March 21, 2013

 

ARIES

You’ll want to spend some time with a special friend this week just being together. If you’ve been neglecting a relationship because of work demands, this week is a wonderful week to set things to rights.  Soul Affirmation: I open myself up to the vibrations of love.

 

TAURUS

Lots of spirituality discussions are going on around you this week. This energy will probably last throughout the week, so expect to enjoy yourself, or pass on all social company and spend the week enjoying yourself. Soul Affirmation: I slow down so love can catch up with me.

 

GEMINI

 You will get so much done this week that your friends and co-workers will be amazed!  Accomplish this small happy miracle by focusing on serenity instead of perfection. You’ll be very surprised at the results! Soul Affirmation: I listen to the sweet music of the life all around me.

 

CANCER

It’s best to keep your opinions to yourself this week, as many will be experiencing minor irritations and general grumpiness. Let others be who they are. You are a beacon of serenity. Others will notice. Soul Affirmation: I enjoy working with others this week.

 

LEO

It’s a great week to tell somebody you are close to that you love them. Saying it aloud gives you energy, and of course your designated adoree will be delighted! Keep the big picture in mind this week and you’ll feel completely buoyant!  Soul Affirmation: When I reach out in love someone is always there.

 

VIRGO

Hello, home life. After a busy week, all you want to do is savor the feelings of domesticity at home. Or perhaps go shopping to spruce up your living space. Whatever you decide, do it with a close friend. You’ll both enjoy the week more if you are together. Soul Affirmation: Trust gives me a deep sense of peace and joy.

 

LIBRA

Hardly anyone alive learns new skills in an instant, so cut yourself some slack if you feel you’ve made a beginner’s mistake somewhere. Mistakes are part of the learning process that is called Life, so self-correct and proceed with happiness. Soul Affirmation: My emotions provide me a pathway into the sunshine of my being.

 

SCORPIO

A happy week is in store for sociable you. Lots of friends and a party or two or three will keep your energy bright. Use caution while driving and watch for a pleasant surprise or two this week. Soul Affirmation: I enjoy the spirits of people whose spirits are akin to mine this week.

 

SAGITTARIUS

You’ll have a busy week, as the energy around you seems super-charged. With everyone rushing about, you’ll wonder how you’ll get anything done, much less the things you feel you must get done. Not to worry. Stay calm and flexible and a way will be found. Soul Affirmation: Anticipation of a beautiful night will light up my week.

 

CAPRICORN

 You may feel a bit crabby about your health this early this week. If you feel you need a physical checkup, make the appointment this week. If you want to feel and look better this week, skip lunch and take a walk instead. Soul Affirmation: I enjoy learning new things about myself this week.

 

AQUARIUS

 All vibes are positive this week, and your vibration may be the most positive of all. Many friends and family members may call, and all will want to see you. You’ve got a way with words this week, so use them to spread the sunshine around. Soul Affirmation: I master fear by knowing that all is well.

 

PISCES

Get out and enjoy the sunshine this week.  Remember that the sun is always shining somewhere in our big island home, so use your imagination if the weather isn’t perfect where you are. You can still enjoy your week and the sun that is shining whether you see it or not! Soul Affirmation: What I need to be is fully present inside of me.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

March 21, 2013

By Dwight Brown

NNPA Film Critic

 

“911. What’s your emergency?” Call center operators are the unsung heroes. Everyday they answer the pleas of frantic people in distress.  We don’t call 911 often, but when we do, we expect the person at the other end of the line to be calm, collected, probing and knowledgeable. They’re no more than voices.  Even if they gave us their names, who would remember them? After all, it’s all about us, not them. ‘Till now.

Tension-filled thriller The Call focuses on the strained, frayed but oh so mutually dependent relationship between victims and their helpers. And for the most part it does so admirably, giving Halle Berry her juiciest role in eons.

Jordan (Berry) works in the L.A. 911 call center. They call it the hive, because with the constant din of conversations it sounds like bees at work. On her shift, she gets calls for help, nuisance calls, calls from admirers. As she will someday teach future operators, there are two basic survival rules: 1. Stay emotionally detached. 2. Never make a promise, because operators rarely see the end results of their work–that’s a cop’s job.

Screenwriter Richard D’Ovidio hadn’t thought much about 911 call center operators until his wife listened to an NPR show about the subject. Good writers don’t just sniff out intriguing subject matter; they base further exploration and development on whether they are gong down a path that is unique or too well worn. 911 folks have never had their story told, so D’Ovidio did some investigating and witnessed their coolness under fire: ““Every time a call came in, my stomach would drop, but they were so calm!…they were the glue of the city. They held the police, the fire, the ambulances – nobody moved in the city without them.”

Exhibit A: “A man is trying to break into my house!” The young girl on the phone is terrified, but Jordan tries to talk her through an escape plan. “Open a window. Hide. Don’t talk.” The teen follows her commands, but they don’t’ work. She’s kidnapped, murdered and her body is found in a field.  Jordan is devastated. Six months later, a rookie operator answers a similar call from a teen named Casey (Abigail Breslin), who has been abducted in a mall and thrown into the trunk of a sedan. The rookie panics and Jordan takes over, calming the screaming victim. The police are alerted, and their efforts are spearheaded by Jordan’s boyfriend, Officer Paul Phillips (Morris Chestnut), and his partner, Jake Devans (David Otunga). Jordan is determined not to let this caller down, but sometimes determination is not enough.

Halley Berry is a movie star, but it’s hard to remember why these days. She’s been in so many big-budget soul-less films and her persona has been chipped away by tabloid headlines that reduce her to failed relationships, contentious custody battles and the men who literally fight for her attention. There couldn’t be a better time to for her to get the press to refocus on her acting, and she makes the most of this opportunity. The script gives Berry a blue-collar character she can make accessible, vulnerable and gutsy. She works the screen like Meryl Streep, giving her best performance since Monster’s Ball.

Chestnut is suitably gallant and stalwart as her caring lover and a cop on a mission. WWE wrestling champion David Otunga (Jennifer Hudson’s main man) is a cool sidekick. Breslin, in her most adult role yet, shrieks and cries for help on cue as her character struggles to find her bearing and gumption. Michael Eklund (TV’s Shattered and True Justice) plays the psychopathic kidnapper with surprising depth. It’s helpful that he doesn’t have a familiar face, and hasn’t played a string of cliché bad guys. His wiry, jittery sleazy demeanor leaves a lasting impression; like John Hawkes from the film Winter’s Bone.

In 1996, director Brad Anderson cut his teeth on a $40,000 film called The Darien Gap, which premiered at the Sundance film festival. His thin filmography includes the indie classic The Machinist, starring a very emaciated Christian Bale. He didn’t need movie credits to prepare him for this tight-as-a-drum, riveting thriller. Directing episodes of The Wire and The Shield gave him the perfect sensibility for guiding this grizzly crime story, which will play even better someday on Saturday night cable TV. He gets great performances out of Berry, Eklund, Breslin and Morris. Gruesome scenes are well staged and choreographed. Anderson’s only serious error is a postscript ending that takes you from reality to cheap horror effects. Even with this misplaced coda, his direction is solid.

The lag time in between call center work life and horrific events is negligible thanks to the pacing of editor Avi Youabian. Cinematographer Tom Yatsko gets all the lighting right; love the bright Southern California skies juxtaposed with the inside of a pitch dark car trunk. Berry’s Jeri Curl Afro wig is a bit distracting. The kidnapper blares his car radio with deafening music, but the musical score is innocuous. Costumes, set design and art direction are on point.

Don’t be fooled. This film is a whole lot scarier than you think it’s going to be. When Casey screams to her tormentor, “Please just kill me,” you get it. At that point, she is so terrified, exhausted and beaten down, she just wants the seemingly inevitable to be over. But it isn’t.

Visit Dwight Brown at www.DwighBrownInk.com.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

March 21, 2013

Associated Press

 

Bobby Brown has surrendered to authorities and will begin a 55-day jail sentence for a driving under the influence conviction.

Brown's attorney and a spokesman for the city attorney's office say the R&B singer turned himself in at a Los Angeles courthouse Wednesday.

Brown pleaded no contest to DUI and driving on a suspended license in February. He will also be required to serve four years on informal probation and complete an 18-month alcohol treatment program after he is released.

The conviction is Brown's second for DUI in less than a year. He avoided jail after pleading no contest to a March 2012 drunk driving case.

The 44-year-old New Edition singer is the ex-husband of deceased singer Whitney Houston.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

March 21, 2013

Associated Press

 

A Michigan medical marijuana facility is partnering with a member of the Grammy-winning rap group Bone Thugs-N-Harmony to cultivate and distribute a new strain of medical marijuana.

The Green Oasis and Stanley "Flesh-N-Bone" Howse have agreed to work together on "Phifty Caliber Kush," which they say has a noticeable floral taste and is an effective pain reliever.

The Flint-area dispensary's owner, Anthony Butler, calls the new pot strain "the best of the best."

Flesh-n-Bone Global executive Michael "Tony B." Bernardi tells The Flint Journal that Howse hopes the product can provide relief for any qualified, verified patient.

Besides distributing "Phifty Caliber Kush," The Green Oasis could begin selling merchandise and possibly host a visit from Howse.

Michigan voters approved marijuana for some chronic medical conditions in 2008.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

March 21, 2013

LAWT News Service

 

“Motown: The Musical” celebrated platinum sales of $1,029,883 during its first week of sold-out performances at the Lunt Fontanne Theatre on Broadway, joining the celebrated Million Dollar Club following only 7 performances while surpassing 100% capacity of the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre.  

This marks the first time a new Broadway musical has joined the Million Dollar Club in its first week of previews without an out-of-town tryout.

Seen for the first time anywhere by a paying audience, the new musical based on the life of iconic Motown founder Berry Gordy and featuring music and lyrics from the legendary Motown catalog, officially opens on Sunday, April 14.

“Motown: The Musical” began preview performances last Monday, March 11 at The Lunt-Fontanne Theatre (205 West 46th Street).

Directed by Charles Randolph-Wright, “Motown: The Musical” is the real story of the one-of-a-kind sound that hit the airwaves in 1959 and changed American culture forever. This exhilarating show charts Motown Founder Berry Gordy’s incredible journey from featherweight boxer to the heavyweight music mogul who launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and many more. 

“Motown: The Musical” stars Tony Award® nominee Brandon Victor Dixon (“The Color Purple”) and Valisia LeKae (“The Book of Mormon”) in the leading roles of Berry Gordy and Diana Ross and features Charl Brown (“Jersey Boys”) as Smokey Robinson and Bryan Terrell Clark as Marvin Gaye leading an ensemble cast of 40  featuring Timothy J. Alex, Michael Arnold, Nicholas Christopher, Rebecca E. Covington, Ariana DeBose, Andrea Dora, Preston W. Dugger III, Wilkie Ferguson, Dionne Figgins, Marva Hicks, Tiffany Janene Howard, Sasha Hutchings, Jawan M. Jackson, Lauren Lim Jackson, Morgan James, John Jellison, Crystal Joy, Grasan Kingsberry, Jamie LaVerdiere, Raymond Luke Jr., Jibreel Mawry, Marielys Molina, Sydney Morton, Maurice Murphy, Jarran Muse, Jesse Nager, Milton Craig Nealy, N’Kenge, Dominic Nolfi, Saycon Sengbloh, Ryan Shaw, Jamal Story, Eric LaJuan Summers, Ephraim Sykes, Julius Thomas III, Daniel J. Watts and Donald Webber, Jr.

“Motown: The Musical’s” creative team features choreography by Patricia Wilcox (“Blues in the Night”) and Warren Adams (“Toy Story”), scenic design by David Korins (“Bring It On: The Musical,” “Annie”), costume design by Tony Award® nominee ESosa (“The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess,” “Project Runway”), lighting design by Tony Award® winner Natasha Katz (“Once,” “Sister Act”), sound design by Tony Award® nominee Peter Hylenski (“Rock of Ages,” “The Scottsboro Boys”), projection design by Daniel Brodie (“Jekyll and Hyde”).

“Motown: The Musical” features arrangements and orchestrations by Ethan Popp (“Rock of Ages”), who will also serve as musical supervisor for the 18 piece orchestra and reproduce the classic “Sound of Young America” for the Broadway stage, with co-orchestrations and additional arrangements by Bryan Crook (“Smash”), dance arrangements by Zane Mark (“Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”) and music direction by Joseph Joubert (“Nice Work If You Can Get It”).

“Motown: The Musical” is produced by Tony Award winning producer Kevin McCollum (“Rent,” “In the Heights,” “Avenue Q”), Chairman and CEO of SONY Music Enter­tainment Doug Morris and Motown founder Berry Gordy.

“Motown: The Musical” will play the following performance schedule during preview performances:

March 11 – March 24: Mon – Sat at 8pm; Sat at 2pm; Dark Sun (no Wed matinee)

March 25 – April 7: Mon – Sat at 8pm; Wed and Sat at 2pm; Dark Sun

April 8 – April 14: Tues – Sat at 8pm; Wed and Sat at 2pm; Sun at 6:30pm (Opening Night); Dark Mon

Beginning April 15: Tues at 7pm; Wed – Sat at 8pm; Wed and Sat at 2pm; Sun at 3pm; Dark Mon.

Tickets prices range from $57.00 - $142.00 and are available by calling Ticketmaster at 877-250-2929 or visiting www.ticketmaster.com.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

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