by Jac Kern 02.05.2013
at 02:19 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
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I Just Can't Get Enough

Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings

Sunday’s Super Bowl was arguably one of the most entertaining sporting events for even the most athletically clueless. Admittedly, I fall into that category ­— this was probably the most recent football game I’ve watched since last year’s SB — and generally watch for the commercials and half-time show/to justify eating my weight in cheese and crackers/to feel like a real American. But from on-field brawls and the post-Beyonce power outage to the tense final minutes of the game, this shit show was truly a spectacle! Bravo, NFL. Bravo, America. Queen Bey’s half-time extravaganza was flawless, lip-synching or not. She booty-popped her way through a handful of hits and even summoned recently-reunited Destiny’s Children Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams (no, not her) to perform a couple classics in coordinating outfits (obvs). Kelly was looking extra fabulous and, as a friend pointed out, that's really saying something about a chick dancing alongside Beyonce. Michelle, as always, played the cute third wheel role. It appeared that her mic was off for half of her time onstage, which was probably the stipulation for Beyonce even allowing Michelle to be included in the reunion. DC superfan note: Michelle always gets the shaft. Hours after the epic, show-stopping (literally — you know Bey caused that outage) show, Beyonce’s summer tour was announced: The Mrs. Carter Show. Be still, my heart. For those who care even less about football than me but still want to check out the over-hyped commercials, see a roundup here. 30 Rock came to a bittersweet end Thursday. Tina Fey’s hit changed the comedy landscape and the way we look at snack foods (I’ll never eat a cupcake the same way again!). Take one last jaunt through TGS memory lane with every trucker hat Frank wore throughout the series. While Girls’ Lena Dunham is still new to the TV scene, the love-her-or-hate-her writer/director/producer/actress will embark on a new HBO series with Girls co-executive producer Jenni Konner. Conan O’Brien a certified comedy demigod — one of the most beloved late night hosts of the 21st century. Despite the buzzed-about drama with Jay Leno and Conan’s move to TBS, the show retained its core audience and it’s clear people still love them some Coco. And, after watching last week’s Occupy Conan episode, it’s clear Coco loves us, too. Back in November, the late night host announced he’d present a fan-generated episode. Viewers were invited to re-imagine their own episode based on the Aug. 16, 2011 show with Anne Hathaway and Fun. Tons of original content was submitted and mashed together to create an epically weird and hilarious version of that episode. “Occupy Conan” featured animations, live-action interpretations, puppets and even submissions from the likes of Tina Fey, Fred Armisen and Joel McHale. I hadn’t actually seen the original episode, which is unfortunate as Anne Hathaway gave the most WTF-worthy rap performance only a white girl could pull off (or not — you decide). I wouldn’t be surprised if this becomes a new TV trend for shows with particularly ambitious/obsessed fans. Check out the full fan-sourced episode here. In hatchet-wielding homeless hitchhiker news: A delusional man in Fresno, Calif., claiming he was Jesus, purposely hit a PG&E worker with his car. Thankfully, help was on the scene: Sa-Mash.
by Paul Smyth 07.20.2012
Posted In: Boxing at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hometown Boxer Adrien Broner to Defend Title on Saturday

Westwood resident will defend Junior Lightweight World Champion title at U.S. Bank Arena

Cincinnati resident and elite boxing prospect Adrien "The Problem" Broner will make his second WBO Junior Lightweight World Champion title defense at the U.S. Bank Arena Saturday. The Cincinnati pugilist (23-0, 19 knockouts), who lives in Westwood, faces Vicente Escobedo (26-3, 15 knockouts). The fight will be broadcast on HBO's Boxing After Dark and represents the next step in a career that may propel Broner into the highest levels of the sport. This will be Broner's fifth appearance on HBO.   Broner is the youngest current U.S. title holder after winning the WBO Junior Lightweight belt with a third-round knockout of Vicente Rodriguez last November. His first title defense came in February of this year, also in Cincinnati. He easily defeated Eloy Perez, prompting additional fan, cable and promoter attention. His second title defense this Saturday may be a turning point, leading to the next tier of exposure and reward — and perhaps much tougher fights.    Escobedo is a 2004 US Olympian, though he did not medal. He's fighting at 130 pounds, having tasted defeat as a pro at 135 pounds in a split-decision title fight loss versus Michael Katsidis in 2009. After four victories in the new weight class, the 30-year-old Escobedo now faces one of the most highly touted prospects in boxing today in Broner.  In the ring, Broner's athleticism, speed, power and preparation, as well as his side-on fighting style and offense-from-defense positioning, have led to comparisons with current pound-for-pound great Floyd Mayweather, Jr. Broner says he doesn't watch tape of opponents but prefers to adapt in the ring.   Outside the ring, he's known for a flamboyant style that also has brought comparisons to Mayweather's flashy persona, but Broner shows adaptability in the arena of life as well. Broner describes strong and apparently nourishing interests, including recording his own music. So far, when it's time to focus — in the ring or answering serious questions about his claims to elite status — the 22-year-old can be frank, direct and thoughtful.   But he's also being called over-the-top. A rare talent. And, of course, undefeated.   Cincinnati sports fans are on notice that maybe, just maybe, they have a new, hometown, world-class athlete worth following on the international stage.   Broner-Escobedo headlines an extensive undercard on Saturday, July 21. U.S. Bank Arena doors open at 5 pm. HBO Boxing After Dark coverage begins at 10 pm. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster.

Writing and Romance On the War Front

0 Comments · Wednesday, May 23, 2012
HBO’s latest television film follows the professional and romantic journey of literary great Ernest Hemingway and legendary journalist Martha Gellhorn. Starring Clive Owen and Nicole Kidman as the title characters, Hemingway & Gellhorn is on at 9 p.m. on Mondays.  

Institute of Medicine, HBO Team Up For Heavy Documentary

0 Comments · Wednesday, May 9, 2012
The ignorant, beer-bellied McDonald’s masticator: It’s a punchline of American society. But the fact that nearly 70 percent of American adults are overweight or obese is not a joke — and the makers of The Weight of the Nation (8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, HBO) show that it’s more detrimental to our country than many believe.   

Realistic Female Humor Champions Lena Dunham’s 'Girls'

0 Comments · Wednesday, April 11, 2012
A group of young women balance life, love and work as they try to make their mark on New York City. Sound familiar? But where Carrie and Co. represented an embellished fantasy of glamorous, high-powered, sexualized New Yorkers, HBO’s Girls offers a more realistic view of entering adulthood as a 21st century female.   
by Jac Kern 04.10.2012
Posted In: TV/Celebrity at 03:33 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Coming Distractions: 'Veep,' 'Around the World in 80 Plates'

Upcoming shows and recent TV announcements

Based on the style of BBC sitcom The Thick of It, HBO’s Veep (10 p.m. Sundays) stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus as the Vice President of the United States. For those of us who’ve had more than their fill of Sarah Palin after the channel’s movie Game Change, don’t worry — this is a fictional storyline not based on any gun-toting beauty queens. The comedy follows the less-than-glamorous day-to-day tasks of V.P. Selina Meyer. Think Parks and Recreation if Leslie Knope made it to the White House. Selling point: Tony Hale (otherwise known as Buster Bluth) plays her bodyguard. Veep premieres April 22.Did you watch that Portlandia sketch about the fictional restaurant Around the World in 80 Plates, “a culinary voyage across the seven seas of flavor,” and think that would be a great premise for a food and travel show? Well, the folks over at Bravo did (or it at least seems like it) when they created a new reality show where chefs compete while traveling across the world, entitled — wait for it — Around the World in 80 Plates (10 p.m. Mondays). Chefs Cat Cora and Curtis Stone host. Tune in May 9 for the premiere to see if Craig’s Crazy Guac Tacs are involved in any way (fingers crossed).Move over, Kardashians — there’s a new family in E! town. Mrs. Eastwood & Company (10 p.m. Sundays) takes the ubiquitous reality formula to Northern California, focusing on the lives of Clint’s wife, Dina, and two of his daughters, Francesca and Morgan. The ladies live on a sprawling ranch complete with a sassy housekeeper and herd of pets. The show focuses on the Eastwoods’ pet project, grownup boyband, Overtone. Hit show or hot mess? Find out May 20 when the series debuts.Other recent show announcements include the following premiere dates: HBO's True Blood (9 p.m. Sunday, June 10), TNT's revival of Dallas (9 p.m. Wednesday, June 13) and my guiltiest of pleasures, Showtime's The Real L Word (10 p.m. Thursday, July 12).
by Jac Kern 03.15.2012
Posted In: TV/Celebrity, The Worst, Animals at 12:08 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
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HBO's 'Luck' Cancelled

Network decides to end horse racing drama after third animal death on set

HBO's new drama Luck, which we featured on our TV column last month, has been cancelled. The show, which follows the events at Santa Anita Park and the trainers, jockeys and gamblers who spend their days at the track, has halted production of its second season after the death of a third horse.The show has faced criticism about its harm of animals from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the American Humane Association. PETA had called on Luck producers to use stock racing footage rather than risk injury to the horses during filming. HBO released the following statement:"It is with heartbreak that executive producers David Milch and Michael Mann together with HBO have decided to cease all future production on the series 'Luck'.Safety is always of paramount concern. We maintained the highest safety standards throughout production, higher in fact than any protocols existing in horseracing anywhere with many fewer incidents than occur in racing or than befall horses normally in barns at night or pastures. While we maintained the highest safety standards possible, accidents unfortunately happen and it is impossible to guarantee they won't in the future. Accordingly, we have reached this difficult decision. We are immensely proud of this series, the writing, the acting, the filmmaking, the celebration of the culture of horses, and everyone involved in its creation." Michael Mann and David Milch said, "The two of us loved this series, loved the cast, crew and writers. This has been a tremendous collaboration and one that we plan to continue in the future.'"The show, which I'm surprised has gotten low ratings and minimal viewing response, is a tense, gritty look at gambling and the world of horse racing. The scenes of actual horse racing are beautiful and consuming. Unfortunately, producers couldn't reenact such intense scenes without accidents and injuries, which justifiably led to this decision. It's too bad that a show meant to celebrate the animals won't be able to continue. Luck will continue to air its first and only season, at 9 p.m. Sundays. There are two episodes remaining, with the series finale on March 25.

Place Your Bets on HBO’s Luck

0 Comments · Tuesday, February 21, 2012
A show about horseracing might seem too niche to captivate a wide audience, but HBO’s Luck is entertaining for all types of viewers thanks to the varied perspectives from inside the track. Dustin Hoffman stars as Ace, an organized crime man fresh out of his stint in federal prison.   

Documenting the End of the Line

HBO screens Steve Bognar and Julie Reichert's film about closing of Dayton GM plant

0 Comments · Wednesday, September 2, 2009
On June 3, 2008, then-CEO of General Motors Rick Wagoner announced the closing of four GM plants, one of which was in Moraine, Ohio, in suburban Dayton. By the end of that year, the plant would leave 1,100 employees without jobs. Area filmmakers Steve Bognar and Julia Reichert (Emmy winners for their documentary 'A Lion in the House') immediately responded to the announcement of the closing, setting up interviews with plant workers and spending as much time with them as possible getting to know the people and their stories.