6.30.2011

Evening of gospel music closes Juneteenth weekend

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A weekend of Juneteenth celebrations came to a close Sunday with an evening of praise, rejoicing and song.

More than 350 people braved the 107-degree heat and blowing dust to gather for gospel music and performances during the Unified Juneteenth Committee's Gospel Stage Show, featuring the Community Mass Choir and local gospel talent at Mae Simmons Park.

For performers like 14-year-old Jakaja Robinson, braving the heat was a worthwhile sacrifice to celebrate Juneteenth and share their spiritual message with the community, she said.

She admitted she was nervous and intimidated by the heat before she took to the outdoor stage to sing "He Wants It All."

"At first I was like 'I don't think I can do this. It's too hot,'" she said. "But I built up my confidence and did it for the glory of God."

This year's Juneteenth events were the first organized by the newly created committee and organizers and attendees said they thought the results were a success.

"They've been able to do different attractions, to bring out the young people, to bring out the old people and bring out the children because it's about unity," said Jocelyn Clay. "It's not just the black community, it's all races and that's what it's all about."

Clay said she has attended Lubbock's Juneteenth event for decades and believed this weekend's events, especially the gospel music performances, were among the best she's seen.

Clay was among dozens who danced and clapped their hands to the gospel music of such acts at the Mitchell Sisters, the Community Baptist Church Choir and a variety of other church choirs and acts.

Others in the crowd seemed content lounging in the shade, eating an assortment of barbecue or playing football in the grass near the lake.

"The atmosphere is very pleasant; it's an atmosphere of fellowship," said Latrice Godfrey, president of the commission.

Godfrey said organizers created the commission as a way to start anew the Juneteenth events of the past and revitalize the city's celebrations of the June 19 holiday.

Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of slaves in Texas at the end of the Civil War in 1865.

Godfrey said she was excited by what she thought was a surprising turnout at the weekend's events despite the unsavory heat and wind.

"I think it has been excellent," she said. "I think it means when you add a little bit of every community it makes a difference."

The Juneteenth commission's events included a Friday evening reception honoring late civic leader Eddie Richardson, a Saturday morning parade through east Lubbock and a community talent showcase featuring former American Idol contestant Jerome Bell.

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6.29.2011

With Zach Greinke struggling, Brewers stumble in mistake-filled 12-7 loss to Cubs

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Instead, the NL Central leaders dropped three of four, leaving town after a mistake-filled 12-7 loss to the Cubs on Thursday in which Zack Greinke and everyone else they sent to the mound got hit hard.
“It’s going to happen to the best teams,” manager Ron Roenicke said. Usually, you get five runs and I feel great about the ballgame. It’s one of those games. Kosuke Fukudome had three hits and broke it open with a three-run homer, and Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Pena also went deep.
“Just the way it occurred,” manager Mike Quade said. “We haven’t played great baseball, but there were a lot of plays today ... there was some execution today that I really liked to see.”
Fukudome singled and scored in the first, hit an RBI triple and scored in the second, and delivered the big blow in the sixth when he connected off reliever Daniel Herrera to make it a four-run game. “Overall, we didn’t play very good baseball and they played good baseball,” the Brewers’ Ryan Braun said. I don’t think they’ve played up to their expectations to this point. It’s a combination of us playing bad and them playing good.”
Pena put Chicago ahead 6-5 with a leadoff homer against Greinke (6-2) in the third. Soriano added a two-run shot in the seventh off Sergio Mitre, making it 11-5. Starlin Castro had three hits and the Cubs got a shot of momentum heading into their weekend series against the Yankees.
“I talked to Rickie,” manager Ron Roenicke said. Greinke was far from awesome.

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6.28.2011

Billie Holiday ends her set with Strange Fruit

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Early in 1939, a New York teacher called Abel Meeropol – aka Lewis Allan – wrote a song inspired by the lynching of two black men in the deep south. In April of that year, he went to New York's first integrated club, Cafe Society in Greenwich Village, and was introduced to the cult venue's star turn, a young Billie Holiday. Meeropol sang Holiday his song and gave her the lyrics; a week later she ended her set with it, leaving her audience stunned.

The jazz world is suspicious of Strange Fruit. It hasn't really become a jazz standard and has probably been covered by more pop stars (Robert Wyatt, the Gun Club, Jeff Buckley …) than jazz musicians. But it remains a key moment in jazz history, not least because it explicitly addressed the civil rights struggle that black jazz musicians had implicitly been a part of. Sonically, Holiday – who had learned her craft in the bands of Benny Goodman and Teddy Wilson – puts in a performance that exploits fully the dynamic potential of the recently developed microphone, something that would become increasingly important for any jazz singer.

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6.27.2011

Planning Her Own Holiday

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In 1996, Madeleine Peyroux was recording her first album, "Dreamland," featuring trumpeter Marcus Printup of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra as a sideman. At the time, the LCJO was preparing for a concert of film music by Duke Ellington, including a number originally sung by Billie Holiday. The orchestra needed someone to sing Ms. Holiday's part, and Mr. Printup recommended Ms. Peyroux.

Although still an unknown quantity to the jazz world, the then-22-year-old singer-guitarist from Georgia so completely captured the essence of Lady Day with her rendition of "Saddest Tale" that she gave chills to all in attendance.

Yet when her album came out, and in subsequent appearances, jazz purists didn't know what to make of Ms. Peyroux: "Dreamland" had several numbers associated with Ms. Holiday and Bessie Smith, as well as signature songs of Patsy Cline ("Walkin' After Midnight") and Edith Piaf ("La Vie en Rose"), but Ms. Peyroux was decidedly not rendering these songs in a "jazzy" way—she wasn't swinging them as, say, Ella Fitzgerald would.

Fifteen years and five albums later—her latest, Standing on the Rooftop," was released Tuesday—Ms. Peyroux is still confounding expectations.

"I know there's various opinions about what a jazz vocalist should do," she said in a phone interview from her Brooklyn home. "But I think we've really lost the context of the original term, because it's been a long time. I don't know that it really matters any more."

Ms. Peyroux plays jazz clubs and festivals, and she occasionally sings jazz standards. She also still has a distinct tonal similarity to Ms. Holiday, a deep southern accent that almost gives her a genetic predisposition to sing jazz and blues. But I was reluctant to ask her about Ms. Holiday, as it's clearly a sore point. Every reviewer compares the two, and several jazz headliners who double as comics, like John Pizzarelli and Ann Hampton Callaway, have built comedy routines around the similarity of the two voices.

"I don't know how you can avoid sounding like your heroes," Ms. Peyroux said. "If I hear a really definitive version of a song Billie Holiday did, which often is the case, it's all the more difficult."

In truth, her sound is reminiscent of Lady Day's, but that's about it; she does not copy Ms. Holiday's arrangements and she does not have her remarkable sense of time. In fact, Ms. Peyroux rarely if ever sings in swingtime. Rhythmically she's more like a country or a folk singer—more K.D. Lang (with whom she recorded Joni Mitchell's classic "River") than Sarah Vaughan.

In many ways, Ms. Peyroux's blend of jazz, pop, country, blues and folk music has been a precursor of the formula that has sold millions of records for Norah Jones in the last decade, and the archetype for the generic, all-purpose voice that is inescapable these days, when almost every singer that comes over the loudspeaker at Starbucks offers some variation on the Peyroux-Jones sound.

"Rooftop," Ms. Peyroux's sixth album, includes eight original compositions and four fresh interpretations of songs by iconic authors, including John Lennon and Paul McCartney in the opener "Martha, My Dear," and Bob Dylan's "I Threw It All Away." Her treatment of Robert Johnson's hypnotic blues "Love in Vain" is so stark as to portend a coming apocalypse. She also covers the poet W.H. Auden with a new setting of "Lay Your Sleeping Head, My Love" devised by guitarist Marc Ribot.

Ms. Peyroux describes the album as "rootsier" than anything she's done before, and other than her voice—which still sounds vaguely like Lady Day—there's no attempt to replicate the sound of a traditional jazz singer. Which is a good thing: She's doing what comes naturally, even if that means, in her case, sounding like somebody else.

"Right after 'Dreamland,' it became obvious to me that it was my journey to look for my own voice in all these things, with Billie Holiday's help," she concluded. "And not without her."

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6.26.2011

Dave Chappelle comeback rumors swirl: don't call it a comeback?

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It's been over a half-decade since Dave Chappelle said no thanks to a $50 million offer from Comedy Central and left the top-rated Chappelle's Show during it's third season for Africa. True to his word, Chappelle has stayed away from TV in the six years since his bizarre exit from Hollywood. There have been rumors floating around for years that Chappelle was planning a comeback to television. Today saw renewed interest in the subject when an online news source, The Daily, reported, "the beloved comic is planning a new TV show with a paid subscription service like Netflix, Sony’s Crackle, or Hulu, which are now competing in the original programming game." Chappelle cited struggles with Comedy Central brass over creative control on his show and if he were to make his return on a service like Netflix -- as opposed to a traditional broadcast channel -- he would, ostensibly, have free reign to do whatever he wants. A major Hollywood star making the jump from TV or the movies to Netflix isn't completely unheard of: the service has recently recruited David Fincher and Kevin Spacey for an original program called "House of Cards."
Unfortunately, like all of the other Chappelle's Show comeback rumors, this one seems to be bogus. Entertainment Weekly looked into The Daily report and was able to obtain a comment from a Dave Chappelle representative. Carla Sims, the rep, calls the rumors "absolutely untrue."

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6.25.2011

Tayrn Chuter of Corvallis crowned Miss Montana 2011

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Glendive — Taryn Chuter, 23, of Corvallis, won the title of Miss Montana and a chance to represent Montana at the Miss America Pageant in Las Vegas next January. Until then, she is Montana’s ambassador, speaking to schools and at conferences and special events. Her platform is educate and motivate: preventing childhood obesity.

Chuter won a $5,000 cash scholarship, plus $11,500 in applied scholarships and many prizes, including a silver service tea set that Mitchell Oil Field Service has been giving to Miss Eastern Montana or Miss Montana for 29 years.

Chuter tore her ACL in college track and has had a year and a half of rehab, but was still able to win the talent competition with her lyrical dance. Daughter of Page Thomas and Chris Chuter, Tayrn won the preliminary swimsuit and evening gown contests in the two previous nights’ competitions.

First runner-up was Veronika Ohlinger, of Cooke City, singing “Black Velvet.” She also won the Spirit and Leadership Award given by the production staff and $2,500.

Chantell Bury, 20, Glendive, was second runner-up, winning $2,000 in a cash scholarship. Bury was voted Miss Congeniality by fellow contestants, and voted most photogenic by Right Impressions, the official photographer for the week. Bury also won the Miss America State Community Service Award of $1,000.

Third runner-up Gillette Vaira, 24, of Lambert, was Thursday night’s evening gown winner and received the Miss America $1,000 Scholar Academic Award and the interview award.

The Miss America Scholarship Program is the largest contributor of scholarships for young women, giving out $45 million last year.

Fifteen-year-old Jalyssa Gorder, of Sidney, was crowned Miss Montana’s Outstanding Teen Friday night at the Dawson County High School auditorium in Glendive. Daughter of Shane and Lisa Gorder, she won a $1,000 scholarship and will represent Montana in Orlando, Fla., in August. Gorder performed a lyrical dance to “Jar of Hearts.” Her platform is stay active, stay fit, be healthy.

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6.24.2011

Erin Hatley wins Miss Tennessee 2011 title

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Its Erin Hatley, a gorgeous lady with a beautiful voice, dedicated to promoting volunteerism who will be representing Tennessee at the Miss America 2012 pageant, next January in Las Vegas.

Saturday night saw the crowning of Erin Hatley as Miss Tennessee 2011 by outgoing Miss Tennessee 2010, Nicole Jordan.

Erin and Nicole had been friendly rivals at the Miss Tennessee 2010 pageant, when Nicole ran as Miss Lexington and Erin reigned as Miss Walking Tall, Examiner reported.

Erin is hopeful of winning the Miss America crown after Miss America 1947 Barbara Jo Walker and Miss America 1986 Kellye Cash, both from Tennessee.

Erin studied Hospitality and Resort Management at the University of Memphis.

Madison Snipes 15, who is a hopeful entertainer, according to her Facebook page, was crowned Miss Tennessee Outstanding Teen, the report said.

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6.23.2011

Exclusive: Keri Hilson meets MSN Celebrity

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A bit of background on our celebrity guest...
Keri Hilson rose to fame when she collaborated with Timbaland on his 2006 album Shock Value - she featured on the song The Way I Are - and has also worked with many other big names including Kanye West, Xzibit, Ne-Yo and Usher.

Not only that, but she's also penned hit songs for artists including Britney Spears, Mary J Blige and The Pussycat Dolls, and she's been nominated for numerous awards, including two Grammys. She's won her fair share of covetable gongs too, including a MOBO and a BET Award.

She released her debut solo album In A Perfect World... in 2009 to great fanfare and her second album, No Boys Allowed has also been a great success, and her songs seem to strike a chord with almost everyone. At MSN, our favourite Keri Hilson track is Knock You Down featuring Kanye West and Ne-Yo. (What's yours? Leave a message for us below!)

Not only is she a musical talent to be reckoned with and a hot favourite among other artists (remember when Cher Lloyd famously covered Keri's version of Turn My Swag On on last year's X Factor?) but she's a genuinely kind and interesting person - we can vouch for that after having shared a scone (her first ever!) with her at London's swanky Sanctum Soho Hotel.

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6.20.2011

Rebecca Black Pulls Infamous ‘Friday’ Video From YouTube

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It’s Thursday, Thursday, and Rebecca Black’s memetastic “Friday” video is no longer available on YouTube, due to a copyright claim filed by Rebecca Black apparently. It’s not clear what exactly happened to the video, which at its pre-takedown height had amassed 167,370,534 views off of the ARK Music Factory account.

Earlier this week it seemed like the video had been set up as a $2.99 YouTube Rental by ARK, and then not so much. Is this latest drama due to an attempt by ARK to capitalize on the young star’s Internet fame? I have no idea.

When asked if Rebecca Black herself had asked for the takedown, a YouTube spokesperson gave us the following statement,”YouTube takes copyright infringement very seriously. When we receive a complaint alleging that a video infringes another person or company’s copyrights, we remove that video. Users who believe that a video was removed in error can appeal the copyright takedown.”

It’s been down for less than an hour and part of me actually misses the godforsaken thing. Guess you don’t know what you got until it’s gone.

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6.17.2011

Post Market Earning Scan: RIMM, CFI, JRJC

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Analysts had forecasted earnings of $1.32 per share on revenue of $5.15 billion for the company. Shares gained 0.45 percent or 16 cents to close at $35.47.
Culp Inc. (NYSE: CFI), a leading manufacturer and distributor of textile fabrics to the furniture and upholstery industries, registered net income of $6 million, or 45 cents per diluted share in its fiscal 2011 fourth quarter, compared with net income of $5.4 million, or 41 cents per share a year earlier. Analysts had forecasted earnings of 25 cents per share for the company. Net sales during the quarter were $60.4 million, up 5.5 percent from the corresponding quarter. Shares added 3.36 percent or 25 cents to trade at $7.68.
China Finance Online CO. Ltd. (Nasdaq: JRJC), China’s online financial information and services company, reported net income of $1.4 million, or 6 cents per diluted share in its fiscal first-quarter, compared with a net income of $0.14 million, or 1 cent per diluted share a year earlier. Analysts had estimated earnings of 6 cents per share for the company. Shares were down 6.57 percent or 26 cents to trade at $3.70 in the after-hours trading.

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