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    JERUSALEM (AP) — Arik Einstein, a pioneering Israeli singer and songwriter who performed some of the country's best-known anthems, has died.

    Doctors said Einstein died Tuesday after suffering an aneurism. He was 74. Einstein began performing in the early 1960s after serving in a military entertainment troupe. His soft voice was instantly recognizable, melding classic folk music with a harder edge.

    He is widely seen as the father of Israeli rock. In a career spanning half a century, Einstein recorded and performed with many of Israel's top artists. He also enjoyed an acting career.

    In a statement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Einstein's works "the soundtrack" of the nation.

    According to Israeli media, Einstein is survived by his partner, actress Sima Eliyahu, and four children.

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    The week of Thanksgiving is in full force here in the United States, so we imagine that many of our readers are currently in the process of preparing for an enormous, multi-course meal surrounded by friends and family of equally rapacious appetites. Who can resist a full day dedicated to gorging yourself on a cornucopia of turkey and its various side dishes, followed by the ritualistic, food-induced coma?

    To celebrate this time of festive eating, we've put together a list of the 15 best banquets in art to help you make your Thanksgiving the greatest feast possible. These works of art span the decadent dinners of the Roman Empire to medieval Europe all the way to 20th century America, capturing the day of plenty in all its sumptuous glory.

    1. John Currin's "Thanksgiving," 2003

    currin
    Is this what your Turkey face looks like?


    2. Jan Mandijn's "Burlesque Feast," c. 1550

    burlesque
    This is like a snapshot straight out of your Thanksgiving family album, right?


    3. Norman Rockwell's "Freedom of Want," 1943

    norman rockwell freedom of want
    The most iconic of the American feast paintings, don't you think?


    4. Jean Leon Gerome Ferris' "The First Thanksgiving," c. 1912-1915

    thanksgiving
    We highly doubt the first Thanksgiving really looked like this, but we'll let you be the judge of that.


    5. Diego Velazquez' "The Triumph of Bacchus, or the Drunkards," 1629

    bacchus
    When in Rome.


    6. Kent Bellows' "Self-Portrait with Wine Glass (Gluttony)," 2000

    kent
    Hands down the most intimidating diner we have ever seen. (Courtesy of The Kent Bellows Studio & Center for Visual Arts)


    7. Jan Steen's "The Merry Family," 1668

    food
    Look, even the infant is getting into the festivities.


    8. Doris Lee's "Thanksgiving Dinner," 1935

    doris
    Where are all the male chefs, amiright?


    9. William Hogarth's "An Election Entertainment," 1754

    dinner
    These electoral entertainers really know how to feast.


    10. Vincent van Gogh's "The Potato Eaters," 1885

    potatoes
    Times were hard, but at least there was tea and starch to be had.


    11. Pieter Brueghel the Younger's "Wedding Feast in front of a Farm," c. 1620-1625

    food
    Literally farm-to-table, guys.


    12. Jacob Jordaens' "Fest des Bohnenkönigs (Feast of Beans)," c. 1640-1645

    beans
    While they're not potatoes, you can't really forget the bean's crucial role in proper dining either.


    13. Adriaen Brouwer's "Das Schlachtfest," c. 1630-1640

    tgiving
    These guys are clearly in the post-eating phase. Hence the many passed out revelers.


    14. Leonardo da Vinci's "The Last Supper," 1495-1498)

    the last supper
    THE feast.


    15. Judy Chicago's "The Dinner Party," 1974-1979

    chicago
    Let's face it. At times you'd rather dine with Virginia Woolf and Georgia O'Keeffe than your weird relatives.

    In honor of Thanksgiving, we're featuring an article originally published last year.

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    Imagine this: It's Thanksgiving morning and you've probably just embarked on what will be a marathon day of chopping, slicing, stuffing and basking until the sweet smells of roasted turkey (or tofurkey) float through your abode. It can be a daunting project, often taking three to five hours to create the perfect spread of mashed potatoes, green beans, yams and every other delicious side dish you can imagine.

    What's the perfect accompaniment to this day of food prep? A playlist.

    Enter "The Thanksgiving Playlist That Will Get You Through Hours of Cooking." That's right, we've put together a hefty list of songs that is guaranteed to last all the way through your turkey-cooking experience (as long as said turkey is roughly 12 pounds or less). It's hours of pure holiday entertainment -- Thanksgiving themed, of course -- that we hope will make waiting on that golden bird (or tofu and side dishes) that much more enjoyable.

    1. "Cold Turkey" - John Lennon



    2. "Mashed Potato Love" - Chubby Checkers



    3. "The Gravy" - Japanther



    4. "Thanksgiving Song" - The National



    5. "Dinner for Two" - St. Vincent and David Byrne



    6. "Tasty Pudding" - Miles Davis



    7. "Momma's Gravy" - Calypso King and the Soul Investigators



    8. "Hey Good Lookin'" - Hank Williams



    9. "Mash Potato" - Dee Dee Sharp



    10. "I Heard The Voice of a Pork Chop" - Jim Jackson



    11. "Dinner Bells" - Wolf Parade



    12. "Family Tree" - Black Lips



    13. "Pumpkin Seeds" - Devendra Banhart



    14. "Taste - Animal Collective"



    15. "Rice Pudding" - Sufjan Stevens



    16. "Bread" - Yellow Ostrich



    17. "Do The Bird" - Dee Dee Sharp



    18. "Sweet Potato Shuffle" - The Polish Ambassador



    19. "Sweet Thang" - Turbo Fruits



    20. "Flightless Bird American Mouth" - Iron & Wine



    In honor of Thanksgiving, we're featuring an article originally published last year.

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    With awards season kicking into higher gear, even movies like "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues" want a slot in the golden derby. As first noticed by Indiewire's The Playlist, Paramount Pictures' awards site has "Anchorman 2" up for consideration in the Best Original Song category.

    Called "Doby," the track is a two-minute tribute to Doby, a person or animal who touched Ron Burgundy with his "expressionless face." Written by star Will Ferrell, director Adam McKay and composers John Nau and Andrew Feltenstein, the song is performed by Ferrell and what sounds like a children's choir.

    Head over to the Paramount For Your Consideration site to listen to "Doby," and check out The Playlist for more information on the "Anchorman 2" soundtrack. "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues" is out on Dec. 18.

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    If you absolutely loved "The Hobbit" and also "Mean Girls," well, then you have very wide-ranging and eclectic tastes in movie genres.

    More specifically, though, if you loved both (and even if you enjoyed only one), then you'll absolutely adore this tongue-in-cheek animated mashup trailer of the two movies entitled "Mean Elves" (from OnlyLeigh).

    Watch above to see the too-cool-for-school teens at their worst, which only proves that Smaug doesn't have anything on the scariness that is the A-list clique of Middle-earth.

    [via Viral Viral Videos]

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    One Direction, "Midnight Memories" (Columbia)

    What's the mother of the average American tween to do as the holidays approach? Miley has twerked her way out of the stocking, for sure. Justin Bieber invites too many questions. And most of the women of pop are exploring very adult themes that are rated at least PG-13. One Direction steps into that giant void just in time for Black Friday, providing nervous mothers with the perfect gift: "Midnight Memories." The album is full of positive choruses and playful — not pornographic — takes on love and life. Smartly promoted around release, the third album from the British boy band is definitely mom bait.

    It's a pretty good record, too. The quintet has released a lot of music in a short period of time, usually a challenge for young acts.

    Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson take baby steps forward from their two platinum-selling 2012 releases, "Up All Night" and "Take Me Home," adding some musical edge and variety, mostly through the use of turned-up guitars and hit surfing through the mom-friendly 1980s.

    "Diana," for instance, is all Sting and The Police as the boys hop on that burgeoning bandwagon. The title track references Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar on Me" in a way that's oddly pleasing. And "Does He Know?" covers the same ground musically and thematically as Rick Springfield's "Jessie's Girl."

    While the quintet is flirtatious, they never move beyond the casual come-on, and their paramores are painted as sassy and smart, usually turning down that invitation to go home with one of the boys. The rockin' "Little Black Dress" is about as spicy as it gets with its chorus of, "I wanna see the way you move for me, baby." Unlike most of their pop-music colleagues, bad girls are definitely not cool here, as they note on "Little White Lies."

    The music is inclusive, too, as the group often paints itself as a refuge of sorts. "If you ever feel alone, don't/ You were never on your own/ And the proof is in this song," they sing on "Don't Forget Where You Belong."

    And that's the kind of message every mom can get behind.

    ___

    Follow AP Music Writer Chris Talbott: http://twitter.com/Chris_Talbott .

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    Evan Rachel Wood co-stars with Shia LaBeouf in "Charlie Countryman," an indie drama that earned an R-rating from the Motion Picture Association of America because of "some brutal violence, language throughout, sexuality/nudity, and drug use." According to Wood, however, an early MPAA ruling forced director Fredrik Bond to sanitize a key sex scene in order to procure the restricted tag.

    Wood, 26, took to Twitter on Wednesday to admonish members of the ratings board for their stance on female sexuality, noting that the scene in question was cut down because it showed a male performing oral sex on his female partner. This isn't the first time oral sex between a man and woman has caused issues with the ratings board; back in 2010, "Blue Valentine" was given an NC-17 rating for a scene where Ryan Gosling's character performs the act on Michelle Williams' character, but the ruling was overturned without any changes being made to the finished film.

    Check out Wood's tweets on the matter below, but be warned that some of her posts contain strong language. "Charlie Countryman" is out in limited release now.



























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    Eminem has released the music video for "Rap God," the third single off his recent album, "The Marshall Mathers LP 2." The video serves as a tribute to Max Headroom, the fictional artificial intelligence TV host, who was popular during the '80s. Bleached blond hair, secret agent suit, and spastic movements, Eminem's portrayal of Max is a near carbon copy of the character, who was first played by Matt Frewer. The video also features the rapper in a game of "Portal," levitating above a crowd and injecting media directly into his brain. Watch below.


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    There comes a time in our lives where the responsibility to prepare and present a holiday feast for family and friends falls onto our shoulders. Some, in fact, may take on the daunting task of carving their first Thanksgiving turkey on Thursday, and it would be unwise to enter the feast unprepared. Fortunately, Waka Flocka Flame is here to teach everyone how to slice and dice that sumptuous large bird. Documented by Complex, Waka Flocka takes you through the step-by-step process, demonstrating how to properly separate the legs from the body and the other seven stages of carving finesse. Watch the video above, and make grandma proud.


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    "Glee" star Lea Michele has revealed the title of her debut album and the name of the record's first single. Michele took to Twitter to unveil the news: The single, written by Sia, is called "Cannonball," while the album will go by the name of "LOUDER!" The actress also included a photo of the "Cannonball" cover artwork, which features a black-and-white photo of the 27-year-old singer and actress. Check it out below.



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    When it comes to manicures in Los Angeles, the rule of thumb (or any finger, really) is simple: the more outlandish the nails, the better. Leading the pack is Chi Nail Bar & Organic Spa, which stands out in LA for its eclectic designs and the outsized personalities of their gifted nail techs.

    But thanks to their wildly aspirational Instagram account, which has over 25,000 followers, this little local salon also has a national following among nail art fans. Every design gets photographed and posted to their Instagram daily, with some of the photos getting as many as 800 “Likes."

    “Social media has made a huge difference in the world of nail art. Even I use it as inspiration for myself,” said nail tech Chyna Stevens to the Huffington Post. “I’ve learned a lot about it just by watching YouTube videos. I spend hours on other nail technician’s Instagrams or blogs and screenshot anything I like and try to imitate it. It’s how I practice. I’m obsessed.”

    Scrolling through the salon’s Instagram is almost like entering a modernist art gallery; designs range anywhere from 3D shapes to holographic paint, and they fuel clients' requests, which are getting more outrageous by the week. Past clients have asked Chyna to draw everything from 3D spikes to real photographs of Barack Obama on every fingernail.

    “Nail art is starting to get competitive! I see tons of women trying to ‘outdo’ each other," said Chyna. "It’s crazy. Once someone wanted an extremely elaborate human heart drawn on all of their fingers.”

    And the nail techs are in on the fun; Chyna’s fingernails are currently designed to look like sparkly bumble-bees, which she designed and painted herself.

    “It’s a creative outlet for me. Plus doing my own nails is totally an advertisement," said Chyna. "People will see my personal Instagram and be like, ‘Oh! I want that!’ And there’s another customer.”

    Scroll down to see some of Chi’s latest crazy designs and be sure to check them out on Instagram or on Tumblr.

    nails1

    chinailbar

    chinailbar

    chinailbar

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    nails5

    nails8

    nails3



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    On the latest episode of "Ke$ha: My Crazy Beautiful Life," the singer decided to use a matchmaker to set her mother up on a blind date. But her mom turned the tables on her, and suddenly Kesha found herself on a blind date as well. She had been lamenting about all those "bad boys" she was dating -- while at the same time admitting that this is what she was attracted to. But she decided she was willing to try something different.

    While she worried that her wild side would freak him out, the exact opposite happened. Joshua was a handsome, down-to-earth, and genuinely nice guy. The pair met up for some rock climbing, but it was all just too much for Kesha. She didn't even finish the date. "He's so nice," Kesha said. "Probably too nice for a crazy bitch like me." And so she ditched him.

    Later, Kesha hooked up with one of her go-to bad boys for a night of drinking and debauchery. Either she'll find a bad boy she can settle down with, or she'll eventually be ready for one of those nice guys. For now, though, there's a reason she's known for all those hard-partying dance tracks.

    "Kesha: My Crazy Beautiful Life" airs Wednesdays at 10:30 p.m. EST on MTV.

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    Josh Levi continues to be one of the most impressive contestants on "The X Factor." Considering he was eliminated back in the first week of the competition, only to be brought back by the judges as a 13th Wild Card contestant. He's now standing tall in the Top 8 and made a strong case for the Top 7 with his take on Bruno Mars' "Treasure."

    Josh has the youth and charisma to pull off the energetic love ballad. "You have so much charisma," Kelly Rowland told him. "We saw that this week. We've been waiting for it." Josh dedicated the song to his grandma, and credited her for his strong performance. The other judges echoed an appreciation for his energy and stage presence, though Simon Cowell did suggest his dance moves were a bit dated.

    Zap2It's Andrea Reiher loved it. "He's showing off his adorable personality and sounds so mature while still seeming young and hip," she wrote. "This is one of Josh's best performances of the competition." TV Line's Michael Slezak agreed, writing, "Josh showcased more charisma and energy floating, spinning and leaping around the stage tonight than Restless Road has mustered up in 6 live performances combined. Oh, and the kid’s vocal was spotless, to boot!"

    "The X Factor" eliminated another contestant on Thanksgiving night at 8 p.m. EST on Fox., then continues Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m. EST.

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    When Jeff Friesen isn't photographing Canada, he's building it brick by brick with his daughter.

    It's part of his "Lego Great White North" gallery, in which the father-daughter duo mix travel, photography, humour and Lego to recreate Canada's provinces -- quirks and quarks included.

    Usually, Friesen has to travel more to capture Canadiana.

    The Halifax-based photographer typically takes landscape photos, like in his "The Canadian: Ghost Train Crossing Canada" photo essay. Friesen travelled around the country photographing a nine-foot replica of a 1955 model train amid majestic landscapes

    But now, Friesen creates art at home with Lego.

    "Each scene takes about eight hours of work from conceptualization to building the Lego to making the finished photograph. My daughter has about 5,000 Lego bricks ... she mysteriously gets a lot of Lego presents that are of some use to her dad." he told the Huffington Post Canada via email.

    The Brick Fantastic -- Canada Edition. Story continues after the gallery.


    There's an Ontario scene featuring what looks like Doug and Bob McKenzie hosering it up in a Toronto boardroom, a tableau of Alberta's lucrative oil sands and a Prince Edward Island piece that Friesen jokes is "full size."

    There are 10 of models and the first is of Manitoba.

    "Every summer I look after my seven year old during the afternoon and we do little photo projects with her toys. As a joke for my friends, I created the Lego Manitoba scene and said I was pitching Lego with the idea of a Winnipeg-themed Lego series," says Friesen, born in Winnipeg.

    He's also done America's 50 states, also part of The Brick Fantastic project. Friesen says he doesn't plan to stop at states and provinces. He and his child have their eyes on the territories next.

    "It will likely require buying a Lego polar bear on eBay," he says.

    You can view more of Friesen's photography here

    Like this article? Follow us on Twitter


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    Best-selling author, religious expert and TED Prize winner Karen Armstrong has studied all of the world's great religions. She says she's identified the common thread that runs through them all: compassion. In the above clip from her upcoming appearance on "Super Soul Sunday," Armstrong sits down with Oprah and shares the one thing everyone can start doing today to live a more compassionate life.

    "Take a little practice," Armstrong says. "You can do it all day and every day. When you're in the office, or at home, or going to work on the commuter train, look at the person sitting next to you and say, 'What do I know about this person? What do I really know about this person?' I may see them every day, but do I know what makes her cry in the night? What do I know about the girl who's checking me out in the supermarket? And sometimes I'm impatient [and think], 'This woman's stupid, she's so slow.' What do I really know about that woman? Her home circumstances, her suffering? Just get in that habit."

    Oprah says that's why our culture's penchant to use gossip blogs and magazines to sum up a person's life in a single incident is flawed.

    "It's very flawed," Armstrong says. "Behind each person lies a whole history of associations, of joy, of happiness, of events that we'll never know."

    Armstrongs conversation with Oprah on "Super Soul Sunday" airs Sunday, Dec. 1 at 11 a.m. ET on OWN.

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    If you think Legos are just a kid's toy, think again.

    In his project, "50 States of Lego," Jeff Friesen -- a photographer and toy enthusiast -- recreates the United States of America using the colorful interlocking bricks. There are 50 scenes for the 50 states: each scene something unique or representative about each state.

    The scenes touch on the varying cultures, histories, traditions and politics of each state. Many incorporate playful humor. Sometimes it's easy to forget just how distinctive our states are.

    These photos will make you want to go unearth that old Lego set. Check out the full project below. Find your state and let us know what you think in the comments!

    All photos and captions are courtesy of Jeff Friesen.

    Alabama
    alabama
    "Roll tide! Just restrain yourself from rolling a tailgate party onto the playing field."

    Alaska
    alaska
    "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Fish for a man and he is food for a week."

    Arizona
    arizona
    "Good fences make good neighbors?"

    Arkansas
    arkansas
    "Promenade across the floor/ Shimmy right on out the door/Stuff a weasel, dress your cat/ These DJ beats are really fat."

    California
    california
    "Moonbeam’s mellow is never harshed by her Fruitfly brand compost-powered tri-scoot."

    Colorado
    colorado
    "Head ‘em up, move ‘em out, send ‘em down...the famous snowboard wranglers of Aspen."

    Connecticut
    connecticut
    "Nothing’s finer than a moonlit cruise on I-95."

    Delaware
    delaware
    "Inspired by the title of Emanuel Leutze’s famous painting, Washington Crosses 'The Delaware.' "

    Florida
    florida
    "Reptilian life-forms rule the beaches of Florida. Luckily, most are slow moving."

    Georgia
    georgia
    "As it turns out Rhett Butler and Scarlet O’Hara’s passion for one another was easily doused by local firefighters."

    Hawaii
    hawaii
    "Sometimes extreme surfing is more about the board than the wave."

    Idaho
    idaho
    "Farmer Abe feels blessed to have a customer whose appetite for spuds is boundless... and the little fellow pays in solid gold."

    Illinois
    illinois
    "Bugsy’s mom is thrilled that he’s running his own lemonade stand this summer. He hasn’t rubbed out any of his associates since June."

    Indiana
    indiana
    "After bouncing back from crash after crash all season the mysterious racer won the 500 by driving like he had nothing to lose."

    Iowa
    iowa
    "Every summer you seen them emerging bright yellow from their green jackets: the children of the corn."

    Kansas
    kansas
    "There’s no place like home, but if your home is frequently blown aloft it helps to wear a parachute indoors."

    Kentucky
    kentucky
    "Brave adventurers explore the outer reaches of the Kentucky Derby hat."

    Louisiana
    louisiana
    "A Mardi Gras float is only as good as its clean-up crew."

    Maine
    maine
    "If you find yourself in a pinch here just rub the swollen area with Moxie."

    Maryland
    maryland
    "Today the crabs decided to have a picnic of their own."

    Massachusetts
    massachusetts
    "The British are coming! That much was obvious to Paul Revere."

    Michigan
    michigan
    "Robots will never take over the Earth if they remain such nervous nellies."

    Minnesota
    minnesota
    "Some places have a dry cold. In Minnesota it’s a nice cold, okie-dokie?"

    Mississippi
    mississippi
    "Slow cooked meat that’s finer than frogs hair."

    Missouri
    missouri
    "The wakeboarding scenes were edited out of Mark Twain’s books for brevity."

    Montana
    montana
    "Curiously absent from Lewis and Clark’s journals is Henri, their faithful manservant."

    Nebraska
    nebraska
    "Stringfellow approaches Chimney Rock, the Oregon Trail’s most literally named landmark."

    Nevada
    nevada
    "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas hopes Gilbert, who rarely stage-crashes showgirl performances back in Des Moines."

    New Hampshire
    new hampshire
    "Robert enjoys climbing in the White Mountains for the solitude that only untouched wilderness provides."

    New Jersey
    new jersey
    "Situation on the Jersey Shore."

    New Mexico
    new mexico
    "People tend to shy away from probing questions in the land of enchantment."

    New York
    new york
    "Give me your tired, your poor, your creamy masses of tartar sauce."

    North Carolina
    north carolina
    "The truth is that while Wilber did most of the flying Orville had other interests at the Kitty Hawk beach."

    North Dakota
    north dakota
    "Oh, home on the range, where the reruns of Three’s Company play."

    Ohio
    ohio
    "They may be pests for presidential candidates but kids love living in a swing state."

    Oklahoma
    oklahoma
    "Home to famous cattle drives. Those cows can really move in their methane powered rides."

    Oregon
    oregon
    "Only organic free-range chickens run amuck at the FreeBird food truck. Just don’t get pecked when you pluck."

    Pennsylvania
    pa
    "Getting strong now, this cheesesteak’s long, wow! (With apologies to Pittsburgh and the Amish for this Lego depiction of Pennsylvania. Perhaps a Pennsylvania series is in order.)"

    Rhode Island
    rhode island
    "Sometimes a quahog decides to stuff itself. Why help a friend in need when you can help thousands get a laugh on YouTube?"

    South Carolina
    south carolina
    "Annie May mixes southern culture both genteel and otherwise in her off-road Charleston house."

    South Dakota
    south dakota
    "A chance encounter provides inspiration for large scale sculpture in the Black Hills."

    Tennessee
    tennessee
    "One can’t help falling in love with a quadruple layer club sandwich."

    Texas
    texas
    "Rounding up little doggies who have lost their way."

    Utah
    utah
    "Delicate arches and delicate noggins collide in the Utah backcountry."

    Vermont
    vermont
    "Stopping for a syrup hit in the northern woods."

    Virginia
    virginia
    "In the navy you can do just what you please."

    Washington
    washington
    "We can only close our eyes using clothespins."

    West Virginia
    west virginia
    "Bobby has five minutes left on his shift in the coal mine. Just enough time to dig a little deeper."

    Wisconsin
    wisconsin
    "After jumping the shark Arthur Fonzarelli limited his outdoor activities to helping with the traditional Wisconsin cheese harvest."

    Wyoming
    wyoming
    "The grizzly photo bomber of Yellowstone National Park."


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    CLEVELAND (AP) — Even after three decades, the triple-dog dare doesn't get old.

    The film "A Christmas Story" opened 30 years ago to mixed reviews but has shown its staying power as a holiday family favorite. Cleveland, where parts of the movie were filmed and hard-luck Ralphie dreamed big, is celebrating the anniversary with iconic leg lamps, holiday store windows like the ones that drew Ralphie's wide-eyed stares, and stage and musical versions of "A Christmas Story." "It becomes part of your fabric for your whole life," said Kevin Moore, managing director of the Cleveland Play House, where the stage version of the story has become a holiday staple.

    In the film, starring Darren McGavin as the father, 9-year-old Ralphie was transfixed by the brightly decorated storefront windows. And he dreamed of getting an air rifle as a Christmas gift, despite warnings that he might shoot his eye out.

    The plot follows his determined gift-begging, his encounters with bullies and his family's daily hopes and dreams — including a lamp in the form of a shapely leg.

    The Cleveland house where Ralphie's film family lived will highlight the anniversary Friday and Saturday with appearances by original cast members and a BB gun range in the backyard.

    The movie wasn't widely acclaimed when it debuted, with favorable reviews barely outnumbering bad mentions like the one that grumped, "Bah, humbug" in the headline. But its quirky humor and love-in-family message struck a chord with audiences.

    Like any holiday favorite, a sense of wonder is needed for "A Christmas Story" and 8-year-old Colin Wheeler thinks he has one to match Ralphie's.

    "We both have really big imaginations," boasted Colin, who plays Ralphie in "A Christmas Story" musical at Cleveland's Near West Theater.

    It's not easy playing Ralphie in that ill-fitting pink bunny suit, Colin said.

    "I'll tell you one thing that's hard: it's really hard not to laugh" while wearing that suit, Colin said.

    Across town, the Cleveland Play House production of "A Christmas Story" attracts multigenerational audiences of children, parents and grandparents, Moore said.

    The appeal in Ralphie's blue-collar hometown is simple, Moore said. "It's just a really quirky and yet incredibly sweet story and that resonates with Cleveland," he said.

    The Horseshoe Casino Cleveland has been decorated for the season to highlight the film's roots in the department store now housing the casino, with leg lamps atop some of the slot machines.

    Sheryl Peet, emerging from the casino, said she appreciates the movie and its humor, without regard to its Cleveland connections. "I like it. It's got comedy, fun, Ralphie," she said.

    At "A Christmas Story" house overlooking humming steel mills, visitors can re-enact movie scenes including ducking under the 1940s-style kitchen sink or looking out the back door where Ralphie trudged through the faux snow.

    The movie "snow" was actually mostly firefighting foam, pressed into service amid a cold but rare snowless stretch during filming in winter-hardy Cleveland.

    Jim Moralevitz, now 73, lives down the street from "A Christmas Story" house and landed a cameo role in the film helping deliver the crate carrying the leg lamp.

    The entrepreneur who developed the house as a tourist attraction, Brian Jones, gave Moralevitz a leg lamp seven years ago and it's mounted in a 6-foot outdoor Plexiglas box near the peak of the front roof. People sometimes mistake it for "A Christmas Story" house and stop to visit.

    In the neighborhood, "I'm known for the most drive-by shootings (filming)," said Moralevitz, a retired tour guide stepping back into his old role for comic effect.

    Like many of the best holiday classics, the risky business turns cheerful at the end. Now families get together at holiday gatherings to watch the movie or crowd theater performances.

    "It fills up the seats because it's a family experience," Moore said.

    The anniversary of the movie will be marked beyond Cleveland, with versions on stage from Boston to California. The musical has returned to Broadway for another run.

    A new bronze statue of the "triple-dog dare" tongue-grabbing flagpole scene is on display in time for the holidays in Hammond, Ind., hometown of Jean Shepherd, whose stories inspired the 1983 movie. One of the boys in the movie takes the dare and gets his tongue stuck on the icy pole. The Hammond reproduction has become a big hit since it was dedicated in October, with families stopping by to take their Christmas card photos.

    But mimicking Hollywood might be risky, according to Nicki Mackowski with the tourist agency in Hammond.

    "We're working on putting up signs as the cold weather gets here. You know: 'Lick at your own risk' kind of thing," she said.

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    If there were ever a season to learn, via the movies, about crucial periods of history, it's this one. Last month we were introduced to "12 Years a Slave," Steve McQueen's unforgettable look at American slavery, through one man with an incredible story.

    And now we have "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom," a film about another vital chapter in the world's history — the struggle against apartheid in South Africa — also through the incredible story of one man, albeit one we know well, and an adored hero of our times. Cinematically, "Mandela," directed by Justin Chadwick and based on Mandela's autobiography, is not nearly as groundbreaking, nor as powerful, as "12 Years a Slave." But that doesn't mean it doesn't handle its subject with admirable ambition and scope.

    It is, though, that ambition and scope that also bogs down the movie a bit. Mandela's life is portrayed here from his beginnings in a rural village to his election as president in 1994 at age 75. That's a huge amount of ground to cover, even without the newsreel-like scenes of historical context. And so, the film can feel too much like a stock, traditional biopic, with little time to delve into any one thing.

    The happy news here is Idris Elba's magnetic performance as Mandela, portraying both the man's heroic aspects and, at times, his faults: The younger Mandela was rather a playboy, it appears, and the film does not portray his behavior toward his first wife in a favorable light.

    Most of all, Elba finds the core of humanity, wisdom, strength and patience that made this one man capable of changing his country's history. By the end of this 139-minute film, Elba has so inhabited the character that you might be stunned to see photos of the real man, during credits, and realize the extensive physical differences (although the real man, apparently, thought he might be seeing footage of himself when the producer showed him a scene).

    The wise casting extends to the second most important character, Winnie Mandela. As portrayed by Naomie Harris, the woman who would become Mandela's second wife first appears to us as a hypnotically lovely young lady, full of verve. "I've heard you have a lot of girlfriends," Winnie tells Mandela when they meet. "I'm different." And you believe her. Later, Harris must transform Winnie into a hardened, increasingly bold activist, eventually at odds with her husband. Again, you believe her.

    We get to know Mandela as an engaging young lawyer, reluctant to attend an African National Congress meeting. As he becomes more involved in the struggle, his worried mother, Nosekeni (an affecting Zikhona Sodlaka), makes no secret of her disapproval. His first marriage fails.

    Mandela's lovely courtship with Winnie culminates in a traditional wedding in tribal dress. This dreamlike moment gives way to scenes of the shocking Sharpeville massacre in 1960, when police mowed down 69 people. Soon, activist Mandela is on the run.

    His famous trial, with the masses gathered outside, is well captured here. As the world knows, Mandela and his co-defendants were sentenced to life in prison, and his next 27 years were spent there, 18 of them at the forbidding Robben Island.

    "You will never touch a woman or a child again," a prison official tells Mandela. "You will die here." Everyone watching the film will know this isn't true. But knowing what happens hardly blunts the impact of the thrilling 1990 release scene, nor Mandela's election as president in 1994.

    A closing scene of the older Mandela, surrounded by children, reminds us that he is still alive, at 95. This is the perfect time for youngsters (or their elders) who don't know enough about the man to go learn about him. For that reason alone, if not for Elba's terrific performance, "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" is 139 minutes very well spent.

    "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom," a Weinstein Company release, is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for "some intense sequences of violence and disturbing images, sexual content and brief strong language." Running time: 139 minutes. Three stars out of four.

    MPAA definition of PG-13: Parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

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    NEW YORK (AP) — A handwritten working manuscript of Bruce Springsteen's 1975 hit "Born to Run" will be offered at auction on Dec. 5, with a presale estimate of $70,000 to $100,000, Sotheby's said Wednesday.

    The seller was not revealed. The auction house said the document used to be in the collection of Springsteen's former manager, Mike Appel. Sotheby's said most of the lines in this 1974 version, written in Long Branch, N.J., are apparently unpublished and unrecorded, but the manuscript does include "a nearly perfected chorus."

    Springsteen's thought process, written in blue ink on an 8½-by-11 sheet of ruled notepaper, looks like this:

    "This town'll rip the (out your) bones from yourback / it's a suicide trap (rap) (it's a trap to catchthe young) your dead unless / you get out (we gotto) while your young so (come on! / with) take myhand cause tramps / like us baby we were born to run."

    "The imagery and tone are constant from the present manuscript to the final song," the auctioneer said.

    There are also some words in the margins: "Wild" and "Angels" and a word that looks like "velocity," with the letter "t'' in Springsteen's curlicue cursive.

    "Although Springsteen is known to have an intensive drafting process, few manuscripts of 'Born to Run' are available, with the present example being one of only two identified that include the most famous lines in the song," Sotheby's said.

    The document will be part of a Manhattan sale of fine books and manuscripts.

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    NEW YORK (AP) — While shooting in Boston, David O. Russell found his film "American Hustle" caught up in the Boston Marathon bombing.

    When the city was essentially shut down for the manhunt for suspect Dzokhar Tsarnaev in April, the production — which had been shooting in the area — had to be stopped for a day. The experience, Russell says, was felt closely by the filmmaking crew and actors. "It was hanging over us the whole time," Russell said in a recent interview.

    "You just end up feeling the emotion and the strength of the community around you," said the director. "It just makes you more human, really, because you end up having a very human connection with, literally, everyone around you. I mean, everyone, strangers on the street. Everybody was moved and pulled together by that tragedy."

    Russell, a New York native, has become increasingly identified with Massachusetts. A graduate of Amherst College, he memorably shot his Oscar-winning "The Fighter" on location in Lowell.

    "American Hustle" is a fictionalized version of the Abscam sting operation conducted by the FBI in the late 1970s. The investigation was aided by a convicted con artist (played by Christian Bale in the film) and led to convictions related to bribery for a senator, six congressmen and other politicians.

    Though the film largely takes place in New Jersey, Russell shot it around Massachusetts, including stops in Worcester, Medford and Salem.

    "There are places there that you can't find in the New York area that are untouched from the '70s," Russell said. "There are parts of Massachusetts — Medford and Worcester — that haven't really changed since the late '70s."

    The explosions on April 15 at the finish line of the Boston Marathon killed three people and injured more than 260. Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to a 30-count federal indictment that includes charges of using a weapon of mass destruction.

    Before shooting resumed for "American Hustle" in Boston, actors from the film, including Bradley Cooper, visited victims in the hospital.

    "When you're telling a story that's full of intensity and emotion, you put it into the movie," said Russell, who last directed the acclaimed self-renewal comedy "Silver Linings Playbook." ''You put all that heart into it. There's a lot of heart in Boston. I love having a lot of heart in my movies."

    "American Hustle," which also stars Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence and Jeremy Renner, opens Dec. 18.

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    Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jake_coyle

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