Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

An Adventure in Space and Time

Monday, August 13th, 2012

The beginning of Doctor Who

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America’s Women Gymnastic Team

Saturday, August 4th, 2012

Who’s Gabby Douglas?

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London Olympics

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

2012

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Braison Cyrus Almost Dies!

Friday, July 20th, 2012

 
Braison Cyrus, brother to pop superstar Miley Cyrus almost died last week due to a complication from a tonsillectomy and his mother is speaking out, recalling the gruesome experience! (more…)

Adele’s Father Seeking

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

Reconciliation!

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Justin Bieber

Friday, July 13th, 2012

Is Too Loud?!

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Kourtney Kardashian Welcomes Baby Girl!

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

 
The Kardashians continue to breed like rabbits! (more…)

Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes in Divorce Settlement Talks (TMZ.com)

Saturday, July 7th, 2012


TMZ.com:

Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes in Divorce Settlement Talks  —  TOM CRUISE/KATIE HOLMES  —  SETTLEMENT  —  Talks Underway  —  EXCLUSIVE  —  Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes have called a temporary truce while their lawyers try to negotiate a full divorce settlement … TMZ has learned.

Natalie Wood Death Certificate Changed – Cause of Death Now "Undetermined" (TMZ.com)

Saturday, July 7th, 2012


TMZ.com:

Natalie Wood Death Certificate Changed — Cause of Death Now “Undetermined”  —  Death Certificate Changed  —  “UNDETERMINED”  —  EXCLUSIVE  —  Natalie Wood’s death certificate has been changed from “Accident” to “Undetermined” … TMZ has learned.  —  Law enforcement sources tell TMZ …

Rihanna on Chris Brown relationship: ‘I never thought I’d feel that pain in my life’ (Cristina Everett/NY Daily News)

Saturday, July 7th, 2012


Cristina Everett / NY Daily News:

Rihanna on Chris Brown relationship: ‘I never thought I’d feel that pain in my life’  —  The singer doesn’t name anyone in particular, but says she fell ‘so hard’ for an ex she was ‘really, really, really’ in love with  —  Rihanna admits in the August issue of Harper’s Bazaar that she’s …

George Clooney & Stacy Keibler – Food Poisoned in Italy (TMZ.com)

Friday, July 6th, 2012


TMZ.com:

George Clooney & Stacy Keibler — Food Poisoned in Italy  —  FOOD POISONED  —  EXCLUSIVE  —  George Clooney and his girlfriend Stacy Keibler got to enjoy a meal they ate in Italy this week … twice — because hours after eating it … they both got a bad case of food poisoning.

FIRST PHOTOS – JUSTIN BIEBER PULLED OVER FOR SPEEDING (Jane/X17 Online)

Friday, July 6th, 2012


Jane / X17 Online:

FIRST PHOTOS – JUSTIN BIEBER PULLED OVER FOR SPEEDING  —  Justin Bieber was just pulled over for speeding in his $110,000 chrome-plated Fisker Karma, X17Online has learned.  —  The pop star was traveling south on the 101 freeway from Calabasas when cops stopped him for exceeding the speed limit by a significant amount.

Justin Bieber & Selena Gomez — On the Rocks

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

Justin & Selena
ON THE ROCKS

Exclusive

0705_justin_bieber_selena_gomez_tmz_1
He loves her … he loves her not — TMZ has learned, Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez have broken up multiple times in the last few months.

Sources in a position to know tell us, Biebs and Selena most recently ended things last week — but have since decided to give their relationship another try … kinda.

’16 & Pregnant’ Baby Daddy Arrested for DUI — Mug Shot’s a SNOOZE

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

’16 & Pregnant’ Baby Daddy
Popped for DUI
Mug Shot’s a SNOOZE

Exclusive

Weston Gosa and the sleepy mug shot.16 & Pregnant” baby daddy Weston Gosa — father of Whitney Purvis‘ kid — was arrested for DUI in Georgia yesterday … after allegedly crashing his car … but the real reason we’re posting this story … dude’s mug shot is legendary.

According to the Floyd County Police Department, 23-year-old Gosa smashed his car, and was placed under arrest when cops decided he had been driving under the influence. Police say Gosa was under the influence of prescription drugs at the time of his arrest.

0705_Whitney_Purvis_Weston_GosaPolice also say Gosa was in possession of Xanax and Lorcet without a prescription, as well as a pipe with some kind of residue in it.

TomKat’s Divorce Facts

Sunday, July 1st, 2012

 
Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise have been with us for many years in both television and movies. (more…)

SCOTUS blog, CNN and hostile media bias

Sunday, July 1st, 2012

 
In an age of growing cynicism towards the media, to the point psychologist are now extensively studying the hostile media bias, something interesting happened. (more…)

Update: Kim Kardashian Sex Tape!

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

 
What is Kim Kardashian famous for? (more…)

The 50 Shades of Grey phenomenon

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

 
It was just about time I would jump on the bandwagon and write about 50 Shades of Grey. Or, better said, I would write against 50 Shades of Grey. (more…)

Snooki Nude Pictures Leaked!

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

 
We’ve all seen Snooki on the show Jersey Shore going after gorilla juiceheads and getting drunk at every bar in town. (more…)

Mary-Kate Olsen Dating A Much Older Man?!

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

 
We’ve all watched Full House on ABC Family. (more…)

‘Idol’ judge Tyler charmed by ‘sexy beast’ J-Lo

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012
AP Photo
AP Photo/Danny Moloshok

NEW YORK (AP) — Steven Tyler is mum on whether he or Jennifer Lopez will return to the judging panel on “American Idol” next year, but the rocker says he has loved the experience of sitting next to her.

“She’s a sexy beast,” Tyler said in a phone interview Monday. “I feed off that female energy with her.”

He added: “I’m always flirting with her. It’s not a bad thing. It’s really a good thing. The best part of it all is that we been able to pick some good talent. Just look at this year.”

Phillip Phillips and Jessica Sanchez are the final two contestants. The winner will be crowned Wednesday night. If the 16-year old Sanchez wins, she’ll be first girl to win the competition since Jordin Sparks took home the crown five years ago.

Tyler gives her the edge: “She sings so good you can’t deny, but America votes for it, so we’ll see.”

While Tyler deflected a question as to whether he or Lopez would return to the show next season, the 64-year old rocker said he has loved the experience. He said he was always comfortable judging the talent competition and feels he’s the same guy as an “American Idol” judge that he has been as a vocalist that has rocked audiences for 40 years.

Brad Pitt brings ‘Killing Them Softly’ to Cannes

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012
AP Photo
AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau

CANNES, France (AP) — The Cannes Film Festival got its biggest shot of celebrity adrenaline yet on Tuesday, even if it was only half the dose some were expecting.

Brad Pitt arrived at the festival with the stylish, hardboiled film “Killing Them Softly,” which he produced and stars in. The film, an adaptation of a George V. Higgins crime novel directed by Andrew Dominik, was screened Tuesday in competition for the Palme d’Or.

While many were wrangling with the film’s audacious juxtaposing of a story of violent back-stabbing criminals with an overt political subtext, others were being gently let down by Pitt: No, Angelina Jolie wasn’t with him, as she’s preparing for a role, he said. And their highly anticipated wedding has no date set, he said in a press conference.

But “Killing Them Softly” left much for discussion. Pitt stars as a kind of fixer who organizes the necessary retribution of two thieves (Scoot McNairy, Ben Mendelsohn) who rob a poker game of gangsters. Woven throughout are billboards, radio broadcast and televised speeches of U.S. President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush.

Though the book (“Cogan’s Trade”) takes place in the 1970s, the film is set in 2008, during the presidential election and the financial crisis. At one point, Pitt’s character pronounces: “America’s not a country, it’s a business.”

David Cameron votes The Dark Side of The Moon as favourite album in HMV contest

Monday, May 21st, 2012

 
The interesting news of the week (easy to find through major search engines, and usually they end up being on the Telegraph) are heartwarming most of the time. (more…)

James Bond to drink Heineken as it sponsors new Bond movie

Saturday, April 28th, 2012


 
I am not a fan of James Bond, probably because I don’t have an Aston Martin parked under my window, so I am jealous, but the news of the sponsorship by Heineken fell on me like a cold shower anyway. (more…)

Mike Wallace, ’60 Minutes’ star interviewer, dies

Sunday, April 8th, 2012
AP Photo
AP Photo/Evan Agostini

CBS newsman Mike Wallace, the dogged, merciless reporter and interviewer who took on politicians, celebrities and other public figures in a 60-year career highlighted by the on-air confrontations that helped make “60 Minutes” the most successful primetime television news program ever, has died. He was 93.

Wallace died Saturday night at a care facility in New Canaan, Connecticut, where he had lived in recent years, CBS spokesman Kevin Tedesco said.

Until he was slowed by heart surgery as he neared his 90th birthday in 2008, Wallace continued making news, doing “60 Minutes” interviews with such subjects as Jack Kevorkian and Roger Clemens. He had promised to still do occasional reports when he announced his retirement as a regular correspondent in March 2006.

Wallace said then that he had long vowed to retire “when my toes turn up” and “they’re just beginning to curl a trifle. … It’s become apparent to me that my eyes and ears, among other appurtenances, aren’t quite what they used to be.”

Among his later contributions, after bowing out as a regular on “60 Minutes,” was a May 2007 profile of Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, and an interview with Kevorkian, the assisted suicide doctor released from prison in June 2007 who died June 3, 2011, at age 83.

In December 2007, Wallace landed the first interview with Clemens after the star pitcher was implicated in the report by former Sen. George Mitchell on performance enhancing drugs in baseball. The interview, in which Clemens maintained his innocence, was broadcast in early January 2008.

Wallace’s “extraordinary contribution as a broadcaster is immeasurable and he has been a force within the television industry throughout its existence,” Leslie Moonves, CBS Corp. president and CEO, said in a statement Sunday. Wallace didn’t just interview people. He interrogated them. He cross-examined them. Sometimes he eviscerated them. His weapons were many: thorough research, a cocked eyebrow, a skeptical “Come on” and a question so direct sometimes it took your breath away.

He was well aware that his reputation arrived at an interview before he did, said Jeff Fager, CBS News chairman and Wallace’s long-time producer at “60 Minutes.”

“He loved it,” Fager said Sunday. “He loved that part of Mike Wallace. He loved being Mike Wallace. He loved the fact that if he showed up for an interview, it made people nervous. … He knew, and he knew that everybody else knew, that he was going to get to the truth. And that’s what motivated him.”

X-Factor judge Tulisa’s sex tape scandal

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

 
It is unclear to me if the X-Factor makes people talk more for its talents or for the private lives of those involved. (more…)

The Olivier Awards 2012 Nominations

Saturday, March 17th, 2012

Olivier Awards 2012
The Olivier Awards are the most important recognization in Britain for any professional in the theatre. Named after one of the most famous and revered actors of the 20th century, Sir Laurence Olivier, they have been celebrating Britain’s theatrical talents since 1976. (more…)

Children’s publisher developing app for e-reading

Monday, March 5th, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) — A leading publisher of children’s books is taking a big step into the electronic market.

Scholastic Inc. is developing an app called Storia, which includes around 1,300 e-books and multimedia e-books that can be bought directly from the publisher or from retailers. Such favorite picture series as “Clifford the Big Red Dog” and “Ready, Freddy!” will be in digital format for the first time. The app also will feature games, quizzes, interactive stories, an e-dictionary and a virtual book shelf kids can organize.

`Lorax’ rakes in the green with $70.2M debut

Monday, March 5th, 2012
AP Photo
AP Photo/Adam Berry

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The environmental fable “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax” grew mightily during its opening weekend, taking in $70.2 million for the biggest debut of the year by far, according to final studio figures Monday. The 3-D animated comedy from Universal Pictures is based on the beloved children’s book and features the voices of Danny DeVito, Zac Efron and Taylor Swift.

The top 20 movies at U.S. and Canadian theaters Friday through Sunday, followed by distribution studio, gross, number of theater locations, average receipts per location, total gross and number of weeks in release, as compiled Monday by Hollywood.com are:

1. “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax,” Universal, $70,217,070, 3729 locations, $18,830 average, $70,217,070, one week.

2. “Project X,” Warner Bros., $21,051,363, 3055 locations, $6,891 average, $21,051,363, one week.

3. “Act of Valor,” Relativity Media, $13,572,578, 3053 locations, $4,446 average, $45,111,924, two weeks.

4. “Safe House,” Universal, $7,390,935, 2553 locations, $2,895 average, $108,355,425, four weeks.

5. “Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds,” Lionsgate, $7,047,061, 2132 locations, $3,305 average, $25,791,693, two weeks.

6. “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island,” Warner Bros., $6,547,374, 3060 locations, $2,140, $85,233,873, four weeks.

7. “The Vow,” Sony/Screen Gems, $6,011,147, 2826 locations, $111,623,496, four weeks.

8. “This Means War,” Fox, $5,561,323, 2342 locations, $2,375, $41,399,962, three weeks.

9. “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance,” Sony/Columbia, $4,645,637, 2487 locations, $1,868 average, $44,826,376, three weeks.

Blogging and New Journalism

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

Blogging and New Journalism
 
There is a sense in which I have no idea about what to discuss today. It is that I actually have too many things on my mind I want everyone to know, that I don’t know where to start from. (more…)

Julie Taymor claims there was a ‘Spider-Man’ plot

Friday, March 2nd, 2012
AP Photo
AP Photo/Charles Sykes

NEW YORK (AP) — Director Julie Taymor has hit back at her former creative partners in “Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark,” arguing in court papers that she was the victim of a conspiracy to unfairly push her out of the production and that her one-time collaborators were secretly working on a rival script behind her back.

Taymor’s legal team on Friday defended the Tony Award winner against claims in an earlier countersuit from producers, the latest installment in their bitter legal battle over financial rewards for Broadway’s most expensive show.

“While secretly conspiring to oust Taymor and use and change her work without pay, the producers also fraudulently induced Taymor to continue working and to diligently make improvements,” her team alleges.

Taymor, who was the original “Spider-Man” director and co-book writer, was fired in March after years of delays, accidents and critical backlash. The show, which features music by U2’s Bono and The Edge, opened in November 2010 but spent months in previews before officially opening a few days after the Tony Awards in June. It has become a financial hit at the box office.

Producers shot back late Friday. “It’s very disheartening for the former director of the show to take no responsibility for the consequences of her actions while, at the same time, trying to claim credit for the show’s success,” Dale Cendali, an attorney for the producers, said in a statement.

In November, Taymor slapped the producers – led by Michael Cohl and Jeremiah J. Harris – as well as Glen Berger, her former co-book writer, with a federal copyright infringement lawsuit, alleging they violated her creative rights and haven’t compensated her for the work she put into the $75 million show. In January, the producers’ filed a counterclaim asserting the copyright claims are baseless. The latest salvo is Taymor’s team responding to that counterclaim.

Dion cancels more Vegas shows on doctor’s orders

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012
AP Photo
AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Singer Celine Dion has canceled more shows at Las Vegas’ Caesars Palace, citing a virus causing an inflammation of her vocal cords.

Christi Nelson, an official with show producer AEG Live, said Tuesday that the French-Canadian pop superstar has been ordered to rest her voice for six to eight weeks and will resume performances June 9.

“I tried to sing at my sound check last week, and I had no control of my voice whatsoever,” Dion said in a statement. “We thought that after a few days’ rest I would improve, but it wasn’t getting any better.”

Officials announced last weekend that Dion was canceling shows through March 3. On Monday, she was diagnosed with a viral illness and weakness in her right vocal cord by Dr. Gerald Burke, an authority in laryngeal physiology at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles.

The singer of romantic odes including “My Heart Will Go On” and “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” returned to Caesars Palace a year ago for a three-year engagement.

The Las Vegas Strip casino spent $95 million building the Colosseum for Dion in 2003, complete with a humidifier to protect her voice. After a five-year run at the casino, she embarked on a world tour and took time off for her family, giving birth to twin boys in 2010.

Oscarcast rewards ABC with week’s top-rated show

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012
AP Photo
AP Photo/Chris Carlson

NEW YORK (AP) — Billed as Hollywood’s biggest night, the Academy Awards telecast was also TV’s biggest show last week, helping crown ABC as overall prime-time winner.

Sunday’s Oscarcast was easily top-ranked, with an audience of nearly 40 million viewers.

Adding to the luster was the 90-minute preview, which ABC shrewdly logged as three distinct half-hours. The final segment of “Oscar’s Red Carpet” (airing just before the Oscarcast began) drew 24 million viewers, ranking second for the week, while the middle half-hour, seen by nearly 17 million viewers, ranked fourth. The first half-hour claimed a healthy 14th place with nearly 13 million viewers, the Nielsen Co. said Tuesday.

For the week in prime time, ABC averaged 10.68 million viewers (6.5 household rating, 11 share), edging out CBS, with 10.06 million (6.3 rating, 10 share). Far behind were Fox with 6.84 million (4.1 rating, 6 share), NBC with 5.42 million (3.4 rating, 5 share), CW with 1.14 million (0.8 rating, 1 share) and ION Television with 1.11 million (0.7 rating, 1 share).

Among the Spanish-language networks, Univision led with a 3.51 million viewer average (1.8 rating, 3 share), Telemundo had 1.17 million (0.6 rating, 1 share), Telefutura had 750,000 (0.4 rating, 1 share), Estrella had 260,000 and Azteca 110,000 (both 0.1 rating, 0 share).

NBC’s “Nightly News” topped the evening newscasts with an average of 9.1 million viewers (6.0 household rating, 11 share). ABC’s “World News” was second with 7.7 million (5.1 rating, 10 share), while the “CBS Evening News” had 6.5 million viewers (4.3 rating, 8 share).

The Oscars 2012

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012


 
Yesterday night has been the Oscars night. Most people in the world were actually expecting it with apprehension. I was not. (more…)

iPhone and Pinterest covering the New York Fashion Week

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

NEW YORK FASHION WEEK
 
A couple of weeks after the release of the ntempth iPhone application of a magazine, I have stumbled across this peculiar fact: the Wall Street Journal has covered the New York Fashion Week with Instagram and Pinterest. (more…)

Madonna: Not happy about M.I.A.’s gesture

Friday, February 10th, 2012
AP Photo
AP Photo/Michael Conroy

NEW YORK (AP) — The British hip-hop artist M.I.A. has apologized to Madonna for making an obscene gesture during the Super Bowl halftime show.

Madonna said in radio interviews on Friday that she had no idea M.I.A. would extend her middle finger during the performance in front of 114 million people, according to Madonna’s spokeswoman, Liz Rosenberg. The singer didn’t find out about it until after the show.

“I wasn’t happy about it,” Madonna told Ryan Seacrest in one interview. “I understand it’s kind of punk rock and everything, but to me there was such a feeling of love and good energy and positivity, it seemed negative.”

She said it was like something a teenager would do.

Fashion’s newness coming from old-school Hollywood

Friday, February 10th, 2012
AP Photo
AP Photo/Richard Drew

NEW YORK (AP) — Marlene Dietrich is having a moment. The runways of New York Fashion Week are paying homage to the late star’s sultry, glamorous but sometimes slightly mannish style.

On the second of eight days of previews for next season, Friday’s newness largely came from this old-school Hollywood star.

Dietrich’s “balance of smoldering femininity and masculine garb was the starting point for the mood,” explained Peter Som in his notes for editors, stylists and retailers. His collection was filled with modest-yet body-conscious silhouettes. A top look was the peek-a-boo effect of slim sheaths and pencil skirts covered with a glossy organza that often extended the hemline or covered the arms.

“She, like Katharine Hepburn, wore pants but still looked like a woman. She wore menswear and androgynous style with a sexiness,” said Catherine Moellering, executive vice president of The Tobe Report, a trend-tracking service.

Jason Wu said in a pre-show interview that he aimed to interpret different elements of historical Chinese fashion through the lens of Dietrich’s 1932 film “Shanghai Express.”

“I don’t need to say any more about Marlene Dietrich, or that time and place. It all has such strong features,” Wu said.

Dietrich also was an inspiration for Tadashi Shoji, who previewed his looks Thursday.

Here are some of the looks shown Friday.

JASON WU

Jason Wu has been considered a strong up-and-comer since Michelle Obama wore a gown by the then-barely known designer to the presidential inaugural balls in 2008. A Target deal put a limited collection in stores earlier this month, and Wu’s confidence was evident in a dramatic show that was also highly personal, with Chinese-influenced styles inspired partly by a trip 18 months ago to Taiwan, where he grew up.

The runway show had studded fortress doors, billowing smoke and a theatrical finale. The clothes tapped into Chinese military uniforms with Mao jackets, grommets, strong shoulders and capes, with the best look in the show opener: a green coat with attached cape and black lace. Tassels, embroideries and brocades drew on ornate costumes worn by empresses, with references to 1930s and `40s Hollywood, where traditional Chinese dress was reinterpreted in movies like Marlene Dietrich’s “Shanghai Express.”

The result? Puffy jackets in glitzy brocade.

The lingering look from this collection, though, is likely the finale: a black wool jacket with epaulets and mink trim covered in crystal embroidery paired with a black skirt etched with fabric through a process known as devore.

Super Bowl 2012

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Super Bowl 2012 Lucas Stadium
 
A few days ago I stumbled across an episode of the David Letterman show which advertised the tickets for the Super Bowl for a price that I really cannot remember, but was absolutely high. (more…)

Colin Firth receives a CBE

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

COLIN FIRTH RECEIVES A CBE
 
It must be that playing a king has left in him the attitude of a royal, and it must not be forgotten that he is British, (more…)

Robert Hegyes, played Epstein on ‘Kotter,’ dies

Thursday, January 26th, 2012
AP Photo
AP Photo

METUCHEN, N.J. (AP) — Robert Hegyes, the actor best known for playing Jewish Puerto Rican student Juan Epstein on the 1970s TV show “Welcome Back Kotter” has died. He was 60.

The Flynn & Son Funeral Home in Fords, N.J., said it was informed of Hegyes’ death Thursday by the actor’s family.

A spokesman at JFK Medical Center in Edison, N.J., told the Star-Ledger newspaper that Hegyes, of Metuchen, arrived at the hospital Thursday morning in full cardiac arrest and died.

Hegyes was appearing on Broadway in 1975 when he auditioned for “Kotter,” a TV series about a teacher who returns to the inner-city New York school of his youth to teach a group of irreverent remedial students nicknamed the “Sweathogs.” They included the character Vinnie Barbarino, played by John Travolta.

The show’s theme song, performed by John Sebastian, became a pop hit.

Hegyes also appeared on many other TV series, including “Cagney & Lacey.”

He was born in Perth Amboy and grew up in Metuchen, the eldest child of a Hungarian father and Italian mother.

Sundance fest embraces hip-hop on stage and screen

Thursday, January 26th, 2012
AP Photo
AP Photo/Victoria Will

PARK CITY, Utah (AP) — Hip-hop is making itself heard – and seen – at the Sundance Film Festival.

In addition to performances by rappers Drake, Common, Nas, Lil Jon and Chuck D, the festival includes documentary and narrative films about hip-hop culture.

Ice-T’s documentary, “Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap,” premiered at the festival. It stars artists such as Run-DMC, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, Mos Def and Eminem.

The Oscars 2012 Nominations

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012


 
For many people, waiting for the Oscars nominees is like Christmas. (more…)

The Internet blackout to protest for SOPA and PIPA changed our lives

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

SOPA and PIPA Protests
 
Technology has changed our lives completely. This is particularly evident now the world is following with a various range of feelings the decisions of the American Congress about the SOPA and PIPA bills. (more…)

The Golden Globes

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

THE 57TH ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS -- NBC Special -- Pictured: Golden Globe award -- NBC Photo: Alice S. Hall ORG XMIT
 
I must admit something: from a personal point of view, I couldn’t care less about Golden Globes. Golden Globes? (more…)

Michelle Obama ‘random dances’ at US appearance

Friday, January 13th, 2012
AP Photo
AP Photo/Cliff Owen

ALEXANDRIA, Virginia (AP) — They called it “random dancing” but First Lady Michelle Obama broke out some moves that resembled subdued variations of “the Monkey” or “the Jerk” Friday during an appearance at a northern Virginia high school.

A screaming, raucous auditorium filled with elementary and middle school students greeted Obama and the cast of the Nickelodeon TV show “iCarly” at Hayfield Secondary School in Fairfax County.

The appearance promoted an upcoming episode featuring Obama in which she thanks military families for their sacrifices. On the show, star Miranda Cosgrove plays the daughter of an Air Force colonel deployed overseas.

A staple of the show is a segment of random dancing, which Obama performed both in the episode that premieres Monday and on stage Friday.

Obama’s dance moves drew plaudits from the “iCarly” cast.

“I think she showed everybody up in the dance department,” said Jennette McCurdy, who plays Samantha on the show.

The onstage dance session Friday lasted only a minute or so, far less than the extended dance session Obama did last year when visiting Deal Middle School in the District, when she joined students doing “the Dougie” and “The Running Man” in a clip that has been viewed more than 4 million times on YouTube.

Her acting skills also drew praise. The cast was impressed with Obama’s ability to deliver her lines in the compressed time they had to shoot the scenes.

LA deputy accused in drug case once failed academy

Friday, January 13th, 2012

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A deputy charged with smuggling heroin inside a burrito into a courthouse jail was initially kicked out of the Sheriff’s Department training academy after a bumbling performance that was captured by Fox TV cameras for a reality show, a newspaper reported Friday.

Henry Marin later returned to the academy and became a deputy. But during his first attempt in 2007, he was quickly tagged as the class slacker on the show “The Academy” after supervisors caught him sleeping during orientation, the Los Angeles Times said (http://lat.ms/w95Lfl ).

“If he doesn’t have the discipline to come here on Day 1 and show some respect, he’s certainly not gonna have the discipline to work in the field of law enforcement,” a drill sergeant said on the show.

“What is wrong with you recruit?” another drill sergeant said when Marin showed up with a backward tie.

Marin’s arrest on Wednesday was the latest of many misconduct allegations against the Los Angeles County department, including brutality against inmates and contraband smuggling. The department, the FBI and others are investigating.

During a training exercise filmed by Fox, Marin failed to call for help and forgot the radio code for an emergency after a suicidal woman pulled a gun. A similar mishap led to his dismissal.

“You seem to have no knowledge or understanding of the laws that guide you and allow you to do certain things,” a sergeant on the show told Marin after his ouster.

He was later allowed to enroll again and graduated, sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore said.

Downton Abbey

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Downton Abbey
 
William and Kate, the servants at Buckingham Palace and I have something in common: Downton Abbey. (more…)

Berlin film festival to honor Meryl Streep

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

BERLIN (AP) — Meryl Streep is to be honored for her wide-ranging career at this year’s Berlin film festival.

Festival organizers said Monday that the 62-year-old Streep will be presented with an honorary Golden Bear, the event’s top award, on Feb. 14.

Festival director Dieter Kosslick says that “Meryl Streep is a brilliant, versatile performer who moves with ease between dramatic and comedic roles.”

A History of Violence: a reflection on our society

Friday, December 30th, 2011


 
I have been paying little attention to the news, or the journalists underline the bad in the world and forget about all the good, but the impression I have nowadays is that our world is full of violence, and we have no more place to repress it. (more…)

Marvel wins NYC dispute over Ghost Rider rights

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) — Comic book publisher Marvel Entertainment owns the rights to the Ghost Rider character in the fiery form that originated in the early 1970s, a federal judge ruled Wednesday as she rejected the claims of a former Marvel writer seeking to cash in on lucrative movie rights.

U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest tossed out 4-year-old claims brought by Gary Friedrich, who said he created the motorcycle-driving Ghost Rider with the skeletal head that sometimes had fire blazing from it. A Ghost Rider of the 1950s and ’60s was a Western character who rode a horse.

The judge said Friedrich gave up all ownership rights when he signed checks containing language relinquishing all rights to the predecessor companies of Marvel Entertainment LLC.

“The law is clear that when an individual endorses a check subject to a condition, he accepts that condition,” the judge wrote.

Forrest said her finding made it unnecessary to “travel down the rabbit hole” to decide whether the character was created separate and apart from Marvel, whether the company hired Friedrich to create the character and whether he had thoughts about what rights he wanted to retain from the outset.

She said he also signed an agreement with Marvel in 1978 relinquishing rights in exchange for the possibility of additional future freelance work. He had worked for Marvel prior to that year as both an employee and as a freelance writer.

Telephone messages left with lawyers on both sides of the dispute were not immediately returned. Friedrich’s phone number in Columbia, Illinois, was unpublished.

Forrest said Friedrich began seeking legal representation when he realized about a dozen years ago that there were plans for new uses of the Ghost Rider character, including in movies. In April 2004, his lawyers began asserting rights to try to get him a financial cut of the first of two motion pictures. They failed.

In 2007, when the film “Ghost Rider” starring actor Nicolas Cage as stunt motorcyclist Johnny Blaze came out, Friedrich sued Marvel in East St. Louis, Illinois, seeking to assert his rights and gain compensation for use of the character in movies, video games, toys and promotional products.

The lawsuit was moved to New York. The movie credited Marvel as the author of the Ghost Rider characters and story. A movie sequel, “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance,” is scheduled to be released in February.

All I want for Christmas is Mariah and Justin

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

Mariah Carey and Justin Bieber
 
I really agree with the one who said their favourite version of this song was the one in “Love Actually,” even though the competition is broad. (more…)

Boxer Mayweather gets 90 jail days in Vegas case

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011
AP Photo
AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. was sentenced Wednesday to 90 days in a Las Vegas jail after pleading guilty to a reduced battery domestic violence charge and no contest to two harassment charges.

The 34-year-old Mayweather also was ordered to complete 100 hours of community service and pay a $2,500 fine.

The plea deal avoids trial on felony allegations that the undefeated prizefighter hit his ex-girlfriend and threatened two of their children during an argument at her home in September 2010.

Prosecutor Lisa Luzaich told Justice of the Peace Melissa Saragosa that Mayweather has been in trouble before and hasn’t been punished.

“He just continually gets himself into trouble and he is able to get himself out of it as well,” she said. “Essentially it is because he is who he is and is able to get away with everything.”

“The only thing that’s going to get this man’s attention is incarceration,” the prosecutor said.

Mayweather stood still in a striped olive vest and showed no reaction when the judge imposed the sentence and told him he must report to the Clark County jail on Jan. 6.

Mayweather’s lawyer, Karen Winckler, said she may appeal what she called an unusual sentence.

Mayweather would likely serve most of the 90-day sentence, but could serve several weeks less if he gets credit for good behavior, said Officer Bill Cassell, a Las Vegas police spokesman.

Mayweather and his manager, Leonard Ellerbe, declined comment outside the courtroom.

Winckler had argued that the public would benefit more if Mayweather performs 100 hours of community service with children.

Michael Douglas’ son gets 4 1/2 more years in prison

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011
AP Photo
AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

NEW YORK (AP) — A judge called the imprisoned son of actor Michael Douglas reckless and irresponsible as he nearly doubled his prison sentence Wednesday from five years to 9 1/2 years for repeated drug offenses.

U.S. District Judge Richard Berman in Manhattan cited Cameron Douglas’ “history of reckless behavior” as he imposed a new punishment that was more than double what prosecutors were seeking for Douglas’ guilty plea to drug charges that arose from his successful efforts to smuggle drugs into prison.

Berman added 4 1/2 years to the five-year term he gave Douglas last year for his guilty plea in connection with his sales of methamphetamine in July 2009 from a high-end Manhattan hotel.

The judge said he had never had a case before in which a defendant “has so recklessly, wantonly, flagrantly and criminally acted in such a destructive and manipulative fashion as Cameron Douglas has.”

Berman reminded Douglas’ lawyers that he had warned at the earlier sentencing that it was the defendant’s last chance to turn around a life derailed by drugs and mental troubles stretching into his teenage years.

The judge also criticized the government for being too lenient on Douglas after he repeatedly violated prison rules by arranging to get drugs. The judge said the violations included four instances in which a lawyer smuggled anti-anxiety prescription drugs into prison for Douglas in her bra. The lawyer entered into a deferred prosecution agreement that enabled the charges against her to be dropped if she stayed out of trouble for six months.

The 33-year-old Douglas asked the judge to give him another chance at treatment.

“I cannot seem to find comfort within my own skin,” he said. “I feel ashamed. I feel defeated. … I know that I bear in my heart what it will take to overcome this plague.”

Sinaloa cartel OK’s Mexico’s newest drug ballads

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011
AP Photo
AP Photo/Marco Ugarte

NAUCALPAN, Mexico (AP) — Trumpets and trombones blast across a rodeo ring where women in miniskirts dance with men in cowboy hats and gold chains. Some fans try to climb onto the stage while others whoop to the deafening music and sing along to an outlaw ballad about one of the most-wanted criminal suspects in North America, an alleged drug kingpin.

“We take care of El Mayo

“Here no one betrays him…

“We stay tough with AK-47s and bazookas at the neck

“Chopping heads off as they come

“We’re bloody-thirsty crazy men

“Who like to kill.”

At the microphone is Alfredo Rios, whose stage name is “The Komander.” He’s a singer of Movimiento Alterado – “Altered Movement” in English – a new commercial brand of “narcocorrido” ballads that bluntly describe drug violence to the oompah beat of Mexico’s norteno music.

The songs are filled with unusually explicit lyrics about decapitations and torture, and praise for one drug gang in particular: the Sinaloa cartel and its bosses, Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada and Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

The increasingly popular music is banned on radio stations in parts of Mexico but is heavily promoted over the Internet. It is the brainchild of twin brothers based in Burbank, California, who have long turned to the Sinaloa cartel for artistic inspiration. They won a Grammy award in 2008 for producing an artist who goes by the name of “El Chapo de Sinaloa.”

Omar Valenzuela says the music not only tells of the violent world of the Sinaloa cartel, but has received its blessing at least once, when the producers worried about the group’s reaction to a song about Manuel Torres, allegedly a top hit man for Zambada.

“We looked for them and asked for permission,” Valenzuela said. “We sent them the song and they told us it was OK to release the song. We were afraid. They told us through their people that we were authorized to release any song. Sometimes people can get offended. We didn’t want any problems.”

The song since then has been downloaded 5 million times from the company website, Valenzuela said, and the accompanying video, which tells of how much gunmen working for Torres enjoy killing, has been watched more than 13 million times on YouTube.

Rios and Valenzuela deny any direct relationship with any cartel, and say they don’t receive any money from the gangs. “I wish they were putting in money to promote (the music),” Valenzuela said with a laugh.

For Jose Manuel Valenzuela, an expert on narcocorridos at Mexico’s College of the Northern Border, the success of the Movimiento Alterado’s music shows that drug traffickers have become more socially acceptable in many circles.

“The social presence of drug trafficking helps this music circulate, and this is also made easier by the easy access to it through the Internet,” said Valenzuela, who is not related to the twins.

The new music was born in Culiacan, capital of the Pacific coast state of Sinaloa. The fact that the bands Valenzuela promotes sing exclusively about the Sinaloa cartel has mostly to do with geography, he said.

“In Culiacan, you can’t sing about anyone else because they are from here,” he said referring to the Sinaloa cartel. “Singing about the Zetas it’s not even something you think about. Someone could complain. Nobody wants any trouble.”

The Zetas gang, which had its beginning in the border state of Tamaulipas, across the border from Texas, is fighting the Sinaloa cartel for control of drug traffic routes. The battle has caused many of the roughly 40,000 drug war deaths since Mexican President Felipe Calderon ramped up the military offensive on cartels as he took office in 2006.

Some Movimiento Alterado musicians wear camouflage and bulletproof vests on stage and some have names clearly alluding to the Sinaloa cartel, such as Los Mayitos, referring to Zambada’s nickname, or The Buchones, as the new rich who made their fortunes in drug trafficking are called in Sinaloa.

Havel, hero of anti-communist revolution, dies

Sunday, December 18th, 2011
AP Photo
AP Photo/Petr David Josek

PRAGUE (AP) — The end of Czechoslovakia’s totalitarian regime was called the Velvet Revolution because of how smooth the transition seemed: Communism dead in a matter of weeks, without a shot fired. But for Vaclav Havel, it was a moment he helped pay for with decades of suffering and struggle.

The dissident playwright spent years in jail but never lost his defiance, or his eloquence, and the government’s attempts to crush his will ended up expanding his influence. He became a source of inspiration to Czechs, and to all of Eastern Europe. He went from prisoner to president in 1989, the year the Berlin Wall fell and communism crumbled across the region.

Havel died Sunday morning at his weekend home in the northern Czech Republic. The 75-year-old former chain-smoker had a history of chronic respiratory problems dating back to his time in prison.

Shy and bookish, with a wispy mustache and unkempt hair, Havel helped draw the world’s attention to the anger and frustration spilling over behind the Iron Curtain. While he was president, the Czech Republic split from Slovakia, but it also made dramatic gains in economic might.

“His peaceful resistance shook the foundations of an empire, exposed the emptiness of a repressive ideology, and proved that moral leadership is more powerful than any weapon,” said President Barack Obama. “He also embodied the aspirations of half a continent that had been cut off by the Iron Curtain, and helped unleash tides of history that led to a united and democratic Europe.”

Mourners laid flowers and lit candles at Havel’s villa in Prague. A black flag of mourning flew over Prague Castle, the presidential seat, and Havel was also remembered at a monument to the revolution in the capital’s downtown. “Mr. President, thank you for democracy,” one note read.

Lech Walesa, former Polish president and the Nobel Peace Prize-winning founder of the country’s anti-communist Solidarity movement, called Havel “a great fighter for the freedom of nations and for democracy.”

“Amid the turbulence of modern Europe, his voice was the most consistent and compelling – endlessly searching for the best in himself and in each of us,” said former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, who is of Czech origin.

Havel was his country’s first democratically elected president, leading it through the early challenges of democracy and its peaceful 1993 breakup into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, though his image suffered as his people discovered the difficulties of transforming their society.

He was an avowed peacenik who was close friends with members of the Plastic People of the Universe, a nonconformist rock band banned by the communist regime, and whose heroes included rockers such as Frank Zappa. He never quite shed his flower-child past and often signed his name with a small heart as a flourish.

“Truth and love must prevail over lies and hatred,” Havel famously said. It became his revolutionary motto, which he said he always strove to live by.

“It’s interesting that I had an adventurous life, even though I am not an adventurer by nature. It was fate and history that caused my life to be adventurous rather than me as someone who seeks adventure,” he once told Czech radio.

Havel first made a name for himself after the 1968 Soviet-led invasion that crushed the Prague Spring reforms of Alexander Dubcek and other liberally minded communists in what was then Czechoslovakia.

Havel’s plays were banned as hard-liners installed by Moscow snuffed out every whiff of rebellion. But he continued to write, producing a series of underground essays that stand with the work of Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov as the most incisive and eloquent analyses of what communism did to society and the individual.

The West End X-Factor

Sunday, December 18th, 2011

Amelia Lily and Misha B from The X-Factor
 
I don’t follow any talent show in any country. I have nothing against them, personally. (more…)

Lowe’s pulls ads from Muslim show, sparks protest

Saturday, December 17th, 2011

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) — About 100 people are at a Michigan Lowe’s store protesting the home improvement chain’s decision to pull ads from a reality TV show about U.S. Muslims.

The protesters in Allen Park showed up in response to a call from a coalition of Christian, Muslim and civil rights groups and are chanting “God Bless America and shame on Lowe’s.” Protesters say they want people to boycott the chain.

But 15 to 20 counter-protesters also showed up Saturday morning, saying they came to support Lowe’s.

Executives of the Mooresville, N.C.-based company say TLC’s “All-American Muslim” became a “lightning rod” for complaints. They acted after complaints from the conservative Christian group the Florida Family Association.

Grammy-winning singer Cesaria Evora dies at age 70

Saturday, December 17th, 2011
AP Photo
AP Photo/Armando Franca

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Cesaria Evora, who started singing as a teenager in the bayside bars of Cape Verde in the 1950s and won a Grammy in 2003 after she took her African islands music to stages across the world, died Saturday. She was 70.

Evora, known as the “Barefoot Diva” because she always performed without shoes, died in the Baptista de Sousa Hospital in Mindelo, on her native island of Sao Vicente in Cape Verde, her label Lusafrica said in a statement on its website. It gave no further details.

Evora retired in September because of health problems. In recent years she had had several operations, including open-heart surgery last year.

She sang the traditional music of the Cape Verde Islands off West Africa, a former Portuguese colony. She mostly sang in the version of creole spoken there, but even audiences who couldn’t understand the lyrics were moved by her stirring renditions, her unpretentious manner and the music’s infectious beat.

Her singing style brought comparisons to American jazz singer Billie Holiday. “She belongs to the aristocracy of bar singers,” French newspaper Le Monde said in 1991, adding that Evora had “a voice to melt the soul.”

Evora’s international fame came late in life. Her 1988 album “La Diva Aux Pieds Nus” (“Barefoot Diva”), recorded in France where she first found popularity, launched her international career.

Her 1995 album “Cesaria” was released in more than a dozen countries and brought her first Grammy nomination, leading to a tour of major concert halls around the world and album sales in the millions.

She won a Grammy in the World Music category of the 2003 awards for her album “Voz D’Amor”.

Evora, known to her close friends as Cize (pronounced see-ZEH), was the best-known performer of “morna,” Cape Verde’s national music. It is a complex, soulful sound, mixing an array of influences arising from the African and seafaring traditions of the 10 volcanic islands.

Rapper Slim Dunkin slain in Atlanta music studio

Saturday, December 17th, 2011

ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta police say the rapper Slim Dunkin was gunned down Friday evening in a city music studio as he was preparing to record a video.

Police Maj. Keith Meadows said the rapper, whose real name is Mario Hamilton, was fatally shot in the chest after getting into an argument with another individual.

He was transported to Grady Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Meadows told The Associated Press late Friday that police have not been able to identify the shooter. He said investigators have been interviewing those who were inside the studio. He said as many as 20 people were inside the small office-type building at the time of the shooting, which took place around 5:30 p.m., but they were in different places.

Police have not recovered the handgun that was used. Investigators remained at the scene late Friday evening.

“Right now we’re just trying to….identify who may have seen what, really just trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together,” Meadows said. “It seems everybody witnessed something very different. We’re just trying to go back and make sense of everything.”

Slim Dunkin had appeared on a number of songs with the rapper Waka Flocka Flame. The website Mtv.com reported that the Brick Squad Monopoly rapper was on a solo track and had recently released a 20-track mix tape that featured Gucci Mane, Roscoe Dash and Pastor Troy.

“It appears the victim was scheduled to do a photo shoot,” Meadows said of Friday’s events. “Before the video shoot took place, it appears the victim and suspect got involved in a verbal altercation. We don’t know what that altercation was about.”

Backlash for Lowe’s as ads pulled from Muslim show

Monday, December 12th, 2011
AP Photo
AP Photo/PAUL SAKUMA

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Lowe’s Home Improvement has found itself facing a backlash after the retail giant pulled ads from a reality show about American Muslims.

The retail giant stopped advertising on TLC’s “All-American Muslim” after a conservative group known as the Florida Family Association complained, saying the program was “propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda’s clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values.”

The show premiered last month and chronicles the lives of five families from Dearborn, Mich., a Detroit suburb with a large Muslim and Arab-American population.

A state senator from Southern California said Sunday he was considering calling for a boycott.

Calling the Lowe’s decision “un-American” and “naked religious bigotry,” Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, told The Associated Press he would also consider legislative action if Lowe’s doesn’t apologize to Muslims and reinstate its ads. The senator sent a letter outlining his complaints to Lowe’s Chief Executive Officer Robert A. Niblock.

“The show is about what it’s like to be a Muslim in America, and it touches on the discrimination they sometimes face. And that kind of discrimination is exactly what’s happening here with Lowe’s,” Lieu said.

The Florida group sent three emails to its members, asking them to petition Lowe’s to pull its advertising. Its website was updated to say that “supporters’ emails to advertisers make a difference.”

The North Carolina-based Lowe’s issued a statement apologizing for having “managed to make some people very unhappy.”

“Individuals and groups have strong political and societal views on this topic, and this program became a lightning rod for many of those views,” the statement said. “As a result we did pull our advertising on this program. We believe it is best to respectfully defer to communities, individuals and groups to discuss and consider such issues of importance.”

The apology doesn’t go far enough, Lieu said. The senator vowed to look into whether Lowe’s violated any California laws and said he would also consider drafting a senate resolution condemning the company’s actions.

“We want to raise awareness so that consumers will know during this holiday shopping season that Lowe’s is engaging in religious discrimination,” Lieu said.

Besides an apology and reinstatement of the ads, Lieu said he hoped Lowe’s would make an outreach to the community about bias and bigotry.

Lieu’s office said a decision was expected Wednesday or Thursday on whether to proceed with the boycott.

Lowe’s said company officials are trying to make arrangements to talk directly to Lieu about his concerns and clarify the company’s position.

NY Occupy protest shuts down ‘Law & Order’

Friday, December 9th, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) — A protest by about 100 Occupy Wall Street members in New York City shut down production of an episode of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.”

The Daily News ( http://nydn.us/s0QDN6 ) reported Friday that the protesters arrived around midnight at Foley Square in Lower Manhattan. The show was making an episode with an Occupy theme.

About 100 police officers appeared as the protesters roamed around the park, inspecting tents and signs built by the production company.

A protester from Brooklyn Heights, Drew Hornbein, says the movement is “not part of corporate TV America.”

Alec Baldwin kicked off LA flight for playing game

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011
AP Photo
AP Photo/Susan Walsh

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Alec Baldwin says he was kicked off a plane Tuesday at Los Angeles International Airport after having words with a flight attendant over an “addicting” word game he was playing on his cellphone.

The “30 Rock” actor was asked to get off a New York City-bound flight for playing “Words with Friends” while the plane idled at a gate Tuesday, said Baldwin’s spokesman, Matthew Hiltzik.

“He loves `Words with Friends’ so much that he was willing to leave a plane for it,” said Hiltzik, who added that Baldwin boarded another American Airlines flight to New York.

Baldwin, a prolific Twitter user, took to the social media site to vent, saying a “flight attendant on American reamed me out 4 playing Words With Friends while we sat at the gate, not moving.”

It wasn’t clear if passengers had been asked to turn off their cellphones, which is typical before a flight backs away from the terminal.

American Airlines spokesman Ed Martelle declined comment, citing customer privacy concerns.

Airport police Sgt. Belinda Nettles said officers did not respond to the incident.

Baldwin tweeted that it would be his last flight with American, despite the fact that they show “30 Rock” for in-flight entertainment. He mocked American Airlines flight attendants on Twitter, saying the airline is “where Catholic school gym teachers from the 1950’s find jobs as flight attendants.”

Restraining order granted against Terrence Howard

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011
AP Photo
AP Photo/Dan Steinberg

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Terrence Howard was ordered Tuesday to stay 100 yards away from his estranged wife after she claimed the Oscar-nominated actor repeatedly threatened and hit her during their marriage.

The star denies the allegations.

Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon granted the stay-away order sought by Michelle Howard after she filed a lengthy declaration alleging abuse began within a week of the couple’s January 2010 marriage.

Michelle Howard filed for divorce a year later.

The restraining order remains in effect until a Jan. 17 court hearing.

She claims Howard, 42, has repeatedly hit her and threatened her in a text message last week. She stated in a sworn declaration that she is in constant fear of Howard and has chronic health issues caused by the actor’s treatment.

Howard in his own sworn declaration wrote that he has never threatened his wife and that she has repeatedly vowed to ruin his reputation and release private details.

“I live in constant fear of Michelle’s endeavors to ruin my reputation; even providing this declaration may well lead to my being subjected to a paparazzi blitz which would not be good for my career,” Howard wrote.

Pakistani model’s nude photo causes fury

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011
AP Photo
AP Photo/Shakil Adil

ISLAMABAD (AP) — A Pakistani actress who posed in the nude for an Indian magazine with the initials of Pakistan’s feared and powerful intelligence agency on her arm has triggered fury across this conservative nation.

Veena Malik’s photo on the website of FHM India, in advance of its publication in the magazine’s December issue, has been lighting up social network websites since earlier this week.

Many here anticipate a backlash, as nationalists and Islamists regularly stage rallies against anything they deem an insult to Islam or to the national honor. India and Pakistan have fought three wars, and the Inter-Services Intelligence agency or ISI has been accused of sponsoring terrorist attacks inside India.

Malik has broken Pakistani religious and national taboos in the past. She is a target for conservative ire and a heroine to some Pakistani liberals.

Conservative cleric Maulana Abdul Qawi declared on Aaj TV on Saturday that her latest venture into controversy was a “shame for all Muslims.”

In an interview with Pakistani Geo television broadcast Saturday, however, Malik said the nude photo was published in violation of her agreement with FHM India and she was considering legal action against the magazine.

Malik acknowledged having been photographed for a “bold but not nude shot.” She said the editor of the magazine had promised that he would cover most of the photo with the ISI initials.

The photo was intended to poke fun at the Indian fear of Pakistani spies, she said, adding “whatever happens (in India), people say ISI is behind that.”

Magazine editor Kabeer Sharma said Malik had given full consent for the shoot and the picture.

“We have all the record(s),” he told the Pakistani television station. “Veena was very excited about that ISI idea.”

Zubair Khan, a 40-year-old shopkeeper in the northwestern city of Peshawar, agreed, saying the photo had given rival India another opportunity to insult Pakistan.

“She has earned a bad name for the entire Pakistan nation,” he said.

Ferrell’s ‘Billion Dollar Movie’ heads to Sundance

Thursday, December 1st, 2011
AP Photo
AP Photo/Peter Kramer

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Here’s a dream come true for cash-strapped filmmakers: A billion-dollar movie budget.

Next month’s Sundance Film Festival, the top showcase for independent cinema, includes the comedy “Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie.” It’s the story of two filmmakers who get the most colossal budget ever, only to have it all go wrong.

The movie, one of dozens announced Thursday by Robert Redford’s Sundance festival, features Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Zach Galifianakis. Its writer-directors are Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, a comedy duo whose credits include the TV series “Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!”

“Billion Dollar Movie” is part of the festival’s popular midnight section of horror, over-the-top comedy and other high-energy films.

Among other midnight titles are director Jon Wright’s horror comedy “Grabbers,” starring Richard Coyle and Ruth Bradley in the tale of villagers in an Irish fishing town who learn that staying drunk might be their only protection against blood-sucking sea monsters.

They also will include Nicholas McCarthy’s “The Pact,” with Casper Van Dien and Caity Lotz in the story of a woman whose childhood home is beset by a mysterious presence after her mother’s death; “Black Rock,” with director Katie Aselton, Lake Bell and Kate Bosworth in a thriller about three friends fighting for survival during a weekend getaway; and Dylan Southern and Joe Swanberg’s “Shut Up and Play the Hits,” a documentary following LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy for two days amid the band’s farewell concert in April.

Sundance programming director Trevor Groth said he aimed to rev up the midnight lineup this time, “so I did a lot of outreach into the pockets of filmmakers making the kind of films we want.”

“It’s actually going to be one of the most exciting collections of films in the midnight section we’ve ever had. Something for everyone, as long as they like it kind of crazy,” Groth said. “Hopefully, it’ll keep you awake. For me, it’s the stuff that really pushes the envelope. The more outrageous it is for me, the better. I really want to be shocked or surprised or laugh so hard that I pass out.”

JK Rowling: UK press left me feeling under siege

Thursday, November 24th, 2011
AP Photo
AP Photo

LONDON (AP) — Writer J.K. Rowling and actress Sienna Miller gave a London courtroom a vivid picture on Thursday of the anxiety, anger and fear produced by living in the glare of Britain’s tabloid media, describing how press intrusion made them feel like prisoners in their own homes.

The creator of boy wizard Harry Potter told Britain’s media ethics inquiry that having journalists camped on her doorstep was “like being under siege and like being a hostage.” Miller said years of car chases, midnight pursuits and intimate revelations had left her feeling violated, paranoid and anxious.

“The attitude seems to be absolutely cavalier,” Rowling said. “You’re famous, you’re asking for it.”

The pair were among a diverse cast of witnesses – Hollywood star Hugh Grant, a former soccer player, a former aide to supermodel Elle Macpherson and the parents of missing and murdered children – who have described how becoming the focus of Britain’s tabloid press wreaked havoc on their lives.

Rowling said she was completely unprepared for the media attention she began to receive when her first book, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,” became a sensation. The seven Potter books have sold more than 450 million copies, spawned a hit movie series and propelled Rowling from struggling single mother to one of Britain’s richest people.

“When you become well-known … no one gives you a guidebook,” she said.

Prime Minister David Cameron set up the inquiry amid a still-unfolding scandal over illegal eavesdropping by the News of the World tabloid. Owner Rupert Murdoch closed down the newspaper in July after evidence emerged that it had illegally accessed the mobile phone voice mails of celebrities, politicians and even crime victims in its search of scoops.

More than a dozen News of the World journalists and editors have been arrested, and the scandal has also claimed the jobs of two top London police officers, Cameron’s media adviser and several senior Murdoch executives.

It has also set off national soul-searching about the balance between press freedom and individual privacy.

Rowling, 46, said media interest in her began shortly after the publication of her first novel in 1997 and soon escalated, with photographers and reporters frequently stationed outside her home. She eventually moved after stories and photographs revealed the location of her house.

Elle Macpherson’s adviser: Hacking cost me my job

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011
AP Photo
AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis

LONDON (AP) — Elle Macpherson fired her business adviser for leaking secrets when journalists were actually getting juicy details about the supermodel by hacking into her phone, the former aide told a British inquiry into media ethics Tuesday.

In testimony that illuminated the human costs of the illegal practice, Mary-Ellen Field described how she lost both her job for Macpherson and one at an advisory firm because of the unfounded suspicions – a double-blow that was all the more serious because she was in poor health.

“It had a very serious effect,” she told the inquiry. “I had become ill and was falling down all the time.” She didn’t identify her illness.

Field was one of several victims of press intrusion testifying Tuesday at Britain’s Royal Courts of Justice. The inquiry, headed by Lord Justice Brian Leveson, was set up by Prime Minister David Cameron after the scandal over phone hacking and other underhanded tactics used at the News of the World, which was closed by media mogul Rupert Murdoch in July amid allegations of widespread criminality.

The inquiry plans to issue a report next year and could recommend major changes to the way the media in Britain are regulated. It has already heard several alarming tales of media abuse.

Field, with a friendly and open demeanor that showed no traces of bitterness toward the press or her former boss, said her relationship with Macpherson was once close, but it fell apart after the model’s intimate secrets began appearing in the press in 2005. Macpherson became convinced that Field, a fellow Australian, was an alcoholic and ordered her to go to an American rehabilitation clinic.

Field said she was shocked by the allegations she was a drunk who’d been blabbing about her employer, but went along with Macpherson’s recommendation because she needed her job.

“I have a severely disabled child who can never look after himself, so walking away from a high-paying position is not a good idea,” Field said.

The rehab was grueling – she described it as being “like one of those CIA renditions, except they don’t put you in chains” – but it didn’t help the situation.

Even though staff at the clinic said Field was not an alcoholic, Macpherson fired her anyway, and Field lost her job at her firm shortly afterward. She told the inquiry there was no doubt the sacking was the result of what happened with Macpherson.

Although it has since emerged that the media leaks were the result of phone hacking by the News of the World tabloid, not any indiscretions, Field said she has not heard from Macpherson in years. Macpherson’s office did not respond to emails sent by The Associated Press seeking comment.

She was the first in a daylong parade of witnesses chronicling media misdeeds.

Soccer player Garry Flitcroft told of his family’s harassment by the media after the failure of a judicial bid to block news of his extramarital affair, saying that at one point journalists used a helicopter to track his movements.

Flitcroft said journalists “wanted to make a statement to me: ‘Never take on the press again.'”

British comedian Steve Coogan claimed in his testimony that he was warned in 2002 that Andy Coulson – then deputy editor of News of the World – would be listening in on a phone conversation Coogan had with a woman in a bid to trick him into making indiscreet comments. Coulson later went on to become Cameron’s top media adviser, but he lost that job when he became embroiled in the scandal.

The parents of murdered British schoolgirl Milly Dowler and film star Hugh Grant were the first victims to testify to the panel on Monday, with Grant being particularly scathing about the Mail on Sunday tabloid, which he suggested had hacked his phone.

The Daily Mail called Grant’s allegations “mendacious smears driven by his hatred of the media,” but that response in turn sparked outrage, with lawyers at the inquiry saying it smacked of an attempt to intimidate witnesses.

David Sherborne, who represents victims of media intrusion at the inquiry, said his clients feared “the sort of intimidatory tactics that we’ve seen in the press this morning.”

Lawyer Jonathan Caplan defended The Mail, saying the paper’s comments were “a response to the fact that (Grant) was commenting freely that there was not a substratum of evidence” to support his allegation.

Leveson had limited sympathy for the Mail’s argument, noting that while the paper had defended itself, it had also accused Grant of lying under oath.

“The real issue is whether it’s appropriate to go from the defensive to the offensive in that way,” Leveson said. He added later: “I would be unhappy if it was felt that the best form of defense was always attack.”

Online:

Leveson Inquiry: http://www.levesoninquiry.org.uk/

Raphael G. Satter can be reached at: http://twitter.com/razhael

Oscars Academy honors Vanessa Redgrave in London

Sunday, November 13th, 2011
AP Photo
AP Photo/FRANKA BRUNS

LONDON (AP) — Hollywood’s film academy is honoring acting icon Vanessa Redgrave at a star-studded ceremony in London.

Meryl Streep, Ralph Fiennes and James Earl Jones are scheduled to join Sunday’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences tribute to Redgrave’s 50-year career.

A member of a famous British acting dynasty, Redgrave is also known for her left-wing political activism.

The 74-year-old actress has been nominated for six Oscars and won for her supporting role as an anti-Nazi activist in 1977’s “Julia.”

On ‘SNL,’ Penn State scandal offends even Satan

Sunday, November 13th, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) — On “Saturday Night Live,” even the devil was offended by the Penn State child sex abuse scandal.

“SNL” cast member Jason Sudeikis reprised his role as Satan, appearing with red horns and pitchfork. The devil was informed by “Weekend Update” host Seth Meyers of sex charges against a former defensive coordinator and allegations that university officials failed to report the abuse.

Even he was disturbed by the news. Addressing Penn State students who protested football coach Joe Paterno’s firing, the devil spoke directly into the camera, asking, “Do you know how bad that made you look?”

Tony Bennett visits New Orleans, plugs rebuilding

Friday, November 11th, 2011
AP Photo
AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Grammy-winning jazz crooner Tony Bennett is championing a rebuilding effort to help New Orleans residents displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

At the site of the 101st and final house built by Project Home Again, the 85-year-old singer said Friday that bringing people home is important to protecting the culture and traditions of New Orleans.

Says Bennett: “The gospel music, the music that started in churches here that created the art form of jazz, that needs to be preserved.”

Rappers take to mic in Oakland Occupy protest

Monday, November 7th, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Hip hop heavyweights known as much for their fiery political lyrics as for their bass-pounding beats have been among the thousands marching, tweeting and sharing dinner with protestors in the Occupy Oakland protests in recent weeks.

MC Hammer, Raymond “Boots” Riley of hip hop group The Coup, and local rapper Mistah FAB have become a regular presence at the encampments, taking up bullhorns and staying until dawn even amid clashes with police.

Now, as the far-flung movement challenging the world’s economic systems and distribution of wealth gains momentum, the artists say despite their fame, they, too, stand for the 99 percent.

“I’m trying to make a soundtrack out there that rallies people around certain ideas about living in this system into motivation,” Riley said. “This movement is only a couple of months old, and if you compare anyone’s favorite social change movement they haven’t accomplished as much as what’s happened already.”

Rappers Talib Kweli, Kanye West and Lupe Fiasco also have visited protesters in New York City’s Zuccotti Park, and other major cities. But Oakland became a rallying point for Occupy Wall Street demonstrators nationwide after an Iraq War veteran was injured two weeks ago in a tear gas-filled confrontation with riot police.

‘Broads’ to chat sports, Vegas at ex-mayor’s joint

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Former Las Vegas mayor Oscar Goodman was known to swill gin and bring showgirls everywhere while he was in office. Now, the booze and girls will stay as he opens his new steakhouse Dec. 15.

Sin City’s colorful ex-mayor tells The Associated Press that his Beef, Booze and Broads steakhouse at the Plaza Hotel and Casino will feature pretty hostesses hired to chat with diners about topics like sports and Las Vegas. He says they’ll eat and drink with guests.

The bar features a “No-bama” whiskey cocktail, playing on a flap Goodman stirred in 2009 when he sought an apology from President Barack Obama for comments Goodman thought hurt Las Vegas.

Goodman says it’s all in good fun – and that Obama’s welcome to have a drink at his joint.

Madoff: Has remorse, doesn’t contemplate suicide

Thursday, October 27th, 2011
AP Photo
AP Photo/Stuart Ramson

NEW YORK (AP) — Disgraced financier Bernie Madoff has told an interviewer he has terrible remorse and horrible nightmares over his epic fraud, but also said he feels happier in prison than he’s felt in 20 years.

Barbara Walters told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Thursday that she interviewed Madoff for two hours at the prison in Butner, N.C., where he’s serving a 150-year sentence. No cameras were allowed in the prison.

Lohan late to Day 1 of community service at morgue

Thursday, October 20th, 2011
AP Photo
AP Photo/Mark Boster

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Coroner’s officials say Lindsay Lohan has arrived late to her first day of community service at the morgue and was turned away.

Spokesman Craig Harvey says the actress was 40 minutes late to an orientation session scheduled for 8 a.m. Thursday, but will be given another chance to show up on time on Friday.

Lohan tried to report to the morgue one day after she was scolded by a judge for being terminated from a community service assignment at a women’s shelter. The hearing ended with the 25-year-old actress’ probation being revoked and her being led from court in handcuffs.

Young Turks’ Cenk Uygur headed to Current TV

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) — Current TV is bringing Cenk Uygur and “The Young Turks” to its prime-time lineup.

Current will work with Uygur and his team to launch a television version of their online program by year-end, the network announced Tuesday.

The Young Turks, led by Uygur, are a group of progressive journalists and commentators who draw millions of Web viewers and claim to be the Internet’s most-watched news show. Like the online original, the new Current version will cover politics, pop culture and lifestyle, and will be produced from Los Angeles.

Current disclosed no details of the deal.

“Cenk has really demonstrated a unique talent for translating complex daily events into a narrative context that reveals deeper meanings and engages his audience,” Current chairman Al Gore said in an interview with The Associated Press, “and he has connected, in particular, with a young demographic interested in what’s going on in the world.”

Uygur’s show will precede “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” at 7 p.m. Eastern each weeknight. Like Olbermann, Uygur was formerly a presence on cable-news network MSNBC. Olbermann left MSNBC last January and soon afterward joined Current, where “Countdown” resumed in June as the centerpiece of a planned full night of talk programing.

Uygur had held MSNBC’s 6 p.m. hour for some months before abruptly exiting the network in July, saying his bosses had told him he was too combative toward the Washington power elite. (The network countered that no effort was made to leash Uygur, and insisted other time slots had been offered him.) Soon afterward, civil rights leader Al Sharpton was named the permanent host of the 6 p.m. slot.

“I have no interest in doing a pro-Establishment show,” Uygur said, “and that’s not what I’ll be doing at Current.”

After leaving MSNBC, Uygur had professed to be satisfied with his online home and in no hurry to find a TV outlet.

Kutcher sets a record for sitcom

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011
AP Photo
AP Photo/DANNY FELD

NEW YORK (AP) — Ashton Kutcher has bragging rights over Charlie Sheen.

Kutcher’s debut in the CBS sitcom “Two and a Half Men” on Monday was seen by 27.7 million people. The Nielsen company says that’s more than any other episode in the first eight seasons, when Sheen was the star.

The sitcom’s previous best came in May 2005 following the final episode of “Everybody Loves Raymond.”

Emmycast with Jane Lynch presiding was a winner

Monday, September 19th, 2011
AP Photo
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Even if your favorite nominee got snubbed, Sunday’s Emmycast could have been the most satisfying in memory.

It was funny, bright and skillfully hosted by “Glee” star Jane Lynch.

It moved at a brisk clip, free of the usual stumbles and lulls, and, even better, it flowed almost seamlessly, a next-to-impossible feat for any awards show.

Production values at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles were eye-popping, from the setting – an omega-shaped arch through which presenters made their entrance – to a tour-de-force comic musical number spearheaded by Andy Samberg and fellow “Saturday Night Live” performers that might have had some viewers scratching their heads in bewilderment, but had to leave them dazzled nonetheless.

Colbert to meet Radiohead in hour-long episode

Monday, September 19th, 2011
AP Photo
AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

NEW YORK (AP) — Stephen Colbert meeting Radiohead is such a special occasion, a regular episode of “The Colbert Report” wasn’t sufficient.

The Comedy Central show will air its first hour-long episode Sept. 26, when Colbert sits down with the British rock group.

Radiohead will perform four songs, featuring material off its most recent album, “The King of Limbs,” as well as the recently debuted and unreleased track, “The Daily Mail.” An additional song will also be performed for the online version of “The Colbert Report.”

Colbert said in a statement: “I look forward to meeting the Radioheads and leveraging their anti-corporate indie cred to raise brand awareness for my sponsors.”

Colbert lost at the Emmys on Sunday night to “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.”

Online:

http://www.ColbertNation.com

Media pause to reflect on Sept. 11 anniversary

Sunday, September 11th, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) — For all the journalistic firepower gathered to mark the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on Sunday, the small moments captured by cameras resonated most deeply.

A 21-year-old boy regretted that his father wasn’t there to help him learn how to drive a car. Young hands grasped at a name etched in a memorial as if they could touch the person himself. A young woman asked a mother no longer there if she is proud of her family.

Live coverage of somber ceremonies memorializing the attack’s victims dominated television networks on Sunday, the climax of two weeks of attention paid to the historical marker. Newspapers published special sections and websites offered their own content – Yahoo even observing a digital moment of silence.

The television coverage was centered around the annual memorial service at New York’s World Trade Center. CNN kept a timeline, occasionally flashing mileposts of what happened 10 years ago at their precise moments: as former President George W. Bush read a letter from Abraham Lincoln to the mother of five men killed in the Civil War, the screen noted that exactly 10 years ago Bush’s chief of staff was whispering to his boss that “America is under attack.”

“The images still shock, the heartbreak still hurts,” CNN’s Anderson Cooper said as the network showed pictures from 2001.

Sunday’s coverage offered dozens of heart-rending moments, perhaps none more so than when Peter Negron, 21, recalled his father Pete, a project manager for environmental issues for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, who died at the World Trade Center. He noted that he tried to teach his brother, aged 2 when their father died, things like throwing a baseball that dad had showed him. He regretted that his father wasn’t there to teach him how to drive, or ask a girl out on a date.

Tom Brokaw, who anchored NBC News’ coverage 10 years ago and worked as a commentator with Brian Williams on Sunday, briefly struggled for composure after watching a red-eyed Paul Simon sing “The Sounds of Silence.”

“Music is such a critical part of these kinds of ceremonies,” he said. “It evokes memories, speaks to us in a way that our everyday language cannot.”

Most of the networks covered the beginning of the reading of names of World Trade Center victims by family members, but cut away for other things, including ceremonies where planes hit that day at the Pentagon and Shanksville, Penn.

That made for some discordant moments, such as when ABC’s George Stephanopoulos asked Robin Roberts to describe what the screen already had shown.

“Can you just give us a sense of what it is like where the names are being read?” Stephanopoulos asked.

“I’m trying to keep my voice down,” Roberts replied. “Everyone is being very respectful in listening to the names being read.”

Fox introduced a reporter by injecting an odd sense of competition, saying he had been the first to report that the towers had fallen down – a picture seen live by millions 10 years ago.

Perhaps most powerfully, CBS News stuck with the list of names longer than its rivals, each reader ending with an often heartbreaking personal tribute. Still, the network ended its three-hour coverage without even reaching the halfway point through the alphabetical list.

“It takes a very long time to read 3,000 names,” CBS’ Scott Pelley said. “It’s a reminder of the enormity of what happened.”

New York affiliates of the broadcast networks, as has been their tradition, stuck with the readings after network coverage went off the air. Fox and CNN ran lists of victims’ names on the bottom of their screens throughout the morning.

The Associated Press provided live video from the memorial service. It also produced a running moment to moment timeline, contrasting what was happening Sunday to what was happening in those moments 10 years earlier.

The New York Times published a 40-page special section, “The Reckoning,” on Sunday, with a cover picture of the reflecting pool at ground zero. An interactive package with the same name includes a graphic tally of the cost of 9/11 to the United States, an estimated $3.3 trillion. The Times is also collecting comments about where people were on that day and how they feel now.

A web package put together by The Wall Street Journal contained graphics showing how lower Manhattan around ground zero has become a more residential community. Cameras from different vantage points give online visitors views of rebuilding at the World Trade Center.

Yahoo halted service on its website for a minute at 8:46 a.m. ET, 10 years after the first plane hit the North Tower, a digital moment of silence. Facebook added ways for users to dedicate profile photos and status updates to 9/11 victims. Google’s home site had a black ribbon and the phrase, “Remembering September 11th.”

YouTube started a specific 9/11 channel, asking viewers to submit videos with their thoughts.

Advertisers in special newspaper sections tailored their messages to the occasion. The New York Daily News’ 80-page special section contained memorial ads from Macy’s, the utility Con Edison, Emblem Health, Key Food, the New York Jets and the Eye Bank of New York. Some tried to do business: The Bradford Exchange offered commemorative plaques, pendants and sculptures for sale.

Ryan Nakashima in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

Charlie Sheen smiles through Comedy Central roast

Sunday, September 11th, 2011
AP Photo
AP Photo/Dan Krauss

CULVER CITY, Calif. (AP) — Charlie Sheen smiled through a Comedy Central roast as Mike Tyson, William Shatner, actress Kate Walsh and half a dozen comedians riffed on his high-profile year.

Sheen was famously fired from his sitcom “Two and a Half Men” in March after a very public meltdown during which he claimed to be a “rock star from Mars” who has “tiger blood” and “Adonis DNA.”

Elizabeth Taylor’s iconic jewels coming to auction

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011
AP Photo
AP Photo/Richard Drew

NEW YORK (AP) — Elizabeth Taylor dazzled the world with her luminous beauty, lavish lifestyle – and an unquenchable passion for diamonds and jewels that was fueled by the great loves of her life.

The late Hollywood star amassed one of the foremost jewelry collections in the world, including a 33.19-carat diamond ring and a 16th century pear-shaped pearl from one of her seven husbands, Richard Burton.

The Associated Press recently viewed about two dozen of her most iconic pieces at Christie’s auction house, which is selling her complete jewelry collection, valued at $30 million, in New York on Dec. 13-14.

“These are the top jewels that Elizabeth Taylor received from the great loves of her life, Mike Todd and Richard Burton,” said Christie’s jewelry expert Rahul Kadakia. “They’re from moments in life that were very dear to her,” jewels that were purchased in Bulgari in Rome, at Cartier in New York and at auction.

The stories behind them are as priceless as the gems themselves. In a 2002 memoir, “My Love Affair with Jewelry,” Taylor took readers on a personal journey of her collection, describing in her own words how she came to own each piece.

“I never, never thought of my jewelry as trophies,” she wrote. “I’m here to take care of them and to love them. . When I die and they go off to auction I hope whoever buys them gives them a really good home.”

It’s an extraordinary collection of rubies, diamonds, emeralds and sapphires in intricate and bold designs.

Among the standouts is the 16th-century La Peregrina, one of the largest and most symmetrically perfect pear-shaped pearls in the world, which Burton purchased for Taylor in 1969 as a Valentine’s Day gift.

Internet archive shows Sept. 11 coverage

Monday, September 5th, 2011
AP Photo
AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler

NEW YORK (AP) — For many in New York and Washington, Sept. 11, 2001, was a personal experience, an attack on their cities. Most everywhere else in the world, it was a television event.

TV’s commemoration as the 10th anniversary approaches on Sunday puts that day in many different contexts. There is one place, however, for people to see the Sept. 11 attacks and the week after as they unfolded, without any filters.

The Internet Archive, a California-based organization that collects audio, moving images and Web pages for historical purposes, has put together a television news archive of that day’s coverage.

More than 20 channels were recorded with more than 3,000 hours of television. Besides major U.S. networks like ABC, CBS, CNN and NBC, the Internet Archive has posted online TV recordings from Moscow, Paris, London, Baghdad, Tokyo, Ottawa and elsewhere.

The site is available at http://www.archive.org/details/911/day .

‘The Help’ puts in overtime at No. 1 with $19M

Monday, September 5th, 2011
AP Photo
AP Photo/Dale Robinette

LOS ANGELES (AP) — “The Help” stayed on the job over Labor Day, finishing as the No. 1 film for the third-straight weekend.

The acclaimed drama about Southern black maids speaking out during the civil-rights movement took in $19 million over the long holiday weekend, according to studio estimates Monday.

That raised the film’s domestic total to $123.4 million. “The Help” also has begun rolling out overseas, pulling in $1.7 million in its first international market, Australia.

A DreamWorks Pictures release distributed by Disney, “The Help” has been a triumph amid a rush of late-summer duds that ended Hollywood’s busiest season. Another batch of new movies this weekend packed in modest to small crowds.

Lewis gone, but telethon brings in more than ’10

Monday, September 5th, 2011
AP Photo
AP Photo/Richard Cartwright

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Even without Jerry Lewis, the Muscular Dystrophy Association telethon posted its best gain since the recession started, though the program’s longtime host was on the minds of many during the 46th annual fundraiser.

“American Idol” executive producer Nigel Lythgoe said after co-hosting Sunday’s program that he’s sorry the famed comedian didn’t participate, but the organization needs to move on to ensure the fundraiser continues.

The telethon raised nearly $61.5 million Sunday, an increase of about $2.6 million over last year, MDA officials said.

Lythgoe told The Associated Press minutes after the six-hour live broadcast ended on the east coast that he thought the 85-year-old actor would show up either during the telecast or earlier to film a taped segment of his signature song “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”

Rapper T.I. returned to federal prison in Atlanta

Friday, September 2nd, 2011
AP Photo
AP Photo/John Amis

ATLANTA (AP) — Grammy-winning rapper T.I., who was moved to a halfway house this week after months in prison, is locked up again at a federal penitentiary, with his lawyer citing a flap over using a luxury bus to report to a halfway house.

Reality TV show ‘Russian Dolls’ stirs controversy

Thursday, September 1st, 2011
AP Photo
AP Photo

NEW YORK (AP) — A mother is lecturing her 23-year-old daughter about her love life, flailing a kitchen knife above her head for emphasis.

Mom’s point: She’d like her immigrant daughter, from the former Soviet republic of Moldova, to marry a man with similar roots, keeping the family’s East European Jewish tradition.

Alas, the daughter informs mom that she’s already dating a Hispanic man.

But she soon dumps him, on-camera, during a restaurant date.

Cher takes to Twitter to defend Chaz Bono on DWTS

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011
AP Photo
AP Photo/Matt Sayles

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Cher is taking to Twitter to defend her son Chaz Bono.

The superstar posted several tweets Wednesday defending his participation on the upcoming season of “Dancing With the Stars.” Bono is the first transgender competitor on the hit ABC show.

Cher says her son, who was born female and underwent surgery to become a man, is being “viciously attacked” on blogs and message boards since the new cast was announced Monday.

“This is Still America right? It took guts 2 do it,” Cher wrote, adding that she supports him no matter what he chooses to do.

“Mothers don’t stop Getting angry with stupid bigots who (mess) with their children!” the 65-year-old singer wrote.

Jeter and Kelly split up

Saturday, August 27th, 2011
AP Photo
AP Photo/Bill Kostroun, left; Dan Steinberg

NEW YORK (AP) — Derek Jeter is a free agent again.

After three years together, the Yankees captain has broken up with Minka Kelly, the actress’ representative told The Associated Press.

Jeter, in Baltimore for a series against the Orioles, would not comment.

Kelly was a frequent visitor to Yankee Stadium while the two were dating.

In a rare public display of their relationship, Kelly was included in the HBO documentary on Jeter’s chase for 3,000 hits, “Derek Jeter 3K.”

Kelly is best known for her role in “Friday Night Lights” and is now filming ABC’s remake of “Charlie’s Angels.”

Jon Stewart to host session with Nirvana members

Thursday, August 25th, 2011
AP Photo
AP Photo/Chris Young

NEW YORK (AP) — Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart will host a Q&A session with the surviving members of rock band Nirvana to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its album “Nevermind.”

Stewart will host the event on SiriusXM for two hours on Sept. 24. It will feature fans, Nirvana band members Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic, and Butch Vig, the producer behind “Nevermind.” Kurt Cobain, the band’s lead singer, committed suicide in 1994.

“Nevermind” was the band’s second album and has sold 10 million units in the United States. It features Nirvana’s biggest hit, “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

Grohl is now the lead singer of the Foo Fighters.

SiriusXM will also launch the all-Nirvana channel, Nevermind Radio, on Sept. 23 until Sept. 28.

http://www.siriusxm.com

Schwarzenegger comeback to be filmed in New Mexico

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011
AP Photo
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

BELEN, N.M. (AP) — Arnold Schwarzenegger will be making his movie comeback in New Mexico.

The Valencia County New-Bulletin ( http://bit.ly/p8kq17 ) reports the movie “Last Stand” will start filming in Belen, N.M., in October.

The movie is a modern day Western about convicts making their way to the Mexican border through New Mexico after escaping from a prison in Las Vegas, Nev.

Jerry Lewis: Saving lives through MDA was honor

Sunday, August 21st, 2011
AP Photo
AP Photo/Glenn Pinkerton

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Jerry Lewis said Saturday that his years of service to the Muscular Dystrophy Association helped make him a star, but he didn’t provide details on his recent departure as the group’s national chairman.

In his first public appearance since the that announcement, Lewis accepted a lifetime achievement award from the Nevada Broadcasters Association, saying that he made his reputation in show business by saving lives.

Kardashian, Humphries wed in TV-friendly ceremony

Sunday, August 21st, 2011
AP Photo
AP Photo/Matt Sayles

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) — Kris Humphries has officially caught up with Kim Kardashian. The basketball pro and the reality star are husband and wife.

Kardashian, 30, and Humphries, 26, tied the knot Saturday night in the exclusive Montecito area near Santa Barbara, Calif., Kardashian publicist Jill Fritzo told People magazine and E!

The ceremony will be televised as a two-part special on E! in October.

It is the first marriage for Humphries, who last played for the NBA’s New Jersey Nets, and the second for Kardashian, star of E!’s “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.” She was married to music producer Damon Thomas from 2000 to 2004.

Police make new arrest in UK phone hacking inquiry

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

LONDON (AP) — British police made a new arrest Thursday in the country’s tabloid phone hacking scandal, amid fresh scrutiny of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire after newly disclosed documents appeared to contradict testimony his son and top aide gave to U.K. lawmakers.

Police in London confirmed a 38-year-old man, who they declined to name, was arrested at a London police station after he arrived voluntarily Thursday. He is the 13th person to be arrested so far in the saga – only one of those arrested has already been cleared.

Heidi Klum — Topless Bikini Babe

Monday, August 15th, 2011

Heidi Klum Topless
An ecstatic Heidi Klum let it all hang out in Sardinia, Italy this weekend by going topless on the beach.

!

See also

  • Heidi Klum Shows Off Her Sexy Bikini Body
  • Heidi Klum Goes Topless for Glamour, Talks Lingerie
  • Heidi Klum — Bikini Bride

22 COMMENTS

Hollywood studio partners with China moviemakers

Monday, August 15th, 2011

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Hollywood studio Relativity Media says it is partnering with two companies to make Chinese films for global audiences and distribute movies in the fast-growing Chinese market.

Oksana Wants $500k from Mel For ‘Trauma’ to Her Son

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

0812-oksana-grig-mel-g-EX
Oksana Grigorieva made it clear to the family law judge Friday — she wants a bundle from Mel Gibson, including a half a million bucks for the alleged trauma she claims Mel caused her 14-year-old son, fathered by actor Timothy Dalton.

Why the world is ready for 2 ‘Snow Whites’

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Moviegoers may want to take two bites of the same apple next year: A pair of live-action adventure flicks based on Snow White will come out in theaters just months apart.

As it stands, the first, still-unnamed Snow White movie is scheduled for release March 16. That gives moviegoers two and a half months before “Snow White and the Huntsman” on June 1.

Executives are confident that both projects can succeed, given their differences in stars, tone and plot.

However bizarre the coincidence is, history shows that two similar projects like these can both attract large audiences.

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Aguilera to perform at Jackson tribute concert

Thursday, August 11th, 2011
AP Photo
AP Photo/Matt Sayles

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Christina Aguilera is lending her voice to a Michael Jackson tribute concert planned for October in Wales.

Organizers of “Michael Forever – The Tribute Concert” announced Thursday that Aguilera would be joined by members of the Jackson family, Cee Lo Green, Leona Lewis and the band Alien Ant Farm, which is known for its cover of Jackson’s song “Smooth Criminal.”

Sesame Street: Bert and Ernie AREN’T GAY!!!

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

0811-bert-ernie-google3-BN
Sesame Street has finally responded to age-old rumors that Bert and Ernie are gay — claiming the infamous room-sharing man-puppet odd couple are JUST FRIENDS … and have no sexual orientation whatsoever.

Nicolas Cage — Shady & Looking for Cash

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

0810-nicholas-cage-splash
Looking like a homeless hipster longshoreman, Nicolas Cage hit up an ATM for some cash while in Glastonbury, England on Wednesday.

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