Weird Al getting his Hollywood Walk of Fame star

Well, it's about time. "Weird Al" Yankovic is getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

He writes:

It's finally happening... On Monday, Aug. 27 at 11:30 AM, I will be getting my very own star on the HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME! The ceremony is absolutely FREE and open to the public. It will take place at 6914 Hollywood Blvd., directly across the street from the world-famous Chinese Theatre. Speakers will include Dr. Demento, Thomas Lennon, and ME! If you're so inclined, come on down and help us celebrate!!

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West Hollywood unanimously approves permanent removal of Trump's Walk of Fame star

Donald Trump's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame has become a honeypot for vandals, MAGA-hat cretins, and all sorts of shenanigans, so the West Hollywood City Council unanimously voted to remove it permanently. Read the rest

Darth Vader's massive impact with just 34 minutes on screen

Darth Vader only appeared on screen for 34 minutes yet is the most visually iconic character of the original trilogy. Nerdwriter's Evan Puschak explains why.

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You can have The Shining carpet for your own home

Bring a bit of Overlook Hotel chic to your family room with an area rug duplicating the iconic carpet design by David Hicks. The 240cm x 170cm rug costs $3275 and it's also available as a runner or by the square meter to ensure you have enough to reach room 237. Also available from Film and Furniture are the likes of Deckard's cocktail glass from Blade Runner, the George Nelson Action Office Desk from 2001: A Space Odyssey, and many other items you'll recognize from the big screen.

"Checkmate! The story behind Kubrick’s carpet in The Shining revealed" (Film and Furniture via Kottke)

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Trump's Walk of Fame star annihilated with a pickaxe

At around 3:30am on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, a fellow opened a guitar case, removed a pickaxe and destroyed Donald Trump's star. The Hollywood Reporter's Ryan Parker tweeted the photo above and reports that "a man had been taken into custody concerning the incident. He was described as a 25-year-old man. As of 6 a.m., he was being processed at the LAPD Hollywood division and booked on felony vandalism."

(Hollywood Reporter)

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Harvey Weinstein faces life in prison with new charges

Hollywood mogul and widely-accused rapist, bully and blackmailer Harvey Weinstein was charged today with predatory sexual assault on a third victim. Read the rest

Jerry Maren, the last of the Wizard of Oz "munchkins," RIP

Jerry Maren, the last of the living munchkins from the Wizard of Oz (1939), has died at age 98. Maren, who was 18-years-old at the time of the film, was a member of the "Lollipop Guild." After the Wizard of Oz, he appeared in The Twilight Zone, Where the Buffalo Roam, Battle for the Planet of the Apes, Seinfeld, and many other films and TV shows.

"I've done so many things in show business, but people say, ‘You were in The Wizard of Oz?’ It takes people’s breath away," Maren said in a 2011 interview. "But then I realized, 'Geez, it must have been a hell of a picture, because everyone remembers it everywhere I go."

(Rolling Stone)

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Brian De Palma is making a "horror film" inspired by Harvey Weinstein's downfall

Brian De Palma is writing “a horror film" inspired by the downfall of Harvey Weinstein. The movie is about “a sexual aggressor" and takes place "within the context of sexual harassment in Hollywood," he says. It's titled Predator. Shooting will begin next year.

From Deadline Hollywood:

(Saïd) Ben Saïd, who produced De Palma’s 2012 Passion starring Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace, will produce Predator with partner Michel Merkt. Separately, De Palma has said he’s using the Toronto Film Festival as a backdrop for the intrigue.

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L.A. stories: New podcast looks at the real Los Angeles

Often when people think of Hollywood and Los Angeles, they perceive it to be glitzy and glamorous. The bubble is thick, but what is L.A. life really like?

In KCRW's new podcast Welcome to L.A., host David Weinberg bursts that bubble to examine what's really going on in (native-or-not) Angeleno culture.

He writes:

Since the first boosters marketed Los Angeles as a Paradise by the Sea people have been rolling into town with big dreams. And the city has crushed a lot of those dreams. In this series I explore a few of the many L.A.s that exist between the Pacific and the Mojave. And you’ll meet a lot of fascinating characters along the way.

A judge who throughout her career had been told to just keep her mouth shut. But she refused. And because of that she became a star.

The former voice of Ronald McDonald. He considers himself a sexual healer now. He convinces straight men in the military to have sex with him on camera and then sells those videos online.

A musician who spent his inheritance to put up a giant billboard of his face on Sunset Boulevard which was all part of a long game strategy to completely redesign the city of Los Angeles.

I'm your host David Weinberg and in Welcome to L.A. I take you into the corners of the city that L.A. noir fiction writers know. The seedy motels, the yachts, the broken down RVs and the mansions of the successful.

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Superstar Limo: The story of Disney's "worst attraction ever"

We can all take some comfort that even Disney, with all its money and creative resources, can fail.

Take for instance, Disney's epic failure, a long-gone ride called Superstar Limo. The dark ride, that was once in California Adventure's Hollywood Pictures Backlot area, took guests in a sparkly purple limousine through a distorted version of Hollywood and Los Angeles. It was open just under a year and was later (and as you'll see in the video, hilariously) repurposed as the Monsters, Inc. ride.

Kevin Perjurer of the YouTube channel Defunctland describes it as their "worst attraction ever" and offers this critical history of it. His video is 20 minutes long but worth a watch, as his research goes deep and this "Superstar Limo" truly has to be seen to be believed. Be sure to stay to the end to see the reactions of the cast of The Drew Carey Show and Rosie O'Donnell when they all took a whirl in it together.

Also, in case you're curious, here's a look at the ride without commentary:

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Margot Kidder, "Lois Lane," RIP

Margot Kidder, best known for playing Lois Lane opposite Christopher Reeve's Clark Kent/Superman in a series of movies starting with "Superman" in 1978 has died at age 69. From CNN:

Kidder... thought the film would be a flop.

"Nothing prepares anyone for that sudden thing of being world famous, it was such a shock," she said. "It wasn't something I really liked or something I was very good at. I didn't realize how good the movie was until I seen it at the premier in Washington."

She also starred in "The Amityville Horror" in 1979 and worked steadily in television and on stage. After three marriages and thousands of dollars in medical bills, Kidder found herself homeless in 1996 as she struggled with bipolar disorder.

Her story grabbed the hearts of fans and Hollywood with many reaching out to help Kidder, who eventually got back on her feet and went on to become a mental health advocate.

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Benedict Cumberbatch says he will only work on films in which female co-stars are paid as much as he is

That's right, wizard, detective, and occasional actor Benedict Cumberbatch isn't cool with bullshit pay gaps that Hollywood production companies have been laying on his female colleagues since pretty much forever.

During an interview with the Radio Times, the actor, best known for his come-hither and do-my-bidding eyes, proclaimed that he refuses to have anything to do with a project where his female co-star isn't being paid the same amount of cash as he is. In an interview with Radio Times Magazine, Cumberbatch espouses the fact that “Equal pay and a place at the table are the central tenets of feminism." He goes on, compelling other men to look at what they're paid and, if they see that a women they work with is being paid less, refuse to do it until amends are made.

More than this, with his production, SunnyMarch, Cumberbatch is putting his personal fortunes where is mouth is.

From Radio Times Magazine

“I’m proud that [partner] Adam [Ackland] and I are the only men in our production company; our next project is a female story with a female lens about motherhood, in a time of environmental disaster. If it’s centered around my name, to get investors, then we can use that attention for a raft of female projects. Half the audience is female!”

Granted, it's far easier for a fella that's already made his millions to suggest that others refuse the ability to pay their bills in the name of equality. But if enough people were to do it, often enough, it wouldn't be long until shoring up a pay gap would prove less costly to companies than the lost hours their protesting employees are costing them. Read the rest

Watch these newly discovered film clips from the glamorous birth of Technicolor

The British Film Institute discovered bits of very rare Technicolor film fragments from 1920s Hollywood. The fragments, attached to the beginning and end of other film reels, include Louise Brooks doing what may be a costume test for her first credited movie, The American Venus (1926), thought to lost. From Film News:

As Bryony Dixon, BFI’s Curator of Silent Film explains, “Everybody loves Technicolor but so much film from glamorous 1920s Hollywood is lost; when it turns up, however fragmentary it’s exciting. What to do with tiny clips that are only a few seconds long? Imagine an Egyptian vase shattered into pieces and the shards scattered across museums all over the world. You can imagine that one day you might be able to see it whole again. It’s like that with films; only an international effort by film archives like the BFI can bring the pieces of the jigsaw together. For now we have the shards but we can dream of seeing Louise Brooks’s first film or a lost Hedda Hopper in colour”.

James Layton, MOMA’s Film Department Preservation Manager adds, “Only a few Technicolor musicals from the dawn of sound survive complete and entirely in colour, whilst some only exist in poor quality black and white copies. It is always a cause for celebration whenever previously lost colour footage turns up. These excerpts provide fascinating glimpses at these films’ pioneering use of colour, which we could only guess at before.”

"BFI uncovers rare Technicolor footage of Louise Brooks in living colour" (Thanks, Bob Pescovitz!) Read the rest

Check out this amazing James Bond "Moonraker" prop and model collection

As a youngster, my favorite Bond film was Moonraker. In fact, it still is. A wristwatch dart gun! A space battle! JAWS! What's not to love!

In this video, Tested's Norman Chan visits with Alan Stephenson who has a huge collection of Bond movie memorabilia, models, and props, much of which comes from Moonraker.

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Watch the back-story of the Han Solo back-story

Director Ron Howard and the stars of Solo: A Star Wars Story tease us with more context and scenes from the forthcoming film out on May 25.

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You can own the actual furniture from Mad Men

Screenbid is holding an online auction for furniture, props, and other items seen on Mad Men. The high ticket items are Don's 1964 Chrysler Imperial (asking bid $40,000), Don's box of secrets from Adam Whitman (asking bid $2100), and the SCDP office sign (asking bid $1,900.) Don's office TV is pretty sharp though but apparently doesn't actually work.

Mad Men 2018 Auction

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What's inside the Oscars gift bag, valued at $120K apiece

Even if you don't win an Oscar (the golden statuette itself is only worth $1), if you're an Academy Award nominee you walk away with a gift bag filled with some seriously lavish schwag.

Town & Country reports that each one is stuffed with promotional gifts valued at $120K:

...the swag bag includes a variety of luxury items, from spa-grade cosmetics, to the advanced Quip electric toothbrush, a year-supply of fresh California oranges, an experience with a personal trainer, and 6-12-day travel packages to Tanzania, Greece, and Hawaii.

For the past 16 years, marketing agency Distinctive Assets has made the "'Everyone Wins' Nominee Gift Bag." Interestingly, the bag is unofficial and not presented at the awards ceremony itself.

The Washington Post reports:

Each bag is big enough to fit a number of human bodies and heavy enough to risk back injury if you tried to lift it with poor form...

It’s difficult to behold the collection of gifts without contemplating class war. This year’s offerings include a slate of skin-care, weight-loss and anti-aging products designed to fend off the inevitable progression of human life, as well as something called “Chao Pinhole Gum Rejuvenation.” The bag features fancy chocolates from Chocolatines in flavors unknown to the proletariat such as “Champagne Diamond” and “Ginger Sake Pearl.” We sampled the “Pomegranate Balsamic Ruby” but couldn’t taste the ruby.

This year’s most expensive offering is a $40,000 luxury trip to Tanzania from International Expeditions...

Some of the bag’s gifts make strange bedfellows.

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