Chip Kidd is the Associate Art Director at Alfred A. Knopf and he has designed some of the most iconic book covers of our generation. Click HERE to see some of his favorite dust jacket designs created by his peers.
Bring the sports bar experience home with The Man Wall ($14,900). This all-in-one chunk of awesomeness features room for four TVs — one 52″ and two 26″ units are included — a 1200-watt Panasonic home theater with integrated speakers and wireless surround units, two 25-cigar humidors with gauges, a 32-bottle wine rack, a microwave, a live 7-foot sports ticker at the top with built-in computer, a full-size kegerator with tap, an iPod docking station, DVD player, and the ability to control it all via a single remote control. (From Uncrate.com)
Universal Pictures has released the trailer for Couples Retreat, the upcoming comedy starring Vince Vaughn, Jason Bateman, Jon Favreau, Malin Akerman, Kristin Davis, Kristen Bell and Faizon Love.
The film is due out on October 9th, 2009.
Based on an original idea of Vaughn’s, the comedy follows four Midwestern couples who embark on a journey to a tropical island resort. While one of the couples is there to work on their marriage, the other three set out to jet ski, spa and enjoy some fun in the sun. They soon discover that participation in the resort’s couples therapy is not optional. Suddenly, their group-rate vacation comes at a price. What follows is a hilarious look at real world problems faced by all couples.
Two weeks before he died, Michael Jackson wrapped up work on an elaborate production dubbed the “Dome Project” that could be the final finished video piece overseen by the King of Pop, The Associated Press has learned.
Jackson was apparently preparing to dazzle concert audiences in London with a high-tech show in which 3D images — some inspired by his “Thriller” era — would flash behind him as he performed on stage.
“It was a groundbreaking effort,” said Vince Pace, whose company provided cameras for the shoot, a 3D system he created with filmmaker James Cameron.
“To think that Michael’s gone now, that’s probably the last documented footage of him to be shot in that manner,” Pace said.
Two people with knowledge of the secretive project confirmed its existence Monday to the AP on condition they not be identified because they signed confidentiality agreements.
They said it was a five-week project filmed at Culver Studios, which 70 years ago was the set for the classic film “Gone With the Wind.” Four sets were constructed for Jackson’s production, including a cemetery recalling his 1983 “Thriller” video.
With 3D technology “the audience would have felt like they were visiting the ‘Thriller’ experience, like they were there,” Pace said.
Shooting for the project lasted from June 1-9, with Jackson on the set most days. The project was in post-production, at the time of Jackson’s death, and had been expected to be completed next month. It was not immediately clear what would be made of the video footage now.
Producer Robb Wagner, founder of music-video company Stimulated Inc., did not immediately return a message seeking comment on the project.
Michael Roth, a spokesman for Jackson’s Los Angeles-based promoter AEG Live, said he hadn’t heard about the production but did not rule that it could be part of the company’s contract with the entertainer.
According to one of the people with knowledge of the project, a willow-thin, pallid Jackson left a memorable impression on the crew, arriving in a caravan of SUVs with hulking security guards in tow. The person said Jackson introduced himself to workers on the set and walked with a spring in his step but at one point needed assistance as he descended steps off a stage.
Besides the cemetery, one set was draped in black with an oversized portrait of Jackson in his “Thriller” werewolf costume. Another set was designed to simulate a lush jungle, and a fourth was built to replicate a construction site, with a screen in the back to allow projection of different backgrounds.
Taping took place in marathon sessions ending early in the morning. One scene filmed on the construction site set included scantily clad male dancers wearing carpenter’s belts.
According to Stimulated’s Web site, the company was hired to produce screen content for Jackson’s planned comeback concerts in London. Stimulated has worked with Def Leppard and the Pussycat Dolls, and produced content for the Academy Awards and the Emmys.
Apple has launched a new online tool to allow potential iPhone 3GS customers to check on the stock levels at any of the company’s U.S.-based retail stores. Currently, iPhone 3GS availability varies wildly from store-to-store, with some stores sold completely out and some down to just one model available; most of the company’s biggest stores, such as The Grove in LA, the downtown San Francisco store, and the company’s glass cube 5th avenue store in New York City, have all models available. The availability checker page notes that the 8GB iPhone 3G is in-stock at all Apple Retail locations.
The director’s cut of “Watchmen,” featuring an additional 25 minutes of footage and the death of a supporting character, will receive a limited theatrical rollout during the weekend ahead of its July 21 home-video release.
The superhero saga will screen in Los Angeles, New York, Minneapolis and Dallas.
The rollout will culminate with a special screening July 25 at Comic-Con in San Diego, taking advantage of a Blu-ray Disc feature that will allow any viewer in North America to watch the movie at the same time as the audience at Comic-Con, see and hear director Zack Snyder comment on the movie, and even ask questions. The screening will then be archived and will be able to be accessed for future viewings.
“Comic-Con, it isn’t just comic book fanatics, it’s cinephiles as well. It’ll be cool to discuss what people are thinking,” Snyder said at a “Watchmen” press day, held Wednesday at Warner Bros., where the news was unveiled.
The day was designed to showcase a bonus Blu-ray feature called Maximum Movie Mode as well as features to be seen in Snyder’s Blu-ray release of “300: The Complete Experience.”
An unhappily married couple receives a small wooden box on their doorstep. At the push of a button, the box brings its bearer instant wealth but also instantly kills someone the bearer doesn’t know. Richard Kelly directs the upcoming thriller which stars Cameron Diaz, Frank Langella, James Marsden, Gillian Jacobs, Michele Durrett. Look for ‘The Box’ in theaters on October 30th, 2009.
Billy Mays, the burly, bearded television pitchman known for his boisterous hawking of products such as Orange Glo and OxiClean, has died. He was 50.
Tampa police said Mays was found unresponsive by his wife Sunday morning. A fire rescue crew pronounced him dead at 7:45 a.m.
There were no signs of a break-in, and investigators do not suspect foul play, said Lt. Brian Dugan of the Tampa Police Department, who wouldn’t answer any more questions about how Mays’ body was found because of the ongoing investigation. The coroner’s office expects to have an autopsy done by Monday afternoon.
“Although Billy lived a public life, we don’t anticipate making any public statements over the next couple of days,” said Mays’ wife, Deborah. “Our family asks that you respect our privacy during these difficult times.”
Tampa area media outlets reported that Mays was a passenger on a U.S. Airways flight that made a rough landing on Saturday afternoon at Tampa International Airport, apparently blowing its front tires in an incident that left debris on the runway.
Tampa Bay’s Fox television affiliate interviewed Mays after the incident.
“All of a sudden as we hit you know it was just the hardest hit, all the things from the ceiling started dropping,” MyFox Tampa Bay quoted him as saying. “It hit me on the head, but I got a hard head.”
U.S. Airways officials said Sunday they could not immediately confirm that Mays was a passenger.
Born William Mays in McKees Rocks, Pa., on July 20, 1958, Mays developed his style demonstrating knives, mops and other “as seen on TV” gadgets on Atlantic City’s boardwalk. For years he worked as a hired gun on the state fair and home show circuits, attracting crowds with his booming voice and genial manner.
After meeting Orange Glo International founder Max Appel at a home show in Pittsburgh in the mid-1990s, Mays was recruited to demonstrate the environmentally friendly line of cleaning products on the St. Petersburg-based Home Shopping Network.
Commercials and informercials followed, anchored by the high-energy Mays showing how it’s done while tossing out kitschy phrases like, “Long live your laundry!”
Recently he’s been seen on commercials for a wide variety of products and is featured on the reality TV show “Pitchmen” on the Discovery Channel, which follows Mays and Anthony Sullivan in their marketing jobs. He’s also been seen in ESPN ads.
His ubiquitousness and thumbs-up, in-your-face pitches won Mays plenty of fans. People line up at his personal appearances for autographed color glossies, and strangers stop him in airports to chat about the products.
“I enjoy what I do,” Mays told The Associated Press in a 2002 interview. “I think it shows.”
Mays liked to tell the story of giving bottles of OxiClean to the 300 guests at his wedding, and doing his ad spiel (“powered by the air we breathe!”) on the dance floor at the reception. Visitors to his house typically got bottles of cleaner and housekeeping tips.
Discovery Channel spokeswoman Elizabeth Hillman released a statement Sunday extending sympathy to the Mays family.
“Everyone that knows him was aware of his larger-than-life personality, generosity and warmth,” Hillman’s statement said. “Billy was a pioneer in his field and helped many people fulfill their dreams. He will be greatly missed as a loyal and compassionate friend.”
On any given blissful summer’s day in Portsmouth, NH, strollers along the charming narrow streets by the harbor are likely to come upon the welcome respite of an ice cream parlor. And better yet, no ordinary ice cream parlor. This is Annabelle’s, whose owner, Lewis Palosky, likes to think of himself as “an artist, not a businessman.” The flavors here are indeed sheer artistry. Black raspberry, a New England tradition, pops on the palate like a Day-Glo billboard. Even the French vanilla, a symbol of ordinariness, has been made extraordinary, far beyond the clichés of “bland vanilla.”
July is national ice cream month—not that we need any additional encouragement to indulge. And every area of the country has its own legendary ice cream parlor or two, welcoming refuges that provide a cooling escape from the heat of a summer’s day—along with some serious culinary pleasure.
Often these places are infused with nostalgia—the Americana of July 4th and other classic national values. South of Portland, ME, for instance, Shain’s of Maine Ice Cream conjures a vintage ambience with red-and-white old-time soda shop banquettes and bygone newspaper ads underneath the glass tabletops.
Then again, ice cream can also be a bold-new-culinary-age proposition. In northern California, Ici Ice Cream in Berkeley, run by a former chef from Chez Panisse, features fresh market flavors like black mission fig, putting a cultivated twist on one of the ultimate comfort foods.
New England, as ever, remains the epicenter of this national obsession; modern gourmet ice cream is widely considered to have been born at the original Steve’s in Boston. Ice cream has its own culture in the region, from visuals to terminology. “Frappe” is the usual New England term for a milkshake, customarily served with a lump of ice cream on the side of the glass. “Cabinets” are Rhode Island vernacular for milkshakes, with the coffee version—coffee ice cream, a dose of coffee syrup, and milk—a constant standout.
The influence of New England’s gourmet groundbreakers can be felt across the country at spots that value high-quality ingredients, freshness, and guilt-free indulgence. These ice cream parlors, America’s best, are all about keeping it real and, of course, homemade.
See the slideshow of America’s Best Ice Cream Shops HERE.
Here is the trailer for Ricky Gervais and Matt Robinson’s The Invention of Lying. Opening September 25th, the Warner Bros. release stars Gervais, Jennifer Garner, Rob Lowe, Jonah Hill, Louis C.K., John Hodgman, Tina Fey, Christopher Guest, Jeffrey Tambor, Nate Corddry, Patrick Stewart and Jason Bateman.
The comedy is set in a contemporary world where no one has ever lied. Gervais plays a performer who tells the first lie and harnesses its power for personal gain.
The tragedy of Michael Jackson’s death at age 50, reportedly from cardiac arrest, pales in comparison to the tragedy of his life. To understand all that Jackson had and lost requires wiping away three decades of plastic surgeries that deformed him, erratic behavior that made his name synonymous with the warping powers of fame, and a 2005 trial for sexually abusing a child that, even though he was spared of any finding of wrongdoing, made him a pariah to all but the most brainwashed of fans.
But if you can forgive or forget all that, underneath was one of the most talented entertainers of the 20th century. Quincy Jones who produced Jackson’s quintessential solo albums was devastated by the news of his passing. “I’ve lost my little brother today,” Jones said in a statement, “part of my soul has gone with him.” Said Jones: “Divinity brought our souls together… and allowed us to do what we were able to throughout the 80’s. To this day, the music we created together on Off The Wall, Thriller and Bad is played in every corner of the world and the reason for that is because he had it all….”
Jackson was born in 1958, the seventh of nine Jackson children, and before he reached age six he had joined his brothers in the Jackson Five. By the age of eight he had taken over lead singing duties with brother Jermaine, but there was no question who was the star of the group. Little Michael was the best dancer and singer of the bunch, but he also had the mysterious thing that record bosses and studio chiefs crave: star power. Michael appeared to be his best and most interesting self when everyone in the world was watching.
As Michael aged into adolescence the Jackson Five, renamed The Jacksons after their departure from Motown Records, inevitably lost some of its charm. A solo career followed, and after a steady stream of middling hits that attempted to milk the last bit of innocence from Jackson’s voice, Jackson had the good fortune to hook up with Quincy Jones while filming The Wiz. The two shared a vision for what Jackson’s career as an adult might be and on 1979′s Off The Wall they executed it beyond even Jackson’s dreams. With songwriting help from Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder, Off the Wall spun off four Top 10 hits and two number-ones — “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” and “Rock with You.”
At 22, Jackson not only became one of the most admired pop musicians in the world, but one of the globe’s most famous people. And his fame only increased with the 1981 release of Thriller, which was to become the best-selling album of all-time (until it was eclipsed in the late ’90s by The Eagles Greatest Hits, 1971-1975.) Seven of the record’s nine tracks made the Top 10, and the Quincy Jones-produced hooks remain awe-inspiring. In a cover story about Jackson and Thriller, TIME described him as “a one-man rescue team for the music business. A songwriter who sets the beat for a decade. A dancer with the fanciest feet on the street. A singer who cuts across all boundaries of taste and style and color too.”
While Jackson had few ambitions at the time beyond global domination, it’s worth noting that “The Girl is Mine” established interracial love as a pop music theme and “Beat It” (with Eddie Van Halen’s guitar solo) bridged arena rock and soul four years before Run DMC met Aerosmith. On March 25, 1983, Jackson may have reached the very peak of his fame when he unveiled his signature dance move, the moonwalk, live on the “Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever” television special.
The years after Thriller, however, were marked by a slow descent into what was first dismissible as eccentricity. Jackson attended the Grammys on a triple date with Emmanuel Lewis and Madonna, purchased a chimpanzee named Bubbles and was diagnosed with vitiligo, a condition that he said was responsible for the steady lightening of his skin. But his songwriting genius remained undeniable. With Lionel Richie Jackson, he co-wrote “We Are the World,” a 1985 charity single that raised an estimated $50 million for famine relief in Africa and ushered in the era of celebrity philanthropy.
After the release of 1987′s Bad, a disappointing follow-up to Thriller, Jackson purchased the 2,800-acre Neverland Ranch in California, and his public weirdness became almost aggressive. In his biography, Moonwalk, Jackson wrote of childhood abuse at the hands of his father and multiple plastic surgeries, subjects he returned to in a 1993 interview with Oprah Winfrey that was one of the most watched non-sports programs in American history.
Shortly after, Jackson was accused of child sexual abuse in a suit brought by Evan Chandler on behalf of his then 13-year-old son Jordan. Chandler told a psychiatrist and police that he and Jackson had engaged in sexual acts that included oral sex; the boy gave a detailed description of Jackson’s genitals. The case was settled out of court for a reported $22 million, but the strain led Jackson to begin taking painkillers. Eventually he became addicted.
To counteract the stigma that came with the allegations of pedophilia, Jackson married Lisa Marie Presley in a relationship Elvis’ only daughter later dismissed as a sham. Two years later they divorced.
Given the tumult in his personal life, it’s no surprise that the 1990s were a barren period for Jackson creatively. In 2001 he managed to pull himself together enough to release Invincible and stage two concerts celebrating his 30th anniversary as a performer at New York’s Madison Square Garden. The shows, held a few days before Sept. 11, were a capsule of all Jackson had become. There were bizarre cameos from friends Marlon Brando, Liza Minnelli and Elizabeth Taylor. Macaulay Culkin sat next to Jackson in a royal box. But several hours after the proceedings began, when Jackson finally took the stage, all the years of Wacko Jacko melted away. Then in his early 40s, he could still dance and sing better than almost anyone in the world, and he still had star power. The Jackson on display in those concerts was one the world admired and the one that will be missed. (Reprinted from Time Magazine)
This stunning new concept art offers a first look at Alice in Wonderland as seen through the eyes of director Tim Burton. The images, released by Disney as Burton works on the remake in London, show Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter and provide a fascinating peek at the fabulist director’s vision for Alice, The Red Queen and the movie’s other central characters.
The pictures hint at an elegant, richly textured fantasy world that honors Lewis Carroll’s 19th-century fairy tale while incorporating bits of Burton’s trademark weirdness.
The images are drawn from the world of Alice in Wonderland, as re-imagined by one of the world’s most visually arresting directors. The movie is scheduled for release March 5, 2010. See more images HERE.
Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter
Helena Bonham Carter plays The Red Queen
The White Queen, as portrayed by Anne Hathaway
Tweedledee and Tweedledum played by Matt Lucas in the dual role look ready to cause trouble
Here is the track listing for the upcoming American Idol Season 8 album (available June 30 at Walmart), and the cover art too.
1. Kris Allen, “No Boundaries”
2. Danny Gokey, “Stand By Me”
3. Allison Iraheta, “I Can’t Make You Love Me”
4. Matt Giraud, “Human Nature”
5. Adam Lambert, “Mad World”
6. Kris Allen, “She Works Hard for the Money”
7. Lil Rounds, “I Surrender”
8. Scott MacIntyre, “Just The Way You Are”
9. Michael Sarver, “You Are Not Alone”
10. Megan Corkrey, “Walkin’ After Midnight”
11. Anoop Desai, “Always On My Mind”
12. Adam Lambert, “No Boundaries”
Here is a sneak peek at the Beatles’ remastered box set to be released on September 9th, 2009. The original Beatles catalog has been digitally remastered for the first time. Each of the CDs is packaged with replicated original UK album art, including expanded booklets containing original and newly written liner notes and rare photos. For a limited period, each CD will also be embedded with a brief documentary film about the album. The collection comprises all 12 Beatles albums in stereo, with track listings and artwork as originally released in the UK, and ‘Magical Mystery Tour,’ which became part of The Beatles’ core catalogue when the CDs were first released in 1987. In addition, the collections ‘Past Masters Vol. I and II’ are now combined as one title, for a total of 14 titles over 16 discs. This will mark the first time that the first four Beatles albums will be available in stereo in their entirety on compact disc. These 14 albums, along with a DVD collection of the documentaries, will be available for purchase together in a stereo boxed set. Within each CD’s new packaging, booklets include detailed historical notes along with informative recording notes. With the exception of the ‘Past Masters’ set, newly produced mini-documentaries on the making of each album, directed by Bob Smeaton, are included as QuickTime files on each album. The documentaries contain archival footage, rare photographs and never-before-heard studio chat from The Beatles, offering a unique and very personal insight into the studio atmosphere. No US pricing has been established for the box set.
The TomTom solution combines the TomTom navigation application for iPhone; an Apple version of TomTom’s award-winning turn-by-turn navigation software, including IQ Routes and latest maps from Tele Atlas with the TomTom car kit for iPhone; a specially developed car kit for secure docking, enhanced GPS performance, clear voice instructions, hands-free calling and in-car charging.
Sergio Santos, an out-of-work architect, has converted a small electrical room, about the size of a large walk-in closet, into his living quarters in Delray Beach, Florida. Santos agreed to rent this room for $150 a month.
He estimates the makeover cost $64.
Santos’ room is about 5 and a half feet across, and serves as bedroom, office and mini kitchen. See more images HERE.