Batman: The Brave and the Bold

Batman is back! And this time he’s brought some friends with him. Batman: The Brave and the Bold are all new exciting adventures of the Caped Crusader and his friends.

Created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger in 1939, Batman has appeared in many films, radio shows and cartoons. Some of the Batman movies, including last summer's The Dark Knight, have proven to be great successes at the Box Office, whereas others, such as Batman and Robin, have received poor reviews.

It is a different story with the animated incarnations of the Batman Cartoons. These include Batman: The Animated Adventures, Batman Beyond and The Justice League, and most recently, The Batman. Whereas previous shows have gone on to highlight Batman, his dazzling gadgets, his utility belt and the Batmobile, this show is different.

Each episode is dedicated not only to a different villain but also to a different hero from the DC Comics universe. Also, the tone of the show here feels a lot like the 1960s Batman TV show, where the stories were simple and the action was campy.

Heroes like Green Arrow, Blue Beetle, Question, Plastic Man, Booster Gold, Huntress, Catman, Aquaman and Atom, to name a few, join Batman to hunt down villains like Sinestro, Joker, Gorilla Grodd, Despero, Gentleman Ghost, Mongul and Major Disaster. This is probably the best aspect of the show, to see Batman with a different hero, side-by-side, in every episode as they tackle the many villains of the DC Universe.

The makers of the show have deliberately chosen lesser known villains and heroes from the DC Universe to accompany Batman on his adventures, rather than known ones. This means that you won’t be seeing Superman any time soon, but you will be seeing other great heroes and dastardly villains of the DC Universe alongside Batman. This makes each show exciting and different from each other, because of the colorful sidekicks and menacing villains.

The voice of Batman is provided by comedian Diedrich Bader, he starred in the comedic series The Drew Carey Show, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Cheers. He has also starred in shows like Star Trek: The Next Generation and Quantum Leap. He has voiced for many animated feature films and TV series, such as Ice Age, The Simpsons, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, and The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy. Bader has lended his voice to four different Batman cartoons as both heroes and villains: Batman Beyond, The Zeta Project, The Batman (TV series), and in Batman: The Brave and the Bold he voices Batman himself.

So tune in to Batman: The Brave and the Bold and join in the fight and enjoy the adventures of the Caped Crusader and his friends!


From Rome to Dhaka – Fuzon Rocks the East and West

Fuzon have been living up to their second album's title by journeying across the globe for various concert performances for bureaucrats, dignitaries and even the general public.

The band recently performed concerts in Rome and Dhaka, where they enthralled their audiences. These shows come in the heels of their recent India tour which was also very successful.

"It was an amazing experience," recalls Shallum. "Rome was a dream and so was Dhaka." Emu states that both the cities caught him off-guard, "I wasn't expecting the crowd to actually know of the songs and sing along as loud as they could; which they did!" Emu said. He added, "Both cities welcomed us with open arms, and we've made fans abroad." Rameez replied, "It was a fun experience, especially for the fact that we were performing for the ambassadors and all the dignitaries." And is Rameez at home now as the lead singer? "I'm much more comfortable now," said the singer, acknowledging the fact that he's not worried anymore about filling anyone's shoes. "The fans have accepted me and that's all that matters," said Rameez. Shallum added, "He's been getting great feedback from all over, even when we went to India before this and now Rome and Dhaka."

The band was one of three Pakistani acts performing at the Pakistani High Commission at Rome. "We were invited to Rome by the Pakistani High Commission to perform at a special concert highlighting the modern Pakistan and its music for western audiences. It was an honor to do so and exciting at the same time," Shallum explained about the Rome concert. Emu further explained the nature of the performance at Rome, "As Pakistani musicians or entertainers, it is our responsibility to promote a positive image of Pakistan, something that they don't see every day, especially on the news." Rameez added, "We just had to give them the best of us, as Pakistani muscians, and that's why we played the songs that we did." They performed Neend Na Aye, Tere Bena, and Dewanay.

In Dhaka, they performed two shows, back to back, one show for dignitaries whereas the other for the general public. Again, the band was met by positive feedback, from both audiences, but it was the second concert which had a very special performance by the band for the Bangladeshi audience. "We performed a very special song in Dhaka and the crowd there just went nuts," recalls Shallum. "Rameez's performance was a key factor there, he worked especially hard to get it just right," says Emu about Rameez's performance. The singer himself was quite shocked at the reaction, "The crowd wasn't expecting us to play a Bengali song, so when I started singing the first few lines, they just erupted with jubilation." The song they performed was a Bengali version of an old Indian tune, Dil Mein Hon Tum, Ankhon Mein Ho Tum, a version performed by the great Kishore Kumar entitled, Shoone.

Finally, after so much, what is next for the band? "We have a US tour coming up soon," says Shallum. "And after that we'll start focusing on our next album," says Emu. Which when they do, Fuzon should release their third album sometime in mid 2010.

Who Killed Bill? Obit for David Carradine.

David Carradine was part of a dynasty of actors that included his father, John; brother, Bruce; half-brothers Keith and Robert; and nieces Ever Carradine and Martha Plimpton.

The actor credited with over 100 feature films with directors such as Martin Scorsese, Ingmar Bergman and Hal Ashby was also nominated four times for the Golden Globes. His claim to fame, however, was the TV show Kung Fu, which aired from 1972-75.

In the series Carradine played Caine, an orphan raised by Shaolin monks and who flees China after killing the emperor’s nephew in retaliation for the murder of his kung-fu master. Pursued by revenge assassins from China, Caine wanders the American West in search of his half-brother Danny. His conscience forces him to fight injustice wherever he encounters it, fueled by flashbacks to his training in which his master famously refers to him as “Grasshopper.” Carradine reprised the role in a mid-1980s TV movie and played Caine’s grandson in the 1990s syndicated series Kung Fu: the Legend Continues.

It was around this time that career had been in the doldrums when Quentin Tarantino cast him in the title role of Kill Bill Vol. 1 and 2. Tarantino is known for reviving careers, most notably John Travolta’s in Pulp Fiction, and with Carradine it was no different.

Carradine as Bill was formidable and dominating, but at the same time his personality leaned towards the maverick outsider. He expressed that Bill was a part closest to him. Tarantino had thought of him for some time: “He wanted it to be a revelation to the world that he would show me like people don’t know me,” Carradine explained. Tarantino drew inspiration from Carradine’s huge autobiography, Endless Highway. More recently, he appeared in the sequel to Crank along side Jason Statham.

His death comes as a shock to those that have worked with him. Director Martin Scorsese said he was “deeply saddened” by the news and called him a “uniquely talented actor.” He added “We met when we made Boxcar Bertha together, almost 40 years ago. I have very fond memories of our time together on that picture and on Mean Streets, where he agreed to do a brief cameo.”

Actor Michael Madsen, who co-starred with Carradine in Kill Bill and worked with him on a number of films after, said about the star, “David was one of the first actors I ever worked with when I started my career and the closest person to a brother that I ever had in my life.”

Carradine was in Thailand working on his latest film called Stretch when he was found dead in his room at the Swissotel Nai Lert Park Hotel. Police told reporters that it was unclear whether the star took his own life, or if he died of suffocation or heart failure. Though local authorities have begun their investigation into the matter, the actor’s family has asked the FBI to help investigate his death. The family does not believe he committed suicide and is troubled by conflicting accounts about the circumstances of his death.

David Carradine died on June 3, 2009, in his Bangkok hotel room. He was 72.

Inner voice - Shcaz Khan - Jalan

"It's taken me six years to finish this album," says Schaz Khan, her voice filled with determination, her words echoing the hard work she's put in.

Jalan – the music video – was released four years ago, directed by Wajahat Rauf, and was the talk of the town. Though it was quickly labelled as controversial, Schaz herself didn't understand the controversy that it stirred. "It was just a video about a woman in a government job who gets pressurised by her male peers and develops a split personality," Schaz recalls. "There was nothing controversial about it and yet people labelled it controversial."

Still, she was undeterred and has since then been hard at work on the album, Jalan. Produced by Emad ur Rahman, the album features a host of other musicians, namely Shallum Xavier, Omar Bilal Akther and Aamir Zaki on the guitars. What was it like for her to work with them? "To me, they're all friends so I never had any boundaries working with any of them, I didn't limit myself in terms of being a musician." In fact, she went on to say, she's learned from working with them as well. "Once you're working with so many talented people, the learning process begins both ways, I've learned from them, and they've also learned from me."

Speaking about the album itself, Schaz reveals that at its core the album is about herself. "Since I've written the tracks myself, I'm a very down to earth person, very common. This album is about loving, enjoying the feeling of being in love and ultimately, about losing the love. It's about all the difference situations of being in love."

The album starts with Mastana. A groovy number with a catchy beat, it starts off slowly but once it peaks up steam, it doesn't stop till the end. It's not fast, but it has its own pace and carries the listener through. The title track Jalan is next and ultimately reminds you of the song, Fever with a hint of Strings thrown in (especially their first album). Though we've heard this before, this is the first time we hear it in the context of this album. It may be old, but surprisingly it fits in well. The serenade of the guitars – especially the solo in towards the end – makes this track a worthy listen.

Teri Ratain is a ballad with a lot of potential, but loses its way somewhere. It definitely could've been a better track at a much lesser length. Hamain kya hogaya is probably the best tracks on the album. Emad and Schaz both complement each other's vocals and carry the song – and the listener – along with poignant vocals and lyrics.

Aye sanam sounds like it's been stretched as it starts off with a slow pace and works its way towards a slightly faster one and ends rather abruptly. A good song which could've been better with pace control. Meray yar is upbeat and catchy, something you don't hear these days and catches the listener off guard as they find themselves tapping their feet along to the beat.

Meray he raho takes the longing and melancholy a bit further as you can literally hear the sadness in Schaz's voice as she sings about losing love. This is the slowest track on the album and its lyrics reflect Schaz's personality the most. It's pretty clear that she's singing from her heart. Jan e jana is a loud desi disco track, which sounds almost obnoxious if compared to the rest of the tracks. It fits nowhere in the album and should've been left off. The album ends with a remixed version of Jalan which compliments the original track.

Jalan by Schaz Khan is an impressive first album. It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it is definitely a worthy listen. An insight in a singer's life, of her hard work put into the album and the things she has gone through. Emad carefully sprinkled his input all over the album, and though it may not have worked on all the tracks, it does create a synergy within the album and gives it Schaz's inner voice.


Serenading the Swiss

The hills are alive with the music of Ali Zafar. The singer recently performed at a Pak Swiss cultural show in Switzerland to highlight the music of Pakistan and gathering donations for rehabilitating refugees from the northern region.

How did the singer find the experience? "I'm thinking what other words to use, because "amazing", "splendid" and "out of this world" have been used to death. Well, it was all these nice words mixed together!" The singer went on to elaborate the experience further, "I was having so much fun singing that I didn't realize that it'd been over 2 and a half hours to our live set and I ended up singing songs which I might've never sung on stage before just because someone from the crowd would pop and scream a song and I would try to incorporate that into our set from the top of my head. I sang all my popular songs. I sang "Dekha" twice because we had a very nice flamenco dance group dancing to it and the people wanted to see them some more. For "Sajania" we had a group of chorus girls who sang the chorus parts . So all in all, the musical on stage experience was a distinct one for me."

Ali went on to explain that the event had prestigious organizers, "The event was organized by Swiss Pakistan Society which is also affiliated with the Pakistan Women's Association of Geneva, together with the Pakistani Embassy in Berne."

And why was the event organized in the first place? "The reason to organize this event was to highlight the musical activity for the Pakistani families settled in Switzerland. It would especially give the younger generation understanding and familiarity with the current music scene. It would do the same for the local Swiss, providing them with a different view than the normal western perspective."

All the proceeds from the show will be donated and be used for rehabilitation program in northern areas of Pakistan. The Swiss Pakistan Society is a non-political and non-denominational organisation of Pakistani nationals living in Switzerland, and their Swiss friends. The society aims to develop the existing cordial relationship between Pakistan and Switzerland through cultural exchange and assisting in commercial exchanges. The Ambassador of Pakistan, Mrs. Ayesha Riyaz, in Berne is the Patron of the Society and a former Swiss Ambassador to Pakistan, Mr. Thomas Wernly, is its President.

The event was held on 16th of May, at the Theatre du Leman, Salle du Grand Casino Kempinski Hotel, Geneva, Switzerland and also featured a fashion show by Nickie and Nina, with choreography by Asim Yar Tiwana.

After the show, Ali found time to celebrate his birthday, not once, but thrice. "My birthday was a memorable one . It was celebrated thrice and I had to bite on three different cakes on three different dinner. A few friends also drove me to France to a beautiful lake and dinner . It was very sweet of everyone."

As for future performances, after dazzling audiences in Switzerland Ali now has his sights firmly set on travelling around the world. "We're touring the United States followed by a world tour. It's under planning at the moment."