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Penn State Behrend Fall Choir Concert to be Held Nov. 16

‘Dona nobis pacem’ theme highlights this year’s event  A performance of Karl Jenkins’ “The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace” will...

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Arts & Culture News

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The gavel will not come down on the first lot of New York's major fall auctions until Tuesday, but records have already fallen and more are virtually certain once the bidding actually begins.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Thirty years after its initial Broadway run, Scottish actor Ewan McGregor is heading an all-star cast in the latest revival of Tom Stoppard's Tony winning play, "The Real Thing," about love, truth, marriage and infidelity.

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Vatican on Wednesday unveiled new high-tech, energy-saving lighting and air purification systems to protect Michelangelo's delicate Sistine Chapel frescoes from damage caused by ever-growing crowds of tourists.

(Reuters) - Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Galway Kinnell died on Tuesday at his home in Vermont after battling leukemia, his wife said on Wednesday. He was 87.

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela is flaunting its newly-recovered Henri Matisse painting next to a sloppy copy that was put in its place when the original was stolen more than a decade ago, rekindling an art-world mystery.

Sports News

ARCADIA California (Reuters) - The 2014 Breeders' Cup opened its $26 million programme on Friday with a superb win by Untapable, a disappointing run by the well backed Close Hatches and a stunning pregnant pause by jockey Rosie Napravnik.

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The San Francisco Giants on Friday brought home their third World Series trophy in five years to elated fans that lined a two-mile (3-km) parade route along the city's Market Street.

AUSTIN Texas (Reuters) - Formula One's struggling teams played down talk of a possible boycott of Sunday's U.S. Grand Prix on Friday as argument over division of the sport's revenues grew more heated on Friday.

(The Sports Xchange) - The NHL suspended Vancouver Canucks forward Alexandre Burrows for three games, without pay, for a late, illegal check to the head of Montreal Canadiens defenseman Alexei Emelin on Thursday, the league announced Friday.

(The Sports Xchange) - Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo missed his third straight day of practice with a back injury on Friday and could be a game-time decision.

Science News

MOJAVE Calif. (Reuters) - A passenger spaceship being developed by Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic company crashed during a test flight on Friday near the Mojave Air and Space Port in California, killing one pilot and seriously injuring the other, officials said.

MOJAVE Calif. (Reuters) - A passenger spaceship being developed by Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic company crashed during a test flight on Friday near the Mojave Air and Space Port in California, killing one pilot and seriously injuring the other, officials said.

CAPE CANAVERAL Fla (Reuters) - Heeding a lesson from history, designers of a new generation of U.S. rockets will include escape systems to give crew members a fighting chance of surviving launch accidents such as the one that felled an unmanned Orbital Sciences Antares rocket on Tuesday.

CAPE CANAVERAL Fla. (Reuters) - As Orbital Sciences picks up the pieces, literally and figuratively, after its high-profile rocket launch explosion, accident investigators are looking closely at a potential first-stage engine problem.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The crash of an unmanned Orbital Sciences Antares rocket is a "wake-up call" to the U.S. space community about the need to develop a new U.S. rocket engine, the head of Boeing Co's defense division said on Thursday.

Movie Reviews

“Well, it’s been real,” observes John Malkovich’s photojournalist during The Killing Fields’ recreation of the US military’s air-evacuation of Phnom Penh in 1975. And, for the most part, Roland Joffe’s true-life drama devastatingly captures the horror of the Cambodian genocide.(It’s sad then that Rambo: First Blood Part II, released the same year, took four timesthe US box office). From Bruce Robinson’s screenplay to Chris Menges’ photography, there are few bum notes here – save the occasionally intrusive score, and jarring use of ‘Imagine’ at the climax.

“We’re explorers, not caretakers,” muses frustrated pilot Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) – a man born “40 years too late or 40 years too early” – near the start of Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar.

The same could be said for the director himself. Not one content to rest on his cinematic laurels, Interstellar sees Nolan (the man who rejuvenated comic-book movies with his Dark Knight trilogy and gave summer blockbuster fare a mind-bending shot in the arm with Inception) voyaging into space – and full-tilt science fiction – for the very first time. The result? Often spectacular, sometimes frustrating, infinitely ambitious…

As ever, attempting to sum up Nolan’s labyrinthine plotting (brainstormed once again alongside younger brother Jonathan) is nigh-on impossible without spoiling the twisty, time-hopping narrative and carefully crafted reveals.

The film takes place in a near-future where the Earth is slowly withering, permanently covered in a thick layer of arid dust that makes human survival at best challenging, at worst nigh-on impossible. The population is declared a “caretaker generation”, tasked with improving sustainability for their descendants, while notions of space exploration and other means of survival are actively discouraged (schools now teach kids that the moon landings were “faked” in order to destabilise the Soviet threat during the Cold War).

Trying to make sense of it all is former pilot turned corn farmer Cooper, whose undampened thirst for science and discovery are passed on to his headstrong daughter, Murphy (Mackenzie Foy). After a mysterious gravitational anomaly points them in the direction of what remains of NASA, Cooper is soon persuaded by his former mentor (Michael Caine) to pilot a top secret interstellar mission alongside his own daughter Brand (Anne Hathaway), using a mysterious wormhole to explore strange new worlds suitable for the possible relocation of the human race.

The plot may be higher-than-high concept, but Nolan keeps the world of Interstellar admirably and charmingly lo-fi. Location shoots in Iceland lend a stunning natural edge to the film’s alien landscapes, while the film’s tech – taking cues from films like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Alien – has a tangible, old-school quality to it, from the embryonic, sous-vide-style hypersleep chambers to McConaughey's clunky, faceless robot sidekick TARS (even in the depths of new galaxies, characters still write out their trajectories on white boards and explain scientific theories using pen and paper).

Ditto the movie itself, shot on film in good old-fashioned 2D. It’s to Nolan and his VFX team’s credit, though, that he’s still able to push boundaries despite this traditional approach: Interstellar contains without doubt some of the most inventive, immersive and abstract outer-space visuals ever put up on the big screen.

Despite the scale, though, this is a film about fathers and their daughters. It’s easy to see why Steven Spielberg was once attracted to the director’s chair; in fact, much of the film’s first act takes place before McConaughey even gets into his space togs. If there’s one criticism usually levelled at Nolan’s previous work it’s a lack of emotional heft – a complaint he goes some way to addressing here.

Still, you can’t help wonder if The Beard might have added an extra layer of warmth to a fable that often gets bogged down in exposition (especially troublesome in scenes where Hans Zimmer's overbearing score threatens to drown out the dialogue completely), trying as it does to make the wormhole and space-time theories of physicist Kip Thorne – on which the film is based – accessible to all.

Thankfully, Nolan's helped no end by his lead, the charismatic McConaughey cementing his A-list comeback with a powerful performance that helps ground the grand proceedings and provides the film with its emotional core.

Among all the space phenomena and alien terrains, it's one of his quieter moments that proves the film's small-scale highlight – a heartbreaking scene in which extreme time differences mean he’s forced to literally watch his kids grow up in front of him. It’s also his back-and-forth banter with TARS – a former military droid with a fiercely sarcastic artificial intelligence (voiced by comedian Bill Irwin) – that lends the film some much needed humour among the solemnity of the mission at hand. 

Meanwhile, fellow Nolan newbie Jessica Chastain and regular collaborator Caine provide solid Earthbound support with only fairly limited screentime, and Hathaway adds a refreshingly down-to-earth presence to the outer-space adventure, despite being saddled with much of the film’s eye-rolling, cod-philosophical monologues, musing on everything from humanity’s place in the universe to the “power of love”…

If there’s one area that Nolan is visibly more comfortable with, it’s tense, super-sized set-pieces – and he more than delivers here. From a race against a giant, skyscraper-sized wave to some frosty fisticuffs atop a gargantuan glacier (meticulously shot to frame the combatants as tiny ants compared to the enormity of the icy mass they’re traversing), Interstellar contains its fair share of heart-in-mouth moments, the previously untapped corners of space providing ample opportunity to mine fresh spectacle. 

And yet, despite his seemingly limitless imagination, the director's ambition ultimately threatens to get the better of him, particularly in the final stretch of the film's bum-numbing, 168-minute running time. With high concept piling up on top of high concept, Nolan’s steady grip on the plot loosens, as space-time conundrums, new dimensions and even the suggestion of extraterrestrial higher powers collide in a cacophony of increasingly difficult-to-swallow revelations.

Here still, it’s McConaughey's space-dad who saves the day, managing to hold focus – and empathy – despite the ludicrousness of the situation around him. Could he finally break the stalemate between sci-fi and Oscar? Either way, the McConaissance continues...

A post-Potter Daniel Radcliffe continues to make un-safe choices with Alexandre Aja’s (Switchblade Romance) supernatural horror, donning the titular devilish appendages for the role of scruffy bad boy Ig Perrish (Shia LaBeouf was originally linked to the part before moving on). Ig’s small town rushes to judge him when his angelic girlfriend Merrin (Juno Temple) is brutally murdered. In the wake of her death those grotesque add-ons sprout from his skull. Ig’s horns turn out to be a blessing as well as a curse, infused with the power to make townsfolk spill their deepest, darkest secrets and desires to him. A handy trick when you’re trying to prove your innocence. Adapted from Joe Hill’s (son of Stephen King) novel, Horns is both a romantic fable of first love and a macabre revenge chiller. It’s thick with an unsettling, peculiar atmosphere and swimming in religious iconography. It’s also director Aja’s most ambitious work yet: he mashes up genres with gleeful relish, teasing out the cleverness of Hill’s source material and painting a precise picture of the claustrophobic Pacific Northwest world Ig inhabits, heightened by creepy fairytale tableaux like the ‘enchanted’ forest where Merrin’s body ends up artfully displayed. The first half plays like a subversive black comedy before Horns fully commits to the dark side. (Hill brands the story a “tragicomic horridy”). Aja pays sly homage to Radcliffe’s past – Ig can commune with snakes – but Harry Potter is definitely all grown-up here: Radcliffe and Temple’s sex scene, soundtracked by David Bowie’s ‘Heroes’, is saucy stuff. There’s chemistry between the Brit pair – but after flashbacks reveal more of their shared backstory the movie does lose some of its vital mystery. No matter: the support cast help keep sparks flying, including Joe Anderson as Ig’s druggy brother, Max Minghella as his childhood best friend and James Remar and Kathleen Quinlan as his parents, whose confessions to their son spawn one of Horns’ best scenes. As Ig’s horns grow, the devil goes to work and the mood becomes jittery and, ultimately, grisly. Radcliffe ends up going to all kinds of dark places, and with impressive conviction. For the risk-loving star, this is merely the latest step on his long march away from Hogwarts; for Aja, it’s a largely successful attempt to move away from the more blood-drenched genre work he’s known for – it certainly bites deeper than Piranha 3D

'Network meets Taxi Driver' might have been the pitch for Dan Gilroy’s debut feature, a ghoulish satire that trawls the dark corners and neon-soaked streets of LA. Gaunt and bug-eyed, Jake Gyllenhaal excels as Lou Bloom, a lost soul who stumbles across a bloody road accident and stands transfixed as a TV news crew feeds off the carnage. After getting hold of a digital camera and a police scanner, Lou goes into business, prowling the city at witching hour and selling his crime footage to cutthroat producer Nina (Rene Russo). If it bleeds, it leads, and the needle of Lou’s moral compass doesn’t so much as twitch when he begins to manipulate crime scenes to enable ever-more-vivid footage. Our obsession with crime, the media’s peddling of fear and news-as-ratings-hungry- entertainment are hardly fresh themes, and Gilroy (younger brother of Tony) aims them at the viewer with heavy intensity. But what Nightcrawler lacks in subtlety it makes up for in mood, the LA skyline forever twinkling in the distance (it is to Lou what the green light is to Jay Gatsby) as ace DoP Robert Elswit paints the edges of the city in murk and sodium. Gyllenhaal is ably supported by Riz Ahmed as his hired assistant, Bill Paxton as the head of a rival news crew and Russo in her best role since The Thomas Crown Affair, but this is Jake’s gig. Sustained by blood and crookedly perky in a manner that recalls The King Of Comedy’s sociopath Rupert Pupkin, Gyllenhaal’s Lou is a chilling, mesmerising creation, none more so than when he gazes at the studio backdrop of the LA skyline and murmurs, lullaby-like, “On TV it looks so real.”

Fifteen years on from Topsy-Turvy, Mike Leigh returns to the handsome period biopic with a portrait of an artist, 18th-Century giant Joseph Mallord William Turner. A man who evidently didn’t suffer fools gladly – no less, you’d imagine, than Leigh himself. Tempting though it is to interpret Mr. Turner on some level as a self-portrait, this is but one brushstroke in a rich and sprawling canvas. One whose generous running time affords Leigh ample room to explore his subject’s private life, his public persona and the ever-changing Victorian world that restlessly swirled around him. Kicking off in the 1820s, the film introduces Turner (Timothy Spall) as a man of high ideals and base appetites: a barber’s son with a passion for landscapes who likes nothing more than sharing a pig’s head with his ageing father (Paul Jesson) or having a quickie against the bookcase with his dogsbody housekeeper (Dorothy Atkinson, splendidly Dickensian). Turner relishes his lofty status at the Royal Academy yet takes a schoolboy’s delight in winding up John Constable (James Fleet), his chief rival. He refuses to acknowledge the children he sired with his resentful ex-mistress, yet happily moves in with a guest-house owner (Marion Bailey) the minute her husband (Karl Johnson) is out of the picture. This is, in short, a complex dude, brought majestically to life by Spall in a performance made up almost wholly of gutteral grunts, contemptuous snorts and dismissive harrumphs. Like his paintings in their early, inchoate forms, Turner’s a bit rough round the edges. Leigh, though, makes it plain that it was precisely from this mass of contradictions that his genius sprang. A huge cast featuring many of Leigh’s regular collaborators populate the fringes with a vivid array of supporting characters that range from disdainful royals to embittered contemporaries to the occasional pliant prostitute. DoP Dick Pope, meanwhile, brings a painterly elegance to an exhibition’s worth of digital compositions that most memorably include a recreation of The Fighting Temeraire, the “bloody big ship” Daniel Craig took such a liking to in Skyfall. The end result must surely rank as not only one of Leigh’s most significant achievements, but also one that may have a lasting influence on how artists’ lives are chronicled on film in future. If nothing else, the scenes in which Turner uses his own phlegmy sputum to lubricate his watercolours give a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘spitting image’.

CD Reviews

- Rian Evans

Prichard-Jones Hall, BangorDaniel Joness Fourth Symphony, composed in memory of the poet, was the centrepiece for this evening of striking and sensitive responses to Thomass work

In the week of Dylan Thomass centenary, Bangor Universitys School of Music has staged one of the most inventive celebrations: their series of concerts, My Friend Dylan Thomas, examined how composers across the musical spectrum have been inspired by the poets words. The question of what his intended collaboration with Stravinsky might have produced remains tantalising. But at the heart of Bangors commemoration was the work of Thomass best friend, the composer Daniel Jones, whose own genius may be seen as an inspiring element in the poets early development.

Following his incidental music for Under Milk Wood, Jones wrote his Fourth Symphony in memory of Thomas. In this performance by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, both the rawness of grief and the essentially lyrical nature of his elegy emerged. Conductor Grant Llewellyn sustained the long span of the work from the opening Maestoso, where a slow lamenting tread periodically breaks into anguished outbursts, through the exuberant and capricious scherzo to the final return to the inescapable fact of death.

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- Mark Beaumont

The DomeThe duo ditched their bear costumes in favour of Halloween flamboyance, paying heartfelt tribute to electro heroes from Todd Terry to the KLF

Whenever Slipknot make a comeback they get a major mask makeover, extending their head spikes by three feet and trying to out-evil the evilest Wasco Clown. Not so, cuddly house revivalists The 2 Bears. Perhaps realising that the manky bear costumes they wore throughout the campaign for their inspired debut album Be Strong, in 2012, wouldnt even survive a hefty blast of Fabreze, theyve ditched the outfits altogether and instead shrouded themselves in camp Halloween flamboyance. Their warm-up act is a military mistress wrapping the crowd in neon wool for a lesson in rave knitting, and their show gradually becomes a vast parade of sexy zombies, S&M ghouls, Twiglet-physiqued he-shes and gasmask-clad Dr Deaths. Its like Rocky Horror night at The Box.

All of which makes their shameless throwback to early-90s house music an utterly infectious experience. While his Hot Chip bandmate Alexis Taylor is off exploring the emotive world of alt-folk, Joe Goddard drenches himself in post-rave cheese. Singer Raf Rundell the chunky brickie everyman of disco divas, as glamorous as a saveloy switches from Ian Dury monotone to cracked soul croon as My Queen throbs along on rusted rimshot beats and synthetic marimba. Beyond Bear Hug, their rib-crushing pastiche of A Guy Called Geralds Voodoo Ray, theres little novelty slant to their music; the glistening pop choruses of Angel (Touch Me), Get Out and Be Strong are heartfelt tribute to the Tongian era, the latter even listing their electro heroes from Todd Terry to the KLF.

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- Harriet Gibsone

A bombastic pop blast teetering on the edge of ridiculousness, it has the same energy as Erasures A Little Respect

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- Tim Ashley

Royal Festival HallA strong performance of Berliozs Symphony Fantastique and an intense Coriolan featured alongside sparkling Liszt from Khatia Buniatishvili

High Romanticism and rebellion were the underlying themes of Tugan Sokhievs latest Philharmonia concert, a riveting effort that served as a reminder of what a fine conductor the young Russian has become of late. Beethoven, Liszt and Berlioz at their most iconoclastic formed the programme, all three benefitting from the mixture of passion and refinement integral to Sokhievs style.

The main work was Berliozs Symphonie Fantastique, its volatility underpinned by the subtlety of Sokhievs approach. The huge emotional lurch after the unusually breezy first appearance of the idée fixe immediately defined the psychological narrative as one of unstable desire for an unavailable object rather than one of consummation and betrayal. Sokhiev was particularly good at capturing the gathering unease of the opening movements the tense elegance of the ball, the almost imperceptible souring of mood in the scene in the countryside. His extreme, violent way with March to the Scaffold, complete with the most sickening guillotine crash imaginable, left him too little room for manoeuvre in the Witches Sabbath, which didnt quite reach the outer limits as it ideally should. But it was a strong interpretation, superbly played.

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- Dave Simpson

(The Leaf Label)

Swedish husband-and-wife duo Wildbirds & Peacedrums echo the format laid down by drummer Budgie and singer Siouxsie as the Creatures three decades ago. Andreas Werliins drum motifs provide the startling backdrop for Mariam Wallentins bird-like vocal swoops and cries. Almost five years since the duos last effort, they have stripped everything down even further, ditching additional layers from steel drums to pump organs for just an occasional extra bang on a cowbell, and the nine songs here were each recorded in one take. The minimalism and space in the music focus attention on the stark blues and gymnastics in Wallentins voice as she rampages from subtle purrs and inflections to a Patti Smith-type poetic rap monologue on Gold Digger. The format can run the risk of feeling one-dimensional, and the repetitive Mind Blues is more jarring than thrilling, but The Offbeat and Everything All the Time are giant, funky, instantly catchy collisions of voice and rhythm that will no doubt gain even more physical heft when they play them live. 

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Book Reviews

Top 5 at a Glance1. THE CONFESSION, by John Grisham2. WORTH DYING FOR, by Lee Child3. AMERICAN ASSASSIN, by Vince Flynn4. THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST, by Stieg Larsson5. SIDE JOBS, by Jim Butcher

Top 5 at a Glance1. LIFE, by Keith Richards with James Fox2. BROKE, by Glenn Beck and Kevin Balfe3. EARTH (THE BOOK), by Jon Stewart and others4. THE LAST BOY, by Jane Leavy5. AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MARK TWAIN, VOL. 1, by Mark Twain

Top 5 at a Glance1. THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, by Stieg Larsson2. THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE, by Stieg Larsson3. THE FINKLER QUESTION, by Howard Jacobson4. LITTLE BEE, by Chris Cleave5. CUTTING FOR STONE, by Abraham Verghese

Top 5 at a Glance1. THE LOST SYMBOL, by Dan Brown2. THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, by Stieg Larsson3. THE RECKLESS BRIDE, by Stephanie Laurens4. THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE, by Stieg Larsson5. 61 HOURS, by Lee Child

Top 5 at a Glance1. EAT, PRAY, LOVE, by Elizabeth Gilbert2. INSIDE OF A DOG, by Alexandra Horowitz3. STONES INTO SCHOOLS, by Greg Mortenson4. THE GLASS CASTLE, by Jeannette Walls5. THREE CUPS OF TEA, by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

Funny Pictures

The Melting Pot


Shortest Books Ever Written



Internationally Acclaimed Book of the True Story of Two Holocaust Survivors is Now Available in French

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‘Send This Instead’ App Gives Kids an Alternative to Sexting

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Turn Back Time with Oldies Music Radio Which Brings Good Old Hits Back to Life

Nimaxy presents a new radio app for the most enjoyable music experience. Nimaxy studio has the pleasure of announcing the release of the...

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Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween

  Where there is no imagination there is no horror. ~Sr. Arthur Conan Doyle

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