Tag Archives: Hollywood

Legendary Singer and Activist Lena Horne Dies at 92

Posted by: TheLCster

AP~Lena Horne, the enchanting jazz singer and actress known for her plaintive, signature song “Stormy Weather” and for her triumph over the bigotry that allowed her to entertain white audiences but not socialize with them, has died. She was 92.

Horne died Sunday at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, said hospital spokeswoman Gloria Chin, who would not release details.

“Her timeless legacy will forever be celebrated as part of the fabric of American popular music, and our deepest sympathies go out to her family, friends, and fans worldwide as we all mourn the loss of one of music’s signature voices,” Neil Portnow, president and CEO of the Recording Academy, said Monday in a statement.

Horne, whose striking beauty often overshadowed her talent and artistry, was remarkably candid about the underlying reason for her success: “I was unique in that I was a kind of black that white people could accept,” she once said. “I was their daydream. I had the worst kind of acceptance because it was never for how great I was or what I contributed. It was because of the way I looked.”

“I knew her from the time I was born, and whenever I needed anything she was there. She was funny, sophisticated and truly one of a kind. We lost an original. Thank you Lena,” Liza Minnelli said Monday. Her father, director Vincente Minnelli, brought Horne to Hollywood to star in “Cabin in the Sky,” in 1943.

In the 1940s, Horne was one of the first black performers hired to sing with a major white band, to play the Copacabana nightclub in New York City and when she signed with MGM, she was among a handful of black actors to have a contract with a major Hollywood studio.

In 1943, MGM Studios loaned her to 20th Century-Fox to play the role of Selina Rogers in the all-black movie musical “Stormy Weather.” Her rendition of the title song became a major hit and her most famous tune.

Horne had an impressive musical range, from blues and jazz to the sophistication of Rodgers and Hart in such songs as “The Lady Is a Tramp” and “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered.” In 1942’s “Panama Hattie,” her first movie with MGM, she sang Cole Porter’s “Just One of Those Things,” winning critical acclaim.

In her first big Broadway success, as the star of “Jamaica” in 1957, reviewer Richard Watts Jr. called her “one of the incomparable performers of our time.” Songwriter Buddy de Sylva dubbed her “the best female singer of songs.”

“It’s just a great loss,” said Janet Jackson Monday. “She brought much joy into everyone’s lives – even the younger generations, younger than myself. She was such a great talent. She opened up such doors for artists like myself.”

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Statement by President Obama and First Lady Michelle on the Passing of Lena Horne

“Michelle and I were deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Lena Horne – one of our nation’s most cherished entertainers. Over the years, she warmed the hearts of countless Americans with her beautiful voice and dramatic performances on screen. From the time her grandmother signed her up for an NAACP membership as a child, she worked tirelessly to further the cause of justice and equality. In 1940, she became the first African American performer to tour with an all white band. And while entertaining soldiers during World War II, she refused to perform for segregated audiences – a principled struggle she continued well after the troops returned home. Michelle and I offer our condolences to all those who knew and loved Lena , and we join all Americans in appreciating the joy she brought to our lives and the progress she forged for our country.”

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A Star Is Born

Written by: BlueDog89


One of the brightest stars to appear on the Hollywood scene in 1929 was a golden knight gripping his mighty sword while standing atop a reel of film with five spokes. His greatest role has been to honor outstanding achievements in filmmaking. His name is Oscar®.

For one of the most recognized trophies the world over, the statuette’s dimensions are not nearly as imposing as the overwhelming emotions experienced by the individuals honored by a nomination or receiving the award itself. Oscar® is a mere 13 ½” and weighing 8 ½ lbs., standing regally atop a base of a film reel. The five spokes displayed on the black base represent the original branches of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences®: Actors, Writers, Directors, Producers, and Technicians.

Cedric Gibbons and Dolores del Rio

Cedric Gibbons and Dolores del Rio

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s chief art director Cedric Gibbons was responsible for the design of the trophy. Gibbons’ wife, actress Delores del Rio, introduced him to Mexican film director Emilio “El Indio” Fernandez to pose for the original sketches. Sculptor George Stanley, renowned for designing the Muse Fountain at the Hollywood Bowl, sculpted Gibbons’ sketches and Sachin Smith cast the statuette in 92.5% tin and 7.5% copper and then gold-plated it. The only addition to Oscar since its original design was a minor streamlining of the base.

The original award presented at early ceremonies was gold-plated solid bronze. The statuette’s material changed over the years, such as during World War II, when there was a metal shortage, and the Oscars® were made of painted plaster. Once the war was over, wartime recipients were allowed to redeem their plaster figurines for gold-plated metal figures. Today Oscar® is constructed of gold-plated britannium on a black metal base rendered in an Art Deco style.

The Academy® initially named the statuette the Academy Award of Merit®, however Oscar® is what it’s most known for. Many rumors surround how the nickname of Oscar came about. One of the most well known is that of Bette Davis saying that the award resembled her first husband, band leader Harmon Oscar Nelson. Davis supposedly mentioned the term Oscar® when she received her Best Actress award for Dangerous in 1935. Walt Disney was rumored to use the moniker in 1932, and Time magazine made mention of Oscar® in 1934. The Authorized Version from the Academy® is based on a popular story about an Academy® librarian who remarked that the statuette resembled her Uncle Oscar. The Academy® officially adopted the nickname in 1939. However the name came about, it stuck. And many people today often refer to the award ceremony as The Oscars®.

From left to right: Douglas Fairbanks Sr., D.W. Griffith, Mary Pickford, and Charles Chaplin, around the time they founded United Artists in 1919

From left to right: Douglas Fairbanks Sr., D.W. Griffith, Mary Pickford, and Charles Chaplin, around the time they founded United Artists in 1919

The first Academy Awards®, hosted by actor Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and screenwriter/director from the silent film era William C. DeMille, were presented on May 16, 1929, at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, and lasted a mere 15 minutes. This was the only Academy Award® ceremony not to be broadcast either on radio or television. This was also the first and only year that the Academy® recognized two best pictures and the only time that winners were recognized for more than one movie. It was also the only time a silent movie reached best picture status.

Wings, Best Picture winner 1927

Wings, Best Picture winner 1927

Films that had been released between August 1, 1927 and July 31, 1928 were eligible for awards. Unlike later ceremonies, awards could be granted to an actor or director for multiple works within a year. The movie Wings, which starred the popular silent film star Clara Bow, won Best Picture, while Emil Jannings won Best Actor for two separate roles and Janet Gaynor won Best Actress for three separate roles. There were two Best Director Awards, Lewis Milestone won for Best Comedy and Frank Borzage won for Best Dramatic Picture.

Two special awards were also presented that night. One to Warner Brothers for producing The Jazz Singer and one to Charlie Chaplin for writing, acting, directing and producing The Circus.

Yet today, no matter what you call the glam evening of a 1,000 stars or the gleaming knight holding a crusader’s sword, it all represents the best in Motion Picture achievement. Only now The Oscars® come complete with bright lights, designer dresses, and the all-important red carpet.

It may be a little different from what the early founders of the Academy® had in mind; but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

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R&B Legend Charlie Wilson Fills the Gaps in His Life’s Winding Road

Posted by: Audiegrl

Charlie Wilson

Full circle: Charlie Wilson shows the alley he slept in as a homeless person after his Gap Band days in Hollywood. Wilson has renewed his life and career.

USA Today“This building wasn’t here,” Charlie Wilson says, waving at a high-rise condo under construction along busy La Brea Avenue. “It was a parking lot for U-Hauls. I slept under them when it rained. So did a lot of other crackheads.”

He brushes a tear from his cheek. Revisiting the haunts of his darkest days is distressing for the R&B legend, who led the Gap Band to international stardom in the ’80s and rebounded to solo glory in recent years. In between lies a desperate stretch of addiction and homelessness that took the singer from a posh Hollywood Hills manse to seedy alleys.

Strolling a narrow road behind a pawn shop, he points to the grassy spot he frequently staked out while living on the streets from 1993 to 1995.

“I slept in that deep corner there,” he says. “When I come through this area now, I get all tensed up. A lot of people who sink that far into depression, drugs and street life don’t come back. A lot of people I knew then are dead.”

Robert, Charlie, and Ronnie in 1982

Robert, Charlie, and Ronnie in 1982

Wilson, who turns 57 on Friday, did more than survive. He just had the most successful year of his 43-year career. The singer is up for two Grammys: R&B album for fourth solo effort Uncle Charlie and R&B vocal for hit single There Goes My Baby, which spent 10 weeks atop Billboard’s adult R&B chart. The album entered the R&B chart at No. 1 and the pop chart at No. 2, a career peak. He’s also nominated for an NAACP Image Award.

Nobody is more astonished by this resurrection than Wilson, who returns to the mileposts of his downfall with humility and gratitude. He starts a walking tour at the former location of the Total Experience studio, where the Gap Band, his trio with brothers Robert and Ronnie, recorded from the mid-’70s to the late ’80s, generating a string of platinum albums and such hits as You Dropped a Bomb on Me, Party Train, Outstanding, Burn Rubber on Me and Shake.
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Read the full story here

Charlie Wilson talks to USA Today about his past struggles with drugs, his time spent living on the streets of L.A., and his comeback as a Grammy nominated singer.

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George Lopez Interviews Charlie Wilson on Lopez Tonight

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Charlie Wilson Performs His Grammy Nominated Song, “There Goes My Baby” on Lopez Tonight

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10 Semi-Finalists Named in Academy/MTVU “Oscar® Correspondent Contest

Posted by: Audiegrl

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and mtvU, MTV’s 24-hour college network, announced ten teams of college journalists as semifinalists in the 2010 Oscar Correspondent Contest, each vying for a coveted position on the red carpet at the 82nd Academy Awards in Hollywood. Video entries from the semifinalist teams are posted online at www.oscars.mtvU.com, where students and other viewers can vote for their favorite college journalists until February 10 at 2 p.m. PT.

The semifinalists are (listed in alphabetical order by university):

Chapman University, Orange, CA – Rachel Berry (anchor) and Christian Hartnett (videographer)
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Emerson College, Boston, MA – Terry Stackhouse (anchor) and Zach Cusson (videographer)
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Emerson College – Dean Dimitruk (anchor) and Tyler Weinberger (videographer)
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Florida A&M University, Tallahassee – Brandon McCaskill (anchor) and Kiarra Hart (videographer)
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Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro – Nicki DeCroce (anchor) and Tony Holt (videographer)
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Rider University, Lawrenceville, NJ – Kelly Dixon (anchor) and Gina Grosso (videographer)
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Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY – Eeshé White (anchor) and Patrick House (videographer)
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Texas State University-San Marcos – Amanda Dugan (anchor) and Colby Howell (videographer)
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University of South Dakota, Vermillion – Angie Lacompte (anchor) and Travis Berg (videographer)
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University of Texas at Austin – Loren Grush (anchor) and Xorje Olivares (videographer)
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On February 12, the three teams with the most online votes, and as agreed upon by the Academy and mtvU, will advance to the final round of competition. From February 16 to March 2, fans can continue to cast their votes for the teams of finalists as they compete for grand prize. All three teams will be flown to Los Angeles to cover Academy Awards pre-events, including the Animated Feature Symposium, Foreign Language Film Award media op, the Makeup Artist and Hairstylist Symposium and the Governors Ball preview.


The grand prize-winning team will be revealed on Saturday, March 6, at an Academy press conference. The anchor and videographer will be awarded a spot on the red carpet for the 82nd Academy Awards arrivals, as well as credentials for access to backstage press rooms. The winning team’s coverage will be aired on MTV News and mtvU. The two finalist teams will receive bleacher seats along the red carpet and admission to an Oscar viewing party.

The ten semifinalist teams were selected by the Academy and mtvU from videos submitted for the competition. The entries were judged based on criteria including originality, creativity, and how compelling the video was overall. The competition was open to teams of two college students, one anchor and one videographer, residing in the United States.

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For a complete list of rules and regulations for the Oscar Correspondent Contest, visit www.oscars.mtvu.com

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Wyclef Jean Joins George Clooney To Lead MTV’s ‘Hope For Haiti Now’ Telethon

Two-hour global telethon will air Friday, January 22

Wyclef Jean

Wyclef Jean

Wyclef Jean will join George Clooney and CNN’s Anderson Cooper in hosting MTV Networks’ “Hope for Haiti Now,” the global two hour telethon to air commercial-free across ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CNN, BET, The CW, HBO, MTV, VH1, and CMT plus CNN International, National Geographic and MTV on Friday, January 22, at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

Hope for Haiti Now” will feature performances and celebrity appearances to be announced in the coming days, as well as live news reports from CNN. Clooney will host from Los Angeles, Wyclef Jean will be in New York and Anderson Cooper will be live from the devastation, with the Hollywood actor lining up a who’s who of guests to drop by and perform on the night.

All proceeds will be split evenly among five relief organizations who are on the ground helping the people of Haiti: Oxfam America, Partners in Health, the Red Cross, UNICEF and Yele Haiti Foundation. Both Facebook and MySpace have signed on as official social-media partners to help steer viewers to the telethon and drive donations.

Celebrities across the fame spectrum have harnessed social-networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook to rally support for the Haitian people, announcing their personal donations or directing their fans to contribute to deserving aid groups.

Yele Haiti FoundationHaitian-born musician Wyclef Jean has become the unofficial face of this celebrity humanitarian movement. More than $1 million has flooded in to Jean’s Yéle Haiti since Tuesday, according the charity’s fund-raising organizers. The Hollywood Foreign Press announced it would donate $100,000 to Yéle, while figures such as Lindsay Lohan, MC Hammer, and Haitian-born soccer star Jozy Altidor have tweeted their support for Jean’s cause.

Producing the telethon will be Joel Gallen, who produced the 9/11 telethon “America: A Tribute to Heroes” that aired 10 days after that tragedy.

The Christian Science Monitor reports that several other celebrities are using their social clout and talent to direct attention to Haiti.

  • Lance ArmstrongCyclist Lance Armstrong announced to his 2.3 million Twitter followers that his Livestrong foundation had pledged $250,000 to two humanitarian aid groups.
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  • Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt Actors-turned-philanthropists Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have donated $1 million to the Doctors Without Borders organization; Oprah began her talk show Wednesday by asking viewers to contribute to the Red Cross; Coldplay front man Chris Martin is urging his fans to donate to Haiti via Oxfam; and even Paris Hilton promoted the efforts of the Red Cross via Twitter.
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  • David BlaineMeanwhile, magician David Blaine is taking a slightly more hands-on approach. At 9 a.m. Friday, Blaine started what will be a 72-hour, nonstop “Magic Marathon” in Times Square. Benefits of the event and all proceeds from his online store will be given to the Red Cross.
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  • RihannaBut George Clooney isn’t the only celeb tapping his golden connections. East Coast nightlife guru Unik Ernest, whose Edeyo Foundation supports community-building projects in Haiti, has begun organizing a telethon and benefit concert. While the date of the event is yet to be released, celebrities said to be featured include: Rihanna, Usher, Mariah Carey, Kanye West, Mark Wahlberg, Jay-Z, Susan Sarandon, Leonardo DiCaprio, and others, according to Tonic.com.

Celebrity support of the Haitian people has contributed to the success of this week’s aid efforts. The American Red Cross reported Wednesday evening that in the 48 hours following the quake some $35 million in donations had poured in – more than it had received in the two days following Hurricane Katrina and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunamis.

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Academy Museum of Motion Pictures Project

Posted by: Audiegrl

It was Gertrude Stein who once said of Oakland, “There is no there there.” The same has often been said of Hollywood (both the place and the industry). There is no single place a visitor can go to get a real sense of its essence. The purpose of a museum dedicated to the filmmaking arts and sciences would be to put a “there” in Hollywood. To illuminate something of what we do and how we do it. Something of the sweat and something of the inspiration; something of the practical and something of the magic; to capitalize on the national and international love of filmed entertainment and promote an appreciation of, knowledge of, and respect for our work.

Diane Keaton and Woody Allen analyze a sculpture on display at MOMA in Manhattan (1979)

Diane Keaton and Woody Allen analyze a sculpture on display at MOMA in Manhattan (1979)

Our mission is to create a place to celebrate and explore how film has reflected and shaped world culture, and to help us all better understand what the movies have meant – and continue to mean – in our lives. Thirteen locations across Los Angeles were carefully assessed as potential sites on which to build our new institution. Ultimately, the Museum Committee felt that the museum was meant to live in Holly­wood, a neighborhood synonymous with the film industry. The chosen site, adjacent to the Academy’s existing Pickford Center, allows for the creation of a sunny, eight-acre campus.

The museum will be open year-round and become a landmark attraction for Hollywood and the greater Los Angeles area, a place for watching and learning about film and filmmaking, for exploring film’s relationship with the greater world and for listening to stories told by filmmakers themselves.

The museum’s public programs, lectures and hands-on exhibits will attract Los Angelenos, tourists, Academy members, film professionals, students and everyone in between. While people may be initially drawn in by the allure of Hollywood, we hope they will leave inspired and exhilarated, with a deeper appreciation for what movies have given them – characters they root for and sympathize with, glimpses into lives they wouldn’t have otherwise known, and stories that have shaped the American dream and our sense of national identity.

Sidney Poitier in the film classic 'To Sir With Love' (1967) with Lulu.

Sidney Poitier in the film classic 'To Sir With Love' (1967) with Lulu.

Who are our heroes and how have they changed over time? How have films depicted volatile issues like civil rights, religion, gender relations, poverty and war? How have they shaped our sense of masculinity, femininity and romance? How have Hollywood and Southern California affected the image of the United States, at home and abroad? Such are some of the topics the museum’s exhibits will explore, while allowing visitors to view films within the historical, cultural and technological contexts in which they were made.

But to see a film on screen is to see a finished product, not the creative process behind it. And so the Academy’s museum will also include spaces that explore the evolution of filmmaking. It will pull back the curtain, celebrating movie magic while allowing visitors a peek at how it is created. Each of the crafts will be illustrated in lucid, dazzling and unexpected ways, inviting visitors to explore often hidden worlds, whether that be a soundstage, an art department, a post-production studio or the Oscar® show itself. Visitors will be invited to sit in the director’s chair, costume a character, light a starlet, choose a location, cast a film, edit a trailer, score a movie, even walk the red carpet. They will come away with a better understanding of each craft, feeling that they have experienced cinematic creation themselves. It will forever change the way they watch movies.

Elizabeth Taylor in Father of the Bride (1950)

Elizabeth Taylor in Father of the Bride (1950)

The Academy’s museum will be a place of continuously changing exhibitions and programs of interest to residents as well as tourists. It will not rely solely on static objects and images, but will instead utilize interactive and experiential exhibitions, along with well-chosen memorabilia – “the bones of our saints,” if you will. Premieres, foreign films, silent movies, retrospectives, tributes – the screen­ing schedule in the museum’s state-of-the-art theater will be diverse and enticing, luring locals again and again and becoming one of the first things movie-loving tourists will check when planning trips to Southern California.

The Academy has collaborated with many different constituen­cies to determine the content of its museum exhibitions – from craftspeople in each branch, to historians, scholars and film critics, to staff at prominent museums around the country. The priorities are clear: to develop signature content, robust educational programs and exhibits that will attract both residents and tourists, all while providing a “red carpet” standard of visitor hospitality and service.

Years from now, we envision that the museum’s campus will be the hub of the vibrant neighborhood of Hollywood. Its collection, in concert with those of the Margaret Herrick Library and the Academy Film Archive, will continue to provide an important record of the evolution of filmmaking. The museum will be acknowledged as the best in the world on the subject, having become a “must-see” destination in the Los Angeles area and a major center for Academy members to gather and discuss, debate and share issues of importance to filmmaking – past, present and future.

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Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith’s Interview with President Barack Obama

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith interview President Barack Obama after he receives the Nobel Peace Prize 2009 in Oslo, Norway.

Part One

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NASA on 2012: Beginning of the End or Why the World Won’t End?

Posted by Audiegrl

“There apparently is a great deal of interest in celestial bodies, and their locations and trajectories at the end of the calendar year 2012. Now, I for one love a good book or movie as much as the next guy. But the stuff flying around through cyberspace, TV and the movies is not based on science. There is even a fake NASA news release out there…”~~Don Yeomans, NASA senior research scientist

Doomsday? The film 2012 will inflame existing fears about the possible end of the worldNASA—Remember the Y2K scare? It came and went without much of a whimper because of adequate planning and analysis of the situation. Impressive movie special effects aside, Dec. 21, 2012, won’t be the end of the world as we know. It will, however, be another winter solstice.

Much like Y2K, 2012 has been analyzed and the science of the end of the Earth thoroughly studied. Contrary to some of the common beliefs out there, the science behind the end of the world quickly unravels when pinned down to the 2012 timeline. Below, NASA Scientists answer several questions that we’re frequently asked regarding 2012.

Question (Q): Are there any threats to the Earth in 2012? Many Internet websites say the world will end in December 2012.
Answer (A): Nothing bad will happen to the Earth in 2012. Our planet has been getting along just fine for more than 4 billion years, and credible scientists worldwide know of no threat associated with 2012.

Q: What is the origin of the prediction that the world will end in 2012?
A: The story started with claims that Nibiru, a supposed planet discovered by the Sumerians, is headed toward Earth. This catastrophe was initially predicted for May 2003, but when nothing happened the doomsday date was moved forward to December 2012. Then these two fables were linked to the end of one of the cycles in the ancient Mayan calendar at the winter solstice in 2012 — hence the predicted doomsday date of December 21, 2012.

Q: Does the Mayan calendar end in December 2012?
A: Just as the calendar you have on your kitchen wall does not cease to exist after December 31, the Mayan calendar does not cease to exist on December 21, 2012. This date is the end of the Mayan long-count period but then — just as your calendar begins again on January 1 — another long-count period begins for the Mayan calendar.

Q: Could a phenomena occur where planets align in a way that impacts Earth?
A: There are no planetary alignments in the next few decades, Earth will not cross the galactic plane in 2012, and even if these alignments were to occur, their effects on the Earth would be negligible. Each December the Earth and sun align with the approximate center of the Milky Way Galaxy but that is an annual event of no consequence.

nibiruQ: Is there a planet or brown dwarf called Nibiru or Planet X or Eris that is approaching the Earth and threatening our planet with widespread destruction?
A: Nibiru and other stories about wayward planets are an Internet hoax. There is no factual basis for these claims. If Nibiru or Planet X were real and headed for an encounter with the Earth in 2012, astronomers would have been tracking it for at least the past decade, and it would be visible by now to the naked eye. Obviously, it does not exist. Eris is real, but it is a dwarf planet similar to Pluto that will remain in the outer solar system; the closest it can come to Earth is about 4 billion miles.

Q: What is the polar shift theory? Is it true that the earth’s crust does a 180-degree rotation around the core in a matter of days if not hours?
A: A reversal in the rotation of Earth is impossible. There are slow movements of the continents (for example Antarctica was near the equator hundreds of millions of years ago), but that is irrelevant to claims of reversal of the rotational poles. However, many of the disaster websites pull a bait-and-shift to fool people. They claim a relationship between the rotation and the magnetic polarity of Earth, which does change irregularly, with a magnetic reversal taking place every 400,000 years on average. As far as we know, such a magnetic reversal doesn’t cause any harm to life on Earth. A magnetic reversal is very unlikely to happen in the next few millennia, anyway.

Q: Is the Earth in danger of being hit by a meteor in 2012?
A: The Earth has always been subject to impacts by comets and asteroids, although big hits are very rare. The last big impact was 65 million years ago, and that led to the extinction of the dinosaurs. Today NASA astronomers are carrying out a survey called the Spaceguard Survey to find any large near-Earth asteroids long before they hit. We have already determined that there are no threatening asteroids as large as the one that killed the dinosaurs. All this work is done openly with the discoveries posted every day on the NASA NEO Program Office website, so you can see for yourself that nothing is predicted to hit in 2012.

Q: How do NASA scientists feel about claims of pending doomsday?
A: For any claims of disaster or dramatic changes in 2012, where is the science? Where is the evidence? There is none, and for all the fictional assertions, whether they are made in books, movies, documentaries or over the Internet, we cannot change that simple fact. There is no credible evidence for any of the assertions made in support of unusual events taking place in December 2012.

Q: Is there a danger from giant solar storms predicted for 2012?
A: Solar activity has a regular cycle, with peaks approximately every 11 years. Near these activity peaks, solar flares can cause some interruption of satellite communications, although engineers are learning how to build electronics that are protected against most solar storms. But there is no special risk associated with 2012. The next solar maximum will occur in the 2012-2014 time frame and is predicted to be an average solar cycle, no different than previous cycles throughout history.

Addition information concerning 2012

Dec2012jpg.sizedNASA Astrobiology Institute: Nibiru and Doomsday 2012

Bad Astronomy: The Planet X Saga: The Scientific Arguments in a Nutshell

Sky and Telescope Magazine: “2012: The Great Scare

Dan Brown’s New Book, 2012 – Are You Ready for the Consciousness Shift?

The 2012 Phenomenon Plus 10 Failed Doomsday Predictions

Why the World Will NOT End in 2012: NASA Scientist Debunks Conspiracy Theories

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How Vampires Rose From Myth to Modern Obsession

colton-reviewxUSA Today/David Colton—Compared with the neck-biting ecstasies of Twilight and True Blood, the vampires of Hollywood’s past are downright chaste. Not a drop of blood was shown in the original Dracula of 1931, and it wasn’t until the Hammer studio films of the 1950s that the screen flowed crimson.

Now two of horror’s top film historians take a look at the cinematic roots of the vampire phenomenon.

In Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff: The Expanded Story of a Haunting Collaboration, a revision of a 1990 title, author Gregory William Mank explodes many of the myths about the Hungarian-born Lugosi, the screen’s first Dracula.

Though Lugosi was a hit in Dracula on Broadway, he was only the sixth choice for the screen role, finally accepting $500 a week (half his previous fee) to star as the immortal Count. Lugosi claimed for years he turned down the role of Frankenstein’s monster, but in truth was rejected in favor of Karloff. And no, Karloff did not joke that Lugosi was “putting us on” at Lugosi’s funeral in 1956. Karloff wasn’t even there.

The Mank book, which he calls an “obsession” since his first interviews with Lugosi’s ex-wife in 1974, is meticulously researched and more than 300 pages longer than the original. It grandly paints a portrait of the two stars and the spooky past of Universal, Hollywood’s top scare studio of the 1930s and 1940s.

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Halle, Whoopi, Grier In New ‘Divas On Screen‘ Book

Posted by Audiegrl

Grier, Dandridge and Oprah also featured in examination of ‘Black Women in American Film’

Divas on Screen: Black Women in American Film by Mia Mask

Divas on Screen: Black Women in American Film by Mia Mask

Oscar pioneers Dorothy Dandridge and Halle Berry join Pam Grier, Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey as subjects of the new book “Divas on Screen: Black Women in American Film.”

Author Mia Mask, who teaches film and drama at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., said she was inspired to write the book after noticing the huge amount of attention given to black male stars, while their female counterparts were often looked over.

These women have pushed the racial boundaries for audiences, setting new standards for beauty and body type,” Mask told the Associated Press.

Dorothy Dandridge

Dorothy Dandridge

Dandridge received an Academy Award nomination for her lead role in the 1954 classic “Carmen Jones,” alongside Harry Belafonte. Berry won an Oscar in 2000 for playing the wife of an executed murderer in “Monster’s Ball.” She also had portrayed Dandridge as a stunning femme fatale in a 1999 HBO film about Dandridge’s life.

When Dandridge became a star, “she was working in an environment in which there were almost no women of color (in leading roles),” said Mask, and Dandridge “had to fit into the mold of shapely and svelte.”

Grier was chosen for her ability in the early 70s to break that mold with her forceful but hip physical presence as an action heroine. As for Winfrey, Mask said she chose her because the talk-show host’s television presence catapulted her film appearances to the level of global stardom, transcending any category.

In spite of vast changes, Mask said, sore points persist in casting black women for star roles: a paucity of quality parts, and a new trend of pairing black lead actors with female leads who are not.

Studio heads don’t think two black characters will appeal to general audiences,” said Mask.

Oscar winner, Halle Berry

Oscar winner, Halle Berry

She chose Dandridge and Berry “as bookends” for the time span that transformed black women in commercial films.

We’ve gone from the trope of the tragic (mulatto) to biracial beauty,” said Mask, who is taping a five-part series for National Public Radio to air in late October — each on one of the women in the book.

Introducing Dorothy Dandridge starring Halle Berry

'Introducing Dorothy Dandridge' movie poster

'Introducing Dorothy Dandridge' movie poster

This bio-pic of Dorothy Dandridge follows her career through early days on the club circuit with her sister to her turn in movies, including becoming the first black actress to win a Best Actress Nomination in 1954 for “Carmen Jones“, to her final demise to prescription drugs, which was debated whether it was suicide or accidental. Brent Spiner plays her faithful manager who stood beside her through all of the roller coaster of her career. The film also examines her love affair with director Otto Preminger, which is shown to have probably initially helped her career, but later probably led her to some wrong decisions.~~John Sacksteder

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