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December 6, 2013 | By Gary Goldstein
The inventively shot and constructed documentary "For No Good Reason" is an absorbing look at the unique, surreal work of British cartoonist Ralph Steadman. Yet, the film, directed by 'Charlie Paul and narrated by - and also co-starring - Steadman's friend and admirer Johnny Depp, proves more successful at examining a lifetime's worth of an artist's output than at revealing much about the artist himself. Fortunately, Steadman's blotchy ink drawings are captivating; bold, weird, satirical and highly identifiable, often from their appearances in special editions of such classics as "Alice in Wonderland" and "Animal Farm," in Rolling Stone magazine and alongside the work of famed gonzo journalist and novelist Hunter S. Thompson.
December 6, 2013 | By Hector Tobar
Adam Lanza was, by all accounts, a strange child. Matthew Lysiak's new book, "Newtown: An American Tragedy," tackles the challenge of drawing a portrait of the troubled young man, who killed 20 children and six adults in a Connecticut elementary school last year. In junior high, Lysiak tells us, young Adam carried around an empty briefcase and insisted on sanitizing his desk each time he sat down. As an adolescent, his Little League teammates found it amusing when he was hit by a pitch - they knew he suffered from a form of sensory deprivation and couldn't feel pain.
November 25, 2013 | By Gary Goldstein
Steven-Charles Jaffe's first-rate documentary "Gahan Wilson: Born Dead, Still Weird" appears right on the heels of "Dear Mr. Watterson," another enjoyable cinematic profile of a famed cartoonist ("Calvin and Hobbes'" Bill Watterson). But Jaffe's film has a distinct advantage: Wilson, unlike the reclusive Watterson, happily and thoroughly participates in this highly dimensional recap of his life and career, to compelling effect. The jaunty, eccentric Wilson, 83, has been generating his unique brand of humorously macabre cartoons for more than 50 years.
November 25, 2013 | By Melissa Magsaysay
As the international creative director of Elle magazine for 40 years, fashion photographer Gilles Bensimon had the opportunity to shoot the world's most beautiful women. From supermodels to screen icons, many of his subjects reached icon status in fashion and pop culture. A newly opened photography exhibition celebrating women showcases a selection of his most captivating work for the magazine, where he was creative director and head photographer until 2009. On display to the public throughout the Sofitel Hotel Los Angeles' lobby and Riviera 31 Bar, the 25 portraits in "Elles by Gilles Bensimon" have been mounted here after traveling throughout the country, with prior displays in New York, Washington and Chicago.
November 14, 2013 | By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
Master documentarian Frederick Wiseman makes his films his way, and the way he makes them is reflected in how we experience them. "At Berkeley" is Wiseman's 38th doc in 43 years, and each of them, as titles like "Public Housing" and "Boxing Gym" indicate, examines a different institution. "As in all my documentaries," Wiseman writes in "Director's Notes" for his new film, "I had no idea of the themes or structure until I was well advanced in the editing. " Similarly, audiences won't fully understand the themes of this long and thoughtful film until they've experienced it for themselves.
November 14, 2013 | By Mark Haskell Smith
It seems there is nothing Dana Goodyear won't put in her mouth. Pig ears, beef hearts, crickets, stink bugs and ox penis are just a few of the things she knowingly chews up and swallows. In her new book, "Anything That Moves: Renegade Chefs, Fearless Eaters, and the Making of a New American Food Culture," she goes deep into the counterculture of the foodie movement, unearthing black market butter dealers and unethical caviar hustlers; haute cuisine presented in apartments and endangered species served in pricey sushi bars.
November 13, 2013 | By David Ng
A portrait of actress Farrah Fawcett created by Andy Warhol is at the center of a legal dispute that is scheduled to head to court on Wednesday. Ryan O'Neal, who had a long relationship with the late actress, is fighting the University of Texas at Austin over possession of the painting, which the university claims to own. The parties are set to square off Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court. At the time of her death in 2009, Fawcett bequeathed art that she owned to the University of Texas at Austin, which she attended before hitting it big in Hollywood.  The university had reportedly received one Warhol portrait of Fawcett, but O'Neal is in possession of another that is virtually identical.
November 8, 2013 | By Scott Martelle
History, as we all know, is framed by events. But it also grows from relationships, both personal and political, and is framed by how the actions of particular players in specific circumstances set the course for the future. In her sweeping new history, "The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism," Doris Kearns Goodwin focuses on the relationships among Roosevelt, Taft and those pesky muckraking journalists and how their individual behaviors influenced not only one another but also the nation.
November 1, 2013 | By Jim Ruland
The peril of reading literary short stories is that one tends to encounter characters who behave not like you or me but like the kind of people one finds only in short stories. Despite the realist tradition in which these poor souls are usually trapped, they aren't quite believable. With the subtlety of a train lumbering through town, protagonists dutifully observe the present, reflect on the past and yearn for something in the future that's just out of reach. Although the landscape is familiar, their outsized troubles are compressed to facilitate change and foster closure in a way that isn't achievable in real life.
October 24, 2013 | Nardine Saad
Prince George's christening portraits have arrived! OK, now we can officially gush about how cute Prince George is ... Prince William and his wife, Catherine, the former Kate Middleton, baptized their 3-month-old baby Wednesday and have unveiled four highly anticipated official family portraits that were shot by celebrity photographer Jason Bell after the 35-minute ceremony. The tiny prince, who will eventually be named the head of the Church of England when he is crowned, was christened during a small private ceremony at the Chapel Royal in London's St. James's Palace by the Archbishop of Canterbury , Justin Welby.
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