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Drake Gears Up To Perform At San Manuel

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Inland Empire Gets a Big Dose of Chart-topping R&B Artist

Thursday, February 10, 2011, San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino welcomes rising rapper, R&B singer and chart topper Drake to the stage. Tickets on sale now, and available at Ticketmaster.com and the San Manuel Box Office for $70, $80 and $90.

Known initially for his role as Jimmy Brooks on Degrassi: The Next Generation, Canadian born Drake stepped out as a rapper and singer with pop appeal in 2006. His first major exposure as a singer was “Replacement Girl,” which featured up-and-comer Trey Songz that was featured on BET’s 106 & Park program as its “Joint of the Day.”

Supported by the likes of Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Lil Wayne, a songwriter since age 10, he began recording his first official album with Universal Motown Records in 2009. The debut album, “So Far Gone” peaked at number six on the U.S Billboard 200 chart, won a 2010 Juno Award for Rap Recording of the Year and was certified gold by the RIAA with over 500,000 copies sold in the United States. The album released the successful hit “Best I Ever Had,” which reached number two on the Billboard Top 100.

“Thank Me Later”, his next album released in 2010, provided the hit single “Over,” which hit #14 on the Top 100. The second single “Find Your Love” became his most successful single from the album, and peaked at number five on the Hot 100. The latest single, “Miss Me” featuring Lil Wayne, reached number 15.

“Thank Me Later” sold 447,000 copies in its first week and reached number one on the Billboard 200. Not only is Drake a successful singer and television actor, he has taken on roles in video games and hosting, including the first annual Ovo Festival, which featured a rap star list of Jay-Z, Eminem, Rick Ross, Young Jeezy, and many more.

The successful artist, who is also a philanthropist, was featured on K’Naan’s “Wavin Flag” song to help with Haiti relief efforts.

Every Thursday night with headliner entertainment, San Manuel gives away $1,000 just for seeing the show. To be eligible to win, guests only need a ticket to the show, a Club Serrano card and to be 21 or older. Guests can enter beginning at noon on such days. Three drawings will be held on those nights: $250 at 7:20 p.m., $250 at 10:00 p.m. and $500 at 11:00 p.m. Winners must be present.

NOTE: Doors open at 6:30. Must be 21 to enter Casino. Please gamble responsibly.

Russian National Ballet Presents the Magic of Cinderella

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The Russian National Ballet will present the classic rags-to- riches story of “Cinderella,” Jan. 30 at the California Theatre of the Performing Arts, 562 W. Fourth St.

The three-act ballet, about a young girl abused by her stepmother and stepsisters and whose dreams come true thanks to her Fairy Godmother, is known for its color and grace, as well as its deft comedic touches and beautiful choreography.

The 6 p.m. performance is a presentation by the City of San Bernardino Economic Development Agency. Tickets are $38.50-$77.50, www.ticketmaster.com, www.livenation.com, (909) 885-5152.

The Russian Ballet Theater version of “Cinderella” features sets and costumes by Elisaveta Dvorkina, music by Sergei Prokofiev, libretto by Nicolai Volkov, and choreography by Rostislav Zakharov.

Prokofiev’s “Cinderella” is considered one of his most popular compositions. It was written between 1940 and 1945, and first performed in November 1945 at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.

The Russian National Ballet, currently on a four-month tour of the United States, was founded in Moscow in the late 1980s.

The ballet company presents major Russian ballet works as well as great classics.

The dance company was first called the Soviet National Ballet, and it featured graduates from the great Russian choreographic schools of Moscow, St. Petersburg and Perm. The principal dancers came from the great ballet companies and academies of Russia, and the ballet companies of Riga, Kiev and Warsaw.

Today, the Russian Ballet Theater features more than 50 dancers, many of whom have been with the company since its founding. In 1994 the legendary Elena Radchenko, a former principal dancer at the Bolshoi, was selected to assume the first permanent artistic directorship of the troupe.

The dance company has performed to great acclaim for their performances throughout the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, France, Italy, and the United States. It also has performed in Istanbul, Athens, Hong Kong and Singapore.

WHAT: Presented by the Russian Ballet Theater
WHEN: 6 p.m. Jan. 30
WHERE: California Theatre of the Performing Arts, 562 W. Fourth St., San Bernardino.
ADMISSION: $38.50-$77.50
TICKETS: Available through www.ticketmaster.com, www.livenation.com or theater box office
ON THE WEB: www.californiatheatre.net

Oprah's OWN Wins Over Cynics But Many Fans Lost Out

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(Reuters) - Oprah Winfrey's bold gamble on her OWN TV network debuted to mostly positive reviews and encouraging audience numbers at the weekend, winning over some cynics with its feel-good tone.

But many stalwart Oprah fans expressed dismay that they could not receive the new OWN network without paying to upgrade their cable television packages -- money that several said they could not afford.

The OWN network, a joint venture between the influential talk show host and Discovery Communications that is aimed mostly at middle-aged women, made its debut on Saturday after three years of planning.

According to preliminary Nielsen figures, OWN was watched by an average one million Americans in prime time on Saturday, and was the third biggest ad-supported cable network with women aged 25-54.

Daytime talk show "The Oprah Winfrey Show", on free-to-air ABC, attracts about six million U.S. viewers daily. Winfrey, 56, will end the show in the fall of 2011 to focus on OWN.

Initial OWN programing included a behind-the-scenes show about the making of the last season of "The Oprah Winfrey Show", lifestyle advice from the likes of Dr. Phil MGraw and Suze Orman, and the first of a series of in-depth interviews with celebrities including record producer Jay-Z and journalist Diane Sawyer.

New York Times reviewer Alessandra Stanley called the channel a "no cynicism zone" which had "not a snicker of malice or a hint of raillery." Caryn James at Indiewire noted that beneath the "huge amount of lifestyle fluff" there was "a surprising layer of substance."

Media blogger Dan Abrams, a former general manager at cable news channel MSNBC, said his skepticism over whether OWN could create a clear identity in a crowded market had been overcome.

OWN's mission of self-discovery and celebration of one's own "best self" has impeccable timing, Abrams said.

"Weary Americans have grown fatigued with the national sports of bickering and finger pointing. Many are now seeking out a safe place on television far removed from the partisan hectoring, staged altercations and alcohol-induced 'hook-ups' that have come to dominate the airwaves," Abrams wrote in a column for his Mediaite.com website.

Matt Zoller Seitz at Salon.com said he was won over, to his surprise. "We won't just watch OWN; we will gaze upon it with awe and affection and marvel at the sweet magnificence of its founder," he said.

OWN is available in some 80 million homes, or 67 percent of U.S. households, on the channel that used to be occupied by Discovery Health. But many of Winfrey's millions of loyal fans were upset to find they could not access OWN without forking over hundreds of dollars extra to cable TV providers.

"I just cannot tell you how disillusioned (Oprah said "watch, watch, watch my new network") & disappointed. Oprah, did I miss the show that told us your new network was gonna cost us (the viewer) $$$$." wrote joeyskc on the OWN message boards on Monday.

A fan in New Orleans congratulated Winfrey on the new venture, but was concerned that "many people in our area will not be able to watch" the pay-to-view OWN channel. "We love you and will miss you," added Chey925.

(Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

Jackson Doctor Defense May Say Singer Killed Self

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(Reuters) - Lawyers for the doctor charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson could claim the pop star killed himself when a hearing begins next week, a prosecutor said on Wednesday.

In a court session to discuss evidence in the case against Dr. Conrad Murray, Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney David Walgren said he believes it is clear defense attorneys are looking into that theory, which has long been a consideration.

Outside the courtroom, Murray's attorney J. Michael Flanagan declined to comment on Walgren's statement.

"I'm not going to respond to that characterization. But apparently it is a consideration of Mr. Walgren," Flanagan told reporters.

Walgren spoke at a hearing in which a judge cleared the way for Murray's defense to test residue from syringes and an IV tube used to administer drugs to Jackson.

The "Thriller" singer died at age 50 on June 25, 2009, of an overdose of prescription drugs, primarily the powerful anesthetic propofol which can be used in surgery. Other drugs in Jackson's system included lorazepam, known under the brand names Ativan and Temesta, and diazepam, the generic version of Valium.

Murray, hired as Jackson's physician while the singer prepared for a series of concerts that would have begun in July 2009, has admitted giving Jackson propofol to help him sleep. But Murray has pleaded not guilty to the charge of involuntary manslaughter.

The court session on the syringe testing came only days before a January 4 start date for a preliminary hearing in which a judge will decide if there is enough evidence against Murray to proceed to a full trial.

Representatives for the prosecution and defense told Reuters they expect the preliminary hearing to begin as planned and take roughly two weeks to complete.

(Editing by Xavier Briand)

Jennifer Hudson 'Feeling Good' About Weight Loss

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(Reuters) - She won't say how much weight she lost, but singer/actress Jennifer Hudson will say that in the nine months she's been a spokeswoman for Weight Watchers, she has never felt better.

Hudson is even singing about it in a new tune, "Feeling Good," which is part of an ad campaign the dieting firm is launching on December 26 to coincide with its new nutritional PointsPlus program.

Weight Watchers said roughly 11 percent of its annual attendance at meetings takes place in January, as Americans look to atone for their holiday-related binges.

"Basically (the song) is the perfect way to describe this journey and how it's left me feeling," Hudson told Reuters. "If I could bottle everything inside me and tell others to help motivate them, then this is it."

Hudson and her gospel-grounded voice found their place on Hollywood's starmaking menu in 2004 when she was a finalist on "American Idol," and further when she won an Oscar for her supporting role in the 2006 musical "Dreamgirls." But in an industry obsessed with skinny women, Hudson has been challenged by her big size.

In April, Hudson announced she would become the new spokeswoman for Weight Watchers. It was about seven months after the birth of her son, David Jr., and at that time she had already lost some weight. By August, she told InStyle Makeover magazine she'd dropped to a size 6 from a size 16.

The company's marketing chief, Cheryl Callan, called Hudson a great spokeswoman because people identify with her as a real woman who struggles with weight and eating issues, yet has found success in Hollywood.

Hudson blogs about her diet on Weight Watchers' website, and she said that building a network of friends and a community of followers among the diet community gives her as much pleasure as losing weight has.

"That goes back to why I did the song," Hudson said. "I know so many people out there who are on the same path. Anything I can do to help them along, that motivates me, and inspires me."

Yet, Hudson said she is still grappling with knowing herself in her thinner frame. She said she still feels like the same woman, but is aware that people now view her differently.

"It's almost like there is a new person, but there is still the question of how do I want to represent myself, how do I want to be perceived," she said.

She knows one thing, however, she is sticking to Weight Watchers in the new year. She has embraced its new PointsPlus program, which does away with calorie counting and assigns points to foods based on their overall nutritional value.

The new program favors foods that more easily convert to energy that is used, create a sense of satisfaction and encourage the consumption of natural foods versus those with added sugar and fat.

"It's one thing to lose weight," said Hudson, "but it's another thing to eat healthy."

(Reporting by Bob Tourtellotte; Editing by Dean Goodman)

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BVN National News Wire