More Stories

13 December 2019

Wizards of the Coast Announces Brand-New Dungeons & Dragons Video Game "Dark Alliance" [Trailer Included]

by
Wizards of the Coast Announces Dark Alliance
Wizards of the Coast Announces Dark Alliance
Wizards of the Coast and Tuque Games have officially announced that Dark Alliance, a third-person action RPG, will launch worldwide on PC and consoles in Fall 2020.

Dark Alliance is an exciting, action-driven, hack-and-slash adventure filled with iconic monsters, legendary characters, and epic loot. In an all-new trailer that debuted during last night's Game Awards, Jeff Hattem, Founder of Tuque Games introduced millions of players to the game's unique take on Drizzt Do'Urden and his legendary companions.
"From the moment I founded Tuque, our team has known that we wanted to bring our passion for D&D and creativity to the Dark Alliance series," said Jeff Hattem, Head of Studio, Tuque Games. "We're taking players on an epic journey through the harsh and violent, Icewind Dale, where they're going to need to use their wits, their weapons and their party members to help them survive the iconic monsters we're going to send their way."
A spiritual successor to the Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance series featuring popular characters created by best-selling fantasy author R.A. Salvatore, the new Dark Alliance combines the pulse-pounding action of a hack-and-slash dungeon crawler with the progression and loot systems of a role-playing game.
"Drizzt and his companions are some of Dungeons & Dragons' most recognizable heroes," said Nathan Stewart, Head of Franchise for Dungeons & Dragons. "This all-new Dark Alliance will give players a visceral experience that drops them into the action of a Drizzt storyline like never before."
Featuring couch or online co-op for up to four people, fans can play as scimitar-wielding hero Drizzt Do'Urden or one of his unique companions Catti-Brie, Bruenor, or Wulfgar as they set out on an action-packed adventure in the icy tundra of Icewind Dale.

The Trailer:



  • To learn more about Dark Alliance, visit the official website at DarkAlliance.com

12 December 2019

Artist/Activist Domenic Esposito Selected To Display One Of His Signature 800 lb Opioid Spoon Sculptures At ArtPalmBeach 2020

by
Domenic Esposito's "FDA" spoon
Domenic Esposito, Boston based artist/activist, is known nationally for his protest installations of the signature 800 lb metal spoon sculptures depicting a burnt opioid spoon. For this year's ArtPalmBeach 2020 fair (January 30th – February 3, 2020), Esposito has been selected as a part of a social activism commitment to display his "FDA" spoon as a pathway to a discussion on the opioid epidemic.

ArtPalmBeach has become one of the most prestigious art fairs internationally for its modern and contemporary artworks of the best and most promising international artists encompassing master artists and rising stars. Founded in 1997, ArtPalmBeach, held in West Palm Beach, attracts prominent art collectors, connoisseurs, critics and art-centric media from all over the country, and globally. It's one of the most anticipated events annually.
"Esposito's opioid spoon sculpture was selected to be part of this year's event, as he seamlessly demonstrates his focus on social injustices through the creation of his 800 lb opioid spoon sculpture. His work functions at the intersection of art and social change. Esposito is truly leading the way, and making a difference via his unique art, and we are honored to have him participate in the fair's Art Community pavilion whose mission is to embrace the most pressing social and global issues of our time," stated Lee Ann Lester, co-Founder of ArtPalmBeach.
Domenic has gained national attention as an advocate for the opioid stricken communities via his signature massive 800 lb opioid spoon sculptures he places at the doorsteps of those he deems to be significant contributors to the opioid crisis. To date, Esposito has displayed spoons at Purdue Pharma in Stamford, Rhodes Pharma in Providence, HHS (to protest the FDA) in the nation's capital, and the NJ Headquarters of Johnson & Johnson. The FDA spoon that will be on exhibit during ArtPalmBeach, like his other spoon sculptures, is solid aluminum and includes the FDA moniker engraved on its handle. In addition to his peaceful protest installations, Esposito conducted a ten-state tour along the East Coast during the summer in 2019. He toured the East Coast with a specially created 800 lb spoon sculpture that was left blank, so loved ones of those lost to the opioid crisis could sign the spoon with messages to honor the fallen. The tour garnered thousands of signatures.
"Like most artists, I have always admired ArtPalmBeach, and am so honored to have been selected to display my FDA opioid spoon," Esposito stated. "Furthermore, it is a testament to ArtPalmBeach founders, David and Lee Ann, for their acknowledgment of the vital role art/activism plays in our society to serve as the voice for many. While we garner attention visually through art, it is a medium we can use to begin to understand more of the world around us."
Esposito is also the Founder of The Opioid Spoon Project, a 501(C)(3) non-profit that focuses on garnering awareness surrounding those that have helped create, profit from, and continue to fuel the opioid crisis. Most importantly, it seeks culpability, victim restitution, and proactive solutions to end one of the nation's biggest epidemics to date.

SOURCE: Domenic Esposito

Related Video:


11 December 2019

Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker Original Motion Picture Soundtrack From Oscar-Winning Composer John Williams Available Soon

by
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker cover art
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker cover art
Walt Disney Records is set to release the original motion picture soundtrack for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The album features a new score conducted and composed by five-time Academy Award-winning composer John Williams. 

  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker digital soundtrack is set for release on December 18 and the physical album will be available on December 20 as the film opens in U.S. theaters nationwide.
From the physical album's liner notes, director J.J. Abrams said, "Once again, John has come up with an utterly stunning soundtrack, creating brand new, gorgeous, frightening, mysterious, epic and intimate themes while also revisiting some of his greatest, classic melodies. My gratitude toward John Williams cannot be overstated — not just for elevating every scene in this film, but for providing us all with soundtracks that elevate our lives."
John Williams stated in the album's liner notes, "More than 40 years ago, George Lucas introduced to the world his singular imagination, his ingenuity and his creative genius. He also gave me an opportunity never before enjoyed by an operatic or film composer…the chance to work continually for four decades on a single project, and with each film, to add to a collection of musical themes which I hope will be seen as parts of a singular, organic whole.

This experience has been one of the highlights of my professional life, bringing me so much joy in working with some of the world's greatest orchestras and musicians. I stand before the now completed nine Star Wars films with pride and gratitude for the gift of this extraordinary journey."
 John Williams
John Williams (image via ClassicalMPR)

About John Williams

Legendary composer Williams is well known for scoring all nine of the Star Wars saga films to date, beginning with 1977's Star Wars: A New Hope for which he earned an Academy Award for Best Original Score. His scores for The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi were each nominated for Best Original Score.

Williams has won five Academy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards, seven British Academy Film Awards, five Emmys and 24 Grammy Awards. With 51 Academy Award nominations, Williams is the Academy's most nominated living person and the second most-nominated individual in history, after Walt Disney.


In 2005, the American Film Institute selected Williams' score to 1977's Star Wars: A New Hope as the greatest American film score of all time. The soundtrack to A New Hope also was preserved by the Library of Congress in the National Recording Registry, for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." 

Williams was inducted into the Hollywood Bowl's Hall of Fame in 2000, and he received the Kennedy Center Honors in 2004, the National Medal of Arts in 2009, and the AFI Life Achievement Award in 2016. Williams has composed the scores for eight of the top 20 highest-grossing films at the U.S. box office (adjusted for inflation).

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - Poster

About "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker"

Lucasfilm and director J.J. Abrams join forces once again to take viewers on an epic journey to a galaxy far, far away with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the riveting conclusion of the seminal Skywalker saga, where new legends will be born and the final battle for freedom is yet to come.

The film stars Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Anthony Daniels, Naomi Ackie, Domhnall Gleeson, Richard E. Grant, Lupita Nyong'o, Keri Russell, Joonas Suotamo, Kelly Marie Tran, with Ian McDiarmid and Billy Dee Williams.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is directed by J.J. Abrams and produced by Kathleen Kennedy, Abrams and Michelle Rejwan. Callum Greene, Tommy Gormley and Jason McGatlin serve as executive producers. 


The screenplay was written by Chris Terrio & J.J. Abrams and the story is by Derek Connolly & Colin Trevorrow and J.J. Abrams & Chris Terrio, based on characters created by George Lucas. 

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - Trailer


Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens in U.S. theaters on December 20.

  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Original Motion Picture soundtrack will be available to stream and download on December 18. The physical album will be available on December 20 and is now available for pre-order.
SOURCE: Walt Disney Records

10 December 2019

Educating Girls Is The Right Thing To Do - For Them And For The Planet

by
Educating Girls Is The Right Thing To Do - For Them And For The Planet
Educating Girls Is The Right Thing To Do - For Them And For The Planet (image via Plan International Canada)
With dire warnings from UN Secretary General Guterres that time is running out to turn around the catastrophic impacts of climate change, a powerful strategy to both mitigate climate change risks and help communities adapt is being ignored – engaging adolescent girls in climate change planning and investing in girls' education. 

Plan International Canada, a leading charity on children's and girls' rights, is advocating for governments around the world to include gender equality, human rights and the empowerment of women and girls in their climate change policies and ensure girls' education becomes a key component of climate change strategies.

A recent report published by Plan International called Girls Rights in Climate Change Strategies shows that engaging women and girls in climate change planning and investing in girls' education are powerful yet often ignored strategies to combat climate change. An analysis of 162 Nationally Determined Contributions, which are national plans for meeting agreed global targets on emissions and adaptation, showed limited attention to women and girls overall, as well as the lack of girls' education as a strategic component. This includes a quality, gender transformative education that fosters the inherent agency of girls to take a leadership role in climate action.

Girls' rights and education are powerful solutions to climate change

  • Girls education is impactful for both climate change action and gender equality outcomes, with each complementing the other, in multiple ways including:
  • Empowering and quality education increases girls' overall opportunities for leadership, which is increases their ability to influence change in power structures that have traditionally bred inequality and unsustainable natural resource management.
  • Quality education grows knowledge of climate change, further helping girls take the lead in helping their families and communities adapt to its impact.
  • Quality education and training enhances a girl's "green skills", preparing her to participate equally in and lead in traditionally male-dominated green sector jobs that support sustainable social, economic and environmental outcomes.
  • Educated girls are less likely to marry or become pregnant before they are 18 and they earn more over their lifetime than uneducated girls.
Climate change is exacerbating the risks that adolescent girls in marginalized settings around the world already experience. Girls and young women forced to leave their homes by the effects of climate change face grave challenges with lasting impact on their futures including a loss of access to education, a much higher risk of violence and abuse, risk of being forced into early marriage and loss of community support and livelihoods. Yet as they face these increased risks, they are also leading climate change activism and solution-finding in their communities and around the world.

Additional findings from national climate change plans outlined in Girls' Rights in Climate Change Strategies include:

  • While 43% of countries referenced women or gender, it was largely in the context of women as a vulnerable group rather than contributors to climate change mitigation or adaptation.
  • Only three countries' Nationally Determined Contributions make explicit reference to girls; both in the context of their needs rather than competencies and there is only one clear reference to girls' education.
  • 68% of Nationally Determined Contributions include education but normally in vague terms, including awareness raising, not targeted at young people or part of a national curriculum to combat the climate crisis.
  • No Nationally Determined Contribution formally recognizes the contributions that investment in girls' education could make toward their climate strategy.
  • Climate strategies overall concentrate on technological fixes, ignoring social concerns and the contributions that people, particularly girls and young women empowered by education and information, might make.

Quotes

"We're in a full-blown climate crisis and every tool at our disposal must be used to mitigate the risks we are all facing," says Tanjina Mirza, Chief Programs Officer, Plan International Canada. "Girls education is one of the most powerful opportunities for growing a girl's future potential and her ability to lead in climate justice impact, yet it's absent from almost all national climate commitments and strategies. This needs to change."
"Girls are on the frontlines of climate disasters, facing the devastating risks of early and forced marriage, being pulled out of school to help earn an income or because their family has been forced to migrate, and eating least and last when food shortages arise due to extreme weather events," says Stu Solomon, Plan International Canada's Senior Advisor on Economic Empowerment and Resilience. "But girls are also at the forefront of solutions. Through their inherent individual and collective agency, they can lead climate change action for themselves, their families and their communities and must be fully engaged in every step of climate change strategy and policy-making."
"We, the next generation, are part of the solution. We want to be a partner to policy makers in finding sustainable solutions. The future depends on us. Let's get to work - for us, for Dhaka, for the planet," says 19-year-old girl Sohagi, who lives in a slum in the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka. The entire area where she lives is flooded with dirty water as the monsoon season sets in. Sohagi has long been involved in several development projects organized by Plan International. She is part of a youth group that works to call on the authorities asking that they give priority to improving conditions in the slum.

Girls must be included in climate action - Video


About the research

The research this report is based on was undertaken by Plan International in partnership with the Brookings Institution and UNICEF. The research team included Christina Kwauk from Brookings Institution, Jessica Cooke, Elisa Hara, Sharon Goulds and Marisa Muna from Plan International, and Joni Pegram and Cristina Colon from UNICEF. The report includes an analysis of 162 Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in English, Spanish, and French to garner how much attention countries are giving to girls and education. 

Related Video:


9 December 2019

Michael Douglas Stars in "Unbreaking America: Divided We Fall" New Film From RepresentUs Launches on International Anti-Corruption Day [Video Included]

by
Michael Douglas Stars in "Unbreaking America: Divided We Fall" New Film From RepresentUs Launches on International Anti-Corruption Day
Michael Douglas Stars in "Unbreaking America: Divided We Fall" New Film From RepresentUs Launches on International Anti-Corruption Day
Academy Award winning actor Michael Douglas and leading right-left anti-corruption organization RepresentUs announces the launch today of Unbreaking America: Divided We Fall, the latest short film in their Unbreaking America series.

Following the success of Unbreaking America: Solving the Corruption Crisis starring Academy Award winning actor Jennifer Lawrence—to date viewed over 22 million times—this eye-opening sequel reveals information about how bad America's political corruption crisis is, what's underlying it, and what we can do to fix it.
"At a time when a majority of Americans disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job and want a change in how the government works, the work that RepresentUs does is pivotal to restoring confidence in our political process," said actor and producer Michael Douglas. "I invite every American to be part of the solution and join us as we unrig America's broken political system and make the government work for everyday Americans again."
In Unbreaking America: Divided We Fall, Douglas declares that, "America's political system has been hijacked to ensure that those with power keep it." He effectively breaks down the gridlock and corruption in America's government and presents the nationwide grassroots reform efforts led by RepresentUs as the movement that can fix it.

Douglas explains that every issue that Americans care about—from healthcare to national debt—is caught in the grip of corruption. Only 2% of Americans trust that our elections work how they're supposed to. This year, America's two major political parties publicly threatened to blacklist candidates who veered from party lines, propagating a polarized political system so gridlocked that it blocks meaningful progress on the most pressing issues that our nation faces. 61% of Americans want another alternative. But special interests, lobbyists, and the political establishment control the money, debates, primaries and draw voting districts—leaving the average American with a near-zero impact on the leaders that should serve them.

But it's not all doom and gloom. In the video, Douglas presents a solution: a state by state strategy to achieve federal reform. A fiercely non-partisan organization, RepresentUs works around Congress to engage Americans from across the political spectrum to turn the tide against corruption. They lead the grassroots movement to pass commonsense reforms in cities and states across the country that fix our broken elections, stop gerrymandering, and end political corruption.
"Putting the power back in the hands of the people starts with reminding Americans of all political stripes that we own our government and that it's up to us to change it," said Joshua Graham Lynn, Co-Founder and Managing Director of RepresentUs. "Even in today's sharply polarized environment, RepresentUs unites every American under the belief that we will not only restore the government but also hope for the future of our country. I am proud to work with Michael Douglas and millions of supporters across America who are driving this incredible reform movement."
Just as was previously achieved with civil rights and gender equality, RepresentUs pushes essential issues to a tipping point by winning victories state-by-state. To date, the movement has passed 113 anti-corruption acts and resolutions in cities and states across the country to build a wave of real and lasting federal change.

Unbreaking America: Solving the Corruption Crisis -The Video

Unbreaking America: Divided We Fall - The Video

About RepresentUs

RepresentUs is the leading anti-corruption organization that is unrigging America's broken political system to create clean government. Co-Founded in 2012 by Josh Silver and Joshua Graham Lynn, they are leading a non-partisan movement of Americans dedicated to putting power back in the hands of the voters. Corruption and a rigged system have halted progress on the issues that Americans care most about, from healthcare to education to government spending. Through the continued passage of state and local laws that fix our broken elections, fight against gerrymandering, stop political bribery, and end secret money, RepresentUs advocates for the federal passage of the bi-partisan American Anti-Corruption Act to restore a government that is once again by and for the people. To date, the movement has passed 113 transformative anti-corruption acts and resolutions in cities and states across the country—and in 2018 passed more anti-corruption reform than in any other year in America's history.

SOURCE: RepresentUs

6 December 2019

World Animal Protection And Other Leaders Move To Reduce Greenhouse Pollution From Food And Agriculture

by
World Animal Protection and other Leaders, urge UN Officials to Reduce Greenhouse Gases from Intensive Animal Agriculture
World Animal Protection, a global animal-welfare organization, along with 14 other organizations released a policy brief yesterday, urging leaders attending the 2019 United Nations' Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP25) to take immediate action to reduce planet-warming emissions from food and intensive animal agriculture.

In the policy brief the organizations outlined five key actions

  • Providing technical assistance for countries to include food and agriculture in emissions reduction targets
  • Promoting sustainable diets and food production in climate and development policies
  • Internalizing the costs of livestock production and ending tax subsidies for feed crops
  • Aligning efforts across government departments to address meat and dairy production as well as consumption
  • Shifting procurement to prioritize purchasing low-impact foods.
"We as a society are watching our world burn because of the over production of meat and dairy. Intensive animal farming is among the biggest contributors to climate change," said Alesia Soltanpanah, Executive Director World Animal Protection, US. "We cannot stand around and wait for the next generation to make a difference. Our world leaders need to take immediate action to transform our global food system."
World Animal Protection and other Leaders, urge UN Officials to Reduce Greenhouse Gases from Intensive Animal Agriculture
World Animal Protection and other Leaders, urge UN Officials to Reduce Greenhouse Gases from Intensive Animal Agriculture (image via World Animal Protection)
A report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations found that the livestock sector alone accounts for at least 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, more than all forms of transportation combined. What's more, it is projected that demand for animal products will increase 70% by 2050. Studies have shown that it will not be possible to meet global climate targets, including limiting the temperature increase of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels set forth by the Paris Agreement, without dramatically reducing meat and dairy consumption and production.

Thus far, the conversation around the overconsumption of animal-based foods has been largely absent from international climate talks and commitments. The majority of food-related efforts focus on improving production practices with few or no significant targets for shifting to less climate-intensive diets.

By reducing meat and dairy consumption through public policy, world leaders can not only create a more sustainable future, but also free up resources to move to higher welfare practices for farmed animals.

It is vital that every effort to cut back consumption of animal-based products is taken to ensure we have a habitable planet for humans and animals.
The call for action was prepared by Brighter Green and Center for Biological Diversity, in partnership with the Food and Climate Alliance and endorsed by World Animal Protection, 50by40, Animal Legal Defense Fund, Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation, Compassion in World Farming, Farm Forward, Feedback, Health Care Without Harm, Humane Society International, ICLEI, Israeli Forum for Sustainable Nutrition, ProVeg International, and Vegetarianos Hoy.

Related Story:


3 December 2019

"This is Spinal Tap" Litigation Accelerates Towards Trial

by
"This is Spinal Tap" Litigation Accelerates Towards Trial
"This is Spinal Tap" Litigation Accelerates Towards Trial
Harry Shearer, Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Rob Reiner, the four co-creators of the iconic 1984 mockumentary film This is Spinal Tap (TIST), have set the stage for their trial with StudioCanal in Los Angeles, in the coming months.

According to the plaintiffs' complaint, Vivendi, through its agent StudioCanal, willfully manipulated certain accounting data, failed to protect the rights entrusted to it and ignored contractually-obligated accounting and reporting processes - all of which served to deny Shearer, and his fellow co-creators, their rightful stake in the production's profits. The action seeks hundreds of millions of dollars in compensatory and punitive damages, and a declaration that the co-creators own all copyright and trademark interests in the film property.

The four creators successfully overcame Vivendi's use of procedural methods in an attempt to dismiss and delay the case. After a year of mediation and informal exchange of information, the co-creators became frustrated by StudioCanal's continued delay and failure to acknowledge the co-creators' rights and their entitlement to past-due profits. StudioCanal's attitude demonstrates a fundamental failure to appreciate the duties expected of a film rights owner. StudioCanal's tactics have only served to harden the creators' determination to prevail.

  • The four are also warning other artists in profit-share agreements with rights-owners of the battles they face in receiving the fruits of their labors, despite a rightful entitlement.

On Nov. 5th, the plaintiffs announced the settlement of their claims against Vivendi's UMG regarding the film's soundtrack recordings. The ongoing case against Vivendi's StudioCanal is not affected by the UMG settlement.

The litigation against StudioCanal and senior executive Ron Halpern, now shifts to a pre-trial discovery phase. This gives the plaintiffs the right to seek full access to StudioCanal's internal books and records going back decades - since the creators first offered up for exploitation the independent film they had created. This allows the four artists to confirm what they have long suspected: that the defendants have, for more than two decades, deliberately shielded their corporate failings and accounting sleight of hand, and withheld accurate information relating to the revenues and profits generated by the film. The French company stood idly by while others made a killing from sales of merchandise inspired by the film and the much-beloved, faux heavy metal band it depicts.

"The past year has felt like being stuck in limbo. We're now back and unleashed, ready to burrow deep into StudioCanal's ledgers to see what commercial secrets and corporate failings they have concealed," said Harry Shearer, TIST co-creator and band bassist. "Their failed motions to dismiss, delay and obfuscate won't help the studio now we are able to dig up what they have been hiding all these years. We get to depose key figures, including top executives of StudioCanal and Vivendi, such as Mr. Ron Halpern. They reported that we were entitled to $81 between the four of us, for 35 years of merchandise sales. Even with the limited information we now have, it is clear that StudioCanal shielded millions of dollars in revenues from us and manipulated the accountings in their favor."
"It's been revelatory. We've been woefully underestimated by Studio Canal," said Christopher Guest, who played guitarist Nigel Tufnel. "They simply refused to acknowledge us or our concerns. In discussions over the recordings UMG 'got it' and throughout showed respect for talent, for intellectual property and the creative process. UMG's approach eventually brought about an amiable and equitable solution to our music claims. StudioCanal, however, has been dismissive to the point of contemptuous. "
"The stay in proceedings is now over," declared lead litigator Stanton "Larry" Stein. "We move with determination to the next phase, in which we will seek comprehensive discovery of StudioCanal's accounting procedures and licensing transactions. When my clients filed this case three years ago, they did so seeking equity, fair treatment and fealty to the contractual arrangement between the film's creators and the studio. What's extraordinary is the strength of the French studio's grip on the film's rights, having failed to properly guard, or exploit them over the past 35 years. We look forward to entering the discovery phase and bringing this case to trial. The creative industry in Hollywood will be closely watching this litigation as we go onwards to trial."
"This isn't just about the four of us – it never has been," said co-creator and TIST Director Rob Reiner. "The film was made on the thinnest of budgets. And so many creative people worked hard contributing their talents to a film that has stood the test of time. That's why we took on this fight. Not just for us, but for all hardworking artists who should get their fair share from their creative efforts."
"After all the delays we are closing in," said Michael McKean, lead singer and guitarist David St Hubbins in TIST. "StudioCanal has had three years to take our claims seriously – yet focused instead on trying to get rid of us. Now that they have failed to swat us away procedurally, we are about to expose their other legions of failings. Year after year, brand pirates have been left to run amok, as recently as last month taunting us via social media, while flooding the market with unauthorized Spinal Tap t-shirts and other products. StudioCanal had a duty to properly exploit film and image rights and collect revenues. They haven't, so we will. It is time to return this beloved film to its rightful owners."
This is Spinal Tap – produced independently on a shoestring budget, has become a cult classic since its first theatrical run, in 1984. The film has garnered international praise and acclaim, having been included in "best ever" lists such as The New York Times Guide to the Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made; Entertainment Weekly's 100 Greatest Movies of All Time where it appeared on the "Just Too Beloved to Ignore" list; and the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time list published by Total Film.

The band Spinal Tap, composed of Shearer, Guest and McKean, performing as their beloved stage personae in the company of a rotating cast of percussionists willing to risk the kit (as so many of their predecessors have been accident prone), has toured the world multiple times since the film's release. Hundreds of thousands of Spinal Tap sound recordings have been sold over the ensuing decades and the film has been released on scores of video formats down the years. 


Full-length Spinal Tap albums are still available for physical sale, download and streaming today from UMG, thanks to the plaintiffs having concluded a settlement with the label in a positive and constructive manner.


SOURCE: Harry Shearer


29 November 2019

Codemasters Acquires Slightly Mad Studios

by
Codemasters, the award winning British video game developer and publisher, has agreed to acquire Slightly Mad Studios (SMS), makers of Project Cars (above) and Need for Speed.
Codemasters, the award winning British video game developer and publisher, has agreed to acquire Slightly Mad Studios (SMS), makers of Project Cars (above) and Need for Speed.
Codemasters today announced it has agreed to acquire racing simulation specialists, Slightly Mad Studios. The acquisition will cement Codemasters' position as a world-leading games developer and publisher of racing videogames and expands its portfolio to include the award-winning Project CARS, together with an unannounced Hollywood blockbuster title. Frank Sagnier will remain CEO of Codemasters Group plc which now includes Slightly Mad Studios and Ian Bell will retain his position of Founder and CEO of Slightly Mad Studios. Codemasters now employs c.700 people globally with offices including London, Birmingham, Southam and Runcorn.

Both companies share a rich history of creating AAA racing games. Codemasters has been a UK leader for over 30 years and is the creator of the critically acclaimed intellectual properties including DiRT, GRID and the BAFTA-winning official FORMULA 1 Series. Slightly Mad Studios has been established for 10 years and is the proud developer and owner of the Project CARS franchise which has generated both critical and commercial success. Slightly Mad Studios has also delivered high-quality racing simulations alongside its own IP including two Need for Speed titles on behalf of Electronic Arts.

"We are delighted to bring such an incredible racing game developer to the Codemasters family, and this unequivocally establishes us as a global powerhouse in the development of racing titles," said Frank Sagnier, Chief Executive Officer at Codemasters. "We share the same passion and vision and our new partnership will accelerate our growth. With more streaming services coming to market and the next generation of games consoles due in 2020, this is the perfect time for Codemasters to take its next step."
"Our combined racing games portfolio is the envy of the industry and this new partnership will enable us to learn from each other, share resources and take advantage of emerging platforms and technology," said Ian Bell, Founder and Chief Executive at Slightly Mad Studios. "My team is excited to be joining Codemasters and we can't wait to forge a relationship based on creativity, passion and the desire to create new racing experiences that excite and delight our communities."

About Codemasters:

Codemasters (AIM: CDM) is an award winning British video game developer and publisher with over 30 years of heritage. The company specialises in high quality racing games including DiRT, GRID and the BAFTA award-winning official F1 series of videogames.

  • For more information on Codemasters' product portfolio, please visit codemasters.com

About Slightly Mad Studios:

Slightly Mad Studios is the team behind the critically acclaimed GTR series, Need For Speed Shift & Shift 2 Unleashed. It has over 10 years of pedigree in racing games, and Project CARS represents the culmination of all that experience and heritage.

SOURCE: Codemasters

28 November 2019

A Giant Leap For Beaglekind! In a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade First, Nasa Astronauts and Astronaut Snoopy Launch Festivities with Greetings From Space

by
World-Famous Beagle Snoopy—in 8-Inch Plush Form—Was “Floating On Air” with Astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir as They Sent Greetings from the International Space Station to Millions of Macy's Parade Viewers, While a New 49-Foot Tall Astronaut Snoopy Macy’s Parade Balloon Soared Over Manhattan
World-Famous Beagle Snoopy—in 8-Inch Plush Form—Was “Floating On Air” with Astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir as They Sent Greetings from the International Space Station to Millions of Macy's Parade Viewers, While a New 49-Foot Tall Astronaut Snoopy Macy’s Parade Balloon Soared Over Manhattan. (CNW Group/DHX Media Ltd. (dba WildBrain))
As more than 50 million viewers watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in amazement nationwide, NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir, accompanied by an 8-inch plush of Astronaut Snoopy in a bright orange spacesuit, offered greetings to the 93rd annual Parade from the International Space Station, traveling 17,000 miles per hour more than 200 miles above the Earth.

Koch and Meir wished viewers a Happy Thanksgiving as part of the Peanuts-NASA partnership that emphasizes science education for students, as NASA's new Artemis program prepares to send the first woman and the next man to the Moon. Then it's "on to Mars!" said Koch. (In Greek mythology, Artemis is the twin sister of Apollo and goddess of the Moon.)


  • Koch, Meir, and the Snoopy plush concluded the greeting by waving while floating out of view in the microgravity atmosphere of the Space Station.
Meanwhile, as fans thronged the sidewalks of Manhattan, former NASA astronauts Kay Hire and Dr. Janet Kavandi joined Charlie Brown aboard the Snoopy's Doghouse float. The float featured a telescope atop Snoopy's doghouse and a satellite antenna, along with such iconic Peanuts visuals as Charlie Brown's infamous football—and, of course, Snoopy's red supper dish.

Snoopy, the Longest-Running Character Balloon in the Macy's Parade, soared for his 40th flight down the Streets of Manhattan and his Second time as Astronaut Snoopy (he First Wore a Space Suit for the 1969 Parade). This time sporting a Brand-New Orange Spacesuit Honoring the 50th Anniversary of the First Moon Landing
Snoopy, the Longest-Running Character Balloon in the Macy's Parade, soared for his 40th flight down the Streets of Manhattan and his Second time as Astronaut Snoopy (he First Wore a Space Suit for the 1969 Parade). This time sporting a Brand-New Orange Spacesuit Honoring the 50th Anniversary of the First Moon Landing (image via Patch)
"It is Peanuts meeting history – what a thrill to see our Peanuts gang join four extraordinary astronauts (both current and former) as we celebrate historic accomplishments in space exploration— and, even more thrilling, as we anticipate the future discoveries that still await us," said Jeannie Schulz, widow of Peanuts creator Charles M. "Sparky" Schulz. "My only wish is that Sparky could have been here to see this. He was an enormous admirer of NASA and the extraordinary men and women who work at the agency. He celebrated their work in his comic strips long before the moon landing. He would be proud to know that his beloved characters continue to inspire young people to engage in science education and follow tomorrow's astronauts to the moon and on to Mars."
Starting as early as 1959, NASA advocate Charles Schulz began incorporating space-exploration themes into his comic strip. During the Apollo missions, Schulz gave NASA permission to use Snoopy on its safety materials. The relationship reached new heights in 1969, when NASA sent Peanuts into space, through the formation of the Silver Snoopy award. In July 2018, NASA and Peanuts Worldwide looked to the future with the signing of a multi-year, formal Space Act Agreement, supporting fresh entertainment content plus STEM-based educational materials for the next generation.

"In July 2018, NASA and Peanuts Worldwide looked to the future with the signing of a multi-year, formal Space Act Agreement, supporting fresh entertainment content plus STEM-based educational materials for the next generation..."
"In July 2018, NASA and Peanuts Worldwide looked to the future with the signing of a multi-year, formal Space Act Agreement, supporting fresh entertainment content plus STEM-based educational materials for the next generation..."

About Peanuts

Charles M. Schulz first introduced the world to the Peanuts characters in 1950, when the Peanuts comic strip debuted in seven newspapers. Since then, Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the rest of the Peanuts gang have made an indelible mark on popular culture. 

Snoopy in Space
Snoopy in Space (image via iMore.com)
The new series Snoopy in Space launched on AppleTV+ on November 1, 2019. Peanuts animated specials and series air on major networks and streaming services, including ABC, Cartoon Network and Boomerang in the U.S., Family Channel in Canada, and the WildBrain Spark network on YouTube. 

Fans also enjoy Peanuts through thousands of consumer products around the world, amusement parks attractions, cultural events, social media, and a daily comic strip available in all formats from traditional to digital.

Snoopy in Space - Trailer


SOURCE: DHX Media Ltd. (dba WildBrain)

27 November 2019

The National Gallery of Canada Presents: Beautiful Monsters in Early European Prints and Drawings (1450-1700)

by
Hendrick Goltzius The Dragon Devouring the Companions of Cadmus, 1588 Engraving on cream laid paper 25.5 × 32 cm National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa Purchased 2019
Hendrick Goltzius The Dragon Devouring the Companions of Cadmus, 1588 Engraving on cream laid paper 25.5 × 32 cm National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa Purchased 2019 -  Photo: NGC (CNW Group/National Gallery of Canada)
Monsters and supernatural creatures –, sometimes horrifying, always fascinating – created between 300 and 500 years ago are the subject of a new exhibition of works on paper on view at the National Gallery of Canada from November 29, 2019, to March 29, 2020.

Beautiful Monsters in Early European Prints and Drawings (1450–1700) presents nearly 70 rarely exhibited prints and drawings by 45 artists selected from the National Gallery of Canada collection, including a number of recent acquisitions and promised gifts. Springing from the imagination of artists such as German painter and printmaker Albrecht D├╝rer (1471–1528) and fed by the collective fears of the Renaissance and Baroque periods, these images were produced using a variety of techniques including etching, engraving, woodcut and drawing.
"By looking at these works from the Gallery's collection closely, one can see all the talent and ingenuity Renaissance and Baroque artists devoted to creating creatures that are both monstrous and refined," said Sonia Del Re, PhD (Art History), exhibition curator and Senior Curator of Prints and Drawings at the National Gallery of Canada. "Visitors of all ages will be fascinated by these beasts from a bygone era that continue to fuel the imaginations of dreamers and creators today."

Beautiful Monsters in Early European Prints and Drawings (1450–1700) is divided into four themes:

  • Demons presents illustrations of biblical stories and accounts of the lives of saints. The works include a remarkable miniature drawing on vellum by Flemish artist Johan Wierix (1549–1620) titled Frontispiece to "The Creation and Early History of Man," c. 1606, which was donated to the Gallery in 2019 by Frank and Marianne Seger.
  • Mythological Creatures brings together images that illustrate Greco-Roman myths, often involving hybrid creatures that are half-human, half-animal. This section features The Dragon Devouring the Companions of Cadmus, a work by the famous Dutch engraver Hendrick Goltzius (1558–1617), which the Gallery acquired earlier this year. This masterpiece, a collaboration between the engraver and the painter Cornelis van Haarlem (1562–1638), was produced in 1588 based on a painting by van Haarlem, now in the collection of The National Gallery, London.
  • Sea Monsters features dangerous beasts emerging from the depths of the ocean and includes one of the most celebrated images in the history of printmaking: Battle of the Sea Gods (1485) by Italian artist Andrea Mantegna (1431–1506).
  • Ornamental Beasts comprises, among other works, small-scale models for decorating utilitarian objects such as silverware, armour and ceramics with fanciful figures.
The exhibition ends with the print Hell (1935) by M.C. Escher (1898–1972). It is the printmaker's interpretation of a detail from the famous Renaissance painting The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch (c. 1450–1516), which he saw in Madrid in 1922.

The exhibition Beautiful Monsters in Early European Prints and Drawings (1450–1700) is complemented by programming for all ages.

Monstrous Activities

Two fun activities have been incorporated into this exhibition: a monster scavenger hunt, an activity sheet available in the space that invites visitors to find 8 monsters in the artworks on display, which they can then take home and colour; and "Monster Mash" activity, which encourages visitors to create their own hybrid monsters on two magnetic walls.

Meet the Expert: Sonia Del Re

Thursday, December 12 at 6:00 p.m., exhibition curator Sonia Del Re will explain why fantastic creatures appear in so many Renaissance drawings and prints. In Gallery C218. In English with a bilingual question period. Free admission.

Concert

Saturday, January 25, 2020, at 2:00 p.m., Ottawa storyteller and comedian David Brennan will bring to life the myths and legends of the fantastic creatures in the exhibition. His performance will be accompanied by the music of the Ottawa Baroque Consort. In the Auditorium.

Study of a Dragon - Circle of Giulio Romano (image via National Gallery of Canada)

26 November 2019

Wonder Media Begins Production on Animated Series to Prevent Teen Suicide, Public Invited to Contribute to Indiegogo to Help Fund New Episodes

by
Wonder Media, the animation studio that produced the "Protect Yourself Rules," sex abuse prevention series for The Barbara Sinatra Children's Center, is beginning production on a new animation series, "Prevent Teen Suicide: My Life is Worth Living." The company seeks help to fund the first series of episodes for this important issue. The public can contribute on Indiegogo.
Wonder Media, the animation studio that produced the "Protect Yourself Rules," sex abuse prevention series for The Barbara Sinatra Children's Center, is beginning production on a new animation series, "Prevent Teen Suicide: My Life is Worth Living." The company seeks help to fund the first series of episodes for this important issue. The public can contribute on Indiegogo. 
Today, Wonder Media, the education technology (EdTech) animation studio that produced the "Protect Yourself Rules," a sexual abuse prevention animation series for The Barbara Sinatra Children's Center Foundation, announced that it is beginning production on "Prevent Teen Suicide: My Life is Worth Living." The public is invited to participate in this powerful initiative to help lower the 56% increase in teen suicides, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The studio that specializes in producing animated stories to connect with children at risk, the teen suicide project comes on the heels of what they accomplished for the The Barbara Sinatra Children's Center Foundation to prevent child abuse. The "Protect Yourself Rules" series and the "Stop the Secrets that Hurt" series have been viewed by more than 200 million people worldwide. The printable extension lessons have been downloaded in 15,000 cities. 


The series has been adopted by Education for Justice, an initiative of the United Nations and The Boy Scouts of America has made them required viewing for every Cub Scout in the world.

Wonder Media, the animation studio that produced the "Protect Yourself Rules," sex abuse prevention series for The Barbara Sinatra Children's Center, is beginning production on a new animation series, "Prevent Teen Suicide: My Life is Worth Living." The company seeks help to fund the first series of episodes for this important issue. The public can contribute on Indiegogo.
Wonder Media, the animation studio that produced the "Protect Yourself Rules," sex abuse prevention series for The Barbara Sinatra Children's Center, is beginning production on a new animation series, "Prevent Teen Suicide: My Life is Worth Living." The company seeks help to fund the first series of episodes for this important issue. The public can contribute on Indiegogo.
The Prevent Teen Suicide pilots were developed by Wonder Media for the Gabe Alvarado Foundation with national suicide experts Dr. James Mazza and Dr. Jennifer Stuber. Wonder Media, was co-founded by Terry Thoren and Ryan Cannon. Thoren is the former CEO of Klasky Csupo, the company that incubated The Simpsons and produced Rugrats and The Wild Thornberrys.
"We are passionate about protecting children," said Thoren, "Animation knows no race, religion, culture or creed. Research shows that children and teens, will pay attention to behavior exhibited by animated characters before they trust the advice of a teacher or parent. Crowdfunding allows those who have been affected by the tragedy of suicide to contribute to something powerful and help us bring down the rise in teen suicides."

  • The studio seeks $375,000.00 to fund the first series of episodes for this important issue; the public can contribute on Indiegogo.
The Prevent Teen Suicide pilots were developed by Wonder Media for the Gabe Alvarado Foundation with national suicide experts Dr. James Mazza and Dr. Jennifer Stuber.
The Prevent Teen Suicide pilots were developed by Wonder Media for the Gabe Alvarado Foundation with national suicide experts Dr. James Mazza and Dr. Jennifer Stuber.
SOURCE: Wonder Media

Related Story:



25 November 2019

New Report From World Animal Protection Says Improving Animal Welfare on Farms Is Key to Fighting Superbugs

by
New Report From World Animal Protection Says Improving Animal Welfare on Farms Is Key to Fighting Superbugs
New Report From World Animal Protection Says Improving Animal Welfare on Farms Is Key to Fighting Superbugs (image via World Animal Protection)
The world is facing a public health crisis because of antibiotic resistance. According to the United Nations, currently at least 700,000 people die each year due to drug-resistant diseases. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as "superbugs," can even be found in the food you eat.

That's because antibiotics are vastly overused in raising farmed animals globally. Superbugs can start on farms and then enter our food chain and environment. When antibiotic resistant superbugs are passed to people, they make us less able to fight disease.

A new report from the global charity World Animal Protection has found superbugs in pork sold at Walmart stores in the United States. The report showed that 80% of the bacteria isolated from Walmart's pork products were resistant to at least one antibiotic, with significant resistance to classes of antibiotics considered highly important or critically important by the World Health Organization.

  • Last year the charity released a report where pork products tested in five countries, including Spain and Thailand, also had superbugs resistant to antibiotics.
Pork products sold at Canadian Walmart stores have not been tested, but Canada does import pork from the US. According to the US Meat Export Federation, last year, 205,568 metric tonnes of US pork valued at USD$765 million was exported to Canada.

As of December 2018, in Canada, a veterinary prescription is required for antibiotics given to farm animals and antibiotic use in the livestock industry has decreased. However, administering antibiotics to farm animals for disease prevention is still commonplace.

The results from the Walmart pork testing come on the heels of a Canadian study from the Council of Canadian Academies warning of the potential rise in the percentage of bacterial infections that are resistant to antibiotic treatments. The report states that overuse of antibiotics on farm animals raised for food contributes to this. It's estimated that about 400,000 Canadians are likely to die from drug-resistant infections by 2050.

One solution to help stop this and the overall global superbug crisis, would be to keep farm animals in better conditions.

"We know that raising animals in low welfare farms with crowding and unsanitary conditions makes the animals stressed and more vulnerable to illness. Mother pigs (sows) are still largely housed in cages where they cannot even turn around. That is why it is important to transition from these environments to higher welfare farms where animals have space to move and can live in an enriched environment. It's better for them and they are healthier and less prone to disease in the first place," says Lynn Kavanagh, Campaign Manager at World Animal Protection Canada.
Farmers who raise pigs in better conditions, agree that the health is much better for the animals. In Canada, all producers are expected to eliminate the practice of confining mother pigs in gestation (pregnancy) crates by 2024 and the Retail Council Of Canada, which includes companies such as Walmart Canada, has committed to sourcing pork from mother pigs raised in group housing by 2022. However, Walmart Canada has still not made a public commitment to this on their website. World Animal Protection encourages them to do this as consumers expect companies to be transparent about their animal welfare commitments.

World Animal Protection is also calling on global supermarkets to improve the lives of pigs by only sourcing pork from high welfare farms. World Animal Protection's Raise Pigs Right campaign wants pigs to be freed from cages and not left to suffer in barren environments that promote disease and increase the risk of superbugs. Rather, these highly intelligent, social animals should be allowed to live in groups, with room to move around naturally.
"Change is possible and higher welfare systems are good for the health of animals and people and it's good for business too," says Kavanagh.

The Video:

Around the world pigs are raised in intensive farm conditions ,which includes overcrowding,unsanitary conditions and being kept in cages. This leads to increased stress and illness for the animals. However, some farmers choose to raise their animals in better conditions with space to move freely, have access to the outdoors, and have comfortable straw bedding, allowing pigs to simply be pigs. This video profiles one Canadian farmer doing just that.

Notes:

World Animal Protection's report, US pork and the superbug crisis: how higher welfare farming is better for pigs and people, follows global testing conducted by the organization of Walmart pork products in Brazil. In December 2018, World Animal Protection released a global report on the results of pork samples tested for the presence of bacteria resistant to specific antibiotics. The project was prompted by research suggesting a link between low-welfare farming systems and overuse of antibiotics. Bacteria resistant to antibiotics considered most critically important to human health by the World Health Organization were found in samples sold by major supermarkets in Brazil, Spain and Thailand, including samples sold in Walmart stores in Brazil.

Key Findings

Amongst the 32 batches of samples, 51 total isolates were detected: E. coli was detected in 14 (43.75%) batches; Enterococcus in 27 (84.38%) batches; Listeria in four (12.5%) batches; and Salmonella in six (18.75%) batches.

Of the 32 batches tested, 30 (94%) were positive for at least one of the four bacteria.
  • Twelve (37.5%) batches were positive for Enterococcus only;
  • one (3%) batch was positive for Listeria only; and,
  • one (3%) batch was positive for Salmonella only.
16 (50%) batches were positive for at least two bacteria:
  • eight (25%) were positive for both E. coli and Enterococcus;
  • two (6%) were positive for Enterococcus and Salmonella;
  • one (3%) was positive for E. coli and Listeria;
  • two (6%) were positive for E. coli, Enterococcus, and Salmonella;
  • one (3%) was positive for E. coli, Enterococcus, and Listeria; and,
  • one (3%) was positive for all four bacteria.

Antibiotic resistance results by species

Enterococcus:
Twenty-six (96.3%) of the Enterococcus isolates were resistant to at least one class of medically important antibiotics. The most common resistance was to lincosamides (lincomycin), streptogramins (quinupristin/dalfoprisitin), and/or tetracylines (tetracycline). All three classes are categorized as highly important.

Seventeen of those isolates (65.38%) were multi-drug resistant:
  • Thirteen isolates were resistant to lincosamides, streptogramins, and tetracyclines.
  • One isolate was resistant to lincosamides, streptogramins, and oxazolidinones.
Oxazolidinones are categorized as critically important.
  • One isolate was resistant to lincosamides, streptogramins, tetracyclines, and macrolides.
Macrolides are among the classes categorized as HPCIAs.
  • One isolate was resistant to lincosamides, quinolones, and nitrofuran derivates.
Quinolones are categorized as HPCIAs
  • One isolate was resistant to lincosamides, streptogramins, tetracyclines, amphenicols, macrolides, and aminoglycosides.
Aminoglycosides are categorized as critically important; amphenicols are considered highly important.

Listeria:
All four (100%) Listeria isolates present in the sample batches were resistant to lincosamides, which are listed as highly important.

One isolate (25%) was resistant to six total classes of antibiotics: lipopeptides, penicillins, streptogramins, macrolides, lincosamides, and glycopeptides.

Macrolides and glycopeptides are listed as HPCIAs.
Penicillins and lipopeptides are categorized as critically important.
Lincosamides and streptogramins are highly important.


Salmonella:
Two of the Salmonella isolates (33.33%) were resistant to one antibiotic class, while the rest of the isolates were pan-susceptible.

The two resistant isolates were resistant to quinolones, which are categorized as HPCIAs.

E. coli:
Nine E. coli isolates (64.29%) were resistant to at least one class of medically important antibiotic.
  • Four (28.57%) were resistant to tetracyclines alone, and one (7.14%) was resistant to tetracyclines and sulfanomides.
Tetracyclines and sulfanomides are considered highly important.
  • Another isolate (7.14%) was resistant to both tetracyclines and aminoglycosides.
Aminoglycosides are considered critically important.

Three E. coli isolates were multi-drug resistant:
  • One (7.14%) was resistant to tetracyclines, aminoglycosides, and penicillins.
Penicillins are categorized as critically important.
  • One (7.14%) was resistant to tetracyclines, sulfanomides, aminogylcosides, and amphenicols.
Amphenicols are categorized as highly important.
  • One (7.14%) was resistant to tetracyclines, sulfanomides, aminoglycosides, penicillins, macrolides, and cephalosporins (1st/2nd generation).
First and second generation cephalosporins are categorized as highly important.
For further information, please access the full report here.

Extra News

You Might Also Like