Sunday, April 24, 2016

Autographs going away because of selfies

Years ago when people met a celebrity, they’d want to get his or her autograph. But no more. Selfies are the memento of choice today.
After all, why get a squiggly line of barely legible ink when you could get a photograph with a celebrity and quickly post it to social media?
A photo with a celebrity shows a more personal connection to that person than a signature on a piece of paper.
Also, everyone has a smartphone on them, but few carry a pen and paper these days.
Singer Taylor Swift noted in 2014 that autographs have become “obsolete.”
“I haven’t been asked for an autograph since the invention of the iPhone with a front-facing camera,” Swift said in a Wall Street Journal column.
Recently a 12-year-old girl was invited on stage by singer Adele for a selfie after holding up a sign written on a napkin for nearly two hours, the Daily Mail reported.
Another recent article showed how fans will try to take selfies with celebrities even when the subjects resist.
And President Barack Obama said earlier this year that he’s “fed up” with posing for selfies.
Just like some celebrities refused to sign autographs in the old days, some today will likely say no to selfies.

Photo: President Barack Obama poses for a selfie with several YouTube video stars in January. (See articles by CNN and the Huffington Post.)

Donald Trump surpasses Barack Obama in porn parodies

Since announcing his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has been parodied in five porn movies.
Most recently, Hustler released “The Donald” starring Evan Stone. According to the synopsis, the X-rated film also contains fictionalized portrayals of wife Melania Trump, ex-wife Ivana Trump and politicians Sarah Palin, Carly Fiorina, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Trey Gowdy.
Trump previously was pilloried in “Donald Tramp: The XXX Parody” (2015), “Megyn Gets Trumped” (2015), “Latinas Play Their Trump Cards” (2015) and “Republican Candidate Wife Swap” (2016).
Including depictions of Trump in two porn parodies of “Celebrity Apprentice,” the Donald has been parodied in seven porn movies. That compares with just five porn parodies for President Barack Obama and three for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
If he wins the presidency, Trump could be “yuge” for the porn parody sector.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Kanye West is right about CDs being marked for death

Last month, hip-hop artist Kanye West announced that he would not issue his new album on compact disc. His decision might not make good business sense, since CDs still generate a lot of revenue. But it’s another indication that music sold on physical media is on the wane.
Last year, music on physical media accounted for 28.8% of U.S. music sales. It trailed streaming (34.3%) and digital downloads (34%), according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
Music on physical formats generated $2.02 billion in 2015, down 10% from the prior year. Most of that ($1.52 billion) came from album CDs. Unit sales of album CDs dropped 13.9% to 122.9 million in the U.S. last year, RIAA said.
Only streaming music services are showing growth right now, which is why West is focused on delivering his new album “The Life of Pablo” through Tidal.
“No more CDs from me,” West wrote on Twitter on March 7. (See articles by NBC and Engadget.)
Of course, the mercurial West could always change his mind.

Photo: Cover of Kanye West album “The Life of Pablo.”

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Nostalgia for things that are obsolete

Many people like to reminisce about the way things used to be and how some things they once used have gone the way of the dodo bird.
The subject has been fodder for many click-bait articles online. (I’ve included a few examples below.) Often they’re presented as a list of changes that “will make you feel old.”
Among the first to mine this territory was Beloit College in Beloit, Wisconsin, with its Mindset List. Each August since 1998, Beloit College has released the Beloit College Mindset List, which provides a summary of cultural touchstones that shaped the lives of students entering college that year.
More recently, YouTube producers Ben and Rafi Fine, aka the Fine Brothers, have made a video series where they expose kids to the technology their parents probably used. (For example, see “Kids React To Typewriters” and “Kids React to VCRs.”)

The following are some listicles about obsolete items:

17 Things From Your Life That Your Kids Would Never Recognize (Good Housekeeping; Nov. 2, 2015)

23 Things Your Kids Will Never Understand (The Huffington Post; Aug. 26, 2013)

11 “Modern Antiques” Today’s Kids Have Probably Never Seen (Mental Floss; April 11, 2012)

Hand-cast cement “modern fossils” by artist Christopher Locke of Austin, Texas (top);
Cover of “The Lonely Phonebooth” (2010) by Peter Ackerman (author) and Max Dalton (illustrator). The two also did “The Lonely Typewriter” (2014).

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Actors who have portrayed Jesus or God in movies and TV shows

In my last post, I listed 58 actors who have played the devil in live-action movies and TV shows.
Since I covered the darkness, it is only fair to cover the light as well.
My new list includes 24 actors who have played Jesus and 102 actors who have played God.
My list excludes animated versions of God and Jesus as well as movies and TV shows that just presented the voice of God.

Actors who have played Jesus:

Christian Bale, “Mary, Mother of Jesus” (1999)
Jim Caviezel, “The Passion of the Christ” (2004)
Henry Ian Cusick, “The Gospel of John” (2003)
Willem Dafoe, “The Last Temptation of Christ” (1988)
Brian Deacon, “Jesus” (1979)
Juan Pablo Di Pace, “A.D. The Bible Continues” (2015)
Will Ferrell, “Superstar” (1999)
Victor Garber, “Godspell” (1973)
Adam Greaves-Neal, “The Young Messiah” (2016)
Jeffrey Hunter, “King of Kings” (1961)
Enrique Irazoqui, “The Gospel According to St. Matthew” (1964)
Gerald “Slink” Johnson, “Black Jesus” (2014-present)
Ewan McGregor, “Last Days in the Desert” (2015)
Mike Mohrhardt, “Heaven is For Real” (2014)
Diogo Morgado, “The Bible” (2013) and “Son of God” (2014)
Ted Neeley, “Jesus Christ Superstar” (1973)
Robert Powell, “Jesus of Nazareth” (1977)
Chris Sarandon, “The Day Christ Died” (1980)
Jeremy Sisto, “Jesus” (1999)
Haaz Sleiman, “Killing Jesus” (2015)
John Kay Steel, “The Life of Jesus: The Revolutionary” (1998)
Robert Torti, “Reefer Madness” (2005)
Max von Sydow, “The Greatest Story Ever Told” (1965)
H.B. Warner, “The King of Kings” (1927)

Actors who have played God:

Scott Bairstow, “Touched by an Angel” (2003)
George Burns, “Oh, God!” (1977), “Oh, God! Book II” (1980) and “Oh, God! You Devil” (1984)
Rodney Dangerfield, “Angels with Angles” (2005)
Morgan Freeman, “Bruce Almighty” (2003) and “Evan Almighty” (2007)
Whoopi Goldberg, “A Little Bit of Heaven” (2011)
Charlton Heston, “Almost an Angel” (1990)
Rex Ingram, “The Green Pastures” (1936)
Groucho Marx, “Skidoo” (1968)
Ferdy Mayne, “Night Train to Terror” (1985)
Alanis Morissette, “Dogma” (1999)
Robert Morley, “Second Time Lucky” (1984)
George Plimpton. “Religion, Inc.” aka “A Fool and His Money” (1989)
Richard Pryor, “In God We Tru$t” (1980)
Ralph Richardson, “Time Bandits” (1981)
Maurice Roeves, “The Acid House” (1998)
Tucker Smallwood, “The Sarah Silverman Program” (2007-2010)
Paul Sorvino, “The Devil’s Carnival” (2012)

In addition to these performances, 85 actors played God in cameos on the TV series “Joan of Arcadia” (2003-2005). They included, Zachary Quinto, Curtis Armstrong and Sherri Shepherd. (See lists on IMDb and Wikipedia.)

Actors who have played both the devil and God or Jesus:

As a bonus, I count four actors who have portrayed both the devil and God or Jesus.
  • George Burns played God in the movie “Oh God!” (1977) and its sequel “Oh, God! Book II” (1980). He played both God and the devil in the third film “Oh God! You Devil” (1984).
  • Rodney Dangerfield played God in “Angels with Angles” (2005) and Lucifer in “Little Nicky” (2000)
  • Willem Dafoe played Jesus in “The Last Temptation of Christ” (1988) and played Satan in a 2013 Mercedes-Benz Super Bowl commercial.
  • Diogo Morgado played “The Man,” the devil incarnate on the TV series “The Messengers” (2015). He previously played Jesus in the TV mini-series “The Bible” (2013) and its movie adaptation “Son of God” (2014).

Photo: Morgan Freeman as God in “Bruce Almighty.” 

Friday, March 18, 2016

Actors who have played the devil in movies and TV shows

The Fox TV network recently came under fire from a Christian group for its DC Comics-based series “Lucifer.”
The television watchdog group One Million Moms criticized the show, which it says “glorifies Satan as a caring, likable person in human flesh.”
The group warns that the show is “spiritually dangerous” because it makes the devil “look cool and irresistible to women,” according to Christian Today.
“Late Night” host Seth Meyers joked about the controversy: “The advocacy group One Million Moms has called for a boycott of the new Fox show ‘Lucifer’ because they believe the series ‘glorifies Satan,’ and is complaining to the show’s main sponsor, Olive Garden. Wait, Olive Garden sponsors Lucifer? I always assumed it was the other way around.”
Other news sites reporting on the controversy include the Christian Post, and the Daily Beast.
The Fox show stars Welsh actor Tom Ellis as Lucifer Morningstar, the devil on vacation from hell and living in L.A. as a nightclub owner who also helps the police solve crimes.
Over on the CW drama “Supernatural,” Mark Pellegrino plays Lucifer as decidedly more evil and violent.
Those portrayals of Lucifer got me thinking about how many other actors have played the devil.
So I decided to put together a list.
Assembling a list of actors who have played Satan or Lucifer is not easy. Sometimes an evil character is only implied to be the devil or could be just an agent of Satan.
Also, for my list, I excluded voice actors in animated movies and TV shows as well as portrayals of Hades from Greek mythology.
My list includes 58 actors who have played the devil, Satan or Lucifer in TV shows, mini-series and movies. Among those actors are four women, including the sinfully hot Elizabeth Hurley and Jennifer Love Hewitt.

Actors who have played the devil in TV shows:

Tom Ellis, “Lucifer” (2016)
John Glover, “Brimstone” (1998-1999)
Mackenzie Gray, “The Collector” (2004–2006)
Diogo Morgado, “The Messengers” (2015)
Mohamen Mehdi Ouazanni, “The Bible” (2013)
Mandy Patinkin, “Touched by an Angel” (2001)
Mark Pellegrino, “Supernatural” (2009-present)
John Schneider. “Touched by an Angel” (1995-2001), “Holyman Undercover” (2010)
David Ogden Stiers, “Touched by an Angel” (2003)
Ray Wise, “Reaper” (2007-2009)

Actors who have played the devil in movies:

Victor Buono, “The Evil” (1978)
George Burns, “Oh, God! You Devil” (1984)
Gabriel Byrne, “End of Days” (1999)
Rosalinda Celentano, “The Passion of the Christ” (2004)
Lon Chaney Jr., “The Devil’s Messenger” (1961)
James Coco, “Hunk” (1987)
Peter Cook, “Bedazzled” (1967)
Bill Cosby, “The Devil and Max Devlin” (1981)
Laird Cregar, “Heaven Can Wait” (1943)
Billy Crystal, “Deconstructing Harry” (1997)
Tim Curry, “Legend” (1985)
Rodney Dangerfield, “Little Nicky” (2000)
Robert De Niro, “Angel Heart” (1987)
Daniel Emilfork, “The Devil’s Nightmare” (1971)
Peter Fonda, “Ghost Rider” (2007)
Tony Giorgio, “Night Train to Terror” (1985)
Jeff Goldblum, “Mister Frost” (1990)
Dave Grohl, “Tenacious D In the Pick Of Destiny” (2006)
Robert Helpmann, “Second Time Lucky” (1984)
Elizabeth Hurley, “Bedazzled” (2000)
Walter Huston, “The Devil and Daniel Webster” (1941)
Jeffrey Jones, “Stay Tuned” (1992)
Harvey Keitel, “Little Nicky” (2000)
Eriq La Salle, “Crazy as Hell” (2002)
Christopher Lee, “Poor Devil” (1973)
Jennifer Love Hewitt, “Shortcut to Happiness” (2007)
Malcolm McDowell, “Suing the Devil” (2011)
Viggo Mortensen, “The Prophecy” (1995)
Jack Nicholson, “The Witches of Eastwick” (1987)
Jenny O’Hara, “The Devil” (2010)
Al Pacino, “The Devil’s Advocate” (1997)
Bruce Payne, “Switch” (1991)
Vincent Price, “The Story of Mankind” (1957)
Claude Rains, “Angel on My Shoulder” (1946)
John Ritter, “Wholly Moses!” (1980)
Adam Sandler, “Dirty Work” (1998)
Telly Savalas, “Lisa and the Devil” (1973)
G. Tito Shaw, “Petey Wheatstraw” (1977)
Phil Silvers, “Damn Yankees!” (1967)
Terence Stamp, “The Company of Wolves” (1984)
Peter Stormare, “Constantine” (2005)
Max von Sydow, “Needful Things” (1993)
Clay Tanner, “Rosemary's Baby” (1968)
Tom Waits, “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” (2009)
Ray Walston, “Damn Yankees” (1958)
David Warner, “Time Bandits” (1981)
Clarence Williams III, “Tales from the Hood” (1995)
Terrance Zdunich, “The Devil’s Carnival” (2012)

Photos: Tom Ellis, star of “Lucifer” (top); and Elizabeth Hurley as the devil in “Bedazzled” (2000).

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Museum expert Victor Danilov says some museums too expensive for families

Museum expert Victor Danilov says one of his proudest achievements as director and president of the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago is that he kept it free during his 15 years at the museum.
After he left in 1987, the museum instituted an admission fee and hasn’t looked back since.
“The thing that shocks me these days is what it costs to go to a museum,” Danilov told me by phone Monday. “We’re talking about $15 or $20 to go to a museum. One thing that I’m especially proud of doing over the years: when I was the director for 12 of the 15 years (at the Museum of Science and Industry), and my predecessor was also proud, that he never had to charge admission to the museum. And I continued that until I retired.”
Danilov wanted to make the museum experience open to as many people as possible.
“I had almost 4 million people attending the museum free (each year) and as soon as I retired they applied an admission fee to help cover the expenses and now it’s $15 to go to see that museum. And the attendance is a million and a half as opposed to 4 million. So it dropped off that much mainly because of the admission.”
Actually, entry to the museum is now $18 for adults and $11 for children ages 3-11. But the price can go much higher if you add in special exhibits and activities.
The admission fees are keeping more families with children from visiting the museum.
“When they started charging admission, they started slowly at $5 and gradually it ran up to $15,” Danilov said. “Some museums charge even more than that these days. They need the money but there ought to be some other way of raising the money besides charging families these big numbers, particularly if they have children to take. It can cost them $50 just to get into the museum.”
Danilov, 91, is retired and living in Evanston, Illinois. He is the author of 28 non-fiction books and more than half of them are on museums. His last book was “Famous Americans: A Directory of Museums, Historic Sites, and Memorials” (2013).
Danilov is a leading figure in the museum world. He was the founder and director of the Museum Management Program at the University of Colorado from 1988 to 2003. He holds degrees from Pennsylvania State University, Northwestern University, and University of Colorado, and has been an officer in national and international museum organizations.
He is a life trustee on the board of trustees at the Museum of Science and Industry.
He got into the museum business through a fortunate turn of events.
“I was a journalist originally,” Danilov said. “I was a reporter and rewrite (person) for the Chicago Daily News ... and out of that I did some other jobs. I taught journalism at several universities and was the editor of a number of science magazines.”
He was working for a publication on industrial research and technology when he was hired to work in 1972 with the then-president of the museum.
“I had no experience with museums before that except as a visitor. But I sort of got a short course in a year or two,” he said.
Danilov became part of the science museum movement and helped other groups start their own museums.

Photos: Covers of two Victor Danilov museum books.

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