Category: Entertainment Written by Associated Press
SENTENCING DELAYED--This April 15, 2011 photo shows singer Lauryn Hill performing during the 12th Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, Calif. (AP Photo/Spencer Weiner, file)
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A federal judge postponed Lauryn Hill's tax evasion sentencing on Monday but not before scolding the eight-time Grammy-winning singer for reneging on a promise to make restitution by now.
Last Updated on Monday, 22 April 2013 22:24
Category: Entertainment Written by Associated Press
DEAD AT 72 - In this May 1, 2008 photo, Richie Havens plays at the opening night ceremony during the 61st International film festival in Cannes, southern France. (AP Photo/Jeff Christensen, file)
by Mesfin Fekadu
AP Music Writer
NEW YORK (AP) -- Richie Havens, the folk singer and guitarist who was the first performer at Woodstock, died Monday at age 72.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 April 2013 12:32
Category: Entertainment Written by Associated Press
STAR POWER--Jennifer Hudson performs at the Grammy's on the Hill Awards at The Hamilton on Wednesday, April 17 in Washington. (Photo by Nick Wass/Invision/AP)
by Brett Zonger
WASHINGTON (AP) — The music industry honored the Library of Congress with a special Grammy Award on Wednesday night for its work over the past decade to preserve historic audio recordings, along with honors for Jennifer Hudson.
The Recording Academy presented its Grammys on the Hill Award to the library at an event in Washington, featuring appearances by producer Clive Davis, singer Yolanda Adams and others. The group honored Hudson with a Recording Artist Coalition Award for her charity work and saluted York Community High School near Chicago for its outstanding music program.
Hudson said being recognized for her charitable work stands apart from all her other awards.
"It makes it the most prestigious award to be acknowledged for trying to make a difference," she told The Associated Press. "It's OK to be a celebrity, but the things that matter are when you can change someone's life or help someone."
Librarian of Congress James Billington said he was delighted that the library's preservation work was being honored — but he never expected to win any kind of Grammy.
"I can't even carry a tune, so the thought that I'm being awarded a Grammy will amaze everyone who moves slightly away from me whenever I start singing," he told The Associated Press.
Billington said preservation of the nation's cultural heritage is one of the most neglected issues.
"We are kind of a throw-away society," he said. "We're tremendous at creating things in this country with our freedoms and our richness and variety of forms of cultural expression, but we seem to think things will last forever."
Songwriter Kara DioGuardi said the library's preservation work is critical.
"These are songs that are going to be played for generations to come," she said.
Recording Academy President Neil Portnow said hundreds of musicians will visit Capitol Hill on Thursday to urge lawmakers to protect copyrights for the creators of music and ensure they get paid for their work in the digital age.
California Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the House majority whip, joined Democratic Rep. Steny Hoyer to show support Wednesday night. The guiding premise for intellectual property protections, Hoyer said, is "thou shalt not steal."
The Grammys on the Hill Awards are meant to connect the music industry with the world of policy and politics in Washington.
Daryl Friedman, the Recording Academy's chief lobbyist in Washington, said the library's National Recording Registry goes beyond its practical purpose of ensuring that recordings are preserved for generations to come.
"It raises the profile of great American recordings from all genres, even spoken word, great speeches, great music," he said.
The Grammy Foundation pushed for legislation in Congress more than 10 years ago to create the preservation program at the library. So far, 375 audio recordings have been preserved through the program for their historic, artistic or cultural significance. This year's inductees include Simon and Garfunkel's album "Sounds of Silence" and Chubby Checker's dance hit "The Twist."
The recordings are housed at the library's Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation built partially in a bunker in Culpeper, Va. The facility houses more than 6 million items, including about 3.5 million sound recordings.
Past honorees have included Garth Brooks, Don Henley, Vice President Joe Biden, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin and California Rep. Darrell Issa for supporting music policies.
Friedman said Hudson has stood out for supporting her own charities, as well as the Grammy Foundation and its work.
"She is an outstanding vocalist, of course, an amazing actress, but also really a committed philanthropist," he said. "It's just her generous heart, her spirit and her talent."
After accepting her award, Hudson performed "Hallelujah" and applauded efforts in Washington to keep music education alive in schools. She said that made all the difference for her, long before "American Idol" and her Oscar and Grammy Award.
"I didn't want to go to any class but music, and so because of music, I had perfect attendance every year," she told the crowd.
Producer Clive Davis, who presented the award to Hudson, said he wanted people to know about her heart and her talent. Hudson is still a new artist, and her upcoming third studio album will be special, Davis said.
"I think it's going to break her through worldwide," he said.
Grammy Awards: http://www.grammy.org/
Follow Brett Zongker on Twitter at https://twitter.com/DCArtBeat
Last Updated on Friday, 19 April 2013 16:22
Category: Entertainment Written by Associated Press
OBLIVION--This film publicity image released by Universal Pictures shows Tom Cruise in a scene from "Oblivion." (AP Photo/Universal Pictures)
by David Germain
AP Movie Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Movie fans slipped into "Oblivion" as the Tom Cruise sci-fi thriller led Hollywood with a $38.2 million debut, according to studio estimates Sunday.
That domestic haul comes on top of $33.7 million "Oblivion" added in overseas markets, where the film began rolling out a week earlier. "Oblivion" raised its overseas total to $112 million and its worldwide receipts to $150.2 million.
Though many people Friday were caught up in coverage of the manhunt for the suspect in the Boston Marathon explosions, it seems to have had little effect on how the film fared.
"Oblivion" took in $13.3 million on opening day Friday and $14.9 million on Saturday. That 12 percent increase is not unusual for big new releases, which typically do better business on Saturday than Friday.
While Boston was on lockdown much of Friday, that market only accounts for about 1 percent of the nationwide box office, said Nikki Rocco, head of distribution for Universal, which released "Oblivion." The manhunt mainly affected matinee business, with theaters reopening Friday night, when Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was taken into custody.
"Once the guy was arrested, I think people got back into their regular routine," Rocco said.
The previous weekend's top film, the Warner Bros. baseball drama "42," held up well, slipping to second-place with $18 million in its second weekend. The Jackie Robinson biography starring Chadwick Boseman and Harrison Ford raised its domestic total to $54.1 million and is on its way to the $100 million mark, said Dan Fellman, Warner's head of distribution.
Overseas, Paramount's "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" got a lift with $40 million, most of it coming from a $33 million debut in China. The action sequel has topped $200 million internationally and $300 million worldwide.
"Oblivion" came in a bit higher than industry expectations. But despite its strong opening, Hollywood's 2013 revenue funk continued, with overall domestic receipts at $109 million, down 19.4 percent from the same weekend last year, according to box-office tracker Hollywood.com.
A year ago, two new romances — the comedy "Think Like a Man" and the drama "The Lucky One" — combined for $56 million that weekend, while the blockbuster "The Hunger Games" remained strong with nearly $15 million.
"Even Tom Cruise was unable to beat the strength of two really strong newcomers that were devoid of stars anywhere near in his league," said Hollywood.com analyst Paul Dergarabedian. "That tells you the difference between last year and this year. Even when we have a good weekend like this in 2013, generally these weekends, they pale by comparison to what happened last year."
Domestic revenues in 2013 total $2.76 billion, down 11.2 percent from where business was at last year, when Hollywood took in record cash.
Business slumped a bit in summer 2012 with some high-profile duds, so studios have a shot at gaining ground over last year with this season's upcoming blockbusters, which include "Iron Man 3," ''Star Trek Into Darkness," ''The Hangover Part III" and "Man of Steel."
Still, the gap almost certainly will continue to rise in the early part of the summer season.
Disney's Marvel Studios sequel "Iron Man 3" is expected to open with a whopping $125 million-plus domestically over the first weekend in May, Dergarabedian said. But that would fall far short of the record-breaking $207.4 million debut for the Marvel ensemble smash "The Avengers" over the same weekend last year.
Even so, Cruise's "Oblivion" provides a solid action lead-in to summer. The film stars Cruise as a repairman fixing machines in the wastelands of Earth after an alien attack.
Despite upheavals and odd behavior in Cruise's personal life in the last six or seven years, he remains one of Hollywood's surest box-office draws. Universal reported that in exit polls, fans cited Cruise as the No. 1 reason they saw the film.
"He's a global star," Rocco said. "People love Tom Cruise. If you put him in the right vehicle, they love him even better."
In narrower release, Rob Zombie's latest horror tale "The Lords of Salem" flopped with $622,000 in 355 theaters, for a dismal average of $1,752 a cinema. That compared to an average of $10,085 in 3,783 theaters for "Oblivion."
The low-budget hip-hop drama "Filly Brown" opened solidly with $1.4 million in 188 theaters, for an average of $7,250. The film stars Gina Rodriguez and the late Jenni Rivera in the story of a young talent with a shot at stardom on Los Angeles' hip-hop scene.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com. Where available, latest international numbers are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
1. "Oblivion," $38.2 million ($33.7 million international).
2. "42," $18 million.
3. "The Croods," $9.5 million ($23.4 million international).
4. "Scary Movie 5," $6.3 million ($3.5 million international).
5. "G.I. Joe: Retaliation," $5.8 million ($40 million international).
6. "The Place Beyond the Pines," $4.7 million.
7. "Olympus Has Fallen," $4.5 million ($7.8 million international).
8. "Evil Dead," $4.1 million ($2.3 million international).
9. "Jurassic Park" in 3-D, $4 million ($420,000 international).
10. "Oz the Great and Powerful," $3 million ($1.5 million international).
Estimated weekend ticket sales at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada) for films distributed overseas by Hollywood studios, according to Rentrak:
1. "G.I. Joe: Retaliation," $40 million.
2. "Oblivion," $33.7 million.
3. "The Croods," $23.4 million.
4. "Olympus Has Fallen," $7.8 million.
5. "Les Profs," $5.8 million.
6. "Scary Movie 5," $3.5 million.
7. "Mama," $2.9 million.
8. "Les Gamins," $2.7 million.
9 (tie). "Detective Conan Private Eye," $2.3 million.
9 (tie). "Evil Dead," $2.3 million.
Last Updated on Sunday, 21 April 2013 17:01
Category: Entertainment Written by Ashley G. Woodson
Former WAMO jock, now Radio One personality J-Kruz of 97.9 the Beat in Dallas recently joined CW Network’s “Eye Opener Morning Show” as the host and co-producer of the new music segment “The Underground.“
The show features urban independent artists from across the country. The program will air weekday mornings in Dallas/Fort Worth, Philadelphia, Miami, Houston, Portland, Myrtle Beach, and Fort Smith, Ark. The segment airs Thursday mornings and repeats at night on Nightcap in Dallas and on News Fix in Houston.
The 10 year radio veteran hand picks the artists featured on the show each week. Childish Gambino, Kat Dahlia, and Jon Conner are a few of the artists recently spotlighted.
Making the transition from radio to television has been a great experience and he welcomes the challenge.
“I’m truly grateful to the staff at CW for giving me this opportunity. I know all sides of radio, but television is new to me and they’re allowing me to learn as I go,“ he said.
“We’re very fortunate to have J-Kruz contributing his in-depth knowledge of new and upcoming artists,” said Justin Allen, the executive producer of “Eye Opener.” “The Underground” has quickly become one of the favorites among viewers and our own producers.”
J-Kruz radio career began in Pittsburgh at WAMO 106.7. For the past two years he’s worked at 97.9 the Beat in Dallas weeknights from 7 p.m.–12 a.m. He also produces a weekly segment called “Raising the Bar” where he promotes local emerging artists. His dynamic personality and popularity in the community keeps him busy hosting events throughout the city.
The program is a 2 hour syndicated morning news, comedy and variety show that airs weekdays in various cities, he said. It’s a new hip morning show geared to young working adults... it’s not your typical morning show. It covers politics, pop culture, health issues, gossip and more. “It’s fun and a new approach and the syndication is growing they’ll be adding more cities in the near future,” he continued.
“I was invited to a meeting with DALLAS Weekly @ CW network,” he said about how he got the position. “The opportunity arose and I jumped on it. I’ve always dreamed of being on TV ever since I was a young kid! I was even part of the 106&Park Search last year. I submitted my video for a chance to be one of the hosts. I love it (radio) but I’m definitely ready to expand my brand and television is a natural progression. The great thing is that I can continue doing radio while doing the show and venturing into other areas of entertainment.”
Pittsburghers can tune in @ www.jkruzonair.com to see “The Underground” segment that he hosts and co-produced. The show airs on Thursday’s he posts the show on his site the following day. He also utilize his social media sites to promote the show, so that the artists featured can get maximum exposure and reach as many music lovers as possible.
“I recently signed with a talent agency in Dallas called CoreTalent, so I’m interested in more work in TV, films, modeling and whatever other opportunities come my way,” he said about his future. “I’m also building my website www.jkruzonair.com which is a site that I feature hip-hop news and new artists in the Raising the Bar section which is a movement I started to help underground artists get their music out. In the near future, I’m looking to start the Kruz’s Kidz Foundation encouraging the youth to stay in school and stay focused and positive.”
He will feature primarily underground artists, but that could change in the future. His goal is to begin interviewing artists on location and covering mainstream talent and large events, but at this time he’s content learning about television production and getting comfortable with the show.
“I want to share the abundance of music and artist on the underground scene all across the world that people don’t know about,” he said. “I love good music and as a radio personality and advocate for new artists, I feel it’s my job to expose them to it! I hope that the show will allow people to also seek out new music and support and connect with the underground music scene.
“I would tell anyone trying to get into broadcasting to put themselves in a position where if the opportunity arises they are there and ready to take advantage of it. Getting an Internship at a radio or TV station is recommended. In my experience it’s the best way to get your foot in the door. If you get hired it might not be exactly what you want at the time but once you are in there you’ve got a better chance of getting what you want. That’s how I landed my first radio job at WAMO. Education is key as well, so I’d encourage them to at least get an undergraduate degree, because knowledge is powerful and finishing college also shows discipline.”
Last Updated on Friday, 19 April 2013 12:34
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