Celebrities Revel for a Cause: Black Tie For Breast Cancer Gala Ball, Sydney

Reg Inglis, Leanne Zalapa

Tonight in Sydney, Australia, the Black Tie for Breast Cancer (BT4BC) gala event for the Prince of Wales Hospital Foundation took place at the beautiful Westin Hotel.

A community aware group of nice folks including both A-listers, everyday mums and dads and a range of people from all walks of life, gathered together to help raise much needed funds for the development of a new Cancer Centre at the Prince of Wales Hospital.

The celebrity contingent included Jodi Gordon, Braith Anasta, the newly engaged Rachel Gilbert and Tom Williams, two time Logie nominee Anna McGahan, Melissa Hoyer, Peter Morrissey, Laura Csortan and a swag of others whipped up a storm in an effort to help raise money for a new cancer centre at the Prince of Wales Hospital Randwick campus.

The guest list included: Jodi Gordon, Rachel Gilbert, Tom Williams, Anna McGahn, Ant & Becks, Peter Morrissey, Laura Csortan, Chris Joannou, Sarah Cumming, Geoff Field, Melissa Hoyer, Bianca Dye, Braith Anasta and Roy Billing.

Finally, all power to cancer survivors, their family and friends, and those doing what they can to help fight cancer.

Celebrity for good - always good to hear, and public big congrats to all of those who helped put tonight together.

About the Prince of Wales Hospital Cancer Centre...

The Prince of Wales Hospital Foundation promotes the work of the Prince of Wales Hospital (POWH) to build healthier communities. Partnering with our community, we raise vital funds to ensure the continued development of research, education and special projects, which will provide integrated health care for the patients.

Over the next few years we will be embarking on a campaign to build a new, gold standard Cancer and Blood Disorders Centre on site and the BT4BC event is the signature event for this centre. The centre will work closely with the University of NSW’s Lowy Cancer Research Centre, to provide the latest researched treatments. When completed, it will be the only fully comprehensive, public cancer treatment centre in Sydney, which also treats many of our country patients.

Braith Anasta, Jodi Gordon

 Laura Csortan


Prince of Wales Hospital Foundation

The Westin Sydney

open haus

Eva Rinaldi Photography Flickr

Eva Rinaldi Photography

Paris Hilton, Friends, Hollywood Celebrities Open Marquee The Star, Sydney, Australia

Australian entertainment and nightclub fans, and all you celebrity watchers out there... It's time for yet another showbiz update.

The Star's new nightclub Marquee in "Sin City" Sydney, Australia tonight held their grand opening last night and the ultimate party girl herself - Paris Hilton, along with boyfriend DJ Afrojack, and a bush tucker bag of friends and associates including Ashlee Simpson, Nick Lachey, Kellan Lutz, Abbie Cornish and LMFAO's Redfoo helped get the party started on the red (purple) carpet. By the way, the colour purple is supposed to attract money we understand, and it was working for Ms Hilton.

The gamble to sign up Paris and friends appears to have paid off, as far as attracting international headlines, but only time will tell what it does to the bottom line of The Star (once known as Star City Casino).

The Australian contingent of celebs who attended included Laura Dundovic, Alex Dimitriades, Glenn and Sara McGrath, Alex Perry, Nikki Phillips, Didier Cohen, April Rose Pengilly, Tim Commandeur, Laura Cstortan and Chris Joannou.

Marquee is understood to have snatched big dollars tonight, along with some positive press, but upping the ante in star power. Just how much it cost The Star to bring in Ms Hilton is anyone's guess but a well known media agency in Sydney estimated "between $50,000 to $150,000 for Ms Hilton and friends", but don't ever expect to find out the real figure as agents and legal eagles will be guarding that information from falling into the media and public domain.

The official VIP launch party featured DJ sets from The Black Eye Peas, will.i.am and Afrojack, with boat loads of celebs.

The 20,000 square foot nightclub occupies the entire top tier of The Star’s new Pirrama Road harbour side entrance. It enjoys a 1,200 people capacity and is aiming to fill up the venue with the right sort of customers. It's understood that there's three separate spaces within the one venue, and there was something for everyone's mood and taste.

The Main Room sports a 30-foot projection stage with an LED DJ booth and two funky dance floors, while another section entitled 'Boom Box' has an outdoor patio and DJ booth. For those guests who are looking for a bit more intimacy... and we know your out there boys and girls, there's a "library-style" lounge room along with fireplace, where you might want to get all cosy with your best friends.

The new sexy nightclub is a joint effort between The Star and Tao Group, which operates very successful nightclubs in the United States including LAVO in New York and Las Vegas, TAO Las Vegas and Marquee Nightclub and Dayclub at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.

We think its a pretty safe bet that you and yours will have fun (and spend a few dollars) at The Star's Marquee, so why not give them a go and tell us all about your experience.

It's all just another move in the Australian casino and entertainment wars, with a good dash of tourism biz factored in, and hopefully the public and Sydney benefit.

Competitor of sorts, Crown Limited, is following the progress of Sydney based 'The Star' closely, and the two gaming companies fight for the entertainment and gambling dollar, with big name celebs and casino "whales" being the most sought after patrons.

The Star will no doubt be hosting more celeb filled parties, but its unclear when Ms Hilton is returning to party (and pick up another payday). No word yet if she's got a whole floor to herself to sleep in and party (like Leonardo DiCaprio did on his previous down under Australian visits), but we highly suspect so.

Will you be on 'The List' any time soon at Marquee? Well, dress the part, work hard, and play harder, and you may soon be partying along with some of the world's hottest socialites.

If your into the best nightlife that Sydney has to offer you owe it to yourself to take the gamble and get on over to Marquee all you cool cats out there.

Thank you to everyone who helped make the event a hot success, and Paris - we hope you enjoy the rest of your stay in Australia.


The Star

Marquee, The Star, Sydney

Echo Entertainment

Paris Hilton official website

Eva Rinaldi Photography

Eva Rinaldi Flickr

open haus

Bach: Brandenburg Concertos (CD review)

Jeanne Lamon, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra. Tafelmusik TMK1004CD2 (2-disc set).

Conductor and violinist Jeanne Lamon has been the Musical Director of Tafelmusik (or the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra as we currently know it) since 1979, just two years after its founding.  Tafelmusik is a period-instruments ensemble specializing in historical recreations of Baroque music, getting their name from the German word for "table-music," music performed during banquets and feasts in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Tafelmusik have recorded for several labels over the years and are now re-releasing some of their best material on their own label, Tafelmusik Media, the set under review among them. They originally released these six Brandenburg Concertos in 1995 for Sony, and it's good to have them back in circulation.

You'll recall that the Brandenburgs sound different from one another because J.S. Bach never intended them as a cohesive group. Margrave Christian Ludwig of Brandenburg commissioned Bach to write several pieces for him, and what he got a few years later was a collection of six works for various-sized instrumental groups and various solo instruments. It's probable that Bach composed them at different times for different other occasions, and as was his wont, sort of re-arranged them for the collection he presented to the Margrave.

The most obvious comparison I can make in describing Tafelmusik's performances of the concertos is that of Trevor Pinnock's most-recent period-instruments recording with the European Brandenburg Ensemble on Avie. Pinnock is very marginally quicker throughout, Tafelmusik a touch more relaxed and reserved. Pinnock's group also seems to be very slightly steadier, the players more together, Tafelmusik a bit less polished and refined. However, for that matter, one can hardly tell them apart in most movements. Both groups get very good recordings, so for that matter, even their sound is pretty much alike. Since there's really not a lot to choose between them, and since both orchestras pretty much lead the field at the moment for historically informed performances of the music, I'd say one might make a choice in the matter according to one's predisposition regarding the conductors themselves.

Lamon and Tafelmusik take the opening movement of the Concerto No. 1 a tad slower than I'd like; otherwise, the playing is vigorous without being hurried or frenetic, a characteristic of the ensemble's readings of all six concertos. The trumpet in Concerto No. 2 is not as annoyingly forward as it can be in some recordings, and the piece goes by with a zesty warmth. Appropriately, Concerto No. 3, possibly the most popular of the set, sounds lively and spontaneous, without any sense of overdoing the tempos or stressing out the fabric of the music.

Concerto No. 4 is especially delightful, with a vivacious bounce in its step. No. 5 features superior harpsichord playing from Charlotte Nediger that raises this interpretation a notch above most of the rest. And No. 6 displays a wonderfully light hand, given the number of instruments involved, Ms. Lamon keeping the dance rhythms moving along at a healthy, vibrant, yet smoothly nuanced gait, particularly in the final movement.

Recorded in 1993-94 and done in Sony's 20-bit "high definition" technology at Toronto's Glenn Gould Studio, the engineers obtained a natural, lifelike sound. The miking doesn't usually favor any one instrument or frequency range, so the sonic presentation appears quite well balanced. More important, there is hardly any veiling of the midrange, providing a fairly clear, clean sound. What's more, one notices a light studio resonance that supplies a pleasing ambient bloom to the activities and adds to the feeling of being at a live event.


Franck: Symphony in D minor (CD review)

Also, Lalo: Symphony in G minor; Faure: Pavane. Sir Thomas Beecham, Orchestre National de la Radiodiffusion Francaise. EMI 7243-5-62949-2.

Until the rerelease of this disc, my reference standard for French composer Cesar Franck's Symphony in D minor was Monteux's recording from 1961 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (RCA Living Stereo) and before that (because Monteux's old recording had long been unavailable on CD) Dutoit's digital recording with the Montreal Symphony (Decca). I have to admit that it had been many years since I had heard Beecham's 1959 rendering, and I had quite forgotten how good it was. But I have to stand by the conviction that Monteux still rules the day.

By comparison to Monteux's authoritative interpretation, Beecham's account sounds a tad more wayward in matters of pacing and a bit less magical overall, even if it is still quite fluid and graceful. Dutoit, whose performance is also very good, seems more matter of fact than either Monteux or Beecham, more suavely elegant, to be sure, but ultimately more mundane. Monteux is the more reposed and more insightful of the three, whilst retaining plenty of excitement. Although timings are much the same in all three accounts, Monteux seems more meaningful for his better gauged lingerings and pauses. The music is just as dramatic in all three versions, swinging from moody to energetic, but Monteux is that much more ravishing in the central Allegretto, with its prominent English horn solo, and in the playfulness of the slender scherzo-like theme that follows.

In terms of sound, Dutoit's newer digital recording is admittedly the most detailed, but it is really no more lifelike than the other two. Where Dutoit's recording comes into its own is in filling out the center of the orchestral field better, the RCA being slightly more prominent in the left and right channels. The Beecham EMI recording, on the other hand, sounds nicely balanced left to right, with good dynamics, but it is also a little brighter through the lower treble while being a touch muted in the upper highs. The result is that the Beecham sounds very slightly harsher, overall, than the other two.

One's final decision may rest with the couplings. EMI add Beecham's account of Edouard Lalo's Symphony in G minor, an oddly neglected work presented here with great sympathy and understanding in a heartfelt rendition that brings out all the pathos, melancholy, vigor, and charm of the piece. Although Lalo's Symphony is perhaps not the epitome of Western symphonic art, it has its moments, especially in its vivid finale. Beecham championed the work all his life, but it never caught on. Also on the Beecham disc you'll find Gabriel Faure's little Pavane, exquisitely molded. However, Monteux's disc has his enchanting interpretation of Stravinsky's Petrouchka on it, so it doesn't make decisions easy.  Fortunately, both the Beecham and Monteux discs come at a mid price, so maybe having both of them in one's collection isn't a bad idea.


Justin Bieber Fragrance Launch With Make A Wish Foundation, Sydney, Australia

Today in Sydney, Australia, Make-A-Wish Foundation received a $50,000 donation from Escentials Brands, thanks to their business arrangement with Justin Bieber.

Worldwide phenomenon Justin Bieber has teamed up with Give Back Brands to create a fragrance with GBB's net profits going to charity.

After record-breaking sales in the United States and the United Kingdom, SOMEDAY is launching in Australia exclusively through local distribution company, Escentials Brands, to be sold at Myer from Sunday 1 April 2012.

In keeping with the philosophy of Justin Bieber and GBB, Escentials Brands will also be donating a further $2 every 100mL bottle sold between launch and 31 December 2012 to Make A Wish Australia. A donation of $50,000 will be made to Make A Wish Australia from Escentials Brands before a single bottle is sold.

News media attended The Summit Restaurant's private dining room, Prive.

Thank you to everyone who helped make the event so successful, and good on Justin Bieber and his management for using celebrity for good.

Finally, all power to the brave Make-A-Wish kids, and keep up the good fight.

Celebrity for good - should be more of it, and public big congrats to Justin and friends in setting a fine example.

Adriana  Lianos, Richard Wilkins


Justin Bieber official website

Make-A-Wish Foundation (Australia)

Make-A-Wish Foundation

Identity PR

Eva Rinaldi Photography Flickr

Eva Rinaldi Photography

Duran Duran Rock Sydney Entertainment Centre, Australia

Tonight's the night. The Sydney Entertainment Centre was privileged to showcase iconic 80's group Duran Duran to Sydney.

The group looked and sounded great, and it didn't look like they missed a beat from when they were in their prime.

Favourite numbers of mine included ‘Hungry Like The Wolf' and 'Girls On Film'.

The anticipation of music lovers in Sydney has been building for some time and was further fuelled along by the announcement of promoter Dainty Group...

Dainty Group is thrilled to announce that after a long absence, one of the world's most iconic bands, DURAN DURAN, will return to Australian shores in March 2012 for a series of six concerts, in support of their latest album ‘All You Need Is Now'.  This highly anticipated tour will see the band perform across the country, with shows in Sydney, Melbourne,Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and the Hunter Valley.

DURAN DURAN's Australian tour will comprise a run of spectacular arena shows, as well as two unforgettable outdoor concerts at Sandalford Estate (Swan Valley, Perth) and Tempus Two Winery (Hunter Valley, NSW).  Last in Australia in 2008, DURAN DURAN will showcase songs from their critically acclaimed new album on the March dates, alongside all of the unforgettable hits from across their thirty-year career.

DURAN DURAN's stunning new album: ‘All You Need Is Now', has already been proclaimed a triumph by fans and critics alike, and hit the #1 spot on download charts in the top 15 markets around the world when it was released earlier this year (on Shock Records in Australia).  Produced by Grammy Award-winner Mark Ronson (Amy Winehouse, Adele, Kaiser Chiefs, Lily Allen) and mixed by Spike Stent (Madonna, Björk, No Doubt), it features guest vocals/rap from long-time Duran Duran pal/collaborator Ana Matronic of the Scissor Sisters, and R&B/neo-soul superstar Kelis; while Owen Pallettof Arcade Fire contributes the album's string arrangements. ‘All You Need Is Now' is a return-to-roots homage to DURAN DURAN's most celebrated musical panache, and has already been dubbed the "imaginary follow up to Rio that never was."

The announcement of the band's 2012 Australian dates comes hot on the heels of their brilliantly reviewed North American tour, a sold out 11 show arena run in the UK, and a whirlwind year that has seen them, amongst other things, make a spectacular live film with director David Lynch, and most recently release a uniquely DURAN DURAN video for the song ‘Girl Panic !'.Directed by Grammy-award winner Jonas Åkerlund (who has shot videos for Madonna, Beyoncé and Lady Gaga, including the notorious "Telephone"),this dazzling short film reunites top supermodels Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Helena Christensen, Eva Herzigova and Yasmin Le Bon, and was shot over the course of two days this past June at the Savoy Hotel in London. As the models take on rock star roles playing Simon, John, Nick, and Roger, the nine minute video unfolds into a stunning, fast-paced, high fashion affair, that has fast become the most talked about collaboration of its kind this year. Australian fans can view the video here.

The original Duran line-up of Simon Le Bon, John Taylor, Roger Taylor, and Nick Rhodes continues to reign supreme as one of the biggest British bands of all time - reimagining pop music, creating ground-breaking music videos and winning over millions of new fans worldwide with their unique fusion of music, art, technology and fashion.From the very beginning,when DURAN DURAN first took the visual imperatives of the New Romantic movement of the 1980s to a whole other level, defining the MTV generation, they have built a loyal army of fans who have stayed with them to this day.

Since their first worldwide hits, that included ‘Planet Earth', ‘Girls on Film', ‘Hungry Like The Wolf' and ‘Rio', the band have maintained their success and solidified their place within pop music history. They have sold over 80 million records worldwide, had more than 30 hit singles and have garnered a global presence with huge concert audiences on five continents. Now a seemingly unstoppable force, with no fewer than six prestigious Lifetime Achievement Awards under their belts (MTV Video Music Awards, the Brits, the Ivor Novellos,Q Magazine, the Spanish Ondas and most recently GQ Magazine),DURAN DURAN are in a category with only a handful of other internationally acclaimed artists.

As this new chapter begins, they have nothing left to prove, but everything to play for.  So for them and their loyal army of fans... All You Need Is Now!

Thank yous...

We would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has been diligently working away in putting this awesome concert together.

We'll see you back at the Sydney Entertainment Centre again really soon.


Duran Duran

Dainty Group

Sydney Entertainment Centre

Eva Rinaldi Photography Flickr

Eva Rinaldi Photography

Splash News & Pictures

Barber: Violin Concerto (CD review)

Also, Korngold: Violin Concerto; Waxman: Carmen Fantasy; Williams: Theme from Schindler's List. Alexander Gilman, violin; Perry So, The Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra. OehmsClassics OC 799.

So, what are the connections among Barber, Korngold, Waxman, and Williams? There are always connections, right? Well, in this case, they are all twentieth-century composers, of course.  And they are all essentially Romanticists after their time. But, more important, they all either wrote at one point or another directly for Hollywood or allowed Hollywood to use their music in films. On the present album, we get a chance to hear mostly music they wrote for the concert hall, with the John Williams piece most obviously written for a movie.

The primary performers on the disc are a young pair of musicians (both coincidentally born in 1982) with enormous talent and potential, who provide the music with a Romantic spirit and youthful vitality. German violinist Alexander Gilman has performed and won competitions throughout the world and is also currently an assistant at the University of Music in Zurich. Chinese conductor Perry So has also performed worldwide, won awards, and is currently the Associate Conductor of the Hong Kong Philharmonic. With the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, the participants do the music proud.

The program begins with the Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 14, by the American composer Samuel Barber (1910-1981). Of the composers on the album, it is only Barber who did not write directly for the movies, yet filmmakers used his Adagio for Strings in motion pictures like Platoon, Lorenzo's Oil, The Elephant Man, and probably others. Anyway, Gilman's violin floats above the orchestra, the tone heartfelt and sweet. It's surprising that two performers as young as Gilman and So would produce such a relaxed and moving an interpretation; I mean, you might have expected them maybe to have hurried things along with quick tempos, quirky phrasing variations, and extreme dynamic contrasts. It's good to see they resisted the temptations and present the music in a most-touching manner, intimate and soaring.

Next, we find the Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D Major, Op. 35, by the Austro-Hungarian composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957). Folks possibly know Korngold best for his swashbuckling music for Captain Blood, The Sea Hawk, The Adventures of Robin Hood, and the like, but he wrote a considerable number of non-movie pieces as well. As we might expect of a composer accomplished in film scores, Korngold's work is rhapsodic and filled with references to his own movie music.  Its melodic richness could well underscore any Hollywood romance of the day. Again, Gilman and So treat the piece with reverence, soberness, and almost old-fashioned sentiment. It's exactly what the music needs, and the second-movement Andante is meltingly beautiful. Then, as Barber did in his concerto, Korngold ends his work in a rather rambunctious style, with Gilman and So letting their hair down, so to speak.

After that, we get The Carmen Fantasie for Violin and Orchestra by the German-American composer Franz Waxman (1906-1967). As you can guess, he based the piece on themes from Bizet's opera, so it gives the performers a chance at further exhibiting some bravura playing. Originally, Waxman had written the Fantasie for the movie Humoresque (1946) and later adapted it for the concert stage.

Finally, we hear the theme from the movie Schindler's List by American composer John Williams (b. 1932). The music is brief and appropriately serious. It also allows the orchestra a bigger role in the music making and provides opportunities for both Gilman and So to shine.

OehmsClassics recorded the program in 2010 in Cape Town, South Africa, to good, atmospheric effect. The sound is big and warm, the violin comparatively close, the orchestra placed effortlessly behind it in a wide array. There is a pleasing sense of ambient bloom on the instruments, which also tends very slightly to veil the presentation's overall transparency. Nevertheless, the rich, resonant sonics go a long way toward conveying the Romantic mood of the music, and it doesn't really affect the tone of the violin, which remains quite clear and natural throughout the proceedings. Add in a resplendent bass, solid impact, and a reasonably good depth of field, and you get a sonic presentation that's easy to like.


Leisel VS Bondi

Leisel Jones has won three Olympic gold medals, broken twelve world records, won 7 World Championships and last week became the first Australian swimmer of all time to qualify for four Olympic Games.

Leisel will be at Bondi Beach on Tuesday morning to cheer on participants as they attempt to better her world record 200 metre breaststroke time...participants will however be allowed to swim freestyle!

Interview and photo opportunities will be available.

Leisel Jones (Swimming Australia)

North Bondi Surf Life Saving Club


Eva Rinaldi Photography Flickr

Eva Rinaldi Photography

Music News Australia

Bondi Beach Directory