garage door 

Updated September 13


Director Christopher Nolan Is Sick of Shitty TV Settings - September 13

We've heard a lot about the nightmare of motion smoothing here at The A.V. Club, most often in the form of someone telling a story about a terrible TV experience they had while visiting their parents or whatever, but luckily we have a pair of brave defenders in the battle against TV settings that make everything look super shitty. According to /Film, members of the Directors Guild Of America recently received an email that says Christopher Nolan and Paul Thomas Anderson have reached out to television manufacturers to try and open up a dialog between the two parties, with Nolan and Anderson specifically taking issue with the fact that most TVs default to the motion smoothing settings.

Their goal is to show the TV makers that a lot of directors truly hate what motion smoothing does to their work, so Nolan, Anderson, and Terminator 3 director Jonathan Mostow have put together a survey for DGA members to break down their ideal TV settings. /Film has a few excerpts from the survey, and it looks like it includes the sort of leading questions you'd expect to see in something like this, the main theme seems to be something like "how important is it to you that your work isn't butchered by ugly TV settings."

The survey also proposes a few solutions, including introducing TVs that can automatically detect whether motion smoothing is appropriate, a single button on remotes in order to disable it, or making the option "not buried too deeply in the menus." Obviously there are bigger things to worry about in the world, but it would be real damn nice if we could at least cross motion smoothing off of the big list of things to worry about.



Taco Bell: The Best Mexican Restaurant in the Country

WFSB - September 12

The Harris Poll, a nationwide customer survey of their favorite brands, has released its 2018 results. The poll surveyed more than 77,000 customers in the U.S. on more than 3,000 brands to find which companies are the favorites among consumers. Respondents weighed in on everything from printers to pizza, and the results are surprising. Here are some of consumers' top choices.

Best Mexican Restaurant: Taco Bell

The after-hours crowd is still probably Taco Bell's biggest customer base, but the company has grown its popularity through creative ads like the Nacho Fries conspiracy theory movie trailers starring Josh Duhamel and a strong social media presence. The company has 7,000 locations and does nearly $2 billion in revenue.

Best Burger Restaurant: Five Guys

The Virginia burger chain now has 1,500 locations and is in 13 countries. The company started in 1986, when Jerry Murrell and his four sons were the original "Five Guys." All of the sons are still with the company, which now employees 15,000 people.

Best Coffee Shop: Krispy Kreme

This is probably more about the donuts than the coffee, but there's no question Krispy Kreme reigns supreme in the fried dough arena. The company, which turned 81 in July, has locations all over the world and opened its 1,000th shop in Kansas City, Kansas in 2015. The first customer received a dozen free donuts every week for a year.

Best Chicken Restaurant: Chick-fil-A

It's not a shock Chick-fil-A tops the charts for national chicken restaurants. People love Chick-fil-A, and the fact their locations close on Sundays just seems to make customers want them more. The company does $8 billion in revenue despite having one third of the locations Taco Bell does.

Best Pizza: Blaze Pizza

Compared to the other food-related brands, Blaze Pizza is still in their infancy. The company started in 2011, but has quickly spread to 35 states, Canada, and Kuwait. The name comes from the speed at which the restaurant has your pizza ready, with the average cook time around three minutes.


Taco Bell


New York Post - September 12

Here's a doozy of a statistic.

According to WalletHub's 2018 Credit Score and iPhone survey, nearly 28 million Americans believe that getting one of the Apple iPhones to be introduced this week is worth going into debt to purchase. They haven't even seen the phones yet! And some models will cost more than $1,000! Please understand that this is a survey and this site didn't call every American. WalletHub surveyed only 480 people. And 11 percent, which would represent 28 million adults, said they thought the new iPhone was debt-worthy. Of course, that doesn't mean that all 28 million American adults will buy new iPhones. And it doesn't mean that these people will have good enough credit to buy one. But it does say something about priorities. And the demographics are interesting: Five times more millennials than baby boomers would go into debt for the new phones. And 29 percent of phone shoppers don't know they could have their credit scores checked when buying the phone, which could mean they won't be extended the loan.



Awkward - September 12

"I feel for Julie Chen today; she is in a very difficult position, CBS This Morning's Gayle King said Tuesday morning, kicking off Day 2 of Post-Leslie Moonves Life at CBS. CBS is in a tough spot too, given that Chen hosts two of its programs, and the company just gave her husband the hook, hours after publication of a second New Yorker article in which more women claimed he sexually harassed and/or assaulted them. Just before Monday's season debut of The Talk, Chen issued a statement telling viewers, "I am taking a few days off … to be with my family" but making clear that she "will be back soon and will see you Thursday night on Big Brother." Chen's absence Monday made it much easier for the other The Talk panelists to discuss Moonves, who was that day's Big News.

When The New Yorker published its first article on the topic in July, Chen issued a statement saying, "I have known my husband, Leslie Moonves, since the late '90s, and I have been married to him for almost 14 years. Leslie is a good man and a loving father, devoted husband and inspiring corporate leader. He has always been a kind, decent and moral human being. I fully support my husband and stand behind him and his statement."

Appearing on The Talk soon thereafter, Chen told viewers, "Some of you may be aware of what has been going on in my life for the past few days. I have issued the one and only statement I will ever make on this topic on Twitter. And I will stand by that statement today, tomorrow, forever," she added to a big round of applause. Taking Chen at her word, her presence on Monday's season starter would have made it extremely uncomfortable for Sharon Osbourne to note she'd been asked and had given support to Moonves when that first Farrow article broke but could not do so now "after seven more women have come out, these stories that are so similar." "Obviously the man has a problem," Osbourne said. "Why is it when men get that power, it goes to their testicles?"


Julie Chen

'Sluggo is Lit' - September 11

If you don't know what the above phrase means, you probably took an extended Labor Day holiday from the internet. Last Monday, the long-running Nancy comic, which is now being drawn by a woman for the first time in 85 years, published a series of panels that offered readers a sneak peek at future Nancy strips. The first panel shows the titular character riding a Hoverboard while holding both a smartphone on a selfie stick and a portable music player. "Sluggo is lit," the speech bubble over Nancy reads.

In only a week, "Sluggo is lit" has become a meme. There are already T-shirts. Everyone seems to agree with Nancy: Sluggo is lit. If you're not familiar with the Nancy comic, Sluggo Smith was originally introduced as Nancy's best friend from "the wrong side of the tracks." The comic has also implied a romantic relationship between the two characters. Despite being created in 1938, the Nancy comic has managed to stay surprisingly relevant. Nancy is a deeply relatable character in 2018, especially when she reflects on issues like societal constraints. Since the new illustrator, who goes by the pseudonym Olivia Jaimes, took over Nancy in April, the internet has embraced the comic. People regularly post screengrabs of the comic in tweets, which receive thousands of likes and retweets. It's not a surprise that "Sluggo is lit" became a meme so quickly. The internet was already paying close attention to Nancy.



There Are Glowing Rocks on Michigan Beaches

CBS News - September 11

A blacklight illuminates a "Yooperlite" rock, a new rock discovery made by a Michigan gem and mineral collector, Erik Rintamaki. He was searching for rocks on a Michigan beach last summer when he made what he calls a "mind blowing" discovery. Resting among the thousands of pebbles covering the Lake Superior beach, Rintamaki saw a glowing rock. The gem and mineral dealer told CBS News he often goes rock hunting. But on this particular June night, he found a rock unlike any other, a florescent orb that he later named "Yooperlite." Like lava glowing through cracks in the earth, a glowing light seeped out of the lines in the small rock. Rintamaki knew this couldn't be the only Yooperlite out there, but he couldn't find any information about glowing rocks online. He knows many people in the gem and mineral field, but everyone he asked had no clue what these mysterious rocks were. 

Rinktamaki went back to the beach night after night, carrying a black light which helped illuminated the glowing rocks. "I was blown away," he said. "It's insane how many are on the beaches up here." He started collecting Yooperlites by the bagful and sold them online. Michigan State University messaged Rinktamaki with an interest in buying some of the rocks to study. Michigan State, along with the University of Saskatewan {sic}, researched the Yooperlites for months. The universities determined that Rintamaki did, indeed, discover a new type of rock. He says other people may have spotted these gems before, but he was the first person to get Yooperlites verified, making him the self-proclaimed "Christopher Columbus of rocks." Rintamaki said Michigan State gave the rocks a scientific name: syenite clasts containing fluorescent sodalite. 



Adults Only

Oddity Central - September 10

The owner of a restaurant in Binz, Germany, has come under fire for banning children aged 14 and younger from entering his establishment after 5 pm. Rudolf Markl, the owner of "Oma's Küche" (Grandma's Kitchen), a traditional restaurant in Binz, on the German island of Rügen got so fed up with children's tantrums and unruly behavior that he recently made the extreme decision to ban them from his restaurant after 5 pm. He even put up a sign near the entrance letting patrons know that in the evening, Oma's Küche is an adult-only restaurant. Despite being accused of discrimination, Markl said that this measure was a long time coming and that he plans to enforce it going forward. "We have somehow reached that point where you say: 'This just can't go on like this'," Rudolph Markl recently told German news agency DPA. "We are not here to raise children, but to spoil our guests."

Markl told reporters that the behavior of children and their parents has gradually gotten worse in the last few years. Children would pull on tablecloths, knock down wine glasses or run into waiters as they carried several plates or trays, while their parents simply ignored them, or even smiled at their behavior. However, the breaking point came recently, when a number of youths damaged restaurant inventory, leaving several antique photo stands damaged.

Bernhard Franke, acting head of the German anti-discrimination office told n-tv that Rudolf Markl's decision to ban children 14 and younger from his restaurant, even between certain hours, was legally questionable. He claims that owners must have a serious reason from denying entry to a certain category of people, and that arguments such as a higher noise level that disturbs other guests aren't necessarily enough. The owner of Oma's Küche has denied accusations of discrimination, saying that the measure isn't meant to punish the children, but ignorant parents who simply can't control their offspring. Markl added that he wants his restaurant to be an oasis of peace for his guests, and that just wasn't possible with children running around and causing ruckus all the time.


adults only

The Best Brand of Hummus to Buy in the Store - September 10

Our favorite store-bought hummus is Tribe Classic Hummus, but frankly it was a pretty tight race: the second best hummus brand came in just a half point behind. Of course, as with anything else, the opinions of the Epicurious Tasting Panel ran the gamut: Some tasters wrote off anything that smelled even faintly of cumin, others latched onto the brazenly cumin-flavored tubs like a gift from above. But as for Tribe? That was the tub everybody could agree on.

Our Favorite Hummus: Tribe

Tribe Classic Hummus is wonderfully creamy, but not too creamy, as some of our contenders proved to be. It's thick enough that it won't fall off your cracker at snack time, but it also easily spreads into a last-minute dinner bowl. It has a noticeable savory kick, with herbal undertones and a lemony, but not overly sharp, finish.

Our Favorite Organic Hummus Brand: Cedar's

Cedar's Organic Original Hommus is more lemony than Tribe, and bit earthier, too (and also, yes, it's spelled with an "o"). But we loved it almost just the same. It has a similar texture to Tribe: creamy, but not totally smooth (we dinged overly-smooth hummus for its pasty, baby food-like texture). Anya Hoffman, chief cumin hater (at least in terms of its congruity with hummus), thought it was a little overly spiced, but found it "creamy and more balanced" than most, with a distinct tahini flavor, which she liked.

The Best Cumin-Forward Hummus: Roots

Some tasters really liked the smoky earthiness that cumin brings to the table. If you'd fall into that group, opt for Roots Original Hummus. In addition to the cumin, this hummus has a healthy dose of black pepper and is seasoned further with tamari, so it's by no means traditional. But this was a taste test, not an authenticity test, and we loved this hummus not just for its flavor but also its texture: fluffy, as if it's been whipped. If you like a classic hummus taste with just a little something extra going on, this could be your tub.



September Has More Birthdays Than Any Other Month

Do You Remember? - September 10

Do you have a birthday in September? September has been named the most popular birthday month. According to birth data, mid-September is the most packed with birthdays. This dates conception times to late December and early January, which makes sense with holidays and snuggling in cold weather. Want to learn some other interesting facts about those with September birthdays?

1. They excel in their studies

Studies have suggested that people who are born in September are more likely to excel in school. Many September babies hit developmental goals earlier in life and they are 20% more likely to get into the best of the best schools.

2. They might weigh less

Do you find that you naturally weigh less and you are born in September? Some studies show that people in September weigh less, but it isn't really proven.

3. They might be more irritable

Do you believe in astrology and personality quirks based on when you were born? If you do, some believe that September babies born during the fall have lower levels of depression, but they can be very irritable. Do you find this to be true? Other personality quirks for Virgos are that they are loyal, detail-oriented and may be shy. If you are a Libra, you might be social and an excellent problem solver.

4. They're tall

Studies show that babies born in late summer or early fall might be taller than others. This could be partly because of the higher levels of vitamin D that their mothers were exposed to before the birth. Studies have also shown that they might have stronger bones, which could also be an effect of that extra vitamin D.

5. They have two birth flowers

If you are born in September, your birth flowers are the aster and the morning glory. Both are symbols of love and affection. Perhaps you can give a bouquet of these lovely flowers to a friend who is born in September.

6. They are less likely to be imprisoned

Research shows that people born in September are less likely to be sent to jail or prison.

7. They are more prone to allergies and asthma

Studies also show that those born in the fall months are more likely to develop allergies and asthma. The most common allergies for September babies are milk, eggs, or peanuts.

8. They are more likely to live to be 100 years old

Do you wish to make it to 100? If you are born in September, you might have a leg up on other months. One study found that a majority of centenarians that they interviewed were born in September.



Horror Fans Get Their Scare Fix This Weekend

Box Office Guru - September 9

Horror fans showed up in massive numbers for the new supernatural thriller The Nun which easily took control of the number one spot with the second largest September opening in box office history. The latest chapter from the lucrative Conjuring universe enjoyed an estimated $53.5M launch this weekend which was good enough to not only beat all previous debuts from Conjuring and Annabelle films, but it also was higher than most all other fright flicks including every single installment in the Paranormal Activity, Saw, Purge, and Insidious franchises. Very few horror titles break $40M on opening weekend and the number that has surpassed $50M is tiny. The grand champ is Stephen King's It which did summer tentpole numbers this very weekend last year with a jaw-dropping $123.4M on what has traditionally been one of the slowest weekends of the whole year, the frame after Labor Day.

Warner Bros. has been on fire in recent weeks with moviegoers embracing their very different offerings. This is the first time in over 25 years that one studio controlled the number one and number two spots at the box office for four consecutive weekends. In total, Warners has owned the top spot for five straight weeks with The Meg, then three weeks of Crazy Rich Asians, and now The Nun.

Opening in third place to moderate numbers was the revenge thriller Peppermint which debuted to an estimated $13.3M from 2,980 locations for a $4,451 average. The performance was almost identical to the Bruce Willis remake Death Wish from March. The R-rated film anchored by Jennifer Garner was panned by critics but audiences were happier with it giving the STX release a good B+ CinemaScore grade. Peppermint's audience breakdown was 56% female and 78% over 25.


"The Nun"

Eminem Easily Grabs His 9th No. 1 Album - September 9

Eminem earns his ninth No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart, as his surprise release Kamikaze debuts at No. 1. The set, which was released without warning on Aug. 31 via Shady/Aftermath/Interscope Records, earned 434,000 equivalent album units in the week ending Sept. 6, according to Nielsen Music. Of that sum, 252,000 were in traditional album sales. The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on multi-metric consumption as measured in equivalent album units. Units are comprised of traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). Kamikaze's start of 434,000 units blows past the launch of Eminem's last album, Revival, which entered at No. 1 with 267,000 units (197,000 in album sales) on the chart dated Jan. 3, 2018. Eminem's Ninth No. 1 Album: Eminem has quite the track record on the Billboard 200, as all nine of his albums released since 2000 have hit No. 1. (His only major label release to miss the top was his first charting effort, 1999's The Slim Shady LP, which hit No. 2.) He's now tied with Garth Brooks and The Rolling Stones for the fifth-most leaders in the chart's history. The only acts with more No. 1s are The Beatles (with 19), JAY-Z (14), Bruce Springsteen and Barbra Streisand (both with 11) and Elvis Presley (10). At No. 2 on the new Billboard 200, Scott's Astroworld is steady with 80,000 units (down 28 percent). Drake's Scorpion is also a non-mover, holding at No. 3 (down 10 percent).

Troye Sivan scores his highest charting album yet, and fourth top 10, as Bloom bows at No. 4 with 72,000 units. Of that sum, 59,000 were in traditional album sales, his best sales week yet (surpassing the 55,000-sales start of Blue Neighbourhood in 2015). Bloom's sales were goosed by sales generated from a concert ticket/album sales redemption offer, as well as merchandise/album bundles. Bloom is Sivan's second full-length studio album, following Blue Neighbourhood, which debuted and peaked at No. 7 on the Dec. 26, 2015-dated list.

Ariana Grande (who happens to be featured on Bloom) dips one rung to No. 5 with her former No. 1 Sweetener (down 26 percent). Post Malone's beerbongs & bentleys is stationary at No. 6 (down 9 percent) and Nicki Minaj's Queen slips 5-7 (down 24 percent). BTS' Love Yourself: Answer falls 1-8 in its second week (down 76 percent). Pop vocal group Why Don't We scores its first top 10 album, as its first full-length studio set, 8 Letters, bows at No. 9 (44,000 units; 37,000 in traditional album sales). The act made its Billboard chart debut on Dec. 17, 2016, when its first EP, the independently-distributed Only the Beginning, entered the Heatseekers Albums chart. Closing out the new top 10 on the Billboard 200 is Juice WRLD's Goodbye & Good Riddance, shifting 9-10 (down 6 percent).



Fox News Throws Trump Under the Bus...Again!! - September 9

Fox News host Chris Wallace slammed President Donald Trump on Friday for demanding that U.S. Department of Justice prosecute the person who wrote the anonymous New York Times editorial. Earlier during the day the Washington Post had reported: "President Trump called Friday for the Justice Department to investigate the author of an op-ed depicting a "resistance" inside the government, as the White House mounted an all-out campaign to root out and discredit the anonymous senior official."

This led Wallace to go on Fox News and slam the president for using Twitter to threaten people, saying: "There have been two e-mails this week, tweets this week, that shocked a lot of people. Even more disturbing was the tweet on Monday by the president, seems like 2 1/2 weeks ago, in which the president basically called out Jeff Sessions for the prosecution of two Democratic, rather Republican congressmen on charges of corruption." Wallace pointed out that several times Trump has demanded the arrest and imprisonment of his political enemies such as Hillary Clinton, James Comey, and now the author of the unsigned editorial, which is improper. He said that the president is using U.S. law enforcement agencies to further his own political agenda, while the people he wants to prosecute have committed no crimes.

"I'd like someone to point out what the violation of federal law is here," Wallace said. "Clearly it's embarrassing to the president, disturbing to the president, you can argue it's anti-democratic, but I'm not sure that writing that essay was illegal." "My guess is they ignore him on the prosecution of the two Republicans and not prosecuting or investigating the anonymous columnist," Wallace added, before criticizing the anonymous author. "If you really think he's doing a service, he or she, this anonymous insider, why wouldn't you shut up and keep doing it? All you've done is inflame the president." During his comments aboard Air Force One Trump had said there was a national security reason to investigate, unmask and punish the person who wrote the op-ed piece for the Times.



Donald Trump Breaks Own Record for Lying!

Market Watch - September 8

Talk of Nike Inc. sales taking a hit from the company's decision to put ex-NFL player Colin Kaepernick at the center of its latest "Just Do It" campaign is looking overblown, based on data from a Silicon Valley digital commerce research company. After an initial dip immediately after the news broke, Nike's, -0.12% online sales actually grew 31% from the Sunday of Labor Day weekend through Tuesday, as compared with a 17% gain recorded for the same period of 2017, according to San Francisco-based Edison Trends. "There was speculation that the Nike/Kaepernick campaign would lead to a drop in sales, but our data over the last week does not support that theory," said Hetal Pandya, co-founder of Edison Trends. Nike's stock has also held up after its initial slump. The stock was up 1% on Friday and remains in the black for the month. The news generated plenty of online buzz, with social engagement around Nike and Kaepernick rising sharply this week, according to 4C Insights, a marketing technology company. The athlete has become the face of player protests against racial injustice and police brutality, since he started sitting and later kneeling during the national anthem, inspiring others to follow suit. The action has irked President Donald Trump, who weighed in on the Nike campaign in a series of tweets this week.



Ed Sullivan Impressionist, Dead at 91

Rolling Stone - September 7

Legendary impressionist Will Jordan has died at 91. The stand-up comedian and character actor was known as the man who "invented Ed Sullivan," thanks to his uncanny ability to portray the talk show host. Many of the mannerisms associated with Sullivan, such as saying "really big shoo...," were actually originated by Jordan. According to fellow comedian Rob Greenberg, Jordan died peacefully in his own bed "surrounded by his girlfriend Rose Lindenmayer and his best bud Rabbi Mike Fine." Jordan appeared in several major movies, playing Sullivan, of course. His most recent, and one of his most notable appearances came in the 2003 movie Down with Love, which also starred Renee Zellweger and Ewan McGregor. Jordan also portrayed Sullivan in The Doors, Mr. Saturday Night and I Wanna Hold Your Hand. He memorably sent Sullivan up in the music video for Billy Joel's "Tell Her About It," a riff on the Beatles' debut appearance on U.S. TV. He was also able to impersonate Groucho Marx, Jack Benny and Bing Crosby. None of his other impressions even came close to Ed Sullivan, however.


Will Jordan

Rapper Mac Miller Dead at 26

Rolling Stone - September 7

Mac Miller, the 26-year-old rapper known for his canny, party-focused wordplay and artistic reinvention, died Friday (Sept. 7) at his Los Angeles home, Variety reports. The apparent cause of death was a drug overdose. Miller, whose real name is Malcolm McCormick, had publicly struggled with substance abuse throughout his career, and had a well-publicized DUI arrest in May of this year. While initially counted as a member of the frat-rap genre of the early 2010s, Miller's career was defined by a refusal to fit in an artistic box. He transitioned from party rap to heady backpacker lyricism to jazz-inflected songwriting in his final two albums. To do so, he often turned away from guaranteed commercial success in favor of experimentation and craftsmanship in his work. Miller had been open about his addiction issues in the past, and had discussed his dependence on lean, a combination of codeine and promethazine, extensively. After a years-long period of sobriety, he began to drink again. According to tweets from his girlfriend of two years, Ariana Grande, his substance abuse was a reason the pair broke up. 


Mac Miller

Apocalypse 2040

Mother Nature Network - September 7

Call it Apocalypse 2040. In the early 1970s, a computer program called World1 predicted that civilization would likely collapse by 2040. Researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) had programmed it to consider a model of sustainability for the world. The prediction has resurfaced because Australian broadcaster ABC recirculated a 1973 newscast about the computer program. The program's findings, however, never really went away, as its results have been re-evaluated over the nearly 50 years since they first appeared. The bad news for us is that the model seems to be spot-on so far.

The computer model was commissioned by the Club of Rome, a group of scientists, industrialists and government officials focused on solving the world's problems. The organization wanted to know how well the world could sustain its rate of growth based on information that was available at the time. World1 was developed by Jay Forrester, the father of system dynamics, a methodology for understanding how complex systems operate. When deciding the fate of civilization, the program considered several variables, including pollution levels, population growth, the availability of natural resources and global quality of life. These factors were considered in tandem with one another as opposed to separately, following the Club of Rome's perspective that the world's problems are interconnected.

Such an approach was novel in the 1970s, even if the forecast World1 produced wasn't intended to be "precise." The program produced graphs that demonstrated what would happen to those metrics in the future, without even accounting for things like climate change. The graphs all indicated a downward trajectory for the planet. According to the 1973 ABC segment, World1 identified 2020 as a tipping point for civilization. "At around 2020, the condition of the planet becomes highly critical. If we do nothing about it, the quality of life goes down to zero. Pollution becomes so seriously it will start to kill people, which in turn will cause the population to diminish, lower than it was in the 1900. At this stage, around 2040 to 2050, civilized life as we know it on this planet will cease to exist."


The End

New Live OMD Album, Limited Edition in October - September 7

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark have announced that they will be recording and releasing their shows with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra next month (October 6 & 7). The audio will be taken from the best of both nights, presented as a double CD, 3LP and as a download. Next to this, the full recording of each performance at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, will also be presented on double CD. These CDs will be manufactured rapidly and will be released in the days following the show and are limited to 750 copies.



Dead Can Dance Return with 'Dionysus' Nov. 2 - September 6

The enigmatic Dead Can Dance, led by co-founders and mainstays Brendan Perry and Lisa Gerrard, announced the release for their ninth studio album, a song cycle of "seven movements representing different facets of the Dionysus myth and his cult." The new album Dionysus, the much-anticipated follow-up to Dead Can Dance's 2012 reunion effort Anastasis, which was the group's first record in 16 years, is due out Nov. 2 in digital, CD and vinyl formats, plus a deluxe hardback book that includes the album on translucent purple vinyl and CD.

In a lengthy note posted to the group's website, Dead Can Dance details the origin and concept of the new record, noting that, since forming in Australia in 1981, Perry and Gerrard "have been informed by folk traditions from all over Europe, not just solely in terms of instrumentation, but also by secular, religious and spiritual practices." Furthermore: "The story to their forthcoming album Dionysus took shape as Brendan Perry became fascinated by long established spring and harvest festivals that had their origins in Dionysian religious practices throughout Europe. The presence of the religion was suppressed during the ideological control of Christianity and Islam since the Roman Empire, and so the influence that Dionysus still had on these festivals would continue to manifest itself albeit in a more censored form."


Dead Can Dance

Hidden Cave Door Found Under Scottish Castle - September 6

A team of volunteer archaeologists working with the National Trust for Scotland has uncovered a medieval doorway leading into caves beneath Culzean Castle, according to a report from The Scotsman. The castle was built in the late eighteenth century and is located on the Ayshire coast of southwestern Scotland. The caves underneath the castle are known to have been used by smugglers in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The newly discovered doorway was found buried around three feet underground at a spot marked by stones on the surface. New radiocarbon dating of charcoal found in the caves has also established that they were occupied up to 1,800 years ago, during the Iron Age.



At This Rate, Trump Supporters Will Have to Become Nudists

The Hill - September 5

American denim giant Levi Strauss & Co. announced Tuesday that it is launching a series of new initiatives to benefit groups working to prevent gun violence. Levi Strauss's CEO and President Chip Bergh wrote in Fortune on Tuesday that the company "simply cannot stand by silently when it comes to issues that threaten the very fabric of the communities where we live and work." "You may wonder why a company that doesn't manufacture or sell guns is wading into this issue, but for us, it's simple," Bergh wrote. "Americans shouldn't have to live in fear of gun violence. It's an issue that affects all of us, all generations and all walks of life."

Bergh said it was his responsibility to speak up for important issues since he leads a "values-drive company that's known the world over as a pioneer of the American West and one of the great symbols of American freedom." He added that he is not advocating to repeal the 2nd Amendment nor calling gun owners irresponsible. "We can't insulate ourselves from every threat," Bergh wrote. "We can't 'harden' every place we gather, whether it be our schools, workplaces, shops, churches, or entertainment venues. But we can take common-sense, measurable steps, like criminal background checks on all gun sales, that will save lives." 

Levi's, therefore, announced a new three-tiered initiative to support gun violence prevention. The company will donate more than $1 million over the next four years to nonprofits and youth activists that work to end gun violence, establishing the "Safer Tomorrow Fund." The blue jean manufacturer also partnered with gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety and other executives to form Everytown Business Leaders for Gun Safety. Bergh called the group a coalition of business leaders who "believe, as we do, that business has a critical role to play in and a moral obligation to do something about the gun violence epidemic in this country." Levi's will also double all donations made by their employees to the Safer Tomorrow Fund. Bergh acknowledged that the decision to advocate for gun control is a controversial one. "While taking a stand can be unpopular with some, doing nothing is no longer an option," he wrote. 




NPR - September 5

The New Yorker has disinvited Steve Bannon from the magazine's upcoming annual festival, after several high-profile celebrities balked at the idea of appearing alongside the man credited with many of the divisive strategies that propelled Donald Trump's presidential campaign. Explaining the decision, New Yorker editor David Remnick said that "to interview Bannon is not to endorse him." But less than 12 hours after announcing Bannon as a headliner for the Oct. 5-7 festival, Remnick canceled his plan to interview Bannon. "The reaction on social media was critical and a lot of the dismay and anger was directed at me and my decision to engage him," Remnick wrote Monday night. Several participants who balked at Bannon's inclusion also said they hadn't known that he was part of the lineup until it was published on Labor Day. Comedian and actor John Mulaney withdrew, as did Jimmy Fallon, Patton Oswalt, Jim Carrey and director Judd Apatow. "I genuinely support public intellectual debate, and have paid to see people speak with whom I strongly disagree," Mulaney said on Twitter. "But this isn't James Baldwin vs William F Buckley. This is PT Barnum level horse****. And it was announced on a weekend just before tix went on sale."



Most Successful Rom-Com in Almost a Decade

AP - September 5

Crazy Rich Asians continues to rack up crazy great stats. Jon M. Chu's groundbreaking film has become the most successful Hollywood studio romantic comedy in nearly a decade at the North American box office after finishing the long Labor Day with an estimated total of $117 million, besting the $110.2 million earned domestically by Amy Schumer's 2015 pic Trainwreck. Crazy Rich Asians boasts the top showing for a rom-com, an endangered genre, at least on the big screen, since Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds' The Proposal earned $164 million in North America in 2009, not adjusted for inflation. That doesn't include the specialty pic and Oscar-nominated Silver Linings Playbook (2012), the David O. Russell-directed romantic comedy-drama that grossed $132.1 million in North America. Harvey Weinstein's indie film company, the now-defunct Weinstein Co., released Silver Linings, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper. Since its debut in mid-August, Crazy Rich Asians has continued to defy the overall comedy slump gripping the U.S. box office for the past several years. The $30 million movie, along with the shark pic The Meg and the Tom Cruise tentpole Mission: Impossible - Fallout, also aided in helping fuel a better-than-expected August box office. The month was up nearly 30 percent over a dismal August 2017. (Warners, which released The Meg in addition to Crazy Rich Asians, lays claims to 26 percent of all August domestic revenue.)



Kevin Spacey, Two Others Cleared

Reuters - September 5

The Los Angeles District Attorney's office said on Tuesday it would not prosecute actor Kevin Spacey on a 1992 sexual assault accusation because it fell outside the California statute of limitations. The District Attorney's office also said it would not charge actor Steven Seagal and television comedy star Anthony Anderson over two other sexual assault accusations. The 1993 accusations against action star Seagal fell outside the statute of limitations, while Anderson's accuser declined to be interviewed and prosecution was declined due to lack of evidence, the office said. The Spacey case, involving an adult male, was presented to Los Angeles prosecutors in April and had been under review. The nature and origin of the accusation were not disclosed. The District Attorney's office said in a charge evaluation sheet released on Tuesday that the allegation was outside the statue of limitations and that prosecution had been declined.


Kevin Spacey

The Pillsbury Mansion is No More - September 5

Once Minnesota's most expensive home for sale, and linked to a family with a household name, the Pillsbury mansion met its final fate with a wrecking ball this week. Southways, the estate in Orono, includes a 36,000-square-foot mansion that was once the summer home of John S. Pillsbury Sr. It stayed in the family's possession until 1992. The 13-acre spread first landed on the market for a whopping $53.5 million in 2007. The price was dramatically reduced to $24 million in 2013, before the property was divided into five lots and sold off piece by piece. Twenty miles west of downtown Minneapolis, the property sits along a peninsula on Lake Minnetonka. It was originally designed by Harriet T. Lindeberg and built in 1918. Seven structures were within the estate, including a greenhouse, pool house, and caretaker's cottage. There were seven bedrooms and 13 bathrooms. Out back, there was a pool as well as a tennis court, plus 415 feet of private lakeshore. Within the brick-and-stone main home was a 6,000-bottle wine cellar, two master baths, sunroom, gym, and nine fireplaces. The home graced the cover of "Legendary Homes of Lake Minnetonka," by Bette Hammel, published in 2009.

"It's the wealthiest property in the state of Minnesota," says Daniel Gustafson of Coldwell Banker. "In the late 1890s this (area) was the 'who's who' of Minneapolis. These were all summer homes." Not only did the Pillsbury family summer here but so did the Daytons, who made their money in department stores before founding Target. How did we reach demolition stage? In 1992, investor Jim Jundt snapped up the lakefront manse for $5 million and poured a ton of dough into its renovation. When Jundt tried to flip the finished structure in 2007, his plan flopped. Once the most expensive listing in the state, the property dropped dramatically in value over the course of a decade.

Gustafson believes the cost to live in the mansion was the reason for its downfall. "These big mansions are kind of like white elephants: very pretty to look at but expensive to maintain," he says. Monthly utility bills, maintenance, plus property taxes ($167,855 based on the initial listing price of $53.5 million) rival what many Americans already pay for a home. According to Lakeshore Weekly News, the city issued a demolition permit in early August to Jundt and his wife. Locals "are really disappointed and don't want to see what many people consider an historic landmark or structure come down," says Gustafson. The Jundts had until Feb. 2, 2019, to raze the property, but the demolition took place this week.



The Tim Conway Battle Continues (Update) - September 5

A judge has granted 84-year-old actor Tim Conway's daughter a temporary restraining order against his wife in the ongoing battle over the star's conservatorship, his daughter's lawyer confirmed to Page Six. "My brothers and I are extremely happy that the plan to move our dad by his wife has been temporarily stopped by a court order," Conway's daughter Kelly told Page Six in a statement of Friday's decision. "We are grateful to the judge for taking this matter seriously by considering all the evidence before making a decision. We appreciate the overwhelming support and love we have received from my dad's friends and fans." There will another hearing this Friday to decide conservatorship. Kelly and Conway's wife Charlene have been engaged in a battle over the comedian's health care, which has declined since he was diagnosed with dementia. Last week, attorney Michael Harris was appointed to represent Conway, and said that Conway had lost the ability to speak. Harris also noted that Charlene appeared "devoted" to her husband's care, while Kelly claimed Charlene's desire to move Tim from his 24-hour care facility would be "harmful to his health and life." Charlene denied she ever planned such a move.



Dorothy Gets Her Slippers Back - September 5

A years-long search for Dorothy's ruby red slippers worn by Judy Garland in the 1939 classic film The Wizard of Oz is over. The FBI recovered the slippers that had been stolen in 2005 from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, authorities said Tuesday. Officials have not released details of how the famous shoes were recovered. The shoes reportedly were insured for $1 million. The shoes are one of several pairs that were custom made for Garland in the film. At least two of the existing pairs are owned by private collectors. One pair has been on display in the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington since 1979. In 2012, Leonardo DiCaprio led a group of donors in purchasing a pair to be displayed at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, set to open this year in Los Angeles.



'Gondolin' Marks the End of Tolkien's Reign

Mother Nature Network - September 5

If you've ever had an epic work of literature become a part of your life, then you understand what it's like when the last book of a series is published. There will be no new tales about the characters' adventures and no new details about the history of their world. You've been a part a shared experience, maybe with friends, maybe with people you've never met, and now, that experience has become finite. It has boundaries that weren't there before. Today, the boundaries of J.R.R. Tolkien's mythic Middle-earth have been set. With the posthumous publication of "The Fall of Gondolin," Tolkien's son, 93-year-old Christopher Tolkien, says this is it. As the literary executor of his father's works, the younger Tolkien has edited and published many stories his father wrote and rewrote that were not published before his death.

Anyone familiar with Tolkien's world of Middle-earth through only "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" (either from the books or the movies) may not realize that the world of Middle-earth goes beyond those stories. Tolkien wrote prolifically about a world that once existed only in his imagination, creating a language and an entire history for it, but not many of those writings were published during his lifetime. "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" were published during that time, but everything else the public has read about Middle-earth was edited, sometimes added to, and published by his son.

"The Fall of Gondolin," according to BBC News, chronicles the ancient history of Middle-earth before the events of "The Lord of the Rings." It was written before the famous trilogy, presumably while Tolkien was recovering from his time in the military during World War I. The new book can be considered part of its own trilogy. Together with "The Children of Hùrin" and "Beren and Lúthien," published in 2012 and 2017 respectively, it is part of pre-"Lord of the Rings" Middle-earth history that Christopher Tolkien has pieced together from his father's extensive unpublished writings.


"The Gondolin"

New Woody Allen Movie May Never See the Light of Day

Digital Spy - September 4

Hollywood filmmaker Woody Allen's latest film A Rainy Day in New York appears to have been shelved indefinitely by Amazon Studios. The film, which features the likes of Selena Gomez, Elle Fanning, Jude Law and Call Me By Your Name star Timothée Chalamet, finished filming last year, but has yet to receive a release date. On Thursday (August 30), the distributor confirmed that "no release date has ever been set", according to The Guardian. It first emerged earlier this year that Woody Allen's latest film may not be getting a release at all, and this latest report doesn't do much to dissuade that notion.

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, there was a renewed focus on allegations made by Allen's adopted daughter Dylan Farrow that Allen sexually abused her when she was just seven years old, back in the early 1990s. The Academy Award-winning filmmaker has long denied claims from Dylan and her mother Mia Farrow and recently reiterated that he has never been criminally charged by Connecticut authorities in a statement after Dylan gave an interview on the topic in January. "When this claim was first made more than 25 years ago, it was thoroughly investigated by both the Child Sexual Abuse Clinic of the Yale-New Haven Hospital and New York State child welfare," he said in a statement. "They both did so for many months and independently concluded that no molestation had ever taken place. Instead, they found it likely a vulnerable child had been coached to tell the story by her angry mother during a contentious breakup." He concluded: "I never molested my daughter, as all investigations concluded a quarter of a century ago."


Woody Allen

McCain's Death Just Might Mean the End of Obamacare

Newsweek - September 4

The Republican Party is trying to "dismantle" the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, following Republican Senator John McCain's death. That's the argument made in an op-ed published in The Hill on Friday. It was written by Ezekiel Emanuel, an Obamacare architect and senior fellow at the Center for American Progress; Sarah DiMagno, a research fellow for Emanuel at the University of Pennsylvania's Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy; and Aaron Glickman, also a research fellow for Emanuel. Emanuel was a key figure in designing the ACA, former President Barack Obama's signature healthcare program. He's also met with Trump on several occassions since he took office to dicuss healthcare policy. "While praising his character, commitment to duty and faithfulness to the rules of democratic governance in public, privately Republicans are using the same tricks McCain rejected as inconsistent with regular order and deliberative democracy to ram through a wildly unpopular repeal of the ACA," the three wrote in their op-ed.

They were referring to Senate Republicans' request to Arizona Governor Doug Ducey that he appoint someone to replace McCain who, unlike the late senator, would vote with the GOP to repeal the Obama-era healthcare law. Republicans have said if they maintain control of the U.S. House and Senate following the November midterm elections, they would again vote to repeal the law. "If we re-engage in that discussion in some point in the future, it would be nice to have members who enable us to pass it," said Republican Senator John Thune in the days following McCain's August 25 death, according to The Hill. He added that he hoped McCain's successor would be a "strong ally" who "recognizes that Obamacare is not a proper solution."



AC/DC Working On New Album with Malcolm Young

New Music Express - September 4

AC/DC are working on a new album which will feature the work of their late rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young on "every track", according to "a reliable source inside the AC/DC camp", as quoted by Dallas publication JAM Magazine. According to the source Young's brother Angus is working on a new AC/DC album, to be dedicated to Malcom's memory. The rhythm guitarist died in November last year after retiring from the band due to early onset dementia. Malcolm recorded the material that will be used for the album along with his brother in the early 2000s, 'five years prior' to their 2008 album 'Black Ice'. The source told JAM: "Turns out, five years prior to the 'Black Ice' LP, AC/DC's 15th studio release, Angus and Malcolm Young lived to together [sic] where they literally wrote hundreds of songs, many were recorded and have been stashed away until now. "Angus has decided to selected [sic] the best tracks from those recordings that Malcolm played on and is now back in the studio recording and mixing them with fellow band mates Phil Rudd, Cliff Williams and yes, Brian Johnson on vocals.". The band's frontman since 1980, Brian Johnson, was forced to quit the band in 2016 after suffering hearing loss, and was replaced on the band's tour by Guns N' Roses singer Axl Rose.