Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol tops Christmas charts

Waterstone’s last week reported that the fourth book by Dan Brown, “The Lost Symbol”, clocked up the most sales this month making it the number one Christmas read.

The book, which broke every record when it was released, beat the Guinness World Records 2010 and Stephenie Meyer’s Eclipse.

Brown’s first book, “The Da Vinci Code”, which was later made into a film, was top of the Christmas book chart back in 2004.

Waterstone’s fiction buyer Janine Cook said: “The Lost Symbol has not been far from the top of the charts since publication, and it’s a great gift, which is why it’s back on top”.

In other news, rock band Rage Against the Machine ended the X-Factor’s four year dominance of the Christmas number one spot following half a million people supporting an online campaign to get ‘Killing in the Name’ to the top of the charts.

Pittsburgh CLO Presents ‘Christmas Carol’ and ‘Plaid Tidings’

Pittsburgh CLO presents two Holiday shows: Tickets for Pittsburgh CLO’s 16th annual holiday production of A Musical Christmas Carol at the Byham Theater and the highly-anticipated Pittsburgh premiere of Plaid Tidings at the CLO Cabaret will go on sale Friday, October 5, 2007.

Plaid Tidings > November 8, 2007 – January 13, 2008 > The very best of Forever Plaid wrapped up in a nifty package with a big bow on top! Pittsburgh’s original cast (J.D. Daw, Joe Domencic, Adam Halpin and Marcus Stevens) is back in town for their highly-anticipated Christmas Special, filled with “plaid-erized” holiday favorites. At first The Plaids aren’t sure why they’ve returned, but a phone call from the heavenly Rosemary Clooney tells them that they’re needed to add a little harmony to the world. Plaid Tidings is sponsored by TRACO.

Performances are Wednesday-Saturday evenings, 7:30PM; and Saturday & Sunday matinees at 2PM. Tickets ($50.50) are available online at www.PittsburghCLO.org, by calling 412-456-6666 or at the Box Office at Theater Square. Groups of 10 or more can call the Group Sales Hotline at 412-325-1582 to learn more about special discounts and priority seating.

A Musical Christmas Carol > December 7-23, 2007 Byham Theater > Featuring classic characters and a wealth of yuletide melodies, this traditional holiday tale is a must see! Audiences are sure to enjoy Ebenezer Scrooge’s ghostly adventure through the past, present and future as he finds redemption from a life of loneliness and greed, and just in time to celebrate the season. Young and old alike will rejoice in this heartwarming musical production!

Performances are Fridays at 7:30PM; Saturdays at 12PM, 4PM & 8PM; Sundays at 2PM & 6PM; and Thursday December 20 at 7:30PM. Student Matinees are December 5, 6, 7, 11, 12, 13, 18 & 19 at 10AM

Pittsburgh CLO is proud to present eight specially priced 10AM Student Matinees. With an informative study guide, behind-the-scenes DVD and captivating musical performances, A Musical Christmas Carol is both an educational theater experience and wonderful holiday celebration!  Teachers who want to make A Musical Christmas Carol part of their lesson plans should call the Group Sales Hotline at (412) 263-2560.

Tickets to A Musical Christmas Carol are affordably priced for family entertainment from $26.50 to $42.50 with half-priced tickets for children 3-14.  Tickets are available online at www.PittsburghCLO.org or by calling (412) 456-6666 or at the Box Office at Theater Square.

Pittsburgh CLO has carefully designed special group discounts and corporate ticket programs to accommodate any size group!  Interested parties should call the Group Sales Hotline at (412) 263-2560 to learn more about these fantastic opportunities.     

Related Links > http://www.pittsburghclo.org

Exmoor, UK, prepares for Christmas

Festive cheer will be in plentiful supply over Exmoor, UK, during the first two weekends of December as the local villagers at Dulverton and Dunster prepare for Christmas with two special events.

Dulverton by Starlight: Sunday 2 December > Amongst the many Christmas activities taking place between 12noon and 7pm at Dulverton by Starlight on Sunday, 2 December will be carol singing and street entertainment as well as a chance to enjoy some hot mince pies and buy gifts for family and friends from the local shops. Santa Claus will be making a visit bringing gifts for the children and there will carol singing around the sparkling Christmas tree in the town square.

For further information about Dulverton by Starlight visit www.exmoorevents.co.uk.

Dunster by Candlelight: Friday 7 – Saturday 8 December > At Dunster by Candlelight on Friday 7 and Saturday 8 December the remarkably preserved medieval village turns it’s back on the present and lights its streets with candles. At 5.30pm there is a Lantern Lighting Procession with traditional pipe and drum music and stilt walkers in amazing costumes who put up the lanterns. It continues through the village until all the lanterns have been lit.

Throughout both evenings until around 9.30pm there will be a variety of street entertainment with carol singers, Morris dancers, samba drums, Rattlebox Theatre, creepy crawly handling with Exmoor Zoo in the newly restored Tithe Barn; a march by Sutton Household, hand bell ringers and a brass band plus carol singing and concerts in the Parish Church. Dunster’s shops will be open for Christmas shopping while the local restaurants, inns and charity stalls will provide refreshments.

Admission is free but there is a small charge for the park and ride service since there is no parking in Dunster for the evening. Visitors will also be able to arrive at Dunster by Candlelight on a special Christmas train operated by the West Somerset Steam Railway, which runs from Bishop’s Lydeard, near Taunton to Minehead but pre-booking is essential.

For further details about Dunster by Candlelight visit www.dunsterbycandlelight.co.uk.

Details about other places to visit on Exmoor and accommodation suggestions can be found on www.visit-exmoor.co.uk.

Christmas at The Coliseum, London

Christmas 2007 sees English National Ballet break with tradition by opening its Coliseum season with Michael Corder’s glittering new production of The Snow Queen (11 – 16 December). The Company’s traditional showing of family favourite The Nutcracker follows with Christopher Hampson’s flamboyant production returning for its seventh consecutive season (19 December – 6 January). The season finale brings Derek Deane’s proscenium arch production of Swan Lake back to London for the first time since 2001 (8 – 19 January 2008).

Another record-breaking season has prompted English National Ballet to once again return to the Coliseum with three ballets. The 2006/2007 Christmas season broke all previous box office records with performances of The Nutcracker, Alice in Wonderland and Giselle selling 85,818 tickets over a six week season at the London Coliseum.

The Snow Queen is Michael Corder’s third new work for English National Ballet; his other works for the Company are his acclaimed production of Cinderella premiered in 1996, and the recently performed Melody on the Move created in 2003. The Snow Queen is the first new full length ballet produced by English National Ballet in over 10 years.

The music for The Snow Queen is arranged by Julian Philips from Prokofiev’s ballet The Stone Flower and other Prokofiev works. Julian’s original works include Strange Seas, commissioned by the Britten Sinfonia and later performed by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, and Out of Light commissioned by BBC Proms and premiered at the Royal Albert Hall in 2001.

The production is designed by Mark Bailey whose previous collaborations with Corder include Melody on the Move in 2003. Mark’s recent projects include Hamlet for Chicago Shakespeare Theatre and An Ideal Husband for Theatr Clwyd.

Based on Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale, The Snow Queen is a touching, gothic fairy tale which will be lavishly retold by English National Ballet. The Snow Queen tells the story of young friends, Kay and Gerda. Kay catches slivers of the Snow Queen’s shattered magic mirror in his eye and in his heart, and his character begins to change. As Kay is spirited away to the Snow Queen’s palace, eternal winter descends on the village. Gerda searches the world over to find her friend.

This fantastic journey finally takes her to the Snow Queen’s Palace which is inhabited by her magical court of wolves, white foxes, ice maidens and sprites. Gerda’s love for Kay releases him from the spell, the slivers of mirror fall from his eye and heart and the Snow Queen’s curse of eternal winter is broken.

Andersen’s fairy tales have inspired plays, ballets, films and many works of art. The Snow Queen was first published in 1844 and has since been translated into more than 80 languages.

Continuing the season in traditional style, English National Ballet presents The Nutcracker, choreographed by Christopher Hampson, and designed by Gerald Scarfe. Hampson/Scarfe’s ballet is colourful and vibrant and offers an eccentric retelling of this classic Christmas ballet.

Clara, her Nutcracker doll and the magician, Drosselmeyer, take us on adventures in the Land of Snow and the Kingdom of the Sweets. Clara battles with a Mouse King, flies on an origami bird and falls in love with a handsome Prince. English National Ballet’s Nutcracker is the ideal Christmas treat for all the family, and has proved hugely popular with audiences since its premiere in 2002.

To round off the season, the Company presents Derek Deane’s Swan Lake. Arguably the most popular ballet ever created, Swan Lake tells the story of Prince Siegfried’s powerful love for the Swan Queen, Odette, and their battle against the evil magician, Rothbart.

Derek Deane’s traditional production brings the romance and high drama of the grand Russian ballet tradition alive. Swan Lake is set to Tchaikovsky’s magnificent score, which features some of the most beautiful music in the classical ballet repertoire.

This Swan Lake was originally produced for English National Ballet by Derek Deane in 2000, based on a reworking of his 1997 in the round version. The in the round production has recently enjoyed full houses at the Royal Albert Hall and has delighted audiences of over 400,000 in the ten years since its premiere.

Excerpts from this production were featured in Concert for Diana in Wembley Stadium on 1 July. The proscenium arch production was last seen in London in 2001.

English National Ballet will be performing at the Coliseum with its full Company of 64 dancers and full orchestra. The international line up of dancers includes popular husband and wife partnership Agnes Oaks and Thomas Edur, as well Daria Klimentová and Dmitri Gruzdyev; Elena Glurdjidze and Arionel Vargas; Erina Takahashi and César Morales, and Fernanda Oliveira. For the latest national and international touring information and to book online, visit English National Ballet’s website at www.Ballet.org.uk.

London Coliseum, St Martin’s Lane, London, WC2N 4ES, England. Ticket prices: £10 – £60

The Snow Queen > 11 – 15 December 7.30pm, 12, 15 December 2.30pm, 13 December 2pm (Schools), 16 December 3pm, (Pre performance talks on 13 December 6pm, 16 December 1.30pm)

The Nutcracker > 19 – 22, 26 – 29 December, 2 – 5 January 7.30pm, 19 – 22, 26 – 29 December, 2, 3, 5 January 2.30pm, 23, 30 December, 6 January 3pm, (Pre performance talks on 20, 29 December, 2 January 6pm)

Swan Lake > 8 – 12, 15 – 19 January 7.30pm, 10, 12, 16, 19 January 2.30pm, 13 January 3pm, (Pre performance talk on 17 January 6pm)

For further information, visit www.Ballet.org.uk

Japan TV apologises for “topless” New Year’s Eve shock

A troupe of dancers in skin-coloured body suits had Japanese national broadcaster NHK apologising to viewers of its New Year’s Eve music special for what seemed to be a full-scale Janet Jackson-style wardrobe malfunction.

The dancers, who all appeared to be topless and wore skimpy bikini-style bottoms and feathered head-dresses, covered the stage during a performance by singer DJ OZMA, prompting about 250 viewers to phone in and complain.

“The dancers were wearing body suits, but we apologise for any misunderstanding,” a presenter announced towards the end of the 57th annual “Red and White Song Contest”.

“I guess it looked a bit too real,” local media quoted the singer as telling reporters after the show, which regularly tops viewer ratings on New Year’s Eve in Japan.

Kylie gears up for New Year gig

The singer will play seven dates in London’s Wembley Arena

Kylie gears up for New Year gig   Thousands of British fans will welcome in the New Year with pop star Kylie Minogue as she stages her UK comeback. The Australian singer is launching the British leg of her Showgirl Homecoming tour at Wembley Arena in London.

Fans in Sydney were the first to see the tour last month as Minogue, covered in pink feathers, returned to the stage following treatment for breast cancer.

The pint-sized star, 38, has promised the £65 New Year show will be “the biggest party of all”. It kicks off at 2000 GMT, finishing as the clock strikes midnight and 2006 draws to a close.

A dancefloor with capacity for 3,500 people has been specially-built at the North London arena, allowing revellers to continue celebrating until 0100GMT.

Transport for London (TfL) has announced that Tube services will be free and run until 0430GMT, as well as normal night bus services.

Minogue has another six dates planned at Wembley in 2007, followed by a further six nights in Manchester.

It had been hoped she would also play at this year’s Glastonbury festival, after pulling out of a headlining slot in 2005 following her cancer diagnosis. But earlier this month festival organiser Emily Eavis told BBC 6 Music that Minogue was too busy to join this year’s line-up.

Minogue’s record company, Parlophone, has also said she is working on material which could be released in 2007.

Related Links > Kylie’s Official Website > http://www.kylie.com


Japanese TV celebrates Christmas with Norwegian salmon

Posted On December 28, 2006

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On the evening before Christmas Eve, Norwegian salmon was spotlighted in thousands of Japanese homes in the Kanto region when TV channel TV Asahi broadcast a Christmas special on it.

Japan does not celebrate Christmas as we know it in Europe, although this particular evening has a Christmas feel to it as the Japanese gather in their homes and watch TV.

On Saturday, 23 December, TV Asahi broadcast a one-hour Christmas special in the popular programme series “Chokusai no Ookoku”, or “Colourful Country Food”, which on this occasion was all about Norway and salmon.

Viewers were fully introduced to what differentiates Norwegian salmon from traditional Japanese wild salmon, courtesy of a TV team that visited Norway and filmed part of the programme at a salmon farm in western Norway. The programme was presented by the well-known Japanese actress Hiroko Yakushimaru.

Source > www.fishupdate.com

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