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Arts & Entertainment News

The Free Press WV

►  ‘America’s Got Talent’ and ‘GOT’ rule Nielsen ratings again

Viewers continued to play peek-a-boo with “Big Brother” last week. The Nielsen ratings company says CBS’ voyeuristic reality show landed four editions among the top 16 slots.

But NBC had the week’s most-watched programs: two nights of “America’s Got Talent,” drawing 13.4 million and 10.9 million viewers.

Right behind, with 10.2 million viewers, was HBO’s red-hot “Game of Thrones.”

Overall in prime time during this sleepy summer week, NBC averaged 5.1 million viewers. CBS was runner-up, followed by ABC and Fox.

Fox News Channel remained the week’s most popular cable network, averaging 2 million viewers in prime time. ABC’s “World News Tonight” topped the evening newscasts for the 12th week in a row.


►  Billy Joel dons Star of David jacket during NYC show encore

Billy Joel wore a bright yellow Star of David on the front and back of his black suit during an encore at Madison Square Garden.

The “Piano Man” didn’t comment from the stage on his attire Monday. But his performance came more than a week after a rally by neo-Nazi and other groups in Charlottesville, Virginia, ended in deadly violence against anti-rally demonstrators.

Earlier in the show he alluded to it being a difficult summer. Joel joined with Patty Smyth in taking a swipe at the Trump administration. Photos of fired officials appeared on screen as Smyth sang her hit, “Goodbye to You.”

Joel’s ex-wife, Christie Brinkley, and their daughter, Alexa Ray Joel, attended the concert and praised Joel on social media. Many of his relatives died in the Holocaust.


►  Mark Wahlberg tops Forbes list of highest-paid actors

“Transformers: The Last Knight” star Mark Wahlberg has outmuscled Dwayne Johnson to become Hollywood’s highest-paid actor in the past year with a transforming income of $68 million, according to Forbes magazine.

The former rapper known as Marky Mark beat out “Baywatch” star Johnson, with $65 million, and Johnson’s “The Fate of the Furious” co-star Vin Diesel, worth $54.5 million

The rest of the top five, released Tuesday, includes Adam Sandler, flush with a Netflix deal, at No. 4 with $50.5 million and Jackie Chan with $49 million.

The top 10 actors banked a cumulative $488.5 million — nearly three times the $172.5 million combined total of the 10 top-earning women.

All the data is from between June 01, 2016, and June 01, 2017, before fees and taxes.


►  George and Amal Clooney donate $1M to fight hate groups

George and Amal Clooney are donating $1 million to fight hate groups.

The couple announced Tuesday that their Clooney Foundation for Justice is supporting the Southern Poverty Law Center with a $1 million grant to combat hate groups in the United States.

George Clooney says in a statement Tuesday that they wanted to add their voices and financial assistance to the fight for equality.

Clooney said, “There are no two sides to bigotry and hate.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center monitors the activities of more than 1,600 extremist groups in the U.S. and has used litigation to win judgments against white supremacist organizations.

Last month, the Clooney Foundation announced a $2 million grant to support education for Syrian refugee children.

Arts & Entertainment News

The Free Press WV

►  What’s in a (book’s) name? Everything!

People who say there are no shortcuts are always late to meetings, right?

They’re also wrong.

Of course there are shortcuts. Otherwise, why are there back roads to avoid the traffic on Interstate 80? Why is there a 10-items-or-less line at the supermarket?

Shortcuts are awesome and I found one.

It’s almost like a license to print money: Piggy-back on the success of others.

That’s the secret. That’s the shortcut.

Today, I announce the launch of my new series of novels, which will actually be the same novel I published a few years ago (look me up on Amazon!), but under different titles. Rather than trying to write something new, I’m going to use the success of others to reach readers who might not otherwise read the brilliantly titled “Not Quite Camelot.“

I may adjust the plot slightly so that the new title makes sense. Maybe.

Seem silly? You won’t think so when you see “Hairy Potter: Book 8” at the top of The New York Times’ best-seller list! It will have a minor character who is covered with body hair and makes ceramic pots. See? He’s a hairy potter and he would fit in “Not Quite Camelot.“

If you think people won’t fall for it, you’re mistaken. Because people watched both “Diff’rent Strokes” and “Webster.“ They watched both “The Addams Family” and “The Munsters.“

The original can be copied and improved. My idea isn’t to “steal” other people’s ideas, because it’s my idea. My novel. The titles will just be like others.

Notice that I put the word steal in quotation marks in the previous sentence, which means that if this ever goes to trial, I’ll deny everything. It was in quotation marks!

My plan doesn’t stop at “Hairy Potter.“ I have several other titles under which I plan to release NQC (we authors often refer to our books by their initials, except for something like “Case Review: Andrew Peterson,“ for obvious reasons).

I will release a book called “The Da Vinci Core,“ because I’ll add a scene where the protagonist finds an apple core that’s shaped like Leonardo Da Vinci. It’s the Da Vinci core.

For readers who love the classics, there will be a version called “A Tale of Three Cities,“ which people may misconstrue as a sequel to the Charles Dickens classic. That’s not my fault. The fact that the main character in my novel lives in three cities during the course of the plot seems like a great reason for that title.

Some readers may be intrigued by the version of the novel called “Loleta,“ which perhaps brings to mind the novel “Lolita” by Vladimir Nabokov. Again, not my fault. My novel will include a brief passage where the characters are in the small farming city of Loleta in Humboldt County. An honest mistake . . . by the reader who buys my novel!

Of course, the end game is to move into territory owned by the best-selling, most-owned book in history.

One version will be called “Brad’s Interesting Book, Literary Excellence.“

The fact that it will be called “BIBLE” on the front isn’t my fault. Maybe the reader should have looked inside before spending hard-earned money!

Don’t blame the author. Celebrate the author! He wrote the BIBLE!


►  Cosby hires Michael Jackson’s lawyer for sex assault retrial

Bill Cosby has hired Michael Jackson’s former lawyer to represent him at his November retrial on sexual assault charges in Pennsylvania.

Cosby’s spokesman announced Monday that the 80-year-old comedian is bringing in Tom Mesereau to lead a retooled defense team. Lawyers from the first trial in June had said they wanted off the case.

Mesereau won an acquittal in Jackson’s 2004 child molestation trial. He has also represented boxer Mike Tyson, actor Robert Blake and rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight.

Mesereau will be joined by Sam Silver, who represented now-imprisoned former U.S. Representative Chaka Fattah of Pennsylvania in a corruption case, and former federal prosecutor Kathleen Bliss.

Cosby’s first trial on charges he drugged and molested a woman at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004 ended in a hung jury.


►  Review: ‘The Room of Fire’ is a dark and violent book

“The Room of White Fire” (G.P. Putnam’s Sons), by T. Jefferson Parker

Roland Ford is a private investigator who excels at finding missing people. He’s also a former police officer, an Iraq war combat veteran and a widower who is tortured by the loss of his wife, who comes to him now in waking dreams.

Dr. Briggs Spencer is a psychologist who made millions teaching the CIA how to effectively torture suspects. He is atoning for it now — or so he says — by operating a chain of quality hospitals for the mentally ill. When a troubled Air Force veteran named Clay Hickman escapes from one of Briggs’ hospitals, the psychologist hires Ford to track him down.

“The Room of White Fire,” the first of a planned series of Roland Ford novels by veteran thriller writer T. Jefferson Parker, initially unfolds like a standard private eye novel. But as Ford digs deeper into the case, he discovers that everyone, from the hospital staff to Hickman’s parents, is either lying or has been lied to about the young man’s military record.

Hickman, it seems, knows a dark secret about America’s war on terror, and powerful and dangerous people are prepared to do whatever it takes to make sure the secret is never told.

As Ford searches for both Hickman and the truth, Parker deftly builds the tension from suspense to menace to an overwhelming sense of dread. The result is a fast-paced, beautifully written thriller.

Although “The Room of White Fire” is a dark and violent book, it ends on the hopeful note that even in these complicated times, a single man with courage and integrity sometimes can still make a difference. ___

Bruce DeSilva, winner of the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award, is the author of the Mulligan crime novels including “The Dread Line.”


►  Tyler performs ‘Total Eclipse’ during cruise

The Latest on the total solar eclipse crossing the U.S., from Oregon to South Carolina (all times EDT):

4 p.m.

Some cruise passengers have watched the solar eclipse as Bonnie Tyler sang her hit, “Total Eclipse of the Heart.”

The Welsh singer was backed on the ballad by Joe Jonas’ band, DNCE, during a Monday afternoon performance in an outdoor theater on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas.

“Total Eclipse Cruise” left from Florida on Sunday, sailing through the Caribbean toward St. Maarten on Monday, when the moon passed in front of the sun. A total eclipse was viewable in a narrow band across the sea.

“Total Eclipse of the Heart” topped the Billboard charts for four weeks in 1983. Spotify says streams of the song have increased by 2,859 percent in the U.S. and 827 percent worldwide during the past two weeks.

— AP writer David Fischer

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3:40 p.m.

The crickets and other animals grew noisy as it got darker at the Nashville zoo, but when the sun was totally blotted out, it was the humans who drowned out the animals, clapping, “oohing” and “aahing” for more than the nearly two minutes the total eclipse lasted.

And then once the light returned, the show began.

The two juvenile giraffes, Mazi, a 6-month-old, and Nasha, a 3-year-old, raced in circles as the people stared. About 20 feet away, some of the rhinos were doing their best imitation of running after heading toward their pens when it got dark.

Teresa Morehead, of Indianapolis, says she was surprised to see the animals running. She says the rhinos were more confused than anything.

— AP science writer Seth Borenstein

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2:55 p.m.

John Hays drove up from Bishop, California, for the total eclipse in Salem, Oregon, and says the experience will stay with him forever.

It was his second eclipse. He experienced one in Guatemala about 27 years ago. He saw Monday’s eclipse from a deck overlooking the Willamette Valley and the foothills of the Coastal Range.

Hays says he liked it because he had a clear view across the entire landscape.

He says he will never forget that “it was 10:30 and it became night.” He says “just watching the light become silvery, and the temperature drop, that was also a pretty amazing thing.”

— AP writer Andrew Selsky

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2:50 p.m.

The first total solar eclipse to sweep the U.S. coast to coast in nearly a century has come to an end in South Carolina.

Americans across the land watched in wonder Monday as the moon blocked the sun, turning daylight into twilight.

Totality — when the sun is completely obscured by the moon — lasted just two minutes or so in each location along the narrow corridor stretching all the way across the U.S., from Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. It took about 90 minutes for total blockage to cross the country.

Two-hundred million people live within a day’s drive of Monday’s path of totality. So towns and parks along the eclipse’s main drag have welcomed monumental crowds. The last coast-to-coast eclipse was in 1918.

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1:50 p.m.

Northwest cities not quite in the path of totality also enjoyed the solar eclipse.

Boise is not in totality. But birds quieted down briefly when 99.5 percent of sun was blocked. And some neighborhoods erupted into applause and hooting as residents cheered the show from their yards.

In Portland, hundreds gathered at Tom McCall Waterfront Park to see the rare celestial event. Some office workers stood on rooftops, and small crowds gathered on the sidewalks, looking skyward. Some expressed surprise that even a sliver of sun can prevent a city from falling into darkness.

Within minutes, traffic resumed on what had been eerily quiet downtown streets.

— AP writers Rebecca Boone and Steven DuBois

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1:40 p.m.

After staying behind the clouds, the sun in Nashville moved into the clear to happy staring crowds at the Nashville Zoo.

Louisiana State University chemical engineering major Tiffany Lastinger told her physics major friend, “Oh my God, Katie, look.”

The sun resembled a Pac-Man character.

Her friend, Katherine M. Nugent, studies astrophysics but was watching a group of rhinos and giraffes. The two plan to enter their observations in the iNaturalist app.

Nugent says it’s “really cool to see how different animals react.”

— AP science writer Seth Borenstein

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1:20 p.m.

The first total solar eclipse to sweep the U.S. coast to coast in nearly a century has begun in Oregon.

Americans across the land are watching in wonder through telescopes, cameras and protective glasses Monday as the moon blots out the sun and turns daylight into twilight.

Totality — when the sun is completely obscured by the moon — will last two minutes or so in each location along the narrow corridor stretching from Oregon to South Carolina.

Two-hundred million people live within a day’s drive of Monday’s path of totality, and it will take about 90 minutes for totality to cross the country.

Towns and parks along the eclipse’s main drag have welcomed monumental crowds for what promises to be the most observed, studied and photographed eclipse in history.

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12:50 p.m.

Les and Mary Anderson will mark their 13th eclipse with hundreds of amateur astronomers who have descended on Casper, Wyoming.

The couple from San Diego is attending Astroncon, which is organized by the Astronomical League.

The Andersons met on a photography field trip at Yosemite National Park and went to Mexico for an eclipse in 1991, the year before they got married.

In Casper, they joined a friend they met during an eclipse in Aruba in 1998.

Mike O’Leary was ready Monday with a camera outfitted with a homemade eclipse filter. He says seeing an eclipse is “like nothing else you will ever see or do.”

— AP videographer Peter Banda

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Noon

Both of South Carolina’s political parties are trying to capitalize on the eclipse in fundraising campaigns.

In an email titled “‘Eclipse’ the Democrats!” the South Carolina Republican Party on Monday asked donors to contribute $20.18 toward the party’s efforts to “keep Democrats TOTALLY in the dark” in next year’s elections. Republicans now hold all statewide elected offices and control both chambers of South Carolina’s Legislature.

In a message of their own, the state’s Democratic Party sent supporters links to recent political articles in several outlets reminding them of work ahead of the party.

The party told supporters, “Nobody go blind today, there’s too much work to do for Democrats all across the state!”

— AP writer Meg Kinnard

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11:40 a.m.

Eclipse viewers, many of them slathered with sunscreen, are streaming into the noisy Nashville Zoo hours early to see both the eclipse and animals’ weird reactions to it.

Zoo spokesman Jim Bartoo says people were camping out at the zoo entrance at 6 a.m., three hours before the gates opened and seven-and-a-half hours before totality.

Paulette Simmons of Nashville came to the zoo after a doctor’s appointment, saying she decided on the location because she wanted to see how the animals reacted.

The flamingo lagoon is one of the most popular locales, with the birds expected to roost and get noisy when the sun darkens.

Ninety minutes after the zoo opened, the pathways were clogged with people.

— AP science writer Seth Borenstein

___

11:30 a.m.

Baseball fans in more than a half-dozen cities are heading to ballparks to watch the solar eclipse as teams look to cash in with game-day viewing parties.

Minor league teams from Oregon to South Carolina have scheduled games Monday to coincide with the total eclipse as it streaks across the United States.

In Nebraska, the Lincoln Saltdogs will wear special eclipse jerseys and stop their game to watch the full eclipse at 1:02 p.m. The team says it has sold tickets to buyers from as far away as the United Kingdom and Germany.

Other teams hosting events include the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, Idaho Falls Chukars, Bowling Green Hot Rods, Nashville Sounds, Greenville Drive, Columbia Fireflies and Charleston RiverDogs.

No big league games are scheduled to coincide with the eclipse.

— AP writer Grant Schulte

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11:25 a.m.

Forecasters say it looks like a big chunk of the nation on the path of the total eclipse will get clear viewing for the sky show.

National Weather Service meteorologist Patrick Burke says about 70 percent of the area on the 70-mile path stretching from Oregon to South Carolina is likely to have clear skies when the moon moves in front of the sun.

Burke says it looks good for the Pacific Northwest, the Northern Rockies, Tennessee, Kentucky, and into western South Carolina.

The toughest areas are coastal South Carolina, eastern Nebraska, north and central Missouri and Illinois. Burke says those areas will have thick clouds and have to dodge pop-up thunderstorms.

Astronomers say clouds and rainstorm make it difficult to see the classic image of the blotted out sun.

— AP science writer Seth Borenstein

___

9:45 a.m.

With just hours to go before a total solar eclipse would reach the Oregon coast, people were streaming into the fairgrounds in Salem, Oregon, to view the spectacle Monday morning.

The sound of Taiko drummers filled the air during a pre-eclipse show at the fairgrounds. Less than 50 miles north in Portland, Oregon, eclipse experts, contest winners, an astronaut and members of the media were boarding an Alaska Airlines charter flight to fly two hours southwest in to intercept the eclipse about 10 a.m. PDT.

Meanwhile, thousands of eclipse tourists were gathered in the tiny town of Weiser, Idaho. Among them was Agnese Zalcmane, who traveled to the western United States from Latvia so she could be in the zone when the moon’s shadow completely covers the sun.

— AP writer Gillian Flaccus

___

3 a.m.

Americans with telescopes, cameras and protective glasses are staking out viewing spots to watch the moon blot out the midday sun Monday.

It promises to be the most observed and photographed eclipse in history. The main drag will stretch along a narrow corridor from Oregon to South Carolina. Millions of eclipse watchers are expected to peer skyward, and they’re hoping for clear weather.

It will be the first total solar eclipse to sweep coast-to-coast across the U.S. in 99 years.

Arts & Entertainment News

The Free Press WV

►  Comedians, stars react to death of Jerry Lewis

Reaction to the death of comedy legend Jerry Lewis:

“That fool was no dummy. Jerry Lewis was an undeniable genius an unfathomable blessing, comedy’s absolute! I am because he was!” — Jim Carrey on Twitter

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“Jerry was a pioneer in comedy and film. And he was a friend. I was fortunate to have seen him a few times over the past couple of years. Even at 91, he didn’t miss a beat. Or a punchline. You’ll be missed.“ — Robert DeNiro in a statement

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“So saddened to learn of the passing of Jerry Lewis, a true comic icon. In Boston 1947 I roared at his and Dean’s first ever performance.“ — Carl Reiner on Twitter.

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“My mentor & friend Jerry Lewis has passed away. A visionary. A pioneer in all forms of entertainment. A charitable human. A father. He meant the world to me& I will forever cherish the time I got to spend with him & his family. At a dark time in my life he brought me joy. Jerry’s daughter Danielle is the reason her dad & I got so close. I will never be able to thank her enough for putting him in my life. Always funny. Always helpful. Always honest. I will miss you Jerry Lewis. The world has lost a true innovator & icon.“ — Dane Cook, in a series of tweets, on Twitter

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“Jerry Lewis, a complicated soul who made the whole world laugh has died.“ — Bette Midler on Twitter

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“Jerry Lewis has passed on. I sincerely hope his afterlife is a warm, peaceful . . . haven.” — Patton Oswalt on Twitter

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“We will miss Jerry so much. I can’t believe I got to meet him and spend time with him. How did my life get good enough that Jerry Lewis would smile at me? And how sad to lose him. Goodbye to the real, no irony, king of comedy.“ — Penn Jillette, in a series of tweets, on Twitter

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“Jerry Lewis passed today, millions around the world loved him, millions of kids he helped w/his telethons. R.I.P. &condolences 2 his family.“ — Whoopi Goldberg on Twitter

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“Jerry Lewis loomed large in my family. Many movies with my mom & he made home movies with Janet and Tony. He made me and many laugh.“ — Jamie Lee Curtis on Twitter

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“As a kid, I’m pretty sure I was the biggest Jerry Lewis fan in the world. Truly. R.I.P. Jerry Lewis.” — Kumail Nanjiani on Twitter

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“Dick Gregory and Jerry Lewis were two of the funniest, most legendary and prolific entertainers of our generation and I bow to their genius.” — Margaret Cho on Twitter

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“Oh NOOOOO!!! Jerry Lewis just died! Another comic legend has left us. Martin&Lewis were the Beatles of comedy! Nobody was EVER bigger!” — Rob Schneider on Twitter

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“We lost one of the great ones today…possibly the greatest. Jerry Lewis was one of my comedy heroes & was a gigantic inspiration to me. I am so grateful to have shared some valuable time with him.” — Sean Hayes on Instagram

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“The Muscular Dystrophy Association is deeply saddened by the death of beloved comedian, performer, humanitarian and former MDA telethon star and national chairman Jerry Lewis. MDA would not be the organization it is today if it were not for Jerry’s tireless efforts on behalf of ‘his kids.‘ His enthusiasm for finding cures for neuromuscular disease was matched only by his unyielding commitment to see the fight through to the end . . . ’ ” —MDA Chairman of the Board R. Rodney Howell in a statement

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“One of the greatest of all time. A legend. A showman. A comedic icon. A movie star. An activist. A one of a kind.“ — Josh Gad on Twitter

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“Condolences to the family of Jerry Lewis. The world is a lot less funnier today.“ — William Shatner on Twitter

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“Jerry Lewis was an angel to me. Loved him & will never forget what he did for me during one of the worst times in my life.” — Rose Marie on Twitter

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“Sad to read about the passing of Jerry Lewis. We met when we both received honorary degrees from Emerson in ’93; how he made me laugh!“ — Marlee Matlin on Twitter


►  SPX Ignatz Award nominees: Books tackling bigotry top ‘the Spirit Awards of comics’

Emil Ferris continues to have a breakthrough year. Her debut graphic novel “My Favorite Thing Is Monsters” has just received three Ignatz Award nominations, Small Press Expo is announcing Thursday.

The Chicago-sprung creator’s coming-of-age “sketchbook” tale, published by Fantagraphics, has already been called “one of the most profound, ambitious and accomplished creative works to appear in any medium this decade” (Forbes) that “speaks to the current political climate in chilling ways” (AV Club).

Another lauded work that speaks to prejudice past and present is also being recognized: The latest installment in Representative John Lewis’ civil rights graphic memoir, “March: Book Three” (Top Shelf), co-written by Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell, received twin Ignatz nominations. Last fall, it became the first graphic novel to win the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.

Besides those works, also nominated in the outstanding graphic novel category are two more Fantagraphics books – Cathy Malkasian’s “Eartha” and Anya Davidson’s “Band for Life” – and Box Brown’s “Tetris” from First Second.

As a champion of indie works, the esteemed Ignatz Awards have been considered “the Spirit Awards of comics.“

“This year, we had nearly 600 submissions, which is pretty incredible,“ Ignatz director Dan Stafford says. “About one-third of the print submissions are self-published work, which shows the vibrancy and strength of the indie comics community.

The Ignatz Award, named for the legendary brick-hurling “Krazy Kat” character, honors excellence specifically for independent comics. The jurors for this year’s nominations were Neil Brideau, Glynnis Fawkes, Sara Lautman, Trungles and David Willis.

The winners will be announced during this year’s Small Press Expo, September 16-17 at the Marriott North Bethesda Hotel and Convention Center in suburban Washington. The Ignatz ceremony is co-sponsored by Amazon-owned comiXology. (Amazon founder Jeffrey P. Bezos owns The Post. But then, you knew that.)

Here is the full list of 2017 Ignatz Award nominees:


Outstanding Artist

Karen Katz – “The Academic Hour” (Secret Acres)

Emil Ferris – “My Favorite Thing is Monsters” (Fantagrahpics)

Manuele Fior – “The Interview” (Fantagraphics)

Barbara Yelin – “Irmina” (Self Made Hero)Pablo Auldadell – “Paradise Lost” (Pegasus Books)


Outstanding Anthology

“ELEMENTS: Fire – An Anthology by Creators of Color” – edited by Taneka Stotts (Beyond Press)

“POWER &MAGIC: The Queer Witch Comics Anthology” – edited by Joamette Gil (P&M Press)“

“Spanish Fever: Stories by the New Spanish Cartoonists” – edited by Javier Olivares &Santiago Garcia (Fantagraphics)

“Comic Book Slumber Party’s Deep Space Canine” – edited by Hanhah K. Chapman (Avery Hill)

“ALPHABET: The LGBTQAIU Creators,“ from Prism Comics – edited by Jon Macy and Tara Madison Avery (Stacked Deck Press)


Outstanding Collection

“The Complete Neat Stuff” – Peter Bagge (Fantagraphics)

“Johnny Wander: Our Cats Are More Famous Than Us” – Ananth Hirsh, Yuko Ota (Oni Press)

“Time Clock” – Leslie Stein (Fantagraphics)

“Boundless” – Jillian Tamaki (Drawn &Quarterly)

“Hip Hop Family Tree, Vol. 2″ – Ed Piskor (Fantagraphics)


Outstanding Graphic Novel

“Eartha” – Cathy Malkasian (Fantagraphics)

“March: Book 3″ – John Lewis, Nate Powell, Andrew Aydin (Top Shelf)

“My Favorite Thing Is Monsters” – Emil Ferris (Fantagraphics)

“Band for Life” – Anya Davidson (Fantagraphics)

“Tetris” – Box Brown (First Second)


Outstanding Story

“March: Book 3″ – John Lewis, Nate Powell, Andrew Aydin (Top Shelf)

“My Favorite Thing Is Monsters” – Emil Ferris (Fantagraphics)

“Small Enough,“ from “Diary Comics” – Dustin Harbin (Koyama Press)

“Too Hot to Be Cool” – Maddi Gonzales

“Diana’s Electric Tongue” – Carolyn Nowak (self-published)


Promising New Talent

Isabella Rotman – “Long Black Veil” (self-published)

Margot Ferrick – “Yours” (2D Cloud)

Aud Koch – “Run,“ from the Oath Anthology (Mary’s Monster)

Bianca Xunise – “Say Her Name” (self-published)

Kelly Bastow – “Year Long Summer” (self-published)


Outstanding Series

Chester 5000, by Jess Fink (self-published)

The Old Woman, by Rebecca Mock (self-published)Maleficium, by Sabin Couldron (self-published)

Frontier, edited by Ryan Sands (Youth in Decline)

Crickets, by Sammy Harkham (self-published)


Outstanding Comic

“Public Relations #10″ – Matthew Sturges, Dave Justus, Steve Rolston, Annie Wu (1First Comics)

“Libby’s Dad” – Eleanor Davis (Retrofit/Big Planet)

“Canopy” – Karine Bernadou (Retrofit/Big Planet)

“Your Black Friend” – Ben Passmore (Silver Sprocket)“Sunburning” – Keiler Roberts (Koyama Press)


Outstanding Minicomic (self-published)

Tender Hearted – Hazel Newlevant

The Man Who Came Down the Attic Stairs – Celine Loup

Reverse Flaneur – M. Sabine Rear

Same Place Same Time – Ann Xu

Our Tale of Woe – Keren Katz &Geffen Refaeli


Outstanding Online Comic

Disability in the Age of Trump – Amanda Scurti (The Nib)

That’s Not Who We Are – Mike Dawson (The Nib)

The Meek – Der-Shing Helmer (self-published)

Woman World – Aminder Dhaliwal (self-published)

Normal Person/Maine Vacation – Lauren Weinstein (Village Voice and Mutha Magazine)


►  Movies are moving to a more modern sound

Film music is only a little more than 100 years old, but that’s long enough for any art form to grow stale. Musically, most trips to the multiplex run together these days, with delights and surprises in short supply. But if this year’s Academy Award nominees for best score are any indication, new blood is beginning to course.

Justin Hurwitz, who won the Oscar, is only 32 - and “La La Land” was his third score for a feature film. Mica Levi, 30, was nominated for her second feature, “Jackie.“ “Moonlight” composer Nicholas Britell, 36, scored his first major film in 2015. But it’s not just the relative youth and wetness-behind-the-ears that are noteworthy. These composers, and several others, are shaking up the sound of Hollywood. Film scores are starting to have personality again.

Levi’s score for “Jackie,“ with its in-your-face string slides and jarring, queasy waltzes, was somewhat divisive, but that’s because people took notice. The London native was classically trained, but until recently was best known as “Micachu,“ creator of experimental pop music. She brought her unique background to Chilean director Pablo Larraín’s outsider take on the grieving first lady.

Larraín was a juror at the Venice Film Festival in 2013 when Levi made her film scoring debut, for Jonathan Glazer’s “Under the Skin,“ an itching, churning aural nightmare for Scarlett Johansson’s seductive alien.

Larraín “pushed the jury committee for an award for Mica, and she got it, because I felt that I was listening to something that was immediately made from a master,“ he said last year. “I just thought that it was really something that I had never heard before – and nowadays, that’s something very, very, very hard.“

While the director was editing “Jackie,“ Levi sent him short pieces – music of trauma, of abstraction, and music she just thought Jacqueline Kennedy “might have liked” – and he inserted them in unexpected places, often loudly, to create an overall feeling of disorientation. Film music is often disparaged as emotional wallpaper, but Levi’s scores are main characters.

This new wave of composers is emerging partly thanks to young filmmakers entering the field, often looking to their peers for easy collegiality - as opposed to when a previous generation, led by Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese, began making films, and looked to John Williams and Bernard Herrmann for veteran voices.

Hurwitz and director Damien Chazelle went to Harvard, where they played in a band together. That dorm room rapport contributed to their first collaboration, the indie musical “Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench,“ and organically led to their work on “Whiplash” and “La La Land.“ Music has played an important role in all of their projects, and Hurwitz’s scores have sounded ironically novel by showcasing vintage styles such as jazz and old Hollywood musicals.

Nicholas Britell was a producer on the “Whiplash” short that preceded Chazelle’s feature, and he even worked on an early “La La Land” song that didn’t make the cut. The Manhattan-born composer studied to be a concert pianist but instead went to Harvard to study psychology. There, he joined a hip-hop band and made beats on a daily basis.

“We used to always end up at 1 a.m. with him playing Gershwin, going into like Snoop Dogg, going into Bach,“ recalled classmate Natalie Portman, who in 2015 hired Britell to score her debut feature, “A Tale of Love and Darkness.“ “I think it’s part of his openness that he just appreciates good music from any genre. It doesn’t have to be, like, the canon, you know.“

Film music has often erred into a thick orchestral mayonnaise, but Britell favors intimacy and tactility - just right for Barry Jenkins’s Oscar-winning “Moonlight.“ The composer wrote a fragile violin poem (recorded with a closely miked bow) for the young protagonist, which grew deeper in sound as the character grows older. He applied the southern hip-hop tactic of “chopped and screwed” to slow the music down.

“It was a beautiful thing,“ Jenkins said. “I was speaking in a language, and Nick was speaking in another language, but we were saying the same thing quite often. The journey that we took together was invigorating for both of us, because there was always this thing where I’m teaching Nick about chopped and screwed, and he’s teaching me about tremolos and counterpoint.“

All of the above films fall into “indie” or “prestige” genres, and the blockbuster category is still dominated by Hollywood’s old guard. Hans Zimmer, 59, just scored “Dunkirk” for regular collaborator Christopher Nolan. Danny Elfman, 64, is working on the score for “Justice League.“ Alan Silvestri, 67, has Steven Spielberg’s “Ready Player One” and “Avengers: Infinity War” on his plate. The venerable John Williams, 85, is working on the next “Star Wars.“ Michael Giacchino is the youngest genre king at 49, and he brings an old-school, classical Hollywood approach to almost every major modern franchise, from J.J. Abrams’s “Star Trek” films to the recent “Spider-Man: Homecoming.“

In the beginning, film music was written by concert – or would-be concert – composers, often European, academically steeped in Wagner and Romantic symphonies. The first 50 years of the art form used a symphonic language adapted to the storytelling architecture of cinema (think of Max Steiner’s scores for “Gone With the Wind” or “Casablanca”).

Then avant-garde vocabulary began to sneak in. One of the first truly original voices, Bernard Herrmann, reinvented film music with his distinct, minimalist scores for “Vertigo” and “North by Northwest.“

Jazz trickled in during the 1950s and ‘60s thanks to composers such as Henry Mancini (“Breakfast at Tiffany’s”), and then rock-and-roll, with John Barry’s rip-roaring “James Bond” scores leading the charge. In 1977, John Williams induced the second coming of the symphonic approach with “Star Wars,“ and his style dominated the field for the next two decades.

Then came Hans Zimmer. Preceded by synthesizer wizards such as Giorgio Moroder (who brought a disco attitude to “Midnight Express”) and Vangelis (“Blade Runner”), Zimmer introduced his poppy, electronic personality in “Rain Man,“ defined the action movie sound of the ‘90s with “Crimson Tide,“ and then swallowed the first part of the 21st century with his influential scores for Ridley Scott (“Gladiator”) and Christopher Nolan (“Inception,“ “The Dark Knight” trilogy).

The Zimmer sound – big, bombastic and groove-based - became the model, partly because of its contemporary cool and also because of the commercial, risk-averse nature of the modern Hollywood machine. As Zimmer continued to evolve his sound with scores such as “The Thin Red Line” and “Interstellar,“ he left an ocean full of pale imitations and sameness in his wake.

Which makes the recent influx of individualistic, and sometimes radical, newcomers so welcome. Composers are emigrating from rock bands – such as Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood (“There Will Be Blood”) and The National’s Bryce Dessner (“The Revenant”) – from hip-hop, jazz (see “Selma” composer Jason Moran), conservatories and from all around the world. Tentpole films might continue to be propped up by old, familiar stakes, but the rest of cinema – not to mention ambitious series on cable and streaming services – is beginning to stir with new life.

There’s still a glaring lack of women getting work, as well as people of color. A greater diversity of voices in those areas would only infuse more vitality into the art. But with the broadening concept of who gets to score films, and an increasing appetite for new approaches, it might only be a matter of time.

Individuality and diversity lead to surprising film music. Look no further than Levi’s score for “Jackie.“

“She was doing something that was just different for music, and I guess that’s the key,“ Larraín said. “Sometimes people will support a specific idea or emotion with the music, and it will just be the same [as] what we’re looking at. Mica would do something totally different, and then with the image, it would create a third idea.“


►  ‘Game of Thrones’ used to be all about the journey. Now it’s about the destination.

The boats and horses on “Game of Thrones” are moving faster than ever. On Sunday night’s episode, Daenerys dispatched Tyrion and Davos to King’s Landing and, moments later, the men were rowing to its shores. But that was just the start of Davos pinballing around Westeros. During the same episode, he wandered around Flea Bottom, returned to Dragonstone and, most preposterously, made it all the way north to Eastwatch and beyond.

“Game of Thrones” has always taken liberties with the passage of time, but the itinerary Davos followed was still laughably efficient. This kind of voyage used to take characters a season or two to complete, and the journeys were harrowing, riddled with enemies and obstacles. Now Jon Snow can snap his fingers in Dragonstone and end up next to his old pal Tormund at the Wall moments later. (The White Walkers, meanwhile, are total lollygaggers, in no apparent hurry to annihilate mankind.)

In past seasons, journeys facilitated disarmingly funny or poignant moments. For every Battle of the Blackwater, there was a lot of aimless meandering that led unexpectedly to exciting adventures or meaningful alliances: Arya and Gendry bonding while sneaking away from King’s Landing or Jon Snow searching for Benjen but meeting a spunky redhead named Ygritte instead.

During the final episodes of any action-packed series, the pace inevitably quickens. But we lose something when the story becomes entirely goal-oriented. This season, journeys have been interrupted only to introduce more action – the battle of the Greyjoys, the Loot Train rout – or throw in a prominent stunt cameo.

But in past seasons, the wandering has delivered much more. Here’s a look at some of the standout trips and what they added to the show.

- Arya and the Hound hit the road

The foul-mouthed fighter and his impish captive/sidekick were on the road together for multiple seasons. First they were headed to the Twins so the Hound could ransom Arya to her brother, Robb. But, after stumbling onto the Red Wedding, the Hound had to rethink his plan. So it was off to the Eyrie to unload the girl on her aunt. But the pair’s timing was never very good: Lysa Arryn had just died, too. After everything, Arya’s response to the news of the death was understandable.

The Arya-and-Hound Show became like a buddy comedy within the larger drama. It wasn’t moving the plot forward much, but it did add layers, making Joffrey’s former bodyguard more sympathetic while showing Arya’s growing thirst for vengeance. The companions found action along the way, killing some of the king’s men – and giving Arya the chance to cross a name off her list – but mostly they supplied entertainment, as they debated the merits of sword naming and water dancing, and the Hound came up with more and more inventive ways to employ the mother of all bad words.

Their journey ended in an unexpectedly poignant moment when the Hound, horribly wounded by Brienne of Tarth, begged Arya to put him out of his misery and kill him. Instead, she walked away. Was her decision cold-hearted or kind? It’s hard to say, though her intentions might become clearer if the two ever meet again. (And, considering Arya can now best Brienne in a sword fight, he might want to watch his back.)

- Brienne and Jaime become hostages - and friends

Going into season two, Jaime didn’t have a great reputation. As far as the audience knew, he was just an incestuous kingslayer who tried to kill a little boy. But his travels in season two, when he and Brienne were captured by Locke and Bolton’s men, changed that. If you didn’t feel bad for him after Locke chopped off his hand – just after saving Brienne from getting gang-raped – then you at least had to admit he became more likable once he explained why he murdered King Aerys. He did it to save not just his father, but the whole city, which the Mad King wanted to set ablaze with wildfire.

Jaime further redeemed himself by rescuing Brienne from certain death in the bear pit at Harrenhal. It was always clear that Brienne was an honorable person who kept her promises, but it wasn’t until she and Jaime were tied up together on a single horse that his sense of moral duty came into focus.

- Brienne and Podrick search for the Stark girls

Brienne and Podrick’s relationship is like a less foul-mouthed version of the Arya-Hound bond: There’s a lot of great one-liners, a bit of killing and the occasional heart-to-heart – but with fewer four-letter words. In such a dark universe, where characters will stop at nothing for a bit of power, the Lady and her squire are a glimmer of light. Their mission is clear and, although Brienne gives Podrick a hard time, they have a sweet bond that’s evolved over time. Podrick started out as the hapless helper of an ice queen, but she’s taught him to be a better fighter and even opened up about her vulnerabilities along the way. The pair have also stumbled onto some major action, first when they caught up with Arya and the Hound, and then when they rescued Sansa and Theon from Ramsay Bolton’s men and dogs.

- Ned and Robert head to King’s Landing

The first big journey of the show took place at the beginning of the first season when King Robert persuaded Ned Stark to leave Winterfell and become Hand of the King. On the way to King’s Landing, the men took a break so Robert could have a feast, and the old friends had a lengthy conversation that not only set the stage for many plot points to come but also gave the audience a sense of what an upstanding guy Ned was.

When Robert brought up the identity of Jon Snow’s mother, Ned’s jovial demeanor suddenly shifted.

“She must have been a rare wench to make Lord Eddard Stark forget his honor,“ Robert said. “You never told me what she looked like.“

“Nor will I,“ Ned responded.

Of course, now we know Jon Snow isn’t really Ned’s at all, but the son of his sister and Rhaegar Targaryen. Ned would never forget his honor.

When Robert shifts the conversation to doing away with Daenerys Targaryen, who has just wed Khal Drogo, Ned says, “Tell me we’re not speaking of this.“ But Robert is still set on revenge against whatever Targaryens he can find ever since Rhaegar supposedly stole away his betrothed, Lyanna Stark.

The scene ends on an ominous note that predicts the inevitable darkness to come.

“There’s a war coming, Ned,“ Robert says. “I don’t know when. I don’t know who we’ll be fighting, but it’s coming.“

- Sam and Gilly escape the North

Sometimes a journey – especially one north of the Wall – means crossing paths with a White Walker. That’s what happened to Sam, who defended Gilly with a dragonglass dagger. As it turned out, Sam’s a pretty heroic guy. But more importantly: Dragonglass kills White Walkers? Well, that’s useful information.

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►  Review: ‘Logan Lucky’ is sure to put a smile on your face

“Logan Lucky “ is an easy movie to like, but maybe not love.

In his big return to film after a four-year hiatus (or retirement, if it can even be called that now), Steven Soderbergh has created a sort of cinematic bingo of his well of tricks. Heist movie? Check. Channing Tatum? Check. Not so subtle metaphors slipped in to genre stories about the state of the working class man? Check. Dopey but reliable sidekick brothers? Check, check, check.

That’s not to say that “Logan Lucky” has nothing new to offer — it just feels unshakably familiar in a way that could irk some and feel like home to others.

The setting for this heist is West Virginia, where Tatum’s Jimmy Logan has just been laid off from his coal mining job because one of the higher-ups spotted him walking around with a limp. Like a distant cousin to Magic Mike, who supplemented waning construction work with stripping, Jimmy Logan is another side of the American dream dashed. Once a high school football star with a promising future, Jimmy has ended up in the same place where he began, only slightly worse. He’s also got a young daughter, Sadie (a precocious and adorable Farrah Mackenzie), and an ex-wife (Katie Holmes) who has traded up for a middle class husband (David Denman) and may be moving across state lines imminently.

His brother, Clyde Logan (Adam Driver) is a slow-talkin’ bartender who lost one of his arms serving in Iraq, but can still make a killer martini when an arrogant NASCAR sponsor played by Seth MacFarlane challenges him. And his sister, Mellie Logan (Riley Keough), is a no-nonsense hairdresser who wears acrylics, drives a stick and has no time for try-hards like her ex-sister-in-law’s new husband.

The Logans, simply, are not going anywhere anytime soon, which is why they decide to try to take something back from the institutions that have failed to share the wealth with the people who support them. Their plan? To intercept the cash flow at a big NASCAR race.

They gather up some help in an incarcerated demolition savant, Joe Bang (Daniel Craig, who is hilarious), and his knucklehead but shrewd-enough brothers Fish (Jack Quaid) and Sam (Brian Gleeson) who say things like they “know all the things there is to know about computers” while playing horseshoes with toilet seats.

Suffice it to say, this is not some verite look at the world of coal miners and NASCAR lovers, nor is it an all-out comedy a la “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.” Rather, it’s an interesting combination of the two, closest, probably to Adam McKay’s “The Big Short” but a lot sillier.

“Logan Lucky” throws in bits about charity health workers providing shots to the underprivileged West Virginians next to MacFarlane sporting a Rick James wig and a British accent. For all its wildness, “Magic Mike” was done with a straight face and happened to be about something more than male strippers. “Logan Lucky,” despite the social consciousness, is slightly more trivial.

And unlike “Magic Mike,” it never really feels like it’s about the people it’s about — it is all surface. You’re always very keenly aware you’re watching movie stars who are just playing at being hillbillies. That’s not a bad thing — especially when you’ve got a batch of charismatic personalities hamming it up in trucker hats without condescending to their subjects.

It’s a gimmick, however enjoyable, that goes on a little too long, with a few too many tangents that can’t sustain the pulsating energy of, say, any of the “Ocean’s” movies.

But, flaws aside, it is a darn good heist, and sure to leave you with a smile on your face. We should be glad Soderbergh is back, hopefully this time for good.

“Logan Lucky,” a Bleecker Street release, is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for “language and some crude comments.” Running time: 119 minutes. Two and a half stars out of four.

___

MPAA Definition of PG-13: Parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.


►  Robin Thicke’s girlfriend announces pregnancy

Robin Thicke’s girlfriend has announced she’s expecting a baby with the singer and her due date is the same as the birthday of Thicke’s late father, actor Alan Thicke.

April Love Geary made the announcement on Instagram Thursday alongside a sonogram image. She writes that “the due date is March 1st, Alan’s birthday!” The actor died in December at age 69.

Robin Thicke has been dating the 22-year-old model since his divorce from actress Paula Patton in 2015. This would be the second child for the 40-year-old Thicke. His son with Patton, Julian, was born in 2010.

Thicke’s publicist didn’t immediately return a request for comment.


►  Tina Fey returns to ‘Weekend Update’ to talk Charlottesville

Tiny Fey has returned to “Weekend Update” on “Saturday Night Live” to discuss the violence surrounding a white nationalist rally near her alma mater’s campus in Charlottesville.

Fey sported a University of Virginia sweatshirt Thursday on “Weekend Update: Summer Edition.”


She says it broke her heart to see “these evil forces” descend on Charlottesville.

She also criticized Donald Trump for blaming “both sides” for the violence. She says, “Nazis are always bad. I don’t care what you say.”

She noted that another white nationalist rally is planned for Saturday in New York and joked that she hopes neo-Nazis in the city “get the ham salad kicked out of them by a bunch of drag queens.”

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