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Ed Piskor's 'Hip Hop Family Tree' nominated for two Eisner Awards

Written by Sharon Eberson on .

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edpiskorPG0416PG"Hip Hop Family Tree," the roots-of-the genre series by Munhall-based comic-book artist/writer Ed Piskor (right), has been nominated for two Will Eisner Awards: best reality-based work and best lettering.

Winners of the annual awards, considered the Oscars of the comics world and named for the pioneering comics creator and graphic novelist Will Eisner, will be revealed at a July 25 ceremony during Comic-Con International in San Diego.

"Hip Hop Family Tree" (Fantagraphics) a New York Times graphic books best-seller, tells of the early days of hip hop and the charismatic artists who shaped it, such as DJ Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, with Russell Simmons, Debbie Harry and Keith Haring among the names making appearances along the way.

For a full list of 2014 nominees, visit the Comic-Con website's Eisner section.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jeff Goldblum, man of many talents and lover of sandwiches, is having another moment

Written by Maria Sciullo on .

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It's probably inaccurate to say West Homestead native Jeff Goldblum is having a moment because the man always seems to be involved in the most interesting projects. But by Jeff Goldblum standards, this month has been particularly Goldblumian.

He plays a key part in Wes Anderson's marvelous tale of love and death, "The Grand Budapest Hotel." As solicitor for the estate of a wealthy, murdered octogenarian -- played with nervous panache by Tilda Swinton -- his Deputy Kovacs quickly discovers he's swimming in shark-infested waters.

20140324jeffleweekend300Goldblum is also in the coming-soon-to-Pittsburgh release of "Le Week-End," where he plays an old friend of star Jim Broadbent and whose actions lead to revelations.

Up next, "Mortdecai," a drama with Johnny Depp, Ewan McGregor and Gwyneth Paltrow.

And the guy is all over television, from recurring appearances on the "Portlandia" to playing a dad on both "Glee" and "The League."

Last week, Goldblum lent his signature quirky style to Portlandia as "The Pull-Out King." Stumbling through a cheesy TV ad and then selling a pull-out sofa to Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen's odd couple, Goldblum was, as usual, deftly walking the fine line between genius quirk and annoying quirk.

He also did an 'ask me anything' on reddit last week, where he disclosed he's never had a cavity in his life, as well as his love for sandwiches.

From the transcript:

"Oooooooooh. SANDWICH. OH MY GOSH.

Oh my gosh.

I love sandwiches.

When I was a kid, every day I had a bacon lettuce tomato sandwich. Then at some point I switched to tuna fish sandwiches. Then turkey and swiss with russian dressing. Now I try to stay in the healthier vein, but I love every moment of my sandwich life."

The ama was also instructional, as Goldblum was asked how to correctly pronounce his name:

"However you want would be fine. I myself say bloom to rhyme with zoom."

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Treat yourselfie with HISY remote shutter

Written by Maria Sciullo on .

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We all can't have famous Hollywood friends in our selfies (Ellen really?), but it helps to have photo options. The HISY Bluetooth camera shutter remote works on later-model Apple devices to take photographs from as far away as 90 feet. Released last month, it retails for about $25.

A test drive in the Post-Gazette offices worked smoothly after pairing an iPhone with the slim, quarter-sized disc. Set the camera anywhere, from on top of a desk to hidden near a stack of press releases, and snap away using the little white remote. 

This also happens to be a boon for those of us with very short arms.

Certainly, HISY isn't the only way to take cell phone photos remotely, but it is rather fun, clicking away. Its battery life is a promised two years, assuming one takes about 100 shots a day. It also works with the video controls.

 

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Getting ready for the 2014 Academy Awards

Written by Sharon Eberson on .

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Are you ready for the Academy Awards tonight? That's Rob Ashford, the ceremony's choreographer, pointing something out to Ewan McGregor in an EW image taken during preparations. Hmmm. What is Obi-Wan Kenobi up to? Harrison Ford also is among the folks shown in rehearsal.

I'll be keeping up with the winners as they are announced with updates on Twitter and with the Post-Gazette's 2014 Academy Awards ballot

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"The Hobbit" and Weta Digital go for (more) gold at Oscars

Written by Maria Sciullo on .

Screen Shot 2014-02-28 at 9.53.54 PMHaving spun a dungeon-ful armful of gold for "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" this year, effects powerhouse Weta Digital is up for more this Sunday at the Academy Awards.

It's already been quite the awards season for New Zealand-based Weta, with the company earning Visual Effects Society (VES) honors for best animation in a live-action motion picture (that would be, among other effects, Smaug himself, the Middle-earth dragon voiced with silky menace by Benedict Cumberbatch).

Director Peter Jackson and senior visual effects director Joe Letteri -- who grew up in Aliquippa -- also received the Vanguard award from the Producers Guild of America last month. Letteri, who has eight Oscar nomination and has won four times, said Part 3 of "The Hobbit: There and Back Again" will be finished by the end of 2014.

"It has been an honor helping to bring Middle-earth to life again. It will be strange to be without it."

Heaven knows Weta won't be left standing around with nothing to do: "We are well into 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,' and it's a great film. The story is sharp, and we've had a few years to advance our technique for bringing our CG Apes to the screen."

Then there's this little project with James Cameron....

"As for 'Avatar,' [sequels] we've been working with Jim on some of the technology and excited for where he might take the story in these next films."

Screen Shot 2014-02-28 at 10.56.46 PMAs it happens, Letteri is not the only Pittsburgh-area native up for the visual effects Oscar. Gary Brozenich, who grew up in Natrona Heights, lives in London and works for MPC, which was nominated for its work on "The Lone Ranger."

MPC also did the stunning recent television "dominoes" promotion for the return of NBC's "The Blacklist."

Letteri said that in a season where movie fans have been wowed by FX in any number of films -- including Best Picture nominee "Gravity," -- he's still able to be wowed along with the casual observer.

"It's harder on the films that you work on but for other films, if the story is good, you get swept up in it. If you love what you do, you never give up being a fan. You appreciate the artistry and the craftsmanship, much like a painter viewing someone else's work."

 

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