Wednesday Jun 8, 2016

'Raging Bull' actress Theresa Saldana dies

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Theresa Saldana, the "Raging Bull" actress who survived a stalker's brutal attack to become a crime victim's advocate and reclaimed her entertainment career with "The Commish" and other TV shows, has died. She was 61. Saldana had been suffering from pneumonia and...
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TV

'Raging Bull' actress Theresa Saldana dies
Wednesday Jun 8, 2016
'Raging Bull' actress Theresa Saldana dies

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Theresa Saldana, the "Raging Bull" actress who survived a stalker's brutal attack to become a crime victim's advocate and reclaimed her entertainment career with "The Commish" and other TV shows, has died. She was 61. Saldana had been suffering from pneumonia and died Monday at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, according to her longtime friend, Soorya Townley, who called the actress a "warm, caring person who always put others' needs before her own. Saldana co-starred in the 1991-96 drama "The Commish" as the supportive wife of Michael Chiklis' police commissioner. Her most notable big-screen role was opposite Joe Pesci in "Raging Bull," Martin Scorsese's 1980 film starring Robert De Niro. "I have such good memories of working with her on 'Raging Bull,' and I always admired the way that she handled the horrifying attack by a stalker — the good that she made of it," Scorsese said. "She was a wonderful actress and a fine human being." In 1982, Saldana was repeatedly stabbed by an obsessed man in front of her West Hollywood apartment. The attack was stopped by a then-water deliveryman, Jeff Fenn, who held the man for police. Scottish drifter Arthur Jackson served more than a decade in prison for the crime before he was extradited to Great Britain to face charges in a case there. Saldana, who endured a prolonged hospitalization, was both physically and mentally scarred and received treatment for both problems. She went on to found a support and lobbying group, Victims for Victims, and played herself in the 1984 TV movie "Victims For Victims: The Theresa Saldana Story." She also wrote "Beyond Survival," a memoir. In a 1992 interview with The Associated Press, Saldana said her recovery was long in coming but complete. "It's been a decade and it's over now, finally," she said. "If someone brings it up I remember, but I don't think about it all the time. It's certainly not a formidable part of my life anymore. I'm happy and excited. I'm doing really well." She and actor Phil Peters, who had a recurring role on "The Commish" as police Sgt. William Frawley, married in 1989 and had a daughter, Tianna. Saldana was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1954 and was adopted at five days by an Italian-Puerto Rican family. Her first film appearances came in 1978 with "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" and "Nunzio." Other movie credits included "Defiance," ''The Evil That Men Do" and "Gang Warz." Her TV credits included "T.J. Hooker" and "Matlock" in the early and mid-1980s, "Diagnosis Murder" in the '90s and "The Bernie Mac Show" in 2003. Copyright (2016) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Lynn Elber from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Watch: 'Marco Polo' Season 2 trailer
Wednesday Jun 8, 2016
Watch: 'Marco Polo' Season 2 trailer

Lorenzo Richelmy returns as the title character and explorer of the Mongolian Empire in a first trailer for July 2016's second season of "Marco Polo" on Netflix.The two-minute reel sets expectations for a 10-episode season due to drop July 1, with Marco Polo conscripted into the order of the Mongol Knights as the Empire's violent growth faces new challenges. Benedict Wong of "The Martian" and "Prometheus" returns as Kublai Khan in a cast that includes Olivia Cheng, Jean Chen, Zhy Zhu, Mahesh Jadu, Michelle Yeoh, Rick Yune and Uli Latukefu. Marco Polo Season 2 trailer: youtu.be/OXfgvcJ5T8E, facebook.com/MarcoPoloMP/videos/1044389592295431 Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2016. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Video consumes vast majority of US data traffic: report
Wednesday Jun 8, 2016
Video consumes vast majority of US data traffic: report

PriceWaterhouseCoopers' "Global entertainment and media outlook 2016-2020" study estimates that online video consumed 82.1% of data traffic in the USA for 2015.Film, TV/video, music, internet advertising, and video games will change in the most impactful way over the period 2016 to 2020, said PwC. Event cinema, video game adaptations, local-language content will impact film, while China will become the world's top movie market in 2017; in TV, online delivery is "the new normal," with online home video already bigger than the box office. Live music experiences will continue to increase in importance, with digital streaming the predominant form of consumption and subscription services accounting for 80% of industry revenue. Virtual reality was identified as an "exciting area of growth" within video games, and competitive gaming, known as eSports, will benefit from increased local awareness in the US. For advertisers, mobile is of the most interest, with paid search and online video internet advertising to grow rapidly, as long as the challenges of transparency, ad fraud and privacy can be adequately dealt with. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2016. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

A summer bounty of TV drama, comedies and even a 'Hamilton'
Wednesday Jun 8, 2016
A summer bounty of TV drama, comedies and even a 'Hamilton'

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Summer travel packing list: swimsuit, sunblock, television. In this portable TV era, there's no reason to leave small-screen entertainment at home when cable channels, streaming services and networks are eager to keep you connected online with top-notch fare from, among others, Oscar-owning filmmakers. So hit the road with your smartphone, laptop or tablet — or, heck, stay put in front of an actual TV set — and check out this steamy-weather menu of hot picks (all times EDT). — "BrainDead," CBS, 10 p.m. Monday, June 13. A different political show from "The Good Wife" creators Robert and Michelle King, with Washington beset by brain-eating bugs and a bipartisan coalition out to stop them. Tony Shalhoub and Broadway and TV "Grease" heartthrob Aaron Tveit are among the comic thriller's stars. — "Animal Kingdom," TNT, 9 p.m. Monday, June 14. A teenager (Finn Cole) loses his mother to a heroin overdose and gains a violent family that includes a tough matriarch (Ellen Barkin) and her offspring in the drama series based on the Australian movie of the same name. — "Raised by Wolves," Acorn TV streaming service, Monday, June 20. A bluntly funny take on the lives of an unconventional single mother and her six home-schooled kids from writers Caitlin and Caroline Moran, sisters who lived a version of the comedy series. — "Queen of the South," USA, 10 p.m. Thursday, June 23. Drawn from the best-selling novel "La Reina Del Sur," which already spawned a hit telenovela, the drama stars Alice Braga ("I Am Legend") as a woman on the run in the U.S. from a drug trafficking ring after her boyfriend's murder. —"Dancing On the Edge," PBS, 8 p.m. Sunday, June 26. An eight-part drama about a black jazz band that finds success and tragedy in 1930s London. Chiwetel Ejiofor ("12 Years A Slave") and Matthew Goode (aka Lady Mary's squeeze in "Downton Abbey") are part of the cast. — "Alexander Hamilton," History Channel, 9 p.m. Sunday, June 26. Finding tickets to the Broadway hit musical "Hamilton" too pricey? This two-hour documentary detailing his national legacy may leave you singing the founding father's praises. — "Roadies," Showtime, 10 p.m. Sunday, June 26. Rock stars ruled in filmmaker Cameron Crowe's Oscar-winning "Almost Famous," but it's the crew members who shine in the comedy series written and directed by Crowe. Luke Wilson, Carla Gugino and Keisha Castle-Hughes are part of the ensemble cast. — "Hello World!" Discovery Channel, 8 p.m. Saturday, July 9. The family friendly series enlists the narration and tunes of Christina Aguilera, Usher, Joan Jett and others to educate us about wild animals and their habitats. — "The Night Of," HBO, 9 p.m. Sunday, July 10. A start-to-finish murder case as created by one Oscar-winning writer, Steven Zaillian ("Schindler's List") and one Oscar-nominated one, Richard Price ("The Color of Money"), with an assist from Peter Moffat, whose original U.K. series it's adapted from. John Turturro, Riz Ahmed star. — "The A Word," SundanceTV, 10 p.m. Wednesday, July 13. Both autism and adultery figure in this series, described as both thoughtful and humorous, about a 5-year-old boy and his extended family. — "The Get Down," Netflix, Friday, Aug. 12. New York circa 1970s is the setting for this music-saturated drama about South Bronx teenagers in a harsh and changing world. Extravagant filmmaker Baz Luhrmann ("Moulin Rouge!") directed and produced the series with young actors (Justice Smith, Shameik Moore) and veterans (Jimmy Smits, Giancarlo Esposito). ___ Lynn Elber can be reached at lelber@ap.org and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lynnelber Copyright (2016) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Lynn Elber from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Lawsuit: Ellen DeGeneres mocked woman's name for breast joke
Wednesday Jun 8, 2016
Lawsuit: Ellen DeGeneres mocked woman's name for breast joke

MACON, Ga. (AP) — A Georgia real estate agent is suing the producer of the "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," claiming the comedian mispronounced her name to make a joke about breasts. Titi (TEE'-tee) Pierce alleges in the lawsuit filed against Warner Bros. last week that DeGeneres displayed one of Pierce's real estate signs during the Feb. 22 show that was rerun April 15. It says DeGeneres led into the joke about Pierce's name after showing a sign for the unrelated Nipple Convalescent Home. The suit also says the sign included Pierce's cellphone number and she was subjected to "ridiculing and harassing" phone calls. The suit claims invasion of privacy, defamation and emotional distress. It seeks unspecified monetary damages. Warner Bros. declined to comment on the suit. Copyright (2016) 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

'Raging Bull' actress Theresa Saldana dies
Wednesday Jun 8, 2016
'Raging Bull' actress Theresa Saldana dies

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Theresa Saldana, the "Raging Bull" actress who survived a stalker's brutal attack to become a crime victim's advocate and reclaimed her entertainment career with "The Commish" and other TV shows, has died. She was 61. Saldana had been suffering from pneumonia and died Monday at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, according to her longtime friend, Soorya Townley, who called the actress a "warm, caring person who always put others' needs before her own. Saldana co-starred in the 1991-96 drama "The Commish" as the supportive wife of Michael Chiklis' police commissioner. Her most notable big-screen role was opposite Joe Pesci in "Raging Bull," Martin Scorsese's 1980 film starring Robert De Niro. "I have such good memories of working with her on 'Raging Bull,' and I always admired the way that she handled the horrifying attack by a stalker — the good that she made of it," Scorsese said. "She was a wonderful actress and a fine human being." In 1982, Saldana was repeatedly stabbed by an obsessed man in front of her West Hollywood apartment. The attack was stopped by a then-water deliveryman, Jeff Fenn, who held the man for police. Scottish drifter Arthur Jackson served more than a decade in prison for the crime before he was extradited to Great Britain to face charges in a case there. Saldana, who endured a prolonged hospitalization, was both physically and mentally scarred and received treatment for both problems. She went on to found a support and lobbying group, Victims for Victims, and played herself in the 1984 TV movie "Victims For Victims: The Theresa Saldana Story." She also wrote "Beyond Survival," a memoir. In a 1992 interview with The Associated Press, Saldana said her recovery was long in coming but complete. "It's been a decade and it's over now, finally," she said. "If someone brings it up I remember, but I don't think about it all the time. It's certainly not a formidable part of my life anymore. I'm happy and excited. I'm doing really well." She and actor Phil Peters, who had a recurring role on "The Commish" as police Sgt. William Frawley, married in 1989 and had a daughter, Tianna. Saldana was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1954 and was adopted at five days by an Italian-Puerto Rican family. Her first film appearances came in 1978 with "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" and "Nunzio." Other movie credits included "Defiance," ''The Evil That Men Do" and "Gang Warz." Her TV credits included "T.J. Hooker" and "Matlock" in the early and mid-1980s, "Diagnosis Murder" in the '90s and "The Bernie Mac Show" in 2003. Copyright (2016) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Lynn Elber from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Video consumes vast majority of US data traffic: report
Wednesday Jun 8, 2016
Video consumes vast majority of US data traffic: report

PriceWaterhouseCoopers' "Global entertainment and media outlook 2016-2020" study estimates that online video consumed 82.1% of data traffic in the USA for 2015.Film, TV/video, music, internet advertising, and video games will change in the most impactful way over the period 2016 to 2020, said PwC. Event cinema, video game adaptations, local-language content will impact film, while China will become the world's top movie market in 2017; in TV, online delivery is "the new normal," with online home video already bigger than the box office. Live music experiences will continue to increase in importance, with digital streaming the predominant form of consumption and subscription services accounting for 80% of industry revenue. Virtual reality was identified as an "exciting area of growth" within video games, and competitive gaming, known as eSports, will benefit from increased local awareness in the US. For advertisers, mobile is of the most interest, with paid search and online video internet advertising to grow rapidly, as long as the challenges of transparency, ad fraud and privacy can be adequately dealt with. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2016. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

'Suicide Squad' hits PG-13 target
Wednesday Jun 8, 2016
'Suicide Squad' hits PG-13 target

August anti-hero movie "Suicide Squad" has nailed its anticipated PG-13 rating for US cinemas, even after February's "Deadpool" became a blockbuster with its rare R-rating.The Warner Bros movie has a host of DC Comics super villains recruited by a secret government agency; they'll be set free should they manage to somehow complete and survive their suicide mission. Jared Leto is the newest incarnation of The Joker, with cast members also including Will Smith (Deadshot), Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn), Adewale Akinnouye-Agbaje (Killer Croc) and Cara Delevingne (Enchantress); Ben Affleck is also set to appear as Batman, and Viola Davis as the crew's agency boss. While "Deadpool" romped to a $772m box office on the back of a rare superhero movie R-rating -- 2008's "Punisher: War Zone" developed a noteworthy following only after its time in theaters had drawn to a close -- and "Batman v. Superman" being prepared for an R-rated Ultimate Edition on DVD from June 28, there was some speculation that "Suicide Squad" might go the same route. But the PG-13 rating enables Warner's August tentpole to reach as wide an audience as possible, establishing a stronger platform for more movies further down the line. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2016. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Harry Potter play gets rave reviews
Wednesday Jun 8, 2016
Harry Potter play gets rave reviews

Harry Potter's stage debut got a standing ovation from a packed theatre audience in a new London play that imagines the fictional boy wizard as a grown-up father of three, British media reported on Wednesday."Judging by the whooping and cheering, nobody was disappointed," Clare Fitzimons wrote in The Mirror after the first showing of "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" at the Palace Theatre. "It was phenomenal, it really was. It lived up to all the hype," said one fan interviewed by the BBC, while another in a Potter-style cape said: "This completely blew me away. J. K. Rowling did an amazing job." Potter creator Rowling made a special request for fans to keep the plot secret and the 1,500 audience members were handed badges reading "#KeepTheSecrets". "The storyline, a hymn to friendship and teenage misfits, contains enough twists to please the most knowledgeable of fans," Hannah Furness wrote in The Daily Telegraph. "Any fears that the world of Hogwarts on stage would struggle to compete with the multimillion-dollar special effects of film were quickly kicked into touch". "Has Rowling done it again? The audience was in no doubt," she wrote. The plot for the play reads: "While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. "As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places," it said. The show officially opens on July 30 and is set to be published as a book on July 31, which is Rowling's and Harry Potter's birthday. Rowling's books have sold more than 450 million copies since 1997 and been adapted into eight films. The show is written by English screenwriter and playwright Jack Thorne, based on an original story co-written with Rowling and the play's director John Tiffany. Given the millions of fans around the world, the decision to move the characters on two decades was seen as risky. Like many of his fans, Potter has now grown up in the play and has three children with his wife Ginny Weasley, the sister of his friend Ron. He is working at the Ministry of Magic. He still has his trademark round-rimmed glasses and the scar on his head, a permanent reminder of his nemesis Lord Voldemort, but must now help his youngest son Albus confront the family's dark past. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2016. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

'Jason Bourne' movie issues explosive TV spot
Wednesday Jun 8, 2016
'Jason Bourne' movie issues explosive TV spot

A 30-second clip for July's fifth entry to the Bourne franchise promises an all-action movie whose plot calls rogue agent Jason Bourne out of the shadows one more time.Matt Damon returns as Jason Bourne, with Julia Stiles as Nicky Parsons who, having been his agency handler at one point, lets him know that the secretive training programs he sought to dismantle have returned with a vengeance. Fortunately for fans of the franchise, so has Bourne himself, and this time he's got an advantage -- "I know everything," says the former amnesiac. Some viewers feel that they too now know too much, identifying what could be a potential spoiler halfway through the clip. Also involved in the film are Tommy Lee Jones ("Captain America: Civil War"), Alicia Vikander ("Ex Machina"), Ato Essandoh ("Django Unchained"), Riz Ahmed ("Rogue One: A Star Wars Story"), and Vincent Cassel ("Black Swan.") "Jason Bourne" starts its international rollout the week of July 29, 2016, including territories such as the USA, Canada, the UK and Ireland, Australia, Brazil, Hong Kong, the Netherlands and Singapore. Japanese showings commence from October 7. Jason Bourne TV spot: youtu.be/ApNnmNNvW8o, twitter.com/jasonbourne/status/740236183569997824, facebook.com/TheBourneSeries/videos/1219039824802806 Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2016. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Events

Adolf Burger, inmate forced by Nazis to forge money, dies
Thursday Dec 8, 2016
Adolf Burger, inmate forced by Nazis to forge money, dies

PRAGUE (AP) — Adolf Burger, a Jewish typographer who was forced by the Nazis to make fake British pounds in a major counterfeit operation during World War II, has died. He was 99. Public broadcaster Czech Radio, citing Burger's family, reported Thursday that the Holocaust survivor died on Tuesday in Prague. The Slovakian-born Burger was arrested in 1942 after he was caught producing fake baptism certificates for Jews to help them escape transportation to Nazi death camps. Slovakia was a Nazi puppet state during the war. He was deported to Auschwitz with his wife, Gisela, who was put to death there. "After my wife died in Auschwitz, I had two choices: either to go and touch the barbed wire with 1000 voltage in it and be dead in a second, or stay alive," Burger said in a 2007 radio interview for the Stories of the 20th Century project. "I chose life, so I can tell everyone what they have done here." At the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in Germany in 1944, Burger became one of some 140 inmates who were put to work forging British pound notes, a top secret plan to destabilize Britain known as "Operation Bernhard." "They all had to be Jews, or half Jews," he said of the counterfeiting group in a radio interview. "That's logical. Those who know such a secret are not supposed to survive." Burger did, though, and eventually was liberated at another camp by the U.S. Army. Burger described his experiences in "The Commando of Counterfeiters," a 1983 memoir. A movie based on the book, "The Counterfeiters," won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2007. Burger approved the screenplay. Copyright (2016) 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.

Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone immortalized in Hollywood cement
Thursday Dec 8, 2016
Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone immortalized in Hollywood cement

Oscar-nominated Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling were lauded as a modern-day "Fred and Ginger" as they sunk their hands and feet into the cement at Hollywood's TCL Chinese Theater Wednesday.The pair have appeared together on the big screen three times, most recently in acclaimed musical "La La Land," which is tipped to score big at the Academy Awards in February. "No one can quite put their finger on what makes chemistry happen between two actors," said Vanity Fair West Coast editor Krista Smith, introducing the pair. "Yet it is exactly what has created some of the greatest cinematic legends of all time. Ryan and Emma are that modern day Bogart and Bacall, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Hepburn and Tracy, Myrna Loy and Dick Powell." The imprint ceremony, a Hollywood tradition going back decades, came ahead of Friday's release of "La La Land," which casts the pair as an aspiring actress and a struggling jazz musician who fall in love. "I moved to LA when I was 15 and came here, and my hands are an exact match for Jane Russell's so if you're looking for a Jane Russell hand double I'm your girl," said Stone, who was nominated for a best supporting actress Oscar for Birdman (2014). "This is an incredible experience and making this movie was an incredible experience, so what a place to get to commemorate that." Stone and Gosling appeared together in "Crazy, Stupid, Love" (2011) and "Gangster Squad" (2013) -- but were almost overlooked for "La La Land." Director Damien Chazelle, whose film "Whiplash" (2014) took home three Oscars out of five nominations, has revealed that Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan and Emma Watson were considered to play the leads. "I'm still I guess not completely convinced that we're not going to be arrested for vandalism. But I'm going to take your word for it that we're allowed to do this," said Gosling, who was nominated for a best actor Oscar for "Half Nelson" (2006). "We had an opportunity to shoot in most of Los Angeles's most iconic locations except for this. So this is the final piece to the puzzle, a beautiful way to end this experience." "La La Land" opens on December 9 in New York and Los Angeles before getting a wide release a week later. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2016. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Saint Petersburg: destination culture
Wednesday Dec 7, 2016
Saint Petersburg: destination culture

Competing with the likes of London, New York, Paris, Rome, Venice and Sydney, Saint Petersburg fought off its rivals to be named the world's best cultural destination of 2016 this week at the "World Travel Awards," the Oscars of the tourism trade. Here's a look at some of the cultural highlights awaiting visitors to this "Venice of the North." > The unmissable Hermitage Museum This former residence of Russia's Tsars is to Saint Petersburg what the Louvre is to Paris. It's also the world's biggest museum, in terms of the number of collections of art exhibited, embodying the artistic and cultural promise of Russia's one-time imperial capital. It would take 15 years to see all of the works in the Hermitage, taking in each for barely a minute for eight hours a day. The museum's three million works and objects include masterpieces by Da Vinci, Rembrandt, Van Dyke and Picasso, for which visitors often make a beeline. Visitors can step into the Winter Palace, a former residence of Russian Emperors, as well as the Old Hermitage, the Small Hermitage and the New Hermitage, all part of the museum complex situated on the banks of the Neva River.  > On the trail of Russian literature Visitors can spend a whole day (or more!) checking out sites deeply rooted in Russian literature. The Dostoyevsky Museum is a must-see, delving into the history of the "Crime and Punishment" writer in the author's home from 1878 until his death. Next stop, the Raskolnikov House, as described in the Dostoyevsky bestseller and home to its protagonist. Other sights steeped in Russian literary history include the Nabokov Museum, taking visitors inside the home described in his autobiography "Speak, Memory," released before his famous novel, "Lolita." You can even visit the place where Alexander Pushkin challenged his rival, Baron Georges d'Anthès, to a duel, in which Pushkin was shot and died.   > Stunning architecture Simply strolling along the canals and across their 400 bridges will give visitors a taste of Russian architecture. The historic center of Saint Petersburg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a mix of Baroque and Neoclassical styles. Founded by Tsar Peter the Great, the city maintains the integrity of its original layout and is often considered one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, and one of the most authentic. The architecture of the city's churches, such as the Smolny Cathedral and the Chesme Church, is of particular interest, and the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is no doubt the most famous landmark in this Venice of the North. Saint Petersburg is also a prime destination for the opera and the ballet. The Mariinsky Theater is another must for visitors, and since the Saint Petersburg ballet is one of the world's most respected, it would be a shame just to admire the architecture. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2016. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Trump on the attack against 'SNL' again
Wednesday Dec 7, 2016
Trump on the attack against 'SNL' again

NEW YORK (AP) — The chief critic-elect of "Saturday Night Live," Donald Trump, is bashing the show and impersonator Alec Baldwin again — this time prodded into action Wednesday by NBC's own Matt Lauer. The president-elect called the late-night institution unfunny and Baldwin's portrayal of him mean-spirited, suggesting "Saturday Night Live" wasn't long for the world. Trump — who appeared as guest host on "SNL" in November 2015 — has grumbled in tweets about the show three times since October, most recently last weekend after Baldwin and Kate McKinnon appeared in a skit about his Twitter habit. Trump's frequent tweeting was raised by Lauer in a telephone interview on the "Today" show following Time magazine's selection of the president-elect as its Person of the Year. "Can we agree, President-elect Trump, that it would be better for you to simply stop watching 'SNL' as opposed to watching and then complaining about it?" Lauer said. His question was no ad-lib, since NBC quickly aired clips of the Baldwin-McKinnon sketch as Trump replied. "I hosted 'SNL' when it was a good show but it's not a good show anymore," said Trump, who also took a turn as guest host in 2004. "First of all, nothing to do with me, there's nothing funny about it. The skits are terrible. I like Alec, but his imitation of me is really mean-spirited and not very good ... It's very biased and I don't like it." And yet, Lauer noted, he still watches. "You look at the way the show is going now and the kind of work they're doing, who knows how long the show is going to be on? It's a terrible show," Trump said. Fact check: "Saturday Night Live" is in its 42nd season and enjoying its best ratings since 1992, the Nielsen company said. Viewership is up 33 percent over 2015. The attention paid by Trump certainly hasn't hurt, said NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt. "I love the fact that SNL has this position of being able to have a lot of impact on current events and that the world turned to the show in record numbers this past fall to see how they were going to comment on what was going on and bring comedy to that," Greenblatt said. The show's founding executive producer, Lorne Michaels, would not comment on Trump's statement, a spokeswoman said. Michaels, awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama two weeks ago, hasn't reacted publicly to the criticism by the soon-to-be leader of the free world. Baldwin, whose portrayal in a skit that satirized Trump's tweets was dubbed "sad" by Trump in last weekend's late-night tweet, responded via Twitter: "Release your tax returns and I'll stop. Ha." "There are certain things that come with the presidency — the football with the (nuclear) codes, Air Force One and being parodied on 'Saturday Night Live,'" said James Andrew Miller, co-author of "Live From New York: The Complete, Uncensored History of 'Saturday Night Live.'" "He should just relax and get used to it." The unprecedented high-level attention is nothing but good for the show, Miller said. It reminds Trump's Twitter followers who might not be regular viewers that "SNL" is still around and relevant, he said. A rebellious reputation also can't hurt a show that's been alive for longer than most of its viewers, many of whom would find Trump criticism to be a thumbs-up. Miller said he didn't believe that the knowledge that Trump is keeping his eye on them would make the show and its writers self-conscious. "Lorne has a laser focus on the fact that there should be no other agenda but to be funny," he said. "I don't think they're going to ... try to do any political messaging in response to what (Trump) is doing." Trump, of course, has a long history with NBC. His host appearance last fall was not welcomed by several cast members or Trump's Republican primary opponents, who lobbied for equal time. The president-elect's also owed much of his public profile to his years as host of NBC's "The Apprentice." In fact, Trump made his announcement that he would not run for president in 2012 at a presentation NBC was giving to advertisers about its fall schedule. The network cut ties with Trump shortly after he announced he was running for president in June 2016. Copyright (2016) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by David Bauder from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

With acclaim raining down, Casey Affleck tries to enjoy it
Wednesday Dec 7, 2016
With acclaim raining down, Casey Affleck tries to enjoy it

NEW YORK (AP) — After spending the night shooting the most devastating scene in "Manchester by the Sea" — a scene in which, Casey Affleck's character, clutching a bag of groceries, stands before a tragedy that haunts him throughout the film — Affleck tripped and felt a shooting pain run up his back. Writer-director Kenneth Lonergan, a veteran back-thrower, quickly yelled for Affleck to move around to keep the muscles from seizing up. "He's like, 'Get up! Pretend you're throwing me a ball!'" Affleck recalled. So there, beneath the early morning winter light, in an empty parking lot, ran Affleck and Lonergan in helter-skelter patterns, playing an imaginary game of catch. It was a rare moment of lightness shared between two self-acknowledged grouches, and a brief reprieve from the grief-filled seas of "Manchester." But both, and particularly Affleck, have had plenty reason to celebrate lately. Affleck's natural, heavily burdened performance in "Manchester by the Sea" has been perhaps the most universally acclaimed of the year. He's already won best actor from the Gotham Independent Film Awards, the National Board of Review and the New York Film Critics Circle, and he's widely viewed as the Academy Award favorite. It's unquestionably a high point for Affleck, who, unaccompanied, met a reporter earlier this fall at Manhattan's Carlyle Hotel. But far from doing cartwheels, Affleck is mostly mystified why films like "Manchester by the Sea" are so hard to come by. "This is what it's about. It's just awful how rarely it happens," said Affleck. "I tend to focus on the negative, I confess. But I do keep thinking: Should I just pack it in? Is it really every 10 years that you get to work on a great movie? That can't be." Such self-deprecation, bordering on self-loathing, is not the kind of thing you often to hear from Hollywood actors on the Oscar trail. Affleck has been here once before, with his Oscar-nominated performance in 2007's "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford." That's one of the films he cherishes, along with the lyrical 2013 outlaw romance "Ain't Them Bodies Saints." But that's about it. "I have to live with that resume that you see on IMDB which is full of dog s---," said Affleck. Building concrete steps in Cambridge as a teen, he said, gave him more tangible satisfaction. The 41-year-old actor is known for such hand-wringing. Matt Damon, a longtime friend and "Goodwill Hunting" co-star, recalls hours-long phone conversations with Affleck, wrestling over which job to take. "It's literally like talking to Hamlet," said Damon. Earlier versions of "Manchester by the Sea" famously had Damon directing or starring. But a commitment on "The Martian" forced him to hand the role to Affleck, who had starred in a London production of Lonergan's "This is Our Youth." ''I never would have given the role up to someone else," said Damon, who shifted to producer. "Ben (Affleck) and I have been convinced for the last 18 years that next year is going to be the year for Casey," said Damon. "But there wasn't anything he passed where you could go back and finger-wag him and say, 'You really should have done that.' He's just got really high standards. He's very pure creatively until he runs out of money, like any of us, and he has to do whatever he has to do because he's got kids." Parenthood figures prominently in "Manchester by the Sea," in which Affleck, a janitor in Boston, is given guardianship of his late brother's teenage son (Lucas Hedges). Affleck, himself, has two children, who visited once during the Massachusetts shoot. "That made it easier because you miss your family. You wake up depressed and sad and you hear about their day over the phone," Affleck said. "Obviously that's not even the tip of the iceberg in terms of what the character is dealing with. But it's one of the things I'm able to do as an actor is to, like, make myself be depressed. When I think back on the movie, it just feels like a memory of one of those times when you were just really depressed in your life." In March, Affleck and his wife, Summer Phoenix, announced they had separated. Affleck has largely eschewed the kind of fame his elder brother has basked in. He didn't make a film for two years after the breakout of "Jesse James" and "Gone Baby Gone." Instead, he directed the celebrity-spoofing mockumentary, "I'm Still Here," with his friend and brother-in-law, Joaquin Phoenix. Unaware audiences, watching Phoenix's performance on Letterman and elsewhere, felt duped. The film's release was accompanied by public apologies and lawsuits. Affleck was sued for sexual harassment by both a cinematographer on the film, Magdelana Gorka, and a producer, Amanda White. White alleged he made unwelcome sexual advances. Gorka claimed Affleck got into bed with her uninvited. The acclaim for "Manchester" has brought renewed attention to the cases, though Affleck has always denied them. The cases were settled out of court. While Affleck has a number of acting roles lined up, he's preparing to direct again, this time a father-daughter survival tale called "Light of My Life." He notes with typical worry that it will take him away from acting for a year. But anxiety, he says, comes with the territory. "If it's your job to go to work every day and be authentically depressed, you put yourself through things," he said. "It's not surprising that you don't find a steady, even-keeled contentment in life." Normally, he can't even bear to watch himself in a film. "But I watched this," Affleck said of "Manchester." ''And I liked it." ___ Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP Copyright (2016) Associated Press. 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