Stardust is Thomas Bangalter (also from Daft Punk), Alan Quéme and Benjamin Cohen (who's voice graces Music Sounds Better With You). They released several singles in 1998 and 1999 such as Music Sounds Better With You and Groovy 69.

They do dance music and have, surprisingly enough, a sound very similar to Daft Punk and Cassius.

Their record label is Virgin Records.

A legendary hotel/casino, located on the Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas, NV. It opened in 1958. There are about 1,500 rooms.

The 'dust has not kowtowed to the new "family theme" of Las Vegas, preferring to keep adult themed gambling as its primary focus. The Race & Sports Book at the 'dust is one of the most famous sports betting facilities.

Trivia: Lord Brawl's about even gambling at the Stardust - down maybe $25 to 50 US at most.
Stardust is also the name of a space probe. Here's the lowdown...

Status: Operational

Launch Date: February 7, 1999

Mission Summary: Stardust is the first sample return mission operating from beyond the Earth-Moon system. Stardust collects interstellar dust, then will encounter Comet P/Wild 2 in 2004 to collect comet dust and possibly take images of the nucleus. It will then return to Earth in 2006 to drop off the sample return capsule.

Samples will be collected with aerogel, which is a type of foamed glass which is almost lighter than air and is barely visible. Particles will burrow into the aerogel, making conical pits which will make them easy to locate in the aerogel.

From these collections, scientists hope to learn about the material which made up the early solar system. Most comets were formed in the very early days of the solar system and remain mostly unchanged because they spend much of their time in the Kuiper Belt, a relative deep-freeze compared to space inside the solar system.

Back to Space Program Metanode

As a part of a public outreach effort, NASA solicited names from the public to engrave on a duplicate pair of microchips used by the Stardust probe. Due to the volume of postcards, web and email submissions, a second pair of chips was engraved as well - the first chip pair contains over 136,000 names (including the full list of soldiers' names from the Vietnam War Memorial), the second pair is engraved with over one million names.

One of each chip was placed in the Sample Return Capsule, which will return to Earth in 2006, the second copy of each will remain in space.

I'm noding this because my name is out there, 'Muegge', on the 1 million name chip - engraved in letters so small that 80 of them could fit in the width of a human hair.


A full list of the names on the chips can be found at http://stardust.jpl.nasa.gov/microchip/index.html.
An elaboration on Sirius's w/u above

Stardust is, at least in two incarnations, a comic book written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Charles Vess. The book was originally released in serial form as four comics in 1998. It deviated from standard comic form -- more accurately, it was an illustrated novel. The presentation was that of prose text supplemented by Vess' art rather than a series of illustrated panels. It was later collected into a hardbound edition along with bonus concept sketches by Vess. Gaiman later released a novelization of the story, filling in some of the gaps that were left by the loss of the art, and adding more detail in other places.

The story tells first of Dunstan Thorn of the town of Wall, and of his dalliance with one of the Fairie. The main part of the story concerns several quests to recover a fallen star.

Dunstan's son Tristran takes up the quest to prove his love for a local girl. The witch-queen Lilim seeks the star to regain her lost youth. The Lords of Stormhold seek the star to determine who will be the successor to their recently deceased father.

Addendum: in 1998, Vess' wife was in a car accident. Several artists joined together and in 1999, released "A Fall Of Stardust", a collection of their interpretations of Gaiman's world of Wall and Faerie, as a benefit to raise money for her recovery.

Title: Stardust: Being a Romance Within the Realms of Faerie
Author: Neil Gaiman

Publication Information
    In-Print Editions
  1. Paperback
    June 2001 (272pp.)
    Publisher: Harper Perennial; ISBN: 0060934719
  2. Hardcover
    February 1999 (256pp.)
    Publisher: Avon Books (Trd); ISBN: 0380977281
  3. E-Book
    July 2001 (354kb./352pp.)
    Publisher: PerfectBound; ISBN: B00005N5HV
  4. Hardcover (LARGEPRINT)
    June 2001 (page count N/A)
    Publisher: Thorndike Pr (Largeprint); ISBN: 0786233575
  5. Paperback (GRAPHICAL NOVEL)
    July 1999 (224pp.)
    Publisher: DC Comics; ISBN: 156389470X
      Some notes about the graphical novel version of Stardust:
    • I have seen two different covers for the paperback version of Stardust. Due to inconsistant information from Amazon.com and bn.com (Barnes and Nobles' website), however, I am listing only one set of information. I'm not sure which website is confused.
    • It is illustrated by Charles Vess.
    Out of Print Editions
  1. Paperback
    Date N/A (page count N/A)
    Publisher: Spike; ISBN: 0380804557
  2. Hardcover (GRAPHICAL NOVEL)
    October 1999 (224pp.)
    Publisher: DC Comics; ISBN: 1563894319
(Publication info accurate as of July 01, 2002 and as well as one may trust Amazon.com and bn.com)

Some Misc. Editorial Reviews
"Eminently readable---a charming piece of work." -Washington Post Book World

"A charming comic romance...Gaiman is a storytelling titan whose range, like his imagination, knows no bounds." -Dayton Daily News

"Marvelous...a tumble of adventures...as comfortable and familiar as a mug of hot cider on a blustery winter night." -Cleveland Plain Dealer

"His finest work yet...Sometimes sparse, sometimes witty, often lyrical...prose as smooth as 12-year-old scotch." -St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Plot Summary
Tristran Thorn lives in a town called Wall. Wall is called Wall because there is a rather lengthy wall running the entire length of the town's eastern border. There is a break in this wall. This break is guarded day and night by two guards. Tristran finds his way past these two guards. He walks over the meadow just beyond the wall, and makes his way into the realms of Faerie. Tristran is searching for a fallen star, which he must find for Victoria Foster, that he may marry her. Little does he know his quest will be hardened by an ancient witch in search of youth, murderous brothers in search of royal inheritance, an evil little woman who sells impossible glass figures, and the star herself.
Not just an illustrated novel by Neil Gaiman, also a 2007 movie.

Runtime: 127 minutes Director: Matthew Vaughn

Quite a good movie too. IMDB rates it at 8.0/10, while Rotten Tomatoes gives it 76 percent fresh.

I missed this at the cinema, but caught it on DVD over the weekend.

It's a grown-up fairy tale, with witches, pirates, ghosts and all kinds of other things that seem nowadays to define the fantasy genre. I have not read Gaiman's book, but the web seems to think it is a faithful interpretation.

Wuukiee says: "It is not a 100 percent transcription of the book—it cuts some pieces and makes other larger—but it is a wonderful movie and does an excellent job of capturing the spirit and mood of the book."

Despite being quite a good movie, it won the Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for most overlooked movie of 2007.

It's funny, if you like that kind of thing. In this context, That kind of thing means The Princess Bride. It pokes fun at itself, and breaks stereotypes, but manages at the same time to maintain a proper fairy tale story. I found it funnier, more moving and more entertaining than the Princess Bride.

The proper fairy tale story has a beautiful but innocent female lead falling to earth. It has a hero in the form of a humble, but honest-and-true shop-boy. It has four witches who want to cut out the girl's heart, and it has multiple princes who want to take the jewel she bears from around her neck, as proof that they are the next king of the magical world.

Even if it's a long time since you read any fairy stories, it's not difficult to guess how it all turns out.

No prizes if you guessed that the witches manage to cut out the girl's heart, while the shop boy goes back to the worthless bimbo who ordered him to find the fallen star and the ruthless prince becomes the new king.

So I'm not going to worry about about spoilers, you can all predict the plotline.

The story is in the telling. And in the gags. And in the acting.

First, the acting. It's good. Not that you would expect any different with the stellar cast. Somehow this one slipped through the mass media interest, but Robert de Niro, Sienna Miller, Michelle Pfeiffer, Claire Danes, Peter O'Toole, and Ian McKellen have big parts in it. There are bit-parts from David Walliams, Ricky Gervais, and a string of other big names in comedy and in acting.

The story started life as an illustrated novel by Neil Gaiman, while the director was Matthew Vaughn who also did Layer cake, and was producer and actor in Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels. With that team behind it, someone would have to make a lot of mistakes before it went bad. It did not go bad.

The cast

I guess, like most other reviewers I have to start with Pfeiffer. She plays the witch-queen Lamia (Lilim in the book). In this mythology, anyone who possesses the heart of a fallen star becomes immortal. The last star fell to earth a long time ago. Centuries ago, Lamia and her two sisters found that star (who arrives on earth as an innocent young woman) and cut out her heart. The heart is in the form of a jewel, which restores their magical power and brings youth and energy. But that old star is now growing weak.

Pfeiffer starts the movie as an old crone, but upon learning that a new star has fallen, she eats the last of the old star, and is immediately transformed into a beautiful (if naked) young woman, and flirts outrageously with the camera in her new-found beauty.

As Lamia performs magic, she consumes more of the magical power, and consequently ages in discrete stages. Many of us baby-boomers — especially women — who might see this movie are ourselves ageing steadily. To us, Lamia's step-wise ageing offers a constant source of black humour.

Look out for the moment she tries to give herself a magical facelift. A tiny, brief moment, but wickedly funny in an all-too-true sort of way.

Lamia, then is on a quest to recover the fallen star. She has a knife and is prepared to use it to cut out the girl's heart. Lamia is, of course, the chief baddie in this magical caper through fairy-land. She does it well. She cackles and casts spells and transmutes people into animals and vice versa.

If I have to criticise her, it is to say she lacks the edge of menace that some other actresses have brought to the role of chief female baddie. My guess is that this was a deliberate decision by the director, in order to get the family-friendly PG-rating.

Pfeiffer's previous role was as the wicked Velma Von Tussle in Hairspray – the musical version, and she seemed to enjoy romping around, being more evil than Debbie Harry who took that role in the original Hairspray movie. I guess it must be hard, for such a beautiful woman, to get the credits for acting skills. Certainly in this movie, Pfeiffer did not have to rely on her looks to get the plaudits. She even seems to enjoy the steady stream of jokes at the expense of her own fading movie-beauty.

Robert de Niro plays the pirate Captain Shakespeare. Again, he's rather fun, and there are plenty of jokes directed at fairy tale stereotypes. De Niro plays the unconventional captain with enthusiasm, moving from harsh and violent in front of his blood-thirsty pirate crew to tender and romantic in the privacy of his cabin. As one of the best actors alive today, he makes all the transitions look easy, and has no problem convincing us of his mixture of fear, embarrassment and concern when his crew discovers his guilty secret. De Niro, alone among the cast retains his American accent.

Sienna Miller plays the bimbo called Victoria. She too was in Layer Cake, and maybe that is why she was picked for this, because, frankly, vapid Victoria's role could have been played by almost any pretty girl.

Charlie Cox is a relative newcomer who plays the heroic shop-boy-on-a-magical-quest. He does it rather well. There are few stereotype-breaking jokes in his role, but he plays it with enthusiasm. Initially, his character Tristan is infatuated with the vacuous Victoria. They both live in the real earth-world along with Victoria's beau, a chap who likes to use a swordstick, and Tristan's dad, Dunstan and a few other people.

In his youth, Dunstan managed to cross a wall into the magical world beyond and find a slave girl who seduces him. Nine months later, baby Tristan is delivered to Dunstan's earth-home. The movie-proper opens with Dunstan telling the grown-up Tristan about the magical world beyond the wall and giving him a magic candle which becomes a kind of teleport device.

Tristan is still thinking of his promise to Victoria to bring back a piece of the star they saw fall to earth. Instead of teleporting to his mother, as intended, he teleports into a large crater and meets the star, Yvaine. From there, their adventure continues....

Clare Danes plays the star, Yvaine. Unlike the rest of the cast, she does the English accent rather badly. There's no real need for the cast to be English, but the director seems to think it has to be that way. Probably to retain the Olde-Worlde fairy-tale atmosphere. In any case, I think Danes must have taken lessons from the same elocution teacher who did for Helen Baxendale when she played Ross's girlfriend, Emily Waltham, in Friends. Apparently Danes has been voted one of the best-looking actresses of all time. Beauty, I guess is in the eye of the beholder.

Beauty and bad accents aside, Danes pulls off the star thing. She manages to break a few stereotypes as the female lead in a fairy tale, being a bit grumpy, and then having enough spunk to escape from Tristan and ride off on her own, with the help of a convenient unicorn. But in the end she swoons and falls for her hero. At the end she conquers Lamia by being a star.

The gags

There are plenty. It has to be said, however, that director Matthew Vaughn allows some obvious plot holes to appear in order to set up some good jokes. Personally, I don't think the movie suffers for that, but others might disagree. At one point, Lamia wants to set a trap for Yvaine, so she conjures up a wayside inn, and awaits Yvaine's arrival. Yvaine duly arrives mounted on a unicorn, and proceeds to enter the trap.

The problem here is that the unicorn should have sensed the trap and the subterfuge, but it made no effort to prevent Yvaine from entering the inn. A few moments later, however, the unicorn prevents Tristan from drinking poisoned wine.

It's a small point, and does not, in my opinion, detract from the story. It also allows a series of jokes. One is when a chap is magically transformed into a serving wench and grows breasts in a rather fun piece of CGI. That transformation is milked a couple of times for more gentle humour.

Another running gag is the presence of ghosts. The old king had many sons, but he is a scheming type, and has taught his sons to act the same way and stab each other in the back (literally, in one case) to win the throne. When each of them dies, he joins the others as a ghost, bearing the scars of his untimely death. The ghosts form a comedic backdrop to many of the scenes.

Towards the end, for example, Lamia uses a voodoo doll to re-animate the corpse of one of the dead princes, swishing the sword arm in an effort to kill Tristan. The ghostly owner of the body looks at his brothers and shrugs as if to say he no longer has any control over his actions.

When Ricky Gervais comes on screen, he plays one of his familiar characters, with a motor mouth and a quick wit. His role is as a trader in contraband and stolen goods, but he ends up a victim of the witch's magic and the prince's sword.

The story

It's a fairy tale. King Tristan and Queen Yvaine reigned well and long and the kingdom became happier and more prosperous than ever under their rule. They all lived happily ever after. What did you expect?

The DVD

The only special feature is a writer's commentary (by Vaughn and Jane Goldman). The runtime is listed as 122 minutes and as 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen.

I'll give it 8.5/10, with points taken off for small continuity errors and some of the accents. There's also a time mismatch between the experiences of Yvaine and Tristan on the pirate boat, and that of the rest of the story. Victoria gave Tristan just a week to get bring the star back to him, and he's already spent a couple of nights on the quest, so his time on the boat should be only a couple of days at most. Not really long enough to learn sword-fighting and become a lot more fanciable. But anyway....

I liked it a lot. It made me laugh. It made my kids laugh. I might even have shed a tear or two at the end. I'll watch it again as soon as I can.

Cast listing (partial) (courtesy IMDB)


Ian McKellen        Narrator (voice)
David Kelly         Guard
Ben Barnes          Young Dunstan
Kate Magowan        Slave Girl / Una
Melanie Hill        Ditchwater Sal
Charlie Cox         Tristan
Sienna Miller       Victoria
Nathaniel Parker    Dunstan
Peter O'Toole       King
Mark Strong         Septimus
Jason Flemyng       Primus
Mark Heap           Tertius
Rupert Everett      Secundus
David Walliams      Sextus
Julian Rhind-Tutt   Quartus
Adam Buxton         Quintus
Michelle Pfeiffer   Lamia
Claire Danes        Yvaine
Robert De Niro      Captain Shakespeare
Ricky Gervais       Ferdy the Fence

Stardust is a popular song written in 1927 by Hoagy Carmichael, with lyrics added later by Mitchell Parish.

It is a very pretty, romantic ballad, normally in C major, with an introductory verse that lends itself to rubato interpretation, and the chorus opens with the words : "Sometimes I wonder why I spend the lonely night, Dreaming of a song ...". The chorus melody begins with extended phrases in the subdominant key of F, creating a sense of unresolved melodic tension which complements the wistful lyric beautifully.

There are over 1800 recordings made of the tune in the 20th century, both by popular singers and jazz musicians, with whom it became a popular standard.

Amongst the many recordings :

Nat King Cole youtube link
Louis Armstrong, same
Ben Webster and again.

This is an example of how a great tune lends itself to radically different interpretation in the hands of great artists.

sources :
wikipedia
recordings (see above)

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