2017 Songwriters Hall of Fame: presenters and performers announced

June 7, 2017

Songwriters Hall of Fame

The following is a press release from the Songwriters Hall of Fame:

Irving Azoff, Benny Blanco, Jon Bon Jovi, Kenneth Gamble & Leon Huff, Johnny Gill, Whoopi Goldberg, John Leguizamo, Pat Monahan, Kelli O’Hara , Usher and Cassandra Wilson will either present and/or perform at the 48th Annual Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Dinner slated for Thursday, June 15th at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in  New York City.

Inductees at this year’s event include Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Berry Gordy, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Robert Lamm & James Pankow p/k/a “Chicago,”  Max Martin, and  Shawn “Jay Z” Carter.  Caroline Bienstock will receive the Abe Oleman Publishing Award, Alan Menken will be honored with the Johnny Mercer Award, Pitbull will be the inaugural recipient of the Global Ambassador Award and Ed Sheeran will be awarded with the Hal David Starlight Award.

About The Songwriters Hall of Fame:

The Songwriters Hall of Fame celebrates songwriters, educates the public with regard to their achievements, and produces a spectrum of professional programs devoted to the development of new songwriting talent through workshops, showcases and scholarships.  To qualify for induction into the SHOF, a songwriter must be a published writer for a minimum of 20 years. Out of the tens of thousands of songwriters of our era, there are approximately 400 inductees who make up the impressive roster enshrined in the Hall of Fame.  The list includes Kenneth Gamble & Leon Huff, Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil, Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller, Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier & Brian Holland, Smokey Robinson, Albert Hammond, Desmond Child, Paul Williams, Hal David & Burt Bacharach, John Fogerty, Bob Dylan, Isaac Hayes & David Porter,  Carole King, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Jon Bon Jovi & Richie Sambora, Elton John & Bernie Taupin, Brian Wilson, James Taylor, Don Schlitz, Bruce Springsteen, Phil Collins, Alan & Marilyn Bergman, Loretta Lynn, Jimmy Webb, Van Morrison, Kris Kristofferson, Dolly Parton, Diane Warren, Paul Anka, Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, Bill Withers, Neil Diamond, Steven Tyler & Joe Perry, Leonard Cohen, Ray Davies, Donovan, Cyndi Lauper,  Mick Jones & Lou Gramm, Chip Taylor, Elvis Costello, Marvin Gaye, Nile Rodgers & Bernard Edwards and Tom Petty among many others.

Full biographies and a complete list of inductees are available at the Songwriters Hall of Fame’s Virtual Museum at http://songwritershalloffame.org/.  Joining online is quick and easy: http://songhall.org/join

Ticket Information:

Tickets for the Songwriters Hall of Fame event begin at $1,250 each, and are available through Buckley Hall Events, 914-579-1000. Net proceeds from the event will go toward the Songwriters Hall of Fame programs.  Songwriters Hall of Fame is a 501(c)3 organization.  The non-deductible portion of each ticket is $170. Contributions, for which no goods or services are received in exchange, are fully tax-deductible as provided by law.

Bacardi and Major Lazer debut Music Liberates Music program to give studio time to emerging Caribbean artists

June 7, 2017

Major Lazer members Walshy Fire, Jillionaire, and Diplo at BACARDÍ x Major Lazer Present the Sound of Rum “Spirit Up” at Virginia Key, Key Biscayne in Miami on May 26, 2017. (Photo courtesy of BFA)

The following is a press release from Bacardi:

Bacardi and Major Lazer have launched Music Liberates Music, a program designed to support the island music that inspires them by providing up-and-coming artists a chance to share their music with the world. Every time fans play Major Lazer’s new track ‘Front of the Line’ (feat. Machel Montano & Konshens) on Spotify, Bacardi will donate studio time for aspiring Caribbean artists.  To listen to the just released ‘Front of the Line’ track and view the current tally of studio time, go to www.MusicLiberatesMusic.com.

Barcadi and Major Lazer will join forces to encourage fan participation—the more listens, the more studio time will be provided to these emerging artists, from now through the end of the month. Approximately every 50 plays equals one second of studio time—this will quickly add up, considering Major Lazer is known for chart-topping hits with 40+ million plays.

Bacardi and Major Lazer have similar roots and ambitions. The Sound of Rum concept behind their collaboration began in January as a way to connect the brand’s 150-year history of island roots to modern music but it’s become more than just music. It’s a cultural and creative collaboration that provides the perfect intersection of music and rum—a movement of sound that blurs the lines between reggae, dancehall, hip-hop and electronic music to bring people of different genres together.

The Caribbean is the heartland of The Sound of Rum. The budding artists, who are featured as part of the Music Liberates Music program, truly embody this movement. Bacardi and Major Lazer are thrilled to be giving them a voice, providing much-needed studio time and allowing them to achieve recognition outside of the conventional path to success.

 

2017 Electronic Entertainment Expo: E3 Coliseum lineup announced

June 7, 2017

E3

The following is a press release from Entertainment Software Association:

The full lineup of panels and guests for the first E3 Coliseum was announced today by the Entertainment Software Association. A spectacular main stage event that will connect video game fans with the biggest names in entertainment, E3 Coliseum will be June 13 and 14 at The Novo at L.A. Live as part of E3, the world’s premiere event for digital entertainment for PC, consoles, mobile platforms, and virtual reality.

Produced by Geoff Keighley, creator and producer of The Game Awards, E3 Coliseum will feature two full days of programming, including live demonstrations of upcoming games, insightful panels, and special one-time-only conversations. Open to all E3 badge holders, fans can begin lining up to attend E3 Coliseum starting at 7 a.m. June 13. The Novo is only a short walk from where E3 is being held at the Los Angeles Convention Center. For more information on E3 Coliseum access and programming, please visit www.e3coliseum.com.

E3 Coliseum also is teaming up with Facebook to give the global video game community the chance to watch and ask panelists questions. In addition to Q&As with in-person attendees, fans around the world can visit Facebook.com/E3Expo during E3 Coliseum to watch select panels on Facebook Live and submit questions to be answered by participating panelists. E3 Coliseum panels will also be streamed on Twitch—the official E3 streaming partner, Mixer, and YouTube.

The full schedule for E3 Coliseum is as follows:

Tuesday, June 13

11:00 AM – Noon:
God of War: Behind the Curtain

It’s been one year since game director Cory Barlog and his team at Santa Monica Studio introduced fans around the world to a bold new vision for God of War. Join us as Cory and other members of the development team share new insights and recount challenges overcome, delving further into writing, world building, combat design, and the powerful father/son relationship at the heart of Kratos’ new beginning. Moderated by Michele Morrow.

Noon – 12:30 PM:
Inside Bungie

For over 25 years, Bungie has pushed the video game industry in bold new directions. Join Bungie CEO Pete Parsons for a wide-ranging discussion about his career, the industry, and Bungie’s next release, Destiny 2. Moderated by WWE superstar (and devoted Destiny fan) Big Show.

12:30 PM1:30 PM:
World Builders
Join host Chris Hardwick for a keynote discussion about building worlds across entertainment mediums, with a focus on video games. Hardwick will be joined by astrophysicist Neil Degrasse Tyson, director James Gunn, Gearbox’s Randy Pitchford, and 343 Industries’ Kiki Wolfkill.

1:30 PM2:15 PM:
Assassin’s Creed

Ubisoft presents a look at what’s next from Assassin’s Creed.

2:15 PM2:45 PM:
What Game From E3 Will Make You the Next Online Gaming Superstar?
In a world where online content creators can make or break the success of a new game, discover which games from this year’s E3 are going to make the biggest splash with the world’s largest online creators. Join MatPat, creator of The Game Theorists YouTube channel (more than 8 million subscribers, 2016 winner of the Streamy Award for Best Gaming Channel), to find out which games are making a mark at E3 in the eyes of top Twitch and YouTube streamers. Learn what makes some games great to play and others great to watch for millions of fans on YouTube and Twitch.

2:45 PM3:15 PM
Bethesda Softworks
Join Bethesda Softworks for a look at a newly announced title that will be seen for the first time at their E3 2017 Showcase.

3:15 PM– 4:00 PM
Square Enix
Don’t miss when Square Enix presents a live demonstration of a newly announced title being showcased at E3 2017.

4:00 PM4:30 PM
Epic Games
For over two decades, the team at Epic Games has built some of the video game industry’s most talked about titles. Join members of Epic at E3 Coliseum for a behind-the-scenes look at the developer’s next release.

4:30 PM5:00 PM
Swing Behind the Scenes With the New Spider-Man for PS4
Join key members of both Insomniac Games and Marvel for a peek into the upcoming Spider-Man collaboration for the PS4.

5:00 PM5:45 PM:
Project Scorpio: The Most Powerful Place to Create and Play
Discover how Xbox built a powerful development platform in Project Scorpio with game creators in mind. Featuring key members of the Xbox team, including Turn 10 Studios and The Coalition. Moderated by Xbox Live’s Larry Hryb (Major Nelson).

6:00 PM7:00 PM:
Jack Black in Conversation with Tim Schafer
Over the past 30 years Tim Schafer has created some of the gaming industry’s most hilariously memorable worlds and characters. The multi-talented Jack Black (star of Brutal Legend) leads a wide-ranging conversation with Tim about his career, creative process, and yes, Psychonauts 2.

Wednesday, June 14

10:00 AM10:45 AM:
New Realities: VR, AR, and Gaming
Video games are ushering in a whole new era of interactivity across a host of new devices that deliver virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) experiences. Join Will Smith (The Foo Show) for a discussion about the state of immersive reality and the future of gameplay and storytelling in VR and AR. Joining Smith will be film director Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters), Curtis Hickman (Co-Founder/CCO, The Void), Tanja Watson (Co-Founder, Squanchtendo Games) David Ellison (CEO, Skydance Media), and Brandon J. Laatsch (Stress Level Zero Games).

10:45 AM11:30 AM:
Sea of Thieves: Community Spirit
The Sea of Thieves team discusses the opportunities and challenges of transforming Rare, one of the industry’s most secretive developers, into an open studio that celebrates its community and has brought its most passionate fans right into the heart of the development process – an essential step in creating a AAA shared-world pirate adventure.

11:30 – Noon:
Gaming Evolved: New Voices, New Visions
As the video game industry continues to evolve, there are opportunities for new voices and perspectives to push the medium in exciting new directions. Join us for a discussion about the many ways creators can express themselves and reach new audiences through video games.

Noon – 12:45 PM
Crash Bandicoot Reunion
Twenty-one years after he first arrived on the scene, Crash Bandicoot is back! Join members of the original creative team behind the game – Connie Booth, Mark Cerny, Naughty Dog co-founders Andy Gavin and Jason Rubin, and Bob Rafei – for a once-in-a-lifetime reunion to discuss the making of the original Crash Bandicoot and its impact on the video game industry.

12:45 PM1:30 PM:
Mortal Kombat: Celebrating 25 Years
For over 25 years, Mortal Kombat has evolved and pushed the fighting game genre in new directions, including its most recent release, MKX. Mortal Kombat co-creator Ed Boon joins the E3 Coliseum to reflect on the series and its impact on popular culture, esports, and the video game industry.

1:30 PM2:00 PM:
Far Cry 5: A Trip to Hope County
Welcome to Hope County, Montana, a rural community taken over by a fanatical cult. Led by Joseph Seed, “The Father,” players will build a resistance with the help of citizens of Hope County. Join Dan Hay, executive producer and creative director, and Drew Holmes, lead writer, to learn more about the citizens of Hope County, including The Father, Pastor Jerome, Mary May, and Nick Rye.

2:00 PM2:30 PM:
Call of Duty: WWII – Sledgehammer Games’ Journey Back to the Franchise’s Roots
Call of Duty: WWII returns to its franchise roots. Join Michael Condrey, Glen Schofield, and Greg Reisdorf for an inside look at the game that is taking the series back to boots on the ground. The panel will share behind-the-scenes development of the E3 content as we look at multiplayer and campaign gameplay and perhaps a hint at things to come in the months ahead. Moderated by Afrojack (Nick van de Wall).

2:30 PM3:15 PM:
Stories Across Screens
How does today’s greatest game writing influence the world of TV and film, and vice versa? Join Better Call Saul Executive Producer Gennifer Hutchison for a conversation with leading storytellers about the opportunities and challenges of interactive and linear storytelling. Hutchison will be joined by Emil Pagliarulo (Designer Director, Bethesda Game Studios), Josh Scherr (Writer, Naughty Dog), and Dan Tractenberg (Director, 10 Cloverfield Lane, Black Mirror).

3:15 PM4:15 PM:
A Conversation with Hideo Kojima and Jordan Vogt-Roberts
A one-on-one session looking back at the career of Hideo Kojima, led by Jordan Vogt-Roberts, director of Kong: Skull Island. These two creative forces will share the stage to discuss the fusion of gaming and cinema. Mr. Kojima will discuss his cinematic influences and how they have allowed him to make masterworks of his own.

4:15 PM5:00 PM:
The Indie Revolution
Some of today’s most creative and inspiring games come from independent developers working outside the system. Join us to hear their stories. Robin Hunicke (Funomena) leads a discussion about the independent game scene across console, mobile, and PC, featuring guests including Brendan Greene (creator, Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds) and Eli Cymet (Alto’s Odyssey).

5:00 PM5:30 PM
Middle-earth: Shadow of War – A Behind-the-Scenes Look

Join Monolith Productions, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, and Troy Baker (the voice of Talion) for an inside look and live demonstration of Middle-earth: Shadow of War.

5:30 – 6 PM:
Square Enix
Join the team at Square Enix for a developer showcase, revealing new details about a game that will be announced for the first time at E3 2017.

6:00 PM:
An exclusive surprise discussion with renowned figures.

E3 is the world’s premier event for computer, video, and mobile games and related products. At E3, the video game industry’s top talent convenes at the Los Angeles Convention Center, connecting tens of thousands of the best, brightest, and most innovative in the interactive entertainment industry. For three exciting days, leading-edge companies, groundbreaking new technologies, and never-before-seen products will be showcased. E3 connects both new and existing partners, industry executives, and the biggest fans of video games, providing unprecedented exposure to emerging markets. E3: It all starts here. See more at www.E3Expo.com.

Geoff Keighley has spent more than two decades covering the video game industry as a prolific journalist, host, and producer. He is the creator/producer of The Game Awards, as well as host/producer of YouTube’s annual Live at E3 coverage, as well as YouTube’s first-ever live series, Live with YouTube Gaming. He has also attended every E3 since 1995.

George and Amal Clooney welcome twin children Alexander and Ella

June 6, 2017

George and Amal Clooney
George and Amal Clooney at the Cannes Film Festival premiere of “Money Monster” in Cannes, France, on May 12, 2016. (Photo by Isa Saiz/NurPhoto)
Oscar-winning actor/filmmaker George Clooney and his wife, Amal Clooney, are now parents to twins. On June 6, 2017, the couple released this statement to the media, according to the Associated Press: “This morning Amal and George welcomed Ella and Alexander Clooney into their lives. Ella, Alexander and Amal are all healthy, happy and doing fine.” The statement added jokingly, “George is sedated and should recover in a few days.”
These are the first children for George (who is 56) and and 39-year-old Amal Clooney, who wed in 2014. Amal, a human-rights attorney, is George’s second wife. He was married to actress Talia Balsam from 1989 to 1993. After getting divorced, George Clooney publicly said for years that he would never get married again and he didn’t want children. However,  he clearly changed his mind when he got engaged to Amal in 2014, after the couple dated for about seven months.

2017 BET Awards: New Edition, Chance the Rapper get special prizes

June 6, 2017

2017 BET Awards

The following is a press release from BET:

BET Networks revealed iconic R&B group New Edition will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2017 “BET Awards”. In addition, multi–Grammy Award winning hip-hop artist and singer-songwriter Chance the Rapper will receive the evening’s Humanitarian Award presented by Walmart. This year’s broadcast marks 17 years of unexpected performances, trailblazing moments, super dope talent, and entertainment’s most provocative players. The iconic show continues to be a cultural rule breaker steeped in reinvention with some of the most memorable moments in Award show history. The “BET Awards” has set the standard for one of the most intently unconventional, news-provoking broadcasts. The 2017 “BET Awards” will air LIVE on Sunday, June 25 at 8 pm ET from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, CA on BET.

New Edition is a legendary R&B group consisting of members Bobby Brown, Michael Bivins, Ralph Tresvant, Ronnie DeVoe, Ricky Bell and Johnny Gill. Throughout the course of their extensive musical career, New Edition released several chart-topping hits including “Candy Girl”, “Cool It Now”, and “Mr. Telephone Man” – for which they received multiple Soul Train Awards and American Music Award wins. In January 2017, BET launched The New Edition Story, a three-part miniseries that was also BET’s first scripted music-focused program. The show profiled the New Edition journey from the little-known boy band from the Orchard Park Projects of Roxbury, Massachusetts, to one of the most successful adult acts ever in the music industry. To date, New Edition has sold over 20 million records world-wide.

Chance the Rapper is a hip-hop artist, singer-songwriter and philanthropist who rose to popularity with his highly awarded and recognized mixtapes “Acid Rap” and “Coloring Book.” Chance has consistently used his musical platform to support a number of impactful educational, social and political initiatives – positively impacting both local and national communities. In 2016, Chance worked closely with President Obama on My Brother’s Keeper Challenge, an initiative of the United States Federal Government to promote intervention by civic leaders in the lives of young men of color – working to address their unique challenges and to promote racial justice. Chance has also activity fought gun violence, leading social campaigns in his home-town Chicago. Most recently, Chance the Rapper pledged to donate $1 million to in-need Chicago Public Schools in an effort to offset the lack of government funding provided to the area.

Hosted by Leslie Jones, the “BET Awards” 2017 will include performances by Bruno Mars, Future, Migos, Trey Songz and Tamar Braxton. The start power continues as Yara Shahidi, Cardi B, Issa Rae, Jamie Foxx, La La Anthony, the cast of Universal Pictures’ “Girls Trip” (Regina Hall, Tiffany Haddish, with Jada Pinkett Smith and Queen Latifah), Trevor Noah, Robin Thede, Cari Champion and Demetrius Shipp Jr. and many others will take the stage as presenters during the 17th anniversary of the annual highly-anticipated televised event.

A full list of the 2017 “BET Awards” nominees is now available here.

The 2017 “BET Awards” will premiere around the world on BET’s international networks. It will air in the UK on Tuesday, June 27th at 9:00pm BST, in Africa on Tuesday, June 27th at 8:00pm CAT, and in France on Wednesday, June 28th at 8:00pm CEST. Internationally, fans in 100 countries can also stream the 2017 “BET Awards” live with BET Play, BET International’s subscription video on demand application. The iOS and Android app, which also features current and classic BET television series, documentaries, standup comedy and legendary musical performances, will carry a live feed of the red carpet and the Awards, and is available for download now in the iTunes and Google Play stores for $3.99 a month following a seven-day free trial.

Jesse Collins, CEO of Jesse Collins Entertainment serves as Executive Producer. Connie Orlando, BET’s Interim Head of Programming serves as Executive Producer for BET Networks.

The “BET Awards” will take place along with the BET Experience at L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles from June 22-25, 2017. BET.com/betawards is the official site for the “BET Awards” and will have all the latest news and updates about this year’s show.  VIP Packages for the 5th year of the BET Experience weekend are better than ever and now on-sale. In addition to VIP amenities throughout the weekend and incredible seats for STAPLES Center shows, three levels of BETX VIP Packages offer guests the only opportunity to purchase tickets to the highly-anticipated BET Awards, broadcast live from Microsoft Theater. Last year the in-demand VIP Packages sold out, so guests are encouraged to purchase now before the allotment is depleted. Full package amenities and pricing for the Diamond, Platinum and Gold VIP Packages can be found by visiting BETExperience.com or by calling (877) 234-8425.

General tickets for the BET Experience at L.A. LIVE presented by Coca-Cola® are on sale now at http://www.axs.com/betexperience.

Download the BETX ’17 app powered by AT&T, the #1 source for everything BETX, including real-time event updates, full schedules, BET Fan Fest wristbands, daily prizes, ticket giveaways, live streams and much more.

Follow the BET Experience on Twitter @betexperience for the latest and greatest and join the hottest conversation by using #BETX. Feel free to also check us out online at http://www.betexperience.com.

2017 MegaFest: performers and celebrity appearances announced

June 6, 2017

MegaFest logo

The following is a press release from MegaFest:

Bestselling author, entrepreneur, and renowned pastor Bishop T.D. Jakes hosts the third biennial MegaFest in Dallas from June 28July 1, 2017, at the famed Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas. The internationally-acclaimed four-day faith, film and family festival is returning to Dallas for its third year. With the family favorite festival’s continued growth and popularity, this year’s event estimates to draw over 100,000 attendees from all 50 states to attend panels, workshops, special screenings, performances, activations, and competitions among a variety of engaging events.

“MegaFest is uniquely spectacular,” Bishop Jakes said. “It fills so many needs in people’s lives today — whether getting over your past or claiming your future ahead. It’s healing, it’s inspiring, it’s exciting, it’s entertaining — it’s an experience with something for everyone.”

Recognized as the world’s largest multi-day family festival, the event attracts a diverse collection of influencers, professionals and experts in their respective fields ranging from TV/film, Sports, Music, Ministry, Authors and Business.

Some of this year’s featured motivators, speakers, panelists and moderators include: Bishop T.D. Jakes & Serita Jakes, DeVon Franklin, Cicely L. Tyson, Brian White, Romeo Miller, John Singleton, Angela Simmons, Laz Alonso, Blair Underwood, Kim Fields, Monique Coleman, and Wanda Durant, mother of NBA All-Star Kevin Durant.

The full list of featured participants and speakers can be found here.

Joining MegaFest’s beloved four core program tracks (MegaInspiration: Woman Thou Are Loosed, MegaYouth, Fire Code, MegaKidz Destiny World, Alive Dance/Mime Conference, MegaEntertainment: A Time to Laugh Comedy Show, International Faith & Family Film Festival, Celebrity Meet & Greets, MegaEmpowerment: Business Talk, Financial Talk, Health Talk, Tech Talk and more, and MegaCommunity: Career Corner, MegaFit, College Corner, Fashion Show, Health & Wellness) this year include:

  • The LEGENDS Awards – This invitation-only luncheon recognizes a Hollywood legend that has been victorious, purposeful, and impactful in their career and industry. This year’s recipient of the inaugural LEGENDS Award is award-winning actress, advocate and humanitarian Cicely L. Tyson.
  • MegaFutures – In collaboration with the University of North Texas and inspired by the Emmy Award-winning TV show “Shark Tank,” this competition is open to forward-thinking students in grades 6 through 12 to flex their entrepreneurship skills by giving them the opportunity to pitch their ideas for any prize sum up to $50,000 while simultaneously making like-minded friends and receiving feedback and guidance from a expert panel of judges. MegaFest is accepting online submissions until the end of business day on Monday, June 12, 2017.  For more information on eligibility requirements and submissions please visit: http://megafutures.org/megafutures-at-megafest-entry-form/
  • Youth Robotic Exhibition & Engagement – Attendees are invited to witness live demos of the latest robots in action, build and program their own working robot and attend motivating sessions covering topics such as saving, investing and wealth creation.
  • The MegaFest Choir Experience – Local church choirs from the Dallas-Fort Worth area perform on stage for one of the biggest audiences in the country during the worship portion of the conferences for Woman Thou Art Loosed (WTAL) and ManPower (MP).
  • MegaFest Anthem Challenge – This is an opportunity for all choirs, singers, gospel rappers and spoken word artists to perform on the main stage during MegaFest 2017.
  • MegaCrawl – The Cedars neighborhood has teamed up with MegaFest and will be keeping its local restaurants, bars and coffee shops open late night for all attending the festival. For a list of participating businesses visit: http://www.mega-fest.org/megacrawl/

MegaFest 2015 brought over 91,000 visitors to the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex with an estimated economic impact of more than $59 million.

 

Travel Channel launches ‘Xtreme Screams’ series to document people’s screams at scary and thrilling travel attractions

June 5, 2017

 “Freddy vs. Jason” maze at Universal Studios Hollywood “Halloween Horror Nights” (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Universal Studios Hollywood)

Fear has a sound. “Xtreme Screams,” currently in production for Travel Channel, will ensure that thrill-seekers’ screams—heard at the world’s most exhilarating rides, attractions and experiences—will reverberate in viewers’ ears long after they watch each heart-pumping episode. The eight half-hour installments will deliver a rousing dose of adventure, fun and fear from Thailand to Texas. Take a seat on the Terror-Dactyl, which launches riders 100 mph over Manitou Springs, Colorado, or take a heart-pounding jump off the 721-foot-high Verzasca Dam in Switzerland. No experience is off-limits because the one thing each adventure has in common is the ear-piercing shrieks coming from those brave enough to try it!

“Whether it’s a vertical drop down a rollercoaster or a leap of faith off a bungee bridge, people love an adrenaline rush – and it’s never, ever quiet,” said Courtney White, senior vice president, programming and development, Food Network, Travel Channel and Cooking Channel.

“Xtreme Screams” will premiere in October 2017, as part of Travel Channel’s weeklong Scarecation programming event, which also features Halloween-themed programming to the spookiest travel destinations.

Shopkins Macaron Cafe: admission to pop-up in New York sells out in one minute

June 5, 2017

Moose Toys-Shopkins Macaron Cafe
(Photo courtesy of /Moose Toys)

The following is a press release from Moose Toys:

Moose Toys, the global toy company behind the hit Shopkins™ collectible, is giving fans an exclusive, one-of-a-kind experience by opening a limited-time Shopkins Macaron Café. Reservations for the pop-up café experience, opening in New York City from June 17-19, went live at www.shopkinscafe.com on June 1 at 8pm ET and completely booked up in one minute.

Shopkins lovers eagerly waited for the reservations to go live and scooped up hundreds of spots immediately. The highly-anticipated pop-up experience currently has over 4,000 families on the waiting list.

“Shopkins is as hot as ever! We were absolutely floored by the incredible response to the first Shopkins pop-up experience. What a fantastic way for our fans to experience their favorite collectible – in its very own café!” said Paul Solomon, Co-CEO of Moose Toys. “This truly speaks volumes to the strength of the brand and as we expand more and more into entertainment, licensing and new categories, Shopkins continues to exceed our expectations.”

The Shopkins Macaron Café lets kids step into the world of Shopkins to celebrate the launch of Shopkins Season 8: World Vacation. The first wave of Shopkins: World Vacation tours Europe, introducing new Shopkins and Shoppies characters inspired by France, Italy, Germany, the U.K. and more.

Opening its doors in New York City from June 17-19 in Tribeca, the café is completely free to attend for lucky fans with a coveted reservation. The Shopkins Macaron Café is Parisian-themed, inspired by one of the newest playsets in Season 8, the Oh La La Macaron Café. Inside the café, fans will be greeted with amazing Shopkins photo opportunities, a dazzling manicure station, close-up looks at Season 8 and opportunities to play with the new product. Guests can also enjoy the adorable and tasty Shopkins Macarons.

While all reservations are currently full, guests can still join the waitlist at www.shopkinscafe.com in case spots open.

Adrian Grenier named UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador

June 5, 2017

 by Carla Hay

Adrian Grenier
Adrian Grenier (center) with Marc-André Blanchard (left), Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations, and Elliott Harris (right), Assistant Secretary General/Director of the UN Environment New York Office at the Empire State Building in New York City on June 5, 2017. (Photo by Carla Hay)

Entertainer/activist Adrian Grenier (known for his starring role as Vincent Chase in “Entourage”) was officially named a United Nations Environment Goodwill Ambassador at a ceremony held at the New York City’s Empire State Building on June 5, 2017—World Environment Day. Hosted by Canada, World Environment Day 2017 has the theme “Connecting People to Nature.” During the ceremony, Grenier (who co-founded the Lonely Whale Foundation to inspire empathy for marine species) also lit the Empire State Building.

In a brief speech, Grenier said that having the ambassador position is a “great, great honor,” and he thanked his mother (who attended the event) for being his earliest inspiration to “make the world a better place … She taught me to care about myself and the world outside myself.”

Adrian Grenier and his mother, Karesse Grenier, at the Empire State Building in New York City on June 5, 2017. (Photo by Carla Hay)

Grenier, who was raised in New York City, also talked about how the city has been an inspiration to him and his environmental work: “It’s a place where we’re forced to interact with one another and rub elbows and connect. We can’t do anything without radical collaboration.”  The ocean “has taught me what it means collaborate—all the infinite drops of water that come together as a powerful force that is the ocean.  We have to unite as individuals behind science and reason and facts and empathy and passion to become a sea of change for the better so that we can be good leaders for our children.”

Adrian Grenier at the Empire State Building in New York City on June 5, 2017. (Photo by Carla Hay)

After the lighting ceremony, I spoke with Grenier for this exclusive interview:

What do you think is the most important thing you’ve accomplished with the Lonely Whale Foundation?

One thing I’m very proud of is the work I’ve been doing with Dell. We launched an amazing virtual-reality experience. It gives people the opportunity to go swim with our lonely whale and see what our whales encounter on a daily basis, from ocean-noise pollution to plastics pollution. It’s a way to get people who don’t have a direct connection to the ocean to have a sense of empathy for the sea.

Also, we’ve launched a program that actually retrieves single-use plastic before it has a chance to get to the ocean and use it in new packaging. There’s been so much we’ve been doing together, and I’m really proud of that relationship.

Adrian Grenier at the Empire State Building in New York City on June 5, 2017. (Photo by Carla Hay)

You’ve been very vocal about being against using plastic products, such as plastic straws and plastic bags. What can you say about any progress you’ve seen in reducing plastic use in society?

I think we need to re-think how we use single-use plastics. Until governments take the moral stance of eliminating single-use plastics from our lives, we have to make those choices personally. Single-use plastic straws are not necessary. We have other alternatives: paper, glass, metal and our own lips.

A&E will have documentaries about Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls

June 5, 2017

Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur
Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur

The following is a press release from A&E:

A&E Network will premiere the definitive documentary “Biggie: The Life of Notorious B.I.G.” as the inaugural project airing under the recently relaunched ‘Biography’ banner.  The three-hour, deeply personal biography will allow the late Christopher Wallace to narrate his own incredible life story by employing exclusive archival footage and audio recordings that have never been heard before as well as new interviews by those who loved him most.  In addition, A&E will also premiere the six-part limited series “Who Killed Tupac?” which will follow famed civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump as he conducts, for the first time ever, a no-stone-unturned investigation twenty years after the death of the dynamic and influential rapper and actor.  “Biggie: The Life of Notorious B.I.G.” will air all three hours on Monday, September 4 at 8PM ET/PT on A&E.

“Who Killed Tupac?” which will air as six, weekly installments moves to Q4 2017.

“The late Christopher Wallace and Tupac Shakur continue to impact the world two decades after their tragic, unsolved murders and there is still a public longing to connect with these figures and to celebrate their legacies,” said Elaine Frontain Bryant, Executive Vice President and Head of Programming, A&E Network. “We pride ourselves in delivering projects under the ‘Biography’ banner that unearth a side of the story that the public has never seen before.  In the case of “Biggie: The Life of Notorious B.I.G.,” the foundation of this biography is exclusive archival footage and audio recordings of Biggie himself, packaged in a way that allows him to tell his own life story as if its present day and we are truly excited to be able to bring that kind of intimacy and connection to his fans.”

Directed by Mark Ford, “Biggie: The Life of Notorious B.I.G.” is the first biography to be authorized by his estate and will be the most personal and revealing documentary about the late Christopher Wallace that anyone has ever seen.  It will provide interviews with those closest to him including his widow Faith Evans, his mother Voletta Wallace, his close friend Lil Cease and members of Junior Mafia as well as cultural icons Sean “Diddy” Combs, Shawn “Jay Z” Carter and Nas.

Twenty years after his death, this intimate documentary will also focus on Faith Evans as she embarks on an emotional journey to reconcile her own turbulent memories.  In addition, the special will explore the people and places that shaped his life including his youth hustling on the streets of Brooklyn, NY, his rise to fame with his confidante and collaborator Sean “Diddy” Combs, his relationships with Faith Evans and Lil’ Kim, his feud with Tupac Shakur, and his shocking murder on the streets of Los Angeles.

“Who Killed Tupac?” is a six-hour limited series, focusing on the investigation, twenty years after the death of the prolific and influential rapper and actor, Tupac Shakur.  Each installment of this investigative series will include aspects from the legendary artist’s life as well as follow famed civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump as he conducts a full-scale, intensive investigation into key theories behind his murder.  Crump has represented the families of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice and other victims of gun violence who many believe were denied their due process of the law.  When Tupac’s mother, Afeni Shakur, who went to high school with Crump’s mother, saw that he was fighting for truth and justice for the family of Trayvon Martin, she expressed to him how important that was and that this fight is not just for Tupac and Trayvon, but for all our young black men who didn’t get justice.  In exploring how Tupac didn’t get his due process, Crump seeks to show how it is relevant to what is happening in the social justice movement in America today.  Through Tupac’s own words and exclusive new interviews with eyewitnesses, family, friends, and colleagues, viewers will come to understand every facet of Tupac Shakur’s complex personality.  Key interviews include Tupac’s brother Mopreme Shakur, his childhood friend E.D.I. Mean as well as other members of his group Outlawz, Al Sharpton, radio personality Big Boy, Christopher Darden, his first manager Leila Steinberg, former MTV correspondent Tabitha Soren, executives at Death Row Records, former gang members of the Bloods and the Crips, Quincy “QDIII” Jones III and Digital Underground’s Money-B.

Building on its roots as a trusted source of information, initial content on Biography.com re-launching June 7 (under the “Biography” brand), will include new and updated hip hop industry profiles, including everyone from veterans Grand Wizzard Theodore and Grandmaster Flash, to breakout star Chance the Rapper and mogul Kanye West.  The site will include “The 1000 Word Series” which will roll out online, following each “Biography” project’s linear debut, and aims to provide audiences additional enriched content that allows for full viewer immersion.  This additional series will kick off with a letter written to Tupac, accompanied by audio, from author and collaborator, Kevin Powell, as well as a video component and a heartfelt letter written to Biggie Smalls from friend, colleague, and author Steve Stoute.

“Biggie: The Life of Notorious B.I.G.” is directed by Mark Ford and produced by Creature Films in association with Entertainment One (eOne).  Executive producers for Creatures Films are Mark Ford and Kevin Lopez.  Executive Producers for eOne are John Morayniss and Tara Long.  Voletta Wallace and Faith Evans also serve as executive producers.  Executive producers for A&E are Elaine Frontain Bryant, Shelly Tatro and Brad Abramson.  A+E Networks holds worldwide distribution rights for “Biggie: The Life of Notorious B.I.G.”

“Who Killed Tupac?” is produced by Renegade 83 in association with FGW Productions. Executive producers for Renegade 83 are Jay Renfroe and David Garfinkle. Stephanie Frederic is the executive producer for FGW Productions.  Additionally, Vince DiPersio serves as executive producer.  Jason Sklaver serves as executive producer and director.  Benjamin Crump also serves as executive producer.  Executive producers for A&E are Elaine Frontain Bryant, Shelly Tatro and Brad Abramson.  A+E Networks holds worldwide distribution rights for “Who Killed Tupac?”