Monday Mar 2, 2015

Sara Gilbert welcomes baby boy with wife Linda Perry

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Sara Gilbert shared the news of her new baby on "The Talk." Co-host Julie Chen announced on Monday's episode that Gilbert welcomed a son over the weekend. It's Gilbert's first with wife Linda Perry. Chen said Rhodes Emilio Gilbert Perry...
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TV

Sara Gilbert welcomes baby boy with wife Linda Perry
Monday Mar 2, 2015
Sara Gilbert welcomes baby boy with wife Linda Perry

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Sara Gilbert shared the news of her new baby on "The Talk." Co-host Julie Chen announced on Monday's episode that Gilbert welcomed a son over the weekend. It's Gilbert's first with wife Linda Perry. Chen said Rhodes Emilio Gilbert Perry was born Saturday. Fellow host Sharon Osbourne showed a photo of the newborn. Gilbert and Perry were married in March 2014. The 40-year-old Gilbert may be best known for her starring role on the long-running TV comedy "Roseanne." She's also a creator and co-host of "The Talk." Perry is a singer, songwriter, producer and former front woman of the rock group 4 Non Blondes. Gilbert has two children from a previous relationship. Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

YouTube names its 2015 Music Award Winners
Monday Mar 2, 2015
YouTube names its 2015 Music Award Winners

Beyoncé, Big Sean, Drake and Ed Sheeran feature among the 50 artists who will be picking up an award from the Google-owned video sharing platform at a special online-only event scheduled for March 23.YouTube has not explained exactly how the artists were judged for winning their awards, other than to say that they "showed the biggest growth in view, subscribers and engagement over the last six months on YouTube." Collectively, the artists, who also include Katy Perry, OK Go, One Direction, Snoop Dogg, Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga, have clocked up more than 47 billion views and boast 164 million subscribers since September. To mark the achievement, at 10am PT on March 23 YouTube will be posting a huge collection of exclusive new content from emerging and established artists to the site. The package is being produced by VICE and contributors included Cahoots, Charli XCX, Migos, Nicky Jam and Shamir. As for the YouTube Music Awards 2015, it will be broadcast live on YouTube on its own dedicated channel. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Television's 'Judge Judy' staying in session
Monday Mar 2, 2015
Television's 'Judge Judy' staying in session

NEW YORK (AP) — Daytime television's most popular personality, "Judge Judy" Sheindlin, has extended her contract for three years and plans to keep her court in session into 2020. CBS Television Distribution didn't discuss terms of the deal Monday. TV Guide has reported her current salary at $47 million a year — making her by far the highest-paid personality on television. Sheindlin is 72. The new deal also gives CBS first look at any projects by Sheindlin's production company, which makes the new court show "Hot Bench." "Judge Judy" is now in its 19th season, and has been the top daytime TV show for the past five years. During the week ending Feb. 15, for example, "Judge Judy" was seen by an average of 10.1 million viewers each episode and the second most-popular show, "Dr. Phil," had 4.9 million, the Nielsen company said. "We could not be more excited to continue our longtime relationship with Judy," said Armando Nunez, president and CEO of CBS Global Distribution Group. "She is a true television icon, who entertains and inspires millions of fans each day." Sheindlin was out of the country Monday. In a statement, she talked about being excited about producing new shows like "Hot Bench." There's no word on whether the deal came together in the same manner as her last few contract extensions, as she outlined in her 2014 book, "What Would Judy Say? Be the Hero of Your Own Story." She described going out to dinner with executives at her distribution group at a Beverly Hills, California, restaurant. At the beginning of the meal, she handed over a sealed envelope and told them not to open it until after the dinner. Inside was a note card with Sheindlin's suggested price and contract duration. She told them it wasn't a negotiation — she wanted a "yes" or "no" answer. "I didn't believe they would turn me down," Sheindlin wrote of the first such meeting at Grill on the Alley. "I didn't think they could afford to. But I was also prepared to walk away." She hasn't yet. One year, she said an executive handed back his own sealed envelope. She handed it right back, unopened. "If I open the envelope, it becomes a negotiation," she told them, "and this isn't a negotiation." "I'm a lucky woman to be able to set my own terms," the former New York City family court judge wrote. During 2013, the last full year for which figures were available, Kantar Media reported that "Judge Judy" earned $136.8 million in revenue. ___ Follow David Bauder at twitter.com/dbauder. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/david-bauder Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by David Bauder from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Ming-Na Wen: 'S.H.I.E.L.D.' role makes me a cool mom
Monday Mar 2, 2015
Ming-Na Wen: 'S.H.I.E.L.D.' role makes me a cool mom

NEW YORK (AP) — Ming-Na Wen says although she may play ace pilot and weapons expert Melinda May on "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," the television series about the Marvel Comics organization has become her arsenal for getting her children to think she's cool. "They love the show," says Wen. She says when her 9-year-old son Cooper Dominic saw the show debut at San Diego Comic Con in 2013, "he was like, 'Mom! I didn't know you could fly a plane. That is so cool!" Wen says her son and her 14-year-old daughter Michaela are especially amazed because her kick-butt TV persona is so very different from the mom they know — a "girlie girl" who loves wearing sundresses. "I laugh all the time and I'm always smiling and Mommy's the one that does the cooking and Mommy's a klutz," she says. The 51-year-old actress says her kids' rave reviews are the best she could ask for. "For me, my career could be over right then and there and I'd be happy." Wen says she's also excited about the remainder of the show's second season, which returns from its winter hiatus Tuesday at 9 p.m. She says the series picks up right where it left off —focusing on S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Skye Johnson, who fans have learned is an Inhuman, Marvel's name for a fictional race of superhumans that appears in various Marvel comic books. She says the introduction of the Inhumans brings a new element to the show that "fans have been dying for, to have some characters with superpowers." __ Online: http://abc.go.com/shows/marvels-agents-of-shield __ Follow Lauri Neff on Twitter at www.twitter.com/lneffist Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Lauri Neff from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Review: Love is tested in 'The Mystery of Love & Sex'
Monday Mar 2, 2015
Review: Love is tested in 'The Mystery of Love & Sex'

NEW YORK (AP) — Love and sex are both pretty big topics, and while Bathsheba Doran's new play, "The Mystery of Love & Sex," illuminates both with gentle humor, it's also about how secrets can test the bonds of friendship and love. Lincoln Center Theater commissioned the play from Doran, who also wrote "Kin" (at Playwrights Horizons) and is a writer on the HBO series, "Boardwalk Empire." The quirky, bittersweet relationship drama is filled with one-liners and jokes that are often politically incorrect but funny. An engaging production, directed with compassion and sensitivity by Sam Gold, opened Monday night off-Broadway at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater. Tony Shalhoub (a Tony nominee for "Act One" and "Golden Boy," and a multiple Emmy winner for the TV series "Monk") plays a charmingly condescending, witty liberal Jewish author named Howard, living in Georgia and long married to a smart Southerner, Lucinda (Diane Lane). Shalhoub is a delight, making Howard lovable despite his pompous pronouncements and latent racism and homophobia. Lane (returning to the New York stage after almost 40 years) is quite winning as well, smartly underplaying the Southern belle. Their daughter Charlotte (Gayle Rankin) is attending college along with her best friend, Jonny, (Mamoudou Athie), an African-American neighbor who is considered part of the family. Charlotte is unhappily discovering repressed sexual orientations, and Rankin is sweetly expressive, sensitively presenting Charlotte's insecurities, depression and exuberances with equal flair. Athie is serious, stiff and cautious as Jonny, who loves Charlotte as his best friend but that's as far as he wants to take it. Gold, who recently directed "The Real Thing" on Broadway, is expert at allowing the actors to reveal little everyday epiphanies in Doran's seemingly mundane scenes. Charlotte's and Jonny's friendship falls apart, reforms, and falls apart again over a period of five years. Lucinda rebels against her sexless marriage, and there are some bitter battles between the parents, between both young people, and between Jonny and Howard. Doran's off-beat dialogue includes unconsciously prejudiced things people say in real life that contain humorous kernels of truth regarding religion, race and homophobia. Jonny tells Charlotte her father is "a pushy Jew," which shocks her, so he adds, "You've said it a thousand times. Nothing wrong with being a pushy Jew. Without pushy Jews we wouldn't have Hollywood." Despite many arguments and estrangements, and anger over secrets, Doran's play is ultimately about the endurance of all kinds of love. ___ Online: http://www.lct.org Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Jennifer Farrar from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Movies

Polish castle to set the scene for real-life wizarding school
Tuesday Mar 3, 2015
Polish castle to set the scene for real-life wizarding school

Fans of the Harry Potter series and the magical arts have launched a crowdsourcing campaign that aims to bring a College of Wizardry to life, and -- if all goes well --  turn a castle in Poland into a permanent school of sorcery.Within three days of being posted on crowdfunding site Indiegogo February 28, the College of Wizardry has achieved 38 percent of its financial goal, raising more than $19,200 of its initial $50,000 target. Following the successful wizarding events first held last year, $50,000 would fund three four-day retreats for 138 participants who would engage in what’s called ‘live-action role play' (or LARP) -- unscripted, improvisation, akin to children playing pretend. “Except we have better costumes and more complex stories,” explained project coordinator Claus Raasted in a YouTube video. The event is set to take place at the medieval Czocha Castle in southwestern Poland, which has been open to the public as a hotel and conference center since the 1990s. While the first LARP events held at the castle last November were themed after the Harry Potter series with the one-off permission of Warner Bros., organizers emphasize that their College of Wizardry will not take place in the Harry Potter universe. “There will be no mention of Muggles, no Quidditch and no Hogwarts in our fiction.” The idea? To create a generic College of Wizardry that can stand on its own legs, organizers say. Should the campaign succeed in raising $1 million, organizers also claim they’ll buy their own castle in Poland and turn it into a permanent College of Wizardry. During the sessions, participants will be able to role-play everything from students, teachers, ghosts and visiting reporters. Students will enroll in classes like herbology and magical theory. Out of class participants can explore the castle, the surrounding magical forest, and grab a beer (note, not butterbeer) at the nearby tavern.  Participants will spend four days at the Czocha Castle inventing their own characters and story lines.  The retreat culminates in a magic ball. Meanwhile, J.K. Rowling fans looking to throw themselves into the wizarding world of Harry Potter can book a stay at the Georgian House in London, which has created a set of Wizard Chambers for kids. Faux stonewalls, stained glass windows, four-poster beds and a red and yellow Gryffindor color scheme help evoke the dormitories of Hogwarts. For more info on the College of Wizardry visit https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/college-of-wizardry-as-real-as-wizard-school-gets. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Jamie Dornan from 'Fifty Shades' to WWII
Monday Mar 2, 2015
Jamie Dornan from 'Fifty Shades' to WWII

One of the hottest properties in Hollywood, thanks to his starring role in box-office smash "Fifty Shades of Grey," Dornan is set to thrash the Nazis in his next big-screen outing.As first reported by Screen Daily, the star has signed on to play the lead role in "Anthropoid," a wartime thriller based on the true story of the allied forces' attempt to assassinate SS General Reinhard Heydrich, who was considered the architect of the Final Solution. Set to be helmed by UK director Sean Ellis, who will also be sharing writing duties alongside Anthony Frewin, Screen Daily claims that Irish actor Cillian Murphy most recently seen in period gangster drama series "Peaky Blinders" will also star. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Review: 'Second Best' Marigold Hotel lives up to its title
Monday Mar 2, 2015
Review: 'Second Best' Marigold Hotel lives up to its title

If you're going to do a movie sequel that doesn't quite measure up to the original and seems rather hurriedly cobbled together, well, OK. Many filmmakers have done the same. But actually putting the words "Second Best" in the title? Now, that's just asking for the unflattering comparisons. This isn't to say that "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" — so named after an actual hotel in the movie — won't appeal to the same fans who flocked to the first film. And it's hard to quibble over the value of spending two hours with the likes of Judi Dench and Maggie Smith. Indeed, Smith's exasperated rant over the state of lukewarm tea in the United States is alone worth the price of a ticket. But much of the film feels like a hastily arranged class reunion, where you show up but have less to talk about than last time. You still have some fun, but, like a cup of — er — lukewarm tea, it's definitely second best. The sequel brings us back to Jaipur, India, a few years after the British retirees first made their home in the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, where they discovered that although the place wasn't as luxurious as advertised, it was full of life — and life lessons. Sonny (Dev Patel), the ambitious and very talkative co-manager, is his usual hyperactive self, taking roll call every morning of the elderly residents, who've all settled into some sort of productive activity. There's the widowed Evelyn (Dench), now a textile buyer for an overseas company. There's her would-be beau, Douglas (Bill Nighy), who's trying to summon the guts to declare his love, while serving as the least-qualified tour guide in all of India. There's romance-starved Madge (Celia Imrie), dallying simultaneously with two rich suitors, and there's Norman (Ronald Pickup), the playboy who's now seeking a different kind of happiness. And there's Muriel (Smith), now Sonny's co-manager, keeping him as grounded and practical as she can. The film, directed by John Madden (who wrote the script with Ol Parker) opens with Muriel and Sonny on a road trip to a California retirement company they're hoping will fund Sonny's franchise dreams. Sonny's plan centers on buying a second hotel — to be christened, of course, "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel." Back in India, Sonny is too obsessed with his plan to pay any attention to his impending wedding — an obvious source of frustration to his fiancee, lovely Sunaina (Tina Desai). And he's so driven that when a guest named Guy Chambers (Richard Gere) shows up — and yes, that does sound like a porn star, but actually he's a novelist — Sonny's convinced he's the inspector that the retirement company's CEO said he'd send, incognito, to check out the place. Much stress ensues. As Chambers, the silver-haired Gere is sure to cause a frisson with the ladies, both onscreen and in the theater, but Gere pretty much floats through the film without much exertion — and the suddenness of his attraction to Sonny's mother (Lillete Dubey) is not very convincing. Also perturbing is a subplot involving a potentially sad fate for one of the characters. It's hinted at strongly and then dropped, or at least made so subtle that you wonder if, mid-shoot, the filmmakers changed their minds. In any case, it all boils down to that final wedding scene. Without spoiling much, we can tell you the colors are gorgeous (check out Sunaina's red sari), and as for the obligatory dance sequence — it may be obligatory, but it's huge fun. Keep your eyes on Patel: he's having a ball, and it's infectious. If the rest of the film were this appealing, it wouldn't feel "second best" at all. "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," a 20th Century Fox release, is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America "for some language and suggestive comments." Running time: 122 minutes. Two stars out of four. ___ Definition of PG: Parental guidance suggested. Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Jocelyn Noveck from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Review: Love is tested in 'The Mystery of Love & Sex'
Monday Mar 2, 2015
Review: Love is tested in 'The Mystery of Love & Sex'

NEW YORK (AP) — Love and sex are both pretty big topics, and while Bathsheba Doran's new play, "The Mystery of Love & Sex," illuminates both with gentle humor, it's also about how secrets can test the bonds of friendship and love. Lincoln Center Theater commissioned the play from Doran, who also wrote "Kin" (at Playwrights Horizons) and is a writer on the HBO series, "Boardwalk Empire." The quirky, bittersweet relationship drama is filled with one-liners and jokes that are often politically incorrect but funny. An engaging production, directed with compassion and sensitivity by Sam Gold, opened Monday night off-Broadway at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater. Tony Shalhoub (a Tony nominee for "Act One" and "Golden Boy," and a multiple Emmy winner for the TV series "Monk") plays a charmingly condescending, witty liberal Jewish author named Howard, living in Georgia and long married to a smart Southerner, Lucinda (Diane Lane). Shalhoub is a delight, making Howard lovable despite his pompous pronouncements and latent racism and homophobia. Lane (returning to the New York stage after almost 40 years) is quite winning as well, smartly underplaying the Southern belle. Their daughter Charlotte (Gayle Rankin) is attending college along with her best friend, Jonny, (Mamoudou Athie), an African-American neighbor who is considered part of the family. Charlotte is unhappily discovering repressed sexual orientations, and Rankin is sweetly expressive, sensitively presenting Charlotte's insecurities, depression and exuberances with equal flair. Athie is serious, stiff and cautious as Jonny, who loves Charlotte as his best friend but that's as far as he wants to take it. Gold, who recently directed "The Real Thing" on Broadway, is expert at allowing the actors to reveal little everyday epiphanies in Doran's seemingly mundane scenes. Charlotte's and Jonny's friendship falls apart, reforms, and falls apart again over a period of five years. Lucinda rebels against her sexless marriage, and there are some bitter battles between the parents, between both young people, and between Jonny and Howard. Doran's off-beat dialogue includes unconsciously prejudiced things people say in real life that contain humorous kernels of truth regarding religion, race and homophobia. Jonny tells Charlotte her father is "a pushy Jew," which shocks her, so he adds, "You've said it a thousand times. Nothing wrong with being a pushy Jew. Without pushy Jews we wouldn't have Hollywood." Despite many arguments and estrangements, and anger over secrets, Doran's play is ultimately about the endurance of all kinds of love. ___ Online: http://www.lct.org Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Jennifer Farrar from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Slum girl to silver screen: Uganda's chess prodigy
Monday Mar 2, 2015
Slum girl to silver screen: Uganda's chess prodigy

Phiona Mutesi happened upon chess as a famished nine-year-old foraging for food in the sprawling and impoverished slums of the Ugandan capital."I was very hungry," said Mutesi, aged about 18. Now a chess champion who competes internationally, her tale of triumph over adversity is being turned into a Hollywood epic with Oscar-winning Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong'o tipped to play her mother. "My dad had died, and after the age of three we started struggling to get food to eat, my mum was not working," Mutesi told AFP. They lived on one meal a day. She was forced to drop out of school aged six when her mother could not pay the fees. "You can't just wake up and say 'today': you have to plan first." One day, Mutesi discovered a chess program held in a church in the Katwe slum districts in Kampala. Potential players were enticed with a free cup of porridge, and Mutesi began organising her days around this. "It was so interesting," she recalled of her introduction to pawns, rooks, bishops, knights and kings in 2005. "But I didn't go there for chess, I went just to get a meal." As she returned week after week, something unexpected happened that would transform Mutesi's life. - 'Incredible impact' - The young girl developed a talent for chess, which was only introduced in Uganda in the 1970s by foreign doctors and was still seen as a game played by the rich. And her talent turned into a passion. "I like chess because it involves planning," said Mutesi. "If you don't plan, you will end up with your life so bad." The film, entitled "Queen of Katwe", is based on a book of the same name about Mutesi by American writer Tim Crothers. It is to be shot in Uganda and South Africa, directed by Mira Nair. Filming will reportedly begin in late March. Coach and mentor Robert Katende, of the Sports Outreach Ministry, remembers Mutesi wearing "dirty torn clothes" when he met her a decade ago. "She was really desperate for survival," said Katende, who is building a chess academy to accommodate 150 students outside Kampala. Two years into the game, Mutesi became Uganda's national women's junior champion, defending her title the next year. "Phiona Mutesi has flourished," Vianney Luggya, president of the Uganda Chess Federation, told AFP. "She made history in the schools' competition by becoming the first girl to compete in the boys' category. It was certainly surprising." By the time she participated in her first international competition, Africa's International Children's Chess Tournament in South Sudan in 2009, Mutesi still had not read a book. - 'Believe in yourself' - "It was really wonderful because it was my first time abroad," she said. "It was my first time to sleep in a hotel. We came back with a trophy." Since then Mutesi has competed in chess Olympiads in Russia's Siberia, in Turkey -- after which she was given the Woman Candidate Master ranking by FIDE, the World Chess Federation -- and in Norway last year. The teenager, who has two more years of high school left, hopes to go to the next Olympiad in 2016 in Azerbaijan. Overseas, Mutesi has also played against her hero, Russian former world champion and Grandmaster Garry Kasparov, and inspired school students in the US to start a tournament in her name. Back home, her fame has had "an incredible impact", said Luggya. "The number of lady players participating in national chess championships has doubled," he said, adding that each of the 26 schools set to compete in Uganda's annual championships in April will have girls and boys teams. Uganda's female players have also been spurred on by the success of Ivy Amoko, who became east Africa's first FIDE Master last year. A recent week-long chess clinic, involving Mutesi, attracted more than 200 participants, most of them female, from Kampala slums and surrounding communities. British-Nigerian actor David Oyelowo -- nominated for a Gold Globe Award for his portrayal of Martin Luther King in the 2014 drama "Selma" -- is also set to star in "Queen of Katwe". Luggya hopes the film will "open doors" for all players in Uganda, saying: "I think Ugandans realise that it is a brain game that can enhance their potential in all other aspects of life." Though the country now has east Africa's only International Master, Elijah Emojong, and the region's biggest number of titled players, Uganda still struggles with kit and trainers -- normally volunteers -- plus sponsorship for overseas titles. Mutesi is aware this may hold her back ultimately. But while her goal is to rise to Grandmaster, she also hopes to become a paediatrician and open a home for children, especially girls facing the same predicament she overcame. "Girls are always under-looked, even in chess," said Mutesi. "But I don't think there's any reason why a girl cannot beat a boy. It comes from believing in yourself." Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Events

YouTube names its 2015 Music Award Winners
Monday Mar 2, 2015
YouTube names its 2015 Music Award Winners

Beyoncé, Big Sean, Drake and Ed Sheeran feature among the 50 artists who will be picking up an award from the Google-owned video sharing platform at a special online-only event scheduled for March 23.YouTube has not explained exactly how the artists were judged for winning their awards, other than to say that they "showed the biggest growth in view, subscribers and engagement over the last six months on YouTube." Collectively, the artists, who also include Katy Perry, OK Go, One Direction, Snoop Dogg, Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga, have clocked up more than 47 billion views and boast 164 million subscribers since September. To mark the achievement, at 10am PT on March 23 YouTube will be posting a huge collection of exclusive new content from emerging and established artists to the site. The package is being produced by VICE and contributors included Cahoots, Charli XCX, Migos, Nicky Jam and Shamir. As for the YouTube Music Awards 2015, it will be broadcast live on YouTube on its own dedicated channel. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Singer John Legend talks about justice at Bahrain concert
Monday Mar 2, 2015
Singer John Legend talks about justice at Bahrain concert

MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) — Award-winning American singer and songwriter John Legend took to the stage in Bahrain on Monday night, performing to a sold-out crowd of more than 2,000 people despite calls by some activists to cancel the concert due to concerns over human rights abuses in the Gulf Arab nation. "When you look at me you might see international superstar John Legend, but I'm also the descendant of slaves... but we fought for change," he told the concert-goers before singing his Oscar-winning song "Glory," the anthem for the film "Selma," which is based on the historic 1965 march in Alabama led by Martin Luther King Jr. While not addressing the turmoil in Bahrain directly, Legend explained he was at the festival "to celebrate art and its power to bring us together and help us see each other's humanity." "I feel like it's part of my job to express myself freely and passionately about the issues that I care about," he said, as the crowd cheered in support. "A just society is not one built on fear or repression or vengeance or exclusion, but one built on love," added Legend, who has spoken out in support of freedom of expression and civil rights issues in the United States. Bahrain, a close U.S. ally that hosts Navy's 5th fleet, has seen nearly daily protests by members of the Shiite majority demanding a greater say in the Sunni-led monarchy. Several thousand protesters have been jailed and dozens killed in the tiny-island nation over the last four years. The concert was guarded by anti-riot police vehicles outside the entrance to the historic open-air Arad Fort in Bahrain's capital. Several Bahraini activists took to Twitter to urge Legend to boycott the 10th annual Spring of Culture festival, organized by the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities. In a statement to The Independent newspaper before the concert, Legend addressed calls for him to back out of the Bahrain show, and said he has "spent quite a bit of time thinking about human rights, civil rights and other issues of justice." He said that he felt participating in the conversation was the best way to drive progress. Bahrain's leading human rights activist, Nabeel Rajab, took a softer stance toward Legend's visit than others. He told The Associated Press that he is a fan and welcomes Legend to the country, but would also like to introduce him to relatives of political prisoners. "I am not against any kind of cultural event and I see that the U.S. civil-rights movement is an inspiration to many Bahraini human rights figures", Rajab said. Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Reem Khalifa from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

One of Turkey's best-known novelists, Yasar Kemal, dies
Monday Mar 2, 2015
One of Turkey's best-known novelists, Yasar Kemal, dies

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Yasar Kemal, one of Turkey's best-known novelists whose focus on social injustices brought him into conflict with authority, died in Istanbul on Saturday. He was 91. Kemal, best known for his first novel, "Ince Memed" or "Memed, My Hawk," also turned his pen to promoting Marxism during his early years and defending the rights of minorities in Turkey, including the Kurdish minority of which he was part. Kemal died at Istanbul's Capa Hospital where he was admitted on Jan. 14 and being treated in its intensive care unit for multiple organ failure, Dr. Mehmet Akif Karan said. "Memed," published in 1955, was based on the troubled feudal relations in Turkey's southern, agrarian regions where Kemal grew up. Reflecting the author's leftist views, the book's young peasant-turned-brigand hero takes a stand against injustices suffered by villagers at the hands of powerful landlords. The character of Memed was drawn in part from Kemal's memory of his mother's brother, an outlaw named Mayro — "the best-known outlaw in the eastern Anatolia, Iran and Caucasus areas." "Mayro was killed when he was only 25," Kemal said in an interview with French author Alain Bosquet. "I have heard many lullabies and a lot of national poetry that depict the bravery and heroism of Mayro. Mayro's adventurous life was quite an inspiration to me when I was a child, and his footprints can clearly be seen in most of my novels."  "Memed" was first published in installments in Cumhuriyet newspaper in 1953 and 1954 where Kemal was a journalist. The book won Turkey's Varlik literary prize in 1956 and it was widely translated, as were most of the more than 35 other books he wrote. On its strength, the struggling first novelist found his name circulated as a possible candidate for the Nobel literature prize. "It was one of the coldest Istanbul winters ever. I had no money to put wood in the stove," Kemal said in a speech in 2003 at Bilkent University, recalling the time he wrote the novel. "Yet, I just pretended that the fire was going strong; I covered myself in a ripped blanket, and typed away on an old typewriter that was missing many keys. That's how I wrote the 'Ince Memed,' and this novel is the best memory I kept from that house I could not pay the rent to."  Kemal's ability to delve into human nature and bring out the universal traits in his characters made his novels accessible to all sections of society. "Memed" and eight other novels were made into films. "My adventures are aimed at exploring the mystery of the human," he said at an award ceremony at the presidential palace in 2008. In an interview with The Associated Press in 1996, Kemal recalled hearing his father sing Kurdish songs on a hilltop overlooking their village in the southern province of Adana. These were sagas of Kurdish heroism — of wars, lost sons and migrations in past centuries; of nostalgia for lands left behind. However, Kemal didn't promote his Kurdish background and few people knew he was a Kurd. "I'm a Turkish writer — of Kurdish origin," he said. But he did speak out during clashes between autonomy-seeking Kurdish guerrillas and Turkish troops in mid 1990s. Kemal was tried in 1995 under anti-terror laws but acquitted for an article he wrote for the German magazine Der Spiegel, accusing the Turkish army of destroying Kurdish villages. He saw his acquittal as one step in a longer struggle. "One person's acquittal does not mean freedom of expression has arrived. You can't have spring with only one flower," Kemal said at the time. "We still have to work very hard to achieve democracy in Turkey. I will continue to write these things until there are no trials against expression." In the same year, he received a 20-month suspended sentence for another article for "inciting hatred and promoting racism." "I couldn't sleep at nights for a year," Kemal said. "I had pangs of conscience. 'You are a writer. You have to speak up,' I kept telling myself."   Although Kemal wasn't the first writer to be sentenced for writings about the Kurdish issue, his views attracted wider attention. Nobel laureate and playwright Arthur Miller sent a letter of support to Kemal and called his sentence "a painful absurdity." Kemal angrily rejected charges from Turkish ultranationalists that he was a traitor and shouldn't write in Turkish. "My life has been dedicated to the Turkish language, Turkish culture," he said. "I don't want a separate Kurdish state, nobody does. All that the Kurds want is their universal human rights — the right to preserve their language, culture, identity." Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu reacted to Kemal's death by praising the writer's ability to "maintain his dissident attitude and express the truth without holding back at times when speaking the truth was hard." Kemal Sadik Gokceli was born in 1923 — he believed it was sometime in October — in a small village in Adana. He grew up hearing the Kurdish language at home and Turkish outside. Kemal was blinded in his right eye as a child when a knife slipped out of a butcher's hand. When he was 5, the boy witnessed his father being murdered by his adopted son, jealous of the father's love for his natural son. Kemal re-imagined his father in the autobiographical novel "Yagmurcuk Kusu" ("Rain Bird"), granting his father a much longer life. As a teenager, Kemal dropped out of secondary school and worked as a farm hand, a substitute teacher, a library clerk, a tractor driver and other jobs before moving to Istanbul, where he wrote for Cumhuriyet, taking the pseudonym Yasar Kemal. He joined the Turkish Labor Party in 1962 and founded the weekly Marxist magazine, Ant, in 1967. His "A Guide to Marxism" published in Ant led to his prosecution on charges of promoting communism but his 18-month prison sentence was later suspended. Kemal's poems were first published in local newspapers. His first book, "Agitlar" or "Ballads," published in 1943, was a compilation of folklore he collected during his travels. Kemal won numerous international awards including the Legion d'honneur from the French government. "I don't write about issues, I don't write for an audience, I don't even write for myself. I just write," Kemal said in an interview with the Guardian in 2008. "Yes, there is rebellion in my novels, but it's rebellion against mortality. As long as man goes from one darkness to another, he will create myths for himself. The only difference between me and others is that I write mine down." In 1952, Kemal married Thilda Serrero, who translated some of his works into English and died in 2001. Kemal is survived by their son, Rasit Gokceli, and his second wife, Ayse Semiha Baban, a lecturer at Istanbul's Bilgi University. Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Suzan Fraser from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Judge: CeeLo Green in compliance with probation in drug case
Monday Mar 2, 2015
Judge: CeeLo Green in compliance with probation in drug case

LOS ANGELES (AP) — CeeLo Green has completed more than 150 hours of community service and is complying with counseling requirements that are conditions of his probation in a felony drug case, court records show. The Grammy Award-winning singer has been working with homeless veterans in Los Angeles' Skid Row neighborhood and with a music foundation, according to a probation report filed in the singer's case Monday. The favorable report led Superior Court Judge David Herriford to find Green in compliance and order that the singer no longer has to attend court hearings in the case. Green, whose real name is Thomas DeCarlo Callaway, pleaded no contest in August to furnishing a woman with ecstasy during a 2012 dinner. He was ordered to serve 45 days of community service and attend 52 drug and alcohol counseling sessions. Green has been meeting with a therapist individually, who praised the singer's progress. "He shows up and demonstrates a genuine humbleness not often seen by artists that have achieved this type of success," Dr. Betty Wyman wrote in a letter filed in court. Green, 39, won a Grammy for the hit "Forget You." He also appeared as a judge on the NBC competition show "The Voice." He left the show after he was charged. After entering the no-contest plea, Green posted a series of messages on Twitter, including one that read: "Women who have really been raped REMEMBER!!!" Green later tweeted an apology, but the statements led to the cancellation of a reality show and several concert appearances. Prosecutors rejected a rape charge against Green when he was charged with the felony drug charge in October 2013. His attorney, Blair Berk, has said Green had consensual sex with the woman he gave ecstasy to during the July 2012 dinner. In addition to counseling and community service, Green is working on a new album, the probation report states. ___ Anthony McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/mccartneyAP Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Anthony Mccartney from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Oscar-winning director: Poles should see 'Ida" not debate it
Monday Mar 2, 2015
Oscar-winning director: Poles should see 'Ida" not debate it

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The director of "Ida," the Polish movie that won this year's Oscar for best foreign film, said Monday that Poles should see it before calling it anti-Polish. "Ida" premiered in Poland in 2013, but attracted little attention despite winning best picture in Poland's main movie festival. Now the Oscar and a slew of other international awards have generated intense debate about whether it's unpatriotic, a charge leveled by right-wing politicians. The movie is about Ida, a young woman preparing to be a nun, who discovers she is Jewish and that her parents were murdered by a Polish peasant during World War II. Detractors argue that the movie lacks the historic background of terror under Nazi German occupation of Poland during the war. They say it fails to mention that many Poles saved Jews, despite the fact such actions were punishable by death. Polish-British director Pawel Pawlikowski has brushed off the criticism, saying his movie is about identity not history. At a meeting Monday with President Bronislaw Komorowski he suggested that not all those engaging in the debate had seen "Ida." "I'd rather you saw the film," Pawlikowski said, "not debated it." Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.