Friday, April 29, 2011

Superman threatens to renounce US citizenship

LOS ANGELES, United States - Superman, citizen of the world?

The Man of Steel, in the latest issue of Action Comics which hit newsstands on Wednesday, said he intends to renounce his US citizenship in a speech before the United Nations.

"I'm tired of having my actions construed as instruments of US policy," Superman said in a short story in the issue, Action Comics No. 900 from the Time Warner Inc unit DC Comics.

In the comic, Superman never actually renounces his citizenship, he only talks about his plans to do that.

But conservative commentators reacted with disgust to the new storyline, given that the fictional superhero has long proclaimed he stood for "Truth, Justice and the American way."

In a blog post at The Weekly Standard, senior writer Jonathan Last questioned Superman's beliefs, now that he seems to have rejected the United States.

"Does he believe in British interventionism or Swiss neutrality?" Last wrote. "You see where I'm going with this: If Superman doesn't believe in America, then he doesn't believe in anything."

The new plot twist for Superman comes as the superhero visitor from a distant planet, who was raised by a Kansas farmer and his wife, looks to take on a more global mission for his battle against evil.

"The world's too small. Too connected," Superman said in the comic book.

Superman, who was first introduced in the 1938, has a long association with the United States. But Joe Shuster, the artist who helped create the character with writer Jerry Siegel, was born in Canada.

And critics have described Superman's life story as a metaphor for the immigrant experience, because he is an alien.

DC Comics co-publishers Jim Lee and Dan DiDio seemed to downplay their landmark superhero character's latest declaration, in a joint statement.

"In a short story in Action Comics 900, Superman announces his intention to put a global focus on his never ending battle, but he remains, as always, committed to his adopted home and his roots as a Kansas farm boy from Smallville," they said.

Profiles: Prince William and Kate Middleton

MANILA, Philippines - The long wait is over.

In a few hours, Prince William will marry Kate Middleton at the Westminster Abbey in London, England in a grand ceremony to be watched by millions all over the globe.

Here is a quick look at their lives before they become husband and wife.

Prince William

Prince William is the first son of one of the world's most famous parents -- Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana -- and the second in line to the British throne. He has a younger brother named Harry.

Born on June 21, 1982, he was given the title "His Royal Highness Prince William Arthur Philip Louis," but went by the nickname "Wills" to a curious public.

He studied at Eton College, a prestigious boarding school near London. Here, he excelled not only in academics but also in sports, playing football and polo and becoming captain of the school's swimming team.

The prince then took a year off and went to Chile and Africa where he taught children and did household chores. He returned to the United Kingdom for his college education at University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

After graduation, William decided to pursue a military career as a search and rescue pilot with the Royal Air Force. He also began his royal duties, going on overseas trips on behalf of his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II.

Following in his mother's footsteps, he is patron to several charities, helping the homeless and preserving the African wildlife.

Kate Middleton

Catherine Elizabeth Middleton, nicknamed Kate, was born on January 9, 1982. She is the eldest child of then airline officer Michael and Carole, a flight attendant. Her ancestors on her mother's side were coal miners.

Kate's parents eventually became millionaires by setting up Party Pieces, an online party supplies business. So, although born a commoner, she grew up privileged.

She studied art history at the prestigious University of St. Andrews in Scotland, where she met and fell in love with Prince William.

After college, Kate had a stint as an accessories buyer for fashion chain Jigsaw, but mostly helped her parents run their business.

Much rests on her shoulders as she becomes part of the British monarchy. She is expected to support her husband in his royal duties, focus on charity work, and more importantly, give birth to an heir.

Friday, April 22, 2011

3D porn film beats Avatar at Hong Kong box office

HONG KONG - A Hong Kong movie billed as the world's first 3D porn film has broken the city's first-day box office record previously set by Hollywood blockbuster Avatar.

"3-D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy" took in HK$2.8 million ($360,000) on its first day last week, outpacing director James Cameron's science fiction epic which drew HK$2.6 million, the porn movie's publicist told AFP Thursday.

The film has taken more than HK$15 million since its release, she added.

Curious movie-goers from all walks of life -- office workers, retirees and students -- stood in long queues outside Hong Kong cinemas on the film's first day last week, eager to catch an eyeful of the steamy 3D action.

Loosely based on a piece of classical Chinese erotic literature, the $3.2-million Cantonese-language movie features orgies, swinging and some very graphic sex scenes.

Set in the Ming dynasty, the film chronicles the story of a young man who, after being introduced to the erotic world of an aristocrat, realizes his ex-wife is the love of his life.

The film stars Japanese adult actresses Yukiko Suo and Saori Hara.

The movie, which opened in Taiwan last Friday, and has sparked strong interest in many Asian markets, including Japan and South Korea, as well as Europe and the United States, according to the producer.

Travel operators were reportedly organizing movie-going excursions to Hong Kong and Taiwan for tourists from mainland China, where strict censorship rules prevent any screening of the film.

"3-D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy" opened ahead of reported plans by other filmmakers to produce similar 3D porn movies.

Italian director Tinto Brass has announced he is to produce a 3D remake of his 1979 erotic film Caligula, while Hustler plans to release a pornographic spoof of Avatar, the top-grossing movie of all time.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Dior taking its time to replace Galliano

PARIS - French fashion house Christian Dior is in no hurry to replace disgraced designer John Galliano as it relies on existing teams for new collections, its head said on Thursday.

Dior, one of the biggest brands within luxury goods group LVMH, sacked Galliano earlier this month following publicity over a video of him shouting abuse in a Paris bar and saying he loved Hitler.

Dior Chairman and Chief Executive Sidney Toledano said the company was studying possible replacements and the brand's creative development had not been interrupted.

Fashion magazine Elle reported this week that Dior might not announce Galliano's replacement before the autumn.

"(The announcement) could come at any time, after (the autumn) or before," Toledano told Reuters after LVMH's annual shareholder meeting in Paris.

"It requires a period of study of various projects. As our internal teams are working perfectly well, we have time."

Toledano said the brand's teams were working on a new cruise collection and that there would be a Dior haute couture show in early July as planned.

"There is no interruption at all," he said. "No blanks in the calendar of creations."

It is not clear, however, what will happen to the John Galliano brand of which Dior owns 92%. Toledano said it was for Dior to decide its future but he declined to elaborate.

Fashion critics said Galliano, known for his theatrical and dramatic styles, had grown out of touch with minimalist, sober and conservative designs favored after the financial crisis.

Possible contenders to replace Galliano include Peter Copping at Nina Ricci and, within the LVMH group, Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy and Phoebe Philo at Celine.

Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman, now promoting Miss Dior Cherie perfume, publicly condemned Galliano for his comments and said she no longer wanted anything to do with him.

LVMH, the world's biggest luxury group, this month agreed to buy Roman jeweller Bulgari for 3.7 billion euros, its biggest acquisition in a decade.

The group, which makes 9% of its sales in Japan, on Thursday said the nuclear crisis in the country had only affected trading in the east and north of the country.

But overall, LVMH Chief Executive Bernard Arnault said: "The impact should be quite limited, despite everything."

Arnault said the group had made a donation of 500 million yen ($6.03 million) to help rebuild Japan.

3 Pinay supermodels join Levi's NY fashion show

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - When these Filipina supermodels in New York went to a go-see casting call for Levi's, they had no idea all 3 of them would make it.

To their surprise, Charo Ronquillo, Charlene Alvarez, and Danica Magpantay were 3 out of the 24 models who made it to the Levi's Fall/Winter Fashion Collection Preview in New York's Soho District yesterday.

It's an exclusive and private preview that showcases different Levi's lines worn by live models presented in various installations.

"Sobrang na-surprise po kaming tatlo, as in, 'Na-gets mo? Na-gets mo? Na-gets mo?' 'Yeah, na-gets ko! Go!' Then nagkita-kita po kami ng call time as in ang saya-saya namin. Hug kami," said Ronquillo, 2nd runner-up in the Ford Supermodel of the World contest in 2005.

Magpantay made Filipinos proud when she was crowned Ford Supermodel of the World 2011 in New York last January.

Since then she has been working nonstop but she's happy to find out that more and more Filipinos are getting into the New York fashion scene.

The Levi's show is extra special for her because she got to work with 2 of her Pinay supermodel friends.

"Ito 'yung first time naming tatlong mag-work. Si Chat I’ve been with her in some presentations and some shows which is fun kasi makikita mo talaga na certain designers really like our look and hindi mahirap na makapasok ang Filipino ngayon. Ngayon tatlo kami. It’s Levi’s, it's big!' Magpantay said.

Levi's Jeans publicist Melissa Ladines said they want models from different kinds of ethnicities.

"I think most brands are going global. We sell Levi’s all over the world, so we wanna cast all models from different kinds of ethnicities just so we have a lot of representation," Ladines said.

While many people see the glitz and glamor side of the fashion industry, these Pinay supermodels say it's all hard work, sweat, and tears, especially during Fashion Week where many of them have to attend 15 castings a day scattered in different parts of the Big Apple.

"Takbo ka ng takbo all over the city. Tapos pagkatapos nung araw, may paltos paltos ka. Tapos hindi mo alam kung makukuha mo 'yung job or ano. Mahirap. Mahirap bago mo makuha ang isang trabaho," said Alvarez, 1st runner-up in the Ford Supermodel of the World 2010.

Looking fabulous and glamorous is key to making supermodels look even more stunning on and off the catwalk.

Albee Franson, the head makeup artist for the Levi's preview who made these girls ready for their close-ups, happens to be Filipino-American.

"My gosh, I was in awe when I found out there were 3 Filipino models out of the 20 models that we have here. I actually had to come up and ask them, 'What are you?' because I didn’t believe they were Filipinos. I love that they bring a different kind of look to the set. So pretty," said Franson.

The achievements of these Filipinos in New York's fashion scene is only making it easier for future Filipino supermodels to make their dreams come true in the Big Apple.