Local Scene News

We have new feeds added From Charleston Underground and The Defintley Loud Podcast!!


These two cover much of the local art and music scene and if you are from out of town this will give you a great heads up on what goes on in Charleston and the Rest of WV.
You can Read it here on the Empty Glass site or click on the Links and read if on the on the original Site.
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The PopCult Toybox: Quake Collectibles in Chicago 

StorefrontAs you may know, if you’ve been reading this blog for more than five minutes, your PopCulteer got married last week in Chicago (details coming soon). This was my first chance to really expore the Windy City and we planned our secret trip so that we’d have a chance to visit some out of the way places while we were in town.

On a whim, the day after our wedding, I Googled “vintage toys” and up popped QUAKE. A store named after the nemesis of my favorite cereal mascot, Quisp, had to be a pretty cool place to check out. So we wrote down the address and after hitting a mall and Hersheyworld, we hopped a cab out to North Lincoln to see what we could find.

We found a small store, maybe one-fourth the size of Where The Toys Are in Canonsburg, PA, but with about five-times the number of toys crammed into what is a very intensely-delightful space. You could spend hours in there and still find something new every time you turned around. Every inch of the place was covered with layers of action figures, toy robots, lunch boxes, fashion dolls, cereal boxes and more.

Unfortunately, we traveled to Chicago via Amtrak, and were limited in what we could bring back with us, so we spent less than twenty bucks on a vintage Snoopy for Mel and some cheap 12″ figures for me. But we plan to go back and I might just see if the owner, David Gutterman, will ship some goodies to me.

Quake does not have a website, but you can reach them at quakecollectibles@gmail.com, or call 773-878-4288.

Now, without captions, here are a handful of shots that we thought to take while we were there. Please pardon the blurriness in some. We got sort of shaky at the thought of leaving so much cool stuff behind. Enjoy the mini-photo essay.

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Chock full 'o toys

Plethora of pop culture

Popeye vs. Godzilla

SOTW, Buffy, Godzilla and more

Storefront 3

Actress requests nude photo leak probe  

By ANTHONY McCARTNEYthe associated press

LOS ANGELES - Jennifer Lawrence has contacted authorities to investigate who stole and posted nude images of the Oscar winner online, a publicist for the actress said.

Intimate images of the actress, who stars in "The Hunger Games" film franchise and won an Academy Award for her role in "Silver Linings Playbook," began appearing online on Sunday. Naked images purporting to be of other female stars were also posted, although the authenticity of many of the images could not be confirmed. The source of the leak was unclear.

"This is a flagrant violation of privacy," Lawrence's publicist Liz Mahoney wrote in a statement. "The authorities have been contacted and will prosecute anyone who posts the stolen photos of Jennifer Lawrence."

Mahoney declined to provide further details, including which authorities were contacted. Lawrence, 24, is a three-time Oscar nominee.

The FBI has investigated previous leaks of nude celebrity images, including leaks involving Scarlett Johansson, Mila Kunis, Christina Aguilera and footage of television sports reporter Erin Andrews in a Tennessee hotel room. Those cases resulted in convictions.

FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller declined comment on whether the agency was involved.

How widespread the hacking of celebrities photos was is not immediately clear. Some of the images were quickly denounced as fakes.

Some cybersecurity experts speculated that hackers may have obtained a cache of private celebrity images by exploiting weaknesses in an online image-storing platform.

"It is important for celebrities and the general public to remember that images and data no longer just reside on the device that captured it," security researcher Ken Westin wrote in a blog post Monday. "Once images and other data are uploaded to the cloud, it becomes much more difficult to control who has access to it, even if we think it is private."

Private information and images of celebrities are frequent targets for hackers. Last year, a site posted credit reports, Social Security numbers and other financial info on celebrities, including Jay Z and his wife Beyonce, Mel Gibson, Ashton Kutcher and many others.

Johansson, Kunis and Aguilera were hacked by a Florida man, Christopher Chaney, who used publicly available information to hack into the email accounts of more than 50 people in the entertainment industry.

"I have been truly humiliated and embarrassed," Johansson said in a tearful videotaped statement played in court at Chaney's sentencing in December 2012.

"That feeling of security can never be given back and there is no compensation that can restore the feeling one has from such a large invasion of privacy," Aguilera wrote in a statement before Chaney's sentencing.

The RFC MINI SHOW starring Elephant in the Room 

Image2Our guest this week on The RFC MINI SHOW is Elephant in the Room, an Appalachian Rock group featuring previous RFC guest, Donnie Smith, along with Dylan Burkhammer, Bo Ballard and Devin Fields.

You may want to note that the group is called “Elephant in the Room” and not “The Elephant in the room,” as RFC host, Rudy Panucci, mistakenly refers to them in his introduction, twice. Panucci has the excuse of being distracted by his recent wedding to RFC co-producer, Melanie Larch. Also of note in the host segment is that it was shot in front of Ian Bode’s Peer-to-Pier work of public art on Virginia Street…a nod to the cool story about Ian in Sunday’s Gazette-Mail, and also because it was raining and the Insterstate bridge provided shelter.

Elephant in the Room was recorded live at The Empty Glass and is seen here performing a cover of the Dolly Parton classic, “Jolene” and their original tune, “Ghost Town.” Thanks for Jason “Roadblock” Robinson for recording and engineering. The final audio mix was by Rudy Panucci. Keep checking PopCult for updates on future club dates for Elephant in the Room.

Monday Morning Art: Dr. Seuss 

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198_2623Today’s Monday Morning Art is a departure. Rather than feature my art, this week we bring you a photo essay of The Art of Dr. Seuss Gallery, which recently opened in Water Tower Place in Chicago. This is the latest of a series of galleries which are the exclusive home to limited edition prints by Ted Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, the beloved creator of such children’s books characters as The Cat in The Hat, The Grinch and The Lorax.

It’s not common knowledge that Geisel dabbled in fine art and sculpture. The primary reason for that is that he didn’t want this art to be seen while he was alive. The Gallery presents an amazing and overwhelming collection of his work, including nudes, abstracts, sculptures and preliminary sketches for his most famous works. It’s a new side of the artist that few have seen before.

If you want to purchase some of this art, visit the official website. For a detailed review of the June opening of this gallery, check HERE. (There are galleries in Cinncinnati, OH and Greensboro, NC, if you don’t want to go so far)

Freebird

Freebird

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The Rather Odd Myopic Woman

The Rather Odd Myopic Woman

A Prayer For A Child

A Prayer For A Child

Worm Burning Bright in The forest of The Night

Worm Burning Bright in The forest of The Night

Booby Trap

Booby Trap

Surly Cat Being Ejected

Surly Cat Being Ejected

Raising Money For The Arts

Raising Money For The Arts

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After Dark In The Park

After Dark In The Park

The Cat Behind The Hat (self portrait)

The Cat Behind The Hat (self portrait)

Sunday Evening Videos: Wedding Videos 

weddin pic 02The original plan was for this week’s Sunday Evening Video to be the wedding video of your PopCulteer and his lovely bride, Melanie Larch. However, that plan involved editing, rendering and uploading said video, and didn’t allow for much time to enjoy our honeymoon, so you’ll have to wait until later in the week for that one. In the meantime, please enjoy this random and inappropriate collection of wedding-related video clips…

RFC Flashback: ShockaCon 

1921235_10152582804473563_6793908427038902475_oShockaCon, Charleston’s premeire horror/sci-fi convention is a few weeks away, and this coming Thursday, just to get us in the spirit, ShockaCon presents Arteries, a horror and fantasy-themed art show at Mike Winland Studios in Kanawha City. You will be able to see cool art from Mike Winland, Chris Woodall, Lee Harrah, Melanie Larch and myself and many other of the area’s top artists. The show is one night only and runs from 6 to 10 PM.

This year ShockaCon itself moves to the Beni Kedem Shrine, right next to the Charleston Civic Center. There are tons of great guests, including Fred Williamson, C. Thomas Howell and Erika Elaniak and Michonne’s pets from The Walking Dead. Plus there will be vendors and live music from The Renfields, the Big Bad and The Jasons, and a performance by The Wayward Girls School of Burlesque. In addition to that there will be panels and seminars and a costume parade from The Charleston Town Center. Details are in the promo clip at the top of this post. Last year’s Halloween shows, shot during ShockaCon, are below.

MAKE YOUR OWN POPCULT! 

Rudy 002The PopCulteer
August 29, 2014

Your PopCulteer has had a busy week (just scroll down to our previous posts), but we still have our weekly Friday post to create, and we just passed our ninth anniversary yesterday. In the spirit of our nine years blogging here at The Charleston Gazette, and since lately it seems that there’s a lot of interest in what we’ve been doing in this blog (particularly from Charleston’s other newspaper), we’re going to give you…

NINE WAYS TO WRITE LIKE POPCULT!

1. Share Cool Stuff

Drag_Cartoons_24.cbz - Page 29You have to write about cool stuff, be it comic books, toys, animation, music, classic television–actually whatever floats your boat. In PopCult I try to write about things for which I truly have a passion. My whole life I’ve been obsessed with hunting down cool things and telling other people about what I find. It takes more than simply starting a blog with “Pop” in the title. You have to really love pop culture and the artifacts, legacies and influences left behind in its wake. The Batmobile should make your blood rush. Yellow Submarine should be viewed regularly. Robot  B-9 should be the person you want to hang out with. You should be able to speak with authority about the upcoming comic book crossover between Star Trek and Planet of the Apes. Know your stuff. Failing that, post a random non-sequitor.

rfc logo2. Cover Local Artists

I’m using the loose term “artist” here to include visual artists, musicians, playwrights, filmmakers and anybody else expressing themselves in a creative manner. There are so many talented, creative people in this area toiling away in obscurity that it’s almost a sin. If you’re going to write a blog like PopCult, you have to focus on the talent in your own backyard. Here in Charleston we have such an embarrassment of riches that there’s no problem supporting the local scene. You have to actually go out and support the scene, though. You can’t do it from behind a keyboard. You have to go to the art openings, the bars with original live music, the locally-produced plays, the car shows, the special events–if you want to be a journalist/blogger with any credibility, you have to walk the walk and support the scene yourself.

3. Be Positive

You may have noticed that PopCult does not run much in the way of hatchet jobs. I try not to tear down people’s works. The way I see it, my job is to tell you about cool stuff. If something isn’t cool, then it’s foolish to waste my time and yours telling you how bad it is. I do offer constructive criticism, and I also will try to warn you if I’m reviewing a disappointing work by an otherwise excellent creator, but for the most part, if you read about something in PopCult, it’s because I think it has some merit. Once in a great while I will go off on how awful something is, but I try to do it in an entertaining manner.

Hero Worship

Hero Worship

4. Go Ahead and Worship Your Heroes

One of the differences between traditional journalism and blogging is that the author gets to put their own personal stamp on what they write. I aim for objectivity, but I’m open about my personal biases in the process. This blog was started in 2005, on what would have been Jack Kirby’s 88th birthday. Kirby is a huge part of this blog. So is the legendary action figure, Captain Action. The Beatles turn up, probably once a month, and Monty Python is not far behind. These are a few of the things that made me the person I am, and sharing them with you will help you calculate how much value you put into my opinions.

5. Take Advantage of The New Medium

When blogging you can include graphics, links, video, music and all sort of living, breathing content that simply can’t be done in print. If I want to run off at the mouth and write five-thousand words on why I left Suddenlink, I can do it. If I want to share an obscure movie with you, I’ll post the whole thing here on Sunday. If I take forty photos at Artwalk, I can share every one of them with you. What if I want to post a song by Three Bodies that I co-produced with Spencer Elliott in 1992? Well, here it is…Gardens Of Hope

6. Never Stop Looking

If you want your blog to maintain revelancy, then you have to stay on top of things. This goes back to actually attending local events and networking. You have to constantly meet new people to stay on the cutting edge. There is such a wealth of creativity around here that my problem each week is narrowing down what I’m going to cover in depth. We have live music every night of the week in multiple locations. There’s art everywhere. There’s a vital theater scene in this town that runs the gamut from traditional drama and musicals to avant-garde experimental theater and “happenings.” There’s no excuse for simply copying what other people are covering. Naturally there will be some overlap on major events, but we have so many fringe scenes in town that there’s no excuse for laziness. Charleston has a growing stand-up comedy scene, gamer culture, underground artists, car customizers, cult filmmakers, cartoonists, zines, skateboarders, master tattoo artists, re-enactors, cosplayers and all sorts of other people who need to be exposed to a wider audience.

7. Video

MV5BMzk2NTI0Nzg3MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTg3MjE5Mw@@._V1_SY317_CR3,0,214,317_AL_It’s not the wave of the future. It’s the wave of NOW. I’ve been cranking out video content for PopCult since the introduction of Radio Free Charleston in 2006. I’ve brought over 500 musical acts, animators and film artists to an international audience since then. What’s amazing is that we haven’t really scratched the surface yet. I’ve got new bands lined up for the show, and there are bands I’ve heard of that we haven’t had the chance to record yet. I’m certain that there are all kinds of bands I haven’t even heard of yet. So if you do decide to launch a music video show online, you don’t really need to pick bands that we’ve already had on RFC, and if you do, you don’t really need to have them perform songs that we’ve already had on our show.

When you take The RFC MINI SHOW and PopCult Instant Video into account, there has been fresh video content in this blog for 51 of the last 52 weeks. Many weeks we’ve had more than one original video production.

Video doesn’t have to be original, though. Every Sunday evening since the last week of June, 2008 I’ve posted some random video of some sort as the “Sunday Evening Video(s).” This has been anything from a single music video to an entire movie. I’ve brought you short, silly pieces of animation and entire full-length concerts by great bands. You never know what will turn up on Sundays in PopCult, but you can be sure it’ll be something worth watching. The beauty of blogging is that you can stick video anywhere. One thing I know for sure, posting video in a blog makes people happy, and it’s just a great idea.

bLOGHAMMER18. Compartmentalize

One of the things that I always wanted to accomplish with this blog, and something that I finally feel like I’ve managed to pull off over the last year, is to have dependable features on certain days of the week. Every Monday you’re going to get original art by me, and most weeks the production notes for Radio Free Charleston or The RFC MINI SHOW. Tuesday I’ll write about toys. Wednesday is usually reserved for promoting local events. Thursday is a book or graphic novel post. Friday I get wordy and usually plug local stuff. Saturday brings you a classic episode of Radio Free Charleston. Sunday means it’s random video time. Having a routine makes it easier to produce enough content to populate a serious blog. If you’re going to blog, you have to be able to give your readers some reason to come back every day.

9. Be Yourself/Be Original

We leave you with this rule, which sort of makes the others unneccesary. These are things I’ve done to make PopCult what it is. You need to find your own path. You can’t just read this blog, contact people I mention through Facebook, and run the same story two weeks later (likewise, it’s really bad form to spike a story just because I managed to get to it first). You have to create your own universe and personality. I’d like to think that the folks who read PopCult have a pretty accurate idea of who I am. I have incorporated my own major life events into this blog, even though they may not have anything to do with PopCulture. It’s part of how I put my stamp on this blog.

We had a big example this week. I went to Chicago and married my longtime love, Melanie Larch. I wrote about it in the blog, and trust me, in about a week you’ll be sick of reading about Chicago. I’ve got all kinds of stuff to tell you about.

So those are nine ways to write like I do here in PopCult. If you’re up to the challenge, maybe I can write an even crankier article next year, when we hit ten years of blogging.

Stuff To Do will return soon, when I don’t have so much stuff to do.

Still On The Honeymoon 

Not a lot of time for reading. The PopCult Bookshelf will return next week. Also, don’t expect the PopCulteer to be posted until tomorrow night, folks.

Also, today marks NINE YEARS since the beginning of this, The PopCult Blog. So you can probably guess what the PopCulteer will be about.

Arts and Culture briefs for Thursday, Aug. 28 

Kanawha Players is hosting auditions for its upcoming performance of "Evil Dead: The Musical."

Auditions will be Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Kanawha Players Theater.

The show will be directed by Ginger Basham. To audition, prepare a song of your choosing and be prepared to sing acappella or bring an instrumental CD for accompaniment.

A script will be provided for a cold read. You must be at least 18 years of age to audition. All characters except the Fake Shemp must be able to follow dance and varying degrees of fight choreography.

There are four roles available for men, five for women and another four for any gender.

Roles available are: Scott (tenor range), Ed (bass range), Jake (baritone range), Fake Shemp (ensemble, flexible range), Ash (baritone), Cheryl (alto), Shelly (alto), Annie (alto), Linda (soprano) and Evil Trees.

Shows will be at 8 p.m. Oct. 17, 18, 24, 25, 31 and Nov. 1. at the Kanawha Players Theater, 309 Beauregard St.

For more information, call 304-343-7529 or visit www.kanawhaplayers.org.

Rock opera "Emote" will be performed at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Alban Arts Center, 65 Olde Main St., St. Albans.

The rock opera is written and directed by Harry Beall. It stars Racquel Sims as Love and Brandon Tiller as Hate.

It covers the classic story of good versus evil with all characters playing emotions: Love, Hate, Sorrow, Fear, Guilt, Excitement, Doubt and Greed. The story covers the expanse of time and examines the role of emotions and their relationships with one another. Some follow Love, while others follow Hate, inciting an eternal war.

Tickets are $10. The show lasts approximately two hours and is appropriate for all ages.

For more information, call 304-721-8896 or visit www.albanartscenter.com.

The Charleston Distance Run takes place Saturday at 7:30 a.m.

The event includes various races: a 15-mile race, a three-person 15-mile relay, a 5K run, a 5K walk and a 10K walk.

All races start on Kanawha Boulevard at the Capitol and continue through downtown, along the hills and beside the river.

To register, the 15-mile race is $60, the 5K race and the 15-mile three-person relay are $45 (per person) and the 5K and 10K walks are $30. Races are $20 for military members.

Register online at www.charlestondistancerun.com, mail a form or register in person from 4 to 9 p.m. Friday at the Civic Center. Online registration must be completed by noon Friday.

There will also be a Children's Fun Run at 6:25 p.m. Friday at the Civic Center. This run is free for children ages 4 to 12.

Children ages 4 to 9 will run 400 meters and ages 10 to 12 will run 800 meters. Registration for the Fun Run will be at 5 p.m. Friday at the Civic Center.

The Distance Run will host a pasta party from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday at the Civic Center. Participants will receive a dinner ticket and there is a $5 charge for guests.

For more information, visit www.charlestondistancerun.com or call 304-345-5433.

Gospel group The Browns will play at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Milton Performing Arts Center.

The family group performs spiritual music for all ages.

Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door and are available at the West Virginia Pumpkin Park in Milton, at www.miltonpac.com or by calling 304-654-1339.

Spots in the Artist Circle are available for $20. Church and group rates are also available. Doors open at 6 p.m.

FOOTMAD presents Sara Grey with a Wandering Minstrel Concert at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 520 Kanawha Blvd. W., at 8 p.m. Sept. 14.

Grey is a folksinger and plays a five-string banjo, specializing in the clawhammer style. She is also known for her storytelling. She was part of "The Golden Ring" with Ed Trickett and Gordon Bok.

Tickets are $10 and are available at the door. Students under 13, VISTA workers and community volunteers are free.

For more information, call 304-415-3668 or visit www.footmad.org.

Local guest chef April Hamilton will be cooking at 11 a.m. today at the Capitol Market, 800 Smith St.

There will be cooking demonstrations using fresh ingredients from the market, and the chef will share recipes and advice about cooking at home.

Samples will be available. The event is free to the public.

Classes will continue weekly at the same time through September.

The class on Sept. 4 also will feature Chef April Hamilton. Sept. 11 will be Millie Synder, author of the Lean & Lucious cookbook. Sept. 18 will be Chef Paco Aceves of the Berry Hills Country Club. Sept. 25 will have Chef Andrew Quesenberry, the winner of this year's Taste of ALL.

For more information, visit www.capitolmarket.net or call 304-344-1905.

Lonesome Will Mullins and the Virginia Playboys will perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Mountaineer Opry House in Milton.

The band plays classic bluegrass and clawhammer banjo.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and $5 for children ages 12 and under.

Concessions will be available. For more information, call Larry and Mary Stephens at 304-743-5749 or visit www.mountaineeropry.com.

"The Happiest 5K on the Planet" will start at 8 a.m. Sept. 6 at Harris Riverfront Park in Huntington.

The Color Run is a five-kilometer, un-timed race in which thousands of participants ­­- or "Color Runners" - are doused from head to toe in different colors at each kilometer.

The race ends with a party including music, dancing and massive color throws.

Race registration is available online at thecolorrun.com/huntington.

The Marmet Recreation Center hosts live bands and dancing Saturdays in August.

Mixx Band will play from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday. Admission for this show is $10.

For more information, contact Barry Pauley at 304-949-9692 or visit Marmet Recreation Center on Facebook.

Local restaurant Bluegrass Kitchen hosts live music from 7 to 9 p.m. in August.

Tonight, The Dread Pirate, Roberts will play jazzgrass music.

On Saturday, Beth & Alasha will play classical music and gypsy jazz.

Bluegrass Kitchen is located at 1600 Washington St. E. There is no cover for entertainment.

For more information, call 304-346-2871.

The Tamarack Artisan Foundation presents Arts-a-Palooza from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 20 at two venues.

The East End Bazaar, 1428 Washington St. E., and the Capitol Market, 800 Smith St., will host the second annual event.

The Foundation is a nonprofit that supports West Virginia artists. The event will showcase more than 30 local artists demonstrating and selling their work.

Each venue will also feature live music starting at 11 a.m.

For more information, visit www.capitolmarket.net or call 304-344-1905.

Compiled by Samantha Ricketts, who can be reached at samantha.ricketts@dailymailwv.com.

n ERIC CHURCH: The country music star will perform "The Outsiders World Tour" at 7 p.m. Sept. 26 at the Civic Center. Tickets range from $25 to $69.50 and are available at www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 1-800-745-3000.


n THREE DOG NIGHT: The American rock band known for its unmistakable mix of pop rock and soul will perform at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 28 at the Clay Center. Sing along to well-loved hits like "One," "Mama Told Me" and "Joy To The World" in a night that will appeal to generations of audiences. Tickets range from $25 to $59. For more information, visit www.theclaycenter.org or call 304-561-3570.

n UNDER THE STREETLAMP: The pop quartet, with special guest Gentleman's Rule, will bring music of the '50s, '60s and '70s to the Clay Center at 8 p.m. Oct. 3. For more information, visit www.theclaycenter.org or call 304-561-3570.

n B.B. KING: The "King of Blues" will perform at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 5 at the Clay Center. Enjoy an electric night of classics including "Sweet Sixteen" and "The Thrill is Gone." Tickets range from $35 to $75. For more information, visit www.theclaycenter.org or call 304-561-3570.

n FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH: The rock heavyweights along with Volbeat, Hellyeah and Nothing More will play at 7 p.m. Oct. 10 at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena in Huntington. Tickets are $39.75 and are available through www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 1-800-745-3000. For more information, visit www.bigsandyarena.com.

n ZZ TOP: The classic rockers will perform at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 14 at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena in Huntington. Tickets are $47.50 to $67.50 and are available through www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 1-800-745-3000. For more information, visit www.bigsandyarena.com.

n JAY LENO: The comedian and award-winning former late-night television host will kick off The Marshall Artist Series Oct. 16 at the Keith Albee Theater in Huntington. Season tickets and tickets to individual events are available. For more information, call the Marshall Artists Series at 304-696-3326.

n BRIDGE DAY: This year marks the 35th anniversary of Bridge Day. BASE jumpers and onlookers are encouraged to attend the annual festival on the New River Gorge Bridge on Oct. 18. For more information, visit www.officialbridgeday.com.

n O'REILLY, MILLER: Bill O'Reilly and Dennis Miller will bring their "Bolder and Fresher Tour" to the Charleston Municipal Auditorium at 8 p.m. Oct. 24. Tickets are available at www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 1-800-745-3000. For more information, visit www.charlestonciviccenter.com.

n FIDDLER ON THE ROOF: The Charleston Light Opera Guild will present the Broadway classic at the Clay Center Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, 2 and 9. For more information or for tickets, visit www.theclaycenter.org or call 304-561-3570.

n PHILLIP PHILLIPS: The American Idol winner will perform at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 3 at the Keith Albee Theater in Huntington. Tickets range from $60 to $78 and are available at www.ticketmaster.com.

n DIERKS BENTLEY: The country singer, most recently known for his hit "Drunk on a Plane," will perform at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 20 at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena in Huntington. Bentley will be accompanied by special guests Randy Houser and Eric Paslay. Tickets go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. and are available at www.livenation.com, www.ticketmaster.com, the arena box office or by calling 1-800-745-3000. For more information, visit www.bigsandyarena.com.

Brosnan stars in familiar film  

By JOHN DeFORE

The Hollywood Reporter

LOS ANGELES - Onetime 007 Pierce Brosnan embraces a darker take on spycraft in Roger Donaldson's "The November Man," playing a former CIA agent whose autumnal nickname acknowledges his tendency to leave few alive when he passes through a town. A familiar string of dark secrets, shifting allegiances and woman-who-knew-too-much pursuit propels the storyline (adapted from one in a series of Bill Granger novels), giving Brosnan the opportunity to prove his cool remains intact, sans tux and gadgets. "November Man" won't do anything like Bond's box office, but will satisfy the actor's fans and moviegoers biding their time until the next top-shelf le Carre-style thriller.

Here, Brosnan plays Peter Devereaux, who in his day was known for his unwillingness to form personal attachments that could compromise his duties. Like all spies, though, he had his secrets: When the woman he once loved (and who secretly bore him a daughter) dies while spying in Moscow, he becomes the enemy of her killer - his old protege David Mason (Luke Bracey), whose bosses at Langley ordered the hit lest she be captured by the Russians.

Make that one Russian in particular: Corrupt former general Arkady Federov (Lazar Ristovski), who is on track to be the next Russian president and wants to erase anyone who knows about the atrocities he committed in the Second Chechen War. Devereaux's ex was one of those secret-holders, and in following her leads, he winds up saving Alice Fournier (Olga Kurylenko) from Federov's top assassin. (Said killer is a woman, whose introductory scenes make one wonder why we so rarely meet hitmen who do balletic splits in order to limber up before a kill.)

Fournier is a social worker who has helped some of the girls Federov sold into the sex trade, including one named Mira he made his personal slave. Mira overheard a lot during those years, and powerful people around the globe want to find her before she tells anyone what she knows.

Though the film's cat-and-mouse scenes hardly compare to those in a Bourne movie, they're enjoyable and only occasionally ridiculous. (A long sequence in which Devereaux and Mason taunt each other on the phone during a chase makes little sense except for those longing to hear "You've lost your touch, old man" cliches.) Brosnan, whose old franchise made a smart turn away from superspy fantasy after his departure, plays the gritty side of spookdom well, and the film offers him (sometimes puzzling) opportunities to show just how nasty he can be, even as he's risking life and limb to save a stranger.

"Don't put your faith in me, Alice - I promise I'll disappoint you," Peter says at one point, and Brosnan's grave delivery almost makes you ignore the fact that it's exactly the kind of line Pee-wee Herman ruined for troubled loners when he gave Dottie the kiss-off back in 1985's "Pee-wee Herman's Big Adventure." This episode in Granger's "November Man" series, "There Are No Spies," was published two years after that, and Michael Finch and Karl Gajdusek's script does little to disguise the fact that we've seen and heard all of this many, many times since.

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