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Miller to star in van Gogh film


Photo: Sienna Miller can soon by seen in the film Casanova.

Actors Sienna Miller and Steve Buscemi are set to star in a US remake of a movie by the murdered Dutch film-maker Theo van Gogh.  Alfie star Miller, 23, will star alongside the Fargo actor in a remake of Interview, the website of Van Gogh's Dutch production firm said. Buscemi, 48, is directing the film about a psychological tussle between a journalist and a soap-opera actress. In July Mohammed Bouyeri was convicted of shooting and stabbing van Gogh. Film-maker Van Gogh, a strong critic of radical Islam and a distant relative of the 19th-Century painter Vincent van Gogh, was killed as he cycled through Amsterdam. His murder in November 2004 stunned the Netherlands. His production company said filming of the Interview remake was scheduled to start next month. Two other remakes of Van Gogh films are also being planned for, it added. The Dutch and US producers said part of the profits would be put into a fund in his memory which supports freedom of speech in film-making.



By Esther Cohen-Hamilton

Photo: Cover jacket of Entertainment: Divas, Cabaret Jazz, Then and Now, by Maximillien de Lafayette. Published, September, 2006, 722 pages. On the cover: Ms. Marlene VerPlanck, Broadway noted singer.

Author extraordinaire, Maximillien de Lafayette is having fun, because everybody who is somebody in showbiz is talking and gossiping about his latest book  Entertainment Divas, Cabaret, Jazz Then And Now. It is an enormous book containing between two covers almost everything you need to know about Cabaret and Jazz, including a roster of the most successful singers and divas on an international scale. So far so good. But once you explore this huge book and start to read about the "making" of a diva, more precisely the persona and aura of a Cabaret or Jazz singer, de Lafayette's frightening frankness and colorful criticism will throw you off your rocking chair.

Nevertheless, you remain glued to his book because it is not an ordinary book written by a music historian or a critic who wants to elaborate on the nature and development of Jazz and cabaret but, simply because De Lafayette dared to tell you who is the best and who is the worst in the business. Probably you would not tolerate his pompous intellect but you will be astonished by his immense knowledge of the world of entertainment, Cabaret, Jazz and what makes a performer a super star or a legend. De Lafayette spent his entire life among and around stars since he was a child. Marlene Dietrich, Dalida, Jean Gabin, Simone Signoret, Yves Montand, Gabriella Ferri, Farid El Atrach, and legends of the 40s, 50s, and 60s were either familiar faces to the young Maximillien or friends of the family. He mingled with them and heard directly from them first-hand jokes, stories and confessions. But the book is not about gossips and confessions of legends and icons of a vanished glorious era. It rotates and evolves around divas, singers, starlets and ambitious artists you hear about or see today on Broadway and venues in Paris, Madrid and London. The juicy part of the subjects was squeezed into the Moolinex of de Lafayette and his "critical grinder." Some artists were elevated on pedestals. Others ridiculed and mocked. CDs were meticulously reviewed and artists' live performances in New York were carefully observed and critiqued. The man know his craft but, his pen is sharp, not always friendly but, often accurate and honest.


Wesla Whitfield








From L to R: Caroline Nin, Wesla Whitfield.


marlene.jpg (15639 bytes)

From L to R: Marlene VerPlanck, Ute Lemper.

Photos from L to R: Toni Morrell, Donna Byrne, Judy Kaye, Laurie Krauz.

Photos from L to R: Janis Mann, Eartha Kitt, Patti Wicks.

Photos from L to R: Claire Martin, England's first lady of Jazz. Carol Welsman, winner of the Bezz Jazz pianist-singer of the Year, Canada, JUNO.





De Lafayette examined every imaginable genre and style of singers, Jazz performers and Cabaret chanteuses, including regional and international celebrities. Also, this trepid and captivating writer explored the hidden world of performing arts; gossips behind the curtains, rise and fall of icons, heated conversations between stars sharing the same stage, and -not to miss- the quality and rating of singers and performers. It is obvious to the naked eye, De Lafayette is not impressed by the fame and financial success of a star. In his opinion, fame and fortune do not always translate into talent and artistic quality. Public relations and packaging have a lot to do with the success and ascension of an artist. Consequently, he does not refrain himself from throwing stones at fortunate performers who made it big in the world of showbiz despite their mediocre talent. De Lafayette despise them. By the same token, he gives helping hands to obscure performers who are still facing rejection and struggling on a daily basis, if talent is what they carry in their bag. In fact, he devoted several pages to unknown singers and wrote glowing reviews about their acts, because he was fully convinced that those artists need a wider recognition and a second chance. And I do find this honorable. However, famous singers glitter on his menu. Singers like Donna Byrne, Marlene Verplanck, Wesla Whitfield, Claire Martin, Judy Kaye, Janis Mann, Carol Welsman, Laurie Krauz, Cynthia Basinet, Helen Baldassare, Betty Buckley, Paulette Attie, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Caroline Nin (Lafayette called Nin: The Ultimate Diva), Eartha Kitt, Toni Morrell, (Lafayette placed Morell in the league of Petula Clark and Julie Andrews)  Barb Jungr, Ute Lemper, Patti Wicks, Dottie Burman (Lafayette wrote: Dottie Burman, the maestra of witty lyrics and sophistication...), Linda Ciafolo (Lafayette called Ciafalo the classiest star in the business) etc.

 Entertainment Divas Cabaret Jazz Then And Now is  a gigantic effort. It should prove to be extremely helpful and essential to those who either make a living out of performing or to lovers of Jazz and Cabaret. This book is formidable and impressive. Add it to your library.


Sharon aide promotes Munich film


Photo: Steven Spielberg's film has stirred fierce debate in Israel.

Director Steven Spielberg has hired one of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's key aides to market his film Munich in the country. The film, about the killing of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympic Games, opens in Israel next month. Eyal Arad, who helped plan the recent Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, has arranged a Tel Aviv screening for the widows of the murdered sportsmen. "We are talking about a film that has generated a lot of interest," he said. "Naturally that sort of interest can entail some negative reactions as well as positive reactions," he added, calling Israel an "important market" for the film. The film has caused controversy among former members of Israel's intelligence community, with Avi Dichter, a retired head of the Shin Bet intelligence service, likening the film to a children's adventure story. "There is no comparison between what you see in the movie and how it works in reality," he said.

Historical accuracy: The film is based on the 1984 book Vengeance, which is said to be based on the confessions of an officer from the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad who broke ranks in protest at its "aggressive tactics". It portrays a team of hitmen torn by questions of conscience and on the run from Palestinian gunmen. That version of events has been rejected by historians in Israel and elsewhere. But one of the widows who saw Spielberg's film said a lack of historical accuracy may have worked in Spielberg's favour. Ilana Romano - whose weightlifter husband was among those killed - said it overlooked the 1973 incident when Mossad agents targeting a Palestinian fugitive mistakenly killed a Moroccan waiter in Lillehammer, Norway. "Had Spielberg wanted to harm Israel's image, he would have included the Lillehammer affair," she said. "Don't let's over-analyse Spielberg's film."

Tom Cruise indoctrinated in Scientology at secret desert compound: report

LOS ANGELES, California- Tom Cruise's faith in Scientology was nurtured at a secretive southern California desert compound that catered to his needs around the clock, it was reported Saturday. Long before Cruise sprang onto Oprah's couch or blasted Brooke Shields for taking antidepressants, the Hollywood superstar participated in intensive study and counselling at the compound in the late 1980s and early 1990s, current and former Scientologists told the Los Angeles Times newspaper. Cruise also trained at the church's better-known facilities, including those in Hollywood...full story

Jessica Simpson files for divorce

Photo: Jessica Simpson, left, and husband Nick Lachey.LOS ANGELES, California- There will be no romantic reunion -- Jessica Simpson filed for divorce Friday from former boy band star Nick Lachey. The couple jointly announced their separation Nov. 23 following months of rumours their tabloid-friendly relationship had soured. Simpson cited irreconcilable differences in a divorce petition filed in Los Angeles Superior Court...full story

Saxophonist Paul Winter says solstice concert celebration for all faiths

NEW YORK- When Grammy-winning new age artist Paul Winter started his winter solstice celebration more than two decades ago, he was looking for something all faiths could take part in during the holiday season. "It inspired me to look at the big picture and I wanted to find the most universal milestone in the year that we could celebrate,"...full story

Ashlee Simpson hospitalized. Singer collapses following TV performance in Tokyo....full story


At this stage the JTNY is  looking into the possibility of replacing her with another actress, but they do not know if such will be found in due time. "For the moment, though, we announce that performances scheduled for this week are canceled and that no tickets will be available for sale. As for future performances, we'll notify the public in the event that we are successful in finding replacement." told us, Isi Tenenbom, an official spokeswoman of JTNY. KABBALAH garnered some of the most intriguing reviews so far from local and international critics, and  many New Yorkers have been trying to get tickets, for this sold out play. "We have done our best to comply with theatergoers' wishes and have extended the show till the end of January. But, regretfully, at this moment we simply cannot have the show on the stage; we do hope that theatergoers will understand and appreciate.", added Tenenbom. The JTNY is one of the most exciting and unusual theater companies and venues in New York City, created and managed by Tuvia Tenenbom, a remarkable theater visionary,  who has been called "genius" by the World Jewish News Agency.


Paulette Attie's New Song

Photo: The magnificent Paulette Attie.

Stunning Diva, award-winning author, columnist, singer-songwriter, actress,  Paulette Attie recorded her song “Give It the Best Ya Got” for the upcoming indie film, The Drum Beats Twice. Here’s what she had to say about the experience. “I like the theme of the movie. It’s a crime thriller that exposes the world of good and evil, retaliation and forgiveness. Redemption wins out at the end of the day which, of course, appeals to me. It was a joy to work with Paul Bailey, the film’s Music Director. He pays attention to every aspect of what makes for good sound in a movie. That in itself is a pleasure. I got to see why he’s tops in his field when we recorded the tracks at his studio. He’s fast, efficient, positive in dealing with talent, and gets the work done. Bailey has strong feelings about what’s available today for the buyers. Almost as if giving a prepared statement, he said, "The music business has met its lowest common denominator and has been that way for about a decade or more. Meanwhile, the pent up demand by the most musically centered generation ever to hit the planet, the Baby Boomer kids of the 60's and 70's, is at its peak. That demand has been here all along, ignored by an industry, too blinded by short sightedness, old paradigms, and instant gratification. It’s time for 'New music, just like you remember it'!" Bailey provides some of that “New music,” having contributed the entire score for The Drum Beats Twice, other than my song. He has his own original take on early 70’s rock music, the period in which the film takes place. My song is for the flashback scene, where the leading man, a badly maimed police officer, recalls how encouraging his father was to him when he was a teenager. For that, I created a 40’s type song with a swinging beat, a bit like the Andrew Sister’s “The Bugle Boy of Company B.” To back up the strong bond between father and son, “Give It the Best Ya Got,” includes lyrics like: “I’ll stand behind you, even remind you, “Give It the Best Ya Got.” The Drum Beats Twice is Producer Kenneth Del Vecchio's fourth film. For each of his films, he has gathered an outstanding cast, and for this one, there are several award winning players: Eileen Fulton (2004 Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award), Justin Deas (Winner of 6 Emmys) and Richard Barclay (Academy Award winner). Other stand outs in the cast include Robert Clohessy (popular actor in Oz), Lisa Peluso (of Another World and Loving) and Willie DeMeo (Analyze That and Searching for Bobby D). The DVD will be out soon, and hopefully the soundtrack, available on CD, will soon follow.   


PAULETTE ATTIE, (Left), the multi faceted performer and Award winning actress, singer, and songwriter, continues to surprise us with her new areas of endeavor. In the works is a review she wrote called "Collaborators." It’s about composer Harold Arlen, and 4 of his brilliant lyricists: Ira Gershwin, “Yip” Harburg, Ted Koehler and Johnny Mercer. "Collaborators" will be directed by five time Emmy Award winner Francesca James. A star studded cast will join Paulette in singing the praises of these great songwriters. Paulette personally interviewed Arlen, Harburg and Mercer on her radio show, Paulette Attie’s Musical Playbill.   She’ll be singing at the Friars Club for a Frank Sinatra birthday tribute, produced by TV talk show host, Bill Boggs, who did some seminal interviews of Sinatra on TV. Paulette won the ASCAP Plus Songwriter Award, for the 6th year in a row. She is set to record her new song, “Star Quest,” for which she shares lyric credits with Bernard Lee. Then there are Paulette’s numerous concert appearances and playing the “better” half  to Chris Gampell’s “worst” half  in “Itch,” two person comedy by Elyse Nass PAULETTE ATTIE your fearless writer, has sung for members of the military at army and air force bases in the U.S., and a navy base in Japan.