Wizarding World's Hogwarts Express Ride

On Thursday, we gave you an early look at Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts, the new flagship ride of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter‘s new Diagon Alley expansion. But Gringotts is not the only ride that will be opening on July 8th 2014 — Universal Studios Orlando’s Diagon Alley actually expands the Harry Potter story over two theme parks, and at the connecting tissue at the center of it all is the Wizarding World’s Hogwarts Express ride. Today I’ll tell you everything you need to know about this new ride which spans two theme parks, and give you my reaction/thoughts on the experience.

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Dan Shearn - Lego Big Trouble

Two popular and collectible trends intersect this week at the Hero Complex Gallery in Los Angeles. They are Lego and limited edition art.

The exhibit is called “LEGO Memories (Or a Man-Child’s Recollection of the 80′s Through Lego)” and is the first solo show of artist Dan Shearn. It opens June 20 and remains on display through June 29. Shearn drew dozens of his favorite characters from movies, TV and music of the Eighties as Lego Minifigures. Then those drawings are printed as over 60 different limited edition prints, some of which are a single character, others are multiple characters, some are very well-known, others are super inside and specific.

It’s a pretty fun idea and, below, you can check out a small sample of the work. Read More »

Lion King Concert 1

The big news this week is Universal Orlando’s expansion of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, as you may have noticed from our extensive coverage. But the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts family has plenty to report as well. After the jump:

  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios is shutting down The American Idol Experience
  • No, the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular is not closing
  • The Lion King is coming to Shanghai Disney Resort — in Mandarin
  • Go behind the scenes of the new Lion King show at Disney World
  • Check out Disneyland’s Frozen pre-parade featuring Anna and Elsa
  • Watch the first ad for Disneyland Paris’ Ratatouille attraction
  • See the special annual passholder Q&A for Universal’s WaterWorld

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Diagon Alley - Gringotts ride review
Last night I attended a special advance preview of Universal Orlando’s The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley expansion. The new land, which opens in Universal Studios Orlando park on July 8th 2014, is incredible. I’ll detail the land further in future posts, but for now I will say this — its much bigger than you could ever expect and contains so much entertainment, so many cool experiences, and pieces of unique merchandise and cool food options. Its truly magical.

But this morning I thought I should give you my first impressions of Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, the new flagship attraction which is the center of the new Diagon Alley expansion. Hit the jump to read my Gringotts ride review.

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ateam_van_sep_red

When collectors think of limited edition screenprints, they think of Austin. They think of Los Angeles. New York, maybe even San Francisco or Nashville. But few think of Seattle, which is a shame. The home of grunge, Starbucks and the Super Bowl Champs has a bustling and growing art scene, which includes lots of limited edition screenprints from the Ltd. Art Gallery.

Their latest show attempts to prove this by using only local artists to create hand pulled screenprints of things they loved as children. For artists such as Barry Blankenship, who did 10 pieces in the show as well as curated it, that means pop culture of the Eighties and Nineties. For others, maybe it’s a little more personal. But all of them are evocative, fun pieces of nostalgic that were screenprinted in Seattle.

The show is appropriately called Deep Pulls and it opens Friday June 20 at the Ltd. Art Gallery in Seattle, Washington. Below, see a few of the pop culture images in the show and find out more about its creation. Read More »

Harry Potter Diagon Alley Opening Date Revealed

Harry potter stars announce Diagon alley opening date

I’m in Orlando covering the media happenings this week at Universal Orlando resort. This morning at the “State of the Universe” press conference, Universal heads and Harry Potter film co-stars were on hand to announce The Wizarding World of Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley opening date. Learn more after the jump.
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You Can Get An Uber Ride From Optimus Prime

Optimus Prime Uber

This is just about the coolest movie tie-in in recent memory. This week, you can go on the popular taxi cab app Uber and request a ride from the real Optimus Prime from Transformers: Age of Extinction. The Optimus Prime Uber is in Dallas Monday, Phoenix Thursday and Los Angeles Saturday. Read more details below. Read More »

Haylie Duff, Shondrella Avery, Carmen Brady, Diedrich Bader, Jon Heder, Sandy Martin, Jared Hess, Tina Majorino, Efren Ramirez

A decade has passed since the world was introduced to Napoleon Dynamite. Co-written and directed by Jared Hess, the small indie took off after premiering at the Sundance Film Festival. It ended up being one of the most profitable films of 2004. It starred a cast of mostly unknowns in a quirky and awkward but hilarious and quotable PG-rated tale of high school struggles. At the center was one of the most unique characters in recent cinematic history. Played by Jon Heder, Napoleon Dynamite was a persona no one had seen before and few would soon forget.

Now the film is celebrating its 10th anniversary. On June 9, a statue dedicated to the film was erected on the 20th Century Fox lot in Los Angeles, CA (seen above), and that day the cast and crew attended a special 10th anniversary screening of the film presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. This was no normal screening though. Heder, Hess and host Will Forte were given microphones and did a live commentary during the film, offering up a ton of cool pieces of trivia about the production.

Below, read 20 things we learned about Napoleon Dynamite from the 10th anniversary screening. Read More »

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