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ENTERTAINMENT
March 12, 2014 | By Martin Miller
If there is such a thing as a comic antihero, Elder Cunningham in the highly acclaimed and wildly irreverent "The Book of Mormon" is it. Cody Jamison Strand portrays the character who is the kind of person - very clingy, prototypically schlubby and frequently less than truthful - that would have folks of all religious denominations unified in their haste to un-friend him on Facebook. And yet, Strand's character is able to harness those repellent qualities and humorously bring together Mormon missionaries and a small village in Northern Uganda - not only in their appreciation of each other, but for the universal role that storytelling and religion play as well.  PHOTOS: Best in theater 2013 | Charles McNulty The Tony-award winning musical is now on national tour at the Pantages Theatre through May 11. Below is an edited transcript of a conversation with Strand, 24, who also performed the role on Broadway.
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ENTERTAINMENT
March 12, 2014 | By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
If George Clooney's "The Monuments Men" did nothing else, it made possible the theatrical re-release of "The Rape of Europa," a splendid documentary that shows the true story behind the Nazi theft of European art and interviews some of the real-life Monuments Men who got it back. The film is packed with information and also tells a series of wonderful truth-is-stranger-than-fiction tales. "The Rape of Europa" even details the postwar fights about who owns which paintings that culminated in the sale of Gustav Klimt's gold portrait for a record $135 million.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 11, 2014 | By Mikael Wood
The biggest act scheduled to perform this week at the annual South by Southwest music festival is also one of the biggest acts in the world. On March 13, Lady Gaga will take to the outdoor stage behind Stubb's for a concert sponsored by Doritos, which is temporarily renaming the barbecue joint #BoldStage (after its line of flavored tortilla chips) and requiring would-be showgoers to complete one of several so-called bold missions to get inside. Yet Lady Gaga won't be the only A-list artist - nor Doritos the only blue-chip brand - at SXSW, set to run March 11 through March 16 in Austin, Texas.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 11, 2014 | By Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
In what might be an industry first, movie director Robert Rodriguez ("Desperado," "Machete," "Sin City") has his own TV channel. Born out of a commitment by Comcast, as it acquired an interest in NBCUniversal, to carry minority-owned networks, El Rey (also available via Time Warner and DirecTV) has as its sometime-stated target young English-speaking Latinos. Or rather, young English-speaking Latinos - and anyone else with a television - who likes the sort of movies Rodriguez makes.
BUSINESS
March 10, 2014 | By Jessica Guynn
SAN FRANCISCO - Aaron Levie, the 29-year-old chief executive of Box Inc., walked the red carpet at the Oscars this year in a dark suit and tie, pressed white shirt and his trademark neon blue sneakers. "I asked about the sneaker dress code," said Levie, who like many Silicon Valley entrepreneurs doesn't like anything slowing him down, least of all a pair of dress shoes. "Apparently it was not a problem. " It was the movie industry's biggest night and Levie didn't waste any time talking up cloud computing to Hollywood stars including Harrison Ford.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 10, 2014 | By Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
"Believe," which premieres Monday on NBC (moving to Sundays thereafter), is a paranormal adventure story - a romance, whose tendencies toward new-age messianic pomposity are kept in check by the B-movie flamboyance of its characters. Just what part of this is intentional, I can't say. But if the show were less pulpy - if it offered its grab bag of old tropes as jewels rather than as cupcakes - it would also be less good. Big names are attached. Alfonso Cuarón, now combing his hair by the light of his "Gravity" Oscar, co-created the series and directed its pilot; J.J. Abrams, who one day will run every science-fiction franchise, is an executive producer.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 10, 2014 | By Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times Music Critic
Gerard Mortier, who died of cancer on Saturday at age 70, is being widely eulogized for the incalculable role he played in the opera world in the years he headed opera companies in Brussels, Paris and Madrid. Most notably he revolutionized the Salzburg Festival. I can think of no one more important than the crafty, brilliant Belgian impresario in making opera a uniquely telling, relevant, contemporary and meaningfully controversial art form in Europe. But it wasn't only Europe and it wasn't only opera in which Mortier's influence has proven pervasive.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 10, 2014 | By Christopher Knight
Myths die hard. Especially creation myths. Messing with the symbolic origins of a world isn't something to be undertaken lightly. Jackson Pollock's mammoth 1943 painting "Mural" - nearly 8 feet high, 20 feet wide and covered edge-to-edge with rhythmic, Matisse-like linear arabesques, muscular abstract shapes and piercing voids, all of which he likened to a frenzied mustang stampede - was something entirely new for American art. The great painting represents...
ENTERTAINMENT
March 10, 2014 | By Dawn C. Chmielewski and Randy Lewis
Apple Inc. has begun pressuring the major record companies to offer new releases exclusively through its iTunes store - a move that would initially block availability on streaming services such as Spotify or Beats Music, according to several people familiar with the matter. Apple executives contend that on-demand music services have begun to cannibalize download sales, and its representatives are demanding the labels create a period reserved for digital purchasing. Music industry insiders, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals from the industry's dominant retailer, said Apple's push for a new release window - similar to the one that some Hollywood studios impose for films newly released for home viewing - shows the Cupertino, Calif., tech giant is scrambling to retain its competitive advantage in an evolving digital music market.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 10, 2014 | By Chris Lee
A certain fatigue had set in for the multiplatinum-selling electronic dance music act Swedish House Mafia in 2012. By the three members' own estimate, they had partied hard five days a week for six years straight, consuming mass quantities of booze and chemical stimulation, living the hedonistic life associated with superstar DJs while traveling the globe to deliver their four-on-the-floor dance delirium to packed arenas. But just as EDM was becoming an increasingly mainstream concern - with the group selling out Madison Square Garden in nine-minutes flat and its smash single "Don't You Worry Child" moving millions of copies to top pop charts around the world - Swedish House Mafia made a controversial decision: to call it quits at the peak of the group's success.
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