Friday, April 25, 2014

Jared Leto, 2014-04-25 - Billboard, Jared Leto On Leaving Virgin, Thirty Seconds To Mars Doc 'Artifact'

Jared Leto On Leaving Virgin, Thirty Seconds To Mars Doc 'Artifact'


Jared Leto On Leaving Virgin, Thirty Seconds To Mars Doc 'Artifact'
On the road with 30 Seconds to Mars in London, England
Dan Wilton

Jared Leto is a free agent.

Fresh off his Oscar win for Best Supporting Actor last month, the singer/actor is feeling freshly confident about his day job as frontman of rock band Thirty Seconds To Mars.

30STM has recently parted ways for good with Virgin Records/EMI, Leto confirms to Billboard, a label with whom the group has a tumultuous history -- including a $30 million lawsuit. All the gory details are chronicled in the documentary “Artifact,” airing April 26 on VH1 and Palladia at 11 p.m. eastern.

Though the film is based on the fraught period that led to the making of 30STM's 2010 album, “This Is War,” the band is newly unsigned after fulfilling its contract with 2013’s “Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams” -- and better for it, Leto says.

“We’re free and clear and excited about the future,” he says on the phone from Los Angeles, on a brief break from 30STM’s exhaustive touring schedule. “It’s the most wonderful place to be.”

“Artifact,” which Leto also directed, pulls no punches about the realities of the modern music business, particularly the ill-fated sale of Virgin’s parent company EMI to investor Guy Hands. Leto and bandmates Shannon Leto and Tomo Milicevic appear throughout the film, alongside powerful industry figures like the band’s manager Irving Azoff, Beats Music CEO Ian Rogers, music journalist Bob Lefsetz, producer Flood and fellow frontmen like Incubus’ Brandon Boyd and Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington.

With the band already more than $2 million in debt heading into the making of “This Is War,” 30STM was seeking to exit its 9-year-old contract with EMI under a California Labor Code that permits entertainers to terminate contracts after seven years.

ARTIFACT - OFFICIAL TRAILER (Thirty Seconds To Mars Documentary)

Though plenty of criticism is leveled at major record labels throughout the documentary for their outdated business models, Leto says “Artifact” is “not anti-record label, it’s anti-greed. It’s about artists examining the difficulty between the conflict of art and commerce, how corruption can kill dreams.”

He recently spoke with the frontman of an un-named “huge band,” who was excited to be recording the last album of the group’s current contract. “What a strange business that you’re more excited to leave your label than you are to be working there,” Leto says.

With streaming music services like Pandora, Spotify, iTunes Radio and Beats Music still on the rise, Leto is cautiously optimistic a new business model is in the works for the industry, even as those services continue to sort out their economics and royalty rates for artists.

“We’re all trying to figure out ways to share our music with the world, in new and exciting ways that don’t force us to have to sign some convoluted record contract that’s designed to keep us terminally in debt for centuries,” he says.

In the meantime, 30STM will continue to be tireless touring musicians, enough to have already set the Guiness World Record for most live shows played in support of one album (more than 300). Though all that roadwork has helped supplement the limited income brought in from recorded music, Leto hopes other bands in similar situations as his in 2010 will take heed from “Artifact.”

“We weren’t the Rolling Stones or some supergroup, otherwise maybe we could afford to battle a corporation for some time," he says. "We were a small band who had a little bit of success who believed in the fight for fairness. Hopefully, the technology industry and the labels will continue to take a look at how they operate and make deals and realize there’s plenty to go around.”

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Lee Jones, 2014-04-23 - EPT10 Sanremo: On grace

On grace

I come here not to praise Victoria Coren's poker skills. In recent days and in those coming, plenty of ink has been, and will be spilled on that subject. Indeed, her skill at the game is settled fact.

I am not here to proclaim the advent of a new dawn of women in poker. Vicky Coren has been a powerful force in poker for years; you will recall that she won her first EPT title (god, it feels good to write that) in 2006.

In fact, I am here to talk about a quality which gets little enough coverage anywhere, and precious little in the poker press: grace. I don't mean the physical grace of a ballet dancer, but the uncanny knack of doing and saying exactly the right thing at the right time, no matter the circumstances. The ability to reach beyond yourself and put people at ease in difficult situations.

Victoria Coren put that on display... ah, I said that wrong. The point of grace is that it's not on display. It's simply what you do in the moment that, when seen in review, feels exactly right. On, April 20th, 2014, Victoria Coren exuded grace in its truest form.

Watch the replay of the EPT Sanremo final table, at hour 8:10. The hand itself has become legendary, but in many respects was just yet another "cooler" for which poker is famous. Chip leader Jordan Westmorland (holding queen-ten) and Vicky (holding a dominating ace-ten) got into a 3-bet pot preflop. The flop came ten-ten-deuce and poker players around the world held their breath. The almost certain outcome of the hand was that all the chips would go in and Vicky would win a massive pot, becoming the prohibitive chip leader.

As the hand played out, Vicky bet on the river (which had left her still in the lead) and Jordan pushed all-in (as we all expected). Vicky took a while to review the hand before calling. This was for her tournament life and she needed to think it through before making the call. But she did make the call and when the cards were turned up, it became clear that she had been winning throughout.

Realize that at the moment Vicky saw Jordan's hand, she knew that she had just become a huge chip leader, crippled him, and was now well-poised to win the event. Many players would have leapt into the air, run to the rail to high-five their supporters, or any number of generally accepted forms of celebration.

The first thing that Victoria Coren did was apologize to Jordan Westmorland.

She felt bad that she had taken so long (it was actually just 43 seconds) to make the all-in call on the river, and feared that it looked like a slow-roll (arguably the worst possible breach of poker etiquette). Jordan very graciously (there's that word again) said, "Hey, that's poker". And what could have been a difficult and awkward moment became one of understanding and mutual respect.

Now fast forward to hour 9:17 of the same video. Jordan Westmorland did indeed bust out in third place and it was down to Vicky and Giacomo Fundaro. In another cooler, Vicky flopped two pair against Fundaro's aces and won the pot, eliminating him and winning the title. She had just won almost half a million Euros and become the first person ever to win two EPT main event titles. Watch the videos of previous winners (there is no previous two-time winner to watch) - you will see people running around the stage with joy, diving into the arms of their supporters, and so on. Now watch here as Vicky, seemingly stunned at the win, gets up and (with some difficulty) walks over to Giacomo. There is a quick embrace, but she pulls him back for a proper hug. That, my friends, was an acknowledgment from one poker player to another of the conclusion of an epic competition - an understanding that just a different card in one or two places could have made him the champion.


Joe Stapleton, on the EPT Live webcast, said in those first astonishing moments, "I cannot think of a better ambassador for the game." And on Easter Sunday, poker fans of every faith, the world over, replied, "Amen."

Vicky Coren is probably not the best poker player in the world. But there is an ineffable quality to Victoria Coren - I will call it "grace" - that makes you think, "I am delighted to have this woman be the face of poker."

Lee Jones is the Head of Poker Communications at PokerStars. He first joined PokerStars in 2003 and has been involved in the professional poker world for over 25 years. You can read his occasional tweets at @leehjones.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Vicky Coren Mitchell, 2014-04-20 - EPT10 Sanremo: Salute Victoria Coren Mitchell - the EPT's first two-time champion

EPT10 Sanremo: Salute Victoria Coren Mitchell - the EPT's first two-time champion

Take a bow: Victoria Coren Mitchell, two-time EPT champion

Coren Mitchell was the short stack coming into the final, but had shown some impeccable timing with any number of chips throughout the tournament, and wasn't planning to do anything reckless. Instead, it was Emmanuel Pariset, the French player who had been clinging on for dear life since Day 2, who was the first to fall.

It was a turbulent, short day for Pariset, during which he bluffed at a couple of pots, was bluffed in a couple of others, made some monsters (an aces over eights full house, for example) but then ran into kings and was knocked out. He conspired to move all in out of turn in that last pot and that allowed Benelli to make a pretty easy call. Pariset made €53,100 for eighth.

Emmanuel Pariset: Great run ends in fifth

Benelli now assumed the duties of the big stack. The home favourite, who is never shy to get his money in the middle, had some sizeable hands to match his sizeable stack and overtook Jordan Westmorland to assume the lead. He stepped out to allow Coren Mitchell to double her short stack through Andreas Goeller's with kings against sevens, but was straight back at the coal-face with 9♦T♠ and a flop of K♥J♣Q♣ to take a massive dent out of Andrija Martic and his A♠K♣.

That was the decisive pot for Martic, but his bad beats weren't even done. He got his last remaining chips in very soon after with A♠J♣ against Benelli's K♠J♠ and Benelli went runner-runner flush to oust the Croatian. Seventh place paid €76,650.

Andrija Martic: dreams went up in smoke

Westmorland, who led at the end of the previous two days, had dealt with the Benelli momentum in typical style: amiable indifference. This American player has dazzled everyone in Italy this week with his unshakeable joie de vivre. Whether leading the pack or in a temporary slump, Westmorland's demeanour has not changed. He knows he has a pretty good life whatever happens at the poker tables, and tends simply to get on with it regardless.

Of course, this unflappable approach again paid dividends. Westmorland soon went on a surge of his own and busted Bruno Stefanelli with jacks against A♠J♦. Stefanelli earned €102,700 for sixth.

Bruno Stefanelli: Rubbing hands at the prospect of €100,000+

Then Westmorland won a pot from Giacomo Fundaro with quad threes. He then also flopped a flush draw and bottom pair on a flop of J♥3♠5♥ (Westmorland had A♥3♥) and found Goeller shoving into him with middle pair.

Westmorland made the call and Goeller probably knew this wouldn't be good. He didn't win any pots of any note today. Sure enough, the 3♣ came on the turn and Goeller's unfortunate day ended in fifth. He picked up €130,750.

Andreas Goeller: Biggest tournament cash by far

After they went four handed, a passage of play that lasted a good couple of hours, it again became the Andrea Benelli show--but this was the ugly side of things. Benelli lost a succession of pots, including two big ones against Westmorland. JWPRODIGY flopped a flush to beat Benelli's flopped pair of aces, and then Benelli's queens ended up second-best to Westmorland's 9♣7♠. Westmorland backed into a straight.

Benelli was already visibly shaken by the downturn his tournament had taken, but he had saved the worst of it until last. He got his chips in with K♥T♠, Fundaro called with a dominated Q♠T♣ but the pre-flop domination evaporated on the queen-high flop. Benelli was bounced in fourth, for €166,700.

Andrea Benelli: Sad face

Westmorland still had the most chips, about the same as his two adversaries combined. But here's where poker can be an exhilarating game, and matters were turned on their head in an instant.

Westmorland found Q♣T♠ and, after Coren Mitchell called his raise in the big blind, must have been delighted to see a flop of T♦T♥2♠. His next task was to figure a way to get all the money into the middle.

Jordan Westmorland: Happy face

Little did he know how easy that would be. Coren Mitchell, you see, had A♦T♣ and was actually trapping the young American. The chips did eventually fly, completing a sensational double up for Coren Mitchell and putting her beyond 11 million in chips.

Coren Mitchell finished off Westmorland very soon after, with A♦3♠ to his Q♥6♥. "That's poker," he said, as Coren Mitchell offered an apologetic hug.

Jordan Westmorland: Another sad face

After coming from so far behind, and clinging on for so long, Coren Mitchell was now well established in the driving seat and wasn't going to let this momentum dissipate.

Fundaro had neither the chips nor the cards to do much about it, and when he did find the biggest pair of them all -- black aces -- he only managed to get the chips in the middle when he was behind. By that point, Coren, with Q♠J♣, had flopped two pair and faded the outdraw outs. She clasped her hands over her face and looked at the heavens in disbelief.

Giacomo Fundaro: Temporary TV star

If we thought this could never happen, one can have no idea at all how it felt to be in her shoes. "You played very well, congratulations," Fundaro, the beaten finalist and Coca-Cola fiend, said. He wins €298,700.

Westmorland, meanwhile, sprinted downstairs from the main casino and led the charge on to the stage to celebrate with his new friend, Coren Mitchell. They have played many hours together this week, and have been chatting throughout. "She's a sweetheart," Westmorland said. "If I could lose to anyone it would be her."

Even on the subject of the cooler that accounted for his chances, Westmorland was gracious. "I knew that's what I got myself in for when I started this game," he said. "But I will win a live tournament soon." He's a classy dude.

Coren Mitchell, meanwhile, headed off into the Italian evening with her life in a beautiful quandary. "I've long since lost the sense of what my day job is," she said, having earlier extolled the virtues of positive pessimism. "Am I a professional writer who players poker as a hobby? Or a professional poker player who writes as a hobby?"

I'm really not sure it matters anymore. Viva your (new) only two-time champ.

EPT10 Sanremo Main Event

Date: April 14-20, 2014
Buy-in: €4,900
Game: NLHE Main Event
Players: 556
Prize pool: €2,480,872

1. Vicky Coren Mitchell, UK, Team PokerStars Pro, €476,100
2. Giacomo Fundaro, Italy, €298,700
3. Jordan Westmorland, USA, €213,850
4. Andrea Benelli, Italy, €166,700
5. Andreas Goeller, Italy, €130,750
6. Bruno Stefanelli, Italy, €102,700
7. Andrija Martic, Croatia, €76,650
8. Emmanuel Pariset, France, €53,100


Monday, April 14, 2014

30 Seconds To Mars - Bright Lights (Lyric Video)

This is the seventh lyric video of the album "Love Lust Faith + Dreams".
I love the idea of the lyric videos.

THIRTY SECONDS TO MARS - Bright Lights (Lyric Video)