Archive for March 27th, 2012

Lee Hirsch’s highly anticipated documentary “Bully” follows several families who have been affected by bullying. The families in the film are hardly alone — the press release for the film notes that over 13 million young people will experience some form of bullying this year.

Now celebrities are joining the movement to stop bullying — and hopefully, influencing their young fans to do the same. On Tuesday, The Weinstein Company launched a social media campaign against bullying to have as many people tweet as possible to get the following “Bully” message trending: “Did you know 13 million kids get bullied every year? I support @BullyMovie. Let’s make it a trend: #BullyMovie.”

From “New Girl” star Zooey Deschanel to pop star Katy Perry and comedian Joel McHale, stars and media outlets alike are participating in The Bully Project campaign. Thanks to these famous faces, and more, #Bully and #BullyMovie are now being shared across Twitter.

“The tremendous support for this film is unlike anything I’ve seen” said Bladimiar Norman, Senior Vice President of Marketing at The Weinstein Company, in a statement to The Huffington Post. “‘Bully’ and the social action campaign, The Bully Project, are very important to The Weinstein Company and we are incredibly humbled by the wonderful participation of such influential individuals and organizations. This is the first step in a movement, the next is to see the film and take a stand against bullying. The celebrities and organizations have done their part, now it is time for us to do ours, and get to the theaters.”

Harvey Weinstein recently announced that he was releasing “Bully” without a rating, after fighting to change the R-rating that they received from the Motion Picture Association of America ratings board.

Celebrities from Anderson Cooper to Kathy Griffin and Demi Lovato have been supportive of the film and its petition to revoke the R-rating it received.

To see which celebrities are joining the movement against bullying, click through the gallery below. “Bully” will have a limited release on March 30.



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Ten years ago — (or was it 500 years from now?), Nathan Fillion and Adam Baldwin were trapped together in space on Fox’s short-lived, but much-beloved sci-fi adventure series, Firefly. Though Nathan’s Captain Mal Reynolds often clashed with Adam’s Jayne Cobb, the actors developed a strong bond that survived post-cancellation. The two buds reunite on the April 16 episode of Castle (titled “Headhunters”), but don’t expect a recreation of their Firefly characters’ relationship. “It’s flipped,” explains Adam. “Nathan’s the dumb one this time.”

“Yup,” echoes Nathan. “Adam’s in control, pulling the strings and I’m tagging along in the dark.”

The episode finds Castle abandoning Beckett to shadow Adam’s tough gang squad cop, Ethan Slaughter. Between takes, the two had the chance to reflect on their favorite Firefly moments. Nathan says his is “the one where Adam’s in the airlock. It was the scene that let everybody know Jayne, this big lovable character, was not to be trusted and would sell you out if he got the chance.”

When Firefly ended, both actors swiped some treasured memorabilia from set. “I kept Jayne’s boots, knife, knitted hat, T-shirts and a model of his head,” says Adam. “But I auctioned off a lot of that for charity.”

Nathan’s collection includes three of Malcolm’s guns: “One fake foam one for stunts, one wood-filled resin one for practice and one actual gun,” says the star, who also owns two of Mal’s holsters.

While neither actor seems particularly hopeful that they’ll ever get to use these props again on camera in another Firefly project, there could be more Firefly reunions on Castle if Nathan has his way. “I’ve been pitching an episode where the lead actor of a failed TV sci-fi series gets killed, and it turns out the whole cast and writers hated him and are all suspects,” says Nathan. “It would be very exciting for Firefly fans because I’d want to get everybody back for this episode, but with Adam on this show, he’s single-handedly ruined that! But I can still have my hope.”




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Lady Gaga won the outstanding music artist prize at the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) media awards in Los Angeles on Saturday (03-24-12).

The eccentric star picked up the prize for her album ‘Born This Way’ – which encourages people to accept themselves whoever they are – and although she did not attend the ceremony, tweeted she was delighted because it helped represent “equality and change”.

She wrote: “I’m so proud to win ‘Outstanding Artist’ for Born This Way album at GLAAD Media Awards. Thank you so much to your organization.

“Lets remind the world that the zeitgeist continues to beckon for equality + change. The relevancy of freedom, the ying yang of hatred + love (sic)”

Other winners at the event at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square included TV show ‘Dancing with the Stars’ which won outstanding reality program for featuring transgender contestant Chaz Bono, the son of singer Cher.

‘Chicago’ and ‘Hairspray’ producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan won the Vito Russo award – named after the late gay rights activist and presented to an openly lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender media professional who has made a contribution to promoting equality – and both paid credit to their sexuality.

In an acceptance speech, Zadan said being gay was “part of who I am, so it impacts on the work that we do”, while Meron added the pair had spent a long time trying to “fight, persuade and manipulate” negative cliches in the entertainment industry.



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This article was originally published by SmartMoney.com

1.”The ‘i’ isn’t for ‘inexpensive.'”

A record 3 million people ordered the latest version of the iPad during the weekend after its debut on March 16 — the strongest launch for the device yet. With prices for the new iPad starting at $499 for the 16GB Wi-Fi only version, experts say consumers are paying a premium for the gadget. But they may not realize that premium could cover the cost of making a second iPad. IHS iSuppli, a technology research company that has studied the cost of the iPad’s components, estimates Apple spends $375.10 to make the 32GB version of the new iPad with 4G LTE connectivity — roughly half the retail price.

And the profit margin grows for the more expensive models. While it costs Apple about $16 more to make the 32GB version of the iPad than the 16GB version, the retail price jumps by $100 from one model to the next, according to the IHS iSuppli. That contrasts with competitors, like Amazon, which loses an estimated $18 for each $200 Kindle Fire it sells after marketing and shipping costs are taken into account, according to RBC Capital Markets. “Apple makes a stunning profit margin on their devices,” says Colin Gillis, an analyst for BGC Partners.

That said, the iPad has generally become more expensive to make while the price has stayed the same, meaning Apple is making less profit on its newer models, says Andrew Rassweiler, senior principal analyst for IHS iSuppli. He points out that iSuppli’s estimate doesn’t include all the costs Apple incurs for producing the iPad such as shipping, engineering teams, potential royalty costs and software. Apple also recently lowered the price of the iPad 2 by $100 to $399, a sign that it is accommodating cost-conscious consumers, says Michael Holt, an analyst for Morningstar.

Apple declined to comment for this story.

2.”I’m passe before you leave the store.”

If you got an iPad for Christmas you may already feel as if you need an upgrade given the hype around the new version’s improved camera, sharper screen and faster wireless network. The previous upgrade launched a year ago gave users a lighter tablet with a faster processor. (Apple put the weight back into its latest version.) For Apple fans, the frequent updates can lead to a constant case of buyer’s remorse, analysts say. “You can almost set your clock with the knowledge that Apple is going to release a new iPad every year,” says Allan Yogasingam, technical research manager for UBM TechInsights.

But the improvements from one model to another are incremental and not always easily noticed, says Yogasingam. For instance, tech experts raved about the new iPad’s higher resolution screen, but many regular users were unable to tell the difference according to an informal experiment conducted by the tech nology tracking sight The Next Web. When consumers were asked to look at two versions of the iPads side by side and point to the newest model, many chose the wrong one, reports The Next Web.

Most people might be better off if they act on every other update so they can notice a greater difference between devices, says Yogasingam. And iPad 2 owners may want to wait for the next upgrade instead of rushing out to buy the current new model. The next version, which is likely to launch next year, will probably have a faster processor and other features, says Louis Ramirez senior features writer for dealnews.com.

For Apple’s part, the company is typically working on several models of a product at once, so features left out of one version may already be in the works for a future model. “There is rhyme to their reasoning,” Yogasingam says.

3. “I can’t compete with your PC.”

The iPad may be new and hip, but experts say it still can’t replace your ho-hum computer. Indeed, for most people, it remains a secondary device. “It could be a mistake to assume that the iPad is going to topple the PC market,” says Gillis. Much of that has to do with the tablet’s limited applications for business purposes. While iPads are great for keeping up with the media and reading emails, producing and sending word documents and other files can be a hassle, says Gillis.

Gawayne Beckford, a 28-year old website developer based in Kingston Jamaica knows what Gillis means. He says his iPad is great for showing clients demos of his work. But when he needs to send someone an image, it’s a different story. Instead of simply replying to an email and attaching the file, he has to go through a multi-step process that involves opening a picture in another app and sending it from there. For that reason, he usually downloads word documents and writes emails from his computer. “It’s much faster that way,” says Beckford.

That’s not to say the iPad can’t be used for business. Indeed, it’s increasingly popular among doctors, executives and sales people who need to get updated reports or close deals on-the-go, says Sarah Rotman Epps, a senior analyst for Forrester Research. Studies also show that people who get tablets delay purchases of new computers, she adds.

4. “Good luck reading War and Peace on my screen.”

Reading on electronic devices like the iPad, Nook and Kindle revolutionized the publishing industry, with e-book sales now outpacing sales of hardcover books. But critics say some people actually get very little reading done on tablets like the iPad. Pop up messages, web browsing and video games often prove to be too much of a distraction for some users, says Ben Bajarin, principal at Creative Strategies, an industry analysis firm. Plus, many consumers still find it hard to read at length on the glossy screen, which creates a glare in the sunlight that makes it difficult for people who like to tote their books to the beach or the park, says Jeff Haynes, editor of TechBargains.com.

What’s more, digital devices like the iPad can cause computer vision syndrome, the name given to that tired, bleary eyed feeling people get when they spend too much time staring at a screen, says Dr. Jim Sheedy, a director of the Vision Performance Institute at Pacific University in Forest Grove. And, people who hold the tablets too close to their face could be forcing their eyes to cross, which increases strain, he says. Sheedy recommends people stick with the 20-20-20 rule: Focus on something 20 feet away from you every 20 minutes for at least 20 seconds.

To be sure, many users might find Apple has improved the reading experience with its new “retina display,” a higher resolution screen available on the new iPad that allows for crisper images and text, says Bajarin. The beige background used on most reading apps should also reduce strain while reading, he says.

5. “Drop me and I’m done.”

As many people toting around cracked devices will attest, the iPad’s Achilles heel is its glass screen. About 10% of iPad 2 users reported accidental damage within the first year of owning their tablets, according to insurance agent Square Trade, which analyzed data from 50,000 customers. That rate of breakages may increase with the new iPad, based on the results of a recent drop test the company performed, says Vince Tseng, vice president of marketing for Square Trade. Though both iPads shattered when dropped face down from waist height the new damage on the new iPad was more severe.

This fragility usually means consumers need to spend more cash on a protective case, which can make the sleek tablet feel bulky and heavy. That’s why iPad user Beckford was in the habit of leaving his iPad out of its iLuv Portfolio case while at home. That is, until a few weeks ago, when he accidentally knocked it off of a chair while it was charging. Now he has a semi-circle shaped crack along the length of the screen to remind him to keep the machine in the case. “It was painful, very painful,” says Beckford.

Apple could make the glass more durable by using a thicker version of damage resistance glass, says Haynes. Of course, iPad users might have avoided many of those incidents reported to Square Trade by exercising a bit more caution, says Tseng, citing one consumer whose iPad was damaged when her toddler threw it out of a moving car. And the iPad’s fragility has yet to stop people from buying it, says Rotman Epps.


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The Trayvon Martin killing has grabbed attention nationwide, and now it has sparked a musical tribute. Singer Chaka Khan gathered a group of musicians and actors to record a remake of the song “Super Life” in memory of the Fla. teen, who was shot and killed during a confrontation with George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watchmen.

The video, which features famous faces like Angela Bassett, Eva Marcille, and Garcelle Beauvais, premiered Monday night on CNN. The singer spoke with Piers Morgan about why she felt the story has become so controversial, particularly in the black community.

“Here’s the thing,” she told Morgan. “We are sick and tired in America of seeing little children lost, and children gone missing and they never make the nine o’clock or the five o’clock news.”

The diva is amongst a number of celebrities who have spoken out, demanding justice for Martin’s family. In a rare display of social activism in sports, Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat tweeted photos of the team in hoodies in solidarity with Martin’s family. Even President Obama himself called the incident a tragedy, saying if he had a son, he would look like Travyon Martin.

On her website, Khan wrote about the importance of celebrity involvement in such a high profile case.

Celebrities are privileged beyond belief to have a public following. We have explored and exploited media to our own benefits. Now it’s time to exploit media for the benefit of humanity as a whole. As purveyors of content and media, we need to use our voices to stop injustice at the site of its origin.


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