Rock n’ Roll legend Chuck Berry dead at 90

NEW YORK – Chuck Berry, one of the creators of rock ‘n’ roll who helped shape modern youth culture with his dance-ready rhythms but who struggled to overcome institutional racism, died Saturday. He was 90.

Police in the St. Louis area, where Berry was born and lived most of his life, said that first responders found the guitar legend unresponsive when they answered an emergency call at his home.

“The St. Charles County Police Department sadly confirms the death of Charles Edward Anderson Berry Sr., better known as legendary musician Chuck Berry,” it said on Facebook.

Berry became a sensation in the years after World War II as the baby boom generation came of age in an increasingly prosperous America. The middle-class son of a carpenter and a high school principal, Berry grew up under segregation but instinctively sensed how to bridge the racial divide.

 Berry had played blues guitar but found that his white audience was more interested in country. He merged the styles with an electric energy and consummate stage showmanship, although he hesitated to say that he created rock ‘n’ roll.

“It used to be called boogie-woogie, it used to be called blues, used to be called rhythm and blues,” he later said. “It’s called rock now.”

Whatever the music was named, Bruce Springsteen, one of many artists heavily influenced by Berry, said the man was indispensable.

“Chuck Berry was rock’s greatest practitioner, guitarist and the greatest pure rock ‘n’ roll writer who ever lived,” Springsteen wrote on Twitter.

His 1958 hit “Johnny B. Goode” was so influential and recognizable that the US space program chose it to represent rock music for potential extraterrestrial listeners on the Voyager spacecraft.

Struggles with racism 

“Roll Over Beethoven” from 1956 was almost a manifesto of rock ‘n’ roll as the charismatic Berry urged the DJ to switch off the classical records and turn to the new genre of the youth.

Other hits included “Maybellene,” one of the pioneering rock songs that gave a guitar edge to a popular fiddle tune, and “Sweet Little Sixteen,” in which Berry hailed rock ‘n’ roll’s sweep across the United States.

Berry was one of the first African Americans to find a widespread white audience, with his gentle demeanor and the usually innocuous subject matter of his songs initially insulating him in a country where many black people lived under Jim Crow institutionalized racism.

But that changed as his fame grew. After a packed performance in 1959 in Meridian Mississippi, a white crowd set upon Berry and forced him to leave through a side entrance after accusing him of kissing a white girl among his fans.

“One of the girls threw her arms around me and hung a soul-searching kiss that I let hang a second too long,” Berry later explained. He was arrested for disturbing the peace and left the city after paying a fine.

His career soon was interrupted when he was arrested in 1959 under an obscure law for taking a 14-year-old girl across state lines for “immoral purposes.”

Berry defended himself against allegations that he had slept with the young waitress. But he was convicted by an all-white jury and served a year and a half in prison. In a bitter irony, he was incarcerated just as the United States was swept by white rockers influenced by him, including the British invasion led by The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

Mick Jagger hailed Berry on Saturday as an inspiration, saying: “He lit up our teenage years, and blew life into our dreams of being musicians and performers.”

Final album due 

After his prison time, friends described the laid-back and fun-loving Berry as a changed man, and the conviction has long been viewed in the African American community as a warning sign for artists on the rise.

Berry mostly avoided the media limelight as he resurrected his career. In a rare 1987 interview with NBC television, Berry declined to describe himself as the father of rock ‘n’ roll, listing others including his contemporary Elvis Presley as well as Fats Domino and Little Richard.

“We’re all I think just a cog in the wheel. We all got the ball rolling,” he said.

Berry initially found success after record executive Leonard Chess sensed his crossover potential and signed him after an introduction from Muddy Waters. Berry late in his life stayed low-profile in St. Louis where he played two decades worth of shows at the Blueberry Club, with his son Charles Berry Jr. in his backup band.

In a surprise, Berry last year celebrated his 90th birthday by announcing that he had recorded his first album in 38 years.

Entitled simply “Chuck,” the album is slated to be released sometime this year.

In a statement as he announced the album, Berry dedicated it to his wife of 68 years, Themetta Berry.

“My darlin’, I’m growing old! I’ve worked on this record for a long time. Now I can hang up my shoes!”

‘Logan,’ an R-Rated Super-Hero Film With Box Office Powers

The R-rated “X-Men” spinoff “Logan” slashed into the weekend box office, opening with a massive $85.3 million in North American theaters, according to studio estimates Sunday, while best-picture winner “Moonlight” got a significant, if far from superhero-sized, Oscar bump.

The debut of 20th Century Fox’s “Logan,” starring Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, ranks among the biggest March openings ever and top R-rated debuts. Like last year’s R-rated “Deadpool” (also a Fox release), the better-than-expected opening for “Logan” — a darkly violent, grittily dramatic movie applauded by critics — further proves moviegoers’ hunger for less conventional comic book films.

Read also: Why final Wolverine movie ‘Logan’ has best possible finale

“‘Deadpool,’ was to comedy what ‘Logan’ is to drama. The only common theme is that they’re quote-unquote ‘comic-book movies’ and they’re rated R,” said Fox distribution chief Chris Aronson, who credited director and co-writer James Mangold and Jackman for executing their personal vision for the film.

Jackman has said it will be his final performance as Wolverine, whose claws he has worn for 17 years. “Logan,” made for about $100 million, also sold $152.5 million in tickets overseas.

“On a global scale, we’ve exceeded all pre-release expectations,” Aronson said.

Last week’s No. 1 film, Jordan Peele’s horror sensation “Get Out” slid just 22 percent — a small drop for any movie but particularly in the horror genre. The acclaimed Universal Pictures release, made for $5 million by Blumhouse Productions, dropped to second place but still grossed $26.1 million. Its 10-day total is $75 million.

The Oscar best-picture winner “Moonlight” had its widest release yet, appearing on 1,564 screens. It turned in its biggest weekend, too, with an estimated $2.5 million. That accounts for roughly 10 percent of the movie’s total domestic haul of $25.3 million.

“Moonlight,” made for just $1.5 million, is also out on DVD and on-demand. Indie distributor A24 said it will be its highest-grossing release in its five-year existence. “Moonlight” also ranks fourth on iTunes.

“That’s a true Oscar halo effect in full view,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore. “Usually the biggest bounce comes from the nominations. But this film hadn’t made a ton of money. A24 smartly expanded into more theaters, and it really worked for them.”

Barry Jenkins’ drama is nevertheless one of the least widely seen best-picture winners. Only Kathryn Bigelow’s “The Hurt Locker” ($17 million) earned less at the domestic box office.

Though it memorably did not win best picture, Lionsgate’s “La La Land” — winner of six Academy Awards — is closing in on $400 million globally after adding another $11 million internationally and $3 million domestically.

Lionsgate’s “The Shack” also opened in North American theaters over the weekend and came in third with $16.1 million. The Christian tale, starring Sam Worthington and Octavia Spencer, was slammed by critics, but it attracted one of the largest faith-based audiences in recent years.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers also are included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

Cambodia International Film Festival

Now in its seventh year, the festival is attracting filmmakers, stars, students and fans from around the city and the globe. This week’s events offer a wide range of themes for movie, art and music lovers, and a unique platform for the Kingdom to celebrate its creativity

When the Cambodia International Film Festival began in 2009, it was responding to a very specific need: films made in the country simply did not have a platform for screening. With no major cinemas, the crewmembers often would not even have a chance to view their own work on the screen.

“We started to say ‘we should bring some of these films back,’” says Cedric Eloy, the chief executive officer of the Cambodian Film Commission and one of the festival organizers. After beginning with an approximate audience of a thousand people, the festival has grown yearly, and organizers expect this incarnation, which begins tonight and runs through Thursday, to exceed 20,000 attendees.

Despite expanding alongside the industry, Eloy says the festival has maintained its mission – to give filmmakers a platform, to present trends in local cinema to outsiders working in the industry, and to develop a local knowledge base about movies from all over the world.

For the first time, this year’s edition will be held in the spring, where Eloy expects it to remain in coming years. The lineup is an intoxicating mix of local and regional films, with Western offerings sprinkled throughout, as well as a celebration of local music, arts and dance. Because of the range of films, the organisers have tried to arrange the agenda as much as possible by theme – for example, there will be a showcase of Lao cinema, a series on the Rwandan genocide, and a collection of films for children.

“There’s really a desire to make it accessible to a large audience without it feeling too overwhelming, so that’s why there’s an intention to have all these different themes,” Vanaka Chhem-Kieth, a press officer for the festival, says. On top of providing nearly a week of entertainment for residents, the festival is also an opportunity to foster a local film ecosystem.

“We do film production and film training most of the year, so we connect everything we do [with the festival] … and people can make professional connections between Cambodia and other industries [elsewhere],” Eloy says. “A lot of people, when they come to present their film here, discover that there is an industry. They make connections and might have an idea for other projects. So it leads to other films in the future and other collaborations.”

Director Rithy Panh, whose documentary Exile will be making its Cambodian premiere, sees the festival as an opportunity for locals to see and hear perspectives potentially unfamiliar to them.

“You have nearly 30 different countries [where films being shown are made] and these are 30 different points of view and ways of doing cinema differently, and I find that it’s important for our youth to discover these different viewpoints,” he says. “It’s not sufficient [for success] to have a good diploma in management. You also need culture.”

In order to make the festival as accessible as possible for the public, the organisers have implemented a ticketing system that allows the first half of the audience to get in free, while all subsequent tickets cost just $1.

For admission to all the events, and the perk of getting to skip lines, the public can purchase a pass for the entire festival for 50,000 riel ($12.50). In line with targeting a young, local audience, Koh Pich will host a series of open air events, including a screening of Davy Chou’s celebrated film Diamond Island.

READ CONTINUE:

Indonesia – 10,000 dancers to perform Saman Dance in Aceh

Up to 10,000 dancers are set to participate in a traditional Saman Dance performance in March at Blang Kejeren city stadium in Gayo Lues regency, Aceh.

The mass Saman Dance performance has been held twice and previously involved 5,000 dancers.

“Five thousand dancers was considered to be the biggest, but they will present [more than] 10,000 dancers,” Aceh Cultural and Tourism Agency head Reza Pahlevi told kompas.com.

(Read also: Indonesian troupe to perform Majapahit-inspired dance in India)

Reza said that the performance was part of the dance’s preservation and promotion program and the dancers themselves would be representative of all districts in Gayo Lues regency.

“Almost all Gayou Lues residents can perform the traditional dance,” said Reza. “This is why [the Saman Dance] has received recognition from UNESCO, as it is very authentic and rooted in the people’s lives.”

At the time of writing, Reza had yet to reveal the performance date. He mentioned that the committee was still waiting for the Aceh regional election. “In the meantime, the event is slated for mid-March.” (jes/kes)

Source: TheJakartaPost

Johnny Depp – Jack Sparrow faces rival in ‘Pirates of the Caribbean 5′

Jack Sparrow returns for the fifth time in “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” trailer.

In the hair-raising trailer released on Monday, the trouble-making and mellow buccaneer (Johnny Depp) is shown to be soaked in mud as he faces his adversary, Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem).

Salazar, fleeing from the Devil’s Triangle, happens to lead a syndicate of ghost pirates who target to systematize a “killing spree” for all pirates.

Sparrow will be assisted by his crew composed of Captain Barbosa (Geoffrey Rush), Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Joshamee Gibbs (Kevin McNally).

To counter Salazar evil’s forces, Sparrow must also team up with a prodigious astronomer, Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario), and Henry (Brenton Thwaites), a young sailor in the Royal Navy, to locate the Trident of Poseidon.

“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man Tell No Tales” will first grace theaters on May 26. The film’s previous franchises, chiefly “Dead Man’s Chest” and “On Stranger Tides,” have grossed billions of dollars.

VIDEO

Source: TheJakartaPost

Beyoncé shares (naked) pregnancy photos

Besides the pregnancy announcement of Beyoncé on Twitter and Instagram, she shares even more pictures with her fans, including some in Eve costume ....

Source: Twitter / Instagram/ Beyoncé website

 

 

This captivating short film by Johnnie Walker will inspire all Thais to come together for a brighter year

Presented by

As we head into 2017, with New Years resolutions written in our Notes app and social media feeds filled with good wishes, Johnnie Walker urges us to reflect on the year and see how we can be better, together.

It’s been a hard year for Thailand. We’ve lost the captain of our ship, the leader we all look to for guidance and the father of our nation. So 2017 is a time of change, which is always difficult, always constant, and always crucial.

This new video short film by Johnnie Walker opens with beautifully crafted, yet familiar scenes of Bangkok; traffic jams, crowded skywalks and shouting motorcy dudes. Everyone is in black, looking somber. But the familiar quickly gives way to something else. The motorcy dudes are giving free rides and the passengers are smiling thankfully.

“We all play different roles. Sometimes we are the givers. Sometimes we are given to.” How true.

Heartwarming scenes of cleaning the city, painting over graffiti and sharing support for farmers quickly follow. The ominous voiceover turns hopeful and reminds us that although we are different, we all face obstacles together. We are 60 million strong, all united under a shared goal of a better tomorrow. (Queue the orchestra, the watery eyes and repeat viewings of this video.)

Johnnie Walker reminds us that together, #wewillkeepwalking towards a brighter future. When we’re alone, making an impact seems scary and overwhelming. But when all Thai people come together then anything is possible.

And if you ask us, we can’t imagine a better message for 2017: a future of giving, a future of helping one another, a future of doing it all together.

Watch the video and share the message for a brighter 2017. Then help ensure a better tomorrow by visiting www.wewillkeepwalking.com to make a pledge and inspire others. Because when we walk together we progress the furthest. 

VIDEO

Source: Coconut.co

 

Celine Dion back on soundtrack Beauty and the Beast

#Celinedion – I am thrilled to announce that I’ll be performing an all-new original song, “How Does A Moment Last Forever,” for Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast.
Being a part of the original film was such a magical experience in my life, and I’m truly honored to be a part of this film again. // Je suis ravie de vous annoncer que je chanterai la nouvelle chanson thème du film La Belle et la Bête, «How Does A Moment Last Forever».
Avoir fait partie du film original de Disney a été une expérience magique dans ma vie et je suis encore plus honorée de répéter cette expérience. – Céline 🌹#beautyandthebeast #Disney #labelleetlabete

Thailand – Former MP Chuwit Kamolvisit quits politics

Former MP Chuwit Kamolvisit swears in front of Tiger God Shrine Tuesday to leave politics forever.

Chuwit quits politics to launch new career in media

Thailand – Racism, anger and why dual pricing makes sense to Thai people

If you’ve been living in Thailand for any length of time, chances are you’ve come across dual pricing. This is the practice of charging different groups of people different prices for the same item or service.

In Thailand, this presents itself as differing prices for Thais and foreigners. While the issue never crosses most thai people’s minds, it can make foreigners feel angry or taken advantage of.

There are even websites devoted to this phenomenon. One popular site, 2PriceThailand, advocates for abolishing the dual price system and teaches foreigners Thai numbers so that they can better know when they are entering a place that employs a dual pricing system, whether overtly or covertly.

The admins of the site say, “The dual pricing system is hurting the image of both the tourism industry and Thailand itself. Thai people are internationally known for their kind and generous hospitality. The actions of a few tourist attractions are damaging that reputation. We respectfully request a transparent pricing system in Thailand.”

Coconuts checked in with Kasetsart University’s Intercultural Communications Professor Rachawit Photiyarach, who has thought long and hard about this topic. Here, he answers our questions and makes some points you may have never considered.

What is dual pricing?

There are two types of dual pricing: interpersonal and institutional.

Institutional dual pricing is the practice of an institution, such as a museum, attraction or national park, having clearly stated policies for charge different groups of people different prices.

Places like the Grand Palace, for example, charge foreigners the exorbitant sum of THB500, while Thais are charged the somewhat smaller sum of, well, absolutely nothing.

Interpersonal dual pricing is when an independent seller charges different buyers different prices for the same item and it happens on a case-by-case basis.

This one is much more insidious since it feels, well, personal.

Interpersonal dual pricing happens when a street vendor looks at someone and decides that, for whatever reason, they can or will pay more than their peers for a plate of somtam. It also happens when a taxi driver refuses to use the meter or when anyone, anywhere interacts with a tuk-tuk driver. It can even happen when you are looking to lease an apartment and how much you are charged in rent.

What’s the problem with dual pricing?

Dual pricing causes two kinds of issues for people: emotional and financial. It’s hard for many foreigners — the most common victims of dual pricing — to make peace with the concept that they need to pay more than other customers simply due to their ethnicity.

You see, according to the professor, Asian tourists from outside of Thailand, such as Korean, Japanese or Chinese visitors, are charged the local rate based on their appearance despite the fact that they aren’t Thai and can’t speak a word of Thai.

Wait. Isn’t that racist?

In a way it is. “They make their judgements about pricing based on stereotypes and racial profiling,” said the professor.

What can people do to combat institutional dual pricing?

In cases of institutional dual pricing and attempting to get a lower price, the professor suggests strategies for showing the staff that you are not a tourist. Some people have had luck with displaying a Thai ID, driver’s license, work permit or even a local bank card to prove they are residents. Others have had success when they speak Thai and explain that they are not tourists and would like to pay the local rate.

Many times, you simply won’t be able to negotiate with staff because they have no authorization to give you a lower price. Alternately, sometimes no matter what you tell them, they still simply see a foreigner who must pay the foreigner rate.

How can they deal with interpersonal dual pricing?

Any of the strategies above might help you negotiate with an independent seller as well. Speaking Thai is the most likely way to get them to give you the local price for your plate of krapow or cup of iced coffee.

If you’d rather not encounter interpersonal dual pricing at all, you can frequent businesses that don’t employ the practice. Ride apps like Grab and Uber ensure that you won’t be overcharged for transportation while buying food from vendors with prices on display ensures that your server won’t rip you off for not being Thai.

Rather than get into a brawl with your local fruit seller, the best way to deal with a vendor that insists on dual pricing is to simply not buy from them.

Dual pricing makes me so angry. How can I deal with that?

To deal with an emotional reaction to dual pricing, try thinking about the policy logically, understanding why it’s done and remembering that it’s not intended as an insult toward you, personally.

It’s quite normal to have an emotional reaction to dual-pricing. Victims report feeling singled out, rejected, judged, stereotyped or even violated by episodes of dual pricing.

What’s the reasoning behind dual pricing?

Some of the underlying reasons for dual pricing are based on assumptions and stereotypes that all foreigners are rich.

The professor explained that it’s assumed that many foreigners, whether expat or tourist, have lots of money. The reasons for this are duofold and, in some ways, make perfect sense.

As an expat, in order to secure a work permit in Thailand you must make a certain amount of money each month and that amount is far higher than most Thai workers make. So, in that way, when an institution or vendor views you as someone with more money than a Thai peer, they may be right.

As a tourist, the assumption is that, if you live the sort of lifestyle that would allow you to vacation on the other side of the world, you must have money. It actually makes sense. It’s not the poorest segment of the population that can afford exotic vacations.

Of course, the legitimate counter-argument is that, even if it’s true, a bowl of tom yam should have the same market price no matter who it’s being sold to.

An additional reason why locals are often admitted free or very cheaply to attractions such as temples, museums and historical landmarks is because the government does not want them to miss out on seeing important parts of their heritage simply because they don’t have the money to pay the admission fee. The belief is that all Thais, even the poorest citizens, have the right to visit these places and should not be penalized for having little money.

How should foreigners NOT react to dual pricing?

The professor noted that it’s not worthwhile to get angry with institutional staff that employ a dual price system. They didn’t create the policy and may not even agree with it.

We’ve all seen a foreigner shrieking at a blank faced ticket booth worker who can do little to help them and, if they could, they certainly aren’t going to after being shouted at.

In fact, it’s best not to get angry at street vendors that use this practice either. The best thing to do is to calmly take your money and spend it elsewhere.

To find out more about the professor’s work, check out his Intercultural Guide for Expats and Thais page.

Source: Coconuts.co