You “Can’t Help Falling in Love” with All Shook Up at the Erie Playhouse

A hunk, a hunk of burnin’ nostalgia in the form of All Shook Up, the Elvis Presley-inspired show,...

News Feed

City Scape

Arts & Culture News

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A large street mural painted on a derelict Detroit auto factory by elusive British artist Banksy is going up for auction in Beverly Hills and could fetch up to $400,000 dollars for a local non-profit group, Julien's Auctions said on Wednesday.

LONDON (Reuters) - The long list of 13 titles for the 2015 Man Booker Prize for fiction written in English, published on Wednesday, features the first Jamaican author in contention for the 50,000-pound ($78,000) prize.

(Reuters) - Spelman College in Georgia has discontinued a professorship named after disgraced comedian Bill Cosby and returned the money meant to pay for it, a spokeswoman said Sunday.

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Young people from two warring districts in the Lebanese city of Tripoli are taking to the stage in a comedy inspired by their own lives, trying to turn their backs on old rivalries inflamed by Syria's civil war.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A new book by much-loved children's author Dr. Seuss hit stores on Tuesday, 24 years after his death.

Sports News

(Reuters) - A Las Vegas museum devoted to the exploits of Tommy gun-wielding mobsters will open a permanent display that explores the "rampant corruption" of global soccer's scandal-rocked governing body, which has drawn comparisons to organized crime.

SEOUL (Reuters) - Former FIFA vice president Chung Mong-joon, one of the most influential figures in Asian soccer, said on Thursday he is entering the race to replace Sepp Blatter as president of the sport's world governing body.

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Dustin Johnson will make his Hong Kong Open debut in October, joining a field that will also include former U.S. Open champion Justin Rose, the organizers said on Thursday.

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Asia's soccer chief Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa called for the region to unify behind one candidate in next year's FIFA presidential election and stopped short of endorsing UEFA president Michel Platini for the job on Thursday.

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Organizers of Almaty's bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics fired a thinly veiled shot at Beijing's proposed plans on Thursday, offering a sneak preview into their strategy to win selection ahead of the Chinese capital.

Science News

NASA astronaut, Terry Virts, recently tested a new camera that seems to provide more detailed material from space. 

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Astronomers have discovered lithium in a type of stellar explosion known as a nova for the first time, a find that helps clear up a longstanding mystery in astrophysics about the quantity of the element that has been observed in stars.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. scientists have used high-tech detective work to identify the remains of four leaders of Jamestown, the New World's first successful English colony, more than 400 years after they died, the Smithsonian Institution said on Tuesday.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. scientists have used high-tech detective work to identify the remains of four leaders of Jamestown, the New World's first successful English colony, more than 400 years after they died, the Smithsonian Institution said on Tuesday.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - Federal investigators cited inadequate training of test pilots by a Northrup Grumman Corp subsidiary on Tuesday as a leading factor behind last year's fatal crash of an experimental Virgin Galactic passenger spaceship over the Mojave Desert.

Movie Reviews

As districts are devastated above ground, other struggles rage underground. We’re not just talking Woody Harrelson’s straggly Games vet Haymitch Abernathy’s problems with “prohibition”, either. With her role beefed up from Suzanne Collins’ third and final Hunger Games novel, how can Elizabeth Banks’s future fashion grotesque Effie Trinket hope to look ab fab in a rebel hold-out with serious wardrobe issues?

Given Effie’s egregious situation, it’s a wonder she looks as presentable as she does. For Effie, read Mockingjay - Part 1. Even with the odds against him, returning director Francis Lawrence joins sturdy-handed writers Peter Craig (The Town) and Danny Strong (The Butler) to mount a rich, punchy, well-paced treatment of a tricky novel: an unlikely victory comparable to felling hoverplanes with arrows.

After all, the outcome was never certain. If Gary Ross’s first Hunger Games flick benefitted from lunging fast into the arena, Catching Fire repeated the trick and proved it stood repeating. Now that Katniss Everdeen’s revolt at Fire’s climax has pushed the future districts into a climate of unrest, countered by state oppression, there are no games to play but political ones. This time, it’s war? Yes, but for unwary viewers expecting the fun stuff of bonkers baboons terrorising teenagers it could just be a bore.

The issue of division is equally sticky. Tackling an already divisive novel with the divisive decision (see The Hobbit, Deathly Hallows) to divide it into two movies, the third and fourth Games films raise a question: how many divisions can a story take without collapsing?

But Part 1 holds up, mostly, with Jennifer Lawrence doing some proper heavy lifting. On the page Katniss initially lacks her old spark, a point flagged on screen by District 13 President turned rebel Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) when she tells rebel-leader Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman), “This is not the girl that you describe.” As Plutarch and Coin slowly coerce Katniss into becoming a symbol for revolt against the venomous President Snow’s (Donald Sutherland) decadent Capitol, the plot rests less on scraps than strategy; less on action than debates about how to start the action; and less on Katniss than the absence of the girl on fire. With heavy doses of recap and semi-meta stuff about making propaganda movies stacked on top, the focus shift threatens to distance viewers.

But J-Law tugs us in to Katniss’ fraught humanity, invoking memories of Aliens’ harrowed Ripley as she wakes from troubled sleep in District 13’s rebel base. (And yes, the ginger cat is here.) These layers of trepidation firm up Katniss’ position as a reluctant hero we can engage with, not a superhero: qualities rare enough in some A fiction, let alone YA fiction.

Francis Lawrence pushes YA boundaries further as Katniss visits districts decimated by Snow’s army, where streets spill with skulls. When Katniss, Gale (Liam Hemsworth) and a rag-tag propaganda film crew explore the devastated District 8, a makeshift hospital oozes with what censors like to call “injury detail”. If the reverence for Katniss among the wounded verges on cheesy, the rubble-strewn war-zone images and ear-bashing hoverplane attacks imbue Katniss’ subsequent big speech with a sense of high-stakes potency. As she “becomes” Katniss again here, Lawrence steers her fear and rage into air-punching “Get away from her, you bitch!” terrain.

If one particular District 8 atrocity seems torn from today’s headlines, the rebel debates about how to use the media as a weapon are equally, achingly of the now. But Mockingjay isn’t a course in Advanced Media Know-how: the two-part split provides the elbow room needed to flesh out a boosted character count. In his last bow, Hoffman invests Plutarch with weathered heft. Judiciously expanding the novel beyond Katniss’ perspective, added Coin-age benefits from Julianne Moore’s authoritative delivery. Good, no-nonsense ground-level support comes from Natalie Dormer’s Cressida, sort of Kate Adie with face tats.

Less successful is the decision to boost Effie’s role: like Derek Zoolander gate-crashing Fury to pimp a tank, she lightens the tone but draws sniggers. The vote’s still out (and probably out for good) on the narrative value of Gale’s charisma vacuum, though less is more for Josh Hutcherson’s Peeta. Seen largely through ambiguous TV broadcasts, his arc ranges smartly from turn-coat interviews with Stanley Tucci’s Capitol creep Caesar to well-administered shocks.

Even with the pace-dampening burden of time spent on Katniss visiting old haunts, Francis Lawrence makes up for the arena’s absence with punch-packing action jolts. The rebel assault on a dam is Lord Of The Rings-sized. Later, a tense night-time raid on the Capitol successfully splices sprawling effects work with grounding war-movie grit.

These beefed-up action beats are well integrated with Katniss’ viewpoint, especially when the Capitol incursion runs parallel to a tense vid-screen stand-off between two key verbal combatants. That poised weighting holds until the climactic cliffhanger, a better-paced send-off than the sudden drop that closed The Desolation Of Smaug.

Francis Lawrence faces more trials tackling Collins’ rushed finale in Part 2, but the two-film split could give him vital air, assuming he doesn’t go all Return Of The King on us. “I’m optimistic,” shrugs Plutarch at one point, facing a new dread. On the strength of this gutsy, considered rewrite of the Games’ rules, there’s reason to be.

Stills of Tom Hardy pursing his lips at a puppy might have made Twitter melt, but The Drop did well to change its title from Animal Rescue. This is no cutesy romcom or inspirational adventure but rather a downbeat, character-driven crime drama set in a squalid neighbourhood of Brooklyn. Facial stubble and handguns are de rigueur, for this, as the opening voiceover goes, “is where all the things happen that you’re not allowed to see.” Running bar for his Uncle Marv (James Gandolfini in his final big-screen role), Bob Saginowski’s (Hardy) life turns upside down when he’s robbed at gunpoint. The money belongs to the Chechen mob – they were using Marv’s bar as the drop point for their bookmaking business – and Bob and Marv need to get their hands on $5K fast. Enter Twitter’s favourite pup, found by Bob in a trashcan on his way home. The bin belongs to Nadia (Noomi Rapace), and the dog, it transpires, was stuffed there by her headcase ex Eric (Matthias Schoenaerts). Bob takes it home and begins a tentative friendship with Nadia, his actions inevitably met by sinister visits from Eric and an escalating tension that promises violence. The US debut of Belgian filmmaker Michaël R. Roskam (2011’s Bullhead), The Drop, based on Dennis Lehane’s short story, melds European sensibilities with the tropes of an American crime picture. The dilapidated setting and its hardscrabble inhabitants are observed with an outsider’s eye and an insider’s knowledge, while the narrative simmers rather than bubbles over like so many Hollywood thrillers. Gandolfini, in Nike tracksuit and leather jacket, is as tough and tender as ever, and a hesitant, slouching, mumbling Hardy evokes Stallone’s Rocky and Brando’s Terry Malloy – perhaps a little too consciously. Over-familiarity clings to The Drop, but it’s a crafted, admirable picture with a halo of hope around its melancholic heart – a melancholy deepened, of course, by Gandolfini’s passing.

With a title like The Imitation Game, you’d be forgiven for expecting a contemporary CIA thriller – rather than a carefully constructed character study of one of WW2’s largely unsung heroes. It’s centred on Alan Turing, the man responsible for cracking the Nazis’ Enigma cipher, thus helping end the war. Enemy dispatches, however, are not the only guarded secrets. Bletchley Park’s efforts to outthink the Germans’ most cunning device has been covered before in Michael Apted’s Enigma (2001), where Dougray Scott played a vague approximation of Turing. But this digs far deeper. Adapted by first-time screenwriter Graham Moore from the book Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges, the story begins in 1952, several years after Turing’s moment of triumph, when the police (led by Rory Kinnear) investigate a suspicious break-in at his house. Benedict Cumberbatch swiftly and compellingly differentiates Turing from his other ‘genius’ roles – Stephen Hawking, Sherlock – though the latter flashes through when the narrative winds back to 1939, as Turing enters Bletchley for the first time. Arrogant and assured, he’s also uncompromising and unpopular, divorced from the Matthew Goode-led codebreaking team. When Turing demands to be put in charge, even petitioning PM Winston Churchill, it seems never in doubt that he’ll solve the riddle of the Enigma machine, a device that changes its settings every 24 hours to make detecting coding patterns nigh-on impossible. But this achievement, aided by Keira Knightley’s crossword-fanatic Joan Clarke and under the watchful eye of Mark Strong’s MI6 operative, is only part of The Imitation Game, which takes a darker turn with revelations that Turing is gay. The result is less a portrait of WW2 innovation than it is of a man drowning in secrets at a time when homosexuality was illegal. He even asks for Joan’s hand in marriage – but theirs was always more friendship than frisson. Given the frequent shots of Turing in training (he was also a marathon enthusiast), you’re left to wonder if he’s running from himself – or public censure. Director Morten Tyldum (Headhunters), essays the same attention to detail that fellow Scandinavian Tomas Alfredson brought to Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. If The Imitation Game doesn’t emulate that film’s dazzling direction, it equally captures the texture of past British life and features a similarly exemplary Cumberbatch-inclusive ensemble. Only this time, he leads from the front, pouring body and soul into Turing. Cracking, you might say.

The world’s most influential film critic, the late Roger Ebert knew the importance of good direction. That Ebert chose Steve James to direct this exceptional documentary, based on his own memoir, says much about its subject’s character. Ebert always believed in cinema as a machine for generating empathy, citing James’ Hoop Dreams as a classic example. With full access to Ebert during the final months of his life, James brings the same insight here. Critical peers debate his legacy here: did Ebert’s famously populist, “thumbs up” approach to cinema dumb things down, or help to pioneer the internet’s renaissance in grassroots criticism? Meanwhile, directors like Martin Scorsese recount the double-edged sword of Ebert’s patronage: every good review a boost, every bad notice a blow. A truly rounded, complex character emerges, especially in the central relationship with TV show co-host Gene Siskel, Ebert’s equal and opposite. Yet, as the title suggests, there was more to Ebert than watching movies. James reveals parallel lives: the student editor who spoke out for civil rights; the rambunctious reporter nearly destroyed by alcoholism; the mischievous screenwriter behind Russ Meyer’s manic Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls. James follows each facet thematically as much as chronologically; the mosaic resembles not only Ebert’s beloved Citizen Kane but also the treasured jigsaw puzzle that provides a stand-out moment. Latterly, of course, there was Ebert the cancer sufferer, robbed of his voice but reaching new readers via his blog. Ordered by Ebert to show “the full reality”, James achieves an unvarnished, desperately sad portrayal of this once towering figure reduced to frailty and discomfort. Ebert eventually becomes too ill even to reply to emails – yet the film’s power lies in its use of archive footage, voiceover and even Ebert’s computerised speech translator to keep the writer’s voice alive.

The feature debut of Irish director brothers Rob and Ronan Burke, Standby is a gentle, funny rom-com for which the term ‘heart-warming’ might have been coined. Alan (Brian Gleeson, son of Brendan) lives a dead-end life, manning the tourist-info desk at Dublin airport, when back into his life swims Alice (Mad Men’s Jessica Paré), with whom he shared a brief romance eight years ago in New York. Her NYC flight’s not till the next day, so he offers her a night on the town – strictly on a platonic basis, of course. Ok, you can guess how it’ll end – but getting there is a delight.

CD Reviews

- Dave Simpson

Sage, GatesheadDamon Gough has been touring his Mercury-winning Bewilderbeast album in full, reclaiming its magic and hinting at a welcome revival to come

When Damon Gough aka Badly Drawn Boy saw off Coldplay to win the 2000 Mercury music prize with his debut, The Hour of Bewilderbeast, what should have been a subsequent celebratory tour veered between triumphant and shambolic. Some gigs turned into bizarre three-hour marathons as Gough, several sheets to the wind, would stop songs as soon as they started and do press-ups on stage. His unpredictable behaviour was rooted in depression and unease with fame which, some years later, culminated in on-stage meltdowns.

Now 15 years after Bewilderbeast, he’s trying to reconnect with his audience and re-energise his career by returning to those songs. Initial signs are alarming. “I hate this album,” he begins, but it’s the first of several jokes. Backed by a superb band with obvious camaraderie, the 18 songs have lost nothing of their off-kilter, childlike magic, as Gough’s humbling words and melodies fire psychedelic folk, surf rock, indie rock, Latin funk, interspersed by sounds such as rumbling plumbing.

Continue reading...

- Andrew Clements

John Adams’s Grand Pianola Music succeeds in its referencing of Beethoven’s cascading arpeggios, but the Absolute Jest is limited by the shards of scherzos

It was moving out west in the early 1970s, swapping what he saw as the buttoned-up musical culture of Boston and New York for the much more open-minded artistic atmosphere of California, that liberated John Adams as a composer. It meant exchanging academic serialism for the freewheeling approach of John Cage and his followers, and set him on the musical path that he has followed ever since. The orchestra of what became Adams’ home town played a hugely important part in the early stages of that journey; between 1978 and 1985 Adams was respectively the San Francisco Symphony’s (SFS) new-music adviser and then its composer in residence, and his earliest orchestral works were all introduced and first recorded by them.

So there’s a nice symmetry in pairing one of those pieces with Adams’s most recent commission from the SFS. The orchestra gave the first performance of Grand Pianola Music in 1982, and of Absolute Jest 30 years later. What also links the two works is Beethoven. But where Grand Pianola Music’s references to the Emperor Concerto and its cascading arpeggios and celebrations of B flat and E flat major are only a starting point, the use of Beethoven’s music in Absolute Jest – the scherzos of the Op 131 and 135 quartets, Grosse Fuge, Ninth Symphony and Waldstein Sonata – seems both the raison d’etre and the limiting factor of the whole work.

Continue reading...

- Rian Evans

Hereford CathedralThe Philharmonia’s Turangalîla under Jac van Steen, with Steven Osborne’s piano, had extraordinary impact: a tumult of sounds bouncing off stone pillars

Olivier Messiaen’s Turangalîla-Symphonie is not so obviously imbued with the Christianity of his later compositions, yet the composer saw the human love he celebrated within it as a reflection of divine love.

Related: Rufus Wainwright: Why I love composer Olivier Messiaen

Continue reading...

- Tim Ashley

Royal Albert Hall, LondonDaniil Trifonov, Sergei Babayan and Alexei Volodin’s treatments of all five works were fine individual achievements that made a less than ideal evening

Following immediately on from Leif Ove Andsnes’s remarkable Beethoven cycle, the Proms turned its attention to Prokofiev’s piano concertos, albeit according them very different treatment. Shared between three pianists, and with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Valery Gergiev, all five were performed in chronological order in a single concert, which proved less than ideal, despite fine individual achievements.

The concertos are variable in quality. Except for the Fourth – for the left hand only, and commissioned in 1931 by the pianist Paul Wittgenstein, who lost his right arm as the result of a wartime injury – Prokofiev wrote them for himself as flamboyant showpieces. The atrociously difficult Second is arguably the greatest, the Third the most popular. The chronological approach meant that the introverted Fourth and flashy, aphoristic Fifth seemed anticlimactic. Many in the audience, drawn by the prospect of Daniil Trifonov playing the First and Third, left after the latter.

Continue reading...

- Mark Beaumont

Shacklewell Arms, LondonBeth Jeans Houghton’s raunchy new alter ego should be in her element at this grubby pub gig, but she fails to exude the right charisma

When tame stars turn wild – Minogue, Cyrus, Bieber – it’s generally a tightly PR’d plot to shed a teen-friendly, butter-wouldn’t-melt image that is showing diminishing returns and to shock their way into more dependable adult wallets. So the recent transformation of Newcastle’s Beth Jeans Houghton, from psych folk cyber-Florence into confrontational garage rocker Du Blonde, could easily be a Miley Cyrus parody. On the cover of second album Welcome Back to Milk, then, she’s pictured naked bar shaggy white coat, trainers and merkin, eschewing airbrush and nipple tape and resembling a drunk punk yeti on a nudist fun run. Launching this grubby pub gig with a rumbling Kills clatter called If You’re Legal (“my boy is going down”), her lyrics have clearly turned as filthy as her guitars. She seems, at first glance, an art satire on pop’s sex-trade cynicism.

Continue reading...

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

omg

I Heard…

   

The Melting Pot

2015_rock_on_the_range

Rock on the Range 2015

ROCK ON THE RANGE: ADDITIONAL BANDS, COMEDY TENT LINEUP AND ERNIE BALL PRESENTS THE ROCK ON THE RANGE BATTLE OF THE BANDS ANNOUNCED FOR...

Awesome-8-Ball-Pool

Dates Announced for 2015 PA State 8-Ball Championship

Local Pool Leagues Forming Now in Anticipation of Tournament The Erie Sports Commission is pleased to announce that the Pennsylvania State...

books

Shortest Books Ever Written

1. HOW I SERVED MY COUNTRY by Jane Fonda 2. MY BEAUTY SECRETS by Janet Reno 3. HOW TO BUILD YOUR OWN AIRPLANE by John Denver 4. MY SUPER...

nousavons

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,...

Local Scene

youththeatre2015

15th Annual Erie Playhouse Youtheatre Summer Play Series

The Erie Playhouse Youtheatre presents the 15th Annual Summer Play Series featuring Dorothy in Wonderland and A Separate Peace. ...

Backstage Pass

erijams2014

Find Out Where Your Favorite Band Is Playing

Want To Know Where The Best Bands Are Playing And Where The Hottest Shows Are In Town? Plan your weekend entertainment with our Weekend...