January 17, 2010 |
Past the Strip, north up Las Vegas Boulevard amid a stretch of blocks populated by adult stores, tattoo parlors and the like sits the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop. The store stands out on a recent weekend afternoon, because in front there is a rope line of tourists waiting to get inside. These are the fans of "Pawn Stars," a reality show on the History Channel centered on the store that has become a surprising hit and began filming its third season this month. "The show impacted our lives immediately.
January 15, 2010 |
Who would have thought that one of the world's most famous scientists finds time to take in a little television? Whether it's crime dramas or "The Simpsons," Stephen Hawking tunes in. He'd even like to participate in a certain popular dance reality competition. "I'm still waiting for my invitation to 'Dancing With the Stars,' " Hawking joked via a taped message at the Television Critics' Assn. press tour in Pasadena. Until then, he's part of the upcoming Discovery Channel special "Into the Universe With Stephen Hawking."
January 5, 2010 |
Emily Blunt has a suggestion for all those sticklers who demand real history in their film biographies. "Watch the History Channel if you want it literal and historically perfect." The star of "The Young Victoria" was reacting to some of the quibbling of British critics about the film, which is enjoying much better reviews in Australia and the United States than it did when it opened in Queen Victoria's native land. Gripes about this invention (the queen's husband taking a bullet for her)
January 3, 2010 |
History channel President Nancy Dubuc knows what she's up against running a cable television network devoted to events from long ago in an age of real-time tweets and quirky videos that go viral instantaneously. "History, people automatically say, is black and white and fuddy-duddy," she said matter-of-factly. But not according to Dubuc. Since taking over History three years ago, the young executive has sought to recast the network in Technicolor. To do so, she's undertaken a provocative strategy: severing the cable channel's tether to the past.
December 23, 2009 |
Here's your unlikeliest feel-good story for Christmas week: Las Vegas' newest rising celebrities are four local guys who have been quietly running a family-owned pawnshop downtown for years. This summer, the History Channel launched the reality show "Pawn Stars" to focus on their Gold & Silver Pawn Shop and its boutique-museum hodgepodge of items people have pawned. There are Rolexes and motorcycles (of course), but also two-century-old rifles, a centuries-old samurai sword, a 1920s surgical chair, a Super Bowl ring, Olympic medals and an 1830 gold-gilded Ormolu clock known as "The Death Clock," because gilders handled deadly mercury to craft it. "It's 'Antiques Roadshow' with cash," says Corey Harrison, the youngest of the family.
December 12, 2009 |
The history of the United States is, essentially, one of dissent. Certain elected officials may have managed to establish legacies of transformation, but real change in this country has inevitably begun not with politicians but the peanut gallery. Workers and writers, activists and artists, intellectuals, immigrants and everyday people who found one situation or another intolerable and decided to do something about it. No serious social or political change in this country -- not independence, not abolition, not women's suffrage or the minimum wage or civil rights or the New Deal -- came about without anger and protest and, often as not, violence.
November 29, 2009
The xx : Its name and austere design aesthetic give the impression of spartan-minded hardcore punks, but instead this English indie pop group's debut album, "XX," is one of the coolest slabs of minimalist electro-soul this side of Portishead. Built on the dreamy vocals of Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim and achingly spare guitars nicked from the Cure, this album is rated for all audiences. 'Thirst' : We expected some dark scares from this South Korean import, but this film offered further evidence that the best ideas in vampire movies are coming from the other side of the world.
November 13, 2009 |
Time was when Ken Burns documented something, it pretty much closed the subject. Yet two years after Burns took on World War II in his seven-part "The War," two ambitious if not equally soundtracked series are marking Veterans Day. The Smithsonian Channel's six-part "Apocalypse" premiered Wednesday night, and "WWII in HD" begins Sunday night on the History Channel. Both tout new, never-seen-before footage that has been digitally refurbished, often colorized and, in the case of "WWII in HD," presented in high-definition.
September 7, 2009 |
The term "crime of the century" has been worn thin by overuse, but the slaughter of seven people in two days by members of the Manson family in August 1969 still requires its hyperbolic ring. The Tate-LaBianca murders scared Los Angeles witless and horrified an already deeply unsettled nation. Forty years later, Charles Manson remains our homegrown image of Satan and, as the recent denial of the dying Susan Atkins' request for early release proves, the senselessly brutal deaths, particularly that of the pregnant Sharon Tate, are a still vivid American nightmare.
March 28, 2009 |
Paleontologist Jorn Hurum used to have nightmares about the Loch Ness monster -- until he found something bigger. "Predator X," a two-hour special on History (8 p.m. Sunday), documents Hurum's uncovering of an extinct marine reptile that patrolled our oceans 150 million years ago. It was 50 feet long, weighed 45 tons and possessed a 33,000-pound bite.