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June 6, 2010 | By Barbara Demick, Los Angeles Times
Whether or not Kim Jong Il personally ordered the torpedo attack that sank a South Korean warship, the ensuing atmosphere of crisis has given the ailing dictator an opportunity to distract a population that might otherwise be complaining that they're eating weeds instead of rice. The furor over the March 26 sinking of the Cheonan, in which 46 sailors were killed, has given Kim an opening to stage mass rallies and conduct air defense drills in a "wag the dog" strategy. "This will distract people from their troubles," said Cho Myong-chol, a Pyongyang-born economist and son of a former North Korean minister.
February 23, 2010 | By DeeDee Correll
Lucy the Slut has proudly displayed her cleavage all across the country, appearing in posters that feature her voluptuous bosoms barely contained in a glittery brassiere. But Lucy, one of the puppet stars of the risque Broadway show "Avenue Q," won't get the same exposure in the conservative bastion of Colorado Springs, Colo., where her ample -- if also pink and fuzzy -- endowment has proved too much for a billboard company. "They said it wasn't appropriate for their market," said Kristy Maple, marketing director for NewSpace Entertainment, which is bringing the touring production to mid-sized cities around the country.
February 18, 2010
Seth Morris of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and special guest Rob Huebel of "I Love You, Man" (filling in for Ed Helms) transform into their puppet alter egos to host this comedic live talk show. Guests perform, then chat with the felt hosts. Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, 5919 Franklin Ave. 10 p.m. Sat. $8. (323) 908-8702.
December 27, 2009 | By Reed Johnson
Bleak. Misanthropic. Sadistic. Unsettling. That's a sampling of adjectives that have attached themselves over the years to the films of Michael Haneke, whose latest award-winning feature, "The White Ribbon," opens Wednesday in Los Angeles. And those are from writers who admire the beauty, severity and mental prowess of the Austro-German director's work. Haneke's craftsmanship displays a switchblade-sharp precision and sang-froid intellectualism that causes reviewers to utter the hallowed words "Alfred Hitchcock."
December 25, 2009 | Mark Heisler
Where are those puppets when we need them? The Montagues and Capulets, who feuded in "Romeo and Juliet," didn't have little stocking surrogates talking trash, although anything could happen in the next movie version. The Lakers and Boston Celtics did their own taunting, up close and personally. Even as friends, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird lived to grind the other in the dirt, as after one Celtics win in the Forum when Bird, sitting on the team bus, saw a disconsolate Johnson slink by. As Bird said later, "I thought, 'Suffer, you unprintable.
December 15, 2009
The Early Show The Golden Globe nominations; Anna Kendrick; Julian Lennon. (N) 7 a.m. KCBS Today Stanley Tucci; Golden Globe nominations; Jeff Bridges ("Crazy Heart"); Usher. (N) 7 a.m. KNBC KTLA Morning News (N) 7 a.m. KTLA Good Morning America Griffin Dunne. (N) 7 a.m. KABC Good Day L.A. (N) 7 a.m. KTTV Live With Regis and Kelly Guest co-host Anderson Cooper; Fergie ("Nine"); Chris Byrne. (N) 9 a.m. KABC The View Sigourney Weaver; Sam Worthington; Snoop Dogg.
December 9, 2009 | Dennis McLellan
Mark Ritts, who played Lester the lab rat on the wacky children's science series "Beakman's World" and operated and voiced the puppet co-host Kino on the PBS children's show "Storytime," has died. He was 63. Ritts died of cancer Monday at his home in La CaƱada Flintridge, said his wife, Teresa Parente. The son of puppeteers Paul and Mary Ritts -- their Ritts Puppets were a popular act that often appeared on television beginning in the early 1950s -- Ritts began working with puppets as a teenager when he assisted his parents on their TV shows.
December 7, 2009 | By Randy Lewis and >>>
It's an annual ritual -- the flooding of the music market with dozens if not hundreds of holiday-themed titles, and this year is no exception. Plenty of artists are releasing festive recordings, and labels are hoping all that good cheer will translate to some sales uplift. In the mix are offerings from a crystalline-voiced would-be American Idol and from a sandpaper-throated bona-fide American icon. Sting does some musical time-traveling, and one adventurous experimentalist beams the spirit of the season into the vastness of deep space.
December 7, 2009 | Valerie J. Nelson
Steve Meltzer, a gently enthusiastic puppeteer who ran a one-man theater and museum operation, the Santa Monica Puppetry Center , for more than a decade, has died. He was 56. Two hours after he performed his final show and permanently closed his puppetry center on Aug. 16, Meltzer had a stroke. Days later, he had surgery for a brain tumor. He died Nov. 30 of melanoma at his home in Santa Monica, said his friend Mike Clark. "What's so amazing about Steve is that he was able to so fully live his dream, and so many of us do not," said Christine Papalexis, a puppeteer who preceded Meltzer as president of the Los Angeles Guild of Puppetry.
Happy birthday, "Sesame Street." You are 40 years old now, just a year younger than Mickey Mouse was the year you arrived on television -- and he was semi-retired by then, while you still report to work each day. This very morning you begin your 41st season, you and your cast of aging humans and ageless Muppets, with three first-episode veterans still in residence: Bob McGrath (who plays Bob), Loretta Long (called Susan) and Big Bird, who is still only 6 years old, although the man inside him, Caroll Spinney, will turn 76 next month.
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