Monday, January 31, 2011

For it's "tech-savy fan base"

Jed York faces quite a task. As president of the San Francisco 49ers, the franchise his family owns, York has the challenge of coming up with a state-of-the-art stadium design for perhaps the world's most technologically discerning fan base — in the heart of the Silicon Valley.

Set aside for a moment the difficulty of actually getting a stadium constructed in California, and consider the approach of York, 29, who envisions a venue that satisfies the old-line fans and those from his plugged-in generation.

For that, he has to think outside the box … and inside the tablet, pad and hand-held device.

While heaping praise on Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and his palatial new stadium — one that features a colossal high-definition video screen — York said that's not his vision for a 49ers stadium.

"Everything for us is micro, not macro," York said in a telephone interview. "In the Silicon Valley, we want to know: What you can do on your smartphone? Our approach is, why build a $50-million scoreboard as opposed to enabling 65,000 people to have scoreboards in their hands that are interactive?

Glittery Debut

Half a century on, at long last there's something afoot that might lure Robert Redford and other arts lovers to the San Fernando Valley — or at least make it worth their while to check the cultural listings and consider that, on a given night, Cal State Northridge may have the most happening arts palace in town.

The difference-maker is the new Valley Performing Arts Center, a $125-million, 1,700-seat answer to one of America's longest-running geographical put-downs. Tyne Daly, Gillian Murphy, Ethan Stiefel and Dave Koz will highlight the gala opening Jan. 29. Then it's down to business — if not quite business as usual. Taking a deliberately gradualist approach to presenting in a major hall after years of booking only a 500-seater, the university will offer 14 performances in a four-month spring season.

Classical attractions are the China Philharmonic Orchestra (April 16) and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa (March 12). For Broadway fans, there are concerts by Joel Grey and Marvin Hamlisch (Feb. 26), Brian Stokes Mitchell (April 30) and Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin (May 21). Dance offerings are the Russian National Ballet's "Swan Lake" (Feb. 8), Parsons Dance (March 4) and Aszure Barton & Artists (March 26). Arianna Huffington lectures on Feb. 19, and Joan Rivers jests on March 1. Shirley MacLaine performs May 7; pop music performers are Shawn Colvin and Loudon Wainwright III (Feb. 5) and Rosanne Cash (March 19). Mexican brass quintet Metales M5 plays a free Cinco de Mayo concert on the plaza framed by the three-sided performance center, where the reflective glass and tile exterior changes colors as each day progresses.

Tickets are $15 to $55, or $25 to $70, with subscriber discounts of 10% to 40%.

Jack LaLanne

Jack LaLanne, with his hand and foot chained, tows 76 youths in 13 boats for a mile across Long Beach Harbor in 1976. He opened what is commonly believed to be the nation's first health club, in Oakland, in 1936.


On the beach in Santa Monica, a young Jack LaLanne is third from the bottom. Harold Zinkin does a back bend, supporting Deforrest "Moe" Most, who supports LaLanne, with Gene Miller on top. LaLanne was the spiritual father of the health movement that blossomed into a national craze of weight rooms, exercise classes and fancy sports clubs.

(Photo by Harold Zinkin and Bonnie Hearn)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

"A Kool Tradition "

In past years the Grand National Roadster Show has brought us some crazy customs of the '60s like this Barber Shop car creation by Joe Bailon.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Red Bull Crashed Ice World Championship returns in 2011 bigger, badder and better than ever before...

Topping 2010, and two extraordinary events in Munich and Quebec, is no mean feat but Red Bull Crashed Ice is about to take Ice Cross Downhill competition to a whole new level.

Four courses in four different countries will be carved out of ice as elite athletes fuse ice skating and skiercross to create this year's unique winter spectacle.

Featuring athletes in full ice hockey gear racing four-at-a-time down a high-impact course packed full of bumps and jumps, unpredictable action is guaranteed.

Germany’s Martin Niefnecker kept his feet and held his nerve to be crowned the inaugural Red Bull Crashed Ice World Champion in 2010. Snapping at his heels this year will be some fearsome Finns, ice-cool Canadians, and, of course, the ice cross downhill legend Jasper Felder. The Swede will be out to prove who’s really boss. After all, revenge is a dish best served ice-cold!

It’s Raining, Men

Laura Jacobs and Michael Roberts spotlight the male stars of Fox’s Glee, in a designer-clad homage to Gene Kelly. The men of Glee—Mark Salling, Kevin McHale, Chris Colfer, Matthew Morrison, and Cory Monteith—with Chris Burden’s 2008 “Urban Light” installation at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

The glory of Rome

ROME (AP).- The founder of Tod's luxury leather goods and shoes announced Friday that he will foot the 25 million euros ($34 million) to restore the Colosseum. The ancient Roman arena is blackened by pollution and rocked by vibrations from a nearby subway line. Officials accepted Diego Della Valle's offer to sponsor the restoration. But Della Valle said he expected other entrepreneurs to also step in to help out as the project gets under way. "It is the end of a nightmare," Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno said.

Monday, January 24, 2011

"A surprise awaits you"

Reporting from Miami Beach — From nearly every exterior angle — as approached from the beach, which is just a few blocks from its front door, or from the boutiques and gelaterias on nearby Lincoln Road — Frank Gehry's building for the New World Symphony looks surprisingly nondescript. Wrapped in glass and white plaster, the six-story concert hall has a boxy profile to go with a rather unassuming architectural personality.

But the building's outward simplicity — miles from the shimmering metal skins of Walt Disney Concert Hall or the Guggenheim Bilbao — turns out to be deceptive. Its soaring sky-lit atrium is filled with a jumble of the architect's familiar sculptural forms. Another collection of his daring shapes awaits inside the auditorium.

Throughout the $160-million concert hall, set to open officially Tuesday evening, the interplay between rectangular containers and their virtuosic architectural contents gives the design a shifting, unpredictable vitality. This is a piece of architecture that dares you to underestimate it or write it off at first glance.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

"Boots can not be changed during the game"

Swamp football is a form of association football that is played in bogs or swamps. The sport is said to come from Bishop Auckland in the north east of England where it initially was used as an exercise activity for athletes and soldiers, since playing on soft bog is physically demanding. However the first organised championship was the 1998 Finnish championship and was the brainchild of Jyrki Väänänen nicknamed "The Swamp Baron" when the creator of swamp football moved there. There are currently an estimated 260 swamp football teams around the world.

The World Championship in swamp football is played annually on Vuorisuo bog in Hyrynsalmi, Finland, the first taking place in 2000. At the swamp football world championship games of 2005, some 5,000 players participated.

"Man bored to death ‘running the tortoises’"

man has died of boredom participating in the annual ‘Running Of The Tortoises’ event through the back streets of Reigate. It is the first such incident recorded during the event’s 100 year history and, although five days had passed, the ‘running’ was abandoned as a mark of respect and an investigation is currently underway.

Safety concerns have been expressed before about this unique spectacle which is normally run over the first fortnight in July. Three time winner, Jack Robson, has always been concerned about participants and spectators not having enough to occupy them once the event commences. “I make sure I carry a fast paced paperback, a hand-held games console, a Sudoku magazine and a thermos of hot coffee. Believe it or not I still have time to keep an eye on the tortoises. I never take them for granted, but you must keep yourself occupied.”

Organiser Brian Charlton confirmed the man who died was indeed a runner, who became fixated by coverage from Natural History TV on the big screen and simply lost the will to live. “It’s a tragedy of course, but we mustn’t be rushed into making hasty changes. People are already saying we should replace the tortoises with a faster animal. Someone even suggested running bulls. I can imagine what Health and Safety would have to say about that.”


Thursday, January 20, 2011

"A fascinating tradition that ran for some 60 years and was never fully explained"

BALTIMORE — Telltale hearts beat with anticipation during a rainy, midnight dreary and beyond, hoping the mysterious visitor to Edgar Allan Poe's grave would return after a one-year absence.

But once again, the unknown person who for decades has left three roses and a half-empty bottle of cognac at Poe's grave on the anniversary of the writer's birth failed to appear Wednesday, fueling speculation that he may have died.

Four impostors came and went overnight. The real one never showed. Around 5 a.m., the dozen Poe fans who were left began to wonder if the eerie ritual is indeed nevermore, so they walked to Poe's tombstone and performed their own tribute by leaving roses and drinking a cognac toast.

A fascinating tradition that ran for some 60 years and was never fully explained appears to have ended at the downtown Westminster Hall and Burying Ground.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

"a daunting number of stairs"

The steep flight of stairs featured in the Oscar-winning 1932 comedy short, "The Music Box" are cherished among fans of the legendary team of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. There's even a plaque on the steps in Silver Lake commemorating the production.

Directed by James Parrott, "The Music Box" — the first film to win the Oscar for live action short — follows the misadventures of Laurel and Hardy as they try to deliver a player piano to a residence located up a daunting number of stairs. Of course, nothing goes according to plan and the duo find themselves in what they always called another fine mess.

The "Music Box" steps still exist at 923-937 Vendome at Del Monte in Silver Lake. But unlike in the film, the steps don't lead to a residence. Instead they connect Vendome with Descano Drive at the hill's top.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

It's like being admitted to their inner circle

In the public eye, they lived a fantasy that mere mortals could only dream of. But between the ellipses of Rat Pack lore existed a carnival of leisure, stress, politics, starlets, heartache and happiness. For decades, some of the only photographic evidence was stashed in a cardboard box labeled "Do Not Print." That is, until now.

"The Rat Pack," a limited-edition volume by Reel Art Press, is a sprawling compilation of visual footnotes in the everyday world of Frank Sinatra and his band of brothers. In private life, their mystique lingered in the clothes they wore, the cigarettes they smoked, the women on their arms and the rules they broke. The bulky hardcover pools guarded snapshots with gems from the cutting-room floor taken at the Cal Neva Resort in North Lake Tahoe and the star-studded gatherings at Peter Lawford's Santa Monica beach house. Among them are shots by Bob Willoughby, Sid Avery, Ted Allen, Bernie Abramson and others in their inner circle.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Will the real Jesse James stand up ???

John William James, who showed up in Los Angeles in 1933, was just one of several men who impersonated the infamous outlaw over the years. To clear up remaining doubts, descendants of Jesse James consented to a 1995 DNA analysis of the remains in Jesse James' casket. The verdict: It was probably Jesse.

Oddly enough, when he was unearthed, he was lying face down.

Biographer Ted Yeatman wrote that some wondered if all of the "impostor stories, bad fiction and movies had caused Jesse James to turn over in his grave."

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The 25th Anniversary of the world-famous Loony Dook

On 1 January 2011 upwards of 1000 brave Loonies took to the freezing waters of the Forth Estuary in the shadow of the iconic Forth Bridge to celebrate the 25th successive year of this massive event now for the first time part of the official Edinburgh's Hogmanay programme. Weather conditions were as good as could be expected, huge crowds gathered on the streets, foreshore and harbour to witness the fun and it is anticipated that many thousands of pounds will be raised for a variety of charities including the RNLI Queensferry station which will also receive a donation from funds raised in registration fees. On behalf of the sponsors, Haggis Adventures, the management team Unique Events said that the event was a great success. Loony Dook stalwart for all of the 25 years and one of the founders of the event, Jim McKenzie said "I know I'm mad but again I thoroughly enjoyed the day. Even so, I'm glad it's over for another year and look forward to 1 January 2012."

The grand parade was led as usual by our Town Crier Lindsay Munro, our piper Michael Shiels and the two veterans Jim McKenzie

"Winning by a toe"

The Bentley Brook Inn in Derbyshire hosts the Ben & Jerry's World Toe Wrestling Championship - a feast of foot foolery, bad wrestling outfits and toeriffically treacherous puns. All proceeds from the event go to the Derbyshire charity When You Wish Upon a Star.

Contestants sit opposite each other on the "Toedium" and, locking big toes, place their feet on a small wooden frame, imaginatively termed the "Toesrack". At the cry of "Toedown" they wrestle both right and left feet, in a straight knockout competition with the winner being the person who pushes his opponent's foot to the bookend on the side of the frame. It's a game of theatrics, awesome ankle power and, of course, plenty of ale and ice cream - courtesy of the sponsors - for the audience.

"Good as Gold"

In a sign of the times, Abu Dhabi's ritzy $3 billion government-owned Emirates Palace Hotel unveiled a gold dispensing ATM machine. The "Gold to Go" ATM, which is itself covered in 24-carat gold, dispenses gold bars up to 10 grams or customized gold coins. The machine monitors changes in the price of gold every ten minutes [gold prices reached a new all time high yesterday, over $1,245/ounce; 10 grams = U.S. $436]. The machine is the idea of German entrepreneur Thomas Geissler, chief executive of Ex oriente Lux AG; it first debuted at the Frankfurt International Airport in 2009. Geissler says he chose Abu Dhabi because . . . well, it's rich, they trust gold more than paper currency and they're no doubt up to their ears in U.S. dollars.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

"Cirque Berzerk"

From the big top to the big time, Cirque Berzerk begins a nearly monthlong residency at Club Nokia. Cirque-goers can expect more of the troupe's signature pairing of traditional circus and aerial arts with punk rock and cabaret noir influences. Club Nokia. 800 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles. Though Jan. 30. $19.50-$125. Check website for times and dates.

"Who did you say? Who ???"

When Andrew Garfield won the role of Spider-Man in July, most people asked, "Who?" Now, after the one-two punch of "Never Let Me Go" and "The Social Network," Garfield has become one of Hollywood's most recognized young actors, picking up a Golden Globe nomination and sharing a Screen Actors Guild ensemble nomination for his work in "The Social Network" and being named … wait for it … an Esquire magazine Grooming Icon for 2011.


LOS ANGELES (AP) — Billionaire Eli Broad's planned downtown Los Angeles contemporary art museum is a three-story, $130 million honeycomb structure.

The developer-philanthropist unveiled the architectural design for the Grand Avenue museum Thursday at the nearby Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Sunday, January 02, 2011


Client: Fernbrook Homes/Cityzen Development Group
Status: First prize in international competition. Under Construction
Location: Mississauga, nr Toronto, Canada
Type: Residential Apartments
Building Area: Phase 4: 45,000 sqm; Phase 5: 40,000 sqm
Building Height: Phase 4: 56 stories/170 m; Phase 5: 50 stories/150 m
Directors in Charge: Ma Yansong, Yosuke Hayano, Dang Qun
Design Team: Shen Jun, Robert Groessinger, Florian Pucher, Yi Wenzhen, Hao Yi, Yao Mengyao, Zhao Fan, Liu Yuan, Zhao Wei, Li Kunjuan, Yu Kui, Max Lonnqvist, Eric Spencer.

"an aquatic world illuminated by brilliant lights"

The Wynn Las Vegas is one of most expensive and exclusive hotels on the Las Vegas Strip, Le Reve is a show like no other ever staged before, and it is housed at the amazing 2087 seat, dome like theater inside the hotel. Le Reve uses the most elaborate stage design, both aesthetically and mechanically to create an aquatic world illuminated by brilliant lights and inhabited by exotic creatures. With about 170 technicians that operate, navigate and support the 68 performers, this show did cost well over $40 million to produce.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

KÀ by Cirque du Soleil at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas

You can see it. You can experience it. But, you wont believe it!

KÀ the unprecedented, gravity-defying production by Cirque du Soleil takes adventure to an all new level. Be awed by a theatrical landscape, as an entire empire appears on KÀ colossal dynamic stage and a captivating display of aerial acrobatics envelops the audience.

2011 Rose Parade

There's no place like home - to build dreams, friendships and memories. This is something well known by US Bank and all of those it supports, as represented on its float which is comprised of an inviting community of homes. The fanciful neighborhood evokes memories of the tree houses enjoyed by so many during childhood, on the way to the American Dream of home ownership. Each home beckons with its warmth - smoke billowing from a chimney, winding staircase, peaked roof, floral accents and colorful butterflies accenting the natural setting - emphasizing that "Home is Where The Heart Is."

"NICE" Vacation Home

This Telluride, Colo., home that producers Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall have put on the market for $19.75 million sits on nearly 6 acres.

(Whit Richardson)