Friday May 29, 2015
PORT WASHINGTON, Wis. (AP) — TV actor Dustin Diamond says he didn't intentionally stab a man in a barroom scuffle just outside of Milwaukee. The 38-year-old Diamond, who played Screech in the 1990s show "Saved by the Bell," is accused of stabbing a man on Christmas Day in Port Washington, about 25 miles north of Milwaukee. Diamond on Friday told a jury that he was trying to protect his girlfriend during a bar fight. Diamond has pleaded not guilty to recklessly endangering public safety. The man who was stabbed, 25-year-old Casey Smet, testified Thursday that he didn't know he had been stabbed until he left the bar and was talking to police. Diamond testified that he thinks Smet hurt himself when he grabbed Diamond. If convicted, Diamond could face up to 10 years in prison. Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Dana Ferguson from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
NEW YORK (AP) — "UnREAL" might be TV's most fully realized reality series. Why shouldn't it be? It's scripted, then performed by professional actors. Premiering Monday at 10 p.m. EDT on Lifetime, "UnREAL" arrives with what just might be perfect timing. The reality genre is cooling off (yet still embarrassing itself) as reality-based networks scramble to shore up their schedules with scripted dramas and comedies — the kind of fare that makes no false claims of authenticity and whose version of the truth is seen by all as invention. "UnREAL" dwells in the off-camera netherworld of a dating competition show called "Everlasting," where a handsome bachelor must choose among a bevy of hot, hopeful women each bucking for a fairytale wedding. (Sound familiar?) The week-to-week production process is anything but romantic. On the contrary, it's a callous game of bullying and illusion whose sole objective is outrageous narratives. That process of seduction is led by executive producer Quinn King (played by Constance Zimmer, "House of Cards"), a single-minded puppetmaster whose chief henchman is Rachel Goldberg (Shiri Appleby, "Girls"), a young producer whose task is to cajole, badger and play on the weaknesses of the show's participants to get the footage Quinn demands. "Rachel gets the best sound bites and she has killer instincts for drama," says Quinn as she plays on Rachel's many weaknesses to keep her in line. Although "UnREAL" pushes certain moments to dramatic extremes, everything you see is based on reality-show reality, says co-creator Marti Noxon (who also created Bravo's fictional-yet-all-too-true hit "Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce" and wrote for WB's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"). "We thought uncovering the behind-the-scenes machinations would make great stories," she says, "and we wanted to comment on the kind of bully culture of a lot of reality television." "UnREAL," therefore, is not a spoof of reality TV. Rather, it's a straight-ahead workplace comedy-drama populated with flawed, three-dimensional characters. There are no villains here, just people — under-the-gun producers and on-the-make contestants — who in the worst way want to score in the sordid world of make-believe they call "reality." "Contestants come in and think they can beat the game, but it's truly an unbeatable game," says Sarah Gertrude Shapiro (director-writer of the SXSW-winning film "Sequin Raze," a black comedy about a reality dating show), who created and produces "UnREAL" with Noxon. "You're ritually manipulated and charmed and edited beyond your control. Viewers think the contestants knew what they had signed up for. But they couldn't have. There's no way." The game is fixed and the matchmaking premise is only a pretext. On "UnREAL," the hunky "suitor" is seeking, no, not a soul mate, but TV-sparked publicity to lure investors for his new hotel project. And in an unguarded moment, one of the contestants confides her real goal: "I just want people to know my name, so when I open my hair shop there'll be a line around the block." Participants sign on expecting a payoff for pretending to be themselves. What they don't understand (until too late): They are pawns in the "Everlasting" chess game, with Quinn, in her video-paneled master control, pronouncing which contestant is the designated villainess, which is the hot one, which ones are boring and should be bounced. "Viewers want to believe in fairy tales, and those reality shows tap into that want," says Shapiro. "Our show dismantles that want." "I think our show will entice viewers to watch reality in a different way," says Noxon, "but I don't think they're going to stop. There's a suspension of disbelief by many viewers." Both women have done quite a lot of thinking about the implications of a dating-competition show — and, despite identifying as "card-carrying feminists," they readily own up to having been seduced by its charms. "Watching one of those shows, at first I was laughing at the artifice and pretense," says Noxon. "Then I got attached. And as it got toward the end I was feeling, 'Oh, my God, I wish I could have someone like that.' And he was a bonehead! It was amazing how caught up in it I got. And only later, I thought, 'What was THAT all about?'" The dizziness of reality TV imposed itself on the production of "UnREAL." Shot in Vancouver, the series took over a sprawling estate (just as "The Bachelor" does), where confusion between real and un-real regularly reigned. "We had background extras playing crew members, and real crew members," says Shapiro. "We had fake craft service and real craft service. Fake outhouses and real outhouses." "You didn't know when you were stepping into fiction or something that was really happening," adds Noxon. Where, indeed, is the great divide? That's where "UnREAL" comes alive. It's a series that exposes the real drama in people who, with nothing better to sell, try selling some unreal version of themselves as the real thing. _____ EDITOR'S NOTE — Frazier Moore is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and at http://www.twitter.com/tvfrazier. Past stories are available at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/frazier-moore _____ Online: http://www.mylifetime.com Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Frazier Moore from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
Netflix's plans for a "Fuller House," a modern-day relaunching of the late 80s US sitcom are starting to fill out.Saget becomes the sixth original cast member to come on board and joins Cameron Candace-Burr, Andrea Barber, Jodi Sweetin and Lori Loughlin, all of whom have agreed to reprise the roles they last played in 1995 when the original show came to an end. What's more, John Stamos, who will return in the role of Uncle Jesse, is also on board as a producer and co-writer. The plot of the original show revolved around Saget's character, Danny Tanner who with the help of his friend and his brother in law attempted to raise his three children following their mother's death. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Tourists and shoppers idled outside the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop on Thursday, while the setting of the reality show "Pawn Stars" hosted an even odder spectacle: the 2016 Republican presidential campaign. Inside, Rick Harrison, the bullet-headed star of the History Channel show, led Florida Sen, Marco Rubio to a small scrum of reporters and television cameras crammed into the back of the shop, where the Picassos and Chagalls hang. "This is a great guy right here," Harrison said of Rubio. "I'm good at reading people — you've seen my show — and this guy honestly cares about people." Campaigning in Las Vegas can verge on the surreal, and Rubio's quick swing through town to celebrate his 44th birthday met that criteria. In the pawn shop — sandwiched between two bail bond outlets on a gritty stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard — Rubio admired a Super Bowl ring as he ambled through the narrow space, past gold records, Elvis posters and display cases full of knives and fancy jewelry. Rubio tied the success of "Pawn Stars" into his campaign theme. "In almost any other country in the world, this story would have been impossible — both mine and his," Rubio, a son of Cuban immigrants who once worked in a Las Vegas casino, said as he stood with Harrison. Hours later, Rubio celebrated his birthday at a private party at Harrison's five-bedroom, 4,600-square-foot home in a comfortable neighborhood at the northwestern edge of Las Vegas' sprawl. Attendees were asked to donate at least $1,000 to Rubio's campaign. Because this is a presidential campaign, there was partisan counterprogramming. Democrats tried to get in on the pop-culture game by circulating online memes claiming Rubio is trying to "pawn off" old Republican ideas. Three high school students stood outside Rubio's fundraiser, hoping to talk to the candidate, who has been targeted by immigration activists for his changing stances on the issue. But when Rubio emerged from an SUV, all the teenagers did was shout, "Happy Birthday, Marco Rubio!" He waved back. Rubio spent six years of his childhood in Las Vegas, and Nevada is both a pivotal early-voting state in the competitive GOP primary and a critical swing state in the general election. The Florida senator has a more sober schedule Friday: a tech start-up round-table in Las Vegas followed by a meeting with conservative activists in Reno. Rubio said he'd be spending plenty of time in Nevada in the coming months, and was open about the main reason he was there Thursday. "We're going to do what we've been doing, and we'll probably do for the next year — raise money," Rubio told reporters at the pawn shop. "All these people you work for charge us money to run commercials." Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Nicholas Riccardi from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
NEW YORK (AP) — Michael King, an innovative TV syndicator who helped make stars of Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Phil McGraw and Rachael Ray, has died. A family member confirmed King died Wednesday in Los Angeles of complications from pneumonia. He was 67. With his brother Roger, Michael King inherited King World Productions in 1972 from their father, Charles King, who had founded the company eight years earlier to syndicate classic "Our Gang" theatrical comedy shorts. Under the brothers' management, King World rose to be the industry's leading distributor of first-run syndicated programming, bringing such shows to TV as "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and "Dr. Phil." "Anyone that knew Michael knows what a passion he brought to everything he touched. He and Roger certainly had a profound impact on my life personally and professionally," McGraw said in a statement. The King-syndicated "Wheel of Fortune" paired host Pat Sajak and letter turner Vanna White. It has remained a hit for decades, as has the syndicated "Jeopardy!" that King World re-introduced, having obtained the rights to both game shows. King World also launched the long-running syndicated news magazine "Inside Edition." In 2000, King World was acquired by CBS. Roger King died in 2007 at age 63. Michael King is survived by his wife Jena, two sons and two daughters. Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Frazier Moore from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
An upcoming exhibition in Amsterdam will present more than 10 original pieces by the celebrated Banksy, who turned the streets of London upside down with a style of vandalism so clever it could only be considered art.Amesterdam's LionelGallery is organizing the event, called "Keep it Real," from June 20 through July 20, that's expected to draw collectors from all over the world. The display will be centered around the painting "Forgive Us Our Trespassing," which measures 122 by 244 centimeters and was featured in Banksy's DVD "Exit Through the Gift Shop." Following an exhibition of the artist's work at Sotheby's London 6 months ago, Banksy's fame has soared in the art world. http://lionelgallery.com/en/banksy-exhibition-photos/?utm_source=pb&utm_medium=link&utm_campaign=banksy Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
Forty years later, the movie that still makes us afraid to swim in a backyard pool is returning to a theater near you.Starting June 21, you can catch the fish -- er, flick -- at nearly 500 theaters in the US, presented by Fathom Events, Turner Classic Movies and Universal Pictures, reports Variety. Steven Spielberg's 1975 adaptation of the book by Peter Benchley was a smashing success. Get your tickets starting Friday, May 29: http://www.fathomevents.com/event/jaws-second-showing Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
British actor Andy Serkis is to play 'Supreme Leader Snoke' in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," it was revealed.An image of the Actor dressed in motion capture gear appeared on Lucasfilm Thursday, revealing the character's name. The film takes place 30 years after the story of "Return of the Jedi" and spotlights a whole new generation of space-age good guys, bad guys and princesses. Starring Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Kenny Baker who all will remain in their characters from the original trilogy, "The Force Awakens" is set to be released in theaters on December 18, 2015. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
It's not just any old high school reunion: stars of 1990s movie "Cruel Intentions," a sensational tale of teen sex, drugs and private school attended the musical parody and met the actresses who have taken on their original roles.On Thursday, they gathered backstage to give the young actresses, including Katie Stevens from "Faking It," a motivational moment, Variety reported with both Sarah Michelle Gellar and Reese Witherspoon posting images on Instagram. Shows of "The Unauthorized Musical Parody of Cruel Intentions" are held at 8:00 PM in Los Angeles every Thursday and Friday in June and July. http://rockwell-la.inticketing.com/events/492675/the-unauthorized-musical-parody-of-cruel-intentions/ Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
California's long-feared mega quake hits movie screens this week with "San Andreas," but the big-budget movie has thrown up a fault line between critics and filmgoers even before its release.The movie, which stars Dwayne Johnson, has only a 41 percent critics' rating on the Rotten Tomatoes film review website -- although 96 percent of cinema-goers say they want to see it. All eyes will be watching whether the flick, with its $100 million budget, can shake the box office after a lackluster week or two at the start of the traditional summer blockbuster season. The movie, whose title refers to the San Andreas fault -- the geological rift feared mostly likely to produce a mega quake in California -- depicts San Francisco in ruins. But those behind the film say they hope it moves beyond the traditional disaster movie by bringing emotion and personal stories to the screen. "It is an opportunity to redefine the genre," Johnson said ahead of the film's US release this Friday. "This is a fantastic epic... it raises the bar of the disaster movie." "Generally when you watch this kind of movie you remember the action, the hero, how cool they were. In this one we'd like you to remember the characters," he added. Johnson, whose past action credits include the "Fast and Furious" franchise, plays rescue chopper pilot Ray, whose wife, Emma (played by Carla Gugino), recently left him for a rich architect. When a massive quake hits Los Angeles and a seismologist predicts another imminent and even bigger one in San Francisco, the pair are forced to set aside their differences to rescue their only daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario). - 'Not exactly earthshaking' - Although the film is certainly visually spectacular -- making full use of the latest computer generated imagery (CGI) effects -- some critics have not been kind. "California crumbles spectacularly in an action movie that quickly degenerates from blissfully stupid to fatally stupid," wrote industry journal Variety's Andrew Barker. "Not exactly earthshaking," added the Hollywood Reporter's Justin Lowe. Some were more positive, although barely. "Does for San Francisco what 'Jaws' did for the ocean," said Kam Williams of Baret News. "Thankfully, the action set pieces are exciting enough, and come at such a successive clip... that it's only afterward that you have the chance to pause and ask questions about the plot," said Alonso Duralde of TheWrap.com. But whatever the critics say, the movie is hoping to do big business at the box office. Variety reported Wednesday that the Warner Bros movie is on course to make $40 million domestically in its opening weekend, while also rolling out across some 60 countries worldwide. The journal said the movie hoped to "provide a jolt to the summer box office after (last weekend's) Memorial Day ticket sales barely registered on the Richter Scale." The film follows a long line of earthquake movies coming out of Hollywood, where fear of a mega quake is rarely far below the surface -- the risk of a magnitude 8 or larger temblor in the next 30 years is about seven percent, according to the US Geological Survey. The gold standard was set by 1974's "Earthquake" starring Charlton Heston and Ava Gardner, with several TV movies following, including 2006's "10.5: Apocalypse." "San Andreas" screenwriter Carlton Cuse himself recalls the 6.7-magnitude Northridge quake outside Los Angeles which killed 72 people in 1994. He and his wife were woken by the overnight temblor and couldn't initially find their daughter. "It was very traumatic," he said. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
NEW YORK (AP) — Bruce Springsteen called Pete Townshend "the greatest rhythm guitarist of all-time," told a story about attending his first Who concert as a pimply-faced teenager and joined Townshend and surprise guest Roger Daltrey onstage for a rocking set. The rock icons attended the MusiCares MAP Fund benefit Thursday night in New York City, where Townshend and longtime Who manager Bill Curbishley were honored for their charitable efforts. Springsteen, Daltrey and Townshend joined forces for "My Generation" at the Best Buy Theater in Times Square. They closed the event with "Won't Get Fooled Again," and were joined by Billy Idol and Willie Nile, who both hit the stage for solo sets earlier in the night. "It's gonna be good. It's gonna be bad, but good-bad," Townshend said before the finale. Springsteen presented Townshend with the Stevie Ray Vaughan Award for his commitment to the MusiCares MAP Fund, which provides members of the music community access to addiction recovery treatment regardless of their financial situation. The Boss said The Who was the first rock concert he saw in the late '60s when the English band first toured America. "All I knew was for some reason this music and the demolishing of these perfectly fine instruments filled me with incredible joy," Springsteen said. Springsteen said he was so inspired he imitated The Who's set as a 16-year-old in the band The Castiles when he performed in for a school dance. "I went out and I bought a smoke bomb and I bought a strobe light and I brought them to the gig. ... At the end of the night, I lit the smoke bomb in the Catholic school basement, I turned on the strobe light and I climbed on top of my Danelectro amplifier holding a vase of flowers I'd stolen from one of the upstairs classrooms," he said. "As the nuns looked on with horror, I reached up and smashed them onto the dance floor." Springsteen earned a rousing applause from the crowd, but he also got serious in his near eight-minute speech. "Pete, I'm here to say, 'Congratulations, well deserved.' And thanks, not just for 'Who's Next' or 'Who Are You,' but for who I am," he said. Townshend, who turned 70 this month, told the crowd about smoking weed as an art student, tripping on LSD and turning to alcohol after using drugs. "I was doing like three bottles of brandy a day ... and I think I don't look too bad for someone that drank cognac for 15 years," he said to laughs from the audience. "But the secret for me to be able to do this tour with The Who, this 50th anniversary tour, and still kind of put on a reasonable show ... has been (because of) the 30 years I've been clean," he added to loud cheers. The night was a mix of laughable moments from the rock stars to high volume performances. Joan Jett rocked out in her signature black ensemble and Nile was energetic on the guitar. Daltrey was excited onstage and enticed the crowd with his signature windmill effect with the microphone. Idol matched his energy: He danced, waved his tongue and stuck half of his microphone down his pants while he clapped as the band began playing "Who Are You," which earned Idol a standing ovation. Elton John, Mick Jagger, Ronnie Wood, Roger Waters and Joe Walsh appeared in videos and offered kind words to Townshend and Curbishley. And Daltrey, 71, surprised the crowd when he jumped onstage after Curbishley accepted the From the Heart Award. "It's not easy to find an honest manager in this business," Daltrey said to laughs, "especially in our period. Some of the artists will tell you." Curbishley said he was grateful that The Who has performed at benefit events like "12-12-12: The Concert for Sandy Relief" and "The Concert for New York City" in response to the Sept. 11 attacks. "I'm a firm, firm believer in second chances, and third chances for that matter. ...I had a bit of a rocky start in my early life, and then I had a second chance. Music gave me that second chance," he said. Thursday's event marked the 11th annual MusiCares MAP Fund benefit concert. The organization raised $26,000 in 1992, but raised more than $37 million last year. A 1962 guitar that Townshend bought from Daltrey was auctioned for $41,000; both performers autographed it. ___ Online: http://www.grammy.org/musicares/recovery 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.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Joseph Gordon-Levitt has big expectations for the impact of "Snowden." The 34-year-old actor wrapped filming earlier this month on the Oliver Stone thriller about former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, whose 2013 leaks to the media revealed the government's bulk collection of American calling records. Congress is set for an unusual weekend session to debate the records collection and two other surveillance laws. "The laws are all in flux. ... I'm really curious what's going to happen. And I love the idea that we made the movie when we did so that it can participate in that conversation," Gordon-Levitt said in an interview Thursday. He noted a May 7 federal appeals court ruling that the NSA's actions were illegal. "Hopefully, there will probably be a Supreme Court case about it at some point soon. And while the Supreme Court judges aren't supposed to really listen to popular opinion, they do," Gordon-Levitt said. Gordon-Levitt plays Snowden in Stone's film, which is based on two books about the leaks and also features Shailene Woodley, Zachary Quinto and Melissa Leo. "Snowden" is set for release in December. "I think it's really important for us to all talk about it and to talk about different sides," Gordon-Levitt said. "You don't really get much in the American media that explores why he did what he did, why the government could potentially be doing something wrong." Snowden, who is living in Russia, was also the subject of Laura Poitras' HBO documentary "Citizenfour," which won an Academy Award in February. Gordon-Levitt declined to say whether he'd been in contact with Snowden. The actor made his remarks while promoting his crowd-sourced variety show "HitRecord on TV," which launches its second season June 12. ___ Follow AP Entertainment Writer Ryan Pearson on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ryanwrd Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Ryan Pearson from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — In the early 1980s, when Steve Martin was a fledgling movie star, he recalls attending the American Film Institute's celebration of Frank Capra and how Hollywood glitterati swirled around the Oscar-winning filmmaker. Martin himself will be at the center of the celebration next week, surrounded by friends and colleagues from a 48-year career in entertainment. Mel Brooks will present Martin with AFI's 43rd Life Achievement Award at a private ceremony in Hollywood on June 4. "It's such a prestigious group that they've given this award to, and I can't help but think, 'What am I doing there?'" Martin said in a recent interview. "But, still, they gave it to me, so I'm accepting it with full pride." The ultimate multi-hyphenate, Martin says he never had a career plan — which seems to have worked out well for the 69-year-old screenwriter, actor, comedian, producer, playwright, novelist and musician. "I always felt I was lucky to be where I was," he said. One of his earliest gigs was as a writer for "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour," which led to other TV-writing jobs. In 1979, he co-wrote and starred in the film "The Jerk," followed by "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid" and "The Man with Two Brains" a few years later. And when he couldn't find a writer to work on his idea for an updated "Cyrano de Bergerac," he decided to try it himself. The 1987 movie "Roxanne" was the result. "So that worked out, and it turned me into a screenwriter, a solo screenwriter," he said. "There are so many little accidents along the way that happen." Sir Howard Stringer, chair of the AFI Board of Trustees, called Martin "a multi-layered creative force bound by neither convention nor caution" and "a national treasure whose work has stuck with us like an arrow in the head." Martin first gained fame as a standup, not to mention his breakout appearances on "Saturday Night Live" in the '70s. But he came to prefer film as a comedic venue. "I really like the idea, when I first started doing it, of getting a comedy down and it doesn't have to be repeated every night," he said. "It's on film. You can get it right, hopefully, and you never have to worry about it again." Writing films inspired him to write dramas and prose. A play he wrote "in my spare time" will open at San Diego's Old Globe Theatre next year. Martin also adapted his novella, "Shopgirl," into the 2005 film of the same name. Writing and performing music has reignited his pleasure in appearing live in front of an audience. The banjo player said there's "a lot of comedy" in the concerts he plays with the bluegrass band Steep Canyon Rangers, "and it's really been fun." He also recently performed a pair of standup shows with pal Martin Short. Martin recently began work on Ang Lee's latest film, "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk," and hopes to one day work with Wes Anderson. Meanwhile, he wrote a musical with Edie Brickell, and the two are planning to release an album. Martin will also be curating a traveling art exhibit of works by Canadian painter Lawren Harris. But for now, he's reflecting on the anecdotes he plans to share at the AFI celebration, which will air later as a special on TNT. "It feels like I've been through a lot in a lot of different careers, and we're kind of looking back," he said. Just like he did for his honorary Oscar in 2013, Martin said he's practicing his acceptance speech by reading it aloud to his dog, Wally. ___ Follow AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen at www.twitter.com/APSandy . Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Sandy Cohen from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
NEW YORK (AP) — Latecomers, be warned: Miss the start of the new show at the Studio 54 theater this summer and you will be heckled by no less than God Almighty. "How ya doin'? I am the Lord thy God, King of the Universe, but I'll wait. You good?" the Divine — played by Jim Parsons — says to sheepish stragglers from the stage. Unfortunately, it's one of the few moments in an "An Act of God" that is genuinely funny. Summer on Broadway is when the weakest of authors somehow find a home. This year, it's apparently God. The play, with one strange song at the end, is a chance for the Almighty to set the record straight — like that he doesn't hate gays and he can't help anyone sing better — and update his 10 Commandments. "The reason masturbation is a sin is not that it's intrinsically evil. It's that every time you do it, I have to watch," God says at one point. At another: "Do you remember the Irish potato famine? It killed over a million people in the 19th century. Do you know why I sent that? I wasn't mad at the Irish. I was mad at the potatoes." It was written by David Javerbaum, the former head writer and executive producer of "The Daily Show" and a producer of "The Late Late Show with James Corden." He's also the power behind the Twitter handle @TheTweetofGod. Javerbaum is obviously pretty good at droll, bite-sized humor. No so much with a 90-minute play. This one seems more like a lounge act cooked up by someone who thinks his Facebook updates are totally hilarious. Javerbaum has based his play on his book "The Last Testament: A Memoir by God." No one tried to stop him. Where is God when you need Him? Parsons, "The Big Bang Theory" star, is game playing a sort of overworked divine bystander with anger management issues, forever exasperated at humans and their endless stupidity. He's aided by two angels played by Christopher Fitzgerald and Tim Kazurinsky. The whole thing is directed by Tony Award winner Joe Mantello, who has apparently taken his summer vacation early. The usual tired selection of celebs that get roasted on late night TV get goofed-on here, including Shia LaBeouf, Kanye West, Sarah Palin, Adam Sandler and Bruce Jenner ("The first Kardashian woman I can actually tolerate," God says.) One bright spot is Fitzgerald as the Angel Gabriel, who peppers God with questions about heavenly inconsistencies and the nature of evil. Their tension is really the only thing that keeps this lame thing even slightly going. It truly needs divine intervention. ___ Online: http://anactofgod.com 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.
British solo singer and erstwhile Take That member Robbie Williams is offering 150 personal items for sale with all proceeds going to the Donna Louise Children's Hospice.The auction, appropriately called "Doing it for the Kids," will take place on July 15 in Knightsbridge, London and lots up for grabs include a set of handwritten lyrics to "Let Me Entertain You" and an MTV Video Music Award from the singer's Take That days. Of the sale, Williams said: "It's a privilege for me to be a patron of The Donna Louise Children's Hospice, it makes a real difference to these children whose lives have been tragically limited. The sale gives a great opportunity for bidders to know their money will go to such a fantastic charity, whilst also taking home some of my most prized possessions that have been personal markers of my career so far." Viewing of the lots commences on Saturday, July 11 and the auction itself will be streamed live via the Bonhams website. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.