Saturday Oct 25, 2014

'Phantom of the Opera' to haunt ABC

In collaboration with "Desperate Housewives" creator Marc Cherry, the network is developing a TV adaptation of the French novel that inspired Andrew Lloyd Webber's famous musical.ABC will reimagine the story of Erick, a ghost who haunts the Paris Opera, with a drama set in the present-day...
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TV

'Phantom of the Opera' to haunt ABC
Saturday Oct 25, 2014
'Phantom of the Opera' to haunt ABC

In collaboration with "Desperate Housewives" creator Marc Cherry, the network is developing a TV adaptation of the French novel that inspired Andrew Lloyd Webber's famous musical.ABC will reimagine the story of Erick, a ghost who haunts the Paris Opera, with a drama set in the present-day music industry. To be penned by Broadway scribes Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner, this adaptation of Gaston Leroux's gothic novel will include musical elements, somewhat like "Nashville," the ABC series set against the backdrop of the country music scene. Published in 1910, "The Phantom of the Opera" has inspired several theatrical productions, the most famous of which is Andrew Lloyd Webber's 1986 Broadway musical. There are also multiple feature adaptations, including those directed by Brian de Palma ("Phantom of the Paradise") in 1974, Dario Argento in 1998 and Joel Schumacher in 2004.  The story has yet to be made into a series, however. ABC will navigate this uncharted territory with the help of Cherry, the creator of "Desperate Housewives" and "Devious Maids," who will executive produce. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

YouTube most popular: Avengers, Middle-earth and candy ice machines
Saturday Oct 25, 2014
YouTube most popular: Avengers, Middle-earth and candy ice machines

Superheroes battle it out in the trailer for "Avengers: Age of Ultron," Air New Zealand tells everyone how to get to Middle-earth safely and an ice dispenser gets transformed into a candy machine.YouTube's top six Most Popular entertainment and lifestyle videos as recorded on Friday, October 24 at 3:30pm GMT: Marvel's "Avengers: Age of Ultron" - Teaser Trailer (OFFICIAL) First published: October 22Total views: 24.7 millionIt's a superhero film to rival all other superhero films: "Avengers: Age of Utron" features Captain America, Iron Man and Thor, to name just a few. Coming to theaters in May 2015. http://youtu.be/tmeOjFno6Do The Most Epic Safety Video Ever Made #airnzhobbit First published: October 22Total views: 3.1 millionAir New Zealand, "the official airline of Middle-earth," goes above and beyond the call of duty to celebrate the release of the final film in "The Hobbit" trilogy in this -- surely the most epic safety video ever made.http://youtu.be/qOw44VFNk8Y Candy from the auto ice maker! First published: October 22Total views: 1.9 millionWant to make your ice dispenser more interesting? Just fill it with candy. This ingenious video shows you the result. http://youtu.be/0BZhqbq3nWU Sisters Episode 4: California {The Kloons} First published: October 22Total views: 308,299"Sisters" is a surreal comedy clip which sees a recorded conversation between two 60-year-old women re-enacted by a young male duo working at a space company. http://youtu.be/kVddz9sZyeoKyrie Irving Goes Between the Legs to Kevin Love First published: October 22Total views: 158,945NBA footage shows Cleveland Cavaliers player Kyrie Irving craftily sneaking the ball to teammate Kevin Love through the legs of the opposition.http://youtu.be/DlNG2ibrNwo The Inbox that works for you First published: October 22Total views: 945,540Google unveils "Inbox by Gmail" -- a new email format designed to make life easier.http://youtu.be/bzNTjpUMOp4 Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Jenny McCarthy brings her personality to radio
Friday Oct 24, 2014
Jenny McCarthy brings her personality to radio

NEW YORK (AP) — For those who wonder if that so-called "honeymoon period" for a newly married couple is real, look no further than TV-radio personality Jenny McCarthy and actor-singer Donnie Wahlberg. The two wed in late August and have no problem in the PDA department. Wahlberg recently sat in the room as McCarthy spoke to press for her new SiriusXM radio show "Dirty, Sexy, Funny". "We go to each other's jobs to spend time with each other," said McCarthy. (Wahlberg shoots the CBS cop drama "Blue Bloods" in New York.) In between interviews, the two kiss, speak softly to one another or McCarthy sits on his lap. As for her work life, that's great too, says McCarthy. "Dirty Sexy Funny" is a brand McCarthy created to give female comedians "the opportunity to shine." There's been a tour, a TV special and now this radio show. It began as a limited weekly summer run and is now a daily live radio show, airing 10 a.m. to noon EDT. McCarthy, who has made a living off her personality appearing on her own short-lived VH1 show and as a panelist on "The View" says radio seems to be the right career move for right now. "I always thought I needed to be in front of the camera but I had no idea of the freedom that I'm allowed with talk radio," she said. McCarthy says she's spent years trying to find the gig best suited to her personality. "I've been in holding deals since I was 23, network after network trying to fit me in," she says. "They'd pay me money to sit and wait for them to write a show and no one could quite figure out how to write a character for me. Because I realized I really liked myself as the best character. That's why I moved into talk. To be your authentic self today too is so welcomed, I think, by audiences." On "Dirty Sexy Funny", the 41-year-old will conduct interviews and discuss various topics. She also has creative control. "I am the one who is in charge of me," she says. ___ Alicia Rancilio covers entertainment for The Associated Press. Follow her online at http://www.twitter.com/aliciar ___ Online: http://www.siriusxm.com/ http://www.jennymccarthy.com/ Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

NBCUniversal settles with unpaid interns for $6.4M
Friday Oct 24, 2014
NBCUniversal settles with unpaid interns for $6.4M

NEW YORK (AP) — Nearly 9,000 unpaid interns stand to benefit from a $6.4 million settlement with NBCUniversal over back wages. Unpaid interns who worked on "Saturday Night Live" and other shows brought a class action suit last July in Manhattan federal court claiming NBCUniversal violated the law by classifying them as non-employee interns and paid them nothing or less than minimum wage, when they were actually doing employee work. NBCUniversal said in court documents that even though it's settling the suit, it denies the allegations and doesn't admit any wrongdoing. The average amount that class-action members of the suit will receive is $505 before taxes, although the main plaintiffs will receive more. The number of class members is capped at 8,975. The interns had been seeking recovery of unpaid wages, attorneys' fees, interest and liquidated damages. The settlement still has to be approved by a judge. Unpaid internships have long been a way that students and young graduates got a foot in the door in many industries. Companies get some help, interns potentially get experience and contacts — if they can afford to work for free. But in the last few years, unpaid internships have come under legal fire. Last June, a federal judge in New York ruled that Fox Searchlight Pictures violated minimum wage and overtime laws by not paying interns who worked on production of the 2010 movie "Black Swan." Other lawsuits were filed against record companies, magazine publishers, modeling agencies and TV talk show hosts. Some companies, including Conde Nast, subsequently did away with their intern programs. In addition to back wages, lead plaintiff Monet Eliastem will receive up to $10,000, and other named plaintiffs will receive between $2,000 and $5,000, for their efforts in bringing the class-action, according to court documents. Eliastem agreed not to apply for jobs at NBCUniversal for five years, as a stipulation of the deal. NBCUniversal is owned by Philadelphia-based cable provider Comcast Corp. Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Nominees for Grammy Awards to be announced Dec. 5
Friday Oct 24, 2014
Nominees for Grammy Awards to be announced Dec. 5

NEW YORK (AP) — The Recording Academy will announce the nominees for the 2015 Grammy Awards the morning of Dec. 5, except for one category: the coveted album of the year. The nominees for the top prize will come later that day when the academy debuts the new TV special, "A Very GRAMMY Christmas," to air on CBS at 9 p.m. EST. It will feature performances from Pharrell and Ariana Grande. The Grammys first launched a televised concert announcing its main nominees in 2008. Recording Academy CEO Neil Portnow said in an interview Thursday it was time to switch it up. "We're freshening up, changing this up a little bit and the kickoff for Grammy season will still be getting our nominations out that day, albeit a little differently," Portnow said. The one-hour Christmas special will be hosted by LL Cool J and also will include Maroon 5, Tim McGraw and some others to be announced at a later date, show producer Ken Ehrlich said Thursday. It will tape Nov. 18 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. The nominees for album of the year will be announced toward the end of the program, Ehrlich said. Grande, Pharrell and the others will perform their own hits and holiday songs, as well as discuss their favorite holiday moments and Grammy moments. All of the performers are Grammy winners except for Grande, who marked a breakthrough this year with a string of hits, including "Problem." "If you ask any musical artist what their best Christmas gift would be, maybe eight out of 10 of them would say a Grammy nomination," Ehrlich said. The 57th annual Grammy Awards will air live Feb. 8 from the Staples Center in Los Angeles. It will include 83 categories. ___ Online: http://www.grammy.com/ ___ Follow Mesfin Fekadu on Twitter at twitter.com/MusicMesfin Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Movies

YouTube most popular: Avengers, Middle-earth and candy ice machines
Saturday Oct 25, 2014
YouTube most popular: Avengers, Middle-earth and candy ice machines

Superheroes battle it out in the trailer for "Avengers: Age of Ultron," Air New Zealand tells everyone how to get to Middle-earth safely and an ice dispenser gets transformed into a candy machine.YouTube's top six Most Popular entertainment and lifestyle videos as recorded on Friday, October 24 at 3:30pm GMT: Marvel's "Avengers: Age of Ultron" - Teaser Trailer (OFFICIAL) First published: October 22Total views: 24.7 millionIt's a superhero film to rival all other superhero films: "Avengers: Age of Utron" features Captain America, Iron Man and Thor, to name just a few. Coming to theaters in May 2015. http://youtu.be/tmeOjFno6Do The Most Epic Safety Video Ever Made #airnzhobbit First published: October 22Total views: 3.1 millionAir New Zealand, "the official airline of Middle-earth," goes above and beyond the call of duty to celebrate the release of the final film in "The Hobbit" trilogy in this -- surely the most epic safety video ever made.http://youtu.be/qOw44VFNk8Y Candy from the auto ice maker! First published: October 22Total views: 1.9 millionWant to make your ice dispenser more interesting? Just fill it with candy. This ingenious video shows you the result. http://youtu.be/0BZhqbq3nWU Sisters Episode 4: California {The Kloons} First published: October 22Total views: 308,299"Sisters" is a surreal comedy clip which sees a recorded conversation between two 60-year-old women re-enacted by a young male duo working at a space company. http://youtu.be/kVddz9sZyeoKyrie Irving Goes Between the Legs to Kevin Love First published: October 22Total views: 158,945NBA footage shows Cleveland Cavaliers player Kyrie Irving craftily sneaking the ball to teammate Kevin Love through the legs of the opposition.http://youtu.be/DlNG2ibrNwo The Inbox that works for you First published: October 22Total views: 945,540Google unveils "Inbox by Gmail" -- a new email format designed to make life easier.http://youtu.be/bzNTjpUMOp4 Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Chiwetel Ejiofor joins Ridley Scott's 'The Martian'
Friday Oct 24, 2014
Chiwetel Ejiofor joins Ridley Scott's 'The Martian'

The British actor who headlined Steve McQueen's "12 Years a Slave" has joined the already impressive cast of Ridley Scott's forthcoming sci-fi feature.The British director will be in very good company on the set of "The Martian." In addition to Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Kristen Wiig, Sean Bean, Michael Pena, Donald Glover and Kate Mara, Scott has recruited Chiwetel Ejiofor, who earned a 2014 Oscar nomination for his performance as the enslaved man Solomon Northup. Adapted from the eponymous novel by Andy Weir, "The Martian" centers on one member of an expedition to Mars (Damon), who is stranded on the planet when his fellow astronauts make an emergency exit, believing he is dead. Chiwetel Ejiofor is cast as Venkat Kapoor, the director of the mission to the red planet. The feature is due to open in the US on November 25, 2015. Before then, the actor who broke through in Steven Spielberg's 1997 film "Amistad" is due to return to theaters in "Triple Nine" from director John Hillcoat ("The Road") and in "Z for Zachariah." Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Rowling writes backstory of Potter character
Friday Oct 24, 2014
Rowling writes backstory of Potter character

NEW YORK (AP) — Harry Potter fans can look forward to a Halloween treat, with some tricks, from J.K. Rowling. In an announcement posted Friday on her website, www.pottermore.com , the author revealed that she has prepared a 1,700 word story about the witch and former Hogwarts professor Dolores Umbridge. The story will appear on Halloween, Oct. 31, on her site. It will include Rowling's "revealing first-person thoughts" about Umbridge, according to Friday's announcement. Umbridge first appeared in "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," the fifth of seven books in Rowling's multimillion-selling series. Imelda Staunton played her in the film adaptations of the Potter books. Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

'Into The Woods' featurette displays broad appeal
Friday Oct 24, 2014
'Into The Woods' featurette displays broad appeal

Fairytale cornucopia "Into the Woods" combines traditional European folk stories with big name stars and musical renditions in a new featurette.The four-minute video consists of behind-the-scenes snippets, on-set clips and moments from the finished movie as well as lines sung by Meryl Streep and Anna Kendrick. "What's beautiful about this piece is that it's not just a musical, it's not just a drama, it's not just a comedy -- it's all of these things, interwoven," explains director Rob Marshall, who has a track record with both fantasy adventure and musical adaptations ("Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," "Chicago.") Screen stars include Anna Kendrick as Cinderella and Chris Pine as her prince, James Corden as The Baker, Johnny Depp as The Wolf, young Daniel Huttlestone ("Les Misérables") as beanstalk-climbing Jack, and Meryl Streep as the bedraggled witch with motives uncertain. "It's a lovely cast," offers composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim, who wrote the 1987 Broadway original, "and we were very lucky to get the right people for the right roles." "INTO THE WOODS Featurette - The Story (2014)": youtu.be/ImiIMBPO9kk Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Disney pens love letter to Japan with robot film
Friday Oct 24, 2014
Disney pens love letter to Japan with robot film

TOKYO (AP) — Disney executives call their next film "a love letter to Japanese culture." No wonder: This nation can't get enough of animation, especially Disney's. Walt Disney Animation Studios is practically bending backward to woo Japanese moviegoers after the stupendous success of "Frozen." The fifth-highest-grossing movie of all time made more than $250 million of its total in Japan alone, nearly a third of its overseas numbers and more than five times what it made in France, according to Box Office Mojo. "Frozen" is third of all time in Japan, behind "Titanic" and Japanese animation classic "Spirited Away," delivering success that even Disney executives acknowledge was surprising. Following "Frozen" into theaters in the country that is the birthplace of manga and Hello Kitty is "Big Hero 6," which stars a Japanese whiz kid as its hero, aptly named Hiro. Disney shows its love for Japan by setting the story in a picturesque town that's a cross between Tokyo and San Francisco, San Fransokyo, complete with cable cars and futuristic trains. "Big Hero 6" opened the Tokyo Film Festival on Thursday night — the first Disney animation film to have its global premiere in Japan. It opens at theaters around the world in November and December. Its directors, Don Hall of "Winnie the Pooh" and Chris Williams of "Bolt," did a lot of research and tapped Japanese sources to help make San Fransokyo authentic, down to signposts, manhole covers and faces of passersby. Williams said the world they created was inspired by Hayao Miyazaki, the animation legend who won an Oscar for "Spirited Away." Hall said the mouth-less face of Baymax, the inflatable marshmallow-like robot, was inspired by a bell he saw at a Japanese temple. "I saw a smile," Hall told reporters recently while in town for the Tokyo Film Festival. "I thought it would be the perfect face for Baymax." The rubbery Baymax, designed to be a health care robot by Hiro's older brother Tadashi, becomes a companion for Hiro, and an embodiment not only of Tadashi's charming and loving persona but also of his message of peace, even after Tadashi dies in an explosion. Despite Tadashi's intentions to devote Baymax to healing and cuddling, Hiro adds some of his own more conventional robotic-design touches, such as a powerful fist, metallic ware and sky-soaring rockets, as Hiro embarks on his mission of solving the mystery of Tadashi's death. It's a safe bet that Japanese are enamored of all things Disney — and that they are willing to spend. Disneyland and DisneySea parks, outside Tokyo, had 31 million visitors last year, up 14 percent from the previous year, nearly all Japanese. Each spent an average of about $100, or 10,000 yen, on admission tickets, eating out and goods purchases. Mickey Mouse is so popular here the rodent's image is sold as traditional festival dolls, is a mascot wearing the blue uniform of the World Cup soccer team and is a familiar pattern on fashionable clothing in collaboration with design brands. But can the new film duplicate the success of "Frozen"? It might take a super-Hiro. "Big Hero 6" features fantastic music by Henry Jackman but not a potential smash single like "Let It Go." It also lacks fairy-tale princesses, which were a big part of the "Frozen" merchandising frenzy. The new film is about brotherly love and a little boy's perennial fantasy, a loyal robot friend. But even in robot-innovator Japan, Disney half-heartedly showed a fluffy stuffed doll in Baymax's likeness. It wasn't even inflatable. Roy Conli, who also produced "Frozen," was unfazed, emphasizing "Big Hero 6" was "a love letter to Japanese culture." "We hope that Japan loves it," he said. ___ Follow Yuri Kageyama on Twitter at https://twitter.com/yurikageyama Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Events

Mystery of Degas dancer takes to stage
Saturday Oct 25, 2014
Mystery of Degas dancer takes to stage

In Edgar Degas' celebrated sculpture "The Little 14-Year-Old Dancer," the precocious ballet student holds her head high but with a look of unease as she clasps her arms uncomfortably behind her back.When musical lyricist Lynn Ahrens took a closer look at the sculpture, she sensed that there must have been a deeper tale between Degas and his model, Paris Opera Ballet student Marie van Goethem. The result is "Little Dancer," a musical that probes deeper into what is known -- and unknown -- about the relationship between the French impressionist great and a girl seen only for posterity in wax. "For the first time I was looking at a person and I started to wonder about her -- who is this little cocky, stubborn girl?" Ahrens told AFP after a recent rehearsal at a Broadway studio. "The more I got into the research I realized there's an incredible story to be told here that hasn't been done on the musical theater stage," said Ahrens, who won a Tony Award for the musical "Ragtime." The musical opens Saturday at the Kennedy Center in Washington, where the original wax sculpture of "The Little 14-Year-Old Dancer" is part of the collection of the National Gallery of Art. The 1881 statue made Marie for a time a literal face of ballet but little is known about her other than that she hailed from Belgium and lived in poverty. Ballet students led precarious lives in late 19th-century Paris, scrounging for food and money and often surviving on the largesse of wealthy male patrons. - Imagining the relationship - "Little Dancer" starts with a fictional telling of how the artist discovered Marie and made her his muse. In the musical, he catches her trying to steal from him and instead of turning her in to go to prison makes her pose for him. The musical shows Degas gradually developing a fatherly relationship with Marie but also flashing his short temper with her. Degas was a notorious curmudgeon and, according to historical accounts, was asexual. "He was known to be quite cranky and extremely opinionated," said Boyd Gaines, the Tony Award-winning actor who plays the singing Degas. "One of the things I kept noticing all around in his diaries and in his letters was how lonely he was. But of course he pushed people away," he said. Ahrens said that she believed that Degas, who was known primarily for his paintings, must have felt differently as he cast Marie into a three-dimensional object. "I would like to believe that he also saw Marie as three-dimensional and not just as a subject to be painted and then to move on to the next subject. I think he became emotionally involved with her as a human being," she said. - Merging ballet and musicals - "Little Dancer" presented an paradoxical challenge for its creators. It is a musical, a quintessentially American genre, but the work itself depicts another of the arts, ballet. The solution was a slight merging of the genres, with Tiler Peck, the principal dancer at the New York City Ballet, playing the role of the young Marie. The so-called 11-o'clock number -- the climax of most musicals in which much of the cast sings together -- is instead a ballet performance. "This is probably the first time that actual classical ballet has been used so extensively in the musical theater form," Ahrens said. In real life, Marie was fired from the ballet and her later activities were unclear. The musical portrays an older Marie, played by Broadway star Rebecca Luker, but ends on a question mark about what happened to her. "I tried to honor the mystery of her fate," Ahrens said. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2014.

Cream vocalist and bassist Jack Bruce dies at 71
Saturday Oct 25, 2014
Cream vocalist and bassist Jack Bruce dies at 71

LONDON (AP) — British musician Jack Bruce, best known as the lead vocalist and bass player of the power blues trio Cream, died Saturday at his home, his family and publicist said. He was 71. Bruce was one of the top musicians of the late 1960s, when Cream played its unique psychedelic blues tunes to packed houses in England and the United States. He was an important member of the British blues movement, which saw bands like the Animals and Rolling Stones first imitate and then expand on the American blues tradition as exemplified by Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker and other stalwarts. Cream — widely cited as the original supergroup — were known for hits such as "I Feel Free" and "Sunshine of Your Love," which featured Eric Clapton's innovative guitar riffs, and Bruce's vocals and roaring bass, backed by Ginger Baker's explosive drumming. It was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993. The band played a mix of traditional blues songs, with long, often improvised instrumental breaks, and their own tunes. They enchanted critics and fans alike at first, but after two years some found their extended jams to be self-indulgent, with band members seeming to show off their musical virtuosity rather than trying to complement each other. Bruce enjoyed a long solo career after Cream's acrimonious breakup, and in 2005 he reunited with former Cream bandmates for critically acclaimed concerts in London and New York City. Five years later, however, Bruce said Cream was "over" — an indication of ongoing tensions between the band members. Publicists LD Communications said Saturday Bruce died of liver disease at his home in Suffolk, England. He had received a liver transplant some years ago and continued to suffer a variety of health problems. A statement released by his family said "the world of music will be a poorer place without him but he lives on in his music and forever in our hearts." "It is with great sadness that we, Jack's family, announce the passing of our beloved Jack: husband, father, granddad, and all round legend," the statement said. In its heyday, Cream sold 35 million albums in just over two years and the band was awarded the world's first ever platinum disc for their double album "Wheels of Fire." Bruce wrote and sang most of the band's signature songs. The band started out playing traditional blues tunes, but quickly added a psychedelic flavor that brought still more popularity at the height of the flower power era. But they broke up with little warning, in the midst of their commercial success. Clapton wrote in his 2007 autobiography that the band lost its direction musically and that "any sense of unity" had disappeared. "We were also suffering from an inability to get along," he said. "We would just run away from one another. We never socialized together and never really shared ideas anymore." He also felt they were eclipsed by the arrival on the scene of guitarist Jimi Hendrix. Bruce went on to record the first of his solo albums, "Songs For a Tailor." He also fronted many of his own bands. He was known for mixing rock, jazz and classical formats, and his songs were covered by many artists including Hendrix, David Bowie and Ella Fitzgerald. Bruce returned to the studio around 2000 to record his solo album "Shadows in the Air," which hit number five on the British jazz and blues chart. Bruce was born to musical parents in Glasgow, Scotland on 14 May 1943. His parents travelled extensively in Canada and the U.S., and the young Bruce attended 14 different schools. He finished his formal education at Bellahouston Academy and the Royal Scottish Academy of Music, to which he won a scholarship for cello and composition. He left Scotland at the age of 16 and in 1962 joined his first important band, the influential Alexis Korner's Blues Inc., in London. The band featured drummer Charlie Watts, who later joined the Rolling Stones. Bruce was playing and touring with his Big Blues Band until recently. In 2012 he played in Cuba, and performed in London at the famed bar Ronnie Scott's. His 14th solo album, "Silver Rails," was released earlier this year. He is survived by his wife, Margrit, four children and a granddaughter. Funeral arrangements were not immediately announced. Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Hancock honored at jazz benefit concert at Apollo
Saturday Oct 25, 2014
Hancock honored at jazz benefit concert at Apollo

NEW YORK (AP) — Herbie Hancock enjoyed "A Great Night in Harlem" with a look to the past and the future as the legendary jazz pianist received a lifetime achievement award from the Jazz Foundation of America at a benefit concert at the historic Apollo Theater. Actor Bruce Willis, introducing Hancock at Friday night's concert, offered a glance at "the future of jazz" as he brought out 11-year-old Indonesian piano prodigy Joey Alexander to play a solo rendition of Thelonious Monk's "'Round Midnight." "When I was eight years old you heard me playing. You told me that you believed in me and that was the day I decided to dedicate my childhood to jazz," Alexander told Hancock who was standing alongside him. After Alexander got a standing ovation, Hancock enthused, "Wasn't it amazing. ... He's taken my job away from me." Alexander will be releasing his debut recording for the Harlem-based indie Motema label next year. The tribute also featured a historic reunion for the first time in decades of Hancock's groundbreaking jazz-fusion Mwandishi band from the early '7Os — with the pianist joining multi-reed player Benny Maupin, trombonist Julian Priester, trumpeter Eddie Henderson, drummer Billy Hart, and bassist Buster Williams to play his composition "Toys." "This band was so aggressively in pursuit of discovering the unknown and working in territory many were afraid to explore — a really forward-looking, untethered kind of band that depended so much on the empathy between the musicians," Hancock said in a pre-concert interview. Hancock took the stage earlier to join an all-star combo that paid tribute to 93-year-old trumpeter Clark Terry, with a performance of his tune "Gingerbread Boy." Quincy Jones, in a pre-concert interview, called Terry his "guru," recalling how as a 12-year-old he summoned up the courage to go down to the Seattle theater where the trumpeter was playing with Count Basie and ask him for some lessons. Jones is co-producer of "Keep On Keepin' On," a documentary that is generating Oscar-buzz. The film focuses on the relationship between Terry, whose health is failing, and his young protege, blind pianist Justin Kauflin. "During the course of that mentorship, Clark had both legs amputated with diabetes and his spirit is higher than ever," said Jones. "It's so powerful it makes you cry every time you see it." Director Alan Hicks, an Australian drummer who played in Terry's band, told the audience the film wouldn't have been possible without the Jazz Foundation of America which enabled Terry to receive round-the-clock care so he could stay home and teach rather than go to a nursing home. The "Great Night In Harlem" concert raised funds for the JFA which provides emergency financial assistance and free medical care to musicians facing illness, hunger or eviction. Questlove, whose band The Roots is the house band on "The Tonight Show" with Jimmy Fallon, took the stage to honor Earth, Wind & Fire founder, Maurice White, saying the band "changed the shape of R&B to come." Chaka Khan, backed up by singer Angelique Kidjo, EW&F bassist Verdine White, and "Late Night" bandleader Paul Shaffer on piano, belted out two of the r & b band's biggest hits, "Shining Star" and "That's the Way of the World." Verdine White, accepting the honorary award on his ailing brother's behalf, said "Maurice developed Earth, Wind & Fire out of the clay of his soul." Willis also showed his musical chops when he sang and played harmonica teaming with singer-guitarist Susan Tedeschi on the blues "Got Love If You Want It." ____ Follow Charles J. Gans at www.twitter.com/chjgans ____ Online: www.jazzfoundation.org Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Architect Frank Gehry shocks with obscene gesture
Friday Oct 24, 2014
Architect Frank Gehry shocks with obscene gesture

MADRID (AP) — Architect Frank Gehry traveled to Spain to receive a prestigious award but shocked his hosts by responding to a reporter's question with an obscene gesture and making contemptuous comments about most modern architecture. The American-Canadian was in the northern city of Oviedo to accept one of Spain's Prince of Asturias prizes Friday. Local media reported that on the eve of the ceremony, Gehry reacted with a rude gesture at a news conference when asked if his work was based on spectacle. Gehry said 98 percent of buildings today lack sensitivity and respect for humanity, according to El Pais. He has created the Guggenheim Museum in Spain, the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, and the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris, an arts center sponsored by the LVMH Fashion Group. Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

P.D. James' riff on Jane Austen comes to TV
Friday Oct 24, 2014
P.D. James' riff on Jane Austen comes to TV

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Actors generally are eager for work and a challenge, but Matthew Rhys and Anna Maxwell Martin admit they were skittish about taking on the lead characters of "Pride and Prejudice." This despite the fact Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth are out of their element in "Death Comes to Pemberley," an adaptation of P.D. James' 2011 mystery novel of the same name that plunges the now-married pair into murder most foul. The two-part drama airs on consecutive Sundays, Oct. 26 and Nov. 2, on PBS. The eminent James, 94, was largely applauded for her riff on Jane Austen's much-loved classic. Rhys and Martin, however, saw themselves as interlopers unfit for their famed characters. "We laughed a lot in that we felt we were both there by mistake," said Rhys. "Anna said, 'I win awards for (playing characters) wearing tracksuits in the projects and here I am playing Elizabeth Darcy.'" Martin, in a phone call from England, acknowledged feeling "really daunted." She's been seen on U.S. television in U.K. imports including "The Bletchley Circle" and "Bleak House." "It carries a great weight playing those parts and if you get it wrong, you'll get slammed," she said. Rhys, who stars in FX's "The Americans," said Darcy's social status gave him pause. "As much as I enjoy doing accent work, upper-class English is the one that sticks in me," said the Welsh-born actor. "It's not just about an accent, but it affects everything: your deportment, how you hold yourself." The result is, he said: "I feel incredibly fake and fraudulent." Qualms aside, both he and Martin carry off their roles with aplomb and wit. As "Death Comes to Pemberley" opens, six years have passed since the courtship of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy in "Pride and Prejudice," and the couple has settled into life in Darcy's grand estate, Pemberley, and into the role of parents. Then comes trouble in the person of Elizabeth's loose-cannon sister, Lydia, and her husband, George Wickham, as dashing but shifty as ever. The mystery plays out with James' usual skill at careful plotting and with a bedroom scene — discreet, of course — that wouldn't have made the 19th-century cut for "Pride and Prejudice." Any project connected to the novel faces the specter of Colin Firth's brooding Darcy and Jennifer Ehle's sparkling Elizabeth in the 1995 TV miniseries, an enduring hit with, as Martin puts it, "brilliant" performances. A new generation of Austen fans was gifted the swooning 2005 "Pride & Prejudice" big-screen movie with Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen. But it's the miniseries that uniquely boasts the wet puffy-shirt scene, in which Darcy takes a quick dip in a pond to cool his ardor for Elizabeth. He then strides manfully — if soaked — toward a fateful encounter with his true love. No equivalent was discussed for the PBS drama. "But we joked about it," Rhys said. ___ Online: http://www.pbs.org Copyright (2014) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.