Sunday, June 1, 2008
There are few things that would drag a typical teenager out of bed early on a Saturday morning, but defending the honour of a beloved band from tabloid attacks is probably one of them.
Around 100 My Chemical Romance fans had already gathered at Marble Arch, in central London, by 10.30 this morning - not bad given that organisers had given the protest a 12-hour window, of 10am to 10pm, and that there was a last minute change of venue.
The fans were objecting to Daily Mail reports describing My Chemical Romance as a "suicide cult band" and linking the recent suicide of a Peckham schoolgirl, Hannah Bond, 13, to the fact that she had started following the band two weeks before her death.
The Daily Mail has called the New Jersey-based band one of the foremost of the "suicide cult" groups forming part of the "emo" phenomenon. The paper described "emo" as a teenage trend that started in the US in the 1980s and was "characterised by depression, self-injury and suicide". Its followers, the tabloid said, wore tight jeans, studded belts and wristbands and had dyed-black hair and long fringes obscuring their faces.
The atmosphere at the protest was more carnival fairground than riot, with fans clutching balloons and soft toys and singing My Chemical Romance songs loudly and passionately - but not always tunefully. Lyrics included "teenagers scare the living shit out of me" and "I'm not afraid to keep on living".
The overwhelming majority of the crowd were young girls, bouncing with energy and shrieking with laughter as they rushed over to hug their friends or chanted: "Don't blame MCR!"
A few were dressed in typical dark, "emo" fashion but most followed the request of the organisers, who had written on the website: "Please consider dressing to suit the day ... Don't try to dress stereotypically." Many of the fans had homemade shirts with positive slogans such as, "Think happy thoughts."
Protesters came from all over the country, including Brighton, Oxford and south Wales and even a few who had made an overnight roadtrip from Cornwall.
Tabitha Reed, 14, travelled up from Brighton with her mother and sister and several friends and camped out at her grandmother's house in London overnight.
"I love MCR, it saves lives. The Daily Mail are liars and all they want to do is put the youth against the adults; they just hate us and it's really unnecessary, it's just wrong," she said. "I've read a couple of the [Mail] articles and they've actually misquoted lyrics and the research was so badly done, it was unbelievable. I actually thought [the story] was a hoax when I found it on the internet."
Vikki Bourne, who came to the protest from Crawley in West Sussex with her daughter Kayleigh, 15, and their dog, Jack, said they were both huge fans of My Chemical Romance and had a closer relationship as a result.
"Emos are being portrayed as self-harming and suicidal and miserable and they're not," she said. "Since my daughter met the friends she's got, she's happy, she's got a social life, she's not suicidal, she's got confidence. It's about the music and being friends and having fun. I wanted to come here to say that, as a parent, I support what she does; [the band] are not cult, they're safe and I'm happy."
The organisers had originally planned for the protest to gather at the Round Pond in Kensington Gardens and march to the Daily Mail offices in Derry Street, off High Street Kensington.
The plan was altered after discussions with police because of concerns about the lack of space on the pavement opposite Northcliffe House.
Instead the main protest was at Marble Arch, while small contingents of 30 people at a time kept vigil at Northcliffe House. The latter groups were ringed in by barricades but police at the scene and Associated Newspapers security staff said there had been no trouble.
"It's a waste of time, there's no one here today," one security guard told MediaGuardian.co.uk. "Look at them - they're eating their lunch and their mums are off shopping."
One of the few boys to attend today's protest, Craig Goodwin, 17, from Upminster in Essex, said he was there with the blessing of his parents.
"They didn't mind - my dad used to do protests because he was a rocker back when it was mods and rockers, and my mum liked My Chemical Romance, so she didn't care, either," he said.
"I know people who've done it [self harm] in the past but they've always come through it. Some have listened to MCR and it's built their confidence up so they could come back like they were before."
By Ray Waddell
NASHVILLE (Billboard) - The secret's out: MySpace Music Secret Shows are a hit. Social networking pioneer MySpace has created its most successful music program with the intimate Secret Shows series, whose 150th installment will feature Gnarls Barkley on June 8 at Irving Plaza in New York.
MySpace Music launched the Secret Shows franchise in January 2006 and has since hosted such acts as Rilo Kiley, Moby, Maroon 5, the Killers, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Tenacious D, Lily Allen, Ice Cube, James Blunt and Neil Diamond in cities around the world.
The concept is the brainchild of MySpace Music editor Isac Walter, who wanted to attract fans to a MySpace profile where they could find out about promotional shows, with an urgent call to action.
"We have such a large social network we can pull from that we literally can go into any city and announce a show 48 hours in advance and fill an entire venue," Walter says. Admission to the shows is free.
If fans sign up as a "friend" of the Secret Show profile, "you'll get a bulletin that says, 'Tomorrow night, the Kooks in Portland (Oregon) at Backspace, first come, first served,'" Walter says. "If you really want to see the show, you can go down and get in line."
Secret Shows is MySpace's most successful and longstanding music program to date, and the program with the most user interaction, Walter says. "Almost half a million kids have signed up for the Secret Shows profile, and those kids are keeping the profile active, going in and requesting bands to play."
To enlist a band for a Secret Show, Walter will typically approach a label when a particular act is already on tour or has a timely album release."Preferably we'll do it with a band that is already playing a much larger venue (in the market), perhaps 1,000 or 2,000 capacity, and then try and get them to do a really small, intimate show where core fans will be able to come out and enjoy it," he says. "Kids will go and wait in line for hours on end, and the reward basically is the longer you're willing to wait, the more chance you have of getting in to see one of your favorite bands perform."
Bands play gratis in exchange for promotion on MySpace Music, and any costs are absorbed by the label as a marketing and promotion expense. "Clubs are really happy to get involved because obviously they get the bar (revenue), but they also get to say, 'Slayer played at my club,'" Walter adds.
MySpace has staged Secret Shows in 30 states and has launched the program in several other countries, including Australia, Germany, England, France, Spain, Italy, Canada and Japan.
The shows are not typically webcast on MySpace because of technological challenges. "If (the technology) does become available so that we can just set up a box and webcast the show for everybody to watch, I think it's pretty likely that we will, and I don't think the technology is too far off," Walter says.
Rainn Wilson, who plays the intense (and intensely funny) Schrute on NBC's "The Office," has revealed to MTV that he has been cast in DreamWorks' "Transformers 2." The sequel to last year's megahit about a race of automotive automatons smashing it out on Earth reteams director Michael Bay with returning stars Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson and John Turturro.
The story was conceived by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, who wrote last year's "Transformers," as well as Ehren Kruger, who wrote the screenplay. Filming began in Los Angeles in recent weeks and is moving to Pennsylvania and then overseas.
Although a small part, Wilson's casting -- his first in a big-budget studio franchise -- could be a shrewd play for a comedy crowd that might not otherwise patronize a bombastic Bay extravaganza. He will play a college professor to LaBeouf's new undergrad. Discussions with Jonah Hill to take another small role did not pan out.
The writer-actor, who also had a small role in "Juno," stars in "The Rocker," opening Aug. 1, and is working on the screenplay for "Bonzai Shadowhands" with Jason Reitman for Reitman's Hard C. Wilson is repped by 3 Arts and WMA.
I Am Legend 2: now entering development hell..
We've spent days of our lives scouring the world for news of sequels that you may not have heard of. And here are 30 films in various states of production...
The domination of sequels in the big summer and winter schedules continues, and if the following - in particular order - is anything to go by, it's going to carry on for many years to come...
The Brazilian Job: the follow up to Paramount’s US remake of The Italian Job is still on the cards, and it’s got a 2009 release date marked. Jason Statham, Mos Def, Mark Wahlberg and Charlize Theron are attached, as is director F Gary Gray.
I, Robot 2: All we know on this one is that it’s in the scripting stages still, with a potential 2010 release date planned in. No news on Mr Smith's involvement.
I Am Legend 2: Warner’s huge Christmas 2007 hit could also have a follow up, although it’d be interesting to see if Will Smith returned to it. A 2010 release date is also being mooted for this one.
Beverly Hills Cop 4: If Die Hard can still do it at the box office, why can’t Axel Foley? Er, because the third BHC movie was crap, and a flop. Still, it’s not stopped development work going ahead on number four. No further news than that, though.
National Treasure 3: Not a huge surprise, but as the Nic Cage Indiana Jones knock off franchise has proved to be quite a juggernaut, you’ll only have to wait until 2011 for the third film in the series.
Cars 2: We spotted this on AintItCool – is Pixar really looking to make a sequel to its weakest film? Apparently so…
Toy Story 3: This one, after lots of umming and ahhing, appears to be a goer. It won’t, as was speculated, be a straight-to-DVD affair, and Tom Hanks and Tim Allen are both expected back on voicing duties. It’ll be out in 2010.
Jeepers Creepers 3: MGM is running the rule over a potential third instalment in the horror franchise, with director Victor Salva still attached. Hmmm.
Shrek 5: The fourth film was a no-brainer after the tepid third outing made so much cash. But a fifth instalment has also been confirmed. No wonder Shrek is the same colour as an American dollar…
Night at the Museum 2: Ben Stiller is returning for his most commercially successful role outside of the Meet the Parents franchise. We can wait. No news on the proposed Meet The Little Focker, though.
Crank 2: High Voltage: This is more like it. Crank is a guilty pleasure right up there with Snakes on a Plane, and it’s coming back for more. Shooting starts next month, for a 2009 release, and Jason Statham returns as Chev Chelios. As he should.
Transporter 3: Statham again. He’s making this too, and it’s in pre-production. Presumably, he’ll go from Crank 2 straight onto this.
Super Troopers 2: A sequel nobody asked for! Hurray! Expect it in 2010, as it’s in the early writing stages still, we believe.
Silent Hill 2: Sony is looking at a follow up to the crap-but-popular video game adaptation. 2010 is the current slated release date.
The Descent 2: We understand that Neil Marshall won’t be directed this one, which has the, er, working title of The De2cent. He’s attached as Executive Producer, with Jon Harris stepping behind the camera (he edited the first film, as well as the more recent Stardust).
The Grudge 3: Yup, it’s in pre-production now, for release next year. That’ll likely be the scariest thing about it.
Ice Age 3: 1st July 2009. That’s the date you’ll need to avoid if you want to miss the next Ice Age movie. Hopefully it’ll be better than the second one…
Ghost Rider 2: A surprise hit last year, Marvel is developing a follow-up to the Nic Cage comic book flick, and tentatively has 2009 marked for release. No director is thus far attached.
The Untouchables: Capone Rising: A prequel to Brian De Palma’s cracking prohibition thriller of, er, twenty years ago. De Palma is back behind the camera, and the project is in the pre-production stages now.
The Thomas Crown Affair 2: Weird, this. It’s taken them ages to do a sequel, and then they draft in Paul Verhoeven to direct a follow-up to someone else’s film. Pierce Brosnan returns, and filming starts shortly.
The People Under The Stairs 2: No sign of any Wes Craven involvement, though, and release may even be this year. Hmmm. We'd wager DVD will be its home.
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor: Er, that’s what they’ve called The Mummy 3, which is out on 1st August. Brendan Fraser and Jet Li star.
Punisher: War Zone: Ray Stevenson becomes the third person to play The Punisher on screen. You’ll be able to find out how he did on 12th September this year.
Starship Troopers 3: Marauder: Casper Van Diem is back, but it’s still going straight to DVD, as the piss-awful second film did. It’s due out later this year.
Pink Panther 2: Oh dear. And I’m a Steve Martin fan. It’s out on 13th February 2009.
Ace Ventura 3: No Jim Carrey though, and no chance of it seeing the inside of a cinema. Head to Blockbuster later in the year if you want to catch it.
War of the Worlds 2: The Next Wave: Another straight to DVD sequel, but this one’s of note because it’s directed by Soul Man/Hitcher star C Thomas Howell. Blimey.
Jurassic Park 4: It’s taken them ages to sort this out, but the latest is that Laura Dern is still attached, and that it’ll be released in 2009. Don’t hold your breath though, as shooting would need to start really very soon...
Scary Movie 5/Saw 5: You could have guessed at these if you didn’t know about them already. Both should see the light before the end of the year. Sadly.
Put your thoughts in the Comments box, and let us know if you want more lists of this ilk in the future...!