Friday, April 27, 2012

Report into The Star casino complex to be delayed

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A final report into Sydney's The Star casino will be delivered two weeks later than initially planned.

The Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority originally asked Gail Furness SC to deliver her findings on April 30 but has agreed to her request for the deadline to be extended until May 18.

"The extension follows advice provided to the authority by Ms Furness that the additional time is required to enable her to complete her work," the authority said in a statement on Thursday.

It said some matters needed "further investigation" following public hearings in April, where former staff accused The Star's sacked managing director Sid Vaikunta of using cocaine at work and fostering a culture of sexual harassment.

After those hearings, the ABC on April 16 aired further allegations from another employee, Thomas Lin, who said the casino pleased international high rollers by ignoring gambling compliance laws.

The authority says the report deadline has been extended to ensure all parties to the inquiry receive procedural fairness.

However, it promises to have submissions given to the inquiry, following the public hearings in April, published on its website by early May.

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Beyonce named world's most beautiful woman - 26th April 2012

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Grammy-winning performer and new mother Beyonce has been named the world's most beautiful woman by People magazine.

The 30-year-old topped the magazine's annual list just months after she and rapper husband Jay-Z welcomed their first child - a daughter named Blue Ivy Carter, who was born in New York in January.

"I feel more beautiful than I've ever felt because I've given birth," she said.

"I have never felt so connected, never felt like I had such a purpose on this earth."

Michelle Pfeiffer, Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman, Halle Berry, Jennifer Aniston, Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Lopez have all held the title before. (Reuters)

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Five facts about The Avengers - 25th April 2012

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It's the hottest new action film to showcase Marvel Comics' heroes and it's burning up Australian screens right now, but if you think you already know everything there is to know about The Avengers, you're wrong.

Here's five facts from behind the scenes of The Avengers:

THEM'S FIGHTING WORDS

Tom Hiddleston, who plays the Norse god Loki, had to learn the most fight sequences of any cast member for his battles with The Avengers. He did training in Wushu, a Chinese martial art, as well as boxing, stick and staff work, knife work and hand-to-hand combat.

He wasn't the only one put through the wringer though.

Mark Ruffalo lost 21 pounds to play Hulk, while shooting had to be rescheduled when Jeremy Renner tore a muscle from his back to his shoulder filming stunts for Hawkeye.

Scarlett Johansson also trained extensively in Wushu and weapons handling alongside fight choreographer Jonathan Eusebio and her stunt double, Heidi Moneymaker.

IT AIN'T EASY BEING GREEN

Mark Ruffalo, who replaced Edward Norton as The Hulk, says it's not a role he would usually take on, but Robert Downey Jnr and the Iron Man movies were what convinced him.

He says unlike previous incarnations of The Hulk, he doesn't change size in The Avengers and is always "about eight and a half feet tall" regardless of how angry he is.

The Avengers is the first time, in film, TV and in the comics, that Bruce Banner and The Hulk have had physical similarities. Instead of just CGI, director Joss Whedon used motion capture technology (used to create characters like Gollum from Lord of the Rings) so you can see Ruffalo's facial characteristics in The Hulk.

THE SCARLET LETTER

The usually blonde Scarlett Johansson was not Iron Man 2 director Jon Favreau's first choice to play Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow, who in the comics is a tall Russian redhead. But when he met with her, she had dyed her hair red so he would know she was serious about the part.

The Avengers director Whedon made it clear from the beginning that a strong female character was absolutely essential and an all-male Avengers team was unacceptable.

SAMUEL "LEAKY" JACKSON

The Avengers is the first time Samuel L Jackson's SHIELD agent Nick Fury has stepped into a main role, instead of just cameos. But during filming, his printer was hacked and the movie script for The Avengers leaked online. Marvel sent a team of investigators to Canada to track down the person that put it up for sale online.

Nick Fury's own spin-off movie is now in the works, with Jackson predicting fellow agent Black Widow (Johansson) will also be in it.

SPYING THE SPIES DURING THE SHOOT
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The first day of the 92-day shoot was on April 24, 2011, and involved a scene where Nick Fury confronts Steve Rogers in an old boxing gym with a new mission.

It wasn't until day 11 that the entire lead cast of The Avengers assembled for the first time, for a scene where they find out why Nick has rounded them up.

Movies aren't generally shot chronologically, but the last scene of the movie was also shot on the last day of production, with the film wrapping on September 5, 2011.

It was shot in Central Park in New York with the entire lead cast, but because it was a long weekend in the US, thousands of onlookers gathered to see the Avengers in costume, including Thor and Loki decked out in their Asgardian gear. (AAP)

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Marvel's IRON MAN 3 to Be Co-Produced in China; The Walt Disney Company China, Marvel Studios and DMG Entertainment to Bring Super Hero to China

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Marvel's IRON MAN 3 to Be Co-Produced in China; The Walt Disney Company China, Marvel Studios and DMG Entertainment to Bring Super Hero to China...

SHANGHAI & BEIJING & LOS ANGELES, Apr 16, 2012 - The Walt Disney Company China, Marvel Studios and DMG Entertainment today announced the intention to co-produce IRON MAN 3 in China. Under the arrangement, DMG Entertainment will make an investment in the production of IRON MAN 3, manage the Chinese co-production process, and jointly produce the film in China. The Chinese portion of IRON MAN 3's production will run through DMG Entertainment in coordination with Marvel Studios' production and creative teams. DMG will also distribute IRON MAN 3 in China in collaboration with The Walt Disney Company China.

IRON MAN 3 will be the third movie in the billion-dollar plus franchise from Marvel and stars a returning cast including Robert Downey Jr. (as billionaire inventor Tony Stark) Gwyneth Paltrow (as Pepper Potts) and Don Cheadle (as James "Rhodey" Rhodes). IRON MAN 3 is produced by Kevin Feige and executive produced by Alan Fine, Stan Lee, Louis D'Esposito, Charles Newirth, Victoria Alonso, Stephen Broussard and Dan Mintz. The film is being directed by Shane Black who is working on the script with Drew Pearce. The film releases in the United States on May 3, 2013, and is being distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures in all territories worldwide other than in China (which is being distributed by DMG Entertainment) and Germany/Austria (which is being distributed by the Tele Munchen Group).

"The popularity of the Marvel franchise globally creates a huge opportunity to deliver fans yet another action packed film," said Stanley Cheung, Managing Director, The Walt Disney Company, Greater China. "The co-production of IRON MAN 3 in China is testimony to the importance of this audience to Disney and the local industry capability to deliver a blockbuster title," he added.

"We look forward to working alongside DMG to bring IRON MAN to the Chinese marketplace in a significant way. We are confident that Marvel's stories will continue to be enjoyed by Chinese audiences, and adding a local flavor, and working with our new local partner, will enhance the appeal and relevance of our characters in China's fast-growing film marketplace," said Rob Steffens, General Manager of Operations and Finance for Marvel Studios.

"Our collaboration with Disney and Marvel marks a milestone in the global entertainment landscape, as this signifies the first multi-billion dollar franchise to be produced between Hollywood and China," said Dan Mintz, CEO of DMG Entertainment. "The IRON MAN franchise has been a major success worldwide, and we look forward to pushing the series to new heights with IRON MAN 3. The movie will further build upon its compelling storyline, and feature the hottest A-list stars, and spectacular action, which will resonate well both globally and in China, the second largest box office market in the world."

The first installment of IRON MAN lifted off with high-speed, high-flying action when jet-setting industrialist Tony Stark survives an unexpected attack and escapes by building a high-tech robotic suit of armor. When he uncovers a nefarious plot with global implications, he dons his powerful armor and vows to protect the world as Iron Man. Straight from the pages of the legendary comic book, Iron Man is a hero who is built--not born--to be unlike any other and made US$581 million at the global box office when released in 2008. Based on Marvel's iconic Super Hero, IRON MAN 2 continued the story of the 2008 summer box office blockbuster IRON MAN, and made US$624 million at the global box office when released in 2010. Now, IRON MAN 3 continues the story with a new chapter that will deliver more heart-pounding action than ever before. Marvel Studios' IRON MAN 3 will find Tony Stark with his back against the wall, facing his most fearsome foes yet.

Shooting is expected to commence in May in the United States and begin location filming in China in late summer 2012.

About The Walt Disney Company in China

The Walt Disney Company DIS -0.45%, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a diversified international family entertainment enterprise with five business segments and is a Dow 30 company with revenues of $41 billion in its most recently reported fiscal year. Disney's first animation screened in China in the 1930s and today our long association continues with offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou with over 1000 employees. The Company has a broad range of businesses including publishing, broadcast, mobile, web, retail and its English language program, Disney English, which launched in 2008. Nearly 24 hours of Disney television programming is now available in China every week, reaching 300-360 million people each month. In September 2005, Disney opened its doors to its first theme park in China, Hong Kong Disneyland and in 2011 announced ground breaking for the Shanghai Disneyland Resort, a joint venture with Shanghai Shendi Group.

About Marvel Entertainment

Marvel Entertainment, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is one of the world's most prominent character-based entertainment companies, built on a proven library of over 8,000 characters featured in a variety of media over seventy years. Marvel utilizes its character franchises in entertainment, licensing and publishing. For more information visit www.marvel.com . Super Hero(es) is a co-owned registered trademark.

About DMG Entertainment

Founded in China in 1993, DMG owns and operates a premier entertainment company (DMG Entertainment), and an award-winning communications agency (DMG Media), possessing nearly 20 years of experience. DMG Entertainment is a leader in China's film market through the production of a diverse portfolio of commercially driven films, including 2009's The Founding of a Republic, 2010's Go Lala Go!, and 2011's Beginning of the Great Revival, as well as through the distribution of Hollywood titles such as Twilight, Knowing, Killers, Resident Evil: Afterlife, RED, The Eagle, and Priest. DMG Entertainment has also produced Hollywood/China films including Looper set for release in 2012. DMG Media has provided strategic and creative campaigns for international brands looking to connect with Chinese consumers through DMG's all-encompassing platform. SOURCE: The Walt Disney Company China


Madame Tussauds New York Unveil Their Marvel Superheroes Exhibit...

Madame Tussauds New York, USA, has revealed a first look at their new interactive Marvel Super Heroes exhibit, set to open on Thursday, April 26th, just before many of the heroes appear on the big screen in the May 4th release of Marvel's 'The Avengers'.

The new, multi-level experience will feature wax likenesses of The Hulk, Spider-Man, Iron Man, and two new wax figures of Captain America and Thor, as well as the Marvel Super Heroes 4D Experience – a new, short film with amazing special effects.

Captain America, as portrayed by Chris Evans in the 2011 blockbuster film, Captain America: The First Avenger, will stand in his patriotic red, white and blue costume, holding his circular shield. Thor, as portrayed by Australian actor Chris Hemsworth in the hit 2011 film, Thor, will wield his mighty hammer, Mjolnir.

“We’re bringing the Marvel Super Heroes that so many of us grew up with to life,” said Bret Pidgeon, General Manager of Madame Tussauds New York. “Marvel fans young and old alike will now have the opportunity to see, interact with and stand alongside their favorite characters.”

The exhibit will lead visitors through a long hallway and downstairs into the secret command center to unlock their powers alongside their favorite heroes. Captain America and Iron Man stand at the ready while Spider-Man crouches, about to spring into action and a 15-foot-tall likeness of The Hulk emerges through a wall into the Gamma Radiation Lab.

Expo visitors will stand at the “Contamination Station” to see if they’ve been exposed to the gamma rays that turned Dr. Bruce Banner into his green alter ego. They will also have the opportunity to wield the hammer Mjoilnir alongside of Thor as he emerges through a portal from Asgard prepared for battle.

“From the pages of our comic books to the big screen and now live in wax – it’s a great thing to see some of our best-loved Marvel characters come to life in this fun and interactive way,” said Joe Quesada, Chief Creative Officer of Marvel Entertainment. "For more than 70 years, Marvel has captured the imagination of fans around the world and we’re excited to be working with Madame Tussauds New York to open this amazing experience for everyone to enjoy.”

The never-before-seen Marvel Super Heroes 4D Experience places visitors in the middle of a Stark Industries press conference. Viewers can not only watch as Peter Parker asks Tony Stark questions, but feel the commotion once the press conference is interrupted by the evil Loki and Dr. Doom. Viewers will feel as though they are joining Marvel’s greatest Super Heroes Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Hulk, and Spider-Man to battle their nemeses. Excelsior!

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Madame Tussauds recently opened their Sydney, Australia branch, and we understand there's a Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) wax double. Excelsior!

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Gold Coast hotel Palazzo Versace for sale; Property buy opportunity of decade?

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Palazzo Versace, the ultra glamorous hotel that put Queensland's Gold Coast on the international map at the start of the new millennium, is going on the market.

Owner the Sunland Group, which snatched a coup by opening the world's first fashion-branded hotel in 2000, is aiming to sell the Main Beach hotel to reinvest in other projects.

These could include building another property on the site of Mariner's Cove, south of Palazzo Versace, and an upmarket Brisbane apartment tower.

The new owner will have the keys to a property that has been admired around the globe since it was constructed nearly 12 years ago.

It is the ultimate entertaining venue, one where guests can be spoiled and feted in six-star luxury.

The hotel has had hundreds of famous guests since it first opened its doors, including the Rolling Stones, Paris Hilton, Sir Anthony Hopkins and Beyonce and Jay Z, and more recently Rod Stewart and Chris Brown. Ruler of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashed al-Maktoum passed away at the hotel in 2006.

Major features of the three-level landmark are 200 ensuite bedrooms, a 65m lagoon pool, luxury spa, high-tech gymnasium and marina.

The owner, in building this property, spared no expense, importing specially-designed Italian fittings and furnishings and flying in Italian artisans to undertake the intricate tiling and mosaic work.

The decision to sell the 200-room Palazzo Versace comes six months after Sunland regained 100 per cent ownership of the property in a deal with a Middle Eastern partner who acquired a 49 per cent stake seven years ago.

McVay Real Estate principal Dan McVay says he expects the hotel to bring at least $80 million.

"It's totally unique and will be seen as a trophy property, not just by hoteliers but by some of the world's wealthiest people," he said.

"There has been a never-ending trail of people wanting to buy the hotel over the years, virtually all of them from offshore.

"Hence I expect the buyer to be international, with Asian parties probably at the front of the queue."

Mr McVay, who with son Sam is marketing Palazzo Versace through an expressions of interest campaign, says he expects the hotel to sell well below replacement cost.

"The 200 rooms average 50sq m and at $80 million that equates to $8000 a sq m.

"For that figure you're not getting just 200 rooms - you also get three restaurants, a ballroom, shops, a gymnasium, a spa, a marina and other facilities."

Mr McVay says Palazzo Versace has performed solidly in the past year against the backdrop of what he regards as the worst market for hotel operators in more than 20 years.

"It's been making money and should net $4 million or more in the 2011-12 year.

"It's also being sold in pristine condition, having undergone a multimillion-dollar revitalisation in the last 18 months."

A Media Man analyst said "This Palazoo Versace purchase opportunity could very well end up one of the top luxury and property buys of the decade. For a company or individual looking to make a huge intentional splash into the property and / or high end luxury market, this is it".

Expressions of interest in Palazzo Versace will close in early June.


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Australians gather to remember Anzacs - 25th April 2012

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Tens of thousands of Australians have gathered at war memorials across the country for dawn services to commemorate Anzac Day.

The services mark the 97th anniversary of the first landings by Australian and New Zealand troops at Gallipoli in 1915.

Tens of thousands of people have gathered for services in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, Adelaide, Hobart and other towns and cities.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard will attend the dawn service at Gallipoli later today.

Tens of thousands of people attended the dawn service at Melbourne's Shrine of Remembrance despite rain and cold conditions.

Afghanistan veteran Colonel Jason Blain spoke not only of the importance of remembering the old Anzacs but also the new ones and the more than 3,000 personnel currently serving abroad.

"They're the ones with the responsibility to protect all that our nation holds precious," he said.

Around 6,000 people gathered at Sydney's Martin Place for the dawn service at the Cenotaph.

Humble beginnings

The crowd listened to the history of a tradition which started in 1927 when five servicemen noticed an elderly lady laying a wreath at the Cenotaph and asked to join her in her prayer for her son.

In Brisbane, Queensland Governor Penny Wensley paid tribute to Australia's war dead while a lone piper played as hundreds of wreaths were laid around the eternal flame.

The dawn service at Canberra's Australian War Memorial was told that love has been the driving force behind the sacrifices of Australians in armed conflicts.

"I'm talking about love, a determined love that lies deep within the heart and minds of a person and is the driving force of their actions," Lieutenant Colonel Philip Cairns of the Salvation Army said in his commemorative address.

"For our soldiers it may have been expressed in words such as love for their country, or love for their families, or love of the freedom that is the hallmark of our nation."


Recent dead

Three Townsville soldiers killed in action in Afghanistan in the past year were remembered this morning in the city's Anzac Park.

Brigadier Shane Caughey told the service that communities like Townsville were only too aware that 12 soldiers had been killed in action since Anzac Day last year.

"Young men who last year may have well stood next to you at this gathering or played a game of two-up with you have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation," he said.

Anzac Day marches will take place across Australia later today.

General Peter Cosgrove, who heads the NSW Centenary of Anzac Advisory Council, said he was encouraged to see so many young people at dawn services.

"Anzac Day is a national day, and I am really uplifted by the way younger Australians are inquisitive to know what it's all about," he said.


Heading to Gallipoli

Ms Gillard will lead the annual Anzac Day dawn ceremony at Gallipoli before a crowd of thousands of Australians and New Zealanders.

The Prime Minister will deliver a speech that describes the Australian sacrifice at Gallipoli as "Australia's first act of nationhood in the eyes of a watching world".

And while the battle was ultimately lost, she will say that no shame, only pride, can exist for Australians at Gallipoli.

She will says that unlike their French and British comrades - who had won battles at Waterloo and Austerlitz during the Napoleonic wars - the Anzacs had no such honour to defend.

Coachloads of Australians and New Zealanders have filled the surrounding towns of Eceabat and Canakkale ahead of the service.

Retired Lieutenant Colonel Paul Murphy has accompanied Australia's most recent Victoria Cross recipient, Ben Roberts, to the Gallipoli battleground known as The Neck.

"It hits home when you visit a place that's not much bigger than a tennis court where Australians were pretty much slaughtered," he said.

"It's pretty hard to put it into words when you see the piece of ground."

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Google execs and James Cameron to mine asteroids - 23rd April 2012

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Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt and billionaire co-founder Larry Page have teamed up with Avatar director James Cameron and other investors to back an ambitious space exploration and natural resources venture, details of which will be unveiled this week.

The fledgling company, called Planetary Resources, will be unveiled at a news conference at the Museum of Flight in Seattle on Tuesday, a press release said.

Aside from naming some of the company's high-profile backers, the press release disclosed tantalisingly few details, saying only that the company would combine the sectors of "space exploration and natural resources" in a venture that could add "trillions of dollars to the global GDP".

The Wall Street Journal reported that Planetary Resources will explore the feasibility of mining natural resources from asteroids, a decades-old concept.

"This innovative start-up will create a new industry and a new definition of 'natural resources,'" the press release said.

Planetary Resource was co-founded by Eric Anderson, a former NASA Mars mission manager, and Peter Diamandis, the commercial space entrepreneur behind the X-Prize, a competition that offered $US10 million to a group that launched a reusable manned spacecraft.

Other notable investors include Charles Simonyi, a former top executive at Microsoft, and K. Ram Shriram, a Google director.

The venture will be the latest foray into the far-flung for Cameron, who dived last month in a mini-submarine to the deepest spot in the Mariana Trench.

The plot of his 2009 science fiction blockbuster film, Avatar, concerned resource mining on alien planets. (Credit: Reuters)

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Monday, April 23, 2012

KISS News Update: Paul Reviews Monster Book Progress; Kiss’ Gene Simmons Hosting Live Webcast Event

Paul Reviews Monster Book Progress; Kiss’ Gene Simmons Hosting Live Webcast Event with Fellow Rock N Roll AllStars Tour Mates; KISS catch up news: News that you may have missed; KISS & Motley Crue Announce Summer Tour: 'No Fake Bull---t'...

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From Sydney, Australia to Hollywood, to Japan, and all across the globe, the globe knows that rock legend KISS are "The Greatest Band In The World".

You can't miss their hard rock riffs or their fantastic face paint.

Flashback: Late 1972 - Simmons spots an ad in Rolling Stone placed by Peter Criss, a drummer "looking to do anything to make it". Criss auditions and begins rehearsing with Simmons and Stanley as a trio.

Before man KISS concerts the following bold announcement is made... You Wanted the Best , YOU GOT THE BEST! The Hottest Band in the World — KISS!

As the Media Man agency entertainment commentator says "KISS may have called themselves the 'Greatest Band In The World', but for many music lovers its been true since 1973 when the band first formed under the KISS banner".

Paul Reviews Monster Book Progress...

Paul Stanley and Tommy Thayer met with the UK's First Light Publishers last week to review new full-size proofs from the giant KISS book. The KISS MONSTER BOOK will be released this summer.

Stay tuned to KISSOnline for more KISS MONSTER BOOK details soon!


Kiss’ Gene Simmons Hosting Live Webcast Event with Fellow Rock N Roll AllStars Tour Mates...

Gene Simmons is hosting a live interactive event next week from Buenos Aires, Argentina, that will give fans the chance to chat with him and the other stars participating in the Rock N Roll AllStars tour of South and Central America. The Q&A session will take place Monday, April 23, at 5 p.m. ET from Club Geba, where the hard rock collective will be performing that evening.

To take part in the webcast, fans can visit LiveAndGlobal.com/RnRAllStars. The website allows participants to chat in 53 languages and will translate questions and answers for viewers. In addition to Simmons, Def Leppard‘s Joe Elliott, ex-Guns N’ Roses members Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum, former Skid Row frontman Sebastian Bach, Alice in Chains‘ Mike Inez and one-time Deep Purple bass player Glenn Hughes all will be participating.

“I’m thrilled to be hosting a real-time conversation between fellow rock legends, die-hard fans and myself during this first-of-its-kind tour,” Simmons says in a statement. “This Live & Global session is going to be a great addition to the tour and venue, and I’m looking forward to giving our fans a ‘backstage pass’ to talk with us!”

The Rock N Roll AllStars trek kicks off Thursday in Asuncion, Paraguay, and is scheduled through a May 6 concert in Caracas, Venezuela.


KISS catch up news: News that you may have missed...

KISS & Motley Crue Announce Summer Tour: 'No Fake Bull---t'...


"We're sick and tired of girls getting up there with dancers and karaoke tapes in back of them," Gene Simmons says...

KISS and Motley Crue are hitting the road for a co-headlining tour -- dubbed simply "The Tour" -- this summer, the iconic rock acts announced on Tuesday.

The 40-date North American tour will kick off in Bristow, Va., on July 20 and run through the end of the summer, with the hard rock groups each playing 90-minute sets.

"These guys are the baddest band in the f***ing world," Motley Crue's Vince Neil said on stage with both bands at the Roosevelt Hotel on Tuesday. "Our very first tour was with [KISS], 1982. To be able to do it now is amazing."

"Seeing them on stage, it was obvious back then that this was the next big thing," KISS' Paul Stanley added. "We talk about bang for buck, this will be the definition of bang for buck on this tour. If you want to see more bombs and artillery, you'll have to check out the military."

Whether or not KISS bassist Gene Simmons' A&E reality show, "Gene Simmons Family Jewels," will follow the explosive tour was unclear. "Probably. Maybe… not," he said.

But he had a clear answer to for the pop stars now invading stadiums once filled largely by rock acts.

"We're sick and tired of girls getting up there with dancers and karaoke tapes in back of them," Simmons said. "No fake bullshit. Leave that to the Rihanna, Shmianna and anyone who ends their name with an 'A.'"


KISS® By Monster Mini Golf® Grand Opening Set for Multi-faceted Rock ‘n Roll Themed Amusement Attraction in Las Vegas...

Legendary KISS® Band Members to Inaugurate First-of-its-kind Property at Opening Event in Las Vegas on March 15


LAS VEGAS, Nev. – KISS® By Monster Mini Golf®, a unique rock ‘n roll-themed amusement attraction based around the legendary band KISS® is set to open on Thursday, March 15 with co- founding members Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, as well as band members Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer in attendance. As part of the celebration, Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons will slash through the ceremonial ribbon with their guitars and walk the “Black Carpet” with other notable guests.

“Our challenge is to continue to find ways to weave KISS into the very fabric of Americana. We'll be there to celebrate the first ever KISS® By Monster Mini Golf® grand opening in Las Vegas. This is miniature golf KISS style and another part of our KISS world. We've big plans for this and in this case what happens in Vegas won't stay in Vegas ” said Paul Stanley.

Gene Simmons added, “This venue is perfect for Las Vegas. Where else can you go play a round of KISS® By Monster Mini Golf® and then renew your wedding vows in an official KISS “Hotter Than Hell” Wedding chapel, only in Vegas.”

KISS® By Monster Mini Golf® is the first-of-its-kind indoor glow-in-the-dark custom-designed, rockin’ 18-hole miniature golf course and will also host a state-of-the-art arcade, the largest KISS gift shop in the world, A KISS Gallery, the “Hotter Than Hell” Wedding Chapel, a private VIP Room, FANtastic KISS® themed event rooms and the “Rock ‘n Roll All Nite” CafĂ©. KISS® By Monster Mini Golf® is located at 4503 Paradise Rd. Las Vegas, NV 89169 in the Shoppes at Harmon Square across from the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

“KISS® By Monster Mini Golf® has been in development for more than two years and it is destined to become a must see when anyone comes to visit Las Vegas,” said Christina Vitagliano, Founder of KISS® By Monster Mini Golf®.

"The Kiss brand just keeps getting bigger and bigger around the world. KISS® By Monster Mini Golf® will be a favorite for the Kiss Army legion of loyal fans as well as new Kiss fans" said Dell Furano, CEO of Live Nation Merchandise, Kiss longtime worldwide exclusive licensing and merchandising partner.

About Monster Mini Golf
Monster Mini Golf is the leader in cutting-edge indoor glow-in-the-dark themed entertainment. Founded in 2004, the company boasts 30 (and counting) 18-hole miniature golf courses across the country. Each custom-designed course features an arcade game area, private event rooms, in-house DJ, and entertainment for the whole family. Updates/information visit www.monsterminigolf.com, or www.facebook.com/MonsterMiniGolfKISS

For more information: Christina Vitagliano, Founder – KISS® By Monster Mini Golf®
Ph: 702.558.6256 – Monster Mini Golf® Corporate Ph: 401.454.8100 or Christina@monsterminigolf.com

About KISS
KISS, the legendary American rock band was founded in 1972. Four decades later KISS remains one of the most influential bands in the history of Rock and Roll. Achievements include the release of approximately 44 albums, sales of over 100 million albums, sold out concerts tours around the world and the incredible support of over 6 million FaceBook fans worldwide. KISS has performed at the Super Bowl, 2002 Winter Olympics, 2009 Finale of American Idol, 2005 Rockin' The Corps Concert. In 2009, KISS was nominated for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. KISS is currently recording their 2012 Album "Monster".

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Marvel Entertainment: Wolverine Clawing Up Hollywood Comic Movies; Thanks Australian Government

Marvel Entertainment: Wolverine Clawing Up Hollywood Comic Book Movies; Thanks Australian Government; Marvel Comic Book Fans And Australian Film Industry: Excelsior!...

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Promotion: PartyCasino.com Marvel Slot Games - $3000 sign up bonus

Australia's favorite son, Hugh Jackman, is returning back down under to Australia to make The Wolverine, his sixth showing as the Marvel Comic book adapted character, thanks to a whopping $12.8 million federal government subsidy.

And while referred to as "one-off", the local film industry is hopeful that the near-doubling of the standard assistance for a big-budget foreign production is a sign of things to come in next month’s budget.

The Wolverine is set in Japan but will be shot at Fox Studios in Sydney between July and December. Hugh Jackman will star and produce.

“It’s so great to bring these big movies down there, to keep people working,” Jackman told the Today program from London, where he is doing Les Miserables for Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech). “I just have to say thanks to Prime Minister Gillard, she was instrumental with this.”

Ms Gillard and Arts Minister Simon Crean jointly announced on Friday "a one-off payment" that provides Marvel Entertainment, the Hollywood producers of The Wolverine, a 30 per cent rebate through the tax system on production expenditure in Australia. "Without this … the producers of The Wolverine would not have chosen Australia as the location," their statement disclosed.

They claimed the subsidy would generate "over $80 million of investment in Australia and create more than 2000 jobs".

But local industry figures are hopeful the "one-off" caveat could soon be lifted.

"It’s a positive step for us, it shows the government’s willingness to look at the proposed increase to the location offset," said Debra Richards, chief of Ausfilm, who is responsible for atracting big-spending foreign productions to Australia.

Ausfilm and others have been lobbying the government for an increase in the foreign location offset for the past three years as the strong Australian dollar and competing incentive schemes offered by more than 40 states within the US and countries such as the UK, Canada and even Malaysia combine to make Australia too expensive for big-budget foreign productions.

The offset was introduced in 2001, at 12.5 per cent. At the time, the Australian dollar was worth about 50 cents. In 2007 it was increased to 15 per cent as a number of other territories copied, and often bettered, Australia’s incentives. Last year it was increased to 16.5 per cent.
The industry is seeking an increase to 30 per cent, and is understood to have backing from both sides of politics because big-budget foreign productions are seen as important in training and retaining technical personnel.

Crucial to the case it has taken to government is the argument that the cost to government will be relatively low as Australia is unlikely to be inundated with big productions. “It won’t be opening the floodgates,” said Ms Richards. “There’s a natural capacity here in terms of personnel and facilities.”

Sources suggest that capacity might be one large production per annum in each of Queensland (Warner studios), NSW (Fox) and Victoria (Melbourne Docklands Studios).

Docklands boss Rod Allan welcomed the news with both cautious optimism and regret.

"I think it’s terrific the federal government is willing to look at a one-off production offset and I hope that’s an indication of its willingness to look at the offset generally,” he said.
“I’d have preferred Wolverine to have come here, but now the Sydney studios are tied up for the rest of the year we’re in a great position to compete for other projects."

Asked if the decision foreshadowed an announcement on the offset scheme in the budget, Simon Crean’s office replied "the issues facing the screen industry are important to the government and will remain on our agenda over the coming years".

The budget will be handed down on May 8.

In the meantime Australian movie fans, especially those of the superhero genre, are hopefully that the likes of Marvel Entertainment and DC Comics will produce more upcoming movies on Australian soil.

A Media Man agency rep said "Something tells us that not only are fans, Marvel Entertainment and DC Comics watching these exciting developments closely, so are the likes of Frank Miller Inc and others. Australian actors, technical staff, make-up and wardrobe talent, honey wagon operators, the hotel industry, gaming developers and a range of other services companies are delighted with the Wolverine production news, and are hopeful that the Australian government will continue to find initiatives to give the Australian movie business more shots in the arm that it needs".

Stay tuned as we witness the Australian movie sector continuing to claw, kick and scratch its way back to its former glory. As Marvel Entertainment comic icon Stay Lee would say, Excelsior!

The Wolverine comic profile...

Wolverine is a fictional character, a superhero that appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. Born as James Howlett and commonly known as Logan, Wolverine is a mutant who possesses animal-keen senses, enhanced physical capabilities, three retracting bone claws on each hand and a healing factor that allows him to recover from virtually any wound, disease or toxin at an accelerated rate. The healing factor also slows down his aging process, enabling him to live beyond a normal human lifespan. His powerful healing factor enabled the supersoldier program Weapon X to bond the near-indestructible metal alloy adamantium to his skeleton and claws without killing him. He is most often depicted as a member of the X-Men, Alpha Flight, or later the Avengers.

The character first appeared in the last panel of The Incredible Hulk #180 (his first full appearance is in issue #181, November 1974) and was created by writer Len Wein and Marvel art director John Romita, Sr., who designed the character, and was first drawn for publication by Herb Trimpe. Wolverine later joined the X-Men's "All New, All Different" roster in Giant-Size X-Men #1 (May 1975). X-Men writer Chris Claremont played a significant role in the character's subsequent development, along with artist/writer John Byrne, who insisted on making the character older than the other X-Men. Artist Frank Miller collaborated with Claremont and helped to revise the character with a four-part eponymous limited series from September to December 1982 in which Wolverine's catchphrase, "I'm the best there is at what I do, but what I do best isn't very nice," debuted.

Wolverine was typical of the many tough, anti-authority, antiheroes that emerged in American popular culture after the Vietnam War; his willingness to use deadly force and his brooding nature became standard characteristics for comic book anti-heroes by the end of the 1980s. As a result, the character became the clear favorite for fans of the increasingly popular X-Men franchise. Wolverine has been featured in his own solo comic since 1988 and has been a central character in most X-Men adaptations, including animated television series, video games, and the live-action 20th Century Fox X-Men film series, in which he is portrayed by Hugh Jackman. In May 2008, Wolverine was ranked #1 out of Wizard magazine's Top 200 Comic Book Characters of All Time and was ranked as the 4th Greatest Comic Book Character by Empire magazine in July 2008. On their list of the 100 Greatest Fictional Characters, Fandomania.com ranked Wolverine at #21. In May 2011, Wolverine was ranked 4th on IGN's Top 100 Comic Book Heroes (Credit: Wikipedia)



Marvel's IRON MAN 3 to Be Co-Produced in China; The Walt Disney Company China, Marvel Studios and DMG Entertainment to Bring Super Hero to China...

SHANGHAI & BEIJING & LOS ANGELES, Apr 16, 2012 - The Walt Disney Company China, Marvel Studios and DMG Entertainment today announced the intention to co-produce IRON MAN 3 in China. Under the arrangement, DMG Entertainment will make an investment in the production of IRON MAN 3, manage the Chinese co-production process, and jointly produce the film in China. The Chinese portion of IRON MAN 3's production will run through DMG Entertainment in coordination with Marvel Studios' production and creative teams. DMG will also distribute IRON MAN 3 in China in collaboration with The Walt Disney Company China.

IRON MAN 3 will be the third movie in the billion-dollar plus franchise from Marvel and stars a returning cast including Robert Downey Jr. (as billionaire inventor Tony Stark) Gwyneth Paltrow (as Pepper Potts) and Don Cheadle (as James "Rhodey" Rhodes). IRON MAN 3 is produced by Kevin Feige and executive produced by Alan Fine, Stan Lee, Louis D'Esposito, Charles Newirth, Victoria Alonso, Stephen Broussard and Dan Mintz. The film is being directed by Shane Black who is working on the script with Drew Pearce. The film releases in the United States on May 3, 2013, and is being distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures in all territories worldwide other than in China (which is being distributed by DMG Entertainment) and Germany/Austria (which is being distributed by the Tele Munchen Group).

"The popularity of the Marvel franchise globally creates a huge opportunity to deliver fans yet another action packed film," said Stanley Cheung, Managing Director, The Walt Disney Company, Greater China. "The co-production of IRON MAN 3 in China is testimony to the importance of this audience to Disney and the local industry capability to deliver a blockbuster title," he added.

"We look forward to working alongside DMG to bring IRON MAN to the Chinese marketplace in a significant way. We are confident that Marvel's stories will continue to be enjoyed by Chinese audiences, and adding a local flavor, and working with our new local partner, will enhance the appeal and relevance of our characters in China's fast-growing film marketplace," said Rob Steffens, General Manager of Operations and Finance for Marvel Studios.

"Our collaboration with Disney and Marvel marks a milestone in the global entertainment landscape, as this signifies the first multi-billion dollar franchise to be produced between Hollywood and China," said Dan Mintz, CEO of DMG Entertainment. "The IRON MAN franchise has been a major success worldwide, and we look forward to pushing the series to new heights with IRON MAN 3. The movie will further build upon its compelling storyline, and feature the hottest A-list stars, and spectacular action, which will resonate well both globally and in China, the second largest box office market in the world."

The first installment of IRON MAN lifted off with high-speed, high-flying action when jet-setting industrialist Tony Stark survives an unexpected attack and escapes by building a high-tech robotic suit of armor. When he uncovers a nefarious plot with global implications, he dons his powerful armor and vows to protect the world as Iron Man. Straight from the pages of the legendary comic book, Iron Man is a hero who is built--not born--to be unlike any other and made US$581 million at the global box office when released in 2008. Based on Marvel's iconic Super Hero, IRON MAN 2 continued the story of the 2008 summer box office blockbuster IRON MAN, and made US$624 million at the global box office when released in 2010. Now, IRON MAN 3 continues the story with a new chapter that will deliver more heart-pounding action than ever before. Marvel Studios' IRON MAN 3 will find Tony Stark with his back against the wall, facing his most fearsome foes yet.

Shooting is expected to commence in May in the United States and begin location filming in China in late summer 2012.

About The Walt Disney Company in China

The Walt Disney Company DIS -0.45%, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a diversified international family entertainment enterprise with five business segments and is a Dow 30 company with revenues of $41 billion in its most recently reported fiscal year. Disney's first animation screened in China in the 1930s and today our long association continues with offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou with over 1000 employees. The Company has a broad range of businesses including publishing, broadcast, mobile, web, retail and its English language program, Disney English, which launched in 2008. Nearly 24 hours of Disney television programming is now available in China every week, reaching 300-360 million people each month. In September 2005, Disney opened its doors to its first theme park in China, Hong Kong Disneyland and in 2011 announced ground breaking for the Shanghai Disneyland Resort, a joint venture with Shanghai Shendi Group.

About Marvel Entertainment

Marvel Entertainment, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is one of the world's most prominent character-based entertainment companies, built on a proven library of over 8,000 characters featured in a variety of media over seventy years. Marvel utilizes its character franchises in entertainment, licensing and publishing. For more information visit www.marvel.com . Super Hero(es) is a co-owned registered trademark.

About DMG Entertainment

Founded in China in 1993, DMG owns and operates a premier entertainment company (DMG Entertainment), and an award-winning communications agency (DMG Media), possessing nearly 20 years of experience. DMG Entertainment is a leader in China's film market through the production of a diverse portfolio of commercially driven films, including 2009's The Founding of a Republic, 2010's Go Lala Go!, and 2011's Beginning of the Great Revival, as well as through the distribution of Hollywood titles such as Twilight, Knowing, Killers, Resident Evil: Afterlife, RED, The Eagle, and Priest. DMG Entertainment has also produced Hollywood/China films including Looper set for release in 2012. DMG Media has provided strategic and creative campaigns for international brands looking to connect with Chinese consumers through DMG's all-encompassing platform. SOURCE: The Walt Disney Company China


Madame Tussauds New York Unveil Their Marvel Superheroes Exhibit...

Madame Tussauds New York, USA, has revealed a first look at their new interactive Marvel Super Heroes exhibit, set to open on Thursday, April 26th, just before many of the heroes appear on the big screen in the May 4th release of Marvel's 'The Avengers'.

The new, multi-level experience will feature wax likenesses of The Hulk, Spider-Man, Iron Man, and two new wax figures of Captain America and Thor, as well as the Marvel Super Heroes 4D Experience – a new, short film with amazing special effects.

Captain America, as portrayed by Chris Evans in the 2011 blockbuster film, Captain America: The First Avenger, will stand in his patriotic red, white and blue costume, holding his circular shield. Thor, as portrayed by Australian actor Chris Hemsworth in the hit 2011 film, Thor, will wield his mighty hammer, Mjolnir.

“We’re bringing the Marvel Super Heroes that so many of us grew up with to life,” said Bret Pidgeon, General Manager of Madame Tussauds New York. “Marvel fans young and old alike will now have the opportunity to see, interact with and stand alongside their favorite characters.”

The exhibit will lead visitors through a long hallway and downstairs into the secret command center to unlock their powers alongside their favorite heroes. Captain America and Iron Man stand at the ready while Spider-Man crouches, about to spring into action and a 15-foot-tall likeness of The Hulk emerges through a wall into the Gamma Radiation Lab.

Expo visitors will stand at the “Contamination Station” to see if they’ve been exposed to the gamma rays that turned Dr. Bruce Banner into his green alter ego. They will also have the opportunity to wield the hammer Mjoilnir alongside of Thor as he emerges through a portal from Asgard prepared for battle.

“From the pages of our comic books to the big screen and now live in wax – it’s a great thing to see some of our best-loved Marvel characters come to life in this fun and interactive way,” said Joe Quesada, Chief Creative Officer of Marvel Entertainment. "For more than 70 years, Marvel has captured the imagination of fans around the world and we’re excited to be working with Madame Tussauds New York to open this amazing experience for everyone to enjoy.”

The never-before-seen Marvel Super Heroes 4D Experience places visitors in the middle of a Stark Industries press conference. Viewers can not only watch as Peter Parker asks Tony Stark questions, but feel the commotion once the press conference is interrupted by the evil Loki and Dr. Doom. Viewers will feel as though they are joining Marvel’s greatest Super Heroes Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Hulk, and Spider-Man to battle their nemeses. Excelsior!

News...

Madame Tussauds recently opened their Sydney, Australia branch, and we understand there's a Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) wax double. Excelsior!

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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Beachley Classic Women's World Tour Surfing: Dee Why, Sydney, Australia - 21st April 2012

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Surfing Celebrities Sydney


Courtney Conlogue Claims the Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic Crown...

DEE WHY, Sydney NSW/AUS (Saturday, April 21, 2012) – Courtney Conlogue (USA), 19, has won the prestigious 2012 Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic, over Malia Manuel (HAW), 18, at Dee Why beach today. In clean, but challenging two-to-three foot (1.5 meter) waves, the world’s best female surfers battled head-to-head for the biggest prize purse on the ASP Women’s World Championship Tour, with Conlogue taking home USD$30,000.

Stop No. 4 of 7 on the 2012 ASP Women’s World Championship Tour, the Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic, run by seven-time ASP Women’s World Champion Layne Beachley, has caused some interesting twists and turns in the race for the coveted ASP Women’s World Title. Yesterday saw the early exit of reigning ASP Women’s World Champion Carissa Moore (HAW), 19. Then today the current ASP Women’s World No. 1 and 2 – Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 24, and Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), 21, both bowed out in the Quarterfinals.

Conlogue who has won multiple ASP 6-Star events, today claimed her maiden win on the elite ASP Women’s World Championship Tour, a feat that sees her jump to 4th on the ratings. Conlogue and Manuel battled through the stacked field of competitors to reach the Final. The dying swell made conditions difficult, but Conlogue found the best waves that allowed her to execute multiple powerful turns.

“I’m speechless right now!” Conlogue said. “It’s been two years on the ASP Women’s World Championship Tour where I kept losing in the Quarterfinals. Then today after winning my Quarterfinal I just tried to go and win the thing. Malia (Manuel) was surfing great in the Final, even though the waves were tricky. I’m really stoked to have won this event! I love Steph (Gilmore) and Sally (Fitzgibbons) and to have them chair me up the beach was absolutely amazing!”

Manuel’s run to the Final wasn’t easy, defeating Gilmore and Tyler Wright (AUS), 18, in the morning’s Quarterfinal and Semifinal. Manuel’s smooth style and tail drifting turns saw her earn big scores and new fans all event. Her red-hot run was only ended by Conlogue’s superior wave selection. Manuel is now equal 6th on the ASP World Championship Tour, and she is now the highest ranked 2012 rookie.

“I’m really relieved to get a good result here at Dee Why,” Manuel said. “I’m happy to move up the ratings. It’s a great confidence boost going into the next three events. I’m really stoked to make a final in my rookie year. I hope the battle for ASP Rookie Of The Year goes down to the last contest. It’s really close between me and Lakey (Peterson). I’m not going to count her out.”

Rebecca Woods (AUS), 28, and Wright were the highest placed Australian surfers, both finishing equal 3rd place. Wright has placed 3rd three times this year, but this is Woods’ best result of the 2012 season and is sure to help her requalification campaign.

“It’s a bittersweet feeling at the moment,” Woods said. “I’ve had a few last places this year, so in some regards I was just happy to put it together for a few heats. I’ve made about nine Semifinals in my life and still never made it into that elusive Final. It’s good to be pushed by the younger girls. I woke up this morning and thought Courtney (Conlogue) was going to win today, then she was on my side of the draw and I cursed myself for putting that in my head. Then she beat me and won the contest, so I was right.”

Gilmore, four-time ASP Women’s World Champion, suffered a shock early exit at the Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic today. Gilmore has had three final appearances in the first three events of the year, and today added a respectable equal 5th place finish to her tally. In testing conditions Gilmore was bested by an in-form Manuel, who also defeated her in their non-elimination Round 3 match-up yesterday.

“It’s disappointing,” Gilmore said. “But it’s not a terrible result for me. I feel really strong. When there’s great waves on offer I feel like I’m surfing great. It’s just a matter of getting those waves and I didn’t get them today. I’m looking forward to heading over to Brazil and finding the form I had in the first few events.”

Fitzgibbons went down in the Quarterfinals to eventual event winner Conlogue. Fitzgibbons held an early lead with two mid-range scores, but Conlogue snared the best wave of the heat and tore it apart with some impressive turns, netting a 9.00 (out of a possible 10) and won the heat.

“This is the worst part about what we do,” Fitzgibbons said. “Today I just wasn’t good enough. When you’re feeling strong, you really want to progress through to that Final. I got some early scores and it was really challenging out there. That one wave popped up for Courtney (Conlogue) and she grabbed a 9.00, which is the highest score of the day. I’m really happy for her. She’s a good friend and she trains and surfs really hard and that paid off today.”

More info www.ASPWorldTour.com

COMMONWEALTH BANK BEACHLEY CLASSIC FINAL RESULTS:
1: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 13.17
2: Malia Manuel (HAW) 11.56

COMMONWEALTH BANK BEACHLEY CLASSIC SEMIFINAL RESULTS:
SF 1: Malia Manuel (HAW) 12.67 def. Tyler Wright (AUS) 10.50
SF 2: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 14.33 def. Rebecca Woods (AUS) 10.10

COMMONWEALTH BANK BEACHLEY CLASSIC QUARTERFINAL RESULTS:
QF 1: Tyler Wright (AUS) 14.43 def. Laura Enever (AUS) 12.50
QF 2: Malia Manuel (HAW) 13.00 def. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 11.47
QF 3: Rebecca Woods (AUS) 11.73 def. Coco Ho (HAW) 8.73
QF 4: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 14.97 def. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 13.34

CURRENT ASP WOMEN’S WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP TOUR TOP 6 (after the Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic):
1: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)
2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS)
3: Tyler Wright (AUS)
4: Courtney Conlogue (USA)
5: Carissa Moore (HAW)
6: Laura Enever (AUS)
6: Malia Manuel (HAW)

Websites

Beachley Classic Crown

Layne Beachley official website

ASP World Tour website

Eva Rinaldi Photography Flickr

Eva Rinaldi Photography

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Superhero Film The Avengers Divides Comic Fans; Stan Lee to host 'Avengers' screening at Catalina Film Festival...

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Movies Hollywood Marvel Entertainment Marvel Studios Marvel Comics


Promotion: PartyCasino.com Marvel Slot Games - $3000 sign up bonus

Superhero Film The Avengers Divides Comic Fans...

The latest film from the Marvel superhero franchise has premiered in London and although it is expected to be a mega hit at the box office some comic book fans are already critical.

Marvel Avengers Assemble not only features an all-star cast including Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L Jackson, it also brings together superheroes including Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow.

Downey Jr said it was "a blast" to be in London, saying: "It's been five years since our last adventure so I'm happy and humbled to be here."

But for some hardcore devotees of the comics, it is yet another film which "dumbs down" the Marvel books.

Comic book expert, Chris Thompson, told media that although the films help bring the comics to a wider audience, they harm the Marvel legacy.

He said: "One of the down sides is that they often to pander to this market and almost try to dumb down and take away what is great about the comics to cater to the audience.

"So it is very disappointing that you get a glut of very mediocre film titles that come out that don't show comics at their best."

Early reviews, though, indicate this is not one of the "mediocre" movies.

Influential industry magazine Variety tweeted: "Not a false note. Innovative. Brutal. And goddamn funny. Hype = believe it. It's the bomb. I could not possibly say enough."

Written and directed by Buffy creator Joss Whedon, the film is based on Marvel series The Avengers, first published in 1963.

Johansson said she enjoyed reprising the role of the feisty Black Widow, originally seen in Iron Man 2, despite the injuries she suffered doing her own stunts.

"It's nice to be able to play a female character that's not a damsel in distress or some woman in waiting but to actually play someone who's got a lot of conviction and who is really ready to kick some booty," she said.

It is part of a number of superhero films to be released in the past few years, including Thor, the Iron Man films, Captain America and the forthcoming Spiderman movie starring Brit actor Andrew Garfield.

The Avengers was made following the acquisition of Marvel Entertainment by Walt Disney studios in 2009, with Iron Man 3 and Thor 2 also in development.

Marvel Avengers Assemble also stars Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Chris Evans and Tom Hiddleston.

The 3D film is released in cinemas on April 26.


Stan Lee to host 'Avengers' screening at Catalina Film Festival...

If you want to do brunch with comic book king, Stan Lee, it will cost you -- right now about $1,550.

That's the current minimum bid for a shot at attending a VIP brunch at the Catalina Film Festival on May 5 with the co-creator of Spider-man, the Hulk and a slew of other famous characters. The winning bidder gets a seat at the table and other cool stuff, including passes to the film festival in Avalon on Catalina Island, two autographed comic books and ferry tickets to get there and back.

Bidding ends noon Pacific time Thursday, and of course it's all for charity. Proceeds benefit the film festival and the Catalina Island Conservancy.

But brunch isn't the only Lee-centric event at the three-day festival. The former Marvel Comics president, who co-founded the new POW! Entertainment company, also will host a special screening of "The Avengers" on the film's opening weekend. He'll introduce a showing of the documentary "With Great Power -- The Stan Lee Story" and appear on a panel to answer questions about his work and his life.

And on opening night (May 4), he will be presented with the Ronald Reagan Great Communicator Award, which gives a nod to films and filmmakers who espouse "a philosophy of individual opportunity, optimism and pride," a film festival statement says.

The festival, May 4-6, will feature 75 films and present awards for animation (Lee will present this award), feature, documentary, student, short and other categories. Films will be shown at the Avalon Casino Theater and other venues. Tickets range from $8 for students and seniors to individual screenings to $150 for a weekend pass to $2,000 for two VIP guests.


Marvel's IRON MAN 3 to Be Co-Produced in China; The Walt Disney Company China, Marvel Studios and DMG Entertainment to Bring Super Hero to China...

SHANGHAI & BEIJING & LOS ANGELES, Apr 16, 2012 - The Walt Disney Company China, Marvel Studios and DMG Entertainment today announced the intention to co-produce IRON MAN 3 in China. Under the arrangement, DMG Entertainment will make an investment in the production of IRON MAN 3, manage the Chinese co-production process, and jointly produce the film in China. The Chinese portion of IRON MAN 3's production will run through DMG Entertainment in coordination with Marvel Studios' production and creative teams. DMG will also distribute IRON MAN 3 in China in collaboration with The Walt Disney Company China.

IRON MAN 3 will be the third movie in the billion-dollar plus franchise from Marvel and stars a returning cast including Robert Downey Jr. (as billionaire inventor Tony Stark) Gwyneth Paltrow (as Pepper Potts) and Don Cheadle (as James "Rhodey" Rhodes). IRON MAN 3 is produced by Kevin Feige and executive produced by Alan Fine, Stan Lee, Louis D'Esposito, Charles Newirth, Victoria Alonso, Stephen Broussard and Dan Mintz. The film is being directed by Shane Black who is working on the script with Drew Pearce. The film releases in the United States on May 3, 2013, and is being distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures in all territories worldwide other than in China (which is being distributed by DMG Entertainment) and Germany/Austria (which is being distributed by the Tele Munchen Group).

"The popularity of the Marvel franchise globally creates a huge opportunity to deliver fans yet another action packed film," said Stanley Cheung, Managing Director, The Walt Disney Company, Greater China. "The co-production of IRON MAN 3 in China is testimony to the importance of this audience to Disney and the local industry capability to deliver a blockbuster title," he added.

"We look forward to working alongside DMG to bring IRON MAN to the Chinese marketplace in a significant way. We are confident that Marvel's stories will continue to be enjoyed by Chinese audiences, and adding a local flavor, and working with our new local partner, will enhance the appeal and relevance of our characters in China's fast-growing film marketplace," said Rob Steffens, General Manager of Operations and Finance for Marvel Studios.

"Our collaboration with Disney and Marvel marks a milestone in the global entertainment landscape, as this signifies the first multi-billion dollar franchise to be produced between Hollywood and China," said Dan Mintz, CEO of DMG Entertainment. "The IRON MAN franchise has been a major success worldwide, and we look forward to pushing the series to new heights with IRON MAN 3. The movie will further build upon its compelling storyline, and feature the hottest A-list stars, and spectacular action, which will resonate well both globally and in China, the second largest box office market in the world."

The first installment of IRON MAN lifted off with high-speed, high-flying action when jet-setting industrialist Tony Stark survives an unexpected attack and escapes by building a high-tech robotic suit of armor. When he uncovers a nefarious plot with global implications, he dons his powerful armor and vows to protect the world as Iron Man. Straight from the pages of the legendary comic book, Iron Man is a hero who is built--not born--to be unlike any other and made US$581 million at the global box office when released in 2008. Based on Marvel's iconic Super Hero, IRON MAN 2 continued the story of the 2008 summer box office blockbuster IRON MAN, and made US$624 million at the global box office when released in 2010. Now, IRON MAN 3 continues the story with a new chapter that will deliver more heart-pounding action than ever before. Marvel Studios' IRON MAN 3 will find Tony Stark with his back against the wall, facing his most fearsome foes yet.

Shooting is expected to commence in May in the United States and begin location filming in China in late summer 2012.

About The Walt Disney Company in China

The Walt Disney Company DIS -0.45%, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a diversified international family entertainment enterprise with five business segments and is a Dow 30 company with revenues of $41 billion in its most recently reported fiscal year. Disney's first animation screened in China in the 1930s and today our long association continues with offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou with over 1000 employees. The Company has a broad range of businesses including publishing, broadcast, mobile, web, retail and its English language program, Disney English, which launched in 2008. Nearly 24 hours of Disney television programming is now available in China every week, reaching 300-360 million people each month. In September 2005, Disney opened its doors to its first theme park in China, Hong Kong Disneyland and in 2011 announced ground breaking for the Shanghai Disneyland Resort, a joint venture with Shanghai Shendi Group.

About Marvel Entertainment

Marvel Entertainment, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is one of the world's most prominent character-based entertainment companies, built on a proven library of over 8,000 characters featured in a variety of media over seventy years. Marvel utilizes its character franchises in entertainment, licensing and publishing. For more information visit www.marvel.com . Super Hero(es) is a co-owned registered trademark.

About DMG Entertainment

Founded in China in 1993, DMG owns and operates a premier entertainment company (DMG Entertainment), and an award-winning communications agency (DMG Media), possessing nearly 20 years of experience. DMG Entertainment is a leader in China's film market through the production of a diverse portfolio of commercially driven films, including 2009's The Founding of a Republic, 2010's Go Lala Go!, and 2011's Beginning of the Great Revival, as well as through the distribution of Hollywood titles such as Twilight, Knowing, Killers, Resident Evil: Afterlife, RED, The Eagle, and Priest. DMG Entertainment has also produced Hollywood/China films including Looper set for release in 2012. DMG Media has provided strategic and creative campaigns for international brands looking to connect with Chinese consumers through DMG's all-encompassing platform. SOURCE: The Walt Disney Company China

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Friday, April 20, 2012

PartyCasino Wins Media Man 'Online Casino Of The Month' Award

PartyCasino.com has been awarded the Media Man and Casino News Media "Online Casino Of The Month" award.


PartyGaming's igaming suite has grown a custom to winning awards since they first opened for business in 1997.

The competition for the coveted award was intense again this month with massive bids from both Virgin Casino, PKR Casino and Captain Cooks Casino however there can only be one winner... ladies and gentlemen, that's PartyCasino.com

The award follows PartyPoker's EGR Poker Operator Of The Year and PartyGaming also made the shortlist for EGR Operator Of The Year. Recently PartyGaming's PartyPoker.com also won the Casino News Media "Online Poker Website Of The Month".

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

IGT Sex and The City - Human Statue Bodyart

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Today was a important day on the Australian gaming industry calendar. It's the third and final day of the 2011 Australasian Gaming Expo, held at Darling Harbour in 'Sin City' Sydney, Australia. The event comes at a time where the spotlight on the Australian gambling industry may have never been brighter or so politically red hot. My company, Human Statue Bodyart, was delighted to be in the thick of the action. Enter the events world of the Gaming Technologies Association...

Australasian Gaming Expo Open Day In Sydney...

Over 150 gaming - gambling exhibitors enjoyed day three at the Australasian Gaming Expo Open at Sydney's Darling Harbour. Dozens of big name brands were there including IGT (and its new 'Sex And The City' slot game), Aristocrat Technologies Australia, Ainsworth, Konami, WMS, ShuffleMaster and Bally.

Most of the exhibitors were making a return appearance from last year. It appeared they're were more exhibitors than "punters".

It's a huge production, with over 15,000 square meters decked out in gambling gear.

While big name companies like IGT somewhat dominated the event, it was impossible not to also recognise some of the smaller operations, as well as a few of IGT's competitors of sorts, thanks to their considerable branding and marketing efforts.

Here's the list of all of entities I was blessed to be able to speak with and photograph:

IGT
Aristocrat Technologies Australia
Ainsworth
Bally
Maxgaming
Keno
Paynter Dixon Hospitality
Tenrod Australia
Rohrig
Choice Paper & Imaging
Allpride Signs & Marketing
Paltronics Australasia
Maximun Light

As you can see from our photographs showcased on our Flickr, a great time was had by all, and the event was largely a success for all involved.

For the record, some of my personal favorite games are 'Sex And The City', 'The Phantom', 'Queen Of The Nile', 'Aussie Gold', 'Rose Tattoo', 'Jaws', 'Wheel Of Fortune' and Keno.

It's going to be interesting to see what poker machine manufacture is the one that will step up to battle with the red hot IGT slot - 'Sex And The City'. Will it be Australia's own Aristocrat or an international entrant.

Good on the organisers for also having coffee and bites on hand. 4.5 stars out of 5 for an excellent event, and we'll look forward to being on hand next year for more of the fun and games that is the Australasian Gaming Expo.

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Wrestling News Media: 'Wrestlemania' sets PPV record for WWE, Australia; Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Brock Lesnar, Australian Wrestling Promotions

Wrestling News Media: 'Wrestlemania' sets PPV record for WWE, Australia; Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Brock Lesnar, Australian Wrestling Promotions...

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Wrestling fans aka sports entertainment fans out there. Here's your latest fix of pro wrestling news Australian style...

WrestleMania 28 sets PPV record for WWE...

April 1 event drew 1.3 million pay-per-view buys...

WrestleMania 28 set a new record for WWE, generating 1.3 million pay-per-view buys for the event, held April 1 at Miami's Sun Life Stadium.

The company earned $67 million from the event, its largest PPV offering each year. The number combines PPV and live-event revenue from ticket sales and merchandise. Event also set a new attendance record for the stadium, with 78,363 filled seats.

Last year's show, hosted in Atlanta, generated revenue of $35.9 million for the company on more than 1 million PPV buys -- a mark WWE had been keen to reach after years of declines. The 2010 event, from Phoenix, counted 885,000 buys.

The rocket in buys this year is being attributed to the main match-up between Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and John Cena, which WWE promoted for a year.

The Rock was brought in for the mega event, and so was Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker wrestled his first match in about a year, and Chris Jericho returned for a classic WWE Championship match and with CM Punk.

"WrestleMania 28" was available as a PPV event in more than 105 countries.

Australia is understood to have been "An origin of an usually high amount of buys for WrestleMania", according to the Media Man agency commentator, who has been doing the ring around to those in the know.

"WrestleMania 29" is scheduled to take place April 7, 2013, at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

WWE Superstar and Hollywood mega movie star Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has already committed to WrestleMania 29, and its expected that his likely opponent will be either Brock Lesnar or John Cena, but WWE could throw fans a swerve, with numerous former WWE wrestlers (and other top talent) currently being in negotiation with the company.

Thus far 2012 is shaping up to be an awesome year for WWE fans, and let's hope they keep up the great work.


Australian Wrestling Fans: WrestleMania 28 Foxtel Main Event PPV...

Fans, you did it. We understand WrestleMania 28 was the most popular pro wrestling PPV in terms of buy rates ever for Australia.

In a few short weeks WWE will present its next PPV 'Extreme Rules', headlined by Brock Lesnar VS John Cena, as well as CM Punk VS Chris Jericho (Chicago Street Fight), and Sheamus VS Daniel Bryan in 2/3 falls.

Traditionally, 'Extreme Rules' hasn't been a very popular PPV for the sports entertainment giant, but this years Cena VS Lesnar main event is expected to draw massive interest and numbers.


Brock Lesnar Returns To WWE RAW; Potential WrestleMania 29 Appearance?!

The former UFC Heavyweight Champion has returned to WWE RAW, the night after WrestleMania 28 no less!

The crowd pop was similar in off the planet reaction - not unlike when Hulk Hogan first defeated The Iron Sheik for the title at the world's most famous arena - Madison Square Garden, way back on the 23rd January 1984.

Wrestling experts the world over have been having their say regarding Lesnar's return, with Wrestling Observer Newsletter editor, Dave Meltzer leading the charge as is usually the case...

"Brock will never go full time to pro wrestling," Meltzer said. "Brock will do a WrestleMania for a huge payoff, maybe he'll do two or three more pro wrestling matches and it will wear off."

Meltzer was only half right. Lesnar did not participate at WrestleMania, and but did confront John Cena in the ring and deliver the F5 to him on RAW.

That episode screened on Australian TV via Foxtel's FOX8 last week.


Pro Wrestling In Perth, West Australia...

All Action Wrestling: Anniversary 6 - Featuring Orlando Jordan and Paul London

Western Australia's All Action Wrestling (AAW) presents it Anniversary VI Event April 14 2012. ANNIVERSARY VI is AAW's biggest show ever produced and promises to bring fans in Perth what could be the biggest show in Australian Wrestling History! Two former WWE Superstars in Paul London and current AAW World Champion Orlando Jordan, A Main Event Steel Cage Match, Money in the Bank, and a possable career ending match for Wayne "The Maniac" Mattei! You dont want to miss this HUGE Event!

AAW have announced the following Event Card.

* Main Event *
- STEEL CAGE MATCH
- AAW World Heavyweight Championship -
Orlando Jordan (c) vs "The Australian Sensation" Craven

* International Challange *
Paul London vs James Grace

* Possable Career Ending Match *
Wayne "The Maniac" Mattei vs The Shark
-If Maniac looses he must retire

* Money in the Bank Ladder Match *
JC Blade v Corvus v Joey Angel v Viper v Tyler Throne v Danny Andrews

* AAW Women's Championship *
Imogen Jane (c) vs PWAQ's Storm (with AV)

* AAW Tag Team Championship *
Australia's Most Wanted vs B-Money & Josh Page

* Australian Championship *
Julian Ross (c) vs Casey Hanson

Card Subject to Change without notice.

TICKETS ON SALE NOW AT SHAVER SHOP IN ROCKINGHAM OR ONLINE AT www.allactionwrestling.com​.au
$15 for single or $50 for a family pass (4 People)

LOP will feature the results of the show on April 16.


AWF SUPANOVA MELBOURNE 2012 DAY 1; MELBOURNE, VIC - SAT 14 APR, 2012...

Royal Showgrounds
Melbourne, VIC

2 huge days of AWF - 3 times daily! Will be a massive weekend!!

AWF Wrestling @ Supanova Pop Culture Expo Melbourne
Shows: Sat 14 & Sun 15 April: 12am, 2pm, 4pm daily
Melbourne Showgrounds, Epsom Road, Ascot Vale, Victoria

Details on Supanova Pop Culture Expo & tickets on sale from 1 March can be found at www.supanova.com.au


AWF AUSTRALIA VS THE WORLD; SYDNEY, NSW - SAT 12 MAY, 2012...

Parramatta RSL Club
Parramatta
Sydney, NSW

Australia Versus The World

Saturday 12 May - 7pm
Parramatta RSL, Parramatta, NSW

Best of 7 Australia Vs The World Theme - Will be a great night!

Scheduled Card:
Esteban Molina Vs Iron Ben Coles
Mad Turk Hussain Vs Aussie Ozbone
Apollo Vs Powerhouse Theo
Island Tribe Vs Party Trix
Diego Del Fuego Vs Spaceboy Dacey
Aroura Vs Mighty Mel
TBC Vs Jack Tasman

All ages event - book early and be there!

Keep checking Street Corner, Wrestling News Media and the official WWE network for more on these developing news stories and more.

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