For their fifth studio outing (and major label debut), lesbian twin duo Tegan and Sara were faced with the daunting task of creating a follow-up to their massive 2004 breakthrough, So Jealous. On The Con, the sisters Quin team up with Death Cab For Cutie’s Chris Walla to deliver a darker, more stylistic and sonically mature collection, draped in rich melodies, jarringly honest songwriting and skillful musicianship — courtesy of guest players Jason McGerr from DCFC on drums, Matt Sharp from the Rentals/Weezer and Hunter Burgan from AFI on bass.
Even though Heidi Fleiss already has plenty of labels attached to her name — Hollywood madam, ex-con, hustler, businesswoman — she can now add two more: environmentalist and parrot lady.
Yes, the woman who ran a multimillion dollar underground prostitution ring before getting busted and spending three years in prison for tax evasion is now living with 24 parrots in the Nevada desert, where she plans to open a sustainable spa for women that will provide facials, massages and sex with hunky men-for-hire.
Orlando Bloom… a dashing young movie star with truckloads of talent, legions of fans and enough dosh to satiate his every whim… who gives back? What a concept. (Lindsay, feel free to take notes.) Seems this compassionate A-lister recently embarked on a four-day UNICEF sponsored tour of Nepal where he visited various program sites in western districts Kaski and Chitwan.
In Kalinka, Bloom was warmly welcomed by villagers, where — despite the country’s dire poverty — promising signs abound. Village facilitator Chali Subedi explained that “six years ago only 84 percent of school-going-age children were enrolled in school. Now every boy and girl goes to school. Previously only 25 percent of the households were taking iodized salt [to prevent iodine deficiency disorders]. The figure now has increased to 38 per cent. Similarly women’s workload has decreased from 17 hours per day to 14 hours a day.” Encouraging stuff.
What do you do if you’re an A-list actress who wants to be ethical yet stylish from head to toe? If you’re Natalie Portman, you design your own sustainable shoe line. Portman’s signature Mary-Janes (in provocative patent red) will debut with the rest of her shoe collection in February 2008. Hungry fans can pre-order Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos
In the (good) old days, rock bands trashed hotel rooms, destroyed equipment and consumed excessive amounts of everything they could get their hands on. Not so much these days. The current breed of artists seem to prefer saving the planet over screwing it up.
Enter the epitome of this new wave, Green Owl Records.
Green Owl is a Manhattan-based indie label founded by NYC singer-songwriter Ben Brewer (The Exit, The Appletrees), singer-songwriter Ellenike Abreu (The Appletrees) and producer-musician Stephen Glicken. All three are hell bent on presenting music and art in an environmentally sustainable and socially responsible way.
Moving Units’ 2004 debut, Dangerous Dreams, was an impulsive collection of immediate electro/punk/pop reactions. Hexes For Exes is more thoughtful and, in the process, perhaps less impetuous in nature Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos
Trekking the Annapurna Circuit many moons ago, I was struck by the beauty of 18 carat gold earrings worn by all the Nepalese women and girls. The flashes of gold in the sunlight were almost as brilliant as the owner’s smiles. Rather than ubiquitous machine-made hoops found in the West, these handmade earrings were perfectly imperfect; it felt as if the soul of the artisan who created them was somehow embodied in its design.
Perhaps that’s why I feel an infinity with acclaimed jewelry designer Toby Pomeroy. Pomeroy grew up in India on the foothills of the Himalayas where he found inspiration in the nature-influenced designs of local artisans. Flash forward many moons, and now not only does Pomeroy create beautiful jewelry favored by many A-listers – Sheryl Crow is a fan and Cameron Diaz wore his earrings in “Charlie’s Angels” – he does so without harming the environment.
“The jewelry industry is one of the worlds’ worst polluters,”says Pomeroy, “and we’ve simply been pretending that we aren’t. We’ve been ignoring the fact that mining and extraction of precious metals is one of the world’s most toxic and polluting industries”. The statistics are startling. “For every one ton of gold the U.S. produces, it also generates 3 million tons of waste rock” — not to mention a host of toxins, including cyanide.
That’s why in 2005, Pomeroy approached Torry Hoover, President of Hoover and Strong, the nation’s largest gold supplier and refiner, to request a program to provide reclaimed or recycled silver and gold. Hoover agreed and the resulting EcoGold and EcoSilver are the basis of Toby Pomeroy’s exquisite designs.
So, now you can adorn yourself in jewels, safe in the knowledge that your beauty doesn’t take away from nature’s.
When Anders Trentemøller released his groundbreaking debut, The Last Resort, last year, the Danish wunderkind was universally hailed as a sonic visionary whose riveting soundscapes were an expansive mélange of minimal deep house, intelligent techno, pulsating glitch-house and brooding dark pop with lush textures and cinematic, organic orchestration. The masterpiece yielded several dancefloor classics, including “Rykketid,” “Polar Shift” and “Sunstroke,” alongside ingenious reworks for the Knife, Royksopp and Moby, which skyrocketed Trentemøller to the forefront of the electronic music movement.
How many concerts does it take to save the world? Evidently more than we’ve had thus far.
The most recent one, honoring Nobel Peace laureates Al Gore and the United Nations climate panel, was held last month in Oslo, Norway, drawing performers like Annie Lennox, Melissa Etheridge, Kylie Minogue and Alicia Keys.
The concert, intended to draw attention to what Gore calls the “planetary emergency” of global warming, was hosted by Uma Thurman and Kevin Spacey. “What we are hearing is that everyone needs to get very much involved with climate,” said Thurman, as quoted by the Sacramento Bee. “It’s coming to us. It’s coming to a theater near us, very, very near us.”
When Leonardo DiCaprio was in Cannes promoting his new documentary film The 11th Hour, at the press conference one of the reporters put him on the spot grilling him about his own environmental impact from flying around so much to promote his movies. DiCaprio answered the reporter smoothly by saying that he tries to fly commercial as much as he can. It is kind of odd how all these celebrities and personalities in the spotlight are doing the “green” thing simply by not flying in private jets.
Meanwhile the rest of us are pushed to feel guilty about our occasional flights on commercial airlines. Just goes to show how relative this whole being greener thing is. What or whom do we measure it by? We really can’t compare everyone. Just start where we are and try to do better and better. There are a lot of jobs, even ones promoting green lifestyles and global issues that require a lot of traveling. Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos