CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 5, 2009 |
Carl Ballantine, the "amazing" comedy-magician and character actor who was part of the World War II PT boat crew on the 1960s sitcom "McHale's Navy," has died. He was 92. Ballantine died in his sleep of age-related causes Tuesday at his home in the Hollywood Hills, said his daughter Saratoga Ballantine. As an actor, Ballantine was best known for playing the supporting role of crew member Lester Gruber on "McHale's Navy," the popular 1962-66 series that starred Ernest Borgnine.
October 10, 2009 |
Newbery Medal winner Kate DiCamillo has made a specialty of chronicling animal protagonists who overcome unfortunate circumstances to become better versions of themselves. Whether she's writing about a big-eared mouse who defies familial expectations in "The Tale of Despereaux" or a haughty rabbit who learns humility and the true meaning of love in "The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane," her stories are masterful middle-reader gems that inspire, educate and entrance. With her latest book, "The Magician's Elephant," DiCamillo again delivers an elegant and imaginative story, this time centered on a pachyderm mistakenly conjured by a magician in a trick gone wildly wrong.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 9, 2009 |
For his next magic trick, Dale Salwak is going to attempt to pull international diplomacy out of his hat. That is the plan for the La Verne college professor, who has found that getting in and out of North Korea requires some sleight of hand. Salwak teaches English literature by day at Citrus College and performs illusions at night at places such as Hollywood's Magic Castle. His skill at floating mysterious zombie balls in the air and turning silk scarves into exploding flowers earned him an invitation earlier this year to visit the secretive Asian nation.
August 16, 2009 |
"There's a special gut-check moment the first time you write a scene in which somebody casts a spell," says novelist and Time book critic Lev Grossman, over drinks at a hotel bar in the Time Warner Building. "I remember ['Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell' author] Susanna Clarke telling me about the first time she wrote a scene with a fairy in it and saying to herself, 'Am I really writing a book with a fairy in it?' It's definitely a naked-lunch moment where you're going through the portal and declaring yourself as a fantasy novelist."
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 13, 2009 |
Joe Bowman, a nationally known Texas sharpshooter who could blast an aspirin to powder at 30 paces and split a playing card edgewise at 20, has died. He was 84. He had been in Albuquerque, where he had staged a fast-draw and sharpshooting exhibition for the Single Action Society's annual convention, and was driving back to his home in Houston when he stopped for the night in the small West Texas town of Junction. He had a heart attack and died June 29.
April 17, 2009 |
It is a trembly and vulnerable Michael Caine that we see in "Is Anybody There?," a finely drawn and gentle British drama propelled by another of the star's unforgettable screen portraits. Caine plays Clarence, an aging magician struggling to keep hold of his dignity and his mind in the face of the pitiless approach of old age. He's been packed off to Lark Hall, an old-age home in a small seaside town, a sort of boarding house for those not far from whatever eternity awaits them.
March 6, 2009 |
In a city that is usually impossible to shock, the savaging of Roy Horn on Oct. 3, 2003, onstage and in front of a live audience at the Mirage, created one of those rare moments where all locals can say where they were when they heard the news. Steve Wynn, who spent millions to have the theater at the Mirage customized for the "Siegfried & Roy" show, remembered his first reaction in an interview this week: "I could not believe one of Roy's cats attacked him."
December 14, 2008 |
When Laura Miller was in second grade, her teacher handed her a copy of "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" by C.S. Lewis. She was never the same again. "It was this book that made a reader out of me," she writes, in "The Magician's Book," a memoir of her lifelong fascination with the seven children's books that make up the "The Chronicles of Narnia." Miller grew up to become one of this country's most popular literary critics. She co-founded Salon.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 1, 2008 |
Barry Price, 64, an international award-winning master sleight-of-hand artist who was a prominent performer for many years at the Magic Castle in Hollywood, died Aug. 24 at West Anaheim Medical Center from complications of a stroke. Known for his close-up work with cards and coins, Price lectured and performed worldwide. He wrote three books on magic, "Escamotage" (I and II) and "Palming for the Terrified." He also came up with a number of magic effects that he sold to other magicians, including one that created a picture of the Mona Lisa with a deck of cards.
August 17, 2008 |
In APRIL, Greg Graffin, a professor in the UCLA life sciences department, arrived on the campus of Harvard University to accept an Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Cultural Humanism, an honor that had gone to Salman Rushdie the previous year. The studious-looking Graffin stood at a podium and delivered a thoughtful lecture on the history of humanism and its meaning in his life. It was, he says, one of the highlights of his academic career. Weeks later, Graffin is in Irvine addressing a very different kind of audience.