Category: Men in the Arts

George R. R. Martin Is In No Hurry, Because Of Course He Isn’t

George R. R. Martin has become as famous for keeping his fans in unbearable suspense as for creating the universe of Game of Thrones. As fans wail that the popular GoT series won’t return to HBO until 2019 (NOT fair), the pitchforks and torches turn to Martin himself, demanding the next book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series.

Despite hints that the new volume would be available in 2018, the release of The Winds of Winter has been delayed yet again, as Martin informed fans on his blog. The good news is that there is an acceptable reason for the delay: Martin revealed that he is working on a history of the Targaryen family entitled Fire And Blood.

Fire And Blood will be released in two volumes. As of now, Martin plans to release Winds of Winter between the two Fire and Blood books. This news is of particular interest to those who are caught up enough to know of the peculiar romance between Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen, which culminated at the end of Season 8 of GoT. Perhaps Fire And Blood will give us more exploration of that relationship, and put to rest any stray theories about Jon’s heritage.

The series has overtaken the books by two seasons, with the two-year-old Season 6 being loosely based on Winds. The common question now is, is the television series based on the books, or vice versa?

Fan theories about the impending doom of the Seven Kingdoms are cropping up all over the Internet, but only one man has the answers we seek.

Dear George, please give us Winds of Winter and put us out of our misery!

John Oliver Ready to Get Back to Work on Last Week Tonight

On HBO’s Last Week Tonight, the flexibility when it comes to addressing content on the show is something that the show’s host, comedian John Oliver, is cognizant of as he gets ready to begin the program’s fifth season. He’s aware that the business model of the network, which is reliant on its subscribers and not sponsors, is one that trips up many other shows that attempt to tackle tough topics.

The British-born Oliver was hired to host the show in the wake of rave reviews as Jon Stewart’s temporary substitute on The Daily Show back in 2014. Last Week Tonight is similar in that actual news is dissected through a humorous prism. The difference is that Oliver’s current show takes up much of its weekly program with a single topic, as opposed to the three different segments of The Daily Show.

The 13 months that President Donald Trump has been in office might have conceivably offered weekly content to mine, yet Oliver and his staff only periodically delve into administration-based stories. Instead, a deeper look at unheralded stories that get very little attention from either over-the-air news staffs or the three cable news outlets is provided. Many of these might ordinarily be seen as dry stories without the humor component.

One of the key reasons that this approach is taken is that attempting to cover stories once a week when talk show hosts and other comedy programs do it on a night basis runs the risk of offering stale content.

Given the fact that the show is on HBO also allows Oliver to be unburdened when it comes to language, since the network isn’t under the same restrictions as most other competitors. What ends up being delivered by Oliver is often biting in nature and occasionally causes the intended target to angrily dispute the claims made. However, being a comedian means that a show that lacks humor will return John Oliver to the standup circuit.

Andreas Gursky Photography Show at Hayward Requires a Crane

Many artists create pictures that deserve sufficient space on gallery walls, but photographer Andreas Gursky takes space to a new extreme. The German photographer, born in 1955 and working in the arts since his college years, captures life on a large scale. His current show at the Hayward Gallery in London required a construction crane and the removal of ceiling tiles just to fit some of his photos.

Although some of his photos were moved by hand, the largest required a crane and careful handling. The most cumbersome photo measured approximately five meters long by two meters tall. The show coincides with the reopening of the Hayward Gallery at Southbank Centre. The gallery’s director Ralph Rugoff said Gursky was chosen for the innovation and new dialogue he brings to the artistic expression shared by photographers.

Gursky’s scope is grand, his subject matter frequently architectural, and his focus on elevated perspectives of sweeping landscapes of modern life. Some of the famous photos include Sixty Minute Spectrum, a unique view of the Hayward Gallery itself, 99 Cents, showing the interior stocked shelves of a huge Los Angeles dollar store, and Les Mées, a seemingly idyllic view of a French solar farm laid across rolling hills. Other subject matter includes an Amazon warehouse interior, a race car track in Bahrain, and world stock markets.

Also included is Rhine II, an image of grassy banks beside the rushing river. It holds the world record as the highest price photo ever sold at a price of $4.3 million. Part of the exhibit features art that strays from the only-photos work of earlier years. Andreas Gursky has adopted more high-tech methods of creation. Pictures like Review, which shows four decades of German Chancellors in a row, consist of digitally altered images instead of personally taken photos.

Tom Hanks Will Play Mister Rogers in Upcoming Biopic

TriStar Pictures has announced that it will be making a biopic, “You Are My Friend,” about Mister Rogers, the beloved host of the children’s show “Mister Roger’s Neighborhood,” which ran from 1968 to 2001. Tom Hanks will be playing Mister Rogers, and many people have already commented that they find the casting very appropriate.

Marielle Heller, who had directed 2015’s “Diary of a Teenage Girl,” will be helming the project. She will be using a script penned by Noah Harpster and Micah Fitzerman-Blue. The film will be inspired by the friendship between Rogers and Tom Junod, an award-winning journalist. In it, the Junod character is portrayed as a cynic who is initially reluctant to write an article profiling Rogers.

Fred Rogers (1928 – 2003) was a native of Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Early on, he believed television could be used to educate children. At first, he worked on musical programs for NBC until he concluded that commercial television’s dependence on advertising reduced its ability to truly educate children. He thus went to work for public television as a puppeteer on a children’s show called “The Children’s Corner.” Some of his characters, like King Friday XIII, debuted on this program. Rogers also began wearing his famous tennis shoes simply because they made less noise on the set.

Rogers spent a few years living and working in Toronto during the mid-60s, but he soon returned to Pennsylvania. He began working for the Eastern Educational Television Network, which eventually became American Public Television. In 1968, “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” premiered. It incorporated characters and sets from some of his earlier works, and it became known for its gentle and slow pace. Rogers disliked the fast pace and animation of other children’s programs and called them “bombardment. He also refused to adopt a persona radically different from his true personality, saying that children could easily spot a phony. “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” won four Emmys, and Rogers himself received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997.

Rogers died from cancer in 2003, and he was survived by his wife and two children.

Production on the movie will start this fall.

Bruno Mars Wins Big at Grammys

Bruno Mars continued his dominance in the music industry by wining seven Grammy awards. His song, “That’s What I Like, won both Best R&B Song and Song Of The Year. His record, 24K Magic, won Album Of The Year, Record Of The Year, and Best R&B Album. He won an award for the Best R&B Performance for his rendition of the hit during the Premiere Ceremony, and he also won the Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical.

For the Album Of The Year, he beat out Lay-Z, Lorde, Kendrick Lamar, and Childish Gambino. This was his first win in the this category as a solo artist.

By winning the all three of the big categories – the Record, Album, and Song Of The Year – he entered a very exclusive club. No other male artist has won all three in the same year for the last 25 years. Eric Clapton was the last male performer to have swept those big awards.

During the 60th Grammy Awards, which was held in New York City on Sunday, Mars took the stage with Cardi B. The duo performed his song “Finesse,” wowing the crowd with not only their vocal power but their dance moves.

The singer-songwriter has had great success throughout his career. Born and raised in Honolulu, he’s been performing for practically his entire life. He has been part of several groups, including The Smeezingtons and The Hooligans, and he’s worked with numerous artists like Brody Brown, Mark Ronson, and Andrew Wyatt. He first Grammy was given to him for the Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for “Just the Way You Are” in 2011, and he now has a total of 11 Grammys under his belt.

Stephen Lang Muses About a Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos Film

Stephen Lang recently confirmed he will be returning to the screen in the upcoming sequel to the horror hit “Don’t Breathe.” Lang seems to also be angling to be cast in a Marvel Cinematic Universe motion picture. Lang has let it publicly be known he wants to play the original Nick Fury in a movie version of “Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos.”

No, Lang wouldn’t be replacing Samuel L. Jackson. Jackson plays the modern day S.H.I.E.L.D. version of Nick Fury. The Howling Commandos version of Nick Fury deals with adventures during World War II. In the comic books, the background of Nick Fury is a bit convoluted thanks to the existence of different Nick Fury characters existing in different universes. Universes meld together at times to address time and continuity issues. In the movies, however, none of this matters. They could simply explain both men have the same code name. Casting Lang as the Nick Fury of 1943 doesn’t require some lengthy or convoluted explanation.

Why is Lang pushing for a Sgt. Nick Fury WWII movie? “Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos” was one of Lang’s favorite books when he was a youngster. His personal affinity for the old comic acts as the root of his wish to play the character on screen.

Lang’s public commentary makes for interesting reading, but the odds of a WWII Nick Fury movie ever being produced seems a little slim. Marvel Studios does not have any plans for such a film even though the Howling Commandos do exist in the current MCU.

Keep in mind, the original Nick Fury comic was certainly not a superhero title. It was a “war comic.” DC, EC, Marvel and other publishers put out war titles during the 1940’s through the 1960’s. War book ceased to be popular in the 1970’s although a few titles were published from the 1970’s to the present. Marvel Studios probably prefers to stick with hero movies and books and leave combat tales to others.

Soderbergh Uses iPhone to Make New Film

Filmmaking has continually evolved since Thomas Edison’s first attempt, with innovations having become a relatively common approach within the movie industry. In one of the latest examples of this philosophy, director Steven Soderbergh has taken a new approach when it comes to filming his new movie, Unsane.

That concept involved filming the entire movie, which opens on March 23, on an iPhone. That fact has actually been known for the past year and was decided before Soderbergh had come up with an actual title for his film that’s being described as a thriller with a psychological bent.

Unsane has a diverse cast, including Claire Foy, best known for playing Queen Elizabeth in Netflix’s The Crown. In addition, former Saturday Night Live cast member Jay Pharoah takes on a role that’s anything but comedic in nature. In addition, actress Amy Irving could be the most prominent name among the remaining cast.

Foy’s character is being victimized by the villainous stalking of a man played by Joshua Leonard, best known for The Blair Witch Project. After being sent to an institution after her mental faculties are deemed to be in question, she discovers that the stalker is apparently employed at the facility.

Rather than simply stick to that component, Soderbergh also puts the woman’s own mindset into question by making it uncertain whether or not what she appears to see is the actual truth.

Soderbergh had announced that he would no longer make movies, a pledge that ended last year when he delivered Logan Lucky. That film was one that reflected his habit of going in a different direction with each of his films. In that case, the film centered on a heist that was being plotted and had comedic overtones attached. Never knowing what to expect next is a Soderbergh trademark.

“Farewell” says Paul Simon

On January 30, 2018, Paul Simon announced his “Farewell” performance to take place on the final night of the British Summer Time festival on July 15, 2018. Simon plans to perform in a familiar location for his career finale as Hyde Park in London has heard his tunes before. So far, fellow 1960s and 1970s music performer James Taylor is slated to perform before Simon’s performance. The announcement of other performers will take place on the day tickets become available—February 2, 2018.

Though the show is billed as a “Farewell” performance, it is not clear if Simon means the performance to be his last touring performance or to mean he is retiring from the music scene altogether. After seven decades in the music industry, Simon has shown an inclination to quit the business. In 2016 when he indicated in a New York Times interview that showbiz no longer interested him.

Paul Simon’ career boomed after the duo of Simon & Garfunkel produced the soundtrack of the blockbuster film The Graduate. In 1970, Simon split with Garfunkel to perform in solo settings. Simon is enrolled in the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame as a solo performer.

Fellow 1970s performer, James Taylor, is a singer-songwriter that mirrored the sense of loss that dominated the 1960s. His emotionally charged music appeals to an audience across the social spectrum. The winner of six Grammy Awards, James Taylor is still a force to be reckoned with in the music world.

Together, Simon and Taylor created and explored the mysticism behind the 60s movement. From sublime metaphors to outright statements, the two singer-songwriters have influenced the exploration of music in the pop culture, creating movements within the movement promoting peaceful thought and equality for all.

The performance on July 15, 2018, will close the 2018 British Summer Festival with a flourish. Hyde Park can hold up to 150,000 people, and the bets are that the tickets will sell out in February.

First Syrian Pianist Enters Leeds International Piano Competition

On Monday, the Leeds International Piano Competition announced its field of competitors for the 2018 competition. 28-year-old Riyad Nicolas is among the contenders. Nicolas, who was born in Aleppo, will be the first Syrian pianist to ever compete for the coveted first-place award at Leeds.

Nicolas began playing piano at the age of six. He is a two-time winner of Syria’s Best Piano Student Prize. In 2005, Nicolas won the Educational Award at the London International Piano Competition. At 15 years old, he was the youngest pianist to compete in the event. He then moved to the United Kingdom to study at the Purcell School and the Royal Academy of Music. In 2013, he won the Norah Sande Award, a prize recognizing the best young pianist in South East England. He has been selected out of 200 applicants to compete in the 2018 Leeds International Piano Competition.

The competition is held triennially in Leeds, England and is designed to award the most talented young pianist. To be eligible, all contestants must be professional pianists between the ages of 20 and 29. The first event was held in 1963 and was won by English pianist Michael Roll. The competition is open to pianists from around the world and has awarded performers from countries as diverse as Portugal and South Korea. The first-place winner receives a $33,000 prize and the chance to perform in a series of solo concerts. Winners also receive air time on BBC Radio, a recording session for a solo studio album and a mentorship from pianist Paul Lewis.

Nicolas faces stiff competition from pianists like South Korea’s Saeyoon Chon, third-place winner of the 2016 Hilton Head International Piano Competition, and Aris Alexander Blettenberg, winner of the 2015 International Hans von Bülow Piano Competition. To secure the top spot, Nicolas must pass the first round in Berlin. If he places well in the initial round, he will be able to compete in the second round held at the University of Leeds.

George Cloony Generously Gave His Closest Friends $1 Million Each

George Clooney is a Hollywood star that men want to be like and women want to be with. He’s good looking, has a lovely and accomplished wife, and loves to have fun. It’s clear he cares deeply about his friends and family, particularly a group of men he hangs out with known as the boys. All of these men, some of whom are famous and some of whom are not so famous, have been friends and have supported each other since before Clooney was a star, and long before he was named most eligible bachelor.

There have been numerous stories about how loyal he is to his friends and how far he will go to protect them, including a famous story about how he created a fake wedding for Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie to throw off the paparazzi. Randy Garber, a friend of Clooney’s and a member of The Boys who is married to Cindy Crawford, told E!News just how generous Clooney can be.

According to Garber, Clooney invited all of the Boys to dinner at his house in September of 2013 and offered them a surprise. After dinner, Clooney gave each of them a briefcase and after thanking them for helping him in his early years. He then had them open the briefcase to reveal that he had given each of them $1 million in cash. Garber initially refused the money because he didn’t need it, but Clooney insisted that they all take the money or none of them would get it. Some of the men could really use the money, so Garber took it and donated his share to charity.

This kind of generosity is one of the reasons why so many people love and admire Clooney. He’s a great example of the kind of person every man should aspire to be. If more men were like George Clooney the world would be a much better place.