Archives for April 2009

Goo-goo for the Lady GaGa?

Lady GaGa. Photo by Whittlz. All Rights Reserved 2009.

I think New York Magazinehad it about right, when they questioned why we find it so hard to like Lady GaGa, regardless of her flawless typical, euro-poppin’ style.
So what if she does dress like a ‘sci-fi super-villian’ with her ‘gloriously dumb dance music that usually thrives in gay clubs and Europe?’
She has been embraced by the United States right?…well mostly.
Paying attention to the attention seekers is one thing, respecting and embracing their art is another.
Well, do we even really consider what The GaGa does as art?
I think that boils down to personal preference. For moi, personally, no. She isn’t art.
She’s a performer who mixes up the best of them to create her own concoction.
“Let’s Dance” and “Poker Face” are the epitome of disco-dancin’, club-hoppin’ tracks oozing patent leather. You can’t help but love them.
They are in your face, upbeat and have hooks that will keep them spinning around in your head for weeks.
I would know from experience.
Sing it with me ya’ll:

♫ Pah-Pah-Pah-Poker Face! ♫

Lady GaGa. Photo by Dozer14. All Rights Reserved 2009.

But I have to agree with NYM, those two tracks aside, and maybe some exception for “Paparazzi,” (which deja-vu-ly reminds me of early 2000s Ace of Base & Britney, I admit I totally used to heart and still do!) Lady GaGa basically does ‘sound like Europop remixes of Britney Spears.’
Therefore, it really isn’t a shocker that Britney is a fan of the Lady and even enlisted her to write one of her tracks on the album “Circus.”
But how much of this woman’s creativity and pure aesthetic creation was really her own? And is she really as unique as we are told to believe she is?
ONTD called out Miss GaGa a few weeks ago, when they called her fib on creating her own costume designs from scratch, after she remarked that her ideas are all her own.
Well, apparently they aren’t.

Photos Belong to Oh No They Didn't! All Rights Reserved 2009.
On the left we see an original Hussein Chalayan from 2007 and on the right, we see The GaGa.
I think it’s pretty self-explanatory.
But, okay, maybe she was inspired. No need to get into a tizzy over it.
Christina Aguilera walks around like a tranny, who thinks she’s a white, skinny Etta James from 1955 and Madonna can’t decide which personality she prefers of her many.

No big.

We love to love to hate them. We hate to hate to love them.
But for all of space alien, futuristic brouhaha from the Haus of GaGa, I just can’t help but think, been there done that, seen that, okay so what’s next?
I seriously don’t need to see or listen to a
Cher + Madonna + Britney + Christina = Hybrid-GaGa-clone
It is time to move on.
You know, it’s time to step into
♫ 3008, you’re so 2000 late!
I gotta get that boom boom boom!
♫

–

Sasha Muradali runs the Little Pink Book.

Copyright © 2009 Sasha H. Muradali. All Rights Reserved.

Barack Obama: a 100-day report card

Stock from Obama for America. All rights Reserved 2008-2009.

Today’s the day.

It has been 100 days since President Barack Obama took office.

So how is he doing?

According to a recent Gallup poll, the US President has a 65-percent approval rating, the highest 100-day approval since President Reagan.

Not to mention that the new Associated Press GfK poll shows that 48-percent of Americans believe the United States is moving in the right direction. Granted 48-percent doesn’t sound that all that much, right? It is less than half of the country’s population.

But considering what those numbers were in 2004 — it is a big deal.

A very big deal.

So big a deal in fact, take a look at what the Huffington Post described at what would have been a recap of John McCain’s first 100 days had he won.

As amusing as it is, mulling over the-would-have-been of Sarah Palin’s fight with the tabloids over “Bristol Palin’s engagement to Levi Johnston [making] OctoMomseem publicity-shy,” or “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi [branding McCain as] ‘President McCheap'” over a his original economic stimulus package proposal of $420 billion, it all strikes eerily too close to home.

But the McCain-Palin ticket did not win the election, the Obama-Biden did.

So just how well are they doing?

According to the BBC, he is doing rather well:

  • cutting torture off at its knees
  • closing Gitmo
  • working with Russia to seek a new arms control treaty in order to work towards his goal of a nuclear weapon free world
  • initiating to have our US troops out of Iraq by the end of May 2010
  • etc.

But President Obama is not perfect. The charisma, glamour and swaggeraside, there has been a whirlwind of policy making, legislation brewing and Obama’s team has been shoved into crisis management mode so often that one begins to wonder if David Plouffe should start confidence-rebuilding workshops. There has been, however, one issue that just hasn’t reared it’s head…just yet. Race. The Obama camp has been relatively quiet about it. Keeping his to his word that

As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, we are not enemies but friends. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.

Yesterday, was the birthday of Saddam Hussein and that era of the history of the United States seems to be flying out the door as swiftly as it entered.

By informally greeting Hugo Chavez at the Summit of the Americas, President Obama accidentally created a best-seller out of a book that has been on the shelves for over 30-years.

That says quite a bit about just how much we the people stalk his every step.

I cannot recall the sales of Ford trucks of Bud beers increasing in sales during the last presidency.

While at the Summit, Obama also asked for the re-entry of Cuba as a CARICOM nation begging the question, “would these events signify a change in the engagement of the US with the Cuban government and other entities in South America?”

Let me be clear, I’m not interested in talking just for the sake of talking. But I do believe that we can move U.S.-Cuban relations in a new direction.

Well, it is quite possible, considering that Cuban-Americans are now able to visit their loved ones on the island nation.

The winds of change are blowing and I feel the urge to listen to Bob Dylan.

Stock from Obama camp. All Rights Reserved 2008-2009.

It may be Day 100, but there is no rest for he who is cleaning up the work of the wicked.

Swine Flu, more stress tests analysis, the Chrysler deadline this week, GM possibly filing Chapter 11 and more health care debates are swimming up the Beltway like hungry great white sharks gleeful over the smell of blood.

A friend of mine told me,

“It was once said that a black man would be president “when pigs fly” indeed 100 days into Obama’s presidency, Swine flu.”

What will be, will be. C’est la vie.


Sasha H. Muradali is the owner of SashaHalimaPR and the Little Pink Book.

Copyright © 2009 SashaHalima PR. All rights reserved.

Barbie’s creatives at Mattel are on crack

Her eyes are so incredible, they are going to be donated to science when she dies. A former Miss World (1994) winner who has an international contract with L’Oréal and her own wax figure sitting comfortably in Madame Tussauds, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan has an incredible resume and the looks to go with it. Not to mention over the past three years she developed an international acting career with the release of films such as, Bride & Prejudice, The Last Legion and The Pink Panther 2. Heck she’s even been on CNN, Oprah, ABC News and she pwned David Letterman.
Outside of India, her publicity and self-PRfor the Bollywood film industry knows no bounds.
No other Bollywood actor, pre Slumdog Millionaire, judged the Cannes Film Festival, had a seat at the Oscars, the BAFTAs and was tapped to be a potential Bond Girl.
That is pretty impressive.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. Photo by Dominique Charriau. All Rights Reserved 2009.

Rai is labeled, by some, as the most beautiful woman in the world, therefore, I want to know how in the great expanse of the universe, and all rational thinking, Mattel is going to go with Katrina Kaif, a second-rate actress, as the face for their first Bollywood, celebrity-inspired Barbie doll?
Talk about a public relations foul-up.
Was there no research conducted at Mattel about Bollywood’s trends, major faces and industry generally?
I guarantee that if there was, a few more names come to mind besides Katrina Kaif, if Aishwayra Rai Bachchan was not available (Karishma Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor, Malaika Arora Khan, Madhuri Dixit etc., even 1970s Rekha would have been a better choice).
The entire situation screams M-I-S-T-A-K-E to me.

Someone please tell me what the creatives in the land of Barbie are smoking?
Especially, since Ash was in the running along with Frida Pinto of Slumdog Millionaire.

Katrina first gained real Bollywood popularity back in 2006 when she appeared in Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiyaopposite Salman Khan. Word on the Desi gossip street, at the time, suggested that she was one of the many girls Salman ushered in to replace his ex-girlfriend on and off screen after a bad break-up. For you non-Bollywoodites, his ex-girlfriend was none other than Aish (who dumped him.)

Katrina Kaif. Photo by Rizwan Zakir. All Rights Reserved 2009.

I’m not saying Katrina’s ugly — she’s very beautiful. But c’mon seriously?

Who would you choose?

The second-rate actress or the woman globally nicknamed “Indian Barbie” anyway?


—

Sasha H. Muradali
runs the
Little Pink Book and SashaHalima PR.

Copyright © 2009 SashaHalima PR. All rights reserved.

Added 5% to your PR style: From good to great

Photo By: Joe Penniston. All Rights Reserved 2009.

Competition is fierce and in today’s economy it is important to strive to make your business better than the one down the street.
Easier said than done. I agree. So what do you do?
You turn to the added five-percent.
The extra five-percent is the difference between good public relations and great public relations.
Walt Disney had the best philosophy implemented into his parks when he acknowledged that from the executives to the street sweepers everyone picks up the trash. Everyone is responsible for customer service.
The same philosophy should be applied to every company and each project.

  • Remember every coin and monetary bill has more than one side. Two heads are better than one and most of all, the more dead presidents in your bank account the better for your business.

While, the executives are in their office buildings coming up with strategies and plans, John, Jane and the rest of the Doe family are rummaging through the Disney theme parks having face-to-face contact with the street sweepers, cashiers and other ground-level cast members.
The Disney cast members are known for being some of the friendliest and most helpful employees in the world.
This was no accident.
Early on, Disney learned and knew what it took to make customers keep coming back. Every company should apply the same philosophy to achieve greatness.
It is the smallest details that keep us, as consumers, and people seeking services, coming back for more. It is those same small details that will keep us in business for the long haul ahead, economy-willing.
Think about all the stores and businesses you frequently keep going back to. I am not talking about the supermarket down the street because it is the nearest to your house. I am asking you to think about your hair dresser, your bank, your butcher or doctor.
What makes them special and important to you?
Is it remembering your birthday?
Is it cutting your hair just perfect, so that it is not too long or too short?
Is it the cup of tea you get offered while you are sitting under the hair dryer reading your magazine?
Is it the bartender at your frequented Happy Hour location of choice who remembers just how much ice you like with your Long Island? (Who also gives you the Happy Hour special when it is 8:05 p.m. and Happy Hour ended at 8:00 p.m.)
In public relations, going to the extra five-percent means saying, “I will try.”
The extra five-percent is living the “if…then…” statement.

  • “If {this} happen, then {I will try} to do {this}.”

It means thinking of the negative and positive before it happens, it means knowing your field better than your competition, producing results and making at least two plans for each scenario “just in case.”

Photo by Caribb. All Rights Reserved 2009.

Think about Federal Express and UPS.
The extra five-percent for those companies is giving you a tracking number to view your package as it makes its way to your house from anywhere in the world.
As public relations professionals we need to step up and really ask our clients what they expect of us and what they want.
We also need to remind them why they hired us every once in awhile should they forget.
Most of all, we need to foresee the unseen and detail our practice to meet our clients needs, thereby, eliminating the competition by adding our extra five-percent of greatness.

 

Little Pink Book’s Rule of PR #3:
The extra 5% is the difference
between good & great
public relations.

–

Sasha Muradali runs the ‘Little Pink Book’ . She holds a B.S. in Public Relations and an M.A. in International Administration.

Copyright © 2009 Sasha H. Muradali. All Rights Reserved.

Howl if you must, New Moon’s wolf pack revealed

New Moon: Alpha Wolf Pack

PHOTO Info: Paul (Alex Meraz), Sam (Chaske Spencer), Jared (Bronson Pelletier) and Embry (Kiowa Gordon) — Right-click and save for full size image.

USA Today released it and now fan girls everywhere can finally rejoice!
The wolf pack from New Moon is here.

While, I’m not the biggest Twilight fan, I can definitely appreciate the shirtless, glycerin-drenched wolfy-pack.

Okay, so where is JACOB???

Copyright © 2009 Sasha H. Muradali. All Rights Reserved.

Ltd. Edition Stout to Commemorate Guinness’s 250th Birthday

The Gravity Bar in the Guinness Brewery in Dublin, Ireland. Photo by J. Griffin Stewart. All Rights Reserved 2009.

Brewed as it has been for the past 250-years, April 24, brings the release of a limited edition stout by Guinness.
Made available in the United States on a 6-month run, this is the first new Guinness draught since 1966, when Guinness was first introduced to the American market.
Retailing in price between $7.99-8.49, depending on location, the new draught will also be in available in kegs.
Unlike the traditional Guinness draught, the limited edition is carbonated and not nitrogenated. This results in a near white frothy stout beer of larger bubble size, as opposed to the typical milky-coffee froth.
According to Diageo, the worldwide distributor of Guinness, one is to expect a ‘crisp,’ ‘lively,’ and ‘refreshing’ rush of delectable delight into their mouths.
Guinness was created in 1759 by Arthur Guinness and is currently housed in its original home in Dublin, Ireland at the St. James’s Gate brewery.
Over 10 million glasses of Guinness have been poured since its conception, and it is currently the best-selling, not to mention most popular, stout in the world.
There is a recession running rampant around the globe right now, and while, I personally would root for Guinness, infamous for also producing some of the best advertisements in the world, I’m not quite sure the American beer-drinking market is ready to spend an extra few bucks on an imported beer, when they can achieve Happy Hour on a domestic brand.
That being said, traditional Guinness drinkers coax and do not guzzle their stout, so there still some hope that the limited edition brew will fly with ease.
Guinness is available in over 100 countries and brewed in over 40, but do you think that statistic will help this campaign be successful? Even in a time of recession?

Happy Weekend! xx.

Sasha Muradali runs the Little Pink Book.

Copyright © 2009 Sasha H. Muradali. All Rights Reserved.

Death of the Publishing House


Browse Inside this bookRead for FREE

I recently started reading the works of Paulo Coelho and I fell in love with The Alchemist. I even posted it as a status update on my Facebook and my Twitter. Less than two weeks later, a free eBook was advertised to me via my Facebook account (as I am one of those who rate the ADs broadcast to me, therefore, my FB ADs usually don’t vex me by  killing my sidebars).

Skeptical and cynical, I clicked it anyway, hoping it was telling me the truth. The literary geek inside of me was more than excited to get a free book to read by my new favorite author. After visiting the link to the Harper Collins website,  I started wondering about the future of print books in their entirety. With a  failing print newspaper industry, are  publishing houses and print books the next in line to fall beneath the storm of digital publishing?

I don’t see the change affecting authors as much as those who work in the houses themselves.
If people stop purchasing hard copy prints, what will happen to those employees? That would mean more lay-offs, more pay cuts and more cut-backs in an already hard-hitting recession. Everyone would feel the change, from the CEO to the janitor. Though, I do think the janitor would be more likely to get axed.

Honestly, the only good I can see coming out of this situation would be cheaper textbooks for university students ($200+ USD a book? Geeesh!). That is, of course, unless the likes of McGraw-Hill and friends plan to gauge every penny out of students online as well. Nevertheless, I simply cannot picture world without hard copy books.

There is something about the sweet smell of freshly printed literature, the feel of the crisp pages begging to give you a paper cut and the slick, smooth finish of a book’s cover. Holding one of these precious artifacts enables our senses to delve into new worlds and experience each adventure by turning the page. It is pure, hardcore , delicious literary porn.

Paulo Coelho has infamously endorsed free copies of his books, reasoning that everyone should be give the opportunity to read. I completely agree with this. Especially, since I have watched the price of books escalate over the past few years. A few cents here and a few cents there, has amounted to more than a few dollars everywhere.

And with rising literary prices, came the emergence of eTrade sites like Paperback Swap. Paperback Swap allows its members to swap their books free of charge, except shipping costs, to one another. They have even opened sister sites: CD Swap and DVD Swap.

However, freedom of information aside, there is just something special about flipping through a novel, a newspaper and a magazine. I am not quite sure I am ready to give up that magical experience on a whim for convenience.

If we have to give that up, what is next?

Chips in our brain to broadcast the radio to our ears, while changing the station with a remote control?

I would rather not, thanks.

—

Sasha H. Muradali runs the ‘Little Pink Book’ and SashaHalimaPR.

 

Copyright © 2009 . All Rights Reserved.SashaHalima PR

 

Popera – the new generation of classical music

Katherine Jenkins, soprano

Katherine Jenkins, soprano

By: Sarah Fahey, guest blogger

Classical music is all around us; in films, TV commercials and even in sporting events – who can forget Luciano Pavarotti singing Nessun Dorma at the 1990 World Cup – and yet there still exists this belief that Classical music is only for members of the upper echelons of society or, that opera is all about large Wagnerian women wearing Viking helmets.

So how do you make this type of music more appealing to a wider audience?

Perhaps the answer lies in the ever increasingly popular style known as Classical Crossover or Popera.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05iSQrGXlKo

Classical Crossover artists attempt to bridge the gap between the classical and popular genres of music by performing classical and operatic hits but giving them a more modern feel and vice versa.

Many of the artists that perform this style of music are in their 20s-30s and classically trained, giving the style of music a younger, sexier image but without compromising on the quality of the sound they produce.

Yet whilst most artists are well received by audiences and enjoy a certain level of success, there still seems to be some resistance in fully embracing this style of music. There is no doubt that artists like Il Divo, Russell Watson and Katherine Jenkins have enjoyed global success and have been instrumental in bringing this style of music to a wider audience, yet are said by purists in the classical world to “dumb down” the music.

Il Divo

Il Divo

This suggests that whilst they would like classical music to be more accepted, they still wish to maintain a sense of elitism.

Opera companies try to entice younger audiences by offering reduced rate tickets to their productions, but if you are unfamiliar with an opera you may not feel you have a connection with the music and so may be reluctant to try it and see.

Crossover artists, in their concerts, will often explain the story behind a classical piece they are going to perform so that even if you are unfamiliar with it, you will be able to connect to the music through the story.

By including popular songs in their repertoire they also offer an assortment of styles reaching a broader audience without alienating a particular age group or class of people.
So does classical crossover bridge the gap between the two genres, or is singing a popular song in a foreign language with full orchestral, or playing a classical piece with a techno beat backing a bridge too far – the debate continues.

Sarah Fahey was born in London, England. She has a B.A. English, Philosophy and History from Open University in the UK. She enjoys travelling, reading, theatre, opera and all genres of music.

   Copyright © 2009 SashaHalima PR. All rights reserved.

#EarthDay 2009: The fragile alliance – a journey through something worth saving

Disneynature presents "Earth"
Releasing today,  Earth Day, Disneynature presents “Earth.”
It is a documentary about animals and their dramatic journeys that span various regions of the world.
Filmed by the same people who produced “Planet Earth,” the widely acclaimed and Emmy-award winning documentary produced by the BBC and the Discovery channel in 2007, “Earth” promises to be a ‘breathtaking’ global journey to educate and reiterate just how beautiful and fragile our Blue Planet really is.
Marketed as being even larger than the Oscar-award winning “March of the Penguins,” “Earth” is just the first in a series of films Disney plans to release each year concerning the planet.
In 2010, they plan to release “Oceans” and “Orangutans: One Minute to Midnight” in 2010, both “Big Cats” and “Naked Beauty: A Love Story that Feeds the Earth” in 2011 and “Chimpanzee” in 2012.
Examining the power of life, its resilience in the face of danger and ability rebirth itself time and again, “Earth”  presents itself through three stories:

A polar bear falls through thin Arctic ice while searching for food for his family. A humpback whale guides her calf on a perilous 4,000-mile journey. A herd of African elephants in search of water battles a sandstorm in the Kalahari Desert. (CNN)

Disney has promised to plant a tree for each movie ticket purchased during the film’s opening week.

Narration:

James Earl Jones will narrate, replacing Patrick Stewart who narrated the original international version.
The narration is set to make references to all of the environmental changes plaguing the planet by using the three stories to depict the specific threats facing our planet’s wildlife.
For example, we can expect to hear about the rising temperatures in the Arctic causing the ice to melt yielding rising sea levels. This in turn, threatens polar bears and sea lions with extinction (as early as 2030).
“Earth” will touch on global warming as well.
A myth, according to some, that does in fact exist by interrupting the planet’s weather system making patterns less predictable than before.
“Earth” points out that this change poses the biggest threat to creatures like elephants because they travel great distances to reach water. Many of which die out, before arriving at their destination.

The film’s message:
“It’s not too late to make a difference.”

According to the “Earth” filmmakers, they
“wanted to give people this wonderful journey and say, ‘Look, it’s a really beautiful planet and it’s still … worth preserving.”

  • Personally, we can’t wait to see it…especially if it is coming to the IMAX!

—

Sasha H. Muradali
runs the
Little Pink Book and SashaHalima PR.

Copyright © 2009 SashaHalima PR. All rights reserved.