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Center Stage

June 13, 2013 | By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
Their voices are powerful enough to tear you apart and put you back together again, and their stories will do the same. But when you call them backup singers, you better smile. That's because the performers in the infectious and irresistible "Twenty Feet From Stardom" are willing and able to outsing any solo act in sight and are not shy about letting you know it. "There is a power to what it is we do, but no one has acknowledged it," says singer Janice Pendarvis. No one until now. Veteran director Morgan Neville ("Troubadours")
May 18, 2013 | Bill Dwyre
BALTIMORE - Chances are, the horse racing public will get it wrong again. When Oxbow went wire-to-wire in Saturday's Preakness, again ruining a chance for a Triple Crown, it is likely to prompt hand-wringing among those who see it as the ultimate boost for a sport in need of one. Like so many great hopes since Affirmed won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont in 1978, Orb didn't get it done. After an impressive Derby victory, he was widely hailed as Secretariat-like. It was ever thus.
May 16, 2013 | By Adam Tschorn and Booth Moore
The 66th annual Cannes Film Festival opened Tuesday in France -- or should we call it the Dior film festival? Dior's Raf Simons designed the ravishing haute couture creations worn by four ladies at the opening ceremony -- Nicole Kidman, Carey Mulligan, Zhang Ziyi and Julianne Moore. Mulligan wore a blush matte satin gown, Kidman a two-layer embroidered pale pink silk organza bustier dress, Moore a purple and black lame bustier dress and Ziyi a killer fuchsia embroidered tulle cutoff ballgown and black cigarette pants.
April 9, 2013 | By Mikael Wood, Los Angeles Times
Rihanna is many things: singer, actress, fashion designer, tabloid mainstay. She's Chris Brown's on-again/off-again girlfriend, the youngest solo artist in history to top the Hot 100 a dozen times and, according to Forbes, a "social networking superstar. " One thing she's not is static. In an era of infinite entertainment options, multi-platforming is of course a key to staying in the conversation, an MO that's helped her ascend from potential one-hit wonder to global brand. But her shifting identity also reflects her youth: At 25, Rihanna, like many of the suspended adolescents in her fan base, isn't yet willing to decide which one of her many roles will define her. If anything, she revealed more of them Monday night at Staples Center, where her Diamonds World Tour touched down for a sold-out concert that felt like four smaller shows strung together with costume and set changes.
April 6, 2013 | Helene Elliott
Vin Scully is luring us back to the Dodgers with wonderful old stories and the promise of a new season, and the Angels will introduce new acquisition Josh Hamilton to their home fans Tuesday, but winter sports haven't relaxed their hold on us just yet. Sunday is rivalry day in Southern California, a gift from the schedule makers of the NBA and the NHL. It's enough to keep us indoors when summer sports are trying to draw us out into the sunshine....
March 12, 2013 | By Randy Lewis
Los Angeles indie rock band Barnaby Saints, Boston rock group Gentleman Hall and Baltimore R&B singer Phillip Magnus Hartley are the first three winners of the Recording Academy's new program connecting aspiring musicians with Grammy-winning recording artists, Center Stage . The program has been created to help fill the gap left by diminished or vanished artists-and-repertoire operations at many record companies, the divisions historically charged...
March 12, 2013 | By Andrea Chang, Los Angeles Times
AUSTIN, Texas - A San Francisco start-up that created a tiny motion-sensing device is making a big splash at South by Southwest, overshadowing major tech brands and scores of new apps with its promise of changing how consumers interact with their computers. In its debut appearance at the conference known more as a music and film festival, Leap Motion Inc. wowed attendees with its "Minority Report"-style gesture-recognition controller, which enables users to manipulate what's on their screens with a wave of the hand or lift of a finger.
February 5, 2013 | By Andrew Tangel
Western Federal Corporate Credit Union in San Dimas was once the largest credit union in the nation.  But in 2009, regulators took it over after it incurred nearly $7 billion in losses from its investments in mortgage-backed securities -- the bonds packed with subprime loans that helped fuel the mortgage bubble before it collapsed and helped plunge the financial system into crisis. The Justice Department's case against credit rating firm Standard & Poor's cites WesCorp, as the credit union was known, as a victim of the toxic mortgage bonds that got overly high marks from S&P. The feds filed the 119-page civil fraud case against S&P in Los Angeles late Monday and formally announced the case Tuesday.
January 11, 2013 | By Chris O'Brien and Andrea Chang, Los Angeles Times
LAS VEGAS - For a corpse, the International Consumer Electronics Show was pretty lively. The 2013 trade show, which ended a four-day run Friday, attracted a record 3,250 exhibitors and was on pace to match last year's 156,000 in attendance despite being pronounced all but dead before it started. The reason for the grim diagnosis by some pundits and analysts was simple: Many of the most influential tech companies in the world didn't officially participate: Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp., Google Inc., Facebook Inc., Inc. Although this year's show won't be remembered for any ground-shaking innovations or jaw-dropping product launches, it did highlight several ways the global technology industry has evolved.
November 19, 2012 | By Yvonne Villarreal
Morgan Saylor is the teen with the most overworked eyebrows in the business. At a time when everyone is taking notice of Claire Danes' cry face on "Homeland," Saylor has managed to carve her own facial stamp. The 18-year-old plays Sgt. Nick Brody's (Damian Lewis) dour teenage daughter Dana on the Showtime drama. In the show's debut season, she was introduced as a pot-smoking troublemaker mad at the world -- or at least, her mom, played by Morena Baccarin. And she managed to save America from her suicide-bomber father -- all valid reasons for brow stress.
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