Will Smith celebrates turning 50 with bungee jump

Associated Press

LITTLE COLORADO RIVER GORGE, Ariz. — Will Smith successfully bungee jumped from a helicopter near the Grand Canyon to celebrate his 50th birthday.

The actor took the leap Tuesday in northern Arizona in front of relatives and friends.

He described the experience as going “from pure terror to absolute bliss.”

The stunt was shown live on his YouTube channel.

Smith arrived with his wife, actress Jada Pinkett Smith, as well as his three children and “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” co-star Alfonso Ribeiro.

The stunt was billed as a jump “in the heart of the Grand Canyon.”

However, the jump was not at Grand Canyon National Park but over a smaller gorge on the Navajo Nation.

The tribe’s reservation borders the east rim of the national park.

…read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar hired as writer for ‘Veronica Mars’ revival on Hulu

Given a chance to hire the most prolific scorer in NBA history, the producers of “Veronica Mars” made a slam dunk.

Make that a sky hook.

This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Kristen Bell in a scene from “Veronica Mars.” (AP Photo/Warner Bros. Pictures, Robert Voets)

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the basketball hall-of-famer and six-time NBA champion, will be part of show creator Rob Thomas’ writing staff for the eight-episode revival of the cult mystery show starring Kristen Bell. As AV Club pointed out, Abdul-Jabbar, at 7-foot-2, will likely be the tallest writer.

Thomas revealed his staff through a tweet in which he joked about a hiring practice that was a little different from most.

“And yes, if you’re brilliant and give yourself a #PartyDown Twitter handle, I’ll hire you. Or, you could be the NBA’s all time leading scorer, but you must be brilliant,” Thomas wrote.

The #VeronicaMars writing staff!@DavidWalpert, @RickFoxTheActor, @rugz19, @kaj33 & Raymond Obstfeld.

And yes, if you’re brilliant and give yourself a #PartyDown Twitter handle, I’ll hire you. Or, you could be the NBA’s all time leading scorer, but you must still be brilliant. pic.twitter.com/4Qk2uqcKey

— Rob Thomas (@RobThomas) September 25, 2018

A glance at the 71-year-old Abdul-Jabbar’s CV proves him to be the perfect fit for the last two qualifications listed by Thomas. He scored 38,387 points over his 20 years in the NBA, after which he started a new career as a writer in a number of genres.

Among his writing credits are contributed columns about race relations and other issues for Time magazine; a mystery novel and comic book series about the fictional Mycroft Holmes, Sherlock’s smarter brother; and co-writer of the 2011 documentary “On the Shoulder of Giants.”

Abdul-Jabbar’s IMDB page also lists 31 acting credits, including his unforgettable turn …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


Man convicted of first-degree murder in death of California nurse, former reality TV star

A Lennox man who bludgeoned his girlfriend to death with a hammer and buried her in a shallow grave behind his home was convicted of first-degree murder Monday, Sept. 24.

25Lisa Marie Naegle. (Courtesy photo)After nearly three days of deliberations, a Torrance Superior Court jury found Jackie Jerome Rogers, 35, guilty of first-degree murder in the December 2016 slaying of 36-year-old Lisa Marie Naegle, a San Pedro nurse who once starred in the reality TV series “Bridalplasty” in 2010.

Jurors also found true the allegation that Rogers used a hammer in the killing.

The trial took more than a week.

Naegle’s cousin, Patty Alarcon, wept and clasped her hands in prayer after the verdict was read.

“It’s a bittersweet moment,” she said in the hallway after Rogers was led away by bailiffs.

Naegle’s mother, Dolores Naegle, wiped tears as she described the pain of sitting through the trial and listening to Rogers vilify her daughter as an abuser on the witness stand.

He never expressed remorse, she said.

“She was a very nice girl and this diablo took her life and they way he did it was horrible,” Dolores Naegle said, saying she wished Rogers could be sentenced to death.

Naegle’s sister, Michelle Naegle, thanked prosecutors for their work and the San Pedro community for its support from the day her sister disappeared.

“When we were putting it out there that she was missing, everybody stepped in and helped. We were so thankful,” she said.

It was “heaven” to hear a first-degree murder verdict, she said.

Rogers and Naegle had been in a relationship for about six months when he hit her over the head with a hammer eight times during an argument while the two sat in his car near a fast food restaurant in Inglewood.

Earlier that night, they had attended a holiday party in Alpine Village in Torrance together. …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


The dance legend who created ‘Pepperland’ is ‘not that big on the Beatles’

When choreographer Mark Morris was asked f he’d be interested in participating in the city of Liverpool’s celebration marking the golden anniversary of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” he thought it was a terrible idea.

“I’m not that big on the Beatles in general,” he says. “I had to decide very quickly. I listened to the music, which I knew but hadn’t heard in years, and I was interested enough to go on.”

But before Morris agreed to participate in the celebration, which was initially conceived as a revue with different artists commissioned to create a piece for each song, he laid down a few guidelines. For starters, he had no interest in working with the original 1967 recordings.

“I’m not going memory lane or doing nostalgia. Nothing is more disgusting to me. I only work with live music, and I immediately of course contacted Ethan Iverson,” he says, referring to the pianist/composer who was at the time in the process of leaving The Bad Plus, the popular jazz trio known for poker-face interpretations of rock, pop and disco anthems that work as both unblinking tribute and winking mockery.

With a creative team in place, the Mark Morris Dance Group went about transmuting the iconic album into “Pepperland,” a signature Morris production that earned an ecstatic response in Liverpool in its May 2017 premiere. Co-commissioned by Cal Performances, “Pepperland” kicks off UC Berkeley’s 2018–19 dance season Sept. 28-30 in Zellerbach Hall.

The Bay Area premiere of the evening-length work is the centerpiece of the Mark Morris Dance Group’s campus residency, which that includes a community dance class (12:30 Sept. 28), an artist talk with Morris and Iverson (2 p.m. Sept. 28), and a Morris-curated film series at Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (Sept. 28-Nov. 30). “Mark Morris Presents: In the Age …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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