May 10, 2023
Graham Nash Has a Few More Songs Before He Goes
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Graham Nash was slow to smile on a recent Wednesday afternoon, sitting in early spring sunshine on the porch of a cafe near Washington, D.C. The night before, the 81-year-old singer-songwriter had bounded onto the stage of the folk bastion the Birchmere, and wooed the sold-out crowd with his tunes that long ago became generational standards, like “Teach Your Children” and “Military Madness.” He shared the songs and candid stories of longtime pals like Paul McCartney and Joni Mitchell, landing expertly practiced punch lines. But he’d awakened in the daze of emotional hangover. Exactly three months had passed since , his best friend and closest collaborator since they first harmonized together in August 1968, at the Laurel Canyon cottage that Nash would soon share with Mitchell. “It is like an earthquake,” he said, his English accent softened by nearly 50 years in California and HAWAII. “The shock was terrifying. Then I see his face, and it makes me really sad.” The day’s aftershock stemmed from a video tribute Nash recorded for Neil Young and Stephen Stills to use at an . It was another unwelcome opportunity to contemplate all that Nash and Crosby left unsaid during the prior decade, as the pair barbs in the , left an album unfinished and rarely spoke. In early January, Crosby emailed Nash to say he wanted to talk, then left a voice mail message telling him he wanted to apologize for, as Nash remembered, “all the stupid things I said about you and, particularly, Neil.” After Nash set a time, Crosby stood him up. Three days later, he was dead. “David was a very interesting of people: He was generous, funny and the most unbelievably great musician. On the other hand, he could make an entire room feel bad with two words,” Nash said, making his way through the first of three lunchtime lattes. “I wanted to remember the good music we made and the great times we had, let that satisfy you. But he’s gone.” Nash is now a member of the rarest class of living rock legend — old enough to have witnessed the genre’s genesis and eager to talk about his wild days, but also inspired enough by his current work to rave about new songs. This year alone, he has reunited with a childhood chum, the Hollies co-founder Allan Clarke, for the sentimental and charming album “ ,” singing backup on most songs. And on May 19, Nash will release “Now,” 13 tracks about American unrest and the renewal inspired by his third marriage and a move to New York. Still, several of his favorite former musical partners, like Crosby, the drummer and the multi-instrumentalist , have all died since January. He knows his life’s work is increasingly a race against mortality. “I tried to be the best husband, the best friend, the best musician, but I’ll never make it,” he said. “I’m still healthy, but so was David. I could drop dead in the middle of this conversation.” Nash’s life story reads like a rock ’n’ roll fantasy. He was raised working-class in Salford, near Manchester, and first heard hints of the stateside musical revolution by pressing his ear to his bedpost on Sunday nights. As his parents listened to Radio Luxembourg downstairs, the sound traveled through the wooden beams of their close quarters, sparking his imagination. “My mother and father didn’t tell me to get a real Job because music’s not going to last,” he said by phone during an earlier conversation from his East Village recording and photography studio. “My mother always said to me, ‘Follow your heart, and you will always make the right choices. Life is just choices.’” Already playing the of skiffle, Nash skipped school to score tickets to see Bill Haley & His Comets with Clarke, days after his 15th birthday. The duo soon beat the Beatles (before they were the Beatles) in a talent show. Three years later, they stalked the Everly Brothers to their hotel, where they received the encouragement they needed to start the Hollies. (“Keep doing it,” Phil Everly said in the rain. “Things’ll happen.”) The Hollies’ suave R&B covers and bittersweet originals made them pop sensations, part of the Beatles’ global sea change. During their first U.S. appearance, they shared a bill with Little Richard and the young guitarist he scolded for upstaging him, Jimi Hendrix. But soon after his father’s 1966 death, Nash tired of the group’s strict parameters. When he first sang with Stills and Nash in California, he knew his future lay in its libertine lifestyle. He fell in love with Mitchell. His mother didn’t realize he had left the Hollies, his first marriage and England altogether until a copy of Crosby, Stills & Nash’s debut LP arrived, a chart-topping postcard home. The split blindsided Clarke, especially because Nash refused to tell him directly. “He was my brother, really, and he had gone and fallen in love with someone else,” Clarke said, shrugging in a video interview. “I had a family, and I was devastated. What was going to happen to me now?” That ceaseless need for reinvention — bordering perhaps on an obsession with relevance — has threaded together Nash’s career and life. He indulged drum machines and synths for his lampooned 1986 album “ ” (perhaps not coincidentally, his final solo album for 16 years). He used augmented reality for a decade later. A zealous photographer and art collector, Nash was an early adopter of fine-art digital prints, an . He was a self-professed cad during his first marriage, ultimately leading him to Mitchell. He has always believed he should have proposed to her in the early ’70s, but she worried he wanted her to play housekeeper to his rock star. (“Am I going to tell Joni Mitchell not to write?” he scoffed, loudly, in the cafe. “Get real here.”) In the half-century since they split, he’s never forgotten to send her birthday flowers. But for the final eight years of his 38-year marriage to the Actress Susan Sennett, he was not in love, something he said they both acknowledged. In 2014, he met the artist Amy Grantham, four decades his junior, backstage at a Crosby, Stills & Nash show during one of their final tours. In that first moment, he realized happiness was again possible. He told Sennett about the attraction, and they split two years later. Sennett died soon after Nash and Grantham’s 2019 Woodstock wedding. In the acrimonious annals of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Nash generally seemed the best-adjusted, least controversial member. He quit hard drugs relatively early and devoted decades to charity. , his divorce and remarriage represented a heel turn. But, he reiterated, it was worth it. “I’ve never been upset with any major decision I have made,” he said, noting that he did regret missing his parents’ deaths. “I have enjoyed my life and made some incredibly correct decisions . I hope to be going on for a few more years yet.” After a lifetime of restlessness, “Now” feels remarkably content, as if Nash has slipped into a favorite old overcoat to find a cache of new tunes stuffed inside a pocket. There are political jeremiads that decry “MAGA tourists,” plus a next-generation hymn that echoes “Teach Your Children.” He wrote “Buddy’s Back,” a glowing celebration of the Hollies forebear, for Clarke; they cut different takes for their respective albums, joyously closing a broken boyhood circle. Love songs for Grantham shape nearly half the album, gentle and guileless tunes that glow. “It Feels Like Home” is “Our House” recast for the East Coast, Nash walking through the door to find “the answer to a prayer.” He apologizes for lashing out during “Love of Mine,” a true-to-life mea culpa after Grantham told him to stop clogging Manhattan sidewalks. “Now” unspools in hard-won tranquillity. “I really believed, in my mid-70s, ‘I’m coming to the end of my life. It’s all finished,’” he said. “In many ways, Amy saved my life. I wanted to wear my heart on my sleeve, as I try and always do.” As Nash relaxed on that sunny porch, he pulled up the sleeves of his black T-shirt to reveal three tattoos. There was the Hindu god Ganesha , his ex-wife below his right. He lingered longer on his left forearm, where the black ink of the vegvisir, often called the “Viking compass,” was fading. “It’s so I don’t get lost,” he said, lifting his gaze and grinning. “But it might be upside down, so who knows?”
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Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
Jan 02, 2024
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
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NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
Jan 02, 2024 15:29
The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
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