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Articles written by Mark Kennedy

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 By MARK KENNEDY    Regional    July 29, 2021

Review: In 'Stillwater,' a red state hero roams chic France

Early on in "Stillwater," a gruff oil rig worker from Oklahoma is asked what he's doing in the French port city of Marseille. "Visiting my daughter," he replies. That's only sort of right, it turns out. He left some stuff out. But truth itself gets...

 

Emmy surprises: 'Pose,' 'I May Destroy You' and 'Hamilton'

NEW YORK (AP) — The Emmy Award nominations announced Tuesday included some snubs and surprises. STRIKE A POSE "Pose" left the ballroom with a clutch of Emmy nominations. The groundbreaking FX show about ballroom culture in the 1980s and '90s ended...

 

Tituss Burgess, Adam Lambert star in 'Ratatouille' musical

NEW YORK (AP) — TikTok's crowdsourced "Ratatouille" musical has cooked up some serious talent for its one-night-only benefit concert, including roles for Tituss Burgess, Adam Lambert, Wayne Brady, André De Shields and Ashley Park. "Ratatouille:...

 

One half of the 'Property Brothers' praises solar in doc

NEW YORK (AP) — As half of HGTV's "Property Brothers," Jonathan Scott is all about transforming interior spaces. Now he's revealing a massive space he'd like to transform — the Earth. "Jonathan Scott's Power Trip" is his new documentary about...

 

Veterans' fundraiser to go virtual, with a prince and a Boss

NEW YORK (AP) — This year's Stand Up for Heroes fundraiser is going virtual for the first time and The Boss will once again be there. But so will a real prince. Bruce Springsteen, Sheryl Crow, Tiffany Haddish and Brad Paisley have all signed up to...

 

'Sesame Street' launches a podcast to help educate kids

NEW YORK (AP) — What has more letters than the alphabet? That's easy: The post office. That joke — sponsored by the letter A — is a highlight of the first original podcast from "Sesame Street," featuring music, interactive games and Muppets gal...

 

Guitar rock legend Eddie Van Halen dies of cancer at 65

NEW YORK (AP) — Eddie Van Halen, the guitar virtuoso whose blinding speed, control and innovation propelled his band Van Halen into one of hard rock's biggest groups and became elevated to the status of rock god, has died. He was 65. A person...

 

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,...

 

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