British singer Susan Boyle displays a copy of her CD, at the front door of her house in Blackburn, Scotland, on Saturday. Susan Boyle’s debut record, “I Dreamed A Dream,” entered the British album chart in the top spot Sunday. (Associated Press photo)
Scottish singer Susan Boyle, the breakout star if not the winner of the reality TV show “Britain’s Got Talent,” has the fastest-selling album in Britain this year.
MTV.com reports that Boyle’s debut album, “I Dreamed a Dream,” entered the British charts at No. 1 Sunday on sales of 410,000. That sets a record for the biggest first-week sales for a debut album in U.K. chart history, beating out earlier big debuts by the Arctic Monkeys and Leona Lewis.
The album, a mixture of her most famous covers and holiday-appropriate standards, previously took the record for the biggest global CD pre-order in the 14-year history of Amazon.com. Along with her covers of the Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses” (the first single) and Madonna’s “You’ll See,” the album includes the 48-year-old singer’s renditions of the hymns “Amazing Grace,” “Silent Night,” and “How Great Thou Art,” the Monkees hit “Daydream Believer,” and one original song, “Who I Was Born to Be.”
The album sold more than 130,000 copies in its first day in England and has hit No. 1 in Australia and Ireland, according to MTV.
It is also expected to hit No. 1 in the U.S. this week, with experts predicting its 600,000-plus first-week sales will easily best the sales for America reality TV star Adam Lambert’s post-”American Idol” debut “For Your Entertainment.”
The newly minted hitmaker will be the subject of a TV Guide Channel documentary, “I Dreamed a Dream: The Susan Boyle Story,” that will air Dec. 13. The show will feature performances and interviews with Boyle as well as friends and supporters, including “Britain’s Got Talent” and “American Idol” judge Simon Cowell.
For more TV news, check out Penny Soldan’s always-informative blog at http://blog.newsok.com/television.
Toby Keith performs in concert in Helsinki, Finland. (Shock Ink photo)
Oklahoma country music star Toby Keith wrapped his first European tour last week, adding another continent to his growing sphere of influence.
Standing-room-only fans packed into Bergen, Norway’s Vestlandshallen Arena Nov. 22 and heard the final encore of a two-week sold-out run that included nine shows in six countries. Anticipation for the tour was at fever pitch as tickets were gone well before Keith set foot on European soil.
“The accents are a little different and the food sure isn’t what you get in Oklahoma,” Keith said in a news release. “But they say music’s a universal language and the folks we saw sure seemed to be having a good time. And so did we. I’m already looking forward to the next one.”
Keith opened the tour in Glasgow, Scotland Nov. 9 before playing London’s Hammersmith Apollo (Nov. 10), Dublin’s Olympia Theater (Nov. 12), Belfast’s Odyssey Arena (Nov. 13) and jumping across the North Sea for shows in Copenhagen, Denmark; Stockholm, Sweden; Helsinki, Finland; Oslo, Norway and, finally, Bergen.
Media coverage was extensive. Keith’s stop on the popular Swedish talk show “Skavlan” was one of the highest-rated episodes of the year. He was also the subject of cover stories or features appearing in the Irish News, Sunday World, Up Country, American, Irish Star, The Newsletter and more. And those are just the English language publications.
The energy inside and outside the venues was captured in a review of the Belfast show by the Ulster Star: “With Stetsons and cowboy boots everywhere you looked in the arena, it felt like you’d been transported to Texas rather than Belfast, and that was no bad thing as the country superstar thrilled the crowd.”
Keith was home from Europe in time to watch his Oklahoma Sooners whip my Oklahoma State Cowboys in Saturday’s Bedlam football game in Norman. But he will soon head back to Europe: He is set to perform Dec. 11 at the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway.
It’s been another hugely busy year for Keith: He played to capacity crowds on his domestic “America’s Toughest Tour,” his current single “Cryin’ For Me (Wayman’s Song)” is rapidly climbing the charts, and his last single, “American Ride,” the title track from the chart-topping album of the same name, went to No. 1.
“The Twilight Saga: New Moon” continued to shine at the box office over the weekend, taking in another $42.5 million to top the charts for a second straight week.
The real-life football drama “The Blind Side” also scored a second weekend touchdown with $40.1 million, again coming in at No. 2 behind “New Moon” but signficantly closing the gap. The film tells the inspirational story of Baltimore Ravens tackle Michael Oher, who played in the Ravens’ Sunday night overtime victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“New Moon” raised its domestic total to $230.7 million after just 10 days. That’s nearly $40 million more than the franchise’s first film, last year’s “Twilight,” took in during its entire 20-week run. The movie’s worldwide gross stands at $473.7 million, according to the Associated Press.
The “Twilight” movies star Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner and adapt Stephenie Meyer’s best-selling four-book series about a teenage love triangle among a human girl, a vampire and a werewolf.
After the frenetic fan frenzy of the opening weekend, this weekend’s take for “New Moon” represented a steep 70 percent drop from the movie’s $142.8 million opening.
But ”The Blind Side” actually saw its haul increase 18 percent from its $34.1 million first weekend, according to the AP. ”The Blind Side” lifted its 10-day total to $100.3 million and has generated Academy Awards buzz for Sandra Bullock, who plays socialite Leigh Anne Tuohy, who adopted Oher and gave him a chance at an education and success.
The two blockbusters led to Hollywood taking in record a record $275 million over the five-day Thanksgiving period, according to the AP.
That surpassed the previous Thanksgiving record of $244.4 million set in 2000, when “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “Unbreakable” topped the box office.
With 2009 domestic revenues at $9.5 billion, Hollywood seems poised to break the record of $9.7 billion set in 2007. Studios have a month of prime holiday business ahead, so the industry should easily top the $10 billion mark domestically for the first time, the AP reports.
But a slate of new wide releases didn’t fare so well over the weekend. Disney’s family comedy “Old Dogs,” from Walt Becker, the director of the 2007 hit “Wild Hogs,” came in at No. 4 with $16.8 million for the weekend and $24.1 million since opening Wednesday.
The actioner Ninja Assassin” opened at No. 6 with $13.1 million over the weekend and $21 million since Wednesday.
The wonderful animated comedy “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” which director Wes Anderson (“The Darjeeling Limited”) adapted from a Roald Dahl book, expanded to nationwide release and pulled in $7 million to finish at No. 9.
Here are the top 10 movies, from the AP:
1. “The Twilight Saga: New Moon,” $42.5 million.
2. “The Blind Side,” $40.1 million.
3. “2012,” $18 million.
4. “Old Dogs,” $16.8 million.
5. “Disney’s A Christmas Carol,” $16 million.
6. “Ninja Assassin,” $13.1 million.
7. “Planet 51,” $10.2 million.
8. “Precious: Based on the Novel `Push’ By Sapphire,” $7.1 million.
9. “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” $7 million.
10. “The Men Who Stare at Goats,” $1.5 million.
Oklahoma singer Mica Roberts, along with fellow Show Dog Nashville recording artists Carter’s Chord and Trailer Choir, will be among the many of Nashville country and pop artists to perform Wednesday night at Music City’s Mercy Lounge. The event has the goal of raising funds and awareness for the Global Food Crisis Fund, an initiative of Compassion International, a leading Christian child advocacy ministry.
According to a news release, all proceeds from the benefit will go towards assisting children and families affected by the global crisis, specifically in the most needed areas of the world where Compassion serves.
Artists scheduled to appear include Sixpence None The Richer’s Leigh Nash, Julie Roberts, Bryan White, Blaine Larsen, Rob Blackledge, Canaan Smith, Charmaine, Natalie Hemby, Alathea and other special guests. Radio veterans Tony Randall and Kris Rochester from the new national syndicated morning show “Tony and Kris in the Morning” will host the event.
Organizing the event is Nashville music industry consultant Mike Severson, who does Artist and Radio Relations for Compassion International.
“We have taken several of these artists on Compassion trips to see the work being done to rescue children from poverty and give them hope,” said Severson in the release. “Every artist upon return wanted to do something relevant to make a direct impact on the lives of the world’s most vulnerable. As we began to talk about long term strategies, there was an overwhelming consensus to put their passion and talent to immediate use in a way that will not only help those in critical need, but also raise awareness of that need. That’s what this show is all about.
“Compassion has been involved within the music industry for over 30 years and now is forming partnerships within the country and pop formats,” Severson continued. “Artists have such a powerful voice and Compassion provides a platform where they can truly make a life changing impact whether it is through our holistic Child Development Program or one of our intervention programs such as the Global Food Crisis Fund.”
“Days You Live For” co-writer and performer Mica Roberts is just returning from a European tour with fellow Oklahoman Toby Keith, who owns the Show Dog Nashville label. After the benefit show, she and Trailer Choir head off to Philadelphia to be the Grand Marshals at WXTU’s 10th Annual Toy Truck Parade.
A catchy quote from a movie, TV show or other source to brighten the beginning of your week:
Mr. Parker: He looks like a deranged Easter Bunny.
Mother: He does not!
Mr. Parker: He does too, he looks like a pink nightmare!
- Click here to learn the source.
“Honey and Harmonicas” by Samantha Lamb
Today’s featured event:
View artwork by Oklahoma photographer Samantha Lamb in the exhibit “Lion, Light, Lamb: The Perpetual Picnic Part II,” on view in the North Gallery of the state Capitol.
While photographing throughout the state for the Oklahoma Agritourism Program, Lamb has captured the beauty and peace of rural life. Having grown up around farms, Lamb is deeply rooted in the agricultural life. She incorporates the beauty of the farm in her photographs with imagery of bluebonnet fields, meadow grass and Oklahoma sunrises.
“Lion, Light, Lamb: The Perpetual Picnic Part II” will be on display on the first-floor of North Gallery through Dec. 27. Curated by the Oklahoma Arts Council, the North Gallery is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“The farm has been a wellspring of inspiration for my photography,” says Lamb in a news release. She finds the most inspiration from the morning light, which is a mainstay in her images.
“The morning is the time when I feel most creative. Morning light illuminating one’s life is something that needs to be captured and kept. That is what I’m trying to do with my photographs.”
For each photograph, Lamb stages the scene and waits patiently for the luminous morning light along the Oklahoma horizon. Lamb’s imagery combines the natural beauty of the landscape with sentimental objects that remind her of home, such as pocket watches, freshly gathered eggs, banjos, patchwork quilts and homegrown peaches.
In addition to her work as photographer for Oklahoma Agritourism, Lamb has worked as chief photographer for OK Travel and creative director/photographer for the Dell D-Life Campaign. She rediscovered her connection to her rural roots by purchasing a small farm in Hobart, in southwestern Oklahoma. In addition to raising chickens, Lamb harvests her own honey, sews her own quilts and makes her own goat cheese on her farm.
Lamb’s photographs are part of permanent installations at the Children’s Crisis Center in Oklahoma City as well as The Purl Bee in New York City. Her work has been featured in solo exhibits at The Circle Gallery at City Arts Center and 611 Creative in Oklahoma City. In addition to photography, Lamb is also a performance artist and bluegrass musician. She graduated with a degree in Photographic Arts and Journalism from the University of Central Oklahoma.
For more information, call 521-2931 or go to www.arts.ok.gov.
For more events, go to www.wimgo.com.
Hello loyal readers. I hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving. I’m back to finish off our month of heist movie recommendations with an unusual choice. It’s “The Thomas Crown Affair,” but instead of the original I think you need to see the 1999 remake starring Pierce Brosnan, Rene Russo and Denis Leary. (I’m assuming you’ve already seen the classic 1968 Steve McQueen/ Faye Dunaway film, and if you haven’t, you definitely should.)
However, I’m recommending the remake here because I know many people don’t give remakes a chance (admittedly, they are often awful). This one is very well done. It uses the main idea of the first film: a wealthy, but bored playboy commits heists to liven up his life and then romances the woman who is trying to catch him. But where the original focused on bank robberies, this film has art heists.
Maybe I just have a preference for art theft, maybe it’s the excellent supporting work done by Denis Leary, or maybe it’s the sense of fun that the newer version has, but I find myself preferring the remake in this instance. If you haven’t already, you need to see “The Thomas Crown Affair.” Since your preference may be different than mine, either version will do. But if you like the original and have never given the new version a chance, you might be surprised.
From Sunday’s Life section of The Oklahoman.
“American on Purpose” is humorous, poignant, uplifting
Craig Ferguson demonstrates the same easy intimacy he often uses on his late-night TV show and never lets silly jokes get in the way of strong storytelling in his humorous, often heartbreaking and ultimately uplifting memoir “American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot” ($25.99, HarperCollins).
With a knack for descriptive details, the comedian/musician/writer/TV personality first chronicles his tough childhood in his native Scotland, where he grew up in the Glasgow suburb of Cumbernauld. He disputes a recent ranking of the town as the No. 2 worst in the United Kingdom because there’s no way the top-rated city on the list could possibly match his hometown for sheer badness.
With a steady pen, the 47-year-old recounts his topsy-turvy life’s journey: his phase as a punk-rock drummer, ill-fated adventures in alcoholism, stand-up comedy debut as the oddly named character Bing Hitler, failed marriages and affairs, successful stint in rehab, TV breakthrough on “The Drew Carey Show” and his unlikely 2005 casting as the host of CBS’ “The Late Late Show.” He handles each topic with such wry frankness, it’s hard to imagine he’s held much back.
Along the way, Ferguson, who became a U.S. citizen in 2008, shares his fervent love for America, a passion that started in childhood, when NASA responded to his letter about becoming the first Scottish astronaut with a book and two posters of outer space.
Ferguson knows how to forge a connection with his audience, whether telling fondly of his “Gunka” (Uncle) James taking him on his first outing to a real record store or relating the Christmas story in which alcohol abuse drove him to plot his suicide, but then prevented him from following through, since he got too drunk to leave the bar that holiday eve.
And he knows just how to share his adoration for his adopted homeland — which he refers to as “the land of the second, third, and 106th chance” — with a sincere pride that many native-born Americans could stand to adopt as well.
Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant (35) goes up for a shot during a recent Thunder home game. (Photo by Steve Sisney/The Oklahoman Archives)
Today’s featured event:
Watch the Oklahoma City Thunder take on the Houston Rockets at 6 p.m. today at the Ford Center, 100 W Reno.
For more information, call (800) 745-3000 or go to www.thunder.nba.com.
For more events, go to www.wimgo.com.
Oklahoma/Texas band the Red River Mudcats, a hot new band in the Red Dirt movement, are featured in the December issue of Best In Texas.
The Red River Mudcats are highlighted in a “Stars On The Horizon” feature in the popular Texas music publication. The story focuses on co-founders Liz Calender and Jeffrey Parker, and their history of plying their musical trades on opposite sides of the Red River border of Texas and Oklahoma, according to a news release.
Singer-songwriter Calender worked for many years as the featured vocalist at the popular Cowboys Dance Halls in the Dallas/Atlanta markets, opening “for everyone from George Jones to Toby Keith.” Guitarist/songwriter/producer Parker was in on the beginning of the fertile Stillwater music scene, playing in bands and acting as producer and engineer “behind the boards” in the early careers of Cross Canadian Ragweed, Mike McClure and The Great Divide and Jason Boland, among others.
The “Stars On The Horizon” story also discusses their self-titled debut CD and their current single “Texas Eagle,” which features Boland on guest vocals. The song was written by the late Bob Childers, who is considered by many to be the godfather of the Oklahoma Red Dirt movement.
The December Best In Texas also includes a cover story on Robert Earl Keen and features on two more music standouts with Oklahoma ties, Miranda Lambert and Brandon Jenkins, as well as a tribute to the late Rusty Wier.