Ronson to mentor emerging
acts through Grammy program
Mark Ronson poses for a photo at Jeff Bhasker Studio, in Venice, Calif. —AP
ark Ronson is lending his “Uptown
Funk” to budding musicians. The
Recording Academy and Hyundai
announced yesterday that Ronson will
serve as ambassador for the 2015 Grammy
Amplifier, the organization’s program for
mentoring artists. This year’s curators
include Ziggy Marley, the Band Perry and
singer-songwriter Allen Stone. Artists can
enter submissions starting Tuesday; the
program will mentor 25 finalists.
The top three will each win a recording
session with a Grammy-winning producer,
film a music video and earn a performance
spot at a music festival or as an opening
act for a top artist. The program is in its
third year. Past celebrity participants
include David Guetta, Ariana Grande,
Kendrick Lamar, Hunter Hayes and Robert
In this April 26, 2003 file photo, the US band Dropkick Murphys pose in Bourges as part of the 27th edition of the Printemps de Bourges music
festival. — AFP
Dropkick Murphys angry as
Republican governor uses song
he Dropkick Murphys, the Boston rockers
known for their left-wing politics, have
voiced outrage after union-busting
Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin played their
music at a conservative forum. “Please stop using
our music in any way. We literally hate you!!! Love,
Dropkick Murphys,” the band tweeted over the
weekend. Walker, who became a national name
for stripping most public-union workers of their
collective bargaining power, took the stage to the
Dropkick Murphys’ music Saturday at the Iowa
Freedom Summit, a conservative gathering seen
as a venue for White House aspirants to test the
While it is not new for US musicians to oppose
politicians’ use of their songs, the Republican governor could scarcely have found a less sympathetic band. The Dropkick Murphys, who mix punk
elements with Irish-inspired melodies, in 2011
released the song “Take ‘Em Down” in support of
Wisconsin workers fighting against Walker’s antiunion agenda. The track played in Iowa for Walker,
“I’m Shipping Up to Boston,” was the Dropkick
Murphys’ cover of a song by Woody Guthrie, the
folk singer famous for his left-wing protest music.
With musicians often leaning left, Republican
candidates have faced particular difficulty finding
suitable music on the campaign trail. In the last
presidential race, the Somali-born rapper K’naan
protested when his music was used by
Republican candidate Mitt Romney, whose
playlist later featured musicians with conservative
views such as Meat Loaf. — AFP
Dieter Kosslick director of the International Film Festival Berlin, the Berlinale,
holds a copy of a 65 years old Golden Bear award certificate as he poses for the
media prior to the annual program press conference yesterday. — AP
Audrey Tautou, Matthew Weiner
among Berlin film fest jury
melie” actress Audrey Tautou
and “Mad Men” creator
Matthew Weiner will be among
the seven jury members for this year’s
Berlin Film Festival. Festival boss Dieter
Kosslick said yesterday that “Rush” actor
Daniel Bruhl, “The Host” director Bong
Joon-ho, “Hannibal” producer Martha De
Laurentiis and Claudia Llosa, the director
of “The Milk of Sorrow,” will also be among
those deciding who gets the Berlinale’s
Golden Bear and Silver Bears awards.
The jury will be led by director Darren
Aronofsky, who was previously
announced. The Berlin event, which runs
Feb 5-15, is the first of the year’s major
European film festivals.
Terrence Malick’s new film “Knight of
Cups,” starring Christian Bale, Cate
Blanchett and Natalie Portman, will have
its world premiere in the event’s competition. An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that the total number of
jury members was eight. — AP
Actor and producer
Adrian Grenier
snowboards in
Neffland terrain
park at Park City
Mountain Resort
during the 2015
Sundance Film
Festival on
Monday. — AP
Adrian Grenier enjoys anonymity
on empty slopes at Sundance
Actors Ryan Reynolds, left, and Ben Mendelsohn pose at the premiere of “Mississippi
Grind” during the 2015 Sundance Film Festival on Saturday in Park City, Utah. — AP
Why Reynolds says he’s a
dangerous poker player
yan Reynolds and Ben Mendelsohn ventured deep into the heart of America to
film the gambling drama “Mississippi
Grind,” a gritty, 70s-style road trip movie about
two near-strangers travelling from Dubuque,
Iowa to New Orleans. The production spanned
the heartland as they drove all over
Mississippi, Missouri, Louisiana and Alabama,
going to little towns and little casinos and off
the beaten path racing tracks, often filming
the “road trip” scenes while they were also
actually travelling elsewhere.
“I got to go to place that I’d never see otherwise,” said Reynolds on Sunday. “I love the
South. I go all over the South all the time. My
wife (Blake Lively) and I are addicted to New
Orleans. But we’ve never been to those steamboat casinos or anything like that.” To prepare
for their roles as expert gamblers, the two
went out on the town with a “poker czar” a
few times before they were “thrown to the
wolves with genuine, 14-hour a day sitting at
a table grinding killers,” said Mendelsohn.
“They see us coming and they slide over to
that table,” added Reynolds. It was Reynolds,
though, that had the advantage at the tables,
mostly because he just isn’t that good at poker. “I would say that I am mediocre at best. I
noticed that they were more afraid of me. The
idiot who shows up at the table and doesn’t
know what he’s doing is the most dangerous,”
he said. Reynolds admits that he did have to
get past some initial assumptions about the
real life players he was interacting with.
“You get there and you cast all these aspersions, like ‘Oh man, these guys are the dregs.
What is this going to be like?’ And then you
fall in love with each and every one of them.
You really do. They have stories to tell and
they have lives that they’ve led. They may sit
at poker tables for 14 hours a day...,” he said.
Many of the casinos, however, would only
allow the production to shoot during off
hours. “They like having all the guys that lose
the money come in there at the prime hours.
So we would shoot from about 2 am to 1 pm
which is a terrible time to be awake,” said
Reynolds. The production was so small that
most of the time people didn’t notice that
Reynolds and Mendelsohn were sitting two
tables down from them - except when the
actors were in the way of a machine a particular customer wanted to play on. For
Mendelsohn, an Australian actor, the film,
which premiered at Sundance, was once in a
lifetime experience. —AP
tars are consistently swarmed by fans at the
Sundance Film Festival, but there’s one place
they can find anonymity: On the slopes.
Wearing a helmet and goggles, “Entourage” star
Adrian Grenier was just another snowboarder out
having fun. “I learned to board when I first came
here for the festival,” he said, strapping his boots
into the bindings. “And I’ve been back every year for
the past 10 years.”
The actor-producer came to the festival to support his latest non-”Entourage” project, a documentary called “The Lonely Whale.” He’s meeting with
potential investors and announced plans to launch
a Kickstarter campaign next month to finance the
film, which follows a solitary whale off the coast of
California who has been singing for years without a
response. “We’re looking to get as many friends
around ‘Lonely Whale’ so we can try to understand
the spirit of what he’s trying to communicate,”
Grenier said, “about the plight of whales, about our
own relationship to the ocean and ocean health in
general.” But the 38-year-old made sure to set aside
a day for snowboarding - a perfect, sunny Monday
with no crowds or lift lines at Park City Mountain
Resort. His first stop was the Neffland terrain park,
where he attempted various jumps and tricks.
“I have no business doing this,” he said before
catching air. Three ski resorts loom over Park City,
and while most out-of-towners are holed up in
movie theaters catching the Sundance offerings,
local residents and the savviest visitors -including
“Grenier - are out in the snow, catching some wideopen runs. “Everyone’s so caught up in the movies
and the dinners and the parties and the gifting
suites that I think the nature that surrounds the
event - the snowboarding, the skiing - is kind of an
afterthought,” said Shaun Neff, founder of Neff
active wear.
Neff sponsored his namesake terrain park as a
tribute to the mountain where he built his brand,
Aguilera to perform ahead
of NBA All-Star Game
riana Grande isn’t
the only big-voiced
singer performing at
the NBA All-Star Game:
Christina Aguilera has been
added to the lineup. NBA
announced yesterday that
Aguilera will per form
ahead of the 64th annual
game on Feb 15 at Madison
Square Garden in New York
City. She will sing a “New
York-themed medley” during player introductions and be joined by
dance troupe The Rockettes.
Grammy-winning Aguilera’s hits include “Genie in a Bottle,”
“Beautiful,” “Ain’t No Other Man” and “Say Something” with A Great
Big World. Next month she will return as a mentor on NBC’s “The
Voice” after a two-season break. The All-Star game will air live on
TNT. Grande will perform during the halftime show. — AP
and continues to support aspiring snowboarders
during the Sundance festival. Besides outfitting performers with snow-ready clothes and hats, he also
invites celebrities to learn to ride with his team of
professional boarders. With all the crowds and business deals happening on Main Street, the slopes are
a perfect escape.
“It’s very peaceful - to be one with nature, to get
up on the mountain and clear your head,” Neff said,
“and it’s a fairly easy sport to pick up.”The anonymity
for celebrities is an added bonus. Grenier said Park
City is the only place he snowboards, and it’s always
during Sundance. “It’s great riding with people from
around the world all gathering for the festival,” he
said. “And it’s the only time I get to see certain
friends.” After shredding the hill, Grenier swooped
into the Stella Artois Cafe on Main Street for a quick
lunch, then, minus the helmet and goggles, tried
unsuccessfully to blend into the festival crowd, camera-wielding fans trailing behind.— AP
Sean Penn to get French cinema honor
ean Penn is to get an honorary
French film award in a Paris ceremony next month in recognition of him being a cinema “living
legend”, the organizers said in a
statement. The 54-year-old is a
“mythical actor, a politically active
personality and an exceptional director,” said the French Academy of
Cinema. As “a standalone icon in
American cinema,” he will receive an
honorary Cesar award during the
academy’s annual prize ceremony in
the French capital on February 20 —
two days before the Oscars in the US.
Penn, who won Oscars for his performances in “Milk” and “Mystic
River”, has earned a strong leftwing
reputation for his public potshots at
then-president George W. Bush, support of gay marriage, and for starting
a foundation to help Haiti after its
2010 earthquake. He was married to
Sean Penn
Madonna in the 1980s, then to
“House of Cards” star Robin Wright
from 1996 to 2010. Since last year he
has been seeing actress Charlize
Theron, and is taking steps to adopt
her three-year-old son. — AFP