By Sunday, December 20th, 2009 • News & Updates - Maddie  

Magic Moments may grant young cancer patient’s big wish. Darby Emma Jones has one of those faces that make her look like she belongs on the top of a Christmas tree. The 10-year-old Huntsville girl loves to read, write, act, sing and dance. Even on a cold morning, she practices waltzing alone in her living room.

This dance, however, is a little more than just practice for a yearly recital. Darby’s a candidate for the Magic Moments organization that grants wishes to children with life-altering medical conditions. Recently, Valerie Jones, Darby’s mother, received a letter stating that upon contact with the celebrity, Darby would have her wish fulfilled and would be able to waltz with Zac Efron, star of the “High School Musical” movies.

“I think Zac Efron is good and great,” Darby said. “When Mommy and Daddy were talking about it, I was like ‘Wow! Am I dreaming?’ But no, it’s real.”

Darby was a candidate because of a medical history much too long for a 10-year-old. She was born with Down syndrome and a problem with her heart. After undergoing open-heart surgery as a newborn, Darby was healthy until she was 2, when she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia and underwent her first round of treatment. For six years, Darby lived cancer-free. Then in 2008, she developed another kind of cancer, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and has since been undergoing her second round of chemotherapy, her mother said.

The weekly chemotherapy treatments require Darby to travel to Birmingham to the pediatric oncology and hematology division of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital. It was there that a representative from Magic Moments asked Valerie Jones if she would be interested in applying for Darby to receive a wish, Jones said.

“We got to put down three wishes,” Jones said. “Since Darby loves to dance, she said she wanted to waltz with Zac Efron.”

Darby now attends the Dance Your Dreams class at Merrimack Hall. The class provides dance education for children who don’t participate in mainstream dance education due to special needs or individual challenges, said Hayley Henderson, Darby’s former teacher.

“Darby always has tons of energy,” Henderson said. “She’s a great student, great listener, works very hard, a beautiful ballerina and loves being onstage.”

Even if the wish doesn’t work out, Jones said the important thing is for people to know how her daughter handles her medical problems. In all of the medical treatments, chemotherapy, bone aspirations and medicines, Darby has never complained, she said.

“I think we should all live our lives like Darby,” Jones said. “Her life is simple, uncomplicated. It’s in the now and it’s real.”

When asked what she would like people to know about her, Darby said, “I just want them to know I’m happy, that I try to be helpful and that I’m thankful for my family and friends.” [Source]

By Wednesday, December 16th, 2009 • Gallery Updates - Maddie  

Enjoy viewing this picture of Zac Efron kissing Vanessa Hudgens at her surprise birthday party two days ago. Click on the image to enlarge it.

Gallery links:
December 14 – Arriving At East Lounge And Restaurant In Los Angeles (x4)
December 14 – At East Lounge and Restaurant In Los Angeles (x1)
December 14 – Leaving Home In North Hollywood (x6)

By Wednesday, December 16th, 2009 • News & Updates - Maddie  

Vanessa Hudgens got a big surprise Monday night – a group of about 100 friends gathered at East Restaurant & Lounge in Hollywood to celebrate her 21th birthday. Hudgens, decked out in a black mini dress with lace cut-out arms, arrived with beau Zac Efron in a chauffeured Audi Q7, and “when she walked in was completely surprised!” says a guest at the party. Guests including Ashley Tisdale, Selena Gomez, Brittany Snow, and Corbin Bleu greeted her, while DJ Zen Freeman handled the tunes for the night, playing a mix of hip-hop and top 20 hits.

Efron gave a heartfelt speech – wishing Hudgens a very happy birthday and encouraging guests to have a fun night. Partygoers noshed on East signature dishes including the crab cakes and scallops on the half shell while mingling and dancing.

Hudgens’s red velvet birthday cake was presented to her about an hour into the party. “She seemed overjoyed and grateful for the whole experience,” says the guest.

“Zac and Vanessa were adorable together,” says another guest. “They were smiling at each other and laughing and are really sweet to each other. Great couple.” [Source]

By Wednesday, December 16th, 2009 • Me And Orson Welles , News & Updates - Maddie  

There are three things to learn watching “Me and Orson Welles.” Zac Efron can act. British thespian Christian McKay is Hollywood’s discovery of 2009. And a movie about the “theat-uh” can be more than a snore. Set during one week in 1937, director Richard Linklater zeroes in on a 22-year-old Orson Welles as he rehearses his ground-breaking New York production of “Julius Caesar.”

The chaos. The drama. Welles’ bombastic charms. His romantic dalliances. You can almost smell the greasepaint in the air in Linklater’s exhilarating ode to Welles’ youthful heyday.

“People think they know Welles from “War of the Worlds,” “Citizen Kane” and beyond. But, his early time in New York were his real glory days,” Linklater, 49, told CTV.ca.

“Everything Orson touched back then turned to gold. Theatre. Radio. He launched his Mercury Theatre. He was a showman firing on all cylinders. Nothing ever matched that time again,” says Linklater.

Adding to this story’s pandemonium is the brash arrival of teenaged thespian Richard Samuels (Zac Efron). Desperate to break into the theatre, Richard blunders into a meeting with genius Welles and wins a small role in the play. Suddenly Richard is sucked up into a world of glamour, over-the-top egos and artistic treachery.

“I am Orson Welles!” McKay thunders at Richard and everyone else who dares to breathe the same air that he does.

Welles humiliates his company members. He coddles them. He zings them with poisoned arrows then lets them sob on his shoulder. Every inch along the way McKay embodies Welles right down to his booming voice and sly, ego-slaying smile.

“Finding Christian was just meant to be,” says the Houston, Texas-born Linklater.

Just when Linklater thought no actor could fill Welles’ shoes, he found McKay at London’s Royal Shakespeare Company.

“Christian was a dead ringer for Welles,” says Linklater. “There are so few actors on the planet who could have pulled this role off. Christian did it in spades.”

“Me and Orson Welles” is, first to last, McKay’s show. Yet, Efron gives a surprisingly sturdy performance as the youthful wannabe wounded by his art and the artifice of one ambitious theatre assistant (Claire Danes).

“Zac brought a lot of his own past to this role,” says Linklater. “He told me it reminded him of all the seat-of-your-pants theatre productions he had ever done.”

Linklater also says the “High School Musical” star is a better actor than critics believe.

“Zac wasn’t just this kid coming from California who didn’t fit in here. He held is own against everyone else on the set,” says Linklater.

As for the Welles’ superhuman career, Linklater says, “Nothing about Welles ever ceases to amaze me. It is astonishing that he accomplished so much at such a young age. The more I learned about him on this film, the greater my respect for Welles grew.” [Source]

By Tuesday, December 15th, 2009 • Gallery Updates - Maddie  

Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens were spotted leaving Vanessa’s house in North Hollywood on 14 December 2009. Later they headed to a surprise birthday party for Vanessa at East Restaurant and Bar. Hope they had a great time. Enjoy the pics!

Gallery link:
December 14 – Leaving Home In North Hollywood (x3)

By Tuesday, December 15th, 2009 • News & Updates - Maddie  

High School Musical star Zac Efron has revealed he bought a house so he could skateboard indoors. The actor bought his first property earlier this year and admits he had it designed specifically so he can indulge in his favourite pastime without going out in public, reports contactmusic.com.

“It’s unique, very modern, very clean, very simple, with concrete floors so I can skateboard inside the house,” he said. [Source]

By Tuesday, December 15th, 2009 • News & Updates - Maddie  

The 18-year-old, who has also been hailed as a new Cliff Richard, was crowned the X Factor winner on Sunday night with 61 per cent of the vote. In what was billed as the closest final in the history of the television talent show, McElderry beat call centre worker Olly Murs to the biggest prize in the music business.

In front of an estimated television audience of 20 million, the performing arts student from South Shields, Tyne and Wear, landed a £1 million recording deal and an all-but-guaranteed number one in the Christmas chart. And Cowell is already planning to fly the teenager to the States in the New Year to tie up a lucrative deal, which will reportedly make the singer £5 million.

Three major US TV networks and several Hollywood studios have reportedly already contacted Cowell about working with McElderry. They think he could be in a perfect position to take over from former teenage idol Efron, 22, who has made millions from the High School Musical films. [Source]

By Monday, December 14th, 2009 • Gallery Updates - Maddie  

Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens were spotted shopping in Los Angeles on December 13th, 2009. Enjoy the pics! UPDATED!

By the way, creative director of the Elle magazine, Joe Zee, tweeted, “Brunch at Ammo. Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens a few tables over and I think I’m more giddy than the next table of 4 kids, ages 5-8.”

Happy 21st birthday, Vanessa! May all your wishes come true!!!

Gallery link:
December 13 – Out & About In Los Angeles (x54)

By Sunday, December 13th, 2009 • Gallery Updates - Maddie  

Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens were spotted leaving a gym in North Hollywood on December 12th, 2009. Enjoy the pics!

Gallery link:
December 12 – Leaving Gym In North Hollywood (x7)

By Sunday, December 13th, 2009 • Gallery Updates - Maddie  

Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens were spotted arriving at the LAX airport in Los Angeles on December 10th, 2009. Enjoy the pics!

Gallery link:
December 11 – At LAX Airport In Los Angeles (x35)

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