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April 20, 2013 | By Elaine Woo, Los Angeles Times
Al Neuharth, the newspaper mogul who in 1982 made a $1-billion gamble called USA Today that earned derision for its emphasis on brevity, flashy graphics and upbeat stories but endured to become the nation's largest-circulation newspaper, died Friday in Cocoa Beach, Fla. He was 89. He died of complications from a recent fall, according to USA Today and the Newseum, the Washington, D.C., news museum he founded. Described by detractors and admirers as brutish, egomaniacal, brilliant and fiercely competitive, Neuharth was a latter-day Citizen Kane, who in the 1970s turned the small Gannett newspaper chain into the nation's most profitable newspaper company.
April 12, 2013 | By Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
Like its title character, "Da Vinci's Demons" prefers to flaunt rather than follow, flagrantly borrowing from film, television and video games to create something new, inarguably flawed, possibly revolutionary and certainly fun to watch. For several years, Starz has been flailing around in search of a show that would satisfy the youthful proclivities of its "Spartacus" audience while lending the network a bit more artistic heft. With its "Assassin's Creed" overtones and "Game of Thrones" top notes, "Demons" should satisfy the former, and even a story that too often turns Leonardo da Vinci into a Florentine Sherlock Holmes can't diminish the artistic heft of the original Renaissance man. After a quasi-mystical "Leonardo liked to get stoned" opener, creator David S. Goyer flamboyantly uses "Downton Abbey's" Hugh Bonneville to quickly establish the show's premium cable status: Bonneville's Duke of Milan greets the morn by first urinating, naked and on-camera (when did this become the new hallmark of cable's hard R?
April 11, 2013 | By Los Angeles Times staff
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March 16, 2013 | By Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
Once upon a time not so very long ago I was a young woman living a writerly life of working poverty in New York City, which, for better or worse, engendered certain expectations from HBO's "Girls. " I admired though did not love the first season and felt hopeful about the second - creator Lena Dunham is smart and sharp-eyed, unafraid to wallow in the sticky brine of self-love and self-loathing that marks a certain time of many people's lives. But lately watching "Girls," which has its second-season finale Sunday night, just makes me feel old. And impatient in a vaguely maternal way, like when you see a lovely but irritating wild child running naked around the playground, shouting "vagina" at everyone and peeing in the sandbox.
March 15, 2013 | By Craig Nakano
She's had her own TV series, theme parks and Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade float. She boasts more Facebook “likes” than First Lady Michelle Obama or Mickey Mouse. And her annual sales have been estimated at $5 billion. Not bad for a cat with no mouth. Hello Kitty, the feline superstar who manufacturer Sanrio says “speaks from the heart” instead of a mouth, soon will be clawing her way onto new territory: your walls. On Thursday, the Venice design firm Blik will launch a line of rub-on wall graphics for the home featuring the Kitty's famed black whiskers, yellow nose and puffy red hair bow on and . We talked with Blik co-founder Scott Flora for this edited Q&A and asked about his experience working with an international starlet: How did this Sanrio project come about?
March 5, 2013 | By David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times Book Critic
It's not accurate, exactly, to say that I've been waiting for James Vance and Dan E. Burr's graphic novel “On the Ropes” (W.W. Norton: 248 pp., $24.95) -- until I saw a copy, I had no idea that it was coming out. But it is the case that Vance and Burr's first book, “Kings in Disguise,” first published in 1988, is one of my favorite graphic novels - a stark bit of social realism tracing the travails of a 12-year-old named Freddie Bloch as he wanders through the Depression - and with this new work, which picks up the story in 1937, the creators have outdone themselves.
February 27, 2013 | By David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times Book Critic
Miriam Katin's “Letting It Go” (Drawn & Quarterly: 160 pp., $24.95) is my kind of graphic memoir: loose, impressionistic, a portrait of the artist's inner life. Keyed by the decision of her adult son Ilan to take up permanent residence in Berlin, it is, in part, the story of her coming to terms, at long last, with her legacy as a survivor of the Holocaust. But without minimizing this part of the story, “Letting It Go” is much more than that - a meditation on love, on family, and an inquiry into art. Functioning in some sense as a sketchbook, Katin's story is delightfully open-ended, less a look back at a particular situation than a series of reflections from the trenches of her life as it is lived.
February 27, 2013 | By Henry Chu, Los Angeles Times
LONDON - As the world's oldest subway, better known as the Tube, celebrates its 150th birthday, here's a familiar but gently tweaked reminder: Mind the map. The London Underground is justly famous as a defining feature of the British capital, a wonder of the modern age that whooshes millions of riders around the city every day. But a London institution that may have an even tighter grip on the public imagination is having a birthday too...
February 12, 2013 | By Jenn Harris
Everywhere you turn, it seems Beyoncé has taken over the world. The superstar singer performed for President Obama at the inauguration last month and managed to brush off the accompanying lip sync scandal with style and grace. She's on the cover of the March issue of Vogue with the line "Queen B ! Beyoncé rules the world!" She had the twitterverse buzzing with #Beyoncebowl after her killer halftime performance at the Super Bowl. And she looked good doing all of it. Whether on stage in a Rubin Singer leather and lace number at the Super Bowl or ducking paparazzi in a sweater and jeans with rapper-husband Jay-Z, Beyoncé knows how to work her curves.
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