Robert Graham Teams With ‘Star Wars’ for First Capsule

IN A GALAXY FAR, FAR AWAY: Robert Graham is feeling the force. The brand best known for its embellished men’s shirts, has inked a deal for its first collaboration, a capsule collection with “Star Wars” and the latest iteration of its popular film series, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” set to be released on Dec. 20. In November, Robert Graham will introduce a collection of three men’s button-down shirts, two men’s sport coats, three men’s T-shirts, two women’s button-downs, one women’s T-shirt, one women’s bomber and five pocket squares. Among the styles will be the Leia blouse, the Light Speed button down, and the Vader Saber T-shirt. The collection will be sold at Robert Graham stores and the company’s e-commerce site as well as select high-end specialty stores. Retail prices will be consistent with other pieces in the brand’s line. It will be released in November. “The Rise of Skywalker” is the third installment of the “Star Wars” sequel trilogy and the final episode in the nine-part “Skywalker” story.

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Robert Geller Collaborating With Lululemon

Lululemon has tapped designer Robert Geller for a special collection that will be unveiled during New York Fashion Week: Men next month.
Called “Take the Moment,” the 12-piece capsule “explores the life of Robert Geller over a 96-hour period, built to move seamlessly from early morning workouts to urban life and international travel in comfort and style,” according to Lululemon.
Geller laughed when read the description, but acknowledged that the collection allows him to not only stretch his design wings but speaks to him personally. Geller is an avid soccer player and also does “quite a bit of yoga” and other exercises to ensure he stays healthy. “This whole world of wellness is very interesting and important to me,” he said. “My life is taking the kids to school, exercising an hour and then going to work.”
Ben Stubbington, Lululemon’s senior vice president of men’s design, worked with Geller to create the collection, which includes short-sleeve shirts, tanks and shorts with breathability functions and a full range of motion. The capsule also includes pants, collared shirts, half-zip hoodies and jackets.
The design of the pieces features Geller’s signature unique fabrics, linear taping and tie-dye washes. They will retail from $ 68 to $ 398 and can

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Robert Stock to Create New Brand

Robert Stock is ready to do it again.
The founder and former chairman of Robert Graham has transitioned out of that role and will launch another brand next month.
Called simply Robert, the upscale men’s lifestyle brand will be online only and utilize a club concept where customers will pay a membership fee to join Robert’s Club and gain access to the woven shirts, knitwear, sport coats and outerwear.
Stock’s partner in the new venture is Thomas Main, former head of design at Robert Graham, and a 30-year colleague of the designer.
“This is what keeps me going,” Stock told WWD. He said that since the Robert Graham company was acquired by Tengram Capital Partners five years ago and subsequently went public, there have been a series of “ups and downs.” Stock has been serving as a brand ambassador and consultant and has not been involved in the day-to-day operation of the brand.
However, he said the parting was amicable and he remains “on very friendly terms” with the Robert Graham team. “My name is on the label and I’m still a stockholder and have a lot of feelings for the company. So if the situation calls for it, and they need me, I’m always available.”
Stock, a Coty- and Cutty Sark-award winning

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Robert Graham Signs Four New Licenses

Robert Graham is expanding its reach.
In a move that will mark the largest brand extension in the company’s history, Robert Graham has signed four new licenses and two license extensions.
The new licensees are Prodigy Brands for men’s footwear, beginning this spring; Nouveau Eyewear for ophthalmic eyewear and sunglasses, also beginning this spring; Royal Heritage Home for home furnishings including sheets, comforters, duvets and decorative pillows beginning this fall, and Komar for men’s and women’s underwear, sleepwear, loungewear, women’s intimate apparel and daywear starting in the spring of 2019.
“As we continue bringing the Robert Graham luxury DNA and lifestyle to new classifications for men, women and other passion points in which our collectors engage, we look forward to expanding our reach in the U.S. and beyond,” said Andrew Berg, president of Robert Graham.
Robert Graham has also extended its licensing deals with RGA Leatherworks for men’s small leather goods, accessories and bags, and British Apparel Collection, for hosiery. The company also has a fragrance license with Batallure Beauty and headwear with Henschel Hat Co.
Robert Graham is a division of Differential Brands Group Inc., which also owns Hudson Jeans and Swims. The label is sold at high-end retailers such as Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom

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Health Help Donated to office of Dr. Robert Rothstein by Charles Myrick of ACRX

ACRX Recognition Gallery: American Consultants Rx -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.

The American Consultants Rx discount prescription cards are to be given free to anyone in need of help curbing the high cost of prescription drugs.

Due to the rising costs, unstable economics, and the mounting cost of prescriptions, American Consultants Rx Inc. (ACRX) a.k.a (ACIRX) an Atlanta based company was born in 2004. The ACRX discount prescription card program was created and over 25 million discount prescription cards were donated to over 18k organizations across the country to be distributed to those in need of prescription assistance free of charge since 2004.

The ACRX cards will offer discounts of name brand drugs of up to 40% off and up to 60% off of generic drugs. They also possess no eligibility requirements, no forms to fill out, or expiration date as well .One card will take care of a whole family. Also note that the ACRX cards will come to your organization already pre-activated .The cards are good at over 50k stores from Walgreen, Wal mart, Eckerd”s, Kmart, Kroger, Publix, and many more. Any one can use these cards but ACRX is focusing on those who are uninsured, underinsured, or on Medicare. The ACRX cards are now in Spanish as well.

American Consultants Rx made arrangements online for the ACRX card to be available at where it can also be downloaded. This arrangement has been made to allow organizations an avenue to continue assisting their clients in the community until they receive their orders of the ACRX cards. ACRX made it possible for cards to be requested from online for individuals and organizations free of charge. Request for the ACRX cards can also be made by mailing a request to : ACRX, P.O.Box 161336,Atlanta,GA 30321, faxing a written request to 404-305-9539,or calling the office at 404-767-1072. Please include name (if organization please include organization and contact name),mailing address,designate Spanish or English,amount of cards requested,and telephone number.

American Consultants Rx is working diligently to assist as many people and organizations as possible. It should be noted that while many other organizations and companies place a cost on their money saving cards, American Consultants Rx does not believe a cost should be applied, just to assist our fellow Americans. American Consultants Rx states that it will continue to strive to assist those in need.

Robert B. Martin Jr. Plans Unconventional SAG-AFTRA Presidency Campaign

Robert B. Martin, Jr., is running for the SAG-AFTRA presidency in an unusual campaign — no endorsements, no fundraising, no attacks on other candidates, and no position on the contract ratification. His most notable roles were as the first teenager to be “call blocked” in a national ad campaign and as Billy Hillbilly in 1999’s… Read more »



Robert Geller Brings Forth New Collection

Robert Geller is branching out.
A perennial men’s wear favorite who launched his namesake collection in 2007, Geller will introduce an entirely new line for spring during New York Fashion Week: Men’s.
Called Gustav von Aschenbach, the collection will be lower priced than his namesake line and will make its debut at a presentation at Cadillac House at noon on July 11.
“This is a completely new project,” he said. “It is not a diffusion line.” As such, the collection will not bear his name anywhere on it. “I don’t want people to see it as a secondary line,” he stressed.
“I was trying to look at the market and see where there’s an opportunity,” he explained. Realizing that retailers were drawn to the Robert Geller collection but that its designer-level price points put the line out of reach for some, he set out to provide an alternative.
“We’re working with a new partner in Japan on this and found some great factories to produce it,” he said. So while the initial idea was to just test the new concept, it turned out so well that he will offer 40 styles in five separate colorways for a 200-piece collection. “When I saw the samples, I

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Robert De Niro Rages At Donald Trump’s Arts Defunding

Yes, Mr. President, he’s talking to you.

Robert De Niro took the opportunity while accepting the Chaplin Award in New York City Monday to blast President Donald Trump’s proposal to slash the federal arts budget

The actor told the audience at the Film Society of Lincoln Center event that movies go through a voting process of sorts by critics and filmgoers, before posterity decides if they’re art.

“I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately because of our government’s hostility towards art,” he said.

“The budget proposal, among its other draconian cuts to life-saving and life-enhancing programs, eliminates the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. For their own divisive political purposes, the administration suggests that the money for these all-inclusive programs goes to rich liberal elites,” he continued.

“This is what they now call an ‘alternative fact,’ but I call it bullshit.”

De Niro wasn’t done. “I don’t make movies for ‘rich, liberal elites,’ “ he said.  “I’ve got my restaurants for that. I ― and all of us speaking here tonight — make them for you.”

The Hollywood great, a frequent critic of the president, also worked in a slap at the administration’s immigration policies. He noted that Chaplin was “an immigrant who probably wouldn’t pass today’s ‘extreme vetting.’”

“I hope we’re not keeping out the next Chaplin,” he said.

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Hermès Brings Robert Dallet Expo to Paris

ROARING SUCCESS: More than a year after it opened at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, CT., the “Fierce and Fragile: Big Cats in the Art of Robert Dallet” exhibition is making its way to Paris.
Having toured Europe and Asia since it left the Bruce last March — taking in Milan, Munich, Hong Kong, Taipei and Mumbai — the exhibition, sponsored by Hermès and benefiting conservation group Panthera, will be on show at the brand’s flagship on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré from May 19 to June 10.
The exhibition includes nearly 75 works by the late wildlife artist, who collaborated with Hermès for more than 20 years and whose designs are still used in its collections. Focusing on eight different species of endangered feline, it features paintings, drawings and sketches from the Emile Hermès Collection as well as that of the artist’s family, and is intended to raise awareness about the dangers of extinction facing big cats.

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‘The Good Fight’ Finale: Robert & Michelle King Talk Law, Disorder and Plans for Season 2 (SPOILERS)

“There’s a whole lot of people who want to see this country fail, Diane,” Adrian Boseman tells Diane Lockhart in the season finale of “The Good Fight.” Spoiler alert: Do not read until you’ve watch the season finale of “The Good Fight,” titled “Chaos.” The spinoff of “The Good Wife” concludes its first season with… Read more »



Ermenegildo Zegna Launches Short Film, Communication Campaign With Robert De Niro and McCaul Lombardi

 MILAN — Ermenegildo Zegna is shifting gears and investing in a new communication campaign heavily hinged on digital and dubbed “Defining Moments,” pairing Roberto De Niro with McCaul Lombardi.
This confirms a WWD report in November. A private dinner will be held in New York tonight to celebrate the project.
An exclusive interview with chief executive officer Gildo Zegna and artistic director Alessandro Sartori together at the company’s headquarters here meant to discuss the spring campaign’s concept turned into a “defining moment” in itself as the conversation touched upon a wide variety of topics, including the bond between the two men, which goes back more than two decades.
“I still get goosebumps when I watch the video,” Zegna said of the three-minute film, which sees De Niro and Lombardi in Los Angeles talking at a private villa in Beverly Hills or driving around town in a burgundy, vintage open-top Maserati.
In the video, De Niro discusses his decision-making in accepting or refusing a role and shares his experience with Lombardi. “The conversation was real, easy and spontaneous, there was no predefined theme,” said Sartori, who showed his first collection for the brand in January.
“It’s a beautiful couple, we are very satisfied with the finished

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Robert Graham Reenergized for Fall, Launches Ad Campaign

NEW YORK — Robert Graham, the luxury men’s wear brand, has been refreshed for fall with a more refined premium line and will launch an ad campaign today that is aimed at its current customers while hoping to reach younger men.
The brand’s fall collections — which span wovens, bottoms, knitwear, sport coats and accessories — use more luxurious fabrics, have updated silhouettes and details that are cleverly articulated on the inside. The company’s spring ad campaign was created and photographed by David Lipman and features model Alex Lundqvist.
In an interview with Andrew Berg, the 40-year-old president of Robert Graham, who joined the company eight months ago, he said his top priority was to “evolve the brand to show the end consumers and the retailers — and even ourselves — that we’re evolving with the times and reenergizing our customer base, while making sure we are speaking to a new customer.”
In addition to redesigning the West 40th Street showroom here with its new aesthetic, the 16-year-old company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Differential Brands Group Inc., analyzed all customer touch points, including its web site, which is its biggest volume generator. The company generates $ 150 million in global volume, including licensed products.
“We looked at our social media and

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Robert Rodriguez Pre-Fall 2017

Vintage fabrics and a feminine-versus-masculine approach is typically the formula at Robert Rodriguez. For pre-fall, he played with proportions, classics and separates designed to go the distance in his clients’ closets, while offering a smattering of specialty items meant to keep one’s wardrobe of the moment. Elongated tops, leather trenches, paper-bag denim pants, lean dresses over trousers and tons of shirting options offered versatility and wearability, while a vintage-inspired tapestry print dress and coat made the collection’s trendy statements.

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Robert Talbott Opens New York City Store

NEW YORK — Robert Talbott has brought a slice of Monterey to Madison Avenue.
The Northern California-based men’s wear brand has opened an 1,800-square-foot shop at 501 Madison Avenue, between 52nd and 53rd Streets, its first store in New York in many years.
“There are so many eyeballs here,” said Robert Corliss, who has been the company’s chief executive officer for the past five years. “Many years ago, we had a tiny shop here that sold only shirts and ties. But we do a lot of business in New York, people here know the brand and we have a fairly loyal contingent, and you really can’t buy it here.”
Talbott, a 66-year-old label that is known mainly for its high-end shirts and neckwear, focuses most of its wholesale efforts on independent retailers.
“We took the deliberate path to work closely with specialty stores,” Corliss said. “That industry is beleaguered, but I think it’s reached its low point. So we’re hoping we can help reinvigorate a good path in front of them.”
Instead of wooing large retailers, Corliss, whose extensive retail background includes ceo of Herman’s Sporting Goods and The Athlete’s Foot, has been focused on opening shops-in-shops at specialty stores around the country. There currently are about 10,

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Robert Zemeckis Receives France’s Order of Arts and Letters Honor

PARIS– On the eve of “Allied”‘s Paris premiere, iconic American director Robert Zemeckis received France’s Order of Arts and Letters medal from Culture Minister Audrey Azoulay during an intimate ceremony attended by “Allied” star Marion Cotillard on Saturday. “It’s the first medal I’ve ever received and this is the first time I’ve been acknowledged by… Read more »



Robert De Niro to Front Ermenegildo Zegna Ads

Ermenegildo Zegna has secured Robert De Niro to front its spring advertising campaign, WWD has learned.
Reached by phone, artistic director Alessandro Sartori said he could not confirm this, but revealed that he had “decided to change the concept of advertising and communication” for the Italian men’s wear powerhouse. “We are thinking of a communication platform that can trigger emotions, in line with the values of the group and my artistic direction, and that will tell the story of the brand and not that of the product, in a collage of characters with different identities but with stylistic affinity engaged in conversations,” said Sartori.
According to sources, De Niro will be flanked by actor McCaul Lombardi and the campaign, photographed by Francesco Carrozzini in Los Angeles, will also feature a video.
It would be a coup for Zegna to work with De Niro, who has a long-standing relationship with Giorgio Armani.
Sartori joined the Ermenegildo Zegna Group in June, with responsibility across all Zegna brands and for all creative functions. His first collection will bow for the fall season and will be unveiled in Milan in January.
After a five-year collaboration, Sartori left the top design post at Berluti in February. The designer had joined Berluti after eight years

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First Nighter: Robert O’Hara’s “Barbecue” Sizzles a Bit, Sam Shepard’s “Fool for Love” is Catnip for Actors

The first act of Robert (Bootycandy) O’Hara’s Barbecue consists of four scenes, two each in alternation, depicting a lower-class white family and a lower-class black family on what looks like a picnic in a shady Middle America forest preserve.

Curiously, the five members of both families, on vivid display at the Public, share the same names–James T. (Mark Damon Johnson, Paul Niebanck), Lillie Anne (Becky Ann Baker, Kim Wayans), Marie (Arden Myrin, Heather Alicia Simms), Adlean (Constance Shulman, Benja Kay Thomas) and Barbara (Tamberla Perry, Samantha Soule).

As the act progresses and no actual barbecuing happens, it’s revealed that in each family unit James T., Lillie Anne, Marie and Adlean aren’t present simply to scream and shout at each other over long-brewing resentments. They’ve planned this outing as an intervention. Prone to drinking and drugging as they are–Lillie Anne more or less excepted–they’re worried about sibling Barbara, whose substance abuse apparently outdoes theirs by a country mile.

Since the actions of both groups virtually mirror each others’ and the term “bad behavior” only begins to describe how they engage intramurally (though more verbally than physically), the point playwright O’Hara’s looks to be establishing is that white trash and black trash are equally trashy.

And while some of the tactics they use to bait each other are occasionally amusing, there’s a whiff of superiority about his intentions. There’s the sense that O’Hara is sending a middle-class audience the snootily comforting “aren’t the less privileged just awful?” message. Not too accepting of him, is it? The poor(er) may always be with us, but that’s no excuse to denigrate them as relentlessly as O’Hara does almost to the act’s end when the two Barbaras, the supposed interventions, finally arrive.

But then the cunning dramatist pulls a fast one. Having led the patrons through four scenes that have more than started to try patience, he shifts gears in as radical a manner as any sleight-of-hand playwright has in recent, and even not so recent, memory.

As a result and because of the Barbecue structure, just about any further description of the action–and that means the entire second act–would turn into a monumental spoiler. Perhaps it’s acceptable to indulge a quasi-spoiler and report that for much of the comedy’s remainder the two Barbaras, who heretofore have said just about zilch, take focus. One of them begins to resemble an actual celebrity along the lines of Whitney Houston and one of them, a memoirist, feels partially derived from James Frey’s notorious account of his life as an addict.

In other words, O’Hara’s seeming satire of a stratum of American society morphs into a satire of a completely different stripe. He’s sending up commercial cynicism as manifested in contemporary America life. Okay, maybe it’s also fair to say he makes an implied larger point by focusing narrowly on publishing and Hollywood. In his wily way, he even gets around to an Oscar race.

While he’s at it, he’s created 10 juicy parts for his cast to play under Kent Gash’s colorful direction and in Paul Tazewell’s often hilarious costumes that take into account the attraction women often have to leopard spots. Perry’s Barbara is at first super-confident, as the script has it, but begins to crumble, where Soule’s Barbara, who’s initially slightly intimidated by those second-act circumstances, gains her footing with aplomb. The others grab hold of their exuberant roles as if they were caged lions thrown thick steaks.

Whether the elongated nature of the first act is compensated for by the second act–which surely depends on falling for the second-act development–is up in the air. But O’Hara can be thanked for taking the risk as well as for much of the furious humor he unleashes.
Since Sam Shepard’s 1983 Fool for Love didn’t appeal to me then and not in subsequent productions I’ve seen, I wondered whether this latest one, at Manhattan Theatre Club’s Samuel J. Friedman, would finally change my mind. Though when the lights went up on it, I was impressed by Dane Leffrey’s claustrophobic representation of a motel room on the edge of the Mohave Desert, nothing that ensued changed my ho-hum attitude towards the script.

Anyone who knows Shepard’s plays knows he’s impelled to assess the barren quality of American culture through depictions of the spiritually depleted American West. Fool for Love is no exception. (Mohave Desert = emotionally arid–get it?)

Eddie (Sam Rockwell) and May (Nina Arianda) are battling out their unspecified relationship alone, although sitting immobile in a chair just aside from the sterile motel accommodation is The Old Man (Gordon David Weiss.) The assumption is that the two are lovers, perhaps attempting to overcome an estrangement–or perhaps not.

For the longest time in the 75-minute one-act, The Old Man says nothing. Eventually, he addresses either Eddie or May, while whoever else is in the room hears nothing of what’s exchanged. Eventually roped into the fray is sincere gentleman caller Martin (Tom Pelphrey), who doesn’t quite know how to play the quivering vibes.

As those 75 minutes tick by, the connections between Eddie, May and The Old Man become clear. That’s to say they become clearer, although many patrons may well be left figuratively trudging through the Mohave sand, trying to catch up with what’s transpiring–and that includes an explosive before-fade-out occurrence that lighting designer Justin Townsend executes well. Sound designer Ryan Rumery also has a few ear-catching turns.

For patrons the effort put into making sense of events may not be worth it. What does go a fair stretch towards rendering the expended efforts rewarding are the performances. At first glimpsed sitting at the edge of the bed bent over with her hair hiding her face, tuft-like, Arianda plays the labile May as if she’s a tornado gathering force. Rockwell sees the cowboy-hatted Eddie as a not-yet-ignited stick of dynamite. He’s all contained menace. Weiss grabs attention for much of the time by doing nothing to grab attention and so is that much more attention-grabbing when he goes for it. Pelfrey does befuddled nice guy exactly right.

It may be that the lure for actors of such pungent roles explains the frequent Fool for Love sightings. Indeed, it may be that Shepard’s demanding work-out is more entertaining for the performers who get to take on Eddie and May than it is for anyone who gets to watch them.

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Robert Clergerie Readies Instagram Competition

POSTER GIRL: Robert Clergerie is kicking off an Instagram campaign to find its next “Clergerie Girl,” with its first user-generated contest. The French footwear brand has enlisted the help of The Man Repeller founder Leandra Medine to judge a digital contest in which fans can post pictures of their life accompanied by the hashtag #ClergerieGirls, depicting on-brand messaging.
Medine and house creative director Roland Mouret will choose four finalists at the end of October, who will face off in an Instagram competition to win a trip to Paris Fashion Week in March, a dinner hosted in their honor, and a visit to the Clergerie atelier in the south of France.
The finalists will be asked to style a shoot featuring Clergerie designs, the fruits of which will be posted to social media — where fans will select a winner along with input from Medine and Mouret.
Mouret said of the contest: “This is very aligned with Robert Clergerie as it has always been a brand for free, confident, audacious women.”

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Great Conversations: Robert Evans

I interviewed legendary Hollywood producer Robert Evans in 2002 for Venice Magazine, in conjunction with the release of the documentary “The Kid Stays in the Picture,” adapted from his iconic autobiography and audiobook. Our chat took place at Woodlawn, Evan’s storied estate in Beverly Hills, in his equally famous screening room, which mysteriously burned down a couple years later. Evans was still physically frail, having recently survived a series of strokes, but his mind, his wit and his charm were sharp as ever, with near total recall for people, places and stories. Many, many stories. Here are a few of them.


It’s a widely-held belief that the years 1967-76 represent the “golden age” of American cinema. Just look at a few of these titles: Rosemary’s Baby, Medium Cool, Romeo and Juliet, True Grit, Catch-22, Love Story, The Godfather I & II, Don’t Look Now, Harold and Maude, Chinatown, Shampoo, Marathon Man, to name a few. These films, as well as others from the era, helped reshape our world, redefine us as people, and remain timeless touchstones to which millions born and unborn will return probably for as long as man continues to inhabit this crazy mess of a planet. If you were asked, “Who’s responsible for giving life to these masterpieces?” most would respond: “Uh, well, let’s see there’s Roman Polanski, Haskell Wexler, Franco Zeffirelli, Francis Ford Coppola…” Whoah. Slow down there, Shell Answer Man. You’re leaving one guy out. One guy who was responsible for giving all those titles life. One guy who refused to play by the rules. One guy who picked up the dice, had the prettiest dame in the room give them a lucky breath of air, and let them fly, outcome be damned. Hell, he knew it was gonna come up 7. His friends, both real and those who think they are, still call him “The Kid,” a moniker bestowed upon him by the legendary Darryl F. Zanuck. Civilians know him as Robert Evans.

Robert Evans was born Robert J. Shapera on June 29, 1930 in New York City, the second son of a dentist who had the first integrated practice in Harlem. The family later adopted the last name Evans as a tribute to their paternal grandmother, whose maiden name was Evan. Young Bobby Evans had a comfortable middle class upbringing, being bitten by the acting bug at an early age, finding work as a radio actor in his early adolescence, already blessed with a distinctive, adult-sounding voice. Forgoing college, Evans joined his older brother Charles in running the elder Evans’ highly-successful women’s clothing label Evan-Picone, making Robert Evans a millionaire before his 25th birthday.

While visiting the west coast to open Evan-Picone boutiques, Evans was discovered poolside at the Beverly Hills Hotel by Norma Shearer, a silent, and early talkie, screen star and widow of the legendary boy mogul Irving Thalberg. Thinking him perfect to portray her late husband in Fox’s Lon Chaney biopic Man of a Thousand Faces (1957), Evans suddenly found himself playing opposite his childhood idol James Cagney, and voted “Most Promising Newcomer” by Photoplay magazine. His next role, as bullfighter Pedro Romero in the screen adaptation of Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises (1957), earned Evans his ubiquitous nickname. So incensed were most of the cast and crew that this young upstart was cast in a pivotal role, a telegram was sent to studio head Darryl F. Zanuck demanding that Evans be replaced. It was signed by Hemingway, Ava Gardner, Tyrone Power and Eddie Albert. Furious, Zanuck flew down to Mexico. Arriving on the set the day a bullfighting scene was being shot, Evans displayed such panache in the sequence, Zanuck, all 5 foot 4 of him, stood up gripping a bullhorn, and intoned: “The kid stays in the picture, and anyone who doesn’t like it can quit!” At that moment, Evans realized it was Darryl Zanuck, as opposed to James Cagney, that he wanted to emulate. Thus a moniker, and a legend, was born.

A fair to middling actor by his own admission, Evans’ career as a thespian fizzled out as quickly as it started. Evans returned to “being in women’s pants,” as he likes to joke, running Evan-Picone with brother Charles, but he longed to try his hand at producing movies. In the mid-60’s, he saw his chance, optioning a novel by Roderick Thorpe called The Detective, attaching Frank Sinatra to play the lead. This led to a multi-picture development deal at 20th Century Fox. Evans was getting ink again on the entertainment page, most notably, a piece in the New York Times by a young scribe named Peter Bart. The piece caught the eye of Gulf + Western chairman Charles Bluhdorn. Impressed by Evans’ moxie, Bluhdorn summoned “the kid” to Gulf + Western’s New York offices, offering Evans the position of head of European production for Paramount Pictures, one of G+W’s subsidiaries. Paramount, which at that time was “ranked 9th out of 8 studios in town,” was in dire straits, most of its investors pressuring the board to sell the lot for a tidy sum to the Jewish cemetery that bordered it. Bluhdorn refused to let this happen, quickly recognizing Evans’ solid-gold instincts, and promoting him to head of production back in LA. Evans just as quickly hired Bart to be his right hand man. This was 1966. By 1972, Evans had taken Paramount from the basement to the penthouse: the top studio in town.

Among Evans’ legendary accomplishments during his tenure at Paramount was during the production of Marathon Man, Evans was set upon getting Laurence Olivier to play the role of villainous Nazi war criminal Christian Szell. However, because Olivier at the time was riddled with cancer, he wasn’t insurable, so Paramount refused to use him. In desperation, Evans called his friends Merle Oberon and David Niven to arrange a meeting with the House of Lords (the upper body of the British parliament). There, he urged them to put pressure on Lloyd’s of London to insure Britain’s greatest living actor. The ploy succeeded and a frail Olivier started working on the film. In the end, not only did he net an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor, but his cancer also went into remission. Olivier lived on for another 13 years and never stopped working.

Evans’ other legacy has been his propensity for surrounding himself with the world’s most glamorous and desired women, a list of names that would make Hugh Hefner green with envy. His male friends included Hollywood stalwarts Jack Nicholson and Warren Beatty, statesmen like Henry Kissinger, and behind-the-scenes powerbrokers, like the legendary and secretive Sidney Korshak. Married and divorced five times (his exes including Ali MacGraw, and former Miss America Phyllis George), Evans personified the glamorous movie mogul of the 70’s: blessed with the looks and wardrobe of a male model, architect of some of the most groundbreaking movies in history, his Beverly Hills estate, Woodland, the site of glamorous parties, precedent-setting business deals, and storybook romances. By the end of the decade, Robert Evans was approaching the sort of Hollywood omnipotence that people like Steven Spielberg and George Lucas achieved a decade later.


In 1980, however, everything came crashing down. Implicated in a high-profile cocaine bust (even though he was 3,000 miles away when it occurred), Evans name was tarnished almost beyond repair, in spite of never being formally charged with any crime. In addition to a worsening cocaine problem, Evans’ biggest professional debacle was the ill-fated film The Cotton Club (1984) a labor of love for Evans, which turned into a literal nightmare. To add insult to injury, the murder of Roy Radin, an acquaintance Evans met as a potential investor in the film, was dubbed “The Cotton Club Murder Case” by the press, further tarnishing his once-spotless image. By the end of the decade, Evans was virtually destitute, a pariah in the town he loved, and the business that he helped shape.

Deciding to pull himself up by the bootstraps in 1990, Evans embarked on what would be his comeback project. The Kid Stays in the Picture was Evans’ life story, a Hollywood memoir that not only became an international best-seller, but also became required reading for a new generation of filmmakers and studio execs. The audio version of the warts-and-all tale became even more legendary, with Evans himself reading from the book, and acting out his life. Soon the phone started ringing again. Old pal Stanley Jaffe, now head of production at Paramount, offered Evans a place back at his old home, setting up a production deal. “The Kid” was back in the picture…with another hurdle around the corner.

In 1997, while hosting a party for filmmaker Wes Craven at Woodland, Evans rose to toast his guest, then dropped to the floor, the victim of a massive stroke. Once hospitalized, two more strokes followed, paralyzing the right side of Evans’ body. Doctors told him he would be wheelchair-bound for the rest of his life, if he were lucky. Determined to prove them wrong, Evans spent the next two years undergoing painful physical and speech therapy, rebuilding himself and his life.

Meanwhile, the book and audio of The Kid Stays in the Picture just kept growing in popularity. Approached by old pal Graydon Carter, Editor of Vanity Fair, Carter suggested turning Kid into a film, a self-narrated documentary about Evans’ surreal, rollercoaster of a life. The result: Nanette Burnstein and Brett Morgen’s documentary The Kid Stays in the Picture. A huge hit at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Kid the movie is a fascinating, sad, hilarious, thrilling self-portrait of a man who refuses to be anyone but himself. The Focus Films release is currently playing in LA and New York, with a wider release planned for late Summer and early Fall. As Evans himself said, “I got to have a third act, and it’s been the greatest of my life.”

Robert Evans sat down with Venice recently in the screening room at Woodland, a place where more Hollywood history has been made than all the boardrooms at Paramount, telling the tale of how he has managed to stay Hollywood’s version of the mythical bird the Phoenix, rising up from the ashes that surround him, to be reborn.

What precipitated your writing the book “The Kid Stays In the Picture”?

Robert Evans: I wrote this book not knowing if it would be published or not. I could have cared less. I didn’t care if anyone even read it, just one person: my son, Josh. From the time Josh was seven years old until he was 17, his old man went from royalty to infamy. And kids can be very cruel. Unfortunately, royalty fades and infamy stays. The day Josh graduated from high school, the headline on the front page of the L.A. Times read: “Robert Evans Involved in Murder.” There all the kids were, dressed in their caps and gowns. Bob Daly was there. Terry Semel was there. Both their kids were graduating as well. And in spite of everything I accomplished in my life, I felt so low. Josh came up to me, hugged and kissed me, and I was just crying. Afterwards we all went to lunch, just me, Josh, and his mom, Ali MacGraw. Then I went home by myself and just cried some more, thinking “Why should Josh have to go through all this shit because of me and my mistakes?” So I wanted to write a book that would tell Josh who his old man really is. You can’t lie to a kid. You have to tell the truth. So I disappeared for four years while I wrote this book. And it wasn’t cathartic at all. It was painful to write about your fuck-ups, because then you’ve got to rewrite them and rewrite them and rewrite them. This book was the only legacy I could leave to him. I had no money. I lost my house. It was the most humble, purest endeavor of my life.

One could also argue that it’s been the most successful endeavor of your life.

Absolutely, more so than any film I ever produced. When I was finished with the book, every publisher wanted it, and it became an international bestseller. It also got me the best reviews of my life. Then when I did the audio version, it became a bestseller as well. One day (Vanity Fair Publisher) Graydon Carter came to me and said he wanted to make a film of it. I said ‘Graydon, you can’t make a film of an audio recording.’ (laughs) ‘I don’t want actors playing all these real people from my life. I don’t want George Hamilton playing me!’ (laughs) He said “We’ll figure a way of doing it.” Graydon spent two-and-a-half years getting releases from people who we never thought we’d get releases from: Jack Nicholson, Dustin Hoffman, Warren Beatty…out of 256 releases which we needed, we got 255! So it took two and a half years to make the picture. When I went to the screening at Sundance earlier this year, it was the first time I saw it all put together. It was a hallucinatory experience for me because it hurt. It hurt bad. When the picture was over, I got a 15 minutes standing ovation. I’d never had a two-minute standing ovation in my life. All this from a book I wrote for my kid. And the interesting thing is we’ve never discussed the book. We’ve never discussed the audio. We’ve never discussed the movie. He knows and I know and he’s the closest friend I have.

Robert Evans and son Josh Evans.

There’s a very touching note you wrote to Josh that’s in the book.

Yeah. Would you like me to read it?


(Reading from the book) “Hey Runt! Spent over three years writing this. It hurt. Hurt bad. Reliving your fuckups ain’t easy. Then writing ’em and rewriting ’em, that’s the killer. Did it for you. Yeah you, you little runt. You deserve it! I wouldn’t be today if it weren’t for you. I know it. You know it. Fuck it! I ain’t ashamed. Why keep it a secret? Knew the pain you were goin’ through, too. Showed all over your face. Them pimples you thought of squeezin’? That’s how many sleeping pills I thought of takin’. You pulled one hell of a hat trick, kid. That tightrope, you balanced it like a pro. Your strength stopped my fall. We’ve never talked about it, so I’m writin’ it. Set the record straight. Talkin’ disappears. That’s why it’s on paper. For better or worse, at least you’ll know who your ole man really is. How much he loves you. It’s all that matters. Pop.”

That’s a beautiful letter.

Well. I wanted to show him my life, warts and all. This is my legacy to him. And by doing that, it opened up doors that changed my entire life. It’s funny, not long ago I was completely washed up. Then to make matters worse, I had a stroke. I was half paralyzed. I had to learn how to walk again, talk again, hold a fork again. My right side was paralyzed, including half my tongue. But for some reason, the guy upstairs gave me a second pass. I heard the fat lady sing, literally. I heard Ella Fitzgerald singing It’s a Wonderful World. I saw the white light, then I passed out. When I woke up in the hospital, I thought I was in heaven at first. But when I really regained consciousness, I found myself more like Quasimodo than myself. I really felt like a freak. I took speech therapy for three years to learn how to use my tongue again. The real pain was the physical therapy, though. I used to be a pretty damn good tennis player, and I couldn’t even hold onto a ball. It was tough, but I did it because I wanted to prove them doctors wrong! I’ve never lived by the rules. I ain’t corporate. I’m not a good executive and I’m a lousy businessman, and I’ve never kept the hours that other studio heads did. I learned t his from Zanuck: when he ran 20th Century Fox, he showed up to the studio at 2 o’clock and left at midnight. So when I ran Paramount, I never had breakfast meetings. I can’t help it. I’m just not good in the morning. I’d show up at 11:30 and work until midnight. Everyone resented it, the idea being that you have to show up at 9. I’m not a 9-to-5 guy.

You always did most of your business from home, right?

More Hollywood history was made in my screening room during the late 60’s and 70’s than anywhere else. Chinatown was born here.The Godfather was born here. Francis Coppola and I practically fought WW III here during that time. Dustin Hoffman and Larry Olivier both lived here during Marathon Man. Olivier lived here for six months. Larry Olivier couldn’t get a job at the time, because he had cancer and no one would insure him. He was destitute. He couldn’t afford to send his son to college. Through my good friends David Niven and Merle Oberon, I was able to go before the House of Lords, and persuade them to get insurance for the greatest actor of our time through Lloyd’s of London. Olivier threw his arms around when it was over and said “You saved my life, old boy.” Not long after that, his cancer went into remission and he was able to live his last 13 years doing some of the most brilliant work of his career. That’s one of the proudest moments my life. It’s funny, I’ve led a very blessed and a very cursed life.

I think you’ve had more extreme ups and downs than almost anyone in Hollywood history.

I’ve touched magic as much as anyone, and I’ve been scandalous as much as anyone. And the strange thing is, all my “scandals” were non-truths. I’ve done a lot of wrong things in my life, but the two things that really brought me infamy: the coke bust and the so-called “Cotton Club murder” of Roy Raydin, I had nothing to do with. How can I get busted for something when I’m 3000 miles away? My nose ain’t that long. (laughs) But, I get ink. If you live by the sword, you die by the sword. People made careers over my carcass. I’m afraid to walk past the Hustler store on Sunset, forget about going in it! Someone takes a picture, boom! There I am on the front page: “Bob Evans, porn fiend!” (laughs) That’s why I rarely leave my house anymore. I’d get in too much trouble! (laughs)

Out on the town with Ava Gardner, circa mid-’50s.

Yeah, but you were fodder for the scandal sheets way before your tenure at Paramount.

Oh yeah, going back to when I was dating Ava Gardner and Lana Turner at the same time, in the mid ’50s. I was getting headlines before most of today’s studio executives were even born. I have clippings of me with Terry Moore while she was secretly dating Howard Hughes.

Not bad!

In my teens, I was being kept by four women. I always had a knack for getting myself in trouble! I guess you could say that I’ve been leading a high profile, sometimes notorious existence for a long time. That’s what Jack Nicholson said I should call my book: “Notorious”! (laughs)

With John Frankenheimer on the set of Black Sunday, 1976.

You’ve worked with many amazing directors in your career. In 1977, you produced Black Sunday, which was directed by John Frankenheimer, who recently passed. What are your memories of working with him?

John, to me, is one of the best directors I ever worked with. He’s very unappreciated, too, I think. John went through a very bad period of alcoholism, which made him more than a few enemies. But I loved working with him, thought he was a terrific guy. Black Sunday turned out to be a terrific picture, but one of the big disappointments of my life. When that picture came out, they thought it would do more business than Jaws, that’s how big they thought it would be. I turned down an offer of $ 6.6 million to buy my points in it. I owned 57% of the film. You know how much business it wound up doing? Nothing. It tanked, due to a lot of factors. First, Arab groups claimed we were anti-Arab because the villains in the piece were Arab terrorists. Jewish groups claimed we were anti-Semitic because we tried to explain why someone would join a movement like Black September. I wound up spending a fortune of my own money to hire private security to protect myself because I was receiving death threats. Then, a few months before the film came out, Universal released Two Minute Warning, a film about a sniper in the LA Coliseum during a football game. Even though Two Minute Warning got awful reviews and Black Sunday got raves, and the two films couldn’t have been more different, people associated the two and stayed away. You just never know.

In almost every show business biography and autobiography I’ve read, their subjects are portrayed having one amazing success after another, almost to the point of omnipotence, only to self-destruct just when things seem like they’re perfect. What causes that tendency, do you think?

Gambling. Most successful filmmakers and producers are gamblers at heart. I mean, literally. Darryl Zanuck had such a bad problem he had to borrow money from Howard Hughes. And let’s face it: what’s a bigger risk in life than making films? And when you gamble, you don’t always win. David O. Selznick died broke. I wanted to be Selznick, that’s why I did The Cotton Club, and wanted to own it. But I wasn’t as smart as he was.

You write so well, it’s surprising that you didn’t have a career as a writer at one time.

Well, I co-wrote more scripts than you can possibly imagine, although I never took credit for them and didn’t want to.

But you are working on a sequel to The Kid Stays in the Picture.

Yes, it’s called The Fat Lady Sang. I open it with my stroke, when I was hosting a party for Wes Craven. I’m about halfway through it now. It’s about my life post-Kid, post-stroke, told in flashbacks, also a lot of things from my earlier life that weren’t covered in Kid. It’s all about the third act of my life that I didn’t have before. I’ll tell you, I can’t believe I’m here talking with you now. I should be dead. The guy upstairs is keeping me here a little longer to do something else. I’ve also got a new picture in production, called How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, starring Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey. It’s shooting in New York and Toronto.

You seem to be completely recovered from the stroke. If I didn’t know what had happened, I’d never have guessed.

I had three, actually. One here and two in the hospital. I’m about 90% recovered, I’d say. The three most important things in my life before the stroke were the three S’s: sun, sex and sports. I can’t take the sun anymore because of all the pills I’ve got to take. I used to be a good tennis player. Now I’m in the paraplegic league, but I can play. Sex wise, let’s just say I’m not as dexterous as I was before, but I’ve got my libido at least. Sex will always be important to me. It always has been. That’s why none of my marriages lasted. (laughs)

I think any man who was in your position would have had a hard time being monogamous.

I haven’t been since I was 17. That’s why Frank Sinatra wanted to meet me so badly, when he saw me with Lana and Ava at the same time! He was very curious, to say the least. I actually didn’t dig Lana that much because she was a terrible alcoholic, in public places, too. She was a very unhappy lady, as was Ava. Terrible alcoholic. Very unhappy with her life. In fact, most actresses I’ve known are very unhappy with their lives.

Let’s talk about your days at Paramount. You came there at such a unique time. You even convinced the board to give you complete autonomy in running the studio.

Yeah, but that didn’t happen right away. I thought I was about to be fired. So I had Mike Nichols shoot this 40 minute film for me, which I presented to the unsmiling, 18 member board of Gulf and Western (Paramount’s then-owner) in New York, convincing them at Paramount would be the No. 1 studio in town after the release of Love Story and The Godfather. I signed resignation papers when I arrived in the office, saying they could keep the $ 300,000 it would cost them to buy out the rest of my contract if they’d just watch this 40 minute film. They agreed. After I screened it, Charlie Bluhdorn, my boss, called me into his office and told me to go back to work. I said “But Charlie, I resigned.” He said “Whaddya want, more money?” I said “I don’t want another dime from you. What I want is to be in a position were not a single one of those 18 motherfuckers can come on my lot, interfere with my films, or bother me in any way. I want complete control.” He says “Evans, are you crazy? I can’t do that? It’s against all corporate rules.” I said “OK, I’m going. Goodbye.” He said “Get back here!” So Charlie goes back in before the board. After an hour, he comes back. “Okay Evans, you got what you want. It’s your shop. You better have a lotta mazel, Evans! Now get to work!” So that’s how I got my autonomy. I wasn’t a fence straddler. I gambled with my 300 Gs and that’s what took Paramount to 140 nominations and that’s what made history. What do you think most studios would have said to me if I went to them and said “I want to make the story of 18-year-old boy who falls in love with an 80-year-old woman, to be directed by an acid head (Hal Ashby) and written by a guy who cleans swimming pools (Colin Higgins)”? They’d throw it out the window! (laughs) And that’s how we touched magic.

That’s one of my favorite films, Harold and Maude.

I show it every Valentine’s Day! It’s such a romantic film.

Tell us about Hal Ashby.

I loved Hal. A sweet, sweet man, and a great director. He died way too early. He was a brilliant film editor and had a good reputation for that, but his first picture (The Landlord) hadn’t even come out yet when we were prepping Harold and Maude. Colin Higgins worked for (producer) Eddie Lewis as a pool boy! I think it’s a classic that’ll last forever. Every film that the so-called “suits” didn’t want to make were all hits, and the pictures that they did want to make were all flops. No one wanted to make The Godfather. With Chinatown, they begged me “It’s Chinese, nobody’ll understand it!” They didn’t want to release it. They didn’t understand it. Then after it came out, after all the accolades, suddenly they understood it.

You mentioned how much the studio world has changed since you began in the mid-60s. Could Bob Evans happen today, or was it great timing: the right man for the job at the right time?

It could happen. I’ve always been fortunate enough to meet people who have been mentors me. Some people didn’t. Some people did. Fortunately, most people who did were at the top. I think it could be done again. Joe Roth has done it, very successfully. I didn’t much earlier age, though. I’m a huge gambler. My attitude always was if I get fired, I get fired. Big deal. So I took chances. I did things people said couldn’t be done. If someone came into my office and said “I’ve got a great idea for this picture. It’ll be so commercial and everyone will love it!” I’d say “Get outta here!” But if someone came in my office and said “I’ve got a really weird story to tell you. It may not work, but I think it’s really terrific and I’m in love with it.” That’s what happened with a film called Don’t Look Now (Nicolas Roeg, 1973). Nic Roeg went to everyone in town. No one wanted to make it. I did. Now it’s regarded as a classic. If you pick one hit out of three, you doing great. If a ballplayer bats one in three, he’s a star. If you hit a homer or two, you’re a big star. I always went by the percentages. With Roman Polanski, everybody told me I was crazy to hire this weird Polack to direct this high-profile movie (Rosemary’s Baby). I said “That’s why I’m doing it: it’s crazy!” You’ve got to risk to do something different, something original. If you don’t do what’s original, all you care about is keeping your job. Rules were made to be broken. Break them!

That’s one thing about this new generation of directors that’ve been pulled from commercials and music videos: they’re not in the filmmaking business, they’re in the advertising business and at the end of the day: they turn in these $ 150 million mouthwash ads.

Exactly. Everything is MTV-ized. There’s no scenes. There’s no texture. It’s cut, cut, cut! No one has the patience to sit and listen. You gotta have boom, boom, boom! Gotta have shoot ’em up! Gotta have a happy ending! Know what? I don’t believe in happy endings! I think they ruin things. I don’t believe in the boy getting the girl in the end. I believe in unrequited love. There’s nothing more mesmerizing than unrequited love. And real. Waterloo Bridge, Love Story, Chinatown.

Best last line of a movie ever, in Chinatown!

“Forget it Jake, it’s Chinatown.” Yeah, it’s a great one.

One thing that your book and the film really drive home is how mercurial relationships in Hollywood are. It would drive most people mad. How do you keep your sanity in that environment?

I’ll tell you how: I keep my circle very small: Jack Nicholson, Warren Beatty, Sumner Redstone, Peter Bart, a few others. When I was at my lowest, I didn’t lose my friendships.

Now you’ve become a hero and mentor to a new generation of young actors and filmmakers. Track record aside, I think it must be your candor that draws them to you.

People ask me “What’s the most important thing in your life.” I always answer “It has nothing to do with morality, it’s always telling the truth. Because then you never have to remember what you’ve said.” That way I can walk into any room at any time, and just tell it like it is. People may not like you for it, but there’s an asterisk to it: omission ain’t lying. (laughs)

Sidney Korshak, “The Godfather.”

The most fascinating character in your book was your late attorney and mentor Sidney Korshak.

I’m working with Billy Friedkin right now on the Korshak story. He was the ultimate power, my godfather. I spent every day with him for 40 years. A big bear of a guy, six foot five, former boxer. He was totally legitimate, never had a misdemeanor against him, but was the most powerful man I ever met. Seymour Hersh spent three years writing an article for The New York Times on Sidney and in three years, could find nothing out about him! Nothing!

And there was the secret of his power: anonymity. Prior to reading your book, I’d never heard of him.


Do you think your opposite profile, a very high one, is what made you such an easy target?

Yeah, absolutely.

Another lesson I learned in the book is to not be shy about approaching people, if you want to be in show biz.

And the bigger the person, the more approachable they are! I could reach George W. Bush easier on the phone than I could a junior agent at William Morris.

It sounds like The Cotton Club was the biggest professional disappointment of your life.

It was the worst single mistake I ever made in my life. I wanted it to be The Godfather with music. It took up six years of my life. I did more research on that than any picture I’ve ever done. Originally I was going to produce and direct it, and dedicate it to my late father, who had the first integrated dental practice in Harlem: “For you Pop, wherever you are. Your son, Bobby.” We even had a great poster drawn up for it. It read: “Its violence started the nation. Its music startled the world.” It was the single worst experience of my entire life. In 1979, when I began work on the project, I was worth $ 11 million. In 1989, I was worth $ 37.00. That was the 80’s for me. Not a fun time.

I’ve heard rumors that a longer version was going to be released.

It should be. Eleven musical numbers were cut out. I think it was done on purpose. All those guys that put the money up lost a fortune. I put my house up, too. But no, no, I doubt it. I think Francis had a score to settle with me after The Godfather. He was resentful, feeling I took too much credit for the film.

You’d think he’d be grateful to you.

No. No. (long pause) Francis is the most charming, seductive man I’ve ever met. I think he’s a direct descendent of Prince Machiavelli. Once you leave his kitchen, you’re enamored by him. (laughs) He’s so talented, so brilliant, and a dreamer. And I think rather self-destructive. We’ve only spoken once since that time, at the 25th anniversary screening of The Godfather. We all went down to the front of the theater afterwards, to tremendous applause. Francis started to pass me. Then he stopped, put his arms around me and whispered in my ear “We did something right.” That about sums it up.

How do you keep rising from the ashes like the Phoenix? What’s your secret?

Very simple: I wanna stay in the picture, because once you’re outta the picture, you’re out.

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Robert Duvall Shares What It Was Like to Work With His Wife Luciana In ‘Wild Horses’

Robert Duvall’s latest film is all in the family. In an interview with “The HuffPost Show” on Friday, Duvall described working with his wife Luciana Duvall in “Wild Horses,” in theaters and on demand now, and joked that she had a leg up on the competition for her role.

“To get it straight, she sleeps with the director, so that’s why she got the part,” Duvall laughed.

Luciana played along and agreed that their relationship was a factor in the casting process.

“That’s the only reason I took the part, really. [He’s the] only director I want to sleep with,” she joked.

Luciana then took a more serious tone and weighed in on her husband’s directing style. While some directors try to “force” actors to connect,” Robert takes a more hands off approach, she told host Roy Sekoff.

“Bob is very good with allowing you to be in touch with yourself. Like there were some scenes where sometimes you don’t connect. Actors, sometimes, they come on the set and they don’t connect with the scene,” she said. “Sometimes directors want them to connect with the scene, with something that is not there, so they force them to do something that is not available right now. And Bob, he said, ‘It’s just fine.'”

Watch more from “The HuffPost Show” here.

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Robert De Niro Tells Graduating Art Students: ‘You’re F***ed’

“You made it,” actor Robert De Niro told New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts graduates on Friday. “And you’re f***ed.”

The reality check to aspiring actors, dancers and others with creative degrees in the opening lines of De Niro’s commencement speech received an uproarious applause.

“The graduates in accounting? They all have jobs,” the legendary actor continued. “Where does that leave you? Envious of those accountants? I doubt it. They had a choice. Maybe they were passionate about accounting but I think it’s more likely that they used reason and logic and common sense to reach for a career that could give them the expectation of success and stability. Reason, logic, common sense at the Tisch School of Arts? Are you kidding me? But you didn’t have that choice, did you? You discovered a talent, developed an ambition and recognized your passion.”

That aversion to practical thinking, he told students, is what will make them successful.

“When it comes to the arts, passion should always trump common sense,” De Niro told the new alums. “You aren’t just following dreams, you’re reaching for your destiny. You’re a dancer, a singer, a choreographer, a musician, a filmmaker, a writer, a photographer, a director, a producer, an actor, an artist. Yeah, you’re f***ed. The good news is that that’s not a bad place to start.”

De Niro, a two-time Oscar winner, warned students to expect rejection and to not take it personally, like when he jokingly found out he couldn’t play Martin Luther King Jr. in “Selma.”

In the end, he sounded confident that the Tisch graduates will get their big breaks.

“I’m here to hand out my pictures and resumes to the directing and producing graduates.”

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Dancing With the Stars’ Kym Johnson Opens Up About That Photo of Her and Robert Kissing (Plus More DWTS Finale Scoop!)

Just when it seems there's nothing left to uncover about the 20th season of Dancing With the Stars—bam!—you unlock a vault full of information that's as untouched as Riker's hair during rehearsal days. (We say…

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Robert Downey Jr. Walks Out Of Interview After Being Asked About ‘Dark Periods’

Robert Downey Jr. is not down to talk about his past while promoting “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” During an interview with Channel 4, Krishnan Guru-Murthy asked him about his “dark periods,” bringing up his relationship with his father and past drug use. It did not go over well.

“The reason I’m asking you about the past is that you’ve talked in other interviews about your relationship with your father and the role of all of that in the dark periods you’ve been to, taking drugs and drinking and all of that,” Guru-Murthy said. “I’m wondering if you’re free of all of that or if that’s something you…”

Downey Jr. then cut him off and said, “I’m sorry, what are we doing?” A moment later, he stood up, said goodbye and left, saying, “It’s getting a little Diane Sawyer in here.” Watch it all go down in the last 90 seconds of the video below.

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Robert Pattinson and FKA twigs Are Engaged

Sorry ladies, but it appears that Robert Pattinson is officially off the market! The 28-year-old Twilight star and singer FKA twigs are engaged after just six months of dating, according to People. RELATED: Everything You Need to Know About FKA Twigs  Pattinson and twigs were first photographed together in September 2014, and were later seen getting cozy during a trip […]
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Robert Durst’s Lawyers Allege FBI Illegally Searched Hotel Room

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Attorneys for millionaire Robert Durst, who faces a California murder charge, say Durst’s arrest in New Orleans on weapons charges was invalid, in part because the FBI searched his hotel room illegally.

Durst, who waived extradition to California on the murder charge, was arrested last month at the J.W. Marriott hotel in New Orleans. He is set for a Thursday hearing on Louisiana charges of possession of a firearm by a felon and illegally possessing a firearm along with an illegal drug. Items recovered from his hotel room included a .38-caliber revolver and about 5 ounces of marijuana, according to court records.

A sworn statement supporting the warrant “contains a material misrepresentation designed to cover up the FBI’s unlawful, warrantless search of Mr. Durst’s hotel room,” according to a copy of a motion filed by Durst’s attorneys.

The motion asking Magistrate Harry Cantrell to throw out the warrant will likely be argued Thursday. Durst’s attorneys also have asked the judge to subpoena Fox News Channel’s Jeanine Pirro, a former New York prosecutor who investigated Durst in connection with the disappearance of his first wife in 1982, and all video surveillance for March 14 and 15 from the Marriott and Los Angeles Police Department.

The FBI and Los Angeles police, who have a warrant accusing Durst of killing his friend and spokeswoman Susan Berman in 2000 to keep her from talking to Pirro’s investigators, did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday.

Pirro has said she planned to talk to Berman. Durst’s attorneys want to confirm that she had never contacted Berman before she was killed, according to the motion.

Louisiana State Police referred requests for comment to the Orleans Parish district attorney’s office. That office does not comment on open cases or investigations, spokesman Chris Bowman said.

Orleans Parish district attorney’s investigator Jim O’Hern testified at Durst’s bail hearing that he helped Los Angeles detectives get the warrant on which Durst was arrested early March 15, a Sunday. An FBI agent had inventoried Durst’s belongings in his hotel room the afternoon of March 14 and a judge signed the warrant about 2 a.m. the next day, he said.

The affidavit used to get the warrant states that Los Angeles police and New Orleans prosecutors got a warrant, then searched the room and found the gun and drugs, according to a motion filed Tuesday and provided to The Associated Press on Wednesday by Durst’s attorneys.

“However, those items were actually discovered by the FBI in a warrantless search of Mr. Durst’s hotel room, preceded by a warrantless detention and arrest, long before the search warrant was issued,” the motion said.

Agents C. Bender and C. Williams had identified and frisked Durst, “a frail, 71-year-old man in poor health,” in the hotel lobby and should have taken him immediately to jail if they were arresting him on a California warrant, the attorneys wrote.

O’Hern testified that the search was an inventory to ensure safekeeping of Durst’s belongings. Neither FBI policy nor court rulings support such a search, “and the state cannot expect the Court to take this justification seriously,” the motion said.

Quoting a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that “an inventory search must not be a ruse of a general rummaging in order to discover incriminating evidence,” they said, “the FBI agents rummaged through all of Mr. Durst’s luggage and clothing, opened every bag and pocket, and inspected, removed and photographed every item in his possession, down to his pens, glasses and medication.”

If the agents had just wanted to safeguard Durst’s property, they should have just removed and secured it, the attorneys wrote.

They also argued that Durst’s federal convictions — interstate transportation of a firearm while under indictment and possessing a firearm or ammunition while a fugitive from justice — aren’t among felonies that make possessing a firearm illegal in Louisiana.


Associated Press writer Kevin McGill contributed to this report.
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Robert Downey Jr. Gives 7-Year-Old Boy His Very Own ‘Iron Man’ Bionic Arm

A boy who was born with a partially developed arm was recently given a special “Iron Man”-themed prosthetic limb — from none other than Tony Stark himself.

In the video above, watch the moving moment when 7-year-old Alex walks into a room to find actor Robert Downey Jr., as his “Iron Man” alter ego, waiting for him.

Downey was there to present Alex with a 3D-printed bionic arm, which was designed by Albert Manero, a doctoral student in mechanical engineering at the University of Central Florida. Manero is the senior director of Limbitless Solutions, a volunteer organization that designs open-source 3D-printed limbs and donates them to children in need.

“[I] had the absolute privilege of presenting a brand spanking new 3D-printed bionic ‘Iron Man’ arm to Alex, the most dapper 7-year-old I’ve ever met,” Downey wrote on Facebook after the heartwarming meeting, which was captured on film by Microsoft’s “The Collective Project.”

The actor went on to thank Manero and Microsoft “for their work making artificial limbs like this more affordable for families with kids who want to show the playground how badass they are.”


Watch Downey’s meeting with Alex in the video above. Be prepared for so many feels.
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A Walk in the Woods Movie CLIP – Airport (2014) – Nick Nolte, Robert Redford Adventure Movie HD

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A Walk in the Woods Movie CLIP – Airport (2014) – Nick Nolte, Robert Redford Adventure Movie HD

After spending two decades in England, Bill Bryson returns to the U.S., where he decides the best way to connect with his homeland is to hike the Appalachian Trail with one of his oldest friends.
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EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: The Strange But True Life Of Robert Ripley

In the world of weird news, perhaps, no one stands taller than Robert Ripley, the creator of Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!

Ripley started out as a sports cartoonist, but managed to turn an interest in the strange and bizarre aspects of the world into an international conglomerate that includes books, newspaper columns, TV shows and “Odditoriums” where the weirder parts of the collection are displayed.

The life of this weird news wizard is the focus of “American Experience Presents ‘Ripley: Believe It or Not,'” a special premiering Jan. 6 on PBS.

This exclusive video clip explains why Believe It Or Not! remains so unbelievably popular 65 years after Ripley’s death.

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‘Top Five’: Woody and Robert and Chris, Oh My

Chris Rock enters into Woody Allen territory with his new movie Top Five. During the opening scene, as Rock’s hero Andre Allen strolls down a Manhattan avenue engaged in lively debate with reporter Chelsea Brown (co-star Rosario Dawson), Chelsea mentions that sometimes a “movie is just a movie.” That sounds like an homage to Allen’s 1980 film Stardust Memories, in which two characters are discussing the symbolic significance of the Rolls-Royce in the movie they have just watched, and one of them agonizingly concludes that “it represented… his car.”

Andre Allen, like Woody’s Sandy Bates in Stardust Memories, and like Joel McCrea’s John Sullivan, from Preston Sturges’ classic Sullivan’s Travels (1941), has built a career based on making people laugh. For reasons that will become clear during the course of the story, he is no longer interested in that. He wants to make serious movies. Andre is about to release a movie about a slave uprising in Haiti.

Chris Rock has a lot to say about race and humor and culture, and about where an artist fits into that discussion. Especially a black artist. It’s hard to think about anyone better suited to talk about that right now. Though there may be certain lines of descent linking Top Five to Sturges and Allen, Top Five‘s truest progenitor is Hollywood Shuffle, Robert Townsend’s ahead-of-its-time comedy from 1978 about a stereotyped actor trying to break free. Townsend brought a great deal of personal experience to his movie, and one suspects Rock does as well. Ultimately, two significant failings prevent Top Five from being a great movie. But there is more than enough quality material — material to make you laugh and material to make you think — to ensure that is remains quite good.

Let’s talk about that good stuff first.

Rock fills Top Five with great characters. That is a hallmark of excellent writers. Sturges and Allen (who along with Billy Wilder are arguably the greatest American comic screenwriters) never fail to offer a wealth of memorable characters. Rock’s movie seems to have everyone in Hollywood showing up at one point or another, and many of them are outstanding. Early on, Cedric the Entertainer threatens to run away with the movie during his brief stint as Jazzy Dee (“the MAN in Houston”). Toward the end, rapper DMX does a magnificently wretched jail-cell performance of “Smile,” an old Charlie Chaplin tune. In between, Rock has Allen pay a visit to old friends, and those brief scenes feature first-rate work by the likes of Sherri Shepherd, Jay Pharoah, Tracy Morgan, and Leslie Jones.

Rock also fills Top Five with big ideas, another hallmark of great writers. The plot of the movie is set up as a free-wheeling interview between performer and reporter, and some of the best sequences involve the rapid-fire back and forth debate over matters, both personal and political. Rock, as both writer and actor, has the ability to make such potentially ponderous material very fresh. Race is a central issue, but Rock is clearly interested in moving beyond that discussion. Substance abuse, fame, and the purpose of art all figure into the story. Though some issues are invariably colored by race, others are rooted in broader humanity. As a result, Rock manages to be both racially specific and universal. No small feat.

Finally, and I can’t stress this enough, Top Five is very funny. It is overflowing with comic talent. Iconic figures like Jerry Seinfeld, Adam Sandler, and Whoopi Goldberg make cameo appearances. Kevin Hart, maybe the most popular film comedian in the world today, does a signature fast-talking scene as Andre’s agent and I don’t think I even saw his name in the credits. In addition to being funny, there are very interesting conversations about the nature of comedy (though a two-second Bill Cosby reference seems a little off-putting.) Like John Sullivan — the director from Sullivan’s Travels who ultimately concludes that comedy just might have more societal value than all the heavy drama in the world — Andre Allen will have a similar epiphany. And when the time comes for him to deliver the laughs, he does not fail.

So what are the two failings? First, Rock is a great performer, but he is not a great actor. I say that with a fair amount of self-consciousness, since film critics who make such pronouncements come in for some pretty heavy abuse in Top Five. But it’s hard to ignore. When he calls on himself to do the fast stuff — obviously the fast comedy, but also the fast anger or fast frustration or fast… anything — Rock is very much in his element. It’s when he has to slow down and start exploring subtler emotions that I begin to see an actor reciting lines. Rock is okay in such moments. He just isn’t great. And since Andre Allen’s breakdown and rebirth are at the heart of the story, that matters.

But the second failing matters more, because it cuts into Rock’s greatest strength, which is as a writer. In a sense, Top Five is a romantic comedy, and if there is one truism about romantic comedies, it’s this: the audience has to root for the couple to end up together. That isn’t the case in Top Five. It has nothing to do with Rosario Dawson, a fine actress who does rather well as Chelsea. It’s the way Chelsea is written. She isn’t real, at least not as real as the others we get to see. Sure, she has struggles and problems, but those problems do not grow out of her own weaknesses and conflicts. This is a crucial point. Most of the major characters in Top Five suffer through some sort of crisis or humiliation. But Chelsea’s humiliations are not of her own doing. They are imposed on her by others. She isn’t the problem. The script tries to suggest that her bad judgment has put her in these situations, but that never really rings true. Essentially, she is always right. Even when she does suffer humiliation at the hands of her boyfriend (hilariously played by Workaholics‘ Anders Holm) she gets a magnificent, kick-ass revenge. The two other women in Andre’s life — reality star fiancée Erica (Gabrielle Union) and former girlfriend Vanessa (Sherri Shepherd) both get very brief moments of weakness which have far more emotional honesty than anything Chelsea gets. Chelsea is in the movie for one reason and one reason only: to rescue Andre. She is too wise and too caring and too perfect. And that is the kiss of death.

But of course, it’s just a movie, and in a movie, death is relative. Top Five is all about rebirth. It manages to transcend its failings and still be relevant and smart. And very funny.
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Power Plays by Robert Dekkers for Post:Ballet


Like a René Magritte painting come to life, Robert Dekkers’ latest assault on the conventions of theatrical dance piles up one absurd image on another in precise, deliberate fashion, leading us rapidly from a vision of tranquil domesticity into hell and chaos, in concert with Anna Meredith’s seductive electronic score – gamely executed by The Living Earth Show, a guitar and percussion duo who wore lampshades over their faces the entire time.

Tassel recalls Dekkers’ surreal and somewhat grisly reimagining of Little Red Riding Hood at the West Wave Dance Festival on the same stage at San Francisco’s Z Space a year ago, except this time the underlying narrative is not an iconic fairy tale … Or is it? As the temperature rises, and the five dancers start shedding their somber black, white and grey clothing, stripping down to neon-bright jockey shorts and bras, flinging garments, luggage and furniture around the stage, echoes of the destruction of an ancient temple ring in our ears, along with wailing rock chords from Travis Andrew’s electric guitar. The lights, which started flickering halfway through the piece, extinguish on a final tableau anchored by Raychel Diane Weiner who, having been in mysterious communion with the musicians upstage center, slowly revolves to reveal herself bare-breasted, shoulders weighted down with discarded garments, lamp shade over her face. This outlandish goddess stretches one arm out to us hopefully, and we are reminded of the light that burned miraculously for eight days from a single vial of lamp oil, after the Maccabees retook their temple and purified it.

Those who reject the notion of any religious overtone to this piece may instead find thoughts of class warfare and revolution creeping into their brains.


Tassel was introduced by a virtuosic tantrum, courtesy of Andrews and percussionist Andy Meyerson who together make up The Living Earth Show. This musical interlude (or unmusical interlude, as the gentleman behind me grumbled) led us down the garden path with a little bluegrass-y vibe before unleashing the full artillery of Damon Waitkus’ North Pacific Garbage Patch. The loudly creaking seats at Z Space and the sound of a backstage door slamming introduced an element of improvisation into this taut, exacting conversation between guitarist and drummer.

The evening opened on a more restrained note, with a reprise of Dekkers’ very first piece of choreography dating back to 2010: Flutter, performed to Steve Reich’s playful Clapping Music and the wistful, stately Sarabande from Bach’s Violin Partita No. 2 in D Minor. Andrews and Meyerson (sans lamp shades) stood downstage left, clapping the syncopated rhythm in a shifting canon, later to be relieved by violinist Kevin Rogers, while Jeremy Bannon-Neches, Christian Squires and Vanessa Thiessen, seated in classic Martha Graham spirals, propelled themselves with sweeping leg motions across the black marley floor as if swimming in an ink-black sea, then skittered across on tip-toe like sea birds at the water’s edge. Delicate movements ripple through their torsos to head and fingers, and while the vocabulary remains essentially the same throughout, the contrast between the percussive clapping and the long drawn out breaths of the baroque Sarabande, with a slightly draggy feel to its ¾ metre, evokes a broad range of mood and emotion within this short piece. Such is the intimacy between musicians and dancers that we can no longer tell whether the music is driving the movement or the dancers are spinning the music like spiders spin their webs.

Another revival followed. Sixes and Seven is a Philip Glass-guided exercise in futility, an obsession with trying to count the uncountable: grains of sand on the beach, teaspoons of water in the ocean, stars in the sky, and exactly how much a guy named John loves his girlfriend. Counting is a dancer’s way of organizing the world, and the title of the piece appears to be a joke on dancers – who are accustomed to counting steps in 4’s and 8’s, rarely in 6’s or 7’s.

The exquisite Tetyana Martyanova debuted in this solo on Thursday night, and Ballet to the People was struck by how different the work feels not just on different dancers (the piece has been performed by men and women) but in different spaces. Scale matters critically in dance: the human versus the scale of the stage and set. At Z Space the stage is smaller, the lighting apparatus less intrusive, and the audience closer than at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts where Ballet to the People last witnessed its performance by Jessica Collado, who appeared tiny, fragile and vulnerable as she negotiated the enormous space. Martyanova in contrast appeared more serene, and more in command of her environment, as she hopped and glided and shuddered and balanced perilously in various twisted single-leg squats, plucking invisible stars from the sky and sea anemones from intertidal reefs.



Dekkers’ other new piece on this program, entitled Yours is Mine and premiered by Atlanta Ballet’s Wabi Sabi troupe this past summer, is set to Bodega, an electrifying industrial soundscape by Jonathan Pfeffer, influenced by the duress experienced by war veterans and street kids in the rougher neighborhoods of Philadelphia. Underpinned by a throbbing syncopation, the minimalist, paroxysmal score shares a bloodline with Flutter‘s Clapping Music. The tentative, gossamery explorations of space in Flutter and Sixes and Seven, however, give way in this piece to a hyper-aggressive vernacular in which space is conquered by diving into it, kicking, leaping, thrusting the chest forward, head butting the air.

Three terrific male dancers (Jeremy Bannon-Neches, Aidan DeYoung and Christian Squires) strut and swagger, staking out their territory on the mean streets, members of the 21st century Jets and Sharks. Every encounter is hostile, threatening and the occasional hint of sexual aggression distills to a matter of power and turf. There are acrobatic lifts and throws, and elements of stylized wrestling and street-fighting, but also flashes of humor (like a swift series of pop-ups into the air with little hip wiggles.) Once Raychel Diane Weiner enters, however, we realize that (program notes be damned) this is one gang, not two at war with each other, and Weiner is not there to taunt them, to add some female sexual tenson or pit them against each other: she is their ringleader, their Capo. The men jointly parade her overhead and toss her heroically from one to another, in the style of George Balanchine’s seminal Agon – but like the central female figure in Agon, she calls the shots.

Yours is Mine is a handsome and physically daring piece, but also the least original of the works on this program. Today, adventurous dance companies including DV8 Physical Theatre, the BalletBoyz, Ritmos Family, BirdGang Dance, Kidd Pivot, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet and others sculpt elements of ballet, modern, hip hop, capoeira, contact improv, and flamenco into highly athletic metaphors for alienation and violence. Fusion of styles alone doesn’t make this kind of work memorable, although it improves the odds. Dekkers’ impeccable musicality raises this piece above the competition, but it does not push the envelope the way the other three pieces on this program do.

Photos courtesy Post:Ballet:

1. Jeremy Bannon-Neches, Raychel Diane Weiner and The Living Earth Show (lamp shades on heads) in Robert Dekkers’ Tassel (Photo: Natalia Perez)
2. Artists of Post:Ballet in Robert Dekkers’ Tassel (Photo: Tricia Cronin)
3. Raychel Diane Weiner and Jeremy Bannon-Neches in Robert Dekkers’ Yours is Mine (Photo: Natalia Perez)
4. Christian Squires, Raychel Diane Weiner and Jeremy Bannon-Neches in Robert Dekkers’ Yours is Mine (Photo: Natalia Perez)
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Robert Downey Jr. Will Reportedly Star In ‘Captain America 3’

“There’s no plans for an ‘Iron Man 4,'” Robert Downey Jr. told David Letterman during an interview on Oct. 7. “There’s no script for ‘Iron Man 4,’ but they do have a plan, and I think [Marvel is] going to announce it. You know, they’re very secretive about it.” As it turns out, not secret enough: According to Variety, Downey will reprise his role of Tony Stark for “Captain America 3” in a storyline that will pit Stark against Captain America and set off a new wave of Marvel films. Downey’s representatives had no comment on the story when contacted by HuffPost Entertainment.

Having Downey continue his reign as Tony Stark was far from a forgone conclusion. The 49-year-old had only two films left on his current Marvel deal, “Marvel’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron” and “Marvel’s The Avengers 3,” and frequently discussed a desire to maybe back away from Iron Man.

“To me, it comes down to what’s the half-life of people enjoying a character?” Downey said to in a recent interview. “It’s different on TV, where you expect the longevity over seasons while movies get a two or three year break. Marvel keeps stepping up its game, and I appreciate the way Kevin Feige and all the creatives there think. They are as in the creative wheelhouse as any great studio has been at any point. So it becomes a matter of, at what point do I cease to be an asset to what they’re doing, and at what point do I feel I am spending so much time either shooting or promoting these films that I’m not actually able to get off the beachhead and do the kind of other stuff that is good for all of us. […] It all has become this thing that has to be figured out. It has come to a head, right now, where the points of departure will be.”

As it turns out, the departure for Downey will be in the character himself. According to Variety, Downey’s starring role in “Captain America 3” will kick off Marvel’s Civil War storyline, which will find Iron Man, as a de facto villain, battling Captain America over the Superhero Registration Act, “which forces anyone with superhuman abilities to reveal their identities to the U.S. government and agree to act as a police force for the authorities.” The ensuing plot from the 2006 comic book connects multiple Marvel characters, including the current Avengers roster, Ant-Man and Luke Cage (as well as members of the “X-Men” and “Fantastic Four” franchises, neither of which are part of Marvel Studios at the moment). Earlier on Monday, Marvel tweeted that Civil War #1 was coming in the summer of 2015, but offered no further information about the comic beyond its artwork — fittingly, a shot of Iron Man and Captain America in the throes of conflict:

Anthony and Joe Russo will return to direct “Captain America 3,” which is due out May 6, 2016. The film was initially set to go against “Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice,” but Warner Bros. moved that film to March 25, 2016 in an effort to move away from the Marvel blockbuster. Now that it’s Iron Man vs. Captain America, that date change looks even smarter.

For more on Downey’s “Captain America 3” role and how the negotiations went down, head to Variety.
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Theater: Rufus And Robert Tackle Will; “When January Feels Like Summer”



What to do when reviewing theater? Do you scribble notes throughout about this bit of scenic design, that line of dialogue, a lighting cue? Or, like me, do you simply watch and experience the piece, assuming that if you can’t remember some particular detail, so be it? That is fairest to the work, I think, but it makes it awfully hard to discuss in detail a show like Shakespeare’s Sonnets. Director Robert Wilson has collaborated with artist Rufus Wainwright and the Berliner Ensemble on presenting a selection of Shakespeare’s classic works of poetry. Wilson has developed visual settings, Wainwright the music and the troupe of actors performs them.

Each sonnet is typically given its own presentation: sometimes the poem is declaimed and then sung in snatches and then declaimed in part again, with the music framing or underscoring the mood. Other times the poem is sung in part (with the odd work squawked out by an actor) and then certain lines repeated as text at the end to emphasize an emotion or idea. Still others are turned into duets or voiced by three or more, interrupted by spoken passages and then taken up again. In short, without a video to rewind, I can’t for the life of me give a detailed description of the evening.

If you are a fan of Wilson, you will be in familiar territory. If you are a fan of Wainwright, understand his voice is heard briefly and sometimes excellent music in varied styles pulses throughout but you’ll get few easy pop moments here. If you are a fan of Berliner Ensemble, surely any rare chance to see them in the US is welcome.

Is there a story? No, but there is a mood of melancholy and regret and humor and the absurdity of it all. Again and again the helpless joy and misery of love is brought to life in Shakespeare’s lines, often lifted up in song. Wilson needs a big stage but perhaps a grungy cabaret is the ideal setting for this piece. The black humor would come to the forefront and the formal air more quickly dispersed. But not many clubs could accommodate the wreck of a car stabbed onto the trunk of a tree like a memo on a spindle. Not many cabarets would allow a rather large Cupid to fly across the stage while sending an arrow straight towards the heart of Queen Elizabeth, albeit in Wilsonian slow motion.

Here’s a glimpse.

At first, the show seemed a series of set pieces. One could perhaps string together the sonnets about the Dark Lady or those directed to a beautiful young man and tell an emotional story of sorts. This show takes 27 sonnets to encircle the idea of love. Inevitably, one began ticking them off: I liked what they did with this one, can’t be bothered with that one and so on. The revue-like nature was emphasized by Georgette Dee, who strode along the lip of the stage during scene changes to mutter and moan and rave about love. Somehow, though her text might easily have played as camp, Dee underplayed its over-the-top nature and won me over.

But as Act Two began, the momentum picked up and the show took on a cohesive whole. It helped that the work seemed to progress from more spoken passages and individual solos to more and more singing and more group efforts, culminating in a genuinely moving presentation of Sonnet 129 and the final coda of Sonnet 66, where the speaker is tired of life and would gladly accept death if it didn’t mean leaving their love alone.

The work never achieved the focus and greatness of Wilson’s best work but had hypnotic passages of beauty nonetheless. Wainwright’s music was thrillingly malleable and would surely benefit from repeated listens. The costumes by Jacques Reynaud were exquisite and the ensemble typically strong. Stand-outs unquestionably included Dee, Angela Schmid as Shakespeare, Angela Winkler as the Fool and an imperious Jürgen Holtz as both Elizabeth I and II. It was generally a playful evening (Wilson even did a spin before taking his bow) yet the ache of the sad moments of music and the strange power of Wilson’s most striking images that linger.

Here’s a sonnet from a mounting of this piece years ago that gives you an idea of the visual style of the work.

And here’s Ralph Fiennes reading Sonnet 129, the penultimate piece of the evening.


The Ensemble Studio Theatre and Women’s Project Theater have come together to present When January Feels Like Summer, a new play by Cori Thomas and directed by Daniella Topol that was first seen here in the spring and received strong reviews. Thomas is indeed a promising talent and her work presented with care by Topol and an excellent cast. Though the play was also mounted in Pennsylvania, one hopes Topol isn’t done working on it.

It begins on a subway train, where we later realize most of the main characters cross paths. They return to the subway at the finale, where stepping into a car symbolizes a hopeful future. Typically, this idea isn’t developed enough: why do their paths cross? We get no glimpse of what these characters might mean to each other in the future. And if the subway is going to be so totemic at the finale, shouldn’t it appear throughout the play?

In any case, the action soon centers on two siblings, immigrants from India who manage a bodega. One is Nirmala (Mahira Kakkar), the wife of a man who has been in a coma for years, brain dead and kept alive only by machines though she’s unable to pull the plug. Perhaps she feels so guilty about doing so because that husband has meant so little to her over the years. Her brother Ishan (Debargo Sanyal) certainly doesn’t believe in just waiting for things to happen. He unveils his true nature to Nirmala by becoming Indira. Gender reassignment surgery is very expensive and years of hormone therapy away, but Ishan/Indira is ready to get the ball rolling by dressing as a woman and taking her first steps toward claiming her identity and presenting it to the world.

Circling them is the shy sanitation worker Joe (Dion Graham), who has a crush on Nirmala. And the comic relief comes from two young men Jeron (Carter Redwood) and Devaun (Maurice Williams). They goof around talking about women on the train, work at Burger King and dream of time and a half or at least making time. Devaun is the smooth talker but Jeron, at least at the start, is the brains. That’s certainly true when Devaun takes a shine to Indira, clueless as to her tentative claims on womanhood.

With Indira as matchmaker for Joe and Nirmala and then Devaun as matchmaker for his pal and the girl at Burger King who thinks Jeron is cute, that leaves Devaun and Indira on their own when it comes to romance. They’ll figure it out.

Thomas creates a sweet air of possibility in her show, aided by an effective scenic design under tight circumstances by Jason Simms and sharp lighting by Austin R. Smith to ease transitions. The costumes by Sydney Maresca include some intentionally godawful t-shirts and dresses that make Sanyal more feminine than one would have expected. And the cast is superior throughout, maintaining our sympathy from start to finish.

But Thomas makes numerous confusing detours that throw the play off and make us uncertain about where we’re headed. First, the two young guys are seen as genial if harmless goofs. Devaun seems slightly dim — he mispronounces numerous words — while Jeron is smarter. But their initial role as humorous counterpoint falls away as Devaun asks Indira out, giving her a first taste of romance. Yet as that happens, they seem to become stupider by the minute, with not one but both of them garbling simple words again and again. It’s both inconsistent and annoying.

Worse, they are involved in a confusing subplot wherein Devaun believes a local man who attends his church has hit on him. Devaun is 20 by the way. This man placed a hand on Devaun’s shoulder in another bodega and says he has something to show him. Devaun freaks out and tells the man to back off. Later, the two young guys decide the man is a threat and might harm little kids, so they decide to put up posters around town warning people about this predator (which Devaun misconstrues as “predictor”). Huh? This is initially played for laughs and we can’t help thinking this adult has wildly overreacted; but no harm since their poster is so vague it makes no sense.

Two problems. One, when discussing this incident in front of Indira, Devaun loses his cool and in violent language completely out of tone with the rest of the show he talks about viciously attacking that gay man for daring to make a pass at him. This occurs early in the show. So later when he and Indira begin to flirt, we remain deeply worried for her safety and wonder why she’d want to spend the evening with a guy who clearly would pose a threat if he never the physical realities of Indira’s body. It creates an unpleasant sense of danger that doesn’t mesh with the show, makes us question the common sense of the otherwise in charge and smart Indira and makes the climactic scene of the show actually hard to believe.

Cut out the virulent language and the finale is easier to believe, especially if refashioned. Devaun is supposed to be a mack daddy comfortable with sex, so if he isn’t seen as a simmering threat and homophobe, when Indira delicately explains the surprise under her dress, we could be happily surprised if Devaun said, “So, you want me to take you from behind? Okay!” rather than merely being relieved he doesn’t assault her.

The other problem is that the man Devaun was so obsessed over actually gets arrested by the police! Yet what is described doesn’t sound anything like a crime, more like something kinky done between consenting adults. It literally makes no sense and again muddies the gentle air of romance the show aspires to.

These are serious flaws in tone and plot, along with a running obsession about the weather and some mild, unconvincing touches of near magic realism. Edit all this out and you’d have a much shorter, tighter and more effective play. There’s no real need for an intermission except the show’s current length.

But this doesn’t detract from the generally delightful characters, aided immensely by the cast and direction of Topol. Williams and especially Redwood are very appealing and funny as the two friends, while making them specific enough so that they never descend into caricature. Graham doesn’t shine in his one big, rambling monologue and Joe declares his love too quickly. (I blame the script.) But he too is appealing and very watchable in his quiet moments. Sanyal goes to town with his part and a little dialing back by the director would be helpful, especially in his big scene where he trembles repeatedly while thanking Krishna, milking it for all it’s worth. But he’s funny and honest for the most part. And Kakkar is excellent as the unloved wife beginning to see her self-worth.

I wish Thomas had been confident enough to make their victories more modest and real rather than so monumental. It would have been truer to the modest but very real people she has created.


Beautiful: The Carole King Musical ***
Rodney King ***
Hard Times ** 1/2
Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead **
I Could Say More *
The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner **
Machinal ***
Outside Mullingar ***
A Man’s A Man * 1/2
The Tribute Artist ** 1/2
Transport **
Prince Igor at the Met **
The Bridges Of Madison County ** 1/2
Kung Fu (at Signature) **
Stage Kiss ***
Satchmo At The Waldorf ***
Antony and Cleopatra at the Public **
All The Way ** 1/2
The Open House (Will Eno at Signature) ** 1/2
Wozzeck (at Met w Deborah Voigt and Thomas Hampson and Simon O’Neill)
Hand To God ***
Tales From Red Vienna **
Appropriate (at Signature) *
Rocky * 1/2
Aladdin ***
Mothers And Sons **
Les Miserables *** 1/2
Breathing Time * 1/2
Cirque Du Soleil’s Amaluna * 1/2
Heathers The Musical * 1/2
Red Velvet, at St. Ann’s Warehouse ***
Broadway By The Year 1940-1964 *** 1/2
A Second Chance **
Guys And Dolls *** 1/2
If/Then * 1/2
The Threepenny Opera * 1/2
A Raisin In The Sun *** 1/2
The Heir Apparent *** 1/2
The Realistic Joneses ***
Lady Day At Emerson’s Bar & Grill ***
The Library **
South Pacific ** 1/2
Violet ***
Bullets Over Broadway **
Of Mice And Men **
The World Is Round ***
Your Mother’s Copy Of The Kama Sutra **
Hedwig and the Angry Inch ***
The Cripple Of Inishmaan ***
The Great Immensity * 1/2
Casa Valentina ** 1/2
Act One **
Inventing Mary Martin **
Cabaret ***
An Octoroon *** 1/2
Forbidden Broadway Comes Out Swinging ***
Here Lies Love *** 1/2
6th Annual August Wilson Monologue Competition
Sea Marks * 1/2
A Time-Traveler’s Trip To Niagara * 1/2
Selected Shorts: Neil Gaiman ***
Too Much Sun * 1/2
Broadway By The Year 1965-1989 ***
In The Park **
The Essential Straight & Narrow ** 1/2
Much Ado About Nothing ***
When We Were Young And Unafraid
Savion Glover’s Om **
Broadway By The Year 1990-2014 ***
The Lion ***
Holler If Ya Hear Me * 1/2
The Ambassador Revue ** 1/2
Dubliners: A Quartet ***
The National High School Musical Theater Awards *** 1/2
Wayra — Fuerza Bruta * 1/2
Strictly Dishonorable *** 1/2 out of ****
Between Riverside And Crazy ***
The Wayside Motor Inn ***
Bootycandy ***
Mighty Real ***
This Is Our Youth ***
Rock Bottom * 1/2
Almost Home * 1/2
Rococo Rouge **
Love Letters ** 1/2
The Money Shot ** 1/2
The Old Man and the Old Moon *** 1/2
You Can’t Take It With You * 1/2 out of ****
Can-Can at Papermill ** 1/2
The Country House ** 1/2
Cinderella ** 1/2
Shakespeare’s Sonnets at BAM (Rufus Wainwright, Robert Wilson) ***
When January Feels Like Summer ** 1/2


Thanks for reading. Michael Giltz is the founder and CEO of the forthcoming website BookFilter, a book lover’s best friend. It’s a website that lets you browse for books online the way you do in a physical bookstore, provides comprehensive info on new releases every week in every category and offers passionate personal recommendations every step of the way. It’s like a fall book preview or holiday gift guide — but every week in every category. He’s also the cohost of Showbiz Sandbox, a weekly pop culture podcast that reveals the industry take on entertainment news of the day and features top journalists and opinion makers as guests. It’s available for free on iTunes. Visit Michael Giltz at his website and his daily blog. Download his podcast of celebrity interviews and his radio show, also called Popsurfing and also available for free on iTunes.

Note: Michael Giltz is provided with free tickets to shows with the understanding that he will be writing a review. All productions are in New York City unless otherwise indicated.
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Robert E. White Eldridge Tide & Pilot Book 2013

Robert E. White Eldridge Tide & Pilot Book 2013

Robert E. White Eldridge Tide & Pilot Book 2013 . A comprehensive guide for mariners covering the East Coast from Nova Scotia to Key West. Information includes: times of tides and currents, current charts and diagrams, navigation rules, safety and emergency information, environmental protocol, weather and astronomical data, flags and codes, fishing tips, lights and fog signals, folklore and more. 272pp.
List Price: $ 14.95
Price: $ 0.88

Robert De Niro’s Anxiety of Influence: Remembering the Artist Premieres

Back in the 1970’s when Robert De Niro was breaking out in films–Bang the Drum Slowly, Mean Streets, Taxi Driver–his dad Robert De Niro, Sr. was a painter of note, influenced by the European modernists Manet, Matisse, and Picasso, but never to equal the fame of his actor son. By the time De Niro, Sr. died in 1993 of prostate cancer, he left behind a significant body of work, journals and other writings revealing pride in his actor son, homosexuality, and depression. Now De Niro, the son, encouraged by his Tribeca Films producing partner Jane Rosenthal put together a documentary about his father, Remembering the Artist, directed by Perri Peltz and Gita Gandhbir that will air on HBO on Monday night.

On Thursday night at the DC Moore Gallery in Chelsea, Robert De Niro’s paintings eclipsed all the stars. The actor’s friends, Christopher Walken, Thelma Schoonmaker, Regis Philbin and wife Joy praised the work. Tony Bennett, a painter, had never met De Niro’s dad, admiring the exhibit. In fact, De Niro had a show in Peggy Guggenheim’s Art of the Century gallery, a major early recognition, and continued to exhibit throughout his life. The exhibition catalogue lists his shows with bibliography and also features a 1958 ARTnews essay about the artist with photographs by Rudy Burckhardt.

Albert Kresch, a fellow painter, speaks about the artists’ milieu, the Cedar Tavern, as a mecca for abstract expressionists like Kline, DeKooning, and Pollock, noting that De Niro would have nothing to do with it, feeling himself superior, as art world tastes shifted toward the commercial and pop Warhol, Lichtenstein and Kelly. Little is revealed about Virginia Admiral, De Niro’s mother, a painter too of some early acclaim who met her husband studying with Hans Hofmann in Provincetown. She stopped painting, needing to be more practical, she told her son, a resonant glimpse of the talented, pioneering women of that time, and their thwarted ambitions.

At a Q&A after the MoMA screening, Gita Gandhbir said it was most difficult to make a lively film portrait when the subject is dead. With De Niro’s wistful interview at center, the documentary remembers a significant artist of his time, and stands as an eloquent tribute of son to father.

A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.
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Robert Plant, Big Freedia Rock: Good Day for Golden Gods and Goddesses at Jazz Fest

Robert Plant was in fine form closing out the stage at Saturday’s New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, with Phish jamming across the track for hours. From Led Zepplin classics to thoughtfully curated covers, he did not disappoint. AXS Review: Here.

Robert Plant


Big Freedia, a force of nature if ever there was one, performed before Robin Thicke’s set but it won’t be long before the New Orleans native is closing out a Jazz Fest stage while bringing down the house. She bounced through a sizzling set in honor of her mother. AXS Review: Here.

Big Freedia


New Orleans native Kermit Ruffins was full of Kermitude, advising fellow trumpet player Irvin Mayfield to “stay well away from my wife,” and joking that “he follows me everywhere. With a trumpet as smoking as Kermit’s, you can stay as unfiltered as you like. He shared with the audience that he was only half stoned on account of the Jazz Fest gig.

Kermit Ruffins


Jazz Fest is saluting the music and culture of Brazil this year and, as ever, you never know who or what may be coming around the track. The samba beat goes on.


Photos by Jeff Beninato
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My Conversation With Filmmaker Robert Greenwald About His Film, Unmanned: America’s Drone Wars

Join me tonight on PBS for my conversation with award-winning filmmaker Robert Greenwald. He has exec-produced and/or directed more than 50 TV movies, miniseries and feature films. Through his company, Brave New Films, he also makes political video shorts and full-length documentaries — substantive investigations of social issues, told through personal stories, and creatively distributed through such outlets as the Internet and social media. His latest film, Unmanned: America’s Drone Wars, investigates the impact of drone strikes both here and abroad.

In the clip below, Greenwald shares his thoughts about President Obama’s “kill list” and why he is getting a pass on drone strikes.

For more of our conversation, be sure to tune in to Tavis Smiley tonight on PBS. Check out our website for your local TV listings:
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