve got nothing to do but watch TV.”

Chris Rock: “You’ve got to get the iPad.”

Adam Sandler: “I know.”

Chris Rock: “We’ve got the iPad.”

Adam Sandler: “So what do you do?”

Chris Rock: “They got a bunch of books in there.”

David Spade: “You watch TV on it.”

Kevin James: “I think this might shock a lot of people but I like food. I’m a connoisseur of food – but bad food. I like bad food. Not high-end.”

Adam Sandler: “Double cheese and onion soup last night.”

Kevin James: “You brought me to a fancy restaurant and I don’t love fancy restaurants. I like Kraft Macaroni and Cheese out of a box. You know that type of stuff. And making it and doctoring it up myself.”

Adam Sandler: “Yeah. You were mad at the macaroni and cheese last night.”

Kevin James: “Where did I want to go last night?”

Adam Sandler: “Carl’s Jr.”

Kevin James: “I wanted to go to Carl’s Jr.”

Adam Sandler: “I talked him out of Carl’s Jr. and brought him to a nice place and he was so angry.”

Kevin James: “I was angry. I’m not a fancy food guy. I don’t want three carrots on a plate. That pisses me off.”

David Spade, Kevin James, Adam Sandler and Chris Rock photo from Grown UpsDavid Spade, Kevin James, Adam Sandler and Chris Rock in the comedy movie Grown Ups.

© Columbia Pictures
Adam, you know all these guys so well and you wrote this for them. Did anybody do anything that surprised you? How much ad-libbing might have gone on?Adam Sandler: “There was a lot of ad-libbing and a lot of jokes these guys brought. I mean, I wasn’t shocked by anybody. Everybody who watches the movie, friends of ours talk to me and they go, ‘Wow, Spade is…’ They love Spade. I think they’re used to every one of us doing good work, and not used to David doing anything good.”

Dennis, do you want to talk about the ad-libbing that went on while you guys were shooting?

Dennis Dugan: “The whole idea was that when Sandler first sat down and said, ‘Let’s do this movie. We’ll all go to a lake, and we’ll do a movie about a bunch of people at a lake,’ and it’s all these guys. So, my job basically was to say action. They’d talk, sometimes for 40 minutes. Then I’d say cut because we ran out of tape. We’d put a new tape in and I’d say action and then later on when they ran out of really funny stuff to say I’d say cut. That was the easiest job in the entire world.”

Adam Sandler: “That’s not entirely true. We worked hard. We did a lot of helping out and it brought us into the right place and focused us.”

Kevin James: “And rowed to work every day.”

Adam Sandler: “Oh yes. Dennis lived across the lake, on the other side of the lake. Every morning he would row to work.”

This is a question for both Adam and Dennis. You two are working, yet again, on a movie called Jack and Jill. Can you tell us about that film?

Chris Rock: “I’m not in it.”

Adam Sandler: “Not yet. You might be, by the way. I might call in a favor soon. But Jack and Jill, I play me and I play my twin sister. The man version of me is doing okay. He’s got a family out in LA and the twin sister of me is in the Bronx and comes out to LA for Thanksgiving and then refuses to leave and is spoiling the man version of my family’s life a little bit.”

Did your kids see you as Jill?

Adam Sandler: “There’s a mocked up picture of me in my house that we made. My daughter, Sadie, loves it. Every time I talk about Grown Ups is coming out, ‘Jack and Jill?’ ‘I have to do Grown Ups first.’ ‘And then Jack and Jill?’ ‘Well no, I’m doing one with [Jennifer] Aniston, that’s going to be good.’ ‘Jack and Jill?’ We’ll get to Jack and Jill. She’s excited about it.”

Adam, how was writing Born to be a Star, which you didn’t star in, and are you and Chris producing a film on Richard Pryor?

Adam Sandler: “Yeah, yeah we are doing that movie. Marlon Wayans is going to play Pryor. We’ll see what happens. We’ll see what happens. It hasn’t really got rolling yet, just talking about it right now. But I enjoyed writing it.”

“I had this idea for this Born to be a Star. I’m about 15 years too old for it. So, Nick Swardson, I think is a funny kid. So, we wrote the movie for him.”

Is it a different kind of creative satisfaction for you?

Adam Sandler: “Same stuff, same stuff. I like sitting and writing with my buddies. That movie was great because I helped write it with Covert and Swardson. Then they went and shot it, and I had nothing to do with that. Then I got to watch it and laugh. That’s actually a nice thing.”

Is there a consensus among the four of you of who is actually the funniest?

Adam Sandler: “Everybody’s got their own thing. I’ll tell you, Spade is incredibly funny. He drops the most destruction bombs on you.”

David Spade: “No, the fun thing about this was everybody, I think more for the audience, that if you like even two out of the five of us you’ll do fine in this movie.”

I’m not even talking about this movie.

David Spade: “Oh, hanging out…”

Adam Sandler: “Everybody’s got their moments. KJ is incredibly funny. He has different ways of being funny in conversation. How’s this, when KJ texts me I laugh like a buffoon for like five minutes alone. I don’t write that LOL because I’m a comedian and I think other comedians would go, ‘Are you f**king kidding me? LOL?’ So I just write, ‘Good one.'”

David Spade: “It is hard to fall in an LOL. I’ve been fighting it for a while.”

Adam Sandler: “I haven’t said it yet, I don’t think. Rock is one of the funniest guys I’ve ever seen in my life with just summing up something and just having a different slant on it. You’re just like, ‘That is amazingly accurate and I can’t believe I’ve never said that out loud. I never even thought that.’ He like makes you think straight. His comedy’s just genius.”

Kevin James: “Some of the hardest laughs I’ve had in my entire life are from the Sand-Man. Honestly, just crying. As a comedian you get used to it. So, a lot of times you’ll think something’s funny and you just kind of [nod], that’s what your laughter comes to. That’s what it’s down to now.”

David Spade: “It’s turned into a nod.”

Kevin James: “Because when you do it constantly…right, exactly.”

David Spade: “Yes you go, ‘That’s good. That’s good.'”

Kevin James: “And it is good. But he makes me laugh out loud. I mean, crying. ”

Chris Rock: “Sandler in Chuck and Larry is about as hard as I’ve ever laughed.”

Dennis Dugan: “The nice thing about being in with these guys is generally when comics are together they’re kind of competitive and don’t really respect each other. These guys just like making each other laugh. There’s no overt egos there. They just enjoy whoever’s making the other three laugh. They’re all happy.”

Adam Sandler: “For the record Schneider is…”

Kevin James: “Schneider’s very funny as well.”

Adam Sandler: “One of the funniest guys.”

David Spade: “Schneider’s a great cook.”

Adam Sandler: “He is ridiculously fast and funny. We miss him here right now.”

Can you tell us about casting the part for Salma Hayek?

Adam Sandler: “We talked about doing a movie for a long time. Salma was available. She almost was in the Zohan, she almost was in a bunch of movies, and it didn’t time out right. This one timed out great. It was fun being married to Salma in the movie. She’s a great girl.”

Kevin, are you doing a sequel for Paul Blart Mall Cop?

Kevin James: “Not now. Not yet.”

What are you doing next?

Kevin James: “I’m in Chicago working on movie right now with Ron Howard and Vince Vaughn.”

And you’re playing?

Kevin James: “I play Vince Vaughn’s, we’re buddies and I’m married to Winona Ryder and she cheats on me and he spots it. So, he’s got to tell me.”

Is this a tragedy?

Kevin James: “No, no, it’s comedy. But it’s also got some heavy moments. It’s good. So it’s cool.”

Chris, news came recently that you’re going to be working on a remake of Kurosawa’sHigh and Low. Where is that? Do you know?

Chris Rock: “Me, Mike Nichols and what’s his name, Scott Rudin, are talking a lot right now. It’s just a lot of talk right now and getting the notes together.”

Do you know what the tone of the film’s going to be? Similar to Kurosawa, in San Francisco?

Chris Rock: “In New York. That’s all I’ll give you. It’ll be in New York.”

David Spade: “Because that’s all you have.”

Chris Rock: “That’s all I have.”

Adam Sandler: “If you want more information, just call What’s-His-Name.”

June 25, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Mona Lisa in Different Countries.

June 21, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

FDA Approves Jevtana (cabazitaxel), a New Treatment for Advanced Prostate

FDA/CDER/Division of Drug Information (DDI)

The Division of Drug Information (DDI) is CDER’s focal point for public inquiries. We serve the public by providing information on human drug products and drug product regulation byFDA.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Jevtana (cabazitaxel), a chemotherapy drug used in combination with the steroid prednisone to treat men with prostate cancer. Jevtana is the first treatment for advanced, hormone-refractory, prostate cancer that has worsened during or after treatment with docetaxel, a commonly used drug for advanced prostate cancer.

In prostate cancer, the male sex hormone testosterone can cause prostate tumors to grow. Drugs, surgery, or other hormones are used to reduce testosterone production or to block it. Some men have hormone refractory prostate cancer, meaning the prostate cancer cells continue to grow, despite testosterone suppression. Different treatments are needed for men with this type of cancer.

Jevtana was reviewed under the FDA’s priority review program, which provides for an expedited six-month review for drugs that may offer major advances in treatment, or provide a treatment when no adequate therapy exists. Jevtana received approval ahead of the product’s Sept. 30, 2010, goal date.

For more information, please visit: Jevtana

June 21, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Natural Relief for Sore Muscles

When a tough workout leaves you with sore muscles, certain strategies may offer natural pain relief. In fact, some natural substances and alternative therapies may even lower your risk of post-exercise pain (a condition commonly known as “delayed onset muscle soreness”).

Often occurring 24 to 48 hours after your workout, delayed onset muscle soreness is thought to be caused by tiny tears in the tissue surrounding your muscles. You’re most likely to suffer sore muscles after increasing the intensity, frequency, or duration of your workout, or after performing a new kind of exercise.

Natural Relief for Sore Muscles

There is no proven way to stop sore muscles. However, studies suggest that the following approaches may help ease muscle soreness to some degree.

1) Massage Therapy

So far, research on massage therapy’s effectiveness in soothing sore muscles has yielded mixed results. However, a small study published in 2005 found that a 10-minute post-exercise massage session alleviated delayed onset muscle soreness by about 30 percent. When administered three hours after exercise, the massage session also reduced swelling, but had no effects on muscle function.

2) Ginger

In a 2010 study of 74 adults, scientists discovered that those who took ginger supplements for 11 days were less likely to experience muscle soreness after lifting weights. An herb known to fight inflammation, ginger has been found to ease pain in previously published research.

3) Arnica

Taking a homeopathic dilution of the herb arnica may help reduce delayed onset muscle soreness, according to a 2003 study of 82 marathon runners. However, an earlier study of 519 runners found that homeopathic arnica was ineffective for muscle soreness following long-distance running.

4) Vitamin C Supplements

For a small study published in 2006, 18 healthy men took either a placebo or three grams of vitamin C in supplement form each day for two weeks. Next, all participants performed 70 elbow extensions, then continued taking either the placebo or vitamin C supplements for four days. Study results showed that vitamin C reduced muscle soreness, but had little effect on loss of muscle function.

Should You Try Natural Relief for Muscle Soreness?

Additional research needs to be conducted before any type of alternative medicine can be recommended as a treatment for sore muscles. Although no therapy is known to relieve delayed onset muscle soreness, standard approaches like stretching and topical application of ice may also offer some benefit.

If your muscle soreness lasts longer than 72 hours, make sure to consult your physician.

Sources:

Altman RD, Marcussen KC. “Effects of a ginger extract on knee pain in patients with osteoarthritis.” Arthritis Rheum. 2001 44(11):2531-8.

Black CD, Herring MP, Hurley DJ, O’Connor PJ. “Ginger (Zingiber officinale) Reduces Muscle Pain Caused by Eccentric Exercise.” J Pain. 2010 Apr 23.

Bryer SC, Goldfarb AH. “Effect of high dose vitamin C supplementation on muscle soreness, damage, function, and oxidative stress to eccentric exercise.” Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2006 16(3):270-80.

Cheung K, Hume P, Maxwell L. “Delayed onset muscle soreness : treatment strategies and performance factors.” Sports Med. 2003;33(2):145-64.

Grzanna R, Lindmark L, Frondoza CG. “Ginger–an herbal medicinal product with broad anti-inflammatory actions.” Journal of Medicinal Food 2005 8(2):125-32.

Tveiten D, Bruset S. “Effect of Arnica D30 in marathon runners. Pooled results from two double-blind placebo controlled studies.” Homeopathy. 2003 92(4):187-9.

Vickers AJ, Fisher P, Smith C, Wyllie SE, Rees R. “Homeopathic Arnica 30x is ineffective for muscle soreness after long-distance running: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.” The Clinical Journal of Pain Sep;14(3):227-31.

Zainuddin Z, Newton M, Sacco P, Nosaka K. “Effects of massage on delayed-onset muscle soreness, swelling, and recovery of muscle function.” J Athl Train. 2005 40(3):174-80.

June 17, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Adrien Brody Talks About ‘Splice’

Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley star as genetic engineers who combine the DNA of humans and animals to create a brand new organism in the sci-fi thriller, Splice. Although they’re given explicit directions not to work with human DNA, Elsa convinces Clive they’re so close to creating an organism that will revolutionize science, they must secretly continue with their work. But the human/animal hybrid they create – a completely unique and strangely beautiful creature they name Dren – grows and behaves in a way they couldn’t have imagined and definitely didn’t plan for.

Co-written and directed by Vincenzo Natali, Splice created a stir when it premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. Joel Silver and Warner Bros snatched it up for distribution, and when it hits theaters on June 4th, Splice is sure to provoke heated conversations.

Decisions Made and Consequences to Pay

Although Elsa drives the couple into creating the hybrid, Clive is right there by her side. “The character that Sarah plays is a tremendous force,” said Brody at the LA press day for the Warner Bros Pictures film. “Look, there is a shared ambition that they’re both very highly intelligent, they’re both very successful in their field, and she corrupts his sense of morality. There are all these things that he’s desperately trying to consider, and I think I tried to play Clive as someone who tries to play by the book but who falls into temptation. I think that’s what makes it interesting. You play a scientist who just has the intelligence, has the capability to do something tremendous, and you have to understand that all of this is being taken from them. So their aspirations and what they’ve visualized as tremendous success and groundbreaking in their field is being stripped of them. It’s a desperate moment. There’s a bit of coercion on her part, but he follows through and this is the problem.”

Brody added, “This is what we deal with in life. You have to be accountable, and also there are repercussions. In something that is as relevant as genetic research or any kind of scientific advance, you have to be very careful. That’s why there are all these debates about these matters because even with GM Foods, even if the goal is noble, you’re still dealing with the possibility of changing the landscape on this planet forever. There are already many problems with produce that have been kind of corrupted from genetically modified things, modified soy. And it kind of blows over into other areas and then it just spreads. That’s only one level of it, so technology and scientific research…look, it’s essential, right? It’s essential that we progress and explore but at the same time, there are many, many considerations. I think that’s what makes this so exciting because Splice isn’t far off from what reality could be or may be.”

So does Brody believe advancements in bioengineering will actually be mishandled the way they are mishandled in Splice? “Well, there is the potential,” replied Brody. “Look, even with nuclear technology. This was supposedly designed to create something that is so devastating and intimidating that it couldn’t possibly be used. Here we are in a world, but the design of that wasn’t strictly for destructive purposes. It was to prevent it, and that doesn’t necessarily work. If things like that can be created, that level of responsibility is beyond anything we could comprehend. We’ve witnessed the repercussions of that.”

Adrien Brody on His Career

Brody was the youngest actor to win the Best Actor Oscar (he took home the golden statuette for his starring role in The Pianist), and he’s best known for tackling roles in dramatic films – in particular in indie productions. Being an Oscar winner means people’s expectations have been raised, but Brody doesn’t feel any extra pressure when he’s selecting roles to take on.

“The only pressure I feel is when people wonder why I make certain choices and they ask me, ‘Why did you make that choice?’ I don’t really feel pressure in that,” said Brody. “It’s a legitimate question. I’m not saying that it isn’t. For many years I’ve worked very hard at proving something to myself, and I’m very disciplined in my choices and I have not lost that discipline. What I’ve gained is the ability to be more playful with my work and my choices, which I have less to prove to myself. I can’t live up to everyone’s expectations all the time and that’s not my responsibility. I don’t feel that way. I have to live up to my own and making movies, when I did King Kong and it was very exciting because I wanted to work with Peter [Jackson] and I wanted to do something. King Kong is this iconic film and very different, obviously, from anything that I had done. I was amazed at how children and young people loved Jack Black. They loved him. Everywhere he went, they adored him, really adored him. I thought, ‘Wow, that’s such a wonderful thing.’ And none of those kids recognized me, none of them. It was a realization that I had a whole audience that doesn’t know my work.”

“I think what I love about film is that you have this wonderful connection and so many people can see the hard work that you’ve put into something, and you can actually have this connection,” explained Adrien Brody. “It’s a wonderful experience to be in a theater. I feel it, we all feel it. When you are moved by something and a performance and you’re taken down that road, it’s what we hope to see in the theater and it’s what an actor really strives for. My point is that doing certain films, after that, kids started knowing me and I’d go to the bank and there’d be kids there like, ‘You’re the guy from King Kong,’ and ‘awesome’ and high-fiving me. Then when I’m hanging out with Tony Hawk and going around, I’m not the strange guy that’s hanging out with Tony Hawk. I’m the guy from this movie or that, and I love that.”

“That’s one element to it, but my choices have been to constantly try and find things that are different, that challenge me, that are unusual and to take some risk with it. I thought this was such a unique film and such a complex genre movie, I loved horror movies when I was a teenager. I loved them. I saw every Nightmare on Elm Street in theaters. I saw Predator in theaters when it came out and was in awe. So for me to have an opportunity to go in there and bring what I do to that and try and bring the level of complexity to the role… In Predators, for instance, to make Royce a kind of tragic, flawed antihero character within this setting, and also put on a certain degree of muscle mass and kind of do this, that’s very exciting to me. That’s a really exciting process. So on one level, I can see how there’s like, ‘How can you do that?’ Show me, give me access to a movie that’s comparable, a dramatic film that’s comparable to The Pianist and I’d love to do it. But if I’m not finding that, I have to also find new things and experiment with that. And I love that process.”

Brody is trying to mix things ups, and he doesn’t automatically rule out scripts just because they’re sequels, prequels, or of a genre you don’t normally associate with the 37 year old actor. “Well, I do many independent films. If you look at my resume, they’re still the majority and this, by the way, is an independent movie,” offered Brody. “This is a wonderful situation where you do a film with a great director who’s very passionate about it who has a real point of view, who’s worked on it for 10 years. You make it the best you can with limited resources and then it goes to a film festival and then it gets picked up by something like Joel Silver and Warner Brothers and sees the light of day and gets a marketing budget. That’s remarkable and that’s really rare, almost unheard of in this economy and the way this business is. So if you look at it, this is just another kind of independent movie but it’s kind of given its moment, which is really amazing.”

“The problem is to find roles within these films that speak to you. Unfortunately, most of them don’t. They don’t and most of them aren’t interested in me because they don’t care if… […]The whole vision of the success of the film is based on kind of a formula and if I don’t fit in that formula, it’s very difficult to persuade people to alter it because it’s like a business model. It’s counterintuitive to creating art, so you have to find something where you’re allowed to have some artistic freedom and the character can have some depth but also fit in that.”

“I’m grateful for Fox, Robert Rodriguez, Nimrod Antal – who directed Predators – to give me that opportunity. I campaigned very hard. They were not believers at first. I told them, ‘I will deliver and I’ll prove myself.’ That’ll be determined to some degree by how the film does or by what the response is to my work. But I approached it with the same intensity that I would approach anything like The Pianist. I locked myself in the forest and I changed my whole diet. I didn’t do a lot of things. I didn’t eat very much, I handled it with a great deal of seriousness and I did a lot of military training and all that stuff.”

June 17, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Boost Your Immune System Naturally

Even the healthiest of people get sick every now and then. But by fine-tuning certain aspects of your health routine, such as diet and stress management, you can help strengthen your immune system’s defense against bacteria, toxic chemicals, and viruses that cause conditions like the common cold and flu.

Natural Immune Boosters

Here are the five best ways to support your immune system naturally.

1) Diet

Following a diet rich in antioxidants is essential to supporting your immune system. Abundant in many fruits and vegetables, antioxidants combat free radicals (chemical by-products known to damage DNA and suppress the immune system).

Choosing healthy fats (such as the omega-3 fatty acids available in oily fish, flaxseed, and krill oil) over saturated fats (found in meat and dairy products) may help increase your body’s production of compounds involved in regulating immunity. For an additional immune boost, try adding garlic (shown to possess virus-fighting and bacteria-killing properties) and ginger (a natural anti-inflammatory) to your meals on a regular basis.

Drinking plenty of water and steering clear of sugary beverages, like soda and energy drinks, may also help fend off infection by flushing out your system.

2) Exercise

Working out regularly can mobilize your T cells, a type of white blood cell known to guard the body against infection. In a 2006 study of 115 women, participants who engaged in moderate exercise (such as brisk walking) for an average of 30 minutes daily for a year had about half the risk of colds as those who did not work out routinely.

Regularly engaging in intense, vigorous activity like running, on the other hand, may weaken your immune function and leave you more susceptible to viral infections. However, animal-based research suggests that supplementing with the antioxidant quercetin could reduce flu risk among athletes.

3) Stress Reduction

Chronic stress can have a negative impact on immunity, according to a 2004 review of 293 studies with a total of 18,941 participants. The review suggests that while short-term exposure to stressors can rev up your immune defense, prolonged stress may wear down the immune system and increase your vulnerability to illness.

To keep your stress in check, incorporate a relaxing practice like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing into your daily routine. Or try tai chi, a gentle Chinese martial art found to increase immune defense against shingles in a 2007 study of 112 older adults.

4) Sleep and Hygiene

Simply keeping your hands clean is one of the best ways to ward off illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Make sure to wash your hands for 15 to 20 seconds (using warm water and soap) before preparing food or eating and after coughing, sneezing, using the bathroom, or touching public surfaces.

Another healthy habit vital to preventing sickness is getting a full eight hours of sleep each night, which may help regulate immune function.

Learn more about natural sleep aids.

5) Herbs and Supplements

Although scientists have yet to determine whether vitamin C can enhance immunity, there’s some evidence that this antioxidant can reduce cold incidence.

Herbs such as astragalus, echinacea, and elderberry, meanwhile, may help reduce the duration and severity of your sickness if taken as soon as you start to experience cold or flu symptoms.

Learn more about natural remedies for colds and flu.

Sources:

Calder PC. “Polyunsaturated fatty acids, inflammation, and immunity.” Lipids 2001 36(9):1007-24.

Chubak J, McTiernan A, Sorensen B, Wener MH, Yasui Y, Velasquez M, Wood B, Rajan KB, Wetmore CM, Potter JD, Ulrich CM. “Moderate-intensity exercise reduces the incidence of colds among postmenopausal women.” American Journal of Medicine 2006 119(11):937-42.

Davis JM, Murphy EA, McClellan JL, Carmichael MD, Gangemi JD. “Quercetin reduces susceptibility to influenza infection following stressful exercise.” American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology 200;295(2):R505-9.

Irwin MR, Olmstead R, Oxman MN. “Augmenting immune responses to varicella zoster virus in older adults: a randomized, controlled trial of Tai Chi.” Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 2007 55(4):511-7.

Irwin MR, Wang M, Ribeiro D, Cho HJ, Olmstead R, Breen EC, Martinez-Maza O, Cole S. “Sleep loss activates cellular inflammatory signaling.” Biological Psychiatry 2008 15;64(6):538-40.

Suzanne C. Segerstrom and Gregory E. Miller. “Psychological Stress and the Human Immu

June 17, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Goldfish – Perceptions of Pacha

Goldfish – Perceptions of Pacha

Pacha Records

South Africa sends us Perceptions Of Pacha from Goldfish which was released at this year’s Miami’s Winter Music Conference. Goldfish are David Poole and Dominic Peters, apparent members of jazz outfit called Breakfast Included. Said to be one of the most exciting live electronica acts in the world right now, they hail from that small but famous city on the southern-most tip of Africa and apparently once played for Nelson Mandela! Both cats come from the jazz theater of music, and yet they’ve added the latest electronic stylings to their repertoire, but not enough to incorporate the funk necessary to apply them in a U.S. urban way.

My first impression is that this is House-lite (to go along with that brand of beer) with a few soothing vocals, like the fluffy blanket cooing of Monique Hellenberg on one of the two best cuts here, “This Is How It Goes”, that really carry the band’s texture born out of synthesizer keyboards, the upright bass, saxophones, and other jazz components. In a way it’s like Herbie Hancock meets Inner City as the aficionados decided to go House. “This Is How It Goes” has a radio edit later on this CD, which is good as the tune is worth hearing again without having to get up and press ‘play” again, but it is that first version that does justice to the tradition of a long, DJ-mixable dance track. Additionally there is a radio remix of track six, “Cruising Through” near the album’s finale.

“Sold my Soul”, the lead-off track, is reminiscent of Sylvester’s “SELL My Soul” in name only as club jams go. The second best jam here is number ten, “Coming Home”, which pumps the beat a little bit harder, reminds one who had legacy enough to remember The Olympic Runners’ “Put The Music Where Your Mouth Is”, is the best example of an upright bass carrying a Dance jam since Ron Carter, and is vocalist Hlangwani’s best on this album. Yet it is still too “lite” and needs that real down-under edge which maybe they do not know about over there.

Research says this played big over in Cape Town, and that this is their second album; also they were even voted best live act in South Africa, however, I doubt it gets any noticeable airplay here in “the States” any time soon because as house music goes, this bassment surely isn’t deep enough. They’ve added the electronic beats to their sound but have yet to incorporate enough funk to apply them in an urban way.

Goldfish aimed at combining elements of jazz, house and groovy electronica spices, and may be unwittingly guilty of watering-down their own formula. Only on the third-best song here, “Cruising Through” do I glean any hit of the Motherland or Afro-House, which I was expecting a bit more of, and that is disappointing. Oh by the way, the last cut is a video that only your PC can read. As a whole, unless as I suspect, the international House music community has become seriously diluted in general, this is only moderately interesting club music and thus, evokes three goldfish cookie stars.

Released March 2008 on Pacha Recordings.

June 17, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What is Leadership?

What Is Leadership?
Leaders help people do the right things.
©iStockphoto/Laflor

“Leaders are people who do the right thing; managers are people who do things right.”
– Professor Warren G. Bennis

“Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.”
– Dwight D. Eisenhower

The word “leadership” can bring a variety of images to mind. For example:

  • An army officer, charging forward to meet the enemy.
  • An explorer, cutting a path through the jungle for the rest of his party to follow.
  • An executive, developing her company’s strategy to remain ahead of the competition.

Leaders help themselves and others to do the right things. They set direction, build an inspiring vision, and create something new. Leadership is about mapping out where you need to go to “win” as a team or an organization. Leadership is dynamic, vibrant, and inspiring.

Yet, while leaders set the direction, they must also use management skills to guide their team to the right destination in a smooth and efficient way.

In this article, we’ll focus on the process of leadership. In particular, we’ll discuss the “transformational leadership” model. This model highlights visionary thinking and bringing about change, instead of management processes that are only designed to maintain current performance.

Note:
Leadership means different things to different people around the world, and different things in different situations. For example, it could relate to community leadership, religious leadership, political leadership, and leadership of campaigning groups.

This article focuses on the Western model of individual leadership, and relates to workplace leadership rather than to other types.


Leadership: A Definition

According to the idea of transformational leadership, an effective leader is a person who does the following:

  1. Creates an inspiring vision of the future.
  2. Encourages and motivates people to engage with that vision.
  3. Manages delivery of the vision.
  4. Coaches and builds a team, so that it is more effective at achieving the vision.

To become an effective leader, you need to learn the skills needed to do these things. We’ll look at each element in more detail.

  1. Creating an Inspiring Vision of the Future

    In business, a vision is a realistic, convincing and attractive “best case” depiction of where you want to be in the future. With a clear vision, you can provide direction, set priorities, and establish targets, so that you can tell that you’ve achieved what you wanted to achieve.

    To create a vision, leaders focus on an organization’s strengths by using tools such asPorter’s Five ForcesPEST AnalysisUSP AnalysisCore Competence Analysis andSWOT Analysis to analyze their current situation. They think about how their industry is likely to evolve, and how their competitors are likely to behave. They look at how they caninnovate successfully (Club members), and shape their businesses and their strategies to succeed in future marketplaces. And they test their visions with appropriate market research, and by assessing key risks using techniques such as Scenario Analysis (Club members).

    Therefore, leadership is proactive – problem solving, looking ahead, and not being satisfied with things as they are.

    Once they have developed their visions, leaders must make them compelling and convincing. A compelling vision is one that people can see in their minds, feel, understand, and embrace. As such, effective leaders provide a rich picture of what the future will look like when their visions have been realized. They tell powerful stories, and they explain their visions in ways that everyone can relate to.

    Here, leaders combine the analytical side of vision creation with the passion that comes from emotional engagement and shared values, creating something that is really meaningful to the people being led.

  2. Motivating and Inspiring People

    A compelling vision provides the foundation for leadership. But it’s a leader’s ability to motivate and inspire people that will help him or her deliver that vision.

    For example, when you start a new project, you will probably have lots of enthusiasm for it, so it’s usually easy to support the project’s leader at the beginning. However, it can be difficult to find ways to keep the vision alive and inspirational, after the initial enthusiasm fades, especially if the team or organization needs to make significant changes in the way that they do things. Leaders recognize this, and they work hard on an ongoing basis to connect their vision with people’s individual needs, goals, and aspirations.

    One of the key ways they do this is through Expectancy Theory (Club members). Effective leaders link together two different expectations:

    1. The expectation that hard work leads to good results.
    2. The expectation that good results lead to attractive rewards or incentives.

    This motivates people to work hard to achieve success, because they expect to enjoy rewards – both intrinsic and extrinsic – as a result.

    Other approaches include restating the vision in terms of the benefits it will bring to the team’s customers, and taking frequent opportunities to communicate the vision in an attractive and engaging way.

    What’s particularly helpful here is where leaders have expert power. People admire and believe in these leaders because they are expert in what they do. They have credibility, and they’ve earned the right to ask people to listen to them, and follow them. This makes it much easier for these leaders to motivate and inspire the people they lead.

    Leaders can also motivate and influence people through their natural charisma and appeal, and through other sources of power, such as the power to pay bonuses or assign tasks to people. However, good leaders don’t rely on these types of power to motivate and inspire others.

  3. Managing Delivery of the Vision

    This is the area of leadership that relates to management (Club members). According to theHersey-Blanchard Situational Leadership Model, there is a time to tell, a time to sell, a time to participate, and a time to delegate. Knowing which approach you need to use, and when you need it, is key to effective leadership.

    Leaders must ensure that the work required to deliver the vision is properly managed – either by themselves, or by a dedicated manager or team of managers to whom the leader delegates this responsibility – and they need to ensure that their vision is delivered successfully.

    To do this, team members need performance goals that are linked to the team’s overall vision. Our article on Performance Management and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)(Club members) explains one way of doing this, and our Project Management section explains another. And, for day-to-day management of delivering the vision, the Management By Wandering Around (Club members) approach will help to ensure that what should happen, really happens.

    Leaders also need to make sure they manage change (Club members) effectively. This will ensure that any changes required to deliver the vision are implemented smoothly and thoroughly, with support and full backing from the majority of people affected.

  4. Coaching and Building a Team to Achieve the Vision

    Individual and team development are important activities carried out by transformational leaders. To develop a team, leaders must first understand team dynamics. Several well-established and popular models describe this, such as Belbin’s Team Roles approach, and Bruce Tuckman’s Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing theory.

    A leader will then ensure that team members have the necessary skills and abilities to do their job and achieve the vision. They do this by giving and receiving feedback (Club members) regularly, and by training and coaching people to improve individual and team performance.

    Leadership also includes looking for leadership potential (Club members) in others. By developing leadership skills within your team, you create an environment where you can continue success in the long term. And that’s a true measure of great leadership.

Note:
The words “leader” and “leadership” are often used incorrectly to describe people who are actually “managing.” These individuals may be highly skilled, good at their jobs, and valuable to their organizations – but that just makes them excellent managers, not leaders. So, be careful how you use the terms, and don’t assume that people with “leader” in their job titles, people who describe themselves as “leaders,” or even groups called “leadership teams,” are actually leading.

A particular danger in these situations is that people or organizations that are being managed by such an individual or group think they’re being led; but they’re not. There may actually be no leadership at all, with no one thinking about the medium term future, no one setting a vision, and no one being inspired. This can cause serious problems in the long term.

    Key Points

    Leadership can be hard to define and it means different things to different people.

    In the transformational leadership model, leaders set direction and help themselves and others to do the right thing to move forward. To do this they create an inspiring vision, and then motivate and inspire others to reach that vision. They also manage delivery of the vision, either directly or indirectly, and build and coach their teams to make them ever stronger.

    It takes time and hard work to develop the skills needed to be an effective leader. However the returns – whether in terms of physical reward or of personal satisfaction – are enormous. Enjoy the leadership journey!

    June 17, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment