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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Size matters: Neil deGrasse Tyson brings his expanding universe to Durham

Posted By on Wed, Oct 14, 2015 at 9:14 AM

Neil deGrasse Tyson Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015 Durham Performing Arts Center Like Bill Nye and LeVar Burton before him, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has achieved the kind of stardom that makes knowledge seem impossibly cool. Tyson is the director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York City, a popular author and radio host and, of course, the face of the modern-day Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey. The staff of UNC’s Morehead Planetarium brought Tyson to Chapel Hill in 2012. He led an impromptu stargazing session by the campus sundial—at 4 o'clock in the morning. But that was before Cosmos projected the...

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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Television: Twice Born follows challenging parental journey of Raleigh couple and others

Posted By on Wed, Apr 1, 2015 at 11:07 AM

Fetal surgery is barely 30 years old, with the first in utero intervention taking place in 1981. While breakthroughs in stem cell and gene therapy might some day make fetal surgery obsolete, today it remains a cutting-edge, highly sophisticated surgical procedure reserved for the most complex birth defects. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is among the handful of medical facilities in the world that perform fetal surgeries. The hospital is also the setting for Twice Born: Stories from the Special Delivery Unit, a three-part documentary series premiering on PBS. The series primarily follows the experiences of four families at Children's...

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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Interview: Downton Abbey historical advisor Alastair Bruce visits the Triangle

Posted By on Tue, Dec 30, 2014 at 4:33 PM

When Downton Abbey premieres its anxiously anticipated fifth season on Sunday, Jan. 4, at 9:00 p.m. on UNC-TV, fans will revel in the lives and loves of the Earl of Grantham and his extended family—and the de facto family of servants with whom their lives are closely intertwined. But an important part of the show’s appeal is its meticulous attention to historical detail. For that, you can thank not just the pen of series creator Julian Fellowes, but also the strict yet kind supervision of historical advisor Alastair Bruce, OBE, Queen’s Herald, Territorial Army Colonel and Equerry to Prince Edward....

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Friday, January 17, 2014

Forget Newsroom. Aaron Sorkin should go back to politics

Posted By on Fri, Jan 17, 2014 at 11:14 AM

This is an interesting moment for the playwright and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin. After months in limbo, his HBO series The Newsroom was just renewed for a third and final season. This should excite hardcore Newsroom fans, but there's another opportunity we'd like to see him pursue—his long-promised adaptation of Andrew Young's tell-all account of John Edwards' downfall, The Politician. Sorkin acquired the rights to Young's book around the time of its publication in 2010, with the final stages of the Edwards drama—the death of Elizabeth Edwards and the besieged politician's subsequent trial for campaign finance fraud and his subsequent...

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Friday, July 12, 2013

DVD+Digital: Aging, apocalypse and After People

Posted By on Fri, Jul 12, 2013 at 2:47 PM

courtesy of History channel Ever since aging through the sad end of the 18-35 demographic, I find my television tastes have drifted. When clicking around these days, I tend to linger on the pop scholarship offered by basic cable stations like History, Discovery, National Geographic and Animal Planet. My conclusion is that I like reality TV, I just don't like reality TV about people. As such, the three-disc collection After People — new to DVD from the History channel — is right up my misanthropic alley. After People trades in that brand of speculation and imagery sometimes called apocalypse porn....

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

DVD+Digital: Game of Thrones, 30 Rock and TV binge watching

Posted By on Thu, Feb 14, 2013 at 12:28 PM

courtesy of HBO Home Entertainment In the days before DVD/VHS, Netflix and endless online options — back when we had a little sanity left — TV binge watching was confined to weekend basic cable marathons. If you wanted to see all the episodes of a particular show in sequence, this was your sole option. Only the most dedicated souls braved those 24- and 48-hour endurance trials. I tried it once, years ago, with David Lynch's serial freakout Twin Peaks. Like an idiot I went in without a game plan or any training regimen at all. Amateur move. By Episode 15,...

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

The spirit of Christmas specials, conclusion: Beyond Charlie Brown and the Grinch!

Posted By on Thu, Dec 20, 2012 at 6:34 PM

It is my great belief that the two most important gifts one can give others are new moments of happiness, and a chance to relive moments of happiness from the past. (I suppose organ donations and tickets out of soul-crushing poverty are good as well, but there’s only so much you can do with a blog post.) So for the conclusion to my look back at Christmas specials long gone, I decided to look at some deep cuts — some specials not seen in a while, or only half-remembered. Before I go further, I want to take a moment...

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The Spirit of Christmas Specials, Part 1: The Realm of Rankin-Bass

Posted By on Thu, Dec 20, 2012 at 12:43 PM

screen capture from ABC Family airingThe Flamboyant Snow Miser from Rankin-Bass' "The Year Without a Santa Claus" Peter Jackson’s new film version of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit might have broken box-office records despite mixed (and in the case of this paper, excoriating) reviews, but I myself am still reluctant to see it and weigh in. Why devote nearly three hours to a film adapting 1/3 of a book that you could read in less time — and why try to improve on the 75-minute version by Rankin-Bass Productions? The Rankin-Bass Hobbit was a mainstay of my childhood. Made for TV...

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Get a Life, the surreal Chris Elliott TV series, comes to DVD

Posted By on Thu, Sep 20, 2012 at 4:45 PM

The neologism “man-child” has in recent years come to refer to the types typically played on screen by Seth Rogen, Vince Vaughn and other gentlemen aged roughly 21-40 who partake in video games, alcohol, pot-smoking and varied instances of gay panic, foul language and confusion/consternation with the opposite sex and the realities of adulthood. Those who complain about the proliferation of these types may consider themselves lucky that they never encountered 30-year-old paperboy Chris Peterson. Chris, the alter ego of actor Chris Elliott, was the star of the late, great Fox sitcom Get a Life, which ran from 1990-92 and...

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Friday, July 6, 2012

TV honors Andy Griffith with marathon programming

Posted By on Fri, Jul 6, 2012 at 2:24 PM

Folks who stayed out of the house all day on July 4 may have missed out on all-day TV tributes to Andy Griffith, but that's OK. They'll get some more chances over the next couple of weeks. TV Land and The Hallmark Movie Channel wasted no time in honoring the Mt. Airy, N.C. native, who died the day before of a heart attack, at the age of 86. The Andy Griffith Show was cherry-picked for a five-hour run on TV Land, and Hallmark has been giving Matlock fans a long, loving look at rumpled, feisty southern lawyer Ben Matlock, played...

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Last exit to Llanview: Michael Malone looks back at his work on "One Life to Live," which ends today

Posted By on Fri, Jan 13, 2012 at 8:30 AM

Michael MaloneIn the end, it took very little to end the life of Viki Lord Riley Burke Riley Buchanan Buchanan Carpenter Davidson Banks. It wasn't the heart condition that had necessitated a transplant from her comatose fifth husband (the long-lost half-brother of her third, and also the third husband to leave her widowed), or either of the near-death experiences that that had sent her on two separate round trips to Heaven. Nor was it the stroke, the brain aneurysm, the killer virus, the breast cancer or the traumatic repressed memories that had resulted in her developing seven personalities and forgetting...

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A tribute to the lovable awfulness of "One Tree Hill," which begins its ninth and final season tonight

Posted By on Wed, Jan 11, 2012 at 1:46 PM

On Jan. 11, the CW drama—and that term is used loosely—One Tree Hill will begin its ninth and final season, bringing to an end nearly 200 episodes of teen melodrama that included brazen guest stars (Kevin Federline!), shameless product placement (watch Tree Hill High’s cheerleaders pose for Maxim!) and plot twists seemingly borne out of a combination of desperation and illegal narcotics (villainous Dan loses out on a heart transplant because a dog eats his donor heart!). Please take a moment to think of all the decisions required for this scene to take place, including finding a heart and training...

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Interview: The areas of John Hodgman's expertise; tonight at Durham Armory

Posted By on Wed, Nov 9, 2011 at 11:52 AM

Photo by Bradley GutierrezWriter John Hodgman has become an international symbol of geekery since he began appearing on Comedy Central's The Daily Show in 2005 to promote his book of fake trivia, The Areas of My Expertise. Since then, he's become a regular on The Daily Show, appeared in numerous movies and TV shows, developed an enormous Internet following and, of course, appeared as the oft-upstaged personification of the personal computer in the "Mac vs. PC" TV advertisements. Now, Hodgman has completed his continuously paginated saga of false knowledge with That is All (Dutton, $25), a massive compilation of made-up...

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bricks will be thrown, warns David Simon, creator of The Wire

Posted By on Tue, Sep 27, 2011 at 2:05 PM

[UPDATE 9/30/2011: Video of the full lecture is now embedded at the end of the story.] David Simon warned Monday night that America’s “great engine is beginning to rust,” the middle class is being destroyed, the poor are cast aside and the sale of the political system to the highest bidder along with wars on drugs and the Middle East spell the end of the country’s ability to lead and prosper. Photo Courtesy of UNC“We basically said, ‘As much of our political system as you’d like to buy, feel free,’” Simon said. “Nothing buys stupidity like money in this country....

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Friday, August 5, 2011

Movie-making with the Kate Plus 8 kids

Posted By on Fri, Aug 5, 2011 at 2:59 PM

[UPDATED MONDAY, AUG. 8 WITH VIDEO AT BOTTOM OF POST.] North Carolina-based actress Melissa Lozoff runs filmmaking classes and workshops for kids at Movie-Makers, a project she founded in 2001. Fans of reality TV can get a glimpse of her teaching process on Monday, Aug. 8, at 9:30 p.m. on the TLC channel. "I basically make films with kids," Lozoff says. In fact, she's in the middle of giving classes and summer camp with kids right now at her property in Orange County. She also just got finished with some acting work on One Tree Hill in Wilmington. "The kids...

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Illness, privacy and reality TV: The Independent interview
with Now You See Me playwright Neal Bell

Posted By on Tue, Mar 15, 2011 at 7:05 PM

Neal BellLate-stage lung cancer is certainly no joke. But Claire, the central character in Neil Bell’s new play, NOW YOU SEE ME, has an unexpected ally, of sorts. It’s her television—even though, a certain David Byrne lyric notwithstanding, they are not good friends.Bell’s dark comedy, whose world premiere opens Wednesday at Manbites Dog Theater, is a sharp-eyed critique from an industry insider of a medium that has proven, in its own way, to be every bit as metastatic in our culture as the carcinomas are in Claire’s body. Now You See Me asks to what lengths will a television network...

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Five thoughts about Conan on TBS

Posted By on Thu, Nov 11, 2010 at 9:17 PM

TBS/ Team CocoConan O'Brien returned to the airwaves on Monday night, and he—and I—couldn't be happier. After three nights, here are five observations:1. The bearded O’Brien looks happier than ever. I always thought he looked uncomfortable on The Tonight Show, so frankly, I stopped watching. (Maybe he shared my foreboding about that whole thing.) And it’s nice to have Andy Richter out from behind that announcer’s podium and back on the couch, where he belongs. 2. The set looks scary huge. The big-screen effects behind his desk are amusing; it was fun to see Tom Hanks getting drenched by a...

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Friday, December 11, 2009

On TV: Kate Gosselin spotted in Raleigh -- for new show?

Posted By on Fri, Dec 11, 2009 at 1:49 PM

In the "oh, no, not again" category of pop culture news, Kate Gosselin of "Jon & Kate Plus 8" fame was spotted by WRAL "working" for a day in a Raleigh eatery this week, probably for some new reality show. The hush-hush location shoot is not the only North Carolina showbiz connection for the octo-mom with the Flock of Seagulls hairdo. Her recently-canceled reality series on TLC was shot for three years by Figure 8 Films in Carrboro, which created the series. (Figure 8 did not respond to repeated requests by The Independent Weekly for an interview this year, when...

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Rockin' Chef on The Rachael Ray Show

Posted By on Thu, Oct 22, 2009 at 5:20 PM

Personal chef and singer/bassist extraordinaire Shirle’ Hale Koslowski is no stranger to television – she did a cooking segment on News 14 for a while until she was replaced by some dorky guy. But this latest development is just surreal. Koslowski, who plays in the Durham band Free Electric State with her husband David, will appear Monday, Oct. 26 on the “Rachael Ray” show, which airs in the Triangle at 10 a.m. on WTVD. A wine rack that Shirle’ made out of coffee cans will be featured in Ray’s regular "Double Duty Tips" segment. It turns out that a...

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Myrick brings the anti-Muslim witch hunt to Fox News (where else?)

Posted By on Fri, Oct 16, 2009 at 3:02 PM

If you've been watching cable news lately -- you poor soul -- you may be aware that four Republican lawmakers are promoting a new right-wing-media-inspired witch hunt. No, we're not talking about ACORN-bashing or "czar" paranoia here. Them's old news, partner. But did ... did ...did you know that Muslim spies are infiltrating Congress?! So says loon fringer David Gaubatz, co-author of Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That's Conspiring to Islamize America, published by World Net Daily Books. (World Net Daily, for those of you lucky enough not to know, is a "conservative " Web site that has...

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You stopped the arts coverage to cover the election..... You were probably better off just covering the arts, rather than …

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