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'American Horror Story's' Evan Peters and 'Daredevil's' Charlie Cox and Elden Henson charm Pittsburgh at Wizard World Con

Written by Maria Sciullo on .

 

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Elden Henson and Charlie Cox of Netflix's "Daredevil" at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center for Wizard World Comic Con on Sunday.
 
Evan Peters knows from scary.
 
For him, it's space, the final frontier. This is probably why, when a fan at Pittsburgh's Wizard World Comic Con asked where he would set the next season of his FX series, "American Horror Story," Peters quickly answered "Outer space terrifies me... All that closed space, stranded... and it's cold out there."
 
Also, in space, no one can hear you scream. Wait, that was a tagline for the film "Alien." Make no mistake -- if "AHS" creator Ryan Murphy sent his series regulars into space, there would indeed be screaming. A lot of screaming.
 
But here were mostly coos and declarations of love for Peters Sunday afternoon at David L. Lawrence Convention Center Q&A. He and the guys from Netfix's "Daredevil" were headliners, and the mood was light; no one seemed to take themselves too seriously. Although he blushed a bit when someone mentioned watching him as a tween actor on Disney's "Phil of the Future," and the 2004 film, "Sleepover." 
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Evan Peters, right, answers fan questions at a Wizard World panel in Pittsburgh.
 
To be fair, that last feature also had Academy Award-winner Brie Larson in the cast.
 
Peters' session was followed by deep-dive comics discussion between "Daredevil" lead Charlie Cox, his TV sidekick Elden Henson and a couple of guys in the audience. The two actors clearly enjoy an easy-going relationship -- dare we say "bromance"? -- and as late bonded as dads to a newborn and toddler.
 
Noting he has much common with attorney Matt Murdock, his "DD" alter ego who fights crime by night and deals with sleeplessness by day, Cox said "Up all night, fighting diapers."
 
Henson said their relationship has been great from the start, beginning with Henson's first day of shooting. He did a scene where he was supposed to be talking to Cox on the phone and although Cox was off that day, the British actor made a point of coming in to read the lines.
 
Cox laughed and said when he asked Henson to reciprocate, Henson responded "Nah, Dude, I've got stuff to do."
 
There were serious points to be made as well. The Murdock character is blind, and Cox was asked if perhaps TV shows should be casting actors with matching conditions, such as ABC's "Speechless." Actor Micah Fowler, who has cerebral palsy, plays a character with the disability.
 
Cox replied that in certain cases, as in "Daredevil," which is heavy on stunts, that might not be practical. But he said he hoped networks would "prioritize" when casting, and that strides were being taken in the matter of diversity casting.
 
Wizard World Con, incidentally, provided staff to translate Q&A sessions into American Sign Language.
 
Superhero stories lend themselves to the Netflix model, Cox said. "You can tell a story over 13 hours or 16 hours or 20 hours. When you have a superhero movie like 'Spider-Man,' my favorite part is the 20 minutes where he is figuring out what he can do [with his new powers].
"The little boy in me loved that. And I got to spend 13 hours doing that."
 
Both "Daredevil" actors said they've had enough career ups and downs to appreciate the security of working on a series. Henson, who was in Berlin, Germany, finishing up a "The Hunger Games" franchise film, said he gave producers such as Jeph Loeb (executive producer for not just "Daredevil" but a cornucopia of Marvel property television) a terrible Skype audition.
 
Talking via cell phone, he was interrupted by calls and grew increasingly agitated: "But the more frustrated I got, the thought was 'Yeah, he IS Foggy."
 
For Cox, "Daredevil" was the chance to put that drama school fight training to use. "I spent the first 10 years of my career, running into rooms in garters and saying 'My liege,'" he said smiling. Last summer, Cox did an off-Broadway play in New York City.
 
He's gotten so into the stunt work, Cox said he persuaded producers to allow him to do some of his own ("I like to do as much as they'll let me.")
 
To which Henson rolled his eyes and said "And I'm always pushing: 'Can Foggy sit down during this scene?' "
EvanPetersLineFan wait in line for autographs and picture poses with Evan Peters. 
 

 

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Patricia Racette tackles "Salome" with Pittsburgh Opera

Written by Elizabeth Bloom on .

Pittsburgh Opera's production of "Salome," which I placed on my list of top 10 musical events for the fall, opens at the Benedum Center this weekend. My preview of the opera was published in today's Post-Gazette. 

The casting of soprano Patricia Racette in the title role is a major coup for Pittsburgh Opera. She was going to sing Cio-Cio-San in "Madama Butterfly" here in 2002 but had to withdraw after rehearsals had started. Interestingly enough, that was going to be, essentially, her role debut as Butterfly. She had sung it dozens of times in the late 1980s while with the Merola Opera Program. "But I put it away, so it was going to be the resurfacing of that role in a fully grownup, professional sense," Ms. Racette said.

Coincidentally, Cio-Cio-San is a role with which Ms. Racette would become closely associated, although she retired it last year.

20161103smsOpera06-5Nmon Ford, top, plays Jochanaan, and Patricia Racette plays Salome, in Pittsburgh Opera's production of Richard Strauss' "Salome." The two were photographed at the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning in Oakland on Oct. 24.(Stephanie Strasburg/Post-Gazette)

She is also known for her stints as a host of and performer in the Metropolitan Opera's Live in HD series, which I've written about a few times on this blog. Now a decade old, the program is somewhat controversial, and it is often accused of taking away in-house audiences, among other issues. Ms. Racette's response?

"I like them as a performer, as a host and as someone in this profession," she said. "What people know about the existence of opera now in the United States as opposed to before all this HD stuff is so much more."

She didn't want to weigh in on the issue of ticket sales since it's not her area of expertise, although she understands the incentives for audiences to pay for cheap seats with a good view in a movie theater. "However — and I'm saying this in bold caps — there's nothing like experiencing it live. There's nothing like it," she said.

"You're not seeing it as three-dimensionally as you are in the theater," she said of the movie options. "I hope that would continue being a priority for the public."

But she did raise another important point — that opera can be somewhat subservient to its own traditions, which can hinder the development of new audiences.

"I think it's important to have the public be exposed to different ideas of a way to tell a story and not just the one old-fashioned idea," she said. "We've got to invigorate and reinvigorate this art form to keep it alive. We have to. And I think HD assists and helps in that greatly."

One more thing: A reader alerted me to the fact that the Monroeville Readers Theatre will perform an edited version of Oscar Wilde's "Salome" at 2 p.m. Dec. 3 at the Monroeville Public Library, 4000 Gateway Campus Blvd., Monroeville. A German translation of Wilde's play is the basis for Strauss' libretto. A question-and-answer session will follow.

 

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Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds coming in June

Written by Scott Mervis on .

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The Andy Warhol Museum continues to go where other promoters fear to tread, this time presenting the long-awaited Pittsburgh return of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

The dark Australian rockers will visit the Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland on June 8. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday at ticketmaster.com.

In September, the band issued a haunting 16th album, "Skeleton Tree," released in the wake of Cave's 15-year-old son's death from an accidental fall from a cliff.

The show, co-promoted with his exclusive promoter, Goldenvoice, which also produces Coachella and Desert Trip, is the band's first appearance here since playing an early set at Lollapalooza in 1994. The lineup will be Warren Ellis, Martyn Casey, Thomas Wydler, Jim Sclavunos, Conway Savage, George Vjestica and Larry Mullins.

 

 

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Third Eye Blind, Struts will play The X's Kickass Christmas show

Written by Scott Mervis on .

TEB

Third Eye Blind will headline the 105.9 The X Kickass Christmas show at Stage AE on Sunday, Dec. 11.

The alt-rock band from San Francisco had a run of hits in the late-'90s that included "Semi-Charmed Life," "Jumper" and "How's It Going to Be."

Also on the bill will be British garage-rockers The Struts (who played Altar Bar earlier this year), Holy White Hounds and Daily Grind. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday at ticketmaster.com.

 

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"The Walking Dead" has fans talking 'Dead

Written by Maria Sciullo on .

 

So, two for the price of one.
 
Spoiler alert for fans who have yet to see last night's Season 7 premiere of AMC's "The Walking Dead": it was Glenn, after all.
 
But first, it was Abraham, as charming monster Negan swung for the fences, thus ending a months-long cliffhanger.
 
It wasn't pretty. Incidentally, fans can pay their respects in person to the actor playing Abraham, Michael Cudlitz, when he visits Pittsburgh's Steel City Con in December.
 
Internet reaction to the killings Sunday night/Monday morning was heavy on the "I'm-never-watching-again" for a number of reasons. First, the incredible amount of gore on a 9 p.m. basic cable program.
 
Two weeks ago, FX's "American Horror Story" (a program that delights in over-the-top ickiness) showed Denis O'Hare's character having his head smashed to a pulp. 
 
Gross, yes. But the theme of AHS this season has been showing scary stuff in the context of a cheesy reality program. His was the rather dispassionate killing of someone viewers didn't really know or care about.
 
The character of Negan, however, that's a horse of a different blood-red color. And the potential victims were (mostly) people fans have grown to know and love over the years.
 
We all know that in Robert Kirkman's graphic novels, fan favorite Glenn (Steven Yeun) is chosen by Negan to be clubbed to death with a barbed-wire-covered baseball bat. 
 
But the showrunners -- including Pittsburgh native Greg Nicotero, who directed the episode -- already have veered from the printed page in various ways.
 
When Abraham turned out to be Negan's initial victim, Twitter reaction at #TheWalkingDead was mainly "R.I.P., soldier, at least it wasn't Glenn."
 
Not so fast...
 
Rick (Andrew Lincoln) had to go through a somewhat pointless RV ritual with Negan. This generated fake-out speculation that even MORE of our hardy band of survivors were clubbed. But there was little doubt that what happened to Glenn, our beloved pizza delivery boy, was no imagined flashback.
 
His final words to Maggie ("I will find you") were the true emotional core of the episode. That Hallmark Channel dinner at the end of the episode? The one that was supposed to lighten the traumatic load just dumped on fans? Uh, no. Please don't do that again.
 
It's Negan's world now, and everyone else just lives in it. If he's in a good mood.
TWDdinner 380x252
 
 

 

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