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June 2012 Archives

Celeb Scoop: James Maslow
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image003.pngBack in November 2009, IML interviewed some guy starring in some show that was about to premiere on Nickelodeon, about him and some other guys who sang together and had some funny adventures. It sounded cool, but we hadn't seen the show yet to know if it would be any good.

What we DID know was that the guy, James Maslow, was really smart, sweet, and insightful, sharing his experiences as a tween who was involved with both performing arts and sports. It was one of our favorite interviews ever, actually. Then, of course, "Big Time Rush" premiered and it was all kinds of awesome. It's been fun for us here at IML to watch BTR and James's career take off, and we were really excited to have the chance recently to catch up with him as he heads out on the Big Time Rush summer tour.

IML: Hey, James! It's been a while since we spoke to you, right before BTR hit the airwaves. If you had to describe the last 2 1/2 years in a single word, which word would you choose?

James: Fast-paced. There are so many other ways to describe it, from the experiences I've had to the work I've put in. Looking back on it now makes me feel old actually, because that time went by kind of quickly! Every new month and every new year almost feels like a beginning again. Looking back on the four years since I first got involved with BTR, I think, "How did we fit in so much?" and "Where did the time go?" It's been kind of crazy, however I don't regret anything. All these experiences are leading to bigger and better ones. It's pretty amazing.

IML: What's been the best part so far?

James: One of the best parts is getting to experience the world. Not the whole world of course, but we've been to quite a few places, to Canada and Europe and now at the end of this tour we're going to South America. By the end of this summer we will have been to every state in the U.S.! A lot of it is quick, it's in a tour bus or a car so you can't see everything. But it's more than most people get to experience, and not only do I get to go to these places but I get to make connections and meet the fans who live there and experience different cultures. I'm realizing how lucky I am to get to see so much.

IML: What's been one of the toughest things?

James: Transitioning from essentially being a kid and spending lots of time with my friends and family whenever I wanted, to working 6 or 7 days a week, usually nonstop. Even though it's absolutely amazing and it's what I love, it's still hard, not being home for months at a time. It's different and it takes a toll on you in certain ways, and you have to just focus on the trade-off. There are so many ups and you forget about the downs!

btrimage004.jpgIML: In that time, you guys have created a really good body of work out there, not just with the TV episodes but with the music. Do you have a favorite BTR song or one that's just had a special meaning for you?

James: Definitely the songs that I've written, and the songs that have done well, like "Elevate," because I created it. It's amazing to see the fans sing that. One of my favorites that I wrote is "Epic" that's only out in Europe. "No Idea" is my favorite song on the second album, because it's so passionate and lyrically it's so beautiful. On stage we're usually doing flips and dancing around but for this we just sit down and sing this song. The fans take a break and just listen to the lyrics, and it's beautiful. It's also closer to the things I love to do most and where I started from, playing piano and singing.

IML: Do you have a favorite recent episode or shooting experience?

James: Recently we filmed an episode with Rachel Crow and the guy who played Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Alfonso Ribeiro. We actually did a goof on that show, which was one of my favorite shows growing up. That was just one of those moments where I could look back on where I was four years ago and what I'm doing now and what I used to watch on TV...and now I'm creating that for a younger generation. It's pretty cool.

IML: Ten years ago, you were really involved in musical theatre at school and in your community, dreaming some pretty big dreams. Are you meeting kids who are in that place now? What advice do you give them?

James: I meet a lot of fans who are interested in being singers or actors or even producers. It's kind of fun now that I live in all those worlds. What it comes down to, in any kind of business, is this: if you love it, keep doing it. It sounds simple but I think a lot of people are discouraged, especially in this industry. As an actor, you're going to be told NO so many times and there are so many things you can't control, but if you continue to do it and continue to love it, that shows through. Eventually somebody's going to give you an opportunity. And if you do it for a long time, you're going to get better.

IML: It's been interesting to watch James Diamond evolve as a character. What would you like to see happen with him in the future?

James: I think this is already happening a little bit in the third season...he's not SO self-centered anymore. One nice thing about Big Time Rush is that everybody has their distinct personality on the show, but ultimately they still care about each other, they're still brothers who love one another and help each other out.

IML: You and the other guys are really like brothers at this point. Do you have nicknames for one another?

James: I started calling Kendall "K-Dog" for whatever reason, and now everyone calls him that. Carlos has always just been "Carlitos," which is a fun name that kind of sticks. We call Logan "Logane" or "Logi-Bear" if we're feeling especially affectionate. My nickname is...hmmm...James? I guess I'm not nicknameable yet.

IML: Have you been able to get involved with a cause you care about?

James: One thing I love is to do children's hospital visits. Recently, I noticed my dog Fox really brings the best out of people, so I'd like to train him to be a therapy dog when he's old enough and bring him around when I go. Then of course I'm really into educating kids about physical fitness. When there's some down time, I'll seek out the right organization to get involved with.

IML: Physical fitness has always been really important to you. How do you fit it in with such a crazy schedule?

James: I usually go on a run. I bring boxing gloves on the road so I can spar. You have to figure out what you enjoy. I enjoy running, especially in a new city, so when I'm on tour that's always a good option. I enjoy going to a gym when it's a new gym, new people and a new environment. When we were on Maui, we went hiking. Even if you have just half an hour, you can get a good workout. So I try to make it count no matter where I am.

IML: Thanks, James! It was so great to check in with you; you continue to be a great role model for young people and we wish you nothing but the best in the future!

James: Thank you!

We may have watched this video for "Elevate" more than once. You might too.

Beyond the Big Concert: "Apassionata" and other unique happenings this summer
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What's on your entertainment calendar for the summer? Got tickets to something huge and ultra-exciting? 'Tis the season for big concerts and this year should be no exception, with the Bieb going on tour as well as One Direction and Big Time Rush, plus lots of multi-artist festivals and state-fair headliners. However, look a little harder and you'll see there's more than music coming to your city this summer...happenings that might speak to your special interests, expose you to new things, and be the perfect outing for everyone in your family to share together. Want a For Instance? Here's a great one:

Apassionata_PianoDance1.jpg"Apassionata" is a live equestrian show that's finally arrived in North America after being a hit in Europe for nearly a decade. IML was lucky to have a chance to check this out recently when it came to the NYC area. If "live equestrian show" sounds vague and confusing to you, picture more than 40 horses of 13 different breeds -- everything from enormous Friesians to adorable little Shetland ponies -- and their riders performing tricks,Apassionata_Stunt3.jpg dances, and powerful displays of the bond between humans and these incredible animals. The music, screen projections, non-stop energy, and varying themes of each performance made this a truly theatrical event, but like nothing we'd ever seen before. There's something about these horses that really grabbed our hearts, and as we looked around at other audience members of all ages, it seemed like everyone else felt the same way. For more information about Apassionata, visit

We nosed around and found some other ideas for great, family-friendly events you might not have thought of:

Cirque du Soleil. These stunning shows combine acrobatics, dance, theatrics, and imaginative visuals -- definitely not your old-school circus. Many of the different Cirque du Soleil productions are on tour at the moment, such as "Michael Jackson: The Immortal," "Quidam," and "Totem." Check out the details at

"How To Train Your Dragon" Live. Based on the hit animated film from DreamWorks, this is bound to be way off the Coolness Scale. Gigantic animatronic dragons. Special effects. Stunts. Yeah, we'll be there!  

Theatre, theatre, and more theatre. Crack open your local paper and you're bound to see lots of great musicals on stage near you, performed by members of your community or a touring production, or even a youth theatre group. Take a chance and break out of your movie rut; chances are, these show tickets are not much more expensive than the multiplex.

Music, music, music. Well yeah, it's much more exciting to see a Gigantic Pop Star perform in the flesh. But there is so much live music being performed in the summer -- in your town park, at street festivals, during local fairs. It may not be anyone you've heard of, but could be equally as awesome (you could always say you "discovered" them before anyone else did) and best of all, most of these events are free.

One of our favorite things about summer is the chance to try new things and create memories...going out of the box for entertainment is a great way to do that! Remember that if tickets to something seem unaffordable, ask a parent to help you search the Internet for special coupons or deals.

We'll leave you with this video trailer from "Apassionata"!

Miyazaki Mania, Part 2
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A couple of years ago, we posted on the IML Blog about the DVD releases of four films by legendary animator Hayao Miyazaki. It was one of our most popular blog entries ever, because as it turns out, we weren't the only mega-fans out there! IML'ers write on our YSI boards about their favorite Miyazaki films, everything from "Spirited Away" to "Ponyo." With the never-ending barrage of animated flicks from Hollywood, some great and some awful, it was wonderful to see that these unique, beautiful, imaginative, and totally entertaining movies are still popular with tweens.

arrietty_secret-world-of-arrietty1.jpgRecently, Miyazaki's company, Studio Ghibli, along with Walt Disney Studios, released "The Secret World of Arrietty," a new take on the classic children's book "The Borrowers." Featuring the voices of Bridgit Mendler and David Henrie in a lovely tale of friendship between two very different young people, this film brought Miyazaki's trademark visuals and storytelling style to a new generation of viewers. Now, "The Secret World of Arrietty" is available on DVD and Blu-ray...and all we can say is, wow! What a perfect choice for family movie night, because your 3-year-old sister and 43-year-old mom will probably love it equally. Anyone curious about how animation will enjoy the storyboard version of the film in the bonus features, which also includes music videos for the movie's catchy songs.

Thumbnail image for castle.jpgLast time around, we reviewed "Castle In The Sky," and now this movie is also released on a DVD and Blu-ray combo pack. "Castle In The Sky" is an adventure-filled tale of courage, friendship, and two teens' search for a legendary floating castle named Laputa. Since this film is considered one of the most stunning art-wise of Miyazaki's films, it's great to see it getting the chance to be discovered by new fans.

whisper.jpgFinally, there's "Whisper of the Heart," a Miyazaki film we had not yet seen....even though it's totally perfect for IML'ers! In the story, Shizuku, a quiet schoolgirl, sets out to find her true talent in life. With the help of Seiji, a boy she dislikes at first but then comes to respect, and The Baron, a magical cat figurine, Shizuku learns to listen to the "whispers of her heart" and push her imagination to amazing new places. The DVD and Blu-ray combo pack features more goodies for animation buffs, with storyboards and segments on how certain scenes evolved.

We'll leave you with one of our favorite scenes from "The Secret World of Arrietty." It's fun to hear Disney Channel stars branching out like this!