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Koon’s ‘Rabbit’ fetches record $91 million at NY auction

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A stainless steel sculpture of a rabbit by Jeff Koons has set an auction record in New York, fetching over $91 million.

The sale of Koons’ 1986 “Rabbit” at Christie’s Wednesday was the most expensive work by a living artist ever sold at auction.

The previous record for a living artist’s work sold at auction was set by British artist David Hockney. His 1972 “Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)” brought in $90.3 million at Christie’s last year.

The New York Times says Robert E. Mnuchin, an art dealer and the father of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, was the winning bidder for “Rabbit,” which had an estimated sale price of at least $50 million.

Christie’s says the sculpture is one of three editions plus one artist’s proof.

Source: https://thesouthern.com/entertainment/koon-s-rabbit-fetches-record-million-at-ny-auction/article_124748b4-8612-5f99-8a6e-8b9fca98c3bd.html

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‘New Coke,’ infamous 1985 failed formula, resurrected for ‘Stranger Things’ partnership

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“New Coke” is back, but you may not have ever known that it was gone, or that it even existed in the first place.

Coca-Cola and Netflix announced Tuesday that they will be re-releasing New Coke as part of a partnership to promote Season 3 of “Stranger Things,” which is set to take place in 1985, a year of infamy for the Coca-Cola Company.

Back in 1985, Coca-Cola suffered one of its worst marketing blunders when it changed the formula for Coke, creating New Coke. It was an attempt to combat declining sales numbers in a consumer market that was favoring the sweeter taste of Pepsi-Cola as well as non-cola sodas.

When the change was announced, some people panicked and started stocking up on as much classic Coke as they could get their hands on, with one man in San Antonio, Texas running out and purchasing $1,000 worth of Coke.

The 800-GET-COKE phone line and Coca-Cola offices across the United States were almost immediately inundated with calls from upset consumers. The hotline was receiving 1,500 calls a day by June of that year, compared to the usual 400.

New Coke was scrapped after a mere 79 days because of the backlash.

“The summer of 1985 did in fact change everything for us with the introduction of New Coke, which was also arguably one of the biggest pop culture moments of that year,” said Oana Vlad, director of Coca-Cola Trademark, Coca-Cola North America.

Workers had to retrieve the New Coke recipe from the safe for the “Stranger Things” partnership.

“All told, everything took about six months and was top secret,” said Peter Shoemaker, director of sparkling category commercialization.

Workers also had to recreate the logo and the slightly different Coke red for the cans from more than 30 years ago.

“The partnership with Coke gives Netflix the opportunity to reach a massive audience via one of the most recognizable brands in the world in a deeply authentic way,” said Netflix Head of Global Partner Marketing Barry Smyth.

Beginning Thursday, Coca-Cola will release a limited number of cans of New Coke as part of a “Stranger Things” package. An “upside-down” Stranger Things-inspired vending machine will also pop up in select cities this summer to dispense free cans of New Coke for a limited time.

Source: http://www.fox2detroit.com/news/new-coke-infamous-1985-failed-formula-resurrected-for-stranger-things-partnership

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‘The Big Bang Theory’ finale closes with a big dose of heart

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“The Big Bang Theory” finale showed off the program’s big heart, celebrating the friendship — quirky as it was — that has been the backbone of the CBS sitcom over 12 seasons.
In that respect, the one-hour finish felt satisfying and appropriate, if somewhat low-key, eschewing huge fireworks that which would have likely felt like something of an overreach, to simply echo what has made the show so popular over the course of its run.

The central plot, teased out over multiple episodes, culminated in Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and Amy (Mayim Bialik) winning the Nobel Prize in physics, offering the gang a chance to go on a trip to commemorate their triumphant moment.

As it turned out, though, the episode (rather sweetly credited to a dozen writers, including co-creators Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady) served as a conduit to showcase the way in which the show itself has changed — adding key female characters, marrying off the guys and graduating to more grown-up problems and issues, without giving up their passion for things like comic books and “Star Wars” movies.

The graduation to adulthood saw the characters take another major step in the finale, as Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Penny (Kaley Cuoco) learned that they were pregnant — joining Howard (Simon Helberg) and Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) in the parents club — a revelation the self-absorbed Sheldon treated with complete indifference.

The evolution of Sheldon has been the most fascinating aspect of the show, and at times the most challenging. Brilliantly played by Parsons, the character is, above all else, a creature of habit and routine, which made his deer-in-the-headlights response to the Nobel ring true. “All this change is just too much,” he griped to Penny, in one of their shared moments that have frequently provided series highlights.

Being a “selfish jerk,” as Leonard called him, has always been part of Sheldon’s charm — or at least, what has made the character so oddly endearing. Still, Sheldon’s closing tribute to his friends reflected how, in his unorthodox manner, he obviously cherished them, in the same way he overcame his selfishness to enter into a relationship with Amy that nobody could have possibly envisioned when the series began.

The show did indulge in one bit of guest casting, tossing in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s” Sarah Michelle Gellar, and worked in a few of the supporting players. But the spotlight remained steadfastly and wisely trained on the core cast.

Lorre’s vanity card closed with two simple words, “The End,” and the final shot showed the seven stars sitting around on a couch, as viewers have seen them do so often before.
Of course, it’s not really the end, with “Young Sheldon,” the spinoff prequel, carrying the banner and championing the cause of lovable science nerds. Nevertheless, in terms of the tricky math that goes into calculating a proper sendoff, “The Big Bang Theory” seemed to get the formula just about right.

Source: https://edition.cnn.com/2019/05/16/entertainment/the-big-bang-theory-series-finale-review/index.html

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Who’s Ready for a New Archie Bunker, Live on Your TV?

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Archie Bunker is coming back to prime-time network TV and he might look a little different to viewers — even if what he says is exactly the same.

Woody Harrelson is stepping into the iconic role as part of a 90-minute ABC special celebrating writer, director and producer Norman Lear. It airs May 22.

“It’s going to be exciting as hell,” said Lear. “Another version of Archie Bunker is going to play Archie Bunker. A great, great talent is going to be Archie Bunker.”

The live special will recreate one original episode from “All in the Family” and another from “The Jeffersons.” It will be hosted by Lear and late-night host Jimmy Kimmel, who dreamed up the idea.

“It really is astonishing just how great these shows are. I say ‘are’ and not ‘were’ because they are still great,” Kimmel said. “I’m excited that a new generation will get to see them, and be reminded of them and then maybe take the time to go back and watch all the old ones.”

Joining Harrelson in Carroll O’Connor’s old role in “All in the Family” will be Marisa Tomei playing Bunker’s long-suffering wife, Edith. Jamie Foxx and Wanda Sykes will play George and Louise Jefferson in “The Jeffersons,” in roles played originally by Sherman Hemsley and Isabel Sanford. The special will also feature Ellie Kemper, Will Ferrell, Justina Machado, Kerry Washington, Sean Hayes and Anthony Anderson.

Lear’s two 1970s-era sitcoms are cut from the same topical cloth, tackling racism, feminism and the Vietnam War. Asked if they still hold up, Lear was clear. “I think they work very well,” he said. “Funny is funny.”

Kimmel took inspiration from the recent move by networks to mount Broadway musicals and make them into live events, like “Rent,” ”The Sound of Music” and “Grease.”

“I’m not that interested in musicals. I love television shows. And I was just thinking about what gets ratings on TV nowadays,” said Kimmel.

“It seems like live events are still pretty popular and still doing well. I was thinking about the old shows and I thought, ‘Why don’t we do one of these great old shows?’ I know people love ‘Grease’ but how many times do you need to see that?”

Though producers won’t reveal which episodes of the sitcoms are being restaged, Kimmel promised having them live in front of a studio audience — and the world on TV — will give the shows a jolt of electricity.

He wants Americans to watch them the way they used to — together, at the same time. He’s not worried about any screw ups, either, since that adds to the suspense.

“We may release a box of rats onto the set just to see what happens,” he joked. “I think it adds something to the production. You see it in the live musicals. They wouldn’t be nearly as interesting if they were on tape.”

Source: https://www.usnews.com/news/entertainment/articles/2019-05-16/whos-ready-for-a-new-archie-bunker-live-on-your-tv

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