jeudi 19 août 2010

Gus Van Sant



Gus Green Van Sant, Jr. (born July 24, 1952) is an American film director, screenwriter, photographer, musician, and author. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Achievement in Directing for his 1997 film Good Will Hunting and his 2008 film Milk, and won the Palme d'Or at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival for his film Elephant. He lives in Portland, Oregon.
His early career was devoted to directing television commercials in the Pacific Northwest. In his films, he has dealt with themes concerning homosexuality and other marginalized subcultures.


His filmography as writer and director includes an adaptation of Tom Robbins' novel Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, which features a diverse cast (Keanu Reeves, Roseanne Barr, Uma Thurman, and k.d. lang, with cameos by William S. Burroughs and Heather Graham, among others); and My Own Private Idaho, also starring Reeves as well as River Phoenix (Van Sant also planned to direct a biographical film about Andy Warhol with Phoenix in the lead role, but canceled the project after Phoenix's death).
He wrote the screenplays for most of his early movies, and wrote one novel, Pink. A book of his photography has also been published, called 108 Portraits.

mardi 17 août 2010

Perez Hilton


Mario Armando Lavandeira, Jr. (born March 23, 1978), better known as Perez Hilton, is an American blogger and television personality. His blog, Perezhilton.com (formerly PageSixSixSix.com), is known for posts covering gossip items about musicians, actors and celebrities. He is also known for posting tabloid photographs over which he has added his own captions or "doodles." His blog has garnered negative attention for its attitude, its active "outing" of alleged closeted celebrities and its role in the increasing coverage of celebrities in all forms of media.

Success and infamy

On March 11, 2005, within the first six months of Hilton's blogging career, PageSixSixSix.com was named "Hollywood's Most-Hated Website" by The Insider, catalyzing an initial surge in its popularity which temporarily crippled its server. Hilton claimed that on July 30, 2007, a seemingly "ordinary day," Perezhilton.com had over 8.82 million page views in a 24 hour period. Other sources dispute the reliability of Hilton's traffic claims.
Pop singer Fergie has confirmed that she is referring to Hilton in her 2006 song "Pedestal," in which she criticizes an unidentified person for making negative remarks about her on the internet.
On August 17, 2007, citing exclusive sources, Hilton announced the death of Cuban President Fidel Castro, and claimed that he was the first media outlet in the world to break the news. Although Hilton claimed that U.S. officials would be making an announcement within hours, no announcement was made, and no major media outlets verified Castro's death. The Associated Press later determined that rumors were sparked by a meeting of Miami officials who were to discuss the city's plans when Castro dies. Rumors were further fueled by a road closure in the Florida Keys that was due to a police standoff. Castro appeared in an interview on Cuban television on September 21, 2007, "looking frail but sounding lucid," and mocking rumors of his death.
On September 15, 2008, Terra.com named Perez Hilton as the Hispanic of the Year in Honor of Hispanic Heritage Month.
As of April 2009 PerezHilton.com was ranked by Alexa as the 491st most trafficked website on the Internet (143rd within the United States) with 2/3rds of users being American and strongest demographic being females between the ages of 18 and 24.



"Outing" celebrities

On his blog, Hilton is open about his homosexuality and about his desire to "out" those who he claims are closeted gay celebrities. When former 'N Sync member Lance Bass officially came out as gay on July 26, 2006, Hilton received criticism for having been partially responsible in the outing. "It upsets me that people think what I'm doing is a bad thing," Hilton told Access Hollywood. "I don't think it's a bad thing. If you know something to be a fact, why not report it? Why is that still taboo?" On November 2, 2006, another celebrity often questioned by Hilton for remaining closeted, actor Neil Patrick Harris, revealed that he is gay.
Prominent members of the gay community who have criticized Hilton's outing tactics include Arts & Entertainment Editor of The Advocate Corey Scholibo, AfterElton.com editor Michael Jensen, and Damon Romine, spokesperson for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. Kim Ficera, contributing writer for AfterEllen.com, wrote,
"I have to question the character of a man who attacks others on such deeply personal levels, without provocation and for self-benefit, monetary or otherwise....If he's emotionally incapable of exhibiting even the tiniest bit of compassion for closeted people, if he can't be sensitive to the fact that coming out is a very personal decision and that the process can be difficult for some — especially celebrities — I feel sorry for him. If his juvenile behavior is his shtick, I think it makes him a much more pathetic figure, and one the gay and lesbian community should not support...If we support behavior like Hilton's, we applaud shallowness, arrogance, rage and invasion of privacy, and risk becoming what we despise."
Some of Hilton's fellow gossip bloggers have also objected to his approach. Trent Vanegas, who runs "Pink Is the New Blog," told Salon, "I do not outright call people gay. I do not feel it is my place, or anyone else's place, to make people come out of the closet. Being shockingly hurtful just to get attention is not my style." David Hauslaib of gossip blog Jossip.com stated, "The rationale that he's doing this for the good of that gay community is tantamount to saying that there is a gay agenda. Is this a positive for the gay community? I'd say, 'No.'" Author, screenwriter, and former friend Japhy Grant has also questioned his motives, writing in online magazine Salon, "Spreading gossip is just your average pedestrian variety of immorality. Claiming that you're doing it to further civil rights is an outright shame."
When questioned on Midweek Politics about whether reporting on celebrities' sexual orientation incites homophobia by making it news, Hilton indicated that he did not believe so. He said that coming out in Hollywood is not necessarily a bad thing, citing Ellen DeGeneres and Rosie O'Donnell as examples: "I know there is some controversy about outing people, but I also believe the only way we're gonna have change is with visibility. And if I have to drag some people screaming out of the closet, then I will. I think that lots of celebrities have an archaic fear that being gay will hurt their career but look at Rosie. Look at Ellen."
Some prominent gay rights advocates disagree. GLAAD spokesperson Damon Romine told Salon, "Media speculation about a celebrity's orientation is not something we support. This kind of gossip can lead some people to the decision to come out, as we've seen recently, or it may drive others further into the closet. People are going to become more guarded and secretive and not less, because they don't want to create any opportunities [for anyone to out them]." Actor Bruce Vilanch said, "What purpose does it serve? These [people like Perez] are professional homosexuals. They are gay people for a living. They have to respect the rights of homosexuals who aren't professional." In an article entitled "Just How Dangerous is Perez Hilton?", AfterElton.com suggested that Hilton's actions put people's careers at risk, because anti-gay bias is still a prominent part of American culture. He continued, "Both as a gay man and a journalist, I question whether the gay community should approve of Hilton's actions....Being associated with someone who publishes photos of panty-less starlets and scribbles dirty notes....makes us look infantile and ridiculous."

BlackBerry



BlackBerry is a line of mobile e-mail and smartphone devices developed and designed by Canadian company Research In Motion (RIM) since 1996.
The operating system used by BlackBerry devices is a proprietary multitasking environment developed by RIM. The operating system is designed for use of input devices such as the track wheel, track ball, and track pad. The OS provides support for Java MIDP 1.0 and WAP 1.2. Previous versions allowed wireless synchronization with Microsoft Exchange Server e-mail and calendar, as well as with Lotus Domino e-mail. The current OS 5.0 provides a subset of MIDP 2.0, and allows complete wireless activation and synchronization with Exchange e-mail, calendar, tasks, notes and contacts, and adds support for Novell GroupWise and Lotus Notes.
Third-party developers can write software using these APIs, and proprietary BlackBerry APIs as well. Any application that makes use of certain restricted functionality must be digitally signed so that it can be associated to a developer account at RIM. This signing procedure guarantees the authorship of an application but does not guarantee the quality or security of the code. RIM provides tools for developing applications and themes for BlackBerry. Applications and themes can be loaded onto BlackBerry devices through BlackBerry App World, Over The Air (OTA) through the BlackBerry mobile browser, or through BlackBerry Desktop Manager



Nicknames

The ability to read e-mail that is received in real time, anywhere, has made the BlackBerry devices infamously addictive, earning them the nickname "CrackBerry", a reference to the freebase form of cocaine known as crack, which is also highly addictive. Use of the term CrackBerry became so widespread that in November 2006 Webster's New World College Dictionary named "crackberry" the "New Word of the Year." A popular BlackBerry user forum is called crackberry.com.

Obama's use

President of the United States Barack Obama became known for his dependence on a BlackBerry device for communication during his 2008 presidential campaign. Despite the security issues, he insisted on using it even after inauguration, becoming the first President of the United States to use mobile e-mail. This was seen by some as akin to a "celebrity endorsement," which marketing experts have estimated to be worth between $25 and $50 million.



Competition

The primary competitors of the BlackBerry are smartphones running Android and Windows Mobile, plus the iPhone. Those who use the BlackBerry defend its utility,supporting its physical keyboard, secure e-mail, and applications such as BlackBerry Messenger. In June 2010, according to RIM, they had sold up to 100 millions BlackBerry due to record sales in their first trimester.

Darren Aronofsky





Darren Aronofsky (born February 12, 1969) is an American film director, screenwriter and film producer. He is the third American filmmaker to win the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.



Aronofsky was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Abraham and Charlotte Aronofsky, both school teachers. He grew up in a Conservative Jewish household. His father taught science and was a dean at Bushwick High School. His mother is a retired public school teacher.
He graduated from Edward R. Murrow High School. He was selected to attend Camp Rising Sun, the Louis August Jonas Foundation's international summer scholarship program. He was trained as a research biologist with The School for Field Studies on a ranch in Kenya and Prince William Sound, Alaska.
Upon graduating high school, he backpacked around the Middle East and Europe for six months and, in 1987, entered Harvard University where he studied anthropology, live action film and animation. His senior thesis film, Supermarket Sweep, starred his fellow student and friend Sean Gullette. It was a finalist in the 1991 Student Academy Awards. He graduated in 1991 with honors. He received his M.F.A. degree in directing from AFI Conservatory and was honored with the institute's prestigious Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni Medal.

Past films

Aronofsky's directorial debut was in the late 1990s with Pi (1998), a black-and-white American psychological thriller, for which he won the Directing Award at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival, the Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay and the Gotham Open Palm Award. Aronofsky's next film was the drama Requiem for a Dream (2000), which is based on the novel of the same name written by Hubert Selby, Jr., with whom Aronofsky wrote the screenplay. The film depicts characters facing different forms of addiction, which leads to them being imprisoned in a dream world of tormented delusion and reckless desperation.
In the mid-2000s, he directed The Fountain (2006), which comprises three storylines where the male and female leads play different sets of characters: a modern-day scientist and his cancer-stricken wife, a conquistador and his queen, and a space traveler who hallucinates his lost love. The storylines, interwoven with use of match cuts and recurring visual motifs, reflect the themes of love and mortality.
His next film, The Wrestler (2008) is a drama about an aging, impoverished wrestler whose heyday was in the 1980s who continues to do matches, even though his health is failing, because wrestling is all he knows how to do. The script was written by Robert D. Siegel and the film stars Mickey Rourke as the wrestler and Marisa Tomei as the stripper he has fallen in love with.



Planned projects

Aronofsky is planning a Noah’s Ark Project which he started developing before Pi, and was co-written with Ari Handel. Aronofsky is also working on a film based on the February 2006 heist at the Securitas Depot in Tonbridge, England. In 2010, a number of rumors emerged about films that Aronofsky would be directing, including an adaptation of Ron Rash's book Serena starring Angelina Jolie, an adaptation of John Valliant's nonfiction book The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival starring Brad Pitt, and a film about Jackie Kennedy following the assassination of her husband, president John F. Kennedy, starring Rachel Weisz.
Aronofsky was attached as director to a new RoboCop film from 2008-2010. There have been rumors that the reason for the delay, and the reason that the film is not his current project, is because of his refusal to make the film 3D at the insistence of the studio It was reported in late July that MGM scrapped the project, which Aronofsky himself had lost interest in.

Personal life



Aronofsky is engaged to English actress Rachel Weisz. She is known for her role in films such as The Mummy, About a Boy and The Constant Gardener (2005), the latter winning her the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, along with other major motion picture awards. They began dating in 2001 and have a son, Henry Chance, born on May 31, 2006, in New York City. The couple reside in Manhattan.

lundi 16 août 2010

The 400 Blows


The 400 Blows (French: Les Quatre Cents Coups) is a 1959 French film directed by François Truffaut. One of the defining films of the French New Wave, it displays many of the characteristic traits of the movement. The story revolves around Antoine Doinel, an ordinary adolescent in Paris, who is thought by his parents and teachers to be a trouble maker.

The English title is a straight translation of the French but misses its meaning, as the French title refers to the expression "faire les quatre cents coups", which means "to raise hell". On the first American prints, subtitler and dubber Noelle Gilmore gave the film the title Wild Oats, but the distributor did not like that title and reverted it to The 400 Blows, which led some to think the film covered the topic of corporal punishment.

Antoine Doinel is a pre-teen boy growing up in France during the early 1950s. The movie opens to a group of Antoine’s classmates passing around a picture of a half-naked woman while writing their papers. When the picture comes to Antoine he defaces it and attempts to pass it forward when he is caught by his teacher who makes him stand in a corner the rest of the lesson and deprives him of recess. While alone he writes an angry poem about his teacher (whom he calls Sourpuss) on one of the classroom walls. One of the children tells and the teacher yells at him to clean up his mess only to yell at him later when it is not clean enough.
At home he acts as his mothers servant and maid, fetching her slippers and setting the table for supper. When she arrives home from work, she sends Antoine to the store for flour. On the way home he overhears a woman talking about her daughter’s difficult birth which makes him cringe. He catches up with his father on the way home who shows him a fog light he bought for the races he plans to attend that Saturday. Despite his cheery attitude, his mother appears cold and annoyed with his jokes and sense of optimism. When his mother tells his father she would prefer to stay at home on Sunday rather than go to the races he accuses her of having an affair. His mother sends him to take out the trash and go to bed (which is in a small corner in the hallway with no bed-sheets, only his sleeping bag).

vendredi 13 août 2010

Same-sex marriage in California


A federal judge in San Francisco decided today that gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry, striking down Proposition 8, the voter approved ballot measure that banned same-sex unions.

U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker said Proposition 8, passed by voters in November 2008, violated the federal constitutional rights of gays and lesbians to marry the partners of their choice. His ruling is expected to be appealed to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and then up to the U.S. Supreme Court.

[Updated at 1:54 p.m.: "Plaintiffs challenge Proposition 8 under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment," the judge wrote. "Each challenge is independently meritorious, as Proposition 8 both unconstitutionally burdens the exercise of the fundamental right to marry and creates an irrational classification on the basis of sexual orientation."

Vaughn added: "Plaintiffs seek to have the state recognize their committed relationships, and plaintiffs’ relationships are consistent with the core of the history, tradition and practice of marriage in the United States.“

Ultimately, the judge concluded that Proposition 8 "fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples. … Because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.”]

[Updated at 2:28 p.m.: Both Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa praised the judge's decision. "Because a judge had the courage to stand up for the constitution of the United States, prop 8 has been overturned!" the mayor wrote on Twitter.

“This ruling marks a victory for loving, committed couples who want nothing more than the same rights and security as other families,” added Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, minutes after Walker’s ruling was released. “From the start, this has been about basic fairness.”

Austin R. Nimocks, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund who fought to uphold Prop 8 in Walker’s court, vowed to appeal, saying “We’re obviously disappointed that the judge did not uphold the will of over 7 million Californians who made a decision in a free and fair democratic process.”]

Walker, an appointee of President George H.W. Bush, heard 16 witnesses summoned by opponents of Proposition 8 and two called by proponents during a 2½-week trial in January.

Walker’s historic ruling in Perry vs. Schwarzenegger relied heavily on the testimony he heard at trial. His ruling listed both factual findings and his conclusions about the law.

Voters approved the ban by a 52.3% margin six months after the California Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage was permitted under the state Constitution.

The state high court later upheld Proposition 8 as a valid amendment to the state Constitution.

An estimated 18,000 same-sex couples married in California during the months that it was legal, and the state continues to recognize those marriages.

The federal challenge was filed on behalf of a gay couple in Southern California and a lesbian couple in Berkeley. They are being represented by former Solicitor General Ted Olson, a conservative, and noted litigator David Boies, who squared off against Olson in Bush vs. Gore.

A Los Angeles-based group formed to fight Proposition 8 has been financing the litigation.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown refused to defend Proposition 8, prodding the sponsors of the initiative to hire a legal team experienced in U.S. Supreme Court litigation.

Backers of Proposition 8 contended that the legal burden was on the challengers to prove there was no rational justification for voting for the measure. They cited as rational a view that children fare best with both a father and a mother.

But defense witnesses conceded in cross-examination that studies show children reared from birth by same-sex couples fared as well as those born to opposite-sex parents and that marriage would benefit the families of gays and lesbians.

-- Maura Dolan in San Francisco for the L.A. Times

jeudi 12 août 2010

Singing in the Rain

Singin' in the Rain is a 1952 American comedy musical film starring Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, Donald O'Connor, and Jean Hagen and directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, with Kelly also providing the choreography. It offers a comic depiction of Hollywood, and its transition from silent films to "talkies."
Although it was a big hit when first released, it was not accorded its legendary status by contemporary critics. It is now frequently described as one of the best musicals ever made, topping the AFI's 100 Years of Musicals list, and ranking fifth in its updated list of the greatest American films in 2007.



Plot

Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) is a popular silent film star with humble roots as a singer, dancer, and stunt man. Don barely tolerates his vapid, shallow leading lady, Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen), though their studio, Monumental Pictures, links them romantically to increase their popularity. Lina herself is convinced they are in love, despite Don's protestations otherwise.
One day, to escape from overenthusiastic fans, Don jumps into a passing car driven by Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds). She drops him off, but not before claiming to be a stage actress and sneering at his undignified accomplishments. Later, at a party, the head of Don's studio, R.F. Simpson (Millard Mitchell), shows a short demonstration of a talking picture, but his guests are unimpressed. To Don's amusement and Kathy's embarrassment, she pops out of a mock cake right in front of him as part of the entertainment; Kathy, it turns out, is only a chorus girl. Furious, she throws a real cake at him, only to hit Lina right in the face. Later, after weeks of searching, Don makes up with Kathy after he finds her working in another Monumental Pictures production, and they begin to fall in love.
After a rival studio has an enormous hit with its first talking picture, 1927's The Jazz Singer, R.F. decides he has no choice but to convert the new Lockwood and Lamont film, The Dueling Cavalier, into a talkie. The production is beset with difficulties that reportedly reflect what actually took place during the early days of talking pictures. By far the worst problem is Lina's grating voice. A test screening is a disaster. In one scene, Don repeats the line "I love you" to Lina over and over, to the audience's derisive laughter (a reference to a scene by John Gilbert in his first talkie). Then throughout the movie, the sound went out of synchronization.
Don's best friend, Cosmo Brown (Donald O'Connor), comes up with the idea to dub Lina's voice with Kathy's, and they persuade R.F. to turn The Dueling Cavalier into a musical called The Dancing Cavalier. When Lina finds out, she is furious and does everything possible to sabotage the romance between Don and Kathy. She becomes even angrier when she discovers that R.F. intends to give Kathy a screen credit and a big publicity promotion. Lina, after consulting lawyers, threatens to sue R.F. unless he cancels Kathy's buildup and orders her to continue working (uncredited) as Lina's voice. R.F. reluctantly agrees to her demands.
The premiere of The Dancing Cavalier is a tremendous success. When the audience clamors for Lina to sing live, Don, Cosmo, and R.F. improvise and get her to lip synch while Kathy sings into a second microphone while hidden behind the stage curtain. Later, while Lina is "singing," Don, Cosmo and R.F. gleefully open the curtain. When Cosmo replaces Kathy at the microphone, the deception becomes obvious. Lina flees in embarrassment. Kathy tries to run away as well, but Don introduces the audience to "the real star of the film." The final shot shows Kathy and Don in front of a billboard for their new movie, Singin' in the Rain.

mardi 10 août 2010

The Go-Between and Harold Pinter




The Go-Between

The Go-Between is Harold Pinter's 1970 film adaptation of the novel by L. P. Hartley. A British production directed by Joseph Losey, it stars Dominic Guard (in the title role of Leo Colston), Julie Christie, Alan Bates, Margaret Leighton, Michael Redgrave, and Edward Fox.
Pinter's screenplay—his final collaboration with Losey, following The Servant (1963) and Accident (1967)[1]—is largely faithful to the novel, though it alludes to the novel's opening events in dialogue and incorporates events described in the novel's epilogue within the central narrative.



Harold Pinter

Harold Pinter, CH, CBE (10 October 1930 – 24 December 2008), was an English playwright, screenwriter, actor, theatre director, left wing political activist and poet. He was among the most influential British playwrights of modern times. In 2005, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Pinter's writing career spanned over 50 years and produced 29 original stage plays, 27 screenplays, many dramatic sketches, radio and TV plays, poetry, one novel, short fiction, essays, speeches, and letters. His best-known plays include The Birthday Party (1957), The Caretaker (1959), The Homecoming (1964), and Betrayal (1978), each of which he adapted to film. His screenplay adaptations of others' works include The Servant (1963), The Go-Between (1970), The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981), The Trial (1993), and Sleuth (2007). He directed almost 50 stage, television, and film productions and acted extensively in radio, stage, television, and film productions of his own and others' works.
Pinter's dramas often involve strong conflicts between ambivalent characters who struggle for verbal and territorial dominance and for their own versions of the past. Stylistically, these works are marked by theatrical pauses and silences, comedic timing, irony, and menace. Thematically ambiguous, they raise complex issues of individual identity oppressed by social forces, language, and vicissitudes of memory. In 1981, Pinter stated that he was not inclined to write plays explicitly about political subjects; yet in the mid-1980s he began writing overtly political plays. This "new direction" in his work and his left-wing political activism stimulated additional critical debate. Pinter, his work, and his politics have been the subject of voluminous critical commentary.
Pinter received a number of awards, including the Tony Award for Best Play in 1967 for The Homecoming, the BAFTA awards, the French Légion d'honneur and 20 honorary degrees. Festivals and symposia have been devoted to him and his work. In awarding the Nobel Prize, the Swedish Academy noted, "That he occupies a position as a modern classic is illustrated by his name entering the language as an adjective used to describe a particular atmosphere and environment in drama: 'Pinteresque'".
Despite frail health after being diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in December 2001, Pinter continued to act on stage and screen, last performing the title role of Samuel Beckett's one-act monologue Krapp's Last Tape, for the 50th anniversary season of the Royal Court Theatre, in October 2006. He died from liver cancer on 24 December 2008. He was buried the following week at Kensal Green Cemetery in North West London.

Don Giovanni by Joseph Losey


Don Giovanni is a 1979 film adaptation of Mozart's classic opera Don Giovanni, based on the Don Juan legend of a seducer destroyed by his excesses. The film has generally been praised as one of the finer adaptations of opera to the big screen.

In the opera the action supposedly takes place in Spain, but Mozart's librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte wrote in Italian, and this film successfully uses locations in Venice and the Veneto.
The following plot summary could equally be applied to the original opera. After an unsuccessful attempt to seduce Donna Anna (soprano Edda Moser), Don Giovanni (bass Ruggero Raimondi) kills her father Il Commendatore (bass John Macurdy). The next morning, Giovanni meets Donna Elvira (soprano Kiri Te Kanawa), a woman he previously seduced and abandoned. Later, Giovanni happens upon the preparations for a peasant wedding and tries to seduce the bride-to-be Zerlina (mezzo-soprano Teresa Berganza), but his ambition is frustrated by Donna Elvira.
Donna Anna soon realizes that Giovanni killed her father, and she pursues the seducer along with her fiance Don Ottavio (tenor Kenneth Riegel). Ever ready to attempt a seduction, Giovanni woos Elvira's maid. As part of his plans, he switches clothes with his servant Leporello (bass-baritone José van Dam), who rapidly finds himself in trouble with people who mistake him for his master. Leporello flees and eventually meets Giovanni at the cemetery where Il Commendatore is buried. They jokingly invite the statue at his grave to dinner. While they are dining, the supernaturally revivified statue arrives, and the horrified Giovanni is drawn into an open-pit fire.

Amanda Lepore


Amanda Lepore is an American model, nightlife hostess, fashion icon and performer. She is a transsexual icon who has received attention for entertainment skills. She has been the advertising face for Heatherette, M.A.C. (cosmetics), Mego Jeans, Swatch, CAMP Cosmetics and more. Fashion design company Heatherette has used Lepore's image on much of their clothing and has chosen her several times to model their brand during Fashion Week.[1] Lepore is also noted as a regular subject in much of photographer David LaChapelle's work. She participated in his Artists and Prostitutes 1985-2005 exhibit in New York where she "lived" in a voyeuristic life-sized set. She is represented by Classic Entertainment Group (Manhattan, New York). Lepore resides in New York City and works as a nightlife hostess at many of the city's popular parties and clubs.

The child of a chemical engineer father (Italian-American) and a schizophrenic mother (German-American), Lepore was born as a male named Armand in Cedar Grove, New Jersey. At the age of 11, Lepore professed a desire to have a sex change operation after seeing a TV show on the subject. Unable to tolerate dressing as a boy, Lepore made the decision to go to school dressed as a girl, which concerned her guidance counselor; Amanda was not allowed to attend school as a female, so she received a tutor at home. At the age of 15, she began designing costumes for dancers at a local strip club. During this time, she received hormones from an underage transgendered friend who accepted outfits as payment.[citation needed] After her body developed breasts, her tutor recommended a psychiatrist. Lepore was diagnosed as transgendered. The psychiatrist informed her parents and helped in getting the hormones legally.
Her first surgical operation was a rhinoplasty, which occurred at the age of fifteen, a gift from her then-boyfriend, a plastic surgeon. Lepore has had three breast augmentations, her eyes slanted twice, her forehead lifted, her hairline pulled down, and her brow bone reduced. She has also had her forehead, buttocks, and hips enlarged with liquid silicone injections. Most notably, she had her lips enlarged with liquid silicone injections (and subsequently reduced) and has had her lower rib broken and pushed in. In an interview for "The Insider" in 2006, she acknowledged that she spent a lot of money on that transformation.
Afterwards, Lepore became involved with a bookstore owner. He was initially unaware that Lepore was transgendered, but when Lepore told him so, he accepted her and revealed the situation to his parents who were compassionate and allowed her into their family. His parents took Lepore to a doctor for the operation, but couldn’t continue until her mother gave her consent because she was a minor. By the age of seventeen (through a legal loophole) Lepore had a full sex-reassignment operation. Eventually, she married the bookstore owner and moved in with his family. Because of her husband's jealousy and worries about others finding out that his wife was transgendered, Lepore was house-bound. Over a period of seven months, Lepore planned an escape, during which time she saved money and finally left. Her husband hired a detective to find her, resulting in Lepore filing a restraining order against him. She kept in contact with her husband's father, because he understood why she had to leave.
At her new home in New York City, she made $45 a day working at a salon. She took the advice of a friend and became a dominatrix, fulfilling the erotic fantasies of others. A friend took her to Michael Alig's party "Disco 2000", where she was immediately accepted and became the center of attention. Working at a Bowery bar, LaChapelle met her, and they became important parts of each other's lives.



Currently, Lepore is exploring musical projects with producers Fatal Art Syndicate. Her first single "Deeper" is a trance dance song written by Lady Bunny, a drag queen and hostess of Wigstock.
There are two unreleased tracks produced by DJ Gomi that were played in NYC nightclubs circa 2003, the first "Up In This House" was featured additional lyrics and vocals by Kevin Aviance while the second is "Amanda, I Am". Another track, "Turn Me On, Turn Me Over", has not yet been released.
Lepore in 2005 released her first album "Introducing... Amanda Lepore" which contains "Champagne" and "My Hair Looks Fierce". In 2007 released a remix album, entitled "Fierce Pussy", which can be found on her website and "My Pussy E.P." that contains "My Pussy (is Famous). Many of her songs were produced by Cazwell, whose 2006 album features Lepore in the title track "Get Into It". Lepore also sings the main title for Another Gay Movie, "I Know What Boys Like". Remixes of the song are available in the "Fierce Pussy" album. She also performs "Cotton Candy", from the soundtrack of "Another Gay Sequel".
June 2009, Amanda performed at the Historic Majestic Theatre in Detroit, MI with The Divas of the Majestic: A Divine Lites Productions. This was for Detroit's Metro Pride Fest. This was the first time the Majestic had a "drag" show as well as the legendary Amanda Lepore.
On her MySpace page and in many interviews Lepore has mentioned working on her new album "I...Amanda Lepore" scheduled to be released in 2010.

lundi 9 août 2010

True Blood




True Blood is an American television drama series created and produced by Alan Ball. It is based on The Southern Vampire Mysteries series of novels by Charlaine Harris, and details the co-existence of vampires and humans in Bon Temps, a fictional small Louisiana town. The series centers on Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), a telepathic waitress at a bar, who falls in love with vampire Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer).
The show is broadcast on the premium cable network HBO in the United States. It is produced by HBO in association with Ball's production company, Your Face Goes Here Entertainment. It premiered on September 7, 2008.
The first season received critical acclaim and won several awards, including one Golden Globe and an Emmy. The show's second 12-episode season premiered on June 14, 2009. On July 30, 2009, HBO confirmed that True Blood would be renewed for a third season, which began shooting on December 3, 2009 and premiered on June 13, 2010. On June 21, 2010, HBO renewed True Blood for a fourth season, to debut in summer 2011.

Plot

Following the creation of synthetic blood, vampires have progressed from legendary monsters to fellow citizens overnight. Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) is a telepath and waitress at Merlotte's in the small Louisiana town of Bon Temps, owned by Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammell), a shapeshifter—though this secret is kept hidden. One night, Sookie meets Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer), a handsome 173-year-old vampire who has returned to Bon Temps following the death of his last remaining relative. As she cannot hear his thoughts, she finds it easy to be in his company and, over the first season, the two become romantically involved.



Reception

Critical reception of True Blood has generally been favorable, despite the fact that initial impressions were mixed. The New York Post critic wrote of the opening episodes: "If HBO's new vampire show is any indication, there would still be countless deaths – especially among vampire hunters and the viewers who love them – because everyone would be dying of boredom. And so it is with HBO's new series from death-obsessed Alan Ball, creator of the legendary Six Feet Under, whose new show True Blood, won't so much make your blood run cold as it will leave you cold."
Whereas USA Today concluded: "Sexy, witty and unabashedly peculiar, True Blood is a blood-drenched Southern Gothic romantic parable set in a world where vampires are out and about and campaigning for equal rights. Part mystery, part fantasy, part comedy, and all wildly imaginative exaggeration, [True] Blood proves that there's still vibrant life — or death — left in the 'star-crossed cute lovers' paradigm. You just have to know where to stake your romantic claim."
By the end of the first season, True Blood had a score of 64, indicating generally favorable reviews, on Metacritic, an aggregator of critical responses. The second season received a more favorable score of 74 on Metacritic. As of the third season, True Blood's rating on Metacritic has risen to 79.

Clothes for a Summer Hotel by Tennessee Williams

Clothes for a Summer Hotel is a 1980 play by Tennessee Williams about the relationship between novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda. A critical and commercial failure, it was Williams' last play to debut on Broadway during his lifetime. The play takes place over a one-day visit Scott pays the institutionalized Zelda at Highland Mental Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina, with a series of flashbacks to their marriage in the twenties. Williams began work in 1976 on what he envisioned as a "long play" about the Fitzgeralds (he eventually cut it down), and had Geraldine Page in mind to play Zelda from the start.

Williams biographer Donald Spoto has argued that Scott's visit to Zelda was a "clear" representation of the playwright's frequent visits to his mentally incapacitated sister, Rose, in mental hospitals. Williams himself admitted a close identification with Fitzgerald, saying, "At one point I went through a deep depression and heavy drinking. And I, too, have gone through a period of eclipse in public favor....[The Fitzgeralds] embody concerns of my own, the tortures of the creative artist in a materialist society....They were so close to the edge. I understood the schizophrenia and the thwarted ambition."

After an unsuccessful out-of-town tryout in Washington, Clothes for a Summer Hotel opened at Broadway's Cort Theatre on March 26, 1980, with José Quintero directing and Page and Kenneth Haigh leading the cast. The play was interpreted by critics as a literal biography of the Fitzgeralds "that got its facts wrong" rather than a metaphorical play that alluded to Williams' life.Walter Kerr of The New York Times even faulted the play for "the fact that Mr. Williams's personal voice is nowhere to be heard." In addition to receiving poor critical notices, the play opened at the same time that New Yorkers were dealing with a heavy blizzard and a transit strike, and subsequently closed after fourteen performances. As a result of the play's critical failure, Williams vowed that he would "never open a play in New York again....I can't get good press from the New York Times, and [critics] Harold Clurman, Brendan Gill and Jack Kroll hate me....I put too much of my heart in [my plays] to have them demolished by some querulous old aisle sitters."

Mayfair


Mayfair is an area of central London, England, within the City of Westminster.

History

Mayfair is named after the annual fortnight-long May Fair that took place on the site that is Shepherd Market today (from 1686 until it was banned in that location in 1764). Until 1686, the May Fair was held in Haymarket, and after 1764, it moved to Fair Field in Bow because the well-to-do residents of the area felt the fair 'lowered the tone' of the neighbourhood[1].
Mayfair is roughly bordered by Hyde Park to the west, Oxford Street to the north, Piccadilly and Green Park to the south and Regent Street to the east. Most of the area was first developed between the mid 17th century and the mid 18th century as a fashionable residential district, by a number of landlords, the most important of them the Grosvenor family. The Rothschild family bought up large areas of Mayfair in the 19th century. The freehold of a large section of Mayfair also belongs to the Crown Estate.
The district is now mainly commercial, with many offices in converted houses and new buildings, including major corporate headquarters, a concentration of hedge funds, and real estate businesses. Rents are among the highest in London and the world. There remains a substantial quantity of residential property as well as some exclusive shopping and London's largest concentration of luxury hotels and many restaurants. Buildings in Mayfair include the United States embassy in Grosvenor Square, the Royal Academy of Arts, The Handel House Museum, the Grosvenor House Hotel, Claridge's and The Dorchester.
The renown and prestige of Mayfair has grown in the popular mind due to its designation as the most expensive property on the British Monopoly set.

Economy

Mayfair has become an attractive location away from the City of London for private banks, hedge funds and wealth managers.
Bestinvest, the financial advisory and wealth management firm, is located here in Chesterfield Gardens. EasyGroup has its head office in Mayfair.
Cadbury formerly had its head office in Mayfair. In 2007 Cadbury Schweppes had announced that it was moving to Uxbridge, London Borough of Hillingdon to cut costs.

vendredi 6 août 2010

Secret Diary Of A Call Girl


Secret Diary of a Call Girl (known on-air before the watershed in the UK as Secret Diary) is a British television drama broadcast on ITV2 based on the blog and books by the pseudonymous "Belle de Jour," starring Billie Piper as Belle, a high-class London-based call girl. The series was written by Lucy Prebble, who is also known as the author of The Sugar Syndrome and ENRON. The series has been compared to Sex and the City by many critics, mainly due to its humorous approach to sex. After months of speculation it has been reported that Piper has signed a £2 million deal to reprise her role for a fourth and final series, which is currently scheduled to air on ITV2 beginning 27th January 2011.

Background

The rights to the blog were bought by Silverapples Media (Avril MacRory and Paul Duane), who co-produced the series with Tiger Aspect Productions. The series was initially developed with Channel 4[5] and when Channel 4 passed on the project, ITV took over. The series airs in a late-night 10pm slot, as part of ITV2's "XXL Thursday" programming block.
The theme song for the first two series was an excerpt of "You Know I'm No Good" by Amy Winehouse, followed in the third series by a fully instrumental version. The song runs whilst the intertitle plays, showing Belle applying make-up and getting dressed, interspersed with shots of urban London.

Plot

The series, set in London, revolves around the life of Hannah Baxter (Billie Piper), a seemingly normal woman, who lives a secret life as a call girl, under the pseudonym Belle. The series focuses on her professional and private life and its complications as they collide. However, she receives help and advice from her best friend Ben (Iddo Goldberg), in most situations. Upon the introduction of fellow call girl Bambi (Ashley Madekwe) in the second series premiere, Hannah has became close friends with her, giving her advice regarding prostitution.
Hannah, as the main character also narrates the series, sometimes through voiceovers but more frequently she breaks the fourth wall and speaks directly to the audience. During the first series the episodes are held together by a light story arc, however, from Series 2 onwards story arcs have featured more predominately, usually in the form of Hannah's romances, namely Alex and Duncan, in Series 2 and 3 respectively.

jeudi 5 août 2010

The Big Issue


The Big Issue is a street newspaper published in eight countries; it is written by professional journalists and sold by homeless individuals. It was founded by John Bird and Gordon Roddick in September 1991. The Big Issue is one of the UK's leading social businesses and exists to offer homeless people the opportunity to earn a legitimate income, thereby helping them to reintegrate into mainstream society. It is also the world's most widely circulated street newspaper.
To become a vendor, one must be homeless or vulnerably housed or marginalised in some way. The Big Issue recognises, however, that for many people, being housed is only the first stage in getting off the streets; therefore, The Big Issue Foundation exists to support vendors in gaining control of their lives by tackling the various issues which lead to homelessness.
The Big Issue has been described as one of the most successful street newspapers worldwide, selling over 300,000 copies a week and listed as the third-favourite newspaper of young British people (age 15 to 24) in 2001.
There are 5 localised editions of the magazine sold throughout the United Kingdom and vendors buy The Big Issue for £1.00 and sell it for £2.00. The magazine is also produced and sold in Australia, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, Japan, Namibia, Kenya, Malawi and Taiwan. All vendors receive training, sign a code of conduct and can be identified by badges which include their photo and vendor number.

mardi 3 août 2010

EastEnders


EastEnders is a long-running British television soap opera, first broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC One on 19 February 1985. It currently ranks as one of the most watched shows in the UK. EastEnders storylines examine the domestic and professional lives of the people who live and work in the fictional London Borough of Walford in the East End of London. The series primarily centres around the residents of Albert Square, a Victorian square of terraced houses, and its neighbouring streets, namely Bridge Street, Turpin Road and George Street, and which encompasses a pub, street market, night club, community centre, cafe and various small businesses, in addition to a park and allotments.
The series was originally screened as two half-hour episodes per week. Since August 2001, four episodes are broadcast each week on BBC One (each episode is repeated on BBC Three at 22:00) and an omnibus edition screens on Sunday afternoons. It is one of the UK's highest-rated programmes, often appearing near or at the top of the week's BARB ratings. Within eight months of its launch, it reached the number one spot in the ratings, and has remained, almost consistently, among the top-rated TV programmes in Britain ever since. The average audience share for an episode is currently between 35% and 45%. Created by producer Julia Smith and script editor Tony Holland, EastEnders has remained a significant programme in terms of the BBC's success and audience share, and also in the history of British television drama, tackling many controversial and taboo issues previously unseen on mainstream television in the UK.
EastEnders has won six BAFTA Awards, and has won the Inside Soap Award for 'Best Soap' for ten years running, as well as eleven National Television Awards for 'Most Popular Serial Drama' and eight awards for 'Best Soap' at the British Soap Awards. It has also been inducted into the Rose d'Or Hall of Fame. It's also won six TV Quick/TV Choice Awards for 'Best Soap', five TRIC Awards for 'Soap of The Year' and four Royal Television Society Awards for 'Best Continuing Drama'.

Popularity and viewership

EastEnders proved highly popular and Appreciation Indexes reflected this, rising from 55–60 at the launch to 85–95 later on, a figure which was nearly ten points higher than the average for a British soap opera. Research suggested that people found the characters true to life, the plots believable and, importantly in the face of criticism of the content, people watched as a family and regarded it as viewing for all the family. Based on market research by BBC commissioning in 2003, EastEnders is most watched by 60–74 year olds, closely followed by 45–59 year olds. An average EastEnders episode attracts a total audience share between 35 and 40%. Aside from that, the 22:00 repeat showing on BBC Three attracts an average of 500,000 viewers, whilst the Sunday omnibus generally attracts 3 million. EastEnders is one of the more popular programmes on British television and regularly attracts between 7 and 12 million viewers and while the show's ratings have fallen since its initial surge in popularity and the advent of multichannel digital television, the programme continues to be largely successful for the BBC. EastEnders two main rival's are ITV soaps Coronation Street and Emmerdale. EastEnders generally rates lower than Coronation Street, and has been beaten by Emmerdale on numerous occasions. In 2001, EastEnders clashed with Coronation Street for the first time. EastEnders won the battle with 8.4 million viewers (41% share) whilst Coronation Street lagged behind with 7.3 million viewers (34% share). EastEnders often clashes with Emmerdale, and this gives the show some of its lowest viewing figures, dropping to below six million. However, the BBC Three repeats often top one million viewers because of this. The live 25th anniversary show on 19 February 2010, which revealed Stacey Branning as Archie Mitchell's killer, received 16.41 million viewers, the show's highest rating since 14 November 2003.


30.15 million viewers watched Den Watts serve Angie divorce papers (Christmas 1986).
The launch show attracted 17 million viewers in 1985; this was perhaps helped by the amount of press attention it received, something which continues today.
On Christmas Day 1986, EastEnders attracted 30.15 million viewers who tuned in to see Den Watts hand over divorce papers to wife Angie. This remains the highest rated episode of a soap in British television history.
Since EastEnders began in 1985, at least one of its episodes has rated higher than any other British soap opera throughout each decade. This includes the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, and as of 19 February 2010, the 2010s.

lundi 2 août 2010

Skins



Skins is a British teen drama that follows a group of teenagers in Bristol, South West England, through the two years of sixth form. The controversial plot line explores issues such as dysfunctional families, personality disorders, eating disorders, mental illness, homosexuality, and death. The show was created by father and son television writers Bryan Elsley and Jamie Brittain for Company Pictures, and premiered on E4 on 25 January 2007.
The show is notable for its casting of amateur actors and young writers. The cast are entirely replaced every two series, when the characters leave sixth form. Skins has broadcast four series, and has been commissioned up to a sixth. A Skins film is also in production, as well as an American adaptation by MTV, set in Baltimore, Maryland.
On 29 July 2010, it was announced that the new cast – dubbed the "third generation" – would be unveiled on 5 August.

Writing
The show's realistic plot lines are often credited to the writing team, who have an average age of 21. The series co-producer Bryan Elsley said, "It's all about the writing. [...] We're about letting our audience feel they are not alone. [...] We're always having people miss [writing] meetings because they've got A-levels or even GCSEs".

Critical reception
The first series received positive reviews, although some critics complained that the series depicts teenagers unrealistically and stereotypically.[26] Others criticised the excessive promotion of the show (specifically in the UK) and having relatively mediocre writing in comparison to other similarly themed shows. Actor Nicholas Hoult defended criticism of the extreme storylines, saying they would not reflect "everyone's teenage life", adding "it is maybe heightened for entertainment but all of it is believable."
Marieke Hardy was extremely admiring of the show, and particularly enjoyed the fact that the show was "beautiful and sad and poignant and perfectly hurtful", while also managing to give impression of being drama that is "edgy, funny and rude". However, she did state that she was unsure whether the show was meant for teenagers or not. Stewart Lee has remarked during an interview on the BBC4 programme Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe that he feels lucky for having been a teenager watching TV for teenagers in the 1970s and not the 2000s as "there was something really comforting for nerds and weirdos about programmes like Children of the Stones and The Changes."[citation needed] He said that watching Skins as a teenager today would make him feel lonelier than he already would have been. However, Brooker himself gave the programme a positive review in his Guardian column "Screen Burn", and specifically stated that "the series had wrong-footed me", comparing his initial expectation of Skins as a shallow show to after he had finished watching the series.
In his book Doctor Who: The Writer's Tale, Russell T Davies and his co-author, Benjamin Cook, discuss Skins at length, with Davies praising the show's innovation in a genre that was fast becoming tired and out of date. They are critical of some elements of the first series, such as the believability of Tony's character, or episode 6 which is described as "Carry On Russia", but give high praise to the second series as a whole, highlighting the death of Sid's dad as a superb moment, and calling the finale "perfect". Davies, creator of the award-winning Queer as Folk, also praised the handling of the show's homosexuality-related storylines, saying that he knew a boy very like Maxxie in the 80s. The Age called it a "refreshing, entertaining and worthy series" and wrote it was "compulsory viewing for parents of teenagers as much as for teens." Similarly, the "Naomily" storyline of Series 3 and 4 proved popular with lesbian viewers; a poll conducted by American gay womens' media website AfterEllen.com ranked Naomi and Emily as the top two fictional lesbian and bisexual characters.

jeudi 29 juillet 2010

2001 : A Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick


2001: A Space Odyssey (often referred to as simply 2001) is a 1968 epic science fiction film directed by Stanley Kubrick released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and written by Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke. The film deals with thematic elements of human evolution, technology, artificial intelligence, and extraterrestrial life, and is notable for its scientific realism, pioneering special effects, ambiguous imagery that is open-ended to a point approaching surrealism, sound in place of traditional narrative techniques, and minimal use of dialogue.
The film has a memorable soundtrack—the result of the association that Kubrick made between the spinning motion of the satellites and the dancers of waltzes, which led him to use the The Blue Danube waltz by Johann Strauss II,[2] and the famous symphonic poem Also sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss, to portray the philosophical evolution of Man theorized in Nietzsche's homonymous work.[3][4]
Despite initially receiving mixed reviews, 2001: A Space Odyssey is today recognized by many critics and audiences as one of the greatest films ever made; the 2002 Sight & Sound poll of critics ranked it among the top ten films of all time.[5] It was nominated for four Academy Awards, and received one for visual effects. In 1991, it was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. On 25 June 2010 a version specially remastered by Warner Bros. without the music soundtrack opened the 350th anniversary celebrations of the Royal Society at Southbank Centre in co-operation with BFI, with the score played live by the Philharmonia Orchestra and Choir.

Title
The first title imagined by Kubrick and Clarke was Journey Beyond the Stars, but Kubrick modified it later. Having the intention to give the film more pomp and grandeur, he used Homer's The Odyssey as inspiration to name the film.



Style
Differences between the film and the novel
Clarke and Kubrick wrote the novel and screenplay simultaneously, but while Clarke ultimately opted for clearer explanations of the mysterious monolith and the Star Gate, Kubrick chose to keep the film mysterious and enigmatic with minimal dialogue in order to convey what many viewers have described as a powerful sense of the sublime and numinous, without specific explanations of events.

Reaction

Upon release, 2001 polarized critical opinion, receiving both ecstatic praise and vehemently negative criticism.

mercredi 28 juillet 2010

Oxford


Oxford is a city, and the county town of Oxfordshire, in South East England. The city, made prominent by its medieval university, has a population of just under 165,000, with 151,000 living within the district boundary. The rivers Cherwell and Thames run through Oxford and meet south of the city centre. For a distance of some 10 miles (16 km) along the river, in the vicinity of Oxford, the Thames is known as The Isis.
Buildings in Oxford demonstrate an example of every British architectural period since the arrival of the Saxons, including the iconic, mid-18th century Radcliffe Camera. Oxford is known as the "city of dreaming spires", a term coined by poet Matthew Arnold in reference to the harmonious architecture of Oxford's university buildings. The University of Oxford is the oldest university in the English-speaking world.

There are two universities in Oxford; the University of Oxford and Oxford Brookes University as well as Ruskin College.
Oxford is home to wide range of schools many of which receive pupils from around the world. Three are University choral foundations, established to educate the boy choristers of the chapel choirs, and have kept the tradition of single sex education. Examination results in state-run Oxford schools are consistently below the national average and regional average. However, results in the city are improving with 44% of pupils gaining 5 grades A*-C in 2006

mardi 27 juillet 2010

Family Guy


Family Guy is an American animated television series created by Seth MacFarlane for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series centers on the Griffins, a dysfunctional family consisting of parents Peter and Lois; their children Meg, Chris, and Stewie; and their anthropomorphic pet dog Brian. The show uses frequent cutaway gags, often in the form of tangential vignettes which parody American culture.
MacFarlane conceived Family Guy after developing two animated films, The Life of Larry and Larry & Steve. MacFarlane redesigned the films' protagonist Larry and his dog Steve, and renamed them Peter and Brian, respectively. Shortly after the third season of Family Guy aired in 2001, Fox canceled the series. However, favorable DVD sales and high ratings for syndicated reruns convinced the network to renew the show in 2004. The series takes place in the fictional town of Quahog, Rhode Island (pronounced /ˈkoʊhɒɡ/), based on MacFarlane's upbringing and education.
Family Guy has been nominated for 12 Primetime Emmy Awards and 11 Annie Awards, and has won three of each. It has garnered three Golden Reel Award nominations, winning once. In 2009, it was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series, the first time an animated series was nominated for the award since The Flintstones in 1961. Family Guy has also received negative criticism, including unfavorable comparisons for its similarities to The Simpsons.
Many tie-in media have been released, including Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story, a straight-to-DVD special released in 2005; Family Guy: Live in Vegas, a soundtrack-DVD combo released in 2005, featuring music from the show as well as original music created by MacFarlane and Walter Murphy; a video game and pinball machine, released in 2006 and 2007, respectively; and, since 2005, six books published by Harper Adult based on the Family Guy universe. In 2008, MacFarlane confirmed that the cast was interested in producing a feature film and that he was working on a story for film adaptation. A spin-off series, The Cleveland Show, premiered on September 27, 2009, as a part of the "Animation Domination" lineup on Fox. The eighth season of Family Guy premiered on the same night.

The show revolves around the adventures of the family of Peter Griffin, a bumbling, but well-intentioned, blue-collar worker. Peter is an Irish American Catholic with a prominent Rhode Island and Eastern Massachusetts accent.[84] His wife Lois is a stay-at-home mother and piano teacher, and has a distinct New England accent from being a member of the Pewterschmidt family of wealthy socialites.[85] Peter and Lois have three children: Meg, their teenage daughter, who is frequently the butt of Peter's jokes due to her homeliness and lack of popularity; Chris, their teenage son, who is overweight, unintelligent and, in many respects, a younger version of his father; and Stewie, their diabolical infant son of ambiguous sexual orientation who has adult mannerisms, and speaks fluently with stereotypical archvillain phrases, and an accent based on old British movie stars such as Rex Harrison.[86] Living with the family is Brian, the family dog, who is highly anthropomorphized, drinks martinis, smokes cigarettes, drives a Prius, and engages in human conversation, though he is still considered a pet in many respects.[87]
Many recurring characters appear alongside the Griffin family. These include the family's neighbors: sex-crazed airline-pilot bachelor Glenn Quagmire; mild-mannered deli owner Cleveland Brown and his wife (ex-wife as of the fourth-season episode "The Cleveland–Loretta Quagmire")[88] Loretta Brown, with their hyperactive son, Cleveland Jr.; paraplegic police officer Joe Swanson, his wife Bonnie and their baby daughter Susie (it should be noted that Bonnie is pregnant with Susie from the show's beginning until the 7th episode of the 7th season); paranoid Jewish pharmacist Mort Goldman, his wife Muriel and their geeky and annoying son Neil; and elderly ephebophile Herbert. TV news anchors Tom Tucker and Diane Simmons, Asian reporter Tricia Takanawa, and Blaccu-Weather meteorologist Ollie Williams also make frequent appearances. Quahog mayor, Mayor Adam West, is in various episodes.

Family Guy has received many positive reviews from critics. Catherine Seipp of the National Review Online described it as a "nasty but extremely funny" cartoon.[101] Caryn James of The New York Times, called it a show with an "outrageously satirical family" and "includes plenty of comic possibilities and parodies."[102] The Sydney Morning Herald named Family Guy the "Show of the Week" on April 21, 2009, hailing it a "pop culture-heavy masterpiece".[103] Frazier Moore from The Seattle Times called it an "endless craving for humor about bodily emissions". He also thought it was "breathtakingly smart" and said a "blend of the ingenious with the raw helps account for its much broader appeal". He finished up summarizing it as "rude, crude and deliciously wrong".[104] The series has also attracted many celebrities, including Emily Blunt, who has stated that Family Guy is her favorite series, and has expressed strong interest in becoming a guest star on the show.[105] George Lucas revealed in his conversation with MacFarlane that he has TiVoed every single episode of Family Guy without having to buy the DVDs and, in addition to Jackass, it is the only show that he watches. MacFarlane said Lucasfilm was extremely helpful when the Family Guy crew wanted to parody their works.[106] The New Yorker's Nancy Franklin said that Family Guy is becoming one of the best animated shows there is, commenting on its ribaldry and popularity, even saying that it was better than The Simpsons, in terms of quality.[107] The show has also become a hit on Hulu, becoming the second highest viewed show after Saturday Night Live.[108]


Cover of issue 458 of Mad Magazine, showing the Family Guy characters crossed over with characters from The Simpsons.

Criticism and controversy

Family Guy has also received its share of negative treatment. For example, Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly has frequently panned the show, grading it with a "D",[109] and naming it the worst show of the 1999–2000 television season.[110] The Parents Television Council, a watchdog group founded by L. Brent Bozell III, has published outspoken critical views of Family Guy. Family Guy made the PTC's 2000,[111] 2005[112] and 2006[113] lists of "worst prime-time shows for family viewing", and several Family Guy episodes were chosen as "Worst TV Shows of the Week" for reasons of profanity, animated nudity, and violence. The Council has frequently noted that the series was among the most popular shows among children aged two to 12, cautioning parents that children will be attracted by the show because of its animated format, while asserting that the series is suitable only for adults.[114]
The series has frequently been criticized for using story premises and humor similar to those used in episodes of The Simpsons. The Simpsons depicted Peter Griffin as a "clone" of Homer Simpson in a Halloween special,[115] and as a fugitive accused of "Plagiarismo" in the episode "The Italian Bob". Family Guy is also mocked in the two-part episode, ("Cartoon Wars Part I" and "Cartoon Wars Part II"), of South Park,[116] in which characters call the show's jokes interchangeable and unrelated to storylines. The writers of Family Guy are portrayed as manatees, who write by pushing rubber "idea balls" inscribed with random topics into a bin. MacFarlane responded to the criticism, saying it was completely founded and true, even giving reference to many skits and jokes that were meant for previously scripted episodes and later cut and recycled in future episodes.[117]
In February 2010, the show came under attack by Fox News commentator and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, for its portrayal of a girl with Down syndrome whom Chris admires. In one line, the girl says that her mother is a former governor of Alaska. Palin, whose youngest son has Down syndrome, called the episode a "kick in the gut".[118][119][120] The voice actor who portrayed Palin's daughter, Andrea Fay Friedman, who also has Down syndrome, responded by saying, "In my family we think laughing is good. My parents raised me to have a sense of humor and to live a normal life. My mother did not carry me around under her arm like a loaf of French bread the way former Governor Palin carries her son Trig around looking for sympathy and votes."[121]

lundi 26 juillet 2010

Ipod




The iPod is a portable media player designed and marketed by Apple and launched on October 23, 2001. As of June 2010, the product line-up includes the hard drive-based iPod Classic, the touchscreen iPod Touch, the video-capable iPod Nano, and the compact iPod Shuffle. Former iPod models include the iPod Mini and the spin-off iPod Photo (since reintegrated into the main iPod Classic line). iPod Classic models store media on an internal hard drive, while all other models use flash memory to enable their smaller size (the discontinued Mini used a Microdrive miniature hard drive). As with many other digital music players, iPods can also serve as external data storage devices. Storage capacity varies by model, ranging from 2 GB for the iPod Shuffle to 160 GB for the iPod Classic.
Apple's iTunes software can be used to transfer music to the devices from computers using certain versions of Apple Macintosh and Microsoft Windows operating systems. For users who choose not to use Apple's software or whose computers cannot run iTunes software, several open source alternatives to iTunes are also available. iTunes and its alternatives may also transfer photos, videos, games, contact information, e-mail settings, Web bookmarks, and calendars to iPod models supporting those features.
The iPod branding is also used for the media player applications included with the iPhone and iPad; the iPhone version is essentially a combination of the Music and Videos apps on the iPod Touch. Both devices can therefore function as iPods, but they are generally treated as separate products.

History and Design

The iPod line came from Apple's "digital hub" category, when the company began creating software for the growing market of personal digital devices. Digital cameras, camcorders and organizers had well-established mainstream markets, but the company found existing digital music players "big and clunky or small and useless" with user interfaces that were "unbelievably awful," so Apple decided to develop its own. As ordered by CEO Steve Jobs, Apple's hardware engineering chief Jon Rubinstein assembled a team of engineers to design the iPod line, including hardware engineers Tony Fadell and Michael Dhuey, and design engineer Jonathan Ive. The product was developed in less than one year and unveiled on 23 October 2001. Jobs announced it as a Mac-compatible product with a 5 GB hard drive that put "1,000 songs in your pocket."
Apple did not develop the iPod software entirely in-house, instead using PortalPlayer's reference platform based on two ARM cores. The platform had rudimentary software running on a commercial microkernel embedded operating system. PortalPlayer had previously been working on an IBM-branded MP3 player with Bluetooth headphones. Apple contracted another company, Pixo, to help design and implement the user interface under the direct supervision of Steve Jobs. As development progressed, Apple continued to refine the software's look and feel. Starting with the iPod Mini, the Chicago font was replaced with Espy Sans. Later iPods switched fonts again to Podium Sans—a font similar to Apple's corporate font, Myriad. iPods with color displays then adopted some Mac OS X themes like Aqua progress bars, and brushed metal meant to evoke a combination lock. In 2007, Apple modified the iPod interface again with the introduction of the sixth-generation iPod Classic and third-generation iPod Nano by changing the font to Helvetica and, in most cases, splitting the screen in half by displaying the menus on the left and album artwork, photos, or videos on the right (whichever was appropriate for the selected item).
In September 2007, during a lawsuit with patent holding company Burst.com, Apple drew attention to a patent for a similar device that was developed in 1979. Kane Kramer patented the idea of a "plastic music box" in 1979, which he called the IXI. He was unable to secure funding to renew the US$ 120,000 worldwide patent, so it lapsed and Kramer never profited from his idea.


Trademark

The name iPod was proposed by Vinnie Chieco, a freelance copywriter, who (with others) was called by Apple to figure out how to introduce the new player to the public. After Chieco saw a prototype, he thought of the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey and the phrase "Open the pod bay door, Hal!", which refers to the white EVA Pods of the Discovery One spaceship. Apple researched the trademark and found that it was already in use. Joseph N. Grasso of New Jersey had originally listed an "iPod" trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in July 2000 for Internet kiosks. The first iPod kiosks had been demonstrated to the public in New Jersey in March 1998, and commercial use began in January 2000, but had apparently been discontinued by 2001. The trademark was registered by the USPTO in November 2003, and Grasso assigned it to Apple Computer, Inc. in 2005.
The popular product naming style of using an initial lowercase "i" followed by an uppercase letter may be attributable to Apple Inc., in general, but this is not certain. iTunes music download service predates the iPod player by eight months, and the iMac computer was introduced by Apple in mid-1998, nearly three years before the iPod appeared, i.e., even before Grasso had applied for the IPOD trademark. In the iMac, the "i" stood for "Internet" , "individual", "instruct", "inform", and "inspire". The earliest recorded use in commerce of an "iPod" trademark was in 1991 by Chrysalis Corp. of Sturgis, Michigan, styled "iPOD".

vendredi 23 juillet 2010

30min of free conversation, and 60% of discount on your next classes !!!


Become friend with Aula Cero on Facebook, and get 30mn of conversation for free in the language that you want (English, French, or Spanish).

Come to take classes with a friend in Aula Cero, and get 45% of discount on your next class. And if you come with two friends, you'll get 60% off !!!

The V Festival


The V Festival is an annual music festival held in the United Kingdom during the penultimate weekend in August. Organised by Metropolis Music and SJM Concerts, the event is held at two parks simultaneously which share the same bill; artists perform at one location on Saturday and then swap on Sunday. The sites are located at Hylands Park in Chelmsford, Essex and Weston Park in South Staffordshire. Although predominantly a rock music festival, a wide range of musical genres are accepted; in recent years pop acts have become ever more common.
The "V" represents the Virgin Group, with the event being sponsored by Virgin Media and televised on Channel 4 and 4 Music.

Lady Gaga's performance during the last V Festival in 2009



The 2010 edition will feature artists like : Kings Of Leon, David Guetta, The Charlatans, Tricky, stereophonics, Mika, The Petshop Boys, La Roux, Air,...

Crumpets


A crumpet is a savoury/sweet bread snack made from flour and yeast. It is eaten mainly in the United Kingdom and other nations of the Commonwealth.

English crumpet

Crumpets are generally circular about 3 inches in diameter and about ¾ inch thick. Their shape comes from being restrained in the pan/griddle by a shallow ring. They have a characteristic flat top with many small pores and a half-chewy half-spongy texture. They may be cooked until ready to eat warm from the pan, but are frequently left slightly undercooked so that they may be cooled and stored before being eaten freshly-toasted. In Australia and New Zealand, branded square crumpets can be purchased from supermarkets, designed to easily fit in a standard toaster.
Crumpets are generally eaten hot with butter with or without a second (sweet or savoury) topping. Popular second toppings are cheese (melted on top), honey, poached egg, jam, Marmite, salt, marmalade, peanut butter, cheese spread, golden syrup, hummus, lemon curd, maple syrup and Vegemite. The butter may be omitted - but a phrase very commonly associated with crumpets is "dripping with butter" (in this context, 'dripping' is - usually - a verb, rather than a reference to animal fat).
In England, there is something similar to a crumpet called a pikelet. It is usually made from the same batter as a crumpet, but the way in which it differs from a crumpet varies from place to place. In some parts of England (for example in the Midlands) around Wolverhampton) a pikelet is simply a crumpet without holes. In other parts (for example, Lancashire) it has holes, but is wider, thinner and more irregular than a crumpet because it is made without being restrained by a mould, and so spreads in the pan (or griddle) while cooking. (In other areas, particularly Wales, Australia and New Zealand, a 'pikelet' is very different from a crumpet - the word describes something very similar to what in Scotland is called a pancake and in most parts of England is called a Scotch pancake).

Scottish crumpet

A Scottish fruit crumpet folded over, behind a Scottish pancake.
A Scottish crumpet is made from the same ingredients as a Scottish pancake, and is about 180 mm (7 inches) diameter and 8 mm (0.3 inches) thick. They are available plain, or as a fruit crumpet with raisins baked in, and are not reheated before serving; condiments include jam, vegemite and marmite. The ingredients include a raising agent, usually baking powder, and different proportions of eggs, flour and milk which create a thin batter. Unlike a pancake, they are cooked to brown on one side only, resulting in a smooth darker side where it has been heated by the griddle, then lightly cooked on the other side which has holes where bubbles have risen to the surface during cooking.[4] It bears little resemblance to the English crumpet.
This is the normal kind of crumpet in Scottish bakers' shops, tea rooms, and cafés, though the English type of crumpet is often obtainable in supermarkets in addition to the Scottish kind.

jeudi 22 juillet 2010

Pet Shop Boys


Pet Shop Boys are an English electronic dance music duo, consisting of Neil Tennant, who provides main vocals, keyboards and occasionally guitar and Chris Lowe on keyboards and occasionally backing vocals.
One of the world's best-selling music artists, Pet Shop Boys have sold over 100 million records worldwide, and are listed as the most successful duo in UK music history by The Guinness Book of Records. Since 1986, they have achieved 42 Top 30 singles and 22 Top 10 hits in the UK, including four Number Ones: "West End Girls", "It's a Sin", "Always on My Mind" and "Heart".
At the 2009 BRIT Awards, Pet Shop Boys received an award for Outstanding Contribution to Music. The duo's latest studio album, entitled Yes (continuing their tradition of single word titles) was released on 23 March 2009. It was followed with the live CD and DVD Pandemonium released 15 February 2010, filmed and recorded live at the London O2 Arena in December 2009.

Brighton


Brighton is the major part of the city of Brighton and Hove (formed from the previous towns of Brighton, Hove, Portslade and several other villages) in East Sussex on the south coast of Great Britain. For administrative purposes, Brighton and Hove is not part of the non-metropolitan county of East Sussex, but remains part of the ceremonial county of East Sussex.
The ancient settlement of Brighthelmstone dates from before Domesday Book (1086), but it emerged as a health resort featuring sea bathing during the 18th century and became a destination for day-trippers after the arrival of the railway in 1841. Brighton experienced rapid population growth, reaching a peak of over 160,000 by 1961. Modern Brighton forms part of the Brighton/Worthing/Littlehampton conurbation stretching along the coast, with a population of around 480,000.
Brighton has long been renowned throughout the UK and Europe as a gay mecca, and is home to a very large LGBT population. Eight million tourists a year visit Brighton. The town also has a substantial business conference industry regularly hosting the Liberal Democrats, Labour Party, occasionally the Conservative Party and Trade Union annual Conferences. Brighton has two universities and a medical school.