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Taking best of international cuisine, Melbourne becomes world's latest destination for inventive, delicious food
Melbourne has become the world's latest destination for inventive, delicious cuisine. The term "foodie" is often heard in Melbourne, such a mecca for good eating, you could call it the Southern Hemisphere Paris. Certainly, securing a reservation at chef Shannon Bennett's Vue de monde can be as tough to get as a table for two at one of Joel Robuchon's establishments. Culinary creations by Bennett, 34, a native of Melbourne who looks more like a surfer than a super chef, include what he calls a "virtual gnocchi," a cep puree treated to an in-kitchen chemistry lesson which defines its shape, then served accompanied by sautéed king brown and shimeji mushrooms and zucchini flowers and finished with a tarragon emulsion. Another crowd pleaser is the bouillabaise which is presented at the table in a glass-toped, 1950s-style coffee percolator filled with aromatic shellfish stock. After this concoction is brought to a boil, it is poured into a bowl of tartares of crayfish and king fish cloaked in buffalo mozzarella.
Graphic novels, all grown up – story-telling art form with both image and text, the medium’s influence rises and broadens
In 1969, the American writer John Updike famously declared, "I see no intrinsic reason why a doubly talented artist might not arise and create a comic strip novel masterpiece."
The statement was immediately ridiculed by literary traditionalists, who disparaged comics as a "low" medium unworthy of serious critical attention. But it became a rallying cry among comic book creators, long second-class citizens in the art world.
Forty years has proved their prescience. Graphic novels – usually defined as extended-length illustrated books with mature literary themes – have risen to widespread prominence, spurred on by the work of respected talents such as Art Spiegelman ("Maus: A Survivor's Tale") and Will Eisner ("A Contract With God").
Graphic novel sales in Canada and the United States hit $375 million in 2007, five times the figure reported in 2001, according to ICv2, a pop culture site. "Jimmy Corrigan," a book by Chris Ware, has sold hundreds of thousands of copies alone; "Persepolis," originally a graphic novel by Marjane Sartrapi, picked up an Oscar for best animated film in February.
The world of comics and graphic novels is in the midst of a creative renaissance that may be greater than the dawn of the Marvel Universe in the 1960s. This development has been a longtime coming, considering that the beginnings of both newspaper comics and the cinema occurred at roughly the same time in the late 19th century. Film quite quickly matured into the 20th century's great American art form, while comics remained relatively insular and ignored by adults.
Alternative graphic novels are represented on film as well (Road to Perdition, Ghost World, American Splendor, Persepholis) and are increasingly making their presence felt at traditional book store chains where there are now entire sections devoted to graphic novels as well as manga (Japanese graphic novels, which are another subject entirely).
Generation Next folks currently coming-of-age are almost as conversant about the latest graphic novel as Generation X-ers were about grunge music. The main difference is that graphic novels show no signs of being a temporary trend. Indeed, they may be here to stay, well into the 21st century.
Images courtesy of Marjane Satrapi. Art Spiegelman, Naoki Urasawa, Neil Gaiman, and Evanston Review
Comic pioneer George Carlin dies at 71 before he can receive the annual Mark Twain prize for American humor this November
George Carlin, an extraordinary standup comedian whose dark social satire won him multigenerational popularity and a starring role in the most famous broadcast obscenity case of modern times, died Sunday of heart failure in Los Angeles. He was 71.
Late last week the Kennedy Center announced he would receive its annual Mark Twain prize for American humor this November. The TV network Comedy Central in 2004 named him the second best standup comedian of all time, behind Richard Pryor.
Carlin became one of the most popular standup comedians in America in the 1960s and early 1970s through programs like "The Ed Sullivan Show." Carlin was one of the first comedians to dress "naturally" for a standup routine, in jeans and a beard, and his most famous routine became "Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television."
"He was a genius, and I will miss him dearly," Jack Burns, who was the other half of a comedy duo with Carlin in the early 1960s, told The Associated Press. "He had an amazing mind, and his humor was brave and always challenging us to look at ourselves and question our belief systems, while being incredibly entertaining. He was one of the greats," Ben Stiller said.
The comedian, who toured college campuses for years and made a name for himself delivering biting social commentaries, had released 22 solo albums and three best-selling books, including "Brain Droppings," a collection of essays and routines, and "Napalm and Silly Putty," a collection of his stand-up material. Both won Grammy awards. His third book, "When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?" was nominated for a Grammy. He earned several gold comedy albums and five Emmy nominations.
Carlin first appeared on radio in 1956 at age 19, while serving in the Air Force. He took a number of TV and movie roles over the years, introducing himself to a new generation of fans with the "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" series and an even newer generation with children's shows like "Thomas the Tank Engine." He did voiceovers in films that included "Cars" and in 1993 he got his own sitcom on Fox, "The George Carlin Show." He played George O'Grady, a New York cab driver, and the show ran 27 episodes. In the 1990s he appeared in the Barbra Streisand- Nick Nolte movie "Prince of Tides." Other film roles came in "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" and "Dogma," with Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. He was the first host of "Saturday Night Live" and appeared some 130 times on "The Tonight Show."
The death of his wife of more than 30 years, Brenda Hosbrook Carlin, on Mother's Day 1997 was particularly hard for Carlin. "See ya Dink," he wrote on his Web site. "Miss you a lot."
Last year, Carlin released "George Carlin: All My Stuff," a 14-DVD collection of his HBO specials from 1977 to 2005. He had shown no signs of slowing down. Just last week, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced Carlin would be awarded the 11th annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. The center is scheduled to honor Carlin at a tribute performance by former colleagues on Nov. 10, which will be broadcast later on PBS.
Photos courtesy of LA Times, The Money Times, Reuters/Mario Anzuoni, Lisa Falzon, Galella/WireImage
Image Gallery: George Carlin 1937-2008
PHOENIX (AP) — Thelma Keane, the inspiration for the Mommy character in the long-running "Family Circus" comic created by her husband, Bil Keane, has died. She was 82. She died Friday of Alzheimer's disease, the family said.
"Family Circus," which Keane began drawing in 1960, depicts the good-humored life of two parents and their four children. It is now featured in about 1,500 newspapers. "She was the inspiration for all of my success," Bil Keane, 85, told The Associated Press from his home in Paradise Valley on Sunday. "When the cartoon first appeared, she looked so much like Mommy that if she was in the supermarket pushing her cart around, people would come up to her and say, 'Aren't you the Mommy in 'Family Circus?' and she would admit it."
Bil and Thelma "Thel" Keane met during World War II in the war bond office in Brisbane, Australia. She was a native Australian working as an accounting secretary, and Bil worked next to her as a promotional artist for the U.S. Army. "I had this desk alongside the most beautiful Australian 18-year-old girl with long brown hair," Bil Keane said. "And I got up enough nerve to ask her for a date." The two married in 1948 and moved to Bil Keane's hometown of Philadelphia. They had five children and moved to the Phoenix suburb of Paradise Valley in 1958.
Not only was Thelma Keane the inspiration for the always-loving and ever-patient comic character also named Thel, but she worked full-time as her husband's business and financial manager. Her family says she was the reason Bil Keane became one of the first syndicated newspaper cartoonists to win back all rights to his comic. "There was nothing that I did in the cartoon world or in the business world that she wasn't the instigator of, and she certainly deserves all the credit that I get credit for," Bil Keane said. "The losing of Thel is a heartbreaking thing for me," he said. "However, it makes me realize how important she was to my worldly success, and I know where she is now, I feel that she's still helping me and probably giving me the inspirations you can only get from an angel in heaven."
Original Source: AP
Original Source: Associated Press
LOS ANGELES (AP) — After four consecutive male winners on "Dancing With the Stars," it was finally ladies' night. Kristi Yamaguchi was named the new "Dancing" champ on the show's season finale, becoming the first woman to win the ABC dance-off since its inaugural season. The figure skater came into the final contest Tuesday with a perfect score and bested fan favorites Jason Taylor and Cristian de la Fuente to claim the mirrorball trophy. "This is definitely for all those women out there to continue to be strong," she said after the show, hoisting the prize above her head.
The Olympic gold medalist was clearly the most talented dancer on this season's competition, regularly landing atop the judges' scoreboard. But viewer votes count just as much, and with the audience 75 percent female, men have had the edge. Last season ended with a shocker when race-car driver Helio Castroneves upset Spice Girl Melanie Brown.
Taylor, the massive but graceful pro football star, called Yamaguchi "just perfect," adding that he "grew up watching her compete for our country." De la Fuente, who was eliminated early in the two-hour season finale, said "it was impossible to beat her." His professional partner, Cheryl Burke, agreed. "Kristi deserved it more than any other woman in any other season," she said. "It's about time that a woman wins."
Winning the "Dancing" crown doesn't quite compare to winning an Olympic gold medal, Yamaguchi said, but it's still "a fun, amazing experience." "It's not just this (trophy) but what it represents," she said. "It's all the hard work and the time spent together and the friendships made, challenging yourself and learning something new."
Though Taylor and de la Fuente didn't win, each was victorious in his own way. Besides forming a close friendship with each other, Taylor, an aspiring actor, has taken meetings with Hollywood heavyweights, and de la Fuente learned an important life lesson. The actor ruptured a tendon in his biceps while dancing on April 28, but delayed the surgery necessary to repair it so he could continue in the contest.
"It's about wanting something in life and going for it," he said. "In this case it was a dance show, but it can be anything that you're afraid of. Go for it. Do it. The reward that you get when you put your heart, your soul, everything you've got in something, it's priceless."
Photos Courtesy of ABC