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Kellee Maize visits the Seven Kingdoms for 'Game of Thrones' video

Written by Scott Mervis on .

I don't watch "Game of Thrones," so I can't tell you what's happening in this video, but I can tell that Pittsburgh rapper/singer Kellee Maize and company put some time and effort into making this slick "GOT"-style video for "In the Night."

Maize, recently seen in a Prius commercial, did it, she says, because "I love the show, I align and relate to Danerys [the Kellee-looking character played by Emilia Clarke] and my boyfriend looks like Drogo."

The video was filmed at Hartwood Acres, Frick Park and at her house in Shadyside with friends, and costumes made by the "LARP [Live-Action Role Playing] Queen of Pittsburgh" Kaza Ayersman.

It hit YouTube on June 12, and so far the reaction has ranged from "awesome" and "your creativity never ceases to amaze me" to "[&@*&-ing] insult to game of thrones."

Be warned that it's a little on the NSFW side 

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First look at "Birdman" movie starring Michael Keaton

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

 

 
Michael Keaton plays an actor famous for portraying an iconic superhero who struggles to mount a Broadway play in “Birdman,” coming to theaters in the fall. 
 
It’s a black comedy tracking the days leading up to opening night as he battles his ego and attempts to recover his family, career and himself. 
 
The Pittsburgh native, who famously donned Batman's cape and cowl, looks like he’s in top acting form here, appearing alongside Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Andrea Riseborough, Amy Ryan, Emma Stone and Naomi Watts.
 
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, whose credits include “Biutiful,”  “Babel” and “21 Grams,” directs the Fox Searchlight movie being billed as “Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance.” 
 

 

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Actress Ruby Dee dies

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

 

rubyatgovball
 
04 DeeRuby-p - CopyIt’s hard to believe but actress Ruby Dee was nominated only once for an Oscar — for her supporting role in “American Gangster.” And she lost, to Tilda Swinton from “Michael Clayton.” 
 
But Dee, who died Wednesday at age 91, leaves a lifetime of work infused with passion and intelligence across all forms of entertainment, from television and films to stage including "A Raisin in the Sun." She and her late husband, Ossie Davis, also were at the forefront of the civil rights movement. 
 
In “American Gangster,” she played Denzel Washington’s mother and slapped him in the sort of scene made for awards-show montages — and memorable movie moments. 
 
She and Davis shared the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award in 2001. In 1998, the pair came to Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Lecture Hall for a black-tie benefit for New Horizon Theatre. 
 
Many of the guests there lined up to meet the stars afterward at a backstage reception.  Veteran broadcaster Chris Moore emceed the event and his wife, Joyce Meggerson-Moore, organized it. 
 
SAG-AFTRA just released a statement on the death of actor, activist and honoree Dee: 
 
SAG-AFTRA mourns the loss of SAG Life Achievement Award recipient Ruby Dee, who died yesterday at the age of 91. The multitalented Dee distinguished herself as an actor, writer and activist and received the Life Achievement Award in 2000 with husband Ossie Davis. They were only the second husband-and-wife team to win the award, the other being Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward in 1985. Dee was predeceased by Davis in 2005.
 
As she accepted the award, Dee spoke of the power of the acting profession. “We are artists also, and workers above all. We are image-makers,” she said.
  
“Why can’t we image-makers become peacemakers too? Why cannot we, in such a time as this, use all the magic of our vaunted powers to lift the pistol from the schoolboy’s backpack and replace it with bright images of peace, with images of hope and faith in humankind? Of life lit by some large vision of goodness and beauty and truth?”
 
“Ruby Dee was truly one of a kind. She was a woman who believed deeply in fairness, a conviction that motivated her lifelong efforts to advance civil rights,” said SAG-AFTRA President Ken Howard. “The acting community — and the world — is a poorer place for her loss.”
 
 
Actress nominee Ruby Dee at the Governors Ball after the 80th annual Academy Awards at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood on Feb. 24, 2008, and earlier during the Oscar season. Photos by Greg Harbaugh and Todd Wawrychuk / A.M.P.A.S.
 

 

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Chvrches is a beautiful bore in Pittsburgh debut

Written by Scott Mervis on .

chvrchesBack in the day — you know, that time moms and dads like to talk about — the best synth-pop came with an element of theater, whether it was the menacing otherworldliness of Gary Numan, the futuristic absurdity of DEVO or the sexual charisma of Annie Lennox in Eurythmics.

Hot Scottish export Chvrches has a pretty girl and some pretty lights to go with the pretty songs, and that’s about it.

The band, which made its underwhelming Pittsburgh debut Wednesday at a sold-out Stage AE, is touring on a first album, “The Bones of What You Believe,” that has been well-received for the trio’s use of vintage synthesizers around Mayberry’s siren vocals.

Having watched their rather dull Coachella stream, I hesitated to go (and almost stuck with Amos Lee, who sounded great at TRAF) but Chvrches deserved the benefit of the doubt, having had to play Indio in a 90-degree wind storm during the daylight, just about the worst circumstances for a moody synth act.

It wasn’t all that much more exciting in the dark.

A friend who loves Euro-pop, and happened to be standing just a few feet away, tweeted at me, “She’s adorable!”

Yes, she is. And she sang beautifully, but she’s a deer in the headlights and needs something more than two guys next to her standing at keyboards, with drum programs. The only real movement on the stage came from Martin Doherty, who flailed his arms a little and occasionally made it look like there was some painful intensity involved in pushing synthesizer buttons. He also stepped out to take the vocal on “Under the Tide,” one of the show’s more uptempo moments, and “You Caught the Light.”

The hour-long set consisted of the full debut album, plus bonus track “Strong Hand,” with opener “We Sink” and the more tribal “Science/Visions,” being among the highlights. Mayberry stopped a few times to mention that she loved the Andy Warhol Museum and the penguins (the Aviary?) and was freaked out by the tornado warning (she must think we get those all the time).

The crowd watched politely, taking in the impressive V-shaped light display, saving most of its excitement for set-closing, Purity Ring-meets-Abba single “The Mother We Share.”

Chvrches might come back around with another acclaimed album, but the band is going to have to tweak the presentation. Maybe they should screen “Urgh! A Music War” for ideas.

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Richard Thompson covers himself on Acoustic Classics

Written by Scott Mervis on .

richard-thompson-2Richard Thompson — perhaps the world’s greatest triple threat as singer-songwriter-guitarist — will issue “reimagined and refined versions” of 14 of his finest songs on “Acoustic Classics.”

It will be released on July 22 via Beeswing Records.

Thompson, who started his career in the late ‘60s with British folk-rock group Fairport Convention and issued his first solo album, “Henry the Human Fly,” in 1972, released his 13th album, “Electric,” last year.

Although he’s never made inroads into the mainstream, he maintains a strong cult following and has been covered by such artists as Robert Plant, Elvis Costello, R.E.M., David Byrne, Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris, Linda Del McCoury, Bonnie Raitt, Los Lobos and Don Henley.

Here’s the track list, and here is a listen to the vibrant opening track "I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight."

ACOUSTIC CLASSICS TRACK LIST
I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight
Walking On A Wire
Wall Of Death
Down Where The Drunkards Roll
One Door Opens
Persuasion
1952 Vincent Black Lightning
I Misunderstood
From Galway To Graceland
Valerie
Shoot Out The Lights
Beeswing
When The Spell Is Broken
Dimming Of The Day

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