Tuesday Sep 23, 2014

British radio DJ convicted of indecent assault

LONDON (AP) — Veteran British radio DJ Dave Lee Travis was convicted Tuesday of indecent assault. The 69-year-old Travis, whose real name is David Griffin, was cleared on two other assault charges. Travis was a longtime DJ on BBC radio and host of TV music show "Top of...
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TV

British radio DJ convicted of indecent assault
Tuesday Sep 23, 2014
British radio DJ convicted of indecent assault

LONDON (AP) — Veteran British radio DJ Dave Lee Travis was convicted Tuesday of indecent assault. The 69-year-old Travis, whose real name is David Griffin, was cleared on two other assault charges. Travis was a longtime DJ on BBC radio and host of TV music show "Top of the Pops." He was arrested in November 2012 as part of a wide-ranging police investigation into past abuse after revelations that the late BBC entertainer Jimmy Savile was a serial sexual predator who abused hundreds of young people. Prosecutors said Travis was an "opportunist" who acted as if he had the right to grope young women. The allegations date back to the 1990s and related to women who alleged they were assaulted while working with Travis. Travis had denied the claims, telling jurors the women were lying. He had previously been cleared of a dozen counts of indecent assault at an original trial in February. The DJ is due to be sentenced on Friday. Prosecutors said the maximum sentence Travis faces is 10 years in prison. Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Batman prequel 'Gotham' premieres on US TV
Tuesday Sep 23, 2014
Batman prequel 'Gotham' premieres on US TV

The backstory of Batman's many villains came to life Monday in a new US television drama series that Fox hopes will help lift its prime-time ratings out of the doldrums."Gotham" stars David Mazouz as a 12-year-old Bruce Wayne who witnesses the cold-blooded murder of his parents on the grim nocturnal backstreets of contemporary New York. But the plot centers on the rookie detective James Gordon, played by Ben McKenzie, the character who would become the Commissioner when Wayne grows up to become the Caped Crusader. "I promise you, I will find the man who did this," Gordon promises a shattered, vulnerable Wayne at the scene of the crime. Taking turns sowing evil over the course of the 16-episode series will be Catwoman, who opened the premiere as a fresh-faced punkette in a leather biker jacket, and Penguin, who Gordon pretends to shoot by the East River, thus assuring his return. New to the Batman fable, and never seen in the original DC Comics incarnation, is brutal nightclub boss Fish Mooney, played by Jada Pinkett Smith, best known for her work in the "Matrix" movie franchise. Created by Bruno Heller, the mastermind behind the CBS police procedural "The Mentalist," "Gotham" is a centerpiece of Fox's campaign to bolster its ratings, which have been sagging in recent years, particularly in the coveted 18-49 age bracket, The Wall Street Journal reported. "Clearly, we've some ratings headwinds on the entertainment side" of the network, a keystone in media mogul Rupert Murdoch's global empire, the business daily -- also owned by Murdoch -- quoted 21st Century Fox chief operating officer Chase Carey as saying. Television prequels of iconic American comic book tales is nothing new: "Smallville," a telling of Superman's boyhood in small-town Kansas, ran for 10 seasons and 218 episodes before its finale in 2011 on the CW network. Pending initial viewership figures, "Gotham" rode the Twitter top-10 trending list throughout its hour-long east-coast telecast, with some of its stars patting each other on the back amid a flurry of positive tweets from hardcore Batman enthusiasts. "Congrats@ben_mckenzie you may have a hit on your hands," tweeted Pinkett Smith at one point during the show. To which McKenzie replied: "I think we do Jada, I think we do :)" Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

'Madam Secretary' premiere wins 14.3 mn viewers
Tuesday Sep 23, 2014
'Madam Secretary' premiere wins 14.3 mn viewers

Some 14.3 million Americans tuned in to watch Sunday's premiere of a new CBS drama that recalls Hillary Clinton's stint as US secretary of state, according to initial ratings data Monday."Madam Secretary," starring Tea Leoni, is the latest in a raft of US television series inspired by real-life drama in Washington's corridors of power. Nielsen's "fast affiliate ratings" -- which are subject to revision as more detailed viewer data trickles in -- indicated it was the most-watched telecast after CBS's "60 Minutes" news magazine and live American football. With the new US television season getting underway, "Madam Secretary " has attracted special interest just as Clinton is mulling another run for the White House in 2016. The wife of former president Bill Clinton was President Barack Obama's first-term secretary of state. She lost the Democratic presidential nomination to Obama in 2008. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Food blog Eater.com launches major redesign
Tuesday Sep 23, 2014
Food blog Eater.com launches major redesign

Popular food blog Eater.com has undergone a major makeover which includes a new layout to highlight its emphasis on long-form features, investigative reporting and professional restaurant reviews.This week the US food blog that’s been keeping tabs on the industry since 2005 and has garnered a loyal following of chefs and foodies alike, unveiled its redesign which at first glance is less text-heavy than its previous incarnation. Readers are told to anticipate more "food porn," original long-form journalism pieces, features, reviews and video content including a new show called “Savvy,” a how-to series hosted by a roster of different chefs, and “Consumed,” in which host Kat Odell tries the “weirdest and wackiest” foods from New York. The new site also encourages readers to weigh in on some of the most controversial and interesting subjects in the food world with an online discussion forum. The new Eater.com is poised to fill a vacuum left by the demise of gourmet online food magazine Gilt Taste, which launched to much fanfare three years ago, and strengthen its position as a go-to reference for industry gossip and authoritative food journalism. While "Saveur," "Food & Wine" and "Bon Appetit" magazines are national publications, Eater’s advantage is its hyperlocal focus as the site has breakout sections for 24 cities across North America. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Kerry Washington helps launch 'Scandal' collection
Tuesday Sep 23, 2014
Kerry Washington helps launch 'Scandal' collection

NEW YORK (AP) — Kerry Washington wants women to look as powerful and put together as her TV persona. Fashion retailer The Limited has teamed up with the "Scandal" star and the show's costume designer, Lyn Paolo, for a collection inspired by the ABC drama, which premieres its fourth season on Thursday. Washington appeared at a launch party for the line on Monday, where she said it was important for clothing to be accessible. "There are women who can literally afford to dress like Olivia Pope, and I don't know how, because those clothes are very, very, very expensive," she said with a laugh. "There are other people who can't, and there is no reason why only the people who make a certain amount of money should have access to this feminine power in fashion, you know? This line is created so that everybody can find their own inner gladiator. That every woman can be powerful and sexy, brilliant and smart and gorgeous, fashion-forward. You know, it's just there's no limit to who you can be." There are 42 looks in the Scandal Collection, including tops, jackets, outerwear and, of course, pants, because, as Washington says: "Olivia Pope wears the pants both literally and figuratively." Last year, Paolo, with Washington's input, created window displays for Saks Fifth Avenue by dressing its mannequins like "Scandal" characters. The displays featured clothing by high-end designers such as Giorgio Armani, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Donna Karan and Carolina Herrera. The 37-year-old actress wasn't as keen to talk about a New York Times article by TV critic Alessandra Stanley, where the writer referred to "Scandal" producer Shonda Rhimes as an "angry black woman." On Monday, the newspaper's public editor called the article "astonishingly tone-deaf and out of touch." "I really think it's important to focus on all the good things that are going on," she said. "It's such an honor to be a part of an historic Thursday-night lineup and to be in one of her three shows, to be part of her magical (production company), Shondaland." Rhimes is also the producer of "How to Get Away With Murder" and "Grey's Anatomy." ___ Follow Alicia Rancilio online at http://www.twitter.com/aliciar ___ Online: http://www.abc.go.com/shows/scandal/ Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Movies

Lion King is best-selling production of all time
Tuesday Sep 23, 2014
Lion King is best-selling production of all time

Blockbuster musical "The Lion King" was on Monday named the most successful production in history, raking in $6.2 billion at the box office -- more than any other stage show or movie.The earnings come from ticket sales alone and do not include merchandise, recordings or revenue from the Disney film on which it is based. Andrew Lloyd Webber's "The Phantom of the Opera," which opened in London in 1986, was previously the highest-grossing show and has still been seen by twice as many paying audience members. A spokesman told AFP that Phantom had collected $6 billion worldwide at the box office and pulled in 140 million spectators. The 2009 movie Avatar is the highest-grossing movie on record, netting $2.8 billion at the box office worldwide. With a catchy score by Elton John and British lyricist Tim Rice, "The Lion King" made its debut on Broadway in 1997, three years after the release of the Oscar-winning film. "It's difficult not to become emotional at this realization of the show's impact," said Thomas Schumacher, president and producer at Disney Theatrical Productions, which announced the record-breaking numbers. "Our goal then was to tell the story purely and theatrically so that audiences could feel it in their heart." There are currently 10 productions of "The Lion King" staged around the world, including in London, New York and Tokyo. More than 75 million people have watched nearly two dozen global productions of "The Lion King." It was the highest-grossing show on Broadway in 2013 and so far in 2014. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

MFW: highlights from the runway soundtracks
Tuesday Sep 23, 2014
MFW: highlights from the runway soundtracks

Wes Anderson movie music, an ode to life in plastic and St Vincent: here's our pick of the best beats that soundtracked the runway shows in Milan. MarniConsuelo Castiglioni picked Alexandre Desplat's "The Heroic Weather-Conditions of the Universe Parts 1-7" as her runway soundtrack for Spring/Summer 2015. The music which was originally composed for Wes Anderson's 2012 film "Moonrise Kingdom" set the perfect tone for Marni's mix of classical asceticism (built up from the basics) and floral exuberance. http://youtu.be/ycNCAslpZF4 Moschino Jeremy Scott's Barbie Girls got the perfect musical backdrop courtesy of 90s Danish-Norwegian pop-sensations Aqua. The American designer focused on the iconic Mattel toy for his design influence this season, and the bubble-gum pink colors and designs met their match with the Euro-Pop-Trance of 1997 smash hit "Barbie Girl." http://youtu.be/ZyhrYis509A VersaceSt. Vincent, aka Annie Clark, has risen to the top of many critics' list over the past year, with her self-titled album hitting stores in February. Donatella Versace chose "Digital Witness" from the latest release as one of the final songs at her quirky, angular and feminine (just like Clark's music) Spring/Summer 2015 show. http://youtu.be/mVAxUMuhz98 Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Colin Firth shows martial skills in 'Kingsman' trailer
Tuesday Sep 23, 2014
Colin Firth shows martial skills in 'Kingsman' trailer

Harry Hart isn't just a gentleman and a scholar -- he's a dab hand with an umbrella and a beer mug.And as proof that his offer is not just bluff and bluster, Hart organizes an impromptu lock-in when Eggsy is confronted by a local gang with a grudge ("and I'm sure it's well founded," he concedes). Not only is he well-versed in self defense, but his umbrella transforms into a see-through bulletproof shield with a stun gun attachment -- handy for the secret agent in a spot of bother. From there, Eggsy is inducted into the world of international espionage, undergoing a rigorous training program (or "extended interview") until he's ready to take on the villainous Valentine. The nearly three-minute trailer introduces viewers to the film's other main characters too, with appearances from Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Caine and Sofia Boutella. Directed by Matthew Vaughn ("X-Men: First Class," "Kick-Ass") and based on the graphic novel by Mark Millar, "Kingsman: The Secret Service" is due to make its cinematic debut in February 2015. "Kingsman: The Secret Service" trailer - youtu.be/kl8F-8tR8to Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Demonstrators protest Met Opera's 'Klinghoffer'
Monday Sep 22, 2014
Demonstrators protest Met Opera's 'Klinghoffer'

NEW YORK (AP) — Demonstrators marked the start of the Metropolitan Opera's season on Monday evening by protesting the planned production of "The Death of Klinghoffer" from outside of New York City's Lincoln Center. Most gathered behind metal barricades across the street, while some stood on the sidewalk in front of the arts complex, shouting "Shame on you!" at opera goers as they walked past. They carried signs accusing the Met of glorifying terrorism by including the opera, which they say is anti-Semitic, in its season. The Met is scheduled to perform the opera between October 20 and November 15. It deals with the death of Leon Klinghoffer, a Jewish passenger on the cruise ship Achille Lauro, in 1985. The ship was hijacked by Palestinians, who shot the disabled Klinghoffer in his wheelchair and threw him over board. The opera's critics say it justifies the killers' actions and is prejudiced against Jews. Supporters defend it on grounds of artistic freedom and say it presents a thoughtful take on all sides. "It's more than insensitive, it's immoral," said Carole Daman, who had come from Scarsdale in Westchester County for the protest. Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Yves Saint Laurent film is French pick for Oscar bid
Monday Sep 22, 2014
Yves Saint Laurent film is French pick for Oscar bid

A biopic exploring the darker side of the late French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent is to represent France as a possible contender in the Best Foreign Language Film category at next year's Oscars."Saint Laurent", directed by Bertrand Bonello, will be France's nomination for the category, the country's National Cinema Centre said Monday. Bonello's film shows the designer, who pioneered tuxedos for women and ready-to-wear, cruising for sex and taking cocaine and pills. Concentrating on a few episodes between 1967 and 1976, it vividly conjures up the hedonistic pre-AIDS days of the early 1970s, with gay sex parties and drinking and drug-taking in nightclubs -- where Saint Laurent's muses Betty Catroux and Loulou de la Falaise are on hand. A team from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will watch all the selected films from each continent before announcing a shortlist of nine films in December. That will be whittled down to just five in January 2015. The Oscars ceremony will take place in Los Angeles on February 22, 2015, with nominations announced on January 15. France last won in the Best Foreign Language Film category in 1993 for the film "Indochine" starring Catherine Deneuve. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Events

Farrell, Vaughn set for 'True Detective' season 2
Tuesday Sep 23, 2014
Farrell, Vaughn set for 'True Detective' season 2

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughn will star in the second season of HBO's "True Detective." The eight-episode drama series will begin production in California this fall, the premium cable channel said Tuesday. Farrell will play a compromised detective, Ray, who is divided between his loyalty to his bosses in a corrupt police department and a mobster with a hold over him. Vince Vaughn co-stars as Frank, a criminal whose move into legitimate business is disrupted by a business partner's murder. HBO had a critically acclaimed hit with the first season of "True Detective," which starred the Emmy-nominated Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. The air date for the second season was not announced. Season one of "True Detective" paired two actors known primarily for their big-screen work in a twisted, noir-ish tale. McConaughey and Harrelson played former Louisiana State Police detectives interrogated in 2012 about a homicide case they're shown working, in flashback, in 1995. The crime drama provoked some grumbling when it was entered in the Emmy Awards drama series category despite its abbreviated eight-episode run and the likelihood its stars wouldn't return for the next go-around. "True Detective" ended up losing the best drama Emmy to "Breaking Bad," while McConaughey and Harrelson also failed to grab Emmy gold — although the latter, an Oscar winner this year for "Dallas Buyers Club," was seen as the frontrunner. Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Documentary features ND oil boomtown's gritty side
Tuesday Sep 23, 2014
Documentary features ND oil boomtown's gritty side

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — When filmmaker Jesse Moss started hearing about the North Dakota oil boom that was creating overnight millionaires and drawing workers from around the country to a seemingly endless number of high-paying jobs, he imagined there was a darker side of the story. Over the course of a year and a half, Moss followed a Lutheran pastor in Williston who had allowed down-and-out migrant workers to sleep in his church, its parking lot and eventually his home. Pastor Jay Reinke's decision to allow the workers — including registered sex offenders — to live at the church stoked tensions with a local community that had been an isolated, small farming town just a few years earlier. The result of Moss' time spent bedding down in church hallways alongside the workers and following Reinke through North Dakota's frozen prairie was "The Overnighters," which won the Special Jury Award for Intuitive Filmmaking earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival. The documentary opens on Oct. 10 in New York City and dates for screenings in other cities across the country, including Austin, Texas, and San Francisco, are set through December. More than 1,000 different people slept in the church over the two years it ran the housing program, with more staying in the parking lot. At a time when much of the country still felt the pains of the Great Recession, western North Dakota had more jobs than could be filled. But on the ground, many new arrivals found that hardships — worsened by a high cost of living — continued. "The boomtown is a place of last resort for so many people," Moss said. "These are guys — and women, too — who are really holding on desperately to the bottom rung of the ladder. And when they slip from that position, there's nothing left." One man in the film, Keith Graves, is a truck driver from California who in 1999 was convicted of a felony charge for lewd acts with a child younger than 14. After a local newspaper discovered sex offenders were living at Reinke's church, the pastor invited Graves to live at his home to shield the congregation from criticism. "A sin or a crime, while it is real and a part of one's record, I would submit may not be the definition of one's life," Reinke said in the film, regarding his decision. "I'm not going to put my children at risk and I do not believe that I have." Since the documentary, Graves has been arrested again. He was charged last month with human trafficking, gross sexual imposition and other alleged offenses. He's accused of running a prostitution ring out of area hotels and raping a woman he was recruiting multiple times. Reinke has said Graves was not staying with him at the time of the alleged new crimes. Graves has said he's not guilty of the charges. Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Chris Brown ready to stop getting in his own way
Monday Sep 22, 2014
Chris Brown ready to stop getting in his own way

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Chris Brown celebrated his 25th birthday in jail last May by making his own "spread cake": chocolate, peanut butter, bread and milk. "Mix it up in a little cereal bowl and let it sit for a little while. It comes out and you've got a nice little cake," Brown said, laughing. "A couple of the homies taught me how to do it." Accustomed to the high life since he became an R&B star at 16, Brown was brought low by his three months in lockup. He emerged last June determined not to slide back into his old ways. Jail had changed things. "I've always reneged on a lot of my situations. But I think that's a part of growing up and learning. For me, now I have a better sense of what's important — being that I was incarcerated, being that I've had the bad stuff happen to me," he said in an interview. "You can't continuously mess up. You're not going to get that many chances. I'm not saying by my peers, but I'm just saying by God in general. For me and my spirit, I just want to be able to have some peace, be able to chill and do what I love — because I was blessed with this opportunity and this talent, so I don't want to waste it." Brown — a brilliant dancer and talented singer who is among the most electrifying young performers — presents himself as a maturing artist who recognizes past mistakes. He's in court-ordered twice-a-week therapy. He trimmed his entourage from 30 people to single digits. He ended simmering feuds, including one with rapper-singer Drake. His sixth album, "X," released last week, includes plenty of sex- and party-focused songs, yes, but also reflective and heartfelt lyrics that acknowledge and take responsibility for his struggles. Sitting in his publicist's office a day after his album was released, Brown smiled easily and seemed eager to show that he had turned a corner — but acknowledged he still has room to grow. "Sometimes you've got to touch the stove to see that it's hot. And I'm one of those guys that does that all of the time," he said. "Sometimes I might be my own worst enemy. I'm not always going to make the right decision." He was quick to criticize the series of angry outbursts that culminated in an incident in Washington, D.C., last October when he punched a man who tried to get into a picture Brown was taking with two women. That led eventually to a jail sentence for violation of his probation, instituted after he was convicted of the infamous 2009 pre-Grammy Awards attack on then-girlfriend Rihanna. "At first I went mentally into being aggressive, and being totally like unapproachable with situations because I didn't feel comfortable with myself living my life, as far as whatever mistakes I made, because I was constantly being judged," he said. Now, Brown said he recognizes, "I'm an entertainer. And I influence a lot of people, young and older. ... Before, I was out of hand. So I think now it's time to grow up." Gail Mitchell, senior correspondent covering hip-hop and R&B at Billboard magazine, said the Grammy winner has a reputation as a "studio rat," recording and collaborating constantly with his peers. She interviewed Brown for a cover story after he got out of jail. "I think he needed a wake-up call and maybe that's what it was, maybe that's what it took," she said. "I don't think there's any shame in that." Brown said he feels a kinship with Justin Bieber, 20, another pop star whose once-immaculate image has been sullied by repeated public bad behavior. "Growing up in the public eye, being younger with all of the success — girls, money, everything — it can get to your head real fast. ... I was arrogant, cocky, thought I was invincible at one point," Brown said. "We don't get the benefit of growing up behind the camera. We don't get the benefit of making our mistakes and nobody hears about it." The question now is whether Brown can avoid further mistakes. Someone shot and injured Death Row Records founder Suge Knight at a Brown-hosted party last month. Does trouble simply follow Brown, no matter what? "It's 50-50. You could say that trouble follows me. And you could also say I create my own trouble," he said. He mostly sticks to throwing house parties lately but, "I'm not in control of going to a club and it getting shot up." Brown has been able to climb pop charts despite legal trouble: "Loyal" peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 while Brown was jailed. The rude, flippant song was the fourth single from "X'' to be released. Brown said he was surprised at its success. "It's my version of TLC's 'No Scrubs,'" he said. "It just goes to show that sometimes when you put out a super big record with substance, that's not the key all the time. Sometimes you want to just put a record out there that might be disrespectful, just have fun." Brown's album was released at a time of increased public discussion about domestic violence following TMZ's release of video showing NFL star Ray Rice punching out his then-fiancee in an elevator. The singer said he accepts that he'll be linked with the issue for the foreseeable future. "There could be a million other celebrities who were in the same situation, but because of the high-profile case and whatever it is, they're going to always automatically associate myself with it," he said. "When the media associates me, it's to do a bigger message. It's to show the world and raise awareness for it and definitely show that it's not OK." ___ Online: http://www.chrisbrownworld.com ___ Follow AP Entertainment Writer Ryan Pearson at www.twitter.com/ryanwrd Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Teaser: Bob Odenkirk is a sweet talker in 'Better Call Saul'
Monday Sep 22, 2014
Teaser: Bob Odenkirk is a sweet talker in 'Better Call Saul'

With months to go before the premiere of the new "Breaking Bad" spin-off in February, AMC has released another scene from the adventures of Walter White's lawyer.In this short video (10 seconds), the lawyer played by Bob Odenkirk is clearly pleading a case in court, and he seems to think he's pretty convincing. "I bet if we were in church right now, I'd get a big Amen," he says, to a quiet courtroom, before adding, "You with me, ladies and gentlemen?" This is the third teaser for "Better Call Saul" released by AMC, which has already ordered two seasons of the new series. The network is counting on the popularity of "Breaking Bad," which was once again honored at the Emmy Awards this year, to give the new spin-off a strong start. "Better Call Saul" focuses on Jimmy McGill, the crooked lawyer who will later change his name to Saul Goodman and defend Walter White. Described as a prequel to the hit AMC drama, the new spin-off will not take place exclusively during the 1980s as was previously thought. In an interview with the New York Daily News in July, producer Peter Gould revealed that the series will actually have "a flexible timeline" and will take place "before 'Breaking Bad,' during 'Breaking Bad,' and after 'Breaking Bad.'" Developed by Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould, the first season of "Better Call Saul" will include 10 episodes. Watch the teaser: youtu.be/ztcWJmmRt_4 Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Lenny Kravitz back with new album at 50
Sunday Sep 21, 2014
Lenny Kravitz back with new album at 50

At 50, Lenny Kravitz is an American in Paris.Now, after turns designing shoes and acting in "The Hunger Games", he's returned to music with a new album he says just poured out of him during shooting of the box office smash. Best known for the 1991 single "It Ain't Over 'til It's Over", Kravitz says inspiration struck on set as he played Cinna, the stylist to Jennifer Lawrence's heroine. "I wasn't even planning on making an album. I was just working on the film. In the night, just all this music...," he told AFP in an interview in Paris. Kravitz, who played Cinna in two of the trilogy's films, describes the album, entitled "Strut", as "grit and glamour, all together" plus "a lot of sensuality". He appears on the cover in a black and white photograph, displaying a large tattoo on his bare chest and dressed in a dinner jacket and dark glasses. He says the music itself is about love and relationships. "All the different dynamics that you would have from lust to sex to heartbreak to desperation to devotion to misunderstood love," he said. Kravitz has been living in Paris on and off for nine years and his last video was set in the city. "I think it's a pretty sexy city, aesthetically it's gorgeous... the architecture, the design... it's very inspiring..." he said. After nearly a decade, Kravitz is very much at home in France; in 2011 was awarded France's highest cultural honour -- the Order of Arts and Letters. "I don't feel foreign anymore. Now when I come, I just feel like I'm going home, because I am!" But he says he still cherishes the "feeling I get being not from here". - 'Never felt better' - Writing his tenth album, which is due to be released on Tuesday, the songs came very naturally. "Every time I make an album, it's always different. This album just happened like this!" he said. "I won't call it easy but the flow was very good. Everything just came into my head. I didn't even have to think about it.... I just let it come out." The last song on the album is a cover, something Kravitz says he rarely does. But an unexpected blast of the 1965 hit single by The Miracles, "Ooo Baby Baby", left him marvelling. "One morning early I was having my make up done for 'Hunger Games' and the make-up artist was listening to a Motown station and it came on. "I hadn't heard it for a long time (and) it sounded so beautiful," he said. Although Kravitz has sold over 40 million albums he says he's still hungry to make music. "I don't know if I have anything to prove, I just want to express myself. I wanna grow as a musician, to be a better performer. "It's not about the charts or the money, it's about the experience," he said. And on reaching his half-century, he is philosophical. "The number doesn't really mean anything. I feel great. I've never felt better than I do now... physically, mentally and spiritually," he said. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.