union

Disneyland workers vote in favor of strike authorization

  • Employees at its California theme parks have not gone on strike since 1984, according to the Los Angeles Times.
  • Disneyland employees in California authorized a strike in a union-wide vote Friday, opening the door to withhold their labor from "the happiest place on Earth", the theme park's unions announced.
  • Employees at its California theme parks have not gone on strike since 1984, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Disneyland employees in California authorized a strike in a union-wide vote Friday, opening the door to withhold their labor from "the happiest place on Earth", the theme park's unions announced.
The unions, which represent some 14,000 Disneyland Resort employees, have been in negotiations with Disney over wage increases and other benefits since April. 
Talks have stalled and tensions have grown as some employees contend Disney has engaged in anti-union practices.
Ninety-nine percent of members voted in favor of the strike authorization, according to a union statement.
It allows union leaders to decide when to call the strike, as well as its duration and terms.
This week, Disney said it was "committed" to continuing negotiations scheduled for Monday and Tuesday.
If the talks go ahead as planned, the strike authorization vote gives union members new leverage in negotiations.
"A strike is always a last resort for workers, but this strong vote shows that cast members across Disneyland are ready and willing to do what it takes to stand up to Disney’s unfair labor practices and get the contract they deserve," the Disney Workers Rising Bargaining Committee said in the statement. 
"Today's overwhelming unfair labor practice strike authorization vote sends a clear message to the company: 'we are stronger together and will not be divided by scare tactics'". 
After last year's writers and actors strike paralyzed Hollywood, another major labor movement within Disney would be historic.
Employees at its California theme parks have not gone on strike since 1984, according to the Los Angeles Times.
On Wednesday, hundreds of Disneyland employees, also known as "cast members," gathered for a protest in a parking lot outside the park in Anaheim, a suburb of Los Angeles.
The employees complained of low wages and intimidation used by managers, prompting a complaint filed with the National Labor Relations Board.
The union claims that over 500 employees have been reprimanded, threatened or warned about disciplinary action for wearing a union pin, which depicts a Mickey Mouse glove raised in the shape of a fist.
"Last week, I saw a manager telling one of the cast members to remove her badge," Disneyland employee Ginny Cristales, 44, told AFP over the phone. "He told her that it will be on her record card... She was stressed and scared."
Cristales has worked at Disneyland for the past five years, earning around $2,800 a month -- which is not enough to cover the rent for her and her four children.
"We deserve fair wages," Cristales said. "A strike is our last resort, that we're not wanting to do. But if Disney doesn't comply and give us what we need, then we're all ready."
rfo/jgc/bjt/sn/fox 

social

'Live joyfully': Poland's DJ Vika, 85, shatters senior stereotypes

BY KATARZYNA SKIBA

  • Every year since, similar seniors' parades have been held in several Polish cities, and DJ Vika's 26-year-long career in music continues to flourish. 
  • With huge headphones propped over her white hair, Polish DJ and activist Wirginia Szmyt, 85, grooves alongside a drag queen on a float at the Warsaw pride parade.
  • Every year since, similar seniors' parades have been held in several Polish cities, and DJ Vika's 26-year-long career in music continues to flourish. 
With huge headphones propped over her white hair, Polish DJ and activist Wirginia Szmyt, 85, grooves alongside a drag queen on a float at the Warsaw pride parade.
DJ Vika, as she is known, is a young-at-heart great-grandmother determined to break down stereotypes.
"Old age is not a disease," she said, each wrist adorned with a stack of bracelets as colourful as her personality. 
"This does not mean you have to be a plant and look out the window," she told AFP. 
Through her performances, Vika shows her staunch support for seniors and advocates for gender equality, LGBTQ rights and a more open-minded and accepting Poland. 
"I am for unity, for equality, for love, for tolerance, for openness," she said ahead of her Pride performance in June.
"All this allows a person to live joyfully." 

LGBTQ inspired

After retiring from a career in youth rehabilitation at a correctional facility, Vika began organising events for senior citizens, designed to "help them adjust to the 21st century". 
What began as a series of educational events, including meetings with faith leaders and politicians, went on to include parties, music, trips to the seaside and celebrations. 
"In our country there was no tradition of offering something to elderly people," she said.
"The senior was simply the person who took care of the family."
Her seniors' parades, modelled after LGBTQ pride parades, began in 2013, with the very first one drawing 14,000 participants in Poland's capital.
"I thought to myself that since there is such a perception of senior citizens -- that they are bothersome, just getting in the way, old -- then we should make a parade, to show how beautiful they are," Vika said. 
Every year since, similar seniors' parades have been held in several Polish cities, and DJ Vika's 26-year-long career in music continues to flourish. 
"If we want to fight for our rights, we have to show up," she said. 
- 'She does this for us' - 
DJ Vika has performed at pride parades, women's rights festivals and celebrations in cities such as Nice, Frankfurt and Helsinki, but one of her regular gigs is a dance night for seniors at Warsaw's Mlociny shopping mall. 
It is here, amid music that ranges from Latin hits to Eurovision contenders and her country's own 1980s "disco polo", that Vika's vibrant audience comes together for a night of dancing and fun. 
"Music fills me with life," said Vika, adding that her goal was "to bring people together".
She has built up a loyal following.
Maria Michalak, a nurse in her 60s, made an hour-long metro commute across Warsaw with her husband to attend the Mlociny mall dance.
"Compared to other such events for seniors, this is the best," she said. "Maybe they should happen even more often."
Andrzej Jan Kuspik, a 73-year-old pensioner, attends DJ Vika's sets every month that he can.
"She does this for us," he said, adding that he was so thankful that he bought Vika flowers for International Women's Day.
Although her gigs mean regular travel across Poland and abroad, Vika does not plan on stopping anytime soon.
"Every one of us has an inner child," she said.
"If this child wakes up then we can feel younger."
str/amj/bc

heritage

Tense talks as UNESCO mulls Heritage sites at risk

BY JORIS FIORITI

  • UNESCO, the UN body for education, science and culture, insists that being placed on the narrower list of endangered sites is not a black mark.
  • Tensions are simmering ahead of summer talks on which UNESCO World Heritage sites are deemed to be endangered, with countries battling against featuring on the UN cultural body's list.
  • UNESCO, the UN body for education, science and culture, insists that being placed on the narrower list of endangered sites is not a black mark.
Tensions are simmering ahead of summer talks on which UNESCO World Heritage sites are deemed to be endangered, with countries battling against featuring on the UN cultural body's list.
Terse language can be expected among diplomats at UNESCO's talks starting Sunday in New Delhi as they discuss cases as varied as Britain's prehistoric Stonehenge circle or Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha in Nepal, ahead of a deadline at the end of July.
The battles to come contrast with the usual suspense over which locations may be added to the prestigious World Heritage classification, which can be a lucrative driver of tourism.
UNESCO, the UN body for education, science and culture, insists that being placed on the narrower list of endangered sites is not a black mark.
But many countries affected, especially in the West, see it differently, fighting fierce rearguard actions against their inclusion.
Venice has been on UNESCO's World Heritage List since 1987, but under threat from climate change and over-tourism, it recently imposed a fee on visitors staying only a day at peak times of year after risking addition to the unhappy club in 2023.
And after years facing down UNESCO over its Great Barrier Reef, Australia has pumped billions into improving water quality, cushioning the impacts of climate change on the coral and protecting endangered species.
London, meanwhile, had long pushed for construction of a highway tunnel passing near Stonehenge, which joined the World Heritage list in 1986 as "the most architecturally sophisticated prehistoric stone circle in the world" according to UNESCO.
British courts blocked an initial plan for the tunnel in July 2021 over concerns about the environmental impact on the site dating to between around 3,000 and 2,300 BC.
The 14-year Conservative government nevertheless kept pushing forward with the project, claiming the tunnel would protect Stonehenge by reducing traffic.

'Universal value'

The recently elected Labour government of Keir Starmer has "a different line" on the project, said Lazare Eloundou, head of World Heritage at UNESCO -- although he is in the dark about what London will propose in New Delhi.
In Nepal, the Buddha's birthplace of Lumbini -- rediscovered in 1896 after long being lost to the jungle -- is another sore point.
Added to the World Heritage list in 1997, it is now visited by millions of people each year.
"The site is endangered because many of the monuments are not well maintained and are being seriously degraded," Eloundou said.
Also afflicted with "many completely inappropriate projects", the site's "universal value" is at risk, he added.
"All of southeast Asia is watching this with great concern," Eloundou said.
In New Delhi, the World Heritage committee will also consider sites already seen as in danger due to political instability.
These include the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan or Yemeni's capital Sanaa.
There are some sites which could heave themselves off the endangered list.
In Senegal, for example, elephants are returning to the Niokolo Koba national park that had long been deserted by animals -- though other species' reappearance is yet to be spotted.
UNESCO will consider 25 new candidates for inclusion on the World Heritage list, including the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia, sites linked to the life of Nelson Mandela in South Africa and Brazil's Lencois Maranhenses national park, a vast expanse of sand dunes interspersed with deep blue and turquoise lagoons.
jf/tgb/gv

music

Bruce Springsteen is officially a billionaire

  • The guitar hero bard behind hits including "The River" has solidified much of his wealth in recent years, the financial outlet indicated, in no small part due to a blockbuster sale in 2021 of his music catalog to Sony for an estimated half-a-billion dollars.
  • The Boss is officially a billionaire, Forbes said Friday, estimating that Bruce Springsteen is conservatively worth $1.1 billion.
  • The guitar hero bard behind hits including "The River" has solidified much of his wealth in recent years, the financial outlet indicated, in no small part due to a blockbuster sale in 2021 of his music catalog to Sony for an estimated half-a-billion dollars.
The Boss is officially a billionaire, Forbes said Friday, estimating that Bruce Springsteen is conservatively worth $1.1 billion.
The guitar hero bard behind hits including "The River" has solidified much of his wealth in recent years, the financial outlet indicated, in no small part due to a blockbuster sale in 2021 of his music catalog to Sony for an estimated half-a-billion dollars.
The deal followed his wildly successful Broadway show run. Now, Springsteen is on a global tour currently set to run through 2025.
According to industry tracker Pollstar, in 2023 Springsteen sold more than 1.6 million concert tickets, raking in $380 million in revenue.
And the 74-year-old "Dancing in the Dark" singer shows no signs of slowing down.
For decades the "Jungleland" songwriter has penned music that focuses a sentimental lens on underdogs and the working class -- and he's sold 140 million albums globally, placing him among the all-time bestselling musicians ever.
A Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee with 20 Grammys and an Oscar to his name, Springsteen is also set to be the subject of a forthcoming biopic, with Jeremy Allen White of "The Bear" fame slated to play him.
His marathon shows are the stuff of legend, with the longest clocking in at more than four hours, a performance he pulled off in Helsinki in 2012.
Other industry heavyweights who have hit the billionaire mark include Rihanna, Jay-Z and Taylor Swift.
mdo/jgc

entertainment

New York judge sets tentative November date for Weinstein retrial

  • Judge Curtis Farber, at a brief hearing in a Manhattan courtroom on Friday, set a tentative start date of November 12 for Weinstein's retrial.
  • A New York judge on Friday set a tentative November date for the retrial of disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein on sexual assault charges.
  • Judge Curtis Farber, at a brief hearing in a Manhattan courtroom on Friday, set a tentative start date of November 12 for Weinstein's retrial.
A New York judge on Friday set a tentative November date for the retrial of disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein on sexual assault charges.
Weinstein, 72, was convicted in New York in 2020 of the rape and sexual assault of actress Jessica Mann and of forcibly performing oral sex on a production assistant.
A New York appeals court overturned his conviction in April in a shock reversal in one of the defining cases of the #MeToo movement.
The court ruled that the trial judge had erred by allowing testimony from accusers who Weinstein was not formally charged with assaulting.
Judge Curtis Farber, at a brief hearing in a Manhattan courtroom on Friday, set a tentative start date of November 12 for Weinstein's retrial.
The judge said more details for the trial would be discussed at a hearing on September 12.
Weinstein, who has health problems, appeared in court in a dark blue suit with a sort of disinterested look on his face.
Prosecutors have said Mann is prepared to testify against Weinstein again and they may bring additional sexual assault charges against the once-powerful film producer.
Although Weinstein's New York conviction was overturned, he has remained behind bars because of a conviction for rape in California for which he received a sentence of 16 years.
His lawyers filed an appeal last month, arguing for a retrial in that case as well.
Bombshell allegations broke against the Oscar-winning Weinstein in 2017, launching the #MeToo movement, a watershed moment for women fighting sexual misconduct.
Weinstein and his brother Bob co-founded Miramax Films.
Their hits included 1998's "Shakespeare in Love," for which Weinstein shared a best picture Oscar.
gc-cl/sst

Palestinians

Adidas drops Bella Hadid from campaign over Gaza controversy

BY FEMKE COLBORNE

  • Pictures of the American model wearing the retro Adidas shoes had caused an outcry among pro-Israeli groups.
  • Adidas said Friday it had dropped vocal pro-Palestinian model Bella Hadid from an advertising campaign for retro sneakers referencing the 1972 Munich Olympics, which were overshadowed by a massacre of Israeli athletes.
  • Pictures of the American model wearing the retro Adidas shoes had caused an outcry among pro-Israeli groups.
Adidas said Friday it had dropped vocal pro-Palestinian model Bella Hadid from an advertising campaign for retro sneakers referencing the 1972 Munich Olympics, which were overshadowed by a massacre of Israeli athletes.
The German sportswear giant recently relaunched the SL72, a shoe first showcased by athletes at the 1972 Olympics, as part of a series reviving old classic sneakers.
Eleven Israeli athletes and a German police officer were killed at the 1972 Munich Games after gunmen from the Palestinian Black September group broke into the Olympic village and took them hostage. 
Hadid, who was born in the US but has Palestinian roots through her father, has been vocal about her support for Palestinian rights since the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7 triggered the war in Gaza.
Adidas said it would be "revising the remainder of the campaign" with immediate effect.
"We are conscious that connections have been made to tragic historical events -- though these are completely unintentional -- and we apologise for any upset or distress caused," the company said in a statement sent to AFP on Friday.

'Collective memory'

A spokeswoman confirmed that Hadid had been removed from the campaign, which notes that the shoes were first introduced in 1972 but never mentions the terror attack on the Israeli athletes.
Pictures of the American model wearing the retro Adidas shoes had caused an outcry among pro-Israeli groups.
"Guess who the face of the campaign is? Bella Hadid, a model with Palestinian roots who has spread anti-Semitism in the past and incited violence against Israelis and Jews," the Israeli embassy in Germany wrote on X, formerly Twitter, on Thursday.
"How can Adidas now claim that the reference (to the events in Munich) was 'completely unintentional'?" Ron Prosor, Israel's ambassador to Germany, said in response to the company's climbdown.
"The terror of 1972 is etched into the collective memory of Germans and Israelis," he told Die Welt TV on Friday.
A flood of social media posts meanwhile expressed support for Hadid, criticised Adidas for axing the model, and called for a boycott of the company.

Pro-Palestinian demonstrations

The Gaza war was triggered by the October 7 attack by Palestinian Hamas militants on southern Israel which resulted in the deaths of 1,195 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli figures.
Israel's military retaliation to wipe out Hamas has killed at least 38,848 people, also mostly civilians, according to data from the health ministry in Hamas-ruled Gaza.
Hadid has taken part in several pro-Palestinian demonstrations during the conflict and has described Israel's offensive as a "genocide".
In 2021, Hadid, her sister Gigi Hadid and singer Dua Lipa were described as anti-Semitic in an advertisement published in The New York Times by a Jewish group called the World Values Network.
Adidas said it would be continuing the SL72 campaign with other famous faces including footballer Jules Kounde, singer Melissa Bon and model Sabrina Lan.
In late 2022, Adidas ended its contract with the US rapper now known formally as Ye after he triggered an outcry with a series of anti-Semitic social media posts.
Germany's response to the Hamas attack and ensuing war has been driven by guilt over its own dark past, and the slaughter of six million Jews by the Nazis during the Holocaust.
The country has steadfastly backed Israel in the conflict, but its unwavering stance has led to claims that Palestinian voices are being marginalised. 
jpl-fec/hmn/jj

film

Martial arts actress Cheng Pei-pei of 'Crouching Tiger' fame dies at 78

  • Actress Michelle Yeoh, who starred opposite Cheng in "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Tiger", expressed "heartfelt condolences to Pei Pei Jie's (sister) family, friends and fans". 
  • Cheng Pei-pei, an actress considered one of the first-ever woman action stars who got her start in Hong Kong's martial arts films before starring in "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", has died at the age of 78, her family said Friday. 
  • Actress Michelle Yeoh, who starred opposite Cheng in "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Tiger", expressed "heartfelt condolences to Pei Pei Jie's (sister) family, friends and fans". 
Cheng Pei-pei, an actress considered one of the first-ever woman action stars who got her start in Hong Kong's martial arts films before starring in "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", has died at the age of 78, her family said Friday. 
She passed away "peacefully at home surrounded by her loved ones on July 17" after she was diagnosed in 2019 with a neurodegenerative disease similar to Parkinson's, her family said on Cheng's official Facebook page. 
Born in Shanghai in 1946, Cheng moved to Hong Kong in the 60s and started working with the city's famed Shaw Brothers Studio, which has been widely acknowledged for its role in popularising kung-fu movies to audiences beyond the Chinese city.
Her breakout role came in 1966 as a swordswoman in "Come Drink with Me", considered one of the greatest "wuxia" movies -- a sword-fighting film genre that follows the adventures of martial artists around ancient China. 
Working steadily through the golden age of Hong Kong martial arts films, Cheng hit international recognition in 2000 when director Ang Lee cast her as the Jade Fox in "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon". 
Her final film was the live-action version of Disney movie Mulan in 2020, where she was the matchmaker to the eponymous heroine. 
"Our mom wanted to be remembered by how she was: the legendary Queen of Martial Arts... a versatile, award-winning actress whose film and television career spanned over six decades," her family said. 
Actress Michelle Yeoh, who starred opposite Cheng in "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Tiger", expressed "heartfelt condolences to Pei Pei Jie's (sister) family, friends and fans". 
"We will miss your kindness and shining talent," Yeoh wrote Friday on Instagram. 
dhc/ssy

streaming

US streaming rivals team up to catch Netflix

BY THOMAS URBAIN

  • The alliances will group more viewers and attract advertising, which is back in favor, including at Netflix.
  • US video streaming companies are joining forces to attract new viewers, boost ad sales, and finally turn a profit -- something only Netflix has managed to accomplish so far. 
  • The alliances will group more viewers and attract advertising, which is back in favor, including at Netflix.
US video streaming companies are joining forces to attract new viewers, boost ad sales, and finally turn a profit -- something only Netflix has managed to accomplish so far. 
Be it Disney Plus, Hulu, and Max, or ESPN, Warner Brothers Discovery and Fox -- the streaming world is reshaping into unlikely alliances. 
The sudden team spirit is all about the bottom line, with Netflix the only streamer that has managed to cover the exorbitant production costs of keeping users hooked.
Netflix's great run carried on in the second quarter as it continued to gain millions of subscribers and turn billions of dollars in profit.
In 2024, holding multiple streaming accounts can cost more than an old-school cable or satellite package whose high prices, stretching into the hundreds of dollars, helped chase viewers into the arms of Netflix in the first place.
For Jeff Shell, soon to lead the new Skydance-Paramount Global group, subscribing to a whole bevy of platforms is no longer tenable.
"I don't think it takes rocket science to project that the consumer situation is not sustainable," he said.
These bundles aren't just about saving customers money, they're a smart business move too, experts said.
"Bundling reduces churn," explained Mark Boidman of Solomon Partners. 
"If you're going to subscribe to one or two streaming services because they have a show that you want right now, it's very easy to just unsubscribe" once you're done, he said.
With bundling, you'll think harder before pulling the plug, Boidman added.
One example is TV and internet giant Comcast's new StreamSaver package. 
For $15 a month on top of your cable TV or internet bill, you get Peacock, Netflix, and AppleTV+ -- all for a price 35 percent cheaper than buying each service separately. 
Disney+, Hulu, and Max are expected to offer a similar joint discount by late 2024. 
"The core business question is 'Do I make more money from the new customers or do I lose money from the customers who'" are underpaying, said Michael Smith, professor of information technology at Carnegie Mellon University.
Netflix aside, streaming remains loss-making for all the major platforms, from Peacock to Max, as well as Disney, which is promising a return of its Plus platform to the black in the fourth quarter. 
The alliances will group more viewers and attract advertising, which is back in favor, including at Netflix.
Alliances will enable them to aggregate audiences that can be targeted by advertisers, "which could be very valuable," said Boidman. 
Smith warned that "the challenge is going to be figuring out who gets access to the data and how do you share that data" between partners.
"If you split up, who keeps it?" Smith added.
Teaming up can also give an advantage in buying content.
ESPN, Warner Bros Discovery and Fox have given few details of their collaboration, which is to result in a dedicated sports platform. 
Sports rights can be extremely expensive, but working together is likely to offer platforms extra leverage in negotiations with leagues and event organizers.
tu/arp/bjt

Netflix

Netflix wins subscribers as ad strategy pays off

BY JULIE JAMMOT

  • A renewed warning on Thursday that the results could be lower than expected in the current quarter sent Netflix shares lower in after-hours trading.
  • Netflix on Thursday said it added eight million new subscribers in the second quarter, as the home of hit shows "The Crown" and "Bridgerton" posted its latest financial earnings that exceeded analyst expectations.
  • A renewed warning on Thursday that the results could be lower than expected in the current quarter sent Netflix shares lower in after-hours trading.
Netflix on Thursday said it added eight million new subscribers in the second quarter, as the home of hit shows "The Crown" and "Bridgerton" posted its latest financial earnings that exceeded analyst expectations.
The world's leading streaming video service said it ended the April-to-June period with a total of 277.7 million subscribers, as net profit dipped to $2.1 billion, but revenue surged to $9.6 billion.
The latest numbers rewarded Netflix's moves to boost revenue after a rough patch in 2022.
In a bid to boost sputtering growth, the company launched an ad-subsidized offering last year around the same time as a crackdown on sharing passwords.
As part of that effort, Netflix also got rid of its cheapest commercial-free plan in the UK and Canada, with expectations of further expansions.
In the United States, the company is also beginning to offer some users combined packages with its one-time rivals, making itself available through joint subscriptions with Peacock and Apple TV.
Netflix in May said its ad-supported tier reached 40 million monthly active users across the globe and accounted for 40 percent of all sign-ups in the countries where it was available, up from 23 million in January.
The company also launched an in-house advertising platform so that brands can better optimize its customer data, no longer partnering with Microsoft for that technology.
Investors have cheered on the moves, with Netflix shares gaining 38 percent since the beginning of the year -- though it has warned that growth in overall subscribers could slow throughout the course of the year.
A renewed warning on Thursday that the results could be lower than expected in the current quarter sent Netflix shares lower in after-hours trading.
Still, Netflix is seen as reigning supreme over the video content market, with Disney+ still struggling nearly five years after a launch that featured a slew of new content from its blockbuster Marvel and Star Wars universes.
Netflix earned an industry-leading 107 nominations for the Emmys earlier this week, with 11 nods for its surprise hit, the black comedy "Baby Reindeer."
In terms of viewership, Netflix also scored big with "Under Paris," a shark horror movie from France that the company said had reached 91 million views.
The third season of "Bridgerton" scored 98.5 million views in the quarter, while upcoming shows include the eagerly awaited second season of "Squid Game," which will come with a video game.
The dystopian Korean horror tale about a fictional, deadly game show remains by far the most-watched Netflix TV series ever.

'Signs of waning'

Analysts warned however that competitors, at some point, could figure out how to challenge Netflix.
"The competition is starting to catch up to Netflix as the company's market dominance shows signs of waning," said Mike Proulx, vice president at market research firm Forrester.
He noted a survey that showed the amount of monthly US users streaming from the platform had dipped, with the rivals seeing growth.
"This makes it all the more critical for Netflix to continue to double down on its ads business as a means to diversify and grow revenue," Proulx added.
Netflix is also branching out into live entertainment and in the United States, with plans to broadcast two National Football League games for the first time. 
The company said that it is not only up against its direct competitors, such as Disney, Apple or Amazon, but also the wider range of entertainment platforms, from YouTube and video games to TikTok and TV channels.
In June, YouTube was the leading streaming TV service in the United States by audience, with almost 10 percent of the video market share, and Netflix in second place with 8.4 percent, according to the Nielsen Institute.
Because the main battle is for viewer attention, Netflix plans to stop reporting subscriber numbers next year, which some investors have interpreted as a sign of problems about future growth.
arp/bjt

television

Comedy legend Bob Newhart dead at 94: publicist

  • Records, and "The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart" became the music industry's first comedy album to hit the top of the sales charts.
  • Bob Newhart, the American stand-up performer whose comedy made him one of the top TV stars of his era, has died, his publicist announced Thursday.
  • Records, and "The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart" became the music industry's first comedy album to hit the top of the sales charts.
Bob Newhart, the American stand-up performer whose comedy made him one of the top TV stars of his era, has died, his publicist announced Thursday. He was 94 years old.
The decorated Chicago icon was an accountant before striking gold with comedy, acclaimed for his dry, deadpan delivery. 
He died at his Los Angeles home after a series of short illnesses, his longtime publicist Jerry Digney said in a statement.
Born September 5, 1929, in suburban Illinois, Newhart studied business management before being drafted into the US army and serving in the Korean War.
He briefly studied law before quitting and getting work as an accountant, while moonlighting as a comedy performer and writer.
"In 1959, I gave myself a year to make it in comedy; it was back to accounting if comedy didn't work out," he has said.
It did -- he was signed to Warner Bros. Records, and "The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart" became the music industry's first comedy album to hit the top of the sales charts.
It earned him prestigious Grammys for Best New Artist and Best Album, and helped launch his career in television. The recording is now archived in the Library of Congress.

'The Sound of Laughter'

Newhart starred in two long-running sitcoms in the 1970s and 1980s, and made guest star appearances into his 90s.
He featured as a recurring guest on "The Big Bang Theory" and also starred as Papa Elf in the Christmas film "Elf."
The second of his sitcoms -- the eight-season "Newhart" -- closed in one of the most memorable series finales of all time.
In the final episode, Newhart's character wakes up in bed with his wife from the first sitcom, telling her about a strange dream -- the plot of the second show.
The stunt parodied a famous plot element from the series "Dallas."
Newhart is survived by four children. His wife of six decades, Virginia, died in 2023.
"Comedy has given me a wonderful life. When I first started out in stand-up, I just remember the sound of laughter," he once said. 
"It's one of the great sounds of the world."
mdo/acb/nro

music

Coppola, Grateful Dead, Apollo among Kennedy Center Honorees

  • Jerry Garcia, the beloved lead guitarist, band co-founder, songwriter and singer widely considered the leader of the Grateful Dead, died in 1995 at age 53.
  • Filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola and rockers the Grateful Dead are among this year's Kennedy Center Honors inductees, along with beloved blues singer Bonnie Raitt and jazz artist Arturo Sandoval.
  • Jerry Garcia, the beloved lead guitarist, band co-founder, songwriter and singer widely considered the leader of the Grateful Dead, died in 1995 at age 53.
Filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola and rockers the Grateful Dead are among this year's Kennedy Center Honors inductees, along with beloved blues singer Bonnie Raitt and jazz artist Arturo Sandoval.
The Apollo -- the globally celebrated Harlem music venue that launched myriad careers and bore witness to sociocultural revolution -- will receive a special honor as an iconic US institution, organizers announced Thursday.
The annual Kennedy Center Honors, among the highest American arts honors, see Washington's political elite rub shoulders with the cream of the cultural crop as entertainment A-listers descend on the seat of American political power.
The gala is a fundraiser for the performing arts center in Washington that serves as a living monument to the late president John F. Kennedy.
This year the celebration is scheduled for December 8.
Coppola -- the esteemed filmmaker behind classics including "The Godfather" and "Apocalypse Now" -- said in a statement he considers himself "very fortunate to have been able to collaborate with great artist and wonderful people."
"I have never stopped learning," he continued. "There is no greater honor than to be included along with those who inspired me, who I looked up to, and who gave me encouragement when times were dim."
Band members Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh and Bobby Weir will receive the prize for The Grateful Dead, an American treasure of a band famous for eclectic live improv and connections to psychedelia.
Jerry Garcia, the beloved lead guitarist, band co-founder, songwriter and singer widely considered the leader of the Grateful Dead, died in 1995 at age 53. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame the year before.
"Our music has always been about exploration and breaking through or finding our way around barriers, not just musically but also in bringing people together," the band said in a statement. "The energy, the love, the connection and sharing -- once again, that's what it's all about."
"As we enter our 60th year of the Grateful Dead's journey in 2025, we're beyond grateful for this recognition and for the journey we are on together."
And The Apollo -- which turns 90 this year -- is the first organization ever honored at the Kennedy Center Awards, a marker of its influence on contemporary culture.
mdo/dw

film

'Twisters' director swaps arthouse for '90s blockbuster reboot

  • But even if it drew on nostalgia for the Deep South, it was a long way from "Twister" -- the big, brash 1996 blockbuster that terrified audiences with devastating Oklahoma tornadoes, brought to life with nascent computer-generated effects.
  • "Twisters," Hollywood's latest attempt to reboot nostalgic blockbusters for modern audiences, might seem an unlikely next career step for director Lee Isaac Chung.
  • But even if it drew on nostalgia for the Deep South, it was a long way from "Twister" -- the big, brash 1996 blockbuster that terrified audiences with devastating Oklahoma tornadoes, brought to life with nascent computer-generated effects.
"Twisters," Hollywood's latest attempt to reboot nostalgic blockbusters for modern audiences, might seem an unlikely next career step for director Lee Isaac Chung.
His previous film, "Minari," was a sweet, quiet, semi-autobiographical tale of Korean immigrants struggling to adapt to life in rural 1980s Arkansas.
It earned the US director arthouse acclaim, and two Oscar nominations.
But even if it drew on nostalgia for the Deep South, it was a long way from "Twister" -- the big, brash 1996 blockbuster that terrified audiences with devastating Oklahoma tornadoes, brought to life with nascent computer-generated effects.
Even so, giant Hollywood studio Universal tapped Chung for "Twisters," out in US theaters on Friday -- and he jumped at the opportunity.
"I was really wanting to make a movie like this for quite a long time," he told AFP at the film's Los Angeles premiere last week.
"In my mind, it was never a stretch."
Part of that appeal was the chance to play with the latest computer-generated visual effects, known in the industry as VFX.
The film employed the talents of George Lucas's Industrial Light and Magic, to generate "really epic" effects, said Chung.
"In terms of VFX, there's just so much more that can be done to the environment around a tornado," he said.
"In that first film, you just see the tornado itself. But really what makes a tornado powerful is the effect that it has on nature and the surroundings."
"Twisters" has not escaped controversy. 
The LA premiere was interrupted by animal rights activists, protesting the film's use of live animals for a rodeo scene.
But so far, the gamble looks to be paying off. 
The film, made for around $200 million and distributed overseas by fellow Hollywood titan Warner Bros, is reportedly on track to make around $50 million on its first weekend in North American theaters alone.
It stars Daisy Edgar-Jones ("Normal People") as a meteorologist forced to team up with a daredevil storm chaser, played by Glen Powell ("Top Gun: Maverick").
"I think that the first movie was a spectacle. It was beautiful and big," said their co-star Paul Scheer.
"This movie has got heart, humor, comedy. It actually takes the blueprint and plusses it up."
amz/sst

television

'Shogun' tops television's Emmy nominations with 25

BY ANDREW MARSZAL

  • With another two seasons already in the works, "Shogun" is a hot favorite across this year's drama categories.
  • Hit drama series "Shogun," which transported viewers to early 17th-century Japan, topped television's Emmy nominations on Wednesday, earning 25 nods.
  • With another two seasons already in the works, "Shogun" is a hot favorite across this year's drama categories.
Hit drama series "Shogun," which transported viewers to early 17th-century Japan, topped television's Emmy nominations on Wednesday, earning 25 nods.
"The Bear" broke the comedy record for most nominations in a single year, with 23, ahead of "Only Murders in the Building" which landed on 21.
"True Detective: Night Country," starring Jodie Foster, topped the limited or anthology series section, scoring 19 nominations.
Nominees were announced in a live-streamed ceremony from Los Angeles, with final-round voting for the 76th Emmy Awards scheduled for next month, ahead of the September 15 ceremony.
"Shogun" -- adapted from James Clavell's historical fiction novel -- portrays the intricate and deadly court politics of feudal Japan.
Television Academy voters were not put off by the show's heavy use of subtitles, showering nominations on its remarkable cast of Japanese heroes and villains.
Among those were lead actress Anna Sawai and lead actor Hiroyuki Sanada, who told AFP the nomination was "truly humbling."
"It was a great opportunity to share our culture with the world. I hope this will be a stepping stone for the next generation," Sanada said in an e-mailed statement.
With another two seasons already in the works, "Shogun" is a hot favorite across this year's drama categories.
But surprisingly, there was no nomination for Cosmo Jarvis for his portrayal of the marooned English sailor who frames the show's narrative for audiences.
"Shogun" faces competition in drama categories from the final season of Netflix's British royal saga "The Crown," and Apple's "The Morning Show," starring Jennifer Aniston.

'The Bear'

Meanwhile, "The Bear" topped the comedy categories, making history with its 23 nominations.
The previous record set in 2009 was held by Alec Baldwin's "30 Rock."
Set in a chaotic Chicago restaurant run by a group of close-knit but abrasive and occasionally abusive chefs, "The Bear," was a big winner for its debut season at the last Emmys.
It returned with an even more ambitious and experimental second run.
Sumptuous montages of Michelin star-level dishes were paired with extraordinary episodes like "Fishes" -- an hour-long portrait of a dysfunctional family tearing itself apart over one excruciating dinner.
Bizarrely entered in the comedy categories, despite dealing with hard-hitting issues like grief and addiction, "The Bear" is up against shows including "Hacks," "Abbott Elementary," "Only Murders in the Building" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm."
Both "Shogun" and "The Bear" come from FX, a Disney-owned channel that enjoyed a stellar day Wednesday with further multiple nominations for "Fargo," "Feud: Capote vs The Swans," "Welcome to Wrexham" and "What We Do in the Shadows."

'True Detective'

The categories for limited or anthology series are always packed with water-cooler hits.
"True Detective: Night Country" -- the fourth installment of the dark crime anthology series, which this time shifted the action to Alaska -- scored the most nominations this year.
Double Oscar-winner Foster was among the Emmy nominees as lead actress.
Among the category's other contenders was Netflix's "Baby Reindeer," adapted from Scottish comedian Richard Gadd's pitch-black one-man show about his encounters with a female stalker.
The global phenomenon, which has suffered controversy after a woman claiming to be its real-life inspiration sued the streamer, earned 11 nods, including one for Gadd.
Other widely nominated shows in the limited series section included "Fargo," "Ripley" and "Lessons in Chemistry."
There were surprising snubs for Kate Winslet ("The Regime") and Emma Stone ("The Curse").
The 76th Emmy Awards will be the second to take place in 2024, after last year's ceremony was postponed to January due to Hollywood strikes.
It will honor television series that were broadcast between June 2023 and May 2024.
Tony Hale ("Veep") and Sheryl Lee Ralph ("Abbott Elementary") unveiled the nominations.
Voting members of the US-based Television Academy have a month to catch up on their viewing, before final-round voting takes place in mid-August.
amz/sst

US

A bird? A plane? Meteor grazes skies above New York City: NASA

  • "At 34,000 miles per hour, the meteor descended at a steep angle of just 18 degrees from vertical, passing over the Statue of Liberty before disintegrating 29 miles above midtown Manhattan," the United States's space agency NASA wrote on social media Tuesday.
  • New York has been the backdrop to countless "end of the world" storylines in film and TV. But on Tuesday an actual meteor shot over the city's iconic Statue of Liberty before disintegrating high above Manhattan, NASA's Meteor Watch said in a post on Facebook.
  • "At 34,000 miles per hour, the meteor descended at a steep angle of just 18 degrees from vertical, passing over the Statue of Liberty before disintegrating 29 miles above midtown Manhattan," the United States's space agency NASA wrote on social media Tuesday.
New York has been the backdrop to countless "end of the world" storylines in film and TV.
But on Tuesday an actual meteor shot over the city's iconic Statue of Liberty before disintegrating high above Manhattan, NASA's Meteor Watch said in a post on Facebook.
Residents flooded the internet with reports of a fireball in the sky, with some describing the sensation of an earthquake, and others recounting the sound of a thunderstorm.
"At 34,000 miles per hour, the meteor descended at a steep angle of just 18 degrees from vertical, passing over the Statue of Liberty before disintegrating 29 miles above midtown Manhattan," the United States's space agency NASA wrote on social media Tuesday.
Footage from a doorbell camera uploaded to the American Meteor Society (AMS) showed a bright flash in the sky above Wayne, a town in New Jersey state which neighbors New York.
The AMS received a total of 43 witness reports connected to the meteor, according to its website.    
NASA stressed in its update that "this trajectory is very crude and uncertain; it is based on a few eyewitness accounts and there is no camera or satellite data currently available to refine the solution." 
No meteorites were produced, it added. 
NASA said that "reports of military activity in the vicinity around the time of the fireball" would explain the reports of the tremors and booms.
gw/mdl

television

Grief and gourmands: 'The Bear' cooks up Emmys comedy record

BY ANDREW MARSZAL

  • "You find laughter in grief," said Ebon Moss-Bachrach, the actor who won an Emmy at the last gala playing restaurant manager Richie, and is nominated again this time around.
  • Set in the chaotic world of a top restaurant kitchen, where each chef has their own unique skill set and emotional baggage, "The Bear" on Wednesday broke the Emmys record with the most nominations for a comedy in a single year.
  • "You find laughter in grief," said Ebon Moss-Bachrach, the actor who won an Emmy at the last gala playing restaurant manager Richie, and is nominated again this time around.
Set in the chaotic world of a top restaurant kitchen, where each chef has their own unique skill set and emotional baggage, "The Bear" on Wednesday broke the Emmys record with the most nominations for a comedy in a single year.
What makes the show's latest haul of 23 nods even more remarkable is that, for many critics, "The Bear" is barely a comedy at all, dealing with hard-hitting issues from death and mourning to betrayal and emotional abuse.
"You find laughter in grief," said Ebon Moss-Bachrach, the actor who won an Emmy at the last gala playing restaurant manager Richie, and is nominated again this time around.
"One of the strengths of the show -- and one of the reasons that it's connected with so many people -- is I think grief is the river that runs through all of us," he told a press conference before Wednesday's announcement.
The show's latest, historic nominations count was for season two of "The Bear," which aired last summer.
Nominally, it charted the race to open a daring, experimental new fine-dining restaurant, from the ashes of a disheveled family-run sandwich joint.
But characters dealt with a loved one's suicide, attended addiction counselling, cared for terminally ill relatives, experienced panic attacks and generally tore each other apart.
"The show does have its moments, but it also has very light moments, too, very beautiful moments, too," insisted Ayo Edebiri, who has also won an Emmy, and is nominated again, as Sydney. 

'Chuckle fests'

The question of whether "The Bear" is a comedy has been endlessly debated in entertainment industry circles.
The designation is important because the Emmys -- the small-screen version of the Oscars -- splits contenders into drama, comedy and limited series.
Some have claimed entering "The Bear" as a comedy was a strategic move by producers, allowing it to bypass big hitters in drama like recent Emmys juggernaut "Succession," and therefore amass more awards.
But the comedy category more generally, "has taken a more serious turn," noted Variety's Clayton Davis.
Gone are the days of "clear-cut, humor-filled chuckle fests" like "Frasier" and "Seinfeld."
Shows like "Fleabag" and "Barry" have straddled the line with drama, and taken viewers to dark places, with enormous success, he wrote recently.
Still, according to The Daily Beast, "The Bear" is a true comedy, as it "consistently finds humor in horrible events."
Writer Sarah John pointed to scenes in which a character deadpans that she doesn't know her late mom very well because "of the whole dead thing," and another in which a character is accidentally stabbed in a fast-paced "comedy of errors."
"More comedies should embrace the fact that humor can still be found in times of real strife," she wrote.

'Awards season'

Regardless, the debate has not hurt "The Bear" in awards terms.
Its third season, shot early this year, launched in the United States last month.
Reports that a fourth season had been filmed back-to-back with the third were "not exactly" confirmed by the cast, who admitted: "We did something like that."
"We'd just kind of come off the success of awards season and stuff, and so yeah, I was very anxious," the show's star, Jeremy Allen White, said of returning to the set in February.
White took home the lead actor prize at the last Emmys, and is the firm favorite to repeat in September.
"The pressure is very real. But then after a couple weeks of getting back around these guys and our beautiful crew... it feels fun again and it all feels possible again."
amz/sst

television

Emmy nominees in key categories

  • "True Detective: Night Country" led the nominees in the limited or anthology series categories at 19.
  • Here is a list of the nominees in key categories for the 76th Emmy Awards, which will be handed out in Los Angeles on September 15.
  • "True Detective: Night Country" led the nominees in the limited or anthology series categories at 19.
Here is a list of the nominees in key categories for the 76th Emmy Awards, which will be handed out in Los Angeles on September 15.
FX's epic Japanese drama "Shogun" topped the nominations list with 25, followed by two comedies -- FX's "The Bear" at 23 and Hulu's "Only Murders in the Building at 21.
"True Detective: Night Country" led the nominees in the limited or anthology series categories at 19.
OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES
"The Crown"
"Fallout"
"The Gilded Age"
"The Morning Show"
"Mr & Mrs Smith"
"Shogun"
"Slow Horses"
"3 Body Problem"
OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES
"Abbott Elementary"
"The Bear"
"Curb Your Enthusiasm"
"Hacks"
"Only Murders in the Building"
"Palm Royale"
"Reservation Dogs"
"What We Do in the Shadows"
OUTSTANDING LIMITED OR ANTHOLOGY SERIES
"Baby Reindeer"
"Fargo"
"Lessons in Chemistry"
"Ripley"
"True Detective: Night Country"
LEAD ACTOR, DRAMA
Idris Elba, "Hijack"
Donald Glover, "Mr & Mrs Smith"
Walton Goggins, "Fallout"
Gary Oldman, "Slow Horses"
Hiroyuki Sanada, "Shogun"
Dominic West, "The Crown"
LEAD ACTRESS, DRAMA
Jennifer Aniston, "The Morning Show"
Carrie Coon, "The Gilded Age"
Maya Erskine, "Mr & Mrs Smith"
Anna Sawai, "Shogun"
Imelda Staunton, "The Crown"
Reese Witherspoon, "The Morning Show"
LEAD ACTOR, COMEDY
Matt Berry, "What We Do in the Shadows"
Larry David, "Curb Your Enthusiasm"
Steve Martin, "Only Murders in the Building"
Martin Short, "Only Murders in the Building"
Jeremy Allen White, "The Bear"
D'Pharoah Woon-A-Tai, "Reservation Dogs"
LEAD ACTRESS, COMEDY
Quinta Brunson, "Abbott Elementary"
Ayo Edebiri, "The Bear"
Selena Gomez, "Only Murders in the Building"
Maya Rudolph, "Loot"
Jean Smart, "Hacks"
Kristen Wiig, "Palm Royale"
LEAD ACTOR, LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
Matt Bomer, "Fellow Travelers"
Richard Gadd, "Baby Reindeer"
Jon Hamm, "Fargo"
Tom Hollander, "Feud: Capote vs the Swans"
Andrew Scott, "Ripley"
LEAD ACTRESS, LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
Jodie Foster, "True Detective: Night Country"
Brie Larson, "Lessons in Chemistry"
Juno Temple, "Fargo"
Sofia Vergara, "Griselda"
Naomi Watts, "Feud: Capote vs the Swans"
SUPPORTING ACTOR, DRAMA
Tadanobu Asano, "Shogun"
Billy Crudup, "The Morning Show"
Mark Duplass, "The Morning Show"
Jon Hamm, "The Morning Show"
Takehiro Hira, "Shogun"
Jack Lowden, "Slow Horses"
Jonathan Pryce, "The Crown"
SUPPORTING ACTRESS, DRAMA
Christine Baranski, "The Gilded Age"
Nicole Beharie, "The Morning Show"
Elizabeth Debicki, "The Crown"
Greta Lee, "The Morning Show"
Lesley Manville, "The Crown"
Karen Pittman, "The Morning Show"
Holland Taylor, "The Morning Show"
SUPPORTING ACTOR, COMEDY
Lionel Boyce, "The Bear"
Paul W. Downs, "Hacks"
Ebon Moss-Bachrach, "The Bear"
Paul Rudd, "Only Murders in the Building"
Tyler James Williams, "Abbott Elementary"
Bowen Yang, "Saturday Night Live"
SUPPORTING ACTRESS, COMEDY
Carol Burnett, "Palm Royale"
Liza Colon-Zayas, "The Bear"
Hannah Einbinder, "Hacks"
Janelle James, "Abbott Elementary"
Sheryl Lee Ralph, "Abbott Elementary"
Meryl Streep, "Only Murders in the Building"
SUPPORTING ACTOR, LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
Jonathan Bailey, "Fellow Travelers"
Robert Downey Jr., "The Sympathizer"
Tom Goodman-Hill, "Baby Reindeer"
John Hawkes, "True Detective: Night Country"
Lamorne Morris, "Fargo"
Lewis Pullman, "Lessons in Chemistry"
Treat Williams, "Feud: Capote vs the Swans"
SUPPORTING ACTRESS, LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE
Dakota Fanning, "Ripley"
Lily Gladstone, "Under the Bridge"
Jessica Gunning, "Baby Reindeer"
Aja Naomi King, "Lessons in Chemistry"
Diane Lane, "Feud: Capote vs the Swans"
Nava Mau, "Baby Reindeer"
Kali Reis, "True Detective: Night Country"
Programs with most overall nominations:
"Shogun" - 25
"The Bear" - 23
"Only Murders in the Building" - 21
"True Detective: Night Country" - 19
"The Crown" - 18
"Saturday Night Live" - 17
bur-sst/md

books

Vance's 'Hillbilly Elegy' gave voice to an America left behind

BY ULYSSE BELLIER

  • - Social decay - Four days after Trump won the presidential election in November 2016, the New York Times published a list of six books "to help understand the victory" of political outsider Trump over Hillary Clinton.
  • When J.D. Vance's memoir "Hillbilly Elegy" was published in 2016, the book was widely cited as a key insight into understanding how America elected Donald Trump as president that year.
  • - Social decay - Four days after Trump won the presidential election in November 2016, the New York Times published a list of six books "to help understand the victory" of political outsider Trump over Hillary Clinton.
When J.D. Vance's memoir "Hillbilly Elegy" was published in 2016, the book was widely cited as a key insight into understanding how America elected Donald Trump as president that year.
Now, the Republican presidential candidate has chosen the author as his running mate, thrusting the bestseller back into the spotlight.
As soon as Vance was announced on the Trump ticket, the book rocketed to the top of Amazon's list of bestselling books in the United States.
Its publisher, HarperCollins, began reprinting the book, which has already sold over three million copies in the eight years since it first hit shelves, according to the New York Times. 
In roughly 270 pages, Vance recounts his youth growing up in rural America that is reeling from a declining economy and loss of hope.
Raised by grandparents from Kentucky, Vance illustrates how a historically Democratic electorate of Appalachia grew to support Trump in the face of shrinking steel, coal and agriculture industries. 
It tells Vance's life story as a boy who is born into poverty but rises to the heights of Yale Law School, one of the most elite educational institutions in the country. 
When the memoir came out, Vance was just a 31-year-old financier working in Silicon Valley. 
The book, which was later adapted into a film on Netflix, launched Vance into the national spotlight. 
He used his success to pivot to a career in politics: he was elected to the US Senate from Ohio in 2022, and now is in the running for the second-highest office in the United States. 

Social decay

Four days after Trump won the presidential election in November 2016, the New York Times published a list of six books "to help understand the victory" of political outsider Trump over Hillary Clinton.
"Hillbilly Elegy" was among them, "a compassionate, discerning sociological analysis of the white underclass that has helped drive... the ascent of Donald J. Trump," read its review.
Vance grew up in Middletown, Ohio, a steel town that "has been hemorrhaging jobs and hope" for as long as he could remember, he wrote in the book.
He was taken in by his grandparents instead of being raised by his drug-addicted mother.
He describes the community he grew up in as having "a culture that increasingly encourages social decay instead of counteracting it." 
At the same time, Vance says he loves this community and uses a pejorative nickname for them, "hillbilly," in the title of his book as a way to fight the stigma.
This characterization, however, drew controversy, as several critics accused Vance of reducing the Appalachian people to brutal stereotypes. 
Some left-leaning writers said the people that Vance described were not responsible for their own decline but were instead victims of a system that left them impoverished.
The book also illustrates a radical shift in Vance's views on immigration and foreign trade.
Today, he speaks of a need "to protect American industries from all of the competition," and says the cheap labor of undocumented immigrants is destroying American jobs. 
But in the memoir he posited that Americans should not blame the economic policies of Barack Obama or China for their problems, but look themselves in the mirror.
"We talk about the value of hard work but tell ourselves that the reason we're not working is some perceived unfairness: Obama shut down the coal mines, or all the jobs went to the Chinese," Vance wrote. "These are the lies we tell ourselves."
ube/ev/jgc/md/bgs

music

Tenacious D cancels Australian tour after Trump joke outrage

  • "Frontier Touring regret to advise that the remaining dates of Tenacious D's tour of Australia and New Zealand have been cancelled. 
  • Tenacious D frontman Jack Black has cancelled the comedy-rock group's tour of Australia and New Zealand, after his bandmate stoked outrage with a quip about the attempted assassination of Donald Trump.
  • "Frontier Touring regret to advise that the remaining dates of Tenacious D's tour of Australia and New Zealand have been cancelled. 
Tenacious D frontman Jack Black has cancelled the comedy-rock group's tour of Australia and New Zealand, after his bandmate stoked outrage with a quip about the attempted assassination of Donald Trump.
Guitarist Kyle Gass said "don't miss Trump next time" when asked to make a birthday wish while playing a packed gig in Sydney over the weekend, part of the band's "Spicy Meatball" tour. 
While the jibe drew laughter and applause from the crowd, it swiftly sparked controversy when posted online.
"I was blindsided by what was said at the show on Sunday," said Black, the Hollywood funnyman who starred in films such as "School of Rock", "High Fidelity" and "Kung Fu Panda". 
"After much reflection, I no longer feel it is appropriate to continue the Tenacious D tour, and all future creative plans are on hold," he said on Instagram late Tuesday night.  
Australia's ambassador to the United States, former prime minister Kevin Rudd, said the comment made him "feel sick". 
"People might think it's a bit of 'funny haha' at a concert. But it's not.
"These people should just grow up and find a decent job." 
Four remaining shows in Australia have been cancelled along with two dates in New Zealand, management company Frontier Touring said Wednesday in a statement.
"Frontier Touring regret to advise that the remaining dates of Tenacious D's tour of Australia and New Zealand have been cancelled. 
"All purchased tickets will receive a full refund."
The band's biggest hit came in 2002 with the track "Tribute", which fans commonly refer to as the "greatest song in the world", a reference to its tongue-in-cheek lyrics.
Gunman Thomas Matthew Crooks opened fire at a rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday -- a near-miss assassination attempt that left Trump bleeding from his right ear. 
sft/cwl

trial

'Rust' armorer challenges conviction after Baldwin trial tossed

  • Hannah Gutierrez, as the film's armorer, was responsible for sourcing dummy and blank rounds for the movie set.
  • The armorer on Alec Baldwin movie "Rust" filed Tuesday to have her conviction for involuntary manslaughter overturned, days after the Hollywood star's own trial over a fatal on-set shooting collapsed due to withheld evidence.
  • Hannah Gutierrez, as the film's armorer, was responsible for sourcing dummy and blank rounds for the movie set.
The armorer on Alec Baldwin movie "Rust" filed Tuesday to have her conviction for involuntary manslaughter overturned, days after the Hollywood star's own trial over a fatal on-set shooting collapsed due to withheld evidence.
Baldwin was holding a revolver during a rehearsal for the low-budget Western movie in October 2021 when a live round was fired, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounding the film's director.
Hannah Gutierrez, as the film's armorer, was responsible for sourcing dummy and blank rounds for the movie set.
She accidentally loaded the fatal gun with a live round -- the origin of which has never been explained -- and was sentenced earlier this year to 18 months in prison.
But during Baldwin's separate trial in Santa Fe, New Mexico, last week, it emerged that police and prosecutors had suppressed potentially significant evidence that could have explained how live rounds ended up on set.
Bullets that had been handed to law enforcement earlier this year by a former police officer, which appeared to match the round that killed Hutchins, were never examined by the lead detective or shown to defense lawyers -- meaning their origins remain unknown.
Baldwin's case was immediately tossed by the judge, who said the "intentional and deliberate" withholding of evidence was "highly prejudicial to the defendant."
Gutierrez, also known as Hannah Gutierrez Reed, was already in the process of appealing her conviction prior to the Baldwin trial.
Her lawyers have now filed an expedited motion for a new trial or dismissal of charges due to "severe and ongoing discovery violations by the state."
The motion said prosecutor Kari Morrissey "lied to this court several times" and was "in on the decision to hide the rounds."
It also alleges Morrissey withheld further evidence relevant to Gutierrez's case until after her trial, including an interview with a prop weapons supplier, and reports by state firearms experts.
"The intentional withholding of crucial evidence... has compromised the integrity of the entire judicial process," said the motion.
"Justice demands that Hannah Gutierrez Reed's conviction be overturned immediately."
amz/nro

music

Tenacious D cancels tour over Trump shooting comments

  • "After much reflection, I no longer feel it is appropriate to continue the Tenacious D tour, and all future creative plans are on hold.
  • The American rock duo Tenacious D canceled tour dates following controversial onstage comments linked to the attempted assassination of Donald Trump, lead singer Jack Black said Tuesday.
  • "After much reflection, I no longer feel it is appropriate to continue the Tenacious D tour, and all future creative plans are on hold.
The American rock duo Tenacious D canceled tour dates following controversial onstage comments linked to the attempted assassination of Donald Trump, lead singer Jack Black said Tuesday.
Performing in Sydney over the weekend, Black, a comedian and actor, presented bandmate Kyle Gass with a birthday cake and told him to make a wish; Gass responded by saying: "Don't miss Trump next time."
A video of the apparent reference to a rally shooting the day before, in which the former Republican president's ear was injured, traveled widely on social media.
"I was blindsided by what was said at the show on Sunday. I would never condone hate speech or encourage political violence in any form," Black said Tuesday on Instagram.
"After much reflection, I no longer feel it is appropriate to continue the Tenacious D tour, and all future creative plans are on hold. I am grateful to the fans for their support and understanding."
Gass similarly apologized on Instagram: "The line I improvised Sunday night in Sydney was highly inappropriate, dangerous and a terrible mistake."
"I don't condone violence in any kind, in any form, against anyone. What happened was a tragedy, and I'm incredibly sorry for my severe lack of judgement."
The comedy rockers formed their band in 1994 in Los Angeles. As an actor Black is known for roles including the voice of the character Po in the "Kung Fu Panda" movies.
He and Gass recently played a string of dates -- part of "The Spicy Meatball Tour" -- across the United States and Europe, and were scheduled to play a leg across Australia and New Zealand before a select few more stateside this fall.
mdo/dw