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‘The Mandalorian’ and ‘Soul’ Lead the 19th Visual Effects Society Awards Nominations

It’s truly a measure of the pandemic that the 19th annual VES Awards (to be held virtually on April 6) was dominated by Disney+’s “The Mandalorian” with 13 nominations (topped by photoreal episode). Like the Oscar shortlist, there was an absence of big budget, VFX-intensive studio films. But, truth be told, Season 2 of Jon Favreau’s engaging “Star Wars” bounty hunter series offered the industry’s most innovative tech (wrapped around Industrial Light & Magic’s improved StageCraft virtual production system). Pixar’s “Soul” was the top animation contender with five nominations, while the feature competition was split between “Project Power,” the Netflix superhero film, Robert Zemeckis’ “The Witches” (which streamed on HBO Max), and Disney’s live-action “Mulan” (which streamed on Disney+),

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Vegan bolognese recipe: This dish may be meatless, but it has good bones

By Alexa Weibel, The New York Times Some cooks may balk at a vegan version of Bolognese because it bypasses the beef and milk that are usually integral to the Italian classic. But there is a particular thrill to capturing the spirit of a traditional ragù without the traditional ingredients. This recipe manages to achieve equally rich, robust flavor and comparable complexity and comfort. It is built like a Bolognese, but skips meat and dairy. To mimic the original, other options for body and richness replace the usual components and perform their purposes. The foundation is the same: It builds flavor from soffritto — the Italian trinity of minced onion, carrot and celery sautéed in olive oil until the vegetables are caramelized and their sweetness exaggerated — and gathers acidity and sugar

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March roars with ton of great music for Bay Area classical fans

Four dazzling new recordings and a half-dozen streamed shows offer a range of classical works for March. Here’s music you won’t want to miss. Sorrowful ‘Songs’ Two of today’s most influential artists — San Francisco composer Jake Heggie and Canadian author Margaret Atwood — have teamed up for a dramatic new song cycle. Composed by Heggie with texts by Atwood, “Songs for Murdered Sisters” was conceived by Canadian baritone Joshua Hopkins, whose sister, Nathalie Warmerdam, and two other women were murdered by Nathalie’s ex-boyfriend five years ago in Ontario. Heggie is best-known for his operas, including “Dead Man Walking” and “Moby Dick,” but his contributions to the song repertoire have also been significant, and Hopkins, accompanied by the composer on piano, gives this new work a moving

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CAS Sound Mixing Nominations Include ‘Sound of Metal,’ ‘Mank,’ ‘News of the World’

The live-action feature nominees for the 57th annual CAS Awards for sound mixing (presented virtually on April 17) include “Greyhound,” “Mank,” “News of the World,” “Sound of Metal,” and “The Trial of the Chicago 7.” Darius Marder’s innovative “Sound of Metal,” the frontrunner, also split the Motion Picture Sound Editors nominations with Paul Greengrass’ “News of the World,” with three nods. Not making the cut, though, was Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet,” the time inversion spy thriller, which was roundly criticized for mixing its dialogue way too low. Also overlooked was George Clooney’s sci-fi drama, “The Midnight Sky,” though the director will be honored as CAS Filmmaker. In terms of the Oscar race, the Academy has consolidated sound editing and mixing onto a single category for the first t

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Bay Area spring high school football watch list: Defensive linemen

After months of waiting, the high school football season is here. For some teams, the truncated season delayed since summer because of the coronavirus pandemic will start the weekend of March 12-13. For many others, the season will start a week later. The Bay Area News Group will have you covered throughout. With an assist from correspondent Mike Lefkow, here are the defensive linemen to keep an eye on this spring: Class of 2021 Matai Bell, DT, Campolindo, 6-3, 260Social: @BellMataiThree-star prospect, according to 247Sports, committed to ArmyEvan Branch-Haynes, DL, Sacred Heart Cathedral, 6-3, 280Social: @VteamEvanFirst-team all-WCAL in 2019, signed with Arizona Joey Carrillo, DL, Acalanes, 6-4, 220 Social: @JoeyCarrillo14 Signed with UC Davis. All-Bay Area News Group HM in 2019.

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Investment banker Ken Moelis is aiming to raise $1.2 billion from three new SPACs

Summary List PlacementBillionaire investment banker Ken Moelis is planning to raise $1.2 billion from three new special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs, according to a report Tuesday. Moelis & Co., the boutique investment bank founded by Moelis, is sponsoring the SPACs, according to a Bloomberg report. The largest of the blank-check firms, Atlas Crest Investment Corp. III, is aiming to raise $600 million in an initial public offering, said the report, citing filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Atlas Crest Investment Corp. IV is planning to raise $400 million, and Atlas Crest Investment Corp. V is seeking a $200 million offering. Moelis will serve as chairman of the SPACs, the report said. Last month, Archer Aviation, an electric aircraft startup, reached a d...

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These music mavens left their top jobs to build their own record label. Here’s how a slow, ‘old-school’ approach helps them build their business.

Summary List PlacementJust over a decade ago, three music mavens found themselves walking into a studio: It was Grammy award-winning songwriter Phil Lawrence, music executive Malik Rasheed, and an aspiring singer named Peter Gene Hernandez. Hernandez's short, fruitless deal with Universal Motown had just ended. So he teamed up with Lawrence to produce something new. That day, he found himself playing a tune for Rasheed who was, at the time, working for Warner Bros. Records. "It was like The Beatles met Michael Jackson," Rasheed recalled of Hernandez's talent. "It was amazing."  Hernandez would go on to become a best-selling artist under the moniker Bruno Mars. And Rasheed and Lawrence knew they wanted more moments like that day in the studio.  "We had a shared vision of really creating ...

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Oscar Health, the original buzzy health insurance startup, is going public at a $9.2 billion valuation. We pored over its 215-page filing to find 4 key takeaways.

Summary List PlacementOscar Health, the health insurance company founded by Joshua Kushner and Mario Schlosser, has filed to go public at a valuation of $9.2 billion. The New York-based health insurer filed paperwork on February 5 for an initial public offering, after revealing that it had filed confidentially with the SEC in December. Oscar, which was founded in 2012, has raised $1.6 billion from investors since its inception. It is one of the first hot insurer startups that built a reputation on being a consumer-focused, technology-driven health plan. Each member is guided by a "concierge" care team. Health insurer Clover Health, a competitor to Oscar, went public in January in a $3.7 billion SPAC deal. While Oscar has grown rapidly and now serves over half a million people in 18 stat...

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Grand Seiko’s New GMT Watch Collection Celebrates The 4 Seasons

Grand Seiko is on a roll with nature-inspired watches, from the Eagle-inspired SBGE263, white birch tree-influenced SLGH005, and now, the seasonal Elegance Collection.  The variations on the Grand Seiko GMT SBFE each serve as an homage to one of the 26 seasons celebrated in Japan, but the four selected are also observed by westerners.  The Shunbun marks the arrival of the spring at the vernal equinox, with a green dial and rose gold accents derived from the colors of high-altitude cherry trees and sakura blossoms. The Shōsho's wavy blue dial harks to the delicate ripples of lakes and ponds created by warm summer winds, while the Kanro's dark dial and silent seconds hand evokes the quiet Autumn nighttime and moon. Rounding out the collection is Tōji, with an icy white dial design that reca...

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Rep. Adam Kinzinger tore into Sen. Josh Hawley for his ‘smug’ CPAC speech, saying 5 people died because of ‘what you did’

Summary List PlacementRepublican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois tore into his Senate colleague Josh Hawley over the latter's speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Friday. "All you had to do was see Josh Hawley's smug face at CPAC as he stood in front, you know, getting this adulation from the crowd about how he, you know, 'You might have seen I rejected the —'" Kinzinger said on CNN's "New Day" as he recounted the Missouri Republican's remarks. "And everybody's — and he's out there like feeling great about it. Like, there are five people dead, two that took their own life on top of that as a result of what you did," Kinzinger added. "It was embarrassing for us around the world." He went on to say that the insurrection has made it "difficult for me to talk to...

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‘Murder Among the Mormons’: Series smartly recalls when a forgery scandal turned fatal

A scene from “Murder Among the Mormons” re-enacts when Mark Hoffman tested a homemade explosive. | NetflixThe fascinating, three-part Netflix documentary gathers a treasure trove of info about Utah bombings linked to fake documents that shook up the Mormon church. Dressed in a three-piece suit with natty bow tie and a thin gold chain around his ample mid-section, the distinguished older gentleman with the high-pitched voice fidgets in his chair, his fingers flying this way and that, like a trial witness undergoing cross-examination. “Can I ask a favor?” he says. “Don’t make me answer that. Don’t make me answer that. Let someone else do it. I don’t want to make a hero out of him. Because he WAS fantastic.” This is the opening salvo of the Netflix limited documentary series “Murder Amo

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This Ribbed Towel Changed What I Thought a Towel Could Be

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Scouted/ParachuteI am firmly in two towel camps: I love a plush towel but I’m also a big fan of waffle knit. One is soft, absorbent, and spa like, while the other is lightweight, textured, quick-drying, and chic. There hasn’t been a towel out there that has all of these features, so I’ve been stuck alternating between the two. And then, I had the opportunity to test out Parachute’s new Soft Rib Towels, and my two towel identities merged into one. Parachute’s Soft Rib Towels are a match made in heaven. Not only did Parachute manage to make towels that are plush and soft to the touch, but they also nailed the texture and the weight. I wish every piece of fabric in my home could be made out of Parachute’s soft rib material. It is softer than soft: imagin...

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US to sanction Russian officials over the attempted murder of Alexei Navalny

Russian pro-democracy leader Alexei Navalny in a police station on January 18, 2021, in Khimki, Russia. | Alexander Nemenov/AFP via Getty ImagesThe sanctions put the US in line with actions taken by the European Union and United Kingdom last year. The Biden administration on Tuesday will sanction seven senior Russian government officials as well as 14 organizations over the attempted murder and then jailing of pro-democracy leader Alexei Navalny, four senior administration officials told reporters. That action puts the US in line with sanctions imposed last October by the European Union and United Kingdom on Kremlin officials close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, most prominent among them Alexander Bortnikov, the chief of Russia’s domestic spy agency known as the FSB. However, the Am

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How Disneyland’s most devoted fans have coped during the park’s nearly yearlong closure

Disneyland fan Connie McCrudden of Altadena and family at the park in 2018. (Photo courtesy of Connie McCrudden) A year ago, it would The girl who did her homework there. The mom who came to the park after her kids went to school. The pet sitter who used it for exercise. The homeowner who actually liked living underneath the Disneyland fireworks displays. Life has changed for these Disneyland fans, and not in a good way. Nearly a year after the resort closed its gates because of the COVID-19 pandemic on a rainy March 14, 2020, people are coping and making do. But they’re not happy about it. “I walk around the house now wearing my Mickey ears just because,” said Sheryl Herchenroeder of Fontana, who spends time these days scrapbooking photos of happier days at the park and “trying not to be

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