Category: Men in Arts

Keith Urban The Country Icon Appears at The SXSW

There are few men more iconic to country music than Keith Urban. While considered to be one of the men who defines country, he has been enjoyed in multiple venues outside the strict country realm. This was the case at the 2018 South by Southwest lineup. Because the SXSW gathering is highly eclectic the country radio superstar Keith Urban felt right at home during his performance.

After having a lengthy interview at the Austin Convention Center for fans, he was fresh and ready to stir up more of his fans at Stubb’s with a few jokes while entertaining them with his highly prized Australian American style twang. The set was 80 minutes in length and was an unusually long one by SXSW standards. But his lengthy time on stage didn’t even make Urban flinch. He seemed to relish the smaller venue that brings people up close and personal with their favorite entertainers.

Known for his quiet country ballads filled with charming country music prowess, Urban was at his best delivering his musical hits without missing a note. He joked with the crowd and compared the VIP balcony seats of the arena to royalty saying the seats were the best like an episode of “The Crown!”

The festival goers were very taken by him and the night showed exactly why the new focus of diverse music at the SXSW festival is a positive one. The intimate gathering allowed fans to see the elements that inspire the artist in Urban. His bold, colorful music and his soft tenor twang were front and center.

In his heartfelt interview pre-show, Urban spoke candidly about how his life has changed during his years in the country music industry. The interview showed a calm side of Urban whose married family life with Nicole Kidman has settled well with his Country music. He summarized his growth by saying, “The only thing that’s changed in my life is I’ve more so become the person I was trying to be.”

Author David Faris Releases Widely Anticipated Second Book

In the wildly oversaturated field of political commentary there is no shortage of hot takes and clickbait titles, so when an author releases a well planned and thoughtful piece of political commentary it is worth celebrating. On April 10th, author David Faris is releasing his second book It’s Time To Fight Dirty which promises to be a refreshing breath of air in a political sphere that, to say the least, has been marred with polarization.

This is the second book from David Faris, a political science professor who resides in Chicago and teaches at social justice institution Roosevelt University (as well as serving as Chair of the Political Science Department) is going on sale through respected publisher Melville Publishing. Faris first book Dissent and Revolution in a Digital Age: Social Media, Blogging and Activism in Egypt was positively received by scholars of the Middle East region and this turn to American politics promises to showcase the diversity of Faris writing style. The pivot to focusing on American politics for Faris is a relatively new phenomena, as he outlines in his “Behind The Book” series for Melville Publishing, but he has routinely been putting out articles for respected progressive websites such as The Week.

While the release of the book marks just the beginning of the journey for Faris and his publishing team April 10th is a day of excitement about the things to come. Book reviews have been rolling in and they have been wildly positive thus far including Taegan Goddard of the Political Wire featuring the book in one of her columns. The new beginning in American politics is a welcome one for Faris in an era that so desperately needs his wit and humor as well as his insightful takes on how the country can begin to move forward. Keep an eye out for the book at your local stores, and don’t be surprised if you see a review in your favorite newspaper or website soon!

Christo Set to Bring His Art to the UK

Christo is one of the most well-known artists in the world. He has created art projects on a massive scale. His most notable project to date is the wrapping of the entire German Reichstag building in white fabric. The artist also made a stunning display in Italy when he created a series of floating piers on Lake Iseo.

Now, Christo is planning to design and build a piece of his art in the UK. Christo’s project will begin on June 1 in the middle of Serpentine lake in London. The artist will be using 7,506 55-gallon barrels for his project. When finished, it will weigh nearly 150 tons.

The name of the project will be the London Mastaba. According to Christo, a mastaba was a structure common among cultures in the ancient Mesopotamian area. He states that the Egyptians used the mastaba as the basis of the design of the pyramids.

In a rendering of what the completed project will look like, the mastaba will be triangular except it will have a flattened top. The structure will be 20 meters tall, 30 meters in width with a length of 40 meters. The sides of the mastaba will be red and white while the ends will be red, blue and purple. The entire structure will rest on a structure that will float, but it will be anchored so that the mastaba remains in one location.

Christo is moving forward with the project in London at this time because he has abandoned a work that he had planned to do in the United States. The artist was planning a work that would span the Arkansas River. However, Christo has stated that he abandoned the project due to the election of Donald Trump as president.

When the project in London is complete, the public will be able to view it free of charge. No tickets will be required.

Robert Finley a New Career for Music Legend

Robert Finley is a blues singer and songwriter and was born in Bernice, Louisiana. He began playing gospel music at a young and taught himself how to play the guitar. He was a helicopter in the U.S. Army and played guitar during his service. When he returned home, he became a carpenter and a street performer. It was determined that he was legally blind in 2015, but he never gave up pursuing his music career. He has performed with Robert Lee Coleman and has gone on to work with Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys

Finley has been performing for more than 52 years and is a member of the Music Make Foundation. This organization assists aging musicians and has helped him revise his career. He is a guitar player as well as a talented singer. Currently, he is playing at the Showbox in Seattle and giving his fans a recap of his life’s journey. He has had struggles and lived in squalor for many years until partnering up with Auerbach’s Easy Eye Sound Revue. He has just turned 64 years old and will soon begin a nationwide solo tour.

During his shows, Finley talks about his life and gives his audience advice on how to cook. He keeps an upbeat attitude and makes plenty of jokes. He shares his experience in church and as a little boy singing in the choir. He remembers being inspired by the music that he heard in his neighborhood. He would play music any place he could and has performed in fish fries and nursing homes. He has gone through a divorce and lost his home. He believes that these difficulties were signs for him to go back to music. It must be true because years later he has found success.

Snyder Hints at Anti-Life Equation

Since Justice League came out last year, Zack Snyder has been on social media giving some cryptic hints about what he would have done according to his original plans. Now, he has hinted that the Anti-Life Equation may have fitted into his plans at some point.

This came on the Vero True Social app, where someone posted a picture from the movie where the main villain, Steppenwolf, has slammed his axe into the ground, causing cracks that seem to form a strange symbol. Tagging Snyder’s name, he asks if he’s correct in assuming that the symbol has some kind of deeper meaning.

“Do the math,” Snyder said simply in response, which the fan, and probably many others, take as a reference to the Anti-Life Equation.

For those unfamiliar with the comics, Steppenwolf works for Darkseid, the immortal, alien ruler of the dystopian planet Apokolips. Already a master of mind control and manipulation, Darkseid’s ultimate goal is to acquire the Anti-Life Equation, a supernatural formula which would give him the power to override all free will and take over the entire universe. His interest in Earth is largely based on gaining the part of it that humans possess.

Justice League was originally planned as two movies, and most fans believe that the second part would have had Darkseid as the main villain; indeed, this was set up in the “Knightmare” sequence of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which used Darkseid’s Omega symbol. However, that movie failed to live up to Warner Bros. expectations either financially or critically, leading to the second Justice League being cut; Snyder himself then left the director’s chair during production, getting replaced by Joss Whedon.

Fans are still interested in finding out more about Snyder’s plans, if not him getting his own cut of the movie; it remains to be seen what other information he may reveal/hint as time goes on.

Henry Cavill Shaves His Mustache

It is a momentous occasion in film history today, as Henry Cavill has finally shaved his infamous mustache.

The actor posted a picture of himself, newly-shaven and staring in his mirror, on his Instagram account with the comment #ShavedButNotForgotten. He also referred to it as “King Stache” and says that he hardly recognizes his face without it.

This might have been minor news if the production of two films had not made the facial hair so notable. He grew the mustache for his role as August Walker in Mission: Impossible—Fallout and was contractually obligated not to shave it until filming was complete. This led to a problem when he was called to do reshoots for Justice League, where he played a clean-shaven Clark Kent/Superman. As such, the reshoots used CGI to remove his mustache in post, leading to a mouth that plunged directly into the Uncanny Valley.

The CGI lip was only notable for looking really weird, however; it also provided an easy way to track which scenes from the film were reshoots (done by replacement director Joss Whedon) and which were from the original filming (done by the first director, Zack Snyder). As such it revealed that very extensive alterations had been made in the middle of production, including almost every scene that included Superman. This has led to some controversy and helps demonstrate how disorganized the DC Extended Universe has been up until this point.

But the franchise will continue, with Aquaman coming out this December and Shazam and Wonder Woman following it next year, in April and November, respectively. There are rumors that the now-stache-less Cavill may reprise his role as Superman for Shazam, but beyond that his fate in the franchise is unknown; a Man of Steel 2 has been discussed but there are not firm plans for the sequel as of yet.

Stephen King’s The Bone Church Moves to the Television Phase

A rather intriguing new television series based on a work by Stephen King moves forward. King once wrote an offbeat poem titled The Bone Church. The Bone Church wasn’t written like a traditional Stephen King tome. This work was a strange poem, a poem that impressed fans and critics. Apparently, the source material also impressed television producers.

The Bone Church comes off as a variant of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, but with the many King touches fans clamor for.

Stephen King is red hot once again. The legendary author never really experienced any career lulls. He’s been selling an incredible number of novels since the 1970’s. In terms of motion pictures, projects based on King’s works haven’t always been huge hits. The recent failure of The Dark Tower may have led some to wonder if King adaptions could do well at the box office. And then along came the fantastic remake of It. The second live-action version of The Losers Club vs. Pennywise the Clown earned hundreds of millions at the worldwide box office. Now, scores of studios are looking to produce new King projects. The Bone Church seems to be the most intriguing one so far. It isn’t the last, either. Several other Stephen King television projects seem to be moving forward.

In the 1980’s, there was a massive number of Stephen King movies produced. In time, the Stephen King name ceased to be an automatic ticket seller. Movie and TV projects continued with 1990’s version of It being a popular hit.

The sequel to It clearly stands as the most anticipated of all future King works. The Bone Church could make for perfect episodic television. Stranger Things proves dark and fantastic adventures can play out well in a well-written series. The Bone Church could even give Stranger Things a run for becoming the top fan-favorite fantasy program among genre enthusiasts.

‘The Greatest Showman’ Starring Hugh Jackman Is a Hit

Hugh Jackman has been a big star for a very long time. He has many hit movies to his credit. However, “The Greatest Showman” is certain to be one of the most successful films of his career when all is said and done. The movie is a musical that tells the life story of the legendary circus creator P.T. Barnum. The movie is very unique because it was been able to keep making money for a very long time. The film came out way back in December. Most films do not last 10 weeks in the theaters. However, “The Greatest Showman” earned $3.5 million in its 10th week of release. This brings its total in the United States to a very impressive $170 million.

Nobody in the movie industry expected this film to have this sort of staying power. It has been a pleasant surprise for everyone involved. Hugh Jackman is no stranger to musicals. He also starred in a film adaptation of “Les Miserables” that was also a big hit. “The Greatest Showman” has proven to be a big hit with both men and women. Jackman has always been an actor who has appealed to both male and female audiences in whatever movie he happened to be starring in. The reason that this film has continued to attract audiences 10 weeks after it was released is a mystery to people who work in the movie industry. There does not seem to be any formula to explain why films like this have staying power.

“The Greatest Showman” has been a passion project for Jackman. It was in development for quite some time. However, a lack of financing preventing it from being made several years ago. Jackman attaching his name to the project made several investors come forward to finance the project.

Max Hooper Schneider Hot On Art World Radar As Exciting Emerging Artist

Some describe his work as “apocalyptic terrariums.” Others say the creations of Max Hooper Schneider combine the natural and the artificial with a flair for the drama of theater that is disturbingly informed by the surreal.

Whatever the case, Schneider is an emerging artist that a lot of people are watching. He’s a new kind of talent who is, if not on the cusp of greatness, is definitely on the “cusp of the cusp of greatness” — as one art critic put it.

Max Hooper Schneider is seen as an unlikely entrant into the world of modern art. His formal education is in biology and architecture. He earned a Master’s degree in landscape architecture from Harvard University. At age 35, the Los Angeles native made art is full-time job, something he said was natural outcome of his past experience, interests, education and vision.

Some of Schneider’s works resemble large aquariums and/or terrariums that contain what he calls “trans-habitats.” Such a piece might be an aquarium choked thick with aquatic plants, but laced with neon lights and sundry pieces of refuse, such as razor blades, chunks of plastic, car parts and more.

One of his pieces resembles a 1950s-era dishwasher loaded with glassware that somehow comes to serves as a black-lit scene for an aquatic reef.

Art world observers say Schneider’s breakthrough into the realm of “respect” came after his 2014 exhibit at Jenny’s, a major Los Angeles art gallery. Other shows followed on the L.A. scene, but his work also has been on display in Paris, New York and Miami. One of his exhibits was shown in a Miami hotel in 2017 when that city hosted the international Art Basel event in 2017 – and Schneider became the “talk of the show,” according to the editors of Artsy.

Joss Whedon Wanted to Adapt Batgirl’s Original Comic

Joss Whedon has officially stepped down from plans to direct a Batgirl movie for the DC Extended Universe, but now word has leaked out that he was considering doing an adaptation of the character’s first comic book story.

Fans suspect several factors to explain Whedon’s exit from the project. Though he is well-known for creating nuanced and action-oriented female characters (mostly notably with Buffy the Vampire Slayer), many believe that a female-led film franchise should have a female director, especially after the success of Patty Jenkin’s Wonder Woman. His failure to completely fix Justice League may well have also played a part. However, Whedon’s own stated reason is writer’s block: excited though he was to create the film, he could not figure out a good story to tell with the character.

According to Variety, however, Whedon had at least vague plans to try and adapt “The Million Dollar Debut of Batgirl!,” which saw her premiere. In that story, Barbara Gordon (daughter of Batman’s ally Commissioner Jim Gordon) attends a charity masquerade ball in a female version of Batman’s iconic costume. At the event, however, she sees Bruce Wayne attacked by the villain Killer Moth and jumps in to help him. Her aid gives him enough time to slip away and change into Batman. This ultimately leads to the pair, plus Robin, uncovering the evildoer’s lair and defeating him.

This would have been an interesting choice to adapt, as so far the DCEU has taken most of its cues from the New 52, and an origin story would have taken another step into the franchise’s past. It remains to be seen if this film will ultimately get made, by whom, and what its new story line will be.