Friday, June 30, 2006

New Symphony, New Name


Demetrius Fuller, former conductor of the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra, has launched his own symphony that will serve the Fort Walton Beach area--it's called Sinfonia Gulf Coast. Want more info about Demetrius Fuller, click here. The following is an excerpt from the official press release.

Area residents and visitors alike are in for an avant-garde orchestral encounter beginning this fall. A new symphony will commence under the baton of accomplished music director and conductor Demetrius Fuller, and will operate under the Northwest Florida Symphony Association, Inc., a non-profit organization. The symphony will perform along the Gulf Coast in Ft. Walton Beach, Destin and Panama City.

The name of this highly anticipated new symphony? Sinfonia Gulf Coast. It is pronounced sin-fo'-nee-uh, which is a Latin derivative noun meaning a group of musicians.

“It has been my vision for some time to introduce a new kind of orchestral experience for the people of this region,” said 29-year old Fuller. “We wanted a progressive, upbeat and memorable name, while still upholding the highest standards of artistic integrity. Sinfonia will take the formality out of the symphony and deliver an innovative, intimate and social happening for our audiences.”

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Variety gives "Threshold" mixed review

Reviews are mixed about the locally shot film "The Beach Party At The Threshold of Hell." Here's an excerpt from Variety:

Part mock-History Channel, part post-Apocalyptic frat fracas and entirely midnight movie in sensibility, "The Beach Party at the Threshold of Hell: The History of New America, Part 1," a tyro feature co-directed by Kevin Wheatley (who also wrote script) and Jonny Gillette, is a scroungy epic coated in blood, Shakespearean in-jokes and intermittent laughs.

Narrative telling how a new United States is hatched after a nuclear Holocaust is directed at auds who can never get enough irony in their movie diet, but whether pic can actually move beyond festivals to nocturnal slots is doubtful, given the niche's current shaky commercial condition.

Click here for full review.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Former PSO director soldiers on


Ari Solotoff, the Pensacola Symphony Orchestras former executive director and current chief operating officer of the Louisville Orchestra, is leaving to become executive director of the Portland (Maine) Symphony Orchestra.

Solotoff received a degree in Classical Languages from the University of California at Berkeley, where he managed the University Symphony Orchestra, while serving as communications intern at the San Francisco Symphony.
The talented 26-year-old officially left his post at the PSO in June 2006 and was replaced by Edgar Herrera-Arizmend

Monday, June 26, 2006

Abigail Spencer conference call




OK, I must be technically inept but I couldn't connect with the operator to ask a question during the phone conference with Gulf Breeze native, Abigail Spencer.

However, I did get the scoop from the up-and-coming actress.

As initially reported in Loaded Gun, the 24-year-old raven-haired beauty has snagged the lead in “Angela’s Eyes,” premiering 9 p.m. Sunday, July 16 on Lifetime channel geared for women.

In the docu-drama shot primarily in Toronto, Canada, Spencer performs as a NYC-based FBI agent with a knack for finding out when both suspects and victims are lying.

Daughter of Innerlight Surf Shop owner Yancy, Spencer speaks fondly of her family in Gulf Breeze and gives props to her hometown.

"I was on a surfboard by the time I was three," Spencer recalls in the press junket with the show's creator, Dan McDermott. "I kind of had two choices in life, to either become a surfer or go into the arts because my mother was a singer and artist."

Spencer says her mother wanted to protect Abigail from the elements. "She didn't want me to get sunburned. She was like, 'I will not have a daughter with bad skin.'"

She continues, "I have to say, but my favorite place to surf is still the Gulf Coast. The waters are so gentile and it's perfect for someone who isn't hardcore."

Want more lowdown on Abigail Spencer? Check out Thursday's edition of Loaded Gun.

Local tiara girl "Uncovered" on E!

Local Cristin Duren is a featured player on the new E! Entertainment documentary "UNCOVERED: Hidden Lives of Miss USA," airing 5 p.m. Sunday, July 2.

As reported previously in Loaded Gun, Duren beat out 46 of the nation’s top hotties and snagged fourth runner-up laurels at Donald Trump’s Miss USA pageant back in April.

The Panama City Beach native and current Miss Florida USA made the top five cut only to lose to Miss Kentucky USA, Tara Elizabeth Connor.

As chronicled in the E! documentary, the 24-year-old local dominated the early portion of the beauty pageant—ultimately winning the coveted “Most Photogenic” prize based on votes tallied on www.nbc.com.

What tripped Duren?

The local seemed to lose momentum in the final question-and-answer portion of the contest when she recounted her “most embarrassing” moment at the Voodoo Music Fest in New Orleans. The Emerald Coast beauty completely stumbled when Trump’s son, Donald Jr., asked her if contemporary society is too politically correct.

Wanna tiara like Duren?

Organizers have announced the Miss Escambia Teen USA pageant is scheduled for 5 p.m. Sunday, July 9 at PJC’s Jean and Paul Amos performance studio. And, yes, Duren will be there to reign over festivities.

Call 484-4757 or visit www.MissEscambiaUSA.com for details

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Local in Broadway's "Mary Poppins"


Loaded Gun broke the news first about Gulf Breeze native, Ashley Brown. The 23-year-old raven-haired beauty, currently winning over critics as Belle in Disney's production of "Beauty and the Beast," will play the world's most famous nanny in upcoming Broadway production of "Mary Poppins."

For those not in the know, "Mary Poppins" is currently a smash hit in London and Disney plans to unleash "a spoonful of sugar" to American audiences at Broadway's New Amsterdam Theatre on October 14—with an official opening date slotted for November 16.

Brown, a recent graduate from University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, first made a splash with the touring production of "On The Record" and caught the eye of the folks at Disney who cast her as the 15th Belle of the show's New York run.

Many locals aren't surprised at Brown's musical success. For 10 years, she performed with the renowned Pensacola Children's Chorus. In high school, she starred in several Gulf Breeze High musicals. From an early age, Brown seemed destined for stardom.

Tickets for the Broadway show, based on the P.L. Travers stories and the classic 1964 film, went on sale to the general public last week.


Roy Jones Jr. presents 3D


Boxing champ Roy Jones Jr.’s rapping identical twin sons and cousin—DeAndre “Dre,” DeShawn “DJ” and Dyllon “D”—make up Body Head Entertainment's hot new rap act, 3D.

The Pensacola-based trio will drop their debut CD, "Boys Will Be Boys," Tuesday, June 27.

Their first single, "3D Party" is currently in rotation on Radio Disney and their second single, "My Show" is the number three most added and requested song on Urban College Radio according to CMJ. The group will be embarking on a radio promo tour leading up to back to school in August.

Loaded Gun has been invited to the release party slotted for Monday, June 26 at Club Dimensions in downtown Pensacola.

Check out www.thegroup3d.com for the lowdown.

'Threshold of Hell' at the L.A. Film Festival


"The Beach Party At The Threshold of Hell," which was pre-produced and shot around Pensacola Beach and Fort Pickens, is making its big-screen debut at the Los Angeles Film Festival 11:59 p.m. Friday, June 23 at the Majestic Crest Theater in Westwood.

"This gives us validation," says the film's associate producer, Nick Bodkins.

Written and directed by Gulf Breeze native Kevin Wheatley, the futuristic horror comedy is crafted to the point that it's ready for the upcoming film fest season—including a first-run screening at the revamped L.A. festival directed by "Star Wars" creator George Lucas.

"Things are very, very hot with 'The Beach Party' right now," explains producer Jamie Bullock.

"The word is traveling fast that we have something great on our hands and we're working hard to follow a path that's going to make the film a success for the people who believed in us and helped get us here," she continues.

The team has also signed with Strategic Film Partners, an agency focused on the packaging and distribution of filmed entertainment to the global marketplace.

"Partners really love and 'get' the film, which we feel will give us a strong upper hand when courting distributors who we hope will want to buy the film at a competitive price," remarks Bullock.

The film's actor-director Wheatley, who recently finished taping a sitcom pilot with Christine Baranski in Los Angeles, is already planning ahead.

The filmmaker is in the process of hashing out two sequels to "Threshold of Hell," both set on the beaches of Pensacola. Wheatley is currently in discussions to shoot the films consecutively in Nov. 2007.

"The sequels will keep the same main characters and focuses on their struggles," he explains. "However, the threat gets bigger and involves literally the entire world closing in upon them."

Visit www.thresholdofhell.com for the lowdown

'Angela's Eyes' on Lifetime


Abigail Spencer, a Gulf Breeze native and daughter of Innerlight Surf Shop owner Yancy, landed a role of a lifetime on, well, Lifetime.

The 24-year-old raven-haired beauty will play the lead in “Angela’s Eyes,” premiering 9 p.m. Sunday, July 19 on the TV network geared for women.

In the docu-drama shot primarily in Toronto, Canada, Spencer performs as a NYC-based FBI agent with a knack for finding out when both suspects and victims are lying.

This new series from the producers of the Academy Award-winning film “Crash” revolves around Spencer’s character “Angela Henson,” a brainy student who initially had dreams of becoming a doctor.

Lifetime’s press team calls the sexy sleuth “the FBI’s best lie detector.”

While “Angela’s Eyes” is the local’s first leading role on a national TV show, she’s no stranger to the small screen.

In 2005, Spencer earned a cameo slot on “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.” And from 1999 to 2001, she added some sizzle to daytime TV on ABC’s “All My Children.”

During her senior year at Gulf Breeze High, Spencer beat out hundreds of young hopefuls for the chance to shine as “Becca Tyree.”

Then a doe-eyed 17-year-old aspiring actress, Spencer headed to Manhattan immediately after attending her high school prom and donning a cap and gown for graduation ceremonies in Pensacola.

Check out www.lifetimetv.com for a sneak peek of “Angela’s Eyes.”

Local on NBC's 'Treasure Hunters'


Mark West, a Pensacola-based chief financial officer at General Equipment and former CIA operative with the U.S. State Department, performed extremely well in the premiere of the NBC reality show, "Treasure Hunters," airing 8 p.m. Mondays.

As reported previously, the program is a reality-based "quest" series that features teams of treasure-hunting competitors who use folklore, fantasy and actual history as clues to solve a complex puzzle. The show is a cross between "The Da Vinci Code" and "Amazing Race."

West's team—which includes friends Todd Moore and Jacob Porter who he met during a government-sponsored internship program—is appropriately called "Team Ex-CIA."

In the debut challenge, West's group consistently led the pack of eclectic threesomes—
including a group of beauty queens called "Team Miss USA" and a Boston crew tagged "Southie Boys."

Because of his confidentiality agreement with NBC, West can't go into details until the show wraps.

However, the 36-year-old did say via e-mail: "My family and friends enjoyed your article and I would like to setup an interview with you as well."

Go to www.nbc.com/treasure_hunters for more information.

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