October 29th, 2009
10:46 PM ET

Taylor Mitchell's mother thanks the public for their support

The mother of Taylor Mitchell, the Canadian folksinger who was killed by coyotes while hiking at a national park in Nova Scotia, wants the public to know their condolences and support are very much appreciated. Emily Mitchell has just released the following statement:

"On behalf of my family, I want to express my deepest thanks for the outpouring of condolences and support from Taylor's friends and fans, near and far. My thanks to the hikers who called 911, the RCMP officer who first arrived on the scene and did his utmost to help her, as well as the incredible doctors and nurses at Queen Elizabeth II Hospital in Halifax who tried desperately to save her. I wish to also thank RCMP's Victims Services, and the Atlantica Hotel who've gone out of their way to support us during this difficult time.

There are no words to describe my grief. Taylor was my shining light, my baby, my confidante and best friend. My world is turned upside down and forever transformed without her. I don't know how to move forward from here but I know that she would want that for me and I will try to do that in her memory and celebrate her life in the way she lived it– with passion,
commitment and an unbridled loving heart.

I've noticed that the media have often mentioned that Taylor was hiking alone when the coyote attack occurred. I want people to know that Taylor was a seasoned naturalist and well versed in wilderness camping. She loved the woods and had a deep affinity for their beauty and serenity. Tragically it was her time to be taken from us so soon.

We take a calculated risk when spending time in nature's fold– it's the wildlife's terrain. When the decision had been made to kill the pack of coyotes, I clearly heard Taylor's voice say, "please don't, this is their space". She wouldn't have wanted their demise, especially as a result of her own. She was passionate about animals, was an environmentalist, and was
also planning to volunteer at the Toronto Wildlife Centre in the coming months.

Her loss is an incomprehensible tragedy on so many levels– but everybody's messages of love and support and desire to keep her memory and music alive will help me to move forward and honour her short but full and vibrant life.

There will be a service and visitation, as well as a concert to celebrate her life and music.

Details will be finalized in the coming days.

With love and deep appreciation,

Emily Mitchell"

What are your memories of Taylor Mitchell?

Filed under: Music
October 29th, 2009
08:18 PM ET

Tom Hanks is rocking tonight

Tom Hanks is pumped! He's producing the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame concert at Madison Square Garden tonight. While backstage, he offered up more of the  "Bachelor Party" Tom than Academy Award winner Tom, jokingly calling the press "jaded sons of a b-tch" and making reference to a movie title that I cannot repeat on a family blog.

He struck a more serious note when talking about the line-up which includes Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Crosby Stills and Nash, Bonnie Raitt, and Sting to name just a few. The concert is being filmed for a HBO special that will air Thanksgiving weekend. "I just did it for the all access pass," he joked. "I'm a fan, but I don't know what to say to these guys," he admitted.

The funniest moment of his quick press conference came when a reporter asked him about his favorite song of the year. He had to think about it for a second, but after his wife Rita Wilson helped him he said "ohhh Beyonce."  He couldn't remember the title, so he started flapping his hand and singing "Da da da da duh da da da" until someone helped him out by shouting "Put a Ring on It?" That was it, "and Kanye West had nothing to do with me picking that song," he concluded.

October 29th, 2009
12:45 PM ET

Team Selena Gomez 'finds the good'

Disney star Selena Gomez is proof positive that age is nothing but a number when it comes to philanthropy.

The 17-year-old actress and singer is the youngest ambassador the family-focused non-profit UNICEF has ever had. Gomez is following up a her week-long September trip to Ghana with a Halloween-themed fundraising drive to help kids around the world get the everyday basics we can easily take for granted – things like clean water, food and education.

The “Wizards of Waverly Place” actress raised $700,000 last October for the UNICEF fundraiser, but this year she’s aiming to reach a $1 million goal. If you’re heading out for trick-or-treating on All Hallows’ eve, you can help Gomez raise some funds by taking along a UNICEF trick-or-treat collection box, or head to her UNICEF site to join her team and offer a donation.

The top three fundraisers will get an autographed picture, a UNICEF certificate of appreciation and a personal phone call from Gomez herself.

Be sure to check out Gomez pushing for good on her live stream today at 4 p.m. PST.

October 29th, 2009
12:39 AM ET

Five rising Asian-American stars to watch

"I think that most people who know me know that I'm pretty reasonable, chill... and a not so angry a guy." That sounds funny coming from a guy who calls his blog angryasianman.com. "I adopted the name Angry Asian Man for the website because it's very provocative, and it's very in your face," he says.

And although he writes with anger when Hollywood stereotypes Asian-Americans, he also writes with joy about the up-and-coming entertainers from that community who could breakthrough to big time success someday. We asked him to pick five who may do just that.

If they do, remember, you heard it here first!

1. Far East Movement "I can't stop listening to the single, "Girls On The Dance Floor" by FarEast Movement, otherwise known as FM. It's just the greatest, coolest dance track and everytime it's on, I just turn it up. So, FarEast Movement are definitely guys to watch in hip hop."

2. David Choi "A guy I really like is a guy named David Choi on YouTube who is just creating really fun, creative, quirky songs. It's funny because he started off as a songwriter and he hasn't really done much live performing and now that his music is sort of taking off and he's gotten fans through YouTube, he's become much more of like a legit musician, playing, and actual shows and stuff like that."

3. Brenda Song "For the Disney generation, there's certainly Brenda Song, who started on the show "The Suite Life of Zach and Cody." I think in a place like Disney, which has such a huge impact on popular culture, especially among the younger generation that's just coming up, someone like Brenda Song, who is just being a really cute, funny, and engaging actress in TV shows and movies is going to really show that Asian Americans have a a place in mainstream media and kids are going to be able to see "Oh, look, there's a really appealing, normal Asian-American person on TV."

4. Aaron Yoo "I really like an actor named Aaron Yoo. He was in 'Friday the 13th,' 'Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist' and a bunch of other stuff. He's just like a regular dude, who's in these, smaller roles up 'til now, but I think audiences really like him. He was in the movie 'Disturbia', which opened a couple years ago at number one at the box office. But I remember the week after that movie came out, I got all these hits on my website from people searching for Aaron Yoo, and people wanting to know who this guy was and what he was all about and searching for photos of him. I think he's definitely a guy to watch in Hollywood."

5. Wong Fu Productions [The trio of 20-something film-makers creates short movies that have developed a sizable cult following on YouTube.] "The really cool thing about their story is they are just friends who started making videos for fun, and then it caught on. I think a lot of people see themselves reflected in the Wong Fu guys. You know, it's like, 'Hey! these guys are just having fun and doing their thing" and so, I think it really relates to that young, energetic, hip sensibility where they're having fun and they're showing everybody what they're doing."

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