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Family Tree

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NEWS
February 4, 2014 | By Michael McGough
Last week, newspapers reported on the latest wrinkle in one of my favorite recurring stories: the interbreeding between modern humans and the beetle-browed brutes known as Neanderthals. The “introgression” of Neanderthal DNA into the genomes of modern humans apparently happened between 37,000 and 85,000 years ago, when modern humans whose ancestors had left Africa encountered the Neanderthals, remnants of a previous exodus. Last week's news was that the residual Neanderthal DNA may have contributed some advantages, such as skin that could survive cold weather.
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ENTERTAINMENT
March 6, 2014 | By Sharon Mizota
Taking your family as subject is nothing new, but Carlee Fernandez gives it a refreshingly surreal charge in her latest show at Acme. While in previous work she dealt with her identity as a mother, here, references to family tradition are more explicit and specific. The most striking image depicts four pairs of bare, upended legs emerging from an outsized silver cup whose sides are engraved with a family tree. The legs belong to Fernandez, her husband and two children. The vessel (which appears as sculpture on the other side of the gallery)
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ENTERTAINMENT
August 26, 2011 | By Gary Goldstein
Yet another cinematic slice of suburban dysfunction, "The Family Tree" works better as a serious look at a family's second chance at happiness than when it pushes its darkly comic agenda about an Ohio community's various peccadilloes. Director Vivi Friedman's inability to successfully reconcile the film's duality undercuts an eclectic cast gamely committed to Mark Lisson's thematically ambitious, if scattered, script. An ill-gotten clonk on the head gives bitter, two-timing wife Bunnie Burnett (Hope Davis)
NEWS
February 4, 2014 | By Michael McGough
Last week, newspapers reported on the latest wrinkle in one of my favorite recurring stories: the interbreeding between modern humans and the beetle-browed brutes known as Neanderthals. The “introgression” of Neanderthal DNA into the genomes of modern humans apparently happened between 37,000 and 85,000 years ago, when modern humans whose ancestors had left Africa encountered the Neanderthals, remnants of a previous exodus. Last week's news was that the residual Neanderthal DNA may have contributed some advantages, such as skin that could survive cold weather.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 14, 2013 | By Martin Miller
It may be a bit of a stretch for actor Fred Willard, but in Sunday's episode of Christopher Guest's delightful new HBO comedy, “Family Tree,” he will step into the time-honored TV role of wacky next-door neighbor. He plays neighbor to an American relative of series star Chris O'Dowd's character, who after losing his girlfriend and his job embarks on a transatlantic genealogical journey to fill in the names on his family tree. After four episodes in overcast England, the series moves Sunday to sunny California to finish its last four episodes for the season - and that's where we first meet Willard's character on the series.
NEWS
May 9, 2013 | By Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
"Family Tree" (HBO, premieres Sunday). Christopher Guest has made you a TV series. Thank him. The director of "A Mighty Wind" and "Best in Show" and one of the forces behind and in "This Is Spinal Tap" -- in which he was Nigel Tufnel, whose amplifier went to 11 and whose guitar you were not to touch or even to look at -- Guest has been an architect of modern comedy, from the improvised dialogue that marks his films to the documentary style in...
SCIENCE
September 25, 2013 | By Amina Khan
Scientists say they have discovered a fossil of the oldest known vertebrate animal with a jaw -- a strange chimera of a fish that could unseat the shark as a representative of extremely "primitive" jawed fishes and turn our evolutionary understanding of humans' ocean-dwelling ancestors on its head. The new fossil described in the journal Nature, called Entelognathus primordialis , is a 419-million-year-old armored fish from the end of the Silurian period, right before the start of the Devonian, known as the Age of Fishes for their remarkable diversity during that period.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 15, 2013 | By Martin Miller, Los Angeles Times
A powerful recurring motif in the varied works of Christopher Guest is the dummy. From early sketch comedy on "Saturday Night Live" through a series of mock documentaries, the looming figure is an essential part of the Guest aesthetic. It can be a truth-teller as on his new HBO series "Family Tree," where a sharp-witted monkey hand puppet accuses a bubble-brained wife of being "inflatable. " Or it can also be a flesh-and-blood dimwit such as Nigel Tufnel, the "This Is Spinal Tap" guitarist who boasts his special amp's volume goes to 11. It turns out the deep fascination with dummies may be embedded in the family DNA. Guest discovered, after receiving a treasure trove of family diaries, photographs and letters in 1996, that one of his forebears was a ventriloquist.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 21, 2000 | DANA PARSONS
It had been two years since I'd spoken to Art Rorden, so it took me a second or two to grasp the meaning of his phone message: "I think you've got the end to your story." It's funny how things work in the news business. You write something and wonder if anything will come of it. Nothing does, and so you forget about the loose end and move on to the next story. Then, out of the blue. . . . That's what happened when Rorden phoned.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 11, 2013 | By Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
Christopher Guest, the director of "Best in Show" and "A Mighty Wind," has made a TV series for HBO. The eight-episode "Family Tree," which premieres Sunday, is his first work in seven years, and like his films it is sweet and funny and not a little melancholy. Guest gives the world a quarter-twist toward the ridiculous, without losing sight of the human dreams and strivings, obsessions and accommodations that are his main and constant subject. The new series, which opens in England before moving in its second half to America, stars Chris O'Dowd, an Irish comic actor who has been insinuating himself little by little into the American consciousness; he was in "Bridesmaids" and "This Is 40" and had a recurring role in the first season of "Girls," and many will know him as the star of the British sitcom "The IT Crowd.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 27, 2013 | By Noel Murray
Monsters University Disney/Buena Vista, $29.99; Blu-ray, $39.99/$45.99/$49.99 Available on VOD beginning Tuesday "Monsters, Inc. " always has been one of the most underrated of Pixar's animated features, not getting enough credit for its zippy pace, cute beasties, clever visual gags and unexpectedly heartwarming ending. The prequel "Monsters University" made a ton of money this past summer, but the relatively mild response from critics suggests that it's on its way to being underrated too. The story of how the hulking James P. Sullivan (voiced by John Goodman)
SCIENCE
October 18, 2013 | Monte Morin
In the humid foothills of the Caucasus Mountains, deep within a carnivore's bloody lair, an early human ancestor fought a life-or-death struggle, and lost. He had entered the den on a scavenging mission, possibly with several others. Their plan: Use a stone to scrape meat from the bones of freshly killed prey, then flee before a saber-tooth cat or other giant predator caught him in the act. "It seems that they were fighting for the carcasses, and unfortunately ... they were not always successful," said David Lordkipanidze, a paleoanthropologist and director of the Georgian National Museum in Tbilisi.
SCIENCE
September 25, 2013 | By Amina Khan
Scientists say they have discovered a fossil of the oldest known vertebrate animal with a jaw -- a strange chimera of a fish that could unseat the shark as a representative of extremely "primitive" jawed fishes and turn our evolutionary understanding of humans' ocean-dwelling ancestors on its head. The new fossil described in the journal Nature, called Entelognathus primordialis , is a 419-million-year-old armored fish from the end of the Silurian period, right before the start of the Devonian, known as the Age of Fishes for their remarkable diversity during that period.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 9, 2013 | By Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
Like it were planned, and perhaps it was, American fans of Chris O'Dowd left bereft by the end of Christopher Guest's HBO series "Family Tree" may jump, as from a lovely frying pan into a really nice fire, to O'Dowd's own "Moone Boy," which begins streaming Wednesday on Hulu. As it happens - and not surprisingly, given that the improvisatory "Family Tree" made much use of O'Dowd's own voice - the two series have a lot in common. Both are sweet and a little eccentric, interested in small things and informed by the creator-star's seeming good nature, though perhaps that is just the soft music of the accent.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 15, 2013 | By Martin Miller, Los Angeles Times
A powerful recurring motif in the varied works of Christopher Guest is the dummy. From early sketch comedy on "Saturday Night Live" through a series of mock documentaries, the looming figure is an essential part of the Guest aesthetic. It can be a truth-teller as on his new HBO series "Family Tree," where a sharp-witted monkey hand puppet accuses a bubble-brained wife of being "inflatable. " Or it can also be a flesh-and-blood dimwit such as Nigel Tufnel, the "This Is Spinal Tap" guitarist who boasts his special amp's volume goes to 11. It turns out the deep fascination with dummies may be embedded in the family DNA. Guest discovered, after receiving a treasure trove of family diaries, photographs and letters in 1996, that one of his forebears was a ventriloquist.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 14, 2013 | By Patrick Kevin Day
Fans of the British comedy hit "The IT Crowd" have been anxiously anticipating the final feature-length special episode meant to wrap up the series. But now they have an extra reason to be excited: Series creator Graham Linehan has put out the call for fans to record themselves reacting to an outrageous (but unseen) video on their phone or laptop and submitting it. Those selected will be included in the final episode. And they'll probably finally get to see exactly which video they were supposed to be reacting to. On his website, Linehan describes what he's looking for, with one odd specification: "It would be really good if the photo can show a famous landmark in the background," he writes.
BUSINESS
November 17, 1997 | KIM KOMANDO
I'm sure you remember that project in elementary school where you drew the big tree and wrote your name on the trunk. Then you added your parents' names to the first two branches, and so on. That's as close as some people will ever get to reconstructing their family tree. But for millions of others, genealogy has become a rich and entertaining hobby. And the personal computer has emerged as the premier tool for do-it-yourself family historians, making it easier than ever to reconstruct the past.
NEWS
August 20, 1990 | From Times Wire Services
Australian singer Helen Reddy's love of tracing her family tree revealed an ancestor who earned a one-way convict's ticket Down Under by trying to prey on a rich landowner's son. She found a court transcript detailing testimony against Richard Morgan of Bristol, England, who hid under a bed, armed with a hammer, while his intended victim awaited an assignation with a lady. Apparently her ancestor hoped that the landowner's son would sign over 500 pounds and give him a watch, the records showed.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 14, 2013 | By Martin Miller
It may be a bit of a stretch for actor Fred Willard, but in Sunday's episode of Christopher Guest's delightful new HBO comedy, “Family Tree,” he will step into the time-honored TV role of wacky next-door neighbor. He plays neighbor to an American relative of series star Chris O'Dowd's character, who after losing his girlfriend and his job embarks on a transatlantic genealogical journey to fill in the names on his family tree. After four episodes in overcast England, the series moves Sunday to sunny California to finish its last four episodes for the season - and that's where we first meet Willard's character on the series.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 11, 2013 | By Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
Christopher Guest, the director of "Best in Show" and "A Mighty Wind," has made a TV series for HBO. The eight-episode "Family Tree," which premieres Sunday, is his first work in seven years, and like his films it is sweet and funny and not a little melancholy. Guest gives the world a quarter-twist toward the ridiculous, without losing sight of the human dreams and strivings, obsessions and accommodations that are his main and constant subject. The new series, which opens in England before moving in its second half to America, stars Chris O'Dowd, an Irish comic actor who has been insinuating himself little by little into the American consciousness; he was in "Bridesmaids" and "This Is 40" and had a recurring role in the first season of "Girls," and many will know him as the star of the British sitcom "The IT Crowd.
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