Saturday, December 25, 2010
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Kenneth Wayne "Ken" Jennings III (born May 23, 1974) is an American game show contestant. Jennings is noted for holding the record for the longest winning streak on the U.S. syndicated game show Jeopardy! and was the all-time leading money winner on American game shows. In 2004, Jennings won 74 Jeopardy! games before he was defeated by challenger Nancy Zerg on his 75th appearance. His total earnings on Jeopardy! are US $3,022,700 ($2,520,700 over his 74 wins, a $2,000 second-place prize in his 75th appearance, and a $500,000 second-place prize in the Jeopardy! Ultimate Tournament of Champions).
During his first run of Jeopardy! appearances, Jennings earned the record for the highest American game show winnings. His total was surpassed by Brad Rutter, who defeated Jennings in the finals of the Jeopardy! Ultimate Tournament of Champions (first aired on May 25, 2005), adding $2,000,000 to Rutter's existing Jeopardy! winnings. Jennings regained the record after appearing on several other game shows, culminating in an appearance on Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? (first aired on October 10, 2008), though Rutter retains the Jeopardy! record.
After his success on Jeopardy!, Jennings wrote of his experience and explored American trivia history and culture in Brainiac: Adventures in the Curious, Competitive, Compulsive World of Trivia Buffs, published in 2006. Jennings also appeared as a member of the mob on the game show 1 vs. 100 in 2006, and in 2007 he was the champion of the US version of Grand Slam.
On November 30, 2004, Jennings's long reign as Jeopardy! champion ended when he lost his seventy-fifth game to challenger Nancy Zerg. Jennings responded incorrectly to both Double Jeopardy! Daily Doubles, causing him to lose a combined $10,200 ($5,400 and $4,800 respectively) and leaving him with $14,400 at the end of the round. As a result, for only the tenth time in 75 games Jennings did not have an insurmountable lead going into the Final Jeopardy! round. Only Jennings and Zerg, who ended Double Jeopardy! with $10,000, were able to play Final Jeopardy! as third place contestant David Hankins failed to finish with a positive score after Double Jeopardy!.
The Final Jeopardy! category was Business and Industry, and the answer was "Most of this firm's 70,000 seasonal white-collar employees work only four months a year." Zerg responded correctly with "What is H&R Block?" and wagered $4,401 of her $10,000, giving her a $1 lead over Jennings with his response still to be revealed. Jennings incorrectly responded with "What is FedEx?" and lost the game with a final score of $8,799 after his $5,601 wager was deducted from his score. He was awarded $2,000 for his second place finish, which gave him a final total of $2,522,700 for his run on Jeopardy! Zerg, who Jennings called a "formidable opponent," finished in third place on the next show.
Jennings' 75 matches took place over a span of 182 calendar days, which included stoppages for the show's summer break, one Kids Week series of episodes, the 2004 Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions, and the 2004 Jeopardy! College Championship.
The original version of the show, hosted by Art Fleming, which debuted on NBC on March 30, 1964, was taped in Studio 6A at NBC Studios at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City. In addition to Studio 6A, Studio 8G was also frequently used to record the show.
The 1978 version of the show, The All-New Jeopardy!, was taped from NBC Studio 3 in Burbank, California, with a set designed by Henry Lickel and Dennis Roof.
When the syndicated Jeopardy! premiered in 1984, it was taped at Metromedia Stage 7, KTTV-TV, on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. From 1985 to 1994, the show was taped at Hollywood Center Studios' Stage 9.
After the final shows of Season 10 were taped on February 15, 1994, production moved to Sony Pictures Studios' Stage 10 on Washington Boulevard in Culver City, California, where the first shows of Season 11 were taped on July 12, 1994.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Earvin "Magic" Johnson Jr. (born August 14, 1959) is a retired American professional basketball player who played point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). After winning championships in high school and college, Johnson was selected first overall in the 1979 NBA Draft by the Lakers. He won a championship and an NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award in his rookie season, and won four more championships with the Lakers during the 1980s. Johnson retired abruptly in 1991 after announcing that he had HIV, but returned to play in the 1992 All-Star Game, winning the All-Star MVP Award. After protests from his fellow players, he retired again for four years, but returned in 1996 to play 32 games for the Lakers before retiring for the third and final time.
Johnson's career achievements include three NBA MVP Awards, nine NBA Finals appearances, twelve All-Star games, and ten All-NBA First and Second Team nominations. He led the league in regular-season assists four times, and is the NBA's all-time leader in assists per game, with an average of 11.2. Johnson was a member of the "Dream Team", the U.S. basketball team that won the Olympic gold medal in 1992.
Johnson was honored as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996, and enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002. He was rated the greatest NBA point guard of all time by ESPN in 2007. His friendship and rivalry with Boston Celtics star Larry Bird, whom he faced in the 1979 NCAA finals and three NBA championship series, were well documented. Since his retirement, Johnson has been an advocate for HIV/AIDS prevention and safe sex, as well as a philanthropist and motivational speaker.
After a physical before the 1991–92 NBA season, Johnson discovered that he had tested positive for HIV. In a press conference held on November 7, 1991, Johnson made a public announcement that he would retire immediately. He stated that his wife Cookie and their unborn child did not have HIV, and that he would dedicate his life to "battle this deadly disease." Johnson initially said that he did not know how he contracted the disease, but later acknowledged that it was through having multiple sexual partners during his playing career.
Friday, October 29, 2010
Sunday, July 11, 2010
The Hollywood Bowl is a modern amphitheatre in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles, California, USA, that is used primarily for music performances. It has a seating capacity of 17,376.
The Hollywood Bowl is known for its band shell, a distinctive set of concentric arches that graced the site from 1929 through 2003, before being replaced with a somewhat larger one beginning in the 2004 season. The shell is set against the backdrop of the Hollywood Hills and the famous Hollywood Sign to the Northeast.
The "bowl" refers to the shape of the concave hillside the amphitheater is carved into. The bowl is owned by the County of Los Angeles and is the home of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the host of hundreds of musical events each year.
It is located at 2301 North Highland Avenue, north of Hollywood Blvd and the Hollywood & Highland subway station and south of Route 101.
The Bowl officially opened on July 11, 1922 on the site of a natural amphitheater formerly known as the Daisy Dell.
At first, the Bowl was very close to its natural state, with only makeshift wooden benches for the audience, and eventually a simple awning over the stage. In 1926, a group known as the Allied Architects was contracted to regrade the Bowl, providing permanent seating and a shell. These improvements did provide increased capacity (the all-time record for attendance was set in 1936, when 26,410 people crowded into the Bowl to hear opera singer Lily Pons), but were otherwise disappointing, as the regrading noticeably degraded the natural acoustics, and the original shell was deemed acoustically unsatisfactory (as well as visually unfashionable, with its murals of sailing ships).
For the 1927 season, Lloyd Wright built a pyramidal shell, with a vaguely Southwestern look, out of left-over lumber from a production of Robin Hood. This was generally regarded as the best shell the Bowl ever had from an acoustic standpoint; unfortunately, its appearance was deemed too avant-garde, and it was demolished at the end of the season. It did, however, get Wright a second chance, this time with the stipulation that the shell was to have an arch shape.
For the 1928 season, Wright built a fiberglass shell in the shape of concentric 120-degree arches, with movable panels inside that could be used to tune the acoustics. It was designed to be easily dismantled and stored between concert seasons; apparently for political reasons this was not done, and it did not survive the winter.
For the 1929 season, the Allied Architects built the shell that stood until 2003, using a transite skin over a metal frame. Its acoustics, though not nearly as good as those of the Lloyd Wright shells, were deemed satisfactory at first, and its clean lines and white, almost-semicircular arches were copied for music shells elsewhere. As the acoustics deteriorated, various measures were used to mitigate the problems, starting with an inner shell made from large cardboard tubes (of the sort used as forms for round concrete pillars) in the 1970s, which were replaced by the early 1980s with the large fiberglass spheres (designed by Frank Gehry) that remained until 2003. These dampened out the unfavorable acoustics, but required massive use of electronic amplification to reach the full audience, particularly since the background noise level had risen sharply since the 1920s. The appearance underwent other, purely visual, changes as well, including the addition of a broad outer arch (forming a proscenium) where it had once had only a narrow rim and the reflecting pool in front of the stage that lasted from 1953 till 1972. Sculptor George Stanley designed the Muse Fountain. He had previously done The Oscar statuette.
Shortly after the end of the 2003 summer season the 1929 shell was replaced with a new, somewhat larger, acoustically improved shell, which had its debut in the 2004 summer season. Preservationists fiercely opposed the demolition for many years, citing the shell's storied history. However, even when it was built, the 1929 shell was (at least acoustically) only the third-best shell in the Bowl's history, behind its two immediate predecessors (which were designed by Lloyd Wright, the son of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright). By the late 1970s, the Hollywood Bowl became an acoustic liability because of continued hardening of its transite skin. The new shell incorporates design elements of not only the 1929 shell, but of both the Lloyd Wright shells. During the 2004 summer season, the sound steadily improved, as engineers learned to work with its live acoustics.
The 2004 shell incorporates the prominent front arch, flared at the base and forming a proscenium, of the 1926 shell, the broad profile of the 1928 shell, and the unadorned white finish (and most of the general lines) of the 1929 shell. In addition, the ring-shaped structure hung within the shell, supporting lights and acoustic clouds, echoes a somewhat similar structure hung within the 1927 shell. During the 2004 season, because the back wall was not yet finished, a white curtain was hung at the back; beginning with the 2005 season, the curtain was removed to reveal a finished back wall. The architectural concept for the shell was developed by the Los Angeles based architectural practice Hodgetts and Fung, with the structural concept developed by the local office of Arup.
At the same time the new shell was being constructed the bowl received four new video screens and towers. During most concerts, three remotely-operated cameras in the shell, and a fourth, manually-operated camera among the box seats, provide the audience with close-up views of the musicians.
In July 11, 1922, with the audience seated on simple wooden benches placed on the natural hillsides of Bolton Canyon, conductor Alfred Hertz and the Los Angeles Philharmonic inaugurated the first season of music under the stars at the Hollywood Bowl. While much has changed in the ensuing years, the tradition of presenting the world's greatest musicians and striving for musical excellence has remained a constant goal of this famed Los Angeles cultural landmark.
The Hollywood Bowl has been the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, since its official opening in 1922, and, in 1991, gave its name to a resident ensemble that has filled a special niche in the musical life of Southern California, the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra.
Of course, it is the incomparable performances that have truly made the Hollywood Bowl's history unique.
Artists that have appeared at the Bowl throughout the years include: The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Frank Sinatra, The Doors, Luciano Pavarotti, Queen + Paul Rodgers, Oasis, Genesis, Barbra Streisand, Igor Stravinsky, TVXQ, Diana Ross and The Supremes, Gwen Stefani, Jascha Heifetz, The Mamas and the Papas, Pink Floyd, Roger Waters, Paul McCartney and The Eagles.
So have President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Mickey Rooney and Edward G. Robinson, as well as such "teams" as Fonteyn and Nureyev, Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald, Simon and Garfunkel and Abbott and Costello.
Mikhail Baryshnikov has danced there, as has Fred Astaire.
Nat "King" Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Elton John, Al Jolson, Judy Garland and Kylie Minogue have headlined star-studded shows at the Bowl, but the all-time attendance record of 26,410 paid admissions was set on August 7, 1936, for a performance by the diminutive French opera star, Lily Pons.
The Hollywood Bowl has provided a showcase for the world's greatest musicians. Bernstein, Walter, Monteux, Mauceri, Koussevitzky, Stokowski, Karajan, Klemperer, and Leinsdorf, as well as Mehta, Giulini, Rattle, and Salonen are just a few of the conductors who have led the Los Angeles Philharmonic in summertime concerts over the past seven decades. Philip Glass, Itzhak Perlman, Gregor Piatigorsky, Arthur Rubinstein, Alfred Brendel, Vladimir Horowitz, Jessye Norman, Plácido Domingo, Beverly Sills, Isaac Stern, Kathleen Battle, Jane Eaglen, Marilyn Horne, Alexander Frey, Jennifer Larmore, Sylvia McNair, Andrea Bocelli, Gil Shaham, Stephen Hough, Luciano Pavarotti — and other distinguished vocal and instrumental soloists too numerous to mention — represent the illustrious talent that has graced the stage. But never during its long and illustrious history has the Bowl's programming been limited solely to symphonic events; fully staged operas were a regular part of the season in the early years, and the famed Bolshoi Ballet appeared during the 1950s.
In September 1950 California's official state centennial show, The California Story, ran for five performances. The production, directed by Vladimir Rosing, was immense. A chorus of 200 and hundreds of actors were employed. The shell of the bowl was removed, the stage was enlarged, and the action was expanded to include the surrounding hillsides. Lionel Barrymore provided the dramatic narration.
The first public performances by the newly formed Hollywood Bowl Orchestra were for Independence Day concerts on July 2–4, 1991 conducted by the orchestra's new conductor John Mauceri and Bruce Hubbard (baritone) as soloist. The program included works by Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, John Williams, George Gershwin, and Jerome Kern among others.
The Hollywood Bowl is featured in the following motion pictures:
A Star Is Born (1937)
Hollywood Hotel (1937) in which Rosemary Lane sings to Dick Powell.
Double Indemnity (1944)
Anchors Aweigh (1945) with Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, and Jose Iturbi.
It's a Great Feeling (1949)
Hollywood or Bust (1956)
Columbo: Étude in Black (1972)
A Perfect Couple (1979)
Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl (1982)
Some Kind of Wonderful (1987)
Beaches (1988), where Bette Midler's character CC Bloom is rehearsing for her concert at the Bowl.
Escape from L.A. (1996)
Lost and Found (1999)
Shrek 2 (2004), in the animated Far Far Away Idol DVD extra
Yes Man (2008)
Also, the Bugs Bunny short Long-Haired Hare (1948) shows Bugs tormenting an opera singer at an outdoor venue obviously inspired by the Hollywood Bowl.
The Beverly Hillbillies (1963) in episode 23 "Jed Buys the Freeway," in season 1. A conman attempts to sell the Clampetts the Hollywood Bowl, Griffith Park Zoo, and the freeway connecting the two.
The Simpsons (1995) in episode 23 "The Springfield Connection" in season 6. There is a parody of the Hollywood bowl in Springfield, named the Springfield Bowl.
Sleeper Cell (2006) in episode 7 "Fitna" in season 2. The Hollywood Bowl is the target of a dirty nuclear bomb.
Californication (2008) in episode 9 "La Ronde" in season 2. Ashby steals Karen away on a date and surprises her with a private Lili Haydn concert at the Hollywood Bowl.
CSI: Miami (2010) in episode 16 "L.A." in season 8. Horatio meet Captain Sutter at the Hollywood Bowl at the end of the episode.
1.^ LA Phil Presents Hollywood Bowl | History of the Hollywood Bowl
2.^ "Muse Fountain". http://www.hollywoodbowl.com/about/history.cfm.
3.^ "Hollywood Bowl Acoustics Project". http://www.acentech.com/studio_a/hollywood.html.
4.^ Ainsworth, Ed., "Narration by Barrymore Highlight of Pageant", Los Angeles Times, Sept 13, 1950.
5.^ Hollywood Hotel (1937)