Tuesday Sep 23, 2014

YouTube is the number one destination for online TV

The video sharing platform is favored above Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime among US consumers.Turning to the web for the latest TV shows is a growing trend -- 32% of consumers are now logging on daily to do precisely that -- but nearly four in 10 viewers (38%) list YouTube as their first...
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TV

YouTube is the number one destination for online TV
Tuesday Sep 23, 2014
YouTube is the number one destination for online TV

The video sharing platform is favored above Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime among US consumers.Turning to the web for the latest TV shows is a growing trend -- 32% of consumers are now logging on daily to do precisely that -- but nearly four in 10 viewers (38%) list YouTube as their first online port of call. According to US consultancy firm Frank N. Magid Associates, when it asked 24,000 people to list the online sources they turn to for television, Netflix came second (33%) followed by Hulu (17%) and Amazon Prime (14%). YouTube is one of the world's most popular online destinations, receiving over 1 billion unique visitors every month. Frank N. Magid Associates' report, the results of which were shared with Cnet, suggests that the fact that it is free to access and has greater integration with social media sites like Facebook and Twitter could be what is helping it to stay ahead of other services. When consumers were asked where they go for online movies, Netflix did prevail with 35%, but YouTube still manages to come in second with 24%. Apple's iTunes, which has a potential reach greater than any video on demand service other than YouTube, was ranked as the eight most popular destination for online TV shows and the seventh most popular for films. Of the results, Mike Vorhaus, president of Magid Advisors told Cnet: "The joke in the industry is it's all babies burping and cats meowing, and maybe YouTube was that. When they actually go and use it, people are surprised by the breadth of content that's there." Having established itself as a major online TV destination in the US, Canada and the UK, Netflix is currently expanding rapidly across western Europe, with launches in France, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria and Luxemburg this month. If its adoption rate in those countries contines as forecast, then according to UK consultancy firm Digital TV Research, Netflix is expected to boast 100 million non-US subscribers by 2020. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

US children's use of smartphones and tablets is overtaking use of all other electronic devices
Tuesday Sep 23, 2014
US children's use of smartphones and tablets is overtaking use of all other electronic devices

The latest data gathered by NPD Group for its "Kids and CE: 2014" report, shows that nearly three quarters (71%) of households with a four-to-14-year-old child now has at least one smartphone, while 43 percent of households have a tablet (up from 21% in 2012). When asked, 35 percent of smartphone-owning households said that their child uses a handset and 31 percent of homes with a tablet say that their kids play with it.  However there's a difference between using and owning, and while NPD's data regarding the growth of ownership of devices like smartphones among adult consumers remains unchanged at 19 percent for 2014, it claims that it has observed a "steady increase" in ownership of portable electronic devices among children themselves. "Technology devices are as much staples for American families as traditional toys, perhaps more so considering their ability to engage with almost any member of the family," said Juli Lennett, president of the Toys division at The NPD Group. The company is not the only one to have noticed the growing popularity of tablets among younger users. On September 17, Amazon launched its first range of tablets aimed at and specifically designed for children. The Fire Kids Edition comes with a brightly colored bumper surround to minimize knocks and scratches as well as with a two-year guarantee -- the company will replace it, no questions asked, if its owner manages to break it. It also offers age-appropriate content so that parents can take control of how their children use the devices and set time limits. There are already a number of apps that exist that enable parents to filter and curate the content that children can access on smartphones and tablets, such as DinnerTime Plus that works on Android devices and can also track typical use to give parents some idea of how children engage with devices without controls. According to its latest data, published on Tuesday, just like adults, children use their devices predominantly for social media, video and gaming. Children with the DinnerTimePlus app installed on their device spend on average 183 minutes a day running apps -- just over a third of which (65 minutes, daily) is taken up using social media, blogging and messaging. Another 53 minutes (29% of time spent daily) is consumed by video apps such as YouTube and Netflix, while 19 minutes a day (10.4%) is dedicated to gaming with "Minecraft" and "Clash of the Clans" proving the most popular titles. That leaves 15 minutes for web surfing via the browser. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Commercial break: Budweiser, World Peace Day and Starbucks texts
Tuesday Sep 23, 2014
Commercial break: Budweiser, World Peace Day and Starbucks texts

Budweiser uses puppy power to get its message across, Queen Elizabeth II finds herself playing football and Starbucks encourages us all to get personal. Here is our pick of the most interesting ad campaigns happening right now.Global Be(er) Responsible Day | "Friends Are Waiting" | Budweiser Dog-lovers will melt at this new advert for responsible drinking from beer brand Budweiser, featuring the hashtag #FriendsAreWaiting and the cutest puppy ever. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eubWYPhcEEo Shoot Goals, Not GunsIn honor of World Peace Day on September 21, Ogilvy Asia came up with the idea of creating the ultimate foosball table -- featuring world leaders such as Queen Elizabeth II and President Obama instead of the usual generic players. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Df6Md2HV9Sc DateStarbucks' latest ad campaign uses text message conversations to highlight the advantages of talking face-to-face (over a latte, we presume) with the people in our lives. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yBhSbMDUlU Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

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.

Movies

Oscars' Foreign Film category passes 50 films
Tuesday Sep 23, 2014
Oscars' Foreign Film category passes 50 films

With just a week to go until the Foreign Language category deadline hits, more than fifty countries have made their official selections for the 2015 Academy Awards.Those titles include Cannes Jury Prize winner "Mommy," directed by Canada's Xavier Dolan, Brazilian LGBT favorite "The Way He Looks" from Daniel Ribiero, human migration story and South Korean choice "Sea Fog," and "Two Days, One Night" from Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, with Marion Cotillard as its lead. Chinese-language interests are so far represented by Hong Kong film "The Golden Era," Ann Hui's early 1900s biopic about the celebrated Chinese author Xiao Hong and her short but remarkable life. Other Cannes prize winners include Palme d'Or victor "Winter Sleep" directed by Turkey's Nuri Bilge Ceylan, and Un Certain Regard picks "White God" from Komel Mundruczo of Hungary and "Force Majeure" from Ruben Ostlund of Sweden. Pawel Pawilkowski's return to Poland with "Ida" is also present, the director's World War II-era tale of a young nun sent in search of her family and, perhaps, a life outside the convent, as is India's National Film Awards winner "Liar's Dice" with Nawazuddin Siddiqui of "The Lunchbox," Geetanjali Thapa ("I.D."), and written and directed by screen star Geetu Mohandas (short film "Kelkkunnundo" or "Are You Listening?"). Nominations from several significant contenders are yet to come by October 1, including Italy, France, China and Argentina, whereupon the Academy will produce a shortlist of nine in November; the 2015 Academy Awards then take place February 22. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

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.

Events

Oscars' Foreign Film category passes 50 films
Tuesday Sep 23, 2014
Oscars' Foreign Film category passes 50 films

With just a week to go until the Foreign Language category deadline hits, more than fifty countries have made their official selections for the 2015 Academy Awards.Those titles include Cannes Jury Prize winner "Mommy," directed by Canada's Xavier Dolan, Brazilian LGBT favorite "The Way He Looks" from Daniel Ribiero, human migration story and South Korean choice "Sea Fog," and "Two Days, One Night" from Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, with Marion Cotillard as its lead. Chinese-language interests are so far represented by Hong Kong film "The Golden Era," Ann Hui's early 1900s biopic about the celebrated Chinese author Xiao Hong and her short but remarkable life. Other Cannes prize winners include Palme d'Or victor "Winter Sleep" directed by Turkey's Nuri Bilge Ceylan, and Un Certain Regard picks "White God" from Komel Mundruczo of Hungary and "Force Majeure" from Ruben Ostlund of Sweden. Pawel Pawilkowski's return to Poland with "Ida" is also present, the director's World War II-era tale of a young nun sent in search of her family and, perhaps, a life outside the convent, as is India's National Film Awards winner "Liar's Dice" with Nawazuddin Siddiqui of "The Lunchbox," Geetanjali Thapa ("I.D."), and written and directed by screen star Geetu Mohandas (short film "Kelkkunnundo" or "Are You Listening?"). Nominations from several significant contenders are yet to come by October 1, including Italy, France, China and Argentina, whereupon the Academy will produce a shortlist of nine in November; the 2015 Academy Awards then take place February 22. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

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 former, 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.

Nearly-cooked models start Paris Fashion Week
Tuesday Sep 23, 2014
Nearly-cooked models start Paris Fashion Week

PARIS (AP) — Ninety-three shows, nine days, one fashion-crazed city. The world's travelling circus of fashion editors, buyers and celebrities waved goodbye to the cobbled streets of Milan and cried "Bonjour Paris" on Tuesday, bracing itself for the last, most colorful furlong of spring-summer 2015 ready-to-wear shows. Tuesday's a day for the up-and-coming fashion designers and stars of tomorrow. And it can pack some surprises. Anthony Vaccarello, who has dressed Gwyneth Paltrow, gave himself an ego boost by plastering his name in huge letters all over his clothes, while newcomer house Anrealage tried to cook its models for the sake of art. As they say, "fashion has no mercy." Here are show reports and highlights from day one. MODELS COOKED IN THE NAME OF FASHION Japanese house Anrealage produced a highly original debut show in Paris. The pressure is on for any newbie on the calendar to make a mark. House designer Kunihiko Morinaga took this literally — and cooked imprints into his designs, live during the show. Several models in plain black and white trapeze-silhouettes, and stencil-like cotton and lace outer-garments, walked into a "grill" area, where they stopped to be heated up by intense beam lighting. When they walked off stiffly, in plate-bottom stilettos, the audience applauded on seeing rippled "grill" patterns that had been imprinted on the parts of the techno-fabric exposed. It resembled a sort of microwaved Jacquard. The models wore stiff, plastic bob-like wigs — and certainly looked like they needed a cold shower following this grueling spring-summer show. FROM TOKYO TO PARIS Already famous in native Japan, award-winning Morinaga is known for his daring concepts that merge art and fashion — such as a 2009 creation: a square box that becomes a trench coat when the box ribbing is taken out. Making the leap from Tokyo to Paris is a big step for a Japanese designer as it opens up the house to the international gaze. "Tokyo is already an international city with our own big fashion scene. New York is too domestic, too American. But Paris is the international fashion window to the world for us," said Hirofumi Kurino, senior adviser at Japanese clothes store United Arrows, who attended the Anrealage show. "There are the highest level critics and buyers here, and like (Japanese brand) Sacai that shows here, Paris means more customers and is seen as the next level for a Japanese designer," he added. ANTHONY VACCARELLO BLOWS HIS NAME UP Anthony Vaccarello is one of the biggest names on the first day of collections. And he's not afraid to show it. The French designer was in a typically sexy mood for this print-rich show that featured his own name blown up on many of the looks. He began his musings with the sartorial pin stripe and business jacket silhouettes — which were given a feminine lift with provocative, diagonal uber-miniskirts. And the mood for graphic prints continued in the form of huge blown-up writing, which spelled out letters from the designer's name and "spring" in black and white. There was a certain feel for the Swinging Sixties, or the designs of Courreges, in the show's later slashed, figure-hugging monochrome minidresses that had a nice disco-sheen. Too many different styles meant, at times, there was a sense of overkill. But Vaccarello should be applauded for an enviable new scooped, U-shaped neckline that looks sensual without being trashy. DEVASTATINGLY COOL DEVASTEE It was a devastatingly cool show for Devastee's tongue-in-cheek designers Ophelie Klere and Francois Alary. Kookie prints were the main thrust — with teapots and church facades with smiley faces, huge polka dots, hands and rain clouds. The zaniness, delivered against an optical black-and-white check runway, made it seem as if Klere and Alary were winking at us throughout the whole 25-piece show. It worked well. Dark men's coats, and one double breasted jacket, gave way to more silken, diaphanous silhouettes like a light A-line coat that could have been a dress, or, elsewhere, a beautiful loose, navy jumpsuit with a black waistband and a limp sash. Silhouettes were loose and effortlessly feminine. And despite the myriad prints, which featured on almost everything, proceedings retained a sense of pared down minimalism thanks to the bare legs, light materials and sockless black patent leather brogues. Wednesday's shows include Dries Van Noten, Rochas and Guy Laroche. ___ Thomas Adamson can be followed at http://Twitter.com/ThomasAdamsonAP 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.