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Brewed On Grant: Shovel Cam

Written by Rob Rogers on .

Eagle cam is back! I hope those little eaglets have better weather to look forward to. 

030415 Shovel Cam

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Will Oscars revert to just five best picture nominees?

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

 

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87 TC 0001By the time the next Oscar season rolls around, we could be looking at just five best picture contenders rather than a potential six, seven, eight, nine or 10.

The Hollywood Reporter says that many Academy members are acknowledging that the increase in the number of top nominees has failed. When the expansion was announced in June 2009, it was designed to make sure that commercial hits such as “The Dark Knight” could be invited to the party along with smaller arthouse favorites. 

The rule was later tweaked to allow up to 10 nominees and, in many years, nine pictures were in contention. This year, it was eight. A change back to five would require a vote of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ board of governors.  

A thornier problem is the explosion of televised awards shows, especially in a year when the same actors or filmmakers sweep the top honors.

The Oscars are still the most prestigious, important awards but they follow the Hollywood Film Awards (ugh), People’s Choice Awards, Critics Choice Awards, Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild Awards, BAFTAs, NAACP Image Awards, Independent Spirit Awards, and Grammys which occasionally have some crossover. And I could be forgetting one or two, not to mention the honors that are not televised. 

The job of hosting the Oscars gets harder each year. Not only do hosts have to brace for criticism afterward but, thanks to Twitter, during the telecast.

Years ago I suggested bringing back the “Friends of Oscar” concept with eight hosts as Team Oscar. That might be a good place to start and make sure one of them has a regular TV platform (Jimmy Kimmel, for instance) to help promote the show even more than he does now. 

Photo:  Presenter Reese Witherspoon on the stage of the Dolby Theatre at the 87th Academy Awards Feb. 22. Host Neil Patrick Harris. Photos by Michael Yada and Todd Wawrychuk and Jordan Murph / A.M.P.A.S. 

 

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Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Snowden in Oliver Stone movie

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

jjlevitt

Christmas could be crowded.

As previously announced, "Concussion" with Will Smith will open that day and so, too, will "Snowden." Directed by Oliver Stone, it stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as whistle-blower Edward Snowden.

This is the first look at Gordon-Levitt as Snowden, before the man became synonymous with leaking classified information.

"Snowden" is shooting in Munich but will move to other locations around the world. Open Road Films will release "Snowden" in the United States on Christmas Day 2015.

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Quakers cite progress against mountaintop removal mining

Written by Peter Smith on .

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When they held a national gathering last summer at Cal U of Pa., dozens of Quakers took a sidetrip to Pittsburgh to protest at various PNC Bank locations. Members of the Earth Quaker Action Team have for years sought to get the bank to stop financing mountaintop-removal coal mining operations in the Appalachian coalfields. 

Now it turns out they're getting at least some of their wish.

In its latest Corporate Responsibility Report, PNC revealed it has been reducing such financing since 2010, down to a quarter of a percent of its total lending portfolio, and plans to continue doing so. The report cites environmental and health concerns as well as financial risk.

 

“It’s good to see that PNC Bank is now taking meaningful steps,” says a statement from Matthew Armstead, staff coordinator for EQAT. “Since this shift happened because of external pressure, it should be a wake-up call for everyone that the power of change lies with regular citizen activists.”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has estimated about 1,200 miles of streams in Appalachia have been directly affected by mountaintop removal and valley fills, and other reports have linked the practice to health problems among affected residents.

 

 

 

 

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Jimmy Buffett might skip Pittsburgh for first time in 25 years

Written by Scott Mervis on .

jimmy-buffet-2012Not only has Pittsburgh frozen over, but it could be that hell has frozen over too.

This would be the first sign:

JIMMY BUFFETT IS NOT COMING TO PITTSBURGH THIS SUMMER.

Yes, NOT.

Mr. Margaritaville has been as regular here as potholes and pierogies, but the 2015 itinerary is out and Pittsburgh didn't make the list.

It's a shocking turn of events, as he has played to Parrotheads in Burgettstown every year since the place opened in 1990. Except for 2005, when his boat sailed into PNC Park.

Buffett goes from Virginia (June 20) to Cincinnati (June 23), then it looks like he takes July and half of August off and is in Camden, NJ, on Aug. 18. Looking at the Pavilion schedule, there does not appear to be a conflict around those dates.

Live Nation confirms there is no Pittsburgh date on this tour, but will not tell us why. We can guess that it's not for lack of ticket sales.

Maybe there's a woman to blame. Maybe it's nobody's fault.

Whatever the reason, it's a sad day for Parrothead Pittsburgh.

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