Stephen Adly Guirgis talks to Daily News about winning Pulitzer Prize for drama for ‘Between Riverside and Crazy’

Stephen Adly Guirgis, a New York playwright known for works about everyday people, has won the Pulitzer Prize for drama for his play “Between Riverside and Crazy.” "I was just trying to write a good play," Guirgis, 50, told the Daily News in his first interview after learning he'd won. "It's an honor. It's humbling. And it's cool because I found out that I'd won from my neighbor." When Tina Laino, who lives next door on the upper West Side knocked on his door, Guirgis figured he was "in trouble," he says. "Either for my smoking or my dog." But it wasn't about butts or his mouthy Chihuahua Papi. "She was crying," he says. "She said, 'You won the Pulitzer Prize.' Upon presenting Guirgis with the award, which comes with a $10,000 prize, the Pulitzer committee called the play “a nuanced, beautifully written play about a retired police officer faced with eviction that uses dark comedy to confront questions of life and death.” "I'm an American," he says. "I'm a New Yorker." He looks at the Pulitzer has "an affirmation. Serious people are saying, 'You're doing your job well.'" With the great honor comes a great responsibility. "For better or worse, I have a responsibility to write." “Between Riverside and Crazy,” which starred Stephen McKinley Henderson as the ex-cop, was seen first at the Atlantic Theatre Company last August. An encore run was presented at Second Stage in January. In its 4-star review, the Daily News called the play "a vivid group portrait." Guirgis, a member and a former co-artistic of the LAByrinth Theater Company, has always had a deep interest in colorful down-and-outers. His plays include “The Mother------ with the Hat,” “Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train” and “Our Lady of 121st Street.” "I think I have a habit of downplaying things," Guirigis says. "It's a great thing. It's a wonderful thing to celebrate with Continue Reading

Phil Jackson laying low at NBA Draft Combine in Chicago as top lottery prizes Karl-Anthony Towns, Jahlil Okafor not working out

CHICAGO – A large Knicks contingent – notably, sans Phil Jackson – arrived at the NBA Draft Combine early Thursday afternoon, even if top lottery prizes Karl-Anthony Towns, Jahlil Okafor and others were not in attendance for workouts and scrimmages at Quest Sports Complex. “We think whatever happens in the draft we’re going to end up with a good player. It’s an opportunity to see what ultimately happens so it’s exciting for the franchise,” Knicks GM Steve Mills said. “We knew going in the top guys wouldn’t be here. It’s not even worth speculating on. It’s part of the nature of this particular combine. “What’s important to us is have a chance to see the guys and talk to them in person. We’ve been watching guys play all season long. So we have a pretty good feel for how they are as players on the court.” The NBA revealed earlier in the day that Mills, and not Jackson, will represent the Knicks on the dais at next Tuesday’s draft lottery in New York. The second-seeded Knicks have a 19.9 percent chance of nabbing the top overall selection, and they can fall no lower than the fifth pick. Towns (Kentucky) and Okafor (Duke) are the consensus top two big men available. “I’m not going to compare the two players. Wherever we end up in this draft we’re going to be able to get a good player,” Mills said. Guard Emmanuel Mudiay (China) also is not here, while Duke swingman Justise Winslow and Ohio State guard D’Angelo Russell are attending without participating in drills. They will not be made available to the media until Friday. Jackson is in town, but said to be meeting with players and staff at the team hotel rather than showing up at the workouts. Assistant GM Allan Houston, scouts Mark Warkentein and Clarence Gaines Jr. and coaches Derek Fisher and Kurt Rambis also were among those representing the Knicks. “This is an opportunity for us to Continue Reading

Pulitzer Prize-winner Pearl S. Buck’s life story coming to Lincoln Center as abstract dance performance

New York is getting a new dance show. “Pearl,” which celebrates the life of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Pearl S. Buck, is coming to the city with world famous director and choreographer Daniel Ezralow at the helm. “Pearl” is billed as a real “East meets West” abstract show and will run from August 27 to 30, at Lincoln Center. Speaking at a press conference at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles Tuesday morning, Ezralow said: "I think there is an extraordinary message about Pearl, who she was and the legacy she left.” Producers confirmed that the spectacular will be presented in five symbolic stages - Spring, River, Flower, Moon, and Night. Those segments are based on a poem Zhang Ruoxu about the passing human existence. Daniel, who served as choreographer for last year's Sochi Olympics Opening Ceremony, will oversee the entire production. American born Pearl Sydenstricker, she was one of the first people to document life in China after moving there as toddler. Born in 1892 in West Virginia, Pearl went to China with her missionary parents. Her life growing up and becoming a mother in China became inspiration for her novels. She won the Pulitzer for her 1932 novel, “The Good Earth.” On a mobile device? Click here to watch video. Continue Reading

Tribeca Film Festival awards top prizes to ‘Virgin Mountain,’ ‘Democrats’

"Virgin Mountain," a Danish-Icelandic film about late bloomers and first love, won the best narrative award at the 14th Tribeca Film Festival and "Democrats," which follows the quest for democracy in Zimbabwe, was named best documentary. Gunnar Jonsson, who portrays the 43-year-old outsider who finds love in "Virgin Mountain" was named best actor at an awards ceremony on Thursday night. Hannah Murray, the star of the Danish drama "Bridgend," picked up the best actress prize. "With its mixture of humor and pathos, this film captured our hearts," the jurors said about "Virgin Mountain," written and directed by Dagur Kari of Iceland. "Beyond the deceptively small frame of a mismatched love story, the film deals with the issues of bigotry, loneliness, bullying, mental illness, and ultimately the triumph of the human spirit and meaning in love," they added. Jonsson was noted for his subtle performance, which jurors said evoked Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, while Murray was praised for capturing the "hopelessness of a lost generation" a teenager who gets involved in the ritualistic celebration of her friends' suicides. "Bridgend" also won prizes for best cinematography and narrative editing, while "Virgin Mountain" won best screenplay. The documentary "Democrats" chronicles the story of two political rivals in Zimbabwe as they try to bridge their differences to create a new constitution for the African nation. The film, by Danish director Camilla Nielsson, was cited for its important subject and "for filming in conditions where simply to be present is a triumph." Zachary Treitz won the best new narrative director award for the U.S. film "Men Go to Battle," which jurors praised for its "historical and emotional authenticity." The Albert Maysles new documentary director award, named for the director who died earlier this year, went to Ewan McNicol and Anna Sandilands for their film "Uncertain," about a Texas town Continue Reading

Nobel Prize biologist says women distract in the lab, falling in love with co-workers and crying when criticized

This big bang theory is more junk than science. An English Nobel Prize-winning biologist said that women should not work alongside men in labs — because they fall in love with them and then cry when criticized. Sir Tim Hunt stunned the World Conference of Science Journalists in Seoul, South Korea, on Tuesday with his sexist comments, The Daily Beast reported. After confessing to being a "chauvinist pig," he also claimed female workers distract their male counterparts. And he recommended that researchers should work in same-sex laboratories. "Let me tell you about my trouble with girls," said the 72-year-old, who won the prestigious Nobel Prize in medicine in 2001. "Three things happen when they are in the lab, you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticize them they cry," he added. His comments were reported by City University, London, science journalism lecturer Connie St Louis. She titled her tweeted: "Why are the British so embarrassing abroad?" The Royal Society, of which Hunt is a fellow, sought to distance itself from his remarks. "The Royal Society believes that in order to achieve everything that it can, science needs to make the best use of the research capabilities of the entire population," the organization said in a statement. "Too many talented individuals do not fulfill their scientific potential because of issues such as gender and the Society is committed to helping to put this right," the Royal Society added. "Sir Tim Hunt was speaking as an individual and his reported comments in no way reflect the views of the Royal Society.” Follow on Twitter @lee_moran Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Miranda Lambert wins big, Luke Bryan takes top prize at ACM Awards

ARLINGTON, Texas  -- Miranda Lambert won four awards, including album and song of the year, but the singer lost the night's top prize to Luke Bryan at Sunday's Academy of Country Music Awards. It was a repeat of the Country Music Association Awards in November, where Lambert won multiple prizes but lost the big award to Bryan. "Listen guys, what an amazing night of music," an excited Bryan said onstage after winning the fan-voted award. "Thank you to my wife, my kids ... my fans, country radio." Lambert was the sole female nominated for entertainer of the year; other nominees included Garth Brooks, Jason Aldean and Florida Georgia Line, who won two awards Sunday at the AT&T Stadium. Though she lost the top prize - again - Lambert was the queen of the night. She was on a red-hot winning streak - and she even rocked a red-hot bustier when she performed "Little Red Wagon." Lambert won her fourth album of the year, her sixth female vocalist of the year and her third single record of the year (she won twice this year as a performer and songwriter of "Automatic.") "I don't even realize what's happening tonight," Lambert said. "I love my job so much. I will never not love my job." Lambert, a fashion favorite in the last year, wowed again in a flowing, plunging dress on the red carpet. Inside the venue, she wore white pants and a white top with a black sheer center. She also accepted the 50th Anniversary Milestone Award, given to her by Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara (Lambert wrote a song for their new film, "Hot Pursuit.") It was also a memorable night for Taylor Swift, who made it a family affair. The singer was one of seven recipients of the Milestone Award, and a video package highlighting her career and success played before her mother, who recently announced she is battling cancer, presented her daughter with the award. "I am a very proud mom," said Andrea Swift, who Continue Reading

Pulitzer Prize winning civil rights reporter Claude Sitton dies aged 89

ATLANTA — New York Times reporter Claude Sitton, who set the pace for reporters covering the civil rights movement in the South in the 1950s and ’60s and later won a Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary, died Tuesday. He was 89. Sitton’s son Clint confirmed the death. Sitton had been under hospice care with heart failure. Sitton, a Georgia native, began crisscrossing the South for The Times in 1958 and became a leader among the reporters covering the civil rights struggle. “What made him the gold standard was that he went where other reporters didn’t go, and once he got there they followed,” said Hank Klibanoff, former managing editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

SEE IT: Wheelchair-bound ‘Price Is Right’ contestant wins free cruise from Jimmy Kimmel after treadmill prize gaffe

The good-humored woman in a wheelchair who won a treadmill on "The Price Is Right" laughed off the useless prize and landed herself a free cruise Wednesday during a "Jimmy Kimmel Live" appearance. Danielle Perez went home with an all-expense paid trip to the Caribbean — packed with "wheelchair-accessible" amenities — after telling the late-night talk show host her plans for the exercise machine. "People keep asking me what I'm going to do with it, and I said I guess I'll just do what everyone else does and just use it as a piece of furniture," she quipped on TV. Perez, a Los Angeles-based comedian, won a treadmill and a three-person infrared sauna — valued at more than $6,000 — after correctly guessing that the steam bath cost $3,695. The ecstatic game show contestant, who immediately celebrated the victory by rushing over to give the models a hug, told Kimmel she didn't realize she couldn't use the treadmill until after the shock wore off. "I was just so focused on cash and prizes," she said. "You just want to win. You want to win so bad." Perez joked about the prize on Twitter after the show aired Tuesday, posting a photo of her forced smile with the caption: "When you win a treadmill on national TV, but you have no feet." She said she contemplated selling the running machine, which she has three months to claim, but decided to keep it after it made her a viral sensation. "I mean I'm going to cast it in bronze and have it as a trophy to my network television debut," Perez said. ON A MOBILE DEVICE? SEE THE VIDEO HERE.  Continue Reading

Eddie Murphy to be awarded Mark Twain Prize for American Humor

WASHINGTON — Eddie Murphy, famous for his standup routines, films and his early breakout on "Saturday Night Live," will be awarded the nation's top prize for humor this year by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, officials said Thursday. Murphy, 54, will receive the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor on Oct. 18 in a show that will be broadcast nationally. The humor prize honors those who influence society in the tradition of Samuel Clemens, the writer, satirist and social commentator better known as Mark Twain. Through his work, Murphy "has shown that like Mark Twain, he was years ahead of his time," said Kennedy Center President Deborah Rutter. Tracy Morgan, Adam Sandler, Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson have all hailed Murphy for his influence and for breaking new ground in films. Morgan has called Murphy his "comic hero" and said Murphy set the tone for the entire industry long ago. In a written statement, Murphy said he was deeply honored by the recognition and to join the list of past recipients of the Twain Prize. Past honorees include Jay Leno, Carol Burnett, Tina Fey and Whoopi Goldberg. Murphy has had a "consistently brilliant comedic career" in many different aspects of comedy, said Cappy McGarr, one of the humor prize show's executive producers. "He is truly a transformative comedian and humorist," McGarr said. "Like Mark Twain, he talks about provocative issues and he is really, really funny while doing it. Murphy's films have been among the highest-grossing comedies, including "48 Hours," "Trading Places," "Dr. Dolittle" and "Coming to America." Murphy got his break in comedy in 1980 when he joined the cast of "Saturday Night Live." He went on to become one of the film industry's top box office performers as an actor. The Kennedy Center said Murphy is the most commercially successful African-American actor in film history. The entertainer has Continue Reading

‘Hamilton’ outduels field in Drama Desk prizes with 7 awards

The “Hamilton” trophy case just got a lot more crowded. The rap and hip-hop history lesson about Founding Father Alexander Hamilton was named outstanding musical on Sunday at the Drama Desk Awards, where the show won seven prizes — the most of the night. Lin-Manuel Miranda won for music, lyrics and book for “Hamilton,” which recently ended its run at the Public Theater and begins on Broadway in July. Thomas Kail won for his direction, Renee Elise Goldsberry for featured actress and Nevin Steinberg for sound design. Outstanding play went to Simon Stephens’ “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time,” which is running on Broadway. Alex Sharp won for best actor, Marianne Elliott for direction, Paule Constable for lighting design, Finn Ross for projection design and Ian Dickinson for sound design. Others winners at the 60th annual Drama Desks, which honor shows on Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway, include best actress in a play Helen Mirren for “The Audience,” best actress in a musical Kristin Chenoweth for “On the Twentieth Century” and best actor in a musical Robert Fairchild for “An American in Paris.” To see all of the awards, go to Continue Reading