NEWSMAKERS

January 28 2008

NEWSMAKERS

January 28 2008

NEWSMAKERS

‘I HAVEN’T SEEN ONE MYSELF’SHARE HIS DEFENCE MINISTER’S INTEREST

GINO VANNELLI BOSTON FANS EMBRACE A DISCO HEARTTHROB

As the clock runs down on another Boston Celtics home victory, a disco anthem blares and the arena scoreboard flashes clips from a 1970s episode of American Bandstand. One onscreen dancer in particular gets the crowd on its feet, cheering during every game: a bearded man whom Celtics faithful call “Gino” because of his tight T-shirt, which bears the name and image of Montrealborn singer, composer and onetime disco heartthrob Gino Vannelli. Gino’s status as a symbol of the Celtics’ success—they’re the best team in the NBA so far this season—has created a cottage industry in bootleg Gino Vannelli T-shirts, which Celtics’ fans are eagerly snapping up. Even the team’s star forward Kevin Garnett has admitted to looking online for a Gino T-shirt of his own. Vannelli is aware of the bizarre cult, and even finds it funny—although he’s concerned that the shirt vendors haven’t acquired his record label’s permission. As the singer told the Boston Globe, “Perhaps I ought to make an appearance to sing the national anthem to set the record straight on who the real Gino is.”

ISABELLA ROSSELLINI WINNIPEG LOVE AFFAIR

Italian film goddess Isabella Rossellini is set to resume her love affair with Winnipeg. She’ll be narrating acclaimed local filmmaker Guy Maddin’s silent movie, Brand Upon the Brain, as part of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s New Music Festival in February. It isn’t their first collaboration-Rossellini previously worked with Maddin on a memoir of her father, film director Roberto Rossellini. She also starred as a glamorous beer magnate in Maddin’s 2003 Depression-era film, The Saddest Music in the World. Shot in an abandoned steel factory in Winnipeg, “temperatures were, like, -28 degrees,” Maddin recalls. “Rossellini was tough.” Winnipeg’s New Music Festival was founded in 1992, and now regularly packs the city’s 2,300-seat Centennial Concert Hall—even in the dead of February. Given her previous dedication to the Prairie metropolis, the frigid Winnipeg winter shouldn’t bother Rossellini one bit.

JAMES CASTRISSION AND JUSTIN JONES

CROSSING ‘THE DITCH’

After 62 days afloat, Australians James Castrission, 25, and Justin Jones, 24, became the first kayakers to paddle from Australia to New Zealand. At the completion of the 3,300-km trip on Sunday, they were met by a flotilla of pleasure boats and Maori war canoes. But it wasn’t all smooth sailing. Known as “the Ditch,” the Tasman Sea is among the stormiest waters in the world, and it lived up to its reputation. The pair almost gave up only 170 km from the end, after fierce winds had driven them 800 km off course and prolonged their trip by two weeks. Their transponder— which warns other, larger ships of their presence—failed in early December. Even so, the final leg of their trip was “absolutely mindblowing,” Castrission said: a 2,000strong crowd awaited them onshore with beers for the victorious pair. It was a happy contrast to the fate of sailor Andrew McAuley, who vanished while attempting the same crossing last February. “We have only got a small, small idea of what Andrew went through

ROBBIE WILLIAMS RECORD OF REBELLION: BIG NAMES FLEE EMI

The British singer has gone on strike against record giant EMI Group PLC. Robbie Williams’ manager, Tim Clark, stunned the music industry by openly questioning how EMI will market his next CD, expected in September, given widespread reports that the firm is about to fire more than a quarter of its staff: “The question is, ‘Should Robbie deliver the new album he is due to release for EMI?’ We have to say the answer is ‘No.’ ” The tattooed artist, who has sold 70 million albums for EMI and includes among his hits Millennium and Angels, also wants more control over his lucrative back catalogue, and to release new music through his own website, like former EMI stablemate Radiohead. For financier Guy Hands, who purchased the firm last year, the Robbie Rebellion couldn’t come at a worse time. File-sharing continues to erode EMI’s revenues, and mainstream artists are increasingly unhappy with how they’re being dealt with. Paul McCartney and Radiohead have already quit the label, and Coldplay is extremely unhappy that EMI’s British boss, Tony Wadsworth, left earlier this month. Their manager issued a warning: “Coldplay is in no hurry to deliver its new album.”

APAÑESE PRIME MINISTER YASUO FUKUDA DOESN’T N POLICY MATTERS PERTAINING TO FLYING SAUCERS

CATHERINE HEYMANS DARK MATTERS

The night sky may look like a twinkling pageant of serene galaxies. But last week, Catherine Heymans, a post-doctoral fellow in the department of astronomy and physics at the University of British Columbia, and Meghan Gray, a research fellow and lecturer at the University of Nottingham, presented a very different picture at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Austin, Texas. In busy environments, galaxies frequently collide at high speed. Using images from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, a team of astronomers led by Heymans and Gray have created the most detailed map yet of “dark matter,” the mysterious substance that fills space between galaxies and whose massive gravitational field distorts the shapes of any galaxies in its neighbourhood. By stitching together 80 images of galaxies located 2.6 billion light years from earth, the team could detect the galaxies’ light being bent as it travelled through the dark matter. Using a process called gravitational lensing, the team created a new dark-matter map by measuring the distorted shapes. By charting the galaxies as they bump and grind through deep space, the astronomers are providing key fundamental knowledge on how the universe works.

DANIEL BARENBOIM A MAN OF PEACE, OR A HEADLINE GRABBER?

Argentine-born but now an Israeli citizen, symphony conductor Daniel Barenboim has never shied away from controversy. He has outraged Israeli sensibilities by defying an unspoken national ban on conducting works penned by Richard Wagner, Hitler’s favourite composer. Now it has come to light that he has become the first Israeli to have received Palestinian citizenship. The Palestinian Authority granted him a passport after having been lobbied by legislator Mustafa Barghouti. Although given a year ago, Barenboim’s honorary citizenship only came to light last weekend when he gave a concert in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Barghouti said the authority granted the honour to Barenboim for showing “solidarity with Palestinians under the most difficult circumstances.” In the past the conductor has championed Palestinian musicians and co-founded a group to bring together young Israeli and Arab musicians. Barenboim hasn’t said much about the accolade other than it is “a nice gesture,” but other Israelis are outraged, many of them seeing him as a habitual headline chaser, and suggesting the con-

SHIGERU ISHIBA IF MARS ATTACKS, WILL JAPAN BE READY?

Suddenly, the war on terror seems comparatively easy. Japan’s defence minister, Shigeru Ishiba, last week rammed legislation through parliament authorizing the resumption of supply work for U.S. warships taking part in Washington’s war on terror. The government said the move is an essential contribution to international security, but opponents claim it contravenes Japan’s warrenouncing constitution. Ishiba’s other preoccupations are even trickier. In late December, he declared that Japan should study what military response to mount in the face of an invasion from outer space. The second member of Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda’s cabinet to express belief in UFOs, Ishiba says that a flying-saucer invasion could tie Tokyo’s hands unless it has a policy. He likened the situation to that raised by Godzilla movies, in whichjapan mobilizes to fight the atomic monster. “Few discussions have been made on what the legal grounds were for that,” Ishiba said last month. So far, there’s been no formal policy work on UFO showdowns. As for Fukuda, he seems uninterested: “I haven’t seen

OLGA KURYLENKO UKRAINIAN BOND GIRL IS NO FARM HAND

Gone are the days of the Soviet Union, when the unfortunate Western stereotype of Ukrainian pulchritude was that of buxom, big-shouldered women driving tractors. Last week, Ukrainian model-turned-actress Olga Kurylenko reminded the West of the new glamour of the East. She snagged a prestige role, that of playing opposite Daniel Craig in the next James Bond feature, which has just gone into production. The picture, still known only by the working title, Bond 22, will boost Kurylenko’s acting career. At 28, she’s been modelling for 14 years, having appeared in the U.S. edition of Glamour, Marie Claire and the French Elle. In 2005 she started acting, and has appeared opposite Elijah Wood in Paris, Je t’aime and with Timothy Oliphant in last year’s Hitman. Kurylenko is sharing the screen with fellow freshman Bond girl, Britain’s Gemma Arterton. There probably won’t be a tractor anywhere in sight.