Actor-turned-talk show host Arsenio Hall has only ever attended one Los Angeles Clippers basketball game, and it was with embattled team owner Donald Sterling, the man he is trying to succeed.
National Basketball Association (NBA) officials are trying to force the businessman to give up ownership after he confessed to making racist remarks in a taped chat with an ex-girlfriend, which went viral last month (Apr14). Hall has thrown his hat into the ring to become the new owner of the franchise, and he launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.com earlier this week (begs19May14) in a bid to raise the money.
However, the Coming to America star has been hiding a shocking secret - the only time he has ever been to the Staples Center to watch the Clippers was as Sterling's guest, although he insists they are far from friends. Speaking on U.S. daytime show The Talk on Thursday (22May14), he explained, "Ironically I went to one Clippers game years ago and Donald Sterling took me...! I'm so glad people didn't have cell phones then, there's no 'selfies' of me and him (sic)! "He called and said, 'Do you want to go to the basketball game and sit with me courtside?' and I went and here's what's interesting: I never saw him again in my life."
Hall admits he has been a longtime Los Angeles Lakers fan, but decided to step up as the potential new owner of rival team the Clippers as his mum is a big supporter. He faces competition from the likes of Oprah Winfrey and music mogul David Geffen, who have also expressed interest in the franchise, and if the comedian fails to raise the $1 billion he claims he needs to take over the team, he has pledged to donate the money raised to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
Comedian, actor and chat show host Arsenio Hall has launched a bid to take over the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team from embattled team owner Donald Sterling. National Basketball Association officials are trying to force the businessman to give up ownership after he confessed to making racist remarks in a taped chat with an ex-girlfriend, which went viral last month (Apr14) - and Hall insists he is serious about purchasing the franchise.
Joining the likes of Oprah Winfrey and music mogul David Geffen, who have also expressed interest, the Coming to America star has set up an Indiegogo.com campaign to raise money to buy the team. Launching his bid on Monday night (19May14), Hall joked, "Nothing would make Donald Sterling more angry than if I owned the team! "So let’s take back the Clippers, or at the very least help make the world a better place, and really make a racist mad in the process! Help me put YOUR money where MY mouth is."
He has until 24 June (14) to raise the $1 billion he claims he needs to take over the team. If he fails, all contributions will be collected by officials at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, who ironically handed Sterling a top honour in 2009, and were about to hand him a lifetime achievement prize at the NAACP Awards this month (May14) when news of the audio broke.
Alicia Keys' producer husband Swizz Beatz has been celebrated in his native New York after he was inducted into the Bronx Walk of Fame and handed his own street honour. The Money in the Bank hitmaker headed back to his old stomping grounds this weekend (17-18May14), when he was feted by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. at a special Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Saturday (17May14), alongside fellow honourees, Dexter actor David Zayas, actress Rachel Ticotin, stage star Priscilla Lopez and New York Jets football player William Colon III.
Swizz Beatz, real name Kasseem Dean, also attended the unveiling of Swizz Beatz Street.
Taking to his Instagram.com page to share a photo of the street sign, he wrote, "I would always say I came from nothing, but I was wrong the entire time! I come from something and that's the all mighty BRONX SWIZZ BEATZ ST located on Grand Concourse please stop by".
Grammy winner Beatz received the honour in recognition of the "extraordinary accomplishments" throughout his career.
British actor Timothy Spall has been tipped as an early Oscars contender after wowing critics at the Cannes International Film Festival with his portrayal of 19th century painter J.m.w. Turner in director Mike Leigh's new biopic. Mr. Turner, which documents the British artist's rise to prominence from the mid-1820s, premiered at the annual French festival on Thursday (15May14) and it opened to rave reviews, with The Hollywood Reporter's Leslie Felperin feting the Harry Potter star for his "masterful performance", branding the role one he was "born to play".
Awarding the film five out of five stars, The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw writes, "Every scene in this film is expertly managed; every comic line and funny moment adroitly presented and every performance given with intelligence and love. It is another triumph for Mike Leigh and for Timothy Spall."
Time Out's Dave Calhoun also gave Mr. Turner top marks, declaring it "an extraordinary film, all at once strange, entertaining, thoughtful and exciting", while The Telegraph's Robbie Collin hailed Spall for giving what is probably "the finest performance of his career", and Variety's Scott Foundas predicts the "exquisitely detailed, brilliantly-acted biopic" is "a natural awards contender".
The high praise for Mr. Turner, Leigh's first feature film in four years, has made the movie a hot favourite to win Cannes' prestigious Palme d'Or award, which will be handed out later this month (May14). Other movies in competition include Ken Loache's Jimmy's Hall, David Cronenberg's Map to the Stars and The Homesman, directed by actor Tommy Lee Jones.
Beloved Wizard Of Oz tune Somewhere Over The Rainbow is to be named a Towering Song at the upcoming Songwriters Hall of Fame gala. The 75-year-old Harold Arlen & E.Y. Harburg tune, which Judy Garland sang in the 1939 movie, will join Take Me Out To The Ballgame, Moon River, Bridge Over Troubled Water and A Change Is Gonna Come, among the other Towering Songs.
The 45th annual Hall of Fame event will be held in New York on 12 June (14).
Previously announced inductees Include Ray Davies, Donovan, Graham Gouldman, Mark James and Jim Weatherly, while the prestigious Johnny Mercer Award will be presented to songwriters/producers Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, Sony Music Entertainment Chairman and CEO Doug Morris will be honoured with the Hitmaker Award and Imagine Dragons star Dan Reynolds will receive the Hal David Starlight Award.
Music mogul Del Bryant will be presented with the Visionary Leadership Award.
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Over the almost 50 years of Saturday Night Live, there have been plenty of seasons that were good (more than most casual observers would like to admit) and bad (some spectacularly so). There was, though, only one 1984: quite possibly the strangest season in the history of the show.
With Eddie Murphy completely gone to pursue his superstar movie career and the second most recognizable cast member, Joe Piscopo, having worn out his welcome after the 1983 - '84 season, executive producer Dick Ebersol was left without a star. The remaining cast members, including a young Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Jim Belushi, had never quite fit in with the show and were largely dissatisfied with the way that they had been treated. Many people figured that Murphy leaving would finally signal the death knell for SNL.
Righting a Wrong
Instead of trying to develop another young talent like Murphy, Ebersol turned to more established comedians, including one who had almost been part of the original SNL cast. By 1984, Billy Crystal was already a well known entertainer after his stint on the sitcom Soap and his numerous talk show appearances where he imitated celebrities like boxer Mohammed Ali, but in 1974 Crystal had been cut from the original Not Ready for Prime Time Players on the eve of the show's debut. Why that happened depends largely on who tells the story, but whatever the case, when Chevy Chase, Gilda Radner, John Belushi, and Dan Aykroyd rocketed to fame, Crystal wasn’t with them. Nor was he offered the spot that went to Bill Murray when Chase left after the first season. Ten years later, Crystal was finally being given the chance to right what he considered a wrong.
The Rest of the Gang
Along with Crystal, Ebersol brought in Martin Short, who had already been a cast member of Canada's SCTV (which launched the careers of John Candy, Rick Moranis, and Catherine O'Hara), as well as Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer, fresh off their success in This Is Spinal Tap. Rich Hall, who had been part of an ensemble HBO comedy show called Not Necessarily the News, and Pamela Stephenson, who had been on the British precursor (Not the Nine O'clock News) of Hall's HBO show rounded out the new cast members. It was an odd turn of events considering that Crystal hosted SNL twice the season before he joined the cast, while Guest and Shearer had made a guest appearance as part of Spinal Tap.
Crystal, Short, and Guest wasted little time putting their stamp on the creative vacuum that they walked into. Ebersol was by all accounts a very good network executive, but he was not a comedian and didn’t come from a creative background. By the season opener, Crystal was already doing his Fernando Lamas impression ("You look mah-velous!") and Short had brought his Ed Grimley character with him from SCTV. By the third show, Crystal and Guest had worked up a breakout routine with their characters Willie and Frankie, who would continuously one-up each other with pain-inducing practices ("I hate it when that happens"). The show never missed a chance to exploit the new popular sketches — a hallmark of the Ebersol era — with Crystal doing his Fernando so frequently that the character almost deserved a separate credit in the opening theme.
More than any season before or since, the show relied on pre-taped segments, with Guest, Shearer, and Short preferring to work that way. While it went against the grain of SNL, some of the short films, particularly Shearer and Short playing aspiring male synchronized swimmers and Guest and Crystal portraying aged Negro League baseball stars were as good as anything that the show had produced.
Perhaps the best remembered episode of the season is the one hosted by wrestler Hulk Hogan and Mr. T to promote the first Wrestlemania. In the most famous segment, the pair appears with Crystal on his "Fernando Hideaway" sketch and can't keep a straight face. While Murphy returned to host and the Beatles' Ringo Starr took a turn, the other hosts included figures like Jesse Jackson, Howard Cosell, and Bob Uecker. The first show of the season didn't even have a host.
Additionally, there was little continuity with the show's fake news segment — called "Saturday Night News" instead of "Weekend Update" — with the show's host sometimes doing the anchoring and real newscaster Edwin Newman sitting in once before Guest finally took over midway through the season.
In stark contrast to the hosts, the seasons musical guests were a who's who of mid-80s pop, with acts like The Thompson Twins, Billy Ocean, Bryan Adams, and super-groups The Honey Drippers (featuring Robert Plant), and Power Station (featuring Robert Palmer) all making appearances.
When an industry-wide writers' strike halted production in early March 1985, the show didn’t return from the forced hiatus. The abbreviated season ended after just 17 episodes. NBC was unhappy with spiraling production costs and Ebersol was unhappy with his creative staff. Shearer had quit the show in January citing creative differences ("I was creative and they were different," he said later). Short and Guest didn't want to keep doing a live show. Louis-Dreyfus and Belushi (along with fellow holdover Mary Gross) had been used so little throughout the season that they wanted out. Crystal, enjoying the biggest success of his career, was seemingly the only one who wanted it to continue.
Ebersol demanded a retooling, wanting to change the format to a completely taped show and with possibly a fixed rotation of guest hosts (his ideas for the rotation included Piscopo and David Letterman). Instead, NBC briefly canceled the show. After rethinking things, the network's executives decided that they would agree to give SNL another chance… if its original creator, Lorne Michaels, would take back over.
Then and Now
Eventually, Michaels agreed to return to the show and retained none of the cast or writers from the previous season. Taking a page from Ebersol's book, Michaels tried to use established actors like Randy Quaid and Anthony Michael Hall (along with Robert Downey Jr. and Joan Cusack) to re-launch the show… which very nearly did lead to the show being canceled permanently. It wasn't until the following season when Michaels entrusted SNL to virtual unknowns like Dana Carvey, Phil Hartman, Victoria Jackson, Jon Lovitz, Jan Hooks, and Dennis Miller that the show started the run that finally established it as the institution it has become.
The goodwill that the show had gained from Crystal, Short and Guest's lone season helped carry it through Michaels' disastrous first season back. Thirty years later, the 1984 - '85 season remains an oddly alluring anomaly in the long comedic history of SNL.
Sofia Coppola, Willem Dafoe and Mexican actor/director Gael Garcia Bernal will be among the all-star panel judging the competition at next month's (May14) Cannes Film Festival in France. The trio will join jury president, and former Palme d'Or winner, Jane Campion, actresses Carole Bouquet, Leila Hatami and Jeon Do-yeon and director Nicolas Winding Refn at the 67th annual movie spectacular, which begins on 14 May (14).
There are 18 films in competition this year, including Mike Leigh's Mr. Turner, Ken Loach's Jimmy's Hall, and films from acclaimed directors Jean-Luc Godard, David Cronenberg and Atom Egoyan.
Men in Black star Tommy Lee Jones also has a film in contention - his new western The Homesman, in which he stars opposite Hilary Swank and mother and daughter Meryl Streep and Mamie Gummer, is up for the 2014 Palme d'Or honour.
British directors Mike Leigh and Ken Loach will go head-to-head in the competition at this year's (14) Cannes Film Festival in France. Leigh's film Mr. Turner and Loach's Jimmy's Hall will both compete, along with other movies including David Cronenberg's Map to the Stars, featuring Robert Pattinson, and The Homesman, directed by actor Tommy Lee Jones. The event runs from 14 May (14) to 25 May (14).
Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds is set to receive the prestigious Hal David Starlight Award at the 2014 Songwriters Hall of Fame Gala. The Radioactive hitmaker will follow in the footsteps of previous winners such as Alicia Keys, John Mayer, Taylor Swift and John Legend when he is feted with the prize, which was created in 2004 and named in honour of Hall of Fame Chairman Emeritus Hal David to celebrate the work of young songwriters.
Current organisation chairman Jimmy Webb says, "Dan Reynolds is a dream ticket for the Songwriters Hall of Fame Starlight Award.
"He has helped create truly contemporary rock 'n' roll with the band Imagine Dragons. A sound at once musically literate and issue driven yet founded on solid composition and songwriting. We are extremely happy to join Dan with the other distinguished alumni who have received the Starlight."
The Kinks frontman Ray Davies, Scottish singer Donovan and 10cc rocker Graham Gouldman are among the stars who will be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2014, while another top accolade, the Johnny Mercer Award, will be presented to music duo Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, and industry mogul Doug Morris will receive the Hitmaker Award.
The presentations will take place in New York on 12 June (14).
Joan Jett is reportedly set to jam onstage with the surviving members of Nirvana on Thursday night (10Apr14) as the grunge rockers are inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame. Kurt Cobain's band will be part of the Class of 2014 inducted into the Ohio music museum during a ceremony in New York, and remaining rockers Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic are expected to reunite for a special performance after the bassist dropped a big hint about rehearsing for the gig on Twitter.com last week (ends04Apr14).
Now rumours suggest Jett will be joining them onstage at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn after a photo of instruments belonging to Grohl, Novoselic and Nirvana musician Pat Smear was posted on Instagram.com alongside what appeared to be Jett's distinctive Gibson Melody Maker guitar.
The group will be inducted by former R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe, and other reports indicate he could also be standing in for late frontman Cobain alongside Jett.
The stars have not commented on the claims, but Jett and Grohl are no strangers - the Foo Fighters star previously teamed up with the I Love Rock 'n' Roll hitmaker for a U.S. TV performance on the Late Show with David Letterman.
Nirvana will join KISS, Peter Gabriel, Linda Ronstadt and Hall & Oates among this year's inductees.