Kennedy Center Honors Dave Brubeck

Tonight CBS aired the Kennedy Center Honors ceremony which took place on December 6th of this year. The show honored Mel Brooks, Robert De Niro, opera singer Grace Bumbry, jazz musician Dave Brubeck and rock legend Bruce Springsteen.

Meryl Streep introduced De Niro, and after a short clip reel, Actors Harvey Keitel, Edward Norton, Sharon Stone and Ben Stiller paid tribute to the man by telling their own stories about working with one of the greatest living actors of our time. Well, except for the moments Stiller veered off and fawned over Springsteen and Brooks. To give an example of how De Niro approaches every scene with integrity, Martin Scorsese told a quick story from the filming of Taxi Driver. Referring to the scene where Scorsese appears as a deranged customer of Travis Bickle’s, De Niro informed Marty before they began: “I’m not just going to put that flag down. You’re going to make me do it.”

Dave Brubeck was introduced by Herbie Hancock as the reason Hancock “doesn’t have a day job.” Brubeck is best known for his performance of “Take Five”, from the Dave Brubeck Quartet’s 1959 album “Time Out.” The upbeat instrumental is perhaps one of the most recognizable popular jazz pieces, often used in movie soundtracks. Honoring Brubeck were the Brubeck All Stars and the Jazz Ambassadors of the U.S. Army Field Band, and in a surprise move, Brubeck’s four sons. The entire group launched into “Happy Birthday”, being that the day of the event was also Brubeck’s 89th birthday.

Mel Brooks was introduced by his one time comedy partner Carl Reiner. Jack Black, Martin Short, Richard Kind, Frank Langella, Matthew Broderick, Harry Connick Jr. and members of the Producers musical cast sang a medley of hits from Brooks movies such as Robin Hood: Men In Tights (Black), High Anxiety (Connick), Blazing Saddles (Short), History Of the World (Kind) and The Twelve Chairs (Langella). Before launching into his number, Langella advised President Obama to take the words of advice mentioned in his song: “Hope for the best, expect the worst.”

Opera singer Grace Bumbry, or as she’s known by her nickname “Black Venus”, was introduced by Aretha Franklin. Franklin told a story about a legendary Bumbry performance of “The Dance of The Seven Veils”, which ended with Bumbry in nothing but her “perfume and jewels.” The revelation that the now 72-year-old woman once appeared in her birthday suit at Covent Garden prompted the Queen of Soul to burst out “No you DIDN’T girlfriend!” Romania’s Angela Gheorghiu flew to D.C. to honor Bumbry with her own musical tribute.

Bruce Springsteen was the last to be honored, by a funny speech from The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart. Stewart told a story about how as a young bartender in New Jersey, he’d play Springsteen every night in his 1976 Gremlin on his ride home after work. He said that when you listen to Springsteen, “You aren’t a loser. You are a character in an epic poem…about losers.” He praised The Boss for “emptying the tank” with every performance for his audience, and love for his art, family and country. After a thank you to Bruce for his work from Vietnam Veteran author Ron Kovic, John Mellencamp, Indiana’s answer to Springsteen, performed his own rendition of “Born In the USA.” Ben Harper and Jennifer Nettles did a scorching duet of “I’m On Fire”, Melissa Etheridge belted out a great cover of “Born To Run”, Eddie Vedder a mellow but passionate acoustic performance of “City Of Ruins”, and Sting ended the tribute with “The Rising”, backed up by a gospel choir, which got the whole building on their feet and singing.
Source:
http://www.examiner.com/x-7025-NY-Concert-Examiner~y2009m12d29-Kennedy-Center-Honors-Bruce-Springsteen-Mel-Brooks-Grace-Bumbry-Dave-Brubeck-and-Robert-De-Niro

Drummer Jimmy Sullivan is Dead at 28

Avenged Sevenfold drummer dead: Jimmy Sullivan, drummer for the band Avenged Sevenfold, is dead at the age of 28. Reports indicate that it appears as if the drummer died of natural causes, although his death is being investigated.

The band, Avenged Sevenfold, was founded in 1999. Sullivan, a.k.a. “The Rev” or “The Reverend Tholomew Plague”, was one of the co-founders. The band has recently tried to live down their reputation for debauchery, after a gruesome video clip shot by the band shot for “A Little Piece of Heaven” – a song about mass murder and necrophilia.

The inspiration for Avenged Sevenfold are bands such as Iron Maiden and Guns and Roses. The band played at Ozzy Osbourne’s Ozzfest in 2006, and toured with Buckcherry in 2008.

It’s always sad to see those who are so young pass away. This is the second young individual to die of apparent natural causes in the last two weeks. The other young individual was, of course, Brittany Murphy.

Avenged Sevenfold came to Nashville back in March of 2009 along with Buck Cherry and Papa Roach. Fans that made the journey to the Sommet Center to see the band and their drummer are now mourning the loss of someone that is considered one of the best drummers of all times.

A video clip below was aired back in May 2009 in LA and discusses Avenged Sevenfold’s plans for new music.

Source:
http://www.examiner.com/x-29916-Davidson-County-Headlines-Examiner~y2009m12d29-Video-Avenged-Sevenfold-drummer-dead–Jimmy-Sullivan-dies-at-age-28
ABC News

Iran Unrest Spreads

Iran protests spread in heartland
Resource: LA Times
Demonstrations in Esfahan and Najafabad are evidence that the opposition movement has spread beyond Tehran to include a broad cross-section of people in central Iran.
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Map: Protest sites
Iran’s Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, prime advocate of the protest movement, dies
Iranian dissident cleric’s funeral draws huge crowds
Multimedia
More on Iran
By Borzou Daragahi and Ramin Mostaghim

December 24, 2009
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http://www.latimes.com/news/nation-and-world/la-fg-iran-protests24-2009dec24,0,53035.story
Reporting from Tehran and Beirut – Large-scale protests spread in central Iranian cities Wednesday, offering the starkest evidence yet that the opposition movement that emerged from the disputed presidential election June has expanded beyond its base of mostly young, educated residents to Tehran at least some segments of the country’s pious heartland.

Demonstrations took place in Esfahan, a provincial capital and Iran’s cultural center, and nearby Najafabad, the birthplace and hometown of Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, Whose death Saturday triggered the latest round of confrontations between the opposition movement and the government.

The central region is considered by some as the conservative power base of the hard-liners in power.

Iranian Authorities are clearly alarmed by the spread of the protests. Mojtaba Zolnour, a mid-ranking cleric serving as supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s representative to the elite and powerful Revolutionary Guard, acknowledged widespread unrest around the country.

“There were many [acts of] sedition after the Islamic Revolution,” he said, according to the website of the right-wing newspaper Resala. “But none of them spread the seeds of doubt and hesitation among various social layers as much as the recent one.”

A reformist website, Rahesabz, or Green Path, reported that Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security issued an order banning governors across the country from Granting permits for further memorial services for Montazeri.

There were also reports of protests breaking out Wednesday on university campuses in Tehran and the eastern city of Mashhad, Iran’s second largest, and a violent clash broke out in the southern city of Sirjan over the execution of two men accused of criminal activity.

Tehran’s postelection mass protests, Which were crushed by authorities, drew Iranians from all walks of life.

As protests after the death of Montazeri, Iran’s leading dissident cleric, broke out in the shrine city of Qom, Esfahan and Najafabad this week, Tehran has Remained relatively quiet. But Authorities are bracing for widely anticipated demonstrations linked to Ashura, a major religious holy day this weekend on Which Shiite Muslims commemorate the 7th century death of Imam Hussein, grandson of the prophet Muhammad.

“The demise of Ayatollah Montazeri agitated the traditional middle-aged and walks of life,” said Hamid-Reza Jalaipour, an opposition supporter and Tehran social scientist. “Despite all the restrictions, his death triggered a wider social movement In which traditional-minded and religious people get more involved in the protests.”

In Qom, the scene Monday of a massive mourning ceremony with explicit anti-government themes, supporters of supreme leader Khamenei Gathered in front of the home of Ayatollah Hossein Nouri-Hamedani, who condemned the protests.

“We believe that they [anti-government protesters] can not do a thing and Will Achieve Nothing,” Nouri-Hamedani told supporters. “But this was the last time, and if anyone attempts to take another wrong step, he will be rejected by the revolution, the system and Iran.”

The latest protests broke out late Tuesday, on the third day after religiously significant Montazeri’s death.

Video posted on the Internet showed dozens of demonstrators marching through Esfahan as drivers halted their cars to block approaching security forces. The amateur video showed Plainclothes security officers struggling with protesters on The Streets.

Reformist websites said security forces fired tear gas and pepper spray during an event organized by a mosque near reformist cleric Ayatollah Jalaledin Taheri, an ally of Montazeri and onetime Friday prayer leader in Esfahan who resigned his post in 2002 in protest of Iran’s authoritarian drift.

“From the early morning the anti-riot police cordoned off the area and the mosque, but some people braved the hassle and insists on going inside the mosque,” said a witness in Esfahan, reached by telephone.

According to reformist websites, security forces arrested dozens, including four journalists. A local official in the office of former presidential candidate and opposition figure Mir-Hossein Mousavi in Esfahan was attacked, injured and arrested by security forces, a reformist website said.

Unrest also broke out Tuesday night in Najafabad and continued Wednesday, the Rahesabz website reported.

The “situation in the city is tense and sporadic clashes are taking place between people and the law enforcement force and people are chanting slogans against senior officials of the system,” the website said.

A merchant reached by phone said the city’s central bazaar Remained shuttered, while life in the rest of the city of 350.000 appeared to be returning to normal.

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Copyright © 2009, The Los Angeles Times
http://www.latimes.com/news/nation-and-world/la-fg-iran-protests24-2009dec24,0,53035.story

President Hu Opens Gas Pipeline

China’s President Hu Jintao opens Kazakh gas pipeline

China and Kazakhstan see this as a mutually beneficial relationship
Chinese President Hu Jintao has unveiled the Kazakh section of a 7,000km (4,300 miles) natural gas pipeline joining Central Asia to China.

Mr Hu was joined by Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev during the inauguration in Astana on Saturday.

The pipeline is part of China’s attempts to secure more energy sources worldwide.

On Monday, Mr Hu is due to head to a commissioning ceremony in Turkmenistan where the pipeline actually begins.

He is also expected to be joined there by President Islam Karimov, the leader of Uzbekistan – the fourth country involved in the project.

‘Grand project’

Mr Hu and Mr Nazarbayev together pressed a symbolic button to open the 1,833km (1,139 mile) section before officials from both countries marked the new relationship with hugs and cheers, the Reuters news agency reported.

Mr Nazarbayev said: “This is a grand construction project that will in time resurrect the ancient Silk Route.”

The pipeline, which begins near a Turkmenistan gas field being developed by the China National Petroleum Corporation concludes in Xinjiang in western China.

It has an estimated capacity of 40bn cubic metres a year and will mean the central Asian countries are less dependent on Russia buying up their supplies.

This is Kazakhstan’s first export route that does not go through Russia. This segment cost $6.7bn (£4.12bn) and was completed within two years.

Most of the finance for the project came from the state-run China Development Bank.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8410369.stm

The China Open

The 2009 China Open is being held for the first time at the National Tennis Center, which was built for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

  The tennis center is at the north part of Olympic Park; the address is No. 2 Lin Cui Road in the Chao Yang section of Beijing.

  Because this location may be unfamiliar to visitors, the China Open is providing three convenient ways to reach the tennis center: by bus, subway and shuttle service.

  For those who wish to drive, there will also be ample parking spaces available.

  FOR DRIVERS:

  Temporary paid parking spaces are available on the west side of the Olympic Archery Course from Oct. 2-11. This section (P3) will provide 1,500 spaces, with 100 designated for the China Open Organizing Committee and the rest for the public.

  Directions to parking: If you use Ring 5 from east to west, take Exit 44 and drive along the Ao Lin Xi Road. Go north about 1000 meters and you will see the P2 parking area on the west side.

  Or, you can follow Ao Lin Xi Road and circle the complex to reach Lin Cui Road where P3 parking is located. Another way to get to P3 parking is to follow Ke Hui Road to the Lin Cui Bridge.

  Going west to east on Ring 5, take the Lin Cui Bridge exit and drive south about 100 meters along Lin Cui Road. The P3 parking area is on the east side of the road.

  If you drive to North Ring 4, exit on Da Tun Road. Go north on Da Tun Road, then west on Ke Hui Road and north on Lin Cui Road. Find P3 parking on the south of the National Tennis Center.

  SHUTTLE BUSES:

  Shuttle buses have been scheduled to give visitors a convenient way to arrive and depart from the tennis center.

  From Oct. 2-11, those who have tickets for a particular day or staff credentials can take a free shuttle to and from the closest subway stop.

  Shuttle No. 1: This runs from the Olympic Park stop on subway line 8 to the tennis center. A bus will be available every 15 or 20 minutes from 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Each bus can hold 70 people.

  To reach the shuttle from Exit A1, walk west about 50 meters.

  To reach the shuttle from Exit E, turn right and walk north about 150 meters.

  There will be signs indicating the shuttle stop.

  The shuttle stops at both the east and west gates of the tennis center before returning to the Olympic Park subway stop. On the west side, the shuttle will stop in the P3 parking area and visitors will walk north about 300 meters to get to the visitors entrance. On the east side, the shuttle stops in a parking area for staff with credentials to enter the east gate into the tennis center.

  Shuttle No. 2: The bus starts at the west gate of the tennis center and makes the following stops: Bei Taipingzhuang on North Ring 3; Beichenxiquiao Bei (Pangu Hotel); Jiangdemeng Bridge; Mudanyuan; and Bei Tapingzhuang. Visitors can get off and access other transportation. The bus runs after competitions end each day.

  ADDITIONAL PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

  Buses: The closest stop to the west gate of the tennis center is Jingshiyuan Beimen, about 200 meters from the gate. This stop is for buses No. 81 and No. 510.

  Times for Bus No. 81 at its departure point are from 5:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., and times at its terminal are from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

  Bus No. 510 runs from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

  Subway: Take Line 8 to the Olympic Park stop and take the shuttle to the tennis center. Take Line 10 to Beitucheng stop, leaving from the D2 exit, and take bus No. 81 to the tennis center. The last departure to Bagou on Lin 10 is 11:40 p.m. and to Jinsong is 10:4 p.m. Subway is 2 yuan per ticket.

2009 CHINA OPEN TRANSPORTATION GUIDE FOR VISITORS (Table)

   TRANSPORTATION
Shuttle No. 1
Shuttle No. 2
Buses:

No. 81 and No. 510
Subway:

Olympic Park stop on Line 8 and Beitucheng stop on Line 10

DATE
October 2~11
October 2~11
permanent
permanent

TIME
9:30 a.m. ~ 9:00 p.m.
after competitions end each day
Times for Bus No. 81 at its departure point are from 5:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., and times at its terminal are from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Bus No. 510 runs from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Beitucheng Xi stop on bus No.81 can be used to access subway Line 10.
The last departure to Bagou on Lin 10 is 11:40 p.m. and to Jinsong is 10:4 p.m.

TRANSPORTATION LINE
The shuttle stops at both the east (P2) and west (P3) gates of the tennis center before returning to the Olympic Park subway stop.
The bus starts at the west gate of the tennis center and makes the following stops: Bei Taipingzhuang on North Ring 3; Beichenxiquiao Bei (Pangu Hotel); Jiangdemeng Bridge; Mudanyuan; and Bei Tapingzhuang.

Take Line 8 to the Olympic Park stop and take the shuttle to the tennis center.

Take Line 10 to Beitucheng stop, leaving from the D2 exit, and take bus No. 81 to the tennis center.

WHERE TO ACCESS
about 50 meters away from Exit A1 of Olympic Park stop on subway line 8 .

There will be signs indicating the shuttle stop.
the west gate of the tennis center
The closest stop to the west gate of the tennis center is Jingshiyuan Beimen, about 200 meters from the gate.

INTERVAL
A bus will be available every 15 or 20 minutes
after competitions end each day

HOW TO ACCESS
For free with tickets for a particular day or staff credentials
For free with tickets for a particular day or staff credentials
By ticket or transportation card
By ticket or transportation card

http://www.chinaopen.com.cn/en/2009/event/siteinfo.html

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Day 6 UN Climate Summit

Saturday at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP15) saw a great deal of action inside the event as well as outside. Tens of thousands of protestors marched to the Bella Center insisting on a climate change agreement but the event was marred by violence. Meanwhile, delegates working to come to an accord were stymied by divisions amongst rich and poor nations.

Richer nations including the United States and the member states of the European Union sought concrete pledges from developing nations to limit carbon emissions. The poorer nations however refused to commit to anything without significant financial assistance. China and India were steering their own course seeking to protect their own national interests.

While work continued inside the summit, an estimated 40,000 protestors took to the streets of Copenhagen. The rally was peaceful for the most part but turned violent as cars were set afire and windows smashed. Danish police detained more than 900 protestors.

Images from events within the summit and the protests outside are in the slideshow below. For complete coverage of COP15, please click here.
http://www.examiner.com/x-25061-Climate-Change-Examiner~y2009m12d13-In-pictures–Day-six-at-the-UN-Climate-Change-Conference-COP15-in-Copenhagen
complete coverage of COP15, please click here.

Day six of the UN climate summit (COP15) in pictures

While negotiations on a climate change agreement continued inside the conference, protests swelled outside resulting in the arrest of nearly one thousand protestors.