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Benedict Cumberbatch Guarantees the BAFTA New York ‘Fun’

[Editor's note - 02/16/14: Full video of the conversation has now been posted. It's available here.]

STAR TREK INTO DARKNESSBenedict Cumberbatch earned his first BAFTA nomination in 2005 for portraying Stephen Hawking in the BBC drama Hawking. He’s added three more since then and on Thursday, at The Standard High Line, he will be in a sense returning the favor(s).

Cumberbatch is the first participant in the newly launched New York leg of BAFTA’s “In Conversation” series. The event is also being married into The Standard chain’s “Standard Talks” initiative and will be moderated by The Hollywood Reporter‘s Scott Feinberg:

“I am thrilled to be kick-starting this series of informal conversations with British talent for BAFTA New York and The Standard team,” said Cumberbatch. “The association with BAFTA is a great honor.”

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New Anthology Takes Aims at Progressive Rock Haters

We love the title of Marc Weingarten and Tyson Cornell‘s new anthology Yes Is The Answer. That’s because the “Yes” doubles as the name of a top band from the progressive era this collection of essays wholeheartedly defends.

Joining Weingarten and Cornell Thursday June 13 at Skylight Books in Los Feliz for a 7:30 p.m. reading-signing event will be contributors John Albert (former member of the bands Christian Death, Bad Religion), James Greer and Margaret Wappler. From Weingarten’s book intro:

The haters weren’t all wrong, of course. Prog was ridiculous. But never underestimate a young boy’s finely honed sense of irony. We loved some of this stuff precisely because it was overblown. It’s kind of like when Evel Knievel jumped over thirty cars – you mean, he did that? We would laugh at some passages, marvel at others – it was all part of the ongoing conversation about Prog.

And yes, it was pretentious. That’s why we liked Prog Rock; it strived for something beyond what we were hearing on AM radio. We didn’t give a damn about rock’s first principles, all that three chords and the truth business; give us Prog Rock’s grandeur, its mushy mysticism, its blissed-out mystery.

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Mediabistro Alum at Book Soup This Friday

Once in a while, we like to toot the Mediabistro horn. Especially when a local LA event doubles as a testimonial for the value of our educational offerings.

This Friday at Book Soup, Tiffany Hawk – an alumnus of Mediabistro’s Travel Writing Bootcamp (pictured) – will be reading from her new novel Love Me Anyway and doing a Q&A. She’s not serving coffee, tea or soda anymore, but she will be more than happy to sign your copy of her darkly comedic look at what it’s like to work for a commercial airline. From Friday’s event description:

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the airline industry, with all its glamour, loneliness and ever-present temptations. We’ll talk books, airplanes and travel. Come armed with every question you’ve ever wanted to ask your flight attendant. Enjoy wine and airline-style snacks while supplies last.

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Gloriously Bad Indie Drama The Room Turns Ten

At the stroke of midnight tonight, director-star Tommy Wiseau and co-star Greg Sestero will be at the first of two special weekend showings of The Room at Landmark’s Regent Theatre in Westwood. To goose the crowd and to celebrate ten years of baffling cinematic triumph.

The Room regularly screens at the Regent, but tonight and Saturday’s showing will be extra special. If you had told the movie’s earliest reviewers and fans back in 2003 that the film would become a west coast 21st century equivalent to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, they would have laughed heartily.

Just how much of a cottage industry has The Room become? Well, around the ten-and-a-half-year mark, Sestero will be releasing a book about his experiences titled The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, The Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made. He co-wrote the tome with veteran LA journalist Tom Bissell.

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LA Artist Wants Gallery Patrons to Rub Kim Kardashian’s Pregnant Belly

Local artist Daniel Edwards has for some time now been celebrating the “beauty of celebrity pregnancy.” In 2006, he kicked off his Celebrity Baby Boomer series with “Monument to Pro-Life,” which featured a likeness of Britney Spears, nude, giving birth on a bearskin rug.

Next month, Edwards will be adding to the series with a work that is sure to draw lots of vehicles to the parking meters on South La Brea Ave. It’s called “L.A. Fertility”, and will be available starting Wednesday June 5 for touching-viewing at LAB ART Gallery. From today’s announcement:

The life-size full-figured nude Kim Kardashian stands curvaceous and proud, with lactiferous breasts, protruding navel and legs akimbo, and features a voluminous belly designed to entice visitors to give a respectful rub for good luck and success.

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World’s Tallest Man Ready to Burn Up Instagram in Costa Mesa

How’s this for a super-cool field trip? As part of the festivities at the Anatolian Cultures and Food Festival 2013, taking place today through Sunday in Costa Mesa, area students grades K through 12 will be getting to meet the world’s tallest man.

Sultan Kosen is a staggering eight feet, three inches tall. He hails from the Turkish town of Mardin and, as part of the weekend festival, will be installed at an exhibit celebrating his city and its famous hillside stone houses. Event organizers have created a replica of one such a home for attendees to check out and pose at.

Kosen swung through San Diego on his way up to the OC, accompanied by interpreter Atilla Kahveci of LA’s Pacifica Institute. From a Channel 10 report:

Kosen told San Diego mayor Bob Filner he realized at the age of 10 that he would be very tall, since he was already six feet. He said a tumor in his pituitary gland fueled his growth and limited his vision, which he said is 90 percent in one eye and 60 percent in the other. It took multiple surgeries to remove the tumor, he said.

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A Kaleidoscope of Treats on the Paramount Studios Lot

This weekend, the annual fall Grand Palais event Paris Photo has expanded for the first time to Los Angeles. A total of 60 art galleries and a dozen specialized book publishers are camped out on the Paramount Studios lot through Sunday, offering all sorts of sights for sore SoCal eyes.

LA gallery Ambach & Rice for example is showcasing new works by German artist Martina Sauter, who likes to work with old film stills, and a separate series of photographs of swimming pools at large LA homes. The event is also hosting what it bills as the first local screening of Johan Grimonprez’s 2005 short Looking for Alfred:

The film explores the idea of doubles and false identities by way of Ron Burrage, the renowned professional Hitchcock lookalike. It is a surrealist combination of Hitchcock’s trademark cameos as well as Grimonprez’s first reference to Hitchock’s The Birds and the actress Tippi Hedren, all critical narrative devices in the artist’s subsequent full-length feature Double Take.

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Live from Old Hollywood… It’s Bill Hader!

The number of cool events taking place this weekend in Hollywood at the 2013 Turner Classic Movies (TCM) Film Festival is head-spinning.

Saturday alone, there’s Jane Fonda getting her hand and footprints done at the Chinese Theatre; Ms. Fonda making an appearance at the screening of On Golden Pond; and more. For example, two hours before SNL usually cold-opens on the east coast, there is also this 6:30 p.m. PT event: a screening of the classic Western Shane introduced by Bill Hader.

Hader is getting ready to host his third season of Essentials Jr. in June and also jumped in last fall as a TCM guest programmer. The four movies he picked for viewers in September included efforts by Billy Wilder and Akiro Kurosawa.

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On the Docket This Weekend at Occidental College: The Future of the LA Times

It should be a most interesting Saturday afternoon in Eagle Rock thanks to the 6th Annual LA Media Reform Summit. There are always pockets of LA media that could use a little reform, but for this edition, organizers are focusing on an outlet that could will be looking at major changes: the LA Times.

Former FCC commissioner Michael Copps will kick things off at 1 p.m. with a keynote address. Then, at 2 p.m., KPFK-FM Background Briefing host Ian Masters will moderate a discussion of the imminent Tribune Co/LAT hand-off. Joining him will be Huffington Post LA reporter Kathleen Miles, Media Matters for America vp Angelo Carusone and former LAT columnist Tim Rutten. The other panel will look at how LA media news coverage can be improved.

Admission to the event, including a 5 p.m. reception, is $20.00 general and $10.00 for students and seniors. If you’re interested in RSVP-ing in advance, you can do so here.

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The Fonz Headlines Hollywood 3.0

This weekend, the LA Times Festival of Books is being succeeded on the USC campus by a not-altogether-different group of panelists. And once again, the best part is that it’s free.

Taking place all day today in the Annenberg East Lobby and Annenberg Auditorium is USC journalism school-sponsored event Hollywood 3.0. The proceedings will culminate at 7 p.m. with a very cool familial chat. From the Daily Trojan write-up:

Two of the prominent headliners are the father-son duo of Henry and Max Winkler.  [Graduate student and event team lead TimMcHugh promises that their panel will not only be inspiring, but also one everyone can gain something from.

“Anyone can have fun with the Winklers,” states McHugh. “Henry Winkler played the popular character Fonzie back on Happy Days and his son Max is a writer, director, producer in his own right in filmmaking. It’s kind of a generational panel… the Winkler event will be in the Annenberg lobby, to create more of a sit-down vibe to it. It’s also about what it’s like working in front and behind the camera and needing to diversify skill sets especially in today’s modern Hollywood.”

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