Ben Stiller Circling To Direct ‘The Current War’ At TWC

By | Monday March 31, 2014 @ 3:39pm PDT
Mike Fleming

wesinEXCLUSIVE: Just told you that Ben Stiller was in talks to play a role in the Alan Ball-directed I Am Chippendales, the film that’s in talks to land at The Weinstein Company. I also can tell you that Stiller is in discussions with TWC to direct The Current War, the Michael Mitnick-scripted fact-based drama about how electricity titans Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse compete to create a sustainable system and market it to the American people. No deal yet, and they are still figuring out things like cast, but I’m told that Stiller has sparked to the project in a big way. The film will be produced by Film Rites’ Steve Zaillian and Garrett Basch and Timur Bekmambetov. Stay tuned.

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Jay Leno Reminds Bill Maher Of Israel As He’s Inducted Into TV Academy Hall Of Fame With Rupert Murdoch, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, David E Kelley, Ray Dolby & Brandon Stoddard: Video

LisaColumn__131015210634-275x198Jay Leno, being inducted into the TV Academy’s Hall of Fame on Tuesday night, said he’s glad he left NBC’s Tonight Show when he did The Television Academy's 23rd Hall Of Fame Induction Galabecause he was the oldest person on the show. Everyone else was 20 to 40 years younger than him and, while you may think you’re holding your own with them, “they’re really just laughing at you,” he explained. “You can’t be hip past a certain age. You have old guy gestures.” And when you make references to The Dick Van Dyke Show they think it’ s “a lesbian joke or something” —  and they don’t understand what you’re talking about when you say the time is “Half past 2.”

Leno told the Beverly Wilshire Hotel gathering his favorite book is Charles Dickens’ novella A Christmas Carol —  a searing indictment of 19th century industrial capitalism — and his favorite character in that classic work of literature, Mr. Fezziwig, who treated a young Ebenezer Scrooge like a son. Leno mentioned this by way of saying how proud he was that his Tonight Show was a place where people came to work hard during the day and, at 6, they went home to be with their family.

Related: Jay Leno’s TV Hall Of Fame Acceptance Speech: Video

Emmyslogo_newEven though he’s now “jobless and penniless” Leno still is a “fantastic stand-up,” said Bill Maher, who inducted Leno into the Hall, and the fact people are wondering what he will do next proves he’s still relevant, the HBO show host said. He described Leno’s more than two decades hosting Tonight as a drive down a highway in “some giant gleaming pristine luxury car with the competition far in the rearview mirror — except one time when NBC,” driving some beat-up clunker, “blindsided him and beat the sh*t out of his beautiful car.” Maher blamed TV critics for rewriting history to make Leno’s predecessor, Johnny Carson, out to be some guy who did a “rebellious, edgy, film noir version” of Tonight Show that by comparison made Jay look like a milquetoast. “That’s all bullsh*t — and I say that as a fan of Carson,” Maher said. Leno is the victim of “some bad publicity over the years” that he did not deserve — most famously how America got it into its head that “Jay Leno stole Conan O’Brien’s dream,” Maher complained, calling it,  “the most hysterical thought I’ve ever heard, in a business known for bullsh*t.”

“Jay reminds me a little of Israel,” Maher continued. “He isn’t perfect but he’s held to standard I don’t think anybody in the world is expected to live up to but him,” he said, calling Leno “the most Machiavellian and also the most morally upright person I know in show business. He will hide in a closet but never needs a confessional booth.” Read More »

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Deadline’s Top Film Stories Of The Week

If you missed Deadline’s biggest stories of the week, catch up now:

Jesse Eisenberg Lex Luthor Jeremy IronsJesse Eisenberg As Lex Luthor & Jeremy Irons As Alfred In Superman-Batman Pic
By The Deadline Team – Two more key roles have been cast in Zack Snyder’s upcoming Superman-Batman movie for Warner Bros. Jesse Eisenberg will play Superman’s arch enemy Lex Luthor and Jeremy Irons will play Bruce Wayne’s butler/mentor Alfred in the pic, which is set for a May 6, 2016 release.

Box Office: ‘Ride Along’ No. 1, Will ‘Frozen’ Sing-A-Long Skate Around ‘That Awkward Moment’?
By Anita BuschRide Along wins the weekend, as expected, but the No. 2 spot is at issue. Will the position go to That Awkward Moment or will Frozen skate by it? Read More »

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WGA Awards: ‘Captain Phillips’ & ‘Her’ Win Top Film Awards; ‘Breaking Bad’, ‘Veep’ & ‘House Of Cards’ Score On TV Side

By | Saturday February 1, 2014 @ 5:49pm PST

WGA Award WinnersUPDATED WITH FULL LIST OF WINNERS: The 66th annual WGA Awards were handed out tonight in “simultaneous” ceremonies on both coasts — the WGA West is at the JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE and the WGA East at the Edison Ballroom. Like last year, the NY crew announced its main awards well ahead of the LA ceremony. In the end, Billy Ray was the somewhat surprising winner of the Adapted Screenplay award for Sony’s Captain Phillips while Spike Jonze took the Original Screenplay honor for Warner Bros’ Her. If the time snafu sounds familiar it is; last year the LA event lagged NYC’s by almost an hour, meaning award winners were being announced first by WGAE and then trickled into the WGAW audience to ruin the suspense. Tonight, word began filtering into the JW Marriott of the main winners about 2 hours into the show. Ray and Jonze, who were in LA, came to the podium a good 40+ minutes after their awards were unveiled at the Edison and pretended to look surprised — all of the final big awards seemed to lose steam as most in the room new the winners.

2014 Writers Guild Awards L.A. Ceremony - InsideOn the TV side, Breaking Bad won both the Best Drama and Episodic Drama categories for the second time in three years and the third consecutive Best Drama trophy for the series’ final installment. House Of Cards picked up the first WGA Award for Netflix, taking the New Series honor. The streaming service led the network pack this year with six nominations as the guild amended its rules this year to allow eligibility for Netflix series that have been produced for initial exhibition in New Media. Veep won its first major series award with its Comedy Series win tonight over the likes of Modern Family, which was looking to take back the crown after losing last year to FX’s Louie.  The fellow HBO comedy Veep launched, Girls, won the New Series award last year.

Related: WGA Awards: Writers Hopeful As They Head Into Contract Negotiations With Producers

2014 Writers Guild Awards L.A. Ceremony - Inside“Every writer deserves the kind of luck I’ve had. I owe quite a debt to Captain Richard Phillips,” said Ray, who was also nominated for an Oscar. “Capt. Phillps wrote this story, I just wrote it down.” The feature film competition this year was almost as interesting for what’s not in the running vs. what is. The most notable absences were Oscar Adapted Screenplay favorite John Ridley for 12 Years A Slave and fellow nominees Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope for Philomena – the guild only includes screenplays that were produced under its signatory agreements. Ray’s win probably vaults him into the conversation with 12 Years.

2014 Writers Guild Awards L.A. Ceremony - InsideSaid Jonze, also an Oscar nominee:  ”This is a high honor coming from the Writers Guild. … It’s a high honor coming from writers. In a way this is like an award for pain. A specfic pain that writers know. The highs and lows of sitting there by yourself. I thank you guys for that.”

Related: 2014 WGA Award Nominations

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WGA East Foundation Announces Winner Of Screenwriting Fellowship

By | Tuesday January 28, 2014 @ 10:53am PST

WGINEW YORK CITY– Hennah Sekandary of New York University has been selected to receive the Writers Guild Initiative’s (WGI) 2014 Michael Collyer Memorial Fellowship in Screenwriting. The fellowship, which is funded by the Charles and Lucille King Family Foundation, is awarded to a student who plans to pursue a career in screenwriting upon completion of his/her undergraduate course of study. Sekandary will receive a $10,000 stipend to write an original screenplay, which she will do under the mentorship of David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly, Yellow Face, Possession). She will be presented with her fellowship at the 66th annual Writers Guild Awards on Saturday, February 1, 2014 in New York City at the Edison Ballroom.

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Slamdance Announces Award Winners

By | Thursday January 23, 2014 @ 9:05pm PST

SlamdanceAs Sundance continues in Park City, the 20th annual Slamdance Film Festival wrapped tonight with its awards ceremony. The fest handed its Audience Award for Narrative Feature going to Mark Raso’s Copenhagen and the documentary nod to Kate S. Logan’s Kidnapped For Christ. Slamdance 20 logoThe Jury Awards went to Fernando Frias De La Parra’s Rezeta (Narrative) and Matthew Bauckman and Jaret Belliveau’s Elliot (Documentary). And The Spirit Of Slamdance Award went to The Greggs, from directors Bruce Bundy, Nigel DeFriez, Rob Malone, Kira Pearson, Alex Mechanik, Jessie Levandov, Jonathan Rosenblit. The feature competition films in the Documentary and Narrative Programs are limited to first-time filmmakers working with production budgets of less than $1 million. Here is the full list of winners and special mentions:

Related:
Slamdance: ‘Magic Mike’s Joe Manganiello’s Male Strip Docu ‘La Bare’ Is Well Endowed By Main Street Films Distribution Deal
Jack Black’s Electric Dynamite To Remake Slamdance Pic ‘Wizard’s Way’

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Writers Guild Awards Sets Presenters For NY Show

By | Wednesday January 22, 2014 @ 8:50am PST

wganew__130204201842NEW YORK, NY (JANUARY 22, 2014) – An incredible line-up of presenters has been confirmed for the 66th annual Writers Guild Awards New York Ceremony on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at the Edison Ballroom in New York City.

This year, awards will be presented by an eclectic mix of writers, producers and actors, including Fred Armisen (Portlandia), Robert Carlock (30 Rock), Raúl Esparza (Law & Order: SVU), Terry George (Hotel Rwanda), Kate Mulgrew (Orange Is The New Black), Lawrence O’Donnell (The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell), Steve O’Donnell (Late Show with David Letterman), Archie Panjabi (The Good Wife), Matthew Rhys (The Americans), Frank Rich (Veep), Keri Russell (The Americans), Danny Strong (Lee Daniels’ The Butler) and Beau Willimon (House of Cards).

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Colin Quinn To Host WGA East Awards

By | Friday January 17, 2014 @ 12:29pm PST

colinquinn2New York, NY – Renowned television star and Drama Desk nominee for his acclaimed one-man Broadway show, Colin Quinn will host the 66th Annual Writers Guild Awards New York Ceremony on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at the Edison Ballroom in New York City. Quinn takes over hosting duties from W. Kamau Bell, who had to bow out due to unforeseen conflicts. “I’m proud to be hosting the award show for the only people in the business that are as bitter as comedians” said Quinn. He is currently touring his new one-man show, Colin Quinn Unconstitutional, which had an Off-Broadway run at The Cherry Lane Theatre this past summer. He also appears on Girls. The 2014 Writers Guild Awards will be held on Saturday, February 1, 2014, simultaneously at the Edison Ballroom in New York City and the JW Marriott L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles, CA.

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CES: Intel Chief Unveils Products Designed To Revolutionize Consumer Tech, And Vows To Keep Them “Conflict Free”

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich made the most of his first appearance as International CES‘ lead keynote speaker — the gee-whiz presentation. Saying that we’re entering “a new era of computing,” he introduced several intriguing devices that he promised will all be available this year. Brian KrzanichHe also brought up DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg to talk up the value of enhanced computing power for moviemaking. But most significantly, he announced that Intel’s new processors will no longer include minerals from mines in the Congo that have been at the center of fighting there that has resulted in millions of deaths, making it the deadliest war since World War II. “Every microprocessor will be conflict-free,” he says. Read More »

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‘The Simpsons’ Sam Simon To Receive WGA’s Valentine Davies Award

By | Wednesday December 18, 2013 @ 8:43am PST

SamSimonLos Angeles – The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) has named The Simpsons co-developer, Emmy-winning television writer/director/producer, and philanthropist Sam Simon as its 2014 Valentine Davies Award honoree in recognition of his humanitarian efforts and community service on behalf of writers. Simon will be feted, along with other honorees, at the WGAW’s 2014 Writers Guild Awards West Coast ceremony to be held on Saturday, February 1, 2014, at the JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE.

“The work of Sam Simon’s life has entertained and humbled us, in equal measure. And while this Guild has often honored his wit and skill, today we honor his generosity and love – his understanding that we are, in the end, all caretakers of each other. Sam has dedicated himself to the cause of at-risk animals and people who have no other protector. A friend to them, he has become an inspiration to us, his grateful colleagues,” said WGAW President Chris Keyser.

A Writers Guild, West member since 1980, in November Simon also received the WGAW’s Animation Writers Caucus (AWC) 16th Annual Animation Writing Award, a lifetime achievement honor recognizing his contributions to the craft of animation writing.

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Julia Louis-Dreyfus, David E. Kelley, Jay Leno, Rupert Murdoch, Ray Dolby, Brandon Stoddard Named To TV Academy’s Hall Of Fame

By | Monday December 16, 2013 @ 9:11am PST

NoHo Arts District, Calif. – The Television Academy’s Hall of Fame Selection tvacadlogoCommittee has announced the groundbreaking television legends to be inducted into the 23rd Hall of Fame. The 2014 inductees, announced today by Television Academy Chairman and CEO Bruce Rosenblum, are highly accomplished individuals from all aspects of the television industry whose careers have made a significant impact on the medium.

The 23rd Hall of Fame class includes four-time Emmy® Award-winning actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus, prolific writer-producer David E. Kelley, late night legend Jay Leno, media mogul and FOX Broadcasting Company founder Rupert Murdoch, and iconic ABC Network executive Brandon Stoddard. Additionally, sound pioneer and innovator Ray Dolby will be inducted posthumously. The induction ceremony will take place at the Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel on March 11, 2014.

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Thomas S. Cook To Receive WGA West’s Morgan Cox Award

By | Wednesday December 11, 2013 @ 10:18am PST

Related: R.I.P. Thomas T.S. Cook

cutmypic (88)Los Angeles – The Writers Guild of America, West has named the late OscarTM and Emmy-nominated and Writers Guild Award-winning writer Thomas S. Cook as its 2014 Morgan Cox Award honoree in recognition of his Guild service. The WGAW’s honorary award will be presented posthumously to Cook at the 2014 Writers Guild Awards West Coast ceremony to be held on Saturday, February 1, 2014, in Los Angeles at the JW Marriott L.A. LIVE.

“Tom was a beloved member of this Guild, renowned both for the remarkable work he produced and for his unending commitment to give something of himself back. His service touched on wganewevery corner of our mission and lasted over three wonderful decades. Even in his final days, as a Trustee of our Health and Pension Fund, he never forgot the needs of his fellow writers, and we, in turn, will never forget him,” said WGAW President Christopher Keyser.

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, on August 25, 1947, Cook passed away on January 5, 2013 at his home in Hollywood after a battle with cancer at age 65.

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W. Kamau Bell To Host WGA East Awards

By | Monday December 9, 2013 @ 10:41am PST

kamau-bellNew York City – Comedian W. Kamau Bell will host the 66th Annual Writers Guild Awards New York Ceremony. The awards will be held on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at the Edison Ballroom in New York City. Award presenters to be announced. W. Kamau Bell was most recently the host of the FXX television series Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell. When approached to host the annual awards ceremony, Bell remarked, “I’m excited to host the WGA Awards, mostly because I assume it will allow me to keep my health insurance.” The 2014 Writers Guild Awards will be held on Saturday, February 1, 2014, simultaneously at the Edison Ballroom in New York City and the JW Marriott in Los Angeles, CA.

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Can USC’s Edison Project Turn The Light On In A Struggling Hollywood?

By | Friday September 27, 2013 @ 4:35pm PDT

David Bloom is a Deadline contributor.

USC will launch a three-year research effort called the Edison Project to figure out key issues of the emerging entertainment economy surrounding new creators of content, new platforms and distributors of that content, new business models to finance their work and new metrics to measure success. USC Annenberg professor Jonathan Taplin, who heads that school’s Innovation Lab, announced the project’s general outlines during a keynote speech Friday at the Digital Marketing & Analytics Summit in Los Angeles.

Taplin told a ballroom of entertainment and tech executives that sector after sector of the entertainment business is showing signs of  trouble, from the long-staggering music industry to a movie business that launched numerous bombs this past summer, to an ad business that’s consolidating and automating. These problems are happening even as the world’s entertainment-consuming middle class is booming, and creation of digital media has jumped nine times. Traditional entertainment, meanwhile, is seeing revenue growth barely keep pace with inflation. And, he said new ways of thinking about entertainment are needed to deal with such issues as piracy. Read More »

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Oracle Chief Says Apple’s Headed Down Without Steve Jobs: Video

By | Tuesday August 13, 2013 @ 11:00am EDT

CBS This Morning‘s Charlie Rose has a fascinating interview this morning with Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. The billionaire describes the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs — his former best friend — as “our Edison…our Picasso” and adds that under Tim Cook the company “will not be nearly so successful.” Ellison also attacks Google CEO Larry Page: Google’s Android operating system infringes on Oracle’s copyrights for Java, the company says.  

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Writers Guild Makes Changes To Awards Eligibility & Submission Guidelines; New Media Series Like ‘House Of Cards’ OK; ‘Quiz & Audience Participation Category Added

By | Monday July 22, 2013 @ 11:10am PDT

The big news is that the Writers Guild awards to be held February 1, 2014, have revised their guidelines to allow eligibility for Netflix series like House Of Cards that have been produced for initial exhibition in New Media. Show received 9 Emmy nominations last week and was not specifically named in today’s WGA announcement:

Los Angeles and New York – For the upcoming awards season, Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) and Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) have changed awards eligibility and submission guidelines for the television and new media categories, and have added a new Quiz & Audience Participation writing award.

“Whether you’re watching content on a TV screen, online on a laptop, or with a hand-held device, outstanding writing and great storytelling deserve the same recognition,” said WGAW President Christopher Keyser and WGAE President Michael Winship. “These changes in eligibility and submission guidelines reflect the evolution of distribution models in the entertainment industry. We are also looking forward to giving out the new Quiz & Audience Participation Award in 2014.”

TELEVISION AND NEW MEDIA

In the past year, several high profile series have been produced for initial exhibition in new media. Under the existing Writers Guild Awards rules, these shows would not have been eligible to compete against similar programs produced for TV. The new guidelines will permit online series to compete with TV series in the script and series categories.

Also in the last year, several daytime serials, which had been broadcast on network television for decades, moved to new media platforms. Although they are continuations of programs previously produced for television, the old rules would have placed them in the separate Derivative New Media award category. The new awards guidelines will allow online daytime serials to compete in the Daytime Drama category along with serials that continue to be produced for television.

Specific changes to Writers Guild Awards rules are as follows:

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Comic-Con: Dan Harmon Wants ‘Community’ To Go Past Season 5, Sticks To Movie Plan

By | Sunday July 21, 2013 @ 3:10pm PDT

Although Community creator Dan Harmon offered up few reveals about the cult comedy show’s fifth season at its Hall H Comic-Con panel today, he used the platform to champion the fans to demand a sixth season and a movie with the Twitter campaign #SIXSEASONSANDAMOVIE. “I created a machine that eats pain and craps joy. The people in this room gave us five seasons. It’s about legacy and six seasons and a movie,” exclaimed Harmon to the throng of screaming fans. “Nobody wants to not fail more than me,” Harmon told moderator Chris Hardwick, “I don’t consider these the last 13. I will do everything I can to get us the sixth season.”

Still undetermined is when Community will air on NBC next spring. As far as new storylines, Harmon — who didn’t brainstorm any during his time off — only said, “We need to re-establish these characters. I don’t want to plan too hard. We’re taking a different approach in the writers room, and we’ll be done shooting by Christmas.” Harmon also mentioned that he wouldn’t undo the story arcs laid out in Season 4 in an effort to maintain the show’s “organic spirit” and apologized again to fans for his snarky podcast remarks slamming Community’s recent run. Read More »

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Comic-Con 2013: Day 1 Schedule

By | Thursday July 4, 2013 @ 12:13pm PDT

Comic-Con has released Day 1 of its 2013 schedule. As usual, the convention is releasing its schedule one day at a time. Stay tuned for the Friday, Saturday and Sunday schedules later this week.

Opening-day highlights abound, including a 10th anniversary tribute to The Walking Dead comic with writer Robert Kirkman, South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone discussing their upcoming video game South Park: The Stick of Truth, and a panel titled Video Games to Movies: Is The Golden Age Upon Us?

There’s lots of TV in the Thursday spotlight, including sessions dedicated to such shows as Dexter, Sherlocksans stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman — the 35th anniversary of Battlestar Galactica and Annoying Orange. Among the dozens of panels are several geared toward making it in the business, including Marvel: Breaking Into Comics the Marvel Way, The Secrets of Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy, The Writer’s Journey: Breaking Into Hollywood and Comic Scriptwriting, Breaking Into Comics and Staying In, and Indie Comics Marketing and PR 101. There also are programs on such potentially intriguing topics as Toys 101: An Evolution of the Modern Action Figure, The Legendary Animators of Classic ’60s Cartoons, Video Gaming: Where We’ve Been, Where We Are and Where We’re Going, and – especially — Not Guilty Due to Zombification? Law and Forensic Psychiatry in a Zombie Apocalypse.

See the complete opening-day rundown after the jump:

Related:
Comic-Con: Marvel, Sony To Present Tentpole Sequels
Comic-Con: AMC, New Showrunner To Preview ‘Walking Dead’ Season 4

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2013 TV Upfronts Sked & Parties: UPDATE

By and | Monday May 13, 2013 @ 2:00am PDT

UPDATED (Refresh For Latest…)

SUNDAY, MAY 12
8:00 PM: ICM Partners Upfronts Dinner
The Arlington Club, 1032 Lexington Avenue

9:00 PM: 20th Television Private Reception
Upstairs at the Kimberly Hotel, 145 East 50th Street

9:30 PM: UTA Upfronts Party
Marquee, 289 10th Avenue

MONDAY, MAY 13
11:00 AM: NBC Upfront Presentation
Radio City Music Hall, 1260 Avenue Of The Americas

4:00 PM: Fox Upfront Presentation
The Beacon Theatre, 2124 Broadway

5:30 PM: Fox Upfront Post-Party
Wollman Rink, Central Park & 59th Street

7:45 PM: Fox Private Dinner Hosted by Kevin Reilly & Joe Earley
Stone Rose Lounge, 4th Floor of Time Warner Center, 10 Columbus Circle

9:00 PM: NBC After-Party
Del Posto Ristorante, 85 10th Avenue

11:00 PM: WME Late Night Party
No. 8, 357 West 16th Street Read More »

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