Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sitcom star tops 'Most Desirable Women' list

AskMen's 11th annual “Top 99 Most Desirable Women” list was revealed today, and "Modern Family's" Sofia Vergara was on top of it.

“I am so honored to be AskMen's most desired woman this year," Vergara said in a statement. "A big thank you to all the men who desire me.”

Television actresses dominated the list, with 22 TV stars claiming spots. Last year's No. 1 vote went to "Gossip Girl's" Blake Lively, who held strong at No. 32 in 2012. Other TV stars include: Kim Kardashian ("Keeping Up with the Kardashians"; "Kourtney and Kim Take New York"); Zooey Deschanel ("New Girl"); Lea Michele and Dianna Agron ("Glee"); Nicole Scherzinger ("The X Factor"); Jennifer Lopez ("American Idol") and Kat Dennings ("2 Broke Girls").

This year's list also highlights a new generation of leading women, such as superstar vocalist Adele, tennis star Caroline Wozniacki and George Clooney's girlfriend, Stacy Keibler. Also among the 39 newcomers on this year's list is Pippa Middleton, who just made the cut at No. 98. (AskMen readers much preferred her sister, Kate, who ranked No. 11.)

The “Top 99 Most Desirable Women” of 2012 also features women with an edge, voting a few notable stars that are known for their unconventional beauty, including newcomer Rooney Mara (No. 3) -- who transformed her look to become "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" -- and music icons Nicki Minaj (No. 5), Katy Perry (No. 16) and Lady Gaga (No. 18).

Also notable: 49-year-old Demi Moore (No. 80) made the list.

According to a press release, more than 1 million votes were cast internationally. To see the full list, visit www.askmen.com.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Cinemax TV series set to shoot in Charlotte

More lights, more cameras, and more action are headed to Charlotte.

According to multiple online reports, Alan Ball -- creator of HBO's "True Blood" -- is getting another series, this time Cinemax. HBO's sister network has given a 10-episode order to "Banshee," an action drama executive-produced by Ball.

The series is said to center around an ex-convict and master thief who assumes the identity of the sheriff of Banshee, Pa., where he continues his criminal activities even as he's being hunted by the shadowy gangsters he had betrayed years earlier.

Both MovieWeb.com and Deadline Hollywood reported that "Banshee" will start shooting this spring on location in and around Charlotte, with an expected 2013 premiere date.

The news comes on the heels of two other major film and TV projects that were shot in the area. The Showtime original series "Homeland" was shot here last here, and the Emmy Award-nominated first season aired from October through December. And, more notably, "The Hunger Games" was filmed in and around Charlotte in 2011; the movie -- based on Suzanne Collins' best-selling young-adult novel -- is expected to be the first big blockbuster of the spring when it is released on March 23.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

'America's Got Talent' holding Charlotte auditions

"America's Got Talent" is holding open calls for its upcoming seventh season, and one of the stops is Charlotte on Feb. 3-4.

Singers, dancers, comedic performers and variety acts of all ages will have a chance to strut and perform in front of the show's producers, who will determine which acts will have a chance to appear on the show. Auditions will be held at the Charlotte Convention Center, 501 S. College St., from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Feb. 3 and 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Feb. 4.

Producers have already been to Austin, New York, St. Louis, Washington, D.C., Anaheim, and Tampa; Charlotte and San Francsico are the last two cities they will visit. The winner of "America's Got Talent" will receive a $1 million prize, and a show as the headliner on the Las Vegas Strip.

The talent search is open to any act of any age. You can now pre-register for your audition date, download the paperwork you will need, and read our FAQ to answer all of your questions and give you some valuable advice.

"America's Got Talent" is hosted by Nick Cannon and presided over by celebrity judges Sharon Osbourne, Howie Mandell and -- this year -- new judge Howard Stern.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

NASCAR fans can meet, greet Hall of Famers

Ever met a NASCAR Hall of Famer? Your chance is coming ... next weekend.

NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductees will meet with small groups before guided tours of the NASCAR Hall of Fame Saturday, Jan. 21, as part of NASCAR Acceleration Weekend -- which kicks off the night before with the official induction ceremony for the Class of 2012.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for someone to speak directly with the legends of our sport," said Winston Kelley, executive director of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. "They can talk about the moonshine days with Junior Johnson, ask Bobby Allison about the famous 1979 Daytona 500, debate the 1989 Winston finish with Darrell Waltrip, discover why the name Gentleman Ned is so applicable, ask Bud Moore about D-Day, or experience that famous Richard Petty smile in person."

Each group will be limited to the first 30 people in line at the Main Stage in the Exhibit Hall at the Charlotte Convention Center. Entry is free with a NASCAR Hall of Fame and NASCAR Preview 2012 ticket. After a brief on-stage interview, the inductee will guide the group on a walk through the Convention Center to the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Once the meet-and-greet concludes, the group will be given a guided tour of the 150,000-square-foot NASCAR Hall of Fame.

The meet-and-greet and tour schedule -- subject to change -- is:

  • 10 a.m. Junior Johnson, Class of 2010
  • 11 a.m. Ned Jarrett, Class of 2011
  • Noon Richard Petty, Class of 2010
  • 1 p.m. Tours will not be given at 1 p.m. due to a DuPont news conference with Jeff Gordon and Richard Petty. Guests are invited to watch the news conference live in the Great Hall inside the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
  • 2 p.m. Bud Moore, Class of 2011
  • 3 p.m. Bobby Allison, Class of 2011
  • 4 p.m. Darrell Waltrip, Class of 2012
NASCAR Acceleration Weekend is highlighted by the NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony for the Class of 2012 inductees -- Richie Evans, Dale Inman, Darrell Waltrip, Glen Wood and Cale Yarborough -- on Friday, Jan. 20. On Saturday, Jan. 21, NASCAR Preview 2012 will offer "a festival-like experience for fans that features driver autograph and question-and-answer sessions, show car appearances, simulators, games and more." The weekend activities will conclude with the unveiling of the Class of 2012 Inductee Tribute exhibit in the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Sunday, Jan. 22.

Combo tickets for NASCAR Hall of Fame and NASCAR Preview 2012 start at $20. NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony tickets start at $40 and include Hall admission. For more information or to purchase tickets: www.nascaracceleration2012.com or 1-800-745-3000.

Chili Peppers postpone Charlotte show

Red Hot Chili Peppers this morning announced that they must postpone the start of their upcoming U.S. tour, which effectively will push back the date of its Charlotte concert (originally scheduled for Jan. 25).

Lead singer Anthony Kiedis has reportedly suffered "multiple foot injuries," and "recently underwent surgery to remove a crushed sesamoid bone and correct a detached flexor tendon in his foot and is expected to make a full recovery," according to the band's press release.

The Charlotte show at Time Warner Cable Arena is now scheduled for April 6. New dates for other affected Carolinas dates are as follows: RBC Center in Raleigh, April 4; Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, S.C., April 7; Greensboro Coliseum, April 9.

Billboard.com reported today that Kiedis was spotted with a cast on his right foot at a Los Angeles Lakers game on Jan. 8. The cause of his injury isn't entirely clear.

Tickets to the postponed dates will be honored at the rescheduled dates. Tickets for the Charlotte concert are on sale now through timewarnercablearena.com, ticketmaster.com, the arena box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, or by calling 800-745-3000.

The band is touring in support of the current Grammy-nominated album "I'm With You." For updated tour information, visit www.redhotchilipeppers.com.

Friday, January 6, 2012

'Dancing' star to teach classes in Charlotte

World champion dancer and "Dancing With the Stars" celebrity Louis Van Amstel will be at Charlotte's Queen City Ballroom Tuesday and Wednesday to debut “LaBlast,” a partner-free dance fitness program combining elements from several different dance forms.

In a press release, Queen City Ballroom Latin dance specialist Felipe Gonzalez calls LaBlast “a mix of all the things dancers love. Cha Cha, Salsa, Lindy and more. It’s all about music and movement, with great rhythm.” The press release says that in Europe, Van Amstel has 45 certified instructors teaching “LaBlast” classes in several languages.

Van Amstel will be working in Queen City Ballroom (3920 Sharon Road in the Morrison Shopping Center in Southpark) for two days, teaching a Latin-style group class on Tuesday and his “LaBlast” method at 8 p.m. on Wednesday. Private instruction with the three-time world champion is available for dancers who seek "more intense training."

Details: 704-541-5440 or click here. For more on Van Amstel and LaBlast, click here.

Van Halen plans return to Charlotte

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Van Halen -- one of the most popular rock bands of all time -- are launching another tour, one that will eventually find its way to Charlotte's Time Warner Cable Arena on April 25.

The tour will begin on Feb. 18, coinciding with the Feb. 7 release of the group's new album, "A Different Kind of Truth." Van Halen is once again fronted by David Lee Roth, and based on what's in the press release, it seems unlikely that the set list will include anything from the Sammy Hagar era.

Roth also sang lead during the band's last visit to Charlotte, on Sept. 27, 2007. That show sold out in a matter of minutes, and pop and reggae-tinged R&B singer Kymani Marley was the opening act. For this tour, Kool & The Gang has been enlisted to kick things off -- although only for "select" tour dates, so it's unclear whether we'll see them here in Charlotte.

The on-sale date for tickets has not yet been announced. Van Halen's only other planned stop in the Carolinas is at the Greensboro Coliseum on April 21.