Friday, July 31, 2009
"You can't predict when something is going to become a phenomenon, and that's the beauty of it, really. I haven't seen it — I'm waiting to watch it with a bunch of teenage girls."
Tim Burton - Director of the Upcoming Alice In Wonderland, starring Johnny Depp.
By Adam Markovitz (Entertainment Weekly)
B- Parents, start your minivans: Aliens in the Attic is a pointless but ultimately harmless family adventure that doesn't mentally assault the 12-and-over set. (Extra points for being 100 percent fart-joke-free). A band of scrappy space gremlins face off against a group of teen and tween cousins (including High School Musical's Ashley Tisdale) in a turf war over a Midwestern summer rental home. The E.T.s are after some kind of sci-fi device buried underneath the basement; the kids just want to make sure their clueless folks don't get tagged by the aliens' mind-control gizmos. The ensuing war of the worlds is waged with weapons as fearsome as a bubble blower, a skateboard, and a sort of anti-gravity grenade that, frankly, looks like a lot of fun. B-
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Teenage and tween-age listeners had plenty to squeal about this week as Demi Lovato, above right, and other Disney-spawned acts were widely represented on the Billboard album sales chart. Ms. Lovato, the 16-year-old Disney star, opened at No. 1 with her second album, “Here We Go Again,” which sold 108,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan. (The week’s best-selling album was Michael Jackson’s “Number Ones,” which sold 154,000 copies but is considered a catalog album and isn’t tracked on the Billboard 200 chart.) Farther down that chart, Ms. Lovato’s Disney colleague Miley Cyrus was No. 5 with the “Hannah Montana 3” soundtrack (54,000 copies); the “Hannah Montana” movie soundtrack and the Jonas Brothers’ “Lines, Vines and Trying Times” also placed in the Top 20. The Top 5 was rounded out by Daughtry’s “Leave This Town” (RCA) at No. 2; Maxwell’s “BLACKsummers’night” (Columbia) at No. 3; and the 31st installment of the “Now That’s What I Call Music” compilation at No. 4. Jordin Sparks, the 2007 “American Idol” winner, was No. 7 with her second album, “Battlefield” (Jive).
Best known for her roles in both Disney's High School Musicals and on the show The Suite Life of Zach and Cody, Ashley Tisdale attempted to bridge the "Tween" gap into maturity with the release of her sophomore album, Guilty Pleasure on Tuesday. And though the Actress/Pop Media Princess may have reached her 24th birthday and more mature roles in her acting career, her music is still a little too "Teeny Bop" to have fully matured into the Adult Pop Genre.
The first single, "It's Alright, It's OK" which was released this spring in advance of the album is catchy enough to get stuck in your head after hearing it once but that isn't necessarily a good thing. She said in pre-release interviews that this album was set on an edgier rock vibe. Not so much, unless you consider cotton candy harder to chew on than bubble gum. Her musical sound and lyric lack substance for a mature audience. Take the song "Hot Mess" for instance with lyrics that say, "You wake up and you make up," going on to explain in the chorus, "I'm such a hot mess with you". Or the song "Hair" in which the intro beat seems a cheep imitation of Katy Perry's "I Kissed A Girl" anthem. And the lyrics include phrases like, "You rock my party, make me wanna sweat...I like what you do to my hair, tousle it, tease it, run your fingers through it...C'mon, mess it up, mess it up."
It seems the aim of the album was to mimic every young female successor in the pop genre, perhaps aiming for the likes of Kelly Clarkson meets Christiana Aguilera and the early days of Britney Spears. But the music is simply not hard hitting enough nor is it convincing. There is no doubt the Teen Pop audience and Tisdale's following will find this album relevant and relatable but for the adult audience it is a long shot from bridging that afore mentioned "Tween" gap. If this sophomore attempt does hit a sweet spot anywhere, it's in the very appropriately given title, Guilty Pleasure.
You can also watch for Ashley Tisdale to appear in the 20th Century Fox film, Aliens in the Attic in theaters everywhere tomorrow (July 31, 2009).
Photo: AP (Daniel Steinberg)
Demi Lovato, who currently has the number one album in the U.S., dreams of working behind the camera someday.
“I don’t see myself doing television, but I do see myself directing," Lovato tells The Times. The pop star just released her second album Here We Go Again and has a hit series on the Disney Channel Sonny With A Chance.
Next up for Lovato is Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam, the highly-anticipated sequel to the 2008 TV film that launched the talented teen's career. Lovato's look and sound has changed since then. But even though she's got a little more edge, Lovato's but staying true to her pop/rock roots.
“Sometimes I hear people say, ‘She’s totally changed’,” Lovato adds. “And it’s like, uh, if you are a 16-year-old girl and you don’t change, then there’s something wrong with you.”
By Marc Cuenco (Examiner)
Has iCarly broadcast it's final webisode? Popstar magazine posted a video of iCarly star Nathan Kress confirming the end of the hit Nickelodeon series.
"It's kinda sad, kinda bittersweet," Kress said about the show wrapping up filming this summer.
Rachelle Lefevre, left, is out as Victoria; Bryce Dallas Howard is in.
Bryce Dallas Howard is taking over as the villainous vampire Victoria in the third "Twilight" movie, and the actress who played the part in the first two films says she was "stunned" and "hurt deeply" by the switch.
Rachelle Lefevre says she was unaware that Summit Entertainment, which is releasing the vampire saga, chose someone else to play her part in "Eclipse."
Summit announced Howard as her replacement late Tuesday, saying Lefevre had scheduling conflicts that would make her unable to participate in the production. But Lefevre said Wednesday that she was "fully committed" to returning as Victoria. She says her involvement in the drama "Barney's Version," starring Paul Giamatti and Dustin Hoffman, would last only 10 days.
"I turned down several other film opportunities and, in accordance with my contractual rights, accepted only roles that would involve very short shooting schedules," she said in a lengthy statement.
"Although the production schedule for 'Eclipse' is over three months long, Summit said they had a conflict during those 10 days and would not accommodate me. Given the length of filming for 'Eclipse,' never did I fathom I would lose the role over a 10-day overlap."
Summit says Lefevre didn't inform the studio she would be shooting "Barney's Version" -- which will require her to be in Europe during rehearsal and at least 10 days of principal photography on "Eclipse" -- until July 20, even though she reportedly signed on to the project in early June. The studio says it made her representatives aware several days ago that taking part in "Barney's Version" could place her "Eclipse" job status in jeopardy.
The news shook up the fervent fans of the "Twilight" series: Several are circulating online petitions urging that she return, and the top-trending topic on Twitter for a while Wednesday was "Bring Back Rachelle."
"Eclipse," based on the third book in Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" saga, is scheduled to begin shooting in Vancouver next month. Part 2, "New Moon," comes out Nov. 20.
Howard, while a newcomer to the "Twilight" franchise, is no stranger to blockbusters, having co-starred in "Spider-Man 3" and "Terminator Salvation." Howard -- the daughter of Oscar-winning filmmaker Ron Howard -- also appeared in "The Village" and "Lady in the Water."
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Source: The Oakland Tribune
By any modern measure of musical popularity — YouTube views, radio airplay, ringtone ubiquity — the single "Best I Ever Had" by Toronto rapper Drake is not only a hit but is arguably 2009's "Song of the Summer." Since debuting on iTunes last month, the hip-hop lust track has sold 600,000 digital downloads and topped three pop charts.
Even if you can't summon to mind its rap-sung vocals or brassy syncopated beat, you probably have heard "Best I Ever Had" blaring out of a convertible somewhere.
Less than a year ago, Drake was unsigned and virtually unknown as a rhyme-sayer. But thanks to some out-of-the-box branding efforts by several of the best-connected marketing executives in the urban world and the institutional backing of his mentor, rap superstar Lil Wayne, Drake landed two songs in the Top 10 this month — "Best I Ever Had" as a solo artist and "Every Girl" as part of the rap group Young Money. He already had amassed a devoted fan base before he even had landed a record deal.
Drake's breakthrough arrives as a happy accident built on plenty of high-level networking, a label bidding war and an astonishing degree of cooperation among rap world big shots. Chief among them, Drake's career overseers: the heads of the New York management company Hip Hop Since 1978 and Cortez Bryant, Lil Wayne's longtime manager.
"They have given me one of the greatest situations in hip-hop," Drake, 22, said of his team.class="subhead">First tape was a dud
Although already famous in his native Canada for portraying a disabled high school basketball player on the teen television drama "DeGrassi: The Next Generation," which also airs in the U.S., Drake (born Aubrey Drake Graham) didn't exactly take the music industry by storm when he self-released a mix-tape, the appropriately titled "Room for Improvement," in 2006.
"I was recording, and the music was decent. But I was on my own. I had no team in place," Drake said. "What you learn as you progress is this business is based on relationships in a major way."
After a subsequent mix-tape (as such al gratis digitally downloadable music compilations are known) brought the rapper to the attention of Lil Wayne, everything changed. The rap star, whose "Tha Carter III" was the bestselling album of last year, contributed a scorching guest verse on Drake's September underground banger "Ransom," effectively vouching for the newcomer's legitimacy. More important, their "collabo" compelled Bryant to sign on as Drake's manager.
From there, Bryant entered into a managerial tandem with the heavyweight firm Hip Hop Since 1978, whose marketing prowess has resulted in two of the biggest rap releases of the decade: Kanye West's "Graduation" and "Tha Carter III," both of which sold around 1 million copies in their first week of release.
The company's principles — Kyambo "Hip Hop" Joshua and Al Branch — earned their stripes working at Roc-A-Fella Records, the influential label established by rap rainmaker Jay-Z in the 1990s.
The plan, going forward, was to build Drake's "brand" in much the same way they had built up West's. According to Roberson, the key would be "old-fashioned artist development — the kind that doesn't exist anymore.
"Put out a record and a video and work it station by station, city by city, club by club," said Roberson, chief executive of Hip Hop Since 1978. "With Kanye, we put out his single 'Through the Wire' and had him doing spot dates, opening up for established acts. That affiliation with a marquee artist makes the battle easier. Earlier this year, we had Drake on tour opening up for (Lil) Wayne. He was selling out 5,000-seat theaters. It's a grass-roots way to build him up."
Establishing the right rapport with his audience was integral to creating listener awareness. So Drake digitally released his third underground mix-tape, "So Far Gone," featuring songs produced by West, Just Blaze and Diplo, in February.
As the story goes, it caused a sensation in the underground, with more than 8,000 people downloading the music in its first two hours of release.
Campaign to air 'Best'
Earlier this year, listeners began calling and text-messaging New York's taste-defining hip-hop radio station Hot 97 FM to request that it play a cut off the mix-tape: "Best I Ever Had." Alternately rapped and sweetly crooned (with the added punch of digitizing Auto-Tune technology), the song is an earnest expression of admiration from a young man to the object of his desire. And despite the coarseness of its lyrics, "Best I Ever Had" is surprisingly tender — at least, as emotive as hard-core hip-hop gets without being declared "soft." On April 9, the song went into rotation.
With empirical evidence of Drake's mass appeal, his managers began tough negotiations with executives from Universal Motown, Warner Music Group and Atlantic Records in what Billboard magazine described as "one of the biggest bidding wars ever."
"They saw the radio spins, that we were selling 300,000 iTunes singles in two weeks after we had the record out there for free for four or five months," Bryant said. "That gives them numbers."
In the end, Drake signed a distribution deal with Universal because the label puts out his mentor Lil Wayne's Young Money imprint.
In the four months since being anointed hip-hop's next big thing, Drake has notched an impressive number of top-tier urban music collaborations, recording with Jay-Z, Jamie Foxx, Mary J. Blige, Pharrell Williams and Rihanna. He's working on his debut album, "Thank Me Later," with Justin Timberlake. And this week he embarks on a 22-city "Young Money Presents: America's Most Wanted Music Festival" tour with Lil Wayne, Young Jeezy and Soulja Boy.
Image: (Reuters/Corbis/Jamie Fine)
Is the glowing depiction of alcohol consumption in ‘The Half-Blood Prince’ an invitation to underage drinking?After watching the latest Harry Potter movie, I have to ask, “Does Hogwarts have a drinking problem?” said Tara Parker-Pope in The New York Times. Unlike in previous Harry Potter movies, alcohol has a “starring role” in “The Half-Blood Prince.” Sixteen-year-old Hermione gets “tipsy” and flirtatious on butterbeer and Harry goes "partying with his professors”; it was “jarring” to watch with my 10-year-old daughter. Kids copy what they see in movies.
How “very silly,” said Damon Root in Reason. With all the real problems kids face today, is it really worth “fretting” about what young wizards and their equally fictitious professors do to unwind? “Let’s just hope Parker-Pope’s 10-year-old doesn’t get wind of President Obama boozing it up at the White House with Sgt. Crowley and professor Gates.”
My 7-year-old is certainly staying home, said Colin McEnroe in The Hartford Courant. Watching Harry, Hermione, Ron, and their “alienated” teenage peers “wasted and making out,” you’re reminded that the “dewy innocence” of the earlier Harry Potter films is gone. But it’s gone, too, from the now-college-age kids who first watched those films, so the latest Potter movie is probably “perfect for its core audience.”
Actually, The Half-Blood Prince offers one of the few models American teens have of “responsible drinking,” said the blog Voting While Intoxicated. Drinking isn’t a game for the Hogwarts set; there’s no binge drinking or “drinking and flying brooms.” Instead, you see them socializing over “one butterbeer at the pub.” Shouldn’t we encourage that kind of behavior?
As Music Steve and his gang of naked female friends revealed in what appears to be the latest piece of viral Guitar Hero 5 marketing, Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is finally coming to the GH franchise, bringing along with it Queen & David Bowie’s “Under Pressure,” Dire Straits’ “Sultans of Swing,” the Raconteurs’ “Steady As She Goes” and 11 more tracks to round out the massive and eclectic GH5 on-disc 85-song track list.
Rolling Stone can confirm that also joining the party are Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire,” Megadeth’s “Sweating Bullets,” Blink-182’s “The Rock Show” and TV on the Radio’s “Wolf Like Me.” But the real coup here is “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” which will join a live version of Nirvana’s “Lithium” in making their music video game debuts. As Rock Daily previously reported, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Beck, the White Stripes and countless more will also be on the disc when GH5 is released on September 1st.
Rock Daily previously gave Guitar Hero 5 a test-drive at this year’s E3 conference. Here are all the newly added GH5 tracks, and all of the 70 previously announced songs:
3 Doors Down - “Kryptonite”
Arctic Monkeys - “Brianstorm”
Blink-182 - “The Rock Show”
Dire Straits - “Sultans Of Swing”
Jimmy Eat World - “Bleed American”
Johnny Cash - “Ring Of Fire”
Megadeth - “Sweating Bullets”
Mötley Crüe - “Looks That Kill”
Muse - “Plug In Baby”
Nirvana - “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
Queen & David Bowie - “Under Pressure”
Stevie Wonder - “Superstition”
The Killers - “All The Pretty Faces”
The Raconteurs - “Steady As She Goes”
TV On The Radio - “Wolf Like Me”
A Perfect Circle - “Judith”
AFI - “Medicate”
Attack! Attack! UK - “You And Me”
Band Of Horses - “Cigarettes, Wedding Bands”
Beastie Boys - “Gratitude”
Beck - “Gamma Ray”
Billy Idol - “Dancing With Myself”
Billy Squier - “Lonely Is The Night”
Blur - “Song 2″
Bob Dylan - “All Along The Watchtower”
Bon Jovi - “You Give Love A Bad Name”
Brand New - “Sowing Season (Yeah)”
The Bronx - “Six Days A Week”
Bush - “Comedown”
Children Of Bodom - “Done With Everything, Die For Nothing”
Coldplay - “In My Place”
Darker My Love - “Blue Day”
Darkest Hour - “Demon(s)”
David Bowie - “Fame”
Deep Purple - “Woman From Tokyo (’99 Remix)”
The Derek Trucks Band - “Younk Funk”
The Duke Spirit - “Send A Little Love Token”
Duran Duran - “Hungry Like The Wolf”
Eagles Of Death Metal - “Wannabe In L.A.”
Elliott Smith - “L.A.”
Elton John - “Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting)”
Face To Face - “Disconnected”
Garbage - “Only Happy When It Rains”
Gorillaz - “Feel Good Inc.”
Gov’t Mule - “Streamline Woman”
Grand Funk Railroad - “We’re An American Band”
Iggy Pop - “Lust For Life (Live)”
Iron Maiden - “2 Minutes To Midnight”
Jeff Beck - “Scatterbrain (Live)”
John Mellencamp - “Hurts So Good”
Kaiser Chiefs - “Never Miss A Beat”
King Crimson - “21st Century Schizoid Man”
Kings Of Leon - “Sex On Fire”
Kiss - “Shout It Out Loud”
Love and Rockets - “Mirror People”
My Morning Jacket - “One Big Holiday”
Nirvana - “Lithium (Live)”
No Doubt - “Ex-Girlfriend”
Peter Frampton - “Do You Feel Like We Do? (Live)”
The Police - “So Lonely”
Public Enemy Featuring Zakk Wylde - “Bring the Noise 20XX”
Queens Of The Stone Age - “Make It Wit Chu”
Rammstein – “Du Hast”
The Rolling Stones - “Sympathy For The Devil”
Rose Hill Drive - “Sneak Out”
Rush - “The Spirit Of Radio (Live)”
Santana - “No One To Depend On (Live)”
Scars On Broadway - “They Say”
Screaming Trees - “Nearly Lost You”
Smashing Pumpkins - “Bullet With Butterfly Wings”
Sonic Youth - “Incinerate”
Spacehog - “In The Meantime”
Sublime - “What I Got”
Sunny Day Real Estate - “Seven”
T. Rex - “20th Century Boy”
The Sword - “Maiden, Mother & Crone”
Thin Lizzy - “Jailbreak”
Thrice - “Deadbolt”
Tom Petty - “Runnin’ Down A Dream”
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - “American Girl”
Vampire Weekend - “A-Punk”
Weezer - “Why Bother?”
The White Stripes - “Blue Orchid”
Wild Cherry - “Play That Funky Music”
Wolfmother - “Back Round”
Left: "America Idol" stylist Art Conn picked his favorite items from Marshalls based on the hottest teen idols and TV shows, such as "Gossip Girl," The Jonas Brothers and Edward and Bella from "Twilight."
Photo courtesy of Marshalls.
Shopping for back-to-school clothes can suck the cash right out of the family budget. But even if teens want to dress like their favorite movie-star vampires, they can still find bargains that won't drain their wallets, according to wardrobe stylist Art Conn, who has worked his fashion magic on TV's popular "American Idol" series.
When teens head back to school this fall, you can bet that they will be dressing similar to their favorite Gossip Girl or Jonas Brother or maybe even Edward and Bella from "Twilight." Kids are sure to make their own kind of fashion music, no matter whom they choose as their favorite idol or vampire. It's all about star style, says Conn, who collaborated on the back-to-school ad campaign for TJ Maxx and Marshalls.
"The music world is all about collaboration and mixing two genres (rap and pop for example) to create a new sound," notes Conn. "It's no different with fashion. Mixing grunge plaid and '80s inspired leggings then makes perfect sense."
"People like to shop as if at a buffet," he adds, "a little of this, a little of that. The lines of what is country or what defines alternative have blurred and so have the looks they inspire. It's really all about a melting pot of style."
The trick is to mix it all up. "It's so easy to incorporate a few things from all the hot trends and put them into one hot look," he says. "Grab some torn jeans and layer them over some neon leggings. Throw on a shrunken blazer over a buffalo plaid blouse to create a unique and uptown look. Wear a leather jacket over a great graphic tee and distressed jeans to look hip and cool."
His best advice? Do your own thing. "There are few rules really about color combinations or textures. Be creative and think outside the box."
So, what items will the hottest teen "idols" be wearing this fall? Take it from the top acts in show business. "'Gossip Girl' is known as much for its fashion as it is for its mature soap-opera-like storyline," says Conn. "Acting like adults is one thing, dressing like them is another."
The "Gossip Girl" characters keep their young and fresh approach to fashion by blending trends and creating new ones. Plaid is a big influence on the fashionable show and makes style news in blouses, short skirts and handbags. The trendsetting girls pair their plaids with shrunken blazers and tight jeans to be creative with proportions and silhouettes. Hair accessories like metallic leather headbands and small bright flowers bring in a bit of the boho, yet uptown, feel.
The Jonas Brothers have single-handedly brought the skinny jean to every boy in America, according to Conn. They pair their denim — in indigo and in a wide array of hues — with graphic tees and jackets to push the rocker trend, which is a strong influence this back-to-school season. They also like the plaid shirts that they can pair with a leather jacket to give the feel of hip yet casual. Putting a vest over a graphic tee makes a great fashion statement whether on stage or in the classroom. Throw on a pair of Converse sneakers — in just about any color — to make your outfit cool and fun, just like the Jonas Brothers themselves.
The Pacific Northwestern setting for "Twilight," the popular vampire movie and book series, really dictates the characters' style and fashion sense. Again, plaid plays a role in making the clothes look "touchable and moody," says Conn. Plaid shirts or graphic tees worn under a hoody with some cotton dress pants and Converse sneakers really "vamps" up anyone's look. Think leather jackets, vests and hoodies for school must-haves.
"Oh and don't forget that messy hair," adds the "American Idol" fashion adviser. "Skinny jeans are still in heavy rotation and can be paired with any trend — bohemian, uptown, rocker — to make you look like a star."
Button-down shirts taken directly from the dryer and thrown on over a graphic tee will give that casual and cool vibe in which any modern vampire can really sink his teeth.
Back-to-school fashion trends:
— Buffalo plaid is back! Shirts, shorts and scarves ... it's great to add some dimension and texture to an outfit. Mix it up with other plaid choices to create a unique look. Or choose a simple denim jean or skirt.
— Bold print tees are never out of style. Grab the ones that have grommets or studs and layer them under a cardigan or button-down shirt to make the look contemporary and personalized. Peace sign images (rhinestoned, sequined or not) also make a great statement on a tee.
— Think '60s redux. Celebrate peace and love with takeoffs on fashion favorites from 40 years ago: peacoats, mini skirts, shifts and fringe, fringe, fringe!
— Get out your shears and go to work on the must-have item: jeans. The "deconstructed" look is hot with holes and tears. Get a slim or skinny cut with a dark wash.
— The hottest fall trends for tweens are "Preppy Collegiate" and "Boho Chic." The preppy clothing from Disney Channel's new series "JONAS," which features the Jonas Brothers, inspires Disney's new sportswear line. The apparel collection features plaid skirts and socks, striped neckties, argyle sweater vests and fun scarves.
Another collection, based on the popular show "Wizards of Waverly Place," features bohemian styles, including peasant and tunic tops and coordinating jean skirts and pants with floral detailing and stitching.
Sharon Mosley is a former fashion editor of the Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock and executive director of the Fashion Editors and Reporters Association.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
You can hear the squealing already. Joe Jonas is officially back on the market.
The 19-year-old singer and actress Camilla Belle have called it quits, JustJared.com reports.
“Yes, it’s true,” Belle’s rep said. “[Joe and Camilla] have broken up. There is no third party involved, and they care deeply about each other and will remain friends.”
Despite the many fans watching him on stage, the singer teared up during two of his songs at Sunday night’s Jonas Brothers concert in Detroit.
Teenage heartache must for hard for Jonas, because he took the liberty of changing the lyrics of two of his band’s hits during the show.
According to PerezHilton.com, when the singer sang the song “Much Better,” the words were changed from “Now I see everything I’d ever need is the girl in front of me” to “girls in front of me,” suggesting he is moving on from Belle.
Jonas first met Belle, 22, last year on the set of the Jonas Brothers music video “Lovebug.”
Their romance created an uproar among his tween fans because Jonas broke up with singer Taylor Swift soon after meeting Belle.
“Gossip Girl” Taylor Momsen is keeping busy filming the third season of the stylish CW show and just landed a role on the new cover of Teen Vogue (see the full image after the jump). This time, however, she's being touted for for her music. The 16-year-old singer-actress has glammed up her wardrobe (on the cover, she wears a Burberry trench, a Topshop shirt and a DKNY skirt) and is breaking away from her wholesome image to discuss her role on "GG" and her pop-rock band, the Pretty Reckless.
Taylor says music has always been her first passion and recorded almost all of her freshman album before signing with Interscope Records. "I wanted to have it all done so I could say, ‘Here’s who I am, either you like it or you don’t.'"
She recently told MTV News her music is inspired by everyone from the Beatles to grunge bands like Soundgarden, Audioslave, Hole, Nirvana and maybe a little Joan Jett. Still, her music is very much her own work: “My lyrics are my diary—you’re hearing every detail on my life," she admitted to Teen Vogue.
Taylor has been acting professionally for nearly a decade and feels her adult lifestyle has made her completely independent. “Yeah I kind of grew up in front of the camera: I started modeling when I was two," she said. "I was never pushed into it, but I never really chose it either. That’s why music is so different for me. I’ve known since I was little that this is what I want to do.”
As for her alter-ego Jenny Humphrey on "GG," Taylor doesn't seem to think they would have a whole lot in common. "I live a very adult life. I just can’t relate to what [high school kids] talk about—it seems so petty.”
The pageant webcast begins at 8 p.m. ET on July 31.
The program will feature musical entertainment, competitions among contestants and, ultimately, the crowning of Miss Teen USA 2009.
Over 250 nine to 14-year-old tween girls from around the country
will convene with policy makers, marketers, experts, celebrities
and other persons of note (TBA) for the first ever National Tween
Girl Summit. The daylong Summit will examine the minds, motivation
and lives of tween girls, giving them a platform to share their
thoughts and opinions on a wide range of subjects and discuss
important topics such as community service and activism, personal
safety online and off, tween pressure and self-image, what's hot
and what's not in the world of tweens and much more. The Summit
aims to give these intelligent, compassionate, ambitious girls,
who are just a few years away from the legal voting age, A
PLATFORM TO SPEAK UP AND BE HEARD now on important global topics.
The agenda also includes a celebrity filled night of entertainment
for those in attendance.
Thanks to generous sponsors such as Electronic Arts Inc. (EA)
(NASDAQ: ERTS), THE SUMMIT IS FREE TO ALL TWEEN GIRLS, AND PRESS,
WHERE: The historic Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C.
WHEN: October 10, 2009 from 8am - 10:30pm, including evening
PRESS: Members of the Press must register to attend The National Tween
Girl Summit.Please note that the number of press allowed to attend any
specific session and/or to conduct one-on-one interviews will
be limited, and cameras/video equipment will only be allowed in
certain sessions with pre-approval from the Summit Press office.
BY REGISTERING EARLY, we will be better able to accommodate your
To register, please visit
IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO ATTEND THE SUMMIT BUT ARE INTERESTED IN
COVERING SUMMIT NEWS, please visit
http://www.tweensummit.com/press_registration.php to register as
NON-ATTENDING press. By letting us know your areas of interest --
keynotes, break out sessions, onsite research, interviews with
experts and tweens, etc. -- we will be better able to accommodate
your needs in a timely manner.
DETAILS: AK Tweens, the nation's leading tween girl research firm, and
AllyKatzz.com, the country's largest COPPA compliant tween girl
social networking site, are hosting The National Tween Girl
Summit. For general information on the Summit, including the
Summit agenda, please visit http://www.tweensummit.com/index.php
CONTACT: Questions? Contact Wendy Simmons (email@example.com), or Laura
Camien (firstname.lastname@example.org) of Vendeloo PR at 718.522.9873.
Monday, July 27, 2009
In case Disney weren’t ubiquitous enough, it now is attempting to hit the social media sweet spot with another of its YouTube channels, Disney Living.
The channel, from the Disney Consumer Products division, debuted Thursday with a virtual fashion show video featuring tween lines of back-to-school trends, like boho tunic print tops, peasant blouses, beadings and paisleys from the “Wizards of Waverly Place” collection, inspired by the Disney Channel show.
The fashion line looks remarkably like a more innocent version of designer Anna Sui's sexy “Gossip Girl” line (see photos here at the Cut), set to debut in Target stores and online Sept. 13 amid much controversy about Target advocating the scandals of the TV series to young girls.
There are also preppy tailored plaids, tweeds, crests and faux ties inspired by "Jonas" (that would be the Disney Channel show featuring the Jonas Brothers -- you may have heard of them).
This is the first video to take Disney-inspired fashions directly to the online tween community. The fashions, accessories and footwear worn by the tween models in the show went on sale this month at retailers like JCPenney, Kmart, Sears, Wal-Mart and Target.
For the more mature audiences Disney hopes to attract, the channel also offers a video of the Mickey Fashion Show from Las Vegas last month, a Disney Couture fashion line dedicated to a twentysomething demographic that likes to wear Mickey Mouse clothing and accessories with trendy fedoras, vests, scarves.
At the end of the Mickey Fashion Show, the young adult models walk the runway clapping (no doubt to the “M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E” song) in animal-print and sequined Mickey Mouse hats.
The YouTube channel is basically all merch, all the time. Another video on the new channel is about the Disney Netpal, a mini laptop netbook, which “makes doing homework . . . a lot more exciting” with fun graphics and games, a bobble-head photo feature and a user-friendly interface designed for kids. I’m not sure how much homework would get done with those, but it also has features like -- surprise, surprise -- an exclusive Radio Disney widget so you can give shout-outs, request songs and hear the Jonas Brothers while rocking their looks.
Just like in the old days, you can always trust a tween to get the word out quickly: Somehow, the tween fashion video has racked up more than 12,700 views.
And who knows, it wouldn’t surprise me if next we saw Twitter updates about Disney food trucks selling Disneyland food fare around L.A.-- Kelsey Ramos
Friday, July 24, 2009
By Free Brittney (The Hollywood Gossip)
Vampires. Werewolves. Taylor Lautner shirtless. The official New Moon movie website has it all, and it has just been launched for your viewing pleasure.
It is filled with a New Moon video clip, movie stills, character bios, photos and wallpaper - to satisfy even the most bloodthirsty fans.
That was a bit of a play on words, get it?
Here's a look at one of the introductory screens, which invites you to choose one of two sub-destinations, the official site or the World of Twilight ...
About the only thing missing is Robert Pattinson gossip. That you can read 24/7 at The Hollywood Gossip as he seeks or breaks up with a different girlfriend hourly.
Check out some more images from the site below (consider yourself warned, these may contain New Moon spoilers to those unfamiliar with the series' plot details).
Then, if you're fully prepared and emotionally invested, visit the New Moon official site, and waste hours of time that will totally be worth it anyway, by clicking here.
If you're easily devastated, do look away now. Our business this week is with the internecine struggles at the House of Mouse.
Remember when Disney stars had names like Donald and Daisy, and the worst thing that could happen to them was three mischievous nephews coming to stay? Those days are long gone. Today's Hannah Montanas and Jonases must negotiate altogether more complex perils, such as prescription painkillers, the leaking of wet T-shirt cameraphone photos, and deciding what technically constitutes virginity.
In seeking a significant other, then, it is no surprise that many of these gilded teens turn to fellow indentured players in Uncle Walt's repertory company. I believe the never under- rehearsed interview line is, "We're just taking things really slowly, but it's great to be able to share a chaperoned milkshake with someone who can relate to all the craziness."
Frankly, Disney prefers its craziness to be relatable. It works better that way. If High School Musical star Vanessa Hudgens had been chastely betrothed to her co-star and current boyfriend Zac Efron since she was 11, there wouldn't have been a sleazebag ex-boyfriend to leak her nude photos to the gazillion-strong armies of perverts that stalk the internet. And the corporation wouldn't have had to issue a creepy public rebuke to their teenage star. "Vanessa has apologised for what was obviously a lapse in judgment," this ran. "We hope she's learned a valuable lesson."
Much better to date a co-worker, thereby knitting yourself into a Disney heritage that includes the erstwhile union between fellow Mouseketeers Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears. Unfortunately, sometimes even Mouse-endorsed love turns sour, and the Magic Kingdom echoes to the sound of anguished OMGs and WTFreaks.
This week, just such a romantic sundering seems to have occurred between Trace Cyrus, brother of Hannah Montana star Miley, and Demi Lovato, another Disney star with a TV show and recording deal. Should you care to know more about them, Trace is in a band with the brother of a Hannah Montana cast member (when are this lot going to get their own dedicated volume of Rock Family Trees?), and is soon to open for Miley on her world tour, despite appearing to violate several of Disney's body art statutes.
Right now, Demi is the Salieri to Miley's Mozart, but if Miley's controverisal semi-nude Vanity Fair shoot last year showed us anything, it is that child marketing prodigies oxidise heartbreakingly quickly. As Gina Gershon remarks in the Lost in Showbiz movie classic that is Showgirls: "There's always someone younger and hungrier coming down the stairs after you."
Anyway, back to our star-cross'd lovers, Trace and Demi. We lay our scene in fair Los Angeles, where our tale is of two households if not alike in dignity, then certainly as undignified as the other. Needless to say, the fallout from the break-up is taking place on Twitter.
"I know there's such thing as a Mr Right," tweets Demi. "But can there be such thing as a Mr Not Right Now . . . ?" Alas, it is not long before she is musing "Ur So Gay, Katy Perry – such a well written, relatable song. ;) HaHaHaHa."
"Another storybook ending," declares Trace sarcastically, before posting a picture of the girlfriend before Demi.
"I'm sorry, was that supposed to hurt?" responds Demi. "Hmm. Oh well."
Yes, think of it as Dangerous Liaisons for heavily sexualised, abstinence-ring-wearing teens. After all, Twitter is basically the epistolary novel for the ADD generation. How you allot parts is up to you, although I'm afraid the Glenn Close/Marquise de Merteuil role must go to Miley and Trace's mom, Tish, who wades right on in with a mother-loving salvo.
"It really makes me sad that most people find it so easy to hurt other people," tweets Mommytish, whose bio reads, "I love cupcakes, butterflies, my beautiful kids, my gorgeous husband and of course JESUS." "Why is that?" she continues menacingy of the love split. "I never want to hurt anyone . . . EVER."
Enter Miley. "We can't control the path of their wicked hearts mama," she tweets back somewhat unsettlingly. "All we can do is shine a light & guide their way back home. Smile mommy."
"I wish I was the one hurting," Tish tells her son – and his 186,000-odd followers. "I wish I could switch places with you right now, because I would. You love so deeply, you deserve that back . . ."
I love the sound of Old Mother Cyrus, don't you? (Free life rule for you, kids: never go out with one of those boys or girls who says "My mother's my best friend". They have all kinds of things wrong with them – and don't even start Lost in Showbiz on the mothers.)
Thus far, the silence of formerly be-mulleted paterfamilias Billy Ray is deafening. But if he painstakingly divides his line-dance classic Achy Breaky Heart into 140-character instalments, then your week will be complete.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Things are already getting crazy at Comic Con over the 'Twilight' events happening today! Last night, hundreds of fans began lining up to secure their spot to see a screening of Twilight, not to mention attend a panel discussion featuring the likes of Robert Pattinson, 23, and Taylor Lautner, 17, as well as other stars from that movie and the upcoming New Moon. Rumor has it event Kristen Stewart will make an appearance. As the night wore on, fans began to feud with one another over space in line - as well as whether it was appropriate for the Twilight Moms in attendance to be lusting after seventeen-year-old Lautner, who plays the werewolf, Jacob. Some teen fans were caught on film discussing their irritation over the Twilight Moms ahead of them in line and tossed around words like 'pedophiles.'
Apparently people in line were allowed to save space for up to three other people, which is where the trouble began. As the day and night wore on, stragglers began to line up with friends thereby pushing other fans further down the line. A group of five seventeen-year-old girls became upset that the Twilight Moms ahead of them were growing in number. Holding up signs that urged "Twilight Moms: Obsess over a vampire your own age," they said that initially they had asked the Twilight Moms to not allow all of their friends to cut in line, a deal that was evidently not honored by the "creepy" Twilight Moms.
That was when the girls began attacking the moms for lusting after Lautner, who has becomea sex symbol for not just teenage girls but also women. In the Twilight series, Lautner's character, Jacob, transforms from a shy boy into a strapping 6'7" muscled man around the age of twenty-four. Lautner fought hard to keep his role for New Moon by gaining weight and working out. The result is that he
has become a good looking lad that turns the heads of moms and their daughters.
Saying, "They're all old, they had their time to do fun stuff," the girls complain that it isn't right for the Twilight Moms to stand in line to see Lautner. "They're 40 and waiting for a seventeen-year-old when we're seventeen," they complained. "They asked a seventeen-year-old to sign their thong! If a guy did that, he would be arrested." In the background, you can hear another girl saying that they are pedophiles. They stated that these moms are getting away with it because they are "girls." So, wait - are they "creepy" women or "girls?" Even these teens can't figure it out.What do you think? Shouldn't all fans of the books and movies get a chance to attend the Twilight/New Moon panel, despite their age? Or should it be a "teens only" event?
It's teen time for "The Secret."
Rhonda Byrne's self-help multimedia phenomenon, which has sold millions of copies, will come out this fall in an edition for young people. "The Secret to Teen Power" will be written by Paul Harrington, who produced the DVD version of the original "Secret."
According to Simon Pulse, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, the new book will show "how teens can transform their own lives and live their dreams, by understanding and using the power they have in their hands."
Simon Pulse announced Wednesday that "The Secret to Teen Power" will have a first printing of 500,000.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
To many, the words "tween TV" probably brings images of Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers, but it's Nickelodeon's iCarly that is actually the number-one program this quarter on all of broadcast and cable with tweens 9-14, and the number-one live-action program with Kids 2-11 (according to press releases). The show follows Carly Shay and her two best friends, Sam and Freddie, as they experience life and create their popular webcast shows for and about kids their age. One thing that draws kids to iCarly, is that the show actually uses real footage sent in by kids via the iCarly website on the show within a show webcast.
With all of this popularity, it's not surprising that Nick will air and hour-long TV iCarly event. In "iFight Shelby Marx," Carly goes up against teen fighting champion Shelby Marx (guest star Victoria Justice) in the boxing ring. The event is supposed to be a promotional kind of thing for Carly's webcast and Shelby's fighting career. But, when Carly accidentally offends Shelby, the fight promises to get more personal. Will Carly find a way to get herself out of trouble this time? Kids can find out when the show airs on Friday, Aug. 7, (8:00 p.m. ET/PT). Nick will also launch an online “iFight Shelby Marx” mini site for fans to get exclusive footage, game and downloads for the movie event. By August 3, there will be an online game called “iKick Butt.” I guess I must be getting old, because idon't think that's a very nice name for a game. I'm sure tweens will love it. (Photo credit: Lisa Rose/Nickelodeon)
“Private”, the online series, based on Alloy Entertainment’s (AE) New York Times bestselling Private books, will debut Tuesday, July 21st, 2009 on Alloy Media + Marketing's Teen.com “TV” (www.teen.com), a premium digital platform for original and short-from programming and at www.privatetheseries.com, executive producer and AE President Leslie Morgenstein announced today.
Musician Evan Taubenfeld will make his acting debut in Private in the role of “Blake Pearson.” He will also contribute original music to the series. Fans of Avril Lavigne will already be familiar with Taubenfeld’s musical talent. The 26-year-old Baltimore native got his start as Lavigne’s musical director and lead guitarist; he also wrote several of her hits. Evan is preparing to release a debut solo album titled Welcome to the Blacklist Club in the fall of 2009 on Sire Records.
“Alloy Entertainment’s audience is already huge fans of Evan’s music, and we know they are going to be as impressed as we are when they see his acting debut,” said Morgenstein.
Kelsey Sanders will be joining Taubenfeld as series lead “Reed Brennan”. Sanders recently wrapped production on the independent film Au Pair, Kansas and appeared in the film Wild Child opposite Emma Roberts. Tween audiences will also know her from her guest appearances on such hit shows as iCarly and Wizards of Waverly Place as well as her hosting spot on Disney’s Movie Surfers where she interviews celebrities behind the scenes on some of Disney’s biggest productions.
The original web program will debut on Tuesday with the launch of Private: The Casting Call, a six-part reality series introducing viewers to the three finalists who were chosen through an online casting contest and follows them as they compete for the role of “Kiran Hayes” in Private. The three week program will chronicle the actresses’ experiences as they face the ups and downs of the audition process as well as compete in various acting challenges. A panel of judges, including Gossip Girl executive producer Bob Levy and “Private” series writers Veronica Becker and Sarah Kucserka (formerly of “Ugly Betty”), will critique the actresses performances at the conclusion of each episode.
Immediately following the conclusion of the reality series, Private, the twenty-episode series will launch on Teen.com “TV” (www.teen.com), airing three new webisodes per-week. Dennie Gordon (“The Ex List,” “What a Girl Wants”) will serve as director of both the original series and the casting of reality competition. Veronica Becker and Sarah Kucserka, who most recently served as writers for the hit ABC hit series Ugly Betty, adapted the Private book series for the web.
“As a murder mystery thriller, we have designed the series for both the Private book fan base as well as the audiences tuning in for the first time,” said executive producer Josh Bank. “From the reality series’ highs and lows to the cattiness of our boarding school girls, Private will keep viewers on the edge of their seats and anticipating the original four minute episodes that will be delivered to them three times weekly throughout the summer.”
The Teen.com “TV” “Private” channel and the dedicated “Private” website (www.privatetheseries.com) will be updated regularly, with additional “bonus” content for fans, including promotional sweepstakes, polls, and interviews with Private author Kate Brian, the series director, writers and cast members, as well as the reality series contestants.
Private, by author Kate Brian, continues to be published twice annually by Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing. Paradise Lost: Private, Book 9 was released on February 24, 2009 and is a New York Times bestseller.
Stan Lee, co-creator of “Spider- Man” and “Iron Man,” used to stroll almost unnoticed among the booths at the Comic-Con International convention.
That was before Hollywood studios morphed the annual gathering of more than 120,000 comic-book fans at the San Diego Convention Center into a promotional vehicle for movies, including many that have nothing to do with comics.
“You almost cannot move on the floor,” Lee, 86, said in a telephone interview. “If you’re someone they recognize, and they seem to recognize me, it’s very tough.”
Studios will preview more than two dozen films at Comic- Con, according to the schedule, including thrillers, fantasies, science-fiction and teen pictures designed to appeal to the young and young-minded. Those not based on comics include “Sherlock Holmes,” from Time Warner Inc., and Sony Corp.’s “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs,” from the children’s book by Judi Barrett and Ron Barrett.
“It can be a game changer,” said Sue Kroll, president of worldwide marketing at Time Warner’s Warner Bros. in Burbank, California. With communication through blogs and Twitter, “You can instantly go from obscurity to national awareness in minutes.”
This year’s convention opens tomorrow and runs through July 26. Warner Bros. is previewing new television shows tonight.
Last year, Comic-Con hosted cast members from Summit Entertainment LLC’s “Twilight,” a film based on the Stephenie Meyer books about teen-age vampires. The picture went on to produce $382 million in worldwide box-office sales, according to Box Office Mojo LLC, an industry Web site.
Another not based on comics, Sony’s teen comedy “Superbad,” was introduced at a Comic-Con in July 2007, and took in $170 million in theaters worldwide after its release the next month, according to Box Office Mojo.
Summit, based in Santa Monica, California, is returning this year to introduce a sequel to the vampire movie, “The Twilight Saga: New Moon,” according to the schedule.
Previews of major films, with appearances by stars and directors, are held in a 6,500-seat auditorium. Buzz can build quickly. Bloggers and Twitter aficionados can relay their thoughts on movies during the presentations.
“If something screens well or doesn’t screen well, the word gets out quickly,” said Marc Weinstock, co-president of worldwide marketing at Sony Pictures Entertainment, in Culver City, California.
Robert Downey Jr. will take part in a panel discussing “Sherlock Holmes,” according to Warner Bros. The film is scheduled for release in December, according to Box Office Mojo.
James Cameron will show footage of the sci-fi film “Avatar,” his first feature film since the 1997 release of “Titanic.” The film is scheduled for release by News Corp.’s Twentieth Century Fox in December.
“Lord of the Rings” director Peter Jackson will make his first appearance at Comic-Con to talk about the science-fiction thriller “District 9,” according to Weinstock.
Jackson produced “District 9,” about an alien race that visits Earth. Sony will release the movie next month. The studio is also introducing “Zombieland” and “2012,” about apocalyptic events that threaten to destroy the Earth.
The schedule also includes previews or panels on television shows, including “Lost,” which airs on Walt Disney Co.’s ABC network, and “Fringe” from News Corp.’s Fox.
More than 126,000 people attended the convention last year, according to Comic-Con’s information hotline. Many come dressed as characters, such as Wolverine. Fake weapons must be checked by security, according to the Web site.
The first Comic-Con was held in 1970 with guests including authors Ray Bradbury and A.E. Van Vogt, according to the site.
Lee, who made cameo appearances in each of the three “Spider-Man” movies, said he has learned to avoid crowds by using the center’s underground passageways. He is attending this year to promote “Time Jumper,” a comic created by his Pow! Entertainment Inc. for mobile phones and other devices.
“It’s an event that brings together the most rabid fans of comics and movies,” Lee said. “It’s a place where you get a huge group of people who share the same taste. They all love the world of fantasy.”
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Source: Wall Street Journal
Borders Group Inc. is launching a teens department to capitalize on such hot writers as Stephenie Meyer and Sarah Dessen, as young-adult authors provide a badly needed lift to booksellers.
The Borders Ink shops, which will stock graphic novels, fantasy and young-adult titles together, are expected to be available in 80% to 90% of the 513 superstores Borders operates nationwide by the end of August. Some have already opened in Michigan.
The space for the departments has often been carved from areas that previously sold music and DVDs, whose popularity has faded with bookstore shoppers.
Borders also plans to stock merchandise it thinks teens will snap up, including a variety of goods associated with Ms. Meyer, the writer of the vampire "Twilight" series, such as bookmarks and pencil cases.
"We want this to be about more than just the book," said Kathryn Popoff, vice president of merchandising/trade books at Borders, based in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Borders, the nation's second largest bookstore chain by revenue, has also planted its teen flag on Facebook, where it has created a Borders Ink page in hopes of becoming a "source for info on all things teen lit and graphic novels." One of the lead items posted on Monday featured the Scott Pilgrim series of graphic novels created by Canadian cartoonist Bryan Lee O'Malley.
The retailer declined to say how much it is spending on its teen initiative.
At a time when book retailing is slumping, young-adult titles and graphic novels are still delivering growth. Albert N. Greco, a professor at the Fordham University's Graduate School of Business Administration who studies the book industry, estimates that young-adult fiction, fantasy and science fiction will generate $744.3 million in U.S. publisher revenue this year, up 13% from $659.1 million in 2008.
That compares with U.S. publisher revenue of an estimated $9.73 billion for consumer books as a whole, a 4.7% decline from 2008's sales, according to Mr. Greco.
A spokeswoman for Barnes & Noble Inc., New York, the largest U.S. bookstore retailer, said it has long offered separate teen areas.
At one Barnes & Noble store in midtown Manhattan, teen titles are in the lower level, while graphic novels, which Barnes & Noble merchandises as a separate category, are on the second floor.
The teen category is now so attractive that Harlequin, the romance publisher, recently launched a new Harlequin Teen imprint, aimed at readers aged 12- to 18-years-old. Natashya Wilson, senior editor of Harlequin Teen, part of Toronto, Canada, based Torstar Corp., plans to publish three teen titles in 2009 and 17 in 2010, with the first, "My Soul to Take" by Rachel Vincent, coming out next month.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Social networking sites latest place to view smoking-related content, study shows
MONDAY, July 20 (HealthDay News) -- Even if you make sure your teen isn't watching TV shows or movies that glamorize smoking, he or she may still be getting positive tobacco messages via the Internet, particularly from popular social networking sites such as MySpace and Xanga.
A new study, published online July 20 in Pediatrics, found that the Internet is the newest place for kids to get exposure to positive messages on tobacco use. Although tobacco content was found on less than 1 percent of the pages that teens view, there were more pro-tobacco pages than anti-tobacco pages.
"We found that only a small proportion of Internet sites visited by adolescents contained tobacco messages. The significance of these messages in social networking and their impact on adolescent tobacco attitudes and use remain unclear," wrote the study's authors, from the Julius B. Richmond Center of Excellence at the American Academy of Pediatrics in Elk Grove Village, Ill.
Keeping teens from smoking is critical to ensuring that adult smoking rates go down. Ninety percent of smokers start smoking by their 21st birthday, according to the American Lung Association. About 3,600 kids between 12 and 17 try their first cigarette each day in the United States, and about one-third of those will become regular smokers, the lung association reports.
To assess what type of exposure teens are getting to tobacco messages from the Internet, the researchers randomly selected 346 teenagers with home Internet access. The teens allowed the study authors to track all of their page views for a 30-day period. The researchers then searched those pages for tobacco-related content.
In all, the study volunteers viewed 1.2 million Web pages. Of those, 8,702 (0.72 percent) contained tobacco or smoking content.
Pro-tobacco messages were found on 1,916 pages and anti-tobacco content was included on 1,572 pages. The authors said the tobacco messages were "complex or unclear" on 5,055 pages.
More than half of the tobacco-related page views -- 53 percent -- came from social networking sites (at the time of the study, MySpace was the predominant social networking site). Often, mentions of smoking or tobacco use were part of user profiles.
Forty-three percent of teens were exposed to pro-tobacco imagery, according to the study. Tobacco products were specifically sold on 50 of the pages, and 242 pages contained links to tobacco products sold on other sites.
"That kids are being exposed to tobacco products in all facets of their lives is not a surprise," said Erika Sward, director of national advocacy for the lung association. "And I'm not surprised that the tobacco companies are on the cutting edge. They're always creative in finding new ways to target and prey on kids."
Sward said the good news was that the study found that not all of the content teens were viewing was pro-tobacco, but the study highlights the need for legislation regarding how tobacco products are promoted online, and that tobacco-control programs should design counter-marketing methods for the Internet.
"This study starts to increase awareness of potential exposure to tobacco messages," said pediatrician Dr. Deborah Moss, from Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, who added that studies have shown tobacco exposure in movies can make teens more likely to smoke, and that Internet exposure may have the same effect.
"One of the things these researchers are concerned about is the social networking sites," said Moss. "Teens are sensitive to the perception of normalcy in behaviors, and from these sites, they could get a misperception that everyone is smoking."
Sward said one of the most important ways to make sure your child doesn't smoke is to not smoke yourself. "The strongest predictor of whether or not kids will smoke is whether their parents smoke," she said. She also recommended letting them know about your struggles with your tobacco addiction. Let them know the downside of smoking, she suggested.
If you don't smoke, Moss said you still need to talk with your kids, and it's important to let them know that you don't want them to smoke. "Kids of parents who openly express disapproval and have rules against smoking are less likely to smoke," she said.
Moss also advised parents to keep computers in public places, and to let your teens know that you might periodically review the pages they've visited.
The American Academy of Family Physicians has information for teens on why they shouldn't smoke.
Friday, July 17, 2009
New Moon, the second film in the Twilight saga, is slated to come out in November, but teen Taylor Lautner is already thinking about what it might mean for him. In the first film, Lautner's character, Jacob, played a minor role in the romance between Bella and her teen vampire love, Edward. As a result, although many Twilight fans are interested in Lautner, he has not had to deal with the almost debilitating crush of fame that his co-star, Robert Pattinson has experienced.
In New Moon, however, things change. Jacob becomes integral to the plot, meaning Lautner will be on screen much more. Jacob also becomes a major player in Bella's romantic life. His character has also gotten a hair cut and buffed up body, transforming him into a tween-girl magnet.
Whether he will turn into a tween obsession (or an obsession of their Twilight Moms) at the levels of his co-star remains to be seen. With the adult-sized fame heaped on the young stars of Twilight, it is easy to forget that several of the players are still just kids. At 17, it is a lot for Lautner to digest. In an interview with the LA Times, he said. "We have seen the passion and dedication in the fans. We wouldn't be here without them, but they're everywhere."
With legions of fans joining sides- Team Edward or Team Jacob, anyone?- there is no doubt that interest in Lautner will increase dramatically once the film comes out. "You're always experiencing the fans," he said thoughtfully. "Sometimes it does get a little overwhelming."
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Echoes of Stephen King's "Misery" reverberate not so subtly in "Homecoming," an unmitigated B-movie that isn't thrilling enough or cheesy enough to make it worth the trip.
Although "O.C." party girl Mischa Barton makes for convincing damaged goods, director Morgan J. Freeman (no relation to the Oscar-winning actor) commits to neither sufficient suspense nor a substantial camp element to warrant a big-screen stopover en route to what should be a quick trip to DVD. The indie release opens Friday.
Barton plays the brittle Shelby, the proverbial homecoming queen destined to live happily ever after with the high school star quarterback.
Only hitch is, said prodigal son, Mike (Matt Long), has returned to his blue-collar hometown for Christmas break, having received a scholarship to Northwestern University, and he's brought along his new gf, pretty, rich girl Elizabeth (Jessica Stroup).
To say Shelby isn't taking the situation well is an understatement, and, as fate would have it, a freak accident leaves Elizabeth incapacitated and in Shelby's questionable care.
Although the stage is neatly set for some Grand Guignol-style ax-wielding, Freeman never manages to impart much in the way of visual style or energy to the heavily derivative script, credited to Jake Goldberger, Katie Fetting and Frank M. Hannah.
As Barton gets in touch with her inner Bette Davis circa "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" Stroup, a regular on the new "90210," effectively is grounded as her hobbled houseguest, but ultimately the young cast gets tripped up in the ensuing silliness.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Eleven-year-old Malia Obama was attacked by Republican pundits last week for wearing a peace sign tee-shirt during the First Family's trip to Italy. Good thing she wasn't wearing a Soviet hammer and sickle or a portrait of Che Guevara.
True, Barack Obama had just convinced the Russians to cut back on the stockpiling of nuclear weapons at the G-8 talks, so maybe it was a political statement---in which case, big whoop! I don't think Obama is going to base his policies on the whims of a middle-schooler, otherwise Nick Jonas would be appointed head of FEMA and international disputes would be settled with rounds of Guitar Hero.
Have Malia's critics never set foot inside a mall? Have they not seen all the peace-sign logos in shops like Justice and The Limited Too?
My eleven-year-old daughter has several peace sign tees and even a peace sign bikini.
She is not championing the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament as far as I know. She just likes the way they look. Critics claim Malia's black and white tee featured the CND logo, but I haven't found any tees like that for sale on its website. Last I checked, there was no trademark on a peace sign.
Maybe Malia is starting to form her own opinions and her tee was a reflection of that. Maybe her dad brainwashed her. Maybe, like other girls her age, she's attracted to the idea of peace in it's broadest context: Being nice to people, loving others, not fighting. Maybe she's just being trendy.
It's clear from recent photos that Malia has changed her look. Gone is the straightened hair and the preppy wardrobe from earlier in the year. She's got boho braids and some hippified outfits to match. Maybe next week she'll be a Goth. But unless she's wearing a tee that is blatantly offensive or inappropriate, who cares what it means? I enjoy watching her find her own style as she moves from little girl to teen.