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Review: 'Alias Grace' a spellbinding tale of true crime and quiltmaking

Sarah Gadon as Grace Marks in Alias Grace.

Netflix

Sarah Gadon as Grace Marks in Alias Grace.

Grace Marks would rather be a murderess than a murderer, if given the choice between the two.

The elusive and mysterious term is a fitting description of the title character in Netflix's new series Alias Grace.

Grace Marks (Sarah Gadon) is a young Irish immigrant imprisoned at 16 for the murders of her employer and his housekeeper in northern Canada. She was put through a grueling trial, imprisoned in an insane asylum and now serves a life sentence for crimes she can't seem to remember.

The overarching story is a tale of true crime, which The Handmaid's Tale author Margaret Atwood used as inspiration for her 1996 novel of the same name. The real Grace Marks was indeed tried and found guilty of murder in 1843, but after 30 years of incarceration she was released and moved to New York.

Review: The Handmaid's Tale is a poignant adaptation of Margaret Atwood's novel

After that, there is no record of what she did with the rest of her life.

Grace's imprisonment was a controversial one, with many questioning whether she actually did commit the murders or was an unwitting accessory to stable hand James McDermott (Kerr Logan), who was hanged for the murders. …

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In Case You Missed It: Kevin Spacey gets accused of making sexual advance on teen actor in 1986, then comes out as gay in apology; Astros, Dodgers pitchers and coaches say World Series' baseballs are 'slicker' than normal

Kevin Spacey came out as gay early Monday morning, Oct. 30, after actor Anthony Rapp accused Spacey of making a sexual advance on him when he was a teenager in 1986.

Times files

Kevin Spacey came out as gay early Monday morning, Oct. 30, after actor Anthony Rapp accused Spacey of making a sexual advance on him when he was a teenager in 1986.

Weekends are great for unwinding, and maybe even unplugging from the world for a little while.

Here's what trended that you might have missed if you weren't on social media the last couple days.

Kevin Spacey gets accused of making a sexual advance on a teen actor in 1986, then comes out as gay in apology

Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey has come out as gay.

The fiercely private actor made the announcement following an accusation first reported by Buzzfeed News that he came onto a teen actor in 1986 after a party in his bedroom.

Broadway veteran and actor Anthony Rapp, who has starred in the hit musical "Rent" and "Star Trek: Discovery" told the news outlet that Spacey made a sexual advance on him when was 14 while both were performing on Broadway. Spacey, who is now 58, was 26 at the time. 

In the interview, Rapp alleges that Spacey befriended him and invited him to a party at his house. At the end of the night, Rapp said, an inebriated Spacey picked him up, placed him on his bed and climbed on top of him. Rapp said he eventually was able to get away before anything further happened.  …

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What to watch and listen to this week: Uncivil podcast explores overlooked stories of the Civil War

The Uncivil podcast explores untold stories of the Civil War and aims to debunk common myths.

Gimlet

The Uncivil podcast explores untold stories of the Civil War and aims to debunk common myths.

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Uncivil

Gimlet Media's new series Uncivil hasn't been out a month, but it's already considered urgent listening.

Uncivil explores stories from the Civil War that you probably weren't taught in school. Like the broken promise made to former enslaved black farmers that they would be given "40 acres and a mule" and the pervading myth that the Civil War was not about slavery.

A recent episode featured Nikole Hannah-Jones of New York Times Magazine, Al Letson of Reveal and Christy Coleman of the American Civil War Museum in a discussion on how they fight back against Civil War myths.

Journalists Jack Hitt and Chenjerai Kumanyika explore untold stories away from the official version of the Civil War. They take on tales of covert operations, corruption, resistance, antebellum drones and more and connect the players and politics to the struggles we still see today.

Uncivil isn't a podcast about the Battle of Gettysburg, the battle over states' rights or notable generals like Robert E. Lee or Ulysses S. Grant. The series explores parts of America's history that are unsavory, yet are just as important as proclamations and military events. …

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Trump asks trick-or-treaters about their weight and insults their parents

President Donald Trump talks with Claire Thomas, 5, far left, from Washington, before passing out candy to children dressed in their Halloween costumes in the Oval Office of the White House, Friday, Oct. 27, 2017. The White House had invited the children of members of the media to visit the president and to trick-o-treat on the White House complex of the Eisenhower Executive Office building.

Associated Press

President Donald Trump talks with Claire Thomas, 5, far left, from Washington, before passing out candy to children dressed in their Halloween costumes in the Oval Office of the White House, Friday, Oct. 27, 2017. The White House had invited the children of members of the media to visit the president and to trick-o-treat on the White House complex of the Eisenhower Executive Office building.

WASHINGTON — Halloween came a little early at the White House as President Donald Trump welcomed the children of White House reporters into the Oval Office Friday for some early Halloween treats.

More than a dozen costumed kids, including little witches and Princess Leias, a pint-sized Darth Vader, and a purple-haired unicorn gathered around the Resolute Desk, where the president handed out little boxes of White House Hershey's Kisses.

The president also dispensed plenty of compliments, congratulating the kids' parents for doing a good job — at least of raising children, if not their coverage of the Trump White House.

"I cannot believe the media produced such beautiful kids. How the media did this, I don't know," he said as he welcomed the kids to join him around his desk.

Trump also joked with the kids about their parents' professions. "You going to grow up to be like your parents?" he asked. "Don't answer. That can only get me in trouble, that question," he joked.

Soon after, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders delivered a box full of candy, and the president started handing out the treats. …

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What to watch this weekend: 'Stranger Things 2', Joan Didion documentary

Noah Schnapp, Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo and Caleb McLaughlin in Stranger Things 2.

Netflix

Noah Schnapp, Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo and Caleb McLaughlin in Stranger Things 2.

Ghost bustin': Stranger Things 2

The pop culture-filled sleeper hit of last summer finally returns for a second season just in time for Halloween. Steven Spielberg, Ghostbusters, Star Wars, arcade games and science fiction captivated the generation that grew up in the 1980s. And Netflix's love letter to that decade, Stranger Things, continues to captivate the current generation. In the first season, young nerd Will Byers vanishes, pushing his friends, family and local police into an extraordinary mystery. The Duffer brothers manage to cram secret government experiments, supernatural forces and an extraterrestrial-type girl into eight episodes of captivating television. Now it's 1984 in Hawkins, Ind. The town is still reeling from the Demogorgon's wrath and Will's friends are still trying to figure out what happened to Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown). Will (Noah Schnapp) was rescued from the Upside Down, but a more insidious entity threatens those who survived. Get your Eggos ready, Stranger Things 2 is now available Netflix.

Tampa Bay on TV: Look for this local actor on Stranger Things 2

Previous Coverage: Stranger Things is a thrilling ode to '80s sci-fi and cult horror

Netflix …

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The Vault of Souls turns Tampa’s Exchange National Bank into a creepy chic escape room

Now in its third year, the Vault of Souls changes its haunted experience to include an escape room where guests solve puzzles to release a trapped soul.

Vault of Souls

Now in its third year, the Vault of Souls changes its haunted experience to include an escape room where guests solve puzzles to release a trapped soul.

If you've ever wanted to help a lost spirit escape from eternal damnation, the Vault of Souls is the experience for you.

Now in its third year, the immersive haunt in downtown Tampa's former Exchange National Bank, now known as The Vault, is truly unlike any other Halloween attraction around.

Previous coverage: The Vault of Souls is an evening of 1920s elegance and fear

It was created by former SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment creative mind Scott Swenson, who for years helped bring to life Busch Gardens' Howl-O-Scream. With the Vault of Souls, he's plopping guests into a roaring ‘20s party that lets you interact with dozens of Jazz Age spirits.

Swenson and his team made some minor changes to the storyline and some drastic changes to guest activities this year, which makes the whole experience more enjoyable and certainly more affordable.

Vault of Souls

The first thing you'll do upon entering the Vault on Franklin St. is imbibe in the lofty, blue-tinged Arrival area. There's an elegant bar (try the Final Waltz special), tables of mediums ready to give readings and haunted actors chatting with guests about their 95 years of entrapment in the bank's vault. …

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What to watch and listen to this week: Halloween offerings, best spooky podcasts

The Halloween kids classic The Nightmare Before Christmas airs this week on Freeform.

Times files

The Halloween kids classic The Nightmare Before Christmas airs this week on Freeform.

Halloween is all about scary stories. The holiday itself is based on a compilation of creepy tales from history going back thousands of years.

And there's nothing quite as chilling as popping in a pair of headphones and listening to a velvety voice recount grisly tales. Or if true crime is your beat, a cold, calculated host describing dastardly deeds.

These are just some of my favorite creepy series.

Watch this week

Monday

Halloween marathon, starts at 9 a.m., AMC: Here's your first chance to binge as much Michael Myers slashing as you can before the Halloween season ends.

Scared Famous, 9 p.m., VH1: Ten reality show celebrities move into a creepy estate in Savannah, Ga., to take part in gruesome challenges and scary eliminations to win $100,000 for their favorite charity.

The Nightmare Before Christmas, 9:20 p.m., Freeform: A Tim Burton stop-motion animation about the pumpkin king Jack Skellington scheming to kidnap Santa Claus so he can participate in Christmas, too.

Tuesday

Child's Play, 6 p.m., AMC: A little bit of black magic birthed the demonic doll that still haunts our childhood dreams. Stick around for Curse of Chucky at 8 p.m. and Cult of Chucky at 10 p.m. …

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In Case You Missed It: Bill O'Reilly settled sexual assault case, still got Fox contract renewed; former presidents raise $31 million for hurricane relief; Justin Timberlake to headline Super Bowl halftime show

(From left to right) Former U.S. Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama address the audience during a hurricane relief concert in Texas on Saturday night.

[Rick Kern | Getty Images for Ford Motor Company)]

(From left to right) Former U.S. Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama address the audience during a hurricane relief concert in Texas on Saturday night.

Weekends are great for unwinding, and maybe even unplugging from the world for a little while.

Here's what trended that you might have missed if you weren't on social media the last couple days.

Bill O'Reilly settled a sexual assault case and still got Fox contract renewed

According to a new report by the New York Times, Fox News Channel knew that a news analyst planned to file a sexual harrassment lawsuit against host Bill O'Reilly and renewed his contract anyway.

In January, O'Reilly was said to have agreed to a $32 million settlement with former analyst Lis Wiehl, the largest of his known payouts, the Times reports. In February, Fox renewed his contract.

The company defended its decision in a statement, saying that his contract was renewed because O'Reilly had settled the matter personally, and also said his new contract had added protections that allowed Fox to fire him if any other allegations surfaced.

O'Reilly was fired months later when it was revealed Fox had paid five women a total of $13 million to keep quiet about harassment allegations. …

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What to watch this weekend: 'The Walking Dead,' Stephen King's '1922'

Danai Gurira and Andrew Lincoln in The Walking Dead.

AMC

Danai Gurira and Andrew Lincoln in The Walking Dead.

100 episodes of walkers: The Walking Dead

Can you believe how far Rick Grimes has come? Seven years ago on Halloween, AMC debuted The Walking Dead based on a comic book about the world after a zombie apocalypse . The first few episodes were terrifying for Rick (Andrew Lincoln), who had just woken from a coma to find an empty hospital, except for chained cafeteria doors marked "Don't Open Dead Inside." Now the horror series hits 100 episodes with the premiere of its eighth season, and it's moved from undead scares to focusing on the fight for survival in a new world without established government or civilized law. The premiere of Season 8 sees Rick and the people of the Hilltop, Alexandria and the Kingdom formulating and executing a plan to overthrow Negan and the Saviors. Fans who wavered during last season's clunky storylines will be soothed by the new season going back to what made The Walking Dead so popular in the first place. Season 8 begins at 9 p.m. Sunday on AMC.

Season 8 premiere: The Walking Dead celebrates 100 episodes

Gothic heartland horror: 1922 …

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St. Pete and Tarpon Springs filmmakers pitching local movies to Hollywood's Duplass Brothers

A scene from "Epiphany."

YouTube

A scene from "Epiphany."

If all goes well, filmmakers from St. Petersburg and Tarpon Springs could see their Tampa Bay-set films get a funding and production boost from the Duplass Brothers.

St. Petersburg's Vitale Bros., best known for their local mural art, and Tarpon Springs sisters Koula Sossiadis Kazista and Katina Sossiadis are among the finalists in the Hometown Heroes Rally contest, drawing the most "followers" and funding for their projects on the Seed&Spark crowdfunding site.

Both filmmaking teams will now have an opportunity to pitch their respective film projects to the Duplass Brothers production team, the indie-darling production company headed by Mark and Jay Duplass, aka the people behind the films Puffy Chair, Jeff Who Lives at Home and The Skeleton Twins as well as the HBO series Togetherness and Animals.

The pitches will be reviewed this month and, if selected, the Duplass Brothers will serve as executive producers on the films and provide as much as $25,000 in interest free loans for production. …

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7 creepy podcasts to get you in the Halloween spirit

Television network AMC recently debuted an immersive new podcast, Deadly Manners.

AMC

Television network AMC recently debuted an immersive new podcast, Deadly Manners.

Halloween is all about scary stories. The holiday itself is based on a compilation of creepy tales from history going back thousands of years.

And there's nothing quite as chilling as popping in a pair of headphones and listening to a velvety voice recount grisly tales. Or if true crime is your beat, a cold, calculated host describing dastardly deeds.

Podcasts can also provide a way to get that nostalgic feel of swapping ghost stories and be chilled by the words and noises going through our ears.

These are just some of my favorite creepy series.

Halloween binge: Plan a movie marathon with these horror films on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and HBO

Creepy Clue: Deadly Manners …

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'The Walking Dead' marks 100 episodes with Easter eggs in Season 8 premiere

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead Season 8.

AMC

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead Season 8.

The hit zombie series has come a long way since Rick Grimes woke up from a coma and entered a post-apocalyptic world overrun with the undead.

AMC's undead darling hits 100 episodes with the premiere of its eighth season on Sunday. And longtime fans will take comfort to know that The Walking Dead is taking its characters and storylines back to what made the show so popular in the first place.

The Season 8 premiere is really a tribute to fans, especially those who've followed along since the series' Halloween premiere in 2010. Just about every character still alive makes an appearance, and there are plenty of series Easter eggs sprinkled throughout.

There's even a nice throwback to the iconic Season 1 scene where Rick (Andrew Lincoln) encounters his first walker.

But it'll take more than just fun Easter eggs and character inclusion for some fans to give The Walking Dead another chance.

Last season's premiere was arguably the most graphic episode to air on cable television. It was the moment the entire season had been building up to -- Rick and his people finally meeting Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), the leader of a sadistic group of Saviors. …

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St. Pete's traffic signal boxes are being covered in public art

This art by Justin Wagher is part of the Corner Canvas public art initiative by Shine.

Christopher Spata | Staff

This art by Justin Wagher is part of the Corner Canvas public art initiative by Shine.

If you have an eye for detail, you may have noticed a splash of color here and there around downtown St. Petersburg recently. 

There's a new public art initiative by the Shine Mural Festival titled Corner Canvas, and the project features art by local artists wrapped around traffic signal boxes.

The art is intended to be a permanent addition to the city's streets. There are currently eight boxes completed with several more to come.

Here's a look at what's out there so far. (You can see all 14  of the new Shine murals here).

 

Chad Mize, Fifth Street N. and Central Avenue.

Derek Donnelly, Sixth Street N. and Central Avenue.

Nathan Beard, Third Street and First Avenue N.

Coralette Damme, Fourth Street and Second Avenue N.

Xina Scuderi, Third Street and Second Avenue N.

Leo Gomez, Third Street and Central Ave.

Justin Wagher, Fifth Street and First Ave S.

Alli Arnold, Fourth Street and First Avenue N.

 

LIKE US: Tampa Bay Times Arts & Entertainment on Facebook

ART EVENT: New tour reveals the artists of Seminole Heights

NEW EXHIBIT: Dali and Schiaparelli now open

NEW MUSEUM: St. Pete Sculpture Museum moving to Central Ave.

PHOTOS: See all 14 of St. Pete's newest urban murals

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The upcoming Han Solo movie is called ... 'Solo'

I hope you know what you're doing, Star Wars.

After a long buildup, the title of the forthcoming Han Solo standalone movie was finally revealed today: Solo: A Star Wars Story.

Director Ron Howard announced the title in a Twitter video celebrating the end of filming.

 

Hey #Twitterville we just wrapped production so here's a special message #StarWars pic.twitter.com/8QJqN5BGxr

It's an unimaginative title I imagine even everyone's favorite half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf-herder himself would balk at. And the A Star Wars Story tagline seems destined to be added to all titles outside of the Skywalker saga episodes, following after last year's Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

The movie, first announced way back in 2015, stars Alden Ehrenreich as the titular character, Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian and also Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke and Thandie Newtown. It follows a younger version of the smuggler, before the events of A New Hope. …

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Percussionist rocks out with a blazing triangle solo during Florida Orchestra performance

John Shaw performs a triangle solo.

Florida Orchestra

John Shaw performs a triangle solo.

Oh, the poor triangle. It's the orchestra equivalent of a rock band's tamborine, and such easy fodder for jokes.

But the triangle can rock, apparently, as a member of the Florida Orchestra demonstrated in a recent Coffee Concert performance at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg.

The guy getting down on the triangle, lead percussionist John Shaw, was inspired by a Geico commercial featuring a similar triangle solo. His wife actually told him "Don't do that onstage" when they first saw it on TV, according to the Florida Orchestra's blog.

Along with conductor Stuart Malina, he plotted the triangle solo in secret, but quietly tipped off someone on the orchestra's marketing team to make sure they were shooting video. By this afternoon, the video had been viewed more than 100,000 times.

MORE FLORIDA ORCHESTRA

Florida Orchestra lands rock star Sting for its anniversary gala

Why the Florida Orchestra is about to sound a whole lot better

Florida Orchestra hits the half century mark on a triumphant note

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