Elton reveals more about Rocket Music Entertainment Group
Wednesday, June 29 2011
Elton John has revealed more details of his “all-encompassing” music company Rocket Music Entertainment Group.
The company will focus on management via Rocket Music Management, which will look after Elton John himself, as well as James Blunt, Lily Allen, Leon Russell, Ed Sheeran, Oh Land, Murray James and Ed Drewett. Rocket Music Management also has a joint venture with Wallace Productions, whose clients include Marina and The Diamonds and Sophie Ellis-Bextor.
But the new company is not just a management company: it also has interests in records and publishing via the Rocket Records label and Rocket Music Publishing. Rocket is headed by chairman Frank Presland, with renowned artist manager Todd Interland serving as CEO.
Johnny Barbis, Elton John’s current manager, is chairman of North America; Will Ashurst is chief operations officer; Mike Tierney is general manager; Tony King, is creative consultant to Elton John; and Jim Doyle is music publishing consultant.
Elton says son makes him so happy
Wednesday, June 29 2011
Elton's son is a "great antidote" to unhappiness. Elton can't help but smile whenever he thinks of the "adorable" youngster.
He said: "When I'm singing at night, I sometimes think of him during a set and burst out laughing. He's a great antidote to feeling miserable. Every single second he's just adorable. He just makes me smile so much. He's just a gorgeous little boy."
Elton, 64, admits becoming a father later in life is the "icing on the cake" because he has already had so many wonderful and memorable things happen to him, but he is learning to treasure every moment. He told Magic 105.4 FM DJ Neil Fox: "My life has been quite remarkable, some of the things that have happened to me I never dreamt would happen to me ever. So this is the icing on the cake! He's six months, he's had his first solid food. It goes so quickly."
Elton and David, 48, have established a routine for Zachary, which has led to Elton becoming an expert in children's literature. He explained: "Every night at 6.30pm we read him a story, that's the highlight of the day. I've become an expert on children's books. Of course we've done the 'Hungry Caterpillar'! He likes 'Stick Man' and also 'The Gruffalo'. Julia Donaldson is amazing, she's fantastic."
Two chrome Audi R8 Spyders raise $1 million for EJAF
Tuesday, June 28 2011
Audi donated two chrome R8s for the Elton John Aids Foundation that were auctioned off at the annual White Tie and Tiara Ball on June 23, 2011.
The first R8 sold for £250,000, but interest was so strong that a second version was provided by Audi UK, that also sold for a similar amount. The second example also attracted a high bid value and was then generously submitted for a second time, raising a total of £620,000.
“We are absolutely delighted to have been instrumental in raising such a magnificent sum for Sir Elton’s charity,” commented Jeremy Hicks, Director of Audi UK. “We couldn’t, of course, have done so without the incredible generosity of Sir Elton’s guests, to whom we owe an enormous vote of thanks” he added.
The R8 Spyders feature a fully-automatic lightweight fabric hood and was the 5.2-liter V10 version producing 525-hp with a manual transmission and can hit 194mph and achieve a 0-60 time of 4.1 seconds.
The Elton John AIDS Foundation is amongst the ten largest AIDS grant-making organisations in the world, currently managing over £14 million in programmes across 15 countries helping thousands of men, women and children with life-saving medication, education, shelter and support.
Neil Patrick Harris and Elton’s shared surrogacy secret
Sunday, June 26 2011
When Neil Patrick Harris and partner David Burtka found themselves keeping a big secret — they were expecting fraternal twins via a surrogate — the couple never realized their only confidants had some equally exciting news of their own.
“Right before — like a month before — we were going to give birth, we were having dinner with David Furnish, Elton's partner, and we were just busting to tell someone,” the How I Met Your Mother star, 38, revealed during a visit to Conan on June 20, 2011. “So we leaned over and whispered to him, ‘We have a secret to tell you. We’re expecting twins in October through surrogacy.”
David’s reaction, however, was one neither Harris nor Burtka were expecting. “He kind of blanched and his eyes got wide and he leaned even closer and said, ‘We haven’t told anyone this, we’re expecting a baby in December!’” Harris recalls. “So it was this great bonding session.”
Naturally, when the actor and Burtka later welcomed Gideon Scott and Harper Grace, now 8 months, and Elton and Furnish welcomed son Zachary Jackson Levon, now 6 months, a play date was immediately put on the agenda. “First a whole SUV of dudes show up, then Elton shows up. So in our little house in the valley we have dudes with headpieces on kind of patrolling the area,” Harris laughs of the unique set-up. “But they were super nice inside, they’re incredibly nice, doting dads and super cool people.”
So cool, in fact, that Harris regrets not making them a bigger part of Gideon and Harper’s lives. “I probably should have had them be our godparents … that would have been cool,” he jokes. “We should have made them godparents then killed ourselves and they would have led an incredible life these kids. They’d have lived on jets. For the sake of the kids I really should have done that! Think of the yachts and the jets.”
Celebrities pile in for Elton John's White Tie and Tiara Ball
Friday, June 24 2011
Elton has opened the doors of his mansion in Windsor, Berkshire, for his annual celeb-filled White Tie and Tiara Ball, with Elizabeth Hurley and Shane Warne among the guests in attendance.
At the top of his guest list was down-in-the-dumps Cheryl Cole and one-time bitter pop foe George Michael. Cole’s invitation was an attempt to coax her out of hiding after Simon Cowell axed her from the US X Factor. The Geordie has vowed to quit showbiz but guests on June 23, 2011 were eagerly waiting to see if showbiz’s fairy godmother could twist 27-year-old Cheryl’s arm.
Michael was the other shock name down on the guest list following the former jailbird and Wham! singer’s well documented feud with Elton. The 1980s pop giants famously fell out when George rejected Elton’s offer of help as his life descended into a marijuana haze. At one point, Michael, set to turn 48 tomorrow, told Elton to ‘shut his mouth and get on with his own life’.
However, George signalled the end of the cold war this week when he offered to play at Elton’s charity concert in London in November 2011 in aid of the Elton John Aids Foundation. Friends have revealed the pair were getting on ‘brilliantly again’. Before heading to the soirée, George tweeted: ‘I’m singing tonight with Elton at his White tie and Tiara fundraiser, auctioning tickets to the show at Covent Garden Opera House!’ George Michael put on a dazzling performance for Elton's guests. Elton's party also featured an auction, with tickets to Michael's London fundraising gig in November 2011 among the prizes up for grabs.
Matthew Morrison took time out from the party to update his Twitter.com followers about the event - he posted a picture of himself and a pal alongside the message, "Having the best time at Elton John's White Tie Ball in London!!"
As for Cheryl, she was weighing up a chance run-in with Cowell himself. Her former boss and ex-best mate is a regular at the Elton and partner David Furnish’s stately home bash.
The Elton John Watch Collection by Chopard
Friday, June 24 2011
For the 13th consecutive year, Elton and David are opening the doors of their splendid Old Windsor home this evening for the legendary White Tie & Tiara Ball, organised in partnership with Chopard.
The annual White Tie & Tiara Ball’s purpose is to raise money for the Elton John AIDS Foundation. Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele, Co-President of Chopard, and Elton met in 2000, at the Cannes Film Festival. This encounter, along with their shared determination to devote their energy and their talent to the fight against AIDS, has given rise to a unique watch collection dedicated to the artist’s Foundation, as well as to a beautiful friendship between Elton, David and Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele. In addition to watches, Chopard’s support is expressed through all kinds of events, such as the annual White Tie & Tiara Ball, or the famous Elton John AIDS Foundation Oscars Viewing Party held in Los Angeles after the award ceremony.
Elton John designed watches have enjoyed tremendous success ever since they were launched. A large diameter, an imposing stature, precious stones. The Elton John designed chronograph – which comes in limited and numbered series – is entirely on trend and combines all the qualities of a classic model. Jointly designed by Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele and Elton, the timepiece reflects the singer’s personality and his love of watches. A percentage of the profits from the sale of Elton John watches are donated to the fight against AIDS.
Featuring black, brown or pink alligator leather straps, the Elton John Watch Collection models boast a myriad of the precious gems of which Elton himself is so famously fond. Playful diamonds appear either alone or harmoniously combined with sapphires, rubies and emeralds, or even colourful yellow, pink or black diamonds. The dial comes either in a tone matching the gems set around it or in a white or grey-rosé mother-of-pearl version. For those preferring simplicity, the case and dial also come in plain white or rose gold variations. The Elton John designed chronograph also has impressive technical abilities thanks to the self-winding movement.
Rock stars flock to Calgary for close encounters with musical history
Thursday, June 23 2011
With more than 700 musical artifacts – from centuries-old harpsichords to Elton John’s piano to the synthesizer that played those famous notes in Close Encounters of the Third Kind – the Cantos Music Foundation in Calgary is becoming a popular stop for musicians touring to the city.
This kind of collaboration is music to the foundation’s ears, and it’s hoping its planned National Music Centre, a project that has been in the works since 2008, will encourage more musicians to come in and play – in every sense of the word. “It’s a living collection,” says John Leimseider, the encyclopedic-brained electronics technician at Cantos, and a keyboardist who toured with Iron Butterfly and the Spencer Davis Group, and recorded with Robbie Nevil. “We want to hear lots and lots and lots of new music using these old instruments.”
The new $132-million centre in Calgary’s East Village will feature a design that pays homage to the western Canadian landscape with a series of “resonant vessels” informed by the Rocky Mountains, the hoodoos of Southern Alberta and the vast open spaces of the prairies. A two-storey bridge will span 4th Street SE. Slated to open in 2014, the 135,000-square-foot centre is also meant to improve public access to the collection of historical treasures.
Elton John used this 1910 British piano to compose his first four albums, including hits such as "Your Song", "Levon" and "Tiny Dancer". The American version of his album "Empty Sky" features a photo of John sitting in front of it. In 1972, Elton gave the piano to neighbours, filmmaker Bryan Forbes and his family, and signed it for them. “Original piano/Lots of success with it,” he wrote.
His songwriting partner Bernie Taupin signed it as well: “Within this piano lay the ghosts of 100 songs. Take care of them. They love you.”
The piano is signed elsewhere by Elton, but that signature is barely visible. There’s talk of getting him to autograph it again if he ever visits. Elton did mention the piano onstage at a Calgary concert earlier in spring 2011, but he hasn’t paid a personal visit, though his keyboard technician and two of his former keyboardists have.
The upright, which is roped off, is not of very high quality, but it’s probably the biggest draw at the museum. “It’s not a magnificent piano,” says Leimseider. “But it’s a magical piano.”
George Michael to stage Aids gig
Thursday, June 23 2011
George Michael is staging a special gig to raise money for an Aids charity fund in memory of screen star Elizabeth Taylor.
The concert at the Royal Opera House, in London, on November 6, 2011, is part of the singer's 47-date tour of Europe that sees him accompanied by a symphony orchestra. All the money raised on the night will go to the Elton John Aids Foundation's newly created Elizabeth Taylor Memorial Fund.
Michael said: "I have seen how HIV can affect people's lives, how it can destroy families and communities. The way that the Elton John Aids Foundation gets help to the people around the world who need it most - often the most marginalised communities - really spurred me on to do something." He added that he wanted to honour the late actress's Elizabeth's "inspiring efforts" campaigning to raise awareness of the disease.
Elton, who duetted with Michael on the 1991 hit "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me", said: "George has been a patron of the Foundation since its inception and has been a much valued supporter over the years, as well as a dear friend. This is an incredible and generous gesture. I thank George from my heart for doing this. His is an amazing talent, and this is a fantastic gift he is making to people affected by HIV."
Elton John cancels recently announced Susquehanna Bank Center show
Wednesday, June 22 2011
Elton John's September 16, 2011 show at Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, NJ — tickets for which just went on sale on June 17, 2011 — has already been canceled, promoters Live Nation just announced.
Refunds on the tickets, which cost $105 to $170, will be available at point of purchase starting June 22, 2011, the announcement said. There was about 2,000 tickets left for the 25,000-capacity venue. There was no immediate word on reason for the cancelation.
Elton last played the area in April 2011, when he did a sold-out show at Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre Township.
Ed Sheeran – my surprise phone call from Elton
Monday, June 20 2011
When you get a phone call from ELTON JOHN you know you’re doing something right.
Newcomer Ed Sheeran is battling Example and Calvin Harris for the No 1 spot with his fantastic debut single "The A Team", and it sounds like Elton is a big fan.
“It was really weird to get a call from Elton as he was one of my biggest idols growing up,” he said. “It’s really good of him to champion new artists as he doesn’t need to do it. I’d love to collaborate with him.” Over to you Elton ...
White Tie and Tiara Ball 2011
Saturday, June 18 2011
Elton John will once again host his annual White Tie and Tiara Ball at his home in the UK on June 23, 2011 to benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
Thirty years ago, a mysterious new illness that seemed to attack the body’s immune system was first diagnosed in the United States. Buoyed by denial, stigma and lack of understanding, HIV spread across the world infecting 60 million people and taking the lives of 30 million.
Through the efforts of dedicated campaigners and health professionals, the epidemic has begun to turn a corner. For the first time ever, the latest UNAIDS Global Report has shown that the spread of HIV has been halted and is beginning to be reversed. New infections have fallen by almost 20% in the last 10 years and between 2003 and 2009 there was a 13-fold increase in treatment coverage.
Coming at a most poignant time in the HIV story, this years’ White Tie and Tiara Ball will provide a opportunity to reflect on the incredible progress made in fighting the epidemic, and also to look to the future – a future free of HIV. Always promising to be a special evening for guests and playing host to a wealth of celebrities, the White Tie and Tiara Ball is now in its thirteenth amazing year. Hosted by Elton John and David Furnish at their country estate in Old Windsor, England, the ball has raised more than £40m since its inception. This has allowed the Foundation to reach millions of people infected or affected by HIV.
A highlight of the year’s social calendar, the ball always attracts a wealth of celebrities. In previous years, guests have included Diana Ross, Sharon Stone, Michael Douglas & Catherine Zeta Jones, Dionne Warwick, Burt Bacharach, Sean Connery, Guy Richie, Joss Stone, P. Diddy, Boris Becker, Joan Collins, Joan Rivers, Kevin Spacey, Kate Winslet, Elizabeth Hurley & Hugh Grant, Victoria & David Beckham, Elle Macpherson, Mick Jagger & Jerry Hall, Kylie Minogue, Pierce Brosnan, Anastacia, Spice Girls, Roger Federer, Dawn French & Lenny Henry, Ronan Keating, George Michael, Trudie Styler, Sir Tim Rice, Jasper Conran, Jane Seymour, Sir Bob Geldof, Sophie Dahl, Diana Krall, Lulu, Sir David Frost, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, Stephen Daldry, Nigella Lawson, Richard E. Grant and the list goes on!
U2, Bon Jovi and Elton lead Forbes' list of highest-paid musicians
Friday, June 17 2011
Touring is the clearest way to millions in the music business these days, as Forbes' new list of the 25 highest-paid musicians shows.
U2 leads the pack with $195 million, due in no small part to their record-breaking "360" tour, which has grossed more than $700 million over two years. Road warriors Bon Jovi were second with $125 million; Elton John third with $100 million (thanks to a 102-show tour); Lady Gaga was fourth with $90 million and a tour schedule that ran from 2009 until last month; and Michael Bublé was fifth with $70 million, also thanks to a big tour.
According to Forbes, the numbers encompass all pretax income earned from May 2010 to May 2011, before subtracting agent and manager fees. The totals were compiled with the help of data from Pollstar, RIAA and others, as well as interviews with industry insiders including lawyers, managers, concert promoters, agents and, in some cases, the musicians themselves.
Forbes also noted that some musicians were more thrifty with their income than others, noting that Gaga grossed nearly as much in 12 months of touring ($168 million) as Elton John ($204 million), but the costs of her elaborate production dug deep into her bottom line.
Forbes also noted that its list spans in age from Justin Bieber (age 17) to Paul McCartney (68), and that just five solo female acts made the list, as opposed to 13 men. There is also a five-way tie for 18th between 18. AC/DC, Sean "Diddy" Combs, Beyonce, Tim McGraw and Muse, all with $35 million.
Forbes' list of the world's 25 highest-paid musicians:
1. U2 ($195 million) 2. Bon Jovi ($125 million) 3. Elton John ($100 million) 4. Lady Gaga ($90 million) 5. Michael Buble ($70 million) 6. Paul McCartney ($67 million) 7. Black Eyed Peas ($61 million) 8. Eagles ($60 million) 9. Justin Bieber ($53 million) 10. Dave Matthews Band ($51 million) 11. Toby Keith ($50 million) 12. Usher ($46 million) 13. Taylor Swift $45 million) 14. Katy Perry ($44 million) 15. Brad Paisley ($40 million) 16. Tom Petty & the Heartbreaks ($38 million) 17. Jay-Z ($38 million) 18. AC/DC ($35 million) 18. Sean "Diddy" Combs ($35 million) 18. Beyonce ($35 million) 18. Tim McGraw ($35 million) 18. Muse ($35 million) 23. Rascal Flatts ($34 million) 24. Kenny Chesney ($30 million)
'Hot in Cleveland' star wants Elton John cameo
Thursday, June 16 2011
Hot in Cleveland star Valerie Bertinelli has revealed that she would like Elton John to cameo on the show.
The actress, who plays Melanie Hope Moretti, told TV Squad that she also wants the music icon to perform on the TV Land sitcom. "I would love to do something with Elton John because I just adore him," she said. "I don't know how we'd ever get him on our show. I want him to croon to me, I've always wanted him to croon to me." Bertinelli added that she is keen for her character Melanie to have a "crazy" encounter with the 'Candle in the Wind' singer.
"He could be [in Cleveland] performing and Melanie goes and somehow ruins the show for Elton," she suggested. "Something crazy has to ensue!" Recent Hot in Cleveland guest stars have included Jon Lovitz, Peri Gilpin and Desperate Housewives actor Richard Burgi, while Robert Redford reportedly turned down the opportunity to film a cameo appearance.
The third season of Hot In Cleveland continues on Wednesdays at 10/9c on TV Land.
EJAF launches petition to urge support for Drug Assistance Program
Wednesday, June 15 2011
The Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) has launched an online petition to urge Gov. Rick Scott and Florida legislators to not reduce income eligibility requirements for the state’s AIDS Drug Assistance Program.
AIDS Drug Assistance Programs are federally funded, state-run programs that provide HIV/AIDS drugs to low-income and uninsured HIV-positive Americans. To reduce the program’s length waiting list in Florida, the state reducing income eligibility from 400 percent of the federal poverty level to 200 percent. If the bureau’s proposal is adopted, a patient would have to earn roughly $26,000 or less to qualify. HIV/AIDS medications cost between $10,000 and $20,000 per year.
According to a press release issued by the EJAF on June 15, 2011, Scott has not responded to a letter sent on June 1, 2011 urging him to protect the AIDS Drug Assistance Program from this reduction. Jesse Fry — the co-chair of the Florida HIV/AIDS Advocacy Network who testified in one of a series of public forums hosted by the state’s Bureau of HIV/AIDS — told The Florida Independent that proposed changes to Drug Assistance Program eligibility have negative workforce implications. “If you cut the eligibility from [the current] 400 percent of the federal poverty level to 200 percent of the federal poverty level, that takes out a large income range where people can work and advance in their careers, accept promotions and eventually leave the ADAP system,” Fry said.
The eligibility reduction was proposed as a cost-containment measure for Florida’s cash-strapped program. It has been in a financial crisis since 2010, and a variety of reasons helped create this crisis. A federal report issued in March 2011 alleged that there are unresolved and unanswered concerns from prior Office of Inspector General, Office of Performance Review and Health Resources and Services Administration audits and visits.
Tom Liberti, director of the state’s Bureau of HIV/AIDS, recently told National Public Radio that a combination of a deep recession, flat federal government funding, flat or reduced state funding, massive unemployment, 4 million Floridians without insurance and more early treatment for HIV explains the AIDS Drug Assistance Program’s funding crisis.
Elton John and band performed in Munich on June 14, 2011
Wednesday, June 15 2011
Fan report by Mireille Herz.
The show started almost exactly on time at 7.35pm. Obviously, not the entire audience was aware of the sort of early start in contrast to other shows which usually begin at 8.00pm. So, when the first chords of “Funeral” echoed through the Olympiahalle, only about 70% of the seats in the sold-out arena were occupied. I thus feared a lame audience but was pleasantly surprised by people enthusiastically responding to the for most people rather obscure songs like “Hey Ahab”. People kept standing and dancing – really surprising.
I am quite sure this was at least to some extent due to the fabulously energetic performance of the “Two Cellos” and the four background singers. These new additions to the Elton John Band brought a lot of energy especially into the songs from “The Union”.
Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser, the Croatian cellists, were dressed alike in striped T-shirts and sunglasses. Elton described them as looking like surfers – quite to the point, actually. I never would have thought it possible to really rock and roll with cellos but with those two, it worked perfectly. Unfortunately, the cellos were not featured very prominently in the musical mix so that you really had to listen closely to make out what Sulic and Hauser played. The cello sound fits Elton’s songs perfectly, and the two Croatians deserve to be heard very well.
The background singers – quite to the contrary – were clearly audible. I had loved this section during the “Ice On Fire” tour and was glad to see female backing vocals return this year. The four ladies sing perfectly but I wondered whether their seemingly uncoordinated moves were actually some kind of an unusual choreography. Whereas the singer on the left (audience view) seemed to hilariously translate every line into sign language and to have a helluva time the other ladies remained graceful but in comparison almost stern. Still, I loved both the cellists and the background singers.
Elton had a few surprises in stock as well, such as a new XL-version of “Madman Across The Water” and a nice improvisational part around the German national anthem in “Take Me To The Pilot”. Unfortunately, but typical for German audiences hardly anyone responded to Elton’s well-meant greeting. Maestro was wearing a black waistcoat embroidered with a sparkling sort-of Ed Hardy-esque skull and cross on the back, the tails reading “Dark Diamond”. He seemed to be in best spirits and really enjoying himself.
Even though this tour is coined “Greatest Hits” and the choice of songs for the most part not a fan’s delight, I was glad I went to see the show. After all, Elton is a great entertainer.
Following is the complete set list of the Munich show on June 14, 2011:
Elton John picks his accomplices
Monday, June 13 2011
Elton has decided to take two 24-year-old music students — Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser — along with him for his summer tour.
Both Sulic and Hauser live in a small town in the Republic of Croatia and were discovered via YouTube where they had posted their fresh and unique cello music video of the popular Michael Jackson track "Smooth Criminal".
Clearly, it was a dream come true, for both Sulic and Hauser as their self made video of them performing "Smooth Criminal" on the cellos — something which was meant to be a fun exercise — became a viral hit on the net and got many hits. Within days, the video garnered huge attention. It even got Sony Masterworks to sign a deal with them. And while the two long time friends were basking in the applause, they received a phone call from legend Elton John who invited them to join him on his European tour this summer.
“I feel so blessed that all of this is happening — a record deal with Sony Masterworks and a tour with Elton John —who would have imagined this!” exclaims Hauser. Their debut album will be released this summer and will feature Sulic and Hauser’s unique spin on hits by bands like Guns N’ Roses, U2, Coldplay and Kings of Leon among others.
“We grew up with Michael Jackson, U2 and Nirvana. The melody and structure of their songs really inspired us to arrange them for 2 cellos. Bands like Coldplay, Kings of Leon and Muse also write songs with those similar melodic qualities - so we had a great time digging in and making them part of this album too,” explains Sulic. Both Sulic and Hauser have been playing the cello since childhood and have recently completed their studies.
Mark your calendars for June 16, 2011. David Sigler, host of the all Elton and Taupin radio show, Two Rooms, will be the co-host for the show Charted Course.
Hosted by Billboard Bob, join them as they count down Elton John's Top 30 biggest hits according to Billboard magazine. You won't want to miss it! Save the date and time: Thursday, June 16, 2011 at 9 pm until midnight USA/EST!
Vote for Elton who this year is nominated in the Favorite Celebrity Dad category!
Place your vote at posugar.com By playing the PopSugar100, you can be entered for the chance to win one of four gorgeous luxury prizes — a Chanel bag, an Hermès Kelly bag, an Hermès CdC cuff bracelet, and a vintage Rolex watch!
HBO ccquires TV rights to Cameron Crowe's documentary 'The Union'
Tuesday, June 7 2011
HBO Documentary Films has acquired the domestic TV rights to THE UNION from Vinyl Films, it was announced on June 6, 2011. Directed by Cameron Crowe (“Almost Famous,” “Jerry Maguire”), the film will debut on HBO in January 2012.
THE UNION takes an unprecedented look at the creative life of Elton John and his remarkable collaborative album with his early-career idol, Leon Russell, produced by award-winning music producer T Bone Burnett. Never before filmed in his composing process, Elton is captured by Crowe in this candid portrait of one of the world’s most treasured artists and performers. Begun in November 2009, THE UNION chronicles the entire writing and recording process of the heralded album Elton recorded with Russell.
“I’m a great fan of HBO and their extraordinary programming, so I’m particularly thrilled that they will be airing THE UNION,” commented Elton John. The film had its world premiere as the opening night selection at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival. Creative Artists Agency (CAA) represents Crowe and Burnett and negotiated the deal with HBO on behalf of the filmmakers.
THE UNION is directed by Cameron Crowe; produced by Cameron Crowe and Michelle Panek; executive producer, Johnny Barbis; editor, Kevin Long.
Elton John urges Scott to save HIV/AIDS funding
Wednesday, June 1 2011
Elton John is urging Gov. Rick Scott to protect a program that helps low-income HIV/AIDS patients obtain medication needed to control the virus.
Elton, founder of the Elton John AIDS Foundation, wrote to Scott May 31, 2011 after hearing the Department of Health was considering changes in income eligibility.
A department spokeswoman said there are no immediate plans to change the AIDS Drug Assistance Program, though it held hearings to discuss the possibility of lowering income requirements to participate. In their letter, Elton and foundation Chairman David Furnish said lowering income eligibility could mean 1,600 people will no longer receive help obtaining antiretroviral medication.
David said in a phone interview, "We were horrified when we heard this and we wanted to reach out and make our unhappiness known to the governor."
Matthew Morrison: Elton should be Sue Sylvester's boyfriend
Wednesday, June 1 2011
The Glee star muses about an on-screen role for the iconic Elton John opposite Sue Sylvester after the two singers performed together on Matthew Morrison's debut album.
Glee star Mathew Morrison wants Elton John to take a break from diaper duty and get busy with Sue Sylvester, played by Jane Lynch, on the hit Fox TV show. “I came up with this thing where he (Elton) should be Sue Sylvester’s new boyfriend. I think that would be hilarious," the singer-turned-TV star joked backstage during a publicity stop in Toronto on May 31, 2011.
Morrison and Elton partnered on a duet on the Glee star’s debut album, now on release. The TV star touched down briefly in Toronto to tub-thump for Glee on Global Television in Canada before flying to London to start an international concert tour.
Morrison said he did the solo album in part to separate himself from his on-screen persona as Glee club teach Will Schuester. “I want to have that separation. The sooner I can start doing that, the better,” he explained.
Caesars Bingo Elton John VIP Extravaganza
Wednesday, June 1 2011
Bingo prizes like the ones currently on offer by Caesars Bingo certainly do not happen every day, and this one only comes around for some lucky winners just once in a lifetime!
Although this company has a great reputation of giving some massive giveaways to lucky folk, sending two extremely lucky winners off to Las Vegas must surely take the biscuit. Not only that, they get to see Elton John in concert as well.
Indeed, superlatives fail when it comes to this kind of prize because Elton John is one of those superstars whose tickets are so hard to come by anyway. However, since Caesars Bingo is known for pulling this kind of surprise, everyone should just try their luck to get this trip of a lifetime.
The trip will include two tickets to see Elton in his spectacular new show at the Coliseum; return flights from the UK to Las Vegas; luxury accommodation for three nights at – where else? – Caesars Palace; pickup by luxury limousine right from the airport to the hotel and a host of other goodies in the form of VIP tickets to Elton’s show – the whole point of the trip, entry in the very with it Venus Pool club, entry into the PURE club – very inclusive indeed plus dinner at several very swish eateries with a budget of $200 for each night’s meal.
All players have to do is to play games between now and up to July 3, 2011 and for every ten pounds spent, one prize draw ticket will be given on bingo. The same applies for slots and mini games too In the casino, spend one hundred pounds and one prize draw ticket is yours. However, just to sweeten the pot for all those not lucky enough to win this sensational prize, they will be offering several prizes of twenty five pounds every day too.
AIDS claimed celebrity victims, but stars lead fight
Wednesday, June 1 2011
AIDS claimed a string of celebrity victims in its early days, from Rock Hudson to Freddie Mercury, but fellow stars have played a major role in fighting the killer disease over the years since.
Elton John and Elizabeth Taylor were among leading figures who used their celebrity from the start to raise awareness and funds for research into HIV, as well as reducing the stigma of what was initially seen as a "gay plague."
Retired basketball player Magic Johnson has campaigned tirelessly since announcing in 1991 that he had contracted HIV, while pop icon Michael Jackson, a friend of Taylor's, was also a strong supporter before his death in 2009.
Elton's "White Tie and Tiara Ball" has become an annual star-studded fixture organized with his partner David Furnish since 1999 to raise funds for his Elton John Aids Foundation projects in 55 countries since it was founded in 1992. "Both Elton and David are absolutely passionate about the work of the Foundation. They are on the phone weekly getting updates ... and discussing stategy," said Anne Aslett, boss of EJAF's British arm. "Celebrities can speak personally and emotionally ... This means their influence can be enormous," she told AFP, citing the impact of others including the late Princess Diana, Whoopi Goldberg and Sharon Stone.
AIDS first came to broad public notice in 1981, when US doctors noted an unusual cluster of deaths among young homosexuals in California and New York. In the three decades since then it has killed nearly 30 million people, and 33 million others live with it or HIV, the virus that causes AIDS by destroying immune cells, according to 2009 World Health Organization (WHO) figures. The first major celebrity victim was Hudson, whose admission that he was suffering from HIV in the early 1980s helped raise the profile of the disease. He died in 1985, aged 59.
Flamboyant US entertainer Liberace died in 1987 followed in 1990 by Scottish "Chariots of Fire" actor Ian Charleson and New York artist Keith Haring, who was only 31 when he died. Queen frontman Mercury died the following year, perhaps the first high-profile pop star to succumb publicly to the disease. Jacques Morali, creator of camp music icons the Village People, died the same year. Also in 1991 Oscar-winning British director Tony Richardson died, while Magic Johnson announced he was HIV positive, retired immediately and dedicated his life to fighting the deadly disease. In 1992 "Psycho" actor Anthony Perkins, Britain's Denholm Elliott and sci-fi writer Isaac Asimov all died, followed by tennis star Arthur Ashe and ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev in 1993.
The list of high profile AIDS victims has tailed off as awareness grew and more effective treatments were introduced -- at least in rich developed countries -- but celebrity campaigners kept fighting. Screen siren Taylor, who died in March 2011 aged 79, regularly organized AIDS fund-raising benefits until her own health complications mounted. "She saw this terrible disease, and she was angered by the fact that nobody was doing anything about it," said Kevin Frost, head of the Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR), co-founded by Taylor in 1985. "She just stepped right into the breach."
Magic Johnson, 51, was one of the first to benefit from the cocktail of antiretroviral medications which emerged in the mid-1990s to keep HIV in check -- and he believes his infection and survival were meant to be. "This happened to me for a reason, and I know it was for me to help someone else," he said in an interview in Newsweek magazine ahead of the HIV anniversary. But he is concerned that, while gays have taken steps to protect themselves, African Americans still treat the subject as taboo -- the HIV infection rate for black women was 15 times that for white women, according to 2006 figures.
"Those numbers really break my heart... The gay community has done such a great job of getting their message across, and it's worked, But there is still such a stigma with the virus in our community, and that prevents any progress." Some groups who benefit from celebrity funding play down the importance of star power, saying staying power is more important.
"In the world of AIDS advocacy, Elton is seen less as a celebrity and more as one of the real leaders in the fight," said Drew Altman of the Kaiser Family Foundation, one of dozens of groups backed by Elton John's Foundation. "When he gets involved he sticks with it when others show only temporary interest," he told AFP. But while the British singer has made a huge difference, after three decades there is still much more to be done, stresses Aslett. "I know Elton would say we've lost so much and we've come so far because of AIDS, we cannot give up now. The fight against AIDS is mobilizing the greatest support even seen for a health issue," she said. "As we go into the fourth decade since HIV first appeared, we must work towards an end for this global killer."