Saturday, April 28, 2012

Gambling with online casinos coming to Facebook social media; Bwin.Party, Virgin Games and PKR top brass speak

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The talk is that gambling and social media ala Facebook and the like are to come together in a big way.

It started with free poker and bingo games, with the odd free slots, but that's just the tip of the iceberg.

What will it all mean for players, big gaming companies, land based casinos, law makers and all the usual suspects? Time will tell but in the meantime the Media Man agency continues it's probe of the always exciting and volatile gaming, igaming and internet industry.

Jim Ryan, co-chief executive of Bwin.party Digital Entertainment, said of the online gambling companies, “As an industry we have missed the ball. Bingo is easy. That is the one and only social game that our industry has gotten right.” He noted that social game companies such as Zynga have amassed huge audiences in the meantime.

“Social gaming is obviously the coming thing and in some sense it has already arrived,” said Simon Burridge, chief executive of Virgin Games, speaking on a panel. “Social gaming meets (real gambling) is the high ground of the future.”

Malcolm Graham, chief executive of online gambling firm PKR, agreed. He said, “We have all missed the opportunity to build tournament-style gambling games (for no real-money betting) on Facebook. But in the next 12 months to 18 months, our gambling industry will move onto Facebook.”

The gambling industry has and realized that soon the social gambling craze is happening without most of them. The smart players have already started making moves into the space, such as IGT's purchase of Double Down Interactive and Caesar's purchase of Playtika. Companies that are further behind are now struggling to catch up. With rumors swirling that Facebook is preparing to roll out gambling in the UK, it seems like only a matter of time before social gambling is a reality.

Massive companies with huge marketing and budgets are coming to into town. The good news is that these are large, slow-moving companies with little knowledge of modern social game mechanics, though the similarities between social games and casino games could shorten the learning curve. The bad news is that the average gambling player is worth about $300 per month, so these guys are packing big guns when it comes to user acquisition and retention. Competing with that kind of a budget is going to be downright hard. And after multiple swooning love letters back and forth, it seems inevitable that Zynga and Wynn will team up to offer real-money gambling in legal jurisdictions. This means social game developers can't count on their industry know-how to protect them, even in the short term.

So what can social game companies do? Operating exclusively in the US will keep you safe for the time being. But, now that The Wire Act has been modified, multiple states are throwing their hats into the ring to offer legalized online gambling, including big markets like Florida, California, New Jersey.

According to the VentureBeat article, Jim Ryan expects that online gambling will be largely legal in the US by 2014. That means that hiding in the US is not a good business plan.

Instead, social game companies should do what they have always done best: adapt. There's a number of avenues this could take:

1. Mobile

Frankly, mobile is likely to befuddle many gambling operators for some time, but the smart gambling companies are already making big moves into the space. It's interesting that most smaller social game companies have already turned their attention away from Facebook.

2. Younger audiences

Social game companies could target their games for a younger audience, which gambling companies are legally obligated to avoid. This doesn't have to mean anything cloak and dagger - just that you make more kid-oriented games or go into a specific, younger vertical like educational games. However, children under 18 only make up 5% of money spent on social games, which is rather limiting.

3. Offer real-money gaming

Social game companies can compete with gambling companies on their own turf: by offering real-money gaming in their social games. In this strategy, social game companies have the advantage. They understand their players and what drives them to purchase or play better than anyone, and they can leverage this knowledge to onboard them into lucrative real-money gaming. However, most social game companies haven't done this already because gambling licenses are tremendously difficult and expensive to acquire.

It's all leading up to a perfect storm but rest assured that social media and gambling are coming together, and you can bet that Media Man is going to be in the thick of the action.

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Friday, April 27, 2012

Report into The Star casino complex to be delayed

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A final report into Sydney's The Star casino will be delivered two weeks later than initially planned.

The Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority originally asked Gail Furness SC to deliver her findings on April 30 but has agreed to her request for the deadline to be extended until May 18.

"The extension follows advice provided to the authority by Ms Furness that the additional time is required to enable her to complete her work," the authority said in a statement on Thursday.

It said some matters needed "further investigation" following public hearings in April, where former staff accused The Star's sacked managing director Sid Vaikunta of using cocaine at work and fostering a culture of sexual harassment.

After those hearings, the ABC on April 16 aired further allegations from another employee, Thomas Lin, who said the casino pleased international high rollers by ignoring gambling compliance laws.

The authority says the report deadline has been extended to ensure all parties to the inquiry receive procedural fairness.

However, it promises to have submissions given to the inquiry, following the public hearings in April, published on its website by early May.

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Madame Tussauds New York Unveil Their Marvel Superheroes Exhibit

Madame Tussauds New York Unveil Their Marvel Superheroes Exhibit...

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Madame Tussauds New York Unveil Their Marvel Superheroes Exhibit...

Madame Tussauds New York, USA, has revealed a first look at their new interactive Marvel Super Heroes exhibit, set to open on Thursday, April 26th, just before many of the heroes appear on the big screen in the May 4th release of Marvel's 'The Avengers'.

The new, multi-level experience will feature wax likenesses of The Hulk, Spider-Man, Iron Man, and two new wax figures of Captain America and Thor, as well as the Marvel Super Heroes 4D Experience – a new, short film with amazing special effects.

Captain America, as portrayed by Chris Evans in the 2011 blockbuster film, Captain America: The First Avenger, will stand in his patriotic red, white and blue costume, holding his circular shield. Thor, as portrayed by Australian actor Chris Hemsworth in the hit 2011 film, Thor, will wield his mighty hammer, Mjolnir.

“We’re bringing the Marvel Super Heroes that so many of us grew up with to life,” said Bret Pidgeon, General Manager of Madame Tussauds New York. “Marvel fans young and old alike will now have the opportunity to see, interact with and stand alongside their favorite characters.”

The exhibit will lead visitors through a long hallway and downstairs into the secret command center to unlock their powers alongside their favorite heroes. Captain America and Iron Man stand at the ready while Spider-Man crouches, about to spring into action and a 15-foot-tall likeness of The Hulk emerges through a wall into the Gamma Radiation Lab.

Expo visitors will stand at the “Contamination Station” to see if they’ve been exposed to the gamma rays that turned Dr. Bruce Banner into his green alter ego. They will also have the opportunity to wield the hammer Mjoilnir alongside of Thor as he emerges through a portal from Asgard prepared for battle.

“From the pages of our comic books to the big screen and now live in wax – it’s a great thing to see some of our best-loved Marvel characters come to life in this fun and interactive way,” said Joe Quesada, Chief Creative Officer of Marvel Entertainment. "For more than 70 years, Marvel has captured the imagination of fans around the world and we’re excited to be working with Madame Tussauds New York to open this amazing experience for everyone to enjoy.”

The never-before-seen Marvel Super Heroes 4D Experience places visitors in the middle of a Stark Industries press conference. Viewers can not only watch as Peter Parker asks Tony Stark questions, but feel the commotion once the press conference is interrupted by the evil Loki and Dr. Doom. Viewers will feel as though they are joining Marvel’s greatest Super Heroes Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Hulk, and Spider-Man to battle their nemeses. Excelsior!

News...

Madame Tussauds recently opened their Sydney, Australia branch, and we understand that there's a superhero wax double of Wolverine (Hugh Jackman).


Marvel Entertainment: Wolverine Clawing Up Hollywood Comic Book Movies; Thanks Australian Government; Marvel Comic Book Fans And Australian Film Industry: Excelsior!...

Australia's favorite son, Hugh Jackman, is returning back down under to Australia to make The Wolverine, his sixth showing as the Marvel Comic book adapted character, thanks to a whopping $12.8 million federal government subsidy.

And while referred to as "one-off", the local film industry is hopeful that the near-doubling of the standard assistance for a big-budget foreign production is a sign of things to come in next month’s budget.

The Wolverine is set in Japan but will be shot at Fox Studios in Sydney between July and December. Hugh Jackman will star and produce.

“It’s so great to bring these big movies down there, to keep people working,” Jackman told the Today program from London, where he is doing Les Miserables for Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech). “I just have to say thanks to Prime Minister Gillard, she was instrumental with this.”

Ms Gillard and Arts Minister Simon Crean jointly announced on Friday "a one-off payment" that provides Marvel Entertainment, the Hollywood producers of The Wolverine, a 30 per cent rebate through the tax system on production expenditure in Australia. "Without this … the producers of The Wolverine would not have chosen Australia as the location," their statement disclosed.

They claimed the subsidy would generate "over $80 million of investment in Australia and create more than 2000 jobs".

But local industry figures are hopeful the "one-off" caveat could soon be lifted.

"It’s a positive step for us, it shows the government’s willingness to look at the proposed increase to the location offset," said Debra Richards, chief of Ausfilm, who is responsible for atracting big-spending foreign productions to Australia.

Ausfilm and others have been lobbying the government for an increase in the foreign location offset for the past three years as the strong Australian dollar and competing incentive schemes offered by more than 40 states within the US and countries such as the UK, Canada and even Malaysia combine to make Australia too expensive for big-budget foreign productions.

The offset was introduced in 2001, at 12.5 per cent. At the time, the Australian dollar was worth about 50 cents. In 2007 it was increased to 15 per cent as a number of other territories copied, and often bettered, Australia’s incentives. Last year it was increased to 16.5 per cent.
The industry is seeking an increase to 30 per cent, and is understood to have backing from both sides of politics because big-budget foreign productions are seen as important in training and retaining technical personnel.

Crucial to the case it has taken to government is the argument that the cost to government will be relatively low as Australia is unlikely to be inundated with big productions. “It won’t be opening the floodgates,” said Ms Richards. “There’s a natural capacity here in terms of personnel and facilities.”

Sources suggest that capacity might be one large production per annum in each of Queensland (Warner studios), NSW (Fox) and Victoria (Melbourne Docklands Studios).

Docklands boss Rod Allan welcomed the news with both cautious optimism and regret.

"I think it’s terrific the federal government is willing to look at a one-off production offset and I hope that’s an indication of its willingness to look at the offset generally,” he said.
“I’d have preferred Wolverine to have come here, but now the Sydney studios are tied up for the rest of the year we’re in a great position to compete for other projects."

Asked if the decision foreshadowed an announcement on the offset scheme in the budget, Simon Crean’s office replied "the issues facing the screen industry are important to the government and will remain on our agenda over the coming years".

The budget will be handed down on May 8.

In the meantime Australian movie fans, especially those of the superhero genre, are hopefully that the likes of Marvel Entertainment and DC Comics will produce more upcoming movies on Australian soil.

A Media Man agency rep said "Something tells us that not only are fans, Marvel Entertainment and DC Comics watching these exciting developments closely, so are the likes of Frank Miller Inc and others. Australian actors, technical staff, make-up and wardrobe talent, honey wagon operators, the hotel industry, gaming developers and a range of other services companies are delighted with the Wolverine production news, and are hopeful that the Australian government will continue to find initiatives to give the Australian movie business more shots in the arm that it needs".

Stay tuned as we witness the Australian movie sector continuing to claw, kick and scratch its way back to its former glory. As Marvel Entertainment comic icon Stay Lee would say, Excelsior!

The Wolverine comic profile...

Wolverine is a fictional character, a superhero that appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. Born as James Howlett and commonly known as Logan, Wolverine is a mutant who possesses animal-keen senses, enhanced physical capabilities, three retracting bone claws on each hand and a healing factor that allows him to recover from virtually any wound, disease or toxin at an accelerated rate. The healing factor also slows down his aging process, enabling him to live beyond a normal human lifespan. His powerful healing factor enabled the supersoldier program Weapon X to bond the near-indestructible metal alloy adamantium to his skeleton and claws without killing him. He is most often depicted as a member of the X-Men, Alpha Flight, or later the Avengers.

The character first appeared in the last panel of The Incredible Hulk #180 (his first full appearance is in issue #181, November 1974) and was created by writer Len Wein and Marvel art director John Romita, Sr., who designed the character, and was first drawn for publication by Herb Trimpe. Wolverine later joined the X-Men's "All New, All Different" roster in Giant-Size X-Men #1 (May 1975). X-Men writer Chris Claremont played a significant role in the character's subsequent development, along with artist/writer John Byrne, who insisted on making the character older than the other X-Men. Artist Frank Miller collaborated with Claremont and helped to revise the character with a four-part eponymous limited series from September to December 1982 in which Wolverine's catchphrase, "I'm the best there is at what I do, but what I do best isn't very nice," debuted.

Wolverine was typical of the many tough, anti-authority, antiheroes that emerged in American popular culture after the Vietnam War; his willingness to use deadly force and his brooding nature became standard characteristics for comic book anti-heroes by the end of the 1980s. As a result, the character became the clear favorite for fans of the increasingly popular X-Men franchise. Wolverine has been featured in his own solo comic since 1988 and has been a central character in most X-Men adaptations, including animated television series, video games, and the live-action 20th Century Fox X-Men film series, in which he is portrayed by Hugh Jackman. In May 2008, Wolverine was ranked #1 out of Wizard magazine's Top 200 Comic Book Characters of All Time and was ranked as the 4th Greatest Comic Book Character by Empire magazine in July 2008. On their list of the 100 Greatest Fictional Characters, Fandomania.com ranked Wolverine at #21. In May 2011, Wolverine was ranked 4th on IGN's Top 100 Comic Book Heroes (Credit: Wikipedia)





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Beyonce named world's most beautiful woman - 26th April 2012

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Grammy-winning performer and new mother Beyonce has been named the world's most beautiful woman by People magazine.

The 30-year-old topped the magazine's annual list just months after she and rapper husband Jay-Z welcomed their first child - a daughter named Blue Ivy Carter, who was born in New York in January.

"I feel more beautiful than I've ever felt because I've given birth," she said.

"I have never felt so connected, never felt like I had such a purpose on this earth."

Michelle Pfeiffer, Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman, Halle Berry, Jennifer Aniston, Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Lopez have all held the title before. (Reuters)

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Five facts about The Avengers - 25th April 2012

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It's the hottest new action film to showcase Marvel Comics' heroes and it's burning up Australian screens right now, but if you think you already know everything there is to know about The Avengers, you're wrong.

Here's five facts from behind the scenes of The Avengers:

THEM'S FIGHTING WORDS

Tom Hiddleston, who plays the Norse god Loki, had to learn the most fight sequences of any cast member for his battles with The Avengers. He did training in Wushu, a Chinese martial art, as well as boxing, stick and staff work, knife work and hand-to-hand combat.

He wasn't the only one put through the wringer though.

Mark Ruffalo lost 21 pounds to play Hulk, while shooting had to be rescheduled when Jeremy Renner tore a muscle from his back to his shoulder filming stunts for Hawkeye.

Scarlett Johansson also trained extensively in Wushu and weapons handling alongside fight choreographer Jonathan Eusebio and her stunt double, Heidi Moneymaker.

IT AIN'T EASY BEING GREEN

Mark Ruffalo, who replaced Edward Norton as The Hulk, says it's not a role he would usually take on, but Robert Downey Jnr and the Iron Man movies were what convinced him.

He says unlike previous incarnations of The Hulk, he doesn't change size in The Avengers and is always "about eight and a half feet tall" regardless of how angry he is.

The Avengers is the first time, in film, TV and in the comics, that Bruce Banner and The Hulk have had physical similarities. Instead of just CGI, director Joss Whedon used motion capture technology (used to create characters like Gollum from Lord of the Rings) so you can see Ruffalo's facial characteristics in The Hulk.

THE SCARLET LETTER

The usually blonde Scarlett Johansson was not Iron Man 2 director Jon Favreau's first choice to play Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow, who in the comics is a tall Russian redhead. But when he met with her, she had dyed her hair red so he would know she was serious about the part.

The Avengers director Whedon made it clear from the beginning that a strong female character was absolutely essential and an all-male Avengers team was unacceptable.

SAMUEL "LEAKY" JACKSON

The Avengers is the first time Samuel L Jackson's SHIELD agent Nick Fury has stepped into a main role, instead of just cameos. But during filming, his printer was hacked and the movie script for The Avengers leaked online. Marvel sent a team of investigators to Canada to track down the person that put it up for sale online.

Nick Fury's own spin-off movie is now in the works, with Jackson predicting fellow agent Black Widow (Johansson) will also be in it.

SPYING THE SPIES DURING THE SHOOT
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The first day of the 92-day shoot was on April 24, 2011, and involved a scene where Nick Fury confronts Steve Rogers in an old boxing gym with a new mission.

It wasn't until day 11 that the entire lead cast of The Avengers assembled for the first time, for a scene where they find out why Nick has rounded them up.

Movies aren't generally shot chronologically, but the last scene of the movie was also shot on the last day of production, with the film wrapping on September 5, 2011.

It was shot in Central Park in New York with the entire lead cast, but because it was a long weekend in the US, thousands of onlookers gathered to see the Avengers in costume, including Thor and Loki decked out in their Asgardian gear. (AAP)

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Marvel's IRON MAN 3 to Be Co-Produced in China; The Walt Disney Company China, Marvel Studios and DMG Entertainment to Bring Super Hero to China

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Marvel's IRON MAN 3 to Be Co-Produced in China; The Walt Disney Company China, Marvel Studios and DMG Entertainment to Bring Super Hero to China...

SHANGHAI & BEIJING & LOS ANGELES, Apr 16, 2012 - The Walt Disney Company China, Marvel Studios and DMG Entertainment today announced the intention to co-produce IRON MAN 3 in China. Under the arrangement, DMG Entertainment will make an investment in the production of IRON MAN 3, manage the Chinese co-production process, and jointly produce the film in China. The Chinese portion of IRON MAN 3's production will run through DMG Entertainment in coordination with Marvel Studios' production and creative teams. DMG will also distribute IRON MAN 3 in China in collaboration with The Walt Disney Company China.

IRON MAN 3 will be the third movie in the billion-dollar plus franchise from Marvel and stars a returning cast including Robert Downey Jr. (as billionaire inventor Tony Stark) Gwyneth Paltrow (as Pepper Potts) and Don Cheadle (as James "Rhodey" Rhodes). IRON MAN 3 is produced by Kevin Feige and executive produced by Alan Fine, Stan Lee, Louis D'Esposito, Charles Newirth, Victoria Alonso, Stephen Broussard and Dan Mintz. The film is being directed by Shane Black who is working on the script with Drew Pearce. The film releases in the United States on May 3, 2013, and is being distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures in all territories worldwide other than in China (which is being distributed by DMG Entertainment) and Germany/Austria (which is being distributed by the Tele Munchen Group).

"The popularity of the Marvel franchise globally creates a huge opportunity to deliver fans yet another action packed film," said Stanley Cheung, Managing Director, The Walt Disney Company, Greater China. "The co-production of IRON MAN 3 in China is testimony to the importance of this audience to Disney and the local industry capability to deliver a blockbuster title," he added.

"We look forward to working alongside DMG to bring IRON MAN to the Chinese marketplace in a significant way. We are confident that Marvel's stories will continue to be enjoyed by Chinese audiences, and adding a local flavor, and working with our new local partner, will enhance the appeal and relevance of our characters in China's fast-growing film marketplace," said Rob Steffens, General Manager of Operations and Finance for Marvel Studios.

"Our collaboration with Disney and Marvel marks a milestone in the global entertainment landscape, as this signifies the first multi-billion dollar franchise to be produced between Hollywood and China," said Dan Mintz, CEO of DMG Entertainment. "The IRON MAN franchise has been a major success worldwide, and we look forward to pushing the series to new heights with IRON MAN 3. The movie will further build upon its compelling storyline, and feature the hottest A-list stars, and spectacular action, which will resonate well both globally and in China, the second largest box office market in the world."

The first installment of IRON MAN lifted off with high-speed, high-flying action when jet-setting industrialist Tony Stark survives an unexpected attack and escapes by building a high-tech robotic suit of armor. When he uncovers a nefarious plot with global implications, he dons his powerful armor and vows to protect the world as Iron Man. Straight from the pages of the legendary comic book, Iron Man is a hero who is built--not born--to be unlike any other and made US$581 million at the global box office when released in 2008. Based on Marvel's iconic Super Hero, IRON MAN 2 continued the story of the 2008 summer box office blockbuster IRON MAN, and made US$624 million at the global box office when released in 2010. Now, IRON MAN 3 continues the story with a new chapter that will deliver more heart-pounding action than ever before. Marvel Studios' IRON MAN 3 will find Tony Stark with his back against the wall, facing his most fearsome foes yet.

Shooting is expected to commence in May in the United States and begin location filming in China in late summer 2012.

About The Walt Disney Company in China

The Walt Disney Company DIS -0.45%, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a diversified international family entertainment enterprise with five business segments and is a Dow 30 company with revenues of $41 billion in its most recently reported fiscal year. Disney's first animation screened in China in the 1930s and today our long association continues with offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou with over 1000 employees. The Company has a broad range of businesses including publishing, broadcast, mobile, web, retail and its English language program, Disney English, which launched in 2008. Nearly 24 hours of Disney television programming is now available in China every week, reaching 300-360 million people each month. In September 2005, Disney opened its doors to its first theme park in China, Hong Kong Disneyland and in 2011 announced ground breaking for the Shanghai Disneyland Resort, a joint venture with Shanghai Shendi Group.

About Marvel Entertainment

Marvel Entertainment, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is one of the world's most prominent character-based entertainment companies, built on a proven library of over 8,000 characters featured in a variety of media over seventy years. Marvel utilizes its character franchises in entertainment, licensing and publishing. For more information visit www.marvel.com . Super Hero(es) is a co-owned registered trademark.

About DMG Entertainment

Founded in China in 1993, DMG owns and operates a premier entertainment company (DMG Entertainment), and an award-winning communications agency (DMG Media), possessing nearly 20 years of experience. DMG Entertainment is a leader in China's film market through the production of a diverse portfolio of commercially driven films, including 2009's The Founding of a Republic, 2010's Go Lala Go!, and 2011's Beginning of the Great Revival, as well as through the distribution of Hollywood titles such as Twilight, Knowing, Killers, Resident Evil: Afterlife, RED, The Eagle, and Priest. DMG Entertainment has also produced Hollywood/China films including Looper set for release in 2012. DMG Media has provided strategic and creative campaigns for international brands looking to connect with Chinese consumers through DMG's all-encompassing platform. SOURCE: The Walt Disney Company China


Madame Tussauds New York Unveil Their Marvel Superheroes Exhibit...

Madame Tussauds New York, USA, has revealed a first look at their new interactive Marvel Super Heroes exhibit, set to open on Thursday, April 26th, just before many of the heroes appear on the big screen in the May 4th release of Marvel's 'The Avengers'.

The new, multi-level experience will feature wax likenesses of The Hulk, Spider-Man, Iron Man, and two new wax figures of Captain America and Thor, as well as the Marvel Super Heroes 4D Experience – a new, short film with amazing special effects.

Captain America, as portrayed by Chris Evans in the 2011 blockbuster film, Captain America: The First Avenger, will stand in his patriotic red, white and blue costume, holding his circular shield. Thor, as portrayed by Australian actor Chris Hemsworth in the hit 2011 film, Thor, will wield his mighty hammer, Mjolnir.

“We’re bringing the Marvel Super Heroes that so many of us grew up with to life,” said Bret Pidgeon, General Manager of Madame Tussauds New York. “Marvel fans young and old alike will now have the opportunity to see, interact with and stand alongside their favorite characters.”

The exhibit will lead visitors through a long hallway and downstairs into the secret command center to unlock their powers alongside their favorite heroes. Captain America and Iron Man stand at the ready while Spider-Man crouches, about to spring into action and a 15-foot-tall likeness of The Hulk emerges through a wall into the Gamma Radiation Lab.

Expo visitors will stand at the “Contamination Station” to see if they’ve been exposed to the gamma rays that turned Dr. Bruce Banner into his green alter ego. They will also have the opportunity to wield the hammer Mjoilnir alongside of Thor as he emerges through a portal from Asgard prepared for battle.

“From the pages of our comic books to the big screen and now live in wax – it’s a great thing to see some of our best-loved Marvel characters come to life in this fun and interactive way,” said Joe Quesada, Chief Creative Officer of Marvel Entertainment. "For more than 70 years, Marvel has captured the imagination of fans around the world and we’re excited to be working with Madame Tussauds New York to open this amazing experience for everyone to enjoy.”

The never-before-seen Marvel Super Heroes 4D Experience places visitors in the middle of a Stark Industries press conference. Viewers can not only watch as Peter Parker asks Tony Stark questions, but feel the commotion once the press conference is interrupted by the evil Loki and Dr. Doom. Viewers will feel as though they are joining Marvel’s greatest Super Heroes Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Hulk, and Spider-Man to battle their nemeses. Excelsior!

News...

Madame Tussauds recently opened their Sydney, Australia branch, and we understand there's a Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) wax double. Excelsior!

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Gold Coast hotel Palazzo Versace for sale; Property buy opportunity of decade?

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Palazzo Versace, the ultra glamorous hotel that put Queensland's Gold Coast on the international map at the start of the new millennium, is going on the market.

Owner the Sunland Group, which snatched a coup by opening the world's first fashion-branded hotel in 2000, is aiming to sell the Main Beach hotel to reinvest in other projects.

These could include building another property on the site of Mariner's Cove, south of Palazzo Versace, and an upmarket Brisbane apartment tower.

The new owner will have the keys to a property that has been admired around the globe since it was constructed nearly 12 years ago.

It is the ultimate entertaining venue, one where guests can be spoiled and feted in six-star luxury.

The hotel has had hundreds of famous guests since it first opened its doors, including the Rolling Stones, Paris Hilton, Sir Anthony Hopkins and Beyonce and Jay Z, and more recently Rod Stewart and Chris Brown. Ruler of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashed al-Maktoum passed away at the hotel in 2006.

Major features of the three-level landmark are 200 ensuite bedrooms, a 65m lagoon pool, luxury spa, high-tech gymnasium and marina.

The owner, in building this property, spared no expense, importing specially-designed Italian fittings and furnishings and flying in Italian artisans to undertake the intricate tiling and mosaic work.

The decision to sell the 200-room Palazzo Versace comes six months after Sunland regained 100 per cent ownership of the property in a deal with a Middle Eastern partner who acquired a 49 per cent stake seven years ago.

McVay Real Estate principal Dan McVay says he expects the hotel to bring at least $80 million.

"It's totally unique and will be seen as a trophy property, not just by hoteliers but by some of the world's wealthiest people," he said.

"There has been a never-ending trail of people wanting to buy the hotel over the years, virtually all of them from offshore.

"Hence I expect the buyer to be international, with Asian parties probably at the front of the queue."

Mr McVay, who with son Sam is marketing Palazzo Versace through an expressions of interest campaign, says he expects the hotel to sell well below replacement cost.

"The 200 rooms average 50sq m and at $80 million that equates to $8000 a sq m.

"For that figure you're not getting just 200 rooms - you also get three restaurants, a ballroom, shops, a gymnasium, a spa, a marina and other facilities."

Mr McVay says Palazzo Versace has performed solidly in the past year against the backdrop of what he regards as the worst market for hotel operators in more than 20 years.

"It's been making money and should net $4 million or more in the 2011-12 year.

"It's also being sold in pristine condition, having undergone a multimillion-dollar revitalisation in the last 18 months."

A Media Man analyst said "This Palazoo Versace purchase opportunity could very well end up one of the top luxury and property buys of the decade. For a company or individual looking to make a huge intentional splash into the property and / or high end luxury market, this is it".

Expressions of interest in Palazzo Versace will close in early June.





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Australians gather to remember Anzacs - 25th April 2012

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Tens of thousands of Australians have gathered at war memorials across the country for dawn services to commemorate Anzac Day.

The services mark the 97th anniversary of the first landings by Australian and New Zealand troops at Gallipoli in 1915.

Tens of thousands of people have gathered for services in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, Adelaide, Hobart and other towns and cities.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard will attend the dawn service at Gallipoli later today.

Tens of thousands of people attended the dawn service at Melbourne's Shrine of Remembrance despite rain and cold conditions.

Afghanistan veteran Colonel Jason Blain spoke not only of the importance of remembering the old Anzacs but also the new ones and the more than 3,000 personnel currently serving abroad.

"They're the ones with the responsibility to protect all that our nation holds precious," he said.

Around 6,000 people gathered at Sydney's Martin Place for the dawn service at the Cenotaph.

Humble beginnings

The crowd listened to the history of a tradition which started in 1927 when five servicemen noticed an elderly lady laying a wreath at the Cenotaph and asked to join her in her prayer for her son.

In Brisbane, Queensland Governor Penny Wensley paid tribute to Australia's war dead while a lone piper played as hundreds of wreaths were laid around the eternal flame.

The dawn service at Canberra's Australian War Memorial was told that love has been the driving force behind the sacrifices of Australians in armed conflicts.

"I'm talking about love, a determined love that lies deep within the heart and minds of a person and is the driving force of their actions," Lieutenant Colonel Philip Cairns of the Salvation Army said in his commemorative address.

"For our soldiers it may have been expressed in words such as love for their country, or love for their families, or love of the freedom that is the hallmark of our nation."


Recent dead

Three Townsville soldiers killed in action in Afghanistan in the past year were remembered this morning in the city's Anzac Park.

Brigadier Shane Caughey told the service that communities like Townsville were only too aware that 12 soldiers had been killed in action since Anzac Day last year.

"Young men who last year may have well stood next to you at this gathering or played a game of two-up with you have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation," he said.

Anzac Day marches will take place across Australia later today.

General Peter Cosgrove, who heads the NSW Centenary of Anzac Advisory Council, said he was encouraged to see so many young people at dawn services.

"Anzac Day is a national day, and I am really uplifted by the way younger Australians are inquisitive to know what it's all about," he said.


Heading to Gallipoli

Ms Gillard will lead the annual Anzac Day dawn ceremony at Gallipoli before a crowd of thousands of Australians and New Zealanders.

The Prime Minister will deliver a speech that describes the Australian sacrifice at Gallipoli as "Australia's first act of nationhood in the eyes of a watching world".

And while the battle was ultimately lost, she will say that no shame, only pride, can exist for Australians at Gallipoli.

She will says that unlike their French and British comrades - who had won battles at Waterloo and Austerlitz during the Napoleonic wars - the Anzacs had no such honour to defend.

Coachloads of Australians and New Zealanders have filled the surrounding towns of Eceabat and Canakkale ahead of the service.

Retired Lieutenant Colonel Paul Murphy has accompanied Australia's most recent Victoria Cross recipient, Ben Roberts, to the Gallipoli battleground known as The Neck.

"It hits home when you visit a place that's not much bigger than a tennis court where Australians were pretty much slaughtered," he said.

"It's pretty hard to put it into words when you see the piece of ground."

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Media Man Network accepting approved advertisers and campaigns




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The Media Man Network is currently accepting approved advertisers and campaigns - both online and traditional campaigns.

Media Man is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company.

They were established in 2001 and are a multi-time award winner.

Ranked in the Hitwise Australia top ten (entertainment - personalities category), Google 'Best Of The Web', and AllExperts (TV and Radio).

Campaign portfolio includes WWE, UFC, Messages On Hold, Human Statue Bodyart, PartyCasino, Virgin Games, Marvel Entertainment, Aston Martin, Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, PlatinumHD, Ric Drasin, Eva Rinaldi Photography, Music News Australia, Richard Bradley Productions, Gizzi's Cafe, Frank Sinatra Enterprises, Palazzo Versace, IGT and Endemol.

The Media Man website network currently attracts approximately 5 million hits per month.

Media Man is regularly quoted in mainstream media including The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Daily Telegraph, B&T, The New York Times blog, Gambling911, Street Corner and News Limited blog websites.

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Australia's newest hip hop prodigy Jordan Oliver announces new single: All I Need

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Cairns hip hop specialist, Jordan Oliver has announced the release of his new single, All I Need
featuring Libby Morell, to be serviced to media on April 23.

With an impressive knack for combing an addictive hook with effortless flow, Jordan
Oliver (JO) draws listeners in with his meaningful, relatable lyrics and vocal charm on All I
Need.

The song features talented stable mate, Libby Morell whose vocals only further sweeten the deal
alongside JO’s smooth, expressive style of rap.

“They ain’t never gonna break me down, they ain’t never gonna take what’s mine…

I keep my pride, I keep my heart, I keep my soul, ‘cause it’s all I need,” sings JO.

The clip for All I Need was filmed in Sydney and is an extended, remix version of the song.

“The remix was something we decided at the last minute. We shot the clip in two days and after working on the beat for the remix at the end of day one, we decided to drop it in to the middle of the clip to give fans a taste of both tracks on the YouTube cut,” says JO.

After attending Grafton Arts, JO became entrenched in his new world of hip hop, break dancing
and beat boxing.

He began rapping at the age of 12 and was writing and performing his own original work by just 14.

In 2010, JO signed to Rayzor Records and released his debut single Missing You which garnered airplay across the country.

Having shared the stage with hip hop royalty such as The Outlaws, Bone Thugs N Harmony and Xzibit, JO has an enviable live show and is used to being in the spotlight.

Stay tuned for gig announcements over the next week.

JORDAN OLIVER - ALL I NEED

AVAILABLE ON ITUNES APRIL 27

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Google execs and James Cameron to mine asteroids - 23rd April 2012

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Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt and billionaire co-founder Larry Page have teamed up with Avatar director James Cameron and other investors to back an ambitious space exploration and natural resources venture, details of which will be unveiled this week.

The fledgling company, called Planetary Resources, will be unveiled at a news conference at the Museum of Flight in Seattle on Tuesday, a press release said.

Aside from naming some of the company's high-profile backers, the press release disclosed tantalisingly few details, saying only that the company would combine the sectors of "space exploration and natural resources" in a venture that could add "trillions of dollars to the global GDP".

The Wall Street Journal reported that Planetary Resources will explore the feasibility of mining natural resources from asteroids, a decades-old concept.

"This innovative start-up will create a new industry and a new definition of 'natural resources,'" the press release said.

Planetary Resource was co-founded by Eric Anderson, a former NASA Mars mission manager, and Peter Diamandis, the commercial space entrepreneur behind the X-Prize, a competition that offered $US10 million to a group that launched a reusable manned spacecraft.

Other notable investors include Charles Simonyi, a former top executive at Microsoft, and K. Ram Shriram, a Google director.

The venture will be the latest foray into the far-flung for Cameron, who dived last month in a mini-submarine to the deepest spot in the Mariana Trench.

The plot of his 2009 science fiction blockbuster film, Avatar, concerned resource mining on alien planets. (Credit: Reuters)

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Facebook drives growth of social gaming developers

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The networking giant has put a British firm on route to Nasdaq...

London Riccardo Zacconi will always remember Christmas Eve 2003 — it was when his company almost went bust.

Instead of jetting off to spend time with his family, Zacconi and his then business partner, Toby Rowland, son of the late Tiny Rowland, were hunched over the office fax machine waiting for a letter of fin-ancial support that would keep their online gaming operation afloat.

At the last minute, the vital document arrived, with the promise of backing from an old colleague. Nearly nine years later, that vote of confidence looks likely to prove a shrewd investment.

The company, King.com, has evolved into Britain's leading player in the fast-growing social gaming market, taking on the likes of Zynga, creator of Farmville, and other American rivals such as Electronic Arts. King.com could even emulate Zynga and pursue a lucrative listing on Nasdaq.

Social gaming is booming. It is estimated that the amount spent on such games will hit more than $8 billion (Dh29.4 billion) globally this year, and nearly $15 billion by 2015.

Many of the most popular games are played by Facebook users. Apple's App Store has become a centre for developers of smart phone applications. Similarly, the social network's huge worldwide membership makes it the prime destination for games creators.

It is this that has helped propel King.com to the front ranks of the industry. When Zacconi, a 44-year-old dotcom veteran, and Rowland started the company in 2003, it foc-used on internet versions of board games, word games and quizzes on its own website.

Funding hiccup

After the initial funding hiccup, it went well, turning a profit every year since 2005. By the summer of 2009, however, Zacconi realised the market was evolving. "People were moving away from large portals to play games on Facebook," he said. "Initially, the quality was low, but you could play with your friends."

King.com needed a new strategy to compete. The solution was to set up a team to develop products for Facebook in parallel with the existing website. The company calculated that many of the King.com games could be adapted for Facebook. The first to make the move was Bubble Saga, which quickly took off.

It was soon followed by a Facebook version of mah jong.

King.com went from about 300 million games played a month to more than 2.5 billion after joining Facebook. Bubble Witch Saga, launched last September, helped make it the fourth-biggest gaming company on the site. Zynga is comfortably on top, followed by Electronic Arts and Wooga.

On Zynga's trail

Zacconi has Zynga, which clocks up more than 50 million daily users, in his sights. "We are going after them," he said.

King.com has quite a way to go — it attracts less than 20 per cent of the players Zynga has — but it is growing fast. The most recent accounts for the London company show turnover of €35 million (Dh169.59 million) and pre-tax profits of nearly €1 million — down from €4 million in 2009 because of the investment required to expand into social games.

Zacconi is coy about discussing the group's latest figures, but they are up substantially. He expects revenues to top €100 million this year, thanks to income from advertising and from players buying extra lives to help complete the games.

The stock market is likely to come calling, not least to provide an exit for two venture capital firms, Apax Partners and Index Ventures, that invested in 2005 — an age ago in tech terms.

The business has already made Rowland, who left in 2006, and Zacconi wealthy — they were able to take money off the table when the venture capitalists bought in. The deal valued King.com at €75 million.

Zacconi would like to follow Zynga onto Nasdaq. The American firm was valued at $7 billion when it listed in December. "It's something we are thinking about. We have an option next year to go public," he said.

A sale is another possibility, particularly as social gaming companies are changing hands for big bucks. In 2009, Electronic Arts, famous for sports games such as Fifa 12, picked up Playfish for $300 million. In January, Double Down Interactive, which has a casino game, sold for about $500 million.

There could be increasing convergence between social gaming developers and their online gambling cousins. Bwin Party Digital Entertainment, which runs poker, sports betting, roulette and bingo, is examining the market and has helped set up an investment fund dedicated to social games.

"It's an area that is of great interest to gambling companies," one City leisure analyst said.

There is even talk that Zynga, or one of its ilk, could expand by buying an online gambling group. Either way, future Christmases promise to be rather less stressful in the Zacconi household.


PartyPoker And PartyCasino Owner bwin.party Digital Entertainment Plans Return to US Market...

Online gambling firm bwin.party are set to return to the US poker market after almost six years away following their application for a gaming licence with the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

The Gibraltar-based company – which owns online poker room PartyPoker – have submitted their application to add their name to an ever-growing list of firms showing massive interest in taking advantage of the expected legalisation of online poker in the USA.

Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment plc was formed in March last year following the merger of Bwin Interactive Entertainment AG and PartyGaming plc to create the world’s largest publicly traded online gambling company that is now listed on the London Stock Exchange.

PartyGaming Left US Market in 2006

This merger came almost five years after PartyGaming took the decision to suspend all real-money games in the USA, before then exiting the market three days after the US government’s passing of the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) back on September 29, 2006.

In April of 2009, PartyGaming decided to reach a settlement with the US Department of Justice (DoJ) in which they agreed to pay a $105 million penalty over four years as part of a non-prosecution agreement for providing online gambling to American customers before the UIGEA was passed.

As an element of the agreement, PartyGaming put its name to a “statement of facts” in which it admitted that, before October of 2006, they had aimed to attract American citizens that resulted in the processing of transactions “contrary to certain US laws”.

This deal ensured that PartyGaming were not prosecuted and also made sure that they could return to the US market if – and when – new laws are put in place to regulate all internet gambling in the North American nation.

Partnership Provided Opportunity to Return

Bwin’s merger with PartyGaming last year also paved the way for the new company to partner with Nevada-based gaming firms Boyd Gaming and MGM Resorts International late last year in what was considered an “anticipatory” move ahead of the hoped-for legalisation of online gambling in the States.

The venture has resulted in bwin.party owning 65% of the company as they provide and maintain the software for both gaming businesses, while MGM – which also runs hotels – holds 25% and Boyd Gaming just 10%.

Boyd Gaming and MGM have previously applied for licences with the Nevada Gaming Control Board to operate as online poker providers.

PartyPoker Still World’s Second Biggest Poker Room

PartyPoker had been the world’s biggest internet poker brand – if based on their number of players and cash game revenue – before pulling out of the US market, although it still holds the position as the second biggest behind PokerStars.

While Jim Ryan, bwin.party’s chief operating officer, recently told media that the joint venture is unlikely to see them regain the 50% share PartyPoker enjoyed before the introduction of the UIGEA, he does expect to see a “very meaningful liquidity pool” in what will be a highly competitive market.

Stay tuned as well follow up the story.

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PartyCasino VS Virgin Casino iGaming "war" continues

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PartyCasino.com - Accepts Canadian, Australian and New Zealand players. PartyCasino new players get up to $3000 sign up bonus. Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment is the world's largest and most succesful igaming company.

VirginCasino.com - No US, Canadian, Australian or New Zealand players. £100 sign up bonus. Virgin Games is part of Richard Branson's Virgin Enterprises Limited.

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An intimate night with Dame Edna: New Jenny Craig ambassador

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The Jenny Craig (Australia) official website reads: Dame Edna Everage is undoubtedly one of the most endearing Australian comic characters of all time, and one of the longest-lived comedic characterisations ever devised. Originally conceived in 1956, Edna has long since transcended her modest origins as a satire of Australian suburbia to become one of the most successful, best-known and well-loved comedy characters of all time.

As Dame Edna Everage prepares for her farewell tour "Eat, Pray, Live,” she has turned to Jenny to help her lose 15 kilos and fit back into those gorgeous stage outfits she is renowned for.

We secured more information on the latest marketing and media blitz on arguably Australia's highest profile diet and weight loss company...

The new Jenny Craig ambassador announcement was always going to be hard to keep a secret! On Friday night the cat was well and truly let out of the bag.

Now that we can reveal our new ambassadors are Dame Edna Everage and Barrie Humphries, we are sending you a reminder email for your RSVP to a very special launch party on Monday night.

On Monday night (April 23) at 6.30pm at the Civic Hotel, you will see a very intimate performance by Dame Edna Everage on stage.

News

Humphries inks deal with Jenny Craig...

Barry Humphries is known for inventive ways to make a dollar, but this really takes the cake... so to speak.

In a deal understood to be worth more in excess of $250,000 Humphries, now 78, has become an ambassador for the weight loss program around the same time he hits the Australian stage for his last ever shows.

Jenny Craig is also snatching exposure by Humphries' alter ego, Dame Edna Everage, promoting the arrangement.

Previous "Jenny" ambassadors such as Magda Szubanski, a recently self outed lesbian, have discovered, signing up to Jenny Craig also comes at a substantial personal price.

Humphries have never been one to expose much of his private life in the public or media domain, is about to become a lot more public about his business and personal life and lifestyle.

Humphries has previously endorsed companies such as Vision Australia and Myer.

the rumour mill says he earned about $300,000 to front up Myers ad campaigns and make personal appearances at the store's Melbourne Cup marquee a few years back.

You can bet news media is about to become a lot more intimate with Barry (and Edna), and as long as he's make a dollar (and loosing some pounds), he seems pretty content with it all possums.

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KISS News Update: Paul Reviews Monster Book Progress; Kiss’ Gene Simmons Hosting Live Webcast Event

Paul Reviews Monster Book Progress; Kiss’ Gene Simmons Hosting Live Webcast Event with Fellow Rock N Roll AllStars Tour Mates; KISS catch up news: News that you may have missed; KISS & Motley Crue Announce Summer Tour: 'No Fake Bull---t'...

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From Sydney, Australia to Hollywood, to Japan, and all across the globe, the globe knows that rock legend KISS are "The Greatest Band In The World".

You can't miss their hard rock riffs or their fantastic face paint.

Flashback: Late 1972 - Simmons spots an ad in Rolling Stone placed by Peter Criss, a drummer "looking to do anything to make it". Criss auditions and begins rehearsing with Simmons and Stanley as a trio.

Before man KISS concerts the following bold announcement is made... You Wanted the Best , YOU GOT THE BEST! The Hottest Band in the World — KISS!

As the Media Man agency entertainment commentator says "KISS may have called themselves the 'Greatest Band In The World', but for many music lovers its been true since 1973 when the band first formed under the KISS banner".

Paul Reviews Monster Book Progress...

Paul Stanley and Tommy Thayer met with the UK's First Light Publishers last week to review new full-size proofs from the giant KISS book. The KISS MONSTER BOOK will be released this summer.

Stay tuned to KISSOnline for more KISS MONSTER BOOK details soon!


Kiss’ Gene Simmons Hosting Live Webcast Event with Fellow Rock N Roll AllStars Tour Mates...

Gene Simmons is hosting a live interactive event next week from Buenos Aires, Argentina, that will give fans the chance to chat with him and the other stars participating in the Rock N Roll AllStars tour of South and Central America.  The Q&A session will take place Monday, April 23, at 5 p.m. ET from Club Geba, where the hard rock collective will be performing that evening.

To take part in the webcast, fans can visit LiveAndGlobal.com/RnRAllStars.  The website allows participants to chat in 53 languages and will translate questions and answers for viewers.  In addition to Simmons, Def Leppard‘s Joe Elliott, ex-Guns N’ Roses members Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum, former Skid Row frontman Sebastian Bach, Alice in Chains‘ Mike Inez and one-time Deep Purple bass player Glenn Hughes all will be participating.

“I’m thrilled to be hosting a real-time conversation between fellow rock legends, die-hard fans and myself during this first-of-its-kind tour,” Simmons says in a statement.  “This Live & Global session is going to be a great addition to the tour and venue, and I’m looking forward to giving our fans a ‘backstage pass’ to talk with us!”

The Rock N Roll AllStars trek kicks off Thursday in Asuncion, Paraguay, and is scheduled through a May 6 concert in Caracas, Venezuela.


KISS catch up news: News that you may have missed...


KISS & Motley Crue Announce Summer Tour: 'No Fake Bull---t'...

"We're sick and tired of girls getting up there with dancers and karaoke tapes in back of them," Gene Simmons says...

KISS and Motley Crue are hitting the road for a co-headlining tour -- dubbed simply "The Tour" -- this summer, the iconic rock acts announced on Tuesday.

The 40-date North American tour will kick off in Bristow, Va., on July 20 and run through the end of the summer, with the hard rock groups each playing 90-minute sets.

"These guys are the baddest band in the f***ing world," Motley Crue's Vince Neil said on stage with both bands at the Roosevelt Hotel on Tuesday. "Our very first tour was with [KISS], 1982. To be able to do it now is amazing."

"Seeing them on stage, it was obvious back then that this was the next big thing," KISS' Paul Stanley added. "We talk about bang for buck, this will be the definition of bang for buck on this tour. If you want to see more bombs and artillery, you'll have to check out the military."

Whether or not KISS bassist Gene Simmons' A&E reality show, "Gene Simmons Family Jewels," will follow the explosive tour was unclear. "Probably. Maybe… not," he said.

But he had a clear answer to for the pop stars now invading stadiums once filled largely by rock acts.

"We're sick and tired of girls getting up there with dancers and karaoke tapes in back of them," Simmons said. "No fake bullshit. Leave that to the Rihanna, Shmianna and anyone who ends their name with an 'A.'"


KISS® By Monster Mini Golf® Grand Opening Set for Multi-faceted Rock ‘n Roll Themed Amusement Attraction in Las Vegas...

Legendary KISS® Band Members to Inaugurate First-of-its-kind Property at Opening Event in Las Vegas on March 15

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – KISS® By Monster Mini Golf®, a unique rock ‘n roll-themed amusement attraction based around the legendary band KISS® is set to open on Thursday, March 15 with co- founding members Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, as well as band members Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer in attendance.  As part of the celebration, Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons will slash through the ceremonial ribbon with their guitars and walk the “Black Carpet” with other notable guests.

“Our challenge is to continue to find ways to weave KISS into the very fabric of Americana. We'll be there to celebrate the first ever KISS® By Monster Mini Golf® grand opening in Las Vegas. This is miniature golf KISS style and another part of our KISS world. We've big plans for this and in this case what happens in Vegas won't stay in Vegas ” said Paul Stanley.

Gene Simmons added, “This venue is perfect for Las Vegas. Where else can you go play a round of KISS® By Monster Mini Golf® and then renew your wedding vows in an official KISS “Hotter Than Hell” Wedding chapel, only in Vegas.”
 
KISS® By Monster Mini Golf® is the first-of-its-kind indoor glow-in-the-dark custom-designed, rockin’ 18-hole miniature golf course and will also host a state-of-the-art arcade, the largest KISS gift shop in the world, A KISS Gallery, the “Hotter Than Hell” Wedding Chapel, a private VIP Room, FANtastic KISS® themed event rooms and the “Rock ‘n Roll All Nite” CafĂ©.  KISS® By Monster Mini Golf® is located at 4503 Paradise Rd. Las Vegas, NV 89169 in the Shoppes at Harmon Square across from the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

“KISS® By Monster Mini Golf® has been in development for more than two years and it is destined to become a must see when anyone comes to visit Las Vegas,” said Christina Vitagliano, Founder of KISS® By Monster Mini Golf®.

"The Kiss brand just keeps getting bigger and bigger around the world. KISS® By Monster Mini Golf® will be a favorite for the Kiss Army legion of loyal fans as well as new Kiss fans" said Dell Furano, CEO of Live Nation Merchandise, Kiss longtime worldwide exclusive licensing and merchandising partner.

About Monster Mini Golf
Monster Mini Golf is the leader in cutting-edge indoor glow-in-the-dark themed entertainment. Founded in 2004, the company boasts 30 (and counting) 18-hole miniature golf courses across the country. Each custom-designed course features an arcade game area, private event rooms, in-house DJ, and entertainment for the whole family. Updates/information visit www.monsterminigolf.com, or www.facebook.com/MonsterMiniGolfKISS

For more information: Christina Vitagliano, Founder – KISS® By Monster Mini Golf®
Ph: 702.558.6256 – Monster Mini Golf® Corporate Ph: 401.454.8100 or Christina@monsterminigolf.com

About KISS
KISS, the legendary American rock band was founded in 1972. Four decades later KISS remains one of the most influential bands in the history of Rock and Roll. Achievements include the release of approximately 44 albums, sales of over 100 million albums, sold out concerts tours around the world and the incredible support of over 6 million FaceBook fans worldwide.  KISS has performed at the Super Bowl, 2002 Winter Olympics, 2009 Finale of American Idol, 2005 Rockin' The Corps Concert. In 2009, KISS was nominated for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.  KISS is currently recording their 2012 Album "Monster".

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Sir Richard Branson backs Facebook rival Path; Olympic gold not on the cards for Virgin

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SEATTLE - Sir Richard Branson has invested in Path, the "private social network" hoping to take on Facebook.

Path, a 'mobile-centric social network', which limits its members to 150 friends, was created by former Facebook employee Dave Morin in 2010.

Original backers included Hollywood actor and serial technology investor, Ashton Kutcher. However, during the site's latest round of funding, in which the company managed to raise more than US$30 million (S$37.5 million), Sir Richard has added his name to Path's investor list.

Last month Path came under fire after it emerged that the site was automatically uploading users' mobile phone address books and storing the information on its servers, without gaining consent from its members.

Consequently Mr Morin was forced to apologise and change the service's mobile settings. Path members are now asked first if they wish to opt in to share the content of their mobile address book.

An Apple spokesman said at the time: "Apps that collect or transmit a user's contact data without their prior permission are in violation of our guidelines."

The Daily Telegraph lists other new Path investors as Mr Yuri Milner, the Russian investor with stakes in Facebook, social games company Zynga and Twitter, and chief executive of Zynga Mark Pincus.

The news comes only a week after Facebook acquired Instagram, a popular photo-sharing app which has yet to generate revenues from it 40 million users, for US$1 billion.

Path, which has two million users, also has yet to fully roll out a commercial model.

Such large investments and buy-outs of companies without strong revenue models have prompted much conversation about a new technology bubble forming.


Virgin Casino New Football Online Slot...

Football will take center stage this summer in Europe. The UEFA Champions League has reached the semi finals stage and the Euro Cup will kick off in June. There will be plenty of football themed slot games at online casinos. Alderney Virgin Casino has set the ball rolling with the Ash Gaming title Sensible Soccer Euro Cup Slot. With the title it covers the Euro Cup, but the bonus game simulates the Champions League.

The setting in the Sensible Soccer Euro Cup Slot at Virgin Casino is what one has come to expect in any game of this genre. The background to the reels depicts a stadium. The thematic symbols include stadium, trophy, whistle, football, player and goalie. The uniqueness lies in that they are designed from Lego like bricks. The high value card symbols are like jersey numbers.

When the free spins round is triggered the player can choose one of the three modifiers. The Banker awards 15 free spins. The Fanatic awards 10 free spins. The Wobbler awards 20 free spins. Each modifier uses a different reel set and the one that offers more free spins will offer lower average payouts. During the free spins if the selected wild symbol appears anywhere on the reels then several symbols will be turned to wilds for that spin.

The Euro Cup bonus round can be triggered by three bonus symbols or the player can buy the bonus by paying 30 times the current total stake value selected. Buying the bonus gives the player a slightly higher chance of winning the progressive jackpot. The bonus game is a simulation of the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League. Players can play the bonus normally with highlights of goals and near misses or just see the scores of the games. The former method displays some stunning visuals of a simulated football game. The player selects his team from the 16 displayed and the further that team gets in the simulated cup competition then the more money he will win. Better teams are more likely to progress through the tournament but will pay out less as in any real betting scenario. If the chosen team wins a knock out round it will go through to the next. If the team loses then the player wins the bonus amount accumulated till then. Each knock out round is played over two legs just as in the actual league. For a Virgin Casino player to win the progressive jackpot his chosen team must score ten or more goals in one round, adding together the scores for the home and away leg.


Sir Richard Branson says FA Cup final kick off time should change to ease Liverpool FC travel chaos...

Virgin boss Richard Branson has asked the Football Association (FA) to rethink the timing of next month's FA Cup final, in the light of travel problems faced by Liverpool fans.

Major maintenance work means rail travel, of which Virgin is the main provider, is likely to be severely disrupted over the May public holiday weekend.

That means supporters traveling from the north-west to Wembley for a 5:15pm kick-off against Chelsea on May 5, and hoping to return on the same day, will be affected.

"We have a strong relationship with Liverpool Football club and twice recently have worked with them and Network Rail to bring many fans to Wembley," said Branson in a letter emailed to the Liverpool Echo.

"On this occasion we would ask the FA to look again at the timing of the game."

The FA did not respond to Branson's call for a rethink on the kick-off time but stressed they felt there would be enough coaches to ferry fans back and forth.

"In light of the disrupted rail service to London, The FA can confirm that National Express, a partner of Wembley Stadium, will provide dedicated services between Liverpool and Wembley for the FA Cup Final," said an FA spokesman.

"We went on record last year to state that the 2011-12 FA Cup final would have a later kick-off time while May 5 was announced almost 12 months ago to allow the Premier League to conclude in plenty of time for England to prepare for this summer's European Championships."

But with all but three of Virgin's Liverpool to London trains having been cancelled that day and the last return service leaving just after 8:00pm, some fans still face being stranded in the capital.

The matter was even discussed in Parliament on Thursday, with Transport Secretary Justine Greening telling the House of Commons, "The underlying problem that we are trying to solve is that the FA Cup starts later than it was originally planned to start."

Six lawmakers have signed an early day motion, calling on "all involved to take the action necessary to ensure disruption is minimised as much as possible."


Virgin Casino offering blackjack bonus...

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Olympic gold not on the cards for Virgin...

RICHARD Branson's Virgin Atlantic is not counting on the London Olympics delivering it a ''bonanza'' in demand for flights on the Australia-UK route as the games are likely to keep the British at home.

After passenger growth of 10 per cent on the route last year, the British airline expects a more moderate rise of 6 per cent in 2012 due to recession in European economies and competitive pressures.

Airlines including Qantas have struggled to stem losses on routes to Europe because of intense competition from Middle Eastern and Chinese airlines and high fuel prices.

Virgin Atlantic's chief commercial officer Julie Southern said the impact of the London Olympics on travel demand in late July and August would be ''net neutral''. While it would encourage an influx of tourists to the UK, she said the sporting event would lead to a reduction in the number of British travelling abroad. ''It is not a curse but is is not a bonanza either,'' she said. The airline is yet to see a trend emerge for Australians' interest in travelling to the Olympics.

Big events such as the Olympics tend to be a mixed blessing for airlines as they create operational headaches due to a surge in demand for travel in one direction. The soccer World Cup in South Africa two years ago failed to deliver Qantas the spike in passenger numbers it was expecting on flights between South Africa and Australia.

To ease its exposure to recession-hit Europe, Qantas will this month reduce flights on the route to London from five a day to three. The flights it drops from Hong Kong and Bangkok to London will be filled by Qantas' joint-venture partner, British Airways.

''It is tougher flying internationally, which is what we are seeing with BA and Qantas,'' Ms Southern said. While Australians flock overseas in record numbers - egged on by the high Australian dollar and cheap fares - she said it was ''more of a challenge'' to encourage the British to fly here because the weakness of the pound made Australia a more expensive destination.

Ms Southern said she was hopeful a code-share arrangement with Virgin Australia on flights between Australia and Hong Kong would boost demand.

The code-share deal does not include flights from Hong Kong to London because Virgin Australia has a strategic alliance with Etihad between Australia and Britain via Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

Virgin Atlantic flies daily between Sydney and London via Hong Kong. Sir Richard's Virgin Group has a 51 per cent stake in Virgin Atlantic. (Credit: Fairfax Media)


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