Happy Birthday Karen Gillan

Best known for her portrayal of Amy Pond in the British science fiction series Doctor Who, the Scottish actress and, former model,  Karen Sheila Gillan was born 28 November 1987. She learned to play the piano when she was seven & developed a love for acting, joining several local youth theatre groups and taking part in a wide range of productions at her school,Charleston Academy. When she turned 16, Gillan moved to Edinburgh and completed an HNC Acting and Performance course at Telford College She then moved to London at 18 to study at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts drama school in the BA (Hons) Acting degree course

While studying at Italia Conti Gillan was scouted by a modeling agency.Gillan worked as a model in 2007’s London Fashion Week for designer Allegra Hicks’ autumn/winter catwalk show and the launch party of Nicola Roberts’ Dainty Doll Make-Up Range. This was shown in Roberts’ episode of the documentary, The Passions of Girls Aloud which premiered on 4 April 2008. Gillan has said she would not give up her acting career to return to modeling. She stated that she enjoyed modeling but acting was always her main interest and goal.

Gillan’s early television acting career included guest appearances on several drama series, with her first ongoing role being a two-year stint as a member of the ensemble cast of the sketch comedy series The Kevin Bishop Show in which she played multiple characters, as well as celebrities such as Katy Perry and Angelina Jolie. She appeared in Channel 4’s Stacked; she had the part of Ginny.Gillan also appeared on TV in a leading role in a horror project entitled The Well, which was broadcast as a series of episodic short films on BBC Two, and then later also as a web series on BBC.co.uk. Part of the BBC’s multimedia “switch” programming, the short episodes interconnect with online games that further explore the environments presented in the series . She was cast for the role of the Eleventh Doctor’s first companion, Amy Pond, on the British sci-fi series Doctor Who in May 2009. She made her first on-screen appearance as Amy Pond in “The Eleventh Hour” with her cousin Caitlin Blackwood portraying a young Amelia (Amy) Pond. She was confirmed in Issue 420 of the Doctor Who Magazine to be appearing in the 2011 series. Gillthe then had appeared in Doctor Who once before in the 2008 episode “The Fires of Pompeii” in the role of a SoothsayerGillan made her first theatre appearance playing the role of Shirley in John Osborne’s play Inadmissible Evidence along with Douglas Hodge The play debuted at the Donmar Warehouse on 16 October 2011.During an interview at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con, Gillan revealed she would be returning to Doctor Who for its seventh series.[18] On 15 December 2011, it was announced Gillan and Arthur Darvill (Rory Williams) would be leaving Doctor Who during the seventh series in 2012.On 26 January 2012, Karen Gillan played the part of supermodel Jean Shrimpton in the BBC Four film We’ll Take Manhattan, which told the story of Shrimpton’s relationship with the photographer David Bailey. ln August 2011, it was announced Gillan would star in an indie Scottish rom-com called Not Another Happy Ending alongside Emun Elliott.She was picked by director John McKay because he came to know her during the production of We’ll Take Manhattan, which he also directed, as “a very bubbly, vibrant, energetic, funny, slightly clumsy person” who was a perfect fit .Filming took place in July 2012, though Elliott was replaced by Stanley Weber

Gillan told journalists that she was happy to be involved in a Scottish production that “isn’t about drug use or fighting the English”.The film is set to premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in June 2013. Gillan is to star in a supernatural horror pic called Oculus cast in the lead role and filmed in Alabama. She revealed that she has been cast in comedian Charlie Brooker’s TV series A Touch of Cloth. Gillan has also been cast in a film titled ‘ The List ‘ which began filming in Los Angeles in May 2013.FHM magazine ranked Gillan #42 in FHM’s 100 Sexiest Women 2011 In 2012 they also ranked her #36. Gillan has also voiced advertisements for eHarmony and The Royal Bank of Scotland. In May 2013, Gillan was cast as Nebula in the superhero science fiction film Guardians of the Galaxy, scheduled for release in 2014.Gillan revealed that she shaved her head to play Nebula to a stunned audience during the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con International on July 20.Gillan joined the regular cast of Adult Swim’s NTSF:SD:SUV:: for the show’s third season in 2013..In 2011, Gillan helped promote Fashion Targets Breast Cancer (FTBC) and the opening of Squirrel Ward in Great Ormond Street Hospital

Tribute to Lewis Collins

I stilll enjoy watching exciting episodes of the Professionals starring British actor Lewis Collins, Who Sadly passed away aged 67 On On 27 November 2013, after a five-year struggle with cancer . He was best known for his tough-guy role as Bodie in the ITV drama seriesThe Professionals, which ran from 1977 to 1983. Born  26 May 1946 in Bidston near Birkenhead on the Wirral (then part of Cheshire). He was educated at Bidston Primary and Grange School in Birkenhead. His first job was as a ladies’ hairdresser before becoming a musician playing drums and guitar in pop groups. Before deciding to become an actor, he had a number of other jobs. Collins trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art then went into Rep at theatres in Chesterfield and Glasgow, toured with Prospect Theatre Company, and then to London’s West End. He also did tours in America and Canada. Stage roles included City Sugar and The Three Penny Opera. In the 1970 he Auditioned for a role In The Professionals and In 1982 he auditioned for the role of James Bond but his audition was deemed “too aggressive”.

The Professionals Was a British crime-action television drama series produced byAvengers Mk1 Productions and London Weekend Television that aired on the ITVnetwork from 1977 to 1983. In all, 57 episodes were produced, filmed between 1977 and 1981. It starred Martin Shaw, Lewis Collins and Gordon Jackson as agents of the fictional “CI5”.The Professionals was created by Brian Clemens, who had been one of the driving forces behind The Avengers. The show was to have been originally called “The A-Squad” before it was decided to call it “The Professionals”. Clemens and Albert Fennellwere executive producers, with business partner Laurie Johnson providing the theme music. Sidney Hayers produced the first series in 1977, and Raymond Menmuir the remainder.

His best-known role outside The Professionals was that of SAS officer Captain Peter Skellen in the film Who Dares Wins (1982). He subsequently applied to join theTerritorial SAS, a unit open to part-time reservists but was rejected because of his fame, despite passing the entrance tests.ln early 2012, Lewis was cast to play Earl Godwin in the historically based feature film production of 1066. In June, 2013, it was reported that he had withdrawn from the production and had split with his agent, Susan James

Lewis Collins married school teacher Michelle Larrett in 1992, and the couple had three sons.Collins moved to Los Angeles and held a private pilot’s licence and his hobbies included parachuting and sports shooting, rifle and pistol. He also held a black belt inJu-Jitsu and was trained in karate. He could also play some musical instruments, having played bass in The Mojos, featuring on the singles “Goodbye Dolly Gray” and “Until My Baby Comes Home”, before he became an actor.He died from cancer in Los Angeles on 27 November 2013, after a five year illness

Hanukkah

known as the Festival of Lights, Feast of Dedication, Chanukah or Chanukkah, Hanukkah takes pace between   November 27 to nightfall, December 5 2013. It, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of theHoly Temple (the Second Temple) in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revoltagainst the Seleucid Empire of the 2nd century BCE. Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar.The festival is observed by the kindling of the lights of a unique candelabrum, the nine-branched Menorah or Hanukiah, one additional light on each night of the holiday, progressing to eight on the final night. The typical Menorah consists of eight branches with an additional raised branch. The extra light is called a shamash  and is given a distinct location, usually above or below the rest. The purpose of the shamash is to have a light available for practical use, as using the Hanukkah lights themselves for purposes other than publicizing and meditating upon Hanukkah is forbidden.

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving, or Thanksgiving Day, is a holiday celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday in November. It became an official Federal holiday in 1863, when, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens”, to be celebrated on Thursday, November 26. As a federal and public holiday in the U.S., Thanksgiving is one of the major holidays of the year. Together with Christmas andNew Year, Thanksgiving is a part of the broader holiday season.The event that Americans commonly call the “First Thanksgiving” was celebrated by the Pilgrims after their first harvest in the New World in 1621. This feast lasted three days, and it was attended by 90 Native Americans (as accounted by attendee Edward Winslow) and 53 Pilgrims. The New England colonists were accustomed to regularly celebrating “thanksgivings”—days of prayer thanking God for blessings such as military victory or the end of a drought

The first documented thanksgiving services in territory currently belonging to the United States were conducted by Spaniards in the 16th century Thanksgiving services were routine in what was to become the Commonwealth of Virginia. with the first permanent settlement of Jamestown, Virginia holding a thanksgiving in 1610.On December 4, 1619, 38 English settlers arrived at Berkeley Hundred. The group’s charter required that the day of arrival be observed yearly as a “day of thanksgiving” to God. On that first day, Captain John Woodlief held the service of thanksgiving. As quoted from the section of the Charter of Berkeley Hundred specifying the thanksgiving service: “We ordaine that the day of our ships arrival at the place assigned for plantacon in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually kept holy as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God.” After the Indian massacre of 1622, the Berkeley Hundred site and other outlying locations were abandoned as the colonists withdrew to Jamestown and other more secure points.Americans commonly trace the Thanksgiving holiday to a 1621 celebration at the Plymouth Plantation, where the Plymouth settlers held a harvest feast after a successful growing season. Autumn or early winter feasts continued sporadically in later years, first as an impromptu religious observance, and later as a civil tradition.Squanto, a Patuxent Native American who resided with the Wampanoag tribe, taught thePilgrims how to catch eel and grow corn and served as an interpreter for them (Squanto had learned English during travels in England). Additionally the Wampanoag leaderMassasoit had donated food stores to the fledgling colony during the first winter when supplies brought from England were insufficient.The Pilgrims celebrated at Plymouth for three days after their first harvest, in 1621. Seventeenth-century accounts do not identify this as a Thanksgiving observance, rather it followed the harvest. Two colonists gave personal accounts of the 1621 feast inPlymouth, Massachusetts. The Pilgrims, most of whom were Separatists (English Dissenters), are not to be confused with Puritans who established their ownMassachusetts Bay Colony nearby (current day Boston) in 1628 and had very different religious beliefs.

The Massachusetts Bay Colony (consisting mainly of Puritan Christians) celebrated Thanksgiving for the first time in 1630, and frequently thereafter until about 1680, when it became an annual festival in that colony; and Connecticut as early as 1639 and annually after 1647, except in 1675. The Dutch in New Netherland appointed a day for giving thanks in 1644 and occasionally thereafter.Later in the 18th century, individual colonies would periodically designate a day of thanksgiving in honor of a military victory, an adoption of a state constitution or an exceptionally bountiful crop. Such a Thanksgiving Day celebration was held in December 1777 by the colonies nationwide, commemorating the surrender of British General Burgoyne at Saratoga.During the 18th century, individual colonies commonly observed days of thanksgiving at different times of the year.

 

Thanksgivukkah is a holiday name portmanteau neologism given to the convergence of the American holiday of Thanksgiving and the first day of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah on Thursday, November 28, 2013 ]It is a result of a rare coincidence between the lunisolar Hebrew calendar (whose dates reflect both the moon phase and the time of the solar year, and which can have between 353 and 385 days per year) and the Gregorian calendar. Because the calendars are not calculated the same way, Chanukah appears at a different time each year on the Gregorian calendar.The term “Thanksgivukkah” was trademarked by a Boston-area resident who, along with her sister-in-law, created a Facebook page and a Twitter account devoted to the phenomenon. Boston Magazine reported that the once-in-a-lifetime concept was embraced around the U.S

Happy Birthday Berry Gordy

American record producer, and founder of the Tamla Motown record label Berry Gordy, Jr. was born  November 28 in 1929 in Detroit. Berry dropped out of high school in the eleventh grade to become a professional boxer in hopes of becoming rich quick, a career he followed until 1950 when he was drafted by the United States Army for the Korean War.After his return from Korea in 1953, he married Thelma Coleman. He developed his interest in music by writing songs and opening the 3-D Record Mart, a record store featuring jazz music. The store was unsuccessful and Gordy sought work at the Lincoln-Mercury plant, but his family connections put him in touch with Al Green (not the singer), owner of the Flame Show Bar talent club, where he met singer Jackie Wilson. In 1957, Wilson recorded Reet Petite, a song Gordy had co-written with his sister Gwen and writer-producer Billy Davis. It became a modest hit but had more success internationally, especially in the UK where it reached the Top 10 and even later topped the chart on re-issue in 1986.

Wilson recorded four more songs co-written by Gordy over the next two years, including “Lonely Teardrops”, which topped the R & B charts and got to number 7 in the pop chart. Berry and Gwen Gordy also wrote “All I Could Do Was Cry” for Etta James at Chess Records.Gordy reinvested his songwriting success into producing. In 1957, he discovered The Miracles (originally known as The Matadors) and began building a portfolio of successful artists. In 1959, at Miracles leader Smokey Robinson’s encouragement, Gordy borrowed $800 from his family to create an R&B label, Tamla Records. On January 21, 1959, “Come To Me” by Marv Johnson was issued as Tamla 101. United Artists Records picked up “Come To Me” for national distribution, as well as Johnson’s more successful follow-up records (such as “You Got What It Takes,” co-produced and co-written by Gordy). Berry’s next release was the only 45 ever issued on his Rayber label, and it featured Wade Jones with an unnamed female back-up group. The record did not sell well and is now one of the rarest issues from the Motown stable.Berry’s third release was “Bad Girl” by The Miracles, and was the first-ever release for the Motown record label, it became a solid hit. Barrett Strong’s “Money (That’s What I Want)” initially appearing on Tamla and then charted on Gordy’s sister’s label, Anna Records, in February 1960. The Miracles’ hit “Shop Around” peaked at Number 1 on the national R&B charts in late 1960  which established Motown as an independent company worthy of notice.

Later in 1961, The Marvelettes’ “Please Mr. Postman” made it to the top of both charts. In 1960, Gordy signed an unknown named Mary Wells who became the fledgling label’s first star, with Smokey Robinson penning her hits”You Beat Me to the Punch,” “Two Lovers” and “My Guy”. The Tamla and Motown labels were then merged into a new company Motown Record Corporation, which was incorporated on April 14, 1960. In 1959 Berry produced a record on the Penny Label  showcasing a white doo-wop group known as ‘Bryan Brent and The Cutouts’.  ‘For Eternity’, written by the Cutouts, became the summer hit and is recognized as a Doo Wop Classic. Berry produced a record for Tom Clay some time in 1959. & the 45 is recognized by many collectors to be one of the rarest of all Gordy singles. Tom Clay became a DJ in LA, and recorded again for Gordy on his MoWest label in the 1970s. Kiki Dee became the first white female British singer to be signed to the Motown label. Gordy also employed many white workers and managers at the company’s headquarters, named Hitsville U.S.A., on Detroit’s West Grand Boulevard. He largely promoted African-American artists but carefully controlled their public image, dress, manners and choreography for across-the-board appeal. Gordy’s gift for identifying and bringing together musical talent, along with the careful management of his artists’ public image, made Motown initially a major national and then international success.

Over the next decade, he signed such artists as The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, Jimmy Ruffin, The Contours, The Four Tops, Gladys Knight & the Pips, The Commodores, The Velvelettes, Martha and the Vandellas, Stevie Wonder and The Jackson 5.In 1972, Gordy attended FIDM in Los Angeles, where he produced the commercially successful Billie Holiday biography Lady Sings the Blues, starring Diana Ross (who was nominated for an Academy Award) and Richard Pryor, and introducing Billy Dee Williams. which established Williams as a star. (Williams would also go on to portray Gordy in the 1992 miniseries The Jacksons: An American Dream and also starred in The Empire strikes Back. soon after Gorrdy produced and directed Mahogany, also starring Diana Ross. In 1985, Berry Gordy produced the cult martial arts film The Last Dragon, which starred martial artist Taimak and one of Prince’s proteges, Vanity. Although Motown continued to produce major hits throughout the 1970s and 1980s by artists like the Jacksons, Rick James, Lionel Richie and long-term signings, Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson, the record company was no longer the major force it had been previously. Gordy sold his interests in Motown Records to MCA and Boston Ventures on June 28, 1988 for $61 million. He also later sold most of his interests in the Jobete publishing concern to EMI Publishing. Gordy published an autobiography, To Be Loved, in 1994, and On March 20, 2009, Gordy was in Hollywood to pay tribute to his first group and first million-selling act, The Miracles, when the members received a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame. Speaking in tribute to the group, Gordy said “Without The Miracles, Motown would not be the Motown it is today.”

William Blake

506px-William_Blake_003English poet, painter and printmaker William Blake was born 28 November 1757 . Largely unrecognised during his lifetime, Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age. His prophetic poetry has been said to form “what is in proportion to its merits the least read body of poetry in the English language”. His visual artistry led one contemporary art critic to proclaim him “far and away the greatest artist Britain has ever produced”. In 2002, Blake was placed at number 38 in the BBC’s poll of the 100 Greatest Britons.. ‘Although he lived in London his entire life (except for three years spent in Felpham), he produced a diverse and symbolically rich corpus, which embraced the imagination as “the body of God” or “human existence itself”.Considered mad by contemporaries for his idiosyncratic views, Blake is held in high regard by later critics for his expressiveness and creativity, and for the philosophical and mystical undercurrents within his work. His paintings and poetry have been characterised as part of the Romantic movement and “Pre-Romantic”, for its large appearance in the 18th century. Reverent of the Bible but hostile to the Church of England (indeed, to all forms of organised religion), Blake was influenced by the ideals and ambitions of the French and American Revolutions Though later he rejected many of these beliefs he maintained an amiable relationship with Thomas Paine; he was also influenced by thinkers such as Emanuel Swedenborg.Despite these known influences, the singularity of Blake’s work makes him difficult to classify. Blake sadly passed away 12 August 1827 however The 19th-century scholar William Rossetti characterised him as a “glorious luminary”, and “a man not forestalled by predecessors, nor to be classed with contemporaries, nor to be replaced by known or readily surmisable successors