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'Luck' writer John Perrotta gives his favorite racetrack characters new life online

John Perrotta was a racetrack lifer when he got the call from David Milch in 2008 to come to California to join the writing staff for Luck. He’d represented jockeys and managed the stables owned by billionaire breeders for decades, so he was the perfect person to bring authenticity to the gritty drama that starred Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte. His Luck cohort Bill Barich recently wrote in an essay for Narrative Magazine that Milch liked to say that Perrotta “knows where the bodies are buried,” but that’s just a Milch-ian way of saying that his pal knows everything there is to know about the sport of thoroughbred racing, from the barns to the jockey club to the luxury boxes. And while Luck‘s demise was ugly, with HBO pulling the plug after one low-rated season and a cloud of bad publicity surrounding the deaths of three horses, Perrotta and the show’s small but dedicated following still aren’t ready to say goodbye to the colorful collection of characters that roamed Santa Anita for just nine episodes.

Last week, Perrotta posted “Out of Luck … Buy Low, Sell High” on America’s Best Racing website, resurrecting the show’s characters and picking up their stories several months after the season 1 finale. Ace’s prize pony ran in the Kentucky Derby; Walter Smith kept his colt out of the big race, perhaps to steer clear of harsh questions into his mysterious past; and Jerry headed to Las Vegas to compete in the World Series of Poker. Perrotta calls it fan-fiction, nothing more, but for followers of the show and people who saw something poetic in the lives of the people and horses that collide at the track, it’s both exciting and bittersweet to meet these characters again.

Perrotta, who’s now the agent for Hall of Fame jockey and Luck star Gary Stevens, spoke to Entertainment Weekly about his plans for his blog — a second “episode” debuts later today — and how he’s still mourning Luck‘s cancellation.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Reading your first blog post — your first episode, I should say — I realized how much I missed these characters, especially those Degenerate gambles. Was it cathartic to revisit them, after what happened with the show, or painful?
JOHN PERROTTA: I loved them all so much, and they are real people to me. The jockey agent and the jockeys and the Degenerate gamblers were all people that I’ve lived most of my life with. The trainers, especially. I’ve known those guys. I was surprised at the reaction [the blog post] got, but in retrospect I’m not surprised now because as the characters are real to me, then when you read more about them, you don’t need to see it. You can imagine it. So when I talk about Goose or Marcus and those guys, you can put a face on them. READ FULL STORY

Kate Upton's 'Sports Illustrated' cover: Chilling!

Screen Shot 2013-02-08 at 5.49.11 PM

Sports Illustrated has revealed its 2013 Swimsuit Issue cover, which features 20-year-old model and untalented car-washer Kate Upton (again!) braving the harsh Antarctic tundra in an open white parka and hopefully fleece-lined bikini bottoms. See the full, absurdly booby image (NSFW, BUT WHY ARE YOU STILL AT WORK?) after the break. READ FULL STORY

Ryan Lochte, Alex Morgan and other athletes recreate iconic album covers -- PHOTOS

Even professional athletes secretly want to be rock stars.

ESPN The Magazine has put out a music issue — on newsstands Feb. 8 — explaining that sports and music are more intertwined than ever. As part of that coverage, the magazine got a bunch of athletes to recreate iconic album covers – everything from Alex Morgan showing she’s One of the Boys (above) to Allyson Felix posing at Beyoncé.

Over on ESPN’s website, they have behind-the-scenes pictures and videos of each athlete getting into character, which means you can check out the details behind Felix giving her fiercest face as Bey, or Ryan Lochte floating in a pool (of course) a la Nirvana. They also have athlete playlists, if you think that may finally be the thing that gets you to the gym.

Check out Lochte’s album cover below, and head over to ESPN for more. READ FULL STORY

Sochi 2014: One year until the Winter Olympics (and return of PopWatch on Ice)

Today marks the one-year countdown to the start of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, and those inspirational NBC packages on the athletes are already taking shape: Yesterday, after skier Lindsey Vonn crashed at the Alpine World Championships and suffered a knee injury that will require surgery and six to eight months of rehab, she vowed to be ready for Russia.

In happier news, there is a $2,000 USA Luge Fantasy Camp being held in March, the 2013 USA Curling Nationals Championships will be televised later this month, and U.S. Figure Skating recently crowned its 2013 champs. Videos below. Time to care! READ FULL STORY

Super Bowl 2013: Best and Worst Commercials

calvin_klein_doritos

My overwhelming thought following tonight’s rippling terrain of pricey Super Bowl commercials was that Doritos missed a great cross-promotional opportunity by not joining forces with Calvin Klein. There’s always next year. Below, zip through a bunch of 2013’s most memorable — best AND worst! — Super Bowl ads. READ FULL STORY

Watch the Super Bowl 2013 commercials here! Your favorites? Your horrors? -- VIDEO

Yeah. It’s Super Bowl Sunday, America. And the finest, splashiest, nacho-cheesiest string of advertising in all the land’s about to begin. You can follow along with the hottest action of the day (not football) in the video player below — it’ll update after each quarter with the latest ads. And here’s a great guide to the commercials we already know we’ll see. In the meantime, let’s all chat in the comments here about which ones we love and which we loathe.

Check in later for EW’s Best & Worst Super Bowl Commercials roundup! READ FULL STORY

Facebook Super Bowl map bleeds 49ers red, but what about Mequon, Wisconsin?

Super-Bowl-mapThe San Francisco 49ers are about a 3.5 point favorite to win their sixth Super Bowl title on Sunday, and judging by the finely detailed Facebook map representing Niners/Ravens partisanship, that outcome will please most of the country. Not surprisingly, red spills all over the western half of the country, but there was also little love for the Ravens in the northeast — where Giants and Patriots fans are still licking their wounds after crucial losses to Baltimore.

READ FULL STORY

New Google Doodle celebrates Jackie Robinson

Here’s to you, Jackie Robinson.

Google is celebrating what would have been the famed baseball player’s 94th birthday today with a new Doodle. The new sound-free Google Doodle, above, features Robinson, who broke Major League Baseball’s segregated barrier in 1947, swinging a bat and wearing his iconic ’42’ Brooklyn Dodgers uniform. Robinson passed away in 1972, and posthumously, his number 42 was retired by every team in the MLB in 1997.

Robinson — while always a popular figure —  may have a bit more pop-culture clout this year with the release of the film 42 in April. The biopic, co-starring Harrison Ford, will surprisingly be the first Hollywood film about Robinson since 1950′s The Jackie Robinson Story, which starred Robinson as himself.

Read more:
’42’ trailer: The historic story of Jackie Robinson, ‘a black man in white baseball’ — VIDEO
’42’ Movie Preview
’42’ trailer: Baseball legend Jackie Robinson comes to life

Lance Armstrong tears up telling Oprah about coming clean to son: VIDEO

Image Credit: Oprah Winfrey Network

After confessing to doping during night one of his interview with Oprah Winfrey, Lance Armstrong finally explained why now was the time to come forward in Friday night’s continuation. Watch the nearly six-minute excerpt below. READ FULL STORY

Especially cool Google Doodle celebrates ice master Frank Zamboni

google-doodleIce to meet you, new Google Doodle!

Today, the search giant is celebrating the 112th birthday of one Frank Zamboni, the guy who invented the ice resurfacing machine that bears his name. The timing for this one couldn’t be better — coincidentally, Frank’s birthday this year comes just three days before the NHL’s delayed 2012-2013 season is finally scheduled to begin following a 113-day labor lockout.

And while the Doodle clearly has nothing to do with the upcoming Michael Shannon film Iceman, I would like to think that it finally gives the emotional Zamboni driver from Happy Gilmore his due: READ FULL STORY

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