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America loves a big hype. We go crazy for big things that come with massive media attention. We also go crazy for anything that doesn’t come to an end but follows with a saga. It was true for Harry Potter and now it is true for Twilight.

New Moon is the second film being released in the vampire Twilight Saga. If this is anything like the first film we can expect another long line at the movie theater, but something tells me we are in for a longer wait, both at the ticket booth and the concession stand.

Edward (Pattinson, left) consoles Bella (Stewart) in New Moon

For the last year we’ve have been hearing about new cast additions to the saga. I know America is and always will be excited to see Edward Cullen, played by Robert Pattinson and Jacob Black, played by dark hunk Taylor Lautner . In addition, we were surprised to hear that America’s new homecoming queen, Dakota Fanning was joining that cast. Fanning will be playing Jane Volturi a member of The Volturi- an organized, powerful, human blood feeding coven of vampires. Continue Reading »

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From vampires to werewolves, fantasy is an avenue that has long captivated people’s attention and its influence on popular culture to fashion is undeniable.

Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series of books took the world by storm. With New Moon, the second installment of the film franchise, coming to theaters on November 20, the immense popularity of vampires resulted in a phenomenon rarely generated by any one thing. It is for this generation what Anne Rice accomplished with The Vampire Chronicles. With the transference from book to film the impact of Twilight can be felt greater than ever. It is impossible to glance at a newsstand and not see a plethora of magazine covers with the stars of the film splashed across the pages. The mega star status placed upon Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner has propelled the series into greatness. Continue Reading »

newmoonOSTThe score and soundtrack to the eagerly anticipated book-to-movie New Moon, the sequel to the teen vampire romance Twilight, is dark, brooding, and haunting like one would expect from this genre of film.

In Twilight, we were enchanted by the epic romance between Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson). Bella’s opening narration, “I’ve never given much thought to how I would die, but dying in the place of someone I love seems like a good way to go,” is the mantra not only for Twilight but New Moon as well. The score matches the fervor of the romantic yet forbidden storyline, with a fiery of squelching electric guitars, riveting chamber music, and pulsating percussion beats.

Composer Carter Burwell, who has worked on films such as No Country For Old Men and Where the Wild Things Are, provided a bittersweet atmosphere for the first film. Amidst haunting tunes and marauding notes, chimes a piano motif that plays the heartstrings. The soft, tranquil piano serenade that Edward played for Bella, which signifies their love, is echoed throughout the film as Edward’s enchantment and devotion towards Bella grows and vice versa. “Bella’s Lullaby” is the heart of the film with a role all its own, keeping the viewer engaged and sympathetic towards the forlorn lovers. Continue Reading »

An allure of pale complexions, dark smoky eyes with extended lashes, deep crimson stained lips and raven hair has turned beauty trendsetters into beloved blood suckers. This year’s vampire inspired-look is credited to the popular Twilight franchise and HBO’s True Blood .

The visual trope of a vampire may include fangs but the image has sent many cosmetic brands lusting and beautiful villains strutting down Fall 2009 ready-to-wear runways. Anna Sui is among a platoon of designers bitten by the potent bloody brute. The models’ cheekbones were contoured in blush complimenting dark-lined eyes and bold lips. Muccia Prada took it a step further with blanched skin tones, red-rimmed eyes with a midnight smoky effect over the lids and spooky frizzed-up hair.

“Either go with black knight, a classic red or dark purple lipstick with crazy dramatic eyes to achieve the look,” said Roberto Salazar, freelance makeup artist at MAC Cosmetics. “You can use Carbon black eye shadow with a silvery dark metallic to highlight the lid, a smoulder eye liner, black Plump Lash and the same eyeshadow can be blended on the cheek under blush to get the pale scary effect.”

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Twilight Beauty, a new cosmetic brand composed of two lines makes it easier for vamp followers to take part in the captivating trend. The blockbuster series of Twilight films including New Moon which arrives in theaters on November 20 was the driving force behind the brand. Bundled in sophisticated packaging, Luna Twilight and Volturi Twilight launched in Dillards, Nordstroms and specialty retailers in September. Continue Reading »

Mary J. Blige teamed up with Gucci to celebrate the opening of The Mary J. Blige Center for Women in Yonkers, New York — the singer’s hometown. The non-profit organization, whose mission is to educate, empower, and encourage women, is a partnership between The Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now (FFAWN) and Westchester Jewish Community Services. Blige and Steve Stoute, a record executive, co-founded FFAWN in 2007 after a conversation the two had at the 2007 Grammys regarding the singer’s desire to help women in need.

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Frida Giannini and Mary J. Blige. Photo By Kyle Ericksen

The award-winning songstress is no stranger to tough times and often in her prolific lyrics she sings about overcoming troubles in her life. “As a child, I never saw a confident woman — I only saw women being abused,” Blige told Women’s Wear Daily. “There was so much pain growing up — it would have been in vain if I didn’t put myself out there. That’s why I am here; that’s why FFAWN exists”

Gucci, a luxury fashion and leather goods brand, has partnered with the charitable organization to raise money. Frida Giannini, Gucci creative director and board member of the PPR Foundation for Women’s Dignity and Rights, designed a limited edition watch that retails for $1,895, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting FFAWN. Blige and Stoute eventually plan to expand the outreach of FFAWN and provide scholarships programs to fund tuition for educational degrees and vocational training.

Written by Mignon A. Gould

ameliaAmelia Earhart is a legend today for succeeding in the dangerous man’s world of early 20th century aeronautics, where death loomed around every corner. And she accomplished a lot in her brief professional career as a pilot – just don’t look to the new film Amelia to explore it in any meaningful way.

The film stars Hilary Swank as Amelia Earhart and follows her through her first meeting with book publisher-cum-pr agent G.P. Putnam, the man she would eventually marry, played by a dashing-as-ever Richard Gere. It is Putnam who scouts Earhart to be the first woman to fly across the Atlantic–though she is forced to do it as the passenger of two men–and turns her into an American pop culture star. We see Earhart come into her own as a pilot, taking risks and accomplishing aviation goals. There is some emphasis (but maybe too much) on her love life: Though her marriage to Putnam was open on her part, she is shown to have rebuffed men when their advances didn’t suit her. Of course, we all know how this story ends and scenes from her final flight are spliced throughout the film along with voice-over passages from the journals that she had sent home along the way.

The greatest strength of this film lies in the cinematography. When Earhart took her final flight around the world, she followed the equator and flew over Africa and India. In the film, we get to see glorious aerial views of the African savanna and its exotic animals. There are a few edge-of-the-seat moments which serve to add some excitement, but they don’t add anything to the story. Unfortunately, that is the extent of the positive. Continue Reading »

Adele Takes on U.S.

adeleOnce an American genre that wasn’t mainstream in radio outlets, “soul music” has leapt to airwaves through the exportation of a small group of British singers like Adele.

Like fellow troubadours Amy Winehouse, Leona Lewis and Kate Nash, Adele (last name Adkins) groomed her vocals at Brit performing Arts school in South London. Adkins who set out to conquer the United States released her debut album, 19 in 2008 on XL/Columbia Records after leading first place on British charts.

The Grammy-award winning artist sings like a woman triple her age with a soothing, sultry raspy voice.

She taught herself to sing by listening Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James and Roberta Flack.

Fitzgerald’s harmony is heard in the track titled “My Same,” Flack’s melodic tones are dubbed in the song, “Make You Feel My Love” and James’ slow urgency is in “Melt My Heart to Stone.”

The compilation of songs on 19 is a year of diary entries documenting the English artist’s life. While listening to the album, tracks that stands out are “Hometown Glory” which is about cherished memories of growing up in her city and “Chasing Pavements.” The first single and hit in the United Kingdom was written after a brawl in a nightclub with her boyfriend.

The soulful lyrics places the listener in the music while allowing the essence of the words to shine through the beats. Adele’s unique voice is a hybrid of blues and soul in the past while alive in the present. Whether its been a long day and want to relax to a melody pacifying to the ears, isn’t in the mood for club songs or simply want to groove to a slow track, the album gives an original sound.

Raised by a single mother, the chanteuse worshipped pop idols like Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, Take That and Spice Girls. This year, the barley 21-year-old artist was recently apart of VHI Divas 2009 Tour with Paula Abdul, Jennifer Hudson, and Jordan Sparks and Leona Lewis.

She was also named Brit Awards “Critics” Choice and winner of BBC Music’s Sound of 2008 while her first U.S. performances in New York and Los Angeles sold out.

The artist who aims to never to be skinny has been named the “new Amy Winehouse” by the British Press. Although, Adele is headed in the right direction, she isn’t yet in the league of Winehouse.

For more updates on the artist check out her website, Facebook and Myspace page.

Written by: Shaneia Caldwell