Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Nitin Sawhney (featuring Roxanne Tataei) - "Distant Dreams"

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Janet Jackson parts ways with Island Def Jam

NEW YORK (Billboard) - After just 14 months on Island Def Jam, Janet Jackson announced Monday (September 22) her departure from the label. According to Jackson's publicist, the label agreed to dissolve its relationship with the artist at her request.

After a long stint with Virgin, Jackson inked a deal with Island in July 2007 and released her label debut, "Discipline," in February. When album sales failed to meet expectations, the singer expressed dissatisfaction with Island Def Jam, first telling that the label "stopped all promotion whatsoever on the album" after releasing the first single, "Feedback."

Earlier this month, she hinted about potentially severing ties with the label to Billboard, stating, "I can't say if we'll be working with them in the future. I don't know what the future holds between the two of us."

Executive produced by Jackson and her boyfriend, Island Urban president Jermaine Dupri, "Discipline" debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in March with 181,000 copies sold. But it has shifted only 415,000 copies in the United States so far, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and spent just 14 weeks on the chart.

Now, Jackson "will have autonomy over her career, without the restrictions of a label system," according to a statement from her management team. "Always known to break new ground and set trends, Janet's departure from Island makes her one of the first superstar artists to have the individual freedom to promote their work through a variety of avenues such as iTunes, mobile carriers and other diverse and innovative channels."

Jackson is on the road for her first tour in seven years, "Rock Witchu," with support form LL Cool J and Donnie Klang. The outing began September 10 in Vancouver and runs through October 22 in Dallas.


Stolen Jamie Lynn Spears Breast-Feeding Photo Triggers Probe

LOS ANGELES —  A stolen photo of Jamie Lynn Spears breast feeding her baby girl has sparked a federal pornography investigation, TMZ reports.

Federal and local authorities are looking for someone peddling 12 photos of Jamie Lynn, her older sister Britney Spears, her infant daughter Maddie and the baby's father Casey Aldridge, law enforcement sources told the Web site.

One of the pictures shows Jamie Lynn breast feeding Maddie, and the 17-year-old's left breast is exposed, TMZ reports, adding that the photos were taken on Aldridge's digital camera.

Aldridge took the camera card to his local Wal-Mart in Louisiana for copies, and law enforcement believes someone at the Wal-Mart may have made extra copies, then tried to sell them, sources told TMZ.

Because Jamie Lynn is a minor, selling the photos — or buying them — could constitute a violation of federal laws prohibiting pornography. Peddling pictures of a minor's breast — even if not taken for sexual purposes, could land the seller and buyer in federal prison if they are marketed across state lines for the purpose of being lurid, according to TMZ.

Jamie Lynn Spears starred in the television series "Zoey 101" and won a Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Award for Favorite TV actress in 2006.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Final Curtain Falls at Yankee Stadium After 85 Years

NEW YORK (AP) —  Even Yogi Berra knew this was the end.

As baseball said farewell to Yankee Stadium, one of the game's most beloved players stood beneath the stands in a full vintage uniform. Now 83, the man who coined the phrase "it ain't over till it's over" put his own stamp on the day.

"I'm sorry to see it over, I'll tell you that," Berra said.

The goodbye completed an 85-year-old run for the home of baseball's most famous team. What began with a Babe Ruth home run on an April afternoon in 1923 was likely to end with Mariano Rivera pitching on a September night.

All the greats were remembered, with fans wearing a collection of jerseys that could fill a Hall of Fame. On one subway car alone, there were shirts with Derek Jeter's No. 2, the Babe's No. 3, Mickey Mantle's No. 7, Phil Rizzuto's No. 10 and Don Mattingly's No. 23.

Fans were allowed on the field starting at 1 p.m. and entered through the left-field seats not far from where Aaron Boone's home run landed five years ago.

Glenn Bartow and his 13-year-old daughter arrived more than 12 hours before New York played Baltimore at night, and were the first ones into Monument Park.

"We come every Sunday," Emily Bartow said.

This Sunday was the last.

Visitors touched the 24 plaques and six monuments, posed next to them for family photos. Under the kind of cloudless sky that made people recall summer days of yore, they slowly circled the warning track.

Some posed along the 318-foot sign in the left-field corner of the pockmarked fence, raising baseball gloves along the top of the blue-padded wall as if they were making leaping catches. Others stood alongside the 408 sign in center. Some covered their hands with dirt and put their hand prints on an advertisement with a black background.

Those who could not walk were pushed along in wheelchairs. Parents brought strollers to make sure toddlers got to experience the great ballpark before it is dismantled.

Moses Del Rio, a 32-year-old from Brooklyn, held his 11-month-old son, Ryan, who started walking only in the past week.

"I brought him here to take pictures of him in the stadium," the father said.

Jeter, likely to get a plaque of his own years from now in the new Yankee Stadium, said Saturday was the first time he looked around and tried to soak in the memories — the three big decks filled with fans, the sign in the tunnel from the clubhouse to the field with the Joe DiMaggio quote: "I want to thank the Good Lord for making me a Yankee."

Jeter began his day by watching old Yankees games on television.

"Just driving in, I think it really starts to hit you, that this is the last time," he said. "When you take the field, you're constantly reminded of the history that's been here before you."

With the Yankees nearly out postseason contention for the first time since making the playoffs in 1995, there was plenty of time to join the crowd.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi went onto the field to sign autographs. Mike Mussina and Alex Rodriguez posed for photos with rooters. Joba Chamberlain even took fans' cell phones and shouted messages to their family and friends.

An elaborate ceremony was planned before the start of the game. Whitey Ford, Goose Gossage, Ron Guidry, Graig Nettles and Bobby Richardson were among those expected.

Don Larsen, David Wells and David Cone — the three pitchers who threw perfect games in Yankee Stadium — all were on hand, as was former Yankees star Willie Randolph, fired as manager of the Mets earlier this year.

Larsen, whose gem was the only one thrown in a World Series, thought about his former teammates.

"I'm missing a lot of the guys who are gone and not able to join us," he said.

Bernie Williams returned for the first time since the Yankees let him go after the 2006 season.

"All the memories that I have here, I know that I'm going to have to keep them in my head because this place is not going to be any longer," Williams said. "There is a part of me that feels very sad about watching the stadium go."

New York didn't plan it this way as it prepared to move next year to a new Yankee Stadium, a $1.3 billion sports palace rising across 161st Street that will be filled with $2,500 seats, a martini bar, steak house and art gallery. The Yankees won 26 World Series championships after moving into their big ballyard in the Bronx, and had hoped to close the Stadium with another title.

Thousands of police and security filled the worn aisles to ensure the fans didn't walk away with the ballpark's guts — which will be sold piece by piece to collectors. Many fans have been arrested and screwdrivers confiscated during the past week.

"I'd like to try and get two seats," said Bartow, the early-arriving fan. "They're going for a couple thousand dollars. It's going to be tough, but I may have to do it because, you know, we have to."

The Bartows lingered on the field for 1 hour, 15 minutes, taking pictures they're certain to cherish. When it was time to climb the steps back to the stands, father and daughter turned to exchange a final-day kiss.

Berra, a 10-time champion often considered the greatest living Yankee, didn't really need any more souvenirs.

"I hate to see it go," he said. "It will always be in my heart."