Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Easter Superstars


In North America the two biggest 
Celebrity Cultural Icons at Easter are...


The Pope – the serious side of Easter!
The Pope










A new celebrity has been chosen to represent one of the most enduring, historical institutions:  The Catholic Church (1.2 billion worldwide).  Pope Frances is the 266th Pope and has begun the traditional religious Easter Celebrations at the Vatican City.  
Many Catholics will attend Church for special ceremonies and also watch the Pope this weekend on TV or the Internet. 


The Easter Bunny – the fun side of Easter!
Easter Superstars_Easter Bunny










Easter creates a holiday time from work for most people or a 3-4 day weekend (Friday to Monday: March 29 - 31).  During Easter most families with kids will have an Easter Egg Hunt.  The idea is that the Easter Bunny will arrive at night and hide Easter eggs or candies for the children to find on Easter morning.  Of course the parents are the Easter Bunnies. 

The Easter Egg Hunt
An egg hunt is a game during which decorated eggs, real hard-boiled ones or artificial ones filled with, or made of chocolate candies, of various sizes, are hidden for children to find, both indoors and outdoors.  When the hunt is over, prizes may be given for the largest number of eggs collected, or for the largest or the smallest egg.  And of course, in the case of chocolate or other candies, the children get to eat what they have found.


Language Learning Section
 If you are interested in seeing an easy and common way to create Easter Eggs with children, but not the chocolate kind, then check out this video!

Listen to the video once or twice and then on the third time try to fill in the blanks [Hint: I have removed common words and expressions for explaining how to do something.].



Listening Practice
Transcript with missing words: Coloring Easter Eggs With Kids

_START_
Hi, I'm Kathy Moore for About.com Parenting. Coloring Easter eggs is a great family tradition to start with your children. This program will show the kid friendly steps for basic Easter egg coloring.

Gather Easter Egg Supplies
______________, ______________ gather all the supplies you will need, such as:

    bowls
    spoons
    coloring kit
    paper towels

______________ either covering the table with newspapers or a vinyl tablecloth. I find it is also a good idea to boil the eggs and allow them to cool before I invite the kids to help.

Get the Children Ready
__________, just like any cooking activity, ____________ your kids wash their hands before they begin. I also have my kids wear their cooking aprons to protect their clothes.
Prepare the Egg Dye or Homemade Dye Ingredients
______________ on the coloring kit, or any simple dye recipe. I use 1/2 cup of water with 1 tablespoon of vinegar and enough food coloring to get the shade I want. ________ the kids stir the bowls to make the colors.

Demonstrate Dipping the Easter Eggs
________ for your child ___________ place the hard boiled egg on a soup spoon and gently lower the egg into the color. The longer the eggs are left in the dye, the darker the color will be. Once the desired color is set, scoop the egg out of the color and pat it dry with a paper towel and let it dry on an egg holder. ________ toilet paper roll cores work well for this if you did not buy a coloring kit.

Experiment With Easter Egg Decorating
______ they get good at one color, _____________ dipping one end of an egg in one color, and the other end into another color. This ________ their fingers a bit messy, ______ it is a fun result for the kids.

Alternate Easter Egg Decorations
Using washable tempura paints in squeeze brushes is ________________ eggs. This ______ is great for younger kids who are not always keen to sit and wait for eggs to sit in the dye.

________________ decorating ideas that kids can try such as coloring the eggs with a crayon before dipping them into the dye, or putting stickers or other decorations on the colored egg.

Benefits of Easter Egg Decorating
Easter is a great time to engage in family activities. Decorating Easter eggs is ________ a creative outlet, ________ an activity that will build your child's fine motor skills and maybe even start a tradition that will last a lifetime.
 _FINISH_



Answers

Full Transcript: Coloring Easter Eggs With Kids


Hi, I'm Kathy Moore for About.com Parenting. Coloring Easter eggs is a great family tradition to start with your children. This program will show the kid friendly steps for basic Easter egg coloring.

Gather Easter Egg Supplies
Before you begin, be sure to gather all the supplies you will need, such as:

    bowls
    spoons
    coloring kit
    paper towels

I would also suggest either covering the table with newspapers or a vinyl tablecloth. I find it is also a good idea to boil the eggs and allow them to cool before I invite the kids to help.

Get the Children Ready
Then, just like any cooking activity, make sure your kids wash their hands before they begin. I also have my kids wear their cooking aprons to protect their clothes.
Prepare the Egg Dye or Homemade Dye Ingredients
Follow the directions on the coloring kit, or any simple dye recipe. I use 1/2 cup of water with 1 tablespoon of vinegar and enough food coloring to get the shade I want. Let the kids stir the bowls to make the colors.

Demonstrate Dipping the Easter Eggs
Demonstrate for your child how to place the hard boiled egg on a soup spoon and gently lower the egg into the color. The longer the eggs are left in the dye, the darker the color will be. Once the desired color is set, scoop the egg out of the color and pat it dry with a paper towel and let it dry on an egg holder. Cut up toilet paper roll cores work well for this if you did not buy a coloring kit.

Experiment With Easter Egg Decorating
Once they get good at one color, let them try dipping one end of an egg in one color, and the other end into another color. This may get their fingers a bit messy, but it is a fun result for the kids.

Alternate Easter Egg Decorations
Using washable tempera paints in squeeze brushes is another quick and easy way to decorate eggs. This method is great for younger kids who are not always keen to sit and wait for eggs to sit in the dye.

There are also lots of other decorating ideas that kids can try such as coloring the eggs with a crayon before dipping them into the dye, or putting stickers or other decorations on the colored egg.

Benefits of Easter Egg Decorating
Easter is a great time to engage in family activities. Decorating Easter eggs is not only a creative outlet, but also an activity that will build your child's fine motor skills and maybe even start a tradition that will last a lifetime.
  _FINISH_

Happy Easter!

For more Easter Fun check out:



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Monday, 18 March 2013

Sins of the Dragon!


Platypus Underground, Ltd.
Sins of the Dragon!
A determined, dynamic, new director has entered the martial arts arena!  Joey Corpora’s Sins of the Dragon has already been featured in Black Belt Magazine and is becoming more and more widely acclaimed.  Last month Sins of the Dragon was accepted into the prestigious “AOF Festival” (Action on Film International Film Festival- the bases for the AOF Channel on NBC) and the extremely popular “Fright Night” Film Festival.
This week at Celebrity English, Joey Corpora discusses this hard-core, action packed, martial arts Indie-short film Sins of the Dragon.  Let the games begin!


The Beginning...

Alex Graham: Please tell us a bit about yourself and Platypus Underground, Ltd.
Joey Corpora of Platypus Underground
Joey Corpora: I started making movies when my mom and dad got me the Lego Studios movie-maker set back in 5th grade. I used Lego characters for my first few experiments, but I got bored of them really quick and so I started filming my brothers and friends. We made our own fake company "Jollywood Productions," and basically all of our short movies were knockoffs of our favorite real movies: Star Wars, Pok'emon, etc. Since the Lego camera was on a cord attached to the computer, I could only film in my basement, and after a few years I was ready for a change of scenery, so I borrowed my parents big old clunky 8mm camcorder and started filming movies everywhere! That one bothered me a bit though because I couldn't figure out how to get the time code off, so there were always numbers at the bottom of the movie. Eventually I got my own camera, started a new "company" called "Firethorne Crew Productions," and made a bunch of war movies and sci-fi flicks. Keep in mind, this was before high school, so they were low-budget and terrible, but I learned a lot from making them. Once all the neighborhood kids moved away there was a break in movie-making until high school, where I met Kale and his brother Brandon. They made bloody movies with sword fights and gun battles, so we teamed up.
We dragged Shannon into this craziness and in January of 2012, we decided to make a REAL company, so we filed the paperwork with the state and thus Platypus Underground (the name of Kale's old youtube channel) became a real LLC. I guess fancy talk would be to say we became incorporated.

Alex: How did you get started in the movie industry?
Joey: Hahah, not sure I'm actually in the "industry" yet, but we are working on it! We're self-made men (and women) at this point.

Let’s talk about Sins of the Dragon…

Alex: Why did you select the martial arts genre?
Joey: I started training in martial arts when I was 16 (so about 6 years ago). Kale, Shannon, and Brandon were all in the Ninjutsu class, and they had been training for much longer than me. Martial arts classes were the highlights of our week, so once Kale and I began making movies together, it didn't take long for us to want to try our hand at fight scenes. Martial arts scenes have appeared in almost all of our videos/movies so far!
 

The Movie...



Alex: What was the biggest challenge in getting Sins of the Dragon made?

Joey: The biggest challenge was a lack of people. Everyone likes to say "Hey, I really want to be in your next movie! When are you going to make me a movie star?" But when you tell them, "Okay, we're meeting on set at 5:30am from Monday till Saturday," everyone suddenly has other plans. So we had to work with anyone who lovingly volunteered their time to us (and we can't thank them enough!), but there never seemed to be enough hands on set or ninjas in the background. A lot of times, we had one person holding the camera, boom mic, and recorder while one of the actors clapped the clapperboard and then ran in to the frame with everyone else on set! It got pretty hectic sometimes.


The Cast... 
Sins of the Dragon cast
Sins of the Dragon world premiere!
Credited cast:


Connor Corpora
...
Garth

Joey Corpora
...
Sozen

Brennen Dickerson
...
Caligo (voice)

Brandon Frankenfield
...
Turk

Marty Frankenfield
...
Caligo

Shannon Lee Haines
...
Kaia

Evan Rundgren
...
Jaroul

Kale Sweeney
...
Cunri

Kyle Thompson
...
Master Jerricho

Alex: Who are some of the main actors and actresses and what are their roles?
Joey: The main character in the movie is Cunri, a young man who witnessed the death of his family and now seeks revenge. He is played by Kale Sweeney, who is also the writer and fight choreographer for the movie. He's been training in martial arts since he was maybe 6 or 7; his dad (who plays Caligo) is our martial arts instructor. Kale trained in Ninjutsu, Thai boxing, MMA, and a bunch of other stuff like grappling.
Cunri's best friend in the movie is a girl named Kaia, who doesn't want Cunri to sink into hatred and revenge, but she still wants to make sure he is okay, so she tags along with him on this little adventure. Kaia is played by Shannon Lee Haines, who is our production manager/assistant director. She's been training in Ninjutsu for maybe 7 or 8 years now, plus she's trained in MMA. We wrote their roles because we knew we had two martial artists we could use to make the fight scenes look great, not because they're great actors. Not that they aren't good, we just wanted to focus on the martial arts heavily, and we knew they could do it.



Alex: Can you tell us about any funny stories or surprising moments when you were filming Sins of the Dragon?
Joey: Oh yes. There's always something funny going on while we're filming. We have a habit of breaking into song and dance when we're on set (especially when Brandon and Kale are around). We always joke about doing a musical, but I guess since we haven't done one yet they feel the need to spontaneously break out into song while we are filming fight scenes. Speaking of fight scenes, that always has the potential to be funny. A couple guys got clobbered when they weren't paying attention or they were just going too hard. Connor (who plays Garth) got kicked square in the face by Shannon during the bandit fight... and that shot made it in the movie! Similar things happened when Kale fought his dad in the finale; they'd be all amped up and ready to go, I'd call action and they'd just beat the crap out of each other. Then I would call cut, Kale would stop, and Sensei would keep attacking! Hahaha, always something crazy on set.


The Future...

Alex: What can we look forward to from Joey Corpora in the future?
Joey: We're focusing on submitting Sins of the Dragon to film festivals at the moment. We just got a call yesterday letting us know we got accepted into the Action on Film International Film Festival, so we're really excited about that! I'm currently finishing up my senior project, which is a 15-minute buddy-cop comedy called "Fist of Justice." You can expect that one to be out around late April. Kale is working on a feature script for a movie called "Ralf's House of Assassins." Not sure how much I can say about that one, but there will be swashbuckling sword fights and giant swinging axes, so that should be a lot of fun! On a different note, I am also writing my first short animated movie, based on a fairy tale I wrote called "Prince Ashley and the Magical Crystal Quest." It is my homage to Ray Harryhausen films, as well as Conan the Barbarian and Kung fu fantasy movies.


Alex: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Joey: This is for everyone out there: don't give up on your dreams. It's too easy to fall prey to all the naysayers and critical people and give up on your passions. If you really love doing something, whether that is making movies, drawing comic books, publishing magazines, or whatever, just keep at it and eventually you will find success. I started this when I was in 5th grade, now I am a senior in college, and I just into my first film festival yesterday. As bad as those old movies were, they taught me so much, and even though there will always be people who hate your work and tell you to do something else like get a real job with benefits and all that, you just gotta keep working on what you love. Besides, if I had stopped making movies, I never would have improved, and then all those people who told me to give up on this silly dream and said I would never get anywhere WOULD have been right. So seriously, here's my motivational pep talk. Follow your heart and don't take no for an answer. Eventually you will connect with someone and it will totally be worth it.


Connect and Support Platypus Underground, Ltd.!
Shooting Sins of the Dragon


Alex: What is the best way for readers to follow your work?
Joey: We are all over! The best place to go for information is our website: www.platypusunderground.com.

However, Facebook is probably the easiest, and we update that fairly often. You can like us at www.facebook.com/PlatypusUnderground

We also have a tumblr account
(http://platypus-underground.tumblr.com) and a

Youtube channel where you can watch our videos (youtube.com/platypusunderground).


Joey Corpora
Platypus Underground, Ltd.

Alex: Thank you Joey Corpora for a fantastic interview about Sins of the Dragon!  Looking forward to seeing Sins of the Dragon at the AOF Festival and Fright Night!

Joey: Thank you Alex and Celebrity English!






Next week! A fantastic Celebrity filled Easter feature followed by 2 weeks of Epic Super Star Celebrity Interviews with … 
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Sunday, 17 March 2013

Irish Celebrity Liam Neeson


Liam Neeson
Irish Celebrity
In honor of Saint Patrick's Day we are featuring 
Liam Neeson!

Liam John Neeson, is an Irish film actor with both Irish and American citizenship. Neeson is known best for his roles in Schindler's List, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Michael Collins, Taken, Kinsey, Batman Begins and Darkman and many many more! He has been nominated for an Oscar, a BAFTA and three Golden Globe Awards. And just generally famous! 'Famous' as in a household name famous in North America and overseas!


How Liam Neeson became interested in Acting!
His interest in acting and decision to become an actor was also influenced by minister Ian Paisley, whose church Neeson would sneak into. Neeson has said of Paisley that "He had a magnificent presence and it was incredible to watch this six foot-plus man just Bible-thumping away... It was acting but it was also great acting and stirring too."


Latest Project
A Walk Among The Tombstones
Liam Neeson plays Private investigator Matthew Scudder who is hired by a drug kingpin to find out who kidnapped and murdered his wife.
Now filming in New York city and the movie is due out in 2014! A Walk Among Tombstones film is based on a Lawrence Block novel “A Walk Among The Tombstones”.  The famous screenwriter Scott Frank wrote the screenplay for the movie.
Lawrence Block and Liam Neeson novel



 Cultural Learning Section

About Saint Patrick’s Day
 Saint Patrick’s Day or in Irish Lá Fhéile Pádraig = direct translation "the Day of the Festival of Patrick" occurs every year on March 17th. Also known as Saint Paddy's Day or Saint Patty's Day in the shortened speaking form of the name. Although traditionalist prefer Saint Paddy's Day because of the Irish flavor in the name. These days, you will also see it written like this in various Saint Patrick's Day themed cards and signs.  It is a cultural and religious holiday celebrated on 17 March. It is named after Saint Patrick (c. AD 385–461), the most commonly recognized of the patron saints of Ireland.

And here are a few Positive Irish images and thoughts!
 Have a Great Day! You don’t have to be Irish to celebrate!  Hope you are wearing green!


Later this week we have a fantastic new interview coming with a new, dynamic martial arts film producer! Check back this week!



Alex
Celebrity English

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Friday, 8 March 2013

DIDO IS BACK!

Dido is Back! Girl who got away
Dido is back!  The Mega Successful English singer-songwriter released the highly anticipated “Girl Who Got Away” early this month!  Already climbing up the international iTune charts, Dido is on track for a fantastic 2013!


Where did Dido go?  What has this wonderful singer been doing?

Dido: “I haven’t been in front of another human being for 5 years…Time does seem to sort of slip away. There’s been so much else going on in my life. I got married, then I got pregnant and wanted to hang out with my family, a lot of amazing stuff.  I have just been enjoying being me and having a family.”

Dido now has a 2-year-old son named Stanley with British screenwriter Rohan Gavin.


Why did Dido come out of retirement?

Dido: “I don’t know a life without music. I don’t really know a day without music…I see the world in songs.”


Did the birth of her son impact her latest album Girl Who Got Away?

No, because he wasn’t born yet.  However, young Stanley was in the womb while Dido was recording Girl Who Got Away.

Dido: “I recorded a lot of my vocals while I was pregnant. When I was singing Girl Who Got Away in the studio, Stanley was kicking so hard, it felt like he could hear it. What’s crazy is that song always calms him down. If he’s screaming in the night, I just sing it and he stops and listens.”


How does Dido feel about motherhood?
Elated!

Dido: “Stanley’s two and recently it’s been a lot of fun, ‘cause he loves music, he loves drumming, he loves joining in band rehearsals, he’s just so excited. It’s so nice seeing it through someone else’s eyes, a proper, fresh perspective.”

Cheers to a successful return!  We are glad to see Dido back on the international music scene!  Here is the lead single Freedom (Lyrics Below)!




Language Learning Section
This week some more music to expand your Karaoke repertoire!
To help remember the words, listen to the song once or twice to get a feeling for it.
Now listen again and fill in the blanks with the missing word or words you hear.  Some blanks are missing one word but others are missing more than one word.
Just to let you know, the words that are missing are key words/ideas from the song.  Also, the missing words are high frequency words (answer transcript below).  Enjoy!


DIDO
"No Freedom" Lyrics

Take it by ________.
That I'm free ________.
By the ________ I can tell
You don't think I'll be back for more

Try to think of the world
Where you could ________ and these safe hands could ________
Take your heart above the ________.
Wherever I choose to go

No love without freedom
No love without freedom
No love without freedom
________

Even when you don't ________
Even when you don't _________
I'll be ________ low below the ________
And you'll ________all out here

No love without freedom
No love without freedom
No love without freedom
________

No love without freedom
No love without freedom
No love without freedom
________

Standing here in ­­­­________
The ________ in front of me
Holding you in ­­­________
And seeing as _________

No love without freedom
No love without freedom
No love without freedom
__________
__________








Answer Transcript
DIDO
"No Freedom" Lyrics

Take it by your silence
That I'm free to walk out the door
By the look in your eyes I can tell
You don't think I'll be back for more

Try to think of the world
Where you could stay and these safe hands could go
Take your heart above the water
Wherever I choose to go

No love without freedom
No love without freedom
No love without freedom
No freedom without love

Even when you don't see me
Even when you don't hear
I'll be flying low below the sun
And you'll feel it all out here

No love without freedom
No love without freedom
No love without freedom
No freedom without love

No love without freedom
No love without freedom
No love without freedom
No freedom without love

Standing here in silence
The world in front of me
Holding you in my hand
And seeing as you'd see

No love without freedom
No love without freedom
No love without freedom
No freedom without love
No freedom without love




Have a great week and to all the women out there, HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY!
International wemon's day






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