Thursday Jan 29, 2015

Qantas first class flyers to get VR headsets

The Australian national carrier is partnering with Samsung to trial the use of Gear VR headsets for a more immersive in-flight entertainment experience.In what Qantas claims is a world first for an airline, first class travelers on select Airbus A380 services between Australia and Los Angeles...
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TV

Qantas first class flyers to get VR headsets
Thursday Jan 29, 2015
Qantas first class flyers to get VR headsets

The Australian national carrier is partnering with Samsung to trial the use of Gear VR headsets for a more immersive in-flight entertainment experience.In what Qantas claims is a world first for an airline, first class travelers on select Airbus A380 services between Australia and Los Angeles will be able to experience 360° virtual tours of select destinations and other specially developed content as well as accessing the usual selection of Hollywood blockbuster movies. "Whether the user wants a virtual tour of our new Los Angeles First Lounge or to experience an A380 landing from the tarmac, this technology gives us a completely new way to connect with our customers," said Qantas Group Executive, Brand, Marketing & Corporate Affairs Olivia Wirth. "From an inflight entertainment perspective, it's an industry first. Qantas is committed to being at the forefront of innovation to give our passengers the very best and latest in-flight experiences." During the initial three-month trial VR headsets will also be made available to customers using Sydney's or Melbourne's International First Lounge. Whether or not the headsets become a standard first-class perk will be based on customer feedback, but Qantas is confident that virtual reality is something that really can add a new dimension to in-flight entertainment and has already started partnering with organizations to develop original content. Qantas plans to start equipping its Sydney and Melbourne International First Lounges with the headsets in mid-February, while the in-air trial will begin in March. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

'Wet Hot American Summer' expands its cast with Chris Pine, Jon Hamm and Kristen Wiig
Thursday Jan 29, 2015
'Wet Hot American Summer' expands its cast with Chris Pine, Jon Hamm and Kristen Wiig

As if reuniting the monumental original cast wasn't enough of a feat in itself, the miniseries prequel to the cult comedy is adding a few impressive guest stars. Due to arrive on Netflix this summer, "Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp" will include minor characters played by Chris Pine, Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig and Jason Schwartzman, according to Deadline.The four actors will play minor roles at some point over the course of the eight episodes planned. "Mad Men" star Jon Hamm is set to play a spy of some kind. Kristen Wiig, who is set to star in the coming "Ghostbusters" reboot, will play a camp counselor, as will Jason Schwartzman ("The Grand Budapest Hotel"). Chris Pine's role remains a mystery. The four new recruits join the other newcomers to the story, John Slattery ("Mad Men") and Josh Charles ("The Good Wife"), in addition to the almost unbelievable original cast. Aided by Michael Showalter and David Wain, who wrote and directed the movie and created the new miniseries, Netflix managed to convince all the original stars to sign on for the project, including those who have become very famous in the intervening years. Bradley Cooper, Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Christopher Meloni and Elizabeth Banks are among those who will reprise their roles as counselors at a summer camp in 1981. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Amy Poehler feted by Harvard's Hasty Pudding
Thursday Jan 29, 2015
Amy Poehler feted by Harvard's Hasty Pudding

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — Amy Poehler turned the tables on her roasters, poking fun at Harvard and its famed Hasty Pudding theater troupe during its annual Woman of the Year award Thursday. The actress joked at the irreverent affair that she never expected to be feted by the Ivy League school she raised a "middle finger" to growing up in nearby Burlington, Massachusetts. "I want to thank Hasty Pudding for reminding us how hard it is to write funny jokes," she said after two student roasters teased her about past roles in comedies such as "Baby Mama" and "Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo." The "Parks and Recreation" star and "Saturday Night Live" alum also poked fun at the university's elitist reputation and pointed out the lack of female actors in her performance with the nation's oldest undergraduate drama troupe. "It's unsettling that there will be no women on stage tonight," Poehler said to applause. "You know it's time for a change when the Augusta National Golf Club has lapped you." She then quickly quipped: "I haven't seen so many smiling white faces since I took my top off at a mime convention." Later, Poehler rapped while wearing a baseball cap of her alma mater, Boston College, that her dad tossed on stage from his seat in the audience. She also did an improv skit with an actor dressed as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and a dance routine with male actors dressed as the popular high school girls clique from her "Mean Girls" movie. "Wow, Amy. You can rap, act and dance. You're a regular Mark Wahlberg," said Jason Hellerstein, president of the student group, who roasted Poehler along with group vice president Samuel Clark. Poehler promised to treat her award — a golden pudding pot — "with the respect any fake award deserves." After the roast, Poehler said being raised in the Boston-area shaped her comedy. "I think at times I have a very blue-collared approach," she said. "Bostonians have to go through a lot of weather and traffic. And you get pretty hardy. It certainly helped." Chris Pratt, Poehler's co-star on "Parks & Recreation" who starred in the "Guardians of the Galaxy" film, is Hasty Pudding's 2015 Man of the Year. He gets his own parade and roast Feb. 6 The annual award goes to performers who have made a lasting contribution to entertainment. Last year's winners were Helen Mirren and Neil Patrick Harris. Poehler has a 2014 Golden Globe award and five Emmy nominations for her role as Leslie Knope on "Parks and Recreation," an NBC comedy series. She spent seven seasons on "Saturday Night Live." Earlier Thursday, Poehler was paraded from Harvard Square to the theater hall with a boisterous marching band, costumed marchers and a duck boat in tow. Students and fans who lined Massachusetts Avenue for the parade held signs declaring "Leslie Knope for president" and shouting, "We love you Amy!" as she made her way down the road in the back seat of a convertible Bentley. Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Philip Marcelo from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Justin Bieber apologizes for bad behavior in online video
Thursday Jan 29, 2015
Justin Bieber apologizes for bad behavior in online video

NEW YORK (AP) — Justin Bieber has apologized for his bad behavior in a new video posted to Facebook. The singer says in a 2-minute video posted early Thursday that his "arrogant and conceited" attitude over the last two years was just to cover up his true feelings. He said growing up in the industry is tough. Bieber visited "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" on Wednesday and said he was "nervous" about the appearance. He said he didn't know how people would react to him. The 20-year-old was heavily booed at the Fashion Rocks event last year, and his recent Calvin Klein ad was ridiculed. His tumultuous behavior has ranged from a DUI arrest to egg-tossing vandalism to clashing with a paparazzo. Bieber also said he wants people to know he has a caring side. ___ Online: Justin Bieber's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/JustinBieber 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.

Jim Parsons to play God in Broadway's 'An Act of God'
Thursday Jan 29, 2015
Jim Parsons to play God in Broadway's 'An Act of God'

NEW YORK (AP) — Jim Parsons is going from a scientific nerd in "The Big Bang Theory" to a pretty big religious role — the Almighty. Producers on Thursday said Parsons will star in a stage adaptation of the humor book "The Last Testament: A Memoir by God" on Broadway. The play, called "An Act of God," is adapted by its author, David Javerbaum. Two-time Tony Award winner Joe Mantello, who also helmed "Wicked" and "Other Desert Cities," will direct the show, which begins performances May 5 at the Studio 54 theater. Parsons, who won four Emmys for "The Big Bang Theory," has Broadway credits that include the comic "Harvey" and the heartbreaking "The Normal Heart." Javerbaum is the Emmy Award-winning former head writer and executive producer of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart." He also co-wrote the score to the 2008 musical "Cry-Baby" and songs for the Tony Awards hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, including the tune "Broadway Is Not Just for Gays Anymore." The show is produced by Jeffrey Finn, who has produced "The Elephant Man," ''Seminar," ''Scandalous," ''Dead Accounts" and "The Realistic Joneses." ___ Online: http://www.anactofgod.com ___ Follow Mark Kennedy on Twitter at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Mark Kennedy from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Movies

'Wet Hot American Summer' expands its cast with Chris Pine, Jon Hamm and Kristen Wiig
Thursday Jan 29, 2015
'Wet Hot American Summer' expands its cast with Chris Pine, Jon Hamm and Kristen Wiig

As if reuniting the monumental original cast wasn't enough of a feat in itself, the miniseries prequel to the cult comedy is adding a few impressive guest stars. Due to arrive on Netflix this summer, "Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp" will include minor characters played by Chris Pine, Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig and Jason Schwartzman, according to Deadline.The four actors will play minor roles at some point over the course of the eight episodes planned. "Mad Men" star Jon Hamm is set to play a spy of some kind. Kristen Wiig, who is set to star in the coming "Ghostbusters" reboot, will play a camp counselor, as will Jason Schwartzman ("The Grand Budapest Hotel"). Chris Pine's role remains a mystery. The four new recruits join the other newcomers to the story, John Slattery ("Mad Men") and Josh Charles ("The Good Wife"), in addition to the almost unbelievable original cast. Aided by Michael Showalter and David Wain, who wrote and directed the movie and created the new miniseries, Netflix managed to convince all the original stars to sign on for the project, including those who have become very famous in the intervening years. Bradley Cooper, Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Christopher Meloni and Elizabeth Banks are among those who will reprise their roles as counselors at a summer camp in 1981. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Brad Pitt in talks to join Angelina Jolie's next movie
Thursday Jan 29, 2015
Brad Pitt in talks to join Angelina Jolie's next movie

After "By the Sea," shot in August 2014, the actor could collaborate with his wife once again in "Africa."For her fourth feature as a director, Angelina Jolie has chosen "Africa," a biopic of archaeologist Richard Leakey, who became known for his dedication to protecting elephants from poachers in Kenya in the late 1980s. According to TheWrap, Brad Pitt is in negotiations to play the wildlife defender in his wife's film. The script is penned by Eric Roth, who won an Oscar for his "Forrest Gump" screenplay in 1995. Jolie will reteam with cinematographer Roger Deakins, with whom she worked on "Unbroken." If Pitt is confirmed in the role, "Africa" will be his third professional collaboration with his wife. After co-starring in "Mr. and Ms. Smith" in 2005, the pair will share the screen a second time in "By the Sea," which was filmed last summer. Jolie, who wrote and directed the drama, also co-stars with her husband. Recently seen in David Ayer's "Fury," Pitt is due to appear in Terrence Malick's next feature "Voyage of Time" and in Adam McKay's "The Big Short," which he is also producing via his Plan B outfit.  Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Amanda Seyfried replaces Tatiana Maslany off-Broadway
Thursday Jan 29, 2015
Amanda Seyfried replaces Tatiana Maslany off-Broadway

NEW YORK (AP) — Orphan Black is out. But a Cosette is taking her place. Second Stage Theatre said Thursday that Amanda Seyfried will replace BBC America star Tatiana Maslany in the world premiere of Neil LaBute's "The Way We Get By." Maslany, star of "Orphan Black," withdrew due to schedule conflicts. Previews begin April 28 under the direction of Leigh Silverman. Seyfried will star opposite Thomas Sadoski as lovers who hook up during a drunken wedding reception. Seyfried , who appeared as Cosette in the recent film adaptation of "Les Miserables," will be making her off-Broadway debut. She's starred in the film "Mamma Mia!" with Meryl Streep and "Mean Girls." She'll be in the upcoming "Ted 2" and "Pan." ___ Online: http://www.2ST.com ___ Follow Mark Kennedy on Twitter at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Mark Kennedy from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

AP Explains: Super Bowl stadium full of unique features
Thursday Jan 29, 2015
AP Explains: Super Bowl stadium full of unique features

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — With its retractable roof and moveable field, University of Phoenix Stadium is unlike any stadium anywhere. Its unique design allows games to be played inside in the air conditioning when it's hot out or have an outdoors feel when the roof is open. The moveable field makes it possible to grow the natural-grass field outside in the sunlight and move back inside for games. A quick rundown of University of Phoenix Stadium, site of Sunday's Super Bowl between the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots: ___ HISTORY University of Phoenix Stadium opened in 2006 after three years of construction to serve as the home of the NFL's Arizona Cardinals, which had played at Arizona State's Sun Devil Stadium after relocating from St. Louis in 1988. It also has been the site of the Fiesta Bowl every year since 2007 and hosted the 2008 Super Bowl. Designed by architect Peter Eisenman, the $455 million stadium is the first in North America to have a retractable roof and a moveable field. Though designed to resemble a barrel cactus, it is more often said to look like an alien spaceship because of its silver, disk-like shape. The stadium a capacity of 63,400 and can expand to 72,200. ____ THE ROOF University of Phoenix Stadium is one of four in the NFL with a retractable roof, along with Houston, Dallas and Indianapolis. The roof has two retractable panels that weigh about 550 tons each and cover the entire field when closed, allowing the stadium to be air conditioned when it's hot outside. The panels are made of translucent fiberglass that allows natural light in and the roof, which sits 206 feet above ground level, is supported by two 700-foot trusses. The roof takes about 15 minutes to open or close, but most games are played with it closed. Since 2006, the Arizona Cardinals have played with it open 22 times in 93 games. ___ THE FIELD The Cardinals wanted to have a wanted to have a natural-grass field in their new stadium, but the design of the retractable roof would not allow enough sunlight in to properly grow the grass. To accommodate the grass, stadium designers made it so the entire field could be moved in and out of the stadium on a series of wheels, gears and rails. Moveable fields had been built for professional soccer teams at the GelreDome in Arnhem, Netherlands and the Veltins-Arena in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, but this was the first time it had been done in North America. The tray holding the field measures 234 feet wide and 403 feet long, and weighs more than 18 million pounds. It's wheeled in and out of the stadium on 546 steel wheels that ride along 13 parallel steel rails, traveling 741 feet in about 75 minutes. The grass, a Bermuda hybrid, was grown for a more than year at an Alabama farm, then was cut into sections that were rolled up and transported in 33 refrigerated tractor-trailers. ___ AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by John Marshall from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Colin Firth joins James Marsh's next feature
Thursday Jan 29, 2015
Colin Firth joins James Marsh's next feature

The British actor has signed on in the title role of a sailing movie from the director of "The Theory of Everything," Deadline reveals.James Marsh is perhaps one of the most talked-about filmmakers of the moment, as his Stephen Hawking biopic "The Theory of Everything" has already earned a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award (for lead actor Eddie Redmayne), as well as several Oscar nominations. In light of this, it's no surprise that Colin Firth, who is set to return to theaters this February in "Kingsman: The Secret Service," has agreed to star in his next feature, which is based on a true story. Firth will play Donald Crowhurst, a British businessman who competed to win a round-the-world yacht race in 1968 and became lost at sea, never to be found. To be produced by StudioCanal and BBC Films, the movie will be an adaptation of the 2006 documentary "Deep Water." Principal photography is set to begin this spring. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2015. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Events

Rod McKuen, mega-selling poet and performer, dies at 81
Thursday Jan 29, 2015
Rod McKuen, mega-selling poet and performer, dies at 81

NEW YORK (AP) — Rod McKuen, the husky-voiced "King of Kitsch" whose music, verse and spoken-word recordings in the 1960s and '70s won him Oscar nominations and made him one of the best-selling poets in history, has died. He was 81. McKuen died Thursday morning at a rehabilitation center in Beverly Hills, California, where he had been treated for pneumonia and had been ill for several weeks and was unable to digest food, said his half brother, Edward McKuen Habib. Until his sabbatical in 1981, McKuen was an astonishingly successful and prolific force in popular culture, turning out hundreds of songs and poems and records, including the Academy Award-nominated song "Jean" for the 1969 film "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie." Sentimental, earnest and unashamed, he conjured a New Age spirit world that captivated those who didn't ordinarily like "poetry" and those who craved relief from the war, assassinations and riots of the time. "I think it's a reaction people are having against so much insanity in the world," he once said. "I mean, people are really all we've got. You know it sounds kind of corny, and I suppose it's a cliche, but it's really true; that's just the way it is." His best-known songs, some written with the Belgian composer Jacques Brel, include "Birthday Boy," ''A Man Alone," ''If You Go Away" and "Seasons In the Sun," a chart-topper in 1974 for Terry Jacks. He was nominated for an Oscar for "Jean" and for "A Boy Named Charlie Brown," the title track for the Peanuts movie. Frank Sinatra, Madonna, Dolly Parton and Chet Baker were among the many artists who recorded his material, although McKuen often handled the job himself in a hushed, throaty style he honed after an early life as a rock singer cracked his natural tenor. McKuen is credited with more than 200 albums — dozens of which went gold or platinum — and more than 30 collections of poetry. Worldwide sales for his music top 100 million units while his book sales exceed 60 million copies. He was particularly productive in the late '60s, releasing four poetry collections, eight songbooks, the soundtracks to "Miss Jean Brodie" and "A Boy Named Charlie Brown" and at least 10 other albums. Around the same time, his "Lonesome Cities" album won a Grammy for best spoken word recording and Sinatra commissioned him to write material for "A Man Alone: The Words and Music of Rod McKuen." With his sharply parted blond hair, sneakers and jeans, McKuen was recognized worldwide in every medium: movies, music, books, television, stage. When not writing or recording, he appeared on "The Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson and other talk show programs, formed a film production company with Rock Hudson and toured constantly until he took an extended break in 1981. "I was tired. I peaked. I left when I was on top," McKuen told the Chicago Tribune in 2001. "One year, I did 280 concerts. I was all over the world. I went to cities I never saw. I'd go to sleep and then it was time to get up and be in the next town." McKuen sometimes wrote a poem or song a day. He had no formal musical or literary training and prided himself on writing verse that anyone could understand. Among his most quoted phrases were "Listen to the warm" and "It doesn't matter who you love, or how you love, but that you love." McKuen, however, didn't receive universal acclaim. Newsweek dubbed him "The King of Kitsch," while the magazine Mademoiselle preferred "Marshmallow Poet." And a National Lampoon parody interspaced mock verses with dollar signs. McKuen's childhood was as hard as his lyrics were soft. Born in Oakland in 1934, McKuen's father left when he was a baby, and he was terrified of his alcoholic stepfather. By 11, McKuen had run away. He spent his teens doing everything from ranching to roping horses in a rodeo, and he wrote poetry in his free time. After serving as a propaganda writer in the Korean War, McKuen wound up in San Francisco, where his friend Phyllis Diller helped him find work in the growing nightclub scene. He went on to sing with the Lionel Hampton band, acted in a handful of movies and TV shows, read poetry on the same bill as Jack Kerouac and other Beat writers and had a minor hit single in the early 1960s with the dance parody "Oliver Twist." While living in France, he met Brel and began a friendship that set him on his way to superstardom. His English-language adaptations of Brel's songs included the hit "Seasons In the Sun" and the pop standard "If You Go Away." Without critical approval or a book or recording contract, McKuen proved that an artist could thrive on word of mouth alone. He sang in bowling alleys to promote "Oliver Twist," which cracked the Billboard top 100. His self-published collection of poems and lyrics, "Stanyan Street and Other Sorrows," sold tens of thousands of copies before Random House acquired it. McKuen slowed down over the second half of his life, and many of his books fell out of print. However, he continued to publish poetry, remastered old musical recordings and gave occasional concerts. He provided voiceovers for the Disney movie and TV series "The Little Mermaid" and appeared at Carnegie Hall in 1995 for an 80th birthday tribute to Sinatra. Artists continued to record his songs, including the former Gene Ween, Aaron Freeman, who in 2012 released an album of McKuen covers called "Marvelous Clouds." McKuen did at times take on social and political issues. He opposed the Vietnam War, wrote a poem about the Watergate scandal and supported civil rights and equal rights for gays. ___ Associated Press writer Robert Jablon contributed to this report from Los Angeles. Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Hillel Italie from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Amy Poehler feted by Harvard's Hasty Pudding
Thursday Jan 29, 2015
Amy Poehler feted by Harvard's Hasty Pudding

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — Amy Poehler turned the tables on her roasters, poking fun at Harvard and its famed Hasty Pudding theater troupe during its annual Woman of the Year award Thursday. The actress joked at the irreverent affair that she never expected to be feted by the Ivy League school she raised a "middle finger" to growing up in nearby Burlington, Massachusetts. "I want to thank Hasty Pudding for reminding us how hard it is to write funny jokes," she said after two student roasters teased her about past roles in comedies such as "Baby Mama" and "Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo." The "Parks and Recreation" star and "Saturday Night Live" alum also poked fun at the university's elitist reputation and pointed out the lack of female actors in her performance with the nation's oldest undergraduate drama troupe. "It's unsettling that there will be no women on stage tonight," Poehler said to applause. "You know it's time for a change when the Augusta National Golf Club has lapped you." She then quickly quipped: "I haven't seen so many smiling white faces since I took my top off at a mime convention." Later, Poehler rapped while wearing a baseball cap of her alma mater, Boston College, that her dad tossed on stage from his seat in the audience. She also did an improv skit with an actor dressed as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and a dance routine with male actors dressed as the popular high school girls clique from her "Mean Girls" movie. "Wow, Amy. You can rap, act and dance. You're a regular Mark Wahlberg," said Jason Hellerstein, president of the student group, who roasted Poehler along with group vice president Samuel Clark. Poehler promised to treat her award — a golden pudding pot — "with the respect any fake award deserves." After the roast, Poehler said being raised in the Boston-area shaped her comedy. "I think at times I have a very blue-collared approach," she said. "Bostonians have to go through a lot of weather and traffic. And you get pretty hardy. It certainly helped." Chris Pratt, Poehler's co-star on "Parks & Recreation" who starred in the "Guardians of the Galaxy" film, is Hasty Pudding's 2015 Man of the Year. He gets his own parade and roast Feb. 6 The annual award goes to performers who have made a lasting contribution to entertainment. Last year's winners were Helen Mirren and Neil Patrick Harris. Poehler has a 2014 Golden Globe award and five Emmy nominations for her role as Leslie Knope on "Parks and Recreation," an NBC comedy series. She spent seven seasons on "Saturday Night Live." Earlier Thursday, Poehler was paraded from Harvard Square to the theater hall with a boisterous marching band, costumed marchers and a duck boat in tow. Students and fans who lined Massachusetts Avenue for the parade held signs declaring "Leslie Knope for president" and shouting, "We love you Amy!" as she made her way down the road in the back seat of a convertible Bentley. Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Philip Marcelo from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Idina Menzel ready for spotlight at Super Bowl
Thursday Jan 29, 2015
Idina Menzel ready for spotlight at Super Bowl

PHOENIX (AP) — Broadway star Idina Menzel says Whitney Houston's rendition of the national anthem is her favorite version, but she's looking to make the song her own this Sunday. Menzel said singing the anthem before Super Bowl 49 is the culmination of a lifelong dream, one forged on Sundays watching football with her father. "It's the pinnacle. It's the milestone in my career," Menzel, a Broadway star who's gained widespread popularity, said Thursday. But Menzel cautioned people not to just pay attention to the song's high notes, which have been a benchmark for singers since Houston's rousing version before Super Bowl 25. Houston radiated the spirit of the song, Menzel said. "It was Whitney," she said of what made that rendition memorable. "There was just something so beautiful that was coming from her that day." Menzel said she will sing the song live, so that her rendition captures what she is feeling at the moment. "It's a beautiful melody, and I just want the humanity and the truth to come out," she said. Menzel, who's become a superstar after singing and voice acting in the Disney film "Frozen," said she doesn't expect to be more nervous about her upcoming performance than she is singing before a Broadway audience. "I love to sing, I love to perform live," she said. "I love to put myself out there and make myself vulnerable." She became famous for appearing in both the stage and film versions of "Rent," and has since appeared in films and performed at last year's Academy Awards. Menzel infused her press conference Thursday with details about her relationship with football. "I grew up watching football every Sunday with my dad," she said. Despite that, she couldn't easily pick a favorite team. "I'm a daughter of a betting man and whoever covered the spread was who I was going to root for," Menzel joked. She knows she'll be pulling for the Seattle Seahawks, though. "I'm rooting for Seattle because I'm a New Yorker and I cannot in good faith root for the Patriots," she said. ___ 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.

Lil Wayne sues mentor's record label for $51M, seeking split
Thursday Jan 29, 2015
Lil Wayne sues mentor's record label for $51M, seeking split

NEW YORK (AP) — Rapper Lil Wayne has had it with his record label. He's suing Cash Money Records for $51 million after claiming that it stiffed him for $8 million on a record he delivered last month. In the federal lawsuit filed Wednesday, the Grammy Award-winning performer asked a Manhattan judge to nullify contracts he has held with the company since November 1998. Born in New Orleans as Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., the 32-year-old rapper said in the lawsuit that his relationship with the label has been deteriorating over the last four years, with Cash Money failing to live up to contractual promises regarding monthly accounting statements and the timely payment of profits owed to Lil Wayne. The lawsuit said the problems worsened since 2012 as Cash Money failed to pay Lil Wayne a 49 percent share of net income derived from the sale of solo recordings by rapper Drake for Lil Wayne's partial ownership of the Young Money label, despite Drake's rise as one of the best-selling recording artists in recent years. Nicki Minaj is also signed to the label. It said Cash Money also is claiming millions of dollars in marketing expenses for the Young Money label even though it is required to obtain approval from Lil Wayne for expenses greater than $300,000. And it said the company is preventing artists recommended by Lil Wayne from being added to the Young Money label and is failing to pay third parties involved with the Young Money label, leading to lawsuits and additional costs. A New York lawyer for Cash Money did not immediately return a message seeking comment. The label was co-founded by Lil Wayne's mentor, Bryan "Birdman" Williams. A spokeswoman for Birdman and Cash Money did not return a message seeking comment. A rapper since childhood, Lil Wayne released his first solo album, "Tha Block Is Hot," in 1999. He lives in Florida now. The Young Money label is based in Miami. The Cash Money website is promoting the upcoming release of the record Lil Wayne finished last month, "Tha Carter V," one of the most anticipated records of the past year. Lil Wayne said last year it was likely to be his last solo album. "Tha Carter IV," released in 2011, sold nearly 1 million albums the first week of its release. 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.

Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande to pay tribute to Stevie Wonder
Thursday Jan 29, 2015
Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande to pay tribute to Stevie Wonder

NEW YORK (AP) — Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande and John Legend have been added to the group of artists set to pay tribute to Stevie Wonder next month. The Recording Academy announced Thursday that the Band Perry will also perform alongside Usher and Chris Martin at "Stevie Wonder: Songs in the Key of Life — An All-Star Grammy Salute" on Feb. 10 in Los Angeles. Willie Nelson was originally part of lineup, but is no longer performing, the Recording Academy said. The concert, to be held at the Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE, will also include Ed Sheeran and Janelle Monae. It will take place two days after the 57th annual Grammy Awards. The concert will air as a two-hour special on CBS on Feb. 16. ___ Online: http://www.grammys.com 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.