German artist Otto Piene has died aged 86, a day after his latest exhibition opened in Berlin. The painter and sculptor passed away on Thursday (17Jul14) and reports suggest he died in a taxi in Berlin, Germany while on his way to the city's Neue Nationalgalerie gallery, where a display of his work opened the previous day (16Jul14).
Piene is most famous for his Olympic Rainbow - an art piece which was displayed above Munich at the close of the 1972 Olympic Games in the city which was marred by a terrorist attack on the Israeli team.
He is also known for founding the Zero group of experimental artists with Heinz Mack in 1957.
Piene's works were exhibited all over the world and he was honoured with the Leonardo da Vinci World Award of Arts award in 2003, and in 2006 he accepted the Sculpture Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Oscar-winning film editor Tom Rolf has died at the age of 82. Rolf, whose movie credits include Taxi Driver, The Horse Whisperer, Stakeout, and Jacob's Ladder, reportedly passed away last month (Jun14) but no further details were available as WENN went to press.
Rolf worked as a film editor in Hollywood for 50 years, sequencing several well known blockbusters including Heat, Nine 1/2 Weeks, and WarGames.
In 1984, he won a Best Film Editing Oscar for his work on space drama The Right Stuff, and he was also nominated for a British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) award for Taxi Driver.
In 2003, Rolf was given a career achievement honour from the American Cinema Editors society, and he also spent 15 years as a governor at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Rolf was born in Stockholm, Sweden, and emigrated to the U.S. as a young adult before launching his career in the movie industry in 1959.
British rockers Bombay Bicycle Club spent a small fortune getting to the Glastonbury Festival for their set on Sunday (29Jun14) when the band's bus broke down in France. The indie rockers were on their way to the venue in Somerset, England from a festival in Luxembourg on Friday (27Jun14) when they had to make drastic travel rearrangements.
Drummer Suren de Saram says, "Our bus broke down and it was all very dramatic. We got to Glastonbury just before our set."
Singer Jack Steadman adds, "We got a taxi from London. I felt a bit bad about it. I felt like we were being divas, but we just wanted to make the show. We didn't want to have to cancel it."
The group also took taxis from France to make it to the Eurostar train departure on the other side of the Channel.
Scottish actor/comedian Billy Connolly was hospitalised to treat a life-threatening blood clot shortly after his cancer surgery last year (13). The 71 year old underwent an operation in the U.S. after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and was given the all-clear in October (13).
However, Connolly's wife Pamela Stephenson has now revealed the funnyman suffered a terrifying health scare shortly after the surgery, when he developed a potentially deadly blood clot in his thigh.
Stephenson claims doctors initially failed to spot the clot, and she saved her husband's life by ignoring their advice and getting him to a hospital straight away.
She tells Britain's Weekend magazine, "I knew it was a clot, but the doctors weren't listening to me. Eventually I spoke to an intern on the phone, who said, 'Just get him to the hospital right away.' I threw him into a taxi; he was in agony and crying with pain as the driver drove up the highway from our home."
After the clot was treated, Connolly suffered another scare while he was filming his TV documentary Billy Connolly's Big Send-Off, and it was his daughter Amy, who worked as a researcher on the show, who spotted the signs and took him to hospital.
Stephenson adds, "Thank God Amy was with him. She recognised what was happening and they got him back to hospital to deal with the clot. He's had all his check-ups and he's in great shape now."
Actor Tony Danza is officially heading back to Broadway for the first time in 13 years with a musical adaptation of 1992 movie Honeymoon In Vegas. The Taxi star will take on the role of gambler Tommy Korman, the character made famous by James Caan in the film, about a man who falls for a young woman while she is in Las Vegas to wed her boyfriend.
Actress Brynn O'Malley will play the bride-to-be, depicted by Sarah Jessica Parker on the big screen, while Rob McClure will take on the role Nicolas Cage played in the early 1990s.
Gary Griffin will direct the show, which will begin previews on 18 November (14) at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, ahead of its official opening on 15 January (15).
Danza last appeared on the Great White Way in a 2001 production of The Producers, while he previously featured in The Iceman Cometh in 1999 and A View From the Bridge in 1997.
Rumours about Danza's Broadway return first surfaced in 2011, before producers decided to give the Honeymoon in Vegas musical a trial run at New Jersey's Paper Mill Playhouse last year (13).
British singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran cut all the curse words from his new album on the advice of a taxi driver. The A Team hitmaker made major changes to his second record, X, following an enlightening conversation with a cabbie, who told the star he would not let his young daughter listen to songs which featured obscenities.
Sheeran tells Britain's Daily Star newspaper, "My album is clean now. I cut the explicit lyrics out after a taxi driver convinced me it was the right thing to do.
"He said he wouldn't have let his daughter listen to it otherwise. So I did it."
NBC Universal Media
When Community was finally canceled by NBC, it was really just the wrap-up of a death march that has been playing out in slow motion for years. Actually, it could be argued that the fact that Dan Harmon's quirky ensemble sitcom set at a community college managed to make it as long as it did on a network is a victory in and of itself.
Network television has always had difficulty knowing what to do with smart, off-beat comedies, whether it was Taxi in the late '70s, NewsRadio in the '90s, Arrested Development in the 2000s, or Happy Endings this decade. Shows that need time to build an audience as more people get in on the joke perplex executives that are looking at ratings and ad revenue that don't add up. The fact that Community had a stellar cast headlined by Joel McHale, featured some of the most original writing on television and regularly took chances by embracing its uniqueness (and, yes, stunts like making an animated episode or setting a storyline against the backdrop of a pillow fort war) gets lost in the shuffle of bottom line numbers.
The thing is that you would expect that networks would've learned their lessons by now… since their counterparts on the cable side have been trying to show them the way for a while now.
Social Media Is Your Friend
Sitcoms like Workaholics on Comedy Central and The League on FXX, have loyal followings that their broadcasters try to cater to instead of alienate. They make the group that is in on the show's humor feel like they're part of a cool club. Counterparts like Louie on FX and Maron and Portlandia on IFC do the same thing and are also savvy about using social media to promote the shows. Instead of just sending out generic "Hey, watch our show" messages, as the networks regularly do, they utilize and encourage the online followings that their stars walked in the door with.
NBC has used their website effectively for a decade now to provide additional content for some of its comedy programming — The Office, Saturday Night Live, and even Community come to mind — but all of the networks continuously lag behind in embracing other new avenues to reach desirable audience members as they start to carry real cache, like Twitter and Instagram. With Facebook having been part of the public's consciousness for nearly a decade now, there's been plenty of time for network executives to become forward thinking in regards to social media, instead of continuously being reactionary.
Have Realistic Expectations
Nobody is expecting a network to have the flexibility that HBO has when it comes to the sort of content that they can handle on everything from Veep to Girls to Eastbound and Down… but networks have more flexibility than they are willing to admit. A sitcom doesn't have to have swearing or nudity to be buzz-worthy… it just needs to be done well by people that are given the freedom to enact their vision.
In today's fractured market, cultivating a TV show that has a smaller but desirable audience should be a true option for any network. By keeping production costs down and cultivating a specific audience base before the show hits the air, a network should be able to get away with smaller ratings for a sitcom. Ratings only truly matter when it comes to setting ad rates, but that's a model that hasn't changed much since Nielsen started tracking it in the early '60s… and it's a system that is ripe for change.
Targeted TV ads are the wave of the future, but selling broader based ads for a show that is reaching a key demographic isn't that hard. NBC already off-sets the cost of The Biggest Loser by partnering with advertisers that want to reach women 18 to 34 with disposable income are willing to pay to be a part of the show. Smart comedies have their own key demo, and it's typically affluent 18 to 34-year-olds. It seems like a target audience that a lot of advertisers could use.
One of the biggest hits of the last 25 years should provide all of the incentive any network needs to remember the importance of cultivating a show that is initially too hip for the audience. When Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David's show first started, it didn't have a suitable spot on the NBC schedule and bounced around. It wasn't until Seinfeld's third season that it really began to catch on with a bigger audience, and it wasn't until the fourth season that it was really a hit.
Seinfeld also produced shorter seasons its first two years, something that cable networks have now been doing successfully for a while now (and British television has always done). Networks have seemingly been more flexible with doing that with hour-long programming than with sitcoms, yet there's no reason that a 13-episode comedy can't work just as well if marketed properly. If networks can figure out a way to sell an audience on fantasy shows like Once Upon a Time or intricate dramas like The Blacklist, they should be able to figure out how to sustain smart comedies like Community and Happy Endings.
Workaholic Woody Allen just can't stop making movies. The trailer for his latest effort, Magic in the Moonlight hit the web today, and the proceedings definitely feel like vintage Allen. It's charming, quick-witted, and effusive like you'd expect from a Woody Allen romance, but it also features another hallmark of the great director's filmography: the age discrepancy between the two leads is huge. In Magic, Colin Firth plays Stanley, the jazz age's answer to the Mythbusters, who travels to the French countryside to debunk a talented young spiritualist named Sophie, played by Emma Stone. As time passes, Stanley finds it hard to refute her powers, and even harder to resist her wiles.... her late teenage/early 20's wiles.
Since the real-life Colin Firth is 53 while Emma Stone is only 25, we can assume that the age difference between their two characters will be pretty significant as well. Significant enough that it's bordering on creepy. This wouldn't be the first time Hollywood has used such a large age gap between romantic leads in a film, but it is the first one in a while that gives us this much pause. We've decide to examine age gaps in different films to see exactly when things start to get a little creepy.
5 to 10 years: That's perfectly cool.Examples: Too numerous to count.
In this day and age, five to ten years is a drop in the bucket. So you like your wine a little aged? It's really no big deal and Hollywood knows it.
10 to 15 years: If it makes you happy… Examples: Silver Linings Playbook, Annie Hall, Her (Rooney Mara and Joaquin Phoenix), Star Wars: Episodes I-III, just to name a few.
Now we're starting to get a teensy bit weird. It's still perfectly acceptable, but don't be surprised if you start getting sideways glances from people on the street. Your mom will also bring it up over dinner, but your mom brings everything up over dinner so it's really not that scandalous.
15 to 25 years: Dude, he/she might be your son/daughter.Examples: An Education, The Reader, Fish Tank, Taxi Driver, The Graduate, Don Jon, basically every James Bond film.Okay, now were venturing in full-fledged creep zone. Once you reach a level of age disparity where you could have biologically given birth to the person you're romantically involved with, you really need to think about the relationship.
25+years: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.Examples: Harold and Maude, Big (sorta), Manhattan, Lolita, Oldboy, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (again, sorta).
Rapper and performance artist Mykki Blanco won't be holidaying in Portugal anytime soon after experiencing an arrest and a deluge of hatemail and death threats from anti-gay extremists as he arrived in the country for a series of gallery gigs. The gender-bending star, real name Michael Quattlebaum, Jr., had just landed this week (beg19May14) when he was arrested following an airport altercation with a police officer, according to Noisey.com.
He insists he was jailed because he's gay, taking to Facebook.com and writing, "I'm being arrested in Portugal for being gay."
He later added, "I'm leaving Portugal after my performance. Please stop writing hate speech, threatening to hang me, posting pictures of slaves and leaving gay hate messages on my page, I have seen a really disturbing side of this culture tonight.
"I'M OVER PEOPLE DEFENDING PORTUGAL BECAUSE OF FALSE NATIONAL PRIDE. GUESS WHAT? YOUR COUNTRY IS JUST AS F**KED UP AS ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD. DEAL WITH IT."
Reports suggest Blanco was ordered to pay a 600 euro ($820/£513) fine following his arrest before he was allowed to board his flight out of the country.
He tells Noisey.com, "I was swindled by the Portuguese police department for being a gay black tourist. That is the only explanation for this situation. I had literally just got off of a plane was in the airport on my way to the art gallery I am currently doing a residency at and I was taken advantage of by the Portuguese police. More than an act of racism and prejudice or even homophobia... I realised that class matters and that an upwardly mobile black man isn't something people always want to see.
"I was arrested for telling a police officer to 'go f**k himself' after I repeatedly and politely asked him where I could purchase a taxi voucher, since he worked with the taxi attendant at the airport."
He adds, "The world ain't (sic) a fair place, and the idea of a young successful black guy doesn't always fly everywhere but I was insulted, and discriminated against so I said, 'F**k you', and walked away... He said, 'You have insulted a police officer and that is a crime in Portugal, you can't talk to me that way' and he arrested me."
James Franco has blasted plans to make a Spring Breakers sequel, insisting he and director Harmony Korine won't have anything to do with the project. Just days after news of the update was released online, outspoken Franco has taken to his Instagram.com page to reveal he won't be reprising his drug dealer character Alien in the sequel.
He writes, "The original was wholly Harmony's creation and these producers are capitalizing on that innovative film to make money on a weak sequel. "I want everyone to know that whoever is involved in the sequel is jumping on board a poison ship. It will be a terrible film, with a horrible reason d'etre (raison d'etre): to make money off someone else's creativity."
He adds, "Can you imagine someone making the sequel to Taxi Driver without Scorcese (sic) and DeNiro's (sic) consents? Insanity! I'm speaking up for Harmony and his original vision and for any creative person who cares about preserving artistic integrity."