Kc & The Sunshine Band frontman Harry Wayne Casey has paid tribute to disco and R&B mogul Henry Stone, following his death on Thursday (07Aug14). The TK Records co-founder passed away from natural causes at the age of 93 at a Florida hospital.
Stone played an instrumental part in the careers of Ray Charles, James Brown and KC & The Sunshine Band after launching his own recording studio and label in 1948.
Charles became his first big artist, recording his early song St. Pete Florida Blues, also known as I Found My Baby There, at the studio.
Stone also helped to sign soul legend Brown and his band The Famous Flames, and scored a big hit with Please, Please, Please in 1956.
Casey, aka KC, worked part time at TK Records and ended up landing his group a deal at the label, where they experienced huge success with songs including Get Down Tonight, Shake, Shake, Shake (Shake Your Booty), That's the Way (I Like It), and I'm Your Boogie Man.
He also co-wrote George McRae's hit Rock Your Body in the mid-1970s with his bandmate Richard Finch.
Calling Stone his "mentor", Casey adds, "Henry believed in me when no one else did."
Meanwhile, Finch tells the Miami Herald, "The world of music has lost a trailblazer - a legend - but personally, I've lost the only father I've ever known.
"He was my friend and mentor... He gave life to the studio concept that Harry and I created together at TK, resulting in the birth of our band, KC & the Sunshine Band. Our success, the success of so many other TK artists, all props and thanks lie solely at the feet of Henry Stone."
Martin Freeman's stage turn as Richard Iii has divided critics, with reviewers branding the actor's performance "highly intelligent" but "disappointingly underpowered". The Hobbit star takes on the role of William Shakespeare's villainous king in a new production at London's Trafalgar Studios theatre which opened on Wednesday night (09Jul14).
The production had previously been hit with reports suggesting overzealous Freeman fans had been creating a distraction by whooping and cheering throughout the show, but critics reported the audience on press night was well behaved.
However, many theatre reviewers were underwhelmed by the show, with Charles Spencer of Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper calling the production "unnecessarily complicated" and insisting Freeman's turn in the title role was "disappointingly underpowered", adding, "There were moments when your reviewer was tempted to stand up and boo."
The Guardian's Michael Billington calls Freeman's performance "highly accomplished" but insists the staging of the play "doesn't make total sense", while The Independent's Paul Taylor adds, "Freeman gives a highly intelligent, calculatedly understated performance... (but) Freeman doesn't radiate a sufficiently dangerous sense of unpredictability."
However, Ben Dowell of the Radio Times was full of praise for The Office star, writing, "Freeman does not disappoint... (His) talent lies in creating something frighteningly ordinary about his villainy."
Freeman follows in the footsteps of stars including Laurence Olivier, Sir Alec Guinness, Sir Kenneth Branagh and Sir Ian McKellen, who have all played the murderous king on the stage.
Musicians Carla Bley, George Coleman and Charles Lloyd have been selected to receive America's most prestigious jazz award next year (15). Composer Bley and saxophonists Coleman and Lloyd will be made Jazz Masters and handed a $25,000 (£15,625) fellowship, while Chicago, Illinois jazz club owner Joe Segal will also be feted by officials at the National Endowment for the Arts.
The quartet will be honoured during a ceremony at New York's Lincoln Center in April (15).
This year's (14) honourees included pianist Keith Jarrett, saxophonist Anthony Braxton and bassist Richard Davis.
Beloved U.S. comedian Jay Leno has been selected to receive the prestigious Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. The funnyman, who stepped down as the host of The Tonight Show after 22 years in February (14), will be feted at a ceremony at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. on 19 October (14).
Twain Prize co-founder and co-executive producer Cappy McGarr says, "Jay has always been on our list. He is the quintessential American humorist. He does it every night, and has done it for many, many years. And he truly is an equal opportunity satirist."
Joking about the accolade, Leno quips, "What an honour! I'm a big fan of Mark Twain's. In fact, A Tale of Two Cities is one of my favorite books!"
A Tale of Two Cities was actually written by Charles Dickens.
Previous recipients of the top honour include Richard Pryor, Bill Cosby, Ellen DeGeneres, Will Ferrell and Carol Burnett, who took home last year's (13) award.
Who knew there were so many ladies from the land down under on U.S. television? Well, we didn’t. That is, until we started to do some research on our favorite female TV leads and found out that many hailed from Australia. Color us surprised!
Sure, there were a few that we knew about — Rebel Wilson comes to mind — but there were some surprises, especially since all these ladies have seriously mastered their American accents; they had us fooled.
Through our research, we found out which of television’s leading ladies are from Australia, as well as how many of them have acted together before — it seems like everyone was on the Australian TV series, The Sleepover Club. We’ve compiled a list of our favorites, and added some cool pieces of trivia, so that everyone can be more knowledgable about the Australian actresses on U.S. television.
GALLERY: Our 10 Favorite Australian Ladies Currently on TV
British actor Richard E. Grant will feature as a hologram in the upcoming theatre musical Water Babies. The Withnail & I star will pre-record his role in the stage adaptation of Charles Kingsley's children's novel, in which a young man jumps into a violent river and encounters a civilisation of underwater creatures who he must help before he can return to dry land.
Grant, who recently finished filming a guest role on British period drama Downton Abbey, will appear as a mythical sea monster dubbed the Kraken.
He announced the project on Twitter.com on Friday (11Apr14), writing, "Done on Downton (Abbey) & filming a hologram playing the Kraken for a stage musical version of The Water Babies today. Fully plate licked Friday."
The musical, starring Tom Lister from British soap opera Emmerdale, will open at the Curve Theatre in Leicester, England from 6 May (14).
Veteran actress Joanna Lumley and British royal Charles, Prince Of Wales were among the leading figures who attended a memorial service for late broadcaster Sir David Frost in London on Thursday (13Mar14). More than 2,000 guests descended on the U.K. capital's Westminster Abbey to remember Frost, who died aged 74 after suffering a heart attack last August (13).
The Prince of Wales, a close friend of the journalist, was joined by his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, as well as his brother Prince Andrew, his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson and their daughter, Princess Beatrice.
Among the celebrity attendees were Lumley and Frost's broadcasting peers Sir Terry Wogan and Sir Michael Parkinson.
Frost enjoyed a long and successful career in political reporting, as well as hosting comedy and lifestyle shows, but will be best remembered for his candid interviews with U.S. President Richard Nixon in 1977, in which the disgraced politician admitted his part in the Watergate scandal. The meeting was transformed into a hit movie Frost/Nixon in 2008, with Michael Sheen and Frank Langella playing Frost and Nixon respectively.
For the bulk of every Rocky and Bullwinkle episode, moose and squirrel would engage in high concept escapades that satirized geopolitics, contemporary cinema, and the very fabrics of the human condition. With all of that to work with, there's no excuse for why the pair and their Soviet nemeses haven't gotten a decent movie adaptation. But the ingenious Mr. Peabody and his faithful boy Sherman are another story, intercut between Rocky and Bullwinkle segments to teach kids brief history lessons and toss in a nearly lethal dose of puns. Their stories and relationship were much simpler, which means that bringing their shtick to the big screen would entail a lot more invention — always risky when you're dealing with precious material.
For the most part, Mr. Peabody & Sherman handles the regeneration of its heroes aptly, allowing for emotionally substance in their unique father-son relationship and all the difficulties inherent therein. The story is no subtle metaphor for the difficulties surrounding gay adoption, with society decreeing that a dog, no matter how hyper-intelligent, cannot be a suitable father. The central plot has Peabody hosting a party for a disapproving child services agent and the parents of a young girl with whom 7-year-old Sherman had a schoolyard spat, all in order to prove himself a suitable dad. Of course, the WABAC comes into play when the tots take it for a spin, forcing Peabody to rush to their rescue.
Getting down to personals, we also see the left brain-heavy Peabody struggle with being father Sherman deserves. The bulk of the emotional marks are hit as we learn just how much Peabody cares for Sherman, and just how hard it has been to accept that his only family is growing up and changing.
But more successful than the new is the film's handling of the old — the material that Peabody and Sherman purists will adore. They travel back in time via the WABAC Machine to Ancient Egypt, the Renaissance, and the Trojan War, and 18th Century France, explaining the cultural backdrop and historical significance of the settings and characters they happen upon, all with that irreverent (but no longer racist) flare that the old cartoons enjoyed. And oh... the puns.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a f**king treasure trove of some of the most amazingly bad puns in recent cinema. This effort alone will leave you in awe.
The film does unravel in its final act, bringing the science-fiction of time travel a little too close to the forefront and dropping the ball on a good deal of its emotional groundwork. What seemed to be substantial building blocks do not pay off in the way we might, as scholars of animated family cinema, have anticipated, leaving the movie with an unfinished feeling.
But all in all, it's a bright, compassionate, reasonably educational, and occasionally funny if not altogether worthy tribute to an old favorite. And since we don't have our own WABAC machine to return to a time of regularly scheduled Peabody and Sherman cartoons, this will do okay for now.
If nothing else, it's worth your time for the puns.
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Weinstein Company via Everett Collection
Even though director Spike Jonze missed out on scoring a nomination for directing for his futuristic love story Her, he does have the distinction of being connected to three films going up for Oscars this year. So, what other actors and filmmakers took part in multiple Academy Award nominated films this year?
Louis C.K.: Blue Jasmine, American HustleThe hapless FBI supervisor with a story about ice fishing in American Hustle, and an adulterer in Blue Jasmine.
Kristen Wiig: Despicible Me 2, HerWiig played the other end of a phone sex hotline with very particular needs in Her, and Gru's new girlfriend in Despicable Me 2.
Matthew McConaughey: The Wolf of Wall Street, Dallas Buyers ClubMcConaughey played Jordan Belfort's seedy stockbroker inspiration in The Wolf of Wall Street, and the bigot turned aids crusader Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club.
Carey Mulligan: Inside Llewyn Davis, The Great GatsbyMulligan played the "beautiful little fool" Daisy from The Great Gatsby, and Llewyn Davis' Spurned ex-girlfriend in Inside Llewyn Davis.
Leo Dicaprio: The Great Gatsby, The Wolf of Wall StreetDicaprio played the despicable cocaine hoover Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street, and the dreaming and pining Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby.
Tom Hanks: Captain Phillips, Saving Mr. BanksHanks played the Stalwart and powerfully empathetic Richard Phillips in Captain Phillips, and a smoke-free Walt Disney in Saving Mr. Banks.
Amy Adams: American Hustle, HerAdams played the British accent wielding con-man Sydney Prosser in American Hustle, and Theodore's bestie in Her.
George Clooney: August: Osage County, GravityClooney played the endlessly charming astronaut, Matt Kowalski in Gravity, and was a producer for August: Osage County.
Cate Blanchett: Blue Jasmine, The Hobbit: The Desolation of SmaugBlanchett played a wealthy socialite in free-fall in Blue Jasmine, and the mystical elf leader Galadriel in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
Spike Jonze: Her, The Wolf of Wall Street, Jackass Presents: Bad GrandpaJonze produced and directed Her, co-wrote Bad Grandpa (surprisingly), and played a stockbroker in The Wolf of Wall Street.
Catherine Keener: The Croods, Captain Phillips, Jackass Presents: Bad GrandpaKeener played a protective cave-mother in The Croods, Richard Phillip's wife in Captain Phillips, and apparently, she was in Bad Grandpa.
Benedict Cumberbatch: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, August: Osage County, Star Trek Into Darkness, 12 Years a SlaveThe winner with four Oscar-nominated credits to his name this year is Benedict Cumberbatch. The actor played a dragon with a hoarding problem in The Hobbit:The Desolation of Smaug, KHAAAAAAN! in Star Trek Into Darkness, and the bungling "Little Charles" Aiken in August: Osage County, and the least evil slave owner in 12 Years A Slave.
1984 was a great year for movies, but it was also the year that one of the great sitcoms came on the scene. I'm talking about Night Court. Yes, you already hear the theme music in your head, don't you? No? OK, for those of you who haven't heard it, here it is.
While the first season, like many shows, took tiny steps towards achieving the greatness that lay ahead (Markie Post, who played Christine Sullivan, didn't join the show until the second season), there were glimpses. Harry Anderson's Judge Harry Stone was a jurist who was still caught between stunted adolescence and adulthood. John Larroquette, the man who should have had the best supporting actor Emmy just named after him during his run as Dan Fielding, was a lothario who had the stirrings of a soul underneath. Who can forget Fielding running for a city council slot and losing to a dead man? Selma Diamond, may she rest in peace, was really the glue that held that show together with her deadpan deliveries. She was the perfect one to ground Richard Moll's Bull Shannon. It was a shame she died right after the first season ended.
Of course, the main attraction was the absolutely insane people that appeared before Judge Stone in his courtroom. There was a man in a lobster suit, to begin with. The thing was, the show, while acknowledging the sheer absurdity of these defendants and plaintiffs, it also stopped just short of labeling them as cartoon characters. The vast majority of them were imbued with a humanity that made us laugh more at the situations they were in rather than completely at them. There was the hooker with the real heart of gold, to begin with.
As the seasons went on, the people in the courtroom got zanier, weirder and the cast just jelled perfectly, with Charles Robinson's Mack and Marsha Warfield finally beating the curse of the Female Bailiff, after Diamond and Florence Halop died in quick succession. It was an ensemble comedy with all the cast members hitting on all cylinders. I'd even put it up there with The Golden Girls as best comedy of the '80s. Of course, fans of Cheers might disagree with me.
Right now, Larroquette, Moll, Post and Robinson are all still appearing as guest stars on various shows. Anderson has done sporadic work after playing Dave Barry in Dave's World in the '90s. All the seasons are on DVD - I highly recommend picking them up or renting them through Netflix. Heck, it might get you into Mel Torme too.