Thursday, September 28, 2006

Best of the Coast 2006 Bash

6-9 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 15 at Seville Quarter’s Apple Annie’s

Press Party: 6-9 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 11, Atlas Oyster House


Let us make an offer you can’t refuse.


The Independent News, Pensacola’s alternative newsweekly, is excited to announce a magical sip, sample and taste celebration from 6-9 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 15 at Seville Quarter’s Apple Annie’s Courtyard as a spirited way to showcase the winners from this year’s BEST OF THE COAST vote.


With proceeds benefiting the Pensacola Cultural Center/Pensacola Little Theatre, the culturally inspired evening will include live entertainment, a silent auction, cocktails and refreshments provided by a bevy of local restaurants and businesses.


Now in its seventh year, the Independent News’ BEST OF THE COAST winner list is broken down into six groups—People & Places, Arts & Entertainment, Media, Dining, Specialty Dishes and Goods & Services.


New this year is the Rat Pack-inspired press party to be held 6-9 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 11 at the Atlas Oyster House, 600 Barracks St.


Also, the anticipated BEST OF THE COAST print edition, highlighting all of the winners and finalists, will hit stands Thursday, Oct. 12 to coincide with our annual bash.
Former IN Music Awards winners, The Cripple Lilies, will perform.

For general information, please call the Independent News 850-438-8115 or visit www.inweekly.net.


What:
Independent News’ BEST OF THE COAST celebration

When:
6-9 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 15

Where:
Seville Quarter’s Apple Annie’s, 130 E. Government St.

Cost:
$20

Details:
438-8115 or www.inweekly.net

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Ashley Brown as "Mary Poppins"

Loaded Gun was the first to break the news about Gulf Breeze native, Ashley Brown. The 23-year-old raven-haired beauty, recently winning over critics as Belle in Disney’s production of “Beauty and the Beast,” will play the world’s most famous nanny in an upcoming Broadway production of “Mary Poppins.”

The musical 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 Saturday, Oct. 14—with an official opening date slotted for Thursday, Nov. 16.

Here's a first look of Brown in character.


Photo by George Holz

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Factory opens...

Grand opening of The Factory, a homeless outreach group headed by the Rev. Tyler Monk. The IN Music Awards “Best Newcomers,” Among Them, will perform with Burden of a Day and Medford Drive.

I just stopped by The Factory and met with "The Rev." It reminds me of a lot of the DIY venues I used to frequent when I was in Manhattan and in college in Boston--like Maxwell's in Hoboken, NJ and the Middle East Cafe in Cambridge, Mass.

It's a great space benefiting a great cause.

7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22
The Factory, 418 N. Palafox (next to the YMCA)
$8
346-1110 or www.myspace.com/revoltx.


Gulf Breeze native is tongue tied

Al Gliniecki, a Gulf Breeze resident who holds the Guinness Book of World records for the most cherry stems tied using his tongue, is at it again 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23 at New York Nick's.

The 48-year-old will be taped for the show "Break and Enter," a weekly show hitting the small screen later this year. Gliniecki says a camera crew will fly down from Chicago to see how many cherry stems he can tie in one minute.

Click here for the lowdown.

"Jesus Camp" on ABC Wednesday, Sept. 27

The provocative documentary “Jesus Camp”—partially shot in the Pensacola studio of local attorney and syndicated Air America radio host, Mike Papantonio—will be a featured in a “Good Morning America” segment Wednesday, Sept. 27.

The film, slotted to premiere locally at the Pensacola Bay International Film Festival in November, follows several evangelical Christian children who attend the “Kids on Fire” summer gathering in Devil’s Lake, North Dakota. The camp is designed to deepen their spiritual commitment to a particular brand of fundamentalist Christianity.

Papantonio, who has a short-but-powerful presence in the documentary by acclaimed filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (“The Boys of Baraka”), has been asked to participate in the “GMA” discussion airing on ABC.

Meanwhile, the film continues to generate buzz this week because several evangelical leaders are boycotting “Jesus Camp” for negatively portraying Christians. The movie’s distributor, Magnolia Pictures, issued a response.

“We’re frankly surprised and a little disheartened by the efforts of prominent members of the evangelical community to clamp down on ‘Jesus Camp,’” comments Eamonn Bowles, president of Magnolia Pictures. “Why a community that’s so quick to attack discrimination from secular Americans would then turn and do the same to other evangelicals is unexpected, to say the least.”

Click here for the lowdown.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Graffiti in downtown Pensacola

Here's some fun anarchist-esque graffiti found on the corner of Palafox and Romano Streets in downtown Pensacola.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Gulf Breeze resident featured in INC.

Michael Murdoch, CEO of e-mail security company AppRiver LLC, was featured in the August issue of Inc. Magazine as a lover of Reef flip flops, his Sprint telephone, and his collection of history books. Readers also learned that he covets an A700 AdamJet.

Each month, the publication identifies a business leader to profile for its “Things I Can’t Live Without” section. Murdoch joins the ranks of prominent CEO’s at national companies such as Zambelli Fireworks, Stonyfield Farm and Amy's Kitchen who have been featured in past issues.

”We chose to headquarter AppRiver in Gulf Breeze because of the lifestyle options available in Santa Rosa County,” says Murdoch. “I’m able to incorporate the things I love, such as flip flops and boating, into my daily life as a business owner. We were quite excited that Inc. Magazine chose to recognize both the success of our company and the lifestyle in the region we call home.”

Click here for the full article.

The Stranger reviews "Threshold of Hell"

Psychobilly freak-out?

Alt-weekly critic, Andrew Wright, reviews the locally shot "The Beach Party at the Threshold of Hell" for Seattle's The Stranger to coincide with the Seattle True Independent Film Festival.

Wright writes, "Put simply, this is the loopiest thing to come down the pike in many a year. Fans of What-the-F Cinema, get thee to the theater."

Click here for the full review.

Clip from last Saturday's Reveal Tour

Monday, September 18, 2006

Hinder hits Seville on Monday, Sept. 25

In honor of the undefeated New Orleans Saints’ return to the Louisiana Superdome, Seville is airing the game against the Atlanta Falcons. They'll also host MTV heavies Hinder who will perform a three-song acoustic set for a lucky group of 50 TK101 listeners.

The band, who currently have the hit single “Lips of an Angel” in heavy rotation on MTV, will make a pit stop in Pensacola while finishing up their tour with Staind and Three Days Grace.

“They’ll be in Baton Rouge on Sunday and are heading to Orlando on Tuesday,” confirms Susi Lyon, Seville’s marketing coordinator. “So, it’s worked out perfectly for them to make a stop here.”

Hinder’s ‘80s-rock guitars and nu-metal vocals have been climbing the charts. According to Billboard, Hinder’s “Lips of an Angel” song has leaped nine slots this week to No. 9.

The Oklahoma City fivesome, according to their bio, are collectively dedicated to bringing back the good old decadent days when sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll weren't dirty words, but a way of life.

HALFTIME WITH HINDER
7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 25
$5
Seville Quarter
130 E. Government St.
434-6211 or www.rosies.com

Godsmack comes to Pensacola

Hard rockers Godsmack, currently in the midst of a tour with Rob Zombie, will follow the run with some fall dates--including a pit stop at the Pensacola Civic Center on Wednesday, Nov. 22.

Godsmack is working the road behind its latest album, "IV," which surfaced in April. The set, which spawned the hit single "Speak," debuted in the top slot on The Billboard 200 album chart after selling about 211,000 copies during its first week out.

"I think it's the most rounded record the band has ever done. I think it has elements of the first album, with, like, 'The Enemy' and 'No Rest for the Wicked,' but it gets dark," drummer Shannon Larkin told LiveDaily during an interview earlier this summer. "The second record was the darkest record, but then there's still 'Serenity' on the third record, and "Hollow" on the new one - [it] lets the record breathe for a minute. If you're a fan of the band Godsmack, you'll probably dig the new record."


Godsmack frontman Sully Erna produced the new disc, and engineered the set with Andy Johns, whose credits include "Led Zeppelin IV," Van Halen's "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge" and The Rolling Stones' "Exile on Main Street."


Last week, Godsmack picked up four nominations for this year's Boston Music Awards. The group captured nods for Act of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year ("Speak") and Best Hard Rock Band. The awards will be handed out Sept. 27.

Click
here for Godsmack's website.

Friday, September 15, 2006

IN Music Awards photos

Click here for INMA photos...

Fun facts from IN art director Justin Griffith for the one week period of shooting:

Total size of all data: 3.7 gigabytes
Total images shot: 883
AA batteries consumed by flashes: 16
Alcoholic beverages consumed: 13
Camera dropped: Once
Light stand fell over: Once
Band members shot engaging in homoerotic poses: 4
Underage drinking caught on film: 1
Underage drinking not caught on film: ?
Photos of Rocker AJ doing his "alright!" face: 8
Bitten by Rocker AJ: Once (On the ear)

INMA goes to college

To say it was a cramped, madhouse backstage at the IN Music Awards showcase last night would be an understatement. We were able to fit in four bands, their equipment, their girlfriends, the IN staff and various other people—like the Red Bull girls and former Rock 106 DJ Matt Stone—in this slither of an area that was smaller than my old apartment in Manhattan.

From the beginning, school was in session.

A blast from INMA’s past--Frankie Andrews from the once dismantled Terrific Kid—pulls up in a Lamborghini (which happens to be his boss’ car) and gives a few of the band’s diehard fans a drive around the UWF campus. Endings Edge was the first to set up, then Terrific Kid, then Glory of This and 60 Cycles of Sound pulled up at the very last minute before Endings Edge took the stage.

The VIP area was a maze of amps, guitars and empty cans of Red Bull. It got kinda messy.

Ray Ruddy, former drummer of the local band Emulsiphier and the current promotions director at TK101, confirmed the rumors that he’s taken over the sticks from Davis “Breeze” Addy. The INMA showcase was Breeze’s last gig and Ruddy has been hungry to get behind the drum kit with the up-and-coming hard rock band.

“He’s a great drummer,” Ruddy says about Breeze. “I’m not sure how well I’ll be able to fill his shoes.”

Endings Edge’s Jared Moore, who was so shy at one point that he would sing with his back to the audience, has finally come out of his shell and is delivering at a level that could easily rival a majority of the local bands putting out original material. The band’s onstage charisma continues to improve with each show—and members like Cory Dull and Josh Apple hit the stage with a sense of urgency needed to deliver an incendiary show on a larger level.

At this point in their career, Endings Edge could easily handle a mainstage slot at regional music festivals like Mobile’s BayFest and Pensacola’s SpringFest. With Ruddy taking over on drums, expect great things from these guys over the next year or so.

60 Cycles of Sound lived up to the hype surrounding their win for “Best Live Show.” For the record, the trio—vocalist/guitarist Rodney Ueberroth, bassist Jason Holstein and drummer Ben Bogan--are just as fun off stage as they are onstage. Standout moments from the set include their “This Is Spinal Tap” moment when the tech guy didn’t open the curtain during their first song and their beach ball experiment (which involved tossing out two bags of inflated balls out in the crowds). Of course, my beach ball deflated when I had to cut their set short.

Their finale, “Pop, Anti-Pop,” is definitely one of the more catchy tunes coming from their new, self-titled CD. Expect major airplay with the single.

It was emotional for me to see Terrific Kid—well, one-third of the old group including vocalist TJ Jeter and guitarist Frankie Andrews—together with a new cast of musicians. When Jeter carried his toddler son Dakota onstage, it made me long for the days with TK ruled the local music scene. Will they get back together? Outlook is good. However, they may have to change their name because of legal complications. How ‘bout Terrific Kid Resurrected?

It was even more moving during the Glory of This set. It was James Harrah’s last hurrah as he delivered a solid screamo performance—and managed to crowd surf--while guitarist Chino emerged as the new frontman. Does the 19-year-old have the goods to fill Harrah’s shoes? Absolutely. In fact, his melodic work on the band’s “Album of the Year” winning CD “The Lover, The Liar, The Ruse” catapults the group into an entirely new direction.

After all is said and done, IN Music Awards 2006 was all about milestone moments, reverence for the local music scene's past and hope for the future. Based on last night's show, things are looking good ... real good.

Photo courtesy of Chad DeVries

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Cover controversy

This is cracking me up, but there's a lot of controversy swirling around about the cover. We've had several people who normally carry the paper call us--flipping out.

A few places have even banned the issue because it's "too suggestive."

The funny thing is that the issue is flying off the racks. We've gone through several reams of the issue in the past few hours just from our stand outside of our office.

Photos of INMA ceremony

Click here for photos of last night's IN Music Awards ceremony held at Atlas Oyster House.

Remember, tonight ENDINGS EDGE, 60 CYCLES OF SOUND, TERRIFIC KID and headliner GLORY OF THIS will rock out at the third Annual INDEPENDENT NEWS MUSIC AWARDS showcase from 6-9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14 at the University of West Florida's Commons Auditorium.

This free, all-ages music event will be hosted by A.J. Fratto, known to the masses as ROCKER AJ, and will be the final performance for James Harrah, the former vocalist for Glory of This.

Special thanks to Kevin Marchetti, The Renaissance Man, for creating the INMA statues.

About last night...

Last night’s IN Music Award ceremony at Atlas Oyster House more than exceeded my expectations. For me, the most rewarding thing is watching something that I believe so passionately about and watch it evolve—and ultimately take on a life of its own. When the awards were handed out, it meant something.

For me, one of the main highlights was seeing Roy Jones Jr. give the “Best Rap/Hip-Hop” statue to his sons from the group 3D. I’ve been critical of the boxer in the past. However, you could see in his smile how proud he was of his kids. It was one of those moments that I kept replaying as the night progressed—and it made me happy.

Another part that moved me was the many parents in the audience who came in support of their kids. Most of those who were nominated and won have pretty much dedicated their lives to music. It’s not an easy path. I’m sure the average mother or father would rather have their children steer clear of the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle—and go to law school or whatever.

For example, Lyndsey Battle, winner of “Best Vocalist,” always jokes that her mother pressures her to finish college. However, if you genuinely listen to the subject matter she explores in her lyrics, the woman is truly gifted. In fact, you need a PHD in creative writing to achieve the multi-layered complexity of her words, especially with songs like “Operation Common Man” and “Play in the Mud.”

Tonight’s showcase at UWF promises to be full of milestones and will bring us one step closer to my ultimate dream for the IN Music Awards—to shine a spotlight on local musicians who dare to put out original content in a scene dominated by cover bands.

What: IN Music Awards '06 showcase
When: 6-9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14
Where: UWF Commons Auditorium, 11000 University Pkwy.
Cost: Free
Details: 438-8115 or www.inweekly.net

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Screening of Mighty O sinking

The Sinking of an Aircraft Carrier-The Oriskany

Wednesday, September 20, 2006
7 p.m.

Pensacola Saenger Theatre, 118 Palafox Place

An exclusive screening of the new Discovery Channel movie, The Sinking of An Aircraft Carrier - The Oriskany is a story about the plans, preparation and the sinking of the Oriskany. As a veteran of the Korean and Vietnam wars, The Mighty O was sunk 24 miles off the coast of Pensacola in the Gulf of Mexico. It is now the world's largest, man-made artificial reef.

Click here for details.

Rundown for INMA showcase

INDEPENDENT NEWS MUSIC AWARDS 2006

6-9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14 at UWF’s Commons Auditorium

4:30 p.m. Setup begins
5:00 p.m. Endings Edge load-in—Band check-in
5:30 p.m. Load in (all bands)
6 p.m. “Welcome” intro from Rocker AJ
6:15 p.m. Endings Edge
6:45 p.m. Set change--AJ works the mic
7:15 p.m. 60 Cycles of Sound
7:45 p.m. Set change--AJ introduces Terrific Kid
8:00 p.m. Terrific Kid
8:25 p.m. Set change--Introduce Glory of This
8:45 p.m. Glory of This
9:30 p.m. Finale

Monday, September 11, 2006

Capt'n Fun's bizarre dress code

Here's one of several letters we've received about area nightclubs enforcing bizarre--potentially discriminatory--dress codes:

I tried to attend the opening party at Capt'n Fun's Downtown Friday night, but my husband was denied entry because his khaki Nautica slacks were "too baggy." He could not fit into a smaller size pant if he wanted to!!! The doorman who denied us entry had on the EXACT SAME type/fit of slacks, but in black instead of khaki.

My husband was nicely dressed, we had just come from dinner with my mother at Landry's. He had his pants around his waist with a belt and he had a button-up shirt on. Had it been jeans and not khakis...had it been a t-shirt and not a button-up...had it been a doorman in clothing that met the requirments of the dress code......the situation would have been very different. If the dress code is going to be forced on the customers, then it needs to be equally enforced on the employees.

The management needs to be careful as to how they enforce the new dress code. The improper enforcement of this type of regulation can VERY EASILY BE CONSTRUED AS DISCRIMINATION!

My 9/11 piece from 2002

It's been five years since Sept. 11, 2001 and I still get choked up when I watch all of the TV retrospectives.

Here's my article from 2002.

PICKING UP THE PIECES

Pg. 1

Pg. 2

Pg. 3

Pg. 4

Rocker AJ on "IN Your Head"

Probably the most insane interview I've ever conducted for "IN Your Head Radio," my chat with Rocker AJ is available for downloads here (listen to program 8).

During our ... um ... discussion, we talk about the pleasures of the flesh, the IN Music Awards showcase hitting UWF's Commons Auditorium 6-9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14 and whether or not he scares people.

Radio at its best.

INMA ceremony 6-9 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 13

Want to be the first kid on the block to find out who won this year’s IN Music Awards? Of course you do.

Our official award sponsor, Kevin Marchetti from Renaissance Man, Inc., has crafted one-of-a-kind statues that will be handed out to all of our INMA ’06 winners.

Local boxer turned rapper, Roy Jones Jr., will present the "Best Rap/Hip-Hop" award. Other local luminaries will be on hand to give out the metal sculptures.

Singer-songwriter Lyndsey Battle will take the mic before the awards are given out and jazz vocalist Robin Stine will close out the evening. Like always, we’ve approached IN Music Awards '06 with an altruistic vision—to spotlight the homegrown talent that continues to be overlooked by the mainstream press.

After the awards ceremony at Atlas, join us the following day—6-9 p.m. Thursday Sept. 14 at the University of West Florida’s Commons Auditorium—for the IN Music Awards ‘06 showcase featuring Glory of This, 60 Cycles of Sound, Terrific Kid and Endings Edge. Rocker AJ will host what promises to be one unforgettable night of rock.


IN MUSIC AWARDS ’06 CEREMONY

6-9 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 13

Free

Atlas Oyster House 600 Barracks St.
438-8115 or www.inweekly.net

"Oklahoma!" has near sold-out run

With near sold-out performances for the opening weekend, Pensacola Little Theatre continues Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic musical and Tony-award© winning play, OKLAHOMA! over the next two weekends.

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s first collaboration remains, in many ways, the most innovative of their career, having set the standards and established the rules of musical theatre still being followed today.

The original production of “Oklahoma!” opened on March 31, 1943 at the St. James Theatre in Manhattan and ran for 2,212 performances. The musical implemented a number of cutting-edge storytelling techniques, including a focus on emotional empathy, dealing with American historical and social themes in an anachronistically-correct way and its use of song and dance to convey plot and character rather than a mere diversion for the audience.

Set in a Oklahoma Territory just after the turn of the century, the high-spirited rivalry between the local farmers and cowboys provides the colorful background against which Curly (Benjamin J. Ayres), a handsome cowboy and Laurey (Rachel Ferguson), a winsome farm girl, play out their love story.

Oh, what a beautiful morning? You bet.


‘OKLAHOMA!’

8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Sunday
$15-$22
Pensacola Little Theatre 400 S. Jefferson St.
432-2042 or www.pensacolalittletheatre.com

Friday, September 08, 2006

Mmmm, beer, good

With 20 brewers and close to 200 potent potables on tap, the 11th Annual Emerald Coast Beer Festival promises to froth its way into our hearts. For those who sneer at the idea of alcohol abuse as a noble calling, remember that all proceeds go to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida. So, it’s good beer for a good cause.

The binge-drinking debauchery continues at the Beach Party starting a noon on Saturday, Sept. 9 at the Best Western Resort on Pensacola Beach. The event will feature the Bud Zepper Blues Band, the Crazy Beer Olympics and, you guessed it, more beer tasting.

“No one needs to or is expected to sample 200 beers,” comments Hal Easter, member of the Escambia Bay Homebrewers. “As a matter of fact that’s probably the worst thing to do, since you really couldn’t properly taste them all in three hours. After all, this is a tasting and not a chugging event.”


EMERALD COAST BEER FEST

6-9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 8
$15-$20

Seville Quarter
130 E. Government St.
434-6211 or www.rosies.com

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Several Pensacola artists at BayFest

Mobile's anticipated outdoor music festival, BayFest, is boasting an eclectic mix of national modern rock acts, country crooners like Gretchen Wilson and two Pensacola-based jazz gurus, Robin Stine and Joe Occhipinti.

With Wilson and Michael Bolton opening up the weekend festival on Friday, October 6, the modern rock lineup announced for Saturday, Oct. 7 starts with area group Top of the Orange, followed by Evans Blue, 10 Years, Hinder and Shinedown.

The most notable new names to come out at the festival's kickoff news conference yesterday were funk bandleader Charlie Wilson, early rapper M.C. Hammer, R&B vocalist Patti LaBelle, rock band Sister Hazel, as well as the Wreckers -- a new pop-country duo featuring Grammy winner Michelle Branch.

Advance three-day passes are on sale now at www.bayfest.com for $35, the same price as last year. Single-day passes will be $25 at the gate.

Speaking of Robin Stine, we're proud to announce that the jazz vocalist will perform at our IN Music Award ceremony 6-9 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 13 at Atlas Oyster House, 600 Barracks St.

"Top That" Lil' Scrappy



There's nothing like the epic rap battle from "Teen Witch" to cheer up a rather rainy, dismal day.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

"IN Your Face TV" postponed

You’ve read us for years, now you can see us on TV. In collaboration with WUWF-TV, the Independent News is unleashing its weekly “IN Your Face TV” program, a televised component of our weekly paper. Starting at 8 p.m., Publisher Rick Outzen will push the envelope with his 30-minute newsmakers segment.

Then at 8:30 p.m. check out “IN Studio,” our weekly performance program that will showcase the talents of the local music scene.

While Loaded Gun initially announced that our first episode will air Friday, Sept. 15, we've been pushed back a week or so due to the technical complexity of the two shows.

Loaded Gun will keep you posted.

Monday, September 04, 2006

OK GO in the crapper with JC Chasez

Terrific Kid from the grave?

As you already know, The Independent News has already announced that ENDINGS EDGE, 60 CYCLES OF SOUND and headliner GLORY OF THIS will rock out at the 3rd Annual INDEPENDENT NEWS MUSIC AWARDS showcase from 6-9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14 at the University of West Florida's Commons Auditorium.

This free, all-ages music event will be hosted by A.J. Fratto, known to the masses as ROCKER AJ, and will be the final performance for James Harrah, the former vocalist for Glory of This.

What you probably don't know is that we have an extra special guest showing up to crash the festivities. That's right, a few of the fellas from Terrific Kid plan to give an impromptu performance.

"I'm sure that we're in," comments guitarist Frankie Andrews when asked if the former INMA winner could come together. "As a matter of fact, we might even jump up on someone else's equipment and play a song or two (as a five piece). If that's a possibility. Let me know. If you just need a couple acoustic songs, we got you covered."

Loaded Gun will keep you posted.

Crocodile Hunter killed

TV personality and environmentalist Steve Irwin has died from a stingray wound while filming off north Queensland.

Friends believe he may have died instantly when struck by a stingray as he filmed a sequence for his eight-year-old daughter Bindi's new TV series.

Irwin's friend of 20 years, Ferre De Deyne says Irwin had been struck by the stingray while filming. "The stingray just happened to be swimming around and out of the blue whacked his tail at him," he tells the Sydney Morning Herald.

Click here for details.

Friday, September 01, 2006

MTV turns up the rock

While the press this morning seems to be crucifying last night’s MTV Video Music Awards, I was oddly impressed with a show that painstakingly tries to paint itself as a venue for outrageous, over-the-top behavior—but always seems to fall short.

Sure, some man from the audience who called himself “Six” grabbed the microphone from Jennifer Lopez and whined, “MTV never gave me my own show.”

VMA winners Panic! At the Disco seemed anything but panicked about the situation.

But it was the return to rock that really pushed it over the top—in a positive way--for me.

Patron saint Lou Reed quipped, “I’d love it if MTV will play more rock 'n' roll,'' he said as he and Pink presented the award for best rock video. The former Velvet Underground frontman was the evening’s blast from the past playing “White Light/White Heat” early on with the Raconteurs.

Pop tarts like Paris Hilton, Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson seemed to be overshadowed by bands like All-American Rejects, Panic! At the Disco and OK Go (doing their fun, choreographed dancing-on-treadmills thing).

The real shocker for me was when the show came to a climatic end when Axl Rose introduced The Killers’ debut performance of their new single “When You Were Young.”

I’ve always thought Brandon Flowers and company put out great recorded material—but were lousy live. Not last night. The performance literally gave me the chills (and it wasn’t his sketchy outfit and fake mustache).

As some of you may know, I used to work for MTV in NYC a few years back. Many of the ideas that our online team had at MTV.com back in 2000 were successfully implemented last night—like the integration of behind-the-scenes cams and giving fans from MTV.com their 15 seconds of fame by flashing their pictures on the screen.

When host Jack Black said in his opening skit, ''This show's been laying farts for the last 20 years and I'm going to light the match.”

Fortunately, in a few cases throughout the evening, he was right.
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