2018 ACE Comic Con Arizona: ‘Captain America’ and ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ stars confirmed to attend

October 5, 2017

"Captain America" star Chris Evans and "Spider-Man: Homecoming" star Tom Holland
“Captain America” star Chris Evans and “Spider-Man: Homecoming” star Tom Holland (Image courtesy of ACE Universe)

The following is a press release from ACE Universe:

Chris Evans, star of the worldwide hit “Captain America” movie franchise, and Tom Holland, who portrays Spider-Man in the Marvel hits “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and “Captain America: Civil War” are headlining the new ACE Comic Con Arizona at Gila River Arena, Jan. 13-15, 2018.

ACE Comic Con Arizona is a division of ACE Universe, a newly launched experiential events company created by brothers Gareb and Stephen Shamus.  With 20 years of experience and 175 Comic Con shows under their belts, the brothers are creating a new immersive experience that looks to redefine the industry and break the mold of the linear Comic Con business.

Along with Evans and Holland, other confirmed guests include Sebastian Stan (The Winter Soldier – “Captain America”), Anthony Mackie (The Falcon – “Captain America”), Hayley Atwell (Agent Peggy Carter – “Captain America”), Laura Harrier (Liz – “Spider-Man: Homecoming”), and Jacob Batalon (Ned – “Spider-Man: Homecoming”).  More guests will be announced soon, including superstars from World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).

VIP Admissions, Photo Ops and Autographs are on sale now at www.aceuniverse.com.  General Admission Tickets can be purchased online at Ticketmaster (www.ticketmaster.com) starting at 10 a.m. PST on Tuesday, Oct. 10. Additional ticketing information also can be found at www.aceuniverse.com.

“When we first went to Gila River Arena, we knew we had found the right home for our next big event,” said Gareb Shamus, ACE Universe Chairman and CEO.  “We believe the fans will fall in love with this new style of Comic Con and we can’t wait for everyone to enjoy everything the weekend will have to offer, which includes the opportunity to watch all of the can’t-miss programming on the arena Jumbotron.”  ACE Universe has secured an exclusive Marvel Comic variant cover to Captain America #495, drawn by Good Charlotte lead guitarist and illustrator Billy Martin.  This book is exclusive to box office buyers and VIPs.  Martin will be on hand all three days to sign the books, which feature Captain America and Spider-Man, in an homage piece of art to the great Todd McFarlane. 

ACE Universe also has partnerships across key sectors including technology, media, entertainment, gaming, publishers, manufacturers, licensors and retailers to help create a robust experience for fans.

Additionally, ACE Universe will be the first to provide FREE global live streaming to fans with wall-to-wall coverage of the entire Comic Con.  Now, all fans can enjoy access to top-tier talent, breaking news and on-site programming as every aspect of the show will be fully streamed, social media friendly, and available on mobile devices.

Chris Evans, Tom Holland and the casts of both films are global box office stars that provide fans a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet and greet with their favorite super heroes,” said Stephen Shamus, President of ACE Universe.  “When you listen to the fans, these are the stars that are most requested, so securing the main cast members from both Marvel franchises makes this a can’t miss weekend.  We also haven’t forgotten the WWE fans, some of the most excitable fans in the world.”

ACE Comic Con Arizona is the second of the new ACE Comic Cons, with the debut event set to take place at NYCB Live:  Home of the Veterans Memorial Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, NY, Dec. 8-10.  In addition to these two shows, ACE Universe will announce more 2018 dates, cities and ticket information at www.aceuniverse.com and on the ACE Comic Con social channels at Facebook.com/acecomicon or @acecomiccon on Instagram and Twitter.

ABOUT ACE UNIVERSE
ACE Universe (www.aceuniverse.com) is a New York-based media and experiential events company founded by Gareb and Stephen Shamus, who are the world’s most experienced producers of Comic Con conventions.  Stephen has personally produced over 175 Comic Con events, booked thousands of celebrity guests, and played host to millions of happy fans.  Gareb is a leading pop-culture expert, founder of the largest Comic Con tour in the world, an original producer of national Comic Cons, and publisher of multiple award-winning magazines published in 75 countries worldwide.  ACE Universe produces premium events in world-class venues that feature the best of Film, TV, Gaming, Virtual Reality, Collectibles, Comics, Original Art, Toys, Action Figures, Graphic Novels, Illustrators, Writers, Creators, and Entertainment Programming.  Fans can live stream all ACE Universe events at www.aceuniverse.com and engage with us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

November 3, 2017 UPDATE:

(“Captain America” star Chris Evans, Stan Lee and “Spider-Man: Homecoming” star Tom Holland Image courtesy of ACE Universe)

The following is a press release from ACE Universe:

Stan Lee, co-creator of Spider-Man, world-renowned comic book writer and former publisher of Marvel Comics, has been added to the star-studded lineup for ACE Comic Con Arizona, which will take place Jan. 13-15 at Gila River Arena in Glendale.

Lee is known as the creative force behind Marvel Comics and was a co-creator for numerous popular Marvel characters, including Spider-Man.  He also is credited with re-launching Marvel’s Captain America in the 1960s.

“We are committed to bringing fans the best of the best guests, and today’s announcement reinforces this commitment,” said Stephen Shamus, President of ACE Universe. “Stan Lee is an iconic figure, and having the opportunity to take a Photo Op with his superhero creations come to life – Captain America & Spider-Man (Chris Evans & Tom Holland), will create a unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience. Taking a Photo Op with all three will be a truly historic moment.”

Lee will be available for dual photo opportunities with Captain America (Chris Evans) and Spider-Man (Tom Holland), as well as a triple photo opportunity with both characters together.  Additionally, Lee will be doing solo photo opportunities and autograph sessions, and take part in a panel discussion which will be live streamed to fans around the world.

Lee also will participate in “Comic Con” night at the Arizona Coyotes – Edmonton Oilers game on Friday, Jan. 12, the night before the kickoff of ACE Comic Con Arizona.  Lee will be on hand to drop the puck to start the game, and a variety of other ACE Comic Con Arizona artists and vendors will be available on the concourse for autographs signings and merchandise sales.

ACE Comic Con Arizona officials announced one additional change to the weekend lineup.  Hayley Atwell (Agent Peggy Carter – “Captain America”), who was scheduled to appear both Saturday and Sunday, will now only appear on Sunday as she booked a role in a play. All Saturday ticket holders with VIP packages, photo ops or autographs including Hayley will be notified via email with instructions on how to exchange tickets for Sunday, or to get a refund.

ACE Comic Con Arizona is a division of ACE Universe, a newly launched experiential events company created by brothers Gareb and Stephen Shamus.  With 20 years of experience and 175 Comic Con shows under their belts, the brothers are creating a new immersive experience that looks to redefine the industry and break the mold of the linear Comic Con business.

 

2017 New York Comic Con: What to expect at this year’s event

October 5, 2017

by Carla Hay

New York Comic Con

The 12th annual New York Comic Con takes place October 5 to October 8 in New York City. The event is expected to draw at least 180,000 people, according to ReedPOP, company that produces the event. New York Comic Con’s main hub is at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, but there are also numerous activities taking place at several other locations in the city, including Hammerstein Ballroom, Hudson Mercantile, the New York Public Library and the Theater at Madison Square Garden.

TV shows dominate the most high-profile panels and activities. There are some movies due to be released in theaters that will be showcased at the event. And, of course, there will be plenty of panels, exhibits and previews for comic books, video games, fantasy novels and other pop-culture attractions.

This year, New York Comic Con has joined forces with Keanu Reeves, Hollywood and Puerto Rico Filmmakers and CINE to raise money for he Puerto Rico Film Friends Relief Fund, which will help victims and survivors of Hurricane Maria. Click here to donate or for more information. Reeves will be at New York Comic Con on October 5 to promote his movie “Replicas.”

Here is a list of the TV and movie panels that are expected to draw the largest crowds*:

TELEVISION

BBC America Presents: Peter Capaldi Spotlight

The Theater at Madison Square Garden

October 6, 2017, 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM

Peter Capaldi, star of BBC America’s “Doctor Who,” will head the list of top talent set to attend NYCC. Capaldi, the 12th Doctor, is a Spotlight guest and will join fans for a panel on Friday, October 6. The fan Q&A marks his return to NYCC and is a very special moment leading up to the highly-anticipated Doctor Who Christmas Special, Twice Upon a Time, which is Peter Capaldi’s final episode in the iconic hit series. As previously revealed in the closing moments of the season finale, the special will feature Capaldi’s current Doctor team up with the First Doctor, played by David Bradley.

Rooster Teeth’s “RWBY”

The Theater at Madison Square Garden

October 6, 2017, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Rooster Teeth’s global hit western anime series “RWBY” returns to New York Comic Con, and the cast and crew are here with an exclusive sneak peek at Volume 5. Join Lindsay Jones (Ruby), Barbara Dunkelman (Yang), Miles Luna, Kerry Shawcross, and Gray G. Haddock for exciting “RWBY” news, hilarious behind-the-scenes stories, an audience Q&A and more!

Freeform’s Super Sci-Fi Q&A Panel with “Shadowhunters” and “Beyond”

The Theater at Madison Square Garden

October 7, 2017, 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM

Fans of Freeform’s hit series “Shadowhunters” and “Beyond” get a glimpse into the upcoming seasons from cast and executive producers. “Will it be smooth sailing for the reunited Malec?,” “Will Holden return to a normal life?,” plus much more will be revealed during this epic panel. Cast and EP participants to be announced at a later date.

Marvel Television Presents: “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D”

The Theater at Madison Square Garden

October 7, 2017, 2:00 PM – 3:15 PM

Join Jeph Loeb, Head of Marvel Television, in celebrating Season Five of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” with the entire cast and executive producers as they come together at Madison Square Garden, for the very first time, with an action-packed panel, Q&A and never-before-seen footage. This is the one you’ve been waiting for!

“Star Trek: Discovery”

The Theater at Madison Square Garden

October 7, 2017, 3:45 PM – 4:45 PM

This fall on CBS All Access, Star Trek: Discovery follows the voyages of Starfleet on their missions to discover new worlds and new life forms, while learning that to truly understand all things alien, you must first understand yourself. The iconic television franchise, which first launched over 50 years ago, continues to remain true to its roots, and Starfleet’s steadfast ideals of adventure, an earnest pursuit for exploration, and the hope that we can all come together for a better tomorrow.  Join members of the cast, alongside the creative minds behind the new series for a panel conversation on Star Trek: Discovery.

AMC’s “The Walking Dead”

The Theater at Madison Square Garden

October 7, 2017, 7:45 PM – 8:45 PM

Join “The Walking Dead” cast and executive producers for a panel where they will discuss the season 7 finale and share a sneak peek into season 8, premiering October 22nd 9/8c.

In addition, these TV shows will be showcased with panels at New York Comic Con this year:

  • “American Gods”
  • “Archer: Danger Island”
  • “Ash vs. Evil Dead”
  • “Black Mirror”
  • “Blindspot”
  • “Castle Rock”
  • “Comic Book Men”
  • “Deception”
  • “The Defenders”
  • “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency”
  • “Drunk History”
  • “Electric Dreams”
  • “The Exorcist”
  • “Explosion Jones”
  • “Family Guy”
  • “Final Space”
  • “Future Man”
  • “The Gifted”
  • “Gotham”
  • “Happy!”
  • “Hey Arnold!”
  • “Jack Ryan”
  • “Lore”
  • “The Magicians”
  • “The Man in the High Castle”
  • “Once Upon a Time”
  • “The Orville”
  • “Power Rangers Ninja Steel”
  • “Psych Reunion Movie”
  • “The President Show”
  • “Reverie”
  • “Robot Chicken”
  • “Runaways”
  • “The Shannara Chronicles”
  • “Shut Eye”
  • “Siren”
  • “Stan Against Evil”
  • “SuperMansion: Drag Me to Halloween”
  • “The Tick”
  • “Voltron: Legendary Defender”
  • “The X-Files”

MOVIES

“Pacific Rim Uprising”

The Theater at Madison Square Garden

October 6, 2017, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

“Pacific Rim Uprising” director Steven S. DeKnight will be joined by stars John Boyega, Scott Eastwood, Burn Gorman and Cailee Spaeny—as well as moderator Aaron Sagers, SYFY WIRE’s editor-at-large—to discuss the upcoming action-adventure from Legendary and introduce the world premiere of the new trailer.  The follow-up to 2013’s cinematic epic of monsters and mechs, the film will inspire a new generation to become the biggest heroes to ever walk the earth.  Also starring Jing Tian, Rinko Kikuchi, Adria Arjona and Charlie Day, “Pacific Rim Uprising” hits theaters March 2018.

“Professor Marston & the Wonder Women”

Hammerstein Ballroom

October 8, 2017, 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM

By now every fan knows the origin of Wonder Woman, but very few know about the real-life women who inspired the iconic super-heroine and their unique relationship with the man who created her. “Professor Marston & the Wonder Women” tells that fascinating and extraordinary story. Please join us for a preview panel about this acclaimed film with its stars Luke Evans, Rebecca Hall, and director Angela Robinson. Everyone attending will receive a “Professor Marston & the Wonder Women” poster and pencil. Moderated by Fandango’s Tiffany Smith.

“Replicas”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nio5Qf1l4cE

Javits Center, Room 1A06

October 5, 2017, 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM

Join Keanu Reeves and the team behind “Replicas,” for an exclusive first look and conversation about the film. Reeves developed and produced the “Replicas” with his producing partner, Stephen Hamel, and Transformers-franchise producer, Lorenzo di Bonaventura.  The film is written by Chad St. John (“London Has Fallen:) from a story by Hamel, and directed by Jeffrey Nachmanoff (writer of “The Day After Tomorrow”). “Replicas” is the story of a scientist (Reeves) who loses his family in a horrific accident, but is determined save his wife and children by bringing them back to life with cutting-edge cloning technology.

*All panel descriptions are courtesy of New York Comic Con.

Michael Bay’s 451 Media Group to debut nine graphic novels from top Hollywood writers at New York Comic Con

October 4, 2017

Michael Bay
Michael Bay (Photo by Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)

The following is a press release from 451 Media Group:

451 Media Group, a multi-platform entertainment company, today announced it will exclusively premiere nine graphic novels, previously released only in single issue series, created by some of the most sought-after TV and movie writers at this year’s New York Comic Con (NYCC). Co-founded by acclaimed director and producer Michael Bay, 451 delivers an immersive entertainment experience combining cutting edge digital technology with content from some of the Hollywood’s top creative minds.

451 Media Group has produced trade paperback editions of all its properties for the first time, nine titles of which will be making their debut at NYCC. Created by marquee Hollywood talent, the titles include:

S6X – From master author/screenwriter George Pelecanos (HBO’s “The Deuce,” “The Wire” and “The Pacific”) comes an explosive tale of war and the lives of six soldiers altered forever, who reunite for one last mission to bring down those who threaten one of their own in a full fury showdown risking everything they have.

“S6X is very visual and character driven,” says Pelecanos. “These are very young men and women. And they look like everyday people. That’s something that I wanted to write about because I think it’s very real and also very important. To me, the graphic novel was the perfect vehicle to take the plunge and dive into the world of sequential art. And it’s something that I’ve wanted to do for a really long time.”

“What I love about the world George created is it’s both heightened and populated by real human beings. The characters are flawed, wounded and emotionally tangible souls who just happen to be caught up in this operatic but deeply personal war story. S6X is more than just a shoot ‘em up — it’s about the things people are capable of at their very worst and their very best.”says Ashley Miller, the screenwriter of “X-Men: First Class” and ‘Thor,” who is adapting the book for the big screens.

Red Dog – From Rob Cohen (writer of “The Fast and the Furious,” “xXx” and upcoming film “Hurricane Heist”). Comes an all new sci-fi adventure that follows Kyle, the only child on a distant planet, and his robot dog Red. When Red goes missing in the savage alien landscape, Kyle goes in search of his friend facing dangers beyond imagination and proves no matter how far in space you go, there’s no greater bond than one between a boy and his dog.

“’Red Dog’ is my passion project and if I can make it into a movie someday, I will die a happy man,” says Cohen.” But more important than that, it has found its form as a graphic novel thanks to the brilliant folks at 451 and a day does not start that I don’t look at a copy of to the first issue framed on my wall and smile”.

NVRLND – From the creative minds of the writing team, Stephanie Salyers and Dylan Mulik comes “NVRLND,” a dark and magical re-imagining of “Peter Pan” set in present-day Hollywood. Wallflower turned wild-child Wendy Darling befriends the fiery Tiger Lily and enters the rave scene of the underground club “NVRLND.” Intoxicated by music and pixie dust, Wendy falls for the enigmatic Peter, lead singer of The Lost Boys. You think you may know the truth about “NVRLND” but the truth is you know nothing.

Stained – Meet Emma London: recovery artist and bounty hunter for hire. She is strong, possibly indomitable, and did we mention…part machine. Emma enters dark places that no one else will go to track down the subhuman criminals lurking in the underbelly of society and bring them to justice. From David Baron, 2016 Harvey Nominee and top comic professional spanning over 20-plus years with highlights including GREEN ARROW: YEAR ONE, PLANETARY, THE AUTHORITY, JLA, DETECTIVE COMICS (THE BLACK MIRROR), GREEN LANTERN, DIVINITY and BLOODSHOT: REBORN.

“With Issue one selling out, I couldn’t be happier how well ‘Stained’ has been received by fans and professionals. I don’t think I have ever been more excited for a Con in my 20 year career to premiere ‘Stained’ at NYCC 2017,” says Baron.

Additional graphic novels premiering from 451:

Self Storage – A Zom-rom-com from Clay McLeod Chapman, the writer of “The Boy,””Henley,” “Edge of Spider-Verse” and “Marvel’s Universe Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.”

Humbug – A masterly plotted merry and manic mash-up of “Sherlock Holmes” and “Ghostbusters” from A.J. Gentile, the writers and creators of “Micronauts” and VISIONARIES.

Sunflower – A psychological thriller from writer Mark Mallouk, writer of “Black Mass” starring Johnny Depp.

ExMortis – An epic WWII action adventure from the minds of Paul + Pete Williams, VFX gurus behind “Avatar,” Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and Chronicles of Narnia.

Bad Moon Rising – A wild smash up of “The Wolfman” and “Sons of Anarchy” from writer/producer Scott Rosenberg (“Con Air,” “Gone in 60 Seconds,” “Jumanji 2,” “Welcome to the Jungle” and the CBS series “Zoo”).

Learn more about these and other original story titles at 4five1.com. Order copies through 451’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/451official/.

 

Tom Petty dead at 66; iconic rocker was a Grammy winner and a member of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

October 3, 2017

by Carla Hay

Tom Petty
Tom Petty at the Mountain Jam Festival in Hunter Mountain, New York, on June 17, 2017 (Photo by Patrick Tewey/Mountain Jam)

After his death was prematurely reported by CBS News, rock singer/songwriter Tom Petty died on the night of October 2, 2017, at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. His death came a day after he suffered cardiac arrest at his home in Malibu, California, according to what his spokesperson Carla Sacks told the Associated Press. CBS News reported and later retracted Petty’s obituary several hours before he actually died.

Petty began his music career in his hometown of Gainesville, Florida, before relocating to Los Angeles with his band Mudcrutch.  He was best known for his work with his band the Heartbreakers, who had a long string of popular songs dating back to the band’s debut in 1976, including “Refugee,” “American Girl,” “Don’t Do Me Like That,” “The Waiting” and “Learning to Fly.” Petty and the Heartbreakers were inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. In 2017, Petty and the Heartbreakers were on their 40th anniversary tour, which Petty told the media would probably be the band’s last tour.

Petty was also a member of the short-lived rock supergroup the Traveling Wilburys, whose other members were Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne.  Petty also had a successful solo career, which began with his 1989 multiplatinum album “Full Moon Fever,” whose hits included “Free Fallin’,” “I Won’t Back Down” and “Runnin’ Down a Dream.”

Petty won three Grammys in his career:  First, with the Traveling Wilburys (for the 1988 album “Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1”); then as a solo artist (for the 1994 song “You Don’t Know How It Feels”); and finally with the Heartbreakers (for the 2007 documentary “Runnin’ Down a Dream”).  In 2017, Petty was named MusiCares Person of the Year.

Petty was married twice: to Jane Benyo (from 1974 to 1996) and to his widow, Dana York, whom he married in 2001. He had two daughters (Adria and AnnaKim Violette) from his marriage to Benyo, as well as a stepson named Dylan from his marriage to York.

January 18, 2018 UPDATE: According to the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner, Petty did not die of cardiac arrest, as had originally reported. His cause of death was an accidental overdose of multiple drugs.

Jason Aldean, Jake Owen and other celebrities react to mass murder at Route 91 Harvest festival

October 2, 2017

by John Larson

Jason Aldean
Jason Aldean (Photo by Natasha Moustache/CMA)

As details are still emerging about the mass murder shooting at the Route 91 Harvest outdoor music festival in Las Vegas, festival performer Jason Aldean and other celebrities have been making statements about the tragedy, in which at least 59 people were killed and more than 500 people injured on October 1, 2017. It is the worst mass-murder shooting in U.S. history. Stephen Craig Paddock, the 64-year-old suspected shooter, fired automatic weapons from his hotel suite at nearby Mandalay Bay, and reportedly committed suicide before he could be apprehended by police. Paddock is believed to be the only shooter in this crime.

Aldean was performing at the concert when the shooting happened. He issued this statement on his official Twitter account: “Tonight has been beyond horrific. I still don’t know what to say but wanted to let everyone know that me and my crew are safe. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved tonight. It hurts my heart that this would happen to anyone who was just coming out to enjoy what should have been a fun night.”

Aldean was the last performer at the three-day festival, whose other headliners were Eric Church (on September 29) and Sam Hunt (on September 30). The sold-out event was attended by about 22,000 people on the Las Vegas Strip when the gun attack began at 10:05 p.m. Pacific Time.

Jake Owen, who performed on stage before Aldean at the festival,  tweeted these comments on October 1: “Praying for everyone here in Vegas. I witnessed the most unimaginable event tonight. We are okay. Others aren’t. Please pray.”

Owen later tweeted, “Gun shots were ringing off of the stage rigging and road cases. No one knew where to go..thank you LVPD and responders for keeping us safe.”

John Rich of Big & Rich, who also performed at the festival on  October 1 , tweeted after the tragedy: “We are ok. But our fans and friends are not. This is the worst of humanity at work. Praying for the victims in Vegas tonight.”

Route 91 festival performer Maren Morris tweeted on October 2: “Played Route 91 in Vegas the night before last. We were all singing. I’m in shock over this. Heartbroken for all those lives taken too soon.”

Live Nation, the promotion company behind Route 91 Harvest, issued this statement on October 2: “We are heartbroken over the tragedy that took place at the Route 91 Harvest festival. To think that anyone would want to inflict harm on a gathering of music lovers is beyond our comprehension. And while we are stunned and grieving over this incomprehensible act of violence, we know that this is a moment when we must come together to prevent more tragedies like this from occurring.

“Live Nation will do everything in our power to support the victims and their families through the aftermath of this horrendous event and extends our deepest gratitude to the heroic first responders who helped save as many lives as possible. To our Live Nation on-site employees, we cannot thank you enough for your bravery and perseverance over the past 24 hours and will ensure you have the resources and support necessary to heal from this.”

According to the Associated Press, dead gunman Paddock was a retired multimillionaire who did not have a known history of committing violence or having mental illness. However, his estranged father, Benjamin Hoskins Paddock (who went by several aliases and died in 1998), had a long criminal history, including arrests for bank robbery in 1960, escaping from prison in 1968 (which put him on the FBI’s Most Wanted list) and racketeering in 1987.

October 3, 2017 UPDATE:

Aldean has cancelled his California concerts that were scheduled to take place on October 6 in Los Angeles, October 7 in San Diego and October 8 in Anaheim. In a statement posted on his official website, Aldean said: “I feel like out of respect for the victims, their families and our fans, it is the right thing to do. It has been an emotional time for everyone involved this week, so we plan to take some time to mourn the ones we have lost and be close with our family and friends.”

In addition, Aldean posted this message on his Instagram account:  “Over the last 24 hrs I have gone through lots of emotions. Fear, Anger, Heartache, Compassion and many others. I truely dont [sic] understand why a person would want to take the life of another. Something has changed in this country and in this world lately that is scary to see. This world is becoming the kind of place i am afraid to raise my children in. At the end of the day we arent [sic] Democrats or Republicans, Whites or Blacks, Men or Women. We are all humans and we are all Americans and its time to start acting like it and stand together as ONE! That is the only way we will ever get this Country to be better than it has ever been, but we have a long way to go and we have to start now. My heart aches for the Victims and their families of this Senseless act. I am so sorry for the hurt and pain everyone is feeling right now and there are no words i can say to to take that pain away. Just know u all are in my heart and my prayers as we all go through this together. Time to come together and stop the hate!
#stopthehate #prayforlasvegas”

Meanwhile, Route 91 Harvest issued this statement:

“On behalf of the entire Route 91 Harvest Family, we are completely devastated by the event that occurred Sunday night.

“Our deepest sympathies go out to the injured and the deceased and their loved ones, senseless violence has claimed the souls of our fans and we have little in the way of answers.

“Our eternal gratitude goes out to the LVPD, Emergency services, security guards, and fans for their selfless acts of bravery while trying to help those in need.

“While we will try and move forward, we will never forget this day.

“We will NOT let hate win over LOVE.

“We will NOT be defeated by senseless violence.

“We WILL persevere, and honor the souls that were lost.
Because it matters.”

Luke Bryan, Lionel Richie join ‘American Idol’ as judges

September 29, 2017

Luke Bryan (Photo by Michele Crowe/CBS)
Lionel Richie (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC)

The following is a press release from ABC:

Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie have signed on as judges for the beloved music competition series “American Idol” for its first season on ABC. They round out the panel of judges, alongside judge Katy Perry. Ryan Seacrest will return to host the series. The panel will make their debut appearance on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Wednesday, October 4.

“I’m excited at the chance to help some deserving artists reach their dreams,” said Bryan. “To be in a position in my career to help facilitate this along with the other judges is just a complete honor. It’s gonna be a blast!”

“I am very excited to be joining Katy, Luke and Ryan on ‘American Idol,’” said Richie. “As a singer, songwriter and producer, I feel I can bring a great deal of experience to the table. It’s going to be so much fun!”

“Luke and Lionel are the perfect additions to round out our panel of judges for ‘American Idol’ on ABC,” said Channing Dungey, president, ABC Entertainment. “In their respective genres of music, both Luke and Lionel possess insurmountable popularity and award-winning talent that are undeniable, and we are lucky that they will help in paving the way for hopefuls pursuing their dreams on our stage.”

Trish Kinane, president of Entertainment Programming, FremantleMedia North America, executive producer and showrunner of “American Idol,” said, “We have taken our time to get the right mix of amazing talent for the new Idol judging panel. Our viewers expect musical credibility, passion and a true concern for the contestants; and with Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie joining the brilliant Katy Perry, we have two more world-class musical powerhouses eager to get to work and identify the next generation of superstars.”

Peter Hurwitz, CEO and president of 19 Entertainment-parent Core Media Group, said, “This extraordinary panel of judges speaks volumes about the continued power of the iconic ‘American Idol’ brand. We are thrilled to have Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan join Katy Perry and, ultimately, millions of viewers as we begin this new era on ABC.”

Yesterday, Bryan kicked off his ninth annual Farm Tour performing in six cities through October 7. Since the tour’s inception in 2009, Bryan has awarded 50 scholarships to a local student from a farming family within the communities the tour has played. Bryan will also continue his Huntin’, Fishin’ and Lovin’ Every Day Tour through October.

Bryan is a two-time Academy of Country Music and Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year, a five-time host of the ACM Awards and the 2017 Super Bowl LI national anthem performer. Luke has placed 18 singles at No.1, sold over 10 million albums and more than 40 million tracks with three billion music streams, and has performed for millions of fans on tour. He recently debuted a new single, “Light It Up,” which is the first song off a new album due out later this year.

Singer-songwriter, record producer and international superstar Lionel Richie has a discography of albums and singles that are second to none. His music is part of the fabric of pop music; in fact, Richie is one of only two songwriters in history to achieve the honor of having No. 1 records for nine consecutive years. With more than 100 million albums sold worldwide, an Oscar®, a Golden Globe®, four Grammy Awards®, the distinction of MusicCares person of the year in 2016, and Kennedy Center Honoree in 2017, the Tuskegee, Alabama, native is a true music icon.

Richie is known for his mega-hits such as “Endless Love,” “Lady,” “Truly,” “All Night Long,” “Penny Lover,” “Stuck on You,” “Hello,” “Say You, Say Me,” “Dancing on the Ceiling,” and one of the most important pop songs in history, “We Are the World,” written with Michael Jackson for USA for Africa. His song catalog also includes his early work with The Commodores, where he developed a groundbreaking style that defied genre categories, penning smashes such as “Three Times a Lady,” “Still” and “Easy.”

Richie launched his Las Vegas headlining residency show, Lionel Richie – All the Hits, at The AXIS at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in April 2016. In an unforgettable evening featuring his brightest and best anthems which have defined the music icon’s unparalleled career, Richie takes his fans on a spectacular musical journey, performing a variety of his seminal hits. With his most recent All the Hits, All Night Long Tour, Richie sold out arenas worldwide with a set list of his brightest and best anthems. In recent years, he also headlined festivals including Bonnaroo, Outside Lands and Glastonbury, drawing the festival’s biggest crowd ever with more than 200,000 attendees.

When “American Idol” debuted in the U.S., the series revolutionized television, pioneering the reality-competition genre and holding an unmatched record for being the highest-rated series for nearly a decade. The series also ushered in second-screen audience participation, being the first to introduce text-based and mobile voting. The “Idol” format has taken on original versions in 55 countries around the world, and “American Idol” itself has played to a worldwide audience of over 460 million across 53 countries. At its new home on ABC, “American Idol” will continue to be a force in the television landscape, reaching every corner of the country in its search for the next great music sensation.

“American Idol” is produced by FremantleMedia North America and 19 Entertainment, a division of CORE Media Group. Executive producers include FremantleMedia North America’s Trish Kinane and Jennifer Mullin along with co-executive producer, Megan Wolflick. FremantleMedia International distributes the series worldwide.

Guy Fieri looks for a hit Food Network road show in ‘Guy’s Big Project’

September 29, 2017

Guy's Big Project
Guy Fieri (back row, far left) with “Guy’s Big Project” contestants (back row) Mark Anderson, Christian Gill, Ryan Fey, Sharon Damante, Sherri Williams, Vincenzo “Vinny” Vaccaro and (front row) Rashad Jones, Zane Caplansky, Dariany Santana and Lindsey Greene (Photo courtesy of Food Network)

Guy Fieri has visited thousands of restaurants on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” literally putting food-road shows on the map. Now, Guy is searching for Food Network’s next big culinary-travel series. After receiving and sorting through thousands of submissions from hopeful hosts with promising concepts, Guy and his team of food and television experts narrowed it down to a final group of prospects that will vie to have their idea developed into a show on “Guy’s Big Project.” The six-episode journey begins on Sunday, November 5 at 9pm ET/PT and documents every twist and turn as the prospects move from initial pitch through development to network review, to the ultimate end goal – the premiere of a new show on Food Network.

“Over a decade ago I was given a chance that I could never have dreamed of on Food Network Star, and now I’m honored to have the opportunity to help make someone else’s dream a reality,” said Fieri. “As a producer, I know what it takes to get a show off the ground, and we will see if these prospects have the passion and skills needed, because a great idea is just the first step.”

“’Guy’s Big Project’ invites viewers behind-the-scenes to see how a series goes from a passionate idea to a reality on-air,” said Courtney White, Senior Vice President Programming, Scripps Networks Interactive. “Guy’s betting on not only identifying the next big idea for the network, but he’s also committed to doing everything needed to help the prospects succeed.”

Guy and his team of experts including Food Network’s Alex Guarnaschelli and veteran television producer Mark Dissin, are taking the most promising prospects out on the road to see who has what it takes to be a success. The journey begins with the finalists picking a restaurant that best represents them and their show idea, where they film a pitch video to convey what their show would be about. Then, the pressure heats up as they whip up a meal in Guy’s personal kitchen that embodies their idea. One prospect will find the feedback hard to chew and will be sent home.

As the season progresses, the prospects are put through the paces by Guy and his team, learning that there is a lot more to hosting a food-television show than a passion for food and cooking skills.  From describing each bite of food in order to convey the flavors, aromas and textures, to engaging the audience while eating and interviewing a wide variety of chefs, there is a lot to digest especially when your hopes and dreams are on the line.

On the finale on Sunday, December 10th at 9pm ET/PT, the remaining prospects each shoot a pilot employing all the skills they learned from the previous weeks. After submitting their tapes to the network, they must wait to hear the decision. Immediately following the finale, at 10pm ET/PT, viewers will find out who made the cut as they get a sneak peek of the winner’s series!

The prospects include: Mark Anderson (Boise, Idaho) together with Ryan Fey (Los Angeles, California), Zane Caplansky (Toronto, Canada), Sharon Damante (Napa, California) together with Sherri Williams (Crestview, Florida), Christian Gill (Cincinnati, Ohio), Lindsay Greene (Atlanta, Georgia), Rashad Jones (Ocala, Florida), Dariany Santana (Kenilworth, New Jersey), and Vincenzo Vaccaro (Astoria, New York).

Fans can get an insider’s look at the making of “Guy’s Big Project” with behind-the-scenes photos of Guy and the prospects, as well as bonus videos and recipes inspired by the show at FoodNetwork.com/GuysBigProject. To join the conversation on social media use #GuysBigProject.

 

 

Halloween 2017: Orlando’s biggest attractions

September 29, 2017

The following is a press release from Visit Orlando:

This fall, Halloween fanatics flock to Orlando as the ultimate Halloween Vacation Capital. The destination, recently named AAA’s top destination for fall travel and known for immersive experiences, brings its creativity to the holiday with a host of highly themed events and attractions; hotel packages; and even the largest horror convention in the nation.

Including both family-friendly frights and extreme adult scares, over 10 weeks of Halloween festivities take place throughout the destination, including at the world-famous theme parks. October kicks off the height of the season, although some of the festivities started as early as August 25 and extend as late as November 4.

Visit Orlando, Orlando’s official visitor resource, has created a special web page to help travelers plan a ghoulish getaway. Find a few haunted highlights below, or the full frightful list at VisitOrlando.com/Halloween, and follow #OrlandoHalloween for real-time updates.

Teens and Adults: Sinister Celebrations

From extreme haunted houses to scenes from famous horror films, there are a full-scale terrifying adult frights in this destination that is traditionally known for family-friendly fun.

Dead Waters at Halloween Horror Nights 27 (Photo courtesy of Universal Studios)
  • Halloween Horror Nights 27 at Universal Studios Florida brings hordes of horrifying mutants, monsters and maniacs in its streets, nine terrifying haunted houses, five creature-filled scare zones and two outrageous live shows. For horror aficionados, the all-new haunted houses include characters from “The Shining” and TV shows “Ash vs. Evil Dead” and “American Horror Story”, and two of the scare zones are based on celebrated horror films “Trick ‘r Treat” andThe Purge.” Select nights Sept. 15Nov. 4.

    (Photo courtesy of Spooky Empire)
  • Spooky Empire, the largest horror convention in the nation, is taking place Oct. 27–29. This year’s lineup of celebrity guests includes Richard Dreyfuss (“Jaws”), John Cusack (“Better Off Dead”, “Gross Point Blank”), Joan Cusack (“Addams Family Values”, “Toy Story”), Shannon Elizabeth (“Scary Movie”) and more. Other thrills and chills at the convention include a tattoo festival, costume contest, zombie walk and film festival.
  • A Petrified Forest features two outdoor scare trails for small groups to venture through a haunted forest at night. For the uber-brave, on Total Eclipse Nights – which require a signed waiver for anyone under 18 – monsters can touch the guests, and each small group is given only one glowstick to light their path, regardless if it is dropped or stolen by a creature. Trails take place on select nights, Sept. 29Nov. 4.
  • Orlando Museum of Art’s 1st Thursdays: Ghosts & Ghouls will take place on Oct. 5. Artists will create works depicting dark, horror, goth and other Halloween themes including movie and TV icons, eerie and creepy landscapes and architecture, ghostly images, and anything associated with the paranormal and the unexplained.
  • Zombie Outbreak challenges guests to see how long they could survive a zombie apocalypse. This Halloween season and all year long, the terrifically terrifying attraction puts guests in the middle of a military base overrun with the undead.

For Families:

Kids and families can celebrate with monsters and villains, dress in costume and trick-or-treat inside some of the world’s favorite Halloween destinations.

Mickey’s Boo-to You Halloween Parade at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (Photo by David Roark)
  • Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Walt Disney World Resort. On select nights from Aug. 25 to Nov. 11, Magic Kingdom Park comes alive with jack-o-lanterns, special characters and entertainment for the whole family. Encouraged to come dressed for the occasion, visitors can trick-or-treat throughout the park, masquerade with costumed characters at the Boo-to-You Halloween Parade, sing along at the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular and end the night with a “Boo-tacular” fireworks show.

    SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular (Photo courtesy of Seaworld)
  • SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular immerses guests into an underwater “fantasea” with up-close animal encounters, trick-or-treating, playful pumpkin fish, and sea-themed arts and crafts. Guests can also reserve seats for Sesame Street’s Countdown to Halloween. The fun takes place select weekends from Sept. 22Oct. 29.

    (Photo courtesy of LEGOLAND)
  • Brick or Treat at LEGOLAND Florida Resort, select nights from Oct. 14-31, includes trick-or-treating, the world’s largest LEGO jack-o-lantern, LEGO Halloween characters and a bewitching Halloween-themed fireworks show at Pirates’ Cove.

    Screamin’ Green Hauntoween at Crayola Experience (Photo courtesy of Crayola Experience)
  • Screamin’ Green Hauntoween at The Crayola Experience, where guests can trick-or-treat while creating “monsterific” crafts and snapping “spooktacular” character photos on select days, Oct. 7–31.
  • Zoo Boo Bash at the Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens, offers ghoulish fun in the wildest neighborhood in town with trick-or-treating, face painting and costume contests on Oct. 28–29.

Haunting Hotel Packages

Orlando’s hotels scare up some hauntingly good deals and fun packages for the season.

  • The Goblins & Giggles Getaway Weekends at the Gaylord Palms Resort includes story time, ghost tours, a night time pool party, trick or treating and a Monster Mash Bash costume contest and movie night under the stars. The Halloween package starts at $189 per night (plus tax, resort fee and parking) and is valid from Sept. 15-Oct. 28.
  • Halloween Happenings at Clarion Inn Lake Buena Vista offers spellbinding savings with room rates starting at $69 (plus tax) for a Halloween getaway, with fun packs for kids at check in plus complimentary scheduled shuttles to the theme parks.
  • Hyatt Place Orlando Universal is offering trick or treating for all guests checking into the property. Guests can enjoy a sweet treat amenity in their room upon check-in as well as two additional complimentary drinks or treats at the Coffee to Cocktails Bar.

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Halloween 2017: HauntedHouses.com names the 13 best haunted attractions in America

September 28, 2017

The 13th Floor Phoenix
The 13th Floor Phoenix

The following is a press release from HauntedHouses.com:

HauntedHouses.com’s list of the Top 13 Haunted Houses in America for 2017 has officially been released. For this year’s list, HauntedHouses.com has carefully scoured the country and pulled together the most frightening, spine tingling and downright horrifying haunted houses to make even the bravest souls quiver in fear.

“When selecting the top haunted houses each year, we always have a few different key factors in the back of our minds when making the final decision on those that truly are “the best of the best,” said HauntedHouses.com representative, James Olmsted. Olmsted said these key factors include overall scare factor, originality, careful attention to detail when it comes to the set designs and essentially making sure that the customer experience is top notch.

“The haunted attraction industry is one that continues to grow and change each year. In order to keep up with the top haunted houses in the country, those in our industry really have to step up their game every Halloween season to ensure that they have created an immersive and heart wrenching experience that rivals what they created the previously. Many attendees are repeat customers, so when they return next year they want to experience even more thrills and chills than they did last year,” said Olmsted. “We feel that the haunted houses that we have incorporated on this year’s list have all truly done that. They’ve stepped up their game when it comes to scares, originality, attention to detail and overall customer satisfaction and we are excited to share this year’s list with you.”

HauntedHouses.com’s 2017 list includes:

  1. 13th Floor Haunted House (Phoenix, AZ) 13thfloorAZ.com
  2. Netherworld Haunted House (Atlanta, GA) fearworld.com
  3. House of Torment (Chicago, IL) houseoftormentchicago.com
  4. Terror on the Fox (Green Bay, WI) terroronthefox.com
  5. Dent Schoolhouse (Cincinnati, OH) frightsite.com
  6. 13th Gate (Baton Rouge, LA) 13thgate.com
  7. Headless Horseman (Ulster Park, NY) headlesshorseman.com
  8. Erebus Haunted House (Pontiac, MI) hauntedpontiac.com
  9. Haunted Overload (Lee, NH) hauntedoverload.com
  10. Spookywoods (Archdale, NC) spookywoods.com
  11. Nightmare on 13th (Salt Lake City, UT) nightmareon13th.com
  12. House of Horrors (Buffalo, NY) houseofhorrorsbuffalo.com
  13. Factory of Terror (Canton, OH) fotohio.com

2018 Miss Universe Competition: location, date, host announced

September 27, 2017

 65th Miss Universe Competition
Contestants of the 65th Miss Universe Competition with host Steve Harvey (front row, center). (Photo courtesy of Fox)

The following is a press release from Fox:

The Miss Universe Organization announced that the 66th MISS UNIVERSE® competition will take place live from The AXIS at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, NV, on Sunday, November 26, 2017 (7:00-10:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed) on FOX.

Five-time Emmy® Award winner Steve Harvey returns to the Miss Universe stage, marking the third time that the multi-talented personality will host the international competition.

Nearly 100 women from across the globe will travel to compete for the opportunity of becoming the next Miss Universe. Iris Mittenaere from France will crown her successor at the conclusion of the live three-hour event.

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