Credit: Films from festival favorites Terrence Malick, Abel Ferrara, Stephen Frears, and Doug Liman all failed to make the Official Selection despite being heavily tipped ahead of the announcement to score a slot. read more
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Original link: Directed by Daniel Lee and to co-star an as-yet-unnamed Hollywood A-lister, the big-budget film tells the story of Roman soldiers who get lost in ancient China. read more
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Apr. 16th, 2014 | Comments 0 | Make a Comment
Photo Credit: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock
Sunshine, picnic blankets, girls in flowing dresses, hula-hoops…they all mean that music festival season has officially begun. The first weekend of Coachella has wrapped up (with the second weekend coming up quick), but there are so many other options out there, whether you are a Philharmonic fan or an indie rocker. If you’re not a fan of big crowds, you may want to stay away from the mega-festivals (sorry, Coachella), but there are plenty of smaller eclectic festivals out there with friendly crowds and fantastic music. And we’re willing to bet that some of these will be news to you!
Abbey Road on the River — Louisville
The Scene: As the biggest Beatles-inspired music festival, this event is full of fond memories of the Fab Four. The first rule of AROTR (according to the FAQ section)? “Do not worry about anything because we will solve all of your problems and answer all of your questions and make you happy when you show up. We mean it!”
The Music: Though this annual festival celebrates “the music and spirit of the Beatles,” more than just Beatles cover tunes are played. The Beach Boys are actually headlining this year. But if it is the Beatles you want, there will be 250 concerts from tribute bands hailing from every corner of the world, including Norway and Japan. (May 22-26, 2014)
Photo Credit: Joe Cantrell/Waterfront Blues Festival
Mountain Rails Live — Southern Rockies, Colorado
The Scene: People seem to love the two-hour trip to Mountain Rails Live, which is not something you can say often about a festival. Come aboard the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad, travel through the Southern Rockies to Fir Mountain, which is an “all green” concert site in the high mountains. On July 4th weekend, this 13-week series goes all-out for an inaugural “Americana Music Festival.” In addition to the concerts, there’ll be local brews and barbecue.
The Music: Western folk, country rock and classic Americana. The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band headlines for the first time, while Juice Newton and Michael Martin Murphy are among other headliners. Fans also have the chance to meet the musicians in the club car on the trip home. (Weekends, June 14-15 through September 13-14, 2014)
Waterfront Blues Festival — Portland
The Scene: The Waterfront Blues Festival is kind of like New Orleans JazzFest meets Burning Man — only thankfully, temperatures are about 30 degrees cooler. Five days of music and a Fourth of July firework fest, Waterfront is one of the biggest and best festivals in Cascadia’s green, micro-brewing heart.
The Music: Headliners for 2014 include Boz Scaggs, Los Lobos and Gregg Allman. Blues greats include Maceo Parker, Lee Fields and the Expressions, John Nemeth and the Bokeys, and a host of others. Also, expect a little zydeco, a little rockabilly, and perhaps a marching band or two. (July 3-6, 2014)
Photo Courtesy of Aspen Music Festival and School
Aspen Music Festival and School — Aspen
The Scene: Since 1949, this has been one of the country’s preeminent classical music events. Tens of thousands of attendees mingle with classical music’s greats, and more than 600 promising music students are cherry-picked from around the world. About 300 live performances over eight weeks transform this mountain town and draw in an altogether different crowd than the Hollywood ski-bro norm.
The Music: The theme of this year’s Aspen Music Festival is “The New Romantics,” and the music director is Robert Spano — now in his third year. The storied Tony Bennett himself will appear June 28, and Rufus Wainwright will perform for one night only. The operas this year are “Carmen,” “Eugene Onegin,” and “The Picture of Dorian Gray.” (June 26-August 17, 2014)
BottleRock — Napa Valley
The Scene: After an huge start last year, BottleRock has settled down a bit, with a mellower lineup, seasoned promoters taking over, and — if locals get their wish — an atmosphere suited to Northern California’s wine country vibe. Speaking of wine country, at least 10 great producers will be pouring, and there will be a “restaurant garden” as well as a food truck area.
The Music: Outkast, The Cure, Eric Church, Weezer, TV on the Radio, LL Cool J with Z-Trip, The Fray, Matt and Kim, Heart, Deer Hunter, and about a dozen hit-makers of the Nineties. Supporting acts range stylistically from Irish bluegrass to experimental LA rock to accordion. (May 30-June 1, 2014)
Photo Credit: Phil Brennan/NXNE
NXNE (North by Northeast) — Toronto
The Scene: For all the people who sigh that SXSW is too much of a scene and isn’t about bands anymore, you should try the Canadian version. Now in its 20th year, it’s no small scene either, North by Northeast still brings in a solid line-up of under-the-radar and breaking artists — in addition to a couple chart-toppers. And it has also grown to have film, interactive and art components.
The Music: St. Vincent, and Spoon and Spiritualized are among the headliners this year. The rest of the lineup is split between artists known in Canada (but not yet globally, like Mac DeMarco and Tim Hecker) and buzz bands like Danny Brown (Detroit rap) and tUnE-yArDs (low-fi experimental pop). (Dates: June 13-22, 2014)
Rochester Lilac Festival — Rochester
The Scene: People in Western New York know it’s truly spring when Rochester’s lilacs are in full-blooming glory. Rochester’s nickname is The Flower City and at this festival, they’re the center of attention. Other program highlights include a music fest, fun run, parade, art fair, and Big Rib BBQ & Blues Fest (a festival-within-a-festival).
The Music: Eddie Money, Rusted Root, the Original Wailers and the Skycoasters are among those to headline a night of the eight-day festival. Big Rib recently announced headliners Robert Randolph & the Family Band, the James Hunter Six, and Naomi Shelton & the Gospel Queens. (May 9-18, 2014)
Photo Courtesy of Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo
Sweetgrass Music Festival — Charleston
The Scene: Only in its second year, this Charleston festival is one to hit if you like authentic bluegrass, a casual family-friendly vibe, and a relaxed stage where musicians can try out new band line-ups and interact with the attendees. The Sweetgrass Music Festival’s location, across from Charleston Harbor, promises gorgeous sunsets and breezy temperatures.
The Music: Headliners include Lonesome River Band, Nothin’ Fancy, and IIIrd Tyme Out (fronted by Russell More, five-time International Bluegrass Music Association Male Vocalist of the Year). A free mandolin workshop will be led by Grammy nominee Alan Bibey on Saturday. (May 2-3, 2014)
Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo — New Orleans
The Scene: This free festival on the Bayou St. John has three stages, an artists’ market, and awesome street-fair food. Special events include a bicycle pub crawl and “rubber ducky derby.” One stage is just for kid’s entertainment, while the others feature a lot of local bands. This annual event started nine years ago as a Hurricane Katrina fundraiser and continues to be all about supporting community, heritage, and art.
The Music: The Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo is full of Zydeco, hip-hop/soul, funk, jazz fusion, and more music made for dancing. (May 16-18, 2014)
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Read this article – The 80-year-old sat down with THR after introducing the TCM Classic Film Festival’s opening night screening of the classic musical she made 60 years ago.read more
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The prosecution in Oscar Pistorius’s murder trial in Pretoria accused him today of tailoring his testimony and using his emotional state to hide frustration at an “improbable” version of events from the night his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, was killed.Pistorius broke down several times during his testimony. The star runner stood by his story that the Feb. 14, 2013, shooting was accidental, but said “I blame myself for taking Reeva’s life.”Gerrie Nel, chief prosecutor, opened the fourth day of cross-examination by alleging that Pistorius had “concocted” his account of the shooting.On mobile? Watch the court proceedings LIVE here
5 key questions about the Pistorius trial as defence begins
“You’re tailoring your version as you’re sitting there,” Nel said. Later, he accused Pistorius of being a stickler for detail on some matters, in contrast to his frequent statements on the witness stand that he could not remember aspects of his testimony.Pistorius stood by his defence that he thought there was an intruder in the house. After a long pause after the question, he said he screamed, using an expletive, for the purported intruder to get out of his house.”I was terrified,” Pistorius said when asked about the moments before the shooting.As he testified, Pistorius began to wail and Judge Thokozile Masipa called an adjournment.Nel — who has been nicknamed “pitbull” by local media — resumed attacking Pistorius’s account of the shooting after the adjournment.Nel asked Pistorius about how he approached the door and how he held his gun. Pistorius said in the moments before he fired, he was leaning against the wall, trying to keep his balance on the slippery floor. He held the gun out in front of him, but Pistorius refused to say he was aiming the gun.“I was trying to stay put, so I could make sense of the situation,” Pistorius said.He said he fired when the door appeared to move and he thought someone was going to come out and attack him.“I didn’t have time to think,” Pistorius said.Nel argued forcefully against that notion, claiming Pistorius was thinking as he approached the door. Nel said Pistorius knew who he was firing at.“It’s not true,” Pistorius wimpered.“Why are you getting emotional now?” Nel said, launching into his version of events again before being cut off by Pistorius.“I did not fire at Reeva,” Pistorius said, his voice raising into a wail.Nel moved for court to adjourn immediately after that, as Pistorius was too emotional to continue with questioning.During a final session of questioning, Nel attacked Pistorius’s actions after the athlete fired four shots into the toilet door. Pistorius said his ears were ringing from the gunfire as he went back into the bedroom to look for Steenkamp. When he didn’t find her on the bed, or hiding behind curtains, Pistorius said he immediately feared she was in the toilet.Nel called that “improbable,” and asked Pistorius repeatedly why he didn’t think Steenkamp could have fled from the bedroom altogether. Checking the bathroom when there could have still been an intruder in there, Nel argued, wasn’t normal.”Nothing was normal about that night,” Pistorius responded.Pistorius began crying again as he described approaching the toilet for a second time, his gun still cocked, with the concern Steenkamp was inside.“Why are you getting emotional now?” Nel asked.”You’re getting frustrated because your version is improbable … you’re not using your emotional state as an escape, are you Mr. Pistorius?”Monday is Pistorius’s fourth day being cross-examined by Nel, who has questioned the athlete about his ego and accused him of “adapting” his story.Pistorius is the defence’s second witness. The defence is expected to call more than a dozen witnesses.Masipa alone will determine Pistorius’s fate as South Africa does not have trial by jury.If convicted of premeditated murder, Pistorius faces 25 years to life in prison.INTERACTIVE | The state vs. Pistorius: how the accounts differ
ANALYSIS | Oscar Pistorius under the microscope
Timeline: Oscar Pistorius
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Apr. 13th, 2014 | Comments 0 | Make a Comment
Photo Courtesy of Breguet
The close of 2014 Baselworld ended on a positive note last week with eight days of 1,500 exhibitors unveiling timepieces, jewelry and related products to over 150,000 attendees including journalists, buyers and visitors. The annual event held each year in the city of Basel, Switzerland, is the leading tradeshow in international luxury watches and jewelry. Marking the beginning of the business year for many Swiss retailers, the first quarter of 2014 has seen an increase in business from around the world, with numbers growing steadily from most international markets. With a larger selection of timepieces than in previous years, consumer demand is clearly driving the trends, including aesthetics, quality and luxury price points.
Photo Courtesy of Swisstime
Attendance declined this year with last year holding a record number of visitors (attributed mainly to the new architecture of Baselworld), but 2014 marked a rise in industry professionals—with more press, buyers and exhibitors who could help to improve upon the market. The showings offered at this year’s Baselworld reflected demands from the consumers, with popularity in rose gold, mixed metals and the increasing availability of mid-priced timepieces due to a growing upper-middle class.
Photo Courtesy of Swisstime
An increase of exports at 6.8 percent in January and February 2014, up from 1.9 percent in 2013, shows a continuous rise in haute horology with an averaging sales increase around the world. The 2014 World Watch Report shows the highest year-to-year luxury market rises in China at 59.4 percent, Russia at 20.4 percent and India at 12 percent, while sales have been declining in Germany at 9.2 percent, the U.S. at 7.9 percent and Japan at 5.5 percent. Italy and the U.K. saw single digit growth of 8.8 percent and 3.1 percent respectively. With high expectations, the Brazilian market actually fell short with a 2.9 percent decline.
Photo Courtesy of Swisstime
The Asian market, although slower than it has been in recent years, is still steadily increasing in sales with Asia now the leading region with the highest number of affluent individuals. Agility Affluent Insights reports that while price is still a top priority for purchasing a luxury watch, exclusivity is a close second, with percentages holding strongly across all six markets—India, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Indonesia and China—that quality in relation to price, the exclusivity of the brand name and how unique the design is, are important factors when making a substantial purchase. The top luxury watches across all six markets are Rolex, Omega and Gucci, followed by Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Dior, Tissot, Tag Heuer, and finally Montblanc.
Photo Courtesy of Swisstime
Forecasts for horological purchases in the next year report that India and China will hold the most purchasing power with 26 percent and 28 percent respectively, claiming that they will “definitely buy” in 2014. In a clear display of the need for mid-prices watches, all six markets are, on average, 53 percent willing to spend between $1,000-$3,000 on a piece, 22 percent willing to spend between $3,001-$5,000, 15 percent between $5,001-$7,500 and so on. Only an average of one percent of affluent consumers are willing to spend over $15,000.
Photo Courtesy of Swisstime
Women’s watches are in demand; Baselworld’s manufacturers took them into account with an influx of ladies’ timepieces by brands such as Harry Winston, Christophe Claret, Chopard and Breguet. While the U.S. is now accounting for over a quarter of womens’ watch sales, China is in even higher demand with an increase of 145.5 percent since 2013. Omega, Vacheron Constantin, Rolex and Chopard are dominating the Chinese sector with over a quarter of all interest falling to Rolex.
Photo Courtesy of Swisstime
The first quarter offered large sales growth and with expanding Asian and European markets, brands have the ability to tap into their needs and expectations. With the ending of the industry’s biggest trade show and the beginning of a new business season, only time will tell if the changes, response to demand and growth will stay consistent.
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Bubba Watson likes the way he looks in green. He wants to get that colour back in his wardrobe.Watson surged to the Masters lead with a spree of birdies on the back side Friday, positioning him for a weekend run at his second green jacket in three years.”I’m trying to get the jacket back,” Watson said. “I want that feeling again.”Mickelson misses cutPhil Mickelson will be watching the final two rounds of the Masters from home for the first time in 17 years, and it isn’t hard to figure out why — two triple bogeys.The one on No. 7 in the first round when he was chipping from about 30 feet away. Then the triple bogey on No. 12 in the second round Friday when he went bunker to bunker to bunker before he could get on the green.Mickelson had a 1-over 73 and missed the cut by one shot.He says his recent injuries weren’t a problem. Mickelson was worried coming into the Masters that he wasn’t mentally sharp, and that he was capable of making a big number. That’s just what he did.”It’s tough to overcome those big numbers,” said Mickelson, who had plenty of big-name company beyond the cut line.Sergio Garcia, Luke Donald, Ernie Els, Graeme McDowell, Dustin Johnson, Angel Cabrera and Charl Schwartzel were all headed home as well before the weekend.— The Associated PressThe 2012 champion at Augusta National sparked the best run of the tournament so far when he stuck his tee shot at No. 12 within three feet of the cup. He tapped in for the first of five straight birdies that propelled him to a 4-under 68.Even after making his second bogey of the tournament by missing a short putt at the 18th, Watson walked off with his second straight round in the 60s, a 7-under 137 total and a three-stroke lead, the biggest 36-hole advantage at Augusta since 2006.”It’s not science here,” Watson said. “It’s try to hit the greens, and if you’re hitting the greens that means you’re obviously hitting your tee shots well. So that’s all I’m trying to do, just hit the greens.”Look who’s in the mix again, too: 54-year-old Fred Couples, who posted his second straight 71.This is the fifth straight year the 1992 winner has gone to the weekend in the top 10 — he was leading two years ago — but he’s never been able to hang on.”I can’t panic,” said Couples, looking to become the oldest major champion in golf history. “You’re not going to pick up two or three shots here because you want to. It’s not that kind of course. You’ve got to hang in there, expect a tough shot here and there. It’s going to be a tough day tomorrow.”And don’t count out defending champion Adam Scott, who got off to a rough start but rallied for 72. The Aussie was among those four shots back, still solidly in contention to become only the fourth back-to-back winner in Masters history.Watson opened Thursday with a 69 and went bogey-free through the first 26 holes, finally stumbling at the ninth. But that bogey was quickly forgotten when he put on a dazzling display of the golf that had the patrons roaring. He took advantage of both par 5s, sandwiched around a curling, 40-foot birdie putt at the 14th that prompted him to throw both arms in the air.Watson made it five in a row at the par-3 16th, pulling off another magnificent tee shot with the 9-iron, the ball rolling up about 4 feet short of the flag. He became only the fifth player in Masters history to run off nothing but birdies from the 12th to 16th holes.’In awe’ as championA year ago, the left-hander finished in a tie for 50th last year as the defending Masters champion, his worst showing in five previous appearances. He likes being two years removed from his title a whole lot better.”I was in awe when I was the champion,” Watson said. “I didn’t know how to handle it the best way, so I didn’t play my best golf.”Watson’s closest pursuer was Australia’s John Senden, who birdied 14 and 15 on his way to a 68 and 140 overall.Scott bogeyed three of the first five holes but wound up at 141. He was joined by Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn, who birdied four of the last five holes for a 68; Sweden’s Jonas Blixt, who managed 71 despite a double-bogey at the 11th; and 20-year-old Jordan Spieth, hardly looking like an Augusta rookie when he closed out 70 with a birdie at the tough finishing hole.Five shots back with Couples were Jimmy Walker, a three-time PGA Tour winner this season who shot 72, and Jim Furyk, whose 68 matched Watson, Senden and Bjorn for the best round of the day.Graham DeLaet of Weyburn, Sask., shot an even-par second round, but his disappointing first round of 8-over will see him cut from the final weekend. The project cut is 4 over.Former Masters champion Mike Weir of Bright’s Grove, Ont., will almost assuredly move on after a round of even par. He followed four birdies on the front nine with four bogeys on the back to sit at 1 over after two rounds.First-round leader Bill Haas, teeing off on a warm, sunny afternoon with the wind picking up and the greens getting firmer, was still at 4 under approaching the turn. Then came a miserable stretch of holes starting at No. 9: bogey, bogey, double-bogey, bogey, bogey. He staggered to a 78 — 10 shots higher than the day before, knocking him nine shots back.Sergio Garcia, Luke Donald, Ernie Els, Graeme McDowell, Dustin Johnson, Angel Cabrera and Charl Schwartzel all missed the cut.
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Original post: The fifth annual film festival drew entertainment legends, including Kim Novak and Tippi Hedren, to its opening night gala by honoring the musical classic.read more
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The prosecutor in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial in Pretoria, South Africa, insisted on Friday that the world-famous athlete fatally shot his girlfriend through a toilet door as they were talking.5 key questions about the Pistorius trial as defence begins
Pistorius ‘adapting’ his story as trial proceeds, prosecutor says
Chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel claims that Pistorius intentionally killed Reeva Steenkamp and put it during cross-examination of the double-amputee Olympian that “she was standing behind the toilet door talking to you when you shot her.”Pistorius denied Nel’s claim, saying “that’s not true” in a dramatic exchange that ended the first week of the runner’s testimony at his trial. The trial is set to resume on Monday morning.Pistorius has consistently said he killed Steenkamp by accident after mistaking her for an intruder in the early hours of Feb. 14, 2013. He faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted of premeditated murder.But Nel says the “only reasonable explanation” for the shooting last year is that Pistorius killed the model after a fight. Nel pushed Pistorius to admit that he “invented” discussions between himself and Steenkamp in the moments before her death in preparation for his trial. Evidence of this, Nel says, can be found in the fact that Pistorius did not mention these alleged brief conversations in his application for bail.Nel also focused on the fact that Pistorius has insisted that he yelled loudly at Steenkamp multiple times to call the police, but that she never responded to his screams. Nel said that it is very “improbable” that she would not answer, despite being only metres away.”There is no way you can convince this court that she stood there, saying nothing. Why would she do that?” Nel asked. “She would have responded.”Pistorius responded that Steenkamp had been through a burglary before, and that she was likely too frightened to answer his calls.Nel answered: “She wasn’t scared of an intruder. She was scared of you. She was scared of you.”"She was standing right in front of the toilet door, talking to you, when you shot her. That’s the only reasonable explanation why you shot her in the head,” Nel said.Shortly before the day’s proceedings were adjourned, Pistorius said, “Many times I’m haunted by what she must have thought in the last moments that she lived.”Worried about an intruder?The prosecutor also challenged the athlete’s statements that he was worried about crime before he fatally shot Steenkamp through a closed toilet door in his home.Nel examined the details of the alarm system at Pistorius’s house, questioning why the athlete would believe an intruder had broken into his home when he had extensive security measures, including interior and exterior sensors. Pistorius said he activated the sensors on the home alarm system before going to sleep on the night he killed Steenkamp, but feared that building contractors doing work on his house may have moved some of the security beacons.The prosecutor said Pistorius had not mentioned immediately after the shooting that he had fears that building contractors had removed some of the security beacons, specifically near the bathroom window where he allegedly thought an intruder may have gained access on the night he killed Steenkamp.Querying why Pistorius had not mentioned those fears earlier, Nel said Pistorius was trying to build a story to explain his fears of an intruder and therefore a mistaken shooting.”This is the biggest example of you tailoring your evidence,” Nel said. Pistorius denied he was fabricating a story.Pistorius also said he was struggling to give clear testimony because he was tired, prompting the judge to ask him if he was too tired to proceed with a tough cross-examination from the chief prosecutor.Pistorius was responding to a question from Nel, who pointed to a lack of clarity in the double-amputee runner’s testimony about whether he turned off the alarm inside his home on the night of Feb. 14, 2013. Pistorius said he “must have” turned off the alarm, which Nel described as a vague response.The prosecutor then asked Pistorius, who acknowledged making a mistake in his testimony, if he needed time before continuing with his testimony.”I don’t need time,” the Olympic athlete said. “I am tired. It’s not going to change.”Nel responded: “You’re trying to cover up for lies and I’m not convinced.”Judge Thokozile Masipa interjected, asking Pistorius if he was too tired to proceed. She said that it wasn’t fair to the court if he was not alert during the proceedings.Pistorius replied that he was able to go on.INTERACTIVE | The state vs. Pistorius: how the accounts differ
ANALYSIS | Oscar Pistorius under the microscope
Timeline: Oscar Pistorius
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