Wednesday Jan 28, 2015

Netflix teases 'Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp'

In a teaser for the upcoming miniseries, Netflix confirms the title and the star-studded cast, which includes Bradley Cooper, Elizabeth Banks, Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler and Christopher Meloni.David Wain's 2001 comedy feature "Wet Hot American Summer," set on the last day of a summer camp in...
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TV

Netflix teases 'Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp'
Wednesday Jan 28, 2015
Netflix teases 'Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp'

In a teaser for the upcoming miniseries, Netflix confirms the title and the star-studded cast, which includes Bradley Cooper, Elizabeth Banks, Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler and Christopher Meloni.David Wain's 2001 comedy feature "Wet Hot American Summer," set on the last day of a summer camp in 1981, is being revived as a limited series. Despite being a box office flop, the movie has gained a cult following over the past 14 years, so there is plenty of buzz surrounding Netflix's revival, which will take the form of a 10-episode prequel. In addition to revealing the title, the new teaser video officially confirms the return of the original cast members. Impressively, Netflix and Wain managed to round up all 15 of the original leading cast members, even those who have become major Hollywood stars in the intervening years. Bradley Cooper, Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Elizabeth Banks, Christopher Meloni and Molly Shannon are among those who will reprise their roles as Camp Firewood counselors. They will be joined by Josh Charles, who played the lawyer Will Gardner on "The Good Wife," and by John Slattery, known for his role as Roger Sterling on "Mad Men." Watch the cast confirmation teaser for "Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp": youtu.be/j12pk-IE3D0 Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Russian spies center stage in 'The Americans'
Wednesday Jan 28, 2015
Russian spies center stage in 'The Americans'

The Cold War is officially over, so the concept of husband-and-wife KGB operatives killing, lying and spying in Washington -- under the nose of their FBI agent neighbor -- may seem a bit far-fetched.But the arrest this week of a suspected Russian agent posing as a New York banker lends new relevance to "The Americans," the critically acclaimed thriller returning to US television screens on Wednesday. Evgeny Buryakov, 39, was captured following more than two years of FBI surveillance as he allegedly fed economic intelligence to Moscow and sought to recruit US residents as sources. One of the central questions in "The Americans" -- which is set in the 1980s -- is whether the FBI will ever cotton onto Elizabeth and Philip Jennings, played by Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys. "It's obviously got a relevance today in that it parallels things that we hear in the news," said Robert Thompson, a professor of popular culture at Syracuse University. "It has all the action and intrigue of being a spy series, but at the same time, it's a series about a marriage, about a family." Russell, who is dating her co-star Rhys, said the tense, slow-building FX show is really all about the characters. "Even in the context of this spy show, it's really just a look at a marriage," Russell says. Season three opens in 1982 -- the year that Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev died as the Cold War appeared to be heating up. The series focuses on the KGB's insistence that Elizabeth and Philip start grooming their 14-year-old daughter Paige to spy for Moscow and the arguments which that order provokes between the couple. The relationship between the two -- whose marriage was arranged at the start for the KGB's purposes -- is constantly tested by the demands of their job and the love affairs they maintain with a tangled web of informants. To make matters worse, the family lives in the Washington suburbs next door to FBI Agent Stan Beeman (Noah Emmerich), whose own liaison with a KGB double-agent unravelled at the end of last season. - Russians mad about stereotypes - War in Syria and the crisis in Ukraine have recently plunged US-Russian ties back to the froideur of the Cold War, but Russia has for decades offered fertile ground to American television writers. Next month, NBC is to premiere "Allegiance," adapted from an Israeli series, about a CIA analyst poised to discover that his parents and sister were part of a Soviet sleeper cell. Moscow has long been the go-to enemy in American popular culture, and Russians complain they are too frequently stereotyped as untrustworthy alcoholics involved in nefarious politics. "Everything that contradicts these stereotypes is excluded from conversation," said Dmitri Glinski, president of the Russian-speaking Community Council of Manhattan and the Bronx. "I do think that stereotyping, reinforced by the policies of the present Russian government and the state of US-Russian relations, hurts the Russian immigrant community in a very major way -- and worst of all those who do not conform to stereotypes." But critics say the Cold War backdrop to "The Americans" is indispensable even if, at its core, it is a show about family. "The super structure of the Cold War told through Russian spies on American soil is genius," said Tom Nunan of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. "It goes to two fundamental things about suburbia that I think really elevates the show to a completely different level, which is 'do I really know who my neighbor is' and more importantly, 'do I really know who my spouse is.'" While the show is a critical hit, twice winning the American Film Institute award for TV program of the year, its estimated weekly viewership of one to two million falls far short of the numbers registered by top network shows. "Patience is a real virtue when it comes to watching 'The Americans,' a show that seems to move fast but is in fact excruciatingly deliberate," wrote a Washington Post reviewer. "Some dissatisfied readers have told me they find the show too cold to the touch and bereft of any hope." But fans sometimes find themselves rooting for the anti-heroes -- a concept firmly entrenched in the US television landscape since HBO introduced the world to Tony Soprano in the late 1990s. "Most of us feel we have enormous character defects and seeing them played out through these crazy concepts and crazy roles is reassuring in some way," said Nunan. "If you see Superman conquering everyone, how relatable is that?" Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Nick Jonas joins horror anthology 'Scream Queens'
Wednesday Jan 28, 2015
Nick Jonas joins horror anthology 'Scream Queens'

The actor and singer is cast in Ryan Murphy's horror comedy, which is one of the rare new shows already ordered for this fall.Fox and Ryan Murphy are expanding the cast of "Scream Queens," their new horror comedy anthology, the first season of which is set on a college campus rocked by a series of murders. Nick Jonas has boarded the series, joining an impressive roster of stars including Jamie Lee Curtis, Emma Roberts, Lea Michele, Joe Manganiello, Abigail Breslin, Keke Palmer and Ariana Grande. Like "American Horror Story," aired on FX, "Scream Queens" will have an anthology format, meaning that a new plot and setting will be introduced at the start of each season. To be shot this spring, the first episodes are due to air on Fox this fall. Nick Jonas, one of the three Jonas Brothers of the eponymous boy band, is no stranger to the small screen. Since starring with his brothers on the Disney Channel series "Jonas L.A.," the young actor has appeared in supporting roles on "Mr. Sunshine" (with Matthew Perry), "Smash" and "Hawaii Five-O." Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

'Ghostbusters' reboot reveals its all-female cast
Wednesday Jan 28, 2015
'Ghostbusters' reboot reveals its all-female cast

Director Paul Feig, known as something of a specialist when it comes to female-led comedies, announced the names of the next-generation of paranormal exterminators: Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones.The news was first revealed by Variety before being confirmed in a tweet from the director. However, Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy, among the stars of Feig's "Bridesmaids," and Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones, seen namely on "Saturday Night Live," are actually still in talks to star in the "Ghostbusters" reboot. Following the cyberattacks on Sony and the resulting leaks, there have been weeks of speculation that these very actresses would follow in the footsteps of Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson and Harold Ramis, who played the protagonists in Ivan Reitman's first two movies, released in 1984 and 1989. Just after his casting announcement, Paul Feig tweeted the film's US release date: June 22, 2016. So far the actresses' respective roles have not been announced, and the plot details of the reboot remain under wraps. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Idris Elba takes a road trip for Jaguar
Wednesday Jan 28, 2015
Idris Elba takes a road trip for Jaguar

To promote its new compact sports sedan, Jaguar has teamed with Idris Elba, the star of the former BBC series "Luther" and of "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom." The actor will take the Jaguar XE on a mini European tour, documenting his road trip in a series of short films to be released online starting February 10. In the meantime, updates will be posted to Jaguar's pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.Over three days, Elba will travel around 750 miles from London to Berlin, including a detour to the Spa-Francorchamps track in Belgium. The actor will be at the wheel of a Jaguar XE packing a 2.0L engine with 160hp. With CO2 emissions of just 99g/km, the model is the most fuel-efficient ever produced by Jaguar. Fans can look forward to watching the short films chronicling the road trip this February. Unveiled last summer at London's Earl's Court before going on display at the Paris Motor Show, the new Jaguar XE will be available in Europe later this year at a starting price of €37,000. The sports sedan is not expected to arrive in the US until 2016. The new XE stands out for its bonded and riveted aluminum construction, which makes it the lightest and most rigid Jaguar of all time. It is also the first Jaguar to come with electric power steering system, a feature that contributes to the car's enhanced energy efficiency. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Movies

Netflix teases 'Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp'
Wednesday Jan 28, 2015
Netflix teases 'Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp'

In a teaser for the upcoming miniseries, Netflix confirms the title and the star-studded cast, which includes Bradley Cooper, Elizabeth Banks, Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler and Christopher Meloni.David Wain's 2001 comedy feature "Wet Hot American Summer," set on the last day of a summer camp in 1981, is being revived as a limited series. Despite being a box office flop, the movie has gained a cult following over the past 14 years, so there is plenty of buzz surrounding Netflix's revival, which will take the form of a 10-episode prequel. In addition to revealing the title, the new teaser video officially confirms the return of the original cast members. Impressively, Netflix and Wain managed to round up all 15 of the original leading cast members, even those who have become major Hollywood stars in the intervening years. Bradley Cooper, Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Elizabeth Banks, Christopher Meloni and Molly Shannon are among those who will reprise their roles as Camp Firewood counselors. They will be joined by Josh Charles, who played the lawyer Will Gardner on "The Good Wife," and by John Slattery, known for his role as Roger Sterling on "Mad Men." Watch the cast confirmation teaser for "Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp": youtu.be/j12pk-IE3D0 Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Placido Domingo revives Woody Allen Puccini opera
Wednesday Jan 28, 2015
Placido Domingo revives Woody Allen Puccini opera

Placido Domingo will star in a return to Los Angeles of Woody Allen's first opera production, Puccini's "Gianni Schicchi," the opera house said Tuesday.Allen first staged "Gianni Schicchi" at the Los Angeles Opera in 2008, adapting Puccini's work based on a side character in Dante's "Inferno" and transplanting the story to a more modern era with allusions to Italian cinema and a fast-paced comic style reminiscent of the director's films. The British baritone Thomas Allen -- no relation to the director -- performed in the title role in 2008. Domingo will star in the latest staging of "Gianni Schicchi" at the Los Angeles Opera, which opens as the season debut on September 12. The Spanish tenor, one of the world's most identifiable opera singers, is also performing in a production of Allen's "Gianni Schicchi" starting on June 30 at Madrid's Teatro Real. The announcement came as the Los Angeles Opera unveiled its 2015-16 season, which marks the 30th anniversary of the company in its current version. Domingo, who is the general director of the Los Angeles Opera, said in a statement that the company "crafted a season full of audience favorites" to mark the anniversary. Other highlights of the season include a March 2016 concert of arias and duets between Domingo and another opera superstar, Renee Fleming. The Los Angeles Opera will also present "Moby-Dick," an opera by US composer Jake Heggie that premiered in 2010 and is based on Herman Melville's classic novel. Woody Allen touched again on his love of Italian opera in his 2012 film "To Rome With Love." At age 79, Allen remains prolific and is planning to direct his own television show that will premiere in 2016 in a deal with online retail giant Amazon. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

'Ghostbusters' reboot reveals its all-female cast
Wednesday Jan 28, 2015
'Ghostbusters' reboot reveals its all-female cast

Director Paul Feig, known as something of a specialist when it comes to female-led comedies, announced the names of the next-generation of paranormal exterminators: Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones.The news was first revealed by Variety before being confirmed in a tweet from the director. However, Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy, among the stars of Feig's "Bridesmaids," and Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones, seen namely on "Saturday Night Live," are actually still in talks to star in the "Ghostbusters" reboot. Following the cyberattacks on Sony and the resulting leaks, there have been weeks of speculation that these very actresses would follow in the footsteps of Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson and Harold Ramis, who played the protagonists in Ivan Reitman's first two movies, released in 1984 and 1989. Just after his casting announcement, Paul Feig tweeted the film's US release date: June 22, 2016. So far the actresses' respective roles have not been announced, and the plot details of the reboot remain under wraps. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Idris Elba takes a road trip for Jaguar
Wednesday Jan 28, 2015
Idris Elba takes a road trip for Jaguar

To promote its new compact sports sedan, Jaguar has teamed with Idris Elba, the star of the former BBC series "Luther" and of "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom." The actor will take the Jaguar XE on a mini European tour, documenting his road trip in a series of short films to be released online starting February 10. In the meantime, updates will be posted to Jaguar's pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.Over three days, Elba will travel around 750 miles from London to Berlin, including a detour to the Spa-Francorchamps track in Belgium. The actor will be at the wheel of a Jaguar XE packing a 2.0L engine with 160hp. With CO2 emissions of just 99g/km, the model is the most fuel-efficient ever produced by Jaguar. Fans can look forward to watching the short films chronicling the road trip this February. Unveiled last summer at London's Earl's Court before going on display at the Paris Motor Show, the new Jaguar XE will be available in Europe later this year at a starting price of €37,000. The sports sedan is not expected to arrive in the US until 2016. The new XE stands out for its bonded and riveted aluminum construction, which makes it the lightest and most rigid Jaguar of all time. It is also the first Jaguar to come with electric power steering system, a feature that contributes to the car's enhanced energy efficiency. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Animated film brings van Gogh's art to life
Wednesday Jan 28, 2015
Animated film brings van Gogh's art to life

Danuta Roman is channelling her inner Vincent van Gogh. She applies short brushstrokes of azure, turquoise and Payne's grey to mimic water reflections on an oil painting by the Dutch master."I'm trying to figure out how he created this landscape," says the 42-year-old painter as she studies an 1887 canvas with the Seine river and a scene outside Paris. She and some 70 other artists are working on what is billed as the world's first feature-length animated film made entirely through hand-painted canvasses. Entitled "Loving Vincent", the 4.5 million-euro ($5.3 million) production aims to bring to life both van Gogh's works and his tortured soul, to mark this year's 125th anniversary of his death -- often held as a suicide -- from a gunshot wound. Its creators are the Oscar-winning BreakThru Productions, which won an Academy Award in 2008 for the animated short "Peter and the Wolf" based on the story and music by Sergei Prokoviev. Van Gogh, known for his bold colours and rough, vibrant painting style, is considered one of the most revolutionary painters of the 19th century. He died young at 37, after suffering frequent bouts of mental illness including the infamous episode where he sliced off part of his ear. And though he sold only one painting during his lifetime, his works today carry multi-million dollar price tags. - 'Playing at van Gogh" - The BreakThru artists have already toiled for six months at a studio in the northern port city of Gdansk and are scrambling to finish by the end of the year. "For every second of film, you need 12 key frames, so 12 paintings," said BreakThru head Sean Bobbitt. "One artist can create six paintings a day on average, the equivalent of half a second of film." In all, the 80-minute film will require around 56,000 key frames. The studio even created its own technique called PAWS, for Painted Animation Work Stations, to make the film. "We're basically playing at van Gogh and we become van Gogh by using these high-tech digital methods," said graphic designer Bartosz Dluzewski. Their studio in Gdansk, where it gets dark at 3 pm in winter, is far from the sunlight of southern France that so inspired van Gogh but "our painters are flexible," said artist Roman with a big smile. "Even surrounded by halogen light, we're able to recreate the Provencal glow." When a scene like the one she was working on is done, it is photographed then sent to animation. On the same canvas, she then paints the next frame -- this time shifting the boats a few millimetres to convey the sense that they're floating. The van Gogh original features a train crossing a bridge -- but there is no sign of it yet on Roman's canvas. It will be added into the following frames. "Loving Vincent" is told through the eyes of van Gogh's 's entourage, including Armand Roulin, a passenger on the train whose family in the southern French city of Arles inspired many a van Gogh portrait. - 'The film becomes a canvas' - The scenes are first shot with actors in a studio in Wroclaw, in western Poland, then the footage is traced and painted over in the style of the Post-Impressionist. "The PAWS animation technique we use involves projecting scenes shot with actors so they can be painted by brush on a canvas," said graphic designer Dluzewski. "So the film becomes a canvas. The digital image is translated into a painting. " More than 100 van Gogh paintings were used in the film, said Marlena Jopyk-Misiak, who supervises the painstaking artwork. "We're making exact copies. But often for the purposes of film, you need to adapt them, to modify or enlarge, while adding in elements that don't figure in the originals," she said. "We also came up with tableaus that van Gogh never painted himself," including the closing sequence, which is "in the style of his famous self-portrait". The film, which also draws from 800 of the artist's letters, examines the mystery surrounding his July 1890 death in Auvers-sur-Oise outside Paris. "I don't think anyone actually knows what the truth behind van Gogh's death is," said Bobbitt, "whether it actually was a suicide or was he accidentally shot... "What we try to do is look into the various theories and give credibility to this one or to that one -- and let the viewer decide," he said. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Events

Absolut Art Award shortlist announced
Wednesday Jan 28, 2015
Absolut Art Award shortlist announced

Upmarket vodka brand Absolut has announced the finalists for its 2015 Absolut Art Award.A shortlist of five artists and five art writers has been selected by the award's jury across two separate categories, ‘Art Work' and ‘Art Writing'. Each finalists will suggest a "dream project", with the winners given the means to realize the work. The artists shortlisted include USA-based Trisha Donnelly, Franco-American Camille Henrot, Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson, South Korean Minouk Lim and Frances Stark from the USA. The art writers shortlisted are Julia Bryan-Wilson, Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer and Helen Molesworth from the USA, Mark Godfrey from the UK and Dieter Roelstraete from Belgium. The biennial award was launched in 2009 to mark 30 years of creative collaborations between artists and Absolut. Both winners will receive a cash prize of €20,000, complemented by a budget of €100,000 for the artist to produce and exhibit a new project and €25,000 for the writer to be used towards the research and production of a new art publication. In 2013 the prize for ‘Art Work' was awarded to Renata Lucas and to Coco Fusco in the 'Art Writing' category. Lucas´s winning project featured a series of site-specific architectural interventions and installations located throughout the Pier Mauá area of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Coco Fusco will launch her winning project in collaboration with Tate Publishing in October 2015 during Frieze London. Previous Absolut Art Award winners have included Anri Sala (2011), Rirkrit Tiravanija (2010) and Keren Cytter (2009). The winning artist and writer will be announced on May 8. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Russian spies center stage in 'The Americans'
Wednesday Jan 28, 2015
Russian spies center stage in 'The Americans'

The Cold War is officially over, so the concept of husband-and-wife KGB operatives killing, lying and spying in Washington -- under the nose of their FBI agent neighbor -- may seem a bit far-fetched.But the arrest this week of a suspected Russian agent posing as a New York banker lends new relevance to "The Americans," the critically acclaimed thriller returning to US television screens on Wednesday. Evgeny Buryakov, 39, was captured following more than two years of FBI surveillance as he allegedly fed economic intelligence to Moscow and sought to recruit US residents as sources. One of the central questions in "The Americans" -- which is set in the 1980s -- is whether the FBI will ever cotton onto Elizabeth and Philip Jennings, played by Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys. "It's obviously got a relevance today in that it parallels things that we hear in the news," said Robert Thompson, a professor of popular culture at Syracuse University. "It has all the action and intrigue of being a spy series, but at the same time, it's a series about a marriage, about a family." Russell, who is dating her co-star Rhys, said the tense, slow-building FX show is really all about the characters. "Even in the context of this spy show, it's really just a look at a marriage," Russell says. Season three opens in 1982 -- the year that Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev died as the Cold War appeared to be heating up. The series focuses on the KGB's insistence that Elizabeth and Philip start grooming their 14-year-old daughter Paige to spy for Moscow and the arguments which that order provokes between the couple. The relationship between the two -- whose marriage was arranged at the start for the KGB's purposes -- is constantly tested by the demands of their job and the love affairs they maintain with a tangled web of informants. To make matters worse, the family lives in the Washington suburbs next door to FBI Agent Stan Beeman (Noah Emmerich), whose own liaison with a KGB double-agent unravelled at the end of last season. - Russians mad about stereotypes - War in Syria and the crisis in Ukraine have recently plunged US-Russian ties back to the froideur of the Cold War, but Russia has for decades offered fertile ground to American television writers. Next month, NBC is to premiere "Allegiance," adapted from an Israeli series, about a CIA analyst poised to discover that his parents and sister were part of a Soviet sleeper cell. Moscow has long been the go-to enemy in American popular culture, and Russians complain they are too frequently stereotyped as untrustworthy alcoholics involved in nefarious politics. "Everything that contradicts these stereotypes is excluded from conversation," said Dmitri Glinski, president of the Russian-speaking Community Council of Manhattan and the Bronx. "I do think that stereotyping, reinforced by the policies of the present Russian government and the state of US-Russian relations, hurts the Russian immigrant community in a very major way -- and worst of all those who do not conform to stereotypes." But critics say the Cold War backdrop to "The Americans" is indispensable even if, at its core, it is a show about family. "The super structure of the Cold War told through Russian spies on American soil is genius," said Tom Nunan of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. "It goes to two fundamental things about suburbia that I think really elevates the show to a completely different level, which is 'do I really know who my neighbor is' and more importantly, 'do I really know who my spouse is.'" While the show is a critical hit, twice winning the American Film Institute award for TV program of the year, its estimated weekly viewership of one to two million falls far short of the numbers registered by top network shows. "Patience is a real virtue when it comes to watching 'The Americans,' a show that seems to move fast but is in fact excruciatingly deliberate," wrote a Washington Post reviewer. "Some dissatisfied readers have told me they find the show too cold to the touch and bereft of any hope." But fans sometimes find themselves rooting for the anti-heroes -- a concept firmly entrenched in the US television landscape since HBO introduced the world to Tony Soprano in the late 1990s. "Most of us feel we have enormous character defects and seeing them played out through these crazy concepts and crazy roles is reassuring in some way," said Nunan. "If you see Superman conquering everyone, how relatable is that?" Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Theater legend Joel Grey reveals that he is gay
Wednesday Jan 28, 2015
Theater legend Joel Grey reveals that he is gay

NEW YORK (AP) — Joel Grey has publicly announced at age 82 that he is gay. The Oscar- and Tony-winning actor tells People magazine, "I don't like labels, but if you have to put a label on it, I'm a gay man." Grey was married to actress Jo Wilder for 24 years and they have two children together: actress Jennifer Grey and son James, a chef. He says, "It took time to embrace that other part of who I always was." Grey's show-stopping performance as the devilish master of ceremonies in "Cabaret" won him an Academy Award and a Tony. After "Cabaret," Grey went on to star on Broadway in "George M!," the title role in "Goodtime Charley," Amos Hart in the revival of "Chicago," and the Wonderful Wizard of Oz in "Wicked." Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

"H is for Hawk" memoir scoops Britain's Costa Prize
Wednesday Jan 28, 2015
"H is for Hawk" memoir scoops Britain's Costa Prize

An academic's memoir of training a hawk while grieving the death of her father won Britain's prestigious Costa Book Award on Tuesday.It is the second leading award given to Helen Macdonald's "H is for Hawk", after the book became the first ever memoir to win the non-fiction Samuel Johnson Prize in November. Macdonald, 44, a Cambridge University historian and illustrator, said it was an "extraordinary privilege" to have been shortlisted and thanked readers who had shared their stories of grief. "It's made me very, very moved," Macdonald said. Appropriately, she had written the book in a Costa cafe, the brand that sponsors the award, the author noted. "I'm sure that when I go in again next week for a cup of tea they might even buy me a slice of cake," she joked. Formerly called the Whitbread award, the Costa Book Award was established in 1971 to celebrate British and Irish writing and £30,000 is awarded to the winner ($46,000, 40,000 euros). The bookmakers' favourite to win had been Ali Smith's "How to be Both", but "H is for Hawk" was an obvious winner, said novelist Robert Harris, who chaired the judging panel. "Several people felt very passionately that it haunted them and they would never forget it," Harris said. "Everyone agreed it was brilliantly written, wonderful kind of muscular prose really, precise scalpel-like prose and staring at grief with the unblinking eye of a hawk." In the memoir, the death of Macdonald's father reignites an obsession with birds of prey held since childhood. She buys her goshawk Mabel on a quay in Scotland for £800 (1,000 euros), and takes her home to Cambridge where her freezer is stocked with hawk food. Macdonald unplugs the phone and begins a year in seclusion as she trains the wild creature using traditional falconry methods while dealing with her grief. The story is interwoven with a biography of troubled novelist TH White, who decades earlier gave an account of his struggles to train a hawk in the 1951 book "The Goshawk". Last year's prize went to "The Shock of the Fall", a debut by Nathan Filer drawing on his experience as a mental health nurse. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Animated film brings van Gogh's art to life
Wednesday Jan 28, 2015
Animated film brings van Gogh's art to life

Danuta Roman is channelling her inner Vincent van Gogh. She applies short brushstrokes of azure, turquoise and Payne's grey to mimic water reflections on an oil painting by the Dutch master."I'm trying to figure out how he created this landscape," says the 42-year-old painter as she studies an 1887 canvas with the Seine river and a scene outside Paris. She and some 70 other artists are working on what is billed as the world's first feature-length animated film made entirely through hand-painted canvasses. Entitled "Loving Vincent", the 4.5 million-euro ($5.3 million) production aims to bring to life both van Gogh's works and his tortured soul, to mark this year's 125th anniversary of his death -- often held as a suicide -- from a gunshot wound. Its creators are the Oscar-winning BreakThru Productions, which won an Academy Award in 2008 for the animated short "Peter and the Wolf" based on the story and music by Sergei Prokoviev. Van Gogh, known for his bold colours and rough, vibrant painting style, is considered one of the most revolutionary painters of the 19th century. He died young at 37, after suffering frequent bouts of mental illness including the infamous episode where he sliced off part of his ear. And though he sold only one painting during his lifetime, his works today carry multi-million dollar price tags. - 'Playing at van Gogh" - The BreakThru artists have already toiled for six months at a studio in the northern port city of Gdansk and are scrambling to finish by the end of the year. "For every second of film, you need 12 key frames, so 12 paintings," said BreakThru head Sean Bobbitt. "One artist can create six paintings a day on average, the equivalent of half a second of film." In all, the 80-minute film will require around 56,000 key frames. The studio even created its own technique called PAWS, for Painted Animation Work Stations, to make the film. "We're basically playing at van Gogh and we become van Gogh by using these high-tech digital methods," said graphic designer Bartosz Dluzewski. Their studio in Gdansk, where it gets dark at 3 pm in winter, is far from the sunlight of southern France that so inspired van Gogh but "our painters are flexible," said artist Roman with a big smile. "Even surrounded by halogen light, we're able to recreate the Provencal glow." When a scene like the one she was working on is done, it is photographed then sent to animation. On the same canvas, she then paints the next frame -- this time shifting the boats a few millimetres to convey the sense that they're floating. The van Gogh original features a train crossing a bridge -- but there is no sign of it yet on Roman's canvas. It will be added into the following frames. "Loving Vincent" is told through the eyes of van Gogh's 's entourage, including Armand Roulin, a passenger on the train whose family in the southern French city of Arles inspired many a van Gogh portrait. - 'The film becomes a canvas' - The scenes are first shot with actors in a studio in Wroclaw, in western Poland, then the footage is traced and painted over in the style of the Post-Impressionist. "The PAWS animation technique we use involves projecting scenes shot with actors so they can be painted by brush on a canvas," said graphic designer Dluzewski. "So the film becomes a canvas. The digital image is translated into a painting. " More than 100 van Gogh paintings were used in the film, said Marlena Jopyk-Misiak, who supervises the painstaking artwork. "We're making exact copies. But often for the purposes of film, you need to adapt them, to modify or enlarge, while adding in elements that don't figure in the originals," she said. "We also came up with tableaus that van Gogh never painted himself," including the closing sequence, which is "in the style of his famous self-portrait". The film, which also draws from 800 of the artist's letters, examines the mystery surrounding his July 1890 death in Auvers-sur-Oise outside Paris. "I don't think anyone actually knows what the truth behind van Gogh's death is," said Bobbitt, "whether it actually was a suicide or was he accidentally shot... "What we try to do is look into the various theories and give credibility to this one or to that one -- and let the viewer decide," he said. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.