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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Facing the music

Throughout history, musicians and composers have battled rampant piracy, unscrupulous publishers and dubious employment practices. The problems of today's recording industry pale in comparison

Music as sacred rite: (left-right) Alexandre Dumas, Victor Hugo, George Sand, Paganini, Rossini and Liszt worship a bust Beethoven. At Liszt’s feet is his over, the Comtesse d’Agoult

On 26 November a video message was sent to the Prime Minister on behalf of professional musicians, demanding an extension of copyright protection for performers from 50 to 95 years after any recording. With many of the classic tracks of the high noon of rock'n'roll about to reach their half-century, the issue is becoming urgent. Such an extension is not thought to be supported by the UK government. A spokesman for the artists was understandably irate about this, pointing to the "staggering" amount of foreign revenue generated by British session musicians ("the finest in the world, the absolute finest").

Although sympathy for veterans about to be deprived of their royalties is entirely proper, it is just as well to see the crisis of the modern music industry - of which the wrangling over copyright forms a part - in its historical context. Modern musicians' lot compares very well to that of their predecessors. By definition, it was only when commercial recording began in the early 20th century that a musician could expect any additional payment for a performance. Not even as great a virtuoso as Paganini or Liszt had a back catalogue.

For composers, too, copyright protection is very much a creation of modern times. Until deep into the 19th century, piracy of the most flagrant kind was the norm. As soon as a score was published, it was liable to be copied right across Europe without any kind of payment to its creator. Moreover, unscrupulous publishers often borrowed the identity of prestigious composers to add allure to slow-selling catalogue items. In Paris, in 1789, the Bohemian composer Adalbert Gyrowetz went to a concert to hear a symphony advertised as being by Haydn - and found himself having to sit through one of his own com positions. Two years earlier, one of the more respectable publishing houses, Breitkopf & Härtel of Leipzig, advertised for sale 96 symphonies by Haydn, even though at that time he had written fewer than 80. If modern copyright protection had been in place in Germany in the middle of the 19th century, Richard Wagner would have been a rich man. As his biographer Ernest Newman pointed out, it was the system that made him a beggar - and then condemned him for being a debtor.

One of the reasons why Wagner - and every other composer - was so keen to make a name in Paris was that legislation introduced during the French Revolution had given France the best intellectual property rights in Europe, and consequently the continent's most vibrant musical culture. The result was that Auber, Meyerbeer and Halévy became very rich. That these three succeeded where Berlioz and Wagner failed ought to be sufficient warning that secure access to the market is not a guarantee of superior quality. When copyright protection came to Italy in the late 19th century, it marginalised the im presarios and prompted the now dominant music publishers to cosset their star composers. Whether the music produced under these new conditions by, say, Puccini is superior to that of Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti or the younger Verdi is a different matter.

The relationship between context and content in music has always been problematic. The rise of the anonymous public in the course of the 18th century certainly liberated musicians from the patronage of prince or prelate. Never again would a composer of Mozart's stature be booted out of the service of the Archbishop of Salzburg ("with a kick to my arse", as Wolfgang put it in a letter to his father). The development of a prosperous public sphere in London allowed Haydn, in a matter of months, to make six times the annual salary paid to him in Austria by Prince Esterházy. Yet public patronage came at a cost. Haydn chose not to settle in London, but to remain in the service of the Esterházys until the day he died in 1809. He may well have had an inkling that the public could be a much harder taskmaster than the relatively undemanding aristocrats he served at home.

The public knew what it liked - and that was easy listening in the shape of plenty of variety, good tunes, regular rhythms, and pieces that were not too long or difficult. Haydn's symphonies fitted the bill, but Beethoven, especially in his later years, was altogether too demanding. Increasingly in the early 19th century, public concerts took the form of potpourris, mainly comprising popular overtures, operatic arias and dance tunes, with at best a single movement of a symphony or a concerto. In particular, the enduring craze for dance music led to even choral music and oratorios being reorchestrated in waltz- or polka-time to allow toes to tap, the ultimate surely being the Stabat Mater Quadrilles.

The industry has not died, but it has been forced to make sweeping changes

Long and loud were the complaints from serious composers that the public did not appreciate them but preferred jaunty melodies and the simple orchestration of Italian ice-cream opera. Significantly, it was around this time that the word "philistine" entered common usage, to den ote the unsophisticated, unintellectual, money-grubbing bourgeois who knew the price of everything and the value of nothing. In 1826, the year before his death, Beethoven pronounced: "It is said vox populi, vox dei. I never believed it".

Composers have responded in all kinds of ways to the emergence of the philistine public as the major source of patronage, from "giving the punters what they want" to "doing my own thing regardless". Beethoven dealt with the problem by sacralising music, by raising it above the grubby hands of the paying public to become something worshipped in its own right. If they found his late quartets incomprehensible and concluded that he had gone mad, then so be it. Perhaps the acme of this kind of attitude was the response of Sir Harrison Birtwistle when criticised for inaccessibility: "I can't be responsible for the audience - I'm not running a restaurant." At the other end of the spectrum, there has been what might be called the Tin Pan Alley approach, whose sole criterion is sales.

The ideal has been to achieve popular success and esteem without sacrificing a sense of integrity. Handel, the first musical millionaire, managed it, taking advantage of London's precocious size and prosperity, but he was the exception in the 18th century. When the subsequent explosive growth of the public sphere across Europe created a new Eldorado, it was the composer-performers who did best, since it was they who could achieve a direct relationship with their audiences. Paganini and then Liszt dem onstrated just what riches and honours were now available to the charismatic musician. When Liszt left Berlin after a series of recitals in 1842, he did so in a carriage pulled by six white horses, accompanied by a procession of 30 other coaches and an honour-guard of students, as King Frederick William IV and his queen waved goodbye from the royal palace. As the music critic Ludwig Rellstab put it, he left "not like a king, but as a king".

In the course of the 19th century, ever- growing markets, bigger spaces for music and better communications allowed many more performers to make much more money. Sopranos, especially, became rich beyond the dreams of avarice of even the most famous singers of the past. Between September 1850 and June 1851 Jenny Lind, "the Swedish Nightingale", gave 95 concerts in the United States, earning $176,675 net of all expenses. Moreover, all along the way she was feted as a queen. Had she lived long enough to take advantage of the invention of recording, her colossal fortune might well have been multiplied many times over. In 1914, Enrico Caruso was earning £20,000 a year from world sales of his records, which may even have increased ten fold after 1918.

In the course of the past century, a rush of technological changes has made music more accessible and ubiquitous than ever before. Cinema, the gramophone, radio, the jukebox, television, the electric guitar, transistors, LPs, stereo, the Walkman, discotheques, CDs, the internet, DVDs, the MP3, the iPod and all the rest have drenched the modern world in music. Moreover, the eruption of youth culture after 1945 simultaneously propelled musicians to pole position in both status and material reward. As the annual Sunday Times Rich List shows, no other branch of the creative or performing arts can boast such a concentration of wealth. When Bono or Bob Geldof (both honorary Knights of the British Empire) lecture politicians on what to do about the problems of the third world, those politicians have to appear to be listening.

But, for every Bono and his countless millions, there is a host of modestly paid session players, 90 per cent of whom earn less than £15,000 a year, according to one of their leaders. It will come as no consolation to them to know, if they do not know it already, that it was ever so. Ever since musicians emerged from the servile but cosy world of aristocratic patronage into the harsh daylight of the public sphere, the musical profession has been a pyramid with a broad base and a sharp top. The new opportunities brought by every major technological shift have also left many casualties among musicians unable or unwilling to adapt. A good example was the advent of the gramophone, which sent an army of pianists, piano teachers and piano manufacturers to the scrapheap.

More recently, a combination of digitisation and the internet has torn a great fissure in the recording industry, which has not died (as Norman Lebrecht claimed in a characteristically strident book last year), but which has certainly been forced into fundamental change. Nor, one imagines, will the musicians plugging their way through yet another Muzak recording session be cheered by the reminder that Jimmy Page (worth £75m, according to the Sunday Times) started out as one of their number. Theirs is an often unrewarding and uncertain profession, but at least now their P45s are not accompanied, as was Mozart's, by physical violence.

"The Triumph of Music: Composers, Musicians and Their Audiences, 1700 to the Present" by Tim Blanning is published by Allen Lane (£25)

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Challenges remain for Amazon digital music service

By Antony Bruno

DENVER (Billboard) - After its first full year selling tracks from all four major labels, Amazon's digital music store has become the second-largest a la carte service, according to industry estimates.

But it's a very distant second to iTunes. Major-label sources say that they had hoped the company would have fared better than it did. Amazon has yet to release any sales figures for digital music, and it did not respond to interview requests for this story. But Piper Jaffray financial analyst Gene Munster estimates that Amazon will sell 130 million tracks this year -- a paltry sum compared with the 2.4 billion songs iTunes is expected to sell in 2008.

Those figures are skewed by the fact that iTunes operates in more than 20 countries, while Amazon just opened its first foreign store December 3 in the United Kingdom. But analyst estimates put Amazon's digital-music market share at about 8 percent, atop the "everybody else" category of services competing with iTunes. And that figure didn't go up as the year went on.

"The market share has remained relatively stable throughout the year," NPD Group analyst Russ Crupnick said. "I didn't see anything out there that would be a major game-changer. I'm not all that surprised."

Amazon took on major challenges. Entering a market dominated by an entrenched competitor isn't easy, and the company lacks a branded device to drive sales. Apple drives iTunes sales with its iPod, as the spike in downloads seen after the holidays suggests. And outside of a brief TV campaign supporting its Pepsi Stuff, which let consumers collect points redeemable for MP3s and other purchases, Amazon didn't do much marketing.

Amazon does have a few achievements to crow about, however. Its proportion of digital album to digital single sales is twice that of iTunes, according to the NPD Group. But its album sales are boosted by its weekly discounts, which offer catalog products for as little as 99 cents.

LURING NEW BUYERS

Labels hope that Amazon will expand the digital music market by attracting new customers. According to NPD Group surveys, only 10 percent of the music fans who bought tracks from Amazon also reported getting them from iTunes. Amazon's customers are predominantly male -- 64 percent, compared with 44 percent for iTunes. The service is also stronger with older demographics: A third of Amazon buyers are 26-35, another third 36-50. Most iTunes users are younger.

If Amazon is to grow aggressively, though, it needs to start poaching customers from iTunes. "There's an increasingly difficult challenge in getting new digital users," Crupnick said. "It's becoming a bit of a mature market. The easy pickings aren't there so much. The biggest challenge is trying to convince the person in the iTunes ecosystem to get out of it."

The labels hope that Amazon can do that next year. Piper Jaffray's Munster projects that Amazon's sales will surge 60 percent in 2009 to 208 million downloads. But labels believe that there's even more potential in the company's integration with MySpace Music and other companies like it. If Amazon can become the provider of choice for social networks aiming to sell digital music, labels say it could have an easier time challenging iTunes.

"Amazon was particularly interested in creating a seamless experience within MySpace Music," said MySpace CEO Chris DeWolfe, who added that more layers of integration are pending as the service evolves. "It's going to become more and more seamless (because) they were very serious about creating this experience and invested in it."

Amazon also made small deals this year. One allowed gamers playing "Grand Theft Auto IV" to tag songs in the soundtrack for later purchase on Amazon. Users of Google's G1 phone also have one-click access to the company's MP3 store, including integration with the popular Shazam song identifier application. Developing more such deals in 2009 will determine whether Amazon remains the leader of the also-rans or emerges as a real challenger to iTunes.

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The Passion of Mickey Rourke and the Acting Comeback of the Year

By Scott Raab


Let's put this on the table right away: As far as I'm concerned, Mickey Rourke is a schmuck in the old-school sense--a squinting organ, a thing that feels but doesn't think. A permanently wounded beast, a scar with legs. At best.

I know this because I saw the Mick at the bottom of the barrel late in 1994, spent two weeks trying to profile him while he was shooting a direct-to-video piece of crap with Tupac Shakur. That he treated me like dirt was no big deal and no surprise, but he also made a point of bad-mouthing his estranged (and now ex) wife, urging me--unprompted and at length--to smear her. He stank of both self-pity and braggadocio, and his effluvium of bullshit made it impossible to tell where the lies ended and the lunacy began.

In short, Rourke made it easy to write a fine profile, and I felt a certain pity for him, even as I called him a has-been: "Viewing his films in chronological order, watching a fine young actor re-create himself as a stumbling hack," I wrote then, "without range, without craft, without even giving a damn, is both astounding and tragic, like seeing a wrecking ball slam a building into dust."

I was wrong. Mickey may yet be a schmuck--while nobody should be judged only at his worst, how he deals with hard times says far more about a man than his waltz down easy street--but in The Wrestler, his new film, Rourke doesn't just make good on the promise of his early work; he makes a miracle. After a decade-plus of small-bore jobs in movies no one saw, after heaven knows how much plastic surgery, girdled by a musculature that looks like an off-the-rack job from Jose Canseco's chop shop, and onscreen nearly every frame under the harshest lighting since Jimmy Whale's Bride of Frankenstein, Mickey Rourke bares his ass and soul--and covers himself in glory.

There will be buzz--Best Actor buzz. It's a beauty of a performance, a harrowing of blood and brutal humor--and no critic will fail to note that Rourke's swollen lonesome clown of a wrestler hanging on long past his time is a version of the actor playing the part. All fine, all true as far as it goes, and utterly irrelevant. This rarest of cinematic wonders--an honest American movie--grim and funny and loud as hell, lumpen and lowbrow, saddled with a threadbare and timeworn plot but blessedly devoid of straining for high art, is simply impossible to imagine without Mickey Rourke's heart pumping at its core. Skip the Oscar; give him a Nobel.

If "There are no second acts in American lives" isn't the most abused quote of the last century, it's certainly the stupidest, especially when you consider that its issuer, F. Scott Fitzgerald, drank his gift to death by his early 30s and died at the age of 44. Sean Penn told me a while ago that Mick had become a different man since his brother, Joey, died in 2004. Maybe so, but probably not: We are who and what we are--even the actors among us--our selves and being finally of a single piece. A more precise gauge of life than Scott Fitzgerald, or any writer for that matter, is an actuary. And according to Darren Aronofsky, director of The Wrestler, only one firm in the movie business was willing to fund the film at any price with Mick as star.

You can shoot a real movie with no second act and no Mickey Rourke, but not without money. It's nice that Aronofsky got it done. Nice, too, for a writer to be wrong: The schmuck can act.

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Movie Studios Spied On ISP’s BitTorrent Users

Written by enigmax

Last month we reported how seven major Hollywood studios teamed up to sue iiNet, Australia’s third largest ISP. The studios monitored iiNet’s customers using BitTorrent - including a ‘copyright infringing’ subscriber they planted there themselves - and on whose shoulders the case appears balanced.

AFACTThe claim of the Hollywood studios goes like this - they accuse Australian ISP iiNet of “failing to take reasonable steps, including enforcing its own terms and conditions, to prevent known unauthorized use of copies of the companies’ films and TV programs by iiNet’s customers via its network.”

The studios want iiNet to disconnect alleged infringers, but the ISP has refused to do so. Adrianne Pecotic, Executive Director of the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft said that the studios were forced to sue, since iiNet failed to take action against its customers. The case returns to the federal court shortly, but the lead up to this action proves interesting.

With the approval of AFACT, the Hollywood studios started a secret investigation back in June this year. After employing investigator Aaron Herps (and getting him to join up as an iiNet customer) and Copenhagen-based anti-piracy firm DtecNet for its software resources, they went online from 2 July to 30 October. Herps then actively shared copyright works via BitTorrent in a quest to gather evidence to prove that iiNet authorized the copyright-infringing activities of its own subscribers. But how would they prove this?

After the 18 week investigative period, the studios had collected the IP addresses of many thousands of iiNet subscribers, which were handed over to iiNet boss, Michael Malone, who later commented, “They send us a list of IP addresses and say ‘this IP address was involved in a breach on this date’. We look at that and say ‘well what do you want us to do with this? We can’t release the person’s details to you on the basis of an allegation and we can’t go and kick the customer off on the basis of an allegation from someone else.”

Crucially, the studios felt they had an ace up their sleeve in the shape of their investigator and now iiNet customer, Aaron Herp. Herps’ own ‘infringements’ were reported to iiNet along with everyone else’s, but of course, iiNet took no action against him, bolstering the claims that the ISP knew about piracy, but did nothing about it.

Interestingly, as Herps was actually authorized to share the movies and TV shows by the studios, he committed no copyright infringement, so if iiNet had disconnected him, they would have been acting incorrectly. It’s unclear what bearing this will have on the case.

Instead of taking direct action itself, iiNet handed all the evidence provided by the studios directly to the police. “So we say ‘You are alleging the person has broken the law; we’re passing it to the police. Let them deal with it’,” said Malone.

Ultimately it will be for the court to decide if iiNet ‘authorized’ the infringements, but the claims center around a number of assertions - that iiNet knew that its users were infringing copyright and that it took no action against them (i.e warnings, disconnection), that the ISP did not enforce its own terms of service (no sharing of copyright works) and that this liberal environment encouraged iiNet’s users to share more files.

According to Business Spectator, a hearing will take place tomorrow which will decide a date by which iiNet will have to file a defense, a defense they have promised to mount, vigorously.

Similar to elements of the DMCA, the ISP has a defense under Copyright Act 1968 - Sect 112E: A person (including a carrier or carriage service provider) who provides facilities for making, or facilitating the making of, a communication is not taken to have authorized any infringement of copyright in an audio/visual item merely because another person uses the facilities so provided to do something the right to do which is included in the copyright.

However, the Copyright Act 1968 - Sect 116AH states, “The carriage service provider must adopt and reasonably implement a policy that provides for termination, in appropriate circumstances, of the accounts of repeat infringers.”

However, proving that someone is an infringer takes more than a simple allegation, and it could hardly be considered ‘appropriate’ to disconnect someone on this basis. Time for Justice Dennis Cowdroy to decide.

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Rob Zombie Returns To Screw Up More Halloween Movies

By George 'El Guapo' Roush


Dimension Films - the successful genre and specialty arm of The Weinstein Company - is pleased to announce that the company will make “H2,” the sequel to Rob Zombie's 2007 reinvention of the horror classic “Halloween.” Once again, Rob Zombie has been tapped to write and direct. Malek Akkad of Trancas International Films, who also produced 2007's Halloween with Dimension, will produce the sequel, along with Andy Gould of Spectacle Entertainment Group, Zombie’s long time manager and producing partner. The announcement was made today by Bob Weinstein, Co-Chairman of The Weinstein Company.

Dimension's “Halloween” scored the highest Labor Day weekend opening ever with a record-breaking $30.6 million in its first four days of release and went on to gross nearly $60 million at the domestic box office in 2007.

Zombie’s “H2” will pick up at the exact moment the first movie stopped and follow the aftermath of Michael Myers murderous rampage through the eyes of heroine Laurie Strode.

“H2” will be Zombie’s fifth written and directed feature. Prior to the success of Halloween, Zombie released the critically-acclaimed film “The Devil’s Rejects” (2005), the follow-up to his cult classic “House of 1000 Corpses” (2004). Zombie just wrapped production on his animated feature film “The Haunted World of El Superbeasto” due to be released in 2009. Zombie, also an accomplished recording artist, has sold over fifteen million albums worldwide, making him one of Geffen Records’ top selling and longest running artists.

Bob Weinstein stated: "Following the success of 2007’s ‘Halloween,’ we are thrilled to be back in business with Rob Zombie, bringing a sequel to theatres. The fans have made it clear – and we agree - that they feel the franchise is in great hands with Rob Zombie.”

Rob Zombie said, ”I am very excited to be working with Bob Weinstein again and returning to the world of ‘Halloween.’ The remake laid the groundwork, now it’s time to really take Michael Myers to the next level. I believe we’ve just barely scratched the surface of where we can take this series.“

John Carpenter's “Halloween” launched the Halloween franchise in 1978 and Moustapha Akkad, founder of Trancas International Films, executive produced the original classic. Akkad’s son Malek has continued with the franchise, producing “Halloween” (2007), “Halloween H20: 20 Years Later” (1998) and now, “H2.”

“I am thrilled to be making ‘H2’ at Dimension, the home of the ‘Halloween’ franchise for the last 15 years,” commented Malek Akkad. “I look forward to working again with Bob Weinstein, as well as a filmmaker of Rob Zombie’s talent and stature.”

Check out the teaser art poster below

H2poster
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Terminator 5 Already in Motion

By Hugh Hart

Conceptart1

Terminator Salvation doesn't hit theaters until May but producers have already decided to make a follow-up slated for release in 2011. Salvation director McG will be involved in this fifth picture in the machine freak franchise, with star Christian Bale contractually committed to play John Connor in up to three movies.

When Terminator rights were acquired last year by Halcyon bosses Derek Anderson and Victor Kubicek, they hoped to make a new trilogy of films to complement the original Arnold Schwarzenegger threesome. According to Variety, fan buzz encouraged Anderson and Kubicek to pull the trigger even before they saw how Salvation did at the box office.

Speaking over the weekend at the Dubai International Film Festival, Kubicek said: "We feel the time is now to start shaping the next part of this."

Concept art for Terminator Salvation courtesy Warner Bos.

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Bond actress murdered after disturbing intruder at her luxury home

By Daily Mail Reporter

A former Bond girl has been bludgeoned to death after she disturbed an intruder at her home in an exclusive area of north Dublin.

Celine Cawley, 46, who went on to become an award-winning advertising executive and film-maker, was found with serious head injuries on the patio of her multi-million pound family home yesterday morning.

Her husband, Eamonn Lillis, had been out walking the dogs at the time.

Celine Cawley

Celine Cawley was found with serious head injuries at her home in an exclusive area of north Dublin. She died less than an hour later in hospital

He told police he arrived back at their home in Howth, one of Ireland's most exclusive areas, when he saw a masked raider fleeing.

The mother of one received first aid but died an hour later in Beaumont Hospital. The couple have a 16-year-old daughter who was in school at the time of the killing.

Ms Cawley played a party girl in the 1985 James Bond film A View To A Kill which starred Roger Moore. She was well known in media and advertising circles in Ireland after building her Toytown Films company into one of the country's most high profile production houses.

The firm specialised in making television adverts in Ireland, Britain and across Europe.

Her successes included an ad featuring Roy Keane as a leprechaun in a Walkers crisps promotion launched on St Patrick's Day, 2000.

Roger Moore

The mother-of-one appeared in the 1985 James Bond film A View To A Kill starring Roger Moore

She also worked for Guinness, Carlsberg and McDonald's. Her husband is also involved in running the production company.

Detectives said they were keeping a 'very open mind' on the investigation. There was no sign of a break-in and the murder weapon has not been recovered.

Garda spokesman Superintendent John Gilligan said a full murder inquiry was under way.

He said: 'We have a witness that states that a person ran from the back garden of the house into a back lane but we don't know after that where they went.

'The person who was seen running from the area may have discarded the balaclava immediately or kept it on them.'

No one else witnessed the masked man who Mr Lillis said was in his late 20s or early 30s and of slight but strong build.

Superintendent Gilligan said the Garda are fully examining 'all aspects in relation to the discovery of the body and piecing together what happened'.

He said: 'We're keeping a very open mind on the whole situation. We're trying to gather as much information as possible about all the circumstance of this woman's death.'

It is understood that she may have tried to fight off her attacker.

Celine Cawley

The home remains sealed off as forensic teams examine the site

Mr Lillis said the masked man ran from the back of the house down to the Carrickbrack Road area.

Superintendent Gilligan said: 'There is no description of any car of any type. We know from what we heard, the person who we're looking for ran down the back garden of the house, out on to a laneway and made their way in any direction after that - but in particular in the Windgate Road area and the Carrickbrack Road area.'

The area - known as The Summit - is a quiet residential area with a number of detached properties, many of which have electronic gates and CCTV systems. Investigators are analysing footage in the area as part of their murder inquiry.

Locals in the quiet coastal village yesterday expressed their shock. One resident said: 'It's such a quiet place. It's very safe around here. Everyone is shocked at the news.'

Local councillor Joan Maher said the 'disturbing' killing has shocked the normally quiet area.

'I'm absolutely shocked and stunned. It's horrendous coming up to Christmas. It's an area popular with walkers, around the hill but it's a seriously quiet area. On a Monday morning there would be nobody about.'

The home remained sealed off last night as Garda carried out technical examinations.

It is understood Mr Lillis and his daughter are staying with family.

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Marilyn Monroe pics sold for nearly $150,000

In this Sept. 9, 1954 file photo, Marilyn Monroe poses over the updraft of a New AP – In this Sept. 9, 1954 file photo, Marilyn Monroe poses over the updraft of a New York subway grating …

NEW YORK – A collection of photographs of Marilyn Monroe taken for Vogue magazine the year she died has been auctioned in New York for nearly $150,000.

A spokeswoman for Christie's auction house says the 36 photos taken by Bert Stern sold for $146,500 on Tuesday. The pre-sale estimate was $100,000 to $150,000.

Christie's says the photos from a 1962 shoot were the last professional images taken of Monroe before she died that year of a drug overdose. They ran in Vogue instead as a memorial.

They're among more than 100 Monroe images being offered for sale at Christie's. The sale continues Wednesday.

Also at Christie's Tuesday, four Helmut Newton photographs, titled "They're Coming, Paris (Naked and Dressed)," sold for $662,500.

The buyers were anonymous.

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Peter Falk's Daughter: My Dad Has Alzheimer's

The daughter of Hollywood legend Peter Falk says her father is no longer competent to run his own life because he suffers from Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

Catherine Falk filed legal papers in L.A. County Superior Court claiming her father "requires full-time custodial care for his health and safety."

In the docs, Catherine claims she is worried her father "can easily be deceived into transferring away property" and believes a conservatorship will protect Peter from "fraud or undue influence."

A hearing on the matter is set for next month. Calls to Falk's reps were not returned.

Filed under: Nurse!

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Why Clint Eastwood thinks America is full of babies

BY LARRY McSHANE
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

Tough guy Clint Eastwood believes America is getting soft around the middle - and the iconic Oscar winner thinks he knows when the problem began.

"Maybe when people started asking about the meaning of life," Eastwood, 78, growls in the January issue of Esquire.

The actor/director recalls the deeper questions were rarely posed during his Depression-era California childhood - and says that wasn't a bad thing.

"People barely got by," Eastwood recounts. "People were tougher then."

Eastwood, whose on-screen tough guys included Dirty Harry and gun-for-hire William Munny in "Unforgiven," was a fighter at a young age.

"I was a shy kid," he says. "But a lot of my childhood was spent punching the bullies out."

That mentality is gone, he laments.

"Everyone's become used to saying, 'Well, how do we handle it psychologically?'" Eastwood says. "In those days, you punched the bully back and duked it out."

When not overanalyzing things, 21st century America spends too much time worrying about ... everything.

"You can't stop everything from happening," Eastwood says. "But we've gotten to a point where we're certainly trying. If a car doesn't have 400 air bags in it, then it's no good."

The somewhat-grumpy-old man doesn't quite grasp the concept of body piercing. "What kind of masochism is that?" he wonders. "Is it to show you can take it?"

The "Dirty Harry" star has good things to say about life as a senior citizen: He likes kids a lot more, has less self-doubt and doesn't sweat the small stuff.

"What can they do to you after you get in your 70s?" he asks.

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Top 10 Outrageous Celeb Contract Demands

By SONA CHARAIPOTRA

Want the inside scoop on your favorite band? Take a peak at the contract rider for their latest tour, where you'll find requests for everything from clean socks and underwear to pot, pork rinds – and more.

tour riders
(ABCNews Photo Illustration)
More Photos

"In their 1982 rider, Van Halen infamously wanted a bowl of M&Ms – with all the brown ones picked out," said Andrew Goldberg, managing editor of theSmokingGun.com, which showcases more than 300 crazy celeb riders on its Backstage page.

"Clearly, it was a test," he said. "If you put in something really odd – like no brown M&Ms – and they catch it, it means the promoters are paying attention. If they miss that, what other, more important points are they missing? Lighting, security, microphones, amps? For musicians, that's a big deal. If you don't pay attention to the little things, you may be missing the bigger things."

Blender magazine senior editor Tyler Gray says that these often-obscure celebrity demands are also a power play.

"They're pushing it to see how far they can go," he said. "It's a control issue. They've reached a certain point in their careers where they expect respect. And they want a physical manifestation of it. Typically, the more D-list the celebrity, the bigger the demands. A Screech-type will gripe and complain, but a J.Lo type is not even dealing with it. You meet her demands or she simply goes home."

But the Smoking Gun's Goldberg also points out the practicality of some rider demands.

"People are living on the road, out of suitcases, in these cramped vans," he said. "So new underwear and socks are really popular requests. They just dump the old stuff and pull on the new ones. It's so much easier than trying to do laundry on the road. Still, when they start getting specific, like silk Calvin Klein boxers, that's a little insane."

And, Blender's Gray notes, these day-long pit-stops are as close to home as these stars will get for a while – so might as well make them as comfortable as possible.

"If you've been backstage at one of these venues, you know it's disgusting, it's where people are drinking and sweating and throwing up after the show," Gray said. "So in these contracts, they're aiming really high just to get something that is remotely acceptable, not barf-ridden and smelly.

"They definitely are a window into a celebrity's quirks, phobias, mental illnesses," gray said. "Like Aretha Franklin's fear of flying or Jennifer Lopez's fetish for white. But these contract riders also demonstrate how desperate these celebs are for some semblance of home on the road."

The cultural relevance of these celebrity contract riders was elevated to a new high last week on Bravo TV's "Top Chef." The Foo Fighter's manager wrote an amusing contract rider complete with a request for vegetarian soup. What's funny about that? "Meaty soups make roadies fart," said the rider.

On "Top Chef," "they basically took the Foo Fighters rider and turned it into an episode last week," said Goldberg. "The challenge was to prepare a meal for the band based on their contract rider. Then the Foo Fighters got to pick who got to stay and who got sent home that week. It was awesome."

The Foo Fighters

"This sets the standard for really fun, witty contract riders," said The Smoking Gun's Goldberg, "because it had a sense of humor. The manager requests bath towels, and threatens a wedgie if they're brand new. He calls bacon 'God's currency.' The humor makes it fun to read – and that's hard to do with a contract." CLICK HERE FOR MORE.

Jennifer Lopez

"This was a rider for a African Aids charity video she did, and she was really demanding," said Goldberg. "White flowers, white furniture, white curtains. And Cuban food. Come on, Jennifer, it's a cameo in charity video. She was there for a little more than an hour and I heard she didn't even touch the food. It was obscene, really."

Mary J. Blige

At the top of germaphobe Mary J. Blige's list? "The queen of hip-hop-soul" – who checks into hotels as a Mrs. Jefferson – "demands that a brand new toilet seat be installed at any venue she plays," said Blender's Tyler Gray. "Now that's what being a star is all about."

Christina Aguilera

Health-conscious singer Christina Aguilera requests real coffee mugs for her java, along with soy milk, soy cheese, Echinacea, vitamin C and Flintstones chewable vitamins – guess she still hasn't outgrown them.

Paul McCartney

The very vegan former Beatle won't ride in a limo with leather seats or stand for leather or animal print furniture in his dressing room – not even the fake stuff. And while his meals are obviously vegan, too, the Smoking Gun site points out one major faux pas on Paul's part. The singer requests 24 bars of Ivory soap – which contain trace amounts of animal fats. Ooops.

More Demands by Stars On the Road

Coldplay

Sure, they asked for the standard vodka, cotton socks and "nibbles." But ever the family men, Brit rockers Coldplay also had a sweet request: eight pre-stamped local postcards set to send off to faraway family. So lead singer Chris Martin could send his love to wife Gwyneth Paltrow and the kiddies.

Dustin Diamond

Actor-turned-amateur porn star Dustin Diamond demands that there be no references to his teen alter ego – "Saved By the Bell" icon Screech – at venues where he's performing his stand-up routine. In fact, each offending mention incurs a $100 penalty. "I don't know if he can really enforce that," Gray said. "Come on. What kind of contract is Screech getting? No one cares enough to worry about it."

John Mayer

Turns out that the celeb player has a penchant for perfect teeth. Along with his organic fruit and soy milk, on his 2005 tour, singer John Mayer requested four "soft head" toothbrushes, Listerine mouth wash and mint-flavored Sensodyne or Tom's of Maine toothpaste, plus Altoids. No word on what items groupie, uh, girlfriend Jennifer Aniston has added to Mayer's contract rider on his 2008 jaunt.

M.I.A.

Brit hip-hop artist M.I.A. is particular about her cheese. She requests an organic cheese tray featuring cave-aged Gruyere, Swiss and sharp cheddar, along with organic berries, fresh – not canned – olives and Ferrero Rocher chocolates. Belly full, she then pockets a $25-per-head dinner buyout from the promoter. "All in all, not a bad deal," said Blender's Gray. "But where do you get cave-aged Guyere?"

Ben Kweller

"Apparently, singer Ben Kweller is really into fishing," said Blender's Gray. "So he requests bait on all his riders. It's a bit odd when you're nowhere near the water, but it's his prerogative. And if he can get them to give it to him, more power to him."

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