Saturday, November 17, 2007

"Sharpton to continue James Brown's Thanksgiving giveaway"


AUGUSTA, Georgia (AP) -- A Thanksgiving tradition sponsored by James Brown is being continued in this first year after the soul pioneer's death with the annual turkey giveaway in his hometown.

In his place, longtime confidant and civil rights activist Al Sharpton will hand out the first turkey Monday.

Brown started the turkey tradition in 1991. He died of heart failure last Christmas at age 73.

More than 1,000 turkeys are usually distributed at the pre-Thanksgiving event, said the Rev. Larry Fryer, who assisted Brown with previous giveaways.

The Brown family also will continue Brown's annual Christmas toy giveaway on December 20.

"We're the ones who decided to do what we know dad would have wanted us to do," his daughter, Deanna Brown Thomas, said Friday. "These are two events that held dearest to dad's heart."

Thomas said her father left no doubt that he wanted his children to carry on this tradition.

"Daddy told me one time 'I expect for y'all to continue this,"' she said. "And he ain't just any daddy. He's James Brown."

The family asked for donations to keep the events alive. As of Friday, an account set up at First Bank of Georgia had received $4,500, a

"Writers Strike Prompts NBC to Fire Entire 'SNL' Staff"


In its first dramatic move since the beginning of the Writers Guild strike, NBC has fired "nearly the entire production staff" of its struggling, late-night staple, "Saturday Night Live," the New York Post reported on Saturday.

"'SNL' laid off all their staff until further notice. Their production staff, even long-term employees, were let go," a source told the Post. Another source confirmed that "90 percent of the 'SNL' staff was fired."

And while The Washington Post reported yesterday that NBC might lay staff off at Jay Leno's "Tonight" show, "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" and "Last Call With Carson Daly" - all of which immediately went into rerun mode on Nov. 5 - those staffers would at least get paid for two more weeks. But an insider told the Post that "SNL" staffers got no severance.

Although no official announcement had been made as of last night about firings at any of NBC's late-night shows, multiple sources confirmed to the Post that "SNL" staffers learned of their axing yesterday morning. Reps for NBC declined comment.

** OK, something NEEDS to be done to fix this situation! I've been watching this show since season one, and cannot imagine a world with no SNL in it. - Ace:(

"Life sounds better on vinyl"

from - by Jason Koebler (University of Maryland's Newspaper)

For many, vinyl records are relics of an era they can't remember - bad hair, computers that took up whole rooms and the Cold War. But for a growing niche of college students, vinyl is alive and well - and not just for the oldies.

"It looks like more bands will be taking a chance on vinyl again," said Matthew Flood, 29, owner of the Connecticut-based Asbestos Records. "Even the major [labels] are starting to notice."

And these aren't your parent's records; new vinyl has a decidedly modern feel to it. With the advent of USB turntables, vinyl can be easily transferred to computers, and colored vinyl is becoming more prevalent. Manufacturers are even able to make "picture discs," records with the album's artwork printed directly onto the record.

While Flood said the glory days for the vinyl record are over, there is a growing collector's market.

"Vinyl has always been a very integral part of the punk community even long after it died in terms of mainstream music," he said. "There's also the chance to own something really rare and special. Very few [new] records have press runs over a couple hundred."

Locally, students can purchase vinyl at CD/Game Exchange, a music store on Lehigh Road that has a small collection of used vinyl. Manager Jason Budman said he has about "20 regulars" who buy vinyl monthly, a number he notes has been growing as of late.

"I've found a lot more people are getting interested in vinyl," Budman said. "Lots more DJs, people who either like to mix music together or who like to collect."

One of Budman's regulars is junior mechanical engineering major Josh Cantor, who owns a mix of new releases and older rock albums. Cantor said that while he usually listens to MP3s on his computer, he listens to vinyl on special occasions.

"It's sort of a mood thing," Cantor added. "If I want to listen to a certain album, if I'm inspired, I'll throw the vinyl on."

Due to its analog format, vinyl is widely regarded as having better sound quality than either CDs or MP3s.

"It's never been sampled or reduced," Cantor said of vinyl. "It has a warm, sort of natural feel to it."

Ryan Tolley, a senior geography major and DJ, agreed.

"[Vinyl has] a bit of an airy sort of tone, there's more fullness to it," he said. "I like the technicality of it - put the needle on, it goes for a while."

For Tolley, vinyl is sometimes the only way to find certain rare remixes and B-sides that aren't released on CD. He originally got into collecting and DJing through a friend, and found that DJing with real vinyl is far superior to using a laptop, Tolley said.

But not all music is fit for vinyl, according to senior math major Jesse Sugar-Moore. Sugar-Moore started his collection while working at the warehouse of Record and Tape Traders, a Maryland chain.

"Really old country stuff is definitely vinyl sort of stuff, but if I listen to Radiohead or something, it would definitely have to be CD," Sugar-Moore said. "But if I see good music on vinyl, I feel like I'm obligated to buy it. I buy it impulsively."

Students often build their collections through purchases from thrift stores and yard sales because vinyl can often be found for low prices. Tolley said he once bought 1,000 45-RPM singles for $10 at a thrift store in Washington.

Allison Roso, a sophomore government and politics major, spent hours scouring through record stores near her sister's college in Pittsburgh.

"I think the idea of vinyl is cool," she said. "I think it may be because I never had them as a kid."

But don't expect CD/Game Exchange to become a vinyl Mecca. Budman said he is planning to expand the store's vinyl collection, but carrying new releases is costly.

"You can't get a price cut on [vinyl] because you're not going to buy 20 copies of a brand new vinyl pressing of a new band because it wouldn't be worth it," Budman said. "It's not too feasible to do all the new releases on vinyl."

From a record label standpoint, Flood said he experiences many of the same problems. And while vinyl continues to get more and more popular, it may never knock the CD or MP3 format down the totem pole, Flood added.

"The big problems with vinyl, as far as mass production and appeal, is they're expensive to make these days, and they are big, heavy, and you actively have to flip them every 20 minutes," Flood said. "Nostalgia for a past you didn't experience can only go so far. If anything is going to kill the CD, it'll be straight downloads."

"Old T-Shirts Mean C-Notes for Rock Fans"

NEW YORK - Once relegated to the backs of roadies and the bottoms of closets, the rock and roll T-shirt is hanging around some nicer venues these days -- like Christie's auction house, where they're expected to sell for up to $4,500 apiece.
A collection of 30 vintage T-shirts goes on the block this month at the Rockefeller Center locale, featuring gear from the
biggest bands of the '60s and '70s: The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, The Who, The Doors and Pink Floyd, among others.
Several performers at the Monterey Pop Festival have not survived, but a Yardbirds T-shirt from the event did. Rock journalist Greg Shaw wore the yellow shirt to the famed 1967 concert, and it's expected to bring up to $4,000 at the Nov. 30 auction.
"The fact that these T-shirts exist in such pristine condition is remarkable because most people didn't keep these shirts. They were worn out and thrown out," said Simeon Lipman, a specialist in entertainment memorabilia for Christie's.
The shirts, all featured in the Johan Kugelberg book "What Comes Around Goes Around: Vintage Rock T-Shirts," were displayed Friday for a crowd that included former 'N Sync singer Lance Bass.
The shirts, while lightweight, come freighted with historical significance. A classic "Rock and Roll Lives" T-shirt was sported by New York Dolls bassist Arthur "Killer" Kane for a shot that appeared on the back cover of the trailblazing band's second album, 1974's "Too Much Too Soon."
A long-sleeved sweater, designed to promote the Stones' 1973 "Goat's Head Soup" album, was expected to sell for $4,500. It's believed to be one of only a dozen produced.
A 1979 T-shirt immortalizes the New Barbarians, a band that featured Stones Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards; the group formed, toured and disbanded within the space of a year.

And a short-sleeved white shirt with green sleeves celebrates John Lennon's foray into holiday music, with the words "War Is Over! If You Want It" -- a lyric from his song "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)." Its pre-sale estimate: $2,000.

Updated versions of classic rock T-shirts -- tops with the CBGB or Rolling Stones tongue logo are two prime examples -- remain popular, and tour shirts are ubiquitous at any music show. But the shirts for auction are originals from an era before mass merchandising, when the shirts were often available only to the tour crew -- such as the maroon Led Zeppelin 1973 shirt, expected to fetch up to $1,500.
The shirts came from a variety of different owners, said Sara Fox, a Christie's spokeswoman. Auction house officials believe it is the largest collection of rock T-shirts put up for auction.

What compelled the T-shirt owners to keep their classic clothes, while other gear of the same vintage wound up at garage sales or turned into dust cloths? Fox said it appeared to be nothing more than chance.

"Plane Headed to Las Vegas Diverted After Couple Tries to Join Mile High Club"


PORTLAND, Ore. — A Las Vegas bound plane was diverted to Portland International Airport Thursday afternoon when at least one passenger said a couple was trying to join the "mile high club," FOX 12 Oregon is reporting.

"The people across the aisle from us were fooling around in their seats and they decided to go to the bathroom and fool around and they threatened the flight attendant," said passenger Jessica Smith, according to FOX 12 Oregon.

The couple was escorted off the plane, according FOX 12 Oregon.

Friday, November 16, 2007

"Visitor May Have Sprinkled Ashes Off Disneyland's 'Pirates' Ride"

from - via (AP)

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Disneyland officials will likely never know whether the woman who sprinkled some sort of powder onto the "Pirates of the Caribbean" ride was trying to send a loved one straight to Davy Jones' locker.

Disney officials shut the ride down for about 45 minutes Friday after they saw the woman sprinkle something into the ride's water. But they said they couldn't determine what it was because it dissolved so quickly.

Blogger and longtime Disneyland watcher Al Lutz said he received several tips indicating it was human ashes.

Disneyland Resorts spokesman Rob Doughty said he couldn't confirm that. He said the rider, who was not arrested, told park employees she had dumped baby powder over the side of a "Pirates" boat.

Lutz, who first reported the event Tuesday on his Web site, said more and more people are leaving their loved ones' ashes behind at Disneyland.

"It used to happen every once in a while at the Haunted Mansion, but now it's happening more," he said.

Without written permission, it's a misdemeanor violation of the state Health and Safety Code to scatter human ashes on private property, but enforcement is difficult. Officials say the ashes pose no health threat.

"I can tell you that we do get people from time to time asking for permission to sprinkle ashes. Our policy is when we are asked for permission, we deny the request," Doughty said. "Beyond that, we don't know."

"Pete Rock To Release First Album In 4 Years"


Hip-hop producer/DJ/MC Pete Rock is set to release his first album in four years. Titled "NY's Finest", the album will be released in February 2008 in a joint venture between Soul Survivor Records and NY based indie label Nature Sounds.

The record features a roster of artists that includes Wu-Tang's Raekwon and Masta Killa, Dipset's Jim Jones, Papoose, D-Block and Redman amongst others. The first single "We Roll" features Jim Jones and Max B. Other tracks currently circulating are "914" featuring Styles P and Sheek Louch, "The PJ's" featuring Raekwon and Masta Killa and "Til I Retire" featuring Pete Rock himself.

Born in the Bronx, NY by Jamaican parents, a teenage Pete Rock first hit the scene in the late 80's when he joined legendary DJ/producer Marley Marl on NY station WBLS' show "In Control With Marley Marl." The popularity of the radio show soon led Pete Rock to experiment with production. In 1991, he was joined by up-and-coming rapper CL Smooth and released the debut EP, All Souled Out. In 1992, the duo dropped Mecca And The Soul Brother, one of the most critically acclaimed hip-hop albums of all time. Pete and CL eventually released The Main Ingredient in 1994. Although the album was very well received by critics and fans alike, the project marked the last effort for the duo.

Since then, Pete Rock has lent his production skills to some of the greatest MC's. He crafted and remixed hits for Nas, Biggie, Jeru The Damaja, and, more recently, Jim Jones, Talib Kweli's Ear Drum, Redman's Red's Gone Wild and Ghostface, for whom he produced tracks for Fishscale, one of music critics' favorite hip hop albums of 2006.

"Xtina's 'Spectin"

Christina Aguilera showin' off her belly at a Rock The Vote event in Los Angeles this past Tuesday. (11/13/07) - Ace:)

© Sara De Boer/Retna Ltd.

"DJ Lingo for the Layman"

from - by Daniel J. Mandel
Beat-juggling: Carefully mixing small portions of two records (or two copies of the same record) to create a new beat out of the pre-existing rhythms.

Bite: Copying the techniques another DJ has already used for a particular record. No-no #1 of DJing.

Boom-bap: The signature hard bass and snapping snare sound of classic New York hip-hop. "Boom boom bap / boom boom-boom bap."

Custom records: Expensive specially-commissioned records for a battle DJ to use in his routines. Controversial, and popular in Europe.

DMC: Disco Mix Club, although nobody calls it that. International organization hosting the most prestigious DJ battle competitions.

Fat Beats: New York's home of underground Hip-Hop, located at the corner of 6th Ave. and 8th St., Manhattan, on the second floor. Shiftee's favorite record store.

Golden Age of DJing: Roughly 1996-2000. A period of breakneck technical advancements in DJ music-making. Think DJ Shadow's "Endtroducing...."

Golden Age of Hip-Hop: Roughly 1986-1994. Rapid creative innovation spurred Hip-Hop's rise to mainstream success. Signature artists: Run-DMC, Public Enemy, the Beastie Boys, and De La Soul.

Massive Records: Briefly, the nexus of Boston's underground Hip-Hop scene. Located near Harvard Square, shuttered its doors in 2006.

Rane Serato: Music technology allowing DJs to scratch and mix MP3s, live.

Scratching: Creating new sounds by manually moving a record under the needle. That "wicky wicky wah" sound.

Tip: Hip-Hop speak for "in the context of." "On a dinosaur tip..." = "in the context of dinosaurs...."

Turntablism: Art of playing turntables as a musical instrument. Involves both improvisation and composed routines.

"Ghostbusters The Video Game: Coming Soon"


Stars back for Ghostbusters game

The original cast of Ghostbusters have signed up to lend their faces and voices to a new game based on the hit film series, reports say.

Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson have all agreed to take part, says trade paper Variety.

Aykroyd and Ramis, who wrote the original films, will also pen the story for the game - which will be set in New York City during a new ghoul invasion.

The game will be released on all major consoles in late 2008.

It comes on the heels of several other classic movies that have recently been adapted into successful video games, including The Godfather and Scarface.


"We noticed we did well on Scarface and were alert for new opportunities to turn iconic film products into games in a way that is a new manifestation of the franchise," Vivendi Games chief executive Bruce Hack said.

"Ghostbusters is unquestionably among the small number of movies in that class."

The new game will be set in the early 1990s after the events of Ghostbusters II.

Some supporting cast members have even signed up to participate, including Annie Potts who played the ghost-busting team's receptionist, Janine.

Several Ghostbusters games were released around the time of the two movies, and one in the past decade was tied to the animated series, Extreme Ghostbusters.

"October video game sales top $1.1 billion"

from - via Reuters

U.S. sales of video game hardware and software jumped 73 percent in October, with Nintendo's Wii console regaining its spot as the top-selling console, industry data showed on Thursday.

Total sales were $1.1 billion, compared with $643 million a year earlier, according to market research firm NPD.

Nintendo sold 519,000 Wiis while Microsoft sold 366,000 Xbox 360 consoles, and Sony Corp sold 121,000 of its PlayStation 3 machines.

In September, the Xbox 360 knocked the Wii from the top spot it had held all year, thanks to a boost from the release of Microsoft's blockbuster Halo 3 game.

"What this demonstrates is that we are putting more and more product into the marketplace and we continue to sell out as soon as it hits," said Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime.

The console makers and game publishers are positioning for the holiday shopping season that can account for as much as half of the year's sales of gaming hardware and software.

While Nintendo is scrambling to produce enough units to meet demand, Microsoft has touted its broad line-up of games and points to data showing that more money is spent on games and accessories for the Xbox 360 than its rivals combined.

"Software continues to be a real highlight for us. We had more software sales in the month of October than the Wii and PS3 combined," Aaron Greenberg, group product manager for Xbox Live, told Reuters. Greenberg added that Microsoft had seen strong sales of its cheapest model, geared toward casual gamers that lie outside its traditional consumer base of young men.

Sony, meanwhile, has tried to spark interest in the PS3 by cutting prices and rolling out a slate of highly anticipated games that showcase its graphical muscle. Sony internal data showed a 192 percent spike in PS3 sales after price drops, and it "expects a great deal of momentum moving forward this holiday and beyond," the company said in a statement.

"Remember that the PS3 price cut came in November so we'll have to wait until our data comes out next month to see the effect of that cut on retail sell-through of the hardware," NPD analyst Anita Frazier said in a statement.

Microsoft's Halo 3 was the best-selling game on a single console, moving 433,800 copies, but Activision's Guitar Hero 3 needed just six days on the market to sell a combined 1.4 million copies across all three major consoles, as well as Sony's older PlayStation 2.

"Guitar Hero has certainly established itself among the elite video games properties," Frazier said. "Since it has broad appeal, it's also the type of game that should continue to do very well throughout the holidays."

"Happy Birthday Maggie Gyllenhaal"

Happy 30th Birthday to actress Maggie Gyllenhaal.
Born in NYC on November 16th, 1977.

One of my favorite offbeat actresses...

Some of her films to check out:

"Happy Endings"

"Stranger Then Fiction"

While I haven't seen all of her films, as she's done many - she was quite good in the three movies noted above. - Ace:)

Check out the trailer for "Secretary" below...

"The tone collector"

from - by Susanna Bolle

Ian Nagoski's The Black Mirror

At 32, Baltimore musician, writer, and record-store owner Ian Nagoski doesn't fit the stereotype of the obsessive, weather-worn collector of vintage 78s. But like that older generation of shellac enthusiasts, Nagoski is passionate about pre-war records. He began collecting while still a teenager, buying his first 78s for 30 cents apiece at flea markets. Although he was inspired by classic roots and blues reissue LPs, his own collection followed a different tack when he discovered some of the most inspiring finds had labels printed in languages he didn't understand.

This month, an anthology of Nagoski's favorite 78s is being released by the Dust to Digital label. Titled Black Mirror: Reflections in Global Musics, it's a fascinating journey back in time and around the world, with an enigmatic mix of Northumbrian bagpipe music, Javanese gamelan, Greek rebetika, Laotian Buddhist chants, Spanish flamenco, Ukrainian folk songs, German classical music, and more.

The collection is the product of years of sifting through piles of shellac in thrift shops, attics, and markets. But for Nagoski, the pleasure was not in acquisition, or even in the painstaking research. "For me, the most important and interesting piece of the project was the actual time spent alone by the record player," he explains over the phone from his Baltimore record shop, True Vine. "It's coming into contact with the records, listening to each one hundreds and hundreds of times, coming to know for sure that this record matters and that this invisible force that I'm coming into contact with, this is beauty."

One of the most striking points on a collection that's full of drama is the juxtaposition of the late Swiss pianist and conductor Edwin Fischer's melancholic rendition of Handel's Chaconne in G with the wrenchingly beautiful lament "Smyrneiko Minore" performed by the legendary rebetika singer Marika Papagika, who lived much of her life in New York. "The business of social class was a major concern," says Nagoski when I ask him about the two tracks. "I wanted to fool with the idea of class and classicism. What is classical and what is folk? And what does this mean about nationalism and notions of us and them? And money? Is that Papagika performance a classical performance or a folk performance? And furthermore, is it an American performance or not? Because as far as I'm concerned, Papagika is as American as Sara Carter and Jimmy Rodgers and really ought to be held in the same esteem, whether or not she speaks English."

Next Friday, November 23, Nagoski will "perform" Black Mirror at Twisted Village in Harvard Square. He'll play selections from the compilation, as well as other 78s from his collection, and relate stories of how he acquired the records and why he fell in love with them. It will also be an opportunity for him to discuss issues related to recordings and musicmaking. "Things are becoming increasingly illusory and complicated, and I have a moment to describe the other side of the coin, this other world that I've seen and that I know the audience cares about, because they've come to the show to listen. They will want to see another world as well, because they're not satisfied with the one we're in."

*above photo by Nick Krebill

"Van Halen Extends Tour With 2008 Dates"

from - by Chris M. Walsh, N.Y.
As expected, Van Halen's tour with original lead singer David Lee Roth has been extended into 2008.

The Live Nation-produced trek -- Roth, Eddie and Alex Van Halen and Eddie Van Halen's teenage son Wolfgang on bass -- kicked off Sept. 27 in Charlotte, N.C., with 40 dates in place.

Now, five additional shows have been added: Oklahoma City (Jan. 22); Houston (Jan. 28); Omaha, Neb. (Feb. 4); Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. (Feb. 12); and St. Louis (March 30), according to the band's official site.

The current tour is Roth's first with the Van Halen brothers in more than 20 years. Van Halen last toured in 2004 with vocalist Sammy Hagar, grossing nearly $40 million, according to Billboard Boxscore.

"Shopping in Brooklyn: Independent Record Stores"


In addition to bars, boutiques, and overall snootiness, hipsters also bring independent record stores to their 'hoods. And since Brooklyn still reigns supreme as the place to live for twentysomethings, the borough is teeming with shops slinging everything from classical music on vinyl to CDs by up-and-coming bands guaranteed to boost your indie cred.

Though Manhattan has its fair share of worthwhile shops, Brooklyn's less chaotic atmosphere makes for a much more pleasant shopping trip. So, hop on the L train and skip Circuit City for your music fix.


Not just a record store, Sound Fix doubles as a performance space for free or low-cost shows. This past weekend, New Yorker music writer Alex Ross even graced the stage, discussing his recently released, 640-page tome on classical music, The Rest is Noise. Specializing in indie releases from an array of genres, the store boasts a friendly, knowledgeable staff -- a good place to start your trip through the audio realm. 110 Bedford Ave.

Next, head toward Earwax Records, a neighborhood favorite that has taken up residence on Bedford longer than most independent stores in the area. (They were here before Williamsburg was the place to live). Though much smaller than other local stores, Earwax makes up for it by stocking a carefully hand-picked selection of both vinyl and CDs. Rather than regurgitating the bands covered by, the owners at Ear Wax keep an ear to the ground and always keep releases from artists who could be the next big thing. 218 Bedford Ave.

Located in the much more posh section of the borough, DUMBO, Halcyon stocks both vinyl and CDs in an immaculately designed space, complete with carefully chosen decorations and wood merchandise displays. The store's attached cafe and art gallery make Halcyon the perfect mid-day spot to recharge for the rest of the day's shopping. 57 Pearl St.

Next, take the F train to southern Park Slope and check out Music Matters, a small shop owned by Daytona, Florida transplant Jason Figel. Stocked with CDs and vinyl, the shop also sells gear for musicians (think drumsticks, guitar strings), and the music enthusiast (think headphones). Figel has also added performance DVDs to his merchandise, as well as movies based around music, or about musicians. 413 7th Ave.

Insider Tip: After stocking up on new tunes, head back to Sound Fix on Tuesday nights for the store's Tuesday Music Trivia events. Each week, participants tackle a couple categories--this week's are Led Zeppelin, the 60s, and songwriters--with the brainiest winner taking home a prize. And, best of all, it's free!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

"Erykah Badu Returns to Music Spotlight with New Single "Honey"


New Album In Stores February 26, 2008

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Motown's multi-platinum-selling, Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter/actress Erykah Badu returns to the music limelight with her debut single "Honey." Laced with Erykah's bluesy grit and MC style vocals, the song is bolstered by producer 9th Wonder's razor sharp hip-hop beats. Badu describes the song as "an old school track with some funk on it." Praise for the single is already rolling in, with tastemaker DJs in NY, Chicago, Dallas and other cities already declaring their love for the innovative song.

The release of "Honey" on November 20th also marks Badu's 10th year in the music industry. To celebrate, the gifted trendsetter prepares the release of her much anticipated new album on her birthday, February 26th. Badu has enlisted some of the most talented, groundbreaking underground producers and engineers in the hip-hop game to support her breakthrough return, including Grammy Award winning producer 9th Wonder (Jay-Z, Nas, Mary J. Blige), Madlib, Mike "Chav" Chavarria and R&B singer Bilal. A special, 12-inch pink wax edition will be available only to DJ's next month and will feature album tracks, "The Healer" and "Real Thing." "The music is the star," says Erykah, "I just laid down my vocals and let the music breathe while the melodies tell the stories."

Erykah Badu, a Dallas native, emerged in 1997 with her masterpiece debut album Baduizm as a primal force of nature connecting old school soul with contemporary R&B. The album garnered her numerous award nominations, pulling 2 coveted Grammys (Best Female R&B Vocal, Best R&B Album) and multiple Top spots on critics' Best-Of-The-Year Lists. In 2000 she followed up with the critically acclaimed platinum selling album, Mama's Gun. In 2003 the EP World Wide Underground was awarded Gold certification.

Erykah most recently performed a Diana Ross Tribute on the BET Awards and the hit show Girlfriends and received rave reviews. The highly regarded upcoming project will be Badu's first full length album in 7 years.

"Comcast Sued for Blocking P2P Sites"

Chloe Albanesius

Comcast Sued for Blocking P2P Sites

Hart filed suit in Alameda County Superior Court Tuesday, accusing Comcast of blocking customer access to peer-to-peer sites like BitTorrent and Gnutella via software that surreptitiously cancels file-sharing connections.

Comcast sends "hidden messages to computers that are running file sharing applications, [which] appear to the computer as coming from the other computers with which it is sharing files, telling it to stop communicating," according to the filing.

Comcast had not yet seen Hart's lawsuit and declined to comment directly on the case, according to a spokesman.

Comcast has repeatedly denied that it blocks access to any Web sites. In the interest of "network management," the company has delayed certain P2P networks during high traffic periods, but file transfers are always completed, according to a spokeswoman.

"Comcast does not, has not, and will not block any websites or online applications, including peer-to-peer services," Comcast said in a statement. "We have a responsibility to provide all of our customers with a good Internet experience and we use the latest technologies to manage our network so that they can continue to enjoy these applications."

News reports speculated that one of the technologies Comcast used to manage traffic was from Sandvine Inc., but Comcast would only say that it works with hundreds of vendors on a variety of network issues.

Reports of P2P blocking were first reported by the Associated Press, which tested the network of an Oregon Comcast user. In April, Comcast acknowledged cutting off and degrading the performance of users who violated excessive-bandwidth policies in the ISP's terms of service, possibly including BitTorrent users.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) replicated the AP test with the Oregon user and another in San Francisco. EFF tried to download files from the Comcast connections on BitTorrent using Wireshark, a packet capture tool. EFF reached the same conclusion as the Associated Press.

Comcast said that the tests conducted by AP and the EFF had too narrow a focus. The nature of P2P networks are such that they pull information from a variety of networks and providers, so focusing solely on one customer and one network is not indicative of normal P2P activity, according to Comcast.

Hart upgraded to Comcast's high-speed Internet Performance Plus package in September 2007. The service is available to video customers and promises up to 12 Mbps for downloading large files like videos and games, according to Comcast's Web site. It runs between $33 per month to $67 per month depending on the level of service. One of the main reasons Hart upgraded to Performance Plus was to use file-sharing networks, according to the suit. He claims that Comcast's terms of service do not mention the company's ability to impede or block P2P services.

Hart makes several requests in his lawsuit. First, he wants it to be declared a class action, because, he claims, it is the most efficient method for a fair resolution and will assist those who might not be able to afford a lawsuit on their own.

The suit also requests that Comcast stop blocking file-sharing Web sites, modify its advertising campaign and basically apologize for failing to deliver on its promise of high speeds and unfettered access, contact all customers and give them an opportunity to retain restitution, return money obtained illegally, and pay damages and legal fees.

"While Comcast pays lip service to the concept of 'net neutrality' by promising its customers unrestricted access to the Internet, Comcast severely and covertly restricts its customers' access to certain Internet applications in violation of state and federal law," Hart's attorney Mark N. Todzo said in a statement.

Todzo, who works for San Francisco's Lexington Law Group, said he has "heard from many Comcast customers complaining of the same experience our client had."

Net neutrality concerns have made this issue a hot topic on Capitol Hill.

On Wednesday, Palo Alto-based Vuze, which uses BitTorrent to distribute content, filed a petition with the FCC asking the commission to issue rules that would prevent phone and cable companies from blocking Internet applications.

Earlier this month, the coalition and several academics filed a complaint with the FCC calling on the commission to stop Comcast from violating customer rights in the wake of reports that the ISP is cutting off service to file-sharing services.

"Woman in Airline Dress Debate Poses Nude"

The Associated Press - By DAVID KOENIG

College Student Who Tangled With Southwest Airlines Over Outfit Poses Nude for Playboy

The 23-year-old college student who was forced to alter her skimpy outfit before flying on Southwest Airlines is wearing even less on Playboy's Web site. Kyla Ebbert appears in a series of pictures some in lingerie, some nude under the heading, "Legs in the Air."

"They're very tastefully done," Ebbert said Thursday in an interview with The Associated Press. "I don't see anything wrong with the female body."

Ebbert said she was paid "less than six figures," but wouldn't give the specific amount.

A Southwest Airlines Co. employee pulled Ebbert off a flight this summer and forced her to adjust her outfit of a tank top, sweater and miniskirt before getting back on the plane.

Ebbert ripped the airline in appearances on NBC's "The Today Show" and "The Dr. Phil Show," during which she wore the outfit. Southwest officials said they don't have a dress code but don't want customers' attire to offend other passengers.

Ebbert said Thursday she was offended that Southwest tried to turn the dustup to its advantage by promoting a fare sale in honor of miniskirts. Southwest apologized to Ebbert, but she said she found the double-entendre-laced message unacceptable.

"They used my name in an ad campaign without asking permission," she said. "I thought I'd been slapped in the face."

Told of Ebbert's spread on the Playboy Web site, Southwest spokeswoman Beth Harbin said, "We wish her all the best."

Playboy contacted Ebbert's attorney to pitch the idea of posing. After "a little bit of talking" to convince her mother, Ebbert agreed. She said her boyfriend supported her decision, but "the most hesitant one was my dad."

On its Web site, Playboy says Ebbert "was too sexy for Southwest Airlines, but she's perfect for Playboy."

Ebbert worked at a Hooters in San Diego but said she is now looking for a more respectable waitressing job. She wants to become an attorney, and doesn't think posing nude should get in the way of her professional aspirations.

"This was beautiful and classy, I don't see why it would affect a professional position," she said. "I'd do it again in a heartbeat."

"Fan pays £83,000 for Zeppelin tickets"


A Led Zeppelin fan has paid £83,000 (approximately $170,000) for two tickets to the rock band's reunion concert, as part of an auction for the BBC's Children in Need.

BBC Radio 2 listener Kenneth Donnell, from Glasgow, paid to see the band rehearse and perform on 10 December.

Listeners also bid £250,000 to have Aled Jones and Katie Melua perform an intimate gig, and £100,000 for VIP passes to 2008's F1 British Grand Prix.

Children in Need is raising funds for disadvantaged young people in the UK.

Led Zeppelin's three remaining members play together for the first time since 1988 in December's sold-out concert.

Pete Townshend, Bill Wyman and Paolo Nutini will also perform at the show, which is a tribute to Ahmet Ertegun, the late founder of Atlantic Records.

Tickets went on sale for £125 each in October.

Originally scheduled for 26 November, the concert was postponed for two weeks because guitarist Jimmy Page fractured a finger.

Other winners in Radio 2's Auction of Things That Money Can't Buy included Sir Tom Hunter, who paid £100,000 for two VIP passes to the 2008 Formula 1 Santander British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

Earlier this week Martin Ainscough, from Wigan, bid £250,000 to have Aled Jones and Katie Melua perform at Revolution in Manchester to raise funds for the Prince's Trust.

Children in Need culminates with a fundraising TV show on BBC One from 1900 GMT on Friday.

"Debilitated CD Pushes Universal Music Earnings Downward"


Universal Music Group (UMG) recently posted a slide in third quarter earnings, a result of worsening CD sales. For the three-month period, EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) slipped to €115 million ($169 million), a near-17 percent dip from €138 million ($202 million) previously. The revenue side showed improvement, moving upward 7 percent to €1.17 billion ($1.72 million). The results were packaged into a broader financial review by Vivendi, which issued results across its various media properties.

Other major label groups are also weathering rocky financial results, thanks to a free-falling physical disc. But Universal is easily the largest of the four, and that makes its financial report all the more important. Discussing the trend, Vivendi pointed to a "difficult recorded music market, unfavorable currency movements and an adverse sales mix" for its lukewarm results.

Meanwhile, the digital story continues to grow, just not fast enough to offset broader physical declines. For the first nine months of this year, digital revenues jumped 47 percent to €488 million ($716 million). Digital assets now comprise 15 percent of the broader revenue total, up from 11 percent previously.

Vivendi Earnings Summary

"Imax Corp. signs 3-D picture deal with Dreamworks Animation"


Imax Corp. signs 3-D picture deal with Dreamworks Animation

Imax will release Monsters vs. Aliens in March 2009, How to Train Your Dragon in November 2009 and Shrek Goes Forth in May 2010.

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

Imax will also release a giant-screen two-dimensional version of DreamWorks' animated Kung Fu Panda next June.

The 3-D films are expected to be among the first presented with Imax's digital 3-D projection system.

Paramount Pictures will act as distributor of the pictures.

"3-D cinema has an opportunity to revolutionize the way people experience movies," DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg said in a release.

"We believe the immersive quality of Imax will provide our audiences with a unique way to experience our films and we are delighted to include Imax as a key part of our 3D strategy."

Shares in Imax were even in light morning trading at $4.21 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

"Elvis is Alive Museum isn't dead"


ST. LOUIS, Missouri (AP) -- Don't count Andy Key as one of those Elvis Presley fanatics who insist the King never died.

Key, 38, said he's "open to the possibility" Presley is alive, but he's counting on there being enough skeptics out there to make his new business a success.

With an $8,000 eBay bid, Key won the Elvis is Alive Museum's collection and plans to move the museum from its current site in Wright City, Missouri, to Mississippi, where Key lives and Presley was born.

"If (Elvis) wants to come to the opening, he can certainly come back," he said.

Included in the collection are photographs, books, FBI files, DNA reports and other memorabilia that aim to support the theory that Presley never died.

Bill Beeny, 81, who founded the museum's collection, said he sold the collection hoping its new owner would continue his work.

"I'll certainly go down and visit once it sets up," he said.

Key said he'd like the museum to complement the tourist attraction in Tupelo, Mississippi, where Presley was born and bought his first guitar. He's considering opening it in Laurel, Jackson or Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

Elvis Presley Enterprises, which manages Graceland, the King's estate and mansion in Memphis, Tennessee, previously has said it has no comment on the museum, a transformed coin-operated laundry 55 miles west of St. Louis.

"Michael Jackson Taking Opinions On Career"

from - by Roger Friedman

Michael Jackson has been soliciting opinions about his dying career from strangers in the music business.

Sources over at the luxe and private Chinese eatery Mr. K's on Lexington Avenue in New York report that Jackson and his lawyer Peter Lopez have been meeting with various executives trying to figure out how to restart his dead career.

Sources at the fancy boite say that Jackson and Lopez had at least one meeting at Mr. K's on Oct. 26, the same day this column broke the news that the singer had defaulted on a $23 million loan secured by his Neverland Ranch. Despite proclamations to the contrary, the default is still in effect today.

Jackson, even though his financial world was crumbling, seemed just fine, insiders say.

At the meetings, Jackson has expressed interest, I am told, in doing business with Starbucks' Hear Music as no regular record company wants to work with him.

"He said, My friend Paul McCartney did that," says a source, and dropped names of other rock stars who'd be surprised to hear themselves described thusly.

McCartney, especially, despises Jackson for buying the Beatles song catalog out from underneath him 20 years ago.

One curious thing that came up in the talks: Jackson may not be proceeding with the "Thriller" 25th anniversary album featuring Kanye West, Akon and that Sony is expecting from him, but thinking of using tracks done by those producers as the basis for a new album.

A fly in that ointment: the pending lawsuit brought against by Prince Abdullah of Bahrain, who claims that Jackson owes him two record albums for which he was already paid $7 million.

"Happy Birthday Rev Run"

Happy Birthday to Joseph Simmons, aka Run from RUN-DMC, aka Rev Run, aka DJ Run, aka Son of Kurtis Blow.

Mr. Simmons turns 43 today.


"Wendy's & Rhapsody Make Music"

from - Story by: Abby Margulies

As the holiday season begins, don't disparage your ears, because nothing says combo meal like Justin Timberlake and a frosty. In an attempt to feed consumers' passion for music, Rhapsody has paired up with fast food chain Wendy's to make more than 100 million songs available to french fry lovers across the country from now until January. Customers can purchase any of Wendy's medium and large combo meal to receive a code to redeem at Wendy' for a song download of their choice. The partnership also announced a "Combo Up To Download" contest where over two-thousand lucky winners will receive a 50-song download bundle from Rhapsody or one of 100 SanDisk Sansa e280R Rhapsody portable MP3 players.

"Rhapsody is all about feeding consumers' passion for music," said Michael Bloom, head of Rhapsody, in a statement. "Wendy's new giveaway lets customers enjoy their favorite food and music, and introduces them to Rhapsody all at once." This campaign comes as part of Rhapsody's larger marketing effort that began with MTV's Video Music Awards and VH1's Hip Hop Honors earlier this year.

"New LP from Wu-Tang's GZA coming soon"


GZA of the Wu-Tang Clan will release his new album "Protools" January 8th.

The LP will feature guest appearances by RZA, Raekwon, Mos Def, Sean Price, Killah Priest, Bronze Nazareth & more.

Production on the album will be supplied by RZA, DJ Muggs, Nottz, Bink! & Bronze Nazareth.

GZA's last solo album, "Legend of The Liquid Sword", was released in December 2002.

Wu-Tang Clan will release their new album titled "8 Diagrams" December 8.

"Photo of the Day: 11/14/07"


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

"The Grammy turns 50"


Grammy CDs, book, TV special mark 50th anniversary

The Recording Academy has launched a multi-pronged campaign to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Grammy Awards.

First up is a partnership with archival specialist Shout! Factory for a series of genre compilations from past Grammy winners. On November 27, it will issue two "Ultimate Grammy Collections": "Contemporary R&B" and "Contemporary Pop."

Shout! Factory hopes the series will get a boost from a two-hour Grammy documentary that airs November 30 on CBS.

Additionally, five collections -- "Contemporary Rock," "Contemporary Country," "Classic Country," "Classic R&B" and "Classic Pop" -- will arrive January 8, a month before the Grammy ceremony in Los Angeles.

The Recording Academy also has published a book authored by Rolling Stone contributing editor David Wild titled "And the Grammy Goes To . . .," which is available exclusively through the Borders chain. As part of that offering, Borders also carried its own versions of the Shout! Factory-issued "Ultimate Grammy Collection: Classic Pop" and "Classic R&B."

And either near the end of this year or in the new year, Starbucks will get its own two-CD version of an "Ultimate Grammy Collection" as well.


"Bikini-Clad Beyonce Billboard Upsets Nevada Residents"


A billboard featuring a bikini-clad Beyonce that promotes CHR KWNZ-FM (Z93.7)/Reno, NV, is upsetting some local residents -- prompting some to start a petition for its removal. GM Scott Seidenstricker says the photo is part of a series that also includes performers Gwen Stefani and Justin Timberlake.

"The billboards were taken from publicity shots and this is the way those people perform," Seidenstricker said. "So to show them in a jogging suit probably wouldn't be the right thing."

City spokesman Chris Good told the Las Vegas Sun, that "It complies with all the locational criteria that are set out in our code."


"First "robot" electric guitar tunes itself"

from - by By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Ever get mad trying to figure out why your version of "Voodoo Child" doesn't sound like Jimi Hendrix?

Help is at hand from what is described as the world's first robot guitar -- an electric guitar that not only keeps itself in tune even after string changes but also allows players to access six nonstandard tunings at the push of a button.

After 15 years of research, Gibson Guitar is launching a limited edition Les Paul Robot Guitar next month that has set players abuzz with both enthusiasm and skepticism.

"It will not make you a better guitar player but it will allow the average player to access some very sophisticated tunings," Gibson Guitar Chief Executive Henry Juszkiewicz told Reuters on Tuesday.

The six nonstandard preset tunings were used on hits ranging from "Honky Tonk Women" by The Rolling Stones and Hendrix's "Voodoo Child" to Led Zeppelin's "Going to California" and Joni Mitchell's "The Circle Game."

Gibson says the robot guitar is aimed at amateurs who have a hard time keeping their guitars in tune, as well as professionals who now use technicians during concerts to keep about 100 guitars tuned to different keys.

"Professional guitar players use a lot of different tuning and people who listen to the stars wonder why they can't reproduce the same sound themselves," Juszkiewicz said.

Temperature variations, changing strings and simply playing the instrument have long been tuning challenges for guitarists with even the best musical ear.

But some have already poured scorn on the robot guitar.

"I'm sorry, this is just lazy. With stuff like this, tuning is going to be a lost skill," wrote LettheBassPlay on the Web site forum.

Gibson said the robot guitar is the biggest advance in electric guitar design in more than 70 years.

"It's very addictive," Juszkiewicz said.

Gibson will launch 4,000 limited edition, blue silverburst Les Gibson Robot Guitars around the world on December 7 at a price in the region of $2,500. It expects to roll out a standard robot edition starting in January 2008.

(Editing by John O'Callaghan)

"Top 50 Greatest TV Icons"

For what it's worth, here's TV Land / Entertainment Weekly Magazine's Top 50 Greatest TV Icons list. - Ace:)

50. Larry Hagman
49. Calista Flockhart
48. Jimmy Smits
47. Simon Cowell
46. Lassie
45. Sarah Michelle Gellar
44. Susan Lucci
43. Flip Wilson
42. James Gandolfini
41. Jon Stewart
40. Sally Field
39. Jennifer Aniston
38. Bea Arthur
37. George Clooney
36. Diahann Carroll
35. Michael J. Fox
34. Bob Barker
33. Ellen DeGeneres
32. Henry Winkler
31. Sarah Jessica Parker
30. Alan Alda
29. John Ritter
28. Howard Cosell
27. Regis Philbin
26. Farrah Fawcett
25. Heather Locklear
24. Michael Landon
23. Barbara Walters
22. Milton Berle
21. Kermit
20. Carroll O'Connor
19. Andy Griffith
18. William Shatner
17. Bob Newhart
16. David Letterman
15. "Not Ready for Primetime Players" (from SNL)
14. Ed Sullivan
13. Jackie Gleason
12. Dick Van Dyke
11. Roseanne
10. Dick Clark
9. Homer Simpson
8. Jerry Seinfeld
7. Mary Tyler Moore
6. Carol Burnett
5. Walter Cronkite
4. Bill Cosby
3. Oprah Winfrey
2. Lucille Ball
1. Johnny Carson

"Microsoft kills ActiveX 'click to activate'"

from - via Gregg Keizer, Computerworld US

Modified version of Internet Explorer 7.0 planned

Microsoft is working on a modified version of Internet Explorer 7.0 that kills the 'click to activate' warning that first popped up when the software giant began requiring users to approve ActiveX controls the first time they were run from the browser.

Next month, Microsoft will preview the new Internet Explorer (IE) that eliminates the warning that's been popping up on screens when users select multimedia content, such as clicking on a link to a Flash file or a PDF document.

The move follows a settlement Microsoft struck with Eolas Technologies in August following a $521m judgment in 2003 against Microsoft in a patent infringement dispute between the two companies. The judgment paved the way for Microsoft to license Eolas' technologies, which in turn meant that IE could ditch 'click to activate'.

The Internet Explorer Automatic Component Activation Preview will appear in the Microsoft Download Center next month, said Pete LePage, senior product manager, in a posting on the IE team's blog. The tweaked IE will also be rolled into the next betas of Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) and Windows XP SP3, LePage added. Finally, the changes will be pushed to all IE 7.0 users in April 2008 as part of that month's scheduled updates. Users, however, can decline the update.

"It's important to note that this change will require no modifications to existing web pages, and no new actions for developers creating new pages," said LePage. "We are simply reverting to the old behaviour."

Website developers will appreciate that. When Microsoft modified IE, it issued instructions to site designers spelling out the change they had to make.

"Once Internet Explorer is updated, all pages that currently require 'click to activate' will no longer require the control to be activated," said LePage. "They'll just work."

"Jimmy Page Hints At More Zeppelin Gigs"


Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page has hinted the legendary band may play more gigs following their upcoming reunion concert. The Stairway To Heaven rockers will reform for a rescheduled one-off show at the O2 Arena in London on December 10, but Page is already considering taking the band on the road.

He says, "It's a bit silly (not to) because there is such massive demand. It's a bit selfish to do just one show. If that's it, we probably shouldn't have taken the genie out of the bottle."

Page also recently revealed he has plans to record a new Led Zeppelin album, their first studio release since 1979's In Through The Out Door.

He said, "I'd be really surprised if there wasn't (an album)... We're musicians. As we're playing we'll probably be coming up with all manner of things.

The comeback gig was scheduled for November 26 but had to be moved back after Page broke his finger. The concert is being held to honor the memory of late Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun, and raise funds for a charity the mogul founded.

"Alanis Morissette Preps New Album and Movie"

from - by Paul Cashmere

Alanis Morissette has just about completed her new studio album 'Flavors of Entanglement'.

The Canadian star will release the album early in 2008, in time for her US tour with Matchbox Twenty.

'Flavors Of Entanglement' will be her first studio album since 2004's 'So Called Chaos'.

Alanis has sold more than 40 million albums since the release of her American debut 'Jagged Little Pill' in 1995. (She released two albums as a child star in Canada).

As well as the new album and tour in 2008, Alanis will star in her first lead movie role for the flick 'Sylvia', based on the Philip K. Dick novel 'Radio Free Albemuth'.

Her previous big screen roles include the part of God in 'Dogma' (1999) and as a musical performer in 'De-Lovely' (2004).

"Timbaland single becomes biggest Top 40 hit in 20 years"


'Apologize' nudges past 'Promiscuous' for Number One spot

Radio tracking firm Mediaware has determined that on 10 November, Timbaland/OneRepublic's current single 'Apologize' became the biggest Top 40 hit song since the company began counting spins in 1987.

The song bested Nelly Furtado's hit 'Promiscuous' of two summers ago. At its 2006 peak, the Furtado single was spun 10,306 times in a single seven-day period, a record which Timbaland topped by 25 spins last week.

These numbers are based on a survey of the playlists of 129 radio stations currently in Mediabase's panel of Top 40 broadcasters.

Up-and-coming bands can perhaps take comfort in the fact that they're just 10,332 plays away from taking that top spot for themselves.

The rest of the top Top 50 hits since 1987:

1) Timbaland/OneRepublic: 'Apologize'
2) Nelly Furtado: 'Promiscuous'
3) Beyonce: 'Irreplaceable'
4) Justin Timberlake: 'Sexyback'
5) Fergie: 'Big Girls Don't Cry'
6) Avril Lavigne: 'Complicated'
7) Nelly Furtado: 'Say It Right'
8) Shakira featuring Wyclef Jean: 'Hips Don't Lie'
9) Nickelback: 'How You Remind Me'
Justin Timberlake: 'What Goes Around Comes Around'

****This piece fails to mention that both Nelly Furtado tracks on the top 10 list, and both Justin Timberlake tracks were produced by Timbaland as well. - Ace:)

"Man hurt as he uses shotgun to remove lug nut"

SOUTHWORTH (AP) -- A man trying to loosen a stubborn lug nut blasted the wheel with a 12-gauge shotgun, injuring himself badly in both legs, Kitsap County sheriff's deputies said.

The 66-year-old man had been repairing the car for two weeks at his home northwest of Southworth and east of Port Orchard and had gotten all but one lug nut off the right rear wheel before getting frustrated Saturday, Deputy Scott Wilson said.

From about arm's length the man fired the shotgun at the wheel and was "peppered" in both legs with 00 buckshot and other debris.

Wilson described the injuries as "severe but not life-threatening."

"Carmen Electra Suits Naked Wrestling"

from - by Natalie Finn

Carmen Electra Suits Naked Wrestling

Carmen Electra has the Naked Women's Wrestling League up against the highly stylized ropes.

As tantalizing as that might sound, what it actually means is that the former Baywatch babe is suing the NWWL for breach of contract, negligence and unfair business practices, claiming that she was never paid her agreed-upon price for a handful of live event appearances.

According to documents filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Electra was supposed to receive $400,000 and a cut of the proceeds from DVD sales and pay-per-view fees for four hosting appearances and her company, Electra Blue, has to date only been paid $100,000.

They entered into the deal on Jan. 26, 2004, per the complaint.

Meanwhile, Toronto-based NWWL Productions president Howard Mann said in a statement released to E! News that he entered into no such agreement with the erstwhile Playboy Playmate, calling her lawsuit "malicious and highly damaging."

"I feel her claims are nothing more than a desperate cry for attention," Mann said. "Carmen's financial issues are are simply not my concern...I am currently engaging California counsel to actively defend my position, and I will be seeking damages for defamation, slander and malicious persecution."

Electra has also accused the NWWL and several other companies and individuals, including Erotic Wrestling Productions, Full Speed Productions and Virtcom Enterprises, of unlawfully trading on her good name to promote the league, whether by referring to it as "Carmen Electra's NWWL" or stating "Carmen Electra Presents NWWL."

The 35-year-old actress' suit also states that the plaintiffs used her "name, voice, image, likeness and/or attributes" without her consent for the covers of such illustrious DVD titles as Operation Naked Storm, Bush vs. Hussein, Tag Team Dream and Twin Peaks.

Electra, who famously spoofed herself in Scary Movie and wants to prevent further damage to her value as a "sought-after spokesperson and commercial actress," is seeking at least $3.3 million in damages, plus attorneys' fees, according to the suit.

Her list of allegations also includes violation of statutory and common-law right of publicity, breach of guaranty, federal unfair competition, quantum meruit (Latin for "pay me what you promised even if it wasn't carved in stone"), open book account and unjust enrichment.

Since hanging up her swimsuit back in 1998, Electra has had big-and-bigger roles in Starsky & Hutch, Cheaper By the Dozen 2, Scary Movie 4, Date Movie and Epic Movie, and either she or her voice has shown up on numerous TV shows, including the late WB drama Summerland, King of the Hill, American Dad, Hope & Faith, Monk, Sci-Fi Channel's Tripping the Rift and former costar Pam Anderson's short-lived sitcom Stacked.

And, Electra starred with ex-hubby Dave Navarro in 'Til Death Do Us Part: Carmen and Dave on MTV, where good relationships do, in fact, go to die.