Glee Star Cory Monteith Dead at 31, Found Alone in Vancouver Hotel Room

Glee Star Cory Monteith Dead at 31, Found Alone in Vancouver Hotel Room

Cory Monteith, who played Finn Hudson in the Fox hit television show Glee, was found dead in a Vancouver hotel room Saturday, Vancouver police said. He was 31. Police stated thar the cause of death was not immediately apparent, but they ruled out foul play. Monteith spent time in rehab earlier this year, checking into a drug addiction treatment facility in April. He had been frank about his struggles with substance abuse, telling Parade Magazine in 2011 that he began using drugs at 13, and by 19 went into rehab after his mother and friends intervened.

Monteith had been on the musical comedy show since it began in 2009. In 2011, he won a Teen Choice Award for top actor in a comedy. The show’s cast won a Screen Actors Guild award for an ensemble in a comedy the prior year.

Cory Monteith’s Greatest “Glee” Performances

Glee: We’ve Got Tonight

Cory Monteith: Can’t Fight This Feeling

Glee: Don’t Stop Believing

Just the Way You Are (Glee Cast)

Glee: Girls Just Want To Have Fun

Glee: Just Can’t Stop Loving You

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Henry: The Inevitable Verdict of Life

Henry: The Inevitable Verdict of Life

Henry is an emotionally touching short film by Quebec actor Yan England, which is a 2013 Oscar Nominee for Best Live-Action Short Film. The film is about an 84-year-old concert pianist suffering from Alzheimer’s, whose life is thrown into turmoil when his wife mysteriously disappears. The aging musician is tossed between feelings of hope and suffering as he searches in vain for his lost love, while reminiscing about their past together.

Henry, which England financed out of his own pocket, is an ambitious attempt to portray the world of worsening dementia from the inside. Gérard Poirier plays the pianist, Henry, and Louise Laprade portrays his wife, Maria. The 29-year-old England says the film was inspired by the experiences of his own grandfather, who developed Alzheimer’s disease and died three years ago at age 96.

Henry: The Inevitable Verdict of Life (Official Trailer)

Henry: The Inevitable Verdict of Life (Full Version, Fr.)

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The Walk of Death: Nik Wallenda Walks Across Niagara Falls

The Walk of Death: Nik Wallenda Walks Across Niagara Falls

The Wallenda family likes challenges, and Nik Wallenda had plenty of them tonight when he attempted to do what nobody had ever done before: A high wire walk directly over the precipice at Niagara Falls and 190 feet above the churning torrent below. Although he was tethered to the wire to prevent falling to a near-certain death, the seventh-generation funambulist still had to contend with wind, water and an unfamiliar wire when he attempted the high-wire walk from the U.S. to Canada.

In 2008, Wallenda broke a high-wire record when he walked and bicycled on a tightrope high above the buildings in Newark, New Jersey. Today he embarked on a far more arduous trek: walking across a tightrope over Niagara Falls. Confronted by all these life-threatening perils, Nik Wallenda, descendant of the legendary circus act The Flying Wallendas, successfully tightroped 1,800 feet in the dark of night over treacherous waters and rocks across Niagara Falls and managed to make it all the way across.

About a dozen other tightrope artists have crossed the Niagara Gorge downstream, dating back to Jean Francois Gravelet, aka The Great Blondin, in 1859. However, no one has walked directly over the falls, and authorities haven’t allowed any tightrope acts in the area since 1896. It took Wallenda two years to persuade U.S. and Canadian authorities to allow it, and many civic leaders hoped to use the publicity to jump=start the region’s struggling economy, particularly on the U.S. side of the falls.

Read more about Nik Wallenda’s daredevil walk in The New York Times here.

The Walk of Death: Nik Wallenda Walks Across Niagara Falls

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Legendary Levon Helm, Drummer and Singer of The Band, Dead at 71

Legendary Levon Helm, Drummer and Singer of The Band, Dead at 71

Levon Helm, legendary singer and drummer for the acclaimed and influential rock group The Band, died on Thursday, April 19th in New York City of throat cancer. He was 71. He passed away peacefully surrounded by his friends and bandmates. A very sad note signed by his daughter and wife had appeared Tuesday on the official website for multiple Grammy winner Levon Helm:  “Levon is in the final stages of his battle with cancer,” said the note. “Please send your prayers and love to him as he makes his way through this part of his journey. Thank you fans and music lovers who have made his life so filled with joy and celebration…he has loved nothing more than to play, to fill the room up with music, lay down the back beat, and make the people dance! He did it every time he took the stage.”

Levon Helm had reached the final stages of his battle with cancer, which was first diagnosed in the late 1990s. He recovered, but it took him many years to recover his singing voice. At last Saturday’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cleveland, former Band guitarist and songwriter Robbie Robertson told the audience, “We all need to send out love and prayers to my Band mate Levon Helm.”

Mr. Helm, a native of Arkansas whose father was a cotton farmer, was an important member of The Band, lending his steady beat and weathered voice to the group’s signature hit songs, such as: The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, The Weight, Rag Mama Rag and Daniel and the Sacred Harp. The Band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.

Read more about Levon Helm’s death in Rolling Stone here and in the New York Times here.

Listen to Levon Helm’s Finest Moments: From The Weight to Atlantic City. Eighteen tracks from The Band co-founder’s incredible career: The Rolling Stone Playlist

View the Slide Show: Levon Helm Through the Years here.

View another Slide Show: Levon Helm’s Musical Journey here.

Levon Helm and The Band: The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (1969)

(Best Viewed in HD Full-Screen Mode)

Levon Helm and The Band: The Weight (Woodstock 1969)

(Best Viewed in HD-Mode}

The Band with The Staple Singers: The Weight (From “The Last Waltz” 1978)

Levon Helm’s Life After Cancer

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A Retro Chop-Suey Flick: Legend Of The Golden Egg Warrior

A Retro Chop-Suey Flick: Legend Of The Golden Egg Warrior

Just in case you haven’t had enough Easter joy yet, Toronto film production company Crush has produced a very humorous stop-motion animated short film, Legend of the Golden Egg Warrior, as an offering of good will over the Easter period. The film introduces us to a ninja nunchucking Easter bunny well schooled in the martial arts. Eggscellent!

A Retro Chop-Suey Flick: Legend Of The Golden Egg Warrior

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The Ridiculously Absurd Ordeals of Sleeping Betty

The Ridiculously Absurd Ordeals of Sleeping Betty

Sleeping Betty is the award-winning, absurdly humorous and surreal animated short film by Claude Cloutier at The National Film Board of Canada. In a sumptuous palace located in the basement of a house in a working-class neighborhood of Montreal, poor Princess Betty is bedridden and asleep, the victim of a strange case of narcoleptic stupor.

In a panic, the King calls on his subjects to rescue her, appealing to Uncle Henri VIII, Aunt Victoria, an emotional alien, a cool witch and a courageously funky Prince. The worthy Prince has to leave his royal suburb on his valiant steed, making his way to Princess Betty’s bedside on an arduous trip replete with ludicrous adventures. But will the Prince’s sweet kiss really be enough to awaken the sleeping Princess Betty?

Propelled by Claude Cloutier’s signature drawing style and absurdist humor, this anachronistic and playful animated short film sets the Perrault classic tale in Cloutier’s disjointed little kingdom of odd people and surreal habits, which offers the viewer many surprising twists.

The Ridiculously Absurd Ordeals of Sleeping Betty

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The Sordid Sexual Infidelity of A Good Wife

The Sordid Sexual Infidelity of A Good Wife

A Good Wife is a brilliant five-minute animated short film by the talented Toronto-based illustrator W. Scott Forbes, featuring the artist’s signature minimalist painterly artwork. The film presents a quiet tragedy of mid-1900’s infidelity, the tale of a woman who is in utter shock over her torrid sexual affair with a man who is not her husband. Tormented by painful regret, she decides not to disclose her infidelity to her family. Thus, the family members carry on as though nothing is wrong, going about their daily lives in blissful ignorance. A Good Wife provides powerful imagery and music to narrate its plot, successfully leaving viewers feeling emotionally invested despite its short five-minute duration.

The Sordid Sexual Infidelity of A Good Wife

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