Local Blackout Lifted For 100th Indianapolis 500; Race Officially Sold Out

Indianapolis, IN - May 24, 2015 - Indianapolis Motor Speedway: Will Power (1) and Simon Pagenaud (22) competing in the 99th Indianapolis 500 (Photo by Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images)

Indianapolis, IN – May 24, 2015 – Indianapolis Motor Speedway: Will Power (1) and Simon Pagenaud (22) competing in the 99th Indianapolis 500
(Photo by Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images)

There’s some good news today racing fans in Indiana.

It was announced today that the local TV blackout of the 100th Indianapolis 500 has officially been lifted.  ABC’s broadcast of the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” will now air live across America.  The announcement comes alongside this morning’s announcement that this year’s race is officially sold out.  It is the first time that the race has been completely sold out in its now 100 year history.

The lifting of the local blackout means that Indianapolis ABC affiliate WRTV-TV will have full coverage of the race.  Along with this, the station will also run its traditional re-broadcast of the race beginning at 7pm ET.  This year’s local broadcast marks only the third time that the race will have been broadcast live in Central Indiana and the first time since 1950.

2016 marks the 52nd consecutive year that ABC will broadcast the Indianapolis 500.  It first aired on ABC’s Wide World of Sports in 1965.  The first time that it aired live was in 1986.  Anyone not near a television during the race can still catch it live online via WatchESPN beginning at 11am ET.  The green flag is set to fly at 12:17pm ET.  More information on this year’s broadcast of the Indianapolis 500 is available online along with all of the latest auto racing news at:

 

 

Website: http://espn.go.com/racing

 

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ESPN

 

 

 

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Hank, Pattie & The Current Is A Solid Debut For Smith, Kinlaw, And Company

Courtesy:  Robust Records

Courtesy: Robust Records

Six years ago The Morning After released its debut album Starless Nights.  The eleven-song record was an impressive first effort from the Raleigh, North Carolina-based sextet.  After extensive touring and writing, the band finally released its sophomore album Wonder & Fury four years later.  Sadly it looks as though that album would also be the band’s last as the band has apparently gone on an indefinite hiatus.  In its place former members Hank Smith and Pattie Hawkins Kinlaw joined forces to start a new band, Hank, Pattie, and The Current.  The band recently released its debut album on the Chapel Hill, NC-based label Robust Records.  The fourteen-song, fifty-two minute record is a welcome return for the duo and its new band mates.  Largely gone are the poppier sounds crafted by The Morning After.  They have been replaced here by a mix of pure folk and bluegrass.  Kinlaw’s vocals are just as powerful as ever.  And Smith’s own work on the banjo is just as impressive.  The added talents of the duo’s fellow musicians enrich the album even more.  The end result is an album that gives great hope that Smith and Kinlaw have finally hit on something and are finally on the right path.  It is one of the year’s top new offerings in the combined fields of folk, bluegrass, country, and Americana.

Hank, Pattie, and The Current is a good new start for Hank Smith and Pattie Hopkins Kinlaw.  Unlike the duo’s work in their previous band the songs featured in this record present an album that comes across as being far more focused.  That is evident as the “poppy” sounds so common in that work have been replaced by a purer combination of bluegrass, folk, and Americana.  One of the songs that best exemplifies the noted bluegrass sound is ‘Travelin’ Man.’ The song comes almost halfway through the album’s fifty-two minute run time.  In regards to its musical content, this is as pure as bluegrass can get.  It is very much akin to the work that Smith composed on his 2014 album Impulse alongside Lindsay Tims.  Even in a supporting role here Smith is impressive in his picking.  Mrs. Kinlaw is just as deserving of credit thanks to her work on the fiddle.  Of course vocalist Benjamin Parker can’t be ignored either as he sings about…well…a traveling man.  He is a man with no roots and apparently just can’t settle down no matter how hard he tries.  Parker’s subject notes this as he sings, “I’ve been in and out of places/And it’s always hard to stay/Try to tell the ladies I’m broken/Try to fend them all away/When they see that handsome stranger/Their hearts are sure to cave/And as far back as I can remember/I’ve traveled ‘cross this land/So baby/Try not to be tempted/’Cause I’m a travelin’ man.”  He even goes so far as to note his efforts to settle down, singing, “Try to do some changes/Make my habits like the rest/Settle down and make a living/But that didn’t pass the test/So rev up the engines/And let’s go someplace fine/But keep that tank full, baby/Cause I’ll be leavin’ in your time.”  Simply put this is a man who cannot sit still no matter how hard he tries.  It just isn’t in his nature.  It is a timeless lyrical theme used throughout the history of bluegrass and country.  And it works just as well here as in the countless cases in which it has been used before.  The energy exhibited in the song’s musical content couples with Parker’s lyrics and his vocal swagger to show clearly why this song is one of this record’s highest points.  They also collectively help to exhibit the previously noted focus present throughout this record.  In whole it is just one song that serves to show that focus.  ‘Better Life’ is another of the record’s offerings that shows said focus.

‘Travelin’ Man’ is an excellent example of the focus presented throughout the course of Hank, Pattie & The Current.  The song’s hybrid country/bluegrass sound and its timeless lyrical theme couple with the swagger in vocalist Benjamin Parker’s delivery to make it a song that every bluegrass and country fan should hear and will want to hear.  It is as pure as country and bluegrass can get.  It is just one of the songs included in this record that exhibits the group’s focus.  ‘Better Life’ is another song that exhibits that focus.  The Americana style sound of the song’s musical arrangement forms the song’s foundation.  Between Smith and Kinlaw’s own work and that of their fellow musicians, the arrangement in question presents itself as a beautiful and moving composition.  It is a gentle, flowing piece that will touch listeners at their deepest points even without the song’s lyrical content.  What is interesting is the song’s choice of lyrical content.  It delivers a handful of stories that are classic country through and through.  They are stories of life’s difficult situations beginning with a story of a person helping friends move away after trying so hard to keep the situation from happening.  There is also a short little story about a person working hard, trying to make a life for himself and his family.  It all ends with a person sitting at a bar, drinking his sorrows away after having lost his woman.  From one story to the next Kinlaw and Parker tug so hard at listeners’ heart strings as they present the stories.  This is so important to note because in reality, without the addition of those stories, this song honestly would have been a completely different composition had it been just an instrumental piece.  Its musical arrangement alone gives the song a completely different, more optimistic vibe.  Keeping in mind all of this it becomes clear why ‘Better Life’ is another important addition to Hank, Pattie & The Current.  It shows a real, clear focus among the musicians.  It still is not the last song that exemplifies that focus, either.  ‘Wilkesboro Waltz’ is yet another wonderful example of that focus.

‘Travelin’ Man’ and ‘Better Life’ are both wonderful examples of the focus presented by Smith, Kinlaw, and their fellow musicians in the group’s debut self-titled LP.  The prior is a pure bluegrass piece that also presents a hint of country both in its musical arrangement and its lyrical theme.  The latter is a beautiful, moving piece that will touch listeners in so many ways thanks to its lyrical and musical content.  The musical content alone presents a moving piece that presents a rather positive vibe.  However, that vibe completely changes with the addition of its lyrical content.  That dual presentation makes this song one of the album’s highest points and most important additions.  As important as both songs are to the album’s presentation they are not the album’s only important songs.  ‘Wilkesboro Waltz’ is one more example of the focus presented throughout this record.  The song is a completely instrumental composition.  Its gentle, flowing melody, conjures images of warm summer sunrises in the North Carolina mountains, the dew drying on the plants, and fog from the night before gently lifting as the hours pass.  From the melody to the two-part harmony the song boasts a pure folk sound that even harkens back to the European roots of the style.  It is a sound that every lover of folk, Americana, bluegrass, and country will appreciate.  It is just one more prime example of what makes this record such an impressive debut from Hank, Pattie & The Current.  Together with the album’s other offerings it proves in the end to be a solid new beginning for Smith, Kinlaw, and their new band mates, and hopefully one that will lead to a long and fruitful career for years to come.

Hank, Pattie & The Current is only the first full-length offering from Hank Smith, Pattie Hopkins Kinlaw, and their new band mates.  Even being their first, there is a wholly noticeable difference between this group and The Morning After, Smith and Kinlaw’s previous band.  This record is so much more focused than those of The Morning After.  Its sound is more directed and pure.  Its lyrical content adds to that focus.  The songs noted here are prime examples of that focus.  The songs not noted here could just as easily be cited in that argument.  All things considered Hank, Patti & The Current proves in the end to be a solid new beginning for Smith, Kinlaw, and their new band mates.  Hopefully it is only the beginning in a long and fruitful career for the band.  More information on Hank, Pattie & The Current is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news, tour updates and more at:

 

 

Website: http://www.hankandpattie.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/hankandpattie

Twitter: http://twitter.com/hankandpattie

 

 

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PBS Releasing New Episodes of Secrets of the Dead, NOVA In July

PBS Distribution has new episodes of PBS’ Secrets of the Dead and NOVA on the way this summer.

Courtesy:  PBS/Public Media Distribution

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

On Tuesday, July 5th PBS Distribution will release new episodes of Secrets of the Dead and NOVA on DVD.  Up first is Secrets of the Dead: Cleopatra’s Lost Tomb.  Everybody knows the story of Cleopatra and Marc Antony.  Her story has eve been made into a major motion picture starring legendary actress Elizabeth Taylor in the movie’s starring role.  For all that people know about Cleopatra (both fact and fiction) one thing still remains unknown—the actual place where she is buried.  This episode of Secrets of the Dead follows lawyer turned archaeologist Kathleen Martinez as she endeavors to find the famed queen’s final resting place.  What happens over the course of the program is quite intriguing to say the least.  This latest episode of Secrets of the Dead is a must have for any living room and classroom.  It will be available Tuesday, July 5th.  It will retail for MSRP of $24.99 but can be pre-ordered online now at a discounted price of $19.99 via PBS’ online store.

Courtesy:  PBS/Public Media Distribution

Courtesy: PBS/Public Media Distribution

The second of PBS Distribution’s July 5th titles is NOVA: Vikings Unearthed.  It is not the first of PBS’ programs ever centered on the infamous Norsemen.  But it is just as interesting as the network’s previous offerings centered on the Vikings.  This episode of NOVA follows researchers as they examine what may be the first new North American Viking site to be uncovered in half a century.  The last site to be discovered was in Newfoundland in the 1960s.  Now researchers have found another site in Newfoundland that they believe may be another Viking settlement.  The researchers–space archaeologist Dr. Sarah Parcak (National Geographic Fellow, University of Alabama at Birmingham, and winner of the TED 2016 prize), archaeologist Douglas Bolender (University of Massachusetts, Boston), and historian Dan Snow—is joined by a number of other experts from around the globe as they excavate and examine the site at Point Rosee in southern Newfoundland.  Satellite imagery, CGI recreations, and more is used throughout the investigation.

The investigation of the site is just part of the program’s story.  Also included in this episode of NOVA is an examination of the Vikings’ history, from their expertise in sailing and trading to the myths surrounding their culture and more.  The program runs roughly one hour, counting opening and end credits.  It will retail for MSRP of $24.99 but can be pre-ordered online direct now at a discounted price of $19.99 via PBS’ online store.  Audiences can view a trailer for NOVA: Vikings Unearthed online now here.

 

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

 

More information on these and other episodes of Secrets of the Dead and NOVA is available online now at:

 

 

Website: http://pbs.org/secrets, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SecretsofTheDead, http://www.facebook.com/NOVAonline

Twitter: http://twitter.com/SecretsPBS, http://twitter.com/novapbs

 

 

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The Rescue Bots Roll To The Rescue Again Next Month

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Shout! Factory Kids/Discovery Family/Hasbro Studios

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Shout! Factory Kids/Discovery Family/Hasbro Studios

Shout! Factory is teaming up with Hasbro Studios once again this summer to release yet another installment of episodes from Discovery Family’s hit animated series Transformers Rescue Bots this summer.

Transformers Rescue Bots: Heroes of Tech will be released in stores and online on Tuesday, Jun 21st.  Levar Burton’s (Reading Rainbow, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Captain Planet and the Planeteers) character Doc Greene gets the spotlight in most of the collection’s episodes.  Case in point “One For The Ages.”  This Season 2 episode sees Cody turned into an adult by Doc Greene’s stasis machine while Kade has to take over Griffin Rock Emergency while Chief Burns falls ill.  In Season 3’s “Too Many Kades” Doc Greene’s Imaging Chamber stars making clones of Kade.  Each one has its own personality.  This leads to its own share of problems for Cody and the Rescue Bots.  Meanwhile Kade learns a valuable lesson about teamwork when gas leak at the Natural Gas Reserve.  And in another Season 3 episode, “I have Heard The Robots Singing,” Doc Greene’s inventions cause even more chaos.  This time Doc Greene’s Tone-O-Tuner is the culprit.  Priscilla Pynch originally got her hands on it in one of her devious plots.  But when Huxley Prescott accidentally runs into it with his van, it leads to everyone in Griffin Rock singing everything that they say instead of just speaking.  Of course Doc Greene’s tech isn’t the only cause of problems for the people of Griffin Rock.  In “The Island of Misfit Tech” (obviously an homage to Rudolph The Red-Nose Reindeer’s Island of Misfit Toys) an out of control mechanical bull sends Cody and the Rescue Bots to the mysterious Island via the “Beam Box.”  Even Doc Greene isn’t sure who built the box.  As they explore the island, Cody and company discover that it is populated by the world’s most dangerous technology is stored.  “Space Bots” is another episode proving that Doc Greene isn’t always at the heart of the Rescue Bots’ adventures.  Though, Doc Greene himself is at the center of the episode as he and Graham have to be saved when an experiment with a space elevator called the Asgard goes horribly wrong.  It’s up to Cody and the Rescue Bots to save them.

The five episodes that are featured in Transformers Rescue Bots: Heroes of Tech all feature the same theme.  They are lifted from the series’ second and third season.  The DVD will be available in stores and online Tuesday, January 21st.  It will retail for MSRP of $14.93 but can be pre-ordered online now at the discounted price of $13.93 via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/kids/kids-animation/transformers-rescue-bots-heroes-of-tech.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspickw.wordpress.com.

Shout! Factory Going Wild Again This Summer With New LPS Collection

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Shout! Factory Kids/Hasbro Studios/Discovery Family

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Shout! Factory Kids/Hasbro Studios/Discovery Family

Shout! Factory and Hasbro Studios have teamed up once again to release another new collection of episodes from the former Discovery Family series Littlest Pet Shop.

Littlest Pet Shop: Making Friends will be released in stores and online on Tuesday, June 14th.  This latest collection features five more episodes from the former Discovery Family series. In this collection’s episodes, Russell challenges Sunil and Vinnie in a contest to entertain a new raccoon named Mr. VonFuzzlebut in “Sleeper.”  Things don’t exactly turn out as any of them had planned, of course.  And in the same episode Blythe’s furry friends face a threat from the outside when Fisher Bizkit sends his daughters to find out why Littlest Pet Shop is so successful.  Blythe learns an important lesson about friendship in “Why Can’t We Be Friends” as she tosses away her old friends upon meeting a new friend.  Meanwhile in the same episode Vinnie learns his own lesson about friendship when he befriends a spider even though Sunil, his original friend, is afraid of spiders.  And in “Room Enough” Blythe has to deal with a very curious kitten while deciding on how to re-organize her room.  These are just some of the stories presented in this latest collection.  There is also a special two-part episode included in the collection that features a guest appearance from one Heidi Klum (America’s Got Talent).

All five episodes included in Littlest Pet Shop: Making Friends follow the general theme of friendship.  They are each also lifted from the series’ third season.  Littlest Pet Shop: Making Friends will be available in stores and online Tuesday, June 14th.  It will retail for MSRP of $14.93 but can be pre-ordered at a discounted price of $13.93 now via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/kids/kids-animation/littlest-pet-shop-making-friends.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Shout! Factory Announces Release Date For Maude: The Complete Fifth Season

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Bea Arthur is returning to TVs again this summer.  No, she’s not a zombie.  She is returning thanks to the people at Shout! Factory.

Shout! Factory will release the fifth season of the late, great actresses’ series Maude this summer.  Maude: The Complete Fifth Season will be released Tuesday, June 14th in stores and online.  Season Five is loaded with just as much heart and sharp humor as the series’ previous four seasons.  This time out, there are some interesting discussions on gender roles in “Feminine Fulfillment,” “The Election,” and “Mrs. Naugatuck’s Wedding.”  Rue McClanahan is forced to face her issues with funerals (and death in the bigger picture) in the season premiere “Vivian’s First Funeral.”  The issue of race is tackled in the season finale when Maude gets anew housekeeper in the aptly titled “The New Maid.”  These are just some of the storylines that will keep audiences entertained and engaged throughout Season Five’s twenty-four total episodes.  There are plenty more laughs to be had throughout that span including Walter battling with his own sexuality in “Arthur’s Worry,” Maude getting on a TV game show in “The Game Show” and some extended family troubles for Maude in “Maude’s Aunt.”

The laughs that are offered this season are just part of the season’s enjoyment.  There are guest appearances by Michael Keaton (Birdman, Batman, Batman Returns), Nanette Fabray (One Day at a Time, The Hollywood Squares, The Bandwagon), Charles Lane (It’s A Wonderful Life, Arsenic and Old Lace, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington), Eugene Roche (Webster, Slaughterhouse-Five, When A Man Loves a Woman) and others.

Maude: The Complete Fifth Season will be available in stores and online Tuesday, June 14th.  It will retail for MSRP of $26.99 but can be pre-ordered online now at a discounted price of $22.99 via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/tv/comedy/maude-season-five.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Shout! Factory To Take Audiences Into The Stars This Summer

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Shout! Factory is taking audiences into the final frontier this summer.

Shout! Factory will launch audiences into space this summer in the brand new documentary IMAX: Journey To Space.  The program is the first of Shout! Factory’s Giant Screen films.  It will be released on Tuesday, June 7th, 2016 and will be available on separate Blu-ray and 4K UHD + 3D Blu-ray + Blu-ray 2-disc combo packs.  Both platforms will include trailers, a photo gallery, behind-the-scenes footage, and more.  It is narrated by veteran actor and thespian Sir Patrick Stewart.

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

The story presented in IMAX: Journey to Space follows NASA in its next ambitious era.  This includes the agency’s plans and preparations for a manned flight to Mars, capturing asteroids, and much more.  It puts the kibosh on the belief that NASA’s space program ended with the end of its shuttle program.  Throughout the course of the story there are interviews with astronauts Chris Ferguson (Commander of the final shuttle mission), Serena Aunon (an astronaut chosen for future flights), and others used to help tell the documentary’s story.  It also offers a historical context to the impact of the shuttle program in discussing NASA’s future.

IMAX: Journey To Space will be available in stores Tuesday, June 7th.  The standalone Blu-ray will retail for MSRP of $19.99.  The 4K UHD + 3D Blu-ray + Blu-ray combo pack will retail for MSRP of $39.93.  It can be pre-ordered online now via Shout! Factory’s online store at the respective discounted prices of $16.99 (Blu-ray) and $34.93 (4K UHD + 3D Blu-ray + Blu-ray) via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/film/documentary/journey-to-space.  A trailer for the program is available there, too.

 

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

 

More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.