Monday, November 28, 2011
The Criterion Collection's Eclipse series pays tribute to the Indian-born actor Sabu. At 13, he was discovered by documentary filmmaker Robert Flaherty ("Nanook of the North"), who cast him in a role of an elephant driver in the popular 1937 film "Elephant Boy." Sabu is best known for his role as Abu in Alexander and Zoltan Korda's 1940 film "The Thief of Bagdad." Sabu became a U.S. citizen in 1944 and served in the armed services during World War II. His postwar career suffered. He died of a heart attack in 1963.
Director D.W. Griffith once said of French filmmaker Georges Méliès, "I owe him everything." Charlie Chaplin described him as "the alchemist of light."
Méliès built the first movie studio in Europe and was the first filmmaker to use production sketches and storyboards. Film historians consider him the "father of special effects" — he created the first double exposure on screen, the split screen and the dissolve. Not to mention that he was one of the first filmmakers to have nudity in his films — he was French, after all.
And thanks to Martin Scorsese's critically acclaimed 3-D family film, "Hugo," contemporary audiences are being lovingly introduced to the silent film pioneer. "Hugo" is a fanciful tale about a young boy, Hugo (Asa Butterworth), who lives in the Paris train station in the early 1930s and discovers that the curmudgeonly old man (Ben Kingsley) operating a toy shop in the station is Georges Méliès. ("Hugo" took in $15.4 million from Wednesday to Sunday, playing on far fewer screens than other wide releases).
When cinema was in its infancy, Méliès made about 500 films filled with wonder, humor and outrageous effects. A trained magician who captivated audiences with his illusions at the Theatre Robert Houdin, he happened to be in the audience on Dec. 28, 1895, when the Lumière brothers premiered their Cinematographie to the public.
Within a year, he was making his own one-minute films. His best known work, 1902's "A Trip to the Moon," which features the iconic image of a rocket landing in the eye of the man in the moon, has recently been restored to its hand-colored glory.
Sunday, November 27, 2011
From a distance, "Tiger and Turtle -- Magic Mountain" looks like a conventional roller coaster, but get up close and you'll realize its curves aren't meant for a quick adrenaline rush. The steel structure, which made its public debut Nov. 13, is actually a giant sculpture by German artists Heike Mutter and Ulrich Genth.
On Wednesday, December 9 at 8:00pm, the LA Philharmonic’s Holiday Organ Spectacular welcomes David Higgs to the instrument of the hour, soprano Lisa Vroman, Mindy Bell on the harp, and percussionist Bernie Dresel. To help you kick off the holiday season, they’re giving tickets away to Wednesday’s performance!
Saturday, November 26, 2011
For those keeping score, "Breaking Dawn" is missing the interesting indie edge that director Catherine Hardwicke brought to the first film. It does not flat line as badly as the second, "New Moon," which would have died without the werewolves' bite. It loses the brief emotional uptick of No. 3, "Eclipse," which saw the cast blossom into actual actors. So in the "Twilight" pantheon, "Breaking Dawn Part 1" is at best a draw. Hopefully they'll fix what's wrong before next year's finale, because I really can't take another broken heart.
The holidays are fast approaching, so why not pick something up for the “Dexter” fan in your life?
In tandem with this season’s return of the Ice Truck Killer, Showtime is now selling “Dexter” merchandise perfect for those who prefer Brother Brian to Brother Sam.
We’re a fan of the stylish Ty Mattson Season 1 silk screen print, but the “Thumb” drive might be this season’s perfect stocking stuffer for those with dark senses of humor and important files to back up.
If you were harboring any suspicions that Dexter Morgan would be captured and put on the chopping block this season, you might want to get a new theory: “Dexter” has been renewed for two more seasons, Showtime announced today. After a bit of a scary period wherein it seemed unclear whether star Michael C. Hall would return to the show, Seasons 7 and 8 are now locked down, with production on Season 7 beginning in 2012 in Los Angeles. Seasons 7 and 8 will consist of 12 episodes each. “On behalf of the entire ‘Dexter’ family, we relish the invitation to delve ever deeper into Dexter's world,” said Hall.
Season 6 of “Dexter” has been doing well, most recently delivering its fifth consecutive week of growth. Season-to-date, the series is averaging 5.12 million weekly viewers on all platforms, making it the highest rated season yet, according to Showtime.
What a great show !!!
The Walking Dead Board Game is here to give you your zombie fix and because there's a solitaire-play option, you can do it even if all your friends have been eaten. In this game, you're fighting your way through walker-infested Atlanta with your team of survivors. Grab weapons, collect supplies, find safe places to rest. Watch your back, though. When supplies run low, it's every man for himself.
The Hollywood Forever Cemetery is the final resting place of many important figures in movie history, like directors Victor Flemming (Gone With The Wind and The Wizard of Oz) and Cecil B. “I’m ready for my close-up Mr.” Demille (The Ten Commandments and The Greatest Show On Earth), and actors Rudolph Valentino, Douglas Fairbanks and Peter Lorre. But only one star haunts the cemetery: Clifton Webb. He was a popular actor who received three Oscar nominations but never won. While most of his counterparts are satisfied with being immortalized on film, Webb prefers to be immortal in ghost form. His apparition has been seen roaming the Abbey of the Psalms, where he is buried, along with his mom, Maybelle. Mama’s boy to the end.
The former "Nader's Raider" who used California's initiative process to regulate auto insurance rates is headed back to the ballot. This time he's spoiling to take on health insurers.
Harvey Rosenfield, the combative attorney and consumer advocate who wrote California's landmark Proposition 103 more than two decades ago, is preparing a ballot initiative that would force health insurers to get state government approval before they could raise premiums.
Stricter controls are needed to put some restraints on a industry that's reaping fat returns for shareholders and multimillion-dollar salaries for executives while consumers struggle to pay for coverage, Rosenfield said. In California, average premiums for family coverage rose 7.5% in 2010, according to the California HealthCare Foundation. They increased by 3% nationally for the same period. About 1 in 5 Californians, or 7.2 million, have no health insurance.
FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Daimler will axe its Maybach superluxury brand after years of losses and moribund sales, replacing the car with more expensive models of its Mercedes-Benz S-Class flagship saloon starting in 2013.
"We held extensive discussions internally about which way would promise the greatest success in the luxury segment, and we came to the conclusion that the sales chances for the Mercedes brand were better than that of Maybach," Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
"It would not be sensible to develop a successor model for the current Maybach," he added, according to an excerpt of the interview, which will be published in the German daily in full on Saturday.
Instead, he plans to extend the number of S-Class derivatives from a current three to six in order to boost the model's volume, possibly even doubling it to 80,000 cars a year.
A spokesman for the company declined to comment on which new S-Class derivatives would be added on top of the existing saloon, long-wheelbase saloon and the coupe, sold under the CL-Class nameplate.
"Maybach sold cars upwards of 300,000 euros, but what we want to do now is move into the 100,000-300,000 euros segment -- where the annual volumes are in the thousands and not the hundreds," the spokesman said.
There's a lot of redefining going on at this year's Los Angeles Auto Show, particularly among performance- and luxury-oriented auto makers as they fold fuel efficiency and sustainability into their designs.
Friday, November 25, 2011
Kate Winslet is set to see the doomed ship ‘Titanic’ for real – courtesy of billionaire Sir Richard Branson
The Virgin boss had recently divulged his plan to join other tourists paying 38,000 pounds each for a submarine 12,500ft dive to the wreck of ‘Titanic’ in the North Atlantic, the Daily Mail reported.
“It is something I am very keen to do. I’m deadly serious about this and I would love to invite Kate to come with me,” Branson said.
“Wouldn’t it be something if the star of Titanic really got to go down to the real ship? I’m going to talk to her but I’m sure it’s an opportunity she will jump at.”
It is one of the most iconic images in film history. When Kate Winslet stood on the prow of the Titanic in the blockbuster 1997 film, it turned her into an overnight superstar.
A retro look at the SS CATALINA and SS AVALON. They were called the BIG WHITE STEAMERS. These day tourist steamships operated together from 1920 into the early 1950s — except for WW 2. The SS CATALINA (shown above) continued running into the mid-1970s. They provided daily service throughout the summer from Los Angeles to Catalina Island. The SS AVALON lies at the bottom of the Pacific off the coast of Southern California. The SS CATALINA, after a valiant attempt to rescue it, was taken to Mexico where she is rotting in Ensenada Harbor. There was a big deal about making the SS CATALINA a National Historical Monument. But like most "historical" endeavors in California it got lost in financial problems and endless legal action. Cheers to the memory of these ships and the great people who tried to save the SS CATALINA.
LOS ANGELES : The Cadillac Aera concept vehicle won the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show Design Challenge, tying with Smart and besting entries from seven other automakers including Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Nissan, Toyota and Maybach. GM Advanced Design has now won the honor more times than any other design team; this is its third victory since 2005.
2010 was the seventh year for the contest, when designers were asked to envision the “1,000 lb. car” and tasked to imagine an efficient four-passenger vehicle that maintained comfort, safety, driving performance and style while not exceeding the weight requirement.
"The Cadillac Aera concept was designed to continue the forward-thinking imagination of Cadillac’s ‘art and science’ philosophy,” explains Jussi Timonen, lead designer for the project. “It's designed as a small city urban vehicle, but we approached this 2+2 touring coupe very much from the brand's luxury perspective. Every detail of the Aera was conceived to minimize the vehicle’s environmental impact without sacrificing the style, comfort and attention to detail that are hallmarks of the Cadillac brand.”
The Aera is powered by compressed air via a highly efficient Pneumatic Drive System that has a 10,000-psi composite air storage tank with capacity for a 1,000-mile range. Flexible, pressurized air cells in the exterior skin, similar to material developed for the NASA Mars Rover airbags, enhance passive safety and interior comfort. The flexible polymer skin optimizes aerodynamics and functions as an ultra-lightweight alternative to conventional body panels and glass.
Aera’s body utilizes a 3D lattice, mono-formed frame that was designed to be similar to configurations found consistently in nature. The structure is formed from unique, alloy-utilizing, semi-solid freeform manufacturing, creating a naturally strong, extremely lightweight frame. All major body parts, including interior components, are essentially “grown” into a single part lattice structure.
The interior is crafted with an ultra-light recyclable polymer that allows for HVAC channels, fully adjustable seating, storage and comfort features all in one mono-form structure. Generous storage space accommodates luggage for two people.
Additional technologies include an all-in-one wheel system that combines rotary actuator propulsion, steering and suspension functions. A drive-by-wire system decreases the mass of electrical components, while vehicle-to-vehicle communication promotes active safety.
Witness one of Southern California's most impressive holiday light festivals at the historic Mission Inn. Get a view of millions of festive lights, more than 400 animated characters, live entertainment, an ice-skating rink and vendors.
When: Daily : 5 p.m. (ends January 8th)
Price: Free -- Venue: Mission Inn Hotel & Spa
3649 Mission Inn Ave. , Riverside , CA , 92501
Now in its 80th year, the annual Hollywood Christmas Parade will wind its way through the heart of Tinseltown with grand marshal Marie Osmond, local youth marching bands, equestrian groups, floats, celebrity guests, civic leaders, novelty acts and more. The event will be broadcast nationwide throughout December. Along Hollywood and Sunset boulevards between Orange Drive and Vine Street, L.A. 6 p.m. Sun. Free curbside seating, $35 for grandstand seating. (866) 727-2331.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Conservationists touted a major victory Tuesday in their battle to protect Yellowstone grizzly bears when a federal appeals court ruled that wildlife managers erred when they removed Endangered Species Act protection from "one of the American West's most iconic wild animals."
The ruling by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's 2007 decision to remove the bears from the endangered species list. The court cited climate change as having accelerated a beetle infestation that destroys the bears' vital white-bark pine food source, making the grizzly only the second wildlife species, after the polar bear, to earn protection in recognition of harm caused by global warming.
The three-judge panel took note of conservationists' warnings that the loss of trees in the upper elevations in and around Yellowstone National Park would probably drive the grizzlies to forage in more populous areas, increasing confrontations between the omnivorous bears and the people and livestock in the lowlands.
Grizzlies have killed several tourists and hikers in recent years, forcing parks and wildlife officials to euthanize the bears in record numbers. About 75 grizzlies were killed or removed from the wild in 2010, according to a multi-agency study team.
Wicked continues making circles around the country and now it’s back in La-La Land. First things first, the show’s got some impressive credentials : the NewYork Times calls Wicked “Broadway’s biggest blockbuster,” and when it first played the Center in 2006, it broke box office records and sold out in record time. Winner of 35 major awards, including a Grammy(c) and three Tony Awards(c), and according to OC Register, Wicked “is hugely entertaining” and “brilliantly crafted”.
They indicate age suitability at “Teen and up”, but it’s really up to the parents. We watched this show on Broadway a year and a half ago with our then five-year-old, and while she was properly scared of the dragon head, she thoroughly enjoyed the show. We will take all our kids (the oldest is 9) to see it again.
Price: Tickets start at $38.75
Running time: 2 hours and 45 minutes
Location: Segerstrom Hall
Since 2002, the Latino Theater Company has offered a free holiday gift to the community: its annual production of the pageant "La Virgen de Guadalupe, Dios Inantzin" at Our Lady of the Angels cathedral in downtown Los Angeles. More than 7,000 people attended last year's production of the show, which celebrates the Mexican Roman Catholic story of how the Virgin Mary appeared to Juan Diego, an indigenous peasant, in 1531, in what was then colonial Spanish territory.
But this year a financial shortfall may require the company to break its tradition and cancel the production at the cathedral, José Luis Valenzuela, the company's artistic director and a UCLA theater professor, told Culture Monster this week. Despite vigorous fundraising efforts, Valenzuela said, the current economic downturn has made it difficult for the company to raise the necessary $50,000 to produce the free show Dec. 8 and 9 at the cathedral.
Crews from L.A.'s Department of Water and Power cut a power line connected to a pole that is now at the bottom of a giant landslide along a large section of West Paseo Del Mar between South Western and South Weymouth avenues in San Pedro.
(Mark Boster, Los Angeles Times / November 21, 2011)
London may have had the Sky Ride, but Philadelphia went one step better - or, at least, nakeder - as hundreds of nude cyclists rode through the city. The throngs of naked and partially-naked cyclists took to the streets for the second annual Philly Naked Bike Ride in an effort to promote bicycling awareness and cleaner air. And certainly, it's hard not to be aware of bicycling when hundreds of naked cyclists are bearing down on you. Some of the riders went completely naked, while others covered up slightly with underwear, swimming costumes or elaborate body paint. The cyclists rode over a pre-planned route of several miles through the city.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
It might not be what Prince William and Kate Middleton had in mind, but this couple from Austria have turned the other cheek to tradition and gone for a full-blown naked wedding. Melanie Schachner, 26, and Rene Schachner, 31, tied the knot in the buff in Feldkirchen after trying to find a way to make sure they would never forget their wedding day. With just a veil for the bride and a top hat to cover Rene's wedding tackle for the official photos, the pair got hitched in a register office service in front of friends and family before celebrating in a castle.
This early into the musical afterlife of Michael Jackson, it’s hard to know how to react to something like “Immortal.” Should we be excited about an officially sanctioned DJ mix/score to the new Cirque du Soleil production of the same name, peppered with odd vocal interludes, weird New Age accents, crazy funk breakdowns and something called “The Mime Segment”? Or should we reserve our enthusiasm for whatever lies in the archive that’s rarer and/or more revealing of our fallen superstar, no doubt waiting in the wings for the next prime-time opportunity?
More precisely: Whose interest is “Immortal” serving? Is the goal to expand Jackson as an artist, an estate, a brand or a visionary?
Big questions out of the way (and unaddressed), “Immortal” is a double-disc mix of Jackson’s hits both as a solo artist and as a member of the Jacksons and the Jackson 5. (It’s also available in a single-disc “highlights” version.) It was compiled and recontextualized by Kevin Antunes in much the same way that George Martin and Giles Martin reworked the Beatles’ catalog for the Cirque production and soundtrack to “Love,” the dance company’s interpretation of the Liverpool band’s oeuvre. “Immortal” is also, at its worst, way cheesier than “Love,” filled with easy-listening strings, spoken-word interludes buried in spooky echo, and curious pacing.
(excerpts from a "Review" by Randall Roberts, L A Times)
The Music Center is giving birth to a splashy, blue-chip contemporary ballet company devoted to artistic experimentation, with a Hollywood pedigree, to boot.
L.A. Dance Project, founded and directed by Benjamin Millepied, is being launched with a commission, expected to last two years, from Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at the Music Center. Millepied, 34, is a highly sought-after choreographer with ties to major ballet troupes worldwide. He retired less than a month ago from his position as principal dancer with New York City Ballet.
Millepied leapt into the celebrity stratosphere when he started dating actress Natalie Portman, whom he met while working on the Darren Aronofsky movie “Black Swan.” The couple are engaged and have a 5-month-old son, Aleph. With Millepied's recent move out here, both now live in Los Angeles.
L.A. Dance Project will begin with just six dancers -– seven if Millepied performs -– and will have its premiere Sept. 22 and 23, 2012, at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Music Center officials are announcing on Monday.
Millepied is not creating a traditional company but rather an “art collective,” bringing together some of his longtime friends and associates, including composer Nico Muhly and producer Charles Fabius. The goal is to collaborate with writers, artists and arts institutions in Los Angeles. One idea is to create a site-specific work at the Museum of Contemporary Art, and Millepied has begun talks with museum officials.
“To do a dance project today, and build a kind of vision, it’s so difficult that you cannot just take the old method,” Millepied said during an interview at a Silver Lake restaurant.
Cairo — Thousands of demonstrators who gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square for a protest titled “Day of Justice and Cleansing” confronted two officers and sent them running late Friday, according to a witness.
The numbers in the square have swelled dramatically compared to last Friday’s rally, in part because the Muslim Brotherhood has now joined alongside secular, liberal groups to put pressure on the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which currently rules Egypt.
Demonstrators stepped up their demands this week.
Muhammad Taman, a spokesman for the January 25 Coalition, told CNN the diverse collection of political groups are demanding Egyptian authorities bring ousted president Hosni Mubarak before a court for his alleged role in the deaths of hundreds of activists last January and February and on corruption charges.
Monday, November 21, 2011
The Evora GTE Concept’s engine is still a bit warm from its 2011 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance debut, and Lotus is already revving up the production version for the Frankfurt Motor Show. The Evora GTE road car was originally designed as a special limited edition for the Asian market, but Group Lotus has decided to expand its production to meet demand and reach further markets.
The Evora GTE is powered by a race-tuned 3.5-liter V6 engine that delivers a total of 444 HP, making it the most powerful Lotus road car ever built. It also delivers a comfortable and refined element to its high performance driving characteristics.
Commenting on the Evora GTE road car, Group Lotus CEO Dany Bahar said: “The response to this model in China has been so incredible, within days we had sold out with 114 orders. In response we decided that the only logical step from a business perspective was to increase production and widen our reach.
"GO!" - LA Weekly; "Critic's Choice!" - Los Angeles Times; "Critic's Pick!" - Back Stage. What would life be like if the Nazis had successfully invaded and occupied Britain? Antaeus, L.A.’s award-winning classical theater company, presents Noël Coward’s rarely produced anti-war drama, Peace In Our Time. Set in a London pub during the 1940s, this new adaptation incorporates 9 of Coward’s lesser-known songs in a fully double-cast production. Continues thru Dec 11; The Antaeus Company @ Deaf West Theatre; 5112 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood CA 91601; $15-$40; (818) 506-1983; www.Antaeus.org
Over the last five years, the Salton Sea's shoreline has been steadily receding into the desert, creating a "bathtub ring" of exposed lake bed around the 360-square-mile body of murky water that straddles Imperial and Riverside counties.
Once, it was one of the most productive fisheries and wildlife habitats in the state, but the shrinking Salton Sea has hit hard times.
Above, Cormorants and other birds breed on Mullet Island in the Salton Sea.
(Arkasha Stevenson, Los Angeles Times / November 14, 2011)
Blue glass, brown horizontal stripes, and a vertical shaft are architectural cliches in most buildings, but in One World Trade Center they are appropriately combined to not only give the building a distinct look, but multiple appearances depending on the viewer's location, the time of day, and the weather.
In the right light, the blue glass at the top of this skyscraper and the blue glass vertical shaft blend into the sky, making this building look like a pair of twin towers, an appropriate, if inadvertent, homage to the buildings of a more famous World Trade Center that once stood three thousand miles away.
One World Trade Center anchors one end of Long Beach's downtown business corridor, though it doesn't look or feel at all like it's on the edge of the action. This is, in part, because of a two-story retail and restaurant podium, and a hotel that are part of the Long Beach World Trade Center development.
Soldiers re-enact a revolution battle as part of Mexican Revolution 101th anniversary celebrations in Mexico City's Zocalo plaza, Nov. 20, 2011. Mexico marks 101 years since the seven-year conflict began on Nov. 20, 1910 that saw peasant armies led by heroes Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa topple the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz.
(Marco Ugarte/AP Photo)
Saturday, November 19, 2011
The popular, though independent Spanish-language ministry at the Crystal Cathedral, where people stand in line for hours to get a seat, may not move with the church's English-language services when the time comes.
According to the terms of a $57.5-million deal approved Thursday night in Bankruptcy Court, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange will purchase the property and require Crystal Cathedral ministries to move to a new location within three years.
Located in the heart of Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery plays host beautifully to painted masterpieces from 1250 to 1900. This is a massive gallery that one could easily spend an entire day in, working through the various periods and artists. I must admit that by this time we were getting tired and skipped a few of the floors of this gigantic collection. One comment to be made working through the centuries of paintings is how amazing the influence religion played from the earliest works displayed and that as time wore on, its role becomes less and less significant. Some highlights include works by Da Vinci, Raphael and Caravaggio as well as works by Vermeer, Van Gogh, Cézanne and Rembrandt.
The Millennium Bridge is an almost 100 meter long pedestrian suspension bridge built with steel, aluminum and concrete which joins the north and south banks of the Thames and allows for some outstanding vistas of London Bridge, the BT Tower and the London Eye. Famous to Londoners and tourists alike as being a swaying bridge, its engineers had to develop a series of dampers after it was built to prevent a swaying phenomenon called synchronous lateral excitation. It is an feat of engineering and design
Gala guests will gather to support the rehabilitation of two historic bridges, while enjoying delicious cuisine from Commander’s Palace and dancing to the throw-down tunes of the Creole String Beans. Bubbles will be served — champagne and ice-cold beer — and wine.
The Gala is to raise awareness and funds for rehabilitating the Magnolia and Walter Parker Memorial (aka Dumaine) Bridges that cross Bayou St. John, a community effort led by the Faubourg St. John Neighborhood Association in collaboration with the Re‐Bridge organization. The Magnolia Bridge is considered the oldest in New Orleans and was recently named one of Louisiana Landmarks Society’s “New Orleans Nine.” The Sanctuary is a private residence, once Walter Parker’s home, who helped transform the squalid bayou and surrounds into the wonderful neighborhood it is today. Re-Bridge is continuing the vision that Mr. Parker initiated 80 years ago.
The Gala is open to the public (cocktail attire) and tickets are available now at www.rebridge.org. The tickets are $75 each with all proceeds going to Re-Bridge to raise matching funds for city and state funding. Commander’s Palace graciously donated the cuisine and Tommy Lewis has generously sponsored the Creole String Beans. The Gala will also include an incredibly eclectic silent auction featuring getaway trips, fine art, spa, world-class musical talent for private entertainment, spiritual/garden/foreign language master services, dining packages and more!