Sunday Mar 29, 2015

Stand-up specials: the other Netflix Originals

Though its award-winning original series "House of Cards" and "Orange Is the New Black" have tended to steal the spotlight in recent years, Netflix is also home to several exclusive stand-up specials.The latest comic to sign a deal with the American platform is Chris Tucker, who rose to fame...
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TV

Stand-up specials: the other Netflix Originals
Sunday Mar 29, 2015
Stand-up specials: the other Netflix Originals

Though its award-winning original series "House of Cards" and "Orange Is the New Black" have tended to steal the spotlight in recent years, Netflix is also home to several exclusive stand-up specials.The latest comic to sign a deal with the American platform is Chris Tucker, who rose to fame in the 1990s on HBO's Def Comedy Jam and in the movies "Friday" and "Rush Hour," among others. His first Netflix stand-up special, "Chris Tucker Live," will be available worldwide exclusively on Netflix from July 10. Netflix is also where comedy fans will find the fourth stand-up special from Aziz Ansari. In "Live at Madison Square Garden," the former "Parks & Recreation" star touches upon his signature topics, including the Indian-American experience as well as relationships and dating. Chelsea Peretti of "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" is the star of "One of the Greats," a somewhat unconventional comedy special that plays with the format. Also worth mentioning are "Freezing Hot" featuring Iliza Shlesinger, the first woman to win NBC's "Last Comic Standing," and "Uganda Be Kidding Me" with former "Chelsea Lately" host Chelsea Handler. New releases over the coming months include "Incorrigible" with "Undateable" star Chris D'Elia (April 17) and "I'm Gonna Die Alone (and I Feel Fine)" with Jen Kirkman (May 22). Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Emma Stone, Liam Hemsworth among Kids' Choice Awards winners
Sunday Mar 29, 2015
Emma Stone, Liam Hemsworth among Kids' Choice Awards winners

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Emma Stone is a Kids' Choice Award winner who largely escaped the show's trademark green slime. But the same isn't true for the stars of "Modern Family." Stone was honored as favorite movie actress for her role in "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" at Saturday's ceremony. Stone gamely put her hands in a spray of the show's trademark slime, but otherwise remained goo-free. When "Modern Family" collected its Nickelodeon trophy for favorite family TV shows, cast members including Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Rico Rodriguez got hit by a slime wave — as Ferguson thanked the show for letting them off the hook. Nick Jonas hosted the ceremony, which also honored the group Fifth Harmony as favorite new artist and Liam Hemsworth of "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1" as favorite male action star. 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.

Fancy Nancy moving from page to screen with Disney
Friday Mar 27, 2015
Fancy Nancy moving from page to screen with Disney

The successful children's book series about the eponymous character who puts self expression above all else is to get her own TV series.Disney Junior announced the deal with publishers HarperCollins Children's Books on Friday along with its initial plans for the character -- an animated TV movie and an adaptation of the existing series, which already runs to some 60 picture books. Aimed at two-to-seven-year-olds, Fancy Nancy likes to look ‘Fancy' whatever she gets up to and the character is celebrating her 10th anniversary in 2015. As for the first Disney adaptations, they're slated for 2017. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

'Super Troopers 2' joining cohort of fan-funded films
Friday Mar 27, 2015
'Super Troopers 2' joining cohort of fan-funded films

Passing its $2m goal within a day of launching on Indiegogo, cop comedy "Super Troopers 2" is the latest in a cadre of fan-funded films to emerge from the distributed funding model. We summarize the fortunes of four from recent times -- "Wish I Was Here," "Veronica Mars," "Reach Me" and the upcoming "Ned Rifle."Wish I Was Here (2014) Zach Braff fronted a campaign to direct and star in this coming-of-middle-age film, raising $3.1m in the process, and though it was certainly typical of Braff's style, critics felt that its similarity made it limp in comparison.IMDB: 6.7/10 User RatingMetacritic: 43 Metascore, 6.7 User RatingRotten Tomatoes: 46% Tomatometer, 62% Audience Score Veronica Mars (2014) A chance to tie up all those loose ends and return to a well-loved but canceled TV series gave Rob Thomas the opportunity needed to reunite screen star Kristen Bell and the rest of the cast thanks to $5.7m total donations on Kickstarter. Wisely, given the distributed nature of its online fan commnuity, the film was given a same-day VOD download as its limited theatrical release.IMDB: 6.9/10 User RatingMetacritic: 62/100 Metascore, 7.9 User ScoreRotten Tomatoes: 78% Tomatometer, 80% Audience ScoreReach Me (2014) Not one but two crowdfunding campaigns were proposed -- first on Kickstarter, then replaced on Indiegogo -- to make up a shortfall when one of the film's more established backers pulled out during production, and eventually raising $181k. Its big name cast included Sylvester Stallone, Kelsey Grammer, Terry Crews, Kyra Sedgwick and Danny Trejo, but the finished article wasn't so much of a success.IMDB: 4.9/10 User RatingMetacritic: 21/100 Metascore, tbd User ScoreRotten Tomatoes: 0% Tomatometer, 59% Audience Score Ned Rifle (2015) With independent film director Hal Hartley looking to complete an intergenerational trilogy, Kickstarter visitors pitched in to the tune of $395k, ensuring that Aubrey Plaza would join returning cast members Parker Posey and Liam Aiken. Initial film festival screenings have led to a positive swell ahead of an April 2015 debut.IMDB: 6.1/10 User RatingMetacritic: 76/100 Metascore, tdb User ScoreRotten Tomatoes: 71% Tomatometer, tdb % Audience Score Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Police investigate threat to BBC boss over Clarkson firing
Friday Mar 27, 2015
Police investigate threat to BBC boss over Clarkson firing

LONDON (AP) — British police are investigating a death threat made to the head of the BBC after the broadcaster fired "Top Gear" host Jeremy Clarkson over an assault on a colleague. The Mail on Sunday newspaper ran photos of security guards outside the home of director-general Tony Hall. The Metropolitan Police said detectives were "investigating an allegation of threats to kill" made in an email. No one has been arrested. The force did not name Hall but offered the statement when asked about him. The BBC said it wouldn't comment on security matters, but carried the story in its news bulletins. The broadcaster announced Wednesday that it wouldn't renew Clarkson's contract for "Top Gear," one of the network's most popular shows. It said Clarkson had subjected producer Oisin Tymon to a verbal tirade before hitting him. When Clarkson was suspended after the incident, fans clamored for his return, signing a petition which was delivered to the BBC in a tank. Prime Minister David Cameron called Clarkson a friend and a "huge talent." Clarkson has often landed in trouble for remarks targeting — among others — Mexicans, cyclists and former Prime Minister Gordon Brown. For fans, Clarkson's defiance of what is seen as political correctness is part of his appeal. But Hall said Clarkson's behavior had crossed a line. "There cannot be one rule for one and one rule for another dictated by either rank, or public relations and commercial considerations," Hall said Wednesday. The Guinness Book of World Records has described "Top Gear" as the world's most widely watched factual program. It broadcasts to 214 territories worldwide and has an estimated global audience of 350 million. 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.

Movies

Oscar-nominated Czech cameraman Miroslav Ondricek dies at 80
Sunday Mar 29, 2015
Oscar-nominated Czech cameraman Miroslav Ondricek dies at 80

PRAGUE (AP) — Miroslav Ondricek, the Czech director of photography who was twice nominated for the Academy Awards, has died. He was 80. Czech public television announced Ondricek's death Sunday, citing his son David, also a filmmaker. No cause was given. Ondricek was behind the camera in some 40 movies but was best known abroad for his cooperation with his friend, director Milos Forman, who settled in the United States after the 1968 Soviet-led invasion crushed the Prague Spring's liberal reforms in Czechoslovakia. His work on Forman's "Ragtime" and "Amadeus," which examined the relationship between Mozart and rival composer Antonio Salieri, earned him Oscar nominations. In 2004, Ondricek received the International Achievement Award from the American Society of Cinematographers. 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.

Moore denies racism in comments on next Bond
Sunday Mar 29, 2015
Moore denies racism in comments on next Bond

James Bond legend Roger Moore insisted Saturday he had said nothing racist about fellow British actor Idris Elba -- tipped to play the superspy next -- in a French magazine interview.The 87-year-old star, who played the suave British agent in seven films from 1973 to 1985, insisted his meaning had been lost in translation. "An interview I gave to Paris Match implies I said something racist about Idris Elba. That is simply untrue," Moore wrote on Twitter, using the hashtag "Lost in translation". He added: "When a journalist asks if 'Bond should be English' and you agree, then quotes you saying it about Idris Elba it's out of context." Reproductions of the interview have led to Moore being blasted by Twitter users. In the interview, Moore was talking about the different actors who have played agent 007 on screen. In the 23 official Bond films to date, the title role has been played in turn by Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig, who is currently shooting "Spectre", due out in November. In a translation of the quotes printed in French in Paris Match, Moore told the magazine: "Though James has been played by a Scot, a Welshman, an Irishman, I think he should be English-English. It's nonetheless an interesting idea, but unrealistic. "Some years ago, I said that Cuba Gooding Jr would make an excellent Bond but it was a joke!" - Words 'faithfully transcribed' - Benjamin Locoge, who is in charge of Paris Match's culture section, said the recording of the conversation "backs up that Roger Moore's words have been faithfully transcribed". "The journalist (who conducted the interview) is certain about the term "English-English": he said it like that, it's on the tape," he added. He claimed: "Roger Moore implies that it would be difficult to have a black James Bond in the sense that one cannot imagine General de Gaulle being played by a black actor and James Brown by a white (actor)." "One should not interpret his words as racist and the Twittersphere has without doubt got carried away a bit too hastily." Elba, 42, is from Hackney in east London and was born to a Sierra Leonean father and a Ghanaian mother. His most famous film role to date is that of former South African president Nelson Mandela in "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom". On television, he played drug lord Russell "Stringer" Bell in US crime drama series "The Wire" and the title role in the BBC detective series "Luther", which won him a best actor Golden Globe. British bookmakers across the board have Elba as their clear favourite to be the next Bond after Craig, who has held the role for 10 years. William Hill price Elba at 2/1, followed by Tom Hardy at 9/2, Henry Cavill at 6/1, Michael Fassbender at 13/2. Paddy Power and Ladbrokes have the same actors as their top four. Ian Fleming's original Bond novels say the secret agent was the son of a Scottish father and a Swiss mother, who spent much of his early life outside of Britain. Orphaned at 11, he then lives with an aunt in southeast England and is educated in Edinburgh. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Lauren Bacall's life possessions on sale in New York
Sunday Mar 29, 2015
Lauren Bacall's life possessions on sale in New York

Everything but the kitchen sink would be one way to describe the staggering array of possessions owned by Lauren Bacall that go under the hammer in New York next week.From fine art to kitchenware, from avant garde to the kitsch: hundreds of items collected and loved by the Hollywood siren go on sale Tuesday and Wednesday at Bonhams auction house. The collection is nothing if not eclectic. It includes jewelry and clothes, Aboriginal and African art, English and French furniture and items bought in antique shops around the world. Items that date from her marriage to legendary on-screen co-star Humphrey Bogart and sculptures by English artist Henry Moore are among the most prized items. "One thing with Lauren Bacall, when she collected she didn't collect because of value or potential value," said Jon King, vice president and director of Bonhams in New York. "An item that cost $100, if it appealed to her she would buy it. If it was $100,000, if it appealed to her, she would buy it... her aesthetic sense that's all that mattered," King told AFP. Bacall greatly admired Moore, visiting him in England and treasuring his work. She kept most of the small maquettes next to her bed and the most expensive of which is valued at $40-60,000. At the lower end of the spectrum, die-hard fans with a several hundred dollars might be able to snap up some walking sticks. Bacall, one of Hollywood's great golden age actresses, died last August aged 89 in her nine-room home overlooking Central Park, which is also on the market for $26 million. The proceeds of next week's auctions will go to her three children. All 740 lots -- from Yves Saint Laurent evening wear to a cheese slicer, silver tea strainer, suitcases and papier mache ornaments -- filled Bacall's plush Manhattan apartment, and have toured the world attracting potential buyers from China to France. Above all they reflect Bacall's personal taste. - Clinton invitation - From the Bogart years, before he died from cancer in 1957, are his black granite games table and a pair of silver candelabras from their marital home in Los Angeles. Many of the lots have associations with some of her famous friends drawn from the literary, musical and political worlds. There is a landscape by English playwright Noel Coward, an invitation to Bill Clinton's inaugural ball complete with handwritten notes from him and wife Hillary, and a lithograph of daffodils painted by the late senator Edward Kennedy. Bacall was a staunch Democrat and is photographed in the catalogue at a birthday party of Hillary's in New York. "She was known to be a friend of Democrats. She admired Bill Clinton. She admired Obama too. She thought that he was very strong and decisive and just a very good man," said King. The piano, used by Bacall to rehearse for Broadway musicals, was also played at parties by composer Leonard Bernstein, with whom her youngest son, Sam Robards, remembers singing Christmas carols. There are Ashanti scales from Ghana used to weigh gold, a spoon from the Democratic Republic of Congo, combs from the Ivory Coast, and two headrests from South Africa. The auction house said Bacall became interested in African art while on location for "The African Queen" starring Bogart and Katharine Hepburn, which was filmed in Congo and Uganda. Other items from around the world include Indian miniatures, a Japanese portable brass tea set and a marble table inscribed with "in the name of Allah" in Arabic calligraphy. King, who forged a close relationship with the star, said Bacall would have mixed feelings about the auction. "She'd be very happy to see the response from her fan base. But she loved each and every one of these and probably, I don't know, she'd be sad that it's being disbanded I think." He says it's possible some of the items could end up in museums, but expects the majority to go to private collectors. Interest has been "tremendous" from Hong Kong and mainland China, as well as Tokyo, Los Angeles and Paris, Bacall's favorite city, he said. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Stand-up specials: the other Netflix Originals
Sunday Mar 29, 2015
Stand-up specials: the other Netflix Originals

Though its award-winning original series "House of Cards" and "Orange Is the New Black" have tended to steal the spotlight in recent years, Netflix is also home to several exclusive stand-up specials.The latest comic to sign a deal with the American platform is Chris Tucker, who rose to fame in the 1990s on HBO's Def Comedy Jam and in the movies "Friday" and "Rush Hour," among others. His first Netflix stand-up special, "Chris Tucker Live," will be available worldwide exclusively on Netflix from July 10. Netflix is also where comedy fans will find the fourth stand-up special from Aziz Ansari. In "Live at Madison Square Garden," the former "Parks & Recreation" star touches upon his signature topics, including the Indian-American experience as well as relationships and dating. Chelsea Peretti of "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" is the star of "One of the Greats," a somewhat unconventional comedy special that plays with the format. Also worth mentioning are "Freezing Hot" featuring Iliza Shlesinger, the first woman to win NBC's "Last Comic Standing," and "Uganda Be Kidding Me" with former "Chelsea Lately" host Chelsea Handler. New releases over the coming months include "Incorrigible" with "Undateable" star Chris D'Elia (April 17) and "I'm Gonna Die Alone (and I Feel Fine)" with Jen Kirkman (May 22). Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Emma Stone, Liam Hemsworth among Kids' Choice Awards winners
Sunday Mar 29, 2015
Emma Stone, Liam Hemsworth among Kids' Choice Awards winners

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Emma Stone is a Kids' Choice Award winner who largely escaped the show's trademark green slime. But the same isn't true for the stars of "Modern Family." Stone was honored as favorite movie actress for her role in "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" at Saturday's ceremony. Stone gamely put her hands in a spray of the show's trademark slime, but otherwise remained goo-free. When "Modern Family" collected its Nickelodeon trophy for favorite family TV shows, cast members including Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Rico Rodriguez got hit by a slime wave — as Ferguson thanked the show for letting them off the hook. Nick Jonas hosted the ceremony, which also honored the group Fifth Harmony as favorite new artist and Liam Hemsworth of "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1" as favorite male action star. 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.

Events

Tony winner and Neil Simon director Gene Saks dies at 93
Sunday Mar 29, 2015
Tony winner and Neil Simon director Gene Saks dies at 93

NEW YORK (AP) — Gene Saks, a prolific actor-director who teamed with playwright and fellow New Yorker Neil Simon on hit Broadway and movie productions of such Simon comedies as "The Odd Couple" and "Brighton Beach Memoirs," has died. He was 93. Saks, who won three Tony Awards for his direction, died from pneumonia Saturday at his East Hampton home in New York, according to his son Daniel. Saks' grab bag of hits also included many without Simon. Among them were the musicals "Mame" (1966), starring Angela Lansbury and his then-wife Bea Arthur; "Half A Sixpence," starting British pop star Tommy Steele (1965), and "I Love My Wife" (1977), as well as such comedies as "Enter Laughing" (1963) and "Same Time, Next Year" (1975). The Simon-Saks collaboration had its beginnings in 1963 when Simon asked Saks — then a Broadway actor — to come to New Hope, Pennsylvania, and critique a tryout of "Barefoot in the Park." Simon didn't need much help. The play — under Mike Nichols' direction — turned out to be one of Broadway's biggest hits of the 1960s, running for more than 1,500 performances. But three years later, when Simon was preparing the film version of "Barefoot in the Park," he persuaded producer Hal Wallis to hire Saks as director of his first movie. The film, which starred Robert Redford and Jane Fonda, was a huge success. Besides the famous trilogy of "Brighton Beach Memoirs," ''Biloxi Blues" and "Broadway Bound," their work together on Broadway included "California Suite," ''Lost in Yonkers," ''Rumors," ''Jake's Women" and the female version of "The Odd Couple." Their other films were "The Odd Couple," — with Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau — "Last of the Red Hot Lovers," ''The Prisoner of Second Avenue" and "Brighton Beach Memoirs." "I don't believe every director can direct every play," Simon once mused. "But Gene and I have had such a common point of view that my instincts tell me lately, 'Go with Gene.'" In a 1987 interview Saks explained his affinity for Simon: "Aside from Neil's wit, his brightness and his ability to characterize, he writes about things I know about and care about. We both came from middle-class, first-generation Jewish families, and our humor springs from the same roots." Saks had been an actor for 15 years, and his career was gaining momentum, when he moved on to directing after producer Morton Gottlieb had seen him direct a scene at the Actors Studio and was impressed. Gottlieb asked Saks to direct "Enter Laughing." It became a hit, elevating Alan Arkin to stardom. By the mid-1970s Saks was one of Broadway's most prominent directors, and at one point in 1977 he had three shows running concurrently on Broadway: "Same Time, Next Year," ''California Suite" and "I Love My Wife." It was the Cy Coleman-Michael Stewart musical "I Love My Wife" that brought Saks his first Tony. He went on to win two more for Simon plays, "Brighton Beach Memoirs" in 1983 and "Biloxi Blues" in 1985. Saks was born in 1921, in New York City, and grew up in Hackensack, New Jersey, where his father ran a women's wholesale shoe business. He wanted to become a basketball star, but changed his mind when he played the title role in "Charley's Aunt," a venerable old farce in which a young man disguises himself as a woman. He avoided talking about his ambition because "acting was so associated with femininity." Saks graduated from Cornell University in 1943 and joined the Navy. Being in the service in wartime changed his mind about acting. "I realized that life can be short and you'd better do what you want to do," he reasoned. After serving for three years, he studied at the New School for Social Research and the Actors Studio. He appeared in such plays as Paddy Chayefsky's "The Tenth Man" (1959), "A Shot in the Dark" (1961) and the Herb Gardner comedy "A Thousand Clowns" (1962) in which he played a children's TV performer known as Chuckles the Chipmunk, a role Saks recreated in the film version. But he decided he wanted to direct. "I liked telling people what to do," he said. In a 1985 interview, Saks had this to say about the twin professions of acting and directing: "For me, I had to overcome shyness to be an actor. But as a director you lose your subjectivity, your self-consciousness. And instead of just your role, it's the life of the whole play that becomes a reflection of you." Saks married Arthur in 1950 and they had two sons, Matthew and Daniel, before the marriage ended in divorce. With his second wife, Karen, he had a daughter, Annabelle. ___ This story contains material compiled by late AP Entertainment Writer Bob Thomas. Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Mark Kennedy from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Rihanna, Madonna, Taylor Swift set for iHeartRadio Awards
Sunday Mar 29, 2015
Rihanna, Madonna, Taylor Swift set for iHeartRadio Awards

Rihanna will perform her new single for the first time, Sam Smith will deliver his soulful vocals, and Taylor Swift will be in the audience dancing along in her typical awards show form. The iHeartRadio Music Awards will debut its second annual show Sunday from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. Justin Timberlake will accept the 2015 iHeartRadio Innovator Award for his accomplishments as an entertainer. Rihanna will sing "B---- Better Have My Money," released days ago. Other performers include Madonna, Iggy Azalea, Florida Georgia Line, Jason Aldean and Meghan Trainor. Jamie Foxx, who will host the show airing live on NBC, will also take the stage to perform a new song. Swift, who is nominated for four awards including artist of the year, won't perform, but she is part of the line-up of attendees, which includes Ludacris, Ryan Seacrest, Gina Rodriguez and Jeremy Piven. Guests at the iHeartRadio Music Awards will sit at traditional tables — in the vein of the Golden Globes — instead of typical awards show seats. Smith and Azalea are the top nominees with five apiece. They, along with Ariana Grande and Luke Bryan, will compete with Swift for artist of the year. Song of the year nominees include Trainor's "All About That Bass," John Legend's "All of Me," Pharrell's "Happy," Swift's "Shake It Off" and Smith's "Stay With Me," the only song in the group to not hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Kelly Clarkson, Snoop Dogg, Jason Derulo, Jennifer Hudson, Alesso and Nate Ruess of fun. will perform at the three-hour event, which will also air live on iHeartMedia's radio stations. The fan-voted show kicks off at 8 p.m. EDT. ___ Online: http://news.iheart.com/features/iheartradio-music-awards-15 Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Mesfin Fekadu from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Oscar-nominated Czech cameraman Miroslav Ondricek dies at 80
Sunday Mar 29, 2015
Oscar-nominated Czech cameraman Miroslav Ondricek dies at 80

PRAGUE (AP) — Miroslav Ondricek, the Czech director of photography who was twice nominated for the Academy Awards, has died. He was 80. Czech public television announced Ondricek's death Sunday, citing his son David, also a filmmaker. No cause was given. Ondricek was behind the camera in some 40 movies but was best known abroad for his cooperation with his friend, director Milos Forman, who settled in the United States after the 1968 Soviet-led invasion crushed the Prague Spring's liberal reforms in Czechoslovakia. His work on Forman's "Ragtime" and "Amadeus," which examined the relationship between Mozart and rival composer Antonio Salieri, earned him Oscar nominations. In 2004, Ondricek received the International Achievement Award from the American Society of Cinematographers. 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.

Nobel's will goes on display for first time
Sunday Mar 29, 2015
Nobel's will goes on display for first time

Alfred Nobel's last will and testament, which played a pivotal role in Swedish history by creating the now-illustrious Nobel prizes, has gone on display for the first time in Stockholm.Until now, only a handful of people had laid eyes on the original 1895 document that has been stashed away in a safe at the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm. The Nobel Museum has changed all that, putting it on public display as part of its new exhibition "Legacy". "The exhibition draws attention to how important it is to pass things on. The will is the centrepiece. It is a simple document, but it still today provides the basis of our work with the (Nobel) prizes," exhibition curator Karin Jonsson tells AFP. "The aim is to show Alfred Nobel's legacy to the public. It makes him more understandable," her colleague Gustav Kaellstrand adds. The Nobel prizes are "one of Sweden's biggest brands," notes a spokesman for the Swedish Institute, Sergio Guimaraes. The will itself is written on four yellowed pages, with curlicued old-fashioned handwriting in black ink. It's smudged in places, and there are notes and additions running up and down the sides, tops and bottoms of the pages. Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, details the creation of the Nobel prizes on 26 lines, or almost three-quarters of a page. He stipulates that part of his fortune -- some 31.5 million kronor at the time, or the equivalent of more than 200 million euros ($220 million) today -- was to be placed in a fund, the interest on which was to be used to honour "those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind" in the fields of medicine, physics, chemistry, literature and peace. He appoints four prize committees to hand out the awards: three in Stockholm and one in Oslo for the peace prize, since Norway was joined with Sweden in a union at the time. The prize for economics was created in 1968 by Sweden's central bank, the Riksbank, to mark its tricentenary, and is also funded by the Riksbank. - 'Who he really was' - Those 26 lines would change Nobel's reputation forever, and shine the spotlight on Sweden for years to come. Gone is Nobel's image as a dynamite-producing friend of war -- now he is seen as a pacific philanthropist around the world. "With these prizes, he wanted to show who he really was," explains Jean-Francois Battail, a professor emeritus in Scandinavian languages and literature at Paris' Sorbonne University. "Albert Einstein, who won the Nobel Physics Prize in 1921, thought Nobel created the Peace Prize because he had a guilty conscience," Battail says. The will was written in Paris where he kept a home and dated November 27, 1895, and then placed in a safety deposit box at Stockholm's Enskilda Bank. Nobel died in December 1896 in Italy. When his will was opened early the next year, his family was shocked -- he had told no one of his plans. "He had no direct heirs, but he left the people closest to him pretty generous sums. They were pretty fatty crumbs. But there were lawsuits, and they tried to have the will annulled -- it didn't transpire peacefully," Battail explains. "The existence of the prizes is in large part thanks to the will's executors, especially Ragnar Sohlman," he adds. A former assistant of Nobel's, Sohlman rounded up the fortune that was spread around the world and honoured Nobel's last wishes, going so far as to convince the King of Sweden, who was disgruntled the prizes could be awarded to non-Scandinavians. - Put Sweden on the map - In 1900, Sohlman helped create the Nobel Foundation, which to this day manages Nobel's inheritance and oversees the work of the prize-awarding committees. The first Nobel prizes were awarded in 1901. "In Sweden and abroad, a lot of people understood that the will provided Sweden an opportunity on the world stage," Kaellstrand says. Yet some were already able to predict the headaches that would come with the daunting task of selecting the laureates. "The New York Times wrote for example in 1897: 'A number of eminent men of Norway and Sweden have a task before them which will inevitably bring to them more trouble than glory'," Kaellstrand muses. The Nobel prizes have indeed been the centre of controversy over the years. French writer Jean-Paul Sartre refused to accept the 1964 Nobel Literature Prize, and, more recently, a storm simmered when US President Barack Obama won the Peace Prize in 2009 after less than nine months in office while the US was waging simultaneous wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. But on the whole, the prize has conferred a positive image of Sweden. Nobel's last will and testament is on display until at least the end of May. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Michelle Obama declares 'Black Girls Rock!'
Sunday Mar 29, 2015
Michelle Obama declares 'Black Girls Rock!'

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — First Lady Michelle Obama celebrated the beauty, power and tenacity of black women while spreading her own message of education for girls at Black Girls Rock!, an annual event honoring trailblazing women of color from all walks of life. "No matter who you are, no matter where you come from, you are beautiful," Obama told the crowd, which included many young black girls. "I am so proud of you. My husband, your president, is so proud of you," she added. "We have so much hope and dreams for you." Obama was not among the honorees at Saturday night's festivities, held at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. That distinction went to actress Jada Pinkett Smith, singer Erykah Badu, actress Cicely Tyson, "Selma" director Ava DuVernay, educator Nadia Lopez and Dr. Helene D. Gayle, president and CEO of CARE USA, a humanitarian organization. However, Obama was the most celebrated participant. Wearing a form-fitting white dress, she jammed to performances from the likes of Badu, Fantasia, Sheila E!, Estelle and others and applauded the honorees. Obama got arguably the night's loudest ovation as she came on stage and declared "Black girls rock!" — the slogan and name of the organization founded by Beverly Bond. It is designed to uplift young black girls, a group that often has difficulty finding positive and reaffirming images of themselves in the world. Obama acknowledged as much in her speech to celebrate three young honorees. "I know there are voices that you are not good enough," she said, acknowledging that she often lacked self-confidence growing up despite encouraging parents. "Each of those doubts was like a test," she said, "that I either shrink away from or rise to meet. And I decided to rise." Obama, who recently completed a trip to Japan and Cambodia as part of her worldwide push for better educational opportunities for girls, lauded the young honorees for excelling in their studies. "There is nothing more important than being serious about your education," the Ivy League-educated Obama said. "That's why I am able to stand here tonight. ... I want every one of our black girls do to the same, and our black boys." Obama's speech was just one of many highlights of the nearly four-hour event, which will be shown Sunday, April 5, on BET. Will Smith gave an emotional tribute to his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, who received the Star Power award. Smith alluded to persistent rumors that the couple's marriage was in trouble. He said when one rumor got out of control, he had a chance for reflection. "In that brief moment my heart jumped for a second and I started to imagine what my life would have been like without that woman," he said as the couple's daughter, Willow, beamed from the audience. When Pinkett Smith accepted the honor, she alluded to recent slights of black girls and women — including a college baseball player's slur against Little League pitcher Mo'ne Davis — as reasons why Black Girls Rock! is necessary. She also implored black women to celebrate and be aware of their own strength. "I need you to understand that we are the women who marched from cotton fields into fields of medicine ... politics ... entertainment," she said. "We have found a way to march into the White House." Tyson also spoke to the resiliency of black women as she accepted her legacy award from hosts actresses Tracee Ellis Ross and Regina King. "The moment anyone tries to demean or degrade you in any way, you have to know how great you are," Tyson said. "Nobody would bother to beat you down if you were not a threat." DuVernay, whose civil rights drama "Selma" received an Academy Award nomination, making her the first black woman to notch such an achievement, name-checked a host of other black filmmakers in her speech as she accepted her Shot Caller award, and implored women to "figure out what you need to do to be the heroine of your own story." The show peppered songs from entertainers like Jill Scott, Estelle and others with inspiring stories from the award winners. One of the members of the group Sister Sledge sang the song "We Are Family," with the refrain "I've got all my sisters with me," as the audience grooved along. And sisterhood was the spirit of the evening, evident when Obama came on stage to close the show with all the honorees. When an embarrassed King flubbed a line, Obama gave her a hug and then jokingly rubbed her back. The actress and director then shouted with glee, "I've got Mrs. Obama pumping me up!" ___ Online: http://www.blackgirlsrock.org Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Nekesa Mumbi Moody from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.