Queen and Adam Lambert rock festival urging foreign aid

Adam Lambert, left, and Brian May of Queen perform onstage at the 2019 Global Citizen Festival at Central Park in New York on Saturday September 28, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 29 September 2019

Queen and Adam Lambert rock festival urging foreign aid

  • An estimated 60,000 people crowded in the iconic Manhattan green space for the Global Citizen Festival

NEW YORK: The legendary band Queen and glam frontman Adam Lambert led a packed Central Park on Saturday in mobilizing world governments to pledge international aid to eradicate extreme poverty and tackle climate change.
An estimated 60,000 people crowded in the iconic Manhattan green space for the Global Citizen Festival, an unofficial exclamation point to the United Nations General Assembly which distributes free tickets to people who have worked toward the greater social good.
Entertainment mogul Pharrell Williams, soulful pianist Alicia Keys, R&B prodigy H.E.R., pop band OneRepublic, K-pop boy band NCT 127 and singer-songwriter Carole King also played the festival.
Now in its eighth year at Central Park, the day of concerts saw fans young and old sway to classic Queen hits like “We Are The Champions,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and “We Will Rock You.”
Frontman Adam Lambert, who has toured with the band for some eight years, led the charge as veteran Roger Taylor helmed the drums as guitarist Brian May delivered his signature anthemic guitar solos.
The flamboyant Lambert went through a series of dramatic costume changes, finishing the show wearing a crown and a bright red military-esque uniform, as May dropped his long trench coat to reveal a t-shirt featuring the image of Queen’s original lead singer Freddie Mercury, who died in 1991.
Like many of the other performers, Lambert used the moment to urge environmental protections.
“We’re asking fans to take action to ask certain governments around the world... to take part in helping take care of our oceans,” Lambert said. “Fish and wildlife in the ocean are literally gagging on pieces of plastic and it’s killing them.”
A day prior the former “American Idol” contestant had said he was thrilled to participate.
“I love that they’re encouraging people to push the more wealthy world governments into backing these initiatives with real funding so that the real change can happen,” he said. “They’re getting people involved on a task level, so it’s actually educating all of our audience members.”
“It’s a really brilliant set-up.”
Prior to the Queen performance, Hollywood A-lister Leonardo DiCaprio made a surprise appearance to praise youth activists, including the Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, who have taken to the streets and addressed world leaders in leading a global climate movement.
“Millions of individuals did more than simply walk out of their schools and places of employment. They took a stand,” DiCaprio said. “They set an example of true leadership that our planet so desperately needs.”
“These young people have said clearly, definitively and without fear, that the time for inaction is over.”
The Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne, unveiled a new path for the island nation to tackle plastic waste and design alternative materials, as Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg increased contributions to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to $228 million by 2023.
Germany meanwhile pledged $11.1 million to the “Education Cannot Wait” fund, aimed at assisting children living in conflict and crisis zones, as Switzerland vowed $6 million to it.
Earlier this week Global Citizen announced a year-long campaign pushing world governments to get “back on track” with the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, an effort that will culminate with a 10-hour worldwide broadcast that will span five continents.
The event will feature a Central Park concert along with one in Lagos, Nigeria and in not-yet-announced cities in Latin America, Europe and Asia.
A laundry list of artists including teenage phenom Billie Eilish, funk futurist Janelle Monae, R&B superstar Usher and heavy metal band Metallica have already pledged to perform.
“This really is the most important 10 years for the movement to eradicate extreme poverty and tackle climate change,” said Hugh Evans, the founder and CEO of Global Citizen.
During Keys’ rousing performance that featured her own hits as well as a smashing duet with H.E.R. of Aerosmith’s “Dream On,” the New Yorker praised the crowd for its activism and encouraged future efforts.
“We believe in love,” Keys said to cheers. “We believe in change.”
“We believe in greatness.”


Film review: ‘Parkour(s)’ takes obstacle course through class conflict

The sport of parkour forms the backdrop of this Algerian film. Supplied
Updated 08 December 2019

Film review: ‘Parkour(s)’ takes obstacle course through class conflict

  • Fatma Zohra Zamoum’s “Parkour(s)” is set in a small city in Algeria
  • It screened at the recent Cairo International Film Festival

CHENNAI: The fast-paced sport of parkour — or negotiating obstacles in an urban environment by running, jumping and climbing — forms the backdrop of this Algerian film.

Fatma Zohra Zamoum’s “Parkour(s)” is set in a small city in Algeria, and it seems that the director has used the title to convey the kind of histrionics her characters indulge in. Take, for instance, Youcef (Nazim Halladja) — a sportsman playing parkour — literally cartwheeling through the urban landscape. His reckless antics also include threatening people with a gun and pleading with would-be bride Kamila (Adila Bendimered) to ditch her future husband, Khaled, (Mohamed Bounoughaz). 

The movie, which screened at the recent Cairo International Film Festival, unfolds during a day and takes us to the wedding and the assorted group of men and women gathered there. As we see these people making their way toward the occasion, we get to see that they are all motivated by different pulls and pressures.

The film unfolds during a day and takes us to a wedding and the assorted group of men and women gathered there. Supplied

Youcef is there to try to persuade Kamila from walking up the aisle. The kitchen help is set to make an extra buck. However, other characters have not been written with much conviction.

Zamoun says in a note: “The multi-character drama shows how a normal situation turns into major clashes reflecting the conflict between classes, ideas and generations in Algerian society, whose youth try to take control of their lives. But they are surrounded by those who try to handcuff them.” 

The movie is not convincing on this count. For example, how is the bride — who willingly prepares for the wedding (that was my impression, anyway) — “handcuffed?” The same can be said for other characters we encounter.

What comes across loud and clear, however, is the class difference. No clarity is lost when Khaled gives money to Youcef to buy a “decent” suit for the wedding and he is offended by Khaled’s arrogance. Youcef makes no bones about this to his friend — and perhaps he is taking his revenge when he tries to sow discord among his fellow characters. Also worthy of note is the performance by the young daughter of the kitchen help, Nedjma (Lali Mansour), who gives one of the most moving and natural sequences in “Parkour(s).”

The cinematography is nothing to rave about and Youcef’s parkour antics are rather intrusive and add little to the narrative.