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Articles written by Mark Kennedy

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Review: Put down that phone, urges doc 'The Social Dilemma'

"The Social Dilemma" is the first film you'll watch and immediately want to toss your smartphone into the garbage can. And then toss the garbage can through the window of a Facebook executive. It's an eye-opening look into the way social media is...

 

Tyler Perry's work honored with 2020 Governors Award

NEW YORK (AP) — Tyler Perry has won awards from the NAACP and BET. Now he's getting a big one from the Television Academy: He and his foundation are the recipients of the 2020 Governors Award. The prize, picked by the academy board of governors,...

 

Newsweek apologizes for op-ed questioning Harris eligibility

NEW YORK (AP) — Newsweek has apologized for an op-ed that questioned Sen. Kamala Harris' U.S. citizenship and her eligibility to be Joe Biden's running mate, a false and racist conspiracy theory which President Donald Trump has not dismissed....

 

Josh Groban won't let virus stop his live music and album

It's the sound of silence that Josh Groban finds hardest to hear during the pandemic. Quarantine hasn't stilled his voice or songwriting, but the give-and-get Groban usually enjoys from interacting with his audience is gone. He sings into a machine...

 

Plush toys, jewelry, dance lessons - Broadway's side hustles

NEW YORK (AP) — Broadway seamstress Amy Micallef hasn't put her talent on hold while theaters are shut. She's been making plush toys — unusual plush toys. Micallef, who has worked in the wardrobe departments of "Hamilton," "Waitress" and "Frozen,...

 

Elizabeth Banks to drive 'Magic School Bus' onto big screens

NEW YORK (AP) — "The Magic School Bus" has traveled everywhere from Pluto to inside the human body. Now it's going somewhere new: the big screen. Scholastic Entertainment said Thursday that it will make "a feature-length, live-action hybrid film"...

 

Stars to come out to support NYC's The Public Theater

NEW YORK (AP) — Jesse Tyler Ferguson is a star in his own right but even he has had to gulp at the wattage on tap for the upcoming benefit for New York City's fabled Public Theater. Meryl Streep, Antonio Banderas, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Alicia Keys,...

 

Larry Kramer used voice, pen to raise consciousness on AIDS

NEW YORK (AP) — Time never softened the urgency of Larry Kramer's demands. Theatergoers leaving a celebrated revival of Kramer's "The Normal Heart" in 2011 were greeted by the playwright himself, deep in his 70s by then, handing out leaflets...

 

A homebound Penn & Teller make magic for us during lockdown

NEW YORK (AP) — The magicians Penn & Teller hope to pull off a heck of a trick on Monday — make fears of the coronavirus disappear, at least for an hour. The duo star in the CW's special "Penn & Teller: Try This at Home," created and filmed...

 

Muppet Elmo readies for his own starry HBO Max talk show

NEW YORK (AP) — There was a time not too long ago when Broadway star Ben Platt was interviewed by a monster. A perfectly nice monster, of course. It was Elmo. Elmo asked Platt what was his favorite music to sing. Cookie Monster interrupted to ask...

 

Stopped cold: 'Frozen' musical on Broadway not to reopen

NEW YORK (AP) — The big budget musical "Frozen" will not reopen when Broadway theaters restart, marking the first time an established show has been felled by the coronavirus pandemic. Until now, only shows that were waiting to officially open have...

 

Books, dance lessons, 'Sopranos' - freebies abound online

NEW YORK (AP) — We might not be totally free these days, but there's a lot out there that is. Companies like Pure Barre and Peloton are offering free access to fitness classes. Amazon is giving away book classics like "The Call of the Wild" and...

 

Quibi stars have no quibble with new phone-only filmmaking

NEW YORK (AP) — They were skeptical. The name was weird. The concept was a little crazy — but it was intriguing. Oscar-winner Christoph Waltz and rising star Stephan James each overcame initial reluctance to become pioneers in Quibi, the mobile p...

 

Celebrities reveal new sides during virus, but face backlash

Portia de Rossi has been teaching herself how to cook during the coronavirus lockdown. It's been an eye-opening experience for the actress — and for her fans. She's cut herself and been burned, yes. She's also discovered she doesn't like some India...

 

Review: A look at offerings on new mobile platform Quibi

NEW YORK (AP) — Quibi may specialize in small, bite-sized videos, but its volume of shows is large. The media platform launches Monday with 175 new original shows — everything from scripted series, comedic diversions, deep dramas and celebrity...

 

'Lean On Me,' 'Lovely Day' singer Bill Withers dies at 81

Bill Withers, who wrote and sang a string of soulful songs in the 1970s that have stood the test of time, including " Lean on Me, " "Lovely Day" and "Ain't No Sunshine," has died from heart complications, his family said in a statement to The...

 

Review: Why wait? 'Sonic the Hedgehog' worth rushing to see

If the Hollywood mantra for making blockbusters is "faster, faster, faster," then the creators of "Sonic the Hedgehog" have wisely ignored it. The little blue alien who can sprint quicker than the speed of light has ironically benefited from slowing...

 

'Sesame Street' comforts children displaced by Syrian war

NEW YORK (AP) — "Sesame Street" in the past year has tackled everything from foster care to substance abuse. Now its latest effort is trying to help children suffering as a result of the Syrian civil war. Sesame Workshop — the nonprofit,...

 

New BBC America documentary series tackles global change

NEW YORK (AP) — If sheer drama is what you crave on TV, look no further than the tale of a fearless mother at the far edge of South America. She is a puma and this big cat repeatedly launches herself over and over at a llama-like creature more...

 

Airbnb looking for 100 of the best home chefs for a trip

NEW YORK (AP) — Airbnb is launching a global search for 100 top home cooks and treating them to a trip to Italy to learn how to refine their recipes with teachers including David Chang and his mom. The lucky chosen will travel to the University of...

 

'Goodness and humor' celebrated as 'Sesame Street' turns 50

NEW YORK (AP) — Fifty years ago, beloved entertainer Carol Burnett appeared on the very first broadcast of a quirky TV program that featured a bunch of furry puppets. "Wow, Wanda the Witch is weird," Burnett commented. And then — poof — she...

 

Eddie Murphy to host 'SNL' for the first time in 35 years

NEW YORK (AP) — Eddie Murphy will be returning to a place that helped launch his career — "Saturday Night Live." The comedian will be the host of the sketch comedy show on Dec. 21, marking the former cast member's first hosting appearance since...

 

3 black women win Miss USA, Miss Teen USA and Miss America

NEW YORK (AP) — When Cheslie Kryst won the Miss USA crown, it marked more than a personal triumph: It meant that for the first time, three black women are the reigning Miss USA, Miss Teen USA and Miss America. The North Carolina lawyer completed th...

 

Arts professionals respond in the year since #MeToo movement

NEW YORK (AP) — Actress Kate Shindle has been backstage in a lot of theaters — on Broadway, off-Broadway and on tour. But she came across something unusual a few months ago when she went to rehearsals for a new show in New Jersey. Cast members...

 

Singing the blues - Study of pop music finds rise in sadness

NEW YORK (AP) — A study of hundreds of thousands of popular songs over the past three decades has found a downward sonic trend in happiness and an increase in sadness. For the report in the journal Royal Society Open Science, researchers at the...

 

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