Friday Apr 17, 2015

'Jane the Virgin,' John Oliver among Peabody Award winners

LOS ANGELES (AP) — "Jane the Virgin" and John Oliver's satirical news show are among the winners in the first round of this year's Peabody Awards. The Peabody panel deemed the CW sitcom "Jane the Virgin" a "smart, self-aware telenovela" and its star Gina Rodriguez...
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TV

'Jane the Virgin,' John Oliver among Peabody Award winners
Friday Apr 17, 2015
'Jane the Virgin,' John Oliver among Peabody Award winners

LOS ANGELES (AP) — "Jane the Virgin" and John Oliver's satirical news show are among the winners in the first round of this year's Peabody Awards. The Peabody panel deemed the CW sitcom "Jane the Virgin" a "smart, self-aware telenovela" and its star Gina Rodriguez "incandescent." HBO's "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" is a "worthy addition to the news-as-comedy genre," and offers "fresh, feisty investigative reports," the panel said in announcing its entertainment awards this week. Others winners include "The Americans"; "Fargo"; "The Honorable Woman"; "Inside Amy Schumer"; "The Knick"; "Rectify" and "Black Mirror," an English TV anthology of dark tales. Individual and institutional Peabodys are being awarded to David Attenborough, the veteran British nature documentarian, and "Afropop Worldwide," a public radio series about African music and its international incarnations. Peabody news and radio winners will be announced Monday, followed on Thursday by honorees in the documentary, public service, education and children's programming areas. Winners will receive their statuettes May 31 in New York as the awards take a step toward glamor with its first red-carpet evening ceremony, hosted by Fred Armisen (whose "Portlandia" comedy is a past Peabody recipient). The ceremony will be featured in a Peabody special airing June 21 on Pivot. The awards for the best in electronic media, in their 74th year, are decided by the board of the George Foster Peabody Awards at the University of Georgia. ___ Online: http://www.peabodyawards.com/ 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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.

Google announces a Works with Cardboard' program to bring clarity to virtual reality
Friday Apr 17, 2015
Google announces a Works with Cardboard' program to bring clarity to virtual reality

Google's do-it-yourself approach to creating VR headsets, viewers and apps has been so successful that a host of companies have taken the template as inspiration for their own devices; but with a greater choice can come greater confusion.So, to make it easier for consumers to understand which devices will work with their phones and apps, Google has set up an official program. "It's what we dreamed about when we folded our first piece of cardboard, and combined it with a smartphone: a VR experience for everyone! And less than a year later, there's a tremendous diversity of VR viewers and apps to choose from. To keep this creativity going, however, we also need to invest in compatibility," said Andrew Nartker, Google Cardboard's product manager. If a viewer ‘works with cardboard' it will feature a special orange badge and a QR code that will tell your smartphone exactly what type of viewer it is so that it can adjust VR app playback accordingly. The program will also give developers and makers the support ant tools they need to carry on creating virtual reality headsets, services and apps that will be compatible with Android devices. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Dr. Oz tells critics: No conflict of interest on my TV show
Friday Apr 17, 2015
Dr. Oz tells critics: No conflict of interest on my TV show

NEW YORK (AP) — Dr. Mehmet Oz is defending himself against 10 doctors who've accused him of promoting "quack treatments" on his TV show. Oz said in a statement Friday that his show provides "multiple points of view" including his own. He added that his own views are offered "without conflict of interest." A group of 10 doctors sent a letter to Columbia University this week urging the university to remove Oz from its faculty. They accused Oz of an "egregious lack of integrity." The lead author was Dr. Henry Miller, a senior research fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution. A Columbia spokesman said the school is "committed to the principle of academic freedom." Oz is vice chairman of Columbia's surgery department and still occasionally teaches. He also performs heart surgery at Columbia's affiliated hospital. 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.

Europe finds common language in bid to rival US TV productions
Friday Apr 17, 2015
Europe finds common language in bid to rival US TV productions

"Game of Thrones" may finally bring a change in Europe that various wars and EU bureaucracy have failed to bring about: making English a common language -- on TV screens, at least.Ambitions to rival US television superproductions are forcing European companies to put aside national pride and linguistic defences to jointly make their own expensive co-productions, and that means necessarily using the world's most widely understood tongue, according to executives at an international TV content fair in the French Riviera city of Cannes. "In each European country, TV networks finance series to the tune of 800,000 to 1.2 million euros per hour, compared to three million euros an hour on American networks," Romain Bessi, the operating director for the StudioCanal production subsidiary of French channel Canal+, told AFP. "European networks are now seeking to team up to finance productions for three to four million per hour," he said. - Cinema quality - Bessi and other representatives at the MIPTV fair said there are around 100 media groups in Europe able to come up with the money to finance a big-budget production. A decade ago, there was only a handful. "Their number has exploded," Bessi said, "because of the growth of US pay-TV networks and the entry of video giants online" such as Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and Sony, each of which needs around four big series a year. Public tastes are also in play. European viewers have now come to expect cinematic quality after having watched US offerings such as "Game of Thrones", each episode of which costs an average $6 million (5.6 million euros). They are demanding the same standard from their local TV productions. The result is a sea change for European networks. Before 2010, coproductions were rare. "Now we see partnerships no one would have thought possible," the head of drama for the British network Sky, Anne Mensah, said. A push is certainly on to bring out splashy, expensive shows on the Old Continent. One example is "Versailles", a Canal+ coproduction with Italian and Canadian companies budgeted at 27 million euros. Another is "The Refugees", a science-fiction series whose lead coproducers are BBC Worldwide and Spanish TV giant Atresmedia. It's the first time Artesmedia has made an English-language. The Scandinavians have also invested in coproduced shows, such as "Occupied", about a fictional invasion of Norway by the Russians, with dialogue in English, Russian and Norwegian. Italy's Sky Italia has a pontifical drama in the works, "The Young Pope", imagining the first Italian-American head of the Roman Catholic Church. French outfit Gaumont Television Europe confirmed at MIPTV it was bringing out its second English-language series, "1001", a Scandinavian-created thriller about a singer who demands a ransom to not commit murder. Its first series, "Spy City", was coproduced with a German company, Odeon. Many writers in several countries are ready to work in English, Gaumont's vice-CEO, Christophe Riandee, told the US cinema industry magazine Variety this week. "What we are seeing is the birth of a European creative community," he said. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Sarah Jessica Parker returns to HBO with comedy 'Divorce'
Thursday Apr 16, 2015
Sarah Jessica Parker returns to HBO with comedy 'Divorce'

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Sarah Jessica Parker's HBO follow-up to "Sex and the City" is a comedy about marital woes. The premium cable channel said Thursday that Parker will star in a half-hour series titled "Divorce." She plays a woman who finds that making a break from her marriage is harder than anticipated. Thomas Haden Church ("Spider-Man 3," ''Sideways") plays her husband. Also in the cast are Molly Shannon and Talia Balsam as close friends of Parker's character, Frances. The 50-year-old Parker starred as relationship columnist Carrie Bradshaw in "Sex and the City" from 1998 to 2004 on HBO, and she reprised the role in two big-screen movies. "Divorce" will shoot in New York this year, HBO said. A premiere date was not announced. 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

George Lucas to Colbert: Why aren't you replacing Stewart?
Friday Apr 17, 2015
George Lucas to Colbert: Why aren't you replacing Stewart?

NEW YORK (AP) — Stephen Colbert came to the Tribeca Film Festival to interview filmmaker George Lucas, but the "Star Wars" creator had a question of his own. "The perfect choice to replace that Jon Stewart fellow would have been you," Lucas told Colbert on Friday. Why, he wanted to know, wasn't he replacing him? Colbert, who replaces David Letterman in September as host of "The Late Show" on CBS, tried to explain. "Trevor Noah is a very funny guy," he said of Stewart's recently named replacement. Moreover, he said, "I don't want to be the guy to take over from Jon Stewart. I worked for Jon Stewart at that show, and my memories will always be of him being the keenest, most intelligent, most beautifully deconstructive mind. ... And I would never, however successful I'd be, get out of his shadow." Lucas then suggested that Colbert wouldn't need to get out from Stewart's shadow; he could simply "start jumping on his body and shouting, 'I won! I won!'" "I'll try that," Colbert quipped. The hour-long interview focused mostly on Lucas, however, and Colbert, sporting an ample white beard to match that of Lucas and appearing as himself, not as his retired "Colbert Report" pundit, made clear that he's a huge fan. At age 13, he said, his world changed when he saw the first "Star Wars" with friends, having won four tickets in a radio station contest in Charleston, South Carolina. "We had no idea what it was going to be," he said. And then the music began, and the movie's opening scroll appeared and everything was different. "We couldn't explain to anyone how the world was different now," Colbert told Lucas. "We had no vocabulary for what you showed us." He says he still keeps a button from that screening, saying, "May the Force Be With You." The two men didn't speak much about the much-anticipated new "Star Wars" trilogy, directed by J.J. Abrams, with the first installment, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," opening in December. Lucas, who sold the franchise and his Lucasfilm to Disney in 2012 for $4.05 billion, said he doesn't know what the film's plot will be but looks forward to seeing it. "The one thing I regret about having made 'Star Wars' is that I never got to just go and see it," he said. "I hope it's successful," he said. "I hope they do a great job." He added that the original saga was about a father, children and grandchildren. "I'm hoping they take it in a different direction," he said. "I have no idea what they're doing." Lucas said one thing is sure: He'll wait to see the movie on a big screen. Asked by Colbert how he feels about people watching movies on their phones, he said it didn't anger him as much as it does some other filmmakers. "They work best on a big screen," he said. "If you want to see it on a cellphone, that's fine with me, but it won't be the full experience." Lucas spoke about the history of his biggest hits, starting with the 1973 "American Graffiti." Studio executives didn't like "Graffiti" at all at first, he said, and it ended up being enormously successful: It was made for $700,000, he noted, and earned $100 million. With "Star Wars," there were similar trepidations. Showing it to a group of famous filmmaker friends, no one liked it and basically said, "Poor George," he recounted — except Steven Spielberg, who immediately declared it was going to be huge. "And everyone just said, 'Poor Steven,'" Lucas quipped. When it opened in 1977, the director went off to Hawaii to lie on a beach, wanting to escape the stress. That first weekend, he got a call to turn on the TV; Walter Cronkite was on, describing how the film had become a phenomenon. "It's the first time I understood this was going to be a hit," Lucas said. The director, dressed in jeans and sneakers, told his host he is "not a fan of celebrity." To which Colbert replied: "You dress glitzy!" Lucas allowed that he owns "one pair of Levis and one pair of sneakers." Lucas said he plans to use his time and money making experimental films. A 21-year-old fan approached the mic and told the director he had notebooks filled with ideas. "I came here to see if I can help you," the fan said. Lucas suggested the fan approach a Hollywood studio. "They're the suckers," he said. Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Jocelyn Noveck from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

2 weeks before Mayweather-Pacquiao, not a ticket to be seen
Friday Apr 17, 2015
2 weeks before Mayweather-Pacquiao, not a ticket to be seen

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Don't expect to snag a $1,500 nosebleed ticket — or any other ticket — at the box office for the fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao. Just two weeks before the bout, tickets for the most anticipated fight in recent times have yet to go on public sale, with the two camps and the MGM Grand locked in a standoff over allotments. When they are finally put on sale, only a few will be sold at the listed price. The impasse has left fans in the dark, and ticket brokers perplexed. "It's bizarre, normally there's a public sale 10 weeks before the fight," said Connor Gregoire, an analyst for Seatgeek.com. "To our knowledge no one has a printed ticket in their hands right now." Mayweather's promoter, Leonard Ellerbe, said Tuesday that tickets would go on sale this week for the May 2 fight, but MGM officials have been tight-lipped about their availability. The hotel issued a statement Friday saying there would be a "limited number of tickets available for sale" and that it is working with promoters to finalize a date for their release. The fight was always going to be a tough ticket, with announced prices of $1,500 to $7,500 in the 16,500-seat Grand Garden arena. But those prices have already tripled in the resale market even before tickets are available, and the two camps and the MGM have been dickering over how many seats — and at what price level — each party gets. Pacquiao's manager, Michael Koncz, blamed the Mayweather camp for holding up the ticket sales, saying they have refused to sign a term sheet negotiated months earlier that specified the allotments. "It's a real mess right now," Koncz said. "I can only surmise the motivation is greed and an attempt to manipulate the tickets, otherwise why the holdup? I'm more than a little upset they're not for sale to the public." Millions of dollars are at stake in the dispute, because after the MGM takes its share each camp gets a certain percentage of tickets and is able to resell them with ticket brokers for higher prices. The estimated gate for the tickets if they are sold at retail prices is already a staggering $72 million, far surpassing the previous gate record of $20 million for Mayweather's 2013 fight with Canelo Alvarez. Promoter Bob Arum said he has heard of people cancelling their reservations to Las Vegas because they're afraid they can't get tickets. "This is not acceptable," said Arum, who promotes Pacquiao. "This is a worldwide event that the city of Las Vegas is involved in. It's one of the craziest things I've ever seen." Gregoire said the fight is one of Seatgeek's most searched events, but that only a few dozen tickets have been sold through the website. Those tickets are what the ticket industry calls "spec tickets" because the sellers don't actually have them in hand, but expect to get them before the fight. The cheapest seat on the site on Friday was $4,800, and Gregoire said the average sale so far is in the $8,000 range. "People are hesitant to buy in the secondary market before there's been an original sale," he said. "And you've also got the incredible prices being asked for tickets now. That means a lot of people are not buying tickets at this point." At Stubhub there are no tickets for sale, spokeswoman Alison Salcedo said, because the ticket reseller is waiting for actual prices to be set and tickets to be printed. "There's still so much up in the air for this fight that we're not allowing spec sales," Salcedo said. "We're not willing to take that risk now." Tickets have also not gone on sale for the closed circuit telecast of the fight at the various MGM properties in Las Vegas. Thousands of those tickets are expected to be sold to fans that can't get into the arena itself, but no price has been set for them. Koncz said he talked to Pacquiao on Thursday about making sure he had enough tickets to take care of people in his camp. He said there have been requests from around the world for fight tickets, but that they have been forced to put them off because of the uncertainty over how many tickets are available and their pricing. One thing that is certain, he said, is no one — including the celebrities who generally populate the ringside seats — is getting in for free. "Nobody's getting free tickets," Koncz said. "Even Bob (Arum) has to pay for his ticket in the first row." Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Tim Dahlberg from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Scarlett O'Hara outfit could fetch $100,000 at auction
Friday Apr 17, 2015
Scarlett O'Hara outfit could fetch $100,000 at auction

DALLAS (AP) — Experts say an outfit worn in the 1939 film "Gone With the Wind" by Vivien Leigh as she played Scarlett O'Hara could fetch more than $100,000 at auction. Heritage Auctions is offering the gray jacket and skirt, featuring a black zigzag applique, plus other items from the Academy Award-winning film at auction Saturday in Beverly Hills, California. Dallas-based Heritage says more than 150 items from the movie, including costumes and props, are being offered by James Tumblin. He formerly was in charge of the hair and makeup department at Universal Studios. Tumblin began collecting items associated with the MGM film "Gone With the Wind" in the 1960s. He paid $20 for the Scarlett O'Hara outfit after spotting it at a costume company. 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.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show heads to the Royal Albert Hall
Friday Apr 17, 2015
The Rocky Horror Picture Show heads to the Royal Albert Hall

To celebrate the cult film's 40th anniversary it is being screened at one of the world's most famous cultural venues.London's Royal Albert Hall is more usually associated with live musical and theatrical performances, but on October 27 it will become a huge cinema. As well as screening the film, which stars Susan Sarandon, Tim Curry and Meat Loaf, the venue will also host a live Q&A with cast members and the whole event will be broadcast live in cinemas around the UK. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

R2-D2 plane to spirit Star Wars fans far, far away
Friday Apr 17, 2015
R2-D2 plane to spirit Star Wars fans far, far away

It might not be the droid you're looking for, but a plane painted to look like R2-D2 could be the next best thing for "Star Wars" fans awaiting the franchise's reboot.Japan's All Nippon Airways (ANA) has unveiled a Boeing 787 Dreamliner decorated to look like the small round robot that appears in every episode with his multi-lingual sidekick C-3PO. The cockpit and front half of the white fuselage are painted with blue panels in the shape of those on the little droid who does everything from carrying secret plans for the Death Star to co-piloting Luke Skywalker's X-Wing. The legend "Star Wars", in the movie's distinctive font, adorns the body of the plane behind the wing, while the tail is in ANA's normal -- also blue -- livery. News of the aircraft, which ANA says will ply an international route in the autumn, comes as fans got their first look at a new teaser trailer for "Star Wars: The Force Awakens", the seventh installment of one of the most successful movie series of all time. The action-packed clip showcases aerial dogfights featuring the X-Wings of the Rebel Alliance and the Tie Fighters of the Galactic Empire. It also offers a glimpse of mercenary pilot Han Solo and his hairy companion Chewbacca, much-loved characters of the original movie, along with their Millennium Falcon ship. The trailer ends with Han Solo -- played by an ageing Harrison Ford -- saying: "Chewie, we're home". The film is due for release in December. mis/hg/jom ANA Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Events

Scarlett O'Hara outfit could fetch $100,000 at auction
Friday Apr 17, 2015
Scarlett O'Hara outfit could fetch $100,000 at auction

DALLAS (AP) — Experts say an outfit worn in the 1939 film "Gone With the Wind" by Vivien Leigh as she played Scarlett O'Hara could fetch more than $100,000 at auction. Heritage Auctions is offering the gray jacket and skirt, featuring a black zigzag applique, plus other items from the Academy Award-winning film at auction Saturday in Beverly Hills, California. Dallas-based Heritage says more than 150 items from the movie, including costumes and props, are being offered by James Tumblin. He formerly was in charge of the hair and makeup department at Universal Studios. Tumblin began collecting items associated with the MGM film "Gone With the Wind" in the 1960s. He paid $20 for the Scarlett O'Hara outfit after spotting it at a costume company. 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.

ACM hosts Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan work as comedic duo
Friday Apr 17, 2015
ACM hosts Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan work as comedic duo

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Expecting music at Sunday's Academy of Country Music Awards? You should be ready for comedy. Hosts Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan held a press conference Friday at the AT&T Stadium and offered a preview of what's to come when the ACMs celebrate their 50th anniversary in Arlington, Texas. The show, where Miranda Lambert is the lead nominee with eight nominations, will feature 23 performances, including a kickoff from Keith Urban and Eric Church. Garth Brooks and Taylor Swift are among the A-list attendees. The show will air live on CBS (8 p.m. EDT). "I don't even know who's singing. That's just the god's honest truth," Shelton said to laughs. "I know Miranda is and I always look forward to that." Here's a breakdown of the banter between Shelton and Bryan, who are hosting the ACM Awards for a third year. ___ FIGHTING LIKE BROTHERS When ACM Awards executive producer R.A. Clark said he thought for a second that the production at the AT&T Stadium looked like the MGM Grand Garden Arena, where the awards show is usually held, Shelton said: "In other words, you're just using Luke's normal production." "I want something to go wrong today so I know something won't go wrong during the show," said Clark, son of the late Dick Clark. "That will be Blake's rehearsal," Bryan replied. Both stars are nominated for male vocalist of the year. "We can duke it out right now," Bryan said when asked who should win. "I'm going to take the high road here," Shelton said, "and I say I do." ___ NO STAR LEFT BEHIND Shelton doesn't hold back when he tells jokes, even if it's about Taylor Swift — one of the seven recipients of the 50th Anniversary Milestone Award. "Being it's the 50th, it's cool we're going way back and we're honoring some of these artists that have been here like Taylor Swift and Miranda Lambert — digging way back," he said to laughs. Other honorees include Garth Brooks, Kenny Chesney, George Strait, Reba McEntire and Brooks & Dunn. "You're probably an icon award guy, too, aren't you?" Shelton asked Bryan. "No, you're too new." Brooks, who made his return to music last year after a 13-year break, wasn't off-limits either. When a reporter asked if the live performances would be available on iTunes, Shelton said: "I don't think so. Don't forget Garth is on this thing, so no way." (Brooks' music isn't available digitally, and he recently launched his own service, GhostTunes, to access his music online.) At the conference, they announced that the awards show will set a Guinness world record for most attended live awards show ever. When Bryan asked if their picture with the new record would be in the Guinness book, Shelton replied: "It'll be Garth." ___ THE VOICE? MORE LIKE THE FACE NBC's "The Voice" has helped Shelton reach superstar status and Bryan said his friend has changed as a result of his success in Hollywood. "He's been getting some facials," he said. "He's hydrating early in the morning. He's exfoliating." "I apologize for my tardiness," said Bryan, who arrived a couple minutes after the press conference began. "It's a lot of work getting prepared to look better than Blake." ___ LET'S GET SERIOUS Shelton didn't joke the entire time: He said one of his favorite ACM moments was seeing Bryan win the top prize in 2013. "The coolest thing that I have witnessed ... was when Luke won entertainer of the year," he said. "Not only did he not expect it, we both kind of expected Taylor (Swift) to win that ... all of a sudden Luke won and I was as surprised and excited as he was. Because I've known the guy since he had his first single out." Bryan got serious, too. "We're just still so amazed, he and I, to have these opportunities and that we made it in country music," he said. ___ Online: https://www.acmcountry.com/ http://www.cbs.com/ 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.

Steve Carell to star in 'Marwencol'
Friday Apr 17, 2015
Steve Carell to star in 'Marwencol'

The Robert Zemeckis film is based on an award-winning documentary about a man's unusual path to rehabilitation following a serious assault.Carell will play the role of Mark Hogancamp who built a miniature World War II-era town in his garden as a form of therapy. A documentary of the tale, also called "Marwencol," was released to critical praise in 2010 and the film version of the story has already been in development for two years. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Puppies Attack: Hugo Awards reflect sci-fi/fantasy divide
Friday Apr 17, 2015
Puppies Attack: Hugo Awards reflect sci-fi/fantasy divide

NEW YORK (AP) — Call it the invasion of the Sad Puppies. One of the signature awards of the science fiction/fantasy community, the Hugos, has been ensnared in a fierce debate over the genre's future, with charges of political correctness and elitism and countercharges of bigotry and dishonesty. Writers and fans have been feuding for weeks, at times in profane and personal terms, on blogs, Twitter and Facebook. On one side: the "Sad Puppies," a highly motivated bloc within science fiction/fantasy that believes the genre is endangered by a liberal establishment favoring social causes over storytelling. Taking advantage of the Hugos' open voting process, the Sad Puppies (and the more militant Rabid Puppies) helped get more than a dozen of their preferred candidates on the list of nominees for the 2015 Hugos, announced earlier this month. On the other side, there is no official name — just authors who range from being little known outside of science fiction/fantasy, to some, notably George R.R. Martin, known worldwide. "While most years, the annual list of finalists leaves some members scratching their heads over the collective taste of their fellow members, this year the reaction has been stronger than ever," said Kevin Standlee, a member of the Hugos' marketing committee. Standlee says anyone who is at least a supporting member of the annual World Science Fiction Convention (WorldCon) can vote. The only requirement: paying a $40 annual fee. "The Hugo Awards have in the past represented the views of the members who chose to participate, whatever those views are. That's true this year as well. The nominating process does, however, tend to favor strong minority opinions over those of majorities, because it is a wide-open, un-juried process," he says. The Sad Puppies, formed two years ago, are led by authors Brad R. Torgersen and Larry Correia. Torgersen, himself a former Hugo nominee, said that his group's goal was "to make the so-called 'most prestigious award in the field' actually reflect some of what the wider fan audience is still reading." According to Torgersen, the name Sad Puppies originates from a joke by Correia that "every time a tedious, boring, or otherwise 'literary' piece of barely science-fiction wins an award, somewhere, puppies cry." "Sad Puppies has tried to point out that merely being politically topical in a given year, isn't necessarily the best way to gauge if a work is really the 'best' in the field," Torgersen said. Torgersen cited a couple of examples from the 2014 Hugos: The winner for best novel, Ann Leckie's "Ancillary Justice," was "explicitly playing with gender, and gender is a very hot political topic in the wider culture right now," he said. Of John Chu's "The Water That Falls On You from Nowhere," winner last year for best short story, Torgersen said that it was "explicitly about homosexual relationships, while being very thin on speculative or fantastical elements. But because gay marriage is a very hot political topic in the wider culture, this story too got a boost." In response, Leckie told the AP that "Mr. Torgersen is, of course, welcome to his opinion. I have quite a lot of readers waiting for my next book, and they are my primary concern right now." Chu said that he often meets people who loved his story and that "Fandom, at its best, strives to be a big tent, accepting of all genders, races, and sexual orientations. The Hugos, at its best, reflects the whole of fandom." Critics of the Puppies, whether Sad or Rabid, call them hypocrites who only object to political content when it's from the left. They note that best editor nominee Vox Day (a pseudonym for Theodore Beale) has called being gay a "birth defect" and said that marital rape is impossible because "marriage grants consent on an ongoing basis." On his blog (https://bradrtorgersen.wordpress.com), Torgersen wrote that "maybe Vox is terrible" but that calls to disavow him were "about me signaling to the tribe that I can be bent to the tribe's will." "I reject all who demand I partake in the unpersoning of anyone in this field," he wrote. David Gerrold, whose credits include writing for the original "Star Trek" TV series and the Hugo-winning novelette "The Martian Child," wrote recently on his Facebook page that Torgersen "has committed all the same sins he is now projecting onto others." Gerrold, who will co-host this year's Hugos ceremony, added that "the architects of this squabble will have indelibly damaged themselves in the eyes of the SF community." Martin, in a series of lengthy posts on his web site (http://www.georgerrmartin.com), disputed contentions by the Sad Puppies and their supporters that they have been threatened and ostracized and rejected allegations that white males have been pushed out of the nominations. "Really? Really? C'mon, guys," Martin wrote. "Go look at the last five, ten years of Hugo ballots. Count how many men were nominated. Count how many women. Now count the black writers and the Asian writers and the foreign-language writers. Yes, yes, things are changing. We have a lot more women and minorities being nominated than we did in 1957, say, or even 1987. But the ballots are still way more white and way more male than not." "There was never any need for Sad Puppies to 'take back' the Hugos," Martin concluded. "The feminists, minorities, literary cliques, and Social Justice Warriors never took them in the first place. " The awards will be announced in August during WorldCon, in Spokane, Washington. Torgersen said he suspects that "after a summer of high drama on the internet" people will simply "favor names of authors, editors and artists they recognize." Martin believes turnout is the main factor. "This year, the Puppies emptied the kennels and got out their vote, and we didn't," Martin wrote on his web site. "Fandom danced the usual, 'Oh, too busy to nominate, I will just vote on the final ballot,' and for that complacency, we got blindsided. We lost. They kicked our fannish asses, and now we have the ballot they gave us. If we don't want that to happen again, we need to get out our OWN vote." Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Hillel Italie from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Review: O'Hara shines in mostly wonderful 'The King and I'
Friday Apr 17, 2015
Review: O'Hara shines in mostly wonderful 'The King and I'

NEW YORK (AP) — There's a new King in town, and Kelli O'Hara's got him. Rodgers & Hammerstein's classic musical "The King and I" is getting an elegant, thoughtful revival courtesy of Lincoln Center Theater. O'Hara stars as a feisty English schoolteacher along with Ken Watanabe as the King of Siam, who hires her in 1860 to live in his Bangkok palace and provide a Western education to his many children and wives. Lincoln Center Theater's stirring production opened Thursday night at the Vivian Beaumont under the sophisticated direction of Bartlett Sher, who won the 2008 Tony for best musical revival for LCT's production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's "South Pacific."  There's an opulent, almost operatic feel to this production, and the music and dancing are richly presented by orchestra and the large cast of 51. The uplifting score features a number of beloved songs, including "Getting To Know You," ''Shall We Dance?" and "Something Wonderful." Christopher Gattelli's graceful choreography is based on the original choreography of Jerome Robbins, so the production feels fresh and yet familiar, too. Five-time Tony Award-nominated O'Hara, most recently seen in "The Bridges of Madison County," gives a warm, loving persona to young widow Anna Leonowens, who must navigate sexism and cultural differences to get along with the capricious king. She establishes a ladylike friendship with him, while the charming royal children and bashful wives all come to adore her. O'Hara is perfectly suited to her role as a prideful Englishwoman, and sings rapturously throughout the show, especially on her poignant renditions of "Hello, Young Lovers." Watanabe, best known in America for his Oscar-nominated performance in the film "The Last Samurai," is making his American stage debut as the King. He delivers a layered performance despite some difficulties enunciating English, notably in the song "Puzzlement." His king is, by turns, mischievous and morose, and generally commanding except for some distractingly childish moments. Many audience members will compare Watanabe's work to the iconic portrayal by Yul Brynner, who basically owned the role for more than three decades. Starring in the 1951 Broadway premier and the popular 1956 movie version, Brynner performed as King for a record 4,625 performances, both on Broadway and on the road in two long national tours. However, Watanabe is quite natural in the role, and creates a pleasing chemistry with O'Hara as their characters establish a friendship despite obstacles that include differing attitudes on racism and slavery. At least they're like-minded on the ever-threatening "protection" of European nations encroaching on Asian countries. Ruthie Ann Miles (of "Here Lies Love") is wise and kindhearted as head wife, Lady Thiang, soulfully singing about her love for the king in "Something Wonderful." As rebellious Burmese slave-wife Tuptim, Ashley Park acts and sings her heart out in passionate duets with her secret lover Lun Tha, (Conrad Ricamore), "We Kiss in a Shadow" and "I Have Dreamed."  The 11 winsome, scene-stealing children are featured in two special numbers, "March of the Siamese Children" and "Getting To Know You." Jon Viktor Corpuz provides gravitas as a solemn young Prince Chulalongkorn, who's next in line for the throne, and Paul Nakauchi is effective as Kralahome, the king's prime minister.  Jake Lucas has a winning freshness as Anna's young son, Louis, and he and O'Hara are enchanting together in the opening number, "I Whistle a Happy Tune."  The ballet about a runaway slave, "The Small House of Uncle Thomas," is beautifully danced by the ensemble. Another traditional show-stopper, "Shall We Dance?," is an ebullient number, as Anna and the King nearly gallop around the vast stage. Following the impressive opening arrival of a British ship that fills the stage, the generally spare set design by Michael Yeargan serves as an elegant frame for the actors, who are sumptuously garbed in Catherine Zuber's colorful, meticulously detailed costumes. If you can accept the king's personality quirks, this production of "The King and I" is definitely something wonderful. ___ Online: http://www.lct.org/shows/king-and-i Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Jennifer Farrar from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.