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Arts & Culture News

PARIS (Reuters) - Pablo Picasso once boasted: "Give me a museum and I'll fill it."

TOKYO (Reuters) - Just a decade ago, a lithograph by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama sold for several hundred dollars at best. But now her pieces, some just the size of a magazine, can fetch as much as $74,000.

MANILA (Reuters) - Philippine authorities recovered on Tuesday more than a dozen paintings, including a work by Pablo Picasso, from an office and residences of lawmaker Imelda Marcos, a day after an anti-corruption court ordered their seizure.

LONDON (Reuters) - Images ranging from film of defaced sexually explicit photos in art books in a Tokyo library to a picture of an Irish Republican Army fighter silhouetted against a burning building feature in works of the Turner Prize finalists unveiled on Monday.

WOODSTOCK England (Reuters) - Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei could not be at Blenheim Palace for the opening of an exhibition of his work on Friday, but his message came through loud and clear. Earlier this week a massive show including Ai's depictions in Lego of 176 activists and dissidents, from Nelson Mandela to Edward Snowden, was unveiled at Alcatraz Prison in San Francisco.

Sports News

KANSAS CITY (Reuters) - The Kansas City Royals beat the Oakland Athletics 9-8 in a thrilling, 12-inning do-or-die Wild Card playoff on Tuesday to eke out a victory in their first postseason game for 29 years.

(The Sports Xchange) - Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant practiced Tuesday for the first time since his knee injury 10 months ago and said he felt good afterward.

(The Sports Xchange) - The sale of a minority stake in the New York Islanders to Scott Malkin and Jonathan Ledecky from Charles Wang was unanimously approved at the National Hockey League's Board of Governors meetings Tuesday.

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - As the dust settles over yet another Ryder Cup defeat for the United States, PGA of America president Ted Bishop says he would like to see a more "systematic approach" in selecting the U.S. captain for 2016.

(The Sports Xchange) - Right-hander Max Scherzer will be the Game 1 starter for the Detroit Tigers in their American League Division Series against the Baltimore Orioles, the team announced Tuesday.

Science News

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Wearable brain scanners and lasers that can turn hundreds of cells on and off were among 58 projects awarded $46 million in federal grants as part of President Obama's $100 million initiative to unlock the secrets of the human brain.

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's government has kicked off a media campaign in support of genetically modified crops, as it battles a wave of negative publicity over a technology it hopes will play a major role in boosting its food security.

TORONTO (Reuters) - Work on a pair of U.S. commercial spaceships to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station will be delayed after a losing contender protested the NASA awards, agency Administrator Charles Bolden said on Monday.

GENEVA (Reuters) - The world populations of fish, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles fell overall by 52 percent between 1970 and 2010, far faster than previously thought, the World Wildlife Fund said on Tuesday.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Sierra Nevada Corp (SNC) said it had filed a legal challenge to NASA's award of contracts totaling $6.8 billion to Boeing and SpaceX to build commercially owned and operated "space taxis" to fly astronauts to the International Space Station.

Movie Reviews

What do you want from me, Zach? I’m a fucking zombie.” So blurts Aubrey Plaza’s Beth, after dying of a snake bite, and Jeff Baena’s directorial debut – the best zom-rom-com since Shaun Of The Dead – proving more interested in relationships and emotions than the gore or lore of Romero. It starts with Dane DeHaan’s Zach grieving the loss of his titular girlfriend and gravitating to those who share his pain, her parents Maury and Geenie (John C. Reilly and Molly Shannon). Zach and Beth were going through a rough patch, on the verge of breaking up, but their troubles simply add dollops of guilt and regret to the raw grief. Then Beth miraculously returns home unaltered, bar an inexplicable love of attics and smooth jazz. Initially Zach clutches at the opportunity to put things right, but it’s not easy with Beth beginning to decompose, and her execrable breath is the least of their problems… Unresolved conflicts are resurrected, with Zach realising he’s perhaps more suited to childhood pal Erica (Anna Kendrick). Playing like a comedy cousin to Anthony Minghella’s Truly, Madly, Deeply or an absurdist spin on hit TV show The Returned, Life After Beth is every bit as deranged as you might expect a directorial debut from the co-writer of I Heart Huckabees to be. Baena splatters his movie with observations both astute and askance while favouring gags over gag-reflex, and scores a real coup in landing DeHaan and Plaza – the former shows he can match Huckabees’ Mark Wahlberg in the play-it-straight-for-laughs stakes, and the latter’s just plain adorable however neurotic or necrotic she might be. Their chemistry alone assures this is everything that Warm Bodies wasn’t. Keeping it personal, Baena’s movie nonetheless builds background details to capture a genuine sense of the apocalypse… a vision rendered oddly palatable by consistent chuckles and, naturally, a smooth-jazz soundtrack.

In his umpteenth sports-movie role, Kevin Costner is Sonny Weaver Jr., beleaguered general manager of the perpetually losing Cleveland Browns football team. It’s 12 hours before ‘Draft day’ – the NFL’s yearly selection of eligible college players – and he’s got his eye on someone who may or may not save everyone’s bacon. Along with this heavyweight decision, there’s drama with his pregnant ex (Jennifer Garner) and various nuisances provided by a star-studded cast that includes Frank Langella, Sean Combs, and Denis Leary. Director Ivan Reitman jazzes the talky proceedings up with split screens and transitions galore, but it’s still just a minor-league Moneyball.

Evoking François Ozon’s Sitcom (1998), Yann Gonzalez’s debut is a subversive, stylish, perverted parlour game, as a young couple host an exclusive orgy for four guests: ‘The Slut’, ‘The Star’, ‘The Teen’ and ‘The Stud’. Chief among them is Eric Cantona’s monstrously endowed Stud; and if you’ve ever wanted to see the former football legend whipped by Béatrice Dalle before enjoying his own Dirk Diggler-style reveal, this is your chance. The story gets tiresome, but there is an anarchic sensibility on display, bolstered by M83’s score, that suggests Gonzalez is going places.

More than 50 years on, The Great Train Robbery continues to inspire books, TV shows and films. Director Chris Long’s doc focuses on two of the criminals involved in the heist: the operation’s mastermind Gordon Goody, now eighty-something and living in Spain, and the hitherto unidentified ‘Ulsterman’, who provided inside info about Post Office procedures for transporting money, yet was never nabbed by the authorities. Much of the visual material that fleshes out Goody’s version of events feels over-familiar; far more interesting are revelations about the church-going ‘Ulsterman’ and his charitable donations.

The ubiquitous student quote-a-longs and drinking games haven’t dented the freshness of writer/director Bruce Robinson’s 1987 autobiographical comedy, as struggling thesps Richard E. Grant and Paul McGann head on ‘holiday’ to escape their failure. The film is celebrated for the salty eloquence of its dialogue and the bravura big-screen debut of Grant as Withnail. But just as vital is Robinson’s command of texture and tone: the faded period detail of the non-swinging ’60s is impeccable, while the swerve to tragedy is seamless. A career high for all concerned, including ’80s British cinema.

CD Reviews

- John Fordham

Kings Place, LondonA starry roster including Andy Sheppard allowed Howes jazz versions of Bowies Berlin albums to hum with mystery

The live version of drummer Dylan Howes imaginative tribute to David Bowies 1970s Berlin trilogy was cooler than the recent recording, but in evoking the albums mix of cold-war melancholia and supple jazz sensuality in their own ways, a multi-talented quintet that included saxophonist Andy Sheppard delivered just as rich a tribute to both Bowie and Howe.

As if it were a rock gig, the group re-ran the albums tracks straight through, but the themes and sophisticated arrangements hummed with fascinating mysteries, and the playing was immaculate.

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- Robin Denselow

The Forge, LondonNo-nonsense, upbeat fare from the veteran Congolese showman

Kanda Bongo Man has always been a stylish figure, and tonight, with his trademark hat and matching jacket he looked, and sounded, as distinctive as ever. With his easy, rolling vocals and upbeat, insistently cheerful and rhythmic songs, he was one of the key figures in the development of Congolese soukous music. If Kanda Bongo Man doesnt make you want to dance, call an ambulance, his followers would say, youre dead.

He played an important role in popularising Congolese music across Africa and Europe, and in the UK in the 80s he appeared at Womad and was championed by John Peel. In an itinerant career, he moved from Kinshasa to Paris and then Manchester, but has now settled in South Africa. The move clearly suits him, and he gave a no-nonsense demonstration of why he is special, backed by a band that was thankfully free of the keyboards that marred some of his recent recordings.

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- Dave Simpson

City Varieties, LeedsInfluential ex-Byrd shares songs and stories from a remarkable career plus lesser-known gems

Without the influence of Roger McGuinns chiming 12-string guitar, bands from the Smiths to REM to the Las to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers would arguably have never sounded like they do. These days, the former Byrds frontman is a surprisingly youthful, effervescent 71-year-old, who tours the world with two guitars and songs and stories from a remarkable career.

Theres the one about the time he recorded Bob Dylans You Aint Going Nowhere and got the lyrics wrong, so when Dylan recorded it himself he added a cheeky line about McGuinn. Another time, the ex-Byrd reveals, he transformed a Dylan song so radically His Bobness didnt even recognise it which turns out to be All I Really Want to Do.

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- Caroline Sullivan

iTunes festival, Roundhouse, LondonThe multimillion-selling star stretches English self-deprecation to the limits while creating a whole bands worth of noise all by himself

Im a singer you never wanna see shirtless, raps Ed Sheeran during Take It Back, stretching English self-deprecation to the limits of believability. He may cling to the idea that hes the cuddly ginger kid nobody fancies, but he has only to look at the screen behind him, on to which is projected his hugely magnified face and checked red shirt, to be assured that hes part of 2014s pop elite. Twitter has been clogged all day with young fans actually crying as one puts it because they didnt win tickets to this show; those who did are Instagramming their good luck from the minute Sheeran kicks off with Im a Mess, from current album X.

The first time Sheeran played the iTunes festival supporting Bruno Mars in 2011, he remembers with the cheeriness of someone whos since sold 6m albums hed released one quiveringly sincere single, The A Team. Three years later, he occupies a unique place in UK pop: adored by young girls for being the empathetic nice guy whos on the same page they are, but also admired by urban artists for his Timberlake-esque ability to get behind a beat and produce credible R&B, such as this years No 1 single Sing. Tonight, the song that best sums things up is Take It Back, a sweet precis of his career that veers from half-apology (Im not a rapper, Im a singer with a flow, he raps politely, Suffolk to the core) to braggadocio (Madison Square Garden is where I might be).

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- Alexis Petridis

(NPG/Warner Bros)

In early 1997, a heritage rock magazine took it upon itself to try to curate Princes recent work. Under the heading The Crown Jewels, it offered readers advice on how to fillet the albums hed put out since 1988s Lovesexy in order to make a great compilation cassette. The article suggested that what it called Princes patchy period was now at an end: hed freed himself of the contract with Warner Brothers that had caused him to shove out inconsistent albums in a bid to fulfil his obligations to the label. With his attention once more on the music, a return to the astonishing artistic form hed once displayed was surely imminent.

Its an article thats hard to read without allowing yourself a hollow chuckle. Two decades on, Princes patchy period is still in full swing. If hes never made a truly awful album in the ensuing 17 years, the kind of unequivocal artistic triumphs of which his release schedule once solely consisted have been noticeable by their absence. In their place has come a familiar sound: that of journalists trying to will an unequivocal artistic triumph into existence on Princes behalf. Its almost an art form in itself, which reached a kind of apotheosis its Sign O the Times, its Parade with Tony Parsons 2010 piece, in which he informed the world that the mediocre Prince album the Daily Mirror was giving away was both the most important comeback since Elvis climbed onstage in a leather suit and literally the best album ever made: as good as anything that anyone has done.

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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

Author and Holocaust survivor Leon Malmed kept a secret for more than 60 years – a secret he has unveiled in his moving book,...


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

Members of the Ontario Provincial Police, Child Sexual Exploitation Unit in Ontario, Canada launch a sexting alternative app for teens...


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...

Local Scene

CLP Lead Horse Replica by G. Nowack

A4E Weekly Events

FRIENDS…  As the 2nd Season winds down at the RED BARN GALLERY & STUDIO, we are becoming more, and more excited about several NEW...