Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Hilary Duff proves to be the anti-Lindsay Lohan

Watching Hilary Duff sing - or, perhaps at times, pretend to sing - in front of a meager crowd of 3,523 Thursday night at the Target Center, one couldn't help but think: "Lindsay Lohan, this could have been your life."

After all, both Duff and Lohan shot to fame thanks to the relentless Disney machine - the former through the "Lizzie McGuire" TV show, the latter via the "The Parent Trap" big-screen remake. And both have pursued music in addition to acting, with Lohan releasing two discs to Duff's three.

But where Lohan is busy pleading no contest to drug and DUI charges, Duff seems to be running out the clock on her tween-pop career. As canny as Disney may be at launching careers, said careers tend to have as much longevity as a training bra. To wit, Miley "Hannah Montana" Cyrus is the flavor of this month, and her Oct. 21 gig in the same Minneapolis venue will likely attract a crowd three or four times larger than Duff's.

Duff is out in support of her latest album, "Dignity," which sees her chasing a more grown-up dance floor sound, similar to the stuff Kylie Minogue was doing back in her post-"I Should Be So Lucky" days. And some of it is pretty terrific, at least considering the source.

"Danger" props Duff up with a sexy, throbbing beat that nearly lives up to the song's title, while "Dignity" takes aim at vacuous celebutants including, one assumes, Nicole Richie, who is now pregnant with the child of Duff's ex, Joel Madden. Parents in the house surely appreciated the cover of Pat Benatar's "Love Is a Battlefield" (complete with the original video's absurd dance routines) and Duff's remade/remodeled take on Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus" (now dubbed "Reach Out and Touch Me").

Unfortunately, the sleeker and darker new material doesn't exactly mesh well with Duff's bright-eyed, star-making tween hits ("Beat of My Heart," "Why Not"), which gave the briskly paced 95-minute show plenty of unexpected mood swings, even when she was occasionally able to bridge the two eras, like in the endearingly campy "Never Stop."

While she may not be the strongest singer - a significant portion of her vocals sounded pre-recorded - Duff proved to be a bubbly, likable presence on stage, giving the night far more of an actual concert feel than, say, that awful Cheetah Girls show last year at the X. And while the crowd was modest in size, it was monstrous in enthusiasm, adorably chanting "Hil-a-ry, Hil-a-ry" and doing the wave while waiting for the show to start. Duff not only returned that love, she actually pushed her audience, ever so gently, into new territory. And that's far more than La Lohan can say, right?

Pop Music Critic Ross Raihala can be reached at rraihala@pioneerpress.com or 651-228-5553. Read more about the local music scene on his blog, "The Ross Who Knew Too Much," at blogs.twincities.com/ross.

PS: ROSS Raihala is not related to Hilary Duff Encyclopedia.
Courtesy: twincities.com

Hilary Duff helps collect food, Harvest program marks 20 years

By Sara Cunningham

The Courier-Journal

Stan Curtis was on his way to a meeting this morning when a man stopped him on the street and asked for a meal.

“So I took him into the Hyatt,” Curtis said.

The act was not unusual for Curtis. Finding a way to feed those without food has been his passion for two decades.

The Louisville resident founded Kentucky Harvest in 1987. It grew into the international food-sharing program U.S.A. Harvest.

More than 200 people, including actress and singer Hilary Duff and other celebrities, celebrated his vision today over lunch at St. Vincent DePaul’s Open Hand Kitchen on Jackson Street.

“Good things happen because good people stand up and make them happen,” Metro Mayor Jerry Abramson said.

U.S.A. Harvest, in conjunction with Kentucky Harvest, has been able to provide more than 13 billion pounds of food to more than 5,400 agencies in more than 130 cities in the United States and in other countries, according to its Web site.

It collects food and distributes it to shelters, food banks and other charities that feed people.

Duff joined the cause after she and Curtis met several years ago while they were working to distribute food in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, he said. And before a performance at the Louisville Palace last night, she met with 186 fans who had collected 1,000 cans of food for U.S.A. Harvest — enough to provide 500,000 meals, organizers said.

“I touched her leg, I touched her leg,” squealed one of them, Mackenzie Stovall, 10, of Louisville, to no one in particular after meeting Duff.

Mackenzie spent more than three weeks collecting the cans but said it was worth it to get a chance to be near Duff. “It was awesome,” she said, holding her hand up for a reporter to see. “I may not wash it at least for a couple of days.”

For others, meeting Duff was an opportunity to do more than just touch a celebrity.
Earlier in the day, Remington Maxwell, a teenager from Jeffersonville, Ind., managed to slip Duff a CD from Remington’s band, the Hightops. By the time she met Duff later at the Palace, the singer remembered the band and had already listened to the music. “She said she liked it,” Remington said. “Hopefully she’ll give it to people who’ll make us rich.”

Duff said the CD was “cute.” She laughed politely and said “That’s funny” when asked if she would pass it on to record producers.

Earlier, at the lunch, Curtis said of Duff that “any father in the world would be proud to have her as a daughter.”

Duff, near tears, called the other people in the room — most of them program volunteers or donors — “inspirations.”

“I’m overwhelmed to be in a room of so many accomplished adults,” she said, adding that she got involved with program because her mother raised her to “stand for something.”

At the luncheon, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-3rd District, told the crowd that Louisville has many food-oriented things to be proud of, including the hot brown, but “there’s nothing that can give this community more pride than to say we originated the Harvest concept.”

For his part, Curtis said very little about what he had done and instead told stories about others in the group who had helped make his plan a success. He said he hopes to go out of business every day because that would mean there was no longer a need for what he does. Until that happens, he’ll just keep “food-raising,” he said.

“We’re doing the right thing,” he said. “Become more determined, become more dedicated. Let’s be stronger together.”

Reporter Jason Riley contributed to this story.
Reporter Sara Cunningham can be reached at (502) 582-4335, and the reporters do not belong to Hilary Duff Encyclopedia.

Courtesy: courier-journal.com