vineri, 28 februarie 2014

Success 2014: Pedro Almodóvar, a Spanish film director, screenwriter, producer and former actor. Almodóvar is a successful and internationally known filmmaker

Pedro Almodóvar Caballero is a Spanish film director, screenwriter, producer and former actor.
Almodóvar is a successful and internationally known filmmaker. His films, marked by complex narratives, employ the codes of melodrama and use elements of pop culture, popular songs, irreverent humor, strong colors and glossy décor. Desire, passion, family and identity are among Almodóvar’s most prevalent themes. His films enjoy a worldwide following and he has become a major figure on the stage of world cinema.
He founded the Spanish film production company El Deseo with his younger brother Agustín Almodóvar who has produced almost all of Pedro’s films. He was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2001 and received an honorary doctoral degree in 2009 from Harvard University for his contribution to the arts.

Asked to explain the success of his films, he says that they are very entertaining. "It's important not to forget that films are made to entertain. That's the key."He was heavily influenced by old Hollywood movies in which everything happens around a female main character, and aims to continue in that tradition.
Almodóvar is openly gay, and he has incorporated elements of underground and gay culture into mainstream forms with wide crossover appeal, thus redefining perceptions of Spanish cinema and Spain.He acknowledges, however, that his films are also very personal--"[M]y films are very Spanish, but on the other hand they are capriciously personal. You cannot measure Spain by my films."
In 2013, he was honoured for his European achievement to world cinema at the 26th European Film Awards.


Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios (1988)


Almodóvar’s next film was his first huge international success: Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios), a feminist light comedy that further established Almodóvar as a "women's director" like George Cukor and Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Almodóvar has said that women make better characters: “women are more spectacular as dramatic subjects, they have a greater range of registers, etc.”
The film, staged as a faux adaptation of a theatrical work, details a two-day period in the life of Pepa (Carmen Maura), a professional movie dubber who has been abruptly abandoned by her married lover and who frantically tries to track him down. In the course of her search she discovers some of his secrets, and realizes her true feelings.
Inspired by Hollywood comedies of the 1950s, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown became the stepping stone for Pedro Almodóvar's later work. This light comedy of rapid-fire dialogue and fast-paced action remains one of Almodóvar’s most accessible films (with no drugs or sex, although there is a sequence in which a sleeping woman dreams that she is having sex, and we see only her reactions). The film received public and critical acclaim worldwide, and brought Almodóvar to the attention of American audiences. Women was showered with many awards, and received an Oscar nomination for best foreign language film.

¡Átame! (1990)

Almodóvar's next film marked the breaking-off with his reference actress, Carmen Maura, and the beginning of a fruitful collaboration with another great actress of Spanish and European cinema: Victoria Abril. Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (¡Átame!) was also the director's fifth and most important collaboration with Antonio Banderas.
In Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!, Ricky (played by Antonio Banderas), a recently released psychiatric patient, kidnaps and holds hostage an actress (played by Victoria Abril) in order to make her fall in love with him. “I’m 23 years old, I have fifty thousand pesetas and I am alone in the world. I will try to be a good husband for you and a good father for your children,” he tells her.
Rather than populate the film with many characters, as in his previous films, here the story focuses on the compelling relationship at its center: the actress and her kidnapper literally struggling for power and desperate for love. The film’s title line ¡Tie Me Up! is unexpectedly uttered by the actress as a genuine request. She does not know if she will try to escape or not, and when she realizes she has feelings for her captor, she prefers not to be given a chance.
In spite of some dark elements, Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! can be described as a romantic comedy, and the director's most clear love story, with a plot similar to William Wyler's thriller, The Collector. Nevertheless, the film was the subject of heated debate; it was decried by feminists and women's advocacy groups for what they perceived as the film's sadomasochist undertones. Its U.S. release was marked by further scandal and controversy. The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), which determines film ratings in the U.S., marginalized its distribution with the stigma of an 'X' rating. The film's distribution company, Miramax, filed a lawsuit against the MPAA over the X rating, but lost in court. However, numerous other filmmakers had complained about the X rating given to their films, and in September 1990 the MPAA dropped the X rating and replaced it with the NC-17 rating. This was especially helpful to films of explicit nature that were previously regarded unfairly as pornographic because of the X rating.
Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!, which did not enjoy the wide acclaim of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, rather had a negative reception among some Spanish critics, who declared that Almodóvar had lost his sense of direction; similar criticism was leveled at his two subsequent films.

Pepi, Luci, Bom y otras chicas del montón (1980)

Almodóvar made his first feature film, Pepi, Luci, Bom and Other Girls on the Heap (Pepi, Luci, Bom y otras chicas del montón), in 1980 with a very low budget and a team of volunteers shooting on weekends. The film was based on his photo-novella, General Erections, previously published in the magazine El Víbora (The Viper). Pepi, Luci, Bom… consists of a series of loosely connected sketches rather than a fully formed plot. It follows the adventures of the three characters of the title: Pepi, who wants revenge from the corrupt policeman who raped her; Luci, a mousy, masochistic housewife; and Bom, a lesbian punk rock singer. The central theme of the film, friendship and female solidarity, appears repeatedly in Almodóvar’s filmography.
The film was plagued by financial and technical problems. However, Almodóvar would look back fondly to his first film: "Pepi, Luci, Bom… is a film full of defects. When a film has only one or two, it is considered an imperfect film, while when there is a profusion of technical flaws, it is called style. That’s what I said joking around when I was promoting the film, but I believe that that was closer to the truth.
The film captured the spirit of the times – above all the sense of cultural and sexual freedom – and established Almodóvar as an agent provocateur. With its many kitsch elements, campy style, outrageous humor, and explicit sexuality (there is a famous golden shower scene in the middle of a knitting lesson), the film amassed a cult following. It toured the independent circuits and then spent four years on the late night showing of the Alphaville Theater in Madrid which provided the funds for Almodóvar's second film.

Laberinto de Pasiones (1982)

Labyrinth of Passions (Laberinto de Pasiones) is a screwball comedy about multiple identities, one of Almodóvar’s favorite subjects. The plot follows the adventures of two sex-crazy characters: Sexilia, an aptly named nymphomaniac pop star, and Riza, the gay son of the leader of a fictional Middle Eastern country. Their unlikely destiny is to find one another, overcome their sexual preferences and live happily ever after on a tropical island. The campy roundelay also involves Queti, Sexilia’s “biggest fan”, whose delusional father rapes her. The film is an outrageous look at love and sex, framed in Madrid of the early 1980s, during the so-called Movida madrileña, a period of sexual adventurousness between the dissolution of Franco's authoritarian regime and the onset of AIDS consciousness. Labyrinth of Passions caught the spirit of liberation which then ruled in Madrid and it became a cult film.
Almodóvar said about Labyrinth of Passions: "I like the film even if it could have been better made. The main problem is that the story of the two leads is much less interesting than the stories of all the secondary characters. But precisely because there are so many secondary characters, there's a lot in the film I like."

Entre Tinieblas (1983)

Dark Habits (Entre Tinieblas) heralded a change in tone to somber melodrama with comic elements. This film has an almost all-female cast featuring many of Almodóvar's favorite leading ladies: Carmen Maura, Julieta Serrano, Marisa Paredes and Chus Lampreave. The narrative centers upon a cabaret singer, who, running away from justice, finds refuge in a convent of destitute nuns, each of whom explores a different sin. The mother superior, a lesbian drug addict, falls in love with the singer.
The film is a satire of Spain's religious institutions, portraying spiritual desolation and moral bankruptcy. Dark Habits explores the force of desire in characters who are ruled by their intuition rather than reason. This is also Almodóvar’s first film in which he clearly uses popular music to express emotion: in a pivotal scene, the mother superior and her protégé sing along with Lucho Gatica’s bolero: Encadenados (Chained together).
Dark Habits was a modest success, and cemented Almodóvar’s reputation as the enfant terrible of the Spanish cinema.

¿Qué he hecho yo para merecer esto? (1984)

Almodóvar's next film, What Have I Done to Deserve This? (¿Qué he hecho yo para merecer esto?) was inspired by the Spanish black comedies of the late 50s and early 60s. It is the tale of a struggling housewife named Gloria and her dysfunctional family: her abusive husband, who works as a taxi driver; her oldest son, a drug dealer; the youngest son, who sells his body to the local perverts; and the grandmother who hates the city and just wants to return to her rural village.
The theme of the downtrodden housewife coping with the travails of everyday life arises repeatedly in the director's work, as do other issues of female independence and solidarity. What Have I Done to Deserve This? is also a critique on consumerism and patriarchal culture. In one scene, the housewife trades her own son so she doesn't have to pay a dentist bill, and in another the only witness of a crime is a lizard, aptly named “Money.”
What Have I Done to Deserve This? was more successful than Almodóvar’s previous films and became his first with international distribution.

Matador (1986)

Almodóvar's subsequent films deepened his exploration of sexual desire and the sometimes brutal laws governing it. Matador is a dark, complex story that centers on the relationship between a former bullfighter and a murderous female lawyer, both of whom can only experience sexual fulfillment in conjunction with killing. The film offered up desire as a bridge between sexual attraction and death.
Written together with Spanish novelist Jesús Ferrero, Matador drew away from the naturalism and humor of the director’s previous work into a deeper and darker terrain. Almodóvar established the interrelation between sexuality and violence as seen in his cinematographic quotation of the final sequence from King Vidor’s Duel in the Sun. The violent elements of the film caused some controversy. Almodóvar justified his use of violence explaining "The moral of all my films is to get to a stage of greater freedom." Almodóvar went on to note, "I have my own morality. And so do my films. If you see Matador through the perspective of traditional morality, it's a dangerous film because it's just a celebration of killing. Matador is like a legend. I don't try to be realistic; it's very abstract, so you don't feel identification with the things that are happening, bt with the sensibility of this kind of romanticism".

La Ley del Deseo (1987)

Almodóvar solidified his creative independence when he started the production company El Deseo, together with his brother Agustín Almodóvar, who has also had several cameo roles in his films. From 1986 on, Pedro Almodóvar has produced his own films.
The first movie that came out from El Deseo was the aptly named Law of Desire (La Ley del Deseo). The narrative follows three main characters: a gay film director who embarks on a new project; his sister, an actress who used to be his brother (played by Carmen Maura), and a repressed murderously obsessive stalker (played by Antonio Banderas).
The film presents a gay love triangle and drew away from most representations of homosexuals in films. These characters are neither coming out nor confronting sexual guilt or homophobia; they are already liberated, like the homosexuals in Fassbinder’s films. Almodóvar said about Law of Desire : " It's the key film in my life and career. It deals with my vision of desire, something that's both very hard and very human. By this I mean the absolute necessity of being desired and the fact that in the interplay of desires it's rare that two desires meet and correspond".
Almodóvar's films rely heavily on the capacity of his actors to pull through difficult roles into a complex narrative. In Law of Desire Carmen Maura plays the role of Tina, a woman who used to be a man. Almodóvar explains: "Carmen is required to imitate a woman, to savour the imitation, to be conscious of the kitsch part that there is in the imitation, completely renouncing parody, but not humour."
Elements from Law of Desire grew into the basis for two later films: Carmen Maura appears in a stage production of Cocteau’s The Human Voice, which inspired Almodóvar’s next film, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown; and Tina's confrontation scene with an abusive priest formed a partial genesis for Bad Education.

Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios (1988)

Almodóvar’s next film was his first huge international success: Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios), a feminist light comedy that further established Almodóvar as a "women's director" like George Cukor and Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Almodóvar has said that women make better characters: “women are more spectacular as dramatic subjects, they have a greater range of registers, etc.”
The film, staged as a faux adaptation of a theatrical work, details a two-day period in the life of Pepa (Carmen Maura), a professional movie dubber who has been abruptly abandoned by her married lover and who frantically tries to track him down. In the course of her search she discovers some of his secrets, and realizes her true feelings.
Inspired by Hollywood comedies of the 1950s, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown became the stepping stone for Pedro Almodóvar's later work. This light comedy of rapid-fire dialogue and fast-paced action remains one of Almodóvar’s most accessible films (with no drugs or sex, although there is a sequence in which a sleeping woman dreams that she is having sex, and we see only her reactions). The film received public and critical acclaim worldwide, and brought Almodóvar to the attention of American audiences. Women was showered with many awards, and received an Oscar nomination for best foreign language film.

¡Átame! (1990)

Almodóvar's next film marked the breaking-off with his reference actress, Carmen Maura, and the beginning of a fruitful collaboration with another great actress of Spanish and European cinema: Victoria Abril. Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (¡Átame!) was also the director's fifth and most important collaboration with Antonio Banderas.
In Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!, Ricky (played by Antonio Banderas), a recently released psychiatric patient, kidnaps and holds hostage an actress (played by Victoria Abril) in order to make her fall in love with him. “I’m 23 years old, I have fifty thousand pesetas and I am alone in the world. I will try to be a good husband for you and a good father for your children,” he tells her.
Rather than populate the film with many characters, as in his previous films, here the story focuses on the compelling relationship at its center: the actress and her kidnapper literally struggling for power and desperate for love. The film’s title line ¡Tie Me Up! is unexpectedly uttered by the actress as a genuine request. She does not know if she will try to escape or not, and when she realizes she has feelings for her captor, she prefers not to be given a chance.
In spite of some dark elements, Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! can be described as a romantic comedy, and the director's most clear love story, with a plot similar to William Wyler's thriller, The Collector. Nevertheless, the film was the subject of heated debate; it was decried by feminists and women's advocacy groups for what they perceived as the film's sadomasochist undertones. Its U.S. release was marked by further scandal and controversy. The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), which determines film ratings in the U.S., marginalized its distribution with the stigma of an 'X' rating. The film's distribution company, Miramax, filed a lawsuit against the MPAA over the X rating, but lost in court. However, numerous other filmmakers had complained about the X rating given to their films, and in September 1990 the MPAA dropped the X rating and replaced it with the NC-17 rating. This was especially helpful to films of explicit nature that were previously regarded unfairly as pornographic because of the X rating.
Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!, which did not enjoy the wide acclaim of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, rather had a negative reception among some Spanish critics, who declared that Almodóvar had lost his sense of direction; similar criticism was leveled at his two subsequent films.

luni, 24 februarie 2014

Success 2014: Petula Clark, an English singer, actress, and composer that sold more than 68 million records. During the 1960s she became known globally for her popular upbeat hits, including "Downtown", "I Know a Place", "My Love", "Colour My World", "A Sign of the Times", and "Don't Sleep in the Subway"

Petula Sally Olwen Clark, CBE (born 15 November 1932) is an English singer, actress, and composer whose career has spanned seven decades.
Clark's professional career began as an entertainer on BBC Radio during World War II. During the 1950s she started recording in French and having international success in both French and English, with such songs as "The Little Shoemaker", "Baby Lover", "With All My Heart", and "Prends Mon Cœur". During the 1960s she became known globally for her popular upbeat hits, including "Downtown", "I Know a Place", "My Love", "Colour My World", "A Sign of the Times", and "Don't Sleep in the Subway". She has sold more than 68 million records throughout her career.

Clark was born to an English father, Leslie Norman Clark, and a Welsh mother, Doris (Phillips) Clark. Both were nurses at Long Grove Hospital, in Epsom, Surrey, England. Her father invented her first name and joked it was a combination of the names of two former girlfriends, Pet and Ulla.
As a child, Clark sang in the chapel choir and showed a talent for mimicry, impersonating Vera Lynn, Carmen Miranda and Sophie Tucker for her family and friends. Her father introduced her to theatre when he took her to see Flora Robson in a 1938 production of Mary Tudor; she later recalled that after the performance "I made up my mind then and there I was going to be an actress ... I wanted to be Ingrid Bergman more than anything else in the world." However, her first public performances were as a singer, performing with an orchestra in the entrance hall of Bentall's Department Store in Kingston upon Thames for a tin of toffee and a gold wristwatch, in 1939.
Career start
From a chance beginning as a nine-year-old, Clark would appear on radio, film, print, television and recordings by the time she turned seventeen.
In October 1942, nine-year-old Clark made her radio debut while attending a BBC broadcast with her father. Attending in the hope of sending a message to an uncle stationed overseas, the broadcast was delayed by an air raid. During the bombing, the producer requested that someone perform to settle the jittery theatre audience, and she volunteered a rendering of "Mighty Lak' a Rose" to an enthusiastic response. She then repeated her performance for the broadcast audience, launching a series of some 500 appearances in programmes designed to entertain the troops.[5] In addition to radio work, Clark frequently toured the United Kingdom with fellow child performer Julie Andrews. Nicknamed the "Singing Sweetheart", she performed for George VI, Winston Churchill and Bernard Montgomery. Clark also became known as "Britain's Shirley Temple," and was considered a mascot by the British Army, whose troops plastered her photos on their tanks for good luck as they advanced into battle.
In 1944, while performing at London's Royal Albert Hall, Clark was discovered by film director Maurice Elvey, who cast her as precocious orphaned waif Irma in his weepy war drama Medal for the General. In quick succession, she starred in Strawberry Roan, I Know Where I'm Going!, London Town, and Here Come the Huggetts, the first in a series of Huggett Family films based on a British radio series. Although some of the films she made in the UK during the 1940s and 1950s were B-films,[citation needed] she worked with Anthony Newley in Vice Versa (directed by Peter Ustinov) and Alec Guinness in The Card as well as the aforementioned I Know Where I'm Going! which is a Powell and Pressburger feature film now generally regarded as a masterpiece (Clark's part was small).
In 1945, Clark was featured in the comic strip Radio Fun, in which she was billed as "Radio's Merry Mimic".
In 1946, Clark launched her television career with an appearance on a BBC variety show, Cabaret Cartoons, which led to her being signed to host her own afternoon series, titled simply Petula Clark. A second, Pet's Parlour, followed in 1949.
In 1947, Clark met Joe "Mr Piano" Henderson at the Maurice Publishing Company. The two collaborated musically, and were linked romantically over the coming decade. In 1949, Henderson introduced Clark to Alan A. Freeman, who, together with her father Leslie, formed Polygon Records, for which she recorded her earliest hits. Clark had recorded her first release that year, "Put Your Shoes On, Lucy," for EMI. Because neither EMI nor Decca, for whom she also had recorded, were keen to sign her to a long-term contract, her father, whose own theatrical ambitions had been thwarted by his parents, teamed with Freeman to form the Polygon record label in order to better control and facilitate her singing career.[citation needed] This project was financed with Clark's earnings. She scored a number of major hits in the UK during the 1950s, including "The Little Shoemaker" (1954), "Majorca" (1955), "Suddenly There's a Valley" (1955) and "With All My Heart" (1956).'The Little Shoemaker' was an international hit reaching the coveted No 1 position in Australia, giving her the first of many No 1 records in her career. Although Clark released singles in the United States as early as 1951 (the first was "Tell Me Truly" b/w "Song Of The Mermaid" on the Coral label),[citation needed] it would take thirteen years before the American record-buying public would discover her.[citation needed]
Near the end of 1955, Polygon Records was sold to Nixa Records, then part of Pye Records, which led to the establishment of Pye Nixa Records (subsequently simply Pye). This turn of events effectively signed Clark to the Pye label in the UK, for whom she would record for the remainder of the 1950s, throughout the 1960s, and early into the 1970s.[citation needed]
During this period, Clark showed a keen interest for encouraging new talent. She suggested Henderson be allowed to record his own music, and he enjoyed five chart hits on Polygon/Pye between 1955 and 1960.




marți, 11 februarie 2014

The Hindenburg Disaster Collection: 26 signed photos, 2 letters

One year after I started The Hindenburg Disaster Collection, the photos are finally on the wall. It took 3 months to have back 4 of the 6 letters I wrote to the last survivors. I received back 26 signed photos, 2 letters. Total amount of money invested: $40. But then it took me more time to find two newspapers (8 pages each) from the next day of the disaster (May 7th, 1937) and an original list o wines served on a previous transatlantic flight of the zeppelin (in german language). 

The Hindenburg disaster took place on Thursday, May 6, 1937, as the German passenger airship LZ 129 Hindenburg caught fire and was destroyed during its attempt to dock with its mooring mast at the Lakehurst Naval Air Station, which is located adjacent to the borough of Lakehurst, New Jersey. Of the 97 people on board (36 passengers and 61 crewmen), there were 35 fatalities. There was also one death of a ground crewman.
The disaster was the subject of spectacular newsreel coverage, photographs, and Herbert Morrison's recorded radio eyewitness reports from the landing field, which was broadcast the next day. A variety of hypotheses have been put forward for both the cause of ignition and the initial fuel for the ensuing fire. The incident shattered public confidence in the giant, passenger-carrying rigid airship and marked the end of the airship era.
The disaster is well recorded due to the significant extent of newsreel coverage and photographs, as well as Herbert Morrison's eyewitness radio report for station WLS in Chicago, which was broadcast the next day. Heavy publicity about the first transatlantic passenger flight of the year by Zeppelin to the United States attracted a large number of journalists to the landing. (The airship had already made one round trip from Germany to Brazil that year.)

Morrison's broadcast remains one of the most famous in history. Parts of it were later dubbed onto the newsreel footage, giving the impression that the words and film were recorded together. His plaintive "Oh, the humanity!" has been widely used in popular culture. Part of the poignancy of his commentary is due to its being recorded at a slightly slower speed, so that when it is played back at normal speed, it seems to have a faster delivery and higher pitch. When corrected, his account is less frantic sounding, though still impassioned.

The spectacular film footage and Morrison's passionate reporting shattered public and industry faith in airships and marked the end of the giant passenger-carrying airships. Also contributing to the Zeppelins' downfall was the arrival of international passenger air travel and Pan American Airlines.[N 3] Aircraft regularly crossed the Atlantic and Pacific oceans much faster than the 130 km/h (80 mph) speed of the Hindenburg. The one advantage that the Hindenburg had over aircraft was the comfort that she afforded her passengers, much like that of an ocean liner.
There had been a series of other airship accidents, prior to the Hindenburg fire; many were caused by bad weather. The Graf Zeppelin had flown safely for more than 1.6 million kilometers (1.0 million miles), including the first circumnavigation of the globe by an airship. The Zeppelin company's promotions had prominently featured the fact that no passenger had been injured on any of its airships.

luni, 10 februarie 2014

Success 2014: Marco van Basten, Dutch football manager and former football player. Winner of the Ballon d'Or. He was named FIFA World Player of the Year in 1992, and European Footballer of the Year three times (1988, 1989 and 1992)

Marcel "Marco" van Basten is a Dutch football manager and former football player, who played for Ajax and A.C. Milan, as well as the Netherlands national team, in the 1980s and early 1990s. He is regarded as one of the greatest strikers of all time and has scored 277 goals in a high-profile career, but played his last game in 1993 at the age of 28 due to an injury which caused his retirement two years later. He was later the head coach of Ajax and the Netherlands national team.
Playing for the Netherlands, Van Basten won Euro 1988 where he was the player of the tournament, scoring five goals, including a memorable volley in the final against the Soviet Union.At club level he won three Eredivisie titles and the UEFA Cup Winners Cup with Ajax, and three Serie A titles and two European Cups with Milan.
Known for his strength on the ball, tactical awareness and spectacular strikes and volleys, Van Basten was named FIFA World Player of the Year in 1992, and European Footballer of the Year three times (1988, 1989 and 1992). In 1999, Van Basten was ranked sixth in the FIFA Player of the Century internet poll, tenth in the European player of the Century election held by the IFFHS, and he was voted twelfth in the IFFHS' World Player of the Century election.He was also voted eighth in a poll organised by the French magazine France Football consulting their former
Ballon d'Or winners to elect the Football Player of the Century. In 2004, he was named by Pelé as one of the 125 greatest living footballers at a FIFA awards ceremony. In 2004, a nationwide poll in the Netherlands was held for the 100 greatest Dutch people (De Grootste Nederlander) and Van Basten was number 25, the second highest for a football player, behind Johan Cruyff. In 2007, Sky Sports ranked Van Basten first on its list of great athletes who had their careers cut short.

Van Basten's talent was already noticed at a young age and he was called up for the 1983 FIFA World Youth Championship. He made his senior debut that same year. At the UEFA Euro 1988, Van Basten scored a total of five goals, including a hat trick against England, the winning goal in the semi-final against West Germany, and a spectacular volley in the final against the Soviet Union. He finished top scorer and was named player of the tournament.
The Dutch national team exited early in the World Cup in the 1990 FIFA World Cup, losing to West Germany in the second round. Van Basten never scored in the World Cup Finals.
The Netherlands reached the semi-final of UEFA Euro 1992 when they lost to Denmark in a penalty shootout, with Peter Schmeichel saving a penalty shot from Van Basten.

vineri, 7 februarie 2014

Success 2014: Caro Emerald, a Dutch pop and jazz singer. Her debut album Deleted Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor set a new all-time Dutch chart record on 20 August 2010

Caroline Esmeralda van der Leeuw (born 26 April 1981), best known by her stage name of Caro Emerald, is a Dutch pop and jazz singer. She debuted on 6 July 2009 with her single "Back It Up". Her 2009 single "A Night Like This" reached the number 1 position in the Netherlands.
Her debut album Deleted Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor set a new all-time Dutch chart record on 20 August 2010, spending its 30th week at number one on the country's albums chart, beating the previous record set by Michael Jackson's Thriller by one week. The album became the biggest selling album of 2010 in the Netherlands and has sold over 300,000 copies so far. In total more than a million copies have been sold. On 3 October 2010, Van der Leeuw was awarded the Dutch music prize "Edison Award" for Best Female Artist.
In April 2013, her second studio album The Shocking Miss Emerald went to No. 1 in the UK album chart, becoming her first UK No. 1 album.
Caroline Esmeralda van der Leeuw was born on 26 April 1981 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands to a Dutch father and an Aruban mother. She started singing lessons at age 12 with James Gilloffo in Amsterdam and joined a girl vocal group, Les Elles, under his guidance. Following high school she trained as a jazz vocalist at the Amsterdam Conservatory, graduating in 2005.
In early 2007 Dutch producer Jan van Wieringen invited van der Leeuw to sing the vocal on a demo track he was co-producing with songwriter and producer David Schreurs. The song, "Back It Up", had been written by Schreurs together with Canadian songwriter Vince Degiorgio and was based on a hip-hop beat created by Jan and Robin Veldman. Caro's jazzy vocal style was considered a "perfect match" for the new song.
The song demo was pitched to various publishers and labels but although the reaction was positive they struggled to imagine it suiting any particular artist and didn't believe it had a strong enough chart potential.  In the meantime, however, the song was posted on YouTube reaching public notice around the world. Radio stations picked it up and the song gained popularity.

When Degiorgio, Schreurs and van Wieringen discovered van der Leeuw's sound had such potential, they set about working on a full album presenting Emerald as the star in the summer of 2008 and used "Back It Up"'s mix of 40s–50s jazz, easy listening, orchestral Latin, combined with infectious beats as a model. Adopting a sample based approach but with live instrumentation, the writing sessions drew from a wide range of influences including jazz organist Jackie Davis, exotica composer Martin Denny, mambo king Perez Prado, 20s/30s jazz and van der Leeuw's own vocal inspirations of The Andrews Sisters, Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughan. The usual method would be for Schreurs to produce the backing tracks at home and then get together with top line writer and lyricist Degiorgio to write the song. Van der Leeuw would occasionally pitch in her own melody and lyrical ideas, and Van Wieringen co-created the tracks for "The Other Woman" and "Dr Wanna Do".
After the record labels they approached failed to sign van der Leeuw, Schreurs, van Wieringen and van der Leeuw created their own label Grandmono Records and released "Back It Up" as the first single on 6 July 2009. It was an instant hit and listed in the Dutch Top 40 for 12 weeks, peaking at No. 12. Kraak & Smaak provided a remix of the song. "Back It Up" was the most played song on Dutch radio station 3FM in 2009.Follow up A Night Like This became a No. 1 hit in The Netherlands.
In 2011 Emerald recorded a version of Brook Benton's 1963 hit "You're All I Want for Christmas", sampling the original song to produce a duet with Benton, who died in 1988. The song was released in December 2011.
On New Year's Eve 2011/2012 Emerald appeared on BBC Two television on Jools Holland's Hootenanny show backed by the Jools Holland Rhythm & Blues Orchestra.
In early 2012, Emerald won two German awards: a Goldene Kamera for Best Musik International and an Echo Award for Best Newcomer International, beating out other Echo nominees who included Lana Del Rey, Gotye, and LMFAO. She made her American debut in January 2013, performing in Los Angeles and New York.
In April 2013, her 2nd studio album The Shocking Miss Emerald was released it went to No1 in the UK album chart, becoming her first UK No1 album. She performed in the UK at The BBC Radio Theatre it was broadcast on BBC Radio 2 and BBC Red Button.

luni, 3 februarie 2014

Success 2014: Tony Blair, a British Labour Party politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007

Anthony Charles Lynton "Tony" Blair (born 6 May 1953) is a British Labour Party politician who served as the  Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007. He was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Sedgefield from 1983 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007. Blair led Labour to a landslide victory in the 1997 general election, winning 418 seats, the most the party has ever held. The party went on to win two more elections under his leadership, in 2001 and 2005, with a significantly reduced majority in the latter.


Blair was elected Labour Party leader in the leadership election of July 1994, following the sudden death of his predecessor, John Smith. Under his leadership, the party used the phrase "New Labour" to distance it from previous Labour policies. Blair declared opposition to the traditional conception of socialism, and declared support for a new conception that he referred to as "social-ism", involving politics that recognised individuals as socially interdependent, and advocated social justice, cohesion, equal worth of each citizen, and equal opportunity.Critics of Blair denounced him for having the Labour Party abandon genuine socialism and accepting capitalism.
At 43 years old, Blair became the youngest Prime Minister since Lord Liverpool in 1812. In the first years of the New Labour government, Blair's government implemented a number of 1997 manifesto pledges, introducing the National Minimum Wage Act, Human Rights Act and Freedom of Information Act, and carrying out devolution, establishing the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales, and the Northern Ireland Assembly.
Blair's role as Prime Minister was particularly visible in foreign and security policy, including in Northern Ireland, where he was involved in the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. From the start of the War on Terror in 2001, Blair strongly supported the foreign policy of US President George W. Bush, notably by participating in the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan and 2003 invasion of Iraq. Blair is the Labour Party's longest-serving Prime Minister, the only person to have led the Labour Party to more than two consecutive general election victories, and the only Labour Prime Minister to serve consecutive terms more than one of which was at least four years long.
He was succeeded as Leader of the Labour Party on 24 June 2007 and as Prime Minister on 27 June 2007 by Gordon Brown. On the day he resigned as Prime Minister, he was appointed the official Envoy of the Quartet on the Middle East. In May 2008, Blair launched his Tony Blair Faith Foundation.[5] This was followed in July 2009 by the launching of the Faith and Globalisation Initiative with Yale University in the US, Durham University in the UK and the National University of Singapore in Asia to deliver a postgraduate programme in partnership with the Foundation