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|Tue, November 02, 2010 at 12:43 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
NEW YORK – Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade this year will have some big names to go along with the big balloons.
Macy's on Tuesday announced the list of celebrity performers for the event, covering the musical gamut from pop to hip-hop to folk. Among those scheduled to perform are Kanye West, Jessica Simpson, Colombian rock singer Juanes, Arlo Guthrie, Gladys Knight, boy band Big Time Rush and teen singer Victoria Justice.
The range of musical styles and generations is intentional, to match the diversity of the audience that turns out to watch the parade in person and on television, said Orlando Veras, a spokesman for the parade.
"We want to make sure we are capturing people who are in the zeitgeist," he said.
The parade coordinators work with the artists on their song choices, and all of the performances will be "family friendly," he said.
The 84th parade, a quintessential part of the city's calendar, sends marchers, celebrities, performers, floats and giant balloons across the city's streets and avenues, starting on Central Park West and ending in front of Macy's on 34th Street.
Among the new giant balloons taking to the sky for the first time this year will be Kool-Aid Man, Kung-Fu Panda, and one in the animated image of Virginia O' Hanlon. O'Hanlon was the little girl who wrote to a newspaper asking if Santa Claus was real. The editor's response became famous — "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus."
Those balloons will be joining crowd favorites like Buzz Lightyear, Ronald McDonald, Pikachu and Snoopy dressed as the Flying Ace.
Other celebrities expected to participate include India Arie, Keri Hilson, Miranda Cosgrove and the casts of Broadway shows "American Idiot," "Elf," "Memphis," and "Million Dollar Quartet."
The parade will follow the same route it inaugurated last year, coming down 7th and 6th avenues and turning around five corners. The route had to be changed when vehicles were prohibited from traveling on parts of Broadway.
|Tue, November 02, 2010 at 11:15 AM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Two large initiatives designed to prevent African-American girls from becoming obese are not very successful at it, according to two new studies.
The two-year programs consisted of either practical advice and goals for staying fit and healthy, or regular dance classes along with an intervention to reduce the amount of time girls spent playing video games, watching TV, or on the computer.
However, over the course of two years, 8- to 10-year-old girls who were enrolled in either program were just as likely to gain weight as girls who did not participate in the interventions.
It's not clear why the programs had so little impact, lead author of one of the studies, Dr. Robert Klesges at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, told Reuters Health. However, "the environmental factors that promote sedentary behavior" - such as TV and video games - and preferences for high-calorie foods "probably overwhelmed" the effects of the program, he suggested.
Obesity has become an epidemic among American children, and African-American girls are particularly at risk - a recent nationwide health survey found that approximately one-quarter of black girls are obese.
To see whether targeted programs help prevent young girls from becoming obese teens, Klesges and his colleagues followed 303 girls in the Memphis area for two years. They randomly assigned half to a program designed to prevent them from becoming obese by giving them goals for healthy eating and exercise while teaching their parents about providing healthy foods, and the other half to an alternative program that did not focus on diet and exercise, but just self-esteem in general.
They found that girls who completed the obesity program tended to consume more water and vegetables, and fewer sweet drinks, than girls in the other program. But both groups were just as likely to gain weight, and both decreased their amount of physical activity over the two years.
"For those girls who changed these eating patterns and didn't see weight gain prevention, they probably just replaced these calories with other foods," Klesges noted. The next step, he suggested, could be to encourage girls to reduce their overall calories, not just shift the calories they'd get from soda and fatty foods into other food types.
And younger girls appeared to benefit more from the program, Klesges noted, suggesting it is worth continuing this program in that age group. "We didn't do a cost analysis but the intervention is definitely portable and could be implemented for very low cost," he said in an e-mail.
In the other study, also published in the November issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, researchers randomly assigned 261 black girls in Oakland, California, to either participate in an intervention to reduce their "screen" time along with regular dance classes that included African, hip-hop, and step dancing; or receive newsletters about health issues for young girls and attend occasional family health lectures.
Here, too, girls in both groups were equally likely to gain weight during the study period, but those in the dance program showed improvements in some other aspects of health, such as lower cholesterol and insulin levels and fewer symptoms of depression. "I felt really good about (those findings)," study author Dr. Thomas Robinson at Stanford University School of Medicine told Reuters Health.
He added that the program experienced a few unexpected challenges that may have affected the findings - for example, transportation for the girls fell through early i
|Tue, November 02, 2010 at 10:01 AM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
NEW YORK – Shannon Tavarez, the 11-year-old who starred on Broadway in "The Lion King" and whose battle with leukemia won the hearts of many, including Alicia Keys, Rihanna and 50 Cent, has died.
Tavarez died Monday afternoon at Cohen Children's Medical Center in New Hyde Park, on Long Island, said Katharina Harf, co-founder of the bone marrow donor center DKMS.
Adriana Douzos, a spokeswoman for the long-running, Tony winning show, also confirmed the death but declined further comment.
Tavarez, who played the young lion Nala, had received an umbilical-cord blood transplant in August. The procedure was performed as an alternative to a bone marrow transplant. Her doctor, Dr. Larry Wolfe, said that a perfect bone marrow match for Shannon could not be found.
The search for a match was especially daunting because Shannon's mother is African-American and her father is Hispanic, from the Dominican Republic. For bone marrow transplants, minorities and those of mixed ancestry have a more difficult time finding good matches because there aren't as many people from those groups signed up as potential donors. Right now, 83 percent of African-American patients who need marrow transplants don't find matches after six months of searching, according to the National Marrow Donor Program, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping patients receive transplants.
On her website, which includes a photo of Shannon as Nala and a video of her singing "The Circle of Life," the 78-pound actress said, "Some people think that the test for compatibility is scary! ... All it really takes to get started is a cotton swab of the inside of your cheek.
"So please get tested today. Who knows? You might be my match. Or, you may be able to help other young people with similar illnesses. And remember... 'One swab will do the job.'"
A blood test showed she had acute myeloid leukemia, an aggressive cancer that afflicts mostly adults.
Shannon was forced to quit the show in April. She beat out hundreds of other hopefuls last year to earn her spot playing Nala, the childhood pal and girlfriend of Simba, hero of "The Lion King." She split the role with another girl, performing four shows a week for six months.
In a hospital interview with The Associated Press after being diagnosed, the young actress talked about her love for the theater.
"It's an indescribable feeling, being on stage," she said. "I portray this character with fears, but who is so tough. I feel like that's who I am."
Her long, curly brown hair was gone because of chemotherapy, but the sixth-grader said the most difficult part was being away from acting and her friends.
Keys, Rihanna and 50 Cent campaigned to help Tavarez find a bone marrow donor, and cast members held bone marrow donor registration drives outside the play's Minskoff Theater. Harf said the donor center registered 10,000 people as potential donors. Keys skyped with Tavarez while she was at the hospital, Harf said, and the singer, Rhihanna and 50 Cent urged their fans to sign up as potential donors.
Child performers from "The Lion King" and other shows also sold bracelets and key chains that read, "Shine for Shannon," to raise money to help pay for her medical bills.
"It's rare that you meet such a spirited girl at such a young age," Harf said. "She touched so many people to register. She was really, really a special girl."
"Shannon's bright smile, amazing talent, and courage will continue to inspire us in our efforts," the New York Blood Center said in a statement.
|Mon, November 01, 2010 at 10:00 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
New York, NY - Critically acclaimed artist Cee Lo Green has signed a management deal with New York City-based Family Tree / Primary Wave Talent Management, with veteran artist manager Michael “Blue” Williams at the helm. Primary Wave’s full-service marketing division will also play a key role in all future ventures involving Mr. Green, including the release of his upcoming album, The Lady Killer, due in stores on November 9 on Atlantic Records. The Lady Killer contains Cee Lo Green’s current hit single, “F*** You”, which is currently #1 on European music charts and quickly rising up the U.S. charts.
Cee Lo’s latest masterful concoction, The Lady Killer, will be released – several months earlier than scheduled, due to ravenous demands by his increasingly fervent fanbase. The Lady Killer features the current hit single “F*** You”, a song that set off a global viral sensation, garnering over 13 million plays on YouTube in less than two months and racking up #1 chart positions across Europe.
Cee Lo Green first came into the limelight with Southern-rap pioneers Goodie Mob, releasing their debut album Soul Food in 1995. After being signed as a solo artist to Arista Records, Cee Lo released a duo of brilliant Southern-tinged urban albums – Cee Lo Green and his Perfect Imperfections in 2002, and in 2004, Cee Lo Green ... is the Soul Machine. Green finally reached the lexicon of public attention befitting an artist of his caliber, teaming with hip-hop producer Dangermouse on Gnarls Barkley, procuring the first number 1 single strictly compiled of digital sales with the monster song “Crazy”.
“Cee Lo Green is an incredibly talented artist, and I couldn’t be more proud to represent him,” says Williams. “Cee Lo and I have known each other for over 15 years and over that time I’ve seen him grow monumentally as a performer. From the first time I saw him perform through today, I’m still utterly amazed each and every time I see him or listen to his music, and I’m so ecstatic to help bring his talent to the world.”
Family Tree Entertainment recently joined forces with Primary Wave Music to become an artist management force to be reckoned with. Family Tree is led by visionary Michael “Blue” Williams, who is responsible for breaking artists such as Outkast, Macy Gray, Donnell Jones and Monica. Additionally, Williams has lent his talents to established acts like Nas, who clamored to bring his expertise on board. Family Tree/Primary Wave Talent Management is also currently managing teen phenom Cody Simpson, Big Sean, who is signed to Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music label, and the Trio Lords and Lady.
Cee Lo Green says, “Finally a firm with foresight! Fearless and focused, fighting on the front lines for the fundamentals of franchise. In short – I like these guys!”
About Primary Wave Talent Management Primary Wave Talent Management is part of one of the largest independent music publisher and music marketers in the United States, managing artists such as Cee Lo Green, Cody Simpson, Lords & Lady, Big Sean, Saving Abel, Taddy Porter, Volbeat, and 4 Troops . Primary Wave Music is a global music company that markets its unique publishing repertoire, which includes an interest in the Beatles songs written by John Lennon, the catalogs of Kurt Cobain/Nirvana, Steven Tyler/Aerosmith, Daryl Hall & John Oates, Robert Lamm, Jimmy Pankow, and Lee Loughnane of the band Chicago, Maurice White (Earth, Wind & Fire), Steve Earle, Daniel Johnston, Marvin Hamlisch, The Matrix , Lamont Dozier and Steven Curtis Chapman. And Developing Arti
|Mon, November 01, 2010 at 12:10 AM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
NEW YORK – He had the top-selling album in the country earlier this month. He's on the president's iPod. He's on the charts with two singles and a collaboration on a third. He's on Facebook with updates for the more than 14 million people following them. He is, in every respect, on.
By the way, Lil Wayne's in jail. But his public persona is anything but locked away.
The rapper, who's on track to be released Thursday after serving eight months in a gun case, is the first artist in 15 years to release a No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart while serving a sentence. His "I Am Not a Human Being" spent a week in the top slot and has sold more than 323,000 copies since its Sept. 27 release, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
It's hardly a coveted distinction. But it is both a reflection of Lil Wayne's popularity — he went to jail a multiplatinum-selling Grammy Award winner — and a result of astute maneuvering in the multimedia landscape that now envelops pop stardom. Staying relevant? Try omnipresent.
"The challenge was to make sure you feel like he never left," says Bryan "Birdman" Williams, the Cash Money Records co-founder who has fostered Lil Wayne's career since the rapper's teens. "We came with a good strategy, and it worked."
Members of the rapper's management team carefully scheduled releases of music and saw to it that his responses to the deluge of fan mail that has descended on the city's Rikers Island jail complex were typed up and posted online. They have become regulars at Rikers' visiting hours and have played, and recorded, music over a jail phone.
The Lil Wayne campaign even comes with its own insider-y slogan — "free Weezy," one of his nicknames — circulated through channels ranging from T-shirts to a Twitter hashtag.
For the rapper, his jail term has been a difficult exile from the recording studio where he generally likes to spend time every night, his associates say. "When you take somebody's passion away, it's gotta be frustrating," Williams said in an interview.
But for his fans, it has provided not only a steady stream of new music, but an unusually direct connection to one of music's megastars. On a blog he set up for fans, he's offered insights into his day-to-day doings and responses to some of the listener letters that, he says, anchor his day.
"I never imagined that I could have such an impact on people's lives," he wrote in July on the site, Weezythanxyou.com.
Known for his workaholic output of witty, manifold and sometimes weird wordplay, Lil Wayne had the best-selling album of 2008 and won a best rap album Grammy with "Tha Carter III." Time magazine weighed him for its most-influential-people list last year; President Barack Obama recently told Rolling Stone he has some Lil Wayne music on his iPod.
The rapper, born Dwayne Carter Jr., pleaded guilty in October 2009 to having a loaded gun on his tour bus after a Manhattan concert in 2007. He began serving his one-year sentence in March.
He's expected to get out early because of time off for good behavior, despite the electronic contraband that landed him in solitary confinement for the last month of his term: a charger and headphones for a digital music player were found in his cell, jail officials said. (He acknowledged the misstep on his blog.)
While at Rikers, he also pleaded guilty to an Arizona drug possession charge and was sentenced to three years' probation.
Lil Wayne joined a roster of successful rappers who have spent time behind bars, a list that has muddied the line between art and life in a genre that arose from inner-city stre
|Sat, October 30, 2010 at 6:00 AM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
Touring under slogan, “5 months, 50 stops, $500 to make it happen, 5000 people to feed"
Los Angeles, California (PRWEB) October 30, 2010
Singer Naomi Carroll, known for her soulful vocals and high-energy performances will spend much of 2011 touring in support of her debut album, “Becoming” which was released over the summer. Carroll will join the 22.214.171.124 tour featuring hip/hop/R&B artists Cedenough, Lil’ Dre and D.J. Aslan, all three of whom are signed to Church Boy Records.
With the theme, “5 months, 50 stops, $500 to make it happen, 5000 people to feed,” the four acts will be playing venues nationwide, including churches, which can book the artists at little or no cost. Carroll, who is no stranger to the touring scene, relishes the opportunity to perform music with such a dynamic group of artists.
“I am really looking forward to this opportunity with the guys,” Carroll said. “This idea of making ourselves available for various venues to bring us in and perform at such a low cost is what I see as the new grassroots movement among music lovers. I think we are going to surprise some people with what we accomplish.”
Carroll has kept a busy schedule recently, having moved to Oklahoma City for 8 weeks to promote her music as well as teach Vocal & Performance Coaching at RDB Productions Vocal & Piano Studio in nearby Yukon. This was followed by a television appearance on Daystar TV Texas in June, as well as performances with Ryan Bell and at youth events in the Houston area. On the radio front, Carroll released her single “Waiting For The Day” to AC Radio in July and wrapped up the summer with a community event appearance at the Majors' Committee on Disabilities Awards Banquet in Monroe, LA.
Carroll is now booking women's Conferences and other venues for the fall 2010 season, before beginning work on the tour in January 2011. Her album “Becoming” can be previewed and purchased on iTunes.
For information on Naomi Carroll or to book her for your next event, go to Naomi’s website at http://www.naomicarroll.com or contact Warr & Peace Records at 405.623.4115.
For Media Inquiries contact:
Jesse Kleinjan Jesse(at)mjmgroup(dot)com Ph (818) 403-5357
# # #
Jesse Kleinjan8184035357Email Information
|Fri, October 29, 2010 at 2:09 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – She is wowing fans on the reality TV contest "Dancing With the Stars" but behind the scenes this week, singer/actress Brandy has been in a more important competition. She is racing against time to help save the life of a teenager who needs a heart transplant.
Brandy, who gained fame as chart topping R&B singer and actress on the TV show "Moesha," has been raising awareness and money for 16-year-old Jessica Harris, who suffers from a congenital heart defect. Known as hypoplastic left heart syndrome, the condition can be fatal.
"I just want to do whatever I can to get her story out there in the public," Brandy told Reuters. "You hear a lot of stories like these, but this one just connected to me."
Harris lives McComb, Mississippi, where Brandy Norwood was raised before she went to Hollywood and became the big star known simply by her first name.
Brandy's family told her of a story the local paper wrote about Harris needing a heart transplant that, on average, costs $150,000. But Harris is currently uncovered by insurance because the policy through her father's new job doesn't allow dependents with pre-existing conditions until July 2011. Harris has been told by doctors she may not live that long.
The story in the McComb Enterprise-Journal this month told readers how Harris dearly wanted to meet Brandy, who recently found success in reality television on shows like "Brandy & Ray J: A Family Business" and currently "Dancing With the Stars."
When Brandy got wind of the tale, she talked with Harris and decided to fly her and her family to Hollywood where the teenager attended a taping of "Dancing With the Stars." Harris also had dinner and birthday cake at home with the Brandy and her family. Harris turns 17 years-old on November 3.
"When I met her, she felt like a younger sister," Brandy said of Harris. At dinner, "she got a chance to see me as a person and not what she thought of me" as a celebrity.
Now, Brandy is out raising money for Jessica through the website, www.thejessicaharrisdream.com. The two appeared earlier this week on celebrity news magazine show "Entertainment Tonight."
"It feels amazing," Brandy said. "It feels like I'm doing something so positive, using my fame and popularity to help."
For her part, Harris said she has had a "nice trip" and was "very appreciative" of Brandy's help.
"Just meeting her that was cool enough," Harris told Reuters. "She stayed with me the whole time...treating me like she was treating her own daughter. She was more than what I thought, she was real down to earth."
(Reporting by Bob Tourtellotte; Editing by Zorianna Kit)