Friday Apr 25, 2014

HBO joins BBC in adapting J.K. Rowling's 'The Casual Vacancy'

The miniseries adapted from the British author's first novel since the last "Harry Potter" now has a guaranteed place on American TV thanks to HBO's arrival on the development team. The American network is teaming up with the BBC, which has been at work on the project since late 2012.The...
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TV

HBO joins BBC in adapting J.K. Rowling's 'The Casual Vacancy'
Friday Apr 25, 2014
HBO joins BBC in adapting J.K. Rowling's 'The Casual Vacancy'

The miniseries adapted from the British author's first novel since the last "Harry Potter" now has a guaranteed place on American TV thanks to HBO's arrival on the development team. The American network is teaming up with the BBC, which has been at work on the project since late 2012.The small screen adaptation of "The Casual Vacancy" will take the form of a three-hour miniseries written by Sarah Phelps, who has contributed screenplays to a number of British series, including the long-running drama "EastEnders." There is no word yet on the cast or scheduled air dates for the project, which is slated to enter production this summer. "The Casual Vacancy" opens with the death of Barry Fairweather, a parish councillor in the fictional town of Pagford. J.K. Rowling's novel goes on to focus on Terri Weedon, a drug addict and prostitute fighting with social services for custody of her son Robbie and her teenage daughter Krystal. Just before the election of Fairweather's replacement on the parish council, anonymous messages reveal the inhabitants' secrets begin appearing on Pagford's online forum, creating an atmosphere of paranoia. Published in September 2012, the book sold six million copies worldwide in spite of mitigated reviews. The book is J.K. Rowling's first since the end of the "Harry Potter" series, which sold 450 million copies in total and became an extremely lucrative film franchise, allowing Warner to bring in over $7.7 billion. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Toshiba launches pocket-sized wireless hard drive
Friday Apr 25, 2014
Toshiba launches pocket-sized wireless hard drive

The lightweight Canvio AeroMobile SSD is, as its name suggests, designed for use on the go and could be the ideal solution for expanding the storage on everything from a smartphone to a notebook.But as well as being compact, it's also durable, thanks to the fact that it uses Solid State memory rather than a spinning hard drive for storage. Spinning disks can jump, run hot and corrupt, especially when they get knocked about. Solid State memory is also faster, so accessing files -- be they documents, songs or HD movies -- should be smoother and more responsive. However SSD technology is more expensive and that's why despite offering ‘only' 128GB of storage, the device costs $209.99 in the US where it launched Thursday. Still it can support up to eight devices from notebooks and desktops to cameras, tablets and smartphones, and its built-in rechargeable battery is good for up to eight hours' use before it's time to track down a power socket. Perhaps the smartest feature though is the built-in SD card slot which makes transferring files to the disk simple. It might be wireless, but even now, most pro-level DSLR cameras aren't, so it's a great way of backing up images captured on the go and clearing space on memory cards for reuse. The Canvio AeroMobile SSD is by no means the only rechargeable wireless hard drive to launch in recent weeks. LaCie, one of the world's premium hard disk brands has just launched the Fuel, which although much bigger and bulkier, offers 2TB of storage on tap and a 10-hour battery life for just $40 more (it has a US retail price of $249.99). However, it uses a spinning hard disk and although portable, it is designed to be dropped into a bag or suitcase rather than slipped into a trouser or jacket pocket. That doesn't degrade its usefulness and could well be the ideal mobile media hub for a digital family on holiday with tablets, smartphones, notebooks galore and an inability to decide which film to watch or album to play. But, for consumers that like to travel light, and particularly for those with Apple products like iPhones and iPads whose storage can't be expanded via a memory card, the Canvio AeroMobile SSD could prove to be a rather elegant and practical way of accessing films, video clips and songs even when their handset is full up, when there's no internet connection or when international roaming charges make using the 3G or 4G/LTE networks prohibitive. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

'HIMYM' spin-off picks up Meg Ryan
Thursday Apr 24, 2014
'HIMYM' spin-off picks up Meg Ryan

The actress has agreed to be the narrator of "How I Met Your Dad," the spin-off on CBS's hit show "How I Met Your Mother," Deadline.com reports.Meg Ryan will provide the off-screen narration in one of the most anticipated pilots of the coming season. This means that the Hollywood actress will voice an older version of Sally, the central character of the spin-off, played by Greta Gerwig. Like Bob Saget, who provided the voice of the future version of Ted in the original series, Ryan will not appear on screen. Though still best known for her film roles ("Sleepless in Seattle," "You've Got Mail"), Meg Ryan has been absent from the silver screen since the release of "Serious Moonlight" in 2009. She has had only a handful of TV appearances in recent years, turning up on "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "Web Therapy." 2014 is expected to mark Ryan's big comeback, as she is headlining a series in development at NBC for this fall. The actress will play a cheerful and devoted single mother who decides to return to the New York publishing house where she used to work. Once a successful editor, she now reports to the neurotic 30-year-old who used to be her intern. To find out whether "How I Met Your Dad" will join the CBS line-up for the 2014-2015 season, fans will have to wait until the network's press conference on May 14. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

James Franco apologies for Instagram flirtation
Thursday Apr 24, 2014
James Franco apologies for Instagram flirtation

NEW YORK (AP) — James Franco has apologized for his Instagram flirtation with a 17-year-old. On the morning talk show "Live With Kelly and Michael," Franco said Friday that he used "bad judgment" and "learned my lesson." The 35-year-old actor and filmmaker was caught trying to pick up a Scottish teenage girl named Lucy Clode on the photo-sharing app. Franco said Friday that he was embarrassed and that he's "a model of how social media is tricky." He said the awkward process of meeting someone was made "doubly" embarrassing since it was in the public spotlight because of his celebrity. Franco is currently starring in a revival of "Of Mice and Men" on Broadway. Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

The 'social photo frame' that helps generations connect
Thursday Apr 24, 2014
The 'social photo frame' that helps generations connect

Social media is great for sharing photos with loved ones, but what about friends and family members who don't have online profiles? A new ‘social photo frame' could be the answer.Famatic is a touchscreen digital photo frame which connects to Facebook, Instagram and email accounts and streams uploaded photos and videos automatically. People can then ‘like' or comment on the images in the frame without needing their own personal online profiles. Designed to include the older generation in the online digital sharing trend, Famatic can be coded to only display images from certain albums or which include certain hashtags. "We strongly believe that technology should bring us together instead of breaking us apart," reads the Famatic website. "All generations should benefit from the possibilities of modern day technology." Famatic Co-founder Thijs Suijten was inspired to create the product when he wanted to share pictures of his children with his parents. "I take a lot of photos of my daughters and share them on Facebook," he explains. "But the ones who'd love to see them the most, their grandparents, are unable to see them because they're not familiar with social media." Famatic is currently listed on crowdfunding website Kickstarter, with the initial orders expected to ship by October of this year. Online pledgers can pre-order a frame from $169. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Movies

Streep, Fey among readers at poetry gala
Friday Apr 25, 2014
Streep, Fey among readers at poetry gala

NEW YORK (AP) — Sir Patrick Stewart wasn't about to miss the chance to appear on the same stage with Meryl Streep, Tina Fey and Kevin Kline. And if that meant learning a poem or two, he was happy to do the homework. "It was a no-brainer," the actor said Thursday night after he was among a dozen readers at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall for the 12th annual "Poetry & the Creative Mind," an all-star celebration of National Poetry Month presented by the Academy of American Poets. "Poetry has been an important part of my life, particularly dramatic poetry, and when I got wind of who else was going to be on the platform with me I knew it was a night not to be missed," he said. Empty seats were rare at the majestic, 1,000-seat venue, where Stewart, Streep and others gave a mini-survey of modern American verse, from the apprehension of Mary Oliver's "When Death Comes" to the triumphs of Maya Angelou's "Still I Rise." Most simply stood up and read, but some cracked jokes, sang or begged the audience to silence the Greek chorus of cell phones. Rosie Perez, who reveled in Angelou's brassy verse ("Does my sexiness upset you? Does it come as a surprise?"), remained off stage before her performance because of a sudden coughing fit. "It's all Tina Fey's fault," Perez explained as Fey, seated behind her, shook her head and smiled. Did Fey tell her something so funny she couldn't breathe? No, Perez, said after the event, she gave her a "medicated lozenge" that didn't quite soothe her throat. Fey, meanwhile, had everyone laughing with an expert run through of James Tate's "The List of Famous Hats," a spoof about the hat and head of Napoleon that might have been composed by Fey herself: ___ Napoleon's hat is an obvious choice I guess to list as a famous hat, but that's not the hat I have in mind. That was his hat for show. I am thinking of his private bathing cap, which in all honesty wasn't much different than the one any jerk might buy at a corner drugstore now ___ Grammy-winning musician Esperanza Spalding brought out her bass for a bluesy, foot-tapping rendition of Langston Hughes' "Life is Fine," while Streep read a pair of poems, by Richard Wilbur and Sylvia Plath, about parenthood. Kevin Kline nodded to his fellow parents on stage and in the audience with Billy Collin's comic guilt trip and ode to overachievement, "To My Favorite 17-Year-Old High School Girl": ___ Frankly, who cares if Annie Oakley was a crack shot at 15 or if Maria Callas debuted as Tosca at 17? We think you're special just being you — playing with your food and staring into space. ___ Stewart chose a personal favorite, Edna St. Vincent Millay's impassioned nature poem, "God's World." The British actor said he learned of the poem around the same time he fell for autumn in the Northeast. "Whenever I heard people talk about the fall in New England, I used to think, 'It's autumn! It's like anywhere else! It's just autumn!" he said during the post-event reception. "One night I arrived at a friend's cottage in upstate New York, way out in the country. And I got up early in the morning. Nobody was up. I got dressed and went out," he said. "I walked about 50 yards down the road and burst into tears because I had never seen anything so beautiful. Nothing. And that same weekend somebody gave me that poem to look at." Most of the poems were decades old, but a couple were virtually brand new. The night's only non-celebrity reader, Michaela Coplen, was a student poet who recited her own "Redeployment." Billy Crudup, after reading works by Pulitzer Prize winners Yusef Komunyakaa and Philip Levine, pulled out a sheet of paper from his pocket and introduced a yearbook poem called "Life Is Weird," by his grade school son. "Life is weird," Crudup read in his best boyish manner. "Life is a pair of pants — that falls down a lot." Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

HBO joins BBC in adapting J.K. Rowling's 'The Casual Vacancy'
Friday Apr 25, 2014
HBO joins BBC in adapting J.K. Rowling's 'The Casual Vacancy'

The miniseries adapted from the British author's first novel since the last "Harry Potter" now has a guaranteed place on American TV thanks to HBO's arrival on the development team. The American network is teaming up with the BBC, which has been at work on the project since late 2012.The small screen adaptation of "The Casual Vacancy" will take the form of a three-hour miniseries written by Sarah Phelps, who has contributed screenplays to a number of British series, including the long-running drama "EastEnders." There is no word yet on the cast or scheduled air dates for the project, which is slated to enter production this summer. "The Casual Vacancy" opens with the death of Barry Fairweather, a parish councillor in the fictional town of Pagford. J.K. Rowling's novel goes on to focus on Terri Weedon, a drug addict and prostitute fighting with social services for custody of her son Robbie and her teenage daughter Krystal. Just before the election of Fairweather's replacement on the parish council, anonymous messages reveal the inhabitants' secrets begin appearing on Pagford's online forum, creating an atmosphere of paranoia. Published in September 2012, the book sold six million copies worldwide in spite of mitigated reviews. The book is J.K. Rowling's first since the end of the "Harry Potter" series, which sold 450 million copies in total and became an extremely lucrative film franchise, allowing Warner to bring in over $7.7 billion. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

'Zero Motivation,' 'Point and Shoot' top Tribeca
Friday Apr 25, 2014
'Zero Motivation,' 'Point and Shoot' top Tribeca

NEW YORK (AP) — A film about a self-documenting man amid the Libyan revolution and a dark comedy about female Israeli soldiers have taken top honors at the Tribeca Film Festival. Awards handed out Thursday at the New York festival were led by best narrative feature winner "Zero Motivation," a portrait of young female soldiers at a remote desert base in Israel. The category's jury hailed the directorial debut of Talya Lavie as the emergence of "a new, powerful voice." Marshall Curry's "Point and Shoot" won best documentary. The film follows a shy Baltimore native who joined up with Libyan rebels in 2011. He films himself through much of his adventures, including a six-month stint in solitary confinement. The 13th annual Tribeca Film Festival concludes Sunday. Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

'Hobbit' filmmaker changes name of trilogy finale
Thursday Apr 24, 2014
'Hobbit' filmmaker changes name of trilogy finale

The final installment of the blockbuster "Hobbit" film trilogy has been given a new name, director Peter Jackson announced on Thursday.The movie was to have been released this year under the title, "The Hobbit: There and Back Again," but has been re-named "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies," the New Zealand filmmaker said on his Facebook page. It is due for release in America on December 17, bringing to a climax the story started in 2012's "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" and last year's "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug." "Our journey to make The Hobbit Trilogy has been in some ways like Bilbo's own, with hidden paths revealing their secrets to us as we've gone along," the Oscar-winning director said. "'There and Back Again' felt like the right name for the second of a two film telling of the quest to reclaim Erebor, when Bilbo's arrival there, and departure, were both contained within the second film. "But with three movies, it suddenly felt misplaced -- after all, Bilbo has already arrived 'there' in the 'Desolation of Smaug.'" Jackson said he broached the issue with studio giant Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer last year. "We decided to keep an open mind until a cut of the film was ready to look at," he said. "We reached that point last week, and after viewing the movie, we all agreed there is now one title that feels completely appropriate. And so: 'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies' it is." "There and Back Again" was the subtitle of the classic epic fantasy book by J.R.R. Tolkien, published in 1937. It was followed in the mid 1950s by the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, which Jackson also made into a blockbuster franchise, before the "Hobbit" films. Jackson came under fire from some quarters in 2012, when the first film "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" was released, for breaking the relatively short book into a trilogy. The director won three Oscars -- best picture, best director and best adapted screenplay -- for the 2003 film "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," the final part of that trilogy. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

'X-Men' director calls sex-abuse suit a shakedown
Thursday Apr 24, 2014
'X-Men' director calls sex-abuse suit a shakedown

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The director of the upcoming "X-Men" film has denied allegations contained in a lawsuit that he raped an aspiring actor and model in 1999 and called the claims a shakedown. Bryan Singer wrote in a statement released Thursday that he was avoiding promotional events for his upcoming film "X-Men: Days of Future Past" to avoid distracting from the movie and the work of its actors and crew. "The allegations against me are outrageous, vicious and completely false," Singer wrote. "I do not want these fictitious claims to divert any attention from 'X-Men: Days of Future Past.' " The statement was released a week after Singer was sued in Hawaii by Michael Egan III, a former aspiring model and actor, who claims the director sexually abused him during a trip in Hawaii in 1999. Egan has said Singer abused him when he was as young as 15 years old at a home in Los Angeles, but his case only focused on the alleged abuse in Hawaii. Singer's attorney Marty Singer has said the director wasn't in Hawaii when Egan claims he was abused. "I promise when this situation is over, the facts will show this to be the sick twisted shakedown it is," Bryan Singer wrote in his statement. Egan's attorney Jeff Herman said Singer's denials would not affect his pursuit of the case. "We have a good-faith belief in the allegations, and we will litigate this," Herman said. Egan has also sued three other entertainment industry figures — two former television executives and a theater producer — for substantially similar claims. "None of the defendants in Michael Egan's cases have admitted to abusing him," Herman said. "I've gotten other threats from the other lawyers, which I find interesting. I'm not deterred from bringing these cases forward." The lawsuits were filed in Hawaii under a law that temporarily suspends the statute of limitations in civil sex-abuse cases. None of the men has been criminally charged, and the statute of limitations for any such charges has passed. In order to file the cases, Egan had to be evaluated by a psychologist who signed a notarized "Certificate of Merit" that includes facts and opinions supporting an opinion that he was sexually abused and had a psychological or physical injury. The certificate detailing Egan's allegations against Singer has been filed under seal. Egan claims he was lured into a sex ring run by a former digital entertainment company executive with promises of auditions for acting, modeling and commercial jobs. He was put on the company's payroll as an actor and forced to have sex with adult men at parties within Hollywood's entertainment industry, he says. The Associated Press does not typically name victims of sex abuse, but it is naming Egan because he is speaking publicly about his allegations. ___ Anthony McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/mccartneyAP Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Events

'Zero Motivation,' 'Point and Shoot' top Tribeca
Friday Apr 25, 2014
'Zero Motivation,' 'Point and Shoot' top Tribeca

NEW YORK (AP) — A film about a self-documenting man amid the Libyan revolution and a dark comedy about female Israeli soldiers have taken top honors at the Tribeca Film Festival. Awards handed out Thursday at the New York festival were led by best narrative feature winner "Zero Motivation," a portrait of young female soldiers at a remote desert base in Israel. The category's jury hailed the directorial debut of Talya Lavie as the emergence of "a new, powerful voice." Marshall Curry's "Point and Shoot" won best documentary. The film follows a shy Baltimore native who joined up with Libyan rebels in 2011. He films himself through much of his adventures, including a six-month stint in solitary confinement. The 13th annual Tribeca Film Festival concludes Sunday. Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

James Earl Jones returning to Broadway this fall
Thursday Apr 24, 2014
James Earl Jones returning to Broadway this fall

NEW YORK (AP) — James Earl Jones is coming back to Broadway in a play that's almost as old as he is. The 87-year-old two-time Tony Award-winner will star in a fall revival of the zany "You Can't Take It With You," the 1936 comedy about an engagement that forces a wealthy uptight family to meet an off-kilter one. It was written by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman. Previews will begin in August, with official opening set for Sept. 28. Additional casting and the theater will be announced later. Scott Ellis will direct. Jones, who won Tonys in 1969 for "The Great White Hope" and in 1987 for "Fences," was in "Driving Miss Daisy" in 2010 opposite Vanessa Redgrave, and Gore Vidal's "The Best Man" in 2012. The plot centers on a young woman who must introduce her fiance's straight-laced family to her rather more eccentric family. Craziness immediately ensues. The play, which won a Pulitzer Prize and initially ran for two years from 1936-38, was last revived on Broadway in 1983 starring Jason Robards and Colleen Dewhurst. Frank Capra directed a film version in 1938 starring Lionel Barrymore and James Stewart. The upcoming revival of "You Can't Take It With You" will be produced by Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel, Steve Traxler, Jessica Genick and Will Trice. The Kaufman and Hart collaboration lasted from 1930 to 1940. The first play they worked on together was the hit "Once in a Lifetime." Hart's autobiography "Act One" — which ends with the birth of "Once in a Lifetime" — has been turned into a play currently at Lincoln Center. Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Review: Revival of 'Cabaret' revival still shocks
Thursday Apr 24, 2014
Review: Revival of 'Cabaret' revival still shocks

NEW YORK (AP) — Barely sneaking in under the Tony Award nomination deadline this season is a dear old friend to Broadway, the decadent "Cabaret." The only appropriate salutation is: willkommen. Not a revival so much as a revival of a revival, this "Cabaret" — again produced by the Roundabout Theatre Company — opened Thursday night, with only hours to spare before its eligibility expired. Whatever it's called, it's as thrilling as ever, a marvel of staging that hasn't lost its punch. If it looks a lot like the version that ran from 1998-2004, that's understandable: Alan Cumming is back in his Tony Award-winning role as Emcee and director Sam Mendes and co-director and choreographer Rob Marshall are again pulling the strings on this show about life in pre-World War II Berlin. Orchestrations and costumes — what little there are — also are the same. Even its old home at Studio 54 has reverted to set designer Robert Brill's clever use of tiny nightclub tables on the theater's main floor, a nod to the original revival's stab at immersive theater. The score, by composer John Kander and lyricist Fred Ebb, is as stirring as ever. One big change is the woman in the bob: Michelle Williams makes her Broadway debut as Sally Bowles and she does an excellent job, playing both scared and daffy superbly and singing with real heart. It's a role made famous in the 1972 film version by Liza Minnelli and in the last Broadway revival by Natasha Richardson. Williams starts out a little tentatively but soon roars into the role and her version of the title song has a wrenching, dead-eyed quality that hauntingly undercuts its light lyrics. (Alas, Bill Heck, as her ambivalent, bisexual lover, sometimes lacks his co-star's nuances.) Cumming is as lascivious as ever — more playful than Joel Grey-scary in the film version — and once more bares his backside, tattooed with a red swastika, to the audience. But he has some competition as the best sex-obsessed, German transvestite singer onstage this year: He and Neil Patrick Harris, starring nearby in "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," would make an interesting double bill. The addition of Linda Emond as the landlady Fraulein Schneider and Danny Burstein as her Jewish suitor Herr Schultz are strokes of casting genius. These two veterans are touching as star-crossed lovers fearful in later life of what's happening around them. Aaron Krohn as the seemingly friendly Ernst radiates dread brilliantly, while Gayle Rankin as Fraulein Kost is funny until she's lethal, turning on a dime. But the real star is the way the show has been put together so cleverly, from the way the Nazi presence insinuates its way slowly into the musical to the intimidating staging of "Tomorrow Belongs to Me" and the funny-until-horrific "If You Could See Her," featuring the Emcee and a gorilla. Mendes and Marshall can also be blissfully fun just with pineapples. The transformation of the orchestra seats into the nightclub Kit Kat Klub includes cocktail waitresses and a bar menu. If you want to be naughty, sip a Mein Herr cocktail (beer and honey liquor) or be even naughtier and munch on a Bavarian pretzel. Every detail has been thought out here. Even the lights on the small tables are synched with the action. The talented band on a second level — and outfitted as scantily as the ensemble — makes full use of the staircases and catwalks, and the dancing is spirited and sexy while being performed by men and women who often seem as numb as ragdolls with vacant eyes. So, yes, not much is new here. But great things don't always need them. If you're wondering whether to go, why not take the advice of Sally? "What good is sitting alone in your room?" she sings. "Come hear the music play." ___ Online: http://www.roundabouttheatre.org Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Bronze statue of Roger Ebert unveiled at Ebertfest
Thursday Apr 24, 2014
Bronze statue of Roger Ebert unveiled at Ebertfest

CHICAGO (AP) — Roger Ebert's final blog posting last April ended with his hopeful sign-off: "I'll see you at the movies." The award-winning film critic died two days later. Visitors to the central Illinois theater that hosts the annual "Ebertfest" film festival he started now may feel like they saw him at the movies. A life-sized bronze statue of the longtime Chicago Sun-Times critic was unveiled Thursday outside the Virginia Theatre in Champaign, which is next to Urbana where Ebert grew up. His wife, Chaz Ebert, described the statue as "interactive art," because it shows her late husband giving his famous "thumbs up" sign and sitting between two empty theater seats where visitors can sit. "Roger, he would feel honored that someone wanted to do this for him, but he almost would feel embarrassed because he was so modest," Chaz Ebert said. "But he would be very grateful that they thought enough of him to do it." Ebert died at age 70 after a long battle with cancer. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism in 1975, becoming the first film critic to do so, and he became a household name through his nationally syndicated column and the television show he co-hosted with Gene Siskel, a Chicago Tribune film critic who died in 1999. The statue will remain outside the Virginia Theatre during this week's festival, which ends Sunday. Organizers hope to have it permanently installed outside the theater over the summer. "It will instantly become an icon in Champaign," Virginia Theatre director Steven Bentz said. "It will be positioned in a way that you will have the marquee of the theater behind it." The statue was made by Normal artist Rick Harney and is called "C-U at the Movies." Festival organizer Donna Anderson said she got the idea when she saw a similar sculpture Harney made of former Illinois governor Adlai Stevenson. "That's how so many of us remember him, sitting in the theater seat with his thumb up," she said. Anderson's husband, Scott Anderson, said a $112,500 fundraising campaign to pay for the statue is about $18,000 short, but they're confident they'll raise the money. Spike Lee and Oliver Stone are among those slated to attend this year's Ebertfest, which celebrates films that may not have received the recognition they deserved when they first ran. Before his death, Ebert made a long list of movies that he would want played at his festival, and Chaz Ebert said she and festival director Nate Kohn would pick films from that list and others they think her husband would have liked when choosing the lineup each year. "We probably have enough movies for the next ten years," she said. ___ Online: http://www.ebertfest.com and http://www.ebertsculpture.org ___ Follow Caryn Rousseau on Twitter at http://twitter.com/carynrousseau Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

'Modern Family' star opens beer bar in Utah
Thursday Apr 24, 2014
'Modern Family' star opens beer bar in Utah

The actor who plays a bumbling but lovable TV dad on the US comedy series "Modern Family" has opened the doors to a new beer hall in Utah.Ty Burrell, best known for his role as Phil Dunphy on the award-winning TV show, has teamed up with local food celebrity and Salt Lake City chef Viet Pham to open Beer Bar, Burrell’s second bar in the city he’s called home since 2008. Beer Bar has opened next door to Bar-X, a speakeasy the actor restored with his wife and other members of the family. The historic bar opened in 1933, the year Prohibition was repealed, and serves artisanal cocktail recipes from the same era. According to Food & Wine magazine, the idea for Beer Bar was born after Burrell dined at Pham’s restaurant Forage in Salt Lake City and became enamored with his cooking. Turns out Pham was also a fan of Burrell’s Bar-X, paving the way for their future collaboration. Punters at Beer Bar, meanwhile, will be able to wash down artisanal sausages and bratwursts, breads and Belgian-style fries with 150 different craft beers. Burrell is the latest celebrity to parlay his fame into the beer business. The Hanson brothers released their Mmmhops brand out of Tulsa, Oklahoma, while folk band Mumford & Sons also helped an independent brewery in Sussex, England create a craft beer that was sold at a two-day music festival last summer. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.