Saturday, December 22, 2012

TNT's Leverage to End It's Run

TNT announced Friday (December 21st) that it has cancelled "Leverage" after five seasons on the air. The show's final episode will be broadcast on Christmas Day. "TNT's 'Leverage' has thrilled audiences with its delightfully intricate plots, its 'stand up for the little guy' attitude and its terrific performances from stars Timothy Hutton, Gina Bellman, Christian Kane, Beth Riesgraf and Aldis Hodge," the cable network said in a statement. "But after five wonderful years, it's time to say goodbye. 'Leverage' will come to a close on Christmas at 9:00 PM, with a series finale that stands as one of the show's best episodes. We want to thank all of the passionately devoted fans… who have really been the driving force behind its success." 

Because of the uncertainty surrounding the series' future, "Leverage" executive producer Dean Devlin explained in an open letter released earlier this month on that he crafted the Season 5 finale as if it were the series finale in case the show was not renewed for a sixth season.

"As of the writing of this letter, we still do not know if there will be a season six of our show," Devlin wrote on December 6th. "Because of this uncertainty, [series creator] John Rogers and I decided to end this season with the episode we had planned to make to end the series, way back when we shot the pilot. So, the episode that will air on Christmas is, in fact, the series finale we had always envisioned." The show was TNT's longest-running series currently on the air. The fifth season premiered to 3.39 million viewers in July, but recently dropped to just 1.91 million viewers when it returned from a two-month hiatus on a new night. The series finale of "Leverage," titled "The Long Goodbye Job," airs on Tuesday, December 25th at 9:00 PM EST on TNT.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Actor Edward Hogg To Recur On 'The Borgias'

British actor Edward Hogg has joined the cast of Showtime’s drama series The Borgias in a recurring role for its third season, UPBEAT Entertainment News Syndicate has learned exclusively. Hogg has been cast as Georges D'Amboise, a French Cardinal who also serves as King Louis XII's ambassador to the Papal States. My sources tell me that Hogg's character will appear in "a large number" of episodes that comprise season 3.

The actual Georges d'Amboise (1460 until May 25th, 1510) was a French Roman Catholic cardinal and minister of state. He belonged to the house of Amboise, a noble family possessed of considerable influence: of his nine brothers, four were bishops. His esteemed father— Pierre d'Amboise, seigneur de Chaumont, was chamberlain to Charles VII and Louis XI and ambassador at Rome. Georges' eldest brother, Charles, was governor of the Île-de-France, Champagne and Burgundy, and Councillor of Louis XI.

The Borgias was created by Neil Jordan and follows Pope Alexander VI, the cunning, manipulative patriarch of the infamous Italian Renaissance family who builds an empire by bribing, buying and muscling his way into the papacy. The Emmy award winning drama series stars Jeremy Irons, Colm Feore, François Arnaud, Holliday Grainger, Joanne Whalley, Lotte Verbeek, Sean Harris and Aidan Alexander. The show’s third season is poised to pick up from the events of the season 2 finale which saw Pope Alexander VI (Jeremy Irons) poisoned as part of a plot hatched by his rival Cardinal Giuliano della Rovere. Production on the ten episode third season is currently underway in Budapest, with Showtime eyeing a Spring 2013 premiere.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Olympic Star Ryan Lochte Gives His Gold Medal to A Young Turkish Boy

Something positive is always out there... waiting to be told. But we hear much more about the ghastly horrors of this world constantly... However, all of us here at UPBEAT Entertainment News Syndicate believe that there are so many more tales of generosity and compassion that perhaps we need to hear something that inspires us... and proves to us that hope and love DO exist. That humanity IS present in this world. So we plan on sharing with you some stories that might make you smile and reflect a bit... and perhaps you might also feel compelled touch the lives of those who silently, patiently wait for the good to shine upon them. 

Ryan Lochte made quite a splash at the World Shortcourse Swimming Championships last week— both in and out of the pool. According to the BBC, the 28-year-old swimming heartthrob, who holds 11 Olympic medals and four world records, wowed the crowds gathered during the five-day event held in Istanbul, Turkey, by snagging eight medals, including five golds. He also shattered two world records, in the 100m and 200m individual medley events. Lochte's victories in the water were not his only big wins, however. The American swimmer also won many hearts with his generosity.

On Friday, having won the 200m individual medley, Lochte reportedly "stunned" spectators when he went into the stands and handed his newly-acquired gold medal to a young fan— a Turkish boy named Arda. According to Australia's Herald Sun, Arda had been "patiently waiting for the American's autograph." He really didn't expect anything more, just to be able to go home having met his idol.

"One of the main reasons for racing is because of my fans, so I always want to give something back," the swimmer told BBC. "If I took the medal, it would end up in a sock drawer. If I give it to a fan, they're going to treasure it." Lochte said that a childhood incident has shaped the way he approaches his relationships with his supporters. "I remember when as a kid I looked up to an Olympian superstar," the swimmer said. "I won't mention his name [but] I asked for an autograph and he said 'no'. I told my parents that if I ever get in the same position, I'll do it." 

Lochte later took a picture with the thrilled young boy and posted in on his Official Twitter Page:!/ryanlochte/media/slideshow? 

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Fleetwood Mac Announces Tour

Fleetwood Mac will definitely hit the road again as its four members, Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, have just announced that they'll embark on a U.S. tour in 2013. One of rock's most enduring and successful bands, Fleetwood Mac will play 34 cities beginning in Columbus, Ohio April 4th. "Having started Fleetwood Mac with John McVie in 1967, it has always been so gratifying that despite the various incarnations, the band has survived. Throughout the years, though, the one thing that has remained constant is our fans. I am looking forward to getting back behind the kit, reconnecting with the fans and sharing the stage with my fellow band members," said Fleetwood. The band's tour was confirmed by Nicks in July after she shot down comments from the drummer though; when he said he believed the band wouldn't "ever tour again" after their plans for a 2011 trek were scrapped. Fleetwood made the remarks to Playboy magazine after Nicks and Buckingham both extended their solo tours.

"The tour will be next year... That's the plan. Because that's what we do. I do my thing. And Lindsey is out doing his thing now... everybody's on board," she explained. The tour also marks the 35th anniversary of the band's most famous  Rumours (and classic) album, which has sold over 40 million copies to date. Rhino records will also reissue the album in a deluxe edition early next year. The group also revealed a few new songs will debut next year also, but it's still unknown whether or not they'll be releasing an additional album or just debuting them on the road. As for the new tour, the band is very excited to be getting back together.

"After spending four days at Lindsey's house working on music and one really fun day doing a crazy photo session, I am quite excited about next year. Everything seems to be falling into place. 2013 looks like the year of Fleetwood Mac," Nicks said. "I'm really looking forward to hitting the road with Stevie, Mick and John in 2013," said Buckingham. "It's been over three years since we've toured together and happily the break allowed me to explore a lot of uncharted territory as well as experience tremendous growth creatively. I'm excited to bring that back to the band. When everyone in FM wants the same thing at the same time, it's cause for celebration. Long Live Fleetwood Mac!"

"I'm really looking forward to going back on the road," added McVie. Tickets for the shows begin going on sale December 14th at and Live Nation.

Monday, November 26, 2012

50 Shades of Chelsea Handler

The stand-up comedian, known in the books world for her best-selling, vodka-soaked tales of debauchery, is publishing a massive book of "bigger stories, smaller type," titled 50 Shades of Chartreuse: This Time It's Personal. Handler's fourth book will be published under her imprint, A Chelsea Handler Book/Borderline Amazing, which has already published Lies That Chelsea Handler Told Me, a collection of stories about Handler by her friends and family. Handler is the host of the late-night talk show Chelsea Lately and the mockumentary show After Lately, both on E!, where she has talked about everything from her relationship with rapper 50 Cent to being attacked by a sea lion in the Pacific Ocean. "This sounds to me like one big wiki leak," Handler jokes in the release. 

The 50 Shades of Grey phenomenon has many fans— Chelsea Handler is not among them. Nor does she probably care about the upcoming movie adaptation of E.L. James' hot, erotic best-seller, or about the film's equally steamy list of actors and actresses currently imagined for the roles of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele. One could say, it's just not this comedian's cup of tea, or shot of vodka, as the case may be. "It was insulting to anyone's intelligence to read that," Handler boldly proclaimed of the hit book when she finally visited Piers Morgan's eponymous talk show, as CNN reports. "Then my friends who had suggested that I read it, I e-mailed them like, 'you should be ashamed of yourselves for finishing this kind of book. It's a piece of trash.' "In a statement, Beth de Guzman, the VP, Editor-in-Chief of the paperbacks division at GC, who acquired the book joked, "The new book is groundbreaking. Bigger stories, smaller type. We can't wait to publish it.” 

It is strange, though, as Handler might seem to be one to really embrace the Grey area. After all, the late-night TV host is provocative and boundaries-pushing; she packs a salty sense of humor; she's not shy to traipse on the raunchy side; and she certainly isn't afraid to throw a figurative whip of her own around sometimes. Sounds like a perfect equation for some Grey and Steele action. But, as a best-selling author herself (Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea and Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang are among her sassy works), Handler's biggest beef with the book seems to be on the quality control side; she has a different perspective on the printed word, and she simply cannot handle James' style. "I don't profess to be ... a scholarly writer per se. I know my books are really silly and stupid, but I at least think they're amusing to some degree. [50 Shades of Grey] was just so poorly written," she said.

However, while Chelsea Handler may never be a Fifty aficionado nor queuing for a midnight screening of Grey whenever it premieres in movie theaters, she's still a rather brilliant marketer and is using the "piece of trash" to her advantage. Her upcoming read she conveniently named, 50 Shades of Chartreuse: This Time It's Personal, admitting, she "just wanted to rip off the title because [she] just thought it was such a stupid book." Stupid book or not, it was probably a smart, copycat move on Handler's part. Who wouldn't want to embrace a few more shades of color and delve into a green day that's sure to pack its own measure of sexy spice? The book has been out for a month now and makes a GREAT holiday gift!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Dead Celebrity Cookbook Presents— Christmas In Tinseltown

When it comes to holiday fun, the stars of Hollywood's Golden Age knew how to make merry— on stage, on screen, and especially on the dinner table. With Christmas in Tinseltown (HCI $14.95)— the follow-up to his international sensation The Dead Celebrity Cookbook— Frank DeCaro shows how to put the kitsch into your holiday kitchen as he salutes a quirky collection of celebrities who are gone, but fondly remembered every year at Christmastime. Filled with pop culture ruminations and genuinely delicious recipes, Christmas in Tinseltown pays tribute to such movie classics as It's A Wonderful Life and White Christmas, gives three cheers for such time-honored animated gems as Frosty the Snowman and How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and puts such offbeat offerings as The Star Wars Holiday Special and The Pee-wee's Playhouse Christmas Special in their rightful place— your dining room! In such chapters as "Miracle Whip on 34th Street," "Eat Meat in St. Louis," and "Munch of the Wooden Soldiers," DeCaro dishes up a virtual smorgasbord of culinary delights that will enliven any holiday gathering or celebration.

Tempt your guests with Peggy Lee's Holiday Halibut Casserole, Burl Ives's Stuffed Leg of Goat Hawaiian, Lucille Ball's Brazil Nut Stuffing, Nat "King" Cole's Baked Ham Loaf, Guy Lombardo's Lobster Lombardo, Dick Clark's Spicy Turkey Meatloaf, Rosemary Clooney's Viennese Goulash, Bing Crosby's Sugar Cookies, Shirley Booth's Pumpkin Bread, Dinah Shore's Fruitcake, and Spike Jones's Molasses Jumbles. Then wash them all down with Robert Mitchum's Eggnog, Edmund Gwenn's Christmas Cup, or John Lennon's Hot Cocoa. This star-studded cookbook promises to get even the biggest Scrooge on your list into the holiday spirit and will have you saying your "ho, ho, ho's" in true Hollywood style for many many years to come.

About the Author: Best known for his years as the movie critic on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, writer/performer Frank DeCaro is heard each weekday morning on his own live call-in program, The Frank DeCaro Show on Sirius XM Satellite Radio. The author of the groundbreaking memoir A Boy Named Phyllis, DeCaro's writing has appeared in Martha Stewart Living, Vogue, Entertainment Weekly, and The New York Times. Follow him @frankdecaroshow on Twitter, "like" him on Facebook, and visit him at:

Sample Recipes:

Robert Mitchum 1917 to 1997
Robert Mitchum was a cool cat and a real Hollywood he-man who became an actor only as a last recourse. He spent much of his early life being what used to be called a “delinquent.” His bad boy reputation was hard-won. He was expelled from schools, he did time on a chain gang, he had a nervous breakdown— the man did it all... and survived! He took his tough-as-nails street cred and parlayed it into a fantastic career playing prototypical antiheroes in the movies. He started as a villain in Hopalong Cassidy movies in the early 1940s, then segued into war pictures including 1944's Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo. Noir films came next like Jacques Tourneur's 1947 classic Out of the Past and Don Siegel's 1949 The Big Steal. Holiday Affair was a bit of a switch for Mitchum. In the 1950s, Otto Preminger cast him as an ambulance driver in 1952's Angel Face; actor-turned-director Charles Laughton gave him the chilling role of a religious fanatic in the 1955 cult favorite Night of the Hunter, and John Huston shipwrecked him with a nun (Deborah Kerr) in 1957's Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison.

Mitchum worked steadily in films throughout the 1960s and '70s. Among his best known works are the thriller Cape Fear in 1962 and David Lean's 1970 epic Ryan's Daughter. He played Philip Marlowe in 1975's Farewell, My Lovely and 1978's The Big Sleep, too. Focusing on television in the '80s, Mitchum made appearances in two miniseries, North and South and War and Remembrance. He also played the role of a police lieutenant in the 1991 remake of Cape Fear. How cool is that? When asked for a holiday recipe back in 1970, Mitchum offered up his eggnog for a crowd. “I make no apology for the excessive quantity,” Mitchum told the food writer who'd requested the recipe. "Only a dope would go to the trouble for less." It'll be perfect for any holiday affair you might throw...

Robert Mitchum's Eggnog
  • 12 egg yolks
  • 1 pound confectioners' sugar
  • 1 quart rum, brandy, or whiskey
  • 2 quarts cream1 quart milk
  • 12 egg whites
  • ½ teaspoon salt
Beat egg yolks and confectioners' sugar together in a large bowl. Beat in the rum, brandy or whisky. Add cream and milk. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites with salt until stiff but not dry. Fold this mixture into the liquid. Chill. Serves 20.

Rosemary Clooney, 1928 to 2002
Let's get this out of the way first: Yes, she was the aunt of a certain hunk named George. But the most important thing to know about Rosemary Clooney is not that she had a famous nephew who launched millions of carnal fantasies, but that she had one of the greatest voices of the twentieth century. Singing professionally since her teens, the Kentucky-born singer-actress found fame in the 1950s via a string of novelty hits including "Come On-a My House" and "Mambo Italiano." Audiences adored these funny little songs, but she wasn't nearly as enamored of them. Clooney wanted to be known as the woman who infused standards like "Hey There" with longing, not the gal who sang-a "Botch-a-Me." The woman wasn't even Italian!

Clooney appeared in White Christmas, which would be the pinnacle of her film career, because she knew starring alongside Bing Crosby would lift her career to new levels. (She's quite clear about that in an interview that accompanies the Blu-ray edition of the film.) Help her career it did. Not only did Clooney's star turn as girl-singer Betty Haynes in the 1954 film boost her standing in show business, it established her friendship with Crosby. The two later did a concert tour of Ireland together. And Clooney's appearance on a 1978 TV celebration of Crosby's 50th year in show business is considered instrumental in her comeback.

Sadly, Clooney was coming back from a period that hadn't been kind to her. Diagnosed as bipolar, she had a tumultuous relationship with husband José Ferrer—she married, divorced, and remarried him despite his infidelities. He cheated on her on their honeymoon, as the story goes. Their union produced five children, including the talented actor Miguel Ferrer who first made a splash on Twin Peaks. Clooney was appearing on behalf of Robert F. Kennedy when he was assassinated. She had a nervous breakdown shortly thereafter. In the late 1960s, she became addicted to pills. Then in 1976, her sister Betty, with whom she'd performed a sister act early in her career, died suddenly of a brain aneurysm. Worst of all, perhaps, Clooney was becoming known as the jingle-singing spokeswoman for Coronet paper towels rather than as a fabulous jazz performer. She recounts all this in two autobiographies, This for Remembrance and Girl Singer. Despite all the words, Publisher's Weekly said she “remains an enigma.”

Clooney died of lung cancer at the too-young age of 74. She'd found love, though, with an old friend later in life and she saw the respect of an audience who appreciates the depth of emotion she brought to songs... and who continues to adore (sorry, Rosie, we can't help it) those faux-Italian novelty hits she spiced up so many years ago. Here's a dish from another culture of which Clooney was not a part, Viennese Goulash. You were expecting spaghetti and meatballs? Whatsamattahyou?

Rosemary Clooney's Viennese Goulash
  • 2 teaspoons marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped lemon rind
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ¾ cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 2 pounds onions, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 2 pounds chuck, rump, or round beef, cut into large chunks
  • 1½ cups water
  • Salt, to taste
  • ¼ cup flour, optional
Using a mortar and pestle, or a small grinder, crush together the marjoram, caraway seeds, lemon rind and garlic. In a Dutch oven, melt the butter, add the tomato paste and crushed seasoning and stir to combine. Add the sliced onions and, stirring constantly, sauté until golden. Add the paprika and cook for a minute more, stirring constantly. Add the beef, one cup of water, and salt to taste. Cover and simmer until the beef is tender, about 90 minutes. Add more water during cooking, if needed. Before the goulash is done, add another half cup of water and bring the sauce to a boil. If more sauce is desired, sprinkle the meat with ¼ cup flour and add another cup of water and bring to a boil. Serve the goulash with egg noodles or boiled potatoes. Serves 6.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Dierks Bentley— Somebody Call The Po-Po

Dierks Bentley is climbing up the Billboard Country Singles chart with 5-1-5-0. If you've been singing along with the song and wondering what you're singing about, we've got the answer. Bentley recently revealed to Taste of Country the meaning behind 5-1-5-0, "I had written this song on the beach one day and I said, 'Let's get 5150." Rock fans know it as a Van Halen album and song from 1986, but the "Free and Easy" singer explains that it's also the police code for a criminally insane person. The song is featured on Dierks Bentley's album Home. While it's not a reflection on his own experience with the law, the title of the song is California police code for a person involuntarily confined by officers after being deemed mentally unstable and potentially dangerous. Dierks explains that the whole idea for the song may have been planted in him as early as 13 years old.

"I was at a birthday party and this kid had an electric guitar. Up to that point, music had always been something I listened to. We went back to his room and listened to Van Halen and I dropped everything, and that's all I listened to for a while. They had an album titled 5-1-5-0, which featured them on the cover in straight jackets. I found out that it was the police code for a crazy person. Now come forward to the current time, and in my Country and Cold Cans song I had a line that was; Are y'all with me, let's go 5-1-5-0.' I told Jim Beavers about it and the next day I saw him at the gym. He started singing to me, '5-1-5-0, somebody call the po-po.' I thought that was just about the stupidiest thing I'd ever heard. But he kept after me all the time. Every time I'd see him, he'd sing it to me. He told me his kids loved it and sang it all the time. So one day we were at a writing session. We were stuck and I said, 'OK, let's write 5-1-5-0. So we wrote it and it caught on. It's a fun song to come back with after Home. Home was such a heavy song and had so much depth to it. It's nice to have something out there to help lubricate cold beer going down real easy! It's good to have something out there that is a fun song for the summer. It will keep fans excited and they can crank up their cars when it comes on the radio. It's not gonna change the world, but it is a fun song."

Dierks Bentley has written or co-written many of his hit songs, including What Was I Thinkin', My Last Name, How Am I Doin', Lot of Leavin' Left to Do, Come a Little Closer, Every Mile a Memory and Feel That Fire. His musical influences include George Jones, Hank Williams Jr. and The Del McCoury Band.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Gina Gershon: In Search of Cleo: How I Found My Pussy and Lost My Mind

It's no fun losing your pet, but for Gina Gershon it was a life changer. Roughly 10 years ago, the actress known for such movies as Bound, Face/Off and most recently Killer Joe, came home from the Cannes film festival to find that her assistant ( Cassandra with a star at the end of her name) no longer had her cat Cleo in her care. Apparently, the ex staffer had taken the kitty to a dog groomer, which scared Cleo so much that he ran away. "So many people were like, 'Oh just get another cat.' But oh my God, I just fell apart. I was heartbroken," Gershon says from New York, where she currently lives. "I got to the point where I thought I was going crazy. I was so desperate to have him back. I didn't realize how insane it all was until later."

Her book, In Search of Cleo: How I Found My Pussy and Lost My Mind (Gotham Books, $22.50) chronicles the 2½ month period it took to find the black cat, searching the streets of Los Angeles and meeting with random strangers who claimed to have him (there was a sweet $1,000 reward). Gershon, 50, encountered various impostors. She was initially fooled a few times by copycats, which was devastating. "After you've had your heart broke a couple of times you kind of shut down."

In Search of Cleo is also a metaphor for the men in Gershon's life. The sexy singleton interweaves past boyfriends into the story, like an unnamed designer Gershon hooked up with Hong Kong. She was convinced he was her soul mate and husband in another life until he revealed he was married. "I wasn't sure that [experience] belonged in there," Gershon admits. "But the book is just a trippy journey about looking for love. If you're open anything can happen, I suppose."

In the last chapter, we read that "a large woman with short, cropped hair and pierced body parts" finally found Gershon's dear feline, near the grooming place where he originally ran off. Gershon knew almost immediately: Cleo has a telltale spot on the roof on his mouth and a certain way he eats. Her one true love is still around. "He's a very demanding, spoiled cat," she admits. "He's getting older now, he's all brown and moving a little bit slower. But he still wakes me up in the morning with kisses." Could another book be in the works? Doubtful. "It was important for me to tell my story but I'm not a writer," she stresses. "I love writers, and I wish I were a really good one. My style was just keeping it in my own voice, even if there were run-on sentences. My favorite passages are the ones I wrote and never looked at again."

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Dead Confederate— Challenges Inspire

After a few years of touring hard in the States and overseas, recent times have been seemingly low-key and quiet for a loud band like Dead Confederate. They've more or less remained off the radar for the last year. In this short time, the band adapted to their drummer leaving to start a family, learning to work with a handful of new drummers, and half of the remaining members getting married (not to each other). 2011 saw it's fair share of music from them, although not the typical side of Dead Confederate: There were many solo performances from members, an expanded incarnation of the band that ventured out on minitours playing Neil Young's Tonight’s The Night in it's entirety and, most recently, the formation of Diamond Rugs (a "super group" featuring Dead Confederate's Hardy Morris, Deer Tick's John McCauley & Robbie Crowell, Black Lips' Ian St Pe, Los Lobos' Steve Berlin, and Brian Dufresne of Six Finger Satellite).

It is in times like these that some bands discover what success really means to them. As the band began mixing their third, currently-untitled LP (this time in their home of Athens, GA with producer David Barbe), singer/guitarist Hardy Morris had this to say about Dead Confederate's success— "I don't think any of us have a desire for any kind of quote-unquote fame. All we want is to be able to make records. No one's ever been looking to own Bentleys and swimming pools. We are happy calling 'making records and playing shows' our job. If you would have told me when I was a kid that I would have seen half the world and done a fraction of the stuff we've done, I would have called you crazy."

Challenges and changes do nothing, if not inspire.

On their new album— "I think these songs are kind of a culmination of all the stuff we've done. I know for me, I wanted to approach this album like it was the last thing I was going to do; the last album I'd make. I knew that wasn't the case, but that's the mindset I held going in because I think, in some ways, that's what people want to hear.  I know that's what I want to hear... Songs that feel like it might be someone's last breath. Some desperation, some personality. Not to say it's going to be an exceptionally bleak album or anything, but most of the songs we've recorded for this album hold onto that darker, quasi-southern vibe we do. I think it has some similarities to both of our previous records, but in the end it will certainly be its own thing." 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Batman Trilogy Set— Out On December 4th

The Dark Knight Rises arrives this holiday season onto Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Digital Download on December 4th from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group. In the epic conclusion to filmmaker Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight trilogy, Gotham City is threatened by the masked terrorist Bane, forcing Batman to return from an eight-year absence and fight for his city one more time. Also available will be the free The Dark Knight Rises app for IOS 5.0 or higher compatible devices including iPhone and iPad, and Samsung Galaxy devices including S2, S3, Note, Nexus and Tab (operating system requirements vary by device). Building upon the already available "TDKR: Gotham City's Most Wanted" app, The Dark Knight Rises app will be updated in two phases. The first update, which will be available in late October, will include several interactive activities such as a photo application that will allow users to put themselves into a Tumbler, a video application that will allow users to insert a Tumbler into their personal videos, and more.

The second update, which will be available on December 4th, will integrate second screen functionality into the app. It will allow users to sync compatible mobile devices with the Blu-ray disc via BD-Live enabled Blu-ray players connected to the same Local Area Network to access exclusive bonus content. The bonus content will include film location information, Gotham City maps, film trivia, photo galleries and "making of" featurettes. In addition, the second screen app controls playback of the film on your TV via Blu-ray player. "The Dark Knight Rises" app will be available through the iTunes store and Google Play.

The Dark Knight Rises will be available on Blu-ray Combo Pack for $35.99 and on single disc DVD for $28.98. The Blu-ray Combo Pack features the film in hi-definition on Blu-ray and in standard definition on DVD. "The Dark Knight Rises" Blu-ray disc takes advantage of the marriage of IMAXÒ and 35mm formats by using the hybrid master to replicate the unique theatrical experience of integrated film formats. Both the Blu-ray Combo Pack and the single disc DVD include UltraViolet which allows consumers to download and instantly stream the standard definition version of the film to a wide range of devices including computers and compatible tablets, smartphones, game consoles, Internet-connected TVs and Blu-ray players.*

Also available December 4th, just in time for holiday gift-giving, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release The Dark Knight Trilogy Limited Edition Giftset, featuring Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises all in one collection. Available on Blu-ray or standard definition DVD, The Dark Knight Trilogy Limited Edition Giftset will also include a premium book exclusive to the collection, which takes fans deeper into the epic franchise, as well as existing special features. Warner Bros. Home Entertainment also plans to release The Dark Knight Trilogy Ultimate Collector's Edition in 2013.

Leading an all-star international cast, Oscar winner Christian Bale (The Fighter) again plays the dual role of Bruce Wayne/Batman. The Dark Knight Rises also stars Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle; Tom Hardy as Bane; Oscar winner Marion Cotillard (La Vie en Rose) as Miranda Tate; and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake. Returning to the main cast, Oscar winner Michael Caine (The Cider House Rules) plays Alfred; Gary Oldman is Commissioner Gordon; and Oscar winner Morgan Freeman ("Million Dollar Baby") reprises the role of Lucius Fox.

The screenplay is written by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan, story by Christopher Nolan & David S. Goyer. The film is produced by Emma Thomas , Christopher Nolan and Charles Roven, who previously teamed on Batman Begins and the record-breaking blockbuster The Dark Knight. The executive producers are Benjamin Melniker; Michael E. Uslan; Kevin De La Noy; Thomas Tull; with Jordan Goldberg serving as co-producer. The film is based upon characters created by Bob Kane and published by DC Comics.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Internet Radio: Keeping Rad In Radio

by Jeremy DeHavilland, 

Fora number of years now, Internet Radio had been a swirling, underground phenomenon that has now leapt out of hipster circles and permeated the global mainstream arena. Led by Pandora, Slacker Radio, and Spotify, 2011 saw the prominence of terrestrial (AM/FM) radio continue to show its gray hairs and crumble away in favor of the more convenient and technologically savvy product of Internet Radio. A plethora of car manufactures have committed to Internet Radio and have begun installing the technology into cars because Pandora Radio alone has had such high ratings in the 18 to 34 age demographic. This is a pretty amazing feat especially since the vast majority of radio listeners are work commuters who listen in on the terrestrial (AM/FM) radios that is optional with the majority of all cars made after 2005... along with satellite radio. 

Internet Radio provides advantages that terrestrial radio can't touch. This has reinvigorated a medium that has been stale and painfully outdated for so long. Now there are droves of excited listeners flocking to it like teenagers to a prime time show on vampires. The first thing one notices right off the bat in listening to radio online is the CD-esque quality. Internet broadcasts don't utilize the heavy compression used by terrestrial radio broadcasts that squash the bass and treble dynamics together in volume. This heightened spectral listening experience catches the highs and lows that were intended to express the emotional timbres of the artist.

This superior sound quality also avoids being interfered with by static, because the broadcasts are global, not just regional. Beyond the technical aspects, the variety and selection of what is broadcast is much more expansive and free from the constrictions of the generic formats of traditional classic rock or oldies stations, while featuring much less commercial interruptions than its predecessor. Many stations have algorithms that can create qualitative suggestions based on previous user selections that transcend genres. Oh yes my friends, we can have Elvis, Bob Marley, and The Black Keys rocking out on the radio back to back to back!

Even with all of these clear technological advantages, the most intriguing part of Internet radio is in the boundless possibilities that are presented through the means of digital convergence that the web provides. The Internet has become quite the force that it is simply due to interchangeable mass media that allows us to intuitively shift between film, music, radio, and virtually any other medium on the same device. This opens up a new artistic frontier that allows new combinations of communication and entertainment that can arise from anyone who wishes to attempt something new. YouTube has memes that have made instant celebrities out of people broadcasting out of their bedrooms and now the sites and allow anyone to set up there own Internet Radio show while having milk and cookies in bed.  

Blog Talk Radio allows people to host live web based broadcasts over the Internet with merely a computer and a phone. No downloads are required, just a password that lets you pick your time slot and a special number which allows your phone to connect to the broadcast and act as an on air microphone. CinchCast dumbs down the process even further by allowing its user to create podcasts with only the need of a RSS feed. So if you're stuck in traffic flipping through the played out barrage of terrestrial radio commercials and screaming out the window that, "this sucks!"; now's the time to log on and experience Internet Radio, or begin practicing your radio voice so when you get home you can bust out your music collection and start your very own Internet radio show!

Born in London, England on the same day as the infamous Amityville murders, Jeremy DeHavilland has never strayed from the eye of the storm. Moving to New Jersey at a young age he was forced to forfeit his English accent in exchange for a license to fist pump. Jeremy is currently a composer & multimedia producer, who is an associate producer for and plays guitar in the popular San Diego based rock/punk band Comfort in Chaos.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Neon Trees— Slick Pop Hooks & Organic Rock

"I wanna shake up your system/I wanna rattle your bones/I wanna take you to the stars/And then I’ll leave you alone." —Farther Down

Like their name, Neon Trees are a combination of slick pop hooks and sturdy organic rock, both melodic and hard-hitting, their anthems of adolescent angst, longing, love lost and found, delivered with the kind of heart-on-the-sleeve passion that only comes from hard work and commitment. Their Mercury Records debut, Habits, produced by friend, singer/guitarist Tim Pagnotta, is a refreshing blast of timeless rock energy and spirit that wouldn’t sound out of place at any point from '60s garage-rock to 2010 dance rock, with the first single, Animal, taking off from a round of weaving, angular guitars into a song equally at home in the arena as on the dance floor, a paean to sexual longing in which singer/front man Tyler Glenn wails, "Take a bite of my heart tonight.," and you have no reason to doubt his sincerity. Take hook-happy new wave, add to it the classic-rock story-telling humanity and leaven with other-worldly charisma, and you begin to understand the palette Neon Trees are working from. "I have this weird, obsessive nature of wanting to be a superhero," admits Glenn, who cites his two favorite performers as the Boss and the King of Pop. "I just want to help my friends and the people I love by saving them, only to realize they’re really saving me by listening to the music. The songs are all about forgiveness, love and passion, which basically sums up the whole vibe of what we’re about as a band, professionally and spiritually."

In the opening Sins of my Youth, Tyler reminisces about a childhood of trial, error and eventual self-discovery. "I've got these habits I cannot break… Call me crazy/I was born to make a mess." Your Surrender takes Roy Orbison’s romantic plaint and sets it up against Phil Spector's Wall of Sound, while Girls and Boys in School speaks for itself, with a playground chant over a dark yet sing-along synth-pop chorus. Chris Allen has a quirky, edgy Johnny Marrr-meets—The Edge guitar playing while drummer Elaine Bradley drums with the intensity of John Bonham adding a heartbeat to the sensuality of the songs.

"We’re all about songs which relate the human experience," says Las Vegas native, bassist Branden Campbell. "The emotion is very important to us. Our logo is a human heart with wings. We try to keep it real, but we’re not afraid to dream, either, work hard and admit we want success."

"We approach the songs from a classic perspective," adds guitarist Chris Allen, who formed the initial group in Southern California with neighbor Tyler, who lived around the corner. "Even from the start, it was all about the music for us. We didn’t even talk, just practice."

"I've always tried to keep my feet on the ground with my songwriting," adds Tyler, a self-taught musician who began composing when he was six. "I try to focus on getting out what I'm thinking and feeling. It's a tool to help me cope with all the weird things that come into my mind. I'm just happy to have found that outlet." When Allen moved to Provo, UT, to attend school, Glenn followed him, knowing he wanted to play music with Allen. "That was a real awkward trip," laughs Chris. "We drove all the way out there and hardly said a word to each other. All we knew was we wanted to play music together." 

Once there, they were soon joined by Campbell on bass and drummer Bradley, a Midwestern Led Zeppelin/Depeche Mode fan, a combination that clicked despite the fact the individual members eventually discovered they were all very different people. "“We are all so fascinatingly different," explains Bradley, who has been playing in bands since she was 14, first as a guitarist then as a drummer. "Tyler's the quirky serious type who is really a goofball. Branden's the musical history encyclopedia. Chris is the manual labor. Being in this band is like an arranged marriage where divorce is not an option, and I'm ok with that." Being signed to a major label hasn't changed Neon Trees one bit. "Our goal and how we play are still the same," insists Tyler. "We've always tried to evoke a larger-than-life feel, even if we're playing to 10 people in a garage. We're just trying to keep our feet on the ground and remember why we started doing this in the first place."

"Music is a sacred act of communion for me, offering hope and love," says Tyler. "That's the heart of this band. Just like in life, though, you need to have fun, too, you have to laugh and dance and sing. The songs that last and get people to feel something are the ones they can sing along to and really identify with. 

"There's so much breath to what we do," adds Elaine. "Every song represents a different aspect of our sound. We don't stick to a single formula. And we have the goods to back it up live."

"Our favorite thing is playing live shows, traveling, seeing new places, meeting new people," adds Chris. "We just want to share that feeling we got from the bands that inspired us, and then We want to pass the torch." With their major label debut, Habits, Neon Trees light the fire...

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Portrait of a Filmmaker—Saeed Taji Farouky

Saeed Taji Farouky was born in the United Kingdom to Palestinian-Egyptian parents and grew up between London and various Middle Eastern cities. He is an award-winning human rights documentary filmmaker whose work focuses on several underreported issues and marginalized communities. His films are concerned with transparency in documentary filmmaking, often referencing the relationship between subject and filmmaker. In 2011 he was awarded a Senior Fellowship at TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) for his documentary work, and has previously been named Artist-in-Residence at the British Museum (twice) and at Tate Britain. Farouky is also a human rights educator with Amnesty and teaches filmmaking at London's Metropolitan Film School, located in Ealing Studios. But Saeed, like so many filmmakers and artists… has a very special dream.

I took a personal interest in his project because it envelops the imagination and feed our sense of what matters most in our world. This week on The UPBEAT Entertainment News Syndicate Radio Show, I will be interviewing Saeed. Not because he is a popular filmmaker with name recognition and a Hollywood budget which affords him a lavish lifestyle… No, Saeed has none of these often "worshiped" attributes… but he has a longing, a sincere passion to make a difference… not in an industry where everyone seeks fame and name recognition. But on the planet, OUR planet, a place that we look at from afar but rarely venture into on a much deeper level. So I plan to share Saeed's "vision" with all of you in hopes that it will inspire you to follow your dreams and in the process, change the way we see things, one dream at a time.

As I mentioned in a post/comment about this project: "If EVERYONE that read this gave these guys just $10.00, they would meet their goal and realize their dream. Dreams matter. We need to tap into our humanity, be a tad bit more selfless and commit some random acts of "making dreams come true". Why else are we really here? It certainly isn't to save up until we’re 65 and are too tired to actually "enjoy" it. Remember people, it’s the seemingly insignificant kindness we share that gives us something back every single time… we just aren't as aware of it as we should be.”

Read on below to learn more about Saeed’s film and join us at The UPBEAT Entertainment News Syndicate Radio Show on Friday, October 5th, 2012 at 6:00 PM Eastern Standard time at in Studio A to hear a "Portrait of a Filmmaker". 

Archives of the show can be found at:

"…Even That Void looks gorgeous and will resonate with many at a time when the official notion of 'environmentalism' as an 'ism' is no longer working…" —Maude Barlow, Chair of Council of Canadians, Co-Founder of Blue Planet Project

There Will Be Some Who Will Not Fear Even That Void is an ecological film for the 21st century that asks, "Can art save the Arctic?" It is a film about the future of our planet that will turn the traditional environmental documentary on its head. Rather than looking at our influence on the environment, …Even That Void examines the environment's influence on us— emotionally, psychologically and ethically. …Even That Void was shot over a two and a half week sailing voyage on a tall ship carrying twenty artists around Norway's remote Arctic Svalbard Archipelago. The documentary brilliantly chronicles the bizarre, surreal, beautiful and frightening work of the artists, living aboard the ship, landing daily and making work in response to the extreme environment and innate poetry of the Arctic landscape.

While the footage is real— made up of the Director's observations of and collaborations with the other artists— the plot is all fictional. The Director imagines the artists as a team of specialists sent on a mission in the future to rebuild the Arctic environment after it has been nearly completely decimated by global warming. With no master plan, maps or blueprints, each artist recreates the Arctic of his or her own memories, fears, desires and (flawed) expectations. Ultimately, the film is a love-letter to the Arctic: obsessive, affectionate, heart-breaking. The sense of wonder at the landscape is be balanced by darker contemporary concerns: global warming, the Arctic resource race, the political tension of a militarized Arctic and the disappearance of the last great wilderness.

The Kickstarter Donation Page can be found at:

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Five Ways Charles Koch Benefits From Practices He Criticizes In Absurd Wall Street Journal Op-Ed

Five Ways Charles Koch Benefits From Practices He Criticizes In Absurd Wall Street Journal Op-Ed: pIn today’s Wall Street Journal, Charles Koch laments “crony capitalism,” complaining about “partisan rhetoric,” corporations’ eagerness “to lobby for maintaining and increasing subsidies,” and rewards for “politically connected friends.” Hilariously, he is not writing about himself or his brother David. Drawing on just a small portion of their net worth, the Koch brothers bankroll a [...]/p

Thursday, August 30, 2012

GRMLN— Jangly Guitars and Backbone

Born in Kyoto, Japan and raised in Southern California, 19-year-old Yoodoo Park is the man behind indie rock outfit GRMLN.  In the summer of 2010 in between sessions on his surfboard, Park began recording guitar-driven dream-pop in his garage to soundtrack the journeys in his car. Park chose the name GRMLN to echo the feelings of otherworldliness and disconnect he felt during those summers. Currently a student at the University of California Santa Cruz, Park pens songs there when he's away from his makeshift recording studio and his live band, in which he plays with his brother. Entitled Explore, Yoodoo's debut EP is just that: a young artist inspired by the scenery of his coastal surroundings, discovering and developing his singular voice to create a wistful palette of blues, greens and golds.

On Explore, Park pairs clean, jangly guitars and strong backbones of bass with his yearning, muted vocals that employ reverb to soften, not distort. GRMLN's sound may be unmistakably Californian, but there's a sense of nostalgia that pervades Explore, hearkening back to Park's roots in Japan, where he still spends every summer. Tracks like album opener "Relax Yourself (Dolphin Cry)" and the smoothly slow-burning "Live.Think.Die" encapsulate the wistful aesthetic of Explore, with twinges of shattered heartbreak and melancholy tales of wasted youth darkening the album's summertime mood.

"Patio" brings Explore to a close on a restless note with one of the album's most soaring melodies, bolstered by haunting harmonies that build a feeling of despair lingering on far after the album's final minor key. Explore is a bittersweet portrait of a young man, making music to catalogue his memories as they slip away with every passing California sunset. GMRLN will release his Explore EP on October 23rd with Carpark Records.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Star Trek Titan: Fallen Gods

Though the United Federation of Planets still reels from Andor’s political decision that will forever affect the coalition, Captain William T. Riker and the crew of the U.S.S. Titan are carrying out Starfleet’s renewed commitment to deep space exploration. While continuing to search the Beta Quadrant’s unknown expanses for an ancient civilization’s long-lost quick-terraforming technology— a potential boon to many Borg-ravaged worlds across the Federation and beyond— Titan’s science specialists encounter the planet Ta’ith, home to the remnant of a once-great society that may hold the very secrets they seek. But this quest also takes Titan perilously close to the deadly Vela Pulsar, the galaxy’s most prolific source of lethal radiation, potentially jeopardizing both the ship and what remains of the Ta’ithan civilization. Meanwhile, Will Riker finds himself on a collision course with the Federation Council and the Andorian government, both of which intend to deprive Titan of its Andorian crew members. And one of those Andorians— Lieutenant Pava Ek’Noor sh’Aqaba— has just uncovered a terrible danger, which has been hiding in plain sight for more than two centuries...

Michael A. Martin has covered a lot of ground as Star Trek author, penning tales spanning from TOS, Enterprise and Deep Space Nine to Titan, Section 31 and The Lost Era. Now he continues his impressive run of Trek novels with Star Trek: Titan: Fallen Gods, out today from Simon & Schuster. Here’s the official description of the adventure:

Though the United Federation of Planets still reels from Andor’s political decision that will forever affect the coalition, Captain William T. Riker and the crew of the U.S.S. Titan are carrying out Starfleet’s commitment to deep space exploration. While continuing to search the Beta Quadrant’s unknown expanses for an ancient civilization’s long-lost terraforming technology— a potential boon to many Borg-ravaged worlds across the Federation— Titan’s science specialists encounter the planet Ta’ith, home to the remnant of a once-great society that may hold the very secrets they seek. But this quest also takes Titan perilously close to the deadly Vela Pulsar, the galaxy’s most prolific source of lethal radiation, potentially jeopardizing both the ship and what remains of the Ta’ithan civilization.

As time grows short for both Titan and Ta’ith, Riker confronts the most vexing ethical conundrum of his career: Will he execute a politically motivated order forcing the Andorians aboard his ship to leave against their wishes… or will his loyalty to his crew compel him to jeopardize his entire career by defying Starfleet Command?

Michael A. Martin's solo short fiction has appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. He has also coauthored (with Andy Mangels) several Star Trek comics for Marvel and Wildstorm and numerous Star Trek novels and eBooks, including the USA Today bestseller Titan: Book One: Taking Wing; Titan: Book Two: The Red King; the Sy Fy Genre Award-winning Star Trek: Worlds of Deep Space 9 Book Two: Trill— Unjoined; Star Trek: The Lost Era 2298— The Sundered; Star Trek: Deep Space 9 Mission: Gamma: Vol. Three: Cathedral; Star Trek: The Next Generation: Section 31— Rogue; Star Trek: Starfleet Corps of Engineers #30 and #31 ("Ishtar Rising" Books 1 and 2); stories in the Prophecy and Change, Tales of the Dominion War, and Tales from the Captain's Table anthologies; and three novels based on the Roswell television series. His most recent novels include Enterprise: The Romulan War and Star Trek Online: The Needs of the Many.

His work has also been published by Atlas Editions (in their Star Trek Universe subscription card series), Star Trek Monthly, Dreamwatch, Grolier Books, Visible Ink Press, The Oregonian, and Gareth Stevens, Inc., for whom he has penned several World Almanac Library of the States nonfiction books for young readers. He lives with his wife, Jenny, and their two sons in Portland, Oregon. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Expectation Escalation

How many of us, as creative artists, are regularly paralyzed by the seemingly overwhelming tasks in front of us? The biggest obstacle to surmount is also the biggest asset we have... our conceptual nature! We tend to see the greatness of the finished product in our minds, but we're unable to understand or deal with the smaller chunks of tasks required to get there. It's this inability to define the "next thing" that causes us to shut down, completely discouraged by how impossible it is to do anything worthwhile. I call it "expectation escalation"—comparing everything we do to the best thing we've ever done— and "comparisonitis"— comparing everything we do to the best things anyone has ever done. (I'm guilty of both on a regular basis and it freezes my creative possibilities when I allow it.) Because the world tends to be driven by results, we are pulled right along with it. Process loses all value and we get swept up into the current of "what have you done for me lately?" We want greatness, but we're not always willing to pay the price for it. So what is the price of greatness? 


We forget that nothing happens all at once. No great work of art, entrepreneurial venture or feat of architecture appears spontaneously out of thin air. Each required months or even years of experimentation, learning, crafting and even blood, sweat and tears. This is in addition to the years of training each artist had to forgo and undergo in order to simply begin such a project. The thing to remember is that we are not going for the quick pay off. If the goal is to use your creativity as a means to get rich quick or to be famous... best wishes! But please know that you will eventually find yourself right back in the place of the beginner, desperately looking for meaning in what you make. If, however, you pay the price to develop disciplines and discover who you truly are as an artist, then you have something sustainable and meaningful to say. Art and life... is about improvisation, discovery and awe. It is about leaning over the edge and staring deep into the abyss. It's about staring into our own inadequacies and, just as we think we might come up short, finding the answer that we need was there all the time. As we create we not only reveal a reality, we reveal ourselves. It is important that we not allow expectation escalation and comparisonitis to suffocate us.